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52,274 Family Cruise Reviews

We have had a family cruise before on the Elation (our first one during the infamous Valentines day storm of 2007). We decided to do it again to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary year. Due to College and organized sports schedules, ... Read More
We have had a family cruise before on the Elation (our first one during the infamous Valentines day storm of 2007). We decided to do it again to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary year. Due to College and organized sports schedules, we needed to book it January 3rd and keep the younger kids out of school. We flew to Tampa a couple of days before due to the problems we almost encountered with delayed and cancelled flights the trip before. We were traveling with two adults, two 19 year olds, two 16 year olds, one 14 and one 12 year old. We cruised before, so we new what to do. We took a paid shuttle, reasonable price for the 9 of us $140.00, round trip from motel to port and then port to airport, with the number of us he gave us a deal! The porters took our luggage, and from past experience we did not tip the workers, as they are employees of the port and should not be tipped. We got to port fairly early so we could embark early, we wanted to enjoy ourselves every minute of this trip. We did the fun pass prior to traveling to Tampa, the passports were with the fun passes, etc. It took us about 10 minutes to register all 8 of us, my niece registered herself. We sat a few minutes, realized they were calling groups to load the boat, well, we entered the line and even though it was not our group, we left anyhow, they took us right on the ship. We entered the lido deck and had a buffet lunch with the other 5 family members we met there. You are allowed to bring a limited amount of your own drinks aboard, sealed,I believe one per adult, so we had 3 bottles of wine to enjoy over the next several days. We opened the first on the lido deck. The kids explored after lunch. We were able to enter our rooms about 130pm. Our luggage was there. My daughters one bag lost its tag along the way and we had to obtain it later in the day from the information desk. Of note, my mother in law was in a wheelchair due to her walking difficulty, the staff escorted her the entire embarking process and up to the lido deck. The kids went up to the lido deck, my husband and I took the tour of the ship at 2pm. Smitty, the fun ship team member was very funny and showed us the layout. He was very good at helping us understand the spacial layout on the ship between what is always found in what areas, aft, midship and forward. Before leaving port, we had the lifeboat drill, very informative, seemed however to drag on for a while, I think it was because there were people not following directions and that slowed the process down. Even a new bride and groom, in gowns and tux showed up like they were supposed to. What a site, a life vest on a gowned bride. What a memory! We were looking forward to our first dining room experience. We always book the early seating, as we like the evening shows and my husband and mother go to the casino. We ate in the Carnivale dining room, our waiter Sarwar from India, what a pleasant, professional and extremely friendly staff person. He was obviously very comfortable with what he was doing. My husband ordered several appetizers and entree's. We all sampled each others, as our family always does. The food was very delicious. I have read several review's stating that the food was horrible, I cannot understand why. My kids tried several things that were new to them, one my daughter really did not like, Sarwar got her the other entree. All you have to do is tell someone, and they make it very right. My sister in law has celiac's disease, she registered that on her fun pass and each night at the diningroom, the dietician came and had her order the next meals dinner and she tailored it to her dietary needs. My strong belief, if you take the efforts to communicate your needs, others will make the effort to accommodate. I am sure if someone is diabetic, the carb or calorie content can be calculated for you. I have found Carnival very accommodating to people with special needs. We had George the Greek as the Maitre d', he was entertaining, but you can tell he was very programmed after working in that field for over 40 years. We had 13 in our group, tables hold only about 8, therefore he placed an extra table on our table so we all could sit together. He has trained his staff in that dining room very well. The serving was very professional. Each time we saw either our waiter, assistant waiter, or George the Greek throughout our travels aboard ship, they all stopped, said hello and called us by name. This trip we ate breakfast in the diningroom a couple of mornings instead of the Brasserie buffet. That was enjoyable. The menu was the same each day, but if you wanted the service, and other items not included in the buffet, it was nice. The Brasserie buffet was also the same everyday, but it still had a large variety. We took in the Welcome Aboard show, that was okay, Not quite what I expected. We watched some of the comedians, some were good, some borderline, the shows were good, the Last night show, "Fiesta La Tina" I believe it was called, was fantastic. Over the 5 nights, we got to meet many people who fill many rolls. The cruise director, Filipe, was very nice, my husband spoke to him about getting a tour of the communications room, as he has a ham radio license, is an examiner, holds the highest license, is a civil air patrol and red cross volunteer, he really is interested in that stuff. Filipe said he would ask the captain, but it may not be possible due to the increase in homeland security. He followed up with us and stopped us in the hallways and called us by name the entire trip. My husband never got the tour, but at least we felt he made an effort to get one. We had two fun days at sea, nice weather on the first fun day at sea. We sat on the deck, relaxed, read, etc, most of the day. The Inspiration has the Serenity deck, we took in some of that too. Despite booking the trip during usual school time, the pool was a little too crowded. The hot tubs also. I found on Lido, the hot tubs were full of kids. The Serenity was better to get into. Both the lido and the serenity music was a little to loud. I however know we had a large amt of older clients this trip and I often heard them say it was too quiet. The day in Grand Cayman was beautiful! We did the reef and shipwreck snorkel. None of us have snorkeled before, our guides were funny, helpful and very encouraging, a fun time was had by all. They even provided a cooler of ice to keep our drinks we brought with us cold. We paid about $44 each and found it worth the trip, cannot wait to see the pictures. We walked about Grand Cayman and went back to the boat by midday. (8-2pm was the docked time). Although the food is safe on the islands, due to budgeting for our large group, we went cheap and ate on the ship whenever we could.As for Cozumel, we just walked around, shopped, hit Senor Frogs, (our group split up). Where we docked at port, it was a cab fare to Senor Frogs and the main shopping mall. $7.00, each way. The roads are horrible, bumpy and dangerous. I would not want to walk it. I stayed with my Mother and pushed the wheelchair. We often felt as though we were being harassed by the people at the stands in Cozumel. Everyone wanted the American money. We were off ship about 2 hours, that was all my Mother could stand. After a frozen margarita at a local spot, we all returned to the boat. Very easy process with the correct identification. The last fun day at sea was nice but cold, we had a spot of rain and winds, cleared me off the deck, I like the warmth! Overall, we met some very special staff. Our waiter was great, he spoke with us often. We give the cruise ship staff credit, they are away from their families for long periods of time and their friendliness does not reflect some element of sadness being so far away from their families. Everyone smiled and greeted. I always say thank you and hello as I roam around the ship. We had the opportunity to speak at length with a Dancer. He spoke of how the cruise line had strict rules, but none of them were unfair. They were allowed to go to the hot tubs on their off time. He said the staff is happy with how they are treated. I give the cruise line kudo's for providing a positive environment for their staff. They all do seem very happy, it is reflected everyday with their interaction with cruisers. Through both my cruises, I noticed that noone was competitive with each other, they all work as a family and team. Our rooms were immaculate, always picked up. I find it amazing that with our strange comings and goings how the steward and staff know when we leave our room, when to replace the towels and open the beds. We were very lucky, we were invited to the Captains Cocktail party, the previous cruiser cocktail party. Free drinks and food. They were nice. We wanted to win a free cruise, no such luck. I did win a free DelSol bag at one of the shopping informative sessions. The photographers were great. We had a wonderful photographer who took the pictures on formal night for the 13 of us, then split us in families. She did a great job. Thanks. I think the photographers should offer a discount on the pictures if ordered in a group. I had such a large group, if I was able to get the pictures I really wanted, it would cost about $500, who can afford that these days. Now for the not so positive comments.... There was too much drinking done on board. I know that is how the ship makes money, and some people have to have fun only when drinking. Not a great example for the kids. There were waiters everywhere asking if we want a drink, a simple no thank you worked. Sometimes if I was in a conversation, a hand up worked well. The pictures were taken all over the ship plus the ones we took. A little overwhelming at times. People like Bingo, I found bingo to be expensive and out of reach for me. The sales pitches throughout the ship make everything seem like gold. I never met my room steward, I would have liked to have met him. I met his assistant. My other family members had the steward knock on the door to introduce himself. We had the gratuity taken off two rooms as they were minor children. Perhaps that is why. Disembarking was horrible. NOT like our last time. The non-US citizens need to go through immigration first. That is US law. The people needed to follow those directions. It held up everyone else from leaving the ship. We did self assist as our flights were not going out until 6pm. We wanted to stay on the ship as long as we could. About 930am my husband had enough and wanted to leave. Empress disembarking floor was packed, and I as the last in my group could not get out of the elevator. I rode the elevator up and down about 4 times. I went up one floor, carried my suitcase down one flight and joined the rest of my group. I think if we were to wait until our zone was called to leave, it would have been better. I would avoid Cozumel and Grand Cayman if you want beach scene only, both you need to sign for excursions to take in a beach. Overall, you get out of a cruise what you put in. Research, read, learn before you go. Prepare and plan your days. Review the Carnival Capers daily events, circle the ones you want to do. Review the layout cards found at the information desk and plan how long it takes to get from your diningroom to the Paris Lounge, etc. Always speak up if you don't like something, they want everyone to leave very happy, they will go beyond the call of duty to make it that way. If you don't like the food, tell them, they will make it right. If you have allergies or special needs, they do not read minds. Communication is a necessary component in satisfaction. I cannot wait to go again!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
First, the ship is immaculate. I had no complaints about any smells, broken ACs, or anything else. The ship itself is pretty. It is not as "out there" as other Carnival ships in terms of decor, which some people may like better. ... Read More
First, the ship is immaculate. I had no complaints about any smells, broken ACs, or anything else. The ship itself is pretty. It is not as "out there" as other Carnival ships in terms of decor, which some people may like better. I thought the nicest rooms were the Universe Dining Room, the Casino, the Atrium, and the Criterion Lounge. Some rooms were not my taste, like the Point After Disco which looked like someone ate the Bacchus Restaurant on the Miracle and then spit it out (pepto bismol pink everywhere). However, once the lights are off in the disco, you don't notice it and it certainly doesn't stop you from having a good time. Our waiters were Deden and Noel, and they were one of the (if not, the) best wait staff I have ever had on ay cruise. Anything from our food, to providing seasickness remedies (eat an apple!), to making us laugh and making us feel at home, they were the perfect team. Our room steward was Sudy. He was almost hidden! We saw him maybe once a day from far away, but other than that he would do a great job at cleaning our stateroom and he would put everything in order. Bar waitress Yuliya was great. I never usually see my bar waitress during dinner after she brings my drink. It is usually hard to get refills or order something else. On this cruise, Yuliya was always around and very sweet. Always had my soda waiting for me at the table. Coincidentally, Yuliya was also a bar waitress at the casino and my family was in the casino A LOT. We saw Yuliya there every night, and she was as sweet and efficient even though she was busier. The staff overall on the ship was one of the best I have sailed with. Not one person was ever is a bad mood (or showed that they were). The casino staff was wonderful, the entertainment staff made people have a good time, and the purser's went out of our way to help. I had an extra charge on my S&S on the last day, and they worked with me patiently to fix it. The Destiny staff truly made the cruise as enjoyable as it was, and this is one reason why we prefer Carnival to RCCL. Another reason we prefer Carnival is the food. WOW! The food was outstanding. I hear the Lido Buffet is typical buffet food but I wonder what kind of buffet's people eat! Buffet's I eat at do not include as much variety where you want to eat everything and physically cannot. I learned that you need to take a little of everything just to taste it. the buffet is great because there are always safe and delicious options (deli, pizza, burgers, chicken tenders) that you are more than willing to eat if nothing else grabs you. However, that never happened. This week we were reminded why we take the late seating. We eat enough at the buffet at lunch that we are not hungry until 8pm. The dining room food was even better. Every night it was difficult to make a decision and I was never disappointed with what I ordered (and usually there is a night or two where I am). I am not a fan of lobster, but I ordered one anyway to say I did. It wasn't bad! And my sisters loved it. Steak was always delicious, and the pasta dishes were excellent. I never order pasta dishes because I figure I can get most of them at home, but I am very glad I did. I got lasagna bolognese one night and grilled chicken with fetuccini alfredo and they were both very tasty. The one thing I was not a fan of food wise was the dessert menu. They have 3 choices each night and most nights none of them appealed to me and usually I want them all. However, Carnival knows how to fix this problem. Every night they offer the warmc chocolate melting cake, and it is to die for! So good job to Carnival for knowing what people love and making it available! Ports: We went to Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios last year with RCCL, so the ports were not the reason we opted for this cruise. Still, the ports were nice and we had decent weather. In Ocho Rios it was slightly overcast and rain for 15 minutes, but it was refreshing. In Grand Cayman we went to Sting Ray City (even though we have been to Grand Cayman three or four times, my sisters never did it!). We booked with Mobey Dick Tours and had a great time. This excursion was much better than the sting ray excursion I did through the boat with my parents one cruise. There are less people on the boat, and the guides are very knowledgeable and friendly. In addition to seeing the stingrays, we learned about the stingray history and biology as well as the true story behind Steve Irwin. They also take you snorkeling by the reef which was nice. However, if you never snorkeled before you may run into problems sine they just give you the mask and flippers. I am sure if you ask them for help though, they will. While snorkeling we saw a 3 1/2 foot amore eel emerge from his coral cave, which freaked us all out at first. Our guide, however, said it is nothing to worry about. He then put fins on, went into the water, and fed the eel. He then grabbed ahold of it and let us touch it. You can't get that with an excursion through Carnival! In Ocho Rios we chose the Tranopy tour (bobsled/zipline/pool) at Mystic Mountain. It was fun but a very big tourist trap and would probably never do it again. You take a 15 minute ski-lift up 700 feet into the rain forest. This is nice since you can see the ship on the way up as well as some wildlife if you're lucky. But since you need to take it up and down a few times, it gets boring and repetitive. Once you get off the lift, there is the bobsled ride. This is basically like a rollercoaster with a lot of twists and turns. It was fin, but only lasts about 2 minutes. After that, you go on the canopy tour, which was also fun but kind of short. There are 5 lines, 1 bridge, and a "surprise." We ad a good time but we had a better time at Dunn's River Falls the year before. Overall, we LOVED this cruise, the ship, the crew, the food, the sun, the activities, and cannot wait to get back on board with Carnival. If you have any other questions, just ask! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Embarkation and Debarkation were very smooth we did "walk off" and liked that they did it by floor - made it fast and civilized... We were pleased with our balcony cabins - on the port side of ship forward on the Lido deck. ... Read More
Embarkation and Debarkation were very smooth we did "walk off" and liked that they did it by floor - made it fast and civilized... We were pleased with our balcony cabins - on the port side of ship forward on the Lido deck. During a warmer time of year on this cruise I would choose starboard because you do get sun most of the day on the balcony. There was some motion but nothing unusual but we do not suffer from motion issues. It was quiet having cabins both above and below. The location on the Lido deck was excellent - no fighting for an elevator to get to pools, buffet, etc... Also there are self serve laundry facilities on this floor.Food was better than expected - we came in with low expectations and were pleased with the food. It's not Disney but we thought food was as good (though not as much selection) as what we have enjoyed on royal caribbean and the level of dining room service was also comparable to RC. Unlike others experiences the steaks we were served in the dining room were cooked to our order and tender and enjoyable. The buffet food was standard buffet fair, not the best, but much better than having to feed the family myself. I was impressed with the availability of good fresh fruit throughout the cruise. We did do the Emerald Dining Room for $60/couple. We were one of a few couples present the evening we did it. That meal on land would cost more than the $60 you pay but is not the wonderful deal that RC's upgraded dining is at $20/couple additional...The service was attentive but also not at the level of our dining experience on the RC Liberty of the Seas which was truly phenomenal. Camp Carnival was wonderful! The kids had a great time and I was very pleased with the variety of crafts and activities that they had planned. Having an 8 and 10 year old they were not in the same group which actually turned out to be a plus as they enjoyed each other more when they were not in camp. There were not that many kids on board as we sailed the first week that school was back in January - so I do wonder if it would be as fun when there are many more kids there during high season. We were pleased with our cabin and the overall cleanliness of the ship and cabins.. Seemed like a fair amount of effort was put into keeping things clean and disinfected. I liked that they had the hand sanitizers at the end of the buffet lines but would love it if they would make it more mandatory like on Disney. I heard one older man boasting to his friend - I don't use those and I don't wash my hands - and no I don't think he was joking around. We didn't do many activities but enjoyed the comedian, the marriage show, and another game show. We were disappointed that they only had one little sports bar showing the BCS National Championship. I do not understand how a ship built in 2003 cannot have big screen tvs. We asked at the pursers desk and spoke with one of the entertainment staff member but apparently the only "big screen" is in the amber palace where they do the evening shows. Even the sports bar just has a whole lot of smaller tv's - they also showed it on like an oldschool 42in tv at the casino bar and people were stacked 3 deep. We would have had a better viewing experience in our family room... The ship is smoky - smoking is allowed pretty much everywhere - the sports bar where our 10 year old would have liked to play sports trivia games available and watch sports on tv with Dad was also one of the cigar smoking areas so we stayed out. Overall the facilities did not seem well designed for a ship of it's size - it seemed like a rabbits warren of little bars which always seemed to be vacant. It would have been nice to have some larger more useable facilities like a good size sports pub... Also the pools are small - there are 3 and they are about the size of a good size FL resident backyard pool. Our kids didn't bother. And yes if you want a lounge chair get up early and go throw something down. We usually went to breakfast 7ish and there would already be many chairs with books etc marking that they were taken. Overall value - it was cheap and I think a very good value for the money. We actually had two cabins on this cruise but I think next time we agreed we would rather just have one cabin but go on a larger ship with more and better designed public spaces. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This was an amazing cruise! It was our second time with NCL and our 4th cruise. We stayed at La Pavilion the night before the cruise, it was a elegant fancy hotel with a rooftop pool and hot tub and PB&J at 10:00. We checked out ... Read More
This was an amazing cruise! It was our second time with NCL and our 4th cruise. We stayed at La Pavilion the night before the cruise, it was a elegant fancy hotel with a rooftop pool and hot tub and PB&J at 10:00. We checked out the French Quarter and had early dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, the food was pretty good, but we found Bourbon Street and the rest of the french quarter inappropriate for our children (nude ladies in windows, signs for "Big Ass Buckets of Beer" so we didn't stay for long Embarkation: We packed fairly lightly compared to some other people we saw, so we got to the lines quickly. the staff were quick and we got through the whole thing in 20 minutes because we were latitude members and got to skip the long lines. When we got on the ship we were offered free fruit juices and wine. Dining: We ate at Windows for dinner every night and almost every day for lunch, i don't know what other people are talking about the food was delicious and the staff were amazing! The kids went to Raffles for breakfast and lunch bythemselves, we went once for lunch and breakfast - for breakfast there is your typical food eggs, omelets, cereal, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, bagels etc, and for lunch there is salad, pizza, pasta, carving, vegetarian selection, meats, soups and a deli counter. The Bier garden had hamburgers and mashed potatoes and unfortunately we only figured out that Henry's Pub had soft pretzels and popcorn on the last day. Blue Lagoon was a comfort food restaurant, it was usually busy, we only went once for french fries and hot dogs. For christmas at window's for dinner we had turkey and mashed potatoes and yule logs for dessert - delicious! We missed the Chocoholic buffet because we were too tired Entertainment: The Second City was funny, the Broadway and radio shows were okay and the magician was excellent! The christmas show was good too, the Kids Club did a performance. The Ship: the pools were usually packed and at night the hot tubs were very popular, we only went swimming once, there is an Asian theme and the whole ship had christmas trees and big ginger bread houses around. The Cabin: On the small side but cozy, our TV had problems, the bathroom was good, an actual shower instead of a curtain shower, our kids had a connecting room and their bed needed to be separated into two, we got an egg foam pad so our bed was really nice. Our stewards - Jovito and Herbert are amazing!!! They were always on time and made a variety of towel animals for us. Disembarkation: We used express, a LOT faster, had dinner at Window's at around 8:30 and we got off the ship at around 9:30. It was surprisingly fast and only took us 10 minutes!!! We loved this vacation, and the bad reviews are very untrue. It is an amazing ship and the staff are wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We traveled with 13 family members ranging from 1 - 81 years old! We flew from Logan Airport (Boston) to San Juan a day early to avoid snow delays. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel (priceline $150), this hotel is beautiful and is ... Read More
We traveled with 13 family members ranging from 1 - 81 years old! We flew from Logan Airport (Boston) to San Juan a day early to avoid snow delays. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel (priceline $150), this hotel is beautiful and is located right on the beach. We arrived at the ship at 11:30 and had absolutely no wait to get on board. Very smooth check in. Our immediate family of four (2 boys, 9 and 11 years) stayed in a junior suite on deck 10, very convenient to the Windjammer and the Kids Adventure Club. This was our 3rd cruise, the first one on a Radiance class of ship. We enjoyed this ship more than the Adventure and the Explorer due to the smaller passenger capacity and the beautiful woodwork and many glass windows. The ship never seemed crowded due in part to the five port days. Every day was sunny and hot, the weather cooperated perfectly. We had early dinner at 6pm and the service and food was excellent. The food surpassed our expectations in comparison to our 2 previous cruises. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We played roulette most nights in the casino, and enjoyed talking to the dealers about the ports and the best places to go. Four of the children went to the Kids Adventure Club and they really enjoyed it. The staff was fun and the kids couldn't wait to go. Here is what we did in port: St Thomas: took a cab to Megan's Bay ($8 per person, plus a $4 admission)and then downtown shopping. We set up a time for the cab driver to return for us. (when you get off the ship, we purchased some bottle waters to bring with us ($1 each), cheaper than buying at the beach. We ate at the beach restaurant, the food was very good. St. Maarten: took a cab to Orient Beach, rented chairs, ate ice cream for lunch at the beach, and then downtown shopping. Again we had our cab driver return for us. Antigua: I wish we had gone to the beach, but the kids needed a break. We walked around in town, right where the ship is located. The kids were uncomfortable with some of the aggressive locals so we returned to the ship after 90 minutes. St. Lucia: upon the advice of cruise critic, we signed up for the Cosol tour. It was wonderful and as good as everyone had said it would be. Price was $65 per adult and $45 per child under 11. For more info on this tour, look up St.Lucia in the port of call boards. The children said this was their best day in port due to the tour. Barbados: we took a taxi to Harrison's Cave and then to the Boatyard Beach. Taxi price was $20 PER PERSON to go to the caves and then the beach. The driver waited for us while we toured the caves. The tour was good, and the kids did enjoy it. Admission price was $20 per adult, $10 for kids,so it did get pricey to go there. I would avoid the Boatyard Beach unless you are in your 20's. I had regretted going there since it is not really a family beach, however the kids did enjoy the water trampoline, ice berg and rope swing. The beach is noisy with names being called for lunch orders over the pa system, loud music and girls dancing on the bar. But the water and sand were clean and the water was nice. The $15 admission price got you a chair, drink coupon and a ride back to the ship. The food ordered was very good. For entertainment we saw the Vibe-ology show, which was very good. Other family members said the comedy show was good. Disembarkation was a breeze, we were off the ship by 8:40 and we were in the second airline group. We used the airport valet service ($20 per person), so our bags were taken right to the airport. Since our flight was at 2:45pm, we could freely walk around San Juan without our bags to fill up our time before our flight. The cruise was perfect and I would recommend it to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
So many places to start, so I will just start at the beginning. No less than 6 people asked for our tickets prior to boarding. Once in our room, the first thing we noticed was the size or lack thereof. There are a few things in life ... Read More
So many places to start, so I will just start at the beginning. No less than 6 people asked for our tickets prior to boarding. Once in our room, the first thing we noticed was the size or lack thereof. There are a few things in life where size matters a great deal. On a cruise, size is king. We weren't even in the the castle. I am glad we upgraded to a room with a "private balcony". Anything smaller would have been intolerable. They use the term private and balcony rather loosely. The balcony in 5 feet across and three feet deep. When we embarked, ours was tastefully decorated in cigarette buts and stagnant water. Welcome to New Orleans! Let's talk about food: The buffet is acceptable, not the best, not the worst. But a word of warning, you should probably sit away from parents who let their children devour bowls of ice cream as large as their head. They will vomit but we will discuss the people aboard the ship later. The restaurants that were good: Windows, The Garden Room and the Trattoria. Cagney's Steak House was Excellent and by far the best value on the ship. The soda program is in the expensive side, $58.00 for seven days. Also, it's difficult to get a soda in the buffet. You need to go to a bar by the pool to get one. Room service was rather limited but what was offered was hot, delivered quickly and exactly what we ordered. The people: I could go on for days about the people aboard this cruise. In all my traveling (11 countries and 44 states) never have I seen so many obese, elderly, or handicapped people. I understand that handicapped, obese and elderly people want to travel. I think anyone who fits this category needs to think long and hard about a cruise. If you are unable to go up one flight of stairs, you shouldn't be on a cruise. If you are so obese, you need help carrying your plate to the table, stay the hell home. If you are taking someone on a cruise and they don't know their name, maybe they shouldn't go? I was amazed at the amount of people who needed a wheelchair to get off the boat but walked fine once they disembarked. My two cents, if you are going to slow other people down, stay home and knit, play checkers, anything but go on a cruise. Kids: Kids don't belong in the jacuzzi. NCL should really enforce this since it's their policy. There should also be a limit on how long 4 people can stay in a jacuzzi. I was able to get in once in 7 days. And that was when I squeezed in between 7 other people. Parents, if you kids are crying take them outside. I know you want a vacation but I don't have any kids. I certainly don't want to hear yours scream. Prices: As most cruises go, they try to get you for every dollar they can. I was okay with almost all the charges except the pictures. A package was only offered for one picture and that was $17.99, all of other pictures are $14.99 each, 9.99 for the second picture and 4.99 for the third. We spent close to $100 for pictures and we got 4 pictures. The staff was great. I guess they are used to wheelchairs and diapers, so 2 thirtysomething's were easy to deal with. All activities were geared to people who can't walk or see very well. The excursions were lame at best. What wasn't lame was very overpriced. $140 for two people to go the beach is outrageous. You could easily spend five or six hundred a person on excursions and not do anything memorable. I am writing this review from the airport and will book another vacation as soon as I get home. If it's a cruise, it will not be with NCL, it definitely not be freestyle and will not have anyone under 18 aboard. Stay home or find another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This was the 11th cruise for my wife and I - five on Royal Caribbean, five on Holland America, and one on the Norwegian Sun. For this cruise, we were joined by our son and daughter, their spouses, and two grandchildren. We picked the ... Read More
This was the 11th cruise for my wife and I - five on Royal Caribbean, five on Holland America, and one on the Norwegian Sun. For this cruise, we were joined by our son and daughter, their spouses, and two grandchildren. We picked the Liberty of the Seas because we thought our grandkids would love the ship's activities and we picked the Eastern Caribbean cruise because of relatively few stops. In other words, the ship was the focal point and for that reason, much of this review is dedicated to the Liberty of the Seas rather than the ports visited. The Ship We had two adjoining balcony cabins that each slept three (one grandkid in each) with the third unit on the same level. We opened the balcony door between the neighboring cabins and the kids basically ran back and forth for much of the cruise. We went to the Windjammer for our first lunch and quickly encountered the theme that was to be repeated for the rest of the week - as big as the ship is, the common areas are just too small when the cruise is sold out. Also there were 500 plus kids on board which added to the perception of a swarming bee hive. The pluses are many for the Liberty. It is a beautiful ship in the RC mode. Based on our cruising experiences, HAL aims for "class", RC goes for "flash", and the Norwegian Sun is basically a "people hauler" but with great food and entertainment. And the Liberty is loaded with "flash" - although perhaps approaching "tacky" in some areas. The basic facilities are unsurpassed and are by now well known - a great water park for kids, a very large rock wall, a skating rink, a flow rider, fast elevators, a three level dining room, a large theater (albeit with a very non-RC ambience - incredibly boring and with mediocre sight lines), a smallish but very nice movie theater, a large casino, and a wonderful and well equipped gym. There are two large hot tubs cantilevered over the side of the ship plus two other spas and three pools - one for adults, one for kids, and one for both. Of course, all were crowded; deck chairs were at a premium after 8 a.m. I won't list the many shops, bars, and restaurants that are also scattered throughout. The main feature of the ship has to be the huge promenade - five stories high and hundreds of feet long. It serves well as a common area although, of course, it was often very crowded - even at midnight. By the way, if you are interested in sitting in a deck chair and reading a good book, try the promenade deck (four). It was seldom crowded and you could usually get a shuffleboard with no waiting. I suspect that many on the cruise never discovered this deck. The Service Considering the number of people that were on the cruise, services tended to be on the slow side with line-ups common. An exception to this was our cabin attendant who was very efficient (our grandkids especially looked forward to the towel animals every evening). The dining room was a different story. Our main dinner sitting was slow in spite of our waiters who were friendly and worked as quickly as anyone could expect. The problem appeared to be kitchen related and no doubt could be traced to the number of people they were attempting to service. Twice on evenings when there was only one show, we didn't get out of the dining room in time to attend the theater performance. Ironically, in spite of slow service, we ended up eating many of our other meals in the dining room because the Windjammer was so crowded. I overheard two members of the dining room staff complaining to each other about the larger than expected number of diners so obviously many others had also fled the Windjammer. These increased numbers no doubt slowed service further but at least one was not walking around with a plate full of food looking for a table. We also tried Johnny Rockets cafe (good but also crowded and slow) as well as Jade which is just an awkward extension of the Windjammer. By the way, the food quality was the best we ever experienced on RC - a common complaint from our first four voyages with them. Both kids spent some time in the Kid's Club and both reported good things. Our eight year old grandson was especially enamored with the rock wall but was bitterly disappointed that he was too short to try the flow rider (he checked everyday just in case he had grown that required one more inch overnight!). The entertainment was typical cruise fare - a good but not excellent dance troupe, a juggler, an impersonator, and a comedian. All were enjoyable but nothing to bring you to your feet (in spite of the repeated urging of the cruise director). The ice show, on the other hand, was great (go early, the facility fills up quickly). I skated on the rink and the ice was about what you would expect in the Caribbean - ruts and slush. I'm sure the performers had a fresh flood for their show but the ice did not look great and the rink size (40 x 60 feet) is much smaller than what they would be used to. There must have been 10 skaters and they did a great job. A few minor quibbles. The chocolate on the pillow at night has apparently fallen under the axe of the bean counters as have the daily sudoku and crossword puzzles in the library. Okay, so the chocolates were mainly wax - it still was a nice touch. I especially missed the small daily papers that were a part of our previous cruises. I suppose that the reasoning is that one can watch CNN but it is 99% of its coverage is devoted to U.S. news. For the people from the other 31 countries on board, one would have to use the expensive Internet connections to check news on the home front. Bring back my paper! Disembarkation (what an awkward word) was a nightmare. We left our waiting lounge shortly before our son and family who are U.S. citizens. It took them five minutes to get off the ship whereas we were stuck in a long, long lineup. Fortunately, we were able to phone them and tell them not to wait for us. Well over an hour later we finally made it to the promenade deck for our final swipe of our room cards. I don't know what the problem was but it didn't seem to be related to customs. Disembarkation is always a bit of a downer when you realize that you have suddenly gone from pampered guests to cattle, but this experience was especially bad. The Ports We had only three stops on the cruise; San Juan, St. Maarten, and Labadee in Haiti. We didn't arrive in San Juan until about 3 pm so we had relatively few hours of daylight. We just did a walk around and returned to the ship. It does seem like an interesting place and one that we will make a point of revisiting. We had been to St. Martin previously and my grandkids enjoyed a beach day collecting shells. My wife and daughter went shopping together whereas my son-in-law and I walked around for a bit, then returned for some gym time. Labadee is RC's private beach. Consistent with our previous attempts to visit private islands, it rained, and rained, and rained. Not to be deterred, we did take the walking tour and got soaked as a reward. To their credit - and to my surprise - RC refunded our money without asking. Labadee seems like a beautiful place and I hope to be able to revisit it. Would I sail on the Liberty of the Seas again? The Liberty (and Freedom and Independence) are huge and change the rules of cruising. Most of our party would avoid these ships in the future - certainly at the premium prices they currently command. My grandson, on the other hand, would quite happily move there permanently. Me? I would sail on these ships again, especially if I could get a reasonably priced, repositioning cruise where sell-outs are less likely and kids are fewer in number. I suspect that when the Oasis is launched later this year, the novelty seekers will flock to that ship and maybe take the pressure off the Liberty and its sisters. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Overall, we had a fabulous time. The vacation had me at 85 degrees. Walking around in shorts, while it was freezing at home was heaven. We are 3 experienced cruisers, me(37), DH(41), and DD(4). The adults have been on Carnival, Royal ... Read More
Overall, we had a fabulous time. The vacation had me at 85 degrees. Walking around in shorts, while it was freezing at home was heaven. We are 3 experienced cruisers, me(37), DH(41), and DD(4). The adults have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian. Pre-cruise hotel Flying in on Friday my daughter started running a fever. By the time we got to the Marriott Stellaris, she was miserable, so we called a doctor suggested by the hotel. The MD came in a couple of hours, diagnosed strep and we ran across the street to Walgreens for zithromax. As a result, we saw very little of the hotel outside our room. However, we were happy with our room and the MD. The ship The Summit is a very elegant ship, easy to navigate, with appealing public rooms. For its age, the ship is in great shape. The only maintenance issues we noticed were some mushy spots under the carpet entering the Cosmopolitan dining room and our cabin bathroom needed some refreshment. Entertainment A highlight of the cruise for us. We really enjoyed the band that played in the Rendevous lounge, while we had pre-dinner drinks. The production shows seemed a cut above the shows we've seen on other ships. I think having 5 singers really bolstered the quality of the shows. My DD was absolutely mesmerized by the singing and dancing. I missed the pianist, but the comedic juggler was very fun. The cabin We were in 6026, which, although it is not apparent on the ship diagram, has a larger than average balcony. A very nice feature, as the standard balcony is tiny! However, we were so busy on the cruise we didn't get to enjoy the balcony as much as we wanted to. The cabin itself felt a little tight, though the bathroom shower did seem a little bigger than usual. Very quiet location, we never heard any noise at night. Pascoal, our steward, took good care of the room and was very unobtrusive. Food We enjoyed the food in the Waterfall Cafe and Aqua Spa. The ship had a great selection of fruits and breads. I especially enjoyed the papaya (usually in the Aqua Spa). We also ate waffles every morning. Yummy! Be sure to get them fresh off the griddle, they lose a lot if they sit in the warmer. We never waited in line for more than a minute or two at any meal. Food in the Cosmopolitan was a little hit or miss. However, they were very accommodating about bringing out another entrEe or making any switches. Dinner in the Normadie was fantastic! Definitely, a highlight of the cruise. Ports Busy, busy, busy! In St Maarten we did a snorkeling trip through Captain Alan. The weather was not ideal, we had some rain and the water was murky, but we still had a blast. Captain Paul took us out with his wife Carol, both were a lot of fun, very warm and welcoming. We coordinated with some others on our roll call (Hi, Bin and Mom, Jun and Jen), so we only had 7 on the boat ($420 for all of us, plus $60 for taxi, round trip). We just did some souvenir shopping in Dominica, most of the excursions were adventure oriented and not really appropriate for a 4 yo. In Grenada, we took a water taxi ($4 per person, one way) to Grand Anse Beach. We rented two chairs and an umbrella ($15) and played in the sand and water. Full service beach with lots of people eager to bring drinks, braid your hair, or sell some spices. A very fun day. In Tobago, we went to Pigeon Point (taxi $20 each way up to 4 people). We rented two chairs ($4), lots of free shade. Great beach, we took a glass bottom boat ride ($15 per person) to Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool. Also a full service beach, but be careful with your currency. Prices are listed in Tobagan dollars, make sure you ask for the price in U.S. dollars (roughly 5 Tobagan dollars to 1 US dollar). Port taxis also charge much higher prices than other, non-port taxis. In Barbados, we went out with Captain Jason on Shasa Catamaran ($70 per adult, $35 per kid, transport included). Awesome! We were under windpower the whole time, incredibly peaceful. We were the first boat to arrive at the turtle spot, so we were swarmed with hungry, friendly turtles. There were only 11 of us on the boat, four from our roll call (Hi, Jill, Charlie, Carol, and Dennis). My overall port advice... Be sure to bring lot of cash if you're not doing all your excursions through the ship, everybody prefers or requires cash. It's also a good idea to have lots of small bills, most places expect you to bargain and it's hard to keep to a lower price if you don't have correct change! Fitness Center I went 6 times on the cruise and still managed to gain two pounds! But, I don't think I can blame it on the gym. The gym had lots of treadmills and elliptical machines, plus other assorted cardio equipment. Most had their own tvs, so bring ear buds if you like to watch tv while you work out. There were also a lot of nautilus-type machines and a small free weights section. Embarkation and disembarkation Embarkation was very easy. We arrived at 12:30 and walked right on. For disembarkation we spent some time sitting around the ship before our group was called at 9:45. There was a long line for taxis, but mostly painless. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Flew into SJU on Saturday due to American canceling our morning non-stop form Dallas. Unfortunately we were over 2 hours late arriving and finally checked into the Sheraton Old San Juan after 1:00AM. Upon check-in, I asked if we could ... Read More
Flew into SJU on Saturday due to American canceling our morning non-stop form Dallas. Unfortunately we were over 2 hours late arriving and finally checked into the Sheraton Old San Juan after 1:00AM. Upon check-in, I asked if we could possibly have a late check out as it had already been a long day. I was advised to call the front desk at 7:00AM and we should be fine. Well I did get up at 7:00AM only to be told that we could only get an additional 30 minutes - big deal. The hotel was OK, the area was neat but I would just as soon stayed at the Best Western at the airport and saved myself the additional cab ride. Embarkation was pretty smooth. The process in which they take your bags is not the most efficient however. Once inside, we went to the Diamond check-in. I was traveling on an expired passport which is fine until June 2009. The person checking us in attempted to deny us boarding but I immediately called RCCL and had them straighten it out. (I am a travel agent myself so I was able to deal direct with RCCL as I am the agent of record). The ship itself was very nice and we spent some time checking everything out. Our bags came very quickly and we were unpacked even before Muster. We had early dining and were located on Deck 3. The dining room was very nice and the staff excellent. I was disappointed that we were at a table for 10 and most nights it was just 4 of us there. We did eat one night at Portofino and it was excellent; lovely romantic evening. In Aruba we decided to snorkel on the Mi Dushi. The staff was very pleasant and fun was had by all. Snorkeling was disappointing as the water was quite rough but again, it turned out to be a very nice time. Curacao we decided to Golf at Blue Bay. The course was quite nice. When coming in from the 9th hole you actually drive on the beach right near the resort. Golf scores were not the best but again, a good group of people were with us. St. Maarten we went back to Orient Beach on the Beach Break which included lunch. We did this same excursion last year and found it better then. There was a much larger crowd that last year and the French staff did not seem to understand English very well. After waiting 30 minutes to place our order, we received our lunch with first the entrEe,then the drinks and finally the bread (a little backward if you ask me). The food as last year was excellent. St Thomas was originally scheduled for golf but apparently we were the only ones who signed up and it was canceled due to lack of participation. It all worked out in the end as it rained most of the night so the course would have been too wet. We just wandered around town and had a lovely lunch before returning to the ship. Some of the issues I had with the cruise: We were signed up for the Meet and Mingle which was scheduled for 11:00AM (I think) on Monday (sea day). We did not even get our invitation until Tuesday night. I don't have an issue with kids being on the ship; I just expect their parents to keep an eye on them. One night I ran into a group of 8 tweens jumping from the landing between floors into the elevator bank to see who could jump the farthest. This was at midnight and they were making a lot of racket. Now parents, I realize that the kids have a 1:00AM curfew but just because they can be out and about on the ship, they should be behaved. After I told the kids to knock it off, it continued. Finally I called security and let them deal with it. It was taken care of quickly which I did appreciate. Finally the Platinum and Diamond party. Last year on the Serenade we had an absolute blast and vowed never to miss another Diamond Party. This year we were treated to a "concert" of classical music. Now don't get me wrong, they WERE very good; I'm just not into classical music. We had to sit through 7 songs and almost felt like were were compelled to stay. 1-3 songs would have been a better choice. Overall, it was a good time. I liked having 2 ports and then a day at sea so we did feel like we had some down time to relax. The ship was nice but we felt the Serenade was a bit classier overall. Would we sail her again - of course. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We are from Ohio, so the weather here in January can be a bit unpredictable. Instead of flying down the day of embarkment and risking missing our vacation, we flew down the day before and stayed the night in Tampa. We booked a room through ... Read More
We are from Ohio, so the weather here in January can be a bit unpredictable. Instead of flying down the day of embarkment and risking missing our vacation, we flew down the day before and stayed the night in Tampa. We booked a room through Travelocity at the Days Inn East-Ybor city for about $80. The rates there are usually lower, but as it was the week before the super bowl, prices were up everywhere. It was about a 15 minute taxi ride to the hotel which was about $35. If you book this hotel, be advised that if you have an early flight in, they charge you $5 per half hour you arrive before their 4pm check in time. Also, it's not a horrible area and there is nothing but a gas station within walking distance, but they do have several take-out menus available. Day 1: We arrived at the port of Tampa around 10:30 am. Carnival will tell you that you should not show up until 12, but things will be much faster if you do. There is a little coffee shop that offers breakfast, so we grabbed some food and sat outside. Men will come around and offer to take your bags for you. It's not required, but do this! It's free (but they work hard, and carry your luggage around, so why not tip them?) and this also means that when other people are wheeling their luggage around the ship until the staterooms open at 1:30, you are able to explore! Embarkment was a breeze. Have your FunPass ready to go with your ID, and credit card if that's how you are setting up your sign and sail account. (I used cash, so when you get on the ship, go straight to information and set up your account while there is no line. They will say the purser's desk doesn't open until after dinner, but they were open immediately). We took a walk around the outside decks of the ship (we were the only ones on the upper deck!) and took some great pictures. Lunch was being served at the Lido buffet, which was decent (I would recommend going to the indoor buffets for food, everything served outdoors seemed to be the same temp. as everything else). When the staterooms opened at 1:30, we found our room and met our stewardess who's name I could never remember, but she was super sweet. (If you leave a tip the first day asking for ice, you will never be without it). We were seated in the Mardi Gras dining room for the 6:00 dinner. The only thing I regret about this dinner time was that we didn't get to see when we went under the bridge, but I wouldn't have changed the arrangement for the world. I'm not quite sure how the seating arrangements were made, but we were with all people our parent's ages, but we still had a great time. Vanburn "Spice" from Grenada was our headwaiter, and he was wonderful! He made jokes that completely went over the heads of the 3 other couples with us, but had tears rolling down our cheeks we were laughing so hard! Omar from Colombia was the assistant waiter, who was also outstanding. Sani, who brought us our drinks remembered our names and what we wanted to drink after only the first night. He also works the piano bar, and knew us then as well. He was FANTASTIC! There is not one bad thing I can say about the dining room food for the whole trip. The Melting chocolate cake is a must try. Don't ever complain about portion size or not liking your food. Just ask for more/something else. Nobody will question it, and they will bring you as much of whatever you want. There were several nights where we both got 2 appetizers, and my boyfriend got a second lobster on elegant night. You will never go hungry. That night, my boyfriend and I went to the 21 and older serenity deck and sat in the hot tub. I don't know whether people hadn't found it yet, or what, but we had the whole deck to ourselves and it was fantastic. We were exhausted and decided to call it an early night (9pm) but when I woke up and realized there was no clock in the room, I ended up wandering outside to see if it was light yet. I realized later that day that there is a channel that overlooks the bow, so from then on we left it on all night so I could see if the sun had started to come up yet. Day 2 (fun day at sea): The first full day at sea, there were a lot of fun things going on, there was a hairy chest contest which was hilarious, and Felipe, the cruise director (woo-hoo!), had a talk about the shore excursions available (hint: if you don't go to the talks, they play them repeatedly on the one channel if you decide you want to watch it). We competed in the adult putt-putt competition (my boyfriend would be disappointed if I didn't mention he came in 3rd of about 30) It was a blast! That evening was the captain's reception and formal dinner. We dressed up and had lobster, which was phenomenal, but as I mentioned earlier, my boyfriend had seconds... so rather small. This evening I also discovered that they sell punch cards for the drink of the day. You get 5 drinks (including 1 souvenir cup) for about $26. The drinks are $6.95 +gratuity otherwise. After dinner we went to see "Shout," which there was not enough seating for and we stood in the back. It didn't matter, because it was fun and we had a good time singing along and dancing in the back. Then we went to the R rated comedy show in the Candlelight lounge. He was really funny, and used a lot of crowd participation which was fun. Day 3 (Day in Grand Cayman): When I read these reviews before my trip, I never read about port days, because I already knew what I had planned. I'll explain this day because it was not as great as what I had planned, and is the ONLY thing I can find wrong with the cruise experience, and it WAS NOT Carnival's fault. We booked the "Discover Cayman: Stingray, turtle farm, and Hell tour" We got off the tender, and found out our group had already left (we were on time!) We got on a bus with another tour who took us to our group at the boat. The stingrays were fantastic, and I highly recommend this part! When we got off the boat, however, 12 of us didn't have a bus to get on. The bus driver forgot to pick us up. When he came for us, a woman asked for his name, and he said to call him "Goofy," she asked for the bus number and again he replied "Goofy". He told us we would only have 30 minutes at the turtle farm. (his guided tour during the ride was nice, and I did enjoy it) He set a time for us to meet at the bus and told us to leave our belongings on the bus because he would not be leaving. The turtle farm was great! You get to hold the babies and it is wonderful! We came out to meet "Goofy" and he was not there. We found someone from the same company who made up some excuse about "Goofy" and his personal life, but agreed to take us to Hell which is where "Goofy" would be waiting for us. Hell was nice, but there's not much more to say as we were getting very close to missing the last tender out of Grand Cayman at this point and I was in a full blown panic. We made it, but I was upset, so I talked to the people at the information desk, who were very concerned and understanding, and refunded 25% of our shore excursion cost. I hate complaining, but thought it should be mentioned. Dinner was great as usual, and every night after dinner when we came back to the room there was a different towel animal waiting for us. I fell in love with the manatee we received the first night and our stewardess taught me how to make him! I told her how much I loved Stingray city, and the final night she made me a stingray. While I'm on the topic of our stewardess, I'll mention that she came twice a day, everyday, and provided turndown service at night which was nice to come back to. The room had razors (which I forgot), toothpaste, antacids, soap, body wash, beach towels, and the softest robes EVER. It was wonderful. And our room, which was an inside room with a queen was very spacious. There was a fake window, which made it less claustrophobic for me. Day 4 (Day in Cozumel): We did the mini jeep and snorkel tour. It was fantastic, and I'd never be able to say enough how absolutely wonderful our tour guide Alvero (Al) and his driver Wally were. It was a perfect trip and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a (very safe) adventure. Such a beautiful tour! We made it back with two hours left, so we did some souvenir shopping and stopped at the Three Amigo's bar. We had lunch (very good) and 3 margaritas each (the best I've ever had) and it was under $60, which was reasonable for how much we drank. That night we went to the Carnival Colors deck party and had a great time dancing and cheering for the Blue team! We also went to the love and marriage game show which was a definite must see. Day 5 (Fun day at Sea): I don't think it ever made it out of the 50's on Friday. It rained steadily until about 4pm. I spent a good portion of the day on the Serenity deck in the hot tub with a family from Dallas, and a couple from Alaska. My boyfriend slept off his margaritas. We got lunch at the buffet (like we had done for breakfast and lunch all week, and it was good) and then went back to the room and watched "The Dark Knight" which was nice, because it's a recent movie. Dinner was fun, but sad to say goodbye to our wait staff and the other couples. It was still very cold after dinner, so we called it an early night. Day 6 (Debarkment): We did the self assist, and were off the boat by 8:15. Customs was a breeze, and we had purchased transfers through Carnival (hint: your boarding pass is in your FunPass documents) and were to the airport ready to head home by 9:00. All in all it was a fantastic vacation, and I couldn't have asked for a better last hoorah before I start my new job on Monday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We are a family of three - myself & DH (both 34) and DD (5). This was our first trip to Florida and first cruise. We booked a 4 day land - 3 day sea package through DCL. We usually go to Las Vegas for our holidays (8 times in 4 years) ... Read More
We are a family of three - myself & DH (both 34) and DD (5). This was our first trip to Florida and first cruise. We booked a 4 day land - 3 day sea package through DCL. We usually go to Las Vegas for our holidays (8 times in 4 years) but decided it was time for a real family holiday. We stayed at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort - a great place to stay. We boarded the ship on January 22/09. The first wonderful thing we encountered was the ease of check in!! We were able to check into the cruise right in our hotel lobby! So convenient. And to our surprise and excitement we were given a free upgrade!! We had booked a category 10 (inside deluxe - cabin 7005) but were upgraded to cabin 6132 - a Deluxe Stateroom with a verandah!!! We will never consider cruising without one again. The Disney Wonder was beautiful. Everything on it seems really clean and well maintained. We used the Kids Club a few times - our DD was always wanting to head there for an hour or two before or after supper. It seemed like a lot of other kids were there for good chunks of the day but we didn't ever leave her over a meal or longer than two hours. Only because we wanted to spend our holiday with her - she would have been happy to stay in the club longer. All the staff or cast members we encountered were great. Donnie our room steward was awesome!! From day one he knew all our names and always had our stateroom ready. I think he lived in the hallway our entire trip! He seemed to always be working. Our dinner servers - Donna & Jen were wonderful as well. They treated our DD like a princess and were very efficient during our meals without making us feel rushed. The food was outstanding. We didn't have a bad meal - the desserts were especially great. The kids menu could use a few more options - it was the same menu each night. Not much variation from cheeseburgers, mac & cheese and chicken fingers. The two ports we visited were fun. Nassau was interesting - spent the morning shopping - rum cake, rum & souvenirs. We went back to the ship for lunch and a swim in the pool then took a taxi to Paradise Island to check out Atlantis. It was a super nice resort and the beach was beautiful. DH stayed and played some Blackjack while DD and I went back to the ship - kids club for her, wine on the verandah for me. Castaway Cay was the best part of the trip. The beach and water was amazing. Better than I could have imagined. Lots of lounge chairs and umbrellas along the way. The servers on the beach seemed to show up more in the morning than in the afternoon but they were still pretty good. We all went snorkeling and that was fun. The weather could have been a bit warmer but it was a great day. As we have never cruised before we can't compare the disembarkation to anything but it was faster and more organized than I could have ever expected. There were a bunch of staff ready to help take your bags with you through customs and onto the bus. It was completely painless!!! All in all it was a great trip. We will try cruising again in the future for sure!! We do want to try other lines but DCL was a great first cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Just returned from a week on the Serenade (1/24 to 1/31). This was my second sailing on the Serenade, the first being one of its first sailings to Canada/New England. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. I have sailed on RCCL ... Read More
Just returned from a week on the Serenade (1/24 to 1/31). This was my second sailing on the Serenade, the first being one of its first sailings to Canada/New England. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. I have sailed on RCCL seven times, and the Radiance Class ships are my favorite. We flew into San Juan a day prior and stayed at the Intercontinental. The hotel grounds were very nice, and while the room was clean, it was dated. For the money, it is not really worth it. I had previously stayed at the Hilton Caribe and enjoyed that better, and for about $100 less per night! We had lunch by the pool (yummy frozen mojitos) and dinner at the italian restaurant. Both were good, but VERY expensive. We checked out of the hotel right at noon on Saturday and took a cab to the pier. Embarkation was quick and painless (I have never had to wait on RCCL). We walked right up to the check-in desk and were onboard by 12:30. Had a quick lunch in the Windjammer, then went to our cabin at 1:00. CABIN: We had a Junior Suite on deck 10. We had cabin 1598, which is an obstructed view. The obstruction is the window washing equipment which is "parked" there; I did not find this to be an issue at all. Our balcony was actually larger than the adjacent junior suites, and had the benefit of a shady area from the overhang of the back of the ship. We had a table and three chairs, and could have fit an additional lounger. The cabin itself was great for the three of us (mother and sister). The sofa bed isn't overly comfortable, but was better after adding an egg crate and a duvet comforter. PORTS: We have done this itinerary before, so this time we just did the beach. We did not book any excursions through the ship, just caught a cab when we were ready. FOOD: I don't understand why people complain, because the food is really good on this ship! We also ate at Chops and Portofino, which were both fantastic! Highly recommend! ENTERTAINMENT: Just OK. We didn't really care because we're happy with a nice long dinner after a day in the sun, but my mom likes the singing/dancing shows, and there was only one. There was also a comedian (we didn't go but heard he was funny), and the Coasters. DISEMBARKATION: Also quick and painless. Off the ship by 8:30, went into Old San Juan for a little while, caught our 1:30 flight and home by 5. Overall, a great vacation. You will not be disappointed if you sail on the Serenade! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Embarkation at Port of Miami- Big crowd at 12, but went fairly quickly. Rooms not ready till 2PM. People directed to the food court for a buffet lunch. If you don't know your way around, you can pick up a ships layout by the ... Read More
Embarkation at Port of Miami- Big crowd at 12, but went fairly quickly. Rooms not ready till 2PM. People directed to the food court for a buffet lunch. If you don't know your way around, you can pick up a ships layout by the registration desk. By 4PM we had the mandatory emergency drill, which was run smoothly and quickly. The Food- Average in the Main Dining Rooms. Some dishes were good, but the Lobster Tails were like chewing rubber. Order two dishes if you like.There is no problem with that. At in Cagney's(20pp. That was worth the price, but I feel that the line is cutting back on the regular food quality to force you into the specialties. Prices in these venues are rising. On my !ST Norwegian cruise, the Italian was free with advanced reservation. Now it costs. The Chocolate Buffet,which they have once a cruise, was a miniaturized version of what it used to be. Not all chocolate, and very chintzy. The Entertainment- Very Good for the shows I saw (5). The Comedian was hilarious(Dave Heenan). The Jean Anne Ryan show was terrific. Singers and Dancers and High Energy. On board at various venues were stylists who performed Sinatra to Simon and Garfunkel.and everything in-between. You could be as busy as you wanted, but you couldn't possibly see everything. Room and Staff- Adequate. My balcony was peeling railing paint and didn't look clean. The room was nice and cleaned every day, although we never really were introduced to the housekeepers. We were at their last cabin for the day and had to find them. They did do everything we asked. All of the workers and waiters and staff were always smiling and gracious. Ports- Semana is a pathetic attempt at a cheap cruise port. Shame on them! Walked off,saw the abject poverty, and went back to the ship. St. Thomas is the best port for shopping and sightseeing. Rented waverunners at Sugar Bay(not through the cruise lines) Tortola is fair if you do not find an interesting tour. The water was too choppy to tender at Great Stirrup Cay, so we went to Nassau. Go to Atlantis. It is amazing. I guess you get what you pay for. Norwegian is reasonable without the tumult of Carnival. I rate it like Princess. As of January , they charged 12 pp per day for tips, even though when we booked it was $10. More and more past free activities are now being charged(such as kitchen tour, $55). I wish they would stop nickle and diming us. PS-Take express disembarkation, as smooth as silk. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
As a veteran cruiser, we look for a certain style. Not a fancy style, more homey, more friendly, more open cruising style. We book in a suite because we like the room. And we stay in our room occasionally. And bring others in to see the ... Read More
As a veteran cruiser, we look for a certain style. Not a fancy style, more homey, more friendly, more open cruising style. We book in a suite because we like the room. And we stay in our room occasionally. And bring others in to see the room. Even hosting a "get together" with canapes and soda's (we don't drink). We look for those friendly people who like to visit, to talk, to share lives, and see the world together. On this trip we traveled with 350 French Canadians, many of whom only spoke French and were pretty rude. And, as veterans, we like to request certain amenities, "egg crates" on the bed to soften it. Diet sodas in the refrigerator that help us keep the sugar intake down. Save our complimentary canapes for the get together we host. Dry cleaning and laundry complimentary. And Internet access complimentary, after all, we pay four times the amount for an inside cabin! On this ship we had to pay for all those amenities. Having said all that, we booked the "Explorer of the Seas" because of it's center Promenade. Because of it's access to Cape Liberty which was twenty minutes from half our family. And because we hadn't tried Royal Caribbean as yet. We booked the available owner's suite category and, unfortunately, we were placed in a middle cabin.... She likes the stern, I like the bow. And most ships have their better suites in those positions. It was handy to the concierge lounge, which was a nice touch. And only one floor down from the buffet, which the family liked because they wanted breakfast there. We couldn't convince them white linen in the dining room was better. The Promenade was a nice touch, although with some two thousand plus passengers, it was usually crowded. And the casino, which we frequent, was the seemingly designated smoking area, and that smoke poured into the Promenade up the staircase. Sea days are a favorite of hers, and we had three down, and two back. Although you can tell from the pictures how warm it was by how bundled up we were on the first two, and the last day. As a family reunion, and a first cruise for most of them, it was a success, they had nothing else to compare it to. The other veteran cruisers (one couple) drink most of the time, so they were fine. I was pretty dissatisfied, but it might be because the crap table was cold the whole voyage. My wife enjoyed the spa time, and the sister time, and there was a lot of family laughter. So it was a minor success. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This was our first cruise and as yet we havent decided if we would do it again! If we did venture onto the seas it would be with another cruise line. We arrived at the Summit in Barcelona, we had arranged our own flights from Manchester as ... Read More
This was our first cruise and as yet we havent decided if we would do it again! If we did venture onto the seas it would be with another cruise line. We arrived at the Summit in Barcelona, we had arranged our own flights from Manchester as the Celebrity option was more expensive and went via Frankfurt!!! and also our own taxi to the port - saving us a fortune. We were met with a long queue to check in - again I was glad I had done it all online and so we had a quick trip onto the boat where we learnt we could not get into our cabin for another 3 hours!We sat beside the pool and have to say we were very dissappointed with the first impressions.The pool area was crowded and a bit shabby. When we got into our stateroom ( concierge class with balcony)we were again dissappointed as the room was shabby and the carpet was worn.The curtains had holes in the lining and the net curtain was torn.There was a stain and a small hole in the bedspread too.On the very small balcony were 2 chairs and a lot of rust!! It was also a tight squeeze when our son's bed was out and it was impossible to get onto the balcony if he was in bed.Our room steward was Peter, who was very good and solved any issue straight away but the room was not good!! The public area's are better on the whole and in particular the martini/champagne bar was nice. Breakfast was in the waterfall cafe and although it was ok it was a bit of a scrum and we had difficulty finding a chair on a couple of occassions so we opted for breakfast in our room which was ok but the order was never right! As said before the pool area could do with some improvement and was overun with spanish teenagers the whole time who were really noisy and rude.   Dinner in the main restaraunt was good overall although on some nights we were struggling for choice.Our waiter was excellent though and made it a good dining experience overall. Our wine waiter was also very good and attentive throughout.We didnt dine in the waterfall cafe at night as we dont like to do this on holiday( and it was $2 extra!!) - we were looking for a bit of luxury. The soda package is a rip off as it doesnt include water!!!!!! The wine was expensive too and we felt we were being ripped off the whole time - this included the trips we booked and any photo's we bought.Overall we felt Celebrity were trying to get as much money out of us as possible at every opportunity. Turning to the trips, we took 4 by celebrity, Rome on your own ( you got a coach there and back) which did give us some useful tips on how to beat the queue's, Pompeii which was really good due to the great guide and Athens which was dire, again due to the guide and Pisa which was really good although expensive. Disembarkation was slick and well organised. When we docked in Santorini - we gave up and spent the day on the boat as the queue for the cable car was huge and didnt seem to be reducing - due to the number of cruises in that day.Dubrovnik was fab and we will go back there again as was Venice.We took the summit tranfer which at $20 was very expensive but it was the last day and we were too tired to care! The destinations were definitely the high point of ths holiday. The entertainment was poor - the shows in the theatre were on at weird times so we werent able to catch many ( the last dinner sitting was changed to 9pm which was too late especially with children and the earlier one to 6.30 which is much too early in my view) The dancers were ok and the 'orchestra' were out of tune the whole time.The band around the pool were absolutely rubbish, they couldnt sing and were much too loud - very intrusive as was the music in 'Rendevous'it was like they were playing a stadium!!! Our son ( aged 9 ) was hoping to make some new friends but the kids programme was really poor and the kids club was taken over by sulky american teenagers - it was like 'so raven' i n real life.The club seemed poorly supported and the facilities for children were really poor, old and tired. Overall we had a nice time as we kept ourselves to ourselves and the service of the staff was excellent but Celebrity really need to upgrade the ship and the value for money.The staff also seemed very stressed to get a 'excellent' recommendation on the customer comment cards and we got the impression they would get in trouble if they didnt get it. Would we cruise again?? maybe.With Celebrity - probably not. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We flew into Tampa from Pennsylvania. Had a fog delay and missed our connection in Detroit. This was a nightmare we have traveled on the day of the cruise before with no problems but not this time. We called the emergency travel delay ... Read More
We flew into Tampa from Pennsylvania. Had a fog delay and missed our connection in Detroit. This was a nightmare we have traveled on the day of the cruise before with no problems but not this time. We called the emergency travel delay number from Carnival and they were great as we didn't get to Tampa until 2:45pm and were the last guests on the ship. Missed the muster drill because of this but that wasn't such a bad thing. We had an inside cabin but we got an upgrade to a 4-F with an obstructed view of the life boats. We had a balcony door but no balcony. The cabin was big enough for the 4 of us, but it could have used more hangers in the closet, next time I will bring my own. Also the hair dryer is in a drawer and it is attached to the drawer so it was hard to use. I will also bring my own the next time. My husband wanted to use the gym but it seemed crowded most of the time and not much free weight equipment either. Our dining waiters were Ryan and Venera they were great very nice to our kids. Our stateroom person was Omar he was nice but didn't see alot of him. But my 18yr old liked to sleep late. They club 02 was ok but my 16yr old said the club on the Inspriation was better. The ship itself was nice and clean and very easy to get around. The entertainment was ok boring at most. Jen the cruise director was okay alittle annoying at times, but I have been on ships where the cruise director was great. We never had a problem getting a chair by the pool it was better in the adults only section but when its hot the pool deck gets really hot and also the stairs into the pool we hot. Getting off the ship was not bad we were one of last numbers to be called and we had breakfast and went back to our stateroom and stayed there until the stateroom attended asked us to leave. One thing we learned is that we will travel the day before as I said before we had a travel delay and it was very stressful as we were not sure that we were even going to make the cruise. Lesson learned. We didn't do any tours from the ship as they can be costly especially for 4 people. We are looking forward to our cruise on the new Carnival Dream in November. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We are 3 in our family traveling on our first cruise from the UK, tired and a little bit jet lagged from our flights on the Saturday as we drove to the pier 4 our first site of Carnival Victory is seared into my memory I was overwhelmed ... Read More
We are 3 in our family traveling on our first cruise from the UK, tired and a little bit jet lagged from our flights on the Saturday as we drove to the pier 4 our first site of Carnival Victory is seared into my memory I was overwhelmed at the size of her and felt a lump in my throat as my little boy looked at me and said " wow Mum its beautiful" and I thought yes she is! embarkation was swift and we were on the ship within 25 mins and straight up to deck 9 the Lido rum punch in hand ( and no its not free) but who cares you are on your holidays. Our little boy was straight in the pool and so was I it was hot and the water all though a little on the green side was cool (they don't fill the main pool until the next day ) our first night was casual but we still made an effort when we got to our suite it was lovely lots of room separate dressing area our whirlpool bath did not work but we didn't even bother to say anything I was just in heaven. After dinner and muster drill which was very hot and after telling my son for the 15th time that we were not going to get a go in the life boats as part of the drill we set sail and it was very smooth you could not really feel it as we pulled out of San Juan and into the dark night everyone was dancing and having fun on the lido deck there was American football playing on the wide screen. Then the American effect began as we came to name it, people talk to you yes they do !! and you start talking back first it was our accent that drew them but by the end of the cruise we had met so many different people from all walks of life as well as one other British couple with a little boy our son's age, but it would not had mattered if we had not as we felt so comfortable every where we went, The crew can't do enough for you nothing is to much trouble. The Pacific dining room was a rush to get to every night after excursions so next time i would rather do an 8pm dinner instead of 6pm but it probably suited our son as he was always ready to eat after so much fun filled sun filled days!! we were tired because we tried to do so much, would we cruise again like a shot waking up early and coming out onto our balcony we saw dolphins and flying fish along side the ship one morning how can you beat that. I loved the glamour of formal nights we spent $300 on photos (my other half won on roulette so he was happy and our son was just happy and kept telling me he did not want to leave), but what great memories and nearly every one we saw had dressed up I am so glad we brought along the best of British black tie I got compliments on my dresses!! My other half looked handsome in his DJ my son looked lovely in his suit and it was just so romantic I loved it. My only small moan and it is small is that a lot of the bar staff do not not have very good English so making them understand your drinks was a bit of a pain but apart from that well done Carnival Victory !! and to all the Americans who made us feel so welcome thank you can't wait to do it again. PS the beds on this ship are fantastic my creaking back was in bliss !! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
My wife and I cruised with the Norwegian Spirit out of New Orleans in January. Boarding was well handled, very organized and relatively painless. The Spirit itself was clean, well appointed and very pleasantly decorated. We had only ... Read More
My wife and I cruised with the Norwegian Spirit out of New Orleans in January. Boarding was well handled, very organized and relatively painless. The Spirit itself was clean, well appointed and very pleasantly decorated. We had only cruised once before on an ancient Royal Carribbean Ship called the Nordic Prince (some may remember the old tub) and the experience was awful. That ship was small, old and we were chased up the west coast of Mexico by a hurricane (not RCC's fault) but the experience was so bad we swore off cruising for over 20 years until we decided to take one more chance on Norwegian Cruise Lines. What particularly appealed to us, and what we really liked the most, was the open dining program. To be honest, the food on the Spirit was acceptable but not outstanding. We did experience some very nice meals in the main dining room but the buffet was fairly mundane... not bad... but not great. The staff was exceptional. We were always treated very politely and it seemed the crew went out of it's way to make the experience pleasant. I really loved the ship. It was very roomy and I enjoyed walking the decks and taking in the views... the waters of the Western Caribbean are incredible. We booked an outside cabin and wished later we had booked a balcony or small suite. It would have made the experience even more pleasant. The room was comfortable and the bathroom was very well equipped. This was such a superior experience to the Nordic Prince that we have decided we will go on a few more cruises just to expand our experience. Even though the experience we had on the Spirit wasn't fantastic, it was very enjoyable and pleasant... although next time we will skip a shore excursion or two... we booked an excursion on every port day on this trip and by the time we got back to New Orleans we were pretty tired. Considering everything, we would do the Spirit again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This was my second cruise, and by far the more exotic. The main focus for us was the incredible itinerary, so it was surprising how noisy and drunk the passengers seemed to be. A large number rarely got off the boat, which amazed me, but ... Read More
This was my second cruise, and by far the more exotic. The main focus for us was the incredible itinerary, so it was surprising how noisy and drunk the passengers seemed to be. A large number rarely got off the boat, which amazed me, but we found that many of the passengers had taken the exact (or similar) cruise several times before. The ship seemed a little gaudy with expanses of emerald green glass and half-naked mermaids everywhere. The art was what my mother would call "questionable," although honestly, it was not an entirely unattractive ship. It was also very clean and orderly. The food was mostly delicious. I especially enjoyed the chilled soups and the desserts. Service in the dining room was fantastic, and it was obvious they made an effort to make sure we had a good time. The buffet restaurants on Carnival ships apparently aren't as good, but this one was serviceable, and there was something of a hidden, uncrowded area with a great view where passengers could get hot dogs or hamburgers. The cabin stewards were also friendly and helpful. We also had a minor maintenance issue, and it was resolved immediately. The room (on deck 6) was a little noisy as we could hear revelers until fairly late. Possibly they were people drinking one deck below as a lot of the bars are on deck 5. We didn't see anyone so drunk they needed to be brought onboard in a wheelchair (which happened on the Elation in 2005), but the cruise director's attitude was that there's no time for sleeping on this cruise, just party, party, party. After spending a full day in each port, we didn't have much energy left for partying, but that was fine. We enjoyed almost all of our Carnival-sponsored shore excursions, and found friendly people throughout the Caribbean. My mom said she would love to do this exact cruise again. I'm more interested in seeing places I've never been to before, so I'm tempted to lobby Carnival to send the Victory on cruises with totally different ports. Instead of hitting St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Kitts, it could call at Tortola, Martinique, Grenada, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, and St. Maarten. That would be another fantastic cruise if a highly unlikely one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Went as part of a group of six cruisers, including two travel agents and two people with disabilities on a relaxing trip to the Bahamas. I have balance problems due to nerve damage and my cabin mate was a woman with Primary Lateral ... Read More
Went as part of a group of six cruisers, including two travel agents and two people with disabilities on a relaxing trip to the Bahamas. I have balance problems due to nerve damage and my cabin mate was a woman with Primary Lateral Sclerosis, a cousin to Lou Gherig's Disease. Started in Miami with, of course, check-in and ran into the only serious problems with the trip. Port security confiscated a pair of scissors from my mother's carry-on bag. My cabin mate does not have a passport, so she brought her birth certificate and driver's license. My cabin mate is divorced but still uses her married name, which differs from the name on her birth certificate. At check-in, the agent did not want to let her aboard because of the name discrepancy but after the agent spoke to her supervisor, she was allowed to board. My cabin mate uses a walker or a wheelchair and had some difficulties with many doorways which had an obstruction across the floor. Boarding and deboarding in Miami she used the wheelchair, but while aboard and in port she used the walker. Decks five and six combine into one deck approximately midships and she would either have to climb some stairs while someone would bring her walker up or down the stairs, or she'd have to take an elevator to another deck, walk halfway down the ship and take a second elevator back down. Third day was at Cocoa Cay, an island owned by RCL. Swimming was great and food was decent. Get to come in by tender and roast in the sun for a relaxing day. Cabins on the ship were SMALL. Be warned. The Majesty is one of the smaller ships so you can feel more ship motion even in calm seas. It's not much, but able to be felt. Shower stall is about the size of a phone booth. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Holland America delivers a unique brand of cruising that should not be compared with the other main lines. Well worth doing again. You have to hand it to the Dutch. We flew down the day before our Sunday January 2nd departure from ... Read More
Holland America delivers a unique brand of cruising that should not be compared with the other main lines. Well worth doing again. You have to hand it to the Dutch. We flew down the day before our Sunday January 2nd departure from Port Everglades. Embarkation was quick and we really appreciated how Lido Buffet was open and serving for those whose rooms were unavailable. This was much better than our last cruise (Celebrity Millenium) where we had to hang out in a big room with no food. This is the HAL Philosophy. A simple usage of resources (food) that makes your customers very happy. We had a huge room (Superior Suite) with access to the Neptune Lounge. On our last cruise we had the basic balcony and decided we'd need more space with our young daughter along for the sail. Great decision! (Playpen fits in the bathroom setup) The last cruise we took we were unable to use the balcony when the ship was at sea, due to a crazy wind tunnel effect which made it hard to enjoy. The balcony on Westerdam was very pleasant and completely usable while the boat was at full speed. I don't want to blame Millennium's wind tunnel issue as a design flaw due to the fact that our past cruise was mid November versus the early January Westerdam date. Might have had something to do with prevailing winds. We loved the Lido Buffet. It was one floor above our room which was convenient for feedings etc. The ice cream bar served just a few flavours but their quality was par with Baskin Robins. Pinnacle was well worth the additional charge, though i thought the steak was just as good in Manhattan. Manhattan restaurant was 75% great (3 out of 4 meals were fantastic). The snow crab night was a show stopper. Dessert on HAL was excellent. Their Chocolate/Dessert buffet was very good, though I would have preferred they housed it in the Manhattan dining room instead of the pool area. The HAL philosophy is laid back and meant for people who want to relax. Ideal approach to cruising as far as I'm concerned. The Library was a great place to chill out and read a book with fantastic treats to nibble on. Turks and Caicos has not too much to do, though the conch fritters at that dockside restaurant were stellar. St. Maarten had great shopping, but no conch fritters. Half moon Kay is the gold standard of company islands. Everyone had fun and what a fantastic way to end the cruise. No complaints but book your cabana early (which we did for our upcoming cruise). Conclusion, HAL does tradition well and if you want a relaxing well thought out cruise then you should give them a try. Three years later we are now booked on the Nieuw Amsterdam and are bringing our whole extended family with us. I'll post a review when I get back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
I traveled with my 3 children on this cruise. My children were 15,13 and 11. This was our first time on RC we had sailed Carnival twice before. The trip was very pleasant. The ship was in excellent shape and very clean. The workers we ... Read More
I traveled with my 3 children on this cruise. My children were 15,13 and 11. This was our first time on RC we had sailed Carnival twice before. The trip was very pleasant. The ship was in excellent shape and very clean. The workers we constantly cleaning. In fact while we were cruising they were installing new carpet in the foyers. The pool area was wonderful. It was not crowded at all. They were not a lot of children on this cruise so it was generally fairly quiet. The cabins were really small for a family of four, but sufficient. They had two lower beds with bunks up above, a comfortable sitting chair and a desk with a chair. By the time we got all of the luggage in the room there was no room to spare. The food was good but I prefer the food on Carnival much better. On Carnival we had nice jumbo shrimp and great cheese sampler plates, lobster and great desserts. On RC the food portions were smaller and the food was good but not great. I guess what I am trying to say was when we left the Carnival dinner table everyone in our group was raving about the food and the kids couldn't wait to go back to try something new and adventurous, with RC my two younger two had a difficult time with the menu and one ate steak every night and the other ate pasta. Although they enjoyed what they ate there was no "WOW" factor. The ports of call were Cozumel and Costa Maya. We really enjoyed Cozumel. We booked a private tour and went to Nachi Cocum Beach. In Costa Maya we took the Chichen Itza shore excursion and had a wonderful time. The night shows on the cruse were really good. I must say RC out did Carnival in this aspect. RC had a more family, low keyed atmosphere which was perfect for my kids. There is not a lot of amenities on this ship for teens and older kids. My kids mostly swan and played ping pong. They definitely met more children to play with on Carnival and enjoyed the Carnival kids club. All and all I would sail RC again. I must say between Carnival and RC, I enjoyed different things about each cruise and would consider them very comparable, although RC was considerably more expensive. We are sailing with MSC this year because kids sail free. We are trying a 10 days cruise this time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
VOYAGER OF THE SEAS February 1-8, 2009 EMBARKATION: The check-in process was smooth and speedy. We arrived at the terminal about noon and were aboard the ship within 30 minutes. CABIN: Our ocean view stateroom on deck 2 had ... Read More
VOYAGER OF THE SEAS February 1-8, 2009 EMBARKATION: The check-in process was smooth and speedy. We arrived at the terminal about noon and were aboard the ship within 30 minutes. CABIN: Our ocean view stateroom on deck 2 had plenty of room and storage for 2 adults and 1 child. The bedding and mattresses were clean and comfortable. Something we didn't expect, and didn't appreciate, is that on several decks you can't walk all the way from the bow to the stern of the ship. Although our cabin was mid-ship, we had to go up to deck 5 to get to either end. CABIN ATTENDANT: The only way to describe our cabin steward was "amusingly absent." He never introduced himself to us, we never once saw him in the hall, and he completely ignored every message we left for him. The first couple of days we clipped a few dollars to notes asking for extra pillows and more hangers. Whenever we returned to the room, the notes and tips were gone...but nothing we requested was done. Finally we asked another crew member about our cabin attendant, and his simple response was "Oh, he's not here." Amazingly the room was spotless everyday, we always had fresh linens, and towel animals magically appeared on our bed every night. After awhile we gave up and invented a game about our missing cabin attendant. Everyday we left notes requesting sillier things, just to see if we'd get a response. Once we asked for every white light bulb in the room to be replaced with a blue bulb. Luckily that note was ignored just like all the others! MAIN DINING ROOM: SERVICE: We chose traditional dining and late seating at a table for 10. Everyone at the table was a member of our family, so I can't comment on any of the dinner conversations! Our waiter Ramon and assistant waiter Alex provided some of the best service we've had on more than 20 Royal Caribbean cruises; and we remembered the head waiter, Melvin, from a Nordic Empress cruise years ago when he was our assistant waiter. FOOD: After reading several reviews about limited choices of mediocre entrees, we were pleasantly surprised by the menu. Our waiter cheerfully accommodated our request for shrimp cocktail every night, and often brought 2 or 3 servings for everyone at the table. The chilled soups were as delicious as I remembered; and while we preferred some entrees over others, every dinner was better than we had anticipated. When lobster was served on the second formal night, Ramon added 1 or 2 lobster tails to every plate...even though some of us ordered beef or pasta. Black Angus sirloin steak, with a choice of sauces, was on the menu every night at no additional charge. And thanks to recommendations from other CruiseCritic.com members, we're now addicted to sugar-free coconut cake. Adventure Ocean was not open the first night of the cruise, so we brought our four grandsons (ages 6-10) to the dining room for dinner. They behaved as well as could be expected at the end of a long day, and Ramon and Alex were very patient with them. For the remainder of the cruise, the boys chose to grab something from the Windjammer before they hurried off to the evening activities at the kids' club, and never tried the dining room again. But every evening just as we were finishing dessert, Ramon delivered four more plates to our table... late-night snacks for the kids! Sometimes it was peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with fruit, other times it was cookies & ice cream, but always something kid-friendly and always something they enjoyed back in the cabin. To thank our wait staff for their special surprises, on the last night the kids drew pictures and tucked them into handmade envelopes along with extra tips. CASUAL DINING: WINDJAMMER: Unfortunately food and service at the Windjammer met the low standards other CruiseCritic.com members had predicted. The food was ordinary at best, and sometimes just plain unappetizing. Worse than that, the area was nearly always congested; and when we finally found a place to sit, we watched waiters walk past tables covered in dirty dishes without so much as a glance. CAFE PROMENADE: The selection of pizza, sandwiches and pastries was adequate; but again, the area was crowded and had the atmosphere of an airport food court. JOHNNY ROCKET'S: I just don't understand what makes this restaurant special enough to warrant a $5 cover charge from every person who walks through the door...and then they have the nerve to charge for beverages on top of that. But since we had kids with us—and diamond coupons in our pockets—we went there for lunch one day anyway. It was probably a mistake to arrive with a group of 6 at 12:15 on a sea day, because we were penalized with a 45-minute wait in the ear-splitting video arcade. Needless to say, Johnny Rocket's doesn't accept reservations. And with dozens of people waiting outside for tables, every few minutes all of the waiters abruptly stopped serving, lined up in the aisle and danced to a '50's rock tune. During the hour we were there, we saw the exact same dance routine performed four times. But I must admit the cheeseburgers, fries and overpriced Diet Cokes far surpassed anything we tasted in the Windjammer. LATE-NIGHT BUFFETS: The poolside Caribbean buffet and the decadent chocolate buffet have gone the way of the Gala Midnight Buffet, probably never to be seen again. Savory bites in the lounges have met the same fate. I applaud the decision to stop wasting huge displays of beautifully carved, but uneaten, food....but darn it, I miss those little chocolates on the pillows! Meet & Mingle: The party was held in the High Notes Lounge on the 14th deck at 11:00 on the first sea day. It was well-attended, and everyone enjoyed getting to know one another. CROWN & ANCHOR AMENITIES: CONCIERGE LOUNGES: Suite guests, diamond & diamond-plus passengers all had access to both the concierge lounge on deck 9 and a section of the Viking Crown Lounge on deck 14 every evening. Concierge Martin was available anytime we needed him, and he gladly provided ice show tickets and VIP tender tickets and luggage tags. Every evening before dinner, our group gathered in the 14th deck lounge where Jose greeted us with very generous drinks. C&A BOOKLETS & GIFTS: Two adult and one youth diamond coupon booklets and two concierge club cards were in our cabin when we boarded. The adults' booklets contained coupons for one free photo, Johnny's Rockets cover charge, one free cocktail, 10 minutes free internet service, free slot pulls and match plays in the casino, and discounts off several shipboard services. Interestingly most of the coupons in the youth booklet were for Del Sol and other stores in the ports. We were also able to use diamond coupons from previous cruises without any questions. Throughout the cruise we received several C&A gifts...a fruit basket, chocolate-covered strawberries, postcards, and for some unknown reason, six baseball caps (all delivered at the same time)! Other members of our group received dark blue canvas messenger bags or yellow zip-up beach mats. There didn't seem to be any rationale for who got which gift, since we're all diamond. PLATINUM/DIAMOND/DIAMOND+ LUNCH: On Saturday we were invited to an upscale lunch in the dining room where we were seated at a large table with other diamond & diamond-plus passengers. Platinum members may have been invited, too, but I'm not sure. It was a quiet, relaxing meal with a choice of entrees and wine. We enjoyed a conversation with three other Texas couples, who all agreed RCI should keep a ship in Galveston year-round. OTHER PASSENGERS: The overall atmosphere on the ship was upbeat and positive, and we witnessed few violations of rules and heard very few complaints from other passengers. Generally it was a good-natured and well-behaved group. The vast majority of passengers were from the Midwest or Southern U.S.; but there was also a significant number of Canadians aboard, along with a smattering of Europeans and South Americans. While the average age was 50+, we saw quite a few 20-somethings at the pool. And even though there were only about 100 kids and teens on the ship, the youth programs were fully staffed and the counselors spoiled our grandsons with extra attention. CRUISE DIRECTOR & ACTIVITIES: Eric from Georgia really "gets his Texas on" when the Voyager sails from Galveston. I think a few Southern phrases even slipped into the Assistant Cruise Director's British vocabulary before the week was over. Eric really seems to enjoy this cruise and definitely meshes with the passengers. He showed up everywhere from the Meet & Mingle to karaoke to the ice-carving demonstration. I appreciated the new twist that Studio B gives the Quest; but I believe a company that designs ships with innovations like skating rinks and carousels could come up with a few new questions for the Love & Marriage game. C'mon, where's Bob Eubanks when you need him? CASINO: The odds on the slot machines weren't high enough for us to risk our lungs against the smoke. And based on our observations while walking through, either the smoky stench or the bleak economy kept a lot of other passengers away from the casino, too. ENTERTAINMENT: I was pleased that, on this cruise, most of the late seating shows were actually after dinner. It defeats the whole point of having second seating if you have to be dressed and ready for a show by 6:30. The magician was impressive, the production shows were typical, and the comedians were relatively funny. But what really entertained us were the ice show and the performance by an Olympic gymnast. Both shows would have been amazing on dry land, but were incredible at sea. Derek drew a faithful crowd into the Pig & Whistle every night, and we thoroughly enjoyed the Men of Culture Caribbean band. It was hard to find a good spot to watch the Island Frenzy Parade in the Promenade, but we found the chairs in the library to be quite comfortable even though the view is obstructed from there. ITINERARY: Our group has visited the ports—Cozumel, Cayman Islands and Jamaica—many times, so none of the destinations had a dramatic impact on our cruise. However, our grandsons love the beach, so we were keeping our fingers crossed for some sunny days on the sand. Fortunately the weather in Cozumel was beautiful, and we enjoyed an unforgettable day of swimming with dolphins and building sandcastles at Chankanaab Park. When we reached Grand Cayman, the seas were too rough to tender into Georgetown so the ship anchored in a bay on the south side of the island. The area where the tenders docked was pretty rugged, but a $6 taxi ride got us to 7 Mile Beach for a couple of hours of splashing in the waves and sipping pina coladas. We've never been on a Western Caribbean cruise where we've missed Jamaica, and we were looking forward to having the ship to ourselves while the rest of the passengers were ashore dodging hair braiders. But at 9:00 a.m. the captain announced the waves were too high to dock the ship in Montego Bay and that he was in contact with the Miami office about other options. We thoroughly expected to hear we were enroute to another port—preferably Labadee. Instead he kept the ship off the coast of Jamaica, in unpleasantly rough seas, for three more hours before announcing we would gradually start our way back to Galveston. The Cruise Director quickly added a couple more activities to the schedule that afternoon, but didn't bother to print a revised Compass. In essence, for many passengers it was a wasted day. And for anyone who doesn't particularly value time spent at sea, three consecutive days is a long time to be confined to a ship in stormy weather. DEBARKATION: Couldn't have been easier. We didn't carry our own bags off the ship, but we had priority debarkation and were in our car and on our way home by 9:30. EXPECTATIONS & CUTBACKS: I must say I noticed fewer cutbacks on this cruise than on the last two or three we've taken. But I suppose that may be because we've come to expect less. In fact, the only things I truly missed on the Voyager were the pillow chocolates and the Solarium Grill. In my opinion Royal Caribbean can keep its swan-shaped Eclairs and its baked Alaska, but when they expect me to pay $5 and wait 45 minutes for a good ol' hamburger and fries, they've gone too far! Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
Background Info: I sailed with my wife and daughter. This was the 9th cruise for my wife and I (8 Carnival & 1 Royal Caribbean) and the 7th cruise for DD (all on Carnival). We have previously sailed on the following Carnival ships: ... Read More
Background Info: I sailed with my wife and daughter. This was the 9th cruise for my wife and I (8 Carnival & 1 Royal Caribbean) and the 7th cruise for DD (all on Carnival). We have previously sailed on the following Carnival ships: Triumph, Victory, Sensation, Glory, Valor, Liberty and the Legend. This was our 2nd cruise on the Legend. We also sailed on her last year. Pre-Cruise: We flew into Tampa International the day before as usual arriving around 10:30 a.m. We took the free shuttle to the Grand Hyatt hotel (about a 10 minute drive from the airport). I booked the room on Hotwire.com for $105 including taxes. We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get in our room around Noon. The hotel was very nice and was certainly deserving of its 4 star status. Nice big bathroom for the ladies. I loved the workout facility. The treadmills were top notch and had a TV built in that you could connect your headphones. They also had a nice selection of weight machines and free weights. One drawback was that the hot tub was in the work out facility so it was extremely warm. The hotel offers a free shuttle to and from the International Mall. It is not a constant shuttle that goes to and from the mall. The shuttle runs 4 times per day each way departing the hotel at 10:15, 1:15, 4:15 and 7:15 and takes about 5-7 minutes. It picks up passengers for a return ride to the hotel when they drop off at the Mall. The International Mall is huge and has just about every store you can imagine. Our original plan was to have lunch at the Cheese Cake Factory (DW loves the Asian salad) but the wait was 45 minutes and we were already starving. We found a nice deli called TooJay's. It was pretty good but not outstanding considering the sandwiches were over $10. The next day we took a taxi to the cruise port (about a 20 minute ride and $35 w/tip). Normally it would have been around $25 but we had the driver stop at a liquor store on the way over to the port. FYI - liquor can be sold beginning at 11:00 am on Sundays. Embarkation: Extremely smooth! We arrived at the port around 11:30, checked in by Noon, eating and drinking by 12:15. Tampa is my favorite port to cruise from. Easy in/easy out. Ship: The ship's dEcor is darker than any of the Carnival ships in which we have sailed. There was quite a bit decorative woodwork throughout the ship. It almost had a gothic feel to it. Not my favorite but still very nice. The layout of the ship is very easy to maneuver. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on the Empress deck (#6244). We managed quite nicely with all three of us. It did not seem crowded at all. The cabin had a sofa bed rather than a bunk bed from the ceiling. DD much preferred the sofa bed since the bunk bed was very cold as it is right next to the air conditioning vent. The cabin was in the back of the ship but we did not notice any extra rockiness. Noise was never an issue since the decks above and below us were all cabins. The bathroom had a gift basket stocked with toothpaste and razors (both men and women). Natanya was our room steward and she did a fantastic job. We rarely saw her but had no complaints. Dining Room: We went with the Total Choice Dining option (open dining) in Truffles Restaurant. The results were mixed. We loved being able to eat dinner on our own schedule. It was especially nice on port days since we did not have to immediately jump in the shower as soon as we returned in order to make a 6:00 dinner seating. We were able to relax and take our time getting ready for dinner. It definitely reduced the stress level for all. What we did not love was the length of time it took to get through all of the dinner courses. A couple of nights we were in the dining room for an hour and 45 minutes. It seemed as if the wait staff was used to everyone eating at relatively the same time. Perhaps they are still working out the kinks. However, I would still not let this stop me from going with the Total Choice Dining in the future. I hope it spreads fleet wide. Something different in the dining room that I have never seen on before was a Table Artist. His name was Ram. He walked around the dining room performing magic tricks at various tables. He was there all week and he spreads himself around to make sure everyone gets a performance. The food was very good. As usual, the soups were outstanding. I loved the lobster bisque, cream of broccoli, pumpkin and mushroom soups especially. Not a big fan of the chilled soups (strawberry, cherry, peach...blech!) The lobster and filet mignon were definitely smaller than last year. In fact, each was paired with another protein as an entrEe'. The lobster was paired with shrimp and the filet was served with another type of beef (can't remember exactly what ...but it was good.) I also noticed that many of the entrEe's had the same side dishes with it on the same night (i.e., peas served with the fish, beef and chicken entrEe's). This probably saved Carnival a few bucks but it certainly did not detract from the overall dining room experience. One last comment......for the life of me I don't get all the rage about the chocolate melting cake. It tastes like an extremely under-baked brownie. DW loved it, though! Lido Deck: Service was excellent and the lines were not too bad even on sea days. I highly recommend the roasted turkey on a country roll (with Swiss of course). The chocolate buffet on the last sea day was disappointing, as usual. In my opinion, they sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. The pizza was a better than last year but still a little on the flimsy side. I like my pizza a little more crispy. Breakfast was the usual fare. Another cutback I noticed is that you no longer serve yourself for bacon, breakfast ham and bagels. You can have as much as you want but a Carnival employee will serve it to you. Probably a good idea as I have seen quite a bit of wasted food. We ate dinner in the dining room so I can't comment on that subject. The late night burger bar was fantastic. Entertainment: Improved from last year. The production shows were Take II and Jazz Hot. Take II was definitely the better of the two. Jazz Hot was mostly music from the 40's. If you are a Tommy Dorsey fan then you will love this show. The comedians were Happy Cole and Max Winfrey. I only saw Cole but he was pretty good. The best show of the week hands down was Incredible Motown Sounds of Marcus Anthony. He has a terrific voice and great personality. Nice thing about him is he show for the early and late performances. Do not miss his show. The Carnival Legends show was a hoot especially for this proud Daddy as my daughter performed! My wife and I really enjoyed going to Satchmo's Bar and listening to the Music Blitz. They played a nice mix of music ranging from CCR to the Beatles to Def Leppard. They were very entertaining. There was a country singer (Dewayne Spaw) that played at various bars throughout the cruise. I didn't see much of his show as I am not a country music fan but he had a nice crowd every time he performed. The karaoke in the Fire Bird Lounge was entertaining. Misty did a great job keeping the crowd going. Social!!!! (you'll get it if you go to karaoke) The cruise director was Jen Baxter was unspectacular. She told the same tired jokes as all the other CDs. Cozumel, Mexico: We went to Paradise Beach and did the each thing. It was a $13 taxi ride each way. They have all the amenities: food, drinks, beach toys, hair braiding, etc..... My recommendation is the guacamole. Get it with the tortilla chips for around $6. A bucket (5 beers) of Dos Equis cost $15. They also have a couple of laptops at the bar that you can use free of charge. They have a wristband you can buy for $10 to get access to the water trampoline and water rock climbing. Something to be aware of is they charge a 20% "service charge" for all credit card transactions. Plan to bring cash to save yourself self money. We also did some shopping at the pier. Belize: We did Belikin Brewery and City Tour. Coral Breeze Limited. We were the only ones on the tour. Cornell was our guide and was very knowledgeable about Belize City. It started out with a tour of the "nicer" part of Belize and then moved to the brewery. The actual tour of the brewery only took about 30 minutes but was very interesting. At the end of the tour, you are taken to the brewery bar (beautiful) and you have 45 minutes to drink as much as you can. The beer was cold, fresh and delicious. I tried all 5 types. They also have soda as it too is bottled at the plant. The tour concludes with lunch at the Wet Lizard restaurant at the port. Food was pretty good. (This is where you meet for the tour I the morning.) Cost was $66 pp. We did some shopping at with the locals behind the port. Don't worry it is safe. But be prepared to haggle. My wife bought a sterling silver bracelet for $20 that the vendor originally wanted $35. He told her that he would give her that deal but "do not tell anyone". DW and DD also bought designer purses in the port shopping area. I was told they were "a great deal". Grand Cayman: We took the taxi to Sea Grape Beach ($15 each way for all three of us). It was $6 for a beach chair and $5 for an umbrella. We hung out on the beach, swam and enjoyed some liquid refreshments. The food was good too. The jerk chicken is good but be warned it is SPICY. This is not the port to drink at as the beers were $5 each. No buckets, no specials. Mixed drinks were just as bad. A good day to give your liver a break! We have gone to Royal Palms in our previous trips to Grand Cayman but wanted to try Sea Grape. I would probably go back to Royal Palms in the future as Sea Grape really packed the chairs close together and the employee running the beach was a little on the surly side. She even tried telling us what direction we had to point our chairs in. Costa Maya, Mexico: I booked the Costa Maya Beach Break. The beach is Pez Quadro. The cost was $35 for 18 years and up, $20 for ages 12-17, free for 11 and under. It included chairs, a palapa for shaded and all you can drink. Food was extra but was pretty reasonable. We pre-booked the excursion and our chairs and palapa were ready when we arrived. I would recommend booking in advance especially if there is more than 1 ship in port that day. You may save yourself $5 by booking at the port........but why chance it?Francisco and his brother (sorry, forgot his name) took great care of us. They went out of their way to make sure we had a good time. The beers were cold and the tequila was tasty. Bathrooms were clean. I got a 1 hour massage for $20 ($25 w/tip) and it wonderful (thank you, Maria). Pez Quadro will be my destination the next time I am in Costa Maya. Disembarkation: Smooth, we were in no hurry since our flight was not until 7:00 pm. Miscellaneous: Overall it was a pretty smooth ride. It was a little rocky one night but that was it. The wind was pretty bad a couple of nights. There were not many kids on board for a President's week sailing. Room Service was good. I recommend the tuna salad on an English muffin and the pastrami on rye. They are really tasty at about 12:30 a.m. The room service menu has been greatly enhanced since we sailed last February. Nice! One tip for the men (especially if you are travelling with a couple of ladies in you cabin) - The men's locker room has a wonderful sauna and private showers that have 5 heads (one above and two on each of the left and right walls). These are normal sized showers...not the phone booths in the cabin. I would go over around 5:00 - 5:30 and sit in the sauna for 15 minutes, shower and shave and be back in the cabin ready for dinner in around 6:15 - 6:30. I just discovered this on my 8th Carnival cruise. One criticism - the tendering process leaving the ship was a mess. In Belize, they announced that you could come to the Follies Lounge and get tender tickets at 9:00 and did not hand them out until 9:30. In Grand Cayman, there was an insert in the Capers that said tender tickets would be given out at 9:30 in Satchmo's Bar. However, the back of the Capers said tender tickets would be available in the Follies lounge at 10:00. They were contradictory. And to top it off, they were both inaccurate. They were actually handed out in the Follies Lounge at 9:15. When I asked Mark (the asst cruise director) who was responsible for making sure the information given out was accurate and consistent his reply was "Not me....I'm not in charge of communications". It was a classic "it's not my job" attitude. This was the only real complaint I had of the entire staff. The gym had very nice equipment. It was busy at the beginning of the cruise but tapered off as the week went along. The cardio machines were busy. Cruise Critic Meet N' Greet: Our Roll Call set up a Meet n' Greet at the aft bar (Unicorn Bar) right after the muster drill. We had a maybe 10 or so people show up. It was nice to meet all of you. If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them either here or via e-mail at runningdad@comcast.net Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
This was our first time on such a large ship. My husband and I are not fans of big ships with thousands of people. However, this cruise was specifically for my grandfather, who is handicapped (he rides a scooter)and rather advanced in age, ... Read More
This was our first time on such a large ship. My husband and I are not fans of big ships with thousands of people. However, this cruise was specifically for my grandfather, who is handicapped (he rides a scooter)and rather advanced in age, so we decided that for him with mobility problems, etc, a large ship is the right ticket. Embarkation was very fast and easy. Porters assisted my grandfather with luggage and his scooter, and got us on the ship without too much hassle. Cabins: The handicapped cabin we booked was the standard balcony room, but had a fairly large amount of space to move about, the closet had hand pulls to help you get to things if you were sitting in a wheelchair, bathroom very accessible with ride-in shower. Bathroom was older looking with dated hardware. Our cabin (also basic balcony) was half the size, also dated but we could cope fine. Maid service was great, although we found some fellow passangers complaining that the housekeeping staff blasted TV's and music while cleaning and took up a lot of space. Getting around: My grandfather had no problems getting around on the scooter. There were times when the housekeeping carts were not "parked" well in the corridors, so we needed to move them for him in order to get by. The elevators took a while, and we found that sometimes it was easier to just get on the first one that arrived, irrespective of its direction so we could just squeeze in. It was also somewhat shocking to me how some fellow travelers would literally jump in the elevator before the scooter leaving no space for us to get in. I guess in some places manners are a thing of the past. Dining: Making reservations for dinner was a hassle. We were given a late seating for dinner, which doesn't work for my grandfather. It took us 1.5 hours in line and working it out with the manager to have that changed. There were many others on line who looked pretty upset, and I found out later many were not able to change their seating. Food was fine, and exceeded our expectations given the number of people they have to serve daily. Food service in the restaurants was great, as were the maiterde's (sp?) at dinner time. They helped my grandfather feel comfortable and welcome. I would say that buffets were dissapointing, and after 2 unpleasant meals we resorted to the restaurant for all our meals. Pools - one of the pools is handicap accessible. They have a lift that they can operate to get you in to the water. There was a pool hand that did this for us a few times during the week, and it was wonderful. It was the first time in over thirty years that my grandfather went into a pool, and was a memorable experience for him. The staff at the pool could not have been more accomodating. I will caveat that we tried the pool only on port days, so there was barely anyone left on the ship. On sailing days, it was barely possible to find a chair, and asking for the lift to operate with that number of people in the pool was out of question. We did not go to any ports as my grandfather was not up to it, so I cannot comment on the ports of call. Overall the experience was exactly what we were looking for. The room was a great size, housekeeping very decent (they made towel art every night which my grandfather got a kick out of), food and service for lunch and dinner was great. Would we do it again? Yes if my grandfather was able to do it. Would we go alone as a couple or with our children? No, honestly this trip only cemented our preference for smaller more intimate ships.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2008

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