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52,961 Family Cruise Reviews

We spent the weekend in New York before departing on our cruise and the stark contrast between the hustle and bustle of "the city that doesn't sleep" and our week of relaxation at sea was truly remarkable. As an avid ... Read More
We spent the weekend in New York before departing on our cruise and the stark contrast between the hustle and bustle of "the city that doesn't sleep" and our week of relaxation at sea was truly remarkable. As an avid traveler, but first-time cruiser, I wasn't sure what to expect being on the open sea, but the service I received onboard the Norwegian Escape is parallel to any resort I have stayed at. The crew was very friendly and accommodating to my travel party (which included a wedding party). While the food in the buffet left something to be desired, the specialty dining was never disappointing. My favorite dining experience onboard was Teppanyaki. The intimate atmosphere, delicious food and exceptional service definitely made this a stand-out meal rivaling any hibachi restaurant ashore. The ship was clearly a newer vessel, but the attention to detail by the crew in maintaining her was apparent. The environmental services staff does a wonderful job keeping the ship clean and sanitized. As a healthcare worker, I appreciate their dedication to hand hygiene and cleanliness onboard. I even joked with my travel party that we should hire some of the crew to sing their hand washing songs in our hospital. Our time docked in Bermuda was amazing. The people on the island were so friendly and welcoming. We spent one day at Jobson's Cove (for the wedding of our friends) and the second day in port exploring St. George's. On our final day in port we went on a shipwreck snorkeling excursion which was very interesting. The complimentary rum swizzle wasn't a bad way to end our time in Bermuda either! Overall, I had an amazing time sailing with Norwegian; so much so that I have already put down a deposit for a future sailing. My only criticism would be that smoking is allowed in the casino on the ship and due to the open concept of the ship and the casino's central location, the smell of cigarettes often filled the atrium and affected the atmosphere of numerous shops and restaurants. For future ships, I would recommend that smoking areas have some sort of barrier to other areas of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first cruise, just myself and my partner. It was the Fiji Adventure 12 night cruise, sailing on the Pacific Aria. We stayed on deck 6, in cabin 6023, a sort of oceanview cabin but the view looked out onto the deck which ... Read More
This was our first cruise, just myself and my partner. It was the Fiji Adventure 12 night cruise, sailing on the Pacific Aria. We stayed on deck 6, in cabin 6023, a sort of oceanview cabin but the view looked out onto the deck which people could walk around on. It’s due to make stops at; Port Vila (Vanuatu) Port Denarau (Fiji) Suva (Fiji) Mystery Island (Vanuatu) Isle of Pines (New Caledonia) Everything went as the cruise says, except due to rough sea, our stop at Isle of Pines was cancelled and changed to Noumea so we didn’t lose a stop. We didn’t buy the drinks package, and still only spent $800 on board for the whole trip. Ship: The Pacific Aria, I believe is the smallest ship P&O Australia currently have in their fleet. From the moment I stepped on this ship I liked it a lot. The carpet and decorations were nice, staff greeting people in friendly manner, as expected, and the whole new experience of been on a cruise ship for both of us added to the excitement. Within the first few hours we were familiar with the location of most on board shops, bars, pool areas, casino, marquee for the shows, etc. It was a good layout and easily remembered. Cabin: We stayed in 6023. It’s classed as an obstructed oceanview room on deck 6. It looks out on the the deck which people can walk the whole way around, and is underneath the marquee. You see many people walk past this cabin at all times of day and night through your window. It was a nice cabin, very clean and well kept, size was bigger than I expected. Shower worked well and was in a bathtub. The only negative thing I can say about the cabin was the fact that it was underneath the marquee, and you can hear bangs and music pretty loudly from above during show times, if your not at the shows that is! Dining: We were happy with what the pantry had to offer. All sorts of different food every day, served pretty much throughout the whole day. Plenty of tables so always somewhere to sit even at the busiest times. We managed to get to the Waterfront Restaurant & Angelo’s. Both restaurants need booking and there is no charge for eating at them. I suggest booking tables at these places as soon as you can as we only managed to go to each restaurant once. The Waterfront was average. Not too much on the menu, but something for everyone. Angelo’s, in my opinion, was absolutely fantastic. I had the lasagne and would definitely say it was the best lasagne I have ever had. Entertainment & Activities: Every night you receive a newsletter for the next day, which has what’s going on’s and show times through the whole day. Easy to read and definitely a lot going on. You will never get bored, there is something for everyone. Shows, fitness, sales, and more. Shows in the marquee were 19:30 and 21:30 every night, and we went to quite a few. I believe there was a few on later on certain nights also. There is also a cinema that has a few movies on a day, which we went to a couple of times. There’s plenty of stuff on the tv in your room also. Cruise director Cole is always telling you about what’s going on so you don’t miss out. Service: It was great. Our room attendants were a lady called Joy & a fella who’s name I can’t remember, but they were fantastic. Every day smiling and asking how we are, and they did an amazing job with our cabin. Service throughout the whole ship was great, in the restaurants and bars, reception & activities. The captain every day explains your position in the ‘mighty’ ocean, and talks about the weather & times your expected to dock at wherever your going. Not sure of his name, but he was Italian and regularly walks around the ship. It was also his idea to cancel our stop at Isle of Pines due to rough sea, and make a stop at Noumea instead, so we don’t lose a tour day. We wouldn’t of been able to get onto the tender’s at isle of pines. Ports & Shore Excursions: The only difference Port Vila; This was our first stop. It was a really nice place. We did the turtle sanctuary shore tour, which took us on a 45 min bus ride to a small beach, then about a 45 minute boat trip across to another island. We saw some dolphins on the way. We then stopped for an hours swim & snorkel, the water was really clear and lots to see. The gear provided wasn’t in great condition but was still usable. After the swim we had lunch cooked by some locals which was a really nice bbq. Then we made our way to where the turtle sanctuary was. There was lots of baby turtles separated into different tanks for different ages, and then eventually released when they become less easy to be preyed on. I think we would of got back to the ship around 15:30/16:00 so was not much time to go anywhere far due to the ship leaving around 17:30 so the tour is pretty much a full day. Port Denarau; We did the Oolala Island tour, so didn’t spend much time in Port Denarau at all. Upon arriving we got on a locals tender but it was big, so heaps of people transferred quickly. Then we took a boat from Port Denarau to Oolala Island, which took a little over an hour. Oolala Island was my favourite place we went, it is visually stunning and the sea is so warm and clear, snorkelling here was truely unbelievable. The staff on the tour were friendly and the is lots to drink, and snacks, and there is multiple things to do on the island. You can borrow snorkelling gear and do your own thing, or go with a guide, or you can go on a glass bottom boat. They cooked a bbq lunch which was nice and offered free beer during lunch. Suva; We did a city tour, which a tour bus took us on a drive around Suva, some local towns and made a stop at the museum. Plenty of interesting things to see at the museum. The bus got back to Suva around 12:00/13:00 so still plenty of time to explore the city. We got some hassle from locals, trying to get us to buy from certain shops, but I suggest just try stay with your group and don’t stop and talk to anybody that seems overly friendly. Mystery Island; We only did a small snorkelling and clear kayak tour here. It wasn’t great, the gear was in poor condition and the snorkelling guide didn’t say much or seem interested as been a guide at all. The kayaks were in very poor condition and a bit of rough sea made the floats on the side break off. We didn’t eat on the island so can’t comment on the food. Cancelled Isle of Pines stop and changed to Noumea; Noumea was my second favourite stop, and I’m glad we ended up coming here. Lots of French culture, markets, and easy to get around with the red & blue busses that circle the city every day. We did our own thing here, and only bad thing I can say is it’s pretty damn expensive. Shops close from 12:00 - 14:00 or something too so be prepared for that. There’s a nice beach nearby with amazing sea colours, and a restaurant area with lots of choice. Also an aquarium but we didn’t make it there. Tours Overall; We did a decent few tours, booked through p&o and spent about $1000 for them for the two of us, but I’d suggest to people not to book tours through p&o because we found that it was half price for some of the same tours once your on shore. Cruise overall; We both had a fantastic holiday on our first cruise and enjoyed every stop in a different way. We had fun on all the sea days and enjoyed all the shows. We didn’t buy the drinks package, and still only spent $800 on board. We would definitely return on this same cruise, on the same ship, with the exact same crew anytime, and P&O have done a great job with everything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Stay out of the Elation Dinning Room for Brunch, Crazy slow service, Rude waiters, There was a prob. with a 5.00 drink, we called for the Maitre d, ....he could have cared less. He has no idea what customer service is. I spent over ... Read More
Stay out of the Elation Dinning Room for Brunch, Crazy slow service, Rude waiters, There was a prob. with a 5.00 drink, we called for the Maitre d, ....he could have cared less. He has no idea what customer service is. I spent over 14,000.00 to take our whole family on this trip and could not get an issue with a 5.00 drink corrected.....really ! We are both Platinum, but this is our last Carnival trip....they have become the worst line on the sea. they just don't care, grad the money and go. The cabin was nice, we always get a suite, however don't look for nice soaps, or the other comp items that suite guest used to get.....nothing now. I love the Casino.....I live there, they are the best. the food is lacking, I will just leave it at that. now we know why the stock is dropping like a rock.....you just can't keep treating people bad, and think they will come back. We are looking for something a little more first class. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was my first cruise in over 5 years, this cruise was awesome... The theming is good, many people kinda get a bit turned off by the American nature, but this is an American cruise catering towards Americans, each restaurant has a ... Read More
This was my first cruise in over 5 years, this cruise was awesome... The theming is good, many people kinda get a bit turned off by the American nature, but this is an American cruise catering towards Americans, each restaurant has a theme, the Lido one is themed to "Rosie the Riveter", while the any time dining is themed to Abraham Lincoln and the reservation one is themed to George Washington, other American events are portrayed as well, The Apollo 11 landing is in a nightclub, and the wild west is in a casino. Anyways, the slide is outdated, i rode it 100 times and it scraped my back so hard, it needs the new slides that are on the Sister ships. The Cheese Pizza at Pizza Pirate kinda tasted disgusting, the Cruise Director Kevin was mostly good, except he wakes people up, and the Cruise Sub-Director Georgia (not the state/country) was awesome as well. The cabin i chose was an interior bunk bed, it was better than expected, the dining staff were awesome, extra props to Mr. Norman for having great service, it is one of the cheaper, but awesome. Overall, it's a 9/10 cruise, good but needs fixes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The staff was very friendly and attentive. My husband uses a CPAP machine you had to pay $35 for an extension cord because there was only one electrical plug in the room. The cost of the wifi packages were also expensive. The extra costs ... Read More
The staff was very friendly and attentive. My husband uses a CPAP machine you had to pay $35 for an extension cord because there was only one electrical plug in the room. The cost of the wifi packages were also expensive. The extra costs were not disclosed properly. Each person over 3 yrs old had to pay between $15 - $18 each daily for the staff to be given a bonus at the end if the cruise. The food was repetitive at the buffet and restaurants. The meals at the restaurants were also very similar night after night. There was very little variety and types of food. The buffet offered the same foods everyday with two new entrees or side dishes added. The pools were small and didn't seem clean. The pool that was located at the front of the boat was extremely small and seemed more like a hot tub. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were looking for a last minute cruise deal in the Caribbean for a family of 5 and this fit the bill perfectly. The price was well within our budget and were even able to upgrade to an unobstructed window cabin for very little extra. ... Read More
We were looking for a last minute cruise deal in the Caribbean for a family of 5 and this fit the bill perfectly. The price was well within our budget and were even able to upgrade to an unobstructed window cabin for very little extra. One huge benefit of this cruise was a special offer to add a third person to a room at no extra charge. This was an excellent value for a seven day cruise. Embarkation was a breeze and the rooms were ready when we boarded around lunch time. After unpacking in the cabin we went down to activate our cruise cards. One negative of this MSC Cruise was the tiny help desk, long lines and the feeling we were not understood when we asked questions in English. Half a star was knocked off for the time lost in help lines over the week and the difficulty in communication. The ship was a good size and we really enjoyed the international flavor of sailing with cruise-mates from 30+ other countries. We did not mind the PA in several languages. Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latvian, Tagalog, Indonesian etc.. could be heard every day. It was fun for us. Day one was at sea and after my family realized the shopping presentations were nearly a complete waste of time, we focused on relaxing and having fun. Our cabin steward, Michael Quitorio, was excellent! He took great care of us for the week and we could not be more pleased with his service. Same was true for our servers at the assigned dinner, Surya and his assistant Wency were excellent! The quality of the food at dinner varied greatly, from some of the best prime rib and Lava Cake we had ever tasted, to some of the not so tasty Italian night selections where it seemed Chef Boyardee met Stoffers and decided to cater the event together. The great news is, if you don't like what you ordered, you can always order from a standing menu of other selections. The always offered French Onion soup was very good and the strip steak more than acceptable. Of course there is always the buffet at the fantail if all else fails. We are not big drinkers so we did not spring for one of the overpriced beverage packages. A minimum of three premium drinks per person per day was the break-even point we calculated to make the beverage package worth the price. I ordered a $6.00 glass of wine occasionally at dinner and had a cocktail on other days and felt this was a much better value for us. Our teenage daughters enjoyed several of the "mocktails" as well. Concerning cocktails, another half star was taken off for a negative experience I had at one of the lounges. An Old Cuban was a cocktail offered at one of the lounges. While passing thought another, I asked for one and was laughed at by the waitress and was told a Cuban was a sandwich, not a drink. I got up and went to bar and asked the bar tender, he had said he had never heard of it and asked me for the ingredients. I was eventually served what tasted like a virgin Hemingway. A simple search on google could have saved them from the embarrassing review and lowered points. Later, I did find the Bacardi Lounge with excellent live music and actual Old Cubans on the cocktail menu. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was fine. There was always a varied selection of foods. Unlike a previous review, we did have coffee and juice available 24/7. The water and juice glasses are small. The desserts at the buffet lacked distinct flavor for the most part in my opinion. The fruit was always fresh and available. The entertainment was as varied as the menu. It was great most nights with two nights of outstanding performances and one night when armature cruise staff took over that was not so great. Usually family friendly but a bit "burlesque-ish" on one night with lots of derriere flashed. We departed the ship at all the ports. Roatan was the first and we decided to venture out on our own. After being harassed by a gauntlet of men following us and pleading for our patronage, and eventually cat calling after my daughters when we rejected their advances, we found a simple beach close to the port and hung out for a while. Having lived in Africa for several years we were not shocked by this, however for the less well traveled this might not be the most pleasant of experiences. It was super unprofessional on their part. Someday they will likely get a clue about customer service or suffer the economic effects of its lacking. I recommend going on a prearranged excursion or hiring a taxi or a guide on this island. We purchased an excursion to the Mayan Ruins in Costa Maya through Trip Advisor and Costa Maya Tours. It was awesome and I highly recommend both. Brian, our guide spoke excellent English and a fun and informative time was had by all. Cozumel was, well, a cruise port island. My opinion is due an excursion or stay on the boat. We ventured out, over paid for a bunch of tourist junk, and went back to the boat. The vendors were nice to chat with and friendly. We did purchase some tasty Mexican vanilla, but I probably could have done that online for nearly the same price. Grand Cayman was great. We overpaid on the last minute MSC deal to bus us to Seven Mile Beach, the public portion, without much around as far as amenities. I would recommend taking a taxi to one of the many resorts and hang out there, or save yourself a few $ and take the bus to one of them if you have the time. As far as the beach itself, it was awesome and by far the favorite of my teenagers! They all spent the entire afternoon snorkeling and having fun, even my one that normally does not like the beach had a great time. They all want to go back. Next day was at sea, and then the next morning back at port. Disembarkation was the easiest of any of our previous cruises. Would we go again? Absolutely! Pros- A great value (if you avoid the expensive packages) a midsize ship with an international flavor. Overall more than acceptable food and entertainment. Excellent cabin steward and wait staff. Good choice of ports and excursions. Cons-Long lines at help desk, at times less than clearly understood at help desk. Lack of an onboard laundry room for guests. Inconstant quality of service by some staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that deserve 0 stars. First, the good news. I was highly impressed by the efficiency in embarkation and disembarkation. It went so smoothly! Very orderly and methodical. This was the first time that we were able to get on board at Noon, eat lunch, and go directly to our cabin by 1 PM. Disembarkation was simple too, using the Walk Off program. US Customs came onboard and the process was very easy. The ship was super-clean and tastefully decorated. The cabin was a standard balcony cabin, small but in perfect condition. The room steward, Eric, was excellent, too! Very friendly and hard working! We appreciated his efforts. End of good news. Sadly, there is more bad news than good. Let's start with the food. The breakfast buffet was always excellent, but lunch and dinner food was low quality. You could really tell that Norwegian was trying to stretch a dollar. For example, in the Azura dining room, they served scallops as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? It might have been if they weren't BAY SCALLOPS! That's right, five teeny, tiny bay scallops on a plate. If you can't serve real SEA SCALLOPS, then don't bother serving scallops at all! Cuts of meat were pounded paper thin and there were no expensive fish dishes in the main dining rooms. Lots of tilapia-type dishes, but no shrimp cocktail, lobster, etc. Unlike the luxury cruises, which of course, Norwegian is not. Now to the specialty restaurants that we tried: The Chin Chin restaurant (Asian) is horrible. I took one bite of the chicken dish and spit it out. Disgusting! If you are used to good Asian cuisine, don't bother going here, even though it is free. Cagney's Steakhouse was OK, but not great. A sad note about Cagney's - if you are a Platinum Latitudes member, you get a comp for Cagney's. This would be good BUT the comp limits you to only $35 per person. Which doesn't go far in a steakhouse. Be aware if you use the comp. The Brazilian steakhouse was the high point of dining. It is excellent. However, if you use your Latitudes comp, be aware that it only covers about one half the cost of dinner, which is typically $39 per person. The absolute WORSE thing about the ship is the Spa. What a joke. The hot tubs weren't hot, the saunas were broken, and there was a male crew member in the Ladies locker room while there were women in it getting dressed! I complained to the Spa manager, and asked for a refund. She said that she couldn't refund me for my thermal spa package, since I had bought it online, so I had to wait until I got home to call Norwegian. (I went to Guest Services onboard, though, who quickly processed a refund. Strange that they could help me but the Spa Manager could not.) My final complaint about the ship is the choice of onboard activities. I would honestly guess that half of the activities are designed to sell you something. For example, the Look 10 Years Younger seminar is a sales pitch for Botox. The Wine and Chocolate Paring is a chance to sell you a $19 sample of wine and chocolate. The list goes on and on. I was really getting tired of being "nickeled and dimed at activities", so I stopped going. We will take another Norwegian cruise for sure, but we have learned what to do, and not do, while on board these ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 3rd cruise aboard the Paradise and I have to say, the updates they made were awesome. However, every night at dinner, our group had something go wrong. From slow service to the wrong food delivered, you name it, it happened. ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise aboard the Paradise and I have to say, the updates they made were awesome. However, every night at dinner, our group had something go wrong. From slow service to the wrong food delivered, you name it, it happened. At one point I had to yell at the waiter for bringing me drinks I did not want. He kept bring me a rum drink he wanted me to try, well after the second night and 3rd or 4th drink, I had enough. The group really enjoyed the Red Frog Rum Bar, that was a great addition to this ship. A few people in my group are at Guys Burger Joint EVERY day, said it was the best burger they have ever had. I have to agree, the burgers were great but I like to try all sorts of things. I did enjoy a breakfast burrito 3 of the 5 morning's fron the Blue Iguana Cantina:). Overall, I would say we had an amazing trip and are looking forward to 2020. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We sailed on Quantum of the seas on a repositioning cruise from Tianjin Beijing to Singapore on 7th Oct 19. the ship is huge but well laid out and we didn’t get lost once. We spent 2 nights in Beijing then 2 hour taxi to Tianjin Port. ... Read More
We sailed on Quantum of the seas on a repositioning cruise from Tianjin Beijing to Singapore on 7th Oct 19. the ship is huge but well laid out and we didn’t get lost once. We spent 2 nights in Beijing then 2 hour taxi to Tianjin Port. Boarding was smooth enough though and room keys were in the room. We had a junior suite so plenty of room and a large balcony with loungers on it. All the staff were as you would expect cheery and very helpful. We don’t use the main dining rooms as it’s not our thing and prefer the informality and time flexibility of the windjammer. Food in the windjammer was very repetitive with the same dishes most nights and temperature varied from cold to warm but never hot. Breakfast was pandemonium as all the tables were usually taken with folk sitting to keep the table while their companion went to the buffet. I once had my cornflakes while leaning against the bar.The toast arrangement needs a rethink as you order what you want and the server puts it on the grill for you. (why not build up a bit of a stock when quieter as it works with other ships) A lot of excursions came back about 4 just as the windjammer closed and so everyone ended up in the 270 café which is tiny. As the ship is so huge it has to dock in commercial ports miles outside of town and busses have to be used most of the time. Prices of drinks were astronomical, a bottle of corona was $7 plus the tip of course = $8.50 which means you would have to have nearly 6 a day, every day to break even on the $48 a day inc tip drinks package price. For me not worth it. They also ran out of Fosters cans on the 4th day. As usual bar service was very slow as the bar tenders were usually busy mixing cocktails or waiting on people reading the list before deciding which cocktail to have. There are not nearly enough sun loungers or enough space to put more of them so causes mayhem on sea days with some being reserved from 7am and nobody on them most of the day. Entertainment was ok. The two bands were excellent, Daren Day was very talented, the theatre shows were all good except for the Australian comedian who was not even amusing. This was our first RCI cruise for 5 years and we enjoyed out holiday but won’t rush back. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My girlfriend wanted us to go on this cruise with them. I figured it would be a lay back cruise because, face it, young people don’t go to Panama for a grand time. There were a LOT of elderly people on this cruise and only 25 kids out of ... Read More
My girlfriend wanted us to go on this cruise with them. I figured it would be a lay back cruise because, face it, young people don’t go to Panama for a grand time. There were a LOT of elderly people on this cruise and only 25 kids out of 1900. The food was so so. The excursions we chose were pretty relaxing, except for the zipline excursion. That one was a disaster with many injuries, but with the waiver signed not much could be done except a refund. Activities on the ship were ok. The entertainment was so so. A comedian, a magician, dancers, and a pianist. Then they repeated them for the next 4 days. Check in and check out were fast. The promotional offers were great. They had milkshakes on the ship, but no straws. Staff was very very nice. Decor was nice also. Nice layout of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Hawaiian Cruise October 7-22, 2019 Sea Princess Ship Vancouver to Vancouver Boarding and demark and daily weather conditions The best place to stay if coming in a day before the cruise to Hawaii is the Pan Pacific Hotel. This is a 5 ... Read More
Hawaiian Cruise October 7-22, 2019 Sea Princess Ship Vancouver to Vancouver Boarding and demark and daily weather conditions The best place to stay if coming in a day before the cruise to Hawaii is the Pan Pacific Hotel. This is a 5 star hotel with great location. Cost by taxi from Vancouver International Airport to the Hotel was a fixed cost of $36 Canadian. Leaving the hotel for boarding the ship is very simple and less stressful. Call the hotel bellmen and they will assist you in attaching the cruise luggage tags and then transport them right to the ship for processing and loading on your ship. Taking their elevator down to the CS level leaves you less than 500 steps from the start of the cruise ship check in process. Checking in is a 3 step process: security screening, US customs and then cruise check-in. Check in starts at 10.30 and I would recommend getting there sooner than later. People with disabilities are processed quicker and a Nexus cards speeds up the US customs process. We did it all in less than 30 minutes. The ship left the port at 4.30pm. The captain warned us that the seas would be rough the next 24 hours with swells to over 4 m. It rained all day of the check-in process but stopped by 7pm. Recommend to take warms clothes for the first 2 sea days and bring some seasick medicine – you can buy some on ship and the medical center on the ship and also offer some assistance. Day 2 (first sea day) Overnight the seas were quite rough and remained rough most the day with some easing late in the day. Mostly cloudy in the early morning then clearing to some clouds, temperature remained below 60F. All the pools were closed but people still watched the movies under the stars and ate in the outside areas. Day 3 (second sea day) Seas have calmed down with the temperature rose up to 66F today and mostly cloudy skies with some sunny periods. Winds still persistent. One hour back tonight for time change. Day 4 (third sea day) It was a perfect sea day with calm seas, sun/clouds and light winds with temperature of 72F. One hour back tonight for time change. Day 5 (fourth sea day) It was a fantastic sea day and sunny skies with great temperatures of 76. No hour change tonight. Day 6 (fifth sea day) Last sea day before Honolulu and the weather was great with temperatures around 82F mostly sunny with calm waves and light winds. There was a one-hour time change night – behind. Day 7 (Honolulu, Oahu) We had a great day with excellent weather 85F humid with some clouds. Did island circle tour by Tours by Locals – tour guide Marie – excellent island tour. Day 8 (Nawiliwili Kauai) Hot and sunny day 87F humid, mainly sunny with isolated brief showers. Did the Waimea Canyon / South Side Tour by Tours by Locals – tour guide Noah Friedberg. Day 9 Lahaina (Maui) Hot and sunny day 89F humid, mainly sunny with isolated brief showers. Did the road to Hana and the helicopter ride back – great tour - Tour by Princess Cruise Line. This is our favorite Hawaiian island. Day 10 Kona (the Big Island Hawaii) Today was cloudy, humid with sun and temperatures around 78F with passing showers. We did a Kona side island tour with Tours by Locals – tour guide Scott who was very good. Day 11 Sea day Today was cloudy, humid and windy with some sun and temperatures around 78F. Seas were a bit rough today. Day 12 Sea day Seas were rough last night and today. Sunny today with clouds, windy with a high of 75F. Day 13 Sea day Seas were a little rough today with sunny skies and temperatures around 70F Day 14 Sea day Foggy, cloudy, windy with some sun and a temperature of around 65F Day 15 Sea day Rough seas with cold, foggy, cloudy windy day around 58F. Day 16 Vancouver – time to leave the ship, head to the airport and fly back to Toronto (Burlington home). Rainy cold day. Getting off the ship was well organized and took very little time. We able to easily get a taxi to the airport which is the fastest and least expensive option. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We took a family vacation to celebrate someone's birthday and they chose Princess from Vancouver to Hawaii. I also know friends who are avid cruisers and was told that Princess is the best when it comes to food. I was disappointed ... Read More
We took a family vacation to celebrate someone's birthday and they chose Princess from Vancouver to Hawaii. I also know friends who are avid cruisers and was told that Princess is the best when it comes to food. I was disappointed for so many reasons. The bed in our cabin was old and too soft which was very uncomfortable and we had aching backs for much of the trip. We had the air conditioning set as low as it would go and it was still too hit. We had someone come to the cabin 3 times to try and fix it but had no success. . Food was mediocre and mostly very bland. Buffet was very small and food was not very hot. There was no more happy hour or buy one get one free and coctails were very expensive with the Canadian dollar exchange rate. Everything was expensive on the ship. Daytime activities were fun and plentiful. Unfortunately we had the late dinner seating and missed out on a lot of the lounge entertainment. I would recommend the 515pm seating. The production shows were boring with the exception of Motor City. Our cabin steward was very friendly and always greeted us with a smile but other staff, not so much. After breakfast, and being charged for a glass of cranberry juice to me is outrageous. We booked an appointment in the platinum studio to take a family portrait and the photographer took way too many photos of us both individually, with siblings, with spouses, and all we wanted was a family picture. We came back the next day and chose a pboto. If we wanted all the photos on a usb stick, the price was 3100.00 US. Outrageous! For what we paid for this trip was definitely not worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted to try out something that’s fun and relaxing and were told Carnival Cruise Line could be one good choice. Since the itinerary was able to fit into our overall schedule touring LA and taking another cruise ship, we decided to ... Read More
We wanted to try out something that’s fun and relaxing and were told Carnival Cruise Line could be one good choice. Since the itinerary was able to fit into our overall schedule touring LA and taking another cruise ship, we decided to sail on Carnival Inspiration. We were impressed by the Long Beach Cruise Terminal which is run by Carnival Cruse Line. The fun element started when we were brought to a cocktail table where they would verify our identify. Everything was really just like s flash, scanned and we saw our photo. We didn’t have to go go thru another round or registration and the key card was sent to the stateroom by 1:30pm. The activities on the ship were American orientated but people were enjoying on the ship. It’s Halloween season and many guests were dressed up every day in their own favourite Halloween characters. The main dining room had very friendly and helpful staff. Most dishes were nicely served, which we didn’t have any problem. Except for few Asian / international delights which might need some improvement in terms of the naming of the dishes and cooking styles. I enjoyed the brunch and hi tea on the last sea day, they were deliciously presented. Ensenada is such a nice port in Mexico and I was glad we signed up for a city tour which brought us to the town area. In the evening we would explore few places for dancing and realised Salsa and Bachata were popular on this ship. Great Singers! Though Carnival Inspiration is not a premium ship, it provides the general comfort and fun elements to the guests. For instance, every dinner the staff would gather to dance with the guests. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The Panama Canal was on our "Bucket List". Aftrr a lot of health challenges, we knew we wanted to do this. We liked the smaller size of the Island Princess. Fewer passengers, not so busy and crowded. We had a balcony cabin ... Read More
The Panama Canal was on our "Bucket List". Aftrr a lot of health challenges, we knew we wanted to do this. We liked the smaller size of the Island Princess. Fewer passengers, not so busy and crowded. We had a balcony cabin starboard and midships. It was more spacious than we anticipated with lots of storage space and a generous balcony. The cabin steward, Zaldy, was a Godsend.He handled all our special requests, including extra pillows to help make hubby more comfortable. He even found a lost hearing aid after we had searched diligently and couldn't find it. We selected early dining, but I don't think we would do that again. Oir table mates were delightful and we enjoyed getting to know them. Restaurant staff (Bernie and Roy) were great. However, there were entertainments that we missed because we were at dinner. Next time we will chose anytime dining so we can enjoy the piano guy or get to the Princess Theater earlier for seating. We also liked the food choices at the buffet as much as we did the dining room menu but felt locked into the dining schedule we had picked. Not Princess' fault, just didnt want to leave our seats at the table empty when we were expected. Amenities on board were amazing. With 3 pools, we rarely lacked for z deck chair when we wanted one, the pools were used but not crowded. Of course, kids were in school so most passengers were adult, we saw very few kids. We particularly liked the big screen movies (3 Cirque shows, Greatest Showman, Dumbo, Spiderman and a couple of others). Entertainment was excellent--awesome comedian, great stage performances, intimate crooners and instrumentalists in the bars and pubs. We.didnt have enough time to see them all, but really enjoyed what we did. Shore excursions were ... disappointing. Our favorite by far was the train/canal/bus tour in Limon. Our guide,Ivan, was remarkable--by far the best guide we've ever had anywhere. Puerto Plata was a lot of bus time without time to really explore any sites. We got off to see a church (be careful: our guides 'helpers' will grab your camera, take a few shots and expect tips when they hand your camera back). Shopping was limited to one store and I'm guessing the guide gets a 'gratuity' for bringing the bus there. Jamaica was also a lot of bus time. We took the Konoko Falls tour, but the tour itself was very rushed, no time to wander the grounds at leisure. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We thought we would give a cruise a go for the first time and it was a huge waste of money and it was a stuff up right from the start. We didn't get the room we paid for and the day we got on board was very close to the day we were ... Read More
We thought we would give a cruise a go for the first time and it was a huge waste of money and it was a stuff up right from the start. We didn't get the room we paid for and the day we got on board was very close to the day we were getting off. The room is no bigger than a jail cell and the bathroom you cant hardly move as it was that small.We went with a child and they hated it with a passion.Even though we had a balcony you could not sit outside or have the door open without the really strong smell of cigarette smoke so get a blacony if you want to end up with CANCER. On the pool deck adults could not get into the very small spas as it was built for 2-3 adults comfortably and even then all you could do is breathe the strong smell of cigarettes so again stay on if you want second hand smoke and CANCER.Everything was a money grab including bingo / eateries on board / hardly anything for free. Its all a gimmick to rip you off and the money on your account you had better watch that as they will take money out without your knowledge and then say oh you dont want to donate ?? What a lot of CRAP and the so called on shore tours are so bodgy and overated it has a bloke that uses cheap camera gear that doesn't even work or set up properly i think 5 year old kids could do better that was so badly done and disorganized. The labour they have on the boat are been ripped off in wages and im talking about anyone that is not in a white uniform as like kitchen staff / cleaners etc and we felt so sorry for them as they get paid $28 a day , yes thats right a DAY for a 10.5 hour shift and that is 7 days a week. What a misjustice for these poor people and P&O cruises take advantage of them and treat them as slave labour.These cleaners and kitchen staff are the most freindlest people and hard working i have ever seen especially in the pantry. They will bend over backwards to help you and are always helpful. We gave a lot of them good tips even though you don't need too and a lot of them send most of their wages back home to their own country and what we were told are on the boat for around 7 months at a time working 7 days a week. We were disgusted at the way P&O crusies take advantage of people from other countries and use them as slave labour.These people were the only ones that were polite and courteous as the ones in the white uniform wouldn't give you the time of day.The ONLY reason it made it a bit better was the cleaners / kitchen staff / and manual labour they had working on the decks as they were so much more polite and helpful than the P&O staff that were just there to take your money which ever way you could. We went to make a booking with some of the PAID resturants on board but their attitude sucks but we gave it a go anyway. What a joke as the food was sloppy and dripping with oil and even the meat was hard as a rock. YOU wouldn't even give it to the dog so for a meal for 3 of us cost us $167 and it was just rubbish / Mcdonalds or KFC would have been better and you know what that is like at times. Over rated and poor quality rooms and dont be surprised if you dont get the room you pay for as we talked to another couple who did not get the room they paid for and had to have 2 of the kids sleep in the same bed as the parents as they did not get the room they payed for and P&O staff said nothing they could do on board. So watch out people Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I was forced to used a credit from a previous cruise where I purchased the best insurance package thru Princess. After my Father could not continue because his health deteriated we argued to no avail that his condition was predicted and ... Read More
I was forced to used a credit from a previous cruise where I purchased the best insurance package thru Princess. After my Father could not continue because his health deteriated we argued to no avail that his condition was predicted and had to use this credit by the end of the year. We went on our anniversary. We waited 2 hours in a cattle guard typ atmosphere to board the ship. They lost my breakfast order without telling me I had to go ask after waiting 20 minutes then tried to give me somebody's order. was disappointed that a soft drink was almost $3.00 and a mixed drinkwere almost double what I pay back home. I guess we were a captive audiance. We were scanned at all ports in case we were sneaking booze on.We can't tip for good service anymore. An amount is added to our account for each of us everyday even if you stayed in your room like my wife did one day (sick).What incentive is there to give good service. Our main dining servers were great and deserved what they gotOur room was dusty and dirty however the bed was made when we left the room in the morning. I guess there's more but I'm tired of typing. I was not happy with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I've sailed on other cruise lines and Royal was not my favorite, but they were going to a port that I really wanted to go to and not many other cruiselines went there. This was a family trip so that my dad and the rest of the family ... Read More
I've sailed on other cruise lines and Royal was not my favorite, but they were going to a port that I really wanted to go to and not many other cruiselines went there. This was a family trip so that my dad and the rest of the family could visit the fishing town in Spain where my grandfather came from. Overall the ship was fine, but there were a few things that irked me. They closed the Windjammer after each meal - not getting a cup of coffee, sitting at a table and playing games, chatting, etc. They had Cafe Promenade to get drinks, but they never had lemonade and it was always crowded. They had no card room and trying to find a table in a bar area that fit 8 people in semi-quiet was impossible. Another odd thing to me was when we go off in port there was never a sign telling you when to come back on board, unless you had your Cruise Compass with you no one said anything. Maps for port were at Guest Services, but it was never mentioned anywhere, I just happened to see them there one day. Our room steward was ok, not bad, but after 1 day I never got my ice bucket which I asked for every day. I gave up after a while. Also, on embarkation day I bought 2 bottles of sparkling wine with strawberries and one bottle of red wine with cheese plate - never got the cheese plate and they only gave me on plate of the strawberries. I mentioned it to guest services but they never did anything about it. The ice show - you can't reserve seats so you have to get there almost an hour early to wait & then be told "sorry no more seats, but wait here and some Suites & up people may not show up". We gave up and never say the show. Overall the people on board were very nice, being Americans we were in the minority, but that was fine. The ship could use a sprucing up - mainly the rooms and public bathrooms. Food was fine, ate in the restaurant 3x and the Windjammer the rest of the time. The dining room just takes too long for my taste. Ports were great - Lisbon, Vigo, Canary Islands, La Coruna, Funchal. I would visit those places again. We used RCL tours for all except La Coruna where I did a private tour. RCL tours were fine and we enjoyed them. Cabin was fine, although we were in an Aft Balcony 7408 and knew it would be a bit noisy in rough seas, and it all worked out. We only had 2 days/nights with rough seas and there was a bit of a shuddering of the cabin. Toilet in the cabin liked to fill almost to the brim at night - very strange. Told them about it and it stayed that way the entire cruise. I never overflowed but it was strange. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This cruise was a disaster from start to finish! I can't believe we paid so much and got so little in return. - Embarcation was a HUGE fail. There were no signs or people providing information regarding luggage at drop off. There were ... Read More
This cruise was a disaster from start to finish! I can't believe we paid so much and got so little in return. - Embarcation was a HUGE fail. There were no signs or people providing information regarding luggage at drop off. There were 2 stations to hand off luggage. We waited in one of the lines only to be told we were at the wrong place (EVEN) we needed to go to the other one (ODD). How were we supposed to know? The guys handling the luggage were extremely rude, but probably employed by the port not MSC. - Inside was chaos. I wish I had taken a picture. Thousands of passengers trying to make their way with no signs and very few staff directing traffic. Where is the priority line? Good question. My guess is there wasn't one. It took us 2 hours to onboard, but we were "lucky" because it took some passengers over 4 hours. There was only one gangway open! REALLY? I have been on smaller ships, and we regularly had 2 gangways. We heard a lot of possible explanations/excuses, but I have no idea if any were true. Once on the gangway we were shocked to see only one MSC crew member scanning cards. There were two stations, but they were only utilizing one. Ridiculous! - Safety on board was not a priority. The Muster Drill, which is mandatory and emphasized on other ships, was a Cluster. - Despite making our dining reservations immediately upon boarding, we were dismayed to find out that they had all been cancelled the next day. We had issues re-booking and getting the dates/times we had originally selected. - The food was sub-par with the exception of Butcher's Cut. Unfortunately, we didn't have that until our last night. We had the Tryptic dining package, and were surprised by the limited options afforded to us. On our other non-MSC cruises we have had our choice of anything on the menu, with only a few items upcharged (i.e. lobster). Not so on MSC...I was charged $3.84 for a side of mashed potatoes in Ocean Key despite the fact I did not want any of the options offered. So my dinner was going to be mashed potatoes, and they arrived cold. I couldn't believe they still charged me. - The SPA had a number of issues. Poor design in the ladies locker room had the door opening to the lobby, which could cause some unwanted exposure. The lockers are stacked 3 high, and if you are assigned the top one you would need to be 6' tall or stand on the bench (another safety issue). There was water on the floor, but no mats to help prevent slip and falls. There were only 3 thermal chairs, and only 2 were working. Other facilities were not operational as well, yet crew were still trying to sell Spa Packages throughout the cruise. There is apparently no limit to how many they sell, despite the obvious overcrowding. -The captain skipped one port and shortened the stay at Quebec City. This was to be the highlight of the trip, and we looked forward to seeing the fall foliage along the St. Lawrence. Instead, we left at 1am, and missed it. We were told it was because the impending bad weather, but I can't help but think they were trying to avoid refunding another day's port fees. We had been running behind since we left New York. The embarcation issues delayed our departure by hours. It's hard to believe that a ship this large could not make up time. I know weather issues later in the trip are not under MSC's control, but I don't think we were getting the full story. -The phones would not allow anyone to leave messages. Such BASIC functionality, like so many other things on the ship...FAIL! -The TV didn't work the majority of the cruise. Their Highly Sophisticated Satellite System was another bust. We spent over $400 on internet...which was not great...but our only option. - The lines at the Customer Service desk were always long...filled with disgruntled passengers. Sadly, we spent a lot of time there. -The cabin design was odd.I suppose it was intended to be "sleek". However, the safe was located on one shelf in the closet. This limited the drawers to two. The depth of the closet was too shallow, meaning the clothes had to be turned at an angle in order to close the door. There were no other shelves or cubbies around the desk which would have been most helpful for storage. We ended up leaving our suitcases open on the sofa. - There were 2 positives for me on this cruise...our cabin steward was great and they had Dr. Pepper on board. I love DP! Only one bar (in the buffet) would keep them in the fridge, so I didn't get a cold can like I prefer...but still loved having it. -There were 100 people in our group, and our travel agent was with us. He worked non-stop to try and resolve the issues...meeting with ship department heads everyday. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been without him. SUMMARY - this was our worst cruise ever! If I could rate it lower, I would. We are Diamond Plus on RCL, Platinum on NCL, and have cruised on other lines as well...including one other MSC. I can't imagine EVER taking a chance on MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Sapphire Princess Canaries October 2019. Our fourth time on this ship in two years and in view of its final departure from Southampton this cruise was a real anti climax. Check In and boarding at Southampton took longer for ... Read More
Sapphire Princess Canaries October 2019. Our fourth time on this ship in two years and in view of its final departure from Southampton this cruise was a real anti climax. Check In and boarding at Southampton took longer for Platinum and Elite members that it did for first timers - too many at the higher end of Princess Captains Circle Loyalty Scheme? Same balcony stateroom (C232) for the third cruise running and they still not repaired the fist-sized dent in the wall beside the bed. First sea day through the Bay of Biscay and I've never experienced so much movement throughout the ship, I was surprised that the Formal Night still went ahead even with the smallest Champagne Fountain ever seen and so few people about, we didn't bother with getting formally dressed and ate in Alfredo's Pizzeria instead. Dinner in the Savoy and Vivaldi Dining Rooms resulted in the food varying from inedible to barely acceptable. Inedible in my experience was a beefburger that was so dry it made a McDonalds look upmarket, the Lemon Sole on a bed of black lentils certainly wasn't lemon sole (unless it was overweight) which on the black lentils without any dressing tasted like cardboard, the Lobster Tail stuffed with risotto is an insult to any seasoned Princess cruiser who had a full Lobster until recent years and no I will not be ripped off by $29 for the same thing again. The Curtis Stone Chicken and Leek Pot Pie was quite enjoyable. Princess you need to think again. The usual Spanish and Canaries Ports were visited: Vigo, Madeira, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas Gran Canaria, and Arrecife Lanzarote, but why in reverse order with the three sea days on return? It felt like an 8 days holiday rather than an 11 days one. Princess Theatre entertainment was an improvement compared to our previous Grand Asia cruise, but we gave the magician and Edwina Currie a clear miss. The sailing home was rough and as an experienced cruiser, this was rough. Other ships I've sailed through the Bay of Biscay include Grand Princess and Emerald Princess both of which handled rougher conditions than Sapphire. Was Captain Rivera too mean to use stabilisers knowing that they would slow the ship down and increase fuel consumption? Overall, we left the ship a bit disappointed and it took us 2-3 days to get our 'land legs' back. We were told that Princess are 'Investing in People', who are the people, their Shareholders? Certainly not us cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My wife and I enjoyed our 2 additional pre cruise nights at the Hilton Midtown Hotel, New York. This was our visit visit to New York and hopefully it will not be our last. Prior to our arrival we had booked private tours of both the Statue ... Read More
My wife and I enjoyed our 2 additional pre cruise nights at the Hilton Midtown Hotel, New York. This was our visit visit to New York and hopefully it will not be our last. Prior to our arrival we had booked private tours of both the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. We also enjoyed a show on Broadway. Our departure from New York was very special and made an excellent start to our cruise. The captain and crew coped extremely well with the bad weather we hit heading to Bermuda. Viking should be extremely proud of the staff who provide an excellent service onboard Viking Sea. They keep the ship beautiful clean and tidy. The ship is beautiful furnished and has a calm, relaxed, atmosphere. With there being so few passengers sun beds and tables in the various restaurants are freely available. The quality of the food is superb as was the spa. The infinity pool is a wonderful facility, it was nice when staff did not fully fill it so guests could stand. Excursions were well organised. We booked some of the included excursions and paid for some of the enhanced trips. We enjoyed our day at the Galley Bay Hotel and rail and sail excursions. Because our ship was so small it could dock in excellent locations. 2 of our visits included over night stays in harbour which was greatly appreciated. Our stateroom was in a superb state of repair and kept nice and clean by cabin staff. We twice enjoyed breakfast on our balcony c/o room service. The pool and gym facilities are superb. It would have been nice if Yoga sessions were provided free of additional charge and at better times to suit guests. Spa treatments and items for sale in the shops were extremely expensive. The various talks/lectures were highly informative and well presented. Our only constructive comments would include improving the evening entertainment and increasing the number of staff in the restaurants. Viking could benefit from trying to attract more younger passengers as many of those on board were very elderly and frail. Some of the classical music which was performed in the atrium seemed quite morbid. Some more cheerful music, ie jazz, should be provided which will add to a happier, fun, holiday atmosphere. We look forward to cruising with Viking again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Introduction: MSC Cruise Line is a new entrant to an American market. MSC is a registered company in Switzerland but operates from Geneva, Italy. The company was originally founded in Naples, Italy as Mediterranean Shipping Company ... Read More
Introduction: MSC Cruise Line is a new entrant to an American market. MSC is a registered company in Switzerland but operates from Geneva, Italy. The company was originally founded in Naples, Italy as Mediterranean Shipping Company (that gives them their current name). MSC appears to be diversifying in the cruise market from its original business of shipping. The company is privately held. However, they are expanding their presence in the cruise market by adding newer and bigger ships aimed at penetrating the American market. Altogether, we have taken nearly 50 cruises worldwide for the past 30 years with various cruise lines. This was our fourth cruise experience with the MSC Cruise Line. The breakdowns of our cruises with MSC cruise line by the ships are (2) with MSC Divina, (1) with MSC seaside and (4th- this) one with the largest ship Meraviglia. We rank Divina as number # 1 of our choice, Seaside as Number # 2 of our choice and Meraviglia as our poor selection. The name Meraviglia in an Italian-English dictionary means something remarkable, amazing, marvelous, astonishing or wonderful. Unfortunately, our experience taught us that this ship did not live up to the meaning of this word. It was inaugurated approximately one year ago, started cruising in the European market and just recently crossed Atlantic and entered into the American market for the winter season. The company has been in the cruise market for the last ten years or more. According to their web site, they have 18 cruise ships deployed covering the world cruise market and new one MSC Virtuoso will be soon operational, making their cruise liner with a fleet of 19 ships. MSC virtuoso will be even more high tech and slightly larger. The comparison of the cruise ships that we have traveled with MSC is given below. MSC Divina MSC Seaside MSC Meraviglia Comments 3502 5179 5655 Passengers 1308 1413 1536 Crew size 2.52 3.66 3.68 Ratios-passengers to crew 1093 ft 1060 ft 1034 ft Length Passenger to Crew Ratio: As a rule of thumb, when the passenger to crew ratio increases, the quality of the service to the passengers will decline. We felt excellent service with MSC Divina, little less with Seaside but considerably less with Meraviglia. As per our observations, the reasons were more than passenger to crew ratio that was unacceptably high with this ship, when compared with their own ships and ships of the other cruise liners. We observed the following factors influenced their quality of services. 1. The inexperienced and overworked crews. 2. Insufficient crew size to maintain quality of service needed for the large ship while serving over 5,000 passengers. 3. Unorganized services for embarkation, disembarkation at the port of calls, the breakfast, the lunches, and the dinners. 4. Poor leadership of the officers. Why we went with MSC- Meraviglia: We decided to take a 10-day cruise to Northern Canada, just to check off our bucket list based on our past favorable experience as a Black card member with MSC cruise line. We assumed that New York port, where a large number of ships arrive and depart; with two hours plane trip one way from home offers more conveniences and advantages. However, our cruise experience became very unpleasant with this cruise ship, so we decided to share our review and experience with other future cruisers, who can derive their own conclusions. Undoubtedly, we were impressed with some of their high tech features, which were incorporated in such newer and larger ships such as navigation devices, dockings and stability controls and other facilities that give you the feelings of resort-like lifestyle. The electronic display (that worked as a large computer tablet); placed at strategic places, for booking the onboard shows or dinner reservations, ships maps etc are a helpful and desirable feature. However, we were shocked by the total chaos and disorganization that became evident that we experienced in several service areas. This can be clearly attributed to the insufficient and inexperienced crews for servicing over 5500 customers on a timely basis. Obviously, the crew ratio to the passengers on board was one critical element but we also discovered that crew size was not present to its rated capacity as advertised. However, we felt that the ship was nearly full, if not completely full, carrying cross Atlantic passengers from Europe as well as new American passengers that were picked up from New York. We will review step by step our experience with various facilities onboard the ship, ports of calls and ancillary services. Embarkation in New York We took an early morning flight to fly to New York that required us to get up very early in the morning. The flight was smooth and we landed on time. We collected our luggage and took Super Shuttle to the port. As expected with usual busy traffic in New York downtown, it took over an hour to get to the port around 11.00 AM. At the cruise terminal, the line was already formed in the cold weather; the people wanted to have their luggage dropped off and get out of the cold to wait in the cruise terminal for the processing to start. Most of the ports and cruise lines have a quick procedure and facility for checking and dropping off the luggage to the ground crews. The ground crews collect the luggage beginning at 10.00 A.M. that will be delivered to your assigned room after embarkation. There were no luggage crews present and the luggage checking did not start until noon. The passengers waiting to embark on the ship found this delay unacceptable. Just like other cruise lines, why there were no luggage crews scheduled at 10.00 AM to receive the luggage? We were able to check our luggage around 1.00 PM due to long lines ahead. After checking in our luggage, we have to stand in long lines due to the long lines of people waiting to be processed. Nearly, the 30 to 40 percent cruise check-in people were absent judging from the empty terminals. This caused additional delays. The lines were getting very long and the people were jumping ahead of their turns. Although we had a Black card membership that allowed us the priority check-in, we were refused entry and not allowed to go into the priority area. The unmanned empty computer terminals gave us the indication that the long day is ahead of us. Some elderly people who had to stand in line for more than 3 hours and need to use the restroom facility were asked to go through luggage screening again. This again caused additional discomfort and anger among the passengers. The normal procedure used by other cruise lines is to collect boarding passes after luggage check-in, have processors take and verify your passport and credit card, take pictures if needed and assign the call tag for boarding and room key. Then you can wait for your embarkation call assigned to you and proceed to embark while going through carry-on luggage screening by the machines. You are in and at your option stand in for picture taking and skip and head towards embarkation. For reason unknown to us this process was not followed by this cruise ship during the embarkation, the process was changed as well as understaffing did not help. The terminal assigned was a small place, thereby creating overcrowding, long wait, and confusion. It took almost 5 hours of wait before most of the people were able to embark. Some Yacht club members were able to check in on a priority basis but not all Black card members. This was the most frustrating experience with most of the passengers. I tried to locate cruise officers but none was visible or available in the terminal. The contract union workers were not cooperative and were rude. One officer that I talked to after boarding the ship blamed it on the union. Market Place: The Market Place on the 15th deck area was always crowded unless you got into the service area at the time of the opening (General Buffet restaurant in the upper deck). We did notice that the seaside ship included two restaurants, another one mostly used by Yacht club members but non-Yacht passengers can also utilize it. This helped distribute the passengers and reduced overcrowding. These alleviate the overcrowding problem that we experienced almost every day at the Market place. The menus of both open restaurants at the seaside were identical. The Meraviglia only had one market place that acts as a general cafeteria, excluding regular dining rooms (no cost) and specialty restaurants (with cost). We did not find another designated place for eating as they had at the seaside. With the weather getting colder and windy, we cannot use the pool area. Some menu items vary in “hot serving” station every day, but in other areas like Pizza, ethnic and salad stations, they were unchanged. If you did not make it in time during the opening hours, good luck to find a table and a chair. Due to a shortage of crews, some of the serving stations were closed and the place was very crowded all the time. However, once you find the table, the self-service for food was reasonably quick. However, at beverage stations the chaos always prevailed due to lack of equipment to serve the passengers. The juice dispensers were often mislabeled. The most troubling aspect was that the hygienic requirement for food handling was not monitored. To avoid the Norvac Virus attack, some cruise liners are not allowing the passengers to touch the food but it is served to them in the self-service area. They also don’t allow the passengers to touch the serving spoons. Although we did notice the installation of hand wash booths (a great improvement and healthier method) at the entrance, there was no enforcement on passengers by the crews. The floor below the beverage stations required more attention for keeping them orderly and cleaned to avoid the passengers slipping or sliding. Ports in the Itinerary: Upon embarkation, we learned that our two-night stay at Quebec City will be cut to one day from two days and we will be issued $ 25.00 per passenger onboard credit. The reason cited was the whale migration of the season. Many passengers wondered that such events are repetitious annually and predictable, why was this not pre-configured in pricing and itinerary construction. The onboard credit must be spent on the ship or you lose it. Any saving on port charges must be refunded in cash that was not refunded for Quebec City; perhaps it was not refundable due to embarkation. The second issue popped up when just hours before the arrival at our first port stop at Sydney, the captain announced that due to bad weather at sea, we will be skipping the port. For that, we received an onboard credit of $ 300.00 per cabin as a refund to the cruise price along with port charges of $ 25.00. Both refunds were in cash. Next port of call was crane brook that was a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada. Sydney was close by and there were enough time and weather turned favorable. If Captain wanted to reconsider his stop that he omitted and if the dock was available, he would have an opportunity to restore the schedule. Not having that information, I cannot make a definite conclusion on the availability of docking the ship, but time and weather-wise; it was possible to make a stop after crane brook on our way to Quebec City. Dining Rooms: Although crowded, the evening service at the main dining room was slower but not bad. The menus varied but were not comparable to other cruise liners but most regarded the evening dinner as not the problem. We had to waste our time at customer service by standing in line, to correct billing errors. The wine steward forgot to take the card of the user and placed the charges on our room without any signature. We had one such incident and some of the others had similar problems. It appeared that 30 to 40 percent of crews were first-timers. Prior to crossing Atlantic, they must have relieved the old crews in Europe and took over a new consignment of crews. We talked to various people and they seem to be overworked, covering more tables and they were thinly spread out. Our lunch experience in the dining room was very poor. We had to sit there for two hours to complete our lunch menus. Generally, the dining rooms are closed after 20 to 30 minutes once they are opened, so the inside customers who are seated are promptly served and second seating if required can be opened up. Keeping the dining room open all the time allowed new people to arrive and waiters had to get them started with the menu, bread, and drinks. The same waiters would have to delay serving the second or third portion of the lunch for those who are already seated. This created a delay for all and took two hours to finish lunch. I think their lunch procedures must be reviewed and compared with other successful cruise liners of their size to ensure that they are properly staffed and have the right procedures to get the customers in and with no more than an hour. We ordered our dessert but it never arrived, after waiting for 30 minutes, we left and went to self serve market place. Customer service: There was a computer breakdown either on the ship or downloading the passenger data from the main office or perhaps both. This created huge problems in billings and there were many wrong charges applied to the room but they belonged to other rooms. Onboard credits that were included with our cruise bookings, never showed up and we had to take our booking papers and stand in line for an hour to prove that we were due that credit. All these problems had to be resolved by the customer service manned by four to five people and they were very busy all the time with long lines and they did what they can to correct billing errors, review the benefits and charges applied. With the breakdown of computer or data loss, they had to enter the data manually and they were two days behind but finally got caught up prior to the end of the cruise. This big computer glitch may have also created unnecessary delay at the time of embarkation and they had to manually reenter the data for many passengers. This may explain the reigning chaos and confusion seen on the face of the crew. I spoke to an officer who was aware of the problem but blamed the embarkation delay that delayed the departure by three hours and may have contributed to the skipping of the port due to the union rules observed by the New York Port Authority. Some passengers from the city of New York hotly disputed that statement. I requested the meeting with the captain but the captain choose to remain invisible and I never met him except at a welcome party from the distance. Future cruise consultants: We see no reason to travel again with this cruise line. Our reason to see the cruise consultant and to make her aware of the contracted package, we bought did not produce the requested result and her attitudes were disappointing and so was her remark that “it is no big deal”. There were others who had the same problems. It appeared to us that they were focused on booking future cruises until we reminded them that unless they fixed this cruise first, there will be no future cruises. During the last three days of the cruise, we started receiving our package in pieces, unlike other cruises we took with them, where the package was sitting in the cabin on the first day of embarkation. Internet: We were looking to get some internet access to check-in our flight back home when we were still sailing on the sea. They had a day package for $ 39.00 and were labeled as “24th”. When you try to sign on, they showed a 24-hour clock with start and stop time clock. The stop button did not work. We had to go back to customer service, who did not know how to fix it, so they brought their IT guy down. We talked to the IT man with the following suggestion. Rename the package as a “one-day” package, since it is unlimited and get rid of the clock. He implemented that suggestion and we were pleased about that. Shows: The shows were better organized for booking and checking. This operation was well organized. Their Cirque du Soleil at Sea - MSC Cruises was great and worth buying at the time of booking at discount. All other free shows were comparable to other cruise liners. Two performances allow all to take advantage of these entertainments. Club Member activities and Events Consistent with other cruise liners, there were welcome, Black member and Yacht club events but they were not organized in the places like sky lounge that are private and quiet, but were thrown open at Plaza Meraviglia (Promenade-Main deck) 6, where shopping gallery and franchised restaurants are located (not owned by ship). The captain was generally absent from some of the public events and service was not properly organized. Some of the passengers were not happy when one Gelato private operator ran out of cups and cones. The passenger managed to get a glass from a nearby bar to complete his purchase. Cabin: We had an outside cabin with a balcony that is always a nice and enjoyable feature. Unfortunately, the weather was colder than normal, so we could not take advantage of that. This ship has many cabins with the outside balconies and it is very useful in the warm weather. In general, the cabin accommodation was perfect. However, TV service was not useful. There were not enough channels in English for the American market and the satellite service was poor. The major free news channels like CNN, BBC and others were not available that you generally find with most of the other cruise lines operating in the American market. The TV featured the review of your onboard activities, reservation and billing details were excellent provisions and that is not generally not found with other cruise liners. Onboard movies will require payment, while other cruise liners have free service and sometimes a small movie theater featuring new releases. We have furnished enough details for the cruise line to make some amends for American markets or passengers to consider when booking future cruises. Disembarkation: Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was smooth and we encountered no problems, like we experienced with ports of calls in Canada that we stopped. Generally, at the port of call, there are two doors opened, one for disembarkation and another one for pre-embarkation upon the conclusion of the tour or the visit to the town. We found that either due to lack of security machines or lack of personnel, they did not open two doors, resulting into long lines and delays. This was unnecessary for this size of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted to see southern Caribbean islands we had not seen before. We accomplished that and enjoyed the Princess friendly service we've come to expect. The food was amazing, even better than prior Princess Cruses we've ... Read More
We wanted to see southern Caribbean islands we had not seen before. We accomplished that and enjoyed the Princess friendly service we've come to expect. The food was amazing, even better than prior Princess Cruses we've taken. We really enjoyed Titou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls on Dominica. The optional swim into the gorge is a MUST. We were disappointed in the Cocoa and Rum tour on Grenada. A long time in a bus for very little entertainment at the attractions. The Salt Flat tour on Bonaire was interesting and informative. Both Bonaire and Curacao were charming with the Dutch influence. The southern Caribbean islands all seem quite safe and have much less poverty than some other Caribbean destinations. The people are friendly and helpful. In our experience, Princess sets a very high standard for service. EVERY staff member will greet guests with a smile and friendly words. The shows and performers are excellent. Maybe not famous, but certainly talented. The food was outstanding. Service was amazing. Princess really hires, trains and evaluates their staff to treat the guests with true care. On board entertainment in the evenings is excellent. Shows are well produced and performers are extremely talented. Daytime activities are limited. Don't expect a lot of active things on deck. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because a friend wanted to try MSC. It was also going to be a birthday cruise for me. The disaster began on day one when the boarding process took over 4 hours! I felt sorry for the seniors and disabled who had to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because a friend wanted to try MSC. It was also going to be a birthday cruise for me. The disaster began on day one when the boarding process took over 4 hours! I felt sorry for the seniors and disabled who had to wait in these ridiculously long lines. Many of us did the preboarding steps on the MSC app which didn't help anything go faster because the staff had to still go through everything once you got to the counter. Once on board, we tried to go to the dining area to make sure dinner arrangements were secure, and they were not. We were a party of 12 and were separated at different tables. We were told by the Maitre D they can not accommodate us and it was impossible to put together a table of 12. We've been on 20 cruises and have never been told anything like that! Dinner the first night took over 3 hours to get served and the service was very poor. One of our guests had questions about the menu and our waiter looked at her and said, "JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT!" Some of us decided to eat upstairs at the buffet the entire cruise. We were never able to sit together as an entire group for dinner. On other cruise lines, the waiter would address us after dinner to make sure everything was good and inform us of events happening on the ship. On this cruise, the waiter would announce, "Ladies and gentlemen, we need to get ready for the next seating so you have to leave!" REALLY!!! We were never greeted with "good morning" or "good afternoon" in the buffet area. Many of the staff in the buffet area came across as rude and not friendly and would walk right in front of you without looking or letting you pass if you were walking with food. Also, it seemed as though they made all the food at the beginning of the cruise and then just kept putting it out everyday. A lot of it began to taste like leftovers and some of the bread and pastries even got stale after the 4th day. Almost every morning, the buffet area ran out of coffee cups in all of the beverage stations and would often take 20-30 minutes before staff would bring out more cups, causing a mad rush for cups and coffee! Our itinerary included a 2 say overnight stay in Quebec but we were told via announcement that we were only going to spend one day in that port. Many of us were looking forward to the 2 days and had to cancel plans and excursions. The ship left shortly after midnight and we never received an explanation as to why our trip in that port was cut short. Also, with a ship of almost 5k passengers, you would think they would open more than one gangway. It took so long to get back on the ship, and crew members would cut in front of you to get back onboard. Disembarking was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. We were in line to get off the ship and there were 3 terminals where the staff would scan your cruise card and everyone was splitting to go into one of the 3 lines. We got up to the staff member and I was handing him my card, when he just looked at me, put his scanner down and closed the line without saying anything! On top of that, he didn't leave the area but instead just stood there to chat with one of the other crew members! We all had to back out of that line to get into one of the other lines that were open, causing more chaos. On other cruises, the crew members would say thank you and bid you goodbye, but none of the crew members were saying anything to the passengers. Thankfully, we went to the guest service desk on the 4th night and canceled our gratuities and diverted them at the end of the cruise to the few on board who we thought deserved them. The bright spot on board was our cabin steward, Aldrin. He took good care of us and was very friendly and professional. Overall, the ship was beautiful, but too big for such an amateur and disorganized staff. They actually made Carnival look good for a quick second! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
MSC MERAVIGLIA My wife and I have been on approximately thirty cruises but this one was the worst. It took more than three hours in the terminal before we could get on the ship and we were standing the entire time. There were very few ... Read More
MSC MERAVIGLIA My wife and I have been on approximately thirty cruises but this one was the worst. It took more than three hours in the terminal before we could get on the ship and we were standing the entire time. There were very few cruise ship employees to guide you - it was a complete mess with no direction. We were told that the computers had been down in the morning and this had caused the back up. Later we found out that they were only down for 30 minutes (a convenient excuse). When we finally got cleared to go on the ship we spent one hour on the gangway - all they had to do was scan the cards that we had just been issued for us to board! There were only two gangways open for 5000+ passengers. We left New York City more than two hours late. The following night, as a way of apology, we were offered one glass of champagne - after dinner, in fact many had already left the dining room. Not much of an apology. We found most of the crew to be indifferent and we never saw any senior officers walking around to check on things and spread good will as you always see on other cruise lines. We assumed they did not want to have to speak with unhappy passengers - and there were many of them. Due to cancelled ports (Sydney and Quebec half day), poor weather and not enough public rooms to hang out in, we spent more time in our cabin than usual. Unfortunately the television had poor reception and only one or two stations. A crew member told us that the satellite was down for most of the trip. We usually don’t count on TV during a cruise but most cruises always have a lot of passenger activities. The balcony was a joke. It was very small, approximately three feet by six feet. Our room steward was very nice and did an excellent job. However, there were no tissues in the bathroom even though a holder was attached to the vanity. When we asked for tissues he said he would have to get that approved by his supervisor. Food on cruises is always epic - not so on Meraviglia. The menus were strange - “Caribbean Night” on the way to Canada? Poor choices, small portions and poor quality. One night I took a chance and had the pheasant - it was so tough I couldn’t eat it with a knife and fork. We looked forward to having wonderful Italian meals on this Italian line but the pasta was routinely awful. The lobster ravioli served one night had a filling that was paste-like with no hint of lobster - on a cruise! If you had done a blind taste test you would not guess it was lobster. The crab cake looked and tasted like potato with no crab that we could see. The wait staff was overworked with too many tables and the food was never really delivered hot. The tables were never set properly with a variety of silverware and different each night. Two nights (out of ten) there were small bowls at each place for dipping oil but none was ever offered and they disappeared as quickly as they came. The food choices were so bad and tasted terrible that the last four nights I had salmon every night from the “Classic” menu. The drink package seemed like it would be good but for some reason the information was not available to the dining room staff. We took a picture of what was available with our package and one night we were charged for a second glass of wine. When we spoke with the waiter he said we were “only allowed one glass of wine”. Luckily we were able to show him the choices which clearly stated “Unlimited wine” in the dining room. Getting the charge removed from our bill was ridiculously hard and was finally taken care of by the Head Waiter. Since this type of thing happened over and over, he was a huge help to us! I’m sure other passengers were charged in error and those charges were probably not removed. Although the performers did a very good job, the entertainment was marginal. They did not spend a lot of money for entertainment. We were scheduled to stay overnight in Quebec City and that half day was cancelled. The explanation was that we had to return to NYC early. We arrived in New York around 12:30am, approximately eight hours early so there was actually time. We travelled at night and did not get to see the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the fall foliage. All of this was part of the reason we took this particular cruise and it was terribly disappointing. We had car service scheduled to pick us up at 10:30 but when we were told the ship had changed our arrival time and was docking early, we had to rearrange everything, not easy when you’re at sea. Due to a medical emergency with one of our party we had to be escorted off the ship early. The room steward supervisor did a very nice job of helping us but our luggage remained on the ship and we could not find it for 90 minutes! And this is how they treated an emergency. It really was one thing after another on this ship. Read the reviews - don’t make the mistake we made and assume that you can’t please everybody. We made that mistake and took this MSC cruise but - never again. You could not pay me to go on an MSC cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship ... Read More
Typically cruise on Princess but wanted to try this due to itinerary. Hard not to compare Princess against Holland America. On the positive side we like the larger bathroom. Also the staff is great. On the not so positive side: The ship itself is old and is not well maintained compared to Princess ships except for cabins. Too much up selling in all areas. For example, Consistently being asked if we want to purchase a $75 steak or pay $25 for a lobster. When you say NO the demeanor of the staff seems to change. Not as attentive. Booked a walking tour at one of the ports. Due to fairly heavy and consistent rain and cold we thought it would be canceled but it wasn’t. Can’t imagine who would want to walk in the cold and rain for two hours. Probably will not be cruising with Holland America again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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