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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
We've done a one-night itinerary before, on Princess, and as Seattleites, love the fun and flexibility of just one night away. We were sorely disappointed on this itinerary and felt like it was an afterthought, not treated like a ... Read More
We've done a one-night itinerary before, on Princess, and as Seattleites, love the fun and flexibility of just one night away. We were sorely disappointed on this itinerary and felt like it was an afterthought, not treated like a real cruise. Overall, the ship was an odd ghost town. Most bars were closed. When we got to the pool finally (around 7pm) there was just one other family up on deck. We didn't see entertainment people the whole time. The one live music we saw, in the lounge at 10pm, was sparsely attended and odd. The staff said there were two shows in the theatre but there was just one, which we missed due to a slow dinner. Everything seemed picked up and like our time onboard was a hiccup before the real cruise started. First, due to a six-hour Amtrak delay, we weren't even sure we'd make the boat. More than an hour on hold with NCL and they said 'someone from the port will call you,' though nobody ever did. We weren't sure if we were going to Vancouver just to miss the ship, and nobody could tell us whether the ship could/would hold. Second, we didn't arrive at the port till 5:45pm. And STILL we waited 45 min for customs. We were told that people who arrived earlier waited hours. (It was a good thing there was a long line, since that's what kept the ship from leaving.) We completely missed our 6:30pm dinner reservations. Third, we chose this ship because our 5-year-old was psyched about the waterslide and the climbing area in the kids club. When we boarded, our "Freestyle Daily" told us the waterslide was only open till 6pm-- so we missed it entirely. It wasn't open at all the next day. Despite my pleas, and the fact it was still sunny and 70+ degrees, there was no opening the slide. Fourth, the kids club didn't actually have the play gym as in the photos - the staff said they had taken it out for the night. The kids area had just a bunch of tumbling mats. Another hard loss for our kiddo. Fifth, despite the empty restaurant, it took more than an hour to get our dinners at the 'Tsar's Palace' free restaurant. Sixth - and I'd say worst - the next morning was a real 'get off the ship NOW!' experience, despite the 'disembark by 9:30am.' Our room was made up with our luggage in it while we were at breakfast at 7am. Around 8am, a worker came by the outside of the ship and sprayed down our balcony - asking us to step off it and inside - leaving the seating wet and the ceiling dripping. There were no balls for the sports court and the pool was never opened. It was a complete waste. This is pretty much the opposite of the experience we had on Princess last fall, where the boat was packed, it was fun, it felt like a real getaway. Read Less
44 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Was really looking forward to this cruise, it was the Hellenic Classics. Actually getting onto the ship at Corfu was a joke.....an hour and a half queue to embark, in the sun!! Come on Thomson - not even any shade or seats, and bearing ... Read More
Was really looking forward to this cruise, it was the Hellenic Classics. Actually getting onto the ship at Corfu was a joke.....an hour and a half queue to embark, in the sun!! Come on Thomson - not even any shade or seats, and bearing in mind there were a lot of elderly people with sticks and crutches. The Dream is severely understaffed in all of the bar areas, as you wait forever to catch a waiter, and then when you do, you then wait ages to actually get your drink. Also the staff did not seem happy at all, apart from one or two. The happiest staff were the Cabin Staff. I have never experienced this before on a Thomson Ship, it was very disappointing. At the Captains Dinner we waited an hour before we got our first course, shocking. The same thing happened the next night. The only way that we got around this was to start to queue at 6 pm ready for the 6.30 pm opening. Once the food did arrive it was very good. The trips were very good with Thomson, but over priced. Can recommend the trip to The Monestery of Agia and Chania, and the Easy Ephesus Trip. I would definitely not go on the Thomson Dream again. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife's mother had been wanting to take an Alaska cruise for some time. After some family discussion, we chose to go in 2016, taking my wife and I, MIL, and my wife's younger niece. Did a bunch of research on the various ... Read More
My wife's mother had been wanting to take an Alaska cruise for some time. After some family discussion, we chose to go in 2016, taking my wife and I, MIL, and my wife's younger niece. Did a bunch of research on the various cruise lines, ships, and scheduling options. Ended up choosing Celebrity due to reviews on CC, the planned Vancouver-Alaska-Victoria-Seattle itinerary, and the early May sailing. Flew to Vancouver the day before we sailed, and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon/evening touring the city. It had been 12 years since we were there for our honeymoon. The metropolitan area has grown so much, but is still one of our favorite North American cities. Stayed Thursday night at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown, about 4 blocks from Canada Place. Had a late lunch at the hotel restaurant across the street, and then dinner at Cardero's, which has been a favorite of ours for many years. Cardero's is in the middle of the Coal Harbor marina, and an easy walk from most of the hotels in that area. Great seafood, drinks, people watching, and service. We hadn't cruised from anywhere before (much less Vancouver), so we did a bit of scouting of Canada Place both the day before and morning of the cruise. There were 3 ships in port the day of embarkation, with the resulting large numbers of people arriving and leaving the port/terminal. On Friday, we dropped our bags off at Canada Place right at 10am. This turned out to make our lives much easier later that day. Headed back to the terminal at around noon on Friday to check-in. My MIL has some mobility problems, which complicated (needed wheelchairs, on-board scooter) and assisted (got to the head most lines we waited in) our trip a bit. Upon arrival to Canada Place we got directed first downstairs to the cruise ship area, then upstairs to a conference space where they were staging the embarkees. Tried to get a wheelchair, and was directed by the extremely nice lady supervising things to find one + a Celebrity employee to assist. I walked back downstairs, found the chair+Celebrity guy, which got us to the front of the line to get checked-in/embarked. Talked a bit more with the supervisor, she mentioned that most of her staff was new. Now assisted by the Celebrity guy+wheelchair, we got back downstairs, went through security, cleared customs, and checked in for the cruise. Overall we got onboard by around 1pm-ish, which is a much experience result than other people had later in the day. Kudos to the Celebrity crewman that wheeled my MIL around that day, we couldn't have done it without him. Once on board we quickly got to our cabins (Sky Suites on deck 12), met our butler (Jacky), and then went down to lunch @ Luminae. After lunch we unpacked and looked around the ship, with the plan of being on deck when we departed. We waited until the planned lifeboat drill was cancelled, then waited a bit more, then attended the lifeboat drill (6-ish). After that everyone wanted dinner so we went to the main dining room. The ship didn't end up departing until around 7-ish, so we had plenty of time to eat and then get onto the Solstice deck to watch the ship sail through Coal Harbour, and under the Stanley Bridge; both awesome sights, especially in the twilight hours. Spend the 1st full day at sea (Saturday) doing normal cruise ship things. Had lunch @ Luminae, and dinner at Silk Harvest. Was really impressed by the food quality and service @ Silk Harvest; an outstanding experience all around. We arrived in Ketchikan on Sunday. My wife and niece-in-law did a rainforest hike, while MIL and I had lunch on board, then then walked around town a bit. Weather was pretty good, a bit overcast + 2 rain drops. Ketchikan was "fine", not too impressive of a stop, but the rainforest hike was fun, and it was nice to get on land for a few hours. Enjoyed dinner @ Luminae (see the trend here)? Monday was a combination of the sail up Tracy Arm and Juneau. I got up at 5am to get us a seat inside at the Sky Observation Lounge. Made it up there at 515am, and got us 2 chairs in the 2nd row, at the front of the lounge/ship. After my wife and MIL arrived, I headed outside to exercise room observation area on deck 12. We all very much enjoyed the trip up Tracy Arm, and the view as the ship turned around to head back out was incredible. In Juneau, my NIL and I did helicopted dog sledding, and my wife+MIL did a floatplane glacier tour. They were supposed to do a helicopter glacier tour, but it had been cancelled as the company used by Celebrity had cancelled all of its flight operations due to an accident the week before. We were a smidgen disappointed, but they enjoyed the floatplane, and the money "saved" was subsequently "unsaved" in the spa and onboard shops :-). Everyone got back to the ship fairly late, so we at in Bistro on 5 for dinner. Skagway was our Tuesday destination, with a 1240pm YPNR railway trip planned. Overall I'd say Skagway was the nicest slice of Alaska we saw, with the town, shopping, railway, scenery, and great weather all combining to make a fantastic day. We got back to the ship at around 5, and then had dinner in Tuscan Grille at 6pm. If you're looking for a special experience, eat in Tuscan Grill during the departure from Skagway; the view off the back of the ship is tremendous at that time of day. Wednesday was another at sea day. Had lunch and dinner at Luminae, and stayed up pretty late enjoying the bars and music that night (more details below). Thursday included sailing the final distance to Victoria, with a delayed departure off the ship due to customs issues (400 people that needed to be seen in person by Canadian border controls before the ship could be cleared). Boarded our bus to Butchart Gardens, and enjoyed a fantastic 1.5 hours touring the Gardens at sunset. I highly recommend going there; it's a very special place. Arrived in Seattle by 5am on Friday, had breakfast 1 more time @ Luminae, and the off the ship by 830am. No problem finding our bags or getting through US customs, and we were at SeaTac by 1030am for the flight home. Food? Overall we thought the food was pretty good, with a notable exceptions. Solstice seemed to do the following things very well: salads, soups, appetizers, Asian entree's, sandwiches, sweets, coffee drinks. Solstice did chicken and fish entree's pretty well, but most of the beef entree's (steaks, burgers) were disappointing, except for the Mast Grill burgers which were great. Restaurant-wise our favorite was Silk Harvest, followed by Luminae. We really enjoyed Luminae, for the quality of the food, fantastic service, and generally unhurried/uncrowded atmosphere. Not sure if that's enough for most people to justify the cost of a suite-class cabin, but it certainly was for us. Caffe Bacio was outstanding for coffee drinks and desserts, and Bistro on 5 did a good jobs with soups, sandwiches, and crepes. We ordered breakfast room service several mornings via the door hanger card, which really helped us the 3-4 days we had early activities planned. We also ate @ Tuscan Grille. Drinks, salads, and appetizers were fantastic, but our steaks were pretty disappointing. Service and the view though were amazing. Drinks? We all had the classic drink package as part of the 1-2-3-Go offer, which we upgraded to premium for an extra $11/day. Not sure exactly if we got our full money's worth, but we certainly tried :-). It was very nice to be able to order just about anything and not worry about extra costs, and my wife+NIL were cocktail drinkers anyways which probably would have gotten expensive without the premium package. All of the bars fit into our plans at one time or another. We regularly hit Sky Lounge bar at 3-ish for Trivia, Molecular Bar at 5pm for pre-dinner cocktails, either Passport Bar or Ensemble Lounge for after-dinner drinks, Martini bar for during/post show drinks, and then up to Sky Lounge for later night live music + drinks. We only went to Quasar once, but the post-show late night party always seemed to be at Martini Bar (live DJ). Fun? This was our 1st cruise, so we didn't quite know what to expect. Overall the ship didn't seem very crowded on this trip. I'd say the average age of the cruisers was older than us (mid-40s), but we didn't have any problem meeting and talking with people. It seemed like there were quite a few guests from Australia and the UK. On board fun for us included working out in the morning, followed by reading, trivia at 3pm, the drink schedule mentioned above, and then music at night. My NIL and MIL went to and enjoyed Brent Nixon's and Miss Amanda's presentations, as well as the evening shows. I enjoyed the band Funky T during their multiple shows. Overall? We really enjoyed our Celebrity and Alaska experience. The ship included enough restaurants, bars, and activities to please everyone in our multi-generational party, and the service was fantastic. Our Sky Suite butler was extremely helpful, especially when facilitating all of the little things my MIL needed. We're definitely looking to do another Celebrity cruise, maybe next year to Europe. Lastly... Kudos to the Cruise Critic community. Everyone's info+opinions on Celebrity and Alaska was invaluable in making this a fantastic vacation. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The food at dinner was good, but the buffet seemed a industrial dining area,with very long tables and very uncomfortable, unable to have privacy, and very congested all the areas. And in our cabin during the 10 nights we were hearing ... Read More
The food at dinner was good, but the buffet seemed a industrial dining area,with very long tables and very uncomfortable, unable to have privacy, and very congested all the areas. And in our cabin during the 10 nights we were hearing metallic and drill noises all night, we report them, but never stopped. A International staff -Shelia try her best for us. but the noise never stop. The shows are really bad and a cheap production, presented as chic and minimalist, but are very bad. I do not understand how critics give it 5 Stars. The good thing are the Port off call, each of them are excellent, we enjoyed every island and city. Bbut beware the offer tours on the ship are super expensive. if you make them by your on you pay only about 30%. We us the Hop on Hop off buses and they are great, and you explore at your own pace. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Went with friends to celebrate special birthday on Iberian cruise. Weather pretty awful and very rough in Bay of Biscay. First two ports ruined by heavy rain, but weather improved after that. Although perfectly clean the ship looked quite ... Read More
Went with friends to celebrate special birthday on Iberian cruise. Weather pretty awful and very rough in Bay of Biscay. First two ports ruined by heavy rain, but weather improved after that. Although perfectly clean the ship looked quite tired with dirty carpets and bathroom looked in need of refurb. All staff were excellent and food was good in restaurants we used although evening buffet was a bit boring. Special mention for Headliners theatre company who were fantastic and filled the theatre every night, so much so that you needed to get there at least three quarters of an hour early to get a seat. Other entertainment was variable, but not bad. Not all to our taste. Main complaint was that the facilities were inadequate for the number of passengers and the ship felt very overcrowded and noisy, particularly on sea days. Frustrated to have only half days in Cartagena and Gibralter when ship seemed to travel very slowly after leaving them. This is the only cruise we have been on where we felt overcrowded and also slept badly as beds felt uncomfortable. Probably would not travel with P&O again, particularly from Southampton as there were too many sea days. Have travelled with other cruise lines and very much enjoyed it, particularly in Caribbean. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Wow! What a fantastic experience! This was our second cruise, and our first with Celebrity, and also our first with a child: our four-year old boy. So we decided to push the boat out a bit and get a Celebrity Suite, and it was well ... Read More
Wow! What a fantastic experience! This was our second cruise, and our first with Celebrity, and also our first with a child: our four-year old boy. So we decided to push the boat out a bit and get a Celebrity Suite, and it was well worth the extra, in my view. Embarkation was painless. We had arranged a taxi from our hotel in Rome to the port, and we didn't have to wait more than ten minutes to get on board. We were able to go straight to our suite, which was nice, and quickly met our butler Ashwin and stateroom attendants Avi and Geoffrey. We hit our first snag shortly after boarding, as our baggage was mislaid and was not delivered to our room. Ashwin was able to track it down fairly quickly though. Disembarkation was also smooth. The stateroom was excellent. It was a good size and well laid out and the bathroom was good too, though the bath itself was a bit on the cosy side. The balcony was really big (we had a Celebrity Suite -1122 - on the end of the bulge with a diagonal balcony). It was a great location, near the lifts and the library. There was quite a bit of noise in the lift area in the evenings, but we didn't hear a thing in the suite itself. The cabin was spotlessly clean, and was cleaned beautifully every day by the stateroom attendants. The attendants and butler were all very helpful and accommodating throughout the cruise. We made use of the butler service quite a bit, to book our tables at dinner, order in suite dining etc. Ashwin was also able to get us a kettle for the suite which was something I was very pleased about. Avi made some fun animals out of towels to entertain our son. I'm not really sure if "butler" is the right word for the service provided by Celebrity, as it felt more like personalised room service, but it was nevertheless very helpful indeed. The ship is beautiful throughout and well laid out. There were some nice touches like the hideaway and the library which made the ship feel spacious and uncrowded. That said, I did think that Cafe al Bacio got a bit overcrowded at times, and the same went for the pool area (though not the pool itself). One issue with the ship was that the internet was not that fast (just fast enough to watch a youtube clip, not fast enough to watch an iTunes movie in real time) and dropped out for an extended period at one point. We wife and I didn't take in any of the entertainment or activities except catching some music in passing here and there. I did think it was a nice touch to have people playing live music in different parts of the ship from time to time. I wanted to try the Persian Garden once but they didn't let me in because it was crowded, which I thought was a bit of a shame, and I didn't ever try again. Our son however was a regular at the kids' factory, and he had a great time there (even though there weren't that many other kids). The staff looked after him really well, came up with lots of different activities, and he always wanted to go back there. Our son preferred eating with us though, so what we ended up doing was eating in-suite some nights; and on other nights we got him something in the suite and then dropped him at the kids' factory and then went to the suite-guest restaurant Luminae for our dinner (we tried taking him there once and it was just too stressful for all concerned, though the staff did their best). The in-suite food (which came from the main dining room) was good without being especially memorable. But Luminae was just amazing. I've rarely eaten so well, and never so consistently. The service was also excellent. Staff were friendly without being overbearing and knew what they were doing. I was extremely impressed. We had breakfast in the suite most days and this was fairly good, again without being especially memorable and was always delivered on time by Ashwin and often ate on the balcony, which was lovely. One gripe was that we were constantly being asked for our sea pass when ordering drinks, and we were charged for a some trivial little things like ice cream in Cafe Al Bacia (but not in the Oceanview Cafe), which seemed a little stingy considering the amount we paid to be in Suite Class and the fact that we had premium drinks packages. The other facility that we made a great deal of use of was Michael's club. Whenever it was overcrowded elsewhere, we could go there and have some peace and quiet as well as lots of nice canapés and lots of free tea, whisky or champagne (Though I am not sure if these were only free because we had the drinks package). Samantha and Denny, the concierges in Michael's club were really fantastic and couldn't do enough for us. They helped us with the disembarkation, with tendering, with booking meals and just with a lot of quick and accurate help and advice on how to do things. They made us feel really, very well looked after and I would go Suite Class again just for that service. Shore excursions were a mixed bag. We only did transfer-only excursions, because we didn't want to be dragging our four-year-old around trying to keep up with a guide. Here I review only the transfer, not the locations themselves, as they're in avery guidebook (and all well worth a visit in my view). The trip to Taormina (from Messina) was good, and the guide told us some interesting things on the way. The trip to Ephesus (from Kusadasi) was fine, but we were a bit annoyed at being taken to a carpet shop which was not advertised on the itinerary. Fortunately this was within walking distance of the ship, so we could skip it easily. We did Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes under our own steam, as the ports are all walkable to the main sites of interest. We bottled out of Athens as we just couldn't face dragging our boy around Athens for all those hours (it was a fairly long excursion). Our transfer to Pompeii (from Naples) was cancelled, which we were really disappointed about, so we had to haggle for a cab and go under our own steam. Not a problem really, but an annoyance, as we thought we'd settled that already. Would I go again? Would I recommend it to others? Yes, undoubtedly, to both. I would always go Suite Class if at all possible though, as Michael's Club and Luminae are the star turns of the ship in my view and made the cruise feel like a real luxury experience. Read Less
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I cruised on the Thomson Dream for 2 weeks from the 6th May, the first week was the Hellenic Classic and the second week was the Adriatic Explorer. Overall, we had a great holiday with excellent food and generally good ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on the Thomson Dream for 2 weeks from the 6th May, the first week was the Hellenic Classic and the second week was the Adriatic Explorer. Overall, we had a great holiday with excellent food and generally good service, with a few notable exceptions. Unfortunately, there were some very poor areas of the holiday, specifically concerning the transfers from and to the airport, which slightly tarnished our holiday. We arrived in Corfu around 1.30pm on the Friday, and cleared customs and baggage reclaim quickly. However, we had to queue for the room ticket information at the airport, which was made worse when a Thomson rep decided to form a second queue, even though there were the same amount of girls serving. Not really sensible! We then made the short transfer to the port, and then had to queue outside in quite hot temperatures for nearly 2 hours, waiting to pass through the cruise initiation for ID etc. This was not very good for many elder customers, and needs resolving quickly by Thomson. There was then a long walk to the ship, as no one mentioned there was a regular shuttle bus. At the mid point of the cruise, I was in the cruise terminal, and again noticed that no one mentioned the shuttle bus, even to the people with wheelchairs and walking sticks! Having been on the Dream several times previously, we immediately noticed a downturn in service in the bars and main restaurant. Service was slow and, to be honest, not of the service we expected. We found out that a lot of crew had been transferred to the new ship, Discovery, the previous week. However, overall, service did pick up when management started to show their faces a bit more after a few days. One area the service was very slow was in the Broadway lounge. In fact, it was easier to walk out into the Medusa to order drinks! We spent a lot of time in Tides bar, and the service was excellent from Didi and the rest of the staff - definitely no issues at this bar. The Orion restaurant was excellent over the two weeks for breakfast and evening meal, with Captain's night being the only issue. However, we were talking to other people, so this was OK with us. After about 4 days, we settled at the same table and received first class service from Yudi and Chris (wine waiter). We did not eat in the Lido, but had our lunches at Sirens, and generally had no issues here. Food was generally hot (not piping), but tasteful. We pre-booked an outside cabin plus on deck 5, and were impressed with the space and quality of the room. Again, no issues here. We went out on a tour to Venice which, regretfully, is very over-rated with 6 in a gondala and the driver texting or talking into his mobile all around. Generally, we felt that the tours were over-priced. I went out on two cycle tours to Kotor (which was excellent) and Split. Alex, our guide, was first class and well worth a visit if you are interested in bike riding. He was assisted by Martyn on the second tour, who also was very good. As said earlier, we had a great holiday, which was only diminished by the transfers to and from the airport, with the nightmare coming on the last day. It was raining in Corfu, but the cases still had to go out on the pier. These were covered by polythene, which did not really help, so our cases got wet. We then had a long and slow transfer back to the airport where, without any forewarning by Thomson, it was a complete nightmare. We got off the bus and it was genuine mayhem looking for a sign to see what queue to stand in outside of the building. Fortunately, it was under cover. We queued outside for over an hour, before finally entering the building and being told which desk to book in. We had to guess which direction to travel, but just followed the crowds. We then booked in onto the flight, and then had to go into another queue for our cases to go through a security check. Why could Thomson not have given us a little warning of what was happening? Were they afraid? There were plenty of Thomson reps around, but it was just chaotic. Anyway, we still believe the Dream is a worthwhile ship to go on but I would not like to go from Corfu again unless we had assurances the issues at the airport were sorted. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Short break. As expected, crew was friendly and efficient. Use of passenger name in conversation is a nice touch that pervades interactions. The refresher intent of the cruise was marred by unsupervised children in the Lido dining ... Read More
Short break. As expected, crew was friendly and efficient. Use of passenger name in conversation is a nice touch that pervades interactions. The refresher intent of the cruise was marred by unsupervised children in the Lido dining areas,running the corridors and stairs. Additionally, the location of this cabin adjacent to one with a double plus bunk layout that makes children next door an inevitability. This has implications for the use of the balcony as a restful spot. Normal, active kids generate noise. The outside aluminium furniture on the balcony deck are impossible to move without a fair bit of clanking. Something I'll put wariness of being next to a bunk lay-out cabin in the same category as elevators and laundries when I next choose a cabin. The dining room experience is typically enjoyable, especially the staff entertainment involving children. It would be good to see a change in menus, though. They've become predictable. Entertainment this time ranged from excellent (stage shows) to mediocre (solo guitarist). Use of a larger catamaran from the resort made ferrying passengers to and from Moreton Island faster. I'll cruise with Carnival Spirit and its crew again: but it would be great if it had a makeover beforehand. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had previously cruised twice on Norwegian Getaway. Thoroughly enjoyed Norwegian, but got a better deal this time around with Royal. Embarkation: Absolutely amazing. Lots of people at the port when we arrived however we were a ... Read More
We had previously cruised twice on Norwegian Getaway. Thoroughly enjoyed Norwegian, but got a better deal this time around with Royal. Embarkation: Absolutely amazing. Lots of people at the port when we arrived however we were a total of 40 minutes from the time we got there until we were on the ship. Once through security Royal organizes check in via your cabin floor. Very organized and efficient. Disembarking: We had an earlier flight so we chose express check out taking our bags off this ship ourselves. Very smooth again about 40 minutes in total. One thing I noticed that Royal does if you choose standard disembarking is they assign you a number which you attach to your luggage. Simply go to that designated area to get your luggage. More organized than NCL> Ship: The Oasis is an absolute marvel. Couldn't believe there were close to 6,000 people on board. The only time it felt crowded was on Deck 5 where the shops are. Could get clustered there. But we had no issues finding deck chairs or using the facilities and activities. Cabin: We were in cabin 9729 the last cabin in the Boardwalk section,. Terrific. Family of four two adults and two 13 year old boys. Great view of the Aqua Theatre. Never heard a sound with the balcony door closed. Cabin was kept spotlessly clean. Dining: Plenty of options. Food was solid across the board. Windjammer can get crowded if you wait until 9 or 9:30 to eat. We went earlier and rarely had an issue. Always got a table. The American Icon main dining room was very good. We made reservations via My Time Dining and may have had a 5 minute wait one night. Other nights we checked in and were taken to our table immediately. The key is to make reservations ahead of time. There was a significant line and wait time for those who did not have reservations. Dinner would take about an hour in total. We dressed business casual and had no issues even on formal nights. Some passengers go all out - tuxedos and ball gowns but we chose not to and had no issues. My boys liked Sorrentos for pizza and I enjoyed Sabor the Mexican restaurant on the Boardwalk. Entertainment and Activities: The boys enjoyed Flow Rider and we all did the zip line. Mini golfed many times without crowds. Enjoyed the Basketball court as well. Watched a few of the Aqua Theatre shows from our balcony. My wife went to Frozen. We thoroughly enjoyed skating as well. There is lots to do. Service: Everyone works very hard and they are obsessed with cleanliness. No issues with service. Ports: Labadee: Very nice to have a private island to go to. Beach was great. This sort of excursion would be expensive if you were to book it yourself on another island. Jamaica: We went to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios. Booked it ourselves through Best Jamaica. Great day. It cost us $170 USD to book through Best Jamaica. I think we would have been over $400 with Royal. An absolutely great day topped off with lunch at Scotchie's. A must if you are in the Ocho Rios area. Cozumel: There were 5 ships in port including the Oasis so we decided to just go into town and do some shopping. $8 dollars one way to get into town about 3 miles away. Lots of shops. It was fun. Vendors can be a little aggressive. Overall we really enjoyed it and will choose Royal over NCL. Nothing against Norwegian but we found Royal to be so much better at managing a large number of passengers. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our fifth cruise two with Royal Caribbean and two with Carnival. I booked this cruise about four months out and selected a guaranteed mini-suite and got a great price. NCL also threw in the Ultimate Beverage Package and the 4 day ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise two with Royal Caribbean and two with Carnival. I booked this cruise about four months out and selected a guaranteed mini-suite and got a great price. NCL also threw in the Ultimate Beverage Package and the 4 day Specialty Dining Package which was a very nice perk. We flew into Miami from Phoenix Friday, May 6th and stayed in the Comfort Suites north of the Miami airport. The hotel was nice and the morning breakfast and shuttle to the port is very good. We all got to the port at about 11:00 am and were on the ship by 11:45. The Escape is a beautiful ship with stunning decor everything feels new and the lighting all around the ship is crisp and inviting. This sailing on the Escape had 5,002 passengers plus 1,700 crew which was just a hair short of max capacity. Despite this I never felt like the ship was overly crowded and we hardly ever had to wait more than a few seconds for an elevator to appear. Room: Great we ended up getting a Mid-Ship MINI suite assigned on deck 14 close to the elevators. The bathroom was huge and the shower was really cool. The beds were comfortable and the balcony was larger than RCCL and Carnival. Food: Wow where to start; the Escape has the most comprehensive dining options of any ship I have ever been on. All the food was simply great and the service was also very attentive and friendly. I will break it down by the restaurants I visited. Garden Cafe: Best buffet I have experienced at sea hands down. The lido on Carnival and the Windjammer on Royal have nothing on this buffet. NCL did a great job at serving a variety of dishes that were both tasty and unique. Top dishes to get include... -Jerk Pork Loin -Sautéed Mushrooms -Create your own pasta bar -Mashed Potatoes -Meatball Mac & Cheese -Braised Beef -Ice Cream Station ;D Manhatten Room: We ate in the Manhattan Room for three of our dinner night. The dining room is beautiful and the live music was a nice touch. The food was good. Top dished include... -Philadelphia Pepper Pot -Bay Scallops -Morel and Fava Bean Risotto -Coconut Soufflé Cagney's: Ate at Cagney's the first night the service was swift and the meal was great. However their cocktail the Negroni tasted like you were eating bark off a tree =(.Best dishes include.... -Shrimp Cocktail -Baked Potato Soup "Amazing" -Filet Mignon -Raspberry Creme Brûlée "Best Dessert Onboard" Moderno: We all went to Moderno slightly less than hungry and that was a mistake because Moderno offers so much. The salad bar is incredible in fact it was so good that our entire party skipped most of the meats and just ate salad. If your a veggie eater this is your restaurant. Best dishes include. -Caesar Salad -Salami and Cured Ham -Black Been Soup -Heart of Palm -Cheesy Bread ;D Teppanyaki: Went to Teppanyaki on the second sea day and was not disappointed. Our chef was extremely funny and talented and gave us huge portions of meat, rice, and noodles. FYI the Green Tea Cake is an acquired taste it is very Earthy. Best dishes include.... -Garlic Fried Rice "Yum" -Chicken -Filet Mignon -Scallops Le Bistro: Had our formal night at Le Bistro and it did not disappoint. The service was excellent and the food was amazing. Best Dishes Include... -French Onion Soup "Best Soup Onboard" -Seafood Medley -Filet De Beouf "Best Steak Onboard" -Creme Brûlée -Chocolate Fondue Margaritaville: Went to Margarita will during a sea day and had a nice lunch. Best dishes include... -Volcano Nachos -Pretzel Sticks -Chicken Club O'Sheehans: Had lunch at O'Sheehan's and it was very good. Best dishes include... -Coney Island Dog -Chicken Wings -Nachos -BBQ Burger All in all you can't go wrong with the food on the Escape I enjoyed myself and I did not even get to half of the restaurants =D. Entertainment: Silas and Andre the Cruise Directors are hilarious both truly seem to love their jobs and have a great time interacting with the guest. Go to the Marriage Show in the atrium it was hilarious also attend the Deal or No Deal show in the atrium. After Midnight: After Midnight was okay not bad but not good. The vocals were amazing and the tap dancers were some of the best I have seen but there was no discernible plot and it ran way too long. If your into vocals and tap dancing this is for you but if not perhaps other entertainment options are more suited for you. For the Record: The Brat Pack: All I can say is WOW!!!! This show was the best show I have seen at sea and I thought Mamma Mia set the bar pretty high on RCCL. The vocal talent in this show is so stunning that it is unbelievable these performers are not household names. The show has a good mix of humor, sadness, and fun. Shout out to my boy Alex Sherman who played the Brain; he really stole the show which was hard since ever other performer was literally flawless. Go see it and make reservations early. Crew Variety Show: Fun and interesting it allows many of the crew members a chance to share their talents and bask in their cultures. NCL is doing a great job with their crew and it shows. Activities: The waterslides are the best at sea. The huge Aqua-racer tube slide was really fun and the drop slides took your breathe away literally. The ropes course was fun and the zip-lines were cool but the plank areas were closed for repairs. Ports: St Thomas we took the Ferry to St. John and went to Trunk Bay which is in my opinion one of the best beaches on the planet. On Tortola we took the Rebel Yell to Jost Van Dyke and White Bay. We had a blast and the water was just simply stunning highly recommend seeing this beach and going to White Bay. Nassau is a dump literally; been their three times now and every time literally gets worse the people are pushy, prices high, and there is not a lot to do directly when you get off in port. I will stay on the ship if this is apart of my next Eastern Itinerary. Final Notes: People have complained about the motion of this ship and I will put this to bed now. The Escape had no more motion than any other ship I had been on which includes the RCCL Allure, Freedom, Carnival Dream, and Freedom. Also people always like to say NCL is the Nickel and Dime Cruise-line which is a bit absurd because everything that NCL charged for so did Royal and Carnival. Seriously if you go into this cruise with an open mind you will have a good time its almost impossible not too. There will be minor hiccups along the way but overall I am sure that the NCL Escape will provide you with a great experience. Read Less

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