1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. Family Cruises
  4. Family Cruises Cruise Reviews

52,296 Family Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was efficient, Destinations were really good But from there it went south really quick. Starting with the buffet, The first day it was really good, Especially the seafood pasta salad with squid. I thought we were in for a real ... Read More
Embarkation was efficient, Destinations were really good But from there it went south really quick. Starting with the buffet, The first day it was really good, Especially the seafood pasta salad with squid. I thought we were in for a real treat. So after lunch we decided to tour the ship and stumbled onto the main dining room. We decided to enter through the doors to take a peak when we were rudely yelled at by the Mater D (Sorry for the mispelling) to leave. Our initial reaction was "Wow, That was shocking, He could have handled it differently. He was an Italian with a huge attitude and bad manners. I thought from that point this guy can kiss his tip goodby! The first night we ate in the main restaraunt and both my wife and I had the French onion soup thinking that it should be a good choice. That was a big mistake! I took my first spoon full and lost my appetite right at the get-go. I called over the waiter and he offered up a salad as an alternative which I reluctantly accepted. Shortly after the same Mater D came running up to my table apologizing for the terrible soup and insisted to make it up with another menu choice. My first thought was he needed a Huge breath mint as his breath was that of halitosis. At that point my Dinner was ruined and we left immediately. Moving forward we really enjoyed our destinations, Which were Grand Cayman, Routan, Key West and Cozumel. The ship was very clean, The bartender "Leo" was excellent, But the Italians and europeans working on the ship treated my Wife and I like second class citizens. Specifically Customer Service. (NOTE: Customer Service is not a term that is understood on this ship) I almost got into a tussle with a Euro in the Casino after winning a $500.00 jackpot on the Wheel of fortune machine that he had left a couple of minutes prior. Funny thing is that the Italian Employees on this ship must not realize that their Employer is Carnival International and it is an AMERICAN Company that owns it. I reflect back to how I was treated by many of their staff and get a laugh at who is paying their paycheck. This Cruise was a nightmare. After our bad experience in the dining room on the first night we opted for the Buffets, But they closed at 8:00pm and the remaining choices were pizza and salad OR salad and pizza, Take your pick!! So, In reviewing the Buffets I will start with Breakfast which the choices were smoked salmon and a Tilapia wrapped pickle "Really"? I can see that the Euros may have a palet for that but not us Yanks. Note to Costa, You are cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale, It would only make sense to design the menu around the preferences of American cuisine, Correct? Breakfast was only good if you had the omlette which had huge lines or the fruit. Either way, It was not good. Now we go to Lunch. Bottom line it was terrible. The squid salad was served daily without change and every day it got a little more distastful and rotten as the week progressed. In summary of this waste of money, I would only recommend that people who are considering a cruise with Costa, To spend it with a Cruise line that really knows how to treat their Customers. IE: Royal Carribean or Princess. Sincerely One Very Disappointed Yankee! Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
The Costa Concordia Northern Mediterranean Cruise, April, 2008 First: This cruise was my 6th. I was on Holland America for Alaska, Princess for 2 Mediterranean cruises, Renaissance for Greece and Turkey (pity it went out of ... Read More
The Costa Concordia Northern Mediterranean Cruise, April, 2008 First: This cruise was my 6th. I was on Holland America for Alaska, Princess for 2 Mediterranean cruises, Renaissance for Greece and Turkey (pity it went out of business—it was an awesome cruise line) and Princess for the Panama Canal. All of these cruises were excellent. If arriving at the Civitavecchia port by train (the express from Rome's Termini takes about 25 minutes and cost 11 Euros each one way), you can easily walk North along the waterfront to the port—it's about 6 blocks. Buses at the entrance to the port will take you to your ship (the buses are labeled). Pulling luggage, it took us only 15 minutes to walk there. Civitavecchia is a small town with limited facilities, so you probably would not want to spend a vacation there. (Train tip, given to us be a local: If the train is crowded, then just sit in the restaurant. By a coffee or glass of wine and you can stay there for the entire trip). The Concordia is, above all, an Italian ship. 90% of the passengers were Italian. For anyone who enjoys the European experience, it can be entertaining, but the Italian culture is definitely not American. If you are not comfortable with lots of smoking, lots of kids running around freely, crowding on elevators (in fact, not even waiting for exiting people to get off first), and lotsa pasta, it's not the ship for you. If the culture differences are acceptable, then you have to consider the size of the ship. It's huge, carrying over 3000 passengers and all of the staff. Due to this experience, I will stick to smaller ships in the future (I like 700-1200 passenger ships). It took 5 minutes just to walk from one end of the ship to the other—and that's when the corridor is a straight shot. On this convoluted and garishly decorated ship, a deck is often interrupted and you have to go either up or down a deck to cross over. AND, they shut down the main elevators whenever passengers are disembarking or embarking, which is at all the European ports. It was quite annoying to have to walk to the port or after elevators since the staff was using the main elevators to load and unload luggage. We paid $799 each (yes, dollars) for an 8-day cruise. At that price, we paid $100/day for a floating hotel, transportation to various ports, food, evening entertainment and water activities (pool and hot tubs). It's a good deal. Yes, we booked at the lowest price and were on deck 1. We did not care since we got access to everything and spent very little time in our room. The room was a typical cruise ship room. Limited space, but adequate. The bathroom was actually a bit nicer and larger than any other ship I've been on. The decorating was muted and not displeasing. The service was adequate. The meals in the dining room varied. Some nights the seafood was excellent. Other nights the food was mediocre. But it was never bad and the pasta was always good. We had several dishes that were excellent, such as the scampi and the calamari. The desserts were typical cruise ship fare: Pretty to look at and sweet, but no real flavor. Our waiters did a good job. Breakfast was a buffet and it never varied. But I don't vary it much at home, so I was content with it. The lunch buffet was always typical buffet food. Some items were quite tasty, but cooking en mass for buffets automatically means that excellent is not an adjective that gets applied to the selections. If you want decent coffee, you have to buy the coupon books. The free coffee is the shameful equivalent of what imagine sewage sludge to taste like. Since Italian coffee is generally quite good, the cruise line should be embarrassed to offer such swill. The entertainment also varied. Some nights it was surprisingly good and other nights it was so bad that we left early. The flamenco was terrible, but the drummers were surprisingly good. The spa and gym are exceptional. I had an excellent massage in a well-appointed facility and I used the gym every day. The shear size of the ship meant that we had to deal with crowds. It got old. We also got tired of dealing with the extremely rude customer service. I won't go into that drama, but they certainly do not know what service means. And be aware: All announcements are in 4 languages: Italian, German, French and English. We chose to skip the rainy, gray day at the port of Genoa (well, actually at Savona, but everyone said that it was a boring, industrial town). Instead, we spent a lovely afternoon in the hot tub, drinking wine. It was the only way to spend time in one of the hot tubs without playing sardine. Whenever most of the passengers were on board, the hot tubs were full. The pools were also somewhat disappointing in that the "adult only" pool was always full of kids. The Italians seem to ignore signs and even if the Concordia staff chased the kids off, the kids would come back within 15 minutes. THE PORTS Savona/Genoa: We skipped it. After the long flight from the US, and due to the rainy, gray day, we decided to spend the afternoon in the hot tub, drinking wine. Other people told us that Savona is disappointing, just an industrial town. Genoa is apparently interesting, but a train ride away. Barcelona: With only 6 hours in port, we did not have time to do Barcelona justice. We chose to walk to the easily accessible Las Ramblas (we did take a cab back to the ship). The street performers were fun to watch. The Boutiqueria is a local market. While I find it interesting to walk through such venues, nothing about it was particularly distinguishing. The so-called Gothic area was disappointing since many of the shops were vacant. Along Las Ramblas, many of the shops can be found anywhere. I would have liked more local handicrafts and art. Just fyi, everyone we talked to who had taken the "Highlights" tour (offered by the cruise line), said it was disappointing. Palma de Majorca: The day before we arrived, Concordia announced that it was offering a free Pearl Factory Tour. We signed up. The drive was about 30 minutes outside of town, so we saw some lovely country-side and also stopped at the main cathedral on our way back into town. I suspect that Concordia has an arrangement with the Pearl Factory and guarantees a certain number of visitors whenever it is in port. Too few people signed up, so they offered the bus ride for free. And seeing how the pearls are made was actually quite interesting. Tunis: What a HUGE disappointment. It was our first visit to Africa, so we were quite excited about it. Having done some research, we knew that we wanted to visit a local artisan shop in the downtown area of Tunis (we like to do early Christmas shopping and we did find some beautiful lacquered olive wood with the local jasmine flower decorations). We expected to get off the ship, book a cab, and then tour the old medina. However, the taxis ALL wanted 100 Euros round-trip to the medina (about a 25 minute drive each way)! They were rude and pushy (no doubt cultural, but unpleasant just the same). The taxi drivers insisted on staying with you for the entire time that you were exploring. And many people told us that their drive "hi-jacked" them and insisted on stopping at a local carpet shop (no doubt run by their uncle, brother or other family member). We were fortunate in eventually finding a driver who took us where we wanted to go, and for a bit less than 100 Euros. The terrain is dessert. Sand. Brown. Dry. Our dinner companions said that they felt downright unsafe in the old medina. Bottom line here: It's a good place to book a tour...any tour that is of interest. Everyone who took a tour seemed to have a much better experience than those of us who went out on our own. The Tunisians would be better served by building a bridge from the port to the old town so that tourists can more easily spend their money on local goods instead of taxi fares. Malta: This island proved to be the unexpected highlight of our cruise. We got off the ship and with some British friends we rented an open-air jeep for the day (120 Euros total, plus the tips for the guide). The native languages are Maltese, English and Italian, so we got a wonderful English-speaking guide named Albert. For just a little over the cost for one person at the cruise ship rates (90 Euros/person), we rented a jeep for the entire day for all 4 of us...it was a very reasonable deal. Many tours are available right at the wharf. The Maltese have also been quite smart and built an entire line of attractive-looking restaurants and shops right by the docks. Besides getting an excellent tour that touched on local history, geology, museums, flora, fauna, and prehistoric megalithic temples (Tarxien Temples), we also bought some beautiful silver filigree jewelry for which the island is famous. Palermo: This Sicilian city is like most big cities: Some nice parts and some tawdry parts. The ship docks right by the city of Palermo, so we enjoyed a day wandering around Palermo, but most people who took tours or went off on their own into the countryside raved about the island. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
We sailed on the "Sun Princess" departure Sydney April 06, 2008 to Far North Queensland. I have been on 8 cruises, 2 with Princess and this cruise was absolutely sub-standard. We chose this cruise because we had sailed ... Read More
We sailed on the "Sun Princess" departure Sydney April 06, 2008 to Far North Queensland. I have been on 8 cruises, 2 with Princess and this cruise was absolutely sub-standard. We chose this cruise because we had sailed previously on the "Pacific Princess" and found it to be quite luxurious in every way. Unfortunately the same can not be said about the Sun Princess. The ship is touted as luxury cruising for the Australian market, but to quite honest it is like a floating RSL club. How Princess (or Carnival) can promote this ship as a super liner and luxurious is false advertising and very misleading. The prices certainly don't reflect the cheapness of the whole experience. I thought I was on the old "Fairstar", that is how low grade it was. We always book a balcony cabin because we like the extra space........unfortunately the balcony cabins on this ship are much smaller than we have experienced on other cruises. They were also quite "worn" and not worth the money. To start with we were due to depart at 1600hrs but due to "mechanical problems" it was after 2300hrs when we finally departed. While I understand that technical faults can not be helped, it was the lack of information by the crew that was frustrating and unprofessional. Nobody seemed to know what was going on (this is how it was for the entire cruise). I found most of the crew to be unhelpful and just plain surly and rude (except for one girl on the purser's desk, Regina). Almost all of them looked like they didn't want to be there. This attitude permeated through the passengers, everyone seemed miserable. Our dining room staff were basically hopeless. They were either very inexperienced or just didn't care. Most nights our orders were wrong or courses just didn't turn up. Our table complained every night that the food was cold, yet nothing was done. On one night instead of getting us new mains they just reheated them!! My main was scallops so as you can imagine they were tough after being reheated. I did complain to the Maitre'D but he was very rude to me and was demanding to know my cabin number (which I didn't want to give out) He basically said that they were very busy and he didn't have time for me. Sorry but you know you are going to be busy with 2000 pax on the ship it's not as if they just turned up out of the blue!. It's their job so if they can't do it efficiently then they shouldn't be there!!!. I found his attitude extremely offensive. On the whole, the food was very poor quality and not a great deal of variety. No fabulous buffets as experienced on other cruises (Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Pacific Princess). The buffet was the same everyday with very little change or selection. The food again in here was mostly cold as was the coffee. It was overcrowded all the time as the oldies got their on the dot of opening and didn't budge. We had a few meals in our cabin (room service) which was actually quite good and very quick delivery. The lack of knowledge and help extended to the gift shop as well. No body seemed to know anything down there also. I was inquiring about a piece of Swarovski jewelery and the young girl that served me told me she was new and didn't know what I was talking about. She asked me to come back in an hour to speak to another assistant who had more knowledge. I did come back and spoke to the other girl who did know what I was talking about but said that she was too busy to look in the storeroom for the piece. Needless to say I gave up after that. This type of attitude is simply unacceptable in my opinion. The entertainment was terrible. On one occasion nearly everyone walked out of the theatre when one very outdated singer/comedian started his act. We ended up not returning after seeing 3 very amateur mediocre shows. The lack of public areas was also a problem, Our table liked to meet for drinks before dinner (late sitting ) but due to the high volume of elderly people, we found that they occupied the seats from early afternoon ad didn't budge. Everything was a hassle and took the glint off the time on board. The 12 days couldn't pass quick enough! The other drama we encountered was with the tender service. To be blunt it was simply appalling and completely unorganized. We were told to obtain tender tickets on the morning of the tender service in each port which we did at 0800am. In Townsville we didn't get off the ship until 1130am, 3 ½ hours after getting the tender tickets. When we finally got on the tender we were horrified to see that the tender departed half empty!!!. We wondered if this was the case with every service as some poor people did not get off until 1330pm. Of course this meant that our time in Townsville was very limited. We arrived back at the dock to board the tender back to the ship at 1500hrs. There we waited in the blistering heat for over an hour. There was no shade as the queue extended well into the carpark. No announcements were made and we just stood there until finally getting on the tender at nearly 1630hrs. Again, such lack of organization and information was very disappointing and totally unprofessional from such a large company. This was the case with every tender port if you were not booked on a shore excursion. Speaking of Shore excursions, the one we did out to The Great Barrier Reef from the Whitsunday's was horrific. Another poorly organized event by the Sun Princess. I will say that I complained on the ship about this (along with nearly everyone else on the trip) and we were refunded 1/3 of the price. The only thing that ran smoothly was the disembarkation on the last day. They were very efficient in getting us off!! (Funny that, they can move 2000 people when they want to!) On the whole the vacation was a total disappointment and certainly was not worth the money paid. We had such high expectations of Princess and this was a letdown to say the least. We actually went to the Purser's desk and removed the gratuities from our bill, the first time we have ever done this. That is how bad the whole experience was for us. It will be very hard for us to book another Princess cruise after this. Although we enjoyed the Pacific Princess we are left wondering if Princess's service and quality have declined throughout the whole fleet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This review is in tribute to all who post ... Your posts are very, very helpful! Hugs! Background: 2 (young!) seniors, 3 in their 30s. No children. Got a fab. rate reduction thanks to Cruise Critic posters, so a great value. ... Read More
This review is in tribute to all who post ... Your posts are very, very helpful! Hugs! Background: 2 (young!) seniors, 3 in their 30s. No children. Got a fab. rate reduction thanks to Cruise Critic posters, so a great value. As a cruise agent and veteran cruiser, I have to say that Mariner of the Seas during Spring Break had lots of activities for families. Huge ship fully loaded (3500 pax.) Excellent staff and crew, well-trained and friendly. I hadn't been on a RCCL ship in years and this was my first experience with this class of their ships. However, IMHO, this is the wrong ship for the Mexican Riviera. We live in Los Angeles and know that this itinerary before the end of April and after October can be cold, windy, and sometimes rocky. What surprised me most about this ship was that it had NO retractable pool roof top cover. The weather was sunny and warm the first 5 days, but the last 2 days at sea was very cold and very windy, destroying any chance of poolside sunning April 10 - 11. Other RCCL ships have the pool roof cover, and it would have made a huge difference in our last 2 days at sea. So, I do not recommend this ship in winter... although with a little bit of weather luck, possibly OK in late Dec. and early January when we get a spell of warm weather. Tip: For those with inside cabins, take showers in the spa dressing rooms ..much roomier! The Good: Rock climbing wall Min. golf course In-line skating Ice skating (adult and kids' sessions) Ice Show (don't miss!) ...all at no charge. Huge video arcade for the kids Excellent gym and indoor spa Lunch in dining room had an excellent salad bar which, in the way they have it set up, can be a wait for the servers. Service consistently good. Embarkation and disembarkation handled exceptionally well. Plentiful, quality smoked salmon (lox) which at $30. lb. in L.A. was a delight to have each morning. Promenade (sp?) and the 24 hour Cafe lovely..with several special shows taking place during the cruise. Latin Bar was a happening. The Not-so-good: Food in Windjammer was OK at best. Fried hamburgers and hot dogs, instead of grilled. No poolside grill > discouraged outdoor dining. Specialty restaurants: nice experience but OK at best. Main pool area was a visual mess ..has to do with design of the area ....tiered with lots of rails. Adult pool area ..closed in with cheesy design. No in-cabin amenities ..no little basket of samples. In sum ...(and, in fairness to RCCL, it was Spring Break and they handled the crowd well).. found it was an average experience in a big newer ship. Unless RCCL changes ships, take this one in late Spring to early Fall. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Our 2nd cruise on RCLEmbarkation  - was a breeze - walked right up to the counter checked in, was on the ship within 20 minutes, went up to the Windjammer had lunch. We were in our cabin by 1 PM. Checked out the ship, then had our muster, ... Read More
Our 2nd cruise on RCLEmbarkation  - was a breeze - walked right up to the counter checked in, was on the ship within 20 minutes, went up to the Windjammer had lunch. We were in our cabin by 1 PM. Checked out the ship, then had our muster, which was kind of confusing. no one checked us in so we had to make sure afterwards they had marked us off the list. Dining - We chose the Murder Mystery dinner at Portofino. It started in Ellingtons bar with champagne & hoerdovers, then after the "murder" we moved to Portofino's where the mystery continued. It was great fun, met real nice people, and the meal was delicious. Ate in he main dining room the rest of the nights. Head waiter was awful. Didn't do a thing or even speak to us most nights. Assistant waiter seemed confused most nights with our drink orders. Food was pretty good. Windjammer was just okay. We ate most breakfasts in the main dining room too. Johnny Rockets was fun, but thought paying for shakes & drinks was ridiculous. We had a coupon, so didn't have to pay the $4.95 each cover charge.Activities - Lots of activities, I attended 4 craft classes, which were fun. bingo, keyboard classes, drum classes. Abe was a great activity director.Cabin - We had an inside promenade room. It was great, could watch the parades & dances etc form our window, although most of the time we were down their participating. Our room attendant Viniod was fantastic! He helped us with a couple of issues promptly 7 with a smile. We had great towel animals everynight. We did miss the chocolates on our pillows though. Guess RCL can't afford them anymore LOL!Ports - Not too interested in any of the ports, just walked around. The Shrimp Factory in mazatlan was GREAT!  Swam with the dolphins in Puerto Vallarta and that was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
We just returned yesterday from a 9-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing from Brooklyn NY to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, with five sea days scattered through the itinerary. Our party consisted of my 78 yr-old ... Read More
We just returned yesterday from a 9-day cruise aboard the Caribbean Princess, sailing from Brooklyn NY to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda, with five sea days scattered through the itinerary. Our party consisted of my 78 yr-old mother, my 50 yr-old sister and her husband and six-year old daughter, my 47 yr-old sister, and me (51 yrs old). For comparison purposes, some or all of us have previously sailed on Royal Caribbean (Grandeur, Voyager, Monarch), Carnival (Destiny, Triumph, Pride, Legend), Celebrity (Zenith) and Cunard (QM2). With the exception of a significantly substandard debarkation procedure, discussed more fully below, we all agree that this was one of, if not the best cruise we have ever been on. Princess Website: Before turning to the cruise itself, let me say a word about the "cruise personalizer" on the Princess website. We found it efficient, easy to use and very, very convenient. In addition to getting all the passport, contact and all those other informational items done online rather than by hand the night before sailing, I was able to book all of my spa appointments well in advance. The only improvement I would make to the system is with respect to bon voyage gifts. The way the website is set up, you have to print out a form and handwrite your selections and then fax it to Princess (or call them). You should be able to order them directly on line, the way you can with spa appointments and shore excursions. Embarkation: We live in northern NJ, so one of the great attractions of this cruise was that it leaves from NY -- no pre-dawn flights, no lugging our carry ons through the airport, just a quick hour drive from home to the pier. We sailed from the new Brooklyn pier last year for our QM2 cruise, and think it is by far the best of the three NY/NJ embarkation ports (the West Side terminal is a nightmare of congestion; Bayonne avoids that, but you actually have to be bussed to the ship after going through the embarkation procedures; its a short hop, but you can wind up waiting for the busses at peak embarkation times). The parking at the Brooklyn terminal is a snap, with plenty of spaces for parking very close to the entrance. It cost us $175 for the 9 nights, which seems very reasonable, since it probably would have cost us that for cabs each way if we had decided not to drive ourselves. Our boarding passes (printed out online from the website) said that embarkation would begin at 1 pm, but to arrive at 2 pm for faster service. Don't listen to that. As experienced cruisers, we know that early arrivals get through the process quicker. However, we got tied up with other things and didn't arrive at the pier in this case until 2:15. Far from being "faster" there was a mob at the unloading area. We sat in a long line of cars waiting to unload, and had some difficulty getting a porter. Also, by this time the security line went on forever. However, because we were booked in suites, we had priority check in after you went through the security screening (I did hear some suite and platinum elite passengers complaining about the lack of separate security lines for those entitled to priority check in, but personally, I like knowing that everyone goes through the same security clearance to get on board). The priority check in was an absolute breeze. While we didn't get through security until about 3 pm (45 minutes after arriving at the pier), after that we were on board by 3:15. Cabins: We had three penthouse suites: R405, R408, and R417. I would have to say that they were by far the best suites we have had on any ship, including the Princess Grill suites on the QM2. They are extremely spacious and well laid out, with a curtain that can be pulled to close off the sitting from the sleeping area. The walk in closet was a bit smaller than on the QM2 (a difference you would expect between a ship that is designed for long-term or world cruises, and one that is not), but there was more than enough storage. The bathroom was to die for, with a separate tub and glass shower, marble tile, and all the right amenities. Although I had heard a lot of complaints on the Cruise Critic boards about the beds being uncomfortable, ours were extremely comfortable (I think I heard that the mattresses in the suites were recently upgraded, and that all of the remaining mattresses will be upgraded when the ship goes into dry dock at the end of the year). The suite balconies were very large, with enough room for two lounge chairs, and a table with two straight chairs. Having said that, however, the balconies on the other cabins seemed very small to me, with no lounge chairs and only room for a couple of upright chairs. The only negative about the cabins is the noise -- not from the adjoining cabins, but from above. The Riviera deck is directly below Lido, and there is a constant stream of moving deck chairs and running (really, thunderous) footsteps from directly above you. I know that some cruisers spend very little time in the cabins, but that's not us (which is one reason we have always opted for suites). We enjoy an afternoon vegging out in the cabins, watching a little TV, "gathering our strength" for the evening activities. Accordingly, we pay a little more attention than most to the offerings on the ship's TV, which on Caribbean Princess were excellent. Aside from CNN, Turner Classic Movies, ESPN and the usual ship channels (you know, the port talk, the "where are we now" channel, the "don't miss this great shore excursion" channel), Princess has what they call a "romance" movie channel that ran really great old movies (which I realize not only dates me, but is a matter of taste) from West Side Story to Breakfast at Tiffanys to the Bridges of Madison County. They also had a channel like a lot of lines do now that ran a loop of sitcoms and TV dramas like Everyone Loves Raymond and the Closer. Made those lazy afternoons a little more enjoyable. Suite amenities: I don't usually go on about the "extras" available in suites, as I know the majority of cruisers don't care about them, but some of the Princess suite amenities to me seemed so unique that they are worth a separate mention of their. own. Of course, you have the what I consider "typical" upgrades -- afternoon canapes (though not as good as those on Celebrity, they were a nice addition to the afternoon), flowers, a dvd player in the room, with access to a reasonably-sized dvd library, and the ability to order from the full dining room menu during the hours the dining room was open. But my two favorite "extras" wound up saving me probably a couple of hundred dollars on the cruise -- free laundry and dry cleaning and free internet. IMHO, those are very valuable and very unusual upgrades. Service: We have been on cruise lines that pride themselves on service but have never, ever been treated as well as we were on Princess. Of course, you kind of expect that your cabin steward will greet you if and when you see them in the hall, but here you couldn't pass any crew member without getting a warm smile, a hello and a question about how you were enjoying your cruise. The staff in the spa, the restaurants and everywhere on the ship went out of their way not only to cater to your every whim, but also to affirmatively ask you if you had any whims that needed catering to. There were only two exceptions to this, one of them being the disembarkation which is discussed below. The other was a really dumb staffing error in the casino, that should be an easy fix. On the first sea day, the slots opened at 8 am, but the tables did not open until 10. My brother in law happened to hit a jackpot at 8:15 am, and had to wait several minutes for anyone to respond. Finally, someone came over to talk to him, then went back to the cage and came back holding up both hands, signaling "10". My brother in law said, "OK, so someone will be here in 10 minutes?" to which she responded "No, we can take care of it at 10 o'clock." They actually expected him to sit there for an hour and a half and wait to be paid out. Unacceptable -- when the casino is opened, it has to be staffed. (After he justifiably kicked up a polite fuss, they managed to find someone who could complete the payout). Food and dining rooms: I admit it; I was against booking Anytime Dining, as I had visions of us waiting on line to get a table for six every night. But my sister insisted that we try it, and it was definitely the highlight of the cruise. We only had to wait once, and that one time they gave us a pager, we went to one of the lounges, ordered drinks and were summoned to our table before we could even finish them. And we absolutely loved the freedom it afforded us -- no ticking clock deciding when it was time to get dressed for dinner, no need to have a "relationship" with our waiter (I hope that doesn't sound horrible; I appreciate how hard the staff works and the service they provide, but I really just prefer the unobtrusive service of a waiter who is essentially a stranger every night), no hesitancy to skip dinner on the ground that we haven't told them not to expect us in advance, and no danger of being assigned to table mates with whom you are so incompatible that you begin to dread dinner by the end of the cruise (as happened to us on both the Triumph and the Voyager). If you opt for anytime dining, we recommend that you go to the Palm Dining room rather than the Coral; the Palm is aft and a little harder to get to (you know, go up to Deck 7, then aft, then down to Deck 6, because you can't get through on Deck 6 alone), so people seem to crowd around the Coral which is amidships. The Palm also has a roomier and quieter feel than the Coral. The quality of the food was excellent, though the dining room menus tended to favor the "chi-chi" over more plain food. We also thought that both buffets -- the Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court -- were very, very good, but would recommend that they have more non-bar beverages available. The only free beverages offered in the buffets were water, iced tea and coffee. On other cruises they have also supplied lemonade and fruit punch. This isn't about the money -- its about not having to flag down a waiter, place an order and wait for them to return with it, in a dining venue that is supposed to be quick in and out. Actually, our favorite food on the cruise wound up being room service. While, as noted above, suite passengers can order from the dining room menu, we found the sandwiches from the regular room service menu to be outstanding, and a midnight "croque monsieur," turkey sandwich or turkey club became our standard way to end the day. The pizza and burger grills by the pool were also highlights -- at the risk of sounding repetitive in this review, the pizza was far and away the best we've ever had on a cruise. And while I had originally balked at the thought that a cruise ship would charge for any food, and thus didn't like the idea that "Scoops", the ice cream shop on the ship, charges a "nominal" fee, what they served was delicious and MORE than worth that fee. Entertainment and Activities: We absolutely loved Movies Under The Stars. Aside from the brilliance of the concept -- sitting on a lounge chair, surrounded by the night sky, munching on a bag of popcorn with a blanket tucked around your legs -- we were surprised at the quality of the movies offered -- including recent Oscar nominees/winners like "Ratatouille," "No Country For Old Men," "Atonement," and great classics like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a late-night showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show." The casino was more than large enough (if a bit unkind to us during the cruise after that first day jackpot), with a terrific assortment of machines and plenty of table action. We saw all three of the production shows: "Piano Man", "Do You Wanna Dance" (which premiered this week on the ship) and one whose name escapes me but which was a Latin and Caribbean themed show. We enjoyed them all very much (my mother and I especially liked "Do You Wanna Dance," while my sisters preferred "Piano Man"). In my review of the QM2 last year, I commented that we could tell that the performers were outstanding but that they had been placed in boring, poorly directed shows. Here, the opposite was true. The performers, while very good, did not stand out from other cruise shows we've seen, but the choreography, costumes and direction took them to another level. With the exception of the shows on Zenith, we would again put Princess at the top in this category among all the cruises we have taken. It was also clear that there were a host of great performances that others raved about that we just did not get to. At night, between comics in the lounges, movies under the stars, the production shows, the dancing lounges, and other activities, you just could not cram everything in. Oddly, the same was not true of the daytime activities, a flaw especially noticeable on sea days. All of the daytime activities seemed a bit staid -- ceramics classes, art auctions, computer classes, etc. There were not nearly enough more lively events that we see on sea days on other ships, like game shows. (That may account for the thorough report I can make of the TV available in the staterooms!). The two main pools, the Calypso and Neptune pools amidships, were predictably jammed on sea days. However, the adult-only pools -- the Spa Pool and the Terrace Pool -- were much more sparsely attended, and as a result quieter and more relaxing. One special note about the Terrace Pool, which is at the aft of the ship between Decks 14 and 15 ; unlike every other shipboard pool I have ever been in, it actually has steps to enter and exit the pool -- not just ladders. As a significantly "plus-size" cruiser, that was an unexpected boon; I often have a very difficult time climbing the ladders to exit from a standard shipboard pool. And though my mother is not "plus size," at 78, she also appreciated being able to use the steps, rather than having to jump into and climb out of the pool. My niece only attended the kid's program one day, since we all tend to prefer to spend most of our time together as a family when we cruise, but the one day she was there my sister reports that she liked the facilities and activities a lot. Itinerary: When you cruise out of New York, you have to expect to have some shortened days in the Caribbean because of the extra travel, but we did think that the port itinerary could have been organized much, much better. After two sea days, we arrived at Grand Turk at 7 am, and had to be back on board at 1:30 to sail at 2. The next day we spent all day in San Juan, followed by a half day in St. Thomas, from 7 am to 3 pm, then another sea day followed by a stop in Bermuda from 9 am to 5 pm, then one more sea day and home. The two stops in Grand Turk and St. Thomas were much too short, and frankly, for my money San Juan is a waste of a day. I realize people could differ in their tastes, but really the itinerary should be adjusted so that either Grand Turk or (preferably) St. Thomas are a full day. I won't bother spending too much time on reviewing St. Thomas, San Juan or Bermuda, since they are pretty standard cruise stops and there are lots of reviews of them on the boards. Suffice it to say that we shopped in St. Thomas (had we had a full day there, we would have made it a beach day, probably at Megan's Bay), took a cab to Horseshoe Bay beach in Bermuda (glorious, though still a bit chilly in late May), and never left the ship in San Juan. Grand Turk is a relatively new cruise ship stop (at least as far as I know). My understanding is that the pier area was built in the last few years by Carnival, allowing the larger liners to make a stop there. We had originally intended to take a cab to Governors Beach, which we understand is a five-minute cab ride from the pier, but when we looked out of our cabins at the pierside beach, it looked very nice and uncrowded, so we opted to go there instead. It was a very good choice. you walk right off the ship, along the pier and through a small shopping area to the beach. There are plenty of beach chairs, and the water is really beautiful (the bottom is a bit rocky at first, but smoothes out after you're in to about your waist). There is also a huge pool area by a bar called "Margaritaville," and judging from the screams and cheers we heard coming from that area, there are plenty of poolside games and activities for those who want a livelier beach day. Miscellaneous: Unfortunately, we had occasion twice on this cruise to take advantage of the medical facilities; fortunately, they were excellent both times. My mother spent a horrid first night in excruciating pain with what we thought must be a broken wrist, but which turned out after an xray to be a severe attack of gout (which she's never had before). Later in the cruise, I developed a respiratory infection requiring an antibiotic. On both visits, the staff was attentive, and the care excellent. We had been told to expect that our shipmates would be older than what we were used to, particularly on Carnival, and that did seem to be the case; my sisters and I felt that we fell into the "younger" side of the median age as a whole. However, there were plenty of twenty- and thirty-somethings as well. Also, probably because school is not yet out, there was a definite lack of pre-teens and teens on the cruise, though I don't know whether that will continue to be true in June, July and August. Disembarkation: OK, here is the only true negative of the review. Disembarkation was handled as badly as we have ever seen it handled on a ship (with the exception of one nightmare disembarkation from the Voyager). First of all, the information provided was sporadic at best, and in our case, just wrong. We were given orange luggage tags, which in the printed information circulated to all cabins meant that we were to gather at Club Fusion, aft. However, all three of our cabins also received letters the last night of the cruise saying that, as suite passengers, we should gather instead at the Explorers Club, where all suite and platinum elite passengers would wait. So that's where we went, and waited until another passenger informed us that the suite and platinum elite passengers were supposed to be at the Wheelhouse Bar, not the Explorers Club. How she knew that, I have no idea. There were no crew members stationed in the Explorers Club whom we could ask. When one finally did arrive, to call another color tag to leave the ship, we asked him where we were supposed to be and he said (while running by us) "Orange -- club fusion." However, after packing our carryons and starting to make our way to club fusion, we stopped at the Wheelhouse bar on the way, and were told that, yes, that was the waiting area for platinum and suite passengers. We showed the person there the letter that had told us to go to the Explorers club, to which she responded "I didn't write the letters." As we moved into the bar, another passenger complained that the lounge was far too small to accommodate everyone (and in fact, we wound up sitting on the floor among our bags), and was not appropriate for passengers entitled to "upgraded" status, only to be told by the same crew member "Lady, I just work here." I have never, ever heard any crew member on any cruise ship say such a thing. The chaos continued when that same person moved through the lounge calling for people with orange tags to disembark, and we moved into the hallway, where we stood, not moving, for thirteen full minutes, bags in hand, before finally being allowed to get off the ship. None of this had to happen. For one thing, Princess has decided for some reason not to make general shipwide announcements during disembarkation; rather, a crew member goes to the lounge where a certain color is supposed to have gathered and makes an announcement in that lounge, that the "red" or "green" tags may now disembark. Accordingly, you have to be in the right lounge or you will never receive word to disembark -- thus our panic to figure out where we should be. On other cruise lines we have sailed, you could essentially wait anywhere in the public areas, and would then debark whenever the announcement was made over the general shipwide intercom that it was time for your color tag to debark. Even if Princess doesn't want to make that simple adjustment to their procedures, there is no excuse for calling a particular color to disembark, and then having them simply stand in line for ten minutes or more until you begin to let them off -- if you're not ready to let us off, then don't call the color. Summary: The chaos at the end notwithstanding, this was a fabulous cruise. We are already planning our next one with Princess, and hope that it will be the first of many. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was my family's fifth cruise together, and we found it to be just as great as the other Carnival ships we've been on, if on a slightly smaller scale due to the Fantasy's physically smaller size. Embarkation was simple, ... Read More
This was my family's fifth cruise together, and we found it to be just as great as the other Carnival ships we've been on, if on a slightly smaller scale due to the Fantasy's physically smaller size. Embarkation was simple, or as simple as it gets when 3 thousand people board a ship. Me and my husband traveled with our three children, ages 6, 7, and 14. Camp Carnival was definitely something they enjoyed, and I know my teen even made a bunch of friends. The ship offered a lot of entertainment, with great Vegas style shows, that my whole family enjoyed. The kids participated in trivia and won several trophies. My husband and I visited the Cat's Lounge, a very odd sort of place in the sense of decor, seeing as everything was constructed from giant-sized cat-themed things. The music was great, and the place was packed most nights. Electricity disco seemed suited to a slightly younger crowd (20-30), but we enjoyed ourselves, being in the early forties ourselves. Great music and a fantastic bar. Fantastic bars all over the ship, actually. The forum lounge seemed a bit outdated, but we enjoyed karaoke there. The lido pool deck had one of those salt water pools I don't particularly enjoy, but it had a decent slide that my kids enjoyed. The hot tubs were ALWAYS full of unruly children, despite the fact that they had a separate hot tub. However, the adult hot tubs were watched pretty closely by the staff, so we were able to relax there. Windows on The Sea restaurant was spacious, with a great salad bar and mediocre food at best. It was also (To my husband and childrens' disappointment) the only place to get ice cream. This was a change from most Carnival ships, which have many ice cream stations. The smell, however, made windows on the sea unbearable. Switching subjects, the kids game room was slightly small, but had many games, including Wii, which is my kids' latest obsession. The Universe lounge had great views of the show, and I was very impressed. The dining was superb, as was the service, and my husband and I loved the exercise machines and Spa Carnival. Overall, the ship was great, especially for a first timer, but for experienced cruisers, like us, it's definitely not the best. Locations: Cozumel is our fave Mexican city next to Cancun, and for the first time, the ship stopped right next to a small resort, which gave us A FANTASTIC PRICE! $85 for a family of five, for unlimited food and drinks, and free hour of snorkel equipment! It had a private beach, pool, bar, hot tub, and restaurant! Unfortunately, I totally spaced on the name of the resort, but we could see the ship (and probably swim to it) from the resort. The food was AMAZING, and we loved it. Our best experience in Cozumel yet. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
A great experience! Embarkation: The cruise line had placed signals through out the city, no risk of getting lost! We found the parking lot and paid about 55 dollars for parking in a gated and supervised parking lot. A great deal for ... Read More
A great experience! Embarkation: The cruise line had placed signals through out the city, no risk of getting lost! We found the parking lot and paid about 55 dollars for parking in a gated and supervised parking lot. A great deal for parking in Stockholm! We loaded our luggage on a bus and was shipped of to the terminal. The baggage tagging procedure was really bad, we got a few tags, but no pen and was left to figure out ourselves how to procedure. Getting in to the crowded terminal we got in line in the VIP line. When greeted they told us that we have to have copies made of our passport for our visit in Russia. That have never been mentioned before, in that case I would have prepared for that. The lady pointed at a line long as a marathon run and asked us to make our copies. I found a lady working the line and asked if there was a VIP line for us there to, and the girl, bless her made our copies right away. Back off to the check in and finally, we got our cabin keys and could walk on board. Dining: Our first dining experience was lunch as soon as we arrived onboard, we had to wait for our cabin, and hey, why not grab a bite in the mean time? Windjammer was good, my brother eat a lot of the meals there. For me, not being a buffet person, it was totally ok, but not my favorite. Most times it was pretty crowded and it was hard sometimes to get a table. The main restaurant was great, we was lucky enough to get a table for four, thank you! Our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter was excellent, we loved our three boys, working so hard for making our dining the great experience it truly was! Always a wide choice of food, plenty of bred rolls and butter. Our waiter also advised my mum who wanted to buy a glass of wine the first night to buy a whole bottle and promised her to save it for the following nights of dining, just to save us some money! That was so thoughtful and sweet! Entertainment: We played pool in the Safari Lounge (please make the whole ship a non smoking area), watched the shows in the Coral Theatre (mum loved the backbeat Beatles!) and played golf. No time for a swim but we had pizza and hot dogs in the solarium two night before bed. (Staff in the solarium cafe, try to smile for a change!) The VIP Lounge: Lovely Nedere, you are such a star! You made us feel so welcome! We love you! Hope to see you soon! Great drinks before dinner, coffee during the days and a stunning view. A total bliss! The Portofino: A beautiful restaurant, make your reservations as soon as you possibly can when you arrive onboard. This place gets full pretty quick! We had a great dining experience at the Portofino. My dad had "the best steak of my life so far" in this place, and he is pretty fussy! Lovely staff, our head waiter tried to pour wine out of an unopened bottle and tried very hard not to giggle his head of when he found our his mistake! He was great about it though, and we really liked him! We will come back! We do hope that Jewel will be back in this region soon, in summer 09 we will hopefully travel with Vision of the Seas. Something to look forward to! If you want more information, please do not hesitate to ask me! And please excuse my poor language skills, hopefully you will get the message (as well as a lot of spelling mistakes). Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This review is a little late but we sailed out of Tampa on the Inspiration in May 2008. This was my fourth cruise with Carnival and my father's first cruise. We decided to do the guy thing and leave the wives at home. We arrived at ... Read More
This review is a little late but we sailed out of Tampa on the Inspiration in May 2008. This was my fourth cruise with Carnival and my father's first cruise. We decided to do the guy thing and leave the wives at home. We arrived at the port around 1000 am and were on the ship around 1145 am. Embarkation was a breeze. The first thing we did was get a large hamburger on the lido deck and then off to explore the ship. I think at this point it started to sink in for my father what an awesome trip this would be. The evolution of fun upgrades were very nice on the ship. The water park is awesome as well as the serenity adults only area. The waterpark didn't take up as much room on the back of the deck as I thought it would. That usually is my favorite spot because the main pool gets so crowded. We were allowed to go directly to our room and drop off our carry on bags which was very nice. We didn't' get to do that on the Sensation so that was a nice touch. The boat drill was quick and painless and we set sail at 4:30 right on schedule. We had the early seating in the dining room so we missed going under the famous skyway bridge in Tampa Bay. The funnel only clears the bridge by several feet. It takes forever to get out of the Bay and into open water. I didn't realize that we would be finished with dinner before hitting the open sea!! The dining staff in the Mardi Gras dining room were fabulous. We had Torcado and Ricky who were lots of fun and very personal. We always had great food and great service. I wont ramble too long about the ship but it's all good. The crew members were the best yet. They all spoke to us and even talked with us when they had time. This was a far better experience than I had several years ago on the Glory. The cruise director Felipe did a good job. The ship was full and it never felt crowded. Grand Cayman was awesome. It takes a while to get off in Cayman because of the tenders but they do the best they can. We went to Margaritaville in both Grand Cayman and Cozumel and had a good time. If you want an awesome five day cruise you will not go wrong on the Inspiration. If you have already booked then you should look forward to it. I loved it so much and so did my father so we are going back in May 2009 on the Inspiration!!! My wife and brother are going with us this time!!! Just remember, Have fun!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Our cruise was really a nice pleasant cruise and the excursion where wonderful! The Dolphin Swim was absolutely Awesome. We had great people we shared dinner with every night! Tom and Tiffany, Tiffany's Mom and a work mate of ... Read More
Our cruise was really a nice pleasant cruise and the excursion where wonderful! The Dolphin Swim was absolutely Awesome. We had great people we shared dinner with every night! Tom and Tiffany, Tiffany's Mom and a work mate of Tiffany's Mom. We could not have asked for better people to share our meals with. We where stuck on the late dinner which was hard on my Mom who is 70. This was my first cruise and my mother's 3rd. cruise. We had the best food the chefs made the best foods and the desserts where out of this world. We also had a staff member on the Lido Buffet dinning named PI who took the time to learn our names and always greeted us by our names. PI was such a wonderful Staff Member always a smile and a greeting for us. We also enjoy an evening with Carol her daughter Lisa who we did the Mayan Ruins with them then enjoyed drinks out of the Coconut Monkeys. The beds were great and it was quiet on the cruise even though we had an adjoining room. We did have one Loud Mouth Braggart on the Cruise who bragged about winning "ANOTHER FREE CRUISE" in the raffle drawing. He did spoil things for others with his bragging and his big mouth! He really did create a hush in the crowd when he started bragging about winning "Another Cruise". I would say he spoiled it for a lot of people who bought tickets in that raffle! Disembarkation was the pits! We were on the Rivera Deck and the last ones to get off! So we stood the longest in line at customs! We selected Carnival because they go out of Galveston and Mother had cruised with them before. But the one trip on Carnival for me will likely be my last! They said fill out your surveys and get them turned in for the drawing for a "Free Cruise" just before we disembark from the cruise. Well they called my Name. I was so excited and I went to the desk on the main floor and waited to receive a STUPID PIECE OF PAPER to be in their "Monthly Drawing from all the Drawn Names". Needless say I never heard another thing! I had to tell the friends I had made on the Cruise who also where under the mistaken believe that you would Win a Cruise that I got a PIECE of paper for a "Chance" at a cruise. So beware and pay attention to what they say about the Survey and a "Chance to Win" a piece of paper! Carnival calls me four times a week and I decided to cruise with a different cruise line since they feel I am just a piece of paper! This has left a BAD TASTE in my MOUTH! Of course a call to Carnivals Customer Service was on no use either. But they love to call me four times a week to cruise with them again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We spent 4 days doing the Disney parks and left the Polynesian (where we had H2O raining from the bathroom ceiling; older hotel, would not rebook it) by Disney Cruise bus (one of our three daughters got bus sick; not a good omen). Checking ... Read More
We spent 4 days doing the Disney parks and left the Polynesian (where we had H2O raining from the bathroom ceiling; older hotel, would not rebook it) by Disney Cruise bus (one of our three daughters got bus sick; not a good omen). Checking in and embarking was seamless and our Family cabin (8020) was clean, but a little tight (esp. with the three extra beds in the down position). Nice to have balcony (but would have preferred more s/f) and split bath helped out. Our cabin was near front bank of elevators and worked out well for us, though we lived out of suitcases (as storage for 5 was tight). Sailaway was fun and the meals were decent; waitstaff was great [thx Nondu]. The crew members were fantastic, with most all of them calling our daughters "princess" at every opportunity. One of my daughters got selected as an honorary crew member for pin trading, which made her smile ear to ear. Our favorite crew member, Pikey (Asst. Cruise Director) got another daughter practice time on a piano and invited the 5 of us to a special meet and greet with the characters. All personal touches. Seems as though they strive to do something to make each child feel special. Our kids did not do much in the kids programs, but we heard they are good. Highlights and recommendations the Dolphin Encounter at Blue Lagoon in Nassau (our girls, 4, 7 and 8 all participated) [try to be last and be sure to order video and photo package]; the Pirate Party on deck at night (characters on zip lines and fireworks, a great time); most everything on Castaway Cay (great spot); the stage Shows (Toy Story was super); and the bottomless soft serve ice cream machine (the kids' favorite); and the family greeting (announcement) on arriving on board and the requisite towel animals were nice touches (makes that credit card bill easier to swallow). Dad also found most of the other Dads on deck, late at night, in deck chaises, watching sports on the big, big screen. Disembarking involved some lines, but moved quickly enough. Though cabin a tad tight for 5 (the only non suite category that allows 5), and trip a bit pricey, was memorable and worth it (at least once). Would highly recommend Disney Cruise Line (kudos to DCL, well done, on several levels. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
We just got off the Golden Princess on May 16th in Seattle.Embarkation last Saturday was not as bad as expected. We were late leaving Seattle by about 3 hours but were able to make up the time and actually got to Juneau ahead of ... Read More
We just got off the Golden Princess on May 16th in Seattle.Embarkation last Saturday was not as bad as expected. We were late leaving Seattle by about 3 hours but were able to make up the time and actually got to Juneau ahead of schedule. They said the ship can now go about 24 knots per hour  and that is 2 knots per hour faster after the drydock improvements. Before she could only reach about 22 knots, so the silicone paint must have helped! Richard Joseph is a great CD. Edward Perrin is the Captain.We loved the ship and thought it looked fantastic in all regards.There was still some construction going on, but it did not distract from the cruise experience at all.I like the new deck plans. Everything is very centrally located to deck 7 and the new Piazza. The whole "flow" to the area was well designed.We found the food to be very good. (did not eat dinner in the MDR for various reasons but enjoyed the breakfast in there very much)As stated in other posts, the Crown Grill was not open yet but is due to reopen this week.The Horizon Court was actually layed out very nicely once you got the hang of it. We never had a problem finding a seat and the staff was extremely attentive to all of our needs. They always brought beverages to us and cleaned up immediately as we finished a plate, but did not make us feel rushed.The casino machines were fairly loose. I came out about 200 dollars to the good and did not spend a lot of time in there.We checked out the Magician in the Princess theater one night. He was good but not very original. To be honest, his "assistant" danced like she was fresh out of a gentlemen s club, but hey, that didn't bother me at all!Most other nights we were still in port so we didn't do much of anything else as far as shipboard activities.The comedy juggler was very funny. We caught him in the Piazza.There was usually live entertainment happening somewhere all the time.I thought there were plenty of things to keep you busy when you weren't in port. And the announcements for bingo and art auctions were brief and to the point. I was glad to see that the flat screens in the room are much larger than I had thought although our remote was a real pain to use. You had to aim it at a very odd angle to use it. It was also a nice touch that they played reruns of the Office, 30 Rock and 2 and a Half Men during the cruise. That helped when relaxing after the long excursion days.They also played a lot of episodes of the Love Boat and we got a huge kick out of watching those while we were cruising on Princess. Captain Stubing will show up a lot on your tv now. He is the official spokesman for Princess.Other channels included CNN (International and Espanol), ESPN International, TNT (very intermittent reception), two Cartoon Channels, Headline News, and channels playing various Discovery and Travel Channel programs; most related to Alaska. There were always at least 3 movies on but the selection was limited. Some of the titles were Iron Man, Mamma Mia, Quantom of Solace, Yes Man, Bedtime Stories, What Women Want, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and a few others. And Samantha Brown was on every channel in between programs promoting Princess.There was still some construction going on in a few places on the ship, but it did not bother us in the least. Everything we needed was done and in first class condition.The weather was FANTASTIC all week long. We never saw rain.We did the Orca Enterprises Whale Watch tour in Juneau and it was worth every penny. We saw at least 15-20 whales and one came up about 20 feet from the boat and splashed us with his tail. Orca was also a first class operation and I highly recommend themWe took the longer Chilkoot Yukon Train and Bus Tour in Skagway and it did sleet a little up there but nothing that presented a real problem. We ate at Carcross and it was a very neat place. The guy who runs it has to be the best taxidermist on the planet! The displays are truly stunning. The dog sled ride is in a 4 wheeled cart down a gravel trail, so beware of that.We got all the way into Tracy Arm Fjord, and honestly, I thought it was more spectacular than Glacier Bay. I was very pleasantly surprised at how amazing it was. The water was a mirror and the reflections of the mountains were breathtaking.We got as close as a ship can get to the Glacier. The Naturalist and the Captain both announced that they had never seen Tracy Arm like this. The skies were crystal clear blue and the sun warmed the ship up very nicely.They provided hot chocolate throughout the journey up and back through Tracy Arm.We booked the Alaska Adventures Misty Fjords Day Cruise out of Ketchikan.Unfortunately the water pump on the boat gave out as we were getting out of sight of Ketchikan so the tour was cancelled. I have not seen a refund to my debit card yet so I will be giving them a call tomorrow. The tour seemed very well run though and the boat crew seemed very sorry to have disappointed us. We spent the rest of the morning walking around Ketchikan which was nice since there wasnt a cloud in the sky.Victoria was still beautiful and a lot of fun on a Friday night. We just hung out around the inner harbour area and enjoyed it very much. We found a little pizza restaurant there and ate pizza and drank ale. Again, the weather was absolutely perfect.Disembarking...we did the Best Of Seattle tour so we stayed in the Wheelhouse Bar until they were ready for us to depart. It was a little chaotic, but I have seen much worse.All in all, this is my favorite of the 8 cruises I have been on.I couldnt have asked for a nicer cruise to Alaska with my 25 year old son.This was his first cruise and I do believe he is now hooked!__________________Happy Cruising! Tony Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
     This was the first time my family and I had taken a cruise (my husband and I are both 30 and we took our 9yr old son and 4yr old daughter). We decided to leave from Baltimore because we didn't have to fly. We drove there from ... Read More
     This was the first time my family and I had taken a cruise (my husband and I are both 30 and we took our 9yr old son and 4yr old daughter). We decided to leave from Baltimore because we didn't have to fly. We drove there from the Eastern Shore of MD. The Carnival Pride was a beautiful ship and our balcony stateroom was awesome. Although we had nothing to compare it to. However my mom and dad also went along with us on this trip. They have sailed with Carnival before on the Glory. They said that the staff, entertainment, and food on the Pride dwarfed in comparison. I myself was a little dissapointed in the friendliness of the staff. I have heard countless testamonials from other cruisers on how amazing the staff on Carnival's cruises are. However on the Pride you could definately tell that most of them were there just to do their job. There were a couple of exceptions though. Our room steward Gede was great. We also had a very friendly bar waiter- Taufik.      The entertainment on the Pride was good. The shows were excellent. Although if you are traveling with kids, keep in mind that the show "Vroom" has VERY skimpy outfits. I'm talking g-strings. My husband didn't mind but I was glad that my 9 year old son was at Camp Carnival. My son loved Camp Carnival. He spend most of his evenings there while we were just lounging around or catching a show. They offered a wide variety of activities to keep the kids entertained. My daughter did not want to go just out of her shyness. Plus, the camp is in the very front of the boat and when she did go the first day I think it was just a little too rough up there for her. I do not get motion sickness, but after visiting the ship's arcade with the kids one evening (also in the fwd part of the ship) I felt nauseated. The Pride also offered a lot of activities for adults. Do yourself a favor and catch the men's hairy chest competition if you have never seen it before. It was a riot! I also attended one of the bingo games on board. I thought the bingo was quite expensive. They play 1 game and it is $20 for a sheet with 3 cards on it. They also offer live music on the lido deck every day. The music was ok, I just wish they would put in a new sound system or fix the one they have. The music came across screechy and very LOUD. You could not hear the people at your own table talking to you.     On this cruise my family opted out of the formal dining. All of us just went to relax and we did not want to dress up. So, the only food I can comment on is what came out of the Mermaid Grille. The food was again....just okay. They offered a different meat selection every night. However, the side dishes remained the same for the most part. Lets just say I don't want to see steak fries or white rice for a while. The cheeseburgers and hotdogs poolside where really good. Just don't go there at lunch time and expect not to wait. The line wait was about 20-25mins long between noon and 1pm. If you have a sweet tooth, they offer an awesome dessert buffet during the lunch hours. I did find the lunch meal to be better than the dinner. Especially if you want different selections.     All in all this was a great cruise. My family needed a relaxing vacation and Carnival provided it! I will definately sail with Carnival again, but on a different ship. The Pride didn't show me anything I will CRAVE to see again. I guess they just need a little more time in their new port to get it together. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
It might seem a little strange for a Brit to want to cruise round their own country, but this was an extra cruise (not in the original brochure, went to places I love and the price was great. Constellation is a really classy ship and it ... Read More
It might seem a little strange for a Brit to want to cruise round their own country, but this was an extra cruise (not in the original brochure, went to places I love and the price was great. Constellation is a really classy ship and it was easy to see why Celebrity have won so many awards for their Millennium class vessels. You don't get all the glitz and colour that RCL offer (previously cruised on Navigator), instead there is an understated air of refinement and quality, but not in any way stuffy. This is an ideal size for a cruise ship. 90,000 tonnes buys you a vast range of amenities and dining options, but without feeling crowded or herded. There are very few lines to wait in and even tendered ports are stress free for getting on and off. Embarkation at Harwich was flawless. Very little waiting. Parking was efficient and we were on board in less than 30 minutes. Harwich is just less hassle than Southampton for some reason. The public areas on Constellation are simply beautiful. They really spent some money fitting this ship out and even after six years, so wasn't showing much sign of wear. The only exception was the "Bar at the edge". This should have promised the comfort of RCL's Viking Crown, but an abandoned partnership with Cirque Du Soleil, the main observation/entertainment lounge has been left with some very strange decor and chairs built for looks not sitting in. Cabins were first class. The bathrooms are small, but the best design I've seen anywhere. Beds very comfortable and just the right number of cupboards, nooks and crannies to stow your belongings. Our stateroom attendant, Lourdes, couldn't do enough to help. The only downside was the air con: Crucial in an inside cabin, it just wouldn't produce enough cold air and certain times it did feel a little stuffy inside. The production shows in the theatre was brilliant. The cast was sensation and the main male singer, Gabriel, had a fabulous voice. Other cabaret nights were a bit more hit and miss, but you can't please everybody all the time. John the ex-stunt-man-cum-cruise director was great throughout, bringing fun and confidence with just a shade of quiet authority. He was a star from end to end. All in all a terrific cruise from Brits as well as Americans. If only the weather had decided to play ball. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
A cruise round Britain and Ireland. This one was never in the brochure, but a ten day trip somehow squeezed in between relocation and Constellation's summer itinerary of the Baltic voyages. Family and friends raised an eyebrow that ... Read More
A cruise round Britain and Ireland. This one was never in the brochure, but a ten day trip somehow squeezed in between relocation and Constellation's summer itinerary of the Baltic voyages. Family and friends raised an eyebrow that we'd even want to cruise our own Islands, but this holiday was not just one for the Americans. Smaller ports and different places certainly gave this unusual sailing a nice clubby atmosphere. Frankly nobody was on board for the weather, which was just as well, it was typical late spring in the British Isles, so kinda rainy. Connie was everything they tell you she should have been. From the moment you embark you can see why she was the Celebrity flagship and why she consistently delivered the top Conde Naste ratings. Elegant, oppulent and understated, with a level of crew service to match. A former Hollywood stunt-man as cruise director and a theatre cast that was truly superb. You trade the bright colours and street parades of Royal Caribbean ships for something satisfyingly refined. The coffee mugs are ceramic, not plastic, the ice-cream is homemade not soft whip and the ambient entertainment is more cocktail lounge than holiday camp chic. But it comes with a price tag. Celebrity is RCL's premium band and the onboard prices come with a premium tag to them. Even beer and soda is rated above Royal Caribbean's prices. Then there are the excursions. They can be eye-wateringly expensive, even by cruise standards, but there are a couple of dodges that Celebrity won't ever tell you about, so read on. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Got to Tampa it was a little crowded, but the lines moved quickly. We recommend valet parking, you won't miss the extra $15 when you are going on a cruise. And just walking on the ship is way more convenient When we got in it was so ... Read More
Got to Tampa it was a little crowded, but the lines moved quickly. We recommend valet parking, you won't miss the extra $15 when you are going on a cruise. And just walking on the ship is way more convenient When we got in it was so awesome! We went to the lobby (if you have been on the legend, you would know what I mean) the base of the lobby looked like a flower. The ship is still very new looking and very clean. Our room wasn't ready when we got there, but not unexpected since we got there a bit early. The cabin steward was cleaning when we got there and had a chance to meet him. Good time to slip a couple of bucks his way to ensure his best efforts. Don't know if it made a difference, but our service was excellent the entire trip. After the required lifeboat drill, we spent the rest of the evening exploring the ship. As mentioned above, its a grand ship. I like the theme better than some of the other Carnival Ship, less Vegas, more elegance. It still has the requisite amount of neon, but more tasteful than some of the other ships we've been on. I would have to say the food was the low point. It wasn't bad, but several dishes were overcooked, or just weren't perfected yet. They said they just changed the menu and this might have been the reason for the inconsistency. One exception was the supper club. If you go on the Legend, the supper club is a must. Its the best $30/person you can spend. A brief word on the the shore excursions. We booked the (almost) sub ride in Grand Cayman, the cave tubing in Belize, the snorkeling in Honduras (Roatan Island) and finally the Tulum Ruins in Cozumel Mexico. I would have to say the cave tubing in Belize was the most fun. Its quite a hike, but well worth it. The others were all very well organized, regardless of debarkation (dock or tender). One word of caution, if you do use a tender, use whatever sea sickness med or remedy you prefer. These boats are not as stable as the large cruise ships. (Olivia) The Camp Carnival was great 6-8's will watch moves, play games, video games, build stuff and they will put a poster was up for making stuff animals it was awesome! Snack before waiting in line 1.50$ Valid Parking 15$ Buying another Snack 3.50$ Seeing your child's face when you walk in ... Priceless Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
After flight delays and a rush to the port we were the last few guests to arrive. We were warmly received and were on the ship within 10 minutes. Our steward had decorated our stateroom with birthday banners and decorations hanging from ... Read More
After flight delays and a rush to the port we were the last few guests to arrive. We were warmly received and were on the ship within 10 minutes. Our steward had decorated our stateroom with birthday banners and decorations hanging from the ceiling and walls. I also had a birthday gift including a picture frame and carnival pin. They also brought me a birthday cake at dinner. Note that my mom had pre-ordered and paid for the birthday surprises. The pool deck and all surrounding areas were completely packed already and this became a regular occurrence throughout the cruise. On sea days there was always entertainment on the pool deck and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It's important to get a chair early before they are all claimed. The pools are nice and less crowded than the hot tubs. I never went in the hot tubs because they were always full. The exercise room and spa had fantastic views. There were windows everywhere with a great view of the ocean as we cruised. The gym was crowded at some times but was clean and had good equipment. The spa was relaxing and the service was great. They offered spa deals every day so don't book everything on the first or second days. The shows every evening in the theater were very entertaining and I went to them every night after dinner. It's important to get there early to get a good view as well. By the end of the day I was always exhausted so I never went to the dance clubs but they looked like fun passing by. During the day there were talks on board about shopping at each port and information sessions about jewelry and other goods. The talks were informative but drawn out and I imagined myself by the pool instead of listening to what shops offered what goods. The free jewelry they used to lure us there was cheap and disappointing. Being outside during the day enjoying the entertainment on the pool deck was way more fun. The food was plentiful and could be found all over the ship. The buffets at lunchtime and the grill on the pool deck were always packed with long lines. I learned to have a snack just before lunch and have lunch after the rush. The Mongolian bbq was awesome. I always looked forward to dinner in the Olympian dining room. The food and service was outstanding. The menu had plenty of options (only a couple for vegetarians) and it was an all-you-can-eat gourmet dinner. There were main courses that were available every day in addition to the daily specials. The desserts were especially delicious. After dinner they brought coffee and tea with dessert. I ordered Earl Grey the first night and our server automatically brought it every night after. Having the same servers every night was great and we got to know them all very well. We were seated at a large table with 10 other guests who we chilled with for the duration of the cruise. We spent time with them during the day and went to shows together after dinner. We became a very diverse and fun family. The ship was well kept and clean. The decor was fun and interesting. The service was great! The beds, blankets and pillows are incredible. I looked forward to going to sleep and there's a reason they sell the blankets on board. If I had money to spare I would definitely buy one. Overall the ship was huge and there was more than enough to keep us busy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Having cruised many times before and a lot on Carnival, we were ready for another great vacation. This was the first time on a ship of the Triumph's class, and we were cruising with a group of 8. The Carnival reservation staff was ... Read More
Having cruised many times before and a lot on Carnival, we were ready for another great vacation. This was the first time on a ship of the Triumph's class, and we were cruising with a group of 8. The Carnival reservation staff was very helpful with making all of the arrangements and getting us a dinner seating all together. They even got us cabins right next to each other. It was only too bad the experience didn't transfer to the ship! This was out first time departing from the Port of Miami. Since the cruise experience begins at the port, choosing your departure port can make or break your first impression. I recommend trying to find a cruise at any port in Florida EXCEPT Miami! Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando are all great! The Port of Miami was disgusting! First of all, since the Port parking can be very expensive and we had to take 2 cars for our group, we elected to hire a limousine service. The cost was about the same as the parking fees for 2 vehicles, and we were all excited about dropping off in a Hummer Limo! When we arrived at the port, they would not let the limo drop us off with our bags like every other port we have cruised from. We were dropped off in the middle of the tour bus rows where we had to lug all of our bags about 100 yards to the entrance. We were suffocated with diesel exhaust as we gathered our belongings from the limo. No porter service was available where we were dropped off. Once we drug all of our bags to the entrance, we discovered that Carnival was late in opening the gates for ship boarding. Someone told us the ship had not been cleaned yet. This was a first for us. Anyway, we joined a long line forming down the sidewalk waiting to go inside. It was about 90 degrees in the blazing sun as we all stood there and began to sweat waiting to get inside the building. There were no facilities available outside, and we waited more than an hour! Carnival did absolutely nothing to accommodate passengers waiting in the hot sun, and they seemed to care less. Once inside, the port of Miami had the slowest boarding process we have ever experienced at any port. The port staff were rude and obnoxious. We also were pushed and shoved in the line by other passengers. I had never experienced anything like this before! Once we finally got on board and visited our staterooms, we discovered one of the rooms in our group had been decorated with Happy Birthday crepe paper all over the place. It was a nice touch, but nobody in our group had a birthday and we didn't order the decorations. Obviously, somebody else had paid for the decor and had nothing. Since the decorations were hanging everywhere, we asked the room steward to remove them. He only smiled and walked away, apparently he didn't speak english. We had to tear the stuff down ourselves. So far, we were not impressed with this cruise. We decided to go upstairs and get something to eat at the buffet, to our surprise, there was a long line forming all the way out the pool deck! I had never seen this before on a Carnival ship! We were soon learning that the monster ships really have all of the same amenities on the upper decks, but just have extra decks of rooms to jam more people on board. I immediately began to feel like there were way too many people on this ship!...The long lines persisted the entire cruise. Our dinner seating also was a disaster. Our group of 8 was placed at a table along the side of the dining room and was apparently the only route into the dining room for persons needing assistance. Every time another wheel chair came along the person sitting at the end of our table had to interrupt his meal and stand up so the wheel chair could pass. This was ridiculous, so we squeezed him along the side of the table. We still got our table bumped, drinks spilled, and knees jammed sitting at this table for 2 nights. The staff seemed to care less about our dining experience. We finally requested a table change only to get a very sarcastic remark from the Head Waiter. He insinuated that our group did not want to help with the assistance of disabled passengers, as if we were supposed to sacrifice our cruise experience. Why doesn't Carnival just make the aisles a little larger?? What a rude man! One morning at the buffet restaurant, our group tried to find a table to all sit together. Again, it seemed like there were too many people on the ship! When we found a large table and began to sit down, a man ran over and told us he was "saving" the table for his group. We had never seen anything like this before on any cruise ship! The man insisted, and began to shout and act like a fool in front of everyone. I had never seen anyone behave in this fashion on a cruise ship before. Our group found another table. These types of things seemed to go on the entire week long cruise, ranging from dining room problems to pool side crowds, etc. I felt like we bought a discount cruise and were joined by low class slobs that had zero manners! Immediately after arriving back home I contacted Carnival to express my disgust with the entire cruise experience. I also advised Carnival that we were return customers and had cruised Carnival many times before. They didn't care, and only made excuses for the port and everything else that went wrong. They offered $100 of onboard credit if we decided to cruise with Carnival again, but they then issued a time limit on when we must book the cruise in order to use the credit! What a joke! I told them to keep their $100 bucks and that I would not cruise Carnival again. They sent the $100 voucher in the mail anyway! We have not cruised on Carnival again, and will never do so. Carnival lost good customers and they don't even care! We have now switched to Royal Caribbean and find their level of service much more accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Note-I'm copying this off of my review on the CC forums, so please excuse the odd use of "More later" :p Weather blessed us on this cruise . Seattle was overcast when we left, and Juneau was cloudy with an afternoon rain, ... Read More
Note-I'm copying this off of my review on the CC forums, so please excuse the odd use of "More later" :p Weather blessed us on this cruise . Seattle was overcast when we left, and Juneau was cloudy with an afternoon rain, but after thatwe had amazing weather. Skagway had pure blue skies with the sun out, Ketchikan also was sunny, and the Endicott Arm Fjord (we couldn't enter Tracy) was magnificent, not a cloud in the sky. I'd bring one pair of shorts just in case. It actually got quite hot in some of the towns  I suppose I'll be doing my review in parts. Let's just do Day 1 for now Let me start out by saying a few quick things:-The food was the best we've ever had on Princess.-The service was the best we've ever had on Princess. -The captain, John Foster, and cruise director, David Cole, as well as our server, Arnulfo, were all the best.-We skipped Tracy, and went to Endicott, due to fog, which I definitely did see and understand. We passed the mouth of Tracy and had to keep blowing the fog horn, so Captain Foster decided to just turn around and head to Endicott, his personal favorite fjord.-The naturalist, Michael, was really knowledgeable and entertaining, despite his odd speaking tone.-We missed Victoria due to high winds, which I actually didn't feel, but I trust the Cptn's judgement. We got right to the side of town though, we could see it from our window quite closely.Saturday, June 20th, 2009The alarm went buzzing at 5 A.M., and I rushed into the shower to wake myself up. I then got dressed, gathered up 2 family members that went with me, and we headed to LAX. OUr flight was on time, a relief, and we left LAX around 7:40 and landed at SEATAC at 10:05. No hassle, very easy, kudos to Virgin America. We then contemplated whether to explore Seattle, or just head to the ship, and we chose the latter. We arrived earlier than we've ever arrived before at a cruise terminal. After a 20 minute drive to Pier 91, we were there! The ship came into view and our stomaches tightened. It was about 10:45 and we went to the terminal, checked in and went through security, all under 10 minutes or so. We then got in the three lines to get onboard, as they hadn't started letting passengers on yet. We were on around 11:10 or so, and went to check out our balcony stateroom, mid-ship on Baja Deck. The space was cozy, as expected, and the balcony was bigger than we had thought it to be. Our steward, Timothy, then introduced himself, and every time we saw him, we'd get a huge smile and small talk, something we've never actually experienced before to such a degree on any cruise line.He was truly excellent; room was spick and span. We had lunch at the Horizon Court, but I'm happy to say that the Donatello Dining Room was open ! We then just explored the ship and unpacked, and headed to the muster drill. Then we went to sailaway, which was definitely quieter than usual, and we were on our way. The sailaway view is beautiful. We tried the International Cafe for the first time ever, and truly fell in love. We then booked the Crown Grill for what was supposed to be Victoria on Friday, at 6 PM, so we could explore the town. Then, we headed to dinnersecond seating traditional in the Canaletto Dininng Room. Our server, Arnulfo, and our assistant waiter, Vasiliy introduced themselves, and they were a great duo. Never before had we had such a close connection to our server. Dinner was great, prime rib for all three of us, spring rolls were delicious, as was the salad. Turned out to be the best food on a cruise we've had yet. We then went to MUTS, our very first experience with it, and watched Marley and Me on it. it was really cold out, but we managed with the blankets we provided. Then, we headed to bed in hopes of another great day.More to come  __________________ Saturday, June 21, 2009 Our first sea day aboard! Being that Princess does go west of Vancouver Island, we did have a little bit of rocky seas our first and second night, as well as our sixth, but it wasn't that bad, just a little bit of motion in the ocean! We woke up around 9ish, and headed up to HC for breakfast. It was good. On the Golden, the buffet stewards had silverware at the table, and provided drink service the entire cruise. That was a first for us as well. Our prior experiences showed that that happened for the first day or so, but didn't last after the second or third. Pax would have to get their own silverware and drinks, not a big deal at all, but a nice touch. We used the stairs to get everywhere, never stepped foot in an elevator. I figure that I owe my body that much after having it endure a cruise . Let's see. We headed to Demonstration Nation, which had fruit/sushi/flower carving/making/organizing, followed by a martini demonstration; all very nice and cute. We then pretty much relaxed and for the first time, I've never done it before sadly, we ate in the dining room for something else besides dinner! Lunch seating turned out to be an absolute delight on days when we weren't in port, and I am hooked on it now . The rest of the day flew away with exercise on the Promenade deck, snacks at the INternational Cafe, and relaxing on our balcony. We then watched Carlos Oscar's comedy in the Vista Lounge, which was alright, got better as we went through it. It was a formal, we went to the Captain's address and waterfall then headed to our first formal dinner. Had the beef medallions, so tender and juicyabsolutely delicious. Stopped by Princess Pop Star, and went to bed around 11. Another great day at sea. This day really flew by fast. Juneau would come next!I have all of the patters, papers, as many as you can imagine. I stuffed them all in my backpack that I took along, so if you need a document, just ask me .To be continued... Monday, June 22, 2009 Also, regarding patters, my scanner isn't working, so stand by for those. Today was Juneau! We woke up around 9 AM, grabbed some breakfast in the Horizon Court and hung around the International Cafe until we arrived right on time at noon. Man, the International Cafe is delicious. Paninis, salads, and soups during the day, grilled to perfection, not to mention the completely fresh out of the oven cookies. So warm and chewy....I want one now! Anyways, we left the ship right away, and we had pre-ordered a shuttle for $12/pp/each way. We got on it, it was right across the pier, and we headed to Mendhenhall. We had narration, although when booking it said that it wouldn't be provided, so that was nice. Today was the only day where weather wasn't on our side. We had cloudy skies at this point. We approached Mendenhall Glacier and from the very tips of the trees I saw the highest point of it. As we reached closer, people on our shuttle were gasping at the enormity and majesty of that amazing glacier. We hopped off the shuttle right in front of the glacier, and hiked over a huge pile of rocks to get as close as possible. The hike over the rocks took a good 10 minutes as you had to get on hands and knees, but it was really worth it. We stood right next to the huge, loud, raging white waterfall and were treated with tall icebergs and a front seat view of Mendenhall. We were so close that the waterfall continuously sprayed in our face and sprayed mist across our camera. When we were there, they were constructing a trail through the rocks, so everyone could go there more accessibly. Definitely go. A must see. We spent a good two hours there and headed to catch the next shuttle. As soon as we hopped on, it started raining, so I suppose weather waited for us .We headed to downtown Juneau, and went to go through a free tour, I repeat free , of the government building. We saw the Governor's Office, as well as the Lt. Governor's Office. It was about a 30 minute tour, informative, but not a must-do, as much of the building was closed for construction. Palin actually lives in Anchorage, and we heard 2 jokes relating to the SNL skit on that day from locals . We looked for a lunch place for an hour and a half. There really aren't too many inside of Juneau. So we settled for the Hanger, which wasn't very good...at all. Very expensive lunch for miniscule crab legs. After this, we continued to walk around the quaint little town, but it got a little too rainy and cold, so we headed for the ship after a good 5 hours in town. The Amsterdam and Eurodam were there as well. We took a peak at Cinematastic, and we were not very happy with it. We walked out. It turns out I mixed things up, Cinemantastic was on the sea day, Carlos was in Juneau . We had dinner, it was the Alaskan Dinner, and it featured quite a bit of fish. I had prawns with beef tenderloin medallions, and they were so tendered. Great dinner and we headed to bed for Skagway! Tuesday, June 23, 2009 One note about embarkation daythe beds were really bumpy. We asked for egg crates which helped a little bit, but it was still somewhat uncomfortable. I had never asked for an egg crate before so I was expecting an actual crate, and I was surprised when he brought foam Anyways, let us continue! Today was Skagway, and we had an excursion, our one and only, booked through Princess today. It was Summit, Suspension Bridge, and Salmon Bake. We woke up around 9 and had breakfast in the HC. We headed off the boat around 10 and walked around for about 3 hours. Skagway is a very small town, so there isn't too much to do except walk around, eat, and shop. They have about 30 jewelry shops owned by cruise ships...a shocking number. The Red Onion Saloon and just about every restaurant in town hosted an hour wait at least, so we headed to the ship around 1:15. We rushed to try to get lunch seating and made it by two minutes, arriving at 1:28. We had a very delicious lunch, and headed out to our excursion at 2:45. We left at 3 and our tour guide was Jo, and she was hilarious. The entire bus was roaring with laughter the entire trip and we ended up telling stories instead of learning about the Yukon. Approaching the summit of the White Pass is amazing. The tram followed most and went past where the railroad went. It was beautiful, and we were able to get off for pictures about five times. We arrived at the Suspension Bridge, which was in Canada, and the scenery was magnificent. Under the bridge when crossing are white water rapids, the view to the leftmajestic snow capped mountains, and to the rightbeautiful green fields and trees. It was quite a sight! Had some hot cocoa there, which was great! We then headed to Liarsville for the Salmon Bakeit is close to the pier and it took about an hour. The food was great, the salmon was delicious. They had a lot of characters there that could play songs on saws, as well as story tellers. There were huskies, and old wagonsit was quite a nice stop. Then, we headed back to the ship and said our good-byes to our wonderful tour guide. By this time it was around 7:15, close to the all-aboard time, so we went onboard and had to get dressed for dinner right away (not that we were exactly hungry after that huge meal at Liarsville). It was Italian Dinner night, which was good. We were pretty tired after this, so we hung around lounges and tuned into Princess Pop Star, and then went to bed, for our next lovely day in the Fjords! Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Today was Tracy Arm. I didn't want to miss this at all, as I expected it to be the highlight of our cruise. Set my alarm nice and early for either 6 or 7 AM, don't recall. When I woke up, we were treated to islands and icebergs outside of our balcony. However, I knew that our ship was not yet in the Fjord. Soon after, our ship was COMPLETELY blanketed in fog, and our fog horn was blowing nice and loud every minute. I, personally, love hearing that sound, but I wasn't happy that our fjord would be missed by fog. It then disappeared, and I heard the three tones, meaning an announcement was coming. As soon as I heard the word, "safety", I knew what was coming. We were going to skip Tracy and visit Endicott, which the Captain soon announced. I was slightly disappointed, but I was still looking forward to it. The Endicott Arm Fjord is one of the most beautiful places I've even seen. Granite walls surround and tower the ship, and seem so close to the rails that you can almost touch the cliffs. Icebergs, some HUGE, surround the ship, and the movie Titanic comes into mind. I was surprised that we could just run right over them without a problem. We passed the Star Princess while entering, nearing the Dawes Glacier. They were SO loud and we were quiet, but passengers on the Star say the opposite. View the Star here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxI4nAGI0jUThat was a very interesting experience! We then got unbelievably close to the Dawes Glacier, as close as we can go, and I praise Captain Foster for his commitment toward giving his passengers the best scenery. We even went out of our way on our way to Ketchikan to visit an Island filled with bears, and to go to a different route to view whales. Captain Foster was great! The fjords are truly magnificent. Hundreds of seals lie on the icebergs. Pictures could not, absolutely could not, capture what we saw. We spent a good 4-5 hours in the fjord. After we left, we were still treated with scenery. GREAT day, highlight of the cruise by far. After exiting the fjord, we had a sea day-like schedule of activities. Before our wonderful dinner, we went to a magic show, featuring the magic of a name that slips me, Gaeteno or something like that. It was great! David Cole participated in a disappearance scene at the end, quite a surprise! Definitely see this. Dinner was the Chef's Dinner, something never before experienced on Princess. It was great, I had Alaskan King Crab Legs, Yum. They were nice and fat too . After dinner, at 10:45, we went to the International Crew Showthe absolute highlight show of the cruise. The crew is so, so talented. Four singers, all better than the lounge singers. The band was fantastic. They really were great, like record-recording quality. I can't praise them enough . Comedy acts were good, final act was goofygreat show. Headed to bed, and set a very early wake up alarm for Ketchikan the next day. Thursday, June 25, 2009 Today was Ketchikan. We set our alarm for 7, and we were off the ship at 7:30. We were only in port until Noon today, and all aboard was at 11:45, so we had to get a nice and early start. We got off the boat, and went to the visitor's center, where we decided to purchase a tour for $35 pp that took us to creeks and waterfalls, it was short and adequate, but I was expecting a bit more. We saw tens of bald eagles in flight, including the nest. I thought that the totem pole visit was a waste of time, as they have been touched by modern man for touch-ups, major touch ups. We walked around town, and it was a nice little town, my favorite that we visited. We had some fish and chips by the pier and it was the best that I've ever had, without a doubt. Crispy, without being greasy, it was just perfect. We then entered a looong line to get back on board, but we didn't mind too much. We went on board, but we didn't sail until 12:30 because of the long lines to get back. We enjoyed the rest of they day at sea, and we had a nice and scenic sailaway as well. We had lunch in the dining room and the rest of the day flew by, and before I knew it, it was time for a second formal and our last night with our wonderful servers in the dining room. Dinner was great. Beef wellington was much improved then from when it was last had on Princess, and the lobster was good as always. Tomorrow was Victoriaer, was supposed to be. __________________ Friday, June 26, 2009 Today was our last day of the cruise . It went by oh so fast. It was a sea-day like of activities until we were schedule to reach Victoria around 7 PM. We would be having the Crown Grill at 6 PM. During the day, we watched movies like Gran Torino,at 3 PM, which was very good as well as having our final dining room lunch, going to the Culinary Show and Galley Tour, as well as taking a nice visit to the dessert buffet which was open from 11:30 AM-2 PM. The fruit tart was great! . After those activities, it was already 5:30 and we had our scheduled dinner at 6. We got dressed in normal smart casual attire, and we went to the Crown Grill, and we enjoyed our almost free dinner, because of the Twitter Contest that I won. I must add that getting this recognized was difficult. I had to spend $12 at the internet cafe just to print out and prove that we had actually won something, and several visits to the Purser's Desk later, they finally contacted corporate and our OBC was added. The Crown Grill was very good. I had a 4 oz. lobster tail and a filet mignon, which was perfectly cooked and very tender. During dinner, I noticed that the ship had stopped right outside of Victoria. I could see the buildings of the town quite well, even the Empress Hotel. But right after I finished my steak, I heard the three tones, and I heard the word "safety" again, and I had a strong hunch that we'd be skipping Victoria. The Captain said winds were much too high, approaching 25 knots, and that the ship couldn't handle it. I went outside to the deck shortly after the announcement and felt no wind at all, but oh well, I trust the Captain's judgement. We were looking forward to this port though. They sent a tender with a few passengers ashore to comply with law, and then we set sail quite early. Dessert at the Crown Grill was very good. My molten chocolate lava cake was pure batter, and our waiter insisted that he had to report it to the Executive Chef, so he did, but everyone else's souffle was delicious! DH went up to the room, full and uncomfortable, and called it a night really early. DS and I went to the dining room, as he loves the Princess souffle on the last night with that warm vanilla sauce, so we said that we'd go just for dessert and to see our wonderful dining team again. We had our souffles and our waiter ended up talking to us for a good hour and a half. The other tables in our area were getting ignored . The Head Waiter came in and joined the conversation for thirty minutes as well, haha.We had a very funny conversation. We thought we'd be there for ten minutes, but we stayed longer that passengers that had the full dinner . We gave our servers a big hug at the end, and took a picture, and then we left . I headed to bed after this but DS went to watch Princess Pop Star Finale in the Princess Theater. Then DS went to bed, and we had to disembark the next day. __________________ Saturday, June 27, 2009 Disembarkation day. Blech! We woke up at 7 AM, and we vacated our stateroom as requested around 8. We then had a nice breakfast in the dining room ( a first for me again), and we headed to.....our meeting place. We had silver 6 tags, and we had to meet in the Vista Lounge at 9 AM. We went into the lounge at exactly 9 AM, and they called our tags at 9:01. I've never had that happen before; it's usually 30 minutes of a delay for each tag, but that was surprising. We were off the ship quickly, and we headed to the luggage area. They should have more signage in this area, but the collection was typical-chaotic. After about 20 minutes, we found all of our bags, and we headed past customs, out of the port, and into a taxi. There was barely a line for this, actually there wasn't a line, even at a peak time like 9:30 AM. We had wanted to go into town, but we had luggage and it was $50 in and out of SEATAC, something we didn't want to pay, so we tried to get on an earlier flight. OUr flight was scheduled for 3:35, but we arrived at 10:40, and they put us on standby for the 11:50 flight out of Seattle to LAX. We were called up at the gate, and they told us that they had 2 seats for us, so we didn't take itone extra. The next man had a wife and a young child with him, and he completely left his wife and child there to wait. After he got on the plane, his wife was quite mad! We waited the four hours, and I started this review .My sister picked us up and drove us home, and we relaxed. Didn't get home until 7ish, so it was a long day. We slept long and hard. This was a fantastic cruisemy second favorite that I've completed. Alaska is so beautiful, and is a must-see. I would absolutely do it again. The Golden was beautiful and Vines, MUTS, and the International Cafe were icing on the cake. The food was wonderfulthe best I've had on Princess, as was the service. Embarkation and disembarkation was simple, plenty of time to relax and to explore. Grade A cruise. Thank you Princess for a wonderful vacation.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
My wife and I arrived in Barcelona on a Thursday morning, from the ATM at the airport we got Euros, took a taxi to the Hotel Constanza in a nice and safe area of downtown Barcelona (taxi 25 Euros + 2 Euros for every suitcase, no charge for ... Read More
My wife and I arrived in Barcelona on a Thursday morning, from the ATM at the airport we got Euros, took a taxi to the Hotel Constanza in a nice and safe area of downtown Barcelona (taxi 25 Euros + 2 Euros for every suitcase, no charge for small hand luggage), a very nice and very modern small hotel in a quiet street about 4 blocks away from Plaza Catalunia, the main square in Barcelona. We booked the hotel through www.Eurobookings.com, rooms were 80 Euros, we took the suite for 100/ night not including breakfast 13 Euros.Plaza Catalunia is the heart of Barcelona, start of the famous Rambla walk, the city market, the large department store El Corte Ingles, lots of other shopping and departure of the red tourist buses, probably the best way to see Barcelona. Buy a day pass and get on and off the bus all you want. Bring your Ipod headphones, those provided have poor sound.We had wonderful Mediterranean meals in Barcelona. As always, avoid restaurants with menus with photos or in several languages, look for where the locals go. The seafood is great, try the local wines from Priorat and the bubbly Cava. In Spain, lunch is at 2-3 pm and dinner at 9-10 pm.On Saturday afternoon at 2.30 pm we took a taxi to the port. Provided you don't arrive too early, embarkation is really smooth.At the terminal there was a tax-free shop that sold all kinds of beverages, chocolates, etc to bring with you onboard! I like a sip of good malt whiskey before dinner... just enough to feel I'm on vacation.We had a Concierge Class cabin on the 9th floor. Plenty of space, the suitcases went under the bed. There was champagne, fresh flowers and fruits waiting for us, the ice bucket, cold water, fruits and canapes came every day. The cabin attendand was pleasant and helpful, all was very tidy, the bathroom had a smell of mold, no too bad,not surprising considerin the age of the ship.We had breakfast and lunch from the buffe on the 10th floor, there was always a good selection and something for every taste.Dinner was at 8.45 pm in the main dinning room, we chose a table of 12 and found out that everyone at the table was on Concierge Class cabins. The dinner menu offered a good selection of fish, poultry, meat, pasta and vegetarian. The quality of the food was good, considering the large quantities they cook. The service was very good. We bought a wine package when embarking, the selection of wines available from the package could be better, seven bottles for about $290, wines that retail in the US for about $12 to 15 each. We had dinner at Normandie once, it was excellent.We were lucky to have a group of very nice people at the table. Everyone had always something to tell about the adventures of the day in the different ports, we had a lot of fun together! We did some hand-wash laundry every evening and it weas dry by morning, we had a couple of plastic hangers with us, we also used the efficient laundry service, priced as normal in hotels.We had sunshine every day, enjoyed the relaxing days at sea, it was wonderful!After the cruise, we stayed an extra night in Venice. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
My family and I cruised with Princess on 7/28-8/6, sailing to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Grand Turk. This cruise was extremely enjoyable, and I would highly recommend Princess to future cruise-goers. It disappoints me to see ... Read More
My family and I cruised with Princess on 7/28-8/6, sailing to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Grand Turk. This cruise was extremely enjoyable, and I would highly recommend Princess to future cruise-goers. It disappoints me to see people negatively discussing Princess cruises; everyone is entitled to their opinions, however I feel that it is difficult for ANY cruise to be unenjoyable. It is what you make it; don't let the small stuff like crowds, small venues, etc. spoil your fun. These trivial complaints can be found on almost any cruise with any cruise line if you look hard enough, so although it can be somewhat annoying at times, Princess offers so much to their customers so complaining about such small things seems pointless and a waste of time. The single complaint I have, which is not really even a complaint; more of selfishness on my part, was our inability to sail to St. Maarten due to one of the engines being down. We were so looking forward to exploring this beautiful island so when we were informed we would not be able to sail, it was somewhat of a disappointment. Instead, we traveled to Tortola. If I could make a suggestion to Princess, it would be to simply leave this island out; there wasn't much to see or do. Perhaps, Princess could have extended the allotted amount of time at the other islands instead of sailing to Tortola, just a thought though. Embarkation was smooth, quick, and an easy process. We have cruised before, but this 9 night cruise was our longest. At first, the length of the cruise seemed somewhat intimidating; it is a long time to be on a ship. However, there was so much to do; the entertainment was wonderful, specifically the comedian Sarge. We saw him three times while on board! Hilarious! The shows-they were what you would expect to find on a cruise. Other than the comedian, they had a staff talent show which was really enjoyable. It was cool to see the people working on the ship show off their talents and get some recognition. The cruise director and staff were awesome; friendly, fun, and exciting. The ship is huge and it is easy to get lost; but that's part of the fun, I think; I felt I found a new place on the ship each day! My favorite part of the ship was definitely the pool deck. I think there was 4 or 5 pools all together, and the at the one pool there was a huge movie screen where they played movies all day and night. At the other pool they always had a band playing tropical music, which is always fun. Other amenities included a miniature golf course, a fitness center, a spa, and a sports deck. Skywalkers night club provided a source of nightlife for an over 18 crowd. The cabins were a good size, the bathrooms were small, but hey, its a cruise ship so that's to be expected. The food was delicious, and everything you could ever want was available at some point throughout the cruise, and the staff was a lot of fun. We opted to do the anytime dining option so we missed out on having a regular server, but it worked out for the best. Waits were not long; at most 20 minutes. We traveled with two other families so we needed two tables. Normally we were able to get tables next to eachother, but a few nights we had to be separated. While in San Juan, be careful; some parts are a little sketchy. We did not have much time there; only about 5 hours and we didn't get there until 7 PM so we took a bus tour of historic San Juan, did a little shopping, and visited Senor Frogs and then headed back to the ship for evening entertainment. St. Thomas; My favorite! We had the most time on this island so we decided to go snorkeling. We took a catamaran out to a private island; it was absolutely gorgeous. On the way back, the crew served us come cheese, crackers, and the famous Caribbean Painkiller rum punch. After about 3 of these, be careful; they will CAUSE pain later! After snorkeling, and drinking entirely too many Painkillers we returned to the ship for some lunch, resting, and recovering. After this we got off the ship again and did some shopping in town. Be aware, however that the stores close around 6 PM, which we did not know so we were only left with about 30 minutes to shop. Tortola was the next day, and as I mentioned before; not much to do or see, if I were to do it again, I probably would have opted to stay on the ship and lay by the pool. Grand Turk was a lot of fun. Upon entering the island you are greeted by Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville! A must-stop, even if its just for one drink. There are also a lot of touristy shops around the area. Disembarkation was also a quick and easy process. Even though we didn't want the cruise to end, Customs was quick so we were able to get out of there quickly. I would definitely cruise with Princess again, and confidently recommend this cruise line and cruise to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
First of all, this was my 29th cruise overall, but only my third on HAL first since 1997. In the last 5 years, I have cruised exclusively with Carnival. We traveled with a group of 11 on this cruise. Five of us are in our mid-20's, ... Read More
First of all, this was my 29th cruise overall, but only my third on HAL first since 1997. In the last 5 years, I have cruised exclusively with Carnival. We traveled with a group of 11 on this cruise. Five of us are in our mid-20's, with our parents and a couple seniors. All in all, it was a great trip... the ship was great, service excellent, and Alaska was breathtaking. Embarkation: A breeze we arrived to the Pier in Seattle around 11:35, and were on board in 15 minutes. Service: Excellent in general. Room stewards were great. Bar servers were extremely personal and went out of their way to learn your name. We found dining room service to be very average, and wine service in the Vista Dining Room to be poor. However, our two nights in the Pinnacle Grill provided EXCEPTIONAL service. Entertainment: Solid all around. Was not expecting shows up to Carnival or RCCL's caliber in the show room, but they were still pretty good. The magician was phenomenal one of the best I've ever seen. Comedian was great too. The Cruise Director (forgot his name) and the cruise staff were great, and made sure that there were activities to be had for people of all ages. There was MUCH more to do aboard than I anticipated. Nightlife: Again, LOTS more than we thought. The casino was of adequate size with friendly dealers. The Piano Bar was a BLAST. Sports bar was okay; poker room was a HIT. Northern Lights was hit and miss more of a crowd on formal nights, though it seemed teens took it over at times. Food: I'll break the food up in three categories, because they deserve to be recognized individually. Vista Dining Room: A MAJOR part of our cruise is meeting every night for dinner in the main dining room. We were traveling with friends we haven't seen in years, and our family does not get to get together that much. We realized we would not have one table for 11, but thought we would be next to each other. Unfortunately, there ended up being a couple tables in between. We tried to change to no avail, so we had to live with it. Fine, we'll accept it. Unfortunately, we found the food in the Vista Dining Room to be marginal at BEST. All courses were wildly inconsistent, and entrees tasted like they had been sitting out for a while. Normally a highlight of the cruise, we found the dining room food to be very disappointing. We ate in the Vista the first and second nights. We ate in Juneau on land, and returned to the Vista after Hubbard Glacier night. Another sub-par dinner made Tuesday our last trip to the Vista for the week. We spent the rest of the week either at the Pinnacle Grill or eating on shore. I don't think I had unreasonable expectations for this dining room food we just found it to be WELL below the quality of the main dining room food on the last DOZEN cruises we have taken (mainly on Carnival). Pinnacle Grill: In my opinion, this restaurant really MADE the cruise for us. We had made reservations for 11 for Sitka night before the cruise. Our waiters (Jay and another couple servers) were OUTSTANDING. Everyones meals were phenomenal and cooked perfectly. We all were able to sit at one table, and had a great time. We tried to book again for Thursday, but were told that it was sold out. Thursday afternoon, we went by to check if there were any cancellations, and we were in luck! They were able to squeeze our party of 11 in again, and we all enjoyed another near perfect meal. This place is WELL worth the $20 cover. Our experience here was superior to our experiences in Carnival's Supper Clubs (which are also fantastic). Lido: I ate all my breakfasts and most lunches in the Lido. The breakfast selection was great. I really enjoyed the eggs benedict station and the belgian waffle section sooo good. Lunch also had a wonderful selection, and I usually opted for the Asian food. Debarkation: Painless. We were off the ship by 9am after a leisurely breakfast in Lido. Miscellaneous: I'm not going to cover the ports too much, as those can be researched separately. I will say that the tendering process in Sitka was pretty poor if you didn't book an excursion. I did not have a problem, but many in our party had to wait almost 2 hours in order to be called to shore. - The ship was clean and laid out generally well. I really appreciated all the nightlife activities being together on deck 2. I didn't really like the setup of the gym, but it was adequate for the crowd on board. For the size of the ship, I prefer the layout of Carnival's Spirit-class. In conclusion... this was a very good cruise. We LOVED Alaska, and especially enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Our sub par experience in the Vista Dining Room did actually detract from our enjoyment of the cruise because it is such a large aspect of OUR cruise experience. However, other than that, it was a good time, and everything else was generally good to excellent as we expected. Would I sail HAL again? Sure... for the right itinerary and right price. Would I go out of my way to sail HAL? Not at all. Being in my mid-20s, I did not at all feel out of place, or feel like there wasn't enough for me to do. This actually surprised me, and I would not at all mind sailing with them again. Other than some big improvement to make in the kitchen, the Oosterdam was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
To start with first impressions:-slow embarking-sterile atmosphere and mainly old passengers-entertainment not suitable for younger age ( disco nearly empty ) .... and all from above was not written by a teenager but a middle age ... Read More
To start with first impressions:-slow embarking-sterile atmosphere and mainly old passengers-entertainment not suitable for younger age ( disco nearly empty ) .... and all from above was not written by a teenager but a middle age personBefore real crising has sterted our 20 years old son reported alergic rush to the medical staff on Noordam ( the first day of the cruise ) skin change looked like rush or insect bites and we were given a cream to treat them and some pills.We enjoyed couple of days cruising, sightseeng, swimming in the top deck pool... After the  follow up visit to the doctor ( when the changes were majorly less visible ) the decision was made to lock the whole family in the cabines so we spent  2 days in carantine with no room service. After arrival to the next port we were submitted to the hospital ( on fake signatures ) as noone felt sick. There we were reffered to the wrong specialist (  cannot believe that doctor on the ship expected dermatologist to establish if we were contageous). we spent  12 hours in the hospital not accompanied by anyone from the ship, with no water of food offered for that time. Lots of visual and blood tests were undertaken although no high temperature was recorded or anyone felt ill. With no tests confirming any medical problem was evident the capetan of Noordam decided to not allow us to continue the cruise and we had to be disembarked in Barcelona and fly back home from there. Even after nearly a year from the event we still cannot beleive the lack of common sence ,profesionalism, etics and lawfullness around the whole event and it is only Noordam top management to be  blamed.. The staff was completely unresponsible not reacting on our first visit in case that something was really not right. No action was taken on the ship for 3 full days!!!! The whole event looks rather like a criminal story but we live too far from Sietle to address it with the authorities.Needless to say that Holland America never got back to us to check up on our helth after we were left in the port of Barcelona in the midle of the night with very little orientation where to be accomodated while waiting for our air tickets to be booked and medical file completealy cleared by hospital that was supprised to see us there at the first place The same hospital issued a bill to one of the USA insurance companies for more than $30000 as a result of the Capetan's expencive exercise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
After a few problems with the airline getting to florida (continental never again) We got onboard. We checked in online, so embarkation was a breeze. After the muster drill we explored a bit more. The dining options are great, either ... Read More
After a few problems with the airline getting to florida (continental never again) We got onboard. We checked in online, so embarkation was a breeze. After the muster drill we explored a bit more. The dining options are great, either 6.30 or 8.30. Grab a snack in cafe promenade or go to the windjammer. Simple It was all delicious and there were no hidden charges, we didnt need to at in the specialty restaurants. Shore excursions are awesome, good value and brilliant trips. Loved everything, the cabin was large and airy, and the balcony is a must! The captain made the whole experience more fun. There is so much to do on board, my favourates were the mini golf, ice skatig, rock climbing and swimming. As well as the theatre and of course the shopping! Loved every minute, will be cruising with RCCL in 2010! on Radiance of the seas. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Where can I begin? I agree with RobM--if you're italian, then by all means, book away! First, the positives: the ship itself is absolutely gorgeous! Very nicely furnished, with all the elegance you'd expect from a European ... Read More
Where can I begin? I agree with RobM--if you're italian, then by all means, book away! First, the positives: the ship itself is absolutely gorgeous! Very nicely furnished, with all the elegance you'd expect from a European line. Our stateroom had a balcony, and it was immaculate! Probably the best room we've had so far. The ports we visited were AMAZING! Southern Italy, Greece, Croatia, Istanbul--all fabulous! We booked our own outings with a private guide (as we were a rather large group)via the internet before boarding, otherwise, to buy them through the ship was outrageous. Also, the gelato bar on the Lido deck had really good gelato! Now the NEGATIVES: The staff was terrible!!! They kept leaving the daily bullentins in Spanish, when we repeatedly requested them in English. In all fairness, other members of our party spoke Spanish, but we didn't. At dinner on the first night was a disaster! We asked for ice, only to be ignored. When we asked again, we were laughed at. Finally, my father-in-law had to get ugly with the wait staff and demanded ice--they brought it to us in cereal bowls! Remember, we Americans are used to ice with our water--the Europeans ARE NOT! Not to mention our waiter didn't speak a lick of English. So finally, members of our party went back and forth with their Spanish and the waiters' Italian and we finally got what we wanted. Hmm...the food! I'll give them the benefit of the doubt--I remember one particular salad being good--an octopus salad. But I have to say that the rest of the food tasted like something you would be served in a nursing home. It was terrible! And you had to pay for water with your meal!!! We had wine tickets, which were supposed to be paired with each nights entree theme, but our waiter kept screwing it up and we kept drinking the wrong wines with the wrong meals. Again at breakfast, we asked for ice water for everyone, and only the person asking got a small, juice-sized glass of water with 2 ice cubes. Is ice that expensive??? Finally, we asked for the entire water pitcher. The buffet was disgusting! The hot food was cold and the cold food was hot, and again, never a place to sit. The dishes seemed like they were "creations" thrown together at the last minute. Actually,...one afternoon, there was a cookout on the lido deck with hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.; the next day, at the buffett, there was a cold salad made with the cut-up, leftover hot dogs!!!! I'm not kidding! How's that for Euroopean elegance??? Now for the entertainment. We had the last seating of the evening, so by the time we finished our meal, there were no seats available in the theater venues. So, we never watched any shows. Also, there were never any lounge chairs or seats available poolside, so we didn't get to do much swimming or sunbathing, either. Forget about the outdoor jacuzzi! It was always stuffed full of people, like little sausages in a can. Now, on the night of the captain's reception, it was a real first-class affair!!! Everyone was dressed in their best, and my husband and I were at the bar having a drink, and another, and another, because the festivities that were taking place were in other languages, so we weren't paying attention. Suddenly, we saw and heard a commotion--NOW THIS IS CLASSY--two Italian females were into a brawl over a guy!! I'm not kidding! Two bimbos got into a fight during the captain's reception over some idiot guy! They were broken up and escorted out, as we all laughed! There was a nightclub, all the way aft, and my husband and I decided to check it out. We are both early thirties and still enjoy a good time every now and then! Wrong choice! Everyone in there were teenagers, I mean YOUNG teenagers, like 13, 14, 15--all drinking and partying on the dance floor! The fellow cruisers, mostly Italian, were the rudest, most un-classy group of people I have ever been around. As we were in line for the elevator, it was nothing for them to cut in front of us, and dash ahead of us into the elevator. If they accidently ran into us, forget about pleasantries, as "Excuse me," or whatever the Italian equivalent is. Also, if you like seeing all the men (regardless of age) wearing banana-hammocks (YUCK!--i.e., speedos) at the pool, and all the women wearing bikinis (regardless of age)then this is the cruise for you. MSC waaaay overbooked this cruise, and it was full to the max! I hated being shoulder-to-shoulder with people everywhere! It reminded me of the cartoons where all the people rush into a popular place at once, and when that was over, they all rushed to another happening spot, again, all at once. At the first Turkish port,Izmir, we had to wait an hour an a half, in the hot sun, before the officials would let us continue on to our excursions. All in all, we were expecting European elegance, after all, it's an Italian line. All we got was a taste of the rude Italian middle class. Never again. Not worth the money. I can eat hot dogs at home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click