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3,340 Family Cruise Reviews

This is our second cruise and we choose Carnival again because we liked our fist cruise on Valor. We know Inspiration was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. I ... Read More
This is our second cruise and we choose Carnival again because we liked our fist cruise on Valor. We know Inspiration was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. I can't give a full review to this ship and its services because our experiences will tell you it is not needed. Cabin - Dirty, period. The bathroom had sewage smell, called for repair/clean up twice, never fixed. Our son dropped his toy under our bed so he used a stick trying to get it out, he got the toy out, as well an opened condom package, a piece of chipped toe nail and something else disgusting. Food and the service - The food in the dinning room was below average which is not a too big problem to us - we are not too picky. We had open seating and the service was very slow, the average wait time was 25 minute from ordering to getting the starters. Twice, the waiter did not pour water for us (and the table next to us) until after he gave us the starters. I ordered "hand-picked" greens one night, I got spoiled black colored baby spinach - not just one but more than a dozen. I know people say you get what you pay for, that's just not what I or anyone wanted to pay for. Sanitation and food safety should be kept at the highest stand regardless the ship class. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
This is my 10tgh cruise all with Carnival.We had 8 people in our group.We had 3 cabins. We always fly down to Miami the day before so there is not problems with the plane. When we all got to the Port of Miami we were handed a sheet of ... Read More
This is my 10tgh cruise all with Carnival.We had 8 people in our group.We had 3 cabins. We always fly down to Miami the day before so there is not problems with the plane. When we all got to the Port of Miami we were handed a sheet of paper letting us know that the ports of calls had changed. We were suppose to go to Jamaica and Grand caymen.We went to Key West and Bahamma's.Carnival did offer to give us back our monies we spent for the cruise,,but as far as helping us with the change of flight plans we would have to pay for that..BUt on the same piece of paper that the change of the ports of call,,they did offer 20% discount on a future cruise.That 20% discount did not help us on this cruise.If carnival really was "out to help out the guest"they should have taken 20%-30% off of this cruise.But no dice. If you book a cruise on any Carnival ship,,Please make sure what is below you.We had the lounge that they do the shows in under us..Guess what we got to hear all of the shows and did not even have to leave our cabin.Our floor was even vibrating.There were two shows a night.It was kinda different to lay in our bed and have it vibrate.Guest services did call us after we complained about the noise for the third time and offered to move us up to a different cabin the last night of the cruise,,but only 1 cabin and we had 3 right next to each other. As far as the Captains cocktail party.Carnival in the past have always had the free drinks,not any more they let u buy the drinks for a dollar off. The past guest party we only got 1 each.. As this was my 10th cruise with Carnival,I was a VIP.Meaning at the Information desk or Purser desk I did not have to stand in the line and walk up to the platinum club and got taken next.For being a VIP I got to get off first even before the self assist people,This was good because we had an early flight.Any VIP's out there that may want to do this..DO NOT.In the carousel that they put your luggage on,number 1 was not the only number they do..Guess what,,,we finally got our luggage 1 and a half hour later..BIG Joke. I have never been so disappointed with carnival.I understand the engine had problems that is why we could not go to Jamaica and Grand Carmen's,,but this is the cruise I paid for and should have gotten the monies discounted on not a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Celebration Disaster We sailed on the WIRK Country cruise on the Bahamas Celebration the weekend of Sept. 18th. We will never sail this cruise line again. It was a weekend full of let downs. First it was unorganized as far as waiting to ... Read More
Celebration Disaster We sailed on the WIRK Country cruise on the Bahamas Celebration the weekend of Sept. 18th. We will never sail this cruise line again. It was a weekend full of let downs. First it was unorganized as far as waiting to board. We downloaded & filled out forms of the Celebrationcl.com website. Upon arrival they notify us that some of the forms online are the incorrect forms. Second after selecting your dining times, everyone was dividing into two groups, but nobody knew exactly which group to be in. They also tell you to be one of the first ones to sign up for dining times because there isn't enough space in the dining rooms for all the passengers to have reserved times. They tell us our bags will be in the cabins in about 30 minutes. After two hours we finally get all but one. It had our cabin number on it, but it was delivered to a different cabin on a different level. We get a deluxe suite and it wasn't much to talk about. The air didn't work worth a crap. We call maintenance up there because we had no controls for it. They found that panels were removed that had the air duct controls on them. Never did reinstall them, only gave us a fan to blow the hot air around. Then you go look out the front windows in our cabin and they are dirty and have paint splashed on the outside of them. The intercom system in our room blew us out the first few hours then it quit working all together. The cabin looked like it needed a good dusting. They don't fore warn you that the cabins are not set up for 110vac. You need to get adapters (which they don't have enough on the ship). And your curling irons don't work on board and you have to see if they have extras on board that may work. Then you will spend about $70 dollars on having clothes pressed. Prior to the cruise, they said we would have access to irons. Then once on board, you find out that was wrong. We had a refrigerator in our suite, but on it's coldest setting, the drinks were still warm. After having sailed other cruise lines you find out that you do not get any of the extras that get from the others. Not even close. The hallways always had foul odors at all times. It smelled like diesel fuel at times and other times it smelled like a sewer. As for getting from one deck to another, there are only two main elevators on board. There are a couple of other elevators on board, but they are small service type. They only will hold three to four people. During the cruise, one of the main elevators was broken for about 14 hours. The dining rooms are not much to talk about either. The Crystal Dining room is tight on the amount of food they serve you. And the desserts were like rubber. We had to hunt down someone to get our water refilled several times. They didn't come by the tables and if you got up to get their attention they would tell you to wait and they will come by. We had 6:15 settings and it was so slow, that it was almost 8:30 before we got out of there. My kids preordered & paid $30 dollars for a birthday cake for my wife. Customer Service told them it would feed the ten people in our group. The cake measured about 8 inches square and about 1 ½ inches high. Only one bite was taken out of it because it was so dry. If you wanted ice cream you had to be lucky to catch the ice cream parlor opened. Being that we had a deluxe suite, we were supposed to have gold circle seats to the concerts on board both Saturday and Sunday nights. The only thing was, nobody had any info ahead of time on how this was to work. If you asked the Cruise staff, they directed you toward an individual they said worked for the radio station, And if you asked the radio station, they directed you to the same individual, but said she worked for the cruise line. We were unable to locate this person until 30 minutes prior to the concert. As far as things to do on the top deck, the swimming pool should be classified as over grown tub. There is only standing room in this. Forget about floating under the sun. And you can't relax without constantly being disturbed. Every minute someone is coming by you asking to get you something from the bar. Upon arriving in the Bahamas, getting of the ship is a task. You have to go down two flights of very narrow & steep stairs to get off. There is no obvious ways for those that are physically challenged to get down to that level. Then on the last night, they want your bags in the hall by 2am to be picked up. My bags had been out since midnight. That is fine but in the morning I discovered they only took half of our bags. I had to hunt down the cabin steward to get the rest of them picked up. Then they want you out of your cabins by 7:30am. They have set places you are to wait to disembark. But there isn't enough room at all in any of those locations and we spent two & half hours sitting in the crowed hallway waiting. If it wasn't for "Jason Michael Carroll" or "Love and Theft" performing on board and being so friendly to everyone, we would have jumped off board and swam back to Florida. Then to top it off, Celebration calls my daughter today about future cruises and she asks them to remove her from the call list and that it was the worst cruise. Instead of asking what was wrong, the customer service representative just hung up on her. I am ready for a vacation to get over this so called vacation. Never again will I look at sailing on Celebration Cruise Line. And I discourage anyone else from ever considering it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
We sailed on the WIRK Country cruise on the Bahamas Celebration the weekend of Sept. 18th. We will never sail this cruise line again. It was a weekend full of let downs. First it was unorganized as far as waiting to board. We downloaded ... Read More
We sailed on the WIRK Country cruise on the Bahamas Celebration the weekend of Sept. 18th. We will never sail this cruise line again. It was a weekend full of let downs. First it was unorganized as far as waiting to board. We downloaded & filled out forms of the Celebrationcl.com website. Upon arrival they notify us that some of the forms online are the incorrect forms. Second after selecting your dining times, everyone was dividing into two groups, but nobody knew exactly which group to be in. They also tell you to be one of the first ones to sign up for dining times because there isn't enough space in the dining rooms for all the passengers to have reserved times. They tell us our bags will be in the cabins in about 30 minutes. After two hours we finally get all but one. It had our cabin number on it, but it was delivered to a different cabin on a different level. We get a deluxe suite and it wasn't much to talk about. The air didn't work worth a crap. We call maintenance up there because we had no controls for it. They found that panels were removed that had the air duct controls on them. Never did reinstall them, only gave us a fan to blow the hot air around. Then you go look out the front windows in our cabin and they are dirty and have paint splashed on the outside of them. The intercom system in our room blew us out the first few hours then it quit working all together. The cabin looked like it needed a good dusting. They don't fore warn you that the cabins are not set up for 110vac. You need to get adapters (which they don't have enough on the ship). And your curling irons don't work on board and you have to see if they have extras on board that may work. Then you will spend about $70 dollars on having clothes pressed. Prior to the cruise, they said we would have access to irons. Then once on board, you find out that was wrong. We had a refrigerator in our suite, but on it's coldest setting, the drinks were still warm. After having sailed other cruise lines you find out that you do not get any of the extras that get from the others. Not even close. The hallways always had foul odors at all times. It smelled like diesel fuel at times and other times it smelled like a sewer. As for getting from one deck to another, there are only two main elevators on board. There are a couple of other elevators on board, but they are small service type. They only will hold three to four people. During the cruise, one of the main elevators was broken for about 14 hours. The dining rooms are not much to talk about either. The Crystal Dining room is tight on the amount of food they serve you. And the desserts were like rubber. We had to hunt down someone to get our water refilled several times. They didn't come by the tables and if you got up to get their attention they would tell you to wait and they will come by. We had 6:15 settings and it was so slow, that it was almost 8:30 before we got out of there. My kids preordered & paid $30 dollars for a birthday cake for my wife. Customer Service told them it would feed the ten people in our group. The cake measured about 8 inches square and about 1 ½ inches high. Only one bite was taken out of it because it was so dry. If you wanted ice cream you had to be lucky to catch the ice cream parlor opened. Being that we had a deluxe suite, we were supposed to have gold circle seats to the concerts on board both Saturday and Sunday nights. The only thing was, nobody had any info ahead of time on how this was to work. If you asked the Cruise staff, they directed you toward an individual they said worked for the radio station, And if you asked the radio station, they directed you to the same individual, but said she worked for the cruise line. We were unable to locate this person until 30 minutes prior to the concert. As far as things to do on the top deck, the swimming pool should be classified as over grown tub. There is only standing room in this. Forget about floating under the sun. And you can't relax without constantly being disturbed. Every minute someone is coming by you asking to get you something from the bar. Upon arriving in the Bahamas, getting of the ship is a task. You have to go down two flights of very narrow & steep stairs to get off. There is no obvious ways for those that are physically challenged to get down to that level. Then on the last night, they want your bags in the hall by 2am to be picked up. My bags had been out since midnight. That is fine but in the morning I discovered they only took half of our bags. I had to hunt down the cabin steward to get the rest of them picked up. Then they want you out of your cabins by 7:30am. They have set places you are to wait to disembark. But there isn't enough room at all in any of those locations and we spent two & half hours sitting in the crowed hallway waiting. If it wasn't for "Jason Michael Carroll" or "Love and Theft" performing on board and being so friendly to everyone, we would have jumped off board and swam back to Florida. Then to top it off, Celebration calls my daughter today about future cruises and she asks them to remove her from the call list and that it was the worst cruise. Instead of asking what was wrong, the customer service representative just hung up on her. I am ready for a vacation to get over this so called vacation. Never again will I look at sailing on Celebration Cruise Line. And I discourage anyone else from ever considering it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Before I start this review I just want to let everyone know that I have sail several times with several different cruise lines and twice with Carnival. I have never had any issues to speak of with any other cruise or cruise line until I ... Read More
Before I start this review I just want to let everyone know that I have sail several times with several different cruise lines and twice with Carnival. I have never had any issues to speak of with any other cruise or cruise line until I went on the Carnival Fantasy (Nightmare), and I would never recommend this ship and as slow as the "Customer Care Department" is to respond and address an issue I can no longer recommend sailing with Carnival in good faith. Below is a list of the problems we experienced on my daughters 19th birthday cruise. 1. When checking in at the terminal we set my daughter up on a cash account using a gift card. Once on board she tried to use her Sign and Sail Card just to find out that her cash account was not active. We went to Guest Services and waited in line for a long time to get this issue corrected they said they said they had it fixed, later that night she tried to use her Sign and Sail card again just to discover it was now tied to my account. So we had to go back to the Guest Services department and wait in another long line again just to get her account separated from mine, and setup her account up as the cash account correctly. It took us three times to get her Cash Account setup. 2. Even though it was my daughter's birthday cruise I still needed to do some work so I took my laptop with me and planned to use their satellite system to stay in contact with my office and to use Skype to call some clients, but do to the ships satellite system being down for part of the cruise neither one was possible and caused me to miss a deadline. 3. The elevators on board the Carnival Fantasy (Nightmare) were in disrepair more than once we came across elevators that were out of order and/or being serviced. 4. The best I can describe the quality of the food in the dining room is HOG SLOP, it is sad when the chicken strips that sat on the buffet all day was better than the "fine dining" severed in the dining room. Several passengers I spoke with thought that the food was way below average for a cruise. 5. When I made a comment to our waiter on the second night of the cruise about the poor quality of the food he had the nerve to argue with me. 6. On the third day of the cruise we sent our clothes to the laundry but only part of our clothes were returned. We spent several more hours over the third and fourth day of the cruise trying to track down the rest of our clothes with no luck. The staff was not able to find the clothes they lost. 7. I notified Carnival about the problems we encountered on board the Carnival Fantasy over a week ago and so far all I have gotten from Carnival is a run around. 8. After the run around from the "Customer Care Department" which should be renamed as the Customer Careless Department I was basically told tough luck, we have your money and even though the cruise was a nightmare we are not going to do anything about it. Needless to say not only was this cruise a nightmare caused by a ship in poor condition, under trained staff, cooks that belong in a fast food restaurant flipping burgers (if they can handle that), and a rude waiter my daughter's birthday was a flop. I will never sail on the Carnival Fantasy (Nightmare) again and seeing how the "Guest Care Department" refuses to do anything about it I will never sail with carnival again, and I would suggest that you don't sail with them either. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
TRAVEL A Voyage of discovery or a cultural disaster? We were in the sunny Caribbean Sea, the temperature was in the eighties, it was noon, and there was a feeding frenzy! No - not the sharks this time, but our fellow passengers ... Read More
TRAVEL A Voyage of discovery or a cultural disaster? We were in the sunny Caribbean Sea, the temperature was in the eighties, it was noon, and there was a feeding frenzy! No - not the sharks this time, but our fellow passengers onboard the Carnival Victory, which some 200 or so British cruisers had been unfortunate enough to join in Barbados. I say unfortunate, because seven days onboard this "fun ship" was to prove to be a culture shock for those who had responded to dozens of adverts placed in national newspapers back home by Virgin Holiday Cruises. To be fair, Mr Branson's holiday wing didn't tell any lies about what was on offer, but just omitted to point out the downfalls of joining a cruise which started and ended in Puerto Rico, and which involved hours of form filling, red tape, transfers and meetings with immigration officials. In fact, we reckoned out of a promised 11 day holiday, we lost around three days due to sheer incompetence on the part of the organisers. Our adventure began in the UK by forking out £4,000 to Virgin - demanded up front - and then spending hours on its premium telephone line trying to find out what had happened to our tickets. No confirmation of our booking, no details of the hotel, ship or shore excursions - just a couple of sheets of paper with our e-flight tickets when they eventually turned up. Checking in with Virgin Atlantic in Gatwick was smooth and delightful, as was the eight hour flight to Barbados, with a cheerful crew and surprisingly good food. We paid to upgrade to Premium Economy, which is well worth the money, and the hotel - Almond Casuarina - which we allocated for a three night, pre-cruise stay in Barbados, was excellent and very enjoyable. My wife Sue and I were not prepared for what was to follow though! Having filled out the American Visa Waiver online before we left, and received confirmation that all was well to enter the USA, we set off to join Carnival Victory in the Port of Barbados. An hour after waiting in the hot sun a coach finally arrived to take us to the ship. We were dumped on the quay with no promised Virgin rep in sight to tell us what to do, so we followed the crowd and eventually arrived at the gangplank. A queue had formed to fill in embarkation forms which most of us had already been told to fill in online before we left England. Cabins were not to be occupied for a further three hours, so, by the time our luggage arrived, some six hours later, almost a complete day was forfeited. The balcony cabin was small but very clean, but we were to find out later that the walls were paper thin, and we would share in the conversations and partying of our neighbours. We were awakened three consecutive days by shouting and whistling in the early hours of the morning, until security finally arrived to settle things down. The Puerto Rican cruisers, we discovered, were on a much reduced "bargain price" cruise, and were out to make the most of it. British cruisers watched in amazement as men, women and children charged at the sagging food counters and piled up to four plates each with food - sometimes eating a meal in the queue while they waited for the next section to clear. It was a feeding frenzy. As the ship plied its way through the Caribbean, calling at St Lucia, Antigua and St Kitts, we enjoyed our days ashore, but avoiding the overpriced excursions being offered by the Carnival. We took the opportunity to buy our drinks from the local bars because the prices onboard were, quite frankly, a rip off! The company added 15 per cent gratuity onto every one, which brought a small bottle of beer to £5 and a gin and tonic over £6. This was in addition to the £100 per couple tips which were taken before you even sailed. The cheapest wine at dinner was almost £5 per glass, and even water came in at £3 a litre. For Sue and I, the crowded public areas in the evenings were a turn-off, and after dinner in the main restaurant we retired to our cabin to enjoy the evening at sea. After viewing the entertainment on offer we decided to avoid the theatre! Day five of the cruise saw us arrive in Puerto Rico where it was all change for the locals - the majority of passengers left, and another lot joined. EVERYONE was forced off the ship to pass through American Immigration after filling in yet more forms - including another Visa Waiver, and more precious time was lost. We had also not been told that our particular cruise would take place during three bank holidays, when shops and banks were closed. Day six was spent in the beautiful island of St Thomas, and the final port of call was Dominica where we took a taxi to the rain forest and volcano for the modest sum of £20 for both, compared to £60 for the similar trip offered by onboard shore excursions. Day seven was the end of the cruise, more form filling, and for some, a three hour wait to meet the Barbados Immigration team. Yes, during this holiday we had to enter and leave Barbados twice, with all the relevant form filling and queuing. Cabins had to be vacated by 9-30am, and the British contingent than waited three hours for a coach to take them to the airport for a further four hour wait for the plane home. Tempers were frayed, and most people felt they had been cheated. For my part, I did enjoy the holiday - but no thanks to Virgin! My advice to would be cruisers is to avoid any holidays which start, finish in or include Puerto Rico, and check the onboard prices on the American operated ships, or you just might meet the real Pirates of the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Executive Summary I've cruised with NCL 13 times, and I may not go back. I base this on these observations, which will be detailed in later sections of this review: 1) Quality of service is much worse than when I started cruising ... Read More
Executive Summary I've cruised with NCL 13 times, and I may not go back. I base this on these observations, which will be detailed in later sections of this review: 1) Quality of service is much worse than when I started cruising with NCL in 2003. 2) Nickel and diming by NCL has gone to an all time high. 3) As the customer, I am always wrong. 4) You are free to, wait wherever, for whatever. As a past cheerleader for NCL, I recommended that many of my family, social and business contacts travel with NCL. I can't do this anymore. If you want to tell me I am wrong, or want to live in the bubble where nothing is wrong, then read no further. You won't like what you read. Overview For this cruise, I traveled with my Mom and Dad, my wife, and my four boys. All of us, with the exception of my mom, have cruised before with NCL. We chose this itinerary after having a positive experience on the NCL Spirit repo from New York to New Orleans last fall. We enjoy long cruises, with a good mix of sea days and port days. Embarkation The terminal and the staff at the Boston terminal were great. In general, we had a great experience in Boston. The TSA experience was fairly tolerable, and I felt their personnel were friendly and helpful, given their job. My only complaint was that we were not allowed to use the "Latitudes Gold" check in line (much shorter), because I was "traveling with people that weren't gold". If my entire family, whom I'm paying for, has to obtain "Gold" status to experience benefits, well, I guess we won't make Gold, or Platinum, for that matter. So, we all had to wait in the regular Latitudes line. Cabins We reserved cabins 10127 and 10129. We were extremely happy with the rooms themselves. We chose these rooms because of their proximity to the Kids Crew room, and based on their proximity to the aft and mid-ship stairs and elevators. We found shoes, and other items in our room when we arrived, making us wonder how much time was spent in cleaning our rooms. We had four people in each of these cabins, and we felt that the layout was adequate and met our expectations. The clothes line in the shower was broken, so this limited our self service laundry options in the room. There were nights when the cabin would not get cool enough, but we had packed a fan based on our previous experiences. It's unfortunate that we have to pack our own fan, but have been told that 70 degrees is an acceptable room temperature in the past, so we must be wrong, and it must be so. We didn't like walking down our hallway because our clothing smelled like smoke from all the smoking cabins. Dining Our first night in the Windows dining room was our lone pleasant experience in Windows. Mr. Palmer, raised on a farm in Jamaica, was very attentive, and we had our food and dessert within 1.5 hours. We enjoyed talking with Mr. Palmer, and he was always pleasant when we encountered him on the ship. We tried Windows the next two nights, and in both cases, it took over two hours to receive our food and dessert. We ultimately had to give up on the Windows dining room, because it simply took too long to get food and dessert with our children. Next, we tried the Garden Room, as we had heard that service was much better there. It took over two hours to get our food, and I simply gave up waiting for dessert and walked out. By this point, we had instituted "elevator service", and were taking turns in the room with our two year old, because he couldn't tolerate a two hour meal. At this point, we resigned ourselves to eating at Raffles, and at Blue Lagoon. Raffles was extremely crowded, and extremely frustrating, because they had to implement "silver plate" service due to Norovirus (or other flu), on the ship. With 8 of us, we didn't want to spend $100 or more per day on food, just so we didn't have to wait. So, we took to eating at the "trough" (Raffles), and Blue Lagoon. We enjoyed the Blue Lagoon more, and by the end of the first week, we did most of our eating there. We ate at La Trotteria, Cagney's (Twice), experienced a "Taste of India" meal, but limited our "paid" dining because of the cost. As in the past, the service was always good in the pay venues. It was extremely frustrating to pass empty, or near empty, pay dining venues, to go wait in line to get free food. In the past, NCL would occasionally offer 1/2 price specials, for early diners, in an attempt to boost the number of people using the pay dining venues. In this case, they did not offer this. Instead, they sent staff out to stand outside the free venues to take reservations for the pay restaurants, while the frustrations of the free venues were fresh in the minds of the passengers. To me, this is the cruise ship equivalent of ambulance chasing. I'd say that they were trying to rub salt in the wounds of all of us free loaders, but it would have taken the crew too long to open up all the little salt packets we had to beg for. With NCL, you are free to wait wherever, to whatever, unless you want to pay to not wait. Public Rooms Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot. Apparently, when Norovirus (or other flu), is on the ship, they shut off ventilation in many of the public rooms. The grand centrum, was usually at a pleasant temperature, but most of the other venues were not. My children and I sweat through clothing sitting in Henry's Pub, Blue Lagoon, and the Galaxy of the Stars. We went through laundry at twice the rate this year, compared to last, because the public rooms were so hot. Many of the passengers were complaining about the temperature, so it wasn't just us. The public restrooms were usually dirty, and messy, and whenever possible, we usually retreated to our cabins to use the restroom. When this wasn't an option, we had to clean up before and after using the restrooms. We were told that this was because the virus or flu was on the ship, but it was frustrating as a passenger. Everywhere you walked on the ship, you were being sprayed, and told to sanitize, and then you had to deal with the filth. Laundry Don't know what genius made the decision to remove all the public (I don't think we are guests anymore) laundry facilities from the ship, but it lead to much frustration on the ship. We knew about the removal of laundry facilities before we got on the ship, and we planned accordingly, but we hadn't planned on sitting around the public rooms of the ship sweating through our clothing. They did run the "laundry special" one time on the 16 day cruise, but that wasn't enough. I can't judge NCL's motives, but their actions make me question them. Is this just another attempt to nickel and dime the passengers to death, or just another attempt to point out the benefits of being Latitudes Platinum, and getting free laundry service? One of our fellow passengers tried to take his laundry off, in port, to get it done, and was told he could not because it would be classified as "debarkation". This behavior really makes you question motives. Entertainment We thought the comedies, magicians, hypnotists, dancers, and other entertainers were top notch. We also like Cruise Director Paul Scally, as he was highly visible on the ship, and very affable. We did not like most of the rest of the cruise director staff. My family has enjoyed trivia, on past cruises, and we find it frustrating when you can't understand the staff that read the trivia questions. If NCL wants to cut costs by using people with limited English language skills, as their cruise director staff, then just hand out pages with the trivia questions pre-printed. It was just too frustrating with everyone looking at everyone else, and saying "what did he / she say?". By the end of the cruise, we just gave up and quit going. Any public venue, hosted by the cruise director's staff, was frustrating because they all felt they were way more funny, than they actually were. So, a lot of time was wasted, and we had to listen to them babble on endlessly to impress us. I really liked Paul Scally because he didn't waste a lot of our time doing this. My kids used to like getting all the trinkets, cards, key chains, etc. when we won trivia, but now, you get bingo cards and certificates. Cheap, cheap, cheap. The constant sales pitches for all the "paid" events over the loud speakers gets really annoying. Most of us can read, and those of us that can't, can find someone to read the Freestyle Daily to us. Don't torture the rest of us with all the continual harping on the loud speakers. Spa & Fitness Used it a lot last year; not this year. No need to go to the spa to work up a sweat. You were free to sweat wherever you wanted on the ship. Family & Children The kid's crew staff was excellent, as it was last year. My 9 year old and 11 year old boys really enjoyed it. My two year old did not, but he really wants to be with "daddy" most of the time. Shore Excursions We did the "Beach Break" in Belize, and were satisfied with it. We really enjoyed Bannister Island again, although we wish they would bring back the trampoline. My kids enjoyed it last year, their website still advertises it (http://www.bannisterisland.com/activities.shtml), but it wasn't there. As disappointed as I was with NCL on this cruise, I don't blame them for the bad weather we had for the last hour. Service Simply stated: If you pay for service, you'll get it. If you don't pay extra, for good service, you got bad service. We all noticed a large dip in the quality of service from this cruise and a year ago. Last year, we had to pay $10 per day for adults, and $5 per day for our kids. This year, it was $12 per person per day, for everyone but our 2 year old son. The service was much worse this year, with a few noticeable exceptions. I can't quite determine the cause. Has NCL removed incentive by having such high standard daily tipping? Was the ship understaffed to handle the virus problem on the ship? Bar service was good in the Blue Lagoon, and at Henry's Pub for us, and non-existent every where else for us. Had to wait 15 minutes for soft drinks in all the other bars on a daily basis, and usually just gave up. Service was good in the pay restaurant venues; poor in all the free venues, except for the Blue Lagoon. Medical Services This was a large part of our experience on this cruise, and our biggest disappointment. 5 out of the 8 of us got sick. Our thirteen year old son was first. He vomited all over the cabin on the 3rd night on the ship, at 3:00 AM, and our fun cruise began. As instructed by the captain, we reported dutifully to the medical center, because he had flu like symptoms. We dealt with a ship doctor who was pleasant, and informative. The preliminary diagnosis was Norovirus (no means to confirm it without lab testing), and he was quarantined until he had no flu like symptoms for 24 hours. The hourly lectures began, every time we called to report in his latest symptoms. Sanitize, wash your hands, etc. Our family does this regularly anyway, and is very aware of how little the sanitizing liquid really effects the virus, so the constant harping got old quick. Because the doctor was concerned that our 2 year old son might get it, they placed our 13 year old son, and me as his caregiver, in a new cabin. Ultimately, he was isolated for 3.5 days, but it was already too late. Two nights later, our 2 year old son puked all over his bed. Once again, we reported to the medical center. This time, the night duty nurse told us that he did not have Norovirus, because he puked before he had diarrhea. We questioned this, because our family never gets sick, and we never get the flu. The night nurse insisted we were wrong, and we were NOT required to isolate or quarantine him. At this point, we were really questioning the cruise line's motives. Having some experience with infection control studies in my employment past, we decided too isolate him anyway. Being one of three children under the age of 5 on the ship, he was extremely popular with the service staff, who liked to high five him and hug him, so we wanted did this to limit their exposure, and limit exposure to the other passengers. He experienced diarrhea and vomiting for four days, and then three more days later in the cruise. 2 nights later, my nine year old son puked in the night, so once again, we reported to the medical center. Once again, the night nurse told us it wasn't Norovirus because he puked before he had diarrhea. So, one again, we technically did not have to isolate him. We moved him from the other cabin to the "sick cabin", and isolated him for three days with his 2 year old brother. At this time, I wasn't getting any sleep and decided to try to complain about the fact that the cruise line did not want to report these incidents to the CDC. I was told by the reception desk, that I had to complain to the medical center. I told them this wasn't expectable; I did not want to make poor circumstances worse. I was told that their manager would call me, and handle my complaint. The manager called 7 days later; I didn't bother to call them back. Apparently, customer service isn't important to them, so why give them my time. The next night, my wife had vomiting and diarrhea, in the incorrect order, and was told she probably did not have Norovirus. We quarantined her in our "sick cabin" for 3.5 days with the other two boys, while I played the part of nurse / servant. Two nights later, our 11 year old son joined them. He made the mistake of puking while sitting on the toilet with diarrhea, and this seemed to confuse the staff. While they didn't think he had Norovirus, they told me to collect a stool sample, and told us we should isolate him. Duh...Ultimately, on our 16 night cruise, we spent 4 days where none of us were sick. NCL's response was to give us a $400 onboard credit, which made it all better. After not hearing back from the reception management staff, I went to the lady selling future cruises on the ship and told her I wouldn't cruise NCL again, and explained why. She told me that the CDC, and the news media, always over report problems with norovirus, and it was all blown way out of proportion. Since 62.5% of my cruising party got sick, and we never get sick at home, I told her I felt the cruise line was intentionally minimizing the problem, to avoid panic and minimalize financial losses. After I left, she had one of the ship's officers call me. I sat down with him, and explained my frustrations. While he did improve the quality of the room service we received, the rest of my recommendations probably fell on deaf ears. Norovirus Recommendations 1) Tell the truth. Most of us are adults, and act accordingly. While sanitizing constantly, can reduce risk for transferring germs and bacteria, it won't kill the virus. Minimizing the problem, through misinformation, or over selling the benefits of sanitization, leads to even more risky behavior by passengers and staff. People will behave better, if they are a little more scared. 2) I don't blame the cruise line for spreading the virus, so don't blame the passengers. Constantly harping at us, every time we call the medical center that we need to sanitize more does no good. We actually ran out soap 7 times in our cabins, and two of these times occurred BEFORE any of us got sick. Having gotten Norovirus two years ago, on the Pride of Hawaii, when 27 percent of the passengers got it or some other mystery virus, we have been extremely cautious when cruising. The reality is; by the time everyone knows there is a problem on the ship, it's too late. The virus is going to run its course; and it will be passed around. 3) Instruct the staff not to touch the passengers. My two year old was passed around from staff member to staff member, because he's cute, and they miss their families, but he spent 7 days sick because of it. Who know how many people he passed along his flu too (not that he had it). 4) The passengers were continually told to sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Then, crew staff would pass around bingo cards, brochures, etc. without sanitizing. Trivia staff insisted that we were all going to cheat, and insisted that we needed to pass around our papers to make sure we weren't cheating to win the non-existent prizes. Be consistent; don't pass anything around. 5) Hey, shit happens. I know that. But any idiot knows that it doesn't have to happen first, before puking, in order for it to be the norovirus. We all have access to information. 6) Offer latex gloves to passengers that want them. Sanitizing me when I walk in a room means nothing. Sitting down at infrequently sanitized tables, using unsanitzed menus, touching the chairs and furniture that have not been cleaned, after sanitizing, is a complete waste of time. When my food arrives, let me sanitize and put on latex gloves, and then eat and drink. At that point, I'll take my chances. Disembarkation In the past, the TSA staff in New Orleans has always been the worst, and has been gruff and impossible to deal with. This time, they were actually the least painful part of the process. Like the rest of the cruise, people who are willing to pay extra, in this case, take NCL tours in New Orleans, get preferential treatment and can get off the ship and pick up their luggage and go through US customs. The rest of us, have to wait for the Magic Luggage fairy to make sure our luggage magically appears downstairs before we get off the ship. The NCL staff on the ship, during the debarkation process, went to great lengths telling us non paying passengers that we were evil for trying to slip off the ship early, because none of our luggage was available yet. Then, they let all the NCL Tour passengers through (sans luggage), and made all of us wait. We get the message; pay off NCL, and you can do whatever. Otherwise, you wait. Non-Executive Summary My only hope is that the rest of the fleet hasn't gotten this bad. I'm not sure I want to waste more money, trying to determine if the rest of the fleet is still ok. I think NCL is heading in the wrong direction. Besides the obvious problems with our family being sick on the cruise, the level of service really makes us question using this cruise line again. I feel like I got a $2000 vacation for $7000, and I don't plan on repeating my mistake. NCL will lose much more, in future business, through word of mouth, unless they improve service some how. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
We were so looking forward to this cruise, but came away with a hollow, disappointed feeling. Too bad, given Celebrity's past reputation. We likely won't be sailing with Celebrity again. Although we have cruised with upscale ... Read More
We were so looking forward to this cruise, but came away with a hollow, disappointed feeling. Too bad, given Celebrity's past reputation. We likely won't be sailing with Celebrity again. Although we have cruised with upscale lines like Oceania, we generally cruise with the middle tier cruise lines like Celebrity, Norwegian, etc. I consider these lines to provide a blend of family style and luxury style cruising, and my ratings and comments reflect that. I was ready to write a detailed review, but in reading the other reviews for this cruise I found that the review "Celebrity - Where Have You Gone?" by lawgirl pretty much says everything we would have said, and quite nicely I might add (good job, lawgirl). We would differ on only a few points: Room and Bath: Ours had been redone. Very nice, in perfect condition and perfectly cleaned. Great lighting throughout, plenty of storage (even at the desk), large flatscreen plasma TV, and the best bathroom layout we've yet seen. Olympic Restaurant (The Specialty Dining Room): This may have been fabulous in comparison to the MDR, but I would rate food quality a "C" in comparison to other cruise line specialty restaurants we've eaten in. There were certainly some bright spots (the chocolate souffle was pure heaven), but had we eaten in this restaurant at home in Atlanta we would have said "it was all right . . . I guess?" and never eaten there again. One other bright spot - the service, which was simply impeccable. Service: I recognize that this category is highly influenced by your head table waiter and your room steward. We had excellent luck with both, close to perfection. We did have a Concierge Class cabin though, and that could have made a difference. Generally, we found the service throughout the rest of the ship to be pretty good to excellent, although we did observe one disturbing incident: the ship's ATM stopped working early in the cruise, and we witnessed a passenger at the front desk in the morning asking about alternate means of getting cash for their impending shore excursion. "Sorry Sir, but there is nothing I can do" was the response, delivered with a stonewalling smile. No offer to help, no calls to a superior, no creative problem solving offered. In defense, I do know that by the next morning ship management had opened the Casino cash till and was dispensing cash without the customary 3% vig. Too bad they don't have standard service processes in place to handle these kinds of routine exception problems, the kind that invariably crop up on every cruise. Entertainment: I would divide this into three categories - Main theater shows, lounge/bar entertainment, and all other events and activities planned by the cruise director. We felt the main theater production shows (of which there were three) were uniformly excellent. Nice set designs and lighting, very strong singing and dancing, excellent choreography, and well-written/designed from an overall perspective. We would give these an "A". The single-performer theater shows were thin - - only three performers over the 11 nights, and each performed on two different nights. The performers get a "B", the thin lineup gets a "C". For lounge/bar entertainment, the performer quality was mixed. Some "A", some "B", and some "C". Overall, I would give this a "B-". By the way, the accordion player was excellent - - he was classically trained and played the instrument not as an accordion (except possibly during the Bavarian Festival at the pool) but as a classical rhythm accompaniment to a violin player. Unusual, but we felt the results were remarkable. For all other events and activities - - almost non-existent, and what was offered was pretty weak. This area really needs to be shored up - - we would give it an "F+". So, there you have it. Again, our basic sentiments are the same as those expressed by lawgirl in her review, "Celebrity - Where Have You Gone?". The only thing I might add is, "Celebrity - Will You Ever Come Back?" Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This is an old(er) ship (1993) - and it looks rather 'tatty'. Although we stayed in the Grand Suite, it was all rather 3 star (not 5 star). When it rained, the water came into our suite in sheets. We had a butler, who was ... Read More
This is an old(er) ship (1993) - and it looks rather 'tatty'. Although we stayed in the Grand Suite, it was all rather 3 star (not 5 star). When it rained, the water came into our suite in sheets. We had a butler, who was ever so obliging, and this is the only 'saving grace' on this rather mediocre experience. The dining room food was very, very hit or miss (more miss, than hit). A rather gruesome canteen with hoards of passengers with lots of loud children throwing food at each other, and not enough places to sit down, was the other 'option'. The entertainment was simply awful, quite often vulgar, and tasteless. The shows were amateur, with very little talent. (Games in which passengers tried to break balloons with their bodies, or where they simulated a sexual act with a large skillet and ladle. The 2 'gala' evenings - were everything except chic - especially since 90% of the passengers didn't bother to dress up (let alone put on a tuxedo). If there is a problem with an excursion, even if it is the fault of the ship, they will hound you for payment. This company is not client centric. If your standards are moderate to high, we urge you to look at another property (and probably not on the Costa line). Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Just returned from my 8th Carnival cruise which was on the new Dream class ship. I wish to warm those who cruise to have fun to avoid this ship. While it would make a great ship for boring parents, as it is family oriented, it is not a ... Read More
Just returned from my 8th Carnival cruise which was on the new Dream class ship. I wish to warm those who cruise to have fun to avoid this ship. While it would make a great ship for boring parents, as it is family oriented, it is not a ship for funloving parents. Perhaps it is just the newness of the ship, but I found all the employees I asked had been with the cruiseline for years. My son found two socks in his bed the first night. How to you clean a room with clean sheets and put socks in the bed???? I found one dirty tennis shoe under my bed. We did the anytime dining. One night, my husband did not get one item he ordered and my cappacino was expresso.... My kids felt the service was not as personal even though we were seated at the same table many nights during the cruise. Also, if you do this option, keep in mind that you never get to see the waiters do their show as it is always on the lower floor. I took my 18 year old son and his girlfriend. They are very good college kids. They were denied access to the adults only area. I find it quite interesting that they are more than willing to consider them adults in the casino where they can take their money, but they are not considered adults for the Serenity area. Hmmmm They said they are too wild? This age group cannot drink yet so I find it hard to believe they would be that wild and my kids are very well behaved. So if they are not adults who get their own area, and the kids all have their own area????? Why then is there not an area for this particular age group!!!!!!!! I always invite friends who are not cruisers to come with us and try it out. This cruise was no exception. It was an embarassing situation. BUT WORST OF ALL.... THIS WAS THE MOST DISTURBING THING ABOUT THE WHOLE CRUISE..... SITTING BY THE POOL, THE MAIN AREA FOR HAVING FUN DURING THE DAY, THEY ACTUALLY PLAYED OPERA MUSIC!!!!! I DO NOT CONSIDER OPERA MUSIC TO BE THE TYPE OF MUSIC FOR A FUN CRUISE. MAYBE IN THE DINING ROOM.... MAYBE IN THE OTHER AREAS OF THE SHIP.... BUT NOT BY THE POOL! I will never cruise Dream again and am considering changing my preferential cruise line from Carnival because of this disturbing experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
After paying enough money for this 6 night vacation (that included this cruise) to get a better and real vacation, I was very annoyed that this cruise lived up to my expectations of being awful. 1st problem: cabin assignment. I paid ... Read More
After paying enough money for this 6 night vacation (that included this cruise) to get a better and real vacation, I was very annoyed that this cruise lived up to my expectations of being awful. 1st problem: cabin assignment. I paid good money for an upgrade, and wasn't assigned a nicer cabin until I complained about it. They assigned an 8th deck cabin, but they tried to pawn off worse cabins before finally assigning a nicer cabin. When going with a normal cruise line booking, you can book your cabin, and know exactly what you're getting. Cabin review: It was fine. It had a TV that didn't work with american dvd players so hooking up anything to it was out of the question. Also, there's no power outlets in the cabin because it's on a european standard too. The shower was annoying because it was a curtain and there was a lot of standing water in the shower. The food: AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. It was totally gross. At no point was any food actually good. It was edible, and I could find something to eat. But some stuff was totally inedible, while some things were passable. It didn't matter whether it was the dining room, the rio buffet, or the poolside buffet. It all ranged from totally gross to bad but edible. The service: Attitude from the staff was everywhere. And everything had mandatory gratuity attached. Some staff were fine, a few were pretty nice, but some staff were outright hostile. Generally, things went smoothly because I knew what to expect, but I expected a pretty bad time. The kids club (3 to 10 years old) was nice enough and would have been okay to get a few hours of baby sitting in, but our son isn't potty trained so that was out. Also, this cruise allows people from Nassau to board there and take the boat back to Florida. I would recommend spending money on a different line, and steering clear of the time share BS, but if you've already gotten suckered, it's not the worst thing in the world. But for the money, you could buy a much nicer 3 or 4 night cruise on a mainstream line with a discount. As for the lies: they added a fuel surcharge even though fuel prices are down now. Also, they're not honest about their pool or their water slide etc. etc.. Everything that you finally find out about on the ship from the drink prices to the food upcharges (for dessert) to the lack of activity is not going to be disclosed before the cruise. So, basically you'll get ripped off by charges once you're on board. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Norwegian Jewel 11/29/2009 - 12/06/2009 Embarkation: Since we drove in the night before we arrived at the Port of Miami at around 10:00 am. We were about the 10th passengers on the line for check-in and passing through security was ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel 11/29/2009 - 12/06/2009 Embarkation: Since we drove in the night before we arrived at the Port of Miami at around 10:00 am. We were about the 10th passengers on the line for check-in and passing through security was very easy and smooth. Once through security, it was on to the check-in counter to receive our keys and then to the "staging area" where you wait to board. One thing I found annoying about the way NCL boards their passengers is that even though you may have arrived at 10:00am, a passenger who arrives at 11:30 but is booked in a suite will be boarded before you. An announcement was made by Q the cruise director at 11:30am that boarding would now begin, and to feel free to visit the buffet, or Tsars Palace for lunch while we wait until 2pm for our rooms to be ready. On other cruise lines we have been able to go straight to our cabin to see if it was ready however this was not the case on the Jewel as they set up ropes so that you will not enter the passageways. We didn't mind anyway as we had very few carry-on items and were hungry for lunch. Our first impression of the overall appearance of the ship was that it was beautiful. We also noted that even though it was a few years old it was exceptionally maintained. After receiving our complimentary champagne (OJ for the kids), we opted for Tsar's Palace for lunch since we usually find the buffet way too busy on embarkation day and we really wanted wind down and relax for a little while after our long drive. Lunch in Tsar's that day was lovely, and we assumed all our meals to follow would be served with the same impeccable service we had received then. Wrong assumption on our part, more to follow... Off to the Splashdown Kids Club to sign the kids up. Our kids have always enjoyed this part of cruising! Sign-up took only a minute and we were able to meet some of the staff and get a schedule for the week's planned activities. Our Cabin: Traveling as a family of four, including myself, my husband, our daughter who is 9 and our son who is 6, we figured that we would book a mini-suite for our voyage so that we would have a tad more space as well as a tub if we needed it for the kids. At 2pm an announcement was made that we could now go to our cabins so, we headed down to our mini-suite #11548. The mini-suite in reality is little more that a glorified balcony but, it was immaculate and nicely acquainted. I will say that I found it strange that our cabin steward, Rezaldo did not have it prepared for 4 occupants (extra towels and such) as the stewards are always aware in advance of how many people will be in a cabin. I will also say that throughout our cruise, we noticed continual little things that Rezaldo missed. Small things like providing ice daily, an empty tissue dispenser and leaving dirty glasses after he'd serviced our cabin left us feeling that Rezaldo was not measuring up. The Cruise: Sea days were very pleasant and you could choose to be as busy or not busy as you wanted to be. We spent most of our sea days by the pool. I've often heard many complaints about lounge hogs but I really did not encounter many of them. There seemed to be plenty of lounges but they could use more little tables for holding drinks. The music by the pool was also festive and pleasant. My one poolside gripe would be that the bar staff is a little pushy and annoying at times. Our ports of call were Roatan, Belize City, Costa Maya and Great Stirrup Cay. All of the ports were enjoyable to us, but since we booked our excursions privately, there's not too much to review pertaining to NCL. In both Roatan and Belize City the tendering process could really use improvement. You must go to an assigned location to stand in line to wait for tender tickets. For our cruise on the Jewel this was the Photo Center. I would not mind the requirement of a ticket at all, if NCL actually required the tickets to board a tender. However, our tender tickets were never requested (nor were anyone else's) and in fact, many people who did not have tickets boarded the tenders anyway. Great Stirrup Cay has probably seen better days. We've visited the private islands of Costa, Carnival and Royal Caribbean and all of them could run circles around NCL's private island. As we viewed the island aboard the first tender, we saw what seemed to be a large amount of lounge chairs, but once the island was full of passengers, it became quite clear that there were not enough. Beach umbrellas were an extremely rare commodity; I would say that there was maybe 1 umbrella per 40 lounges. After 6 days of Caribbean sun, there were many red vacationers scavenging for beach umbrellas. We found that some of the buildings such as the buffet and some of the bars were looking fairly run down. We were also disappointed with amount of trash in the sand. We saw straws, forks, and many, many rusty bottles caps. One other thing that may not have affected my family personally but we still find rather awful was that NCL actually ran out of potable drinking water for about 2 hours on the island. I'm not talking about bottled water which you could buy; I'm talking about free potable water. Talk about terrible customer service, I find it hard to believe that with as many stops as NCL has made over the years to their own island they wouldn't know how much drinking water needed to be brought ashore. This is just an assumption of course but perhaps beverage sales were down and they needed to make some up? Regarding the Garden Cafe (buffet) and restaurants on the ship, we found most of the food quite enjoyable. However the service left much to be desired. In the buffet, often there were empty tables but good luck waiting for them to be cleared. Aside from the buffet we dined in Tsar's Palace (main dining), Azura (main dining) and Mama's Italian Kitchen. In both of the main dining rooms the food was very enjoyable but it was always about halfway though the main course before our drinks would arrive. And once the main courses were served never did anyone stop by the table to see how things were going. Most nights we waited very long times before having to wave someone down to order dessert. I guess the caring attentive service is lost in the freestyle. We definitely enjoyed our dinner at Mama's Italian Kitchen and we did notice a big improvement in service there. But then, that was the one restaurant we had to pay to eat in. Splashdown Kids Club: Our kids really enjoyed the activities. The staff handed out a schedule of planned activities which helps you with choosing if and when your kids will go. Our kids usually choose for themselves and I will say more often than not when we went to pick them up at the planned time, they wanted to stay longer! But there were instances when the scheduled activity never happened - our kids mentioned this because they were looking forward to them. We did mention this at the front desk at which point we were told "that the schedule is strictly followed" and that "our children must have been mistaken". I am one hundred percent sure that my kids would remember if an ice cream party had taken place or not and personally I believe these comments could only be taken as an insinuation that our kids had lied. Honestly, this was just the first instance of bad customer service at the front desk. I'm not sure if this is an NCL issue or just a Jewel issue but it would appear that they make a lot of mistakes in regards to charges to On Board Credit accounts. While I heard several stories from fellow passengers regarding this, we had 2 significant instances of this but I'll just share the first. The first day on board we decided to by the kids' soda cards (bracelets for kids). The charge was $4.00 per day + 17% gratuities which should have resulted in a charge of just over $64.00. When we checked our account a few days later we saw that we had been charged over $100 by the Sky Bar! We explained the error to the front desk clerk (with receipt in hand) and were sent to see the gentleman at the Java Cafe. He had no idea why we had been sent to see him and in turn sent us back to the front desk. Once back at the front desk, the clerk then wanted us to go to the Sky Bar to clear this up. At this point I became a bit annoyed. What kind of customer service makes the customer chase down the right employee to fix a mistake that's not even their fault? I pointed this out and asked to speak with a supervisor but was told that that would not be possible as they were all in a meeting (I'm thinking you keep at least one supervisor available) but that she would forward the information and have it corrected. The second issue with our on board credit was also an overcharge issue (again we had the receipts) for which we received the same type of run-a-round to get it corrected. While many people will say that I should be satisfied that the issues were corrected, I find these mistake and lack of customer service something you would expect from amateurs not a company that has been in business as long as NCL has. I also wonder, for all the mistakes that are caught, how many are not. Overall, we did enjoy our cruise but then, we would enjoy any vacation together. NCL (or any other cruise line for that matter) could never stop us from having a great family vacation. That being said, NCL could have made a great vacation more relaxing and comfortable. Poor customer service and lack of quality in certain areas would never detract from us having a good time but great customer service and better quality certainly could have enhanced it! Disembarkation: We chose to disembark on our own. This process went extremely smooth and we were off the ship and in our car by 8:30am. As we drove out of the Port of Miami, we waved so-long to the NCL Jewel, and goodbye to NCL forever. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Well to start off we were excited to get on board and meet with our fellow cruise critic cruisers since we were unable to meet the night before. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and the embarkation was very smooth. due to the amount of ... Read More
Well to start off we were excited to get on board and meet with our fellow cruise critic cruisers since we were unable to meet the night before. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and the embarkation was very smooth. due to the amount of platinum members and vip members all checked in the same place the line that normally would go into the vip lounge went right to the main desks as we had purchased the cat 11 suite we went right through and on the ship. with no debarkation in the morning the rooms were available much earlier on. when we got into our room i almost threw up. the sewage was coming up in the bathroom. spent the next few hours with the crew and plumbers trying to fix it. I was not allowed in while they were working on it so i dont know what they did but smell was gone. when i returned around 4'ish the smell was even worse. i went and got the room attendant and to my surprise... did what she was told to do and i kid you not.. poured an entire bottle of shampoo that they refill the dispensers with down all the drains and ran water down all three drains. to make a long story short this same procedure was repeated for 5 days every 2-3 hours, 5 days later and many vomit sessions later they finally found the problem to be the drains did not have silicone seals around them and finally by monday night it was fixed. that being the personal part of the cruise that ruined my daughters graduation present. there were no other rooms to move us to and the attendent has been reporting these problems since it left europe, there are still many spots on the boat where this still is occurring. now for the rest of the cruise. Pros. 1) if you are a non smoker as i you will be glad to know most of the ship is smoke free, even most of the casino. 2) Carnival did well by hand picking many personnel from all the other ships to come aboard and set the example to all the new employees, unfortunately not enough. 3) Shows were amazing, not only in the theatre but in the main deck and lido deck singers, Well done on Todd's part (c.d.) to bring in great talent. 4) And this being the most important, lol... showing the SEC championship game on the big screen t.v. since i couldnt be in my room that day from the smell i welcomed it on the lido deck. 5) laser show was amazing.. but... this will also be in my cons. Cons. 1) Tables on lido deck were a mess during peak times, this goes back to not having enough experienced staff, many were standing around while people were getting up to leave and others waiting to sit down, they spent a lot of time talking amongst themselves. 2) Laser show, with any wind the smoke that would normally make an outstanding experience blows up and away still a good show but not like it when no wind. 3) Food... many of the dining room dishes came out luke warm to cold. exception being the soups, these were hot and good. 4) Supper club.. sigh... this was a disappointment to me to the umpteenth degree. I so enjoyed them before they became the steakhouses that they are now. the personal touch is not there like it was. the large selection of breads have been whittled down to 2, the portions are much smaller then they were and that special touch of the chef coming out to great you to see how you liked it,, gone. 5) This being the most important to me. With all the high level carnival executives on board, much of the pomp that should have been there for us went to them. Captains table for dinner.. vip seating for the steakhouse show, front seat seating for night shows was easy to pick them out with todd and all the officers surrounding them like a little girl or boy meeting hannah montana at disney. 6) Many rooms and hallways including deck 2 had sewage smell that was disgusting. Excursions. This i am torn on. the first stop in atigua i was too sick from the room to do so i had to cancel. next day was tortola and my daughter went on the 4X4 and loved it. i had to stay back as my room was being torn apart to finally be fixed. next was st thomas. the screaming eagle was a blast and had many hours to shop at port as well as in town. next was san juan which was cancelled because someone didnt do there homework on the pier. finally grand turks. many of the great tours sold out on this and i was disappointed they did not try to schedule any more since we would be arriving 5 hours earlier because of leaving san juan with no stop. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My huband, myself and my two girls (4yrs and 10yrs) decided to go on a cruise with my parents. We had cruised before several times but only on Royal Carribean. My parents talked us into trying Holland America. We were skeptical because of ... Read More
My huband, myself and my two girls (4yrs and 10yrs) decided to go on a cruise with my parents. We had cruised before several times but only on Royal Carribean. My parents talked us into trying Holland America. We were skeptical because of the lack of information regarding the kids' club. We boarded the ship on a Saturday. The first thing we noticed that the main population of the ship was people over the age of 70yrs. We did not notice any young couples or families with children. It started to go down hill from there. Later in the day, we went to the kids' club (Club HAL), to enroll our children. We were saddened and frustrated to see that there was only one other children in each of their classrooms. When we asked the kids' counselor what happens in the event of an emergency and how do they contact us, this is what she replied to me. She stated that one time they had a little girl break her femur bone and the parents were on shore in Rome for 8hrs and there was NOTHING they could do for the child. Not even give pain medicine. So now tell me how does this put a parent at ease when already having issues leaving their kids behind. I was mortified. Why would anyone want to share this story with a parent? Well, with that news we rarely put our children into Club HAL..besides all they did with handful of kids that were there was plop them in front of a TV and pop a movie in! Now to move onto excursions. My husband and I had tried a couple of times to book excursions such as snorkeling while we were onboard. The sad truth was there was NOT ENOUGH people booked to hold the excursion. Well no wonder if everyone on the boat was over the age of 70yrs. We were very disappointed. Then the dining experience. This was probably the worst of all. Holland America advertises this "open dining" where you can come any time and not be tied down by fixed dining. Well this was a joke. They recommended that you make reservations and half the time you could only get reservations at 5pm or 8pm. Another negative was the dining staff. One observations that I noticed was that there was NO women wait staff...in fact NO women at all in the staff. I'm glad I'm not a feminist because I actually did find this rather disturbing. Ok, now with open dining, you never have the same waiter or any staff for that matter. So how do you tip someone that you only have for one day? The tips are managed very poorly. It is "recommended" that you give $11 a day to each staff, however, what if one staff member is awesome and the other gives horrible service? The sad answer is that both staff members receives the same amount of money. We experienced this first hand when one morning we went to the Lido restaurant (which is buffet style) for breakfast. We got to a table that didn't have any silverware. My husband asked one of the staff members for silverware. When we returned to the table with our breakfast we still didn't have silverware. I stopped a dining room attendant and asked him for silverware and stated that my husband had already asked. He muttered under his breath that I was "asking the wrong person". I was furious. I asked him to repeat what he just said and he just looked at me. I went and got my own silverware. Unfortunately the bad service just continued. Now to talk about the food. The food was HORRIBLE. The dining room food was horrible and had little selection. We ended up eating ALOT of steak. The Lido restaurant which is buffet style, had very salty food and the portions were ridiculous. We encountered staff members on line in front of us that received bigger portions! As far as room service, well I hope you like waiting. We waiting 45min for a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. I could have ordered Dominoes and waited less. We have been on Royal and never waited that long and this was a smaller ship! By the third day of this cruise, we had enough and decided to take our concerns to Guest Relations. We explained our concerns to the staff (which happened to be women, the only female staff members) and they took note. Later in the day when we returned to our stateroom, we had a book on how to make towel animals wrapped in bow on our bed. I thought, "Are you kidding me?". It was a gift from Guest Relations as an apology for the bad service. The next night at dining, we went to the main dining room. Well, our stateroom had been flagged. The wait staff were just oozing with kindness and charm over myself, my husband and my children. It was nice but we were disappointed that it took a complaint to get the service we should have been getting since day one. And the sad part is that the crew member who was horrible to us would be splitting the tip with the awesome waiter we had that night! Bad management on Holland America's part. One more point to add. If you are looking for a cruise that has plenty of activities forget this one. If you like playing bridge or bingo then this is for you. The majority of the bars closed at 10pm and as for the "nightclub", there were 2 (YES I SAID 2) couples dancing. The shows were a waste and well if you like gambling, well then you can fight one of the "older" passengers for a slot machine. To put an end to this lengthy review, my family and I will NEVER EVER said another Holland American cruise again. If you are retired and like to sit around then go for it. Otherwise stick to another cruise line that has family things and activities for younger people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We took a family cruise on the Sapphire Princess on 12/05/09 with my husband, son (13 yrs) daughter (10yrs)and myself. We flew from Ohio to LA and had princess transfers which were worth every penny. Our check in was very organized and I ... Read More
We took a family cruise on the Sapphire Princess on 12/05/09 with my husband, son (13 yrs) daughter (10yrs)and myself. We flew from Ohio to LA and had princess transfers which were worth every penny. Our check in was very organized and I don't think we waited more then 1/2 hr to get to our cabin. The cabin was a balcony room on the Lido deck. The room was smaller then other cruises we took (on RCCL) but very clean. Now for the service. I would have to say WHAT SERVICE. This is my third cruise, but first with princess. The other were with RCCL. ( we went on the liberty last summer) When I would ask for directions on the ship, most would say, I don't know and walk away.. When I'd get a refill on diet soda, it was like I was bothering them!! One night, I went to the buffet and although I know better, I grabbed one of my strawberries before I was done getting food (just a habit) one of the workers came behind me and said, don't eat in line, that's what we have tables for....I even said, you don't have to be so rude, he just glared at me and I walked away!! The food was mediocre at most.. The desserts were not that good ~they were lacking something and I couldn't put my finger on it. This was the concensus of our group of 7. On RCCL, I would never have to ask for refills on our soda's or tea at dinner, but with princess, I had to ask all the time!! The workers were not even friendly to our kids!! Most of the time, you can expect them to be nicer to kids!! NOPE, not here!!! My daughter still tells everyone about her waiter on our RCCL cruise last year.. She knows his name, where is was from and the special things he did for her and our son!! Tell me that's not something !! Although this cruise was a gift and I'm greatful.. I can tell you we will probably never sail on princess again!! Please don't waste your money on the sapphire.. spend a little more and pick another cruise line that want their customers to come back! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This cruise was included in a timeshare marketing ploy, which we weren't told about when we booked the trip. If you received the offer in the mail, and are spending 2 days in FLL, followed by this cruise, then 2 nights in Orlando, BE ... Read More
This cruise was included in a timeshare marketing ploy, which we weren't told about when we booked the trip. If you received the offer in the mail, and are spending 2 days in FLL, followed by this cruise, then 2 nights in Orlando, BE AWARE. There is NO savings in this package. After all of the upgrades, we could have had a MUCH nicer vacation, on a better cruise. As for the ship. It's awful. All of the staff were difficult to understand, because of the language barrier. We upgraded to what I thought would be a bigger cabin, it was the exact same size as the standard, just an outside cabin. There was no thermostat, it was hot in the room, and we just had to suffer through it. We traveled with our one year old, and when we went for the formal dinner on the first night, no one would bring us a high chair. After waiting for 30 minutes, trying to keep him from disturbing others, we were told there weren't any available since there were so many small children. We never saw those small children, or the high chairs, during the trip. The food was edible, not great or even good. The pool was awful. I thought that surely there was more than one pool. The only pool they had was so small. The dining area on the top deck was horrible. No shelter from the rain, and never enough tables. Boarding was confusing and frustrating. Normally, on other cruise the documents are sent to you so that you are prepared. We were given all of the documents to fill out for customs, with no where to fill them out, and with no writing utensils. We met a few nice people who were also utterly disappointed. If you are just going to party, then this ship might be for you. This was a family trip for us, and was not suitable for our needs. It was very ghetto. For the same price you could take a Carnival two day cruise. We were hit with tons of charges for gratuity and fuel, which was bs. Overall, it completely blew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I'm going to tell you like it is. December 12th Getting on the ship was easy as usual. First thing I noticed on the Lido deck upon walking around was a terrible odor. I thought to myself, hmm... maybe it's something ... Read More
I'm going to tell you like it is. December 12th Getting on the ship was easy as usual. First thing I noticed on the Lido deck upon walking around was a terrible odor. I thought to myself, hmm... maybe it's something outside. WRONG. I found out after several conversations with Spa personnel (I go to the SPA quite often when I cruise) there is an ENGINEERING FLAW IN THE SANITARY (waste) SYSTEM VENTILATION. This brand new ship smells like poop. I'm not kidding. *only when the wind is at a certain direction (which was most of the cruise) the sanitary system couldn't vent properly. This foul smell was a very unsatisfactory and a daily complaint for many people. Note: I have been cruising for 15 years. Sometimes twice a year. I have been on different cruise lines from high dollar to weekend get-aways. If you have never been on a cruise before, you probably think it's the best thing next to visiting the golden corral on a daily basis. For my wife and myself, we were very disappointed in the quality of food, service, cleanliness, and behavior of the staff. It was far worse than last April when we recently cruised on the Carnival Miracle. Food is edible at most but just terrible. If you want Orange juice, it cost $2.50 plus 15% gratuity. If you are hungry, your best option is the 24 hour pizza or ice cream. The rest of the dinning has become very limited. I would walk by the buffet areas and they would have food trays covering/blocking food that is ready to eat for several hours then all the sudden open for everyone to wait in line up to 45 min for some venues which brings me to my next point. The new Carnival motto in my mindset is: Build the ship larger to accommodate more passengers but still have the same or smaller recreational common areas to be the same size. Hence, cramming a bunch of people into small places causing awkward and frustrating waits and at most times unavailable seating arrangements. One other issue for the ships poor planning was that many people couldn't get off the ship in Belize due to the fact there were 4 other cruise ships. So, with a 6 hour itinerary at port, we couldn't get off the ship until almost 12:00 noon in which we decided it wasn't worth to get off and get back on for 2 hours. One thing I did enjoy was the comedy shows. Carnival did a great job making an area for comedy for a nightly entertainment venue. Only problem is... you have to wait 20-45minuets minimum to get a seat. There are too many people. The Cruise director Todd, was not existent for most of the cruise. I feel like the entire officer/administrative staff was filled with British/English cocky/arrogant teenagers running the ship. The employees are overworked and VERY stressed out. I have never heard the employees complain so much about people, their job etc... Let me share a personal incident that happened to me with regard to ship safety while in the spa area in which I had to go to the informatory. I paid $250.00 extra to have access to the spa hot-tub, sauna, and warming chairs for the week. Well, one day my wife and I entered the area and stumbled upon a crew of maintenance personnel doing some ARC welding to a door jam for the entry to the hot-tub. I walked up and said, Hi, so I assume this is closed for today? The man said yes. Then put his welding hood down to cover his face to weld in front of my eyes in which I had been injured with "sun spots" or as the eye doctor called it "UV radiation damage to the lens of the eye. I was told to keep my eyes closed and follow up later if it got worse. Carnival said they did the best they could. They said, "what are you complaining about? We gave you free medical exam." I am a pilot. So this is not settling very nice with me right now. That's it. Oh and I got a letter the day of disembarkation. Thank you for choosing Carnival cruise lines. We are sorry to hear about your incident. We are always striving to improve our customer satisfaction and look forward to seeing you soon on your next Carnival cruise. To sum it all up, I'm done. Some say I need an attorney right now for what happened to my eye. I strongly advise you stay away from these people. Carnival has become very interested in saving every penny as much as possible. I understand that from a business point of view but there are certain aspects of quality and integrity that should be kept at a standard level. My wife and I work extremely hard and deserve a relaxing vacation. Not this. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I enjoyed the ports and shore excursions. I went kayaking in St. Kitts, Scuba diving in St. Lucia, horseback riding in Aruba, and shopping in Curacao. My room attendant was the best I have ever had and my stateroom was very nice. I ... Read More
I enjoyed the ports and shore excursions. I went kayaking in St. Kitts, Scuba diving in St. Lucia, horseback riding in Aruba, and shopping in Curacao. My room attendant was the best I have ever had and my stateroom was very nice. I attended 2 production shows with the dancers which were decent and one comedian/ magician show which was the worst I have ever seen (and I have attended many comedy shows). I have no idea how he got a job. He mentioned several times in the beginning of his act that you must be drunk to enjoy his show. It was dreadful. No one was laughing throughout his "act". BUT: the food was horrible....and despite my complaints about it, it was never resolved. THis is the ONLY cruise I ordered room service on. I went to the evening dinner (late seating) and ordered 2 entrees. I waited for over an hour and when the food arrived, it looked edible until I bit into it. I could not eat it at all and I am not a picky eater. I suppose I "should" be grateful that I actually LOST weight on this trip because the food was so terrible at the main dining room. We attempted to eat at the dinner buffet, but that was sadly disappointing. They had a delicious LOOKING stir fry, (similar to the Mongolian Barbecue idea), but when I actually tasted it it.... the flavor was horrible. The italian food was the same way. Even the pizza looked like pizza, but when you bit into it, it had no taste. How can a piece of pizza have no flavor? I don't know how it's even possible to create food that looks like food, but doesn't taste like food ?!?!?!? CELEBRITY figured out how to make food that looks like food but taste like cardboard. It's amazing. :o) They could solve all of America's obesity problem with their creative food skills because nobody would want to eat anymore. I LOST weight on this cruise. They could market it as the "diet" cruise for people who want to lose weight while cruising. I complained to the guest relations, the waiter, and the maitre de the first and second and third night, which didn't resolve anything (but they sent chocolates to my room once). I was shocked to learn that the chef was from Chile, where there is so much taste and flavor. The food tasted like cardboard. I will say that the breakfast buffet was great and had a lot of taste and variety. I will say the only thing that got me through this cruise without completely starving was the breakfast buffet and the club sandwich I ordered from Room service. This was my 5th cruise and second time on Celebrity (in case you are wondering) and the last time I was on Celebrity the food was great. It's really sad when the best thing I can find to eat on a cruise I paid all that money for is a grilled hot dog from the poolside barbecue grill (and ordinarily) I don't even eat hotdogs. And NO, I WILL NOT BE CRUISING ON CELEBRITY AGAIN ! ! ! If I wanted to be on a diet, I wouldn't have gone on a cruise. About 20 people have asked me since I have returned home. "How was the cruise?" and I say "awful. The food was awful. I actually lost weight and you know me, I love to eat". and their next question is "What cruise line did you go on?" Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
The problem is, where do I start? Getting onto the cruise ship was quite smooth and pain-free. The agents made sure they processed your info and that you were on your way onto the ship fairly quickly. Restaurants - let's start with ... Read More
The problem is, where do I start? Getting onto the cruise ship was quite smooth and pain-free. The agents made sure they processed your info and that you were on your way onto the ship fairly quickly. Restaurants - let's start with the lido deck. Horrible food! Long line-ups! Horrible service! On top of that, they ran out of food starting on the 5th day into the cruise...such as milk, yogurt, and bananas to name a few. When I tried to order room service milk, I was told they only had chocolate milk left. I'm sure the kids wouldn't mind! On the first two nights, we went to the Chef's ART steakhouse where the service was atrocious, the servers themselves had absolutely no personalities, and the food was cold when it was finally served. The food on the main dinner seating was always cold and the dinner staff was overwhelmed and did not care to fix any issues with our tables food. Oh and by the way... there was a strong smell of sewage that emanated from the entire ship, the entire time. It was extremely disgusting! Room service food was good but there was a very limited menu to choose from and it usually took 35-55 minutes for it to arrive. Service - the people who worked on this cruise ship complained and were extremely rude at most times... they would bump me out of the way. I actually had lost an entire trey of food so an employee could walk to a doorway. No security what-so ever....When we were sitting near the pool eating our lunch, we would literally have to block with chairs because kids were running wildly bumping into tables and people. Then where the ADULT pool is, they were tons of kids... I complained and no one did a thing. The staff were not very friendly and a few of them came off as quite arrogant. The housekeeping staff was nice, but they didn't change our linen once during our whole cruise. The sand never got vacuumed from the floor. Our shower curtain had mold on it!! The freaking boat is supposed to be brand new!! Our stateroom had maintenance come over at least 8 times because of power outages. I have travelled on a Mediterranean cruise before this one and the service was amazing. The staff were all friendly, helpful and would bend over backwards to ensure you had the time of your life. Not the case with the Carnival Cruise lines!! Entertainment - they had some great comedians. But all the other shows were horrible. I would rather go to high school plays instead. Tendering - this is what they do when there isn't a dock/port big enough to handle a large cruise ship, so they anchor the ship out in the water and "tender" you on lifeboats to the land. The problem is, if you don't have a shore excursion booked, you have to line up in the to get a number..... Well, Belize was a disaster!!!!!!!!!!! We waited in the encore lounge for almost 2 hours to move to a heavily crowded stair case then an extremely choppy boat ride.. Worst thing was that our tenders had no life jackets. People were getting sick and my husband thought our boat was going to cap size because of the wait to get back on our ship was so long... we basically just waited for about 20 min in rough water with no life jackets on board. Gym - the gym equipment was pretty good but you were always competing with the staff of the ship. It was all Carnival employees in the gym, I felt like I was in the employee gym. Public Washrooms - these washrooms were absolutely unclean, they had no toilet paper in the stalls, they didn't refill the paper towels and there was no soap to wash your hands. This was on day 2 of the cruise. It was like Carnival put as many passenger son board but no staff for anything.. To sum it all up, this cruise on the DREAM was absolutely terrible and I would never ever ever recommend anyone take this cruise line. *Horrible service *Horrible food *Unclean and disgusting ship *Wallet-gouging. I got a little bit of sun though :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My wife and I waited in anticipation of not only our first Carnival Cruise Line experience but also being able to cruise on it's flag ships maiden voyage out of Port Canaveral.For months I searched for updates of the new ship on ... Read More
My wife and I waited in anticipation of not only our first Carnival Cruise Line experience but also being able to cruise on it's flag ships maiden voyage out of Port Canaveral.For months I searched for updates of the new ship on YouTube and google I was so excited. Our State Room # 9205 which is as foreword as you can get located just above the bridge is a great room with a king sized bed, shower and jet tub double bowl sink with granite counter tops,separate dressing table for my wife more than enough closet space and a balcony. The room steward did a nice job of maintaining the room the only thing that upset my wife is that she requested that ice be brought to the room everyday which only happened once the last day of our 9 day cruise his tip was effected. The food throughout was very cafeteria like not what we have been used to on the other cruise lines we have been on ( This was our 10Th cruise)the only 2 places I enjoyed the food at was sad to say the Deli near the pool in the rear of the ship and the grill for hamburgers and good freedom fries. The cruise directors there were 2 on our cruise Tom and John must have stayed in their rooms most of the cruise because they and their staff were nowhere to be found except at the nightly shows that I thought are fantastic other than someone needs to turn down the female lead singers microphone she is a screamer ouch!!!that's OK I can't sing well either.You could find the room steward most times on the observation deck above the bridge that's where they all meet to smoke and loaf.The other crew was seen in the lounges drinking with the customers. My opinion is there is nobody managing this ship. the customers have to find their own entertainment most of the time. I have allot of ideas of what they can do to correct their lack of service perception. It must start with the person in charge of the cruise line he needs to read these reviews and be concerned people spent good money in a tough economy to cruise his ship and most were underwhelmed that's very scary he needs to get his body on that ship and correct the problems because people have other options out there. I would hate to see them fail as a company because of lack of good management skills. The Ports of call were super Antigua we did a beach tour very nice,Tortola we did a private beach resort awesome,St Thomas we did a Catamaran snorkel and beach and RUM tour awesome,San Juan the ship wouldn't fit the pier day at sea but they did give us back $20.00 which is allot if your Mexican LOL,Grand Turk we did a catamaran sail snorkel and beach with lots of Rum again very very nice and we went to Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville right at the end of the pier fantastic pool flow rider and entertainment great day. That's my review of the Carnival Dream they have their work cut out for them to straighten out all the shortcomings but if they acknowledge them they can correct them. Best of Luck Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This is our second cruise with Carnival and again we had a bad experience. We knew the Inspiration (we previously cruised on) was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. The ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Carnival and again we had a bad experience. We knew the Inspiration (we previously cruised on) was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. The Dream did not meet our expectations for being a new ship. First of all, The sewage smell was awful! Every day we could smell sewage throughout the ship. Second, I can't give a full review to this ship and its services because our experiences will tell you it is not needed. So here goes: Cabin - Dirty, period. The bathroom had sewage smell, called for repair/clean up twice, never fixed. We also had a power outage 2 times in which we were late getting to dinner on the second formal night. Our son dropped his toy under our bed so he used a hangar to get it out, he then got the toy out, as well an opened condom package, a piece of chipped toe nail and something else disgusting that looked like rotten food. Food and the service - The food in the dinning room was below average which is not a too big problem but overall the food was stale and disgusting and always cold. I think maybe one night we actuall all had hot food at our table. I did not have one thing that didn't taste like day old cafeteria food. This is completely unacceptable. A decent meal is not hard to achieve and shouldn't be on a cruise so expensive. We did the open seating and the service was very slow, the average wait time was 25 minute from ordering to getting the starters. Twice, the waiter did not pour water for us (and the table next to us) until after he gave us the starters. I ordered "hand-picked" greens one night, I got spoiled black colored baby spinach - not just one but more than a dozen. I know people say you get what you pay for, that's just not what I or anyone wanted to pay for. If you are someone with low expectations then this cruise line may be ok. Never imagined that my Pre-Christmas vacation would be ruined this way. Customer service: Nobody knew what was going on besides the information people and even they had a little confusion. Though it was nice to have people from all around the world (I myself am Canadian and love to be around people from different countries), A lot of them spoke little english and were hard to understand. Not one person understood one thing I asked or could carry on a simple request. Besides that the staff was rude most of the time. I actually heard a lot of cruise staff complaining about passengers. Waiter- the waiter was lifeless, not friendly and barely spoke to us. Came over once to check on us if we got lucky that night. The maitre d was nowhere to be seen. Shows and entertainment: Not appropriate for all ages. They had very boring events and then some that were a bit "too" much. Very corny and cheesy contests that were tacky and not entertaining in the least bit. I did not pay 1200 dollars to see harry chests, absolutely ridiculous. Not one event captured our interest or made us happy. The comedy shows were entertaining but Jeff the fun dude was horrible. This guy was sooo annoying. They should of let us throw rotten tomatoes at him. He is such a loser. Not sure if I am allowed to say this on here but I feel cheated. I feel ripped off and these people took a grab at my money any chance they could... to communicate with someone, to get help, to have a friendly person to talk to. No courteousness whatsoever. All i can tell people is to Please go with someone else. Anyone but Carnival. People told me that they have been cruising for years that the quality has gone right down the tubes for carnival in the last 2 years. The ports were all nice except for Belize. The wait time was almost 2 hours to get off the boat. There were 4 other cruise lines also trying to offload people. I noticed on the tender there were no life jackets and thought that all boats are supposed ot have them. I was scared for my son since he really doens tknow how to swim and the weather in Belize was stormy that day. The water slide that we were so excited about was closed often. On the last day, fun day at sea, they closed it for maintenance but all i could see was a man painting some stairs that go to the top. I asked the staff when it would open and they said it was closed for the day. I feel they probably could of waited to do the painting on a day at port or some other time rather than last fun day at sea. Oh and one more thing. The medical staff was rude, and incompetent. They knew nothing about dealing with someone who had diabetes (such as myself) and I am in the process of suing them for bruising my veins because they dont know how to properly insert an intravenous catheter (IV). I need a vacation after this week. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was my 55th cruise on various ships, Carnival included, and it was the worse yet. My 7 year old grandson, who has been cruising every year since he was 22 months old, rated this ship a 1. We had three cabins on deck 6 above the ... Read More
This was my 55th cruise on various ships, Carnival included, and it was the worse yet. My 7 year old grandson, who has been cruising every year since he was 22 months old, rated this ship a 1. We had three cabins on deck 6 above the Encore. The shows were so loud, I do not understand how people could sit in the theatre. We could not nap, or sleep til the shows were over. The Lido was a mess, with people standing in lines for 90 minutes trying to get food. We asked for anytime dining, which turned out to be according to the people in the dining room, you came to the dining room and waited til someone from the6:15 seating finished eating or did not show up. Traveling with family of 7 people, that meant we waited over an hour to be seated. The ship was overbooked, and I wondered if they had enough life boats for all of us. Our Christmas cruise was ruined and I will never cruise on Carnival again. It is obvious, they are now marketing their ships to people who don't care what they eat, don't want quite places to relax, and enjoy the hairy chest contests. Yes, it was so bad, they did offer to fly us home from St.Thomas, but with two grandchildren who looked forward to Christmas at sea, and only three days before Christmas, we had no choice but to suffer out the time on the Nightmare, oops, I mean Dream. You lost 7 cruisers Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This cruise departed from New York City on 12/19/2009 with three scheduled ports (Port Canaveral, Big Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas) before returning to New York on 12/26. This was the fourth cruise for my wife and me but our first ... Read More
This cruise departed from New York City on 12/19/2009 with three scheduled ports (Port Canaveral, Big Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas) before returning to New York on 12/26. This was the fourth cruise for my wife and me but our first cruise with NCL. I had read many positive to very positive reviews about the NCL Gem and its crew. Many had said good things about the NCL's "Freestyle Cruising" so we were prepared for a great holiday cruise with our two adult daughters who had never been on a cruise. Having outrun the Blizzard of 2009, we arrived at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal just after 11:00 am on 12/19, easily found the parking area, paid for parking, checked our luggage and quickly made our way through check-in. We made it onboard the Gem about 1:00 pm and did some exploring until our staterooms were available just after 2:00 pm. After we checked out our staterooms (deck 4 forward), we made our way to the Garden Cafe (deck 12) for some lunch. It was very, very crowded and we ended up sitting outside (in the freezing cold) because there was no room in the inside dining area (this was a chronic problem throughout the cruise). By the way, no trays were available to carry your plates and drinks which made things cumbersome. The most favorite things on our cruise were the efficiency of the stateroom stewards (they were very pleasant and asked how things were going every time we saw them), the evening shows, the easy embarkation, the walk-off disembarkation (very quick), the availability of the elevators, the large showers (at least for a cruise ship), numerous storage shelves in the stateroom and the comfortable beds (which were by far the most comfortable we have slept in on any cruise). While much of the food was a disappointment compared to our other cruises, it was far from our biggest disappointment. The biggest disappointments on this cruise were the uninformed crew (particularly at the Guest Services desk and dining servers), the always crowded buffet dining room (Garden Cafe), the long waits for seating in the main dining rooms (Grand Pacific and Magenta) and the unwillingness of the crew to help with most problems. The most common answer we received whenever we asked a crew member a question was, "I don't know," with no willingness to do anything to find out. Let me provide some examples of issues that we had (these are just a few). After dinner on 12/19 in the Grand Pacific at about 7:15 pm, we stopped by the Guest Services desk to ask if there was going to be any religious services on Sunday. The answer was, "I don't know." We asked about Christmas services, (note: my travel agent had told me that NCL had services scheduled at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve and midnight and 6:00 am on Christmas). The answer from Guest Services was, "I don't know, but you can check in the Freestyle Daily on Christmas Eve." As we are Catholic, we asked if a priest was on board. The answer, "NCL does not provide a priest, if a private family has a priest with them, I am sure they will offer daily services." We learned from the 12/20 Freestyle Daily, which unfortunately had not been delivered to our stateroom on the evening of 12/19, that there was a priest onboard who offered Sunday and daily masses at 8:00 am. A member of the Cruise Director's staff mentioned to those in a lounge, where we were playing a game, to remember to pick up tender boat tickets at the Shore Excursion desk for our second port (Great Stirrup Cay). Before dinner, we stopped by the Shore Excursion desk and asked when tickets for the tender would be available. Their response was, "I don't know. Maybe you should ask at Guest Services." We went to Guest Services, which is about 20 feet away, and asked about the tender tickets. The answer, "I don't know, but you should probably check with the Shore Excursion desk." When we returned to our stateroom after the evening show, we checked the 12/22 Freestyle Daily and, sure enough, it directed us to pick up tickets for the tender at 10 am on 12/22. However, it did not say whether everyone had to pick up their own ticket or whether a single member of a group could pick up tickets for everyone. We didn't even call to ask because we knew the answer we would get. So, all four of us lined up at the Excursion Desk at 9:30 am. (Note: The tender tickets really seemed like a great idea, as it was meant to prevent crowding the disembarkation deck. A great idea which failed because of very poor communication.) With our tickets in hand, we went back to our stateroom and waited to be called. When the first ticket number was called, I opened our door and asked several passengers that were filing past if they had their tender tickets. Surprise, surprise, most did not and had even heard about the necessity of getting tickets. My final examples happened on Christmas Day (last day of the cruise). These examples demonstrate our general frustration with the dining staff throughout the entire cruise. In every previous dinner menu, NCL provided an "Always Available" menu in addition to each specific day's selections. On Christmas Day, the menu was formatted differently and did not show the "Always Available" menu. My daughter didn't care for any of the Entrees and asked if she could have a steak (which had been shown on the "Always Available" menu). The server looked at her as if she did not understand the question. My daughter repeated her request. The server just pointed to the menu and asked which entrEe she wanted. No offer to find out if the steak was available. Under the Desserts, Ice Cream was one of the choices, but on Christmas Day the menu stated that there were "special favors available, just ask". So I asked. The server's answer was, "I don't know." I requested that she please check in the kitchen and let me know. She said okay. As the dishes from the main course were being cleared, we asked the server if she had found out what the special flavors of ice cream were. She said she had not, but would go find out. About 15 minutes later, she returned and told me the special flavors were Frozen Peach Yogurt and Pineapple Sherbet (both of which had been listed separately on the menu above the Ice Cream choice). On my way out of the restaurant, I asked the Maitre D' what the special flavors of ice cream were. Her response, "I don't deal with the menu." To make matters worse, on Tuesday, the Garden Cafe went from self-serve, to crew service only. This unexplained action immensely increased congestion and wait times. We began using the main restaurants and Blue Lagoon for breakfast and lunch in order to get a seat. (The rumor was that there were numerous, severe illnesses onboard during the first two days.) Here is my estimate of the average wait times at the main restaurants after being seated; to get a menu - 5-10 minutes, to place an order after getting a menu - 15 minutes, service time after finishing each course - 10 minutes and very, very slow water refills (my daughter had to hold her glass up above her head for 5 minutes at breakfast one day to get a refill). We only ate in the Grand Pacific, Magenta, Blue Lagoon and Garden Cafe. (I suspect service in the Specialty Restaurants was much better but can not comment.) Overall, our take on Freestyle Cruising means that NCL has disregarded their responsibility to accommodate their guests and has shifted that responsibility to the guests to take care of themselves. On our first day at sea, my wife and I attended the CruiseCritic.com Meet and Greet with the senior crew including the Captain. The Captain even gave us his and others' phone extensions so we could contact them if there was a problem. To quote the Captain, "I don't want you to write a review stating that the trip was the Cruise from Hell without giving us a chance to rectify the problems you are experiencing." I noted the numbers but figured I never have to use them. However, when I did use them, a notice came up on the phone that the extension was either "incorrect" or "out of service." So much for getting help from any of the senior staff. During the Meet and Greet the Captain said that we had 2,970 passengers on board. This significantly exceeded the 2,466 passenger capacity listed on NCL's website. In NCL's frequently asked questions, the maximum passenger capacity is shown as 2,807 with a crew of 1,110. While the extremely high number of passengers may explain much of the overcrowding, delays and wait times, it does not explain the lack of information, the misinformation and general lack of helpfulness that we received from many of the crew throughout the entire cruise. (Not the "Cruise from Hell", but certainly close enough that we won't be returning.) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My goal for this review is to help other (Americans) not make the same mistakes we did by choosing to sail with MSC. We just returned from the Christmas sailing with MSC, and if it weren't for the cleanliness and newness of the ship ... Read More
My goal for this review is to help other (Americans) not make the same mistakes we did by choosing to sail with MSC. We just returned from the Christmas sailing with MSC, and if it weren't for the cleanliness and newness of the ship and the nice ports of call the cruise would have been a complete loss. I was wary of booking with them but wanted to try a new line despite the reviews. I can say that every single negative review is deserved and accurate, and unlike a recent reviewer posted, is not due to being a "fat, rude American". The only downsize to being American on this ship is that we have higher standards for customer service, quality of food, and children's programs than some of our foreign neighbors. With that being said, MSC does not "get" the value of good service = repeat customers like every other cruise line we have sailed. Let's start off with Embarkation; this went smooth and equal to other lines. We found the escort to our rooms a bit much, perhaps a way for extra tips? Probably a nice touch for first time cruises though that are not familiar with the general outlines of ships. We had our first ever balcony room and was not disappointed. I could not see any difference from a standard balcony to a deluxe balcony however; they looked the same. The bed was made into a nice king- nice linens.There was a twin+ fold out couch by the balcony door for our 5 year old daughter. The A/C worked better than any cabin we have ever had. A nice touch were the terry robes!! The Bathroom was clean and standard size if not slightly larger than ones we had before. No toiletries are provided- They have a shampoo/soap dispenser in the shower stall. (Ours had the i.d. label missing so the first time I used body wash in my hair--no biggie) The safe never worked in our room. Their was ample storage for clothes for our family of three that packed light. We did find an unopened yogurt container under our bed and some left behind earrings when storing our cases under for the week. I thought the cabin stewards should check under for the next guests sake. Their is a stocked mini bar that we had emptied for our own use as well as bottled water that is the usual mark up$$ We never really got used to having a room key placed in a special slot while in the room (keeping the lights on and alerting the stewards that someone is occupying the suite) Dining. This is where the bad service set the tone for the rest of the cruise. Our family, along with another we went with had confirmed 1st seating. Traveling with young kids would make 2nd seating impossible. This confirmed request, also stated on our documents was not honored and we were placed in 2nd seating the first night. My husband was told to talk with the Mait'rde upon boarding but by the time he made it to the dining area he was too busy helping many other unhappy cruisers and made an appointment to go back and fix later that night. On the second night we were told that we had it corrected to 1st seating but it was on the 13th FL in the buffet restaurant. Up we went, with 15 other tables (on a formal night no less)to be seated with horrible service, no kids menus, no photographer available, cold food, no ambiance, etc etc. I asked the head waiter why we weren't down on the 6th FL at our restaurant "Le Fontane" and he said very abruptly, "This is the same thing!" I asked where the photographer was? Why it took 30 minutes to get anyone to greet our table and offer bread, water etc? He just ignored me. I left our table and walked down to La Fontane and talked to the Asst. Mait'rde who admitted that they made an "emergency" run over restaurant to accommodate the mistakes with seating assignments! I told him our dismal experience thus far and that I just want a table for 6 in the main restaurant like everyone else got. I also told him we booked the trip 6 months ago when 1st seating was available so it was their mistake. At the same time 4 other tables were going over the same issue- I have never seen or experienced anything like this, ever- By the third night we were in the 1st seating, crappy location and service to mostly match. Food. One word, bad. Not one time at any meal was water offered or tea, or coffee or any other drinks. Refills were rare and needed multiple requests. The food was overcooked, like other reviews Lobster night was SO bad there are no words. Poor things died for nothing as it was leather dry tough and barely edible. The pizza was odd for an Italian line. My daughter liked the macaroni and cheese off the kids menu and the spaghetti. I am mostly vegetarian and found that only one option existed every night plus a Boca patty plain offered. Lame. All side veggies like broccoli and such were killed several hours before so they barely resembled what food group they belonged to. I mostly ate bread which was awesome and a cheese platter and had the salmon 4 nights in a row. My husband liked the turkey dinner best at the end. Desert made me rethink I should be a pastry chef as their creations were flavorless and stale. Surprisingly breakfast was good; the eggs cooked to order with nice European breads to pick from. Entertainment was fine, not exceptional. We liked the shows (30 min long)and enjoyed the trio band from Paraguay outside reception every night! The children's program was absolutely awful compared to Carnival ( I will not even try to compare to Disney as that is not fair). The counselors do not even try to be fun and creative. The room is tiny and boring. The other family that traveled with us sat in on the first activity with their 5 year old and said it was so stupid and lame the kids were dying to get out of there. When we picked our daughter up the first time she begged to never go back (after an hour) right in front of the counselors (who could care less). The presence of a cruise director was missing from this boat and the overall feeling was odd- General Customer Service. Forget it, it won't be there even when it is their fault. 1) Dining- we were treated like how dare we complain and ask for what was scheduled/promised. 2) Shipboard credit- this was missing from our account and they never corrected even though it was stated on our tickets from MSC. The other family got theirs just fine. We went to Accounting every damn day and the same story "you can figure it out with the travel agency after your cruise" I asked, what was the point of shipboard credit once off the cruise??????? 3) On the last night we went to the Internet cafe to print boarding passes for our flight out and after 18 minutes (slow slow service) their printer was broken. We went down to Reception to report the trouble with 4 other passengers and ask for our refund, the rude Italian lady behind the desk said it was up to MSC whether or not they would charge us and it would be decided the next morning after we debarked. Sure enough it showed up on our bill. No surprise. Ports Of Call. 4 stops, odd times and shorter than normal durations made excursions challenging. Summary. For us, trying a new line despite horrid reviews seemed fair because of the kids sailing free deal. We learned our lesson and will never sail MSC again. Normally I would move on and chalk it up to a bad cruise, but their rude demeanor and lack of finding ONE happy American passenger during and after the cruise makes me want to go on a "Stay Away From MSC Crusade". I do appreciate their environmental efforts of European minimalism along with a beautiful ship but all the negatives attached are just not worth it. It really feels like they hate Americans and do not want our business. 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Sail Date December 2009
This was my 4th cruise personally, second Christmas Cruise with my wife and 13 year old son, last year we cruise on the Carnival Valor and had an amazing time, this year we tried MSC on the POESIA becuae the price was right - BIG MISTAKE ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise personally, second Christmas Cruise with my wife and 13 year old son, last year we cruise on the Carnival Valor and had an amazing time, this year we tried MSC on the POESIA becuae the price was right - BIG MISTAKE !! The service on board was awful, the food was substandard, the smoking on board on the decks and in lounges was out of control, 30-45 waits in line for lunch, 4 of the 7 evening meals were screwed up, my wife has a shellfish allergy and I specifically noted this when i booked, guess what happened, we are around 3 tables the third night and they serve shell fish right at our table, we have to get up and leave, our meals were incorrect 3 other nights and the complaints we lodged to the concierge on board at the front desk and Maitre D fell upon deaf ears - they don't care. I could not believe the large number of people complaining about the lack of service around us and they were also stating never agin would they use MSC. the ship was absoultely beautiful, the ports were amazing. MSC could really kick some serious butt with their product offering if they only cared about the passengers on board and could give adequate service at the least. if I had to do it over again I would have rather paid more and enjoyed our vacation, as the old saying goes you get what you pay for. I have lodged a formal complaint in writing to MSC and hoep they willl respond, I will update this when i get word back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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