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21,730 Family Cruise Reviews

Our flight on the Friday was on time and even arrived early into Bridgetown. The entertainment and food on the flight was fine and was a pleasant 9 hour flight. When we landed, a few showers delayed us getting off the plane however ... Read More
Our flight on the Friday was on time and even arrived early into Bridgetown. The entertainment and food on the flight was fine and was a pleasant 9 hour flight. When we landed, a few showers delayed us getting off the plane however soon enough we were on the bus straight to the ship. When we got there we were the first flight to land so there were no queues so we got straight on. We found our balcony cabin on B deck quickly and it was everything we needed and was really happy with it and our cabin steward who was fantastic throughout the cruise. Azura is in need of her refit which is due to happen very soon however we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. We had 2nd sitting dining in the oriental restaurant on a table of 6 which we enjoyed and the food was lovely and we dined in Sindhu, The Epicurean and The Beach House which were all stunning and worth the extra surcharge. We have been to all the Caribbean Islands we visited before so it was great to visit again and either visit some new places or go back to old favourites. We had fantastic weather with only a few showers which passed quickly. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas and like us many passengers decorated there cabin doors which was great. Santa arrived on Christmas eve and it was a lot of fun and the children on board looked to be having a great time. We have done this Christmas cruise a few times and look forward to being back on board again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I saw the December cruise from Rome to Athens advertised in August. It was a good deal so I booked the cruise for my husband and me. We had taken a Viking River Cruise in 2018 and have a Viking Alaska cruise booked for June 2020. Our ... Read More
I saw the December cruise from Rome to Athens advertised in August. It was a good deal so I booked the cruise for my husband and me. We had taken a Viking River Cruise in 2018 and have a Viking Alaska cruise booked for June 2020. Our first ocean cruise was fantastic, despite the fact that we missed the Naples port and our Pompeii excursion due to 65 mph wind and 17 ft seas in Civitavechia. We sailed directly to Sicily on the following morning-definitely the correct decision by our delightful Captain, " a Viking from Norway". The ships are beautifully decorated in clean Norwegian style. The Christmas decorations were beautiful! There is no feeling of being crowded on these ships because there are so many places to "hang out". The staff was fantastic! Service is great in every way and everyone is so genuinely friendly! Our cabin steward, James, saw that my husband uses a C-pap and ordered demonized water for him-without having been asked. We had great service from and great conversations with my husband's favorite bar-tender, Apri, and Margerite, the adorable server who introduced me to a Proscecco and raspberry liqueur drink: Fantastic! And the best part is that Apri is scheduled to be on our Alaska cruise in June! Shore excursions were very good. Tour guides were knowledgeable and spoke good English. The only excursion that disappointed was in Turkey. Not being familiar with the geography, we booked a tour to St. John's Basilica and the Temple of Artemis-not realizing they are outside of the ancient city of Ephesus, so we did not visit Ephesus. Also the last step of the tour w a s to a carpet store, where the sales people were very high pressured! Food was good. Manfredi's and the Chef's Table were very good. I had one of the best burgers I've ever had at the pool grill. I did not think the choices in The Restaurant were as good as on the River Cruise. You could always have steak, but I usually prefer the Regional offerings. Entertainment was fine. We became groupies for Mark, who went entertained in the lounges. The Viking band was very talented and the four young entertainers that did the Abba and Beatles shows were great. I'm not into casinos and lots of shows, so the entertainment was great to me. I liked the port talks before dinner each night on the River cruises better. The Times varied for them on the ocean cruise. The his experts talks were good. There were no lines at demarcation. Going through security leaving and returning to the ship was easy. Again, there were no lines. We love Viking so much that we don't consider taking other cruise lines. Since returning, we have booked a Viking cruise to Australia and New Zealand in January 2021, so we are now eagerly anticipating two cruises. We are also planning to take another Viking River cruise within the next two years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Ken the singing maitre D is on the ship for a short time, what a treat! Borrrrrris, amazing Maitre D as well was a hoot and took care of a few issues toot suite! Jose Luis was our Head Waiter in Horizon and while shy at first, he ... Read More
Ken the singing maitre D is on the ship for a short time, what a treat! Borrrrrris, amazing Maitre D as well was a hoot and took care of a few issues toot suite! Jose Luis was our Head Waiter in Horizon and while shy at first, he warmed up and was very kind and pleasant! Emma, of course was OFF THE HOOK. Her , "Hello, its me" each morning was perfect. Her energy level was crazy!!! Lei Lei and Aussie Neil was equally on point! Bring your 70s clothes, your best whites, if you are a veteran, your clothing to represent. ROCK REVOLUTION cannot be missed! Watch out for flying drones! Ocean Plaza deck 5 aft was my favorite spot on the ship!! Those elevators.....tip.....hit the deck your going to multiple times!! There are no trash cans around the ship.....so carry it around till u find something....lol The comedian we saw, Sebastian was hilarious! For the over 18 show, we also had a ASL interpreter in the room......he played off what she was signing.....it was too much!!! We went interior this time, lots of room even with 3! Beds r so comfy I gave embarkation a 2 because there were issues with the B2B folks which horribly delayed the rest of us Both shore excursions were cancelled day before leaving us scrambling.......fishing for 175! Who doesnt want to dothat? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is an excellent way to see the Hawaiin islands. The service on the ship was excellent and the crew was very friendly. The dining rooms and specialty restaurants are very good with excellent service. The ship is very clean ... Read More
This is an excellent way to see the Hawaiin islands. The service on the ship was excellent and the crew was very friendly. The dining rooms and specialty restaurants are very good with excellent service. The ship is very clean and very well maintained. The Balcony cabins are very clean, however very small compared to other Norwegian Cruise Ships. The cabins cannot really accomadate any more than 2 people unless you have a young child, as the pull out sofa bed is very small. All areas of the ship have a wonderful American theme. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze! Norwegian seems to have mastered how to do it right. If any one is planning a hotel stay before or after the cruise, I highly recommend the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu. This is a wonderful property that is in a beautiful area only 10 minute cab ride from Waikiki Beach. The Kahala has all the amenities and their own private beach. We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend "Pride of America" I give Norwegian top marks again!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Needed Short cruise of Caribbean for large family group.This was at the right time and very reasonable price. We have sailed with MSC before and knew they were good in Europe with Musica so time to try a US trip.It is a great new ship ... Read More
Needed Short cruise of Caribbean for large family group.This was at the right time and very reasonable price. We have sailed with MSC before and knew they were good in Europe with Musica so time to try a US trip.It is a great new ship with lots of facilities for children with lagoon pool and play park. We found the dining options great doing buffet for breakfast and dinner and Dining room for dinner.With 3 Dining times and 3 shows most days it was easy to schedule the show.The MSCMyapp made it easy to book shows. They’ve really work their entertainment teams with that many shows every night.The shows were excellent and not all opera as some earlier cruisers suggested. We has an Easy alcohol package which was quite adequate for us and included specialty coffees and water so only needed one package. We did not take ship excursions as too expensive, easier to our own. Unfortunately weather prevented us from going onto Ocean Quay which we were really looking forward to seeing. next time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I sailed on the Elation for the December 14th-19th Amber Cove/Grand Turk cruise. We are from SC, and booked a night at the Radisson Resort at the Port for the evening before the cruise. Had planned to park at the port, but ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Elation for the December 14th-19th Amber Cove/Grand Turk cruise. We are from SC, and booked a night at the Radisson Resort at the Port for the evening before the cruise. Had planned to park at the port, but instead opted to park at the cruise parking lot at the hotel. The hotel staff was very competent, parking was a breeze, and the shuttle service was excellent. When it came time to embark, there was a situation on board that delayed boarding. We were not told what it was, and it delayed boarding by about an hour and a half. All the embarking passengers were held in the terminal until boarding. Boarding commenced at 1:45 PM. Our suite was ready when we boarded, so we dropped our carry on bag off, and picked up our room keys. Off to the Lido deck for lunch at Guy's Burgers. The burgers do not disappoint, but I feel they could be better. As far as the food was concerned, for the most part it was standard cruise fare. I have always compared most of it to Golden Corral food, and that pretty much describes most of what was served on the Lido Buffet. The dining room food was your usual fare, served competently by the staff, and usually doesn't vary much from ship to ship. I once again did not get to eat at the Blue Iguana Cantina, so I cannot comment other than it looked pretty busy every day, as it is a pretty popular venue. I did try the Bonsai Sushi bar, and I found the sushi rolls to be excellent. As other cruisers have said, the menu is a little limited on the sushi, so there may not be something for everyone. The pizza was just adequate, nothing to write home about, but was pretty popular also. I did not care for the deli order I had. Ordered a reuben, it had a weird taste. It wasn't really a reuben. My wife and I attended the Chef's Table dinner the fourth night, and I somewhat enjoyed it. My wife found very little she liked, but she can be pretty picky. The danish style roll served at the start was by far the best piece of bread I have ever put in my mouth! A lot of what was served was good, but just not to my taste. The sea bass was the best fish I have ever eaten, bar none! The last courses were a lamb roll with lamb pate, and smoked veal. The veal was smoked right at the table, and was an entertaining display. While the last courses were good, both the veal and the lamb had a "wild" taste, like what venison tastes like, and I really cant tolerate that taste. So...points deducted for the wild taste. While there were several things I liked during dinner, there were two things missing from the table......Salt and Pepper! Each item served would have been much better with salt and pepper, and there were several people looking for both items. For the items I liked, I do not feel it was a good value for the money, and I would skip future Chef's Table dinners unless I saw the menu in advance. For the port visits, we disembarked in both Amber Cove and Grand Turk. We took shore excursions each day, booked through the Carnival app. The excursion in Amber Cove was an all inclusive visit to the Lifestyle resort. All inclusive included open bar and buffet lunch at the resort restaurant. This excursion was well worth the money paid for it, and I would not hesitate to book again. The excursion in Grand Turk, however, was not as nice. It was called "Home Sweet Home". It amounted to use of a house and beach for the duration of the allotted time, and included lunch and an open bar with rum punch, a few mixed drinks, and beer. Lunch was the highlight, it was very good. Water toys were available, and a lifeguard was on duty while people were in the water. All in all, I do not feel it was worth the money, and I would not repeat this excursion. The ports themselves were what you would expect from the area. Amber Cove was nice, somewhat clean, and the resort was fantastic. Grand Turk was not nearly as nice in my opinion. Skinny dogs running around, not much infrastructure, slummy looking out in town. The beach area around the cruise port was nice, however. Our cabin was a suite on the 14th deck, G5. Very nice, extended balcony, and was very roomy for a married couple. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Linens were nice, towels kept fresh. Room was very clean, almost spotless! Shiela was our room steward, and she did an outstanding job the entire cruise. I tipped her for a job well done the last day. As for cruise activities, we attended a couple of shows, and they were nice. Your standard cruise shows. My wife and I just sort of vegged out this cruise, and did not attend many activities. We did hang around the Deck 7 atrium bar. Romy and Satria were the two main bartenders, and they both did an excellent job! I tipped them both on the last day as well. As for the ship, I found it to be incredibly clean and well kept. The ship's staff were very nice. The room steward Shiela know our name the first day. We booked a suite this cruise, and I must say I am sold on the suite experience. Priority boarding/disembarkation, free water in the room, robes, large TV, complimentary laundry service..the list goes on and on. Will never sail again except in a suite! As many people have said, the ship did have a "rock' to it. During the cruise all over the Caribbean there were high winds. I honestly found the rocking to be enjoyable. We did, however hit a patch of bad seas the last night, and at about 2:30 AM the last night it woke us up with the violent pitching up and down. Apparent wind at the time was 70 mph, and all the weatherdecks were secured. It only lasted a couple of hours though, and we were able to go back to sleep. Disembarkation was smooth, and was part of the suite experience. We were offered early disembarking, and took it. Had to be in the theater at 7:00 AM. The ship docked at 7:00 AM, we were off by 7:30, and were back to our car by 8:15. Very smooth indeed! Overall I would not hesitate to sail on the Elation in the future! One last thing, and others have brought it up. Carnival is starting to nickel and dime cruisers for every little thing nowadays. Most notably we had to pay 5 bucks for each device to be able to use the Carnival app to text. Seems like I remember this service being free on our last cruise. So, be prepared to pay out of pocket for a few things not originally budgeted for. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went on this cruise to help a good friend of ours celebrate her Birthday. We managed to keep it a secret and totally surprised her and it was awesome. The cruise was wonderful and we had a really great time. I love the fact that ... Read More
We went on this cruise to help a good friend of ours celebrate her Birthday. We managed to keep it a secret and totally surprised her and it was awesome. The cruise was wonderful and we had a really great time. I love the fact that we can now drive home in a few hours from all ports in Florida. Royal Caribbean has been our main cruise line since 1999. The ships are always very clean and nicely decorated for any occasion. This one was decorated for Christmas and it was beautiful. Royal Caribbean never ceases to amaze me with the entertainment or excursions they are always top notch. Food is always very good weather you eat in the windjammer cafeteria or the main dining room. They also have specialty dining which we frequent quite often. Services are always great as they always seem to have a very nice crew. I have never been disappointed in a Royal Caribbean Cruise and look forward to others we have booked. . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our family decided that this was a very different way for us to spend the Christmas Holiday and we had never been on a river cruise before. We have been to Europe with Globus tours and were very happy with their services then and they ... Read More
Our family decided that this was a very different way for us to spend the Christmas Holiday and we had never been on a river cruise before. We have been to Europe with Globus tours and were very happy with their services then and they lived up to our expectations again. The crew was absolutely wonderful. We have a family member with a gluten issue and the dining staff was at her side each night to advise her of choices on the menu. We loved the choices on the menu at any meal. The cruise director was very informative about every stop we made on the cruise. Our room steward always met us with a warm welcoming smile and kept the room well stocked and clean. Embarking and disembarking were well organized and it was so nice to have a nice hot drink waiting for us when we returned from our tours which were so informative. The only thing that I would have liked to do was actually walk into the Black Forest rather than view it from afar. The ship was very comfortable and easy to navigate around. We especially liked the room at the rear of the ship that had coffee, tea, and always a variety of cookies and chocolates and doughnuts. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I like to start my review clarifying that I had a great cruise experience like always carnival is my favorite cruise company the crew members on this ship we’re amazing the entertainment was excellent Simon London and all his staff team ... Read More
I like to start my review clarifying that I had a great cruise experience like always carnival is my favorite cruise company the crew members on this ship we’re amazing the entertainment was excellent Simon London and all his staff team did the best my room and all the ship was incredible clean at all the times but the ship was in very poor condition the last night in my room a water leak on the roof wake me up the paint on most parts of the ship needs to be repainted in general the ship needs lots of updates once again this review is to make clear that I love cruising with carnival is just that I was disappointed by the way the company is keeping this enormous 3000 people cruise ship I hope the company do something about this condition matter and find a solution very soon thanks Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise to try a different cruise line and so glad we did. First off getting on the ship and off was such a breeze. Never did we feel congested or feel that 6500 passengers are onboard. The sheer size of the ship is ... Read More
We choose this cruise to try a different cruise line and so glad we did. First off getting on the ship and off was such a breeze. Never did we feel congested or feel that 6500 passengers are onboard. The sheer size of the ship is astounding and we forgot we were on a ship. Our staterooms were done being flipped very early too. The staterooms were very clean and designed well. There are plenty of outlets and storage in the staterooms too. The complementary food on the ship was good too. The food in the buffets was really good and had plenty of variety. The main dinning room food was above average, but not five stars. Overall our main dinning room experience was outstanding. We tried two specialty restaurants too. Overall they are not worth paying $55-$65 a person for one of these restaurants. The food is better, but not a lot better than the complementary dinning. We will never do specialty dinning as the price is very high and you get the same service in the main dinning room. The entertainment was good especially Grease and the water show. But all the other shows were okay, and need a little improvement. This ship was amazing and can’t wait to go back on it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wanted to do a pre-Christmas cruise for the price and wanted to try a big ship.I still think Fort Lauderdale is too far away so it may be last time for this cruise port.So much we did not try.But loved Mama Mia and Oceanaria at the aqua ... Read More
Wanted to do a pre-Christmas cruise for the price and wanted to try a big ship.I still think Fort Lauderdale is too far away so it may be last time for this cruise port.So much we did not try.But loved Mama Mia and Oceanaria at the aqua theater..They were probably the best I have ever seen.I Iiked the ice show,blue planet,adult comedy show,and the love and marriage show a lot.As always the service was top notch.Our cabin was 10323 and had the best views ever;was tiny for 3 however.Not much space for storage.Had a great steward Rayborn.Our mdr was Silk and our servers were Juliet and Kadek and were also top notch.Our ports were nassau,coco cay,cozumel and costa maya.Our only RC excursion was Costa Maya port pass and it was great for the money.Our splurge was photo package and we are pretty happy with it as well.We liked Allure but still may be more small ship people.Our entire family and friends loved their trip.Embarkation and disembarkation went smooth as well.Myself and my grand-son were flagged leaving and were separated from my husband which made getting our bags off bad but a porter saw and helped us and was greatly appreciated.We had the best parking to get out of Fort Lauderdale faster.And yes we would do it again if the price is right!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My family of four just returned from our seven nights on the Joy, and we couldn't be more thrilled about our vacation! This was our first time cruising with Norwegian but our eighth cruise overall. We have previously sailed with Royal ... Read More
My family of four just returned from our seven nights on the Joy, and we couldn't be more thrilled about our vacation! This was our first time cruising with Norwegian but our eighth cruise overall. We have previously sailed with Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and after reading about how much Norwegian has improved over the years, we couldn't wait to give them a try. Think NCL is the red-headed step-child of the cruising industry? Think again! From our experience, and while there are some areas that can be improved, they are right up there with the other top dogs, and I'll explain why. -Embarkation Day- We flew into LAX from Chicago the day before we set sail as it is always nice to have a cushion in case anything decides to go crazy. When we arrived, we took an hour long Lyft from the airport to Long Beach where we were staying, conveniently located about ten minutes from the port. With the airport being so far from the our hotel (and the cruise port), it was a good $50 to get us there, and you can expect to pay more on peak travel times during the day (more on this later). Finally its the day we've been waiting for for MONTHS, and we couldn't wait to get going! On the morning of our sailing, we took another Lyft to the port around 10am and arrived with no issues. After handing off our bags, we walked into the terminal to find a massive amount of cruisers already there. Overall, the embarkation process was pretty smooth. They separate you into lines based on which deck your stateroom is on, check over your documents, give you your sailing cards, and send you on your way. However, since we arrived before the ship was ready to board, we ended up waiting a little bit which was the only minor drawback. For this sailing, we booked a Concierge level stateroom (in between a regular stateroom and The Haven), so we were given a dedicated line and area to wait in. Still, there were many other excited cruisers waiting in a small corner, along with those in regular staterooms waiting in chairs in the main area. Given the size of the terminal, it can fill up quite quickly if the ship is not open yet, but if you arrive after opening, you should have no problems. When they opened the gates, we were the first to board, so it was a pretty painless process. -Ship- Stunning. Elegant. Beautiful. CLEAN. So many great words to describe the Norwegian Joy. Being just recently refurbished after relocating from Asia, everything looked, felt, and smelled brand new, and the crew made sure it stayed that way. We always saw crew cleaning, polishing, you name it. As for getting around, the Joy is easy to navigate for the most part, although there are some quirky spots. Along with NCL's app, there are touch-screens located on every deck by every elevator bank to help you get around. Need to look at the daily activities? They are there. Need to find where the closest restroom is? It'll tell you. Had too many drinks and don't remember how to get back to your room? It'll give you step-by-step instructions and a map on how to get back, and so much more. See how full dining rooms are, make reservations, and view menus all at your convenience. -Activities and Entertainment- This is where the Norwegian Joy really shines. There is so much to do aboard the ship it is nearly impossible to be bored. Let's list them: Two water slides, two pools, hot tubs, go karts, laser tag, Virtual Reality Arcade, mini golf, casino, music, bars, lounges, shows, games, competitions, comedy, and the list goes on! When was the last time you saw go karts on a cruise?! These things were FAST and so much fun to drive. We did them during the day and night, and being on the top deck, it was neat to see the track and ocean at the different times. If you choose to do laser tag, definitely book it at night. We were highly impressed with the setup and quality of the game. One area many reviews complained about was the up-charges for these activities. Go Karts will put you back $15/person, laser tag $10/person, the Galaxy Pavilion (VR) $7/game (or $20 for four), and Wine Lovers The Musical ($12/person). At Wine Lovers, you receive SEVEN generous wine tastings and a three-course lunch all while enjoying the comedy musical put on by the Footloose leads. It was an incredible value that'll leaving you laughing and feeling good on your way out. We loved all four options and definitely found them worth-while, plus you're on vacation! Experience what the ship has to offer if you would enjoy these things. On the same note, if these activities were free, I couldn't imagine the lines and headaches it would cause trying to get four thousand people a chance to participate. The small cost helps control the flow which we found to be quite painless. A few other can't-misses are shows Footloose and Elements with a fantastic and talented cast, Deal Or No Deal game show, Bejeweled Heist, and countless other activities found at any given time around the ship. Lastly, don't forget to make reservations! Shows can be reserved in advance, but go karts, laser tag, Bejeweled, and comedy shows need to be reserved as soon as you board. Reservations can be made in The Social, a process that could certainly stand to be improved, but we managed. -Dining- And here we find some criticism. Norwegian offers a unique take on dining called Freestyle Dining. Essentially, you eat what you want when you want without any set dining times or attire. This sounds (mostly) great in theory, but it did raise a few problems. To understand why, we need to compare to how other cruise lines do dining. Traditionally, you receive set dining time (either earlier around 5 or later around 8), and you are assigned the same table and waitstaff each evening. This allows you to be seated right away, the waitstaff to gets to know you and your preferences, and it provides plenty of time to dine before the next seating. What we experienced on this cruise was quite the opposite, while admittedly we could have planned better. The Joy has three main dining rooms: The Manhattan Room, Savor, and Taste. The Manhattan Room is the largest of the three, but each one offers the same menu every night. On the first evening, we arrived at The Manhattan Room around 6pm to discover a huge line of people waiting to be sat. Granted this is peak dining time, so we were quoted a 45-minute wait, while the other two dining rooms had a wait of an hour. We did not expect waits to be this long, especially because we were used to just walking in on previous cruises. Eventually we were sat, and we found these dining rooms to operate like normal restaurants. They were focused on getting tables in and out, with little to no personability from the waitstaff. Sure they were pleasant, but we felt rushed and like we were in the way. Every evening in the dining room was like this, although we planned better on following nights. From a food aspect, it was delicious, fresh, and prepared perfectly. We also had a dining package for three specialty restaurants. We chose to eat at Ocean Blue, Le Bistro, and Cagney's Steakhouse. The experiences here far outshine the main dining rooms, and I would HIGHLY recommend buying this package if your booking doesn't already come with one as it as a great value. Our final bill we would have paid came out to be over $300 for four people at Cagney's, but we actually paid around half that with the package. Overall, we were happy with our dining experiences even though we were caught off-guard the first evening. You CAN make dining reservations for the main dining rooms (and specialty if you choose) online before you sail which I absolutely recommend doing. Other free dining options include The Observation Lounge for lite bites, The Local for 24-hour options (free but with a 20% automatic gratuity added), and The Garden Buffet which we were highly impressed with. -Ports and Excursions- Cabo: We chose to do Norwegian's Luxury Day Sail and Snorkel which was so much fun! We shared a very nice sailboat with about 10 other people and were accompanied by a photographer, captain, and two guides. The sailing lasted about three hours, and they provided a snack, lunch, and unlimited drinks, as well as stops at popular spots and some time to snorkel. While we didn't really spend any time on land, we got some beautiful views of the port, delicious food, and high-quality service from everyone on board. Highly recommend! Mazatlan: We chose not to book an excursion for this stop, but we ended up getting an open-air taxi once we arrived. The driver charged $25/person to drive us to some hotspots which lasted around 4 hours. The port itself is beautiful, and we got to see a great deal of it. Puerto Vallarta: For this spot we booked the Vallarta Outdoor Zipline Adventure, but it ended up being SO much more! We began with a 20-minute speedboat ride to a secluded location to begin our journey up the mountains. We then rode in an off-road vehicle up to base camp where we found our absolutely excellent tour guides. After getting suited up, we rode mules the rest of the way to the first zip line. In the end, we completed five zip-lines, a repel down a waterfall, a free-fall down another waterfall, two water slides, and a zipline "roller coaster." The entire thing lasted about 6 hours, with time for refreshments and viewing pictures afterwards. Our tour guides, especially Edgar, were incredible and quite possibly the best I've had anywhere. If you choose this adventure, you MUST bring a swimsuit and change of clothes. You do get fully submerged in water, so bring closed-toed shoes you don't mind getting wet or water shoes. I would give this excursion 15/10 stars. Incredible time! -Disembarkation- For us the disembarkation was a non-issue, but I imagine it was quite the headache for others. The deboarding process was supposed to begin at 7am, but the ship was not cleared by customs until around 8:30. For anyone with early flights this was probably a nightmare. Luckily we stayed in LA another two days so we weren't pressed for time. The only small annoyance was once we were in the terminal. Since disembarkation was behind 1.5 hours, all of those people were released into the terminal when the ship was cleared, so we ended up waiting in line for customs for nearly an hour. We got off the ship at 9am and weren't out of the terminal until after 10am. Grabbing a Lyft outside was quite easy, and we were on our way. -Summary- While improvements could be made with dining, we were highly impressed with the Norwegian Joy and the quality of service that Norwegian offered. We had an amazing time and were constantly taking part in different activities around the ship. As I always say, your vacation is what you make of it, and Norwegian makes it easy to make it great! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chose the cruise as the destinations were exactly what we were looking for. We cruised from Sydney to Auckland. Stopping in Melbourne, Hobart, Fiordland scenic cruising, Dunedin, Akaroa, Tauranga and then Auckland. There were ... Read More
Chose the cruise as the destinations were exactly what we were looking for. We cruised from Sydney to Auckland. Stopping in Melbourne, Hobart, Fiordland scenic cruising, Dunedin, Akaroa, Tauranga and then Auckland. There were presentations on the sea days and again on your stateroom TV for all the ports how to get into the city centre and what to do there. Embarkation wasn’t as smooth as others we were left waiting for 20 minutes whilst they weren’t sure of our visas - as we are from the UK on a working holiday visa for NZ. We had any time dining which meant we could eat anywhere at any time (just not in the traditional dining room) I have coeliac disease and wasn’t sick at all, the dining staff were amazing - very welcoming it felt like all staff wanted to be there and loved their jobs. Staff ranged in all ages not many teenagers which was a refreshing change. We had one excursion in Akaroa to swim with dolphins which was awesome. The fitness centre was brilliant all brand new equipment, could have done with no air conditioning - it was always so hot in there. All in all a fantastic cruise and we have booked again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We were already scheduled on the Freedom for 22 December with family, but found a suite on the 15 December cruise and decided to make it a back-to-back. Luckily it was a fantastic choice. We've sailed Carnival before and had some good ... Read More
We were already scheduled on the Freedom for 22 December with family, but found a suite on the 15 December cruise and decided to make it a back-to-back. Luckily it was a fantastic choice. We've sailed Carnival before and had some good and some not so good experiences, but dang. Things have changed. I'll say up front that I don't know if the great changes are company-wide or if it's just on the Freedom, but Carnival has really upped their game. From check-in to debarkation, we couldn't have been more pleased. Well, perhaps if one of the lady passengers hadn’t already been so drunk when we did the muster drill that she spilled the ample contents of her stomach all over the deck and the passengers unlucky enough to be standing near her, that might have started us out a little better. But the crew handled it perfectly and that was that. The cabins on both cruises were clean, well-kept and spacious (7299 on the first cruise and 7262 on the second). The Grand Suite was the biggest room we've ever had on a ship before and the Ocean Suite on the second half of the cruise was more than adequate. The Grand Suite even had a jetted tub, something I used several times with much enjoyment. Cabin stewards in both were great, but Putu was outstanding on the second voyage we took. More importantly, Carnival treats you as a suite guest even if you're not in their largest suites. We cruised Royal Caribbean in April of this year and had a Junior Suite. They don't consider the Junior Suite a suite, regardless of what they call it. That was disappointing, and it was great to not have a similar experience with Carnival. The first sailing had ports of call in Cozumel, Belize and Roatan, but due to a very strong, fast-moving cold front we were only able to port in Cozumel prior to the front's arrival. After the front passed, we had 10-20 foot seas and 50+ knot winds - gale conditions. First off, the ship handled beautifully. We could tell there was adverse weather outside, but skillful navigation and decision making by Captain Costi gave us a great ride. We did not port at either Belize (no shore excursions planned) or Roatan (a sailing shore excursion planned). One negative comment here - we tried to discuss the situation with the Shore Excursion folks, but the fool behind the desk actually said "I have no idea what you're talking about." when we were discussing the gale conditions. I know there's money on the line with them, but it seemed when there was bad news to be passed, the Shore Excursion people would simply disappear. And when you could find them, those we found were completely unresponsive to any adverse conditions. Anyway, shore excursion money was always immediately refunded to our onboard account and we could then cash that out with the Guest Services desk or spend it as we saw fit. While discussing Guest Services, I'll say that one of our (new) suitcases was damaged when it arrived to our room. I believed that because there was no way of knowing who had damaged it or when the damage occurred there was nothing we could do about it. While being escorted to Customs during the middle Sunday of the cruise for the back-to-back, I mentioned the only issue we'd had yet was the damaged luggage to Shineca (Guest Services). She told me to bring the broken suitcase down to them and they would see what they could do. I was amazed, and told her my thoughts about not knowing who had damaged the suitcase. She was unfazed and said it didn't really matter. When we got back on the ship I took the suitcase down and talked to Tin, Guest Services manager. He took the item and told me they would see if they could get it repaired in Cozumel (3rd stop on the 2nd cruise). If not, they would find a replacement for us. After Cozumel, they called and I returned to Guest Services to find a brand new rolling suitcase, slightly smaller than the original that had been damaged. Because of the size difference, they offered us an additional new bag to make up the difference. Since I felt the difference was not that large and we could make do with just the one, I opted to just take only one suitcase. Tin found me a few minutes later and wanted me to take the second bag. He felt they weren't doing their best to provide us with only the single suitcase because it was slightly smaller. It was a bit difficult to convince him one bag was sufficient, that they should keep the second for another mishap. Really outstanding service. While I’m talking about Guest Services, I’ll also say that Karin was always smiling, even through the worst of the weather and the crush of disappointed guests after 2 ports were bypassed for safety. Her laugh and her enthusiasm absolutely represented Carnival as any corporation would love. Rodelisa was also helpful throughout. All-in-all, a fantastic crew in Guest Services, and I’d like to think they were being watched for promotions. I’d also like to think we’ll run into Karin again on other cruises because she’s so great to work with. At the atrium bar, Prakash and Nipa were also always there, always smiling. You might not know it, but when you cancel a port of call for weather, every one of the ship’s crew gets pressed into duty for the unscheduled sea day. This happened twice on this cruise (and we’ve never ever missed a port for weather before this cruise). Prakash and Nipa, no exception to that rule, were completely professional, always smiling and not fazed at all. You couldn’t tell they were operating on less sleep and less personal time. Really outstanding folks. As for the entertainment, I can’t speak to a lot of it. We were transfixed by a single act for both cruises. The Cats String Trio was easily and by-far the best cruise ship entertainment I’ve seen in 20+ years on the water. These three ladies, two from Ukraine and one from Bulgaria, play electronic violins in unison and there really isn’t any way to describe how fantastic their music is. We had plans to check out most of the other shows and performers, but somehow ending up listening to their beautiful music again and again. I’d go so far as to say that if I knew they were going to be on a ship for a potential cruise, their being there would sway my decision. Finally, the Captain and his staff. To say this week’s cruise was challenging would be an understatement. When the front caught up to us as we sailed south from Cozumel, it was a monster. I’ve been a weather geek as long as I can remember and this storm was impressive on many levels. I’ve also never been on a ship when the waves were this tall and the wind this strong. That 50 knots I spoke of was not just wind across the deck, added to by ship’s speed. It was a pure 50 knots, yet some of the guests simply could not understand why we were not going into the ports. I understand the disappointment of booking a cruise with 3 ports and missing 2 due to weather, but some of these guests were simply unable to comprehend the effects wind and waves have on a massive ship. Even in Roatan where a large part of the island had lost power in the storm, people were still angry we were not docking. It’s hard to explain reality to those fine folks. However, Captain Costi did have a Question and Answer session in the main theater, and he handled the questions beautifully. He defused an angry mob and skillfully handled the guests that seemed to want their cruise costs fully refunded because they couldn’t understand the difference between comfort and safety. And I’ll add that the next day was the day the Glory and the Legend collided in Cozumel under strong winds. But as the saying goes, you can’t fix stupid and some people still left unhappy. Captain Costi worked with Carnival headquarters in Miami and found an unscheduled port for Friday though – Costa Maya. It wasn’t a great port for shore excursions and we didn’t stay that late, but it did allow people to get off the boat for a while after being in such bad weather. Again, kudos to the crew and Carnival for making the best of a bad situation. Food. Back to the April 2019 cruise on Royal, it seemed everything was an additional charge, including room service. On these 2 weeks, the dining room staff was very good though the food wasn’t all that memorable. However, Carnival has multiple other venues with really fantastic food and without additional charges like Royal did. Guy’s Burgers, The Blue Iguana, the Deli, the Omelet Station/Mongolian BBQ and the barbecue counter were all incredible. We often chose the dining room for the atmosphere (and elegant nights), but were just as happy in the other venues. Speaking of Elegant Nights (ex-Formal Nights), almost no one wears a tuxedo anymore. There probably weren’t more than 5 tuxedoes on the entire ship. Just FYI. I don’t know if the percentage is greater on other lines… Just one downside to the cruise, not a them deal-breakers but I wish it would be addressed. The casino deck, Deck 5 on the Freedom, was like walking through an ashtray. This is 2019 and I know there are better smoke scrubbers than the Freedom is using. Everything on Deck 5 smelled like smoke, even bars that were away from the casino. We tried going into the Red Frog Pub (which by the way had the only unfriendly crew on the ship) to watch the college playoff games. Stunk. And as an aside, I don’t understand why the playoff games couldn’t be shown on the big screen by the center pool if they could be shown in two of the smallest bars. We were told they didn’t have the license to show it – but how can it be on it the bars if that’s true? Oh well, OU lost, and it didn’t matter much after the first quarter. Disembarking today was a breeze. I don’t know if all Carnival boats now follow the same procedures, but if they do not, they should. The Fun Crew was mostly in charge of herding us around and they did a wonderful job. Everything was logical and flowed perfectly, clearing the ship in no time at all. Best yet seen for that. Overall, we were very impressed from start to finish with Carnival. So as soon as I finish this review, I’m going to begin looking at another Carnival cruise. Well done to the entire Carnival Freedom crew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was the third Princess cruise and overall 11th cruise for my wife and me. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites the night before our cruise departed on Sunday, December 15. Second time using this hotel and had no problems (left ... Read More
This was the third Princess cruise and overall 11th cruise for my wife and me. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites the night before our cruise departed on Sunday, December 15. Second time using this hotel and had no problems (left car there for the duration of the cruise). They had a shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port and back included with our package. Arrived at the cruise port about 11:00 AM after dropping off other passengers for other cruises. With the medallion, we were on board in 10-15 minutes from security to boarding. Everyone was friendly and had no problems getting on board. Ate lunch in the buffet area and went swimming while waiting for our cabin to be ready. Explored the ship and didn't find anything "bad" worth mentioning. We felt the ship was simply beautiful and couldn't find fault with it. For the week, service was excellent to outstanding. Ok, some waiters were better than others in the buffet area, but our main dining room wait staff were efficient and friendly. Not the most personable, but never rude and never had any problems. We enjoyed the movies under the stars (and watching some movies in our cabin at night). The magic show on the last night was decent. Not the "best I've ever seen" type, but certainly far from the worse. Trivia games were plentiful and enjoyable. Cabin steward was excellent and rarely saw him except during our first day. Our cabin was maintained and clean each day (at least twice daily). We played ping-pong, putt-putt golf and enjoyed our stay in the Sanctuary. Pools were nice and we didn't notice any "chair hogging" this time (doesn't mean there wasn't any, but we certainly didn't notice it). Cabin was a balcony and roomy enough (love the tub in the bathroom!). Everything was simply wonderful...except the weather! The port at Princess Cay was good enough, but then the weather got "rough" and it rained or we had windy weather and rough seas. At Grand Cayman, we had to change ports since we couldn't tender at the first place. In Falmouth (Jamaica), it was nice for a while, but the rain poured down about 2 hours before leaving the port. Cozumel was ok. Weather didn't rain so much, but threatened to all day. Our last sea day was rough seas! Never felt we were at risk or anything and the staff was good at keeping us passengers informed. Disembarkation was just as easy as boarding. We found our luggage in minutes and flew through customs. From leaving the ship to waiting for our shuttle was maybe 20 minutes. Would I cruise with the Regal Princess again? Absolutely! I have a next cruise deposit made and all we need to do is decide when and where! Princess Cay: Tendered to shore. Wife went snorkeling and enjoyed it. Beach and facilities were nice (bathrooms were decent and clean). Water was cooler than I remembered from anytime I've ever been in the ocean! (LOL) Buffet was nice and plentiful. Falmouth: Didn't feel like taking an excursion. Walked around the port area and used the Sanctuary for the afternoon. Grand Cayman: Had to use another port than the original port due to weather concerns. Snorkeling was canceled, so we stayed aboard and enjoyed the games and activities. Cozumel: Took a taxi to Chankanaab National Park. Unfortunately, the weather never cooperated with us and the red flag was flying (no swimming!). We stayed about 3 hours and returned to the ship. So, weather was not so good...you would think that Princess would plan the weather better (just kidding!). LOL But overall, a good cruise and enjoyable. I was impressed that the staff remembered our names from one day to the next (besides our cabin steward and wait staff). We found this cruise to have good service overall, good food and enough activities to keep us busy. We ate at the Crown Grill for 2 nights and enjoyed the service and food. Service was better the second night, but again, excellent food. Yes, I would recommend this ship! This cruise had plenty of families. Cruisers of all ages were on board. While the age was still a bit older than some other cruise lines, this cruise had children and young couples on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is a review of a family Christmas trip to a bucket list location, the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. My family consists of me and my wife, Maryanne and my adult daughter Lindsay. It is no co-incidence that she was with us as she holds ... Read More
This is a review of a family Christmas trip to a bucket list location, the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. My family consists of me and my wife, Maryanne and my adult daughter Lindsay. It is no co-incidence that she was with us as she holds a PhD in Marine Biology and she would not have let us forget it if we went without her. Quick Summation: Although expensive, it was a great experience, The Flora is great and Celebrity did a superb job from start to finish. The whole experience was 5/5-stars. Now the details. Ship: Both the Celebrity Flora and the Celebrity Edge were built roughly at the same time and used the same engineering/design concepts. Many, including myself, have commented that Celebrity missed the mark in a few areas on the Edge. I am pleased to report that the Flora is spot-on in design, comfort and amenities. A perfect ship for exploring the Galapagos. All rooms are categorized as suites so even the cheapest room is large and sunny with a great bathroom. Entry level suites are like a sky suite with full balcony. Next level up is the same basic room but with the infinite balcony. It is slightly larger as the balcony space is added back into the room. My daughter had a balcony and we had an Infinite balcony. So clients can have their choice and not scrimp on anything. Plenty of storage, beautiful views and a nice roomy walk-in shower. Some cruise critic reviews comment about water on the floor from the shower but we did not see that. Yes, there is a window from the bathroom into the main cabin but the design is such that you can’t really view anything so no issue there. Just very nicely designed and sized cabins. A travel tip would be to bring a night light. I did not see the larger suites but can only assume the are equally beautiful, functional and even more expensive. One negative is that Celebrity only allows two to a cabin. In my case, that meant two cabins to handle the three of us. In talking to staff, it appears that there were no exceptions on our cruise even though there were several family groups of 3 or more on the cruise. Capacity is 100 people with crew of 90. Our cruise had 95 passengers. Very close to a 1:1 crew-passenger ratio. Cruise demographics on our cruise was a nice mix of younger/older/North American and Asian and several families from South Africa. I would guess about 5/6 guests between 15-21. Average age was probably 50-60. Public areas consist of the top outer deck that featured an outside grill for lunch/dinner. Deck four featured the main dining room and lounge area. This reminded me of the usual river cruise set-up where you meet before dinner in the lounge for cocktails, discuss the next day’s actives and adjourn for dinner after. Entertainment was sparce but not missed. Usually live music outside for lunch. Inside at the lounge pre-dinner and last night in the main dinning room. All quite pleasant. Celebrity tried to hold some activities after dinner (Silent disco was the most successful) but to be honest everyone was so tired from the day’s activities it was usually off to bed after dinner. Food was not your usual American menu which made the trip even more special. Celebrity and Ecuador make a point that most things are locally sourced. So menu options where high in seafood content. Lobster tails were available anytime as well as fresh fish, shrimp and local beef/chicken. Cerveche was something new to me and it was quite good. Most if not all of the wait staff are Ecuatorian and go out of there way to provide good service. The Matdre’d was exceptional and tried to fulfill your every want. Special food requests were meet with a smile and usually fulfilled quickly. All in all the food/dining room/lounge and entertainment felt like a fine country club. There is NO cellular service in the Galapagos but you do have fairly good wifi on the ship. So you can stay connected to the outside world if you desire. The Flora never docks and never anchors. The Captain explained that the next actual docking will be in two years in Panama for Dry Dock and the ship uses a GPS dynamic position system instead of an anchor. They plug location in the computer and GPS/Thrusters and Azipods take over keeping the ship on location. Just amazing and no anchoring is great for the Coral. The Galapagos Experience: I and my family truly did not know what to expect and where nervous that maybe I was too old to enjoy it. I am pleased to say that all went well and that I feel in hindsight that I experienced most everything that was offered and would rate the whole experience great. It will live in memory for a long time. I would recommend to guests to do the 10-day Celebrity Package. Sometimes they offer this with air credits thru Choice-air which when they do that is a great time to book as Celebrity has you covered from start to finish. We arrive in Quito on American from Miami at 10:30PM. After getting luggage we were quickly greeted by a Celebrity host who guided us to a bus that took us to the JW Marriott (About 45 minutes from the airport). Quito airport is new and modern and the JW Marriott is top shelf. We had a nice two room suite to collapse in when we arrive. The next day we went on a tour of Quito and the equator including lunch and dinner. A nice full day to see a city of 3-million people who live at 9,000 feet. Pretty amazing. Language is English/Spanish and currency is the US$. Next morning you take a charter flight to Galapagos arriving about noon. You get on a bus, go down a small beat-up road to a dock area. It is there you meet your Ecudorian Naturalist and learn about your new best friend the Celebrity Zodiac Tender. These zodiacs are like none that you have ever seen. They hold about 12/14 people and have pneumatic ramp/stairs in the bow to make getting on/off easy. For all those wondering if the can handle the tenders the answer is yes. Next we head off to the amazing boat that I described above. The routine is you pick your tours the night before for the next day. There is usually a morning set, an afternoon set and a snorkel option. Yes, can do all three if you are up for it. My daughter often did that. I did a morning walk or snorkel and an afternoon tender ride and felt it a full day. OH to be young again. So guests can choose just how much they want to do. The easiest is the afternoon tender ride. You just get in the tender and drive around with friends and a guide and see nature. If you did nothing else but that for the trip, you would see about 90% of what Galapagos is about. What is Galapagos about? It is seeing nature in an unspoiled environment as it was 100’s of years ago. From sharks to whales, dolphins to manta rays, penguins to giant tortises. Sea lions as well as unusual birds such a Boobys, both red-footed and blue-footed. Crabs, pelicans and Coumarants are abundant as well as various unspoiled geological landscapes. Each taken by itself you can see in a zoo or in the back yard or the US Park System, but all together in one place surrounded by beautiful water and a luxury floating hotel guided by knowledgeable guides, That is the Galapagos experience. After a week, you repeat the process back to Quito arriving back at the Marriott around 4PM. Celebrity hosts a nice farewell dinner in the hotel Steakhouse complete with some great live entertainment. A first class way to end a first class trip. Some went on to Machu Pichou (Another Bucket List item yet to come) while we returned home for the Holidays the next day. So don't hesitate as this is amazing from start to finish! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We sailed on the six-night itinerary to Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and Nassau on December 15 as an early Christmas present to ourselves (side note: at $680 for a suite, it was a steal). The Magic is a lovely ship—this was our second time ... Read More
We sailed on the six-night itinerary to Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and Nassau on December 15 as an early Christmas present to ourselves (side note: at $680 for a suite, it was a steal). The Magic is a lovely ship—this was our second time cruising on this ship, and I wouldn't hesitate to book a third. I've noticed that other reviews include a lot people complaining that it's run down, but I didn't notice anything looking shabby. To the contrary, staff are constantly cleaning, polishing, painting—doing everything they can to keep the effects of a lifetime at sea at bay. It was our first time staying in a suite, and I have to say, it was absolutely, 100% worth the money. The bathroom is a REAL bathroom, complete with jetted tub and double sinks. There was also a dressing room area with a door between the cabin and the bathroom, affording a bit of extra privacy when getting ready. There was storage for days, and I swear, we even had extra glassware. Our steward, Julio, went above and beyond. We had some pretty nasty weather one night, causing the ship to rock and roll (enough that our bathroom door was slamming and glassware was clinking), and my daughter got really seasick. We made good use of the trash can that night. Anyway, I did my best to clean it up, but you know. Puking kid + small room = Big Mess. I called him to let him know, and he had the place spotless by the time we got back from breakfast. And he left her a bag of cookies with a sweet note. Being a suite guest also made embarkation a breeze—we were pretty much ushered through an empty terminal while the less lucky masses waited in long lines. Debarkation was much the same. In short: if you can swing a suite, do it. You won't regret it. Food ranged from just fine to really good. I am not a buffet person—in fact I hate them with every fiber of my being, especially in the morning, when I have not had coffee and am forced to deal with hordes of people—but they were fine. There did seem to be less of a selection than there used to be, but what there was was enjoyable. I highly recommend the omelet station in the morning. Also, head to the back of the buffet rather than hovering at the front—there's generally more seating back there. The Northern Lights dining room was uniformly delicious. I don't know what people are complaining about—there was filet mignon, prime rib, lobster, and plenty of other fancy dishes, but you could also get more "ordinary" food like fried chicken and salmon. We had Your Time dining, which worked really well—I hate being locked in to a specific time. When we wanted to eat, we reserved a table in the app, and it was generally ready by the time we got there. The servers treated my daughter like a queen—one even cut up her prime rib for her (she's almost 11). It was pretty hilarious. We also did the Chef's Table, which was an amazing experience. There were seven main courses (as well as a few appetizer courses), and each one was artfully presented and exquisitely prepared. The sous chef played host and told us a lot about how their operations work, in addition to describing the food. Side note: it's in the main galley, so there's some pretty good people watching. Activities: we didn't really use the pools. They're too dang crowded, but nice, if hanging out in a sea of people is your thing. The water park area is pretty fun, and the shows were decent. We're pretty low key in general, so we didn't do a whole lot of "participating," if you know what I mean. The Cloud 9 spa thallasotherapy area (I just murdered the spelling) was amazing. Quiet, relaxing, and totally zen-like. I only made it up there once (kids. sigh.), but thoroughly enjoyed the two hours I got to myself. The ports were nice. We just hung out at the pool at Amber Cove, and if you ignored all the drunk people, all was well. The waterslides are also pretty amazing. In Nassau we did the Dolphin Experience at Blue Lagoon, which I highly recommend. It was great fun, and is certified by the humane society (pretty rare for an attraction like this). The dolphins seemed truly happy and the trainers seemed to love their jobs. Plus, the island is ridiculously beautiful. And in Grand Turk, we sat on the beach. It was 80 degrees and sunny in December, the water was that beautiful turquoise color, and you could even snorkel. What else do you need? All in all, it was a highly enjoyable vacation and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Magic to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I went on this cruise because some of our friends picked the cruise. This was one of the best cruises I have been on. Now it's Holland American so there's no hairy legs contests at the pool or goofy game shows like on some ... Read More
I went on this cruise because some of our friends picked the cruise. This was one of the best cruises I have been on. Now it's Holland American so there's no hairy legs contests at the pool or goofy game shows like on some other brands. Quite frankly these are not missed. This ship features a two level indoor outdoor pool area so it was fairly easy to get a chair around the pool and I really like the closable roof so you can use the pool whatever the weather. This area also has the "outdoor" theatre and the staff sets up the chairs to see the screen when they are doing movies. They have moved the BBC Earth series to here. Thank goodness. BBC Earth is not something featured on the main stage. The main stage is a theatre in the round with 270 degrees of floor to ceiling LCD screens. It's unique. Although the entertainment was good it was not up the level of Norwegian and you could see that they did everything they could to skimp. For example the dance company which is normally 12 people is 6 on this ship. They did uniquely use the LCD Screens in the productions. One show they used the screens to show an elevator. The actors backed up "into the elevator" and they gave the illusion of going up the doors open and then this was another dance venue. Unique and entertaining. The ship features Music Row with Billboard Onboard the dueling pianos, the Rock BAnd Area and BB Kings Blues Club along with Lincoln Center stage. BB Kings and Lincoln center were great Billboard had a little feeling of a high school production. Not bad but this is not New York level entertainment. On the plus side they did try to play music to the older crowd which Holland caters to. They had several informative programs in the main stage which I attended and was interesting. One in particular was the history of Holland America lines which I enjoyed a lot. The service onboard was excellent in every area. There were a few problems but they didn't detract from the cruise. One of Holland's ship broke down and so they moved 100 passengers to our ship completely filling it and they had to delay departure for this. Due to a heavy storm the Key West stop was cancelled and we had an extra day at sea, but the ship stabilizers worked great and there was almost no swaying. Vince the cruise director was also outstanding. I'd highly recommend the ship and crew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We just got off the ship today and I would like to share my experience. First and foremost we had a blast. Embarkation was quick and easy. The cabin was clean and the stewards were our friends by the end of the trip. We found ... Read More
We just got off the ship today and I would like to share my experience. First and foremost we had a blast. Embarkation was quick and easy. The cabin was clean and the stewards were our friends by the end of the trip. We found this to be the case for many staff. So the shower had a dispenser with shampoo and shower gel. I had a small bottle of conditioner from a recent hotel stay which worked out since we didn't check baggage; couldn't bring large bottles of liquids. We traveled with our older children.. they loved the gym. Tip .. if you get back on the ship after an excursion and you all need to shower use the gym.(spa). There is an 18-20 meet up on the first night. As mentioned on previous reviews it lasted for 10 minutes so don't miss it and they'll have friends for the rest of the trip. We all found food we liked. Breakfast in the dining room was the best but for a quick bite, the Lido buffet is just fine. .. also the breakfast burrito was good. Lunch was fun. On the Lido there is a Guy Fieri burger joint (yummy) and the Blue Iguana where you can get taco salads, burritos, tacos... The fixins bars at both were great. We had dinner in the main dining room most nights and the food was really good. Service was also good and the wait staff learned our names on the first night. Cruise director Savannah never rested. She had everyone dancing, singing, and laughing. We enjoyed the comedy shows the most, George and Percy; also their host Edwina was adorable! Shore excursion Key West: We did the Catamaran snorkeling trip. I live to do this. Full Stop! Unfortunately the weather took and downturn and our excursion in Cozumel was cancelled. This was the same week if you recall in which 2 Carnival Ships crashed in Cozumel. No worries, we shopped, then got back on the ship early and the kids met up with their friends. This was not our first time doing this route so I hope to try the different routes in the future. Hope you enjoy your trip and bring your positive attitude. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because 10 family members wanted to travel and this cruise let us bring our 14 and 17 year old family members. We all got to enjoy a river cruise. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and spouses. No one was left ... Read More
We chose this cruise because 10 family members wanted to travel and this cruise let us bring our 14 and 17 year old family members. We all got to enjoy a river cruise. Aunts, Uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and spouses. No one was left out. Thank you Scenic Amber! We believe in Family First!! And this river cruise did too!! We also liked the stops along the way. We liked the route it was going on. We enjoyed our travel agent, Michelle! We especially enjoyed the dates. We knew we wanted to go this time of year and experience the Christmas markets. It was a great experience. The food on the cruise was superb and at the destinations just as wonderful. The chef made the dinners according to the country and style. Excellent to say the least. We are beyond pleased with Scenic and all the care and respect they have shown us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Because good price and wanted to try it the best thing was the entertainment group Alex ameed don’t remember the name good of all but they were just a team they should never be broken. My table 539 the best service it’s something I ... Read More
Because good price and wanted to try it the best thing was the entertainment group Alex ameed don’t remember the name good of all but they were just a team they should never be broken. My table 539 the best service it’s something I will never forget because of the teams how they work their island beautiful the only thing is that they have to clean the windows that’s the only thing that I had problem with but other thing like the buffet on the morning was the same thing no variety and same for lunch but is ok the food was good but again the entertainment group is the best thing that cruise have and the theater good movie new make more jacuzzi and ice cream was good I would all over again in they cruise with the same people thank you so much Armonia the best time I had in a cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our 3rd Cruise with the MSC, having cruised on the Sinfonia and Musica 2017 and 2018. The ship was clean, first class entertainment both for adults and my 4year old. We always book the balcony cabin and it never ... Read More
This was our 3rd Cruise with the MSC, having cruised on the Sinfonia and Musica 2017 and 2018. The ship was clean, first class entertainment both for adults and my 4year old. We always book the balcony cabin and it never disappoints, big and spacious. The room service was so efficient in delivering our breakfast as we had 2 sea days so we preferred to have breakfast on our balcony. One night my daughter was found wondering on the ship crying within seconds she was brought back to us without causing a scene (had left her sleeping in the room for dinner) The kids club is really addictive as my daughter would wake up and couldn’t wait for us to take her there.... I really wish I were a kid again to experience what she feels. Overall, our vacation was more than worth the money we had spent...and are planning our next cruise for 2020! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Initially we were very excited about our Christmas cruise but became concerned after reading many reviews. We have cruised on three different cruise lines in a Europe and South Pacific and the second time on RCL. The ovation is amazing, ... Read More
Initially we were very excited about our Christmas cruise but became concerned after reading many reviews. We have cruised on three different cruise lines in a Europe and South Pacific and the second time on RCL. The ovation is amazing, from the very quick seamless embarkation, clean stateroom, service, activities and food choices amazing! We had 2 balcony staterooms one for us and one for our 4 kids. One kid ended up in our room on the fold out sofa. Kids ages 9, 12, 14,16 and not one complaint of boredom even though they had no WIFI for 10 days. When I was researching I couldn’t find a review of Christmas, RCL do an amazing job, there are Christmas decorations, activities, Christmas movies, craft, Christmas food including cookies and milk leading up to a big day of celebration, Santa’s arrival, free gifts for kids under 18. These were very thoughtful and useful. In terms of drinks, we bought the deluxe package, I’m not a big drinker but it definitely works out, bottled water, fresh juices, specialty coffee and wine and cocktails, book on cruise planner prior when it goes on sale. Lots of sales of jewellery and watches, don’t buy in first few days, as they go up to 75 percent off! My sister in law was seasick, they sell tablets in the merchant store but give them away for free at reception. On Christmas Day we booked a specialty restaurant “chops Grille”, food 9/10 but they didn’t have the same Christmas frivolity as the other restaurants, they offered us this for 49 usd adults and kids above 12 and 10 for kids, they said no charge for kids at the end. No Christmas pudding or turkey on menu but apple pie was to die for. They work so hard to make sure everything leads to a great holiday, free ice cream all day on the pooldeck, blankets for watching movies under the stars on the pooldeck. We bought a paradise lotto ticket, $2.00 a game and won $100 usd which we used to credit our account. The activities director is a crack up and there are so many family friendly activities and challenges you can join in or just watch. Caribbean music on the pool deck really makes for a great atmosphere, there is the main pool, a second undercover pool and the adult solarium. The food in main dining is great, the buffet has a theme section each night and the variety for gluten intolerant, vegans and vegetarians is great, not that this was us! Oh and the gym was huge and free, we used it most days. Overall a great experience, would love to do it again next year! Everyone had a great time, I couldn’t fault it, and we are well travelled. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise because we were looking to find a wider variety of age groups than we usually find when we cruise between holidays. The younger families and children add energy and excitement. Even if all you want to do ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise because we were looking to find a wider variety of age groups than we usually find when we cruise between holidays. The younger families and children add energy and excitement. Even if all you want to do is "people watch", that can be more fun and entertaining. This cruise offered some wonderful destinations for me to enjoy some of the more active things I like to do; sailing, hiking, kayaking, and snorkling/swimming. And while I protected myself off shore with sun block, my wife could read, rest, pamper herself in the Lotus Spa, or catch a movie. I love to sail, and I went again on a small Hobie Cat at Princess Cay. What a thrill! A boat ride at St. Lucia to the Pitons was gorgeous and the stop at a beautiful tropical beach capped off a perfect excursion. My wife had a manicure and pedicure that looked fantastic, but she thought they could have and should have used better polish for the pricey job, as her nails were showing wear after just a couple of days. The buffet was good, especially the little deserts that are portioned so you don't feel too bad cheating with a few samples. We dined on Christmas Day at Sabatini's Restaurant. Good food, beautiful surroundings, for this special occasion, but we both decided we prefer the typical Italian comfort food like lasagna, chicken parm, etc. over the very upscale Italian dishes. I think most people would really love the experience. Most of the entertainment was top-notch, but we felt the main production singers were not the best we've seen and their production with "Soul" music was a little laughable. After that show we agreed with many of the guests that it fell way below Princess standards. We loved the comics and magician and I thought the production musicians and dancers were top notch. The Voice of the Ocean is always fun, and the "mentors" were hilarious. Can't wait for our 2021 New Years cruise, booked while on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first cruise while we are world travelers. This cruise was beyond our expectation in every way you could imagine. An amazing organization from the start to the end with impeccable staff & all you need to enjoy in 10 ... Read More
This was our first cruise while we are world travelers. This cruise was beyond our expectation in every way you could imagine. An amazing organization from the start to the end with impeccable staff & all you need to enjoy in 10 days. From the entertainment including great shows, comedy, singers and dancers, then the fitness center with spa, hair & nail salon, relaxation, tanning on the deck, watching top movies, for food, several dining rooms & buffet with variation in taste & freshly prepared meals, & many more to keep every one happy on the cruise. The 4 Mexican ports the ship stopped were really worth visiting. Anything you needed was at your disposal with great services & front desk as your guide. The Captain was always anouncing the big events & keeping us informed of the weather & sailing condition. Thanks to the entire crew. We highly recommend the Grand Princess. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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