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Sail Date: March 2005
Well, this cruise was a bit ago, but I thought that I would write a review so that others can benefit from my experience as I used this site to pick out our cruise November 2009. This was a family cruise for us. I actually went on the ... Read More
Well, this cruise was a bit ago, but I thought that I would write a review so that others can benefit from my experience as I used this site to pick out our cruise November 2009. This was a family cruise for us. I actually went on the cruise with my parents and was younger at the time. Embarkation We arrived at the allotted time and stood in line for quite a while. The process took around 2 hour. Quite a bit of time for a family of 6 to stand around (the youngest at the time being only a couple of years old) The crowd was noisy and it was quite hot, but eventually we got onto the ship. The FOOD I was expecting what you see in the advertising on TV. I was expecting gourmet food so beautiful that you don't want to eat it and so delicious you don't want to get full. I was sorely disappointed. The food was somewhat edible and there were hardly any choices at all. Breakfast was the same every day. Lunch tasted like something you would get at a cheesy restaurant trying to fix something ordinary into something great. The buffets were closed most of the day. If you didn't eat at the allotted time then you had to order room service. (which was limited and disappointing.) There were no all night buffets. Everything closed around eight. The Entertainment It was poor and that's putting it nicely. They closed the pools after sundown. No late night swimming for us. Basically bed time was set for nine and everyone that wasn't in bed was bored to death. They had some cheesy pool side games that attracted the older crowd. We only met one other english speaking family on the trip.. everyone else was italian or french. The fire drills or whatever you would like to call it, took quite a while as they had to say everything in about four different languages. So what should have taken maybe half an hour to an hour took double that. There was smoking all around the ship. The younger kids around 15 were even allowed to smoke in the teenager portion of the ship. The entertainment for teens was definitely not appropriate if you are concerned at all for your child's morals. This particular cruise pulled into Progresso, Mexico. One of the poorer parts of mexico. There were no coral reefs or tropical fish. It was on the Yucatan Peninsula. A more ugly part of mexico. There were slaughter houses with rotting beef and poor children asking us for money. Not a bad vacation spot for shopping, but definitely not tropical and lush like we were expecting. The vacation after the cruise was the best part as we went to Universal Studios in Orlando for a couple of days and stayed at our timeshare in Florida. But all of us were very disappointed with the cruise. My husband and I are going on a Carnival Cruise in November and I have heard nothing but good things about them, so we are very excited. Hopefully it will wipe the memory of this cruise from my mind. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
On Thursday 30th May we discovered over 10 centimetres of dirty water coming up through the drain in both the toilet and shower cubicle and water leaking out over the carpet. Although the plumber initially thought that the shower was not ... Read More
On Thursday 30th May we discovered over 10 centimetres of dirty water coming up through the drain in both the toilet and shower cubicle and water leaking out over the carpet. Although the plumber initially thought that the shower was not draining, further investigation found that it was the drains, and that this was actually contaminated water. The cabin steward did his best to dry the cubicle and replace the wet bath mat etc. but the carpet remained wet for the rest of the voyage. This was a serious health and safety issue. It was when speaking to other passengers that day that we discovered that there was a lot of sickness and diarrhoea on board and also that there had been many cases the previous week.It was then that we realised why the food was being served by the staff rather than self service as it had been four weeks previously when we were on the ship and why there were so many "Do not disturb" notices on cabin doors.The occupants were obviously ill and confined to their cabins.It is obvious that the problem with the ships plumbing was a contributing factor in spreading the sickness and diarrhoea. The sickness and diarrhoea were attributed to an outbreak of the Nova virus. In addition to this, some of the sickness was undoubtedly due to very poor standards in food hygiene. Most of the food was over cooked, but then put out cold. Putting cold food into the hot serving trays would have increased the risk of salmonella. It was only once we had boarded the ship that we learnt that the ship had almost capsized the previous week in trying to avoid some rocks. This alarmed my wife, who lay awake all night after when the ship hit rough seas, another contributing factor to the way our holiday was completely ruined. To compound this, one day there was a false alarm at 5am to go to the lifeboat stations, which led to passengers putting on their lifejackets and following the emergency procedures. It turned out to be caused by faulty circuitry, but certainly added to the atmosphere of anxiety amongst the passengers. On Friday 31st May the sink plug mechanism wasn't working so we could not release the water in the sink so I requested a plumber to fix it. The plumber came and adjusted the mechanism but then the plug would not retain the water in the sink. For the rest of the voyage we had to wash and I had to shave with the tap running continuously. Whilst this was not as serious as the other issues, it was inconvenient and annoying. On Sunday 2nd of June we awoke in the early hours of the morning to a gurgling sound coming from the toilet. On investigation we found that dirty water was again coming up through the drains in the toilet and shower cubicle. We telephoned customer relations but they failed to solve the problem, telling us the leaking was caused by the movement of the ship. We asked if there was another cabin available, but we were told there was not. We were advised to use our own bathroom, even though this would have meant standing in 6 centimetres of water, to use our toilet and wash basin. My wife and I ended up using the toilets outside the Ocean Theatre. Later that day, when the problem was still not resolved, I was greeted with rudeness by the plumber, who was dealing with all of the toilets, as it seems that none of the toilets on deck 7 were working. This situation undoubtedly compounded the problems with the spread of sickness on board the ship. We again had to use the public toilets, further exposing ourselves to the bacteria that was causing sickness around the ship. On Tuesday the 4th June we left the ship to join the coach to take us to our hotel, and it was then that my wife began to get sick. There was further incompetence with the arrangements for medical help, as the doctor was sent to the wrong room. The holiday rep tried to deceive us, and said that the doctor was at another hotel. When the doctor arrived she told us this was not true, as she had been given the wrong room details. The doctor also told us she had treated several people off the Island Escape and that the ship had been ordered not to leave port until it had been deep cleaned. My wife was treated with an injection and medication that we had to pay for. She was very ill for the next 2 days and could not eat or leave the room. Why wasn't the ship deep cleaned the week before when Thomson were aware of the problems on the ship? it was irresponsible of Thomson to allow the ship to sail on the 28th May in the full knowledge of the situation on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
Our cruise was really a nice pleasant cruise and the excursion where wonderful! The Dolphin Swim was absolutely Awesome. We had great people we shared dinner with every night! Tom and Tiffany, Tiffany's Mom and a work mate of ... Read More
Our cruise was really a nice pleasant cruise and the excursion where wonderful! The Dolphin Swim was absolutely Awesome. We had great people we shared dinner with every night! Tom and Tiffany, Tiffany's Mom and a work mate of Tiffany's Mom. We could not have asked for better people to share our meals with. We where stuck on the late dinner which was hard on my Mom who is 70. This was my first cruise and my mother's 3rd. cruise. We had the best food the chefs made the best foods and the desserts where out of this world. We also had a staff member on the Lido Buffet dinning named PI who took the time to learn our names and always greeted us by our names. PI was such a wonderful Staff Member always a smile and a greeting for us. We also enjoy an evening with Carol her daughter Lisa who we did the Mayan Ruins with them then enjoyed drinks out of the Coconut Monkeys. The beds were great and it was quiet on the cruise even though we had an adjoining room. We did have one Loud Mouth Braggart on the Cruise who bragged about winning "ANOTHER FREE CRUISE" in the raffle drawing. He did spoil things for others with his bragging and his big mouth! He really did create a hush in the crowd when he started bragging about winning "Another Cruise". I would say he spoiled it for a lot of people who bought tickets in that raffle! Disembarkation was the pits! We were on the Rivera Deck and the last ones to get off! So we stood the longest in line at customs! We selected Carnival because they go out of Galveston and Mother had cruised with them before. But the one trip on Carnival for me will likely be my last! They said fill out your surveys and get them turned in for the drawing for a "Free Cruise" just before we disembark from the cruise. Well they called my Name. I was so excited and I went to the desk on the main floor and waited to receive a STUPID PIECE OF PAPER to be in their "Monthly Drawing from all the Drawn Names". Needless say I never heard another thing! I had to tell the friends I had made on the Cruise who also where under the mistaken believe that you would Win a Cruise that I got a PIECE of paper for a "Chance" at a cruise. So beware and pay attention to what they say about the Survey and a "Chance to Win" a piece of paper! Carnival calls me four times a week and I decided to cruise with a different cruise line since they feel I am just a piece of paper! This has left a BAD TASTE in my MOUTH! Of course a call to Carnivals Customer Service was on no use either. But they love to call me four times a week to cruise with them again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2008
Having cruised many times before and a lot on Carnival, we were ready for another great vacation. This was the first time on a ship of the Triumph's class, and we were cruising with a group of 8. The Carnival reservation staff was ... Read More
Having cruised many times before and a lot on Carnival, we were ready for another great vacation. This was the first time on a ship of the Triumph's class, and we were cruising with a group of 8. The Carnival reservation staff was very helpful with making all of the arrangements and getting us a dinner seating all together. They even got us cabins right next to each other. It was only too bad the experience didn't transfer to the ship! This was out first time departing from the Port of Miami. Since the cruise experience begins at the port, choosing your departure port can make or break your first impression. I recommend trying to find a cruise at any port in Florida EXCEPT Miami! Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando are all great! The Port of Miami was disgusting! First of all, since the Port parking can be very expensive and we had to take 2 cars for our group, we elected to hire a limousine service. The cost was about the same as the parking fees for 2 vehicles, and we were all excited about dropping off in a Hummer Limo! When we arrived at the port, they would not let the limo drop us off with our bags like every other port we have cruised from. We were dropped off in the middle of the tour bus rows where we had to lug all of our bags about 100 yards to the entrance. We were suffocated with diesel exhaust as we gathered our belongings from the limo. No porter service was available where we were dropped off. Once we drug all of our bags to the entrance, we discovered that Carnival was late in opening the gates for ship boarding. Someone told us the ship had not been cleaned yet. This was a first for us. Anyway, we joined a long line forming down the sidewalk waiting to go inside. It was about 90 degrees in the blazing sun as we all stood there and began to sweat waiting to get inside the building. There were no facilities available outside, and we waited more than an hour! Carnival did absolutely nothing to accommodate passengers waiting in the hot sun, and they seemed to care less. Once inside, the port of Miami had the slowest boarding process we have ever experienced at any port. The port staff were rude and obnoxious. We also were pushed and shoved in the line by other passengers. I had never experienced anything like this before! Once we finally got on board and visited our staterooms, we discovered one of the rooms in our group had been decorated with Happy Birthday crepe paper all over the place. It was a nice touch, but nobody in our group had a birthday and we didn't order the decorations. Obviously, somebody else had paid for the decor and had nothing. Since the decorations were hanging everywhere, we asked the room steward to remove them. He only smiled and walked away, apparently he didn't speak english. We had to tear the stuff down ourselves. So far, we were not impressed with this cruise. We decided to go upstairs and get something to eat at the buffet, to our surprise, there was a long line forming all the way out the pool deck! I had never seen this before on a Carnival ship! We were soon learning that the monster ships really have all of the same amenities on the upper decks, but just have extra decks of rooms to jam more people on board. I immediately began to feel like there were way too many people on this ship!...The long lines persisted the entire cruise. Our dinner seating also was a disaster. Our group of 8 was placed at a table along the side of the dining room and was apparently the only route into the dining room for persons needing assistance. Every time another wheel chair came along the person sitting at the end of our table had to interrupt his meal and stand up so the wheel chair could pass. This was ridiculous, so we squeezed him along the side of the table. We still got our table bumped, drinks spilled, and knees jammed sitting at this table for 2 nights. The staff seemed to care less about our dining experience. We finally requested a table change only to get a very sarcastic remark from the Head Waiter. He insinuated that our group did not want to help with the assistance of disabled passengers, as if we were supposed to sacrifice our cruise experience. Why doesn't Carnival just make the aisles a little larger?? What a rude man! One morning at the buffet restaurant, our group tried to find a table to all sit together. Again, it seemed like there were too many people on the ship! When we found a large table and began to sit down, a man ran over and told us he was "saving" the table for his group. We had never seen anything like this before on any cruise ship! The man insisted, and began to shout and act like a fool in front of everyone. I had never seen anyone behave in this fashion on a cruise ship before. Our group found another table. These types of things seemed to go on the entire week long cruise, ranging from dining room problems to pool side crowds, etc. I felt like we bought a discount cruise and were joined by low class slobs that had zero manners! Immediately after arriving back home I contacted Carnival to express my disgust with the entire cruise experience. I also advised Carnival that we were return customers and had cruised Carnival many times before. They didn't care, and only made excuses for the port and everything else that went wrong. They offered $100 of onboard credit if we decided to cruise with Carnival again, but they then issued a time limit on when we must book the cruise in order to use the credit! What a joke! I told them to keep their $100 bucks and that I would not cruise Carnival again. They sent the $100 voucher in the mail anyway! We have not cruised on Carnival again, and will never do so. Carnival lost good customers and they don't even care! We have now switched to Royal Caribbean and find their level of service much more accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
First Carnival cruise - Jubilee - about 15 years ago. This was a Panama Canal (part way in) to near the Equator...NO AIR CONDITIONING!!! No, it didn't break down on our cruise; it actually broke on the cruise before ours. Of ... Read More
First Carnival cruise - Jubilee - about 15 years ago. This was a Panama Canal (part way in) to near the Equator...NO AIR CONDITIONING!!! No, it didn't break down on our cruise; it actually broke on the cruise before ours. Of course, they didn't bother to tell any of the passengers who were boarding for the next trip...nor did they try to fix the A/C. Heaven help you if you were a diabetic...the only sugar reduced dessert was yellow cake. Every night they did change the frosting to another color and they gave it a different name (i.e., pink was strawberry; yellow was lemon; green was mint, etc., etc.). Okay, this was an old ship even at that time but it was always very dirty (perhaps, it was also too uncomfortable for the crew to keep things shipshape (no pun intended). After this cruise, my husband and I swore we would never sail with Carnival again. So much for swearing...move forward about 15 years... Our second (and, without a doubt our very last, forever, no way) cruise was on the Splendor. It was a brand new ship with only two voyages before ours. It was cruising out of Dover, England and would be visiting Northern Europe/Baltic ports. Our brother and sister-in-law talked us into joining them on this trip. Although we were very hesitant to go on this cruise, we decided we would give Carnival another try. I mean a brand new ship - how bad could itt be? Pretty bad, if you want my opinion. . We were on the Spa deck (10) in a handicap room (at the very front of the ship - there are two locations on board the ship for handicap access rooms (the very front or the very back (right next to the crew's metal stairway!). The doorways to these cabins have a wall opposite them making maneuverability difficult if you're using a motorized scooter. They door to the room does open automatically to let you get in when you put your card in the slot (we didn't know about this feature until we were five days into the trip because the door was not functioning when we got on the ship). One problem with that was that the door automatically closed whether you were in the room or in the doorway...smash!!!!!!!!!!! goes the door into your scooter, leg, etc. . Food was alright (nothing special). The desserts (sugar-free) were the same as on our first cruise... The food court was very disorganized and at some points on the line you actually had to reach across food to get to other food (yuck!). . The Styrofoam carvings were - well - there! Ugly - if they didn't want to do fruit carvings or ice carvings... okay, but Styrofoam with plastic flowers just didn't meet our standards. . Shore excursions - who knows! If you were unable to walk well or couldn't climb steps - you needn't bother to book any tours. You can get off the ship and ride your scooter or wheelchair up and down the dock - but, don't expect to go sightseeing. I could go on and on, but I won't. I would like to add one bit of information though, 10 years prior to this cruise we went on the Royal Princess to the same ports (with the exception of Germany) and it was FABULOUS!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
I will start by saying that if you have not bought your cruise tickets for NCL yet - you are smart. Choose any other cruise line and you will have a great vacation. I am sorry I have to rate them as 1 star - they are NONE in everything. ... Read More
I will start by saying that if you have not bought your cruise tickets for NCL yet - you are smart. Choose any other cruise line and you will have a great vacation. I am sorry I have to rate them as 1 star - they are NONE in everything. Our background: we have been on 18 cruises on all mass market cruise lines - NCL is by far the worst cruise line and the worst cruising experience ever. This was the last minute after Thanksgiving cruise that we purchased 4 days before we went on it. And we did not expect much from a 3 night cruise - some relaxing time, good food, show, dancing - regular cruising experience. I am 38, my husband is 46, kids are 14 and 7, and we live in Florida and try to take a cruise 2-3 times a year. Embarkation: Was very slow, entrance was 5 miles away from ship, or it felt like 5 miles, there were no lines, but you had to go through the maze from person to person, next one worst then the one before. One was practicing how to say our last name letter by letter for 5 minutes; the other asked my 7 years old if she was a minor, third asked my husband if he wants to use his key card as credit card on the ship or have a kid card with one corner cut off. Finally we got to our cabins. On the ship: After reading reviews, we decided that first thing we want to do is make reservation for the steakhouse for next day and then go explore the ship. There was a huge line at the reservation desk, 20 people, and she was also taking phone calls and placing reservations on both ends. It tool 45 minutes to get to reservationist to find out that all she had left for next night's dinner was 5:45 and 9:45seating and that we could not make reservations more then 24 hours ahead of time. Also, we could not reserve time at a regular restaurant because it is free style which means you can come any time you want and stay in line as long as you want. I asked her to call maitre d' and double check and I was not leaving until I got my dinner reservations made for 7:30 next night at the steakhouse. She called maitre d' and for sure he was able to find a table for 2 of us for dinner at 7: 30. Deck 11 - buffet: Next we went to have lunch on deck 11. Nothing else was open and kids were hungry. However, this was the worst lunch I've had in my life - on or off ship. The temperature in the room was over 100F, it felt cool outside in the sun compared to the temperature inside. The selection was - hot dog, cheeseburgers, chips, fries, gumbo soup made of okra, yellow leaves that they called salad, roast pork so dry you can bend silverware with it and assortment of slimy looking deserts. This is the selection that they had throughout the cruise for lunch. One day they added over-fried rice with dried up fish, next day they had overcooked vegetables and over-salted stew. Finally I understood why every past cruiser in their reviews said that they liked French fries on the ship - there was nothing else to eat!!! Kids Program: Next we decided to sign up kids for kid's program and then figure out where to eat and how to schedule our meals to avoid buffet. There was our next huge disappointment - there is NO KIDS PROGRAM per se - kids are in the program between 6 pm and 10 pm only, the rest of the time you have to pay per hour, they don't have program when you are in port and not when you are on a private island (more about that later). Also they do not have computers, Nintendo, games, or anything that kids enjoy doing - they play athletic games, do scavenger hunts, and color pictures. Between 6 pm and 10 pm is the time when we take kids to dinner and a show and after the show when adult games and dancing start is when we usually use kid's program on other cruise lines, as well as during the day. Our last cruise was Disney where kids were entertained between 7 am and 1 am none-stop and at no additional cost every day in or out of port. But this did not end there. Our older daughter has mild disability and we usually transfer her to 9-12 age group because the teen group has no supervision and older kids go in and out all the time. None of the other cruise lines ever had a problem with that. Disney this year was a delight, Carnival and RCCL last year were very accommodating, Celebrity and Princess year before had no problem at all. Not NCL!!! No, they cannot age bump, no they cannot have an extra person or an additional supervision in teen room, no they do not have computers and no they do not have games, and no they cannot provide a room where she can stay and play by herself or with others under any kind of adult supervision. And even if we pay, they cannot provide one-on-one service even for 2 hours while we go to dinner. We've got more "NO" answers in 10 minutes there then in all previous 18 cruises we took. So we went and canceled our hard earned reservation for steakhouse the next night and said good bye to any time alone for my husband and I on this cruise. We went on the deck and longingly looked at disappearing Miami skyline and said in unison: "Is it too late to get off this ship?" Cabin: We went up to the cabin to change for dinner and I wanted to get a drink from mini-bar to unwind a little after the stress of last 3 hours on the ship. There was no ice in ice bucket. When I called room service I was told that I need to ask cabin steward who is outside in the hall to bring me ice. The hall was deserted. I called again and was told to wait and see if he will walk by. Then my husband called and someone came 5 minutes later to get an ice bucket. He did not introduce himself, so I still do not know who our cabin steward was. One guy picked up the bucket, another brought it back and asked if there was anything else I needed tonight (mind you it was 6 pm). I asked him to specify and he said, well, do you want a turn down service? So I've got a better idea of the kind of a La Cart service we've got. Dinner: We went to a regular dining room where we were given a pager and told that wait time was about 20 minutes. 30 minutes later we were seated at the table. Dinner was not bad, at least not as bad as I was afraid of based on reviews and previous 4 hours on the ship. They use tiny salad shrimps for shrimp cocktail, there was lamb dish and beef dish on the menu, they had salmon, chicken and salad, soup and kids menu. Deserts were good. Server was good, water was re-filled regularly. As you can see we are not picky eaters and dining room dinner was just fine. Show: Because we waited 30 minutes for dinner and service was a little long, or maybe kids took a little longer to eat, we missed the show. We then saw it on TV and we did not miss much. We actually were glad that we spent some time on open deck instead of that show. Cabin: We had 2 balcony cabins, since it was last minute cruise there was nothing else available and no cabins to fit 4 of us. Cabin was furnished in thrift store fashion: scratched nightstand, dirty stained upholstery, dirty room (my younger kept on finding things that were left there by previous cruisers - pins, hair band, old receipts), piece of plywood instead of mattress, coffee table from last century that ended up on the balcony since room is so small there is no place for even small table. Next morning: There is no clock in the room and no clock on TV, so after lying for 5 hours on plywood mattress my back hurt so much I had to get up and wait for sunset on the balcony to figure out the time of day. Nassau: We were in Nassau so many times that we did not want to leave the ship. We stayed by the pool, the weather was gorgeous, there were very few people by the pool and I finally had one-on-one time with my book. My husband entertained kids - monopoly, chess, cards, and dominos. Water in the pool was below freezing, but the air was fresh. Of course, there was nothing else to do anyway - no music, no trivia, no activities by the pool. Makes you wonder if there was entertainment staff on board at all. Lunch: Terrible selection, tasteless food, no service, close to the pool. Dinner: 20 minutes wait, good menu, good service. So far the best experience on this cruise. The waiter Dennis was good. When my husband asked him his opinion about 2 dishes, a duck and beef Wellington, he just said that he will bring both dishes and let us decide. Both were good. Show: After all, there was an entertainment staff on board. Show was not bad. 4 singers - only 2 could sing, 6 dancers, good choreography, and good music. Newlywed game after the show, but after so many cruises, same questions irritate you. Boring newlywed game was the main attraction of the cruise because they kept showing it on TV non-stop for next 2 days. Dancing. NONE. There was big orchestra that played mix of new age and old jazz that you can listen but not dance to. There was Cuban band that played strictly Cuban music. There was Caribbean band on the deck once. Guitar player was good, but no place to dance; piano player was good, played in the bar, with no dance floor either. Next day - Private Island. Where do I start? I guess line at breakfast that took 45 minutes to get an omelet and coffee. And then line to get on tender that started on deck 4 and went all the way to deck 3. And then island! We went to RCCL Private Island, Princess Private Island, Disney Private Island - so we had an idea what to expect - and we always enjoyed an itinerary that included private island. Not NCL!!!! Small, crowded, dirty, no fresh water shower, no empty chairs, no umbrellas, no towels exchange, no service, terrible lunch. We looked but did not eat. BBQ pit serves a gourmet grill compared to that lunch on the island. We stayed there for a short time until kids splashed in water and went back to the ship. On the way back there was a guy with the water hose to hose your legs off before getting on the ship. Ordered room service, which had very limited selection, but no greasy fries and burgers and no lines. Of course I had to call twice and wait for 50 minutes to get the delivery, but at least they had salad. Last Evening: There was bingo and a comedian -no show. Same old quest game. The Park West gallery auction with cocky auctioneer who does not know names of the artists that gallery sells. No dancing again. Dinner was uneventful and same as the other 2 nights. Overall, in 3 days and 3 nights on the ship we did not get any service from anyone onboard the ship except in the dining room. To get drinks on the deck, we had to go to the bar, to get drinks in the bar, we had to go to the bartender, there was no drink service in the theater or any other public places on the ship. There is no wait staff during breakfast or lunch, if there was I did not see them. But I saw an old woman with cane carrying her own coffee on slippery deck, I saw another elderly person asking where she can get milk for her coffee and being told by the waiter to go back to the coffee stand and get it. I saw people leaving dining room after they were told that they have to pay $25 cork fee for the bottle of wine they brought with them. I saw a man asking line cook where he could get water and being told to go in an opposite direction from the refreshment stand. There was no hot cocoa or tea available after hours, there was no buffet on the deck, no d'oeuvres or finger foods in the evening. So when one night kids wanted to eat something around mid-night, we had to tell them to wait until breakfast because room service takes forever. There were kids ages 16 and 17 sitting on the stairs between dining room and teen program one evening for hours and laughing and swearing loudly. There were 4 kids 9-10 years old who rode in panoramic elevator between 5 and 9 pm one evening and then between 10 and 12 pm at night, cannot imagine what their parents did all that time, well I can imagine, but kids were nonsense. And lastly, we were told to carry our own luggage off the ship since no luggage tags were provided by room steward. At the end of the cruise they do not ask you to fill out an evaluation or a survey form – after all, even they cannot ask you to rate the non-existent service they provide. Or may be they just do not care - they got your money already. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
As a little background, this is my 4th cruise, but first with Norwegian (and surely last). I have done 2 Carnival and 1 Royal Caribbean. Our group of 18 couldn't wait for the big family cruise to celebrate my grandparent's 50th ... Read More
As a little background, this is my 4th cruise, but first with Norwegian (and surely last). I have done 2 Carnival and 1 Royal Caribbean. Our group of 18 couldn't wait for the big family cruise to celebrate my grandparent's 50th anniversary, all of the kids, their spouses, grandkids, and our spouses went. We put an unbelievable amount of planning into this vacation in order to make it extra special for them; wow were we disappointed! We had no problems embarking, it was a rather speedy process and the people at the counter were very nice and helpful. We got on the ship and went strait the reservation desk to make dinner reservations at the Hibachi grill. The ladies there were rather snooty, not overly willing to help, and we even got a few rolling eyes. We booked, brushed it off, and hurried off to our rooms. When we got there, I was quite upset. We had specifically requested that 7/8 of our rooms be arranged into queen beds, as we were all couples. We had 2 twin beds, but that wasn't the worst part, there was dry urine on my toilet seat, which was quite a shocker. And of course, no room steward could be found. We also had 3 lights that didn't work, the 1 outlet we had did not work, and the phone didn't work (so we couldn't call anyone to fix any of these problems). My cousin and his wife were staying next door to us, and they had dirty sheets (also 2 twin beds instead of the queen). So we went down to the desk to let them know, then off to lunch. We ran into our grandparents and they told us to join them at Windows (one of the sit down restaurants) because they had reservations. When we showed up, some of the group was there, so we sat at the table next to them. There were only 10-12 other parties seated in this massive dining room, but the waiter was less than thrilled that the party of 8 had turned into a party of 12 (and he showed it well). We were brushed off, which wouldn't have been too bad if the food was decent, but that didn't happen. We also spoke with the maitre' De to try to make reservations (freestyle cruising SUCKS by the way) for our party of 18 to eat together, because that was the whole point of the cruise. We were told that they couldn't push 2 tables together, so we would be a table of 10 and a table of 8 seated close to each other. Gee thanks. We again brushed it off, and started exploring the boat. My husband, mom, and I went to the spa to make reservations for treatments, and we felt like we were putting them out of their way by helping us. I couldn't get over how rude they were when we were there spending money. We took off late (were supposed to pull out of port at 5 PM, but didn't until after 7PM). We all dressed for dinner (they still hadn't put our beds together yet) and met in Windows to find our 2 tables separated by a portion of a wall and a big plant, rude wait staff, and mediocre food (at best). After dinner, we all wanted to do something, but that was a problem because there was NOTHING TO DO on this ship. This was the most boring deadest ship I had ever been on. I could go on for days, which I'm sure you can tell by my lovely experience on the first day, but I'll just list out the numerous problems we encountered. -The rudest staff I've ever encountered on a cruise ship, with the exception of our room steward, Enrica, who was AWESOME!! Also, the Assistant Maitre' De in Windows was wonderful. At one point, a crew member ran into my husband with a rolling cart and didn't even say excuse me. We were in shock the whole cruise of how horrible these people were. -Horrible food, with the exception of the Hibachi grill (well worth the $25.00 cover charge) and Blue Lagoon (everything I ate there was good). -We got overcharged for our spa services, then yelled at when we tried to use the coupon that THEY provided to us, telling us that we were reading it wrong (which it was as plain as day that they were wrong). -We paid for express dry cleaning on my formal dress, and didn't receive it in time -Getting of at the ports was a nightmare, no organization, and it took FOREVER! -The beds were so uncomfortable, that we got little sleep each night. My husband actually had to go to the chiropractor when we got home with a twisted spine thanks to their beds. -One night we, along with my aunt and uncle,who were next door to us, smelled smoke (like burning, not cigarette). We were both calling the emergency number (which nobody answered), until my husband just went downstairs to the desk. 45 minutes later (yes, 45 minutes to respond to a burning smell), someone finally came and told us not to worry about it (without even checking anything out). It turned out that we were passing by a marsh fire, and the smoke got into the ventilation system, which we found out from another passenger, not a crew member. Disembarkation was a complete nightmare. Remember this name: Gail Jackson, if you see her while disembarking, RUN. She was by far the rudest person we encountered the entire trip, yelling at other passengers trying to get their luggage, my whole family, even her co-workers. It was so bad that I actually called headquarters and reported her. It took us close to 2 hours to get off of the boat, (and that was with expedited service due to my grandpa being in a scooter). We did have fun, but it was definitely from the fun that my crazy family created, not from what the ship had to offer. I have so many specific incidents I could get into (to show that this isn't just me overreacting to something small), but I'm sure there is a space restraint on this. All I can say is STRONGLY STRONGLY reconsider taking this cruise, because I'm sure you will be greatly disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
We were told by a relative how great the MSC lines are however this one just came over from Europe and we were the first sailing on it.We had to fly from Ohio to Ft.Lauderdale-My son's girlfriend from England flew in from there and we ... Read More
We were told by a relative how great the MSC lines are however this one just came over from Europe and we were the first sailing on it.We had to fly from Ohio to Ft.Lauderdale-My son's girlfriend from England flew in from there and we went on a 4 day cruise. The food was SO BAD-I ended up loosing weight on the cruise...which was the only good thing. If food is bad and you are just eating anything to compensate it really ruin's a cruise. My son LOVES cruises and food is the #1 enjoyment on it for him. The same relative went on the same ship 2 weeks later-I told her to cancel.She said she was VERY surprised how bad the food was and her friend complained too. Everyone on my ship was complaining about it but what can you do-if they cannot cook-they cannot cook. They could not speak very well at all to people either. The big event with the food at the end-was just people were over the taste that was blah anyways. Clean ship-but who cares-Italians know how to cook-what the heck happened. I complained in writing when I returned and got a letter saying sorry and we hope you join us again in the future.ARE YOU KIDDING!!!!! The last port we could not dock at either-it was just bad news all around THE only good thing was that Susan Sommers was on the ship so it was fun to have seen her at the outside bar area.Pretty as always.Bet her slim event went well because the food sucked so bad on the ship those people would have no problem not eating. I will only go on Royal Carribean from now on thank you-they know how to cook-are more than polite and just it is an entirely different scene. To date I just need to save money for us to go again so we can re-do what was so bad. This poor kid for his life will always remember his 21st with his birthday celebration on the worst ship we have ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Background Info: This was a last minute cruise to take our 4 y/o grandson on to see where Nanny goes when she says she's going cruising again. My husband went along this time. This was my second cruise on NCL, the first a 13 nighter ... Read More
Background Info: This was a last minute cruise to take our 4 y/o grandson on to see where Nanny goes when she says she's going cruising again. My husband went along this time. This was my second cruise on NCL, the first a 13 nighter the end of 10/08 repositioning from New York City on Spirit, which was a quite different experience hands down, after being "Loyal to Royal" for 7 previous cruises since 2005. Travel to Port of Embarkation/Hotel Info: We flew from PA via USAir (another story in itself, not recommended) and stayed at the airport Comfort Inn Suites about a mile away (free/points). I would not recommend this hotel as there were "interesting people" hanging around the entrance and lobby. Their "pool" was down the street at another hotel. The hotel itself was cheesy and smelly; i.e. stains on carpets, gunk on caulking in bathroom which looked like vomit, drains clogged in sink and bathtub, odors unrecognizable, etc. Embarkation: We took the shuttle to the port arriving around 11:30 and promptly went inside and registered, which took about 5-10 minutes. It went quite smoothly. Note to anyone taking a grandchild onboard: Make sure you have parental consent form signed! (We did.) Our grandson got his own card with the corner cut off. I must admit that the entire staff made our grandson feel welcome while on the ship. Stateroom: We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 port side. The balcony is quite spacious, more so than Spirit, but instead of a sliding door it had a regular door and porthole on the other side. The dEcor of the room was a quite bright pink sofa bed (for one) which, when made up at night, had a huge dip in the middle with a mattress of about 4 inch thickness at most. This stateroom did have a safe, hairdryer, 2 robes (thin) and a small fridge. The bathroom had a circular shower curtain, but not much room for essentials shelfwise. This was also the case as far as storage for clothing so we basically lived out of our suitcases which fit under the bed. As for the shower, we had to be very careful before getting into it as the water is either lukewarm or scalding hot with a fine line in between. We were provided with shower cap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner and some sort of eye cream on the first day, but never replenished the five days. Enough said. Dining: We ate in the dining room two nights on this trip and the only thing that was truly hot was the soup. As for snacking in the afternoon or late evening, forget it unless you like hot dogs and hamburgers, which were plentiful on this cruise. There was nothing available (that we could find) between about 1:30 and 3:30 and after 10 we found nothing. Most of the foods available at the buffet were unrecognizable as well. We did not eat in any of the "extra" venue restaurants so we can't comment on those, but...I believe that the regular choices, without you having to pay extra, leave a lot to be desired; hence, the reason they have the pay for restaurants I would imagine if you want anything good to eat, but I can't imagine how much better they would have been. No ice sculptures to be found. No chocolate fountain except behind the counter at the ice cream counter which they got for you (on Spirit it was free flow). Children's Clubs: We did use the services for our 4 y/o GS after 6 p.m. for about an hour and a half. There are portholes up above for you to monitor what is going on without actually going into the room and disrupting the activities. We checked on our GS several times and he seemed to enjoy it. Entertainment: I guess if you like magic shows, then this is the cruise for you and yours. There was no dance floor that we could find anywhere. If you like the usual bingo, then this is the cruise for you. As for the casino, throw your money into the wastebasket before going and you will be further ahead. They kept going around and opening the machines, doing something for a second or two and closing them again (mostly after someone did have a lucky streak per se). The only "jackpot" that I heard was won was on the first night ($4,000) and never again did I hear any actual winners. In fact, one woman approached me on one evening and asked if I, too, thought the casino was a joke and I told her most definitely. We only went in there to pass through it on a few occasions and on the few occasions we actually played, it was definitely not what I called entertainment. Service: We met our room steward on the first day right after boarding. It was the last time we saw him. We had towel animals on the first two nights and none after that. We also had to always ask for beach towels to be replenished. Language barriers were quite evident. There were not too many people who worked on board who understood what you were asking them. It was very frustrating, although not surprising. Shore Excursions: We chose to only take one NCL excursion on Grand Bahamas called Beaches and Caves. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the $130+ we paid for the excursion would have been way too much for what we got in either case, rain or shine. Nassau is Nassau..what can I say? We did take a taxi to the beach next to Atlantis for $4 each and the weather was sunny, but the waves and the beach were nothing for little kids. There was a step-off about 5 feet into the ocean that got deep quite quickly and the undertow was horrendous. There was the usual Straw Market, Diamonds International, perfume factories, etc. and very few people shopping. Guess the economy has hit everyone. Our next stop was the private island for NCL, Great Stirrup Bay. We tendered and were told up front to be back to the ship by 3:30 instead of 4:30 because of a "frontal weather" coming in. The front never arrived until about 6 p.m. if you want to call it such. The beach itself was nice, although quite rocky and lots of coral in places. As for the snorkeling, one woman said she saw exactly 12 fish. I guess we saw more near the beach without snorkeling. The barbecue consisted of...you guessed!...hamburgers and hot dogs and the assortment of fruits. Free water! Hurrah! But forget the iced tea. Enough said. Debarkation: We chose express service, keeping our luggage with us rather than sitting it in the hall the night before. We got off the ship around 9 a.m. and walked right off. We hailed a van, which already had 2 people in it. We started to leave for the airport (so we thought) and found ourselves circling the port again so that he could find some more people to fill the van while about 100 other taxis were waiting for patronage. After my husband complained we finally got to leave. Summary: Although for some this may have been a "cheap" cruise. For people who were experiencing their first cruise, I would love to know whether they would do it again...I certainly wouldn't have. I will stick with what I know...RCCL has a better product hands down. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
We booked this special Christmas cruise for our family of 5, and the fact that we were all together at Christmas was the only saving grace for this appalling debacle which was the MSC Fantasia maiden cruise. We arrived in Genoa to total ... Read More
We booked this special Christmas cruise for our family of 5, and the fact that we were all together at Christmas was the only saving grace for this appalling debacle which was the MSC Fantasia maiden cruise. We arrived in Genoa to total chaos. Embarkation was dangerous due to the fact that nearly 4,000 people arrived in a very short space of time to check in. Some children were trampled and two people fainted. There was no organization by the port staff (which was MSC's final excuse, even though it was the Fantasia staff on the ground checking people in!) It took over 2 hours for us to get on board (some people were waiting for almost 5 hours). There was no proper explanation and certainly no apologies. When we got to the front of the queue, we were quite understandably unhappy about the situation, but the staff member said he didn't speak English (we later found out that he did, quite well!). We had booked our cruise direct with MSC in the UK and had booked first sitting, but were given the second sitting. We were directed to the maitre'd on the ship, but found a whole line of others trying to change their dining arrangements. The maitre'd refused to do anything for anyone. I guess we were lucky really, at least our party was all seated together; some parties were put on different tables, different dining rooms at different sittings! I guess we were also quite lucky with our cabins. We had booked two particular cabins adjacent to each other and actually got what we had booked. Some parties were split up onto different decks at different parts of the ship. Apparently MSC's response to this was "we put people where we want them and not necessarily where they want to be" - how nice and very customer friendly! The ship is undoubtedly beautiful and was spotlessly clean and tidy all the time - there were staff constantly cleaning and polishing, and our cabin stewards were helpful, cheerful and friendly, as were most of the bar staff. Unfortunately, the people who really needed to be all of the above were not. The reception and information staff were at best surly and at worst downright rude. According to MSC all staff speak 5 languages - what they omitted to say was that no one spoke any one language well enough to hold a conversation with foreign guests, certainly not the English ones! -We were constantly reminded to wash our hands to help avoid spreading germs and told that we must use the disinfectant handwash stations throughout the ship - there were NONE anywhere! -We found that everything on the ship was to pay for, even water on the dining table. We did manage to get a jug of tap water after some time trying. There was not even water in the gym, just a juice bar selling drinks! -The cafeteria was always extremely busy and chaotic and was only open certain hours (not most of the day like other cruise lines). On port days, MSC seemed to like having visitors aboard and offered them lunch in the cafeteria which only added to the problem of overcrowding as well as their being no proper security (as far as we could see the visitors did not have to go through security before boarding,even though we did). -The restaurant food was quite good with 7 courses offered every night. MSC advertise several other restaurants on board in you fancy a change to the main restaurants but all are to pay for. -The evening entertainment in the theatre was adequate but the performers still appeared to be learning their routines - surely something which should have been done prior to the maiden cruise! -DO NOT SAIL WITH MSC unless you like an inefficient, unorganized cruise line, indifferent staff and have nothing better to spend your money on. If having read all of the above you decide to still book with MSC, stay away from having a cabin at the back of the ship - the vibration was bad all the time and absolutely horrendous when the ship was maneuvering into port. Someone on board who knew about these things said there was definitely a misalignment with one of the pods. If you have already booked with MSC despite all the poor reviews (as we did, thinking that the launch of their new flagship would surely change the way they operate - unfortunately they did not!) GOOD LUCK and I hope it improves for your cruise! Read Less

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