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Sail Date: June 2014
Family cruise--ages 3 to 74. Kids loved the kid's camp. Very nice to have the little ones at dining table until 7 pm then taken to kids camp while adults finished dinner. Teen found the teen group "lame". Three suites so ... Read More
Family cruise--ages 3 to 74. Kids loved the kid's camp. Very nice to have the little ones at dining table until 7 pm then taken to kids camp while adults finished dinner. Teen found the teen group "lame". Three suites so cabins were top notch. Perks included seating in Chops when dining in the Windjammer. Also offered limited menu for breakfast and lunch if you didn't want to cruise the huge buffet. Food and choices excellent. Concierge lounge offered drinks and canapes from 4:30 to 8:00 pm. Mr. Mock was a great concierge. Dining room service and food was excellent. We went to Geovanni's one night. Food was really delicious, service was great. Beware--as soon as we were seated, waiter offered Pellagrino or still water. We presumed it was part of the meal. We were charged $7 for each bottle! Party of 6--$38 for water. We should have been told of the charge or at the very least offered tap water along with the bottled water. We enjoyed the meal. We tendered to Belize City. Went to Concierge Lounge and were escorted to tender. In Belize we went on a wonderful tour of Altun Ha arranged with Experience Belize. Beautiful day but hot. Ice skating show was delightful. Quest game was very funny--adults only. Texas Tenors were fantastic. All the showroom shows were very good. Problem with the photo department. We each bought a package --paying over $500 for our cabins to be linked and each receive a DVD of all the photos taken. Problem with equipment on Saturday, so received the DVD's on Sunday at disembarkation. One cabin received 20 photos, second received 73, the last received 60 we discovered when we got home. Contacted contractor and were told the info given us on ship by not one but two photo dept employees about the linking cabins was inaccurate. Picture quality was good but feel ripped off now. I have asked for a refund of my $249. Buyer beware. Roatan was a nice stop. Family with little kids hired a taxi and spent a great day sightseeing for $80. Cozumel was really crowded as three huge ships in port. Not much bargaining when there is a huge crowd. Disembarkation was fast and easy until we hit customs. Waited more than an hour and a half and we were among the first off!! One final note, the cruise line no longer provides maps of the ship. There are computer screens by each elevator bank. So if you want to meet somewhere you need to run to the elevator to find location. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
This was our 11th cruise, second on Norwegian, first since they have switched to Free Style Dining. We travelled with two other couples who were also experienced cruisers. There were many things about this cruise that were excellent. The ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise, second on Norwegian, first since they have switched to Free Style Dining. We travelled with two other couples who were also experienced cruisers. There were many things about this cruise that were excellent. The ship itself was beautiful, clean, and beautifully decorated. Our stateroom, although laid out a little funny, seemed larger and more manageable. The bathroom and shower were large and comfortable. The entertainment was of excellent quality. Rather than having cruise ship dancers and singers, they had groups of singers and dancers who were booked for the cruise. The comedian was excellent. The touring group of Second City players were great. But the best show was the comedy juggling team, Sharkbait. They were two crazy so and so's that were just a lot of fun. The cruise staff, including the cruise director Julie and multiple assistant cruise directors were energetic, fun, and very helpful. Their skit at the end of the crew show was the best we have seen. The biggest negative on this cruise was the Freestyle dining. Basically, there are two main dining rooms, that we have paid for, and many specialty restaurants that require a reservation, and a cover charge of $10 to $25 per person in addition to what we have already paid. The food in the main dining rooms was of a mediocre quality, the service was below mediocre, and we had to wait to be seated, every night but one, one evening for 45 minutes. There were also limited choices on the menu. We felt that the whole thing was a scam to incentivize people to go and make a reservation and spend the additional money on one of the other restaurants. Very disturbing, frustrating, and irritating. The food in the buffet was actually great, and of a better quality from that that was served in the main dining rooms. This was enough of a deal breaker that in spite of loving other aspects of the ship, we would not sail with Norwegian again. We were also turned off by the constant selling of lottery tickets, scratch off tickets, etc., especially while we were waiting for shows to start. For us, the dining issues outweighed the many positives on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We sailed back to back, east and west Caribbean Feb 20-March 7th Having sailed the MSC Lirica last year, we were pretty much expecting a similar experience, but on a new, larger ship. We were not disappointed in a whole, there are some ... Read More
We sailed back to back, east and west Caribbean Feb 20-March 7th Having sailed the MSC Lirica last year, we were pretty much expecting a similar experience, but on a new, larger ship. We were not disappointed in a whole, there are some points that were could have been better. The Good The ship is impressive, large, clean, decor is elegant (marble, brass, rich plush, color combos are tasteful) Cabins are adequate, and workable, we are a family of 4 with 2 young kids. Plenty of storage, suitcases fit under bottom beds , lots of hangers and drawers. Food was overall good, being of Italian descent,I knew what to order and was familiar with preparation. Note: most of the food is prepared so that you add or do not add your preference of salt,and pepper. If you order the steaks or any meats it is often over cooked, we caught on and simply adjusted ie: if you want well done, order medium well. Buffet selection was adequate at lunch, grill side was too, large salad counter. Evening pizza on deck 13 was very good. Check open and close times for food. MSC does not have 24 hr food availability, the daily itinerary clearly points out these times (typically only 1-2hr block outs) The lounges were large, comfortable and you wanted to stick around to catch what was on next.Zebra bar in particular is the largest most animated of the lounges (carnival, dancing, animation team activities etc) Shows were good, not great. We preferred the shows on last year's cruise, where there were more Cirque du Soleil type shows, aerialist, dancers etc. The entertainment this year was more singing, group dancing, or theme oriented. The theater is absolutely beautiful, seats comfortable and visually captivating. Main dining room staff are Indonesian, hard working servers, never had an issue. Cabin stewards do a good job too, never needed to request anything for our room, always clean and ready. Ports San Juan is a beautiful city, walk to the fort , the view towards the ocean is worth it. Lots of small boutiques along the way St.Maartens. Walked to the nearby beach (10 minutes) calm water, clean sand, restos nearby, small shops too. Tortola. took an Island tour, the views from atop the mountains are breathtaking. Nassau. (1 st week)Short tour of the Atlantis (impressive) and headed to nearby Cabbage beach (a bit crowded, the Oasis was also at port) . (2nd week)took a 10 min. bus ride to Cable beach, nice beach, calm waves, only 30-40 people on the beach) Key West. Beautiful little town, lots to see, lots of shops, bars, sailboats. Walked the small streets. Cozumel. Poesia did not stop at Playa del Carmen, nor has it stopped yet this season, and it is not because of poor weather, water conditions, we were informed from Italian speaking ship employees we befriended, that the port at Playa is unstable, sandy and docking there is somewhat problematic (they state Playa in all internet ads, but apparently other lines are avoiding it too (cannot confirm) Cozumel was not impressive, pushy vendors, taxi drivers, shops) We made a short stop at Paradise beach, and were harassed constantly to buy food, drinks etc. Cayman Island. Unfortunately, the day we arrived, there were very high winds and it is a tender port, excursions were cancelled, as they were unsure of the weather and water conditions in late afternoon. Taking this decision and testing the tenders took almost 1 and a half hours (Not just MSC, but 3 Carnival ships too) We did end up getting of but only for 2 hours) Montego Bay. Early morning rain impeded us from going to the beach, so we opted for an Island tour, and glad we did, very nice overview of the city. The Bad I preface the following 2 sections with the intent not to offend any nationality, it is simply my observations of what I saw. The buffet lines are long, and lineups can be challenging. Many Europeans did not observe the line process, choosing to cut in line wherever they pleased. Service is not a forte. Front desk, unless you are able to communicate in Italian (I had no issues, and was quickly taken care of at each request) but did notice that others were treated less than polite, very curt answers, or we cannot accommodate etc) Cafeteria staff: particularly the Romanian servers, very very cold, and sometimes rude to some. Entertainment crew not as interactive as last year, not as fun unfortunately. Hostesses that directed the back to back process (re embarkation after first week, were not well informed and had us needlessly line up in 3 different lines to get us through customs The UGLY Germans would sit on the deck lounges near the pool, even if you have a towel reserving the place ( and we were sitting next to it!)The response was, Do you want your towel back?) Huh? Overall, we loved the islands, had fantastic weather (30-38 almost every day) My kids had fun at the pools and other venues. We relaxed and had a god time. We took the opportunity to speak to alot of other travellers, who have tried other lines and many did not give MSC highest praise overall, but noted that all the lines will have shortcomings in one area or another, it all depends on what YOU expect from a cruise. We are not fussy, we are easy going and make the best of any situation. We ate well, were entertained, saw some great islands. The small differences, we were told by some who travelled on other lines was price. Many noted that the same trip would have cost them up to $1500 more. MSC offers kids sail free program. If you can go with the flow and are not overly demanding you do get value for your money. Many we spoke to did not make the link and were determined to have a miserable time, because they did not get chocolates on their pillow, food was not available 24hrs and did not have friendly wait staff that interacted them. We will try other lines next. NCL and Princess came up very often in discussion,as relaxed cruising and lots of little extras. Would I cruise MSC again?.. Absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
NCL Gem Review 2/20/10 through 2/27/10 7 of us in the Garden Villa Suite 14000. Kids ages 16, 21, 22, 22, 23 and me and dad this was our ninth cruise with NCL so we are now gold members. We had a good idea of what to expect. We took 2 ... Read More
NCL Gem Review 2/20/10 through 2/27/10 7 of us in the Garden Villa Suite 14000. Kids ages 16, 21, 22, 22, 23 and me and dad this was our ninth cruise with NCL so we are now gold members. We had a good idea of what to expect. We took 2 vehicles. We left New Hampshire at 5:30 on the morning of our cruise and arrived at the Port of NY by noon. We dropped off the bags, tipped the porter and parked above for $210.00 each, very easy. FYI ... They changed the parking access since our last cruise. This time after dropping our bags, the driver's had to make a U turn (left on onto 9A) and drive back to the new entrance to park. We got in the Latitudes-Villas Line, but because we had a non US Citizen (exchange student from Switzerland) it took a little bit longer than usual. We were escorted onboard by 1:00PM by our butler Kadek. We went directly to the Garden Villa 14000. The Garden Villa is huge. The colors of the 14000 were vibrant green and gold, perhaps a bit loud for everyday, but absolutely perfect for this cruise vacation. 3 bedrooms all with their own bathroom. One is definitely the master with an enormous soaking tub. A cool note here ... the master bathroom has a sliding glass door out to the private courtyard, but the sheer curtains (the same as the Jewel) were just not practical. So I asked for some kind of drapes for privacy. And guess what? They came and measured and returned with light blocking orange drapes! I think they actually sewed them onsite. Wow! Now that was service! What do you tip someone for making you drapes? I will not bore you with all the details of Garden Villa, it is as awesome as you think. But I will tell you that it is an apartment which takes a lot of maintenance. One of the bedroom side lights (stationary glass next to the sliding door) was smashed and covered in tape. It was unattractive but not dangerous. I was told the part was on order. No big problem as the drapes covered it. We had amazing service on this cruise. Kadek took wonderful care of us. We had a standing order for nightly blt's, chips, veggies and fruit and bread. We were kept well hydrated with 6 bottles of alcohol, and all the bottled water, soda (pepsi products only) juice and Red Bull we could want. Our room stewards were named Eric and Michael. While Eric kept the Villa clean, Michael kept the private courtyard and sundeck in tip top shape, taking in cushions, hammock, scrubbing up the sauna and hot tub. It was all very nice. Our concierge Ruth (she remembered us from the Dawn) made all of our reservations, often at the last minute for dining. She also ordered local flowers for me on behalf of my husband, with the instructions "something made locally and funky" She did not disappoint us at all! The flowers from Port Canaveral had a miniature astronaut and the arrangement from Nassau had a Bahama Mama Doll and cool bracelets for the kids. Very funky indeed. Dining: I am not a particularly fussy eater, it all tasted great to me. Le Bistro ... the best meal for me was the roasted pork with pear, YUM. Cagneys ... We had breakfast there a couple of times and met a wonderful waitress Marina, but when 5 of us went for dinner at Cagney's (excellent filet mignon) we had a very sour waitress. She treated us as a nuisance. When my daughter asked for assistance in choosing a complimenting wine, she just rolled her eyes and said any wine would do. So at the end of the meal I only tipped her $20 with a note letting her know she blew it. I told her my husband is an incredibly generous tipper and had to leave because he was not comfortable with my cheap tip. But I saved myself by calling over Marina and giving her the much more generous tip, just for being friendly and attentive. La Cucina ... Bread sticks are the best part of the meal, it just took too long. Tapenyaki ... Awesome 21st birthday celebration, we had a party crasher! And they sang Happy Birthday and brought out a cake! I also enjoyed the Main Dining Room ... but the Blue Lagoon was not so good this time. Ports: Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida: Weather: Party Sunny 65-70 Excursion booked through NCL: Universal Islands of Adventure $148 each, 8 Hours, Activity Level 1 3 in our party did this excursion and loved it. They upgraded to "Express Pass" at the Park for an additional $63.00 each. But this was unnecessary because with showers in the forecast the park was not crowded. Excursion booked through NCL: Kayak On The Indian River Lagoon $75 Each, 3.5 Hours, Activity Level 2 Kayaking was great fun but the area they went to was dirty with graffiti and empty beer cans. The operator apologized for the mess explaining it is public land and kids party there at night. I think this tour operator should bring some trash bags along. I think some people on the tour (my 2 included) wanted to help clean the beach up a bit. Also, my daughter brought binoculars and was able to see some interesting wildlife and lots of birds. Great Stirrup Cay - Sunny 75 Excursion booked through NCL: Parasail $84 each, 1 Hour*, Activity Level 1 4 in my family did this while I lazed about my own private paradise (courtyard) and listened for the screams from parasailing .... They all loved it. *Note; You have to tender off the Gem to the Island and go to the Hut. When they got there, my group was taken immediately. Because we had VIP Tender Tickets we did not have to wait for our color or group to be called. They kids got off around 11AM. And because I had set this up with Jose, my kids were taken up upon arrival. I did not want them to get off the Gem just to have to wait all day and maybe lose their chance if the weather turned. After parasailing they did the hippo slide ($5 each) and swam the beach and explored the island. Nassau Bahamas- Cloudy then rainy 70 We got off the Gem and hired a driver who had the loudest, crappiest vehicle in the line, so we could not resist. The rate he offered was $35 per person for the day ... my husband renegotiated to $50 per person for the day ( Jeesh, a member of MENSA, he is NOT) I wish I could remember the driver's name.... I feel bad cuz he was great .. he drove around, provided tons of information. We did the fort and small marketplace, ate lunch at local Goldie's conch house, seriously best conch fritters. An interesting note here: My daughter had a small cut on her toe and wanted to stop at a drug store for antibiotic ointment and band aids. So our driver brought us to a local pharmacy that had tables set up outside. They were closed temporarily for renovations. But many locals were buying shampoo and stuff right off the table. We waited in the van while our driver spoke with a man and within just a few minutes this man was handing me a box of band aids and triple antibiotic cream. He asked where we were from and I said New Hampshire, He said "My boss said anybody from New Hampshire gets free band aids and antibiotic cream today." I tried to slip him some money but he refused and said enjoy Nassau. It was very nice and heartfelt. It started to rain heavily so we passed on Atlantis and were back onboard by 2pm. Onboard "Behind the Scenes" tour cost $55 each took about 3 hours, the kids said it was well worth it and fascinating. My group bowled every day. It is great fun, My husband actually won the bowling tournament, truth be told he had to beat his daughter to do it! But the trophy (his first ever!) sits proudly on my mantle. Spa, I had a pedicure from a lovely young lady from Japan, the only Japanese staff member onboard, for about $100.00 Entertainment seemed lacking, sedate at times. We liked Second City and a Jane L Powell the blues/jazz singer was great. We got tons of invites for "free drink" parties (latitudes, captains, villa, etc. The kids did not miss a single one. One thing I noticed is that everyone knew my husband ... the greeted him by name, Good Day Mr, M., Good Evening Mr. M, etc. I mean everybody from the guys with suits and gold bars on the shoulders to the waiters .... He kept getting free Guinness wherever we went, it was a little strange. Photography seemed especially outstanding on this cruise and we bought tons of memories. We hosted one small poker tournament in the villa but it was on the first sea day coming back and the seas were very rough. I enjoyed playing at the Texas Hold'em cash game in the casino. But the rake is very high (10%!) and some of the dealers are awful. They are fine for black jack or roulette but poker has many more rules and these dealers need a schooling, nuff said. Missing: No more welcome aboard champagne or sparking water ... no more night chocolates on bed pillows, no more custom stationary in the Garden Villa... No more charge for extra TV options, new movies rented through the TV could be saved for the entire cruise and watched on any TV. So that was good. What I remember most was the group of adults with special needs dancing their hearts out at the pool, these folks were having the time of their lives. Till next time, Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We just got back from an 11-day cruise with Royal Caribbean on the truly magnificent Jewel of the Seas. My husband and I are in our late 50's and this was our second cruise but our first on an ocean liner. In 2007, we had gone on a ... Read More
We just got back from an 11-day cruise with Royal Caribbean on the truly magnificent Jewel of the Seas. My husband and I are in our late 50's and this was our second cruise but our first on an ocean liner. In 2007, we had gone on a river cruise in Europe with Uniworld and thought nothing could top that. How wrong we were! This was by far the best vacation ever. We sailed from Boston on a repositioning cruise. From there, we went to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Aruba and finally Miami. Overall, we spent 6 days at sea, which for us was a real bonus as we absolutely loved to be rocked by and hear the sound of the sea. Embarkation: We live in Canada approximately 6 hours from Boston so we chose to drive, leave our car at the pier parking lot and fly back from Miami to Boston to retrieve our car and drive home. We arrived the night before, stayed at the Red Roof Hotel in Saugus (clean and inexpensive)and drove to the pier in the morning at around 11:00 a.m. Embarkation went without a hitch and we were on board by noon. We headed first to the Windjammer for a quick lunch with our friends and then went to our cabin at 1:00 p.m. Our luggage arrived at around 5:30 p.m. Cabin: Our cabin was a deluxe cabin on the hump. It was very comfortable and with plenty of storage. We had picked that cabin because of the size of the balcony and we were right. We had one lounge chair and two patio chairs. Our cabin attendant, Michelle, introduced herself and asked if we needed anything. We asked for ice and an ashtray for the balcony, which she produced quickly. She was awfully nice and took real good care of us during the entire cruise. Ship: Absolutely amazing! We now know why Cruise Critic gives the Jewel of the Seas a 5-star rating. It was so surprising to us that a ship this size could be so luxurious and comfortable, especially considering the price we had paid ($1139 each). Plenty of beautiful wood, leather, comfortable seating areas everywhere. Our favourite spot when not on our balcony was the Safari Club. There was plenty of space everywhere if we wanted a quiet spot, which was a pleasant surprise to us as this was one of our fears. With 2500 passengers plus the crew, we really thought we would feel crowded, which never happened. The only really crowded place was the swimming pool area on sea days, which we avoided. I went for my morning swim every day around 8:00 a.m. when it was mostly deserted. Food: We chose to take all our meals at the Windjammer except for one evening when we went to the Tides Dining Room. My husband travelled extensively for his work in the past and he ate way too many times in restaurants to really enjoy them. The Windjammer offered us the flexibility we were looking for without waiting to be served. We found the food to be very good - not gastronomic but really tasty and good with tons of selections. We had read some reviews prior to our cruise where people complained that the selections were always the same in the Windjammer. It is partly true but with approximately 25 different selections at every meal, there is always something new that you can try and the service was excellent. Let me tell you, some people are really picky! It is true that the food was better in the Dining Room but you could choose only one appetizer, one main course and one desert. In the Windjammer, you could pick from various dishes (a little of this, a little of that)and build your own meal, which we really enjoyed. Entertainment: We are sea people and we much preferred to sit outside and enjoy the sea and the view then sitting inside for shows. So we did not take advantage of the many shows and activities that were offered. All I can say is that there were a million different options for those who wanted to enjoy them. Overall: This cruise went beyond all our expectations and we would give Royal Caribbean a grade of 98%. There are two small things that stop us from giving a grade of 100%: a) We had purchased our return flight from Miami to Boston from Royal Caribbean. Next time, we will make our own flying arrangements because when buying through RC, you have no control of your departure time and your seats. We ended up wasting a lot of time at the airport because our flight was scheduled only at 4:00 p.m. If we had made our own arrangements, we would have left the ship early, grabbed a cab and taken a much earlier flight. b) We had purchased a wine package prior to the cruise because this saved us 25% on the price on board. This package works well only if you plan to order your wine from the Tides Dining Room. As we chose to eat in the Windjammer, it did not work nearly as well and we always had to wait for the server to retrieve the wine from the Dining Room cellar or try to locate the half-bottle we had left behind at the previous meal. We ended up ordering the remainder of our wine package to our cabin and drank it there instead. Other than that, this was the perfect cruise and the vacation of a lifetime. No need to say, we plan to cruise again with Royal Caribbean. WARNING: Royal Caribbean cruises should come with a warning that passengers will experience severe trauma after disembarkation. You now have to cook your own meals, make your own bed, do your own laundry, wash the dishes, etc... I'm telling you, this is a tough reality check! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We have sailed Carnival in the past, a couple times on an Fantasy, once on Freedom and now on Victory. We have also sailed four other lines and none have provided such poor quality. The ship is advertised as refurbished a couple times. ... Read More
We have sailed Carnival in the past, a couple times on an Fantasy, once on Freedom and now on Victory. We have also sailed four other lines and none have provided such poor quality. The ship is advertised as refurbished a couple times. Built in 2000. I hate to think what is was like before the refurb! Our cabin was, shall we say interesting! There was a single nite stand that was shoved under the vanity because the small loveseat next to the bed did now allow sufficient room for the nite stand to be beside the bed - mind you it was only one stand for one side of the bed. Never before have we not had a nite stand on either side of the bed. The chair for the room was in front of the loveseat - so you had to choose to use the chair or the loveseat, not both. The vanity had a small upholstered cube for sitting. Room was packed. The deck had two chairs and a small table - standard equipment. The chairs were nice, they even had a recline function - which you could not use because if you did it would block the door or you would need to put the table inside the cabin and crawl over one another to get in and out. The floor was clean but the area below the rail was rusted, filthy and even had some debris in it. Disgusting. We unpacked and found a couple surprises. First there were no hangers that resembled anything we have seen before. There were five small plastic knobs permanently affixed to the clothes rod in the closet. There was a slit on either side of the knob which accommodated two flimsy, plastic like hanger things with a post protruding out the top (a spike actually). So you had to try to get your flimsy bending plastic hanger to support your garment and then insert the spike in the slots on the knob. Two garments on each side of the knob. Four garments on one knob. The hanger would bend and the shirt, dress or whatever fall in a heap on top of your shoes. No pants or skirt hangers for anything that required clips. When I called to request some I was told I needed to wait till 3 PM when the steward would be on duty and get them from him. Mind you I placed the call at 3:35 - go figure. We finally did get hangers later in the evening so I could hang the few things that needed a clip. Both of the main closet doors had a left hinge which meant you could only open one closet at a time. The third had a right hinge so you had to close everything and shinny by to open the door with the safe inside and hope you could do things without lite since it was then like a cave. The doors opened into the walk way and between the two closet doors the bathroom door opened into the standing space. It was a puzzle to get into the bathroom or the closet without adjusting a couple doors. What a joke for people who are in the business of designing and building ships. My six year old grandson could have done a better job. The bathroom had lots of cracked tiles, caulked areas and black mildew. Smelled of musty and mildew also. It was clear that whenever there had been a cracked tile they just caulked over it without drying out the floor and now I'm guessing if they remove that floor it will be a sheet of black mold. Several areas of the shower had black grout which means they were not properly cared for. We had sufficient counter and shelf space in the bathroom, lots of towels and a corner shower with a curtain that really didn't do much to keep water in but there was a floor drain that was easy to use to dry up the floor. The bedding is superior quality. Bed was comfortable also. We unpacked and went to put our suitcases under the bed. Well we couldn't because they had an extra bed, collapsed, mattress and all under our bed. Never had that before. This is like the three stooges designed and equipped the cabins. The temperature control was interesting. We kept looking for a thermostat but couldn't find it. Then when I was lying in bed I saw a blue half circle blue arrow on the air vent in the ceiling. I got out a chair and stood on it so I could reach the vent. Sure enough, there was a small plastic lever on the vent that would open and close the air flow - thus it allowed you to adjust the cabin temp. Chair or stool REQUIRED! We thought the dining room, buffet area and most of the public lounge areas were well cared for and clean.The pool areas are the exceptions which needs serious work. Lots of rusted areas around the pool and in the adults only pool they don't bother to clean out the stuff that blows in like napkins, candy wrappers, umbellas from drinks etc. By the third day you see all sort of debris sweeping around the drains in the bottom. Not very inviting and few people were in the water more than just getting wet to cool off. Nobody would actually swim. Insufficient number of chairs. Towel desk was mid ship so you had to go search. Not an easy task on a boat that has obstructions that prevent you from going from one area to the next without going up or down a deck. Most areas had obstructions that would not let you get to the area. You would walk along and run into a wall. You had to go up a deck, walk a bit, then go back down because they built a kitchen, a lounge or some equipment room in the middle of the deck. Dumb design. Food was good. No complaints there. We had great table service and fun table mates. The buffet area food was good as well. Good selection and comfortable seating. Several other areas to get food as well at the pizza and burger counters near the pool and the deli. This minimized the crowding. Lots of options. Dining room rules were posted and ignored. Never did we see anyone tell the jerks in flip flops, short shorts, sleeves Tshirts, baseball caps and ragged clothing to go dress properly - even on formal nite. Slobs were plentiful. Who wouldn't like to look at all the prison quality tattoos on legs, arms and torsos while dining at a formal event? Seems like a no brainer to have the matre'de who wants to be tipped every night to stand at the door and enforce the rules - at least for the elegant/formal evening. We had about 1/3 of the ship spring breakers. Again, it would not take a brain surgeon to put them all in one area of the ship so they can party hardy and disturb one another and not the rest of the ship. when you get three or four 20 something's booking an inside cabin in March it would be a pretty good bet that this is a party crowd and if you are in doubt it could be confirmed by the mess the stewards find in the morning. Again, no enforcement of the common sense rules. Entertainment was the Carnival song and dance crew every nite. The comedy club had two comedians, one was quite good the other so so. No other entertainers. Every nite the show as watch the dancers change costumes and do the same stuff to a different song. The last nite was a talent show of passengers that didn't start till 10:30. Really the nite before debarkation the show starts at 10:30! Did they really not think folks were packing and getting their bags outside. This is really ignoring the needs of the paying passengers. We wanted to go listen the only live music band but they put them in the smoking area at the end of the casino. so if you wanted to listen then you had to stand in the blue haze and have everything you wore smell like an ashtray and let your eyes water. There was a single guitar player at one bar who was average. Those were your options. Pathetic! On Elegant/formal nite we were solicited to come take part in the new Pixels offering. The photographer actually came up to us as we waited for a particular background and asked us to come try out the new black and white photos - we thought she was talking about the black and white backdrops. Not so. We followed her to another studio and she took about 25 shots of us together and individually and made an appointment for us to see them the next evening. We came back to the studio and she had them ready for viewing on a big screen TV. Turns out you can buy the package, the disk and the photos on vinyl or add $100 and they will print them on metal for the bargain price of $1200.00. A single photo was $499! I think $1200 I could nearly get a wedding photographed! If I were really going to spend that kind of money on a photo I would have my make up and hair done professionally and carefully pick out my attire. These guys are just plain nuts! We chuckled, told them it was crazy and too expensive and left! The day we stopped at Half Moon Cay we were late arriving. Scheduled to dock at 9:30 - why so late nobody knows but we came from Grand Turk which is not a long haul. The tenders were delayed because they had to take supplies over for lunch. Finally at nearly 1:00 our number for the tender was called. (you had to go to the theatre and wait for your number to be called before you could go to the gangway). Generally 90 to 120 minute wait. We got there and there was not a chair to be had on the island. Now this is their own island and they know how many passengers are on the ship so they should know how many chairs they need. Lots of folks with no place to go. Want a drink then walk half the beach (and carry your stuff because there is no chairs to park your stuff) to the bar or pay the bar servers the $12.95 for the drink in the wonderful hurricane glass. This drink was usually $9.15 on the ship (which was already a rip-off).Those are the options. Victory goes to dry dock after next week. It needs it. I really don't think it will improve much, the rooms have old TV's that are 18" thick, beach towels are ragged and faded but my guess is they will only invest what they absolutely can't make work any longer and call it refurbished. Clearly they are about making as much money as they can rather than providing a cruise experience. Not much concern in the area of providing a quality experience - just the bottom line is important. We are not likely to be frequent Carnival cruisers.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Having taken 16 cruises and 3 of those with Norwegian I most likely will never do another with them. This cruise was a disappointment right from the start. Lets start with the service in the dining rooms which was very inconsistent. ... Read More
Having taken 16 cruises and 3 of those with Norwegian I most likely will never do another with them. This cruise was a disappointment right from the start. Lets start with the service in the dining rooms which was very inconsistent. Breakfast was pretty good every day and the service was also good. Dinner was a different story. The food was not very good and it took 21/2 to 3 hours to get through a very simple meal. Beverage service was again inconsistent. In the casino servers were very hard to find and slow. In the many bars aboard the ship some were good but most were very slow. Beware of the first two weeks of March as the Canadian kids are on vacation so the ship was loaded with young kids. They were pretty well behaved but it made for hectic times. Here is the good parts. The cabin was fine and Jay the steward did an excellent job with the room. Very Pleasant. Stirrup Cay has a very nice beach and plenty of room for everyone. Unless your going to Disney Port Canaveral has very little. All in all a big disappointment but we did manage to make the best of it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our 9th Carnival cruise and once again we had a fabulous time. It is true that Carnival has made cutbacks through the years and we miss things like the grand buffet and welcome basket. This time the famous Carnival chocolates were ... Read More
This was our 9th Carnival cruise and once again we had a fabulous time. It is true that Carnival has made cutbacks through the years and we miss things like the grand buffet and welcome basket. This time the famous Carnival chocolates were even missing from our beds at night. However, the staff on this ship was some of the best we've ever encountered and we had another wonderful time. The waits at the buffet line were not as bad as we expected. The food was delicious as always and plenty warm enough for us. I personally loved the nautical decorations. The cruise director, Marcello, was hilarious and approachable and the shows were hands-down the best we've seen on any ship. If you are a high maintenance person, this is not the ship for you. It is missing the specialty restaurants we've come to love on other ships, and the room we were in had a worn out bulky television with terrible color and no mini fridge. The ship is showing plenty of wear if that's what you want to focus on. If you are an easy going person that wants an affordable fun cruise, you will love the Victory. It has everything you could possibly need for a wonderful cruise. The activities and people truly make up for anything the ship is lacking and you'll pay less than you would for the fancier ships. Debarkation was not as smooth as it should have been. We carried our own bags and did self debarkation and there was a lot more congestion than there has been on other ships. We still were in our vehicle heading home at 9:30. In Jamaica, we did the Dunns River Falls and Horseback Riding with Swim excursion. The falls are so much fun to climb! The horseback riding was not that great, but riding on the horses swimming in the ocean was well worth it. In Grand Cayman, we just took a taxi to a beach where we could do water sports. This was our third trip to the island and we had already seen the stingrays and dolphins, etc. YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO MISS THE SHOWS AT NIGHT!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We were a bit worried because of bad reviews, but thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. Food excellent, cabins spacious and exceptionally clean. Entertainment good and varied. Good enjoyable trips, not always the best organised but they are in ... Read More
We were a bit worried because of bad reviews, but thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. Food excellent, cabins spacious and exceptionally clean. Entertainment good and varied. Good enjoyable trips, not always the best organised but they are in some countries which are only just getting into the tours business. Please note the yellow fever jab certificate was not required for any of these excursions. Weather was unusually windy, and some people were sea sick. The Dream handled the weather very well. Belize Ruins - Good guide, thanks Elvis. Although we didn't see much wildlife, the guide gave us lots of information. You are able to climb the ruins, which you can't at some sites. Food included, rice and chicken, enjoyable.. A bit of a diesel smell on the river boat which spoiled it a little. Roatan - Mahogany bay. Brilliant free beach. Fortunately we were the only cruise ship here so there was lots of chairs. Just a short stroll from port. No bites either. Costa Maya - Good guide again. Saw the howler monkeys. Climbed the ruins. Large site. packed lunch given which was quite good. Cozumel - Good port to look around yourself. Easily accessible. Montego Bay - We did Dunns river falls which was very enjoyable and fun. 40 usd for DVD of the day a bit steep but a nice momento. Santa Marta - Went to a coffee plantation, which is a new trip and we found it really different to the usual trips. We had a police escort too as traffic is really bad. We went high into the mountains, roads were very bumpy. Had snacks with the hosts which was well presented and very informative. Loved it.. Cartagena - You will need to get a taxi to the town 20usd each way. Old town picturesque. Large castle. Small nature park at the port with lots of wildlife. Panama - Do not stay in Colon, it's very run down. book a trip. We went to the Panama Canal, it was interesting but a very long day. Puerto Limon - A very good time at the Veragua Rainforest, saw monkeys and sloths. lots of information about wildlife and flora. Guide very knowledgeable one of our highlights. . It was very hot on all these trips, so take water, suntan lotion, and some insect repellent in jungle and rainforest. Although I didn't see any mosquitos.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
My husband and I wanted to take our 4 year old son on his first cruise. We waited until about 3 weeks prior to decide this, so finding a reasonably priced cruise was a bit more challenging. Add to this the fact that DH and I did not want ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to take our 4 year old son on his first cruise. We waited until about 3 weeks prior to decide this, so finding a reasonably priced cruise was a bit more challenging. Add to this the fact that DH and I did not want to go to Nassau (again!), and did not want to spend a fortune as we were not sure that son would like it, and it became more difficult. I found a 4 night cruise to Key West and Cozumel for the three of us for around 1000.00 and decided to go for it. The cruise was aboard the Carnival Victory. I was skeptical at this point, and nervous, as Carnival has a bit of a bad rep for being a party boat. I also recalled thinking their boats were way rockier on the waves when I cruised them last, 3 years ago. But we decided to give it a go! The first challenge I encountered (and I will leave a review in the correct section as well) was parking. DH and I live in Florida, and though we live in a major port town, usually cruise out of Canaveral. Park and ride is easy there, and we like that. Miami, not so much. The terminal is 20.00/night, and I immediately ruled that out. I then looked at shuttles/hotel combinations, but those were high as well. I finally decided on Premier Parking, after reading reviews here (the one on 2nd ave). Our GPS took us right to the garage (they do caution on their site that it may not). The parking was VERY full, but we did manage to secure a covered spot (they are NOT all! The top level is open). We took our keys with us, and the shuttle took us to port. I was comforted by the fact that no once could move our car, and the cars next to us were on the same boat, so they wouldnt be moving either. The vans were a bit older and rougher, but I would say it took 20 min or less to get loaded up and off to port. The ride was short, 15 minutes or less. The total cost was 42.00, 1/2 of what the terminal charges. Once at the port, it did take a while to board, as the lines were quite long. With RC, we usually are in the Gold line and go right through, but Carnival did not have it set this way. A small annoyance, no big deal. Once on board, we made our way to the welcome buffet. The lines for hot dogs and burgers was long, so we went in. The inside buffets are average, with a chinese food window, (very) small salad bar, fruit, and some hot foods that are nothing special. There are not many of those, either. The desert table is also small compared to other ships. Only lemonade and tea were offered, which is typical. There is another small grill on the other side of the buffet, on Lido deck, as well as a pizza and deli pick up. The pizza is sub par, but that is also typical. The cabins were actually spacious compared to previous cruises on RC. The bed was a full King, with a twin set up for our toddler, and there was plenty of closet space, counter space, and the bathroom had sink space! Much better for us. The TV actually had several cable channels too, not just cheesy cruise replays. This was a huge positive over RC for us. Our steward was great, he always remembered our names, and did a great job for us. We also received our luggage by 4:00, which was great. There was a water slide on board, and several smaller pools- no large center pool. I did not like this as well. There were several hot tubs also, and a kids pool. The kids pool was small, and did not have nearly enough chairs. Nor did the adult area we visited while our child was in camp.Finding chairs was a battle, and there were not enough pools for the kids- and there were ALOT of kids on this boat, which we liked since we brought ours. I would also have enjoyed this boat had we not brought him, it is good for families and singles. I did not feel as entertained as I have on RC. The show and activity times were a bit off. Some shows were pushed so late that we did not make them and some were spread too far apart- think one game show at 5, then the next comedy at 9:30. The Love and Marriage game show was cute, and the Pat G. comedian was funny, but Lester (the comedian) at the 9:30 show was not even amusing at all. I walked out. He laughed at his own jokes even when no once else did. It was awkward. Another thing I noted is that drinks were slighter higher priced than other cruises. RC often had drink specials for 5.95, with others for 7-8.00 (mixed drinks). I usually get the drink packages, but did not this time, as the specials make it more affordable. Not this time. The cheapest special was 7.95, with most costing 8.95 or more. Each time my husband and I both got a drink, it was 23.00 or more with tax and gratuity.We were going to buy a package (Cheers) for him, as he would use it more than I, but if one of us purchased, we were both required to. I was told that even if I had had a medical condition that precluded me from drinking, I had to buy it if he did. There are lots of lounges and bars on board, if you like to drink and hang out. The casino is a bit small, but fun. I did win some money :) I hate the smoking though, it was miserable to be surrounded by clouds of cigarette smoke. The gangway is easy to access and we did not have to wait long to debark at ports, which was nice. Camp Carnival was available for our son, and we did use it some. I was disappointed to see it not open at all the first day of departure- our son was amped up and ready, only to be sent out. During the day time, the kids do not do a lot, but in the evenings they did face painting, t shirts, cereal necklaces, etc. You have to pick up by 10:00 not to be charged. You can also choose to take your kids to dinner, or let them eat with the Camp. Overall, our son enjoyed this service. Photo gallery was a mess, many pictures were not put up on walls and were in big bins we had to dig through. I doubt I saw 1/2 of ours- not that I wanted to buy, they were poorly shot, and in hideous poses. Dinners were a pleasant experience for the most part. We were seated with another couple who had a 6 year old son, which was nice. The food was good most nights (not all!), actually better than RC was on our last trip. Each night featured multiple different appetizers and main courses to try, as well as a staple menu with "safe" choices. They did have Lobster, Prime Rib, Sushi, Ribs, crab cakes, salmon,and several other really good choices that I enjoyed. The shrimp are very small in the app and the meals, and DO NOT ORDER THE MEATLOAF. Other than that, it was not bad. The deserts were always good. They did do a "show" during meals, but I did not see it as we were on the 2nd floor. We also ate breakfast here- it was decent, better than the buffet, as the food was fresher and hotter. They were a bit stingy with the pastries and juice, whereas RC leaves these out as a buffet even in the dining room for breakfast. We attempted to settle our bill on the kiosk with a different credit card, and received a receipt, but were charged on our original card anyway, which was annoying. One word of warning: If you use a credit card, the cruise line places a hold on your card for every dime you spend, AS WELL as charges you for your total bill. The holds have stayed on our card for 7 days now. I called American Express today, and was told after 8 days the charges fall off if the merchant (carnival) does not pursue payment. We are expecting them to be off tomorrow. We purchased alcohol on board, and received it around 7pm our last night. Our luggage was picked up later, with no issues. Debarkation went smoothly, with no big hold ups. The boat was rockier than RC- that did not change, but did not bother me as much. The people were not partying too ridiculously, and there were lots of families. We only had one irritating group near us who woke me shouting at 3am one night. Our shuttle picked us up after about 20 minutes or so. We arrived back at our car without incident. Our car was safe and untouched, and we had no problems. The best part: NO QUINCENIERAS this time or tour groups!!!   Read Less

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