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9,052 First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

I went on my first cruise ever with my wife and friends recently. we were on board of the brand new Encore by NCL. the ship is beautiful and huge! I don't have a lot of complaints. One thing that bugged me was the reservation ... Read More
I went on my first cruise ever with my wife and friends recently. we were on board of the brand new Encore by NCL. the ship is beautiful and huge! I don't have a lot of complaints. One thing that bugged me was the reservation system for the Go-karts. You have to reserve ahead of time and they go fast. The waterslides were fun, especially the free-fall one! The restaurants are amazing and the food was fantastic. our stateroom was a great size, the bathroom had a good layout and the balcony was a must! We took the stairs for the week as the elevators, though there are many, are always busy. The live shows were incredible (Choir of man, Kinky Boots) and there was some really fun entertainment in the bars such as live music, Trivia,game shoes, etc. The stops (Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Tortola) were all very nice. We had some great local food and drinks while on the islands. My next cruise will definitely be with Norwegian Cruise Lines again. It was a wonderful first experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Our family of five just got home from a 7 day cruise Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Encore over the New Year holiday. My wife and I have 3 kids: 14, 11, and 9 and this was our first cruise as a family. The still very new ... Read More
Our family of five just got home from a 7 day cruise Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Norwegian Encore over the New Year holiday. My wife and I have 3 kids: 14, 11, and 9 and this was our first cruise as a family. The still very new Encore is absolutely beautiful and overall everyone in our crew had a great time. Dining: We loved the variety of options available on the ship and the flexibility of the “freestyle dining” concept to eat when and where we wanted. I would recommend making reservations ahead of the cruise if possible. Included dining: The Garden Café is the main buffet and we ate there for breakfast/lunch most days. The food was generally pretty good and I particularly enjoyed trying the different foods prepared at the “Taste of India” section. The desserts and sweets were also particularly good. We also tried all three of the table service dining options: The Manhattan Room, Taste, and Savor. These were also excellent and though the menus are somewhat limited in selections, we all found something we liked. Specialty dining: We tried three of the specialty options as part of a package that was included with our room. We loved all three but Ocean Blue was a slight favorite not only because of the great food but also the excellent service and atmosphere. It is hard to overstate how beautiful many areas of the ship are and I thought Ocean Blue was particularly stunning. We also ate at Teppanyaki, which is a typical hibachi setup, and was fun. Lastly, my wife and I ate at Cagney’s steakhouse and enjoyed the steak and the sides. Overall, the specialty dining was good but the included dining is good enough that I don’t think you’d miss out if you didn’t want to pay the extra cost of the specialty restaurants. Drinks: We had the basic alcoholic beverage package (called premium beverage package but it is the least expensive option), which entitled us to any drink anywhere on the ship that is $15 or less (except the minibar in our room, which we learned to my mild irritation when I saw surprise charges on our bill). There are plenty of bars scattered around the ship and you can always find a drink if you want one. I had absolutely no regrets about not buying the more expensive drink package, which I think you would only really need if you want higher end wine (we thought the included wine was very good). Fitness: The fitness center is excellent and has brand new (obviously), high quality equipment. It does get busy but I never had to wait for a treadmill. There is a separate TRX room and spin class room (spin classes had a separate fee), neither of which seemed to get used a lot. My wife did a couple of HIIT classes and really liked them. The jogging trail on the pool deck is right in the middle of the action and would have to be terribly frustrating to use at any point in the day due to the number of people, chairs, etc. in the way. However, there were a few people out there doing laps every morning. Pool: There are two small pools in public areas, one for adults only and one for everyone (the Haven has a separate pool). It was a bit like lord of the flies at times getting a pool chair at prime time on days at sea but I don’t know what can be done about that given the number of guests. There are two slides, the Ocean Loop and the Aqua Racer. The Ocean Loop has a weight limit (minimum: 120 lbs) that pretty much ruled out our whole group except me and I decided not to wait in line to go by myself. It looked like fun but it was also only open about 3 hours a day. The Aqua Racer is more inclusive and, while not bad, is not a huge thrill. Other Amenities: A large part of the reason we chose the Encore was the promise of a go cart track and laser tag on the ship. According to my kids, the laser tag in particular was excellent. It gets a large chunk of dedicated real estate on the back of the ship and looks really cool. The schedule varied but it was generally only open from late afternoon until about 10:00 PM. The go carts were also great, even without grading on a curve for the fact that they are on a ship. Unfortunately my 9 year old daughter was is just barely below the 55” minimum height requirement but our two boys rode the go carts at least 10 times each over the course of the trip. I won’t bore you with all the complexities but we ended up buying the unlimited passes for our kids for the laser tag, go carts, and the Galaxy Pavilion (virtual reality). Because these things cost per use otherwise, we found the passes were worth the $ (they were expensive) given how much the kids made use of these activities. Ports: We stopped at Puerto Rico, St Thomas, and Tortola. Puerto Rico was very brief and not a lot was open I think because it was New Year’s Eve. We did the Powercat snorkeling excursion in St Thomas and that was a ton of fun. It was about 100 people on a catamaran and included about an hour or so of snorkeling and another hour or so on the beach, plus a lot of rum punch. The boat crew was a ton of fun. Lastly, in Tortola we only got off the boat for a little to visit the very nice shopping area that is adjacent to the dock. Entertainment: We saw both major shows, Choir of Man and Kinky Boots, and all five of us enjoyed them (my wife and I probably more so than the kids). We thought the acting and singing were very good and the theater itself is very large and well setup. My wife and I also saw the Levity comedy show in the theater and thought it was very funny. We also saw Camille Rae and the Raebans play a few times in the Q Barbecue restaurant. Camille is an incredibly talented artist (singer and guitar player) and she and her band put on several shows a day. Lastly, the game shows in the atrium throughout the day that involved the guests were a lot of fun. Connectivity: We paid the $10 each for connectivity to the Norwegian app for my wife and I and my 14 year old. I thought the app was excellent for keeping track of what’s going on, booking reservations, and communicating between the three of us while onboard. We were able to let the kids head off on their own and could keep in touch with my son through the texting function within the app. The connectivity seemed to be pretty good and reliable throughout the ship. Overall impression: This was a great vacation for us and lived up to all we hoped it would be. I know there have been a lot of complaints about the “nickel and dime” costs of the amenities (laser tag, etc.) but I priced out a similar Royal Caribbean cruise for the same week and it would have been about $2K more up front. We probably spent close to that difference on the “extras” on the Encore but I actually like the Norwegian approach of having people pay for what they use (and not pay for what they don’t). Also, I think the lines would have been unbearable for these activities if they were all included for everyone. The one downside to the trip somewhat specific to our family is that our kids are active and need to have opportunities to burn off energy and there just aren’t that many for kids other than laser tag (which has limited hours). However, I would definitely expect we will cruise again and, based on our experience on the Encore, I would not hesitate to do book another vacation with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first cruise so we don’t really have anything to compare it to. We travelled in a party of 6, 5 adults and one teenager... Getting on the ship was stress free and so much easier than flying. The ship was very clean but this ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we don’t really have anything to compare it to. We travelled in a party of 6, 5 adults and one teenager... Getting on the ship was stress free and so much easier than flying. The ship was very clean but this could have been due to a norovirus outbreak on the cruise before us it was continuously cleaned all the time we were on the ship. The ship is enormous, I was still getting lost on day 13 !....we had a balcony room which was ideal for 2 people but I wouldn’t want anymore than 2 in there ! The bathrooms are tiny. Our room was cleaned every day, bed made and towels changed. We never used room service didn’t really need to. My son who is 16 said it was the best holiday he’s been on he made loads of friends and for teens it’s great, you can give them freedom knowing that they are safe on the ship. There’s a curfew of 1am and security are very strict, which is good. The main dining room was fantastic..lots of choice and food always hot. We had anytime dining but ended up booking for 8pm each night as we found two waiters that looked after us and were amazing. Formal nights book a table or you will queue for ever ! We ate in windjammer on sea days for lunch, food is great however it’s too much like a canteen for me and we always struggled to get a seat. We tried Izumi one of the nights, it’s entertaining and the food is amazingly tasty. The rest of the bars and cafes on the promenade were very good. We booked our own trips as the RC were far too expensive. The gym is well equipped and you can watch dolphins whilst on the treadmill ! Not everyday you experienced that !....All the ports we stayed in were lovely and most were a walk from the ship. The entertainment was good, the bands were excellent as were the dancers and singers. Grease was a good show. Negatives for us were the amount of people on the ship. Sea days you struggled to get a sunbed and had to wait for ever the get a drink in the pool bars. The champagne bar and balero bar were always full and we always struggled to get a drink before dinner. For me a holiday is all about dining al fresco but there’s no-where to eat outdoors at night and even if there was it would have been too windy. If you get the opportunity do the silent disco it’s great fun. I had a lovely time and glad I’ve experienced a cruise but I don’t think cruising is for me..too busy and noisy and I could get 3 five star holidays for the price we paid. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price ... Read More
My son chose this Cruise as he had sailed with NCL and Royal Carribean and had nothing but praise for those two companies and the brilliant time I was going to have. He chose it as it seemed comparable with those two companies on price and Marketing jargon but did not live up to the hype. The entertainment was more Butlins than West End, although the theatre was very good and the last show was ok but according to my son, with RC & NCL that happens every night. The food at best was adequate and did not live up to my expectation. In fact, the conversation around our table and talking to other guests was that the standards were not as good as similarly priced competitors. Even the waiting staff agreed that it was a common observation by guests, although according to my son, when you mention this to Princess Customer Services, they deny it all (rather unsurprisingly) My son worked as a chef in top establisments for many years and is quite capable of making the distinction. The crew were very good, the ship was lovely, the public places clean and nice to be in but the whole thing was a bit of a let down for us, as my son felt guilty at encouraging me to come along at a cost well in excess of £1000, a lot for me on my pension ! The cabin was nice enough and served its purpose. I will go Cruising again, but not on Princess, I will take my sons advise and go with NCL next time, suggest you do the same. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise because I was looking for an inexpensive cruise option for first time cruise passengers as an Early Mother's Day gift for my mother and myself. Found the deal on Groupon for $249 for 2 with an "all inclusive ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was looking for an inexpensive cruise option for first time cruise passengers as an Early Mother's Day gift for my mother and myself. Found the deal on Groupon for $249 for 2 with an "all inclusive stay aboard with an oceanview cabin room". After I did more research and found out about the governmental taxes and the gratuities and did my calculations which made it a little over $400, I was still on board. Made the purchase, contacted groupon to figure out how to redeem and book the cruise. After doing that, I was ready to go and very excited. Fast forward to our cruise date: my mother doesn't fly on planes but we don't live too far away to drive so I didn't mind driving the 13 hours to arrive at the port. We get there, its beautiful and were ready to board and maybe get back off until we actually set sail and look around palm beach right? No. We get waived into overnight parking and immediately get herded in like cattle. Rushed to the point that both of us were irritated and shouting "we've never done this before!" We were bewildered and just following the herding procedure they forced upon us. After getting inside and getting ready to go thru the metal detector and bag xray area, a ship employee in plain clothes who was apparently running late screams at me and my mother to put our bags on the conveyor belt and by this point my excitement was gone and I had had enough. After a stern look to the employee I apologized and asked if she wanted to go ahead. She said no smiled uncomfortably and asked us to put our bags on the conveyor belt again. We slammed our things thru and passed security and got upstairs to check in and receive our boarding pass card things. The attendant at the counter upstairs was a delight and very friendly and she eased our minds. We thought maybe we were just on edge from traveling and started to dismiss the rudeness from downstairs. After we received our room keys we went to board the ship and got harrassed at the hallway before the door about excursions, add on packages for alcohol, dining packages, photo packages, spa packages all very much priced out of our budget with an additional 18% gratuity. Oh and not to mention it says ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE that we HAVE to have a card on file for them to charge if we want something while on the ship that automatically puts a $100 hold on...oh and this card? This is the one that the initial $13.95 per person/per night gratuities are taken from. Not when you pay for the cruise, which makes absolutely no sense. I don't have a credit card. My mother had to put her credit card on file or we were not going to be allowed to board the ship. Once we board the ship we are told that the state rooms will NOT BE READY until 2pm and it was just now 11:30am. All I wanted to do was eat something and take a nap and allow myself to regroup and enjoy this experience which sucked so far. Were asked to go to the top deck where we are allowed to smoke cigarettes and purchase alcohol or we can go to the buffet area and get something to eat while we wait on our room. We go to the buffet which was ok, not the best but I have certainly seen worse at restaurants on land so I wasn't too disappointed. There were a lot of options available for picky eaters like myself. We sat down to eat and are asked in the 45 minute time frame that we are in the buffet area a total of 13 times all by different server/attendant people if we wanted to buy a $17 plastic cup that came with 2 alcoholic drinks of our choice. We declined so much that it was almost as if we were swatting them away like mosquitoes. They told us at 1pm that our rooms were ready so we made our way upstairs and only 1 of our 3 bags was in our room. The other 2 bags had mine and my mother's prescriptions as well as other important personal items and toiletries as well as most of our clothing and other items in them. We waited for about 30 minutes for the other bags to arrive and when they didn't, I stepped out and found and attendant who was bringing bags upstairs and I located our bags and brought them to our room. I changed clothes and fell asleep. When i woke up, there was a blaring intercom announcement with an extremely thick accent that we couldn't understand telling us to go to a room for a safety demonstration. It took about 45 minutes of more extremely thick accents and life vest demonstration before I could return to my room. I went back to my room and went back to nap. When I woke up it was raining and it never stopped. The entire time. Even when we arrived in the Bahamas, nothing. But. RAIN. All we were able to do was make 1 trip to the duty free shops and after going to a second souvenir type gift shop in the duty free area and the attendant argued about the price tag that was on the item and then refused us service. All we did was eat and sleep. The formal dining experience was lovely. Our waiters there were awesome. Food was wonderful. Live music was pretty good given that we didn't have many other choices for entertainment because it literally rained the entire time. Everything else was too expensive. The included amenities are fine if you're able to enjoy some time on the beach but I feel like if you get rained in, they should offer some other amenities that they normally charge for for free to build respect and confidence in the purchase. They didn't care about any of the passengers or whether or not they were enjoying themselves. We finally caved on the last day and bought a $17 cup each because there was literally nothing else to do so we figured let's drink right? No. The drinks were poorly mixed to where we couldn't even drink the whole drink each time we filled our cups. We had no idea where to find anything on the ship and what amenities were included with cruise fare. It was like a word search on the cruise itinerary to figure out what was included. This was so exhausting. I would've been more relaxed if I would've stayed home and my mother agreed. It was an old cruise ship and it was evident. The attendants were literally only worried about their 18% gratuity and treated us like cash cows. They nickel and dimed us to DEATH. Worst vacation experience ever I will never ever use this cruise line again. Even if it was free. I'd rather pay 4 grand to a reputable cruise line than use this trash again. It ruined my mother's day gift to my mother and made the experience horrible. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was my first cruise, so I was uncertain as what to expect. I've traveled to many all inclusive resorts, so was a little apprehensive at the thought of being on a ship for 5 days. I was NOT disappointed, and discovered that the ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so I was uncertain as what to expect. I've traveled to many all inclusive resorts, so was a little apprehensive at the thought of being on a ship for 5 days. I was NOT disappointed, and discovered that the two cannot be compared, because each has their charm! After reading some of the reviews from folks who were on the same trip as us, I must say how surprised I am with the negative reviews...were they actually on the same ship??? Embarkation day - The staff were smiling and happy and greeted us with enthusiasm! There was music and dancing and energy, what more could you ask for! The sail away party was awesome, Jacky Tang is a PHENOMENAL Cruise Director, and he made sure you were entertained! Alex, the Assistant Cruise Director was charming, sassy and all around spectacular as well. Day 1 - Key West - We did a lot of research before our trip, so we knew exactly what to do when we arrived. Getting off and back on the ship was simple and organized. I highly recommend Kermit's for key lime pie, and Sloppy Joes for their Conch Cakes and atmosphere. Day 2 - At Sea - weather was a little wet, but the cruise line has no control over that. The entertainment crew made sure you had LOTS to do! Day 3 - Harvest Caye, Belize - wow. We did the Mayan Ruin and Spice Farm tour. Our tour guides were incredible, funny and knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend this tour. Day 4 - Costa Maya, Mexico - there was so much to see at the port, we ended up renting a cabana for the day and just soaking it all in. The cabana cost $30USD, and with that you get a huge pot of guacamole, chips and 2 (non alcoholic) beverages. The pool has a swim up bar, and is alongside the ocean. There's music playing everywhere. We did do a bit of shopping...the locals are a little pushy, and not afraid to try and get you to go to their shops...we just smiled and said thank you and kept walking if we were not interested, and they left us alone for the most part. Day 5 - At Sea - what a wonderful way to wind down and enjoy the last full day on the ship. Entertainment Staff - cannot say enough fantastic things about Jacky and Alex, and their team. The comedian, Jay, was hilarious, we saw all 3 of his shows and were NOT disappointed. The illusionist, Lord Nil, was awesome - we thought his first 2 shows were hokey, however, the final performance on day 5 was SPECTACULAR! The dancers and singers were amazing as well. The ship was not smooth sailing, so for them to be able to dance and balance was very impressive...I was sober the entire trip and could not walk a straight line to save my life, so the fact that these performers were able to look amazing was awesome. The 80's trivia was hilarious, (with the exception of the VERY drunk woman who stripped and harassed a few people throughout the night, and her aggressive daughter who participated in the trivia, and may have cheated a bit...). Bingo was fun, general trivia games were fun...to sum it up...there is no shortage of things to do on this ship - if you're bored, that's on you. Food - HAPPY HAPPY WASHY WASHY! I'm a very picky eater, the food was amazing. The wait staff were attentive, professional, informative and polite. We found that they always went above and beyond to make sure our experience was fantastic. Hospitality staff - our room attendant was Aleandro - nothing short of phenomenal. Our room was made up and turned down beautifully every day, and the towel animals were beyond impressive. To sum it up - we were overwhelmed with how amazing everything was - we cannot stop talking about it! They pay attention to the little details, and that's what made this trip for us. We have nothing to complain about, at all - our needs were always met, the service was above expectation, and we will definitely be cruising with NCL again...we're already planning our second trip! Executive Staff - they were always visible throughout the ship and always engaged with everyone! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Booked a week for our 10th wedding anniversary as we always wanted to try a cruise, and thought a week was enough, in case we didn't like it. From the time we boarded until the time we left was fantastic, and the crew were marvellous, ... Read More
Booked a week for our 10th wedding anniversary as we always wanted to try a cruise, and thought a week was enough, in case we didn't like it. From the time we boarded until the time we left was fantastic, and the crew were marvellous, with a special shout out to Rain who was our bar steward in the Squid and Anchor, and was always making sure our glasses were full and even knew exactly what we were drinking before we had sat down, he's a credit to your company!!They worked extremely long hours and still couldn't do enough for you and were always polite and smiling. Plenty of food choices from buffet to sit down and plenty to go around. Night time entertainment was nonstop in several areas of the ship, although I can't comment on the day time as we were on excursions all day and not getting back until late afternoon. The excursions we booked were great, with the guides being very informative, but be prepared for a hectic and tiring day as your trying to cram everything in to such a short amount of time. Make sure you have your boarding card on you at all times as you need it to get on and off the ship, when ordering your drinks, and also in the shops as it's all registered to your cabin. Security is very tight, and a bit time consuming, but to be expected in the world that we now find ourselves in, so give yourself extra time when you leave or return to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was a Family cruise of a group of 25. This was a trip in Memory of our Aunt, Sister, Mother, and Grandmother who embarked on her own trip to Alaska years ago by Cruise. Of the 25 only 5 had ever cruised before. We had 4 various ages ... Read More
This was a Family cruise of a group of 25. This was a trip in Memory of our Aunt, Sister, Mother, and Grandmother who embarked on her own trip to Alaska years ago by Cruise. Of the 25 only 5 had ever cruised before. We had 4 various ages of minor children who participated in your children's activities and LOVED it! As adults we enjoyed shows, trivia games, bingo games, casino activity, fine dining, buffet, drinks, ice cream, pizza, fantastic Burger bars. I loved the dancing, comedy, art galleries, shoppingvwas amazing on board and not over priced for t-shirt soveignors, jewelry, BIG bear and Moose only $25. We celebrated 2 children's birthdays and your staff sang and made them feel very important with signs and balloons. The pools were really nice, 2 adult only pools were nice. We had many choices of bar atmospheres. Loved the piano bar, country music, and the dance club for 18 + made it fun for our under 21's to join us. Thank you for a wonderful trip ! Looking forward to cruising again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My travel agent suggested celebrity was on top of the line of cruises regarding service and entertainment, so I trusted her and although I don't have any cruise experience ( this was my first) I had a great time, everywhere I went ... Read More
My travel agent suggested celebrity was on top of the line of cruises regarding service and entertainment, so I trusted her and although I don't have any cruise experience ( this was my first) I had a great time, everywhere I went there was someone smiling at me and asking me if I needed something. I personally loved the gym, I like to workout and it is a very well equipped fitness center with more than enough tradmills and ellyptical machines, and the view was amazing! how often do you get to work out looking at the fjords. The entertainment was the funniest, I almost wanted to stay on the ship the days we were on ports. I think thay I still need need to cruise a little bit more so that I can have a more objective point of view, but for a fist tiem, believe these guys really made want to cruise with them again. ( or any other cruiseline for that matter. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I couldn't ask for a better experience for my first cruise, which traveled from Miami, to Cuba to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and back to Miami. The entertainment as non-stop, the food above expectations and the service ... Read More
I couldn't ask for a better experience for my first cruise, which traveled from Miami, to Cuba to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and back to Miami. The entertainment as non-stop, the food above expectations and the service tremendous. The shows and comedian were enjoyable. I also took in trivia, karaoke, Deal or No Deal and Salsa dancing. We ended each night at Dazzles for drinks and dancing. I took the classic car tour in Havana, and would recommend that as well. I had read about renting cabanas in the Bahamas for $300. I did not rent and in my opinion there is plenty of shade if needed, and you can rent clam shells over two chairs for only $35. I spent a decent amount of time in the water. The multiple pools and hot tubs allowed plenty of space. They never seemed over-crowded. I would definitely choose Norwegian Sky again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We stayed a night earlier at the Marriott Waterfront The porter walked our luggage over and they processed our luggage right away AWESOME Overwhelmed with anticipation being our first cruise ever but The Bliss Crew and Captain put all ... Read More
We stayed a night earlier at the Marriott Waterfront The porter walked our luggage over and they processed our luggage right away AWESOME Overwhelmed with anticipation being our first cruise ever but The Bliss Crew and Captain put all those fears away. Being on such a massive ship with over 6 thousand people we did not know what to expect . The embarkment and disembarkment were smooth and fast. The instructions were easy to understand and follow. The lay out of the ship made it easy to get around and you never felt overcrowded. Entertaining was awesome with a wide arrangement to please everyone. The instructions for exiting for the excursions were very well planned and easy to follow. Staff was everywhere to direct you. The cabin was classic, (Mr Fernando was the best)the food was awesome,(that is saying a lot being we are from New Orleans lol) The complimentary meals at Savor, Taste and Manhattan were simply fabulous. The entire staff was amazing (Happy Happy Smiley Smiley)and the captain’s navigation skills kept us calm and secured. Thanks NCL for giving first time cruisers the time of their life. We celebrate 44 years of Marriage and we are glad we chose to celebrate it on this magical ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
First Cruise for us , so cant compare. We have been all inclusive Resorts in the past and should have stuck with this. We found the cruise to busy , hectic and extremely expensive . Having only about 10 to 12 hours at each port ... Read More
First Cruise for us , so cant compare. We have been all inclusive Resorts in the past and should have stuck with this. We found the cruise to busy , hectic and extremely expensive . Having only about 10 to 12 hours at each port really does not give you the time to explore, and so excursions are in order , on the boat with Norwegian this will cost you your first born . After joining a tour bus twice at prices from Norwegian our budget was dwindling quickly. Tours were just fine but you are left tired and feeling ripped off , we did. In Naples not willing to spend $320.00 US per person for another tour we decided to check what was available on the pier and found Taxis that offered much the same for a fraction of the cost on board, this you can find in all ports For $280 Euro we ended up with our own minivan and driver , we could have waited for another couple or two to share this with bringing cost down half or to a third as Van could sit 6 but decided that we would do this by ourselves. This day was great , our driver adjusted to what we needed wanted to see and basically told us he was ours for the next 10 hours , Amalfi coast was beautiful , but what a tourist trap lol . Cabin was on deck nine with a balcony and we where surprised with the size of it and the huge amount of closet space . not good was the kitchen exhaust close by and so greasy smell was especially in port very strong and a let down . Food was great on board , bars could not have been better , staff was great . For us this boat was to large and to stand in line for like everything was not in our plans . Deck 15 buffet was packed in the am with no seats unless you wait and jump as soon as someone leaves. Restaurants i found all great and to my surprise most except 2 have no dress code , this worked for me as i did not pack any jackets or dress shirts . Shows were well done and who needs a casino , this was to large by far. Biggest item for me is the fact that i bought a watch on board regular $320.00 US now for $180.00 US , GREAT RIGHT , what a good deal until i came home and find it for 120 Canadian , so BUYER be aware , or simple don't get anything on board. Drink package was a must for us and well worth it , the Martini bar was fantastic , never busy and so was Whisky bar , both on same level with the smoking room and Deck right there . Would i do this Cruise again , i don't think so, i needed a vacation after just to get some sleep , then again sleeping was not an issue on board not after the amount of walking we did . Hope this helps a bit Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We traveled with another couple and planned our own private tours. For me, this was perfect as we had a one on one relationship with our driver\guide and those were wonderful! Not knowing what a cruise would be like, I am over the moon ... Read More
We traveled with another couple and planned our own private tours. For me, this was perfect as we had a one on one relationship with our driver\guide and those were wonderful! Not knowing what a cruise would be like, I am over the moon in love with them. Not only did I feel like the entire ship's staff LOVE ME, but they love their jobs. The rooms were great, everything I needed and the attendants go our of their way for you. Having the chance to have a fantastic meal every morning with ANYTHING you can image right there was a HUGE plus. Each afternoon, a program for the next day is left on your bed so you can plan things on the ship and know ahead of time. There is not ONE bad thing to say only praises for this ship and the crew! We scheduled our own daily excursions and we gave the wrong time! NO PROBLEM!!!! The attendant at the desk called the company and assisted us in getting the time changed. Words cannot say how much we appreciate EVERYONE and EVERYTHING they did for us! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Poor Service. This was my first cruise, and I expected the greatest time of my life on this new ship, the Vista, from reviews online and from my sister (a frequent cruiser on other Carnival ships). I was told that I would be treated very ... Read More
Poor Service. This was my first cruise, and I expected the greatest time of my life on this new ship, the Vista, from reviews online and from my sister (a frequent cruiser on other Carnival ships). I was told that I would be treated very special, akin to a queen, with free food and waiters/butlers EVERYWHERE and at all times. However, neither happened. I had to PAY for everything I wanted, on a supposedly an all-inclusive cruise, spending approx. $1K on the ship for food and a few drinks for my husband and me. My entire group on this cruise (my husband, and two sisters with their husbands) each paid for "Faster to the Fun" (FTTF) perks, and we all found that package was a waste of money, except for when we had to stand in line at Guest Services. I spent most of the trip searching for food, only to find out that the eating places were only open at certain times with small windows (12-2) and everything closed for late night (except for a pizza shop that had thousands of people in the line also searching for a late night snack), including the “specialty restaurants” serving sub-par food during the 2 hours they were open for lunch and then serving better food at a premium price when it re-opened at 5 pm. The main buffet on the Lido was closed most of the time, with long lines and a lack of food variety being served, especially at breakfast. Omelettes served at breakfast with either a bad mix of or unmixed eggs (see photos) in one of only 2 LONG lines serving over 4000 guests. Lunch lines were long where only sandwiches were being served, while the rest of the buffet areas were closed. To top it off, room service only offered a continental breakfast. Furthermore, I had to fetch whatever I needed (i.e., water, condiments, etc.), after being pointed in the direction BY the waiters as where to find whatever I was asking for (when they were even around – typically, we had to walk to find one). We also lounged several times on decks where we had to either find a waiter to order our drinks or go stand in a line to get them ourselves (which was the norm on this cruise), including on the Lido deck and at parties. When we lounged on the 5th floor deck, I NEVER saw a waiter... ever… on any occasion when we were there. Further, I waited forever on hold for Guest Services, using my "dedicated" extension to call them (so long that the call was disconnected each time). Few outlets in rooms, tho the rooms were nice. Lastly, for debarkation, I also had to wait for someone to meet me and my party, as per FTTF instructions provided, for debarkation at the end of the cruise -- a no-show! No one came to escort us off the ship. We eventually left the designated "meeting" location and joined a "general" line outside in another area to debark. I complained to the female cruise director about the debarkation issues when I saw her, while I stood in the long "general" line with others (folks who had not subscribed to FTTF) to exit the ship. She pulled us out of that “general” line and placed us in another shorter line (thanks for that!). My sisters, who both cruise often on other ships, including Carnival, also tried to assure me that this was not the norm for Carnival (they were also disappointed with the service). Needless to say [again], I was extremely disappointed, as my experience did not match the countless reviews that depicted a wonderful life on a cruise. I expressed my dismay to Carnival, but received no response, much less an apology. I will never take a Carnival cruise again, based on my experience on board the Vista. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The staff were excellent, really loved the staff in the gastro bar and the sunset bar. The buffet was great as was the MDR. The cabin boy was excellent and deserved his big tip, well done Jamie. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6, which was ... Read More
The staff were excellent, really loved the staff in the gastro bar and the sunset bar. The buffet was great as was the MDR. The cabin boy was excellent and deserved his big tip, well done Jamie. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6, which was really good. The casino is a joke, was looking forward to a game of poker but a buy of, $200-$500 was way too high. The tournament were Russian roulette, $60 for 4000 chips with 10 minute blinds. I read on the Internet that celebrity were against pool bed reserving, not on this ship. Some folks lay on the starboard side and had beds reserved on the port side for afternoon. Also people left their towels on the beds when they had finished sunbathing. We saw a couple of shows in the theater and they were both really enjoyable. Don't know if cruising is for us though. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We loved it! Service was amazing and that made the vacation fantastic! We traveled with my parents and my kids (13 and 9). RC changed the itinerary twice without compensation. They canceled a day at Coco Cay and replaced it with Miami of ... Read More
We loved it! Service was amazing and that made the vacation fantastic! We traveled with my parents and my kids (13 and 9). RC changed the itinerary twice without compensation. They canceled a day at Coco Cay and replaced it with Miami of all places! Then they canceled grand Bahama island and made it 2 days in Nassau. But boat was fun and we had a great time. All of the food was delicious. We all tried new foods and ate a lot. My teen was in food heaven- room service for pre- breakfast, buffet for breakfast, buffet/dining room for lunch, cafe for afternoon snack, buffet for pre-dinner snack, dining room for dinner. Trivia and other games were fun to play as a family. We won family bingo and got medals! Excursion to blue lagoon was to die for. Go there if you can. Well worth the money! Btw, this was our first cruise and we all get motion sickness easily. I was motion sick the first night. We were still on the Chesapeake bay so I was thinking I would have to get off cruise at first port (because I thought the ocean would be way worse). But then we all put on a scopolamine patch and sea bands. We felt great the rest of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Wasn't sure what to expect as a first timer but definitely enjoyed ourselves and kept busy throughout. Entertainment was outstanding and food, well, there was plenty of it. Excursions that we participated in was good for the most ... Read More
Wasn't sure what to expect as a first timer but definitely enjoyed ourselves and kept busy throughout. Entertainment was outstanding and food, well, there was plenty of it. Excursions that we participated in was good for the most part. I wouldn't say that some of the descriptions was very truthful but enjoyed most of it. Windjammer had a variety of foods and service was great. Ate at three of the ships dining facilities and they were all great as well as the service. The room was quaint and our room steward kept the room nice and clean. Wasn't expecting service three times a day. Only negative was the bed was a bit droopy but other than that, i'd like to try a room with a balcony the next time. Cruise Director and Activities Director were great and all over the place as well as information on the ship's TV daily to keep passing the information to the guests. There were many things we didn't participate in and if we were younger, we may have accomplished more but what we did participate in was very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our first cruise, so we relied on reviews and friends' experiences to prepare us. The ship was very nice, and our deluxe balcony cabin was clean and comfortable. The staff was for the most part friendly and accommodating. ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we relied on reviews and friends' experiences to prepare us. The ship was very nice, and our deluxe balcony cabin was clean and comfortable. The staff was for the most part friendly and accommodating. The entertainment was excellent. We were, however, very disappointed with the quality of the food in the dining room--average, at best. Next time we will try the "specialty restaurants." We were also very unpleasantly surprised at the cigarette and cigar smoke on what was supposed to be a nonsmoking ship, with a few designated smoking areas. Obviously, the ship did not enforce any restrictions. The entire sixth floor, where the casino was located, was very smoky. In the evenings, guests smoked at the bar in the centrum, and the smoke drifted up to the upper floors. One entire side of the pool area was smoke-filled. In addition, it was very difficult to find a lounge chair at the pool area. Guests would leave towels on their chairs to save them for extended periods of time--another policy not enforced since cruise material stated that chairs could not be left unattended for 30 minutes or more. The music at the pool was at times much too loud. We went on two cruise-sponsored shore excursions. The 3-1/2 hour beach excursion was a waste of time. We basically paid big bucks for an uncomfortable bus ride to a small crowded beach. The other excursion was a short panoramic tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable and funny--a much better experience than the first tour. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was my first cruise................I am now hooked. Sitting on the balcony with my honey watching the water kiss the ship was as soothing as anyone can imagine. The food was fantastic (Best Lamb Chops that I have had in decades) and ... Read More
This was my first cruise................I am now hooked. Sitting on the balcony with my honey watching the water kiss the ship was as soothing as anyone can imagine. The food was fantastic (Best Lamb Chops that I have had in decades) and the drinks matched my mood perfectly. I wanted to take the Spa home with me. I'll be back soon. The show entertainment was surprisingly top drawer and well worth the cost. The talent was top rate, the setting was unexpectedly professional. The music by the pools and through out the ship was performed by really talented musicians and singers and was a nice touch to a great experience. The service staff was consistently caring and attentive and I was made to feel as if everyone cared about us. The photographs taken by the ship's photographers were consistently well done and will be a forever reminder of a special week in our lives. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Weather in Washington state has me wanting to go south every winter and this year was no different except my wife couldn't make the trip. This year my sister came along for her first cruise ever and I'm sure many more after the ... Read More
Weather in Washington state has me wanting to go south every winter and this year was no different except my wife couldn't make the trip. This year my sister came along for her first cruise ever and I'm sure many more after the trip we experienced. We flew into Ft Lauderdale and transferred to the ship about 11am and walked in, got checked in and walked aboard, it was that smooth. We took the self guided tour around and gave my sister the lay of the land. The Regal Princess is a beautiful and large ship but even for a first timer, my sister was able to navigate with very few issues. After the tour we had lunch in the Horizon court Buffet. Great layout to accommodate a large group and a variety of dishes to choose from much of which changed each day. The food itself was very good and hot dishes where hot and the cold dishes cold. Anyone who has cruised many times knows that isn't always the case. Service everywhere was outstanding. From the Horizon court to the servers out on deck to out amazing waiter and assistant in the Symphony dining room. We couldn't have asked for more polite and professional servers. We found Milan and Milos, our any time waiter and asst. on the first night and asked for their section each night when we came in. These two men made my sister feel so special from the attention, recommendations, running to gather out wine from vines and evert other small detail they attended to. They will be leaving Regal and going to the Island Princess so if you have the opportunity, ask for them. Our room was fine and pretty much just like all the others, small balcony. For the most part our room steward was fine but didn't see him much. He kept thing clean and beds made. We asked for thing and he got them. Laundry took a bit longer than we anticipated. The Cruise Director Dan is the BEST I have ever experienced. He does an amazing job of entertaining you and keeping you informed without coming across as selling anything but good times. We loved him. Princess Cays was another great day. The island is clean and well organized. Servers took care of your needs wherever you sat and the outdoor BBQ was nice. WE wondered outside the gates and did some shopping with locals and My sister found an Italian leather purse tucked away in the corner of this shop and got it for $20 a real deal. St Thomas is recovering and getting back to its old self but still has a way to go St Marteen has even further to go for recovery but they are working on it. So much damage it may take a couple years to fully recover. All in all it was an amazing vacation. My 17th with Princess and my sisters 1st and I'm sure its her first of many. Thanks so much to the Crew of the Regal princess, we will see you again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The Norwegian Breakaway’s 7-day trip from New York City began up to par with expectations and appeared to set the bar high in regards to efficiency in feeding and assisting the 4,000 passengers that embarked on December 29th. This was my ... Read More
The Norwegian Breakaway’s 7-day trip from New York City began up to par with expectations and appeared to set the bar high in regards to efficiency in feeding and assisting the 4,000 passengers that embarked on December 29th. This was my and my boyfriend’s first cruise, so we greatly appreciated the efficient check-in process that the Norwegian crew provided, and they were extremely helpful in answering our questions once aboard. From then forward, we had an extremely satisfactory initial first days of the cruise, and embraced Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising and laid-back atmosphere. In addition, the wait staff as well as our stewardess were particularly helpful and personable. The itinerary of the fifth cruise day included a visit to Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s island, but we were informed that we would be unable to attend the island due to poor water conditions (the impending storm, Grayson, which we were not informed of). However, passengers were already at the island location, and they were immediately transported off the island by the crew. The itinerary of that day was hindered by the change of plans, ushering passengers to instead loiter around the ship, offering limited activity options, though this was understandable due to the focus of crew/passenger safety. We were obviously disappointed from the loss of the day, but safety, as the Captain mentioned, was priority. From then onward, though the Captain muttered about the importance of safety and precautions, he sailed us straight into Grayson. From this point forward, it was a complete and utter disaster on the ship. Most elevators were shut off to conserve power, leaving a large population of elderly and families to brave the 15 floors of stairs, or to shove into a single elevator. Being young and thankfully able-bodied, this did not impact me, but I witnessed the struggle of other fellow passengers. Elderly had to be held upright, taking breaks on each stairwell and cling to the rails of the ship. We witnessed passengers constantly vomiting, or diving into bathrooms to vomit. Each stairwell had on it a set of complementary vomit bags. This happened for two days straight, however, on the “up” side we were given $23 a person for essentially missing one of the three main trip locations (on a side note, the 14- day cruise following ours received an apology for their inconvenience AND a refund of one day for their itinerary, but we have received not word nor compensation though we essentially lost the vast majority of our cruise to the Captain’s poor choice to brave Grayson). Any and all belongings on the mirror and cabinets were thrown across the floor, and many passengers and their children were forced to sleep on the Atrium floor (next to a late-night bar) due to two inches of water, there appeared to be no vacant rooms for emergency situations. This was a complete and unnecessary disaster that was endured at the expense of Norwegian Breakaway’s passengers for the sake of staying on schedule and ensuring profit. The most unnerving situation was not the storm itself, but the intent of upper management in their behavior to keep passengers as ignorant and confused as possible. This was best displayed by the final night of the cruise (the 4th of January) when the Captain announced at approximately 6pm that we would be disembarking and arriving to NY port at 4pm instead of 8am. Due to the mass amounts of passengers that fly/have travel plans (as most do), this caused a urgent rush and need to use the phone services and internet. We hurried to the Guest Services desk, only to be directed to stay where we are, that there was a phone at the front desk that I assume all of the guests were expected to use. As we waited, another crew member directed myself and others to a small computer lab of about five computers, said we were free to use them and that there is no phone available, and essentially shrugged her shoulders and left the situation. I once again asked for access to the phones, but we were shrugged off once again. Masses of people were now panicking and urging crew members for assistance. Instead of waiting for the promise of a phone (which appeared nonexistent) we trekked back to our stateroom and instead used our stateroom phone. Due to the panic I witnessed from those with complex travel arrangements, I could see that once again, my situation was not as dire due to that I had no flight arrangements, and I did not want to take any time from those that could be assisted and use the phone/ computer services. Immediately after calling my concerned mother as well as arranging new travel arrangements, I had accumulated approximately $24 in phone calls, being that the charge for utilizing your stateroom phone is $4.99 a minute. Once the crowd cleared and things settled down, I approached Guest Services once again. I spoke to a Service Manager who appeared irritated from the start, and I asked if there was a difference in expenses to the ship itself whether I utilized my stateroom phone or the phone they had offered. She stated that it did not cost the ship any additional cost that I used my stateroom phone. I explained that I did not want to get in the way of those who truly needed the phone for true emergency purposes, but I asked if I could be given a credit for the amount charged for the phone call. She responded that no, I would not be. Then said if I had any suggestions to manage/service 5,000 people, to give them to the office. To this snarky comment, I said that I did not appreciate that the crew was informed to keep guests ignorant to the change in disembarkation from 8am to 4pm (a fact which I had found out from another crew member, who stated they were threatened that they had to keep this confidential or face disciplinary action) she immediately was taken aback, and gave me the full refund for the phone call, along with an apology for the inconvenience. I am wholeheartedly disappointed with my experience with the Norwegian Breakaway and its management, and I am requesting a refund for my party. The focus of other cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean in avoiding the storm in a similar situation, proves the priorities of Norwegian Cruise Lines to not be safety of passengers, but revenue at the expense of what could have been its passengers/crew’s lives and dignity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My wife and I were talked into the 7-Day Western Caribbean Norwegian cruise on the Getaway by another couple. We were skeptical of cruises for no rational reason, but we decided to give it a try because our friends were so pumped about it. ... Read More
My wife and I were talked into the 7-Day Western Caribbean Norwegian cruise on the Getaway by another couple. We were skeptical of cruises for no rational reason, but we decided to give it a try because our friends were so pumped about it. WOW, this cruise changed our opinions forever, and we're hooked on cruises now. I can't speak for the other lines, but Norwegian was incredible. The entire staff with whom we interacted was so genuinely nice and accommodating. The ship itself is beautiful and had the feel of a floating city because it is so big. The food was out of this world (and the choices were seemingly endless), the entertainment was high-class (Burn the Floor and the Cirque show were mesmerizing), and the excursions were super fun! The cruise director, Silas, was engaging and seemed intent on everyone having fun. He was everywhere, and he greeted guests as we returned from each excursion. The ship kept a perfect schedule, and everything went smoothly logistically. One caveat is we stayed in "the Haven" which is their section of top-of-the-line suites, so our experience is biased. Not that the other level cabins were bad by any stretch (our friends were in a mini suite, and they loved it), but the Haven suites are simply awesome, so we decided we can't ever do a "normal" cabin :-) We had a concierge and 24/7 butler, both of whom were essential to our planning and overall fun experience. We've been back for 2 days, but my wife and I can't go an hour without lamenting it's over. It was the best vacation ever, and we're already looking to book the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
As a first time cruiser, I cannot compare my experience to any other ship or company. That being said, I am not a first-time traveler. Here we go! Initially, we were extremely excited about this trip because upon purchasing we knew we ... Read More
As a first time cruiser, I cannot compare my experience to any other ship or company. That being said, I am not a first-time traveler. Here we go! Initially, we were extremely excited about this trip because upon purchasing we knew we were purchasing exactly which countries we wanted to visit prior to the changes (Bahamas, St-Kitts, St-Thomas). However, soon after our cancellation deadline passed Royal changed one of our ports (as they hold the right to change ports at any moment for absolutely any reason). The reason for the change...it was too far and the boat would not have enough gas. What?! I am pretty sure this could have been determined prior to the package being set in motion and claiming sales. Nevertheless, we rolled with the hit and St-Kitts was changed to San Juan. Hurricane season hit and St-Thomas and San Juan were no longer available (this we could understand as no one can do anything about changes to nature). Royal decided to send us to Bahamas, Cozumel, and Costa Maya. For those that have never been to Mexico these two ports may sound pleasant, but for someone that has been twice before... not pleased. Considering an all-inclusive trip to Mexico is much cheaper than a cruise, we were extremely upset and disappointed and made our displeasure known to our agent and Royal. This is where things go more displeasing. Royal basically threw Policy at us stating that they have to right to change ports and so on. They were very short in their replies and did not seem interested in trying to come to resolve in the matter (NOTE; Royal faced a class action lawsuit soon after Hurricane Harvey due to the policies they keep to). We asked for a credit, they said no, we asked for a refund but were told us no, we asked for some kind of compensation for all this inconvenience which ultimately turned our honeymoon into an overpriced trip back to Mexico. Royal finally provided us with a second dining voucher (60$ value) as well as a Spa voucher (119$ value). They stood by their policies and stated that although the ports changed for our safety we would still have access to the many amenities the ship had to offer. We were not and are still not impressed with the way things were dealt with on a customer service level. I know this may sound as though we are spoiled/privileged and demanded that they give us everything we asked for but this is not the case. It is not being told "NO" that is the issue, it is how you are told "NO" that determines one's experience (for the purpose of this review I have not gone into detail about our communications with Royal Customer Service). Now let's get to the actual cruising experience. FIRST IMPRESSION: The Allure of the Seas is... breathtaking! driving to the port and seeing this monster of a ship is definitely a site to see. We were very impressed with how smoothly embarking and disembarking was (granted there were lines and a waiting period but that would be the case when 6000 people are all going to one place). We immediately reserved our specialty restaurants and activities, or in other words, we mapped out our week upon arrival. This allowed us to wander around and familiarize ourselves with the boat. For those that do not wish to wait in line to reserve your restaurants or activities, no worries, you can do it all from your stateroom TV. We found this extremely convenient. There is also the option of calling restaurants from your stateroom (the phones have a one-touch dial for various departments or press "0" for a directory). Another great thing with the stateroom televisions is that Royal has a number of channels dedicated to your onboard experience (Navigation, Shopping, Recorded seminars/talks that you may not have attended, Competitions, Itinerary, Etc). Needless to say, great idea and very helpful. DISCLAIMER: this is a very, VERY BIG BOAT! there is a lot of walking and elevator rides to be taken. This is not a bad thing to us, and the boat has some beautiful sites that make the walk worth the while. OUR STATEROOM; Walking into our stateroom for the first time was very pleasant. We expected a much smaller cabin with a tiny window but it was quite the opposite. The ocean view window was very large with a perfect amount of exposure to the sea. The bed (2 doubles pushed together to make a King, which we could not feel the split) was very comfortable and clean (no bed bugs or stains). The stateroom attendants did a great job prior to our arrival. Our stateroom was located to the front of the boat which meant that we could feel the rougher moments more than those in the middle of the ship. For those wondering if you feel the boat moving a lot, there are moments that the ship does sway and you do feel yourself swaying left to right at a very slow speed, aside from those moments you do not feel a thing. We recommend either sitting down or making your way to the middle of the boat. DISCLAIMER: If you plan on staying in your room throughout your voyage, take the hit and get a large room with all the amenities you desire. This does not mean that our room was bad, on the contrary, this just means that we have heard people complain about the room size (not on this trip) but never spent a moment in the room. Your room should be for sleeping, showering, and getting changed. It should also be used as a meeting point for families because we cannot stress enough...THIS IS A VERY BIG BOAT. DINING AND FOOD; We all know the deal with all you can eat vacations, so be prepared to eat to your heart's desire. The ship has many dining options, from specialty restaurants, fine dining, complimentary dining, anytime dining, and buffet. It also has a Starbucks if you just gotta have your Bucks. We did not try every restaurant on the ship so we cannot review them all. That being said, here is what we can say about the food and locations we did try. -The WindJammer: The WindJammer Buffet was absolutely perfect, my wife is a vegetarian and had all the options she could ask for. The food is always fresh and quickly changed if the quality or quantity changes. If seating becomes issues they kindly remind guests to make room once they are done (guests can also leave with their foods and eat elsewhere if they so choose). The buffet is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. -American Icon: This complimentary dining experience allows you to either reserve for a private table or show up at will (for breakfast or dinner) and sit at a table with other guests you may or may not know. We reserved the two times we ate there. The dining room itself is very nice and pleasing for those that enjoy a warm ambiance. However, in the spirit of honesty, we did not enjoy the food. The issue is that due to the size of the room (big) and a number of people they can serve at once, the food is very similar to what you would find at a large catered wedding. Good but not great. We both experienced moments with several of our dishes which left us with one word "bland". Another guest mentioned that the food on this ship was not as good as other ships he had been on and after eating at this restaurant we can understand. Luckily we always have the WindJammer. The service was okay. Friendly waiter and staff, however, it can take some time for the food to arrive or to be greeted as they seem overwhelmed. DISCLAIMER: If you have a show or event to make let the waiter know immediately, order everything you wish to eat at the start and the service will be much quicker as they do not want you to miss your reservation. - 150 Central Park: Dining done right. There wasn't a moment that we did not enjoy. From our very knowledgeable waitress to the decor and ambiance, and finally, the delicious food, 150 Central Park is a must. If you are given a voucher for dining upon purchasing your trip, use it here, and if you did not receive one then pay the entrance fee to eat here. 5 Star experience is all we have to say. -Giovanni's: We avoided all pasta or Italian dishes prior to eating here and we were right for doing so. Giovanni's has a beautiful environment, as though you were going back to Italy and dining with the dearest of friends. The staff was very helpful with their recommendations and provided great insight on the menu based on your preferred flavors and dishes. Another great experience was having the Chef come to your table and get feedback on your dining experience. If you enjoy Italian cuisine then you have to stop by Giovanni's. DISCLAIMER: be prepared to eat when you come here. Traditionally, you have multiple courses in one sitting. They encourage you to try multiple dishes as you are welcome to as many as you so chose (it is an entrance fee and not pay per item. All Specialty dining works this way). We cannot stress how many other dining options can be found on the ship, so many that we could not try them all and others simply because of dietary restrictions and choices. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES; Hats off to the people that make all of these fantastic shows and events happen. If enjoying yourself on what some call a "family" boat is a concern it should not be. The variety of entertainment is mind-boggling. A daily itinerary is left on your stateroom door which will give you the hourly play by play of what is happening on the ship and where. The ship also has user-friendly touch monitors on every deck with a "what to do" button and a map of the ship for easy guidance. We highly recommend reserving your shows the moment you step foot on the ship as most specialty shows can sell out quickly, leaving you on standby ("reservation" simply implies that you can enter the hosting room and choose your seats prior to others. you do not have reserved seats). The aqua theater is home to some absolutely phenomenal acrobats, divers, and entertainers. Great for everyone on the ship. The headliner, Travis Ledoyt, is a splitting image of a young Elvis and could not have done a better job captivating an entire theatre. He is extremely humorous and backs it all up with an incredible voice. Mama Mia was done justice by it's energetic and talented cast.The ship also holds the daily team and individual sporting competitions which allows guests to walk away with a potential medal. As marketed, the wave rider, wall climb, and zip line are all complimentary after signing waivers and receiving your access bracelet. TIP: save these events for sea days if possible. DISCLAIMER: The activities and shows change on a daily basis. Much like the restaurants, we did not have the opportunity to try everything. ONBOARD SERVICE: Due to the experience, we had with Royal Customer Service we were very concerned that we would experience the same treatment onboard. This was not the case. The staff were all so friendly and welcoming. We loved the diversity that is experienced on the ship. Our stateroom attendant, Ethel, made every day special in some form of way. She always took a moment to speak with us and not always about our cruise experience, but as though a friendship was being formed. we could not express how important this was to us. She deserves all the praise in the world. Every dining experience began and ended with a smile and some form of appreciation. At guest services, we were always dealt with in such a way that was courteous and helpful. Surprisingly, one guest mentioned this was her second voyage on the Allure, her first time was in 2013. She claimed that the service diminished since then. If this is true then we can only imagine how much further the staff went to appease the guests. DISCLAIMER; We did overhear and witness moments when employees were spoken down to by superiors or supervisors. The employee's demeanor and spirit were instantly altered for the worse.They seemed more deflated and demoralized. We truly hope that Royal reminds their management teams to respect their employees as they work hard and are the front line of our overall experience. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS As we previously mentioned, we had been to 2 of our 3 ports before. I, on the other hand, have been to all 3. Was it what we wanted, absolutely not. Here is a summary of the Ports. -Bahamas: The best water you can ask for. Friendly locals. Highly recommend seeing the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island. Leave early to beat the lines if you venture there alone. -Cozumel: By far the most Excursion options provided by Royal. Not the biggest fan of this port but can still find some good gems here and there. Worth choosing a full day excursion. DISCLAIMER; Always remember, when in Mexico, don't forget to tip. Not to worry though because they will always remind you to... -Costa Maya; much like the Bahamas, choose your excursion based on the amount of time spent at this port. It is a very nice port with a lot of things to see. We did prefer it to Cozumel as it was built for cruises. There are no beaches close to the port so be prepared to take a cab ride out. CONCLUSION; We made the most of our trip and are grateful that we have the privilege to experience such vacations. We thank every staff member that helped make our week memorable and enjoyable. We are looking forward to cruising again in the future, however, our takeaway here is to always read the policy prior to signing anything. Would we voyage with Royal Carribean again? Maybe but not an easy buy. As a company, they did not win us over. Luckily, their employees made up for their policies and lack of rapport. That being said, The Allure of the Seas is a great ship and should be experienced by both avid and new cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We were originally scheduled on the Eastern route, but due to Hurricane Irma it was shuffled to the Western route. This was fine with us as it was our first cruise ever and hadn't been to these ports either. Everything was top ... Read More
We were originally scheduled on the Eastern route, but due to Hurricane Irma it was shuffled to the Western route. This was fine with us as it was our first cruise ever and hadn't been to these ports either. Everything was top notch. Our cabin exceeded our expectations for what we were expecting since most people describe ship cabins as small. There would be a 3rd person option in our cabin and I think that would have pushed it just past the level of comfort that we felt. The size of the bathroom was awesome and that is generally the improvement you get when going from a balcony room to the "mini-suite". Drinks were great, food was great (but we're pretty easily pleased and by no means "foodies"). On board entertainment was great. If you have the opportunity to see the comedian juggler--that was our favorite! Staff was friendly and attentive. No complaints at all! We were so impressed that we have already booked our next cruise on Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The title is misleading but here are the first time items, First time on a re positioning cruise – loved it, more planning is involved but opens up new ports to travel to. First time on the Jade. Was similar to the Gem but they ... Read More
The title is misleading but here are the first time items, First time on a re positioning cruise – loved it, more planning is involved but opens up new ports to travel to. First time on the Jade. Was similar to the Gem but they swapped the shopping area and the Bliss lounge. Loved where the Bliss is on the Jade but they had reduced the liquor area in the store. First time as a Platinum – more perks !!! free laundry ( first time ), free meals, inside ship tour ( first time ) and free internet ( thought I heard a modem in the back round – reallll slow ). First time to the ABC islands. Bonaire – small island, beaches are rocky, flamingos but if into diving this is the place to go. Aruba – shopping and casino's ( found half of the ships crew inside one ), really didn't feel safe outside the shopping area. Curacao – nice beaches, felt safe to walk into town but don't get caught on the floating bridge when a ship approaches the harbor, you may be there for awhile. First time on independent tours – Bonaire, Bonaire Vista tours excellent. Curacao, Irie tours will work with you and will give a group discount. They are both listed on TripAdvisor. First time with a resort day pass, Jamaica – Jewel Dunn's River resort in Ocho Rios excellent but watch your glass, seems like they needed more and if they found one laying around it was gone. First time writing a review. We had a great time on the Jade, crew was happy about getting away from the cold and being back in Caribbean. The ship itself was in great shape, although there was toilet issues. Was surprised that O'Sheehan's didn't have a special night and that you couldn't have snacks at the bar. Punta Cana stop was a nightmare for some. Tendering process was slow, seas real rough. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017

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