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2,163 Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was our 8th cruise and the 4th with RCI, the others with Princess and Celebrity. Our embarkation was very smooth and we were soon on the ship with our cases reaching our cabin swiftly, which is more that can be said for our taxi ride ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise and the 4th with RCI, the others with Princess and Celebrity. Our embarkation was very smooth and we were soon on the ship with our cases reaching our cabin swiftly, which is more that can be said for our taxi ride from our hotel from upper east Manhattan, this involved two cabs because the 1st cab wasn't allowed through the tunnel (or as the driver of the 2nd cab put it, he was too lazy to take us) I digress. Our first impression of the ship which is fairly typical whenever we get onboard a large ship is wow, but this ship had a little extra wow. We were quiet surprised to see so much repair work going on after we set sailed, this gave us a feeling that things were all a bit rushed when it came to finishing the ship off maybe it was down to how well Germany did in the world cup. Activities: These were important to us as we had a few days where the weather kept us inside. The Seaplex was a really impressive venue with a good range of interesting activities. Ripcord by ifly we loved this and managed to try it more than once! The North star was good but as you'd expect very popular so queuing was often involved, it also suffered from the sea conditions which at times were too rough for it to be in service, the best time to do it by far was at sea. This is the 1st cruise I tried the flow rider, I soon wondered why I hadn't done it before, I was kicking myself about all the times I'd watched others but not tried it, I got pretty good at the boogie board but struggled at the stand up, maybe if I'd tried on the earlier cruises I'd be surfing like the cool guys. Entertainment: We loved the shows, Mama Mia was great but our favourite was Starwater which took place in the Two 70, we was lucky enough to see it several times, it is a truly unique show that you must see. The other entertainers were good and seemed to go down well with the other cruisers which can be a tough crowd to please. The bionic bar didn't really do it for me, once I'd seen it make one drink that was the time to move on. Because it wasn't really in a bar room as such it was more like something you happened to glanced at on the way to something else, it lacked a bar atmosphere a bit like the robots, cold and lifeless. I saw this feature as a gimmick, I'd be interested how the robots would fare against a real person drinks per minute. The music hall was a good venue for live music where we really enjoyed the Beatlemanic's, however as good as they were, playing four nights in a row with virtually the same set was rather stretching the point too far. Dining: Because we could only book one show and one restaurant on line before we cruised, we were at a considerable disadvantage when it came to booking the restaurants and shows we wanted when we wanted them, we wasted too much time queuing to try and sort this out and then didn't get what we wanted because other cruisers that were allowed to book up to six months in advance had filled all the allocations ! We could only get one reservation for the Grande because of this situation so were restricted to one formal night and yet we talked to other cruisers that had five nights booked ! Not being able to book before we cruised really wasted a lot of our time at the beginning of our cruise, so for us dynamic dining started on the wrong foot. Dynamic dining seemed like an education and a steep learning curve for both for us and the crew, for us if we'd been able to book before, we could judge this new system but as we couldn't it has clouded our judgment, so I'm not going to comment on this further other than saying that we all knew about the new Dynamic dining before we got onboard. On past cruises we have enjoyed the Johnny Rockets experience, but what we now have on the Quantum is very different, if your not going to do Johnny Rockets properly then don't do it at all, it was nothing like the diner experience we'd come to love, very disappointing! Disembarkation: On the day of disembarkation we had booked a trip, so following the instructions on the ticket we went to the excursions lounge well before time only to find nobody there to greet and organise things, we then joined a line after hearing that one for excursions was now leaving the ship, this was hampered by other cruisers also trying to leave at the same exit. Whilst making our way off the ship we were told that we should have been given a number one sticker and that our suit cases should have had been tagged one to four, we had been given forty eight ! We were not the only cruisers that were given the wrong luggage tags. Our excursion tickets stated that we meet at 08:15 and our tour will start at 08:30, we didn't get on the tour bus until 10:00 after a great deal of stress and confusion that could have been avoided if we were informed as to what was going on, the problem was dumped in the lap of the warehouse personnel who were very helpful, but we were still 90 minutes short on our tour. Photos: I really liked what the've done with the photographic department however, I ordered a Digital copy of a photo and got a disc with a licence agreement and a small program but no photo ! ? Out of pocket and no photo ! Shopping: There seemed to be a lot of expensive high end shops on board which were nearly always empty, not really aimed at your average cruiser but pretty to look at. Some shops selling more useful products were missing. The Daily cruise planner was frequently wrong, if I read something on it, go to see it and it's not happening, I walk away disappointed. Overall we really liked the ship and as it is so new it will understandably have teething problems which I'm sure will be ironed out, but every now and then you felt like a Guinea pig. The crew were amazing and as always really worked hard to keep us all happy noticeably in the dining and activities. We would use this ship again but would approach the dining situation differently in a hope that we could get it to work for us. If your due to go on the Quantum don't worry I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself, with the help of the crew you'll have a good time. We hope the Anthem will learn from the Quantum's mistakes.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The staff on Adventures of the Seas was outstanding! This ship was nice and clean at all times. My husband and I have a few (small) gripes, things that we liked better on other cruise lines: 1. not enough (free) counter service food/meal ... Read More
The staff on Adventures of the Seas was outstanding! This ship was nice and clean at all times. My husband and I have a few (small) gripes, things that we liked better on other cruise lines: 1. not enough (free) counter service food/meal options, which leads to long lines and congestion at the Windjammer buffet. A counter service at the pool area would be idea, a grill with pizza/burgers/salads. Another food issue, was the lack of a room service menu and the quality of that food. However, our meals in the main dining room were absolutely delicious! 2. Mid ship elevators were very slow, more than expected during peak times and non peak times. 3. The jogging track wraps around the 12th deck and intertwines sunbathers on lounge chairs, and there are frequently people strolling around and looking at the scenery, and they don't move for the joggers. The track is not very well labeled and as a jogger you feel as if you are "in the way". A better location would be around the sport deck. 4. The big daily "sale" that happens on the promenade cause major congestion for those guest just walking through not wanting to shop. Suggestion would be to maybe spread their "station" out longer instead of wider to provide room on either side for guests needing to get through. 5. The ice skating show was wonderful, so much talent and fun to watch! The times for open ice skate were limited so we were unable to try out this activity. 6. The "don't stop the rock" show left us disappointed. 7. On a typical evening after dinner, around 8-8:30pm, it seemed as if there was a lack of (free) activities. If you wanted to sit in the pub and pay for beer, or go to the skybar and pay for drinks, those were options. Only 2 nights were there some sort of activity (love & marriage show and a less than desirable comedy routine put on the same time as another game show activity so you couldn't attend both). 8. The food at Johnny Rockets was terrible! The burgers lacked toppings and were overcooked. The French fries served to us were cold and tasted as if they were sitting for a long time, the waiter never replaced them. Very disappointing. 9. Returning from a day at port, other ships on the dock had a "welcome back" party for their guests, playing music and giving them small cups of water. Very nice! Wish RCI would do this. Hopefully you have read through all my comments. This ship is beautiful and clean and you will have a nice time. All staff we had contact with were absolutely outstanding! Even though it looks like I'm full of complaints here, I'm not. It was a nice ship and a fantastic vacation, we just prefer other ships. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just got off the Carnival Victory 4 days Western Caribbean (12-18/12-22), our 7 cruise in the last 24 months, 6 on Carnival, 1 on Royal Caribbean. I am a firm believer of having a consistent user experience that is what Carnival has ... Read More
Just got off the Carnival Victory 4 days Western Caribbean (12-18/12-22), our 7 cruise in the last 24 months, 6 on Carnival, 1 on Royal Caribbean. I am a firm believer of having a consistent user experience that is what Carnival has delivered so far. Second time on the Victory. Comparing Carnival to my sailing in Royal Caribbean, simply no comparison, maybe I took the wrong ship with Royal (Vision of the Seas) on a Western Caribbean sailing back in October for Halloween (2014). Let me share some highlights… Excellent cruise director Marcelo, second time with him (different ships), great activities on-board, good entertainment especially for kids during the Holidays and the adult comedy is always great. I am trying to understand why I see comments from people complaining about the food, to me and my wife it was great, and at the Pacific dining room we had Reynaldo, great host to our table, very attentive to all of our request. Jeffrey our cabin attendant was great and very personal greeting us by name all the time. Bar staff with Benedicto by the pool on Lido deck was great; Ayu as well on the pool bar was great. Kelly from the Netherlands in Guest Services was excellent attending to my requirements. If you are on a budget an interior cabin is the way to go, we had 2342 on Deck 2, main deck, tough we felt some movement, and it was just perfect!!!! If in Cozumel as for taxi#50, Alex you will not regret it! A Happy Carnival customer and fan!     Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I booked this cruise to start a family tradition. My grand daughter (17 months old) had never been on a cruise. I thought departing from New York City would be a good option instead of flying to a port for embarkation. If your looking for ... Read More
I booked this cruise to start a family tradition. My grand daughter (17 months old) had never been on a cruise. I thought departing from New York City would be a good option instead of flying to a port for embarkation. If your looking for a generic experience or have not cruise prior, this is the cruise for you. The embarkation was fairly quick and efficient. The Cabin Steward was friendly and attentive. The cabins are narrow as well as the hallways. Navigating these halls can be challenging especially with a stroller or wheelchair when the linen carts take up the hallways. Free style dining is a nice concept but don't expect the food to be warm or fresh. Food hoarding seem to be a past time of many travelers. The days at sea were too cold to enjoy the outside areas or pool. Some Excursions were over price and not worth the time. Great Stirrup Cay is nicely laid out with little shade. One has to pay for a Cabana, covered chaise or sit at a picnic table under the pavilion. There are water activities and a giant inflated slide for an additional cost. The Spa is a quiet respite with lounge chairs, saunas, whirlpool and hot tile chaise. There are a variety Spa services but be prepared to be pressured to purchase additional services or items. Splash Academy has programs for children age three or older. The Guppy Program (3 yrs. and younger) exists in name only. Their is a separate room with a few toys. Gift shops had the range of over priced jewelry or low end cruise nick knacks. The there is a variety of restaurants with table side service but the portions are small and the food may be over cooked. In general the ship is large with a variety of activities with audience participation. The price of the cruise is basic with many add-ons such as for sodas, wines and liquors packages or enrichment activities. Be prepared for a time-share experience of being asked to purchase items. If you see Spa staff outside of the Spa area, run!! You will be approached to purchase even more services. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Where to start..... Having cruised on Radiance last year, and knowing this ship had been overhauled, we were really excited and had huge expectations. Because our last cruise was so good we talked up RC and how good their ships were. 7 ... Read More
Where to start..... Having cruised on Radiance last year, and knowing this ship had been overhauled, we were really excited and had huge expectations. Because our last cruise was so good we talked up RC and how good their ships were. 7 people, all first time cruisers and 1 being the mother in law booked to come on with us. For us being Crown and Anchor members, check in was excellent. 2 of our friends however had to wait 3.5 hours in line to get on. This is not acceptable at all and yes they were in their designated time slot. So we all head to our cabins. Ours was really good, no complaints there, at first. 2 of our friends had booked a suite and we were very supised to see how basic and small it was, especially for what they paid. As I said, ours was really good except that the air con did not seem to work and the fridge was not cold. Luckily the weather wasn't very good and it didn't get hot. First thing we noticed was that the staff didn't seem as happy as the Radiance staff. Then the line ups started. They were ridiculous, having to line up like cattle to get a feed. Even in the dinning room where we made reservations, we still had to wait upto 45minutes. 2 of our friends waited 2 hours fo their table. What a joke. Even waiting to speak to someone from guests relations had massive lines every day. Dont try and get a decent quick coffee, you'll wait ages for that too. Only one cafe on the whole ship which also serves the Ben and Jerrys icecream. They didn't tell anyone until near the end that you could purchase coffee from the Schooner Bar or Windjammers. The coffee is horrible, definately not worth the money but is better than the brown water they give you for free. The food in Windjammers was horrible. Definitely not what we got on the Radiance more like P&O. It was the same slop every night. The dinning room wasn't much better. Same food, just dressed up. The food in the restaurants however was amazing. We ended up eating at them everynight instead. Yes, we had to pay but it was well worth it. If your looking for a relaxing child free cruise, then forget Voyager. The place was overrun with them. Their junior curfew was 1am, how ridiculous is that. They were running all over the place causing havoc. They were even in the bars. When we questioned why children were in the bar at midnight whilst adults were drinking and having adilt conversations, we were told that they are more lenient around that time as there weren't as many guests around. Serious. There was even a case where a elderly person had their arm broken by being knocked over from a child running around unsupervised. My husband and his friends witnesed a brawl in the arcade between 2 unsupervised boys that had to be broken up by security. This just isn't good enough. Another thing we encountered was not alot of general beer. On the Radiance there was all the beer that you get at the pubs, clubs etc. My husband asked for a tooheys extra dry, none, carltons dry, none. The were told it was coming in 2 days from Singapore! So they started drinking Caronas, they ran out on day 5. Everytime they asked when the ship would be restocked they were told in 2 days. They never resocked anything. We also noticed around day 8 that the cocktails were being iced up heaps. One thing we were really impressed with RC was that they were not shy with their alchol nips. Not with Voyager. I had one cocktail that had no alchol in it at all. There are so many things that went wrong, it was just a nightmare. They were definitely understaffed and over populated. A few staff members we spoke to told us that most of the staff were miserable and couldn't wait for their contracts to end so they could get off. Everyone we spoke to felt the same. We did not encounter one person who had something nice to say. There were even numerous people that got off and flew home. I wanted to but unfortunately my husband does not fly, so I had to stay on until the end. You can imagine how bad we felt for our 7 friends who we brought on with us. This cruise has ruinen their thoughts on cruising again with 4 of them saying they will never cruise again. Voyager has alot to answer for.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Embarkation - OK, long line but moved along well, no issues. Ship - I understand it is due a refresh, you can see some areas need it BUT not a problem. Food - good food buffet choice was good, restaurant, small portions but good. Went to ... Read More
Embarkation - OK, long line but moved along well, no issues. Ship - I understand it is due a refresh, you can see some areas need it BUT not a problem. Food - good food buffet choice was good, restaurant, small portions but good. Went to Portifino steak was great. Cafe in promenade starbucks coffee great, snack food choice great especially late at night, get the cupcakes. Jonny Rockets was a bit of a waste of space - top deck never seen it busy at all, if they relocated it to promenade then more people would use it I think. Crew - all good, very friendly and welcoming. Ports of call - Labadee could be better, did not like dogs roaming about, but good to get off ship for the day. Other ports at ABC islands very good. Entertainment - all good. Disembarkation - was terrible, took a long time and we were self assist. Line to disembark was into the casino where you are allowed to smoke - we do not smoke!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just got off Cunards Queen Elizabeth with 5 Family members I have traveled with 5 different Cruise companies This was my first cruise with Cunard that I thought would be a bit highbrow for my taste . How wrong was I. The service was very ... Read More
Just got off Cunards Queen Elizabeth with 5 Family members I have traveled with 5 different Cruise companies This was my first cruise with Cunard that I thought would be a bit highbrow for my taste . How wrong was I. The service was very slow the quickest I got a drink order to our table was 20 mins the slowest just under hour and I am not making this up the food in the Brittania restaurant was good but no way near as good as other ships I have been on The entertainment was alright but no where near enough different varieties of music you will like it if you like listening to one man piano players they had several bars with piano players no Jazz or nightclub venues. I found most of the serving staff to be OK but no were near the standards of say Celebrity. Our trip was to go to Amsterdam and dock for 2 days we were told on first day at sea that we could not dock at Amsterdam because of high winds, no alternative port could be found so we sailed up & down The English Channel Because of some EU ruling we were told that vat would be added to all ship shops purchases and there would be no duty free sales I sailed with P& O last January to Amsterdam where there was no vat added and you could buy duty free on board? But worst of all this short cruise to the Amsterdam Christmas markets to do some last minute Christmas Shopping and buy our duty free drinks for Christmas did not happen Maybe I will try Cunard again when I reach 80 years of age but of the five cruise companies I have used Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, NCL, P&O and Cunard. Cunard would not get in my top 5 cruises and this nothing to do with our cruise not reaching its destination. Just on Poor service not enough to do generally not a well run ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Carnival was not "up front" with it's guests for this cruise. A lot of us didn't realize until it was too late, that the Miracle has been having propulsion problems since early this year, and decided to continue ... Read More
Carnival was not "up front" with it's guests for this cruise. A lot of us didn't realize until it was too late, that the Miracle has been having propulsion problems since early this year, and decided to continue operation of the vessel, which is now scheduled to go into dry dock in early 2015. Because the ship couldn't cruise at normal speed, we had a multitude of itinerary changes. We arrived late a some ports and in the case of Maui (the highlight of the trip), we totally missed it and we were compensated with 1/1/2 hour in Kona and a $200 credit. The stop off at Ensenada at the end of the cruise was at 8 pm rather than 3 pm. The ships crew blamed everything on the "weather"...which none of us could believe. 2 of our 4 excursions were canceled and debarkation as well as the tendering process was a gaggle!! It also appears as if Carnival is also cutting back on service personnel. We had to go to the bar most of the time (whether inside or outside) to get our own drinks...on previous cruises we could barely turn around when someone was asking to wait on us. Not to mention the internet and TV service were totally unreliable. When we asked about it, the cruise director said that there was no "satellite service" in the ocean???? REALLY......most folks on this trip were seasoned cruisers, so we knew better. We spent $50 just trying to confirm our upcoming airline flights on the internet...but they did refund us for that. It's just a hassle to stand in line for 2 hours at guest services to try and get anything taken care of. I will say our cabin steward was top notch...but they always are. It was truly a disappointment, especially since we had booked the cruise a year in advance. We realize that things come up and if it had happened that way it would be different, If they had just been "up front" with us in advance, we wouldn't have had a problem with it. They definitely made the wrong call!! This is really the first bad experience we've had with Carnival....just wish it hadn't have been on such a long trip. It's the first time I couldn't wait to get off of the ship and go home!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We sailed out of Port Canaveral on 12/7/14 for a 7 day Western Caribbean vacation. Getting on the ship was no problem. Once on the ship we went to the buffet for lunch. I had a hamburger and some fries....so far so good. No utensils to eat ... Read More
We sailed out of Port Canaveral on 12/7/14 for a 7 day Western Caribbean vacation. Getting on the ship was no problem. Once on the ship we went to the buffet for lunch. I had a hamburger and some fries....so far so good. No utensils to eat with though so it was good I had food I could eat with my hands and not soup or salad! There were also announcements telling us to basically hurry up and eat and leave as they had many people to feed. SERIOUSLY! Hurry up and get out! Yes. I was getting a bad feeling about this one! On to the cabin. The cabin was pretty small for a large ship . We had two adults in the cabin and we couldn't move without kicking the coffee table and wastebasket . I ended up putting the coffee table in the closet and the trash can by the bed. The bed could not be accessed from the side, to get to the end tables, one would have to step or slide over the corner of the bed. This was obviously ridiculous and made the area on the side of the bed useless and wasting the already very limited square footage in the room. I gave up trying to shower with the door closed. I just left the door open and let the water fly everywhere, then put towels on the floor. Otherwise the room was clean and comfortable with the couch in front of the TV. The entertainment on board was pretty good. The Ice show was excellent and the Stage Shows were very good. They also had a comedian/juggler guy that was entertaining albeit somewhat racist. The Acrobat's were fun to watch and the overall entertainment in the theater was very good. The musical venues could have been better. I would have enjoyed more string music and a lot less breaks. Musicians do not need a break every 15 minutes! OH...and the ship was hot. Especially in the elevators. HOT.HOT.HOT! The cabin temp was fine as long as it was set to the coldest setting. The buffet dining was a disappointment with the same food basically...day after day. Pizza was awful. I just ate hamburgers for lunch. I would recommend going to the sit down dining room for breakfast and lunch. Dinner in the dining room was usually pretty good. The food was overall OK with mostly a selection for every taste. I would have preferred it to be hotter but it was never cold. Our wait staff of Sharline and Dennis were courteous and provided friendly professional service. The Maître de visited our table every night to ask about things. I was very impressed by this as I rarely have been visited by them in the past. Service in the lounges was slow because of a lack of staff. With the cruise line pushing the drink plans there is very little effort put into providing drink service. I would have to leave our table and go to the bar and wait for service for 10 or 15 minutes because there was only one bartender. Many of the Drink of the Day specials did NOT provide the souvenir glass that was promised. There was never any explanation as to why. I didn't ask. I had bigger fish to fry! ABOUT THE SHORTENED PORTS...we were notified 24 hours ahead of boarding that the port times were shortened. The ship was limping along a 3/4 speed and needed more sailing times between ports. This made our stops at the private Island in Haiti and the Jamaican and Grand Cayman very short. We felt very rushed to get back on board in time and really detracted from the cruise port experience. We did not make Cozumel at all because an infant had a medical issue and needed to return to Grand Cayman for treatment. Our understanding is that she was flown to Miami and is doing well. Everyone on the ship understood the priority of getting the child treatment. BUT, most were also in agreement that had the ship not been limping along, that we still would have been in Grand Cayman when the emergency occurred AND that even had we needed to return to Grand Cayman we would have been able to make up time in a ship that was functioning correctly. Royal Caribbean hid the fact that The Freedom of the Seas was damaged for weeks prior to our cruise and by doing so provided an inferior cruise experience to the passengers who paid big money for a top notch cruise vacation. Royal made no real apologies for not allowing us to know of the situation beforehand and provided no compensation that I'm aware of to any of the passengers other than the $15 tax on the missed stop of Cozumel. They did not even return the port charges from Cozumel. Maybe RCCL didn't get reimbursed from Cozumel for missing the port. I don't know. I just know that I and practically everyone else felt screwed by Royal Caribbean for their lack of communication and lack of compassion for peoples vacations being compromised . I'm planning on filing a claim with the BBB in an effort to receive some compensation for this cruise. I was told by other cruisers that attempting to get any response from RCCL was nearly impossible. It's also my understanding that some onboard credit and future cruise certificates were given to passengers on previous and prior cruises on the Freedom. I don't know why they felt the need to cheat us on the December 7-14th sailing. Needless to say, it will likely be a long time before I cruise RCCL again...if ever. The cost of the cruise and all associated expenses were approximately $2500 for the two of us and it was not money well spent. One final complaint. OK...two. Disembarkation was a total nightmare with at least a two hour delay getting off. Again, RCCL provided no information about the delay because if they had we could have gone somewhere and just relaxed instead of waiting in limbo for hours in line. I don't know if this delay was RCCL's fault or if it was a port issue that was unavoidable and not RCCL's fault. Now lastly. The day after leaving the ship (Monday) our credit card was charged for the approximate amount of $500 that we spent onboard including tips. That was fine...BUT they also had two $450+ holds on our account for a total of $900+ of money on hold and unavailable to us over and above the valid charge of $500. This money was not released until late in the week and was the cause of concern and worry in the week proceeding Christmas. Normally, when the account is charged for the actual onboard charges the money on hold is released immediately. Why they had two holds totaling $900+ in ADDITION to the actual charge of $500 is beyond me. My girlfriend thinks they are trying to make interest on the money. I think that RCCL is just incompetent! Anyway, that caused unneeded stress for almost a full week after we left the ship. So, If you are looking for a relaxing....refreshing vacation getaway on a cruise I would suggest a different cruise line. It seems to me that Royal Caribbean's glory days are over. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but ... Read More
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but compare. Carnival has a lot more free options and the food is 10 times better. Norwegian's food was bland and always the same. I did not try their restaurants that you had to pay extra for. The Bad 1. There was a smell coming from the aft stairs 2. The bartender in Ramblas bar was rude, never smiled and always looked away. No wonder it was always empty   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
PERSONAL Review Special Note: This review is presented in two parts: first, my own ‘Personal’ review (what happened to me) which is followed by a somewhat more objective view of the MSC Divina based on an Western Caribbean cruise as ... Read More
PERSONAL Review Special Note: This review is presented in two parts: first, my own ‘Personal’ review (what happened to me) which is followed by a somewhat more objective view of the MSC Divina based on an Western Caribbean cruise as a friend and I experienced in early December, 2014. Arrival The Ft. Lauderdale airport is not known for their efficiency and user services. Our Southwest flight on one of their newest 737-800’s was pleasant and just over 2 hours, non-stop from Providence RI. Baggage claim was the first sign that our troubles were starting. Signs and announcements claimed that Providence baggage was arriving on carousel 6. That changed to carousel 8 and then back again to 6. In the end, my traveling companion and I stood at each carousel. Our luggage arrived on carousel 7. I smiled and popped a valium. There was a cruise line rep gathering up passengers for the transfer to the Miami Cruiseport- 99% for the NCL ‘Getaway’ and us. The only reason I knew this is because as she passed by me, I noticed that she was also holding an MSC sign on the back of the NCL sign. She was less than pleased when I approached her and asked where we should go. We had purchased the transfer from our travel advisor. It was booked with MSC and added to our master bill ($40 each I think- the return was $20 each on a private van service). A 48 passenger motorcoach with 46 NCL passengers on their Getaway and 2 to the MSC Divina loaded slowly. MSC passengers were ‘tag alongs’. We waited for all the Getaway folks to board the coach first and then we took our place in the last row. The transfer was a merciful 40 minutes long. Now, the baggage drop, US Customs and escalators have become familiar and almost ‘old hat’ to us by now. We waited in separate lines to check in at what felt like a “mile long” check-in desk with dozens of MSC reps. I just about fell to the floor when my check-in clerk said, “Excuse me sir, are you sure you have the right ship? I don’t have you on any of our lists.” WHAT? I produced photocopies of my confirmation sent to us directly online from MSC with the oversight of our travel professional and that was the only thing that seemed to work. “We are sorry sir, but this information was not transmitted to us” he said more than once. I was not quite sure if he was accepting blame or throwing it back to my agent. Please know that I have been dealing with one, extremely professional and picky person who makes sure that all bases are covered when she makes my reservations. I trust her and her company and feel that whoever ‘dropped the ball’ was NOT her. My ‘clerk’ went to see his “boss” and returned after about 15 minutes and said, “Excuse me sir, but we still have that cabin available and we would be happy to accept you as a last-minute shore side reservation. Did that mean that my travel pro was then cut out of her commission? I simply said, “Put us in that cabin . . . now”. He accepted my charge card and issued an MSC room-charge card. It was about 1:30pm and I had thought that we could gain access to our cabin quickly. No. Cabins would not be ready until 3 pm. The buffet or sitting in any common area was the option. We went to the crowded buffet with our carry-on bags and waited for the call to access our Deck 10 room. Our room steward had cleaned the room but not separated the beds, so to ease his work- we stripped the linens, separated the beds and had it ready for him to make up more easily. They are all greatly over-worked and what we did was easy and he thanked us. He produced his room manifest for me to look at and sure enough- our cabin and names were NOT listed. I guess “the information had not been transmitted” to housekeeping either. Now came the most interesting challenge- dining. Our room ID – charge card did NOT indicate dining time or place: So, we boldly went to the 6 PM early seating in the Main Dining Room (The Black Crab) and requested to be seated at a table for 2 or 6. The maitr’d said “I am sorry sir, you are not on my list. We do not have any space at all. Our dining room is full and there are no empty seats.” I guess “. . . the information had not been transmitted” to Food & Beverage either. I was starting to feel like I didn’t exist. He suggested that we go to the buffet on the top deck. Like whipped puppies, we found an elevator and pressed 14. The buffet was hardly the way to open our glamorous cruise on the Divina. I don’t remember what the food was, and that should tell you how impressed I was. There was a savior. At the Reception (Front) Desk, where I was headed to blow up or commit a crime, I met a big burly man who knew how to snap out orders and get things done. I approached him with our story of woe. Pavel Gazzo, the Guest Relations Manager knew what to do! He checked my photocopy of what MSC had sent and started snapping out orders to various staff members. Things started to happen. As promised when booking, a packet of drink tickets magically appeared. The complimentary ‘no gratuities’ actually worked, and the sparkling wine and deluxe fruit basket of seasonal foods appeared on the second day of the cruise as I was changing to go to dinner. Voila: One banana and Granny Smith apples must have been “in season” in the Caribbean last December. That’s a kiwi fruit under the plastic. Have you ever peeled and eaten a kiwi fruit? The wine went to a Trivia game winner and we split the banana. The cruise was getting better. There is no more to write about. This review should give the average reader an idea of my first and last cruise with MSC. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Caribbean cruises aboard the MSC Divina (3,500 passengers) are enjoyable one-week getaways that come with a collection of offerings very different from those of other major lines serving Southern ports. To be clear, Mediterrean Shipping Company’s twelve passenger vessels serve Mediterrean and other European ports. Only one of their ships is assigned to the North American market, sailing out of Miami, mostly on 7-day itineraries. The company is obviously trying to establish a presence in a place they feel is underserved for their style of service. The point here is that MSC is attempting to make inroads to the American/Canadian markets and this cruise passenger maintains they are failing. From the outside, the ship looks beautiful. In fact, most of the cabins and public spaces are magnificent. It is a ship to be envied . . . but there are interior details to be considered. Negotiating in any direction is a challenge because there is little if any signage. Odd numbered cabins are on the port (left) side, and even on the starboard (right). It ends there. There are no front-back, forward-aft signs whatsoever. Deck numbers are hidden, even in the elevator lobbies. The Divina does maintain current industry standards; the theater is forward on lower decks, the main dining rooms are in the stern with one dining room (Villa Rossa) that can barely be found. It’s on Deck 6, but you have to go to Deck 7 and walk down one flight of stairs to get there. It takes practice and patience and makes me wonder what asylum did they put the designer of this misplaced room in such a difficult location . . . The “casino” is just outside the theater, of course. On a 2 year old ship, it looks tired and worn. Game tables are covered in a depressing dark forest green- not bright and lively green felt. Most of the 135 slot machines have aging front screens and games that 72-year old ladies who live in land casinos can’t understand. If they (the machines) look prematurely yellow and foggy . . . they are. After having cruised 23 times, I can remember that almost every passageway had “art”, some good, mostly bad . . . but I could remember the way to my stateroom by knowing that the ‘skyscraper’ came after the ‘wolf’ or the ‘Art Moderne nymph’ was just before the ‘manhole cover’. The Divina has almost no art on the walls- probably because the passageways (all of them) are too narrow. In fact, almost all walking areas are too narrow- especially those on the top deck buffet where hundreds of passengers walk at every meal. The 20 step Swarovski crystal double staircases in the atrium is a feature of the ship. They are eye-popping and worthy of a photo or two. I strongly recommend that you think twice before attempting them. Whatever you do, don’t look down and hold the handrail. Sooner or later, someone will tell you that each step cost $60,000 which means that one step is worth more than the median U.S. income, and collectively, could buy you a new Lear jet. Impressed? Food Today, food is one of the most important reasons people take cruises. The Divina offers a multitude of restaurants, both included in the price and some carrying extra charges. The difficulty is there seems to be nothing in print or online that lists which restaurants charge what. Maybe, it’s a secret. I avoided all of them and made myself happy in the main dining room, interestingly called “The Black Crab” . . . hardly a name one would expect on a ship from Italy. The Divina was built in France- it’s French ships that are built in Italy- go figure. The food is generally good (not great) with some exceptions. Menus offer a nice selection of appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts. Seafood is special with excellent prawns (big shrimp) as a main course. Roast beef offered on two nights was a toss-up- the first was passable, the second- impossible to cut through the grizzle. Maine lobster tail was already cracked with meat bursting from the shell. Expect the traditional Baked Alaska Parade and an Italian theme night. There was one appetizer that actually brought chuckles and giggles throughout the dining room from those who ordered it. It was described in print as: Seafood Seared Scallops on a creamy risotto with Prosecco wine and smoked Provola cheese When served, there was ONE (yes- one) half-inch overcooked scallop in the middle of a sea of mushy white rice. I guess there was wine and cheese in it, but my palate has not been to any culinary institute, so I couldn’t tell. I ate the scallop and passed on the mush. Please notice the “s” on the first line- ScallopS. The top-deck buffet has two names and I still don’t know why. There are NO ship buffets arranged in any way that makes sense. The Divina is the most confusing of all. First, it’s not arranged in a straight line. It has food stations out and indented with some semi-circular. Offerings change daily, and don’t assume that all breakfast items are the same or in the same locations. There are no cooked-to-order foods. My personal favorite, smoked salmon, was not available other than by special request. There was a selection of juices, but no tomato, another favorite that was missing. I’m told that the variety of pizzas was impressive (I am not a fan) and the burgers were good. Who goes on a cruise for burgers and pizza? Worthy of note are the fresh cut cold cuts for make-your-own sandwiches and fresh breads. On the minus side- there are no spoons to stir coffee- just wooden swizzles and never enough cream, or half & half to lighten any of the Divina’s strong coffee. There are not salt and pepper shakers anywhere on the deck- just annoying tiny packets, as are all condiments. Serving plates were large, oval and scratched Melamine (or Melamac), a throwback to the 1960’s. They were tacky. Bars There are more bars and lounges (18) on the Divina than on most ships her size- pool bars, sports bars, elegant bars, disco bars, etc. Alcoholic drinks were uniformly priced at $7.25 (Dec 2014) and included all the standards, as well as some inventive libations with names that never hinted at their contents. Rum, vodka and tequila all merged their way into “Deep Blue Lagoons” or “Deck X Smashers”. Be sure to check the drink packages for significant savings and remember to bring you room key-charge card wherever you go. Service Employees of any cruise line fall into two categories. Basically, those who work for a salary (entertainers, upper cruise staff, technical staff, the Captain and engineers, etc.), and those who depend largely on tips and gratuities (room stewards, dining room staff, casino dealers, etc.). Aboard the Divina, room attendants go out of their way to stay out of your way and clean the room carefully, at least once a day, usually more. Ice (tiny buckets) and fresh towels in the morning and at night. Our steward, Garfield Williams (Jamaica) had 15 rooms on Deck 10 to ‘make nice’ every day. In a 14 plus hour day, he had a total of one hour break time, and sometimes, not even that. Would you like that job? Those employees who never receive tips showed me why. Front desk (Reception) ‘clerks’ (best word to describe them) are efficient and professional. So much so, they often come across as Field Commanders for some general staff. They do their jobs, but, on the Divina, without a sense of humor, a smile or an attitude that “the customer is always right”. The same is true for the bartenders and photo staff when they are not hunting you down to pause on the jewel staircase or the fake ship’s wheel on the dock. Most people on the service side of the industry, frequently attend ‘smile schools’. They rarely work unless it’s a Disney related enterprise. The bottom line is that MSC scores low in service, not counting their dining room and housekeeping departments. Entertainment I had heard from a number of people, and had read online, that the shows were magnificent and I shouldn’t miss a single one. Wrong. The Pantheon Theater is impressive and the shows are generally good, with some better than others. The problem is ‘sameness’. The show names and costumes change, but the productions are only slightly different. It’s the same two singers and violin player. The same dancers doing the same moves and in a one-week cruise, there was one piece of “magic”. One. I heard the song “Volare” at least twice- maybe three times during the cruise. The dancers are A+ and perform the same choreography the same way in different elaborate costumes almost every night. The stage set is the same- a number of steps with LED lighting that change colors (wow!) and sometimes move a bit to accommodate an elevator lift in the center. In one show, a trio of Oriental ladies do some impressive acrobatics and the two hand-balance muscle men cannot help but impress. The Michael Jackson Revue is OK. It is not great- and that’s from a person who has published reviews of stage performances’. There are important pieces of entertainment that I missed. There are no comedians, no novelty acts, no mix of live musicians no patriotic shows, no magicians, no feature dancers, no Broadway or Hollywood themes . . . well, by now, you get the idea. I never even went to the last show. There is no live orchestra, and the sound equipment barely makes it on a level that my profession can detect. This was confirmed to me by a sound technician who admitted that MSC had cut corners on the microphones and other important sound equipment. Lighting programming (everything is digital of course) violates one of the primary rules of stagecraft. Powerful moving Gobo beam lighting circles the audience, shining in the faces of almost everyone. While interesting, these lights have proven to be a health hazard, triggering seizures to those who cannot handle the repetitive bright flashing. This is something that should be addressed immediately. If you were hoping for a cocktail or other drink to go along with the show, forget it. There is no bar service in the theater. “Guests may not reserve seats for others before show time” is another ridiculous policy in print that simply does not work on the Divina or any cruise ship. There simply is no ships staff on duty in the theater that I saw during any of the evening shows. Saving seats on this ship is as common as any ship in the Caribbean. Again, the take-away here is that show time on the MSC Divina is grossly overrated. It is barely adequate to other like-sized ships. In the winter of 2014, the ship’s Cruise Director is a nice lady who is linguistically challenged. She mispronounces many words and speaks so fast that many guests have difficulty understanding her. Maybe I’m being too critical and her talents are right for the Divinia or a stadium. Other entertainment in smaller lounges and venues are good, but always compete with silly art auctions-at-sea. Who goes on a Caribbean cruise to buy a really ugly painting? Bingo and a number of inside lounge ‘games’ are scheduled and I will admit to enjoying Kevin’s Trivia Quiz sessions. Ports of call My cruise visited the ports of Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cozumel and NCL’s (yes NCL) “private island”- Great Stirrup Cay. Any review of these ports would make this a book, so I will reserve port comments to another posting. “A Ship Within a Ship” (the Yacht Club aboard the MSC Divina) When one flies First Class, there are benefits and perks that those in Economy never see. Usually, there is a list of amenities that include special treatment from start to finish. MSC Cruises offers their version of First Class with “A Ship Wit hin a Ship”. It’s a special section of deluxe cabins, with a private elevator, concierge, pool, restaurant, etc. The balance of the passengers on any sailing receives a much different and lesser offering. It is fair to say that passengers in the Yacht Club are in a First Class setting that in almost all cases separates them in fact as well as cruise experience.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Nice ship, wonderful staff, great food, terrific entertainment. What or who ruined it were other cruisers. Guess because it was so close to Christmas and the colleges and universities were off, the young people decided to party. First day ... Read More
Nice ship, wonderful staff, great food, terrific entertainment. What or who ruined it were other cruisers. Guess because it was so close to Christmas and the colleges and universities were off, the young people decided to party. First day at sea a group got very intoxicated at upper pool bar. On the last night there was a loud party on deck 8 that continued til midnight. Loud people on balconies and people smoking where they should not be. Lesson learned here, avoid this time period for future cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small ... Read More
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small cabins, separated toilet & shower means you dry yourself off in the hallway of your cabin(!!), no large atrium or glass elevators, very crowded buffet at Garden Cafe on deck 15, sundeck area is small. First time on Norwegian, loved the laid-back "freestyle" cruise atmosphere. No need to dress up for dinner, no assigned dining times. Food was excellent -- lots of selections from a variety of countries (Indian, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, American). It's a party ship -- lots of dancing and music on the pool deck. Even if you're shy or feel you can't dance, they have simple line dances that anyone can join. The inside cabin is very small. There's storage, but not much room to open your suitcase on the floor. If you order room service, you'll have to eat on the bed(!!). The bathrooms = everyone hates them. The toilet and shower are separated. So, if you want to dry off after a shower and change into your pjs or fresh clothes, you can only do that in the shower, or in the small space right in front of your cabin door. While brushing your teeth or washing your hands or face, your cabin roommate will see you, as the sink is located in the middle of your cabin. Entertainment and variety of activities is excellent. Blue Man Group is a must see. I attended several lectures on board -- digital photography, upcoming cruises, Meet the Blue Men, etc and found them extremely interesting and useful. Families with kids will love the pools, water slides and rock climbing walls. Saw a lot of teens at the video arcade and basketball court. The ship attracts a lot of families, so if you prefer quiet cruises, please choose another ship. Couples who want privacy (meaning no kids), can use the Spice H2O/Haven area at the rear of the ship. It's quiet and there are 2 hot tubs, a bar and a heated (!) pool. This was my third cruise. I would highly recommend Norwegian Epic to those who: -- want great food and entertainment -- like a laid-back, relaxing cruise, without dress codes and assigned dinner times. -- like a big ship and don't mind crowds -- are traveling as a family with small kids or teens Don't chose the Norwegian Epic if you: -- like peace and quiet on your holiday -- hate small children -- hate large crowds About me: -- Late 30s, female, Canadian living in Asia. Traveled on a "girl's only" holiday with a female friend. -- My parents (late 60s, early 70s) joined me on this cruise. They loved the ship and didn't care about the small children or noise. -- I've cruised Western Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean and Middle East with Costa. This cruise was my first time with Norwegian. -- I was impressed with Norwegian and will likely cruise with this company again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
'What plans do you have for your day today?' - 'Did you have a nice day?' - 'Where are you going to eat?' - 'What did you think of the entertainment?' These are examples of the opening conversation ... Read More
'What plans do you have for your day today?' - 'Did you have a nice day?' - 'Where are you going to eat?' - 'What did you think of the entertainment?' These are examples of the opening conversation lines we did not hear from our Concierge except 'Good Morning' and we only got that as a begrudging comment before she returned to her computer. Not on this ship - Everyone made you feel as though you were on a really friendly ship and everyone including the deck and service crew gave you a cheery wave -- that was on Norwegian line. The only time anyone spoke to us was when they were trying to sell you the overpriced jewelry and spa services. And the lifts were a joke. The aft (front) lifts went to the 6th floor but you could not access the back of the ship from there you had to go to the 7th floor and then walk along to the middle to go back down to the 6th. ??? The ship itself was fine. The suite cabin we had was smaller than we normally get and we found our friends who paid less got a bigger suite two floors below. Certainly if it was my first time on a cruise I would think it excellent but unfortunately it seems I have been spoiled by Norwegian line. Just to top it off we dined in the crab shack on the penultimate night and when the waiter put the napkins around my friend's neck he said 'How tight would you like me tie it?' and made a hanging motion as if to hang her. This was unfortunate as her son had actually hung himself five years before. We larfed and larfed over that one............!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my favourite, although lately we prefer Celebrity. I won't talk about the ports as they are common to all lines. Specific Positives about Princess in general: (1)Food is very good ( a notch below Celebrity but above Carnival). (2)Love that they have multiple entertainment theaters (Vista Lounge in the rear and Princess Theater in the front, plus piano bars so you can usually find something you like). (3)Service/Staff is excellent (notwithstanding they have eliminated many positions - no longer have wine stewards in the dining room and you have to go to the bar to get a drink when on deck). Specific Negatives about Princess in general: (1)For a cruise line that pioneered anytime dining, anytime diners are now almost second class citizens. They have always had three dining rooms however previously one was reserved for set seating and the other two for anytime diners. This was our second cruise with Princess this year and on both cruises one dining room was specifically set aside for set seating, however one of the remaining two was reserved for set seating until 8:00pm, leaving only one dining room for anytime diners wanting to eat before 8:00pm. As both these cruises left from Florida, most anytime diners wanted to eat between 6:00 and 7:00 leading to long lines and wait times. I know many Europeans like to eat later so it may work there but not on cruises from North America. (2) I know many people love the Movies Under The Stars, and I would have no problem if it was only under the stars, but during the day the sound system is so loud that if you want to relax and read a book in peace and quiet you are almost obligated to pay the money for the Sanctuary (was that the plan?). Specific Negatives about the Royal Princess: (1), (2), and (3) - Balcony size! It is ridiculously small. We had a mini suite and were constantly tripping over either chair legs or each other's legs trying to manoeuver around the balcony to sit down. Forget trying to entertain guests on the balconies. (4) WARNING - do not book a balcony cabin at the rear sides of the ship. The glass walkways on Lido deck that hang out over the side at the back of the ship allow people to easily observe the balconies (no privacy) and for balcony rooms on the upper decks, walkers can look right into the cabin. (5) The proximity of the redesigned Wheelhouse Bar to the Crown Grill, without a full wall between, and both open to people walking by, eliminates the sanctuary feeling of the old Wheelhouse Bars and the romanticism of the specialty restaurant. Specific Positives about the Royal Princess: Can't really come up with any specific to the ship as basically I think Princess "missed the boat" so to speak, on this design. But I'm prejudiced, as I stated earlier I prefer the Golden/Grand class. Embarkation/Disembarkation- My wife and I breezed through both although we are Platinum so we had Preferred Embarkation, and we have GOES for returning so we had a priority line for customs - NOTE - there are no signs or other indications that a GOES priority line exists, you have to ask. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Disney Dream cruise was the best experience right from the start. Here is a detailed view: Checkin Process online prior to arrival at port - very simple and straight forward with all options clearly defined. Checkin process at port - ... Read More
Disney Dream cruise was the best experience right from the start. Here is a detailed view: Checkin Process online prior to arrival at port - very simple and straight forward with all options clearly defined. Checkin process at port - well organized and efficient. For little kids, get the electronic band immediately post checkin before 3pm. Boarding - Welcome team announces your family and you feel good as the crew and ambience make you feel that you are entering magical world. This is the just the beginning. Day 1 - Save up your energy and sign up for lot of kids activities. There is ton of stuff for teenagers too. For adults there are good socializing options. Day 2-4, it is filled with fun activities. Suggestions: 1. Don't need special cameras, let Disney crew take as many pictures as they can. Don't feel shy. It is worth it. In the end you can buy the cd and prints for a reasonable price around $300+ for unlimited pictures. 2. Pick your food selection of your choice based on dietary interests. You can always order food on the menu for free. 3. Pick a deck level 6-9 as they are the best, to avoid motion sickness. Room at the middle section is best. Stateroom with Verandah is worth the price. 4. Keep your valuables in room safe. 5. Take Airborne or similar to boost immune system. Use the wipes they give everywhere to stay healthy. 6. Tip your Head Server, Server and Assistant along with your host/hostess. They work 14 long hard hours to make your trip worthwhile. 7. Take Snorkle and swimming gear with you. If you can take swim jackets is worth it. Otherwise, they quickly add up in costing. 8. In Nassau, take the trip to see using the taxi first and then come back to ship for lunch and then go back for some more walking around downtown which is near port. All walkable distance of less than 5 min. You can pay everything in USD, and items are priced reasonably. Stores perpendicular to Main Street have better price on same product. Be mindful of pickpockets and folks swiping stuff. Otherwise very safe place. 9. In Castaway Cay, it is Disney property and most items are free except Snorkle gear and swimming gear etc. 10. As everything is charged to room and charge card on file. Be mindful, of what is free and what costs. Best of all it is crew and team work that make it memorable. There is plenty of food, soft drinks and ice creams for free always. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter ... Read More
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter and services and amenities are being "redirected" to maintain profitability. As long-time balcony-cabin cruisers our first shock came when we saw the small 4 ft x 10ft balcony in cabin V5084 with just enough room for two of us and a couple of chairs, an ottoman, and tiny 18 inch high table. Balconies on older ships were significantly more spacious. Our Upper Verandah room was just above lifeboats #8 and #6 on Port side. The balcony was private and well protected from rain by a large overhang above, the only intrusion being maintenance crews greasing the lifeboat hoist mechanisms - which they did while docked on days 2 and 6 of our cruise. The cabin was small but adequate with very comfortable bed, and an additional couch and desk area. Bathroom with shower and small tub were fine (incl shampoo & conditioner & soap dispensers), though we wish there had been a night light; instead we kept the bathroom light on with door closed at night since light switches were hard to find in the dark. 2 cozy robes were provided. Closet space was ok but poorly illuminated. Three life-vests occupied the top shelves of the 3 closets --- these would be better stowed in the difficult to open cabinets above the couch. Volume on the small TV was poor while watching movies, even at max setting. Closed-captioning was definitively a help, but did not always work for some reason. Fortunately channel 44 announcements came through loud and clear. The morning sun was quite obvious since the curtains were not room-darkening enough. We faced away from land at Half Moon Cay and in Key West. The next shocker was the coffee - something that was always a treat on Holland in the past. It was downright mediocre and not becoming of the Dutch tradition of a "lekker kopje koffie" (delicious cup of coffee). The Half and Half was thin and milk-like. No doubt the motivation is to economize with cheaper beans and to drive coffee aficionado's to deck 11 Explorations Cafe, which features a Starbucks type coffee-shop that charges extra! Likewise, internet access is available but slow and expensive ($55 for 100 minutes). We had an excellent signal in our room, but just signing on and getting our backlog of messages consumed several minutes each time. Wi-fi calling was impossible on my t-mobile phone since the connection was too slow. The cabin stewards did their best, were pleasant, and were obviously being pushed to their limits: one afternoon my wife accidentally spilled some crackers in front of the couch, and while the room had been turned out nicely for bedtime, we found crumbs still all over the floor. When we asked about this the next day our cabin steward indicated they only had time to vacuum in the mornings. The ships' staff were excellent as always, and seemed to be even friendlier than we remembered in our past travels ... plenty of "good mornings", "how are you", "have a nice day", etc. The TAMARIND restaurant in particular was a truly exceptional experience! For the $20 extra cost you are treated to an extraordinary oriental meal, and my 1-1/2 inch thick wasabi-encrusted filet mignon put any other meat served in Lido or the Rembrandt restaurant to shame - especially the 3/4 inch drab filet they served on Steak & Lobster formal night (Note: we never ate at the Pinnacle Grill, so can't compare). Food quality and selection in general was very good and we never had stomach issues. We do suggest you plan on eating outside of "normal" hours since rush hour gets really busy. The elevators were TERRIFIC!!! Super fast and efficient with lovely waiting areas that were tastefully designed, and with roomy staircases. We loved the outside elevators with their awesome views. Other areas of the ship, in particular the main Lobby & Atrium on decks 1 & 2, seemed small and narrow, though most of the time they were not crowded. The Casino was ok but the older-type 25 cent slot machines we like to play were on the smoking side, and ventilation was inadequate to prevent drifting smoke from becoming unbearable at times. Neither of us felt compelled to attend evening performances in the Queen's lounge, and we missed the ol' days of magicians, comedians, and hypnotists. The shops are excellent, brightly lit with plenty of selection in a wide variety of prices. There was a sidewalk sale one day on Lido but due to maintenance on the the sliding roof mechanism the trapped heat and humidity from the pool and all the passengers present was stifling as we waited in long lines to pay the cashiers. The SPA was fantastic though expensive (as usual). We consider it a treat and don't mind the surcharge, though we did opt for shore days when rates were discounted. The facilities are lovely, and the very capable massage therapists had wonderful attitudes. The nearby Gym has plenty of room and equipment, with nice sea views. Exercisers have plenty of opportunity to walk on Promenade, the observation decks, and play tennis/soccer/basketball etc. on the very nice net-enclosed Sports deck. The Eurodam is equipped with the latest stabilizing equipment, but I doubt those were needed during our cruise since we had such perfect weather throughout our 7 day trip. Cabin V5084 is located exactly midships and therefore already extremely stable. We hardly felt the waves and it was only the soft vibrations of the engines that reminded us we were on a ship. In fact we didn't even experience the after cruise wave sensations that normally stay with us days after a cruise ends. So, while this new ship is technologically more advanced, for us the bottom line feeling was that of a cheapening of the cruising experience. New cruisers may have a completely different opinion, but we can't help make comparisons to our previous trips. The economic reasons are understandable, but nevertheless we will avoid the Eurodam, and its sister the Nieuwe Amsterdam, in our future travels. We hope that the older ships will maintain their stature and dignity long enough for us to enjoy a few more cruises before those too get redesigned to achieve financial efficiencies.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Hello We choose to try out the Quantrum as it Is a Brand new ship and came with a lot of Hype . Our History ,this was our 31st Cruise and our 4th with RCI ,We've cruised with all the popular Cruise Lines NCL, Cunard, Holland America, ... Read More
Hello We choose to try out the Quantrum as it Is a Brand new ship and came with a lot of Hype . Our History ,this was our 31st Cruise and our 4th with RCI ,We've cruised with all the popular Cruise Lines NCL, Cunard, Holland America, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess. We always book at least a balcony cabin ,and have cruised in suites ,and owner suites if the deal was right . Almost all of our previous cruises have been in mid sized ships 1700-2200 passengers , this was our first experience on a "Mega" ship. We booked a balcony cabin on deck 9 mid ship , I was not impressed with the size of our Cabin and the bathroom ,very narrow, no table for in room dining, if chosen , But very adequate storage ,I found a lot of annoying features , you had to insert room card in slot for lighting to work,[Trick you can use any creditcard sized card] TV selection was very pitiful , unless you wanted to pay 12.00 to view a movie, Our room only had 2 110volt outlets on the desk . No 110 outlets in bathroom and very limited counter space. You had to request stuff like shampoo, Ice and ice bucket ,bath ropes, no coffee table to set any room service tray on . Mass confusion is about the only way to describe all the problems with this ship and crew ,Problems with restaurant reservations from day one ,we didn't know you had to book all restaurants separately ,so we were stuck with 8.30 dinners ,but people with 8.45 or 9.00 would show up early and be on line in front of you ,very annoying . ended up finishing dinner sometimes as late as 11.00pm . Food in the "free" restaurants was O.K. nothing spectacular ,The buffet was good for breakfast ,but very crowded, with fairly long waits on the omelet lines ,Coffee was good and always available. The Northstar ,You had to get on line at 9.00 am [or before] to sign up for a morning or afternoon ride . but they had problems with it numerous times ,so many rides were cancelled .Bumper cars were fun ,and the lines moved quickly . Now I,m kind of a low tech person [still have a flip phone] and this is supposedly a high tech ship ,all the waiters have I pads ,although almost everyone I talked to was having problems with email and text. I turned my phone off as soon as I got on the ship ,the way I look at it is I'm on vacation and I don't want or need to be in Constance contact with anybody. The ship is very nice and has a adequate amount of elevators ,Although at times 2 or more were out of order . Here's some of the Pro's love the Bumper cars North Star [when it's operating] Atrium Café [excellent tasty sandwiches] Most employees helpful [put seem to be limited by paperless systems] Very clean modern ship Embarkation was the easiest and fastest of all our 32 cruises Price match on port liquor stores [bring proof] Excellent room attendant Donny Campbell Very good sound proofing cabin Here's some of my Con's Lines longer than I'm used to on smaller ships Pricey Drinks More salt than needed Smaller than average stateroom Definitely geared toward technology[ unless this is what you want] Blackjack uses 8 decks Paperless can be annoying at times Stressful because of the Dynamic Dining and long waits RCI Quantrum Is a Beautiful ship, but not for me I prefer smaller ships with set dining times [early/late] I probably wouldn't cruise on her again .We had a good time but found it stressful at certain times . I'll still sale with RCI in the future ,we already have a future Cruise booked on the Grandeur .Mega ships, and Dynamic dining are not for me.     Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
First time on Norwegian after a previous cruise with Crystal. No attempts at comparisons here, just an honest review of our experience. Jade chosen for route and schedule and my wife and I were in cabin 11654 , an aft facing cabin. Cabin ... Read More
First time on Norwegian after a previous cruise with Crystal. No attempts at comparisons here, just an honest review of our experience. Jade chosen for route and schedule and my wife and I were in cabin 11654 , an aft facing cabin. Cabin - large mini suite with plenty of room due to its disabled facilities. Very comfortable and no noise to speak off. Relaxing view and wave sound from the good size balcony. Food - we did not have a bad meal on the ship. It was only on the second last night when we ate in Alizar that we felt the menu was a bit underwhelming. But the food that night was still good. We had the Ultimate Dining package and that was good value with all the options serving very good food. Breakfasts were always good and thanks to Mr Coffee Coffee and Mr washy Washy, a fun place to start your day. Staff - all the staff were great and it was good that many times they would stop to engage and not just serve. Entertainment - a mixed bag but not unexpected given the many different nationalities on board. Tenors of Rock, the Gymnasts and the Jadegirls with their 60's nights were standouts. Nathaniel Reed was a terrific piano bar player and host. Pretty much all the other entertainment options were provided and were more than satisfactory. Excursions - the few that we used were good value, especially the Sorrento and Pompeii tour through Naples. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are experienced cruisers, but have never cruised with Cunard in the past. We got a great balcony deal and went for it, risking the Bay of Biscay in December! The ship is magnificent, a bit like a country house, which fitted the time of ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, but have never cruised with Cunard in the past. We got a great balcony deal and went for it, risking the Bay of Biscay in December! The ship is magnificent, a bit like a country house, which fitted the time of year with all the ships Christmas decorations in place. There are lots of comfortable lounge areas on board, from which to watch the world go by on sea days. The onboard lectures were excellent and the food the best we have ever had, even though the menu is written in 'flowery' language.  Afternoon tea is an experience not to be missed in the Queens ballroom, remember to skip lunch! The cabins are spacious with much bigger balconies than we have had on other ships such as Ventura. The entertainment was first class. Drinks and tips expensive. Just adjust or even cancel the tips and give what you think is appropriate. The on board talks were interesting and well presented. Our top two cruise lines are now Celebrity and Cunard. Bye the way, Biscay was kind to us, the ship pitched a little, but nothing to worry about. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Where do I begin. Our first experiance with the Sky was truely one to remember. We normaly sail in a Balcony (BA class mid ship) but on this cruise the cruising gods were smilling down on us and three days before we sailed we were bumped ... Read More
Where do I begin. Our first experiance with the Sky was truely one to remember. We normaly sail in a Balcony (BA class mid ship) but on this cruise the cruising gods were smilling down on us and three days before we sailed we were bumped up to the Owners Suite! Thats right we went from the balcony cabin of 202 sqft. to 835 sqft. cabin, private balcony w/hot tub, free alcohol, treats from the staff every evening a butler & concierge service. SPOILED!! You could tell the ship was a little old and needed a little mait. here and there but the staff was friendly and attentive the entertainment was very good for a smaller ship and of course the food was as always with Norwiegian fantastic. We have taken four cruise's with Norwiegian in the past five years these guys know how its done! They have certainly won my buisness as a matter of fact we are already booked on the madian voyage of the new Norwegian Escape in November.....Cant wait!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and ... Read More
Having cruised twice before in the Med with Thomson and having enjoyed my experience thoroughly as a special treat I decided to book a surprise cruise to the carribean for my wife's 50th Birthday. We booked a week prior to travel and flew out from Manchester T1 early on the 6/12/2014. The chartered flights with Thomas Cook airlines went very smoothly, good quality food and service and the fact that this was chartered by P&O which meant we loaded the cases in Manchester and then didn't touch them again until they arrived at our cabin door on the ship made the flying experience really great. We arrived in Barbados to gorgeous warm sunshine and where then off loaded by P&O directly onto the transfer coach and taken directly to the port, no hassle with customs etc. on arrival at the ship we then went through a short process to take our photographs, present our credit card and be issued with our boarding cards. Again this was very swift and professional. The ship as an awesome site, biggest that we have been on. The cabin allocation again was swift but we did encounter a problem in the cabin with the set out of sleeping arrangements, we had requested a double room but where allocated a twin and unfortunately this couldn't be changed to a double due to the configuration of the lamps attached to the bedside tables, this was the main weak area of the service we received as INfeltvthat P&O didn't do enough to rectify the fault.. The facilities on board are great, choice of 4 swimming pools, plenty of sun beds, great waiter service, brilliant gym, sauna, spa and plenty of places where you could escape and relax. Food on board was good, plenty of choice and most of it served 24/7. We also used the Beech House for a small surcharge which was good, the MarconPierre and Athol Cuutcher restaraunts also seemed nice. We had early dining in the Bay Tree restaraunt at 6:30 which we found too early. Service again was outstanding but portions where a little small. Evening entertainment was good, we did the theatre after dinner then onto an internal bar such as Havanah, Tamarind or Metropolis and finish off the night with a few drinks on deck. The Headliners theatre company who performed in the theatre are a must to see, as is a comedian by the name of John Martin. Beer pric scare not bad but be aware that some of the bars do not serve draft beer, only from cans or bottles. We did feel that entertainment on board overall wasn't as good in some areas as on the Thomson ships. We where also a little disappointed by the formal evenings which didn't seem to be a celebration of a special event unlike the Thomson ships. The ship overall is neat and tidy, consistently cleaned, quite spacious and modern. The ports we visited on our Itinerary where good although some are up and coming ports which do need further development, the nicest places where St Maarten, Tortola, Curaçao, Bonaire and of course Barbados. I do still struggle to understand why the ships sail so early ( 5pm ) from some ports when the next port is only a short distance, we would have loved to stay ashore at places like St Marrten and Curaçao to get a taste of the nightlife. Same withnthe 2 days at sea on the return journey to Barbados, we could've called at one more stop on the way. All of the islands accept the US dollar but be aware that a couple of places have their own dollar so some change could be given in this currency which can only be spent on that Island. In Barbados also most prices are quoted in Barbados dollars to which there are 2 to every US dollar, make sure you ask when buying something or quoting a price for a taxi. You also need to try the flying fish in Barbados, yummy. The people in the Carribean can't do enough for you, very friendly and eager to help. Taxis are positioned at each port as well as numerous tours etc which are priced reasonably, the Beaches are stunning, the water is just as you imagine in a brochure and the climate is a steady 27 to 28 day and night, the humidity takes a bit of getting used too as does the 4 hour time difference.. Overall our first experience with P&O was good although we did feel that it could have been better, we do love the Carribean and will re visit. We would recommend P&O cruises to others and will be cruising again with them   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I just read 2 conflicting reviews on this cruise and I appreciate a review is only someones opinion so here is another one! In January 2015 we cruised with NCL Getaway (Southampton to New York) and going from their newest ship to the ... Read More
I just read 2 conflicting reviews on this cruise and I appreciate a review is only someones opinion so here is another one! In January 2015 we cruised with NCL Getaway (Southampton to New York) and going from their newest ship to the oldest in their fleet, I will not lie we were a little apprehensive but we went with an open mind and took into account the ships age the cost of cruise. Embarkation, was straight forward Service, we only encountered friendly and polite service Cabin, is of age but had everything and more of what you require and of good size, clean, comfortable and well kept, (please update the hairdryer) Public sitting areas did have some signs of age but were clean comfortable and well kept. The other public areas stairways/corridors were very clean, well kept and looked new in places. Dining in Windows we did not require to wait any evening the meals were good with a wide range each evening, some evenings the service could be a little slow but lets be honest who is in a hurry, you are on vacation and I will add the servers were nothing but polite and helpful. Entertainment left a little to be desired (be honest more than a little) the last two evening shows were their best. (we were spoiled as on the inaugural Getaway sailing the entertainment was outstanding) Shore excursions I will make this short, miss out Casablanca and the rest were fine. Spa, This ship has had a number of refits over the years, I can understand they have not managed a pool within the spa area, but this day and age they should have managed a unisex spa area,as they have on their other ships. Value-for-Money, again I will keep short 'excellent'   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we ... Read More
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we proceeded to the priority check-in. We took advantage of the kids sail free program, and we received great rates on the Balcony rooms. We were told our room was changed which had me concerned. I thought "it's already starting". The representative told us we were moved to the 16th floor. I thought, it's close to the pools so that is good for my daughter who is autistic and has a slight cerebral palsy and wears a brace on her leg. She has cruised many times including Hawaii on the Pride of America ship. We went to the fifth floor hotel staff once on the ship in the atrium to change our baggage delivery to the right room. Well, we were upgraded to a two bedroom two bath Haven complete with a butler, concierge, and more. We had double sinks with a soaking tub and a water jet shower which overlooked the ocean. We had a bottle of wine and champagne delivered to the room at no charge. Godiva Chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries. our own restaurant area. When we wanted to get off of the ship in port or tender, we were escorted right off the ship without any lines, we had exclusive seating at the shows, huge dining room and living quarters, we had our own sun deck and pool, spa to share with other haven owners. Too many things to mention, but this was by far the most relaxing we were due to the fact that we were secluded from the other 4,000 passengers or so to fight for a sun chair or a spot in the pool. In short the Epic was amazing ship and the Haven made it that much more special. What made it even more special was that we didn't even ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We've been on many Carnival cruises. This was the first on the Carnival Magic. We began our trip at the Hilton Galveston, which offered free parking for the duration of the cruise. The Hilton provides a shuttle to the port, but it ... Read More
We've been on many Carnival cruises. This was the first on the Carnival Magic. We began our trip at the Hilton Galveston, which offered free parking for the duration of the cruise. The Hilton provides a shuttle to the port, but it fills up early, and it is difficult to get a cab when there are ships in port. Get on the list early or make reservations to park at EZ Cruise. We arrived at the port a bit early and were on the ship sipping a pina colada around noon. The Carnival Magic is large, and has the general Carnival feel. It was decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah, which added an extra festive atmosphere. We very much enjoyed the Serenity Deck, the workout room, and the daily tea time- try the dreamy biscuits with clotted cream. We attended the ceremonial lighting of the menorah each evening before dinner, but there was a cultural miscommunication- the kitchen provided breakfast pancakes rather than traditional potato latkes which we all found more amusing than annoying. Service in the dining room was superb. The wait staff took care to accommodate every request. As always, the photographers on board are talented and provide some of the best portraiture around. The most notable thing about this cruise was the smoke. I'm not sure if it is the ship design or Carnival's smoking in the casino rule, but it was difficult to find a place on the Promenade Deck from the casino back to the dining room that did not have a smokey essence. The casino itself was unbearably smokey. On previous cruises, we spend time and money each day in the casino. On this cruise, once was enough. A little non-smoking emblem on a slot machine is no match for the row of chain smokers a few feet away. My eyes burned and my clothing reeked after 20 minutes at a slot machine. We spent the money normally spend in the casino in the ports- Carnival's loss. 18% of adults smoke. It seems rather unwise to drive the other 82% percent away from an income stream. I'm not allergic to smoke or an anti-smoking cruise-aider (pun intended) but until there is decent ventilation, the smoking in the casino rule will keep us from spending time and money there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014

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