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2,163 Holiday Cruise Reviews

The Holland America Line has always held a special place in the hearts of my family members. It was on the Veendam that my sister's husband proposed to her - just outside of St. Kitts. My husband later proposed to me on the ... Read More
The Holland America Line has always held a special place in the hearts of my family members. It was on the Veendam that my sister's husband proposed to her - just outside of St. Kitts. My husband later proposed to me on the Westerdam as it made its way through the Panama Canal. We'd been on the Noordam back when HAL had 5 day cruises and family members had traveled on the Rotterdam (which I am looking forward to boarding one of these days). The service, food, cleanliness, cabin size and breathtaking common areas always kept family members coming back. We were looking to really splurge on extraordinary service, elegance and comfort for my sister's 40th birthday, in addition to anniversaries and Thanksgiving. Rather than going with RC or Disney which we'd happily cruised in the in-between years, we decided to book a holiday cruise on the Eurodam. We were excited beyond words to experience a newer ship in the esteemed HAL fleet. As it turns out, the giddiness of boarding previous HAL cruises evaporated upon setting foot on the Eurodam. To be fair, I was expecting a similar ship structure to the Veendam and Westerdam. I reviewed pictures of the Eurodam, but did not 'read between the lines' on what the class of ship truly meant. Although I'm not ready to throw in the towel on HAL just yet, I'll not be booking another cruise on the Eurodam. And so begins this review... Boarding the ship is via the standard ramp, but rather than being greeted in a grand, main room with a soaring ceiling, staircase and smiling staff, you'll find yourself herded to an outside gangway, on deck three. No pleasantries, no enthusiastic "Welcome Aboard", just "Need to scan your card" and move along and find your way, please. We booked a Verandah, balcony room for two adults and two children. In the past I've been in a quad on HAL which was roomy and well planned. Sadly, on the Eurodam, if you dare to book a room for four with a balcony, you'll find that the pullman bunk opens directly above the main bed. Where your head rests. I can't count how many times my husband and I bumped our heads on this unusual design flaw. Also, for a ship that was built three years ago, the cabin was just simply worse for wear. The couch springs were completely shot, the tables dented, stained and damaged and there was mildew baked into the caulk rims in the shower. The shower water had a pungent, sour tinge to it. I understand desalinization on cruises can be challenging, but something was off here. Overall, room stewards were kind, prompt and pleasant, and service from them was just as we'd recalled. Surprisingly, the hallways, common areas, Lido and dining room walkways etc. are all narrow and difficult to navigate without repeatedly bumping into other passengers when this ship is booked to capacity. I was blown away by how frustrating it was to simply get a glass of water from the Lido without having to step aside, move out of the way, etc. to let people pass, or vice versa, have them let us pass. So, the ship is bigger and with far more passengers, but is the extra space in the creation of more cabins? It certainly does not seem to be anywhere else as the ship seemed smaller than any I've been on. There is really no grand area either, the picture online shows a beautiful glass chandelier in a stairway, but the room is small and the staircase was frequently roped off. Possibly due to rough waters? Food was wonderful and fresh, no complaints here. I enjoyed each meal choice I made as well as the variety offered. I do have to say that service in the dining room and in the Lido is not what it once was. I believe this has to do with the inclusion of daily gratuity charges on guest's total bills - there is a guaranteed gratuity, nothing to really strive for? On the Lido, an hour could pass before a table was cleared, in the dining room, they served your meal in silence. The assistant wine steward was extremely rude to my family as well by making an inappropriate comment - still reeling from this experience. All in all, very limited pleasantries when at one time on HAL, you were greeted with a smile and by name, and items were whisked away, now, just nothing extraordinary - they simply don't seem to care. For entertainment, the shows were well done with the HALcats and magician. For group interaction, trivia was wonderful and fun the first few days. The DJ J was amusing and pleasant most of the cruise, but on Thursday, it was clear he was not up to hosting. He was slurring and stumbling, skipped numbers of questions, wouldn't listen to guests when they mentioned he'd missed questions... Quite frankly, it was a little disturbing! Hope he's feeling better. Sadly, we saw this for most of the entertainment cruise staff as the week progressed. Ports were lovely as expected. Suffice it to say, we'll not be venturing on the fleet class related to the Eurodam, but HAL, I still believe in you and look forward to having my expectations met on the Rotterdam! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We booked this cruise thinking that if we were going to do this once, then do it on the biggest.....We now know this is probably the BEST, even though we have no other experience to go by. We would not want to try any other cruise at the ... Read More
We booked this cruise thinking that if we were going to do this once, then do it on the biggest.....We now know this is probably the BEST, even though we have no other experience to go by. We would not want to try any other cruise at the moment. I have spent MANY hours reading reviews and tips before setting sail. Some reviewers here must have nothing better to do than bitch and moan! It was the BEST time myself and Margaret have EVER HAD on holiday!I work in the leisure industry, and this was by far the best service we ever had.Many a 10am Saturday morning was spent on www.portevergladeswebcam.com watching Oasis sail into port, and 10pm for the sail out. We 'requested a wave' months before we left home! We booked back in January through a local agent. Would deffo book myself in future for what little they did! The flights changed several times, the last being THREE WEEKS before departure! It was decided to go a day early from the start as we were due to land 21.35 on the Friday and we wanted to spend a day in Fort Lauderdale before boarding.Got to FLL to be met by one of the RCCL meet and greet. They had a bus on standby that we did not know about as we were told by the agent it was our problem to get to the hotel!! I told him of the original plans and he even trollied our bags up to the Hertz counter and stood with the wife while I sorted the car! Great service. Hire car through Hertz was changed from a Ford Mustang convertible, (Gutted!) to a top spec E Class Mercedes... (better than a kick in the gonads I suppose). First night (at our expense) was spent at the Best Western Oceanside on Holiday drive. Great value for money and breakfast thrown in! Was booked it without realising it was next door to the Sheraton beach, Our room booked for the Friday by RCCL. VERY handy!!!! Top Tip. DON'T bother going to the Sheraton, Waste of money! I got up at 4am to walk down the beach to video the ship sail in. Had been watching it sail in on webcam, so wanted to see it in the flesh!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXdZgGC8Hf0 We went back to the Best Western for Saturday breakfast at $10 a head.Brilliant service by the western staff. Even the meet and greet guy recommended it. Transfer to port very smooth and we were on board from getting off the bus within 15 mins! Was on board shortly after 12 noon. Lovely air conditioned atmosphere as soon as you board and the wow factor hit us straight away! First stop was to drop the carry on in the room. What a great room and a decent view to the rear of the ship and boadwalk area. Very little noise through the double glazing,even when a show is in full swing! Then up to the wipeout cafe for a little bite. Not fantastic fayre, it could of done with a soda fountain and not the 'tinted water', but more than adequate. Back to the room for a few hours before making our way on top deck for the sail off, with a drink in hand, Union Jack tied to the rail by the Flowrider for the 'wave' at the port everglades webcam for all at home to see ;-). It was probably due to us being VERY tired, but the main dining room (my time dining) menu did not tempt us,so we asked if it was OK just to leave it. Andie the head waiter was very accommodating and was trying to offer something off the menu and the waiter Alvin and assistant waiter Roy were great. These guys bent over backwards for us and never disappointed! They were worth the extra tip we put into the envelopes at the end. Food was absolutely fantastic for the rest of the cruise. Another one worth the extra tip was Frederick the room attendant. Treated the wife like a princess! Sunday sea day was spent touring the ship. We had breakfast at the Windjammer every day as we ate very well and rarely needed to go for lunch. Some days when we had a late evening meal, we would snack at wipeout and once had lunch at windjammer. I went on the Zipline. A comedy show was booked for the evening but we decided to cancel as we were still tired and had Labadee in the morning. Labadee was good. I took part in the seadoo excursion. the beaches were nice, though the Artizans market people were VERY VERY pushy!!!! One tied a bead bracelet round Margaret's wrist so tight she could not take it off so she ended up paying for it! RCCL really need to stamp on these hustlers! It sort of spoilt the day somewhat. I know the islanders have had it tough, but surely more stuff would sell if there was a more relaxed attitude! In the end, we went back to the ship earlier than expected! Would not be disappointed if we went again and it was cancelled! Falmouth Jamaica was next. Nothing planned, so left the port for a stroll round. Met a taxi driver that had some good reviews on here, BABA. for $120 (all day!) he took us on a sight seeing tour on the way to Montego bay through a plantation where Johnny Cash had a house. Then to White Witch golf club for photo session. Onwards to Mo'bay to a hillside hotel/function place for more views/photos and some Red Stripe;-). Then to Doctors cove beach for an hour or so, (as long as we wanted) for a nice swim and several more Red Stripe! Back to port, some shopping and a soak in the Jacuzzi! Wonderful people, want to go again. Another sea day. Some bingo played and the headliner show was good. We don't do theatres or such as a rule, but this was good. The Oasis of Dreams was viewed several times from the balcony. For Cozumel, We did the Jeep/Snorkel safari. Snorkeled near port, then on to the jeeps to El diablo, a little bar on the beach, then to a Tequila Hacienda, followed by a poolside lunch before heading back to port for some shopping. 5 1/2 hours of fun and would not do again, simply because we have done it! The guides were great! Another sea day with bingo, shopping etcc and the final evening meal/waiter cabaret act. A drink on the rising tide bar and a water show rounded off the evening. Then back to port Saturday for the rough trip home. Sorry there were no reviews of other resturants and such, WE DID NOT NEED TO TRY.If they were better than the ones we went, then ou are in for a treat! Please do take the negative reviews on here and elsewhere with a big pinch of salt. Do plenty of research before you go. We did not see as much of the ship in a week as we thorght we would. Two weeks would be better. I did not think I would enjoy cruising, am now considering selling the caravan to do it once more!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Arrived a day early and stayed at Hotel Borge del mare In Civi. which I recommend. Room is adequate for the one night and the food and service good. They have free shuttle service directly to the ship. Embarkation was quick after an ... Read More
Arrived a day early and stayed at Hotel Borge del mare In Civi. which I recommend. Room is adequate for the one night and the food and service good. They have free shuttle service directly to the ship. Embarkation was quick after an 11:30 arrival. Rooms were ready atv1 PM so we toured the ship and had lunch in the Ocean View Cafe. Room with balcony was very nice, storage was adequate, suitcases fit under the bed. Bathroom was best at sea in my experience. Nice flat screen TV. Steward was excellent and professional. Shined my shoes. Above average compared to other ships. Select dining stress free. Had reservation at 8 PM each night. No waiting and most of the time had same table and waiter/assistant so they knew our preferences. Wine steward was also same. Had Premium drink pkg and suggest it. With coffees/lattes, fresh orange juice, wine at lunch dinner, and cocktails in evening it more than pays for itself. Bottled water at gangway for shore excursions great. Food was very good, nothing is perfect but overall very satisfied. Ocean View Buffet was best I have encountered so far. Serving stations free up the cafeteria wait on other lines. Food was very good and wide variety. In Istanbul they had a large variety of Turkish dishes. Service was good. Getting custom omlettes was hard at times with long wait. Only one cook. Fresh juice was great, extra charge. Somewhat slow for picking up finished plates. Crowded on port days AM. Pick up you items and take them to your room, much nicer or order room service. Only did RS once, fast, hot, and quite good. Used TV to order, challenging but got used to it. Entertainment throughout the ship was very good. Main shows in theater were quite bad. I never finished an entire show. This is definitely a weak area. The Martin Bar and staff were great. They put on their own shows. Cruise Director Que was okay. I liked that there were few announcements throughout the day. Tuscan Grill great service and steak excellent. Recommend it. Silk Harvest not so good. Service was overbearing, rushed, and made us feel uncomfortable. Sashimi was terrible and we lost our appetite after that. Left early, no desert. Replace it with Quisine! Cancelled Murano we were too full. We heard great reviews from others. Will try next time. Ports were excellent. Athens to see the Acropolis was nice but city is dirty and taxi drivers try to cheat you each time, lookout for the switcheroo when you give them a 20 bill and they immediately have a 5 in their hand and say you only gave them a 5 note. Istanbul was great. Ephesus is a must see site. Sicily great and Amalfi Coast beautiful. Did private tours in all ports. Great service, small groups-6 to 10, and half the ship tour cost. Suggest Ephesus Shuttle for Istanbul and Ephesus. Taxi Taormina in Sicily. Aldo's limos in Naples. All were on time, vehicles spotless, and guides very professional. I find Celebrity a cut above Princess overall. The ships are sophisticated, well designed. Equinox is beautiful. If they can only improve on the Equinox Theater offerings it would help. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Travelled from Sydney to Auckland with many ports whilst en route. Volendam is showing her age - looking worn around the edges and needing a face-lift - but this did not detract from our enjoyment of this fab cruise. Particular ... Read More
Travelled from Sydney to Auckland with many ports whilst en route. Volendam is showing her age - looking worn around the edges and needing a face-lift - but this did not detract from our enjoyment of this fab cruise. Particular highlights include: mayor of Burnie greeting us when disembarking; wonderful botanic gardens at Dunedin (easily walkable on a day ashore); beautiful weather on the day we 'tendered' into akaroa; genuine warmth of reception by the people of Napier; wonderful scenery in Mount Manganui. Life onboard was generally fun with a variety of entertainment. Our favorites were great quizzes organised by cruise director David and DJ Phil. Questions did tend to be rather geared to US residents, but hey, we can cope. Didn't win though! The evening meals were much better than I remember having on Ms. Veendam earlier this year but breakfast and lunch were still a bit of a scrum in the Lido self-service restaurant. Much better to go to the Rotterdam for a sit-down affair if time available. Our cabin was clean, had a wide range of storage, and was generally quiet but had odd ominous banging sounds from below on occasions (engine room? tenders?). We made full use of the self service laundrette, having been away for a week by the time we got on board ship. It really does seem odd that you still need an enormous number of US quarters to operate the washers and dryers, it's probably time that they sold tokens which would be much more user friendly. Opted for open dining which means we could go any time we wanted rather than be tied to a specific sitting. Generally shared with other people in tables of 6-8 and this worked very well most of the time and forced us to socialise with others, which was enjoyable and entertaining. Evening shows were not to our taste for the most part, but we recognised that all had talent. Usually quite difficult to find space to sit if one went after dinner. All in all, we had a fab time and would thoroughly recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
John, we got off the cruise on the Magic 11/27/11. It was a brilliant cruise. All of the staff was very friendly with a few exceptions. Kudos goes to our cabin stewards Rusalani and Ivana they were very attentive to making us comfortable ... Read More
John, we got off the cruise on the Magic 11/27/11. It was a brilliant cruise. All of the staff was very friendly with a few exceptions. Kudos goes to our cabin stewards Rusalani and Ivana they were very attentive to making us comfortable they felt like family to us.. Our cabin was 7270 and it was perfect with lots of room for all our medical equipment. My husband loved the shower and said he wanted to make our home shower this easy for him to get in and get out of. All of the crew spoke to us from white suit officers down to the cleaning crew. The one exception was Ken head suit in the dining room Southern lights. He never came down to our table of 15 to say hi. There are 3 levels of dining and Ken never left his main floor. Made us feel like step children. Our waiter was Sarwan who treated us like royalty. The last night the ship ran out of ice tea so he saved tea for our early seating since he knew we were big tea drinkers... The food in dining was excellent. The food on Lido was horrible. It was cold and greasy no matter when you got there. We ate once in the Prime Steak house and it is world class dining. The overall ship was kept clean. The bad food on Lido made 7 of our 15 sick with vomiting and diarrhea. I suspect it was Lido food as this was the common denominator of food borne illness for our entire group. The talk at the elevators was how many guests on the ship had these symptoms... The food poisoning lasted 24 to 48 hours. This really needs to be improved. The shows varied in their rating from poor to great. Our favorite was the last night show and Calvin brought the house down. James the cruise director needs to be an assistant director and Calvin should be head CD. James came across as just a dry announcer pushing the sales of all the products the gift shops and spas had. However, Calvin kept us rolling with every thing he did. We were disappointed that you, with your wonderful humor would not be on our cruise. However your mini-me ACD Calvin made up for your absence. I hope he gets a ship soon. He is going to be a great CD. Embarkation and disembarkation were painless. Good job there. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Although we thought it might be a little late in the year for an Athens - Venice cruise, there were still plenty of tourist about but we escaped the hordes of summer and the weather was in fact good enough to sit on deck most days, at ... Read More
Although we thought it might be a little late in the year for an Athens - Venice cruise, there were still plenty of tourist about but we escaped the hordes of summer and the weather was in fact good enough to sit on deck most days, at least from about 10am - 3.30pm. The Quest cabin was perfectly comfortable with enough drawer and hanging space, made easier by quite a few hooks on the bathroom door and in the cabin. Suitcases are not taken away but there is a space in the cabin for them - we found they would fit under the bed which was useful when it came to packing to go home. The bathroom, however is tiny. It was however, very clean and although tiny, we managed to shower, was,etc etc. with no trouble. There was adequate shelving and a cupboard in the bathroom for everything we needed. The balcony was a little disappointing - bigger than Seabourn Spirit but smaller than Seabourn Odyssey (both considerably more expensive), with a small table and two chairs but no room for a sun lounger. Food is served in the self service buffet and in the restaurant at breakfast and dinner, but buffet only at lunch time. At other times there is also a deck cafe serving burgers etc. We found that for dinner the restaurant was rather better food and better service. For other meals the buffet was fine and had an outdoor area for eating which was lovely in November, although there were not too many people eating outside towards the end of the cruise (about mid-November). Perfectly drinkable wine was included with lunch and dinner and to our surprise was not limited to one or two glasses. However, drinks from the bar were quite expensive. The daily cocktail was about the most reasonable thing on offer at between $6 - $10 plus 18% of course. We didn't have a big bar bill! No smoking allowed on Balconies. Balconies very private. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
November 20, 2012 sail date. Had to do the Allure once to see what all the fuss was about. The ship is a virtual city. The best entertainment of any cruise. You must order tickets in advance for all the important shows, which is all of ... Read More
November 20, 2012 sail date. Had to do the Allure once to see what all the fuss was about. The ship is a virtual city. The best entertainment of any cruise. You must order tickets in advance for all the important shows, which is all of them, or be very early on the ship and wait in line at the box office. I's not like other cruises, where you eat dinner and then make your way to the theater. The key shows each night are in different venues. Box office lines can be long for people who didn't get tickets/reservations in advance of the cruise. There is also standby line before the show starts and may get in that way as many did. The Aqua show with high divers was phenomenal. Chicago was very good. The cast production of Blue Planet was also excellent. The bands around the ship were very good and dancing to rock, salsa, big band etc etc . The karaoke, the pub singer with sing along, all very good and entertaining. never a problem getting beach chairs at any pool; great jacuzzis too. The ship never feels crowded. it's a behemoth There is so much to do for children and teens and they all appeared to be having a great time and making new friends...better than Disneyworld and the Nick parks we were told..and parents get to have their own time without worrying about children. No family vacation can match this, especially for what you get for the money. The 20-40 somethings also were having a great time Labadee is great and much fun for families, with beach, BBQ, Waterpark, zipline, coaster, littler shops etc. RCI did a great job with Falmouth, Jamaica. Lots of shopping right off the ship. we did Dunns river falls also, which was unique and a fun excursion. missed the trolley which takes you out of the shopping compound to the real Falmouth--$18 person i think ..will get it next time..dont have to book this on board , i believe..almost like a ho ho trolley. Cozumel is always great..did the unlimited snorkel which you walk to from the ship..next time will do paradise beach on own..shopping is great and fun in cozumel, as usual. Dining highlight was the specialty Italian restaurant in Central Park, as people said it would be. Food and service was extraordinary. The touch screens around the ship are a tremendous and very helpful improvement. Things we missed were : it almost didn't feel like you were at sea. There is a lack of personal aspect, it is so big. There is no wrap around deck on the 4th or 5th level, like with all other ships. There is a jogging track on 5th level , but no deck chairs for people to read and be close to the sea. At night that is one of my favorite aspects of the cruise--- to and feel and hear the ocean , and/or smoke a cigar [I am a cigar smoker]. Also, there is no collection of tables outside of the windjammer to eat breakfast or lunch outdoors--another favorite aspect of ours. There are serious over indulgences, like some developers who went wild when money was easy to come by. Like a levitating bar, which seems hugely expensive for the return--a silly extravagance. Central park was overdone, and many of the restaurants seemed mostly empty many times. The last days of Pompei. The food in the Main dining room, dinner was so mediocre to poor, we were surprised and did not expect it on RCI. Service was very slow. The first night they served prime rib, which was such a cheap, poor cut of meat, I was very disappointed in RCI. So we started eating dinner in the Windjammer...not too bad, and interesting variety. and no long waits. Service was very good in the windjammer. The MDR has a salad bar for lunch on sea days, as do other RCI ships which is great. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
From a little background, my wife and I have cruised 22 times, and this being the first on Royal Caribbean. Most have been on Princess, Celebrity and Carnival. We selected this cruise because my granddaughters wanted a change from Carnival ... Read More
From a little background, my wife and I have cruised 22 times, and this being the first on Royal Caribbean. Most have been on Princess, Celebrity and Carnival. We selected this cruise because my granddaughters wanted a change from Carnival or NCL and with the Mariner we had hopes this would be an upgrade from the others. We drove down the day of the cruise from Dallas, our group of 13 people in 3 separate cars and parked at EZ Cruise Parking. We collected our bag and were off to check-in. the initial process went smoothly, and being the one who was paying for everything, tried to put 3 cabins on one credit card and THOUGHT all was fine, but more on that later. We arrived around noon, and after check-in we were told it would be 1:30-2:00 before we would be allowed to board. Ok, that's fine so let's see if we can find a place to sit. We ended up finding one seat for my 85 year old mother, next to someone who was saving seats for his family. He probably did the same thing in the pool area because 30 minutes later we couldn't see anyone who even recognized him. We were directed to the other side of the terminal since it was getting rather crowded, and was told "I will personally come and get you and assist you on boarding". When our group was called we proceeded to the other side of the terminal again, and met people who were 2 groups ahead of us, so everyone seemed to merge into one and eventually got on board around 2:15. Headed up to Windjammer until the rooms were ready. Got down to the room, and met our cabin attendant I wanted the door between the 2 cabins opened so we could play cards with mom and sis and was told he would ask the Captain if it was doable. After day 2, and it still wasn't done, we went to the front desk and asked and was told they would take care of it. On day 3, we asked again and the cabin attendant told us it probably wouldn't be done because they were rusted shut. Really? He didn't know we are relatively seasoned travelers so I asked the front again and was told due to safety reasons they wouldn't be opened. I can say this is the first cruise where we weren't able to do this, and it was a little disappointing but no real big deal. Day 2 at breakfast I wanted some Egg Beaters, but was told they were out of them but could do egg whites instead. Again, really? This theme continued that afternoon at the Wig and Gavel where my wife wanted a Harvey's Bristol Creme that she ordered off a tattered and torn menu and guess what they didn't have that either so we left. For dinner, we had the early seating and ordered the premium wine package for our 3 wine drinkers. That was the easy part.... EVERY night when we ordered wine it took forever to get it served. The tables next to ours got theirs relatively quickly but we wailed 15-20 minutes extra for our guy to get his act together and serve ours. On the last night we ordered our last bottle, and 15 minutes later the waiter came to take our order and I said, "not until we get our wine, and it came pretty quickly after that. Worse than that was at a table right behind ours, there was a Veteran who wore his dress blues at the first formal night. Being a vet myself, I ordered him a bottle of wine and asked my waiter to take of it. No problem he said, but it was never done. Not cool. The next night I asked him what he liked, and ordered it from my guy and hand carried it over to him myself. This didn't seem to please anyone but me and him but I was surprised by the lack of consideration from my wait staff. Thinking they were overworked, I asked him how many tables we had, and it was 3. Not sure how this compares with the others, but I guarantee it wouldn't happen this way on Princess. Overall, I rank the wait staff as the worst we have ever had, although the food was pretty good. Mom enjoyed the adults only pool once she finally found a lounger. She was sitting in the shade and found someone getting up who was in the sun, and there was a 40 year old who basically pushed her aside to get to that seat. I went up to him and said, really, and he said he got there first so it's too bad for her. Not much you can do about that now can you? I also signed up for the Internet Service and it was actually faster that what I have been used to, although the sign-in process is confusing, especially for those who had their own notebook and there is no ship-wide WiFi. About a third of the computers didn't work which seemed a little high for me, but there was never a wait. The front desk personnel was pretty good, and on day 3 I wanted to see how much we were spending and found charges from one cabin that showed up on another account. They told me that was impossible unless room keys were shared, which didn't happen so I spend an hour getting that straight which they weren't too happy with. The entertainment was OK, but the ice show outstanding. Got pretty bored with the piano melodies, jazz, and strings. The Beatles preview as also very good. Trivia was well attended and for once there was no bickering on what the answers should have been so that was a huge plus. There were 800 kids on this cruise but overall it wasn't too bad and our granddaughters found friends and we hardly saw them. Our shore excursions were done outside the ship and the absolute best was zip-lining in Roatan.I will say my mom and wife did to the River and Mayan Ruins through the ship in Belize which they really enjoyed. The tender process was horrible, but I don't think that is has anything to do with RCL but the fact it Belize and nobody has a great tender service here. Finally, disembarkation was a nightmare. We opted for the self check out and carried our bag. The front desk said deck one, but the instructions said deck 4, starting at 7:30. We tool an elevator down to deck 4 at 7:00 and stood there until close to 8:20 when a RCL rep said go back through the Casino and it should be quicker. Took us 2 1/2 hours total, and I know they blame Customs for this, but frankly once we got that far, it was not a bad process. They started calling for the colors to disembark, even when were all stuck by the elevator banks which added to the frustration. Our daughter had a 9:45 time, and it wasn't even resolved then. Overall, we picked this cruise for a number of reasons, but paying a premium because it is Royal Caribbean doesn't fly with me. There were far too many cases where the staff was either over worked, under trained, or simply didn't care. Even my granddaughters said they would rather sail NCL or Carnival again. It will be a long time before we consider them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This is our fifth Carnival cruise and eleventh, overall. I personally feel the Carnival and the "Imagination" have done a lot to improve EVERYTHING. The casino is now run by professional hosts, paying attention to the ... Read More
This is our fifth Carnival cruise and eleventh, overall. I personally feel the Carnival and the "Imagination" have done a lot to improve EVERYTHING. The casino is now run by professional hosts, paying attention to the "full time" player. As for "tight".. ????? My wife and I won over $8K... I have the 1099 to prove it.. UGH! The food and the menu has come a long way. We were impressed with the new items and new quality. Aligator Fritters were GREAT, the lobsters were much bigger than previously and the escargot is now back to butter garlic. Thanks... The only things I would comment otherwise is the "double" porthole window "ocean view" cabin. Get another cabin with a full window. Secondly, while I think everyone should try the Chef's Table at least once, that is it.... ONCE. This was our second and much to our surprise -- Nothing had changed. The EXACT program, location AND MENU. Wonderful food, service and ambiance, but... "Been there, done that..." All-in-all, I think the Carnival is on the right track, except they need to learn from past experiences and continus listening to your "customers"... Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We just came back home last night after sailing last week on Costa Concordia. Our family was two kids age 15 and 10, my wife, my mom who flew all the way from Israel and of course my mother in law. We all had a great time together on the ... Read More
We just came back home last night after sailing last week on Costa Concordia. Our family was two kids age 15 and 10, my wife, my mom who flew all the way from Israel and of course my mother in law. We all had a great time together on the ship and visiting ports of Savona, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malta and Palermo. The first stop in Savona we went to Monaco. The trip to Monaco was purchased on the ship. We had a good ride on the big bus and perfect opportunity to see the place. The next day in Barcelona was a little short. We used a shuttle bus to get from the port to the city and spent that short time walking on the main street and then took the underground train ride to the Sagrada Church. I wish we could spend more time in Barcelona to explore this beautiful city. The third day we had a lot of fun on Palma de Mallorca. It is very beautiful place to visit. We bought a double Decker tickets and were able to stop and get on the bus during the day. It gave us so much opportunity to see the entire city and all the highlights. Trip to Malta and Palermo was also a very interesting experience. I would rank our ports of destinations and places that we visited 10 out of 10. Now more about the ship. The Concordia ship is huge. We had an inside cabin on the first floor. I could not see the end of the corridor. The room was great and clean. Jose, who was a cabin Stewart, took a great care of our room. The towels were always replaced, twice, three times a day. We had breakfast in the buffet and dinners in the Rome restaurant. The breakfast was fine as usual. The self serve brewed coffee in buffet area was awful. Nobody liked it. But there is always a choice to purchase a cup of coffee at the bar area. One thing that I wanted to say is that we had a great service for the Gluten free product. One of my child require gluten free menu and it was always cruise high priority to make sure we get the right food for my kid. There was always a Gluten free menu for the dinner and a couple of times we ordered a takeout gluten free lunch that was very well packed with sandwiches, vegetables, fruits and cookies. I never had a problem to bring a bottle of vine on the ship during our ports visits. Every time when we were visiting ports I was buying a bottle of local wines and we had that during our dinners in Roma restaurant. We never got charge any fees for drinking our wine during the entire time. We did not like the pictures service. It is much overpriced and there was not much price and package flexibility to purchase. The last time when we were on Holland America we had a package for 200 USD. It allowed us to get all the pictures that were taken during the cruise and we had a lot of them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
RCCL's Mariner of the Seas,is probably best for those doing the family with kids vacation. Front topside of the boat is almost exclusively kid territory. Spa on the 11th,is a big plus,with a large (25foot) jacuzzi.Steam rooms,saunas, ... Read More
RCCL's Mariner of the Seas,is probably best for those doing the family with kids vacation. Front topside of the boat is almost exclusively kid territory. Spa on the 11th,is a big plus,with a large (25foot) jacuzzi.Steam rooms,saunas, are also available at no cost. From there things go downhill. Food at the formal dining room was bland at best. Too much singing and running around,PA system was used every night and that got old real quick. English skills,for the wait staff,were minimal which made the smaller details hard to explain . Dessert selection was sad,steaks were impossible to get cooked to request. No cream for coffee(Skim milk),vegetables,,,,had no flavor. You had to make a special request to get shrimp cocktails(What's up with that?) All and all,the quality of most of the food I ate on board wasn't up to our previous cruises (8) RCCL wouldn't even open up a full bar,for Crown and Anchor members special events. (just cheap Champagne,and Mimosas) Tacky! The way this ship is designed,just doesn't work for me The ice-rink just takes up space and just doesn't really serve a purpose. (it's too small for a real ice show,and doesn't seat enough people to make waiting in line for the free tickets worth your time) As for late night entertainment at the main Savoy theatre.........don't get your hopes up,unless you're into lame jokes,and entertainment from the Ed Sullivan days! All and all we won't be cruising on the Mariner again. By the way RCCL no longer provides,robes or ice-buckets in room ,unless you are in a suite,or throw a fit! on a 1 to 10, I give Mariner of the Seas a (4) I might add that getting of the ship in Galveston is a nightmare! We dodged two different lines on the way off off the ship,and it still took us 2 HOURS from the moment we entered Terminal 2 until getting in our car. (I parked across the street and it only took 5 minutes to get the car) Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
My cruising companions were two children (7 & 9) and two seniors. We've traveled together previously and I would say that this was the easiest way to travel. There was plenty to do and see, of course abundant food, and simple ... Read More
My cruising companions were two children (7 & 9) and two seniors. We've traveled together previously and I would say that this was the easiest way to travel. There was plenty to do and see, of course abundant food, and simple but roomy accommodations (helpful to have space to relax during down time) and many places around the ship to settle in as well. The gym - wow, gorgeous view and incredible training/support from Franklin - I highly recommend booking some time there. Spa was a pleasure as well, everyone was friendly and a pleasure to chat with. I was amazed at the service in the dining room - Reynaldo was a dream, with a good support crew as well. Very impressed with the coordination and speed with which they managed to serve everyone - and with charm and grace. The pools are small but offer good variety; the retractable roof kept the Lido deck warm enough even for an evening dip, and the burbling spas were big enough for the kids to play in while I soaked. KidsClubs had some clever distractions, gave me the chance to work out (ok, and gamble). "Let it Snow" in the Atrium had my daughter completely enthralled, and the glass elevators were consistently awesome for the kids. Photographers were VERY good, able to get snaps we were all happy with (quite a challenge!) Shore excursions: Nassau: we went to the Blue Lagoon, was lovely but a had too much going on, and the ride back afterwards was hair-raising. I would recommend heading somewhere closer and just enjoy a pleasant day at the beach. Freeport: Would have preferred another Nassau day. Went to the Port Lucaya Market. Nice to get off the ship for a bit, but not much to write home about. I would love to do the bike or kayak trips - maybe next time. Carnival as embarkation and departure down to a science, very well organized. No one enjoys a wait, but considering the vessel docks-disembarks-embarks-departs within a few hours, the waiting room period was reasonable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Plus side - My husband and I were very pleased with the food and service. We loved the Vitality menu, because we could eat well! Stateroom attendant and servers were outstanding. Ports and tour selections were also good. Ship was showing ... Read More
Plus side - My husband and I were very pleased with the food and service. We loved the Vitality menu, because we could eat well! Stateroom attendant and servers were outstanding. Ports and tour selections were also good. Ship was showing signs of wear, but was very well maintained. Stateroom and balcony were very nice and clean. We really liked the set-up and it was roomy. Negative side - There were over 900 kids on this Thanksgiving cruise. Kids constantly walked and ran through the solarium (for adults only) and they were all around the exercise track walking the wrong way, cutting through, etc. There were also no quieter areas in the dining rooms, as quiet tables for two had families of 6 and 8 all around them. Production shows were okay, but not the strong themed shows I am used to. Casino machines were old and worn, and there weren't many options. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Starting off my expectations were a little tempered with this cruise for a few reasons. Mainly that we were travelling with elderly relatives, inlaws, 10 month old son...you name it. So obviously this wouldn't be our normal ... Read More
Starting off my expectations were a little tempered with this cruise for a few reasons. Mainly that we were travelling with elderly relatives, inlaws, 10 month old son...you name it. So obviously this wouldn't be our normal "relaxing" trip. On top of that was the slightly tempered hesitation about sailing a line perceived to cater to the retired and not families with young infants. Some of these worries were realized...many were not. The Good: Let me first say as we just got off the ship yesterday...I could not have been happier with most of our experience with the Westerdam. Nearly all of my fears about the actual ship and line proved to not be true. A lot of this MAY have been because we cruised over a holiday(Thanksgiving) but the notion that somehow this line thumbed there nose at family cruisers is simply not true. This leads me to my next and most important praise. The staff. The staff on this ship were something we had not experience in any other line or on any other ship. In past cruises we have always had great experiences with staff but not in ALL areas. The staff on the Westerdam were just truly one of a kind. They always remembered who we were, what we liked to eat, our names, our sons name heck I think they must be required to take notes. This wasn't just a few staff this seemed to be anyone who had ever run into us. Truly amazing. Not only was this a wonderful experience but all staff need to go through whatever training HAL provides in how NOT to pester guests into buying things..(drinks of the day etc) the staff was just great and I think this is what stood out the most on this cruise. The OK: The only things im going to bring up here regarding a few minor hiccups that need to be noted or they too would have been considered great. First off the Food. The food in the main dining room was fantastic. The wait staff well see the above points. The only misses here arent deal breakers but need to be noted. The room service wasnt good. It wasnt terrible, but it wasnt good. Also the Thanksgiving dinner was a bit of a let down. I do of course think this is because they only make this dinner ONE day a year and clearly arent experts in Americana homestyle Turkey day dinners. No deal breaker but worth noting. Secondly and lastly, photographers, photographer availabilities and their seemly archaic system of organizing their pictures. We could rarely find them to get family pictures taken. Having taken a cruise on NCL and seeing the face recognition system at play and organization by room numbers the HAL system is just so 1990s lol. Our final night was filled with an hour trying to locate our pictures in large stacks marked by post it notes only to find that the ships printer was down and some photos were missing from their files. What a downer. Finally the Bad: Traveling with large extended families, inlaws, parents etc...lol jk jk but in all seriousness the only things that kind of irked me in the end was the way some people held a sense of entitlement on this cruise more so than others. It could be the age group that was represented but there were a few snide comments about bringing kids on a cruise and allowing our child to come to a formal dinner. In all honesty our son was very well behaved and when he wasn't we took him out of the dining room. AND in MOST cases everyone loved all of the kids on board. but there were just a few rather rude vocal exceptions....anyway. All and all given all the variables it was a wonderful experience and we would sail HAL again. PM me if you have any questions about cruising with an infant on the vista class ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
After 33 cruises myself, and as a travel agent who booked over a million dollars in cruises last year, I have never sold any MSC products nor have I ever seen the product, so I booked us on a Thanksgiving cruise on the MSC Poesia. The ... Read More
After 33 cruises myself, and as a travel agent who booked over a million dollars in cruises last year, I have never sold any MSC products nor have I ever seen the product, so I booked us on a Thanksgiving cruise on the MSC Poesia. The ship is beautiful. It's new, and it looks it. The paint and carpet is nice, the pools are sparkling and the ship looks great. It reminds me of Princess ships in terms of beauty and elegance. I love Princess' ships and this ship reminded me a lot of some of my Princess sailings. Movies under the stars was a real disappointment. Mostly it showed commercials from the channel 1 from the room TV. Unlike Disney, Princess, Carnival and Royal Caribbean who show family movies during the day and concerts and movies during the night, MSC showed commercials about 20 hours a day and showed a couple of movies throughout the cruise at night. I realize there are multiple nationalities on board, so perhaps they cannot show movies during the day in fear of hurting someone's feelings. Idea: There are 7 days on the cruise, so perhaps one day could be movies in English, one day French, one day Spanish, one day German and so on. At least SOMETHING could be playing up on the screen entertaining. Or, they could show cartoons that don't really have words during the day - or even silent movie films (no talking) or even concerts. Kids are free on MSC during most sailings and very cheap over holiday sailings, so the ship was packed. Not to worry, most of our cruises have all been on holidays, so we are used to 100%+ occupancy with lots of kids on board. But on this ship, there is just not much for the kids to do. There is a very small mini-golf (like 5 holes) and some pools/hot tubs. There are no "adult-only" hot tubs, or pools, so we could not escape the kids jumping into the pools and hot tubs and splashing us constantly with their fun jumps. Other cruise lines reserve one or two hot tubs minimum for adults only. This is nice so you can enjoy some peace and quiet. MSC's only adult-only tubs were in the gym, and they were inside, with glass walls so you could see out, but they were not out in the open air. It would be nice if they had an adult-only hot tub available on the open decks. The shows were good (except for the first night which was a just OK). Shows on MSC are different than on other cruise lines. They had a very plain stage, same set all week, with the only variations being on costumes, lighting and backdrop scenes being projected onto large curtains. Dancers were good and singers were strong. The shows included a good mix of singing, dancing, cirque-type flyers, muscle men, and a juggler. The second-to-last last night they had a special surprise of "thank you" in all different languages, which was really nice. One night they did a show which included some pretty risqué burlesque moves. We heard lots of negative comments by parents complaining about seeing crotches of the dancers being pushed in their faces. They didn't just flash their crotches, but they stuck them up there for a long time, more than once. Some left the theatre. For a "kids sail free" cruise line, this is probably a bit inappropriate and a little excessive. If they want to have this kind of show, they could have put a disclaimer in the daily planner or made an announcement before the show that it might be inappropriate for smaller children. Also a comment would be to include a little more than just the name of the show in the planner, so that people know what type of show they are going to go see. We normally had breakfast and lunch in the buffet area. The buffet was VERY overcrowded. No one seemed to realize that the buffet had the same food at the other end of the buffet, so we snuck down there many times to get food. So many people lined up for the burger and hot dogs, perhaps they should put those on the line in 2 places so that people don't have to wait so long. Then trying to find a table was a mess. The workers were not very efficient about cleaning the dirty tables, and many had the "that's not my job" attitude. When asked if they could clean the table, they said they would get someone. (not offering to jump in and help themselves). None of the workers smiled, said hello, or was friendly with us in the buffet during breakfast or lunch at all. Very unlike other cruise lines where customer service is so important. The pizza was so disappointing. We assumed an "Italian" line would have good Italian pizza. It was thick, goopy, never cooked enough, so the crust was doughy, and had way too much cheese. We expected thin crust, cooked to perfection, but it was not found in the whole week. Very disappointing. On the cruise channel on the TV they showed scenes of a "Pizzeria" with blue/white checkered table cloths and the most delicious looking pizza ever, made to order. It was not to be found. We asked everyone, and no one seemed to know what we were talking about. Other guests on board said they had been looking for it all week too. You could tell by the TV that they were in the buffet area, but it was so misleading, because we wanted this good pizza, but could not get it. We went to breakfast in the dining room (sit down) once, and it was a disaster. We sat down at a table that had people sitting down already, and they had been sitting for 10 minutes before we sat down. It took the waiter 25 minutes before he came over for our order. Everyone at the table got their food except me. And mine came about 9 minutes after theirs did. By the time mine came, our table mates were gone- rushing off to get to their excursion. Normally we enjoy breakfast in the dining room because it is a calm and relaxing way to enjoy breakfast. This was not the case at all. They workers were running around like crazy (very understaffed) and the dining room was packed. Beverage refills were non-existent and the waiters were not friendly at all because they were stressed by being under staffed. The food on the buffet was virtually the same every day at breakfast and again every day at lunch. Not much variety, except perhaps for which meat they were carving for that meal. Very little variety and the food was just ok. Nothing special on the buffet. I would have liked to see Eggs Benedict and smoked salmon on the buffet but it was not there. And their milk tasted very funny (did not expire for about 4 months, so not sure what type if milk it really was). At lunch they had a pasta station, where they cooked fresh pasta. There was never much of a long line, and the pasta was really good. To avoid the over-crowded buffet, and the over stressful sit down breakfast in the dining room, one morning we tried room service for breakfast. It was a sea-day so we thought we might enjoy sleeping in. We completed our card and hung it on the door before we went to bed: for 8:30- 8:45 am delivery. At 7:50 am they showed up, with our food. We were dead asleep and very disappointed that the food came about an hour early!!! Dinner Dining was good. We had late seating at 8:30pm, so we enjoyed a late lunch each day. Our server was Yoyon and he was friendly and easy to work with. He had recently gotten promoted to Server, and I could tell why they had promoted him. He was one of the few workers on board that smiled and greeted us each night. He was great to give his comments about items to order and which choice was the best. He was as good a server as we had ever had on a cruise. He helped make our cruise nice. We tipped him extra because our experience was so nice with him. The menu was a bit limited, and the lack of dessert choices was disappointing. The lobster was overcooked and the Caesar salad the first night was a bit watery. The Sea Bass was really good, which is unheard of on a ship! I was overall pleasantly surprised by the food in the dining room for dinner. Nothing stands out as outstanding, but the food was really a bit better than just "good." Another guest we met in the hot tub was not so lucky. His dining server was rude to them. This guest had asked for a coke, and his server told him that he had 30 other people to serve and that if he wanted a coke, he could go out to the bar and get it himself. The Midnight buffet- WOW what can I say, except that I am sorry I was so full, I could not eat a bite. All week we had complained about how disappointed we were with the lack of dessert choices available on the menu, then on the 2nd to last night, they pulled out all the stops! The beautiful fruit carvings were incredible (made lots of pictures) and the finger foods (including the only free sushi we saw all week) and desserts looked amazing. It was late (thus the midnight buffet) and we were stuffed from just leaving dinner, so we could not eat one bite. What a disappointment. Wish they would really promote this during the week, put a whole blurb about it in the daily planner, and announced it at the show that night, so people could understand what they were going to offer and how big of a deal this is. They even had Ice and Butter Sculptures. Absolutely incredible, but so many missed it because they were sleeping, or they simply didn't know what they were missing!!! Our balcony cabin was small, but good. We had a deluxe balcony on deck 9 and had life boats when we looked down. They didn't really call this an obstructed view, because when looking out, there was no obstruction, but we did see life boats on the deck below. The mattresses were so thin and sleep was so uncomfortable, but since I have compared this to Princess, I will say that Princess cruises always had bad beds too. We learned on Princess to ask for a foam mattress overlay, but our cabin steward on MSC did not have anything to offer us. So our beds were extremely uncomfortable, and the pillows were very flat. We asked for extra pillows, which helped a bit. We had our beds pushed together, and there was a big dip in the middle where the 2 beds were put together. Our cabin steward did a great job of keeping our room clean. She was very friendly and one of the only workers on the ship that ever said "Hello, good morning, have a nice day, or good evening". She smiled, and she was friendly (something we did not see often from the other crew). The cruise director was incredible, speaking like 8 languages fluently. She had a beautiful wardrobe and had a nice smile on her face when she was on stage, in the spotlight. They had an "English" speaking voice on our cruise too, which was really nice. Our cruise director could speak English, but it was hard to understand her, so the English voice was a nice comfort. Good job, MSC. On the other hand, the cruise director walked out of a show and looked my husband right in the eye, and did not smile, say hello, or even acknowledge him at all. Can you imagine running into Ken Rush on Royal Caribbean or John Heald on Carnival (or any other cruise director) and them not saying "Hi" to you? I cannot. We were in the hot tub one evening and ordered a drink from the pool server. She returned, and someone else in the hot tub wanted to order, so she went and returned. By this time, 2 other people had joined us and they wanted drinks. When we ordered a 2nd drink the server actually rolled her eyes and said something in a negative way, like "does anyone else want anything while I'm going" which implied that this would be her last time. This floored us because pool servers make their money from gratuities from selling drinks! The more they run to the bar, the richer they become. I cannot believe she didn't want to get us 100 drinks if we had wanted them. But instead she brought our drinks and left. I mentioned her by name in my comments at the end of the cruise. Once we asked for a "Hummingbird" drink, and she said, "We don't have that." She was not a bar tender, she was a pool server. She didn't even ask the bar tenders, she just said "NO" when she should have tried to find someone who could make our drink for us. We went on a mission to find a bar tender who would know of this drink, and finally found a bar tender from Jamaica. He was so pleasant and he made us the BEST hummingbird we have had in a long time. If your ship is going to Jamaica, you should have bar tenders on board that know how to make their national drink- the Hummingbird! What we came to realize is that these people (bartenders on board) don't WANT to learn how to make any new drinks. They consider themselves as ones that should be supervisors instead of workers, and to learn a new drink would be beneath them. In general, this is probably the root of most of the issues we had on board. The people there to serve, expected to be in charge, and did not realize they would become workers once they got on board for their contract. We felt like probably 30% of the people on board were Americans. The rest spoke very little English. So it was kind of weird being in a hot tub with someone who could not talk with you. Most customers on board were courteous, friendly (like a smile), and patient (no one cut in line in front of us or anything). Our real complaint overall, was the lack of hospitality by the crew on board. No smiles, no "Hellos" not much eye contact, nothing friendly. It seemed like the crew was unhappy. Unhappy to be there, unhappy to be working, and unhappy that there were customers on board for them to serve. Remember I have been on 33 cruises, so I have worked with people from many different nationalities, but these folks really could use a lesson on customer service. Port stops were ok except for Honduras, where we had to tender. It took about 3 hours to tender everyone off, and you had to get a ticket to get off. It was very stressful. Perhaps another day at sea instead of a port stop unless you can actually pull up to the dock. The time in Montego Bay was WAY too short. We had to be back on board by 2:00. Just way too early. Key West was too early too. If I was in charge, I would try to stay in ports longer, so clients could enjoy our time there. In Honduras, we had done our research and liked the reviews of the tours with Victor Bodden tours. So we reserved a driver for the day. Our driver was lazy, and even though we had hired him for the day, he kept saying that he could drop us off at the beach and then take other people back to the pier. (he would only be gone about an hour). We told him he had to stay with us. The van he was driving had the "check engine" light on the entire time, and it was overheating. He would put the van into neutral to go down hills so that it would not overheat the engine, and he would turn off the air, and open the windows when going up big mountains. Once the engine completely shut off and we thought we would be broken down, but he got it started again. He gave us no history of the island or any details about what we were seeing or where we were going. We told him we had no idea what where we wanted him to take us, because it was our first time. He did not offer up many options. When we got back to the pier, we complained with the tour stand, and they got Victor on the phone and he gave me a partial refund of my money and later sent me an email with his regrets about what happened. I think it was an isolated situation, and Victor said our driver and his vehicle would not be included in his fleet ever again. Victor even offered to personally take us on the tour next time, free of charge. Which was really nice!!! Would I do an MSC cruise again? If would depend on the itinerary, but maybe not in the Caribbean again, because the other lines do a better job at hospitality. In Europe, their port stops are nice, so I might try one there sometime. If they started focusing on customer service, and made that their commitment, then I would definitely sail again!!! Would I book one of my clients on MSC? It really depends. If it was their first cruise, then it would be ok, because they have nothing to compare it to. Those people we met in the hot tub who most enjoyed the cruise, were first time cruisers, so they thought it was fine! The ones that were most disappointed were the ones who had cruised other lines and knew what we were missing. If they could focus their staff on customer service, and fix the problems they have on board, then I definitely would book all my clients on the ship! It's just so beautiful. Overall, my impression is that the cruise is "So close ....And yet so far," from being excellent. It has so much going for it, yet the lack of friendliness by the crew is so disappointing. One guest said it was like going on a Princess cruise with a rogue crew who had not been trained on customer service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Background Information: Nine folks in 3 cabins: a two-person Deck 7 balcony; a three-person Deck 7 balcony and myself, wife & two teens taking one for the team across the hall in a 4E inside. Expectation was for a quality but ... Read More
Background Information: Nine folks in 3 cabins: a two-person Deck 7 balcony; a three-person Deck 7 balcony and myself, wife & two teens taking one for the team across the hall in a 4E inside. Expectation was for a quality but "Wal-Mart" level cruise and that is exactly what we got. Very nice short cruise. Hotel Info (if any): N/A Ship Info: Carnival Destiny really is a good ship, despite what so many others seem to say on the boards. There is generally something to do when you want to do something, despite what so many say on the boards. Ship is well cared for and constantly under maintenance, could pass for a 8-10 year old rather than the 15 year it she is. Fun, food, friends is what you should want. High-end luxury and highly "classy" activities and pople...not so much. Activities: Always something to do, do not be misled. We did several shows, a few lounge/bar visits, and some trivia/game type events. Kids program was fine, just do not expect your teens to be babysat...it is what the kids make it so don't expect your shy one to open up or your rebel to simmer down! Service: If you go on Carnival for excellent service you just have to be setting yourself up for trouble. Crew does their job and tend to be friendly. But, hey, this is a big ship with a less than stellar crew:passenger ratio and on a sold-out holiday weekend that simply means a bit of chaos, confusion and stress. Everything that needed to happen did happen and it happened quite adequately. Mistakes? Sure. Laughter and fun with crew? Yes. Well taken care of? Absolutely...just not pampered. Port & Shore Excursions: Key West is sort of a lame port call when you dock at the Outermole/Navy Yard and are there from like 8:00-2:00. Cozumel is what this itinerary is about and a 1:00-10:00 port call is perfect. Play for the afternoon, change, eat and run out to shop in theevening...Wonderful! Excursions are fine and reasonably priced but we do our own thing. Travel To Port of Embarkation: Flew into FLL at 11:00 and were onbaord by 12:30...really. Carnival has embarkation down to a science. Stateroom: 7110 is a great cabin. High rent distract, suite deck, corner inside way up front with four berths and teh usual generoud 185 square feet Carnival offers. Inside worked out well and saved a bunch while getting us across from the rest of the group. I could deal with inside again if I had to. Dining: Pretty decent dining room food & service, nothing special. Lines at the buffet/deck eateries were to be expected but not too bad and the variety was as adevrtised. Gourmet, 5 star? No, but not fast food quality either. Children's Clubs: We did the 12-14 and the 15-17 groups. No complaints, crowded and largely kids on their own but with some structured events. Good balance of strcuture and free-roaming teen-age "hanging out." Entertainment: Do not be disuaded, it is good. Broadway or Vegas? No, but what would you expect for the prioe. Lots of options and decent quality. Disembarkation: Carnival needs to work on information/crew awareness and crowd management on disembarkation day. We sort of felt on our own but that works, we are pretty savvy. Crew was clearly confused and stressed. We were still at FLL for our return flight by 10:00 with a good breakfast in our bellies. Do your homework to get fed and get off without stress. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was our second cruise on the MSC Poesia. I will admit that I booked this cruise because of the great pricing on a balcony cabin AND the great experience that we had on our first cruise on the Poesia. The negative reviews that I had ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the MSC Poesia. I will admit that I booked this cruise because of the great pricing on a balcony cabin AND the great experience that we had on our first cruise on the Poesia. The negative reviews that I had been reading made me afraid that I would not enjoy this cruise, but that was not to be so. Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived to Port Everglades about 11:30 and within the hour, we were in our cabin. There was plenty of storage for our clothes, and there were robes in our closet. The bed was very comfortable. The televisions channels were very limited, but it is a cruise ship. When we first cruised on the Poesia, it was brand new. Well, we could not even tell that a year and a half had passed, because the ship looks as brand new as when we first cruised her. The Poesia is a beautiful ship! I do not understand what all the complaints are about the food. I found the food to be very good, but I did eat mostly from the Italian menu. The waiters were the biggest help when selecting my meal. The desserts that I enjoyed the most were the cheesecakes and the sorbettos. I would usually order both for dessert. Did I like every single item? No, but I don't like everything that I make either. The pizzas are outstanding and not to be missed. There was always coffee and tea available. Regular size glasses along with the smaller size were present. There is food available 24/7 so no one should ever go hungry. I highly recommend the Eggs Benedict or the omelets in the MDR for breakfast. You have to ask for tea at lunch and dinner, but it was always brought within a few minutes. When doing the buffet line, I recommend that you walk all the way in and around the buffet area so that you can see the dishes that are being offered. There is more than just the regular buffet food. The front buffet line would be crowded while the buffet line in the back would hardly be used. My husband and I enjoy the nightly shows more than other types of ship activities like pool games, bingo, and etc. so I will only write of the nightly shows. First of all, the theater is very beautiful, and the seats are comfortable. Drinks are not sold or permitted in the theater. The shows were very good consisting of cirque du soleil type of acts, dancers, and singers. The four singers were excellent, the acrobatics were amazing, and the dancers were enjoyable. I thought that Anna and Tyler did a good job overseeing the shows. The longer the cruise went on, the more filled the theater became. It was as if people had been talking about the shows, and the rest of the people wanted to see what they had been missing. Go to the shows! The ports that we visited were Key West, Roatan, Cozumel, and Montego Bay. I did not use any of the excursions but booked my own by reading recommendations from other Cruise Critic members. The only port that was tendered was Roatan. I recommend that if you have a tender port, that you line up early to get your tender ticket (at the internet cafe), and then know where to be when your tender number is called. Plan ahead on everything to avoid lines. The staff of the MSC Poesia is very professional, hardworking, and courteous. Our room steward, Wayan, was simply the best! I appreciate that no one pushes any product like drinks or massages on this ship, but they are there if you want them. Disembarkation was a breeze! We did the self-disembark which you must sign up for. We left the ship at 7:30, and we were in our car at 7:45! The green card that is given to you at the end of the cruise is not for people born in the United States. We filled it out and customs said that it was not needed. If you want an enjoyable cruise on a beautiful ship, I highly recommend the MSC Poesia! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Disney Dream thanksgiving cruise 11/23/2011 Background This was my 19th cruise. I have travelled on most major lines. What I look for is itinerary, timing, ship, cost, then features etc. For this cruise,it was just my wife and I. I ... Read More
Disney Dream thanksgiving cruise 11/23/2011 Background This was my 19th cruise. I have travelled on most major lines. What I look for is itinerary, timing, ship, cost, then features etc. For this cruise,it was just my wife and I. I did not have my kids for this trip. I believe a bad day on a cruise ship is better than a good day at work. As I go through this, I am pointing out details that may not be significant to all. That is understandable. I hope to inform all types of cruisers. Booking Right away, for the avid cruiser, you notice that the price is much higher than the other lines. Considering that many of the Disney cruises are the standard Nassau and Disney cay, it is unusual to see prices close to 700 to 1000$ per person. Considering this was a holiday, and it fit our schedule perfectly, I knew that we would pay more. We used a TA for this. Disney is so good with their product, all ways work well. I do not think their log on system is anything like their competitors. For example, once you login in, you have to type in your reservation numbers each time. Carnival, RCL, princess etc all quickly show any and all reservations that you have made. RCL even shows your previous dream trips you have saved. The Disney land vacation system is a little better. Getting to the port I always recommend going a day earlier for the trip. It allows you some prep time and peace of mind. In the case a plane is cancelled, you have time to get on another flight. We stayed at Caribbean beach. A cheaper Disney option that worked well. There is a nice transportation system to get you around. I definitely recommend the transfers. Cabs will cost you about 55$ for two one way airport to hotel. Keep in mind, when you stay at the resort, you will not be the first on the ships. Depending on what location you stay at, you may arrive just a few hours prior to departing. Your bags will be picked up from your room around 8am. You will see them next outside your cabin prior to the ship departing. Smooth process. Relax. It is about an hour to hour and a half trip depending on traffic and other pickups. If you fly in the day of, definitely do the Disney transfers, that will save you trouble. At the port Disney has a dedicated port. It is very nice. It is sandwiched between two other ports that house a variety of carnival, RCl, and HAL ships. We had the Carnival pride there when we left and sensation and freedom of the seas when returning. The check in process is almost a walk through if you are not there right when it opens. Since Disney transfers get you there later, it is a quick check in. On line check in works great. The ship There were two reasons we took this trip. The ship and timing. Both were a hit. The ship is beautiful. The first thing you notice is the beautiful foyer. It does not look like anything out on the see. Very 20's traditional with no neon and flare. Simply classy. The Christmas decor was perfect. The ship is filled with music 24 7. Not annoying music, unless you do not like Disney music. It is soft and pleasant. Staterooms are my favorite. The split family style bathroom was really cool. One room for the commode and sink. Another room for the tub/shower and a second sink. Lots of storage on the balcony room. Keep in mind that they won the 2011 award for best inside and outside cabins. Did I say storage? The beds are nice with a large space under for luggage storage. The balconies are standard size. Most rooms have the Pullman drop down beds. They are not in the way of course. The tv's have flat screens with 24 access to sports, on demand tv shows and disny movies. These Disney movies are free. Hundreds of them. Note.... If you are in the back of the ship, you will feel a shimmy. If this bothers you on those sea nights, get a room towards the center. If you are on the right side, you will get the best view of cast-a-way cay and the port. Aka starboard. The rooms have a iPod, I phone dock. All rooms have cell phones that are used to communicate on the ship while you are around the ship. No Wilkie talkies needed. Two for each room. I am sure they would give you more if needed. Three dining rooms This is a clever idea. Everything they tell you is true about the dining. You move from place to place. Repeating on 4 nights or more trips. The meals are a little more elegant than I expected. The kids like the kids menu. The food was well displayed. Multiple portions allowed without any problems. Best news..... Sodas are free, except for the bars. Easy access to sodas. They servers are quicker with it than other lines too. Self service of sodas are available on deck 11 in the cabanas lido restaurant and on the pool deck. The royal palace restaurant is beautiful. It is laid out well and actually allows the servers more room. You feel less cramped. No problems getting to your seat. They seat you quickly and service is fast. One thing we notices right away is that they do not clean up after each course, other than the used plates. Even on carnival, they will swipe the table between each course with the medal scoop. Not on Disney. They do give you wipes before you enter instead of the spray. That actually is a nice touch. It does not dry your skin. The animators pallet is a cute restaurant. It is different than the Disney wonder and magic. There are screens all around that give the illusion you are surrounded by a fish tank. Characters from Nemo entertain you through out the meal. At one point, crush actually talks to the people. I was surprised that he did not get to all of the sections. He only got to 2 or 3 of the 6 sections. The garden restaurant that is modeled after Versailles is very pretty. A low sealing with some clever lighting, make this restaurant evolve nice throughout the day. A little cramped compared to the other two, but very nice. Nice lobster ravioli. The cabana .... Aka lido deck. A wonderful surprise. Clean. Fresh chilled shrimp and crabs served during the day. You do not see that on other lines. The silver ware is wrapped and ready on the tables. Very clean and well kept up. I have to brag on one employee. I told their boss before we left. A little girl tripped and broker her plastic flashing cup. He asked for a look at it and notice the crack. He went and got her a brand new one. Nice touch!!!! Nice selections on deck. There are also 6 flavors of soft serve and three flavors of regular ice cream served throughout the day. The cones are not as good as the other lines.... Pizza is available.. , but Disney really has an awful pizza compared to the competition. Bring in new pizza Disney! Aqua duck... And he pools Relax, you will have plenty of time to ride it. They rush is right when everyone gets on the ship. Go at night. Hardly no wait. Ride during the firework show. Night rides till midnight! I rode it twice. Fun. Nothing amazing, but your on a ship!!! the pools are nice and were heated. The spa is nice, but needs actual bubbles. They hand over the side of the ship with glass sides and bottom. The adult pool does get general traffic, but is very nice. We saw no issues with young folks hanging out there. The towels are laid out for you. Easy access for towels. Service around the pools is pretty good. We have seen better. The drink options are plentiful. The kids will fill up the other pools. Cool feature..... The funnel vision is the biggest and best at sea. Followed up with an amazing sound system, it is the way to go. Wow!!! They showed several football games on it, most of the dads were out there watching the games. Four of carnivals could fit on this one screen. Three of princesses screens would be close. Wow! Entertainment.... This is where Disney rocks. All three shows, golden mickey's, the villains, and believe we're excellent. Great for all audiences. There is also a movie theater - very large - on board with an amazing sound system and 3d technology. We saw cars 2 in 3d, real steel, and the new muppet movie onboard. Throughout your trip, there are seemingly impromptu shows by the Disney characters. The kids love this. Times are announced for the kids. The downside for them is they have no live band, and their comedians and entertainment choices in the other areas are lacking. No band, very little options for the great live entertainment you get on the other ships. The district The adults only areas are not crowded. They are well decorated and are non smoking. We like the non smoking aspect. Each bar has its own feel. The dance club is nice. They look nice, but last the excitement you see on other lines. Expected for Disney. Service is great. Kids areas..... They rocked. This is what they are known for. They have the largest staff at sea to take care of the kids. We did not have kids on this trip, so I can only go by what I heard. Zero negative comments. Their kids areas were not an after thought, but a forethought. Service The service is great, but not excellent. If you go outside of their process, like carnival, they flinch or may even say "I don't know." this was a let down. I expected higher level of service. Still not bad, but not as expected. Itinerary Nassau - a nice stop with plenty of things to do. The water is a little cold, but not impossible to swim in. Not too bad. Not going into the stops as much. Cast-a-way Cay This is a great stop for Disney. You feel as though you just went onto a new deck of the ship. All you need is your room key. Food is provided and sodas are free. Ice cream and all sorts of goodies. A few Disney store shops and beach item shops on shore. It is all about the beach and the water sports. So many things to do. The bike rentals cost 6 dollars per hour. Nice easy bike ride around the island. Beautiful and wonderful time there. Debarkation was the best yet. No calling out. If you want to get off early, be in the lobby at 7am to hang out. They will start letting people out by 8 am at the latest. No issue over waiting in common areas. They actually like when you go to your breakfast spot and leave when things are free. The luggage tags are set up by character. We were Goofy. Simple process there. Walk out. All in order. Help standing by. Easy time through customs and out you go. Took us just a few minutes for the whole process. Busses are waiting outside to load up folks for the different destinations. Definitely recommend transfers. We actually went back to beach club resort for a day at Epcot. Wou walk out the back of the resort and you are next to the back entrance to Epcot. We stayed at Epcot until 4 pm. We took a cab from the hotel and got to our flight early. Our flight was at 7:30pm. The hotel held our luggage. Awesome service there. My favorite Disney resort! Disney did a great job. It was a wonderful cruise. I am a little nit picky due to costs difference, but don't lose sight, the cruise was great Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Took a Thanksgiving cruise with three adults, three kids and three cabins. Overall the cruise was a lot of fun but felt like a cattle call at times. The kids had a blast. Paying to upgrade to a balcony cabin is akin to paying to ... Read More
Took a Thanksgiving cruise with three adults, three kids and three cabins. Overall the cruise was a lot of fun but felt like a cattle call at times. The kids had a blast. Paying to upgrade to a balcony cabin is akin to paying to upgrade to the smoking section of a restaurant. Several times we had to leave the balcony as the people around us lit up, and our neighbor was sitting just a few feet away even though there was a divider between us. One time upon returning from an excursion, the room smelled like smoke, and I called housekeeping to tell them that the room smelled like smoke, and it wasn't me doing the smoking, and I didn't want to be billed for it. The problem was worst while in port and not so bad while cruising because the wind took the smoke away. Carnival should restrict balcony smokers to one side of the ship. My time dining could also be called "Wait Until We Are Ready Dining". Some nights were better than others, but we typically waited in line 15 minutes and were seated. Two nights after waiting, we were given a pager. The worst night was Thanksgiving when it was over an hour from the time we got in line until we had our first food other than bread and water. Granted it was Thanksgiving week. We had three wait teams who were very good and on top of things and three wait teams who were slower. The staff were all very friendly, but the impression was that they were super busy. Food was hit and miss too. Sometimes great, sometimes OK. The basic foods were very good: Pizza, Burgers at the grill, Mongolian Wok etc. Some of the fancier foods were not. The filet I ordered came with gravy on it. About one step up from the Golden Corral. It was still good, but not great. The Cappuccino was excellent and a nice treat. The room and room stewards were the best part of the trip. Ours, Anna, knew our names before we even showed up to the room. She was very attentive, friendly and on top of things. The cabin was very comfortable and 75% of the time the balcony was great, but I probably wouldn't pay to upgrade that again due to smoking issues. The kids loved their steward too. In a port requiring tenders, Carnival disembarks passengers who have booked excursions through them first. Everybody else waits. In Cayman we waited one hour and 27 minutes from the time we got our tender ticket until we stepped foot on a tender. One hour and 42 minutes until we were on shore and over two hours until we arrived at our beach. This left less than four hours to enjoy Grand Cayman. In general we did not spend enough time in port. We had six hours in Roatan even though the ship seemed to wait offshore for two hours before docking. Well, those are my complaints, and every cruise will have some. Overall we had a great time and I would probably do it again, although I would consider another line if the price was close. We did no ship excursions. In Cozumel, we took a cab to Paradise Beach for $20 and paid $2 per person for chairs and umbrellas. We also had to buy $10 food/beer per person. The kids playground was an extra 12. We rented personal watercraft, parasailed and rode the banana boats. They have a pretty beach with trees and a nice pool area. If you want to eat and drink a lot, it's probably better to go with the ship excursion. We saw many people falling out of their cabs on return to port. In Belize we booked the cave tubing through Reggies Tours http://www.regtourbz.com/. We shared a van with one other family. We saw a lot of people with www.cave-tubing.com. The cave tubing is the most popular tour in Belize and when you have five ships in port, it can be crowded. There was seriously a conga line of hundreds of people snaking their way up the mud path holding their yellow tubes. Figure five ships in port with 2k-3K passengers each and do the math. It was still well worth it though because it's like nothing I've ever seen. Roatan is a beautiful island and we booked a private tour with http://www.therisroatantours.com/ for $25 dollars a person. Enry was our private guide and we had our own van. Whatever we wanted to do, he took us. The snorkeling is a must do here, and if you are a certified diver, scuba would be great too. We took a boat snorkeling so it cost extra. In Cayman, we took the taxi $5 person to the public beach and parked it. You could rent chairs and umbrellas, purchase food and drinks etc. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We have just returned from a 10 night Cruise on Azamara Quest from Venice to Athens with a pre cruise overnight at the Antony Hotel. We have previously sailed on Fred Olsen, Ocean Village, RCI, Cunard, Princess, and P&O and were ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10 night Cruise on Azamara Quest from Venice to Athens with a pre cruise overnight at the Antony Hotel. We have previously sailed on Fred Olsen, Ocean Village, RCI, Cunard, Princess, and P&O and were looking forward to 5*+ "Boutique Style " Cruising. Air Arrangements - KLM via Amsterdam - great service from KLM and would fly with them again. However, the non direct and timing of flights arranged by Azamara added unnecessary frustration and travelling time - on disembarkation we left the ship at 9 am with a flight time out of Athens of 16.55 and eventually arrived in Manchester at 9.30 local time - 14 1/2 hours after leaving the ship. Such travel arrangements would probably be a deal breaker in the future. Due to the late flight and as we did not want to participate in the Athens excursions available through Azamara we took the opportunity to book a room at the Airport Sofital at a cost of 96 Euros, checking out at 2.30pm. Comfortable room and facilities including a pool and nice lunch in the bar. Pre Cruise hotel stay - Antony Hotel - Venice - 10 minutes from the Airport and 10 minutes from the Port. Good location to get the the Port the following day. Friendly staff, comfortable lounge. Basic but clean room. Dinner expensive and the lamb chops inedible. Embarkation. Left hotel by coach 12 noon and arrived at the Port 10/15 minutes later. As we had been fortunate to have been upgraded to a suite we were able to take advantage of immediate priority check in. However, embarkation was chaotic with no order, reminiscent of a rugby scrum with no regard to health and safety. Embarkation was a little delayed as the Ship had been subject to a deep clean due to Norovirus being on board. Once on board we were directed to Windows Cafe for Lunch and our cabins became available around 2pm and luggage promptly delivered. Norovirus - a small number of cases were reported during our cruise but probably no more than one would expect to see in the general population. However, the situation was well managed with food served from the buffet rather than self service until about 2 days before disembarking. I personally preferred being served and once self service was reintroduced I felt that Windows Cafe became more chaotic. Due to the Norovirus no table menus were available in the bars or coffee shop. We had a daily update from the Captain with regard to the status of "GI" - it would have been preferable for the update not to have been received during dining hours! Cabin - Club Continent Suite - Deck 8 - spacious and clean with a bathroom with a bathtub. Lots of wardrobes and storage and a balcony. Whilst Butler service was available we are not particularly demanding people and did not take advantage of Suite delivered afternoon tea, evening savouries or suite dining other than for some breakfasts. I did enjoy the complimentary Brandy and Gin which we had exchanged from the normal Whisky and Vodka. Whilst we did enjoy the spaciousness of the Suite we probably would not book one over a Veranda Cabin due to the differential in cost. Food - all excellent albeit we did not eat in Discoveries, preferring the more relaxed atmosphere of Windows Cafe. We ate in Aqualina twice and Prime C once - food and service all excellent. Entertainment - limited day time entertainment other than a number of trivias and a limited number of craft sessions. Whilst Azamara Cruises are destination orientated it would have been nice to have seen more ship board activities. Evening entertainment was ok but not as good as other lines we have been on. Bar/Lounge Facilities - all excellent in an evening but again in the day time lacking with no inside active bar where you could just sit and relax until 5pm. Lunch and Dinner complimentary wine - excellent and free flowing. Beer package excellent value. We particularly enjoyed the "Looking Glass" Observatory bar with live music. Excursions - we didn't participate, preferring to do our own thing. Ports - all excellent and would have looked much better in kinder weather. Particularly enjoyed Venice, Dubrovnik and Corfu. Complimentary shuttle services when required. Spa/Gym - nice facilities with small outside area including heated pool specifically reserved for Suite Guests. Gratuities - Dining. Bar and Housekeeping - included in Cruise Fare. Spa Gratuities extra. Value for money - this trip - excellent. Regular pricing quoted on a trip for next year (Veranda Stateroom - Greek Islands - August) we feel expensive at almost '£3000 each for 11 nights and would not be prepared to pay. Overall Experience - Enjoyable trip with like-minded people. Mix of Nationalities - British, American, Canadian, Australian, Chinese. Excellent value for money. Excellent food and service. Nice relaxed feel to ship. 5*+ experience? Having considered our overall experience on a similar trip on Queen Victoria last year including direct flights we feel that Cunard have the edge. However, we have signed up for the "Open Package" giving future discounts and we will be back subject to itinerary and costing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Was a bit dubious about sailing on this ship as I know it is a little older having done a Med. cruise on her in 2006. However embarkation was effortless and we were soon on board. I think possibly it felt easier as we had arrived in ... Read More
Was a bit dubious about sailing on this ship as I know it is a little older having done a Med. cruise on her in 2006. However embarkation was effortless and we were soon on board. I think possibly it felt easier as we had arrived in Dubai 2 days earlier (hotel stay) prior to embarkation. so we were not jet lagged/jaded. Windjammer, easy to use, a good selection of food, and even at 'peak' times we found a table without hassle. My only observation was that on settling at the table with food and you ordered a drink from the 'patrolling' drinks waiters, invariably you had finished your meal before the drinks arrived. But saying this the staff were very friendly and attentive at all times. Minstrel restaurant dining in the evening : no complaints about the food it was adequate and good. The waiting staff were under a lot of pressure and sometimes they were slow and forgetful. I think this is because the regime has decided they look after more tables at a time in an effort to save costs. Also bread rolls were only offered once per meal sitting whereas previously they used to 'keep coming'. Entertainment: We like to sit down to a show, in the evening, and there was a facility to do this in the Pacifica Theatre. My previous experience with RCI (4 times) was that the shows were not up to scratch and not very polished at all. This time they surpassed my expectations and provided excellent entertainment for the duration. I think they have moved away from the high percentage of 'in house' productions and brought in guests from outside for the majority of the shows. We travelled with friends and the only downside we could see was the management of your onboard account. It pays to check your account on a daily basis as we found errors, such as and additional wine package added in excess of $230 which was not for the account. On querying at the main desk our friends were told they could do nothing about it they had to check with the restaurant staff in order to resolve. Why should we have to chase to correct their error??? I had a query about changing currency for a forthcoming port call to Muscat in Oman and enquired at reception if they did the appropriate currency exchange. The young lady said they did, but her colleague handled this any would be back shortly. After about 5 mins, and sick of waiting, I approached another member of staff who informed me they did not do currency exchange for Oman, but USD or Euro were quite acceptable. However the person dealing with currency was not in attendance, but she was contacted and sorted me out in a matter of minutes. A little frustrating but we got there in the end. We needed to switch a pre booked excursion from a Sunday to a Monday and was advised this could be done at the excursion desk or main reception and at no extra cost. Later in the day, with our friends, we changed the booking for 4 persons and were quite happy with the service. BUT on checking our on board account via the interactive TV we saw that we had been charged the full excursion price per person for the new date. Once again we had the hassle of queuing at the excursion desk to get sorted. Guess what ? Human error. It goes without saying, you must be vigilant and check your on board account daily!!!!!! Excursions were fine, we pre booked a package of 5 up front and got a discount. Overall a pleasant time was had by all but you have to be on the ball, don't just assume everything will run smoothly. Disembarkation was easy and without problems. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I wanted to treat the whole family on a Caribbean cruise during the Thanksgiving holiday. Holland America is our favorite line and chose the eastern Caribbean itinerary because it included good beach stops for the younger ones. Our age ... Read More
I wanted to treat the whole family on a Caribbean cruise during the Thanksgiving holiday. Holland America is our favorite line and chose the eastern Caribbean itinerary because it included good beach stops for the younger ones. Our age group ranged from 76 (me) to 12 my grandson. Grand Turk is a fantastic stop for all ages, great pool at the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville where we rented a cabana around the pool which worked out very well, giving us a meeting place to store stuff, etc. Puerto Rico was fun, we just hired a bus right outside the cruise terminal for $10 each and got a full 2 hour tour of San Juan and surrounding areas. The group used the cruise line to book a catamaran boat for a snorkeling and beach excursion on St. Marteens and were very happy with the trip, lunch, etc. Don't try to walk from the cruise ship to St Marteens shopping area, the water taxi is only $6 round trip and runs constantly. We had balcony staterooms which were nicely decorated, clean and roomy enough for sleeping and showering, the balconies extended the feel of the room and by opening the partitions between balconies gave us some party room. I found the food to be very good, meeting everyone's taste, including the cheeseburgers that were provided to the 12 year old in the main dining room when the menu was a little to fancy for his taste. all in all a great family vacation that satisfied the veteran cruisers and the new kids. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
There were 15 of us on this Cruise..Mostly family ranging in age from 11 to 75. We had an absolute blast on this cruise. Any negative comments I've read I saw none of these. The ship was spotless, the crew was fantastic, the food was ... Read More
There were 15 of us on this Cruise..Mostly family ranging in age from 11 to 75. We had an absolute blast on this cruise. Any negative comments I've read I saw none of these. The ship was spotless, the crew was fantastic, the food was awesome, the activities and shows were top notch. Anyone that thinks Carnival is a "budge" cruise line is mistaken. Im sure they are cheaper than the rest and Im a little biased since I've only been on Carnival but I've loved all 3 of my cruises. I burned the candle at both ends on this cruise since I wanted to do everything. We went to both shows, The mambo and the 80's show, which were absolutely wonderful. Top notch productions and fantastic cast. Attended the adult comedy show on the last night and it was hilarious. Went to the afternoon tea with my mother in law and we both enjoyed in immensely. We had an inside cabin this time which actually made it better for the little sleeping I did :) on this cruise. We had late seating 8:15 in the Imagination dining room with our waiters Jorge and Martin who were impeccable. Went to Key West on the first stop and did the City View hop on hop off trolley ride for 19.00 and it was worth every penny. Key West was beautiful but I wished we could have stayed longer. Some did the Butterfly conservatory and they enjoyed it very much. In Nassau we took the #10 Jitney bus to the Sheraton Resort and bought a day pass for 25.00 which was well worth it. The facilities were gorgeous and the kids did snorkeling, kayaking, big water bike and the paddle boat which were all included. The beach was gorgeous and they had 3 or 4 pools along with hot tubs and a swim up bar. The kids in our group ranging from 11-14 had a blast in the Circle C and made many new Facebook friends to keep in touch with. We let them have full roam of the ship and were very comfortable leaving them to themselves. Lots and lots of fun activities on board. My husband did the hairy chest contest and had people recognizing him all over the ship the rest of the cruise. My son and friend both 21 had a very good time in the clubs and the casino. I cannot say enough good things about this ship. We all loved her very much. It was a little rough on the last day but other than that we had calm seas and beautiful weather. We were a little late leaving Jacksonville. Was supposed to sail at 3 and didn't leave until 7 which was not a big deal at all. No activities were stopped on the ship because of it. I plan on writing a review under the Carnival section on the message boards soon so check that out too. Embarkation and Debarkation were seamless as this port has their act together. I loved every minute of this cruise and was very sad to leave. Already planning my next one. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was a first cruise for my husband and myself, so our hopes and expectations were high. Not only were those hopes met, they were exceeded by the wonderful staff and the beautiful ship. We sailed with our daughter and her best ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my husband and myself, so our hopes and expectations were high. Not only were those hopes met, they were exceeded by the wonderful staff and the beautiful ship. We sailed with our daughter and her best friend, both high functioning autistic adults. We had a junior suite, and the young women had a large interior across the hall from us. We were able to get them spare keys, so they had access to our cabin, with the lovely balcony and the refrigerator. Enchantment is well maintained; an elegant grand dame of a hotel. Our room had the infamous pole, but it in no way detracted from the cabin, and was handy to grab on to when the waves were more active. We spent a lot of time on our balcony, and had no problems with smoke drifting our way. But it was the staff who made our stay especially wonderful. From Martin, our cabin steward, who made sure that everyone was happy and our cabins were perfect, to Justin, our waiter, who served up wonderfully prepared food with a smile. Our wait- and kitchen staff even brewed up herbal iced tea for me every night. Every staff person we dealt with was friendly and helpful. My husband and I ate every meal that we could in the MDR. The Windjammer is nice, with lovely views and good food, but the food in the MDR is so much better. There were very few negatives that detracted from the overall experience. There were long lines for lunch in the MDR, but they moved quickly. The final breakfast line was quite long, and very slow. It took almost 30 minutes to reach the MDR and be seated. Fortunately we had scheduled a later departure, so we were still able to relax and enjoy that last meal. Some smoke from the casino escapes to the stairway toward the bow of the ship. Fortunately our cabins were toward the stern, so we were able to avoid that stairway. The magnetic strip on the boarding passes is extremely sensitive. My husband demagnetized his several times with a camera and a laptop. Our daughter's had to be replaced once a day, until we realized the the magnetic closure of her wallet -- carried in a fanny pack -- was doing it in. But those were minor issues, and the overall wonderfulness of the experience more than compensated for them. The young women had a wonderful time exploring the ship and participating in many activities. We'll be cruising again. Missing ports: Samana, DR -- we did not get off here. Our tablemates did, and reported that we had made the right decision. Labadee, Haiti -- Wonderful. Beautiful beaches, plenty of lounge chairs and hammocks, and lots to do, or just enjoy lazing around. Our daughter and her friend did the zipline, and really enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We have been on six cruises, two with HAL. My husband and I chose HAL again, specifically for the Hydro Therapy Pool. We loved it on the Zuiderdam a few years ago. For this cruise we booked the Thermal Suite and Hydro Therapy for the ... Read More
We have been on six cruises, two with HAL. My husband and I chose HAL again, specifically for the Hydro Therapy Pool. We loved it on the Zuiderdam a few years ago. For this cruise we booked the Thermal Suite and Hydro Therapy for the entire week. It was heavenly. Embarkation was quick and easy. We booked an SC suite, aft. When we arrived, we were given a badge to indicate that we were booked in a suite, our teenage daughter wore it proudly and the badge got us to a separate check in area where we were checked in and on the ship in a matter of minutes. We went directly to our suite, which was lovely. We were met by our two cabin stewards, Elwin and Allus. They were attentive from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. Our suite was kept tidy each day and the service and attention to detail by Elwin and Allus was very much appreciated. The SC aft suite was exactly what I had hoped for. The wrap around verandah gave us a 180 degree view and we enjoyed it every day. We had our Thanksgiving dinner on the verandah at sunset. My husband and I did a lot of relaxing, workout and spa time. It was wonderful. Our daughter spent most of her time at "The Loft" which was the teen club. Since it was Thanksgiving week, there were more teens on board than usual. Our daughter said it was the best, most fun and well organized cruise she has been on. We were extremely satisfied with the the activities for the teens aboard. We visited the Neptune lounge daily, and it was a nice retreat to have cappuccino, expresso and light continental breakfast, sweets and light finger sandwiches. We had tea service and hor dourves in suite each day. Another perk of the suite. Gilbert, the concierge called every day to make sure that tea and hor dourves were delivered and satisfactory. I was missing the tea and hor dourves by Saturday afternoon when we arrived back home. Oh, and the laundry and dry cleaning was a wonderful perk of the suite as well. We came home with all clean clothes...loved it! All food aboard was very good. We dined in the Rembrandt only once, but had it delivered twice for in suite dining and it was delicious. The Pinnacle was the best. Breakfast in the Pinnacle for the Suite guests is a perk you shouldn't pass up. The wait staff remembered my husband's request for a double expresso. The second morning we dined the expresso was delivered just as he was about to order...amazing and based on that attention to detail alone...we would book on HAL again. The Tamarind was very good, beautiful view. The Lido was always good as well as the room service. We spent a lot of time on our verandah and suite this cruise. Why go on deck when you have those kind of views? Plus, we were all about relaxing this trip. We have sailed in small cabins with portholes, verandahs and suites. Once you go suite, it is hard to sail any other way. We couldn't dock at Grand Turk due to rough seas, which was fine by us. We had no excursions planned. We weren't really looking forward to Puerto Rico, but ended up loving Old San Juan. The people were great, John the Baptist Cathedral, beautiful. Barrachina was a wonderful restaurant, much enjoyed and home of the original Pina Colada. My husband bought some good cigars. St. Thomas was beautiful. Half Moon Cay was fantastic and pristine, I wish we could have stayed longer. We rented a cabana and it was stocked with fruit, snacks, soda, water as well as so many comforts such as air conditioning, padded wicker furniture, table for four, misters...and oh what a view. Would definitely do that again and probably will. HAL even had managing cabana attendants to check quality control and we enjoyed the conversation very much. Debarkation was a breeze. We ordered breakfast in suite and then were the first to be called, another perk of the suites. Thanks to the crew on the Eurodam for a fantastic Thanksgiving cruise....we hope to be back very soon! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011

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