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Sail Date: December 2014
I booked this cruise on opening day of reservations a year and a half ago and could not wait to experience the WOW ship. I am a Diamond cruiser with RC and had such high hopes.  Just got off the Christmas cruise to the Bahamas and I have ... Read More
I booked this cruise on opening day of reservations a year and a half ago and could not wait to experience the WOW ship. I am a Diamond cruiser with RC and had such high hopes.  Just got off the Christmas cruise to the Bahamas and I have never written a review before on any cruise but could not hold back my disgust and disappointment and would like to share my experience so that maybe someone else my not feel the same disappointment. Dynamic Dinning was an absolute bust. I made the dinner reservations online months ago after my final payment was made, and none of my reservations were honored. On day 1 I had reservations for Silk at 645PM and arrived at 630PM to find a long line of guest that all had reservations as well and no seating available. After waiting in line for 1 hour I walked to the front of the line to ask the host if there was a reason that we were all still standing in line. I was informed there was no more availability for that evening and they were very sorry but perhaps my party of eight may enjoy the buffet for that night since all of the restaurants were full and they could not honor the reservation that were made online. RESERVATIONS what a joke. So I thought to get smart and confirm reservation for all of the other 6 nights only to find out that all of the restaurants were now booked for the rest of the cruise. I offered my print out of reservations made online and asked how this could be possible and was informed that "the system could not recognize reservations made on line". I informed them I am a Diamond cruiser and the rest of my party were all Diamond Plus and then was given the option of coming each night at 530 PM to the restaurants that we booked and they would accommodate our part of 8. I took this as an olive branch and we showed up each evening only to find all of the other people they told the same thing as well and waited in line each night for seating. The food was NOTHING like any RC cruise I have ever taken before. Food was tasteless and service was very poor. One night in the Grand we waited 1 hour for appetizers and another hour after the appetizer for the main meal only to have our plates taken right out from under the fork without having finished so "we could start to enjoy our very special dessert". We were never offered a cup of coffee with dessert (any of the 7 nights) because "others were waiting for a table". MAYBE if we did not wait 2 hours for the main dish- tables would move quicker or if they had an assistant waiter things may run smoother. The buffet was no better. The round serving dishes were often empty. Any other RC ship I have been on replaced the empty serving trays as soon as they were empty. One morning for breakfast I walked the entire buffet and could not find a station that was stocked with clean plates and silverware-all were EMPTY. I asked a server in the buffet station if plates were coming and was rudely and sarcastically told "please be patient" so I patiently waited 10 minutes for a bowel and proceeded to the oatmeal (the 1 thing I enjoy each day for breakfast) to find that it was EMPTY and that I would need to be PATIENT or "COME BACK LATER" This was not a WOW.  I will give props to the fresh baked cookies they were very tasty but that was the best food to be found on Quantum. One last comment for the buffet, I asked a staff member for a cup of coffee as she walked past my table and she pointed to the drink area to get it myself and just walked away. All other RC ships always had people walking around to fill water and coffee. This is a true buffet of get it yourself. Don't expect any service here. Forget reservations for the show as well. I booked them all in advance online but once again nobody at the door checking so it was a free for all each night. No section for Diamond seating(if there was any it was over run and nobody checking) but there was always a little extra standing room only-not a WOW. I will give credit to the bartender at the open air pool he was the only staff member I saw with a smile and greeted each guest with that same smile every time I went there. I felt the ship was very under staffed and nobody providing the service I have enjoyed in the past. Why work for a tip when it is now guaranteed. Guest services had rude and ignorant staff when I went to complain. The ship was beautiful and the bionic bar (small and packed) was something to see. The solarium pool was also beautiful but full of young children splashing and yelling in the hot tubs even though this was to be for 18 and up (once again nobody checking). I actually left the solarium and went to the middle covered pool for a little quite time and found the seating there to be comfortable and quiet to read a book. The diamond lounge was also nice but I could not enjoy it or my complementary drinks because I was standing in line for dinner each night and did not get out until after 8PM so no enjoying the 3 complementary drinks at the bar either. RC is planning to change over all of the ships to Dynamic Dinning and I do not see this as a good thing. I like having the same waiter that knows what I like to drink each night with an assistant waiter and a cup of coffee with dessert and not having to stand in line for 1 hour for a table. I like the perks of loyalty like the diamond lounge and reserved seating for diamond members for shows and my coffee refilled at the table in the buffet. If this is the future of RC I may have to "Get out There" and pledge my loyalty else where and I do not think I will be alone. RC has given up on service for the I fly. The only thing I see flying are the loyal frequent cruisers.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on ... Read More
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on average...and last year we did the NCL Epic and we were as usual happy, to just be on vacation.now for the NCL Getaway....the NCL getaway was the worst cruise I have ever experienced ! The staff was very unattentive, the ship was unclean, the food was unusually awful, I was very surprised that it was this way...I never complain, So I did not complain while on.the ship ..I just rolled with the punches..but, I did not like this cruise! The layout for the ship is choppy, but I had an issue with the cleanliness of the ship mostly. Cups,and plates sat out for hours by the pool, the public area restrooms had no toilet paper on more than one occasion. This is very unusual for cruises I have been on. Also my son was very excited about the water slide ( the drop one) he watched u tube for weeks before hand, so it was a bit of a surprise that you have to be 100 lbs to go on...it never said that ANYWHERE! He was really disappointed. It just was very underwhelming. I can not put the blame on one thing, it was as a whole a very underrated experience. I just wish I could say it was better. On the plus side , We love the shows. And the seal lion swim( excursion) is the most awesome thing ever! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just finished up a 7 day Norwegian Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera... This is my 3rd cruise on the Norwegian Star, my 10th cruise altogether. Embarkation as a suite passenger was fast (less than 30 minutes) however it took 5 hours for ... Read More
Just finished up a 7 day Norwegian Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera... This is my 3rd cruise on the Norwegian Star, my 10th cruise altogether. Embarkation as a suite passenger was fast (less than 30 minutes) however it took 5 hours for our bags to reach our room. In contrast: On a 4 day Carnival cruise (Inspiration out of Long Beach) taken just after this cruise, our bags arrived at our stateroom within an hour of boarding. Being a foodie and having cruised on the Star in the past, we opted for the ultimate dining package so we could "go crazy" at the specialty restaurants. We didn't dine at the MDR for any dinners in hopes of making the most of our unlimited package. Here's a summary: Cagney's steakhouse: We ate here 4x because of the high quality of food and service. This is "surf & turf" type fare in a romantic setting. The restaurant exudes "expensive" but isn't hoity-toity, the food was consistently very good. Le Bistro: A little more romantic than Cagney's and a great excuse to get dressed up- if that's your thing. The french food is solid, not the best I've had, but still good. The service was excellent, the Coq au vin was a tasty choice. Moderno: A fun dining option for carnivores. A semi-romantic setting overlooks the atrium. Pasadores (meat servers) bring freshly grilled skewered hunks o' meat to your table. There is also a yummy salad bar that includes olives, meats, soups, ceviche, and prepared salads. Hint: arrive early (6-7:30) when the restaurant is busiest to get the freshest cuts of meat. The non-specialty (read: no fee) restaurants included: The Buffet: The absolute worst on the high-seas, avoid at all costs, has high-school cafeteria type seating. The Blue Lagoon: A 24 hour cafe with simple basic food. Great views. Versailles: MDR serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining room is handsome, a francophile's dream touting tall ceilings, lots of mirrors, paintings, gold filigree, and heavy drapes. The service was consistently good, the food was standard cruise-fare: fancier than Golden Corral, but most definitely not the Ritz. Aqua: A more modern and glitzy dinner venue than Versailles but serves the exact same menu. The ship: The ship itself is looking a little dated although it appears to have just received a fresh coat of paint. It is in good repair with the exception of: -worn out chaise loungers -broken/tacky looking fountains in the atrium -a buffet that has less charm than most hospital cafeterias I typically don't go to shows on cruise ships due to low production quality, so I have nothing to report in that regards. The only "planned activity" I participated in were Latin exercise/dance classes in the Spinnaker lounge, which were a mix of Zumba and aerobics, but nonetheless got my heart pumping. I walked the promenade daily for my 10k steps, played a little golf and ping pong with my husband. There was a very good R & B band from Trinidad/Tobago that were very enjoyable, however I didn't much care for the Spanish folk-singers or the Asian 50's greaser band. However, my opinion is likely entirely due to my age (early 40's). The common areas were all very clean, the staff was very friendly and helpful. The ports: Cabo San Lucas: Here we took a boat cruise of Lover's beach and El Arco. Mostly we just killed 2 hours, as the tour was not very interesting, the pre-recorded Jacques Cousteau presentation was b-b-b-boring. After the tour, we walked the pier into town and went to Los Barriles. There we had a fantastic lunch platter with lobster, filet mignon, prawns, sea bass, and crab. What a feast! Our server (Nestor) was fast, efficient, and friendly. The guacamole prepared tableside was simply delicious. Mazatlan: We booked an excursion onboard that included a city tour which took us to watch some cliff divers, from there we went to a shopping district (Zona Dorada), then to a resort (Hotel Playa Mazatlan) for lunch, entertainment, and lounging on the beach. A ho-hum excursion until the resort, which would've been awesome if the weather had held up. The hawkers were very aggressive on the street and at the beach, however a simple "no gracias" always worked for me. Puerto Vallarta: We took a Jeep Safari excursion which wasn't much of a safari at all, instead a drive through the countryside & through many poor villages. It was very educational to see how the "real Mexicans" live, however I didn't appreciate being pressured to buy stuff at the hat or tequila factory. $65 USD for a bottle of tequila is NOT a good deal! At the end of the excursion we were taken to a beach where we were only allowed 30 minutes before having to return to the ship. Debarkation was the fastest ever. The concierge escorted the suite passengers to customs, we were off the ship in less than 30 minutes with bags in hand. Overall: A very enjoyable cruise. Not the fanciest, not the prettiest nor most modern ship, but an organized and friendly vacation brimming with lots of great food and smiling faces. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We embarked for a ten nights cruise on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria sailing from Southampton on Sunday 7th December to the Western Mediterranean. It had been tastefully decorated “dressed” for Christmas with lights and trees, but ... Read More
We embarked for a ten nights cruise on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria sailing from Southampton on Sunday 7th December to the Western Mediterranean. It had been tastefully decorated “dressed” for Christmas with lights and trees, but overall it could be described as having a restrained feel, the public rooms having wood panels as in an Edwardian Gentleman's Club. There was a showcase of Cunard memorabilia to be studied, and a Harrods store on board. The restaurant offered traditional English cuisine with French descriptions and the ship was comfortable and stable. "She's built for the North Atlantic in winter says the Officer of the Watch, the Bay of Biscay will no more than rattle the afternoon teacups in the Queens Room". Even so, some passengers suffered from seasickness. We experienced a problem in that another passenger had deposited valuables and other items in our cabin "Stateroom". Wanting to know just how this had happened we were told by Cunard that the incident was being investigated. After complaining, they arranged another cabin for us; made an apology, presented us with a bouquet of roses, and an offer of dinner in the Veranda Restaurant. Later in the cruise we received a written apology as approved by Carnival, but the problem had distressed us and disturbed the first three days of our cruise. This cruise provided us with a comfortable rather than relaxing ten nights, but not with the ambience, cuisine, and sparkle of MSC the Italian Line with whom we have previously sailed..   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I have taken many cruises on Holland America, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean and we were a little hesitant to take a Christmas Cruise on an MSC ship because of mixed reviews we have read. Most of our concerns were put aside ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many cruises on Holland America, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean and we were a little hesitant to take a Christmas Cruise on an MSC ship because of mixed reviews we have read. Most of our concerns were put aside immediately upon arrival at the MSC cruise terminal in Miami. The Embarkation area was well laid out and the process went smoothly and quickly. The ship is very elegant and was decorated tastefully. Our balcony cabin was on the Aurora deck (12), and was comfortable and very clean. Below is a list of the pros and cons from my perspective. PROS: ~Beautiful, modern ship with well planned layout. Elegant lounges and bars. Very clean throughout ship. ~Excellent shows in theater. Some of the shows were almost Broadway quality. ~Daily entertainment such as games (trivia, pictonary, dance lessons, etc) were fun and organized. ~Formal dining room, The Black Crab, well laid out and tastefully decorated (see Con below about table location). ~Excellent room service. (See Con below about selection). ~All inclusive alcohol package completely worth the money. Mixed drinks used high end alcohol and wine selection was good. Specialty coffees included and were delicious. ~Wide selection of food at daily buffets and quality was better than average. ~Cruise director was funny and engaging. ~Spa and hair salon's were very well run with a large selection of services with reasonable pricing. Cons ~Lifeboat drill was a bit scary. Took an extremely long time to get to our muster station. Crew seemed a bit unmotivated and did not control the evacuation well. ~Room service menu for breakfast was limited. Offered only breads and cold cereal as food options. ~Our table in formal dining room (Black Crab) #585 was terrible. It was located next to the main wait staff service area and entrance to the kitchen. It was terribly noisy and the bright fluorescent light shined in my eyes so I could not see the table mate across the table. This could have been remedied if the staff closed the doors to the kitchen, but refused to do this after several requests. ~Servers in all Bar areas were few and service was slow ~Main dining room was very hot with inadequate air conditioning which made for uncomfortable dining. ~Rules regarding children using hot tubs and adult pool area was not enforced so it was difficult to find a spa not overrun with children. Overall we were pleased with the ship and staff and would definitely take MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just off the 12th December 2014 sailing of Quantum of the Seas and WOW. This is the first time I have sailed RCCL solo previously sailing with a friend on Freedom and Allure. This was my 16th cruise with my favourite company being NCL, I ... Read More
Just off the 12th December 2014 sailing of Quantum of the Seas and WOW. This is the first time I have sailed RCCL solo previously sailing with a friend on Freedom and Allure. This was my 16th cruise with my favourite company being NCL, I have also sailed Celebrity, Carnival, Star and MSC. So lets start with embarkation. Other than the traffic jam getting from the port entrance to drop off everything was fast. Straight out off the car a baggage porter approached me, tagged my bags with tracker labels and gave me my tags to attach to my docs. Easy. Then once in the terminal you could see plenty of staff around with the portable check in tablets but all had a line of about 6 people so I went straight through security and lined at a desk. Within 10 minutes I was checked in and on the ship. WARNING:- if you like the ship photo they take when boarding it is in the check in hall, watch out for it as they don't have one after this point. First stop after glimpsing at the Esplanade was the Windjammer. Very nice set up with different sections like Celebrity and whilst lots of people around it did not feel crowded. Food was plentiful and lots of choice. Next stop the Star bar and bought the Premium drinks package. Wish I had bought it back in the UK online as the exchange rate RCCL was using online would have saved me around £20. Lesson learnt. Now the package stated cocktails and drinks $10 and under but most of the cocktails on any bar menu where $12. These where included. Daily specials and the usual cocktails do not appear on the menus in any bars. Seemed to be new style cocktails to me. None of the usual Mudslides, Blue Hawaiians, Miami Vice, Lava Flows, BBC's etc. They could and did make all these for me apart from the Mudslide as no Ice cream mix on the ship. Boo Hoo. Next stop was The North Star as I noticed it operating whilst still in port. I was in it and up in the air within 2 minutes and loved the view. In port it does not go over the side of the ship but the experience was still the same. Now lets talk about trying to get on the North Star a second time. Reading the daily planner and the Morning show on TV is a must to get the most outta this ship. Every day they will list an area and time where you must line up to get a ticket for a time to go up in the North Star for the day stated. On day 2 it was for that day, later lines where for the following day. Now they would only allow 500 people to sign up per day and the line took ages. Once at the front of the line you cannot pick a time, you are allocated a time. So if you are at the front you get 9am, if at the back you get 5pm. iFLY. Wow. Once onboard the ship head straight here to make a reservation. Warning, the staff are nice but stressed. The area which they have been allocated for check in's, reservations, waivers etc is too small and crowded. If you ask any RCCL staff they will tell you the iFLY is free for as many goes as you like. If you ask the iFLY staff they will only book you in once as they want everyone to have a go and there is only just enough time slots. Not sure why the iFLY operates limited hours but maybe this will change. Room:- I had a Solo Ocean view studio with balcony. Very nice. Room is small but larger than my bedroom at home. The bed was comfy and it was a proper double bed with no split in the middle. Enough storage to hang a suit and about 10 shirts. Plenty of draw space above the bed. Nice USB chargers. Huge bathroom and massive balcony. Esplanade:- Lots of fancy shops which I did not care for. Usual logo shop and duty free shop, nice. Café good. Michaels Bar good but other than that this area is wasted on me. No fun activities take place here other than mad cruisers buying $10 gifts. Did not see any parties or parades. One lonely Christmas Tree to represent the festive period. Now I am not moaning here just pointing out the facts. The area from the rear elevators to Two70 pointless. Other than Jamies and Vintages and the art gallery nothing until you get to the end and you have Two70 and the café. A lot of open space. Maybe that's good, I'm not sure. Two70. Wow. For the first three days on the ship I thought it was nice how the ship didn't feel too big and difficult to get around. Then on day four I remember Two70 and realised I had not been to that part of the ship yet. The area and café is very nice, especially for breakfast and lunch, less crowded. Entertainment:- Now I love cheesy cruise ship entertainment. Mama Mia WOW. A brilliant show and loved that they had a break in the middle to get a new drink and a quick loo visit. Starwater, WOW. Different and no plot to the performance but the show and visuals are all amazing. The six robot screens really do come to life. Sonic, very good. Loved the drum wall and the Earth Harp. Guest Entertainer #1, the comedian, well cannot judge as I was a little drunk and could see two of him and fell asleep. How rude, I know. I only woke when I heard him picking on someone else who had fallen asleep. Second guest entertainer was brilliant. Proper old fashion cheesy cruise tunes like Motown etc. However. Only five nights of entertainment on an eight night cruise. I was not happy, I am not into Latin music so Bellarious was not for me. Schooner bar, well ever time I went by the piano guy was singing Spanish tunes. Micheal's bar had no entertainment. So nothing for me to do. No sailaway parties or evening parties on the deck under the stars. No glow party, no quest. Nothing. Bionic Bar:- Loved it. Easy to use and hardly used by anyone else. Every time I went past at the start of my evening I would get my first drink of the night (had many thru the day) and loved watching the robots in action. They even remember your past orders for ease in ordering again. Solarium:- With sailing outta NYC in December it was cold so this area got some use from me and it was very nice, Large enough to accommodate all that wanted to use. nice pools and hot tubs and bar. Pool:- Nice large pool area. Usual unsupervised children running around and messing about in the hot tubs but for the four hot days it was easy to get a sunbed by the pool if there by 9am. A lot of chair hogging going on. When I'd arrive at 9am, towels already on many beds and you never saw people until hours later. I did witness the towel boys on three occasions scooping up the towels, good lads. Safety:- Maybe I was only noticing this because of recent news reports of accident in pools but it did amaze me how many adults sat in hot tubs or at the bar not paying much attention to their children running around the edges of the pool who could have easily fell in. Free Dining:- Windjammer - see above. Chic - very nice. Silk - yummy. Grande - worth dressing up for. Amazed how many people I spoke to or overheard complaining how formal Grande was. Not going to pass judgement, I'm rising above it. Menu in each venue stays the same for the entire cruise. Paid Dining:- Chops Grill -always my favourite but this time I paid the extra $20 for a dried aged steak. Never again. Sticking with the Filet Migon and saving $20. Ate here twice, first and last night. Wonderland - such a shame. This place was wasted on me as I ate solo. The staff amazing, the set up amazing, the menu, well, I'm greedy and no indication from the strange descriptions of how much food your gonna get. One course came and it was the size of large grape. I cried, nearly. I came away from here disappointed but it was more to do with the $55 price tag. I would recommend to any solo travellers who wish to experience this place to try and buddy up with some new friends and enjoy as a group. Jamies:- wow, Don't ask why because as I am not sure myself but I am very anti Jamie Oliver. But this came very close to beating Chops as the best restaurant on board. I loved all the courses. Devinly Decadence - I booked this in the UK and had low expectations. Wow. Other than your drink from the bar being served in a plastic glass as they get it from the Solarium bar, the food was amazing. Try and pre book your speciality restaurants online as they had a promotion when I did. I ended up booking 5 meals and got 30% back in OBC. Nice touch. Well that's enough from me and sorry for any spelling mistakes. To sum up, I came away from this sailing feeling I had a nice holiday but a little disappointed. As the week has gone on and people ask me about my trip I get very excited telling my stories and now reflect back on a great cruise. I would say any disappointment came from my expectation of all the fun I've had on past RCCL sailing and a little let down on the entertainment side. I now feel though that RCCL have a ship in their fleet which has the feel of a Celebrity Solstice class ship with a few quirky toys, with great dining options and three amazing production shows. Now knowing this I would easily book and recommend a Quantum class ship but would avoid for my solo outings as a friend on board would help fill in the gaps left by the lack of nightly entertainment. If your booked to go, have a brilliant time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Very mixed feelings about Costa. The best service from the staff and some of the best food that we have ever had on a cruise ship! We did all our research and knew that our shore excursions may get cancelled for lack of English speaking ... Read More
Very mixed feelings about Costa. The best service from the staff and some of the best food that we have ever had on a cruise ship! We did all our research and knew that our shore excursions may get cancelled for lack of English speaking quest and they were. The tour desk was very helpful re booking us with our choice of languages, we chose German for Casablanca and Rabat. Took lots of pictures but do not know what we were taking pictures of. LOL! The bar staff especially Mojan Tayao and Rossele Lucas knew us by name after our first visit to their bar, what a pleasure getting to know them! Suite butler, Marvin and the cabin steward Aswawi provided impeccable service for all eighteen days. Our waiter at table #229, Benny and his assistant Kadek were terrific in every respect. Food portions in the mdr were of perfect size and excellent quality. The buffet is crowded and we starting timing when we would go to avoid the largest crowds. During our crossing we met many English speaking Europeans and now have new good friends from Holland, what fun! Do your homework, go with an open mind and enjoy a beautiful staff and ship!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Overall, we were happy with our cruise. We did B2B 4 and 5 night cruises. This was our first Princess cruise our others were four Celebrity and one Carnival. The ship was beautiful and was very nicely decorated. We enjoyed Grand Turk and ... Read More
Overall, we were happy with our cruise. We did B2B 4 and 5 night cruises. This was our first Princess cruise our others were four Celebrity and one Carnival. The ship was beautiful and was very nicely decorated. We enjoyed Grand Turk and Princess Cay. Our Cabin Steward, Pol Mateo, was fantastic. Tatiana, from Vines, was also excellent. We liked the food and the entertainment. Christmas was fun. We enjoyed the Crown Grill. The casino staff was great. In other words, They did the big things very well. Princess failed in our opinion, in the little things. There were never enough towels, they allowed people to reserve pool chairs for hours without being there, they did not clean up dishes around the ship, the lines for Anytime Seating for dinner were extremely (1 hour +) long, I paid for a coffee card and never received it (even after 4 tries), unlike Celebrity you rarely saw the senior crew members, they let children swim in the adults only pool, there was no benefit in having a mini suite over an inside cabin. I know this was a B2B of short cruises over the Christmas break but we did not feel as if we were being treated like we did with Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the Navigator 12/07-12/14, 2014. Since being home I have read CC for the week we were on the ship. Sometimes I wonder if we are even on the same ship with some of the others. I have read complaints about no hot water, ours was ... Read More
We were on the Navigator 12/07-12/14, 2014. Since being home I have read CC for the week we were on the ship. Sometimes I wonder if we are even on the same ship with some of the others. I have read complaints about no hot water, ours was very good. Some said flooring on balconies was bad ours and all the friends travelling with us were good. We thought the entertainment was good. Food is usually the only issue because it is not the type of food that we normally eat at home, however I like trying new dishes and if we don't like something they are always so happy to bring us something else from the menu. Even something not from the menu. One night my husband didn't like any of the deserts and jokingly he said he would like a banana split. In about 5 minutes there it was before him. The whole table was surprised. The last comment I have is about embarkation and debarkation. We had no problems with either. On the 7th we walked straight through the terminal, security and waited about 3 minutes to get to the counter to check-in. After check-in we walked straight to getting picture taken for sea pass purposes then onto the ship. On the 14th we got off at our appointed time of 9:00 and had no lines in the terminal until we got to customs and we were 3 couples back. The lines were short and moving very quickly. There were others writing that is was horrible and long lines, therefore I sometimes wonder if we were even on the same ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We had a great cruise this December on Freedom. A child's life was saved and we made it home safely, with a loss of propulsion power. The ship was in great order otherwise. The staff were exceptional, and cruisers were friendly and ... Read More
We had a great cruise this December on Freedom. A child's life was saved and we made it home safely, with a loss of propulsion power. The ship was in great order otherwise. The staff were exceptional, and cruisers were friendly and polite. There were a lot of experienced cruises, as in diamond plus and above. Most experienced cruises did not mind missing Cozumel, while some were disappointed because the were looking forward to something there. Either way the captain makes the decisions and I am happy as long as all are safe. There was some excessive vibration in the aft, but usually only noticed this for a few minutes. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a rare standout. The only other person that seemed to make a relationship with us, a large group of 19, was Emir in the sports bar. The ship is behind the times in terms of technology and shows some wear. Young children were allowed to run all over the ship at breakneck speed and no one ever seemed to interfere. All in all, the experience could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I'm usually not one for posting reviews. However, after this cruise I had to give our highlights. My family & I have taken numerous cruise before but this was by far the best cruise we had to date. The main reason....The ... Read More
I'm usually not one for posting reviews. However, after this cruise I had to give our highlights. My family & I have taken numerous cruise before but this was by far the best cruise we had to date. The main reason....The Entertainment staff under the Cruise Director, Eversen Bevelle aka Dr. E. This entertainment team was by far the best we have experienced on Carnival. I wish I could take Dr. E and his entertainment team on every cruise we take with Carnival. We stayed at Marriott hotel the night before which was approximately 20 minutes from the port. We used Premier Parking USA which offered a free shuttle to the port. The location for parking was great but the staff at the parking lot weren't very organized. I'm not sure if I would use them again, We left out of the Port of Miami on a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise December 2014. It was a smooth embarkation and the port itself was very modern and nice. The ship was nicely decorated with Christmas ornaments and the tree in the lobby was amazing. Carnival really put on a lot of nice Christmas activities so you didn't feel like you missed out on the holiday spirit. Each day there were fun activities to do. Dr E kept you laughing, dancing and really excited about everything happen around the ship. My family and I aren't usually one for the shows, but we did get involved this cruise. The Motown review, Hasbro Game Show and Welcome Abroad show and Name that Tune were our absolute favorite. The White Heat was great. DJ Devine played good music each and every night for each age group. The Dive In Movies were also a big hit with our children because they showed movies for each age range. Our only complaint would be the activities available in the Camp Carnival program. Our son is in the Circle C (12-14) age range. He wish they had more opportunities to play the game with each other. Most of the activities in this age group were after leaving the ports (4pm). However, during sea days they had a variety of activities all day. They still weren't very exciting to our child in particular. Carnival Glory had good cuisine and variety in the dining room and on the Lido Deck. Our favorites were Guy Fieri's burgers, the Blue Cantina, Pizza and Fish and Chips. Fish and Chips is actually a hidden gem many people miss. It is located above the Home Kitchen eatery. Take the staircase in the middle near the Sweet Spot. It's only open during lunch hours. Our favorite bar for drinks was the Red Frog Rum Bar. It also seemed to be the favorite for most of the cruise passengers. The pool area in the back of level 9 (near the pizza and deli) is adults only and we didn't get a chance to use it. If you are looking for a quiet area you will probably enjoy it. You could not hear any of the music from the Lido deck activities which was a tad boring for my husband and I. We like the liveliness of being in the middle of the action. There is a bar back there as well so you don't have to miss out on drinks. Elegant nights were very laid back for the most part. We found that the picture backgrounds were better on casual nights. Most people on this particular cruise dressed up for Christmas and not for the first elegant night. The wait for Your Time Dining was very short when we went between 7:30-8:30pm. All in all this was a very exciting cruise. More details about the ports is listed below.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our first NCL cruise (16th overall with our favs being Celebrity, RCL and Princess)- we were pleasantly surprised! All 19 of our group had a great time, but I will only speak for my wife and I - the others can write their own ... Read More
This was our first NCL cruise (16th overall with our favs being Celebrity, RCL and Princess)- we were pleasantly surprised! All 19 of our group had a great time, but I will only speak for my wife and I - the others can write their own reviews. I have to start out by saying that my wife and I go on a cruise to meet new people, and the freestyle dining is not the way to do this, so we would never go again on NCL unless it is with a group. The highlight of our cruise had to be the crew - they were always attentive to your needs - always in a friendly and helpful mood. There was always something going on, and we never felt crowded. The cruise, Bobby, and Asst. CD, Tyler, were unbelievable. As far as the accommodations - We had an obstructed, oceanview cabin on Deck 6 - very convenient location at the front of the ship - the room had more storage that we've ever had on a cruise...the shower was TERRIBLE - that had to be the worst part of the cruise - it was SO SMALL, you could hardly turn around or bend down. The food in the buffet was average - sometimes the long was too long and it took forever to get through...the one at the back of the ship was never crowded, but it didn't have all of the buffet items like the ones inside. The dining room food was above average, but service was inconsistent - we even had our waiter leave midway through our meal to go to another shift somewhere else on the ship - we couldn't believe that!!! We seemed to congregate in the Sports Bar every afternoon before dinner - the bar staff (Abin and Emir) were AWESOME. At 5:30, they also had a very good snack menu - things wings (AWESOME), burgers, fries, dips, etc.) Overall, we would definitely recommend the Sun.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the Dec 22-27th cruise to Cozumel and Princess Cay. We are experienced cruisers and have travelled on Ruby Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before. We go on cruises with the mindset that we are going to be flexible and ... Read More
We were on the Dec 22-27th cruise to Cozumel and Princess Cay. We are experienced cruisers and have travelled on Ruby Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity before. We go on cruises with the mindset that we are going to be flexible and have a fun time! I have to admit I was disappointed though within the first 15 minutes of exploring the ship but tried to focus on the positives throughout the trip. We had 2 mini-suites on the 9th floor: D305 and D419. Our group consisted of 2 adults (ages 42 and 43) and 3 teens (13, 16, 17). Pros: Boarding process was a breeze. Very organized. Rooms were clean and the attendants were friendly. Balconies were spacious. Uncovered but worked well for sun-bathing. Nice variety of pools on the ship. Movies Under the Stars was a hit with my family. We especially enjoyed the pizza served on the pool deck, International Cafe, and the Casino. Nice movie selection in the cabin. Princess Cay was clean and offered something for everyone. A fun beach day! Cons: Pool towels were not available on Day 1. Must use beach towels from your cabin. Note: pool towels were older and need a refresh. Some of the furniture in the buffet dining rooms are showing their age and need to be replaced. The food selection at the buffet was odd and not appealing. There was a long line to get food at the buffet on Day 1. Something I have not experience on other ships. Passengers were grumbling. Noted a few young passengers with poor buffet etiquette so we did not return. (Ex: sneezing without covering mouth) The most alarming to us was the brown water (color of cola!) coming out of faucets and shower head intermittently in both cabins starting on Day 2. We were told this was happening on the starboard side of the 9th floor and a plumber would need to work on it. This continued through the end of Day 4. We brushed our teeth with bottle water (provided by us) and went to the pools and hot tubs vs taking a shower with contaminated water. This is an older ship that has doors in some common areas (busy pool/elevator areas) that you need to use your hands to pull/push vs being automatic. I was surprised Princess did not upgrade these doors to touch free to reduce germ transfer among passengers. We tried to ignore the flaws to the best of our ability and have a fun Holiday vacation. Would I cruise on this ship again? No. We much prefer the Celebrity Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our second cruise. Our first was a great experience with Royal Caribbean. Based on reviews, we decided to go with Celebrity this time. The experience was a great deal of fun with plenty of opportunities for relaxation; but was it ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Our first was a great experience with Royal Caribbean. Based on reviews, we decided to go with Celebrity this time. The experience was a great deal of fun with plenty of opportunities for relaxation; but was it worth the cost, and did it live up to its 5 star rating? Embarkation was smooth and painless. The Constellation had docked at terminal 4. This is a brand new building with a well organised and friendly staff. We were through the terminal and on the ship in about 15 minutes. Once on the ship, we received a complementary champagne, were just about to start exploring, and the sales pitch began. We were immediately approached by a hostess from the specialty restaurant "Ocean Liners". The hostess thrust a menu into our hands and began giving us details about the menu, service and value we would receive at this restaurant. We responded that we had already booked and paid for the other specialty restaurant "The Tuscan Grill". This did not halt the sales pitch. Feeling a little pressured, we relented and booked in for that evening. We then decided to head to our stateroom, on our way out of the lobby, we were approached by a host from the "Tuscan Grill" specialty restaurant with a similar sales pitch. He only relented when we explained that we were already booked into the Tuscan Grill and provided details of which night we were booked in. From there, we went to our stateroom. We had booked 2 inside staterooms on deck 3, one for my husband and I, and one next door for our teenage son. We were pleasantly surprised at the size of the staterooms, much bigger than on Royal Caribbean, and very well laid out. The bathroom was large enough to move around in, and the shower was huge (huge in ship terms, which is small, but much larger than the one we had on Monarch of the Seas). There was plenty of storage. So much in fact that we didn't use it all. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the housekeeping staff met us at the door to introduce themselves. Throughout the cruise they were very friendly and always available. The Constellation has several specialty restaurants, a main dining room, and a buffet. Ocean Liners is their signature specialty restaurant, and that is where we dined on the first evening. The service was flawless. We ordered ala carte and were not disappointed both with taste and presentation. My son had the rack of lamb, I had the chateaubriand, and my husband ordered the lobster, which was prepared table side by our hostess. My husband a I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine from the wine package we had previously ordered (the 5 bottle classic wine package). Upon leaving the restaurant, we were approached with the bill, which showed that they had originally charged us for the wine by the glass, then realized they had confused the classic wine package with the classic beverage package, reversed the charges, and told us that the remainder of our wine would be sent to the next restaurant, The Tuscan Grill. The following evening, we went to the Tuscan Grill. Once again, the service was impeccable, and the food amazing. My husband had the rib eye steak and says it was the best steak he has ever had. I had the fillet mignon, and our son had the lobster penne. The desserts were "to die for". Again, my husband and I enjoyed wine with our dinner. We had informed the waiter that we had the classic wine package and that our wine was supposed to be sent over. At the end of the meal when the bill came, we were charged for the wine. They had once again confused the beverage package. The maitre'd apologized for the confusion, admitted it was their mistake, but refused to reverse the charges. We paid, then went to Cellar Masters where after about five minutes, it was sorted out by a very helpful staff member. The remainder of the cruise, we went to the main dining room. The food was amazing, however the service was far less impressive than in the previous two restaurants. Each time we ordered something "extra" (pop, espresso), they immediately asked for the sea pass and presented a receipt to be signed, instead of waiting until the end of the meal. We selected the anytime dining which worked out well. We were able to sit at our own table and book any time we wished. For breakfast and lunch, we went to the buffet. The buffet was average, as to be expected when serving over a thousand. Activities were scheduled throughout the day, appealing to a wide variety of people. There was ballroom dancing, live entertainment in the theatre, and bands both on the pool deck and in the lounges. We especially enjoyed the trivia game shows, and the comedian showing in the theatre. There was also plenty of opportunity to sit back and relax in the many quiet areas on the decks. Our 16 year old son enjoyed the teen club activities. Our ship docked in Cozumel on Dec 24. There were several tours available to choose from. We wanted to see the Myan ruins. There was an 8 hr tour, and a 4 hr tour. We chose the 4 hr tour rather than spend hours on a bus. We really enjoyed this trip. We went to the ruins in San Gervasio, then a bus ride to The Mayan Cacao Company. The trip was very interesting, great people, very informative guide. There was plenty of opportunity for photography. On Dec 26, we docked in Key West. We decided not to book an excursion, instead opting to walk around on our own. We purchased tickets for the Hemingway House and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum from a local vendor. The Hemingway House was amazing, and again, plenty of opportunity to wander around and take photographs. We very much enjoyed this. Next, we went to the Mel Fisher museum. Again, very interesting with amazing artifacts. Great value for money on these excursions. On Dec 27, the last day of the cruise, the ship docked at its final destination, Fort Lauderdale, at around 7 am. Since our flight was not scheduled until 7 pm, we chose to do the shopping excursion to Sawgrass Mills Mall. We were to meet our tour guide in the theatre on deck 5 at 8:45am. Our guide was then meant to escort us through the disembarkation process. However, at 8:05, an announcement was made for those of us going on this excursion to go to deck 3 and disembark. I immediately went to deck 3 and explained the confusion of the contradicting instructions to a staff member. This staff member seemed confused, spoke to someone on the radio, then said we needed to come to deck 3 right away and disembark. Therefore, we followed her instructions and disembarked. After clearing customs, we went to the front of the terminal. There was some initial confusion as we did not see a tour guide or bus. After asking several terminal staff, we were approached by a tour guide who said that we were late. We explained that were told to disembark. He said we did not follow instructions properly, then he left. About 5 minutes later, we were met by a second tour guide who was extremely helpful and informative. He said the bus would arrive shortly and stayed with us and the other guests who had begun to arrive, assisting us with our luggage, very nice. We were driven to the mall, and dropped off with a time to meet for transport to the airport. Unfortunately some people chose to be 45 minutes late for the meeting time, making everyone else late for their arrival at the airport. We were in no danger of missing our flight, but other travelers were, due to the inconsideration of people who chose not to meet the timings. The positive point about this excursion is that we didn't need to worry about our luggage, which was kept on the bus during the shopping trip, and we didn't need to try to find a taxi. The Celebrity Constellation is one of Celebrities older ships. It received a remodel to upgrade some of its amenities but is still showing some signs of age. The staff was courteous and friendly and for the most part very helpful. Celebrity sell themselves as an upscale cruise line. However, despite paying more for this cruise, we feel the service was not as good as our Royal Caribbean experience. We had a great time, and will probably sail with Celebrity again, but would like to try a different ship.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did! We ... Read More
Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did! We started our trip staying at the Quality Inn & Suites Airport/Cruise Port South. This is key: THEY HAVE A FREE AIRPORT SHUTTLE AAAAAAAAAND A FREE CRUISE SHUTTLE! Well, at least FROM/TO the airport and TO the cruise. It's $10ea to get a shuttle back to the hotel from the cruise port, which isn't bad. The rooms were musty smelling, but overall nice-ish. The chairs had stains and the bathroom floor left much to be desired, but the curtain is curved, so at least it doesn't touch you. Wish the cruise one was curved! Also, gotta love the sign telling you to not steal the towels, they are inventoried. You get what you pay for spending $99 a night, but it's next door to the Oakwood Plaza where we got a bunch of last minute stuff. That strip mall has a LOT. Getting on the ship early is key! I was expecting to queue for hours....we got on the shuttle from the hotel at 10:30. They ask you to tell them the night before you need a ride and they ask you what ship/day and they assign you a time. They have a huge mini bus that takes passengers to cruise port, because they attach a mini UHaul looking thing to the back to store everyone's luggage. We were at the cruise terminal 15 mins later. You can have your luggage checked from the curb and put on the ship or, if like us, your luggage is small enough to go through the airport scanner looking thing, you can bring it on the ship yourself. We only had a duffle bag each, so this is what we did. HAL lets you bring ONE 750ml bottle of wine or champagne for EACH person (assuming 2 ppl per room), no hard liquor or beer on the first night. The Dollar Star in the plaza next door sells CHEAP wine, $4/10 that people were going crazy over because it's GOOD cheap wine, so we bought 2 bottles on board and had to sadly toss the half drank chardonnay at the scanner. You can also bring booze you buy on board and they hold it until the night before for free...or you pay an $18per bottle corkage fee. We got our alcohol back the last night. From there you have to go through HAL front desk to get your room key, show passport etc in a terminal meets a hotel front desk. They give you a cruise group number in line to get to this and after you check-in, you sit and wait to be called to take escalator up to get on ship. Total time between getting off of shuttle and on to the ship? Maybe 20mins. Then again, we were also SUPER early. Our number was in the teens to get on. Other passengers told me their wait to just be called was like 45 mins. Anywho, they make you scan your card and sanitize your hands to get on the ship. All of the crew were very friendly all of the time, even when you knew they wanted to smack you or the person treating them rudely. They were all genuinely nice to me, because I wasn't rude to them. Then again, like I said, even the people I wanted to harm FOR them for being so rude were treated calmly and politely on this trip. We carried our own luggage on and the stewards meet you all along the way and at the elevators to direct you to your room on the first day. This was helpful and nice. Our room was right in the middle of the ship and close to the elevators. Score! It was an HH Obstructed View room, which just meant the lifeboar was RIGHT outside your window. We came in and checked out our room. Plenty of space to put your items for a long or short trip. They give you a daily tri folded itinerary. This ship uses a LOT of paper. They need to automate it somehow and make it a channel,too, to save on paper! We dropped our stuff off and went exploring....ie....to get food. O.M.G...as a first time cruiser, we decided to forgo paying for meals, so we stuck to Lido dining on 9 and once or twice the Vista Dining Room on 3 for our meals. Vista for dinner on the majority of nights was formal or semi formal. One guy declined wearing a jacket. Seriously? They give you one if you don't have it. He had a sweater and slacks and said no, so they declined him entering. You could have taken the jacket off at the table. We did Vista Dining once for lunch and once for dinner and just did Lido all other times. Lido is come as you are all the time and is open ALL the time, so we started our journey there and spent all of our time there for the most part. They have Asian, deli, bistro, ice cream, drinks and salad bar. Each table is pretty much ocean view. One side of each station is always open, both sides are during lunch and dinner. We never made it to breakfast and never utilized the free room service. If we wanted to eat, we could go ourselves. It was useful if you were doing shore excursions and wanted to sleep in, but even then, they slipped us notices the night before port saying it would be better to just go upstairs to the dining, since so many would use room service. We ate A LOT. Soda is not included in meals, so we stuck to water, iced tea and lemonade. It was a nice change. Other than at the salad bar, they serve the food to you and the wait wasn't really that long, even when there was a line. Why they individually heat up pasta in skillet at the salad bar is mind boggling. Do you know how much time that delays? It saves on freshness, though. So they don't waste. The variety of food reminded me of my college. Pizza, pasta, ice cream, meat, salads, sandwiches. It was 4.75/5, only because of the whole pasta delay. But yes, the food was great. The BB King All Stars were great entertainment on the ship in the Queen's Lounge and once in the Vista Lounge/main stage. There were also Zuiderdam singers and dancers, but the BB King people made the trip SO much better. We were never bored on the trip. We slept a lot, ate a lot and just sat on the deck a lot watching the world go by. Deck 3 has chairs everywhere and up on 10, the observation deck. We noticed that is NOT the case with the other ships we saw. Celebrity X gives everyone their own veranda with 2 chairs and you could walk between them! The deck everyone uses had like 2 sets of chairs. How un-inviting. We thought we had a big ship, until other ships like Celebrity, Norweigan and the Disney one made ours look like a tugboat. Even with 1900+ passengers, it never felt that way. It sure wasn't loud on the ship. It was peaceful the majority of the time. Like our own huge private yacht. The staff were great. Always polite and never cross. Hamish the cruise director was a riot. I liked that he seems to like his job. Allegra was another story. The "free" jewelry she is hawking at you to get is just costume jewelry in each port. Beware. Yes, this cruise is said to have an older crowd and sometimes it was like walking behind dinosaurs because people are so slow, but when I'm that age, would I want someone to treat me this way simply for being alive? Heck, the passengers who were older were the life of the ship! Dancing and participating in the events. I had a great time. I even had lunch one day with an older gentleman when we were docked in St. Martin/Marteen who just decided to sit at my table while I was off getting lunch, because he said he lost his wife, but we were at sea, she'd show up eventually. I came back to my table that had my bag at it and I was like "hello, how are you?" Did I expect to see him at my booth? Nope. But hey, we were at sea. Live in the moment. I was able to wave at him when I saw him on the ship on other days, same as the couples who sat at our table when we ate in the Vista Lounge. Being friendly is key on this cruise. Strangers talked to us all the time, simply because we made eye contact. We went to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Martin/Marteen and Half Moon Cay on this holiday cruise. We were in each port just long enough to not wear out the welcome. I spent a lot of $ in ports, but it was well worth it. The ship also gives you sturdy navy and beige booksized totes with their logo and name on it. It screams I'M A TOURIST while in port. I cared before the first port, at all the following ones, at least one of us carried ours. It was raining on day 2 when we got to the first port of Grand Turk, but 20 mins later it stopped and was sunny skies ALL day. Make SURE to call your bank to tell them you will be out of the country, so when you use your card in different ports, you won't get locked out at the first attempt. I called my bank and gave a heads up a month before the trip in case I forgot. I had to tell them every port and which days I'd be there. The front desk also lets you use their courtesy phone to call your bank or card company for free, as my family member had to do on day one. I shut off my cell's data, roaming and backround data while still in FL and put it on airplane mode JUST to be sure. The ship has it's own time that may not match your own, but you can always turn to the "where are we?" map channel that has the date, time, ship location and temperature. If you have a magnetic wallet, don't keep your room key in it. I demagnetized mine TWICE before having to keep it in the separate padded insert you get at check-in. At the end of the trip, you still have to go through customs. That was the longest line we were in the whole trip. Because we again, carried our own stuff, we got expedited disembarkation. It took us about half an hour to get off the ship and wait in the customs line. The ship was going SUPER fast home, because we were back in FL by like 6:15a and that was even including the 90 mins we moored off the coast of Half Moon Cay as they tried to locate two passengers the day before. We were at the airport by 9:30a, which sucked, because I booked a LATE AFTERNOON flight, thinking it would have taken longer. This included stopping at the post office at 8a and waiting an hour for it to open. The ship was not rocky at all. So if that is what they were like WITHOUT the stabilizers, well gee, wonder what it is like WITH them. Don't get me wrong, you FELT the up and down, up and down, up and down when in the front of the ship in the Crows Nest, Vista Lounge or observation deck, but only there. I definitely will cruise with HAL again. For a holiday cruise, the price was great, less than $500 and that included the upgrade to HH. I only got the room around Thanksgiving....so it was a steal. Thumbs up!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We are a very well travelled cruising couple and have been on many a different cruise lines including P&O. We arrived home today after a 9 night Pacific Christmas Cruise and we will never travel with them again.We travelled on the ... Read More
We are a very well travelled cruising couple and have been on many a different cruise lines including P&O. We arrived home today after a 9 night Pacific Christmas Cruise and we will never travel with them again.We travelled on the Pacific Dawn and all I can say it has gone downhill. We travelled on her last year and we had no complaints but this time around the service was appalling. I think P&O have cut back a lot on staff and crew since we last sailed with her. The food in the restaurants have also declined to near Rock bottom, we never had a hot meal except for the second last day when we ordered a soup. The quality of the meals were very poor to say the least. Salt Resturant was an exception fabulous food as always.P&O really need to pick up their game as there is now a lot of new competitors here in Australia. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had.  The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port activities - but ... Read More
My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had.  The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port activities - but you MUST remember to take you own reef shoes, goggles, snorkel and flippers - thankfully they did.  The adults enjoyed the experience and the benefits of cruising life - including the kids club and kids entertainment/activities.  Our reading said the ship had a re-furb in 2011 - our daughter suggested it was a 'soft' re-refurb as there were parts of the ship that still looked 'tired'.  Staff were polite and reasonably friendly but seemed to lack the 'zest' for their jobs - it was like they were going through the motions.  Having said that we were super impressed by our waiters in the Cascades Restaurant - they were brilliant - they were patient with the children and attentive, knowledgeable and courteous with the adults.  The same could not be said for the fee-for restaurant Chops Grille - the meal was quite good but the service left a lot to be desired, mainly due to being short staffed, very short staffed - I had no qualms about tipping in Cascades but didn't even consider it in Chops - give it the Chop.  We had anytime dining but because of the size of the group were able to secure a regular time slot but our observations were that there was always a wait to be seated if you didn't have a booking - no matter what size your party was - at better choice may have been set time where the dining room/area seemed to be slightly better - but we did have the best waiters/servers you could ask for.  My wife and I continually compared this cruise with the cruises aimed at the adult market and we did find that it didn't compare but we were there for a family holiday and in that sense - mission accomplished. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We are a family of 3. This was our 3rd cruise with Princess. Previously we cruised with Dawn to Brisbane and Sun to Melbourne, one way. Both the Dawn and the Sun catered to all types and we had a good time. I wanted to try the Diamond ... Read More
We are a family of 3. This was our 3rd cruise with Princess. Previously we cruised with Dawn to Brisbane and Sun to Melbourne, one way. Both the Dawn and the Sun catered to all types and we had a good time. I wanted to try the Diamond Princess for its size. The ship is big and at times you wonder where everyone is, but on this cruise it was full - 2823 paying passengers. Embarkment and disembarkment went smoothly. We planned to get on board early, like 1.30pm, but when we boarded there were 100 people boarded already. We dropped our carry ons and our suitcase was already there in our stateroom. Also we booked the last room on this cruise. We headed to the Horizon buffet and stopped by to purchase the Soda package. After lunch we walked around the whole ship to get an idea where things are. On this cruise there was no drinks package and it was credited to our account. You buy as you go. The food in the buffet is always good. From housekeeping to dining, all staff were attentive and professional. We encountered a little problem with fine dining. On the first night the lines were massive and when we reached to be served we were told to go to reception and from there to see maitre D. At the end we got to International buffet and we stayed a few nights to be waited on. If you have food intolerances let them know in advance or note it in your bookings. We ordered many of the dishes. Lunch in fine dining was not good - ordinary. Best to eat at the buffet. Dinner excellent. We did see a few people in casual clothes on semi formal nights and also on the other cruises. I guess it's not a policy. Hmm thinking of wearing shorts on my next cruise just to see what reactions. Staff at the restaurants will try to get you to purchase drinks, be strong and simply say no. Wines are very expensive with the gratuity fee. If you intend to buy wines check out the buffet where it can be purchase at a discount price and you can take it to any of the 4 free fine dining restaurants and also if you don't finish the bottle they will store it for you for the next night. We didn't dine at any of the paying restaurants and on some nights it was empty. Activities were good as well as entertainment - this depends on what you like. Karaoke was bad, you have to search for song on an iPad and when you do find it try to remember the number so the staff can retrieve the song. There weren't that many songs and most people left which you can't blame them. There were too many excuses. We did our research on this cruise and we brought emergencies items e.g sunburnt spray and cream, medications, highlighters for bingo and to mark activities on Princess Patter. On 2nd day we told reception we don't want to pay for the gratuity fee and I signed a form and it was automatically credited, no problems. This cruise suited for the oldies and families, not so much for the 18-20s, but they manage to find others and party on. 18 years old were allowed to purchase alcohol on this cruise, but they don't tell you when you book. A lot of the oldies hung out at the piano, Croonies bar and they know how to party. Can't wait to get to Ruby status. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I will start on a positive as we have cruised on the Eclipse four times now. As usual the staff really made the cruise as they are so gracious, interesting and hepful. Also the cleaniness of the whole ship was good. The ports were as good ... Read More
I will start on a positive as we have cruised on the Eclipse four times now. As usual the staff really made the cruise as they are so gracious, interesting and hepful. Also the cleaniness of the whole ship was good. The ports were as good as usual with no delays despite turning back to Curacao due to a medical emergency. The proceedure on and off the ship was efficient. We feel like many others that the cutbacks on the ship made our experience quite different. We tried for the first time the choice to dine when you wanted to and found the experience better than we anticipated. It avoided the rush to get ready for early dining as the other is too late due to a gasterol illness. There was no wait and we had the joy of meeting different people each evening. Also meant that it avoided sometimes sitting on an empty table. Like many others we did enjoy the food but somehow was not so special as often delays and feeling that the staff were too few. We actually ate in the buffet one night for the first time ever in the evening. Obviously the dress code has dropped very significantly which is a shame. The brunch is no longer in the Sonata and is now in the Ocean View Buffet Restaurant and was a shambles. There was nowhere to sit as full and when you did find a table to share all the dirty plates were still there so had to take to plate station so could set down own food. We loved the food and ice sculptures in the old brunch set up! Please bring it back. Also when asked whether everything was satisfactory we said the new tea bags were terrible as even with two there was no flavour. Three people took our Cabin No. and no-one came back. One gentleman working in Murano Restaurant high up said he would get loose tea and pot to us. We were so grateful but nothing. Would this have happened in days gone by - no never. We went to Sales Office to set up a forward passage but are home now and still heard nothing despite filling in form etc. on chasing it up on ship were told they had a pile to work through. Guess it is not going to materialise now! We probably will not go with Celebrity again despite Elite Status after seven cruises with them as wondering if it is worth the premium.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Firstly, my first time flying with Emirates, but guaranteed it won’t be my last. I got a requested upgrade to fly out Business Class at what looked to be a heavily discounted price. What an experience- it’s the first time I’ve ever ... Read More
Firstly, my first time flying with Emirates, but guaranteed it won’t be my last. I got a requested upgrade to fly out Business Class at what looked to be a heavily discounted price. What an experience- it’s the first time I’ve ever been on a plane, had a holiday and could not wait to do the return flight! The added bonus was that Business Class also entitled me to a free chauffeur driven car from my home 70 miles away to Gatwick and back, as well as return Chauffeur transfers both ways in Dubai. Add that into the amount of lovely free champagne and booze I quaffed and it started to look like a bargain! Virgin and ESPECIALLY BA need to look to their laurels regarding this competitor- I recently flew longhaul with BA Premier Economy and it was awful… From what I can ascertain, Emirates Business Class is easily equivalent to BA and Virgin First Class. Anyway having arrived in Dubai a couple of days early, I spent some time just getting used to the warmth of the sun on the creaking bones again- wonderful- I’d not considered the Emirates as a winter destination before but at between 6.5 and 7.5 hours direct flight it’s nearer than the Caribbean, and from what I have experienced of both, the weather seems more dependable.. They laughed at me in Dubai when I mentioned snow, saying they only get about 4 days rain a year! Anyway, onto the cruise… there is not much about the destinations because I picked up bronchitis the day I left home, so this ended up being a very laid back chill holiday..because I KNOW I’m going back! Another rather wonderful thing- I had booked a balcony but found just before going that Costa had upgraded me to a mini-suite- as a solo traveller I don’t tend to get such nice upgrades, so well done Costa! Day 1 & 2 First impressions- strangely wonderful embarkation process- walk up to the deserted check in desk, they put a room number sticker on your passport,and fill in the health questionnaire- you walk through to the ship, they take questionnaire and your passport which you don't see again until the end of the cruise ( I think! If anyone spots a dodgy looking Deco wandering around Dubai, you'll know it's not me!), and you go to your cabin where your cabin key awaits. Painless.And no queues. I did spend the first few days chuckling at what I thought was the Captain’s name - "Cordiali Saluti" , until it was pointed out to me that his welcome signed off with that greeting, followed by the words “Cordiali Saluti”! Doh! The cabin is great and spacious- can't fault it at all. Nice touch that every door had a Christmas tree decoration.Slept perfectly when I eventually got to bed. The room has a coffee pod machine which is nice, if I can work it out- you only get 2 free pods however, so I shall be selective when I use them.. I live life to the edge eh?! Nice that the cabin had a bath as well as a shower, and more storage space than I’ve ever seen in a cabin before! It's very eerie getting on Costa ships because people embark quite leisurely..our embarkation time was from between 3.30pm and 07.30am the following morning- no queues to embark or disembark. But it does the impression of a ghost ship at times! Last night I unpacked and headed to the bar, to test out the all inclusive drinks package, which at 19€ a day still works out at the best drinks package at sea, incorporating coffees, teas, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. It seems impossible to walk more than about 20 feet without finding a bar with music playing, which is nice.Last night they must have felt they were playing to the guests of the Marie Celeste! I'm sure tonight will be busier as we are at sea through the night. I've just been down to the a la carte restaurant for breakfast expecting it to be heaving with people.. There were maybe 15 guests, and approximately 25 waiting staff! Needless to say, no sooner was I seated than this procession of people appeared- the bread man, the croissant and pastry lady, the assorted juices lady, the cereals man, the coffee man, the man who took my breakfast order.. If it carries on like this, I'll be dead impressed! I'm more used to avoiding the buffet breakfast scrums on most ships! As most of you know, I tend to be a 2 meal ( breakfast and dinner) person onboard, so I settled for a very beautifully cooked cheese and herb omelette which should see me through to dinner. This ship has done away with early and late sittings so at meal times, the choices are buffet- which I had last night, ( tasty and fresh salady stuff mostly) , a Pizzeria with a small additional charge ,or open seating in the main restaurant . Looking at the restaurant this morning, it seems mostly set up with smaller tables, but I did like the fact that in the daily programme, there is an option to meet others who don't wish to dine alone ,at 6.30 each night. Having said that,knowing my luck, I'd get paired up with Fred Munster and Nigel Farage.. So maybe for tonight at least, I'll dine with my trusty Kindle for company! Currently it's 9.30am here and I'm waiting for the lifeboat drill to occur in about 10 minutes, before we depart Dubai for Bahrain at 10.30. Just heard the first of the obligatory 5 language cabin announcements, but as it's for the safety drill, I guess they can't afford to miss anyone out! Well that was fun- I've never been on a ship where we had to line up in groups before- "and move to the left, move to the right".. I was expecting to be asked to do-si-do! I'd lost the will to live by the time we'd reached the 5th translation! However, it's done now. After this, only the essential announcements are relayed to cabins in all 5 main languages. Ok- 20 minutes later and I'm out by the pool- it's deserted!!! Hurrah! Unless they all know something I don't.. Bye bye Dubai, bring on Bahrain... I was sitting right by the ship's hooter when it went off!!! Jump?!!!! How high?!!!!!! Now to chillax.... Later that day… A nice day in the sun- the ear that wasn't affected by my headcold has now been wind blasted within an inch of its hearing life- being ever the resourceful Brit, I resorted to wrapping my caribbean kaftan thing round my head to protect what's left of my hearing- I actually really don't CARE what it looked like! It worked. Deck entertainment that I saw ( there was more but I only write what I see) was a deck side morning disco masquerading as an aerobics class-Gangnam Style was never Jane Fonda(!) and later they dragged a few holiday makers up, presented them with about 15 ingredients and challenged them to come up with the most innovative cocktail.. Lolol! Class or what?!!! Funny to watch the reaction of the tasters. Got slightly distracted on way back to cabin by a coffee / tea bar offering 16 different teas ( yawn!) but a variety of coffees including Marzipan infused! Well, that was lunch sorted, together with my lemsip/ whisky hot toddy.. Decided to a la carte the dinner tonight - no problem getting a table although I think allocating me table 111 for 1 was rubbing it in a bit! 5 courses on offer- went for just 3- roast beef with artichoke, italian cheese and finally, "diplomatic cake"... I was really hoping that was a dessert telling me to embrace my curves and eat more.. Sadly this turned out not to be the case, but as a non pud eater it was luvverly!! Cream and some sort of pastry thing with a nod to health by the addition of a strawberry. On to the show "Made in Italy" prefaced by an introduction to the international hostesses- German, French,Spanish, and finally Hannah,the english hostess who spectacularly announced that she is the language interpreter for every other language than French, Italian Spanish and German- good luck with that luv! Still for my Costa doubting cruise friends, I think it's a really good facility to have. Showtime was great- a mixture of all things italian from opera to dance to pop- including a v innovative Formula One dance to The Race.. I'd forgotten the joys of "applauso applauso " on Costa ships- it just makes me smile. Sitting in one of the many lounges now, awaiting the "70s explosion"... Should be fun! Bahrain tomorrow and I'm afraid I've opted ( on most of this cruise) for beach resort days- hey ho. Day (non existent 3) & 4.. Oh well, after a fairly uneventful day 3 to due to this stupid cold, it looks like I shall be on board Xmas Day and Boxing Day- finally succumbed to the Doc today and he advised not to do my planned trips for next two days-bronchitis. Ho hum. At least he didn't confine me to cabin!!! Well at least I shall get to see Costa Christmas in all its glory- and let's face it, if you are going to be ill, you may as well be ill in the sun!! Not too impressed with his nurse that jumped back about 8 feet when I coughed!!!!! Although as backwards long jumps go, it was probably very proficient! So, yesterday - as said earlier, a peg out day by the pool which was fine. The show was an entertaining comedy acrobat team who did some amazing human "slinky" thing, which thankfully did NOT involve them tumbling down the stairs- which was the only thing I could do with my slinky! Back to the room last night to find this big box of panettone waiting- that and the prosecco will be coming home with me, otherwise I might explode before xmas day! We arrive in Abu Dhabi at 13.30 today and depart tomorrow at about 16.30, so I guess there will be a mass exodus this afternoon.Some are doing an overnight desert trip involving tents camels and bedouins. I don't think I was made for camels.. And I'm fairly sure they aren't made for me- girl has to know her limitations! My plan ( in the absence of shore trips!) is to enjoy the day in the sun- temperature is a lovely 25 degrees, and then tackle the Christmas Eve Dinner- I am interested to see what we receive- then the Hip Hop Burlesque Show ( there's a juxtaposition!) followed by the Midnight Mass if I'm still awake. I did this last year and it was lovely - mostly the Filipino staff and a few of us Roman Candles- it's about the only time of year I go to church and I must admit I do enjoy it. Signing off for now- I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful day- I may update later on Day 5. Costa NeoRiviera Firstly- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Thoughts for the day: 1) The hygiene and elf n safety standards on this ship are impeccable. I was watching today in the outdoor buffet area- if someone so much as drops a chip, someone is there to pick it up. The floors are constantly being mopped and all the buffet food has individual pick up tongs to reduce contamination 2) Sea water pools puts women like me at a severe disadvantage as regards swimming with any type of dignity.. No sooner am I in there then let's say my natural buoyancy takes over and the Mae Wests float to the top.. So you either go with that and float on your back looking like two atolls adrift at sea, or you fight it and people assume you are drowning... Just cold water showers poolside then for me.. 3) The quality and freshness of the food I've encountered on here surpasses anything I have had on the "posher" lines.. I did wonder if Costa Serena was unique in this, but no, seemingly not. 4)The entertainment has been fine for coping with so many nationalities- if I want a West End Show I'll go to London. But for what you get, the professionalism of the dancers and singers is top notch, the humour is by necessity " in yer face"( which I'm fine with!) and it is wonderful to sit in a theatre that is never more than 70% full with massive legroom and little tables for your drink(s)! 5) This has rekindled my love of smaller ships- it has about 1600 passengers and 900 rooms.. You can walk end to end in about 5 minutes flat. You don't need to queue for lifts, and despite the rumours about "foreigners" not queuing, I have not seen even one instance of anyone pushing in.The rumours of Costa ships being smoke filled dens appears to be unfounded too! 6) The beds are "awesome" on here and I have slept like a log! Aside from the fantastic unexpected free upgrade to a mini suite, the cabins are well fitted out, clean and well maintained. I have never had a cabin with so much storage space! I found another cupboard yesterday when I pressed the hairdryer button my mirror- only for the whole mirror to swing open to produce a further huge cupboard housing a safe ( I had wondered where that was!) as well as says hairdryer! I have not forgotten my P&O balcony complete with blue plastic webbing, rusty rails and paint flecks all over it! That was the same cabin where the handle came off in my hand if you recall! 7) Their inclusive drinks package is the best at sea, and means that since I've been on here, aside from a bottle of Cloudy Bay which I treated myself to for yesterday and today , and a packet of crisps ( because I could!) I have no other onboard spend at all. 8)I wasn't a fan of freedom dining, preferring to inflict myself on others at dinner, but actually it's been ok. I think it's led to me meeting less people than normal, but I also believe the vast array of nationalities by definition makes that harder. I've enjoyed the freedom to eat when I choose as opposed to when it's prescribed and as long as I have my Kindle, I've been a happy Billy No Mates in the corner! 9)Here's the thing... For all of the above plus more, I am starting to think that Costa may be my favourite cruise line.. I still have a lot to try out, but for value for money , I find them hard to beat. I'm interested in other opinions from fellow cruisers , and for non cruising friends, I'll shut up now!!!!! Today is a people watching day- it is the first time that I've seen the decks fairly full- this is a definite advantage of having almost every day as a port day- people clear off to explore! Having said, as I say, today ( at least for the next couple of hours) the world and his wife are here.. Yes there are plenty of children but they are "contained" reasonably within a) a children's pool on deck 12 with slides and stuff and b) in one of the two adult only pools.. Well, it's Christmas eh? And they are all being well behaved if a little noisy... The assorted deck walkers are funny to watch- there are the Sophia Loren and George Clooney beautiful people, the Middle aged stomach suckers-in squeezed into budgie smuggler speedos , the self conscious but willowy latinesque teenage beauties,giggling in little gaggles,and eying up the sullen moody boys, the sock wearing white hat & sandal brigade desperately seeking shade ( I wonder where they can be from?!), the dedicated yompers marching determinedly around the deck in anticipation of the Christmas dinner to come, eyes front and no deviation , the weary mothers who just look relieved that the sun is out and their children have playmates of all nationalities to play with, the teenage lads who really DO seem lost on here, and tend to sit quietly in corners scowling gently,pretending they can't see the giggly girls, the long suffering bar staff with their enforced uniform of Xmas hats which they wear with aplomb and a smile, dads pretending to read their papers and discreetly watching the girls go by without attracting the attention of their wives, who are watching them like hawks regardless anyhow..All the world is here.. I hear French, English, German, Arabic,Spanish, Italian as a gentle cacaphony of voices melding with the Christmas deck music.. It's strangely soothing.. I'm not a crowd lover, but even within all of this, it seems calm and peaceful... They say no man is an island.. I feel a little like one here, but surrounded by other islands, so it could be worse. Language is not hugely a barrier- smiles are universal and people are friendly enough. I'm not sure if I miss the big group table at dinner or not- I've met some interesting people by dining that way in the past, but actually , a table for one has been ok on this cruise.. Sad but true. I have my reindeer deely boppers ready to go tonight; bring it on! Day 6&7 Day 6 passed in a blur of sun sleep and .. Well that's it really! Oh except for the fact that I decided against my better nature to try italian Bingo.. Oh that's fun.. You push holes in the paper as opposed to using your dobber.. And you'd think , THINK, that with repeating each number in 5 languages, you'd have time to read a book Inbetween... Oh no sirree!!!! It was bloody hard to keep up and when I actually WON ( yes WON!!) I was so surprised and so slow that I nearly missed it! As it was, I had to go up front to "applauso applauso" in bare feet because I'd taken my shoes off... You could hear the tuts from the Jimmy Choo and Loboutin brigade.. I don't care- my tootsies looked lovely courtesy of my friend Angela at Image Salon so who cares?! Probably just jealous of my winning! The show "Myths & Legends" wasn't probably going to be my thing so I pottered off to see the Arabian Night floor show. Highly entertaining if very basic humour, culminating in the crowning of Mr NeoRiviera... I rather like this sort of simple humour- you look around the room and everyone is laughing- similar to the first time I watched Penguin Racing on Fred Olsen.. There's not a lot more designed to make me cry laughing than grown men strapped to 6 foot tall MDF penguins whilst assorted punters throw the huge dice to get their penguin over the finish line.. Call me childish but I LIKE that sort of thing! So, back to Mr Costa NeoRiviera.. Round one, basically a " You can take your hat off " routine to whittle from 20 down to 3.. Well a blind man could have worked out all 3.. There's been a fantastic Egyptian man who throws himself into everything, ( he really can dance like an Egyptian!), there was the obligatory italian stallion who just KNEW he was, ( not that I'm complaining!) and then this little tubby long haired grandad who was just hysterical to watch.. Ok.. So I guess before round two, you can already guess the winner? The game was to drag 3 (un ) willing women from the audience to act as Jane, to each man's Tarzan.. There was ONE extremely happy Jane there.. Then Tarzan had to beat up the cannibal with his fred flintstone cosh (applauso applauso) and swing through the jungle to rescue his jane.. Ok.. Silly but.. Egyptian man had either never heard of Tarzan or he'd been really badly dubbed in Egypt , as his cry came out like a cat with his bits caught in a mangle ( bye bye!), the Italian Stallion was so busy looking beautiful he forgot to act.. So step forward Mr Costa NeoRiviera- who threw himself into the part with what can only be described as gusto, and he looked totally in shock when he won .. Even though the animateurs had hoisted his Jane up between them and deposited her in his arms! Bloody funny- you had to be there to appreciate it! Last night,there was ( boring but worth mentioning for potential Costa cruisers) an offer to wash and iron up to 25 items for a total cost of €20.. Normally this is €11 an item and so REALLY not of interest.. But €20 to get 9 dresses and 2 tops returned ready to pack? Oh yes! Returned to my cabin at 6pm tonight and straight in the case.. Thankyou Costa! Dinner was tasty and I leave the ship at 9.30 tomorrow- interestingly at the disembarkation talk, you can keep your cabin on here until 3pm at no extra charge and even then you can continue to use the ship's facilities inc the restaurants until whatever time you are due to disembark. To sum up, this is my second Costa cruise, and no they're not the poshest but I do seriously believe they are fun.. Life is what you make it.. Holidays are what you choose to make them.. I didn't see any of the Emirates because of this bronchitis, but I had a totally relaxing chilled holiday in the most beautiful weather.. The cabin was the best designed and most spacious of any ship I've been on, and the staff can't do enough to help. And I KNOW I will be back here. With Costa too. For non cruising friends, I hope this hasn't bored you too much.. For cruise lovers friends, I hope you find this a useful honest review. Ciao!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421 Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008. We had to wait ... Read More
Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421 Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008. We had to wait two hours for a friend who was joining us but had lost his passport. We were guided to comfortable seats in a roped off area complete with brass stands, brass knobs and royal blue rope. There were refreshments and a ringside view of everyone coming and going. We booked this cruise at future cruise sales when we were on Aurora in June. I use a mobility scooter and need to book an adapted cabin so it was agreed at the time of booking that cabin C2 would be suitable to my needs. I had the scooter with me when we booked. Despite this and filling in all the forms in advance, when we checked in P&O reckoned we were not in a cabin suited to a scooter so another 40 mins while they sorted that one out. Eventually we got on board and after checking the cabin made our way to the Belvedere Buffet for a very tasty lunch. Good first impression on the food, even for my partner who is vegetarian, something very few caterers understand. Muster drill was a bit of a comedy. They kept announcing to keep the lifts for for the lame and lazy but they were full of the fit.  I eventually got into a lift with a woman in her nineties but the lift would not go where we wanted and took us up and down ad nauseam. We were in there so long her father was waiting for us when we got out to demand I make an honest woman of her. You might be surprised at the number of people complaining about what a farce having a muster drill was, you would think that after the Costa Concordia disaster they would see it in a different light. We were on Freedom Dining and it felt like they were operating a smart wheeze at dinner. When you arrive you are given a pager and told there is a half hour wait so "you might be more comfortable waiting in one of the bars". We had just bought a drink when the pager went off. Less than ten minutes, they must have really upped the drinks revenue. We were all pleased with dinner but that awful refined diesel oil that they try to pass for butter had followed us from the last cruise. Thankfully the buffet had little pats of Irish butter so we smuggled some out. We came back after lunch to a letter for each of us accusing us how not having registered a credit card and threatening to stop our credit. This has happened every time we have sailed with P&O despite all the rigmarole of them swiping cards and taking signatures at check in. It turns out that the P&O computer system could not cope with my partner's name which starts O'R...... They do not do apostrophes and said he would need to change the spelling to Or..... I presume he cannot be the only traveller with an apostrophe and as it has been causing problems for us since 2008 I am sure it could have been sorted. The cabin was fine and the steward kept on top of it but it really needed a good deep clean as there was a lot of fluff going back a long time under the bed and settee. There were a couple of inexcusable problems in the bathroom. A very badly scored toilet seat, the scores yellow with urine and a mouldy bathmat. We complained and they were replaced. The food onboard ship has been excellent. Every morsel tasty, good quality and well cooked. A hundred times better than our first Arcadia Christmas 2008. Then we paid £5700 for a balcony cabin for the two of us and parted with the money as we believed they would really push the boat out (if you will pardon the pun) but apart from a wallet "from Santa" tossed unwrapped onto the bed there was nothing extra. On that cruise there was a standing joke about being served potato croquettes and carrot medallions at every meal and by the end of the cruise it was not a joke, it was a recurring horror story. That was the one where at afternoon tea, William, the vegetarian got two slices of bread with just a rocket leaf! He asked if he could not at least have a cheese sandwich and was told he should have given 24 hours notice for that.  So well done Arcadia, you have redeemed yourselves. One of the highlights in the Palladium theatre was a great male singing quartet. Former West End Musical singers who have formed a group. Their performance was amazing on the first night hence the reason we headed off early and camped out in the front row for their next show.  Check our fourtunes.com Ports Our first port was Vigo. A tip for disabled visitors. Ask any taxi driver on the rank to call you an accessible cab and they phone "Eurocabs" for you. I was able to drive my scooter right into the cab. There is a €5 cover charge but it was only an extra €4 to take us to the top of the town. Porto was next. Another tip for disabled visitors. It is very hilly you might make it down to the railway station with its magnificent tile murals and the cathedral, great views of the river from there and the port producers on the opposite bank. If you go further down be prepared to get a taxi back to the coach drop off. We have been to Cadiz many times and we were hoping for good weather to walk along the shore then make our way back into the city via the Roman Amphitheatre but the rain was torrential and relentless so we gave up and returned to the ship. At which tme the sun came out and we got an hour sitting out but it was short lived then back to rain. Malaga was a gem, What a lovely city. A great central shopping street, very stylish with all the top brands. A well developed port with an attractive marina, more shops cafes, bars and well kept beaches. At each corner an attractive square with beautiful historic buildings all very sympathetically preserved.  We took the accessible mini bus shuttle into the city but walked back through the marina and along the promendade. Do not be afraid to stop for refreshments in the marina, it is all very reasonable priced and they have the cutest, tamest sparrows that will eat out of your hand. We were told in the booking info that we would spend the morning in Gibraltar. Once the daily paper has been circulated we learned we dock at 7 and leave at 11.30. People tend to save their shopping for Gib as it is so British but as shops open at 10 there was just an hour before one needed to head back to port. My companions went up the Rock on the cable car but it was not accessible for me, too many steps. So I stayed in the car park below. I tried the Almeda Botanical  Gardens but same again, steps!. I guess that was to be expected from a settlement built for mountain goats.  They found the cable car quick and the top of the rock unusually quiet. The monkeys (Macaques) were there but much better behaved. There are signs up threatening. £4,000 fine for feeding them. There were babies, very cute, we have pictures. Protective adults, not very cute with threatening grimaces and great pictures of the view all around is it was such a clear morning. I was reading that the Macaque population had got out of control so they have introduced a system of modern birth control (Marie Stopes eat your heart out) and exported a few families to a park in Scotland. We had a wonderful day in Lisbon, 7 hours. My companions hired Segways from Red Tour Segways in Rua Dos Fanquieros, a man we have patronised for years.  I was impressed by the performance of my scooter but Lisbon being so flat the load was reduced a little despite carrying half the P&O buffet round my midriff. I set off with such good intention but the food is all so good!!!!! Measuring it out later the scooter did about 7 miles so just made it back to the cabin before the battery died. It is the one question people ask me all the time. "How many miles do you get out of it?" But there are so many variables it is almost impossible to answer.  I found a lovely local deli in a back street selling smelly fish and cheese and got some good wines for the couple who are looking after the car. We had Coffee and Nata, the Portugese custard tart, a Christmas speciality, at the St Nicholas cafe in the main pedestrian street that runs off Black Horse Square.  We had been warned about thieves and pickpockets but the biggest surprise was the number of men who sidled past muttering "cocaine? hashish? Marihuana?" I bet they shopped any tourists who bought drugs to the police for a cut of the profit as there were lots of Polis around who must have known what they were doing. I tried sidling up to people muttering "Sennacot? Omeprazole? Rennies?". Once the rush hour traffic was clear the streets were fairly quiet as there is a two day rail and metro strike on. To those of us who have been coming to Lisbon for many years you can see how badly it has suffered under the recession. Many empty shops and abandoned premises with older shopkeepers presiding over out of date stock that was once their livelihood. Many more beggars, local people and not addled with drink or drugs just abandoned by the state. They have made a good start with dropped pavements and are half way to full accessibility. Half way, in the you drive off the pavement and get to the other side of the crossing to be met by a 6inch kerb.  Then back to the ship and the two day cruise back to Southampton. All in all it was a good cruise. So we would definitely do Arcadia again after this one. Well done P&O .   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My family have been on several Carnival Cruises; however, this is our first time on Victory. The crew was nice, our cabin guy Wilfred was very attentive. Room service was prompt and courteous. We stayed in cabin 1015, which was a balcony ... Read More
My family have been on several Carnival Cruises; however, this is our first time on Victory. The crew was nice, our cabin guy Wilfred was very attentive. Room service was prompt and courteous. We stayed in cabin 1015, which was a balcony on the top floor. Cabin was snug for 3 people. Our son is 13, and he is 5 ft 2 in. and his legs were longer than the twin bed provided. The ship is false advertising so many things to the point that I cannot list them all. But to name a few: the sushi bar is no longer on the ship, the cabins are very much smaller than they look, and the food was the worst I've ever had on a cruise. The portions are very small, most nights we had to order two dinners. The shrimp cocktails were so wrong...baby flimsy,shrimp. The wait staff was rushed. The bartender in the Atlantic dinning room was sweet and attentive. I ate at the buffet on the Lido deck on my first day and my last morning. My last morning the breakfast buffet was hot with lots of choices. My family and I have been on 4 Disney Cruises and I must say that I cannot see myself on another Carnival cruise. You should pay the extra money and go on Disney. The teenage activities are so very limited. If your children are not into swimming each and every day, they find themselves roaming the ship in little groups trying to find something to do. So, here is the thing that really, really took the fun out of my days...the lines on day one to board, to eat, to get on and off the ship at ports, to debark. The best day was on the private island...which was ruined because they shut down everything at 2pm with the last ferry taking you back to the ship at 3:15. We waited in line for an hour just to board the ferry. Each port was cut shorter and shorter as the days went on. The island of Freeport which has the least amount of things to do, you guested it, is were we docked until 6:30 pm. Other days we were required to return by 4:30. And to make matters worst, we docked in Nassau on day before the big Junkanoo parade, which was on December 26th. We should have been in Nassau for the islands biggest event of the year. I hope this was helpful. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
The first impression upon walking through the corridors was the smell of perspiration; then the second is the smell of perspiration in our room. Then the strong smell of perspiration on our pillows. We asked for new ones, and were given ... Read More
The first impression upon walking through the corridors was the smell of perspiration; then the second is the smell of perspiration in our room. Then the strong smell of perspiration on our pillows. We asked for new ones, and were given four "new" ones that still smelled awful. I asked our steward to please get us new ones, from a new sealed package. This seemed to do the trick, but then they changed the pillows several times during our 11-day trip, and we got the sweaty smelly ones again. I realize they have a short time to clean the rooms before the next group of travellers get on board, but the ship rugs, upholstery, and mattresses need a good cleaning and the pillows need to be replaced with new ones. It really ruined our trip. The food in the two main dining rooms was good and staff was wonderfully pleasant and couldn't do enough for you. The dining room that had the buffet style dining was a mad-house, and we didn't eat there again. The food at the buffet was good, and plenty of variety, but it was so crowded that they kept running out of silverware and coffee. Shows were awful in the beginning of the cruise, (we actually got up and left, as did others), but got better as cruise went along. We were on the cruise for Christmas week and were disappointed with the decorating. A little more effort would have been appreciated. We were with another couple and they had the same complaints. I don't usually complain about things, but the smell thing really turned me off. I guess you get what you pay for ($609 for 11 days) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Having read the reviews of this cruise/ship I was a little nervous about our cruise, but I need not have worried. This was our first Celebrity cruise (Princess and P & O are our favourites) and I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation ... Read More
Having read the reviews of this cruise/ship I was a little nervous about our cruise, but I need not have worried. This was our first Celebrity cruise (Princess and P & O are our favourites) and I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation was a breeze and our cabin was ready for us, again, having read that the ship was tired and in need of updating i wondered what our cabin would be like. It was lovely, very modern and the furnishings were nice. The balcony could have done with a little renovation but there was nothing that stopped us enjoying the room facilities. Our cabin steward, Rufina, was amazing and nothing was too much trouble. We ate in Blu, which we thoroughly enjoyed, the food was of a high standard and the staff always friendly and obliging to any requests for something different. On a couple of sea days, we ate in the Metropolitan at lunchtime and that also was of a good standard. The service wasn't always quick but we were in no rush and where else could we go on a sea day? We did use the Oceanview cafe on a couple of occasions and from what we could see the choice and quality was excellent. Unfortunately, because of bad weather we were unable to stop in Danang but these things happen and you have to make the most of them. The other ports were great and the overnight stays were brilliant, allowing you to experience the nightlife of these places. We did some ship's tours and then used the port guides for wandering on our own. I have to say I thought the port guides were poor, and lacked information and decent maps. The ship's tours we did were good value for money and just right for us. We have a couple of moans, the drinks prices are extortionate. We like a drink when we are away but i refuse to pay stupid prices and whilst we enjoyed wine with dinner etc and cocktails I did feel like Celebrity were taking the Mickey! We enjoy the ambiance of formal nights but felt that there was no sense of occasion on this ship. I don't know if it was just this ship or Celebrity in general. When you make an effort to dress up I feel slightly annoyed when people are still permitted to enter the main dining rooms in shorts and trainers. On other cruises we have always felt pulled to the atrium which is where things always seem to be going on and it is a great place to people watch but on this ship the atrium was nearly always empty, it was beautfiully decorated but there was nothing going on there. Some of the entertainment was poor, especially in the Rendez Vous lounge. The singer playing the piano was great but the band with the male singer were dire. The music was so loud that you couldn't hold a conversation but thankfully it drowned out his terrible voice. We tried the Cosmos lounge a few times but always felt it lacked atmosphere. I don't think I ever saw the Captain, we heard from him every morning at 10am but the senior crew were not often seen around the ship. Hygiene was excellent and they were always dishing out hand gel and wiping bannisters in public areas. Our disembarkation in Hong Kong was quick but it was hard to get away from the terminal. In fairness, Celebrity did warn us about lack of taxis and we could have booked a shuttle but we decided not to and paid the price. The taxi queue was huge so we ended up taking the free shuttle to the Hollywood Plaza mall and then picked up a taxi from there. All in all, we had a fantastic holiday and I would quite happily cruise Celebrity again, especially if they reduce their drink prices!!!! Read Less

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