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304 Holiday Cruise Reviews

The start of the holiday was via Eavesway transfer, big mistake; the coach was the type used for school runs, the toilet did not function and it was like a day out from the chest hospital with lots of people coughing very flemmy coughs ... Read More
The start of the holiday was via Eavesway transfer, big mistake; the coach was the type used for school runs, the toilet did not function and it was like a day out from the chest hospital with lots of people coughing very flemmy coughs turning you sick. Just wondered how many declared them at the terminal? Embarkation went very well as we had priority but others had to wait around 3 hours. the cabin was ready when we arrived and our luggage was ready. Using the balcony was a nightmare as we had chain smokers either side, nothing we can do about it but it must be coming to an end soon now that it has been banned on celebrity. Entertainment on the whole was good except on Christmas day when it was just the entertainers singing Christmas songs that had more whiskers on than Father Christmas. Not a lot of atmosphere for Christmas, there were the usual trees and gingerbread houses but it just lacked "Christmas". Food and service started good in the "Orient" restaurant, until Christmas eve when the waiters just gave up. We were left sitting with our dirty dinner plates in front of us one and a half hours after we sat down. The head waiter had the cheek to ask if our meal was OK, when I told him the service was unacceptable; instead of moving the plates he just walked away. So we got up and left and completed our meal in the buffet (more about that later). Later that evening I bumped into the H/W in the corridor, he asked why we had left, when I told him he blamed the kitchen staff. When I told him that everyone around us had been served and gone after being fed by the same kitchen he had no answer. The next day I asked to see the manager, again he tried to blame the kitchen. He told me he would make it "special" for Christmas day but I told him I did not want it to be false and that the H/W should have made the previous night work effectively. We chose not to dine there for the rest of the cruise as it would have been a bad atmosphere with the waiters. I feel the service has gone down hill with the waiting staff since auto tipping, they just don't need to work for it. Back to the buffet, only limited serving areas were open and for a full ship this did cause some overcrowding around the food. The food was very samey if you don't like curry at lunch then hard luck. late night food consisted of pasties made from whatever meat was left over from dinner. Finding a seat never seemed a problem but a lot of inconsiderate people taking up a table of four sitting on the outside or diagonal to deter anyone sharing, if you did ask to share they made some strange grunting noises or said they were waiting for someone but they never seemed to turn up. Cabin lad did his job well and deserved his tips, not much more to be said that's his job. We sat with two ladies in a bar on the first day who told us they had been up all night with the runs, now we know how it gets on board, ships don't make it people bring it on. We left them quite quickly. P & O still owe us money for trips we booked on the new cruise personaliser that went wrong, still waiting for them reimburse us. Had a run in with the "Loyalty Manager" who does not know even the simplest detail about loyalty benefits. Because he couldn't get his way he said he would have us thrown off, bearing in mind we were returning via the Bay of Biscay with the next stop Southampton I am not sure if he intended to set us adrift or walk the plank. Definitely last chance and last time with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Just returned from the Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Dec. 29 - Jan 6. To be very honest, the reason we signed up for this cruise was we wanted a "fun ship" for our 22 and 25 year olds to enjoy New Years Eve. In that respect, ... Read More
Just returned from the Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Dec. 29 - Jan 6. To be very honest, the reason we signed up for this cruise was we wanted a "fun ship" for our 22 and 25 year olds to enjoy New Years Eve. In that respect, it was a success. For those of you considering this ship, please take note of a few things to keep in mind ! It is old and in need of updating and repairs. There is NO emphasis on cleanliness such as very few hand sanitizers and restrooms throughout the ships lobby areas !! Staterooms have very thin walls so bring earplugs. People are allowed to smoke on their balcony so you may smell it or even have a few cigarette butts land on your balcony as we did ! The shows could certainly be more plentiful ! and as for the food.......well, lets just say that should not be the reason for taking this cruise !! It is always fun to be with the family and see your kids have a great time meeting others but this particular cruise is not a good idea for those who expect a lot.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First time reviewer as we have just completed our 4th cruise, background is we have sailed with Celebrity in 2011 (Med) and got the cruise bug. We then did the Carribean with Holland America and Turkey and Greece with MSC Divina. We are ... Read More
First time reviewer as we have just completed our 4th cruise, background is we have sailed with Celebrity in 2011 (Med) and got the cruise bug. We then did the Carribean with Holland America and Turkey and Greece with MSC Divina. We are aged 35 and 39. We tried to book the full package through Azamara ie flights and cruise, the cruise departed on 27 Dec from Buenos Aires. Azamara wanted us to fly to London on Dec 24 from Scotland. Stay at the Airport on Xmas eve then spend Christmas day in the Airport as the flight was not until app 21.30. Arrive in Argentina on 26 and Azamara would give us a free night in a hotel. When we tried to change the flight to the 22nd as we did not want to spend Xmas eve and day at terminal 5 we were told this would not be possible. We got our own flights. We were really looking forward to the cruise as the ports were really good and the ship has a 5 star+ reputation. The ports were fantastic but the ship is not a 5 star. It may have been when it was new back in the late 90s. If you like visiting grannies and her furniture you may disagree with me. As we sailed on Nuiew Amsterdam when it was app 3 months old and MSC Divina was a week old maybe we have been spoilt on other ships. In relation to the usual subjects here is my opinion Embarkation was spot on, straight through no waiting. We also arrived at midday and got straight into our room. Staff were excellent although the DJ starts at 11pm and if there are less than 14 people he goes to bed. One night there was 14 but he still went to bed. Please note if you like a little music and enjoy a drink and a little fun this cruise ship is not for you. If you are aged 55+ dont like the big ships due to the walking, size and music and boutique type of hotels you will love this ship. We paid £2750 each for a Balcony room for 9 nights and felt there was not the same value for money with the cruise lines mentioned above. We paid app £1000 for MSC and this included all drinks and speciality coffees (1 week). You do get wine at dinner and lunch with Azamara and all wines were good quality. Also the tips for the staff on Azamara are included but we still tipped our cabin team and a couple of waiters. We paid for the drinks package which was 265 dollars each but my wife fell Ill on the first day and was confined to the room for 4 days. Azamara did allow us to cancel the package as drinking on your own on holiday is no fun. Azamara also gave my wife free internet in the room. Saying that 4 days is a long time. We never done any excursions with the ship as we had done most of them on other ships but as stated above the ports were excellent where you did not need a bus or taxi to get to. Uusally we would go to the entertainment every night but as my wife was ill for 4 days, 1 night was New Year and we ate late on a couple of occasions and missed the show. Out of the 2 nights we did go it was OK. Remember that most of the clientelle is 50+. The stateroom is the same size roughly of the other ships we have been on just a little older and more tired. I felt the food in the main resturant was good but my wife disagreed. We both felt in comparison to other ships buffet there was not as good a selection but this will be down to the ships size, buffet was never busy like the big ships. We would not cruise with Azamara again as we feel there are better ships with better value for money. Unlike the previous cruises the ship did not have the WOW factor that we thought we were paying the extra for. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Just returned from a New Years cruise from Southampton to the Canaries. The Highlights were Madeira for New Year, where there was a fantastic atmosphere during the day and then the firework display which was absolutely fantastic. If you ... Read More
Just returned from a New Years cruise from Southampton to the Canaries. The Highlights were Madeira for New Year, where there was a fantastic atmosphere during the day and then the firework display which was absolutely fantastic. If you get the chance to go there for New Year - go. Sindhu speciality restaurant was extremely good. Lovely attentive service, spacious and the food was easily of Michelin starred quality. Undoubtedly the best Indian food I have ever eaten! Now the downside- This ship despite being relatively modern is showing signs of wear. The design of the ship also made it act rather unusually in rough weather, with a lot of sideways vibration and some huge occasional bangs where it 'slapped' the water after coming through a wave (but this was a force 11....) In the main dining restaurant the food, whilst having the odd gem, was repetitive and predictable. Fish and chips and roast beef, no matter how described and presented are still exactly what they are. Having said this the food was of a fairly good standard and well presented. The same with buffet lunches - Little variation, especially in the cold section. The entertainment was the worst aspect. Why they have all these short shows, repeated in the same venue, in various bars around the ship is beyond me. You end up watching a 45 minute show then walking to the next bar for the next show. You therefore tend to spend a considerable amount of the evening walking to venues and trying to find a seat(a suggestion would be to move the entertainers around and not the passengers! - They may even sell more drinks that way...) The entertainment tended to be totally outdated (loads of quizzes, bingo and karaoke every day)and geared to 'middle of the road' pensioners. The headlining guest celebrity was Tom O'Conner (need I say more!) The dance lessons were held in the Atrium (so overlooked by everyone) but as this is a relatively small area this soon became congested, with couples repeatedly treading on each other's feet and barging into each other (why not hold the dance classes in one of the bars with a reasonable size dance floor?). Another gripe was that children were allowed in all the bars unsupervised even late at night (we had a couple of kids sitting in the Casino area of Brodie's well after midnight on a black tie night, they literally sitting at the bar, playing around. This bar was immediately adjacent to the Roulette table). The staff tended to be cold and distant and too eager to take orders and clear plates as fast as they possibly could (I suspect that the bar staff were on a targeted bonus scheme given the way they acted). There were notable exceptions to this but these particular people stood out a mile and were few and far between. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The Continental hotel on Las Ramblas was clean and very early European. The much advertised free buffet was very disappointing and we avoided it. 6/10 for the view and location. Embarkation on the Serenade was very smooth, however we ... Read More
The Continental hotel on Las Ramblas was clean and very early European. The much advertised free buffet was very disappointing and we avoided it. 6/10 for the view and location. Embarkation on the Serenade was very smooth, however we were greeted, not by a welcoming party but a lady shooing us into a line of "my time diners" insisting we should immediately book our dinner for that night!! Not "welcome aboard, here is a glass of champagne, and have a lovely trip with us". Not welcome aboard, lunch is being served and your cabins will be ready at whatever time". After booking for what we understood was my time, my choice dining, we were met by another employee selling special offers!!!!We felt at a disadvantage and unsure where to go or what to do next. Our cabin was a highlight of the trip and we received the usual high standards we are accustomed to on a cruise. The dining room was very nice and the crew were attentive, the menu was disappointing as there were only 3 courses, not much choice and at our first meal we were offered steak at an extra cost!!. Another diner was demanding and the staff were very patient. Deciding immediately to stick with the buffet restaurant we headed there for lunch the next day. The experience was better as we could choose from a wider range of food, the staff here were exactly as expected, smiling, welcoming and always available to offer help. We continued to eat there every day for every meal. The food was just average and we were not impressed as on previous cruises on Cunard and Princess or Celebrity. The Park restaurant was small with limited range of food and hit and miss opening hours for the salad area. This is not a substitute for midnight buffets on the Cunard line. Mizumi the Japanese restaurant at extra cost was not worth the extra charges, although very busy. We really enjoyed the outdoor cinema, although we only watched it in passing due to the weather. The customer services: First encounter was to find out how I could receive my free glasses for the cocktails I had purchased, they said the bar were out of glasses and they would send them to our room. They did not come until I requested for a third time and we were on our last day. Second encounter was I called and asked for information, but when I was not clear with the answer I went to the desk and requested further information, expecting a patient reply I was surprised at the Gentleman's exasperated outburst that he had already spoken to me on the phone. Neither problems were huge but I dread to think how they would have handled a bigger issue. The ports were great and we made our own excursions for the first time on a cruise. WE seriously encourage people to research and try this alternative as it is much cheaper and not so daunting as you may think. Hop on hop off busses are truly fantastic for getting a feel of an area and you can get off at any place of interest or stay on and see the whole route all together. The little extra charges were very annoying, charge for delivering food to the room, charge for movies on TV, etc., The departure was very smooth. Overall the cruise was acceptable and a fair example of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Dec. 28,' 12-Jan.6, '13 There were 15 of us on Carnival Conquest cruise/ 14 of us first time, my mother went last year on R.C. Cruise. While this may still get long, I want to include the good and bad for many questions I had ... Read More
Dec. 28,' 12-Jan.6, '13 There were 15 of us on Carnival Conquest cruise/ 14 of us first time, my mother went last year on R.C. Cruise. While this may still get long, I want to include the good and bad for many questions I had before arriving on the ship. Rooms-Arriving to my room, found my suitcase was missing a wheel. After returning to guest services, received a brand new suitcase to replace mine which was very nice as I understand things happen. We had a state room on the 1st floor to save money. There is a nice big window, but no balcony. We actually did not miss the balcony and found this was one of only a couple floors you could get off at any elevator and easily get to your room. The stewards were great, cleaning your room twice per day and leaving you awesome towel animals. The rooms are quaint and have everything you need. We felt they were perfect! The bathrooms were small but fine.I did not see outlets however and you must get ready in main room area. (blow dryer located and hooked up from drawer). They provide shampoo and body wash in shower. (no tub). I took some hangers, but they did have several in the closet. There were laundry facilities nearby that cost $3 for a wash load, and $3 for a dryer that lasted 99 minutes. There is room service I used only once, as it took 45 minutes for some coffee. There is no coffee pot in the room, and the only place you can get free coffee is on the 9th floor. The other options are purchasing $4 and up coffee. I did not like that. If you are one to hang out in the room and watch tv all day, you will find the channels are VERY limited. Most they show activities at ports and on the ship. You can board the ship with 1 bottle of wine per person of age, and a 12 pack of soda or water. We found there was no way we could drink all the liquids as it is not convenient to go back to your room all the time. We left a lot behind when we left for the steward. They do work quite hard! Casino- larger than at resorts and we spent much time here. Most of us won anywhere from $40-$260, with the exception of me and I lost $60 and stopped. Spa- Did not use as it was very expensive. My 74 yr old mother got an amazing massage on the beach in Mahogany Bay for $20 for 45 minutes. They originally said $40 but came down half. My 22 yr old niece participated in the Pilates course for $12 and said it was very "beginner like". She is an instructor herself so may be a bit biased. Lido Deck/Buffet- There is plenty of food available at any time and I loved the choices and quality. I would suggest adding some ethnic food however. Loved the pizza at the pizza station though there is always a wait to get a slice. There were 15 of us and no one got sick. I was very happy with all of the food(minus powered scrambled eggs). The Renoir Dining Room- We did "anytime dining" and only once had a long wait. It is nice and the food was good. The bad: We had 2 Vegans with us who had contacted the ship a month in advance to discuss options and were assured they would be catered to. While the "special diet host" was wonderful and trying to accommodate us, the Vegans were left with no choice but "a salad as an appetizer and a "bigger" salad for the entree'. It was obvious after night 4, the chef did not care, and did not take any measures to accommodate them. One night they were given the enchilada sauce from a dish and they were told it was soup. After filing a formal complaint on 4th night, they were told someone would "get back with them". That never happened so we passed on 2 nights of eating in there. The last night we tried it again and there was an obvious change in how they were treated with more effort being given to accommodate them. I did overhear one of them say ... I will not recommend this trip for Vegans on the Vegan Blog as we were not promised what we were told. Since I am not a Vegan, I was very happy with my particular service and the food. Smoking- There are only 3 places to smoke- cigar bar on 5th floor at back of ship, casino- middle on 5th floor, and the 10th floor outside. Bars-there are a lot. The 18, 19 and 20 year olds with my group danced one night in Henri's but were more fascinated in the casino and other areas. Can buy Coronas for under $5, mixed anywhere from $7.25 to $14. Gratuity added in. Pools- There are 3 pools, and all are small. Plenty of lounge chairs but not all by pool. There are 5 hottubs. Music was good by pool and invited an upbeat mood. Embarking onto ship was easy and smooth. Debarking was another story. Super long lines and once in New Orleans, craziness of getting a taxi and no one could tell where lines were and many were angry. NOt sure if this is a ship thing or taxi issue. Comedy Shows- some funny, some not at all- take a chance I suppose. While you can use a cell phone for $1.99 per minute, we opted not to. I heard Wifi (which is cashy) is super slow so can eat up your minutes very fast. I was very happy with the fact all the public restrooms have hand towels to use to open every door. Being a bit of a germ-a-phobe, greatly appreciated this. Excusrions- way over priced. In Mahogany Bay, we opted to rent a tour van when we arrived. It felt totally safe as they are located right there at the port. We paid $20 pp which was actually a really expensive ride for 15 of us to a beach a few miles away. We also paid $10 to get in to the beach. My biggest disappointment was the excursion in Belize for the Cave tubing and ziplining. We paid $159 pp thru the ship and though it was a 6.5 hour event, only had about an hour and fifteen minutes of fun. Read the review on TripAdvisor for more info. Would not recommend! We were late back to ship and while they did have to wait, we had NO time to shop. Had to pay for lockers, waiting, etc. I guess 5 ships were at port and over 500 people at this excursion. We also rented a taxi in Cozumel which cost us $20 pp but that got us a ride to downtown, then to a beach and back to port. Again, such little time to shop. All I bought throughout the whole cruise was a 3 pack of vanilla- disappointed no jewelry. My son participated in the 14 year old teen club and reported this was "the best vacation ever!". I'm sure it had to do with having no curfew and having a new group of friends to hang with. I have other opinions with the shopping on the ship, as well as the photographers so please email me with any questions about specifics. We did have fun, and very glad we went, however found a lot of disappointments here and there and not the total relaxation I expected. After being on 5 all inclusive resort trips in comparison to this, we will likely never cruise again and stick solely to resorts. That does not mean I wouldn't recommend it however. I totally understand how this is a great "all in one" vacation, just not necessarily for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We arrived in time to embark on time and only took 30 minutes, as the rooms weren't ready we disembarked immediately to have lunch with family and friends at the Waterfront restaurant - great day had by all and embarked again at ... Read More
We arrived in time to embark on time and only took 30 minutes, as the rooms weren't ready we disembarked immediately to have lunch with family and friends at the Waterfront restaurant - great day had by all and embarked again at 4.30pm to check out our stateroom (top of the range balcony)!!!. I could not believe the condition of the cabin, small, dated, faded curtains, sofa, carpet etc. In need of urgent refurbishment. Pillows lumpy and linen worn thin, had to ask for an extra towel - two is not enough - women generally need an extra one for hair... After unpacking went to explore this big ship. I'm sure when first built it would have been quite grand however the entire ship is tired and showing its age especially in the furniture and fittings. First night dinner went quite well, as usual staff are always trying their best to please you, nothing is too much trouble for them. Some dishes were warm however all improved in time. We tried the specialty dining restaurant "Portofino" which was excellent and made reservations to dine there more regularly. Disappointed that there is only one speciality restaurant and towards the end of the cruise you could not reserve a table. We arranged our breakfast via room service and not one day was our order correct....warm coffee,no milk, incorrect order etc etc. what can I say! Our highlight of the cruise was the two day bus and sail excursion to Queenstown, well worth doing. excellent two days and one night in top class hotel. Also very disappointed they did not cater for Xmas lunch for the Australians on board who were the majority anyway. Nearly all the passengers turned up for lunch at the dining room expecting a Xmas lunch. Guess what they were not prepared! panic by all staff and management, however I must say that they managed quite well to feed over 2600 passengers that day. And only due to the staff having to work overtime and the kitchen staff's experience. Well done to all staff! This however could have been avoided if they researched their passengers Xmas dining requirements beforehand. We realised there would be children on board, 800 of them and I'm sure I saw each one of them in the dining room, in the library,in the adult pools,in the specialty dining room and wherever else they were no supposed to be...never a quiet moment anywhere! No supervision by parents who allowed their children to roam everywhere unsupervised. Bar service slow and some staff did not know their drink menu... I asked the waiter in the bar what the cocktail of the day is???? she did not know and had to check, the service in the Schooner bar was dreadful waited 20 minutes. After this experience we will never cruise with RC again, unless they improve the condition of their ships and ensure their newly recruited staff can communicate with all passengers. We favour Princess cruises and have booked with them again for the next two cruises. There were many parts of the cruise we enjoyed but will steer clear of large overcrowded ships - line up for everything, overcrowded public areas, and many young noisy unruly children, even the captain had his children with him. I recommend this cruise for young families and and people who are budget conscious. If you prefer a more relaxed and quiet cruise try another cruise line. There are many options out there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We sailed on the Dawn during Christmas. First off, we really enjoyed the embarkation procedure in Tampa. As it is a smaller port than the one in Miami, it was so much nicer and everything was facilitated professionally and with great ... Read More
We sailed on the Dawn during Christmas. First off, we really enjoyed the embarkation procedure in Tampa. As it is a smaller port than the one in Miami, it was so much nicer and everything was facilitated professionally and with great ease. We found that the cabin noise was unbelievable. We could hear the person next door to us snoring and we could hear the kids on the other side of us complaining about not wanting to go on the day excursion...we could hear their tv also. The food was mediocre. We chose the Dawn for the "freestyle" dining, which was complete fiasco. We waited over 45 minutes for supper in the Venetian dining room (which wasn't that great anyway) and were told that if we were willing to share a table we would get in faster...which sort of defeats the whole purpose of freestyle dining doesn't it!! We ended up eating most of our dinners at the buffet, which actually was just as good or better than the main dining room. the entertainment was quite good. Nathaniel Reed on the piano did a great job of performing special songs from Ray Charles/Cole Porter/and was a wonderful pianist. There was a duo that performed often, which were basically singing to back up music off of a laptop...think Karaoke!! not the best there. Greg London and Second City were a nice treat and we enjoyed their shows immensely. The staff productions were the usual cruise/all inclusive type shows. Dance numbers, loud music and costume changes...but we didn't come for the anyway so didn't really care. ports of call were unfortunately just a place to spend money on hand made souvenirs that were all the same. We took an excursion to the Chaccoben Ruins in Mexico and loved them. We wish we had taken more excursions because there wasn't much else to do. In Roatan, we were taken to a beach which was so crowded that we left after 2 hours. Make sure you get the taxi driver to take you across the island to the lesser populated beaches. Cozumel was just more of the same shopping. A shame, because we were there 20 years ago and it was a wonderful place to visit. Unfortunately, to us a good holiday is superb food, restful nights and great ports of call and we felt that this cruise was below par for all three. Customs on the ship was unbelievably slow and a waste of time. We will not be travelling NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
December 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013. We arrived to La Quinta Hotel on Saturday December 29. Great flight and nice weather in Tampa. We arrage the transfer from the hotel to the pier to take our ship on the next day. The line, check ... Read More
December 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013. We arrived to La Quinta Hotel on Saturday December 29. Great flight and nice weather in Tampa. We arrage the transfer from the hotel to the pier to take our ship on the next day. The line, check in and boarding the ship was fast. As soon we got on, we contacted with friends traveling with us. The ship was full. Next day December 31, New Year's Eve, we expected to have a great time but we got a big surprise that night. We sat in the atrium and all the passengers sitting there were like nothing. They were so bored. As latin, we expected to have some latin music but we didn't listen anything. We were 28 in our group and e made a little party to see something happy for this night. Sorry for those people who didn't liked our party that night but we came to celebrate the New Year and not to sleep or get bored. In this week, nothing but nothing latin on this ship. I've been on 39 cruises and this has been the most boring ship I've ever taken. I also see that they do not have any control with teens under 18 years. They are everywhere drinking and smoking. About the food, we ate on the Aqua Restaurant. The Venetian Restaurant was so dark that the waiter had to give us a light to read the menu, because we couldn't read it. Only 2 shows were good but the others were bored. I heard that this ship was refurbished but I would like to know in which part. We had a mini suite and we could barely use the balcony because of the smoking of passengers of the cabin next to ours. The ceiling in our balcony was leaking, the floor was so awful you can see that it wasn't clean all week. About the pool (which pool?), only 1 and it ws so little like the bathtub that I had in the mini suite that we were. Good things - Mark our cabin steward and the Washi Washi girls. They were smiling and happy all the time. I will have to think about taking another Norwegian cruise ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Here's a review of our 12/31/12 5-day Liberty of the Seas cruise. This was our 8th cruise, our 5th on Royal Caribbean. We turned platinum C&A members one day into the cruise (not that it makes any difference). We are a married ... Read More
Here's a review of our 12/31/12 5-day Liberty of the Seas cruise. This was our 8th cruise, our 5th on Royal Caribbean. We turned platinum C&A members one day into the cruise (not that it makes any difference). We are a married couple cruising with our teenage sons. We live in Florida so we drove to the ship and arrived at Port Everglades about 11:30am and had no problem getting to the pier since the traffic was light. After dropping off the bags, parking the car, and checking in we were in the Windjammer by 12:15. The lines moved quickly and the staff was efficient. The Windjammer was busy but not packed when we arrive but by the time we were done they were begging people to leave the tables and go somewhere else to wait for the staterooms to open. We had been on the Independence of the Seas a few years ago so we were familiar with the layout of the ship and didn't need to do much exploring. The only updates I noticed were the big screen tv by the pool and the interactive screens around the ship, both of which I thought were really great. We went to our cabins after they opened at 1pm. We had two Promenade cabins on deck 6 next to each other but not adjoining. We booked this cruise only a few weeks before departure and didn't have much choice on cabins. This was our first inside cabin and while it felt more like being in a hotel then being an inside cabin on a cruise ship I don't think we would do it again. First, both cabins were very noisy and not just from the Promenade. The only Promenade noise you get is from the parties and usually those are at decent hours. However, if you are an early-to-bed person you definitely don't want to be in one of these cabins because the music is loud. New Year's Eve the party lasted until almost 1am and the 70's Disco party lasted until almost midnight. My kids had a cabin with a persistent squeak that kept them up the first night. They finally put some towels under the bed which muffled it but it never went away. The worst part was the noise from cabins on either side. We were lucky and only had girls partying until 2am the last night of the cruise but my kids had two young men on the other side of them who played music loud every night (one night my son had to go knock on their door at 4am and ask them to turn it off). These young men were part of a larger group on board and had a knock-down fight with their mom on the last night so loud that my kids could recount every detail of the family history and my younger son said he had no idea there were so many creative ways to use the "f" word. We have never had so much noise from surrounding cabins on any cruise we have taken. Our cabin attendant was great and was always there when needed but never in the way. One afternoon our drain in the shower overflowed and we needed more towels. There was no answer in housekeeping so we called him directly on the number on his card and he came up with more towels during his off time. We gave him a WOW card for that. Because it was New Year's Eve they moved formal night to the first night which was a pain because you barely had time to get your bags and then get dressed. We were waiting for two of our bags and finally got a message at 4pm that they were being held in security. I went down and they had me open the bag and they confiscated my travel iron. I have cruised several times with this iron but they were being particular and I did not mind giving it up. I got a receipt to pick it up at the end of the cruise. I saw my husband's bag and they said he had knife in his bag but they wouldn't let me open his bag because he was officially booked in the other cabin (our kids are under 18). It turns out he had a toiletries kit with a nail clipper took that resembled a knife and they confiscated that too. We went up to the 3rd deck Rembrandt dining room for early seating. We never have good luck with our table locations and this time we were right at the bottom of the stairs to one side. The good news was we could hear Pedro the guitarist really well but the bad news was we were once again right next to the service area. We had a table for 8 and were joined by a nice family with younger kids and really enjoyed getting to know them. Our waitress was good, not the best we have ever had, but the assistant waiter was very good and he earned a WOW card by the end of the cruise. There was a special menu for New Year's Eve featuring beef tenderloin. The food in the dining room overall was very good but there are a lot fewer selections than we have had on past cruises. I would have liked a little more variety with soups and salads for appetizers and as others have commented the desserts were nothing special. But the meats, fish and pastas were very good. We watched the New Year's Eve party on the promenade from our cabin and it looked like a lot of fun. I liked the cruise director, he was very entertaining, but I did not see him around as much as I have other cruise directors on other ships. The second day was at sea. I found a lounge in the solarium and was very impressed by how quiet it was in there compared to the pool area on the other side of the wall. The pool area was mobbed most of the time as there were lots of children on the cruise. I don't know if they actually enforced the no saving chairs rule but I know they didn't enforce the smoking issue. I have to say that there was less smoking on this cruise than on any other one I have taken, but the people who did smoke seemed to do it anywhere they pleased. I had two guys light up near me in the non-smoking area of the Solarium and just flick their ashes on the deck. One night we were watching a bowl game by the pool on the big tv and they were smoking cigars and cigarettes in the non-smoking area. We had to move. There were always lots of the normal activities during the week. We don't play bingo or go to the art auctions but it seemed like there was always a bingo game or an auction event. There were activities on the sports deck run by the staff and they were well attended. I saw the cupcake class one day and the table was so long it was spilling out into the Promenade. There were movies in the Screening Room (not a very quiet venue) and in the theater in 3D. The casino was nearly empty almost the whole cruise, even on the last night. They had music trivia between the dinner seatings and regular trivia before the first seating. They also had a Sudoku challenge. My husband had massage in the Spa and said it was really good. Our tablemates were shocked at the prices, however. They are from a big city and said the prices were double what they normally pay. Both my husband and the tablemates were also annoyed by the sales pitch for the expensive products at the end. The second night at dinner, which should have been formal night on a regular cruise, was lobster and prime rib night. I found both to be mediocre (I ordered two entrees so I could sample both). Our head waiter dropped by that night and that was the only night we ever saw him. The bar service was slow and one night she forgot to come back with the check but caught us the next night. We saw Up in the Air that night in the theater. The acrobats were very good, the costumes were nice. The singers were fair and basically there isn't any real plot so don't expect to figure out what it is all about. We did enjoy it and I would recommend it. We had a great experience with the Explorations desk. We had no idea what we wanted to do in Jamaica but Geoffrey at the Explorations desk took the time to listen to our needs and recommended a great excursion. He was right on the money with this one. We took a catamaran snorkeling expedition out of Montego Bay. It was about a 20 minute drive from Falmouth to the beach where we got the catamaran. The crew on the boat was great. It was very crowded on the ship. They took us to a marine sanctuary for snorkeling and there were lots of fish and great coral reefs. After that they took us to a bay where they dove in and got some starfish and sea cucumbers for us to look at and then we sailed for a while which was really fun. The only down side of the trip was that they had an open bar and were not checking IDs at all. We had a couple of young girls, who could not have even been 18, get very drunk. We went to Portofino for dinner that night. Our waitress was excellent but the food choices were disappointing. I enjoy fine dining and the food was prepared well but my kids did not find much to choose from. That is my fault for not investigating the menu before I made the reservation. The next day was Labadee. We decided not to do any excursions and my kids didn't want to do the zip line or the coaster. We walked to Columbus Cove because of the shade and found a nice place. The attendant set up four lounges for us but didn't have change for a $20 and was a little annoyed we didn't have tip money (rightly so). My husband had to walk all the way back to the information center to get change and we were able to finally get the attendant his money. We sat around for a couple of hours and then went to get lunch. We were seated at the back of the eating area and I saw movement in the hill behind the wall and the fence. It was a group of men all holding plates and begging for food. They would get down when security would walk or drive by and then pop up again. Needless to say we felt incredibly guilty sitting there with our plates full of food. There was no way we could get them food even if we wanted to but it was hard to see. We walked around the whole area before going back to the ship. It's a nice place but I don't like it as much as Coco Cay. That night after dinner we went to the "interactive" comedy show. The comedian had a silent "baggy pants" style act where he juggled, did tricks, and got audience members up on the stage to help him. Parts of the show were very funny but it was uneven and the pacing wasn't very good. Because it was in between seatings a lot of people got up and left during the show. I felt bad for the comedian. We ate in the Windjammer a few times for breakfast and lunch. The food there is not very good. The Jade area had some interesting dishes, but mostly they featured uninspired steam-table buffet type foods. They do have a chef carving meat every day for lunch -- some days beef and some pork or turkey. They always featured the normal awful scrambled eggs for breakfast but you could get omelets or eggs made to order if you wanted to wait. There were plenty of breakfast meats, a variety of cereals, fruit, yogurt, breads and bagels, etc. Overall I found less selection than I have in the past and the quality not nearly as good. It was usually really crowded. The service in the Windjammer was awful. We never got a waiter who actually brought us anything to drink or even offered to get us refills. They seemed to only be there to clear the tables. The day we were in Labadee they closed the dining room for breakfast at 10 so it was mobbed in the Windjammer and there was literally nowhere to sit. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room the last sea day. For both breakfast and lunch they have a buffet with the same items as in the Windjammer but you can get made-to-order eggs and other things not on the buffet for breakfast and there are a lot of other options for lunch. We should have eaten there more. My kids ate pizza at Sorrento's every day, including the day an officer was yelling at the chef for the bad quality of the pizza. I had a salad there one day which was nice and the cookies and tira misu were great. We also snacked a few times at the Cafe. We ate lunch the first sea day in Johnny Rockets. Our hamburgers were good and the French fries and onion rings were very good. The singing and dancing waiters were great. The last day we had reservations for the ice show. I thought it was much better than the one we saw on the Indy. They were very good, even the comedian, and we all enjoyed it. That night was Saturday Night Fever. We were all disappointed by the show. It felt like a high school musical with better dancing and sets. The actors/singers who played Tony and Stephanie were especially weak. I didn't think it lived up to the hype. Because it was bowl game week we spent several nights watching games by the pool. The weather was great and it was a fun experience, but I think Royal Caribbean should have gone the extra step and offered appetizers or some kind of snack instead of just selling drinks. Our tablemates in the dining room also expressed that they would love to have been able to get appetizers to go with their drinks in the bar and said they would have bought a lot more to drink if they could have had food too. I know people complain about disembarkation but we had no trouble at all. We were carrying our bags off the ship and left our cabin at 7:15 to go to On Air to wait, but the ship had already cleared Customs and the line was moving. We were through Customs and at our car in the parking garage, even after stopping to get our confiscated items, by 8:15. Overall we had a great cruise. I felt the service on this cruise was not as good as when we were on the Indy several years ago and it had nothing to do with the crowd since that was a spring break cruise with similar numbers of kids and a full ship. Our section of the deck 6 had the toilets all stop working one night and they didn't bother to even come fix them until the next morning. A crew member stopped by our cabin that afternoon to make sure our toilet was working ok and we explained the toilet worked but the shower didn't drain but he didn't care -- apparently his only goal was to make sure the toilet worked. I think we are ready to go back to Celebrity where we found the service to be a notch better, but this cruise was inexpensive, convenient, and served its purpose as a quick family vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
- I sure hope HAL reads these reviews. - Thanks to all who post here and on Boards Of all the cruises we have ever taken, the Zuiderdam was lowest in our estimation. - BEWARE of Cabins 1083 and 1085 We were shocked that there was an ... Read More
- I sure hope HAL reads these reviews. - Thanks to all who post here and on Boards Of all the cruises we have ever taken, the Zuiderdam was lowest in our estimation. - BEWARE of Cabins 1083 and 1085 We were shocked that there was an unidentified noise underneath these cabins - like a chain being dragged. The vibrations actually shook the cabins. We complained and later found out these cabins are above either the incineration (or the trash compactor?) The noise and vibration went at various times all through the day...even in the early a.m. Although we were happy at first with the extra-large cabin and their mid-ship location on Main Desk near the Purser and Shore Excursion Desk and elevators, the aggravation was not worth it. Since it was a 14 day Holiday cruise, the ship was fully booked and the one statement Guest Relations offered us was not suitable. Eventually, HAL offered us on board credits, but not enough to take away the displeasure of the noise and vibrations. I don't know how far down the hall on that side of the ship the noise/ vibrations reached, but be very, very careful of booking those cabins. - Not much in poolside entertainment and.... On other ships, there is always music, pool games, etc. going on during the day, especially days-at-sea. Here, very little. In fact, rather a sedate, quiet cruise. Surprised us that - here we are in the Caribbean - and no traditional island music. Poor programming. The Shows were generally retreads - and the singers were awful. Mike Bliss - the comedian, juggler, magician was excellent. - Kudos for the Microsoft at Sea classes. A bright spot. - Food Standard cruise fare ....not terrible, but the Dining Room dinners were over-salted and over-sauced. The Chef menus were a bit pretentious. Stick to the simple selections: fish, grilled steaks, etc. offered daily. Pinnacle Grill was excellent. Canaletto - over-salted ...we didn't eat the spaghetti and meatballs entree it was so bad. Best was Breakfast in the Dining Room ...lots of choices and the smoked salmon (lox) excellent. - Casino Small, not very interesting. Bottom line: An older ship - and it shows, despite the dry-dock refurbishing. Unless the itinerary is a must-do, skip this ship. Sad, because our other HAL cruises (Noordam, Maasdam) were much more satisfying in terms of service, food, and entertainment.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Embarkation Was superb and very quick. Bags were delivered in a prompt manner. Stateroom We had a balcony on level 6 and we were pleasantly surprised with the size of the room. No free water in the room. Ships facilities They ... Read More
Embarkation Was superb and very quick. Bags were delivered in a prompt manner. Stateroom We had a balcony on level 6 and we were pleasantly surprised with the size of the room. No free water in the room. Ships facilities They were pretty good especially the adults only serenity section at the back of the boat which was free of charge. As carnival have no limit on children it was greatly needed as they were running riot. air con way too cold in common areas, requested to turn down but told that they are unable to, many people were getting sick as it was too cold. Gym was modern but weights all in pounds and extremely small weights area. Dining Empire dining room was fantastic. Dinner buffet absolutely appalling, choice between salad, sandwiches, pizza, chips and pies same every night. lunch buffet was good. loved the seaside bbq for a healthier option. Nouveau restaurant was brilliant and worth the $35 cover charge. early dinner seating 530 was too early, and late time 745 was way too late. Staff & Service Room attendant and dining room staff fantastic, bar staff and guest services not so great, hardly speak English. staffs lack of knowledge of promotions (every classic cocktail you have take your reeipt to the casino for a $5 voucher to bet at casino) Dj duh dork in the nightclub would play rap every night (same playlist) from about 1230am, was rude and threatened us when we asked for something different. One night he left the club for half an hour and let fhe music play and it sounded awful like the speakers were going to blow! Dj travis not much better, he would play requests sometimes but was also rude. Entertainment entertainment options lacking, not all nights had shows and most shows we're not up to scratch Shore Excursions Only did one in Fiji and it was fantastic, we went to savanna island for a day trip including lunch and drinks. Disembarkation Quicker than anticipated and easy to get a taxi. Summary Overall enjoyable cruise but a few things need to be less americanised and more Aussie. Green thunder not open during sea days due to high wind, open on port days. Maybe had one sea day where it was open. Probably would not cruise carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife & our boys aged 12 years & 9 years were on the Thomson Celebration Cruise during this Christmas in 2 nos. outside cabins on B deck. The cabins were comfortable with adequate space to store cloths etc. The food was ... Read More
My wife & our boys aged 12 years & 9 years were on the Thomson Celebration Cruise during this Christmas in 2 nos. outside cabins on B deck. The cabins were comfortable with adequate space to store cloths etc. The food was acceptable in the buffet restaurant but could have been hotter. A microwave would sort this problem out. The crew were both friendly & helpful. The first port of call was Aqaba in Jordan. Thomson supplied a free shuttle bus to the centre of the town which was worth a walk around. Thomson were running a tour to Petra which they would charge my family £404.00. We arranged our own taxi & including the cost of entry tickets. Total cost £140.00, a saving of 65%. The next port was Sokhna in Egypt. This port is a commercial one in the middle of nowhere surrounded only by factories. There is no town. Initially, we walked to find a taxi to take us to the Pyramids but were thwarted by the Port Authorities as they were not happy with Thomson passengers walking in their port. The Thomson representative tried to get us to return to the ship but when we refused found us a taxi. We assume that the Port Authorities complained to Thomsons which forced them to find us a taxi. We would have booked the Thomson Tour to the Pyramids if it had been reasonably priced, our cost including tickets was £150.00. Thomson were charging £320.00, a saving of 53%. If the passengers did not want to take the Thomson Tour they were kept captive on the ship, just like another day at sea. The final port before returning to Sharm El Sheikh was Safaga, another commercial port with a cement factory at the quay side. When we arrived it was windy with cement dust blowing towards the ship which is a health hazard. The town is quite run down & not really worth a visit. We easily found a taxi to take us to the Valley Of The Kings which cost £160.00 including entry tickets. The Thomson cost for my family was £344.00 our saving 53%. Thomson tours are grossly overpriced. I think that they are exploiting a captive market. A week before the cruise set sail date Thomson informed us that the Sports Deck was closed due to upgrading the ship. Having 2 nos. boys that are keen on football & basketball this was not good news as it was difficult to keep the children occupied during the day at sea. As we only booked this cruise a month before the cruise would start, we consider it was deceitful of Thomsons to not tell us about the deck closure at the time of booking. we complained to Thomsons who so far have ignored us. Finally, Thomson want to organise their airport departure procedures better. All their buses from the cruise & hotels arrive at the airport at the same time. This leads to massive unnecessary queues. All their planes were taking-off at short intervals which meant there were not enough buses at Sharm El Sheikh Airport to ferry passengers to the planes & when the planes were ready to take-off they were having to queue to leave. Our plane was 50 minutes late taking-off. This problem could easily be overcome by staggering the times that the buses arrive at the airport & leaving longer periods between flight take-offs. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Originally booked on the destiny but transferred to the Majesty when the changed ships. Majesty was clean and the cabin, an outside plus on deck 4, was spacious and, considering we had three adults in it, quite a surprise. Mid-ships, ... Read More
Originally booked on the destiny but transferred to the Majesty when the changed ships. Majesty was clean and the cabin, an outside plus on deck 4, was spacious and, considering we had three adults in it, quite a surprise. Mid-ships, quiet and comfortable with a working loo and air-con! The staffing on Thomson has changed quite a lot. Most of the staff we met, with the exception of those in the bar, were Eastern European and not really that cheerful or as accommodating. It does make a difference, and maybe cultural, but you go on holiday to relax. The food was pretty repetitive but to a good standard and the AI drinks not bad at all. We booked early so got it free - my wife can drink for England (probably Europe on a good day) and got through 105 double Malibu's in a week plus wine, Mojitos, and cleaning fluid - she read the bar tariff before the lifebelt instructions to make sure she could get what she wanted. I still reckon that her liver is a life force of its own. The AI list has shrunk from previous years and the only beer on draft is a lager, but its okay. The day before we got on the ship I had my wallet stolen. No problems getting cash from my bank but no replacement cards. I had to deposit £200 at reception, which was okay, but on the last day I wanted to nip ashore with my son to buy some presents - alarm went off when I handed my card to security and I had to go back to reception to settle my bill (they owed me £100) before I could go ashore. One very unhappy little bunny, who did not appreciate the snigger's from others getting off. Could barely understand the receptionist but got the message that they could have stopped me at the exit and held me while they called the purser? That would have been a better way then? It could just be my shifty look I suppose but I felt that this whole incident was poor customer service especially as my account was in credit and another member of my party, sharing a cabin with me, was still aboard. I know some people will say this isn't their fault etc but you had to be there! Must say that the fireworks in Maderia on New Years Eve were the best I have ever seen - worth the cost of the trip alone! Two formal nights - Captains Cocktail Party was attended by people in shorts and football shirts! Dress code does not, obviously, apply. Would I go with Thomson again? Yes, I probably would but they don't improve and after quite a few cruises with them, they are getting worse - price and the AI makes them look attractive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Embarkation : a nightmare, long and disorganized Cabin : smallest at sea and below average services, no towel animal, no ice, bare minimum :-( New years eve : no champagne toast or drinks offered to guests ?? New years day same ... Read More
Embarkation : a nightmare, long and disorganized Cabin : smallest at sea and below average services, no towel animal, no ice, bare minimum :-( New years eve : no champagne toast or drinks offered to guests ?? New years day same thing ?? we paid more for this new year cruise, come on Princess ! Dining room : above average, excellent service and very good food, matre D is doing a great job not accepting guys wearing shorts in the dining room !! Shows: above average, the best we have seen so far at sea Sun decks : not enough chairs, people holding to chairs all day all week :-( Food : best pizza at sea, we have to ask waiters for lemonade nonsense Ship cleanliness : below average , ashamed , dirty decks , we never see employees cleaning rails, elevators and windows never ??? Disembarkation : a long nightmare too Overall : not worth the money , We will not return to Princess Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Spirit on 27.12.12 to celebrate New Years Eve. We were in a group of 14. We had a good time overall as we made our own fun. Compared to other cruise ships we have sailed on carnival Spirit was the ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Carnival Spirit on 27.12.12 to celebrate New Years Eve. We were in a group of 14. We had a good time overall as we made our own fun. Compared to other cruise ships we have sailed on carnival Spirit was the worst. We have sailed on 9 cruises with 4 different cruise lines. I understand this is a family ship and we were sailing in school holidays and children will be children. But many of them were out of control and ran amok along the hallways, stairs, and dining room and in and out of the lifts. They were in the Casino and in the Bars and I noticed underage drinking. Knock and run and ringing staterooms all hours of the day. I should say night. As I said children will be children and I don't hold them totally responsible. We have children and grand children. They have to be supervised by their parents and the staff of Carnival spirit. So if you want to take your children away and leave them unsupervised and no security while you wander off in the opposite direction, this cruise is for you. Food and Beverage. I would rate the food 3 out of 5. Quantity but not quality. In the bistro the food was very ordinary queuing up at different counters and then eating fatty and stodgy lukewarm food. The salad and fruit were good. The Empire dining room overall was very good but on a few occasions we did receive food that was not up to par. The dress code in the Empire dining room was not enforced. No one was encouraged or enforced to use the sanitizer in any of the food outlets. Price of beer. $7.00 for a can or bottle. $8.00 for a draught. In the pool areas and the Serenity area (adults only) "some times" a can or bottle of beer was poured into a plastic cup resulting in flat beer. Cocktails and wine were reasonably priced. No packages or happy hour for alcohol. With the exception the bar staff need to smile and appear to be happy even if there not. More training needed. Cleanliness. There were no garbage bins on the ship. There was food, cups and bottles in the lifts, stairs and hallways. Sports bar: Mostly empty on this cruise and I know why. No Aussie sports. All the sports were American gridiron, baseball and basketball. When I first walked in I noticed there were 6 different beers on tap 4 on one side and 2 on the other side. Guest what the 4 taps together on one side never worked. On the other side only 1 of the 2 worked on most occasions. Stateroom. Our stateroom was a balcony of good size with plenty of cupboard space with good amenities. Entertainment. The hypnotist was great had everyone in the audience laughing. Dancers and singers were very good. The magician and comedian were very, very ordinary. Bingo, what a joke, $30.00 a ticket and the major prize $1000.00. There must have been 300 or more people in the lounge. You do the sums. Gym. Excellent except for the unsupervised children. Lucky no one was injured that I know of. Serenity Deck. Unless you got up at the crack of dawn you had no hope of getting a pod, hammock or a partly shaded lounge. Other lounge chairs in the full sun were hard to get at most times. People would leave their towels, shirts or some other apparel on the lounge to reserve the seat. The staff tried hard by placing stickers on the seats after about 40 minutes but unfortunately this did not work. In my opinion if you are planning a cruise and there is another ship cruising in the same or similar direction as Carnival I would sail with the other ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
In early October 2012, my Partner and I booked and paid a 20 Day Valparaiso -- Papeete Oceania Cruise sailing aboard Marina on December 27, 2012. My Partner was departing from Miami, and myself departing from Valparaiso, both ... Read More
In early October 2012, my Partner and I booked and paid a 20 Day Valparaiso -- Papeete Oceania Cruise sailing aboard Marina on December 27, 2012. My Partner was departing from Miami, and myself departing from Valparaiso, both returning Papeete -- Los Angeles on Atlas Air an Oceania charter flight. We were booked on a Veranda Suite and were offered a possible space available upgrade to better accommodations. At that point we confirmed our cruise reservations. Soon after, I received an E-Mail from Oceania offering me an upgrade "first come first served" to a Concierge Level Suite for USD$500 additional per person. Although Oceania had said the upgrade could happen at "no cost" I decided to pay the USD$1000 and confirmed the Concierge Level Suite. I specifically requested before making payment, a MidShip port side cabin and we were assured by our reservations agent that our accommodation confirmed, Suite 10094 was at MidShip. Air Accommodations, were confirmed on LAN Chile for my Partner flying from Miami to Santiago and confirmed reservations were made for both by Oceania on Atlas Air, Oceania's charter flight. Aisle seats were requested and confirmed seats were made before final payment was done. When Full payment was completed, we requested that both travelers would be E-Mailed with all forthcoming Information and confirmations. That never happened, even though we called our Booking Oceania Reservation Agent to request this .Only I, in Chile was sent all information & confirmation. When I noticed that Documents were not received in the USA, I asked my Partner to call Oceania. At that point, we were told that documents had been mailed, which we had never received. After two more calls, documents were received with the wrong information, wrong Suite number and my Air & Seat Reservations had been cancelled by Oceania. We had to fix our own Air Reservations and paid extra for the American Airlines Seat Reservations from Los Angeles to Miami. If we had not called Oceania's Reservation, before departure (having a hard time to get in touch with someone in Reservations as no calls were returned ... ), the Coos experienced in Papeete Airport would have been even more significant as experienced at the Airport in Papeete, as there was no adequate Oceania Representation. When we sailed Valparaiso, we experienced that our Suite was not what we had requested & confirmed as Midship. The Suite arrangements for two persons did not justified the square footage highlighted by the Oceania marketing material. It was very difficult for two people to have access to the Suite closet space. The closet door would open during the night. In addition, door slammings from neighboring Suites and their bathrooms would not permit a comfortable night's rest. At early morning the door slammings will be heard from the neighbors and also made from the cleaning crew. This was noticeable at all times when we were in the Suite. At the fourth Port of Call, my Partner & I developed a cold & coughing. Earlier, we had noticed that many other passengers had same problem. We went to the Medical Center to ask if there was a Virus or a possible Bacteria that was going around the Marina. As we entered the Medical Center, there were passengers being treated with medications in their hands and others waiting at the Doctor's Office. When we asked if there was a problem ... We were told that we could not be given any information as it was confidential medical information. The same answer was given to us by the person at the Reception Desk who advised that a report would be filed and we would be contacted. We were not contacted. It appeared that maybe half the passengers and some of the crew were experiencing viral/flu like symptoms. Two of the passengers had to be taken away from the ship in a helicopter. Yet, Oceania's Management had no communication to the passengers about this happening and treated it as "confidential information" and offered no special health instructions. For the end of the cruise and our arrival in Papeete, we paid for a Transfer. We were told by Oceania's Reservation Agent that as the Atlas Flight, Oceania's Charter from Papeete to Los Angeles was an evening flight, that we would be taken to a hotel where passengers paying Oceania's Transfer fee, would have a "Lounge Room" with shower available(there was a USD$10 charge at the hotel to take a shower), and the use of the Hotel facilities. The temperature in January in Papeete is humid and can be over 90F. We departed the Pier, and there was no representative in the transfer bus from Oceania. We arrived at the Radisson Hotel Papeete and were directed to a "musty" meeting room were there were small tables & chairs. With discontent, and with no Oceania Representative to ask and get advise, especially, after passengers had paid for a Transfer to a Hotel and to wait at a "Lounge Room", it was difficult for a group of more than 80 passengers to be at a Lounge Room for more than 3 hours. Thus, everyone, left the room and searched for their own accommodations around the hotel. When departure time from the hotel arrived, we were informed by the person from the transfer bus that Oceania's Atlas flight had been delayed for one hour. When we finally were transferred to Papeete Airport (a very small & Non-Air Conditioned Airport) the Bus Driver had to wait 45 minutes at the airport to let us get off the bus. When we got off the bus, there was no Oceania's Representative at the Airport to meet us & give us information. The boarding of Oceania's Atlas Charter flight was a Chaos. Departure, which was scheduled for 11:45pm did not occur until 1:45am. Although there were Oceania Representatives at the Los Angeles Airport, everyone had to run to meet our connecting flights and many had to reschedule their connecting flights Oceania Cruise Line restaurant food was good and its restaurant service crew was excellent. In resume, Oceania needs to work in giving attention to exercise and deliver what is expected and featured in their extensive "Pre-Cruise" marketing material. Oceania Cruise Line, is far away from achieving what they are promising its consumers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 9th cruise overall, and third NYE cruise. We have sailed on Oceania, NCL, and Carnival. This was our first cruise on Holland, and our expectations from reviews and reputation; we expected something between Oceania and NCL. ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise overall, and third NYE cruise. We have sailed on Oceania, NCL, and Carnival. This was our first cruise on Holland, and our expectations from reviews and reputation; we expected something between Oceania and NCL. Overall, the staff and service was exceptional (except for one area that I will address later). Embarkation was a bit surprising. Having secured a Deluxe Veranda Suite (SB), we were eligible for VIP Priority embarkation. When we arrived in the VIP line, there were eight couples in front of us and two workers checking passengers in. Having done VIP check-in on the other lines, we expected a few minutes per person to do the normal check-in procedures. However, 4 of the 8 couples must have incurred problems with paperwork or not done the online check-in prior to the sailing. These couples took 10-15 minutes each. Our check-in at the counter took about 2 minutes. By far, the longest priority check-in I have experienced on any cruise line. I will say the cabin steward delivered the checked bags faster than any prior sailing. Although, standing in the VIP line for over an hour gave the baggage personnel plenty of head start. The first night, we ate in the main dining room. Overall, selection of food during the cruise was okay and quality was about the same. Nothing memorable, but nothing disappointing either. The signature restaurant, Pinnacle Grill, is exceptional. Unfortunately, we were only able to get one reservation during the whole cruise. Went to the Neptune Lounge a number of times to get priority reservations, but was not able to secure any other days for the rest of the cruise. On other lines, when we have been in the top suites, we were given priority reservations. Apparently, Holland does not do the same. Additionally, because this was a NYE cruise, making reservations in advance online was not allowed either, even though we booked 8 months in advance. Lido buffet had a good selection of food for lunch and dinner (just make sure you check the hours of operation because they are not open as much as other ships). The pizza and pasta station did a good job of keeping up with the pace of customers. The Caribbean buffet in the pool are at the middle of the cruise was probably some of the best and most original food from several of the islands. The private island, Half Moon Cay is very nice and permanent amenities are the best we have seen from other lines. Also nice was that we were the only ship that day. Procedures for the tendering was some of the best we have experienced. Upon arrival back to the ship, the evening was a formal night and NYE. Having read previous cruise comments and reviews, we were expecting a fun evening. Dinner was okay, and they passed out paper hats and noise makers as you exited the dining room. The NYE parties were spread out throughout the ship. The main party was in the theater with the Cruise Director and Entertainment staff. The two hours of entertainment leading up to midnight consisted of watching the staff and assorted passengers dancing to the Electric Slide, Macrena, Cha Cha and other assorted night club tunes. They did come around 10 minutes before midnight to offer one glass of their house champagne. Really, this is what I paid the higher cruise fare compared to other sailings. To say we were disappointed is a severe understatement. We went to the night club after the midnight balloon drop where the netting holding the balloons would not release (actually was funny and fitting). Upon seeing the multitude of elementary, middle and high school kids and their families, we decided just to have our own celebration on our balcony. Probably the one event that has made my determination on Holland was the policy and procedures of how they run their Poker Tournaments. The night before our sea day, they announced through the newsletter that they would conduct a two Poker tourneys at 1130 and 1330. There are only ten seats for each. After dinner, I went down to sign up. Upon looking at the sign-up sheet, seems one individual (same handwriting) signed up the first eight slots of both tourneys, and the other two and all standby slots were already filled. I asked the person in the casino cage how they can let the same eight people occupy both tourneys and was told "first come, first serve". I pointed out that I understand that principle, but showed the worker how one person effectively shut out the other 2200 passengers (these are the same people who played in all the other tournaments as well). I asked to talk to the Casino Manager (Robert Beatty), and was told he was not available and to check back in the morning. Came back the next day and asked for him at 1000, and was told he would be in the casino at 1100. Came back then, and no sign of him. To make sure I would have evidence of what I was complaining about, I took a photo of the sign-up sheet with my IPAD, to which I was told "you cannot do that sir". I informed the worker that they knew my cabin number and they could have it back when the Casino Manager comes to talk to me. I never saw the Casino Manager or anyone further about the matter. I still have the photo (in case Holland would like to discuss or see the evidence). Disembarkation was the biggest disaster I have witnessed in all the cruises. Since we had a flight three hours after the first passengers were allowed to depart, were we given number 1. At 0800, those passengers willing to take their own bags were allowed to disembark. Group 1 was scheduled to leave at 0815. So, at 0815, we headed down to the gangway area and proceeded to hear the announcements over the next 30 minutes of the six groups after us. All of us that were group 1 were confused and asked security what was going on. We were told there was an issue and that group 1 bags were not ready. Really, the people who all have flights within 2-3 hours of disembarkation and were given group 1 are not ready. Just before 0900, they finally announced our group. We made it to the airport, checked in, got through the TSA line and arrived at the gate as they were making the announcement for all passengers on our flight. Overall, the staff was friendly and attentive. The policy and procedures need work. For the price we paid for a NYE cruise, I will look for other options in the future, as we were not impressed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We traveled on the Island Princess over the New Year's holiday, completing a "bucket list" item of seeing the Panama Canal. The Island Princess departed on Sunday, the 30th, along with five other cruise ships. Port ... Read More
We traveled on the Island Princess over the New Year's holiday, completing a "bucket list" item of seeing the Panama Canal. The Island Princess departed on Sunday, the 30th, along with five other cruise ships. Port Everglades was mobbed. We dropped our rental car off at the Avis located in the Port, and there were about 50 other customers waiting to board their shuttle bus that holds about 12 people. We found a cab, but with the traffic and security checks, it still took about 30 minutes to go about three miles. When we arrived at our terminal, it was a very crowded as we expected at 12:30, which was the initial boarding time. It took about an hour to go through check in and security and board the ship. HINT: If you do not want to stand in line, arrive at the ship after 2 PM for a 4 PM departure. There was no line in sight at that time. We were about an hour late departing the Port and it appeared that the five cruise ships in Port had the same departure time. Therefore, the "sail-away" party was concluded before we left the dock. Our itinerary called for two sea days before arriving in Aruba. The seas and wind were very rough. In fact, our cruise director, Richard Joseph, said it was the roughest he has seen it in two years. We were luckier than other passengers, and spared illness. Princess did a nice job with the New Year's Eve celebrations, which was a formal night. There were many choices...we experienced the Atrium and the Lido deck. The Atrium had a balloon drop and more classic entertainment. We stayed there until 11:30 and headed for the Lido deck, outdoor party. For just raining and being windy, there was a good, generally younger crowd. The cover band ICON was quite good throughout the cruise and DJ Mikey kept the crowd going. Streamers were handed out and thrown over string that was stretched over the upper deck. We danced until 1:30 AM, when the crowd started to retire. There was also a beautiful buffet on the Lido Deck. I will cover the ports and excursions separately in the port review section, but here is my overall observations of the cruise: PASSENGERS: On this cruise, it appeared the majority of passengers were over 65 years of age and retired. There are a lot of "slow walkers". Very few children on this cruise. The passengers are not as "well-heeled" as on Celebrity. Formal nights were most surprising. There were only a handful of men in tuxes or women in truly formal dresses. Most men were in sport coats and women in a casual dress. If you are looking for a more active or energetic cruise, this is not for you. We felt young at 56 and 58 years of age. FOOD: I don't expect much when feeding large groups, but the food quality was poor. We had anytime dining in the Bordeaux dining room. It did not matter...veal, chicken, beef...everything tasted the same. The only exception was the lobster. Don't bother with the NY strip steak, which everyone complained about at our table of ten. One fellow passenger equated the food with a high school cafeteria, and she was right. The Horizon Buffet suffered the same fate. The speciality restaurants were empty whenever we walked past them, and in ten days we did not talk to any fellow passengers who went to one. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to a few production shows which were good, the dancers much superior to the singers. "On the Bayou" had some fancy costumes. It was held in the Universal Theater and as a hint...arrive at least a half hour before show time. It's not as large as the Princess Theater and much of the seating is obstructed. "Piano Man" was also good in the Princess Theater. Hypnotist Kellie Karl was OK, but some of her subjects reacted so extremely, that you had to wonder if they were plants. "That 50's Night" was fun with a twist and hulahoop contest. Comedy Vocalist Diane Cousins was awful...we left; but believe it or not, not as awful as Billy Vader. I fell asleep after a few minutes. My husband said he lost track of his "jokes" and he kept repeating himself. We enjoyed the activities with the Cruise Director Staff: The Yes/No Gameshow, The Liar's Club, The International Crew Show, Peer Factor, and The Ultimate Deck Party. We also played some bingo and some difficult trivia. For the production shows...the 8 PM shows are the most crowded and you have to arrive early. SERVICE: The Cruise Director Staff was wonderful, mainly Mark and Toby. They are full of energy, and we were amazed how many hours of the day they are up and about. Our cabin steward was polite and had our room cleaned the minute we left for breakfast. However, this was our first cruise where I have to say the dining room staff was not up to par. Normally, the wait staff jokes and engage with the passengers. Yes, there were a few who did, but the majority were just doing their job, not enjoying their job. Not that I blame them as it has to be grueling. One item that disturbed us was the constant selling of products on the ship...even in the Horizon Buffet, there was selling of a Princess cookbook conducted table-to-table by a member of the wait staff. At every opportunity, Princess was trying to sell something. The spa was the worse in the selling of product. After a relaxing massage, you are then in for the hard sell. THE SHIP OVERALL: The Island Princess is in need an overhaul. It's getting tired and worn. While generally clean, it's a little shabby and neglected. The linens are getting thin, the windows were dirty, paint is sorely needed on the exterior of the ship, and a horrible sewer smell was present, especially in the aft areas of the ship. Also, there is a problem with the air conditioning on this ship. The entire cruise, we had the thermostat on the coolest setting possible, and the room was never really cool and humidity free. While the ship is in Alaska, the air may work, but not in hot and humid Panama. Princess excels at port lectures and Barb and Bill were wonderful. We attended every port lecture and they were very informative. They did a wonderful job talking about the Panama Canal while we were going thru it. DISEMBARKING: An unorganized mess. We opted for the self help off option. We had the first time in the group that met in the casino. The problem was that no one stayed in the casino awaiting the call to leave. The passengers hovered around the exit door, which resulted in the elevators and walkways being blocked. Hint to Princess...make everyone stay in the casino and not around the exit door. That way the elevators will not be blocked and people getting off the elevators can walk freely. It was a mess. We waited quite a while in customs, so don't scheudle your flight before 10:30 am. OTHER HINTS: Bring a power strip as there is only one outlet that is accessable. We purchased 36 hangers ($6.00 at Target) and they really helped us organize the cabin. Use the internet very early or very late. The service is very slow during busy times. At 75 cents a minute, you want to speed things up. Bring your own soap as the ship has cheap, small bad smelling bars. We purchased our cruise two weeks before sailing. We went thru cruisecompete.com. After registering, we had seven travel agents respond to our request with their pricing. We saved hundreds compared to the Princess website pricing. Booking at the last minute did not give us a choice in our cabin and we had to take an interior room, midship on level 10. However, it worked out fine on this cruise. We were rarely in the room, and with rough seas, being midship was a blessing. The port review section did not include a Panama Canal section, so here is my review of the Panama Canal: PANAMA CANAL: We did not take an excursion here, but stayed on the ship for the partial passage. We had sight of the Gatun Locks at about 5:30 AM from the Horizon Buffet. This area has windows that look out of the front of the ship. NOTE: We arrived here at 5 AM for front row seating at a table. If you arrive any later, you will not secure a seat by the window. We personally witnessed two arguments when people tried to cut in front of the folks who arrived early. We sat here versus outside as there is always a chance of rain...and sure enough, it did rain. We actually entered the lock about 6:30, as advertised the night before. The narration of the passage from Barb and Bill was wonderful. They explained everything that was going on...and there is quite a bit of action. The locks and the whole operation are truly a manmade miracle. We were in the lock system for an hour and a half. A reminder that if you do not take an excursion and remain on the ship, you will only complete one lock system in the Panama Canal. After exiting the Gatum Locks, you will anchor in Gatum Lock. (Those on excursions will travel by tender to shore for buses to their excursions. There is an excursion for $179 that provides a ferry boat to take you thru the entire Panama Canal. There are three locks systems total if you complete the entire canal. You then take an hour and a half bus ride from the outskirts of Panama City back to the ship.) We remained in Gatum Lake until 11 am and then did a return passage through the same Gatun Lock. We arrived in Colon about 3:30. We got off the ship here and there is a small shopping area called Colon 2000 as soon as you exit the ship. There is not much here...a restaurant, a casino where Spanish only is spoken, a Raddison Hotel, and few electronic stores, a dollar-like store, and a Subway. We were warned not to venture outside of this shopping area. We picked up all the passengers who were on excursions and left Colon at about 5 PM. About half the passengers took excursions...the other half remained on the ship. You will be amazed how many ships are anchored waiting for their time slot. There are 60 shops waiting for 40 slots a day. The cruise lines pay a hefty surcharge for definite times of passage. The Panama Canal was the reason we picked this particular cruise...it did not disappoint. This was our second Princess cruise...for the second time we chose Princess on their itinerary and ports. But for a cruise itself, we would choose Celebrity all day long. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This being my 5th cruise on Carnival with my family (wife plus a 13 and 10 year old) i have a pretty good idea of what to expect while onboard. Overall, yes....we had a great time but there were a few things that could be improved. ... Read More
This being my 5th cruise on Carnival with my family (wife plus a 13 and 10 year old) i have a pretty good idea of what to expect while onboard. Overall, yes....we had a great time but there were a few things that could be improved. First, the good things: I think the ship was in good shape, our cabin was nice, the common areas and lounges were all clean and seemed to be in good condition. Out of my past Carnival cruises, the crew on the Legend were the most friendly and helpful. Our dinner waiter, Jeffrey was terrific, the room steward, bar tenders, staff in the buffet areas were always willing to help or assist. Kudos for this. And now the bad things: As others have mentioned, the food is hit or miss. I was moderately happy with my meal most nights. Was it great? No. Was the food hot? Sometimes. Seeing as i have been very happy with meals on the Dream, Imagination, Valor and Elation, i believe there is a problem with the kitchen management. On a few nights, my wife struggled to find something on the menu to order. We kept positive about it and didnt let it get in the way of a great trip, but they should work to resolve this problem. For me, the Chinese buffet at lunch was the best food on the ship. The hot tubs were closed much of the time. And the day i found one open and without a lot of kids, the water temp was barely luke warm. The hot tub in the adult area worked fine, but only holds 6 people max. Seriously....get a bigger hot tub, it was always full....and fix the cold hot tubs. One other gripe was that on Dec 31, they boarded up one of the hot tubs early in the morning and put AstroTurf over it to get ready for the celebrations that night. It took the workers about two hours to do this. They were done by 11am. So for that entire day at sea, that hot tub was closed. That night we realized that the MC of the new years party would being using it as his platform, which is fine....but couldn't they have waited until that evening to close the hot tub? Annoying. Entertainment/shows were minimal. I'm not much of a "show" person, but i do like them on a cruise ship and have really enjoyed many shows on other Carnival ships. I find it amazing that they can put on a quality show at sea and it gives all of us something to do as a family. On our other cruises, we remember at least 3 or 4 shows....however, on the Legend there was one musical show and then a magic show. The musical was called the "big easy" and the singing, dancing and energy was fantastic. But why only one show for the entire week? The magician however....well....watching him was better than strolling the decks for the 50th time, but it wasn't that great.The comedy club was marginal. My wife and i went to the midnight "adults only" show and it lasted 30 minutes. 20 of those minutes were farting jokes. It was bad, mostly not funny and childish. My son and i went to play mini golf on our last day at sea. We got to the course and half the course was closed for the day to do maintenance on the astroturf (they were replacing some sections of it.) Why do they need to do this on a "sea" day?? The day prior we were in the Caymans and from what i could tell, nearly everyone was off the ship. Um...that might have been a good time to do that work. Or at night when people are asleep. The decks are lit like daylight, so they could have done the work then. We had a balcony room and it was fine, however the glass railing was dirty for 5 out of the 7 days of our cruise. The glass was so covered in salt spray from the ocean that it was hard to see through. On the 4th day, we got a note asking not to leave anything on the balcony as they would be cleaning the glass. That night when we returned, they had smeared the glass even more, so all the balconies had to be washed again the 5th day. I like to sit on the balcony and it was really hard to see through the glass for 5 out of 7 days. Not good. Many of these things individually may seem minor, however when they cumulative, they start to impact the cruise. Will we cruise on Carnival again....sure. But on the Legend?... most likely not as there are other Carnival ships that seem to be better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I went on this cruise as a getaway over Christmas break while my sons 17 & 5 were out of school. We made the rather long drive from Atlanta to Miami over two days. We had never sailed with NCL before and my kids were excited to try ... Read More
I went on this cruise as a getaway over Christmas break while my sons 17 & 5 were out of school. We made the rather long drive from Atlanta to Miami over two days. We had never sailed with NCL before and my kids were excited to try something different. We had previously sailed a few times on carnival. My oldest son wanted to try the epic because of all the buzz about its innovative design. I didn't do much research about the ship or the cruise line. I knew Norwegian was supposedly freestyle cruising where you don't have to dress up or eat at an assigned time, but I knew very little about the ship itself. The first thing that struck me when we arrived at the port was the shape. It was very.....square. Not exactly the most aerodynamic design. The odd configuration of the upper decks gives it a very top heavy appearance. I figured who cares about that as long as everything else is good. Embarkation- fairly easy although we waited for a decent amount of time. Not too bad I imagined given the ship's size and passenger capacity. We figured the ship had to be quite full given that many people had not started back to school yet. There seemed to be a good number of kids on board as well. The Ship- The epic is very cool with its vast number of lounges and restaurants. This was the largest ship I had ever been on and it was a bit overwhelming at first. One major gripe I had was the odor of smoke in the area of the atrium. The smoke seems to billow out of the casino and spreads through the whole area. Otherwise I thought this ship was very cool and modern in its design. None of that gaudy decor like on carnival's ships. The cabin- This was probably the most disappointing aspect of the ship. While the cabin looks very cool, it doesn't translate into being functional. I like the ceiling, I think it gives it the illusion of being taller. The wave design was meant to make the cabin look modern and more spacious, however I believe it has the opposite effect. In my opinion it looks cool, but it makes the cabin feel smaller. The wavy couch is ridiculously uncomfortable even for a cruise ship couch, and when folded out as a bed it makes the room feel very cramped. We originally requested to have the beds split apart to make 2 twin beds, but after seeing the room elected to keep them together to maximize space. I had read something about the epic having a split bathroom design but was I was totally unprepared as to what that would look like. The toilet and shower are in two different compartments which we jokingly said looked like 2 frosted glass phone booths. The sink is in the main cabin. I was expecting a split cabin design like Disney has, not this terrible setup. The frosted glass is still quite transparent and the glass offers no sound proofing whatsoever. The curtain helps a little. The way the cabin is arranged makes it so no one can come or go from the cabin while someone is using the bathroom or taking a shower. Dining- Freestyle Dining, an interesting concept, not sure I really care for it in practice. All of my previous cruises up until this point had been with carnival and we had always had set time dining. I found that I don't really care for the idea of just showing up at one of the dining rooms and waiting anywhere from 10-45 minutes. Besides the main dining rooms, epic has tons of other places to eat, some of them included, some not. I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something I don't care for about a ship loaded full of places to squeeze more money out of me. I know it was designed to provide flexibility, but there are just way too many places on board that cost extra... The quality of the food was pretty good, although I found the menus to lack variety. The buffet food was just fair. Service- The service was very good on board, although slightly impersonal. Our cabin was always kept spotless, but we never me our cabin steward. Never saw him once, don't even know his name. The wait staff was good, but at one dinner the waitress seemed perfectly happy to ignore us lol Entertainment- the quality of the shows were amazing. The blue man group and the legends show were both amazing. Much better quality than what you typically see on cruises. This is the first time I would say I have seen entertainment on board that is comparable to a land based show. However, that being said, the theater is not nearly large enough for the number of people on board. I thought the whole point of freestyle cruising is so that you could do what you want when you want. If you have to make reservations for shows, it seems to me like it defeats the whole point. I understand why they do it this way, but again I just don't care for it. Overall the epic just did not live up to my expectations. This ship has some amazing features but some major design flaws as well such as the wavy cabin walls, see thru bathrooms, a theater that is much too small, and public areas that are too cramped. This is just a personal preference, but I just don't like "freestyle" cruising. I don't like the waiting for a table, having to pay a majority of dining options, or having to reserve show tickets. I won't be cruising on the epic again or Norwegian for that matter. Freestyle is just not for me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My dad and I took the Carnival Triumph out of Galveston the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It's been a while since we've cruised Carnival but that is the only one sailing out of this port this weekend. Not only were we ... Read More
My dad and I took the Carnival Triumph out of Galveston the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It's been a while since we've cruised Carnival but that is the only one sailing out of this port this weekend. Not only were we impressed with the on board Carnival Produced shows, but the Magic show featuring Anders Hanson from Denmark was great! We liked it so much we saw both the early and late shows, and were impressed with each. We were blown away with the high production values, but the quality of the magic itself was impressive. The dancers and the music topped off the fast paced show, and the crowed interaction was precious. The second show Anders asked a child volunteer from the audience, as he did in the earlier, but the little girl was so moved, she could not believe her eyes when the floating table she was helping to present, she was shaking. Her eyes were wide as saucers. Anders not only wove storytelling from his home country, but also had the audience in stitches at times with his thick Danish accent. We didn't know what to expect when we sat down, but were thoroughly impressed and would recommend this show for all. Please note that the costumes were similar to what you would find in Vegas. There was also a third show at midnight called A Kiss Goodnight which is dubbed a burlesque style is a bit more revealing and suggestive and they label it an R rated version in a smaller intimate setting in a different theater. So if you have chance to catch Anders and the dancers on the Carnival Triumph, I say do it! You will enjoy it! Happy sailing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
First, don't read this and assume I'm the type to find something wrong with everything. I'm not. See my review of our Thanksgiving cruise on the Freedom last year if you don't believe me. There's far more negative ... Read More
First, don't read this and assume I'm the type to find something wrong with everything. I'm not. See my review of our Thanksgiving cruise on the Freedom last year if you don't believe me. There's far more negative in here than my last review, but it's honest feedback. None of this ruined our vacation, either, I just wanted to be fair in my review and call out things that need improving. We simply didn't find this cruise as good as past ones in many areas. Booking: We booked through CruiseQuick, a place many people seemed to fear. We got the room for a couple hundred less than anywhere else (even taking incentives in to consideration), and had zero issues. I'd totally use them again. The port: This was our first time going out of Tampa, and I wouldn't be sad to skip it in the future. Embarkation was faster than last year, which was a positive, but getting off was a pain compared to last year. We do self-assist, and last year we were off the boat and on the highway by 7:30am. This year, self--assist didn't start until ~9, and was very poorly organized. Took quite a bit longer to get off. Also not a fan of how the port area is laid out, driving around down there was a bit confusing compared to Miami and Lauderdale. Going under the Skyway bridge was cool though. We were an hour and a half late leaving port, so it was completely dark by then, which was pretty cool too since the bridge was all lit up in green lights. The ship: There are some who swear by the Legend and sail it more than once as a result. I'll agree that the ship never felt crowded like larger ships do, which was nice. The decorum, which some reviews complain about, is really no different than other ships. The whole "urn" theme was actually kinda interesting. Would I sail it again? Only with a more relaxing itinerary and a different entertainment staff. Our room: I went against last year's vow that I'd only stay on upper decks, all to try out a balcony for the first time. We were in 4204, which was a nice room. No other balconies right in front of us, so we didn't have any smoke blowing back towards our balcony. Also, for those looking at this room in the future, yes there is a lifeboat right where the room next to you would be, but don't worry about it messing with the view, 99% of the time it was a non-issue. If you want to see what the view looks like from that balcony, search for the image named "Roatan, as seen from our balcony" on photosynth.net (upload date is 12/1/2012). Good room, nice and quiet, but I really don't get the "once you go balcony, you'll never go back" stance. Yea, it was nice to be able to get up and go outside and enjoy the sea, or even to pop out there any time you wanted, but it's by no means a be-all-end-all requirement for us when cruising in the future. It may be that we just don't spend enough time in our room to properly enjoy it. The staff: Here's where it went downhill. Compared to our last experience on the Freedom with Brad and the rest of his entertainment staff, this year's entertainment staff was a bust. An earlier review of the Legend mentioned that the CD was heard more than he was seen, and kinda came off like a Diva. That fit Brian perfectly. We rarely saw him, and he hardly hosted any of the stuff we've seen past CDs host. He seemed to leave the majority of that up to his staff, and for much of it, they just weren't up to the task. The "be a game show star" show was really funny last year, but the hosts this year just sucked all the fun out of it by being completely out of sync. Additionally, the "adult game show" was awesome last year, and had a ton of participation. This year, it lasted 15 minutes and the girl hosting it seemed like she'd rather be elsewhere. We were warned that it was adults only, but she never got to any of the good stuff before they cut it off and brought the house band back up on stage. The saving grace of the entertainment staff was the comedy club manager, Kelly. She was pretty funny, even when hosting Bingo. Moving on, the MDR staff was a disappointment as well. We arrived to find that we were stuck at a little table all by ourselves off in the corner (we prefer to be at larger tables and meet other people), so the next morning I went to the MDR to ask the Maitre D if we could either move tables or move to Any-Time dining. He took my cabin number and said he'd get back to me, but we never heard a peep out of him. Checked in the next day, and the hostess said there were no other options. Considering the location of the table and our less-than-stellar head waiter, the MDR was kind of a bust for us this year. We ended up skipping a couple of nights, something we never do. We also had late seating for the first time on a cruise, something else we'll never do again. Live and learn :) The food: About the same as last year (not bad overall), although the midnight (11:30) Mexican buffet is nothing to write home about. That, or the chocolate buffet. Those are two of my favorite things on a cruise, and this year it just felt like they were the victim of cutbacks. The shows/activities: Another definite miss. A previous reviewer mentioned that the dancers seemed out of sync. Yea, that'd be accurate. Honestly, it seemed like they'd only been dancing together 10 minutes. I ended up walking out of the Jazz show about half way through as I just couldn't watch it go on anymore. Really didn't enjoy any of the shows this year. Shame, too, the Beatles show last year was entertaining. Outside of the shows, our other favorite thing to do, trivia, was hit or miss. The various hosts sometimes seemed unprepared, and in some cases like they really didn't want to be there. We attended almost every one, and it was amusing to see how seriously some people take those. It's a fun way to spend sea days, but you'd think there was serious money at stake based on the way some participants act :). The one good thing in this area were the comedians. We missed the first two on board, but caught multiple shows of the last two guys, and both were very funny. Kids activities: A bright spot once again this year. My daughter met quite a few other kids in Club O2, and loved the counselor in charge. Not really sure they participated in scheduled activities, but with the older age group, that's a hard thing to plan anyway. The itinerary: We absolutely loved last year's on the Freedom, with 4 sea days and 3 stops. This year on the Legend, 4 back-to-back stops felt like too much. Those 4 days were all a blur, so it's not the type of itinerary we'll be looking at in the future. Not complaining, we chose it, but it just never felt all that relaxing. See my review of the individual ports for more. Oh, I should also mention the tendering experience, since we had two ports of it this year. Neither was a hassle, we got off pretty quick. Here's a tip: the Fun Times says that you can get tender tickets starting at 9:00am. My recommendation, get there early. We knew the private excursion we were doing in Belize would be tight, so we all got down there ~8:30 and discovered they'd already started handing out tickets, and we got assigned group 2. As soon as tender operations started, we were off the boat on the first tender out. If you wait to get your tickets, you could be in a later group, and based on what we saw in Cayman, those in groups 4 and up had to wait a while to get off since Carnival excursions get priority. All in all, no issues for us tendering at either port. Another thing we found interesting this year is that the ship just felt dead. I'm not sure how to explain it, but after the sun went down, the crowd disappeared. Not sure what the deal was, but the shows were never full like they were on our past few cruises, and of the comedy shows we went to, only one was standing room only. There were a ton of kids on the ship, so I certainly can't blame it on an older crowd, just felt like a less-involved crowd this year. All in all, we had a good vacation. Any day you can be standing on a ship or on a beach instead of being at work is a good day. Yes, the experience on the boat wasn't as good (mostly due to staff issues), but it's all stuff that we never let bother us. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was my first time sailing on Princess, and my husband's 2nd time. He had sailed on this ship a few years prior (before it was refurbished) We were looking for a cruise for our honeymoon over Thanksgiving break and came across ... Read More
This was my first time sailing on Princess, and my husband's 2nd time. He had sailed on this ship a few years prior (before it was refurbished) We were looking for a cruise for our honeymoon over Thanksgiving break and came across this. It was reasonably priced and had a nice itinerary. My husband said he'd give the ship and Princess another shot since it was refurbished, so we booked it and off we went! Embarkation was a breeze and everyone at the port was very friendly. We did have to wait quite a bit for the transfer from the airport, but we didn't mind. Once on the ship, we checked out our room. It was pretty small, but a lot of space to hang clothing. It didn't bother us too much as we were hardly in the room the entire time. We were out having fun! We went to Horizon Cafe for some food. We were immediately greeted by staff trying to sell us wine tasting packages. We did want to look into it, but we were excited to just be getting on the ship and didn't want to be harassed at that moment. Once we did settle down, you couldn't find any information about the wine tastings, so we missed out on it. Our bags were in our room when we got ready for the muster drill and we met our cabin steward Homer. He was very nice and always greeted us by name in the hallway. We tried Crown Grill the first night which was great! We really enjoyed Crown Grill. The salts that go on the steak were great and a different experience for me. The lobster and all the sides were very good as well. We had anytime dining, and were always seated promptly the other nights on board. The food in the main dining room wasn't too great so that was a bit of a disappointment. We tried Sabatini's one night as well. We had great service there, but the food wasn't as good as we had hoped. We decided to try Crown Grill again on the last night because we enjoyed it so much. As for breakfast/lunch options we ate at the pool or in Horizon Cafe. We basically had the same thing every day as there wasn't much of a variety. We did do the pub lunch twice which was decent, but nothing spectacular. We tried high tea one afternoon which was enjoyable and the sandwiches were very good. Princess Cays was a nice island. Lots to do, but we just laid out and relaxed and ordered a bucket of beers! Curacao was a bit odd. We probably should have researched this port before going out to explore it on our own. Once you went over the bridge, it wasn't so nice. We probably should have gotten a taxi to go to the beach or booked an excursion for this port as we didn't spend much time walking around. We were going to eat on the island that night, but we took a glance at the restaurants and the prices were outrageous and the menu options didn't seem to be worth it. Aruba was beautiful. We went to Palm Beach. It was absolutely gorgeous! The weather was perfect there and we spent time just sunbathing, swimming and ate lunch at the beach bar. It was my favorite day. The entertainment on the ship was OK. We enjoyed the magician. The sail away party was tons of fun. We also loved the Thanksgiving party. Other than that, we didn't really go to any shows except for the Love and Marriage show which was a complete disappointment. Usually this show is hilarious, but the couples chosen were kind of boring (sorry) and the newlyweds that were chosen were not really newlyweds after being married for over 3 years. It was just a boring show that could have been spiced up a bit more by the entertainment director. Other nights we spent in the nightclub which was such a great view! Some nights it was busy and the DJ played great music, other nights not so much. When the nightclub was dead we went to the casino. We aren't big gamblers, but played roulette and had a lot of fun! For the sea days we did not have any problems finding chairs and no chair hogs. There were a lot of kids on board because of Thanksgiving break, but it didn't really bother us. If you're near the pool expect to be splashed on by kids or adults...it's a pool, you're most likely going to get wet! We met a few nice people on board and the atmosphere was friendly throughout the cruise (except when we were getting off the ship for Curacao) a fight nearly broke out because the ship's staff gave no one any direction on where to go and where the line was etc., however people need to chill out! Overall we weren't blown away by Princess. The service was good, the entertainment was OK and the food was a bit disappointing (except for Crown Grill) We had a blast because we made our own fun and didn't pick everything apart or complain about every little thing. We truly relaxed, partied, and spent some quality time with one another which is what it was all about. My only really negative take away is that they overcharged our credit card at the end of the cruise. We had pending charges on it for days that were over double the amount of our bill! We called the customer service, but they acted like it was no big deal and just said the pending charges would eventually go away. We weren't sure why the pending charges were for over double the amount though, and it caused our card to be over-drafted! My husband had a flat tire a few days after the cruise and tried paying for it with the card and was declined. He had a backup card, but we were pretty peeved that it took so long to sort out the pending charges issue as we were unable to access cash and use the debit card for anything for several days!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
28 DAY Round Trip from San Diego,CA to HAWAII, TAHITI & MARQUESAS (NOV. 23, 2012 to DEC. 21, 2012) We were a group of 4 couples traveling Round Trip from San Diego, CA. We all live in San Diego and looked forward to not having to ... Read More
28 DAY Round Trip from San Diego,CA to HAWAII, TAHITI & MARQUESAS (NOV. 23, 2012 to DEC. 21, 2012) We were a group of 4 couples traveling Round Trip from San Diego, CA. We all live in San Diego and looked forward to not having to deal with the airlines. The check in and embarkation went smoothly with no delays. This was my husband and my 7th cruise. First on Holland America. (Other 6 cruises were on Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, Carnival and Celebrity) Our group was probably the youngest on board(our ages 60-65). Average age was about 80ish. Our cabin(757)on Deck A was nice and we were very happy with the service from our room attendant(bringing us fresh towels 2 times daily) We also liked that the ship had 3 laundry rooms aboard on such a long voyage. In our opinion the entertainment was average. With the majority of the passengers being on the older side the activities were somewhat limited to the older generation. Bingo, golf putting games, cooking classes, crafts, chess, pub trivia, beginning computer classes, stretching classes and art shows. The shore excursions available on the Hawaiian Islands were very good. On Bora Bora we went on the "Bora Bora Island Discovery" tour and the "Shark and Ray Encounter" which we all enjoyed. The food and service in the Dining Room was quite good. My husband and I usually ate our breakfasts and lunches at the buffet which was above average. We did not try any of the specialty dinning rooms so have no opinions. The 4 ladies in our group enjoyed "high tea" every afternoon. It was excellent. Our biggest complaint was that we missed 3 of the 7 islands due to weather. I personally think that Holland should not run this South Pacific cruise this time of the year or at least let people know that there is a good chance that they will miss islands. To make up for the missed islands we were given 1 glass of wine or 1 glass of inexpensive champagne. We were lavishly credited $9.16 per person for missing Kiritmati Island; $13.11 per person for missing Raiatea Island; and $11.46 per person for missing Rangiroa/Polynesia. Wow, how generous! We spent a total of 20 sea days out of a total of 28 days. Needless to say it was not the best experience. Also, as everyone looks forward to when traveling to Polynesia/Bora Bora, we had maybe 2 days total that we could enjoy the beautiful blue waters that the South Pacific is so famous for. The food and service was not bad. This is the last cruise we will take for 28 days. 14 days seem to agree with my husband and myself. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012

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