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175 Holiday Cruise Reviews

As someone who has been on 12 Cruises (Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean) I can attest that NCL is the worst cruise experience. If you rode the Staten Island Ferry you would get a smoother ride, better food, and better service. My ... Read More
As someone who has been on 12 Cruises (Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean) I can attest that NCL is the worst cruise experience. If you rode the Staten Island Ferry you would get a smoother ride, better food, and better service. My family and I just came off a 7 day cruise aboard the NCL Jewel. We were apprehensive to try the freestyle cruising because we traditional enjoy the same servers at dinner, but tried this one because we heard mixed reviews and the price was right. After taking this cruise, I do not know how NCL is still in business. The crews from the front desk staff to the servers throughout the ship were extremely rude and had the "I do not care" attitude. This is attributed to the fact that $12 per person per day is automatically charged to your account and there is no accountability for their service because they will not serve you every night. The ship is narrow and does not handle well in 4-7 foot swells. The ship rocked from the Verrazano's Bridge and kept rocking for 7 days. The constant rocking was so bad, people were throwing up and the pools were closed on the warmest days. If you choose this ship, bring your wallets. The price may be less for the cruise, but you will spend money on specialty restaurants because the food in the dining room and buffet are horrible. NCL nickel and dimes you for everything from meeting SpongeBob for breakfast, to sushi, to cake in the main atrium, to eating decent food. In addition, be prepared for only 2 ports of call because the private island is typically canceled due to weather and the ship generates revenue as people fight for deck chairs, purchase high prices drinks and play $50 bingo. Lastly, since we ate in the specialty restaurants every night, paid extra and tipped those servers so we removed the tips from our account (we did tip the cabin steward cash). When we made this request to the front desk, we were given much resistance as they asked us why... said it was not possible... said it was for everyone on the ship... etc; however, please know gratuity is for services well performed and are NOT Mandatory. If you wish to have your tips removed... stand strong and you can have the tips removes. The total for tips for a family of 4 was $336 in addition to the specialty restaurant fees. In short, go on Carnivals newer ships, Princess or RCCL.... It will be worth it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I Just finished my cruise on the Carnival Pride, and outside of Mikita and her girls at David's Steak house, young girl from India on the Lido Deck and the pizza guy on the Lido deck this was the worst Carnival cruise I have ever ... Read More
I Just finished my cruise on the Carnival Pride, and outside of Mikita and her girls at David's Steak house, young girl from India on the Lido Deck and the pizza guy on the Lido deck this was the worst Carnival cruise I have ever been on. We were not notified until after 8PM, Saturday night that our cruise would not begin on 11/6, but would sail on Monday 11/7 at 1PM with over $100,000.00 worth of damages due to a storm that delay the Carnival Pride getting into Baltimore on 11/6.Crew members told me that passengers in the upper floors were sleeping in the hall ways and in the atrium which was flooded. Crew members told me that they were afraid during that storm. The Captain, knowing the Tropical Storm Shawn was in the Atlantic, heading towards Bermuda, took us into the storm while in my, and other guest opinions should have changed our destinations to New England. 48 hours later we arrived in Bermuda on Wednesday at 1PM and it took us until about 2:30PM to dock, clear customs and get to our first excursion. Our excursion lasted about 1 hr, 20 mins,, and since the shops close at 5PM, we stayed in the King's Wharf area and shopped till the shops closed and then went to dinner. On Sunday e were told we had to be back on board by 12:30PM, since the ship was leaving early, with the shops not opening till 10PM we figured with the 20 minute ferry ride, each way, to Hamilton, or the 45 minute travel time to, each way St. George's, it was not worth the risk of missing the 12:30/1PM sailing. we arrived off the Va Coast around 12:45Pm Friday afternoon and sailed up and down from Nagg's Head to the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay the rest of Friday and all day Saturday just punching holes in the water. 48 hours from Baltimore to Bermuda and only 22 hours from Bermuda to the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay. Two of the six Atrium elevators did not work, storm damage. Jay the Shopping expert, saw only twice, outside of on TV. One was at his post, the day before his show, which he had pamphlets out for Freeport. Very, very rude and arrogant! Only saw the cruise director on TV and stage. Very, very elusive. 50% or the crew was friendly, 50% of the crew was rude. What did Carnival offer us in return, they said that they would return 1/7th of the trip, in approximately two weeks, and only charge us 6/7th's of the tip fee. Carnival did allow us to cancel the remaining two excursions we booked. We had to spend an extra hotel night, and food which Carnival said a first they would not pay us back. So I paid $1253.95 for a five day boat ride, with no compensation from Carnival, no discount or upgrades for a future cruise, no payment for my room I had to rent so I could catch this cruise. Carnival did N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Food on the Lido deck and most items in the dining room, unless it came directly from the grill was cold and outside of the temperature safety holding zones. The busboys seemed to be standing around and only cleared tables when they felt like the really needed to, in non peak serving times. A ships tour of the kitchen was something else! I am a retired chef and a restaurant manager and the kitchen was "dirty". I would have been embarrassed to invite anyone to come into any of my kitchens and see the dried on food on carts, the floor needing deck scrubbing badly, standing water, food splattered n the sides of walk-in fridges, and poor food preparation. The stainless steel walls stainless steel looked like they had not been polished in months. The quantity of different gourmet meals offered for dinner each dinner meal has decreased to just a few gourmet meals and what food other items that was offered is something I could get in any Mom & Pop Diner. This was my 9th cruise, and the worst one I have ever been on. I expected a lot more from Carnival than what I got this time. If this is the "New" Carnival way of doing business, I and a lot of guest do not approve of it! I had to pay an extra $140, room and food, that I did not plan on. In my personal opinion, Carnival has gone from a very good cruise line to a so-so cruise line. Even though our next cruise will qualify us for platinum status, we are seriously thinking about trying another line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. ... Read More
Before I start and give my review of this cruise, I would just like to tell you my travelling companion and I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty years and we have both held senior positions on cruise ships in the past. After embarking the ship in Istanbul for our Holy land cruise on the 6th of November we were amazed how quickly we got through the terminal and onto the ship. The welcome onboard glass of champagne went down like a treat and our party of 6 couldn't wait to go and explore what would be our new home for the next two weeks. Being Diamond Plus in the Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor programme we were matched across to Elite status with Celebrity's Captains Club. We were all looking forward to being made welcome and special like we have enjoyed and experienced many times in the past. Once on the ship at 1pm we were shepherd to the Seaside cafe on deck ten to have lunch. Having not cruised with Celebrity before I was somewhat dumb struck at the rat race and free for all that was happening right in front of me. Trying to push my father through the cafe in his wheelchair was near impossible. Passengers were just hitting each individual section of the buffet from left, right and centre causing ciaos and frustration for many people just wanting a simple lunch after a long day travelling. My first impression was "why is it taking so long"? 15 minute to wait to get a salad was bad enough but this was topped by a 10 minute wait to get a cup of coffee. I didn't mind too much telling people not to push in front of me but poor old dad with his walking sticks he had no chance at all. At this point all I could I think was, don't they do things different and why is everything from a packet of butter to a glass of water being served personally by a member of staff? All I could I do was reflect on what I had seen in the Seaside cafe and try and make sense of it as we waited to get the announcement at 3pm saying that our cabins were ready. We settled into our generously large outside cabin on deck 6 and found the decor pleasing and cabin spotlessly clean which it remained to be throughout the whole cruise. Nothing was too much trouble for our stateroom attendant and it was nice to be engaging with someone who really had a passion for their work. The evening meals in the main dining room were exceptional. The choices on the menu we found to be fresh and creative and it was joy to have such wonderful dishes served by two very enthusiastic and fun waiters. At dinner on the second night compliments were sent to the chef and to our surprise no other than the executive chef himself came to our table to thank us personally. We were asked if anyone had any questions they would like to ask. I asked the chef "what was happening at the lunchtime buffet"? He told us steps had been taken for staff to serve everything in the buffet as the ship had experienced a bug on the previous cruise and many people had been taken ill. At this point things did start to make sense we had thought the cruise line was going over the top showing over and over again on the TV how to wash your hands and how to prevent the spreading of germs and infections at sea. On the third day of our cruise two out of our party had been struck down with a bug and by the end of the first week four out of the six of us had been isolated with the unspeakable virus! Of course for their own reasons the officers were tight lipped when asked if the Norovirus was present on the previous cruise. At one point we were told 4 passengers had embarked the ship in Istanbul ill and this had caused the outbreak! To be honest with you, should we have known this prior to embarkation I think some of our party would have thought long and hard about going on a ship with such a terrible and painful virus as some of our travelling party have had fragile health of late like I guess most of the population of pensioners onboard the "Connie". After being released from isolation I found the free for all had continued in the Seaside Cafe and the attitude from some of the stripes still remained aloof, arrogant and still in denial of what was happening around them. Today, having only returned home late yesterday I cannot find it within me to thank Celebrity Cruises for showing me how I am actually able to projective vomit and experience the other things associated with the unspeakable bug. However, once I receive the "gesture of goodwill" compensation payment in the form of a future cruise credit of one lost day in isolation, my opinion might just change but I don't think it will it took us almost three days to come around after. I am more than aware I have been going on and on so I'm not going to go into details of the cold food and never once seeing a food thermometer, finding sinks full of vomit in public toilets and the inability of stripes to communicate with one another along with the disorganisation in the dining room for breakfast and lunch and, don't even get me started on the elegant afternoon tea. So, go on, ask me did I enjoy my cruise? Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken ... Read More
Having heard from relatives the excellent experiences they had enjoyed travelling with Cunard ( albeit the majority on the larger Queen Mary ) I was actively looking forward to this first voyage with Cunard. Previously I had taken voyages with Princess, P and O , Holland America , and Celebrity, all of which were most pleasurable. The ship is beautiful, of that there can be no doubt. The styling and features were magnificent ,which coupled with the layout and number of alternative facilities available , I believe all tastes were more than adequately catered for. She is indeed a ship of class and refinement. The entertainment again , overall, was superb . The main ballroom was lively up until the late hours , this in the main ,due to the high level of performances by the band, dancers and singers. The main theatre shows were poor , but other lines also seem to find it difficult to provide a higher class of entertainment. I believe all entertainments provided along deck 2 were at an extremely high standard, reflected again by the high numbers attending the evening entertainments. The staff, overall were professional and proficient , however I felt they lacked that natural happy buzz ,prevalent amongst other lines! Two expectations were our table waiter Ragesh and our wine waiter , excellent service with friendly warm genuine personality. We ate in the Princess grill, this was due to our love of good food. I feel that eating in the buffet may have been more beneficial! The standard , consistency , preparation and quality of the food was appalling. I do not expect the head chef to personally prepare and control my food to ensure the best of fare, but a cursory glance after plating and prior to serving may have been beneficial ? Salads obviously not fresh, meat , not of premium quality and basically bland fare. Whilst I considered the meat poor , one couple at an adjacent table complained one evening regarding poor steaks, a few nights later following a similar complaint he requested the attendance of the maitre di. He apologised , saying there was little he could do as it was prepared with the restaurant meat ?? Not really an excuse at all is it.? During the cruise an extensive regime was enforced due to an outbreak of Novovirus. Whilst there was a considerable outcry from some of the passengers at the measures invoked by Cunard to contain the spread, I believe these measures were essential to contain the problem. Pity some of the passengers hadn,t been more vigorous in stemming the spread. The number of people failing to report symptoms as they may have been forced to cabin containment was irresponsible and selfish. We were detained an extra night in Alexandria due to high winds which forced us to miss our Crete port. In my opinion this was a poor call by the captain. I realise that sometimes you make the right decision and no one acknowledges the fact ,and a poor call opens you up to all manner of criticism. I have sailed often enough to know high winds and safe / unsafe weather and as I stated before the weather did not appear any worse than when we sailed the following day. It certainly did not stop another cruise ship and an extremely large ferry sailing when we were supposed to set sail! A similar fiasco occurred at our disembarkation port of Venice. Whilst no one can control the weather , the delays in making some kind of a decision as to intended actions was deplorable. Despite numerous requests as to the status of intended actions, it was not until 10.45pm we were informed that we were to be disembarked at Trieste at 5.30am ( 3 hours prior to our initial disembarkation time ) However on the plus time we did get transported to Venice airport to catch our flight ( albeit 4 hours prior to the flight time !!!! ) Whilst I would seldom criticise individuals actions I believe the captain handled this and other instances with a lack of the necessary confidence, authority and assurance normally displayed at this level. Overall a very disappointing experience, one I shall not be repeating with the Cunard line. Expectations were high but the resultant outcome I would not have expected from a budget line. This could have been a one off " poor show " due to one or two individuals being in the wrong positions but I do not anticipate spending the money to ascertain the outcome. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Embarkation: Embarkation was very smooth. We were checked in quickly. Our room was available yet - they close off the rooms until 1:30 pm. So we had a leisurely lunch and then stopped by the room. Debarkation was very smooth as well. ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was very smooth. We were checked in quickly. Our room was available yet - they close off the rooms until 1:30 pm. So we had a leisurely lunch and then stopped by the room. Debarkation was very smooth as well. We chose the traditional method and was still off the ship by 8:30. Dining: Dining was the biggest disappointment of the entire cruise. Where to begin? First night it took over two hours to eat - we didn't get anything for 45 minutes, not even bread. It was bad. The rest of trip the speed picked up, but... one of the waiters could barely speak English - we would point to the menu and he would still get the order wrong. We didn't dare ask for additional food based on the speed of the first night - we'd be eating dinner and breakfast at the same sitting. Once the food did arrive it was mostly bad with okay by exception. I think the cruise ships have reached their size limits - they just cannot serve 4500 people with anything better than dorm food. Outside the dining room, the buffet food was even worse. In contrast, (except for the omelets) food that was prepared specifically for you was very good - that is the pasta bar, pizza, hamburgers. They were consistently the best meals we had. Back to omelets, they would overcook them until dark brown - I know they want to make sure the eggs are cooked but come on. We did not try the steakhouse, based on the quality of the rest of the dining, I didn't dare spend an extra $30 a person. Cabin: Cabin was great. Good size. Even with the twins pushed together there was still room to walk around the bed. Bath was good size with a toilet that could act flush more than one piece of toilet paper at a time. Seventh floor is the place to be - it is next to impossible to get an elevator, so be ready to climb stairs. Being in the middle really helped ease the pain. Minor point but they have just shampoo in the dispenser in the shower - they need have a combo shampoo & conditioner. Service: Besides the challenges of the dining room already mentioned, service was great. The room staff was good and all other encounters with ship's staff was very professional. Fitness & Recreation: Didn't use - Carnival charges extra for everything, so stuck to eating and drinking. Shore Excursions: Did shore excursions in St Thomas and St Martin - both worked out well. Our original choice in St Thomas was cancelled because of weather, we still had a great time going to Megan's Beach. We took a tour of St Martin and jus went to beach by the town - highly recommend. Based on a travel book's recommendation we ate lunch at Antoine's - it's a little further down the boardwalk, but worth the walk - delicious. Enrichment: Skipped the shows. Enjoy the various bands - good variety. Not enough activities for the sea days. Fortunately the weather was good - but could easily get really tough on a bad weather day. Value for Money: Average. Overall: We had a good time since we had good family time - but I would not go on this ship again. I expect more than just okay food for the money we paid. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
From a little background, my wife and I have cruised 22 times, and this being the first on Royal Caribbean. Most have been on Princess, Celebrity and Carnival. We selected this cruise because my granddaughters wanted a change from Carnival ... Read More
From a little background, my wife and I have cruised 22 times, and this being the first on Royal Caribbean. Most have been on Princess, Celebrity and Carnival. We selected this cruise because my granddaughters wanted a change from Carnival or NCL and with the Mariner we had hopes this would be an upgrade from the others. We drove down the day of the cruise from Dallas, our group of 13 people in 3 separate cars and parked at EZ Cruise Parking. We collected our bag and were off to check-in. the initial process went smoothly, and being the one who was paying for everything, tried to put 3 cabins on one credit card and THOUGHT all was fine, but more on that later. We arrived around noon, and after check-in we were told it would be 1:30-2:00 before we would be allowed to board. Ok, that's fine so let's see if we can find a place to sit. We ended up finding one seat for my 85 year old mother, next to someone who was saving seats for his family. He probably did the same thing in the pool area because 30 minutes later we couldn't see anyone who even recognized him. We were directed to the other side of the terminal since it was getting rather crowded, and was told "I will personally come and get you and assist you on boarding". When our group was called we proceeded to the other side of the terminal again, and met people who were 2 groups ahead of us, so everyone seemed to merge into one and eventually got on board around 2:15. Headed up to Windjammer until the rooms were ready. Got down to the room, and met our cabin attendant I wanted the door between the 2 cabins opened so we could play cards with mom and sis and was told he would ask the Captain if it was doable. After day 2, and it still wasn't done, we went to the front desk and asked and was told they would take care of it. On day 3, we asked again and the cabin attendant told us it probably wouldn't be done because they were rusted shut. Really? He didn't know we are relatively seasoned travelers so I asked the front again and was told due to safety reasons they wouldn't be opened. I can say this is the first cruise where we weren't able to do this, and it was a little disappointing but no real big deal. Day 2 at breakfast I wanted some Egg Beaters, but was told they were out of them but could do egg whites instead. Again, really? This theme continued that afternoon at the Wig and Gavel where my wife wanted a Harvey's Bristol Creme that she ordered off a tattered and torn menu and guess what they didn't have that either so we left. For dinner, we had the early seating and ordered the premium wine package for our 3 wine drinkers. That was the easy part.... EVERY night when we ordered wine it took forever to get it served. The tables next to ours got theirs relatively quickly but we wailed 15-20 minutes extra for our guy to get his act together and serve ours. On the last night we ordered our last bottle, and 15 minutes later the waiter came to take our order and I said, "not until we get our wine, and it came pretty quickly after that. Worse than that was at a table right behind ours, there was a Veteran who wore his dress blues at the first formal night. Being a vet myself, I ordered him a bottle of wine and asked my waiter to take of it. No problem he said, but it was never done. Not cool. The next night I asked him what he liked, and ordered it from my guy and hand carried it over to him myself. This didn't seem to please anyone but me and him but I was surprised by the lack of consideration from my wait staff. Thinking they were overworked, I asked him how many tables we had, and it was 3. Not sure how this compares with the others, but I guarantee it wouldn't happen this way on Princess. Overall, I rank the wait staff as the worst we have ever had, although the food was pretty good. Mom enjoyed the adults only pool once she finally found a lounger. She was sitting in the shade and found someone getting up who was in the sun, and there was a 40 year old who basically pushed her aside to get to that seat. I went up to him and said, really, and he said he got there first so it's too bad for her. Not much you can do about that now can you? I also signed up for the Internet Service and it was actually faster that what I have been used to, although the sign-in process is confusing, especially for those who had their own notebook and there is no ship-wide WiFi. About a third of the computers didn't work which seemed a little high for me, but there was never a wait. The front desk personnel was pretty good, and on day 3 I wanted to see how much we were spending and found charges from one cabin that showed up on another account. They told me that was impossible unless room keys were shared, which didn't happen so I spend an hour getting that straight which they weren't too happy with. The entertainment was OK, but the ice show outstanding. Got pretty bored with the piano melodies, jazz, and strings. The Beatles preview as also very good. Trivia was well attended and for once there was no bickering on what the answers should have been so that was a huge plus. There were 800 kids on this cruise but overall it wasn't too bad and our granddaughters found friends and we hardly saw them. Our shore excursions were done outside the ship and the absolute best was zip-lining in Roatan.I will say my mom and wife did to the River and Mayan Ruins through the ship in Belize which they really enjoyed. The tender process was horrible, but I don't think that is has anything to do with RCL but the fact it Belize and nobody has a great tender service here. Finally, disembarkation was a nightmare. We opted for the self check out and carried our bag. The front desk said deck one, but the instructions said deck 4, starting at 7:30. We tool an elevator down to deck 4 at 7:00 and stood there until close to 8:20 when a RCL rep said go back through the Casino and it should be quicker. Took us 2 1/2 hours total, and I know they blame Customs for this, but frankly once we got that far, it was not a bad process. They started calling for the colors to disembark, even when were all stuck by the elevator banks which added to the frustration. Our daughter had a 9:45 time, and it wasn't even resolved then. Overall, we picked this cruise for a number of reasons, but paying a premium because it is Royal Caribbean doesn't fly with me. There were far too many cases where the staff was either over worked, under trained, or simply didn't care. Even my granddaughters said they would rather sail NCL or Carnival again. It will be a long time before we consider them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
RCCL's Mariner of the Seas,is probably best for those doing the family with kids vacation. Front topside of the boat is almost exclusively kid territory. Spa on the 11th,is a big plus,with a large (25foot) jacuzzi.Steam rooms,saunas, ... Read More
RCCL's Mariner of the Seas,is probably best for those doing the family with kids vacation. Front topside of the boat is almost exclusively kid territory. Spa on the 11th,is a big plus,with a large (25foot) jacuzzi.Steam rooms,saunas, are also available at no cost. From there things go downhill. Food at the formal dining room was bland at best. Too much singing and running around,PA system was used every night and that got old real quick. English skills,for the wait staff,were minimal which made the smaller details hard to explain . Dessert selection was sad,steaks were impossible to get cooked to request. No cream for coffee(Skim milk),vegetables,,,,had no flavor. You had to make a special request to get shrimp cocktails(What's up with that?) All and all,the quality of most of the food I ate on board wasn't up to our previous cruises (8) RCCL wouldn't even open up a full bar,for Crown and Anchor members special events. (just cheap Champagne,and Mimosas) Tacky! The way this ship is designed,just doesn't work for me The ice-rink just takes up space and just doesn't really serve a purpose. (it's too small for a real ice show,and doesn't seat enough people to make waiting in line for the free tickets worth your time) As for late night entertainment at the main Savoy theatre.........don't get your hopes up,unless you're into lame jokes,and entertainment from the Ed Sullivan days! All and all we won't be cruising on the Mariner again. By the way RCCL no longer provides,robes or ice-buckets in room ,unless you are in a suite,or throw a fit! on a 1 to 10, I give Mariner of the Seas a (4) I might add that getting of the ship in Galveston is a nightmare! We dodged two different lines on the way off off the ship,and it still took us 2 HOURS from the moment we entered Terminal 2 until getting in our car. (I parked across the street and it only took 5 minutes to get the car) Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Carnival Conquest Nov 20-27, 2011 We arrived Nov 19th. Stayed at the Hilton right next to port. Very nice hotel!!!' A word to travelers. Walk to the ship if you are staying at the Hilton or Harrah's. You will be nerves ... Read More
Carnival Conquest Nov 20-27, 2011 We arrived Nov 19th. Stayed at the Hilton right next to port. Very nice hotel!!!' A word to travelers. Walk to the ship if you are staying at the Hilton or Harrah's. You will be nerves & money ahead. We were advised to do that but took a taxi instead. With the taxi after 30 or so minutes, driver let us out on the road & we walked anyway. No lanes for Taxi's or limos. VIP is not much advantage here at New Orleans. Very long lines. Very dis- organized. From what I was told this is normal here. Ship left 1 & 1/2 hours late. But it did not matter. We were on the ship. Food- poor quality & poor selection. Steak house is excellent! Service in dining area was great. Had a wonderfful lady from Africa. Her name is Marion. The matre d was very nice & was the best one besides Ken on the Magic. His name is Elvis, really! Ken was on another ship when we Met him first. He is known as the singing matre d. Room- balcony room 8364. Never hardly saw our steward . But he did everything just fine. Our room was just below lido deck. Quiet noisy. Beds are worse than I ever remember. You can ask for a quilted mattress topper. Does not help a lot. I suffer with Lupus so need all the extra comfort I can get. Entertainment- went to a magic show. It was good. Others looked like musicals so passed. Was very tired after late dinner so went to bed afterwards. Excursions-.did a plantation with over 100 types of pineapple. Yum! I love Jamaica. This was our 3rd time there. Did not get off in Grand Caymen. It is expensive & once you have been to the sights need not do it again. You can take a cab & see the whole island . The sting rays we did several years ago . Would recommend this excursion. 7 mile beach was a disappointment. Be sure to visit hell at the end of the island. There is a Margertville there that serves up great hot wings. Cozumel was next. We like that port. Alot of places to go & see. Nice tucked away beaches that are a $10 cab fare away. We go to Mr . Sancho's about 6 miles from the dock. Passion island is good, as is the speed boat ride to get there. Days at sea were relaxing. Casino won as it usually does. Monte Carlo dollar machines were very good. Spa was ok. Had a massage. Booked an appt with the acupuncture Dr. Got there on time for the appt. They said sorry they had scheduled it wrong as he was also giving a seminar at that time. She wanted me to book later bur I had other plans. Then she pulls this" there is a 24 hour cancelation policy & she was going to charge me when she was at fault. I said "I don't think so". So be careful & don't let them do that to you. She did not charge me but would have if I had not known better. I would do Conquest again. It is easy to get around on & a nice older ship. New Orleans is a horrible port, but lovely city from what we saw. Debarkation was ok. None eventful. Was off by 8 am. Spent the night at Harrahs. Again super place & good machines. Went to the WW2 Museum. 4,blocks from the hotel. A must visit. I will go back & spend more time in New Orleans to do some sight seeing. The next day got on a flight & was back in Texas by 5pm. Next cruise is Jan 20th out of Miami on the Norwegian Epic. Happy Cruising. It is all good! I would do Conquest again. It is easy to get around on & a nice older ship. New Orleans is a horrible port, but lovely city from what we saw. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before ... Read More
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before we travelled we got the tickets and were informed that we were now flying from Heathrow into Milan Malpensa airport - 2.5 hours transfer time to the port. Need less to say we were not impressed! It is important to point out that we booked through Virgin Cruises, so it is not clear who was responsible for the fact that we only discovered the change 9 days before we sailed. However, the change was still unacceptable. Anyway, when we arived at Milan airport we were met by the MSC rep (very friendly) who informaed us that we would have an hour wait before we left as we were waiting for another 2 people on a later flight. Finally we arrived at the port and were directed to the boat in a rather haphazard manner. We received our room cards and were informed that we would be eating in the second sitting, even though we had requested 1st sitting. We were told to sort this out with reception, which we duly did. One of the receptionist was quite rude and was very quick to point out that 'requests cannot be guaranteed'. Luckily another receptionis (Lucia) was very polite and said we should go and see the restaurant manager who would probably be able to change it for us. This we did and we were indeed changed to 1st sitting with no problems. This bodes the question why were we not given the sitting we requested to start with??? What a pointless waste of time for everyone! On the plus side, the food and service at dinner was excellent, with them very helpfully accomadating my gluten free requirements. Also the evening entertainment (although at times resembling a trip to Butlins), was very good, especially the shows in the Broadway Theatre. Also the room was much bigger and nicer than I expected, with a comfortable, large bed and lots of storage space (including a safe and lots of hanging space). There was also a hairdryer, which was v handy. Unfortunately the staff at breakfast were not so friendly, in fact pretty indifferent I would say an the choice was a bit limited and got very boring by the end of the week. The 2 excursions we did were pretty good, although v expensive, and even coach transfers out of the port were very pricey. Just as we were beginning to think it wasn't too bad though, we got our instructions for leaving the boat on the last day. Essentially we were turfed off at 9:15am and transferred to the airport...even though our flight was not until 7pm. So, 7 hours in Milan Malpensa airport - what a marvellous end to the holiday!! Needless to say the good definitely did not out weight the bad on this trup so I would not travel with them again and I would discourage others from doing so either. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have recently returned from a weekend trip on the QM2 to Cherbourg in France. I am a seasoned cruiser have done over 20 cruises with both P&O and Royal Carribean (many times) and NCL (twice) so I feel I have a lot to compare it ... Read More
I have recently returned from a weekend trip on the QM2 to Cherbourg in France. I am a seasoned cruiser have done over 20 cruises with both P&O and Royal Carribean (many times) and NCL (twice) so I feel I have a lot to compare it with. How disappointed I am with so many aspects of the trip. I imagined Cunard to be "the creme de la creme of cruising" service, food, entertainment and the ship itself but this was not really the case in most parts: 1. The service in the restaurant at dinner was appalling - we were sat with empty plates on our table for over 20 minutes before our next course came, the water was never topped up, no service with a smile and most things too much trouble. All in all the food was rubbish, lukewarm and very poor quality and the service was really slow. We were told they were short staffed so assumed this was because it was a weekender and therefore had allowed staff days off but this should not be the case just because its a short trip. 2. The layout of the ship is absolutely unbelievable. There is no open pool in the middle of the sun deck like on most ships, to get to the queens room you have to cut through one of the restaurants or go a deck higher/lower than the queens room and go up/down - this was awful especially at mealtimes when you felt you were disrupting the diners. The buffet style restaurant was even worse, set out very oddly with little bits of islands here and there but nothing with any substance so you felt you had to walk around it all in case you missed anything - it just wasn't in one large area like most ships I have been on. 3. The choice of food was very poor - I am a vegetarian so it was even harder for me but even the meat eaters in our party struggled and was disappointed. The only thing I can say that was a good experience was the afternoon tea, our cabin steward did a really good job and the bands were great. If it was my very first cruising experience I would not have been impressed and certainly would not have the cruising bug. One of our party was a first-timer and she certainly wasn't impressed and just thought it was ok! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were on the October 9th Bermuda cruise from New York on the NCL Gem with our two children (young adults). Although this was the first cruise for them, this is the 5th cruise for my husband and I. Here are my comments regarding the ... Read More
We were on the October 9th Bermuda cruise from New York on the NCL Gem with our two children (young adults). Although this was the first cruise for them, this is the 5th cruise for my husband and I. Here are my comments regarding the ship : The main dining room (buffet) is way too crowded. There is hardly room to move between the tables and drinks (coffee, water, ice tea) are not served at the table. You have to get up and fight the crowd everytime you want a refill. The food is very Meat and potatoes throughout the ship, and most of the time cold. We tried two specialty restaurants and this was not better. The only place where we could get water on the ship was on the 12th floor and there was a sign on the water dispensing machine saying we could not refill water bottles, so it meant many trips from anywhere in the boat to the dining room to get something to drink. The cabins a very small. Disambarkation was a nightmare. We stood in line for 1 hour before getting to customs. We tried to make the best of it... the children had a lot of fun on the climbing wall, bowling alley, hot tub, swimming pool and bars. And we had a wonderful time in Bermuda. But no more NCL for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
On our recent cruise on the MSC splendida, we were disappointed with the poor service provided particularly for English speaking passengers. The only time we saw our cabin steward was when he walked in without knocking. We ran out of loo ... Read More
On our recent cruise on the MSC splendida, we were disappointed with the poor service provided particularly for English speaking passengers. The only time we saw our cabin steward was when he walked in without knocking. We ran out of loo paper three times, as did other guests we spoke to. The internet service, particularly when at sea was a complete rip off. At 12 euro for 60 mins it was expensive but when you spend the first 30 mins just trying to get into the website it is appalling. My cabin key card stopped working twice requiring a visit to the reception desk in a bathrobe. Hardly an apology or explanation given. Staff on excursion desk seriously short on information when ever I had something to ask. No maps of the cities we were calling to were provided as had happened on other cruises. Very few serving staff in lounges as compared with other cruise lines, so we often had to go to the bar ourselves. Having said all that it is a beautiful ship. Boarding was effortless and all trips ashore were well organised. The dining room staff were the exception. they couln't have done more to make our evenings enjoyable. However overall the the experience was not as enjoyable as hoped. The splendida is a 5 star ship with 2-3 star service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This is the current flagship of the MSC fleet, so the ship itself is great the food is good (except the undrinkable free coffee), the cabin and waiting staff are all absolutely lovely. The issue is with the administration they are ... Read More
This is the current flagship of the MSC fleet, so the ship itself is great the food is good (except the undrinkable free coffee), the cabin and waiting staff are all absolutely lovely. The issue is with the administration they are completely hopeless! The information provided pre-cruise isn't always correct ie we were told to be there at 2pm for boarding, but boarding had commenced hours before that. They don't provide anything useful to assist you in actually getting to the cruise (like there's a train from Venice) & not a mention of the 15 walk from the port entrance to the actual embarkation point, with all your luggage. We'd pre-booked tours via our agent, one of them they cancelled, but they couldn't reimburse us for it on the ship - we have to go back to our travel agent to get a refund. Another they had ceased running but as we chose another tour of greater value they could charge us the difference on the ship, but this was more accidental than planned as they'd not mentioned this before we chose the other tour. The communication around both of these was also contradictory and confusing, one letter (shoved under the cabin door) informed us of the cancellation, another just said to visit the tour desk. In addition the disembarkation process is a disaster. We had to be out of the cabin by 7.30 for a scheduled 9.30 departure. There was fog in Venice so we didn't actually reach port until 12.30. So from around 8.30 to 12.30 we were supposed to sit in our designated areas, during this time we were not offered food or drink and only 1 staff member came in for around 5 minutes to offer any information. Due to the delay there were many passengers (us included) who were close to missing ongoing flight connections, but the staff were unable or unwilling to assist in either organising internet access so flights could be re-booked, or fast tracking the affected passengers disembarkation. For those that had missed flights they couldn't even provide written evidence of the delay for claiming on travel insurance. We managed to get off the boat but were held up at the dock for 2.5hrs waiting for our luggage as they were unable to unload the luggage any faster as it had to be done according to their list (so this must be the normal disembarkation waiting time), even though the luggage was visibly on the dockside on luggage trolleys. Given that our luggage was around half way through their list, the passengers with luggage at the end of the list probably waited 4 hours for their luggage to be available. We couldn't recommend this cruiseline after the terrible disembarkation process, which is a shame as many other features are very good. They are totally unable to cope with any problems, issues that may arise such as the late docking or changes to tours (even when they make the changes). Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our fifth sailing with Holland America line and, until this cruise, we always found the ships to be above par with excellent service and food. Granted it has been two years since our last Holland America sailing...but the decline ... Read More
This was our fifth sailing with Holland America line and, until this cruise, we always found the ships to be above par with excellent service and food. Granted it has been two years since our last Holland America sailing...but the decline was extremely evident. We boarded the ship and were allowed to immediately go to our stateroom. The non smoking room reeked so of cigarette smoke we could barely call the front desk without coughing. We were informed that a "deep cleaning" would be performed and left the room. Two hours later, the room was in the same condition and we again called the front desk - within 10 minutes an ozone generator was at the door and we again had to leave our room for two hours. When we returned, the room smelled of ozone but the smoke smell was gone...BTW, the window of our room did not open so we could not dispel the ozone smell. The front desk did send us a small plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a note for the inconvenience...and this was the only time we received a towel sculpture the entire trip. As we unpacked, we noted the overall cleanliness of the room...or lack of it. Dust was accumulated on most flat surfaces and the cleaning crew had left several long black hairs in the tub. We would later find one of our blankets was stained with some white bodily discharge - enough said about that. Our room steward was a pleasant person who was managing 27 rooms - they used to manage 12. It was a wonder that our room was serviced every day with that amount of work. We tipped generously every day and always received a smile and a thank you. The overall condition of this ship was quite poor. As other reviewers have noted, the carpet and some of the furnishing are old and have not been well maintained. We noted a significant problem with the plumbing as several public restrooms were "Out of Service" for most of the trip. One night, only one of the three ladies rooms near the main restaurant was available and by the third day, out cabin was unavailable for several hours as a plumbing issue in the room below ours was serviced. The food and service in the main dining room was sporadic. The first night service was a little slow but the food was delightful. Night two it took about 30 minutes to order and about 30 minutes between each of the three courses. Most of the food was cool to cold by the time it reached us. This continued throughout the trip - delightful to terrible service...wonderful to inedible food. One night we went down to the Lido Deck buffet after dinner as most of the food in the main restaurant was sent back after one taste. We are not "foodies" but when a brisket is not cut cross grain - it becomes extremely tough and simply cannot be chewed...and baked alaskan with raw meringue is not acceptable. Enough said...Holland America will not be seeing us for a while. We will wait until conditions have improved and will, in the meantime, move on to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We had great expectations of this cruise vacation before leaving - becaus of all the suite perks that we should have. Compared to the other cruises we have taken with regular cabins it should be great. The check in in New York was slow ... Read More
We had great expectations of this cruise vacation before leaving - becaus of all the suite perks that we should have. Compared to the other cruises we have taken with regular cabins it should be great. The check in in New York was slow - very slow. We arrived at 12PM and our agent used almost 45 minutes to check us in. She should not have been working at the suite check in. We were directed to the lounge where we were taken on board by the butler to the Tsars Palace (not Cagneys were we could have eaten). The food was cold and bad - a bad beginning of the cruise. After lunch the cabins was ready - the luggage arrived after a short while and we unpacked. We found baby bottles, baby toys, q tips (the ones which you clean your ears with), hand sanitizer, garbage on the Verandah and so on in the cabin. it was not a good start. The second morning we would like to place an order for breakfast at 9AM (2 BLT and 2 cheese sandwiches). It took the butler 1 hour to get this - on other cruises it has never taken more than 45 minutes - normally about 30 minutes. We tried again 2 days later to order a bootle of wine - still 1 hour. The kids club is nothing for Europeans at least. The only thing they seem to care about here is their own rules. No bumping (we were travelling 2 families with 2 kids that not see each other that often - and just 6 months apart - no they are not allowed together), not able to sign in before the opening time - even though all employees were there and it was 2 minutes before opening time. On our Celebrity Cruise in April they did everything so that the kids and parents could be happy - on NCL it seemed like the kids was a burden for them and that the customers was not there for them at all. We hade great expectations with Concierge, Butler, Nick Cruise and Kids club - but was disappointed. We are Norwegian ourselves - and this is not the Norwegian way to treat customers. On the good side - the cabin was great (except from dirty) and the food was better than expected. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have sailed on many lines, however this was my first cruise on Celebrity. My sister and brother in law with whom I sailed have enjoyed saIling with Celebrity and assured me that I would also do so. They were wrong, I was very ... Read More
I have sailed on many lines, however this was my first cruise on Celebrity. My sister and brother in law with whom I sailed have enjoyed saIling with Celebrity and assured me that I would also do so. They were wrong, I was very disappointed. This was the first time that I travelled as a single, consequently paying for two was a huge expense and I would only cruise again if singles get a better deal. The food on "Constellation" was very ordinary, definitely not up to the standard I have enjoyed on other ships. The buffet offered the same food every day. There were plenty of salads at lunch time but little in the way of meat or fish to go with them. This is the first cruise I have been on where afternoon tea was not served. On the last day of the cruise afternoon tea was offered at a charge of $18.00 per person. We did partake and it was very nice, however I think the charge was excessive. Indeed almost everyone I spoke to complained of the greed of the company in their charges for every little thing. In Mykonos there was a last minute change from a tender landing to a berth one. We were charged $7.00 for a two minute trip on the bus into town! The entertainment was very ordinary apart from a violinist who entertained us on two evenings. Norovirus struck down a huge percentage of passengers and crew. Disembarkation was handled smoothly although we were disappointed that there was no provision made for people who had a late flight out of Istanbul, to leave luggage. I sat at the airport for eight hours! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have been on this ship twice before, both from Cape Liberty. Each time I have found the bar staff, dining room staff and cabin stewards service excellent but this time the service from the explorations staff, guest relations and bar ... Read More
I have been on this ship twice before, both from Cape Liberty. Each time I have found the bar staff, dining room staff and cabin stewards service excellent but this time the service from the explorations staff, guest relations and bar servers was dreadful. If you sit at the bar you will receive a friendly reception from the bartenders and can expect to receive your drink and a smile, however, if you take a seat in a booth at every bar on the ship, it's a far different story if you are alone. Before you think about whether you have encountered this, it's worth mentioning that a supervisor had a meeting with the staff and there were people who freely admit that they always cater to a larger group and there really is no reason why they are disinterested in a party of one. All they have to say about that is, please tell her I am sorry. Some DID eventually come over, but the majority of the time they don't and if they are walking by you get a fly by with "drinks" shouted out. I had decided that since I was alone and had not met anyone on the ship that had planned any excursions (or had not thought to ask me along), I would go ahead and volunteer for the day and clean up the national park on St John so I went ahead and booked that. The day before I received a message so I went ahead and stopped at the desk where i was told that since I was the only one it might be canceled so I should be aware and check back Monday. I went back the next day at 9:10 AM just as the woman at the desk was trying to run off and asked her to PLEASE check out whether my excursion was going (because let's face it, if it was canceled this was really the ONLY time I would have been able to try to book something else), she took my ticket and said "OH yes, this is going, it's been combined with another group". I said, are you sure because I was told yesterday the park was closed until this morning and she reiterated that. I went to get some breakfast and then went off the ship and guess what? Yes, indeed, I was told the excursion was canceled and the woman HAD tried to contact the desk. I went upstairs and spoke with someone at guest relations, asking to speak to a manager because the woman at the excursions desk had lied to me. After explaining to this person FIVE times why I wanted to talk to someone else, I was finally given a phone where the manager of the exploration desk claimed that they called me (coincidentally WHILE I was AT the exploration desk) and that when I did answer they figured I was on my way down. I then went up to my room and despite being told they had called, there was no message. So, unfortunately there was nothing I could do at that point. I hope they are happy with how they treated me. The ship is NOT in the best condition internally. Sure the ship is immaculate, but when the boat rocks, so rocks the walls in some cabins. Consistent noise would be fine, but I guess I was the lucky recipient of a shifting panel and despite being told that they would address it when we were actually in port because they said they had to get into the ceiling to remove the panel, nothing was done and on the return the noise got so bad after the ship started to rock again that they just gave me a key to another inside cabin one deck higher. The food is the same as it's been since we were on the ship in 2007 so the best thing I can say is that it forced me to order different food and I am glad I did as I found the majority of the food was better. Johnny Rockets is just plain awful, not sure why it's so bad on the ship, but it is. I have eaten at many of their restaurants and the only thing I can think of is they must squeeze every last bit of juice out of the burger so what you wind up with is something that resembles a slightly lighter and ribbed looking hockey puck. I do not go to the shows, but if you like trivia and have played it and saved your old answer sheets, bring them along as many of the games have not changed. Sure there are SOME different questions but the name that disco tune, name that big band, name that movie, name that 50's 60's has not been updated since the invention of the phonograph. A few of the staff do bring their own questions with them so you can expect SOME new games, but if you wonder why you missed three and a few teams missed none then you will know why. So, to wrap this all up, you can expect to be treated wonderfully in some places but dismally in others and don't be too disappointed if the staff lie, they seem to have done it so often that they can do it with a smile on their face. As I said to the bar supervisor, RCI should send ONE person for a cruise alone so they can see how everyone offers the exact same treatment. Mind you it IS possible that it's not just on this ship that you will be treated like this, but it's sure disappointing to watch a server go around to every table asking them how they are, how their day was and what they want only to have them do a fly by "need anything" as if you are so unimportant you should not even bother.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Due to a lack of proper sanitation/hygienic conditions on the ship, there was an outbreak (publicly announced throughout the ship) of a gastrointestinal virus which I contracted. My immune system was not up to battling the bug, I could not ... Read More
Due to a lack of proper sanitation/hygienic conditions on the ship, there was an outbreak (publicly announced throughout the ship) of a gastrointestinal virus which I contracted. My immune system was not up to battling the bug, I could not function nor eat for one full day and thereafter medically quaranteed for 24 hours. Unfortunately, the virus struck at a very critical time so I missed what I traveled half way around for, a visit to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Israel. As soon as the crew took corrective actions via sanitizing most areas, the virus abated, but it was too late for me as I had already suffered 2 real bad days and two more functioning at half speed. I was furnished superior medical care by the medical clinic doctor and the nurses. Although I was furnished no info by ship personnel, I was able to take care of the medical bill and the $380 I had paid for the Jerusalem/Bethlehem shore excursion was refunded without great hassle. When I arrived back in LA, I contacted the post cruise guest relations section in Miami re issues dealing with the norovirus. Unfortunately, an indifferent disinterested advocate answered my call and e-mailed back in two days telling basically that he could not or would not help me. My responsive e-mail was never answered. Since I have spent my adult life as trial atty, I could not let this slide, and after two weeks, a very friendly lady from the executive staff called me, apologized and offered me a very-very small voucher (what I consider a bone) off a future cruise. A written apology would have been preferred. RCI is headed for a class action lawsuit re the Norovirus caused by its lack of proper maintenance. Remember, the bug abated when the crew took corrective action, so it mi9ght have been preventible.As to the positives about the cruise, the staff was excellent and not just the cabin steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but everyone. They were friendly, polite and helpful. As I said, the medical care furnished was superior. I have been on many cruises, but the evening entertainment in the main showroom was the best I have seen. Although the breakfast menu was the same each day in the main dining room, it was extensive and it rates a an A minus rating. The negatives are extensive. I sailed on the very same ship, Vision of the Seas, last May to the Baltic, so I am comparing the two sailings. First off is the price gouging. RCI charges $31 per person each way for airport transfers for a total cost of $124. I used a cab for a total round trip cost of about $51 to $52 and I had fast private service. I live in California where wine is inexpensive. However, what they charged plus a 15% tip for one bottle of wine, I can buy a full case or 12 bottles here in LA. Usually free, but here there was a $150 per person charge for a ship tour. The prices for the shore excursions were about double the cost of those offered in the Baltic in May, 2011. Remember, the Baltic northern europe) is a very high cost area for everything The shore excursions were awful with the emphasis being on the tour guide wasting time in souvenir shops where they obviously get a kick back. Over this, there was even an argument in one shop between one guide and tourist over the amount of wasted time. This souvenir shop stopping was on all the shore trips. There was a complete lack of management of quality over the shore trips and their guides. In May, the dinner menu in selection and quality rated an A. By October, in the main dining room, the choices were meager and the quality was not close to gourmet. In fact, it was below average except for service. The buffet (Windjammer) where we rarely ate was mediocre. It was like a very cheap all you eat cafe which are abundant here in LA. This is all for cost savings. There is a dearth of activities on the ship on the at sea days. There was 2 sessions of a napkin folding class which my wife enjoyed plus a scrapbook class. Other activities appeared to revolve around the spa which was a front to purchase services or the casinos. Of course, sitting in the sun or using the pool were available and free. Due to a lack of customers probably because of the cost, at the spa, the attendant threw in a facial for the cost of a massage. My wife accepted the offer. Unlike May, when we disembarked and there was plenty of staff outside the ship to assist, there was a sole lady and exit door. Although, the luggage was neatly arranged, exiting the terminal was a nightmare because RCI's transfer buses clogged the way and but for a porter, were we able to find a taxi. Of course, these were not cabs that used meters so the price was triple what it should be. I knew the correct price and eventually found an honest driver. RCI has an obligation to direct you via personnel or signs to other modes of transfer apart from their overpriced (as described above)transfer service. RCI, since May of this year, has made the bottom line its primary focus. I am reasonably sure that this principle is applicable to all their ships and sailings. Please note airfare from LA to Istanbul, Turkey is not cheap, so when I add that cost to that of the cruse's shortcomings, I was at best disappointed with the cruise. I suppose that if the cost of the RCI cruise is very cheap and you live close enough to the start off point so air is cheap, I would recommend an RCI cruise, but always be wary of the Norovirus. If you are lucky like my wife, you may have an immunity to the virus so this potential malady should not scare you off. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We always wanted to go to the south pacific and this was an affordable cruise with Holland America an round trip from San Diego. We had a great time visiting all the ports and overall enjoyed the cruise. However, we will not be cruising ... Read More
We always wanted to go to the south pacific and this was an affordable cruise with Holland America an round trip from San Diego. We had a great time visiting all the ports and overall enjoyed the cruise. However, we will not be cruising on this line again do to the demographics of the ship. If you are over 75 this is the cruise for you. Fellow Passengers: The passengers were definitely seasoned cruisers as the brochure states. We knew that the typical demographic was 50 plus. This cruise attracted passengers that fit a demographic of 75 to 90 year olds. Many people joked that this was a floating nursing home. Lots of wheel chairs, walkers and electric scooters on the ship. My husband and I do have our AARP cards however, were surprised by the age group of the passengers. We did not have much in common with the majority of our fellow passengers. Overall people were friendly and we made some new friendships. Dinning: The food was great on the ship lido and the dining room. Varied menu items. Quality was good. The only snacks available in the afternoon were deserts in the Lido. No healthy foods like yogurt, or cottage cheese or veggies. The lido also closed early at 8:00 pm then late night snack from 10 to 11 pm. The service in the lido was poor. Wait staff did not pick up the dirty dishes in front of you. Many times I had to bus our table. The service in the dining room I would rate poor. One evening I had to chase down the waiter as he forgot to take my husband's order for dinner. Food did not come out of the kitchen consistently. When ordering food sometimes more often than not, the people's food came out at different times. By the time I finished eating my husband was just being served. There is an opportunity for additional training for the wait staff. Italian Restaurant, Canaletto was fairly good it is similar to the leading chain restaurant and is not gourmet Italian fair. It was not worth the 10 dollars per person. Steak House, Pinnacle Grill -- We found that we did not need to make a reservation at this restaurant we just walked in and were seated. This steak house did not meet our expectations. The cost was $20 per person. We ordered steaks -- filet and rib eye. The rib eye was tough very hard to cut my husbands appeared to be baked not seared rare. They had to be using a lower grad of Sterling Beef. I was expecting an experience like we get when we dine at Motrin's or Ruth's Chris steak house, USDA Prime Beef. When you spend $45 for a steak you get the best. We sent our steaks back and our money was refunded. Public Rooms: We did not care for the layout of the ship -- it was very compartmental. Not open like other cruise ships. The pool area most of the time had the cover closed it was like a sauna. People would get there early and sleep in the lounge chairs all day. We spent most of our time out back of the ship at the pool. Cabin: Our inside cabin was extremely small -- the bed just fit and we had one small chair with a table. The space for clothing ext.. was limited. It would be good for a 7 day cruise but, not for a 30 day. I felt like we were hiding in the closet. I have stayed in inside cabins but never one this small. We did not spend very much time in the room so it was not that big of a deal. SPA and Fitness: The gym was adequate plenty of machines etc.. However, you had to pay extra for boot camp, spin and yoga. There were no cardio classes available -- aerobics or zumba. It was extremely hot in the gym and the staff was asked several times to turn on the air conditioning but, they said they asked the captain and he would not change the temperature. Shore Excursions: We did not purchase any shore excursions from Holland. We found them extremely overpriced. We purchased our excursions in the ports from the locals. Tendering was a challenge -- long wait times to get off the ship. Some were 1 hour from the time you got your number to get off the ship. Once again do your homework - if you are used to the FUN SHIP this is not the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Many people take cruises for many different reasons. On this occasion we decided to take a cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday. Because this gift was for such a special occasion we decided to really go all out and purchased the ... Read More
Many people take cruises for many different reasons. On this occasion we decided to take a cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday. Because this gift was for such a special occasion we decided to really go all out and purchased the owners suite, cabin S709. We received a text, a phone call and an email the day before to inform us that the Golden Princess would be late arriving due to bad weather, so embarkation would be delayed until 2:00 p.m. This made little difference to us. We arrived about 2:15 p.m. and were able to board quickly. Our embarkation took about 30 minutes, until we were in our room. We were very happy with our suite and how it was appointed. It became a very comfortable home for two weeks. In fact we can say that about the ship as a vessel. The ship is beautifully decorated and flowed well. The last time we sailed with Princess we were very unhappy with the flow of the Caribbean Princess. It has too many cabins for the common/public areas not to be over filled. After we made final payment for our booking we went to our Cruise Personalizer on the Princess website we filled in our preferences. Shorty after we arrived to our cabin we saw it made no difference. We specifically filled in our mini bar requests, but had a standard set up. When we asked our cabin steward, Joseph about it, he told us that was filled by room service department. He wrote down our requests and arranged to have them swapped out for our requested items. This was only one time out of many that our cabin steward fixed a problem from another department, such as the time the laundry lost my bathing suit for a day and a half. Only one wet bathing suit on a Hawaiian cruise is not a comfortable position to be in. We also had an appointment discrepancy with the spa that we had pre reserved. They wanted to change our time and we were just not available at that time. We told them to cancel and perhaps we would reschedule, but then they found the time for us after all. Later that evening we went to dinner. No matter where we ate the food was only mediocre at best. There was the exception of the Chefs Table experience. That was a very memorable meal where everything was impeccable. But the real disappointment was the service we received in the Crown Grill. We hosted the dinner with two other couples we had befriended onboard. Water glasses were left empty at times. Cocktail glasses were not taken away when empty; napkins were not folded, servers reaching over while serving. Just not the level of basic service we are accustomed to while fine dining. Again the food was only okay. Certainly not equal to Capital Grill or Ruth Chris. The service in Sabatinis was very nice. The breakfast available to suite guests, very good as well. But the food at dinner was only okay. In fact there was small talk among the guests about the lobster risotto being terrible. I laughed when the subject came up openly during the Chefs table. I didnt start the conversation, but had the same discussion privately with my husband. The morning we arrived in Hilo, Hawaii, my husband was not feeling well. He went and saw the doctor. We had about a 40 minute wait while he saw other patients. When we did, we were very pleased with his care. He examined and treated my husband so he could enjoy the rest of his vacation. He did tell my husband not to go on our planned excursion. He stamped our tickets and we brought them to the shore excursion desk and received a refund. This was much appreciated. We were unimpressed with the entertainment on the ship. It wasnt that we didnt enjoy the production value or even the singing, but the dancing was terrible. The dancers were out of sync and running into each other. If the other aspects werent so good, it would have been comical. One the first day, we went to the gift shop to purchase cigarettes. We placed and paid for our order. On the last sea day, we were awoken by a phone call from the gift shop telling us that their inventory control system was all messed up and they could not fill our order for one of our brands. So my husband requested a refund for that product. We were told we had to come down to have the refund processed. So we interrupted our day to do so. On the last day of the cruise, we received our order for they product they did have in stock, but it was the wrong brand. I went down and requested to speak to the shop manager and was presented to the assistant shop manager. I politely asked her to explain the incompetence for a simple order. She was very kind, apologized and corrected my order. We were most annoyed that we were woken up on the final sea day. That was not necessary at all. When were realized we couldnt get our cigarettes from the gift shop we went to the Players Club Bar, where smoking is allowed, to enjoy a cocktail and cigarette and purchase some as well. This is where the most offensive thing that has ever happened to me by a crew member in all the cruises I have gone on. After he sold us the pack of cigarettes, he continued on about how he was very pleased that starting the next day, crew members were not longer allowed to smoke in their quarters. That his roommate smokes and it annoys him. He also told us only a moron would smoke and any idiot can read on the package that it kills. Look, I know many people have issues with smoking, but I do not expected to be lectured by the hired help while on holiday. This was a big bad note and one that we really never shook off. Perhaps because when we complained to a food and beverage supervisor about the incident, the same bartender was in the bar for the remainder of the cruise. We had expected after such an incident and complaint he would have been removed to another location. But I suppose it is okay with Princess to have their crew members insult their guests. In regards to disembarkation, we where not pleased again. On the final sea day we were giving our departure tags we were not given a preferred time. So we went to the pursers and inquired about it. We were told we didnt have a preferred time but a special place. When we arrived at this special place we were greatly disappointed to find a picked over tray of pastries and self serve coffee/tea. There were only napkins and cups and no one to bus the tables. The most amusing thing that happened was when they got on the microphone and asked people to bring sections of the paper back because they didnt have enough to go around. This is the first time I ever disembarked from a cruise without a full breakfast served to me. I could go on and on with little things that happened that were unpleasant, but I feel that I have explained enough to cruise on another cruise line. I have enjoyed much better experiences on other competing lines and will continue to cruise where I feel I am appreciated. 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Sail Date September 2011
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines and have always been impressed with the service and the food. This was our 1st with NCL and we were surprised at the lack of service in the Windows dining room. We prefer not to join the ... Read More
We have cruised many times on various cruise lines and have always been impressed with the service and the food. This was our 1st with NCL and we were surprised at the lack of service in the Windows dining room. We prefer not to join the buffet lines. The service was very slow and not at all friendly. When you asked for something, you didn't even get an acknowledgement of your request, so you had to sit and wait to see if you received your request. One server was downright rude when one of us asked for a fork and knife. We were all very polite and seemed shocked at the servers. They seemed like they didn't like what they were doing or where they were (disgruntled employees?). The meals were NEVER hot in the dining room, so maybe the kitchen is too far? Our toilet flooded (which can happen) and we called down to get it repaired and we had to call another time to get towels (they forgot our room that day). The guest service person was rude and not apologetic at all. Made it sound like we were annoying him. The entertainment (piano bar - Bernie Martini) was excellent. The rooms were certainly comfortable and we enjoyed the pool area. Did notice that guests ignored the non-smoking areas and a few smoked anyways (one with a cigar) and we saw one person take a small child in the adult only pool (with a pull up diaper) and staff ignored both. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We took our first NCL cruise Sept. 2010 from New York to Canada and New England found it to be excellent so this year booked for Alaska on the Star *what a let down* Entertainment. The theatre was not only poor it must have been ... Read More
We took our first NCL cruise Sept. 2010 from New York to Canada and New England found it to be excellent so this year booked for Alaska on the Star *what a let down* Entertainment. The theatre was not only poor it must have been embarrassing to have one night of acceptable entertainment the whole cruise (the last night) I am guessing they were so embarrassed that is why the theatre only had one show most nights rather than there normal two! Dinning. We celebrated our Ruby Anniversary, so we dined in there main restaurants. The service was slow and the food was not consistent, it was mostly lukewarm, yes you would complain and you would wait for another but you should receive it hot to begin with. Example; the morning of the Glazier three couples in the restaurant first thing so we could have our breakfast and return to see the Glazier. The starter arrived the first table had a problem so we waited and waited the first table finished their starter then we all received our main it was cold and I mean cold, again they would offer another but the point of going early was to see the Glazier and we were not going to miss out and just left. We had to change ships at Vancouver for our second cruise on the Pearl, some law in USA/Canada you have to spend 24 hours, at the time we thought it was a stupid law but not now thank you America. What a difference we actually received hot meals and some of the best entertainment we have had on a cruise. The Pearl on the whole is an all round for superior ship. I did not receive a survey for the Star and I requested one! I also wrote to NCL head office in Miami, I have no doubt you have guessed over one month latter no reply. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Let me start by saying what is good about this ship as its a short list. The entertainment was the best I have ver experienced, not the round the pool stuff which was largely sub butlins quality, but the evening shows and the regular ... Read More
Let me start by saying what is good about this ship as its a short list. The entertainment was the best I have ver experienced, not the round the pool stuff which was largely sub butlins quality, but the evening shows and the regular artists who sing in various bars were very very good. The ship was also very clean in the public areas and the cabins. The duty free shop is excellent value. What is bad about this ship. Fundamentally everything else I am about to describe comes from the management culture on the ship, which is rude, exploitative of their staff, and everything you ask for the answer is "Its Impossible". This caused so many upsets amongst so many passengers. I am British and naturally I mostly holidayed with fellow brits, and almost none of them were happy. I was offered an all inclusive booze deal by my agent. When I went to book it at an additional cost of approx £300, I was told to buy it on board. When I got on board I ordered two beers which are approximately 2/3rds of a pint each. That came to €12, which was going to make my week very tricky as I was taking my disabled mother recently widowed away for a week. I asked at the bar to buy the all inclusive package, "its impossible" most of the public area staff like bar staff were from Nepal, the Phillipines etc and spoke poor english, so language was a real barrier all week and led to many misunderstandings when ordering drinks. My extras bill at the end of the cruise (and trust me I didnt want to pay for anything extra on board came to £750. if you enjoy a drink and dont have the package that could easily add up to £2000. So be warned! I escalated my complaints through various stewards and members of the pursers dept, who seemed more intent on gaining a tan and looking cool than helping to solve customer queries. Eventually I was taken to reception and met the Customer relations manager, a young woman in her early 30's. She was immediately confrontational and initially refused to even entertain my request, until I lost it and began to shout, as I had been promised by my agent I could buy this package on board. As I was making a scene she eventually took me to her office behind reception and was soon joined by the stuttering and frankly weak assistant purser. By this time I was angry that all anyone said to me was its impossible. I assured them it wasnt and all they needed to do since their authority was so limited was contact head office and ask, which at the time they refused. They preferred to tell me why I was unreasonable, rude, and thoroughly put me in my place. I later learned upon returning home that they informed the Dutch Police and I suspect expected me to be arrested whilst wheeling my disabled mother ashore at amsterdam. Fortunately it didnt happen. The customer relations manager in particular, had no skill whatsoever in dealing with customers. She behaved like we had been press ganged and we were there to follow her orders, she had zero ability to calm somone who had been offended by te actions of her staff. I suggest MSC give her a job in the engine room where theres no danger she would upset any other paying customer. For she certainly did upset many throughout the remainder of the trip. With the exception of a Dutch girl who was charming most of the staff on reception, were generally unhelpful but practised at saying "its impossible". The following day they agreed to my request and I did purchase the all inclusive package, without so much as an apology for causing so much upset. Myt story began to circulate amongst the british passengers and before long I had a queue of passengers with gripes who seemed to want me to act as unofficial shop steward, which I declined as I was on holiday. When I approached the customer relations manager to arrange a meeting to hear their complaints ie all of them together she simply refused. Talk about not listening. general gripes of most passengers: Food, was no better than average, and was quite rushed in the evening sittings, frequently over cooked and canteen style mass catering rather than the experience I have come to enjoy with other lines. The service in the restaurants was frequently surly, with the wrong order being delivered because of language difficulties. Breakfast and lunch were particularly difficult, rather than the regular servcie you get from your waiter at dinner, they were OK. Excessive pricing and charging for everything. A pot of tea (without the package) was €5 each time you want a cup of tea!!! nothing free except a Luke warm urn which didnt make proper tea after midnight on the 12th deck! They were using an italian brand of "english Breakfast tea" which was soo weak it couldnt make its way out fo the cup, it was dreadful. I approached the head of catering, who to be fair did listen and did take on liptons at the next port. Not proper tea but at least it was passable. Drinks were a massive rip off, hence my fuss about getting the all inclusive package. otherwise its a good place to send an alcoholic to dry out, as they would go broke before getting drunk! 28 channels on TV, not one of them in English. When we were in Southampton I asked if one could be switched via their satellite receiver to english - you guessed it.. Its impossible! No cinema! and one yes thats right one cartoon in english on the TV for the whole 8 day cruise. That was the entire choice of films on the ship. The layout of the ship was also awkward when you are with a disabled/ mobility impaired passenger. The public areas were on floors 5 and 6, and 11, 12 and 13. so you are forever waiting for lifts, and frequently needing to travel from one end of teh ship to another, exhasperating. The cabins are between those areas. health and safety; Muster stations was the most ridfculous affair I have ever attended. Many passengers didnt bother at all which didnt seem to alarm any of the crew. Those that did were kept standing on deck for 90 minutes as thats how long it took them to get those that cared to attend counted, we would have been dead long before they had managed anything in a real crisis. The general bursars staff, waiters, cleaners, etc were very poorly paid, came from countries that are poor. They told me No tips taken by the line were passed onto crew. All of it went to enrich MSC. That is disgusting. They were made to wrok minimum 11 hour shifts 7 days a week for 9 months, which is illegal in Europe, which they get around by being panama registered. Therefore their wages were exploitative. The european commission should take action against this kind of sharp practice! The main theatre at the bow of the ship, was almost all staired, meaning my mother had to find a seat while the ship was rolling with not a hand rail in any aisle, naturally she fell, and was very shocked and shaken. No crew member came to her aid, just me and some other passengers. Not good enough. No midnight feasts! on the last night of the cruise before returning to southampton the chefs laid on a magnificent banquet, with carved fruits and a visual and culinary treat. The rest of the cruise.... absolutely nothing. and no explanation. when asking reception why theres no midnight feast ... Its impossible! Assistance embarking and disembarkation, sometimes chaotic, with long queue's at the bottom of impossibly steep gang planks, or when actually able to get a wheelchair up the gang planks, no assisatnce at all was offered. Constantly being ordered to come along for a meaningless briefing such as how to pack a suitcase for disembarkation. deductions for tips from each passenger with opt out. €12 per day per passenger, and none of it goes to the staff! many brits opted out and like us chose to individually tip those staff members who had given good service. You are allowed to opt out, which they dont advertise. In the end on this cruise so many opted out, they refused to allow others to do so when they requested it. Also they would only deduct the charge from the day you chose to opt out which again is sharp practice in my book. All in all remember you have a choice when booking a cruise. My advice would be choose a different line! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I have cruised before, but the EPIC was the first cruise for my partner, who was also celebrating a milestone birthday. Given those two factors, I wanted everything to be PERFECT! And I left that in the hands of the NCL EPIC. It is a ... Read More
I have cruised before, but the EPIC was the first cruise for my partner, who was also celebrating a milestone birthday. Given those two factors, I wanted everything to be PERFECT! And I left that in the hands of the NCL EPIC. It is a grand and beautiful ship! It doesn't have the open and soaring atrium like feel of the RCCL Oasis, but overall it is well planned and gives an overall excellent first impression. Our cruise was the first departure from Epic's new home in Barcelona. The crew was just coming off of a lengthy re-positioning cruise from Miami. When we boarding the ship, the common areas slightly lacked the "welcoming" feel I have received on other cruises. In fact, the interior areas of the ship were virtually deserted during boarding. There was staff in the corridors directing people to their staterooms, but that was about it. There was zero "WOW" factor during boarding... not even a Bon Voyage photo which I assumed was standard as you boarded the ship. The only thing we were presented with/offered on embarkation was a squirt of hand sanitizer on the gangway. We made our way to our stateroom (11169 Mid-ship balcony cabin.) The corridors in the ship are so incredibly long and only easy to navigate after you figure out the color and numbering system onboard. Our stateroom was really nice. The cabin was spotless, and well presented to us. We quite liked the layout of the room. It was not large, but cozy and well planned. Our balcony was larger than other balcony staterooms because of its position on the ship (we were on a diagonal curve of the ship.) We were able to easily and quickly unpack and find a spot for everything we brought onboard. Our one and only negative observation was that the balcony doors, railing, and glass walls were just covered in salt from the transatlantic crossing, and in need of a major cleaning. That was done by a power washing team by day 2 of the cruise.Soon after getting settled, our stateroom attendant came to the door and introduced herself. She was so charming and personable. We told her it was my partners first cruise, and also his 40th birthday. Within minutes, she returned with a bottle of champagne on ice for us to kick off the special occasions. It was the perfect touch, and we were really impressed. Each and every time we left our stateroom and crossed paths with our attendant, she was so friendly and so professional. Always wanting to make sure we were absolutely satisfied our room and her service. Needless to say, she made the perfect first impression and maintained it throughout the cruise. Perfection!After getting settled we made it to the pool deck for our grand send off from Barcelona. It was still not as festive or celebratory as I would have hoped. But it was easy to get a drink from the bar quickly and kick things off nicely. The most nauseating part was the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise director along with the youth staff doing the standard (snore) line dancing YMCA, ELECTRIC-SLIDE-ISH, routine. I would have preferred an amazing DJ or band and the cruise staff mingling and introducing themselves to the guests. What they chose to do seemed yesteryear in cruising, and not representative of the "freestyle" spirit of this cruise.And now we are off! (Here are some things to keep in mind onboard...)1) The Garden Buffet is quite nice and the food is tastefully done. The buffet onboard this ship is the best I have ever experienced cruising. You can have a nice meal in a nice setting, or outside if you chose. Did not dissapoint.2) At the "FREE" spots on the cruise for a "snack" or "bar style" meal... the menu is very limited and so unhealthy. The room service menu is even more limited. There is no "SPA CUISINE" that I saw onboard with healthier options. Although we never tried the pizza onboard, it is available 24-7. For example... I have never been on a cruise where you have not been able to find a chocolate chip cookie 24-7... on the Epic... not so much. 3) Every specialty restaurant we tried was a low-light of our cruise. The Chinese restaurant was mediocre at best. 3 out of 10. The noodle bar... not much better... and the Italian restaurant... while having the best views on the ship... it was really bad. The Calamari was soggy and not crispy... the chicken pizza was ABSOLUTELY TASTELESS... and my pasta was far undercooked... almost crunchy.4) The entertainment is OK. The Blue Man Group is great, but far from the Vegas show. The Legends is good, but it was obvious this was their first go. And the puppeteers were amateurish. The Twice something gig in the atrium lobby was so bad and out of tune we were both in disbelief. So we just avoided that area of the ship when they were performing. 5)As far as the onboard offerings and the cruise director... I felt he hid a bit on the ship. He is so annoying when he makes announcements... the are borderline too much... And he just gave the impression over the cruise that he needs a break. It just seems he is over it. And moreover-- Over the top. And a bit arrogant in my opinion. You just never ever see him but hear his over the top announcements. The only time I ever saw him aboard the ship past sailing was him hiding at the entrance of the Humidor. Why the hell would the "CRUISE DIRECTOR" who had a gold sequined jacket lapped over his arm "hang" there. He had the least "presence" of any Cruise Director... and I have been on mega ships. So in the end we paid a lot of money and didn't do the "free" way... and were overall disappointed in every single dining option we chose. We would have been much better off at the buffet or taste or manhattan! But the EPIC had so much to offer, and didn't come through! In fact, we were disappointed! We loved the ship, loved our steward, but would give the dining options we had on the ship as an EPIC FAIL! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Grand Cayman, Cozumel and their own beach resort - Honduras was missed as weather too rough to dock. All three ports just a tourist nightmare...we felt we were in an Airport Duty Free Mall. No charm and all geared for tourists. Had ... Read More
Grand Cayman, Cozumel and their own beach resort - Honduras was missed as weather too rough to dock. All three ports just a tourist nightmare...we felt we were in an Airport Duty Free Mall. No charm and all geared for tourists. Had we known we would never have gone. Had Pricness been more forthright in their decriptions we would have realised it did not suit us! Yes the water was reasonably nice albeit extremely crowded everywhere, but one does not need to travel 7 days to get a nice 2 hour swim. The onboard pricess shopping guru leacturing in the princess must have been on commission as she was selling the duty free shops as if there was nothing better in the world...and trust me there is! We walked out pretty disgusted at the high activity sales pitch. The ship OK but getting old. Service oh-hum with staff not as good as other princess cruises we went on other than the Maitre D and the Head Chef who were stand-outs. In other deparpments like the sommelier - they were selling the heck out of their wine tastings and then giving pretty ordinary and cheap wines, with the sommelier actually getting quite a bit of his lecture wrong. Dissapointing and waste of time...why do things at all if badly? This was really the story of all the ship other vthan the Dining and kitchen area...the staff were harried, not overly knowleadgeable and missing depth of service. Ie the Spa had dirty glasses all over, was not overly clean and had more showers not working than actually working! The room (in our case the best level of mini-suite) was basically dirty and needing repair accross a lot of areas. Also the steward albeit polite was not attentive at all. Story of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011

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