The Liberty OTS was the perfect ship because of proximity since we live inTexas. Boarding on New Years added to the excitement and anticipation. We had our Granddaughter with us and purchased a table in the RBar for convenience and a great ... Read More
The Liberty OTS was the perfect ship because of proximity since we live inTexas. Boarding on New Years added to the excitement and anticipation. We had our Granddaughter with us and purchased a table in the RBar for convenience and a great experience. The New Year party did not disappoint! Balloons, drinks, music and people all made this a special night. Even though the weather could have been better, starting the new year in the Caribbean with 73’ vs Dallas with 17’ was just what the Dr ordered. This was our 4 cruise on Liberty and again, we were not disappointed. The ships staff couldn’t have been more friendly, passionate and accommodating. Because of the ships consistency to go beyond our expectations, we have another 3 cruises booked on the Liberty....if you’re considering a ship for your first cruise, we would highly recommend Liberty of the Seas and if you can afford it, stay in a Grand Suite. Not only do you get a larger room you get the use of the Suite Lounge, priority boarding and disembarkation, seating for the shows, a Concierge and just a better overall experience. Read Less
We were looking for a Christmas vacation without any of us having to cook or plan events. This was definately the best family Christmas week for the 20 of us!! Our group ages ranged from 5-85 yrs old and every one of us had a fantastic ... Read More
We were looking for a Christmas vacation without any of us having to cook or plan events. This was definately the best family Christmas week for the 20 of us!! Our group ages ranged from 5-85 yrs old and every one of us had a fantastic time!
Embarking was a breeze. We had checked in prior to boarding so the process was quite seamless. The ship itself is beautiful! We were just in awe of the size. Our 10 cabins were closely situated on the 7th level that was actually a very convenient location. We mostly walked to the different floors as it was great excercise and faster than the elevators. Impressed on how quiet the cabins were even though there would be alot going on in the main areas of the ship.
Best way to communicate is with Post It notes. Just stick them to the doors to let your party know where you are or change of plans, etc. We brought walkie talkies but didn't end up using them as the channels would connect with strangers. The doors are metal so you may bring anything magnetic to decorate your door to make it more distinctive.
Food was great with numerous choices...no complaints. With at least 7 teenagers in our group there was never a problem in this dept. We opted not to buy a drink plan. There was always plenty of water, lemonade and ice tea at all hours. Service was the best. The ship's staff are top notch. Waiters in the main dinning room were awesome for both our tables! They were very attentive and super friendly. The cabin cleaning staff always had a smile anytime of the day. Our cabins were always clean and we loved the evening turn down. Towels were replaced at least once per day. It seemed like we always had clean, dry towels.
There is the option to buy bottles of wine that they will servce at dinner with the prices being quite reasonable. The liquor store on the boat is also very well priced.
MaMaMia is definately a must see!!...they really put on a great show! It was so much fun to stand up and dance at the end of the show along with the actors up on stage.
We used the fitness room nearly everyday. Quite busy in the mornings but a machine was always available. There was never a dull moment...always something to do regardless time of day. Memories from this trip will last a lifetime!! Read Less
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My ... Read More
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My daughter was lucky enough to score a single room, and it was spectacular. The holiday decorations were beautiful, the shows entertaining, and the themed deck parties kept everyone dancing late into the night. I loved freestyle dining and had no problem finding a lovely place to eat. The bars were well stocked, and the service was quick and friendly. The pool area was entertaining, clean, and drinks and refreshments served quickly. As sad as I was to leave, getting off the ship, and finding our luggage was a breeze. Overall, I would score the staff, activities, food, and entertainment a 10. It was a week of unending fun. The Escape lived up to it's name and provided my family with an unforgetable holiday trip. Thanks NCL, I'll see you next December. Read Less
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships.
Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My ... Read More
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships.
Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My favorite port was Cabo. Although I have already been to all the destinations, the cruising experience never really gets old. As a seasoned cruiser, I have learned that each cruise is a completely different experience.
Since this was a Christmas cruise, Santa came and handed out presents in the Atrium (there were stuffed-animals for the younger kids and Popsockets for the tweens/teens).
Note: the pools were very, very crowded. The best times to go were when everyone else was at port or right after embarkation (tip: don't store your suit in your luggage because it takes a while for it to arrive in your cabin).
Other than trivia and bingo, there wasn't as much to do compared to the bigger ships on RCL like Oasis of the Seas where you can ice-skate, zip-line, rock-climb, etc... As for the demographics, most of the passengers were Americans from the LA area.
I liked the Movies Under the Stars and also having the messenger system on my phone to communicate with other guests. One tip for Princess would be to make it so that guests can receive a notification on their phones when they get a message (maybe w/ an app?) because it was annoying having to refresh the website to receive new messages.
I enjoyed watching The Voice of the Ocean because the singing performances were fantastic, there were actual swirling chairs, and the audience got to choose the winner.
Embarkation went very smoothly, but disembarkation could have went a bit quicker.
Overall, this cruise was worth the price and I would definitely sail again with Princess. Read Less
We did not expect to have the great vacation that we had on this experience. I would definitely recommend this cruise for other families. Some of the thing we enjoyed on this cruise was, that the boat always had some type of activity for ... Read More
We did not expect to have the great vacation that we had on this experience. I would definitely recommend this cruise for other families. Some of the thing we enjoyed on this cruise was, that the boat always had some type of activity for the kids and adults to enjoy. They made me and my family feel as if we were at home. They we very respectful, encouraging to try new things, always very attentive to me and my family. Also Everyone that work on the ship enjoyed and loved what they did. One of the most important things was the amount of sanitary stations that you would find around the ship this showed that they cared about the germs that were around. Another thing we enjoyed was the organization that they had when you would exit the ship to go onto and island. Lastly I would definitely recommend this cruise for other families to enjoy as much as we did. Read Less
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. ... Read More
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. What also pleasantly surprised us was the amount of people at midnight mass. The group that traveled was my family of 4 and my in laws. We had a total of three staterooms, two junior suites and one interior. Our cruise was the second after the big norovirus break out, and the staff was on top of making everything clean and safe for the passengers. However, you still had people not doing their part, "washy washy" and picking food up with their hands in the windjammer. Gross!
We now have been on the Indy four times now, and we have LOVED every trip on her. Even though she will be going into dry dock in April for a major refurb, she is in excellent condition. RCCL really takes care of their ships and if more people would be aware of how poorly they treat public and stateroom areas you would never know she is 10 years old. People just don't care anymore. Ok, that's my only rant for this review.
All of the staterooms in our group were pretty much Freedom class categories of Junior Suites and Interior. All of them had everything in working order, nothing had to be fixed or attended to during our voyage. We had two different stateroom attendants, one for the junior suites and one for the interior. THEY BOTH WERE AMAZING!!!! Not much more I can say about them. Ok, one more thing, Perfection
For Dining, I truly am not going to sugarcoat anything in my reviews:
MDR=Breakfast and Dinner, menu has had things we have not seen before, service was impeccable, food taste and temp was perfect. We only skipped dinner twice for the specialty restaurants.
Chops= Our son was celebrating his 17th birthday on board, and he wanted to have a special dinner there. The experience was phenomenal from the start. We had an awesome waiter, who really made the occasion fun and special, and he covered the table with special decorations when we arrived. The Diamond Concierge even arranged for a special cake to be made for the occasion. And the food, as always, was amazing! This was our first time in Chops since the new menu was rolled out, and although some things were taken off (i.e. French onion soup, red velvet cake), there were some nice additions that changed the dining experience in a good way.
Giovanni's= After ordering way to much food in times before, we finally did Giovanni's in way that allowed us to enjoy the whole experience. We focused on the apps and the pastas, and we didn't order a lot of them either. But what we did order was amazing, and the desserts did not disappoint either. The service was amazing, and were happy to see that Giovanni's will remain on the Indy post-refurb.
Being a flow family, we gravitated towards the flowrider for most of the cruise. The sports staff made our time there enjoyable. It was our daughter's first cruise where she made the cut to do stand-up surfing, and the team was really helpful with her first few runs. Under their guidance, she was surfing like a pro by the end of the cruise.
Ports= My only observation in regards to ports was St. Maarteen. As we were the second Royal Ship to return post hurricane season, the islanders were very happy to see us. I am glad we could bring back tourist dollars to one of the hardest hit ports. We traveled to Maho Beach and the devastation was seen everywhere. I only wish them the best as the recovery efforts will be a long journey.
Summary=We enjoyed every bit of our cruise on the Indy, We can't wait to sail on her post refurb. Read Less
This was our second time cruising with Royal Caribbean and our first time on Brilliance of the Seas. Everything went very smoothly right from check in to the time we left the ship. Our cabin was very clean and we had a great cabin steward. ... Read More
This was our second time cruising with Royal Caribbean and our first time on Brilliance of the Seas. Everything went very smoothly right from check in to the time we left the ship. Our cabin was very clean and we had a great cabin steward. We were sailing with our 3 kids, ages 17, 14 and 10. We did shore excursions at Costa Maya and Cozumel. The Costa Maya was great, just a beach day, with all you can drink. The Cozumel tour was fantastic, but the breach they brought us to afterwards, was very rocky and not very nice. The food and service in the dining room was great! We did not upgrade to any of the restaurants, just used the main dining room. We enjoyed the my-time dining and made a reservation for each night. The entertainment was truly top notch. We saw a fantastic Bon Jovi impersonator who put on a great concert. Also saw two comedians (one was super!) and 2 shows by the RC singers and dancers. The kids also enjoyed the shows. The only downfall for the kids was that the ice cream machine was located inside the Wind Jammer, so it was not available 24/7. They also ran out of white ice cream by day 3. It was worth it get to the ship early and explore on the first day. Our cabin was ready on time and our luggage was there and ready fairly quickly. I would highly recommend travelling with Royal Caribbean and this ship. While the ship is considered "smaller", it still had plenty to do and lots of activity. Read Less
We chose the Reflection since we have been on other Celebrity Cruises and this ship did not disappoint! Celebrity Cruises is our niche. It was beautifully decorated for the holidays and the staff was ready for the first night of ... Read More
We chose the Reflection since we have been on other Celebrity Cruises and this ship did not disappoint! Celebrity Cruises is our niche. It was beautifully decorated for the holidays and the staff was ready for the first night of festivities for New Years.
Embarkation was really nice. We had a Concierge level cabin and were greeted and placed in a separate lounge at the pier. Then we were escorted onboard before the regular class cabins
New Years Eve was great. There were several parties going on before midnight and we were able to hop from one to another ending up at the pool for the midnight finale. They dropped the 2016 ice block into the pool and placed the 2017 up in its place.
The rest of the cruise went without a hitch. Some of the highlights were the Lawn Club Grill, a must do participative dinner. Also the Silent disco was a huge hit. We had so much fun. We like Celebrity due to its classier style and dressy/casual evenings . Also seems to attract an experienced, diverse and well to do traveler.
Wish they had 21 and older sailings.
THIS IS FOR CELEBRITY TOUR STAFF
Jamaica - We went on the Dunns River Falls and river tubing tour with the ship - this is the only time we felt uncomfortable on the trip. At the end of the tour they make you walk through the marketplace. There is no option. There were sellers trying to put items in our hands, when we refused they stated " Are you afraid of us " . Strange comment. There should be an exit option without the marketplace. We were also asked in a survey if the guides asked for a tip. We said they did not ask but then at the busses they had followed us and started asking and pointing to the people who did not tip after we had already taken the survey. So the guides figured out how to go around the survey and harass some of the people on our bus. Glad we had tipped ! Read Less
We went on the 12 night South Pacific cruise from Sydney on 23 December. It was our 7th Celebrity cruise but first from Australia (all the others were from US/Caribbean ports). We have also been on Silversea, Oceania, Royal ... Read More
We went on the 12 night South Pacific cruise from Sydney on 23 December. It was our 7th Celebrity cruise but first from Australia (all the others were from US/Caribbean ports). We have also been on Silversea, Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival. We are Celebrity Elite level members.
Here is the good and the not so good.
Cabin Attendant – Excellent – Our cabin attendant (Gabriel) was superb. He was always efficient, smiling and helpful. Our departures were noted and our cabin made up immediately.
Tenders – Excellent – Tenders were used at Isle de Pines and Mystery Island. On previous Celebrity cruises tenders have been a problem. On this cruise there were only short waits and even long queues moved quickly. The reason was simple – whoever was in charge used up to 7 lifeboats to provide a high frequency service from two boarding platforms. This was a problem from past cruises fixed – let us hope the same approach is adopted on other ships.
Photo Shop – Poor – Bring your own camera and take your own photos. Avoid the photo packages. On previous Celebrity cruises the photo packages were good value by skilled photographers. On this cruise we felt there was no skill or art involved and the resulting photos were poor quality camera work such as parts of heads cuts off. Delays and stresses even getting the package USB on the last night suggested incompetence.
Shuttle Bus – Excellent – Noumea – Often a problem on other cruises this, like the tender issue, was solved by whoever was in charge by having plenty of buses in Noumea running a high frequency service so there were no waits.
Main dining room (Epernay) – Very Good – We had recently been on much higher priced Silversea and Oceania cruises. The food in the main dining room on Solstice was better than the main dining room on each of those cruise lines although not up to the standard of the speciality restaurants on those lines. Celebrity remains the best food in the mega ship market.
Service in Main Dining – Excellent – Our waiters (Valentin and Iryna) were excellent and helpful.
Seating in Main Dining – Poor – We are Elite Celebrity members but for some reason got about the worst table in the middle of the bottom level of the dining room. We used to get much better tables before we reached the Elite level. At no stage were we aware of the presence of a maitre d’.
Coffee – Poor – The coffee throughout the ship is terrible. Café Bacio does not live up to the hype with poor service, attitude and coffee. Coffee was bitter and too hot.
Children – Being an Australian school holiday cruise the ship had over 3000 passengers with lots of children (and prams). Most were well behaved but a few insisted upon pushing all the buttons in the lifts and gangs playing chasing games around the corridors on treasure hunts posed a hazard.
Smoking – As non-smokers we were pleased that overall the smoking on board was only a minor inconvenience.
Walking/Jogging Track – A design flaw of the Solstice is that the jogging track runs around a deck used for sun lounges and often during the day is hard to use because people put their sun lounges across the track. Whilst not as bad as on other cruises this was still an issue and the staff did not move sun lounges off the track.
Sun Lounges – Most of the passengers being Australian it was shade rather than sun that was in demand. There were plenty of lounges available in the sun and sometimes in the shade. Unfortunately there was a lot of saving of lounges by passengers who rarely used them or who put belongings on adjoining lounges to stop them being used and give themselves extra space. This did not appear to be policed by the staff.
Ocean View Buffet – Excellent – Huge and at times overcrowded it is usually possible to find something to eat from the wide range. The effort made for Christmas and New Year was spectacular and greatly appreciated.
Sushi – Not Good – On previous Celebrity cruises Ocean View Café had reasonable sushi in the evening. Now that is gone. Instead there is only a Sushi café on level 5 which costs extra.
Embarkation – Good - Surprisingly quick and efficient. On board 25 minutes after arriving at pier at 12.30pm. Unfortunately we were not then allowed off again that afternoon to spend any more time in Sydney and had not been warned this would be the case.
Disembarkation – Good - At 6.40am there was a huge line for walk offs which commenced at 6.50am and went so quickly we were at Sydney airport at 7.20am.
Itinerary – OK – Australia is a long way from anywhere which means too many days at sea. There were 6 days at sea and only 5 ports on this cruise.
Cabin – Clean and functional the cabins are good for the price.
Hygiene – Problem – Whilst there is hand washing lotion everywhere the system for obtaining beverages (sodas, water or alcoholic) seemed likely to be very efficient at spreading disease. You have to hand your seapass to a waiter who swipes it and hands it back and then does the same with someone else’s seapass and on it goes. The system needs to be contactless with the passenger simply waving their seapass.
Beverage Packages – Poor – Even if the beverage package you purchase includes the type of drink available in your minibar you get charged again if you take it from the minibar. If your package includes Coke you cannot take the can of Coke from your minibar. Your package only allows you to get one drink at a time from a bar even if that drink is water or soft drink (and each time your seaspass is handled by a staff member who is handling lots of other seapasses and bottles and glasses handled by other passengers). At times the brand of bottled water sold was undrinkable.
Internet – OK – Internet costs extra still unless some minutes are included in a deal or because of your status. Speed was fair.
Security – As an Australian holiday period cruise there were a lot more passengers in the 20-40 age group than on other cruises, many of them appearing to consume vast amounts of alcohol. Given the amount of alcohol consumed security did a very good job of keeping it a safe cruise. It is certainly far safer than going out in an Australian capital city at night.
Entertainment – Disappointing – Apart from Aussie Boys the acts and Celebrity in house entertainers were below the standard expected out of US ports.
Movies – Some nights recent release movies were shown in Celebrity Central which is a comfortable cinema.
Overall we were impressed. Christmas and New Year were made special which they have not been on some other cruises we have been on. Read Less
Our group of 12 was on the NORWEGIAN JEWEL from December 23 -30, 2016. The group was my wife and I (4 other cruises) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 29 year old son and his girlfriend (first cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 24 year old ... Read More
Our group of 12 was on the NORWEGIAN JEWEL from December 23 -30, 2016. The group was my wife and I (4 other cruises) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 29 year old son and his girlfriend (first cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 24 year old daughter and her boyfriend (3rd cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents (2nd cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, our son’s girlfriend’s aunt and the girlfriend’s 10 year old son (1st cruise) in a balcony stateroom and the aunt’s sister and husband (2nd cruise) in an Interior stateroom.
Whew! Confusing group, I know. Main point is that we had a variety of ages and experience. The aunt and her sister were both renting scooters and had some mobility issues. But EVERYONE had a great time. Different takes from everyone, but I’ll focus as best I can on the overall experience, but understand that not everyone did everything I talk about here.
EMBARKATION: This was a disappointing mess. My wife and I plus a few others in the group arrived in LA that morning. It was pretty fast (30 minutes) to get from LA to the port, and we used a VERY nice van service. There are lots in a city that size…our group of 8 was big enough (with all the suitcases) to get our very own van, but at no extra charge. We arrived at the port and it took forever for the porter to take our bags. Yes, we had a lot, but it took longer than it should have. Then a port representative met us to help with our family member who needed a wheelchair. One family member was allowed to go with her, but that meant having her niece leave her little boy with us…and as we aren’t his family members, we couldn’t bring him on the ship. What a mess! Finally, our son, the boy, the niece and the aunt all went off and my wife and I fended for ourselves. We were glad to see a line for “repeat” customers (we’re bronze…lowest level) but it saved no time. We all ended up at the same check-in counters. The wait was 45 minutes. In the end, we were the last folks on the ship from our whole group. Normally we are on by noon or 1. It was after two, and cabins were already available, so the ship was a madhouse.
I’ll start with THE GREAT OUTDOORS. This was where we met up with most of our group as we waited for muster drill. As always, this is a great spot to look around at the views, grab a drink, get some food and NOT have significant crowds. You have to walk all the way through the very long cafeteria to get to it, and I guess a lot of folks just won’t bother. The buffet doesn’t have as many choices as the main buffet, but it still has PLENTY to choose from. The atmosphere is just so much more relaxing. We spent time in the late evenings as well (once we were in Mexican temps…it was a little chilly in SoCal!). Buffet is open late, the bar is pouring and the sound of the ship moving through the ocean is relaxing. You can have a party atmosphere here or a calm one.
Our first couple of dinners, we did as a group of 12. With the Christmas holidays, I had to reserve seats for Christmas Eve (formal night) as well as Christmas brunch and then Christmas night dinner. Our first night (the 23rd) we tried out Tsar’s, the more “formal” or “traditional” of the two MDRs. We were seated quickly and the food and service was very nice. The following night was good as well. Folks were seldom truly formal (saw a small smattering of tuxes), but there were plenty of suits. I don’t know if Christmas Eve just brought out a larger selection of dressier folks. Not every meal everyone had was a homerun, and there were a few uneaten appetizers or entrees…but I liked everything I had for the most part. On the first night, I had the prime rib and it was very tasty. (I had prime rib on EXPLORER OF THE SEAS 3 months prior, and that was quite tasteless.) Anyway, when Christmas brunch came around, things fell apart a bit from a service perspective. So much so, they gave me a free bottle of wine. Very slow. Wrong items arriving. Half the table receiving their entrees and the other half waiting forever. It was not good, so after that, our party never had dinner at Tsar’s again. We made the move to Azura that night and while, to be honest, I like the formal Tsar’s a bit better…everyone seemed to feel more at ease, so I was happy. The service was good too. Food is the same as at Tsar’s…but the more contemporary atmosphere is quite different. I recommend you try both. They each have something nice to offer. (By the way, Tsar’s is open for breakfast, and I highly recommend it. You can often get a table by a window and have a lovely view of the ocean while you gorge yourself!).
We had lunch on the 24th at CHIN-CHIN, the included Chinese place. For lunch, it is a noodle house…and it was quite tasty!! A couple of the older members of our group were not so enchanted by the unorthodox food…but most of us loved it. (If you wanted an alcoholic beverage, though, you had to run down a level and get it from one of the bars. We had no bar service there, as for some reason, the bar at the sushi joint was closed at lunch time.)
We only tried the main buffet one for breakfast and once for lunch. It is fine. Crowded but fine. We ended up having several breakfast’s at O’SHEEHAN’S, the delightful “open almost all the time” sit down place with a large, Irish-themed bar adjacent. The have a limited menu of things like burgers, fries, tuna sandwich, etc…but for breakfast, they have essentially the same choices as Tsar’s and it’s a bit more casual. (A great place for a pre or post-hangover dose of protein, too.) Service, to be honest, was always a bit indifferent, but it was efficient, so I was happy enough.
The only specialty restaurant we did was TEPPANYAKI, as a group of 12 on the 28th. We had a blast, and the food was terrific. Fresh and tasty and plentiful. There is an extra charge, which I think is a bit high (about $30, I think)…but if you can do a splurge, this is a fun time. Only gripe was that they were 15 minutes late seating us, so we were a bit pressed for time to catch the show in the theater. We did not try other specialty places this time, as we enjoyed having dinner with our kids and their SOs. The older folks in the group did try some other spots and gave glowing reports about Cagney’s and less-than-enthused about the Italian spot.
BARS Many of us had selected the drink package as one of our ad-ons (part of the special), and we sure got our money’s worth. It was the holidays, and for most of the trip, the weather was warm and sunny. So we indulged a fair amount. The limit was $15, and we seldom exceeded it. And not everything needed to be well drinks, either. Jack Daniels, Johnny Black, etc. were all covered. I saw no real “generic” names. Strangely, Dark and Stormy’s were more than $15??!! I was able to order a Moscow Mule with dark instead of white rum…so that was just a little odd. I can’t speak much about the wine…we had very little of that, but my kids often got a glass at dinner and seemed satisfied. They are not very knowledgeable, though! Beer was the usual disappointing array. A couple of places had Heineken on draft, but overall the selection was poor. I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a Pale Ale from Lagunita’s though. That seemed like a random (but nice) choice to pop up in a sea of Budweiser, Coors & Sam Adams lager.
The bars themselves all had various things to offer, but most really had the same stuff as anyone else. The notable exception was the Mojito Bar (connected to Cagney’s Steakhouse) which poured some really unusual and tasty mojitos you couldn’t get anywhere else. They have more limited hours, so make plans to drop by. It is a bit more “elegant” than many of the bars and they actually serve a chex-mix type of thing to encourage lingering. So you might feel out of place stopping by in your swim trunks and flip-flops. Otherwise, it’s a standard selection of pool-side bars, bars in the two clubs and a smattering throughout the ship. Each bar was nice and the service was generally good. I was always able to order two drinks with just one card. And ordering doubles was never an issue. Frankly, some of these guys poured with a very heavy hand. I ordered a double Cape Cod for my wife, and they basically filled the glass with vodka and then splashed a smidgen of cranberry juice on top. Watch out!
ENTERTAINMENT As with all other cruises we’ve done, this was a bit hit and miss. The Norwegian Jewel cast was actually pretty good and we enjoyed BAND OF THE RUN, essentially a collection of songs from the 70s / 80s. High energy, fast moving and the live band was great. In fact, most of the shows featured the live band, and they were always a pretty tight ensemble. Yes, they stared hard at their cheat sheets and weren’t terribly charismatic…but they sounded really great. We enjoyed ourselves overall at these shows. We didn’t spend much time with the other entertainment on the ship, except occasionally a song or two in Spinnaker’s, the bigger of the clubs, with a dance floor and lots of seating. Spinnaker’s is the site of many daytime “games” as well. This place gets a lot of use, but when it is not in use, there is no better spot for some quiet time reading or looking at the sea.
MISC: We spent some time playing board games in the game room. It’s so nice that they have that. It’s a simple little feature (right next to the library) but on this family oriented cruise…it was packed!
Speaking of family oriented…THE QUEST game show, which is usually for adults only, was REALLY for adults only. It is held in the Spinnaker, which makes it possible for more people to get involved (compared to, say, the Ice Arena on a Royal Caribbean ship, where you can just watch and laugh if you want). The challenges got quite racy at the end, and as my son said once “I definitely saw some nudity.” So be warned. We laughed our butts off, but I was a little surprised as well. Spinnaker also hosted White Hot night, because the weather had gotten very blustery. Being indoors dampened this event, and it was a bit of a flop, I would say. We had looked forward to it, but somehow, being inside just wasn’t as fun as spreading out over the two levels around the pool, tropical drink in hand, dancing like fool.
The 10 year old with us spent LOTS of time on the sports court. Soccer tournaments, basketball, etc. He enjoyed the Kids Club (can’t remember the name) and was immediately ready to do another cruise!
CABIN: We had an oceanview room on deck 5, so this featured a picture window, rather than a porthole. It was a perfectly serviceable cabin…just like any other. If you’ve cruised before, you know what I mean. If not…just expect something that looks like an inexpensive hotel room, but much smaller. Store your suitcases under the bed. Bring handing cosmetic bags as there is essentially no counter space. (I will say, though, that the room had perhaps a little bit more storage space than we’ve had before. We actually had an unused drawer!
Our steward was fine…nothing special, but our room was always clean and towels always stocked and ice always provided. We didn’t see him much, but didn’t really need to.
DISEMBARKATION This was essentially a breeze, although we had to wait extra for the two wheelchairs we needed. This made us amongst the last to debark, but everything was smooth. You can still get a lovely breakfast in Tsar’s and I recommend that. One last shot of really nice, tablecloth service! (One tip…we had rented a couple of vehicles from the Enterprise dealership in San Pedro. Their shuttle took us there and then my son and I had to wait for over an hour to get cars. It was SO terribly jam-packed. The staff was overwhelmed. It’s a tiny office and you actually have to wait outside. Find another solution!! Take an uber to a neighboring town for a rental car. (We had to spend about 8 hours in LA before our flight, so we wanted a bit of freedom to move around.) Read Less
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty restaurants and the buffet, not in the main dinning room.
We have traveled on the Sun before in South America, but never out of Buenas Aires north to Brazil. The ship took a long time to sell out, I think for several factors, Americans needed a visa to got to Brazil, the overblown fear of Zika, the expensive cost of flights from North America this time of year, and that it included two holidays that many people spend with family. Because of this the prices went really low and allowed us to upgrade from a obstructed porthole window to a mini suite. Then after final reduction two months out we splurged for a penthouse suite. The ship is usually at least 50% English speaking passengers but with the reluctance of the North Americans to book this cruise there were only 120 English speakers on board. Personally, I thought that made it more fun.
Room 9076 was a dream. An aft suite with a separate bedroom, huge bathroom with full size jetted tub, and a balcony that was incredible. The extra services that came with the room like a butler and concierge were nice but did not add that much to the value of the room itself.
I know some people complain that NCL nickel and dimes you on their cruises, but I just don't find that to be true. Most everyone gets a free drink package when you make your reservation. If you want better food at dinner, you. buy a specialty restaurant package. The tours are very overpriced and it is worth it to use Cruise Critic or other means to make tour plans on your port stops. The Spa is expensive as well, but no more so than other cruise lines. On any cruise you take there will be a daily service charge added to you account, be ready for that. They don't allow bottled water to be brought onto the ship anymore, so you bring a large water bottle and fill it up on board. I can assure that the water on board is cleaner than most American cities.
With the unusual number of Latino's on this cruise, I thought the cruise director and his staff could have done a better job with the music, even if it was just with a DJ. British Rockers just didn't cut it.
Other than that, we love the ship. It is not too big. There is always room where ever you want to go. Remember if your going south around the tip of South America the pool area is not covered. The staff has always been incredibly helpful and considerate and will keep us coming back. Read Less
My adult niece and I both live in Maryland so sailing from Baltimore eliminated a long drive or a flight. We drove in the morning of cruise, arriving around 11:30am. Dropping of luggage, parking car and entering cruise terminal took all of ... Read More
My adult niece and I both live in Maryland so sailing from Baltimore eliminated a long drive or a flight. We drove in the morning of cruise, arriving around 11:30am. Dropping of luggage, parking car and entering cruise terminal took all of 10 minutes. There was no wait to reach the security screener other than guests in front of us had to dig for their set sail and passports. Once inside we completed our health forms and were directed to the suite line. We were in a Junior Suite and I am diamond plus, niece is platinum. No wait to reach an agent and on the ship by 12:05.
Using the lower gangway puts you on the ship on deck 1. We elected to take the steps to deck 4 to the R bar to wait for staterooms to be ready. Settled down to enjoy the ship and have our welcome aboard cocktails, Cosmo for me and white wine for niece. Shortly after 1pm we made our way to deck 8 and our lovely stateroom.
Dropped our backpacks and headed to windjammer for a little something to hold us til 5:30 fixed seating. Not very busy at that time but very few clean tables. Then back to stateroom to see if luggage had arrived. Out of 6 bags 3 were there! Wandered the ship until 3ish then headed to cabin to get our coats for muster drill at 3:15pm. Fortunately we were on the sunny side of the ship and it was almost hot standing there. Lesson learned, don't arrive on time, that is 3:15pm. We stood there until 3:40pm before the announcements and instructions were made. Fortunately it was over at 3:45pm. Made our way to deck 10 for sail away. By this time the sun was going down and it was getting cold. When we hadn't pulled away from the pier by 4:30 we gave up and went to our cabin.
I had hoped to watch us go under the Key Bridge but our 5:30 dining time came before we sailed.
We had a great time and booked the same cruise for next year.
Biggest issue I had was our next door neighbors, the cabin just forward of ours, was smoking on the veranda. Called guest services the first night to complain. I was told to stick my head around the divider and determine if they were in fact the smokers! I advised that was not my responsibility to confront other guests. Went to bed determined to track down the Hotel Director in the morning.
On our first sea day I opened the veranda door to enjoy the view and was met by cigarette smoke. Called the front desk to complain and with in 5 minutes two security officers were knocking on our door. They went out on our balcony and stuck their heads arounds and saw the people smoking! Officer advised the guests she would be right over to speak with them. She advise us the matter would be resolved and I would not have to call again. Taken care of! Thank you RCI.
Dining - We had 5:30 fixed seating and loved it. Always finished in time if we wanted to see the early show. Dinner in the MDR was hit or miss. We found it best to order 2 entrees. I loved Izumi, ate there once, niece loved Giovanni's - ate there twice, Chops was good - had one meal there.
Most of our breakfasts were in the MDR, love being served and the food was hot.
Lunch was in the WJ, found the MDR lunch menu to be very limited. Issue in WJ was finding a clean table. Only once during the entire cruise did a staff person ask if we wanted a coffee or water refill in the WJ.
Entertainment - Did not go to production shows. The headliner entertainers were good to great. Surprisingly loved the 'unexpected boys' and the adult comedian. Rosario Strings and the piano entertainer in the Schooner Bar were my favorites. I loved quiet evenings in the Viking Crown Lounge.
Service - The crew were wonderful. Always a smile, Merry Christmas or Happy New Year.
Ports and Shore Excursions - Loved Antigua and St Maarten, they about my favorite stops. Used ship excursions for St Thomas and Antigua for beach trips.
Kids - We had just over 500 children onboard and I was surprised how little I saw or heard any. It wasn't until the last day we ran into the 'packs of tweens'.
Wonderful holiday cruise. Read Less
This was my first time on Princess cruises, and I must say i was not disappointed. On the first night at dinner I was sat at a table of other solo travellers all aged between 64 and 86. I have no complaints regarding the Dawn Princess, ... Read More
This was my first time on Princess cruises, and I must say i was not disappointed. On the first night at dinner I was sat at a table of other solo travellers all aged between 64 and 86. I have no complaints regarding the Dawn Princess, yes she is showing signs of wear and tear but aren',t we all as we age. Christmas was very well done especially for the children. New Year was so much fun up on the pool deck.I would choose Princess in a flash and recommend them to anyone asking my opinion.If I had to gripe it was that my cabin was smaller then other cruise ships I have been on.I loved Jo LIttle, Babbba and Fusion class acts in the Theatre.A huge thank you to our waiters Tyrone and Raj, you certainly made mealtimes pleasant. Also to Runiel who kept my cabin spotless he was always smiling The problem I had with my lights was fixed promptly and.the follow up from customer service very good.especially the chocolates. Read Less
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed
The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty ... Read More
The reason we choose this cruise, well just to be away from the family for a change over the Christmas & New Year and we were not disappointed
The ship & crew were fantastic, the food again was really, really great with plenty to choose from
The ship was decked out in Christmas decorations & New years eve was a blast, with great entertainment on the Lido pool deck
Fiji was not to our liking due to the locals being a little over the top.
Mystery Island was a blessing however.
Maybe we should have done some shore excursions as some of the other passengers did and were very pleased with their decision.
Also met up with some great passengers and had a very good time.
We had a great choice of food with goose for Christmas eve & the Pinnacle grill was fantastic with great food & service.
To sum it up, we loved the cruise, the staff, the service and the people. Read Less
We travelled with three couples who are all good friends. We were booked in Aqua class and there were various comments among us regarding the value.
We absolutely loved Blu, the diningroom designated to be used by Aqua cabin ... Read More
We travelled with three couples who are all good friends. We were booked in Aqua class and there were various comments among us regarding the value.
We absolutely loved Blu, the diningroom designated to be used by Aqua cabin passengers. The room is smaller than the main dining room, service top notch and I think the food is prepared in a different kitchen. We generally had breakfast there as well, fresh orange juice, yum..and Nice and quiet. I used the Persian Gardens almost daily, nice heated beds, steam and sauna looking out over the ocean, and the other perk is the shower in our cabin that had jets of water for the body and overhead. We did have lunch in the buffet.
Because Blu was so good, we did not feel like we needed go to any of the private, extra charge dining rooms.
Our friends, on the other hand, did not see the value. They said they are not foodies, don't care where they eat as "food is food" and there is plenty everywhere. They used the Persian Garden only once.
And the third couple loved Blu and never used the Persian Garden. So, everyone is different.
The ship itself was kept very clean. We were in the casino a few evenings and it was quite busy. The shows were hit and miss.
The entertainment we enjoyed were In the Skydeck at 10 p.m. Almost nightly.
Live Music, a bit of a show by the dancers, and the guests joining in, or just watching.
The gym is large and very busy in the morning. More equipment available later.
New Years Eve was magical, dancing and singing out on the deck with at least 1200 people on a warm Caribbean night under the stars. The band played for all age groups.
Only minor issues were:
Disembarkation was very, very slow getting through customs. I think it was because it was New Year's Day and they were short staffed.
Chairs on the deck at the pool was a challenge ...people 'saved' seats by putting down towels and books, then left,..and lots of times those spots were vacant for hours. Not a great system.
All in all, we complained that we had nothing to complain about. Read Less
This is a fantastic cruise company for seniors or people who like a slower pace, (perfect for me, as I love taking photos). They accommodate physical disabilities as much as possible throughout the trip. Children were rare, but the crew ... Read More
This is a fantastic cruise company for seniors or people who like a slower pace, (perfect for me, as I love taking photos). They accommodate physical disabilities as much as possible throughout the trip. Children were rare, but the crew made a special effort to find activities and food they would enjoy. Special diets can be accommodated. The locations they stop include plantations, museums and national parks. There is time to go to the local towns, with shuttle service. You will never be hungry on this trip: breakfast, warm cookies at 10:00, lunch, Tea Time, Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and dinner. Open seating in the dining room. Balcony for every stateroom.
On board they have bingo, lectures, and evening entertainment.
It was a Christmas trip to remember: carolers greeted us as we boarded, decorations, food, the opportunity to attend Christmas Eve service and even gifts!
The crew was the most cheerful and attentive I have experienced with any cruise line. Read Less
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand ... Read More
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand people. once we were finally through the Embarkation process walking across the gangway was so nerve racking wondering what is the ship going to be like? what awaits us just around the corner? when we got around that corner and set foot on-board the truly amazing M/S Emerald Princess we certainly were not disappointed it was beautiful as it was a Christmas cruise there was tinsel Christmas trees and all sorts of other decorations everywhere which was a lovely touch.
Now to the cabin my first time in an interior cabin so didn't really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised the cabin was roomy well designed and actually quite a pleasant room although the bathroom as always with cruise ships was tiny. The Dining OMG the choices for dining on-board was incredible, three dining rooms, three specialty restaurants plus the buffet, Café Caribe, the grill, a pizza place/ ice-cream place and a fantastic little café in the Atrium called the International Café a tip book early for Crab Shack, Share and Crown Grill all of which are very popular this can be achieved through the stateroom phone by pressing the dining reservations button or by calling 6219 from any phone on-board (only the stateroom phones have the speed dial function). entertainment and activities the night-time shows is unfortunately where Princess fell short personally I found some of them to be rather amateurish I personally quite enjoyed the Princess signature show Magic To Do although they could have done more to hide the wires, the activities were quite enjoyable especially the trivia which my family spent a lot of time at all in all the entertainment and activities were abit of a let down (the Trivia was fun though). The service WOW each and every crew member was pleasant smiling happy to help you in anyway possible always with a huge smile (especially in the case of Kefang who worked at the international café as a buffet steward she was always smiling) the cruise director Duke and the assistant cruise director Matt were hilarious always cracking jokes and making fun of each other a true delight to be around.
The ports and shore excursions WOW WOW WOW New Zealand is an incredible place a truly breathtaking country starting off in the Bay of Islands right up the top of the North Island we did the Waitangi Estuary by sea kayak shore excursion kayaking up to a small waterfall and back with a short break a 2 hour shore excursion truly amazing next was Auckland an unfortunate let-down very much like Sydney not really anything truly exciting there this was followed by the best port of the entire cruise Tauranga where we went to the Tamaki Maori Village just outside Rotorua what a day we were on a bus for about 90 minutes from the berth at Mount Maunganui to Tamaki both the guide and the driver were always cracking jokes and telling us about the areas we were passing which made the bus trip quite enjoyable then we arrived at Tamaki we were met by a traditional Maori welcome ceremony where the Maori warriors made sure that we came in peace and weren't going to attack them which was quite a show we then went into the village and were split up into small groups at which point we went to different huts to learn different things about Maori culture and history which was rather interesting and fun we then went to learn about a traditional hangi which is a Maori way of cooking after this we moved the meeting house where we were entertained through a number of Maori performances including the famous haka and a performance of a Maori love song called Pokarekare Ana after this it was meal time where we enjoyed a traditional Maori hangi feast which was delicious once this was over we had a bit of time to browse the gift shop and take some photos of the village before it was time to head back to the ship we said goodbye to Tamaki and headed out to the bus we then commenced the 90 minute return journey to Mount Maunganui berth where our ship was docked during this trip we were given a bit of a private performance with our guide singing some Maori songs until we reached Rotorua and she was dropped off we then went for a drive through the nearby gardens and had a look at a rather large building within the gardens before continuing our journey back. next was Christmas Day which was a sea day transiting between the north and south islands Christmas day was quiet and relaxing which was nice it was also a formal night there was Santa's arrival Christmas carols and much more our next port was Picton where we went on a hike and scenic cruise up the queen charlotte track and sound which was beautiful after this relatively easy hike and scenic cruise we were dropped off in the Picton township and had a bit of a look around a market and the town which was quite a nice quaint little rural New Zealand town right on the water which was lovely. Our next port was Wellington which is of course New Zealand's national capital and an awesome city first thing we did was get the famous cable car up the hill and walked back down through the botanical gardens which were really pretty after this we walked around the great city and had very necessary retail therapy we also enjoyed some on NZ's famous fush and chups as they would say we returned to the ship happy and content after a great day looking around an awesome city. next was Akaroa a quaint little French town quite a nice place actually at this port we did the double decker bus tour which was quite enjoyable during this tour we travelled form Akaroa to the famous hilltop hotel for a photo opportunity and pit stop we travelled through a number of quaint little towns the view from the hilltop hotel was breathtaking right over the many bays. Next was our final port of the cruise Dunedin a lovely small Scottish city with quite a lot to see including a Cadbury chocolate factory (the obvious highlight) as well as a great little Scottish shop quite a nice little southern New Zealand city. our final day in New Zealand was spent on a scenic cruise through the absolutely amazing Fiordland National Park through the dusky doubtful and breathtaking Milford sounds a truly breathtaking part of an amazing country. The next day was New Years Eve and of course it was party time and also the cruises third and final formal night they had three different on-board venues with parties celebrating New Years they were the Piazza, the Wheelhouse bar and the Explorers Lounge the Piazza had a live performance form the Emerald Princess party band (Liquid Blue) and a gold and silver balloon drop at the stroke of midnight a great night all in all. Our final night on-board was when my family went to the Share by Curtis Stone specialty restaurant located on deck 16 aft a truly amazing restaurant the six course meal was exquisite and the service was impeccable and the restaurant itself was beautifully designed. all in all a very very enjoyable cruise would definitely recommend Princess Cruises to anyone who wishes to have a relaxing luxurious and enriching cruise. Disembarkation was a breeze as well in and out of the terminal in less than half an hour. Would I travel with Princess Cruises again in short yes definitely although it is not my kind of line as I prefer to have activities galore, water parks, water slides heaps of pools a young persons fun cruise I would definitely go with princess again. Read Less
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed.
Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had sailed on Holland America before and wanted to be away at Christmas. We were not disappointed.
Embarkation was trouble free with quick access to the ship. We sailed this time in a forward cabin 704 which is an accessible cabin. Cabin was spacious but found being forward was noisier that being mid ship or stern with the sound of the ropes and anchor noises. During rough weather the waves tended to go up into the anchor area and caused this to bang against the boat. This did only happen on two occasions during the trip.
We ate most of our meals in the Rotterdam room and out attendants, Hendra and Juli could not be faulted, they were friendly, professional and helpful. They did everything they possibly could to please. Noel, our sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and was always at the ready to supply our drinks. The staff in the Crows Nest and Mix Bar were exceptional. Overall the crew seemed happy and engaging.
Although the entertainment is more low key than in some of the more family orientated ships like RCA, Princess or Celebrity, we found the entertainment more than enough, after all this is a place to relax as well as enjoy oneself. The trivia times were great fun, with A/Cruise Director Joep being a great compere. There was plenty to do on board if you wanted to, I had great intentions of checking out the cooking demonstrations in the culinary arts centre, but never got there. There is a well stocked library which has many board, card games and relaxing cafe and lounge in which to play them as well as trivia, movies, shows, art auctions, a casino, dance classes.
I enjoyed the size of the ship, it was the friendliest ship I have ever been on, this goes for fellow passengers and crew.
One of the reasons for choosing Holland America was because there was no flow rider, ice skating rink, no needless bells and whistles and therefore not too many children. Those that were on board enjoyed the Hal's Kids Club and were on the whole well behaved and well mannered.
The ports were great and most of them had shuttle buses (including accessible ones) to take you to information centres in the city centres. Also many volunteers were on hand to assist. Only port I had a problem with was Tauranga due to my mobility but local port authority kindly drove us to the port entrance. Overall, I think more should be done about facilities at ports but this is not a Holland America issue.
Having travelled on RCA earlier in the year and being on board with a large amount of people having to wait in line was a problem. There is also a lack of room in the public areas due to adding in paying restaurants and making these areas smaller. This is not the case on Holland America, no waiting for lifts, plenty of room in the public areas if there was an activity happening. Smaller ships have their advantages.
Debarkation went smoothly.
Overall we had a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable holiday and would step back on board in a heartbeat. Read Less
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen ... Read More
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen cruises on multiple lines.
We had an Ocean Suite and it worked for us. The room had plenty of storage and was well arranged to make the most of the space. The bathroom was also very spacious. We didn't hear any noise (room 7353) and this was a great location. We never used the elevators. I only wish the room would have been a little cooler. I got hot a lot while sleeping and it couldn't be turned down and further.
We had early dining and I thought food was very good. Not every meal was a hit, but certainly not bad and some things we excellent. We had excellent waiters and servers who worked very hard. Drink service was slow so I usually grabbed a drink before coming in the dining room.
The Steakhouse was amazing!!! Food was outstanding. I was a little disappointed in the service. I had to ask for a second glass of wine (not on Cheers program) and for water to be refilled. Other than that, it was the best meal of the trip.
We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant. It was good. We liked Guys Burgers and Blue Iguana. Lido deck was good for breakfast and lunch. I was surprised at how easy it was to find seats and how there weren't a lot of lines. Pizza had the longest lines so I only got it once. It isn't my favorite. We enjoyed room service a few times for snacks and lunch. The new Pig and Anchor was also good. There are so many places to eat that even in 11 days we didn't get to try them all. The salads in the serenity area were wonderful but the line is very slow. I would have had that more often if it didn't take so much time. Variety of options was outstanding!
Yes the two main show lounges were horribly designed with moving chairs and obstructed views. Hopefully this will eventually be corrected or at the very least not repeated on any future ships.
We didn't try the Imax or the Thrill theater. We loved the Skyride and Ropes courses. So much fun! We never had trouble finding chairs around the pool. Sometimes we had to go up a few levels but I preferred that anyway. The sports zone was awesome. Best mini golf on any of the ships I have been on and we enjoyed playing shuffle board, ping pong and the other games. Nicely done!
The areas to sit outside were more then plentiful. Something for everyone.
Casino. I didn't spend any time here. Too smoky to make it enjoyable so I spent my money elsewhere.
I was surprised at how much I loved the Atrium. I didn't think I would like the LCD centerpiece but it was really cool. They could use some better shops. These were basic and boring. The live music was also amazing in the Atrium. They had a violinist playing popular music. Even my kids wanted to stop and hear them play night after night. And they had real steel drums at the pool. Yay!!! Keep that up.
Shows I thought were a little lacking. The one production of Flick was amazing but didn't really care to see a lot of the others. The comedians were good. I don't mind rated R shows but it did seem like a lot of the humor was not very funny compared to my past Carnival trips. The outside movies were great.
I found the crew to be very friendly and had no complaints on the service. I did hear some passengers complaining about the most ridiculous stuff. I think the reason why most ships don't get higher marks is because there are a lot of experienced cruisers on these ships. I heard conversations like "I like the booths in the dining room on such a such ship better" and I liked the décor better on "such and such" etc. They have so much experience that they will always have had a better experience somewhere else but not all the best experience on any one ship. Just my opinion. Many repeat cruisers on this ship and it had only launched 6 months ago!
My kids were in each of the different age kid centers and loved it. They didn't always stay in the center, but would meet up with kids and then go play in the arcade or get food etc. Try to encourage your kids to visit it on the first day so they can make friends. My kids only want to cruise now because they get to meet people as opposed to going to a resort and being stuck with mom at night. :)
I did not do the cheers program and think it was the right call for me. I did really enjoy the Alchemy bar. It was so fun to sit there and watch them make drinks and light things on fire. You could just give them a suggestion and they would make something up for you. I would say I want something light and not very fruity. Voila, a drink would be concocted. I did learn to bring a drink into the comedy shows because bar service was spotty. They only had 2 waiters working and depending upon where you were in the lounge they may not have gotten over to you.
Grand Turk - We enjoyed Jack's Shack and Margaritaville.
Bonaire - We loved the SeaCow excursion. We had all snorkeled before but we really enjoyed this trip.
Aruba - I booked Jolly Pirate on my own and the kids and I had a blast! Snorkeling was only so but my kids loved the rope swing.
St. Martin - We were here on Thanksgiving with 7 ships. I booked Robinson Boat Tours and we had a 6 hour 14 person speedboat that took us to both sides of the island including lunch, snorkeling stops and Moho Beach. It was the best excursion we have EVER taken. Highly recommend and they were great when Carnival changed our itinerary two days before and then changed it back the day before our sailing.
Dismemberment was a breeze. We had the best vacation. Yes there are things we could find to complain about but why bother. We were on vacation. Great memories made! Read Less
After many cruises with Princess, the crew of the Grand Princess was outstanding, from the Passenger Service desk, to the staff in all of the dining venues, to our pleasant and always smiling cabin stewards as well as the ever present ... Read More
After many cruises with Princess, the crew of the Grand Princess was outstanding, from the Passenger Service desk, to the staff in all of the dining venues, to our pleasant and always smiling cabin stewards as well as the ever present Captain. As many have said before... Happy crew.... happy passengers!
It was a joyful trip over the Christmas holidays, even with so many children on board. They were well behaved and it was much appreciated.There were so many things planned for all age groups that you really didn't see many of them. The teenager in our group was busy 24/7.
Embarkation and disembarkation were the smoothest I have ever experienced. I love the new pier Princess has in San Francisco. I will travel out of this port anytime. I just can't wait for the next one. Read Less
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a balance of the good and the “needs improvement.”
The best feature by far is the food. OH MY GOD! The food is phenomenal. Our whole party had the ultimate food packages. We ate at just about every specialty restaurant on the boat (There are about 10 of them). Some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Italian restaurant’s tiramisu was the best I have ever had. The Brazilian Steakhouse was amazing. The ribeye at the “regular” steakhouse was perfect. The food at the three “standard” restaurants was excellent too. We only went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but the food there was great too. Real whipped cream is rare in the Caribbean, but was plentiful for waffles at breakfast – Mmm. The only slightly subpar meal we had was at the French restaurant. It was not bad, but was not up to the standards of the other restaurants.
The biggest problem with the cruise was the “structure” of the ship. It was a very full cruise – about 4500 guests. In the past we have often cruised Carnival. They have a large theater for shows, gatherings, games, etc. That is apparently not the Norwegian style. Everything on Norwegian is small and intimate. There is a theater, but it is arranged like a movie theater not a “gathering” room. The Atrium is where all of the events take place. They have Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Not so Newlywed Game, live music, WiiU dance for kids, and more amusing things. Lots of people, especially families, love these things. The problem…the Atrium seats about 50 people. They brought in folding chairs at times, but it was a madhouse. People were fighting over chairs. They need a much larger gathering space.
Although they have a 5 slides, a small water park, a small kids pool, and a medium adults pool, the pool area felt small as well. To cram all the things in one place, they lost seating area. There were maybe 150 seats around the pools – not enough for a day at sea for 4500. There is nowhere for parents to sit around the kids area and watch their kids. The pools were not heated and were a little chilly – probably warmer or at least more refreshing if you don’t cruise in December.
The slides themselves were fantastic and fun. Something for every age – even thrill seeking adults. The tube slide was the most popular. But even better than the waterslides was the ropes course. A two story ropes course with 2 zip lines. My teens spent hours on the ropes course. Plus there was a baby-safe mini-ropes course. My 2 year old LOVED that one.
We also had the unlimited drinks package. I found the drinks to be excellent and maybe even a little too alcoholic! Many of the bars had their own specialty drinks as well, and they were mostly very tasty.
The cabins were a solid good. They are bigger than Carnival cruise cabins, but they are still small – and we had balcony rooms. My stroller is a standard size (a city mini), but could not fit through the door. This made transferring a sleeping 2 year old into bed harder than it should have been. You have to keep your room card in a slot to keep the electricity on in your room. Therefore, you can’t charge your electronics while you are out – which was unfortunate. Then we discovered a piece of paper could be wedged into the slot instead of a card. But this means the cabin steward will think you are in (there is a light outside the cabin that turns on when the card is in the slot) and will not make up your cabin. A no win situation.
Did I mention how great the food was?
We found all of the people very nice. We prepaid our tips, and most people do, so they are not hustling for tips as much. Yet they still bent over backwards to be nice.
There is a teens club that my kids loved. There are separate clubs for 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 year olds. There is even babysitting for a fee (we never used it). The younger kids in our group didn’t love the kids club so much – it’s all indoors in one room per age group and got too crowded. No scavenger hunts like we’ve seen other places. It is VERY secure – kids are essentially on lock down. The teens area is completely separate, much larger, and kids come and go at will.
It is a new ship, and my wife says she has never seen public bathrooms so clean. They are obsessive with germs. Multiple staff people stand at every entrance to the buffet with hand sanitizer. Plus there are fixed sanitizer stations EVERYWHERE. Plus the bathrooms have paper towel dispensers JUST TO USE TO OPEN THE DOORS. They have hand driers to wash hands and dry them, but towel dispensers only at the doors with instructions to use them on the door handles.
The entertainment options were great. There were two comics with a total of three sets each. There was karaoke at least once a day. Multiple piano bars plus dueling pianos many nights. One hiccup – my fourteen year old is a huge sports fan. The only place to watch sports with sound is the adults only bar. He was not happy about that at all.
Overall, we had a great time. Even with 20+ people in our party, we had trouble finding each other – probably a good thing. There was always something to see, do, or eat, and it was usually funny, fun, and delicious. I would certainly cruise Norwegian again. 4 ½ stars. They lose the half on the small Atrium. Read Less
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven ... Read More
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven checked-in bags plus carry-ons. We marked each piece of checked luggage with bright green duct tape on the sides, top and handles, and made luggage tags out of candy-cane red striped paper slipped inside of plastic nametag holders and connected to the bags with zip ties. This made identifying our bags in the busy LAX airport very easy. We did have to pay for a luggage cart in a couple of places due to the number of bags, but we needed the extra items packed this time (more to come on that later).
As our cruise was scheduled the day that the new Star Wars movie was to come out, we decided to stay in Hollywood and go to the Disney-owned El Capitan theatre (across from the Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame) for a midnight showing of the movie. We bought these tickets online a couple of months earlier to ensure we'd have a seat. We rented a car and drove to Hollywood and parked at the highland mall to have access to the Lowes hotel, which is extremely nice and freshly renovated. The lobby of the hotel was filled with an amazing display of decorated gingerbread houses, which we really enjoyed looking through. Warning on this is that there's someone to pull your bags out of the car, and another porter (who won't take no for an answer) to whisk your bags up to your room. We spent $14 on tips before we got to the first night. Because we got in so late, we got a free upgrade to a huge room with a great view of the walk of fame. We got back from the movie and viewing the extensive prop and costume collection on display at El Capitan at about 3 AM.
The next morning we did the short, 2-hour Paramount Studios tour, and enjoyed the short drive from Hollywood to the studio. The tour was really fun, with a tour guide driving us all over the backlots with stops to get out and see sound stages, prop rooms, a museum, the employee theatre, and backlot locations like the area that makes up New York City and more. They offer a four hour tour but we didn't want to be rushed for getting to the port.
We had planned to get to the port at the beginning of debarkation and I would drop my husband and one kid off at the port with all the luggage, and drop the car off at the San Pedro location of the Hertz rental car, just a few blocks away. We did this and then Hertz dropped us off at the port for free.
After having read numerous reviews about embarkation and the perks suite guests get, including priority embarkation and a suite lounge to wait, we were expecting to walk in, check in, and walk on board. We gave the porters our 7 bags and 7 dollars and went inside to an absolute madhouse. The entire building was completely full and we had to literally climb through and over people to find the check in area for suite passengers. Once we fought our way to the entrance of checkin it was smooth, but we were notified that at 1 pm there were still hundreds of passengers on the Ruby due to some immigration issue. We inquired about the suite lounge and the guest services lady said it would be completely overflowing if we could even get there. We were basically directed to 'find any spot we could' and wait. We waited over an hour before the passengers holding Black Elite / Suite cards were allowed to embark, so this was not a great start. (note, when we got home, I saw that Princess did email us during the morning of embarkation to let us know of the delay, but we weren't checking email that day.) However, once we crossed that gangway to the ship, magic happened.
We walked into the piazza of the Ruby Princess, completely decked out with Christmas trees, garland, lights and three singers dressed in 1940's singer costumes in red and white singing lovely Christmas songs. At that moment, I felt the stress from the awful embarkation experience drain from my soul. We immediately caught an elevator and made our way to D101/105, the family suite on Dolphin Deck 9 to find a lovely, large group of rooms waiting for us, fresh from dry dock with amazing new beds.
As other reviewers stated, the family suites are all the way at the forward end of the ship and there are two entries to the suite. One entry goes to the master bedroom with what felt like a king-size bed, a large closet and full bathroom. The other entry went into basically an interior room for the kids with twin beds and twin berths overhead, and a half bath, with two closets. Both bathrooms had a suite amenities bag, including some lotion, a loofa, gel eye cover, sunscreen, emory boards. Other amenities in the rooms included canvas totebags to keep, sewing kits to keep, fluffy robes to borrow, disposable spa slippers, notepads, and pens.
Both rooms had desks with chairs and their own flat-screen TV's, refrigerators with ice buckets filled; they were connected by a family / living room with two love-seat sized couches that have seen better days and were not comfortable for long sits. There was also one sitting chair and a small table. There was a ton of storage nooks and crannies all over the suite, so much that we left a majority of the cabinets unused, which says a lot since we packed so much.
The family room had a curved wall and then a sliding glass door out to the extremely oversized balcony with four chairs, a table, and two footstools. The chairs were not in my opinion, any kind of upgraded furniture for suite guests, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but the balcony location is directly under the bridge and with the best views of the sea and port anywhere on the boat. The downside of this suite is that it's on the front of the ship and there is no glass on the forward side of the balcony. We thoroughly enjoyed the balcony on port days and spent all our sailaways there, but on sea days the wind was very heavy (up to 40 knots some evenings), this particular balcony was so windy that we had to flip the furniture over because it was flying around. We recommended to the cruise line that they add a glass wall to the front to the expensive room's balcony could be usable on sea days.
We had planned to eat lunch in the main dining room while all the other passengers fought their way through the horizon buffet. Unfortunately due to the lateness of disembarkation and embarkation there truly was no MDR open for lunch. We called dining reservation to book our complementary night at the Crown Grill (suite perk) and then left to get a piece of pizza to hold us over. One thing that was frustrating was that the time for the muster drill changed a couple of times, making it hard to plan for dinner, and getting showered, beforehand. One other thing we noticed about the ever-changing muster drill times was that these were being announced by a person with such broken English that we caught ourselves saying, 'what?' to each other to figure out the announcements, and we'd recommend to the cruise line that safety information be delivered in clear English in the future.
We made it through muster drill, which was unlike we'd had on other cruiselines where you actually go to your lifeboat and put on your jacket. Here we met in the extremely crowded princess theatre and listened to announcements and then stood up to wriggle our way into lifejackets while trying not to elbow our neighbors. But it was over soon enough and we raced back to the room for the Crown Grill.
The suite perk of a complementary entry fee to the specialty restaurants on embarkation day should not be left unused. The food and service in the crown grill is impeccable, and the food selection are amazing. At our table of four we had a huge tray of lobster tails, salads, steaks for three people, and prawns for the fourth. Everything was cooked perfectly and was a wonderful meal to celebrate the start of an amazing cruise. We also did not have to dress very nice that first night since luggage had not been delivered, although we all had on long pants and blouses/collared shirts since we packed them in carry ons along with our bathing suits.
After dinner our luggage had arrived and I unpacked as much as possible. We already had two rounds of dirty laundry so we started the process of cataloguing and sacking up the laundry bags to take advantage of another suite perk - free laundry and dry cleaning. We also sent out all our formalwear for the trip to be dry cleaned and pressed for the first formal night. We sent laundry out six times during the trip and watched bills be added and removed on our stateroom account throughout the cruise. At the end I noted that we'd gotten over $500 in free laundry/cleanig services on the trip. All the laundry came back clean, pressed, and hung or folded, and had a little itchy label identifying us ironed inside each piece. I highly recommend taking advantage of this suite perk.
Back to dining. On the first few days of the cruise, we ate breakfast all over the ship, including the buffet, room service and the international grill, but then we decided to try the suite perk of private-ish dining (only other suite passengers) in the crown grill. Immediately we knew we'd made a mistake by not doing this every day. The Maitre'd checked our name and room number one time and then recognized and greeted us each morning. This became one of the highlights of the trip - wonderful, personal service, fun conversations with wait staff, and really good coffee. We ordered things both on and off the menu, but highlights were the massive amounts of amazing bacon served, beautiful crustless French toast, fruit plates, and omelets with any ingredient you like. We enjoyed this part of the trip, and the same two or three waitstaff each morning that I actually cried on the last day of suite breakfast. (They give free mimosas at suite breakfast too, but we usually didn't have them.) From that first discovery, we only had breakfast there unless it was a port day with an early shore excursion meet time. On disembarkation day there was no suite breakfast but suite passengers were allowed to have room service, so we did that.
On our room service mornings, we ordered ungodly amounts of food to feed four people and the waitstaff a;ways had it there at the beginning of the service time we'd requested. To. The. Minute. They would come in, set out a table cloth and then lay down the food and leave after getting a small tip. We had nice conversations with the same waitstaff each morning and became friends with this young lad as well.
For lunches, we mostly did pizza, hotdogs/hamburgers and the buffet. I think we ate in a MDR one time for lunch but that takes a lot of time so we preferred to grab and go for lunchtime. The hamburgers on the ship are the best around, so don't miss out on that.
Dinners we had anytime dining and enjoyed the MDRs many nights. The selection and quality of food were good, but dinner was always time consuming. We did the buffet one night at 5, which is officially snack time, not dinner time. This was a mistake and we felt like it was 'scraps' being served. This put us off the buffet for several days until we tried it again one night after 530 and found that it was better food a little later. In the MDRs we did shared/social tables a lot and actually enjoyed meeting people who've traveled all over. We did not expect to enjoy that, so it was a good surprise. The desserts including the chocolate journeys, were all pretty much perfect and delicious. For Christmas they served turkey and dressing along with a large selection of really nice dishes. On New Year's eve, they served prime rib, escargot, several nice fish dishes, among other tasty treats. They also passed out hats and party favors, which was a nice touch.
On drinks. there are perpetual coffee, tea, hot water machines in the buffet, and you can order lemonade for free in the buffet as well. The coffee in the buffet is NOT the same as room service or the MDR/suite breakfast and is frankly, awful. We came to call it, 'sludge.' If you're a coffee drinker, we recommend having it delivered via room service along with free hot chocolate for the kiddies, served in cute teapots. Our kids also got the drink cards and went to the international cafe for mocktails and hot chocolate numerous times. They probably paid for the drink cards 3x over, so we'd do that again. We bought about ten drinks in bars over the course of the cruise and spent a little over $100 on that. We also took advantage of the free mini-bar that started with 2 courvosiers, 2 vodkas, 2 gins, and 2 whiskeys, along with 2 beers, 2 perriers and 2 bottled waters (another suite perk). We did leave a note for our room steward that we wanted to swap the gins, the perriers for other things and he changed them out on his next visit.
This leads me to the Room Steward, who was amazing and friendly. Not a lot to say other than we had a perfect experience with him. We did wrap a Christmas gift for him and gave a little cash in a card on Christmas morning. It turns out he is from the Phillipines with a wife and young son at home. Our room was thoroughly cleaned and we enjoyed visiting with him.
We got corsages and boutonnieres delivered free (suite perk) on the first formal night, enjoyed canapes in the room, and chocolates delivered on formal nights as well.
One other thing on the room. As promised, here's why we had so much luggage. We packed a Christmas tree, room decorations, magnetized door decorations for two doors, tinsel, lights, stockings, Christmas table cloths, unwrapped presents, stocking stuffers, and paper/bags/tissue. We decided to do a regular Christmas. So we took the time to really decorate it up. A lot of other cabins did their doors so that made the trip extra fun. After I wrapped presents, I gave the cabin steward all of the leftover wrapping supplies to share with crew. At the end of the cruise, I left two suitcases worth of decorations, which also got taken downstairs after I discussed it with the cabin steward. I'm so glad we drug extra bags with us to do this.
Things we enjoyed doing on the ship included trivia three times daily, led by the cruise director's staff. Each session was hilarious and entertaining. We also went to a magic show (meh), and then a big production magic show (excellent), a culinary demonstration and galley tour (amazing and funny), karoke night, a blackjack tournament, the casino, movies under the stars, a couple of lectures, hula lessons, the voice of the ocean contest, and just so much more. We also enjoyed binge watching the Love Boat series, showing on the TV's 24 hours a day. My husband is still watching episodes now that we're home. There was so much to do we just couldn't do it all, and that's the way it should be.
My husband and daughter did the behind the scenes tour (highly recommend this). You need to sign up for this on day 1 at passenger services, as it's limited to 12 people. This cruise did a second round on the way back so we got in with our late signup. This tour was about 3 hours in length, cost $150 and was worth every penny to see the bottom floors of the ship, meet the captain, and all kinds of special access things. When they got back, each of them received pictures of them throughout the ship with their tour group and the captain, a frame, a robe, customized stationary. We thought this was a really nice touch.
Our teenage son had the most wonderful trip. The teen club kept him hopping and with friends from afar all day long. There were most days on the ship that we didn't see him and had to set check in times or tell him that x activity/dinner with the family was mandatory. He just had so much fun with the teen hot tub parties, formal nights, video games, etc There's a lot about his trip that we'll never know but we always felt he was safe and out of trouble so c'est la vie.
Our ten year old daughter had sign out privileges of the kids club and she enjoyed the evening movies in there and a few of the daytime activities. They had full schedules but the boat was very full of kids so she often preferred to hang out with us, especially once she started having so much fun at all the trivias. We swam a few times and did hot tubs a few times too.
I used the thermal spa (suite perk) many many days, and loved this free aminity. All but one day I was the only one there. My routine for this was to wake up at 745 and have bathing suit/robe on and be in the hall by 755, spa by 8 when they opened. I'd check in (leave my cruise card) at the spa desk, make my way to the waiting area for massages to get an icy lemon water to take downstairs with me, then I'd shower in a cool fog shower and sit in an aromatherapy grotto for as long as I could stand, shower again, and then fall asleep on the 'rock chairs' (heated chairs), covered in towels. I'd wake myself up snoring and then drag my way back to the room to get ready for the day. There's nice soft music playing in there and it was a great place to reflect and meditate (sleep). If you're a suite passenger, don't miss this perk. I loved the solitude and relaxation.
One other note about the spa - my son got a good haircut on the ship for $35, which was high, but it was a good haircut.
We loved New Year's on the ship, which was a fun, (very formal) night on board. Tuxes and real gowns were the order of the day. We were glad to have these items, as even going to the show would be awkward when not dressed like everyone else. We also participated in a gingerbread house making contest, and had packed a ton of little sweets, lights, and decorations for it. We were disappointed to find we couldn't use the items, scissors or anything else to help us, but it still turned out to be a jolly fun time for all. We were AMAZED to see some of the creations people came up with using only the things provided in the box. As a side note, after the contest the ship put out a huge display of their chef-created gingerbread houses which were unlike any I've ever seen anywhere, so beautiful.
Shore Excursions - we did the volcanoes national park excursion on Hawaii through princes. This was a large bus full of people and a day packed with activities and a lunch. If you want to hike, see a ton of the island in one day, we'd recommend this. Bring your walking shoes and a bottle of water. Also, lunch isn't until 130 or so, so you might want to throw in a protein bar or other packaged item for this excursion. No ship food is allowed offboard.
On Oahu, we rented a car and prearranged for pearl harbor tickets. We spent the morning there then did the dole pineapple plantation (a waste of time in my opinion), drove to the North Shore to watch the surfers enjoy the big wintertime waves (expect heavy, slow traffic full of people in bikinis), and then we drove to Waikiki and spend the last few hours of sun in the lagoons by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We watched sunset on Waikiki, dropped the boys off at the ship and then the girls went shopping. It rained on an off during this day, but it did not keep us from thoroughly enjoying a convertible and warm weather.
ON Maui Christmas Day, we took a snorkel boat, which was waiting for us at the tender point. Weather was very rough, and the captain couldn't get us to Molokini Crater that day. We instead went to two amazing snorkel sites that were calm and just wonderful, with tons of fish, turtles, eels, rays, etc. We had nice breakfast and lunch on the snorkel boat and went from the boat back to our tender, never really seeing Maui, which was just perfect.
On Kauai, we did the tour of the island in a minibus that took us to all the movie sites. It was a cool setup - the guide had a TV in the front of the bus where he'd show 'so many' clips of scenes filmed in a location while we were driving. Then we'd look up and boom, we'd be at the same spot we'd just seen on screen. Things like gilligan's island, jurassic park, just so many movies made here, for a reason. Kauai is beautiful and the beaches are the best and most beautiful in the world. We saw the entire east half of the island, had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant, and saw the property of many celebrtieis like Bette Midler, Mark Zuckerberg, and also where Elvis had a bungalo at the CocoPalms resort. A very full day that got us back to the ship with minutes to spare before sailaway.
My comment on Hawaii was that we'd like one more day there, made up with faster ship speed or a day tacked on. We didn't have enough time to see it all, especially on Oahu.
We did not get off the ship in Ensenada, which appears to be a poverty-stricken, dirty port that has brown water and heavy industry. I heard from other passengers that they were followed numerous times by families with small children begging and/or selling items, and that they felt not good about this. I'm glad we stayed on the ship, packed and enjoyed our last day of eating too many desserts.
We discovered late in the cruise the cruise messenger service, which you can access free on your iphones. We recommend figuring this out on day 1 to keep track of those in your party. This eliminates the need for walkie talkies and whiteboards, both of which we very rarely saw on this cruise.
What did I forget to pack? A clock - they're rare on the ship. I saw a few outside the elevators, and around the pools. Other than that, you're left to wonder what day and time it is. There is a channel on the ship where it scrolls the ship's position and time, but we sure wished I'd brought that clock.
I would not pack beach towels or snorkel equipment again. We used the excursion's equipment and brought ship's striped towels with us, along with all the other passengers doing water activities.
Disembarkation was well communicated in advance. We asked for a 930 disembarkation and knew where to have luggage when, and where to be (club fusion / suite members). We did have room service that morning, and then enjoyed coffee in the disembarkation lounge while we waited. This was smooth and on time.
We had a wonderful time on this cruise, came back totally disconnected from the real world and with so many fond memories. Other than the few bumps, we'd highly recommend this cruise to families or anyone who wants to be around other travelers for two major holidays. Just a great great cruise. Also, if you think this might be your only time to Hawaii and you can spare the money, we highly recommend getting a suite if there's one available. The perks of the suite breakfast, the thermal spa, priority tenders, free flowers and special chocolates made our trip so special that it was definitely worth it. Read Less
This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much ... Read More
This is our third Carnival cruise and first time out of New Orleans. As many have said, Elation is an older ship, but she's a great value for the money we spent. The public areas were very clean and comfortable. The decor seems much more subdued than her sister ships Paradise and Ecstasy. I really wish they could find a better way to vent cigarette smoke, because it sometimes became overpowering when the bars/casino were busy.
Easiest embarkation yet! New Orleans Port Parking was simple and the porters were friendly and very helpful. We arrived at 1030 am and boarded at 1130ish. Our room was ready by 1230. Our luggage arrived just before muster.
We had a porthole room on the Main Deck. M 14. The room was very large. We had a lot of motion, but it wasn't really a problem. The ship moved quite a bit everywhere. The water was rough and we had some 50 mph winds.
We probably spent 75% of our time in the Comedy club. We loved both comedians. They showed college and NFL playoff games on the big screen in that room. They provided football clappers and poms. I wish they would have had popcorn and/or munchies, but it was a great place to watch a game.
We enjoyed several trivia games and won a ship on a stick.
The shows were okay.
As long as they continue to serve warm chocolate melting cake, I'll always give the food good reviews. I prefer the main dining room over the buffet, but both were good. I really loved the pumpkin soup and lobster. Breakfast in the dining room was good as well. I would have eaten the buffet more, but the wind was really strong, making our preferred outdoor seating impossible.
The service was just okay on this cruise. Our cabin steward wasn't around as often as we've come to expect from our previous cruises. He was nice, but he seemed to just be going through the motions. I called about ice the afternoon of the second day and he kind of snapped that he was off duty and I'd have to call room service. I was ok with the room service referral, but the attitude was a little off putting. I asked for extra glasses and he looked at me like I was asking for something impossible. The girl assisting him was very friendly. Most members of the dining staff were great. The customer service desk was very helpful.
I love Cozumel. We booked Mr Sanchos All Inclusive for the second time. They provide great service! Our waiter, Erizel, gave us a cabana and table away from everyone. He was always around for yummy drink refills and food. We left Sanchos and spent a few hours shopping at port.
This was not my favorite disembarkation. They call so many groups down together, it created very long lines. Why have zones at all if you're going to lump them all together?
I really enjoyed this cruise. My experience on the ship was mostly great. I believe it was well worth the money we paid. I would go again tomorrow if I could!
This was our second MSC cruise, having been on The Posea a couple of years earlier. The whole experience was brilliant, fabulous food, loads of choice, lovely waiters and cleaners.
Other staff on the boat - hairdresser and cruise ... Read More
This was our second MSC cruise, having been on The Posea a couple of years earlier. The whole experience was brilliant, fabulous food, loads of choice, lovely waiters and cleaners.
Other staff on the boat - hairdresser and cruise booking director need more training, not helpful at all. But the awesome shopping guide was worth loosing an hours sun bathing time, to find out where all the great deal were.
The ports of call were ok, not as good as The Bahamas. Falmouth Jamaica was VERY artificial as was the last island on the itinerary.
This was a Christmas cruise and apart from the decorations and the Christmas carol sing-a-long on Christmas Eve, there was nothing else. Christmas Day felt very flat, no excitement on the boat.
We booked a Sunday flight and a night in Miami after the cruise, this allowed us to disembark 1st and take our luggage off. I highly recommend this strategy as having to wait around the boat for your exit time is a pain as we discovered on our first cruise. The extra night in Miami allowed us to get our land legs back!
To summerise - great value for money. But if you want 24 hour entertainment and fancy food. (Lobster, crab etc) choose another line. Read Less
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only ... Read More
My husband and I cannot speak highly enough of the cruise on the Pacific Dawn. Balcony was excellent. Service was outstanding in all areas from room service to the entertainment. We arrived home wanting to cruise again to which we did only to be disappointed on the Aria.
We will go on the dawn again.
Everyday we participated in some activity from going on the tender boats to the various islands and at night enjoying the karaoke and shows. Love the trivia. Food was absolutely beautiful. Staff were fantastic and so friendly. what more can I say it was an amazing cruise.
Thank you for all the wonderful people we met. Read Less