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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We picked this cruise because we've always wanted to do a Mexican Riveria cruise and this one worked for our time off from work. We did not travel with any children or anyone else...just the husband and myself!! The Miracle is a ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we've always wanted to do a Mexican Riveria cruise and this one worked for our time off from work. We did not travel with any children or anyone else...just the husband and myself!! The Miracle is a smaller ship compared to the other ships we've sailed on, but it was still an amazing vessel. The cabin crew, wait staff, and all other employees were very helpful and friendly! Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. This was the first time that we purchased FTTF and it was worth it. We had a balcony room and it was nice to see the sea whenever we wanted from the comfort of our own room. It was also nice to see the sunsets/sunrise plus ports. The food on the ship was amazing. Most of our table had 3 lobsters on Christmas!! The entertainment was amazing. This cruise we also went to a couple of art auctions, it was a great experience and something that we will now look forward to on any future cruises! The ports we went to were: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Cabo: We did a third party excursion of whale watching and snorkeling around Land's End. The time difference between local time and ship time made us a bit late so we took a water taxi to catch up to the sail boat. We had a fun time and we were able to see some whales! Lands End is really pretty. The snorkeling...lots of people were in the water but it was very cool to almost cold water. I don't do cold water so I ended up staying on the boat. I prefer Caribbean water as it is warm. Mazatlan: Here we did the hop on/off bus and we had a great time! We got off first in old town and went and took pictures of the Cathedral We walked around a bit of the city and had fun. The next stop was new town and had shopping and eating places by the ocean. Went to a shrimp place and had the best shrimp!! Third stop was to see the cliff divers...I would skip this as there isn't much to see or do at this stop. I would spend my time at the other to stops. Puerto Vallarta: If you want to sit back and relax, go to Marriott resort. We hung out poolside and had drinks and food all day plus got to play in the inifinty pool. Although it was fun to see the areas and explore Mexico we definately like the caribbean better with the warm beautiful blue/green waters! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins ... Read More
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins for 4 people with connecting rooms which worked very well. Cabin steward was very helpful! (Thank you Lloyd!). First day at sea was a little rough but I did not mind at all. I actually enjoy that once in a while. We had several specialty dining experiences and a couple normal dining room experiences. The best thing about the regular dining rooms was that you could order multiple items. We had no bad food in any restaurant as we pretty much already know what we do not like and did not order any of that. Tim Kaminski was the comedian on the cruise and was extremely nice. Very personable as well. He'd always take time to stop and say hi to people throughout the cruise. Excellent comedian and a great person as well! The only downside to the entertainment was that there were a couple shows we did not get to see because of timing with dinners and other shows. A little disappointing that we did not get to see the other Second City show. We were disappointed that we were not able to get one of the excursions we wanted but the excursion staff helped us find an alternate that was very good and as such never felt like we missed out on the other. The person we worked with was very helpful in explaining some of the ones we were interested in and explained the groups of people that each was targeted for. Some were actually targeted for kids under 10. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward ... Read More
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward straight away James, he was wonderful. Cabin was a Mini Suite Balcony. Loverly cabin well worth the extra $$$. It was spacious and a great layout the balcony was large. Then it was Full steam ahead at 5pm. Went dinner at the international restaurant. Food was good quality and well presented never cold. We also ate breakfast in the restaurant as we didnt like the noise in the Buffet Horrizon Buffet. Entertainment was great and the shows well Choreographed. Ports of call Kota Kinabalu,Phu My. Nga Trang, Sihanoukville, Bangkok and unfortunately KO Samui was missed due to Tender Issues. All ports were good but remember it is Asia and its hot and most places are under developed and still very new to cruising. You'll be jumped on by touts as soon as you get off the ship. Make sure you barter for everything, especially taxi and tour fares. Back to the ship... There was plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst on board. From bingo, trivia, shopping, casino or just relaxing by the pool close to you favourite Bar (plentyof them). Cocktail prices were 7-12 US$ but in the wheelhouse bar between 3-4pm it is happy hour. By one drink get the 2nd for $1. Overall it was a good trip but very packed as it was christmas and to many Kids. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
decided to spend Christmas away last year, 1st time ever, chose Marella cruise as was convenient to fly from Birmingham, all inclusive including tips and very english. Haoliday was great ship was full and very busy. Couldnt fault the ship ... Read More
decided to spend Christmas away last year, 1st time ever, chose Marella cruise as was convenient to fly from Birmingham, all inclusive including tips and very english. Haoliday was great ship was full and very busy. Couldnt fault the ship and entertainment great. Now the moans- the cruise director Adam was never to be seen in the day only evenings and on prevoius Marella cruises the director was about all the time. The music around the pools was very very loud and always on, no peace st all.The indoor pool lovely and was adults only at certain times but no one to check and children in there a lot. You couldnt get a swim in the outdoor pool as the children took over. There was no shampoo body lotion etc in the cabins and we had a balcony cabin. Far too many foreign staff that didnt understand english, but all very obliging. The man that gave the talks from the spa waffled on and on and after one and half hrs there was still no solutions to any of the talks. He talked on diet, liver problems swollen ankles and many more but was no wiser when he had finnished. Evening meal in the resturants people were going in in tee shirts and shorts not dressed smartly and no one corrected them. Overall we had a lovely time but would not travel over holiday time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We went on the Norwegian Jewel for the New Years Eve cruise. Was it crowded? Yes. Was it fun? Yes. All in all everything was just fine. The Ship itself is in good condition. No failures or issues to report. Our cabin was an Oceanview ... Read More
We went on the Norwegian Jewel for the New Years Eve cruise. Was it crowded? Yes. Was it fun? Yes. All in all everything was just fine. The Ship itself is in good condition. No failures or issues to report. Our cabin was an Oceanview on deck 5 and was OK. No problems there either. The entertainment was actually very good, which I've noticed is common across the Norwegian line. Highlights were the Magician Greg Gleason and the Russian Acrobat couple. Service was very good, Everyone we encountered were friendly and had smiles. (some we talked to were on their last cruise before vacation). Since we are Silver Latitude members and guests of the Casino, we were invited to a couple private events plus drinks on the house, which is always appreciated! We took one shore excursion which was the Las Caletas Beach Hideaway in Puerto Vallarta. This place is fantastic with a wide variety water sports, free drinks and the best Mexican buffet lunch I've ever had. I actually can't wait to go back to this place. Well worth the money. Mazatlan was a little more laid back, we ate at Poncho's Restaurant in the Golden Zone, which has a very nice view of the beach and great food. Our favorite was Cabo San Lucas. The local cuisine in this city is simply awesome. The only draw back on this cruise was the overall dining experience. The Chin Chin Asian Restaurant was awful. Not even closely resembling anything Chinese or Asian. My wife and I got up and walked out with food still on the table. Yes, it was that bad. Another bad experience was Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse, Maybe i'm spoiled by the memories of eating at a real Brazilian Steakhouse on land. This place was just not good. Le Bistro and La Cucina were much better food options if your are going to spend the extra money to eat on board. The Tsar main dining room was average at best. Very small portions. The Garden Cafe buffet was good as we had all of our breakfasts and lunches there. Food was hot and you can expect the same selections everyday. Despite the food experience I would take this ship again and this itinerary. Next time I'll try Cagney's Steakhouse and the Teppanyaki. I'll keep my fingers crossed on those. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Usually try and sail from San Francisco. The ship was full as travelled over New Year. Holiday decorations were still up for the first few days so looked very festive. Weather was not so hot travelling to Mexico at this time of year. We ... Read More
Usually try and sail from San Francisco. The ship was full as travelled over New Year. Holiday decorations were still up for the first few days so looked very festive. Weather was not so hot travelling to Mexico at this time of year. We have been to Mexico on Princess ships several times so only took one shore excursion in Manzanillo. Very good as we saw the volcano erupting. Had a balcony cabin on Baja deck and we were only the 2nd cruise after The Grand had been refurbished. New bedding and very comfortable. Wish they had more seating in the atrium as always full. People standing on stairs whenever had entertainment. Shows OK but wish they would change British Invasion in the theatre. This show been around for several years. Food good but not as much choice in main dining rooms as on previous cruises. Wonder how the washing of hands before eating survives in the buffet area. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We have cruised many times mainly with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean but this was our first time with MSC. We were lured by the concept of the Yacht Club so most of my review is based on this. Pre Cruise: We arrived at 1am so ... Read More
We have cruised many times mainly with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean but this was our first time with MSC. We were lured by the concept of the Yacht Club so most of my review is based on this. Pre Cruise: We arrived at 1am so spent the night at The Grand Excelsior hotel close to the airport which suited our needs for a comfortable stopover hotel at a reasonable price. Embarkation We travelled independently by taxi to the port in Dubai to embark the ship and quickly found the Yacht Club priority embarkation area where a butler was on duty to escort us to another area where our check in formalities were taken care of while we relaxed with refreshments, so far so good until were escorted by one of the butlers to embark the ship whereupon one of the ship's security staff got into a disagreement with the butler for bringing us to his gangway . It was all very uncomfortable and embarrassing and was not a good first impression. My husband did bring the debacle to the attention of the senior butler once we finally got on board and of course they were most apologetic and concerned to hear what happened so we put it behind us and looked forward to the cruise. Cabin: We finally made it to the enclave of the Yacht Club and our well appointed cabin, loved the walk in wardrobe and the marble bathroom, balcony a tad on the small side. Bed was very comfortable with memory foam mattress toppers and lovely pillows. Nice bathroom products, fluffy towels and bathrobes, all the luxuries you would expect. We had a lady butler and a “junior butler” which is a fancy name for cabin attendant! To be honest the junior butler was better, very attentive and pleasant to talk to. He previously worked for Royal Caribbean and it showed. Food and Drink: We were very impressed with the service in the Top Sail Lounge, all the staff in there were attentive and welcoming. The Afternoon Tea service was wonderful with traditional white gloved service and tablecloths , such a treat. The cocktail menu was extensive and we loved the Aperol spritz and the Italian wine selections You certainly do not go hungry as they have breakfast, lunch, snacks, evening canapés and sweet treats according to the time of day in the Top sail Lounge plus 24 hr room service, mini bar with snacks and drinks all included as well as the dedicated Yacht Club restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner . The One Pool bar served excellent cappuccinos as you would expect on an Italian ship but also the best cup of tea I have had at sea, proper tea pots and fresh milk in a jug which was a pleasant surprise and a welcome change to the usual plastic cartons and tea bags in cups that is often served outdoors! The One pool also had a lovely breakfast buffet and light lunch selections including freshly cooked pasta every day. This being a Christmas cruise the restaurant was very busy most evenings and sometimes the service was a little slow but on the whole it was very good. I enjoyed the Italian style menus with many courses and smaller portions, the cheese course was fantastic. Often we would skip dessert and have a night-cap and chocolates in the Top Sail lounge. Even though the ship was full there was never a problem getting a sun lounger on deck. Being a Christmas cruise there were lots of large family groups and the rest of the ship had a very lively atmosphere so we really didn’t spend much time away from the sanctuary on the Yacht Club areas however we did enjoy the White Party on deck on Christmas night and the main atrium with the Swarovski staircase looked lovely all decorated for Christmas. In fact the whole ship was spotlessly clean and well maintained. Spa I pre booked a spa package online which is something I have never done on previous cruises as the prices are frankly outrageous but the prices on MSC seemed fairly reasonable in comparison. The Aurea spa is well appointed and the staff are mainly Balinese. I very much enjoyed the massages I had there and they don’t give you the hard sell for products like other ships I have been on. Ports: We arrived in Abu Dhabi on Christmas day, after a leisurely morning on the ship we took a taxi to the Emirates Palace Hotel which is about a 20 min drive from the port where we indulged in their famous cappuccino with gold leaf sprinkles, very decadent, a wonderful treat for Christmas Day. The hotel was opulent and beautifully decorated for Christmas. We then took another taxi to the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. This was absolutely spectacular and words and photos are not enough to describe the sheer beauty of this place. Everyone is welcome to visit and it’s free to enter but please take note of the dress code particularly for women as you need to be completely covered from head to toe in loose clothing. The mosque has guidelines on its website but they will provide an abaya if you don’t have the appropriate dress. We timed our visit to we could see it at sunset as well as in the daylight. It is truly stunning inside and out. The next port was scheduled to be the private island of Sir Bani Yas but we woke to thick fog and it was not safe to navigate, so we spent the day at sea. Fortunately the Captain managed to rearrange the itinerary so we could visit there later in the week. We were so glad not to miss this unique place. Again as Yacht Club guests we felt very pampered as we got priority tender service to the beach where a golf cart was waiting to whisk us to the Yacht Club section of the beach where one of our favourite butlers was waiting to bring us drinks and a buffet was set up. It was absolute paradise! We were also able to bypass the very long line for the tenders when we returned to the ship. I did feel a little self conscious as we were escorted to the front of the queue I must admit! After the re arranged sea day we docked in Manama, Bahrain where my husband took a ships excursion to the Bahrain Race circuit for a 4x4 driving experience which he enjoyed by all accounts. The port is not within walking distance to anything as it’s an industrial port but a shuttle bus was provided (for a fee). I did not go ashore but spent a blissful morning having a massage and then enjoyed the sun on the very tranquil One Pool deck having my every need catered for! Next port was Doha Qatar, again not walking distance to the town but I believe the shuttle was free in this port. We took a ships excursion on a Dhow cruise which was very relaxing but we spent a lot of time at anchored in the sea where you could swim, sunbathe and admire the view, also a decent buffet lunch was served. I would imagine if the weather was cloudy this could be pretty boring but fortunately it was a lovely day and not too hot. There was an upper deck for sunbathing and the lower deck was shaded. We were also taken on a short tour into the city where a photo stop was made so we could admire the ultra modern skyscrapers. All in all, a very enjoyable day. After the rescheduled visit to Sir Bani Yas Island we arrived back in Dubai on the Friday as per the original itinerary. We had a ships tour to the Miracle Garden which was scheduled for the afternoon. I must say the way MSC handles excursions is unlike any other cruise line we have been on. Although I had pre booked all our tours online no times were given so I expected that we would find out the tour times when we boarded but there were excursion tickets in our cabin. When we enquired with the shore excursions desk she informed us that we only get our tickets with the meeting times the night before the tour. This can be quite awkward if you have a half day tour as how can you plan the rest of your day? She explained it’s because the tours have to be grouped by different languages and they don’t have all the information and times until the day before from the tour operators. It’s very bizarre but we just went with the flow. So our Miracle garden tour left the port at 2.30pm it included had a city tour past the Burj al Arab and the Jumeirah Palm etc. The traffic was very slow so we were late arriving at the Miracle garden which being a Friday and a holiday weekend was very busy. It was a beautiful place and the floral displays are stunning. The crowds did thin out a little after sunset but a lot of passengers were very tired and hungry and those on early seating missed their dinner as we did not arrive back to the port until after 7pm. I am sure if the excursion times were listed when you booked people could have planned accordingly. Fortunately for us advantage of the open seating Yacht Club restaurant meant we did not have to rush to get ready for dinner and we ordered some snacks from room service as soon as we got back to the cabin. Some passengers were disembarking very early for their flights home so we did not get much sleep on our last night as folks were coming and going from about 2am! Luckily as we were staying in a hotel Dubai for New years’ eve we had a leisurely disembarkation at 8.30am, escorted off the ship and to our luggage in the arrivals hall by our butler. Pampered to the end! So in conclusion, we would certainly sail with MSC again but only in the Yacht Club. We really enjoyed the service, food and all the perks that come with it. Having said that Celebrity still remains our home from home and we will happily sail in regular cabins without all the suite perks as we love the food, service and ambiance of their ships in general. One thing that really did concern us was the lifeboat drill on the Fantasia. I have never attended such a disorganised drill in all our 43 cruises. Listening to the drill in 6 different languages is tedious but necessary but instead of checking passengers off a list as you enter your muster station staff were randomly scanning guests cruise cards all over the place. Then they kept calling for missing guests to attend the drill. Herding cats is the phrase that comes to mind! As some folks embark in different ports not everyone participates so then they have to have another the next night for those who boarded in Abu Dhabi which was transmitted over the ships PA while we were dining so it was impossible to have a conversation! Most of these quirks are due to the fact that there are many nationalities on board so everything has to be multi- lingual. For that reason there was no Captains daily announcement. We also missed not seeing the cruise director on TV in the mornings. These are things we have become very familiar with on the American cruise lines and MSC certainly has their own way of doing things and we felt a little out of our comfort zone at times however the Yacht Club concept more than made up for any of these idiosyncrasies . A change is as good as a rest as they say! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
First time we were away for Christmas and choose Celebrity because we love the line. Service was great as usual although there were a few hiccups in the MDR a few nights, but that is to be expected considering it was Christmas. The bar ... Read More
First time we were away for Christmas and choose Celebrity because we love the line. Service was great as usual although there were a few hiccups in the MDR a few nights, but that is to be expected considering it was Christmas. The bar service was terrific and the ship was clean the steward service was great. Pool stewards however need to enforce the rules, there were several loungers that had towels on them for practically the entire day with no one actually using them which was made worse on sea days. We didnt really go to any shows but form what we heard they were very good, the silent disco was a huge success and great fun. Embarkation was a breeze and the welcome on board was with a cheery smile and very friendly, the staff always said hello and were cheerful and welcoming, we never had a bad experience with any of them and nothing was too much trouble for them. The food was good as was the choice, however i would suggest that the try to offer a greater variety over the 7 days and not repeat meals over the week. The variety in the buffet was good and I for one am happy to see that the variety has been slightly reduced to stop waste. I would like to see more variety in the shops, as far as general merchandise is concerned. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
Choice based on rates and available dates. This one fit our needs best. Covered Christmas which we would have had without kids for the first time. Also covered our 40th Anniversary on 12/26. Cruise was great overall. Smaller ship ... Read More
Choice based on rates and available dates. This one fit our needs best. Covered Christmas which we would have had without kids for the first time. Also covered our 40th Anniversary on 12/26. Cruise was great overall. Smaller ship than we had on Carnival but not necessarily a bad thing. More intimate. We met some great people. Destinations were womderful. Climbing Maya ruins on Christmas Day, tubing on a rain Forrest river (in the rain) on our Anniversary with a Maya guide. Next day being smooched on by an amorous Capuccin Monkey. Great times. The staff was friendly for he most part and went out of their way to make us feel special. A couple of bartenders were less than the best but they were more than made for by the rother st. I would recommend this route and cruise line to anyone. We may we'll do this one again. On the down side, though, there were a couple of significant aspects that prevent this from being a 5 star review. First, the center of the top deck by the pool was taken up by a stage. That seriously limited the space for guests. More, though, the Gand that played on that stage was a reggae style band and LOUD! Speakers all around the stage blasted their music into every corner. Lest you think I am just an old fogey who doesn't like loud things, I have been around concussive blast waves. They do bad things to your internal body. This volume felt like one long slow explosion and was painful for me. There was literally no way anyone could carry on a conversation when they were playing. We had to grab whatever food or drink we wanted and head up a deck, and maybe away from the pool area, to get a sound baffle from the glass and other structures in order to enjoy sitting out in the sunshine. The other thing was that we had a card in our room congratulating us on our Anniversary. That was very nice. The card said to give it to the matre de at whatever restaurant we went to on our Anniversary. We chose the French restaurant, Le Bistro. Handed the card over as instructed and were seated. As we were eating a small group of people appeared and sang Let Me Call You Sweetheart to a nearby table. I looked at my wife and speculated that they might were supposed to be singing to us. But, whatever. Shortly the couple at that table came by and asked us if it was our Anniversary since we were the only people in the restaurant tha looked like we were celebrating such an event. He said that they were not even married and he didn't take our cake. Then he went to tell the staff of their mistake. A while later the same people appeared at our table and repeated their performance and placed a very pretty cake on our table, right after we had ordered desert. In fact, our desert showed up in the middle of their singing. We thanked them and asked, since we already had desert, what we were to do with the cake. They said the would box it up for us. That was nice. We finished and we're sitting at the table. Ready to go, we wondered what we were to do about the cake. We got our waiter and asked. He said they had sent it to our cabin. Well, you guessed it, no cake. We never did see that cake again after it was placed on our table. Now, to be sure, we didn't go on the cruise for tha cake. And, had there been no card in our room, we wouldn't have even noticed. But the gesture was made ... and then abysmally executed. We are not looking for any kind of refund and not even sure an apology is necessary. But I have worked in customer service organizations and this was definitely not that. So here is the feedback. Cost you a star. As I said, though, we may we'll repeat this cruise and with NCL. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Have to say our room attendant, waiters and drink waiter staff of an evening made a trip amazing, nothing was too much of a problem and they went beyond to make a cruise memorable. Overall our cruise was great, ship was spotless, food ... Read More
Have to say our room attendant, waiters and drink waiter staff of an evening made a trip amazing, nothing was too much of a problem and they went beyond to make a cruise memorable. Overall our cruise was great, ship was spotless, food was great, entertainment of a night some were great others alright then some that we walked out on, everyone's tastes are different, what we don't like others may love, overall a very relaxing 12 days. Now for the downside, I would suggest you not get involved in the up sell. I was lucky enough to win a spa prize which was for a $100 US dollars treatment, was really looking forward to this but when attending I was told the treatment was $168 US dollars ok that find but you have to pay Gratuities on your prize which was $29.53 US dollars, sort of left a bad taste in my mouth, then they tried to sell me products at a price of $880 US dollars odd, yeah right. They also have guessing competions in regards to Jewellery and watches, you are lead to believe that is what you are going to win, wrong, what you receive is a very cheap piece of cheap jewellery eg, pretend Pandora bracelet that they sell for roughly $19 US dollars Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our third cruise on Sun Princess. After touring the South Pacific in Dec. 2013, and New Zealand in Dec. 2014, Xmas and the new year 2016 seemed like a good choice. Boarding was not a problem, having been warned of later ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Sun Princess. After touring the South Pacific in Dec. 2013, and New Zealand in Dec. 2014, Xmas and the new year 2016 seemed like a good choice. Boarding was not a problem, having been warned of later boarding times due to necessary cleaning regarding norovirus presence. The same happened for the previous two trips, so no surprises there. Once aboard, we went straight to our cabin to ready for dinner. The Marquis dining room was as expected, and after some negotiation, we had a table for the two of us; very accommodating Maitre De, many thanks. All our main meals were had there; excellent cuisine, and excellent waiter and his assistant. For breakfast and lunch, Horizons was our choice; select your own food combinations for your pleasure. Most serving staff were of good nature, but several seemed rather tired and a little snappy at times. Understandable, and easier to ignore. During the first few days at sea, there was an ever present odor in the passageway of deck 11, Aloha between the forward elevators and our cabin. The cabin staff appologised for the problem, which took nearly three days to rectify. I'm afraid urea is not a pleasant experience for any person. A short time after that, My wife and I came down with what was 'diagnosed' as norovirus by the duty nurse. Neither of us was seen by this 'nurse'. We were confined to our cabin for 24 hours, a necessary precaution. A package of capsules was sent to each of us to help plug each end, so to speak. Gastro Stop is still Gastro Stop even by any other name.Since my wife was still feeling 'off' afterward, we were confined for another 24 hours. Fair enough, we did not wish to be responsible for other passengers discomfort. At this stage, we had to utilize room service for our meals. The selection is a little restricted compared to the main dining, but quite adequate particularly under the circumstance. After another day and a bit passed, we had not been contacted by the duty 'nurse', so I rang the medical rooms to confirm we were feeling good again. We were allowed out once more. Good cheer. With that episode behind us, it was time to enjoy the rest of the journey. Most of our evenings were spent at Crooners after dinner. Maurizzio is the main attraction for entertainment there. One can join in with the songs, dancing and chit-chat with other passengers. The majority of bar staff we found to be accommodating. The International Cafe we found to be crowded at the best of times, unless very late into the night. Not an overly important issue since there are other places to have a coffee. Could not say much for the shore excursions; Komodo Island was fully booked before we boarded the ship - limited visitors allowed on the island at any given time. Fair enough. Bali (Benoa) was the fun stop. It allowed my wife to buy some presents for the rellies after our return. She also enjoyed a full body massage, bless her little cotton socks. The only other stop we went shore-bound was Macassa. Since it was raining mostly, we spent about one hour walking near the port. Missed the markets due to poor information, but no loss, didn't spend anything there. Overall, we found the cost of excursions via Princess to be overpriced. On our NZ trip, we arranged tours on shore, most costing better than 50% less. Since the main reason for this cruise was to unwind after a heavy working year, (yes, not all of us oldies are retirees) we didn't need to rush around with activities so much. We met with several couples to share our and their stories and experiences. Back in Fremantle, disembarking was the easiest part; straight through from ship to shore. Uber took a little bit longer. Overall, we will travel again, but will try other lines as well to get a better feel for them in all fairness. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food ... Read More
We have previously completed HAL cruises to Myanmar and Hong Kong from Singapore. This Indonesia cruise was the missing link. We have been to Singapore many, many times. Stayed at Sofitel So. The only highlights were the Telok Ayer Food Market next door to the hotel. and the Botanic Gardens. Most ports of call were forgettable with heavy traffic. Shuttles only went to shopping malls. Lombok was the highlight. Komodo Island lizards are not much bigger than our large monitor lizards and much smaller than our crocodiles. We highly recommend Putu Supartana, a private driver in Bali (putusupartana@yahoo.com). He intimately knows the island, will recommend places to visit and can bypass the horrible traffic congestion. Overall an average cruise. HAL service is becoming less customer focussed but the ship staff were still excellent. Port information was minimal but port transfers were good. We did not do any ship excursions as they are too expensive and poor value. Other passenger statements reflected a lot of time in traffic on shore excursions. Main dining room food was good but the Pinnacle Grill needs to change its menu as it is still the same from 3 cruises ago. The lack of a cocktail of the day was a disappointment. Oceanview cabin better than other cruise lines and cabin staff excellent. Nightly entertainment was average. Two local culture shows were poor. Being a christmas/new year cruise the number of children was relatively low, unobtrusive and well behaved. A typical mid-60's HAL crowd. We would not do this cruise again as the ports of call are poor. However Indonesia is our nearest neighbour and we have been to more interesting, less tourist orientated places. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable ... Read More
This was our first experience, as sixty-somethings, of cruising and, overall, we were not disappointed. The Queen Elizabeth may lack the exterior grace of its earlier namesake (the 1938 version), but offers sumptuous, comfortable surroundings and plenty of options for entertainment. We paid the 'Cunard Fare' for our cruise which gave us the option of free valet parking at Southampton. This was handled brilliantly. We arrived at the port, unloaded our luggage and then left the keys with the parking staff. Check-in was smooth and within 45 minutes of arrival were were in our cabin with all luggage waiting for us and our cabin steward on hand to advise us of all the necessary information on our cabin and facilities. We had a BE Category outside cabin on Deck 7 with balcony and were pleased with the location just behind and down one deck from the ship's bridge. Being near to bow of the ship the pitching was more noticeable but it was much quieter than cabins and entertainment areas near the stern where there was a little vibration (although not uncomfortably so). We ate on the early sitting in the Britannia restaurant Deck 3 area and meals were of a very high quality. Wines were, however, expensive for the quality offered. We elected to take the 'Captain's Choice', providing a bottle of what turned out to be rather mediocre wines each evening. This was $495, not terribly good value for money in our opinion, however, the experience of being served and topped up regularly by the sommelier partly compensated for this. Waiter service by Mohammad and Miguel was friendly and efficient, if a little rushed at times. I think we'd possibly take the later sitting in future. Cabin service by our steward James was excellent. It has to be said that, at times, the ship felt a little like a floating care home. That's not in any way a criticism, just an observation - we met some delightful people of all ages. Just something to bear in mind when booking a festive cruise. Our friend who used to work in the travel industry has told us since that Christmas cruises do tend to have a lot of elderly folk shipped off on cruises by relatives during the festive season! Overall a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I can't say this holiday has us now hooked on cruising, but a Baltic or Norwegian Fjord cruise is something we'd consider in the future and, if possible, on the QE which we liked very much. That's just our personal preference - we're more solitary beings and being on board with around 2,000 other people was not something we are used to. Having said that, it was good to talk to other folk and there are still plenty of places on the ship where some privacy can be found. I spent most mornings at sea in the Commodore Club on Deck 10 reading and sipping hot chocolate while my other half was at his water-colour art classes. Shore excursions were quite good, We did three (Madeira, La Palma and a trip from La Coruna to Santiago de Compostela). For two 6 foot + chaps the coaches were incredibly cramped and uncomfortable. At $50 plus per person they were pretty expensive and the tour guides were satisfactory but not brilliant. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the ... Read More
1. Twenty three days were enough to gauge the skills of the Crew of the Diamond Princess - some shone and some only just glittered, some just faded. The first "port of call" for most passengers on a Cruise liner is the Customer Services Desk - some passengers with major issues to iron out and some minor administrative questions. Unfortunately the Trainee Staff on our Cruise were at times poorly supervised or assisted by the senior staff and this led to passenger frustration on a major scale with several of our fellow passengers expressing frustration trying to sort our their accounts. Obviously there is no excuse for verbal or any other abuse of Staff by either Senior Staff or Passengers but at times Trainee Staff were left to fend for them selves trying to solve issues which were beyond their limited expertise and there were either no senior staff to support them (the senior staff seemed to miraculously appear from behind the walled enclosure when the heat was turned on) or the Trainees were left floundering. Princess Cruises needs to address this issue of Supervision and Training as a matter of urgency. Many passengers were affected detrimentially and left very frustrated on this one cruise alone and their decision not to cruise with the Princess group again may be made on the perceived calibre of the advice and assistance they received at the Customer Services Desk. After all without Customer satisfaction the Company may be sailing with quite a few empty cabins. Lift your game Princess and provide "real" support for your trainees and up-skill your senior staff on a regular basis or not only will you have no Trainees but no Passengers to pay their wages. On this Cruise the Administrative skills of the Customer Service Team appeared, at times, to be found wanting. 2.The destinations and shore excursions were adequate for those who have not visited South East Asia but were a little mundane for those who have travelled this region extensively by other means. 3. The entertainment onboard was first class and varied - equal to many similar shows ashore - entertainment through-out the Ship was plentiful with something for just about everyone although the "in-betweens" (those between 14 and 18 seemed to be a little short-changed with regard to entertainment - perhaps more challenging activities might be considered ie.character building. 4. Embarkation and disembarkation were streamlined and carried out with military precision with full marks to all staff who participated - tendr operations were also carried out with minimial inconvenience to passengers. In summary, the Cruise was very enjoyable and value for money - we will cruise again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It ... Read More
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It was an interesting and pleasant trip; we chose this for the itinerary (5 stops were new for us) and to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the tropics. Weather was warm (80s) and humid with plenty of rain showers and rolling seas. We were a full ship with ca 680 passengers. Most passengers appeared to be seasoned cruisers, and a good number of languages were heard. While there were a small number of children on board, there were no facilities or activities for them; that was their parents’ responsibilities. We had a suite (7th deck) that made for a most comfortable cruise. However, due to the small size of the ship, you do hear and feel the ship’s engine, especially when the speed is adjusted up or down. Also, the rocking and rolling of the Atlantic Ocean is much more pronounced on this ship, compared to any of the “regular” size ships of 2,000 – 3,000 passengers. 2. Travel to Miami and Embarking: Because we booked so early, we were among the passengers who were caught when Princess changed the port from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. We were unable to change our plane or hotel reservations, but our cruise agent worked with Princess so that we could take a bus from Fort Lauderdale airport to Miami port and reverse. A nuisance, but it worked out, and we were not alone. Check-in at Miami port worked smoothly, and we got on the ship quickly. Our suite was ready, and luggage appeared – piecemeal - in the afternoon. 3. The Ocean Princess: An attractive ship, enhanced by its smallness. Yes, it is being sold to Oceania effective in early April, and the ship may have had a slight tired look about it. However, the facility was still top notch and the crew was the same. Our suite was a delight with all the space and storage drawers/closets. Details can be seen in the cabin descriptions on the Princess website. The bathroom had a tub shower. There was a small safe and a small refrigerator. The balcony is spacious; however, we hardly used it due to rain showers, rocking and rolling, or the sun beating down on clear days. When we could sit outside, it was very pleasant. The flat screen TVs (set up for DVD movies) received the usual news, movies, music, etc. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are practically no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does a daily report from the bridge, and the Cruise Director may make a daily announcement on activities. There is no daily newspaper; you have to receive your news from BBC, Fox; financial news from CNBC or MSNBC; and sports from two ESPN channels. 4. Meals: As often on past cruises with other lines, we ran into problems in trying to get a table for two at dinner. Due to the ship being small, it had no “my time” dining. On boarding we learned that the first seating was changed from 6PM to 5:30 (nursing home hours). Next, we learned that although our cruise agent had been assured that our request for a table for two was confirmed, we were placed at a table for eight (nursing home group therapy). My wife and I both groused at the maître d, who finally backed off by telling us, “come see me at 5:30.” At that time we were shown a table for two, obviously hastily arranged, as were other tables for two around the dining room. We later received a card formally informing us that our table was permanent for the cruise. As for meals in the dining room, they were very good. There was clearly some talent in the kitchen, and we appreciated it. As we always had the same table, our wait staff did get used to our tastes. The wine list was also good, whether you wanted a bottle or a glass. We should note that no matter what ship or line you are on, including the Ocean Princess, the first night’s dinner is disorganized as diners and staff sort out who sits where and when. Panorama Buffet: We used it for lunch and a couple times when we wanted just a bite for dinner. There was quite a variety of good food, whether you wanted a meal, sandwich, or salad. The dessert area was equally varied. We did not use the two specialty restaurants (Italian, and steak), only because we are not big eaters. 5. Princess dress code: There were three formal nights; the rest were all “smart casual.” “Formal” for men meant mainly suits and sport coats; tuxedos were a minority. Casual was just that; most men did wear shirts instead of t-shirts. 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations on-line! This saves you standing in line at the ship’s tour desk. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship’s staff, you have support when there is a problem. Two of the eight ports were tender ports. In both ports, the waters were quite active, resulting in the tender boats bouncing around quite a bit during loading and unloading. Crew members literally had their hands full helping passengers on and off the boats. Also, tender boats are the ship’s life boats; they are not made for comfort and you have to clamber around in them for a seat. 7. Shipboard entertainment: We saw two of the individual entertainers and one of the “show” performances with singers and dancers. They were all pleasant. A reminder that the ship has a cabaret and not a theater. This means that there are no seats on tiers; they are all on one level. Your view of the stage is easily blocked by the person(s) in front of you. The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bingo, movies, etc, etc. The library appeared to be well stocked. There are NO art auctions. (Thank you, Princess.) The casino was small (three blackjack tables and one roulette table). The machine payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. The selection of duty-free liquor on board was not great, but adequate; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person’s shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 15 percent. If you want to tip anyone for exemplary service, you can give him cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer. This was the first ship where you only sometimes signed a ticket, and you sometimes received a copy of the ticket. Unless you keep your own notes on what you charged on your account, you will not have a clear idea of your bill until departure morning. I did ask for a preliminary bill a couple days before disembarking, and it was immediately supplied without question. If you do not do this, though, and you find questionable items on your bill, you will be spending departure morning in line at the Front Desk sorting it out. 10. Disembarking in Miami: Disembarking went very smoothly, and there were no bureaucratic delays. Once we got off the ship, we picked up our luggage and cleared customs and immigration in ten minutes. (Amazing.) 11. Conclusion: This was an enjoyable and interesting trip. The hiccups were minor and did not detract from the Ocean Princess or our enjoyment of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s on board in the Caribbean. We are sorry to see this ship sold to another line, but hope that its sister, Pacific Princess, will remain on itineraries in which we might be interested. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
9 of us ranging in age from 78- 4 years old on the 12-19 Christmas cruise- It was a very good cruise and given that we could just make a 3 hour drive to the Houston port and park it was the easiest embarkation/disembarkation ever. We have ... Read More
9 of us ranging in age from 78- 4 years old on the 12-19 Christmas cruise- It was a very good cruise and given that we could just make a 3 hour drive to the Houston port and park it was the easiest embarkation/disembarkation ever. We have been on 10+ cruises and this one being our second on NCL. Mostly sail from FLL or Miami to enjoy the newer boats and better weather but took a chance on the Jade because of the convenience and value. We were a little concerned by all the November and December negative reviews but it appears they have most of the earlier problems worked out. The bartenders were good and I discovered a new favorite drink- the Moscow Mule! Have it made with Tito's vodka! Ultimate Bev Package worked well although the selections are not as good as Celebrity's program. We dined at Grand Pacific each night and other than the first night (when they were rather overrun) we had no trouble with service. The food was okay but was not impressive. It seems the days of lobster, escargot, or a nice jumbo shrimp cocktail are over on NCL. Not sure if this is because of the emphasis on all of the specialty restaurants but overall a step back from previous cruises within the last few years. For instance one night I had Prawns in Alfredo sauce which was good- the "prawns" however were about the size of a nickel. C'mon, I wouldn't mind "shrimp" with Alfredo but don't get my hopes up... Didn't go to all the shows but the ones we did get to were great- The Elements show was probably the best I have seen at sea. The reggae band on the pool deck was great and I enjoyed listening to them very much- pool deck always had chairs available. 4 year old really enjoyed the kiddie pool and made friends there which helped with the drop off at the kids club the couple of times he went. The two early teens in the family made friends and had a great time while onboard. White Hot Party was fun but was better on the NCL Sun where they held the event outside and had more staff involved. The ship is a little old and showing some age in places but overall not bad. While we had a completely full sailing it did not seem crowded at most times. Everyone that I encountered both passenger and crew seemed in high spirits. The Hawaiian theme is weird and I missed the multistory atrium that is found on most ships of this size. The Christmas décor was mostly disappointing- they tried a little. Having Santa there on Christmas morning was really nice for our 4 y.o. and the carolers were fun. Arrived early back in Houston due to weather which was no problem and seeing the fog as we came up the ship channel Friday afternoon it was probably a good call by the captain. We took a cab to Paradise beach in Cozumel based on CC reviews and it was very nice. Lots of water toys to use on the beach, pool, showers- just what we were looking for this time. Its not an all inclusive so everything was al a carte and they ask you to spend $10 in food/bev...$15 for use of all the non motor water toys. Belize tender was no problem. Did cave tubing and zip line with cavetubing r us. Fantastic experience and the owner/operator David was very knowledgeable about his country/enjoys his job! More time in the river, better tubes, half the cost of the ship. Roatan tender was no problem- we didn't have as much time in port as I would have liked but we visited West Bay beach through bananarama. Awesome beach and snorkeling but very crowded with 5 ships visiting that day. Of all the cruises we've been on I can say that they all have been 5 stars+ and I have always appreciated the hard work the staff puts in to make sure everyone's experience is a great one but withholding a star this time because of the big food decline in the main dining rooms. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We waited anxiously to board the Sea Princess at for the Christmas cruise from Brisbane. Having sailed previously on her, we were waiting to see the remodelling that had been done in Singapore - and it didn't disappoint. Her new ... Read More
We waited anxiously to board the Sea Princess at for the Christmas cruise from Brisbane. Having sailed previously on her, we were waiting to see the remodelling that had been done in Singapore - and it didn't disappoint. Her new Horizon Court was extremely fresh and welcoming - providing and array of foods (greasy and non-greasy) depending on taste. A nice addition was the Italian Cafe offering cakes and pastries and in the afternoon some sliced meats and cheese. We learnt on the cruise that the beds are finally getting an upgrade - about time. This is overdue and will provide an important to sleeping comfort. It was disappointing that many parents with children on board, forgot that they needed to provide adult supervision. I witnessed on several occasions inappropriate behaviour of children, particularly around the staircases and in the lifts (pressing every button when exiting). It was great to hear the Captain (although shouldn't have had to do) remind parents and children about the safety aspects and conduct around the ship. For those parents who were upset by these announcements - maybe look at your kids! Tender disembarkation was good at those ports requiring tenders. However, tender disembarkation is always slow, so may have upset some who had to wait for a tender. Return services from the islands was great. Overall, the cruise was value for money and very relaxing. Looking forward to sailing on the Sea Princess again soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did ... Read More
We cruised on the Pacific Aria for Christmas. We had a wonderful time. Everything was great. Staff & crew were friendly and helpful. Our cabin & balcony was much bigger than we expected and our bed was very comfortable. We did have a fridge in our cabin and yes it was cold. Everything was spotless and very tidy. Our cabin stewards were really great. Always greeted us with a friendly "Good Morning" and a smile. The restaurants were really lovely, the food was always hot & very tasty [plenty of it, never felt hungry afterwards]. We didn't mind having to line up to book Angelo's or the Dragon Lady restaurants. We loved the new idea in the pantry for lining up for food. Much more hygienic for everyone. Great selection and very tasty. All the shows were great. We thought the renovations of the ship were really lovely, very posh and classy. The shops had a great range of different items to buy, not too expensive either. The ports & shore excursions were great, loved the free time to just wander around & shop. The only downside was the whingers. We have cruised many times on different ships, but never have we heard so many people whinge, moan & criticise the ship, crew, meals, shows & restaurants. In our opinion, it is obvious they don't like to be out of their comfort zone, so instead of them annoying other people like us with their comments, maybe they should just stay home or holiday some other way. We would certainly recommend the Pacific Aria to our friends and family for a lovely restful holiday, minus the whingers we hope. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of ... Read More
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of turbulence made the flight uncomfortable, we made it to Miami. As the ESTA system was supposed to make life easier for tourists I don’t know what went wrong there but it took us over two hours to get through immigration. If we ever go on a Caribbean cruise again it will not be through the USA. We spent one night in the Sonesta hotel in Fort Lauderdale then boarded our ship. There was some problem at the boarding stage so it took over two hours to get through the system. We were in an inside cabin 7105 and it was quite comfortable. The air conditioning worked reasonably well but was slow to react when changing the dial, the bed was comfortable and the shower was very good. There was only one chair so being in the cabin wasn’t that comfortable. The first week we sailed the Eastern Caribbean to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and we were supposed to stop at Half Moon Cay but the weather dictated we didn’t so we had an extra day at sea. It was cold in the evening on that part of the cruise and seemed to rain every night. The second week we sailed to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. The weather was warmer for this week. We paid $45 each for a trip on Grand Turk and it was money wasted. There is very little to see there. On Tuesday January 27th we booked a trip for the following day on Puerto Rico at a cost of over $100 for two. I became ill the following morning so couldn’t go on the trip and my wife didn’t want to leave me. I spent two days in my cabin, missing Puerto Rico and St Thomas, and when my wife went to see the Shore Excursions team they said that we would have to cancel the excursion on the Monday, the day before we booked it, to get a refund. That made me mad. They have no idea of customer service so that makes me think I shall never use them again. We did several other trips with the ship and in the main they were ok, especially the one in Cozumel where we went to see the ruins at San Gervasio. However, on Key West we took an elongated trolley trip but there is very little to see outside of the main town. I had been led to believe that the USA was cheap but Key West is certainly not. The food on the ship was quite good with breakfast and lunch in the Lido being very good. However in the evening there was little on offer and I can only assume the management are of the opinion most people would eat in the main restaurants, which is not the case. We only eat in the main restaurant twice during our cruise. The first time it took two and a half hours and although the second time it only took an hour, we had a table for two, the restaurant was freezing so we were glad to get out of there. The entertainment was pretty good with the star of the cruise being a Steel Band from Trinidad called Island Magic. The BB King Blues Band are very good. Overall the Nieuw Amsterdam is a cold ship with air conditioning making many of the public rooms feeling inhospitable and on several occasions we had to leave an event because it was just too cold. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my ... Read More
My wife and I are frequent cruisers (19), with 13 on Princess and the others spread between Royal Carribean (1), Carnival (2) and Celebrity (3). We started with Princess on the Golden and to be fair, that class of ship remains my favourite, although lately we prefer Celebrity. I won't talk about the ports as they are common to all lines. Specific Positives about Princess in general: (1)Food is very good ( a notch below Celebrity but above Carnival). (2)Love that they have multiple entertainment theaters (Vista Lounge in the rear and Princess Theater in the front, plus piano bars so you can usually find something you like). (3)Service/Staff is excellent (notwithstanding they have eliminated many positions - no longer have wine stewards in the dining room and you have to go to the bar to get a drink when on deck). Specific Negatives about Princess in general: (1)For a cruise line that pioneered anytime dining, anytime diners are now almost second class citizens. They have always had three dining rooms however previously one was reserved for set seating and the other two for anytime diners. This was our second cruise with Princess this year and on both cruises one dining room was specifically set aside for set seating, however one of the remaining two was reserved for set seating until 8:00pm, leaving only one dining room for anytime diners wanting to eat before 8:00pm. As both these cruises left from Florida, most anytime diners wanted to eat between 6:00 and 7:00 leading to long lines and wait times. I know many Europeans like to eat later so it may work there but not on cruises from North America. (2) I know many people love the Movies Under The Stars, and I would have no problem if it was only under the stars, but during the day the sound system is so loud that if you want to relax and read a book in peace and quiet you are almost obligated to pay the money for the Sanctuary (was that the plan?). Specific Negatives about the Royal Princess: (1), (2), and (3) - Balcony size! It is ridiculously small. We had a mini suite and were constantly tripping over either chair legs or each other's legs trying to manoeuver around the balcony to sit down. Forget trying to entertain guests on the balconies. (4) WARNING - do not book a balcony cabin at the rear sides of the ship. The glass walkways on Lido deck that hang out over the side at the back of the ship allow people to easily observe the balconies (no privacy) and for balcony rooms on the upper decks, walkers can look right into the cabin. (5) The proximity of the redesigned Wheelhouse Bar to the Crown Grill, without a full wall between, and both open to people walking by, eliminates the sanctuary feeling of the old Wheelhouse Bars and the romanticism of the specialty restaurant. Specific Positives about the Royal Princess: Can't really come up with any specific to the ship as basically I think Princess "missed the boat" so to speak, on this design. But I'm prejudiced, as I stated earlier I prefer the Golden/Grand class. Embarkation/Disembarkation- My wife and I breezed through both although we are Platinum so we had Preferred Embarkation, and we have GOES for returning so we had a priority line for customs - NOTE - there are no signs or other indications that a GOES priority line exists, you have to ask. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter ... Read More
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter and services and amenities are being "redirected" to maintain profitability. As long-time balcony-cabin cruisers our first shock came when we saw the small 4 ft x 10ft balcony in cabin V5084 with just enough room for two of us and a couple of chairs, an ottoman, and tiny 18 inch high table. Balconies on older ships were significantly more spacious. Our Upper Verandah room was just above lifeboats #8 and #6 on Port side. The balcony was private and well protected from rain by a large overhang above, the only intrusion being maintenance crews greasing the lifeboat hoist mechanisms - which they did while docked on days 2 and 6 of our cruise. The cabin was small but adequate with very comfortable bed, and an additional couch and desk area. Bathroom with shower and small tub were fine (incl shampoo & conditioner & soap dispensers), though we wish there had been a night light; instead we kept the bathroom light on with door closed at night since light switches were hard to find in the dark. 2 cozy robes were provided. Closet space was ok but poorly illuminated. Three life-vests occupied the top shelves of the 3 closets --- these would be better stowed in the difficult to open cabinets above the couch. Volume on the small TV was poor while watching movies, even at max setting. Closed-captioning was definitively a help, but did not always work for some reason. Fortunately channel 44 announcements came through loud and clear. The morning sun was quite obvious since the curtains were not room-darkening enough. We faced away from land at Half Moon Cay and in Key West. The next shocker was the coffee - something that was always a treat on Holland in the past. It was downright mediocre and not becoming of the Dutch tradition of a "lekker kopje koffie" (delicious cup of coffee). The Half and Half was thin and milk-like. No doubt the motivation is to economize with cheaper beans and to drive coffee aficionado's to deck 11 Explorations Cafe, which features a Starbucks type coffee-shop that charges extra! Likewise, internet access is available but slow and expensive ($55 for 100 minutes). We had an excellent signal in our room, but just signing on and getting our backlog of messages consumed several minutes each time. Wi-fi calling was impossible on my t-mobile phone since the connection was too slow. The cabin stewards did their best, were pleasant, and were obviously being pushed to their limits: one afternoon my wife accidentally spilled some crackers in front of the couch, and while the room had been turned out nicely for bedtime, we found crumbs still all over the floor. When we asked about this the next day our cabin steward indicated they only had time to vacuum in the mornings. The ships' staff were excellent as always, and seemed to be even friendlier than we remembered in our past travels ... plenty of "good mornings", "how are you", "have a nice day", etc. The TAMARIND restaurant in particular was a truly exceptional experience! For the $20 extra cost you are treated to an extraordinary oriental meal, and my 1-1/2 inch thick wasabi-encrusted filet mignon put any other meat served in Lido or the Rembrandt restaurant to shame - especially the 3/4 inch drab filet they served on Steak & Lobster formal night (Note: we never ate at the Pinnacle Grill, so can't compare). Food quality and selection in general was very good and we never had stomach issues. We do suggest you plan on eating outside of "normal" hours since rush hour gets really busy. The elevators were TERRIFIC!!! Super fast and efficient with lovely waiting areas that were tastefully designed, and with roomy staircases. We loved the outside elevators with their awesome views. Other areas of the ship, in particular the main Lobby & Atrium on decks 1 & 2, seemed small and narrow, though most of the time they were not crowded. The Casino was ok but the older-type 25 cent slot machines we like to play were on the smoking side, and ventilation was inadequate to prevent drifting smoke from becoming unbearable at times. Neither of us felt compelled to attend evening performances in the Queen's lounge, and we missed the ol' days of magicians, comedians, and hypnotists. The shops are excellent, brightly lit with plenty of selection in a wide variety of prices. There was a sidewalk sale one day on Lido but due to maintenance on the the sliding roof mechanism the trapped heat and humidity from the pool and all the passengers present was stifling as we waited in long lines to pay the cashiers. The SPA was fantastic though expensive (as usual). We consider it a treat and don't mind the surcharge, though we did opt for shore days when rates were discounted. The facilities are lovely, and the very capable massage therapists had wonderful attitudes. The nearby Gym has plenty of room and equipment, with nice sea views. Exercisers have plenty of opportunity to walk on Promenade, the observation decks, and play tennis/soccer/basketball etc. on the very nice net-enclosed Sports deck. The Eurodam is equipped with the latest stabilizing equipment, but I doubt those were needed during our cruise since we had such perfect weather throughout our 7 day trip. Cabin V5084 is located exactly midships and therefore already extremely stable. We hardly felt the waves and it was only the soft vibrations of the engines that reminded us we were on a ship. In fact we didn't even experience the after cruise wave sensations that normally stay with us days after a cruise ends. So, while this new ship is technologically more advanced, for us the bottom line feeling was that of a cheapening of the cruising experience. New cruisers may have a completely different opinion, but we can't help make comparisons to our previous trips. The economic reasons are understandable, but nevertheless we will avoid the Eurodam, and its sister the Nieuwe Amsterdam, in our future travels. We hope that the older ships will maintain their stature and dignity long enough for us to enjoy a few more cruises before those too get redesigned to achieve financial efficiencies.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We've been on many Carnival cruises. This was the first on the Carnival Magic. We began our trip at the Hilton Galveston, which offered free parking for the duration of the cruise. The Hilton provides a shuttle to the port, but it ... Read More
We've been on many Carnival cruises. This was the first on the Carnival Magic. We began our trip at the Hilton Galveston, which offered free parking for the duration of the cruise. The Hilton provides a shuttle to the port, but it fills up early, and it is difficult to get a cab when there are ships in port. Get on the list early or make reservations to park at EZ Cruise. We arrived at the port a bit early and were on the ship sipping a pina colada around noon. The Carnival Magic is large, and has the general Carnival feel. It was decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah, which added an extra festive atmosphere. We very much enjoyed the Serenity Deck, the workout room, and the daily tea time- try the dreamy biscuits with clotted cream. We attended the ceremonial lighting of the menorah each evening before dinner, but there was a cultural miscommunication- the kitchen provided breakfast pancakes rather than traditional potato latkes which we all found more amusing than annoying. Service in the dining room was superb. The wait staff took care to accommodate every request. As always, the photographers on board are talented and provide some of the best portraiture around. The most notable thing about this cruise was the smoke. I'm not sure if it is the ship design or Carnival's smoking in the casino rule, but it was difficult to find a place on the Promenade Deck from the casino back to the dining room that did not have a smokey essence. The casino itself was unbearably smokey. On previous cruises, we spend time and money each day in the casino. On this cruise, once was enough. A little non-smoking emblem on a slot machine is no match for the row of chain smokers a few feet away. My eyes burned and my clothing reeked after 20 minutes at a slot machine. We spent the money normally spend in the casino in the ports- Carnival's loss. 18% of adults smoke. It seems rather unwise to drive the other 82% percent away from an income stream. I'm not allergic to smoke or an anti-smoking cruise-aider (pun intended) but until there is decent ventilation, the smoking in the casino rule will keep us from spending time and money there. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We embarked for a ten nights cruise on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria sailing from Southampton on Sunday 7th December to the Western Mediterranean. It had been tastefully decorated “dressed” for Christmas with lights and trees, but ... Read More
We embarked for a ten nights cruise on the Cunard ship Queen Victoria sailing from Southampton on Sunday 7th December to the Western Mediterranean. It had been tastefully decorated “dressed” for Christmas with lights and trees, but overall it could be described as having a restrained feel, the public rooms having wood panels as in an Edwardian Gentleman's Club. There was a showcase of Cunard memorabilia to be studied, and a Harrods store on board. The restaurant offered traditional English cuisine with French descriptions and the ship was comfortable and stable. "She's built for the North Atlantic in winter says the Officer of the Watch, the Bay of Biscay will no more than rattle the afternoon teacups in the Queens Room". Even so, some passengers suffered from seasickness. We experienced a problem in that another passenger had deposited valuables and other items in our cabin "Stateroom". Wanting to know just how this had happened we were told by Cunard that the incident was being investigated. After complaining, they arranged another cabin for us; made an apology, presented us with a bouquet of roses, and an offer of dinner in the Veranda Restaurant. Later in the cruise we received a written apology as approved by Carnival, but the problem had distressed us and disturbed the first three days of our cruise. This cruise provided us with a comfortable rather than relaxing ten nights, but not with the ambience, cuisine, and sparkle of MSC the Italian Line with whom we have previously sailed..   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just off the 12th December 2014 sailing of Quantum of the Seas and WOW. This is the first time I have sailed RCCL solo previously sailing with a friend on Freedom and Allure. This was my 16th cruise with my favourite company being NCL, I ... Read More
Just off the 12th December 2014 sailing of Quantum of the Seas and WOW. This is the first time I have sailed RCCL solo previously sailing with a friend on Freedom and Allure. This was my 16th cruise with my favourite company being NCL, I have also sailed Celebrity, Carnival, Star and MSC. So lets start with embarkation. Other than the traffic jam getting from the port entrance to drop off everything was fast. Straight out off the car a baggage porter approached me, tagged my bags with tracker labels and gave me my tags to attach to my docs. Easy. Then once in the terminal you could see plenty of staff around with the portable check in tablets but all had a line of about 6 people so I went straight through security and lined at a desk. Within 10 minutes I was checked in and on the ship. WARNING:- if you like the ship photo they take when boarding it is in the check in hall, watch out for it as they don't have one after this point. First stop after glimpsing at the Esplanade was the Windjammer. Very nice set up with different sections like Celebrity and whilst lots of people around it did not feel crowded. Food was plentiful and lots of choice. Next stop the Star bar and bought the Premium drinks package. Wish I had bought it back in the UK online as the exchange rate RCCL was using online would have saved me around £20. Lesson learnt. Now the package stated cocktails and drinks $10 and under but most of the cocktails on any bar menu where $12. These where included. Daily specials and the usual cocktails do not appear on the menus in any bars. Seemed to be new style cocktails to me. None of the usual Mudslides, Blue Hawaiians, Miami Vice, Lava Flows, BBC's etc. They could and did make all these for me apart from the Mudslide as no Ice cream mix on the ship. Boo Hoo. Next stop was The North Star as I noticed it operating whilst still in port. I was in it and up in the air within 2 minutes and loved the view. In port it does not go over the side of the ship but the experience was still the same. Now lets talk about trying to get on the North Star a second time. Reading the daily planner and the Morning show on TV is a must to get the most outta this ship. Every day they will list an area and time where you must line up to get a ticket for a time to go up in the North Star for the day stated. On day 2 it was for that day, later lines where for the following day. Now they would only allow 500 people to sign up per day and the line took ages. Once at the front of the line you cannot pick a time, you are allocated a time. So if you are at the front you get 9am, if at the back you get 5pm. iFLY. Wow. Once onboard the ship head straight here to make a reservation. Warning, the staff are nice but stressed. The area which they have been allocated for check in's, reservations, waivers etc is too small and crowded. If you ask any RCCL staff they will tell you the iFLY is free for as many goes as you like. If you ask the iFLY staff they will only book you in once as they want everyone to have a go and there is only just enough time slots. Not sure why the iFLY operates limited hours but maybe this will change. Room:- I had a Solo Ocean view studio with balcony. Very nice. Room is small but larger than my bedroom at home. The bed was comfy and it was a proper double bed with no split in the middle. Enough storage to hang a suit and about 10 shirts. Plenty of draw space above the bed. Nice USB chargers. Huge bathroom and massive balcony. Esplanade:- Lots of fancy shops which I did not care for. Usual logo shop and duty free shop, nice. Café good. Michaels Bar good but other than that this area is wasted on me. No fun activities take place here other than mad cruisers buying $10 gifts. Did not see any parties or parades. One lonely Christmas Tree to represent the festive period. Now I am not moaning here just pointing out the facts. The area from the rear elevators to Two70 pointless. Other than Jamies and Vintages and the art gallery nothing until you get to the end and you have Two70 and the café. A lot of open space. Maybe that's good, I'm not sure. Two70. Wow. For the first three days on the ship I thought it was nice how the ship didn't feel too big and difficult to get around. Then on day four I remember Two70 and realised I had not been to that part of the ship yet. The area and café is very nice, especially for breakfast and lunch, less crowded. Entertainment:- Now I love cheesy cruise ship entertainment. Mama Mia WOW. A brilliant show and loved that they had a break in the middle to get a new drink and a quick loo visit. Starwater, WOW. Different and no plot to the performance but the show and visuals are all amazing. The six robot screens really do come to life. Sonic, very good. Loved the drum wall and the Earth Harp. Guest Entertainer #1, the comedian, well cannot judge as I was a little drunk and could see two of him and fell asleep. How rude, I know. I only woke when I heard him picking on someone else who had fallen asleep. Second guest entertainer was brilliant. Proper old fashion cheesy cruise tunes like Motown etc. However. Only five nights of entertainment on an eight night cruise. I was not happy, I am not into Latin music so Bellarious was not for me. Schooner bar, well ever time I went by the piano guy was singing Spanish tunes. Micheal's bar had no entertainment. So nothing for me to do. No sailaway parties or evening parties on the deck under the stars. No glow party, no quest. Nothing. Bionic Bar:- Loved it. Easy to use and hardly used by anyone else. Every time I went past at the start of my evening I would get my first drink of the night (had many thru the day) and loved watching the robots in action. They even remember your past orders for ease in ordering again. Solarium:- With sailing outta NYC in December it was cold so this area got some use from me and it was very nice, Large enough to accommodate all that wanted to use. nice pools and hot tubs and bar. Pool:- Nice large pool area. Usual unsupervised children running around and messing about in the hot tubs but for the four hot days it was easy to get a sunbed by the pool if there by 9am. A lot of chair hogging going on. When I'd arrive at 9am, towels already on many beds and you never saw people until hours later. I did witness the towel boys on three occasions scooping up the towels, good lads. Safety:- Maybe I was only noticing this because of recent news reports of accident in pools but it did amaze me how many adults sat in hot tubs or at the bar not paying much attention to their children running around the edges of the pool who could have easily fell in. Free Dining:- Windjammer - see above. Chic - very nice. Silk - yummy. Grande - worth dressing up for. Amazed how many people I spoke to or overheard complaining how formal Grande was. Not going to pass judgement, I'm rising above it. Menu in each venue stays the same for the entire cruise. Paid Dining:- Chops Grill -always my favourite but this time I paid the extra $20 for a dried aged steak. Never again. Sticking with the Filet Migon and saving $20. Ate here twice, first and last night. Wonderland - such a shame. This place was wasted on me as I ate solo. The staff amazing, the set up amazing, the menu, well, I'm greedy and no indication from the strange descriptions of how much food your gonna get. One course came and it was the size of large grape. I cried, nearly. I came away from here disappointed but it was more to do with the $55 price tag. I would recommend to any solo travellers who wish to experience this place to try and buddy up with some new friends and enjoy as a group. Jamies:- wow, Don't ask why because as I am not sure myself but I am very anti Jamie Oliver. But this came very close to beating Chops as the best restaurant on board. I loved all the courses. Devinly Decadence - I booked this in the UK and had low expectations. Wow. Other than your drink from the bar being served in a plastic glass as they get it from the Solarium bar, the food was amazing. Try and pre book your speciality restaurants online as they had a promotion when I did. I ended up booking 5 meals and got 30% back in OBC. Nice touch. Well that's enough from me and sorry for any spelling mistakes. To sum up, I came away from this sailing feeling I had a nice holiday but a little disappointed. As the week has gone on and people ask me about my trip I get very excited telling my stories and now reflect back on a great cruise. I would say any disappointment came from my expectation of all the fun I've had on past RCCL sailing and a little let down on the entertainment side. I now feel though that RCCL have a ship in their fleet which has the feel of a Celebrity Solstice class ship with a few quirky toys, with great dining options and three amazing production shows. Now knowing this I would easily book and recommend a Quantum class ship but would avoid for my solo outings as a friend on board would help fill in the gaps left by the lack of nightly entertainment. If your booked to go, have a brilliant time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our second cruise. Our first was a great experience with Royal Caribbean. Based on reviews, we decided to go with Celebrity this time. The experience was a great deal of fun with plenty of opportunities for relaxation; but was it ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Our first was a great experience with Royal Caribbean. Based on reviews, we decided to go with Celebrity this time. The experience was a great deal of fun with plenty of opportunities for relaxation; but was it worth the cost, and did it live up to its 5 star rating? Embarkation was smooth and painless. The Constellation had docked at terminal 4. This is a brand new building with a well organised and friendly staff. We were through the terminal and on the ship in about 15 minutes. Once on the ship, we received a complementary champagne, were just about to start exploring, and the sales pitch began. We were immediately approached by a hostess from the specialty restaurant "Ocean Liners". The hostess thrust a menu into our hands and began giving us details about the menu, service and value we would receive at this restaurant. We responded that we had already booked and paid for the other specialty restaurant "The Tuscan Grill". This did not halt the sales pitch. Feeling a little pressured, we relented and booked in for that evening. We then decided to head to our stateroom, on our way out of the lobby, we were approached by a host from the "Tuscan Grill" specialty restaurant with a similar sales pitch. He only relented when we explained that we were already booked into the Tuscan Grill and provided details of which night we were booked in. From there, we went to our stateroom. We had booked 2 inside staterooms on deck 3, one for my husband and I, and one next door for our teenage son. We were pleasantly surprised at the size of the staterooms, much bigger than on Royal Caribbean, and very well laid out. The bathroom was large enough to move around in, and the shower was huge (huge in ship terms, which is small, but much larger than the one we had on Monarch of the Seas). There was plenty of storage. So much in fact that we didn't use it all. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the housekeeping staff met us at the door to introduce themselves. Throughout the cruise they were very friendly and always available. The Constellation has several specialty restaurants, a main dining room, and a buffet. Ocean Liners is their signature specialty restaurant, and that is where we dined on the first evening. The service was flawless. We ordered ala carte and were not disappointed both with taste and presentation. My son had the rack of lamb, I had the chateaubriand, and my husband ordered the lobster, which was prepared table side by our hostess. My husband a I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine from the wine package we had previously ordered (the 5 bottle classic wine package). Upon leaving the restaurant, we were approached with the bill, which showed that they had originally charged us for the wine by the glass, then realized they had confused the classic wine package with the classic beverage package, reversed the charges, and told us that the remainder of our wine would be sent to the next restaurant, The Tuscan Grill. The following evening, we went to the Tuscan Grill. Once again, the service was impeccable, and the food amazing. My husband had the rib eye steak and says it was the best steak he has ever had. I had the fillet mignon, and our son had the lobster penne. The desserts were "to die for". Again, my husband and I enjoyed wine with our dinner. We had informed the waiter that we had the classic wine package and that our wine was supposed to be sent over. At the end of the meal when the bill came, we were charged for the wine. They had once again confused the beverage package. The maitre'd apologized for the confusion, admitted it was their mistake, but refused to reverse the charges. We paid, then went to Cellar Masters where after about five minutes, it was sorted out by a very helpful staff member. The remainder of the cruise, we went to the main dining room. The food was amazing, however the service was far less impressive than in the previous two restaurants. Each time we ordered something "extra" (pop, espresso), they immediately asked for the sea pass and presented a receipt to be signed, instead of waiting until the end of the meal. We selected the anytime dining which worked out well. We were able to sit at our own table and book any time we wished. For breakfast and lunch, we went to the buffet. The buffet was average, as to be expected when serving over a thousand. Activities were scheduled throughout the day, appealing to a wide variety of people. There was ballroom dancing, live entertainment in the theatre, and bands both on the pool deck and in the lounges. We especially enjoyed the trivia game shows, and the comedian showing in the theatre. There was also plenty of opportunity to sit back and relax in the many quiet areas on the decks. Our 16 year old son enjoyed the teen club activities. Our ship docked in Cozumel on Dec 24. There were several tours available to choose from. We wanted to see the Myan ruins. There was an 8 hr tour, and a 4 hr tour. We chose the 4 hr tour rather than spend hours on a bus. We really enjoyed this trip. We went to the ruins in San Gervasio, then a bus ride to The Mayan Cacao Company. The trip was very interesting, great people, very informative guide. There was plenty of opportunity for photography. On Dec 26, we docked in Key West. We decided not to book an excursion, instead opting to walk around on our own. We purchased tickets for the Hemingway House and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum from a local vendor. The Hemingway House was amazing, and again, plenty of opportunity to wander around and take photographs. We very much enjoyed this. Next, we went to the Mel Fisher museum. Again, very interesting with amazing artifacts. Great value for money on these excursions. On Dec 27, the last day of the cruise, the ship docked at its final destination, Fort Lauderdale, at around 7 am. Since our flight was not scheduled until 7 pm, we chose to do the shopping excursion to Sawgrass Mills Mall. We were to meet our tour guide in the theatre on deck 5 at 8:45am. Our guide was then meant to escort us through the disembarkation process. However, at 8:05, an announcement was made for those of us going on this excursion to go to deck 3 and disembark. I immediately went to deck 3 and explained the confusion of the contradicting instructions to a staff member. This staff member seemed confused, spoke to someone on the radio, then said we needed to come to deck 3 right away and disembark. Therefore, we followed her instructions and disembarked. After clearing customs, we went to the front of the terminal. There was some initial confusion as we did not see a tour guide or bus. After asking several terminal staff, we were approached by a tour guide who said that we were late. We explained that were told to disembark. He said we did not follow instructions properly, then he left. About 5 minutes later, we were met by a second tour guide who was extremely helpful and informative. He said the bus would arrive shortly and stayed with us and the other guests who had begun to arrive, assisting us with our luggage, very nice. We were driven to the mall, and dropped off with a time to meet for transport to the airport. Unfortunately some people chose to be 45 minutes late for the meeting time, making everyone else late for their arrival at the airport. We were in no danger of missing our flight, but other travelers were, due to the inconsideration of people who chose not to meet the timings. The positive point about this excursion is that we didn't need to worry about our luggage, which was kept on the bus during the shopping trip, and we didn't need to try to find a taxi. The Celebrity Constellation is one of Celebrities older ships. It received a remodel to upgrade some of its amenities but is still showing some signs of age. The staff was courteous and friendly and for the most part very helpful. Celebrity sell themselves as an upscale cruise line. However, despite paying more for this cruise, we feel the service was not as good as our Royal Caribbean experience. We had a great time, and will probably sail with Celebrity again, but would like to try a different ship.   Read Less

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