1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. Holiday Cruises
  4. Holiday Cruises Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
999
519
304
175
104
See Reviews For
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Was onboard the Adventure of the Seas on the Dec.21.2014 sailing and here is my review. Please note I have also been on the Allure and the Oasis of the Seas, other RCL ships and Emerald Princess in the past as well San Juan Airport to ... Read More
Was onboard the Adventure of the Seas on the Dec.21.2014 sailing and here is my review. Please note I have also been on the Allure and the Oasis of the Seas, other RCL ships and Emerald Princess in the past as well San Juan Airport to Seaport: Took a taxi which cost $25 and was there in 20 minutes. Check-in was fast with very friendly assistants. Cabin Location and Condition: Cabin# 6244 was a balcony cabin right across from the elevators but we did not hear any noise from the promenade. It was in very good condition and was larger than the ones on the Allure of the seas. Food & Entertainment: Food was mediocre and repetitive with very few choices. It was better on the other RCL ships. Entertainment was mediocre as well and the movies being shown were repetitive (Spiderman-2 all seven days?...phew!!) . Better entertainment on other RCL ships. Ports: Excellent ports and RCL did a good job on the port excursions. Enough time spent at the ports Departure: Took a tour of San Juan on the last day before being dropped off at the airport. The tour was short and not enough time was given to us to explore the various shops and streets. Perhaps this can be improved. Overall: I would definitely recommend this cruise and would do it again if RCL made some changes to the entertainment and food.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
This was my first cruise, so I really have nothing to compare it to. There were 20 of us, on this xmas 2014 cruise. The Voyager was lovely, found it to be really clean, and the service exceptional. Both our restaurant attendants were great ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so I really have nothing to compare it to. There were 20 of us, on this xmas 2014 cruise. The Voyager was lovely, found it to be really clean, and the service exceptional. Both our restaurant attendants were great even knowing individually what food you liked and how to cook it before you could order, after the first night!. Our room attendant looked after the room constantly with the slightest change of mess cleaned up, as soon as you left the room. They didn't supply shampoos etc. though, which could have been included, however if you asked for them, there they were as soon as you got back to the room. The entertainment was average, with the magician being really good and funny. I didn't enjoy the singing shows that much, but some of them weren't my thing. The bars for the Quiz shows did get a bit crowded, but you did get to meet new people this way, which was a positive. The windjammer food was good, but with not a lot of variety, but then I don't eat seafood, eat quite plainly, so not really fussed if there was any extravagant choices. More service could have been provided around the pool decks, for those who drank. In the 9 days I still did not get to see the whole ship, too busy enjoying the activities, and relaxing. The café on deck five was a great food and meeting place, thoroughly enjoyed the food and coffee, and was a good viewing place for the street activities. If you didn't get enough food on this ship, you must have been blind or busy. Madagascar 3D was a highlight in the theatre, well worth watching. Overall it was well worth the money, and hardly had to spend a thing on board, would go on again. The only critism I could make was the lack of Xmas theme going on, Xmas day was in port, and when you got back on wasn't really much different to any other day, apart from the food where xmas food was available, and a tree and a few decorations. Would go on this ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We booked this cruise primarily to escape the usual Christmas hype and also to experience the brand new Costa Diadema ship. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to joining the ship on 22nd December 2014 and must admit to feeling some ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily to escape the usual Christmas hype and also to experience the brand new Costa Diadema ship. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to joining the ship on 22nd December 2014 and must admit to feeling some trepidation as we had never before cruised on a ship with so many passengers, however, we went with an open mind and were determined to enjoy the holiday. The embarkation process: We arrived at Barcelona cruise port early as we were in company with two other passengers we had met on route from Belfast. There were few passengers around at that time so the actual check-in process was quick and efficient. We were given a numbered card to be used for the boarding process later so we decided to sit back and relax with a coffee/ beer. Boarding commenced around 2pm and was done in numerical order according to the cards issued during check-in and, considering the number of passengers involved, it was also a fairly quick process. Once onboard, the sheer volume of passengers passing through the lobby area made it a bit chaotic , however, we quickly made our way to the lifts and found our cabin where we made contact with our Steward and were able to put valuables in the safe and unpack our hand luggage. We were impressed that our suitcases arrived very soon afterwards and we were soon unpacked and ready to explore the ship and have lunch. The ship: As a brand new ship, naturally everything was very new and fresh and it soon became clear just how big it was. We did a tour of the ship to get our bearings and also to ‘sus out’ the places where we might spend our evenings. The overall décor is undoubtedly ‘bling’ in style; however, we expected this and sometimes just marvelled at how much the interior designers had managed to cram in. All the public areas were large with plenty of seating so there was never any real problem; however, the Diana Lido pool area always seemed to be crowded although we only ever passed through it on our way to other parts of the ship. The pool seemed to be used mainly by children and I imagine that it might be unbearably busy in the summer when the retractable roof is back. There were plenty of elevators around; however, my vertigo prevented me from trying the scary glass lifts which seemed to go up forever from the main lobby area. The signage around the ship was generally good, however, for the first few days it was difficult to find the public toilets as they were not signposted and hard to miss unless you knew where to look. For instance we found no toilets near the lobby area on Deck 3 and the nearest ones were on Deck 4 hidden beside the entrance into the Emerald Theatre. Also, the automatic door opening mechanism in the toilets was a bit alarming at first as you were at risk of being seen by passing fellow passengers. We felt that the Concierge Desk seemed very small for the size of the ship and the number of passengers who would be likely to use it. It was only after standing in the queue for quite a time that we realised there was a ticket machine for issuing ‘next in line’ tickets, similar to those in large supermarket counters. This machine was strangely located in a corner away from the queue so most people did not even know it was there until they had reached the front of the line – it would have been better sited near the start of the queue where passengers could see it from the outset. This would dispel any possible arguments about who was next in line. The Concierge staff were very helpful and efficient and spoke many languages. Restaurants: We had been allocated open dining in the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant for dinner each evening and the experience on our first night was not too encouraging. We expected to have to wait to get a table and this was not a problem , however, once seated the service was very slow and the family seated adjacent to us complained to the waiter who explained that there was a problem in the kitchen. Personally we were not unduly worried as we were not in any real rush to go anywhere; however, we could appreciate that it might be a problem for families with young children. To be fair, the service did improve on subsequent nights and we never had too long a wait. We did not particularly like the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant itself and found the layout and décor very uninviting and dull when compared with the other restaurants onboard and it did not have a great ambience. ‘Corona Blu’ has very dark décor, furniture and carpets and on a few occasions we were seated in the side arms of the room which made us feel very cut off from the rest of the passengers – it felt like being relegated to an overflow part of the room and did not enhance our dining experience. On subsequent nights we specifically asked to be seated in the main body of the restaurant and this did not make us feel so isolated and it improved our experience. Given the large number of passengers onboard we felt that the standard of food was fairly good in the restaurant, if perhaps a bit ‘hit and miss’ at times, but we never had anything we could not eat and never went hungry. It was interesting that one of the Maître D’s told us he felt that the optimum number of passengers would be around 4,000 in order to be able to give the best level of service. To us, the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant was simply a place to go and eat and then leave – it was not a place to linger too long afterwards. We had lunch a few times in the Diana Lido buffet and the food was excellent, especially the pasta dishes, even though it was just a bit chaotic at times due to the sheer number of people around. We always managed to get a seat and have a chat with our fellow passengers. Although we usually prefer a buffet style lunch, we also had lunch a few times in the ‘Fiorentino’ restaurant as it was easier to get a seat, and less frantic, if you went early enough. On one occasion only the ‘Adularia’ restaurant opened for a self-service buffet lunch which we really enjoyed and it was a pity this had not been an option every day. The light décor and layout of both the ‘Adularia’ and ‘Fiorentino’ restaurants was so much better and more welcoming than ‘Corona Blu’ and they both felt more like proper adult restaurants. We also heard from fellow passengers who had been assigned to the ‘Adularia’ restaurant each evening that there was a great atmosphere there with ad-hoc entertainment provided by the waiters and a much better rapport with passengers. Speciality restaurants: We went to the ‘Club Diadema’ restaurant on one occasion and thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the relaxed atmosphere. On a second night we went to the ‘Teppanyaki’ Asian restaurant with two fellow passengers who had now become friends and we all had a really fabulous evening of food and entertainment provided by the chefs. We finished the night off with a few glasses of champagne in the Bar Bollicine. Both speciality restaurants were well worth the additional cost and we would certainly recommend them to anyone. Bars: We had purchased the ‘all inclusive drinks’ package at the time of booking and this proved to be a very good deal. We both drank mostly wine or beer and the system worked very efficiently in all parts of the ship. We quickly found that our favourite watering holes were the bar in the main lobby area on Deck 3 and the Piano Bar on Deck 5. The bar and waiting staff in both locations were excellent and we soon became friends and looked forward to seeing them each evening. It is perhaps unfair to single out individual staff; however, we particularly enjoyed the craic with Barry and Jaydnash (Piano Bar) and all the staff in the Lobby Bar. Two waitresses named Xian and Joy in the Piano Bar also made us feel very welcome. The evening entertainment in both the Piano Bar and the Lobby Bar area was first class and was a real draw for passengers of all ages. From what we could see, the entertainment throughout the rest of the ship was equally good with something to suit all ages and tastes. On Christmas Eve there was even snow falling down into the lobby area which was a lovely touch and the children loved it – along with many adults. Kudos to Costa! Our only criticism would be the lack of an ‘adults only’ bar as the constant presence of young children running around a crowded bar, or being wheeled around in prams, was a bit off putting and perhaps not the best environment for them late at night. The crew: We have only the highest praise and respect for the crew throughout the ship for their efficiency and friendliness, despite the huge number of passengers they have to deal with on a daily basis. They all worked very hard and we often felt sorry for them and wondered how they coped, particularly with embarkation day which seemed to be every day! Other facilities: It would have been nice to have access to a guest laundry/ironing room in order to freshen up creased clothes; however, we appreciate that this may not be possible given the passenger numbers on the ship. On a longer voyage this would be even more desirable. Unfortunately our upgrade to the Samsara Deck did not automatically entitle us to access to the Samsara Spa, however, on the first day we decided to pay for the voyage spa package as we knew it would provide us with a means of escaping the crowds and somewhere to relax. It was money well spent (€105.00 per person for 07-days) and we looked forward to going there every afternoon and enjoying one of the many therapy rooms or just reading quietly in the large, and usually empty, relaxation area with a pot of herbal tea ~ heaven! The Spa staff were also friendly and courteous, especially Tereza and the Spa Manager, Pavel. On the penultimate day of our cruise (28th December) we were unfortunately bombarded with constant tannoy messages over a number of hours which were obviously lifeboat drill instructions for new passengers who had just embarked in Marseille. Not only were these messages’ intrusive but they were repeated in at least three or four languages every time and we struggled to understand why they were being constantly transmitted into the cabins of passengers who had joined days earlier and who had already undergone the necessary lifeboat drill. These new passengers were presumably being put through the lifeboat drill at their allocated locations (as we had done when we embarked in Barcelona) so what was the point of all other passengers having to hear it all again, and again, and again? We fully appreciate the need for safety drills; however, this was perhaps a bit OTT. It really spoiled our last day onboard. The interactive portals provided on some decks were very useful for making speciality restaurant reservations; port transfers …etc. and avoided unnecessary queuing at the concierge desk. Ports of call: Unfortunately we visited most of the ports during the Christmas period and in most cases the shops were usually closed, however, we did get off in them all (except in Marseille) if only to stretch our legs and get a coffee. Palma de Mallorca was our first stop and we spent a pleasant couple of hours just meandering around the impressive Cathedral and the seafront. Naples was the port we had most looked forward to visiting; however, it proved to be a real disappointment. We felt it was very down at heel, neglected and dirty and everywhere was ruined by graffiti. Prices in the cafes were exorbitant compared to the rest of the ports we visited. Not somewhere we would wish to visit again. La Spezia was a fairly small town and we had a quick walkabout and a coffee before heading back to the ship for an early lunch. It has a nice walkway along the seafront leading into the town itself. Savona was a much larger town and had more of interest and a nice atmosphere. We had previously visited Marseille on another cruise and not been too impressed with the place so we decided not to visit on this occasion and to relax on the ship while it was a little quieter. Overall opinion: We actually did enjoy the cruise, due mainly to the friendliness of the crew. We quickly found those venues where we felt most comfortable and which suited our choice of entertainment. There was certainly something every night to suit all tastes and ages. Having cruised previously on ships with much smaller passenger numbers it took a while to get used to the sheer volume of people onboard - especially the large number of small children, however, we soon adjusted and learned to ‘go with the flow’. We would recommend the ship to others, provided they were prepared to wait in queues at meal times, and we could certainly give them some tips on where and when to go in order to avoid them. Overall very good Costa Diadema.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
This was my 6th cruise, 1st time on Royal Caribbean. I had heard lots of good things about RC so I was a little disappointed. Firstly I agree with some of the comments others have made here; greatly under staffed in areas. Whilst the staff ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise, 1st time on Royal Caribbean. I had heard lots of good things about RC so I was a little disappointed. Firstly I agree with some of the comments others have made here; greatly under staffed in areas. Whilst the staff do their utmost, they are run off their feet. Most mornings there was a 30 - 40 minute wait for coffee at the Cafe and the quality of the coffee was appalling. My biggest complaint would have to be the quality of the food and cocktails. I purchased a drinks package prior to departing. If I had know that all cocktails are pre-mixed out of a carton I probably would not have done so. They were horrible sugary, artificial tasting crap! I tried to think up cocktails that might not come out of a carton and decided on a caprioska to be told they had no limes, then mysteriously on the last day, they had no lemons only limes!! Go figure. Even some of the food tasted like it came out of a packet. Eggs benedict served with a packet mix sauce and most of the desserts were a gelatinous packet mix concoction. Christmas lunch / dinner was a disappointment as stated by others. the entertainment was disappointing also. No sailaway parties and Christmas and New Year were celebrated in the centrium which was only a small are where a few could actually join in leaving the rest of us to hang over the railings on the upper levels watching and not being able to join in. why not have it up on the deck pools side where there was a lot more room and also not so stuffy and hot?? it didn't make sense. Having been on P&O, Princess and now Royal Caribbean I would say P&O have the best value, food and drinks. Royal do have a nice ship and Princess... I think I'll wait another 10 - 20 years before I go back on one of their cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I spent a fun New Year’s Eve aboard the Carnival Fascination to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas! We were pleasantly surprised that despite the ship being one of the oldest in the Carnival fleet, it felt clean with ... Read More
My husband and I spent a fun New Year’s Eve aboard the Carnival Fascination to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas! We were pleasantly surprised that despite the ship being one of the oldest in the Carnival fleet, it felt clean with plenty of activities and perfectly suitable rooms and public spaces. What it’s missing are things like a larger spa and specialty dining areas which are things we don’t typically use anyway and it feels like there is more deck space and open areas instead which we greatly appreciated. Embarkation while slow was smooth in Jacksonville (they could really use more staff to make things quicker). Greeting us as we boarded was free champagne which was a great way to start the trip. Our room was ready when we boarded and we were very happy with our porthole selection as it provided a view to the outdoors at an interior price. We were especially happy with the shower and found the closet space to be just enough. Food onboard was pretty standard Carnival fare. Although the burgers weren’t Guy Fieri’s burgers like other ships, they were actually quite good. Our favorite dish continues to be the chocolate lava cake dessert at dinner. Dinners in the main dining rooms were fine, nothing special, but enjoyable. Special shout out to whomever (or whatever program) assigns the tables as we very much enjoyed our tablemates! Our wait staff was also the best I’ve experienced – efficient, yet personable, and very accommodating. There were plenty of great places to explore on the ship. The slide area in the back was fun (and better than newer ships’ slides!), the outdoor seating areas for casual meals were fantastic, the Serenity area was a quiet retreat, and the miniature golf was entertaining. The piano bar was very cool (and the pianist that was onboard our cruise was the best we’ve ever had!) and the theater was nice (and we took full advantage of them playing college football games one day in the theater). Shows in the theater were unfortunately a downside. It’s very clear that Carnival just isn’t putting much money into them anymore. No real storylines or sets and instead just off-key singers in scandalous outfits. We went to a few comedy shows, but unfortunately found that rude and crude was a consistent theme. The magician was amazing though! The dance club at night played way too much Latin and rap for me to enjoy, but there seemed to be a good crowd in there most of the time. Live music however was mostly good and much preferable over the DJs playing the same few songs over and over again. My husband and I had booked the cruise as a fun way to celebrate NYE. Carnival hosted a deck party complete with streamers and party hats and a band and DJ. We had a very fun time dancing the night away (and enjoying more free champagne). I kind of had expected a bit more than just a few songs from a band and the honking of the ship horns and then a DJ for the rest of the night, but everyone was there to have a good time so the crowd made up for the lack of other NYE special surprises. It was especially disappointing to see the cruise director, Jace, leave the midnight party he had been hyping at 12:05am. Based on the noise coming from the crew’s quarters, I have a feeling he wanted to run off to another party that evening instead. Overall the cruise and ship were a pleasant surprise and much better than we had expected for the price we paid. I’d highly recommend it for families and new cruisers as it’s large enough to be a fun and entertaining cruise, but not too large as to be overwhelming and packed. More experienced cruisers might miss some of the glitz and glam of other ships and cruise lines, but for the price you’ll pay it doesn’t get much better than the Carnival Fascination! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the same cruise as the only British Couple and flew out to Quito On BA and Iberia via Madrid early Boxing Day morning arriving some 12 hours later. We were met at the Airport on arrival (we were the only couple) and arrived at ... Read More
We were on the same cruise as the only British Couple and flew out to Quito On BA and Iberia via Madrid early Boxing Day morning arriving some 12 hours later. We were met at the Airport on arrival (we were the only couple) and arrived at the hotel some 45 mins later around 9.45pm. We were lucky to be given an upgraded room. We enjoyed the food at the hotel both pre and post cruise. The included tour of Quito was good and the buffet lunch with traditional Ecuadorian singing and dancing Was excellent. Although we were fairly tired we went out on the afternoon trip to the Equatorial Line Monument. The evening meal was at La Gloria, a local restaurant we enjoyed this too. Now for the Cruise We were sold this as an "adults" cruise. This was not the case and slightly spoilt it for us. Probably being over Christmas and New Year altered the dynamics slightly. There were only 5 or 6 English speaking couples. The rest were made up of family groups, some large with 3 generations and some with young children. Also, quite a number of Spanish speaking South Americans. They all kept to their own groups and didn't mix so dining times gave you little choice of who to sit with. Luckily we made friends with the American couples. One of the American ladies was very upset at the "unsociable"situation. Most of the teens and 20 something's were a pain as far as hogging and sitting right on top of the Wifi "hot spot".They seemed to be on their phones/laptops 24/7. In fact some of them hardly seemed to leave the ship! My husband likes to keep in email contact with his 90 year old Mother. This was virtually impossible. Make no mistake, this is not your usual cruise. It's an "Expedition" ship. It doesn't matter how many cruise lines you've sailed on or how many you have done and we've done over 50 this is totally different. There is nothing to do on the ship during the day as your not expected to be there and have paid a hefty price to go see the spectacular wildlife. Something that LeaderLady failed to mention. We saw Boobies, Nazca and Blue-footed varieties. Marine and Land Iguanas. Galápagos Hawks, Waved Albatross, Tropic Birds, Mockingbirds, Frigate Birds, flightless comorants. Sea Lions, Sea Turtles, Penguins, Giant Tortoises, Darwin Finches,Flamingos and much more to see if you enjoy snorkelling in cold water. Just wildlife everywhere. You had to be careful not to step on anything. The only disappointment as far as seeing wildlife for me was that we didn't see the Red Footed Boobies or the recently discovered Pink Iguanas, both found on Isla Genovesa in the far north and not on any expedition itinerary. The Naturalists all Ecuadorian were all good. Some better than others. I did feel that the Spanish speaking guests should have gone out separately in their own group as there were many occasions when a lengthy Spanish conversation was conducted within the party of which we were not included. Every evening before dinner we were given a talk with slide show on what we should see the following day and the type of terrain and level of fitness required and recommendations as to footwear, clothing and if insect repellent was necessary. This information is also given in your Celebrity Today. Apart from 1 walk we chose the long walk every time. Paying all that money I wanted to see all I could. The ratio of guests to staff was 98/62. Our cabin was made up 3 times a day. There was plenty of hot water. Only a couple of channels on the TV and very little drawer space. The ship did sway a bit some nights but it's a small ship so its to be expected. No, there isn't a lot to do in the evenings after dinner, there was always music and dancing. Karaoke one night. Many went straight to bed. It's very full on and not what I would describe as a holiday. We were up at 6.30, breakfast at 7. The long walk usually started at 8am. Back on the ship by 11.30, lunch at 12. Afternoon walk 3pm back to the ship by 6.pm then cocktail party from 7pm talk at 7.15 followed by dinner. It was hard not to over indulge on the all inclusive drinks. I did suffer one morning after to many Pisco Sours the previous night!! The food was good and the Lobster excellent. We ate out on deck one night, wonderful. Our first night on the ship we were standing at the stern. It was dark and we were watching the stars when we heard a strange noise. We looked down to the landing platform where there were 3 sea lions asleep catching a ride. They were there for quite a while. All in all we really enjoyed this trip. Not the 5 star I expected but a good 4 1/2 I would definitely like to do the trip again at a different season and the Inner Loop. I would just ensure that it wouldn't be during school/college break. Whilst waiting at Baltra Airport for our flight back to Quito I did notice that the newly arriving passengers were all adults and seemingly couples. We booked this over 18 months ago when on the Celebrity Infinity. At that time there were no deals. We had a £400 cruise credit but they wouldn't let us use it for the xpedition. They are doing deals now though. We did a Transatlantic in October when Celebrity were heavily promoting the Galápagos and offering up to $500 onboard credit for your current cruise. So if your thinking about this trip it might pay to book onboard if you have a forthcoming Celebrity cruise booked.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
If you haven't recently sailed on her PLEASE do not believe most of the negative reviews. The Queen Mary 2 is stunning and in very good shape. That's the short length review. The medium review, or summary, is that the Queen Mary ... Read More
If you haven't recently sailed on her PLEASE do not believe most of the negative reviews. The Queen Mary 2 is stunning and in very good shape. That's the short length review. The medium review, or summary, is that the Queen Mary 2 is the last true Ocean liner and it is like walking into a time machine of beauty and tradition. It may not be for younger cruisers and you won't find amusement park rides, rock climbing walls, skating rinks, or spiraling pool slides. You will find a ship that feels more like traveling in the 1920's-1940's aboard a stunning, grand, very traditional ship. The full review: I was on the 12 night Christmas cruise with my two sons, 12 and 14, traveling from New York to the Caribbean and back. It's difficult to write a review for the Queen Mary 2 because you want to give it a glowing report in all ways, but in truth, while the ship really is breathe taking, there are some issues (with the overall experience, not the ship). The Brooklyn embarkation experience has a cold, low rent feel. Don't expect the union employees that search your bags or point you to the right line to smile or show the slightest courtesy. You feel like a cow being led to slaughter. You won't find as many crabs at a crab bake. The Royal Caribbean embarkation experience, with the gigantic Allure of the Seas, is so much classier and better run. Carnival, the cruise line that controls Cunard, ought to sail on the Allure to see how to do it right. Once you arrive at the counter the Cunard staff are pleasant enough. When you enter the ship you are greeted by high level staff and directed to your cabin, I think they will walk you to your cabin if you need help, but the ship is so beautiful you are in awe. I have been on the original Queen Mary, the one that is "docked" permanently in Long Beach, and I have to say they are quire similar. There is a kind of Art Deco interior design that is sleek and colorful; think bright gold decor and lush reds and exotic wood paneling. You honestly feel as if you have entered a time machine and somehow entered this perfectly preserved vessel. As some of you may know, the Queen Mary 2 is a true ocean liner, meaning it is NOT a hotel laying on a barge, as most cruise ships of today are... THE QM2 is designed to handle all season transatlantic voyages. I spoke to a frequent passenger who, in the past, encountered enormous waves and gale force five conditions and he said you hardly noticed. It was the largest ship when built and still seems very large. It'll take you a couple days just to see most of the ship. The sailing experience is traditional too. There is daily high tea served after lunch and, again, it's from another time. Think white gloves and English tea in fine china cups, served with finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and small cakes. Even for my 12 and 14 old children, both boys, the experience was sublime. They looked forward to it each day. Dinner in the main dining room is a dressy, fanciful affair. Service is not necessarily slow, certainly not by the standards of a land based five star restaurant, but it is quite leisurely, you don't want to be in a hurry. Some may find this tiring. The dress standard, unlike the other cruise lines, is quite high. You are expected to wear a jacket and tie for all dinners served in the main dining room, and there are several upscale nights as well. Again, while it's certainly fun to put a tie on, having to do so at every single dinner might be a bit much for some. We grew tired of the stuffiness after a few days. The food: There were a few really special dinners, but honestly, it's hit and miss in the main dining room. Frankly, the chef tries way to hard with exotic, fine dining choices that would be difficult to master in a small seat fine dining restaurant, but to serve, what, 1000 people per meal, well, you just can't do it. It's basically mass, banquet food when you are serving about a 1000 at a time and you can't give the individual attention to each food item when you are cranking them out like a factory. Many on the ship agreed with me and felt you were lucky to get 6 nights of quality food on a 12 night voyage. It was never really bad, just average at times. The service is good enough, but you know that the staff is shoved into little rooms in the bowel of the ship and work every day for low wages and long hours -- you see it in their behavior and on their faces. The Buffet: There is a horrible layout. Much of the time you aren't aware of what is there. It's sort of laid out in a bizarre zig zag of separate rooms, you leave one buffet area and enter another, as if exiting the restaurant, to reach other areas. The service is quite amazing. Unlike the Golden Corral buffet experience you get on other lines, Cunard has staff whisking away the plates and dishes. It's almost as if you are in a normal, upscale restaurant, not a buffet. No IKEA like self clearing here. The Buffet Food: Again, and it's really surprising how different each day is, it's hit and miss. When it's a hit IT IS AMAZING. I have never had such quality buffet food on a cruise line. Filet Mignon, six inch grilled ship, grilled lobster, etc. are available on certain nights. Other nights you wonder what in the heck they are serving. It's bloody awful, and I'm not English. I love Thai food and they have this horrendous thai green curry that looks like it had already been digested. Other choices are just very average, again, more Golden Corral than fine dining. Again, to compare it with another line, on Royal's Allure the buffet was fresh, hip, unique, quality -- all the time. On the QM2 you have a small dinner buffet section "served" by disinterested staff -- except for those amazing exceptions. The breakfast buffet is better than average in all ways. Special Find: I wish I had known about this. It fills up very fast. Each night the ship has a "special dining room" area set up in the buffet -- separate from the main buffet. One night it's Asian, another it's Indian, another it's American bistro. They put down table clothes and candles although you can't disguise that it's in the buffet dining area. The service is excellent, better than in the main dining room, the food IS THE BEST I had on the ship, and the surcharge is minimal, perhaps $10 per person. Todd English: My, this guy likes himself. Watch his video. It's a nice room with good service. There is a fairly large surcharge if I remember. I think we spent over $100 for three. The food isn't nearly as good as he'd like you to believe and most on the ship that tried it agreed. However, there aren't the 20 restaurants aboard as on more contemporary cruise ships, just this, the buffet, and the main dining room and you'll probably want to try it. The food is good, to be fair, but it isn't any sort of five star experience. I think it all comes from the same kitchen that makes the 1000 meals at once dinner. My older son doesn't agree with me and thought it was great. Passengers: I read somewhere that the average age is over 70. One would like to think that a Christmas cruise would lower this age somewhat -- and it does -- but not by much. It's sort of like being at a retirement home. I don't mind it so much, screaming teenagers and drunk seventeen year olds that other lines have aren't my cup of tea and the older gentleman and ladies on this ship are calming. However, I'm not sure this is the best choice if you are under 40, probably not if you're under 50, and frankly, might seem a bit dull for those under 60. However, whenever we made an effort to talk to others they were very engaging and interesting and happy to talk with someone new. There were a lot of English on this ship, even though it was a cruise that left from the US, and it was fun to have people who weren't from the states. Entertainment: Frankly, there were times when it seemed that they didn't even bother to try. No other ship near this size is devoid of all entertainment such as this one. Again, with the Allure, there is a broadway quality show, amazing Cirque du Soleil performers, and on and on. On this ship you have bingo, a movie, or ball room dancing. Which is probably just what one had in 1940. Sure, there are excellent musicians aboard, very talented, but if you are not into music from the 1930's-1940's, or so it seemed, you don't have a lot of choice. Ball room music and big band. Most of the acts brought aboard were low rent. The movies were near first run and very good. There is a planetarium that has short, 20 minute films about the universe. They aren't bad, but seem a trifle dated. It's unique, but not breathtaking. The room: We had a deluxe balcony room. The room has a luxe feel and seemed classier than on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We had three in a room. There is room for two and let's leave it at that. I would say even roomy for two, but three's a crowd. I've never been on any ship that was ever different. The room service food was certainly a step above what I've had on any other ship, just don't order the thai curry. Just don't. Trust me, it's even worse than the buffet version. Staff: Honestly, despite that white glove marketing, you can tell it's run by Carnival. Not a horrible thing, I've sailed on Carnival and they're fine, but you don't have the same caliber of service you find on Celebrity. Also, this was for us an expensive ship, it's not as if the prices are low and so you expect more and don't always get it. So, don't expect more and you'll be fine. Plenty of forced smiles and how are you's and so on. I can't think of a particularly bad or dismissive staff experience, except perhaps in the library, which has very dated books, despite it's large size there isn't much you'll want to read unless you are into serialized novels or bibliography like books on Plato, and all of the staff seemed like jerks who had zero interest in the passengers. That is rare though. The ports: On this 12 night trip you only stop at about four stops and all in a row. The small caribbean islands are poor and similar. St. Lucia? St. Kitts? Barbados? Couldn't tell you which were which -- somewhat repetitive. Still, it's fun to hop off and soak in the sun and culture. Seven nights at sea is a lot -- I'm surprised they didn't add another island. SPA: Frankly, I didn't think the massages are of the same quality as on other lines, and they are very pricey. However, you get access to an interior area that has amazing features -- pools, numerous saunas, whirl pools, etc. It's really, really nice. WARNING: As usual on cruise lines, you'll spend a fortune on internet and phone provider charges. Despite our having purchased expensive international add ons and data with AT&T, and buying the internet time on the ship, we had a $1500 cell phone bill and $600 cruise ship charge. If you have kids, tell them it's a computer free trip and lock them away (their equipment, not the kids). As you can imagine, the net service on the ship is grossly overpriced, erratic and extraordinarily slow. This is probably not a problem for the over 70 year olds, but honestly, we live in a mobile society and cruise ships won't have anyone under 30 on them if they can't get the data/net issues worked out. Overall: 12 nights on a ship might seem like a lot, but it went very fast. Despite all I've said about the lack of things to do, it's really more a lack of splashy entertainment and activities you'll find on contemporary cruise ships, you'll find ways to make time disappear. We played monopoly, chess, walked the beautiful teak deck that surrounds the exterior, read books, went to bingo, deck quots and shuffle board, swimming, exercising, and just relaxing on a lounger watching the waves and the sun. We were rarely bored. I chose this cruise because I am a fan of ocean liners and I wanted to experience the QM2. It really is a wonderful ship. Whether it's the right cruise for you depends on whether or not you are a foodie (there are probably better choices) and whether you will feel comfortable with an older crowd. I am very happy I chose Cunard and QM2 -- it's an experience that may not exist some day. Would I do the Christmas cruise again? No, been there, done that -- however, I would consider a different, shorter cruise in the future, just to experience this grand vessel again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our third time on the Royal and we decided to take two of our adult children with us. This was their first cruise and although it was not geared toward a younger crowd, they had the time of their lives. The Royal is a beautiful ... Read More
This was our third time on the Royal and we decided to take two of our adult children with us. This was their first cruise and although it was not geared toward a younger crowd, they had the time of their lives. The Royal is a beautiful ship and the mini-suites are spacious. We put our children in a balcony cabin and they were thrilled with it. Until recently, we had not cruised in MANY years. The biggest change is in the dining. I love having the anytime option dining and the buffet also offers a lot of variety. Years ago when we cruised every meal seemed like a gastronomical delight. I never leave hungry but I usually don't leave wowed. Our best meal has been at Crown Grill and of course that is an additional expense. We love the movies under the stars and the array of activities available. We do not drink enough to warrant the drink package but this time the drinks often seemed watered down. This was disappointing since we had not had this experience before. Our cabin steward was superb. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
CARNIVAL GLORY 11/22 - 11/29 Eastern Caribbean - Thanksgiving We are not prolific cruisers, but my wife and I have recently become fans of cruising, having done 3 within the last year or so. The first two were Royal Caribbean and MSC. All ... Read More
CARNIVAL GLORY 11/22 - 11/29 Eastern Caribbean - Thanksgiving We are not prolific cruisers, but my wife and I have recently become fans of cruising, having done 3 within the last year or so. The first two were Royal Caribbean and MSC. All were through the Eastern Caribbean and shared many common ports. We are a family of 8 (7 went), 45/45/22/20/17/16/15/13. The last cruise was over Thanksgiving 2014 on the Carnival Glory with the entire family. I have seen many very thorough reviews on here, some of which we have used to make our own cruising decisions (Thank You People!). It may not be totally fair to call this a "review," since I'm not going to spend time on every facet of the experience, and am instead just covering key points. STAFF: The staff, in general, was cordial, courteous, and ready to make you happy. The housekeeping staff was particularly hardworking and seemed to always smile. The room was always immaculate. I thought the bartenders were relatively quick and helpful, although there was one particular female (very old) bartender at the Red Frog bar on the pool deck (deck 9) that was very cantankerous. We rarely use the wait staff to order drinks, usually opting instead to just head to the bar and do it ourselves. After we had a few beers my wife headed to the bar to grab a water (gotta hydrate!). This bartender seemed incredibly put out that she had to even to waste her time to wait on my wife for "just" a water. She was rude. She told my wife, "You know, for future reference, it would be much quicker if you went to the buffet to get a water." Well, gee, old grumpy lady bartender person, thanks for your insight. That's a difficult concept for me to grasp since I would have to walk 30 yards PAST the bar to go to the buffet. And for your future reference, I'm on a boat in the middle of the ocean for a 7 day vacation. This is day 1. Time is my friend right now and I will spend it as I please. Now please get me a water. This unfortunate encounter aside, the rest of the staff was helpful and polite and we had no other issues. CHEERS: This was probably one of the more defining experiences during our cruise. We aren't huge drinkers, but I have six kids so I have to (ha). We did a lot of research on the Cheers alcohol plan before we picked this cruise and decided to purchase plans for us. We purchased this cruise in the Spring of 2014, months in advance, and the price of cheers was $37.95/day per person. This was a large factor in choosing Carnival over Royal Caribbean. Not only were the rooms cheaper, but with also a cheaper alcohol plan, we would save hundreds and hundreds of $$. Because we had 7 travelers, my wife and I were assigned different rooms, so we didn't have to buy two plans, but we intended to because the price was reasonable and its just so much more convenient. While the embarkation was smooth and awesome, my first 30 minutes on the boat threatened to drive me insane. We merrily went to the small Cheers table setup to buy the plans and bought two. I checked the receipt after paying (which frankly I normally don't do) and WHOA! $800 for two plans ($400 each: $350+tips/tax). "Um, excuse me, this is supposed to be wayyyy less," I told the woman. She didn't speak great English so she kinda pointed to the posterboard, and told me it was $49.95, which indeed said $49.95/day. I protested that it was $37.95 (or 37.50, couldnt remember) and she just kept pointing to the board and saying, "Look, see, it's $49.95." I have never wanted an entire message board population by my side before, but now I did. I wanted all you kind and informative cruisecritic board users with me to help me "prove" that I could have sworn it was $37.95. She didn't relent. Finally, a supervisor of some type came over and gave me a knowing grin, clasping his hands and explaining, yes, you are correct, it WAS $37.95/day but just a few weeks ago had been raised to $49.95. After all, $37.95 was a "promotional" price they said. Wait, back this truck up. This pricing was a huge factor in deciding to purchase this cruise, which I did while overseas months and months ago. I tried to prepay for the Cheers plan but they wouldn't let me (They had no problem with me "prepaying" for the entire cost of my cruise, however). Now you tell me the price is some 30% higher? I was refunded the $800 dollars and eventually found a man in a smashing white uniform milling about and explained this dilemma to him. This turned out to be Alain Lopez, an officer. I explained the absurdity of the situation. You have marketed this cruise at price A, which a large percentage of the pricing is wrapped up in two alcohol plans I intended to purchase. Now that I'm fully paid and on board, you are informing me the alcohol plan, which I could not prepay, is now price B, which is more expensive. Are you not going to offer the people who purchased the cruise during the time it was $37.95 that price? I told him I bought this cruise not only for the particular dates, but also because i could AFFORD it. Now you won't even let me buy the Cheers plan at the price it was when I bought the cruise! Mr. Lopez nodded and said he couldn't do anything but would have the bar operations manager call me. Anyone who knows chain of command knows that when a superior pushes a problem from himself to a subordinate, the importance of that "problem" has heretofore be deemed zero. Problems should be elevated up a chain, not lowered down it. The bar manager did in fact call me, then called back and left a message nothing could be done because this was Carnival HQ's decision, not the ship policy. Good one. I will not dispute that Carnival can price things however they want and change the pricing whenever you want. But no one will ever convince me that this anything less than deceptive marketing. You can't offer the price of an inherently important and expensive facet of your cruise experience at one price, get me to book a cruise based in large part on that, not permit me to prepurchase it, then not offer me that price when I board. I shielded this particular issue from the kids and we all truly had a great time believe it or not. After receiving my refund I told the bar supervisor that you had completely deincentivized me to buy two cheers plans, and this bait and switch pricing would encourage people to buy just one and share and I thought there practices justified me doing the same. The supervisor said that wasn't allowed and since I was completely exasperated at this point I said, "Watch me," and he responded, "We'll see about that." Well, clearly Carnival doesn't know me very well. I had been challenged. Please read the following to yourself in your best French accent: "You have been dishonest and unfair to me and now you challenge me to a duel? A duel you say?!? You silly cruise line. You have met your match!" I was looking forward to handing over my hard earned cash for two packages. In fact I did before I was refunded. But Carnival created this mess. Needless to say, after being completely discouraged by Carnival from holding up my end of the bargain, we bought one Cheers package. I didn't think twice either about slugging beers with my wonderful wife sitting side by side at the bar, ordering them every five minutes. Yea, we'll definitely see about that. Carnival's unillingness to see the deceptive nature of this practice and make it right is, to me, a harbinger of larger issues. I will not hand over responsibility for my family's experience and essentially their safety to a company that thinks these practices are fair and reasonable. This is a dealbreaker for me. This is my first, and last, Carnival cruise. In my brief cruising career I've quickly learned that there are many very good and reputable cruise lines perfectly willing to take my money. And I am more than happy to give it to them if they just play fair. ENTERTAINMENT: The quality of the entertainment was good overall. I've been to my share of AC/DC and Motley Crue concerts so I'm no librarian, but the poolside DJ was loud. Wow. I mean his volume really did go to 11. My wife and I had to yell to enjoy poolside conversation. He also concentrated on hip hop and your standard beach songs 100% of the time. I'm eclectic and maybe that's not the norm, but I like it all. Can we throw in a country song, 80s, james taylor, heck, james brown, jazz, def leppard, whatever, just something different, every once in a while? Man, it was relentless. The show performers were good. Hardworking and talented. The Epic Rock show was cool, the comedy was fun, and the newlywed show was great. After the DJ they usually did a solo act in the pool area corner. They were good, it just wasn't very exciting. They did a lot of trivia games, some in the theater and many in the casino. These are fun and we joined in but again, it's more of the same kind of passive entertainment. The casino, by the way, unless you're a 20 year smoker or actually live in an ashtray, is disgusting. It smelled like 50 years of smoke and made watching bands or doing trivia in the casino somewhat unpleasant. The smoking thing is weird to me, because Carnival seemed committed to no smoking in general. No smoking on the pool decks or in the comedy lounge, two places notorious for smoking. But in the casino it was katie bar the door, and you could tell. I guess gambling and smoking go hand in hand, neither of which i do. I won't pass judgement, I'll just say it wasn't for me. POOL: Third cruise in a year. This is the first one where there were NO pool games!! The pool was absurdly small and they couldn't/wouldn't hold any pool games in there. Whether you participate in them or not, getting strangers together in a pool for small but fun competitions is a great way to get people involved, and it brings people together. You can meet new friends on your team, enjoy the competitive aspect, or just sit back enjoy the debacle that inevitably ensues when overly tipsy travelers try to do stuff. I really think pool games are a requirement for me. It's interactive whether you're actually involved or just actively spectating. Carnival did the "hottest body" contest and stuff like that, but again, that's just not as universally fun and more of a spectacle than an event. For active people that love sports like myself, I found Carnival to be way more geared toward passive activities like listening to a DJ or a singer rather than active get-up and-do-it stuff. This surprised me a great deal since I thought coming in that Carnival skewed younger and more active. GYM/COURTS: I workout a lot and used the gym a lot. It wasn't good or bad. It had the basics but not the best stuff. No cables? Do you know how many exercises you can do with a cable machine? Its the best use of space in a gym, to not have one is a major oversight. Literally you can work every muscle group with cables. The gym lockeroom looked strangely dated and kinda dirty and gross. I just whisked through it to the gym and never used anything in it. I can find a workout without weights if i have to, i just thought that based on the decent size of it, it should have been much better. The sports court was really really small compared to other ships. My complaint here was they ONLY played basketball!!! There were exactly zero other sports events planned our week in the courts. No soccer, no dodgeball. I don't care, make up a game, Killer Hopscotch, I don't care, but to just cater to a single sports audience all week is ridiculous. Above that, it was a strange feeling i had and please don't take this the wrong way fellow Americans, but it seemed like Carnival was catering to the fat American, not an active, energetic get up and go crowd. I dunno, the lack of activity on the courts was disappointing to say the least. They did have 13-15 year old dodgeball one day, but nothing for adults. Ever. On the RCI cruise, i spent hours up on the court playing with my new Aussie friends in all sorts of competitions. HOT TUBS: You people are really going to think i'm some old stick in the mud with some of my comments but i promise i'm not. I play sports with college kids at 45 and love concerts and working out. But the Hot Tubs, where to begin? Okay, so they have a Serenity section which is adults only. I realize some of you will say I should have just gone there. But you know what, the pool is where the action is supposed to be, so i want to be there, not exiled to the serenity section. Wanna try out the hot tub? Unless you're under 10 years old, forget it. No joke, between 11am and 5pm the hot tubs in the main area were basically a frothy kid cappuccino. Imagine 10 or so small kids (with no parents mind you) jammed into a hot tub. Now imagine a large number of those 10 kids with ice cream cones, plates and bowls and silverware eating in that hot tub. I have a photo to prove it. There were old smashed ice cream cones, plates and lots of grossness left around the hot tub all day long. At night, pretty similar, all the kids pile into the hot tub and watch the poolside movie. With popcorn. Yea, that's not gross at all. I enjoy wading in water with popcorn floating all around me. I like to pretend I'm the last unpopped kernel just waiting to get hot enough. One mom actually looked nervously around from outside the gate surrounding the tub and told the mass of 8 year old humanity in the tub to be careful, because her two year old she was letting get in the swirling 105 degree water filled with awkward 8 year olds "can't swim." And I have 6 kids mind you so I'm no freaked out empty-nester, im just freaked out. BARS: The bars were okay. The bartenders were eager to please and fairly quick. I tried the EA sports bar briefly on turkey day to watch a few minutes of fball with the boys (because this is required). Eh. I will never understand why Carnival would spend so much money on those 2x2 tvs that combine to make one giant screen but then totally fail by not spending a few extra bucks for an High Definition signal. It's available right? Please don't tell me you can get a wireless internet signal on a boat hundreds of miles from civilization but you can't get a HD signal. You realize big screens look even worse than small ones when you show a SD signal on them because, well, they're bigger, right? This is sports watching 101. You call your bar "EA Sports." EA stands for Electronic Arts, one of the largest video game production and manufacturing companies in the world. They sell tens of millions of games every year, many of which are sports games, which are played on millions of gaming systems, every single one of which is high definition. Your bar is called EA Sports and your tvs are combined to be about 65 inches square but your signal dates back to 2004. This is the gaming equivalent of passing on your Madden 2014 and instead playing Atari Football from 1978. Small point but big impact. FOOD/DINING ROOM: I thought the buffett was horrible, period. I ate cafeteria food in Afghanistan for 7 months this year and it was better than this. The burger/burrito/pizza joints were very very good. The dining room was better than the buffet but not great. They did one thing i found very odd but maybe its not. When you order a beer or mixed drink or even a soda, which we only did a few times, they take FOREVER to bring it. I think they actually go out of the dining room to a bar and grab it there, so it takes much longer to arrive. The delay in getting these drinks made us stop even trying by midweek. PORTS/ETC: The ports were incredible. I won't bore you with all the details but we had an absolute blast. The best times were definitely off the ship, as is the case with most im sure, but it was awesome. O2 TEEN CLUB: I may be getting the name wrong, whichever club was for teenagers to dance in. I had unrealistically high hopes for the teen club. I have four teenagers and I was truly hoping they could have hung out in the teen disco after dinner for a bit and enjoyed dancing and meeting friends. My kids spent exactly 35 combined seconds in the club before they determined the crowd in there was not to their liking. My wife and I stopped by there one day to satisfy our own curiosity and we found it dark, mostly empty, and playing music i definitely wouldn't want my daughters dancing with boys to. After all this is said and done, we had a good time. Aside from Cheers, the negative issues were not endemic and could for the most part happen anywhere. They are highlighted here because they deserve to be but many positives happened along the way and because the kids were mostly unaware of even the smaller negatives, they had a blast. That said, I mean what I say about my distrust and lack of confidence in Carnival after the Cheers ordeal. I won't choose Carnival again. Having three very similar trips on three cruise lines within a short period of time gave us the benefit of being able to compare different lines on a lot of the very same criteria, making the comparison less subjective in my mind. With a large family, we are bargain hunters and somewhat frugal. We learn how to scrutinize our purchases and do quite a bit of homework for almost all our purchases. (Rather than spend $3k to fly to and from VA to FL, we rented a van, one way on both ends for about $500 total, and drove 14+ hours straight -- i did almost 1,000 miles in one sitting on Nov 29). That said, many people know that with some products, you just get what you pay for, like toilet paper or carpet. The difference in quality between a cheaper and more expensive product is too great to justify purchasing the least expensive. I think one of my conclusions is a cruise line may be one of those products. While we got GREAT deals on the other two trips, Carnival was, overall, more of an economical choice during this last holiday trip. After all is said and done, however, it was by far our least favorite ship and least favorite experience, although the kids had so much fun they couldn't care less.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
25th cruise, 1st NCL, never had a bad cruise, still haven't. We were looking for a very inexpensive holiday cruise and that is what we got. Embarkation was outstanding as was walk off. Plenty of parking at pier although somewhat ... Read More
25th cruise, 1st NCL, never had a bad cruise, still haven't. We were looking for a very inexpensive holiday cruise and that is what we got. Embarkation was outstanding as was walk off. Plenty of parking at pier although somewhat pricey. Overall, the food was just ok; definitely not a fan of freestyle dining. Cabins were small and lacking in storage space. Crew was congenial and did their job well. Entertainment was outstanding - first class. Kids activities were plentiful and appeared to be fun even though we did not utilize. Met lots of very friendly passengers. Too many "extra charges" kind of like a nickel and "dime me to death" experience. NCL would not be my first choice but I would sail again if looking for an inexpensive get away. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
My wife and I recently sailed for 8 nights over Thanksgiving on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. This was our second time on the Grandeur as we really like the convenience of the port in Baltimore as we can drive in less than 2 hours ... Read More
My wife and I recently sailed for 8 nights over Thanksgiving on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. This was our second time on the Grandeur as we really like the convenience of the port in Baltimore as we can drive in less than 2 hours with no airfare. The ship has been refurbished since our last time on and it is very nice. The service was excellent. As a matter of fact, our room steward was the best we've ever had in 20+ cruises with multiple cruise lines. We picked the itinerary for the Key West port and unfortunately, due to weather we were unable to get in there. The entertainment was good, but we would have liked it if there were more choices. We weren't impressed with the Windjammer Café (buffet). However, the Park Café was very nice. We were disappointed that the times of operation of the eating venues was limited also. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
The ship has held up very well. We feel that chops was not up to what we are use to. Johnny Rockets waited 1 hour only to get the wrong food. The show was Saturday night fever was just not great. The rooms look great. The dining room food ... Read More
The ship has held up very well. We feel that chops was not up to what we are use to. Johnny Rockets waited 1 hour only to get the wrong food. The show was Saturday night fever was just not great. The rooms look great. The dining room food was great. They took the crown books out and now you have to remember what deals you get. I guess that was smart on RCCL part save money. Weather was great. The island is the same great shopping. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
We recently went on a 14 day cruise in East Asia - it was OK but overall we were somewhat disappointed. Our cabin was good, the cabin attendant, and the dining room waiter were good, and the itinerary was good. But we did not find the ... Read More
We recently went on a 14 day cruise in East Asia - it was OK but overall we were somewhat disappointed. Our cabin was good, the cabin attendant, and the dining room waiter were good, and the itinerary was good. But we did not find the actual cruise as enjoyable as a previous one we had done on the Celebrity Infinity along the Inland Passage in Alaska. Although the on board facilities were pretty much the same, but in general we did not get the same degree of enjoyment or satisfaction as the earlier cruise - in particular we thought the quality and standard of food in the cafe and main dining room was generally poor and below the standard of the previous cruise. We took shore excursions at every Port - which were rather tiring, because they left early in the morning and you didn't have time at each place to really absorb the place and to do it at your own pace. That was a lesson we learnt, and no fault of the cruise. We were also concerned about safety drill on board, and how successful an evacuation of the ship would be int the event of such an occurrence - certainly getting passengers getting ashore for excursions, did not always go smoothly, and this should have been routine practice. Except for the food, i could not recommend against Celebrity Millennium, but we would certainly think carefully before going on another such cruise. Two Grey Gypsies. P.S. My opinion was not helped, because I lost my digital camera on board, it must have been found by another passenger or crew member, and they never handed it into the lost property office, but I guess that reflects modern society   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
A REVIEW FOR 'CELEBRITY SUMMIT' TO NEW ENGLAND AND CANADA: (Read all the way to the end for my 'Highlights and Lowlights'!) This was my 8th cruise, although FIRST with Celebrity. We'd heard so much about it being ... Read More
A REVIEW FOR 'CELEBRITY SUMMIT' TO NEW ENGLAND AND CANADA: (Read all the way to the end for my 'Highlights and Lowlights'!) This was my 8th cruise, although FIRST with Celebrity. We'd heard so much about it being 'all that', but we came away feeling that it was just like all the others. (Namely Holland America and Princess). That's not a bad thing, it just didn't feel like anything 'extra special'. Having said that, other passengers that had previously sailed with Celebrity told us to try the 'S' class of ships which is supposed to be a cut above. (Summit is an 'M' class). PRE-CRUISE: We stayed at the Doubletree in Jersey City. It was cheaper than Manhattan, but it was easy to get to Manhattan via the PATH train. (About $2.50 each way/pp). Jersey City also offers terrific views of the NYC skyline. The cab ride from Newark airport to the hotel was $50, as was the cab from the hotel to Bayonne cruise terminal. (We started to joke that wherever you went, it was $50!) EMBARKATION: They ran out of numbers to give people, so after a while, people just started getting in line and getting on the shuttles. It wasn't too crazy, but could have been a little better. Some previous Celebrity cruisers complained that it was one of the worst they'd experienced, but for us, (on our 8th cruise) it was about average. DEMOGRAPHIC: I would not recommend taking this cruise to New England/Canada unless you're OVER 55. I'm not sure if it was the time of year (Sept/Oct) or the choice of destination, but the demographic was an older-than- usual cruise crowd. We are ages 41 and 42 and people in their mid-sixties asked us several times if we thought the passengers seemed unusually old. (!) (They were referring to the very immobile 70-85 crowd). We were definitely one of the youngest couples on the ship and everything was very geared toward a much older set. (The music and entertainment, for example). Having said that, we are kind of old souls ourselves and enjoyed meeting and chatting with lots of very nice people. :) ITINERARY: Unfortunately, we missed one port (Sydney) due to a technical difficulty with the ship, but they did give us a partial refund due to the issue. Compared to other cruises I've taken, this New England/Canada itinerary is a little boring due to the fact there aren't any water activities or really thrilling things to visit, but we made the best of it and generally enjoyed it. We only took one Celebrity tour, which was excellent. (Peggy's Cove/Titanic grave yard in Halifax, NS) and relied on private tours for the rest or did our own thing. FOOD: For us the food was hit and miss. Some good, some average. According to my husband the lobster wasn't very good. (I don't eat it). The afternoon tea was disappointing in that it was not a formal setting, rather a walk-up self-serve counter next to the pool. I missed the white glove service and string quartet! Dining service was also hit and miss, just OK. We did the 'anytime dining' and often had to wait for half an hour with a buzzer, which we'd never experienced before on other cruise ships. They offer the usual 'higher level' extra fee restaurants which we tried at lunch time, but way overstuffed ourselves because we knew we were paying more. I know...I know... ENTERTAINMENT: I liked the cruise director and the fact they offered 'after-the-show' entertainment at 10:30pm in the Reflections lounge (night club). This would vary from things like comedians to theme night dancing, dance-off competitions and burlesque shows. I found the trivia a little too speedy/not relaxing. The one port lecture talk we went to was awful. The main entertainment shows were of general good quality, although it was often hard to get seated in the show-lounge, which was disappointing. DISEMBARKATION: It went pretty smoothly and we paid for a shuttle through Celebrity to take us to Newark airport, which we're glad we did. HIGHS AND LOWS: Love, love, loved the Thalassotherapy pool and sauna which are both free to use. (As of Fall 2014). The Thalassotherapy (or T-pool) is near the spa and is a warm salty mineral pool that is just delightful to sit in. WARNING: Don't wear silver jewelry in it -- I did and it either broke or tarnished! The sauna is in the locker room and offers a huge round window view of the view outside -- the best sauna I've experienced on a cruise ship! The workout room was also very state-of-the art and spoiled me compared to my gym at home! Loved the boozy bar on the back of the ship and the coffee bar with complimentary cookies/cakes and musical entertainment. (Coffees are an extra fee). There is also a gelato bar for an extra fee. General cleanliness was excellent Everything on-board seemed more expensive than other cruises we've taken. Hence, we didn't participate in many things with a fee. (eg. massages, i-lounge, acupuncture). In general it seemed extremely obvious like everything was about making money -- even the kitchen tour ended in a promo for the fee-based restaurants. It just gets a bit tiring. They take WAAAAYYYY too many photos of you during the cruise. When you disembark in each port they want to take your photo 3 (THREE!) times -- you know, one with a life buoy, one with a dolphin, one with a pirate, etc. etc. TOO MUCH! They also snap them at some dinners. We purchased one photo of a formal night. Overall, we had a nice time and would try Celebrity again, perhaps 'S' class next time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
Just returned from fjord cruise , this was our first cruise and as such was really ok, we chose the all inclusive option and seemed to work fine although there were no premium brand spirited the brands they used were unknown to us. We had ... Read More
Just returned from fjord cruise , this was our first cruise and as such was really ok, we chose the all inclusive option and seemed to work fine although there were no premium brand spirited the brands they used were unknown to us. We had an outside cabin with balcony which was large enough and kept clean and tidy by our steward, on down side only English tv was news channel, mainly Italian and German channels. The food was ok small portions in evening but 5 courses and generally enough choice, for an Italian ship pasta dishwasher poor though. Breakfast and lunch was a bit of a free for all with greedy Germans taking up most of tables but selection of food was good. Late night food was only cheese and tomatoe pizza with salad.. Ship is well fitted out and has plenty to do on board, don't bother to pre book excursions as these are not very good and you can get better deals once you get of ship. Crew on board are helpful and in general good fun, ship is kept spotless, we would use again for sure. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Embarkment was a breeze, took about 10 minutes from start to finish. Cabin was hump balcony mid-ship, superior room 9078 was nice and spacious. Location was ideal, right next to the elevator and convenient to everything. Our attendant ... Read More
Embarkment was a breeze, took about 10 minutes from start to finish. Cabin was hump balcony mid-ship, superior room 9078 was nice and spacious. Location was ideal, right next to the elevator and convenient to everything. Our attendant Francisco was amazing and so friendly. Kept our room in tip top shape, always made a point to say hi and keep us informed of the going on of the ship and let us know what to expect and when to expect things. Highly recommended. The room was is good condition, balcony large, new flat screen TV. My only complaint here would be the loud music that we could hear from the solarium at night when there was a party going on. I go to bed early so I found that disruptive. For that reason alone, I probably would book an AFT cabin from here on out and I won't book 9078 again on this type of ship. I missed the panoramic views of the back of the ship as well as the quiet. The room would have been so wonderful had it not been for the loud music. We weren't the only ones who thought it was loud. Some cruiser we spoke with on a lower level on the same location said the same exact thing. I honestly feel there is probably a better location to have a party near the pool area. I think the party ended around 11pm to midnight but on that very last day when we had to get up early, I felt like filling a complaint I was so upset. I feel like the staff should no better. Who wants to hear YMCA when they are trying to sleep? Limited stations on the TV so nothing really to watch. Who watches TV on a cruise? I do. At night and right when I come back to port or in the morning when I'm waiting. I like to wind down with some nightly television. I wasn't the only one with this complaint. There is a reason there is a TV in the room, people watch it. The food on the ship was pretty average. Some was good, some not so good, all just decent. I would say it was a steady 3 star experience. I was disappointed there was not a crepe station or eggs benedict in Windjammers. Breakfast was the same 15 items and the bacon was particular greasy and thin. There were several stations but they just mirrored each other. I understand they are trying to cut close but how about you rotate your menu every other day? Dinners in the Main dining area mirrored what was in the Windjammers but was just spruced up a bit. I don't understand the point of that. The Main dining room staff was also top notch, 5 stars for sure. I did feel like there was way too many Indian food options on the ship, I dislike that kind of food and dreaded smelling it. I hate butter chicken or anything like it. I felt that the food was very repetitious. I'm not a food critic and I didn't go hungry but there really wasn't anything fabulous I could recommend. Even the lobster on lobster night was too salty. The presentation was always lovely. I understand they work hard, I'm just giving my own opinion based off my other experiences. It was pretty much just food. After a while I only ate the star item on my dish and not the fillers/sides. Sometimes I only ordered starters. Even the dessert options were limited, not a lot of fruit options. And what really got me was that Windjammers closed at 9pm. The party went late and kept me up but they closed the main restaurant?! I could see people asking staff what else was open...really? On a cruise your buffet closes nightly at 9pm and there is a party going on? The ship is in good condition, clean and the crew keeps it up. Everyone works hard on that ship and everyone was so friendly. You could tell the staff wanted to stay on this ship and continue their contracts. Everyone went out of their way to make you feel welcome. You couldn't even leave your water at the table in the buffet and expect it to still be there on your return, that's how quick the staff was. The shows, I only went to one and it was short and sweet. A singing group. Hardly anyone was in attendance so you could sit where ever you wanted. It was entertaining. The ports were all wonderful and I definitely want to do this again. I enjoyed each and every one of these stops. Disembarkment was not as quick. There was a rain storm in San Juan that held us up. But we carried our luggage out since we are American citizens and we had that option. It took about 45 minutes total (some standing around) but we were off the ship somewhere between 7am to 8am that morning. Not bad. Overall, our experience was as expected and worth it. The Thai solarium was not as beautiful in person as I thought it would be after seeing the pictures but was still relaxing. They shut it down one day for maintenance. the food wasn't as good as my last cruise but the staff and the ship we great. The ship is older and smaller, it did not blow me away but I liked how it never seem crowded. I enjoyed the stateroom but not the noise. I probably won't do this ship again but I will try out Royal Caribbean again if the price and the destination is right. Nothing against this ship, I just like to try a different one each time I sail. I will sail to see if other ships are run differently, but if I come across another cruise where the buffet closes at 9pm, I will have to reconsider sailing with Royal Caribbean again. I just didn't like that. What do you do if you want to sit and visit with people over a light snack on your vacation? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Embarkation: Embarkation, once we got off of our shuttle bus, was a breeze. However, we had to wait in our bus for about 1/2 hour as the drop off area was very disorganized. There is a lot of construction going on around Port Everglades ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation, once we got off of our shuttle bus, was a breeze. However, we had to wait in our bus for about 1/2 hour as the drop off area was very disorganized. There is a lot of construction going on around Port Everglades and the whole port is just a disorganized mess. RCCL's embarkation process was very painless as we were on the ship within 1/2 hour of getting off of the bus. There was some confusion which led to a potential financial impact that I will explain later. The ship- I believe the ship underwent an upgrade in the past year. We had been on the Freedom of the Seas and this ship is her identical twin for the most part. The only real signs of wear were the carpets in the stateroom hallways. The majority of the interior was spotless. We did see some external painting going on in one of the ports, but I believe that is just normal maintenance. She is a beautiful ship and well maintained. Our stateroom- We booked a balcony room on the starboard side near the front of the boat. The idea was to be as far from the engines as possible. I know there's different theories as to the best locations to avoid vibration and rocking. Our first two sea days were headlong into a 25-30 knot wind which created an apparent 50 know wind on the deck. The ship rocked more than I thought it would, but it was going into heavy wave action. I still find it funny that the refrigerators are stocked with soft drinks, waters, etc that are extra. We always bring water bottles and remove all the mini-bar items. The bed was not very comfortable, even with an egg crate topper. The shower was great as long as you didn't drop the soap. If you do, you have to open the shower doors to bend down. John, our room steward, was awesome and kept our room clean and fresh. We really enjoyed the balcony views of ports and the ability to sit and listen to the waves at night. I think we were fortunate that we did not have smokers on either side of us. Entertainment: This is where the trip shined. In addition to the excellent production shows, there was an ice show that was awesome. We were fortunate to have the Home Free vocal group perform twice. They had just won the "Sing Off" television show and to have them there was really great. Joff, the cruise director was very funny during all of the events. The comedian for the early shows was Phil Tag, who we had heard before. He was funny, but I missed the adult show since i was watching the BCS championship game that night. We also took advantage of the Mystery Dinner, which was probably the best food of the trip in addition to the entertaining storyline of a murder mystery. Food: I have mixed feelings on this. The Windjammer food was very bland. If you like scrambled eggs like I do, to be faced with runny scrambled eggs every morning was very disappointing. In addition, they didn't really have any pastries worth mentioning. And I didn't know you could butcher chocolate chip cookies, but they managed to do it. On the plus side, the food in the MDR was excellent. We were able to order more than one lobster on lobster night. I had steak one night but it was a little dry. We only took advantage of the upcharge Johnny Rockets once, but it didn't disappoint with the best fries on the open seas. If I had it to do again, I would eat in the MDR for all meals. We also used MyTime dining and ended up making some new friends each night. Smoking policy- This was probably the most disappointing part of the cruise. I wish RCL would institute the same no smoking policy as Princess. There were many times we had to get up and leave the casino when a smoker sat down next to one of us and lit up. Same thing on the pool deck or promenade deck. There's nothing worse than walking along that beautiful deck in the sunshine only to be assaulted by cigarette smoke. Ports: We chose this cruise because of the ports. They were places we had not been. St Maarten, St Kitts, and San Juan did not disappoint. I wish that we had stayed an extra 1/2 day in San Juan as we did not have near enough time there. After the 2 1/2 hr walking tour of the two forts, there was barely an hour for shopping before we had to get back on the ship. Labadee was ok, but we're not much for beach visits. Staff- The staff on the ship was first rate, from Joff the cruise director to the lowest level employee. Never were we greeted with anything but a smile and a good morning. Special shout out to Oxsana, for her really entertaining trivia games. While she may have not known how to pronounce all the words, she maintained a positive attitude throughout each game. Some of the people participating in the trivia games could have been much nicer....it's only a game, people. Back to the topic of the financial snafu. RCL mixed our booking with another couple such that they had our room assigned to them, even though the booking was in our name. whenever we looked at any of our pictures in the photo area, we also saw some of theirs. We finally met them one day and lamented about the mix up. It caused some delays disembarking on one of the ports as my sea pass card was invalidated because of the mix up. The customer service desk finally got everything straightened out, but we still saw some of their photos up until about 3 days left in the cruise. Disembarkation was very easy and not so early that we didn't have time for breakfast in the MDR. If I had to make one change, it would be a more defined smoking policy. Overall, though, I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned today from a 4 day xmas cruise to the Bahamas on the Sky. We're a family of four, and this was our 4th NCL cruise, first time on the Sky. On this cruise, we were accompanied by our parents who have sailed several times ... Read More
Just returned today from a 4 day xmas cruise to the Bahamas on the Sky. We're a family of four, and this was our 4th NCL cruise, first time on the Sky. On this cruise, we were accompanied by our parents who have sailed several times previously. Overall, the Sky cabins could use some work, but we enjoyed our cruise... how can you not!? 4 days was the perfect amount of time on the Sky. As always embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. We were on the ship within 15 minutes of arrival and headed straight for the dining room for lunch. Why more people don't eat in the dining rooms more often mystifies me... we were one of about a half dozen tables for lunch on the first day. We immediately relaxed to the smiles and superb service of the wait staff. Food was very good to excellent. We brought a bottle of wine on board for each night of the cruise to go with dinner. Everyone enjoyed the entrees in the main dining rooms... lowerlights were the Thai shrimp and gnochi... but the salmon with tarragon butter sauce was a highlight. We ate one night at Le Bistro, and it was sensational! Beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection and the creme brulee was to die for! The ship itself was nice but is showing its age in spots. We enjoy this size ship though. Every cabin was full on the ship, yet it didn't feel overly crowded. Entertainment was... entertaining. The Vegas show had energy, and the comedian projected his good time onto the crowd. The main show venue doesn't have the best seating or sightlines: stick to the lower level if you want the best view. By far, the most disappointing aspect of the cruise was our deck 9 oceanview cabin. The window was covered in stains (I know it's hard to keep these clean), the shower had no water pressure (squirted maybe two inches from the handheld nozzle), the shower water temperature could not be regulated well (no help from a call to the service desk), and the bathroom stank of urine during embarkation (cleaning our the hold?). Cabins on the Jewel-class ships are much nicer and better designed. We stopped in Freeport, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay. I see no reason to go back to either Freeport or Nassau, but GSC was super. Very relaxing time on that Island. We headed past the first (overcrowded) clump of loungers and landed on some loungers sprinkled upon a grassy area. Absolutely one of the best days we've head on any of our cruises! A little food, some pina coladas and the ocean at our feet. Would I travel on the Sky to the Bahamas again? I don't think so, but the cruise was enjoyable nonetheless. Food was great, and we'll definitely do Le Bistro and GSC again. NCL staff was uniformly friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the ... Read More
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the Mongolian Wok and the Tandoori on the Lido Deck. For Dinner, we had late dining at the Gold Pearl. Our waiter, Dwain, knew exactly what we would want on every day. The Warm Melting Chocolate Cake was to die for. The lines for the food were long. We waited an hour and a half for the Mongolian Wok on the last day...but it was totally worth it. There were not as many activities as past cruises I have taken, but everyone in our group found some way to stay occupied at any given time. The cruise director, Eli, was funny and chock full of corny jokes, which we enjoyed. In Port Canaveral, we booked a Surf Lesson with the Cruise Line and really enjoyed it. We booked the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel excursion in Nassau, and because of the odd timing, the smack middle of the day, we were only able to spend about 30 minutes in Atlantis. The worst part was that when we got back to the ship, we were told that the trip was cancelled because of bad weather. However, we got a full refund, which was nice. So we spent the rest of the day in the Straw Market and roaming around Downtown Nassau. We have travelled this itenirary a few times and have learned that the best way to enjoy Freeport is to take a taxi to Taino beach and do any watersports there. DO NOT BOOK WITH THE CRUISE. What costs you $75, to parasail, in Taino will run you $100 something onboard. Overall, an enjoyable cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
RATINGS (out of 10): Stateroom 'VA' veranda - 8 Ship condition - 9 Staff - 10 Food quantity/variety - 9 Food quality - 6 Itinerary - 10 Grand Turk catamaran/snorkel - 7 San Juan PR strolling - 7 St. Martin Orient Bay ... Read More
RATINGS (out of 10): Stateroom 'VA' veranda - 8 Ship condition - 9 Staff - 10 Food quantity/variety - 9 Food quality - 6 Itinerary - 10 Grand Turk catamaran/snorkel - 7 San Juan PR strolling - 7 St. Martin Orient Bay Beach - 6 Half Moon Cay - 10 Entertainment - 7 Spa Massage - 1 (one) Gym - 9 Poolside - 6 COMMENTS 1. My wife enjoyed her couples massage, but I felt that my masseuse was untrained. She did not work the muscles, but merely smoothed oil gently over my skin. She hardly touched my neck, which was the #1 area of stress/tension that I told her about. She asked if I wanted hot stones, but failed to mention the $20 extra charge. At the end, the up-marketing began in earnest, as they tried to sell many expensive oils and cremes. When it was all said and done, I felt like I had been ripped off. I've had far better massages for $50-60. 2. I would compare the food to a Golden Corral: Lots of quantity and variety, but the quality is only so-so. Best items were breakfast and the poolside french fries. Not what you could call gourmet. 3. The ship's regular entertainers were only mediocre, but the BB King band had some real talent. Each of the 6 band members held their own individually and as a group, and the 2 singers were outstanding. They will be on the ship until March 2014. I only wish they had actually played blues like BB King, rather than "Rhythm &" Blues. 4. The snorkeling would have been far better if they had done it in 10 feet of water instead of 30-40 ft. And it was about twice too expensive. 5. Fabled Orient beach is small, dirty and trashy. But at least you could get 6 Coronas for only $10. 6. By contrast the beach at Half Moon Cay was gorgeous: super clean, soft lovely sand, good swimming area, BBQ, etc. The clamshell umbrella was a good deal. 7. This was Christmas week, and they tried, but it sure didn't seem like Christmas. More like a "Happy Gingerbread House Holiday." 8. The staff were very friendly, helpful and hard-working. The service was excellent, albeit slow in the main dining room. But they were practically running non-stop, so no lack of effort... just a massive undertaking to serve so many people. BOTTOM LINE Enjoyable and relaxing, maybe an 8.5 score. But we're not sure we'll cruise again soon... will have to weigh cost & convenience vs. a land trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
The MSC Lirica is a medium ship, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the mega ships but nether less is spotless and service was great. Our teenage family tend to go for an itinary that will engage the kids and this was ticked ... Read More
The MSC Lirica is a medium ship, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the mega ships but nether less is spotless and service was great. Our teenage family tend to go for an itinary that will engage the kids and this was ticked the boxes. First the ship, seemed identical to the Opera we sailed on in August so new our way roun. This is an Italian ship so dinner is a 7 course Mediterranean affair, no steak, burgers etc but salads, pastas and seafood. With the size you do not get any speciality restaurants. For breakfast we always ate in the MDR not the buffet and was great the rest of the time we were off ship. There is a smoking bat at the one end of the Ship. As this was Christmas there was a great Christmas theme, however, the Xmas service was in Italian. If the shows are vital to you cruise enjoyment, choose another line as it is very Western European, not great from a Brit point of view but not high on my agenda. Arrived from Birmingham at around 7:30 into Dubai, immigration is slow but we will still on board for 10:00 am. The downside to this is disembarkment was at 4:00 am the following Saturday. Dubai Please note there is free wifi in the cruise terminal. We arrived early so took a taxi tour. The taxis are plentiful even for our party of 7. The taxi drivers are all tour guides. Negotiate your price. Typically 500 dirhams for 6 hours, 300 for 3. We visited the deira gold souk, the creek,the magnificent park Hyatt hotel, the Egyptian themed Raffles hotel,the palace,dubathe Flamingos and finally dropped off at the Dubai Mall to go up the Burj Khalifa. Tip pre book online, save yourself a lot of money plus choose a time of your choice. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world and includes an ice rink, an aquarium and dancing fountains! All on board for 5:30. Abu Dhabi Again taxi tour 300 dirhams as the party wanted to get back for 2:00. The Mosque is fantastic and clothes are provided for women to cover up, cruise card will do as I'd, saw the Sultan's palace, the marina, the F1 circuit and Ferrari world. Sea day ; rained all day!!!!!!!!! Khor fakkan Had a fantastic day at the beach at the lovely 4 star Oceanic Hotel. Take the shuttle bus out of port. Then take the free shuttle bus to the Hotel. The day pass costs 65 dirhams per adult (12 and over) and must be paid in cash. For that you get free towels, sunbed and lounges on beach or pool and a fantastic buffet lunch including non alcoholic drinks. Free wifi in hotel. Never seen so many staff in a hotel. Free shuttle return at 3,3:30 and 4. Muscat Boat docks at Muttrah, old part of Muscat. As this was Xmas day we just wandered around the Souks bartering for fancy dress for New Year and the fish market. Easy to walk to keep the sea on your left 10 minutes. Remember Omani Rial is currency but euros accepted as normal currency, 1 rial is 2 euros. If you prefer taxi tour again plentiful waiting to be negotiated!!!!! Khasab Another favourite day. We pre booked a Dhow tour with Khourshem Tours. A full day visiting telegraph and seema Islands, lunch, snorkelling,equipment and towels provided and non alcoholic drinks cost 32 euros per person. Approx 17 on board. We saw bottle neck Dolphins close up and the Coral round the islands meant some great fish. Very chilled day, the 6 hours flew by. Dubai. For us the kids wanted to go to Wild Wadi by the magnificent Burj Al Arab and part of the jumeirah beach hotel. Wow what a view. Tip buy one get one free vouchers form the Dubai Entertainer are available on ebay for a few pounds.235 dirhams to get in. All in all fantastic taste of the Middle East .   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Our 3rd consecutive Christmas cruise, we thought we would be kicking it up a notch going from our previous cruises on the Carnival Conquest to a more $$$ trip on the the NCL Jewel. We were disappointed in finding both the cabin and bath ... Read More
Our 3rd consecutive Christmas cruise, we thought we would be kicking it up a notch going from our previous cruises on the Carnival Conquest to a more $$$ trip on the the NCL Jewel. We were disappointed in finding both the cabin and bath much smaller than on our similar class Carnival cruises. The service and interaction with our cabin steward was also lacking. I don't ever recall being called by name. The carpet in the cabin was worn, dirty and in need of replacement. The hallways were narrower then on any ship we have ever sailed on, and the one to our room was frequently cluttered with ice chests, totes of cleaning supplies and carts of towels making passage difficult. The menu choices in the dining room as well as the service (downright rude at times) was also less than what was offered by Carnival. One of the biggest failings was the dessert offering both in the dining room as well as the buffet line. No chocolate melting cake here! What was mostly offered was what we referred to as, jiggly gelatin-like desserts. Only after we had turned in our comment cards on the last day of the cruise did the assistant maitre d' visit our table in the room and offer us dessert choices one would expect to be served in the main dining room, selections they had sent to us from the ships' specialty restaurants. I'm sure those dining around us wondered where the heck the creme brûlée and Tiramisu came from! Vegetarian options were also limited. My daughter requested a simple garden salad and was told by the server that wasn't possible. We later found out the rule was "if it's on the ship, a guest can have it." We appreciated the thought that went into making sure everyone sanitized their hands before entering the buffet and restaurants. However, standing guard at entrances with a squirt bottle and saying "Washy Washy" for seven days was a bit overkill. There were some positives, however. We greatly enjoyed the extra touches throughout the trip. NCL did a great job bringing the Christmas spirit aboard. They offered a holiday show, Christmas candies, Christmas dinner, caroling, and broadcasted church services. They also offered flavored water and cold towels when returning from excursions. The entertainment was also excellent as was the embarkation and debarkation process. We also had no problem getting off the ship for excursions and had funk at all of our ports. We had a great time, but probably won't sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Traveled on the December 21st Sailing of Celebrity Reflection (Holiday Cruise) out of Miami. Port stops in San Juan in Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and Phillipsburg in St. Maarten (Dutch Side). We were in an S-1 Sky Suite, ... Read More
Traveled on the December 21st Sailing of Celebrity Reflection (Holiday Cruise) out of Miami. Port stops in San Juan in Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and Phillipsburg in St. Maarten (Dutch Side). We were in an S-1 Sky Suite, Aft corner cabin (9301). This was a last minute booking a few weeks before travel. Just so you are aware, this review was written based on our expectations and our lifestyle. Married couple in their mid forties, traveling without children who prefer the most luxurious accommodations we can get when booking. Our expectations are high. We are also smokers (i know, boo hiss, blah blah blah). We have taken a number of cruises, always staying in Butler level suites or higher. This cruise we compared to our experiences on NCL's Owners Suite level of accommodations. Embarkation - we arrived around 1:15pm (we live in Miami so the port is a short cab ride). We followed the signs to the "Suite Guests" area. This basically allows you to bypass the much longer standard line. After that, you do have to find the suite guests or aqua guests line and stand in that (20 minute at least). All other cruise lines that we have experienced have provided a separate suite guest check in room, with snacks and personalized service. Once we received our cards and barely a "have an nice cruise" from the disgruntled agent, we were able to follow the signs on which way to get onto the ship - no explanations, no "go that way" - nothing. On our other cruises, we were collected at check in by our butler or concierge and escorted either directly to our room or luncheon, etc. while explained the differing areas of the ship, when our luggage would arrive, etc. Once we received our key cards, we were on our own. Once we got onto the ship and looked at where to go we were able to find our cabin quite easily. No Butler, no room attendant, nothing. No welcoming anything. We wandered around looking for a place to have a quiet drink, etc. and finally discovered that the Sunset Bar would pretty much be our home for the rest of the trip :) A most EXCELLENT staff and they were by far the friendliest most energetic staff on the entire trip. Sergio, Onur, etc - you guys were amazing!!! Sergio never missed a chance to say hi, talk to us about the trip, see how we were doing or refill our drink - by the second day this man knew our names and stateroom number by heart. We hated leaving!! We kept checking on our room, and finally luggage arrived after sail away. FYI - Sail away on the reflection is a much more subdued affair than on any other cruise i have ever been on. Just relaxed and quiet. Totally not complaining :) Better than hearing Gangnam Style 742 times in a week :) We met our butler around 6-ish and he asked if there was anything he could do for us - anything we asked for he could not do - book reservations, get our wine bottles from our package, tell us about the ship and the areas where we could smoke, Gordon was totally useless and moderately rude. I was informed if i wanted any kind of assistance, i had to go to guest services on the 3rd deck. Needless to say, he was no longer our butler after the 2nd day. He did not place timely Cabana or dinner reservations and of course we now had no specialty restaurant reservations for the first night (he was able to secure odd time seating on the 24th for Qsine). Our new Butler (Nalan) was a doll and treated us like we were her only guests (and was well compensated for it buy us) The ship is brand new in the past year. All the bells and whistles you could want - except something that is glaringly obvious - why do we have high tech everywhere, yet to see a daily schedule i still must rely on a printed sheet of paper instead of interactive "whats happening" signage? near the elevator? where there are two separate maps of the ship right next to each other? Def a loss in that category. There are only a few places to smoke on board (shush) - Sunset Bar, Off deck 5 exit from Captains Club, Mast Bar on Deck 15. Thats it. Seriously. That is it. and they are small areas to boot. You also CANNOT SMOKE on your balcony. $250 fine and you can be thrown off the ship. They also don't allow ELECTIONIC Cigarettes (seriously people its WATER VAPOR not SMOKE) because some people do not like you to even LOOK like you are smoking (but they are apparently OK with people who pick their noses and eat their findings while at dinner in a public restaurant LOL). So smokers beware. Kids - ah, my favorite subject. People, this is an "older" person cruise line. There are no rock walls, there are no slides - there are things for kids to do - but seriously people - the elevators are not your built in babysitters. I have three grown children, and the only thing I could NOT find on this ship (other than a good butler) was a place that DID NOT ALLOW KIDS other than the casino. All bars at all times had children screaming, crying, playing on the furniture, knocking over drinks and just being a menace (granted, not the KIDS fault, its the parents fault) but come on - not a single space that was child free on 16 decks that i could just enjoy a good book for 30 minutes without having to sit in my own cabin? Qsine was by far our fav specialty restaurant, followed by Tuscan Grill. We were not that impressed with Murano. The MDR was spotty (some dishes were terrific some where just horrific) service was spotty at best. Okie's section (Table 409) had the best service and Aleks the Sommilier was wonderful. Our favorite indoor spot on the ship was the wine cellar - self service ATM-Like cards (not included in booze package) made it a pleasure - it was often empty and quiet - and the two gentlemen who work there were wonderful to speak to always friendly and def knowledgeable. Arriving in San Juan after 3pm kind of puts a damper on doing anything in town other than walking around. Our other two ports of call - since it was Christmas and Christmas eve - were also mostly closed. Sea days on the ship - they still have not been able to stop the "one person saving 10 deck chairs" or people just leaving towels for hours on end. Could never get a seat anywhere near the pool and the deck chairs on all levels and indoors are packed in like sardines. There were a few nights with a DJ on board and out by the pool - however, it was very poorly attended (especially Sky Lounge). The live band in the lobby is OK, but it was pretty much the same thing every night. The professional portraits are $30 each - and they are no better than the $15 on other cruise lines. All in all we will try celebrity again on a non-holiday week, however, we will stick with NCL when the kiddies are not in school :) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for ... Read More
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for comparison. Embarkation was relatively easy, and after arriving via Park And Go from our parking area, we boarded by 1:30p and met up with the rest of our party onboard. A row of 4 interior cabins and a balcony cabin at the back of the ship were our home for the duration; our cabin steward Merlito was very attentive and became known, among the teens, as the "all-seeing, all-knowing" all-powerful presence who always knew who was up and perhaps even where they were headed. The cabins were small but entirely adequate and well-organized with a nightstand per person, and shelves and safe in the closet area (with plenty of hangers) that separates the bathroom from the bedroom. Initially the A/C seemed not to be working well, but after the first day, this was better. We had a very nice time overall and gained several pounds along the way, so we can't complain about the food. I was surprised by the relative absence of symbols/signs on the menus that would indicate "waist-watchers" choices, or calorie counts that would help guide those inclined to limit themselves. The first day, we had to petition the maitre de for a table for 10, even though we had requested this upon reservation, but once this glitch was overcome, had a good time every night with our waitstaff Tanya and Ketut in the Boticelli DR for late seating. Service was prompt and accurate, though the pace seemed to slow as dessert approached, when much of the table was eager to break free for the evening entertainment. The choices in the buffet areas were a bit repetitive, but since one can't possibly eat every item at each meal, this was not an issue. In addition, the grill and pizza were available on Deck 15 (and deemed excellent and good respectively) but the general feeling is that the pizza in particular should be served til at least 1am rather than 11p to allow for night owls with late-night cravings. The International Cafe on Deck 5 had good salad and panini offerings and was open 24/7. We were disappointed by the sushi offered in the Caribe Area, but don't know if the quality of the sushi served at Vines (when one purchases wine/drinks) is any better. No midnight buffets were offerred. Entertainment was varied and widely available. The 2 person Cinnamoon duo in the Wheelhouse Bar were good for couples to dance to. The piano bar Crooners was convivial, but I had hoped for a piano bar where the crowd could surround the piano and join in lusty song; here, the entertainer was very talented but performed primarily solo. Club Fusion was home to karaoke, trivia, Mass, Pop Princess competition, and Bingo, though some evenings it seemed to be underused for such a large space. The Princess Theater was the venue for every evening's main entertainment and the singers and dancers were quite good; show quality varied, but they get an A for effort. Lisa and Toby, the co-cruise directors, were awesome and funny both. I was surprised by the lack of drink sales in this location, though there may be a reason for this. Explorers Lounge hosted the ventriloquist, the Marriage Game, the Bad Boy of Magic, and another fun game night hosted by Toby. The Adagio Bar, up on Deck 16 next to Sabatini's, was the quietest bar on board, but Allen was the consummate bartender every night. Skywalkers was the nightclub on Deck 18, which could really "rock and roll" if the seas were up, and the bouncers did a pretty good job of keeping the under-18s out. DJ Nikki knew what she had to play to get folks to flock to the dance floor, so I was surprised on the last night that her selections were pretty weak, with long lulls of dullness between bursts of activity. Our teens found it odd that there was no place and no effort made to allow those in that difficult age range of 16-18 to hang out together; the Teen Club allows only those up to 16, the disco allows only those over 18, so for example, if cousins who are 16 and 18 want to be together, they have nothing to do but roam the ship aimlessly! If announcements can be posted in the daily flyer for AA folks and LGTB folks, why no 16-18ers? Activities on board could have been more in quantity. When trivia is held in Adagio/Wheelhouse and there is SRO, that's a sign that folks are looking for something to do. When 2 teenaged boys plan to attend napkin-folding, that's a sign that they need more things to do. When the Speed Sudoku held in Adagio runs out of sheets for eager participants who arrive and no effort is made to procure more for them to be able to do so, that is a lack of initiative on the part of the staff. Why is there NO shuffleboard, the iconic cruise activity? Only 2 ping pong tables for a ship this size is inadequate. The minigolf area is somewhat seedy-looking, it is unclear where to get the clubs and balls, and it's impossible to get on the course without climbing over the wall! And what's with the "jogging track" that measures, what, 0.3 miles and at the very top of the ship--a recipe for dizziness and disaster! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
So, my 5-day Christmas cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Cozumel was a nice alternative to spending the holiday covered in ice. The weather in FL and Mexico was really nice; not too steamy (while here in New England we were ... Read More
So, my 5-day Christmas cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and Cozumel was a nice alternative to spending the holiday covered in ice. The weather in FL and Mexico was really nice; not too steamy (while here in New England we were having another lovely power-outage-inducing ice storm). This was my first trip with Celebrity. The ship was the Constellation, an older ship that has been updated. First, I have to say that I was disappointed in that Celebrity touts itself as a "luxury" cruise line. It was nice, yes, but considering the cost/quality ratio, it did not live up to my expectations of a "luxury" cruise. I had a concierge-level cabin, which means that I had fresh flowers and a bottle of bubbly waiting in my room, a nice robe to wear, decent bath amenities, and a bit more space in which to flop. The cabin was 9193, which was not too far from an elevator/stairway, and just one level below the buffet. It was the last cabin before the aft-facing cabins and was very private and quiet. Right up my alley. That being said, here are my pros and cons. Pros: The ship staff - From my steward, Jaime (sp?), to the main and buffet dining staff, to the gentleman who ran the iLounge, they were professional and friendly and made me feel cared for. Well done. The martini bar - The bartenders were, bar none (pun intended), the best flair bartenders I've encountered on any cruise. They were amazing at their craft and a joy to spend time with. The ice-topped bar was pretty neat, too. The captain's daily announcements - Probably the youngest ship's master in commercial cruising, he was humorous and charming, and I understand that he isn't so lofty that he doesn't spend time with the crew. I like that in a person of higher responsibility. Main dining room food - Pretty damned good. The food was prepared perfectly and the Maitre d' (sommelier?) was very engaged and responsive. Specialty restaurant food - Having grown up eating venison, I was floored by the venison I had at Ocean Liners. Perfection! The crepes in Bistro on 5 were exceptional (and it was open 24/7, so yay!). And the food in the Tuscan Grille, especially the beef Carpaccio, was skillfully prepared. Embarkation/debarkation - I don't know whether to credit Port Everglades or the ship or a combination of both, but this was the easiest, breeziest on/off process I've ever experienced. Cons: Entertainment - One word... abysmal. It was terribly outdated and as for quality, I'd prefer to have gone to a high school play (at least I would have had the emotional investment to have been able to forgive the lameness). When other cruise lines are providing shows like Blue Man Group and Cirque, you had better up your game and get away from the dated, cheesy, low-quality fare that was offered on this cruise. I certainly hope that other Celebrity ships provide better. Activities - Uh... what activities? When more than half of your daily newsletter is advertising for the shops, spa, and art gallery, your activity offerings are sorely, sorely lacking. I saw the largest crowds ever attending the trivia games. Why? Because there was nothing else for them to do! Oh, they could have attended the scrapbooking class... uh... really? I heard several families complain that there were not enough activities for their kids to participate in, and this was over a school vacation period, so it's not like they weren't expected. Granted, Santa showed up on Christmas and all of that was nicely handled, but (I hope Celebrity reads these posts) the cruise-going demographic is changing. More families are sailing and more solos are sailing, too. Long gone are the days when only retirees and the well-off are opting to spend their vacation dollars at sea. Celebrity had better get with the program or they will be going the way of the dodo. Invisible officers - I never saw any officers except on TV. Personally, I like to see that they are out there making sure everything is shipshape. Specialty restaurants - Although the food, for the most part, was noteworthy, the staff really needs some dance lessons. They seemed to be walking all over each other. I never knew who to defer to, and I felt that the entire experience in both Ocean Liners and the Tuscan Grille was like watching an episode of Keystone cops. They truly need a lesson in calming down and presenting a more seamless, professional, cohesive front. Final verdict: I will go on another Celebrity cruise. I can't make a judgment based on one 5-day experience on an older ship. I am hopeful that when I next choose to live on a Celebrity ship for any amount of time they will have upped their game a bit.   Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise