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Sail Date: December 2013
Good The most polite and hardworking staff. This is our 8th cruise, 2nd on NCL, cruised Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. They followed up and really listened when we had a problem. Food was good no tough cuts of meat,there was a ... Read More
Good The most polite and hardworking staff. This is our 8th cruise, 2nd on NCL, cruised Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. They followed up and really listened when we had a problem. Food was good no tough cuts of meat,there was a nice selection of food, lobster was excellent first evening. Air conditioning was excellent in the stateroom and very cool on the ship itself. Room service was great. Beer selection good it was served was ice cold. Not so good Christmas Dinner took 4 hours. It took one hour to be seated and it then took 3 hours until it was finished. The wait in the Grand Pacific dining room was painful, for a drink, for the wine list, for the food. We went the evening before and it was also quite slow. We never went back. Dining is not a fun experience. The other dining room, the Magenta is also crowded. We were wasting so much time with dinner, and missing things constantly. We opted to eat at the buffet instead and arrived at 8:00pm. i was getting pasta, there was no one else waiting, the cook took forever, first he made me wait while he washed dishes, then, he did not have the pasta and had to go get it, then he didn't have enough sauce, I sat down with my food, and my husband went to get his food. It was 8:25 and they were closing up! He went to the other side, got some food, and they locked him out, outside in the back of the ship. He told them that his wife was inside, with his beer on the table, and they were not letting him in. Then he finally got in and I ordered a beer, and the waiter came back with another waiter and tried to sell me a bucket of beer telling us we could take the bucket wherever we want. I just wanted a beer, by now it is 8:45 and the two waiters left the table, and we see them just standing there talking. My husband was so aggravated, he took back the card and got the beer himself. This was like a training cruise. The staff was really not sure what to do and when. We tried so many times to get drinks and it would take forever, in the dining room, at the pool. The waiters would run around trying to get several drink orders before going on to get the drinks we ordered. They also were pushing buckets everywhere. We even saw these poor people accidently get a bucket of Fosters which was like 2 feet tall. The people returned it instantly. How funny! On 5 different days we had no hot water to shower. Once was at 6:00 am which was frustrating since we wanted to get ready to go ashore early to St. Martin. The crew members do not always know what is going on. We asked where theater was and were sent to the wrong place, and some don't understand English. Another thing was my husband bought the drink package and I didn't when we got on board. The next day on Christmas Eve day at 8:30am, someone calls and wakes us up and tells my husband that they are taking it away and cancelling the first day of using it, even though he had a signed contract which in the end prevailed. When we got onto the ship, the day before, there were 3 people trying to recruit us for the package waiving us over, and we told them that I was not interested in it for myself and that my husband would like to get it. They said fine. The next day we were sound asleep, and were called up and aggravated. It was so unfair and unprofessional. The ship is very crowded in general. Days at sea are tougher than other cruises. People are all over the place, in clothes that are not suitable for eating from an inside buffet, including bathrobes. There is a lot less cleaning up of common areas and so many faucets did not work correctly in the restrooms to wash your hands. Many bathrooms also did not have soap. The coffee cups and breakfast dishes were left on tables for a long time especially upstairs pool bar. Also,one thing that I did not care for when I was leaving, I took my suitcase out from under the bed and there were 2 sets of clean sheets on the floor being stored there for some reason. I wonder if they were going on the bed when it was going to be changed. The carpet was not so clean. To sum it up, the staff is very nice and very hardworking, but they do not seem to have the support they need,or are being trained a little differently then we are used to, they are so willing to make you happy though. We just feel that our problems were due to an overall lack in the cruise line. In fact, we are confused by NCL, we cruised them in Europe awhile ago and it was so much more organized.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Hi everyone! So for Christmas 2013 my family had decided to try the NCL Breakaway. We were very hesitant booking this after reading the reviews but all in all we had a great time. A little background information about me is that I am ... Read More
Hi everyone! So for Christmas 2013 my family had decided to try the NCL Breakaway. We were very hesitant booking this after reading the reviews but all in all we had a great time. A little background information about me is that I am probably one of the youngest cruise reviewers. Being only 19 years old people may think I am a bit amateur to be writing a review but non the less, this was my 10th cruise within the past 7 years so I think I know what I'm talking about. I have cruised with RCL, NCL, Holland America, and Carnival. Disembarkation: We chose the Breakaway for its convenience of leaving from NYC because we are from CT. A short 2 hour car drive and parking right at the port, we thought we would be on the boat in no time. Wrong. We weren't allowed on the boat until 12:00 pm making us wait for nearly 2 hours. We normally leave from Florida and down there, you get on the boat almost instantly after getting your seapass card. And there are usually snacks and water if you have to wait. NYC was terrible, not enough seats for everybody to sit as they wait and no snacks or water provided. The Manhattan cruise terminal needs to work on this. The boat was great. It was brand new to 2013. I've been on RCL Oasis of the Seas so it was pretty hard to find a boat that would even come close. The Breakaway still fell short compared to the Oasis though. Some of the ship highlights were the atrium areas between floors 6,7,8. This is where most of the activites happened and most people hung around at night because it was the center of the shops, casino, 24 hr restaurant, and stage and screen where movies were played and they had different shows. Bliss nightclub was fun after 11:00pm. Obviously I am young and after 11:00 was when the older crowd left and the younger crowd came in. Bliss needs more sitting areas though. The dance floor was nice and big but lacked on places to sit to take a break. Didn't gamble myself but others seemed to enjoy themselves at the casino. Gym was way too small to accommodate everyone. The way it was designed was that you were back and forth between a room of cardio machines and a room for weights. Not enough equipment and you were always waiting around to use a machine. Did not use spa. Shows were good but I didn’t like how they made you reserve seats in advanced. Burn the Floor was very good and Rock of Ages was too. The comedy show was hilarious and I wanted to see it again but there weren’t any seats left for the showing. I think it should be first come first serve like most of the other boats. And they should have more show times. Some days we were forced to aimlessly walk around the boat after dinner because there was nothing else we could do. Other perks of this boat were deck features including the ropes course. It actually proved challenging and the zipline at the end was a lot of fun. Did not use the rock climbing wall or mini golf but others said they were fun. Sadly didn't get the chance to use the water slides because lines were either way to long or it was too cold but they looked awesome and the people getting off sounded like they were a blast. But like the other reviews, NCL should have made the pool bigger to accommodate everyone who didn’t have the VIBE or Haven package. Hot tubs were also barely warm and the no kids in the hot tub rule didn’t apply. The food was surprisingly good. Like I said earlier, we were hesitant with booking with NCL again because the last two times, the food was terrible. I was happy to see that they changed things around. Steak was on point every day. I must have consumed at least a pound of steak a day. Desserts were ok. The only thing I would recommend to NCL is to use less salt in their foods. A few days, my meals were so salty I could only eat a bite or two. Food was usually hot. The buffet was ok, I've had better on all other cruises. The dining rooms always had great service. With NCL being a freestyle cruise, I was nervous about getting proper service but they exceeded especially in the Manhattan Room. O’Sheehans was open 24/7 and it was great to have a late night snack after dancing all night in Bliss. Didn’t eat at any specialty restaurants but got sushi at the sushi bar and it was very good. The Carlos Bakery was a rip off and can barley fit 5 people in the store at a time. My brother and I shared room 12100. This was an ocean view room in the front of the boat. It was really cool that we had a window that was facing the front of the boat. Awesome view of NYC before we left. Bad thing was that it was a long walk to stairs and elevator. Our room steward was great and was very pleasant and cheerful. There was a lack in storage space in the room. We were surprised to see not a single drawer in the entire room. Closet was fine but my brother and I lived out of our suitcases for the most part. Weather We knew that we were taking our chances when booking a cruise from NYC in the winter time. The day we left was absolutely gorgeous seeing that it was December 22nd, and 70 degrees in NYC. The next day we were at sea. It was a rocky and cold sea day. I thought that being a brand new huge boat, the boat would have better stabilizers to help with the rocking of the boat. Now I don’t personally get sea sick but many others on the cruise had that problem. It was also too cold to be out on the deck still. Our third day was in Port Canaveral, Florida. Of course the day we get there, it’s a mere 63 degrees. Too cold for the beach and not enough time to do a Disney park (my opinion, even though they offer Disney shore excursions). So we spent that day inside the boat as well. Our fourth day which was also Christmas day was supposed to be spent at Great Stirrup Cay- the private island in the Bahamas. We had to skip it and go straight to Nassau because the water was too choppy for the tenders to carry passengers safely. Nassau was finally warm and we docked their overnight so we were able to go to the Atlantis bright and early the next morning. Sadly the two days we spent in Nassau were our only warm days. Our trip back up to New York were also too cold to use the deck activities unless you were layered up. We very much enjoyed our vacation. I think we would have enjoyed it more if we took this itinerary during the spring or summer because it was just too cold. NCL has stepped up their game with the Breakaway. I can see myself going on NCL again but I will always be a RCL fan.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Port/Embarkation: First, we made a trip to a store to pick up a few things for the cruise that we didn’t bring with us like sun block, liquid hand soap, hangers, wine, coke, and bottled water. We arrived at the port of Miami around ... Read More
Port/Embarkation: First, we made a trip to a store to pick up a few things for the cruise that we didn’t bring with us like sun block, liquid hand soap, hangers, wine, coke, and bottled water. We arrived at the port of Miami around 10:30am and were given the last zone 2 card for boarding. Passengers were still disembarking the ship when we arrived and continued to disembark until 11:30am! Boarding began right around noon and went quickly. We bypassed the photo opportunity and we were on board before many in zone 1. I immediately went to the shore excursion desk and signed up for the Behind the Fun tour and was the first to sign up. (It also wasn’t advertised at all throughout the cruise, so I’m assuming that it filled up quickly.) Room: When we boarded, we went right to our room to see if it was ready, and it was. We had an “interior” room in front of the ship with a window, 7201. Our view was pretty much the same as front of ship camera. It was mandatory that our curtain was closed after dark, but that really wasn’t an issue because there wasn’t anything to see. There was a small deck in front of our window, but few people knew about it, so rarely was anyone on it. The room was an average size. Ship: We loved, loved, loved the Breeze as a ship! The blues and greens for the décor all over the Breeze is a huge improvement from the older Carnival ships. Also the tropical décor of the hallways was a vast improvement! This was our first Carnival ship with the 2.0 improvements…I think it would be hard to sail again on a ship without them! Butch, the cruise director was one of the best we’ve ever had and the entertainment staff was great too! Christmas: Because this was the sailing that covered Christmas, free champagne was flowing from when we boarded until a little after 3pm. Overall, the ship was nicely decorated for Christmas, many trees and decorations around. There was a Christmas Eve service on board in the Limelight Lounge that was packed. There was also a Christmas show in the main theater on Christmas day that featured the singers and dancers, and the kids from Camp Carnival. (Side note: The cruise director said that there were over 1600 children on board...but it felt about the same as any other Carnival Cruise we’ve been on. It really wasn’t too bad in terms of kids running around or in the pools.) There was also a special menu for dinner in the main dining rooms that evening for Christmas. Food: Let’s start with the Lido deck food. The set up of multiple buffets helps break up the lines a little bit and forces people to pick one type of food for lunch or face multiple lines. On the 8 day cruise, we really only saw huge lines twice and that was right after everyone came back on board after ports of call. The buffets are smaller than they used to be, but still have enough choices. Guy’s Burgers are great in comparison to what Carnival used to serve for burgers (although they are still serving those horrible burgers to the crew – I saw that on the behind the fun tour). The Blue Iguana burritos and tacos is also another nice addition to the ship. The pizza isn’t great, but is edible and better than it was in years past. There was pretty much always a slow line for pizza. It seems like they can’t make them fast enough. We ate at the Italian restaurant for lunch (it’s free) and it was ok, but nothing that I would have wanted to pay extra for. In the Fun Times, they were really pushing the dinner reservations all week and I don’t think it was ever sold out. We didn’t eat at the steakhouse, but heard great things from everyone who we talked to who did eat there. And, the steakhouse was sold out all week. We also ate lunch in the dining room twice, same menu both times, which was a little disappointing. We also had “brunch” in the dining room twice also with the same brunch menu both times. It would be nice if they would change these up, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. For breakfast we managed to avoid the buffet all but two days and ate in the dining room where the food was hot. When we did eat breakfast at the buffet, we arrived right when it was opening to avoid any lines and even then the food was just kind of warm, not hot. For dinner, we had the Your Time Dining, which we liked. We don’t like being locked down to a certain time to eat or to be stuck with the same people every night. We typically arrived soon after the dining room opened each night and never had a problem getting a table, although each night when we left the dining room there was a huge line with lots of people waiting to get tables. The food was ok. Nothing special. Even the chocolate melting cake was a little disappointing…undercooked, overcooked, never just right. Entertainment: The deck parties were the best I’ve seen them on Carnival. The cruise director and entertainment staff were all high energy and were great to get the party started and keep it going! The new format for the shows in the main theater with 8 cast members who all sing and dance with the screens in the background was a nice change. Sure, the flashing screen can be annoying at times, but it is nice to see Carnival change it up after so many years of the same old thing. I’ll gladly take a moment or two of obnoxious light flashing to a worn down show we’ve seen over and over again. We also liked the stunt comedy show and hypnotist in the big theater. The Hasbro Game show was also cute and we preferred that to the old jeopardy style games they used to do. We also went to several comedy shows and like the comedians who we saw. I don’t know if it was having a lot of kids there or the type of cruisers there are at Christmas, but many jokes were flopping that we thought were funny during the early shows. During the day, it seemed to be trivia, trivia, and more trivia…we played until we won a ship on a stick and then stopped going. (yep, we’re snobs like that.) The most fun we had was at the adult pub quiz each night in the Red Frog Pub. The prize is either a fish bowl or tube of beer. It was a great way to meet other cruisers and also very funny even if you’re losing! Watch out for that tie breaker contest. For the dance club, it never really got going until after midnight and they were checking IDs. We had heard great things about the piano bar on the Breeze, but it seemed to be a flop. Twice we saw the piano player was just standing around talking to the bartender not even playing during his scheduled times. There was never much of a crowd there either. We enjoyed the live guitar players/singers throughout the ship. They were really good! (I don’t know if the Breeze always gets the same people or they rotate them, but these were all far superior to those we had on the Legend last spring.) Sports Deck: The mini golf was really fun. And, the ropes course was fun for adults and kids (but I think more so for the kids), but we gave it a once around. There was also ping pong and foosball tables on the deck too. The only outdoor area to run is on the sports deck and isn’t the best place because there are so many people you have to go around so many times to make a mile. Waterworks: The Breeze has an awesome waterworks area, where I think lots of kids hung out for the week. I did go down both waterslides on the day we were in Grand Turk and there few people on board and definitely no lines! Both were fun, but the yellow twisty one was better than the orange one. As for the pools and hot tubs, we never got in any of them. On the sea days in the afternoons they were crowded as you would expect, but nothing too crazy. There were also hot tubs on deck 5 which seemed to never be busy. Serenity: This deck was crowded on sea days with people laying in the sun or hiding in the clam shells. Other than those few days, you could always find a lounger. (I also found that deck 5 was a great place to find a lounger away from children too!) Spa/Gym: We walked through them, but never used them. Casino: This place was huge and busy compared to other ships. There were always lots of people playing slots and table games. Behind the Fun Tour $95: I loved it. Not something I would want to do again, but worth seeing once on a Carnival ship. There were two tours one with 17 people and one with 16 people. It started in the Steakhouse and then went to the galley. The galley tour was extensive, more so than the free quick walk through tours they used to do. They pulled out pan after pan after pan of hot croissants, cookies, rolls, etc. for us when we arrived also. Then it was down to the I-95, which I’ve always read about, so it was cool to actually see. We went into a store room, freezer, and thawing room. Then off to the crew cafeteria and crew human resource room. (no crew cabins on tour, just some photos of them were shown). The crew gym and internet areas were pathetic, what a shame. The crew bar was nice, but likely not large enough. We walked by the brig and morgue and down to the laundry room, which was my favorite. Then up to the bridge to meet the captain. And then to the bow and crew outside area. After the tour we were each given a drawstring bag, hat, plastic bracelet, and soap carving as take away gifts. When I got back to my room there was a plate of chocolate covered strawberries an other sweets. Later I received 3 8x10 photos, the group on the bow, the group on the bridge and myself with the captain. Ports: Grand Turk: We got off the ship, took a few pictures of the ship from the beach and promptly walked the opposite direction of the beach chairs. We had an enjoyable walk away from other people and went in search of the perfect conch shell. It’s pretty much a conch shell grave yard if you turn to your right and walk down the beach away from all of the people. We found some great shells, took some pictures with them and left them behind. After a few hours we got back on the ship and enjoyed our time without many people onboard, including a couple trips down the water slides. Dominican Republic: We had a private excursion booked, but at the last minute I got scared and we booked a similar trip with Carnival to Saona Island for $30 more per person (but wait there is good news later). Our carnival excursion boat picked us up right at the pier, which was nice. It was about 45 minutes to ride to the sand bar where there were starfish. We were there for about 45 minutes and then back in the boat for about 30 minutes to the island. We were at the island for a couple of hours, drinks were included. The water was a little cold, but a beautiful blue. On the boat ride back it was clearly raining in front of us, our boat driver tried to avoid the wall of rain we could see, but eventually we had to drive right through it and we got pounded. Other than the rain on the way back, it was a nice excursion. Even better news, Carnival has a money back guarantee if you find an independent excursion that is the same as a Carnival one you get the difference plus 10% back. We immediately applied for this and should our emails confirming our excursion with the independent company and were approved within the next day and we got the $30pp difference back plus 10%! Curacao: We were on Curacao for Christmas Day. And, Carnival doesn’t arrive until 2pm here, so it is a little odd arriving so late in the afternoon. We had booked a private excursion with Irie Tours. We drove around the island and saw the sights and also had an hour at the beach at the end. We’re not beach people walked down to the aquarium, and also went in search of free wifi (and there were lots of free wifi place all around the beach). Aruba: We had booked a private excursion with H-F tours. We were off the ship at the right time, but the others that we were going on the tour got the ship and island times messed up and were 45 minutes late. Aside from the late start, we had a great tour with Howard and would highly recommend him! He drove us all around the island to show us the highlights and we had several stops for photos. (FYI, Aruba is very desert, hot, dry, and dusty…keep that in mind when booking your excursions…we were so glad to be inside an air conditioned bus and not covered in dirt when we returned to the ship.) Debarkation: We walked ourselves off with our luggage right around 8am. The lines at immigration/customs were long, took about 30 minutes, but then we were free. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
For our Xmas cruise my wife and I chose the Voyager as we hadn't been on RCCL since 2009 so wanted to see how it compared. Fair to say Voyager is a tad tired but that's OK because we were lucky enough to snag a "flights ... Read More
For our Xmas cruise my wife and I chose the Voyager as we hadn't been on RCCL since 2009 so wanted to see how it compared. Fair to say Voyager is a tad tired but that's OK because we were lucky enough to snag a "flights included" deal and the ice rink, etc, sounded interesting. Sadly, our travel agent failed to book early dining and when we realised the error in mid October we were told we were stuck with 2nd sitting. (Strangely, folk who booked in early December were given early dining, another yellow card for RCCL.) The flights and transfer went smoothly and as we had already travelled on the Rhapsody in 2009, our crown & anchor status saw us go straight on board for lunch. The food in Windjammer is great. Fresh and reasonably varied. Were able to go back on shore and post the late Xmas cards, etc. Boarded again about 4:00 o'clock and tried to switch to early or anytime dining but ended up on a long waiting list so filled in time till the 8:15pm sitting in our allocated restaurant, Le Boheme. This is where it really started to unravel. We found ourselves together, alone, just the two of us, on an 8 seat table and sat there for 30 minutes while the waitstaff waited to see if anyone else came along. Eventually ordered the "chef's recommendation" on the theory that, the easiest way to gauge the grub, is to eat whatever the chef puts his/her name to. Sadly, the entree that turned up about 9:00 o'clock was like a large lump of fish paste with a couple of tired looking leathery prawns thrown on top. OK, maybe the main will be better. About 20-25 minutes later, out came the pork chop (I think it was Mojo Pork Chop), went to cut a bite, it was so tough I reckon if I'd been at home, I would have used the nail gun to fix it over the hole in me work boot and it would have been good for months. Needless to say, Julia's meal wasn't much better so we gave up and walked out, much to the consternation of the waitstaff. Felt a bit guilty for the waitstaff so decided to try Le Boheme again on night 2. Jane, our waiter, took our order a bit quicker this time. After the previous experience, I was smart enough to NOT order any recommendations but Julia couldn't resist the Roast Duck. BAD MOVE. What turned up looked like something that had been cooked in the morning and sat out of Woolies rotisserie all day till late night closing. It was so tough she could hardly find any edible meat -- not what you expect on a cruise ship under the chef's name. Desert was also not great but they simply bought out a different dish. Needles to say we henceforth ate in the Windjammer. Come Christmas Day, we thought we would give Le Boheme one last try as we had already run into other passengers who had also walked out and figured even the dumbest chef would work out there was a problem and fix it. Sadly, we ordered the traditional Christmas pud and custard. When it turned up, mine was so hard that I needed a hammer and chisel to break it open. Julia's was actually burnt under the custard. The same problem was observed on several tables. Talked to guests who had been to the 5:15 sitting, they found their food was fine. Finally worked out the problem (BE WARNED) The "chef/dishwasher" was obviously cooking ALL the "special" dishes in the afternoon for the early sitting and then shoving them (hopefully) into a baine marie or slow oven for several hours until they were finally served after 9:00 pm that night . In any serious restaurant dishes that badly overcooked would not get out of the kitchen. Unfortunately, like many yank ships, they close the buffet at 9:00 o'clock so if the late sitting meal is inedible, alternatives are limited. (Eagle boys don't deliver at sea.) Basically, while we enjoyed all other aspects of the cruise, this sort of treatment of guests is enough to cause us to write off the Voyager and put a big question mark against RCCL. I'll bet RCCL wouldn't actually try this if they were in the Caribbean with American passengers but obviously don't have the same respect for Australians, especially as we are forced to prepay gratuities rather than being allowed to actually reward good service and withhold from average service.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
For more than 12 years, my husband and I would travel to Las Vegas to spend the holidays. This year, another couple suggested we go on a holiday cruise with them. This was their first cruise, our fifth (3 with Princess, 2, including this ... Read More
For more than 12 years, my husband and I would travel to Las Vegas to spend the holidays. This year, another couple suggested we go on a holiday cruise with them. This was their first cruise, our fifth (3 with Princess, 2, including this one, with Carnival). I would have loved to go with Princess, but budget constraints and the fact they jack up the holiday cruise prices landed us on the Glory Dec. 22-29. First and foremost, I always say a cruise is what you make of it. We had good friends and mostly good times (I have already regressed into the deep corners of my mind the ugly times) on this cruise, hence we will have warm memories of Christmas 2013. Here's some specifics: Embarkation: Embarkation went extremely smoothly with the whole process taking about 1/2 hour, if that. Our only issue was parking -- most of the lots were full, but we lucked out and found a spot on the top floor of the D Garage. We arrived on board at about noon, and were told we couldn't go to our cabins until after 1:30. We headed up to the Lido Deck where I tried Guy's burger joint. The best thing was the bar of fixings -- everything you would want on top of your burger! The staff at the burger stand were beyond friendly and were having a great time -- and were very funny! A good start. After a quick look around the Red Sail buffet area, it was already time to go to the cabins. The Cabin: Three days prior to sailing, Carnival called and offered us an upgrade from a balcony cabin to a grand suite for an extra $800 (total for two people). While I felt a bit bad that our friends had not been offered this, we decided to take it, thinking it would be very nice to make our room the "get together spot." As I walked into the Grand Suite, I knew this was going to be a most comfy home for the next seven days. A huge seating area with a wrap-around couch, a bar area, a nice big bed and the very long balcony greeted us. The best, the absolute best, part of the suite was the dressing area and bathroom. Double vanity, jetted tub/shower combo, toilet and bidet in a space quite large enough for at least two people to get ready at the same time. And closets -- they were everywhere! Our cabin steward, JB Joey, was also the absolute best -- we wanted for nothing when it came to our cabin for a week. Thank you JB Joey! Meals: Some good, some bad, some ugly. For the most part, we certainly didn't grow hungry. Carnival was testing out its new American Menu in the dining room. Not quite so sure it will be a hit. Limited choices on most nights. I think this new menu wreaked havoc on service, however. SLOWEST service ever. We never waited in line for seating (we had any time dining), but once seated, it could take 15 minutes up to a 1/2 hour before we ordered -- and that was the fast part of the meal. Most dinners lasted way beyond 2 hours, and not because we were taking OUR time. The buffet is, well, a buffet. Hit and miss, but I always found something. The most frustrating part was the line -- slow and long -- and it didn't help that once you got up to the food, someone was always cutting in front of you. I would stare at them and turn back and see the line behind me and wonder if they knew how rude they were behaving. Nope. No sign of recognition or caring. People. Got to love them. Our group of four found a haven from the mass crowd at breakfast by heading to the far back of the ship, just beyond the two adult jacuzzis. Few folks would venture this far back and we were treated to solitude along with a picture perfect view of the ocean. If you want to get away from people, there are ways of finding spaces. Ports First port was Cozumel. We splurged and went with the La Casa en La Playa select retreat. This is a secluded beach house and only a total of 32 folks were allowed to sign up. The staff attended to our every need, including a chef that prepared an awesome lunch. I cannot recommend this excursion ENOUGH. The best excursion I've ever been on...ever. It's a bit pricey at about $130/pp, but worth it and then some. The beach, facilities, everything was right on. And the water, well, the water was perfect. With the highlight coming at the very first port, the other ports save for the last one were let downs, to say the least. Next up was Costa Maya. We signed up for the Jungle Beach Break. WARNING -- please, please do not do this. Water was far from "crystal clear" as advertised. It was cloudy, disgusting and filled with garbage. Yes, garbage. From plastic utensils to a razor (!!!!), this was the dirtiest, filthiest place both inside and outside the water. All week, the Carnival Legend out of Tampa was shadowing us. We jumped on their bus for the port just to get the hell out of there sooner. Terrible. The next stop, Roatan, wasn't a huge improvement I'm sad to say. We booked a snorkeling trip (Barefoot Catamaran) while our friends opted for a day at the beach next to the port. First, the crew for our trip was late and confused. We finally got to the catamaran when I noticed one of the crew coming on board with a container of gas. Hmmm. We actually sailed to the spot (most of the time the sails are for show only), which I thought was pretty cool. Until they stopped and said here we are. I looked toward the shore and there was an small industrial port. I thought to myself, "Certainly we're not going to snorkel here?" Uh, yes. For the second day in a row, I was swimming in garbage. Roatan has the second largest reef system after the Great Barrier Reef (which I've snorkeled), so I was excited to snorkel here. That excitement waned significantly, all the way down to utter and complete disappointment. We got in the water to find NO REEF. Are you actually kidding me? The worst snorkel experience of my life. I felt bad for those fellow passengers on their first snorkeling adventure thinking this was snorkeling. Something tells me this wasn't their normal spot? Remember that container of gas? Wonder if they didn't cut the cruise short and just dumped us into the water at the first stop just out of site of the cruise port. Hmmm. Oh, and the women's restroom broke about 10 minutes into the trip. Now, as I said at the top. Cruising is what you make of it. I manage to find fun and happiness on just about every trip I take. After these last two days, I was working hard really hard on my smile. I went to the shore excursions desk that night and told the person behind the desk that I rarely complain, truly, but had to tell him about the last two excursions because they were not up to the lowest of standards and that Carnival should evaluate carefully its connection with these two companies. The person behind the desk was awesome and every time I tried to get away as I said my peace calmly and as accurately as possible, he would stop me and want to hear MORE. In the end, we received a $40 credit for the catamaran excursion; nothing for the jungle (hell) beach break. You win some, you lose some. Moral of the story: make sure to do research online and remember, you always get what you pay for and cheaper is certainly not always better. However, with that being said, we went the real cheap route for the last port, Grand Cayman. We jumped into a taxi bus, and for $5/pp, we were dropped off at a nice spot on 7-mile beach. we walked about 10 minutes down the beach and found a spot where the four of us were completely alone. It was the best beach day....ever! Sun out, water crystal clear, no crowd. Heaven. We would lay in the shade, wander to the sun and sand, get hot, run into the ocean, and start the whole process over again. It was just a wonderful day -- and one that just about made up for the last two ports! It was also the very best way to spend our last day in port. We then jumped back into a taxi bus, and went back into town for $2.50/pp. After some shopping, we boarded Glory for one last sea day, then on to Miami. Overall impressions The Glory is a nice ship. The adult only Serenity area was a nice place to go after heading back from a day off the ship -- but it was always crowded and not very serene. I play the slots. A lot. And spent most of my leisure time on board in the casino. Casino staff members were excellent. Slots paid just enough to let me play within my budget all week. Can't ask for anything more. Matter of fact, the crew throughout the entire cruise were friendly and, for the most part, helpful. I did get a massage at the spa. One thing I'll never, ever understand is why the designers insist on putting the basketball/activity center a deck above the spa??? All I heard throughout my relaxing massage was "boom, boom, boom." Ugh. Carnival markets itself correctly. You're not going to get the luxury cruising experience on Carnival. As long as you know that, you're good to go. Remember, cruising is all about what YOU make of it. Cruise happy.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and was a bit nervous after to reading them. I have not cruised with Princess before but have cruised multiple times with Royal ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and was a bit nervous after to reading them. I have not cruised with Princess before but have cruised multiple times with Royal Carribean. I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. We were a party of six adults and two babies. We had three mini suites on Dolphin deck. A good location on the ship. We had the 5:30 seating each night for dinner (chosen because of babies eating schedule). I have to say that the food was much better than ALL of the reviews that I had read. My two son chose to try "anytime dining" one night while I babysat and their comments were that the main dining rooms food was just as good! Did not like how the waiter was always trying to upsale us drinks etc not included for the evening meal. I do have to say that overall a bit disappointed with lack of service minded staff on the ship. This includes the bars, pool decks, coffee bars, shops on Plaza deck. Ship employees seemed to have a lack of customer service. One employee in the promenade bar asked me what "blend" my granddaughter was? And how lucky she was to be born in America because working on this ship was NOT a great career. So, ship was good, food was above average, service not so good..   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
we have recently returned from the christmas cruise to the canary`s apart from the rough weather which p&o have no control over the cruise went quite well mainly due to the efforts of the captain Neil Turnbull [who is up there as the ... Read More
we have recently returned from the christmas cruise to the canary`s apart from the rough weather which p&o have no control over the cruise went quite well mainly due to the efforts of the captain Neil Turnbull [who is up there as the best captain we have sailed with [16 with princess and 7 with P&O ] but our main complaint was with the food which was the worst we have had on any cruise!!! also my wife had trouble understanding the bar and waiting staff although we cannot fault them for service. The ship we think is showing signs of her age but needs some updating in some public areas our cabin inside on A deck was comfortable and clean especially the shower/ bathroom the entertainment was what we expect from the on board dancers, comedians very good also colin the Queens pastry chef gave very interesting accounts of his time working for the Queen all in all a pleasant cruise apart from the poor food especially the Christmas dinner Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
As others on this cruise have written, it was generally great, with a few negatives. Although it was full of Australians enjoying Christmas, this is basically a ship offering an American cultural experience. This means that a lot of things ... Read More
As others on this cruise have written, it was generally great, with a few negatives. Although it was full of Australians enjoying Christmas, this is basically a ship offering an American cultural experience. This means that a lot of things one takes for granted are simply not available - there is NO decent coffee on board, not even at the cafe, and it is impossible to get a decent cup of tea because the water is always tepid. As far as Christmas food is concerned, there was no effort to provide a decent Christmas lunch/dinner with the normal foods Australians expect such as hot and cold turkey, sea-food salads, plum pudding and so on. It is true there was ham on one evening menu and at the buffet, but overall it didn't feel like Christmas and the constant Musak carols in every corner of the ship only was irritating. Overall, though, the food was very good to excellent, although the Mexican and Japanese offerings were just adequate and only available at night. Drink prices (without a "package") were OK but we did end up spending a great deal more on cocktails than we expected. Everything was kept spotlessly clean, the cabin service (and attendants) were great, as were most of the service staff, the Solarium pool was lovely although not big enough, the entertainment was okay to good (classical musicians were lovely) and the embarkation and tendering process was well-organised and unstressful. There really needed to be some "quiet" spaces - the pre-recorded music selections was pretty blah and some groups were loud and raucous by early afternoon. Cabin comfort was good but the bathrooms were very minimal and as noted there were no proper toiletries provided. The Royal Carribean "style" has its own logic and if you don't mind things being slightly tacky and, for Australian tastes, over the top, it was a lot of fun. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
First off let me say that I really like this cruise line. So much so, that we are taking them in Alaska this summer. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The food service and staff were excellent. The other passengers were quite ... Read More
First off let me say that I really like this cruise line. So much so, that we are taking them in Alaska this summer. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The food service and staff were excellent. The other passengers were quite friendly and engaging. The entertainment, with one glaring exception was very good. The lectures and information about our ports was exceptional and the shore excursions were very good. The cocktail hour every afternoon is a great way to mix and mingle and get to know the other passengers. If you are on this Cruise Critic site to help in the selection of your next cruise, let me give you some idea of what to expect and not to expect from American Cruise Lines…. - If you want a cruise with 4000 of your best friends, assigned dinner tables and times, food from a cement mixer, half hour waits to get on or off the ship, an iPhone App to save you from getting lost on the ship, a $500 bar bill for a seven day cruise, being nickel and dimed to death for everything other than your room and meals, American Cruise Lines is not for you. - If you want to cruise in the lap of luxury with a spacious suite cabin, a mini bar and fridge in your cabin, 24 hour coffee bar with a barista, a fancy bar and lounge with a uniformed bartender, over priced and spotty wifi, over priced and poorly presented shore excursions, and young adults frolicking in the surf, then American may not be for you either. - What you do get on ACL is a compact, efficient ship with great food and a very helpful and friendly crew. We cruised from Charleston to Jackson on a New Years holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it. We have cruised Royal Caribbean, Avalon, Seabourn, and a small motor sailer in Greece. AMC is one of our favorites. We have already booked another cruise with American. - Since this is supposed to be a critique, let me address a few things to the ACL home office that might improve the overall ACL experience. Never use the band we had on New Years Eve and New Years again. They were so bad that there were requests to have them put off the ship on Sapelo Island. Get new uniforms for the hotel staff. Whatever that is they are wearing in no way reflects their high level of professionalism. Get “plug-in” clocks for the night stands. The battery operated LCD clocks are hard to see in the daytime and impossible at night. Get bigger TV in the staterooms. Considering the average age of your guests, I am not sure anyone could see those 15” mini screens. Get better coffee in the lounge. I heard several passengers say they were going to Starbucks when they got off the ship. - I never expected ACL to be Seabourn, but for heavens sake, fire your interior designer. OMG! Valences over the windows! With the exception of the dining room, the rest of the furniture, especially in the lounge looks like an assisted living center. Your passengers might not be spry but your decor should be a little more spry and up to date.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Ok here is my first review so bear with me as I get acclimated to the process!!! I am going to cut to the chase because details are what you are looking for and I have a lot of them. We were on was the New Year’s Eve cruise that left ... Read More
Ok here is my first review so bear with me as I get acclimated to the process!!! I am going to cut to the chase because details are what you are looking for and I have a lot of them. We were on was the New Year’s Eve cruise that left Miami on the 28th of December from Miami heading to the western Caribbean. I was travelling with my wife and 15 year old son. Day prior- we drove down so we stayed at the Embassy Suites and purchased the parking/ shuttle package so all that was needed was a ride back to the hotel afterwards to grab the car. The whole process went well. The hotel is adequate for our needs. The manager’s kickback @ 5:30pm was nice with complimentary drinks and light snacks. (We ordered a pizza from a local pizzeria afterwards for dinner) In the morning there is a full hot breakfast that is very good and well attended. (Read: go early!) Shuttle- we were ready to go and in queue for a ride at 10:00am. The shuttles are full sized vans that seat 11 people (and they do fill the van by the way!) towing an enclosed trailer for the luggage. Embarkation- (10:45am) Please note: we did not elect to get the “faster to fun” deal. As soon as we got to the port our luggage was taken by a porter and we headed inside. The processing went smoothly as we are an exceptionally well organized family and besides it is not very busy at that time. We did bring 2 bottles of wine with us and I appreciate that Carnival guests can bring two bottles of wine per cabin and a reasonable amount of soda and water. (We took full advantage of that). The wait to board did not seem long from my recollection and in no time we were on board eating lunch and watching the other passengers “stacked like cord wood” waiting to be processed. Our room was ready by 2:00pm. The Boat- let me clarify by saying that my first cruise was in 2009 with Disney on a brand new boat so my expectations were probably a bit too high. In my opinion … The décor seemed drab but very clean. It's an older ship that doesn't have the bells and whistles of newer ships. The ship shows its wear and tear in parts. The wear and Tear does not surprize me as I understand most Carnival sailings are sold out. The Cabin- we originally had a balcony cabin on the sixth floor but received an offer a week prior to sailing that we took advantage of. For and upcharge of $300.00 we moved up to a tenth floor cabin and it also included a $200.00 onboard credit. We ended up with a room with the spa above us and more rooms below….win win! The only sound that was annoying was the DJ because we were directly across from the lido deck and the massive speaker system. The room was clean and everything worked. The overall size was adequate but not spacious and the balcony was narrow. Essentially the balcony held 2 chairs, a small table and not much more. The view from the 10th floor was spectacular and enjoyed the sunsets with a cocktail or two. Dining room- We chose the anytime dining option, we like to be more spontaneous/free with our vacation time. We never waited more than 10 minutes for a table. Dinner is a ninety minute process. The food in the main dining room was hit or miss. The staff is excellent and attentive. We ended up eating there the first couple of nights and then the last. We are by no means foodies nor do we have “distinguished pallets” so for us to opt for the buffet says something. The Lido buffet- It has enough selection so everyone can find at least a couple items to try. At breakfast we were at the omelette station for the majority of the week. There lots of ingredients to try so each day was a new adventure. The hours stink…they shut down too early in the evening. Guy’s burgers- freaking unbelievable!!! They live up to the hype!!! Gotta try at least one! Please note: each burger is 2200 calories (not a typo) so having one-a-day like a vitamin is questionable logic. Add fries to the meal and you’re pushing 3000 calories there sport! Blue Iguana Cantina- A Mexican restaurant on the lido deck, was also a hit. I am a Mexican food freak and let me tell you this is good eatin’. The hours stink though! They do breakfast and lunch, but not dinner, which was disappointing. Pizza- the toppings are very good but the crust was so thin that in some cases it was served burnt. Deli Sandwich counter- Open late baby!!! Bellied up there more than once let me tell you! I liked the late night “sammies” better than the pizza. Mongolian wok- Didn’t look for it and never found it! Spa- …. Ah no! Gym- Didn’t find that either! Bingo- What a huge flippin’ rip-off!!!! Dropped 60 bucks… for 2 stinkin’ games and was all done in 25 minutes!!! Got a nice Carnival bingo dabber though! Take the cash, go to the casino and put it on red instead. CASINO. The Casino had a good variety of games and slots, the staff was very friendly, but it was FAR too smoky. Even the smoke free sections were filled with smoke. Having a “no smoking” section in a casino is about as effective as having a “no pee” section in a pool! The casino also tended to get very crowded at night. Unless you were willing to wait you may have a hard time getting a seat at a reasonably priced table. Also, the Casino bar was always crowded, and noticeably understaffed. Others have mentioned that it is very hard to get someone’s attention to snag a drink. Ports of call- Isla Rotan is a corporate port where you are basically on Carnival property. It is plush, manicured and self-contained. You are discouraged from leaving the compound so we hit the overcrowded beach and sunned all day. Cozumel, We were tendered inl and just walked the shops. We picked up some tourist stuff and ate at Senior Frogs for lunch. Belize, we did a snorkel and beach excursion that was fun and exciting. Tendered again on St. Martin where we took a cab to an awesome beach with cheap drinks and white sand. That was a hoot! The smell- Yes I witnessed the sewer smell too. Others have mentioned it and I can honestly say it was noticeable. One reviewer mentioned it was noticed in the spa and another in the hallway. I encountered the smell only when we were in port. (Obviously not moving) It was in the hallway near the elevators on the 10th floor. Since I don’t hang out in hallways … I went on my way merry way and the odor was gone when I returned. Punchliners- I love comedy so it was right up my alley. Note: at night it is adult oriented. We are laid back so we were not offended at all. I laughed big time. It is definitely worth the hour out of your time. Club O2- I never saw my teenage son. Once he was set up in the club he was gone with a posse of girls! We met up for dinner and excursions. He said the arcade was lame though! Overall- We were informed before we booked that Carnival Cruise Lines was more about fun and less about fluff and that is a true statement. As a family we enjoyed the cruise understanding this beforehand. We took a cruse at the most expensive time of the year and we paid full retail. When you pay $2500.00 Canadian Funds for 3 people you have certain expectations regardless of the fact that it is a New Year’s Eve cruise or not. In my opinion, this Cruse any other time of the year would be a lot cheaper and in line with what you receive. I understand the concept supply and demand a whole lot better now and we will schedule future vacations with Carnival “off peak”. It is what it is … a no frills getaway. Cheers!   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We live on the North side of Houston so a quick drive down to the new Bayport Terminal to start our Thanksgiving cruise with 3 other families. A very strong Cold front for this time of year hit the night before so no sail away party on ... Read More
We live on the North side of Houston so a quick drive down to the new Bayport Terminal to start our Thanksgiving cruise with 3 other families. A very strong Cold front for this time of year hit the night before so no sail away party on this cruise. In fact we did not even sail away at all. Due to very High winds the Captain announces our sail time will be pushed back a few hours, then at 6:30 he announces still a no go our next window would be at 10:00 pm to get pilots. 10:00 came and went we wake up Sunday Morn and we are still in port. We finally give it a go at 10:30 am and luckily we were able to get through the narrow channel to the Main shipping lanes. This new terminal that they sold the taxpayers on will never make it simply because of issues like this and Fog. The cruise lines will not continue here but will go back to Galveston, just my opinion. So now we are off knowing we will probably lose our stop in Roatan. The captain announces the changes and we replace Roatan with Costa Maya Mexico. Been there twice before and it is a nice port. We arrive on Tuesday morn and the weather cooperates, Next stop Belize Wednesday morn. I am awaken by the eerie sounds of the winds whipping through our Balcony door. I look out and realize that there is no way we are tendering here and two minutes later the Captain announces winds are gusting to 65 sustained at 50 and we would have to abort this stop. So we head slowly back north along the coastline to Cozumel. We do arrive there and dock Thanksgiving day, just happy to get off the ship for a day. The weather was iffy but still had fun. This was mine and my wifes 16th and 17 th cruise and our son's 8th and luckily this was our first cruise with these kind of Weather issues so we are pretty lucky. Fellow passengers made the best out of all the changes and everyone seemed to have had a fun time. I will say I was a bit disappointed in the food quality and the dining room service. It seems as if Princess has cut back in a few areas. We really like Holland America but no ships in Galveston but will probably go back to Royal Caribbeans Navigator of the Seas based in Galveston. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
I can say I now have cruised on the Oasis. Let me start by saying it was Thanksgiving and RCCI can't control the weather. This was our sixth cruise on Royal Caribbean and 2nd Thanksgiving cruise. Their were 13 in our group. Overall ... Read More
I can say I now have cruised on the Oasis. Let me start by saying it was Thanksgiving and RCCI can't control the weather. This was our sixth cruise on Royal Caribbean and 2nd Thanksgiving cruise. Their were 13 in our group. Overall it was a good experience. I still have a problem with Royal Caribbean's dress code for the formal dining and then not enforcing it. Either do away with the dress code of enforce it, even formal nite we saw men with shorts on. The other problem we ran into was the saving of seats for shows. We went to the diving show one day at sea and 3 people had the whole side of the area reserved for their family. The one thing that we liked was on the TV you could see the Daily Planner of events that you had scheduled for the day. Again though we had problems here, we had booked a character breakfast for the grand kids. It was on our planner, but when we showed up they said they didn't have our reservation and that they could try and find us room. No, we had a reservation and were going in, period! The Oasis is a nice ship to say you did it once, it is showing age and is scheduled for drydock Dec 2014. If the weather is bad, which it was, you have a lot of people in one area. One of the other things we didn't like was for breakfast different food options were offered through out the ship, for example if you wanted omelets or fried eggs they are no longer in the Windjammer, you have to go to the Wipeout café to get those. And one last thing, make your cabin reservation for midship or back, ours was in the front of the ship and we got a lot of exercise walking from front to back of ship everytime because most activities are in the rear of ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My boyfriend's mom booked this cruise over Thanksgiving at the last minute. Him and I are both Seniors in college and we went with his parents and his sister and her boyfriend. His family has cruised 4-5 times before this one and I ... Read More
My boyfriend's mom booked this cruise over Thanksgiving at the last minute. Him and I are both Seniors in college and we went with his parents and his sister and her boyfriend. His family has cruised 4-5 times before this one and I had never been on a cruise and all in all I thought it was a magnificent first timers cruise. Embarkation was simple and quick and we were on the ship in no time. I did not care for all of the people heckling me to take my picture. (I don't like strangers having pictures of me even if I'm in the background of a photo). We ate lunch on the lido deck. I got a reuben sandwich at the sandwich place and it was amazing. I could have just eaten the sandwiches throughout the entire trip and been happy. The buffet itself was not impressive and I didn't eat there at all throughout the trip except for the sandwich and pizza place. I did love the small cartons of chocolate milk at the buffet. The cabin was roomier than I expected and so was the bathroom. I liked that they provided shampoo and body wash. The person who cleaned our room did an excellent job. We always had clean towels and a made bed. I only wish that we had a fridge in our room. The television had a lot of good channels which was surprising. My boyfriend and I were able to watch our college football team play for a bit which was nice. Dinner nights were kind of a hit or miss. I got filet mignon the first night which was great. I loved how many appetizer choices there were. It was tough to choose between them because I wanted them all. The second night I ordered prime rib medium rare and so did someone in my party. We both got our steaks and mine was still bleeding. It didn't even look like it had been cooked at all whatsoever. The other person's steak looked much more cooked even though we both ordered the same thing. I ate around the edges. The melting chocolate cake was delicious and I ordered it two nights in a row. We ate breakfast in the dining room every morning. The brunch morning food was awesome. The cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel was SO good to my surprise. The eggs benedicts were also great. All in all, the food was good. It wasn't five star quality, but for the amount of people they serve at one time, it was good. I was expecting to see a lot of drunk/obnoxious people based on previous reviews but I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. Everyone seemed to be on their best behavior and it was pretty family oriented. The pool was small and the hot tubs by the pool were always crowded with about 20 kids/adolescents but that didn't bother me as I didn't care to spend time in the pool or hot tubs during the trip and there were still tons of spots on deck to lay out and get some sun. Since it was Thanksgiving there were many football games on and I was pleased that they were showing the football games in some of the public areas. The football games made it feel more like Thanksgiving. As far as entertainment there really wasn't much to do if you don't enjoy drinking or gambling. We don't drink much at all, but we spent a lot of time at the casino which was a lot of fun but it was always packed and on the small side. Also I came out of the casino smelling like an ash tray which was not pleasant. We went to the comedy show every night. The comedy shows were also hit or miss. But I feel like the audience has a lot to do with that since the comedians interact with the audience. Some of it was really hilarious and other times it was just eh but still worth going to. On the day at sea we went to the Love and Marriage show which I loved and thought was really funny. Besides the comedy shows, the love and marriage show, and the casino, we didn't have much to do. My boyfriend and I even went to the gym and worked out because we didn't really know what else to do on the day at sea. It was relaxing though and a lot of people were by the pool and on deck that day. The "party" they had on deck was pretty lame and geared more towards young teens and kids I think. The weather was not good in Nassau but we still had an absolute blast. We booked an excursion on our own ahead of time called "Tru Bahamian Bites of Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour" and it was most definitely the highlight of our trip!!!! It is definitely a more "off the beaten path" excursion and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. We toured much of downtown Nassau stopping at 8 different local food places where we got to sample many types of dishes including Bahamian fried conch and baked mac and cheese, jerk chicken, fresh tropical fruit punch, rice and peas, fried plantains, conch chowder at the only five star restaurant on the island, rum cake, chocolate, freshly brewed tea, local hot sauces and spices, and salad. Our tour guide Alanna was extremely intelligent, well spoken, well knowledgable, professional, very friendly and seemed to be known and loved by everyone on the entire island (from the locals who owned the restaurants to the future prime minster who stopped her car while we were walking by the Governor General's mansion to tell us how great Alanna is). I felt like a Bahamian expert by the end of it in history, culture, and food. You MUST do this excursion. Disembarkation was much more chaotic than embarkation. It took a long time to get off the boat and they were behind schedule and very disorganized. All in all I think that this cruise is perfect for someone who has never cruised before though may be a bit on the lame side if you've been on boats that are bigger and newer before. Regardless, we all had a blast on the ship. I was wary about traveling with Carnival but after this trip I would definitely travel with Carnival again. There were some down sides, but there were definitely more positives than negatives. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
The Thanksgiving (November 27-December 12, 2013) voyage of Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas, while not a Turkey, gave fewer reasons to give thanks than it might have. For approximately two hundred passengers, the San Diego ... Read More
The Thanksgiving (November 27-December 12, 2013) voyage of Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas, while not a Turkey, gave fewer reasons to give thanks than it might have. For approximately two hundred passengers, the San Diego embarkation got off to a rocky start. On the previous cruise, Legend of the Seas was reportedly unable to recover a tender and had to leave it at its Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, final stop. When the unlucky two hundred (some Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society Diamond members among them) came to check in they were told they could not be accommodated on the cruise due to a lack of lifeboat capacity. First shocked and then angry they were mollified when clearance came that we could sail without the tender. (That boat was ultimately recovered successfully when we arrived in Cabo two days later) For the rest of us embarkation and check-in was normal, not too slow and not too fast. However, starting out with over ten percent of your passengers (some of the prestigious variety) angry or anxious is not a good thing. This was a Crown & Anchor Society “Member’s Cruise” so prestigious passengers were the norm rather than the exception. For some lesser types, a feeling of second-class citizenry was palpable during the entire sailing. Legend of the Seas is (by necessity because we were transiting the Panama Canal) the smallest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Bigger ships won’t fit. It is, as a result, “quirky.” The Windjammer Buffet is significantly undersized and, therefore, always crowded. The walking/jogging track, however, at a full quarter mile in length is perfect. Many but not all of the in-cabin safes are unusual in that, rather than entering a code of your choosing for access, you must “swipe” a major credit card for access. That means you have to (otherwise unnecessarily) carry a credit card in addition to your SeaPass card everywhere you go. But don’t put that credit card in the same pocket because its magnetic stripe will eventually render your SeaPass card unusable. What were they thinking choosing credit card safes on a cruise ship? Legend does not have an outside fantail bar, devoting that potential space to an underused quiet deck outside the health club on deck nine and a mostly ignored rock climbing wall on deck ten. The wine staff is virtually invisible in the dining room. If you want a bottle of wine, you have to ask your waiter to get one of them to stop by. Some people liked the fact that they weren’t solicited to buy wine; I didn’t like it. Royal Caribbean lost a lot of revenue on this cruise as a result. Instead of buying one bottle of wine every other night, I bought only one during the entire cruise. Had I been able to, I would have purchased at least six more bottles giving Royal Caribbean a minimum of $250 more of my money. The only tender port, Cabo San Lucas, started out as a nightmare of failed debarkation logistics. Guests were forced to wait for too long to disembark and some crowding and shoving resulted. The crew was ill-prepared for unruly passengers who became impatient and exacerbated the situation. The same thing happened at our Puerto Quetzal stop that didn’t require tenders. Training will help here but they need to get on with it. The senior staff is very helpful. Maitre’d Rodrigo worked to find me a table with other solo travelers and Food & Beverage Manager Silvio Ghigo quickly acted on my request to add tables on the smoking side Viking Crown Lounge veranda to match up with similar tables on the non-smoking side. The junior staff is not so accommodating. In Cartagena the maintenance staff was power washing deck ten forward of the rock climbing wall. Elderly passengers were slipping and sliding on sudsy water flowing over the walking track. I asked both a deck steward and a climbing wall attendant to place some of the yellow “caution” cones at the wet places so people would step more carefully. Both told me that wasn’t their job. I found an officer down on deck nine who got the cones. When my pocket was picked in Cartagena (both foolish and careless on my part) I had no cash for a taxi back to the ship, I inquired of three separate Legend of the Seas Tour Guides and Tour Bus Drivers if I could hitch a ride home. “No, you didn’t buy a tour from us so we won’t/can’t help you.” Fortunately a fellow passenger (George, God bless him) stepped off one of those busses and loaned me $20 so I could get back to the ship. The Guest Services representative confirmed to me that since I did not purchase a Royal Caribbean tour I would not be entitled to a ride even though I had been robbed of my money. Later, I mentioned to Keith Williams, the Cruise Director, that Royal Caribbean should consider a possible policy change in such a situation. He wrote it all down and implied that someone would get back to me but no one did. The Senior Officers (Master Kjell Nordmo, the Staff Captain, and the Hotel Director Francois Wache, etc., are mostly aloof). Captain’s daily noontime public address announcements failed to contain interesting tidbits of real information as is, in my experience, the main reason to stop what you are doing and listen. Also, inexplicably, public address announcements are not audible on any television channel in the cabins. If you are in your stateroom and want to hear what is being said, you must step into the passageway to listen. On the talent side, Musical Director Filmer Flores delivered great shows with the most memorable performance being his solo night of classical offerings in the “That’s Entertainment Theater.” Singer Aaron Libby of the ‘singers and dancers’ is a standout. Multi-talented piano man Chuck in the Schooner Bar draws an appreciative crowd but must fight to be heard due to sound that bleeds in from the musicians playing on the adjacent Centrum Stage. The glass doors between those two venues will not stay in the closed position. Headliner entertainment was very good, led by Broadway show tune singer Michelle Murlin and variety act “Los Pampas Gauchos” who were a hoot. Foreigner’s Domenick Allen rocked the house. Cruise Director Williams doesn’t go overboard with too much personality as many of his peers do. For me, at least, he sets the perfect tone. He is at a disadvantage here, however, as his ship offers smaller and fewer venues. The final night’s “Broadway Showtunes” performance was underappreciated by guests who mostly didn’t recognize the mostly obscure selections the performers had chosen to sing. Too many guests in the “That’s Entertainment” show lounge were rude to those same performers, choosing to leave their seats and exit the theater during applause for the final number and before Cruise Director Williams made his closing remarks. There is nothing the Royal Caribbean can do about rude patrons. One strong disappointment was the port lecturer who was, to put it kindly, in way over her head. I had many conversations with fellow passengers who compared her to other lecturers on other ships and found her wanting. She read her lectures from a word-for-word script where many passages seemed to be lifted from web pages and then haphazardly pasted together. I love great shipboard lectures and none were offered here. Dining Room food and service is, as you would expect, good to very good but never great. Windjammer fare is just OK. Steakhouse Chops, on the other hand, is excellent (on both evenings I tried it) with the porterhouse outshining the strip steak. Izumi’s “hot-rock” table-top grilling concept is fun and the sushi there is very good. Izumi was severely underused by guests and I suspect it won’t last long. The Chef’s Table experience is amazing with five fine wine pairings and just the right amount of pomp and circumstance. Chef Rudy delivers a Royal meal and you can see his pride on both the plates and his face. All three specialty restaurants can be enjoyed for a discounted price of $115 per person if you buy the “Dining Package.” If purchased separately, the three will set you back $145 or more. I found “My Time” dining room service to be curt and impersonal but at the late 8:30 seating one deck below I felt both welcomed and valued. I did not dine at the early seating nor did I try room service. Late in the cruise I attempted both breakfast and lunch in the main dining room but gave up due to long lines at the doorway. We became aware of the fact that the Norovirus boarded Legend of the Seas on Day Ten of this cruise. By Day Thirteen we were in full Code Red mode with all serving tongs, beverage dispenser buttons, ice bins and more being handled exclusively by crew members. As we departed Cartagena on Day Thirteen, the unofficial word on the ship was that 98 passengers were down with gastrointestinal distress as were 40 members of the crew; just over five percent in each category. No official specific information was forthcoming (as is the practice on Cunard) so these numbers could not be verified. I was, again unofficially, told that at one point sixty cabins sported the yellow “quarantine” magnets above their doors. Having been through this twice before on ships (Cunard’s Elizabeth and on Celebrity), it is my opinion that these outbreaks are mostly the fault of fellow passengers who fail to observe proper sanitation and hygiene. However, Legend’s outdated beverage dispensing equipment and a completely unacceptable Windjammer and pool deck ice dispensing process could and should be eliminated to reduce clear points of preventable risk. (Dispensing ice from plastic bins with passengers dipping their glasses, both new and used, or handling the communal ice scoop would be a health-code violation in virtually every U.S. jurisdiction and would not be allowed) Early in the cruise, both crew and passengers, from my observation, all but ignored the ubiquitous Purell dispensers early in the cruise. Later it was “too late.” Crew members were poorly trained on gloved-hand procedures as I witnessed several using their gloved hands to smooth mussed hair, scratch noses, rub eyes or lean on unsanitized surfaces and then use that same hand to serve food or distribute utensils, cups or glassware. Again, proper training is lacking. In fairness, however, kids’ center staff and even musicians were serving food at one point and perhaps cross training those folks is not normally required. I don’t know. Twenty foot swells and gale force winds greeted the passengers on the next to last sea day out of Cartagena. Pools were closed (the Solarium pool was drained), sea sickness bag holders graced every staircase landing and decks were mostly abandoned due to high winds. Some passengers were sickened while others were exhilarated. I felt sorry for those already suffering from gastrointestinal distress on those heavy seas. On this fifteen day cruise, tuxedos and evening gowns were much in evidence on the three “Formal Nights” (Day Two, Day Eight and Day Fourteen—all sea days). There were fewer dress-code scofflaws on this trip than I have experienced on other Royal Caribbean sailings with shorts, caps, tank tops and bare feet rarely appearing where they should not be. Besides the three “Formal Nights” there were four “Smart Casual” nights in the mix with all other nights being some variation of “Casual.” Legend does not have guest-accessible laundry facilities but does run a $30 “cram all you can into this paper bag” special along with regular 48 hour laundry and dry cleaning service. Wi-Fi signals are, by cruise ship standards, strong and acceptably fast if you bring your own laptop, and, by the standard on all cruise ships, too expensive. Passengers who used the ship’s computers on Deck Eight complained of very slow speeds on what they called “outdated” equipment. Smoking is allowed in the casino but, while you must pass though the casino on Deck Four to get to the That’s Entertainment Theater, the air handling equipment spares you from too much secondhand exposure. Also, you can walk up to Deck Five and then back down to Deck Four to avoid the Casino smoke on that route if you wish. Royal Caribbean did a stellar job of finding live NFL and college football broadcasts to play in the Schooner Bar, on the Big Screen at the pool and on the stateroom televisions. First run movies were offered free of charge on the latter two venues as well. Channel offerings include CNN International (not the U.S. channel, unfortunately) and Headline News but no Fox News or MSNBC nor any of the four major broadcast networks. This cruise departed San Diego stopping in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; transited the Panama Canal; and then stopped again in ColÏŒn, Panama; Cartagena, Columbia; concluding in Fort Lauderdale. There were seven sea days. Much is written elsewhere about ports so I will leave those details to others except to recommend that excursions should be considered mandatory for Puntarenas and ColÏŒn as those port areas are unappealing in every way. Most of us commented that there wasn’t that much to do on sea days and while I agree, I will credit that in part to the small ship’s lack of venue opportunities. Trivia competitions were usually oversubscribed for the size of the Schooner Bar and seats in the Centrum for before dinner entertainment were hard to come by. Trivia teams are limited to six members. On the first day I found myself, as a solo traveler, locked out since I would be the prohibited “number seven” on any team I approached. Trivia is “progressive” so if you don’t find a home early, you have a tendency to be left out for the balance of the cruise. The Canal transit was, for most, both the reason to book this cruise and the highlight. Many passengers who rose early to grab the best viewing spots later commented, however, that they could have easily slept in. It turns out that if you closely observe one lock experience, frankly, you could skip the others if you wished. Those of us who were fascinated by the intricacy of both the Canal’s construction and operation were rewarded with insightful commentary from a local narrator that Royal Caribbean brought on board. He offered up just the right amount of public address information, neither weighing us down with constant chatter nor failing to anticipate a detail about which we might be wondering. He made up for a sub-par destination presentation that day before by our on-board lecturer. Given the choice, I personally would not choose to sail aboard Legend of the Seas again. But, I would transit the Panama Canal again. Since the new wider Canal that will accommodate larger vessels won’t open for another couple of years, I am told that Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor loyalists have only the Legend available for Canal transits. Maybe they ought to consider trying another line for this itinerary to see what the competition has to offer. I am sure that Royal Caribbean would be happy to welcome them aboard a Celebrity ship even if their points won’t count. I am told that Crown & Anchor privileges will be available to them but, given how these Diamond and Diamond Plus members seem hooked on Royal Caribbean points, I suspect shifting to a different brand may be unthinkable to them. For me, I wish Royal Caribbean would take a look at what hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and others do: make their frequent cruiser program points inclusive of all their brands (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara). They would likely have all my cruise business if they would do that. And, I would be a Diamond Plus member (instead of not quite Platinum) by now. Until then, I have divided my purchases (78 nights at sea in 2013) trying various providers from Royal Caribbean to Carnival to Princess to Cunard to Celebrity to SilverSea. Some folks don’t know what they’re missing and I suspect that is the way Royal Caribbean wants it.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We decided to take the family on a last minute cruise over Thanksgiving, and I had narrowed my choices to NCL Epic and Glory. Given that we were taking four of my children, the Epic (while slightly cheaper) would cost us more due to ... Read More
We decided to take the family on a last minute cruise over Thanksgiving, and I had narrowed my choices to NCL Epic and Glory. Given that we were taking four of my children, the Epic (while slightly cheaper) would cost us more due to specialty restaurants (which I look forward to trying sometime in the future with NCL). Plus I was eager to experience the Funship 2.0 upgrades for the first time….so I broke my own rule of not sailing the same ship. I considered Glory having Funship 2.0 a quasi new ship anyway. Embarkation: Miami….ughhhh. Really missed Ft. Lauderdale after our experience in Miami this sailing. I choose Safe Parking to leave the car, and arrived at 10:15am so we could hopefully be at the port/waiting to board at 10:45am. Shuttle arrives at 10:30am…all good…except driver is dropping off passengers and won’t take newcomers. Ok…why? So we (and others) wait and wait. Finally the same shuttle bus shows up and drops off passengers…and again will NOT take on new customers. Tensions rise now that everyone has been waiting for 30-45+ minutes. Then a 15 passenger van shows up…and is asking who is sailing Carnival. Since we have been waiting the longest---we grab him. The fill the van – and we leave a lot of other folks sailing on different lines. It was exactly 1 hour after we arrived in the parking lot. Fortunately Miami terminal was moving quickly and we were onboard eating Guy Burgers around 12pm. We loved Guy burgers and their French fries. The Glory: We had sailed her before a few summers back for a quick Canada trip. This is our first cruise with the kids without extended family…and my son’s first (two of my girls were so young on our first cruise with RCCL that they don’t remember it at all). Ship was clean, the food was average to good in the MDR. We had a fabulous wait staff – got lucky to find them on the first night of anytime dining – Yudi/Hendro from Indonesia. They really made our week enjoyable and had a great time with our kids. Went way above the normal to satisfy us and take care of the kids – lots of fun dancing with them and joking around. I wish the Glory had changed their menus during our cruise…but we were a week early. Food was good – nothing spectacular. For breakfast I enjoyed the Blue Iguana burritos a few times….and we did enjoy the sea day brunch for the first time. This time they made it easier to redeem your free drink….it was awful during our last Carnival cruise (took an hour the last sea day!). We did not do the Emerald steakhouse this cruise….or the Taste Bar. We only made it to one new 2.0 show – Divas. It was good – I was expecting a lot worse based on the last few years of 2.0 rollouts. We saw the family friendly comedian twice – he was good. They had a magician who went through the MDR and had a late night show in one of the lounges….Chris – he was GREAT! The sea days were very windy and cloudy. We were able to find chairs no problem. MUTS were Iron Man 2/3, Bourne Legacy, and Monday Night football….maybe another movie or 2. We had sun in Cozumel and Grand Cayman, we missed Belize due to high winds and Roatan was rainy all day. Past guest party decent – the drinks were dished out and strong – did get a few Twilight Zone’s brought to us in lieu of what was on the server trays. Cruise Director was good and funny…the staff seemed to be having fun and were enjoyable. Ports: Cozumel – did taxi ride to Playa Palancar again. We were the first one’s there. There were 6 ships in Cozumel that day, and pretty soon even Palancar beach was getting crowded. I have never seen so many snorkel boats at Palancar/Columbia reef…there must have been 40 at one time. My kids have never been snorkeling, so we grabbed the local snorkel boat and went out around 1pm, when most of the ship excursions had left to return to their ships. Great sunny day – and while the reefs are relatively deep (25 to 45 feet), we could see and enjoy everything. Great food at Palancar too. Roatan – since we missed Belize due to high winds (it was crazy watching NCL trying to tender – we saw one successful tender launch and those folks on the top deck got splashed by the waves/wind. We tried to anchor at least twice but threw in the towel. We had a nice private snorkeling/island tour Goff Caye booked, hated we missed it. Since the weather forecast a week out showed rain and more rain, I held off an early booking with SouthShore zip lining….because I wanted to do a combo package with the beach. We docked and it was a steady rain. We took our time and when it became a light drizzle we got off the ship and we made our way through the gates/outside Mahagony Bay. We found a SouthShore rep and they got us a driver to take us to the zipline. This was our first time and it was a great experience. Grand Cayman – two of my girls are horse girls, so they and my wife did a great private excursion with Coral Stone Stables. This was a beach/swim with the horses – and they LOVED it. The photos are crazy – in how deep they were and how far out they were from the beach with the horses. My other daughter dragged me and my son to Stingray City – with Stingway Sailing (Chip was our captain). Grand Cayman had 4 ships – and it was a major zoo at the terminal. It took us some time to hook up with Stingway Sailing. Due to waves/winds, the ship’s canceled the same excursion tours. Chip said he was out there at 7am and while the waves were high, he thought it was ok based on his experience. We all decided to go for it and we were glad we did. We were the only boat out there for awhile. I kinda freaked out when the stingrays were crawling all over me – but it was a great experience. Such beautiful water! The barrier reef was too wavy – so he took us to another snorkel spot – and it was actually pretty good – nice color and very nice fish. Plus we had a dolphin visit us and we were snorkeling with it for 5 minutes…pretty cool. Debarkation: Miami – uuuggghhh again. We had luggage tag 29 since we drove (someone else in the hallway mentioned they had number 34). It was 10:15am and our number had not been called yet! Usually they are kicking us off the ship at 9:30am. We decided to go ahead and head down. The terminal was very busy—and it did not take us too long to get our luggage off the conveyor belt. However, the 5 or 6 lines to go through passport control were LONG. It was 1 hour from leaving the ship to being outside waiting for our Safe Cruise parking shuttle. How I miss Fort Lauderdale after that experience. Luckily the Safe Cruise Parking driver found us in the masses and we were promptly delivered to our car. In the future, if just my wife and I and we drove, we would make sure we each had a carry-on and would do self-assist so we could be in our car on the road back to NC at a more reasonable time.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was the first 7-day sailing out of the US for the Sunshine, so it was loaded with loyal repeat cruisers. Over 200 passengers were Platinum. On top of that, it was a Thanksgiving cruise, and my 3 kids had the whole week off, so the ... Read More
This was the first 7-day sailing out of the US for the Sunshine, so it was loaded with loyal repeat cruisers. Over 200 passengers were Platinum. On top of that, it was a Thanksgiving cruise, and my 3 kids had the whole week off, so the ship was loaded with kids. Not a typical week at all. The weather was bad all week, so the seas were rough, especially on the first and last full days. As the former Destiny, the first cruise ship over 100K tons, the Sunshine has enough size to minimize the motion. It was never difficult to walk, and items were not sliding off flat surfaces, but some people felt seasick, just the same. We had just been on a cruise off Novia Scotia that was worse, so it did not bother me or my family. The second Fun Day at Sea was much better, and the sun even came out for a while. That day and the morning in Jamaica were the only times we saw the sun. That being said, it was not cold and did not rain much, so you could still relax in the pools and hot tubs on the lido deck with protection from the wind, and enjoy the new water slide. Wind, sometimes increased by the forward motion of the ship, complicated miniature golf on the top accessible deck. I give Carnival credit because we did not cancel any of our port visits, as many other ships had to do that week in the Caribbean. We also did not strand anyone in a port because the tenders could not bring them back, as I heard happened in nearby Belize that week. The worst that happened is that we anchored on the south side of Grand Cayman instead of in the Georgetown harbor in the SW corner of the island. The tender ride was just as short, but the Spotts Bay alternate cruise terminal is in a residential area so you have to take a taxi to really do anything. There are resorts and a public beach within walking distance, but I did not know that at the time. Anyway, the weather was too rough to want to go to a beach. The food was the standard Carnival 7-day cruise menu, which I love, with the addition of tom turkey on Thanksgiving night. My fourth Thanksgiving on Carnival. The turkey is good but you don't get to see the whole thing and carve it up the way you want, as you would at home. You also have to turn down a nice steak to order the turkey. Actually, they would bring you both, of course, but I feel like a pig doing that! The cruise director's entertainment staff did a yeoman's job of entertaining passengers who were inside the ship more than they probably expected to be that week. All three of the young women running the trivia and karaoke were affable and effective. For us as well as a crowd that grew every night, the highlight was the ship's rock and roll band with lead singer Criss Cain, right out of college on his first contract. His voice was phenomenal, and he energized the crowd to dance for hours from his stage in the new Ocean Plaza in the middle of the promenade deck. We skipped a lot of the production shows just to see his whole sets. Alas, Criss's Sunshine contract is over, but he has started another one on another Carnival ship. At first I thought it was a cheap maneuver that Carnival renamed the ship. I would not have even gone on it had it not been in New Orleans, one of the easiest ports to get to for us. After being on it for a week, I can see why they renamed it. The interior was very significantly redone. Not just remodeled but redone. For example, while the highest cabins were on deck 10 previously, cabins were added to the front of the ship on decks 11 and 12, and a new deck 13 was put on. Actually they call it 14. Thus, the weight should be higher than 100,000 tons now. Some of the differences, I noticed on the website before the trip, but most of them I didn't notice until we got there. Several times I thought, they couldn't have changed that. I must be remembering it wrong. But later in the week I found a deck plan of the old Destiny, and found that all of my suspicions were actually correct. The midship dining room where we ate on the Destiny, is now a single level dining room, unique among Carnival ships. On what used to be its second-level, they have substituted a library bar/game room, the piano bar, the up-charge steak place, and an up-charge sushi place. The atrium bar is round and in the center of the atrium, rather than triangular and up against the glass elevators like it used to be. Our cabin was steps away from that bar, which was my favorite place on the Destiny. Our cabin was a strange configuration, being on an outside wall but not having a window or porthole. I did not remember there being cabins on deck three before. It was a great location. When we entered the main show lounge in the front of the ship, I thought it had been reduced from three decks to 2. Well, that is why. They removed the bottom deck and stuck some cabins in under it. A Carnival ship designer realized that the forward main lounge space went unused after the second show every night. A large space in the new restaurant in the back of the Lido deck would also go unused after dinner. The Destiny's disco took up prime space on the promenade deck. The designer realized that the Destiny disco's space could be reused as is the highly successful Ocean Plaza on the dream class ships. The three-level show lounge on the Destiny was too cavernous a space for a nightclub, but if it were reduced to two decks, it would be more intimate, the designer thought. Instead of having fixed seating, the bottom floor could have seats that are moved away after the last show to reveal a larger area on which people could dance. The Cuban restaurant already has great ambiance for salsa dancing. The idea was pitched to superiors and made it up to the top. As a result, on the Sunshine, late-night dancing is now held alternately in the back of the Lido deck (in the Cuban restaurant) or in the front of the fourth deck. Without taking up any permanent space. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We sailed out of Long Beach on September 20. We booked an interior cabin at the last minute. We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 PM, and were on board by 1 PM. Great service there. We were booked on the Empress Deck (deck 7). This was ... Read More
We sailed out of Long Beach on September 20. We booked an interior cabin at the last minute. We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 PM, and were on board by 1 PM. Great service there. We were booked on the Empress Deck (deck 7). This was convenient, as only one floor up to dining room, and three to lido deck where we found the buffet, and the pools etc. The service there was excellent. While my wife and I aren't big drinkers, we were approached for drinks by waiters regularly. There wasn't any pressure to drink, and they were friendly, and accepted this easily. We met our cabin steward, Roderick. He was friendly, and throughout the weekend, was able to provide great service. In the main dining room again, we had outstanding service. My wife has severe food allergies, and the crew was extremely attentive, providing us with the next night's menu, and recommendations for her. We took an excursion to the Wineries of Ensenada. This was a great tour. We had a sea day, that was totally relaxing. The shows were average, but enjoyable. You should be aware that for a weekend cruise this is a "party boat" with a lot of young people, doing stags and stagettes etc. We saw some loud and rowdy behaviour, but nothing that caused concern at all for us. The ship is also a fair bit smaller than many out there today, so there aren't as many amenities as you are perhaps used to. We were stuck with lousy weather, but obviously this was out of control for Carnival. All in all we had a great time, and for a weekend away, I'd do it again. I should say that in the past we have sailed with Princess. This has spoiled us for some of the nicer parts of cruising. You do pay a little more with them, but the experience is a little nicer. For a longer cruise, I would go with Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Fun, laughter and more aboard the Indy to the Med...IF you mixed with your own age group. This 21st Sept sailing was my 4th cruise aboard. A few changes have made to the ship and the evening shows recently. An elderly demographic led ... Read More
Fun, laughter and more aboard the Indy to the Med...IF you mixed with your own age group. This 21st Sept sailing was my 4th cruise aboard. A few changes have made to the ship and the evening shows recently. An elderly demographic led this voyage, interspersed with younger families and middle aged couples. But wheelchairs, electric buggies and strollers ruled. (At other times it is children making up 1/3 of the passengers) Boarding at Southampton was slick for the Diamond/Suite check ins, aboard from parking and security in under half an hour just after 1pm. Junior Suite 9564 superbly appointed, close enough to the much less used forward elevators. The cabin was in very good condition. Large balcony with 2 upright loungers, 2 chairs and small table. Bed in middle of room, with sofa and chair/footstool by sliding door and separate window. Bath with shower curtain very clean and not showing age. On mini forward hump, just under the floating hot tubs but never noticed the overhang. When you sleep your head is at the aft, feet towards stern when travelling (you travel backwards!) Reynaldo was excellent, never once came back and room not done. There were some new shows, Rock the Boat band still aboard, Strings was the only ice show being performed to all passengers this 12 night voyage. However Freeze Frame (50s 60s 70s) which is a new show was offered as a private performance for certain levels of C&A. Nice touch and fantastic show. The tribute act this time was Soul Satisfaction, a Motown act and very entertaining. Mel was the Diamond Lounge Concierge again this voyage and had just come aboard. With around 280 guests of that C&A level she was kept busy. The overflow lounge across in Cloud 9 was used and it was busy every evening but had a nice quiet ambience in comparison to the rather crowded and noisy main DL. The two guys serving were excellent. A highlight for me in the Dining Room is the filet mignon option at $17. It is a superbly cooked 10oz fillet steak that melts like butter. Generally the menus were good and have been changed recently. The service from our waiter Bernard and his asst. Karla was fabulous in My Time Dining. A table for 2 by the window was perfect. The lines to be seated can be rather long at certain times and stretched back past Guest Relations. It made no difference whether you had a reservation or not, you still had to wait to be checked in by the two efficient guys. We tend to see what table we get and if it is good we stick with it around the same time. Rock the Boat were a again a highlight of our cruise. Classic rock music almost every evening in the Pyramid Lounge. They generally played from 930 till around 1230, with either a short interval on their nights or sometimes longer if interrupted by a game show. I still wonder why the cruise line insists on doing this, there have a packed house and a superb band. The night starts generally at 930 till 1015. Then the band has an enforced break, sometimes up to an hour, for a banal game show. Particuarly Battle of the Sexes which was the most awful, mind numbing wasted 45m of my life...led by weak cruise staff. On the nights that the band had the lounge to themselves all evening, they played 945-1045. 1100 till 1230. Packed out, and when they said there were on to play straight through with no game shows they got loud cheers of appreciation and many waited till the end of the set. A quality band that play a superb mix of material to suit an appreciative audience, very professional and entertaining and a real asset to the Indy. Some nights it felt like you had just been at a gig. The Schooner Bar had a piano man on most evenings, Derek Conlon, who was ok if you like that type of thing. Olive or Twist up in the sky lounge offered alternatives too. The Labyrinth Night Club had a DJ on late. And the casino was always popular. Apart from the ice shows and the rock band, I viewed the overall entertainment package to be poor. The big production shows were missing. Too many individual acts of the same type. The Prestige latin band in Boleros had an out of tune female lead singer. RCCL still include string quartets which don't quite match the "Get out there" advertising. Mike Hunnerup was a very poor cruise director, absent and weak, and not memorable in anyway. The production show, Once Upon a Time did feature as did a new dance show. There was no grande finale show highlighting the voyages entertainment. There were lots of single entertainment acts which no doubt cost less, but did not entice us into the theatre. The ports of call were good on this cruise. We mostly did our own thing. In Barcelona we took a cab to the Nou Camp, 30 euros, 23 euros admission for tour, 25 euros taxi from Nou Camp to Placa Catalunya, walked down Ramblas, 25 euros cab back to ship. They do charge port entry fees to the fare. It was a great day and was good to tour the football stadium at your own pace rather than follow a tour guide round. And the cost worked out quite similar. Lunch at the Hard Rock Café on the square. Gibraltar, Vigo, Cartagena and Cadiz were all easy walk offs with everything close by. In Lisbon we took a ships tour to Sintra and Cascais, lovely half day but unfortunately weather was wet. Palma probably needs a shuttle or a cab as the port is some way around the bay from the centre or resorts, but still a nice setting. Daytime entertainment aboard on sea days is severely lacking. No interesting activities, unless you want to see towel folding and napkin demos. The Flowrider is always a good watch though. The enrichment talks this time about the movies did not entice us although on past voyages some have been very entertaining. Celebrity Cruises enrichment programme is a big plus for us when the weather is bad. The seas were calm and we had another good crossing across the Bay of Biscay. Unfortunately not pool weather as the wind tends to linger around the upper decks on sea days. Disappointingly, the sun loungers at pool tied were tied together on upper decks for the entire voyage. This is an inconvenience to cruisers, as you can't turn to choose direction. You miss out on viewing the large screen or and cannot chose from wind/sunshine. This is a cost saving to cruise line as less staff to tidy up decks. I did ask if they would untie them in certain areas and was told no due to the wind, but in the past they always untied them during the day. Guess it takes less time and staff to tidy them away again. They did show a Tom Jones concert one afternoon on the screen and a bit of football but apart from that nothing of note. Wish they would stop the $25 towel thing, Celebrity doesn't do this. No great fuss at sail aways, the Caribbean cruises make this into an event. The Walk for Wishes event was very well supported again. The Elevators were hugely popular as usual. So much so that the cardigan brigade enjoyed being in them so much that that they felt the need to get on no matter what direction it was travelling. If you got on at deck 14 they would arrive full from deck 11, or if you returned from a trip and got on deck 1 there would be people already in them. The aft ones are always busy, but the forward elevators were more available. A tip, if you returned from a trip, simply walk around to the other side and avoid the queues. Overall a good cabin, nice food, some good entertainment. Still quite expensive considering there was no flights or hotels required in the package. This voyage was sold out and no discounts became available. I don't think $6.75 is that bad for a double gin and tonic. Or $2.50 for a diet coke. Wine is the most expensive. Coffee, tea and water by the glass is available free 24hrs a day from the promenade cafes. We are unlikely to cruise again from Southampton with Royal Caribbean for some considerable time. It is worth making the effort to travel out of Barcelona, Rome etc. The passenger demographics don't suit us out of the UK, the ship can be full of school kids at holiday times or packed with the elderly and incapacitated at others. If you are 45-55 you were in the minority on this 21st Sept sailing, wonder what the even younger couples thought ? Quite a few Alpha calls too... A fly cruise is definitely more appealing. SUMMARY Day 1 sea - welcome aboard show 745pm inc BMX bikes ? Day 2 sea - sounds of Grace (the Grace Trio) ? Formal. 80s Pop Party Promenade. Day 3 Gibraltar - shuttle independent pier €4 rtn, 20 min walk. Show Paul Adams, funny man ? Day 4 Cartagena - docks at pier in town, independent boat trip 45m at pier €8. Dance show ? Day 5 Barcelona , shuttle $10 each return. Cabs at pier. Mike Doyle, voice and comedy ? Day 6 Palma, shuttle $10 each rtn. Katy Setterfield, divas tribute act from 2008 BBC show ? Day 7 sea. Mind of Kennedy , mind blowing impossibilities? Day 8, Cadiz, walk off. Pete Matthews, comedy juggler ? Day 9, Lisbon, shuttle $12. Soul Satisfaction motown tribute. Excellent. Day 10, vigo, walk off. Once Upon a Time production show, Rock Britannia. Day 11 sea. Andy James, comedy and magic ?   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We joined the ship on 24th September an all inclusive trip x 7 days. Busy day for the crew on change over day. Is was a full complement of passengers . We were also on this ship in 2009 . Allocated cabin 5528 small but functional ... Read More
We joined the ship on 24th September an all inclusive trip x 7 days. Busy day for the crew on change over day. Is was a full complement of passengers . We were also on this ship in 2009 . Allocated cabin 5528 small but functional chipped salmon pink wash basin shower cubicle was OK for average build of passenger , mattress a bit worn ,no hair-dryer for my partner.(you can hire one from reception) have to pay to use the cabin safe . We used the very popular Beachcomber self service restaurant for breakfast and lunch ,melamine plates and cups supplied most food hot food was served to you from the hot plate (cuts down on food waste ) help yourself to anything else , you could order an omelette . We used the Island restaurant in the evenings a bit less of a crush and exchanged cruise experiences with fellow passengers (,vibrations from ships engine room when docking or anchor chains sounds ) .Food was of very good quality. Public areas were clean but well worn ,whole ship in need of refurbishment. As the company are making money there is there need to up grade ? The entertainment team worked very hard and most passengers had positive comments . Most ships crew Officers and men were polite or friendly . The PUB could very busy and it was quicker to go to the bar to be served which I prefer rather than being hassled to buy another drink as happens other cruise ships . Invited to the Captains Cocktail party along with another 150 people , offered glass of wine or soft drink ! Learned the one passenger had sailed on the ship 17 times ,a waist of time attending this party. We took this cruise because of the ports call , Cavil, Livonia , Nice ,Toulouse, Barcelona I am aware of negative reviews , some are a bit unfair . Overall we enjoyed this cruise and would sail on the ship depending on the itinerary. Value for money probably not. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
I have sailed multiple ships in the Fantasy class, Paradise included (back in '03 when it was still no smoking). Due to this, I knew going in how this ship would compare to newer offerings from Carnival and competing lines. First of ... Read More
I have sailed multiple ships in the Fantasy class, Paradise included (back in '03 when it was still no smoking). Due to this, I knew going in how this ship would compare to newer offerings from Carnival and competing lines. First of all if you are capable of "making your own fun" you will probably have a good time on this boat. I started cruising in '95 (I was 21 then), so I'm familiar with the activities boats of this size typically offer. If you are content with the pool deck, casino, meals, comedians, and maybe a show or two you should be fine. If all you know is Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 (upgrade) boats (or RCCL for that matter) the Paradise may seem kind of boring. Cons: -Lido deck restaurants (outside or inside, including the deli and pizza) were always nuts. It seemed like 10 minute lines for at least an hour (sometimes more) during both breakfast and lunch. I only ate in the MDR during the day once (lunch), and it wasn't busy at all. It appears that the people on this boat prefer the buffet meals. Dinner (buffet) selection was very poor during the one evening I checked it out, although (again) this may be typical on this ship. -Yes the interior looks dated. No way to hide this given that you enter the boat and the first thing you see is the atrium (which looks as dated as anything on the boat). -Stateroom looked dated as well, and had a "yellowed" robe, but served its purpose as a comfy place to sleep. -MDR (we had my time dining) hostess didn't know the show schedule, as was surprised when they got crushed immediately after the show. Service was VERY slow that night. This was surprising as it isn't like they don't go through this every few days. -Seemed like the pool deck bars were understaffed. One bartender for a ~10 seat bar for extended periods of time. They were pushing buckets of beer hard, I assume this helps relieve the pressure some. -MDR food was average. Not necessarily a con, but as someone who has been on 9 Carnival cruises in 16 years the gradual decline is something I can't help but notice. -Stop with the bacon police. It only backs up the buffet lines even more. I'm sorry that people waste a bunch of food (sad really), but add $1-2 to everyone's fare and let people grab their own bacon. Deserts I get (they are separate anyway), but the primary buffet lines really need to move faster. Pros: -Less than $90/person/day (family of 3, not including tips). Cons aside, I felt that I got what I paid for. -Serenity deck + waterslide are a nice touch for this older boat. -Pool deck (pools, deck, chairs), while worn, was in good shape. -Bed was really comfy. In my opinion, if you have complained about Carnival in the past you will likely do so again if you sail on this ship. In addition, if you are familiar with the Fantasy class ships nothing on this boat should surprise you. If all you care about is some food, the casino, the pool, alcohol, a few ports here and there, this boat will do. If you want more, you need to pay more. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We booked directly with Celebrity in order to secure a five hundred dollar on board credit. This came in useful when paying our wine and bar bill. Beware prices for drinks are high. The Reflection at less than a year old and is very ... Read More
We booked directly with Celebrity in order to secure a five hundred dollar on board credit. This came in useful when paying our wine and bar bill. Beware prices for drinks are high. The Reflection at less than a year old and is very impressive. The sweeping central atrium is beautiful, the cabins are pristine with modern decor and the bars are exciting night time venues. Although we were slightly disappointed with the evening entertainment there were some stand out acts. 'These Guys', a group of four young Californian men were sensational. The comedy venue 'Sin City' show was great entertainment. Ask any guy who watched this show if they remember Sarah Storey, the Australian burlesque dancer. Overall the shore trips were well organised, but a little uninspiring. The food was never something to rave about, but consistently good. We soon learnt that the meat choices were by far the best. The buffet had plenty of choice and we always found a table outside to sit, both for breakfast and lunch. Both embarkation and disembarkation were efficient but a 6.30 start meant that Celebrity got us to the airport with three and a half hours to go before our flight to Birmingham. Overall a very pleasant cruise, but we came away saying we would like to try another cruise company next time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
1. General Comments: A pleasant cruise with good weather; this was our second Panama Canal transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic. We are regular cruisers; this was our first time on Celebrity. We booked an Aqua Class stateroom on ... Read More
1. General Comments: A pleasant cruise with good weather; this was our second Panama Canal transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic. We are regular cruisers; this was our first time on Celebrity. We booked an Aqua Class stateroom on the ninth deck, and this included the Blu dining room. Details below. The cruise had seven sea days that were relaxing. 2. Embarking: We made our own flight arrangements for this cruise, but we did use Celebritys hotel in San Diego, the Sheraton Marina, a nice hotel convenient to both the airport and the port. We were bused to the port around noon. The security line was a bit long, but we were on board by 1PM. Our cabin was ready for us; one suitcase arrived before 2:30 and the second bag arrived at 5:30. We were over 2,000 passengers of all ages, from infants to seniors in electric scooters. Nationalities were across the board: US, British (160), Belgians (over 40), Swiss, Germans, Canadians, Brazilians, etc. As the ship was next headed for Harwich, England, it appeared that some of the Europeans were going to continue on home on board and not fly. 3. The Celebrity Infinity (from perspective of Aqua Class): The cabin is the same size as any other verandah cabin but with nicer amenities. Despite its size, there are adequate storage drawers and closet space for the two weeks. [My wifes contrarian comments: The storage and closet space looks very good before your suitcases arrive. I do agree it was adequate, but only because I had mercilessly edited the clothing I packed down to only those items I absolutely knew I would wear and brought along a Magellans valet travel tray to corral my cosmetics in/on the desk (there are no drawers in the cabins desk, just large open shelves.] There are only two 110v and two 220v outlets in the room. The bathroom is compact but it does have storage shelves under the sink. The shower is a walk-in type with a great multi-nozzle system. Suitcases fit well under the bed. The cabin has a small safe and a small refrigerator (never used it and kept it locked). There is a TV that receives movies, some cable news (depending on reception), shipboard activities, and other channels. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are no announcements on the PA system other than the Captains 10 oclock bridge report followed by a very brief summary of the days activities. If you want a newspaper, a four-page news summary (in various languages) is available daily around noon in the Guest Services area. There is a children/teens area and programs for them. I defer to others with children to comment on this part of the ship. Library is very small; bring your own reading. 4. Meals: Food in the Oceanview buffet - which almost everyone uses for breakfast and lunch - is good. There are plenty of choices at both meals, and you can eat as much or as little as you want. It is a bit hurried, though, and not a place for a leisurely meal. As we were Aqua Class, we did not use the main dining room. I dont know if we could if we wanted as our dining tips that had to be prepaid when booking were earmarked for the Blu staff and not the dining room staff. Blu: We stopped by Blu after we boarded. A waiter on duty recommended we do not appear at 7 (our usual dining time), but come earlier or later. The room seats 100, and they have about 200 guests. The waiter was correct in his advice. We found we could get a table no later than 6:30. Arriving later meant that we would have to wait until around 8PM. So much for open dining in Blu. We found service and food in Blu to be excellent. The menu is different from the main dining room. The menu is not twigs and leaves it is well-prepared regular cooking with maybe a bit less starch and a bit more emphasis on vegetables. If you feel calorie deprived, you can easily make up the shortage with their excellent breads, wines, and desserts. Other than a few tables for large parties of six or more, tables are for two with two tables set relatively close together. If you wish to chat with your neighbors, you can, and if you (or they) do not want to, its no problem and no affront. While the dinner service runs fairly well, breakfast service does not. The issue seemed to be that each breakfast order is different and cannot be premade in the kitchen. Thus, breakfast service is slow and does not work when you have an early shore excursion. We avoided trying to do breakfast on these days in the Oceanview buffet due to the crowds there, and we found the AquaSpa Cafe to work for a good and quick breakfast. The above being said, an unhurried breakfast in Blu on sea days was pleasant. We made reservations on-line for both Qsine and the SS United States specialty restaurants. Both, in their respective ways, were excellent. Qsines food is excellent and the presentation is completely unusual. However, it works. The United States copies the first-class dining room of its namesake. This includes something not seen on any ship we have been on: the large amount of space between tables. Those were the good old days. Both restaurants were worth the extra charges. There are other food outlets around the ship as well as a goodly number of bars. We can recommend the Italian gelateria. At dinner one night a couple noted that the Ocean Grille, in the back of the Oceanview Cafe, was a great place for a casual grilled dinner. You cannot go hungry or thirsty on board. 5. Dressing for meals: For this two week trip it was three formal, and all the rest casual. A good number - perhaps half - of men at formal nights were in tuxedos or suits; some who did not want to dress up just did not appear for these meals. You get the specific dates for dress (and all time changes) in the initial daily program in your cabin when you board. 6. Shore Excursions: A word of advice: make your shore excursion reservations on-line! Otherwise you will either have to use the not-so-user-friendly on board TV system to make your reservations or stand in line on board at the excursion counter. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you dont need the ships tour office. Celebritys tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ships staff, you have support when there is a problem. Concerning tours in Guatemala and Costa Rica: Most tours are long because it is a distance from the port to get up into the mountains. In Guatemala, it was 90 minutes each way for the Antigua tours. In Costa Rica, it was 2 ½ hours each way to get to the Monteverde area. This included around 20 miles of unpaved roads. Also, pay attention to warnings concerning Colon, Panama. Ship tour personnel and tour guides made it quite clear that visitors had no business wandering around in town. Stay in the shopping area pier-side, or take a tour that passes through the town. 7. Shipboard entertainment: The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: sports, lectures, bridge, bingo (for serious players!), etc, etc. Two lecturers on board were popular: Al Goldis, a retired general manager and scout, knew everything there was to know about baseball. Martin Harrington Uncle Marty is a citizen of Panama and provided a series on all aspects of that country. He also provided commentary on the PA system as the ship transited the canal. We did not attend any of the shows on board; the bits we saw looked good. The casino payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the shipâs photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. There are various venues for night owls. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts (for cabin steward, waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter). The amounts are charged to your shipboard account. As I said earlier, if you are Aqua Class, you pay tips when you book. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service breakfast. Your bar bill automatically adds 15 percent. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your cruise, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos) is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. You can track your account on the ships TV channel. We received a paper copy about the half way point in the cruise; we received a final copy the night before disembarking. However, anything you charge that last night (bar, shopping) will not appear on that copy. Keep your receipts so that you can check the amount you see on your credit card bill at home. 10. Disembarking: We signed up for the ships valet luggage service. Our bags went out of our cabin the night before, and we did not see them until we arrived at our San Antonio airport. The service costs, I believe, $20 per person, plus whatever the airline charges. Celebrity will tell you what restrictions there are concerning airlines and routing. You get different luggage tags the night before as well as your boarding passes for your flight(s) home. Our morning procedure was that we had to be out of our cabin by 8 and in the specified waiting lounge by 8:15. Announcements were only made in the waiting areas. We were called to leave at 8:30, and we arrived at our gate at Fort Lauderdale Airport at 10:30. It took nearly an hour to get through customs/immigration (sequestration shortages), and it took about another half hour to get through TSA security at the airport. 11. Conclusion: We would classify this cruise as very good bordering on excellent. Celebrity advertising does not equal reality. Yes, we would sail with Celebrity again (Aqua Class), if timing and itinerary meet our desires. If anyone has questions, send me an e-mail at LTC519@satx.rr.com. Fred Groth San Antonio, TX Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I'll start by saying that I am a frequent cruiser and this was my 50th cruise overall. Mostly with Princess and P&O Cruises (UK and Australia). Carnival have just started cruising out of Sydney to the South Pacific and to New ... Read More
I'll start by saying that I am a frequent cruiser and this was my 50th cruise overall. Mostly with Princess and P&O Cruises (UK and Australia). Carnival have just started cruising out of Sydney to the South Pacific and to New Zealand. My friend and I stayed a couple of nights before at the Sofitel in Sydney before we embarked on our cruise. Our hotel was close to the terminal, and we could have easily have walked to the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay. We decided to take a cab, as it would be less stressful. I booked this cruise with an idea that it would be a different style of cruising compared to previous experiences. My last cruise before this one was on P&O Australia's Pacific Jewel. I will not return to P&O (unless the price is right!) because of their poor quality food and the age of their ships. I wanted something newer and larger than P&O can offer, and this is where Carnival fitted in nicely with newer ships and hopefully better food. Our embarkation was a breeze, we had a 12:30pm-1:00pm check in time, due to the fact that we had a Vista Suite on deck 6 (6260). We arrived by cab and our baggage was taken from us and we were shown into the terminal building. We had forgotten to fill in the departure cards, and therefore this took us an additional 5 minutes that we need not have wasted. We were shown up to the check in counter, where the VIP line was. We only waited 20 seconds before being called. There was an issue with my friends passport, as he is German and their computers didn't want to recognise it. However this was sorted and we were on our way through security and onto the ship in no time. Our cabin was a Vista Suite, and to be honest, it looked like it had been designed by a 3 year old child. There were doors that were pointless, the entrance hall seemed to be the biggest part of the cabin, as this was long and narrow. The best thing about this cabin was the Balcony and Bathroom. The balcony was huge and had 2 loungers, 2 chairs and a table on it. It was nearly as big as the cabin!! It was long and narrow, not wide and short. The furnishings in the cabin were fine, and had the correct Australian plugs etc. The beds were comfy and although in a twin formation, they were large enough for someone like myself (201cm tall). The TV's and electricals had been changed for the Australian market. Our cabin steward was to say the least, VERY average. I tipped him $50 on the first day, and asked him to take care of us, with the promise that if he did, there would be another tip at the end of the cruise. He wasn't bad, just not really efficient. I had to remind him several times to collect my dry cleaning, and also he would sometimes wait till much later to clean the cabin. On one occasion, we slept in and lazed around the balcony till 2pm. I understand that they need a break, and by 8pm the cabin still hadn't been made up. On our return at 9:30pm he was just finishing. Not satisfactory if you're in a suite. The suite does NOT come with any perks. No priority tender service from the ship, no extra cocktail parties, no offers of a dining reservation with senior members of the ships company, and no priority disembarkation. This to me was the worst part about the cruise. I know I sound like the complaining type, but honestly, if you cruise with other lines this comes as standard (even Princess and P&O, Which are under the companies umbrella). Dining was a mix of very good and awful, some nights the food was just not up to scratch, and others it was amazing. I think that the food overall was much better than P&O (Australia). the BEST thing was the chocolate melting cake... We had that every night, and shared another dessert between us. Soups were generally good, and on a couple of occasions the beef was excellent. Our table waters were AMAZING. They did a good job of making sure that each table got to order first at least once or twice during the cruise. Andrej was a mind reader, he made sure that we were always happy with our food, and once or twice went back into the kitchen to get a fresh dish, when the dish was cold. Nothing was too much trouble for him, and he made dining a pleasure. I can't remember his sidekicks name, but he was friendly and always seemed to be doing a good job. I must congratulate Andrej for his efforts. He was one of the senior waiters, and during the day he was in charge of the buffet. We dined in the steakhouse on one occasion and paid a $35 supplement to do so. The food was good, however the service was not on par with the dining room downstairs. We decided to cancel our second visit, as although the food was good (and large portions!) the poor quality of the wait staff made us change our mind. The ship can be a little visually challenging from the inside. The overall design of the ship is good, and easy to navigate around. I got very confused by the deck numbers, as normally deck 7 is the promenade, on the spirit, this is deck 3! I think the interior designer must have been on some rather large trip when he planned the interior. It took a couple of days to adjust to the gawdyness, before accepting it and just treating it as normal. The serenity area (Adults only) is a great place to hang around during sea days. There are plenty of loungers and a spa and pool. The bar was also very well used here during our cruise. Live music happened sometimes, and this was a good change from piped music that you normally get. The best thing was it was kid free. The buffet was very standard, nothing special and not really of good quality. However a special mention to the 24 hour pizza place and the free flow "Mr whippy" ice-cream machine! I also liked the fact that during the day, you could always get a lemon squash or iced tea. I purchased a soda card and felt this to be very good value at $7 per day. Our ports of call included Isle of Pines, Noumea, Lefou and Mare. We took the beach tour in Lefou as I had done this previously and found the beach to be amazing. This time however, a storm had come through and it wasn't as good as my two previous visits. We also took a tour in Mare to the beach, and this was great. In Noumea it was a Sunday, and everything was shut. I stayed on the ship and my friend ventured ashore, only to return 40 minutes later as there was nothing open. Isle of pines we just swam from where the tender landed. Nice beaches on this trip! Entertainment was actually quite good. We went to several shows, including the hypnotist. He was quite funny but was also inappropriate with the ladies during the adult only shows. I think the words.. God's gift comes to mind. Many other passengers thought he was very creepy. Comedy shows were ok,. but the live music and shows were of a better standard that expected. Overall we had a great time, some good points (waiter, some meals onboard, good ports of call) and some bad points (no suite perks, having to queue for tenders for over 2 hours! and some disappointing food on some occasions.) I've booked to go back in September with another friend of mine, this time in a Grand Suite which, hopefully is better laid out than the Vista Suite and I get a better cabin steward! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from ... Read More
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from the eastern cruises we typically do in the winter. We arrived in Galveston the day before and used Super Shuttle for our transportation from Hobby airport. I spent a lot of time looking at different options and this seemed the most reasonable. We were a group of 4 adults and chose to book a private SUV at $35 per person. When we arrived there was a slight snafu, I received a voicemail from the company and they told me that it looked as though our flight was now arriving at 10pm instead of 10am. Not sure where they got that from so I called them back and it ended up being their mistake. Now the problem was that because they thought we were delayed they did not have a driver available to take us. I was not very happy and a bit testy from traveling since 3am and after a bit of a back and forth they had the super shuttle van take us by ourselves to Galveston for the same price. The van was perfectly fine and the driver was very nice. We stayed at the Hotel Galvez which we all thought was very nice. I really love historical hotels and the location was right on the beach with great views from the rooms. I only wish it had been warm enough to actually hang out on the beach, it was pretty chilly. There were restaurants within walking distance and a town car that would take you into town and pick you back up for no cost. It was really easy to call them and get picked up when we were ready to go back to the hotel. My husband was excited to stay at the Galvez since it is said to be haunted, he even called months in advance to request the "haunted room". To his disappoint nothing out of the ordinary happened during our stay. The rooms are clean and slightly updated but very small which we expected since the hotel is so old. Our rooms were fine for 2 adults but if we were looking to get 3 or 4 in a room it would be very tight. Check in is at 4pm but we arrived by 12pm and only had to wait about 30 minutes for our room to be ready and the others in our party could check in right away which was really nice. If you stay at the Galvez they do have a complimentary shuttle to the pier but you need to make sure you sign up right away as it does fill up quickly. We ended up getting in the 12pm slot and it worked out great. When we arrived at the pier there was really no wait at all. Dropped our bags off and were on board within about 20 minutes. I thought the check in was very organized, we have preferred check in but the rest of our group without boarded very shortly after us and were very complimentary of the whole process. Once on board we dropped our things off at the room and headed up to the buffet for lunch. The weather in Galveston was sunny but cool so since we would not be hitting the pool we ended up getting back off the ship and walked around the historical strand which is right across from the pier. We made it back on board just in time the muster drill and then we were off! Dining I have to say that we thought the food was very good on this cruise but we were not overly thrilled with the selections on the new menus. Maybe it was because some of our old favorites were missing but I had a harder time choosing something in the MDR at night because not a lot seemed to appeal to me. I did enjoy all of my food, except for what they were calling a filet in the MDR, it tasted almost gamey to me both times I tried it. I always love the fettuccine and we had that as a third main dish to share every night. Loved the ice creams and sorbet selection each night and usually added a scoop to whatever dessert I had. We went to Sabatini's on our first night and Crown grill on our last night and both were excellent and definitely our favorite meals for the week. These are so worth the extra cost! We love to start and end our trips in the specialty restaurants. Afternoon tea was really nice (this was the first time I have gone), a good selection of sandwiches, cookies and pastry. I thought there was supposed to be live music but the occasions we were there is was just music over the speaker system. All in all a very nice experience in the afternoon when there was not a lot going on. We tried to make it to pub lunch but both times the line was HUGE and we didn't feel like waiting an hour plus so we have yet to give that a try. Enjoyed lunches in the MDR and the buffet and found both to have really nice selections during this time. Wish they had more available late night, the cafe caribe was open until midnight but it just seemed to have old left over looking options from dinner that night and nothing great for a little late night snack. Pizza always works though, very yummy. Entertainment We love to do Movies Under the Stars and enjoyed the movies even though most we have already seen. They played Bourne Legacy, Pitch Perfect, Robot and Frank and Premium Rush. My only issue was that the first and last night they replayed the same movie which usually does not happen. The comedians on board were a lot of fun and we enjoyed seeing Lincoln and Argo in the Princess Theater. We didn't attend any of the other shows as they don't usually interest us. We also enjoyed the entertainment in the Piazza throughout the day and evening when we were waiting around for this and that. Ports Belize- We did a princess excursion, the river cruise, Altun Ha ruins and lunch. I really enjoyed this tour but the rest of the group I was with did not. Their biggest complaint was that the river cruise portion was way too long for the type of boat they put you in. I can agree with that, the boat was small and had everyone facing inwards so you always had to turn or stand up to see anything they were pointing out. We did see a lot of wildlife which was great but it did drag on a bit. The lunch was nothing special, you pull up to a building on the side of the river (they called it a resort, I'm not sure why). There was a food line inside for chicken, rice and salad and a soda. It was ok, and by that time we were starving. It's not a lot of food but enough to hold you over until the tour is over. I thought the ruins were wonderful but it was so hot and no shade to be had so definitely wear a hat or bring your sunscreen! We got to climb up some of the structures and get some great pictures but you need to be very careful as the steps can be steep and very uneven. Roatan- This was my first time at this port and we knew it would basically be a beach day. I was expecting something like Princess Cays but I was pleasantly surprised. Mahogany bay was a very nice beach and the water was wonderful! We had a lot of fun and really loved the chair lift that you could take to get to the beach, its $2 cheaper to get the tickets on board the ship. Next time I would love to head out to one of the other beaches and see more of the island. A very pretty port. Cozumel- We had planned to head to one of the beach clubs for the day but the weather was cloudy and it rained off and on most of the day. We took it as a nice break from the sun and decided to walk around town and do a little shopping. We also stopped at Pancho's backyard for lunch which was decent but nothing to write home about. Sea Days- We had three on this cruise since one of our ports got canceled shortly after we booked. I don't love sea days, I find them to be a little boring but I tried to get to some new things and keep busy. We loved the Thermal Suite and used it every afternoon, I don't think it's worth the price they charge but we still tend to purchase the weeks pass. I did feel like there were a lot more people than usual just walking in without having the pass which was annoying since we actually paid for it. People were also just really sloppy leaving towels all over the floor and on the loungers after they left. Our final sea day was cold and rainy, a bust weather wise. This was my only issue with leaving from Galveston, it's not very warm this time of year so your first and last days can be iffy weather wise. We still found a lot to do but it was a little disappointing. Just some other things... This was the first time for us that there was a kiosk near the purser's desk where you could print out your statement without having to wait in line, that was really nice. I did actually find a mistake, a bottle of wine was charged to us in error. The staff at the desk were very helpful and cleared up the charge right away. I thought all of the staff was wonderful and always very helpful. One of the members of our party got a horrible sunburn (her own fault for not wearing any sunscreen) and the buffet staff could see how uncomfortable she was and told her to put plain yogurt on her burns, they even brought her a bunch to put in her cabin fridge. Good to know for the future. We were in cabin R737 and loved our room steward Romel. This is always our favorite location when we do not get a balcony room; we are steps from the aft pool which is really nice. All in all this was a great cruise; I really enjoyed the itinerary and look forward to sailing on the Crown again in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
We had a fabulous time. Both my husband and I (25 plus cruises with Celebrity/Royal/Princess) really enjoyed the decor changes and the luxury of a BRAND NEW SHIP. We have not cruised Carnival since 2002 and may or may not (???) again, but ... Read More
We had a fabulous time. Both my husband and I (25 plus cruises with Celebrity/Royal/Princess) really enjoyed the decor changes and the luxury of a BRAND NEW SHIP. We have not cruised Carnival since 2002 and may or may not (???) again, but this trip was a lot of fun and the price was certainly right. FOOD - better than our last Celebrity cruise, better than the Oasis of the Seas. Plenty of venues and optons/variety. Dinner service was extremely slow between courses and our waiter rarely came to our table, leaving the asst. to do most of the work. I always enjoy the Carnival dining entertainment but not when we are still waiting for courses. We had to leave early to catch shows. BUFET- Very good selection, very long lines at peak times. When 50 people are waiting in line going nowhere because one person is waiting for a certain dish to be replaced, c'mon, go around them. I see nothing wrong if asking if you can reach between the waiters to grab a certain item. Fellow cruisers thought this was an atrocity. Fine, I'll go to another line or come back after the bacon has been replenished! Also long self serve beverage lines because of the set up. There are several stations though, so go to another one. Again, c'mon people, don't stand there and put your sugar and milk in and stir & sip your coffee your coffee - get your coffee and move. The buffet decor and dining set up was nice and you never noticed crowded seating. We wake early though. I also refuse to wait in any line - I just move on to something else, be it food line or a free vacation line. I won't wait, unless it's the line to get ON the ship, and we arrived at 2 pm for embarkation - no line, cabin ready. Service - for us - bad waiter, so-so cabin steward. Everyone was mostly friendly but service is luck of the draw with waiters, etc. Our asst. waiter did all of the work. Did not care for the drink service unless I went to the bar myself and was very specific. When ordering Manhattans from servers it would always come with a double bill. I never wanted a double shot and this ruins a Manhattan. It's not about the amount of Bourbon. Thought this was a dishonest practice. $12.50 a drink! I didn't complain, just quit ordering from servers. We were not on the drink plan. Most staff was extremely friendly. Good table mates. Cleanliness - perfection. Workers everywhere keeping doorknobs/railing/decks clean. Cabin - very comfortable. We spend little time in the cabin so only booked an inside guarantee. No noisey neighbors. Ended up on the 7th deck aft. Convenient to buffet dining - 3 flights up and activities, 2 flights down. Linens - new and extremely comfortable. Brand new bathroom, no cigarette stains on sink! Big shower compared to RC. No amenities in our cabin when we arrived and when I asked 2 days later we only got half the packet. No big deal. No personal cabin service like welcome from the room steward or introductions. Service seems spotty because of auto tipping. Staff is mostly very friendly with everyone greeting you. Plenty of channels on tv. Cabin always made up and ice stocked. No real complaints. Fun - you make your own, but sometimes other cruisers can be very rude and the cruise line can't control this in most cases (see comedy club). Staffing there could have certainly controlled that situation. Crowds, yes there were crowds AT TIMES. The elevators seemed exceptionally slow or out of service and we had to walk the stairs many times. I had knee surgery and while at times this was extremely painful, in the end it seemed to be like physical therapy. I can't imagine how hard it would be for people with more difficult disabilities. Elevator etiquette is always a problem on any cruise line, but there were some extremely rude people who would not budge to let anyone else on. Some complained because they had to stop on other floors. Theater production numbers - OUTSTANDING and the money that went into those productions is unheard of on any cruise line. Innovative new technology for this ship. Not only were the performers excellent on all levels, the lasers and production staff and digital screens were amazing. You have to often look beyond the dancers to appreciate the set productions and they were amazing! Better than Oasis of the Seas, and they were Broadway worthy but didn't have the set technology. Missing Grand Turk - c'mon folks, did you not hear the desperation in Butch's voice. He knew he would have a raging complaint line, but the captain was not going to risk the ship and have another Costa disaster and the weather would have been horrible had he been able to dock. We have never been to Grand Turk and didn't take our snorkel gear out once, but hey, it's weather. Speaking of the cruise director - he was fabulous as was the desk staff. We had no complaints though, only went to guest services to retrieve lost items. Thankfully housekeeping found my camera and turned it in. I was lucky. The comedy club fisaco was just that. Almost a riot broke out the night we went to the second show, Some people stayed for ALL THREE SHOWS. It was ugly and to us there were several very ugly incidents between clientele on the ship. Some people were down right rude. You have to leave situations you are not comfortable with and there were several situations, but we still had a great time and appreciated the ship and the very friendly people we did meet. WE'RE CRUISERS. We loved the new decor and private spots found throughout the ship: The hot tubs on deck 5, the adult only spaces. The pools were beautiful compared to the older red/yellow tiles on the Triumph class. We used the aft pool for a more quiet atmosphere. Carnival has always had the best photographers. Get plenty of photos taken and choose the best. Have fun. It is the fun ship line. You have to go with the flow but you can't predict who you'll be sailing with. We thought the disembarkation was a complete mess and we were with 2 couples who had been waiting for some of their luggage for 3 hours and gave up and hoped it would be shipped to them in fear of missing their flights. This was not the staging of luggage in rows by colors/numbers. It was carousel style and all luggage was mixed as to time of disembarkation. Your luggage may or may not have been there based on your scheduled time to depart. We waited close to an hour at the carousel. Customs/immigration was combined and that was quick. Mostly due to no lines from people still waiting for their luggage. We used a downtown parking agency with shuttle due to the rising costs of port parking. Shuttle service was fairly efficient. Premier Parking. $6 a day. It was relaxing and fun for us. Read Less

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