The Liberty OTS was the perfect ship because of proximity since we live inTexas. Boarding on New Years added to the excitement and anticipation. We had our Granddaughter with us and purchased a table in the RBar for convenience and a great ... Read More
The Liberty OTS was the perfect ship because of proximity since we live inTexas. Boarding on New Years added to the excitement and anticipation. We had our Granddaughter with us and purchased a table in the RBar for convenience and a great experience. The New Year party did not disappoint! Balloons, drinks, music and people all made this a special night. Even though the weather could have been better, starting the new year in the Caribbean with 73’ vs Dallas with 17’ was just what the Dr ordered. This was our 4 cruise on Liberty and again, we were not disappointed. The ships staff couldn’t have been more friendly, passionate and accommodating. Because of the ships consistency to go beyond our expectations, we have another 3 cruises booked on the Liberty....if you’re considering a ship for your first cruise, we would highly recommend Liberty of the Seas and if you can afford it, stay in a Grand Suite. Not only do you get a larger room you get the use of the Suite Lounge, priority boarding and disembarkation, seating for the shows, a Concierge and just a better overall experience. Read Less
We were looking for a Christmas vacation without any of us having to cook or plan events. This was definately the best family Christmas week for the 20 of us!! Our group ages ranged from 5-85 yrs old and every one of us had a fantastic ... Read More
We were looking for a Christmas vacation without any of us having to cook or plan events. This was definately the best family Christmas week for the 20 of us!! Our group ages ranged from 5-85 yrs old and every one of us had a fantastic time!
Embarking was a breeze. We had checked in prior to boarding so the process was quite seamless. The ship itself is beautiful! We were just in awe of the size. Our 10 cabins were closely situated on the 7th level that was actually a very convenient location. We mostly walked to the different floors as it was great excercise and faster than the elevators. Impressed on how quiet the cabins were even though there would be alot going on in the main areas of the ship.
Best way to communicate is with Post It notes. Just stick them to the doors to let your party know where you are or change of plans, etc. We brought walkie talkies but didn't end up using them as the channels would connect with strangers. The doors are metal so you may bring anything magnetic to decorate your door to make it more distinctive.
Food was great with numerous choices...no complaints. With at least 7 teenagers in our group there was never a problem in this dept. We opted not to buy a drink plan. There was always plenty of water, lemonade and ice tea at all hours. Service was the best. The ship's staff are top notch. Waiters in the main dinning room were awesome for both our tables! They were very attentive and super friendly. The cabin cleaning staff always had a smile anytime of the day. Our cabins were always clean and we loved the evening turn down. Towels were replaced at least once per day. It seemed like we always had clean, dry towels.
There is the option to buy bottles of wine that they will servce at dinner with the prices being quite reasonable. The liquor store on the boat is also very well priced.
MaMaMia is definately a must see!!...they really put on a great show! It was so much fun to stand up and dance at the end of the show along with the actors up on stage.
We used the fitness room nearly everyday. Quite busy in the mornings but a machine was always available. There was never a dull moment...always something to do regardless time of day. Memories from this trip will last a lifetime!! Read Less
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My ... Read More
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My daughter was lucky enough to score a single room, and it was spectacular. The holiday decorations were beautiful, the shows entertaining, and the themed deck parties kept everyone dancing late into the night. I loved freestyle dining and had no problem finding a lovely place to eat. The bars were well stocked, and the service was quick and friendly. The pool area was entertaining, clean, and drinks and refreshments served quickly. As sad as I was to leave, getting off the ship, and finding our luggage was a breeze. Overall, I would score the staff, activities, food, and entertainment a 10. It was a week of unending fun. The Escape lived up to it's name and provided my family with an unforgetable holiday trip. Thanks NCL, I'll see you next December. Read Less
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships.
Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My ... Read More
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships.
Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My favorite port was Cabo. Although I have already been to all the destinations, the cruising experience never really gets old. As a seasoned cruiser, I have learned that each cruise is a completely different experience.
Since this was a Christmas cruise, Santa came and handed out presents in the Atrium (there were stuffed-animals for the younger kids and Popsockets for the tweens/teens).
Note: the pools were very, very crowded. The best times to go were when everyone else was at port or right after embarkation (tip: don't store your suit in your luggage because it takes a while for it to arrive in your cabin).
Other than trivia and bingo, there wasn't as much to do compared to the bigger ships on RCL like Oasis of the Seas where you can ice-skate, zip-line, rock-climb, etc... As for the demographics, most of the passengers were Americans from the LA area.
I liked the Movies Under the Stars and also having the messenger system on my phone to communicate with other guests. One tip for Princess would be to make it so that guests can receive a notification on their phones when they get a message (maybe w/ an app?) because it was annoying having to refresh the website to receive new messages.
I enjoyed watching The Voice of the Ocean because the singing performances were fantastic, there were actual swirling chairs, and the audience got to choose the winner.
Embarkation went very smoothly, but disembarkation could have went a bit quicker.
Overall, this cruise was worth the price and I would definitely sail again with Princess. Read Less
We did not expect to have the great vacation that we had on this experience. I would definitely recommend this cruise for other families. Some of the thing we enjoyed on this cruise was, that the boat always had some type of activity for ... Read More
We did not expect to have the great vacation that we had on this experience. I would definitely recommend this cruise for other families. Some of the thing we enjoyed on this cruise was, that the boat always had some type of activity for the kids and adults to enjoy. They made me and my family feel as if we were at home. They we very respectful, encouraging to try new things, always very attentive to me and my family. Also Everyone that work on the ship enjoyed and loved what they did. One of the most important things was the amount of sanitary stations that you would find around the ship this showed that they cared about the germs that were around. Another thing we enjoyed was the organization that they had when you would exit the ship to go onto and island. Lastly I would definitely recommend this cruise for other families to enjoy as much as we did. Read Less
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. ... Read More
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. What also pleasantly surprised us was the amount of people at midnight mass. The group that traveled was my family of 4 and my in laws. We had a total of three staterooms, two junior suites and one interior. Our cruise was the second after the big norovirus break out, and the staff was on top of making everything clean and safe for the passengers. However, you still had people not doing their part, "washy washy" and picking food up with their hands in the windjammer. Gross!
We now have been on the Indy four times now, and we have LOVED every trip on her. Even though she will be going into dry dock in April for a major refurb, she is in excellent condition. RCCL really takes care of their ships and if more people would be aware of how poorly they treat public and stateroom areas you would never know she is 10 years old. People just don't care anymore. Ok, that's my only rant for this review.
All of the staterooms in our group were pretty much Freedom class categories of Junior Suites and Interior. All of them had everything in working order, nothing had to be fixed or attended to during our voyage. We had two different stateroom attendants, one for the junior suites and one for the interior. THEY BOTH WERE AMAZING!!!! Not much more I can say about them. Ok, one more thing, Perfection
For Dining, I truly am not going to sugarcoat anything in my reviews:
MDR=Breakfast and Dinner, menu has had things we have not seen before, service was impeccable, food taste and temp was perfect. We only skipped dinner twice for the specialty restaurants.
Chops= Our son was celebrating his 17th birthday on board, and he wanted to have a special dinner there. The experience was phenomenal from the start. We had an awesome waiter, who really made the occasion fun and special, and he covered the table with special decorations when we arrived. The Diamond Concierge even arranged for a special cake to be made for the occasion. And the food, as always, was amazing! This was our first time in Chops since the new menu was rolled out, and although some things were taken off (i.e. French onion soup, red velvet cake), there were some nice additions that changed the dining experience in a good way.
Giovanni's= After ordering way to much food in times before, we finally did Giovanni's in way that allowed us to enjoy the whole experience. We focused on the apps and the pastas, and we didn't order a lot of them either. But what we did order was amazing, and the desserts did not disappoint either. The service was amazing, and were happy to see that Giovanni's will remain on the Indy post-refurb.
Being a flow family, we gravitated towards the flowrider for most of the cruise. The sports staff made our time there enjoyable. It was our daughter's first cruise where she made the cut to do stand-up surfing, and the team was really helpful with her first few runs. Under their guidance, she was surfing like a pro by the end of the cruise.
Ports= My only observation in regards to ports was St. Maarteen. As we were the second Royal Ship to return post hurricane season, the islanders were very happy to see us. I am glad we could bring back tourist dollars to one of the hardest hit ports. We traveled to Maho Beach and the devastation was seen everywhere. I only wish them the best as the recovery efforts will be a long journey.
Summary=We enjoyed every bit of our cruise on the Indy, We can't wait to sail on her post refurb. Read Less
This was our second time cruising with Royal Caribbean and our first time on Brilliance of the Seas. Everything went very smoothly right from check in to the time we left the ship. Our cabin was very clean and we had a great cabin steward. ... Read More
This was our second time cruising with Royal Caribbean and our first time on Brilliance of the Seas. Everything went very smoothly right from check in to the time we left the ship. Our cabin was very clean and we had a great cabin steward. We were sailing with our 3 kids, ages 17, 14 and 10. We did shore excursions at Costa Maya and Cozumel. The Costa Maya was great, just a beach day, with all you can drink. The Cozumel tour was fantastic, but the breach they brought us to afterwards, was very rocky and not very nice. The food and service in the dining room was great! We did not upgrade to any of the restaurants, just used the main dining room. We enjoyed the my-time dining and made a reservation for each night. The entertainment was truly top notch. We saw a fantastic Bon Jovi impersonator who put on a great concert. Also saw two comedians (one was super!) and 2 shows by the RC singers and dancers. The kids also enjoyed the shows. The only downfall for the kids was that the ice cream machine was located inside the Wind Jammer, so it was not available 24/7. They also ran out of white ice cream by day 3. It was worth it get to the ship early and explore on the first day. Our cabin was ready on time and our luggage was there and ready fairly quickly. I would highly recommend travelling with Royal Caribbean and this ship. While the ship is considered "smaller", it still had plenty to do and lots of activity. Read Less
We chose the Reflection since we have been on other Celebrity Cruises and this ship did not disappoint! Celebrity Cruises is our niche. It was beautifully decorated for the holidays and the staff was ready for the first night of ... Read More
We chose the Reflection since we have been on other Celebrity Cruises and this ship did not disappoint! Celebrity Cruises is our niche. It was beautifully decorated for the holidays and the staff was ready for the first night of festivities for New Years.
Embarkation was really nice. We had a Concierge level cabin and were greeted and placed in a separate lounge at the pier. Then we were escorted onboard before the regular class cabins
New Years Eve was great. There were several parties going on before midnight and we were able to hop from one to another ending up at the pool for the midnight finale. They dropped the 2016 ice block into the pool and placed the 2017 up in its place.
The rest of the cruise went without a hitch. Some of the highlights were the Lawn Club Grill, a must do participative dinner. Also the Silent disco was a huge hit. We had so much fun. We like Celebrity due to its classier style and dressy/casual evenings . Also seems to attract an experienced, diverse and well to do traveler.
Wish they had 21 and older sailings.
THIS IS FOR CELEBRITY TOUR STAFF
Jamaica - We went on the Dunns River Falls and river tubing tour with the ship - this is the only time we felt uncomfortable on the trip. At the end of the tour they make you walk through the marketplace. There is no option. There were sellers trying to put items in our hands, when we refused they stated " Are you afraid of us " . Strange comment. There should be an exit option without the marketplace. We were also asked in a survey if the guides asked for a tip. We said they did not ask but then at the busses they had followed us and started asking and pointing to the people who did not tip after we had already taken the survey. So the guides figured out how to go around the survey and harass some of the people on our bus. Glad we had tipped ! Read Less
We went on the 12 night South Pacific cruise from Sydney on 23 December. It was our 7th Celebrity cruise but first from Australia (all the others were from US/Caribbean ports). We have also been on Silversea, Oceania, Royal ... Read More
We went on the 12 night South Pacific cruise from Sydney on 23 December. It was our 7th Celebrity cruise but first from Australia (all the others were from US/Caribbean ports). We have also been on Silversea, Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Carnival. We are Celebrity Elite level members.
Here is the good and the not so good.
Cabin Attendant – Excellent – Our cabin attendant (Gabriel) was superb. He was always efficient, smiling and helpful. Our departures were noted and our cabin made up immediately.
Tenders – Excellent – Tenders were used at Isle de Pines and Mystery Island. On previous Celebrity cruises tenders have been a problem. On this cruise there were only short waits and even long queues moved quickly. The reason was simple – whoever was in charge used up to 7 lifeboats to provide a high frequency service from two boarding platforms. This was a problem from past cruises fixed – let us hope the same approach is adopted on other ships.
Photo Shop – Poor – Bring your own camera and take your own photos. Avoid the photo packages. On previous Celebrity cruises the photo packages were good value by skilled photographers. On this cruise we felt there was no skill or art involved and the resulting photos were poor quality camera work such as parts of heads cuts off. Delays and stresses even getting the package USB on the last night suggested incompetence.
Shuttle Bus – Excellent – Noumea – Often a problem on other cruises this, like the tender issue, was solved by whoever was in charge by having plenty of buses in Noumea running a high frequency service so there were no waits.
Main dining room (Epernay) – Very Good – We had recently been on much higher priced Silversea and Oceania cruises. The food in the main dining room on Solstice was better than the main dining room on each of those cruise lines although not up to the standard of the speciality restaurants on those lines. Celebrity remains the best food in the mega ship market.
Service in Main Dining – Excellent – Our waiters (Valentin and Iryna) were excellent and helpful.
Seating in Main Dining – Poor – We are Elite Celebrity members but for some reason got about the worst table in the middle of the bottom level of the dining room. We used to get much better tables before we reached the Elite level. At no stage were we aware of the presence of a maitre d’.
Coffee – Poor – The coffee throughout the ship is terrible. Café Bacio does not live up to the hype with poor service, attitude and coffee. Coffee was bitter and too hot.
Children – Being an Australian school holiday cruise the ship had over 3000 passengers with lots of children (and prams). Most were well behaved but a few insisted upon pushing all the buttons in the lifts and gangs playing chasing games around the corridors on treasure hunts posed a hazard.
Smoking – As non-smokers we were pleased that overall the smoking on board was only a minor inconvenience.
Walking/Jogging Track – A design flaw of the Solstice is that the jogging track runs around a deck used for sun lounges and often during the day is hard to use because people put their sun lounges across the track. Whilst not as bad as on other cruises this was still an issue and the staff did not move sun lounges off the track.
Sun Lounges – Most of the passengers being Australian it was shade rather than sun that was in demand. There were plenty of lounges available in the sun and sometimes in the shade. Unfortunately there was a lot of saving of lounges by passengers who rarely used them or who put belongings on adjoining lounges to stop them being used and give themselves extra space. This did not appear to be policed by the staff.
Ocean View Buffet – Excellent – Huge and at times overcrowded it is usually possible to find something to eat from the wide range. The effort made for Christmas and New Year was spectacular and greatly appreciated.
Sushi – Not Good – On previous Celebrity cruises Ocean View Café had reasonable sushi in the evening. Now that is gone. Instead there is only a Sushi café on level 5 which costs extra.
Embarkation – Good - Surprisingly quick and efficient. On board 25 minutes after arriving at pier at 12.30pm. Unfortunately we were not then allowed off again that afternoon to spend any more time in Sydney and had not been warned this would be the case.
Disembarkation – Good - At 6.40am there was a huge line for walk offs which commenced at 6.50am and went so quickly we were at Sydney airport at 7.20am.
Itinerary – OK – Australia is a long way from anywhere which means too many days at sea. There were 6 days at sea and only 5 ports on this cruise.
Cabin – Clean and functional the cabins are good for the price.
Hygiene – Problem – Whilst there is hand washing lotion everywhere the system for obtaining beverages (sodas, water or alcoholic) seemed likely to be very efficient at spreading disease. You have to hand your seapass to a waiter who swipes it and hands it back and then does the same with someone else’s seapass and on it goes. The system needs to be contactless with the passenger simply waving their seapass.
Beverage Packages – Poor – Even if the beverage package you purchase includes the type of drink available in your minibar you get charged again if you take it from the minibar. If your package includes Coke you cannot take the can of Coke from your minibar. Your package only allows you to get one drink at a time from a bar even if that drink is water or soft drink (and each time your seaspass is handled by a staff member who is handling lots of other seapasses and bottles and glasses handled by other passengers). At times the brand of bottled water sold was undrinkable.
Internet – OK – Internet costs extra still unless some minutes are included in a deal or because of your status. Speed was fair.
Security – As an Australian holiday period cruise there were a lot more passengers in the 20-40 age group than on other cruises, many of them appearing to consume vast amounts of alcohol. Given the amount of alcohol consumed security did a very good job of keeping it a safe cruise. It is certainly far safer than going out in an Australian capital city at night.
Entertainment – Disappointing – Apart from Aussie Boys the acts and Celebrity in house entertainers were below the standard expected out of US ports.
Movies – Some nights recent release movies were shown in Celebrity Central which is a comfortable cinema.
Overall we were impressed. Christmas and New Year were made special which they have not been on some other cruises we have been on. Read Less
Our group of 12 was on the NORWEGIAN JEWEL from December 23 -30, 2016. The group was my wife and I (4 other cruises) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 29 year old son and his girlfriend (first cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 24 year old ... Read More
Our group of 12 was on the NORWEGIAN JEWEL from December 23 -30, 2016. The group was my wife and I (4 other cruises) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 29 year old son and his girlfriend (first cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 24 year old daughter and her boyfriend (3rd cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents (2nd cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, our son’s girlfriend’s aunt and the girlfriend’s 10 year old son (1st cruise) in a balcony stateroom and the aunt’s sister and husband (2nd cruise) in an Interior stateroom.
Whew! Confusing group, I know. Main point is that we had a variety of ages and experience. The aunt and her sister were both renting scooters and had some mobility issues. But EVERYONE had a great time. Different takes from everyone, but I’ll focus as best I can on the overall experience, but understand that not everyone did everything I talk about here.
EMBARKATION: This was a disappointing mess. My wife and I plus a few others in the group arrived in LA that morning. It was pretty fast (30 minutes) to get from LA to the port, and we used a VERY nice van service. There are lots in a city that size…our group of 8 was big enough (with all the suitcases) to get our very own van, but at no extra charge. We arrived at the port and it took forever for the porter to take our bags. Yes, we had a lot, but it took longer than it should have. Then a port representative met us to help with our family member who needed a wheelchair. One family member was allowed to go with her, but that meant having her niece leave her little boy with us…and as we aren’t his family members, we couldn’t bring him on the ship. What a mess! Finally, our son, the boy, the niece and the aunt all went off and my wife and I fended for ourselves. We were glad to see a line for “repeat” customers (we’re bronze…lowest level) but it saved no time. We all ended up at the same check-in counters. The wait was 45 minutes. In the end, we were the last folks on the ship from our whole group. Normally we are on by noon or 1. It was after two, and cabins were already available, so the ship was a madhouse.
I’ll start with THE GREAT OUTDOORS. This was where we met up with most of our group as we waited for muster drill. As always, this is a great spot to look around at the views, grab a drink, get some food and NOT have significant crowds. You have to walk all the way through the very long cafeteria to get to it, and I guess a lot of folks just won’t bother. The buffet doesn’t have as many choices as the main buffet, but it still has PLENTY to choose from. The atmosphere is just so much more relaxing. We spent time in the late evenings as well (once we were in Mexican temps…it was a little chilly in SoCal!). Buffet is open late, the bar is pouring and the sound of the ship moving through the ocean is relaxing. You can have a party atmosphere here or a calm one.
Our first couple of dinners, we did as a group of 12. With the Christmas holidays, I had to reserve seats for Christmas Eve (formal night) as well as Christmas brunch and then Christmas night dinner. Our first night (the 23rd) we tried out Tsar’s, the more “formal” or “traditional” of the two MDRs. We were seated quickly and the food and service was very nice. The following night was good as well. Folks were seldom truly formal (saw a small smattering of tuxes), but there were plenty of suits. I don’t know if Christmas Eve just brought out a larger selection of dressier folks. Not every meal everyone had was a homerun, and there were a few uneaten appetizers or entrees…but I liked everything I had for the most part. On the first night, I had the prime rib and it was very tasty. (I had prime rib on EXPLORER OF THE SEAS 3 months prior, and that was quite tasteless.) Anyway, when Christmas brunch came around, things fell apart a bit from a service perspective. So much so, they gave me a free bottle of wine. Very slow. Wrong items arriving. Half the table receiving their entrees and the other half waiting forever. It was not good, so after that, our party never had dinner at Tsar’s again. We made the move to Azura that night and while, to be honest, I like the formal Tsar’s a bit better…everyone seemed to feel more at ease, so I was happy. The service was good too. Food is the same as at Tsar’s…but the more contemporary atmosphere is quite different. I recommend you try both. They each have something nice to offer. (By the way, Tsar’s is open for breakfast, and I highly recommend it. You can often get a table by a window and have a lovely view of the ocean while you gorge yourself!).
We had lunch on the 24th at CHIN-CHIN, the included Chinese place. For lunch, it is a noodle house…and it was quite tasty!! A couple of the older members of our group were not so enchanted by the unorthodox food…but most of us loved it. (If you wanted an alcoholic beverage, though, you had to run down a level and get it from one of the bars. We had no bar service there, as for some reason, the bar at the sushi joint was closed at lunch time.)
We only tried the main buffet one for breakfast and once for lunch. It is fine. Crowded but fine. We ended up having several breakfast’s at O’SHEEHAN’S, the delightful “open almost all the time” sit down place with a large, Irish-themed bar adjacent. The have a limited menu of things like burgers, fries, tuna sandwich, etc…but for breakfast, they have essentially the same choices as Tsar’s and it’s a bit more casual. (A great place for a pre or post-hangover dose of protein, too.) Service, to be honest, was always a bit indifferent, but it was efficient, so I was happy enough.
The only specialty restaurant we did was TEPPANYAKI, as a group of 12 on the 28th. We had a blast, and the food was terrific. Fresh and tasty and plentiful. There is an extra charge, which I think is a bit high (about $30, I think)…but if you can do a splurge, this is a fun time. Only gripe was that they were 15 minutes late seating us, so we were a bit pressed for time to catch the show in the theater. We did not try other specialty places this time, as we enjoyed having dinner with our kids and their SOs. The older folks in the group did try some other spots and gave glowing reports about Cagney’s and less-than-enthused about the Italian spot.
BARS Many of us had selected the drink package as one of our ad-ons (part of the special), and we sure got our money’s worth. It was the holidays, and for most of the trip, the weather was warm and sunny. So we indulged a fair amount. The limit was $15, and we seldom exceeded it. And not everything needed to be well drinks, either. Jack Daniels, Johnny Black, etc. were all covered. I saw no real “generic” names. Strangely, Dark and Stormy’s were more than $15??!! I was able to order a Moscow Mule with dark instead of white rum…so that was just a little odd. I can’t speak much about the wine…we had very little of that, but my kids often got a glass at dinner and seemed satisfied. They are not very knowledgeable, though! Beer was the usual disappointing array. A couple of places had Heineken on draft, but overall the selection was poor. I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a Pale Ale from Lagunita’s though. That seemed like a random (but nice) choice to pop up in a sea of Budweiser, Coors & Sam Adams lager.
The bars themselves all had various things to offer, but most really had the same stuff as anyone else. The notable exception was the Mojito Bar (connected to Cagney’s Steakhouse) which poured some really unusual and tasty mojitos you couldn’t get anywhere else. They have more limited hours, so make plans to drop by. It is a bit more “elegant” than many of the bars and they actually serve a chex-mix type of thing to encourage lingering. So you might feel out of place stopping by in your swim trunks and flip-flops. Otherwise, it’s a standard selection of pool-side bars, bars in the two clubs and a smattering throughout the ship. Each bar was nice and the service was generally good. I was always able to order two drinks with just one card. And ordering doubles was never an issue. Frankly, some of these guys poured with a very heavy hand. I ordered a double Cape Cod for my wife, and they basically filled the glass with vodka and then splashed a smidgen of cranberry juice on top. Watch out!
ENTERTAINMENT As with all other cruises we’ve done, this was a bit hit and miss. The Norwegian Jewel cast was actually pretty good and we enjoyed BAND OF THE RUN, essentially a collection of songs from the 70s / 80s. High energy, fast moving and the live band was great. In fact, most of the shows featured the live band, and they were always a pretty tight ensemble. Yes, they stared hard at their cheat sheets and weren’t terribly charismatic…but they sounded really great. We enjoyed ourselves overall at these shows. We didn’t spend much time with the other entertainment on the ship, except occasionally a song or two in Spinnaker’s, the bigger of the clubs, with a dance floor and lots of seating. Spinnaker’s is the site of many daytime “games” as well. This place gets a lot of use, but when it is not in use, there is no better spot for some quiet time reading or looking at the sea.
MISC: We spent some time playing board games in the game room. It’s so nice that they have that. It’s a simple little feature (right next to the library) but on this family oriented cruise…it was packed!
Speaking of family oriented…THE QUEST game show, which is usually for adults only, was REALLY for adults only. It is held in the Spinnaker, which makes it possible for more people to get involved (compared to, say, the Ice Arena on a Royal Caribbean ship, where you can just watch and laugh if you want). The challenges got quite racy at the end, and as my son said once “I definitely saw some nudity.” So be warned. We laughed our butts off, but I was a little surprised as well. Spinnaker also hosted White Hot night, because the weather had gotten very blustery. Being indoors dampened this event, and it was a bit of a flop, I would say. We had looked forward to it, but somehow, being inside just wasn’t as fun as spreading out over the two levels around the pool, tropical drink in hand, dancing like fool.
The 10 year old with us spent LOTS of time on the sports court. Soccer tournaments, basketball, etc. He enjoyed the Kids Club (can’t remember the name) and was immediately ready to do another cruise!
CABIN: We had an oceanview room on deck 5, so this featured a picture window, rather than a porthole. It was a perfectly serviceable cabin…just like any other. If you’ve cruised before, you know what I mean. If not…just expect something that looks like an inexpensive hotel room, but much smaller. Store your suitcases under the bed. Bring handing cosmetic bags as there is essentially no counter space. (I will say, though, that the room had perhaps a little bit more storage space than we’ve had before. We actually had an unused drawer!
Our steward was fine…nothing special, but our room was always clean and towels always stocked and ice always provided. We didn’t see him much, but didn’t really need to.
DISEMBARKATION This was essentially a breeze, although we had to wait extra for the two wheelchairs we needed. This made us amongst the last to debark, but everything was smooth. You can still get a lovely breakfast in Tsar’s and I recommend that. One last shot of really nice, tablecloth service! (One tip…we had rented a couple of vehicles from the Enterprise dealership in San Pedro. Their shuttle took us there and then my son and I had to wait for over an hour to get cars. It was SO terribly jam-packed. The staff was overwhelmed. It’s a tiny office and you actually have to wait outside. Find another solution!! Take an uber to a neighboring town for a rental car. (We had to spend about 8 hours in LA before our flight, so we wanted a bit of freedom to move around.) Read Less