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Sail Date: December 2014
Just finished up a 7 day Norwegian Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera... This is my 3rd cruise on the Norwegian Star, my 10th cruise altogether. Embarkation as a suite passenger was fast (less than 30 minutes) however it took 5 hours for ... Read More
Just finished up a 7 day Norwegian Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera... This is my 3rd cruise on the Norwegian Star, my 10th cruise altogether. Embarkation as a suite passenger was fast (less than 30 minutes) however it took 5 hours for our bags to reach our room. In contrast: On a 4 day Carnival cruise (Inspiration out of Long Beach) taken just after this cruise, our bags arrived at our stateroom within an hour of boarding. Being a foodie and having cruised on the Star in the past, we opted for the ultimate dining package so we could "go crazy" at the specialty restaurants. We didn't dine at the MDR for any dinners in hopes of making the most of our unlimited package. Here's a summary: Cagney's steakhouse: We ate here 4x because of the high quality of food and service. This is "surf & turf" type fare in a romantic setting. The restaurant exudes "expensive" but isn't hoity-toity, the food was consistently very good. Le Bistro: A little more romantic than Cagney's and a great excuse to get dressed up- if that's your thing. The french food is solid, not the best I've had, but still good. The service was excellent, the Coq au vin was a tasty choice. Moderno: A fun dining option for carnivores. A semi-romantic setting overlooks the atrium. Pasadores (meat servers) bring freshly grilled skewered hunks o' meat to your table. There is also a yummy salad bar that includes olives, meats, soups, ceviche, and prepared salads. Hint: arrive early (6-7:30) when the restaurant is busiest to get the freshest cuts of meat. The non-specialty (read: no fee) restaurants included: The Buffet: The absolute worst on the high-seas, avoid at all costs, has high-school cafeteria type seating. The Blue Lagoon: A 24 hour cafe with simple basic food. Great views. Versailles: MDR serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining room is handsome, a francophile's dream touting tall ceilings, lots of mirrors, paintings, gold filigree, and heavy drapes. The service was consistently good, the food was standard cruise-fare: fancier than Golden Corral, but most definitely not the Ritz. Aqua: A more modern and glitzy dinner venue than Versailles but serves the exact same menu. The ship: The ship itself is looking a little dated although it appears to have just received a fresh coat of paint. It is in good repair with the exception of: -worn out chaise loungers -broken/tacky looking fountains in the atrium -a buffet that has less charm than most hospital cafeterias I typically don't go to shows on cruise ships due to low production quality, so I have nothing to report in that regards. The only "planned activity" I participated in were Latin exercise/dance classes in the Spinnaker lounge, which were a mix of Zumba and aerobics, but nonetheless got my heart pumping. I walked the promenade daily for my 10k steps, played a little golf and ping pong with my husband. There was a very good R & B band from Trinidad/Tobago that were very enjoyable, however I didn't much care for the Spanish folk-singers or the Asian 50's greaser band. However, my opinion is likely entirely due to my age (early 40's). The common areas were all very clean, the staff was very friendly and helpful. The ports: Cabo San Lucas: Here we took a boat cruise of Lover's beach and El Arco. Mostly we just killed 2 hours, as the tour was not very interesting, the pre-recorded Jacques Cousteau presentation was b-b-b-boring. After the tour, we walked the pier into town and went to Los Barriles. There we had a fantastic lunch platter with lobster, filet mignon, prawns, sea bass, and crab. What a feast! Our server (Nestor) was fast, efficient, and friendly. The guacamole prepared tableside was simply delicious. Mazatlan: We booked an excursion onboard that included a city tour which took us to watch some cliff divers, from there we went to a shopping district (Zona Dorada), then to a resort (Hotel Playa Mazatlan) for lunch, entertainment, and lounging on the beach. A ho-hum excursion until the resort, which would've been awesome if the weather had held up. The hawkers were very aggressive on the street and at the beach, however a simple "no gracias" always worked for me. Puerto Vallarta: We took a Jeep Safari excursion which wasn't much of a safari at all, instead a drive through the countryside & through many poor villages. It was very educational to see how the "real Mexicans" live, however I didn't appreciate being pressured to buy stuff at the hat or tequila factory. $65 USD for a bottle of tequila is NOT a good deal! At the end of the excursion we were taken to a beach where we were only allowed 30 minutes before having to return to the ship. Debarkation was the fastest ever. The concierge escorted the suite passengers to customs, we were off the ship in less than 30 minutes with bags in hand. Overall: A very enjoyable cruise. Not the fanciest, not the prettiest nor most modern ship, but an organized and friendly vacation brimming with lots of great food and smiling faces. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and ... Read More
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and the second with Carnival Splendor. Each of the prior cruises had highlights. NCL Gem had excellent food and an engaging cruise director, Sinan Ulucay, and the Carnival Splendor had some of the best stand-up comedian entertainment I've seen with "The Punchliner" series. Each of the above also had a variety of entertainment outside of the main theater. In contrast, there were no highlights on the Celebrity Reflection. Pros: 1. The ship is very clean, and the staterooms are the cleanest we've experienced. 2. The guest entertainers were good. Antonio Salci, Kyle Knight & Mistie, and Claire Vinkestejn (apologies if misspelled) were very talented, professional, and entertaining. As an aside, I often wonder why cruise lines continue to push the pseudo-Broadway experience instead of opting for more instrumental/orchestral music, other non-singing performers etc... 3. The dancers/aerialists were impressively excellent. 4. Everyone who works on the ship clearly works hard, and it shows. Slobodan, the guy who runs the buffet, is a workhorse. Cons: 1. There is very little entertainment on the ship. On other lines, including NCL and Carnival, the daily itinerary is chock full of activities like dancing, games, lectures, etc to the point that one needs to sacrifice certain activities to attend others. For instance, on the NCL Gem, there were something like two trivia games a day and a whole bunch of guest game shows, whereas on Celebrity Reflection there were approximately five trivia games and two game shows the entire cruise. Fun things to do, besides laze by the pool, were few and far between. Which leads me to my second point... 2. The majority of the itinerary consists of either shopping events or pay-to-play activities. Given the relatively high cost of the fare, I had incorrectly assumed that daily entertainment would be largely complementary as it is on other lines. How I was mistaken. Rather, the main focus was on being hocked "low-end high-end" items like Michael Kors bags and Invicta watches and paying $20 to do simple things like paint. For example, the majority public real estate of an entire deck, deck 5, consists of shops and specialty restaurants. Other decks aren't much better. 3. The food in the Main Dining Hall is average, slightly better than Carnival but certainly not worth the extra cost of the fare. It pales in comparison to the food on the NCL Gem. This is supposed to be a higher-end line, so I expected higher-end food as the default. Instead it seems that the food is made to be palatable but not special so that passengers are more likely to spend money on the specialty restaurants. The buffet food left a similar taste in my mouth, pardon the pun. 4. The entertainment is standard cruise fare, with shouting-with-tone Kelly Clarkson-style female singers, hopping agile dancers and poppy tunes. Not really a con, but not a pro. 5. Why is the library overlying the main foyer where the loud music comes from? It defeats the purpose... 6. The destinations, while good, were not timed optimally. Landing in San Juan at 1530 and leaving at 2200 doesn't leave one much time to enjoy non-Celebrity-arranged excursions. 7. The dining halls are closed when at port. I don't remember this happening on the other cruise lines. 8. In the games room on deck 9 there is an abundance of Mahjong sets but no Backgammon, and far too few decks of cards. Overall, my cruise felt like a shopping mall with an exorbitant cover charge rather than a truly entertaining vacation experience. I will not recommend the floating shopping mall, Celebrity Reflection. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We cruised for the fourth time the week of Christmas on Freedom of the Seas. We have cruised other lines as well as other RC ships. Honestly, if this had been my first cruise it would have probably been my one and only. This was not the ... Read More
We cruised for the fourth time the week of Christmas on Freedom of the Seas. We have cruised other lines as well as other RC ships. Honestly, if this had been my first cruise it would have probably been my one and only. This was not the same Freedom of the Seas we have cruised 3 other times. We were made aware of the propulsion issue and change to itinerary when we checked in at boarding. A little late to decline the cruise at that point. We did receive room credit for any inconvenience. It was a decent amount but quite honestly not enough to compensate in my opinion. We were late arriving at San Juan due to even slower ship speed from rough currents. Therefore our already shorted day was even shorter. RC would have been smarter to have deleted Labadee stop hence allowing enough time to arrive at San Juan and St. Marteen. Additionally, being Christmas Eve and Christmas day in San Juan and St. Marteen respectively there was little to do in port anyway. We were okay with that since we have been to both ports previously. We respect the businesses for closing. Just something to think about before booking the week of Christmas. The propulsion issues also created a heavy vibration felt all over the ship. We noticed it most in the MDR and in the Olive & Twist lounge. We actually stayed in the same balcony cabin we had cruised in before. The cabin still (a year later) had all of the maintenance issues we experienced in it before. The balcony door vibrated loud enough to keep you awake at night and even worse with the propulsion issues. The showerhead was still not spraying properly. Our room attendant was fabulous as always. The MDR seemed to have confusion every evening. We were moved to three different tables one night before they figured out where they wanted us and yes, we had a reservation. There seemed to be a language barrier with the wait staff that I have never noted before. The demographic was very different as well on the cruise. Perhaps because of the week of Christmas?? Mostly families with unsupervised rude children running amuck. I do not mind children I have 2 of my own (young adults now) but I do find rude children and their parents offensive. This is not in RC's control I understand just a cruise downer. Karaoke most nights was preteenagers trying their hand at Taylor Swift. The usual adult only safe zones were riddled with children of all ages. Obtaining a chair on sea days was horrendous probably due to the mounds of broken chairs not able to be used. We have cruised on FOS with a full ship before and did not encounter this problem. Also, the saving of seats is not monitored as FOS posts in the Cruise Compass that it is. There were chairs that were empty for hours with only a towel. It would have been nice to have been notified of our toilet was not working and also that the public restrooms in specific areas were not affected. We woke to discover that issue. Yes, I had visions of the Carnival stories in my head until I found out it was not ship wide. Apparently, someone flushed something forbidden and the problem was resolved. All in all it was a wonderful trip with my family. We didn't allow these hiccups to ruin our family vacation however we all left saying, "that wasn't the cruise experience we are used to" We have booked our next RC cruise (not on Freedom however) so we are not soured with RC. They do have some work to do to redeem themselves.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This cruise was over Christmas and New Year. The cruise went to 8 of the Caribbean Islands, (Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and St Maarten). Overall the cruise was up to Celebrities high standards. However, ... Read More
This cruise was over Christmas and New Year. The cruise went to 8 of the Caribbean Islands, (Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and St Maarten). Overall the cruise was up to Celebrities high standards. However, the Ultimate Dining Package, which we have used in the past, had been withdrawn for this cruise. The excuse given was that this was done to allow all passengers the opportunity to dine in the specialist restaurants. However, everyone had had the opportunity to book specialist dining prior to cruising either on Celebrity's web site, direct with them or via their travel agent. We had booked for every night prior to the cruise, costing an equivalent of $1180. The normally available Ultimate Dining Package gives a discount to this plus other benefits, lunches, coffees being some off them. The withdrawal of this package for this cruise should in my opinion have been mentioned on their web site, so as not to have tarnished the cruise slightly for us. The staff in all departments were again excellent, particularly Marion (the Maitre'D), Christian, Micha and Alicia in the Murano restaurant especially. The cabin staff Muhamad and Brian kept our cabin tiptop and Tanishia looked after us in the bar. The ship was decorated out for both Christmas and New Year and the majority of entertainment was very good. The shore excursions we took took were generally very good, particularly the catamaran cruise from St Kitts to Nevis. Hopefully the management staff of Celebrity will in future give consideration to their loyal customers!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We sailed on the Carnival Conquest December 2014 over Christmas and needless to say it was below par. Boat is outdated Not kept very clean Kids clubs are horrible if you have tweens. Shows consist of a person singing with a digital ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Conquest December 2014 over Christmas and needless to say it was below par. Boat is outdated Not kept very clean Kids clubs are horrible if you have tweens. Shows consist of a person singing with a digital background behind them. Food was horrible. Not kept properly cooled or heated. Food staff were not friendly. Long lines for food. Took forever getting off the boat at ports because they wanted to take a picture of every person getting off - never been on a ship that was so desperate for money that the tried getting photo opp's getting off the ship. I don't recommend going on this ship. Maybe their newer ones are better, but Conquest was a dive.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our tenth cruise,5th with celebrity twice on Solstice.Did this same so called Christmas cruise 2 years ago.Last time it was very good this time terrible.Did not mention FATHER CHRISTMAS ,who is this CRINKLEBUM that so called ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise,5th with celebrity twice on Solstice.Did this same so called Christmas cruise 2 years ago.Last time it was very good this time terrible.Did not mention FATHER CHRISTMAS ,who is this CRINKLEBUM that so called cruise director JC was always on about?Did not see FATHER CHRISTMAS giving gifts to children as was the case on the other CHRISTMAS CRUISE.The CHRISTMAS fare on Christmas day for lunch and dinner was non existent. There were no party hats, bonbons,tinsel or anything on the tables, PITIFUL. Regarding food, Epernay dining rooms food was very average but staff as always were very good,food deck 14 Oceanview cafe was less than inviting with little choice and variety, 3 food bays with same food on all. In my humble opinion JC is not employing quality entertainers( AUSSIE BOYS AND NEIL DIAMOND ENTERTAINER) excepted.There were other issues, these were the main ones. Many other passengers commented about the lack of Christmas cheer. If u are not going to celebrate CHRISTMAS, then dont advertise it as a CHRISTMAS cruise!!!!!!!! We have friends two couples, who are contemplating this cruise next year, will advise them to think again and check if SOLSTICE will celebrate Christmas next year. Standards on Solstice have definitely dropped. THE BEAN COUNTERS ARE CERTAINLY ABOUT. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
What a lovely way to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. Out first time with Cunard but definitely will not be the last. The ship is magnificent, (bit warn in places) stateroom more than adequate and we found the staff to always be ... Read More
What a lovely way to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. Out first time with Cunard but definitely will not be the last. The ship is magnificent, (bit warn in places) stateroom more than adequate and we found the staff to always be pleasant and more than helpful. Dining room experience was up and down but fortunately we shared a table with excellent company which took away from the pain of poor service. Did not see any of the artists or night time entertainment as we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Golden Lion and ballroom. Pub lunches were excellent as were the trivia quizzes. Excursions are overpriced and we did the snorkelling with the turtles in Barbados which we were very disappointed with. I may be bias having spent many years living in the U.K. But this trip is high on my list of very memorable holidays. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
We are seasoned cruisers having been on 38 cruises. We booked the thanksgiving cruise with our two adult children and their wives on the 5th floor with windows. We had been on the Dawn when she was new and enjoyed it but this time was very ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers having been on 38 cruises. We booked the thanksgiving cruise with our two adult children and their wives on the 5th floor with windows. We had been on the Dawn when she was new and enjoyed it but this time was very much a disaster. Our wing with rooms 5232 and 5236 always smelled of sewer. Our steward was great. The room was clean but even on the first night we had lots of noise. We found out the galley was above us and below us were loud broken stabilizers. :(. We had some rough seas and about every 5 seconds we heard loud banging and vibrations. It was un bearable. We called three times asking for help. Nothing. The next day we went to guest services asking for a room change. We said we would take an inside room or just about anything to get sleep. Finally after begging them to come listen we got moved on a Thursday. We found the ship to often smell moldy and mildewed especially in dining areas and gathering areas. Drinks were awful. Very weak. The spa charges were horrendous with 18% gratuity and they wanted you to also tip! TV was not good. Our power went out in our new room and it took three hours to get it back on. The food was not good either. The thanksgiving dinner was the worst. Mushy dressing and very slow service. No pumpkin pie. Desserts were poorly made and tasteless. Embarkation was the worst we have experienced. It just was very disappointing. Workers told us that the clanging noise on that floor has been a problem for years and they were so apologetic. Anyway if you have a room on that floor be prepared to not sleep. NCL did away with the adult spa area and now charges!!! It is just not quality. We will not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Even though we've been on 15+ cruises (including 3 Thanksgiving cruises), this was our 1st Christmas cruise.The ship was lovely - decorated with a lots of poinsettias and a huge tree on the promenade deck and greenery in the MDR, but ... Read More
Even though we've been on 15+ cruises (including 3 Thanksgiving cruises), this was our 1st Christmas cruise.The ship was lovely - decorated with a lots of poinsettias and a huge tree on the promenade deck and greenery in the MDR, but that's where it ended. We've never seen such grouchy RCI crew members. They were sad and grumpy - obviously not wanting to be working on a holiday cruise. A crew member told me that she would prefer spending Christmas with her family than working. That was probably a very true statement, but I really didn't want to start feeling guilty for making her work during the holiday. While walking through the MDR on Christmas Day, I said " Merry Christmas" to a ship officer. The reply given was a very loud GRUNT! Thankfully our room steward, head waiter and assistant waiter in the MDR were very friendly and welcomed us with smiling faces every day. We didn't feel that the on-board activities were anything special for the holiday - just your usual belly-flop contest and disco parties. The trivia contests were the usual topics like 80's music and Michael Jackson music. The ship did offer a Christmas carol sing-a-long, but it was held at 11:00PM. I don't know about you, but I'm usually winding down by that time of the evening. Then, if you were lucky enough to be walking through the Promenade deck at 7:45AM on Christmas morning, you could grab a drink of spiked eggnog. Santa came for a visit on Christmas day but they hid him on deck 3 in Studio B. And if you didn't get the kids there before 11AM, you missed the whole thing. There was "ask the captain questions" time on Christmas day, so we asked why there was no Christmas music played on the ship. The answer was that they didn't want to offend anyone, Isn't that why people go on a "holiday cruise" during Dec 25th - - to experience everything the season offers The whole world celebrates Christmas in one way or another. It's a shame RCI felt it offensive to offer some Christmas spirit/cheer on Christmas! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I have read many times on CC that cruising over Christmas is on many cruiser;s bucket list so I thought I'd do a review specifically about being on board for Christmas. We boarded the Rhapsody on the 19th December, She is a beautiful ... Read More
I have read many times on CC that cruising over Christmas is on many cruiser;s bucket list so I thought I'd do a review specifically about being on board for Christmas. We boarded the Rhapsody on the 19th December, She is a beautiful cruise vessel and looks even more beautiful with her Christmas decorations up. (I believe they go up late Nov) There is large glittering Christmas tree in the Centrum, pots of red Poinsetta spread around the balconies on each level of the Centrum. There was a buffet display of Gingerbread in the Windjammer (Buffet Restaurant) and on Deck 4 or 5. Both looked absolutely gorgeous and were very tempting but sadly we were not allowed to eat. It was there for display and photo purposes only. The entry to our Deck has a small Christmas decoration on the wall. I put up two lovely cardboard decorations on our cabin door which got lots of favourable comments. Several others put up small red stockings on their cabin door but majority of people on our deck did not decorate their cabin door. Being a Christmas cruise, my fellow passengers were smiling, relaxed and happy. Everyone said hello in the lifts which was very nice. Christmas Eve was a port day and we were in beautiful Champagne Bay, Vanuatu. On disembarking our tender, we were met by a crew member dressed as Santa and you could have a professional photo ($16.95 AUD) taken with him on the beach. He was there until about 3.30pm. My teen had this done and it was her favourite photo of the cruise. Most of the Christmas activites seemed to occur on Christmas Eve. Our Cruise Compass came with a blank RCCL christmas card and a candy cane. Many of the guests were Christmas gear - hats, t-shirts and illuminated decorations! The movie of the day was "A Muffet Christmas Carol" (!) 8,00pm we had Christmas Concert in the Centrum with the Royal Carribean Singers. 2 male and 2 female leads from the Production Shows, dressed in formal wear, sang on the steps of the Centrum. This was excellent. Headliner Show was Patrick McMahon singing Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash. this was not "Christmassy" so I did not go but my teen did and she loved it - even though she did not get "the old people jokes" between songs - her words. 10.00pm Christmas Champagne in the Centrum Free glass of red, white or green "coloured" champagne in the Centrum followed by the Cruise Director at 10.25 reading "Twas the Night before Christmas" Very nice. 10.30pm Christmas Carolling with RC Officers, Crew and Production singers. We were all given song books. Officers, crew, and Production singers in long gold gowns on the steps of the Centrum All guests joined in singing the carols Loved this. Followed by a spectacular aerial performance in the Centrum to Michael Buble music. Loved this! Midnight Mass was held in the theatre. There also appeared to be face painting in the centrum as many of the young kids were "rudolph" etc. CHRISTMAS DAY Was a sea day. Staff in Windjammer welcomed us all wearing Santa hats (this may have happened on Christmas eve as well but I can't remember. "Santa" was in the Centrum from 9am-11.30am. Handing out a free RCCL gift to each child. He sat on the traditional red chair and you could get a professional photo if you wished. Teen gifts were RCCL towel or drink bottle for boys. Scrapbooking/cardmarking for girls. Your child was ticketed off a list - so no double dipping! Rest of the day was very quiet. Teens a bit disappointed. But if you were cruising in a big family group I am sure you would have a lovely day. The "Mens Belly Flop" was re-scheduled to Christmas Day and the teens enjoyed this and it attracted a big crowd but this would not be normally held on Christmas Day. Christmas Movie was "A Christmas Story" - bit dated to say the least. In the MDR for dinner, we had Christmas crackers on the table (one per guest) and some Christmas items on the menu. Food and service excellent as always. Production Show was "Ballroom Fever" - again not Christmassy but again my teen loved it. At 7.30pm The Big Band played Christmas music. This did not attract much of an audience. Boxing Day - sea day - no cricket - teen disappointed. 27th Dec - we were "near" Australian coastline so Boxing Day test on room tv and pool tv - teen delighted. This Christmas Cruise was my first cruise. I loved it. it was a full ship but it never felt crowded. Always could a find a deck chair or seat. Buffet ran smoothly. Never crowded or too busy. Calm seas and beautiful weather There were kids on board but you didn,t see them until Christmas Day (they must have spent most of their time in kids clubs). My teens were disappointed by Christmas on board but they loved the cruise overall and want to cruise again - soon. Read Less

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