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5,676 Romantic Cruise Reviews

I read alot of reviews and I have cruised every major line except Celebrity. This was my first time on a Costa ship which is geared towards Europeans however I am American. This review is based on an American sailing, not one in Europe or ... Read More
I read alot of reviews and I have cruised every major line except Celebrity. This was my first time on a Costa ship which is geared towards Europeans however I am American. This review is based on an American sailing, not one in Europe or otherwise. I am not going to waste your time regarding ports of call. You can research those yourself. However I am giving an honest review based on a comparison of other 7 day cruises I have taken. A cruise is what you make of it. Stay flexible and go with the flow. Being unreasonable or impatient generally does not work to your advantage. Sailing from Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) was one of the fastest embarkations I have ever had. It literally took 30 minutes. Somewhat shocking considering some wait times on other cruises lasting 2 or 3 hours. This cruise departs the port late in the evening at 11pm however you can begin boarding at 1pm with last call at 9pm. This is smart because it gives a wide range of boarding times given its 3000+ passengers. The 7 day itinerary was Freeport, Bahamas, sea day, Grand Turk, Amber Cove (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic), sea day, Nassau, Bahamas for a Dec 2019 sailing. Itineraries and weather events should not be included in a fair review as they do not fairly represent the ship or its crew. Costa is generally regarded as a budget friendly cruise line. Costa is actually owned by Carnival. Price was the main reason why I decided to try the Luminosa. She is a well layed out ship that is easy to navigate. In relation to other cruise brands, I was pleasantly surprised. Cleanliness was superb. The ship was spotless. One of the cleanest ships I have ever been on. No worn carpets, nothing shabby in need of repair. Take note Royal Carribean! Crew was fantastic and generally stayed out of your way. What a refreshing change from the hard sell on Norwegian and Royal Carribean with crew members that pester you hourly for an opportunity to upcharge you. None of that here. That was a real surprise. The cabins are clean and well sorted. Beds were comfortable. Not soft, not hard. Standard amenities which are the same as any other brand. Shower was curtain style and a bit larger than others which was nice. The tv is not large. Unless you are legally blind, it doesn't need to be but it is the smallest of all the lines I have cruised. The food...was fantastic. So let me quantify this. If you are planning on eating cheseburgers, pizza and fries for 7 days then this is probably not the best choice. Unlike other brands, Costa charges you for pizza from their pizza restaurant. No ice cream machines on board but a gelato stand which again is an extra charge. On American sailings, water is complementary and coffee (American) is too from well hidden machines at the back of the buffet on level 9. Juices are complimentary at breakfast (sit down and buffet). Lunch is water and coffee and Dinner is water only on American sailings only. Otherwise you need to purchase a drink package. No free lemonade or ice tea unlike other brands. Now about the food. Naturally it is geared to Europeans...more specifically Italians. This should not come as a surprise! If you are willing to wander out of your comfort zone you will be richly rewarded! Breakfast is standard fare at the buffet but at sit down there are 7 or 8 different breakfast possibilities based on different nationalities. Croissants are available with creme filling (nutella chocolate or lemon) and jam also or plain. The donuts are, well...outstanding! Never had anything like these on another liner. Lunch was again, a surprise. Lunch starts later around 12 or 12:30 which is common in Europe but later than American standards. Tons of fresh made selections and of course fresh made pasta of every possible concoction. Some I have never seen or tasted before. Straight up, forget American Italian as the pasta I tasted blows anything cooked stateside out of the water. Veal, and even rabbit at the sit down restaurant for lunch. Dinner, again like lunch is served later. First sitting at 6pm and second at 8:30 or 9pm. Buffet starts around 6:30pm. Food was again, outstanding with usually 5 courses of small to medium plates with one plate always a pasta. All of it was delicious, well presented and warmly served. And yes, even lobster...which has conspicuously disappeared from many other brands I have recently sailed including Royal Carribean and Norwegian. I was shocked at the seafood given the pricepoint compared to the big American players. I never had an issue getting a table at the buffet even though the ship sailed full. About the shows, well they are fun but they do not compare to Royal Carribean or even Norwegian. However, they are fun. They just aren't as polished. I am ok with this given the pricepoint. But...the lounge musicians and singers were first rate. If you sit at the bar at night, you will be pleasantly surprised. Service was first rate and quite a surprise given the target audience and pricepoint. I never had an issue with the crew and everything was in order throughout the cruise. The crew works very hard on this ship without interfering. I cannot say enough about how well this ship was run! My room steward does not come in 3 times a day to check on me which was kind of refreshing...leave me alone and let me enjoy the balcony view in privacy. Given the numerous languages, announcments can take a bit of time. It is rare they come directly to your cabin so all in all, not bad. So here it comes...there are a few issues. You knew there would be, right? First. If you are in the second sitting group for dinner at 9pm and want to get into the first you are going to become extremely frustrated. I mean EXTREMELY frustrated. You will become SO frustrated that you will google Italian swear words to use with the maitre d which will get you kicked out. The Luminosa uses a traditional seating system. There just aren't enough seats for all to sit so the second seating picks up the rest. Since there are 5 courses, it takes a bit of time to get through. In order to prepare for the second seating around 9pm, they turn all the lights on at 8:15pm which is a polite Italian way of saying get out. It works pretty well. If you are not at your table by 6:45pm, you will lose your spot and it will go to someone waiting in line from the second seating so make sure you are on time for the first seating. If you do not want to eat at 9pm, walk down at 6:45pm and there is a good chance you will get a seat. You will naturally have less time to eat though. The second issue is the water service. Just ask for a water bottle and save yourself the frustration of waiting for your glass to be filled...which generally doesn't happen quickly. Trust me on this. INSIST on a water bottle (which is free on American sailings) at your table (gas or no gas). Internet was good. Not fast and not slow. The lowest package for texting only was a sensational value at $26 for 7 days. I used Whatsapp texting without issue for the whole cruise. Most other companies charge way more than this. Were you expecting more negatives? So was I. But it never materialized. For me, Costa was an amazing value and quite a surprise! Needless to say, I will try them again. The Luminosa was a huge surprise at a sensational pricepoint. Dollar for dollar, given the cabin and food it should be at the top of your list if you are a budget minded shopper looking for a good cruise and willing to be somewhat flexible. The Costa Luminosa is like a ferrari. Beautiful, well sorted in her own way. Go with the flow and she will richly reward you. Work against her and you will have a miserable time. Well done Costa Luminosa! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is our first time on Carnival Vista - 11th cruise in total. We have been on several Carnival ships, Holland America, Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity. Our favorite by far was the Celebrity Reflection. I have to say that Vista is ... Read More
This is our first time on Carnival Vista - 11th cruise in total. We have been on several Carnival ships, Holland America, Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity. Our favorite by far was the Celebrity Reflection. I have to say that Vista is a close second and close tie with Norwegian Bliss. What I like with Vista are: - Huge value - Beautiful and clean ship. It has not aged much. - Friendly staff - Big cabin (we were in a cheap pothole window on the second deck) - Plenty of dining options. The options in the Lido buffet was not huge but everything we had was very tasty - Boarding in Galveston was awesome. Carnival has really improved it since our first cruise back in 2005. - They make their own craft beers. The IPA that I had was very tasty - Loved the 5th deck with all the outside areas. Just like on Norwegian Bliss. We have spent a lot of time here so far. - For being such a huge ship it never felt crowded. We don't love the layout of the theater room. I don't know why Carnival went that route. The atrium does not feel Grand but I don't care that much about it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise because it left out of Manhattan so we didn't have the added expense of flying to the port and because we wanted to take a two week vacation (for the first time in our lives) celebrating our anniversary on 12/23, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it left out of Manhattan so we didn't have the added expense of flying to the port and because we wanted to take a two week vacation (for the first time in our lives) celebrating our anniversary on 12/23, Christmas, and New Years. We were exceptionally pleased from day 1 until the end. First, we decided seven days isn't enough to fully relax, so we were very happy we stayed for 14 days. Second, I was worried my husband would get antsy during the three days at sea getting to Puerto Rico but was really happy that both of us enjoyed the down time by reading, playing games, listening to the great music on board, going to the exceptional shows, and eating great food. We talked to a lot of people who complained about the entertainment and food but we have to disagree - people wanted to be entertained every minute all throughout the day instead of entertaining themselves sometimes. And while the buffet food did get a little redundant, I still didn't have to shop, cook, or clean up so I wasn't complaining! We eat a plant based diet and the cooks really didn't have many choices for that so we just went pescatarian for the cruise and that was fine. We had a dining package through our travel agent and LOVED the Italian restaurant, liked the French restaurant, and thought the steak house was just ok (but we don't eat meat so we knew that would be the case). We have cruised a couple times before and liked this ship the best. We always get the cheapest cabin because we don't see any point in spending money on a place we only intend to sleep in and our cabin was just fine. The service we got was excellent (except for some reason in the Grand Pacific). Like everyone, we don't like to be nickled and dimed and do feel things like bingo and soda should be included in the price. Since we didn't fly, we brought our own wine and liquor and made ourselves drinks when we wanted them for a fraction of what the ship would charge. The ports of call were great although it was hard to remember where we had been and where we were going since there were so many stops. My husband used the fitness center every day and his only complaint was that they didn't have a sauna. There is one in the spa but it's a charge. All in all, we felt like we got a very good bargain for a two week cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Short summary - My wife and I will cruise princess again, we have already started looking at options for late 2020. Cruising is quite different from the way we normally vacation, and that is okay. Cruising will not replace our long-haul ... Read More
Short summary - My wife and I will cruise princess again, we have already started looking at options for late 2020. Cruising is quite different from the way we normally vacation, and that is okay. Cruising will not replace our long-haul flight jaunts but will add a much-needed supplement to our often exhausting vacations. We had an amazing time at our own pace. The lengthy version, read on at your peril: As mentioned, cruising is very different from our typical holidays. Generally, we visit several countries over a relatively short period of time. Each country we visit generally requires an international flight, sometimes with layovers, and always with the hassles of air travel. Couple that with needing to transport luggage from city to city, and the fact that we average close to 30,000 steps a day while exploring cities, we return fully exhausted. Cruising is the exact opposite, visiting multiple destinations could not be easier. Luggage is stowed once, clothing placed on hangers once, heck; even drawers can be used. One does not need to touch their luggage again until the end of the cruise. A few considerations: Motion sickness - Those who know me well are quite aware of my challenges with motion sickness. I need Dramamine just to be a passenger in a car, and I am not joking. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt ill when driving in a passenger vehicle if I was not driving. As a child in Jamaica, it was torture. Driving up and down Melrose Hill, stuck behind a truck spewing all sorts of diesel fumes, slowing down and accelerating around corners, my god I am getting sick just thinking about it. My dad let me drive at a very early age which helped a lot. Back to the cruise, my solution was Dramamine less-drowsy (same as Bonine), and it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, I started with the scopolamine patch and only placed it behind my ear 30 minutes after boarding. I drove from Tampa to Port Everglades and did not want to risk wearing the patch earlier as it does tend to have an impact on vision. As is typical with my luck, the seas were pretty rough the first two nights, I had to leave my wife at the dinner table twice. I felt terrible. I then gave up on the patch and switched to my trusty Dramamine, it worked like a charm. I took at least one daily thereafter, two if the seas were rough. No problems with motion sickness from that point onwards. If you are worried about motion sickness, Dramamine is a solid option. If it worked for me, I suspect it will work for most. Cabin comfort - The ship we were on, the Carribean Princess, has more balcony cabins than any other room category. We chose a balcony, which was nice to have. While we did not spend a lot of time on the balcony, it was nice to have the option and also to leave the curtains open for a great view and sunlight. I think we will continue with balconies. The bathroom was relatively small, yet reasonable enough for a cruise cabin. Our cabin steward was incredible, a gentleman from Serbia. We could not have asked for a better person to help look after us during our cruise. Excursions - Our cruise line offered a variety of excursion options that were suitable for most passengers. We did everything from cycling in Curacoa to laying on the beach in Aruba. Excursions by the cruise line was a good way for us to venture into the cruise game. I am not fond of walking up to anyone, anywhere and giving them a few bucks to take me to an unfamiliar place. Perhaps a bit paranoid, I know, but with the cruise line, at least I knew a reputable firm was responsible for our wellbeing. This does pose a challenge though. The excursions offered by the cruise line were mostly great, except for the ability to experience true local fare and activities. I had to ask for off-menu items to have Caribbean food, the menu was stacked with chicken fingers, fish sticks, Italian options, etc. None of the excursions we booked took us into the heart of the countries, which I did find to have been problematic. Also, the beaches we were taken to were picturesque but littered with tourists and chairs. I am a beach snob, having had access to amazing beaches as a child, with my dad driving us on most Sundays to the south coast of Jamaica. The Baywatch style beach with hundreds of people laying out is simply not my thing, I prefer a cove with a few people, natural shade from trees, a short area of sand, and clear water. I still find Trunk Bay on St. John USVI to be the best beach I have visited. In terms of water quality, etc. many of the beaches we visited hit the mark, but just too many people. A cruise excursion is going to take you to a beach where several thousand others will likely be going as well. So for active excursions, I will continue to use the cruise line. They are more pricey, but I like the zero hassle they offer. For beaches and local fare, I will seek alternatives. Curacao and Martinique were my favorite ports. I have a "thing" for walkable cities, both were very walkable and quite nice. Trinidad gets a pretty bad rap in terms of safety, we took a raft tour of the bird sanctuary offered by princess, I am happy we went. I would definitely visit Trinidad again, not once did I feel unsafe. Aruba was a small desert island, okay beaches, not quite my favorite. We've done St. Thomas a few teams before, just hung out and had a few drinks with passengers from another ship. Had it been our first time, a trip to Trunk Bay on St. John would have been in order. We didn't do anything at all in Antigua, we were lazy and did not plan. We enjoyed St. Kitts, beautiful and not suffering from over development as Aruba seems to be. Dining - Dining was varied during our trip, initially not quite meeting my expectations for a variety of reasons. After day three, I found that our experience improved quite a bit. I will admit, the first two nights I was quite ill due to motion sickness, with most of the ship movement occurring just around dinner time. It may very well be that my impressions of dining these first few days are tied to my feeling of being ill. In terms of dining venues, we had multiple options to chose from. Initially, we chose the dining room but asked for a table just for the two of us. Again, I was feeling terrible, thus nothing memorable to offer other than the ability for the hostess to accommodate. Over the next three days, we chose the onboard Italian restaurant, steakhouse, and BBQ/seafood restaurant, all of which were quite good. These are “specialty” dining restaurants, thus an additional charge. Worth it in my opinion. We then decided to give the dining room another chance. They were unable to accommodate a table for just the two of us without an extensive wait time, thus we took a shared table. This was the best thing that could have happened to us! We dined with people from all over the world, each with great tales of adventures at sea and their personal lives. We kept the tradition going and decided to share tables in the dining room each night thereafter and had a blast. The people we met at dinner were mostly fantastic, with a miserable one here and there; still, the experience was great. Entertainment - I will start the entertainment portion of our experience with a few statistics. I suspect the average passenger age on the ship was somewhere in the late 50s, with the median being somewhere closer to the upper 60s, infer what you will :). We chose Princess as we desired to be amongst a mature crowd, we certainly got that here. A good portion of the entertainment onboard reflected this, with a lot of trivia, bingo and the like. A reasonable amount of mature “fun” activities. We also had evening music venues, one with an excellent live band playing everything from Caribbean music to rock, a piano bar, and a full-on nightclub. My only critical comment regarding entertainment would be the time most of the adult entertainment wrapped up early, generally by 11 pm. Additional mature venues going into the early morning hours would have been great. Also, one more critique; Princess offers what is called “Movies under the stars”. Via this, they show movies on deck late in the evening, with deckchairs covered with additional padding and towels offered to stay warm if needed. For the vast majority of the nights, the movies under the stars featured football games. I get it, football is big, and the games were likely quite important; but, I would like to have had the chance to watch a movie at night. I was quite disappointed. People - As mentioned in my dining section, we really met quite a few nice people during the trip. At dinner, while watching the band play, on excursions, etc. As this was our first cruise together, it was great to hear perspectives, thoughts, and ideas from others during our journey. I am reluctant to exchange contact information as I don’t often feel it to be authentic; still, I do hope to see many of them sometime again. We did have a lovely couple we met seek us out on the last night of the cruise to share their contact information with us. I will be in touch with them! Interesting tidbits - I met a woman who worked at the hospital where I was born (LIJ). She may have been working the night of my birth! I met another woman who graduated from the University of Tampa and lives in Sarasota. We talked a bit during dinner one night and began discussing dogs. I told her about Rhaegar and Nymeria, and she knew all about Staffordshire Bull Terriers and how they were different from pit-bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers. I didn’t need to give the “speech”! One of her neighbors in Sarasota is a retiree from England, where he used to breed Staffords. I met a young lady who studied at Brown AND also lived/worked in Manchester, the parish in Jamaica where I spent a lot of my childhood. I met a woman from the UK who loves Kuala Lumpur, her favorite city in the world. We discussed all of the great things about my third home and were both craving a bit of nasi lemak after our chat. We coincidentally ended up at the same dining table twice. I met a gentleman who worked on the ship, he was originally from Mandeville, Jamaica. We talked about the time we spent driving go-karts at Merry Makers, a small racing track and arcade located not too far from our homes. Peeves - “Do you have the package”? My god, there was a package for damn-near everything. For the internet, for alcohol, for soda, for coffee, you name it. What a way to cheapen an experience. In the dining room at night, if you wanted anything besides water, it is literally “screw you, pay me”. While I understand the desire to have folks pay for beverages throughout the day, doing so in the dining room seemed cheap to me. Offering a house wine and soft drinks during dinner would have been more than a reasonable from my perspective. I didn’t go anywhere near the pools, far too many people in each of them, all I could see were giant Petri dishes, yuck. They were so full, I suspect they had to remove some of the water to accommodate all the passengers sitting in them. Yes, sitting; there was absolutely no way to swim given all of the people. Best - 14 days with my wife, no distractions, no stress. Just relaxation and what we wanted to do. Next - A lot of what drove our decision to cruise with Princess was the itinerary. I would have no problem cruising with Princess again during the winter holiday period as there is a more diverse group of passengers, specific to age. I am not sure I would cruise them outside of that, as I suspect the ship may get a bit “sleepy”. Celebrity is at the top of our list currently, for the mixture of passengers we are seeking. Thus far, we are considering three options. Another Caribbean cruise, visiting ports we did not see during this trip. We also came across a transatlantic cruise, stopping in a few interesting places with Barcelona being the final destination. Lastly, we found an option for cruising to cities in Australia and New Zealand. We’ll see, as our preference is to find a holiday cruise, and time is a bit short now as I am back in school. I won’t be able to travel much until 2021 but can fit in a cruise next December. Final note - We just booked another holiday cruise with Princess the day after returning! See you in December :). Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We originally booked this cruise intending to spend the holidays visiting Cuba, but when those plans were disrupted we opted to stay on Insignia to visit the Caribbean. We are glad we did. Ports included St. Barths, Martinique, St. ... Read More
We originally booked this cruise intending to spend the holidays visiting Cuba, but when those plans were disrupted we opted to stay on Insignia to visit the Caribbean. We are glad we did. Ports included St. Barths, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and San Juan, Puerto Rico. We booked private tours ashore and enjoyed the ports. It was our first time on Oceania, and on a cruise with so few passengers. We were unsure what to expect, but found the experience very pleasant. Due to the size of the ship, there was a lack of some excitement and entertainment options, but convenience, relaxation and service made up for that in our opinion. This is generally not a ship for kids or those wanting lots of options for shows and daytime fun. But, if you want a more relaxing experience, we found there were always plenty of comfortable lounges at the pool, the spa was very nice and there were many quiet nooks to read, including an impressive library. The casino is very small but we had a fun time there nonetheless. The ship was recently renovated and was very nicely appointed. There were tasteful holiday decorations everywhere. Service was excellent. Boarding was quick and disembarking in ports was easy, given there were just over 600 passengers. We stayed in a Penthouse level 3 cabin. It was spacious and comfortable. There was plenty of storage. The bathroom could have been a bit larger, but the shower was nice and storage was sufficient. The TV was very large with an excellent on demand entertainment system. We enjoyed several recent movies during the trip. Oceania keeps the mini bar stocked with non-alcoholic complimentary beverages and provides plenty of drinking water. Service from our butler and room attendants was excellent. Oceania prides itself on food, and we found that to be accurate. We enjoyed meals in the Main Dining, Italian and Steak House restaurants and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the buffet - breakfast, lunch or dinner. The pool burger bar was an excellent lunch time option with made to order burgers and other sandwiches, as well as a nice salad bar and ice cream. Overall, we were pleased enough with the Oceania experience to book another cruise for Spring on the slightly larger Riviera. For us, we found the overall value good, given that many things are complimentary rather than upcharges, as on other cruise lines: specialty dining, internet, soft drinks, laundry for Penthouse guests. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was a last-minute(ish) decision to go cruising somewhere guaranteed to be warm & intetesting over the Christmas break. Iglu was offering a decent package at a competitive price so we went for it! We'd not been on a ... Read More
This was a last-minute(ish) decision to go cruising somewhere guaranteed to be warm & intetesting over the Christmas break. Iglu was offering a decent package at a competitive price so we went for it! We'd not been on a Princess ship before and were pleasantly surprised by the overall standard of entertainment, the informal yet classy vibe, mix of fellow cruisers (mostly 50+ age group but also with some intergenerational family groups), the general presentation of the ship and service provided by the staff. Our balcony suite was very good, with lots of wardrobe space (which suited my partner!) and a reasonably private balcony area (on deck 12 forward) where we could relax and enjoy the warmth of the tropical climate, whilst sipping a drink and being serenaded by the gentle sounds of the ocean as the Sapphire Princess cut majestically through the benign, blue, ocean waves. The onboard entertainment was excellent, apart from the comedian, who was awful. Matt Baker (the Ents Director) was superb. The dance troupe were a highlight. Food was great and the anytime dining option worked well for us. We also took advantage of the excursion programme to visit various places, including two stops in Vietnam, Bangkok, Kho Samui & KL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is my 27th RCCL cruise and I am at the Diamond Plus level. I am a "loyalist", as such as the cruise line tries to raise the bar of quality of food, service and entertainment. Those levels are expected on the next cruise and ... Read More
This is my 27th RCCL cruise and I am at the Diamond Plus level. I am a "loyalist", as such as the cruise line tries to raise the bar of quality of food, service and entertainment. Those levels are expected on the next cruise and the next cruise, etc. Embarkment: Traveling via RCCL arranged bus transfers from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, the ride was smooth and we arrived at Terminal A, we were on the ship in about 15 minutes, it was amazing. as we arrived about 1 pm our balcony stateroom was ready. Starboard, 10724. Stateroom: Nice, but due to the size of the ship my wife had to rent a Special Needs Group handicap scooter. Our cabin steward, Edgar was terrific and he fulfilled our every request. Windjammer Buffet: Good quality food, but the steam shop round was tough and chewy. and for some reason, they do not serve "creamy" cold slaw. Promenade Cafe: this 24 hour cafe still serves sandwiches on a roll that lacks adequate meat, if you think one or two slices of meat a sandwich, on a small club roll. Main Dining Room for Breakfast: Excellent food for breakfast, it has a limited ala carte menu for being a sit down and being serviced, but it also has a buffet. Main Dining Room for lunch: Good service and a nice ala carte menu,EXCEPT for its turkey club sandwich, which consisted of three pieces of barely toasted bread, with one slice of turkey, one sliver of a slice of avacado, one half leaf of leaf if lettuce and two pieces of bacon. I told the waiter "you call this a club sandwich" a dining room floor supervisor came over and said I could request more turkey. I told him, it the cook knew how to make a decent sandwich, I should not have to request additional meat. We tried the MDR for lunch and I had the steak and fries, and it was served rare not medium rare as requested and fries. No more MDR dining room lunches. Main Dining Room for Dinner: EXCELLENT service for MDR deck three and our table waiter Romando and assistant table waiter Vikash. Every meal was excellent, but it cracks me up as on the Allure OTS which is the Oasis OTS sister ship, the menu is the same on WEDNESDAY, they feature braised beef short ribs, excellent but serving the menus on the same night across the fleet for each night is a bit much! Casino Royale: Standard, slots, a lot of "asian" themed slots, and table games with a $10 minimum. The casino staff as always was friendly, and waiters were plentiful. Park Cafe: Limited lunch selection the day we had lunch it was salads top round beef and a variety of deserts, not too crowded in the Central Park area. Entertainment: The headliner Ronn Lucas was excellent, the One Sky a Cique de sol' knock was okay and the 90 minute "CATS" was a little boring and my wife and I did not get the premise of the show. Did not do the comedy club, the band was great. Debarkment: Fast, we were off the ship by 8:30 am and at Fort Lauderdale airport by 9:30am. OVERALL: It was a very relaxing cruise, as this was a Christmas break week 12/15 to 12/22/2019 week, the ship had a lot of families and children. The pool as never really that crowded. We stated on the ship as the ports of call were the been there done that! I am a cigar smoke and noted the smoke area on the pool deck 15 is shrinking.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is undoubtedly a beautiful ship. We have cruised many times and this was our first cruise with Princess. We found the passenger base on the older traveller side. We took our 17 year old with us on a XMAS cruise and there was very ... Read More
This is undoubtedly a beautiful ship. We have cruised many times and this was our first cruise with Princess. We found the passenger base on the older traveller side. We took our 17 year old with us on a XMAS cruise and there was very little for her to do and very little company her own age. The ship targets catering very well for the Chinese and American passenger base which was very high on this cruise. Given it was an Australian and NZ cruise, we though there would be a little more focus on this. We had a mini-suite and it was great. The food choices and quality were fantastic though you should note room service menu (all without cost) does not offer healthy choices. On this menu it is about hotdogs, cheeseburgers and fries. The only omission for restaurant and Marketplace food was fish and chips. I thought that fish and chips would be an option at some point but it wasn't. Le Mer was fabulous as was the Noodle Bar and the Italian Restaurant. The XMAS day food was above fantastic. Fresh seafood galore in the buffet for lunch and dinner in the restaurant had beautiful XMAS choices including ham, turkey, lamb etc. Our daughter is vegetarian and she had a lot of choice throughout the cruise. Our only disappointment was the teenager program. 13-17 year old are clumped together as one group. They put on a disco at 10.30pm clearly targeting the older teenager group but did this on the second last night. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We boarded the ship in FLL and it was actually the simplest boarding process ever. We did the whole thing and were on board in about 10 minutes. We did do the preboarding process so all they needed to do was look at passports and take our ... Read More
We boarded the ship in FLL and it was actually the simplest boarding process ever. We did the whole thing and were on board in about 10 minutes. We did do the preboarding process so all they needed to do was look at passports and take our photo’s. We booked this cruise quite awhile ago and it was sold as a ‘revolutionized’ ship. Well we all know that did not really happen on the Equinox. They did change Michaels into the Retreat but our S1 cabin looked EXACTLY like our S1 cabin on the Eclipse. Oh wait the robes were different and the nice hair products that were there before are now replaced by big bottles of something else. I must admit the cabin was disappointing. Our butler and cabin steward were both awesome. This was very nice after our last cruise when or butler just got out of butler school and really had no idea what he was doing. We did not ask for much but what we did request we got on a very timely basis and they could not have been any nicer. Celebrity really does have the service part down to a science. Everywhere you go, they are very kind and willing to do what ever they can to give you a good experience. We upgraded our premium beverage package to something else (not sure what it was called) but basically you had unlimited access to anything in the mini bar that was restocked daily and you also got 50.00 each in credits to spend at the casino. This was such a deal for us. We had some OBC from Celebrity that we had to use so it really only cost us 50.00 and we walked away from the Casino after playing for a couple of hours with 60.00 that we cashed out. It was very nice to be able to pop open a bottle of wine in the mini bar and not have to worry about the cost. We did have some bad weather on this trip. Our first excursion was cancelled due to the high winds so that was a bit of a bummer. We had the best time at Grand Cayman doing Sting Ray City. Well worth the cost for that one and it was so much fun. This was our 5th cruise on Celebrity and the first one where we did not have plans every day. It was very relaxing to just go with the flow. We had some very wonderful meals in Lumine, our best meal was in Murano. We also tried the La Petite chief and the show was amusing. The food not so much. I would not spend money and that one again. The retreat on 16 is very nice but with no water there I cannot imagine it gets much use. I did go up there twice. The winds were howling so I did not stay to long. Again, decorating is very nice but not sure I would go out of my way to have a special place to lay in the sun and cook. All in all, it was a great vacation. My only disappointment was really the room not even getting a new bedspread! I am hoping my next cruise scheduled for Aug 2020 has a ship that is completely revolutionized! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We ate most of the time in Club Class, the food was Excellent and the entire staff in Club Class was Excellent ! We also ate in Alfredo"s for lunch at least 3 times it also has Excellent food. The staff was good. We ate a couple of ... Read More
We ate most of the time in Club Class, the food was Excellent and the entire staff in Club Class was Excellent ! We also ate in Alfredo"s for lunch at least 3 times it also has Excellent food. The staff was good. We ate a couple of times in the World Fresh Market and for a buffet it is real good. Nice new design all these places. The only thing we has a small problem with was our room steward got ill and his replacement was no where as good as he was, also there was a communication problem with him. It was taken care of by the Hotel Manager after the 2nd day. We did get our room steward back and was the best. We did not like what the new design of the Sanctuary took out lounge chairs and a area that you could sit under away from sun and rain. They added more Cabana's and put in 1 Hot Tub. Entertainment & activities are real good, the entertainment various no-one is going to like it all. The mini suite is also updated and nice, the balcony is small not much room Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I picked this cruise for my husband's birthday celebration as it departs from our hometown port. We had a 12th deck spa balcony room. To be concise, I will list pros then cons of trip from our experience. PROS: Boarding boat ... Read More
I picked this cruise for my husband's birthday celebration as it departs from our hometown port. We had a 12th deck spa balcony room. To be concise, I will list pros then cons of trip from our experience. PROS: Boarding boat fast, organized. Lunch ready with a nice selection of hot and deli foods. Room service limited selections but adequate and prompt. Birthday cake I ordered was in room and luscious. General dining not bad but we prefer the Specialty restaurants which were excellent. The Chef's Table dining evening is $$$ but if you seek a dining experience of delicacies, multiple courses and wine, described by the chef, served with white glove service, its worth every cent. Reservations for only 14 diners includes an amazing pre dinner tour of the kitchen with champagne and appetizers. Elegant dress is appropriate for Specialty and Chef's Table. Room kept tidy with very comfortable bed, plenty of towels and ice bucket filled. Spa & gym included, was wonderful. Book massages before cruise for best rate. Enjoyed shopping in jewelry shop. We did not select excursions, used spa. CONS: Room carpet needed a good cleaning. A second hot tub in the Serenity area definitely needed. Tobacco smoke exits the casino into adjoining areas including sports bar so we could not tolerate it to watch games on tv. There are virtually no tv programs offered in rooms. Can't get a no-alcohol cocktail, even with full price. I asked for margarita on rocks minus tequila, denied due to they didn't have an established price. Only similar drinks are smoothies they have for kids. No alcohol free wines available. The main dining room location for seating was confusing. A basic dress code for cover ups, no bare feet or chests needs to be enforced in buffet lunch areas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose this cruise because of several reasons. This class of Celebrity ships are all excellent and the price was right. Celebrity has cut back in some ways but the food in main dining room and buffet is still very good. We ate in three ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of several reasons. This class of Celebrity ships are all excellent and the price was right. Celebrity has cut back in some ways but the food in main dining room and buffet is still very good. We ate in three specialty restaurants and they were all excellent led byMurano The highlights of the cruise for my wife was the lobster tails in Murano being flambayed at our table and yes they were so delicous. ! The entertainment was not up to the standard on my previous cruises but was ok.Fabulous staff in every way led by dining room waiter Rabinger or Happy Happy as he refers to all guests!Last but not least the cruise had a great itinerary including four ports and four days at sea!.The ABC islands are so nice and if you like snorting or scuba diving this cruise is for you. Enjoyed our fourth Celebrity cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our third cruise with Viking, one river cruise, one Adriatic ocean cruise. The ship staff from the valet to the captain were outstanding. Always friendly & helpful. The ship was great, too. Easy to navigate with lots of ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking, one river cruise, one Adriatic ocean cruise. The ship staff from the valet to the captain were outstanding. Always friendly & helpful. The ship was great, too. Easy to navigate with lots of amenities. The size of ship is perfect for the ports we visited during the cruise. The number of passengers is excellent without kids & needless entertainment. If you want casinos or shows, this is not your cruise line. The entertainment was outstanding. Excellent musicians & classy, comforting music. The food is consistently good, but after several days, the selection was getting limited. We ate at The Restaurant most of the meals, but also at Manfredi's where the food was outstanding. Bar area in Atrium on first deck is always fun. Now the excursions. We have been to about half of the islands on the cruise so we did not select excursions for Tortola, St Kitts, St Martin/Sin Maarten or Barbados. For our second day in Puerto Rico we did the Ell Yunque Rainforest which was a good excursion. Guide was very good. We did not leave the boat at Tortula. At St Kitts, we taxied to the Carambola Beach Club instead of a cruise excursion. Relaxing time. In Dominica, we did the Freshwater Lake & Hot Pools excursion. Our guide was very good, but the lake & hot tubs were pretty disappointing. In Barbados, we got a taxi tour with another couple. It was one of our favorite onshore day having visited The Crane Resort at Crane Beach, a cross-island tour & a visit to the Sandy Lane high-end resort & golf course. Over the top in luxury! In St Lucia, we did a cruise excursion on a catamaran & lunch at The Ladera Resort which was over the top, too. Beautiful view of the Piton peaks & a great lunch. This was by far the best Viking excursions for the cruise. In Antiqua, we did the Amazing Antiqua cruise excursion. Our guide was very knowledgeable & friendly, but the tour was lots of boring driving. The Shirley Heights & Nelson's Shipyard were interesting. We have done St Martin so we stayed on the ship. Our last day was in St Thomas & we took a taxi to Megens Bay beach which was very pretty & relaxing. Overall, a very enjoyable cruise. We will do more Viking cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have been in love with Viking since our first River Cruise! We've been on 3 Ocean Cruises since. However, our last experience aboard Orion was not up to our expectations: The accommodations at both our pre- and post-tours were ... Read More
We have been in love with Viking since our first River Cruise! We've been on 3 Ocean Cruises since. However, our last experience aboard Orion was not up to our expectations: The accommodations at both our pre- and post-tours were beautiful! What we couldn't figure out was why there was such a problem going from the Hotel to the ship. It seemed to be too many people and not enough busses. Why was this not foreseen? It was very chaotic and time consuming. The same thing happened several times throughout the holiday, at Komodo people were lined up on the pier (98 degrees, F) to get the tender, and it took us over an hour to board the catamaran to go out to the Great Barrier Reef. Compared to our other experiences, Viking seemed very disorganized. We were also discouraged with the choices at the Chef's Table: Almost EVERYTHING was too spicy or, on the only non-Asian night, they served fish.....not for our pallets. We also had much greater expectations for the Planetarium: Other than a very quick explanation of the zodiac by the resident expert (whose company we really enjoyed) it was used for short 3-D movies (which we have at home) and not really used as a planetarium! Although this cruise was our choice, we thought some of the ports were less than interesting or exciting. ie: Thursday Island, Airlie and Newcastle. We should have not depended on the "included" excursions. As we are sure that we will be on other Viking adventures, and we understand that in the Ocean Industry, you are still a "start-up" company, the over-all staff, though mostly bend over backward, is still in the "rookie" stage. As an odd thought, at 18 months, this was the oldest ship that we've been on! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We’ve not sailed the Reflection since 2014, and were pleased to see it so immaculately clean. Our C3 cabin #8279 was close to the aft, in a quiet corridor with just some minor vibrations. However it was about 300 steps to the bow ... Read More
We’ve not sailed the Reflection since 2014, and were pleased to see it so immaculately clean. Our C3 cabin #8279 was close to the aft, in a quiet corridor with just some minor vibrations. However it was about 300 steps to the bow elevators to head up to the Sky Lounge. The weather started out mild and warmed up as we headed south to Cartagena, Columbia and the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). On our way back we experienced stronger wind and moderate waves getting around Cuba. The crowd was typical to Celebrity – few kids and mostly 65+, numerous with mobility challenges. Reflection is using the older technology for embarkation, so it was not quick. We were allowed to drop off our hand luggage in the cabin. We were advised that U.S. Government conducted an inspection of the food preparation areas, so many services were delayed, including the Concierge lunch in the dining room, and some menu items were in short supply. The crew is very friendly and the officers mingle with guests throughout. Our cabin steward Michael from Honduras was polite, efficient and unobtrusive. Meals: Generally met our high expectations. We had Select Dining at 7:30pm and after 3 nights we found the team of Jeronimo and Roidon who took care of us the rest of the way doing an excellent job every night. Our dishes were nicely prepared and arrived at the proper temperature. The only disappointment was the elimination of Rack of Lamb from the menu, drum fish and turkey parmesean. The Oceanview Café was somewhat crowded at times, but the food stations are spread out and lines moved quickly at the pasta, stir-fry and egg stations (at breakfast). Some of the “Special menu” themes did not live up to our expectations. For example, the Greek Giro was a far cry from what Niko our Greek Captain would find at home. The ice cream stand offered good variety of flavors, soft-serve, and toppings. We did not dine at any specialty restaurants. Our Elite level light breakfasts at Tuscan Grill included cheeses, cold meats and fruit along with fresh juices and specialty coffees. They also added various rolls and baguette for the first time. The “cocktail hour” allowed unlimited free drinks from the Elite menu at most bars, but cold and hot hors d'oeuvre were served only at the Sky lounge. The Café Al Baccio was a nice meeting place for coffee and pastries. We asked for the “coffee card” which hardly any server knows about. Finally we were told that yes, they have it! It cost $29.95 plus 20% gratuity, and allows 10 coffee-based non-alcoholic choices at the Al Bacio Café. We used our onboard credits to get the card and shared it many afternoons throughout the sailing. Entertainment and activities: Generally good enrichment talks and movies. The headline soloists were average except for the talented violinist Katerina Rossa. The big production shows Elysium, Tribute to Broadway, and Broken Strings were average. Special mention must be given to Cruise Director Giueseppe who was the life of the party wherever he popped up, always talking about is “mama”. Ports: The itinerary covered islands we’ve already visited at least twice, but we managed to explore new sights. Disembarkation was somewhat delayed, but after we got off the ship and got our luggage quickly, it was slow moving line for non-U.S. citizens through immigration. Ground terminal staff claimed only Global Entry card holders could be cleared with U.S. citizens, while the Immigration Officer told us that NEXUS card holders could have also used that line. It would have saved us at least an hour in line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have read several reviews that have incorrect prices listed, or what seems to just be a rant and less of a helpful review. As some background info, I booked this vacation with my girlfriend (were 28 years old) and spent a grand total of ... Read More
I have read several reviews that have incorrect prices listed, or what seems to just be a rant and less of a helpful review. As some background info, I booked this vacation with my girlfriend (were 28 years old) and spent a grand total of about $1,800 ($900) each. For this value, I left the cruise feeling as I got a great value and overall trip. I plan to break this down further, as this cruise has MANY upcharges depending on what you want to do allowing one to customize their own experience. For other comments of couples who have spent over $4,000, I can certainly understand being upset. In my opinion, much of this is their fault, as these fees (for the most part) are clearly available through the NCL website, and many other sources. EMBARKATION: Quick and easy. Passengers are called up by groups but we just got in line and no one stopped us. When you get on the ship, everyone runs straight to the wall kiosk’s or in long lines at The Social to book entertainment for the week. Some events can be booked online, which I would suggest. Other entertainment options must be booked online. There are available kiosks throughout the ship so don’t waste your time in long lines, ride up a few floors and use an empty kiosk. Specialty dining options and comedy/Broadway shows book fast. Laser tag, escape room, go-karts were mostly available through the week. VIBE CLUB: With some of the ship modifications in comparison to others in the class, free to the public deck spare is very packed and sun spots are few. Many comments state that buying a vibe pass is the only choice, but this depends on your goals. Does a lounge chair, a quieter atmosphere, and a spot in the hot tub matter to you? Vibe may be your option. At $209 per person, these spots are not cheap. Tickets should be more easily available than other Norwegian cruises, as the Vibe has 230 or so seats. We were able to purchase these passes at 1:00pm on embarkation, so get there early but you don’t have to make a mad dash. Is a chair in the shade, close access to waterslides and the pool, a loud atmosphere, your atmosphere? Then do not worry about Vibe. SHIP ATMOSPHERE/STAFF: Although this was my first Norwegian cruise what may have made it most enjoyable was the other passengers. There was always a lively atmosphere with extremely friendly people. Not to say other cruises were not, but normally people seem to keep to themselves. There were also many younger people, and couples on this cruise making it much more lively. Staff, as you will find on any cruise, were extremely hard working, helpful, and enjoyable to speak with. This cruise also had a big LGBTQ following, so anyone part of the community would enjoy many of the activities geared towards this. I also found wheelchair access to be extremely helpful for these individuals. ENTERTAINMENT: Choir of Man was a fantastic show. It runs about 45 minutes and IS free (some reviews say it isn’t). Kinky Boots is one hour and forty-five minutes long and is great as well if you are into Broadway plays. There are two comedians who run 18+ shows, and a regular show. Both of the comedians were pretty good as well. Go-karts run in half hour blocks, cost $15 (or $199 for the week), and are about 20 minutes long. These are pretty fun, and go faster than you would expect. Laster tag runs in half hour blocks, is $10 per person and lasts about 15 minutes. I had originally signed up for this but after hearing many complaints cancelled my reservation. I was surprised at how few people seemed to visit the galaxy pavilion. Each ride in there besides one of the race cars and the escape room are $8 per ride (or you can buy a one hour block for $30). Each ride lasts about 5 minutes. I couldn’t find anyone on the cruise who had tried the escape room, and noticed many open spots were available all week for it. In general, all these activities had availability through the week, so don’t feel pressured to immediately book them. Only one waterslide was functioning during our cruise. The slide that drops passengers was closed due to plastic cutting them. The other slide was fun, a bit more slow paced, and always had about a 15 minute waiting line. The bars on the cruise were a nice stand out. Each bar from the brew house, country bar, Beatles show, Latin show at the mojito bar, the late night club, and the atrium band had a very different feel and were a lot of fun. Each bar has different specialty drinks and I spent a good amount of time at each bar. This was a highlight that really stood out, and I feel Norwegian did a good job here. A final thing to keep in mind is there are many upcharges you may not fully expect. If you want to communicate over the messenger on the Norwegian app it will cost $10/person. If you want to see the Probation stage play it will cost $30/person. If you want to play bingo, deal or no deal, or some other on board games you have to pay. This appears to upset many people which is understandable, but it also allows you to customize your experience while not having to battle large crowds to enjoy it. FOOD: The food on board was great. I only dined at the free to eat places, which were all amazing and had something for everyone. Seating at the main dining area is always available and I never had to wait. Specialty dining is quite popular. Many cruisers I heard from particularly enjoyed Cagney’s steak house, Food republic (sushi), Le Bistro (French), and Los Lobos (Mexican). STATEROOM: I stayed in the cheapest basic stateroom. I found the room to be clean and staff were very helpful. There is a lighting system when you need your room made up or if you do not want to be disturbed. The bathroom felt more spacious than other cruises even with the smallest stateroom. There are also USB ports on the bedside lamps to charge your phone. I spoke with many who had balconies and loved the experience. ISLANDS: San Juan stopped at 5:30PM – 11:59PM. This was a different stop but gave an opportunity to see the night life at San Juan if you like that idea. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you have the alcohol package, you will be charged tax for each drink while in San Juan (12% tax) and in Miami before leaving. St. Thomas: we visited Magen’s Bay as many do. This is a beautiful cove with calm and shallow water that extends out, making it ideal for families with young ones as well. There are excursions with strict time standards that are quite expensive through Norwegian. We found that taking a taxi on land was much cheaper. Round trip for two of up costs $32 ($16 each), and be aware that there is a $5 charge per person to enter the beach. This is to keep the area maintained and beautiful, and to pay for the lifeguards as well. Tortola: Many on board made the water taxi trip to The Baths which everyone raved about. We took a cheap route and visited Cane Garden Bay through a taxi on the island (also $32, but no charge for the beach). This was a nice area with shallow calm waters within a cove like Meghan’s bay, but much smaller and a bit crowded. DISEMBARKATION: Quick and easy process. If you plan on getting breakfast before a travel home, make sure to be up early. The buffet was entirely emptied out by about 8:30, and most everyone was off the ship around 9:00. You can choose to exit yourself, or if you have lots of luggage they will have you put your bags out the night before and dismiss you off the ship by groups as many other cruise lines do. FINAL THOUGHTS: Don’t forget that if you do buy into the alcohol package offer, this does NOT include gratuity, which will be another extra charge for you ($138). Also, 15$ per person is charged per day for inside state rooms totaling $210 for the week. I believe this is a bit higher if you have a larger room. Sometimes these fees can sneak up on you, so it is good to know. I would also strongly suggest looking up gift vouchers through eBay and other related websites. I was able to buy a $500 voucher for $350, which was very exciting to have that instant savings. These vouchers are pretty easy to find. . Personally, for the price I paid I really enjoyed the Norwegian Encore and had a great time. If I were to be looking to spend around that $3,000+ price, I would look at other cruise ship options. In the end, your experience is what you make of it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We always try the new ships. We stayed at Holiday Inn Port of Miami because it is close to Port and walking distance across the street to the Bayside Marketplace for waterfront shopping and restaurants. Also, we paid a fee xtra dollars for ... Read More
We always try the new ships. We stayed at Holiday Inn Port of Miami because it is close to Port and walking distance across the street to the Bayside Marketplace for waterfront shopping and restaurants. Also, we paid a fee xtra dollars for breakfast and transportation to Port. It took longer in the waiting area to board than prior ships. Once on ship, we waited in long lines to complete our entertainment and dining reservations. This is the first time NCL website didn’t allow. Balcony Cabin was the same. No towel animals but fine. The comedians were fantastic! a Chicago Puerto Rican man, Quinn the opener and the New York guy. The bands were great. My fave was the 2nd to the last night, Oceanfest or something like that when all the bands played together. Loved Choir of a man and liked Kinky Boots. Service was very good to excellent. We ate a Savor, Manhattan, Local, Onda, Los Lobos, Cagneys, Bistro and Q. Loved the specialty restaurants! We didn’t like being in Puerto Rico from 5:30 pm-12. Too late to see any tourist attractions. I loved the thermal suite except they seemed to allow loud, noisy people now. Not so peaceful. Crazy long lines to exit ship. In the end, it was still cruising on Norwegian which we are used to. It was probably our 12th NCL cruise. We have been loyal to this cruiseline mostly because of casinos at sea benefits. The Norwegian employees bust their butts. We will continue cruising with Norwegian. New ships not coming until 2022-2026. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Anthem sails out of Bayonne and we live in NJ so it was an easy ride. After exploring parking optons to try to control costs, we parked at the port which was an excessive $22 a day. (Other local parking lots seem cheaper until you add in ... Read More
Anthem sails out of Bayonne and we live in NJ so it was an easy ride. After exploring parking optons to try to control costs, we parked at the port which was an excessive $22 a day. (Other local parking lots seem cheaper until you add in Bayonne City taxes, etc. Then the difference is minimal.) Embrakation was pretty fast and well organized though we did not notice the Diamond line which would have been faster had we seen it. Our agent was a bit chatty and I was anxious to get o the ship, but she was nice and helpful. The ship has a Promenade called the Eplanade. Unlike other 'streets' in RCCL ships, this one feels less open and spacious, in part due to a midline pub and other features, which my traveling companion did not like. A level above the Esplanade olong the sides are more restuarants and facilities such as the shore excursions desk, Izumi, etc. The shops and cafes are typical of RCCL. But at each end of the Esplanade the ship continues , not with cabins, but with more walking areas and facilites, with the theater at one end and 270 at theother. 270 is a high tech lounge which, we were told, cost RCCL $37 million. It features an acrobatic/light/sound show but also hosts activities, concerts and a wonderful silent party for those with sensory issues or those just wanting a new experience. Guests are given headphones and the lights are low. You control the sound of the music as you dance. Wonderful!! Our cabin was on Deck 12. That particular deck has some interior cabins which are more square than long, and we were in one of them. We were very comfortable for the entire 12 days. We did miss the clothes line in the shower, but the square shape felt big and we had ample room for all of our things. Because of the layout, we each had our own closet, which was great. The virtual window was a real bonus. We were able to see live feed from outside of the ship without paying for a window, and we were able to shot it off to keep the sunrise from waking us....best of both worlds. All other features, food, facilities, guest services, staff attentiveness, etc. were typical for what we expect from RCCL, and add up to the reason this was our 17th RCCL cruise. One highlight was a specialty resturant called Wonderland. We are on a budget and rarely visit specialty restaurants. We did go to Izumi once on another ship, but other then that, we enjoy the included food well enough. I had seen information about Wonderland and decided to treat us. By booking and paying online well before boarding we saved quite a bit of money, but it was still not inexpensive. I am so glad we splurged! What a geat experience. Wonderland is not for the picky eater, and I wouldn't take children or meat-and-potatoes friends. Each course is unique and some are spicy. But the experience was fascinating and delightful to me. There are lots of reviews about it online if you want details. It was a one time event for me but I am very happy to have had the experience. The shows, Spectra's Cabaret and The Gift, were a bit quirkey for me, and people seem to either love them or walk out confused, as I did...except for WE WILL ROCK YOU which we loved! Anthem is big, and we liked it, but we prefer Allure. Anthem lacks features we likem such as an ice skating rink and show, which was replaced by a roller rink with bumper cars, and there are no parades on the Esplanade. But it has many unique features that make exploring it fun such as it's interactive and fluid art and many robotic features. We are looking forward to sailing on her sister ship, Odyssey, in 2021 through the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first MSC cruise, having cruised exclusively with Royal Caribbean. Family members had cruised on the Seaside and recommended it. The price was right so we booked. Technology: We tried booking shows the first day on the ... Read More
This was our first MSC cruise, having cruised exclusively with Royal Caribbean. Family members had cruised on the Seaside and recommended it. The price was right so we booked. Technology: We tried booking shows the first day on the touch screens around the ship and they weren't working. We eventually were able to using the cabin TV. Most of the TV channels had no signal until the third day (CNN, ESPNs). The beer and wine dispensers in the deck 8 restaurant either didn't work at all or pushed out foam. Even staff couldn't get them to work and wound up getting us and others drinks from the bar. The MSC for Me phone app worked well. Excursions: We booked 2 on our own and 1 through the ship. We picked a short one so we could get back to the ship and finally get a deck chair. However, we had to wait in the heat in Grand Cayman for 40 minutes after it was supposed to leave, because the driver was late. Services: The ship staff were friendly and very accommodating, and everything was kept spotless. However, we signed up for Meet and Mingle and never received a notice in our state room. I read on the ship FB thread that others had the same issue. Also applied for the Loyalty Match 5 weeks before sailing and didn't get it until a week after the cruise. Ship: The ship is stunning but so massive it took us half the cruise to find things. We found the restroom signage confusing, as the directional signs were on walls and some restrooms were in alcoves that were easy to pass by. We had to ask directions to the theater a few times because we would go in the right direction but run into dead ends. All the pools are 6.5 feet deep. Most people could not stand in them but had to tread water or hang on the edges. They do not permit drinks around the pool, even in plastic glasses. Water slides were great! Food: Read a lot of negative things before the cruise about the food being bland, or no variety, or small portions. We had breakfast and lunch on deck 8 and the buffets were absolutely fine. You could have anything for breakfast you could imagine. We enjoyed custom omelettes, everything was hot, and the coffee was delicious. There was plenty of variety, but people expecting different fare every day are unrealistic. They are feeding 5,000 people for 7 days! You can also eat a more liesurely breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. My one complaint was rather than have easy-to-find condiment packet stations, you had to hunt for the hard-to-find giant ketchup, mustard, and mayo dispensers, and there were no containers to pump them into. Lots of wasted time there. Main dining room fare was so-so. I had short ribs one night that were 80 percent fat (see picture). Oh yes, the pizza. People on the CC threads RAVE about the pizza. It wasn't "all that" if you're used to east coast, thin crust pizza (NY, Philly). It was tasty but a bit soggy for me. Entertainment: The theater shows were very entertaining. There were about 40 dancers doing Broadway type shows interspersed with fantastic acrobats worthy of the "Got Talent" TV shows. Live singers had superb voices. Michael Jackson show was excellent. On the other hand, on-board musical entertainment was sparse, with one or two musicians at each venue. Royal Caribbean has bands. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I heard a lot about the ship so I went to find out for myself. Me and 12 of my travel partners went to see what the Seaside was all about. Beautiful ship, good food, and fun. The music selection could be better to much Spanish music. I ... Read More
I heard a lot about the ship so I went to find out for myself. Me and 12 of my travel partners went to see what the Seaside was all about. Beautiful ship, good food, and fun. The music selection could be better to much Spanish music. I silent party sucked. The ship was very clean and we had fun. The sports bar is an awesome space. Love the late night buffet so u had more choices than just pizza. I loved the ports that we went to including MSC private island. The island is huge but I think the need more food venues & bars around the island. Also bad weather so no Junkanoo parade for us that night. They had some nice shows, some better than others. I also loved all the different theme nights on the cruise. I would most definitely sale MSC cruise ships to my clients ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This cruise is close to home and a nice getaway for a long weekend. We had taken the cruise to Santa Barbara and Ensenada for Valentines day last year and enjoyed it so we decided we would take a four day cruise every year if possible. We ... Read More
This cruise is close to home and a nice getaway for a long weekend. We had taken the cruise to Santa Barbara and Ensenada for Valentines day last year and enjoyed it so we decided we would take a four day cruise every year if possible. We had an aft stateroom which was a great location but I would recommend a lower level than the Marina Deck. The bar above could look over our balcony so we did not like that. The service is always good on Princess and the other guest are always friendly. The food was more than plentiful and lots of activities if you wish to do some. Catalina is a gem. We just walked around the town but it is so quaint and so many cute little shops and restaurants. The comedian was awesome on the ship. We had seen AJ Jamal before and he is really funny. If you just want a break from your daily routine I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Pros: *Excellent service *Lots of fantastic entertainment *Deep swimming pools with chairs kept back. *Real professionally made pizza. *Lido often had quality 5 star food and a good selection. *MDR service and staff was ... Read More
Pros: *Excellent service *Lots of fantastic entertainment *Deep swimming pools with chairs kept back. *Real professionally made pizza. *Lido often had quality 5 star food and a good selection. *MDR service and staff was impeccable. Food was creative and served hot. Cons: *The ships layout is confusing. Even the staff got turned around. *Food in the MDR usually lacked quality cuts of meat. *'Unhappy Hour' still persists. No two for one drinks plus a dollar. *Good tables for two should be standard. The MDR's are poor and 'too crowded'. *Coffee is tepid, insipid coloured water! Who would serve that in Central America? *There are 4 pools. Only a smaller spa one is designated just for adults? *Shore excursion to the Masaya Volcano is a mistake; don't go. Closing Comments: Formal night is something to behold. There were people showing up wearing sweat pants and other apparel equally repulsive. It's amazing someone who wanted to experience fine dinning with table cloths, cutlery and service etc., would be that disrespectful. Putting the staff in a position to ask them to leave is awkward although, walking the plank should be justifiable. Special thanks to Pianist, Kory Simon. This artist is better than any super star. Special thanks to the Violinists; fabulous performances. Special thanks to Head Waiter, Valentine N. and the Professional MDR Staff. I've submitted this post in conjunction with listening to other experienced cruisers on the voyage who informed me that elegance is slipping on too many cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We went for Renewal of Vows and a Holiday get away to a warmer climate. We had a fantastic time on this Hawaii cruise! Weather in Hawaii was perfect in December, 75F-90F. We didn’t find any all day excursions, but didn’t want to do ... Read More
We went for Renewal of Vows and a Holiday get away to a warmer climate. We had a fantastic time on this Hawaii cruise! Weather in Hawaii was perfect in December, 75F-90F. We didn’t find any all day excursions, but didn’t want to do only 1/2 day. We just took Uber to local beaches for snorkeling, lunch, and drinks. All in one location. Beaches were not crowded and we had a blast! Most of the passengers on this cruise were elderly, hardly any kids. It was nice: quiet and not crowded. Only during breakfast it was quite difficult to find a table. There were too much food, so we usually skipped lunch. Pools and jacuzzi were not crowded as well. We really enjoyed the whole experience, very friendly service, great captain, food was delicious and well presented. We loved Formal nights and went to the Crown Grill, and Sabatini restaurants. Both were great! Balcony dinners were our favorite experience! Private and very personal dinners with fantastic waiters! Highly recommend. Captain did a very romantic Renewal of Vows, it was a touching moment. Then photographer took us to several locations and we loved our photos so much, we bought a $400 photo package. We loved the Spy Lectures Series and last Dancing Show. Made many great memories and loved this vacation! If you purchase any packages, print summary. Stuff gets confused what’s included in what package and it’s easier to show them a paper to claim all of the services. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise bc I wanted to celebrate our 25th anniversary and I was looking for the closest port. It turns out an 11 day Journeys cruise was leaving from our hometown so it was perfect. We went to St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire, Grand ... Read More
We chose this cruise bc I wanted to celebrate our 25th anniversary and I was looking for the closest port. It turns out an 11 day Journeys cruise was leaving from our hometown so it was perfect. We went to St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turks, and Princess Cays. Like with every cruise there are pros and cons. Cons first This was only our third cruise so not a lot of experience. The port itself isn't easy to navigate and we are hoping they fix this soon. The ship has a smaller Comedy Club and Liquid Lounge area then I think is normal and the shows were ok. The food was not as good as I've had on Norweigan. Now the Pros I have to say the cruise director and the fun squad was phenomenal!!! Neither cruise that we were previously on could top them. Our cabin steward ( RENATO ) was so very wonderful I have no words. I didn't even know someone on a ship could make me feel that comfortable. Carnival has a very valued employee and we hope they know it! His team of people that assisted him were very nice as were anyone we encountered in our hallways. It was like we were family. If we decide to cruise again on the Sunshine we would actually try to request Ren again! We splurged for a balcony room 6234 and it was nice and clean all the time. Thank you Renato!! We loved our excursions and would do them all again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
-Dining 3/5: We tried all four MDRs (dinner with Select Plus), Le Petit Chef (dinner), Raw on 5 (lunch), Fine Cut Steakhouse (dinner), Luminae (breakfast) and Oceanview Cafe (breakfast, lunch and 1x dinner). The food was great in all ... Read More
-Dining 3/5: We tried all four MDRs (dinner with Select Plus), Le Petit Chef (dinner), Raw on 5 (lunch), Fine Cut Steakhouse (dinner), Luminae (breakfast) and Oceanview Cafe (breakfast, lunch and 1x dinner). The food was great in all restaurants - see specifics below. Cosmopolitan (pre-booked timeslot) and Tuscan (walk-in) were very good for being MDRs, quick and attentive service. My wife has gluten allergy, and was promptly recommended specific dishes in these MDRs. She was even offered to pre-order from the next day's menu to avoid allergens (which in turn meant that she could have her all-time favorite carbonara made as gluten-free in Tuscan). Cyprus (pre-booked timeslot) was below average, clearly stressed/confused waiters, but at least they brought the correct food as ordered. We got a table literally next to the kitchen exit, meaning constant noise and cooks/waiters walking by all the time. No proactive offering to pre-order from the next day's menu, even though they were made aware of my wife's gluten allergy as the first thing. Normandie (pre-booked timeslot for "Lobster Night"/second Evening Chic night for four persons) was absolutely disastrous; I'm still shocked after our experience there. Complete chaos from start to end: my wife had pre-ordered gluten-free meals the night before, but we still had to ask the waiters for her gluten-free bread three times before they brought it, which was during the entrées. No butter sauce was offered for the lobster (???), we had to ask for it. Our main waiter literally disappeared during our entrées, not to be seen again. Coffee orders got lost/forgotten. My father-in-law actually ended up making a complaint about the experience to their butler, since the experience was so bad. Le Petit Chef was amazing, very entertaining cartoon playing on the table and plates, and then you get served the dish that the cartoon character “made”. Rumor has it there are two different movies, one currently only on Edge and another on the revolutionized M/S-class ships. It would be fun if the films and thus the menus rotated, otherwise it would be a bit steep to pay for the exact same experience on another sailing. Raw on 5 was – interesting for my wife and I. We have never before had sushi, so it was a first for us. The food is good, even for sushi novices, but pictures of the dishes, be it on the menu card or in a separate picture book, would definitely be appreciated. Fine Cut Steakhouse was great, and what I as a European would expect to experience in a real American steakhouse. The cover charge ($55pp) was definitely justified, seeing that you could choose any starter, entrée and dessert. The steaks were huge, very tender and tasty. I ordered the 14oz NY strip steak, but had to surrender about ¾ through. The parmesan fries were poorly done, not fully cooked and tasteless, but the starters, the gruyere tater tots, the sauces and the desserts were all very good. Luminae would usually be off-limits for us, but since my parents-in-law were in a Sky Suite, we were lucky to get invited to breakfast once in Luminae. The food was great, but it was very annoying to order breakfast a la carte, since there was a significant waiting time from after ordering, before you would get your food. Having eaten in OCV with breakfast buffet all the other days, this was a big annoyance for us. Oceanview Café was the great all-rounder. Buffet-style food you can understand, no matter if it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between. -Embarkation 5/5: We were lucky to get priority embarkation with my parents-in-law, which worked very smoothly. We arrived around 12.30pm and there was no waiting time. The normal check-in area seemed to be quiet and efficient as well. -Enrichment Activities 5/5: If you can’t find anything to do onboard, it’s kind of your own fault! There were plenty of shows, music and other activities to enjoy. I’m not a pool person myself, but reports from my family were very positive. -Entertainment 4/5: Great entertainment, my family enjoyed the Mirage acrobatics show. We were not in the Theatre. The Edge Revelation show was a bit too much for me, the performers get VERY close to you and pick guests randomly to participate in the show. I had to turn an actor down three times when I was chosen to participate. The Casino was great with brand new machines with funny playing concepts - very enjoyable. Fitness & Recreation 5/5: I was not in the fitness centre, but my wife reports that it was great with nice machines. My wife had two spa treatments which were both great. Onboard Experience 5/5: Once you get to know the ship’s design, it is nice and easy to move around. The staff always greets you, even if you’ve never seen them before. Everybody was friendly, and participated to creating a nice experience onboard. Public Rooms 5/5: Lots of space to move around, no matter where you go. The shops are what you would expect on a Celebrity ship; high-end jewelry and watches shops, a bare-necessities kiosk, a merchandise shop and a cosmetics shop. The shop staff wasn’t too pushy when browsing the shops. The bathrooms were kept in top condition. Service 4/5: As described under the Dining chapter, the service in two MDRs severely impacts this rating as well. Almost everyone onboard was friendly, but the meltdown in two of the four MDRs can’t be made up for by the rest of the friendly staff. The waiter in Luminae also started asking us to rate her out of 10 after our breakfast there – too much! Shore Excursions 5/5: We were only on one Celebrity shore excursion, which was the post-cruise Everglades Airboat Ride. It was absolutely fantastic! After being cheated out of the experience back in January (not Celebrity’s fault, but the tour operator’s), we were looking very much forward to the experience this time. Everything went smoothly, and we even got to buy the excursion with a discount. I would highly recommend this excursion, if you haven’t been there already! Value For Money 5/5: You might get to pay a bit more if going on Edge over another Celebrity ship, but in my opinion it is justified (up to a certain degree, of course). You get a very new ship with very good facilities onboard, which in my opinion counts heavily when calculating the worth of the holiday vs. the amount spent on it. We got a great offer back in June, and we took it. We would not hesitate to go on Edge again, should we get another good offer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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