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2,885 Romantic Cruise Reviews

This was our 16th cruise. Obviously we love the experience. Yet this one didn't work too well for us. The ship is clean, well appointed, our balcony room was surprisingly large, and the ship offered great entertainment (though ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise. Obviously we love the experience. Yet this one didn't work too well for us. The ship is clean, well appointed, our balcony room was surprisingly large, and the ship offered great entertainment (though much of it was too late for us to attend--after 10pm). The three stage shows were outstanding. We enjoyed the rock climbing wall, the basketball/soccer court, shuffle board, ping pong and water park. BUT, I was injured at the bottom of the large drop of the water slide when my pelvis was slammed into the low-point. It disabled me for several hours. It was of great concern that though I couldn't walk, the lifeguards and security could not help me with more than a wheel chair to rest in and a ziploc bag of ice. Though medical was called they never came to help me so after waiting 45 minutes I gingerly made my way back to my room where I spent the rest of the day and night with an ice-pack. There was no follow up by the ship to see if I was okay. I can only assume they were reluctant to get involved because of potential liability. The injury limited my ability to walk and sit the rest of the cruise (and still does almost a week later). Compounding the issue is that the beds were the hardest we've experienced on a cruise ship (most are hard and somewhat uncomfortable). It left both me and my wife with back aches. Granted we're older (72 and 67) and our tolerance of discomfort is low. The food was plentiful and there were food dishes each day. Our wait staff in the dining room (Modesto and Kamlesh) were the best we've had on our cruises but our cabin service was just adequate and there was black mold growing in the lower edge of the vanity mirror. Embarkation went smoothly but disembarking was a circus in that there were serious delays, We had opted to remove our luggage ourselves and were scheduled for an 8am departure from deck 4. When we arrived at the designated point there was two lines trailing down the hallways with a mix of guests who were not just the "A group" but several others who said they had been called since the process had begun at 730 instead of 8am as advertised. None of the crew knew anything about why there were delays and from a dining room window we could see large lines disembarking from another exit further down on deck 4 (the privileged ones we must assume) they musk have known the secret handshake. Overall, this was the least comfortable of our several trips on Royal Caribbean but it did offer better entertainment. We don't plan to cruise with RC again preferring Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Room is fine 11061 is a bit noisy but great size butler &maid Dining & tour arrangement a 3rd rate low price Cruise line disaster. Tour changed with no notification (some attendees, not all received notification 2 days in ... Read More
Room is fine 11061 is a bit noisy but great size butler &maid Dining & tour arrangement a 3rd rate low price Cruise line disaster. Tour changed with no notification (some attendees, not all received notification 2 days in advance. WE DID NOT) from am to pm thereby not allowing time to dress for cocktail party & attend dinner reservation at speciality restaurant. The restaurant refused to change reservation 2 @ any time ! Reservations made online weeks ago for a very special birthday. Birthday when attempting to confirmed with Butler upon boarding I was informed my reservation was for the ninth not the tenth but he assured m we no problem as long as we were flexible with time. Tried to confirm planned birthday celebration at Jacques 2 day in advance informed I was on waitingist THANK YOU VERY MUCH Not even Carnival abuses multu repeat crusiersj. Oh wonderful !!just learned Port of Monte Carlo will be cancelled Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
How do I start with this the first Royal Caribbean’s Cruise we have been on since a great trip from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale in the Fall of 2007? Fluctuating? Annoying? Pleasant Service? Discount airline-style “nickel dime-ing” ... Read More
How do I start with this the first Royal Caribbean’s Cruise we have been on since a great trip from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale in the Fall of 2007? Fluctuating? Annoying? Pleasant Service? Discount airline-style “nickel dime-ing” one to death? Great Cabin? Decent food? Rude dinning room managers? All of the above. We decided to take this cruise out of Galveston on a whim. Needing to be in Austin on the 10th for a meeting, the schedule was perfect. Having settle on Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines as our go to ships, we were nervous. But, off we went anyway. 1. Boarding: After so many years in the business, one would expect RCL to know how to handle a crowd. They don’t! The processing, carding and boarding was laborious, time wasting and down right irritating. 2. Cabin: Finding our Cabin, 6376, Starboard-side toward the stern, was relatively easy. We were pleasantly surprised by its layout, spaciousness, and balcony. A little threadbare, it no the less was good. Ample storage, drawers and closet. 3. Casino: We went to the Casino on the first night, a major attraction for my Wife. We discovered shortly after arriving at the Cashier Window that RCL and their casino operator had tacked on a 5% add on fee if you utilized your Cruise Card attached to your Credit Card for payment. So, a $100.00 start up limit was actually $95.00 after the operator and RCL took their 5%. Ridiculous. 4. Crowding: Half of the Windjammer Buffet was closed down at night to facilitate a Specialty Restaurant. Really? 5. Atmosphere: Every thing on this Cruise appeared the normal Cruise-related orientation until you reviewed the stupid little things they do. The air conditioning is poorly managed and the thermostat in the Cabin is unresponsive. You take a comforter out from under the bed for additional warmth and the room steward gets upset because “it is for the use of future cruisers.” Again, Really? 6. Service: In the Windjammer Buffet, the busboys are removing yourself dishes and silverware before you have even finished eating. Crazy! 7. Spa: Want to use the Thermal Pools in the Spa. Nope. Don’t have one. All in all, we enjoyed being back at sea. We enjoyed the decent food. And we enjoyed the everyday folks who looked after us. But man, Royal Caribbean, you need to get your customer service act together. And soon. Norwegian, Holland America, Princess and Cunard are leaving you in their dust in the customer service area and one day loyalty to a brand will be important again. Just ask General Electric and General Motors. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The ship is newer, so that's a plus. Matt, the cruise director was AHHMAZING, the food was okay. The entertainment was good when we had it. Didnt have a show every night. The comedians were great. This ship DOES NOT have glass ... Read More
The ship is newer, so that's a plus. Matt, the cruise director was AHHMAZING, the food was okay. The entertainment was good when we had it. Didnt have a show every night. The comedians were great. This ship DOES NOT have glass elevators in the atrium which contributed to very crowded elevators everywhere. Not sure the artsy funnel piece that replaced those glass elevators was a good move. In the Liquid Lounge they don't have the traditional bench seating. It's individual chairs. Not as comfortable, in my opinion. We had a great time, but this was not our favorite ship. Our waiter Juan in Reflections dining was funny. The food was so-so with a few stand out items: Tiger Shrimp Creole and Filet Mignon being outstanding and the Chicken Breast was surprisingly moist. And our daily omelet chef Austen was great. His line was consistently longer than the others, because he was the best!! The biggest disappointment had to be the Casino. It was SOOOOO SMOKY that we couldn't even walk through. Bad!!!! I played a few minutes the first night and never stepped back in there. We would take the stairs to the next floor to walk around the smoke. Ventilation was almost non existent. We've taken seven cruises - all with Carnival with another already booked next year. Not sure we are interested in the Vista again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this cruise 18 months ago as it was an excellent price and it was booked as our first ever cruise (we actually managed to fit in two before we went in the end) The ship was beautiful. Lots of wood and Art Deco style, very ... Read More
We booked this cruise 18 months ago as it was an excellent price and it was booked as our first ever cruise (we actually managed to fit in two before we went in the end) The ship was beautiful. Lots of wood and Art Deco style, very classic as you would expect. Our stateroom was nice but no nicer than what we had experienced with Princess or P&O earlier this year. The food was nice but I had expected Cunard to be a cut above the rest. It wasn’t any better than P&O. The service wasn’t any better although the food was as nice. The waitress asked if anyone wanted wine with their dinner and if we said no, we weren’t asked if there was anything else we wanted. 10 minutes later I had to ask for a gin and tonic and it seemed like it wasn’t normal to have anything else but wine or water with dinner. Drinks and other items on board are priced in dollars. We were extremely shocked at the price of the drinks on board. A glass of Shiraz at dinner was $17! You have to be very careful when ordering drinks as most of the time you aren’t asked if you want single or double spirits. 4 gin and tonics cost $62! We had to be out of our stateroom by 0800 on disembarkation morning. This isn’t out of the ordinary but the main restaurant closed at 0800. Thinking we would have time to have a nice breakfast before our disembarkation time of 0915, we arrived at the buffet restaurant extremely shocked to see that we couldn’t find anywhere to sit. Upon finding some seats outside by the pool area, we returned to the buffet only to find that the queue was out the door. People walking round the buffet with extremely large suitcases didn’t help either. We ended up leaving the ship and stopping for breakfast on the way back home. This did leave a somewhat sour taste as we had had, a lovely weekend away The evening entertainment in the theatre was excellent. The 4 Tunes on the Friday were exceptional. The Top Hat production on the Saturday wasn’t really my cup of tea, however I understand that it was of excellent quality We went to the golden lion pub for the trivia which we enjoyed but unfortunately there was a large group of people very drunk and about to fight . There seemed to be lots of groups and I’m not sure if you would get this on a standard 7 night Cunard Voyage? I would only go back on a Cunard voyage if it was an excellent deal. The drinks were unbelievably expensive and it would make things very unaffordable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our second cruise with MSC. As we live in Southwest Florida, it was wonderful being able to arrive early to begin the embarkation process. Once we used the self-service machines to load money onto our board account, we wandered ... Read More
This was our second cruise with MSC. As we live in Southwest Florida, it was wonderful being able to arrive early to begin the embarkation process. Once we used the self-service machines to load money onto our board account, we wandered around the ship a bit before grabbing lunch at the buffet. The buffet was chaotic and the food was not to our tastes. My husband is European and I am American and we dined at the buffet at least once, if not twice, a day during our entire seven-night cruise and we both found the food to be bland and unappetizing. Food that should be warm was room temperature and food that should be cold was room temperature.There also always seemed to be an unpleasant smell radiating throughout the buffet dining room. The one positive, however, was the wait staff working the buffet were usually friendly, despite the everyday chaotic work environment. For the price of our balcony cabin on deck 9, the room was more than adequate. Our cabin steward, Marion, was so kind and friendly! We found that on both of our cruises with MSC, the cabin stewards are the hardest workers and the friendliest staff onboard. Practically every cabin steward would greet us, morning or evening, with a smile and greeting. The only issue we had with our cabin was a nauseating smell that we sometimes encountered. MSC should replace the cleaning agents and soaps with a citrus scent to help. We encountered a few rough sea days and the sewer smell certainly did not help with motion sickness. The pool area was large and clean but crowded. Many guests would leave their towels on the sun loungers for the entire day, without ever having used the loungers. The ship only had two hot tubs and they were also always crowded.The dance lessons by the pool were entertaining. We also went to the theater five of the seven nights. We found most shows entertaining, but compared to our cruise last May on the MSC Musica, the entertainment was not as enjoyable. On every night but one, we dined at La Pergola restaurant and Amil was our waiter. He was fantastic! However, most of the food was very bland. We would recommend choosing the salads, Indian dishes and ice cream. We traveled to four ports of call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico and Costa Maya, Mexico. We enjoyed the ports, especially Ocho Rios and Cozumel. We booked a snorkeling excursion through MSC in Georgetown and that was enjoyable. We also booked the Chacchoben Mayan ruins excursion and that was also fun. All in all, our cruise was a good value for the money but we will probably cruise with a different cruise line with better food offerings and friendlier guests onboard. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise as it was from Liverpool, which is much nearer for us than Southampton and much easier than flying. The ship itself, Magellan was old, we knew that before we booked and that as far as we were concerned was fine. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was from Liverpool, which is much nearer for us than Southampton and much easier than flying. The ship itself, Magellan was old, we knew that before we booked and that as far as we were concerned was fine. We also understood the general age of other holiday makers would be 50+, that also was ok by, we are 50 & 54. Our main problem was that eating on board was aimed at a certain group of people be this older than us or not it was very regimented. We never used the main dining rooms as we just wanted to relax and be informal also being honest we aren't the type of people who want to sit with other people every night for our meals and there where no tables for 2 offered. The food on the buffet always seemed to us to be very similar, 2 choices of meat, 1 of fish and then pasta, boiled rice and frozen vegetables to go with it, all very edible but very predictable. Quite often we just had buns and cheese, deserts were also very much the same every day. Bread and butter pudding, made from the left over bread rolls from the day before and then some separate little glass dishes with mouse type cakes. Like we said edible but quite predicable after a day or two. Our main problem was that if you ate at 5ish and fancied a snack or even a biscuit before bedtime there was nothing. All food finished at 8.30pm unless you were eating second sitting in the main dining room, which of course some people were happy with but on holiday we like the freedom to relax and not clock watch. By day 2 we learned that people took biscuits or scones up from the afternoon tea which was served between 3.30 and 4.30 in Raffles buffet and wrapped them in serviettes and put them in their cabins for supper. We have always experienced 24 hour dining on other cruise lines and like the relaxed atmosphere you get with that choice. I should mention there was a supper trolley at around 11pm but we only saw it once what we saw was 2 waiters with trays going round the bars and lounges(the ones that weren't shut for private parts, which a lot were) We visited Rouen, Hornfleur and Dublin, Dublin being the only port that wheelchair users of anyone using wheeled assisted frames could get off the ship. CMV announced this was down to the ports which was probably the case but we really felt this was wrong. Having said all this, we thought the staff on board were lovely, helpful and kind as were all the other passengers were spoke to. Our cabin and all the public areas were immaculately clean and well kept.Shuttle buses were provided free of charge from the port to the center and frequent enough not to cause too much trouble. Would we use CMV again, yes probably if the price was right and we could visit ports we wanted to see. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our fifth cruise on Celebrity and our third on the Equinox. We both agreed that the quality of service , the quality of food, and the cleanliness has gone somewhat downhill. The customer service staff seemed disinterested and ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise on Celebrity and our third on the Equinox. We both agreed that the quality of service , the quality of food, and the cleanliness has gone somewhat downhill. The customer service staff seemed disinterested and stern. Even the Future Cruise representative was lackluster. She did make me want to book a future cruise on the ship. The food in the main restaurant , with the exception of 2-3 meals, was disappointing compared to previous cruises. We did however, like the new boarding procedure, whereby you can immediately go to your cabin, pick up your Sea Pass and drop your luggage. It was nice to go to lunch and walk around, without toting you carry on luggage. We were disappointed overall and would be hesitant to book a cruise on this ship again. That being said, we continue to prefer Celebrity Cruise Lines above others we have sailed on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Picked Princess because of good food reputation. Below expectations. Dining room: 70% good. Stay away from steak and veal. Fish entrees and chicken ok. Some Food had little flavor. Buffett: limited selections. Nothing really tasty. No ... Read More
Picked Princess because of good food reputation. Below expectations. Dining room: 70% good. Stay away from steak and veal. Fish entrees and chicken ok. Some Food had little flavor. Buffett: limited selections. Nothing really tasty. No sushi which was a disappointment. Salty Dog good. Liked the street tacos. Free coffee is made with syrup. Bought a coffee package for fresh bean cappuccinos. Cocktails weak but reasonable. Brought 4 bottles of wine onboard. Never paid a corkage fee. Never checked our wine in. Staff: great. Worked so hard. Cabin: Dated, great bed, large TV, nice balcony. Entertainment predictable. Just ok. Ship overall dated except new piazza which was very nice. Some areas of ship were in need of deep cleaning. Sea days a little boring. Typical events not of interest. Getting on and off ship an A. Mainly older folks. Not for Kids or millennials. I would not sail on the Grand again but would consider a newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have been on 3 Royal Caribbean and many Carnival cruises. Although this ship has more amenities( ice skating rink, carousel, rock climbing wall, wave raiders, and a promenade I found some areas lacking. They no longer have locker rooms ... Read More
I have been on 3 Royal Caribbean and many Carnival cruises. Although this ship has more amenities( ice skating rink, carousel, rock climbing wall, wave raiders, and a promenade I found some areas lacking. They no longer have locker rooms for the gym. It is all closed off. I used to love going to steam room like on Oasis of the seas in 2012. They have now changed this and you have to pay for access to steam rooms. The food at buffet and main dining was excellent. But all complimentary food everywhere else is poor mans food. Hamburgers and hot dogs at Wipeout cafe and hot dog stand. Hamburgers task like grain, spices and a little meat. So gross. Promenade cafe has a few desserts from whatever was made that day and 1-2 items. Wrap or bagel for breakfast, Cold sandwiches, for lunch and sandwiches for diner. Central park cafe has same 4 items. Sorrentos pizza is made in front of you but taste like frozen pizza. Carnival has gourmet pizza 24 hours a day. Between the hours of 3:30pm-6pm and 9:00pm - 6:00am there is nothing good to eat. You can order room service but it cost $8 plus 18% gratuity. They offer a specialty coffee packages which I purchased. If you are not sitting in a restaurant then you have to go to Cafe Promenade or Central park cafe. Both of which have ONE man making coffees. Their are 5000 guest. It was a joke that they will not add another person to make coffees. It took 20 minutes to get one cappuccino. They want you to spend money and go to Starbucks and give up on waiting in line for something you paid extra for. Nothing to watch on TV. I go on vacation because I work hard and I want a week of rest. The first days I lay in bed all day and watch TV. They had BBC TV and crappy shows, which they repeat twice in the day. ( Dougie Houser, Superior donuts , Instant Mom, Flaming star Elvis movie, Star trek( one of each of the enterprises). But no movies like carnival has. Had I known I would have lugged my laptop with me. Windjammer buffet does not have enough seats. Its so crowed I had to leave the first 3 days and eat my food in my room. First 3 days the people walking around helping in windjammer and all over ship cleaning were angry its like they hate their jobs. No smiles. It was horrible. Carnival everyone smiles. Also not enough workers clearing the tables in windjammer. Casino smells so badly of smoke. Very poor ventilation system. And the quickest route for that floor is through the casino and you reak after just walking through. Carnival is not like that. No big announcements for formal night. They have it written on one tiny place under dress code on flier which I missed. I had asked my waiter the first night which was formal night and he said tomorrow and the last night. Well he was wrong and I missed the lobster diner. So upset. Popcorn cost $2.50. Its free on carnival. No clothes lines to dry wet clothes in shower. Even in our Ocean view balcony. Lastly no where to hang out past 9pm. You can go to the party area in promenade. They have a card room which is freezing and has about 11 tables. But I would hang out with my husband in the buffet area where its not super cold on Carnival and play cards on a big table until 1:00am. No where to do this on this ship. No quiet areas to relax with tables. Carnival has lounge chairs and table all over the ship. The Coach, Kate spade and Michael Kors store sold mainly purses. So lame. Why not clothes? Cute dresses and shirts to wear on the cruise. Its fun shopping and the stores are useless with no good items. A few good things are they have a running track on lower level out of the hot sun unlike carnival which is on the top level. Buffet has better food than Carnivals buffet. But that was about it. They don't make PA announcements like carnival but I like a few announcements to let me know big events going on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Took the cruise to celebrate 40th Anniversary. Have been on other cruise lines with much better food in the dining rooms and specialty restaurants. Cadillac Diner had the best Overall quality of food out of all the dining options. We had a ... Read More
Took the cruise to celebrate 40th Anniversary. Have been on other cruise lines with much better food in the dining rooms and specialty restaurants. Cadillac Diner had the best Overall quality of food out of all the dining options. We had a great time, yet quite disappointed on our anniversary dinner that we had scheduled at a specialty restaurant....we brought the card ...as we were told to...that was in our cabin to let them know it was our anniversary...woman ripped off the bottom...gave back the rest and said I’ll take it.....never even got a “happy anniversary “ from her...who I guess is like maitre d....or anyone.... let alone anything else....was very disappointed Comedy show...saw him three times...was very funny. Magician was very good. Pianist was very good....saw him several times. Some of the other entertainment not so great. Excursions we went on were great. Met some great people. Our cabin steward was very good and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We sailed NCL once before and loved the itinerary. We like the itinerary scheduled for this cruise but found it disappointing on several stops. 1st, the stop to Kotor was canceled but the excuse given was that the departure from Venice ... Read More
We sailed NCL once before and loved the itinerary. We like the itinerary scheduled for this cruise but found it disappointing on several stops. 1st, the stop to Kotor was canceled but the excuse given was that the departure from Venice was delayed 2hrs. I take issue with the cancelation since we made a two hour stop at a port just beyond Kotor and arrived there about 6 hours before we were expected to arrive in Kotor. Clearly, NCL avoided the port fees in Kotor but made no effort to mitigate the loss to the passengers. 2nd, the stop in Santorini was a bust. We arrived along with 5 other cruise ships and it took hours to get to the cable car. We and several dozen other passengers punted and went back to the ship to the bar. 3rd, the stops in Corfu and Mikonos barely gave you enough time to grab a meal and head back to the ship. We knew this before hand and chose not to take an excursion because of the rush. The Norwegian Star was clean and well maintained. We loved our room, the service, and the amenities. The food was good, best in the upcharge restaurants but neither warrant further mention. We were very pleased with the cruise director and his staff but.....there was really very little to do on board. We would cruise again with NCL but only if the itinerary were very special. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
What most determined our choosing this particular cruise was The Itinerary and most of all it was out of NYC which is driving distance away. We have traveled Princess before. This is a newer ship in good shape. The cleanliness of the ... Read More
What most determined our choosing this particular cruise was The Itinerary and most of all it was out of NYC which is driving distance away. We have traveled Princess before. This is a newer ship in good shape. The cleanliness of the Ship was great. Our cabin was quiet and extreemly clean. The quality of food was not as good as it was two years ago when we traveled on the same ship. Things that determined the Average Rating are as follows: 1. Cruise Line has cut back on the quality and quantity of food. An extremely small portion of lobster. Dinner featuring fried chicken had two very small pieces of dark meat. 2. Medallion does not always work - A passenger card is much better. After taking twenty-five cruises the card is a better way of cruising. Medallion tracks you everywhere - Big Brother. 3. The final bill had charges we did not make. Wasted 1/2 hour on disembarkation day getting it corrected. This has NEVER happened before on any of twenty-five cruises we have sailed on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
With only a day and one-half to explore Sydney, we only captured a small glimpse of this charming city. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and very quickly for us. Our balcony cabin was roomy and nicely ... Read More
With only a day and one-half to explore Sydney, we only captured a small glimpse of this charming city. Both embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly and very quickly for us. Our balcony cabin was roomy and nicely decorated. Cabin steward was excellent. Being as it was at the front part of the ship, anywhere between 4,000 and nearly 6,000 steps were done daily.With so many guests, I worried about elevator wait times, but there was rarely much wait times. We were disappointed with food preparation. Chicken was consistently tough, and other meats overcooked and dry. Wait times for mains were extraordinarily long most evenings in the dinning room, and I found the Buffet confusing. For instance, all the cold cereals were in an entirely different place to the hot. Most of the entertainment was top notch with the notable exception of two or three. Also disappointed with one guest services' staffer whosexEnglish skills were so bad, neither of us could understand each other. Why would the ship put someone like that in that position? Excursions desk seemed able only to sell the excursions, but in some cases knew nothing about them. When I asked who might know more about a particular excursion marked 'strenuous', I was told I could see a picture, as if that would tell me what I needed to know Ports were interesting. The one excursion we did purchase from the ship was a hop, on/hop off bus tour in Noumea. It was very well organized and the best deal on offer. We found all offers to be cost prohibitive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise because I have use three other cruise lines and I wanted to compare them all. The Sun vessel is a older and smallest ship I have ever been on. So that was the first negative thing. The crew seemed to be tired and the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I have use three other cruise lines and I wanted to compare them all. The Sun vessel is a older and smallest ship I have ever been on. So that was the first negative thing. The crew seemed to be tired and the Stirrup Cay island is not ready for a large crowd. We arrived to the island after 1pm and our only adventure was a ride on a wave runner at 1:45 pm. Once we returned from the ride they had put away the food and was closing several of the shops at 4:10pm. We was scheduled to be back on the ship at 6:00pm. So we didn’t get to enjoy anything else but the beach after that. The food on the ship was ok but the meats was dry from being under the lights too long. For breakfast they only had ONE cook preparing omelettes (two at a time) and only ONE cook making mini waffles (four at a time). Lastly the only smoking area was on deck 11 forward which was VERY windy. There was NO cigar bar inside. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It is our first Holland America cruise. We knew it is more for mature passengers but we didn't care as we just wanted to try the Mexico Riviera cruise and the timing was right. We embarked from Vancouver and our check-in was a ... Read More
It is our first Holland America cruise. We knew it is more for mature passengers but we didn't care as we just wanted to try the Mexico Riviera cruise and the timing was right. We embarked from Vancouver and our check-in was a breeze. Our oceanview stateroom with a large square window was very spacious but it was on deck one where most of their oceanview staterooms are located. The location of our stateroom was problematic as it was below Billboard Onboard. We could hear music until midnight or 1:00 am and noise from moving chairs as the place has hardwood floors. Thanks to Guest Services, they were quick to help and had us relocated to another stateroom. Main Dining Room: There were pros and cons to open seating, we liked the flexibility of no fixed dining time but the wait for a table was around 15 minutes. The main dining room service was great but slow. Food was good generally but they were exceptional on Gala nights. Lido Market: food options at this buffet restaurant were not bad but waitstaff's service was average. Trying to find a table was always a challenge, perhaps it's the set up of the restaurant. Their dinner closing hours of the restaurant was too early as many guests were still coming in for dinner passed 8:30 p.m. not realizing the restaurant was already closed. The strangest thing was that they reopen at 10:30 p.m. for an hour for late night snacks. So between 9:00 p.m. (main dining room closes) and 10:30 p.m. guests can only get room service at that point. Specialty Dining: Pinnacle Grill (Steakhouse), Tamarind (Asia) and Canaletto (Italian). They were nice but it would have been better if there were more choices, perhaps French or Spanish. Ports: Cabo San Lucas was most fun as we took the boat trip around the Arch and spent some time on Medano Beach. We did the hop-on hop-off in Mazatlan and we were able to cover a lot of grounds in a short time but it is probably cheaper to hire a car to take you around as well. Puerto Vallerta would be great for scuba diving but we didn't go this time. Activities: I enjoyed America's Test Kitchen where I got to see demonstrations of tried and true tested recipes by amazing chefs. I was lucky to see Andy Matsuda demoing his masterful skills of sushi making. Other workshops such as Microsoft and photography were pretty good too. There were some other for-fee activities such as wine tasting and martini sampling but we didn't participate. HAL ships fell short on its entertainment options and its operating hours were limited. Billboard Onboard's music was mediocre; Lincoln Center Stage performance was good but it seemed out of place; BB King's Blues Club is probably the only one that is noteworthy with good performance. Their main stage shows were disappointing and lackluster. Navigator App: convenient for checking the daily schedule, account balance, chat with fellow passengers. I suggest that more details be provided for each event that's happening onboard instead of just the title. HAL really needs to plan more activities during at-sea days or theme events on the Lido Deck: improve their entertainment options and have a look at the gaps in their dining hours. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose cruise because of price and we have never been on MSC. Overall was just ok. Food did not even come close to expectations. We quit going to the dinning room after three tries. Never had TOUGH lobster before, fish overdone and dry, ... Read More
Chose cruise because of price and we have never been on MSC. Overall was just ok. Food did not even come close to expectations. We quit going to the dinning room after three tries. Never had TOUGH lobster before, fish overdone and dry, shrimp which I love, could not chew them, roast tough and stringy. Buffet, same, over cooked, poor choices, hamburgers were bone dry not a drop of moisture left in them, bottom of the serving tray was easy to clean not a drop of grease on it. If not for salad, bread and cheese I would have been really hungry. I had hopes it would get better but it got worse day by day. Pizza guy was like someone already wrote rude, crude and hated his job. The gelato was excellent!!! Would I do it again? If it was really cheap, going somewhere I wanted to REALLY go to and I would plan on booking a resturant at ports of call. Room steward Alvan was GREAT! Most staff were excellent. Shows were so so. They were all 'song n dance' numbers and after three shows with mostly a change of costumes it got boring. I was really looking forward to the 'piano bar singalongs' piano was moved to coffee bar and he played elevator music all night to a packed house of four people. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our experience was disappointing from the beginning. We booked through a Norwegian agent, flights included. We were told If we book the flights with Norwegian they won’t leave you but if for some reason something goes wrong and you are ... Read More
Our experience was disappointing from the beginning. We booked through a Norwegian agent, flights included. We were told If we book the flights with Norwegian they won’t leave you but if for some reason something goes wrong and you are really late they will pay to get you to the next port. So it seemed reasonable to book it all through them. Early on we saw that we had a connecting flight in London so I called our agent and asked if we could stay a few days in London. Her response was that flights are subject to change up until 50 days out. At 50 days out I called back and told her it still says we are connecting in London can we arrange for a few days there? Then she tells me no, we can only book extra days in your port of call. Ok, well let’s book a few extra days in Barcelona. Oh, sorry you waited too late and your flights are already booked so we can no longer change them, you would have needed to make changes before 50 days out. ??!! Very disappointing. So finally our cruise of a lifetime arrives and we get to the airport and our first flight is late, which makes us get to our next connecting flight late, which made us miss our connecting flight. We called Norwegian to let them know and they were no help and not reassuring at all. They told us that they are unable to help with flights. We had four in our group and we were put on standby for the next flight out. Only two of us got on that flight, which was also late. Our friends were put on the next flight out, which put them landing in Barcelona at about 5:00PM an hour past the time they want you to be checked in. When we landed in Barcelona we took the Norwegian transport directly to the port and had no time to see Barcelona. Our friends did not make it to the ship until about 6:00pm. At no point did any Norwegian employee try to reassure us that everything would work out, no customer service at all. We made it though, finally on our cruise! The Epic. Our state room was nice we had a balcony, view was amazing. We had the drink package, which I highly recommend. We also had three nights of specialty dinning. Truthfully those were the only nights that I was impressed with the food. We loved Cagney’s and Moderno, which we ate at twice. The main dining rooms were ok. O’Sheehans was pretty good. The wings were great. The Beatles were amazing! Motown was also very good. Clarissa, our assistant cruise director was very sweet and informative. Freddie, the bar tender at Maltings Whiskey bar was great! Best place to go for drinks! As far as cleanliness goes the ship was clean. We all had an amazing time at all the ports. We did our own excursions and had a blast. Our favorite was the Amalfi coast. The views were breathtaking and the food was incredible. If I could change anything about the ports I would not have done tours. They were too long and there is not enough time in the day to see it all if you take guided tours. Our disembarkation time was at 6:15AM and our flights were scheduled to leave at 10:15AM so again we didn’t get to see Barcelona. Flights home were much smoother and timely. As a side note British Airways was much cleaner than Lufthansa. We had a great time on our cruise but I don’t know if I will sail with Norwegian again. The lack of customer service will have me looking at other cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because it went to two of our favorite ports: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This was our third cruise, second time on Carnival. The first Carnival cruise was 5 1/2 years ago, to the Southern Caribbean, out of San Juan ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to two of our favorite ports: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. This was our third cruise, second time on Carnival. The first Carnival cruise was 5 1/2 years ago, to the Southern Caribbean, out of San Juan (on the Valor), and we really enjoyed it. This cruise on the Paradise was disappointing in comparison. Embarkation was extremely quick and painless. Our assigned time was 1-1:30 and we made it there closer to 1:30. Probably waited about 15 minutes total to get onboard , which was superb. Our cabin (R228) was comfy and clean enough, and our steward, James was AMAZING! He took such great care of us while we were onboard. This oceanview room had what we needed and was quiet. The aft location was great for being close to the buffet and the Serenity deck, where we like to spend time. The worst part about it was that the hallway almost constantly smelled like sewage. James did his best to report and get the smell dealt with, but it would return. Luckily the smell did not extend to our cabin! But there was something going on in that area of the ship, for sure, to keep causing that smell. We had anytime dining and never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a table in the Elation restaurant. The waiters, waitresses and hostesses were very friendly and did a great job, however, the food left much to be desired. We had much better food on our last Carnival cruise, years ago. The soups were all very good, as was the shrimp cocktail, but the main courses were barely okay. Chicken, fish, and steak were all overcooked and dry - tasted reheated, and came with about a tablespoonful of vegetables. Ordered grilled fish a couple of times and it was baked - nothing grilled about it whatsoever, not to mention the fact that it was old (fishy tasting). Nothing to write home about with any of the main courses. No lobster, either, unless you paid an extra $20. The beef lasagna was the one we enjoyed most, although it could have used more sauce. The desserts were good and we looked forward to them each evening. The melting chocolate cake (Carnival's signature dessert - formerly called Molten Lava Cake) however, was revised since our last cruise and was no longer good. We only ordered it the first night (on our first cruise, we ordered it every night!). It used to be delicious and now it's just a ramekin of lukewarm completely uncooked cake that's not even good as a custard, and the ice cream on the side doesn't fit with it at all. We were not impressed with the changes they made to it. The best desserts were the S'mores parfait, the hazelnut chocolate cake and the roasted pineapple. The food in the buffet - The Paris Restaurant - was better than we got in the Elation most days. The omelettes were great and they had a good variety of breakfast foods. We enjoyed lunches at Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana Burrito Bar. The pizza at Pizza Pirate was good, too. We wished they had had more of a variety of fruit available, though. Mostly apples, oranges, bananas and melon. No berries of any kind, or even grapes. We enjoyed sitting on the Serenity Deck every day and it was usually not too difficult to find lounges available. The whirlpools there were not too hot, which was good, because the air temps were in the 90s. Very relaxing! The main pool area on the Lido deck was usually pretty crowded (and loud) and we only got in the pool once. It was on the cold side, which wasn't all bad, since the temps were pretty hot. One thing we didn't like about the pool area was that there was no airflow, so it remained extremely hot, whereas the Serenity deck had a nice breeze. The cruise director, Adam, was AWESOME and we really enjoyed his audio messages each day, his Love and Marriage Show, and his 70s and 80s parties in the Atrium in the late evenings. Lots of fun! In fact, every crew member we interacted with over the 5 days was very polite and friendly. We felt very welcomed and well cared-for. We felt that this cruise didn't have quite as much available to do as the other Carnival cruise we had been on and the ship seemed a bit small (and maybe not laid out as well as it could've been). I know it was refurbished about a year and a half ago, but whoever did the interior decorating should be fired! It was just plain ugly and none of the decor seemed to coincide or flow smoothly. The whole ship is just old and tired and should be retired! As far as entertainment, we enjoyed the dance shows each evening, but the shows were definitely not as professional as the ones we'd seen in the past, or on the other cruise line we've been on. Their choices of music were great though - 80s, Latin, and rock n roll. There was one girl and one guy who could sing really well, and the rest should have remained as back up singers only. They were all amazing dancers, though! We also liked the Love and Marriage show (hilarious) and the late night shows with Adam. The candy shop is cute and has lots of yummy goodies, although they have it hidden away behind one wall of the casino and it took me three days to find it! (again, not laid out as well as it could've been, for sure.) The ports were excellent choices, but we wished there could have been one more port and one less sea day. We were disappointed about the short amount of time in Grand Cayman. We were on the first or second tender off the ship in the morning, but still only had about 5 hours to spend in port. We felt rushed. We did a cool excursion that stopped at StingRay City and one snorkeling spot (we booked on our own through Trip Advisor), but afterward we barely had time for lunch a couple of blocks from port and no time to shop. In Cozumel, we had a long day (about 9 hours) - plenty of time. It would have been nice if they could have made the Grand Cayman day a little longer and the Cozumel day could have been shortened a little bit. In Cozumel we rented a Jeep and went to Playa Corona for snorkeling, sunning and a snack. Very reasonable prices, good snorkeling right from shore, and great food. Then we drove the rest of the way around the island and ate at Senor Iguanas - we'd been there before. Amazing food and spectacular views! We had a little time to shop when we arrived back at the port, too. One note of caution - if you are renting a Jeep, the traffic in town near the port is extremely hectic, so be careful! If we were going to Sky Reef or Playa Corona, or one of the other beach resorts on the west side, we could have had a cab take us there for the day, and it would've worked fine, and been less of an expense. The Jeep did give us more options to drive around and view the east coast of the island (although it was too windy/ wavy to swim there). Our main goal was to head to Punta Sur (an eco-park that we thoroughly enjoyed last time, but the weather didn't allow for swimming or snorkeling there this time around). All in all, a good day. Disembarking was smooth and ahead of schedule (as far as Carnival was concerned), but the problem came with customs....they didn't have enough agents and we waited over an hour to get through the customs line. We've never waited that long to get off a cruise ship before! We had a fun and relaxing (albeit short) vacation, but we probably won't sail on the Paradise again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Great cruise itinerary, we saw lots of places but would have loved some more time in almost every port. If you choose do do this cruise in fall be prepared for cold and rain, had a few miserable weather days but plenty of ok days too. Due ... Read More
Great cruise itinerary, we saw lots of places but would have loved some more time in almost every port. If you choose do do this cruise in fall be prepared for cold and rain, had a few miserable weather days but plenty of ok days too. Due to the weather very limited use of many of the cruise amenities such as pool, water slides, ropes course and rock wall. Our room came with access to the thermal suites which we utilized to warm up every day after our excursions and would be well worth the cost if traveling at this time of year. Embarkation went quickly and we were able to board the ship almost immediately. Rooms were ready in about the expected time. Disembarkation went similarly smoothly with the only exception being they started calling groups more than a half hour before the estimated exit time which did cause a little unnecessary stress. On the port days we also ran into several issues where the shore excursions dropped us into the cities an hour or more before anything opened. Also due to the season several attractions were closed or being renovated. We were still able to have a good time in each port. For Helsinki and Stockholm we booked the hop-on-hop-off buses but didn't use them very much once we made it to the city as we were able to walk to our destinations faster. In Estonia we opted for a guided tour but did feel a bit like we didn't see anything (maybe it was just due to the terrible weather). The two days in St. Petersburg was very nice but its important to note that most visitors must go with a tour unless they obtain a visa prior, we felt like it may have been worth the cost/effort to get our own visa as the port had lots of things to explore and the tours all felt a bit rushed and crowded. Onboard entertainment seemed to be feast or famine. At sometimes we had more things we wanted to do than we could possible squeeze in and at other times it felt like there was nothing going on. Much of the entertainment was geared more toward the prevailing age of the cruise which was quite a bit older than us (we are ~30). Overall we always manged to find something to keep us entertained. The food was the thing we were most excited for and was the biggest let down of the whole trip. Any of the sit down options (complimentary and specialty) were painfully slow. It sometimes took up to 15 minutes just to get our first glass of water. Food was also frequently cool by the time we got it. My husband was even told food items were not on the menu by one server only to have another server offer him the item he'd requested The specialty restaurants didn't taste worth the extra price. Overall it was usually just easier to grab food at the buffet so you weren't spending 2+hrs of your day just trying to eat one meal. We opted to upgrade to a Spa balcony room and were quite happy with the location and space. it was quite with easy access to the spa and enough room to unpack all our luggage for the whole cruise. This was the best part of our whole cruise. Overall, we had a good time but it wasn't the amazing honeymoon we'd hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Celebrating my husbands retirement. Got a great deal through a travel company. Because we got such a great deal it’s easy to focus on the positives for sure. We definitely got off to a rough start though. NCL shuttle from LAX was a ... Read More
Celebrating my husbands retirement. Got a great deal through a travel company. Because we got such a great deal it’s easy to focus on the positives for sure. We definitely got off to a rough start though. NCL shuttle from LAX was a nightmare & I felt horrible seeing elderly suffer standing in the heat for so long with enormous herds of people with poor leadership NCL staff. Since the ship is So large this = thousands of people to care for & get on & off ship. NCL fails in customer care & organization in this. Our cabin was filthy when we finally got to it. I felt dirty just being in the room. Management came straight away & gave our cabin steward a ear full & we had to leave for the cabin to be cleaned. I was sprayed 2x’s with dirty cleaning water from above deck while sitting on our balcony. Food quality in main dining rooms poorest quality & variety I’ve ever experienced. NCL keeps the quality food for the specialty restaurants for sure. Was stressful trying to get bookings for shows & specialty restaurants. I feel as though they shouldn’t sell dining packages if getting a table for 2 is nearly impossible. Book these as early as possible prior to cruise for sure! I pre booked shows from NCL AP & The didn’t have record of my reservations at the entry doors so I had to show my printable copy I brought with. On vacation there should not be so much hassle & stress. I prefer smaller ships for sure after this experience, Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Introduction: MSC Cruise Line is a new entrant to an American market. MSC is a registered company in Switzerland but operates from Geneva, Italy. The company was originally founded in Naples, Italy as Mediterranean Shipping Company ... Read More
Introduction: MSC Cruise Line is a new entrant to an American market. MSC is a registered company in Switzerland but operates from Geneva, Italy. The company was originally founded in Naples, Italy as Mediterranean Shipping Company (that gives them their current name). MSC appears to be diversifying in the cruise market from its original business of shipping. The company is privately held. However, they are expanding their presence in the cruise market by adding newer and bigger ships aimed at penetrating the American market. Altogether, we have taken nearly 50 cruises worldwide for the past 30 years with various cruise lines. This was our fourth cruise experience with the MSC Cruise Line. The breakdowns of our cruises with MSC cruise line by the ships are (2) with MSC Divina, (1) with MSC seaside and (4th- this) one with the largest ship Meraviglia. We rank Divina as number # 1 of our choice, Seaside as Number # 2 of our choice and Meraviglia as our poor selection. The name Meraviglia in an Italian-English dictionary means something remarkable, amazing, marvelous, astonishing or wonderful. Unfortunately, our experience taught us that this ship did not live up to the meaning of this word. It was inaugurated approximately one year ago, started cruising in the European market and just recently crossed Atlantic and entered into the American market for the winter season. The company has been in the cruise market for the last ten years or more. According to their web site, they have 18 cruise ships deployed covering the world cruise market and new one MSC Virtuoso will be soon operational, making their cruise liner with a fleet of 19 ships. MSC virtuoso will be even more high tech and slightly larger. The comparison of the cruise ships that we have traveled with MSC is given below. MSC Divina MSC Seaside MSC Meraviglia Comments 3502 5179 5655 Passengers 1308 1413 1536 Crew size 2.52 3.66 3.68 Ratios-passengers to crew 1093 ft 1060 ft 1034 ft Length Passenger to Crew Ratio: As a rule of thumb, when the passenger to crew ratio increases, the quality of the service to the passengers will decline. We felt excellent service with MSC Divina, little less with Seaside but considerably less with Meraviglia. As per our observations, the reasons were more than passenger to crew ratio that was unacceptably high with this ship, when compared with their own ships and ships of the other cruise liners. We observed the following factors influenced their quality of services. 1. The inexperienced and overworked crews. 2. Insufficient crew size to maintain quality of service needed for the large ship while serving over 5,000 passengers. 3. Unorganized services for embarkation, disembarkation at the port of calls, the breakfast, the lunches, and the dinners. 4. Poor leadership of the officers. Why we went with MSC- Meraviglia: We decided to take a 10-day cruise to Northern Canada, just to check off our bucket list based on our past favorable experience as a Black card member with MSC cruise line. We assumed that New York port, where a large number of ships arrive and depart; with two hours plane trip one way from home offers more conveniences and advantages. However, our cruise experience became very unpleasant with this cruise ship, so we decided to share our review and experience with other future cruisers, who can derive their own conclusions. Undoubtedly, we were impressed with some of their high tech features, which were incorporated in such newer and larger ships such as navigation devices, dockings and stability controls and other facilities that give you the feelings of resort-like lifestyle. The electronic display (that worked as a large computer tablet); placed at strategic places, for booking the onboard shows or dinner reservations, ships maps etc are a helpful and desirable feature. However, we were shocked by the total chaos and disorganization that became evident that we experienced in several service areas. This can be clearly attributed to the insufficient and inexperienced crews for servicing over 5500 customers on a timely basis. Obviously, the crew ratio to the passengers on board was one critical element but we also discovered that crew size was not present to its rated capacity as advertised. However, we felt that the ship was nearly full, if not completely full, carrying cross Atlantic passengers from Europe as well as new American passengers that were picked up from New York. We will review step by step our experience with various facilities onboard the ship, ports of calls and ancillary services. Embarkation in New York We took an early morning flight to fly to New York that required us to get up very early in the morning. The flight was smooth and we landed on time. We collected our luggage and took Super Shuttle to the port. As expected with usual busy traffic in New York downtown, it took over an hour to get to the port around 11.00 AM. At the cruise terminal, the line was already formed in the cold weather; the people wanted to have their luggage dropped off and get out of the cold to wait in the cruise terminal for the processing to start. Most of the ports and cruise lines have a quick procedure and facility for checking and dropping off the luggage to the ground crews. The ground crews collect the luggage beginning at 10.00 A.M. that will be delivered to your assigned room after embarkation. There were no luggage crews present and the luggage checking did not start until noon. The passengers waiting to embark on the ship found this delay unacceptable. Just like other cruise lines, why there were no luggage crews scheduled at 10.00 AM to receive the luggage? We were able to check our luggage around 1.00 PM due to long lines ahead. After checking in our luggage, we have to stand in long lines due to the long lines of people waiting to be processed. Nearly, the 30 to 40 percent cruise check-in people were absent judging from the empty terminals. This caused additional delays. The lines were getting very long and the people were jumping ahead of their turns. Although we had a Black card membership that allowed us the priority check-in, we were refused entry and not allowed to go into the priority area. The unmanned empty computer terminals gave us the indication that the long day is ahead of us. Some elderly people who had to stand in line for more than 3 hours and need to use the restroom facility were asked to go through luggage screening again. This again caused additional discomfort and anger among the passengers. The normal procedure used by other cruise lines is to collect boarding passes after luggage check-in, have processors take and verify your passport and credit card, take pictures if needed and assign the call tag for boarding and room key. Then you can wait for your embarkation call assigned to you and proceed to embark while going through carry-on luggage screening by the machines. You are in and at your option stand in for picture taking and skip and head towards embarkation. For reason unknown to us this process was not followed by this cruise ship during the embarkation, the process was changed as well as understaffing did not help. The terminal assigned was a small place, thereby creating overcrowding, long wait, and confusion. It took almost 5 hours of wait before most of the people were able to embark. Some Yacht club members were able to check in on a priority basis but not all Black card members. This was the most frustrating experience with most of the passengers. I tried to locate cruise officers but none was visible or available in the terminal. The contract union workers were not cooperative and were rude. One officer that I talked to after boarding the ship blamed it on the union. Market Place: The Market Place on the 15th deck area was always crowded unless you got into the service area at the time of the opening (General Buffet restaurant in the upper deck). We did notice that the seaside ship included two restaurants, another one mostly used by Yacht club members but non-Yacht passengers can also utilize it. This helped distribute the passengers and reduced overcrowding. These alleviate the overcrowding problem that we experienced almost every day at the Market place. The menus of both open restaurants at the seaside were identical. The Meraviglia only had one market place that acts as a general cafeteria, excluding regular dining rooms (no cost) and specialty restaurants (with cost). We did not find another designated place for eating as they had at the seaside. With the weather getting colder and windy, we cannot use the pool area. Some menu items vary in “hot serving” station every day, but in other areas like Pizza, ethnic and salad stations, they were unchanged. If you did not make it in time during the opening hours, good luck to find a table and a chair. Due to a shortage of crews, some of the serving stations were closed and the place was very crowded all the time. However, once you find the table, the self-service for food was reasonably quick. However, at beverage stations the chaos always prevailed due to lack of equipment to serve the passengers. The juice dispensers were often mislabeled. The most troubling aspect was that the hygienic requirement for food handling was not monitored. To avoid the Norvac Virus attack, some cruise liners are not allowing the passengers to touch the food but it is served to them in the self-service area. They also don’t allow the passengers to touch the serving spoons. Although we did notice the installation of hand wash booths (a great improvement and healthier method) at the entrance, there was no enforcement on passengers by the crews. The floor below the beverage stations required more attention for keeping them orderly and cleaned to avoid the passengers slipping or sliding. Ports in the Itinerary: Upon embarkation, we learned that our two-night stay at Quebec City will be cut to one day from two days and we will be issued $ 25.00 per passenger onboard credit. The reason cited was the whale migration of the season. Many passengers wondered that such events are repetitious annually and predictable, why was this not pre-configured in pricing and itinerary construction. The onboard credit must be spent on the ship or you lose it. Any saving on port charges must be refunded in cash that was not refunded for Quebec City; perhaps it was not refundable due to embarkation. The second issue popped up when just hours before the arrival at our first port stop at Sydney, the captain announced that due to bad weather at sea, we will be skipping the port. For that, we received an onboard credit of $ 300.00 per cabin as a refund to the cruise price along with port charges of $ 25.00. Both refunds were in cash. Next port of call was crane brook that was a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada. Sydney was close by and there were enough time and weather turned favorable. If Captain wanted to reconsider his stop that he omitted and if the dock was available, he would have an opportunity to restore the schedule. Not having that information, I cannot make a definite conclusion on the availability of docking the ship, but time and weather-wise; it was possible to make a stop after crane brook on our way to Quebec City. Dining Rooms: Although crowded, the evening service at the main dining room was slower but not bad. The menus varied but were not comparable to other cruise liners but most regarded the evening dinner as not the problem. We had to waste our time at customer service by standing in line, to correct billing errors. The wine steward forgot to take the card of the user and placed the charges on our room without any signature. We had one such incident and some of the others had similar problems. It appeared that 30 to 40 percent of crews were first-timers. Prior to crossing Atlantic, they must have relieved the old crews in Europe and took over a new consignment of crews. We talked to various people and they seem to be overworked, covering more tables and they were thinly spread out. Our lunch experience in the dining room was very poor. We had to sit there for two hours to complete our lunch menus. Generally, the dining rooms are closed after 20 to 30 minutes once they are opened, so the inside customers who are seated are promptly served and second seating if required can be opened up. Keeping the dining room open all the time allowed new people to arrive and waiters had to get them started with the menu, bread, and drinks. The same waiters would have to delay serving the second or third portion of the lunch for those who are already seated. This created a delay for all and took two hours to finish lunch. I think their lunch procedures must be reviewed and compared with other successful cruise liners of their size to ensure that they are properly staffed and have the right procedures to get the customers in and with no more than an hour. We ordered our dessert but it never arrived, after waiting for 30 minutes, we left and went to self serve market place. Customer service: There was a computer breakdown either on the ship or downloading the passenger data from the main office or perhaps both. This created huge problems in billings and there were many wrong charges applied to the room but they belonged to other rooms. Onboard credits that were included with our cruise bookings, never showed up and we had to take our booking papers and stand in line for an hour to prove that we were due that credit. All these problems had to be resolved by the customer service manned by four to five people and they were very busy all the time with long lines and they did what they can to correct billing errors, review the benefits and charges applied. With the breakdown of computer or data loss, they had to enter the data manually and they were two days behind but finally got caught up prior to the end of the cruise. This big computer glitch may have also created unnecessary delay at the time of embarkation and they had to manually reenter the data for many passengers. This may explain the reigning chaos and confusion seen on the face of the crew. I spoke to an officer who was aware of the problem but blamed the embarkation delay that delayed the departure by three hours and may have contributed to the skipping of the port due to the union rules observed by the New York Port Authority. Some passengers from the city of New York hotly disputed that statement. I requested the meeting with the captain but the captain choose to remain invisible and I never met him except at a welcome party from the distance. Future cruise consultants: We see no reason to travel again with this cruise line. Our reason to see the cruise consultant and to make her aware of the contracted package, we bought did not produce the requested result and her attitudes were disappointing and so was her remark that “it is no big deal”. There were others who had the same problems. It appeared to us that they were focused on booking future cruises until we reminded them that unless they fixed this cruise first, there will be no future cruises. During the last three days of the cruise, we started receiving our package in pieces, unlike other cruises we took with them, where the package was sitting in the cabin on the first day of embarkation. Internet: We were looking to get some internet access to check-in our flight back home when we were still sailing on the sea. They had a day package for $ 39.00 and were labeled as “24th”. When you try to sign on, they showed a 24-hour clock with start and stop time clock. The stop button did not work. We had to go back to customer service, who did not know how to fix it, so they brought their IT guy down. We talked to the IT man with the following suggestion. Rename the package as a “one-day” package, since it is unlimited and get rid of the clock. He implemented that suggestion and we were pleased about that. Shows: The shows were better organized for booking and checking. This operation was well organized. Their Cirque du Soleil at Sea - MSC Cruises was great and worth buying at the time of booking at discount. All other free shows were comparable to other cruise liners. Two performances allow all to take advantage of these entertainments. Club Member activities and Events Consistent with other cruise liners, there were welcome, Black member and Yacht club events but they were not organized in the places like sky lounge that are private and quiet, but were thrown open at Plaza Meraviglia (Promenade-Main deck) 6, where shopping gallery and franchised restaurants are located (not owned by ship). The captain was generally absent from some of the public events and service was not properly organized. Some of the passengers were not happy when one Gelato private operator ran out of cups and cones. The passenger managed to get a glass from a nearby bar to complete his purchase. Cabin: We had an outside cabin with a balcony that is always a nice and enjoyable feature. Unfortunately, the weather was colder than normal, so we could not take advantage of that. This ship has many cabins with the outside balconies and it is very useful in the warm weather. In general, the cabin accommodation was perfect. However, TV service was not useful. There were not enough channels in English for the American market and the satellite service was poor. The major free news channels like CNN, BBC and others were not available that you generally find with most of the other cruise lines operating in the American market. The TV featured the review of your onboard activities, reservation and billing details were excellent provisions and that is not generally not found with other cruise liners. Onboard movies will require payment, while other cruise liners have free service and sometimes a small movie theater featuring new releases. We have furnished enough details for the cruise line to make some amends for American markets or passengers to consider when booking future cruises. Disembarkation: Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was smooth and we encountered no problems, like we experienced with ports of calls in Canada that we stopped. Generally, at the port of call, there are two doors opened, one for disembarkation and another one for pre-embarkation upon the conclusion of the tour or the visit to the town. We found that either due to lack of security machines or lack of personnel, they did not open two doors, resulting into long lines and delays. This was unnecessary for this size of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Venice (2 night stay prior to the cruise) and also visit the Greek isles and Dubrovnik. Prior to the cruise the stop at Kotor (Montenegro) was changed to Bar and this was a 2 hour ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Venice (2 night stay prior to the cruise) and also visit the Greek isles and Dubrovnik. Prior to the cruise the stop at Kotor (Montenegro) was changed to Bar and this was a 2 hour ‘technical’ stop so no getting off the ship (Kotor would have been 2.30pm-8pm) Apparently this was due to the Venice port authority making changes to our departure time from Venice which was changed for 6pm to 8.45pm but we didn’t actually sail until 11pm. We did stop at Corfu and did our own thing by walking into the old town which was 10am-4pm as planned. The visit was as planned to Santorini which was beautiful. Mykonos was as planned but we chose to stay on the ship. Argostoli was cancelled on the day as the Captain stated the weather conditions were not safe to get into the harbour (no idea if this was accurate as the sea looked calm to us) very disappointing as this was two destinations now not visited out of five. Dubrovnik was disappointingly short (7.30am - 1pm). The guide spoke so fast you couldn’t take it all in. Saying that we did the Riviera Dubrovnik tour which took us to two beautiful destinations outside Dubrovnik. We have cruised before and never experienced so many changes. For a weeks holiday this was very disappointing and does not give great value for money. Entertainment was mixed the singers/dancers were good although we only saw one show. The hypnotist put on a good show. The pianist and the trio were ok! We mainly ate in the self service restaurant and the food was excellent. Great choices and something for everyone. We did three specialist restaurants which were very good. The Teppanyaki was brilliant, entertaining and great food. Our cabin was at the back of the ship and could be noisy at times. The cabin was a bit dated but clean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first cruise as a couple after 20 years or so cruising with family. We took our first RCCL cruise back in 1997 and have taken around 25 cruises in that time, around half of them with RCCL. It is sad to see how far this line is ... Read More
This was our first cruise as a couple after 20 years or so cruising with family. We took our first RCCL cruise back in 1997 and have taken around 25 cruises in that time, around half of them with RCCL. It is sad to see how far this line is prepared to go, to erode the cruise experience totally. I'm sure those relatively new to cruising won’t know any different and so don’t know what they missed. First the good. The ship is a physical masterpiece and a tremendous feat of engineering (I work in the ship building business). Despite its size it was very crowded. Embarking and leaving the ship was exceptional with both taking less than 10 minutes. Airports could learn a thing or two here. The not so good. We had a boardwalk balcony (since all sea view balconies had sold when we booked). The balcony was fine, but we would not choose this type again for a couple of reasons. First, there is little privacy and secondly, there is a lot of noise. In our room, the air conditioning was not working and only really got sorted at the end of day 2. For interest, there were quite a few portable conditioners around the ship so perhaps ours was not an isolated incident. We had “my time” dining using the American Icon dining room. It might as well have been called “no time” dining, since there were no times available to book! On the first night, we queued for 30 minutes and once we were allocated a table, waited another 30 minutes to have our existence acknowledged. The food was bland and cold when finally delivered. We checked the menu for the rest of the week to see that it barely changed day-to-day. Under duress we purchased a dining package ($600+]. Here is where we feel RCCL have changed for the worst; the “extra-fee” restaurants are rather good, but basically offer no more than what used to be offered in the main dining room only a few years ago for no more than the cruise fare. We find it ironic that the line describe the eateries (main dining rooms, windjammer etc) as free dining....hmm, I think we have already spent a few $000’s of dollars for the pleasure! Unfortunately, eating in the main dining rooms, is no longer an “event”...unless you think a trip to Denny’s is an event. No disrespect to Denny’s as in fact we had a better meal on our way home there! Whilst we purchased the dining package, it didn’t stop the constant hard sell to buy it (for the first 4 days of the cruise), or to buy a beverage package, spa treatments or to buy a $35 kitchen tour etc. The whole constant up sell is tiresome and intimidating. Just another note, getting anything to eat after 9:00 PM is limited to pizza as even the windjammer is closed by then. Whilst having dinner in the main dining room on the first night, we noticed that the imminent Grease show had been cancelled and moved to day 7. (Coinciding with our dinner reservation on that day). On the second night, the Aqua show was cancelled, then on the fourth night, the skating show suffered the same fate. Ultimately all of the shows were squeezed into the last day. Grease was very good, as was 1887. The headliner show was an acquired taste (not ours) and Columbus we felt was rather poor. Unfortunately due to constant rescheduling we couldn’t see many of the other events as they were showing simultaneously. I’m not sure we will choose RCCL again simply because you can get an identical experience for much less money on lines like Costa and MSC, where the price paid = expectations. RCCL still charge premium prices for an ordinary experience and then have turned the up-sell into the reason for you to be onboard. They are prepared to spoil the experience to chase the last dollar. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The entertainment on this cruise was fairly limited. I've never been on a cruise before where you had to reserve the entertainment. We waited on lines for just about everything. Particularly, getting a drink typically took a long ... Read More
The entertainment on this cruise was fairly limited. I've never been on a cruise before where you had to reserve the entertainment. We waited on lines for just about everything. Particularly, getting a drink typically took a long time, when we could find a bar that was open. The restaurant concept for the meals took some getting used. It seemed to work out ok. The buffet was typically crowded, the food was generally cold. The eggs benedicts were typically hard boiled. It would have been nice to see as much care in the food as in spraying your hands when you walked in. The disembarkation process needs to be addressed. The line was long and slow. It wrapped around all areas of that deck from one end of the ship to the other. It took nearly an hour to get off the ship from start to finish. The customs component with the facial recognition worked well. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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