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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because we were RCCL Loyalists. Unfortunately, our expectations were not met. Service had declined in many areas from the number of dining room attendants per table to what is offered on the menu to even getting ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were RCCL Loyalists. Unfortunately, our expectations were not met. Service had declined in many areas from the number of dining room attendants per table to what is offered on the menu to even getting freshly ground pepper on your salad. The shows although extravagant, were actually boring. for example the ice show had a child's theme. When in a port of call, many, many of the ships stores and restaurants were closed whereas had they been open, you could have availed yourself to them without huge lines. Even little things like room attendant making towel animals nightly was missing except a 2 times plus gone were the mints that used to appear on your pillows. It was a nice touch, but... We had sound problems with our TV so maintenance was called, it took almost 4 hours for him to appear. Lastly, room service in the morning was either incorrect or missing altogether. Very disappointed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Check in was fast. We didn’t have to wait on a line. We went straight to the counter. We were given a number (10) and told to wait until our number was called. We waited about an hour before they started calling numbers, but boarding ... Read More
Check in was fast. We didn’t have to wait on a line. We went straight to the counter. We were given a number (10) and told to wait until our number was called. We waited about an hour before they started calling numbers, but boarding went quickly and smoothly. I didn’t like the fact that I was forced to wait on a photo line even though I wasnt interested in taking a photo. Disembarkation was also quick and organized. The ship is boring in decor. I couldn’t quite guess what the ships theme was, if any. Our room, 1096, was large and comfortable. We've never booked a room lower than the 6th floor because I was afraid of the noise level (motor) but this ship was quiet all the time. Dining was the best part of this cruise. No matter what or where we ate, the food was always delicious. The food had the right amount of spice to make them very flavorful. They could improve a little on the desserts however. Most of them lacked the one ingredient that would put them over the top. Entertainment and Activites: I was extremely disappointed with this part of the cruise. The shows did not meet my expectations. I’m a frequent cruiser so I’ve seen my share of shows. They were boring and not at all entertaining. There were no clubs for dancing except B.B. Kings and even that was lacking. We participated in a Ping Pong competition and there were 8 players. A volley ball tournament on Half Moon Cay never happened because there were no participants. Everything was mostly empty or closed early. The service was impeccable. Everyone was always friendly and attentive. Our waiters Tri & Sugito were fabulous, always making us feel comfortable. Photos: The backdrops for the photos were boring & old. Solid color canvases in green, gray & burgundy. The Atrium is small so the stairs are nothing to write home about. The photographers do not pose you correctly. Imperfections are not removed or corrected. Pics come in sheets with an 8x10, a 5x7 & 2 wallet size for $39.99. No options. They print every single photo you take, regardless of the quality (eyes closed). I thinks that’s a waste of paper & time. We did our own excursions purchased elsewhere. The ships excursions were more expensive. The ship has a much older crowd 60+. There are no slides, rock climbing walls or anything exciting to do. If you’re looking for a cruise that will provide quiet and relaxation than this is the ship for you. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
This was an excellent time for a Caribbean Cruise. Last year we did the same cruise, same ship, but this spa suite was three doors aft of the previous year. Special occasions again! -- Celebrated Birthdays and Wedding Anniversary! ... Read More
This was an excellent time for a Caribbean Cruise. Last year we did the same cruise, same ship, but this spa suite was three doors aft of the previous year. Special occasions again! -- Celebrated Birthdays and Wedding Anniversary! Dining was, so so. In other words not up to par. Menu choices in the MDR were not that great. The shrimp in the Shrimp Cocktail have shrunk to about a inch and a half including the tail. The Lobster Tail was on the verge of being over cooked. The Prime Rib was ---- ok. In the Lido Buffet the Menu choices were ---- well, naaaa Breakfast: Oatmeal got cold before you got to the table and would not melt butter. Bacon was not done. The omelets were wonderful! Lunch and Dinner: Too many Italian dishes. No meat substitutes ( Cottage Cheese and Fruit, Tofu, etc..) Roasts were over cooked, Ham was under cooked. Slim selection of vegetables. Deserts were fair. Guys Burgers --------- Best food on the ship!!!!! The entertainment was fabulous. The Cruise Director -- Schwartz was fabulous!!! Very entertaining. Don't miss all of the Lip Sync Battle, 3 or 4 different things going on Service was ok. Shore excursions were wonderful. The Mayan ball game in Cozumel with .lunch was very entertaining, Cayman by Land and Sea - a repeat excursion, Turtle farm, Hell, and the half submersible boat viewing the aquatic life was enjoyable. Due to the problems in Jamaica, we stayed on the ship. Already thinking on booking next cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
This was my second cruise with Carnival, and we had a great time as expected. The service was outstanding. Most of all we want to give a shout out to several crew members: Thuthisa and Sanja-servers in the Saphire dining room, ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Carnival, and we had a great time as expected. The service was outstanding. Most of all we want to give a shout out to several crew members: Thuthisa and Sanja-servers in the Saphire dining room, Glenn-server at the Red Frog Pub, and Arnata-our cabin host. These folks truly made our trip such a delight; we will deeply miss seeing them, and we will cherish all the memories of the laughs we shared night after night. I am not a big snob about decor so we can sum it up as clean and beautiful. The food was good. We stuck to eating mostly in the dining room, but we also tried Guy's burgers a few times, and we have no complaints. Carnival ships are all about having fun, and they do a great job of giving you the opportunity to stay engaged. As far as the cruise ports... I hated Jamicia. The Montego Bay port runs a racket for duping tourists. We asked for a cab to take us to Doctors Cove and were shown to a small bus that charged 7.00. Once on the bus and driving, we were informed that we would not be going to Doctors Cove. Instead, they were offering for 11.00 more than the 14.00 fair to a souvenir shop and back, they would take us all around to several places so that we can experience Jamicia to the fullest and we would also go to a "much more beautiful" beach than the crowded tourist destinations. At this point, you were already stuck paying 14.00, so it didn't sound so bad. What ended up happening was we stopped at a shop with a bunch of crap made in China, drove halfway up a driveway and looked at a former plantation house (but we never went up to the house), sat in a hot, crowded bus as we went through a part of town that was not safe for tourists, and ended up at a beach that we had to pay 5.00 each to get in and had broken glass everywhere and garbage strewn about. I highly recommend you book a cruise excursion. You've been warned. The Cayman Islands If you like to shop, this place is for you, but the island dollar is worth more than USD so prepare to pay a bit more for your souvenirs. The snorkeling part of our Pirate Boat excursion was canceled due to high winds, but we made the most of the open bar and had a good time nonetheless. Cozumel We had the most fun here. The locals are friendly, there is a lot of stuff to explore around the ports, and we booked a private excursion of horseback riding for over two hours through the jungle and to Mayan ruins. I can't wait to revisit Cozumel. Overall, I have no complaints about the ship or Carnival Cruise lines. As for the ports, we should have booked more excursions. Lesson learned. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
The food in Le Bistro was excellent. All others, including The Venetian and the cafe, were average at best. I felt the staff were not as friendly as on other NCL cruises. What I missed most was my early morning coffee, sitting at the stern ... Read More
The food in Le Bistro was excellent. All others, including The Venetian and the cafe, were average at best. I felt the staff were not as friendly as on other NCL cruises. What I missed most was my early morning coffee, sitting at the stern and watching the sea. Unless The Dawn does some extraordinary itinerary, I will not book it again. Overall, even though the ship had been refurbished just a couple years ago, it had a "tired" feel to it. Our cabin steward, while friendly and nice, was not very good at her job. The ports of call are not that interesting. Both Grand Cayman and Belize were disappointing; although our guide to Mango Creek, Irma, was excellent. Kudos to her for making an otherwise boring tour durable. The best tour and guide was the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. Diana Garcia, our guide was superb! The semi-submarine tour of the coral reef was interesting but Cesar, our guide, was hard to understand at times. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
What follows is purely opinion. Nothing should be construed as a statement of fact. This was our first ever cruise. We wanted a short cruise to see if we liked cruising at all and if we would get seasick. It was freezing in NJ so we ... Read More
What follows is purely opinion. Nothing should be construed as a statement of fact. This was our first ever cruise. We wanted a short cruise to see if we liked cruising at all and if we would get seasick. It was freezing in NJ so we did this last minute to get warm, booked everything including air travel less than about 30 days before the sail. First, I had always heard that on today's modern cruise ships you don't feel the ocean. Lies, damn lies. From Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Turk there were waves. They had to close all the pools because of the water sloshing back and forth in the pools, 2-3 foot pool waves anyone, and sometimes it would escape the pool and splash on the deck. I and my wife were generally OK however we heard from various people that their roommate was laid up with seasickness. Because of what I learned about ship movement I would get the lowest cabin mid-ship. Also, there are 3 main dining rooms, same menu in each however, one is in the stern (aft). I would try to get into one of the midsection main dining rooms, less rocking while eating. FYI, my wife was getting her hair done for the formal night and there was a swell. She told me some of the staff fell down. FYI, on this particular cruise there was a nice mix of ages from 20 somethings to 80 year olds. A few preschoolers. Very few teenagers and school age children. We liked this. Overall I liked the ship. Decent number of pools and hot tubs, nice promenade that circled the ship however there were stairs to get to the front part of the promenade this might be a problem for some (except in bad weather they closed the stairs to the front), nicely decorated dining rooms, nice interior, ship not too large, nice number of entertainment venues (i.e. bars with musical entertainment or trivia contests), theatre was OK, there was also a disco in the top aft section. However, some of the activities like learning to play a steel drum were in an interior conference room. Dinning in the main dining room was OK. The food was OK and the service was really great. I did not have any out and out misses. Some days I liked the food better than others. I thought the equivalent was Ruby Tuesdays maybe a little better, my wife thought it was a definitely a step up from that. Again, not 5 star New York restaurant but definitely reasonable, especially for what we paid (got a last minute dal for about $100 per person per day that included port fees, taxes and gratuities). Did not particularly care for the buffet. Generally we ate in a MDR for breakfast and dinner when we could and embarkation day we also made it on in time for lunch in the MDR. We scored a great table for 2 (table 132 in Botticelli MDR). The only problem is that because we booked so late we only got a 5:30 seating which was just a tiny bit early. One last thing about the Botticelli, it can get noisy from the conversations at dinner, I think there may be too many hard reflecting surfaces. We dressed up for formal night (I did a Tux, most of the men did dark suits or similar). In general the wait staff wore different outfits each day. There were fresh flowers on the table. Our wait staff remembered our drinks. The head waiter stopped by our table once or twice during the cruise. Generally nice little touches that made dining in the MDR an experience. Also ate pizza near one of the pools. Pizza was decent. I prefer ultra-thin crust NY style however the pizza on board was definitely acceptable. On the pool level they also have a place for burgers, bratwurst, BBQ, grilled chicken. The burgers were good, so was the grilled chicken, I did not think the BBQ brisket was up to snuff. There was also an international cafe on deck 5 that is supposedly open 24 hours (was never up in the wee hours to test that). They had Paninis, salads, deserts, in the morning they had donuts (here you had to pay for coffee, did not try it). I generally liked the food at the international cafe. In general the coffee on the ship was mediocre, but I drank it, I will pretty much drink anything although I would prefer Jamaican Blue or good pure Hawaii Kona. There is a coffee card you can buy, on such a short trip (5 days) it was not worth it. Might give it a try on 7 days or longer. We did not try the pay for dining rooms. We pre-bought water which I thought was a good idea. We bought the soda package, I think we broke even, probably would do that again. We're not drinkers so it was cheaper to buy drinks and wine by the piece. They also had buy one drink get one for a dollar at select times of the day. The only true miss on the whole cruise was a basic margarita in the Wheel House bar, really bad, and they overcharged me a dollar or two. The entertainment was generally good. We went to two of the shows in the theatre. Something called Encore and another about the 70s. Liked those two shows. Not sure younger people would like the 70s show because they would not get it without living through the time period. There was a disco party up on the pool deck one night. That was fun, not sure what they would do if the weather was bad. They also had live musical entertainment in many of the bars/lounges and in the piazza. Really liked the string duo (woman playing cello and one playing violin). The steel drum guy was pretty good (he also taught the steel drum lesson) as well as the band that played at the various things like the disco party and last night balloon drop. The movie under the stars was also fun. I was disappointed in the Mardi Gras event. It could have been much better and should have been held in club fusion and not the piazza. The enrichment stuff was a little lacking. However we did like the steel drum lesson (will probably buy the same steel drum for our granddaughter that they use in class) and I liked the talk on how the ship operates that was given by a third mate. The star gazing was not great because it was a full moon so the stars were washed out. Can't really blame that on Princess, luck of the draw. FYI, they use a pre-recorded tape for part of the star gazing. I did not object to that but others might mind. Stumbled on a lawn bowls contest one day. I am sure it was in the daily newspaper (a must read) however did not see it. It was run by a very nice young woman from the cruise staff. She had an English (or maybe Australian) accent. I didn't win. Overall the service was great, dinning staff was excellent. Cruise director was a lot of fun. Port excursions. There is not that much to do on Grand Turk. I did do one of the snorkeling excursions, Horseshoe Reef and Round Cay. I hadn't gone snorkeling in a while so this was fun. FYI, the water was chilly, just not cold. The group that actually ran the excursion was I believe Chukka Caribbean Adventures. Very nice, I was very happy with it. However, I think you can find better snorkeling off the Florida Keys. The diving is probably wonderful because of the "wall" but I did not try that. We also did a bus excursion, The Grand Turk Experience. I thought it was interesting, some people might not. Again it is a very small Island. I believe that most tourists to Turks and Caicos go to the bigger island in the chain. We also walked up the beach to Jack's Shack for a drink. The Dominican Republic is bigger. Puerto Plata, is main the city near where the ship docked. Puerto Plata and vicinity is probably worth two days. We did the Heritage Puerto Plata with lunch excursion. It was OK. I don't like just sitting around the cruise port so this was a reasonable choice. You get to do a rum tasting at one of the distilleries (they call it a tour of the distillery but I think of it as really just a tasting and buying opportunity in comparison to what Wild Turkey does for a tour in Kentucky), we saw the fort, a small local museum, the town plaza. You get a taste of the local environment. If I were younger and in good shape I would have done the waterfall swim excursion, sounded great but a little too strenuous for me. Some of the other activities sounded nice but not enough time. They try to get you off the ship early on disembarkation day (i.e., by 8 or 9 AM) and our flight was not until 7 PM. We had a lot of time to kill. By the time we decided to do an excursion most of the tours were filled up. The one available was a short tour of Fort Lauderdale and a boat ride on the intercostal. It was fun. We started early so we had extra time on the bus so they did an impromptu stop near the beach so we could stretch our legs, walk on the beach, or pay a small fee and walk out on the fishing pier. I have been to Fort Lauderdale, I like the city and if our travel plans had worked out I would have stayed an extra night either before or after at the beach area. I thought the sales staff in the onboard jewelry stores were a little pushy. However, that is easy to avoid, just don't go in. Locally we stayed at the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale/Plantation the night before sailing. They have a free shuttle from the airport and to the port. YOU NEED TO BOOK THE SHUTTLE TO THE PORT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, THE TIME SLOTS FILL UP FAST. Nice little hotel. Nice little outdoor pool and hot tub in the back. Walking distance to two shopping areas. The shopping areas have restaurants and one has a liquor store with a good wine selection if you want to buy wine for the cruise. We brought on two bottles. Embarkation and disembarkation went OK Overall I would go again, assuming food and service did not decline. I would just try to get a mid-section cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
this was my 19th cruise... 5 were on ncl ships and 3 were on the dawn...this was not our best cruise..the ship is very clean, someone always cleaning something.. the o/s cabin 4590 was very comfortable, very quiet and clean and lots of ... Read More
this was my 19th cruise... 5 were on ncl ships and 3 were on the dawn...this was not our best cruise..the ship is very clean, someone always cleaning something.. the o/s cabin 4590 was very comfortable, very quiet and clean and lots of storage.. the entertainment was good.. ports were good.. service excellent.. food was very bad in buffet.. only thing edible in buffet was salad or desserts.. o sheehans had great omlets for breakfast but other food there was average at best.. both mdr were very good.. over 2 hrs to embark and disembark, ncl said it was customs issue not ncl..i have been to all ports of call many times with the excepion of private island Harvest Caye.. we rented a clam shell cover and 2 chairs for $29 and enjoyed our day even though it rained first 2 hours.. over all just good cruise not great , will probably not cruise on ncl in future. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose to cruise on Astor to check the ship out on a short cruise while contemplating a longer cruise on it. The prominent marketing in Australia of this boat sailing out of Perth-Fremantle using "pay for one and the second person ... Read More
We chose to cruise on Astor to check the ship out on a short cruise while contemplating a longer cruise on it. The prominent marketing in Australia of this boat sailing out of Perth-Fremantle using "pay for one and the second person travels for free" was an inducement. The daily charge of $10 Aust per person turned out to be more than better ships that we have cruised on. This is an old German ship which doesn’t have up to date procedures; e.g. a huge key and fob for entry to the cabin and a swipe credit type plastic card to transact on board both to be carried at all times, long slow queue to disembark and hand in the key etc. The mostly European crew were surprisingly curt. The PA system was unintelligible resulting in passengers looking at each other puzzled and asking ‘what did that announcement say?’ We bought the drinks package for $34 per person per day. We could have saved about $100 by simply buying drinks as we went. There was no advice about how to ‘register’ for the drinks package before you ordered your first drink at embarkation and paid full price. There were too many exclusions in the drinks package and no clarity about what was included; e.g. coffee was not included. The same drink was a different price depending upon which bar it was bought at. There was a receipt to be signed every time a drink was purchased, only one drink to be purchased at a time resulting in not being able to buy a friend a drink on your drinks package card, but a separate cash receipt had to be signed with that charged to your on board account which was tiresome and petty. There are only 2 dining rooms, a dining room with waiters and starched table cloths, and a cafe. Both are reasonable depending upon what you want and whether you want to be served. Both are small and usually busy with queues at the only coffee machine. The food is average compared with other ships on which we have travelled. Passengers shared serving utensils at the buffet and breakfast which is a potential health hazard not found on other cruise boats. Before we embarked we understood we had arranged for our party of 8 to all sit together each evening, but the dining room concierge refused to honour this. They insisted that it was "free dining". The staff wouldn't let a couple sit at empty tables for 2 insisting that they join people at larger tables that were not full. This resulted in the newcomers at the table being ignored by the serving wait staff who had previously served those at the table who had arrived earlier. One night at the main dining room all but 2 of our group were at the restaurant door ready to be seated, but the concierge refused entry until all were present. This resulted in 2 ladies over 90 (one on a walking frame) having to stand for 15 minutes outside the door which was rude and discourteous. Some dining room staff (such as those clearing tables) went about their tasks oblivious to the diners, with the result that there was some ‘congestion’. The average age of the cruisers was about 75 and more than several had walking frames or wheelchairs. The ship is not set-up for these devices with door sill projections at the entrance to some cabins, toilets, and bars resulting in people having to step over them. They need ramps at each of these obstructions. There is no ramp at some ports so they use the ship's stairway. This is very difficult for those people who had difficulty climbing the steep stairway. The ship rolled about as it slugged its way South to Esperance. Several passengers were seasick. None of these experiences are particularly worrying, just tiresome, petty and inconvenient when you are on a cruise expecting it to be enjoyable and relaxing. A reconciliation of all expenses [fare, travel insurance, drinks package, on board expenses], associated with this 5 day cruise resulted in a cost of $770 a day. In hindsight, at this rate we would expect a better cruise experience than we had. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We enjoy the Princess Cruise line. This was our 13th cruise with them. We have sailed on the Crown Princess twice before, once on a repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome and another time, from Galveston, Texas to Roatan, ... Read More
We enjoy the Princess Cruise line. This was our 13th cruise with them. We have sailed on the Crown Princess twice before, once on a repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome and another time, from Galveston, Texas to Roatan, Honduras and Belize. We enjoyed the International Cafe in the atrium for a light lunch or a snack following a day in the port. Staff made the best tasting (and artistic) cappuccinos! One of my specialty coffees displayed the adorable face of a cat and another one, a beautiful flower. It is the little things in life that make a difference. We dined every evening in the Botticelli dining room on deck 6. We chose traditional dining (first seating at 5:30 pm) and sat with an older couple and their son and daughter-in-law. It was their first cruise. We were very happy to share some of our past experiences with them and answer their questions as best we could. I was surprised that lobster was not on the menu the last night of the cruise. Perhaps this was because it was only a five day cruise? I don’t know, however, I sure missed it. We liked spending time on the promenade deck 7 where one can either walk, just sit and relax, read, watch and listen to the waves and nap. We were pleasantly surprised that the movies onboard were current Academy Award nominated movies. We saw “Wonder” (Movies under the Stars) and “Three Billboards...” in the Princess theatre. We stayed close to the ship in both ports. Next time, we plan on taking in some tours. We found the locals were very friendly and seemed happy and carefree. Everyone in the DR loves our Blue Jays! The weather was perfect and a welcome relief from the frigid north. I found that a five-day cruise is not nearly long enough for us “retired” folk. However, it was a nice break and we enjoyed it very much. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Our son arranged this cruise for us as an anniversary gift. We had a ride waiting to take us directly to the port when we arrived in Miami and when we left the ship for home. Getting on/off the ship was very simple and smooth. ... Read More
Our son arranged this cruise for us as an anniversary gift. We had a ride waiting to take us directly to the port when we arrived in Miami and when we left the ship for home. Getting on/off the ship was very simple and smooth. The cabin was well arranged and kept clean and comfortable during the cruise. We especially enjoyed the decorative towel animals the housekeeper kept putting in the stateroom. The food was excellent in the two dining rooms we used (Sapphire deck 5 and Windjammer deck 11). We ate our breakfast and lunch in the windjammer as they had a larger selection. The entertainment and activities were not in our interests. We are not drinkers/partiers. The service was excellent. Everyone we asked questions of answered us or referred us to someone who was more knowledgeable. When we needed something for the cabin, it was brought promptly. We probably wouldn't go again as there was nothing we enjoyed doing on board except watching movies and drinking coffee. We are not jewelry wearers and most clothing was too fancy to wear to places we visit at home. Read Less

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