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19,288 Senior Cruise Reviews

My wife are veterans of 27 cruises and eleven of them with celebrity and the reflection earned six stars with us automatically when we saw not only the most succulent smoked salmon I have ever tasted on the breakfast buffet but several ... Read More
My wife are veterans of 27 cruises and eleven of them with celebrity and the reflection earned six stars with us automatically when we saw not only the most succulent smoked salmon I have ever tasted on the breakfast buffet but several types of cream cheeses including salmon cream cheeseheese to go with it. The rest of the dining experience indeed the rest of the cruising experience was just as inventive and exuding class. First the rest of the dining. Every meal had at least one or two wow experiences, including the lines legendary short ribs simmered in expensive Barolo wine, their sublime lobster tails rivaling any seafood restaurant I have gone to, their strip steaks done to perfection, the list goes in and on not to mention their heavenly deserts. Then the wait staff. Seem was our favorite waiter over our eleven cruises. Everywhere we went the staff served with a smile and a caring attitude.. And the ship oh the ship like a dream. From the huge ficus tree suspended mid atrium to the innovative art work and sleek classy interiors you think you were in the fanciest venues in New York or Paris. In short, people in celebrity you get the best of everything and for a adult to use another cruise line well it just doesn't make any sense in my book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Most of my cruises in the last few years have been on Princess. We had not sailed on RCCL for three or four years. We picked this cruise primarily for the price and the fact that it sailed from Port Canaveral. There were 8 seniors in our ... Read More
Most of my cruises in the last few years have been on Princess. We had not sailed on RCCL for three or four years. We picked this cruise primarily for the price and the fact that it sailed from Port Canaveral. There were 8 seniors in our group. All experienced cruisers. Embarkation: Our group arrived at two different times and had two different experiences. Four of our group arrived about 11:30 am since they need assistance in boarding and had notified RCCL that they required wheelchair assistance. Upon arrival they were told that there would be about a 2 hour wait since RCCL only had a couple of wheelchairs! Remember this ship carries over 3,000 people. After waiting over an hour they decided to board w/o the assistance, but this was to be a recurring theme. RCCL is not inclined to provide assistance to handicapped people. If you require assistance, I would suggest you try another line. They only place they were at all equipped to handle people with disabilities was in Labade . We arrived about 1:30pm and had no problems boarding. I was surprised, however to see people boarding with cases of water and soda, after RCCL had specifically told me none were allowed to be taken on board and it is clearly stated in the contract that you can bring ONLY one bottle of wine per person on board. If you are going to have a rule--enforce it! The new terminal at Canaveral is very nice, but be prepared to walk long distances. Room: our inside room was adequate. They only complaint I have about the room is that if you want to put the beds together, it is almost impossible to walk around them. We had to separate our beds to preserve our shins. You could tell the ship was due for refurbishment. The carpet in the cabin was stained and the towels had seen much better days. The bathroom was decent size and the only complaint I have is that the toilet refused to flush on a few occasions. It was promptly fixed. We were on Deck 7 toward the rear and it was a good location. Often was hard to get an elevator, but was convenient to the computer center. Our cabin steward was fine. She did what was asked, but nothing more. Service has fallen way off on RCCL. Dining-- Main dining room food was fine, nothing outstanding and our service was good. The biggest complaint I had about the dining room is that breakfast and lunch menus never changed. Windjammer Cafe-- Just a disaster. First problem is organization. Who would put salad dressing at the beginning of the line? Before you get to the salad station? Butter no where near the bread? Lukewarm food or food that had been sitting out way too long. Both Princess and MSC have shown me that buffets can be done right, but RCCL does not have a clue. There is no service at all in Windjammer. No one asks you if you would like a drink or a refill. You are on your own. Finally, they do not clean the tables. They sit with dirty dishes and when someone takes away the dishes the table is hardly wiped at all. Yet you better washie washie with Purrel when you come it. That does no do much good when floor is covered in food and the tables are not cleaned. We mentioned this on at least two occasions to the people in charge of the area and they were sooo sorry, but nothing changed. These people though the ship was already in dry dock! Service in general-- was poor. RCCL might want to divert some advertising dollars to hiring and training their people. I saw where RCCL pays not federal income tax even though it shows a profit--maybe they should devote the same amount of energy and attention to customer service as they do to tax accounting. Whether it was in the shops, the cafes or the font desk,there was very little desire to please the customer. I waited in one shop for over 10 minutes to get some information on a watch, while the staff stood around talking to each other! Entertainment-- good to excellent. The ice show was a highlight of the cruise and we had fun skating one day. Most of the singers and dancers were good and the guest entertainers were fine. Disembarkation was fine for the 4 of us that did not need assistance, but despite registering with the purser and being number 2 and 3 on the list, our friends were told that it would be 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours to get off the ship since they only had 3 wheelchairs. Unacceptably. Overall, I was quite disappointed with the Explorer of the Seas. RCCL just did not seem to give a flip about the passengers. I was not WOWed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
By far the worst NCL cruise we have ever taken. We are Platinum Cruisers with NCL and will now have to think twice before we sail on NCL again. Since the change in management everything seems to have gone downhill for the Elderly English ... Read More
By far the worst NCL cruise we have ever taken. We are Platinum Cruisers with NCL and will now have to think twice before we sail on NCL again. Since the change in management everything seems to have gone downhill for the Elderly English speaking cruiser. The cruise director spoke English with a heavy Spanish accent and was difficult to understand. the comedian told some of his jokes in Spanish.The production shows were not the greatest, the performers were very good but the content was lacking. Our room steward really did not do a good job in keeping our room clean. Our bed was like sleeping on a rock. The main dining room staff had difficulty in getting our breakfast orders served correctly and didn't understand what iced coffee was. My wife ordered orange juice and I ordered tomato juice without lemon and we both were served orange juice. When the waiter finally brought the tomato juice there was a slice of lemon in it. We took the UDP and ate in Cagney's and Le Bistro all four nights. In both restaurants the food and service was superb. The no smoking rules were not enforced, people smoked whenever and wherever they wanted. There were children in the hot tubs. The deck chairs/lounges were extremely uncomfortable. If you were in your 20's to your 40's there was plenty to do. The piano player in Capt Cooks was great, it would've been better had there been a waiter to take your drink order instead of going to the bar and waiting forever to get served. Since this cruise was free for most of the passengers we didn't expect too much and that's what we got.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Beware if you booked a cruise on the Quantum. We booked our restaurant reservations in advance for the early seating. When we boarded the ship we found out we no longer had dining reservations. We spent 2 days trying to get reservations ... Read More
Beware if you booked a cruise on the Quantum. We booked our restaurant reservations in advance for the early seating. When we boarded the ship we found out we no longer had dining reservations. We spent 2 days trying to get reservations for 6:00. We ate at the Chic 4 nights and the menu was the same every night. Waiter in Chic named: Neculai table 308 was great! No variety in the dessert menu either. Liked the shows. Be sure and book those early and go early to get good seats. Beware of long lines for everything. Windjammer had good food but no variety for desserts. Our friends stayed in room 10233, beware room attendant very poor. Never even gave them towels on last night. Inside rooms with infinity balcony were great. Single rooms with balconies were great for one person. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our 9th cruise, 8 on Carnival, first on the Pride. Sometime when I read previous reviews, I wonder if we all were on the same ship. Received a special promotion from Carnival for $100 balcony rate on select cruises in December ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise, 8 on Carnival, first on the Pride. Sometime when I read previous reviews, I wonder if we all were on the same ship. Received a special promotion from Carnival for $100 balcony rate on select cruises in December & January with $100 room credit. Booked an extended balcony on the Panaroma deck leaving on 1/11/2015. Live in Tampa therefore the Port was convenient. Went with another couple who paid about $1,700. On the boat within 30 minutes and the room was ready to drop off our carry-ons. Sail away was OK but missed the steel band. First time on the Pride but have been on the Legend (small class) 4 times so kinda remebered on how to get around the ship. We did "Anytime Dinig" for the first time and it was a great decisioin. Only one time did we have to wait 5 minutes, rest of the time right in. We like the waiter team and we seat in their section each time just like assigned dining. One thing about Tampa is sailing under the Skyway Bridge at about 6:30, great view as you think the ship is going to hit the bottom of the span. I am 66 and rest of our party at in their late 50's. School is in session so not too many kids on board. Large number of seniors. Loved the piped in Music on the ship. Heard some country, classic rock & roll, Buffet, Beach Boys etc. (last cruise out of Miami was all Latin & Sausa, which I understand but it got old) There were no "major" lines at anytime unless you wanted "eggs made to order". Always found a clean table and maybe not always "window side". Went to Guest Services twice, one to open our adjoining balcony door and the other to get two decs of cards doing a sea day. Both time there was maybe 1 or 2 people ahead of us. One of our party is deaf so we did not see any of the shows. Like a previous reviewer, do miss the illusion type acts. Music on board consisted of this 6 piece band which was all over the place and with "Steve Tyler" wanta be lead singer. Piano bar singer I thought was OK but the rest of the group gave her a thumbs down. Be prepareed if you do not participate to be "Don Rickled". Room Steward was the best we had in about 4 years. We acturall saw her and she knew our names on first meeting. AC worked fine Ship was in no better or no worse than other ships in this fleet. Salt water does a number and in each port the crew was scaping and painting. Did not find anything broke an housekeeping was waht one would expect with 2,200 guests on board. Food - Anything dining is the way to go. Food in the dining room was average to occasionally good and as expected. One of our party tried the "Award winning" fish dish one night and stated he was surprised how good and favorull it was. This guy knows his fish and is picky. Has the same waiter team each night who were good but a couple of times appears to be overwhemmed. Buffet, welcome to Golden Corral. Wife loves the new Burrito bar and we all liked Guy's Burger joint. Did the Bunch on the firsat seaday. It was good but not as good as the one we had on the Breeze in the fall. Order a "spicy" Bloodly Mary and it was HOT! Casino - Did seem to have as many slots as other ships. Did hit for $1,000 on the Wheel which gave about half back by the end. No problem getting drinks even after hitting the "free drink" point level. I always tip so I always had 1 drink and 1 coming. Himmler in the casino made sure I always had a drink. I am not a "High Rollar", I ended yp with about 2,700 points while I saw other cards with 30,000 points. Do miss the live entertainer in the casino and the late evening snacks. Smoking - I am a smoker but was able to adjust to the new rules. Located the smoking areas on ship and used them when needed. I have to admit to "vaporing" on my balcony a couple of times. Ports - I did write a Port review but if like like the beach and drink please check out Costa Maya for a grear deal. In closing, were there items which could be improved, probably but had no real issues wqhich I could not adjust to, a cruise is what you make out of it. I know the goal is to make every Guest feel special but you are just one of 2,200. Enjoy the time and make the best you can by relaxing and turning the world off for 7 days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Quantum is a beautiful ship. We enjoyed our days on board. There seems to be plenty of seating outside. There are 3 pools of which 2 are covered. Entertainment was good with Mama Mia being outstanding. There were only six shows in the ... Read More
Quantum is a beautiful ship. We enjoyed our days on board. There seems to be plenty of seating outside. There are 3 pools of which 2 are covered. Entertainment was good with Mama Mia being outstanding. There were only six shows in the 12-day period. On the off nights, there really wasn't much to do at night unless you are into the casino. The Concierge Lounge was on Deck 12 as aft as you could go. It was quite a walk but the room was pretty big and we got to talk to some real nice people. Dynamic Dining--NOT OUR THING! We spent days, months before we left on this cruise, trying to get all our dinners and shows booked. Every time we were set, RCCL would cancel them and we would have to rebook and correlate them again. Once we arrived on the ship, every dinner/show worked out for us but we felt sorry for those who did not know this had to be done ahead of time. The service in Dynamic Dining is NOT personalized at all. In American Icon, your meals didn't come with potato and vegetable. My husband ordered Soithern Fried Chicken and that is all he got!! He wasn't even asked if he wanted pot/veg. This is supposed to be a vacation...everyday we would have to look at our cruise calendar on the TV to see where we were eating, what time and if we had a show. Also, there are no formal nights per se. If you eat in The Grande or Wonderland, you are supposed to be formally dressed. Formal now means men need a jacket. So on any given night, people are walking around in tuxes, gowns, and shorts. For the most part, the food was good. We enjoyed Jamie Oliver's, The Grande and Chop's the most. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The itinerary was the best we've experienced: St. Lucia, Curacao, and Aruba were wonderful. Cruises Only was, as usual, excellent in the booking process. Assistance in choosing our cabin (5069) was most helpful. Close to elevators. ... Read More
The itinerary was the best we've experienced: St. Lucia, Curacao, and Aruba were wonderful. Cruises Only was, as usual, excellent in the booking process. Assistance in choosing our cabin (5069) was most helpful. Close to elevators. Great location as regards fore & aft. Ship motion not detectable. The Pearl when compared to our recent Royal Caribbean Cruises was nice, well maintained, but dated. The pool/hot tub offerings fall far short in expanse of area. Adults and kids share space. Too much competition for lounge chairs. R.C. created separate area for kids, adults. More "senior" citizen friendly. The Pearl's large canopied Outdoor Dining Space is wonderful (Aft, floor 12). Facilitates sun, shade, rain cover choices. We signed up for the Ultimate Dining Package and tried all five "special" venues. Turned out to be a mixed bag. Cagney's (Steak) & Le Bistro (French) were wonderful in terms of both service (Jay & Judith) and food quality. The Japanese (Tappanyaki). Asian (Lotus), and Italian were fine for service, but fell short of expectations in the culinary department. Menus did not vary, so we found ourselves going to Cagney's and LeBistro more frequently. The clanging and juggling of spatulas in Tappanyaki grew old after a bit. It, also, created noise issues in both the Lotus and an adjacent bar/entertainment venue. The food was quite pedestrian given higher expectations. Staff generally was excellent. Friendly. Accomodating. Our room steward was marginal. Not friendly. Didn't address us by name. First such cruise experience. Kept locking up the mini-fridge. Forgot towels on one night. Really enjoyed Shane Tapper, a guitarist/vocalist. Personable, friendly, very talented. Also, a female vocalist with Future was superb. Energetic, personable. Entertainment in the Stardust Theater was mixed. A great Christmas Show. A fun Frankie Valley and the 4 Seasons Tribute. The theater sightlines are great! Observed entertainers in a number of settings "mixing" with the passengers. Evidence of sincerity, caring. We booked 4 excursions via Cruise Only. Very pleased with all four. Very clear, efficient "hook-up" directions, nice busses, friendly knowledgable guides, good price. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are seasoned cruisers having been on 38 cruises. We booked the thanksgiving cruise with our two adult children and their wives on the 5th floor with windows. We had been on the Dawn when she was new and enjoyed it but this time was very ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers having been on 38 cruises. We booked the thanksgiving cruise with our two adult children and their wives on the 5th floor with windows. We had been on the Dawn when she was new and enjoyed it but this time was very much a disaster. Our wing with rooms 5232 and 5236 always smelled of sewer. Our steward was great. The room was clean but even on the first night we had lots of noise. We found out the galley was above us and below us were loud broken stabilizers. :(. We had some rough seas and about every 5 seconds we heard loud banging and vibrations. It was un bearable. We called three times asking for help. Nothing. The next day we went to guest services asking for a room change. We said we would take an inside room or just about anything to get sleep. Finally after begging them to come listen we got moved on a Thursday. We found the ship to often smell moldy and mildewed especially in dining areas and gathering areas. Drinks were awful. Very weak. The spa charges were horrendous with 18% gratuity and they wanted you to also tip! TV was not good. Our power went out in our new room and it took three hours to get it back on. The food was not good either. The thanksgiving dinner was the worst. Mushy dressing and very slow service. No pumpkin pie. Desserts were poorly made and tasteless. Embarkation was the worst we have experienced. It just was very disappointing. Workers told us that the clanging noise on that floor has been a problem for years and they were so apologetic. Anyway if you have a room on that floor be prepared to not sleep. NCL did away with the adult spa area and now charges!!! It is just not quality. We will not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
The ship itself is beautiful! The service is terrible! It took at least three hours to board. There were 80 year old people sitting on the floor. Some water at first but soon ran out. All announcements were blurry and VERY accented. ... Read More
The ship itself is beautiful! The service is terrible! It took at least three hours to board. There were 80 year old people sitting on the floor. Some water at first but soon ran out. All announcements were blurry and VERY accented. Everyone was asking everyone else "What did she say" but there definitely no apologies for the delay. At any time of the day or night there was a long queue at the guest service desk. This speaks for itself. Our balcony stateroom was very good and our stateroom steward was fine although we didn't meet him until three days into the trip. Our dining room service was the worst. Don't know if she didn't understand or just didn't listen. Every meal was like a lottery. Put your order in and then guess how close the result would be to the order. It was never correct. But she seemed to think 'close is good enough' Coffee was fine but to get served with tea we were given a teabag and then eventually some hot water, then it was DIY. Certainly NOT fine dining! BACK TO PRINCESS!!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I feel we are seasoned cruiser. I have been on several different cruise lines. I was wanting to try a different line this time. The positives are, the entertainment was excellent. We only saw 3 shows but we enjoyed them. They were very ... Read More
I feel we are seasoned cruiser. I have been on several different cruise lines. I was wanting to try a different line this time. The positives are, the entertainment was excellent. We only saw 3 shows but we enjoyed them. They were very different. We even saw an opera. Never been to one before. I enjoyed it even tho I didn't understand it. The captain was great. We had bad weather in Stir Up Cay & he decided to go to Grand Turk where the weather was fantastic. I have never been there before. It was the best thing to do since it was storming at the other island. The ship was very pretty. Now for just a few negatives. We never meet our cabin stewart. No name card was in our room & we never saw him. After day 3 with no ice I put the ice bucket on the bed empty to give him a hint. We did get ice everyday after that. Food was disappointed. Buffet had the same thing, pasta & pizza took over every station.  The salad bar was the worst I have ever seen, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, onions , and every once in awhile something else. The lettuce was alway dripping in water. Like many others have said, you had to go around the whole buffet to get what you want. Usually one side has everything so you only have to visit one side. Not on this ship. Breakfast was only fair. We went to the dining room 4 times to get a better quality. But the waiters at breakfast & dinner was not friendly. They seemed not trained, not smiling, reaching over the table to hand you your food, never giving you coffee or tea. If you asked for coffee with your dessert it took forever to get it. So you could tell it was a inconvenience to get it for you. Service was very slow. I just found the every where you went on the ship the device was just not there. In 2 of the gift shops the personal never said "hi can we help you" we were completely Ignored. Usually I think people complain too much over nothing but in this case things were Just not up to pare. We will not cruise MSC again. But I do have to say we did Get a good price for the cruise. That's why I chose it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We just returned from 5 days on Carnival Liberty to the Bahamas. Overall it was a great time but a few snags along the way. The Good Friendly staff, good food, the Alchemy bar fixes wonderful unusual drinks. I recommend the cucumber and ... Read More
We just returned from 5 days on Carnival Liberty to the Bahamas. Overall it was a great time but a few snags along the way. The Good Friendly staff, good food, the Alchemy bar fixes wonderful unusual drinks. I recommend the cucumber and the gunpowder drink. We had an aft balcony which was plenty room for a lounger as well as chairs and table. Tender boats to Half Moon Cay were a nice quick trip. It is a beautiful beach. Nassau was very nice. I went on my own on a walking tour and saw plenty of nice features. Atlantis casino was a long walk to get to and everyone I spoke with said they lost money. Corey the Cruise Director was wonderful. He was open and accessible and hung out at Alchemy bar one night mingling with the guests. Rodney the cabin steward was excellent as was Tatyana, Anna and Parvis in Alchemy Bar. We met lots of people and made new friends. The Bad When first boarding we asked for the restroom; we finally found it after asking a third employee. We went to the atrium bar to buy the booze program. The woman said talk to the other woman at the other end of the bar who then told us we had to get in a long line and do it. Shouldn't a bar person know the procedure? There are not enough restrooms, they are not always in the same spot from one deck to another: one deck has men on one side, women the other side; another deck has both on one side. Plus they are poorly marked. When we discoverd that our restaurant was on the forward of the ship we asked if we could be transferred to the one aft. They said only if we changed to set dining time so we stayed with it. However to get to the entrance, one had to go up one level and then down to it so it was a challenge every time. On the second day we went for brunch and was told it stopped at 1pm. It was only 5 after 1. For folks who operate on Central or other time zones, that is too early. 2pm would be better. The A/C on my deck never worked properly and it was clammy and hot often. Other parts of the ship were frigid. The hallway on my deck had spots that stank of mold/mildew. The Can't Be Helped. Aft balcony was such a loooong walk to most places--Serenity was on the far forward end. O well, the aft pool and hot tubs were never too full. It was hot and humid 24/7. I didn't think it could get worse than the Deep South but it was. And it rained often. There was a constant engine vibration I could feel in the cabin but soon stopped noticing it. Overall a great time and we are already booked on the Pride for next year.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first river cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience. The tours were fantastic, the tour guides exceptional, and the on-board lectures very informative. The food and the food service was ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience. The tours were fantastic, the tour guides exceptional, and the on-board lectures very informative. The food and the food service was exceptional as well. The time was filled with as many activities as one could manage and any down time was your choice. We will definitely take another Viking cruise. They cost a little more but from what we can tell they are worth a little more. The only negative is the Viking suggested gratuity policy. Several of the passengers had gratuities included in the ticket price but many, including us, didn't. We were never offered the option. And Viking's suggestion was to tip everyone and tip them generously including a healthy tip to a general fund to be distributed to the crew. If we followed their suggestions that meant bring a lot of extra cash (although they offered the option to add tips to your bill). That aside it was a wonderful two weeks and we wouldn't have missed it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I'm a single lady who was on the last leg of this world cruise. Was given a very old fashioned cabin (6100) inside that had not been cleaned properly ie.sheets dirty,duvet stained,bin not emptied, even found a pill in my bed base that ... Read More
I'm a single lady who was on the last leg of this world cruise. Was given a very old fashioned cabin (6100) inside that had not been cleaned properly ie.sheets dirty,duvet stained,bin not emptied, even found a pill in my bed base that never was removed from previous guest, so that was my first impression of this very dated unclean ship. The pool was never cleaned although Fred Olsen will insist it's cleaned at night, but when you see the same rubbish on the bottom every day you know it hasn't. The sun loungers were also dated and dirty and never wiped down. Part of the floor in the Palms Cafe was fetched up and replaced over a period of days and the rubbish was wheeled through the kitchen and all this was going on whilst still serving food in there. The entertainment on board was ok if you are in your eighties and enjoyed bridge etc. There wasn't any deck entertainment like ice or fruit carvings, singers, music or dancing only a couple or so of Carribean sail away parties that lasted about half an hour. The Fred Olsen entertainment team only did a couple of shows a week. On top of all this I was attacked by a man on one of their tours who was also a passenger on the ship and inspite of making a full incident report to chief of security I was left in fear with no back up support from Fred Olsen what so ever. On return home I have sent a letter of complaint only to receive a letter back from them making excuses for everything and more or less calling me a lier and they really don't care that I will not sail with Fred Olsen again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We are a married couple who decided to take our 18th cruise out of Charleston on the Carnival Fantasy. We drove from Atlanta to Charleston and spent the night at the airport Hampton Inn. The hotel was very nice and a short 15 minute drive ... Read More
We are a married couple who decided to take our 18th cruise out of Charleston on the Carnival Fantasy. We drove from Atlanta to Charleston and spent the night at the airport Hampton Inn. The hotel was very nice and a short 15 minute drive to the port the next morning. The port of Charleston is a little different from most ports because it is an old, small one level cruise terminal near the historic downtown area. The terminal is so small that the same area is used for luggage claim and registration, so they have to totally finish with debarkation then redo the terminal for embarkation. Parking is in old warehouses, but is secure and protected from the weather. When you arrive you drive through a serpentine path with different stations for document checks, parking payment and luggage drop off before being directed to the warehouse for parking. While it sounds difficult, it was very efficient. We took my stunningly beautiful young wife’s car, which has handicap tags, so parking was free. Normally parking is $85 for a 5 day cruise. We arrived about 11:40 AM and they started checking documents just a few minutes before noon. After parking it was a quick shuttle ride to the terminal. Registration was quick and we were on the ship by 12:30. We are platinum, so our cabin was ready for us. We dropped off our luggage and went to lunch. The Carnival Fantasy is Carnival’s oldest ship at 24 years, but it has been meticulously maintained and is in like new condition. Everything in the ship looked like it was new and was in top operating condition. In fact, the carpet in our stateroom looked brand new. We were in cabin U88, which is a suite with a balcony. The cabin was spotlessly clean, bright and inviting. This cruise had 2 ports: Nassau and Freeport. We spent a little time shopping and had lunch in Nassau. At Freeport we took a taxi to Port Lucaya and did some shopping. I was pleased to see there is now shopping and restaurants at the port, with more construction underway. There is so much available right at the port that I do not see a reason to go to Port Lucaya for shopping on future visits – many of the same items were available right at the port. This cruise had two sea days, and there was a plethora of activities, with something for everyone. The entertainment staff seemed to be everywhere ensuring everyone had a good time. The food onboard was outstanding. While the Lido buffet is smaller than on some of the newer ships, there was a good selection of food and the hot food was good and hot. The Mongolian Wok was popular for lunch, but the line was never too long (usually a 5 minute wait) and the food was excellent. My stunningly beautiful young wife has some food allergies, and it seems like the entire food and beverage department went out of their way to ensure she had great food that she could eat. For example, she cannot eat many of the desserts, so the hostess asked the chef to prepare a special dessert for her each night, which she totally enjoyed. Everyone we encountered on the ship was pleasant, helpful and fun. The Carnival Fantasy has a genuinely happy crew, which is a testament to the senior officers. Among this stellar crew, there are a few individuals who stood out: Bernie, our Team Head Waiter in the dining room. He took my stunningly beautiful young wife’s food order for the next night to accommodate her food allergies. The chefs prepare food for folks with allergies in a separate area of the kitchen to ensure no cross contamination. This made extra work for Bernie and his team, but they maintained a very high level of service, and my stunningly beautiful young wife was always served with the rest of us at the table (table of 10). Natasha, the dining room hostess. She took my stunningly beautiful young wife’s dinner order the first day during the dining inquiries time (a good time to inform the staff if you have food allergies) and noticed that she did not order a dessert due to her allergies. She worked with the chef for special desserts every night that were delicious. Simply amazing customer service. Napassaporn and Supawadi, the staff at the Bistro coffee shop. We went to the coffee shop once or twice a day, and these two are amazing. Efficient, friendly, and with an incredible memory of what we ordered. They would be waiting on the customer ahead of me and take my order non-verbally, literally serving two different customers at the same time. Wally, the assistant cruise director. He was engaging, friendly, funny, high energy and memorable. A true pleasure to be around. He has a great future with Carnival. Jocelyn “Shorty” Blandford, the cruise director. Shorty may be diminutive in stature, but she is big on fun. She has a great stage presence and uses her high energy brand of fun to make the cruise more enjoyable. We saw her often around the ship, always cheerful and smiling, very accessible to the guests, ensuing everyone had a great time. We have cruised with her before when she was an assistant cruise director, and we are very pleased to have her as cruise director on our cruise. Debarkation was smooth and efficient. It appeared that a lot of folks did self debarkation, so there were fewer bags for zone debarkation. As platinum we had priority debarkation, which was a breeze. They took folks with disabilities down the elevator, avoiding the long ramp, which was an unexpected courtesy. Customs and the shuttle back to parking was quick and we were on the road before 8:30 AM. In summary we were very satisfied with this wonderful ship and wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We have cruised on several ships over the years, but after experiencing Azamara I'm afraid we are now jaded! Before we stepped onto the gang plank the Captain walked up to us and introduced himself, throughout the cruise he and Russ ... Read More
We have cruised on several ships over the years, but after experiencing Azamara I'm afraid we are now jaded! Before we stepped onto the gang plank the Captain walked up to us and introduced himself, throughout the cruise he and Russ the cruise director would engage you in conversation. After being on board only a couple days we all got a letter in our cabins asking if we had any suggestions as to how they could make our experience better. They wanted to know early on so we would get the benefits of those suggestions, as I said, class act. We have cruised on one of Quests sister ships before and deliberately choose this size ship because we prefer it to the larger ships, it's beautiful.the food, entertainment and port choices were great. We enjoyed the many new friends we made. This is a ship designed for seasoned travelers, I probably wouldn't take my grandchildren on this one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
From the start we thought booking a "Crown and Anchor Society" cruise would show us some of the best of RCCL, but it didn't turn out that way. Because of a need for a refrigerator for diabetic medication a request at the ... Read More
From the start we thought booking a "Crown and Anchor Society" cruise would show us some of the best of RCCL, but it didn't turn out that way. Because of a need for a refrigerator for diabetic medication a request at the time of booking (August 2012) was made and assurances were given by both the booking agent and a direct call by myself to RCCL, that I would have a frig in our cabin, NOT. After talking with 5 different "Customer Relations" people, two of which had stripes on their jacket sleeves, I was finally told by the last person that RCCL doesn't provide such amenities on that ship. I finally got the pre request frig but was made to feel like I should have gotten down and kissed the feet of the head of Quest Relations, because it came from his cabin and it was HIS personal refrigerator. The published staffing of the ship is 700+ crew but there were 100 less because of a life boat problem and supposedly the USCG made RCCL either turn away 100 paid passenger or furlough 100 crew and it showed by the lack of good people dealing with the paying customer. Then on top of everything, the ship came down with an intestinal flu outbreak the last four days of the cruise and no one could server them selves in the Windjammer buffet. The crew tried but looked and acted like they didn't have a clew how to serve people or know where things were. The buffet went from a well organized part of the ship to total disarray, little or no organization on the serving islands. On the bright side, the nightly shows were pretty good. The star of the cruise was our cabin steward who was about the only person that gave us top notch service and when we ran into rough seas, from Columbia threw the straits between Cuba and Haiti, he suggested getting some fresh chopped ginger from the Windjammer and make ginger tea to help the wife settle her stomach. We enjoyed the land excursions and seeing what is going on in the preparations of the new locks for the Panama Canal was great. Overall, RCCL could and should have done better. I over heard several of the long time RCCL customers making comments about their dissatisfaction of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I was a huge fan of the old Norway and sailed on it four times. I would be still be a passenger if it was still in service. It was a great ship with wonderful ambiance and a crew that really took care of it's passengers. It's ... Read More
I was a huge fan of the old Norway and sailed on it four times. I would be still be a passenger if it was still in service. It was a great ship with wonderful ambiance and a crew that really took care of it's passengers. It's very hard to find that these days. The Pride of America (henceforth POA) is not a very large ship. It is, however, easy to figure out and get around. There are plenty of elevators and stairways and the layout is plainly marked on diagrams near the stairways. Our stateroom was small but well organized. We had a balcony which made the room seem bigger. We enjoyed the balcony at night quite a bit and I enjoyed my morning coffee there. An expensive option but worth it if you use it. Dining was hit and miss. Let me say right off the bat that we are not fans of free style dining. One of the things I most enjoy is the experience of formal dining. Unfortunately it is not to be had on POA. Despite the rules regarding what can and cannot be worn in the dinning rooms, some passengers look and act like they are going shopping at Wal-Mart. (The specialty restaurants are better. I guess Maw and Paw Kettle are afraid of the cover charge! I thought the Italian was very good.) Service in the Liberty Dining room was slow. One night our entrees were very late and cold. We sent them back and endured another 15 minute wait. I spoke with our waiter and she told me that they were short staffed and she had 5 tables. We did not have an assistant waiter that night. That is unacceptable. There was not a wine steward in either dining room and we were not offered bar service. Overall the selection and variety of food offered was good. Service at dinner was poor but surprisingly good to excellent in mid morning. The Buffet or "hog trough" as my wife refers to it, was good. I did not see kids with dirty hands coughing and sneezing while serving themselves which is a constant problem on many of the Caribbean cruises (of all lines). The selection was good and hot foods were served that way. Taste was very good. The staff was kept busy cleaning tables and seeing that people were comfortable. Frankly I was impressed with the Buffet and I didn't expect to be. The halls and staterooms on POA are kept spotlessly clean. The room stewards are excellent. Everyone in our group bragged about the efficiency and professionalism of the room stewards/housekeeping. POA is probably the cleanest ship overall we have sailed on in the last 3 years. We saw all of the shows and enjoyed them. Particularly good was the Four Seasons Tribute group "Oh what a night". I met and talked with one of the dancers during one of our trips ashore. She was a delightful young lady and represented POA well. She also was very talented as we watched her performance the following night. Having been to the islands and cruising (another line) several years ago, we opted to do our own itinerary on each island and planned well in advance for it. On two occasions we encountered people that we recognized from POA who were on ship excursions. We hired our own guides on Maui and both ports on the Big Island. We got to see some things that most people don't get to see because of our planning and the guide's knowledge. Overall POA is a great way to see the islands. I may do it again next year or the one following. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Sat . June 15 Vancouver We had half day to see the city.The hop-on hop-off bus cost $37 pp for seniors; I chose instead to get a $7.50 pp all day bus pass. Took a us to Stanley Park, but found the park too large to see by foot. Got back on ... Read More
Sat . June 15 Vancouver We had half day to see the city.The hop-on hop-off bus cost $37 pp for seniors; I chose instead to get a $7.50 pp all day bus pass. Took a us to Stanley Park, but found the park too large to see by foot. Got back on the local bus and spent an hour going to the end of the route, through Chinatown, old and new business areas, fancy and run down residential areas, and suburbs to another bus/train station at the city’s edge. Found an elevated train (Skyway) back to the motel by two p.m., and that was our somewhat disappointing superficial visit to Vancouver. Took a shuttle to the Sapphire Princesss and had fast efficient boarding, thanks to my Preferred Boarding Pass as a Platinum Captain’s Circle veteran cruiser and the fact that we both walk with canes. We have our usual good comparatively unobstructed lower cost “obstructed” outside cabin, E425 on the Emerald deck 8 amidships, up one from the Promenade (deck 7) and relatively close to everything. Layout is similar to other Princess ships, and so familiar to us. Had usual visit with Maitre D to get assigned early seating. Theoretically one can do this in advance, but Princess usually makes this impossible, sending us notices we have “chosen anytime seating,” which is a lie. They force “anytime” on us, & we have to see the maitre D almost every time. At least we now have this wonderful feeling that for the next week we need not worry about where to sleep, where or what to eat, what connection we have to make, or any of the other frustrations of independent travel. We can relax. Sun. June 16. At sea. I spent some time in the “Sanctuary,” napping, writing these entries, and reading an excellent book, Wade Davis Light at the Edge of the World, A Journey through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures, about numerous societies and languages in S. America, the arctic, New Guinea, Africa, etc. The book had a lot of beautiful photos. Voodoo in Haiti, coca among the Incas in Peru, canoe people in Venezuela, eupiak in the arctic, others in Sumatra and Borneo, far more than i had realized. Basically, the cultures have been the victims of modern commercial culture: gas, oil, and lumber. Skimmed/read another book, an odd one by Sylvia Brown titled Secret Societies, supposedly telling the truth about Skull and Bones (Yale), the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Comm., the Bilderberg Group, Freemasons, the Knights Templar and Malta, the Rosicrucians (Yeats belonged), the Priory of Sion, the Opus Dei, New World, the Illuminati, and Gnostics, with a chapter on “Lies about Christ and the Vatican.” A weird book that cited a few sources and had some convincing info. but relied extensively on her “Spiritual Adviser” Francine. Mon. June 17 Ketchikan. Been here before. Not a lot to see or do. Wandered around the town and took a local bus to a beautiful new library with current papers and magazines. Tue. June 18 Juneau. Took an independent whale watching trip ($125 each) which I had scheduled in advance. They guaranteed we’d see whales (though later in the season trips may take longer), and we did indeed see a lot of humpbacks, to the right of us, to the left of us, all around us, some in bunches (almost colliding), a few w/babies. Found out later Princess had cancelled their whale watching excursion (cost $199 each) because of “rough seas.” Ours was a bumpy ride out and back, but we had wonderful views of many whales. I believe there is a lesson here. Then took an $8 bus ride out to Mendenhall Glacier ($8 return). Excellent visitor center (free w/Golden Passport):detailed exhibits, especially on retreating glaciers due to climate change. A good day. We’ve had some very good song and dance shows, better than on other Princess cruises, though still too loud, with bright strobe lights that annoy everyone we’ve talked with. Wed.. June 19. Skagway. My companion took the White Horse/Yukon train up the narrow, beautiful route the gold miners had used, with tales of their strains and suffering and of many dead horses. She had a long walk and wait in the hot sun and felt the ads, info, and planning were lousy, though the trip was an interesting one through beautiful scenery. I’d been there, done that, so spent some time on the computer and wrote my notes here. Thu. June 20. A day of cruising Glacier Bay. Several forest rangers came on board; we heard one good lecture on the history and nature of glaciers including the effects of climate change on them. We spent the time leaning on the rail and looking at the mix of beautiful blue and white ice as well as the old dirty parts; taking photos, eating, napping, reading. Fri. June 21 Summer Solstice Sunrise 4:10 a.m. Sunset 11:28 p.m. Over 19 hours of daylight! Basically, another day at sea, with a brief cruise into College Fjord to see a few more glaciers, one quite large and beautiful. Also a goof in my planning. We had only three ports on this “7-day” cruise (actually 6). Some cruises stop at four ports, including Sitka, a very interesting one. I had volunteered for the Passenger Talent Show. Signed up, but did not have any audition and never heard anything more. Went to the location at the time of the show, and they called my name to perform. Fortunately, I had brought my copy of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “performed” it to considerable applause and positive comments. Spent the rest of the day resting, reading, writing in here. There’s a lot we did not do: attend the art auction, drink the expensive cocktails they pedal at all hours, use the hot tubs, watch the movies, play ping pong or bridge, solve the sudoku puzzles, take rhumba lessons, look at the thousands of posted photos, pay for Pilates, eat reindeer chili, play trivia or Bingo, gamble, take afternoon tea, have our tongue or pulse analyzed with Chinese herbal medicine, play croquet, or dance the night away. We did chat with some interesting guests, ate many good meals, and spent a lot of time napping and relaxing. Sat. June 22 Docked in Whittier, near Anchorage, around 1 a.m. We disembarked and set off on a land tour, at the mercy of Princess. We had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get to our “staging area” (our Santa Fe restaurant) by 6:00 to wait until 6:30 with a couple hundred others, like cattle, to a waiting train car #3, table #15, to sit facing backward with another couple (facing forward) for the trip to Talkeetna, arriving around 4 p.m. Dumpy sort of train, not at all like the luxury of the Rocky Mountaineer. I had tried several times to get more info from Princess about this part of the trip: whether we had reserved seats, any choice of where we sat, whether all seats faced forward and/or reclined. I prefer to see where I am going to, not where I have been. I never got answers. Either they did not know, or, more likely, did not want us to know. We were then transferred to coaches (had the option of staying several hours in Talkeetna for an extra charge). Tired, we went on to the Princess McKinley Wilderness Lodge on a hilltop with an excellent view of the highest mountain in North America.. Word is that the peak is enshrouded in clouds six days out of seven, but for all three days we were in the area we had wonderful views of the mountain in all its glory and majesty. Also some good photos and postcards . We are, however, in the clutches of Princess. Nothing at all nearby to get anything to eat other than their expensive restaurants. I talked a bartender into a glass of milk ($2.50) so we could eat some cereal with a banana we had snitched from the ship. Sun. June 23 Motor coach to the Denali Princess Lodge, in the small town with a Subway across the street. We have been surprised at the large numbers of people from China, Japan, and India on these cruises and tours, probably because we left from the west coast. The Subway was so jammed that we settled for tuna sandwiches from a nearby gas station. Our tour included a four or five hour bus trip through Denali National Park and Preserve, where one hopes to see the “big five”: bear, caribou, moose, antelope, and wolf. The best time to do that is early morning. Our tour went at 2:30 p.m. (Princess chose the time) and was, I believe, billed as a “landscape tour.” We had only a distant view of a caribou and a moose or two. In the evening, we saw (extra cost) a hokey, home-written hill-billy type play about the first climb of Mt. McKinley. Mon. June 24 Motor coach to Fairbanks. Not a lot of fun. Some lovely mountain scenery, and then a long ride through flatlands with one-way, dusty, bumpy road construction and orange barrels, just like home. After a four hour ride to the outskirts Fairbanks, we had a good paddle wheel boat ride lasting several hours. It included views of riverside shanties and mansions, a famous sled-dog training farm, some float plane docks and a plane taking off and landing beside the boat, and a stop of several hours at a park with lectures and exhibits of the earlier ways of life here: processing and smoking salmon, making of fur and other clothing, song and dance, mostly by natives from Alaskan villages. I found it sad, though, that none of the young lecturers could recite a poem in any native language. All spoke the English that the missionaries had taught their parents or grandparents. And though in some villages there are old folk willing to teach the young ones the language that their grandparents spoke. Most of the youth, as in Ireland, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and many other places, want to speak the current lingua franca (an odd Latin/french phrase that now refers to English). Alas. Tue. June 25 Fairbanks Spent last night at the Princess Riverside Inn near the airport, and today is the official end of the Princess tour. We have two more days on our own in Fairbanks. Tried to use the free (for seniors) local bus service. Had to deal with long waits and walks and missed or late buses. Found a good, reasonable downtown hotel, the Bridgewater, and rented a car from AK rental. The logistics of this Princess tour are, on the one hand, highly complex and efficient, but, on the other, very frustrating. After we got off the train from the ship, another whole group of passengers boarded to get back to the ship for a departure that afternoon. The bus from Denali to Fairbanks then took other passengers from Fairbanks to Denali. We never had to show tickets. Someone from Princess appeared at the right coach or train with a manifest, and checked off our names as we got on. And there always was someone at the right place at the right time, at least in our experience. So someone at Princess must have known all these details, yet they refused to share them with us passengers. We did not know what time the bus would leave until the day or night before; we did not know what time we would arrive somewhere until we boarded the train or bus and asked. We did not know when our tour of Denali would be until the night before. And we as individuals have no knowledge or control of the specifics until shortly before or until they happen. The agents in the hotels or those who answer the 800 numbers either do not know or are forbidden to tell. They seem dumb, or perhaps are under orders to act dumb. I found this lack of information very annoying. I heard some passengers complain a lot about being in an annex some distance away from rather than in the main hotel at Denali, but they got no satisfaction. Wed. June 26 My companion wanted to drive to the arctic circle, about 7-8 hours on a dirt road (illegal to do w/our rental) past mostly monotonous tundra and then 8 hours back. We chose not to go. In the morning, I had a wonderful experience. On an earlier visit to AK to visit my brother, I had called a float plane instructor about a lesson. He said he would give me one, except that the lake was frozen and the plan on skis. So I had a ski plane lesson instead. This time I had called another instructor. We drove to his hangar and plane on a big old quarry next to the Fairbanks airport. I sat in the left seat (primary pilot), he on the right with dual controls. He took off and then said “the plane is yours. He directed me over a pass in the mountains. I kept us straight and level on the course he directed to some lakes. Practiced some steep turns and a 360 turn. He landed the plane, had me take off, fly around, land, and take off again. A challenge, but I did OK, and can add that to the list of types I have flown (a T-6 WW II 400 hp trainer; the ski plane, an aerobatic one w/a few lessons, and a glider). All challenges and fun. We spent the rest of the day at the excellent University of Alaska museum, a mixture of anthropology, natural history, art, sculpture, and more. Driving in Fairbanks was confusing and frustrating: not to scale maps and inadequate road and street signs. There is a large animal research center where we hoped to get the close-up views of moose, bear, and antelopes that we had missed at Denali. We found it at closing time and had only a distant view of something we could not identify. Thu. June 27 Took the day to get away from the metropolis of Fairbanks and headed into the boonies 25 miles or so northwest toward the arctic. Found an exhibit where the AK pipeline was exposed and explained. Saw intersecting hills with countless pine trees, some clear spots with heavy equipment, and every few miles a mailbox at a lane where some lone souls of the pioneer type probably live alone. Returned the rental car in time to make an 8 p.m. United red eye flight to Chicago. Fri. June 28 Arrived in Chicago late enough to miss our connection to Dayton. We got home tired and bleary-eyed, an OK end to a wonderful adventure. This was my companion’s first trip to AK and, if she were a few decades younger, she’d be ready to move there. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Embarkation - Luggage drop off was a scramble. We were dropped off to a huge mob in the parking lot in front of our pier. They needed more Royal Caribbean employees to direct things, and they also needed more signs. No one knew anything, ... Read More
Embarkation - Luggage drop off was a scramble. We were dropped off to a huge mob in the parking lot in front of our pier. They needed more Royal Caribbean employees to direct things, and they also needed more signs. No one knew anything, and I waited in one mob around a table, and was told that’s where we would pick up our Seapass cards (sounded a little weird), but once I got a little closer, I learned it was the luggage tag table. I think it would have been a lot less hectic, if we all got luggage tags (sent automatically) like Royal Caribbean used to. There was also the added confusion of seeing porters for Rhapsody AND Solstice. My husband finally handed his bags to a porter, and we headed for the building labeled Rhapsody. There we met another long line, but this one was more organized and moved faster. In the next room, we found the priority boarding line, and met a sweet man, Chris, who took our set sail form and scanned our passports. He also took our picture for the database. A short while later, the gang plank gates opened, and we were led to the photography people, we had no way to opt out of the embarkation photos, because they were using those photos to sync to the face recognition software. We also found these photos later in the photo gallery on deck 6. We ate lunch in the Park Café and around 1 PM, they let us into our rooms. On the way to muster drill, we saw our luggage (and many more suitcases) out by the elevators. Returning from a long wait on deck 5, we noticed all the luggage by the elevator had disappeared. But ours still hadn’t been delivered. We told our steward, who promptly delivered it from wherever it had been moved. We prefer the way the Princess ships do muster drill, because they let us sit comfortably in public room. They do it that way because they’re worried about passengers being swept off the decks by winds. While standing at attention at muster, we spoke with a man that mentioned he’d almost been swept away at sea while in the navy! If the winds are bad, let’s hope the ship has an alternate muster station. Dining: Service in the main dining room was painfully slow. At breakfast on Day 2, we ordered our prunes and milk in the Main Dining Room (MDR), and the waiter told us that we would have to serve ourselves these items. My husband muttered something about increased gratuity and decreased service. He said if he wanted to serve himself, he’d visit the Windjammer. This was the only time we visited the MDR for breakfast. We usually eat Breakfast in the MDR every day it’s open. At night, the main dining room was also horribly slow. The Head Waiter visited our table every day to check up on the service. We’d lucked into a table with a couple that had over 300 cruise points. They were sweet people and very approachable. Unfortunately, we were served last every day, even with our 300 point VIPs. On the various ships we’ve cruised over the years, if we got at a station that served last every day, it happened each night. I suspect they have a system where waiters must serve their tables in a certain order each cruise, so no one gets forgotten. However, it would have been nice to rotate the order of service. I wish they would have the gratuity split out on our bill: Waiter, Assistant Waiter, Head Waiter, Windjammer Etal (all dining options except MDR) and Cabin Steward. We may have docked the dining staff, but increased the cabin steward’s portion. I don’t know why the service was so slow, but I suspect it has to do with the specialty dining service. I think they have the same number of waiters, but they are now spread over four restaurants instead of just the main dining room. Once we got our food, it was tasty. Our assistant waiter remembered our standing order of skim milk with dinner, and he fixed it fast the night we got sour milk. Specialty Dining: Service was polite but slow. We tried the Royal Dining Package, which meant we visited Chops, Giovanni’s and Izumi’s. We loved all three restaurants. But still unconvinced it’s worth $55 for the package. At Izumis, we loved the sushi and tempura, but didn’t care at all of the hot rock. You get unseasoned meat and vegetables, and have to cook them yourselves. They also provided dipping sauces. If the meat had been seasoned, I think it would have been much better. But our MDR table mates seemed to like it that way. We were glad we got the beef, because we may not have cooked the chicken safely. With the Royal Dining package, Izumi’s gave us a $15 credit per person. Our meal actually came up to a little more than the $30 total credit we received, but we didn’t mind paying a couple dollars extra. The noise level at Izumi’s and Chops was quite good. But Giovanni’s was too loud like the Main Dining Room, because they seated everyone in the same room, instead of spreading us out. I had Giovanni’s Surf and Turf, and this is the first time in over a dozen cruises, they didn’t shell the lobster tail. We picked the main course, and appetizer while our waiter picked the dessert sampler. I had the surf and turf at Giovanni’s. . In addition to this, we Giovanni’s picked the appetizers for us: Antipasto and focaccia bread (yum yum)! Cabin Steward: One of the best ever, and we presented him with the WOW card. After the second day, we never returned to a dirty room! Which is pretty unusual for us due to our strange schedule! All our requests were carried out. We heard no excuses, such as the clearing the mini-bar being room service’s responsibility. Philip handled it! Since we were responsible to iPad damage, I requested they remove it. He took a few hours to do so, since he needed permission first. There was a strange smell coming from the bathroom sink, and they tried to fix it, but I still smelled it unless we stopped the sink. We were headed up to the Park Café to fill our ice bag, and our steward took it and insisted he fill it himself. We had an aft Junior Suite. So, we had a wonderful view from our balcony. If you’re doing Alaska and can afford a balcony, be sure to indulge yourself. The other two cruises, we had an outside stateroom with a picture window, and an inside stateroom, and a Junior Suite is the way to go. During Dawes Glacier sail away, having the aft stateroom we got to see the glacier for most of the afternoon. The only drawback to that room, with no aft elevator we had a long march back to the Centrum. But I think the long march helped with the weight gain. They had no aft elevators. But they did have a staircase only a few steps from our stateroom that led directly up to the spa which is a hop, skip and a jump from the Park Cafe.. We also had some confusion, because our stateroom mentioned a different muster station than what was printed on our seapass cards. My husband checked with Guest Relations, and they said the muster station on the card was correct. A few days later, I lost my card, and so I went to guest relations for a replacement. It didn’t take long, but they’d changed the muster station to reflect what was posted in the room. They also reissued another card for my husband with the corrected muster station. Not sure what would have happened if we arrived at the new muster station, instead of the one we drilled on the first day. Lots of drawers and little nooks and crannies for storage. Other than the cabinet above the television, none of the drawers for cupboards would hold the packing envelopes for shirts or pants, which is a first for us. Usually, the drawers by the desk will hold the Eagle Creek Pack-it 15, but not on Rhapsody. Our bathtub looked pretty conventional, though we still had to climb up to use it. The sink was about the size of a giant mixing bowl. It made washing clothes in the sink a little difficult, but not impossible. Loyalty Ambassador: We purchased two open bookings, and requested both email and hard copy. It’s good we also requested hard copy, because we only received an email for one of our open bookings. It took several days to receive them, because the internet was down. Transfers: Be sure to get a porter! We usually get a porter in the sea port, but it’s also a good idea at the airport. We waited on the transfer bus until it was full which is typical with cruise transfers, then it dropped us and our luggage off way past luggage claim. We had to walk a pretty long distance to the ticket counter. Library: No actual room, a small section of the wall on the Centrum Deck 6 called the Book Corner. Only a handful of shelves, but they were double stacked. Starting day 2 while we were at sea, the ship felt very cold, especially in the Centrum area. And the shops on board were doing a fantastic business selling jackets. It was especially cold on our hallway from our aft stateroom to the Centrum. Once we stopped in port, it wasn’t as cold. But once we got back at sea on day 7, it got cold again. I remembered it had been pretty cold on the Vision in 2006. We didn’t notice the chilliness on the Diamond Princess in 2010. So, it may be a design of the Vision Class ships. I was happy I brought my thermal vest, and wore it most of our cruise. That and a waterproof/wind resistant jacket seemed to get me through. We left our heavy winter jackets at home. We also brought knit caps and gloves that we needed in Juneau on the water and Skagway. In Victoria, we used our sunhats! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Husband and I planned this trip for about 9 months to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We had always wanted to visit Hawaii and felt like doing a cruise and visiting several islands was the best experience for us. I read every review on ... Read More
Husband and I planned this trip for about 9 months to celebrate our 40th anniversary. We had always wanted to visit Hawaii and felt like doing a cruise and visiting several islands was the best experience for us. I read every review on Cruise Critic and Trip Adviser for months! My sister says I could be the tour guide as I had learned so much. But that is the key to a good trip, learn as much as you can about the places you plan to visit so you will know what to expect and understand. We arrived in Honolulu on Thursday, May 2, 2013 from Dallas, Texas. There is a 5 hour time difference so we were plenty tired. We stayed two nights in the Wyndham Royal Garden. We are Wyndham owners so I used some points to book the hotel. It was very nice; about 2 blocks from the beach. We rented a convertible for our stay in Honolulu. Loved driving the island with the top down. Honolulu was our least favorite of all the places we visited because it was so commercialized. We walked Waikiki beach Thursday evening and it was beautiful. Friday we ate at IHOP (eating at fine restaurants is not a priority with us) then drove to the Dole Plantation; took the train ride; very enjoyable. We drove around to the North Shore, stopping at a fruit stand and buying fresh mango!! The we drove to the Polynesian Culture Center and visited for the afternoon. This was so enlightening of the many cultures of the islands. We drove on back to the hotel Saturday, we drove to Diamond Head and parked at the base. We walked through the tunnel and made some nice pictures. We then went to Bishops Museum; it was ok. We drove the car back to the airport off-site location and they shuttled us to the pier. That was a big plus!!! Embarkation went very smoothly. You could feel the excitement in the air. All the cruise staff were out to meet and greet you and make you feel special. Our cabin was on the 4th floor. I was very apprehensive at first and tried to change the room prior to sailing, but no rooms were available. The room was great. Some of the restaurants and Hollywood Theater are on the 5th floor, so we could walk to them. But we were low enough that we did not hear any noise either. So it was great. Karl, our room steward was so friendly and kept our room in top shape. We ate at the Liberty, the Skyline and the Aloha Buffet mostly. We ate at the the Cadillac Diner for their desserts:) Food was fabulous everywhere and service was very good with the exception of Thursday night in the Liberty. It was just a little slow that night, but nothing to gripe about. Shows: Oh What A Night was so entertaining. I have seen the musical 'The Jersey Boys' and realize this group is not quite that caliber, but these guys are not far from it. Do not miss this show. We Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I chose the Carnival Liberty based on the price, the ports, and the good reviews received on cruisecritic. I will admit that I was very wary about cruising on Carnival but, now, I don't where Carnival got its negative reviews. I ... Read More
I chose the Carnival Liberty based on the price, the ports, and the good reviews received on cruisecritic. I will admit that I was very wary about cruising on Carnival but, now, I don't where Carnival got its negative reviews. I thought that everything was as good if not better than our previous cruises. I booked two pre-cruise hotels from priceline.com. We live ten hours away from Miami so we opted to travel to Orlando and visit Downtown Disney. We stayed at the Doubletree By Hilton Orlando At Seaworld. What almost turned me off to priceline was when I called the hotel to request a non-smoking room, the operator told me that I had to call priceline for my requests. I did, and the priceline operator said that if I wished to specify a non-smoking room, that I should have used their regular online price instead of the name your price option. I let it go and decided to do just but with another online travel service. When we arrived at the hotel however, the nice gentleman at reception asked me if I had requested a smoking room and two beds. I said, no that I would prefer nonsmoking and one bed. And that is what we got! We paid $75 for a truly beautiful room. That night, we went to a wonderful burlesque comedy dinner show called Treasure Tavern. The food was good and the show was great! We then went to Downtown Disney where we window shopped and listened to outdoor entertainment. The next morning we drove to Fort Lauderdale to stay at our next pricelined hotel, Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort. The only thing that I was looking for in Fort Lauderdale was an affordable hotel on the beach. We paid $99 for this hotel. It was older hence the cheap price. The hotel rooms need serious updating and the bed was very uncomfortable but the hotel fit my needs to be on the beach so that I could look for shells. I fail to mention that I had to pay parking for both hotels but I think that is par for course nowadays. We got up the next morning and drove the short way to the Port of Miami. We arrived around 10:30 and parked in the parking garages at the port. It is worth it to me to have my car right there at the port when I get off the ship. But for that privilege, it costs us $20 a day. I will say that the Port of Miami is easier to get into than Port Everglades. At Port Everglades, you had to show your boarding passes before you even permitted entry into the port. At the Port of Miami, we just drove in. We purchased FTTF and boarded right after the wedding parties and all the Carnival Priority Clubs. We were in our rooms by 11:45. We were there so early, we didn't need the FTTF to get on early but it was nice to get to our cabins and put down our things! Our luggage was delivered early that afternoon. The Carnival Liberty is a beautiful ship that has been well maintained. After all the sedate cruises on MSC and Princess, the decor did come off as a little more festive and bright. We had a 4J cabin on the Empress Deck. I had researched to find the quietest deck, and we were not disappointed. The 4J cabin is an interior cabin that features a picture window with no view but plenty of light. We loved it! I never travel without a scopolamine patch so if there was any motion because of the location of this cabin, I did not feel it at all. My husband who rarely get sicks, did not feel any motion either. We had the best sweet lady who was our room attendant. I cannot remember her name (sorry!) but she was simply the best. She always met us with a greeting and a smile on her face. The food is truly a blur. I don't know how anyone could go hungry aboard the Carnival Liberty. There were so many different options for meals. We tried them all and always found something to love! We had Your Time Dining. I almost didn't try this because I heard about the very close dining of tables for 2's, the impersonal service, the wait time and the slow wait service. We didn't find any of that to be true. Well . . . except for the tables for 2 . . . they were close but I didn't feel like they were that close. When you check in for Your Time Dining in the beautiful Golden Olympian, you are asked for your room number which generates your name. The wait staff uses your name the entire service. We never had the same wait service but we found all to be genuine, friendly and helpful. We found Your Time Dining to be a pleasant experience. We went to all the shows. I found these shows to be better than most of the cruises than we had been on before. I thought that the cruise director, Karl, the entertainment team, singers, and dancers to be fun and energetic. The theater is truly spectacular with great seating! My husband and I don't drink but we never felt bothered by the waiters. We were asked once wherever we went, and then, never again. Picture folks were everywhere, but again, we didn't feel bothered. We snorkeled at all of our ports. We always carry our own snorkel equipment (masks, fins, and snorkel vests) and always book excursions before we leave home. In Cozumel, we booked an excursion with CozumelH20 that was cancelled because of high winds. We went on to snorkel Dzul-Ha Reef at Money Bar. This excursion cost us a taxi ride plus our drinks and snacks. I always love the crystal clear pictures that we get at Dzul-Ha, however, you must watch out for the currents. In Belize, we booked Sun Kissed Goffs Caye Beach Break & Snorkeling Excursion through Island Marketing. This is one excursion that I wished that I had booked through Carnival. It took 30 minutes to tender to Belize, then 30 minutes to tender to Goff's Caye, then another 30 back to Belize, and then 30 to tender back to the Liberty. If I had booked through Carnival, we would have tendered directly to the snorkeling spot from Liberty and then, directly back to the Liberty. Goff's Caye is not available through Carnival, but I think that there would have been one that I liked as well as this one. When we got to Goff's Caye which is very beautiful, my husband and I decided not to snorkel due to the dangerous conditions caused by the high winds. The staff from this excursion were friendly and helpful, but I do wish that we had taken another excursion. In Roatan, we booked the Bananarama Beach Package for $35 each. This package included taxi to and from the cruise port, a beach chair, and a welcome drink. We snorkeled the beautiful reef at West Bay and took many pictures of coral and fish. This is the second time that we have used this excursion. I also walked to the right of Bananarama for about a quarter of mile and found Karma Jewelry. Karma Jewelry is owned by Miss Karla who makes beautiful handmade silver jewelry. I purchased a beautiful sunburst pendant. In Grand Cayman, we booked Fat Fish Adventures for a four-stop jet ski tour. Ryan was the best tour guide! He took us to swim with the sting rays, took our pictures with the sting rays, took us snorkeling at the prettiest live reef that I can remember in recent history, took us to find star fish, and then took us through the mangroves. Ryan let us take us much time as we wanted at each of these spots! I still can't get over how beautiful the reef was! I highly recommend this tour! The FTTF that we purchased was worth the price alone when we had to tender in Belize and Grand Cayman. It also served well when we ready to disembark. We were the first off the ship and through customs in no time at all. We will be cruising with Carnival again because of the friendly staff, good food, great shows, and beautiful ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Just briefly, this is a hard working vacation to get to see as much as one can when leaving the ship. We used several private tours companies which gave us the advantage of having a smaller van, our own group, guide, driver but at half ... Read More
Just briefly, this is a hard working vacation to get to see as much as one can when leaving the ship. We used several private tours companies which gave us the advantage of having a smaller van, our own group, guide, driver but at half the cost. For Beijing and Shanghai we used Beijing Tours, S. Korea Novaland and Taiwan, Have Fun Travel. All were waiting for us when we got off the ship and came back when we wanted to. The Asian style lunches were fit for emperors although some of our taste buds did not appreciate all choices. It was exciting and an adventure. We were surprised at how much we all said we would revisit S. Korea. The people are great and there is so much to see. As for the Millenium,it is a tired ship, but fine. It's missing the glitz and glamor of the other ships. But something is right on board. First, embarkation in Hong Kong was a nightmare. We were all lined up for 3 hours without a drink, cookie or kind words. This did not put us in a good mood. Next, the waiters did not give us their pampering, like other ships until I complained to the front desk. No one noticed that meals were uneaten or seemed to care if we liked it. At the end, they plates were then carried away. I wonder if by prepaying tips, they know they don't have to try. Anyway, it was a wonderful time with great friends and good memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Embarcation started smoothly at San Diego Airport. Celebrity met us and directed us to buses and our bags were taken to trucks. I asked the representative if we needed our paperwork i.e. set & sail pass and was told no just needed ... Read More
Embarcation started smoothly at San Diego Airport. Celebrity met us and directed us to buses and our bags were taken to trucks. I asked the representative if we needed our paperwork i.e. set & sail pass and was told no just needed credit card and passport, which I found out was wrong after getting bussed to a Sheraton hotel for processing along with thousands of other passengers. At the processing it was by room class so even being elite we end up in a 45 minute waiting line and then have a new girl with a lap top that never seemed to work take another 30 minutes to reenter everything I had entered online including swiping my credit card over 40 times before it seemed to be approved. (the next day I was summoned to pursor when to redo it all again). Then we massed together in a mob of 200 to run for box lunches and the buses to be transported to Ensenada and to go through immigration. Three hours later at 6 pm we boarded. Our bags arrived at 10 pm after open seating dinner at 8:30. Of course almost all entertainment was either delayed or rescheduled I guess since mostly we never found out until too late and were too exhausted to do much but hit the sack after getting notice we would have to through immigration again the next day in San Diego to get off the ship. The next day we waited for the ok to go ashore, finally after no announcements we were down to deck 4 and found lines with hundreds of people who like us received no announcement. After wasting all this time half of our time ashore was gone so just went to the USS Midway museum nearby (which was great)grabbed a soda and headed back to the ship.So we had wasted the better part of two days, everything we wanted to go like the welcome party and meet and greet was either cancelled or rescheduled and we missed them. As for the ship it was nice, clean and very concerned with sanitation as they had some prior norovirus problems I was told. The room steward Ronald and his assistant were exceptional, it seemed they were always working, but always willing to answer questions or be of service. The food in the MDR was very good though it seems the number options has dropped and only 4 or 5 entrees. We dined in the Tuscan Grille which was good in parts; my filet was great, my spouses blackend ribeye was tough and chewy sent back and replaced by one even worse. Desserts were pretty but bland. The buffet was very good particularly in the Morning for eggs, omelets and pancakes. The coffee bars and restaurants on 4 and 5 very good. The main problem with the cruise was there never seemed to be a place that wasn't jammed. All of the public areas near both elevator shafts always seemed full. Both floors of the library , the team earth floor, the internet room,the card room, the lounges, the bars, the guest services, excursions, everywhere you looked it was packed( atleast from 6 am to 10pm). Partly this was due to cool weather no one used the open air pool areas, bars, or lawn areas even the solarium was usually empty. And consequently the elevators were always running and waits were long. The other factor was it seemed everyone on board was 65 or older, active but not ones to partake of strenous activity or cool weather. We were told there were 600 Elite cruisers, but it seemed everyone I met was, and if not Elite they were Suite or Concierge Class.We have another cruise booked with Celebrity in the fall on the Summit going to Quebec from New Jersey which with 123 program and cooler weather looked to have the same clientel and weather which I probably will cancel after having been on this cruise. This wasn't a bad cruise it started very poorly and was very disorganized (like everyone was new to their jobs)but the crew seemed overwhelmed and proccupied. We will cruise with Celebrity again as it was our favorite line but we certainly will think a lot more about it Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We took our first Grand Circle river cruise this spring (2013), on the M/S River Rhapsody, and I want to voice a few cautionary notes, to help people decide whether this cruise is for them. But first the strong positives. (1) The staff ... Read More
We took our first Grand Circle river cruise this spring (2013), on the M/S River Rhapsody, and I want to voice a few cautionary notes, to help people decide whether this cruise is for them. But first the strong positives. (1) The staff are uniformly competent and helpful. As just one example: my wife and I were each sick for a couple days. During those periods every employee seemed to know of the problems, and asked if there was anything they could do to help. The head of the dining room had special (very mild) meals prepared for my wife. (It was almost with reluctance I left the room on these occasions--I had to repeatedly decline offers of assistance.) Not once did we encounter any attitude other than an earnest desire to help. (2) This attitude extends to excursions off the ship. The Program Directors (PDs) led people onto the trams (streetcars), led them off, and continually operated on the assumption the passengers were inexperienced and needed assistance. It was a very safe and protective environment. (3) The accommodations were comfortable and the food was excellent. (A trifle ornate for my taste, but, if my worst problem is five-course dinners, life is pretty good!) However, here are some factors you may find worth considering. 1. There is a lack of "diversity". For example; our last land tour was with Trafalgar and we enjoyed the company of passengers from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Canada and England. The passengers on this GC cruise are all from the US. (A fellow passenger who travels with a friend from Canada said she had to forward Grand Circle information to the friend--Grand Circle would not even mail literature outside the US.) The result is (in my opinion) a far less diverse or cosmopolitan social setting. During one meal, for example, the conversation focused on the difference in winter weather between west Texas and east Texas. [Also, do not expect meals as in a restaurant. There are no tables for two--when you eat you socialize.] 2. This tour was advertised as featuring "walking over uneven surfaces" and people were warned the PDs could modify participation or even send travelers home if individual limitations impacted the group's experience. Yet our group (which was comparable to others--35-45 people with one PD) were mostly in their 70s or 80s, with several people in their 90s. Some people used canes; one a walker, others were very hunched over. (My wife and I are in our early 60s; our choice was to offer to help the stragglers or ignore their struggles.) I trust you can envision the speed with which this large group moved, and the time spent catching up, resting, etc. 3. Perhaps our expectation of experiencing the culture of the areas we traveled was unrealistic, because--since all tours were with our group and all meals were provided--we only ate and socialized with our other passengers. Basically, we found ourselves in a cocoon of US people protectively following the PD's flag to see and be described the sights. 4. The tour literature indicated we would have internet service, although it might not always work when we were cruising. This is an optimistic exaggeration. Even when there was a connection (at some of the stops, and occasionally when traveling) I found it only accessible late at night or when other passengers were on a tour or at a meal. (Apparently having many people trying to access it during "free time" overloads the system. Someone also lamented that many people now had "smart phones" that automatically accessed any available network for various "apps"--weather, news, etc. And forget Skype or any program that requires a faster connection.) I happened to need access at least every couple days; my repeated requests for advice on how to obtain that access finally led to the crew advising me to walk into town and find a McDonalds. (Apparently all McDonalds in Europe now have free wi-fi.) Do not plan on having regular internet access. 5. Room idiosyncrasies. Our lamp lights were 8 watt fluorescent and the ceiling light had three 40 watt bulbs; not quite bright enough for me to read by, unless it was sunny. There is a reading light inside the pull-down beds, but, if you are unwilling to limit yourself to reading only while opening up the bed and lying down, bring or buy more powerful bulbs (240v, standard screw-in sockets). Also, we booked a cabin with a balcony. Turns out those are on deck 4 (Serenade deck), which is the corridor between the dining room and lounge. If regular traffic and loud conversation outside your door (especially when people line up for the dining room to open) bothers you, don't select this deck. Also, one has to go to the lounge or Sun deck to hear the intercom with a PD's description of the sights we're cruising by, so we didn't use our balcony much. [Note if anyone from GC reads this: it would also be nice if there was music available in the cabins--we didn't really care about European sports or showing one movie over and over.] This tour had mostly repeat customers of GC, indicative that many people enjoy this level of attention, and the cloistered environment and slow pace. If you are in this category, I highly recommend this tour. However, as I'm sure GC will agree, this tour is not for everyone, and there are other reputable companies out there. I encourage you to compare. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We never thought we could would sail on a ship with such high standards,but when I saw this on the nett ,we jumped at the oppotunity,the first thing that brightend up our face ,on boarding the ship was that it was playing Christmas ... Read More
We never thought we could would sail on a ship with such high standards,but when I saw this on the nett ,we jumped at the oppotunity,the first thing that brightend up our face ,on boarding the ship was that it was playing Christmas Carols,now this was two full weeks before Christmas,on doing the same cruise last year over the actual Christmas on the Princess boats, there were no christmas Carols , and not even the words Christmas,somehow . It was as if all the staff had been sent to charm school, wonderfull wonderfull people,Entertainment was supurb,,as were the beautifull inside cabins , much nicer than any to date,the main dining room, was out of this world,only a few minor things to be criticule about,such as no laundry,and not being allowed to use an iron,with a phermo stat . having an Australian chef on board, we would have expected him to be able to cook Baramundi , and Australian delight,probably the best fish downunder,sadly this applied to all of the fish,perhaps being broiled was not the best way to cook such fish, other than that, it was as good if not better than the Princess,boats,would be good if they forget to send the couple of Princess boats,to the northern hemiphere. that are down here visiting,Got so near to being in the elete catorgory,but thats now on hold,untill thay improve. We have now booked on the Celebrity Eclips next June,to Saint Pettersburg,a lttle rich for us,but its our 50th wedding aniversery,and time to live a little.We have been told if we like the Solstice, we will Love the Eclips.regards to all yoyr readers Turbs,all the ports in Newzealand are great, we have cruise the same ports 3 years running on 3 different ships Read Less
Sail Date December 2012

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