1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. Singles Cruises
  4. Singles Cruises Cruise Reviews

2,579 Singles Cruise Reviews

If you want to be treated like a criminal, discriminated against and be at risk of burning to death on the open seas, MSC is the cruise line for you! My issues started even before the cruise. As a solo traveller, and a gay man, I ... Read More
If you want to be treated like a criminal, discriminated against and be at risk of burning to death on the open seas, MSC is the cruise line for you! My issues started even before the cruise. As a solo traveller, and a gay man, I emailed MSC asking if they would hold an LGBT drinks event on the cruise, as nearly every other cruise line does. The email response did not address my question, so I rang MSC here in Australia and spoke with someone who promised to inquire and to email me back before leaving for my trip to Europe. She never did reply, and once on the cruise I realised she was likely ordered not to or simply too embarrassed by what the response would be. But this was not the only issue I had. There are so many that I'll separate them: 1) Luggage misplaced. After several hours, neither of my two bags had been delivered to my cabin. I went to the buffet and just happened to come down by the aft staircase and saw one of my bags outside of someone else's cabin (other end of my floor). 2) Being treated like a criminal. The second bag, containing my best clothes/suits/shoes and such had still not appeared so I stood in line at guest services to be told it can take some time and I should call back at 4:30 if still not received. I was obviously anxious about it given that my other bag had been left elsewhere and worried about the fact it contained very expensive clothes, not to mention I'd left my housekeys in there. At about 6 p.m. still no bag so I stood in line again. Good news! My bag had been located. But they marched me down to security, where I was interrogated by two large security guards who accused me of having smuggled a knife on board in my bag and demanded I open it. I told them that was ridiculous. That very morning I'd actually thrown out some scissors I use to trim my beard when I travel when I read in the boarding documents that even scissors aren't allowed to be brought on board. I opened my bag and took out all of my clothes. They had mistaken my housekeys for a knife, but duly searched the bag and of course there was no knife. I didn't receive an apology and they tried to blame the French port authority staff who had (supposedly) placed a sticker on the bag indicating the presence of a knife. I think this was likely a lie since there was no such sticker on the bag. I complained to guest services about my treatment and had a meeting with the manager (more on that below). Another passenger (an American) I met on board had also had a similar experience. 3) At the meeting with the guest services manager, she was very nice and apologetic. She asked me what they could do to resolve the situation. I told her I did not want anything, apart from a letter signed by a senior officer of the ship apologising for this incident so I would know that it had been taken seriously and I suggested that rather than dragging innocent passengers down to security in such a case they simply look in suspect bags to make sure that what is supposedly inside is indeed inside. She claimed she'd send that feedback on to head office. I asked if it was a legal issue they couldn't simply examine the bags themselves and she confirmed that it was instead simply MSC's policy, but she'd see if that could be changed given my experience. I then mentioned that they had also not replied to my inquiries about organising LGBT drinks and asked if they could do that and she said she'd speak to the Cruise Director and let me know. I explained that nearly every cruise line offers such a service and that as a solo traveller it's a nice way to have a chance to make friends on the ship. They did send me a bottle of Italian sparkling wine and a plate of six unappetising-looking pastries along with a generic printed card thanking me for my feedback; however, I had specifically told her I didn't want any free stuff and that I wanted an apology, so I sent them back. 4) No surprise, they refused to hold any LGBT drinks. The guest services manager I had dealt with previously even claimed it would be discriminatory against non-LGBT people to have 'special' drinks for LGBT people (despite the fact there were other private events onboard including some religious group) and, bizarrely, she also claimed that it could not be discrimination because MSC (supposedly) hosts LGBT drinks on sailings from the US. Which is it then? Their concession was to host a 'single cruise' drink event open to everyone, LGBT or not, but not identified as LGBT so other LGBT people would think to go to them. I of course did not attend as I was not looking to meet single travellers; I was looking to meet other LGBT people simply to socialise. You can't just walk up to people and ask if they're gay, even if you suspect they might be, and ask if they want to hang out. Talk about clueless! 5) The morning after leaving Morocco,, I went to the cafeteria on Deck 13 for breakfast. No sooner had I sat down than I smelled a very strong odour of burning toast. But I was not having a stroke! No, instead I noticed smoke billowing out of a toaster mere feet away. There was a table with an old couple between me and the aisle in front of the counter with the toaster. The attendant looked unconcerned and walked away. I sat there is shock and disbelief. Over the next two minutes at least four, possibly five, other ship's staff walked past this toaster (which was full on smoking by now), including a guy in engineer's overalls. After a very short time, a French-speaking lady nearby got up and ran to the counter to try to get someone's attention. The attendant had come back and then, being told the toaster was nearly on fire, she sauntered away again. The old couple got up and left and I pulled out my phone to take a video of the smoking toaster. That's when a dining room manager finally ran over to the toaster and the attendant returned with someone else. This could easily have been a fire. The next day, there was an announcement in the daily program asking passengers to pull the fire alarm or make staff aware if there was a fire (which, of course, the French lady did before I even could). Apparently, their staff can't be bothered to do so themselves; it's up to the passengers. I noted, while sitting in shock at the table, that the smoke was only a few feet from the nearest smoke detector, which did not go off -- leading me to wonder if it actually even worked. 6) The food was generally of poor quality relative to other ships. It was like cafeteria food, even in the dining room (with a couple of exceptions). The portions are also tiny, which at least makes it less likely you'll gain weight on the cruise. But you have to wonder how an Italian cruise line can't even make decent pizza or pasta. And all of the food from the buffet is cold, even the food that's supposed to be hot. 7) I chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary and one of the things I was most looking forward to was taking an excursion to Granada from Malaga as I've always wanted to go to the Alhambra Palace and it seemed a convenient way to go there. But, despite MSC's website taking my booking for Granada, I found out the day before arriving in Malaga that we were not in port for long enough to complete that excursion and therefore my trip was cancelled. Of course, no one proactively told me this. I had to inquire at the excursion desk about why I hadn't received a voucher for the excursion to be told this. 8) The casino allows smoking so if, like me, you are bothered by smoke then it is a no-go zone. 9) Although they apparently think that LGBT events are somehow inappropriate, it seems that sexist entertainment is perfectly fine. The second-last show included a 'Can Can' dance at the end of which the women's near-bare bottoms are smacked by the male performers. This might be troubling enough, but what was really shocking was that the entire front row of the theatre was occupied by the children's group who were brought along to the show. The kids, ranging from I'd say 3 to about 11, were often seen about the ship together with a couple of kids' counsellors. Apparently for MSC, showing adult-themed, sexualised performances to kids is okay as long as it's heterosexual, but printing the phrase LGBT Drinks in their daily program is inappropriate/offensive (or if the guest services manager is to be believed, it's offensive in Europe, but not in the U.S.). 10) Bring your own hand sanitiser as the dispensers are routinely empty. I'd say that I managed to sanitise my hands about 25 percent of the time on entering the restaurants/buffet. The rest of the time, the dispensers were empty. I'm sure I'm still missing something, but that's probably enough to give you the idea. If I can say one nice thing about the cruise, apart from the destinations themselves, it would be that there are a few nice staff on board and especially the staff at the Il Grappolo d'Oro wine bar, which also offers appetisers from 6 p.m. on that are, frankly, the best food you'll find on the ship. If you are unlucky enough to travel on the Poesia, then make sure to go there each day as there's not much else worth eating on board and the staff there were lovely. Also, the shore excursions were excellent (even if the staff at the shore excursion desk on the ship were not), but as MSC is at pains to point out the shore excursions are not affiliated with MSC Cruises! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Had issues on day one and they just haunted my girlfriend and I throughout our trip. A paid for drink package, that we had ample proof of.( email from NCL and our itemized reservation.) Couldn’t get it on our room card at the check in, ... Read More
Had issues on day one and they just haunted my girlfriend and I throughout our trip. A paid for drink package, that we had ample proof of.( email from NCL and our itemized reservation.) Couldn’t get it on our room card at the check in, computer issues were blamed and we were told to see Guest Services once onboard the ship. Here’s where it starts to unravel, gentleman we dealt with was virtually a recording. He disputed the email, from NCL Sr. VP Passenger Services. As our itemized reservation wasn’t enough proof of our claims. Finally after having all his ridiculous and vague questions answered, we got the “We can do nothing on the ship, it must come from the office” on a loop from him. Literally his response to us for the next 5 minutes. We decide to purchase the package AGAIN to avoid paying exorbitant prices for beverages on our vacation. After wasting 4 hours waiting to hear from “The Office”. We head back to Guest Services and miraculously our package was already on our reservation! A Christmas miracle! The attendant asked us why we purchased onboard, a package we already had... we had to tell the ridiculous story for a third time since check in at port. We thought the worst was behind us and we began to enjoy our vacation. Until we were greeted by some of the worst bar staff I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think they served me what I ordered until the third different bar we visited. The language barrier was ridiculous for any guest service position. It’s very frustrating to get blank stares and “ok sure” after simple questions. 2 different areas we visited failed to open at posted hours. The response we were given was, “It open when it open” in the worst broken accent you can think up. All in all, there were some great crew members who salvaged my vacation. However, they’re far outnumbered by staff who are either poorly trained or just don’t care. That’s a good overview of the negatives, I’d like to touch now on some of the positives. We found the food offerings truly awesome, dinners were fantastic, the buffet was wonderful! Our room was quite spacious and had a great view. The people watching on a 4 day “booze cruise” is some of the best entertainment you’ll find aboard. Great stirrup cay is just Ok in my opinion. It’s crowded and was like any other weekend at the beach. This was my first cruise and my GF’s fourth. Neither of us want to get back on the sun! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My first River Cruise and while I always thought this was for the old, not with AMA Waterways. I have cruised many ocean voyages but thought I would try this. I was so happy I did that I cannot wait to see where I want AMA to take me ... Read More
My first River Cruise and while I always thought this was for the old, not with AMA Waterways. I have cruised many ocean voyages but thought I would try this. I was so happy I did that I cannot wait to see where I want AMA to take me again. No lines, no pushing or waiting. When we arrived at the time requested, we were the only people there, they took our luggage and walked us from the dock right to our room. Our room was beautiful we did have a balcony and even in the month of November we used it multiple times a day. What I loved was you had a choice of excursions, this was included in the price, wine/beer choices with all meals, included. The service and meals were amazing. No one trying to sell you something, or loud announcements . The stops were great, we chose the walking tours, you could bike through Europe if you choose or even hike through the Black Forest. The tours ran smooth and it was wonderful, you were greeted when you cam back with some beverages and warm towels. I know many want to know about night life, well there was some, you were able to talk with your fellow cruisers and they had music. While there is no casino, water slides or skating rinks on board. The social time with people was great. The ship was absolutely beautiful. The service , I even had 2 massages and my hair done with very reasonable pricing (much more affordable than the large cruise lines) I know that some River Cruise Companies are not the same, do not compare this with some of the other companies that may Market themselves. AMA Waterways is the best river cruise company out there. You will not regret it. I cannot wait to book again. Thank You AMA!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Ship is wonderful. The cabins are small but enough. The dining was extremely good. I can't say something about the excursions, because i was on tour with a broken arm and it was to dangerous for me to make excursions. So I was ... Read More
The Ship is wonderful. The cabins are small but enough. The dining was extremely good. I can't say something about the excursions, because i was on tour with a broken arm and it was to dangerous for me to make excursions. So I was only on the ship. The excursions were to expensive for my opinion because they are short. The service was really good. I think I will do this tour again next year. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The cleaning was very good. The tour manager gave very interesting informations. The daily information about the tour is excellent. The landscape is wonderful, the weather was extremely good for November and the sea was not raff. I enyoued the tour very much and would do it again. I bought a very good book on bord about the tour. It was expensive but this is ok. So I can read all about the history of Norway and the tour. Sorry, my englisch is not so good. I hope you know what I mean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I've done 2 Viking river cruises and was pleased. Ocean cruise was a disappointment. Billing mistakes on their part through days after disembarkment. I take 3 to 4 cruises a years and have never had so many accounting problems that ... Read More
I've done 2 Viking river cruises and was pleased. Ocean cruise was a disappointment. Billing mistakes on their part through days after disembarkment. I take 3 to 4 cruises a years and have never had so many accounting problems that they continually tried to blame me for before finally fixing their mistakes.. Entertainment was virtually nonexistent or what little there was happened during dinnertime. Will not do another Viking cruise. Very little daytime activities if you didn't do an excursion. Included excursions consisted of a side around an island. Not enough cultural experiences. Cabin was new and clean but storage left a lot to be desired for two women sharing a cabin. Cabin steward was one of the best I've experienced. Viking claims to be upscale but I don't agree with that assessment at all. Other premium lines beat them by a mile. Dining was average except for the Italian rwstaurant. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise because I was excited that we would be at port most days and I really wanted to visit Santorini, Greece. Unfortunately, we were notified the day before we set sail that the itinerary had been changed and we would not ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was excited that we would be at port most days and I really wanted to visit Santorini, Greece. Unfortunately, we were notified the day before we set sail that the itinerary had been changed and we would not be going to Santorini after all. They offered us $100 compensation per state room. They had also removed a stop to Montenegro and had shortened 5 of our other stops. I was informed by management that we had lost an engine and were running at half speed which is what caused the changed in the itinerary. Suddenly, we were spending significant time on the ship rather than exploring the Mediterranean. I tried to make the best of it. The staff were all very friendly and helpful which did help ease my disappointment. We upgraded to include 5 nights of specialty dining. This was good as the food in the main dining rooms was fine, at times good, but at times the food was not hot and often very salty. Each day we were at sea I looked for entertainment on the ship. This left something to be desired for a middle aged person such as myself. I wasn't interested in Bingo or the art auctions. The classes offered almost always felt like they were trying to sell you something on the ship. The live music was all mostly classic rock and easy listening. There's only so much drinking I really care to do and it was too cold for the pool. This left me fairly bored most days. They had some decent shows at night and I checked out the night club and karaoke once or twice. I'm not sorry I went as I made some good friends along the way and got to see some great places. However, I will not be cruising with Norwegian again which sends people out on a busted ship and then does not compensate properly for changes they make. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We sailed the Epic for the first time. It was our third Norwegian cruise. We had sailed the Escape in 2018 and this is also a big ship, but I don't think it was at full capacity. The Epic had 4,100 people on board. The elevators ... Read More
We sailed the Epic for the first time. It was our third Norwegian cruise. We had sailed the Escape in 2018 and this is also a big ship, but I don't think it was at full capacity. The Epic had 4,100 people on board. The elevators were always crowded. It was difficult to find a seat in the Garden Cafe for breakfast or lunch. Our balcony stateroom was too narrow with only room for one person to stand or walk at a time. There were not enough hangers or drawer space for our clothes and shoes. Even though our stateroom was mid ship we constantly walked back and forth to the different venues and I was getting pains in my right leg from too much walking. The TV only had one English channel, which constantly played "Glass" and I did not like this movie. The only reason we booked this cruise was to go to Valleta, Malta and they substituted Athens and we had been to Athens at least twice. We were extremely disappointed and it was all downhill from there. There was always a very long line at Guest Relations and we spent a lot of time standing in line. We had a $150 credit and it could not be used for tips so we decided to buy a photo package from the photo gallery. We are processing a claim against Norwegian and the photo gallery for charging us VAT tax of $41.00 on a $250.00 photo package. We have cruised in the Mediterranean with Norwegian and other cruise lines before and have never been charged VAT for photos. The photo gallery would not give us a slip for VAT which we could have processed to get reimbursed for this expense as American citizens. The two complimentary restaurants where you could make a reservation had the same menu. It was difficult to find a place to sit if you did not have a reservation and had to wait for a table. The casino was mid ship and you often had to pass through this area where there was a lot of smoke to get to restaurants or shows. I have asthma and this was not good for me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cabin was as expected. Steward very nice and considerate. Room service prompt, food good delivery cost of $8 for 24 hr. Service was reasonable. Did not want to spend a great amount of money as i am recently widowed and was trying to watch ... Read More
Cabin was as expected. Steward very nice and considerate. Room service prompt, food good delivery cost of $8 for 24 hr. Service was reasonable. Did not want to spend a great amount of money as i am recently widowed and was trying to watch my costs. I have so much more i could say like i was abandoned in rome, had to pay taxi 200euros to drive me to the port as fast as possible (he made a 2 hr drive in 90 min.) ship was still in dock, but would not let me board. I sat in taxi and cried as i watched norwegian epic pull out. had to find a hotel for the night and learn how to navigate the train to ships next port, livorno. 2 hr. Wait for train, 4 hr train ride. Finally arrived, but missed excursion to florence and pisa. Cruise line is a money sucking outfit everytime you turn around. have all kinds of policies they don't tell you about. notices on booklet regarding mini-bar costs not covered by drink package in book provided are written so are so small that even with a pair of +250 magnification eyeglasses i just happened to have with me that were my husband's, i could barely read the print. I only realized this after checking my on board charges. Guest services, excursion refund request person walked away when i lost my temper trying to get credit for trips i missed because of rome debacle. i stood and waited until he finally returned and said he would help since i had calmed down. required a doctor's report and receipt another policy previously not known) which i had only because after rome-livorno 24 hour trauma, awoke with extreme anxiety attack at 3:00 am and could not see doctor until 6:00 p.m. That night (15 hours of anxiety attack with no medication to take). medical center only open daily from 6:00 pm -7:30 p.m. and before they will see you, they make it clear it will cost $149 plus costs of meds. By the time i arrived i was almost ready to collapse. Blood pressure was 172/109 by then. others in line before me but nurse took one look at me and took me first. Medical center staff very knowledgeable and efficient. hours are ridiculous and need to be expanded though for cases of extreme need. Charge of $15 per day per person added automatically to your bill for gratuities. however, maybe i missed something but found out later that this did not cover bar service, spa, (or restaurant service)? television is just one big infomercial to sell you on onboard. lots of movies for $9.95 rental. They never tell you that there are actually free channels to watch sports, movies, and the bbc for news. I found out about those from another passenger 5 days into the trip. I would say stay away from the spa unless you want to pay out 1/3 of your next social security check. i made the mistake of opting for the additional free 25 extra minutes only good on the day of embarkation. the massage was excellent, so no complaints there, except the total price was $181, plus $187 for product which i never used and left in the cabin because it was not returnable. i was continually pushed to buy the spa package for either $239 or $269 which i kept trying to turn down. I was told it included the hot tub which was the only hot tub on the ship. not so! two free hot tubs were on the pool deck. I looked again to make sure, and there they were. I don't like being lied to or high pressured into something. I had another spa appointment made for me which i later tried to cancel. i was told that if i cancelled, i would be charged 1/2 of the price of the service scheduled (over $100). if i would re-schedule, i would then only pay for the $200+ cost of the wrap. I declined, became agitated and told them i would not re-schedule. they tried and tried to get me to. i finally said to charge the +$100 to my account which was better than spending another $100 and hung up. I was never advised of this "policy" prior to the attempt to cancel. The massage therapist called back and said she would not charge me the cancellation fee-guess it was clear i was upset. now to the onboard credit services. Another surprise 'policy". tried to obtain euros necessary to take a scheduled excursion the next day. was told by guest services i would have to return next morning to credit person. 6:am returned to be told policy was to provide euros of only 100 per day per stateroom. I required 210 by the excursion group that was leaving that morning. Without the euros i could not go. The gentleman who had been in front of me told her i was saying the same thing he was trying to tell her. She curtly turned to him and told him he had already been assisted and she was now assisting "this guest". She insisted she could only give me 100 euros. Needless to say i threw another "hissy-fit". the woman behind me stepped forward with documentation of what the gentleman and i were telling her. she said she would have to talk to her boss to see if she could make an exception to the policy. Finally she had to fill out forms for the exception but gave us the necessary euros. Such major hassles everytime you turned around. i could continue this with stories told to me by several other passengers, but i think you get the idea. I will never, ever, sail with norwegian again. I have cruised with 4 other cruise lines over the years, but never have been milked for money, or treated so disrespectful. i will post this info on my facebook, trip advisor and genius. on two separate occasions i had made serious plans to get off the ship, go to the nearest international airport and come home. that's how bad it was. Do not cruise with norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the second week of BtoB cruise for us. We enjoyed the nightlife, from the theater performances to the performances which took place in the Atrium. Our dining room steward Naveen and his assistant, Yaned gave excellent service and ... Read More
This was the second week of BtoB cruise for us. We enjoyed the nightlife, from the theater performances to the performances which took place in the Atrium. Our dining room steward Naveen and his assistant, Yaned gave excellent service and provided reccommendations from the menu which were delicious! At the breakfast service in the Seashore dining room, I was able to select dishes, poached eggs and turkey sausage for example, for my breakfast which were not available at the buffet. Receiving hot food along with excellent service made the beginning of each day a delightful experience. Our accessible stateroom was roomy and allowed us to reposition the beds to meet my mobility needs. The staff assistance during disembarkation & embarkation at the various ports was tremendous, patience with my slow pace was never an issue. Best places for after dinner entertainment are the Seaview bar and the Haven. Enrichment activities were good fun as well as entertaining, I enjoyed the staff's costumes; their enthusiasm and energy level was amazing. One observation-the women's public washroom beside the buffet on deck 8 appears to be too small as I experienced having to wait to use the women's accessible bathroom. This was the only washroom area where I encountered frequently the misuse of the washroom facilities by able-bodied women. We did not purchase any shore excursions. The special rate offered for laundry when staying onboard for more than 7 days is not well advertised, which for us created a confusing situation and required visiting guests services to clarify the matter to our satisfaction. Overall, I would cruise again with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I am a Canadian senior, and though I am an experienced traveler and have spent a lot of leisure time in foreign countries, mainly one place in Mexico, I had never taken a cruise. Price was a consideration, and my cousin (a travel agent) ... Read More
I am a Canadian senior, and though I am an experienced traveler and have spent a lot of leisure time in foreign countries, mainly one place in Mexico, I had never taken a cruise. Price was a consideration, and my cousin (a travel agent) got me what I feel was a relatively good deal on a week-long cruise to the western Caribbean, especially since I was travelling alone. The ship was relatively new, and very large, like a 17-storey-floating hotel. Right from the start (the transfer from the plane to the boat), I felt like an oddity in that I seemed to be the only person travelling alone. It was emphasized when basically no one showed up for any of the daily "Single and Solo Traveler Get-togethers" announced in the daily activities calendar. I did have four other passengers at my assigned dinner table, which meant I at least had people to have supper with. But all my other meals were eaten alone. I spent a lot of time wandering around observing life on a cruise ship, and found it quite interesting. I conversed with a lot of staff, and they were by and large quite friendly, though of course they had limited time to talk. I found a lounge (the Seaview Lounge) which had my hometown newspaper to read (every day!), and also a good jazz group in the evening, so I spent a lot of time there. I got to know the staff, and the band members, and that proved to be one of the best parts of my trip. Besides the one band I liked, I found the rest of the entertainment on board to be less interesting than I expected. The nightly stage shows had fabulous costumes, and a lot of energy, but there was a sameness to the shows, and the quality of the talent and production was at times disappointing. And other music on the ship was often either recorded, or live persons accompanied by recorded music (I guess to save money on a full band). The Adult Improv group was funny, but I think a bit more vulgar than they had to be. One of the highlights of the week was "70s night". Lots of people were in costume (quite entertaining) and the entertainment staff did an excellent job getting the packed Atrium dancing and singing along... till all hours of the night. See the photo - dancer featured is a member of the staff. I am not a dining connoisseur, and was very happy with the food in the dining room and at the buffets. There were some scrumptious dishes, but I could see how some people might find some of the fare to be sort of ordinary. My cabin was very well appointed, and kept immaculate. I had brought a nite-lite for the bathroom (so I didn't have to turn on the main light in the middle of the night), and that worked well. The bed was quite comfortable (firm). The only things that could have been better: the shower could have been a touch bigger, and have better soap/shampoo (I brought my own so it didn't factor in), and the closet sliding door didn't fully open, so it was awkward to get clothes in and out of. I had read a lot of critical reviews of the ship before my cruise, but found that either the ship had corrected the problems (e.g. slow disembarkation), or were from people who were overly unreceptive to the diversity and different style of the ship. I found the MSC Seaside a fascinating world, and I would have had a much better time if I had other friends on board, and if the weather had been nicer.. I was sad to leave. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This Cruise was to experience Fiji & its different areas without me actually flying there, staying for a week or two & realising I was not enjoying the destination chosen. Eg Suva I would not visit again, Dravini Island was ... Read More
This Cruise was to experience Fiji & its different areas without me actually flying there, staying for a week or two & realising I was not enjoying the destination chosen. Eg Suva I would not visit again, Dravini Island was absolutely lovely, Nadi had nice hot weather, Savusavu & Loutouka also lovely ports to enjoy with awesome weather & places to visit. Vanuatu is always a favourite. Lovely people. The Princess Cruise line was very enjoyable. The bed & pillow were total comfort. Food, food, food. If anyone complains about the food, maybe their standards & expectations are rather high, although this is only my 2nd cruise. Such a variety & abundance of food, available 24/7. Staff onboard are all lovely. Passenger/staff ratio is very good. 3000 passengers v 1000 staff. Age group of cruise....Not many children at all. Majority of ages I would guess 55-85. The older age group were able bodied, meaning very few walkers or wheelchairs. Mostly couples travelling. Would highly recommend this cruise. The month of travel was extremely appropriate too. Not stifling hot & no storms or rain (except Suva but it rains everyday anyway). Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was my first river cruise and a solos cruise with 64 singles, although some friends booked together. The boat was stunning and lower cabin was very comfortable and quiet. L'Ocitane toiletries, towelling robe and slippers, ... Read More
This was my first river cruise and a solos cruise with 64 singles, although some friends booked together. The boat was stunning and lower cabin was very comfortable and quiet. L'Ocitane toiletries, towelling robe and slippers, satellite tv and double bed to myself. Of course, no time spent in the cabin because fellow travellers and the rest of the ship is so inviting. Big windows, lovely lounge and well stocked bar made the communal areas easy to spend time in. It rained all week but didn't stop the fun. The cruise goes through many locks which are staggering and the river meanders through picturesque scenery. Sun deck has a small pool and about 3 of us managed a dip in November! There is also a small exercise room with treadmill, weights and a bike. Spa was virtually fully booked with amazing massages. Highlights were definitely the excursions, very different visits and the spectacular visit to Salamanca. Always enough time to see things with very well organised and friendly tour guides and free time to wander. Joined the cruise at Oporto which is a fascinating place to see. Of course, lots of Port wine and tastings. The food on board was delicious, varied and to a very high standard. Too many good dishes to mention and wine and drinks very reasonable. I'm glad I didn't book the drinks package because from what I understood, it was only available at meal times and not in the bar. Lighter lunch is served in the lounge and tea and coffee available from the hot drinks station all day. Water bottles provided and fountain to top up. I was so relaxed the minute I got on board. The crew were brilliant and the advice and information from the cruise director was just enough and not boring. This was one of the best holidays I've had and other passengers, some elderly were up and dancing most nights, no shortage of good company. It was my birthday on the trip and a bottle of Prosseco in my cabin with a card made it special. Can't fault this cruise and I am very fussy. I took a book to read and never opened it. If I had one minor suggestion, it would be that the gift shop on the ship is very limited to fairly expensive buys rather than useful things. Take comfortable walking shoes and in autumn, raincoat and don't forget the swimsuit! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe ... Read More
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe it had a leak at sometime and hadn’t been cleaned properly. My friend had gone through some lung issues just before the cruise so the second day he was sick it. So they moved us to new cabin. So now the new cabin had no hot water for four days Then the fifth day no cold water just scalding hot both sides. So after talking among passengers and crew that this was problems throughout much of the ship . Then the ship was just of dry dock and were also experiencing HVAC problems. We talked with several people among the staff and after several meetings with staff was offered compensation but was kept silent to the passengers and the ones I talked to were offered much less to nothing basically saying that if said nothing then that’s wat you or you if didn’t stay on their ads you got a much smaller competition. Not on a different topic entrainment what they had was ok but you could tell they didn’t budget much for entertainment. There was never a band of any kind poolside or around during the day. But I guess that didn’t make too much a splash poolside as we only had about half or time with the pool in service. On the positive side the food was spectacular and the wait staff was equally as good Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise to time the Arctic Circle crossing with my birthday and I wanted to see the Northern Lights. I chose Hurtigruten after online research and would definitely travel with Hurtigruten again. The ship was incredibly ... Read More
I chose this cruise to time the Arctic Circle crossing with my birthday and I wanted to see the Northern Lights. I chose Hurtigruten after online research and would definitely travel with Hurtigruten again. The ship was incredibly comfortable and clean, the staff were very friendly and helpful and all spoke excellent English. The Expedition team were knowledgeable and very experienced in their roles, making the trip all the more enjoyable ams informative. The excursions were great, a wide variety of things to do, from hikes to bus trips to special events such as dogsledding and Viking feasts. As the ships are working ferries as well, it meant we all had little times to explore in many towns and ports on the route. The Northern Lights made an appearance on several nights and we even managed to get a sight of the mysterious Trollfjord. I do need to go back to see all the things I missed on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
After reading some reviews on this site i was apprehensive about the cruise, but soon realized, that people complaining about this cruise are crazy! My Solo Cabin was very comfortable, and had more space than i expected! The Solo ... Read More
After reading some reviews on this site i was apprehensive about the cruise, but soon realized, that people complaining about this cruise are crazy! My Solo Cabin was very comfortable, and had more space than i expected! The Solo Lounge is a great place to relax, and make new friends. It was always stocked with refreshments and basic breakfast food. I didn't think i would - but i loved every meal from the buffet at the Garden Cafe, and never had a problem with seating. I Loved the breakfast options at Taste and tried to have breakfast there often, but on excursion days i ate breakfast at O'Sheehan's and it was great too! My dining package covered meals at Moderno, Cagneys, Teppanyaki and La Cuchina. I enjoyed all my meals at these restaurants but the Brazilian food at Moderno was by far my favourite! Just too many options to choose from and I couldn't find enough time to try out all the other dining options on offer! The shows i enjoyed the most were Pricilla and Burn the floor! Each and every staff member i came in contact with was friendly and attentive! I had the time of my Life! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Jumped on the Crown at the last minute when the price plummeted and when we realized we had 10 open days before the holidays begin. Our last 4 cruises had been on newer and larger ships, so we lowered our expectations on several fronts. ... Read More
Jumped on the Crown at the last minute when the price plummeted and when we realized we had 10 open days before the holidays begin. Our last 4 cruises had been on newer and larger ships, so we lowered our expectations on several fronts. The positives: Nice size balcony, friendly and excellent service, good MDR experience, anytime dining was prompt with small wait times, good promenade deck, very little selling pressure, and Princess did a nice job on moving folks on and off the ship. The less positive: There are still plenty of kinks with the medallion usage, entertainment was average and not plentiful, buffet never seemed to have enough lines open or enough seating, and buffet selection was hit and miss. The ship has some wear and tear, but given the age of the ship, it was in good shape. We docked promptly at ports and sailed out right on time. For beach enthusiasts, there were excellent reasonable beach choices at every port. Breezes at each port helped make the beach days good. Princess Cay is in excellent condition. Overall, good value, good ports and a relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). However, this sailing I was celebrating a milestone of my own as this was my 47th cruise overall and my accomplishment was hitting a full year of my life at sea! Other cruise lines I’ve sailed on are Norwegian Cruise Line (Platinum Plus with over 25 cruises), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and lastly a couple of times on Carnival. My reviews are typically written in chronological order so you can follow along with when things occurred and what my thoughts on them were. At the end there’s a summary and thank you to staff who stood out. I hope you enjoy! Day 1 – Embarkation Day – New York City After the first cruise to sail from NYC had a bad embarkation, I was happy I wasn’t arriving to Manhattan until Noon on the bus I took down from Boston. Upon arrival to the pier, the porters quickly took our luggage and with a decent tip ($2 per bag), our bags were gone and down the conveyer belt in no time! We entered the terminal and encountered a fairly long security line at 12:30PM. When I had my documents out, the lady pulled me aside and told me to go into another line which was not snaked. I did so and we were at security in no time. The check in counters didn’t have any lines at all. I was taken straight away and we were on the ship by 12:45PM. It was pretty seamless! We embarked the Meraviglia from the front of the ship and walked down the indoor Promenade with the giant LED screen, the largest at sea! It was impressive, although some of the shows watching them looking straight up later in the cruise would make me get dizzy. To best view them, go to deck 7 by the spa and look the long way down the promenade. Helpful Tip: We registered our credit cards at the onboard kiosk on Deck 6 by the elevators mid-ship. There are two types of machines to register your room card with. One takes cash and credit cards, the other one takes credit cards only and is smaller. The cash machine had so many people fiddling with them, I just wanted the card machine and this was located on Deck 6 starboard side. We went to lunch at the Market Place Buffet up on Deck 15. The buffet is quite lengthy. Each side has the same type of sections. In the front on the port side is the pizza station which serves pizza pretty much ALL the time (breakfast pizzas, and a changing variety throughout the rest of the day). There’s a pasta, salad, rotisserie, sweets and wellness sections. On port and starboard side there was ethnic sections which largely consisted of Mexican / Spanish foods throughout our voyage. In the back of the buffet (most didn’t walk that far), there was a stir fry section which was really good. During the voyage, on port days, the back section of the buffet was closed. We grabbed a plate of food and sat on the outside deck overlooking the Hudson River. It was overcast but not too chilly to enjoy a lunch out there. While eating lunch, I connected to the ship’s WiFi and loaded the MSC for Me app. This app is quite handy in booking reservations for all the shows and seeing what’s on. It also has a chat functionality which you can use to stay connected to new found friends on the ship. It was the first cruise where I used the chat functionality and it worked quite well. The app also gives you guidance on where things are in the ship and how to get to them. I strongly urge you to download this prior to the voyage so you can take full advantage of what’s on offer and waste minimal time at the touch screens scattered throughout the ship. After lunch, it was announced the staterooms were ready. We proceeded to our stateroom and the luggage was already there! This was quite impressive given how short of a time it was. The rooms were ready at 2PM. Stateroom 9218: This is a Fantastica balcony stateroom. If you don’t know what Fantastica is, it’s a tier level of room you book on MSC ships where you get certain amenities – main among them is room service. This stateroom was located starboard side on the mid-ship bump out and it was the second to last room heading aft in the mid-ship bump out. MSC seems to have a standard stateroom format as the room looked exactly the same as Seaside. The closet was small and didn’t have enough hangars (we remembered and brought our own). There is two cubbies and two drawers on the right side of the closet with the safe in the middle. There’s also another cubby on the floor of the closet on the right side. The bathroom consisted of a shower with glass door, very deep sink (love the sink design on MSC) and a counter which extends down the wall for storage. There are three shelves in the bathroom. The stateroom was in physically good condition upon initial inspection. It quickly became apparent due to the ship’s configuration with the bump out, we must’ve been on the end of the vacuum line with our neighbors being the last. The toilet was very picky so you had to flush it constantly. We had to get it fixed twice during the voyage. The refrigerator was good at cooling items such as the water containers we brought. There’s a desk drawer under the counter top, it’s quite big and another helpful place to store stuff. The light to the left of the beds was constantly flickering during the voyage. I never used it but when the evening turn down was done, it would flicker. I don’t know if it was an electrical issue or what not. I did not report it. Now this part is important, when the ship was at sea and we had some rough sea conditions due to passing cold fronts, the room was constantly creaking! For a ship as new as this, I couldn’t believe the amount of noise the room made. It wasn’t anything the ship could do to fix it as it was the room itself. I still slept but when you were in the room, you could hear it with the ship’s movement. If you’re a light sleeper, book another room and probably not on the bump out. Of more important note, the room did NOT have any Kleenex / tissues. We asked for a box and were told the ship does not provide them, only to Yacht Club guests. Some guests on the previous voyage (where an illness had started to break out) were given them who were not YC guests. This would later come back to bite MSC big time. If you’re going to be an Eco Ship, why not get rid of bottled water but instead tissues? I’m still scratching my head over this one. After unpacking, we headed down to the dining room to change our dining time. We requested the early seating but when we said early – we didn’t mean 5:15PM. I don’t know why MSC doesn’t allow a person to pick slots in first, second and third order so that if you booked an experience, they could work best to accommodate you. Having fixed dining times is inherently lazy of cruise lines anyway! It’s the one thing on MSC that I do not like. The restaurant manager switched us from Waves at 5:15PM to 6PM in Panorama. Panorama is a really beautiful restaurant aft on the ship. However, what I didn’t realize is when he switched us, we went to a table share with two other couples. Thankfully they turned out to be quite lovely people when tables around us had some really odd pairings with people swapping out. This process took us over 1 hour to do so if you don’t like your dining time, change it first thing when you get on because the people pile up and you don’t want to spend your first day of holiday waiting. At 5PM as we wasted so much time getting the table and time changed, it was the compulsory emergency drill. Our muster station was in the casino (oddly it was on Seaside as well). We arrived early to get a seat for mom and waited and waited. People were not attending the drill like they were required to. Finally, it started and it was over in the blink of an eye. They only demonstrated how to put the life jacket on. The rest was found on the stateroom TVs which was clear during the voyage people did not watch (throwing cigarettes and other items overboard, smoking on the balconies, etc.). Fellow Passengers: There was truly an international mix of passengers on the ship. I became friends with people from Germany, Holland, Canada, Austria and Greece! What unsettled me was the group of people MSC used to fill the ship closer to sailing. I booked fairly last minute (8 weeks out) and thought wow, the ship is still fairly open. However, when they discounted the prices even lower around 3 weeks out, the passenger make up got really interesting both posting online beforehand and on the ship. The Cruise Director joked about it not being a Carnival ship one night in the theater, well I guess he never visited the nightclub. Those folks causing issues were the scum the low pricing MSC did brought onboard, amazingly and not shockingly… all Americans. Before you say how rude, I’m American but I do have a sense of propriety and class. I understand everyone is on holiday but save your offensive shirts, surly (perhaps drunk) comments, feeling up your fellow (perhaps drunk) cruisers for your stateroom or better yet… don’t cruise if you can’t act correctly in public. Most of the latter stuff was in the nightclub. Cruisers also didn’t seem to practice good hygiene either leading to a massive spread of a sinus and upper respiratory bug throughout the ship. Cough etiquette goes a long way. Coughing into your elbow is great way to stop the spread of germs, but most just chose to cough on everyone else. The lack of tissues made the spread of germs on all surfaces even better. Way to go MSC on that one! I will give credit to MSC for trying to make the situation right during the voyage. I truly appreciated the guest services hospitality when my concerns were addressed. It was dinner time in Panorama and the first night menu resembled a similar one to NCL with the vegetable spring rolls. I had the lamb t-bone. The spring rolls were great. The lamb t-bone was incredibly small so I asked for a second portion. Lino, our head waiter, delivered it without issue. Lino and Frederick in Panorama offered great service throughout the cruise. Frederick was very attentive and constantly filling my water glass. The food was way too salty and it just made me thirsty incessantly. Frederick would have to refill my water glass up to five times during the dinner service! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot We booked the 8PM showtime for the ventriloquist. I realize there’s an international audience on the ship so he would say somethings in English and I believe the other parts were Spanish. However, the little character was not really amusing and he was hitting on female passengers and calling other male passengers ugly. It was entertainment but not the kind I experienced on Seaside. I know Meraviglia had to add entertainment to the ship as they only had 7 production shows but this guy was not very entertaining overall. After the long day of traveling and getting up early, after the show I showered and relaxed. It was at this time that we discovered the room service menu’s inadequacies. I remember having room service on the Seaside and not having any issues finding something to eat. This cruise I was up in the buffet for breakfast more than I had anything from room service. Mom found items but it was challenging as she doesn’t like chocolate (and most of the menu was chocolate items) and can’t have dairy. Other entertainment going on the first night was a welcome party from the cruise staff around 10:45PM in the Promenade and the disco with the DJ after 11PM. DAY 2: At Sea The weather was still chilly outside and the seas were kicked up. Cold fronts coming off the USA East Coast would cause issues during various days of the cruise. Today was the Cruise Critic gathering and the ship did it nicely with cocktails being served at 10AM and little bites to eat. This time they let the passengers mingle a bit before they introduced the officers and presented us with a cake. It was a very nice touch and I got to make some great cruise friends along the way! It was today I discovered the Gym on Deck 16 mid-ship and wanted to do a workout since the weather wasn’t warm enough for it. The gym was packed solid and hideously small for a ship this size. Some of the cardio equipment was broken further compounding the crowded feel of the place. I went for a walk around the walking track with mom that goes around mid-ship to aft on Deck 16 to get some steps for the day. While doing the walking track, it’s single file so where possible I walked outside to the right of it to talk with mom. Runners were coming along on the other lane or just running everywhere and not staying in their lane. When you got to the aft section of the Horizon Pool where the track loops around on the Starboard side, you go right through a smoking area! How dumb!! If you’re trying to workout, why on Earth would you want to inhale smoke?! After an early lunch, I decided to go to the gym and finally found a spot to work out on the mat. I did have to work in for one of the two benches near the free weights. Very few guests were sanitizing equipment after use so I did before each usage. The side room which could be a good stretching area, was locked as it had the spin cycles in them. An aerobics room was missing on this ship since they used the basketball/soccer court for those classes. You couldn’t take a mat down there to stretch though! After a brief nap, I went to the single / solo cruisers gathering. It was there that I met two wonderful ladies at the bar who introduced me to some of the bar staff they knew from a previous voyage. All the bartenders and wait staff in the Sky Lounge were really friendly, helpful and out-going. It would become a good place for a pre-club drink or to pass time between activities. It was the first formal night of the cruise and I had the beef tournedos. The meat was cooked to order and very well presented but the sauce was way too salty. I didn’t have time for dessert as the ship had scheduled the LGBT gathering at 6:30PM in the Sky Lounge and I wanted to attend. Both the LGBT and the singles were unhosted events and unlike the Seaside – occurred every night of the cruise from night 2 onward at the Sky Lounge. Since we booked the 9:30PM show because I was unsure whether or not the LGBT gathering would run late or not, mom and I went to the Sportsplex which included the arcade, bowling, F1 simulators and the flight simulators. I purchased the Fun Pass pre-cruise for $100 for what I thought was unlimited usage of the entire complex, it turned out, it wasn’t unlimited but that’s not too much of a worry after the weather finally moderated. Of note, the bowling only had one functional lane meaning you had to arrange an appointment to use it. The 4D Cinema was intense. I played all three of the interactive movies with the skeletons in the mine one being the gentlest of them all. It’s quite an intense experience. The arcade has minimal games for a ship this size: 1 competing motorcycle game, Star Wars Game, shooting game (which didn’t seem to be working during the voyage much) and a demolition style sit down race car game. Turned out I was really good at destroying opponents in this game! The arcade would be a good place to pass time in between moments in the evening hours where entertainment gaps existed. I would highly recommend the Fun Pass at $100. The 4D Cinema is $10 per person, bowling is $25 for a half hour play, F1 was also expensive. One bad weather day and you could easily hit the $100! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: One Day More It was the first production show of the cruise, featuring Broadway hits like Singing in the Rain, Cats, Les Miserables. The productions make extensive use of LED walls for graphics saving tons of space for props and endless costume changes back stage. The production cast tonight was great, the opera singers were more overpowering of their cohort singers in group numbers but I knew they’d both be shining stars during opera night later in the cruise! I would definitely recommend catching this show on the ship! Tonight, was the first night I went to the Attic Club disco on the ship. It was here that I discovered one of the two DJs from the Seaside was onboard (and he wasn’t the better one from Seaside – DJ Tony). At the bar in the nightclub was a younger guy with his head down sleeping, apparently passed out. Security went over to check on him and let him stay there but he put his head back down. Eventually he ordered two Red Bull and was much more awake but only caffeinated. It was a good night out but most hung outside at the Horizon Bar to smoke on the starboard side. With the crosswinds, it would waft across the deck into the non-smoking area making it impossible to get air. The Attic Club was insanely hot as the ship still had the heat on from the colder cruises. I retired shortly around 1AM. DAY 3: At Sea It’s October 30th and the ship began coming alive with Halloween decorations. The culinary team in the buffet carved pumpkins yesterday all day in the kitchen they make the fresh mozzarella in and today they setup a display of them with fake candles. The display was just as you entered the Marketplace Buffet. Also, in the Meraviglia Lounge, they had pumpkins carved on the tables there and the whole bar was even more decorated than the previous day. Actually, the whole Promenade on Deck 6 was alive with Halloween items, including some scary looking man who was later used for photos by the ship’s photography team. The weather was not cooperating so well so the Fun Pass was used to play some bowling, arcade games and 4D Cinema before heading back to rest for the afternoon. The temperature outside was finally starting to moderate a bit but the weather was still overcast with occasional rain showers. We also found a nice place to go for a walk downstairs away from the smokers. It was on Deck 7 forward and was a horseshoe from port side to starboard side through the front tunnel in the ship from one bump out section to the other. It’s by the life rafts and was a good place to go to not be in the direct sunlight as well. There are NO deck chairs on this deck, it was strictly used for walking purposes only and it’s not very well advertised. Crew do a lot of work out on this deck so parts may be shut off as well. Today, the ship delivered strawberries and prosecco to the room as part of the Diamond status Voyager’s Club welcome back gift. Prior to sailing, make sure to status match with your other cruise line’s loyalty club status. On NCL I’m Platinum Plus which makes me Diamond on MSC. Just before dinner it was announced Cirque du Soleil’s scheduled performance of Viaggio was cancelled due to the rough sea conditions. I was scheduled to attend the 9:30PM showing. It would become practically a routine to visit the scheduling guy at the Carousel Lounge to get the shows rescheduled this cruise. Why would you ever build a show lounge at the aft of a ship for a Cirque performance? The least amount of movement is mid-ship! Tonight, after switching the dining time around, the birthday cake showed up to the Panorama restaurant for mom. The first night it was delivered to the Waves Restaurant because we were scheduled to be there but the second night I left early before it could be served. It became a running joke this cruise because the travel agent also bought a cake for my mom’s birthday so there were TWO cakes floating around the ship! The section host, William, did a splendid job of tracking them all down and getting them arranged though! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Born to Rock The second production show of the cruise with the production cast was mom’s favorite. She loves rock music and loved all the tunes. They had Tina Turner and many other rock legends. The production was pretty solid with full usage of LED panels and several wardrobe changes by all. Less group singing in this production so it made it a lot smoother. A definite must catch show! THEME NIGHT: Country and Western Night MSC has several theme nights on their American sailings or so it would seem (some appeared on the Seaside as well). The first theme night was Country and Western. I don’t particularly like country music but I was interested to see what they would do. The cruise staff dressed in Western attire and danced to the same line dance songs you’d hear most other places with a few country dance tunes thrown in for good measure. The overhead LED panels in the promenade had different graphics displaying throughout the event. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show This was an adult’s only improv comedy show. It started slow and just died. It wasn’t too funny and when it took too long to setup the next act, most people, including myself walked out. I felt bad for them but with a more engaging party (Country Night) going on just feet away, I felt my time could be better used to watch people have fun than those four TRYING to be funny. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Black Light Party Cirque du Soleil might’ve been cancelled but the Carousel Lounge was still open for usage. I loved the Carousel Lounge as a nightclub. Yes, the bar had a significant shortage of various types of alcohol requiring you to walk to the casino bar to get your drink but the lighting system and sound systems in there were FAR superior to the Attic Club. It also was much better climate controlled. It was sad the Neon party only lasted one hour before they closed it down at 12:30AM and sent us up to the Attic Club. DAY 4: At Sea – Happy Halloween MSC Meraviglia Finally, a good morning to go sunning on the pool deck after breakfast! I went up for a little while before returning to the room to join my mom at the Welcome Back Cocktail reception on the Promenade Deck 6 for all Voyager’s Club member. The event was attended by all senior staff on the ship with little snacks and drinks being served, including non-alcoholic ones. The best part was the production cast came through and did a song and dance number for us after the captain came by to say some remarks and toast. There was also a history presentation on the LED ceiling. It was very well done and probably the best welcome back party I’ve attended on any cruise line to date! After a buffet lunch, it was time to hit the gym. While most folks were out on the pool deck or worked out earlier, I could find a corner to do my ab workout and didn’t have to battle nearly as many people for the equipment. Dinner tonight was ribs and an Asian Salad. The salad was good. I asked for a double order of the ribs and still felt hungry. I didn’t order more because of the showtime and needing to get to the theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot Yes, this ventriloquist came back with a new show dubbed to be full of surprises and laughs. Some of it mirrored the first show and there were new elements. The female he selected from the audience clearly didn’t want to do it and looked like she could’ve punched him at any time. I was sitting in the back and her unwillingness was palpable from there! It was a show to see but again, if he’s on, take a pass on it. THEME NIGHT: Halloween Several cruise guests, largely Americans, dressed up for Halloween. The top 3 were picked by the cruise staff for final voting up on the bridge in the Promenade. I dressed up as Cesar, quite a few vampires around but the winner of the contest was a group of drag Pan Am flight attendants and a pilot. I’ve never had my picture taken by so many cruisers before! A ship’s photographer named Veronica (I think) also snagged me for a photo shoot and she did some amazing poses. She was having a ton of fun with it! I don’t customarily buy ship photos but I did from her shoot. She’s got a good eye! Music tonight was by DJ Fabiano and the LED ceiling was on fire with creative and spooky graphics. I’ve done 3 Halloween parties at sea and this was by far the best one yet! Bravo Meraviglia entertainment team! The after party was up in the Attic Club and Horizon Pool Bar at midnight but since I was getting up to go ashore tomorrow, I went up for a bit and went to bed. Cirque du Soleil was cancelled again tonight, although it was the SONOR show I was scheduled to see. It was again due to the ship swaying in the sea conditions (high winds). DAY 5: Land Ho! ST MAARTEN After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship and in a taxi with other guests to head to Maho Beach. I was heading to Cupecoy Beach, a LGBT friendly beach on the island. It cost me $30 for the trip for myself one way. When we arrived at Maho Beach, the beach was underwater and the sand had gone up over the wall and a bus got stuck causing a traffic jam. This should’ve been my clue to get out but I didn’t. I went to Cupecoy anyway and the beach conditions were similar. The beach was underwater due to the tides and high seas. I stayed and sunned myself on the rocks until some other cruisers from the ship arrived. We walked the different inlets from above and admired the views. I split the van on the way back with the other guys from the ship. It took us one hour to get back to the ship because the traffic was so bad. Mom spent the day walking around Philipsburg, St Maarten and finding tissues. She wasn’t sick at this point but the only option available at the time was to use toilet paper to clean out your nose when you awakened in the morning. This was very silly to her (and eventually to me too when I saw what a lack of it was doing to the ship) so she sought out tissues and made that her day ashore. She was successful. You knew it was starting to get bad on the ship because a hand sanitizer lady appeared in the entry way to the Marketplace Buffet. She wasn’t there until this day. When I arrived back onboard and synced by phone back to the Meraviglia Wi-Fi, the restaurant reservation was gone showing what time we were supposed to have Teppanyaki. My mom reserved the Teppanyaki for me to celebrate a career advancement. SPECIALTY DINING: Kaito Teppanyaki This specialty restaurant is where a cook prepares a meal in front of you using a grill and puts on a show. The price varies depending on what meal you select. I had the Samurai meal which was 7 courses and included sushi, salad, soup, tempura, steak, rice and dessert. Mom had the vegetarian version of it with tofu, cucumber rolls (versus tuna rolls), tempura, salad, soup and dessert. Dominique from the Philippines prepared our meal on the grill and did an excellent job of the show. I asked him if he’d been on NCL doing it as the show was quite similar and he said he actually did work on NCL. If you’ve done Teppanyaki on NCL, this is similar but with more food (courses). Also, during the reservation process, the lady asked my mom if I was celebrating anything and she put it in the computer. To my surprise, during dessert time, the Kaito crew came out with a congratulations cake and sang a modified happy birthday congratulations song to me! I wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard… my mom’s payback for the birthday cake for her earlier on I presumed! It was a great meal with excellent service. I would bump into the waitstaff in the mornings up in the buffet and they’d always greet me by name. Impressive! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Antonio Versini: A world of Hands I figured this would be the standard magicians show with sleight of hand magic tricks and such. It actually was that and a whole lot more. He put up this projection light on the starboard side and this circle screen in the back and started doing impressions with his hands of animals, singers while songs were playing and morphed them all together. It was quite impressive and unique as I’d not seen anything like this before at sea. THEME PARTY: White Party A signature event on MSC seems to be their White Party. It’s simple, you wear white and dance the night away. It was the first night a party was held at the Atmosphere Pool outside. It was high energy once the line dance songs ended that accompanied most theme nights on the voyage. We had some good EDM tunes before the party shut down at midnight and moved to the Horizon Pool and Bar on Deck 16 / 18 aft. I stayed up until 1AM enjoying the fun before heading to bed. DJ Fabiano was spinning the after party. At the bar, one of the late bookers was drunk and loudly complaining about how crappy the music was. He was a complete buzzkill for anyone near him at the Horizon Bar. DAY 6: FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE We called on Fort-de-France, Martinique and when the morning started it was sunny and I had a leisurely buffet breakfast. I was joined by another solo from New York who hopped on last minute. She was very pleasant and we chatted for a bit. By the time I got off the ship, the sky had changed and storms were coming. The local dancers were out and performing tunes for photo ops. We decided to head to the museum we couldn’t see the last time we were there because it was Sunday. This time it was Saturday and the museum still closed because it was a holiday weekend for them (All Saints Day). The problem with going to the other side of town was the sky opened up and it down poured. Everyone ran for cover; my very large umbrella was no match for the deluge of rain that came. I ducked into an open shop. It was at this time we began to realize most of the city was closed! After getting soaked, it was time to head back to the ship and change. We decided on a leisurely lunch in the Panorama Dining Room. It was leisurely alright; it took 1.5 hours to get our lunch service and it largely seemed because the waitstaff didn’t want any other people to sit in their section again. We never dined in Panorama for lunch again after this one experience. In the PM, I returned to the gym and did a workout waiting for the sun to come out and then watched as the new guests embarked. The cruise was split into two segments to try and get more of it sold. We had a lot of new faces but sadly the sick ones were still around coughing everywhere. I continued to use my avoidance precautions as best as I could but the buffet was a hot bed of germs. Tonight, seemed to be a Greek themed menu so I stuck with the selection of Greek plates including Zucchini meatballs (Kefeta [sic]), slovaki and a custard pie for dessert. A table mate recommended all the dishes and he was supported by Lino, our head waiter for our table. It was a pretty tasty meal. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Virtual The third production show of the cruise featuring the singers and dancers. The show is with more modern music and features a cast member interacting with a phone which has different apps. Dancers come out as dancing emojis and such. While the costuming was engaging, the show, in my opinion, was the weakest one of all the productions. It just didn’t flow right and seemed wonky as they moved from app to app on an iPhone displayed on the LED screen. THEME NIGHT: Space Party I didn’t know or have anything for this party to wear so I just went as I was. It seemed like a lot of cruisers just showed up because it was on right after the show. It was at 10:15PM in the Promenade. The LED ceiling had different solar system displays and stars showing. It was a nice party with the cruise staff decked out in light up silver wardrobe. The funny part was the party was over at 11PM and they told everyone to check out the after party up at the Horizon Bar. When I went up there along with several other cruise guests, there was no music! Someone messed up this night and left a one-hour gap between the two parties! When the DJ came up, it was music under the stars at the Horizon Bar and not inside at the Attic Club. The lack of music and movement for one hour made me exhausted so I headed to bed shortly after midnight. DAY 7: BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Our arrival was a nail biter for those of us on the starboard side of the ship. We watched as the ship backed into the channel and then come alongside a shipping container vessel (carrying some MSC containers by the way), and then slowly inching back. It was probably the tightest park job I’ve ever seen by a ship. We had to use this section of the pier because it was Sunday and the trolley trains wouldn’t be working. It was truly a sight to behold and nice work by the shore pilot and the bridge crew for an awesome docking without hitting anything (cargo ship or pier)! It was Sunday so everything was largely closed here. It wasn’t due to the same holiday in Martinique but just a very traditional church-going island. This actually worked in our favor as we decided to head to the Garrison and see if the George Washington House might be open. The ship was doing a tour to it so we figured we would try and the walk was a nice jaunt from the ship. We arrived and found a worker who was doing some clean up and said we could enter for $10USD per person. We did and walked the whole site and when we were leaving, the curator actually had just come back from church to close it up. He opened it before church for the ship’s tour. We lucked out! It was noon so we tried a place close by, one of two that were open for lunch called Brown Sugar Restaurant. It was a buffet lunch for $40 USD per person, since the other food option open was spicy Jamaican, we had to dine here. The service was non-existent. We needed water as the sun had emerged finally and it was a scorcher but the lady seemed to make it a chore to refill the glass even once. The buffet was extensive but not worth the money they were charging. After lunch, we decided to take a taxi back over to the port because it was so hot! The one-way taxi fare cost us $20 USD. Back on the ship, we showered and relaxed. Tonight’s dinner menu was not appetizing. I had the strip steak off the always available menu and it was tough despite requesting it be medium. This was one of two nights where I found the main dining room’s menu seriously disappointing and I’m not a picky person by any means. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Come Il Mare This night featured the Italian opera singers of the Meraviglia. We had heard them in earlier productions but tonight showcased their range. It was a spectacular show. Before the show and the previous night, the cruise director made it a point to say the show wouldn’t be for everyone. It wasn’t for everyone. The interpretations were on the side panels of the words being sung. The problem was the port side panel with the English was partially blocked by the curtain to the stage. I still enjoyed it! An aside: What I found really rude was despite the warning, the folks who had the 8:30 dining time still attended the show and got up and left en masse to their dining room! It was beyond rude given the caliber of the production being put on. MSC needs to put a block on reserving the show times if it overlaps with the person’s scheduled dining times. Folks with late seating need to see the first show only. Folks with the early seating see the second or third shows depending on when they finish. It’s much more respectful to the performers and the audience that way. THEME PARTY: Pirates Party Channel your inner Jack Sparrow mate and come along on the promenade for a fun-filled night at sea! I had a pirate shirt with me after learning of this theme on the Seaside the year prior. It was well-received by the staff who were surprised anyone had anything to go along! It was a typical night of line dances. However, when the party ended at 11PM this time around, I knew there would be a one-hour gap between music so I went straight to bed. DAY 8: GRENADA MSC SHORE EXCURSION: Spices and Rainforest Despite having been on so many cruises, sometimes I do go to someplace new. Today was the day to explore Grenada using a ship’s excursion because I didn’t know the island. I always take an organized tour the first time to a place and then go on my own the second time after I have my bearings. With that said, do NOT take this tour if you’re prone to motion sickness. The roads in Grenada are tight with lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. I got was getting car sick in the back and trying to get some fresh air. The AC in the tour van wasn’t working effectively and the hot air plus the lady who was coughing her head off up front was making me feel more nauseous. Finally, at the lake when I almost puked, the driver let me open the back window. I was fine thereafter but we had already stopped at the spice factory and driven well over an hour like this. The spice factory was short but informative with a 20-minute presentation and then time for shopping in the gift shop out front. The next stops were in the mountain at a lake and national park and then the Annendale Falls. The falls were spectacular and I wish I could’ve gone swimming but timing didn’t allow for it. They had cliff divers doing crazy jumps into the water for money. When the tour returned to the ship, I was still queasy. Overall, there were cheaper taxi options available doing a similar tour minus the nutmeg factory. However, no tour will be without the windy, bumpy roads so keep this in mind. We sailed for Curacao at 2PM. I went back and sunned for a bit before catching the Snow Party up on deck. At the pier welcome back show they had today, they had the snow machine out there and it appeared again on the pool deck for fake snow during this party. I live in New England, the last thing I wanted to see was snow – fake or real! Ha but it was a good afternoon party to have poolside and helped pass the time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Butcher’s Cut (Elegant Night) As a Diamond member, you are given a choice of complimentary specialty dining. We chose this restaurant. The sommelier was quite helpful in finding mom a non-alcoholic drink she could order since the first one she had ordered; the ship didn’t have one of the ingredients. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi and the sommelier delivered it promptly. He was very attentive and so was the specialty restaurant manager who stopped by to say hello. I had the shrimp cocktail, the New York Steak (better quality than main dining room) and cheesecake for dessert. It was a nicely paced meal with great service offered by all. It was a nice evening to have dinner away from Panorama and well done! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Way Yet another production show brought to you by the production cast of the MSC Meraviglia. It was a high energy dance show with some opera thrown in. I sat much closer to the stage than I usually do for this show because it had filled up quite early tonight. The dancers had a soda fountain themed attire and several wardrobe changes. I liked the energy from it and would recommend it. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque du Soleil’s VIAGGIO The production was off to a very slow start. It didn’t seem too engaging. When the jugglers and all the other entertainers got going together, the show ended. It took forever for it to ramp up to something exciting and when it did, it was over in the blink of an eye! Yes, there were people walking on the LED wall sideways and a bike which was being pedaled across the ceiling but this show was not like any other type of Cirque show I’ve seen before. It was my first Cirque du Soleil and frankly, I wasn’t impressed by it. My mother fell asleep because it was boring. Other guests were just as confused as we were when the show ended because it had just started to get good when it did so. Being so short, it meant it had to be high energy the whole way through and instead it seemed like the last 10 minutes were. I would skip this show. I did the drink option for $18 pre-booked online. THEME NIGHT: Gatsby Party The Gatsby Party was taking a step back to the roaring 20s with cruise staff in period costumes. Since I was in Viaggio during most of it, I didn’t hear the actual type of music played but the LED ceiling was still putting on a good show while it was happening. DAY 9: CURACAO We arrived at 1PM. I went up on the sun deck and grabbed some sun before our arrival. I started to feel a bit under the weather today. Mom had started to feel that way at the end of the previous day. By the time we docked at 1PM, I was definitely coming down with something. During the afternoon, mom and I walked over to the Maritime museum and had a look around at the exhibits. The museum was not too far from the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We had a walking tour of historical buildings in Willemstad we did afterward on our own. The ship was offering something similar but we found this walking tour online and it actually explained buildings quite well. We walked around quite extensively before heading back to the ship. Tonight’s main dining room theme was Tropical Night. The menu featured Jamaican jerk chicken and several other Caribbean favorites. It was a good menu, but not perhaps if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. It seemed like the spices weren’t too heavily applied though to the dishes I had but I have a high tolerance for spice. I went back off the ship after dinner since we were in port until 11PM to grab a drink in town with friends. It was a nice night off the ship. Most of the crew were off the ship that worked during the day, the production casts had the night off and were out and about in town. I returned to the ship and skipped the Tropical Latin Party to go to bed. I was exhausted and wanted to try and beat whatever this sinus thing was happening. Thankfully I had bought more tissues! DAY 10: ARUBA Today, mom and I walked around town which was scorching hot as the sun was out! It looked like it was threatening rain but it never materialized. We first went to the National Aruba Archaeological Museum. It was highlighted in a tour book of the island we had bought years earlier. When we arrived, the gentleman said we were in luck as the museum had just reopened during a ceremony the night prior with a new exhibit as well. The cost of admission was FREE. The museum was quite interactive and extensive on the island’s history and archaeological finds. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! The Aruba Historical Museum was also in Oranjestad and it was a five-dollar admission fee. What the gentleman at the ticket booth failed to state was this museum was also under renovations with the exhibits squished in the middle of the floor and largely unlabeled. They were in the process of moving things around. You could climb the fort tower and get a view in both directions. Overall, I would pass on this museum until they’re done their reorganization of exhibits. The island has a few other museums on offer as well and can be found by going to Visit Aruba’s website. We didn’t go to the model train museum as it was too far out of town. However, there was an antiquities museum in town as well. There was a free trolley running very infrequently from the port taking you on a loop around town. It was free as well. This was new since the last time I was in town. The entire port area had been done over nicely. When we returned to the ship, this was the first port where workers were outside squirting you with hand sanitizer besides the girl in the buffet. The gym was largely deserted so after a late lunch, I went there to do a workout and see if I could sweat out whatever this bug was coming on. I took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner. I didn’t write down what was on the menu tonight but it couldn’t have been too memorable as I didn’t take photos of it either. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Life is Magic Now here was a proper magic show with sleight of hand tricks, the sawing in half of the beautiful lady, putting her in a box and escaping and then switching it out for the magician. The show was definitely engaging and used some of the dancers as well to move things along between his wardrobe changes or setting up for the next act. I would recommend this show if it’s still around on the ship for the 7-day itineraries. For the second time, the production of SONOR from Cirque du Soleil was cancelled due to a technical issue. This time it wasn’t due to rough seas. When I went to go and change out the tickets, they were in the midst of a dress rehearsal or something and there were a bunch of technicians standing around. Since this was the second time I had to re-schedule this show, I wasn’t happy. If they had done this rehearsal earlier in the day instead of going ashore (which they did do because I saw them out), the cast would’ve discovered the technical problem and got it fixed in time. I was starting to regret booking any of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the ship. THEME NIGHT: 60s, 70s and 80s Party The cruise staff once again dressed up in their best 70s outfits, mostly bell-bottoms and glistening tops. The party was true to the time frames in questions featuring songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s which were heard at most of the other parties. I didn’t finish the party and went to bed. DAY 11: At Sea The morning consisted of a Welcome Back party for Diamond Card members only on the deck 6 promenade with more drinks and light snacks available. The LED screen did a performance of outer space landing on Earth and then the Captain and the senior officers appeared on the bridge. They seemed to be keeping their distance from the cruise guests as a good portion of the ship was now sick with whatever upper respiratory / sinus bug was going around. In the afternoon after a buffet lunch, I went out to the sun deck and relaxed. They had a King of the Sea show on at 4PM but it seemed like they picked up random people to do it. It wasn’t overly entertaining so I went back to the room to shower and take a nap. Tonight’s dinner was a formal night and the beef tournedos were on the menu again. I ordered a double of them as the meal was good the first time around. The first one was very tender but the second one on the plate was overcooked. I’m not sure how that occurred but the salt from the covering made me thirsty the rest of the night. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Paz This is a production showcasing the Flamenco dance with the art of Picasso on the LED screens behind the dancers and rotating through the audience projections. The lead dancers did an amazing job. The footwork of both of them was so fast and graceful, it was a good show. The artwork itself was enjoyable to see and how they worked it into the show. Definitely a must catch, especially if you like the flamenco dance. MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Cars 3 The ship had run a few shows and music video type productions on the big screen at the pool but tonight was Cars 3. I hadn’t seen it in its entirety with my nephew and was waiting on the silent disco to open so I watched it for a bit until I got to a part I saw and then got a drink and came back. It’s nice they have a movie on the big screen because during the day, the screen is largely used for what’s on at the pool deck with no movies playing. There’s just tables and chairs setup but no food on offer like Princess Cruises does with popcorn and such. The bar is open there if you want to do a walk-up drink order. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Silent Disco The Carousel Lounge once again opened up with a silent disco. Housing three channels, one EDM, one Latin and one old school, there was plenty on offer. It seemed most people were on the first channel which the DJ was actually spinning in real time. The other two were pre-recorded it seemed. You had to check in for the headset and check out for it. The problem was, the bar in the Carousel Lounge didn’t have Grey Goose so I had to exit to get a drink at the bar straight ahead in the casino. You also had to hand over the headset when you had to use the bathroom which was just outside the Carousel Lounge. It seemed a little bit silly if they scanned your cruise card for taking one of the headsets. However, the Carousel Lounge was an amazing venue and it was a fun night. The music continued after the Silent Disco ended up at the Horizon Pool and Bar. I stayed up a bit later to dance to the music before finally crashing to bed around 1:30AM. DAY 12: JAMAICA Now if you’re wondering why we hit Jamaica, it was because on November 4, 2019 after sailing from Grenada it was announced due to operational issues on Ocean Cay, the island was not ready to accept ship visits. As a result, the compensation offered was a $100 onboard credit and a 20% of cruise fare paid to be applied to a future cruise. The compensation offered was astounding for missing a private island. I wasn’t sure they were going to make it there when I saw the photos on Cruise Critic prior to sailing but if we did it would’ve been nice to be one of the first. Turns out three sailings stops were cancelled and now it seems on hold for the next sailings as well. Since we would’ve had 3 sea days instead of 2, MSC decided to have the ship call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica since there was berth space available. When we arrived in Jamaica, we pulled in and looked like we were going to dock at the James Bond pier which was not close to anything but swung a hard left and came around to the other closer pier. We didn’t book anything on this island as we’ve seen what we wanted to see. Mom just wanted to go to the shopping center outside the port area with Margaritaville and to find another box of tissues. The tissue hunt brought us way outside the port with all the harassing taxi drivers trying to sell you tours every 2 feet and then other seedy characters trying to sell you marijuana. Both were out of luck, in MA marijuana is legal. I don’t smoke it but told them it was legal back home so didn’t need it. They didn’t like that response. Ha ha! Soon, those annoying folks are not going to find someone to buy it. One interesting thing to note, while the taxi drivers were all local, a predominant part of the stores we visited in search of tissues were not owned by original islanders. We had noticed this in the last few ports but this was really in your face here. No wonder the locals are not making any money if they can’t even sell their tourist wares. It seemed more desperate than my last visit. I truly was annoyed with the locals pushing stuff at me every couple of feet. I wanted to get back to the ship asap. I really wished MSC had gone somewhere, ANYWHERE but Jamaica like Cayman or Cozumel! Tonight, was Italian Night on the ship. In the main dining room, the menu was Italian themed with meatballs as an app, chicken parmigiana and Osso Bucco on order for mains and a lemoncello-type of dessert. The waiter also brought the second cake for my mom that was ordered by the travel agent. It was a nice touch and they did a whole big thing. The cake said Best Wishes and it was handled by William, the section lead. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Meraviglioso Amor The last of the production shows was the second best for mom (Born to Rock her first) and one of my favorites as well. The production featured hits like Gloria, foreign love songs with familiar lyrics so the person knew what it was no matter what language it was. The dancers and singers came together at the end along with the cruise staff and selected staff from different areas to say goodbye to Italian opera singers singing Time to Say Goodbye. It was a fitting close to a great show and a capstone to the production shows presented throughout the voyage. After the show ended, we hurried down the promenade to the logo shop for the Logo Shop Happy Hour where if you buy 3 things you would get 20% off. I bought a Lego version of the ship for my nephew for Christmas and two magnets to give him of the Doremi character for the refrigerator and trip souvenirs. I was also entered to win a ship figurine signed by the Captain. Since it was 9PM, I stuck around for the drawing. I didn’t win it but it was a good thing I hadn’t because my luggage was already overweight! THEME PARTY: MSC Little Italy The cruise staff were dressed in the colors of Italy but sadly I was exhausted so I went to bed after quickly stopping by. To be in theme, just wear red, white or green or all three! DAY 13: Sea Day The last day on the ship meant doing things I’d said I was going to do the whole cruise and never got around to. After walking a bit in the morning after eating breakfast, mom and I stopped by the Bamboo Pool for a smoothie. The Bamboo Pool had a bunch of delicious smoothies and the MSC for Me app tipped me off to them when they offered a special earlier in the cruise. I did stop by and look at the beverage menu and said I would return. I never did until today. I had the Strawberry concoction with yogurt and it was very nice. Mom sampled a different one without the yogurt in it and hers was a purple color so I’m not sure what was in it. The drinks cost $6.50 each but were pretty decent for the price paid. I spent the rest of the morning catching some sun and returned for lunch to the Marketplace to meet up with mom. After lunch we decided to head to the Photo Shop to pick up the complimentary Mediterranean night photo and find the others. I found the Halloween photos and decided to buy one of them. The embarkation photo didn’t look good so we chucked that. Vanessa who did the photo shoot with the Halloween photos rang us up. I asked her why they had printed all these photos when you can tap the cruise card in the kiosks and print them around the corner. It is so wasteful and you have to jack up the price of the photos to cover all the paper and chemical waste. MSC should have a selection pre-cruise where you choose if you want any photos printed or if you want them done digitally and you can request the print be made if you like it. This would be more environmentally friendly and perhaps the cost savings could mean they’d purchase tissues for the staterooms again! Win win, right?! After finishing up with the photos, I met up with some cruise friends at the Polar Aquapark in the aft part of Deck 19. I had not been up there the whole cruise but wanted to try the water slides. The water slides were a ton of fun. Two of them require an inflatable tube to ride, the other one which shoots you into a bowl doesn’t require a tube. The bowl slide was not as fun as you don’t shoot around it as much and then stop and have to climb out and go down the stairs. There are other water features largely geared towards kids but tons of adults were in the water park having fun too! After the water park, I needed some sun to dry off as I had to finish packing stuff including the bathing suit. The girls who I met were in the Aurea area up front on Deck 19. I wondered what this area was like as it faces the pool deck. It wasn’t relaxing because the music from the pool deck is blasting right at you. It was also a bit windy up there since it was so high up. I went back down to Deck 18 forward behind the screen and a nap. At the last dinner we had an amazing time chatting with our table mates and wishing each other well in our future travels. We also missed the Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show. I wasn’t too saddened by missing it and instead enjoyed the company of our fellow table mates a bit longer. We returned to the room to do the last of the packing and get the bags out of the room. They had to be out by 1AM but ours was out by 9:30PM. We went to bed early because we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:30AM. All Diamond US citizens had to meet at that time and were assigned Lilac 1 luggage tags. DAY 14 – MIAMI, FL, USA I was up at 5:15AM to get ready and the Marketplace Buffet was open at 6AM. When we got upstairs, the Norwegian Breakaway was still in the Miami turning basin. Goodness, what an early start this was! We were in the channel in the early hours of the morning and tied up. The siren they have on the inside of the ship by the bulkhead doors that opens out is so darn loud and ricochets off the buildings it was impossible to sleep with our starboard side facing the pier. This made a long day even longer. We reported to the Carousel Lounge as directed by the information left in our stateroom. You had to vacate your stateroom by 8AM anyway. We noticed none of the luggage tags had been called. This continued for over an hour as we noticed more and more cruisers disappearing from the Carousel Lounge with Lilac tags. We had a noon flight and needed to get off the ship. When 8:30AM came and they said disembarkation had been stopped, I made my move and asked where the actual gang ways were because we needed to get out. The lady told me where they were but disembark had stopped. When it resumed, we were in position and got off. Most of the lilac people had done so as well. There was huge gaps in luggage in the terminal for a luggage color that wasn’t called yet! No wonder the whole disembarkation process was messed up. The line for the non-US citizens inside the terminal was lengthy. All of them needed to be fingerprinted. For US citizens, all they did was snap a photo of the passport with a handheld device and send us on our way. The US citizen line moved faster and those were supposed to be the ones getting off the ship first anyway if people read the instructions! We made it to the airport by 10AM and checked in for our flight home. THOUGHTS ON SHIP DESIGN: The Meraviglia is a ship dubbed for all seasons. Her overall design supports her being a ship for cold weather cruising only. Her top deck is woefully inadequate for the passenger load she has and this will become a problem when the ship commences its Caribbean season. One side of the ship is always shaded from the smokestack back and deck chairs are crammed in every nook and cranny along the walking/jogging track. If you’re looking for a proper sun deck, stick with the MSC Seaside sailing year-round Miami. The ship’s interiors have some really beautiful spaces including the crystal staircases in the atrium. There’s a lot of wasted space on Deck 6 and 7 midship where the entry to the dining rooms and casino / Carousel Lounge are respectively. The gym is a postage stamp and is in dire need of better equipment and expansion. The promenade is great but with all sorts of sales going on and photography setups, it makes passing this area a pinch point every night on the way to the shows. The bathrooms on this ship were always distant from where you were, especially for the nightclub. If you wanted a bathroom that was large enough from the Attic Club, you had to walk down past the kid’s club to the ones by the elevators. The Horizon Pool had a one stall bathroom on Deck 16 but this wasn’t enough to support a mildly packed nightclub. You’d always have to walk a distance to use the bathroom. This didn’t make sense if the goal was alcohol sales! Likewise, for the sun deck, if you are on Deck 18 forward by the solarium roof, you have to come down one deck and go inside across the Bamboo Pool below where you were sunning and into the bathroom there. There didn’t seem like any convenient bathrooms to the Atmosphere pool deck either. You had to go into the Marketplace buffet to go bathroom. I never found it more cumbersome to need a bathroom on any cruise ship than this one! I found this truly odd. The Carousel Lounge is a far superior venue and fully equipped with a lot of audio-visual equipment. I’m surprised only a very small portion of what the equipment was in the lounge was used for Cirque du Soleil. It was evident either the shows were changed in some way to shorten them or to make it easier for the cast. There were projections and a large circular screen which were never deployed during either Viaggio or SONOR. I tend to notice production aspects more and love a good visual show. Sonor used some visuals on the LED wall but not nearly as much as the room was capable of handling. Lastly, the ship’s walking and running tracks are so crammed during warm weather days with sun bathers and people trying to run and walk and just figure out what they’re doing, it would make sense to have walkers use the Deck 7 semi-loop and leave the runners topside. My mom got clipped a few times by runners while staying in her lane. The runners didn’t seem to care or apologize for it either. This ship is not the best for fitness if you’re looking for that. STAFF SHOUT OUT: I always like to recognize staff who went above and beyond to make my holiday memorable. Ahmadi, my stateroom steward for accommodating most special requests (sans tissues) and always greeting me in the hallway no matter the time of day or night when he was working. He got used to our schedule and cleaned our room when we had our dinner. Our dining team of Lino, the main waiter and Frederick, the assistant waiter, were amazing and kept us hydrated and offered us more food if we wanted it. If we wanted more, there was rarely a wait. William who oversaw this team of amazing professionals was also quite attentive and handled a special request to find decaf tea for mom. When coming to the USA, the Meraviglia had to get rid of this nice tea display case which didn’t comply with USCG Vessel Sanitation program inspection criteria. As a result, it was a hunt for various versions of tea. He saw to it mom had her supply! He also oversaw the birthday cake situation and figured out a workable solution! Ryan De Leon in the Sky Lounge and in the nightclub was also amazing. He knew my name and my drink order by heart! Lastly, the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant cook Dominique for a good show and the team who would greet me whenever they saw me in the Marketplace Buffet when they were up there selling the restaurant. Even the guest services staff on this ship were so kind and helpful (unlike Seaside’s guest service staff). I had a repeated issue with the ink on my stateroom keycard rubbing off in the intense heat topside and they replaced it without issue and with a smile. They have the toughest job on the ship constantly getting yelled at! SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a nicely decorated ship. The LED panel is a great way to entertain. The night time cruise staff went out of their way to make the ship enjoyable and make sure everyone was dancing. The crew on the ship were the happiest and most efficient if I had to compare it to the Seaside last October. The crew made the trip. The chef could lay off the salt and I’m not a foodie but if I’m saying it was salty, the food was not as good as the Seaside’s preparation was. I didn’t encounter a rude staff member anywhere on the ship and only had slow service once, in the main dining room during lunch. I know the crew had a chance to get off the ship finally in each of the ports we visited. I think that plus a crew party helped to lift spirits among them. Would I recommend the Meraviglia? For top notch service, yes, I would! Would I sail on the Meraviglia again? I’m not so sure I would. If it were the Caribbean and the Seaside were on offer, I would probably sail Seaside instead. If it is a cold weather cruise, then I would consider Meraviglia again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I joined this cruise because a friend from my past cruise told me about it. My brother joined me on this cruise. It was his first cruise, my third. We both had transfers from and to the airport thru Norwegian. My brother got in 2 hours ... Read More
I joined this cruise because a friend from my past cruise told me about it. My brother joined me on this cruise. It was his first cruise, my third. We both had transfers from and to the airport thru Norwegian. My brother got in 2 hours before me and it took 30 minutes to find the transfer person that would eventually get him to ship 2 hours later. I never found the transfer person at my baggage claim terminal. I wasted an hour and a half asking the info desk where they were, being sent to 2 other terminals, calling and being disconnected from 3 NCL customer services reps, and finally having to take a 50.00 lift ride to the ship. Once we got to the port gate, the port authority guard said they closed the gate at 2:45pm, It was 2:50pm. There were 7 others in front of me and 4 others came after me with the same issue.We all tried to call NCL customer reps, to let them know we weren't being let thru the gate, and all of us got hung up on or disconnected in the process. I ended up calling my brother, who was already onboard, to let the customer service desk on board, that 12 people had been left at the airport by the transfer company. After talking to 4 people, one of the reps got a hold of the port authority guard and they finally cleared us to go thru the gate. No one ever apologized as we went through the check in process. we got on board around 4pm after going through all that mess. Once on board, the cruise went fairly smoothly. The ship, overall, was a beautiful ship. I thought the pool area was poorly designed compared to my 2 other cruises on the Getaway and Breakaway. But I also realize this ship was designed to go to Alaska most of the time, and not to the Mexican Riviera. The dining was great for the most part. A couple people, in our group of 10 to 15 people, had some bad experiences a couple of the nights. The entertainment was pretty good. Jersey Boys and the Beatles put on great shows and the comedians were really good. The ports of call were beautiful, but the excursion variety was lacking for my taste. We did our own thing on 2 of the ports and did one boat sight seeing excursion on Cabo. Not quite as advertised. The service on the ship was excellent, as always. As opposed to the issues getting on the ship, Getting off was the quickest I've seen in my 3 cruises. LAX is possibly the worst airport I have ever flown in or out of. It is a train wreck. The best thing to come from this cruise was all the new friends we made. We met a couple people from my last cruise on day one. within the next 2 days we had a fun group of 10 to 15 people hanging together at different times and places. We always met up in the Solo Lounge at 5pm to get the nights started. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a solo cruise for me. The second day on the ship the solos got together with Patrick from the Cruise Staff leading the meeting. It was nice to look forward to having dinner and company in the main dining room each evening. The ... Read More
This was a solo cruise for me. The second day on the ship the solos got together with Patrick from the Cruise Staff leading the meeting. It was nice to look forward to having dinner and company in the main dining room each evening. The food was good, not great. The service was fair. Long waits for food to arrive, inexperienced wait staff. I joined the spa for the whole cruise. It gave access to the thalassotherapy pool and whirlpool. There are also heated tile beds, comfortable lounge chairs, a steam room and dry sauna. Locker rooms with showers also available. Cost was $250 for the two weeks. I attended two of the spa lectures. The second was on weight loss and detoxing. Attendees were invited to make an appt to meet with one of the speakers to get add'l info on recommended foods, body fat percentage, weight loss goals, etc. I signed up. What actually occurred was a high pressure sales tactic to buy very expensive vitamins and sachets for the bath which were supposed to penetrate the skin and remove built up toxins. The cost for the sachets? $1,000/3 months supply. When I said it was not affordable to me the spa employee became rude and dismissive. I was really taken back that a ship employee would speak to a passenger in that manner. What a creep. I complained. My $39 charge and 18% auto gratuity were refunded. I also had a 75 minute massage which was $152. At the end the massage person started a sales pitch for ridiculously priced products. I passed. This time without the crass feedback from the employee. The spa service level is low end. Looks nice until you don't buy what's offered. Cruise spa services have always had premium pricing but in years past the level of exchange was much higher. The spa staff needs some serious work. The Park West Gallery auction staff were on the ship (as they always are). Same stuff I first encountered many years ago with some new artists. Tarkay, Medvedev, Peter Max, Bellet, Krasnyansky. They're all still there. The staff focuses on those who show interest and the auctions are fun-for a short time anyway. The first one I went to dragged on for a long time and I ended up leaving before the pieces I was interested in were brought up front. It would be nice if those pieces people expressed interest in were brought up to auction first. There were a few high end pieces ($30,000+) that no one purchased and there were a few others in the $2,000-$5,000 range that were bought by one couple. My cabin steward was very good. Highly professional and kept my cabin tidy and supplied with ice. I used the shower in the spa for the entire two weeks so minimal cleaning needed in my cabin. The wifi is terrible. I purchased 50 minutes time and it took that long for me to connect with email I needed to reply to. The woman at the internet desk was very nice and recommended trying to log on during slow times. This was when most passengers were off the ship. It took a very long time to connect and several times the connection failed. I made one connection so for the cost it was a complete waste of money. The ship returned to Boston a day early because a passenger became ill. I was thrilled to get off the ship and home early but the process was chaotic, none of the staff had a clue on how to direct passengers. I was directed to go through the immigration room twice. Once w/o luggage and the second time w/ luggage. It took 2.5 hours from when I left my cabin until when I finally got off the ship. The elevators were shut down to all but two floors, people not able to negotiate stairs and left with no direction. It was a big fail for the ship and staff. I have never seen a disembarkation so poorly executed. When I got off the ship there were no taxis waiting and the weather was cold and rainy. Not good. For entertainment the hypnotist was a lot of fun. She had 20 people on stage and the show was really good. A lot of laughs. The piano player/singer in the Martini/Champagne bar area could play well but his voice was terrible. Worst I've encountered in 22 years of cruising. He mentioned looking forward to seeing his girlfriend when he returned home, he said she was going to need a lot of loving from him because of his absence. Does anyone need to know this? No. Overall, I would not do the cruise again. The spa confrontation left me with a really bad feeling over high pressure tactics, rude, very rude staff and the general attitude from spa staff was less than inviting. One woman, Sunshine, was lovely and very pleasant. But that was it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Back home just last week from my first Norwegian cruise aboard the Epic. I had an amazing holiday thanks to the lovely, friendly people that I met on board. Would I cruise again with the Epic though? Don’t think so. I’ll start by ... Read More
Back home just last week from my first Norwegian cruise aboard the Epic. I had an amazing holiday thanks to the lovely, friendly people that I met on board. Would I cruise again with the Epic though? Don’t think so. I’ll start by mentioning the positive points about the ship that made my trip enjoyable. The ship is clean, well maintained and the decor is sublime. Very hard working crew. Also, very friendly when they’re allowed to be. Some great entertainment. Friendly/fun atmosphere with guests of all ages (mostly Americans) Freedom with dining times and tables in the restaurants. If you’re a solo traveller, you will love the private solo lounge and the studio, as well as the solo gathering (meet-up). I got to meet some amazing people! Now, the negative points that will definitely stop me from booking another cruise with Norwegian: If you’re a foodie person like myself and enjoy fine dining, the Epic is not for you. The complimentary dinner restaurants like the Manhattan and Taste serve similar dishes and the menu is the same every day with only one or two changes if you’re lucky. The dishes are extremely poor quality/presentation - it’s basically similar to what you would get served in a Wetherspoons. I found that a lot of the food was too salty to eat. You’ll also notice that some dishes have lost their original flavour due to being defrosted and not prepared fresh. The buffet in the evening has better quality and variety but stays the same for the most part. You might be impressed the first and second day but after that you’ll be bored of eating the same thing over and over again. The drinks package is not worth it unless you just want to get drunk and don’t care about the options or quality of what you’re drinking. The wine, cocktails, soft drinks are all the cheap, non-branded stuff. If you want good wine you’ll have to pay extra. A fresh squeezed orange juice or even bottle of water costs extra too, which I thought was a joke. The crew seem to be under a lot of stress and sometimes it’s like they can’t breathe. I’m quite friendly and love chatting to people who work on board even for just a few seconds. I’m aware they have plenty to do but it just shows some appreciation and it can help to break up their day by even asking them how are they. The problem is they don’t seem to be allowed to make small talk with guests! I noticed crew members seemingly looking distracted a few times and it turned out that they were looking around in case their manager caught them talking to me. It really put me off that the crew are treated very poorly, especially compared with staff members who are separate and do seem to have a bit more freedom. It actually upset me when I asked a couple of staff members why they couldn’t talk and the suggestion was they were working under military rules and could get fired any minute. No wonder they hire a lot of people from developing countries! Managers on the cruise lied to me! I wanted to stay an extra 4 days on board as I had a swollen ankle and didn’t want to travel on it. I was given a price which I was happy with but then told the next day that no rooms were available. I tried to say that I didn’t mind which room I stayed in and that I’d be happy to pay extra money but the answer was still a no. Imagine my surprise then, when I saw on the website that rooms were available! I was truly disappointed and felt like I was chasing them to take my money. In the end, despite knowing I could actually book through their website and stay I decided to keep my money and endure the pain of a 5-6 hour journey home with my ankle still swollen. For me, those are the main points, although some more would be: Poor medical centre service when my ankle got swollen. The Internet doesn’t work at all so don’t even bother buying it. A lot of extreme loud alarms go off every single morning! Toilets not flushing seemed to be a common problem. If you order room service, bear in mind you’ll have to wait 1 hour even if it’s just for a bottle of water. The entertainment is good but was very repetitive. Entertainment at the atrium and pool was poor. Tiny, shallow swimming pools. The lady who works at the second Manhattan restaurant desk and looks for an available table for you was truly unhelpful and cheeky. Overall, if it wasn’t for the hard-working crew and some amazing people on board I would’ve definitely had the worst time ever. Basically, once they have your money, they don’t care if you’re coming back or not, or if you’re happy or unhappy. So if you’re young, don’t care about fine dining and just want to party, this cruise might be for you. However, if you’re a foodie person and love variety in your meals, good wine, a good chat with people (even those who who work onboard) and enjoy different shows/music, this cruise is definitely a no. Day 1 on the Epic: This is amazing!! I’m booking my second cruise the second I get home. Last day: Never gonna be back! Back home: Booked 2 cruises for next year….with P&O! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had previously taken a cruise with Avalon of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. We loved travelling through the Rhine gorge, so we took the Basel to Amsterdam cruise. This not only gave use a portion of the Rhine and cities in Switzerland, ... Read More
We had previously taken a cruise with Avalon of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. We loved travelling through the Rhine gorge, so we took the Basel to Amsterdam cruise. This not only gave use a portion of the Rhine and cities in Switzerland, France and Germany we hade not visited before, but also took us again through the beautiful Rhine gorge with its magnificent scenery. We were not disappointed. The ship is amazing, with its French Balcony suite rooms, with the beds all facing the glass walls of the room, which slide open when the weather is permitting. The food and service were better than what we had on former cruises, which I thought would be impossible to match. The shore excursions were very interesting, informative and were worth the time. The extra excursions that we paid for were extraordinary and worth every penny spent. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in a magnificent experience of the Rhine River. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I just returned from a wonderful cruise on the NCL Escape. It was my first Solo cruise as well as the first time I have traveled on a Mega Ship. I was not disappointed. The prices on the cruise dropped about two weeks ahead of our ... Read More
I just returned from a wonderful cruise on the NCL Escape. It was my first Solo cruise as well as the first time I have traveled on a Mega Ship. I was not disappointed. The prices on the cruise dropped about two weeks ahead of our departure and I was able to upgrade from a Solo Cabin to a Balcony Cabin, getting twice as much cabin space plus a balcony. It was wonderful to have a balcony since we were docked in Bermuda for 2 1/2 days. The cabin was very roomy and the bed was very comfortable. My Cabin Steward, Toro, took great care in keeping my cabin "ship shape." The Crew were all very friendly and helpful. I did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants. The food in the Main Dinning Rooms and the Garden Café was very good and nicely presented. The only thing that I did not like was all of the events that were held in the Atrium on Deck 6. It was always very noisy and very crowded when ever anything was going on. There were never enough seats for the crowds that gathered. The noise carried up onto the next deck. When you added the noise from O'Sheenans Pub on Deck 7, it was almost unbearable at times. I avoided that area as much as possible. There is not enough public space on the ship for all of the events they hold during the sea days and the evenings. I know that seems impossible with a ship as large as the Escape. This was my 9th trip to Bermuda so you might say that I am obsessed with the Island. I always find something to do that I have not done before. I love the public bus pass and use it every time I am there. The beaches are wonderful and the water was still warm enough to enjoy swimming. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose to sail on the NCL Bliss because it is Norwegian's newest, largest ship. Usually, newer means better. But the design of this ship and the crew of the Bliss proved they are truly "not ready for prime time." The NCL ... Read More
I chose to sail on the NCL Bliss because it is Norwegian's newest, largest ship. Usually, newer means better. But the design of this ship and the crew of the Bliss proved they are truly "not ready for prime time." The NCL Bliss is indeed a beautiful ship. MANY facets of the ship were fantastic, from the relaxing observation lounge on deck 15 to the overall ship decor, which is chic and contemporary. The designers did a great job creating a comfortable experience. However, so many other important elements of the ship's design are lacking. The most obvious issue was that this massive ship only has forward and aft elevator banks, with none in the center. How did the architects think over 6.200 passengers and crew were supposed to navigate about such a massive ship with so few elevators? I noticed hundreds of people congregating near the elevators all throughout the days of my 7 day cruise. So many passengers gave way to "crowd-think" mentality, which meant becoming rude and somewhat aggressive in their fight for elevators. Otherwise, they were forced to walk many floors of stairs to reach their desired floors. Couldn't NCL executives anticipate this dynamic might occur on such a large ship? Also, the communications system onboard the NCL Bliss was awkward. Sure, NCL has a telephone APP for passengers to use onboard to help them schedule daily activities, and the same activities are also shown on the in-cabin TV screen and printed in the daily newsletter, but NONE OF THEM ARE IN SYNC! For instance, the NCL phone app is supposed to load activities at least 24 hours ahead of time, but it often didn't display them even a few hours ahead. And the in-cabin TV app was also inaccurate at times. In all, I found the best strategy was to just take along the PRINTED guide provided to my cabin and maintain my actual calendar on my own personal phone calendar. SMH. The in-cabin screen also displayed the Mazatlan port stop as a "sea day" for the entire length of the cruise. I pointed this error out to the Guest Services desk, but they only kicked the can down the road and made it clear they couldn't be bothered. SMH. As for my cabin, it was designed comfortably and with a soothing blue/brown color scheme. Exactly what I anticipated on the NCL Bliss. I was pleased with the individual reading spotlights placed on either side of the bed along with the corresponding USB input jacks for charging electronic devices. Very convenient. My room steward couldn't be worse! I asked for one special item to be placed in my room which, on ALL 40 previous cruises with various cruise lines has never been a problem. But this steward had to be asked numerous times a still failed to provide. So, I escalated the matter. And again...and again...and again...SEVEN times! It took three days until the simple item was delivered -- a small plastic ice bucket. How hard is that?! When I activated the "do not disturb" sign on my door, the room steward constantly ignored it. He was always calling and knocking and bothering me about silly things. I finally had to raise my voice to him and remind him that "do not disturb" means JUST THAT! On many occasions, I was not feeling well and just wanted to relax. Overall, my dining experience on the NCL Bliss was subpar compared to other cruise lines. I ALWAYS dined in the reservations-only Manhattan room and in the same section. But the experience was poorly executed by NCL. As for the service, even though guests are required to reserve their tables in the Manhattan room, NCL subjects them to standing in not one, but two separate hostess lines to be seated. I've never stood in two lines at ANY restaurant in America where I had made previous reservations, just to be seated. What was the sense in that? There were other key issues where the waitstaff messed things up. First, EVERY TIME I had just sat down, the waiter or waitress INSTANTANEOUSLY pounced on me for my order! I had to remind them that I had barely sat down and needed a few moments to receive my water and study the menu. But they never listened. Second, upon being seated at the same time and at almost the same table with the same waitstaff, they NEVER remembered my preferences (e.g.: that I NEVER eat bread during meals or that I ALWAYS prefer lemon slices with my water). I mean, the waiters only served a few tables simultaneously, so how could they not remember certain key details like those? And I found myself always having to BEG for water. Finally, even before I was finished with my plates, the waitstaff constantly attempted to remove the plates! Who does that? In all, I found the NCL Bliss waitstaff to be grossly inexperienced and undertrained. As for the food, it was obviously prepared in a huge galley with little quality control. First, EVERY salad I received was served in a warm bowl or plate, causing the greens to wilt before reaching the table, Any chef worth his salt knows that salads should ALWAYS be served chilled and in chilled bowls/plates. So, I often sent them back in order to have them prepared fresh. Second, most of the entrees were either flavorless or served barely warm, or both. It's clear the NCL Bliss chefs don't taste their food for quality control. Once again, I sent back items until I found a replacement that was appetizing. Third, I addressed my concerns with the Maitre'd and he said he would "deal with" the issues. But nothing happened. Business as usual on the Bliss. They must figure it they ignore problems, they go away. Finally, as for daily activities, I was surprised at how far NCL would go to make money. MANY of the scheduled activities, like craft hour, required passengers to pay fees to partake. The nickel-and-diming on the NCL Bliss was record-breaking, I found. But I attended the "comedy shows" and a stage production called "Six." The comedy shows were a joke, if you'll excuse the pun. During the first show I attended, it was considered a "family-friendly" performance. There were over 10 children in the room under the age of 12. The comedian decided to focus his entire show on those children and reveled the audience with inappropriate "jokes" about a) male penises, b) public urination on others' faces, c) homosexuality/homophobia and d) how much he hates the current president of the United States. How were these topics humorous to 12 year-olds? When I decided to attend the "18+" comedy show on the last evening of the cruise, nearly every sentence was wrapped around the f-bomb or kinky sex topics. SMH. What ever happened to truly funny comedy that doesn't require offensive topics or cursing to be humorous? Clearly, NCL needs to do a better job at screening its "comedians." I also attended a show called "Six." It was a pre-Broadway release show about the six man-hating, feminist former ex-wives of England's King Henry 8th. The show storyline made no sense, in my opinion. The vocals were "pitchy" at best, so it was clear that these performers were not the best NCL could find. But the costumes were flashy. As for port experiences, I only chose to visit Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. In Cabo, I took an NCL sponsored "Luxury Day Sail & Snorkel" cruise. The 50-foot vessel motored around the Bay for three hours and stopped for some snorkeling. Only at the very end, for about 15 minutes, did the crew raise the sails. That experience was my best experience during my Mexican Riviera cruise. In Mazatlan, I chose to take a shore excursion provided by a private tour operator. It was comprehensive and included lunch. Very enjoyable, as well. Overall, I found the NCL Bliss to be a beautiful ship, but it has many design, service, management and flow problems. I would recommend it to first-time cruisers, but maybe not experienced cruisers. This was only my second time sailing with NCL, and after this cruise it will be my last. NCL as a company is just too difficult to deal with, from its pre-sailing customer "no-service" to its onboard experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I'm an experienced cruiser in my late 40s and enjoy traveling with my family and as a single female. This trip was my sixth visit to Bermuda and I have to say right off the bat, if you live on the East Coast and you love beautiful ... Read More
I'm an experienced cruiser in my late 40s and enjoy traveling with my family and as a single female. This trip was my sixth visit to Bermuda and I have to say right off the bat, if you live on the East Coast and you love beautiful beaches and ample sea-life, friendly people and fascinating history there is no easier or better destination. I've stayed on land and berthed on cruise ships and cruising is the better bang for your buck in my honest opinion. After using a week of time off in August to take a family trip on NCL Star's Mediterranean Venice-Croatia-Greek Island itinerary, I was ready to double-up my Cruise Next deposits for a solo trip to Bermuda on the Escape. This was my fourth NCL cruise and the Escape was the biggest ship that I've ever been on. Sharing a home with over 4000 passengers and crew from all over the world was definitely a first for me and perhaps that influenced my rather bland opinion of my experience. With so many people to feed and clean-up after, the crew just didn't seem able to keep up with all the garbage that was irresponsibly strewn about by uncaring passengers. See the photo I took minutes after embarkation of plastic cups filled with cigarette butts. Feh. What a welcome. NCL, you can do better than that but ultimately, it was filthy passengers who did the damage in the first place. They are the ones that should clean their disgusting mess and not leave it for me to find. On a more positive note, I left the Upper West Side apartment I had been staying in at noon, hailed a taxi to Manhattan Cruise Terminal and was on board by 12:45 pm. The luggage drop-off and embarkation went so quickly and smoothly. By the time I had finished lunch and climbed the stairs from deck 6 to deck 11, my Studio cabin #11515 was ready to visit. I'll describe it fully and make some suggested improvements in the cabin review section. Tropical Storm Nestor made the voyage down from NYC to BDA a little choppy but Captain Giovanni Cutugno took us through safely and kept us informed with weather and navigational updates. Understandably, many of the outdoor activities were shut down for safety on our first day at sea. Still, I was able to enjoy the ocean view from the amazing new take on the Promenade Deck called The Waterfront on Escape's deck 8. There are extremely comfortable wicker armchairs and loveseats with thick cushions where you can read quietly or just enjoy the fresh air while protected from the wind and rain. The back deck on 17 is also a quiet area although there was some cigarette smoke to contend with and the loungers are ridiculously closely spaced so privacy was not really possible. I was on board to enjoy the most basic services and an inexpensive way to get to Bermuda. Other than a single comedy show and one trivia activity, I didn't participate in any of the bazillion opportunities for entertainment. For fun, I would use my binoculars to look out at the waves, read and look at the brochures for future cruises. That's just my style, the entertainment did not enter into my evaluation of the cruise good or bad. Food however is important to me and a better variety of dining room menus could have improved my overall rating. I was sad to see that the lunch menu was the same every day. Yes, in theory, the buffet had a HUGE variety and choices changed daily but buffet dining is akin to wildebeests fighting at the watering hole. No amount of delicious noodle bowls or crepe stations is worth it. Dinner menus did change every night and for the most part, two appetizers and a main was perfect and I usually skipped dessert. I tried to stick to just one restaurant and dined as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Hostess Kathia at Taste took excellent care of me and noted my preference of a window table in my folio so that no matter who greeted me at the entrance, they would seat me where I could enjoy the view if such a table was available. I didn't really have any trouble getting served quickly as I was alone and wan't in a particular hurry. Only one meal was a real flop (Lemon-Pepper Coalfish...I would call it flavourless nothingfish) I did opt to visit Cagney's steakhouse for a wedge salad and a bone-in veal chop one night. It cost 55 dollars with no other sides. I found it exactly comparable to what I would pay in a steakhouse in my city but I would have liked a better value because I didn't eat at the regular restaurant that night. Couldn't they throw in a potato or some broccoli just for show? They did comp my drink (the one and only alcoholic beverage I would have purchased all week.) My table was uncomfortably too close to my neighbours, a couple who seemed to be in the midst of deciding whether or not to break up. I just buried my nose in my book while praying they would change the subject to something less dismal. On the second sea-day, I visited the Cruise Next desk to inquire about solo cruising discounts on some interesting itineraries. The agent was not in a mood to sell me anything and sort of waved me off by saying "those interesting itineraries are probably all sold out anyway." I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. He just didn't know what a little flattery and salesmanship could have landed him in commissions. He didn't want to play the game so neither did I. In the end, I didn't buy a single deposit. I would have probably taken at least two but decided not to put in the investment. The design of the ship is such that there is no midship vertical passage. You always need to trek forward or aft to access a stair well or lift except in the Atrium where you have decks 6, 7 and 8 connected by an elaborate decorative staircase. It's a crowded, noisy, central area clouded in cigarette smoke emanating from the casino. In order to avoid it, I would travel forward and aft on floors with cabins rather than public areas and make my way up or down accordingly. Arrival in Bermuda was terrific. I got up before the sun to watch the pilot boat lead us into port and to watch as the sea changed from deep blue to that gorgeous green and turquoise in all the postcard pictures. The island is so beautiful and I knew the drill so I wasted no time to disembark as soon as the announcement was made. I had my transport pass purchased within minutes and made the first number 7 bus to Church Bay about a twenty minute ride from Dockyards. I spent hours exploring this beach with a wide sandy area great for kids to splash in as well as tidal pools and coral reefs there. One can see so many varieties of Parrot Fish and schools of silversides shoaling into bait balls. There are many rocky outcroppings not far from shore where several species of juvenile fish spend their time foraging and growing bigger. It's my favourite place to snorkel although there are no facilities at this beach. I bring my own equipment and drinking water. When we got back to New York, a malfunctioning escalator held up disembarkation and there were extremely long lines to leave the ship. I am curious what the process would have looked like in ideal circumstances. I am able bodied and had only a small backpack to manage. I felt badly for the less mobile older folks struggling with their luggage. There did not seem to be any staff available to help those who didn't specifically register with special needs at sea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have never cruised before nor had a ever wanted to. My friends talked me into it and I am beyond happy they did!!! Can’t wait for my next one. We chose The Bliss and I was blown away with this ship. From the minute we stepped aboard to ... Read More
I have never cruised before nor had a ever wanted to. My friends talked me into it and I am beyond happy they did!!! Can’t wait for my next one. We chose The Bliss and I was blown away with this ship. From the minute we stepped aboard to the sad moment we disembark was the best holiday I have EVER had. I brought all the things for getting sea sick, gravel, bracelets etc. Never used a thing!!! You didn’t feel like you were moving at all, sometimes you forgot you were on the ship. Wow what an experience!! The fun at the pool, always something happening, games or a band, so much fun. Delicious food and such a variety. Cagney was my favourite!!! We had a balcony stateroom and I would sit out there and watch the beautiful sunrise and sunsets. The entertainment was unbelievable, we saw the Jersey boys, a Beatles cover band and three comedians. FABULOUS!! The three ports we went to were amazing, I liked Cabo the best. When I told people this was my first cruise they all said the same thing, you have set the bar high on this cruise, you will never see entertainment like this on any other cruise. Oh well guess I better stick with Norwegain then. Thank you to all the crew on the Bliss, you all were amazing. Thank you to the booking staff as well, you too were amazing and so helpful. Now on to the next one Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click