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2,422 Singles Cruise Reviews

For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had ... Read More
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had in November 2014. Crew was fantastic - was mostly like reunion-party. Was NY Times Readers voyage incl. many lectures from NY Times. Wanted to join many but at first day many items canceled from my personal agenda and from second day never had a look again to daytime activities. Production shows were great. Violin-artist plus Diva of the Seas with Whitney Houston song fantastic. Only Opera Boys were a little weak compared to the level of the other shows. Food unchanged. But The Verandah. Too overpriced and too upscale compared to Todd English before. So only had one time but three times on last voyage. Alternative dining (Coriander and Smokehouse night) was nice. But the last Coriander food experience on QUEEN VICTORIA recently was better. Service experience as good as before. New King's Court with long ways to beverages. Best was fresh squeezed juices for breakfast. Cabin was fine. Nice balls and parties. Internet services better since it is no more MTN but Telenor. Better quality if it runs. But if it did not run it was terrible. Only regular debarkation deck by deck was too old-style. But friends with purser's office was helpful to get me off the ship at my time of convenience. Something they could do much better by asking the guests when they want to leave the ship. VERY NICE for Gays. Last transatlantic we were only 2 FODs. This time around 40. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I really enjoyed my trip. I was originally concerned that 13 nights would be just too long, especially with the 2 days at sea leaving out of NYC and the 3 days at sea returning, but it ended up being the perfect length of time. Here are a ... Read More
I really enjoyed my trip. I was originally concerned that 13 nights would be just too long, especially with the 2 days at sea leaving out of NYC and the 3 days at sea returning, but it ended up being the perfect length of time. Here are a few highlights: Pros: Ports of call - I've never been to any of these ports, so this cruise gave me an opportunity to see a large share of the Caribbean in one trip. Ship - The ship has so much to do, for just about every personality, that I was still discovering it up until disembarkation. Room - I was in a balcony room - first in 12130 and then in 14865. Both rooms were large enough for one person. There were days at sea where I'd just hang out in my room with ease and watch TV. The TVs have MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC, a channel for popular TV shows and another for popular movies. The rest are dedicated to the ship. I could always find something to watch, since I'm a political news junky. Ship Shopping - The ship provides a lot of things you may forget to bring with you, from bathing suits to your favorite fragrance. If you wait a few days, everything goes on sale. A week into the cruise, most things were 50% off. Port - It was easy to get in and out of this port. Easy, breezy. Embarkation/Disembarkation - I got to port just 1 hour before it was slated to leave, so my embarkation was pretty smooth. I still had a wait and the staff supporting the effort seemed disheveled and unorganized and at times unprofessionally messy, but this is known of NCL. They really suck in this area and I don't, for the life of me, understand why they can't get it together. Disembarkation, even for someone like me who chose to take their luggage off, was long and complicated. I attempted to get off the ship at 8:14 AM and it took me until 8:50 to get out, which also included Customs, which was easy breezy. Value for money - I booked my cruise just 10 days or so before departure and I got a GREAT deal. I only paid, as a solo traveler, less than $1500. I got quite a few things for free. 1000 MB Wifi, Unlimited phone calls, $50 off shore excursions at each port, 10 photos, and the beverage package. If you add all of those things up, with the beverage package being the most costly, I pretty much got my cruise for free. I don't know if NCL was having a hard time filling the ship or if I just lucked up on the holiday sale/promotion, either way, I scored big. CONS Food - There are more specialty restaurants than there are complimentary restaurants and all the complimentary restaurants serve just about the same things, so there's no benefit to going to one over the other. While dinner menu options vary, breakfast remains the same and grows really old, quick. Entertainment - The ship's idea of entertainment is guessing the company name for company logos. Yeah, it was pretty pathetic, particularly during sea days. For the ship to have so many areas with large screens, I don't understand why there weren't more movie showings. They only showed one movie per day in the atrium and a 3D movie once or twice a week. There's a pretty cool blues band that played in Fat Cats, but the other musical acts were pretty sad, particularly the couple who often played in the Atrium, and Manny, the piano player. Whoever is over entertainment should be fired. Its really bad. Thank God I met some really entertaining people. We entertained ourselves! Pier Parking - Its EXPENSIVE! $400 for the length of this cruise. That's pure insanity, but kind of understandable, considering its NYC. I live in DC, so I took the bus up for about $40/each way and then took a cab to the port. Water hustle - Last NCL cruise I was on - just last year - allowed folks to bring water and soda on board. I brought a small pack of water with me and it was confiscated by security. You cannot even bring one bottle of water - even if partially used. They are hustling folks for the water package, which is NOT included in the beverage package. Let me be clear. If you get the beverage package that allows you to drink alcohol or soda on an unlimited bases, this does NOT include water. You have to buy that separately and the only brand of water the ship has for sale is Aquafina, which I think sucks. The ship is required to provide portable water, so I brought a large plastic cup with me so I could stay hydrated. Some folks were smarter and brought mugs with lids and handles. Excursions - For some ports, like Antiqua and St. Kitts, it just makes sense to take your trip in your own hands. You'll pay way too much money through the ship to get a ride to a beach when you can pay a fraction of that and catch a cab. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I am a platinum member at n.c.l. and this ship is the most frustrated ship I ever travelled. small area every where on the main desck everybody is cramped together were is the action aver the main swimming that is the size of kids ... Read More
I am a platinum member at n.c.l. and this ship is the most frustrated ship I ever travelled. small area every where on the main desck everybody is cramped together were is the action aver the main swimming that is the size of kids dipper. food was basic and nothing to indulge yourself. cabins was nice and clean, bur service in the dining room was lenghty, and no experinece waiters..., always have to ask twice or three times . the shows was not at rendez-vous like the rest of the fleet his. ports in review arrive late in puerto rico in account oasis of the sea was late in getting out of port, st kitts a near accident while back up from port all the small boat of sea excursion where in the way no knowledge about seamanship from port authority. for gluten free intolerance and allergic there is a marge to know about.and they dont know that. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Arcadia is one of my favourite ships and I have sailed on her a few times. The fact it is adult only is lovely and makes for a more relaxing cruise. As a single lady I fine this a safe way of travelling and a way of meeting like minded ... Read More
Arcadia is one of my favourite ships and I have sailed on her a few times. The fact it is adult only is lovely and makes for a more relaxing cruise. As a single lady I fine this a safe way of travelling and a way of meeting like minded people. The only downside to travelling alone is the price P&O charge for a cabin it is often double the price! The food is good but standards have dropped over the years no silver service and no portion control in the resturant. The entertainment was exellent and a good variety . My cabin was on G deck and was lovely all but there being a few problems initially with cleanness . I worry that the staff cuts are leading to poorer service in all areas which isn't the fault of the staff! The staff rush around and no longer have time to interact with passengers and on occasions can present as rude. Arcadia was going in for a refute which was due and I look forward to seeing the improvements on my next cruise in March 2018. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Norwegian did something really smart by creating the Solo Studio for people traveling alone without hitting them with a single supplement. Recently took 7-day cruise on Norwegian Epic with 3 older lady friends. We have the means to travel ... Read More
Norwegian did something really smart by creating the Solo Studio for people traveling alone without hitting them with a single supplement. Recently took 7-day cruise on Norwegian Epic with 3 older lady friends. We have the means to travel but also enjoy the perfect mix of privacy and sociability that the Solo Studio provides. We each had our own room with stand-up shower, toilet, queen-size bed, sink, safe and storage areas but the Solo Lounge provided a great venue to meet other single travelers for coffee, snacks and, from 5-7 PM, drinks at our own fully stocked bar with personable bartender. We met a married couple who were also sailing in the Solo Studios. They liked that they each had their own shower and bathroom and their studios had a pass through door that gave them double the space and facilities for the same price as a double cabin. The food on Norwegian was excellent. I have cruised 4 times on Disney - which retains the crown as best cruise - and once on Royal Princess which was just OK but I'd definitely cruise Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Went with two hosts and 108 other single people to celebrate the new year. Liked the smooth sailings for sleeping. Was on the 8th deck on this ship and I was on the 9th deck a couple years ago on the Celebrity Silhouette which made ... Read More
Went with two hosts and 108 other single people to celebrate the new year. Liked the smooth sailings for sleeping. Was on the 8th deck on this ship and I was on the 9th deck a couple years ago on the Celebrity Silhouette which made creaky noises during the night. Did like most of the entertainment at the Theater when I got to go during the week. The countdown for New Year's on the screen by the pool was fun! I've been on 6 other cruises (5 other cruise lines) and this was the first time I had swelling in my feet and ankles. I do not add salt, but think maybe it's in their water and food. I let them know in their survey. Dining was really slow in the dining room for us late diners. We'd arrive at 8:30 and didn't get served quickly...usually after 10pm before finishing up. Made it rough trying to get to the late shows. The only other problem I had was they messed up with an excursion they booked. They sent us notice it was cancelled and as we went to the excursion desk to find out what was happening, I noticed they charged us for the one we wanted, but had printed out tickets to another excursion. They also messed up on the time change notices. First port in Majahual (Costa Maya) is on Eastern time, 2nd port is Belize City which is central time, they first gave us notice to the cabin for changing time for an hour ahead. It's actually an hour behind, which they corrected with another notice later. The last port Cozumel is also on Eastern time, so when had to change clocks ahead again. Mexico didn't make this easy on us cruisers when they decided to do this along the strip of Yucatan! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, ... Read More
Went on this cruise with my family, to Airlie Beach and Surrounds, the destinations were beautiful, and the staff onboard were incredible kind and patient. Being my first cruise, honest to say it was relaxing and the seas were calm, however on the last day it was a little choppy. Food was good, some variety, in the major restaurants the culinary techniques could be a little more sophisticated. Drinks prices were at a reasonable price. The parties were outstanding! Very lively and talented performers on the ship, especially the musicals performed, they were magnificent. Bianco and White Parties were such fun! Mixology classes/ Tequila Tastings are a must do, especially if you are hungover from the night before from the incredible parties, as was I, it really helped wake me up! We made incredible cocktails, and the best thing was that we got to drink them too! Cabins were neat and clean. But we were hardly in our room because there is so much to do and see when your onboard. Service: Shoutout to Ajay and Andrew the two cabin stewards on our level were always positive and so kind! Overall I loved cruising onboard the Pacific Aria, and I am planning another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We wanted to travel with a couple we met on a Viking Cruise in China. On the way to our first stop, an electrical problem occurred and we returned to Barcelona and the trip was cancelled. But the captain offered a full refund, 50% off the ... Read More
We wanted to travel with a couple we met on a Viking Cruise in China. On the way to our first stop, an electrical problem occurred and we returned to Barcelona and the trip was cancelled. But the captain offered a full refund, 50% off the next trip, and assistance to rebook flights. We could also stay on the ship and enjoy all its amenities. They arranged excursions every day, provided a shuttle so we could explore on our own, and added lectures and movies to keep us entertained on board. We had the best five star hotel ever for nearly 2 weeks, and all free! Barcelona is a beautiful city with great art museums. A favorite tour was the "Alternative" tour of the city by formerly homeless citizens. Our guide knew everything about the city and gave us a realistic view of life for the homeless. An A plus trip! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was my 10th cruise, and my first going solo. I chose this port and date as it coincided with my office closing for the holidays. I have cruised on Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and have had a great time on them ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise, and my first going solo. I chose this port and date as it coincided with my office closing for the holidays. I have cruised on Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and have had a great time on them all. My previous cruises were out of either Miami, Puerto Rico or Galveston. Embarking from New Orleans made for quite a difference in the type of passengers on this cruise - almost everyone I met were locals who had driven to the port. Football was on TV's in the bars everyday, with lots of enthusiastic and vocal viewers who also brought their "go" cups advertising their home teams. Embarkation took only 55 minutes from when I arrived at port from the Carnival airport transfer. Long lines but they moved quickly. My first stop was the Dream Lobby Bar, conveniently located on the same level you board the ship - Chocolatini! The Dream is easy to navigate, and had a similar layout to the Glory which I was on last year for this same itinerary (but out of Miami). I had set dining in the Scarlett dining room at 6:00 p.m. Most nights they let us in by 5:50, which was a good way to avoid the crowds. Service was VERY slow, every night our table of 10 was the last or second to last to leave, always around 8:00 p.m. Food quality varied, sometimes cooked to order correctly (I like my meat cooked Medium), but most often overdone and always arrived lukewarm, not hot. Desserts were always good - I had the fruit plate and sugar-free offering each night. Entertainment: The comedians were all very good, both at the PG rated shows and the R18+ shows. There were 4 different comedians on this ship, so try to catch them all if you can. The "variety" type shows with singers and dancers in the Encore theatre were not good - I walked out of two of them and went back to my favourite place - the Piano Bar, where you sing along to the songs you request and drink drink drink! Cabin - For the first time, I had an interior stateroom, and it was perfect for a solo cruiser. Lots of storage space - a cupboard for hanging clothes, a cupboard with shelves, a desk and stool with hairdryer, a mini fridge and safe, decent sized shower and sink area, with lots of shelves in bathroom over sink. Best part of having an interior cabin - it's always dark, so no being woke up by that pesky sunrise! My cabin on the 9th deck mid-ship was ideal, just walk up one flight of stairs to the Lido deck where the buffet and pools are - very convenient. The first day my cabin steward offered me a "menu" for me to sign off on which time I wanted my cabin serviced - morning, evening or both. I chose evening, but after two days changed it to "both" which was not a problem. Having been on this itinerary several times before, I did not do any excursions. I disembarked at Costa Maya to walk around the shop areas, and did the same in Cozumel. I did not get off the ship in Belize, as I did not want to waste an hour to take a tender to shore to walk around some more shops, and enjoyed being on the ship when it was so empty and I could finally get in the pools. At Mahogany Bay, I walked down to the beach and sat in the lounger reading for a couple of hours, but it was overcast and I returned to the ship for lunch and again to enjoy the lack of passengers for awhile. Hint: on sea days, everyone stakes out a lounge chair at 7:00 a.m. - so be warned, if you don't do so you'll be walking the whole ship in the afternoon looking for somewhere to enjoy the sun. Overall, I quite enjoyed my cruise on the Dream, and especially the friendly southern charm of the local passengers, and would certainly go again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I live in NYC, I don't fly . I wonder why in the world are there only 2 entrances to the elevators with a ship that large. What were you thinking. I hated to leave my cabin, One year I booked cabin 11174, right by an elevator, when ... Read More
I live in NYC, I don't fly . I wonder why in the world are there only 2 entrances to the elevators with a ship that large. What were you thinking. I hated to leave my cabin, One year I booked cabin 11174, right by an elevator, when I got there they had put me in 11124, all the way in the front, this was booked by a travel Agency, not NCL. (THEY DIDNT TELL ME I HAD BOOKED A GARANTEEN CABIN). and my goodness if I forgot something and had to go back.!! The ship is gorgeous, in fact, I'm booked for 9/24/17, 11/26/17, 12/08/18. And I made sure I am near any one of the 2 elevators entrances. The walk from cabin 11124 was painful.!! I loved the entertainment of Fire and Ice, In the atrium, loved Fat Cat's New Orlando's music. With Big Papa. liked my Balcony, Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I went with a large group of single travelers to Cuba during the Christmas vacation (2016). I will say that the tours and sightseeing were all satisfactory. Loved seeing Havana and 2 other port of calls. I was also pleased that I ... Read More
I went with a large group of single travelers to Cuba during the Christmas vacation (2016). I will say that the tours and sightseeing were all satisfactory. Loved seeing Havana and 2 other port of calls. I was also pleased that I received an upgrade in my cabin. I paid for only an outside cabin but received a very nice upgrade with a balcony. The negatives would be: -this is a small ship and it rocks back and forth, its not Fathom's fault, but please note those that get sea sick beware. -food isnt good. I didnt come for the food and neither should you, but every meal was very bland. I actually lost weight on a cruise -be aware of the internet charges. You will be tricked into getting a deluxe internet package, You wont find this out till the last night when you get your bill. Best not to buy their internet, you will get taken -they (the Spa) will attempt to sell you all sorts of "programs " on your days at sea. Dont buy anything! Everything they try to sell you CAN be bought on ebay for 1/4 the price! So dont go for the food, internet, spa treatments, diet plans and you'll be fine. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I never learn do I? For my first cruise in July I made the mistake of going on the cruise review and news sites of which this one is a leading light, and reading the reviews of the cruise I was about to take. My concerns after reading ... Read More
I never learn do I? For my first cruise in July I made the mistake of going on the cruise review and news sites of which this one is a leading light, and reading the reviews of the cruise I was about to take. My concerns after reading the reviews for my July cruise were proven once again to be utterly unfounded. Despite this, having read the reviews I arrived in Singapore on the 21st of December convinced I’d made a huge mistake. Mariner Of The Seas was, apparently, a rusty and wholly impractical antique, cramped and buckling under the weight of all the terrible food and useless features. A festering, cigarette-reeking pit of poor service, rude passengers, tatty upholstery and the like. I was reminded of a British Rail ferry trip I took more than three decades ago. Imagine my surprise then, to rock up (grumpy, intolerant and sore-headed after a big night in Clarke Quay the previous evening) at the lovely new cruise terminal and to see MOTS gleaming there in white looking anything but grubby or antique. EMBARKATION Singapore Cruise Terminal is nice. It is very well designed and its architecture evokes ocean waves breaking on the shore. It handles thousands of passengers with ease and is unfussy and uncluttered. We managed kerb to ships’ rail in less than 40 minutes and most of that was the queue for immigration. THE MARINER OF THE SEAS MOTS is the last of the five Voyager Class vessels that RCCL ordered in the late 90s. At 138,000 gt she is joint 18th largest cruise ship in the world and joined the fleet in 2003, making her 13 years old. Hardly ancient. She was given a big refit in 2012. I was struck by her Promenade Walk which is a lovely space although it does get busy in the evenings and on sea days, I think partially because RCCL put pop-up shop stalls there. She had clearly been in some weather on the previous cruise as her outer decks and windows were covered in salt residue from the waves but I saw no indication that she was anything other than beautifully kept. I’d seen guests mention words like “rusty” and “unkempt” in previous reviews but I saw nothing like that. Carpets were lustrous and clean, skirting boards were unscuffed. PUBLIC SPACES MOTS is not an old vessel and she is very well-appointed indeed in her public spaces. There was nice artwork to look at and plush carpets everywhere. She is spotlessly clean. My impression is that she was flashier and more “bling” than Royal Princess, certainly there seemed to me to be more in the way of features and things to do than on Princess. SAFETY The muster drill on RCCL does not require you to put on a lifejacket and it does not require you to know where your muster station is, merely that if the alarm goes off you need to head to a certain place and staff will sort you out. It was a much more “dumbed down” process than the stringent and very slick one on Princess and I wonder if this is because of the very high number, proportionately, of first time cruisers taking MOTS itineraries in Asia compared say, to Princess in the Med. Perhaps it also has something to do with the information being read out in English and dizzyingly fast Mandarin. We noticed there were a lot of Cantonese-speaking mainland Chinese, Japanese, Cambodians and Thais on the cruise who I think probably struggled with what was trying to be communicated to them. It was so noisy and bustling in the packed showbar that I struggled to make out the instructions clearly. I have worked at sea before so I was able to explain the necessities to my companions but the big tour groups of Chinese seemed more interested in talking (loudly) amongst themselves than listening to the safety brief which does make me wonder how they might react if the lights went out and the emergency signal started to ring. Not favourably would be my guess. I’m not sure what more RCCL could have done though. People are people I guess. MOVEMENT MOTS is a massive cruise ship and in common with Royal Princess I took in the summer, I was extremely impressed at her seakeeping. She doesn’t really pitch or roll per se (although we never encountered anything remotely challenging in terms of sea state) but shivers very slightly, almost imperceptibly, along her length. I believe it was the dampening moment effect of the stabilisers. Either way, MOTS is a fantastic seakeeper and you would be going some to feel motion discomfort on her I think. Nervous sailors might also take some comfort in the stabilisers being deployed even in fine weather with slight sea conditions. No question of keeping them stowed to save fuel costs here. From the movement of the ship I must touch on the movement of her passengers. The flow of people on the megaships, of which MOTS is still one despite her age, is a studied and nuanced science and I am pleased to report that, 70s Disco Party on the Promenade aside, there were no bottlenecks. I never felt crowded. FOOD I must report the one of the biggest wins for RCCL versus the scathing reviews I’d read was the food. My companions were not absolutely enamoured with the Windjammer fayre but I thought it approximately the equal of the Horizon on Princess (supposedly a slightly more “premium” line). The food was good overall and there were no misses in terms of taste. It wasn’t amazing but then when are buffets ever really amazing? The Asian palate was well taken care of and there was always lots of interesting things to try and try I did. The criticism I could level at the Windjammer stems largely from its location and associated lack of outdoor space. As a result it does get a bit hectic at main meal times and tables are hard to find. It did get very busy in there. I have an impression that a lot of the Asian guests aboard didn’t bother with the main dining room or speciality dining options in the evenings and ate there all week, perhaps because of an (unfairly) perceived lack of Asian options outside the ship’s only dedicated Asian food area – Jade in the Windjammer area. So you may be able to understand how busy it was. Even so the food was good and I never had much of a wait to get a table. The bread was fresh, soups tasty and well-seasoned. The bright and vibrant salad and fruit options were very attractive and the stodgier main meal options were flavoursome and filling. There was always some nice looking Indian and Indian vegetarian options, complete with fluffy paratha breads, on which I liked. My companions found some of the food to be a little on the tepid/cool side for their tastes but I had no issue with it. It’s a buffet. You want choice, you want interest, you want taste and flavour and you want big plates to pile it all on. Windjammer does that very effectively. The main dining was a huge hit for me. Spread over three levels it is a sprawling and rather glamourous affair, with the menu changing nightly. They must get through about 2000 covers in there every night at least and the speed and efficiency of service is hugely impressive. The food itself was more consistently excellent and generously portioned than on Princess and I’d say the standout dishes were equally as wonderful and memorable on both lines. Highlights for me were the fantastic RCCL lasagne, the little bowl of superbly authentic New England clam chowdaaah, the melt-in-the-mouth beef tenderloin and the jumbo shrimps which were truly lovely. Everything was delivered with a smile and a personal touch which was consistently very good every night. The menu had enough to keep me interested and I can only applaud the organisation and preparation and skill involved in bringing it from quayside to table. Trust me it’s a lot – LOT – harder than they make it look. I enjoyed very much my first encounter with Chops Grille. You may have gleaned from this thorough and exhaustive review that I am an RCCL convert – read on – and one of the things that loyal RCCL cruisers do point to when they sing of the wonders of this cruise line is the Chops Grille. There is one on every RCCL ship. It is Michelin-starred level fine dining steak enjoyment and the meat is exactly as they say it is – curated, kept, aged and cooked to perfection. The de Rothschild Merlot and the stunning Pinot Noir were very much enjoyed as an accompaniment. Remember to save room for the red velvet cake and the mud pie. They are, even in the company of such exalted food, special indeed. Special footnote for the Dog House. Not open very often but genuinely wonderful when it was. I find it difficult to get excited by boiled brats and bleached buns but these are high quality sausages in a range of very interesting flavours, all the toppings you could want and the buns/bread is good too. As I say, its only a hot dog so no need to go crazily over-effuse but it is a very good hotdog indeed, that I can assure you. I didn’t get round to going to Johnny Rockets but if it is like the ones we have in Dubai I know what to expect – all good fun, nothing too adventurous, good burgers etc. DRINKS I’m British. I love a drink. I love more than one in fact. I found MOTS to be a lot of fun, and superior in every way to Princess on the drinking front. The Wig & Gavel pub on the promenade was great and they have such an amazing range of drinks. Irtukt was a real laugh. The Ellington’s jazz lounge bar up in the Viking Crown Lounge area was a cool, chilled and visually stunning place to put a few G&Ts away. The Pool Bars were nice and did excellent frozen margaritas. Umesh and Dinesh the bar guys there were lovely blokes and I really enjoyed spending a few hours with them. Dmitryo in the Casino Bar was the star of the show though – I do wonder if, with the greatest of respect, RCCL know they have one of the most startlingly talented mixologists I’ve ever been privileged enough to watch work, humbly slinging bottled beers in their casino? I know a bit about mixology and the science behind it, I stay at very nice hotels in London, New York, Tokyo, Europe and elsewhere all the time with work and I get to experience mixology couture first hand a lot. I’m a cocktail nut. Dmitryo should be revamping the group’s cocktail lists and getting top management to try his creations. He’s an incredible talent who knows his art and takes it very seriously. If RCCL are reading this – get him to make you his eggless New York whiskey sour with merlot (yes really) and his (as yet unpatented) Orange Girder, like alcoholic Irn Bru in a Martini glass. Or speak to him about the things he can do with Acai berries and vodka. Just ask him. Seriously. The guy needs to be front and centre on your New York or Florida departures, he’s something special and a very nice guy to boot. Not a whiff of the hipster pretentionist to him. Wasted on short Asian itineraries just pouring whiskies and opening beers for people who don’t generally drink cocktails or speak English! ENTERTAINMENT Very well done and full of verve and energy. The ice shows are spectacular. There is a lot less live music on RCCL than on Princess though. FELLOW PASSENGERS 75% Chinese, 15% other Asian, 10% British/Aussie/US/European. Generally well behaved but formal night was observed by less than half. I was walking round in my tuxedo and Asian passengers kept asking me for directions and information as they thought I worked for RCCL! No frat boy/alcoholic types on this cruise, everyone was well-behaved and if there was drunken shenanigans they were largely mine and I was pespectful and rolite. Hic. ACTIVITIES The flowrider sim was a miss on the stern and I think would have done great business had it been installed. The mini golf back nine needs some TLC as the sun has blistered some the greens. There also needs to be four or five more table tennis tables. Watching hordes of Chinese clustered around playing it with astonishing skill is something not to miss if you like people-watching. Do note how full the dominoes/Mah Jong room gets in the afternoon. Man those Chinese love their parlour games! I didn’t do the wall but wish I had, it looked great. SERVICE I think my American brothers and sisters would call this a home run. Princess were great but RCCL knocked it out of the park. This is one oft-repeated criticism I cannot for the life of me understand. Fine, I get food is a subjective thing and so on every sailing there will be people who don’t find the food to their taste so think the food is bad. But the criticism of the service I simply cannot wrap my head around. Sullen? Unsmiling? Unhelpful? Rude? …Seriously? I found the service to be absolutely without exception, first class. I live in Dubai and so we are used to bad service so perhaps we are more attuned to good service when we get it just because of how rarely it happens here. But I found RCCL’s staff to be incredibly helpful and happy and smiley. They go for months without a day off, they have to put up with all manner of nightmares on a daily basis and were without their families at Christmas time on this cruise. I would have forgiven a few glum expressions but there was none of it. Everyone was helpful, kind, funny and grinning. In that genuine nice way not the Styrofoam sickly way you get sometimes. I really enjoyed getting to know several of the crew and spent many hours chatting to them. It is a very tough and demanding job they do – I know, I’ve done it many years ago myself – and I am so impressed at how wonderful they were. Grooming standards were immaculate, there always seemed to be someone to help right when you needed them and the professionalism was top end. I had a nightmare with my useless Dubai bank and they handled it beautifully. One of my companions unluckily fractured her foot in a mis-step getting onto the tender in Phuket and spoke to me in very glowing terms about the medical staff as well. The little touches are what make the difference. The Hotel Services Manager and the head Maitre’D both came to introduce themselves personally and there were a few calls to the cabin from various staff just checking I was ok, was I having a great time, was there anything else they could do, anything I wanted etc. Not intrusive, just really nice. Lastly a little footnote of pure charm that even now makes me grin all over my chubby little face. Anyone who had followed me on twitter knows I love cruising, football and Star Wars and recently went to see the new Rogue One film, emerging from the cinema in absolute raptures about how amazing it was. RCCL follow me on twitter and put a Rogue One cake and some Star Wars toys in my cabin for me as a little surprise. How good is that? I was absolutely gobsmacked and a little bit touched. WIFI Surprisingly fast. Not cheap at all but certainly very quick and easy. Very impressive given the number of people on the ship. RCCL VS PRINCESS RCCL is a broader, more intense and more fun-loving experience than Princess, with more to do and more to experience. Princess I think is more about the relaxation angle. There is very little to choose between the two in terms of food and service, both are superb and far better in my experience than the legion of professionally miserable reviewers would have you believe. Princess is slightly more refined in some ways but pound for pound (or should I say dollar for dollar?) I think that while Princess is more premium, for the bits that matter most to me, RCCL has the edge. I’ll probably think differently when I’m 45+. MOTS VS ROYAL PRINCESS MOTS is near enough the same size as the much newer Royal Princess and is an equally fantastic experience. There is almost nothing to choose between the two. Royal Princess looks quite a lot bigger but feels a bit smaller. Design wise she is more chic and upmarket than the MOTS but MOTS is more impactful in her major public areas; Promenade, scenic elevators, lots more glass everywhere etc. MISSES There were a few things I didn’t like or would like to have seen improved. MOTS’ last refit was in 2012 so she is probably due one in the next couple of years and having her running Asian itineraries opposite brand new and state-of-the-art Quantum Class vessels would require some modernisation and a rethink of her Asian F&B offerings. As mentioned, the flowrider would have been great as nobody used the skating track. I’d like to have seen a dedicated sports bar on MOTS, and there were a few places they could put one that didn’t seem to be used much. The port side of the Casino was shuttered off into high roller tables that were being used for storage and I cannot help but think a sports bar enclosed there would do very well. Perhaps move the (too large) Casino bar to the starboard side? Another miss for me was the lack of a dedicated hotpot restaurant which I think would have helped ease some of the congestion in the Windjammer. I likely would not have visited but a mainland Cantonese or Szechwan hotpot offering instead of the rather contrived and not-well-advertised side effort in Chops would be much more appealing to Chinese guests, who make up the bulk of MOTS’ passengers. I also think RCCL should try very hard to put one of their trademark Izumi outlets on MOTS as I think it would have done very well as well. I wasn’t especially impressed with the Dragon’s Lair nightclub either. It was unnecessarily gloomy, confused, poorly-advertised and seemed an odd space to put a nightclub. The music was poor, there seemed almost no people in there and it didn’t make me want to stick around. I’d guess it would be much better patronised on Aussie sailings. Even so, opening up that section and putting in the (overly large I thought) arcade / play area from 11 Deck would open up the area next to Johnny Rockets for an Izumi or hotpot outlet and I think that would be a better use of the space. Another thing that didn’t make much sense to me was the internet café area with the PCs. Given that most passengers in Asia own at least one smartphone I do not really see the necessity. If they did want to keep it, perhaps tie it in with Apple/Microsoft/Samsung to have a retail outlet there where you can buy laptops, tablets, phones and accessories? Little Starbucks in there too perhaps with some sofas? I also think that the top deck pool area, whilst lovely, would benefit from the addition of a couple of waterslides. The area either side of the Pool Bar/Sky Bar is empty and assuming some waterslides wouldn’t interfere with the nearby telecoms/satcom domes, a slide down from 12 to 11 deck would be a nice addition. As far as improvements to the cabins go, it is really only the TV screens and the shower heads that need replacing. Perhaps a little modernisation of the décor, carpets etc and a Nespresso machine maybe? OK I’m getting greedy now. OVERALL Another amazing cruise and another experience where I am left scratching my head about where some of the other reviewers are getting such negative views from? I have bad days like anyone else but imagine being determined to find fault in everything and being convinced your head will explode if you dare to say anything nice. That’s not me. I’m just a guy who loves the sea and loves cruising. I love good food and I love a few drinks and a laugh while I do it. I absolutely loved RCCL and MOTS. It is me as a person, embodied in a cruise experience. I thought the food and drink and service was top class and impossible to fault, even though the misery brigade try very hard. It is the perfect blend of fun family holiday, sophisticated adult breakaway, rest, relaxation and laughter. What’s not to like? Its five star service, food, drinks and activities with a different destination every day for a three star price. If you do it and you laugh half as much as my companions and I did all trip then I guarantee you it is money well-spent. Absolutely brilliant. I’m going to try Celebrity next to see how they get on, but it will have to be pretty flippin’ amazing to be as good overall as RCCL. Thank you Royal Caribbean, you have a customer for life now. CM Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
we shared a mid ship cabin with balcony which was very comfortable , having a balcony was a big plus because the pool areas were always overcrowded with parents and their kids. the ship was spotless, the food was excellent in the ... Read More
we shared a mid ship cabin with balcony which was very comfortable , having a balcony was a big plus because the pool areas were always overcrowded with parents and their kids. the ship was spotless, the food was excellent in the restaurants and good in the Buffet given the numbers they cater for all day.The staff were in the main a credit to MSC with one exception we found the staff at reception very rude and abrupt. As smokers we were delighted to discover the Cigar lounge where like minded people could relax and have a drink and a smoke in comfort, the staff here Amadi ,Eddie and Abdul were legends for putting up with us ! There was entertainment each evening in the theatre but we didn't avail of it and there was always lovely music playing in the foyer pre dinner there were some issues with queues to get back onto the boat after excursions and organization of these could be better. Yes we would definitely go again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This is our third Norwegian Cruise. It was our first time in a Spa Balcony Cabin, the other were Suites. Our cabin included unlimited access to the spa facilities, 3 free Specialty meals and free standard alcohol plus $175 ... Read More
This is our third Norwegian Cruise. It was our first time in a Spa Balcony Cabin, the other were Suites. Our cabin included unlimited access to the spa facilities, 3 free Specialty meals and free standard alcohol plus $175 "play" money. The Epic is a large ship with a lot to do and eat! We ate in the garden cafe for breakfast every morning and tried Teppenyaki, Le Bistro, Wasabi, and Cagney's. All were top notch. Others told us they felt the cabins where smaller than the Jewell class ships but we felt ours was adequate. The Cirque show as very good, I'd pay for premium seats of I did it again. Priscilla Queen of the Desert was excellent. Burn the floor was strange and disjointed with now story to tie it together, but entertaining. Howl at the Moon was entertaining despite one of the performers seeming to be drunk and unable to remember the simplest lyric. We used the gym and had no issues with getting to equipment. We used the spa whirlpools and saunas almost every day and t was never too crowded and I was always able to get heated chair when I wanted one. I organized a CC Meet and Greet for 30 people. Many of the ships officers attended and made introductions and we received a card with their phone numbers. All were very nice and attentive. Our cruise was worry free and I never had to call any of them. We were spoiled by the services that come with a suite so we did a lot of comparing the advantages of a Suite over a non-suite though-out our trip. In the end we concluded that we missed the concierge services the most. The Concierge gets you on and off the ship quickly and without crowds or lines, books restaurants and shows and quickly answers any question. We only missed the Butler once (when we came back from excursions and the restaurants where all closed we missed that snack the butler always brought) but that was not big deal. oh and we missed the bottle of wine in the room. I selected "Singles Cruise" below because we met a lot of singles on the ship and they all were so happy and told us they had no problems meeting people and absolutely loved the singles lounge and activities they had been involved in. Tips: *Make all of your specialty reservations in advance - they fill up quickly when you are on board. *Pick a tender letter as soon as you board (on the app or TV) Note that the date and time listed with the tenders is irrelevant. The letters are called in order as the tender are available to board. (all letters where listed as the second tender day at noon so I stood in line to schedule a tender the first day and learned the letter works all days once you have it) *At Great Stirrup Cay look for the Taco building - it is separate from the main buffet and well worth it. (beef, chicken, fish options or ask for a tortilla and make your own vegi taco) * Wrap up warm and catch a nighttime movie on the aft end H2O area. It was really pleasant and my husband, who has a hard time hearing in theaters, was able to hear he whole movie clearly. Summary: We had a relaxing and fun vacation and we will definitely be on Norwegian again. We'll be in a suite. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The term 180' from normal is very fitting. We have been on 10 cruise with larger cruise ships and this one was very different. Everyone is so relaxed and friendly and there is no need to get all dressed up. The crew where amazing ... Read More
The term 180' from normal is very fitting. We have been on 10 cruise with larger cruise ships and this one was very different. Everyone is so relaxed and friendly and there is no need to get all dressed up. The crew where amazing and worked so hard to make our 2 meal on coral islands so special. The highlight was the dinner at Bora Bora where we watched the sunset as we sipped our cocktails and ate a fest before being taken back to the ship in the dark and have a great view of the ship all light up with her sails up. The accomodation was a little cramped but well appointed. My only grip would be that on the lower levels the engine noise was quite evident. Though we did get use to it and the benefit of being low was the close proximity of the ocean to oir port hole. This was definatley a bucket list cruise and one we will remember for a long time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Just came back from a fantastic short trip around Ireland on the marco polo, Ive cruised with 4 different lines before and marco polo is by far my favourite. It really does offer a unique experience that you never get on the more modern ... Read More
Just came back from a fantastic short trip around Ireland on the marco polo, Ive cruised with 4 different lines before and marco polo is by far my favourite. It really does offer a unique experience that you never get on the more modern cruise ship so anyone with any interest in ships at all will enjoy. Staff we found very helpful and irina our cabin stewardess was excellent. We enjoyed the itinerary and embarkation and disembarkation where well organised. Ships was clean and tidy with beautiful open decks and excellent food in the main restaurant and they offer lots of buy one get one free offers which made it excellent value for money. The only slight down side was the queues in the bistro and if your going for a long cruise over say 2 weeks you might struggle to fill your days as it doesn’t have the amount of entertainment a mega cruise ship has but that’s what makes it a unique experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I had never been on a cruise before and was invited to go on this cruise with friends. It was awesome!! So much variety in events and food. My friends were Star Class and had a private suite with balcony so I was very fortunate to get in ... Read More
I had never been on a cruise before and was invited to go on this cruise with friends. It was awesome!! So much variety in events and food. My friends were Star Class and had a private suite with balcony so I was very fortunate to get in with them for their dinners, drinks, and events, thanks to their awesome concierge. If I had known about the all inclusiveness of star class I would have paid for it. You get nickled and dimed for everything else if you don't. I had an awesome ocean view stateroom with my own balcony. It was super nice to to leave it open when sleeping and sneak out naked in the cool night! My cabin steward was friendly and creative. I had to rush to get my suit jacket pressed and he made sure it was pressed the same day with very short notice. He also was a skilled towel sculptor! I walked in one evening and for turn down service he make a monkey hanging from the wall! The food options were amazing. Because my friends were star class we ate mostly in the premium places which were all incredible! We ate in the main hall once for breakfast, I think it was the Windjammer on 15, and it was ok. Typical buffet. Johnny Rockets was a good deal. All you can eat for $6.50 cover. Entertainment was incredible. Go see Mamma Mia! Our butler got us front row seats and other preferred and reserved seats without having to wait in line. I even got to meet part of the cast on deck 17 while we were going to a cabana. Super friendly and nice. Visited the spa and the services were fantastic though they pressure you into buying premo expensive products that in many cases were just as expensive if not more so than the spa services themselves. Checking in was a pain because the lines were so long. Communication about departure was hit or miss and confusing. Pay attention to your paperwork and the pamphlets on your bed!! Overall, an awesome experience, though pricey. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was my fourth cruise of the year. Two on Carnival (Breeze: 3,700 and Valor: 3,000) and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (5,400). The Getaway carries around 4,000. I travel with a group, don’t consider myself too picky, and ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise of the year. Two on Carnival (Breeze: 3,700 and Valor: 3,000) and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (5,400). The Getaway carries around 4,000. I travel with a group, don’t consider myself too picky, and often stay on the ship in port. For this trip I stayed in one of the Studio Singles. While it may be unfair to compare anything to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class, I tried to factor in my two trips on Carnival as well. One thing that does stand out to me is how the personality (positioning) of each cruise line is indeed reflected in the ships’ layout and design. It is here that NCL falls way behind for me. I felt that the Getaway was designed to pack in the maximum number of passengers with the least amount of attention to “public spaces.” Both Carnival Ships and the Oasis had grand public spaces (soaring, or better atriums, well designed and large pool areas), the Getaway pales in comparison to those three. On the Getaway there was no visually impressive lobby/atrium, and the pool area was wholly inadequate – a major disappointment. The Getaway only had two pools, and one of those was a Kiddie pool. Further, they surrounded the main pool with four hot tubs, really limiting the space. In was next to impossible to find a place “by the pool” unless you play the 8 am reserve a chair game (and NCL seemed to police chair-saving less than other lines). One major sun deck (with no view of the pool) adds insult to injury by using heavily frosted glass for the railings, totally obfuscating the view of the Ocean—what were they thinking? I also felt NCL dedicated too much of its limited deck space to its premium class, but this annoying trend seems to be growing. Finally, there was quite a strong wind throughout my cruise (reported around 20 knots +) and the Getaway design did not provide for adequate wind protection in many areas where I could find a chair. On top of that the DJs (who I thought did a nice job) and the bands had the volume up WAY too loud! I could barely hear the person next to me, let alone two chairs away. In sum, the whole pool/deck experience was VERY disappointing, and for me, sitting by the pool and reading (and people watching) is a big part of vacation. Surprisingly, based on my conversations with other cruisers, I found the food very limited. While what was out was OKAY (my experience with cruises in general is that the food is plentiful, but not great, but that is OK for me), I found the variety to be quite more limited than the other lines—they just don’t rotate the selection in the main buffet that much. I was not a fan of their main dining rooms, and again, felt the selection was quite limited. Also, I don’t think there were any great “special nights” (e.g., Carnival has a lobster tail night). On the plus side I thought the Teppanyaki (aka Benihana style) restaurant served great food (I had the Filet Mignon). The room was surprisingly comfy, and it was nice to have more than a twin bed. My only complaint was not enough drawers and counter-top space, but I was easily able to put everything away. The Singles Lounge looked like a nice space, but one of the bartenders pointed out they tried to position it as a quite retreat. I would have preferred a more lively space. So, poor pool deck, uninspiring interior layout and middling dining…sorry NCL, you are third on my list of the four lines, and, frankly, I wouldn’t book you again given the other, better options. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I chose this cruise to try out the studio cabin, and I liked the itinerary. The cruise took place over Christmas, and the ship tried to make it as festive as possible, but it still felt as though something was missing, and I did not feel ... Read More
I chose this cruise to try out the studio cabin, and I liked the itinerary. The cruise took place over Christmas, and the ship tried to make it as festive as possible, but it still felt as though something was missing, and I did not feel in the festive spirit. The entertainment was good, and I really enjoyed the comedy club. Dining was adequate but unimaginative. The specialty restaurants were a better choice. I tried Teppanyaki and the sushi bar- both were excellent. Lineups for check-in were really long, and did not move very fast. My biggest issue was with the elevators. We were constantly waiting for elevators- the ship could use another set. Service was adequate, but I did not actually meet my cabin steward. The fitness facilities were excellent, and plentiful, and the ropes course was great. All in all, I thought the ship and cruise were above average, but with some issues. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was first time on Escape previously on Epic. Both greate ships. Signed for Vibe for first time and worth it if you have +2 sea days. Great Bar staff who made the experience worth it. Met lots of people from all over the UK. ... Read More
This was first time on Escape previously on Epic. Both greate ships. Signed for Vibe for first time and worth it if you have +2 sea days. Great Bar staff who made the experience worth it. Met lots of people from all over the UK. Definately going Vibe in future. Signed for Spa pass for the week. Found 8am-11am best times as not busy. Very relaxing experience. The stone heated beds were great. Used the Sauna, hot tub, relaxation pool, steam room. Went to the Comedy night and Duelling Pianos which was great entertainment. Did the Supper Club with Frankie Valiance and Four Season which was fantastic entertaining. Also did the Brat Pack (twice!) great music. Buffet was good but normally I sign up for the speciality restaurants. However the standout eaterier is Food Republic which had fantasticly tasty food and good prices. Used it twice. Tried the rope course and the water slides (drop slide had my eyes closed) Studio Lounge is missing a bar compared to Epic but good size and Team member who looked after us was fantastic. Met Great People, had a Great holiday already signed up for two more next year! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Ovation of the Sea- Syd/Tas/NZ/Syd 15th December 2016 Embarkation/Disembarkation Ironically Ch9 was doing a live telecast from the ship and they were heavily promoting it as the “ Love Boat” including the presenters heads in ... Read More
Ovation of the Sea- Syd/Tas/NZ/Syd 15th December 2016 Embarkation/Disembarkation Ironically Ch9 was doing a live telecast from the ship and they were heavily promoting it as the “ Love Boat” including the presenters heads in buoys !, it should have been a warning. Our experience has shown from “Allure” and now “Ovation” that RCL has this down to “pat” and all move fairly quickly and smoothly providing people stick to the RCL guidelines and time slots given with your paperwork, the hold ups ,if any, normally comes from Customs, having said that, both on and off the ship on the 15th/30th December was very fast for us. Plenty of Taxi’s were also available. Cabin etc Our balcony cabin was on deck 13 and it was a little longer than normal, however, it was not as wide, therefore the balcony was very small, having said that, it worked well for us, the shower in these smaller type rooms was very roomy and possibly one of the better we have experienced in the thousands of nights we have now spent at sea over the decades- there was no toiletries. We booked this cruise 8 months out to experience the ”premium ship” and the “bells n whistles”, we were told by RCL themselves at the time of booking that deck 13 was the only cabins ( at a premium) that were available, this we have since found out not to be true, deck 13 has above it the Pool and the Windjammer- therefore I would not recommend this even if it was the “last of the balconies” The “paperless” approach that is being taken left the room with NO information in relation to how to do anything unlike previous cruises where there was a iPad in your room to book shows etc.,( or the TV) this was not the case nor was our TV working and when it was fixed it did everything other than ROYAL IQ, ( there are 2 iPad’s at the elevators so you will need to line up at times) It appears there is at least 2 balcony cabin “layouts” a. with the bed closer to the bathroom and the divan next to the balcony door/window and b. the other way round. If you like lying in bed and looking at the ocean then make sure you have layout “b” although it is a tight squeeze between bed and window. A very common complaint from many women was that the toilet paper was rough and a thin single sheet of poor quality so you may consider bringing on your own, albeit it this is supposed to be a “premium ship and cruise” where you are paying up to 30% more for a similar itinerary on a similar “star” ship The TV in the cabin has a great picture, it has the normal channels HOWEVER it doesn’t offer the movie that was shown the day before and your only offering in movies is to purchase them at US$ 12 so a movie will end up costing you around AUD$ 15-18 ! there is no on board Show Channel because there is a total lack of this type of entertainment on the ship. The telephone has Chinese as the 1st language and English the 2nd as with much of the information on the ship. Ports The good itinerary ( only port lacking was Napier) started with our first port of call Hobart with all as expected, however we ran into very poor weather and had 3 days of the “premium bells n whistles” shut down while crossing the Tasman from Hobart to Milford Sound where we entered the sound and sat for 6 hours having being told the day before we would be not calling into Dunedin and instead going up the west side of the south island into Wellington, then onto Picton a fantastic small port that each year keeps re inventing / improving itself for cruise passengers ( much like Napier has) and certainly a port you want you to go back to then onto Tauranga ( the locations is really the port of Mount Maunganui and you can get a “express bus” into Tauranga for $10 return. (It amazes me for over a decade they have been charging / treating tourists all over NZ that a AUD$/US$/GBP has the same value as a NZ$ and in many cases will give you back a NZ$ for change, this is so petty and shows such a poor light to visitors and why the NZ Tourist Commission hasn’t put a stop to it fails me) such is the case in this port. What I found amazing is there was no port “sail away” music in any port and what you must see is this clinical uninviting ship steam out to sea, in Tauranga a perfect opportunity was lost of promoting the ship and the perception of the cruise when we had possibly 10,000 people crowded onto the beach, docks, jetty and rooftops and a fantastic flotilla of around 50 craft that stayed with us all the way out until the pilot got off and still not one single happy party Sail Away music was to be heard, really sums up the ship, not inviting, not fun, not appealing, Then it was onto Auckland and the shock was it is a tender port ! but the worse part was still to come in that the ( I will use RCL daily Compass “we will be offering a FREE return tender service- WOW FREE TENDER AYE”) was that the tenders didn’t go into Queens Warf or Princes Warf but down into Viaduct Marina some 7 blocks away from Queens street ! Downtown Queens St is all gone ( yes even the Warehouse gone!) so maybe given 12 months there will be a more visitor useful and friendly region but at the moment those who head straight to that part of town will find it a long long walk to find all has changed. The additional problems of the tenders is that both the marine and foot traffic caused mayhem for both locals and cruisers & requires RCL to be much more firmer with Auckland Council and say it is Queens or Princes Warf or nothing to be honest IMHO. There is no Map or Information relating to ANY of the ports to take ashore. If you haven’t booked a Shore Excursion your on your own so to speak. FOOD The ship is homed in China and what we saw was the Chinese Head Chef, the Sous Chefs, Chefs and Cooks are Chinese far more than normal on a RCL cruise and to be honest it trashed the RCL brand as they simply can’t do western food, the offerings were/are the same every night and bland, and as far as cakes / sweets they have no idea, the same 2cm square cake/deserts in a different color on tray after tray, meal after meal, and as for pastries there is none, other than the “Danish” for breakfast. As a example the Napoleon slice is “pastry” and filled with some water based gunk product with no cream in sight, just not worth the calories and as for the red velvet cake it is coloured sponge and very poor. If you enjoy this part of your meal give the entire ship a miss at this stage. ENTERTAINMENT RCL have at every point of entertainment gone out to break the 80/20 rule to prove you can ruin a great brand and product in one or 2 cruises. Ovation was to be a premium cruise, on a premium brand, and what they delivered was substandard offerings at almost every point. The “bells n whistles” of this ship that people were prepared to pay up to 30% more than other cruises were, when they were working, or if you could get a booking for the few, offset by poor overall entertainment. If you are a child/teenager or part of the lycra set ( the gym is well equip however ALWAYS overly crowded) then you would have had a fair sort of time with things to do, however, as for the other 4000 passengers, you were left with Trivia every hour and THAT WAS IT in general ! , the Daily Planner ( I am sure someone called it that in jest) was so sparse of things to do that they repeated in a space of one hour the same feature ( ie Flow Rider) 3 or 4 times so the 6 or 7 items made it look like there was entertainment on the ship for most of the guests day after day. On a ship with 4600 guests the Morning Show has a following where maybe as many as six (6) people will do a shout out, or answer the riddle of the day, and that starts the Cruise Directors day with more trivia with his side kick the “Activities Manger” and I use that term very loosely, taking part and promoting her Zumba class in between the commercials to spend more money on everything you can think of. While both seem like nice people, the cruise director apart from self-promotion and a narcissistic self indulged plugging his DVD you can buy on boardwalk and what Trivia he is taking on the day is about it as there is nothing else on. The manager of the Windjammer has daily jokes & thoughts and had everyone up doing the twist so he was offering more entertainment that the Cruise Director. The entertainers and what shows there are on a 2nd or 3rd rate and not what RCL is renowned for, I guess that is because of the large Chinese numbers. Because of the lack of entertainment when there is something on the rooms are far too small to seat a ship of 4600 people, therefore you are asked to stand ( even in a 90 min movie!)if you can cram in BELLS N WHISTLES Most of these were all shut down with 3 days of bad weather and the results were disastrous. SEAPLEX-huge open floor capable of hosting everything from basketball, soccer & cricket etc and often around 200-300 people would gather to watch or participate CIRCUS SCHOOL- on Seaplex and you would have maybe up to 50 people involved DOGGEM CARS- on Seaplex and averaged the same group of people however too many breakdowns spoilt it for many. Flow Rider- fantastic ride however with only 2-20 at any given time wanting to use it again its also for a select few- you can pay for private lessens. IFLY- another fantastic experience HOWEVER on the 5th day of the entire cruise, it was totally booked out ( for your 58 second fly) and you had to really fight to even get in the hope of being so grateful to be considered as a standby- disgraceful- having said that, on the final day some had been able to get as many as 3 or 4 flys in, so the management of this was sloppy, poor & possibly not Kosher ?. NORTH STAR- again this was totally booked out and what was decided was that the 30min ride and 360 degree would be cut back to 10 mins and a up and down experience only, not the promised 360 degree experience- shabby and nothing more than a very basic outdoor experience. The problem is the ship has too many passengers with too few timeslots available for some of these experiences and I would be wary of paying such a premium cruise price to maybe get on these. BIONIC BAR – primitive robotic arms and primitive software driving it ( my wife has a “Scan n Cut” that has far more clever software) and is really below the standard of some of the other “B n W” offered on the vessel –still it is on board revenue for RCL SUMMARY Despite my poor review of Ovation, we love the RCL brand and product, however this ship is not for those that like what you normally get from RCL. The ship is not the best in “southerly” winds and is terrible in swells, the lack of entertainment is the worst we have experienced and certainly not up to a premium cruise. There was a gastro outbreak on board however little wonder when you consider the poor hygiene some of those passengers had. A excellent format was when entering Windjammer you were sent to a washing room with maybe 10 taps and soap to wash your hands, however the failure here is the staff is more interested in saying washi washi than having someone ( or video) in the room to make sure that passengers DID wash their hands or simply walk through it as many did as was the case with certain groups, and on several occasion I watched as people took the USED paper towels out of the rubbish bin and wiped their hands with them-RCL need to understand that if you have charged a premium price for a cruise then you need to offer some entertainment for the masses and not keep trying to squeeze the lemon to the point where people on principle do not want to spend any more money to go to seminars or additional charges for entertainment. The sooner Ovation gets back to her home port in China the better and let RCL Australia recover from this terribly planned season on a substandard cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I like Royal Caribbean as a cruise liner so was keen to try their latest edition to their fleet - Ovation Of The Seas.   Well.    What a big ship.    Was it going to be too big?     This is what I wanted to find out.      ... Read More
I like Royal Caribbean as a cruise liner so was keen to try their latest edition to their fleet - Ovation Of The Seas.   Well.    What a big ship.    Was it going to be too big?     This is what I wanted to find out.      I was impressed. Cabin staff were very friendly and helpful - I had no problems and if I did - they were only too willing to help me out. The same with the Windjammer and the Chic restaurant (which is the dining area I booked into as my dining time).   The staff seemed new to the ship and were keen to make my stay and experience a pleasant and friendly one.      I had no problem with food from Windjammer and I LOVED the service and food from Chic.   I had no queues, no waiting only service.   If other passengers were experiencing problems - I wasn't. Loved Jaimie's - had two lunches at this restaurant and had an awesome time - thank you Andre (hope that's how you spell it).   Loved the menu, loved the presentation of the food and it was tasty.    Thanks also to the Manager there who took time out to answer questions we had about the restaurant.   Very friendly, very informative, no rush - just pleasant and happy to assist. LOVED my coffee card package (best every - thank you Royal Caribbean). I decided this cruise was to be more relaxing this time.   More time out - reading and resting.    This I did.    Plenty of areas on the ship to grab a quiet spot.    I did do shuffleboard (Love shuffleboard), IFLY (just a shame I could only get to do one fly).  You are allowed one complimentary reservation per week - then you just have to wait in line to see if someone doesn't turn up for their reservation so you can have a go.    This just never happened so I had to be satisfied with one go.   The North Star however, I was able to have two goes.    Loved it.   I waited in line and had no trouble getting on.    The bumper cars were fun.   I had a ball.   There was a wait though.    The wait was longer than an hour.   This didn't bother me as I was happy watching and enjoying talking to people around me and everyone having fun. Some passengers did experience some problems but for me I was happy. My only concern was behaviour of some children on board.    Being school holidays and Xmas I expected kids.   Children have great facilities on board this ship - plenty to keep them happy and occupied.   A little more parental control or staff controlling when in general area of ship would have helped with regard to boundaries and behaviour.   They upset a few passengers with their wild play.    They were good in the pool though.    I would also like to see a little more "adult only" time on deck 15.     Every time I went to play ping pong, xbox or air hockey  I couldn't get to play - and it was packed with kids (understandably) but I know a few adults who would loved some time in this area. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The embarkation process was very quick and easy which was appreciated after a very long journey. Our cabin was clean and tidy but thought the balcony was small.[little bit noisy] The ship was bigger then any others we had been on ... Read More
The embarkation process was very quick and easy which was appreciated after a very long journey. Our cabin was clean and tidy but thought the balcony was small.[little bit noisy] The ship was bigger then any others we had been on and seemed without much character We were on 2nd sitting for dining and found the staff very good MR.sabari and giving us much attention,with a smiling face.we love it,even in busy time he showing a warm smile and the way service is great.we never had these kind of service and conversation.The food was ok but have had better on other cruises. The entertainment was the worst by far we have seen over the years with cmv seeming to love ex Britain's got talent losers or lookalikes their main offering which is not what you expect. The shops were ok but the staffs attitude and service were very poor. In summary, every thing was average..except dining experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Four night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island. This was our second cruise, our first being nine nights to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit in Feb 2016. Embarkation at the White Bay Container Terminal was fast and efficient. ... Read More
Four night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island. This was our second cruise, our first being nine nights to New Caledonia on Carnival Spirit in Feb 2016. Embarkation at the White Bay Container Terminal was fast and efficient. Navigating into the carpark beforehand was more of a challenge, but we found our way in eventually (the gps was completely out of its depth). Our balcony room on level nine was roomy enough and adequate for our needs. Our luggage was delivered within a reasonable timeframe. Disembarkation was also very smooth. Dining The Pantry - crowded and stuffy. Quite often long lines for food and usually very difficult to find a place to sit. The layout makes it feel very cramped, and air con seemed to be absent at times which makes it worse. The use of round coffee tables throughout this area also detracts from the experience - low round tables with long, straight bench seats simply don't work. The food itself is of average quality, but it is a good idea how they have staff serve the food rather than self serve as this alleviates hygiene concerns. The Waterfront This is main dining room and we had two breakfasts and two dinners here. The breakfast menu is the same each day and the service was good and the food was hot. The dinner menu changes each day. The service was generally good, the meals were hot on arrival. Food quality and portion sizes were acceptable, though a little small. At our first meal there we ordered mango brûlée for dessert. Yuk. No hint of mango in this dish which consisted of a shallow dish with a thin layer of something like baked custard in it. Salt Grill $49 aud per head - bookings essential. Due to the popularity of this venue we had to accept a 5:30 booking for dinner. Food quality was very good and the service also very good. Flavoursome meals here which contrasted with the tendency towards the bland at the other restaurants. Desserts were also very good. Dragon Lady - modern Asian fusion. Very good service. Food portions were ridiculously small. Main meals would have been considered entrees anywhere else. Desserts were poor. We tried the mango with sticky rice, but again no trace of mango to be found, we also had the chocolate slice which seemed to be made from gelatin and even though it looked like chocolate, it didn't taste like it. Angelo's - Italian restaurant, others in our group had dinner there on the first night and reported that it was terrible and strongly recommended that we avoid it. So we did just that. The dining experience for us on Carnival was better across the board. There was good coffee to be had from a couple of locations -$- ocean bar on 8 and the ice creamery on 11. Entertainment In this area P&O had the edge over Carnival IMO. We really enjoyed the Blue Room with the jazz or blues band each night. Real music played by musicians has always been my preference as opposed to carbon copy cover songs. The acoustic guitar player, Troy, was very good too, playing recognizable covers but well and truly in his own style. The song and dance shows in the large auditorium were not much different to what we had seen on Carnival and are ok if you like that sort of thing. The theme nights were both great, the Gatsby Party on the second night was well attended throughout the various bars on level 8 with maybe half the people making some kind of effort at dressing in theme. Lots of dancing and even some free glasses of champagne being handed around. Would have been nice if the entertainers had dressed in theme too (I am talking about the blues band here.) The White Night party on deck 11 on the third night was great fun too. Pumping music a mixture of DJ and live band worked really well and a fair percentage of those in attendance were in white (to some extent). Steady Eddie was great on the final night. More comedy would not have gone astray. The only time we found ourselves relocating to another bar to escape an act on stage was the final night during the 'staff jam session' in the Blue Room. Not good. The Staff Most staff were attentive and cheerful, but some were decidedly not so. No eye contact and seemingly more intent in returning to other things. This was quite noticeable from day one on this ship. Carnival has a sizable edge over P&O in this area. The Cruise Our cruise started by not starting! Our departure time of 5pm came and went while we sat expectantly on the outside rear deck with cocktails in hand. Eventually an announcement came over from the captain 'on the bridge' that due to a malfunction with the electrical control system out departure would be delayed. Long story short, it took a day and a half to resolve the issue so Moreton Island was dropped from the itinerary and we cruised in the ocean for two days. All passengers were promised a full refund of their cruise fare. I am sure that many, like myself, compensated by drinking more than they may have done otherwise and this may have contributed to the enthusiastic participation and dancing on both party nights! Overall - we really enjoyed our cruise on the Pacific Eden with our group of family and friends. Highlights were the party nights and the onboard live entertainment. The bar areas were all very nice. Downsides were the food which was generally mediocre, and the unforeseen technical issues which unfortunately denied us a full day of travel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I wanted to take this cruise to experience the Christmas markets and to view firsthand the Christmas experience along the Rhine River. It was absolutely amazing. The markets are spectacular and the Rhapsody offered so many rich musical ... Read More
I wanted to take this cruise to experience the Christmas markets and to view firsthand the Christmas experience along the Rhine River. It was absolutely amazing. The markets are spectacular and the Rhapsody offered so many rich musical experiences. The service and the leadership on this boat are incredible. From the Captain to the Hotel Manager to the crew itself, the entire focus is on the comfort and enjoyment of the guests, and they are all involved. There is a unique hospitality that surrounds the guests and that is especially apparent in the marvelous food that is served three times a day as well as the numerous special parties and celebrations. The best thing, I guess, for me was that I was able to buy all my Christmas presents on this trip. Of course, I shopped at the Christmas markets, but I also shopped in the ships' gift areas. Frankly, I found a great many things for myself. I plan to take this cruise again this coming Christmas. There are so many guests that take this trip year after year. That would be heaven. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016

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