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695 Singles Cruise Reviews

before i Sailed i checked here for a few reviews and didn't see many up to dated ones so i thought i would add one, it was a few ago and i did not write anything down so i will try to be detailed. This was a 4 day cruise from Long ... Read More
before i Sailed i checked here for a few reviews and didn't see many up to dated ones so i thought i would add one, it was a few ago and i did not write anything down so i will try to be detailed. This was a 4 day cruise from Long Beach Ca. Catalina, Ensanada Mx. sea day back to Long Beach So for the People reading this in the future we just started getting serious about the Corona Virus 3/9/20 and everyone was canceling there cruise, Carnival was trying to fill this ship up and so i booked this 10 days before they sailed through the Carnival Players Club ( Casino ) The Deal was $20 pp for a IS and I upgraded it to 6C for $10 so for double i paid $60 plus taxes of $105 and i received $100 OBC and a Drink on us package in the Casino then a few days after i booked is when the cruise industry really getting hammered with people getting Corona Virus. Carnival offered us a $100 more OBC if we didn't cancel but would honer anyone who wanted to cancel so to recap i Paid $165 got $200 OBC and free drinks..i couldn't say no. Before I boarded everyday Carnival sent emails everyday saying if you feel sick or have any signs dont show up you will not board that there was strong screening before you get on...making it easy to cancel for full refunds..and they were true to there word they did screen everyone, they took everyone's temperature as they boarded. never once did i feel like i would get sick, they were not allowing people to spoon there own food in the buffet they plated everything for you and they had full hospital gowns on face masks gloves etc..there were always people walking and wiping rails tables etc. This was my 9th Carnival Cruise 5th Fantasy class Ship and 2nd time on the Inspiration .So i knew the layout and i knew what to expect a older ship with funky coloring i like the ship and the layout and i know where to stay I like my room right by the Elevator that leads to deck 10 right in front of the buffet. easy access to food and the lido deck fun. I stayed in M 199 the room was set up as a king by my request and it had a hanging bed that was folded up out of the way. What i wanted to do this cruise was play some Craps in the casino and read some books I did just that I played a lot in the Casino they Have one of those Crap Bubble Machines that i love I probably played 7 or 8 hours on that plus about the same on live craps. I did not eat in the MDR... i ate Sushi twice Buffet once and Deli once for Dinner everyday is was Guys buggers and Fries...Omelettes for breakfast. The Buffet sucked i did not eat all of it i went and got a sandwich at the Deli later that night.I also had a new guy trying to make omelettes one morning he had to make it 3 times before he got it right,,,besides those few issues no problems with food. I only went to a few shows ...the same as always if you have not seen it go see it if you have ...unless your bored ,,, my guess was the ship sailed at about 90% so there was always people on the Lido deck as usual i walked around a few times tryig to find a quiet place to read and was not able to find it even on the ship the library had people playing board and card games only place was my cabin to read which sucked but im one of those guys who has distraction i cant read... Hey I have never been on a bad cruise I have not Issues but never have they ruined my Cruise this was no different.. My Cabin steward I met him my first day I tipped him $40 and said I am Solo i probably not gonna need a lot from you but Ice please keep my Ice chest full... I had to call him every time but once I only had him clean the cabin once which is the time he got the Ice...he was polite and professional but didn't seem to want to do the extra effort... he would of got another $40 but did not earn it. and yes i kept on the auto tip as well. also like i said with my breakfast i felt they were training people to do it, Besides that everyone was awesome and friendly the Casino crew was top notch from the dealers to the Cocktail servers i was greeted by name every time i walked in there. the staff during the Muster drill was awesome they were the Dancers in the show so they new how to Entertain us while dealing with a boring issue. So here are some weird issues this cruise had that normally you wont run into often We were suppose to leave Long Beach at 5:30 pm I was up on the lido and we just sat and sat finally i went downstairs because it was getting dark and i was hungry.. we set sail at 8:05 Captain came on once and said we were delayed because we hadn't been cleared to leave yet..First day we were suppose to be in Catalina I was going to stay on board the weather was poor and i have been to Catalina many times nothing i wanted see but i was woke up at 7:45 by the Captain saying the weather was to bad to be able to tender back and forth so we were going to make today the sea day and go to Catalina tomorrow and Ensanada on the last day. and any excursions would be refunded, taxes etc. everything would be re booked for Ensanada about 12 pm the captain came back on and said we were heading to San Diego to drop off a sick passenger and please dont try to get off the ship we are only going to stop and drop...then about 30 minutes later he cam back on and said the Coast Guard decided to come and pick him up instead please stay away from the back of the boat...of course everyone was up on the lido taking pictures...and we ended up canceling Catalina altogether and went to Ensanada as planned with the last day being another sea day... Getting off the ship I walked off at 7:45 right to my truck and on the road by 8am Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I went on the cruise with my best friend for spring break. We are both 21 years old. I had the time of my life on this cruise, and I’m looking forward to cruising with Norwegian in the future, but there were a few things that surprised ... Read More
I went on the cruise with my best friend for spring break. We are both 21 years old. I had the time of my life on this cruise, and I’m looking forward to cruising with Norwegian in the future, but there were a few things that surprised me. We were not permitted on the tender boats to go to great stirrup day due to wind. It was really a bummer to get 1 day in the Bahamas on a 7 day cruise. We were also charged an addition tax on any drinks we bought while in port even though we had the drinks package. A $300 deposit came out of both our accounts on the first day that we were not aware of but we got it back. Some employees where rude to us. Especially at The Local. I would avoid that bar and restaurant as much as possible but they are the only place open 24 hours besides room service which is additional fee. Nestor at Sugarcane Mojito Bar make my vacation! He was absolutely wonderful. Everything was extremely clean and sanitary. I thought the food was good at the complimentary places. We didn’t participate in an special entertainment but they have live music all over the boat. I enjoyed getting in the hot tubs but they are limited and crowded most of the time. I enjoyed my 1st cruise and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I have been on this ship before and enjoyed it. The cabins spacious, the food excellent, entertainment not the best, but OK and the staff so courteous and helpful. On the 2nd port this time we were put into lockdown in our ... Read More
I have been on this ship before and enjoyed it. The cabins spacious, the food excellent, entertainment not the best, but OK and the staff so courteous and helpful. On the 2nd port this time we were put into lockdown in our cabins while a patient results were awaited and unfortunately he was positive for Covid-19 15 March 2020 End of cruise holiday. Food is excellent apart from the fact that it is hard to get enough vegetables and it often turns up cold. Two gentleman hosts take dancing lessons and arrange for singles to sit together if they desire . This is much appreciated. This cruise has Bridge lessons with an excellent instructor. The cabin 426 is spacious with a walk in robe and big two bowl sink, shower and large bath, all scrupulously clean. The crew appear mainly Filipino and have a high standard of English. Unfortunately some of the land tour s , although expensive, were quite disappointing. Our 4 hour tour took in two churches, a few market stalls and a historic prison which was converted to market stalls in the cells. The wares were quite high quality, particularly the table cloths and ladies' clothing. Not much to see over 4 hours. The route was interesting. Now we have to see what will happen with our own quarantine/ incarceration . Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was my 2nd time with CMV. I chose this cruise due to the itinerary and price. I am happy to travel on any cruise ship with any company, and would usually chose by itinerary and price (specifically solo supplement - I refuse to pay a ... Read More
This was my 2nd time with CMV. I chose this cruise due to the itinerary and price. I am happy to travel on any cruise ship with any company, and would usually chose by itinerary and price (specifically solo supplement - I refuse to pay a large supplement). CMV doesn't do frills, however it never claims to. This trip, as with my last one with CMV provided a good itinerary, edible (and sometimes really nice) food, a comfortable cabin, and entertainment that kept me amused although will not win awards for excellence or originality. I drove down the drive down the day before and stayed the night at Stifford Park Hotel. This was CMV's suggested hotel, and provided decent accommodation for the night, breakfast, parking and a taxi, for close to the cost of just parking at Tilbury Port. First time I have done this, and would do again. Hotel was fine, think Travelodge with some nice gardens, and a good breakfast. Not somewhere I would stay for a holiday, but definitely more than good enough for 1 night. NB there is no lift to some rooms, so do say when booking is you have mobility issues (or just lots of luggage!) Embarkation Smooth enough at Tilbury. It took longer than usual due to additional health checks for COVID - 19. I arrived at the time requested, and went straight through to check in. I wouldn't want to arrive earlier as the port has few amenities. Cabin My cabin was the cheapest inside cabin and I liked it. Really big for 1 person, and plenty of storage. Shower great, with lots of room, hot water consistently and good power. The bathroom however had a slightly unusual layout; when you sat on the toilet, a shut door was right in your face. I was solo so just left it open. You need to step up into the bathroom, and there are no grab rails. No rails in shower either. Cabin steward brilliant, and even fixed my bed when the poor sea conditions broke it. Food Im gluten free, so as with most cruise companies I pre booked the meals the night before. Main courses were really nice. Lots of meat and potato options which they did well. I also had some nice pastas. Desserts were disappointing. Mostly because they couldn't make many gluten free. This included black forest gateau which I thought would be easy to do gluten free - even a brownie with blackcurrant jam and some creme would have been fine. When something was not possible to make you were given what they had that was naturally gluten free - usually a creme caramel or creme brulee. As someone who has been gluten free for 20 years, this desserts bore the hell out of me. Hey ho. I had cheese one night, and the cheese crackers were fine. Afternoon tea was really disappointing. GF rolls used horrible, and the scones were literally inedible. I tried twice, but gave up. The food in the buffet I thought was the same standard in the restaurant. All food had allergen labels as well which was good, although they cannot guarantee free from cross contamination due to other passengers sharing tongs etc. I ate most breakfasts here, and some lunches and had no issues. For breakfast gluten free toast was available from the omelette chef. At lunch gluten free rolls were available, but you need to ask at the same station as breakfast. Entertainment This I thought was broadly as expected. I attended most of the shows and enjoyed what was put on. Male vocalists were better than female, and as in usually the case the older cabaret singers based in the bars were (vocally) better than the show team. I particularly liked Pauline. Other activities included quizzes, dancing, creative writing classes, and craft classes. There were also unhosted events such as a book club, and knit and natter sessions. There were also a number of films shown in the theatre. This I really enjoyed especially the Greatest Showman (think I have now seen this 106 times). Some of the other films though I thought were odd. However a selection I suppose means wider groups are catered for. I accidently went into the gym, and it looked quite big. There were also some exercise classes put on, catering for literally all accessibility requirements eg chair aerobics. They had a couple of people giving lectures. Both were really interesting and I enjoyed, although one was definitely a more compelling storyteller. Misc thoughts I appreciated the TV in my room had a recent range of UK channels. As a solo traveller it was nice to have the news on while dressing for dinner. There were also a couple of film channels, although again I thought the films shown were slightly odd choices. The weather was poor, and we had 3 sea days that were really terrible. Staff and ship coped well, but, possibly for the first time in my life I missed the option for room service. I couldn't even stand up, so for those 3 days I didn't eat. I lost 5 lbs on the cruise which is the opposite of usual. I would have so appreciated a cheese sandwich from room service on those days. In fact i dreamed so much about that sandwich, it was the first meal I had once I could stand again. I bought the drinks package, which I thought was good value. I'm not a big drinker, so don't think it worked out cheaper for me personally. However I definitely tried drinks I wouldn't have before, because it was 'free' to try. So I probably would do the package again. I bought wifi, and although it is expensive compared to home, for me it was worth it and I would buy again. I am self employed so needed to do a little work while away. As a solo traveller I also usually buy a little wifi, so I can check in as safe with family. Signal is only available in public areas, however I found it coped consistently really well with emails, messages including whatsapp, and browsing social media. I don't think I would try uploading videos, or video calls though. Service getting drinks was often slow. Many activities in the theatre also lacked drinks service which was disappointing. Library (including book cases) were open 24/7. There was also a large book swap service, which was a greater range of authors and genres than the CMV loans available Most public toilets required a step into them. A few disabled toilets were around the ship, although one was inside the mens bathroom, so open that door with caution if you're female. Shop onboard was pointless. Nothing interesting or useful to buy. Definitely take your own chocolate and crips, as these were expensive to buy in the shop, despite being duty free. They did have a small range of toiletries if you forget anything. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The cruise was great and exciting ... great activities. I loved the restaurants. I have been on 3 cruises with MSC I think they should improve the menus of the restaurants.... same food for all 3. And they must change deck 13 menu and add ... Read More
The cruise was great and exciting ... great activities. I loved the restaurants. I have been on 3 cruises with MSC I think they should improve the menus of the restaurants.... same food for all 3. And they must change deck 13 menu and add more meat food ie ribs and other meats etc. The crew members are great and helpful. They r so bad working. Please open the gym from 5, 6am is too late. When I went on my first cruise MSC musica there offered us a bottle of water. Overall great experience. The disembarkation process was not great. Long lines to get to emigration. I loved the entertainment team and Eric the cruise director. The price of the photos are expensive. The cabin was also clean and neat. They need to add more seating areas at the pool area to ensure that it’s enough for everyone at the cruise Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The cruise overall was amazing. The best part of the itinerary was Coco Cay. What a long way Coco Cay has come. Service was I really great and for the most part friendly. The ship was clean, modern, comfortable, and efficient. You can ... Read More
The cruise overall was amazing. The best part of the itinerary was Coco Cay. What a long way Coco Cay has come. Service was I really great and for the most part friendly. The ship was clean, modern, comfortable, and efficient. You can definitely get lost in the ship, but the app really helps you figure out where you are. Captain Ban and his crew also successfully navigated the rough seas for our cruise due to a low pressure system off the east coast. It might have been a rough ride back from Nassau, but it was overall an enjoyable one. The only thing I would complain about is the noise in stateroom 13646. It is right below the Coastal Kitchen and can get quite loud at night when you’re trying to sleep. The vistas, room attendant, and spacious balcony were the highlights. Anytime I left the room, the room was magically cleaned and new towels were stashed in the room. I can’t wait to sail on the Anthem again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Embarkation was the worst I have ever seen since I started cruising (1979). Three and a half hours in line (made Disney & Universal envious w/their lines) and no water available along the way. Only once you were in the final area did ... Read More
Embarkation was the worst I have ever seen since I started cruising (1979). Three and a half hours in line (made Disney & Universal envious w/their lines) and no water available along the way. Only once you were in the final area did the Platinum Priority Boarding show up. Almost missed my muster drill as a result. No worries, I still got scanned. I chose this cruise based on I wanted to try the Breakaway Class from NCL, and the pricing. I chose not to upgrade dining on this cruise, and for the most part it was a great decision. Most of the dining was great, and where they failed, NCL worked harder to improve (AND they did~!). I've been to all of the ports (Roatan - you need to book an excursion to enjoy this island; Harvest Caye - no zipline, and the tendering created issues for those unable to take steps to the tenders - they stayed on the ship. Costa Maya cancelled due to rough seas and high winds. Cozumel - always fun to ride along the loop on the scooters visiting the bars on the beaches). The ship (Escape) is considered a port (destination) to me, IMO; the pool was so full there was no room to even sit on the pool's edge. For Escape's "Dance Club" was in the Skyline Lounge - right next to the Casino - talk about poor design. Other ships have a dedicated area that actually looks like a dance club - both the pool and the night club need some rethinking NCL. While onboard, they transitioned Jimmy Buffet's Magaritaville Dining and the 5'O Clock Somewhere Bar to the American Diner and The Pour House (no more karaoke?) So these two venues were shut down mid-cruise. Cabin wise, I was in an inside cabin (10417) that was very comfortable and quiet. The filtration system on Escape (in the common areas) should be inspected because it does not work~! The smell of smoke permeated from the casino area throughout the other areas of the interior of the ship. O'Sheehans was excellent (service and food), Manhattan Room (MDR) also a great place for excellent food as was both Taste and Savor. On night one, the buffet had prime rib and it was really good. No complaints on food and service (one minor issue resolved). Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
First time on Jewel, this was cruise 60 for me. Been to New Zealand many times. Embarkation and disembarkation was long and delayed due to port authorities and health checks for the Coronavirus. Not fault of Norwegian, There was an ... Read More
First time on Jewel, this was cruise 60 for me. Been to New Zealand many times. Embarkation and disembarkation was long and delayed due to port authorities and health checks for the Coronavirus. Not fault of Norwegian, There was an outbreak of gastro which made the bistro and main dining room difficult as everything was handled and served by staff. Everything was disinfected over and over. The condition of the Ship was fantastic, well maintained and no issues as everything worked and the cabin was comfortable. The crew were fantastic and very much enjoyed their contact, friendly and helpful. Entertainment was outstanding from stage productions to the comedian. Never missed a show. Internet was good but expensive. Loved the Coffee. Specialty Dinning was amazing and worth the money except for the Sushi. The itinerary ports were great, didn't do shore excursions as they were very expensive. The Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound were spectacular, was good if not better than Alaska. The Kiwi's were friendly and well prepared for tourists. Most of the passengers were American, British, Asian, some Australians and many other nationalities. Most of the passenger were middle aged, few elderly and disabled. Few Children or young passengers not for families. I enjoyed this cruise but it was not perfect but was excellent value for the solo traveler. I would recommend this ship and Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Food republic (NCL Escape) During my cruise on NCL Escape January 25, 2020 I enjoyed dining here on multiple occasions. The dining room is open and roomy. The main feature is a glass wall with sprawling views of the ocean and sunsets. ... Read More
Food republic (NCL Escape) During my cruise on NCL Escape January 25, 2020 I enjoyed dining here on multiple occasions. The dining room is open and roomy. The main feature is a glass wall with sprawling views of the ocean and sunsets. Stools are also available at the counters overlooking the chef’s preparation area. Plates are as advertised with 4 choices included with a dining plan- you eat very well. If you don’t have the dinning plan, I ordered a la carte, very affordable good quality/price. Perfect for solo travelers or sharing in groups. I love sushi and wasn’t disappointed, it was fresh and of excellent quality. I mostly ordered maki/rolls with salmon, shrimp and tuna. Squeaky clean open kitchens. I enjoyed conversation with hard-working but engaging chef (Wayan). Even on the busiest evening there was no wait, food was on the table in minutes. An important part of this experience was the Maître D (Edelyn Tuzon), always greeting patrons at the reception, polite, courteous and efficient. This lady remembered my name and last order every time, very helpful with explaining the menu or the use of the tablet. (for those afraid of technology, no worries the maître D and servers will assist with everything or a paper menu is available). All around fantastic experience, a cut above the rest, I would highly recommend. Mandara Spa Barbershop and Thermal Suite aboard the NCL Escape (January 25, 2020) Amir is the best barber! Very nice experience. Amir was courteous polite and attentive. Took the man facial with haircut that also included a vigorous facial, neck, arm and shoulder massage. Easily surpassed all my expectations, I’ll be back! Used the thermal suite pass throughout the week, relaxing, peaceful & quiet, views from the large windows are spectacular, the water features, especially the juts in the T-Pool help relive aches and pains. I recommend and will be taking on my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We had such a great time on the Norwegian Sun! As with most cruises, the service on this ship was superior. The staff made every effort to ensure the comfort of it guests. There were only a few times I saw people getting aggravated ... Read More
We had such a great time on the Norwegian Sun! As with most cruises, the service on this ship was superior. The staff made every effort to ensure the comfort of it guests. There were only a few times I saw people getting aggravated with the staff and it was usually the customers fault. I will never understand why folks are rude to service staff. The food was decent in the buffet and MDR. We didn’t eat in any of the specialty restaurants this time but maybe Le Bistro on our next NCL cruise. The entertainment onboard was a musical medley from the 80s and a magician. Both had us up and cheering. The vocalists on the sun are truly magnificent. The only thing I would do differently is maybe go on a larger ship with more bells and whistles. I thinking would be a better fit our particular style of cruising. Overall, we had a blast. We liked Norwegian so much that we are now booked on the Bliss in November 2020. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I traveled with Norwegian several times however, this was the first time with Breakaway. I was very pleased. This time I ordered an inside room as those tend to be quiet. I was decompressing from the holidays!! Sunshine : Deck 8 ... Read More
I traveled with Norwegian several times however, this was the first time with Breakaway. I was very pleased. This time I ordered an inside room as those tend to be quiet. I was decompressing from the holidays!! Sunshine : Deck 8 provides multiple seated areas "mostly shaded" for drinks, reading or just observing the ocean. Mornings had a coffee station for early risers as well as walkers. The afternoons, have a dedicated bar as well as access to restaurants, both large and small.. Thank you for this design as reading outside is a delight! And I enjoy the cozy conversations with fellow travelers. Dining - "Kudos" to the dining organizers,, for opening the Moderno for breakfast and lunch. The buffet was well stocked with a variety of foods in a 'civilized' atmosphere. Sometimes the Garden Café is chaotic. The Manhattan, Cagney's Taste, also provided good food. The bartenders were 'not in a good mood" SUGGESTION: Espresso - please place a machine in the Garden Café. The station in the Atrium was slow, disorganized. The solo area has a machine that I have used before Entertainment: Burn the Floor is not to be missed! The Comedians provided laughs. Ports: Harvest Caye was a delightful surprise. The 'no charge' village is an assortment of beach, pool , butterfly garden, animal pool and shopping village. Bars both in pool and at beach. The layout is similar to the Westin Grand Cayman beach. Costa Maya also a surprise delight, for the same reasons, but not as large. Cozumel has upgraded significantly since my last visit 10 years ago, so I will plan a direct visit. I took the Chichen Itza excursion which I do not recommend. The guide provided IPADs with a Mayan presentation that exceeded expectations. The only reason that i do not recommend is because it is 7 hours of travel and 1 hour of touring. I spent 2 weeks in Roatan Honduras a few years ago and will never go again. However, while on a sofa watching passenger traffic I noticed that others felt the same. Not safe Unexpected : During this cruise, we had bad weather the first 2 days. 60 Mile per hour winds and 14 foot waves. Weather caused a cancel to the 1st port however, the crew quickly published a revised activity sheet. They were quick to provide activities for passengers. Travel is an adventure. I got a discounted massage. :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my first MSC cruise and I have to say that the experience was quite positive and made me want to consider MSC again for future cruises. The Meraviglia is an absolutely stunning, and extremely glitzy vessel. The promenade and ... Read More
This was my first MSC cruise and I have to say that the experience was quite positive and made me want to consider MSC again for future cruises. The Meraviglia is an absolutely stunning, and extremely glitzy vessel. The promenade and atrium, with it's Swarovski decorated staircases, are as nice as anything I've seen on any ship! The lounges are plentiful, comfortable and very nicely decorated. Boarding was a multi-stage, multi-queue affair but, with a little patience, wasn't all that bad. It took an estimated 45 minutes from arrival at the main doors of the terminal to arrive onboard. It was 45 minutes of progressing through queues but also a good time to meet other cruisers. Once onboard, it took a while to get the MSC for Me app working and there also were a few glitches using the electronic kiosk to set up a credit card on my account. With these first steps completed, I went to find my room, about an hour before the time we were told rooms would be ready. By chance, the room steward was just finishing the room and after a mild warning about being there too early, I was welcomed to my inside studio. I liked the multicultural vibe on the ship. On my other cruises, the vast majority of passengers were English speaking and from the US, Canada, and Great Britain. On the Meraviglia there seemed to be passengers from all over the world and it was refreshing to hear a wide variety of languages being spoken. I also liked it that performances in the theatre featured different languages and not just English. The officers and most staff do their best to be welcoming but some staff could definitely use some retraining or an attitude adjustment in this area. It seemed that the Filipino and Indonesian staff were the best trained and most customer service focused. The room steward was friendly and generally did a great job but seemed extremely busy and was seldom in the area of the room. The "do not disturb" and "make up room" switches on the wall were a lot more convenient than the doorknob hangers that other cruise lines use. Not having my room made up one evening because the "do not disturb" light was on was a good reminder to be careful to turn the switch off when leaving the room. The food was, for the most part, very good. Not as good as Celebrity or Holland America but better than expected. There was lots of variety in the main dining room and the desserts were not bad at all. The buffet restaurant was also good, but the carving stations did not seem to have high-quality cuts. The pizza on the buffet was, as everyone seems to comment, very good. I had breakfast in the main dining room most days and was seated and served quickly and the breakfast items were very good. One strange little quirk is that if you ask for a decaf with your dessert in the main dining room, you are served a cup of hot water with an envelope of instant decaf. By contrast, the buffet always has urns of brewed decaf available. I tried a $5.00 hamburger at the Irish Pub but have to say that the burgers at the buffet were better. I expected something special and not a pre-formed (and probably previously frozen) hamburger for an extra cost at the pub. Other than that, my only experience with the specialty restaurants was a mid-week walkthrough and small bites sampling. I have to say that those small bites tasted great but did not tempt me to try the restaurants. The only really negative experience with dining was a tough and very salty swordfish entrée in the main dining room. One bite was more than enough and a replacement entrée was quickly ordered and delivered. Traveling solo, I was a bit concerned about the fixed dining times and preassigned tables but have to say that MSC worked this out very well. All guests at my preassigned table were about the same age and traveling solo so there was no issue finding something of interest to talk about. The entertainment was excellent with a variety of song and dance shows varying from Opera to Rock and Roll – there was something for almost everyone. The extra cost Cirque de Soleil Viaggo show was absolutely excellent and better than any other show I've seen at sea. As others have commented, it's better to buy the show plus beverage package rather than the dinner show as the "beverage only" seats are right at the front of the theatre. The MSC for Me app was very easy to use and useful. It was possible to reserve theatre showtimes, excursions, etc. directly through the app. MSC "matched" my Celebrity Elite status and although the benefits were not nearly as substantial as on Celebrity, free access to the thermal room at the SPA once during the cruise was a nice touch. It was a bit disappointing that the hot tubs by the main and indoor pools seemed to be constantly crowded (and occupied by the same guests) and that it was difficult to find lounge chairs on the upper decks as so many were "reserved" but unused. I wish that MSC and the other cruise lines would actually remove personal items from chairs after a half hour or so like their policies say they will. Port days were generally well handled but re-boarding was not that pleasant as there were unnecessary crowds and lines at security. MSC's Ocean Cay and Marine Preserve was my best "private island" experience yet. The opportunity to walk across several white sandy beaches and to sit by a fire on the beach while watching the evening musical parade and light show were right up my alley. All in all, the cruise was both great and inexpensive and it was wonderful having the Meraviglia as my home for a week. I would happily sail on the Meraviglia or a sister ship in the future. My first choice in mainstream cruise lines remains Celebrity but my first MSC cruise provided incredible value for money. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We sailed on the MSC Seaside for a week and immediately took another week cruise on the Princess Regal. These ships are quite different and attract a different crowd. For this review, I will often compare the two for a more informative ... Read More
We sailed on the MSC Seaside for a week and immediately took another week cruise on the Princess Regal. These ships are quite different and attract a different crowd. For this review, I will often compare the two for a more informative review. The embarkation was as smooth as one can get thousands of people on a boat in a few hours.  Yes, we had to wait, but in each case it was no more that twenty minutes in line,  I think this is acceptable. Both ships had port facilities that was meant to handle large crowds, MSC had recently built their own. MSC closed the staterooms until 2 PM on embarkation,  we were able to access our stateroom at 1 PM on Princess. The MSC Seaside is very flashy, and yet elegant with chrome and mirrors everywhere, while the Princess Regal had fancy wood decorations concentrating around the lighting.  Unfortunately the fake wood reminded me of my 1985 Chrysler LeBaron Woody so I was less impressed with this ship.  The MSC Seaside had a open feel in all common areas, while the Princess Regal had many circular areas with seats for a more private feel. The Atrium on the Seaside was 4 levels in height and was impressive with chrome, mirrors, and a very fancy stairway, while the Princess was 3 levels with more of the wood and fancy lighting. The Princess had a medallion (computer chip) which you wear, in contrast to the key card on MSC. In addition, the Princess phone app was more advanced, with lots of features. Unfortunately, the complicated app did not work properly on either of our cell phones despite the phones being a common Samsung Galaxy 7. The computer technician apparently knew the problem and got an older program running on my phone that lacked all the features, while we finally gave up on my wife's phone. The complexity of the Princess software was frustrating. I have done some programming and the app lacks data checking and error recovery subroutines. The MSC app was more limited but work fine. Both ships had hand washing stations in the entrance to the buffet, this should be a requirement for all ships to reduce the chance of illness. The food  on Princess was excellent with fancy presentation and more variety. But, on both ships, we had food that was not up to our standards,and ordered another dish. The table service on MSC was slower than Princess,as the staffing levels are different. At the buffet, Princess had carving station which was a great presentation, however, sometimes, it was the chopped, pressed block of meat, I like meat that has not been processed extensively.  However, the burgers, fries, and pizza on MSC were more tasty as they often fresher as their cruise crowd is more of a burger consumer. Princess had two places to get a pizza, with the fancy location making it to order, which would certainly equal MSC. However the Princess crust was like a frozen pizza, while the MSC pizza crust was nice and chewy. Princess had one lobster night and our server delivered us a second while MSC had a fish platter that was had a half lobster. We loved the taste of the food on Princess formal dinners while MSC was more variable. Overall, the food on Princess was very good and the food on MSC was just good . Subsequent to our time on the Regal Princess the Center for Disease issue it's report on the ship and they failed it at a rate of 77 points. This was a surprise, we did not notice anything unclean in food preparation. The last inspection on the Regal was a perfect 100. When we boarded Princess, we at first thought kids were not allowed on the cruise. There were families on the cruise, but nowhere as many as MSC. Princess certainly attracts a older crowd. Princess was much more laid back with outdoor movies and often provided blankets and seat cushions at night while viewing. MSC had more activities. Princess had all shows in English and more variety than MSC. Two of the nights a comedian performed for the main show and he had a phrase that everyone on the ship started to repeat (it was funny). Princess had a small band that was basically underutilized as much of the music was per-recorded. Some of the members appeared in bar bands throughout the ship. At first I was thrilled to have a band on the ship but by the end, there was little purpose for the band. Princess also had a Beatles tribute band that was entertaining. Princess had older crowd with few kids, MSC had a variably of ages, with many families and baby carriages.  I never say a baby carriage on Princess.  MSC had play areas for small children and teens and probably offered discounts for families.  It as clear the MSC Seaside was designed for family enjoyment .  Both ships had upscale areas in the front of the ship that were off-limits to those who did not purchase them.  Princess had a Serenity deck while MSC when much farther with the Yacht Club.  Yacht Club member had separate quarters, dining, bars, and a butler assigned to them.  It was like a ship within the ship. MSC staff were younger and more male than the veteran Princess staff . The Princess staff was more friendly but our cabin steward clearly wanted us to conform to his schedule which was odd. Princess had staff that brought you your drink at the buffet(if you can find them), I prefer to draw my own drink which was the case on MSC. The internet WiFi on both ships was good, with Princess averaging a faster speed. Both had a WiFi package for less then a hundred dollars for the week, much cheaper than the $30 a day some lines charge for internet access. Neither ship tried the hard sell for additional cost items, this was much better than other cruise lines and a relief. The schedule at Princess ended at 11PM every night and their was little options for food ,activities, or dancing after this time. Princess had a cafe that was open until about 11:30 with some light sandwiches. MSC had longer hours with late night dancing and Pizza and a buffet food options until 12:30 PM. In contrast, we usually travel on Carnival, and they have 24 hour pizza and food options until 1 AM The debarkation was as smooth as one can get thousands of people off a boat in a few hours.  Customs was the bottleneck with even slower lines on MSC because of the foreigners. In summery, the cruises on Princess were generally older and more laid back. MSC had more activities with foreigners, families, and a younger crowd. In a nutshell, if you like to retire at 11PM and you like good food with a fancy presentation, Princess is for you, while MSC is for those that can stay up to 1 PM, like an international crowd with families, enjoy pizza, burgers and decent food. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
First up, a disclaimer. I’m more recently a solo cruiser and I choose cruises based on the ship (ambience etc), the itinerary, and mostly because I like to relax and read a book (thus quiet spaces are very important). I’m not really ... Read More
First up, a disclaimer. I’m more recently a solo cruiser and I choose cruises based on the ship (ambience etc), the itinerary, and mostly because I like to relax and read a book (thus quiet spaces are very important). I’m not really interested in active onboard activities (iFly, Dogems, Flowrider etc). Radiance of the Seas was my 9th cruise from Australia, and my 5th with RCI (after Voyager, Explorer, Rhapsody, Legend, and now Radiance). I wanted to travel on Radiance for two reasons; firstly, because I’d heard fantastic feedback on her, and secondly because she is going to be home-ported at my home city of Brisbane in November 2020. I also cruised on Carnival Spirit in May 2019 (which I never bothered reviewing) which is also moving to the new Brisbane Cruise Terminal in late 2020. The ship: I loved her. People have raved about the glass and lighting, and they are right. It is bright and airy. I love the fact that you can walk around the lido deck up to the front helicopter deck, and there are chairs and lounges on this level (5) to enjoy (unlike Carnival Spirit). Yes, she is an older ship, but the crew are doing an awesome job to keep her in condition. The only negative I would say is her lifts. There are two lots; one bank of three forward, and then a bank of five midships, starboard side adjacent to the Centrum. The latter were a real challenge as you had to run between each when they arrived (quite a distance). They have spectacular views of the outside, but they are a challenge. One of the comedians made a great joke about them in his performance, which brought a resounding cheer from the audience. As others have said, if you are dining in Windjammer and you need somewhere to sit, keep going aft to the “secret” location overlooking the stern. What was the Viking Crown Lounge on level 13 (now called the Star Lounge) is also a great daytime escape. The adults only Solarium is another great spot, although can get a bit hot and humid on occasions. I did a few of the speciality restaurants; Giovanni’s, Chops Grill and Izumi. All great. On day 1 you can sign up for a discounted three dining package for AUD$79, which is well worth it. I didn’t try Sumba (the Brazilian Restaurant), and I think it would struggle to attract numbers because it is tucked away on level 12 or 13 (can’t remember which). The Schooner Bar is one of the largest that I have seen on the RCI ships that I have cruised on (plenty of room) and I appreciated the Colony Club at the stern for a quiet space to take a break (except during the inevitable art auctions and bingo….) Entertainment: We were absolutely blessed to have the University of Wisconsin Blugold Marching Band with us on the cruise (https://www.blugoldmarchingband.com/). These folk performed a few times over the cruise and they were absolutely outstanding. My numbers may be wrong, but the band normally has around 450 members, however on this cruise, some 300 plus support staff and parents/guardians (around 400 all up). They are normally used to performing on US football fields, but whilst the restrictions of the Aurora Theatre were challenging, they did an awesome job. A shout-out to the parents, guardians and supervisors. To put this in context, these students are primarily aged between 18 and 21, and they have come from the US, where the legal minimum drinking age is 21. In Australia (where Radiance was home-ported at the time) our minimum drinking age is 18. You would have expected a few “challenges”, but I have to say that the young adults from the University of Wisconsin were exemplary in their behaviour. There were other entertainers as well, including an illusionist, comedian, singers, and entertainers, and whilst they were great, I have to say that they were out-performed by the Blugold Marching Band. Ports and excursions: I did a similar itinerary on Voyager a few years ago, as well as a more recent comprehensive self-drive tour of the South Island, so I wasn’t really interested in organised tours, plus I had friends to catch up with in Auckland. The Sounds (Milford, Dusky etc) are simply awesome. Although there was low cloud with limited visibility, it is a magical place. Congrats to RCI; the local guide that they engaged did an outstanding commentary all the way through. I didn’t do anything at Dunedin (I’ve been there a few times), choosing instead to take a nice walk around Port Chalmers. Nice place. There were two tender ports that I was really looking forward to exploring on foot. Akaroa was one, and it was a disaster. The ship moored at 7.30am around 2kms from the port of Akaroa, and there was another ship adjacent to us (Noordam). Radiance had four tenders running, and understandably they had to give priority to those who had booked shore tours through RCI. Four hours after tendering started my number was finally called, but all that meant was joining another queue just to get to the tender, which would have meant a departure of around 12.30pm, with a 45 minute transit to Akaroa, just in time to turn around and return to the ship. I gave up, and heard a few folk saying that the delays were exasperated by congestion at the wharf (3,500 pax from two ships) and massive delays queueing to return to Radiance. Clearly RCI had learned the lesson and at the last tender port, Bay of Islands, in addition to the four on-ship tender bats they had hired two additional tenders to get us on shore. Well done RCI. It made the whole process much more enjoyable. Would I cruise on her again? In a heartbeat. I love her mid-size and overall ambience. I’m already booked on her post-refit cruise from Singapore to Brisbane in early November this year. I’m so looking to welcoming her to her new summer home port of Brisbane. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last ... Read More
This cruise was a four-night trip on the Carnival Inspiration, round trip from Long Beach, visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada. This was my 16th cruise lifetime, and 4th on Carnival. My most recent cruises were on Princess; my last cruise on Carnival was about two years ago. This was my first cruise as a solo (divorced) traveler. I picked this trip simply because the timing worked out, and the price was right. Even having to pay double occupancy fare, with taxes, port fees and gratuities prepaid it came to under $500. I arrived early on Monday morning at the pier at 10:30am. My boarding pass showed I was in boarding group A3 and has a check-in time of 12:30pm. The parking garage is incredibly convenient, being right next to the terminal building. Part of it is currently under construction for expansion, but I had no problem finding a spot, and ended up on the ramp between the 1st and 2nd floors, right near the exit. Incidentally, this location charges $23 per night for parking. There were several porters sitting around by the curb at the edge of the garage, but I couldn’t immediately tell if they were bringing luggage out for people leaving or picking up new luggage. So I walked past them before being directed back by the friendly Carnival staff at the crosswalk. At the terminal building there was no one waiting, and the staff welcomed me to come inside and “get the process started”. They have three lines at the entrance – one for priority and FTTF, one for people arriving at their check-in time, and one for people arriving early. It didn’t matter though, since again no one was there. So I walked into the terminal at 10:42am and was through security at 10:45. Then I had nothing to do but wait inside the large domed building on their cushy bench seats. They started calling priority and FTTF boarding at 11:13am. Since there was still not that many people there, they continued by calling groups A1 and A2 at 11:14, followed by group A3 at 11:15. So the folks who purchased FTTF, for which one of the perks is earlier boarding, got on a whole two minutes earlier than me. After walking a long distance through an inclined ramp that went around and around, I made it to the upstairs check point at 11:18 and was on board at 11:21. (Rooms are announced as being not available until 1:30, and the doors to staterooms corridors are all closed at this point). I had lunch at Guy’s Burger Joint, which is the first opportunity I’ve had to try this. It was actually a pretty decent burger, and they give you a small side of fries on the side. They have a pretty expansive condiment bar, with sauces and toppings such as bacon and mushrooms. Also on the pool deck is the Blue Iguana Cantina, offering street tacos, burritos, and taco salad bowls. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 3:30pm (2:30pm on the last day at sea). Guy’s is open Noon-6:00pm. Incidentally, the Cantina also has an expansive salsa bar, so you can dress up your tacos any way you like. I was surprised that for burritos, the only tortilla offerings they had were wheat or jalapeno. They have two self serve beer kiosks on the Lido deck, one between Guy’s and the Cantina and one inside the buffet area, where you swipe your card and pour your own beer and it charges by the ounce ($.37/oz). I tried the one outside once – it coughed and sputtered up foam. And the resulting ounce of liquid I ended up with did not taste like the Dos Equus it claimed to be. Fortunately I did not incur a charge for this; I guess the machine knows when it’s not working. And even more fortunately, they have the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and the more popular Red Frog Rum Bar, both of which feature their own menu of cocktails, and daily featured drinks for $1 off. I like how Carnival has its self-serve beverage station set up, out at the Lido deck near the pool, with machine dispensers for coffee, hot water for tea, and cocoa as well as water and lemonade all day (and other juices at breakfast times). It’s nice being out in the open with room to move around it. It’s so much more…user friendly then how things are setup on Princess. And I love having instant access to cocoa all day long. Except – the machine is a one-touch button that pre-fills the mug a specific amount. And that amount is 60% full. So you have to press it again and pull your cup out before it overflows, allowing the rest to pour down the drain. For some reason they had a person dressed up as Mr. Potato Head, taking pictures with people on the Lido deck on embarkation day. Still haven’t figured out why. Muster was call 25 minutes late according to the posted schedule, at 3:55pm. As is the norm these days, no need to bring a life jacket to muster. I was in the Paris theatre, and was impressed that the captain came to our muster station to talk, accompanied by the chief engineer and hotel director. I’ve never seen the high brass at muster before. I had Your-Time dining this trip, which was the first time on any line that I’ve done this. I’ve almost always done traditional early dining before. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Your Time dining worked. I arrived the first night at 5:55pm (it opened at 5:45), and was seated right away at my own table. There wasn’t even a line to get in really, just a few people. They pull your room number at the front, which gives your waiter your name; it is a nice touch when they address you by name. My waiter this night was Julio, and it was his first night onboard too (he previously was on the Fascination). Nice guy, but this would be the only night I saw him. I started with the poblano and corn soup, which frankly was amazingly flavorful with just a bit of spiciness. I then had the lasagna, which looked good but was overly beefy and under-seasoned, nor was I a fan of the creamy white cheese they use. But it was still pretty good. And of course I had the chocolate melting cake for dessert. It’s basically like an undercooked brownie-cake with a side of vanilla ice cream. Sooo good. I left at 6:55 and noted that there was still no line outside. My dining each subsequent night went pretty much the same, and all of the food was enjoyable. I noted at one point on the first night that a pop version of My Heart Will Go On (from the movie Titanic) was playing on the speakers. Why do they play this on cruise ships?? ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment onboard was pretty good. I should mention that I never had issue getting seating at any show, early or late shows, whether I showed up 5 minutes early or 20 minutes early. Seating just wasn’t an issue here. The stage shows were…okay. Studio VIP and Motor City. You can tell the cast has some talent, although if I were to be nitpicky I’d say they’ve gotten a little lazy on the choreography. Just not a lot of attention to detail in uniformity. But my big problem is the design of the shows, which I just don’t find to be well written with a good flow to engage audiences. I’ve found the shows on Princess to be written much better, and on Princess they have a live orchestra that really adds to the experience. Where Carnival really excels is in their Punchliner Comedy Club. With two comedians on board and 2-4 shows nightly ranging from PG to explicit, there’s a lot of offerings. They blow Princess out of the water here. It’s among the best in comedy shows I’ve seen anywhere, on land or sea. Andre was a great host and has some talent of his own, and in particularly the comic Douglas Williams was fantastic. I also really enjoyed the Piano Bar, which is in a little lounge in a separate room off the atrium. Michael has great personality for this venue, and he’s quite talented. I also attended the Love and Marriage show, hosted by CD Ryan Rose, which was incredibly funny and well run. And that coming from a single, divorced guy. Incidentally, the CD on this trip w did a great job and was all over the ship. PORTS We had tender service in Catalina, and honestly it was the smoothest and easiest tendering I’ve ever done. No tender tickets needed. Just show up and go. Assuming you can figure out where to show up – they are not very good about posting anywhere where you’re supposed to go. It’s not in the FunTimes or on the Hub app. There’s no signs in the stair/elevator landings. I think they made an announcement, but I was in my stateroom and couldn’t hear it. Anyways, tender service was scheduled to begin at 7:45; I headed down at 8am. I basically kept going down as far as I could, wandering eventually to deck 4, where the signs say “Medical Center”. And that’s where you go, apparently. But I walked right on the tender, no waiting, and we were soon underway. Golf cart rentals in Catalina are $50 an hour, btw. It’s been a few years since I was here and I don’t remember them being quite that high. But I walked around on my own, first along the waterfront before heading up the hill to the Wrigley Botanical Gardens (admisson $8 general, $6 senior). They have a nice collection of cacti as well as plants such as aloe and agave, and a variety of small trees such as shrub oak. The old stone monument, built in 1933, offers some nice views down to the bay. I also did the Garden to Sky Summit trail, which goes up to the top of the hill offering even more fantastic views around the island. Ensenada was the next day; we docked in at 7:35am. Once again I found my way down to deck 4 and walked right off. I can tell Ensenada has been working on improvements over the last decade. They’ve improved their waterfront walk and added in fountains (which didn’t operate until the afternoon). It seems like there were less people around the pier area trying to hawk stuff. Though downtown, you still see a lot of this. I had lunch at a colorful little street café, and got approached every few minutes by 5-year old girls trying to sell trinkets. As well as groups of older men with instruments trying to play you a song. I was offered several massages with happy endings out on the street, along with all manner of pharmaceuticals and typical trinkets that are mostly identical in every shop you come to. I did visit the science museum just off the pier, which is a huge new building, of which only about 10% is finished and running. But for $3 you can visit a room with displays and videos about endemic plants and animals on the various islands around the Baja peninsula. On our last day at sea before returning home, I went to the Sea Day Brunch that is apparently a popular thing to do. I arrived at 8:30, which was the opening time, and the line stretched out of the Mardi Gras dining room and halfway around the atrium. And this was despite having competition with the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast going on at the same time in the Carnivale Dining Room. This was the longest I waited the entire trip to be seated for dining – and it still only took 6 minutes. Of course with the initial opening, service was a bit slow, and it took over a half hour to get served any food. But it was still good, and I recommend it. I had the eggs benedict and a blueberry muffin (served warm), along with a side of “brunch potatoes”. As far as dining goes, I should note that lunch is never available in the MDR’s. I often enjoyed this on Princess, especially on embarkation day. But it’s not offered on Carnival, or at least this ship. For cooked meats – they give you two options: medium rare or medium well. Getting drinks on the ship was never a problem, as I found servers to be plentiful anywhere I was. And the staff in general was great ship-wide, always friendly and seemingly glad that you are there. I should also note that this ship has the waterworks slides, as well as a 9-hole mini golf course area that also has a foosball table and two pool tables (not that the balls ever stay put much on a moving ship). And there’s one ping-pong table, midship deck 11, port side. Well eventually you have to go home. On disembarkation day the full breakfast buffet opens early, at 6:30am (instead of the normal 7am – on Princess incidentally they always open at 6am). The disembarkation process is more streamlined than on Princess, where they have you wait in a lounge somewhere while they call through dozens of different groups. Here on this Carnival ship anyway, they just call by deck starting at 7:30. You have to be vacated from your room by 8:30, and everyone is supposed to be off the ship by 9:30. I didn’t wait that long, as I hate long good-byes. I noted that a line started forming around the Deck 7 atrium just before 7am, which is when they allow those off who have priority or who are carrying their own luggage. I didn’t head up myself till about 7:08, and by then there were only a dozen or so in line. I made it off the ship and down to security in 10 minutes, and breezed through security in about 30 seconds. In summary, the Carnival Inspiration is an older ship but with recent renovations to give it some of the amenities you’d expect on newer vessels. It’s well maintained enough that it’s easy to forget its age, and the crew is by and large friendly, helpful, and energetic, displaying great pride in their work. Although it’s just a short 4-day voyage, and they don’t offer really any enrichment type classes on the places you’re visiting, it’s a nice little vacation getaway. 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Sail Date January 2020
Shout out to Terri (DT) and Julian who did an amazing job. NCL arranged transportation. You meet them in the baggage claim area and wait for bus that takes you to port. Check in was (despite reviews I had read) was very organized ... Read More
Shout out to Terri (DT) and Julian who did an amazing job. NCL arranged transportation. You meet them in the baggage claim area and wait for bus that takes you to port. Check in was (despite reviews I had read) was very organized and quick. From drop off to on the ship was 30 minutes. Cruise staff, entertainment, and food were all great. Ship is large and easy to find your way. Good cruise for solo travelers as there are plenty of outgoing people. Observation Deck on 15 was a great place to unwind at the end of the day, have a cup of tea, and meet people or read a book. Sign up for meals and entertainment prior to boarding the ship. Free style was great if you had those reservations. Staff in The Local were always organized, friendly and helpful. The TASTE was much more organized that The Savor. Manhattan was good too. Helpful hint--don't wait for your tag color to be called at the end of the cruise or you will, as did many people, miss you flight. Clearance was given about an hour behind schedule and If I had waited I would not have made a 2pm flight. Also, it is worth getting your bag and asking for the porter to take you in a separate line and you clear re-entry very quickly. Overall, the ship staff was amazing, friendly, interactive. The ship was clean and they made efforts to maintain hygiene. I would take the cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The cruise was chosen by a friend because of the destinations and the price. I had never been to Cabo San Lucas nor Escenado but picking the right cruise line and the right cabin mate is essential. We had an oceanview cabin (1137) which ... Read More
The cruise was chosen by a friend because of the destinations and the price. I had never been to Cabo San Lucas nor Escenado but picking the right cruise line and the right cabin mate is essential. We had an oceanview cabin (1137) which was just enough room for the both of us. Made' our cabinet stewart took excellent care of us and ensured that every need was met, whether it was additional towels or simply opening the door when we both had our arms full. The Miracle is an older ship but it was ok. The decor was the most outdated to me but the crew made up for it. The Lido deck was small and a little off centered compared to the other carnival ships that I've been on like the Fantasy, Inspiration, Sensation, Glory, ect. Alex in the Bacchus (restaurant) was very attentive and ensured after a small hiccup the first night that the other 5 nights were wonderful. The food was ok but nothing to write home about. The Entertainment was so so, I've seen better on the other ships. Burgers on the lido deck were awful so I stuck to the deli and the restaurant. The burgers seemed to have been made earlier that day and just left on a warmer. If possible get on one of the ships with Guy'S Burgers, no won't be disappointed. Cabo San Lucas was really nice with beautiful beaches. Our first day we did the Top 10 Best of Cabo which was our 2nd choice since Explore Cabo: Sightseeing, Tacos, Tequila, & Shopping tour was full. For $60 it was acceptable but there wasn't a lot of time to walk around and shop it you wanted to get something to eat. Since we were there for 2 days we decided to do the tour day 1 @ 10am. On day 2 we decided to walk around downtown on our own where we explored the shops at the dock and inside the city with a couple of hours at the beach which was about a 30 minute walk from the cruise dock. Day 3 was at Ensenada which was ok but the vendors at La Bufadora Adventure where exhausting. You couldn't turn around without having 3 or 4 people coming at you at the same time to buy something. I had to pretend to have a hearing problem just to make it down the street which made that whole experience my least like of the whole cruise. Needless to say we didn't even get to see the blow hole "blow". Tide didn't get high enough. The 2 days at sea were okay but again my cabin mate and I got a long splendidly so it was nice. The gym on the Miracle was one of the better ones I had ever experienced on any of the carnival ships but it could have had more room to move around. The staff at the Guest Service desk were amazing. Would I go again, for the right price, absolutely. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I love sea days. The itinerary originally had 5 ports in the 11 day itinerary. The Tampa Terminal #2 is very small. Embarkation was slow. It really didn't bother me. It was very smooth and it seemed like the port employees worked as ... Read More
I love sea days. The itinerary originally had 5 ports in the 11 day itinerary. The Tampa Terminal #2 is very small. Embarkation was slow. It really didn't bother me. It was very smooth and it seemed like the port employees worked as hard as they could to keep the line moving. The Dawn is old. I think she is showing her age a bit. It was very windy for most of the cruise. The ship did roll back and forth quite a bit. It's no way a slight on NCL.. they can't control the weather. Many people complained about the smoke from the casino. I don't dispute their complaints, but this is something I expect on a cruise ship, and it is not something that bothers me. There is a cigar room near the casino and Gatsby's. It was supposed to be cigars only, but due to the high winds, they let people smoke cigarettes in there. Their only other option is Deck 13. I think the big problem is it seems to me like there was little to no filtration. There was no safe in my room. I was told they "expire" and most of them were not working and were taken out. I googled it. Safes do not expire. Again, this was something that upset a lot of people. I don't worry about stuff being stolen. The safe is somewhere I put things so I don't loose them. I think the ship should have informed us before we boarded. I had cabin 8017. It was a perfect location. Right up from the Stardust Theater. Not too far from O'Sheehan's. Easy to navigate to and from. I did hear some noises from the theater but nothing past 11 pm. Other than that, I don't remember any odd noises. I do use a white noise app.. so I could have blocked things out. The exclusive cocktail party for Gold and Silver Latitude Members was a joke. It's nothing more than a Cruise Next meeting. They used to have raffles and giveaways. They gave away one bottle of champagne to the couple who was married the longest and that was it. Then, proceeded with their pitch about deposits. If you are Gold or Silver, you know all about the program. This is my biggest and just about only complaint about the cruise. This doesn't say to me that NCL appreciates me as a returning guest. How about some games? Give away a t-shirt or two? Don't sell me something you know I am going to buy. In St. Thomas, I did the Kon Tiki sightseeing and beach break. This was a lot of fun. Get in line early if you want a good seat. It filled up fast and the upper level has no shade. The beach was beautiful. The guides were amazing. I highly recommend this excursion. Because of the windy weather, we couldn't port in St. Lucia or Antigua. They took us to Martinique. It was absolutely breath-taking. I did not do an excursion through NCL. A few of the other solos and I took a private taxi around the island. With meals and drinks, we spent about $150 each. They normally wouldn't take American dollars and you would have to buy Euros before you go, but since this was last minute, they were happy to take our dollars. Since we went off the beaten path, and didn't go to the touristy things, there was a bit of a language barrier, but we got by! It's my understanding that NCL normally doesn't port here. I hope after this, they make it a regular port of call. St. Kitts is my favorite island. I did the tour of the the Brimstone Fortress and Romney Manor. Views at the Fortress are unbelievable. Try to get on the first bus. As it gets crowded, the grounds fill up and cars are parked where they block some great photos. Romney Manor is beautiful. But.. if I had to do it again, I would just do the Fortress if that was offered. In Puerto Rico, I did a day pass at the Marriott on my own through resortforaday.com. There is Uber in San Juan... just in case I'm the only one in the world who doesn't know this. It was $14 in a cab from the port to the Marriott, but only $5 by Uber on the way back. Live and learn, I guess. Anyway, the wind did play a factor. The surf was very rough, so I couldn't go in the ocean, but the beach was beautiful. The pool area is huge. The food is amazing. With all the sea days, the ship had tons of activities on the dailies that I actually wanted to do. I did a few wine tastings. They were so much fun. If you drink wine at all, I would encourage you to do the Black Glass tasting. You can't see the wine. It's very interesting. The one where you try the same wine in different shaped glasses was another must-do in my opinion. Whatever you do, Earnest and Karina in the Cellars will take good care of you! They had the usual entertainment. I love the the shows. I'm always amazed at the good job they do. The juggler and the comedian were really good as well. One of the acrobats got hurt or was sick, so they only were in the last show, Elements. This was a bit of a disappointment to me. If you don't watch any other show, go see Elements. It's excellent. Get there as early as you can to all the shows. They seem to fill up very quickly. The food was good in the complimentary venues. I don't think I had a bad meal. Some of the other solos had grouper one night that they said wasn't good. But, that was one meal out of several. I always enjoy a basket of wings and people watching at O'Sheehan's. Cagney's is always great. Moderno was very good. Go when you are hungry. You get so much food! Los Lobos was surprisingly good as well. Book all of these before you get on the ship. They are hard to get into. I don't know if I will ever get into Teppanyaki. It would be nice if they did more seatings! I go on NCL as a solo. I stick with NCL because they are a the only cruise ship with a solo program. So far, so good. It doesn't seem like they are consistent with what the solo coordinator is responsible for. I wish they had like a template for them to use.... whether or not I am on a ship with solo cabins or a smaller ship. But, our solo cruise director did a great job. Disembarkation seems to go very smooth. I waited until 10 to get off, so it wasn't crowded by then. All and all, the cruise was great. Sure, it wasn't perfect. I love cruising and generally am not one to complain. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The beds and pillows are incredibly comfortable. We enjoyed deluxe balcony on deck 14 at the front of ship. The spa was wonderful. The Enclave experience was not worth the money. It was often buy and not kept clean. We enjoyed many ... Read More
The beds and pillows are incredibly comfortable. We enjoyed deluxe balcony on deck 14 at the front of ship. The spa was wonderful. The Enclave experience was not worth the money. It was often buy and not kept clean. We enjoyed many hot stone spa massages and a deluxe mani/pedu. Shore excursions were awesome. We rode ATVs in Cabo, hiked and kayaked in Mazatlan, and also para-sailed off the beach. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. We went to the Marietas Islands and snorkled/kayaked in Puerto Vallarta. The Crown Grill was delicious but dinner at Sabatini's was not worth it. Movies on the deck were enjoyable, especially with blankets and popcorn. We also liked the pizza by the pool. The entertainment stage productions were fair. The cruise director and dance activities were very fun. The ship did not have many protected outdoor spaces, especially on the last day when it was windy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My woman and I had an excellent cruise in summer 2017 with MS Midnatsol to Norway's fjords, so we wanted to make another cruise to see the northern lights in Norway. It was sometimes adventurous and challenging, because the weather ... Read More
My woman and I had an excellent cruise in summer 2017 with MS Midnatsol to Norway's fjords, so we wanted to make another cruise to see the northern lights in Norway. It was sometimes adventurous and challenging, because the weather was more stormy than in many years before. So the agenda of some days had again to be scheduled. My compliments to our tourist guide and the hotel manager who cooperated very well and proved to be very skilful to convince us that an alteration was reasonable. Big storm force and heavy sea are undeniable arguments. Nevertheless we experienced a fine and unforgettable journey. To see the winter landscape around the Norwegian fjords is a monumental event. We also were well-informed when northern lights appeared. It's a good feeling to make such a cruise with an always reliable and polite staff. I have no criticism concerning the ship, our outside cabin, the dining and the service. The dining was opulent, and we enjoyed to have many choices. We had as much activities as we wanted, for we had the opportunity to listen to interesting presentations. We were fully pleased by the service of the staff, for example dirty bed clothes in the cabin were immediately changed. We like to read books and prefer them for our entertainment. So we often read in the panorama room. When we needed more books we found interesting fiction books in the Trollfjord library room. I only regret that some shore excursions and shore leaves were not possible. I think this is a fine cruise for adults, but not suitable for little children and not for people who want to have a cruise trip with much entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I booked this cruise about 2 months out on a third-party site when I saw a great rate that came in at less than $100/nt, even as a solo traveler so I had to book it. I booked cabin 14194, an interior Fantastica stateroom. I chose this ... Read More
I booked this cruise about 2 months out on a third-party site when I saw a great rate that came in at less than $100/nt, even as a solo traveler so I had to book it. I booked cabin 14194, an interior Fantastica stateroom. I chose this room based on the deck plans when I saw that on the map, it appeared a little bigger than a majority of the interiors on the ship. It was on the backside of an elevator bank and not surrounded by any other rooms. When I did a little research I found it was indeed much more spacious than most of the rooms, almost a WC-accessible room but not designated as such (and it truly is not, while a larger floor plan the bathroom remained small, with the standard phone-booth shower). Once I saw the size to be true I decided to pull the trigger and booked 14194. There are 2 or 3 of these on several floors so if you see it, I definitely recommend this room for its size. Embarking was easy, no issues. The ship itself is GORGEOUS. The Atrium alone became my favorite atrium of the ships I had sailed. There was no shortage of bars onboard. If one was a little crowded, there wasn't much work involved to go to another one nearby if you feel like you wouldn't wait. Found a couple great bartenders, Gene and Ruffy, in the casino bar. The casino was nice. I played some slots, my bankroll lasted longer by far than those on RCCL. Standard table selection, no craps if that's your thing. As a solo traveler I checked with the maitre'd on day one once I got on to see if I could get a 2-top being solo, as I've been seated with a family of 7 at an 8 top before and while they were lovely people, it was just an awkward feeling of seeming like I was infringing on their time. Once I was denied/waitlisted, I just decided to do the buffet for dinner each night. The variety was better than I had expected given some prior reviews, and no major complaints other than the standard ability to tell what's been sitting out for a little bit. Breakfast was the largest variety I'd seen to date, and yes, that was a daily standard for the most part. I really enjoyed the shows. They were quick (none more than 40min) and very European influenced. It's nice to open your mind and enjoy something you've not seen yet before. All the performers were talented, from the acrobats, to the contortionsts, to the incredible singers. Yes, there is some repeat of some of the performers across the shows, but to me that just meant seeing your favorites a second time with a new twist on what you had seen them do before. Sinan, the cruise director, was a little quirky but everyone seemed to enjoy him, mmkay? Sank you! Meow....onto the next thing. The live musicians on board were good, but I felt their schedules could have been staggered a little bit better. There was also not much going on during the day, which especially on a rainy day in Nassau, would have been nice to check out when there was nothing else going on. They all started and broke at the same time, so as one ended, if you go to another venue to check out what's going on too, they were also ending or on break already. Didn't have that "endless" live music feel you can get on other ships. Nothing against the musicians, as I enjoyed them all, especially Rob Dunca, the pianist in the Seaview Lounge. Didn't do much port-wise. Walked around Old San Juan a little before the skies opened up and I raced back to the ship. Stayed on board in St. Thomas. Rained in Nassau, so I and what was most of the ship it felt like, stayed on. Ocean Cay Marine Reserve unfortunately was cancelled due to high winds. Given the incident in Cozumel on the same day ironically with two Carnival ships, understandable. The cruise staff team did add more activities on board that day, so kudos to them. Finally, I booked myself the thermal spa in advance at $130 for the week. I liked it, especially the two sensory steamrooms and saltwater whirlpool. Dressing rooms were nice with lockers and much more spacious showers than those in the staterooms at your disposal. It was definitely more crowded sometimes than others, but it happens and there was still always somewhere to be in there. Most seemed to not know about the "secret" outside sundeck and outdoor whirlpool, so that was a nice quiet little getaway when it was busier inside. Overall, given a couple minor tweaks and the understandable cancellation of Ocean Cay, at the price point, for such a large stateroom and newer ship, I would absolutely book this again. I personally would probably go Bella, as I didn't use the included room service nearly as much as I thought I would, but at this price I would repeat the experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Took my elderly mum as this type of cruise was all she could manage. She really enjoyed it as it was more friendly than the big ships and you got lost less. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze - took 10 mins each time. Cabin was ... Read More
Took my elderly mum as this type of cruise was all she could manage. She really enjoyed it as it was more friendly than the big ships and you got lost less. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze - took 10 mins each time. Cabin was ok, clean and worked fine. Window showed its age with a lot of silastic. Tele was useless, but we didn’t need it. Cabin staff were lovely as usual. Food was excellent and our deal included free drinks and gratuities which made it easy. Tried a few exotic cocktails - all good, but stay off the rusty nails they give you a head ache! Service was efficient but could have been a little more friendly in some cases. Nightly entertainment in the theatre was the best I have experienced on any cruise. Bryan in the lounge bar was brilliant. Really enjoyable cruise all round, but articulately suited to an older crowd. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have read several reviews that have incorrect prices listed, or what seems to just be a rant and less of a helpful review. As some background info, I booked this vacation with my girlfriend (were 28 years old) and spent a grand total of ... Read More
I have read several reviews that have incorrect prices listed, or what seems to just be a rant and less of a helpful review. As some background info, I booked this vacation with my girlfriend (were 28 years old) and spent a grand total of about $1,800 ($900) each. For this value, I left the cruise feeling as I got a great value and overall trip. I plan to break this down further, as this cruise has MANY upcharges depending on what you want to do allowing one to customize their own experience. For other comments of couples who have spent over $4,000, I can certainly understand being upset. In my opinion, much of this is their fault, as these fees (for the most part) are clearly available through the NCL website, and many other sources. EMBARKATION: Quick and easy. Passengers are called up by groups but we just got in line and no one stopped us. When you get on the ship, everyone runs straight to the wall kiosk’s or in long lines at The Social to book entertainment for the week. Some events can be booked online, which I would suggest. Other entertainment options must be booked online. There are available kiosks throughout the ship so don’t waste your time in long lines, ride up a few floors and use an empty kiosk. Specialty dining options and comedy/Broadway shows book fast. Laser tag, escape room, go-karts were mostly available through the week. VIBE CLUB: With some of the ship modifications in comparison to others in the class, free to the public deck spare is very packed and sun spots are few. Many comments state that buying a vibe pass is the only choice, but this depends on your goals. Does a lounge chair, a quieter atmosphere, and a spot in the hot tub matter to you? Vibe may be your option. At $209 per person, these spots are not cheap. Tickets should be more easily available than other Norwegian cruises, as the Vibe has 230 or so seats. We were able to purchase these passes at 1:00pm on embarkation, so get there early but you don’t have to make a mad dash. Is a chair in the shade, close access to waterslides and the pool, a loud atmosphere, your atmosphere? Then do not worry about Vibe. SHIP ATMOSPHERE/STAFF: Although this was my first Norwegian cruise what may have made it most enjoyable was the other passengers. There was always a lively atmosphere with extremely friendly people. Not to say other cruises were not, but normally people seem to keep to themselves. There were also many younger people, and couples on this cruise making it much more lively. Staff, as you will find on any cruise, were extremely hard working, helpful, and enjoyable to speak with. This cruise also had a big LGBTQ following, so anyone part of the community would enjoy many of the activities geared towards this. I also found wheelchair access to be extremely helpful for these individuals. ENTERTAINMENT: Choir of Man was a fantastic show. It runs about 45 minutes and IS free (some reviews say it isn’t). Kinky Boots is one hour and forty-five minutes long and is great as well if you are into Broadway plays. There are two comedians who run 18+ shows, and a regular show. Both of the comedians were pretty good as well. Go-karts run in half hour blocks, cost $15 (or $199 for the week), and are about 20 minutes long. These are pretty fun, and go faster than you would expect. Laster tag runs in half hour blocks, is $10 per person and lasts about 15 minutes. I had originally signed up for this but after hearing many complaints cancelled my reservation. I was surprised at how few people seemed to visit the galaxy pavilion. Each ride in there besides one of the race cars and the escape room are $8 per ride (or you can buy a one hour block for $30). Each ride lasts about 5 minutes. I couldn’t find anyone on the cruise who had tried the escape room, and noticed many open spots were available all week for it. In general, all these activities had availability through the week, so don’t feel pressured to immediately book them. Only one waterslide was functioning during our cruise. The slide that drops passengers was closed due to plastic cutting them. The other slide was fun, a bit more slow paced, and always had about a 15 minute waiting line. The bars on the cruise were a nice stand out. Each bar from the brew house, country bar, Beatles show, Latin show at the mojito bar, the late night club, and the atrium band had a very different feel and were a lot of fun. Each bar has different specialty drinks and I spent a good amount of time at each bar. This was a highlight that really stood out, and I feel Norwegian did a good job here. A final thing to keep in mind is there are many upcharges you may not fully expect. If you want to communicate over the messenger on the Norwegian app it will cost $10/person. If you want to see the Probation stage play it will cost $30/person. If you want to play bingo, deal or no deal, or some other on board games you have to pay. This appears to upset many people which is understandable, but it also allows you to customize your experience while not having to battle large crowds to enjoy it. FOOD: The food on board was great. I only dined at the free to eat places, which were all amazing and had something for everyone. Seating at the main dining area is always available and I never had to wait. Specialty dining is quite popular. Many cruisers I heard from particularly enjoyed Cagney’s steak house, Food republic (sushi), Le Bistro (French), and Los Lobos (Mexican). STATEROOM: I stayed in the cheapest basic stateroom. I found the room to be clean and staff were very helpful. There is a lighting system when you need your room made up or if you do not want to be disturbed. The bathroom felt more spacious than other cruises even with the smallest stateroom. There are also USB ports on the bedside lamps to charge your phone. I spoke with many who had balconies and loved the experience. ISLANDS: San Juan stopped at 5:30PM – 11:59PM. This was a different stop but gave an opportunity to see the night life at San Juan if you like that idea. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you have the alcohol package, you will be charged tax for each drink while in San Juan (12% tax) and in Miami before leaving. St. Thomas: we visited Magen’s Bay as many do. This is a beautiful cove with calm and shallow water that extends out, making it ideal for families with young ones as well. There are excursions with strict time standards that are quite expensive through Norwegian. We found that taking a taxi on land was much cheaper. Round trip for two of up costs $32 ($16 each), and be aware that there is a $5 charge per person to enter the beach. This is to keep the area maintained and beautiful, and to pay for the lifeguards as well. Tortola: Many on board made the water taxi trip to The Baths which everyone raved about. We took a cheap route and visited Cane Garden Bay through a taxi on the island (also $32, but no charge for the beach). This was a nice area with shallow calm waters within a cove like Meghan’s bay, but much smaller and a bit crowded. DISEMBARKATION: Quick and easy process. If you plan on getting breakfast before a travel home, make sure to be up early. The buffet was entirely emptied out by about 8:30, and most everyone was off the ship around 9:00. You can choose to exit yourself, or if you have lots of luggage they will have you put your bags out the night before and dismiss you off the ship by groups as many other cruise lines do. FINAL THOUGHTS: Don’t forget that if you do buy into the alcohol package offer, this does NOT include gratuity, which will be another extra charge for you ($138). Also, 15$ per person is charged per day for inside state rooms totaling $210 for the week. I believe this is a bit higher if you have a larger room. Sometimes these fees can sneak up on you, so it is good to know. I would also strongly suggest looking up gift vouchers through eBay and other related websites. I was able to buy a $500 voucher for $350, which was very exciting to have that instant savings. These vouchers are pretty easy to find. . Personally, for the price I paid I really enjoyed the Norwegian Encore and had a great time. If I were to be looking to spend around that $3,000+ price, I would look at other cruise ship options. In the end, your experience is what you make of it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We got a great price on a Junior Suite 7714 on Dec 5 2019. Boarding was a breeze and we even left 5 minutes early from Galveston. Galveston port is rather dumpy, dated and not the most friendliest elderly staff at check in. Crew was ... Read More
We got a great price on a Junior Suite 7714 on Dec 5 2019. Boarding was a breeze and we even left 5 minutes early from Galveston. Galveston port is rather dumpy, dated and not the most friendliest elderly staff at check in. Crew was simply fantastic - especially the main dining room team on the 4th deck. Seems to this Diamond member of RCCL Crown and Anchor that the food is improving and offers a great selection including great Veg options. Cruise events were really good but the Saturday Night Fever production was Broadway style and brought the entire theatre to its feet at the end......Well done Tony (played by Chris Hansen). Cabin certainly showing its age and drapes had holes in them. Bedding was comfortable thankfully. The carpet and balcony areas need a good scrub / replacement ....rust showing all over the exterior at the rear of the boat. LOVED the adventure in Roatan Honduras and Costa Maya Mexico. You can have Cozumel and certainly won't get off in any future cruise going to this port. Kinda dumb that you have to go thru a security check then a metal detector for the port security then do it all over again further down the pier when you board the ship. We had over 1,000 people jamming the exits near the 4 pm boarding time.....Sadly caused by 4 four ships sharing the same facilities. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The food was wonderful. The crew bent over backwards to make sure the guests are happy. Great selection of restaurants. Something for everyone okay. However, there is no program for solo travelers. I was happy to meet some Travelers that ... Read More
The food was wonderful. The crew bent over backwards to make sure the guests are happy. Great selection of restaurants. Something for everyone okay. However, there is no program for solo travelers. I was happy to meet some Travelers that were also traveling alone. It made the trip much more enjoyable. However, if I had not gone to a meeting I would not have met these people. I think there should be a concierge service for solo travelers. Other cruise lines have such and Royal Caribbean should consider doing the same. If the cruise line had someone to plan excursions and other activities for solo Travelers that would be appreciate it. There is a market for these Travelers, and giving a special rate would encourage solo travelers to consider Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean offers great service an excellent food choices. I would love to plan activities for solo travelers. But since I am not an employee, to have that service available to me as a guest of the cruise line would be a plus. Also embarkation was easier than I envisioned. The waitstaff was awesome. We chose the my time dining option. The problem is, my time wasn't there time. If my party wanted to eat at 5:30, that was never possible. My time required a reservation. Besides fat, the food was great and the wait staff would call me by my name. They were awesome and made sure if I wanted anything other than what was on the menu, I could get it. There was a large selection of restaurants available to our guest. Some require additional cost where is others were free. I like the options available, and I never felt as if there were crowds. This cruise line handled the large amount of guests appropriately. The cabin steward was very attentive. He never entered unless I requested service. There was a large amount of entertainment on the cruise. There was something for everyone no matter the age. They were Broadway shows, comedy entertainers, Las Vegas entertainers, piano bars, and aqua shows. There were game shows. The only problem is, there would be children and areas where they shouldn't be. I enjoyed the solarium. That was an area where I could go and children were not allowed. it was quiet, and there were whirlpools, bars, and a restaurant for the adults. It was a good getaway area. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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