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4,799 Spring Break Cruise Reviews

BACKGROUNDThis cruise was the first real getaway for us since our honeymoon back in 2009, so we were REALLY looking forward to the break! I'm a high school teacher, which greatly limited the dates that we could travel. That made us ... Read More
BACKGROUNDThis cruise was the first real getaway for us since our honeymoon back in 2009, so we were REALLY looking forward to the break! I'm a high school teacher, which greatly limited the dates that we could travel. That made us nervous about the spring break crowd on board, especially since this was a shorter cruise, but we were very pleasantly surprised. I'm in my late 20s and DH is in his early 30s. This was our second cruise, both with NCL. Our first was our honeymoon cruise on the Pride of America.PRE-CRUISE:We drove across the border to Detroit to catch our flight to Fort Lauderdale on the Sunday before the cruise. We flew with Delta and had no problems. We used Go Airport Shuttle from FLL to get to the Intercontinental Miami hotel. I know SAS gets a lot of recommendations around here and we did try to book them first. But, we never heard back from SAS after the second time we tried to contact them. Go Airport Shuttle actually worked out cheaper than SAS would have been, though, since our flight came in later in the evening (SAS charges a minimum 3 person fare after a certain time).The Intercontinental was fantastic! We followed the recommendations here on CC and got a great rate through lastminutetravel.com. When we arrived, we got upgraded to a harbour view room with a king bed. I had requested this when I booked but was not expecting it all. We felt so spoiled! The view was just incredible from our window. I was able to watch our ship come in just before 6 AM. EMBARKATION:We took a taxi to the port from the hotel. Don't worry about pre-arranging them if you are staying at the Intercontinental. There were a bunch of them waiting off to the side and when we told the doorman that we needed one, he just blew his whistle and the first cab in line pulled up. It was $12 + tip. We got to the terminal around 11:45 AM. A porter appeared right away to take our luggage. He also made sure we had our passports and docs with us and told us where we needed to go.Inside the terminal building, there were staff members everywhere welcoming us to NCL and to the Sky, and directing traffic so that everything kept moving along. We went through security and filled out the health questionnaire, then got in line for check-in. They have signs up for specific lines but at the time we were there, staff was just directing people to any line to keep things moving. I think we were in the Silver Latitudes line even though that's not what we are. The agent who checked us in was very friendly and we were ready to go in no time. We got a card for L2 boarding and once we got up to the boarding area, we learned that they had already called that number so we could straight to the ship! After a quick embarkation photo and our first swipe of the key cards, we were met onboard by very enthusiastic crew members dancing and clapping and welcoming everyone. It was a great atmosphere and made us feel like vacation was officially ON. I think the whole process took about 20 minutes, total.Crew was directing everyone along a particular path through Captain Cook's bar (where you could leave your carry-ons until the cabins were ready), Dazzles lounge (where you could pick up a drink special and soda cards), to the atrium and the elevators up to the buffet. We ended up doubling back to find the open MDR, which they seemed to want to steer people away from. After lunch, we explored the ship and lounged on the sundeck until our cabin was ready. CABINAll staterooms were ready at 2 PM and the cruise director made an announcement letting people know. We were in a Cat K inside on deck 8, #8140. It was small! We were expecting that since we had an inside on the Pride of America but this was even smaller. The beds were pushed together to make a queen and that left about a foot of walking space all the way around. The closets are across from the bathroom so if one of us was using the bathroom and the other was getting something from the closet, we made sure to give a warning before opening the door since that entryway is so narrow. Not a huge deal, though, we got some good laughs throughout the week as we had to keep rearranging ourselves if we wanted to pass each other. There are photos of our stateroom at the link in the first post of this thread.The location of the cabin was great. It was aft, above the shops and below other cabins so noise wasn't an issue from above or below. No noise from our neighbours or the hallway either, we lucked out there! The only noise we heard was from the engines, which were particularly loud when we were docking in the early hours of the morning. We felt the vibrations as well, but they weren't too bad. The stateroom was close to the aft stairs/elevators so it was easy to get to Crossings, the theatre, the shops, or up to the buffet and pool from there. We just had to walk all the way forward to get to the gangway or to the Outrigger Lounge.A couple of things did bother us about the stateroom. The Sky is a beautiful ship and in the public areas, she really doesn't show her age. She's very well maintained. The devil is in the details, though, and they are evident in the staterooms. The bed felt like a plank. It wasn't completely uncomfortable for me since I like a firm mattress anyway, but these didn't have the support of a mattress at all. I probably could have asked for a topper but didn't think of it until after the fact. DH was definitely not a fan. Cleanliness was also an issue. Some of the sheets and towels looked like they might have been as old as the ship. They were worn (the towels) and permanently stained (sheets and towels). Not very appealing! They should really look into replacing these. DININGWe tried a lot of the venues on this ship and enjoyed just about everything we ate. A few dishes could have used more flavour but overall, we were happy with the food. A couple of standout items: the spaghetti carbonara on the first night, chilled strawberry soup on the second night, buffalo wings at Longboards, Caesar salad everywhere, and the crème brulee at Le Bistro. These were all SO good! We also enjoyed having some soft serve ice cream before sail away at each port. There's a machine just outside the buffet as you go towards the pool. We tried room service for breakfast on the first morning. It's great when you're in a hurry but options are really limited and items at the buffet or MDR are better.We'd really been looking forward to treating ourselves at one of the specialty restaurants on this cruise since we had such great memories of Jefferson's Bistro on the Pride of America. DH didn't feel like steak and didn't want to do Cagney's without steak so we opted for Le Bistro. Maybe my expectations were just too high, but I was a little disappointed. The service was great but the food didn't really feel like anything special (except dessert!). It was still good, but not great. It just wasn't how I remembered it from our first cruise but, again, that may have been an issue with my own expectations.I'll include the bar in this section too. We only had a couple of drinks throughout the week since I was on cold medication for most of the time and couldn't really indulge. What few drinks we did have were very good, though. We definitely got our money's worth, those bartenders were NOT stingy at all! One of the bartenders at the Great Outdoors (I think his name was Edwin?) was great. There were 2-for-1 martinis between 6 and 8 PM in the Plantation Club every night. Get there early as it is a very popular special. If the place is full, you can get your martini "to go," they just won't put it in a martini glass. Lightweights beware - those martinis will knock you on your behind! There were other drink specials throughout the week as well, all listed in the Freestyle Daily. ENTERTAINMENTOur Cruise Director was Candi Finkelstein. She and her staff were great, they seemed to be everywhere throughout the week. They had a good variety of activities going on and we thought they did a great job of catering to all the different groups that were on board - the families, the spring breakers, and so on. We enjoyed the shows and activities that we went to and there were several that we were sorry to have missed.There were two production shows for the week. One was Soul Rockin' Nights, which we went to and enjoyed. It was a tribue to rock and soul music through the 60s up to now. The other was On Broadway, a Broadway revue. We didn't attend that, but did hear from some fellow cruisers who said that it was good.We went to Rich Purpura's comedy and magic show, which we just loved. He was hilarious. If you like dry humour and aren't easily offended, you'll like Rich Purpura. One night, he hosted Joker's Wild, which was an open mic night where your fellow passengers tell jokes and at the end, you vote for the best one.On the last night, we watched the Quest game show hosted by Jamie, the Port Shopping Consultant (I think that was his title). It was hilarious, especially since it was on St. Patrick's day and most participants were drunk He gave us a little CC shout-out as he was introducing the game, saying, "This is not for the easily offended. If you like to get on Cruise Critic and write 'wah wah wah I heard a bad word!' this game is NOT for you." We got a good laugh at that.The only thing we didn't like was all of the announcements from Candi. They went on way too long and were repetitive. Candi would essentially recite the Freestyle Daily schedule multiple times a day, which got very annoying very fast. And then it would all be repeated in Spanish (though, thankfully, not in as much gory detail!).SERVICEGoing into this cruise, I really didn't have any specific expectations when it came to service. We were satisfied on the Pride of America, but had read a lot about how service on that ship is different and not up to the same standard as the rest of the fleet, so we were curious what we'd missed out on. It didn't take very long after boarding the ship for the Sky's crew to blow the POA's service right out of the water. Everyone was so friendly, attentive, and accommodating. This continued throughout the cruise. We were impressed. The only place where the service lacked some polish was in the Crossings dining room.A couple of standouts: Already mentioned Edwin, the bartender. The waitress who served us at the Plantation Club (I wish we'd gotten her name!), where we went for the martini special, helped us find seats in the packed lounge, helped us pick out a martini, and she remembered us two nights later when we went to Quest - which was held in a totally different lounge. She was great. Venus at Le Bistro was fantastic and it was clear that she enjoyed her job. She'll be leaving the ship in a couple of weeks for her vacation and she's really excited to see her family in the Phillipines. Make sure to wish her well if you see her on your cruise!Our cabin steward, John, was good. We were in our stateroom when he stopped by for turndown service on embarkation day so he introduced himself. We didn't know who our room steward was on the POA until the last day. We'd see him in the hallway often. He always greeted us and asked how our day went. He didn't really do anything above and beyond, but did a good job with the room. We never had to ask for anything. PORTSFreeport - We did the Freeport Bike Adventure through NCL. We tried to book independently but the operator (Grand Bahama Nature Tours) referred us back to the cruise line. The price difference was only $11 each and it turned out to be a good value. It's a 12 mile bike tour, with stops in between to learn about Freeport. They provide bottled water for the ride and after the biking, lunch is included at the Garden of the Groves. There was time after lunch to walk around the Gardens and then a van took us back to Junkanoo Beach Club, where had a relaxing hour on beautiful Taino beach. From the beach, we were dropped at the Port Lucaya Marketplace where we could either shop or catch the next bus back to the ship. It was an activity packed day, we got back to the ship sometime close to 4:30 PM. I have mixed feelings about the biking part (I was still recovering from a cold so I think the 12 miles was a little too much) but DH absolutely loved it. The guides, Mario and Marco were fantastic, too. They took great care of us. I'd definitely do this again, in better health!Nassau - After a lot of back and forth about our options, we booked Atlantis Aquaventure through Majestic Tours. They charge the same rate as Atlantis does for the pass, but we were afraid that Atlantis would not be selling passes during spring break so we decided not to take our chances. In retrospect, I don't think we had anything to worry about. We took a taxi over ($4 per person in a shared van) and spent the day exploring the resort. We walked through The Dig (the aquarium), which was very neat. I did the lazy river, but didn't try any of the slides. We wandered through the shops, casino, and the Atlantis Marina Village before heading back to the ship. If you've never been to Atlantis before, it's a really neat place to see at least once!Great Stirrup Cay - We heard that on the sailing before ours, they had to cancel GSC due to weather but it was perfect for us. The tender ride over was a little rocky but once we got to island, we had a nice beach day. I had hoped to snorkel but the water was too cold for me. Lots of other people did go out, though, so I think that's a personal preference thing.Shade was pretty hard to come by on the island. There are some trees near the Hippo slide, close to where you come from the tender dock, and that was where all the shade was. Since we didn't get there until after 11 AM, we had to walk a ways down the beach to get empty chairs. We ended up in the area in front of the buffet.The only thing we didn't like too much about GSC was the music. The band that played by the pool every day, Caribbean Plus, played all day on the island as well. That would have been nice if they were playing relaxing music, but they weren't. It got loud at times (it didn't help that our chairs were close to where they were playing, either) and occasionally just sounded like random yelling. We would have enjoyed that day more if it had been quiet or if the music had just been something more relaxing. DISEMBARKATIONThis is one of the things we really love about NCL. Their disembarkation process couldn't be easier. We chose to do the Easy Walk Off since we only had the one suitcase. If you do this, you can take your own luggage off the ship starting at 7:30 AM and anytime after that. We had a pickup scheduled at 10 because we didn't know what it was going to be like, so we waited until last call and disembarked at 9:00 AM. Customs was a breeze! I'm not sure if it was because we're Canadian or what, but they just took our declaration cards and waved us right through without a word. Just like embarkation day, there was staff throughout the terminal making sure traffic was flowing. We were out of there very fast.POST-CRUISEWe had a shuttle booked through Quality Limo Service to take us from POM to the Westin Diplomat resort in Fort Lauderdale (Hallandale). They're one of those companies that requires you to call them from the terminal, which wasn't the greatest for us since our cell phones don't work outside of Canada! We found a pay phone outside the terminal building but it didn't work. Many thanks to the nice person who let us use her Blackberry to call QLS! I really wish that this wasn't required. On our way out of POM, we passed by the Royal Caribbean terminal, which is much better organized and looks like it would make it easier to find your ride/your ride to find you without having to call. Not sure why they can't do that for Terminal C.We booked the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa through Hotwire. We got a great rate, $94 for the night. It was worth every single penny! It is a beautiful hotel, great staff, and great amenities. There are two properties, one on the beach and a golf resort a few blocks away. We were at the golf resort and took their free shuttle over the beach property for lunch.The Hollywood Trolley stops in front of the beach resort so we hopped on that ($1 pp, one way) and took it to the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. The beach was packed in that area but the farther we walked down the boardwalk, the less crowded it got. The boardwalk is 2 miles long, but most of the action (shops, restaurants, bars) is at the start. Farther down, it's just hotels and apartments. We spent a nice afternoon in the area and headed to bed early since we were flying home first thing Saturday morning.We flew back to Detroit out of FLL on a 7:50 AM flight. Taxi ride back to FLL from the Westin was $36 + tip. Word of advice: if you are flying out of FLL on a weekend, give yourself lots of extra time. The line-ups get loooooong. I don't know if it's their scheduling (they had 4 flights all scheduled to depart within minutes of each other that morning) or what, but make sure you have lots of time to make your flight!All in all, a great trip that we were sad to see end! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Arrived at the Port at 11:45, sitting in Oceanside Cafe for lunch by 12:15. Embarkating was excellent. Had the same experience when at this location when embaking on a RCCL cruise. Very friendly and welcoming staff. Went as smooth as ... Read More
Arrived at the Port at 11:45, sitting in Oceanside Cafe for lunch by 12:15. Embarkating was excellent. Had the same experience when at this location when embaking on a RCCL cruise. Very friendly and welcoming staff. Went as smooth as it could possibly go. Cabin-1083-Port side, forward. Concierge class(C1)-nice cabin but Concierge class is definitely not worth the extra money. Would never do it again. Really no true benefits, so don't waste your money. Nice bathroom. Small but very functional. Bed near closet, which was a little tight. Couch, which doubled as my DS bed for the week, was near the balcony door. This was a little inconvenient as I like to get up early to watch sunrise. Kept waking him up being that close to the balcony door, but not a major issue.Cabin steward-Denis, did a decent job. We noticed a purple stain, like from a squished grape, on the bathrug one day and put the mat on the pile of towels to be changed. We thought it was changed but then noticed that he had just turned the bathmat over to hide the stain. Room was always clean and organized and toiletries were always restocked. Only had a towel animal one day, which we told him our son loved, but that was it, just the one.Food-Oceanside cafe-good quality. Basically the same things for breakfast everyday. Very similar foods for lunch. Always found seating even when it was very busy. No problem with that at all, as I know some have mentioned that being a problem, but not for us. Main dining room-food was ok, not great and definitely not any better than any of the cruises we have been on. Actually, enjoyed the food we had on Costa and both of our RCCL cruises a little better then on the Eclipse. Bistro-Again, just ok. Not worth paying an extra $5.00. Did not like that we could not get lunch at Oceanside when we came back on the ship from St. Maarten due to the timing. I thought that was a little odd. Entertainment-Pool band-excellent. Really enjoyed listening to them Wish they were there more often and for longer periods. Acapella group-Sound Decision-excellent, really enjoyed them.Night shows-Magician-great,really liked him. Jordan Bennett-good. Performers for the shows were good, especially on the night of the "Circus" performances. That was a spectacular show. Comedian-awful. I have seen him on Comedy Central and turned him off. Basically did the same on the ship-walked out.Glass blowing Shows-Excellent. One of the highlights of the cruise for my DW and myself. Very interesting and great personalities that were very engaging.Disembarkationp-Left the cabin at 8:50 am, in the shuttle to get our rental car by 9:20. Very smooth. No complaints at all.Overall, a great cruise, but to be perfectly honest, no better then any of the other cruise experiences we have had with Carnival, Holland America, RCCL or Costa. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My husband and I booked relatively last-minute on the Solstice on the advice of our travel agent. She said we would enjoy the ship and concierge class and she was right. Having sailed last on the much larger Ruby Princess, we were pleased ... Read More
My husband and I booked relatively last-minute on the Solstice on the advice of our travel agent. She said we would enjoy the ship and concierge class and she was right. Having sailed last on the much larger Ruby Princess, we were pleased with the size and decor of the Solstice. I particularly liked the central atrium with the glass elevators.Our agent did advise us that the norovirus had been present on the previous sailing, and as a result we would have a later embarkation so they could sanitize the ship. I had read in the member reviews that Celebrity had taken all precautions following a January sailing norvirus outbreak and so I expected that they would do so again. I was extremely impressed with how they handled it, from having staff with hand-sanitizer on embarkation, and at each food service place. They were constantly wiping down handrails and sanitizing tables in the buffet and restaurants. Food was served to us in all areas until mid-week, when they returned to self-service in the buffets and returned the salt and pepper shakers to the table. Our stateroom was nicely appointed, with a decent sized balcony. I loved the shower in the bathroom as opposed to having to climb into a tub. One of the only things we didn't like about the stateroom was the sofa, which wasn't very comfortable. Having said that, we spent a lot of time on the balcony anyway so it wasn't a big deal. We had two great stateroom attendants. The food was excellent and the service attentive in the dining room, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They also had "normal" portion sizes, so that if you had a couple of courses you didn't feel like you were served too much food (as opposed to Princess who seemed to feel that each course had to be super-sized). We had a wonderful meal in the Tuscan Grill, and had the best seats right beside the floor to ceiling windows where we had a great view from the back of the ship. I was disappointed in the Asian Silk restaurant, and even sent one dish back. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his meal there, however. They did agree to remove my cover charge. For a couple of lunches we went to the Aquaspa Cafe. This was a real treat, as it's in the adults-only solarium by the spa, and features very healthy salads and small plates. We also had breakfast here on disembarkation day with only a few other people around. So peaceful. We had several spa treatments, and were pleased with the quality of the staff. The spa is run by the company that makes Elemis products, so expect to be sold to. But they aren't pushy and respect your right to say no thanks.Others have commented on the hot glass show and I echo that it's really worth seeing. The glass pieces are created by glass artisans who are graduates of schools of art or who have apprenticed with masters. Fascinating to watch!Overall we were very impressed with the Celebrity Solstice as a ship and for the professional and friendly staff. We will definitely try the ship again for another itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was one of the best cruises we have taken. It was number 7 for me and number 10 for my best friend! No husbands this trip! We booked our trip with Janice Prince from Carnival. She has booked all our trips. We did the early saver ... Read More
This was one of the best cruises we have taken. It was number 7 for me and number 10 for my best friend! No husbands this trip! We booked our trip with Janice Prince from Carnival. She has booked all our trips. We did the early saver and actually got a lower price a few times! Carnival Personal Vacation Planners are the only way to go! I left from Colorado to meet up with my best friend and her daughter from Rhode Island! We met in New Orleans on Saturday night and stayed at the awesome Renaissance Arts Hotel in the Warehouse district! We got a steal from Priceline! Put in 4 stars, warehouse district and $110 ... it popped up with the average win is $217. We purchased the $5 insurance and YES! We were able to stay at a posh hotel for $110 a night! It was close to everything! On Sunday we woke early and visited Harrah's, lunch at Bubba Gumps, enjoyed the fireman in the beignet eating contest and the food festival in the French Quarters, a mule carriage ride around the French Quarters (found it after we had walked the whole thing, but for $15 it was great to hear the history of the area), walked past the French market and Cafe du Mond, shopped at Riverwalk and then dinner at the Crazy Lobster. We walked everywhere! We finished the night with drinks at Lucy's( across from the hotel) and a jump in the hotel's rooftop pool and hot tub! In the morning, we walked to Mother's for a wonderful breakfast. We stopped to get some pop! 2 liter at the first store was $5.00 so we walked a half block beyond and it was $2.50! Got back to the hotel and asked the front desk for a box and some tape. We boxed up the pop and put our Carnival luggage tag on top! Grabbed our luggage and we were off for the Triumph! We had VIP boarding so walked in and were escorted to a lounge area, we were on the ship in about 15 minutes! It really is a nice ship. Not the outrageous colors that are on some ships, but as I usually say.... who looks at the colors anyway! LOL! We went right to our room, past all the signs on the doors that say not to! We had booked our favorite Aft balcony room on the Empress level (7). On other ships we have done the 6th level, noisy from downstairs... and the 8th level, with chairs scraping the floor above from the 24 hour ice cream area. We have settled on the 7th floor and slept like angels! Our steward was Sue, and of course we asked him if he ever gets called a "boy named Sue"... LOLOL! He was WONDERFUL! We tipped him and extra $10 a piece the first day and told him to keep the ice coming! LOL! He ALWAYS called us by name and was ALWAYS so pleasant! We hung a while then had our favorite Hot Pastrami sandwich on a country roll! LOLOL! I dream of those sometimes in the cold Colorado weather! LOL! We sat on our balcony for bon Voyage. Leaving out of New Orleans was a treat, we traveled down the Mississippi for about 5 hours before entering the Gulf of Mexico! Incredible how muddy the Mississippi really is! We went to the dining room every night! WE were seated with some beautiful and great people from the state of Tennessee! A shout out to Tammy and BreAnn! Our waiters were Rommel and Novie in the Paris dining room! They were perfect! Always made us feel special! They knew JUST what to bring us (my tea between dinner and dessert)! And could they DANCE! LOLOL! Chocolate melting cake was eaten about every night. The meals were all the same as other Carnival ships, It is good, but maybe a little change is needed sometimes. After dinner we always hit up the shows! The main singers on the Triumph, Rob and Kate were the BEST we have seen in the Carnival system. The shows were colorful, entertaining and lively! The Big Easy was amazing! Tex was a great cruise director, but Nelson, Charlie and a few of the other entertainment workers made our trip memorable! We played Bingo quite often. We played in many games, the digital scavenger hunt, the mixology contest (Shout out to Bev and Congrats on winning fellow CC'r Scott!) , BINGO, ice cream eating contest, free throw contest, musical chairs, you name it we did it! We were a little worried about spring break being FULL of children. There were many but we never ONCE had a problem. They were polite, giggly, and enjoyable! We loved going to the casino! I play Black Jack and actually won the entire week! My friend did terrific on the slots... cashed out with $1100 the last night! Beth, the casino Host was a doll! We had a little problem with one of the employees one night. My friend's daughter is 22 and has special needs. On the muster drill she was given a green wrist band that identifies her as needing help if there was ever a time that a real muster drill is run. It is the same identification that is given to children so that Camp Carnival can get children to the correct area if there is a real muster drill. Anyway, she was questioned about her age in the casino and was told to leave numerous times. When her Mom was at the cashier they asked for the daughter's age three times (the daughter was just standing there and never gambled). This was very troublesome for my friend but especially her precious daughter. Carnival needs to come up with a different color wrist band that identifies someone with special needs and not being a child. Beth was mortified that the employee even questioned the age of her, she doesn't even look under 18! Beth had her come the next day and gave her a hat and an Ocean Players t-shirt! She definitely defused a touchy situation!  The first sea day we had a tough time finding a poolside seat, found one on the level above the pool. The next sea day we were up at 8 and got a front row seat to all the entertainment! We remembered that Carnival's Pina Coladas and Drinks of the day cure all! There were always people walking around asking if we wanted another! We booked our own excursions instead of going through Carnival. After much homework with Cruise Critic we picked two all inclusive beach areas. We went with www.crisstours.webs.com in Progreso, Mexico. We went to Slicer Beach club for $45 each! Wonderful chicken fajitas and drinks! Clean beach, comfortable cushioned beach chairs. The pool was much bigger and cleaner then I expected. We relaxed in hammocks and also got a 1/2 hour massage for $20! They transported us there and back. We even left something there and had the cab turn around and they held it behind the bar for us! Cris was very gracious! WE also paid $10 more for the driver to take us back to the boat instead of waiting in the heat for the free shuttle bus. It was a wonderful day!! The next day we went to Cozumel. For $60 we used www.CozumelWaterSports.com and went on the all- inclusive Passion Island Beach Escape We had to take a cab to the center of town (paid ourselves), and then caught a cab for a 15 minutes to a small boat(not the twister that was offered by Carnival) A short boat ride later, we were in paradise! Great food, wonderful drinks, the beach is now our favorite of all islands! It is the white sands beach filmed in some Corona commercials. There were beach toys (trampoline, kayaks, and floaty tubes for us to use. A few little shops, massages, and tattoos were also available. It was heaven on earth, we did not want to leave!  On the day of disembarking we used our VIP disembarkment. We had to be on level 3 at 6:45AM 9a killer after staying up so late) with our luggage or wait until 8:30 to meet our luggage downstairs. We wish we could have left about 8:00. It didn't make any sense that they had us go at 6:45, but it took all of 5 minutes to leave the ship. We caught a ride to the airport and had to wait to even check in our luggage for a noon flight! To wrap up this review I wanted to say, we loved this cruise! We were disappointed in our October Dream cruise (beautiful new ship, but the employees were not friendly) but this one was outstanding. The employees made a BIG difference. The ship was clean, the ports were great, and the weather was fantastic! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My boyfriend and I are college students who went on the very affordable Bahamas Celebration for spring break with another couple. At first, we were worried because the price was so affordable that the cruise would be lacking. We were ... Read More
My boyfriend and I are college students who went on the very affordable Bahamas Celebration for spring break with another couple. At first, we were worried because the price was so affordable that the cruise would be lacking. We were incredible surprised to find out how wrong we were!!!Every single employee, from the cleaning service, to food servers, shore excursion organizers, and entertainers were fantastic. We never met anyone who wasn't friendly, helpful, and willing to have a fun conversation with you. They always went above and beyond to help you. Particularly, the wonderful woman who helped us undecided people plan our shore excursion actually signed us up for two in order to make sure we got to do at least one excursion. Our server on the second night actually replaced my dinner three times because I kept changing my mind after receiving the food. And most importantly, he did it with a huge smile on his face, and without hesitation. I honestly enjoyed every cruise personnel I met on the Bahamas Celebration and when I go again soon, I hope I get to see them again.The entertainment was hilarious!!! The ship doesn't have any large musical-type productions because it's so small, but the entertainment ranged from a magician, circus performers, a singer, a comedian, and a fantastic juggler. We made sure to catch the shows for both nights, and walked away from them laughing and in a great mood. Not only that, but every one in the showroom had a wonderful time. I would recommend these shows to everyone on the Bahamas Celebration. Most importantly, our cabin was very nice! We were lucky enough to have a full size bed so we could sleep together instead of on twins. It was roomy and always cleaned thoroughly. The bathroom was nice, the water hot, and the bed was absolutely heavenly. I especially enjoyed my nap after a relaxing facial at the spa.Overall, the Bahamas Celebration was an amazing experience. If you're looking for a quick and fun getaway, I highly recommend this cruise. I plan on going again in a month and I know I'll have as wonderful of a time the second time as I did the first. The employees, entertainment, variety of activities, food, and cleanliness were above my wildest expectations and I know you'll enjoy it too. Have a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our family loved the Carnival Freedom. We sailed during Spring Break and had a wonderful experience. The ship at first glance was somewhat tacky but by the end of the first day the decor grew on us and we found the ship to be beautiful ... Read More
Our family loved the Carnival Freedom. We sailed during Spring Break and had a wonderful experience. The ship at first glance was somewhat tacky but by the end of the first day the decor grew on us and we found the ship to be beautiful and very clean. I read previous complaints that the ship was broken up and confusing but this was not a bother at all and I don't really understand the fuss. If a floor didn't go through, then we simply walked up or down a flight or two of stairs and went to a floor that had access through. We quickly got the hang of the layout. The Freedom's staff are a fantastic crew and the cruise director Ryan was very enthusiastic and good at his job.There were certain areas of the ship that were very smoky and it was difficult to sit in any bar/lounge area without smoke. As non-smokers we would have enjoyed a non-smoking bar area.The entertainment was very enjoyable at all venues. The singers and dancers were impressive and the comedians were funny. The Beatles revue was excellent. The movies on deck in the evening were a good way to spend some family time. How often do you sit outside with a warm breeze and watch a movie with the family?The food was very good and plentiful. My husband enjoyed 2 dinners each evening with 2 appetizers and a caesar salad (the caesar salad was consistently delicious). Wow - the chocolate melting cake is a must for dessert. Our server Made and his team were a fantastic group. They always had smiles on their faces.We were shocked at the food waste on the ship. We witnessed excessive amounts of food waste, mainly in the buffet area. Our #1 rule for our family was that any one of us could take whatever we wanted, but we had to eat all we took...no food waste.The pop cards for $36 are a must for pop drinkers (great deal for our kids). Buckets of beer are approx $25 with gratuity and slushy drinks are approx $8-$9 with gratuity. My favourite was the Mango Swirl (delicious). Gratuity is automatically included in every bar order, including pop, water and liquor. When we sat down for dinner every night our wine steward delivered the kids pop automatically and promptly took our wine order. He was another example of Carnival's fantastic staff.Our room was an oceanview on the Main floor. It was very spacious and comfortable for 4 people. Our room steward Joan did a great job looking after us. She filled our ice bucket daily and created a different animal with our towels every night. We looked forward to coming to our room to see what she created for us. One night we thought that she did not do an animal and it took us approx 10minutes to find it. It was a monkey hanging on the doorknob of the connecting door to the room next to us.The only disappointment was Camp Carnival. Our 11 yr old found it to be too young and chose not to attend after the first day.We did not participate in any ship excursions on shore but chose to take taxi's/shuttles to the beach at every port ourselves. It was substantially cheaper for us and we really just wanted beach time. We always came back in time to do a little shopping at shore and then board the ship (see port reviews).Embarkation and debarkation were both smooth and quick. We chose to take our own luggage off the ship and would not do it any other way.Carnival exceeded our expectations and we were very happy with our choice. We will choose Carnival again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Starting out with the booking 8 months in advance with the Early Saver Plan. I advise everyone who knows they will not be cancelling to go this route. I call several times and checked weekly for changes and got upgrades and obc very ... Read More
Starting out with the booking 8 months in advance with the Early Saver Plan. I advise everyone who knows they will not be cancelling to go this route. I call several times and checked weekly for changes and got upgrades and obc very wonderful. We arrived at port 11 am on Thursday and we checked in very smoothly with no problems we eating by noon. Weather was a big problem and we were delayed by about an hour and a half, but they had us in our rooms before 1 pm and the party started from there. Headed to the Lido deck with drinks in hand and had a great day with the Waite staff which was friendly fun and very energized. Went to check out towels and headed for the hot tubs which were warm (not hot). I headed to our room before dinner and family went to the small dining room with a wine package and the food was hot and I am told very well done. I had room service and it was fast and very nice. After supper we all rejoined to check out some of the ships night life. Had a over 40's dance which we enjoyed and after about 2 hours had to call it a night, but was such a great way to start the cruise. A little about the ship it has 10 decks one pool one buffet large water works area serenity area was small, but had very little trouble finding a chair was quite and very nice 2 hot tubs both different temps, so that was nice as well. Lido deck had 2 hot tubs and pool dance area with life size chest pieces very cool. The fun was non stop on this deck with games and contest and dancing and loud. We stayed on the Empress Deck which is main artery to most everything from gift shop to main elv. to entry bar with piano very relaxing with lots of people milling around. The ship for the most part was very comfortable temperature. The shows we saw were both full of fun and energy great performers and a very pleasant way to spend a little indoor time. Had a great time at the comedy club for the adults very funny. The day at sea was not much different that the first day, spent most of time between the Serenity and Lido deck. Had Breakfast and lunch at the Buffet and it was all good, nothing stood out, but was well prepared with plenty of variety to choose from. Dinner was wonderful we were greeted by name and got hugs from our hostess and she was very funny. We had different companions every night and managed to have a oceanview table every night. They sang and danced during dinner every night and fun was had by all great food. We party and danced after the main show and went to bed to a clean room with a strange looking animal on our bed I think it was an ant eater, but not real sure. Did not see our room staff until the day we left the ship. We woke up in Cozumel. Spent the morning shopping and wondering around on our own very nice way to spend the morning it was very slow pasted no one bother us in the least and all were very friendly. We went to Pasion Isle for the afternoon for a buffet and all you can drink open bar and beach with palm trees water toys and oh by the way they had beds on the beach very odd but very cool. We had chairs under the shade of the palms and played in the water. The only bad thing was the trip back to the ship we sat on the bottom and were soaked and very chilled by the time we got back to the ship. Overall we had a fantastic trip and booked our 2ND cruise on board with 100.00 off price and 100.00 OBC to begin with for 7 days on the Legend. The whole experience was a pleasure stress free and very relaxing. The embarkation was a little long, but that was our fault you get off faster if you choose to self disembark which we did not choose. It took about an hour to get off, but it was very quick with no problems encountered. I would be very happy to go back on the Inspiration and will be doing more Carnival cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We planned this cruise 2 yrs ago. We booked a group through Carnival so we could get a good rate. We needed 8 cabins to get a refund of $900.00 to be divided to each cabin. We only got 7 rooms booked but we had 18 people and still got the ... Read More
We planned this cruise 2 yrs ago. We booked a group through Carnival so we could get a good rate. We needed 8 cabins to get a refund of $900.00 to be divided to each cabin. We only got 7 rooms booked but we had 18 people and still got the upgrade on our cabins to the 8th and 9th floor, and each cabin received $75.00 onboard credit. We flew American Airline from Des Moines, IA to Ft Lauderdale the day before on March 25th. We stayed at The Springhill Suites by Marriott in Dania Fl. They had free shuttle from the Airport and to the cruise ship and signed up for a shuttle from the port to our next hotel for $10 per person.. We really enjoyed this hotel. We walked to Kmart (about a block away) to pick up some soda. We ate at a Mexican grill restaurant across the street from the hotel and I asked if they had pop to drink. The gal looked at me and said "what is pop?" I laughed and said its soda. We enjoyed the swimming pool at this hotel. We signed up for the shuttle to go to the port the next day. The rooms are large and have a sleeping area and a living room area. On March 26th we ate our breakfast at the hotel. It was a great breakfast. They had hot food and the usual stuff like bagels, toast, and yogurt. I was surprised by the amount of people and bags waiting for the shuttle. We had to wait longer than our 10:30 time for a shuttle. We were picked up at 11am. When we got to the port it went pretty quick. We were on board by Noon. We ate lunch and couldn't find tables so we ended up in the back of the ship by the adult pool. The buffet was good, and I ended up also getting a hamburger which was tasty! When we were done with lunch we went to our rooms. We had a balcony room 8315 and our daughters ages 10 and 13 shared the room next to us in cabin 8319. We tried to switch the room but Carnivals policy is an adult must be in the rooms. So we asked for extra keys so we could get into their cabin and the girls could get into ours. We wanted to open the balcony's but by doing that one of the balcony doors would be blocked. So we just went with 2 balconies. We endured the muster drill, at least this time we didn't have to bring our life vests with us. I decorated everyone's doors to there surprise. Everyone seem to enjoy that, it made it easier to find there room! My daughter's door had gel decorations and a red crab. Someone kept taking the crab and putting it on other doors. It was broke by the end of the first day and stolen by the second day. That mad my girls upset but I told them it didn't matter they still had some decorations on there door. We ate in the dining room we had 2 tables. My brother, his wife and 15 yr old granddaughter switched from late dining to early. The rest of us had late dining. Our head waiter was Mark from India. He was so funny! Our other servers were Slammit and some name that sounded like Guthega. Mark to an instant liking to our grandson and every meal would hold him and always catered to him. At the beginning of the cruise it was hard to get ice tea but by the end of the cruise they knew we would ask. After dinner we to the welcome aboard show and then off to bed.Sunday march 27th was a sea day. We ate in the dining room for breakfast. I enjoy the dining room for breakfast because I can order my eggs the way I like them and they have corned beef hash. The women went to the shopping talk and then went to the pool. I was going to go to the Cruise Critic roll call meeting but time got away from me and missed it. It was elegant night in the dining room. I had prime rib and it was great. My 10 yr daughter tried the lobster and didn't like it, but I figured it was a good time to try it!After dinner we went to the Big Easy Show. It was awesome!Monday March 28th. Our daughter turned 30 today so I had bought her a T-shirt and a tank top from Carnival that said "30 never looked so good" and had a picture of the ship on it. We were supposed to be at San Juan today but they took it out of our cruise to make it a sea day. We ate breakfast at the buffet and it was good. It was a lazy type of day. We laid in the sun, and had lunch in the buffet. I took my 10 yr old to get a Beary cuddly animal at the Camp Carnival. My 13 yr old decided she wanted one too. It was a great deal, they choose the animal and stuff it themselves for $20.00 it comes with a Carnival T-shirt. And extra outfits are $5.00. I let them each pick out an outfit. One got a pink jogging suit and the other got a sailor skirt and shirt with a hat. We got our daughter, son-in-law, my son in laws brother and wife and my husband and I together for a card game of Canasta. We ate at the buffet for dinner because my daughter wanted to do karaoke. She is a great singer and so we skipped the dining room to cheer her on. She did great at karaoke. She ended up being the legends show the last night of the cruise. We went to bed late but ready for the next day!March 29th St Thomas.We arrived in St Thomas at 7am. We had ordered room service for breakfast to save time. We got off the ship and had a couple of hours to kill so we went to the shops. They were all closed till 9. What a let down! So we just hung out and talked until or excursion time. We booked through Carnival a snorkel over a shipwreck. We had to walk to the end of the pier and around the bay. I didn't know there would be so much walking. When we arrived they offered us a glass of cold water. We needed that after a long hot walk. We got on a catamaran they called the "CAT". The boat was only a year old. The crew made it fun and a girl named Emily gave a tour when we were in the water and explained a lot of stuff to us. She would tell us the different kinds of coral and sea urchins to us. She went down and got a porcupine sea urchin for us to hold. The Ship was cool, but I really enjoyed the divers and the air bubbles that were diving under us at the sunken ship. I think everyone enjoyed the excursion. Afterwards we went to the ship to shower ate at the buffet. Then we girls took a taxi downtown to go shopping. The guys took a taxi to a beach for more snorkeling. We went to Diamond International and got our free charm bracelet and charm. We enjoyed some of the signs, like pot fish...that must have been a happy fish! And another sign that said LIVE SALADS,...umm not sure what that was. Also a police parking only sign and the car in front of the sign had 2 wheels on the sidewalk. We stopped at the Harley Davidson store to buy the guys a T shirt. It was a hot day, but we had a fun day. We enjoyed our balcony on this day, as we cheered and clapped at the late runners. Our girls thought that was a hoot! We ate dinner in the dining room. The guys went to the comedian and we girls went to bed. Wednesday March 30th we arrived at Antigua at 7am.We ate breakfast at the buffet and got off ship after 8 am. The vendors are pushy on this island. We asked for a taxi to take us, we had a group of 9, to Valley Church Beach. A couple of ladies asked if they could join us, they were on a Princess cruise. The ladies had asked for a taxi and they were going to charge them $10 each way but we were offered $8 per person each way. The taxi driver called himself Doctor Mark. He told us things about the island on the way to the beach. When we arrived at the beach it was Beautiful. The water was so blue. It was a great beach. Not good for snorkeling as the water was cloudy blue. But shells are everywhere. We never have seen so many shells. The sand is so fine and soft in the water. They have chairs and umbrellas to rent. We rented chairs but skipped the umbrella. We sat up under some trees so we had shade the whole time. They also had jet skis for $45 a ½ hour. There were venders on the beach carrying there wares on their heads. We didn't buy anything. But they have restrooms and a shower that didn't have much water pressure but was nice to have. They also had a bar and a tent set up cooking Jerk Chicken. We bought 2 lunches to share so everyone could taste it. It smelled so good! The meal was $12 but you got jerk chicken and hot fries. It tasted great and was a large portion. The taxi came back when he said he would and took us back to the port. The taxi didn't have us pay until he picked us up. We went back to the ship for lunch at the buffet and went shopping. I would not recommend shopping at Antigua. They are pushy and won't leave you alone. I did enjoy a sign that said "Please do not relieve your self indiscriminately" So of course the guys line up with one hand on near the sign. It was the best picture ever! We left early to go to the ship as no one was enjoying the shopping. We again cheered on the late runners from our balcony. My 13 yr old blonde fair skinned daughter was now red as a lobster and in much pain. We used Neutrogena 100 SPF on her but she didn't reapply it often enough. She stayed in her room and ordered room service and the rest of us went to the dining room. Thursday March 31st Tortola We arrived at 7am in Tortola. We didn't really have any plans for the day but ended up doing an island tour with a taxi. 2 people in our group wanted to go to a beach where the son "Cheeseburger in Paradise" was written by Jimmy Buffett. It is called Cabbage Beach. There is a place called Stanley's bar and Restaurant that sells T shirts and of course Cheeseburgers. So they found a Taxi that for $20 per person will give you a tour of the island and stop at Cabbage Beach for 45min. So we agreed to go. There was 9 of us and we started to go to the open air taxi but was steered to the small bus. We were told it is better, it has air conditioning. Not given a choice we got on the taxi bus. The tour was good. The driver took us to a look out spot that was a bar with a look out on top. The bathroom was a dollar charge unless you bought a $2.50 soda then it was free. My son-in-law bought a Coke and handed it to anyone who wanted to use the bathroom so they didn't have to pay. The driver told us what the islands were. We could see St Thomas from there also. I will say the roads are very steep in Tortola. I would not want to drive there. The driver told history of the island but those in the back could not hear him. Some people in the front of the bus was complaining because the air was not on. The people in the back would not close there windows so the driver would not turn on the air. When we arrived at the beach it was a awesome beach. If I ever go back to Tortola I am going to go to Cabbage Beach and beach it the whole day! We found the place for cheeseburgers and of course ordered a cheeseburger. It was not bad! I was surprised by a swimmer, a lady about 40ish was swimming with no top on. It looked like she did that often as the Ta ta's were hanging low as the song goes! Do your ears hang low, o they wobble to and fro!So we walked back to the hot bus and now everyone wants the air on. The driver said all windows need to be closed. So we all close our windows and the air is on but not very cool. So we are heading up a steep, and I mean steep mountain side when the bus starts smoking and stops in the middle of the mountain. Now picture this, the road is 2 way but is very narrow. On the side of the road is a wall of mountain rock and the other side is a very long drop! So the driver tells us to get out. We all get out dodging traffic going downhill. When you got off the bus you walked at an angle because it was so steep. The bad thing is we had old people with canes who needed help. So the driver has us walk to the top. Now I thought I was going to die. I was hot and walking a steep mountain with my daughters ages 10 and 13, and my grandson was with us who is 2. We took turns carrying my grandson because he got heavy real quick. So we made it to the top and of course tempers were flaring. The driver got the bus running but my husband and son-in-law refused to get back on the bus. Another taxi van picked us up and took us back to the port. The first driver was there waiting for his money. The second driver told us to pay the first driver and he would work it out with him. Come to find out they were ½ brothers so we paid the first driver and did some shopping. We found a place that sells spices and bought some spices and Jerk seasonings. The shopping was better than Antigua, but still lacked in shopping. We went back to the ship and laughed and cheered at the late runners again. Friday April 1st another Sea day.Me and my girls ordered room service because we booked the "behind the scene fun tour" The guys ate at the dinning room and played Bingo. The tour was really cool. We started in the library and went to several places. The control room, the bridge, laundry room, kitchen for the staff and seen there dining rooms, and the main kitchen, the steakhouse kitchen and the stage and back stage where the props and dressing rooms are. We had 3 pictures waiting in our room and a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries an several cupcakes. We also got a "Behind the Scene" lanyard and a back pack and a swan carved bar of soap. The tour lasted 3 ½ hours. It was a great tour. We also seen where the morgue was, it can hold up to 3 bodies. I will say the ship was very clean. No lint on the laundry room floor. The kitchen was spotless! We shopped on the ship and bought t shirts and they had a watch sale for $20. You got a watch and necklace and earrings. They had men's set also. I bought a man and a women set for my daughter and son-in-law who stayed home this trip with there new baby. We ate at the steak house for dinner. It was good. We went to the show afterwards. It was "a ticket to ride show", a tribute to the Beatles. It was very good. Then we went to the comedian show. When they say rated R they mean it. I guess I think you can be funny without vulgar stuff. But everyone else seemed to enjoy it. By the way since it was April fools day and the Fun times listed the captain as Captain Planet, Hotel Director as Mighty Mouse, the Chief Engineer as Professor X, and the Cruise Director as The Bionic Woman, Our CD for the ship was Ryan Fitzpatrick and was an awesome CD. Saturday April 2nd NassauWe arrived at Nassau at Noon. It was fun watching us go into port. The ship backed into port. We had a long walk on the port. We all commented the late runners would really have a long run today! We took a taxi to a beach right past the Atlantis resort. We had planned on snorkeling and did some. But to get to where the fish were we had to go far out and there were jet skis and boats with a banana ride on the back. One Jet Ski almost hit a man and after that we didn't go out very far. I did do the banana boat. A fast boat pulls a blown up banana looking thing. Me and my 2 daughters did it. It was fun. We took a taxi back after the beach and went shopping. There was much better shopping here. We had till 7pm when the ship left port, we bought more Harley Davidson shirts and I got a Hard Rock cafe shirt. We went back to the ship and was disappointed as there was NO late runners today. We ate in the dining room and enjoyed our last night on the cruise with one more Chocolate Melting cake! Before we left the ship my 30 yr old daughter got a phone call that they needed her to fill in on the show. The karaoke winners were pick to sing in the show and a girl who was going to sing "RESPECT" by Aretha Franklin had a sore throat and wasn't going to sing. So my daughter had ½ a day to do the island and eat dinner and learn a song she didn't really know. She did an awesome job! Her 2 yr old son didn't recognize her with the make up and wig on. She was nervous but did great. The poor guy who did Elvis, at the end of his song he wacked the dancer in the head and the microphone and everyone burst into laughter. It was a great show with the CD dressed up as Dolly Parton. Sunday April 3rd back at port in Ft Lauderdale. We ate breakfast in the dining room and enjoyed our last meal on ship. Disembarkation was easy. We had paid for a pickup at the port and with 14 of us heading to the Courtyard Beach by Marriott every van that came was full. We ended up splitting up and going in shifts. We were upset because when we bought the transfers we were told to go to a van and they would take all of us together. The transportation was hot, and long. I would never do this again. I would just take a taxi.Our Hotel was awesome! It was right across from Ft Lauderdale Beach.We had a king bed and it had a couch that the girls slept in. The bedroom was separate from the living room. In our bedroom it was floor to ceiling windows with a view of the beach. Bubba Gump restaurant was next to our hotel so we grabbed lunch there since our rooms were not ready yet. After leaving Bubba Gump a sight my kids will never get over is a man wearing bunny ears and a pink velvet playboy Bikini. When the man smiled he had no teeth in the front. He was quite the display. A lady took his picture and he asked for a tip. My son in law said "I'll give you a tip, next time buy a bigger swimsuit!" We still talk about that man! We loved the beach and swam for quite awhile. We founf some more shells and later we ordered pizza for supper and played some more Canasta. Monday April 4th flight home or so we thought!We take a taxi to the airport. It was a large van and we were charged $8.00 a person. We had a very good driver who talked a lot to us. We had to stop for a drawbridge, which was interesting to see. When we arrived at the airport we had a 2 hour delay for bad weather in Dallas. It ended up being a 4 hour delay. When anyone would ask at the gate about there connections they would make an announcement that all flights were delayed in Dallas and all flight were running late, not to worry about your connections. I knew better, I used to work for American Trans Air before they closed due to bankruptcy. I knew you should not send anyone with out rebooking them on a later flight. But American Airlines did not do this. So when we got to Dallas we were told our flight had left and no seats left on the remaining flights. So we had to get a hotel at our expense and spend the night. I did buy insurance so now I am trying to get refunded. One thing I learned is to save everything. We have to prove what flight we were on and our whole itinerary. We have to prove the airline was late. I emailed the American airlines and got a form letter as a reply. We got home the next day April 5th at about 11 am. It was a great cruise and am trying to convince the hubby to do another one in 2 yrs. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My DH and I recently became guardians of a 17 year old... We decided a quick 4 day cruise (his first) would be a great way for the 3 of us to spend some time together.       I am in the travel industry and have cruised quite a bit ... Read More
My DH and I recently became guardians of a 17 year old... We decided a quick 4 day cruise (his first) would be a great way for the 3 of us to spend some time together.       I am in the travel industry and have cruised quite a bit (over 30 cruises) and both DH and I are Platinum with Carnival.       The Elation is a great value for family cruising. The staff is very attentive, the food good and the entertainment lively and varied. That being said, Spring Break cruising should be done with the knowledge that the ship will be booked to capacity (our trip was only 4 short of Coast Guard maximums)and that the percentage of young people will be very high. All in all, however, Carnival did a good job managing the large numbers of young people. I noticed security checking ID's before entry to the disco after 10 and the attendants appeared to be enforcing the adults only policy in Serenity.       Our room was clean. Our steward was not as attentive as some but based on the occupancy of the cabins around us I feel he was probably very busy. Our waitress was one of the best I have had. The buffets were absolutely packed every time I tried to go.... I ended up eating in the dining room or room service usually. I was able to eat the stir fry more than my last trips.... the passengers on this sailing didn't seem as enthused about this type of food as the passengers on my sailings from LA and Miami.       In all we had a great trip and a wonderful family experience..... Is this the type cruise I would take for a romantic getaway with DH, no..... Is this the cruise I would take with my girlfriends, not necessary.... Spring Break cruising is great when you are with your kids but otherwise..... I wouldn't recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was the worst cruise we have ever taken!Having said that I will comment on the positive thing that we found about this cruise/cruise line. Our 2 children really enjoyed the kids area. We were pleased with the way that it was run and ... Read More
This was the worst cruise we have ever taken!Having said that I will comment on the positive thing that we found about this cruise/cruise line. Our 2 children really enjoyed the kids area. We were pleased with the way that it was run and with the youth counselors. There were plenty of them to watch, play with, and do activities with the kids. We also liked that they had structured activities for the kids all the time and they had a discipline policy. Because on the Disney cruise we took it was very disappointing to send our kids to the kids area, it was a total free for all with not many activities and not very many adults to supervise or interact with the kids. But, it was NOT that way on the Pride of America. So, I am happy about that!Our room was dirty. The carpets were like dusty especially in the corners. The bathroom smelled like urine, very strong urine. I actually took my travel disinfectant spray and sprayed under the rim of the toilet and found what looked like, black mold, that came out. I then took the toilet brush and scrubbed and scrubbed and got most of the black stuff off. My husband walked into the bathroom and said, "It smells better now." So, it's so disappointing to go on a cruise and have to clean your own toilet especially for the money we paid. Our stateroom lady did a pretty good job, but NOT excellent. She forgot to refill things, and just did a half way job. She didn't vacuum the entire cruise. Our room was sooooo small, it was the smallest we have ever been in. The balcony was dirty and the railing was unmaintained. There was no varnish, just bare wood. It was also greasy. The first night in the liberty dining room was just ok. It took FOREVER to get our food. They were not friendly or happy to serve us at all. They were almost rude. The second night we went to the Skyline dining room. We got our appetizer and salad in a pretty timely manner, but we waited 30 minutes before we just decided to walk out. We didn't get any waiter asking us if we were doing ok, or if we needed anything or our entrees would be out soon. We did not set foot in any of the dining rooms the rest of the cruise. It was terrible. We ate at the buffet, or room service or the Cadillac diner. The quality and taste of the food was just ok. I will say that the room service was actually good. They staff of the room service was VERY friendly. It was like a battle to get our food at the buffet. The staff was like put off to serve us and we had to almost yell to get them to put some food on our plate. Usually on cruises the staff is friendly and says hello and is genuinely happy and nice, but NOT on this ship. The shore excursions were pretty good, but still VERY overpriced. I think they were a rip off. We just felt like we got so ripped off for this whole cruise! We paid a lot of money for this cruise and we DID NOT get what we paid for. We have gone on very inexpensive cruises before and got far more than we paid for. I feel like if we would get 2/3rds of our money back would would have received what we paid for. I never have written a review before. I felt like I needed to write this review to warm everyone not to waste their money on this cruise. I know that it seems like the perfect way to see the islands. We thought that too. It would be a great way to see the islands if the cruise wasn't so terrible. We did enjoy seeing the islands. Hawaii is great! When we go back to Hawaii we will stay at hotels and fly from island to island or pick a couple islands to visit and rent a car on the islands. I think even doing that we would save money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We opted to stay in San Juan for a night on both ends of our cruise and we LOVED it. We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Stellaris (to get points, and it's close to the port.) We will try another place next time. Pricey with cranky ... Read More
We opted to stay in San Juan for a night on both ends of our cruise and we LOVED it. We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Stellaris (to get points, and it's close to the port.) We will try another place next time. Pricey with cranky staff. We got to the port about 1pm- huge lines. I stayed in line to get into the building, while my husband and daughter stood in line to get rid of the luggage. It only took about 45" total to get through and onto the ship, but I was shocked at how many people were already there....Our room- 8654- was a balcony room and was ready when we arrived. We walked in and.... smelled urine. Like "Uh-oh, I'm in a nursing home" odor. We opened the balcony door and the cabin door to air it out. These rooms are past the time to fix up. Carpet faded, colors dated, wood finish peeled off the vanity, rust on the metal surfaces in the bathroom, mold on the grout in the shower, etc. And the smell..... Our room steward said he would "alert maintainance", and thought it was because the water was turned off, but it continued to smell the entire week. At times there was a smell of poo in the hallway (and i heard other guests complaining about the odors), so something is not quite right with the pipes..... I'm just glad we had the balcony door to open up! (Just an aside about the balconies- you ARE allowed to smoke on the balconies, and the cigar smoker that smoked near us ruined it for us. We couldn't have the door open or sit out there without being in the stench.) We went right to the windjammer to eat- and loved it immediately. We ate lunch and breakfast there almost every day. I found the omelet making station in the back (the Island cafe?) and headed there each morning. Lots of variety and the food was good. I was so hoping for some papaya and mango, but they have the melon selection and pineapple for "exotics." That was the only thing I missed. We had first seating dinner and sat at a table of 8. We love to meet new people and had great tablemates. Our waiter Daniel, was probably the best waiter we've had in all our cruises, and his asst. Mark was awesome as well. I thought the food was just ok. Lobster night was yummy. I had a few misses (the beef stroganoff, a pasta/mushroom dish, a steak). Desserts were good- just not great. The entire staff could not have been more friendly and helpful. The only commlaint was the guest relation staff aren't as helpful as they use to be with info about the ports, cab fares, etc. When the excursion desk is closed, you really are on your own. Our first day was a day at sea. The solarium pool was quieter and way less crowded and our go-to place to cool off. We toured the ship and for as big as it is, wasn't hard to navigate. The promenade was very cool- there is a cafe there to get coffee and pastries in the early am before the windjammer opens if you are early risers.... We played mini golf one night. We wanted to rock climb and in line skate, but there didn't seem to be enough time to do it all. We did visit the casino (happened to be on a smoke free night, so it was pretty empty) and played the slot machines. Not big gamblers, but it was fun.One of our favorite things to do after dinner was go to the front of the ship on deck 5 (where the helicopter landing is) as it is really dark there and a fabulous place to star gaze....The only show we went to was the Beatles show- it was good. I wish we had gone to the ice show- we heard it was great. Our teenage daughter really wasn't into the shows...Ports: Our first stop was Curacau. We took a taxi to Cas Abou Beach. It was a 45" drive and we shared a taxi with another couple. He charged us $15 per person each way- came back and picked us up also. It was beautiful. We were there from 9:45am to 2pm. We had lunch at the "hut"- menu was in Dutch, so I ordered the only thing I recognized- "cheeseburger". I'm not sure it was beef. Not too tasty. Next time I would just order a big fruit smoothie...We walked back through the town when we got back- did a little shopping.Aruba- We went horseback riding in the national park. This is not for the occasional rider. This is a rocky,hilly, desert like environment- very hot- thank goodness we went in the morning. I only ride occasionally- and my horse (and others-) were "spirited". I got scared and asked for a helmet! My daughter is an experienced rider and loved it. It was very difficult to keep the horses to a walk. They wanted to run. One guy lost his saddle, and the guide was way ahead- that made me a little nervous. We stopped at an absolutely beautiful part of the ocean and rested. I think my horse was tired, because he was a little better behaved on the way back. We did get to canter through the sand and ocean for a bit on the return trip. We ate lunch on the ship and then took a cab to Palm Beach. Super crowded. Water was warm but really cloudy. $10 apiece for a chair for a couple of hours! I'll find a better beach next time. We've been to Eagle beach before and it was much less crowded, but not much in the way of amenities. We got some shopping in as well after the beach.Dominica- one of our favorite islands. You have to go on a tour to see this island! Even if you just drive around- do it. It's beautiful- a rain forest, so very different than Aruba. We did the river to ocean kayak tour. We loved it, but it was pretty scary. The first rapids did some folks in- I got to ride with a guide since my daughter rode with my husband. The second rapids had less "casualties". We kayaked into the ocean, as in: paddle hard into the waves, crash down, paddle into the next wave, crash, repeat.... It was a blast. We kayaked around the ocean, stopped at an area where there was a fresh water pool to swim in, then kayaked back up the river to a spot to get back into the vans. They had free drinks, fruit, and "local food"- some fish/ rice dish and cooked banana that wasn't too tasty. Super friendly guides. They were called the "Wacky Rollers"- had tubing adventures also. St. Thomas- We've been there lots, and wanted to see a different beach. We picked Secret Harbour. Getting to the taxis was CONFUSING- there are 2 ports in St. Thomas, and we were at the one without the mall area right off the ship. This one had a mall area that you walked to, with signs for taxi stands, but we had to ask 2 different people where the heck they were. We got one of those trolley type taxis- We got dropped off about 9:45am till 3pm- he came back for us. Only $10/person each way. I loved this place. Small, so not really a beach to take long walks on, but what a great way to relax at the end of our week. We ate at the restaurant- service slow, but the food was awesome. Absolutely heaven.....Disembarkation- Since we were going to stay in San Juan, we figured we would be the last ones off the ship. Because we were platinum members, we were assigned a dining room to wait in that had a continental breakfast. So of course we ate at the windjammer; took our time. Got to the dining room about 8:30am only to find that they were herding us off the ship! Trying to find our "color" of luggage stash was an adventure (do not go by the colored banners hanging from the ceiling)... But we finally got all our stuff and off we went. Back to the Marriott to hit the beach!All in all- we had a great trip. We tend to pick cruises by itinerary. But I think I would not recommend this ship. Maybe a newer RC. I'm glad to see Celebrity back in the Caribbean- maybe them next time???? Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
First week back from our vacation and I had to share the awesome cruise experience with others who may be on the fence about cruising with Celebrity (as we were for several years). We have cruised before with Carnival (twice), Royal ... Read More
First week back from our vacation and I had to share the awesome cruise experience with others who may be on the fence about cruising with Celebrity (as we were for several years). We have cruised before with Carnival (twice), Royal Caribbean and Princess. We are a family of three ranging in age from 8 - early 50's. We have enjoyed all of our cruises to date and were attracted to the Equinox due to the hot glass shoppe and the wonderful itinerary. We were expecting a cruise experience similar to our prior cruises and were more than pleasantly surprised to reflect upon this cruise as our most fantastic cruise experience to date!--Background--We drove to Fort Lauderdale (from Ontario, Canada) to catch the March 21st sail on the Celebrity Equinox. We pulled into our pre-reserved hotel (Hyatt Regency Pier 66) early the morning prior to the cruise. We were so delighted by the excellence of this hotel! It is a small resort set upon the intercoastal waterway very nearby the cruise port. Our room was on the ground level and had a lovely lanai area facing the waterway which was lined with some exquisitely gorgeous yachts largely due to its proximity to the public marina. The room was immaculate, cool, spacious and very comfortable. The best part of our day spent there was poolside. Hyatt Pier 66 boasts a very large heated pool complete with waterfall! Lounging upon the deck chairs and being served by roaming waiters completed our love for this space and it will certainly be our hotel of choice next time we are in the area. In addition, the staff was fantastic! Our early morning arrival (caused due to the lack of planning over what turned out to be the tail end of Spring break somewhere in the world) meant that we travelled many more hours than planned without the benefit of a hotel room en route. The Hyatt graciously changed our accommodation to allow us an early morning entry to our room at no additional charge. The valet also made us aware that we could leave our vehicle in their secure parking facility for the duration of our trip for less than it would cost us to park at the pier - an offer we graciously accepted!--Cruise Day! Check-in & Embarkation--In the morning, following an excellent hot buffet breakfast in the hotel, the kind valet attendants secured us a taxi which came directly to our vehicle and assisted us with transferring our luggage. We travelled the few minutes it took to arrive at the cruise port and entered with ease. From the moment we unloaded the taxi, our experience with Celebrity surpassed every other cruise experience to date. There was plenty of staff on hand to direct us to the correct boarding area. After disembarking the taxi, transferring our luggage to the baggage handlers (who graciously offered us baggage tags when I remembered we didn't receive any before we had left!), we entered the port building. After a brief stop by security (we had some leftover bottles of coke in our carry-on luggage that needed to be checked out), we were on our way to checking in. The check-in staff were friendly, helpful and amazingly efficient! From arrival to checking in our luggage to boarding the ship took us under 30 minutes. We were shocked by this as our prior experiences have always involved a more substantial waiting period! While still commenting on how impressive the streamlined process was, we embarked upon the ship and that is when the cascade of extra special treatment began with a chilled glass of champagne (fresh squeezed orange juice for the young girl) and personalized friendly greetings. --About the Equinox --The first thing we noticed about the Equinox is what it didn't have compared to our prior trips. There was no massive foyer in the middle of the ship with all the glitz of some of the others we've experienced. Oddly, it wasn't missed one bit! The ship is beautifully laid out, very open with its glass elevators and many of its best features open to balconies as you ascend to the upper decks. The computer room, games room and library levels are completely open and overlook the vast atrium housing the glass elevators. At no time did I ever feel "closed in" on this ship. It was very comfortable and getting around was never a big problem. My one critique of the ship is about the sparse locations on the middle activity floors (computer, library and games rooms) and the lack of public washroom facilities which usually necessitated an elevator ride up or down several floors to locate a public facility with a child in tow.We did not feel continually pursued by vendors to buy things on board. Certainly there were plenty of opportunities to spend money but it was subtle and not "in our face" - a fact we very much appreciated!--Dining--The layout of the buffet is brilliant! Never did I feel like I was standing in line forever to get a little something while my breakfast got cold. Everything was plentiful and fresh. The waffles and cheese blintzes are not to be missed at breakfast! The variety offered for lunch and late afternoon/evening snacks of small sandwiches and daily sushi were certainly enjoyed on more than one occasion.The formal dining room was wonderful. The meals were top notch! The wait staff and sommeliers certainly are well trained professionals and they went above and beyond the call of duty to make our dining experiences memorable. Little surprises the chef would add to the menu on a whim were to our benefit and I really enjoyed the array of cold soups offered when returning from hot destinations! There was not a single night that I could not find something delectable on the menu! As tastes vary, this may not have been everyone's experience but we're an adventuresome bunch who enjoy good food and if you're the same, I'm fairly confident you will find something to your taste!Psst. If you love French onion soup, you must try Celebrity's version! They make it PROPERLY (a rare feat) and without any bouillion. The onions are perfectly carmelized, they use an entire slice of bread (as opposed to "croutons") and smother it with exactly the right complement of cheese. Try it, you'll love it!--Leisure Time--We spent some time in the Games Room once we found it and very much enjoyed the array of boards games made available for use. From mahjongg to clue to chess, connect 4 and other fun games, many an hour was whiled away before dinner with our young daughter. It was nice to be able to have such family time and not be sequestered in the cabin to accomplish it!THE POOL! What isn't great about this pool? First, it's not salt water taken from the freezing cold ocean the day you embark. No, it's heated! It's sufficiently but not over-chlorinated and is crystal clear. There is a shallow side and a deeper side to suit whatever you desire. The chairs surrounding the pool are ample. We never had trouble finding a place to be regardless of when we arrived poolside. The wait staff are plentiful, the special drinks most enjoyable and the open air design allows you to bathe in the sun or hide in the shade - truly a little something for everyone.There is a live band who plays in the late afternoon. It can get a little loud then and usually disturbed my zen so I often chose to depart at that point. The band and singers were very good (although, when they played country music and had it representative of Canada it got my back up a little). The ship does need to tone down the volume somewhat though. The "dance floor" is unique in that it spouts water and has colour changing lights beneath one's feet. It was fun to watch those who were so inspired get up and give a little of themselves over to the music.There is a fabulous family sized hammock on the back of the pool area (near the entrance to the Solarium). What a wonderful place to take a nap when you can snag it! There are also large cushy lounges surrounding the pool. These go early but if you're lucky enough to gain access to one, it makes a splendid outdoor napping place. --About Celebrity--What isn't to love? The company goes above and beyond the call of duty to make everyone happy aboard their ships. We found the service staff to be incredibly friendly, most helpful and always willing to respond to any situation. We did have a couple of incidents that could likely have turned out in a less than pleasant manner but the immediate rectification by staff - even those from other areas of the ship - convinced us that Celebrity's expert training and attention to their customers is way above the ordinary. This is one reason that we will be sailing with them going forward. Provided they keep this level of attentive service, interesting and varied itineraries and respond to requests for improvements in an already full and rewarding activity program, then they will be seeing a great deal more of us on board!--"Enrichment"--This is the one place where Celebrity has room to compare what other lines are offering and beef it up a little. Some of us actually do enjoy the extracurricular learning available on other lines and, if there was one thing missing on board this time, I would have to say it was in the availability of interesting curriculum.As far as the "extracurricular enrichment" - I failed to win thousands of dollars in the casino. In fact, I failed to win much of anything! Shame, shame on Celebrity for that! ;)Wine tasting was something that we partook in and thoroughly enjoyed. The series of wine education seminars were well run, informative and most enjoyable! We didn't get to as many as we'd hoped to due to scheduling conflicts with other personal agenda wants but we will definitely pursue more of this experience if it's offered in the future!--Kids Club--I would love to give you a raving report on the kid's club and how much my daughter enjoyed it. Sadly, I cannot because she didn't go. Not once did she grace their halls with her bubbly presence. We were okay with that, really since the purpose of vacation is to spend time together in our family. I do want to remark on the abundance of staff who went out of their way to acknowledge our young daughter and make her experience extra special. From the wait staff in the buffet who would assist her getting her breakfast or lunch tray to the table to the crew responsible for checking us on and off the ship in port, she was constantly made to feel like she was a truly important individual. I love it when people address children with the attitude that they can speak for themselves and not speak constantly through me to her. It was certainly evident that the crew aboard the Equinox respect well mannered children and, for that, I'm grateful.--The Hot Glass Show!--The Corning Museum of Glass is hanging out on the roof of the Equinox. There were two shows most, if not each of the days of our cruise. It was an amazing experience to have and watching these professional gaffers fight the elements can be highly tense by times as they struggle not to have the creation they've just spent time honing to perfection crack due to a cold blast of wind! As a glass worker on a much smaller scale, this feature was one of the reasons I booked this cruise to begin with and I have to say I was plenty impressed!The wares created by the gaffers upon the ship over the course of the cruise are NOT for sale but do get auctioned off toward the end of the cruise. The auction benefits a Corning Museum of Glass scholarship fund so the cause is very worthy. Sometimes there are whimsical glass sculptures made, other times there are useful pieces blown and then there are those times when you witness a masterpiece in the making. No matter what is being made, the process of watching it underway is fascinating and is truly one you should experience!--Smoking--There is no smoking in the rooms or balconies aboard the Equinox. There are designated smoking areas aboard the ship. Whether you smoke or don't smoke, you should be aware of this. These areas are limited so it is somewhat disconcerting when non-smokers invade these spaces and then get upset to see someone about to light up a cigarette. I think this is one area where Celebrity might assist by ensuring that the areas are better defined by signage.--Summary--As there are separate areas altogether to review the ports/shore excursions, I will summarize with this: my family and I agree THIS WAS THE BEST CRUISE WE HAVE EVER TAKEN! We were so impressed, in fact, that for the first time ever we booked our next cruise while still on board the Equinox. I can hardly wait to once again encounter the professional staff and crew that makes Celebrity stand out on the top of my list! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had been on two fantastic cruises previously one on NCL and the other RCI Voyager. So were really looking forward to the trip to the Canary Islands from Southampton. The day before we received an email saying as the ship needed deep ... Read More
We had been on two fantastic cruises previously one on NCL and the other RCI Voyager. So were really looking forward to the trip to the Canary Islands from Southampton. The day before we received an email saying as the ship needed deep clean we should not arrive until after 2pm. So 3,500 + people arrived at the same time to book in! The queues went on forever but they did move quite quickly. We were all ushered towards the Windjammer which is a lovely area with great views. Unfortunately it was so packed it was difficult to find a seat. We were glad that we had booked My time dining, until we went for our meal at 6pm. We had booked the 6pm seating for four, 3 month previously. There was no table for four when we arrived, after a few words a table was made up for us in the corner of the room at a door entrance, not satisfactory. We were promised a table for the following evening but not until 8pm. As the service was not exceptional and the menu was similar to the Windjammer we decided to eat at of peak times there. On sea days when it is really packed you are asked to vacate your table. Sanitizing through out the ship is pretty evident especially in the Windjammer.The ship is ideal if you have any disabilities. The lifts are often full but if you are not disabled why not use the stairs. The mall is busy at the best of times but with wheelchairs, electric buggies and pushchairs it makes it quite a squeeze. On sea days it resembles a jumble sale.The pool area is not great. Pool to small. Quite a few Jacuzzis which were having a thorough clean in the evenings. We booked in term time before the Easter holidays to avoid the family rush but there seemed to be plenty of children of school age around.We tried the theatre a few times but found it to crowded and ended up standing at the back.The itinerary left a lot to be desired. Two stops were on a Sunday (closing) The length of stop over time was far to short to arrange anything. If there are just a couple of cruise ships in the same port the area is just saturated and not a pleasant experience.Departure. We were told that we were to leave the ship at 7:15am not given any choice.(our taxi booked for 10am) Our cases were taken the night before so we decided to leave when we were ready in the morning. If you want to experience an expensive holiday camp at sea, this is the cruise for you. If this had been my first cruise I would definitely not be cruising again. The ship is far to big and overcrowded. RCI, for the sake of quantity has forsaken quality Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarkation: I had read some horror stories on here and other sites about the embarkation process with the Dream. As a result, I was really concerned with having a bad experience and trying to decide what time to arrive at the port. On ... Read More
Embarkation: I had read some horror stories on here and other sites about the embarkation process with the Dream. As a result, I was really concerned with having a bad experience and trying to decide what time to arrive at the port. On past cruises, our goal has been to be among the first to board to maximize our time, and this was no different. Note that Disney now assigns you a check in time. Ours was approx. 1:30, which was much later than I wanted to be there. Well, for those of wondering, that time really doesn't mean anything. We arrived early, around 10:30 (expecting boarding to start around 12:00). Long story short, we had zero issues. Check in was very organized, and we were assigned boarding group #7 (out of 42 total). Boarding started at 11:45, and we were walking on the ship by 12:15. As some have mentioned previously, the terminal can get crowded and there is limited seating, but we didn't find it to be too bad. We immediately went up to Cabanas to eat, getting a table with no problems. However, by the time we finished, there was a wait. Complicating things was the fact that we had t-storms and rain, so no one could be out by the pools.Ship: The ship itself is incredible. If you've been on the Magic or Wonder, then the theme will be familiar. However, the size will overwhelm you. Since the ship had only been sailing for two months, everything still looked brand new. We had a great time exploring on the first day before sailing. Frankly, that's really all we could do since the storms precluded use of the pools and there were no other activities going on. That's one of my only complaints, but it's minor. I assume that the lack of activities is because the crew is engaged in other duties. The Enchanted Art and Midship Detective Agency are must see's and do's for young and old. Take some time before sailing to learn the ship, as it will pay off later for you.Cabins: We had deluxe oceanview rooms, meaning we had rooms with the GIANT portholes (9006 and 9008). The rooms are OUTSTANDING, and the porthole was great. The kids loved laying on the ledge and looking outside. As we were getting unpacked, they watched 4-5 dolphins swimming below us.Food: As a rule, if you go on a cruise expecting 5 star dining in the main dining rooms, you're going to be disappointed. You can't produce that level of quality for 4000 people. The Dream was no different, but we were very happy with the food (better than the Magic). We ate at the rotation restaurants and had great experiences at all three. Some reviews have complained about small portion sizes, and they certainly were. But, it's a cruise! Order more! Our waiter, Florin, told us that on the first day and he took good care of us and we got everything we wanted and more. The only disappointment in the food area was with breakfast. We ate in the dining rooms each morning, and at best I can say that the food was ok. That area could use some improvement.Service: Topping everything else on the Dream was the service. Our dining room staff (Florin, the waiter; Vladimir, asst waiter; and Nikolai, head waiter) were unbelievable. They were great guys, and we had a blast with them. They provided great service, as well as lots of laughs for all of us. Frankly, these guys made the cruise for us. Our cabin steward, Putu, was great as well and we had fun helping him further his English language skills. Everyone we encountered was great, and we had a lot of enjoyable conversations. I highly recommend taking some time to get to know the crew members, and learn a little about them and their countries. Castaway Cay: Amazing! It is much improved over the last time we were there on the Magic. When we were there previously, it felt crowded and it was hard to find chairs on the beach. It's been expanded for the new ship, and never once did we feel crowded. We had chairs and hammocks in the shade, and it was absolutely perfect. My oldest son and I brought our own masks and snorkels, as we didn't want to pay $20 ea to rent. Disney requires a snorkel vest for everyone, but they have them available for no charge on the beach if you've brought your own equipment. Note that if you want to see fish, you need to swing out 200-300 yards. It's worth the effort, as we lots of variety and size. The BBQ was great...food was good, no crowds/wait since there are multiple serving locations. It was literally the perfect day! Entertainment: It was great, as expected. We enjoyed all three shows immensely. Note to those of you with younger kids: For the Golden Mickeys, 7 kids are selected during each show to be a dwarf during the Snow White scene. If you are interested, get to the theater early to have the best chance. You might even want to ask the theater crew about it. They take the kids and one parent down to reserved seats in the front row, and just before the scene, they take them into a room next to the stage to get ready. It's a short scene, but the kids have a lot of fun and even get certificates to commemorate their performance. Also, I highly recommend taking part in the activities in the D lounge. They do a variety of family game shows each night, and they are a blast for all. They were sparsely attended, so you have a great chance of participating. Debarkation: This is quite unlike any other cruises that we've been on. We were assigned a 6:45 breakfast time at the Royal Palace (where we had dinner the previous night). You have your regular wait staff so it's another opportunity to say goodbye. For us, we ate breakfast, finished up by 8:00, and literally walked off the ship with no hassles at all. We were in our cars by 8:15. It couldn't have been any easier. I have to think that by 9 am or so, it might be a different story. Summary: We had a wonderful experience, with no complaints. Can some things be improved? Sure. However, I'd rank it up there as the best cruise that we've taken. Everyone in our family, parents, grandparents, kids, loved it and we were sad that we only took the 3 night cruise. We would certainly do it again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My Wife and 2 Daughters (12 and 15) took a cruise on the Allure for Spring Break. Last year we cruised on FOS during Spring Break. This is by far the best family cruise vacation that we have ever taken. The Allure was amazing!We stayed in ... Read More
My Wife and 2 Daughters (12 and 15) took a cruise on the Allure for Spring Break. Last year we cruised on FOS during Spring Break. This is by far the best family cruise vacation that we have ever taken. The Allure was amazing!We stayed in adjoining cabins a GS (8260) and Outside Cabin (8262). Deck 8 was the place to be in our opinion. Wife and I spent time everyday in Central Park a 30 sec. walk from our cabin. We also found that walking through Central Park was a quick and easy way to get from the forward to aft elevators.It was Spring Break and we found that the ship did not seem crowded which was amazing. Twice in a week we found lines and just adjusted out plans. The teens did not spend much time in the programs. They found more than enough to do with each other.The food was in line with other RCCL dining rooms and Windjammer. We had Sushi at Izuma and that we great. We had another great experience at Chops Grill.THe best day of the trip was our stop at Labadee. We have been to other "private cruise" destinations but this was hands down the best. We did Dragon's Breath zip line it was awesome. We spent the rest of the day at Barefoot Beach in a cabana reserved for Suite Guests. Please see my youtube videos of each:http://youtu.be/ywLeKW1WNvg (Cabana)http://youtu.be/Q5n00XpOrI8 (zip line)Our to and from the Ship was a breeze. We came in the night before and stayed at the Marroitt near FLL. On Sunday morning we left the ship at 8:45 and were at our gate at FLL by 10:00 for a noon flight. Smoothest travel on and off ever.We cannot wait to go back and cruise on the allure again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The NCL Sun was beautifully redone from previous travels on her. The arragnement of some of the different floors was somewhat confusing that you had to go either up of or down to get to the front or back of the ship. Not easy for elderly ... Read More
The NCL Sun was beautifully redone from previous travels on her. The arragnement of some of the different floors was somewhat confusing that you had to go either up of or down to get to the front or back of the ship. Not easy for elderly not navy oriented individuals.Having traveled to this part of the Carribean before, we elected not to partake of the on shore excursions offered as they are quite pricey. Instead, one of the members of our group did a little research ahead of time and found out what we could do on or own and sign us up for a private small bus in St. Maarten and in St.Thomas. In Nasseau we each went our own way. In St. Maarten , if you want a truly wonderful personal guide for the day, look on the ine=ternet for Joyce Prince Tours. She is fantastic!!! In St. Thomas go to Cokie Beach. It is a little crowded, but there is and aquarium and many things for the kids to do. Take your own cab or mini bus and tell him when you would like to be picked up. They will be ther exactly when you tell them. When you get to Coki Beach, be prepared to pay for your chairs and umbrella, if you want them. They are a little pricey also.The ships food is good but not outstanding. Preferred the Seven Seas dining room on the stern rather than the dining room at the midships. The 11th deck ( used to be called the Lido deck) buffet was as usual with some changes each day for breakfast and lunch, but always had burgers and fies in the pool area and pizza in the very back deck area. Only prroblem with the buffet line is that they have put the "ice cream" station right at the beginning of the salad bar line and if you don't know that then some stand there for about 15 minutes thinking they are in line for the buffet until they get to the point that they see they are actually waiting on ice cream and hve to then go around them. Very POOR set up there. Ship is very clean and the room steward very atttentive, But you must ask for extra towels if you have three in the room and they don't change them as regularly as other ships unless you relly so throw them on the floor.I think NCL did themelves a disservice by getting rid of their contract with whomever was doing their nightly stage shows/productions. They were not nearly up to par with what they used to have and not up to par with what other cruise ships have. Their Cruise director is very good but their show (dance and singing) staff leave much to be desired. They have fallen down on this part of the cruide experience tremendously.Other than the obvious things I have pointed out, It was a great cruise with old and new friends. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
One thing we did that was really stupid (at the time was a great idea). We were suppose to leave on Sunday and drive to Ft. Lauderdale and spend the night for a short ride on Monday morning. Well, about 10pm Sat night we decide to hit the ... Read More
One thing we did that was really stupid (at the time was a great idea). We were suppose to leave on Sunday and drive to Ft. Lauderdale and spend the night for a short ride on Monday morning. Well, about 10pm Sat night we decide to hit the road. 4 hours later in Ocala, Fl. We found a room ($100.00) and slept til about 8, got a "free" breakfast compliments of the Hilton and hit the interstate on to Ft. Lauderdale. (original destination for Sunday). So we wasted a good nights rest at home and a hundred dollars. Oh well, we will not do that again,(maybe).Had a good time in Ft. Lauderdale visiting the beach area and shops. It was "spring break" there and was crowded but nice.Our plan was to get passports in Miami on Monday morning (10am appointment). We found the passport office and made our appointment, no one said we would have a 5 hour wait so we ditched that idea and headed for parking. (this is another story). We will use port parking from now on.Arrived at Miami port around 11:00 am and made our way to the waiting area to board Majesty. About 30 minutes later we were ON BOARD. Thanks to some great information on this forum we knew to arrive at 11 and we also knew to head for the Windjammer and found some really good food (in our opinion) as I know some will have a different point of view. After lunch we started our tour of the SHIP, (DW says it is a big Damn boat) and that is saying it nicely.(LOL)As everything on board runs on schedule we were allowed to go to our stateroom at 1pm. We were expecting a tiny room from what we read on here but was surprised that it was roomier than we expected. Not big but nice enough for the two of us and was very clean,(we have a camper that we use quite often so I guess that helps by not expecting too big of a room). The bathroom (shower) was adequate and the great pressure and hot water made it nice. We found the "compass" (again thanks for info from CC) and decided our schedule for the afternoon. Monday afternoon we joined the sail away party, ate a lot at the WJ and attended the Welcome aboard show and settled in for an early morning visit to Key West.Tuesday morning we were up early and ate breakfast in MDR and visited Key West, we walked to the "southernmost point" and visited some of the shops on Duval St. and back to the Majesty for the belly flop contest which was a lot of fun to watch. We ate lunch in the Compass Deli and dinner in the WJ, both have very good food. The "crepes" in the Compass Deli are the best. The staff in all locations were exceptional. We attended two shows Tuesday night, comedian and karaoke and both were fun.Wednesday we walked to Atlantis (do not try this, very tiring) and visited the marina and casino which are elegant (the photo of Atlantis from bridge we walked over was worth the walk). Took a taxi back to the ship as we were not impressed with Nassau, Senor Frogs or the straw market. The ship is much more relaxing and enjoyable.Thursday was a great day on Coco Cay, this is a highlight of the cruise,(not that the ship is not amazing). Coco Cay is a small private island owned by RCI. The island is well maintained and has plenty to do. We walked around to see parts of the island that we read about here on CC, very private and quite on the back side. We decided to head back to main area where everyone else was and enjoyed a relaxing day laying around and having a few Coco Locos. We ate lunch in a shaded picnic area, sharing a table with some nice people and just getting to know about others experiences. We met a couple that have been on many RCI cruises and heard some great stories. Back to the boat that ferries you to the ship (Coco Cay does not have a dock). The ride is not long and was handled efficiently.We ate dinner in the WJ and read the Cruise Compass to make sure we knew what times the shows started we were going to attend.We really enjoyed most of the entertainment on the ship. The comedian was good,the musicals were OK (DW liked those, so you know I had to go),I enjoyed the magician, Love and Marriage show is a must see and the Quest is a hoot. We visited the casino several times during our cruise with no success. We played BINGO and enjoyed the fun of trying to win a cruise. We did win at BINGO, just not a cruise.We decided to self disembark so did not have to pack early in order to set our luggage out in the hall for pick up.Seems everyone on the ship had the same idea as we were in a line that went through the MDR and down two floors. Once the line started moving we did progress quickly.I think we were in line about 7:15 and were off the ship by 8.This was when we knew our choice of parking was not good. We had to call the independent parking company 3 times to make arrangements for our ride back to the parking area. Finally on the road home around 9:30. If we would have used port parking it would have cost $45 more but we would have not had the hassle of calling and waiting and would have been on the road by 8:15. Although this wound up being a trying time it did not ruin our GREAT and wonderful cruise on Majesty of the Seas.We are already booked on Monarch the end of May and probably will catch Majesty again in April 2012. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our second cruise on the Pearl with children (all teenagers). I love freestyle cruising and don't think I could do anything else again. When we go on vacation with or without kids it is to relax and get away from it all. I ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Pearl with children (all teenagers). I love freestyle cruising and don't think I could do anything else again. When we go on vacation with or without kids it is to relax and get away from it all. I personally love being able to eat when I want to and with whom I want to, vs. a set dinner time with complete strangers. Don't get me wrong, I love to meet new people but making small talk on my vacation is not my idea of fun. If you enjoy getting dressed up for dinner each night at 6pm this is not the cruise line for you. The Pearl is great for families and even though we went during spring break it did not seem to be to be out of control with college kids as I have read on other posts. Lots of activities to keep the kids busy and many nights they preferred to eat in the buffet or Blue Lagoon and we would meet up later for the show. We found the main dining room service to be good, nothing wrong, just not outstanding service as we experienced last year in Alaska. You cannot go wrong with either the service or food at Cagney's or Teppanyaki's-simply spectacular. The buffet set up is much better on the Jewel. The Pearl buffet area is more enclosed and rather chaotic during busy times. Finding a seat can be a challenge as well but not so much that it wrecked our vacation. Shore Excursion were great. Cayo Levantado was beautiful and would highly recommend, only thing that needs improvement is the tender process, simply horrible. Had to wait in line for a tender ticket only to have people cut in front of you and then find people who did not wait in line get on the same tender-Would highly recommend NCL get this process figured out-very frustrating. Overall great ship and staff and plan to cruise to Alaska again in 2012! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We are avid Royal Caribbean cruisers...but I sooo love Disney that we decided to try one when it came to this side of the world. We went on board, expecting a lot of Disney to be the decor and theme of the ship, but it was limited. Also, ... Read More
We are avid Royal Caribbean cruisers...but I sooo love Disney that we decided to try one when it came to this side of the world. We went on board, expecting a lot of Disney to be the decor and theme of the ship, but it was limited. Also, the Disney Wonder looked and felt like an old ship. We were disappointed with the upkeep - lots of items in and around the ship were in need of repair. No wonder it is going into dry dock the end of the Alaska run.The shows were spectacular, the food as good as other cruises, the staff were just as friendly, but I must admit - too many kids...I know, what does one expect on a Disney ship, but other ships you hardly see the kids as they are all in their adventure clubs...but it seems like the kids did not stay in the clubs on the Wonder.Music was below par - one overall kind of music - rock and roll- was prevalent...Lots of Mickey Mouse and the characters. Animator's Palette restaurant was amazing.I enjoyed the cruise - after all it was a cruise- but I would not sail with Disney again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
NCL Epic Review-Mar.26-Apr.2, 2011—Cruised from Miami Cabins 13034, 40, 42, & 56 We are frequent cruisers(our 10th cruise--4th on NCL) who took our kids and grandkids. Our friends who were in our wedding 45 years ago ... Read More
NCL Epic Review-Mar.26-Apr.2, 2011—Cruised from Miami Cabins 13034, 40, 42, & 56 We are frequent cruisers(our 10th cruise--4th on NCL) who took our kids and grandkids. Our friends who were in our wedding 45 years ago cruised with us(13total). This was a new experience for our grandkids(5) ages 7-11 and they loved every minute.We read many reviews before booking and cruising, so had some idea of what to expect from the Epic. Being a new ship, we realize that there are issues and that is why we are sharing our experiences. Embarkation was VERY EASY! 6 of us are Lattitudes members, so that may have helped the process. We all traveled to Miami on Friday...we highly recommend going a day early because of airline schedules. We stayed at LaQuinta and ate at Bennegans, just across the parking lot from the motel...in the morning the bus(included) took us to the ship..we arrived around 11am and were on board by 11:30. We went to Recess to register the kids(no lines)..in case they would want to go there. Kids only went a couple times because of the other activities on the ship...the water slides, pool, climbing wall, repelling wall, spider(climbing rubber bands).dodge ball(both families played), bowling(extra $5pp per game). We ate at the Garden Cafe and were off to the water park. We highly recommend going on embarkation day because the lines were shorter. Never had a wait for the hot tubs...there are 4 by the slides and 2 in H2O that we went to. Our luggage came by the time we got back from the water park. Reserve deck chairs by 8:30am...otherwise they were all taken. As far as the cabins...13056 was very small for 2 people..between the bed and counter, it was impossible for 2 people to walk there. The balcony was larger than the other cabins..& had 2 chairs and a lounge. The other cabins...13034, 40, & 42 were side by side.. we opened the balcony doors so the kids could go between our cabin and their cousins cabin. When we booked, NCL told us that was not possible to open the doors. We asked the steward and he said he would open them, but didn't, so we did. There were only 2 chairs for our cabins which held from 3-4 people..there was a small table also. There was lots of storage..more than we could use..it was so confusing where we put things...the 'cubbies' were not very deep, so some went unused...we moved the life preservers from one, so I could put my folded t-shirts on a shelf. We didn't use the lower rod because it was impossible to hang anything on it..it would have been laying on the bottom! NCL also told us that none of our cabins had a tub(for the kids?), but were surprised to have a tub in our cabin(13040). It was hard for me(5'3")to get in and out of it to use the shower..took me awhile to figure out the handles to turn on the water too. The other cabins all had showers only. No bar soap was provided..just soap & shampoo dispenser on the wall...very difficult if you wanted to take a bath. The hot/cold water at the sink was reversed from what we have at home. Lighting was terrible..the small hallogen lights by the sink and mirror were very dim and eventho I am short, I could not style my hair standing up...had to sit down to see the mirror and use the hair dryer...something I am not used to doing at home...besides, if anyone wanted to walk by me, I would have to get up...then down and continue. Hair dryer was mounted below the counter...awkward. Bring a power strip to charge your camera, phone, or hair iron. Bathrobes were in our rooms because we asked for them ahead(no x charge) The outlet in the medicine cabinet by the sink might not fit your plug..we couldn't use it. We had different room stewards and had very little problems. Our oldest son came back from dinner two nites and their room wasn't turned down yet..so the family had to sit in the hall until the steward was done(pulling down their bed) so the kids could go to bed. We are thinking that someone turned the lever outside their door to DO NOT DISTURB...we had that happen to our cabin one day too...so our cabin wasn't turned down. We all loved the towel animals each nite...cute! We highly recommend booking shows and excursions as soon as you can before the cruise...we did it 45 days before we sailed..otherwise you might not get a seat! Blue Man was #1 on our list..went on Sat. nite. Kids were in the front row and grandparents in 2nd...all of us got ponchos...but didn't get wet. Howl at the Moon was great! Legends was so-so—was far too loud! Slime Time Live was super and Second City ok, but Jeff Hobson(Magician/Comedian) was great. See Him! If you don't plan an excursion for Nassau, take a cab to the public beach next to Atlantis($4pp). It had perfect white sand, waves, crystal clear water. The parasailing excursion was canceled because of high winds. It would have been nice to be notified sooner of the cancellation. Because we booked the cruise 8months in advance, the price decreased...but NCL took away some of our onboard credit. We did not purchse any ship photos...far too expensive! If NCL offered smaller photos at a package price, more of us would purchase them. We uploaded our digitals to Walgreens. Hand Sanitizer was all over the ship...there was no sickness among us. I usually take a generic motion sickness(from WalMart-cheaper than Dramamine) pill each morning. But there was little need for it on the Epic..we felt very little movement. Garden Cafe(buffet) was so easy to get around in...lots of different stations...never had to wait long to fill our plates. They had the buffet in the pool area open during the day and later at nite so you could get food without going inside. We liked Taste better than Manhattan.(service slow) With 13 of us, we made reservations during the day for the evening meal...but seemed that they never were ready for us. Selection of food was not as good as we experienced on Princess. The kids loved it tho...had mac&cheese, burgers, fries,& pizza available all the time...and of course ice cream(hard & soft) was available all the time in Garden Cafe. The Pizza 24/7 button on the phone really worked...even for breakfast..a 30 minute wait tho.The Casino noise was loud in Taste. We brought pop with us instead of purchasing a pop card...far too expensive for the couple times we drank pop. I missed the food selections we had on NCL previously...no filet, cold soup, & lack of desert variety in main dining rooms. We did not go to any of the specialty dining areas...our experience is that it isn't better quality there. The library is right next to the cigar room, so is full of smoke. Also, there were no childrens or young peoples books in the very small library. We used the customer service desk several times and had a good experiences there... NCL had the wrong cruise listing on our cards. Since we are not drinkers, and were given wine, we asked for Pepsi instead...and we got it. Disembarkation was so EASY! We took our luggage off by ourselves because our flights left early..around noon. Walked right off..crew told us where to go...no problem with customs...so much easier than letting the ship take your luggage the nite before...then you have to find it in a large room..then stand in line for customs. There were many taxis waiting for us..we paid $24 to go to Miami airport. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We, DB(45) TB(50) EB(16), took a 4 day cruise on the Disney Dream. We were skeptical on how great of a vacation it would be considering it was spring break, our family usually gets sea sick, and our daughter was going to have no one she ... Read More
We, DB(45) TB(50) EB(16), took a 4 day cruise on the Disney Dream. We were skeptical on how great of a vacation it would be considering it was spring break, our family usually gets sea sick, and our daughter was going to have no one she knew to hang out with. Despite that fact she was the most excited out of all of us to go on the cruise. She spent hours on the website memorizing the floor plans and "pre-ordering" her meals on the online menus. BOARDING THE SHIP: Disney has a very efficient check-in system. Being that at the time we were vacation club members, check-in took around 5 minutes. However the line for regular cruisers is never too long due to the surplus of workers. At check-in they take each individuals picture before giving the individual their stateroom key. So later when you pay for something using your key a picture pops up on the screen to prevent "identity theft". Also in the terminal you can register your children for the clubs (younger kids only). Here they put a wristband on your child. It is actually a tracking device so that if anything happens to go wrong you can locate your child quickly. Your first steps on the boat truly are magical as the crew announces your family's name and applauds your arrival. ON BOARD DINING: The dining for me was good but not great. I am not a picky eater so I enjoyed what I ate but I only found one dish that I constantly crave, even now months after my cruise. There are two dinner rotations, early around 6 and late around 8. We had early dining which proved to be better for us. The first dining rotation has to have everyone seated, fed, and out of the restaurant in a matter on an hour and a half to set up for the second rotation. This was great for our daughter because she wanted to eat and leave to go back to the teen club. The second rotation tended to last around two hours. CABIN: We had a deluxe family oceanview stateroom with verandah and it was perfect for us. The bathroom was separated into two, one with toilet and sink, the other with shower and sink. So while my husband showered before dinner, my daughter could get ready in the other bathroom. This was very nice for us. There was plenty of room to store our luggage and clothes, we found the cabin quite cozy. Although my daughter is 16 she wanted to sleep in the bed that came out of the ceiling instead of on the pull out couch. Our room-keeper gladly pulled the bed down every night while we were at dinner to accommodate our needs. **One nice touch was that there were no light switches. Your stateroom key served as your switch. After you use it to open the door you slide it into a holder right inside and the lights turn on. When you leave and take your key out the lights go off to conserve energy. GREAT IDEA! **WAVE PHONES saved our vacation. I do not let my daughter wander around on the ship alone, better safe than sorry, so she was going to have to have us walk her to the teen club and we were going to have to pick her up. Very embarrassing to a child her age. The wave phones allowed us to call/text on the boat without having to use our own & pay international fees. This was great and made the vacation soooo much better. ENTERTAINMENT: While my husband and I are not big into night life our daughter had the time of her life on the cruise. The teen club has the best counselors, my daughter tended to talk to them more than the actual teens. They maintain a calm environment while still keeping the club fun and parent free. You have to have a special access card to get into the club which the kids get on the first day. This really keeps the club parent & little sibling free. They also have their own pool deck on the bow of the boat. With misters, pools, lounge chairs, and more. The club is where she spent 90% of her time on board, the other 10% was eating and sleeping. ***AQUADUCK was fantastic!!! SERVICE: Without a doubt hands down the best service ever. The room-keepers never missed a beat and the dining team was stellar. I could go on and on about the Disney service but I will keep it at a solid 10 stars. Every employee, whether server, deck crew, or cashier, always gave a smile and a "may I help you?" The Disney employees without a doubt are the top in the world for customer service. SPA: Great in every way. There even was a teen spa for my daughter to go to and get chocolate wraps and massages. We spent lots of time here. DISNEY'S PRIVATE ISLAND: PERFECT. CRUISE TIP: We did not get off at any of the ports of call. We prefer to do things on the boat rather than rush to get off the boat, rush to have fun at the destination, and rush back before the boat leaves. Its stressful and we don't like to deal with it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My teenage daughter and I (Mom), took this cruise in February 2011. Our third cruise with NCL, but first without the guys in our lives! The Dawn isn't as run down as many on this forum have said. We found it to be clean and ... Read More
My teenage daughter and I (Mom), took this cruise in February 2011. Our third cruise with NCL, but first without the guys in our lives! The Dawn isn't as run down as many on this forum have said. We found it to be clean and comfortable. Our oceanview stateroom was a decent size. The TV in it was old, but who goes on a cruise to watch TV? The most worn out areas I found were the public washrooms - easily avoided. What we like about NCL is eating when and with whoever we want. Also we like not having to dress up if we don't feel like it. What we don't like is the constant pressure to spend more money - at Bingo, art auctions, jewellery 'seminars', and virtually every other event they offer on sea days. Dining: We found the 'free' cafe buffet to be quite good. The restaurant meals were great and I did not think the cover charge was exorbitant. We ate at Teppanyaki, Salsas and Impressions and thought all 3 were great value. On others recommendation we ate breakfast at Blue Lagoon - we did not enjoy it. Although the food was adequate, the hostess bordered on rude. Entertainment: The Second City comedy shows were terrific, as was the magician, Greg Gleason. We did not find the comedian, 'the phat funny man' to be funny, mostly old repetitive jokes. Grand Cayman port: We did not take an NCL excursion, but instead booked the jet-ski tour to see the stingrays with Fat Fish Adventures. This was by far the best excursion we have ever been on! There were only 6 of us plus our guide feeding and holding the stingrays. (The cruise ship excursions had hoards of people crowding around a few hapless stingrays.) The jet-skis were new and extremely fast and powerful. The water was a bit choppy which made it a bit difficult for this 49-year-old woman to get back on the jet-ski. Also, the salt spray will sting your eyes, even with sunglasses. Wear cheap sunglasses or goggles and take an underwater camera. Don't be afraid of the stingrays, they are very gentle and friendly! After the jet ski excursion we did a bit of shopping in town (the shopping isn't as good as Cozumel), then had a 'lunch' of ice cream from the Haagan-Daaz shop... MMMMMMMMmmmmm! The tendering process was tedious, we stood for 1 1/2 hours in the hot sun to get back on board - they had only one tender running! I don't think an elderly person could have taken this. Once back at the ship, it took a further 40 minutes to unload the tender! If you find yourself in this situation, don't stand in line. Sit in the shade and only join the line when it is almost done - they won't leave without you if there are people still in line for tender. Cozumel Port: Thankfully no tenders here, you walk off the ship onto the dock. We went on the Atlantis Submarine excursion booked the day before through the shore excursion desk on-board. It was a lot of fun. Enjoyable for all ages and fitness levels. The Atlantis employees work very hard to make it a good experience. Bring $10 cash to buy a picture of yourself in front of the sub - but no pressure to do so. There is a gift shop and washroom facilities at the site from which their ferry leaves to take you to the sub. After the excursion we spent time shopping in town. For lunch, the noisy, busy Senor Frogs did not appeal to us, so we wandered down the main street. We were approached by an older gentleman to come up to his restaurant up a narrow flight of stairs. We followed him up and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at his restaurant, "Toro's Place" overlooking the main street and harbor. I highly recommend this restaurant for authentic Mexican food - we saw cruiseline staff there, so knew it must be good food at a reasonable price! To find it, if you are on the main street facing Senor Frogs, turn to your left and walk along a short ways - it's just past McDonalds. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Flights were on time and trouble free both ways but 5.5 hours into Sharm is a long time, and coming back my knees were touching the seat in front. I wish they would take a few rows of seats out, I wouold be happy to pay a bit more. ... Read More
Flights were on time and trouble free both ways but 5.5 hours into Sharm is a long time, and coming back my knees were touching the seat in front. I wish they would take a few rows of seats out, I wouold be happy to pay a bit more. Can't afford business class though, even if it had been available. Check in at Naples was very slow, they should have opened a few more desks to get us through. Our second cruise (the first was Red Sea Magic Easter 2010 on this same ship). The old ship is still a bit shabby chic - our bathroom had seen much better days - but the public areas are good and the room was always kept clean by the lovely staff. Check-in was pretty good although the queue at Sharm port was longer than I'd have liked - more staff at busy times would be good. Because of the itinerary changes we didn't have time to do any port research, so it became a chillax cruise - we never left the ship in the end. We'd already seen the pyramids and know Barcelona so weren't really bothered, but there were quite a few whingers on board. I reckoned it was a good heads up that cruises don't always go according to plan, and I'll learn from it. February in the med isn't really warm enough for sight-seeing, and the only one we fancied was climbing the volcano. That day it was 10 degrees and windy even at sealevel, so we decided to save the trip for another time (summer preferably!). I curled up in a patch of sun in Hemingways, drank Tom Collins and read a book instead. On the two rough nights I took pills and slept - feel ready for an Atlantic cruise now! Husband first dragged me up to Horizons to see the prow crashing into the waves - somewhat unnerving but quite exciting! Service onboard was nearly as good as last time although hardly any staff were the same, we heard they had all gone to the 'Dream'. Food good. We started with breakfast in Meridian but found it was generally buffet and when it was waiter service it was pretty rushed, as though they couldn't get us out fast enough - not what we experienced last time. We soon decamped to the Lido which was more relaxed although then you have to do your own portion control which husband is pretty bad at! We lunched in Meridian which was much more relaxed, especially on a port day when the ship was pretty quiet. Dinner also mainly in Meridian, mainly excellent. The chefs were especially good with fish and simple meat. Didn't go in the A La Carte restaurant - we did go in last year and found it no better than Meridian - maybe we made poor menu choices? Drink - we chose the AI after some thought but might not next time. It's changed since last year. Draught cider was available this time, but they had taken all fizzy wines and also baileys off the AI which was disappointing (I lived off kir royale and baileys last time). Captains night was a laugh, it's good to see (almost) everyone dressing up. The showlounge entertainment was professional and well done but not really to my taste. Kearney Street were pretty poor except when they were riffing their own stuff. The various quizzes in Liberties were hit and miss. The classical duo were good. The main quiz (held over several days) was a laugh, and we also enjoyed the captains talk and a bridge tour. My husband enjoyed the comedian, I found him a bit Bernard Manning. It must be really hard to find the right entertainment balance tough, so all power to the team for trying. Check out, especially getting on our coach in Naples, was a bit chaotic, you got a sense that we were not interesting any more, just to be got rid of. Shame - Thomson should pay attention to last impressions as much as first. And the less said about the in-flight meals the better. No way will I ever pay Thomson for one of those again. All in all, we had a lovely relaxing cruise. You get what you pay for, and the downside of this less formal cruise is lower spec accommodation. Highlights for me were the suez, and at dinner sipping a glass of wine in the straights of messina while the pilot boat was surging up and down in the spray just outside my window, with the lights of sicily in the distance. Would I cruise on Celebration again? At the right price, unreservedly yes. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Personal Background Information- Travel addict Travel To Port of Embarkation- embark palm beach travel to grand Bahama island Embarkation- quick and easy Stateroom- outside cabin with four beds Ship Info- Bahamas celebration. ... Read More
Personal Background Information- Travel addict Travel To Port of Embarkation- embark palm beach travel to grand Bahama island Embarkation- quick and easy Stateroom- outside cabin with four beds Ship Info- Bahamas celebration. Looked like it was recently renovated and had nice pool deck with jacuzzis and big kids slide Dining- three restaurants plus late night Italian buffet Activities- huge casino and two story nightclub and karaoke competition for cash prizes Children's Clubs- several kids rooms for different ages Staff & Service- best I've ever seen on a ship Entertainment- comedy act and singers mostly. Very good Shore Excursions- swam with dolphins which was amazing Disembarkation - quick and easy Everyday we ate in a different dining room on the ship and every single meal was absolutely delicious. The rooms are a really good size, so we didn't feel crammed at all. The casino is spectacular and has just about every game imaginable. It also has really high ceilings, which is nice because it doesn't get smokey. The entertainment was great, especially the comedian. They had an American Idol Karaoke contest on the ship. We didn't win, but had a blast participating in it. The spa was so relaxing. I got an hour massage and a pedicure. Some of the other girls got a hair up-do. We went to Freeport and had a really good time. We did the dolphin excursion and took pics as we swam with the dolphins. The resort, Our Lacaya, is huge and accommodates every age and lifestyle. Whether you want to relax by the pool, have some frozen drinks, buy a handmade wind chime, gamble, or eat some Bahamian conch chowder, this is the place. We did all of the above! I definitely will cruise again and I highly recommend this cruise ship for anyone. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Well, it was bound to happen. With over 10,000 new berths to fill, Celebrity will have doubled the capacity of their fleet by this summer with the launch of the Silhouette. Currently, the Eclipse is the newest vessel in their fleet of ten ... Read More
Well, it was bound to happen. With over 10,000 new berths to fill, Celebrity will have doubled the capacity of their fleet by this summer with the launch of the Silhouette. Currently, the Eclipse is the newest vessel in their fleet of ten ships. Many improvements have been made since the first Solstice-Class ship was launched over two years ago. The color schemes are bolder and more visually pleasing. The cabins are more user friendly with the move of the safe from the closet to over the refrigerator. This frees up some much needed space in the closets for hanging clothes. From a hardware standpoint, the Solstice class is truly impressive and the ships are things of beauty. As always, food and service are Celebrity's strong points, along with the hardware. The crew seems happy, engaging and friendly, if somewhat anonymous. It is impossible to offer personalized service as found on smaller luxury ships on a vessel carrying close to 3,000 passengers. The cuisine in the main dining room, the Moonlight Sonata, is excellent, with quality ingredients artfully prepared and presented. I am happy to report that after several years of decline, the dining is back up to the glory days of the past. The cuts of meat are once again prime quality, and the seafood, while frozen, is perfectly prepared. And their dining venues are some of the most beautiful at sea. Another plus is that it is now more affordable than ever to book a passage on Celebrity. Today, it is actually less expensive to sail on Celebrity than a Royal Caribbean ship. In order to keep their ships full, aggressive pricing and marketing have had to be employed. So, where is the profit coming from? While they may actually be losing money on the cabins, the profit centers today come from food and beverage, spa treatments and shore excursions. Cocktails and wine are pricey with a martini from their popular frozen-topped bar costing over ten dollars. A glass of good wine will set you back close to the same amount. A one liter bottle of Evian sells for $4. And their spa treatments are outrageously priced; well over double what you would pay ashore. As an RCCL shareholder, I am glad that Celebrity has remained profitable. What I am not happy about in what this has done to their customer demographics. While they still like to call themselves a 'Premium' cruise line, this is hardly the case. I would reserve that nomenclature for the likes of Azamara, Oceania or Cunard. The guests are decidedly mass-market in their tastes. The onboard activities, what they dub 'Celebrity Life', seem closer to Carnival than the Celebrity of the past. So, while the ships are upscale and sophisticated, the onboard experience is definitely not. On any cruise, the fellow passengers can make or break the experience. In this regard, the more upscale, sophisticated guest may no longer be satisfied by a Celebrity cruise. Granted, after my sixty-plus cruises and over 1,000 days at sea, the luster of a Caribbean cruise has dulled for me. My twenty sailings with Crystal have forever spoiled me with true gourmet dining, polished service and upscale accommodations. Celebrity may have the edge in the hardware, however the software is what distinguishes a line today. Celebrity has brought forth their own more upscale solution with their Azamara line, but those ships are sadly outdated leftovers from the Renaissance days. The Solstice class ships, properly presented, could represent a new class of true 'Premium' cruising, however current market conditions have made that impossible. Let us hope that when our economic conditions improve that the style and service that Celebrity is capable of can once again be realized. Meanwhile, I must be content to bite the bullet and pay the price for the luxury cruise experience that I have become accustomed to. These can be found on lines like Crystal, Regent, Silverseas and Seabourn. Oceania has launched a fabulous new ship, the Marina, that hold great promise to set a new standard in premium, affordable luxury cruising. An unrealized opportunity is on hold here; Celebrity could rule the mid-priced market if market conditions would allow it. I look forward to that day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011

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