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319 Miami to Bahamas Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have being cruising with our children for over 6 years. We have been on Celebrity (big mistake to go Celebrity for your first time as it sets the bar really high), and then NCL 3 other times - The Spirit, The Sun and The Sky. ... Read More
My wife and I have being cruising with our children for over 6 years. We have been on Celebrity (big mistake to go Celebrity for your first time as it sets the bar really high), and then NCL 3 other times - The Spirit, The Sun and The Sky. We chose NCL because of the Freestyle option. It fit well with our family schedule, in terms of eating. Last week was the first time my wife and I experienced a cruise by ourselves. We selected the 3 day itinerary on the Sky out of Miami. We overnighted at The Sofitel in Miami - which was an incredible experience (the highlight of our trip). Embarkation on to the Sky was simple and quite fast. Agents were pleasant and informative.... and that's when everything went down hill. The New Freestyle 2.0 experience is supposed to bring you a glass of champagne after you get your hands sanitized! Never got that.... to get to the lobby, you had to walk through an area that resembled the straw market in the Bahamas. NCL was peddling everything from wine packages, spa packs, commemorative cups, booze, excursions, products, free cruises, gems. These were hard sales and reminded me of getting off at ports of call like Jamaica and Cozumel. After making it unscathed through the flea market, we went to the Palace for a quick lunch as our room was not prepared yet. The host at the Palace suggested the buffet for lunch, as it was the same food. I told them that the we did not want buffet and wanted to sit down instead. The food on the Sky was moderate - equal to a family chain restaurant. The service however was below standard. My feeling is, is that since staff know there is automatic gratuity then they have no drive to provide any type of decent service. Saying that, when you enter a pay restaurant like Cagneys (The Steakhouse) not only does the quality of food increase substantially, but so does the service. The price for dinner for two, with 2 glasses of wine and tip was $70.00. Pretty steep considering you are already paying for food you are not using. The evening show celebrating rock superstars was Walmart quality at best. Nothing too innovative. I wish I would have spent the extra money and gone on Celbrity or RCCL. The additional 230.00 spent on tips, premium restaurant would have been better spent on a qulaity experience. The old saying you get what you pay for is very true. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
The Sky is inferior to my last last 2 Carnival ships, Liberty and Victory in every way. Outside cabin was just like the outside I had 18 yrs ago on a Dolphin Cruise liner (which was 50 yrs old). A cramped box. They advertise a refrigerator ... Read More
The Sky is inferior to my last last 2 Carnival ships, Liberty and Victory in every way. Outside cabin was just like the outside I had 18 yrs ago on a Dolphin Cruise liner (which was 50 yrs old). A cramped box. They advertise a refrigerator in your room which would have been an upgrade to Carnival however the fridge is for their rediculously priced mini bar which they insisted on putting all the liquor/soda they were so proud of back in every day and taking our stuff out, (how rude could they be) The freestyle cruising is just their way of saying we wont have YOUR table ready when you want it. You can wait 15-20 minutes. Try doing that when you are used to walking in to YOUR table when you want. We had no assigned waiter therefore no waiter to pamper us for his tip. A big difference there. The only food everyone really liked was french fries, (go figure) I had been telling my daughter that she could have Lobster and when she asked for one, was told no! Those were all the upsides to the cruise. The real sad part was at the first port of Freeport. The Bahamians must really be hurting because the would not leave you alone. Simply a bunch of beggars nagging you til you bought something or walked off. My wife collects personalized golf balls and bought a sleeve not realizing that the only thing personalized was the clear box they came in. When she realized and bought them back 3 minutes later they would not give her her 15.00 back. Then the real upsetting thing happenned at Port Lucaya in Freeport we went out to the beach and stopped into the Prop Club for a drink. We had a beer and a mixed drink which came to 13.50, bad enough. I gave a 50.00 dollar bill and Big Wally gives me change for 20.00. I protested and showed them that all I had on me was 50 dollar bills and made them count their till but they are all in it together. They figure these people are here for three hours and can't fight anything. So don't waste your money at 13.50 for 1 bottle of beer and a mixed drink or make sure you know what you give them and they know what you give them if you bother to drink there. Also arrival and getting of the ship was a mess. We cleared customs at 11:30 am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
DAY 1,  WE ARRIVED FROM PHL TO MIA ON JUNE 22, SAME DAY AS EMBARKATION AND THE PROCESS WAS SLOW AND IT SEEMED AS IF ONE HAND DID NOT KNOW WHAT THE OTHER WAS DOING. I WAS TOLD BY THREE DIFFERENT RCI EMPLOYEES WITHIN 5 MINUTES AT THE POINT ... Read More
DAY 1,  WE ARRIVED FROM PHL TO MIA ON JUNE 22, SAME DAY AS EMBARKATION AND THE PROCESS WAS SLOW AND IT SEEMED AS IF ONE HAND DID NOT KNOW WHAT THE OTHER WAS DOING. I WAS TOLD BY THREE DIFFERENT RCI EMPLOYEES WITHIN 5 MINUTES AT THE POINT OF CHECK IN WHERE YOU RECEIVE YOUR SEA PASS CARD, ON THREE DIFFERENT ROUTES TO TAKE TO GET ON BOARD. THAT SEEMED ODD BUT FIRST TIME CRUISER WITH RCI SO I THOUGHT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THEM GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND, BUT WHEN YOU SEE THAT ALL THEY DID WAS PLACE YOU FURTHER AWAY FROM ENTRY, IT WAS ANNOYING. AND I WAS 3 HOURS EARLY THANK GOD. OUR BAGS ARRIVED TO OUR ROOMS VERY QUICKLY AND NOT A THING OUT OF PLACE. OUR ROOMS WERE CONNECTING ROOMS WITH OUR KIDS AND THE DOOR TO CONNECT THE ROOMS DO NOT OPEN UP EVEN HALF WAY. I WEIGHT 167LBS, MY WIFE 112LBS AND WE HAD PROBLEMS GETTING THROUGH. THE WINDJAMMER CAFE IS A MUST FOR LUNCH AND SORRENTOS PIZZA, I THINK THAT WAS THE NAME, IS JUST OK   DAY 2, Nassau, Because of poor planning on our part we did not take full advantage of what Nassau had to offer. The Majesty docked, no tender for Nassau, But we walked the entire resort of Atlantis, how I dont know, but It was very nice and at our last attempt to hit their beach we were stopped by Atlantis security and we were asked to BUY a pass for full access to Atlantis. Why would I do that if I just walked the entire resort? Oh well it's a must see resort. The pass was $35pp and we are 4 so for $140? Remember you have to time yourself to ship time and in my 14year old son and 12 year old daughters opinion, they didnt think it was worth it.  Day 3, Coco Cay,  Whats bad about this island is that RCI departs at 1530. This is so lame, the sun is at its peak between 1200 and 1630 and the ship leaves at 1530? This little rented island is so nice and at 1400 the water was so warm but again RCI leaves at 1530, or you have to be on the last tender at 1530. So lame Day 4, Key West, VERY NICE. The four of us loved all the shops.. We rented a electric car, sort of what they had on Fantasy Island, no doors and it's top speed is 25mph and the charge lasts up to 5hours, enough for the entire island and some. Day 5, back in Miami. we carried off our luggage and went off to our hotel for the night in Miami. Dinner, we were not impressed. We are both really in to our kitchens and love to cook. NO TASTE OR GOOD SEASONING IN THEIR FOOD. Honestly if you stick to the windjammer or even Johnny Rockets or even the sandwich shop, sorry cant remember the name, you'll be fine. All in all I would not recommend this cruise on the Majesty of The Seas to NO ONE. I dont think it's worth it, from the food to the time spent at Coco Cay to the miserable people who were working the embarkation process, I really don't think I can even give it a C+.  One positve note is the fitness center. Very well prepared and cared for.  And I am not a stuck up snob who needs to be waited on hand and foot, im just one who carefully pays attention to detail and I always analyze if what I payed for is worth it or if what I am interested in is worth the amount. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
#1) The boarding process was unorganized and consisted of long line after long line after long line. NO EXAGGERATION. We felt like cattle!! #2) Our luggage were lost. At 10 PM I went downstairs to fill out a report and was told that I ... Read More
#1) The boarding process was unorganized and consisted of long line after long line after long line. NO EXAGGERATION. We felt like cattle!! #2) Our luggage were lost. At 10 PM I went downstairs to fill out a report and was told that I would be given a $100 credit for the trouble. About an hour or so later, I got lost on the ship and just so happened to get on the wrong elevator. As I'm walking down the hall trying to find my room, what do I see sitting in the hallway at someone else's door????? Our luggage!!!!! It was almost Midnight. We couldn't enjoy the shows or activities that night b/c we had no clothes to change in and it was so late and had to get up early the next morning for an excursion. Upon checkout, I was told that NCL had taken away the $100 room credit b/c I, not the crew or staff, found my luggage. #3) The itinerary wasn't sufficient at all. We only had one day in Nassau. We wasted an entire day on NCL's private island (Great Stirrup), which consisted of an over populated beach with not enough complimentary beach chairs or beach accessories. I felt it was an absolute waste of my money #4) The all-inclusive food is a partial lie! All of the food that was included was cold, bland and an overall disappointment. Wait staff acted as if we weren't paying customers if we sent something back. All-inclusive beverages included warm tap water and unsweetened tea. There were no fountain sodas or juice. In order of us to eat well, we had to dine in the specialty restaurants, which required an additional cover charge. And to top it off, the bartenders made watered down drinks...and I'm no alcoholic! #5) While dining at one of these "specialty restaurants" we ordered a bottle of wine with dinner, which was excellent! We finished dinner and were sipping the last of the wine, when I noticed there was something in the bottom of my glass. It was some sort or crystal sediment or glass...something that shouldn't be digested. To make a long story short, the waiter lied and said hi staff tasted it and it was brown sugar. On top of that, he accused me of putting it in the glass!!!!! An hour later, the restaurant called and apologized, admitting it was some sort of sediment from inside the bottle of wine that emptied into my glass! They attempted to reconcile by sending a complimentary bottle of wine. I tried to fill out an incident report, they would let me. I tried to get a copy of theirs; they wouldn't even let me see it. There's more, but I can't even type the rest, b/c I am livid at the entire experience. This was my very first cruise and a vacation in a long time. I am highly upset and borderline tears. DO NOT TAKE THIS CRUISE!!! IT IS A RIP OFF AND NOT WORTH WHAT THEY CHARGED!!!! THE CUSTOMER SERVICE IS HORRIBLE!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Background Info: This was a last minute cruise to take our 4 y/o grandson on to see where Nanny goes when she says she's going cruising again. My husband went along this time. This was my second cruise on NCL, the first a 13 nighter ... Read More
Background Info: This was a last minute cruise to take our 4 y/o grandson on to see where Nanny goes when she says she's going cruising again. My husband went along this time. This was my second cruise on NCL, the first a 13 nighter the end of 10/08 repositioning from New York City on Spirit, which was a quite different experience hands down, after being "Loyal to Royal" for 7 previous cruises since 2005. Travel to Port of Embarkation/Hotel Info: We flew from PA via USAir (another story in itself, not recommended) and stayed at the airport Comfort Inn Suites about a mile away (free/points). I would not recommend this hotel as there were "interesting people" hanging around the entrance and lobby. Their "pool" was down the street at another hotel. The hotel itself was cheesy and smelly; i.e. stains on carpets, gunk on caulking in bathroom which looked like vomit, drains clogged in sink and bathtub, odors unrecognizable, etc. Embarkation: We took the shuttle to the port arriving around 11:30 and promptly went inside and registered, which took about 5-10 minutes. It went quite smoothly. Note to anyone taking a grandchild onboard: Make sure you have parental consent form signed! (We did.) Our grandson got his own card with the corner cut off. I must admit that the entire staff made our grandson feel welcome while on the ship. Stateroom: We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 port side. The balcony is quite spacious, more so than Spirit, but instead of a sliding door it had a regular door and porthole on the other side. The dEcor of the room was a quite bright pink sofa bed (for one) which, when made up at night, had a huge dip in the middle with a mattress of about 4 inch thickness at most. This stateroom did have a safe, hairdryer, 2 robes (thin) and a small fridge. The bathroom had a circular shower curtain, but not much room for essentials shelfwise. This was also the case as far as storage for clothing so we basically lived out of our suitcases which fit under the bed. As for the shower, we had to be very careful before getting into it as the water is either lukewarm or scalding hot with a fine line in between. We were provided with shower cap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner and some sort of eye cream on the first day, but never replenished the five days. Enough said. Dining: We ate in the dining room two nights on this trip and the only thing that was truly hot was the soup. As for snacking in the afternoon or late evening, forget it unless you like hot dogs and hamburgers, which were plentiful on this cruise. There was nothing available (that we could find) between about 1:30 and 3:30 and after 10 we found nothing. Most of the foods available at the buffet were unrecognizable as well. We did not eat in any of the "extra" venue restaurants so we can't comment on those, but...I believe that the regular choices, without you having to pay extra, leave a lot to be desired; hence, the reason they have the pay for restaurants I would imagine if you want anything good to eat, but I can't imagine how much better they would have been. No ice sculptures to be found. No chocolate fountain except behind the counter at the ice cream counter which they got for you (on Spirit it was free flow). Children's Clubs: We did use the services for our 4 y/o GS after 6 p.m. for about an hour and a half. There are portholes up above for you to monitor what is going on without actually going into the room and disrupting the activities. We checked on our GS several times and he seemed to enjoy it. Entertainment: I guess if you like magic shows, then this is the cruise for you and yours. There was no dance floor that we could find anywhere. If you like the usual bingo, then this is the cruise for you. As for the casino, throw your money into the wastebasket before going and you will be further ahead. They kept going around and opening the machines, doing something for a second or two and closing them again (mostly after someone did have a lucky streak per se). The only "jackpot" that I heard was won was on the first night ($4,000) and never again did I hear any actual winners. In fact, one woman approached me on one evening and asked if I, too, thought the casino was a joke and I told her most definitely. We only went in there to pass through it on a few occasions and on the few occasions we actually played, it was definitely not what I called entertainment. Service: We met our room steward on the first day right after boarding. It was the last time we saw him. We had towel animals on the first two nights and none after that. We also had to always ask for beach towels to be replenished. Language barriers were quite evident. There were not too many people who worked on board who understood what you were asking them. It was very frustrating, although not surprising. Shore Excursions: We chose to only take one NCL excursion on Grand Bahamas called Beaches and Caves. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the $130+ we paid for the excursion would have been way too much for what we got in either case, rain or shine. Nassau is Nassau..what can I say? We did take a taxi to the beach next to Atlantis for $4 each and the weather was sunny, but the waves and the beach were nothing for little kids. There was a step-off about 5 feet into the ocean that got deep quite quickly and the undertow was horrendous. There was the usual Straw Market, Diamonds International, perfume factories, etc. and very few people shopping. Guess the economy has hit everyone. Our next stop was the private island for NCL, Great Stirrup Bay. We tendered and were told up front to be back to the ship by 3:30 instead of 4:30 because of a "frontal weather" coming in. The front never arrived until about 6 p.m. if you want to call it such. The beach itself was nice, although quite rocky and lots of coral in places. As for the snorkeling, one woman said she saw exactly 12 fish. I guess we saw more near the beach without snorkeling. The barbecue consisted of...you guessed!...hamburgers and hot dogs and the assortment of fruits. Free water! Hurrah! But forget the iced tea. Enough said. Debarkation: We chose express service, keeping our luggage with us rather than sitting it in the hall the night before. We got off the ship around 9 a.m. and walked right off. We hailed a van, which already had 2 people in it. We started to leave for the airport (so we thought) and found ourselves circling the port again so that he could find some more people to fill the van while about 100 other taxis were waiting for patronage. After my husband complained we finally got to leave. Summary: Although for some this may have been a "cheap" cruise. For people who were experiencing their first cruise, I would love to know whether they would do it again...I certainly wouldn't have. I will stick with what I know...RCCL has a better product hands down. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
I will start by saying that if you have not bought your cruise tickets for NCL yet - you are smart. Choose any other cruise line and you will have a great vacation. I am sorry I have to rate them as 1 star - they are NONE in everything. ... Read More
I will start by saying that if you have not bought your cruise tickets for NCL yet - you are smart. Choose any other cruise line and you will have a great vacation. I am sorry I have to rate them as 1 star - they are NONE in everything. Our background: we have been on 18 cruises on all mass market cruise lines - NCL is by far the worst cruise line and the worst cruising experience ever. This was the last minute after Thanksgiving cruise that we purchased 4 days before we went on it. And we did not expect much from a 3 night cruise - some relaxing time, good food, show, dancing - regular cruising experience. I am 38, my husband is 46, kids are 14 and 7, and we live in Florida and try to take a cruise 2-3 times a year. Embarkation: Was very slow, entrance was 5 miles away from ship, or it felt like 5 miles, there were no lines, but you had to go through the maze from person to person, next one worst then the one before. One was practicing how to say our last name letter by letter for 5 minutes; the other asked my 7 years old if she was a minor, third asked my husband if he wants to use his key card as credit card on the ship or have a kid card with one corner cut off. Finally we got to our cabins. On the ship: After reading reviews, we decided that first thing we want to do is make reservation for the steakhouse for next day and then go explore the ship. There was a huge line at the reservation desk, 20 people, and she was also taking phone calls and placing reservations on both ends. It tool 45 minutes to get to reservationist to find out that all she had left for next night's dinner was 5:45 and 9:45seating and that we could not make reservations more then 24 hours ahead of time. Also, we could not reserve time at a regular restaurant because it is free style which means you can come any time you want and stay in line as long as you want. I asked her to call maitre d' and double check and I was not leaving until I got my dinner reservations made for 7:30 next night at the steakhouse. She called maitre d' and for sure he was able to find a table for 2 of us for dinner at 7: 30. Deck 11 - buffet: Next we went to have lunch on deck 11. Nothing else was open and kids were hungry. However, this was the worst lunch I've had in my life - on or off ship. The temperature in the room was over 100F, it felt cool outside in the sun compared to the temperature inside. The selection was - hot dog, cheeseburgers, chips, fries, gumbo soup made of okra, yellow leaves that they called salad, roast pork so dry you can bend silverware with it and assortment of slimy looking deserts. This is the selection that they had throughout the cruise for lunch. One day they added over-fried rice with dried up fish, next day they had overcooked vegetables and over-salted stew. Finally I understood why every past cruiser in their reviews said that they liked French fries on the ship - there was nothing else to eat!!! Kids Program: Next we decided to sign up kids for kid's program and then figure out where to eat and how to schedule our meals to avoid buffet. There was our next huge disappointment - there is NO KIDS PROGRAM per se - kids are in the program between 6 pm and 10 pm only, the rest of the time you have to pay per hour, they don't have program when you are in port and not when you are on a private island (more about that later). Also they do not have computers, Nintendo, games, or anything that kids enjoy doing - they play athletic games, do scavenger hunts, and color pictures. Between 6 pm and 10 pm is the time when we take kids to dinner and a show and after the show when adult games and dancing start is when we usually use kid's program on other cruise lines, as well as during the day. Our last cruise was Disney where kids were entertained between 7 am and 1 am none-stop and at no additional cost every day in or out of port. But this did not end there. Our older daughter has mild disability and we usually transfer her to 9-12 age group because the teen group has no supervision and older kids go in and out all the time. None of the other cruise lines ever had a problem with that. Disney this year was a delight, Carnival and RCCL last year were very accommodating, Celebrity and Princess year before had no problem at all. Not NCL!!! No, they cannot age bump, no they cannot have an extra person or an additional supervision in teen room, no they do not have computers and no they do not have games, and no they cannot provide a room where she can stay and play by herself or with others under any kind of adult supervision. And even if we pay, they cannot provide one-on-one service even for 2 hours while we go to dinner. We've got more "NO" answers in 10 minutes there then in all previous 18 cruises we took. So we went and canceled our hard earned reservation for steakhouse the next night and said good bye to any time alone for my husband and I on this cruise. We went on the deck and longingly looked at disappearing Miami skyline and said in unison: "Is it too late to get off this ship?" Cabin: We went up to the cabin to change for dinner and I wanted to get a drink from mini-bar to unwind a little after the stress of last 3 hours on the ship. There was no ice in ice bucket. When I called room service I was told that I need to ask cabin steward who is outside in the hall to bring me ice. The hall was deserted. I called again and was told to wait and see if he will walk by. Then my husband called and someone came 5 minutes later to get an ice bucket. He did not introduce himself, so I still do not know who our cabin steward was. One guy picked up the bucket, another brought it back and asked if there was anything else I needed tonight (mind you it was 6 pm). I asked him to specify and he said, well, do you want a turn down service? So I've got a better idea of the kind of a La Cart service we've got. Dinner: We went to a regular dining room where we were given a pager and told that wait time was about 20 minutes. 30 minutes later we were seated at the table. Dinner was not bad, at least not as bad as I was afraid of based on reviews and previous 4 hours on the ship. They use tiny salad shrimps for shrimp cocktail, there was lamb dish and beef dish on the menu, they had salmon, chicken and salad, soup and kids menu. Deserts were good. Server was good, water was re-filled regularly. As you can see we are not picky eaters and dining room dinner was just fine. Show: Because we waited 30 minutes for dinner and service was a little long, or maybe kids took a little longer to eat, we missed the show. We then saw it on TV and we did not miss much. We actually were glad that we spent some time on open deck instead of that show. Cabin: We had 2 balcony cabins, since it was last minute cruise there was nothing else available and no cabins to fit 4 of us. Cabin was furnished in thrift store fashion: scratched nightstand, dirty stained upholstery, dirty room (my younger kept on finding things that were left there by previous cruisers - pins, hair band, old receipts), piece of plywood instead of mattress, coffee table from last century that ended up on the balcony since room is so small there is no place for even small table. Next morning: There is no clock in the room and no clock on TV, so after lying for 5 hours on plywood mattress my back hurt so much I had to get up and wait for sunset on the balcony to figure out the time of day. Nassau: We were in Nassau so many times that we did not want to leave the ship. We stayed by the pool, the weather was gorgeous, there were very few people by the pool and I finally had one-on-one time with my book. My husband entertained kids - monopoly, chess, cards, and dominos. Water in the pool was below freezing, but the air was fresh. Of course, there was nothing else to do anyway - no music, no trivia, no activities by the pool. Makes you wonder if there was entertainment staff on board at all. Lunch: Terrible selection, tasteless food, no service, close to the pool. Dinner: 20 minutes wait, good menu, good service. So far the best experience on this cruise. The waiter Dennis was good. When my husband asked him his opinion about 2 dishes, a duck and beef Wellington, he just said that he will bring both dishes and let us decide. Both were good. Show: After all, there was an entertainment staff on board. Show was not bad. 4 singers - only 2 could sing, 6 dancers, good choreography, and good music. Newlywed game after the show, but after so many cruises, same questions irritate you. Boring newlywed game was the main attraction of the cruise because they kept showing it on TV non-stop for next 2 days. Dancing. NONE. There was big orchestra that played mix of new age and old jazz that you can listen but not dance to. There was Cuban band that played strictly Cuban music. There was Caribbean band on the deck once. Guitar player was good, but no place to dance; piano player was good, played in the bar, with no dance floor either. Next day - Private Island. Where do I start? I guess line at breakfast that took 45 minutes to get an omelet and coffee. And then line to get on tender that started on deck 4 and went all the way to deck 3. And then island! We went to RCCL Private Island, Princess Private Island, Disney Private Island - so we had an idea what to expect - and we always enjoyed an itinerary that included private island. Not NCL!!!! Small, crowded, dirty, no fresh water shower, no empty chairs, no umbrellas, no towels exchange, no service, terrible lunch. We looked but did not eat. BBQ pit serves a gourmet grill compared to that lunch on the island. We stayed there for a short time until kids splashed in water and went back to the ship. On the way back there was a guy with the water hose to hose your legs off before getting on the ship. Ordered room service, which had very limited selection, but no greasy fries and burgers and no lines. Of course I had to call twice and wait for 50 minutes to get the delivery, but at least they had salad. Last Evening: There was bingo and a comedian -no show. Same old quest game. The Park West gallery auction with cocky auctioneer who does not know names of the artists that gallery sells. No dancing again. Dinner was uneventful and same as the other 2 nights. Overall, in 3 days and 3 nights on the ship we did not get any service from anyone onboard the ship except in the dining room. To get drinks on the deck, we had to go to the bar, to get drinks in the bar, we had to go to the bartender, there was no drink service in the theater or any other public places on the ship. There is no wait staff during breakfast or lunch, if there was I did not see them. But I saw an old woman with cane carrying her own coffee on slippery deck, I saw another elderly person asking where she can get milk for her coffee and being told by the waiter to go back to the coffee stand and get it. I saw people leaving dining room after they were told that they have to pay $25 cork fee for the bottle of wine they brought with them. I saw a man asking line cook where he could get water and being told to go in an opposite direction from the refreshment stand. There was no hot cocoa or tea available after hours, there was no buffet on the deck, no d'oeuvres or finger foods in the evening. So when one night kids wanted to eat something around mid-night, we had to tell them to wait until breakfast because room service takes forever. There were kids ages 16 and 17 sitting on the stairs between dining room and teen program one evening for hours and laughing and swearing loudly. There were 4 kids 9-10 years old who rode in panoramic elevator between 5 and 9 pm one evening and then between 10 and 12 pm at night, cannot imagine what their parents did all that time, well I can imagine, but kids were nonsense. And lastly, we were told to carry our own luggage off the ship since no luggage tags were provided by room steward. At the end of the cruise they do not ask you to fill out an evaluation or a survey form – after all, even they cannot ask you to rate the non-existent service they provide. Or may be they just do not care - they got your money already. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We just got back from 3-day Bahamas cruise on Norwegian Sky and unfortunately, didn't like it. Maybe the idea of Free Style cruising it's not so bad, but the implementation... Let's start one by one and I just want to state ... Read More
We just got back from 3-day Bahamas cruise on Norwegian Sky and unfortunately, didn't like it. Maybe the idea of Free Style cruising it's not so bad, but the implementation... Let's start one by one and I just want to state right away - it's not a complain, and just my opinion and thoughts. We sailed already with six different cruises (Carnival, Royal Caribbean and UK My Travel) and have something to compare with. With NCL, we did like pretty much only three things: embarkation, balcony and debarkation. Easy and smooth way to get on board and getting the cabin around 2pm almost tuned us to a nice mood, but not for a long time. The ship dEcor is cheap and old. Everywhere you can see signs of "previous" luxury, which require a new paint or replacement; furniture is old and wore up. Once you get on Deck 10, there is a stable and nasty sewage smell. Nothing helps... If you don't take a look underneath the bed or sofa bed, the cabin was almost clean. It has Queen Size bed, sofa bed (definitely, from some garage sale) and desk with chair. On the floor - an old faded carpet. Size of the cabin Category BB should be around 200 sq. ft, but it looks they calculated it with balcony, which makes the cabin itself pretty small. There is a special story about the bed: two Twin size beds combined together made the Queen bed, but the mattresses.... They are so hard and made our 3 nights completely sleepless. I pretty sure, if we remove the beds, a sleep on floor could be more comfortable than on these mattresses. Four pillows did have nice and clean pillowcases, but were completely uncomfortable and useless as well. The layout of the cabin and AC returns wasn't designed properly and it blows from the wall right to the bed. You can't redirect or switch it off. Finally, we had to block it with Daily Free-style papers (at least some use...). Don't expect Internet in cabins - "it's not deployed yet" and I don't think anyone will do it on the "Sky". There are a couple of thoughts about food: a breakfast is pretty standard and includes omelette station with beacon, smoked salmon, cereal etc. Not much complains here, but the launch… If for some reason, you missed it (beach or excursion) there is no food available between 3.30 and 5.30pm except some burgers, fries and hot dogs. Definitely, you can order Room Service, but be ready to wait about 45 minutes. There are three types of eating onboard: buffet, main and paid restaurants. The buffet is the fastest one (and sometimes even has a better meals choice), but main restaurants like Crossing and Palace it's completely disaster… First of all, if want to eat there, be ready to spend 30 - 40 min in line to get there. The food selection is very poor and absolutely the same Menu in both places. We've been trying to order a couple of different meals, but all them completely tasteless and very small portions. Since the tips are automatically applied to your account regardless of service, the waiters are not motivated. Why should they serve you better if they already have your money? On other ships, our waiters knew our names, our drinking preferences on the second day. They've been trying to keep conversation and always had some suggestions about different ports and beaches. Norwegian Lines are completely opposite - everything was trying and convincing you to go to the paid restaurants and spend more money. We went to "La Bistro" and did like it. The food, selection and service were better. Nevertheless, why should I pay $15 - 20 per person for the dinner with Norwegian if I can have the same service on other cruise lines for free? Again, in order to book any paid restaurant, you still have to waste your time standing in line for reservations. Otherwise, you'll have all your dinners in the buffer. Let's make some calculation: if you take a 7-day cruise and decide to have all seven nights in paid restaurants, you'll spend at least $105 for dinning only. On top of that, Norwegian automatically charge you $10 per day service fee (effective 2009 - $12 per day per person). You cannot negotiate this charge regardless of your personal impressions and service received. Definitely, you would like to have some drinks onboard and finally, you will pay additional 40-50% of your cruise cost. I understand that tipping is a huge part of staff income, but it should NOT be done automatically and regardless of service. Most waiters never will see you again, so why they should do anything special for you? Pretty much the same story with steward. Normally, a steward introduces himself on the first night and tries to have some contact during the entire cruise. On Norwegian Sky we never saw our steward. Personally, I don't think he ever cleaned the cabin - underneath of our beds easily I found some old tickets, nuts etc. Is it nice? He even didn't remove our dirty Champaign glasses for all 4 days. Should I tip him? Spoiled by obligatory tipping staff will never provide a good service. We always tip the people that take a good care about us specifically (sometime even more than cruise lines suggest): steward, waiter and waiter's assistant. Visiting Norwegian's private island Great Stirrup Cay didn't make us happy as well: it's too small and was too crowded. I don't think this place ever been designed to host about 3000 passengers. The beach is about 1200 ft long and third of this was taking for tenders embarkation/debarkation. See-through umbrellas (if you're the lucky one) didn't make any shadows and we had to spend all the time under hot sun. Food and all facilities were pretty standard and offered floating rafts, diving and parasailing. Finally, we booked another cruise with Norwegian Dawn in March 2009, but have it cancelled. No more FREE (Cheap) STYLE cruising for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
I sailed on the Norwegian Sky with my mother, in July 2008. This was a first cruise for both of us. We splurged for a balcony stateroom, and were pleased with the room. It was a kind of small, but clean, and having the balcony was fun. ... Read More
I sailed on the Norwegian Sky with my mother, in July 2008. This was a first cruise for both of us. We splurged for a balcony stateroom, and were pleased with the room. It was a kind of small, but clean, and having the balcony was fun. Unfortunately the room was extremely hot. We later learned that the air conditioning was not working in some of the rooms, and that they were trying to fix the problems. We slept in our bathing suits with the cabin door propped open the first night. We mentioned it again the second day, and again on the third. Finally we were told that they would need to move us to another stateroom. The room was down one level, and had a small window, but the air worked, we were in heaven. We were told that they would refund the difference in the price of the cabins, and give us an onboard credit. We thought that was fair. The ship was large and hard to navigate around. They could use some signs giving directions. At one point we actually had to walk through one restaurant to get to another. Few of the staff spoke English very well, and most were not particularly helpful. My mother and I are both Diet Coke fiends, and we each bought a soda card, but getting a Diet Coke was never easy. The food was generally OK, but not what I had expected. We paid extra to dine in one of the fancy restaurants, in order to use up the onboard credit, since neither one of us is a drinker, and the credit cannot be used for the mandatory gratuity, there was not much left to spend it on. We did take one excursion into Nassau; we went to the pirate museum. It was kind of interesting, but not worth $40 each. We loved the private beach, and that was actually the highlight of our trip. We got serious sunburns, and then found out we had to move our stuff to the new room ourselves. The elevators on the ship do not have sensors or bumpers to retract when triggered and my mother got her arm caught in one door that would not open back up. She got free, but it left bruises across her arm and a huge knot on her hand. She saw the ship's doctor, who told her she would be fine. We definitely missed the service we received while in our balcony room, our steward hung up our clothes, and filled our ice bucket several times a day. Downstairs we were lucky if we could find any ice. All in the entire trip was a disappointment on some levels and an interesting experience on another. I found that I liked cruising, but I think I would prefer a smaller ship. Now for the really bad news, NCL refunded me the difference in the cost of the rooms for one night only. They gave me $100. I paid almost $1500 for our four day trip. I have been reading reviews of NCL and have learned that I was lucky to have gotten that much. They routinely downgrade passengers and then refuse to give a refund. I will never sail with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
First of all, we are veteran cruisers, having previously sailed with NCL, Admiral Cruise Lines, Dolphin Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess and others over the past 30 years. We are not complainers, nor are we very fussy. ... Read More
First of all, we are veteran cruisers, having previously sailed with NCL, Admiral Cruise Lines, Dolphin Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess and others over the past 30 years. We are not complainers, nor are we very fussy. We do expect fair value for our money spent and we expect to be dealt with in an honest and fair manner. We also expect to be provided with proper sanitary facilities and air conditioning. With great anticipation, we booked our cruise on NCL's Norwegian Sky on May 24th 2008. The idea was to celebrate our daughter's 14th birthday and graduation from middle school as well as my wife and my 16th wedding anniversary. We were going to sail on July 18th, 2008 through July 21st, 2008. My daughter's best friend would accompany us. A party of four, we had two connecting Ocean View Staterooms: 9043 & 9044. We counted the days with eager anticipation, 55 days, 54 days, 53 days and so on. I had after all, previously sailed on the S.S. Norway many years ago and had a wonderful time. What could go wrong with an NCL cruise we thought? Boy, were we in for a surprise. We were about to experience the cruise from hell! We arrived at the Port of Miami around 12:30 PM. The embarkation was efficient and expeditious enough, although I did have trouble understanding the NCL representative who checked us in. I must have asked her to repeat herself at least 4 or 5 times as her English was that poor. The temperature in the embarkation area was comfortably cool. As we went up the gangway and onto the ship, we were greeted with waiting staff offering flutes of domestic champagne, which we availed ourselves of. We were also greeted with signs indicating we could not go to our staterooms as they were not ready. We immediately noticed that the ship was warm, perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When we inquired as to the lack of air conditioning, we were told by the staff that it had just been turned on and would take awhile to cool the ship down. An odd answer as the ship had just returned to port from its maiden voyage just hours before. We proceeded up to the Garden Cafe on deck 11 to have some buffet lunch. After waiting for hamburgers in the warm restaurant, which we thought should have been ready given this was embarkation and 2,000 guests were due to arrive, we came away with a couple of tasty burgers. We then went to the Mandara Spa to book a little pampering for myself and my wife: Massages for Saturday afternoon and facials for Sunday afternoon... a total of about $500.00 worth of pampering. After giving the cabin staff what we thought was a reasonable time to get our accommodations ready, we proceeded through the still warm ship to the Fiord Deck, which was on deck 9 to find our Staterooms. When we got there, ¾ of our luggage was already there in front of our Staterooms and obviously impeding the progress of the cabin staff, who were clearly disheveled and not ready for guests at 3:00 PM, 3 hours after arrival time and 2 hours before sailing. The remaining ¼ of our luggage, we found about 100 feet down the hallway in front on another Stateroom. Lucky we noticed it. The staterooms were between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. When I asked the staff there why it was so warm, they replied that it had just been turned on and would take awhile to cool the ship down. This excuse for the lack of adequate air conditioning would be repeated the entire cruise as though it was scripted. At this point, we naively thought it was true. When we booked this cruise, we specified that the twin beds in my wife and my stateroom, 9044, were to be made up together... anniversary remember? This was not done as there sat two twins. As is my custom, I sought out our cabin steward and bestowed a generous gratuity in advance of the trip to get his attention and let him know to take good care of us. After telling him about the beds, he asked as he pocketed his gratuity, if he could do it later because he was too busy. We complained to him about the air conditioning and guess what: the canned response again. We also learned that a great many guests did not have properly functioning toilets in their cabins. When we complained to others about the lack of air conditioning, they said: "at least you have a toilet". We proceeded to unpack in a not-yet-ready stateroom and went up to the pool deck to have a drink in the blistering 90 degree Miami heat, which was cooler with the breeze than our staterooms. While at the pool bar, we learned that if you do not clearly specify, in advance, that you do not want a souvenir plastic glass, you would get one every time you ordered a drink...for $2.00 extra per drink. How many souvenir glasses does one need anyway? NCL seems to think 40 or 50 at least. This was very tacky nickel dimeing indeed. We then went down to our staterooms to get ready for dinner and found that we still had no air conditioning. Upon calling reception to report this, we received the now memorized canned excuse. We had to shower and get dressed in sweat for dinner. We then learned that the safe in the girl's stateroom was broken and we called reception to have this corrected. No one came and we called at least twice more before a very rude security officer came up and not only could not fix it, he caused it to beep repeatedly and constantly reset itself with a motorized whirring noise that the girls had to endure the entire cruise. We obtained limited relief by smothering it with a pillow, but you could still hear it all through the night while you laid awake dripping in sweat because of the lack of air conditioning. All the while, during the entire voyage, our girls were denied the opportunity for proper security of their valuables in their stateroom as represented by NCL. On Saturday morning, I sought out someone with some authority because by now, I was very upset and not at all looking forward to the remaining 3 days and 2 nights in this sweatbox called the Norwegian Sky. Free Style Cruising had, at this point, decidedly turned into Style Free Cruising. I sought out and found Jenny Lem, the office manager, who assured me things were temporary and would improve. They were flying in a team to Nassau to fix the ships' A/C. This was a new chapter in their obviously canned previous response to the lack of A/C. She also promised she would comp us a discounted future cruise, dinner in one of their ala carte restaurants, casino credit, and free wine with dinner, and move us to another stateroom if they could not fix our air conditioning, absolutely none of which ever materialized. Trying to not think about it, we went up to the Garden Cafe for the Saturday buffet breakfast. We stood in line for at least 45 minutes waiting for scrambled eggs. Not made to order omelets, crepes or waffles or anything special like that, but plain old scrambled eggs. The line backed up out the door of the Cafe and onto the pool deck waiting for the eggs. Uncomplimentary complaints rang out at the staff, which looked as though it was their very first day in a kitchen. Finally, a cook comes toward the serving area slowly carrying what we hoped would be the eggs. He was moving slowly because he did not want to spill them. They were sloshing back and forth in the tray like soup... totally raw! Had not a chorus of complaints rang out at him, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have served those raw eggs to the guests. Additionally, the bacon was undercooked, the drink dispensers holding juice and iced tea were empty and the whole experience was terrible. Between high temperatures due to lack of air conditioning, lack of basic sanitary toilet facilities and a crew trying to serve us raw eggs and raw pork, it was as if they were doing their best to make us all sick! This is the same ship, formerly the Pride of Aloha, which failed health inspections while in Hawaii. Not much of a surprise at all given all that we saw. We ate carefully and swam in sanitizer the whole cruise. We then decided to go into Nassau to shop and hope the air conditioning would be somewhat operational when we came back for our massages. When we came back late in the afternoon, guess what? We still had no air conditioning. To add insult to injury, we had to endure the total dismantling of the two bathrooms in both of our cabins because the air conditioning units are housed in the sink vanity compartment effectively denying us the use of our bathrooms and showers for most of the day Saturday. What were they doing? A complete cleaning of the coils and air handlers in both staterooms during our cruise! We lost the use of the girls' stateroom the morning of the 19th and the loss of ours the afternoon of the 19th. During this fiasco, the air conditioning mechanic left the door to our stateroom open while he went below to clean the A/C coils effectively leaving us vulnerable to easy theft of our possessions. I have photographs of the dismantled bathrooms. Massage time was approaching. Now who wants to get a massage in 80 degree heat? Not us! We called Jenny Lem to ask her to cancel our appointments for us without the stated 50% sort notice cancellation penalty. She assured me she would, but never did. Ms. Lem was proving to be clearly untrustworthy and not a woman of her word. Just to be sure, I called the Mandara Spa and cancelled myself. While I was at it, I cancelled the facials we had booked for Sunday. This cruise from hell was costing NCL money as well as a small fortune in good will. Speaking of money, my wife and I are gamblers of sorts. I play Blackjack and she plays dollar slots. We had brought a gaming allowance of $2,000.00 just for the casino. Since it was so hot and smoky in the casino because there was virtually no air conditioning and smoke removal therein and smelled of human sweat, we spent exactly nothing in the casino during this cruise. In fact, we were so upset the entire cruise that we spent a small fraction of what we normally spend. We normally spend much more when we are comfortable and having a good time, but this was the Style Free 2.0 cruise from hell, remember? Who could be happy? On Saturday we got dressed, again in the heat of non air conditioned staterooms while dodging the disassembled vanities and stepping over the A/C technician, and then had to sweat during what would have otherwise been a wonderful dinner in the ship's French restaurant Le Bistro. Our server at Le Bistro, a $15.00 cover charge venue, on Saturday evening was Londa. She was one of the very, very few shining points of this cruise. The Maitre' De, Ms. Grace was also very accommodating and gracious. This was our anniversary dinner and they made us feel special. We almost thought, for a moment, that all was well until we came back to reality and realized that we still did not have air conditioning in our staterooms. The restaurant was also too warm and Ms. Grace apologized profusely for this. Regarding the air conditioning, there was a very small improvement in the public rooms and hallways, but our rooms were still warm and unbearable. Again we slept in sweat. The girls' stateroom was actually partially cooling before the A/C technician dismantled it, but never blew a puff of cool air again for the remainder of the cruise after he finished his handiwork. We slept with the adjoining door open to share what little air we had coming out of our vent between us. Nice anniversary evening for my wife and I without adequate air conditioning or privacy. Sunday brought more of the same miseries as Friday and Saturday: more poor service, but now it was in the Palace Main Dining room. We were "invited" by way of written invitation left in our now sauna-like staterooms to breakfast. We went down to breakfast before heading out to the ships island for a snorkeling excursion. We waited for at least 30 minutes to be seated although the entire center portion of the dining room was empty. They were only using the outside areas of the dining room. Upon being seated, we waited an astonishing 1 ½ hours to be served. This is NOT a typo. When the food finally did come, the order was incorrect, but we ate it anyway because we wanted to get onto the island. We had already missed 2 hours of our excursion. On the island, there were no functioning sanitizers in the bathroom facilities. The tender service was timely and efficient. The BBQ lunch seemed adequate. However, thirsty cruisers were once again provided with mandatory additions to their souvenir glass collection without any choice. Back on board the Sky, we went up to the pool deck because our girls had raved about the pizza. They were right. This was perhaps the best pizza I have ever eaten anywhere. The air conditioning had improved slightly in stateroom 9044, but never ever returned to 9043, forcing us to share our A/C through the open adjoining door with the girls and also share their beeping, whirring safe noise with all night as we were able to sweat less, but still sweat as we tried to sleep. Beep beep drip drip. Sunday evening, we went to Cagney's Steakhouse for my daughter's birthday dinner. This restaurant commanded a $20.00 per person cover charge. I thought I had wandered into a comedy show. These people did not begin to resemble proper upscale wait staff. After ordering Pellegrino at $4.00 per bottle and a bottle of $42.00 wine, the waiter proceeded to pour my serving of wine into my Pellegrino! He remedied this by bringing me a glass of wine. The steaks were mediocre and ordinary and lacked flavor. The side orders of sautEed mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes were all ice cold. They remedied this by microwaving them until the mushrooms were so hot they burned our tongues and the mashed garlic potatoes were dried up and tasteless. Where is Chef Ramsey when you need him. In fairness, the desserts, Bananas Foster and Crème Brule' were wonderful. Not to be allowed a moment of enjoyment over the desserts on this Style Free cruise, the Cappuccino's and milks ordered with the desserts arrived after we had long finished them. Keep in mind this restaurant only has a seating capacity of 84 diners. The restaurant, while cooler than the rest of the ship, was still too warm. Last night onboard, we could not wait to get off the ship the next morning. This is a feeling I have never had on a cruise, usually regretting our departure. They provide you with two plush pool towels per cabin under threat of adding a $25.00 per towel charge to your account, should they go missing. We took the best care of these towels to avoid this charge. The last evening of the cruise, the cabin steward removed three of the four towels from the staterooms and I had to get into a heated discussion with the head of housekeeping to get them back. This is Style Free 2.0 cruising at it's most meaningful however and it seems that NCL works very hard to alienate and disenfranchise everyone onboard with their lack of even the most basic civil comforts and services. NCL seems oblivious to the fact that their actions threaten your health, security of your belongings, insult your intelligence, waste your time dealing with unneeded minutia and a host of other offenses. This document is approaching 3,000 words in length and I have but touched on what happened to us and most of our fellow cruisers. NCL is a poor excuse for a cruise line and you should avoid it at all costs. I would have paid them to leave me behind given what I now know. At least in a Hotel, you can leave and go elsewhere, but we were trapped like sweating rats and the staff seemed to act as though they knew this. I may not ever cruise again, having nightmares of not being able to get off the ship. If I do cruise again, it will certainly not be on any ships operated by NCL. In closure, we noticed on our way out the door Monday morning, that the safe finally did stop beeping and whirring due to a dead battery. Wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Up to now, I have never had a vacation go so horribly. Sure, my family and I have had hiccups in our vacation experiences like illness, ankle sprains, hospitalization (food poisoning), lost and delayed luggage, 16 hours in a Puerto Rico ... Read More
Up to now, I have never had a vacation go so horribly. Sure, my family and I have had hiccups in our vacation experiences like illness, ankle sprains, hospitalization (food poisoning), lost and delayed luggage, 16 hours in a Puerto Rico airport because the plane had "mechanical issues", etc. (I could write a book.) I have been on three previous cruises, one I didn't get my luggage until three days into the cruise. Yet, I always enjoyed my cruises (Costa and Royal Caribbean). Nothing compares to the experience on the Norwegian Sky. I hate to bash anyone or any company, but this information should be posted to prevent other cruisers from suffering the same fate. There were no reviews of this particular ship because it had just been refurbished and relocated from Hawaii to the Bahamas. The cruise right before ours was the first one open to the public since the refurbishment. Crazy as it seems now, I thought newly refurbished meant we had a clean slate and "new" ship to enjoy. Well I found out that the ship still had many technical issues to work through and that the voyage was a training cruise for the crew. I'm not against training, everyone has to learn sometime, but an entire ship of trainees should have been disclosed to us unsuspecting vacationers. If you get a discount because it is a training cruise, then you should be allowed to make the decision if the discount is worth the substandard service. I sailed with my mother, my thirteen year old daughter, and her fourteen year old friend. I chose a three day cruise because the girls had never been cruising before. I just wanted them to experience the fun of cruising. I prefer a seven day cruise to immerse myself in the pampering and the tropical surroundings. Thank God we didn't make this one seven days. I also chose the Norwegian cruise line because of the "freestyle cruising" appealed to me. I don't like dressing up and going to meals at a set time with strangers. I found the discount with the Norwegian Sky where the kids/teens were free. This was perfect. I could keep the cost down for my family and my daughter's friend. I made reservations by calling NCL directly. I wanted to carefully pick our cabin. I preferred an outside cabin, but was told they were sold out, so I regretfully chose an inside cabin. I figured for three days we could put up with the cramped space, we'd be doing things outside the cabin most of the time anyway. After making the reservations, paying with my credit card, and listing the passengers (my name first), our cruise documents and luggage tags were sent to my daughter's friend who happens to live in a different state than us now. Why they sent the documents to a fourteen year old with a different address than the one who purchased the cruise, I'll never know. OK, we got the documents back from her. One little goof up. No big deal. We drive half way to West Virginia to pick up my daughter's friend. The next day we all fly from Richmond, Virginia to Miami, Florida. I was told by a NCL representative on the phone, when I made my reservation, to just place the luggage tags on my bags and the cruise personnel would take care of them from there. I had purchased the transportation from the airport to the cruise terminal. The rep on the phone also told me to just go straight to the cruise desk in the airport terminal once we arrived. The cruise desk was a long way from the gate, but isn't everything in an airport. We get there with only one quick bathroom stop on the way and they tell me they have been looking for us. They were very terse because we hadn't been at the baggage turnstiles. I explained what I had been told and the gentleman that power walked me back to the other side of the terminal to get our luggage complained and called the phone representatives idiots. He said they had no idea what they were doing. As my heart was practically beating out of my chest from the "run" to my family's luggage, I thought about how unorganized this company seemed. He grabbed one bag and we had to get the rest of them. We power walked back to the other side of the terminal just in time to hop on the bus that we were tersely informed was waiting for us. We had to look into the eyes of the delayed passengers aboard. They were not happy with us. I just wanted to explain it wasn't our fault, but they probably would not believe it. After arriving at the cruise terminal, we got off the shuttle bus and were told to place are luggage with the cruise porter. He then informed us that "this is where you tip me now". This just didn't sit well with me, but if you don't tip you're afraid you may never see your luggage again. In to the cruise terminal we go, it was clean, the air was cool, and the layout and decoration beautiful. There was NCL staff at every turn to point us in the right direction. No waiting, just off to the ship. When we entered the ship, the gangway went in to an area that was not attractive at all. There was no one to guide us from that point on. We blindly followed the other passengers ahead of us. We wandered in to the atrium and they gave us a glass of orange juice or champagne. From here we found our way to our cabin by ourselves. It was stifling hot, but I thought, oh well, the air conditioning probably doesn't work as well with the ship in dock. I had pre purchased a bon voyage gift for the girls and my mom. The teen gift was there, but not my moms. I went to the reception desk and told them the oversight, but they just said my mom could get her ship board casino credit in the casino, there would be no card with my nice little note to my mom like I ordered. Approximately three to four hours later the card did arrive in our cabin. The Norwegian Sky supposedly had a great teen program with activities for the teens so my mom and I could just relax and let the girls have at the fun. I even purchased the "teen passport" gift so they could have 20 non alcoholic drinks to share and a teen pizza party while on board. I went to the "kids" area and signed permission for both girls to participate in the teen activities. The girls went to the first activity and no one else was there. The activities were very limited and included the adult activities (which were also very limited). Activities while in port were almost non existent. The teen pizza party I paid for never happened. The passport was for twenty non alcoholic drinks. Nowhere in the description did it give limitations on where you could get the drinks. Our first meal I showed the server the teen gift card and we were told that it was only available at the bar. So we go to the bar after the meal to get one of those fruity drinks with an umbrella my daughter loves. The bartender tells us to go to the reception desk to get the tear off coupon book, he was out of them. We go to the reception desk, they say go to the bartender. We go back to the bartender - by this time I'm hot, tired and the fun gift I got my daughter and friend is a nightmare. The bartender says we'll just have to get our money back because they don't have the teen coupon books anymore. I head back to the reception desk and I ask to speak to a manager. He arrives but does not speak good English so we have trouble communicating. Finally, he gives me a piece of paper with his signature and the NCL logo that says we are "entitled to a teen passport". On the way back upstairs to the bar, the elevator makes a weird noise like the one when the weight limit is exceeded and a light comes on with the words "Please get out". I'm not lying, that is what the elevator sign says. At this point, I have missed the start of the only show that evening. While my family is hopefully enjoying the show, I am riding up and down on this rude elevator. I get to the bar and show the bartender the signed note. He reluctantly gives me two drinks and makes to "tick" marks on the paper. For the rest of the cruise, I had to go to the bar and explain my story to every bartender to fight for the drinks I paid in advance for. The fun and convenience of the girls getting their own drinks was lost. We only ended up with fifteen drinks and no pizza party, it just took too much time to get them. Meanwhile the ship is getting hotter and hotter in all areas of the ship. We set sail, and this doesn’t help. The elevators start to malfunction. We heard of other passengers getting trapped in the elevators. The computer system kept rebooting in an attempt to correct the air conditioning so it messed up the elevators as well. The captain made no announcements regarding the problem. The reception desk line grew longer and longer with unhappy passengers. The reception desk no longer answered the phone. They were completely overwhelmed. Our cabin was kept clean, but we had no bath soap until the last night of the cruise. A lady came in to refill it but topped off the hand soap instead of the bath soap. We requested bath soap five or six times and I spoke to the head cabin steward and heard him say to a steward to handle this immediately – it was 12 hours later when we got soap. None of the cabin stewards spoke enough English to understand our request. Finally, after two days they say the air conditioning is fixed and the captain makes an announcement that we could have a glass of wine or a soda at dinner for the inconvenience. My mother was sick with the extreme heat in our cabin and I had to practically beg for ice to cool her neck to keep her from passing out. We had no way to get air in that tiny cabin. We slept with wet towels on us. But, that glass of wine for me and diet coke for my daughter really made us feel better about roasting, NOT!! Our cabin had a little air conditioning for about half that night then no more. We never had a cool room. Passengers began to compare notes. Cabins were without plumbing. The sewer systems were also in trouble. People who had paid for balcony rooms and could get some fresh air, had to move to tiny interior cabins because their toilets wouldn’t flush or the room smelled so bad with backed up sewer. The last night of the cruise we had a leak coming from our bathroom that made a soaking/squishing wet spot on the carpet about a three foot diameter that smelled of urine. Luckily, our toilet did keep flushing. We all wanted off that ship so badly. We were 120 miles or so from Miami and I was wondering if I could swim that many miles without drowning or getting eaten by a shark. Our fellow passengers also complained of food shortages. Menu items were running out. The “picnic BBQ” on the private island ran out of tea, lemonade, and finally water. The captain finally sent a note on the last night to each cabin thanking us for sailing with NCL and the Norwegian Sky and for sailing with them, each cabin would receive $50.00 in shipboard credit. No mention or apology for all of the inconveniences and terrible living conditions was included in that letter. There was a small bright spot or two on the cruise. The cruise director was funny, vivacious and entertaining. The shows were entertaining. The costumes were in poor condition but the dancers and entertainers were good. If it wasn’t for the laughs and music, I think we would have all gone bonkers. As it was my mother and I both lost our cool a time or two. Also, the Palace restaurant food was very good. The service left a little to be desired. Again, language barriers were a problem in the dining room, including the manager. I love the diversity of international crew members and I think it adds to the charm, but I would like to be able to communicate with them. I’m not talking about thick accents either. These people genuinely could not understand English. They knew the few phrases they were taught to survive the cruise and that was it. The only stops were Nassau, Bahamas. Not my favorite destination, but it is OK. The taxi cab drivers hound you and stalk you the entire visit. They are very rude if you deny them. They even mimic your comments to them. We went on the “Sea and See” shore excursion. The boat out to the “semi submarine” was a nicely narrated tour of the area including famous people’s homes. The semi submarine was so covered in barnacles and sea grass it was difficult to see out of the window. It was a mediocre tour. The other stop was NCL’s private island. It was small but pleasant (except for the drinks running out). The BBQ food was tasty. The tender service was OK as well. Unfortunately my daughter is very fair skinned and sunscreen was not enough to save her from sunburn. We looked for aloe gel as soon as we got back on the ship but the gift shop had very limited hours and was not open. The ship’s medical clinic refused to give us any aloe without seeing the doctor first – with a charge of $78.00 to see the doctor. NCL charges $10.00 per day per passenger for gratuities. Supposedly, this is so you don’t have to bother with tipping crew members at the end of the cruise. Personally, I tip according to service given. No service – no tip. We had to pay the $40./day for our cabin even though we suffered with all the above mentioned problems and lack of service. I am being unreasonable????? One last note about NCL’s “freestyle cruising”: You are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want, provided the limited activities, limited time frames, and limited service can provide for your needs when you want. For instance, take your time disembarking- “Just chill! It’s your final morning.” As long as you’re out of your cabin by 7:30am and off the boat by 9:00am. But please do take your time. Oh yeah. Pick your time to leave out of the six 10 minute intervals available. Eat breakfast before you go, as long as you eat before 9:00 am and beat the other passengers there to get the limited tables available and before the food runs out. I could go on and on about this cruise experience. I will not plan for another NCL cruise. Even if I got a free cruise offer from NCL, I’m not sure I would take them up on it. My fellow passengers and I decided we would take the time to warn people of this problem. I don’t know about the other ships in the NCL family, but I do know that the Norwegian Sky has a lot of work to do on that particular ship and crew. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We arrived in Miami a few hours prior to boarding Majesty of Seas. Boarding was very quick and we were surprised at how quickly we were able to get into our room. As soon as we walked on the ship my wife and I were disappointed with its ... Read More
We arrived in Miami a few hours prior to boarding Majesty of Seas. Boarding was very quick and we were surprised at how quickly we were able to get into our room. As soon as we walked on the ship my wife and I were disappointed with its lackluster appearance and stale smell. We were traveling with 3 other couples and all got to our rooms around the same time. The crew did a great job getting all of our luggage up to our floor very quickly. However, when we entered the room we were nearly sick to our stomach. It had a moldy, smokey stench to it and the linens weren't exactly warm and cozy looking. The bed cover literally looked as old and dirty as the ship itself. Our friends next to us complained of the strong smoke odor in their room as well. Our bathroom was disgusting. The shower curtain had mold on it as well as the vent fan on the roof of the shower. The bathroom floor was so dirty we were scared to ever take off our shoes and at night the beds didn't look much cleaner so we slept with our clothes on...boo! We went to dinner and were pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness and customer service in the dining room. We were among the 8:30 dinner seating. Our wait staff was incredibly nice and entertaining and the food was comparable to something you'd get at Applebees or Chilis; which I believe is a good thing. The first night most of our group ate either the New York Strip or the pasta and everyone was impressed at how quick, hot, and good their food was. The onion soup was especially good. Afterwards we hung out on the 14th floor at the Viking Lounge. The mystery that none of our group could figure out was the absolute randomness of which bars were opened and closed; a majority on the ship were never opened the entire time we were on board which made no sense to us. Although the Viking Lounge was nice, it was really the only place we could gather as a group without puffs of smoke being blown in our face. The ship smelled smokey everywhere we went but for the Viking Lounge so we congratulated there often. The activities on our day at sea (we were supposed to go to CocoCay but could not due to the weather) were terrible. Bingo was run by the most annoying Canadian guy I've ever come across in my life. Moreover, it was a total scam. They had at least 400 people paying at least $25 each playing Bingo yet they only gave away $1000 in prizes total. We would have gone to the pool but a group of drunk teenagers and thugs had taken that over too. Our wives did make a trip to the spa for a massage and were impressed that. The buffet was okay for lunch but the food was pretty bland. I fell in love with the pizza but the ship staff insisted in only making 2 pizzas at time which created a constant 10 minute line to get a slice of pizza. I have no idea why they couldn't cook more than 2 pizzas at time when the pizza was in such demand. The one diamond in the ruff on this ship was the ice cream! This soft serve ice cream was the best of anywhere I've ever had it and best of all, you could serve yourself and didn't have to wait on the slow wait staff in the Windjammer Cafe to help you (i.e. pizza bar). I highly encourage you to NOT get on this boat. Pay the extra bucks for a cleaner, newer boat with better activities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Have cruised many times before, this was my first Carnival cruise AND MY LAST!. Embarkation was fast, and that's where the pros ended. Room was not ready, and still dirty, unaccustomed upon setting sail. Room smelled musty, and the ... Read More
Have cruised many times before, this was my first Carnival cruise AND MY LAST!. Embarkation was fast, and that's where the pros ended. Room was not ready, and still dirty, unaccustomed upon setting sail. Room smelled musty, and the smell of sewage permeated the hallway. Ship is old and VERY dated by other ship's standards. The public area, especially the bathrooms where horrible, smelly, no toilet paper and they got worse the longer the cruise went on. Dining room food was OK at the best, most of the food was way overdone, though the waiters did their best to accommodate us when they saw that the food was not as ordered, or that the vegetables where cold, etc. The Lido deck tables where constantly piled with dirty dishes, ashtrays etc. The bus people would walk by and you had to ASK them to please clean the tables. The outside buffet line was very limited with what they served, a lot of the desserts where stale, bread, old salads wilted. The deli at the aft of the boat was probably the best meal I had good deli sandwiches made to order. The FOO FOO colored drinks that they hawk on board are VERY expensive with very little alcohol added. SO BEWARE! It seemed as though the ship was booked with LARGE crowds, family reunions, class reunions etc. The pools where filled to capacity, and in my opinion not very healthy overall. I did not swim because of this. Is this cruise a good value for your money? If this is your first cruise, you don't have a lot of money and just want to get away you MIGHT find this ship adequate. If not save your money for a newer ship and a more reputable cruise line. This was my first sailing with Carnival and I would NEVER sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
As a veteran of numerous cruises over the years I stayed away from Carnival lines for the sheer reason of what I received as a younger "party" ship. Their/Carnival recent advertising on television enticed me and my wife to try ... Read More
As a veteran of numerous cruises over the years I stayed away from Carnival lines for the sheer reason of what I received as a younger "party" ship. Their/Carnival recent advertising on television enticed me and my wife to try the cruise line, as we live here in Florida and jumping on a ship for a long week-end is really no problem. I booked thru a large internet agency for our first Carnival cruise in April 2006. The free category up-grade that was promised on the web-site was given to us. We had a lovely cabin, good service, ok dinning experience. The only complaint was a table of 10 single college reunion guys in the formal dining room being in pool wear, loud, filthy language, disturbing other diners. I feel that this group should have been ushered to a less formal dining room, or at least warned by the head of the room to curb the language ( I'm not prude, the language was crude and filthy ). Now the mistake, we decided to book in July 2006/a few weeks later and take family members. Booked thru the same agency again, the upgrades for rooms NEVER naturalized. I called 3x, disconnected 2x till I finally got a representative. I was informed to read the small print on the bottom of the contract/after finding the line with a magnifying glass it did indeed states that upgrades where subject to availability. Ok, they got me there my fault. Both rooms where located on the Riviera/bottom deck, inside cabin, bunk beds. Since neither myself or my wife could get up to the top bunk, recent Knee replacement for her, I am just too unstable. I thought I would be able to PURCHASE a room up-grade on the ship. I am a reasonable person and do not mind paying for comfort, or giving extra tips for good service. The information desk people who you need to go thru for this were either rude, poorly trained, could not understand English, did not care, or a combination of all of the above. NO DICE, NO ROOMS NOT EVEN FOR PURCHASE. Ok, I slept on the lower bunk, my wife preferred the floor. Room was still not fully cleaned as ship left port. Our family two doors down had no problem with the bunk beds but did have problems with the smell of urine and dampness in the cabin. The smell of sewage was unmistakable it prevailed the ENTIRE trip. As we walked down the stairs to disembark into Nassau/that where right next to the end room we were in the smell of the sewage was commented on by many who were ready to disembark and had never been down to that deck. I wheezed and both my wife and I had throat irritation the entire trip. The food in the dining room on this trip was sub-standard to what we received on the same trip weeks previous. Most of the meat dishes were VERY overcooked and the waiter could not get the correct done from the kitchen. The deli on the rear of the ship is VERY good and submitted. All in all this cruise was a nightmare had I not had family on-board my wife and I would of completely disembarked in Nassau, stayed a couple of days there and flown out from Nassau. This ship is a cheap trip for kids, young adults, family reunions/as many people were involved with. Expect what you pay for for you will get NOTHING more, if you do consider yourself lucky. The pool area was really clean, the pool and Jacuzzi were extremely overcrowded to the point of being just gross. The outside tables where covered in dirty dishes and numerous times we had to ask that the dishes be cleared so we could sit down, my wife at the end of the trip started clearing them herself! Nassau is a great stop for casinos/Atlantis and shopping. The Atlantis is a must see. Bahamian cuisine is exceptional at the right restaurants, try the Cricket Club on West Bay street. Take a cab, or the Jitney/bus. Mckenzies under Potters pier has a tremendous conch salad that I have enjoyed over the years! All things said this cruise was not a good value for the money we spent. Next time we will stick to our regular cruise line, or fly in. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
My wife and I are in our 50s and this was our fifth cruise. We have never had a bad cruise having traveled previously on Regency, NCL and twice on Carnival. We booked the 4-nighter on the Majesty of the Seas out of Miami at the last minute ... Read More
My wife and I are in our 50s and this was our fifth cruise. We have never had a bad cruise having traveled previously on Regency, NCL and twice on Carnival. We booked the 4-nighter on the Majesty of the Seas out of Miami at the last minute as a quick get away without high expectations. Before going further I must say that the experience exceeded our expectations and I think it was one of our best cruise experiences ever. The private island was a key factor in our choice of this cruise as well as the Monday embarkation and Friday disembarkation to allow a weekend front and back for preparation and travel since we live in the Midwest. We booked our own flight arrangements and purchased RCL transportation right in the baggage claim at Miami International. This was easy and the cost was about the same as a cab and tip. We really lucked out. On that day the Port of Miami was practically gridlock and our bus was driven by a retired NYC bus driver who was in his glory. We got to the ship in under 30 minutes. Embarkation was fast and we were in the Windjammer eating lunch by noon. We had all afternoon after getting to our cabin at 1 PM to explore the ship and sit by the pool and catch the sun and a drink before departing. After having read previous reviews describing the ship as showing its age, we were pleasantly surprised to find new carpeting in the pool areas, clean glasswork, polished brass and everything appearing quite new and fresh. The small stateroom was comfortable and provided plenty of under the bed storage and the closet also was quite large. The ship was completely booked, 2600+ passengers. We were concerned that it would be crowded. Not at all. The public areas were spacious, we always found plenty of good seats for the shows, there was never any problem finding deck chairs around the pool and we always found open and clean tables in the Windjammer Cafe. The captain and the entire staff were friendly and accessible, always attentive and at the end thanked us for choosing RCL. And I really thing they meant it. The food overall was above average to quite good. No disappointment there. The shows on the first and last night were well done and entertaining and the band was great, very professional. The comedy acts the middle two nights were also OK but not great. The casino was pleasantly large and not smokey like I had read on other reviews and I even came out ahead. We had late seating in the dining room (8:30 PM) which we prefer since it gives us a chance to spend a full day in port so we don't have to rush back too early to get cleaned up for dinner. We also choose a table for eight. We feel that a high point of any cruising experience is meeting new people, becoming friends and sharing the experiences of the ship and the day in port. I might say here that our waiter, assistant waiter & even our head waiter were outstanding and we enjoyed their service very much. Also our cabin steward was attentive and knew our first names. Of course, these are the folks you tip and tipping on The Majesty of the Seas is fairly traditional. You can have your tips put on your Sea Pass account but we prefer to put cash in the envelopes and give them out personally. We gave all of them extra. They work very hard and deserve it. There didn't seem to be a lot of extra activities on this ship and that was fine with us. You are in port every day and there is plenty to do there. No so called "fun days at sea". Shore Excursions: Nassau (day 1): The ship is in port from 8 AM to midnight. This seems too long but it leaves plenty of time for anything you might want to do there. I suppose if they left Nassau earlier they might get to Cocoa Cay (day 2) too soon. Anyway, we departed the ship and walked around the streets and shops for a while. The Bahamians are friendly, not too pushy and easy going. The shopping is somewhat expensive and the "straw market" was very congested. We got back on the ship for lunch and later about 1 PM took the Yellow Bird party barge tour. Do not miss this. When you board, they serve run punches as you cruise out to Pearl Island to spend about an hour at a small beach. While listening to commentary over the calypso music, you pass beautiful homes and boats of famous people. The beach on the island is quite pleasant and the island has restrooms and concessions. On the return trip, they serve rum punches again which are tasty but a little light on booze. Maybe just as well since the party really gets in gear. All in all a fun adventure. Day 2 (Cocoa Cay - the private island): This is a real high point of the cruise. Plenty to do, snorkeling, hiking, just relaxing on the beach, water activities, shopping (again, a small straw market, pleasant but rather high priced). We choose to snorkel, an activity we had done on other cruises and one we enjoy. The area to snorkel in was quite large. The farther you got from the shore, the water was very clear and there were plenty of fish. We even saw a stingray. But I guess this is not unusual. Also I have to add that with all the people on the island, there were plenty of lounge chairs and you never felt crowded. The lunch they serve is picnic fare and is very good. By now I should add that throughout the entire cruise the weather was perfect and the water was refreshing, not cold but not quite summer like. On day 3 we docked in Key West. This turned out to be a neat experience. You have to go through immigration here since you are reentering the USA. This was very fast and efficient and I guess it saves time on the return to Miami. We walked up Duval St. Stopped at a few bars, Rick's, Crazy Gecko, Sloppy Joes and did some shopping. There was a better selection here than in Nassau and the prices were a whole lot better. We ate lunch on the ship and later walked around looking at some of the restored old homes with tropical gardens. Quite a beautiful place. I might add that this was spring break time and I guess that Duval St. really rocks in the evening. The ship had to depart at 5 PM for Miami. A lot of people wished we would have left Key West at midnight instead of in Nassau. Could you have imagined the problem of getting everyone back on board! We departed for Miami and arrived about 7 AM. It is hard to believe that you could pack so much into a 4-night cruise. Royal Caribbean did a great job. This cruise is a big value for the money. The disembarkation took only a couple of hours. We had plenty of time to get things together and eat breakfast. We never felt rushed and the staff was always friendly and helpful. In parting, however, I should comment that some felt that RCL markets merchandise and drinks on the ship rather aggressively. Some might consider this to be annoying but we realize it is a money maker for RCL. Maybe this keeps the cruise prices reasonable. We did not find this to be a problem as we enjoyed the entire experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
This Fascination cruise was 'second worst' cruise I ever went on. The worst was years ago when Premier Cruise Line was still in operation. First, let me say that I have cruised many times, including Royal Caribbean, NCL, Princess ... Read More
This Fascination cruise was 'second worst' cruise I ever went on. The worst was years ago when Premier Cruise Line was still in operation. First, let me say that I have cruised many times, including Royal Caribbean, NCL, Princess etc. I was using this Carnival Cruise on the Fascination as a "try out" of Carnival. It was a weekend getaway and the cruise rate was cheap (I guess you get what you pay for). Fellow dinner guest commented also that this was worst Carnival Cruise he ever took, and said that their 7-day cruise was much better. I will expedite this review with PROs and CONs: PROs: -Boarding process was fast -Beds were comfortable -Price for cruise - The Broadway style review shows were the best I have seen on any ship, however the various comedians and juggler act were lousy CONs: - The lifeboat drill took over 45 minutes to complete. First they assemble everyone in one of the lounges, then they herd you up on deck to stand near your lifeboat for another 10 minutes. Way too long of a process. - The ship is old and lacks the ambiance and "style" of more modern ships. Interior look's cheesy - Food was lousy, including buffet and main dining room meals - When I ordered a frozen drink, I found out they do not have any drinking straws on board. What's with that???? Drinks were lousy, little alcohol, also very expensive - No trays provided in buffet dining area, and the plates are very small. The food line is not continuous. There are two separate lines, each with different foods. Lines always long. Not much selection -even in main dining rooms, and food looks/tastes like school lunch room food. Pizza sucked and hamburgers dry. No individual packets of mustard/ketchup - you pour from bottles. Buffet area filthy and bus boy personnel are lethargic at best - did not clear our plates even when stacked up on our table and they walked by several times - Main dining rooms have low tin ceilings and sound like a school lunch room. No wine steward, and Wait staff lousy. The Maitre D' never ever came over to our table to say hello during entire cruise, and then expected a tip - fat chance! - The low cost of this cruise attracts many passengers in the lower socioeconomic class - Overall, the ship is dirty - Casino minimums on Craps and BlackJack are too high - $10 - and not too many winners noticed on slots. Gaming personnel lacking experience on Craps table. They performed like amateurs. As I said before, you get what you pay for. However I took a short weekend cruise on Royal Caribbean to Mexico from L.A., and the quality and service matched any 7-day cruise I have taken. (This) Carnival Cruise is not worth the time or money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
This is a review of my cruise onboard the Fascination. Date of Cruise: Feb 17 - 20, 2006 Prior Cruise Experience: Carnival(x1), Princess(x1), Celebrity(x3), RCI(x2) My DD and I attended a conference onboard the Fascination. There ... Read More
This is a review of my cruise onboard the Fascination. Date of Cruise: Feb 17 - 20, 2006 Prior Cruise Experience: Carnival(x1), Princess(x1), Celebrity(x3), RCI(x2) My DD and I attended a conference onboard the Fascination. There were 1200 people in the Conference. The Group was Moms and Daughters, and it was a Getaway Retreat....with Brio Magazine, a product of Focus on the Family. The Conference was AWESOME! Highly recommend it! Pre Cruise: One day in Miami. We booked one night at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown on Priceline. This is a 2.5 star hotel, by Priceline's standards. We got it for $55.00. At the time I booked it, Travelocity and Courtyard by Marriott were selling it for $189.00 per night. It was a great hotel. For the price we paid, I feel that we really got a good deal. We arrived in Miami late at night and took a taxi to the hotel. The taxi fare was $24.00. The taxi driver was extremely rude. The staff at the Courtyard were exceptional. Everyone. The Courtyard serves a buffet breakfast...which was $10.98 per person. We did this...and it was very good. However, there is a bakery about 2 minutes from the hotel, with tables and chairs, etc...After I saw it, I wished that we had spent half the money and gone there. There is also a Walgreens within walking distance. Embarkation: We arrive at the pier at 11:15 am. The staff at the Pier were exceptional. And, everything was very organized. I am impressed, Carnival. Because we had priority check in... (Skipper Club?) (because we have booked a suite?), they take us to a room (office) to process our paperwork. This was quite nice and I had not experienced it on any other line that I have sailed on. Within 5 minutes, we head out to get our cabin keys. We are boarding the ship at 11:45 am, with the first group of 50 to board the ship. The Cabin, our Category 12 Suite is ready for us. (#U104) This is basically a large cabin, with a nice sized balcony. No other whistles and bells. The tub/shower was very dark. The lights over the tub did not work. The tub reminded me of a handicapped tub/shower that I had experienced at a relative's house when I was a child. I am 5'6" and the ceiling in the tub was very close to my head. Showering was never a pleasant experience. There was an odor coming from the toilet, when the lid was open. Pretty significant wear and tear throughout the suite. The curtains were broke. The linens appeared to be fairly new and they were very nice and comfortable. They were all white. The beds were comfortable to sleep in. A large enough walk in closet. Two nice robes, for our use during the cruise. A TV, with VCR. The Ship: We left the Port of Miami @ 4:30 pm. The Fascination is small, dark and unimpressive. The pool area is very unattractive. The wood deck is in great need of treatment. The dining room service/food: The staff was very nice, but lacked the training that I have experienced on other lines. We were offered bread only one time during dinner each night. Dirty plates sat in front of us for a very long time before being picked up. Food was ok. Presentation was ok. I would categorize the food as what I might find in a diner. In fact, the dining room looked like a diner. Many of the "tables" were booths. Lots of blinking lights. The Cabin Attendant: The cabin was always cleaned well. However, please do not ask me if I would like to have my cabin cleaned. I do not think that was very professional. The breakfast room service menu was never put in our cabin. My friend sailing in another cabin, ordered breakfast with this form one evening...and the breakfast never showed up the following morning. Twice, he came knocking on the door....and when my DD opened the door, he said "Oh"...and walked away. Just evidence of lack of training. Room Service: A really nice selection! We ordered several things throughout the weekend. An excellent fajita wrap. Also...a great shrimp sandwich ! Shows: We did watch one of the shows in the Theatre, with the Fascination Dancers. We left halfway through the show...as the costumes, words to the music and dance gestures were very sexual in nature and it was not what we wanted to lay our eyes on. I had experienced this very thing on one other Carnival cruise I had sailed on. We saw many, many, many folks walking out of the theatre before we did. Needless to say, we did not attend any more shows onboard. The Laundry: On the Saturday of the cruise....they advertised a $15.00 fee to clean a bag of clothes. This was a special. I did not do this....but I did send out a pair of pants to be laundered. They were not returned to me. Late in the night, before Disembarkation morning, I called the Information Desk and inquired about my pants. They searched and found them....and brought them to my cabin. The Port of Nassau: Only one port on this three night itinerary. We had booked a room at the Comfort Suites, for the purpose of having access to the Atlantis facilities. The room at CS was $200 plus fees & taxes. Came to $250.00. With the room, you get access for FOUR people to the Atlantis. The Atlantis is right across the street. Paradise Island is beautiful! The Atlantis is Grandiose! My goodness. Accommodations for thousands...on site. The facility is very large and had large amounts of guests. We stayed at the beach for about an hour. We drank a banana drink prepared from the juice of a coconut...which was cracked open in our presence. So cool. So delicious. The cost for this drink: $7.00 Includes a free refill. We visited the aquarium, waterslide, lagoon (snorkeling), etc... There is a great area where many stingrays & sharks reside. We watched an employee feeding them. Really cool. It was a good day at the Atlantis. The taxi ride from the ship to the Comfort Suite was $4.00 per person, each way. There is a $1.00 bridge toll (over to paradise Island) that you pay only going over to the Island. If you are planning on visiting the Atlantis, I would recommend contacting the hotel ahead of time...and requesting a map to the grounds. It's huge. ALL of the local Bahamas folks that we encountered were very nice!! This was very nice to experience. We head to find a taxi to take us to the Straw market for some shopping before heading to the ship. Great little bargains at the Straw Market. Lots of fake purses. Lots of straw items. Lots of kids...begging you to buy their little products. If you will be visiting this area, I would recommend you bring along a few child items in your purse. The children would have been delighted to receive such things. Final Comments: Unfortunately, I am unable to recommend the Fascination or Carnival Cruiseline to anyone. Everything about the ship and the service was mediocre. This was the second experience I have had like this on Carnival. Why settle for mediocre, when there are better choices out there? Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Well I have to say I was not impressed. This was our first cruise. It was not the vacation of a lifetime. The food was mediocre at best. One night everyone at our table ordered steak. All 6 steaks were way overdone. The cheesecake tasted ... Read More
Well I have to say I was not impressed. This was our first cruise. It was not the vacation of a lifetime. The food was mediocre at best. One night everyone at our table ordered steak. All 6 steaks were way overdone. The cheesecake tasted like it was frozen and the brownie that was part of a dessert one night was stale. The Windjammer Cafe food was even worse. It was the equivalent of something served in a hospital cafeteria. The band at the pool was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think. The day we disembarked was the worse. We were asked to leave our room by 8am. We went to the Chorus Line lounge and sat until we were called around 11am. 3 hours in a room that was so cold it made your nose run, not to mention the ridiculous sitcoms that I guess was their idea of top notch entertainment. When we originally booked the cruise the man made it sound like you could stay on the ship at your leisure and disembark when you were ready. That was far from the truth. Not only was it cold and boring but the worse part were the ship's bathrooms. All the toilets were plugged up and overflowing. It was disgusting, and no one seemed to care. I've talked to several people that have taken cruises and they were all shocked. Most said they were able to disembark whenever they were ready, and I'm talking post 9-11. But none of them sailed with Royal Caribbean and if we ever decide to cruise again, we will go with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
After five wonderful cruises, this was an incredible low to start our year of cruising! The Fascination is old but even older ships can be clean and show a sense of pride. The public restrooms (particularly by the casino where we spent ... Read More
After five wonderful cruises, this was an incredible low to start our year of cruising! The Fascination is old but even older ships can be clean and show a sense of pride. The public restrooms (particularly by the casino where we spent each night till the wee hours of the mornings) were not only unclean, but several times were without toilet paper in the stalls. I couldn't believe they had no paper towels to dry your hands as well. They had hand dryers but only one was working. Speaking of the casino, you could never find ashtrays by the slots (we had several smokers in our party) and the buckets for the coins were old and dirty! And to make matters worse, the dealers and croupiers for the most part never smiled or encouraged you to have a good time. They just went through the motions. We found this to be consistent of most of the staff on the ship. We had room service for breakfast each morning and they never got our order right -- from untoasted bagels to no cream to only one cup. The size of the suite was an embarrassment, barely larger than the regular cabins. The balcony was barely wide enough for two the plastic patio chairs (Wal-Mart variety). I know that can't be helped because it is an older ship but to have a rusty sink and white caulking for a shower repair in a gray shower was a sign that they really don't care about appearances. And no individual hangars -- some gizmo which 5 posts hang from so if you needed to remove one piece of clothing, you'd have to take off the other 4. Give me a break! When we sat out by the pool, we could not find anyone to put your lounges out and we physically had to do it ourselves -- unbelievable! To make matters worse, the lounges were old and once we took them off the stacks and moved them, two of them were broken and we had to go back and do it all over again! The one good thing were the two shows, Friday night and Sunday night. They were fantastic productions! Since Carnival was the only short cruise over New Year's Eve, our choices were limited and we expected to pay a premium. $1,900 for the above experience was a tragedy. We know Carnival is the affordable low end of their product line so we did not have high expectations, but this experience was lower than the lowest expectations imaginable! I guess the one good thing out of this, since we are now cruising two to three times a year, is that we can now narrow down our cruise choices! Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
This was the cruise from Hell. We were told that Categories 11 & 12 would be escorted to the VIP Skipper's Lounge with our bags from the curb and then to our room. Not the case at all. We were met by a porter as soon as we arrived ... Read More
This was the cruise from Hell. We were told that Categories 11 & 12 would be escorted to the VIP Skipper's Lounge with our bags from the curb and then to our room. Not the case at all. We were met by a porter as soon as we arrived and he advised us to tip him and he would take care of everything. We NEVER saw him again and the bags were promptly loaded onto the bag cart with the rest of them that arrived several hours later to our room. The lounge turned out to be an office with a desk to sit at instead of a counter to stand at while answering questions and giving credit card info for the sign and sail card. After the boat drill, we decided to visit the Lido deck for the departure and "fun." We were shoved a Rum Punch and a ticket to sign to the tune of $6.25 apiece. On Sunday, near this same area, bees were swarming and parked on the soft drink overflow trap. The employees just kind of stood around like it was a novelty. I doubt that it was since they sail twice a week and this was probably a normal occurrence. The publicized 24 hour Ice Cream Parlor consisted of a stack of cones and a soft serve machine. Our suite was lovely and the steward, very friendly. Thank goodness for the verandah that we used in the middle of the night to warm up. The rooms were extremely cold and there were no thermostats. By the way, no clocks or radios, so you'd better take your own. We received turn down service and a mint nightly. Who said something about chocolate chip cookies? (professional review) I never saw any. People were sleeping in the terry cloth bathrobes and using the extra duvets in the closet and were still cold. Dinner was the only meal with an assigned table. Everything else was open seating and the menu was VERY limited. Dinner was the best meal of all and nothing that outstanding. The dinner staff was very nice. Never could figure out what the Maitre'd was actually doing, other than making an announcement each night, since our tables were already assigned. He wanted a tip though and had envelopes placed in each stateroom. $10 per day, per person was automatically charged for gratuities to the wait staff and room steward. We arrived at Nassau at 8:00am, but the stores didn't open until around 10. The perfume was more expensive than what we pay in US department stores and certainly more than we pay at the perfume warehouses. We opted to do what is called "self assisted debarkation." Unless you are triathlon trained, forget about it. We were told to bring all of our luggage to a designated lounge on Hollywood Blvd. along with our customs form, proof of citizenship, ID and Sign & Sail cards all in hand. At the appointed time, a group of Carnival employees told us to drag our luggage down two flights of stairs and through the Empress level where we finally presented the sign and sail for closing. We then had to get on an escalator with the luggage and go down another level and through a maze of lanes to a customs inspector for a brief interview. We were not allowed to use the elevators until after that was over. By that time, we didn't need an elevator, we needed a stretcher. We will take another cruise, but it will never be on Carnival. As my husband put it, this was a stickup without a weapon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2004

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