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8,448 Miami to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

This cruise to the Dominican and Grand Turk was a retirement gift from my co-workers. It was our first cruise and it was great. I will remember it always. Deon, who was our cruise director and a lot of the entertainment on the ship, made ... Read More
This cruise to the Dominican and Grand Turk was a retirement gift from my co-workers. It was our first cruise and it was great. I will remember it always. Deon, who was our cruise director and a lot of the entertainment on the ship, made this cruise the best time ever. He and all of the staff on the ship including Ivanna from Ukraine who was in the spa, Christina from Romania in guest services, Luisito from the Philippines our favorite waiter, Ramona our cabin steward and Rawanda from South Africa in the jewelry store treated us all like family. They were truly amazing people who got to know us and always welcomed conversation with us. They love their jobs and it shows in how they take care of everyone on the ship. Because of them we will return to Carnival for future cruises. As Deon said....we all came together as one big family on the ship, joined hands and shared our lives together as one big family for 5 days. Deon entertained us in the Fantasia lounge with Hasbro Games. He danced and sang for trivia and different events around the ship especially on the Lido deck. He was fantastic and got everyone involved. He was also very informative each day with what was going on and when so you could plan everything and not miss any major events. The food on the cruise was excellent especially the Guy’s burger joint and the pizza/deli. The buffets were also very good but the desserts were less than desirable. Thank goodness for the swirl cones they were always good. The bars were all phenomenal and loved kareoke! The excursions were okay at the Dominican and Grand Turk. We were not impressed with the tour of Grand Turk. They called a side street with shells and a few benches a nature preserve. The tour guide said “okay ladies and gents” a thousand times as he showed us just old dilapidated houses. The Dominican tour was better. We did not like the shopping experience at each port because we wanted to purchase more cultural items made by the locals and that was not an option. You could only buy junk from China in higher end shops that was the same in every store or high end jewelry that no one could afford. The beach areas were very small unless you bought excursions. The water and beaches were clean and beautiful. All in all being on the ship was the best part of our trip. Next time we will plan the more adventurous excursions. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Bed was horrible, not enough things to do on the ship, Velvet show distasteful and horrible we left early and we complained and got our money back. Food was so so. Two waiters were rude but the rest of the staff was excellent. I’ve been ... Read More
Bed was horrible, not enough things to do on the ship, Velvet show distasteful and horrible we left early and we complained and got our money back. Food was so so. Two waiters were rude but the rest of the staff was excellent. I’ve been on many cruises with other cruise lines but this was my worst experience. I got the exact link of the night pizza rolls from waffle sorrow for what my way to work and I had a 30 something about. This was our first time on Norwegian. The boarding and getting off the ship I have to admit was excellent. Our room wasn’t cleaned every day. The onboard credit woman was top class. I’ve been on other cruise liners and you guys have done things that needs improvement. The organization of the paper daily schedule compared to the app daily schedule never lined up. The app would list a show at one location but it was listed at another location on the paper schedule that was daily delivered to our room. That must be corrected Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I was invited by friends to join them on this cruise. The ship was beyond impeccable! The staff were all so happy and friendly and really seem to enjoy making the guests happy! I only encountered 1 staff person at the excursion desk who ... Read More
I was invited by friends to join them on this cruise. The ship was beyond impeccable! The staff were all so happy and friendly and really seem to enjoy making the guests happy! I only encountered 1 staff person at the excursion desk who was a little snappy and condescending with me...didn't catch her name. Our cabin attendant, Ulysses, was awesome! So attentive and friendly! Daylin (not sure if I'm spelling it correctly) the shopping guide....fabulous beyond words!! The bartender at the Ice Bar, young, handsome, (can't remember his name)....awesome personality! The staff at the buffet "washy, washy"...so happy and fun! It was also so nice to come back from the excursions to a warm welcome from the staff and ice cold cloths to freshen up! I love how clean and sanitized everything is kept. I do thi k someone needs to keep an eye on the juice machines at the buffet. The sign clearly states "do not refill your own personal bottles here", however I witnessed many passengers disregarding that and filling their bottles. There was so much going on, so many activities and so much fun! Wish I could have extended it to 2 weeks! I would definitely recommend The Breakaway to others and can't wait to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I am not new at cruising and have taken 9 cruises prior to this one. I have sailed with Norwegian in the past and had a blast. I have never left a negative review about a cruise because I have never had an experience this bad. This time ... Read More
I am not new at cruising and have taken 9 cruises prior to this one. I have sailed with Norwegian in the past and had a blast. I have never left a negative review about a cruise because I have never had an experience this bad. This time it was different. I hate leaving critical reviews because how much harm they can cause but this cruise was just really, really bad. Passengers all over the ship were unhappy (at least according to the talk in the elevators). The service was horrible unless you were in the specialty dining rooms (if you could even get a reservation) or at the Starbucks in the atrium (she was a riot! Super funny). Bar staff were very stand-offish and unfriendly. Average wait time for a drink from the bar was 30 mins or more. Wait time for drinks was much longer if you ordered from a server. I got in the habit of ordering two drinks at a time just to make sure I would actually get something. The dining in the main dining rooms was ok, nothing exceptional. Service was much better in the Manhattan Room than Taste or Savor although, again, if you ordered any type of beverage other than water you would be waiting longer than it took to get your food. The Buffet was pretty much always the same. Very little variety and no way to really order a soda if you wanted one. This cruise lacked the "wow" factor of cruising. I tried addressing some of these issues with guest services but they would just "yes" you to death or ignore you outright. It was just very strange. Embarkation and Debarkation was handled very well. The comedians they had onboard were awesome and "Velvet" was a fun show and worth the extra money. The terminal is really out-of-date but Norwegian did a good job of moving the boarding groups through pretty fast. When entering the ship though we were met with the smell of mildew and no pomp or circumstance (not a big deal for me but many people were upset by it.) We went with a group of three couples; all of us having the same complaints/concerns. Our package we paid for contemplated the unlimited beverage package, 3 specialty dining, reduced airfare, unlimited wifi and a discount for shore excursions. The wifi never worked. We were only able to get into one specialty dining as everything was reserved so that was a waste of selection. The Brazilian steakhouse is a thing of beauty though. We just wish we could have experienced two more to get our money's worth. With the amount of choices we have for cruises today I just don't know if it would be worth taking another Norwegian cruise and gamble if the experience would be different. This was, by far and away, the worst cruise I have ever taken. Maybe it is an isolated incident. I hope so. Probably the most frustrating part of it all is that I have made my concerns known and have never received even an "I'm sorry" from the company or their representatives. I guess in the numbers game our cabin is but 2 people in a sea of thousands who will cruise. I hope your experience is different. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My friends were going on this cruise and had been on Norwegian before, my family and I had not. This ship had the worst service in history, my family and I were SHOCKED. We bought the ultimate drink package and thought we'd get a ... Read More
My friends were going on this cruise and had been on Norwegian before, my family and I had not. This ship had the worst service in history, my family and I were SHOCKED. We bought the ultimate drink package and thought we'd get a chance to use it but that was just a dream, unfortunately. The bars were completely understaffed. We had to wait 30 minutes each time we wanted a drink from the bar (really the only place you can get drinks on the ship unless you want juice). We even waited 30 minutes even if we only wanted a pepsi or diet pepsi. We asked a server to get us drinks or a pepsi and were given dirty looks as if we'd committed some kind of crime. None of the staff or bartenders even understand the drink package or ultimate drink package. My friend had to print out the info on the drink package to show those in charge that san pelligrino water was actually included in the package (otherwise they were charging us for the bottles). For days I tried to get diet soda cans in our room but I was repeatedly told this was not possible, the ship didn't have diet soda. WHAT? And certainly didn't have any cans of diet soda... On the 4th day, my friend met with the Food & Beverage General Manager who advised that yes there was cans of diet soda and the GM sent 6-7 to the room (this was greatly appreciated). But why did it take 4 days, repeated interactions with staff, guest services, housekeeping, room service etc.? If you have a problem in your room, don't bother calling anyone, they never answer the phone anyway. The sun and pool deck were terribly over crowded - the lounge chairs had no space between them and people were practically on top of each other. In many cases, people were reserving lounge chairs from 6 or 7 am. There were open lounges at the top sun deck but it was so windy up there, it was uncomfortable. The pool easily had several hundred people in it, so if you didn't get it in early and stay in it, you couldn't get in it at all in the afternoon. The ropes course and slides were nice but since it was always terribly windy these were typically closed. (If you have been on Royal Carribean's Anthem of the Seas or Harmony of the Seas and loved it, you'll be bored out of your mind on this ship. There isn't enough for the 13 year olds to do especially with the wind problem. The main/regular dining options have horrible food and even worse service. Our server never even got us drinks and dinner took 2 hours. No one on this ship knows anything. We would go to guest services for information, they would send us elsewhere. We'd go to the X place as directed by guest services, and X place had no idea and would send us back to guest services. Guest services would send us back or to somewhere new. To say that the staff and servers are uninformed and don't care is an understatement and they certainly show it. The exception being the specialty dining. The service in the specialty dining - particularly Ocean Blue and Cagney's was great and the food was even better. We ate here several times (we wouldn't dare go to the Manhattan dining room or any other regular/main dining room). Also, don't bother with O'Sheehan - this dining experience also took several hours and the server was clearly overworked and unable to manage the guest load. Most of the food here wasn't great but the wings were pretty good. We also ate in the Italian restaurant - good food and decent service. Our kids (6 of them) ate in the hibachi restaurant and enjoyed that as well. The entertainment - music and comedians were great. Very enjoyable. Booking an excursion was challenging and we were told that the excursion we wanted was filled. So we went to Virgin Gorda on our own (saving hundreds) and it was beautiful. Definitely worth the trip. We were scratching our heads because we only saw 5 people from the cruise at Virgin Gorda Baths all day and the excursion certainly wasn't completely booked as we were told. The spa was nice but the staff didn't appear to be knowledgeable and are always pushing products even after I said "I don't want to buy anything" they still kept coming, pushing stuff. It made it a very uncomfortable experience. The thermal spa was also nice but it was difficult to get a chair and the floor was slippery, I wiped out and hurt my arm and knee. I made an appointment in the spa for a mother-daughter massage which was re-scheduled 3x because our reservation kept going "missing" - finally on our last day when it was there, we got our massage. During the massage, my daughter's massage therapist left the room for 10 minutes. I asked my therapist if she was okay and was coming back. My massage therapist said yes she left because of the weather. My daughter's massage therapist finally came back and resumed her massage. A few minutes later, she left again and I realized the vomiting noises I heard (and was hearing again), was my daughter's massage therapist. I couldn't believe it!! How could she be vomiting and then resume my daughter's massage as if everything was just fine?? Once I realized what was happening, of course, I became very green around the gills but I immediately stopped the massage. With the norovirus being commonplace among cruise ships, I would expect if someone was feeling ill or vomiting, he/she would not work on or with the guests. In this case, I think the massage therapist was sea sick but I can't be sure. I am so grossed out and horrified. Just as bad, I paid for this debacle and am worried sick about what my daughter was exposed to. On the last full day, there was a storm in the afternoon. The staff was slow to realize the impact of the storm and tie down lounge chairs to prevent them from being blown all around (into people etc). Do yourself a favor - go on any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I go on a cruise once a year - to relax and enjoy excellent views, amenities and service - in short - to be pampered. I'm willing to pay for that luxury and do so willingly. What I don't do is pay good money to stand in lines for ... Read More
I go on a cruise once a year - to relax and enjoy excellent views, amenities and service - in short - to be pampered. I'm willing to pay for that luxury and do so willingly. What I don't do is pay good money to stand in lines for 20 minutes to get a beverage, to have waiters totally ignore 90% of the people on the decks and to have bartenders be rude. Embarkation started out good - I'm Platinum level with their rewards program so check in was a breeze. The attendant at the entrance of the ship was another story - very rude - we were told at check in to go directly on board and where to go to do that. The attendant kept trying to send us back to check in for another card showing Platinum level even though it was clearly stated on the key card. Don't get me wrong - the Breakaway is a beautiful ship. The restaurants are fantastic, food selection excellent, waiters in the restaurants, all of them, are some of the best I've ever seen - positively no issues there. The Garden Buffet had an excellent variety of food, well prepared and seating was ample in spite of the number of people on board. The entertainment, although not bad, is not what it was on NCL lines even 5 years ago. I've seen the Blue Man Group and other similar acts on these ships in the past but not anymore - and this is also one of the things I've so very much looked forward to all year. For the first time in 11 years, I'm seriously considering changing cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
50th birthday Presidents cruise. Friends told us about the excellent entertainment. And it was. Disappointed with Hall and Oates having to see the at the Aqua Theater Screen. They made such a thing about the surprise entertainment ... Read More
50th birthday Presidents cruise. Friends told us about the excellent entertainment. And it was. Disappointed with Hall and Oates having to see the at the Aqua Theater Screen. They made such a thing about the surprise entertainment never saying that would only be for the Diamond Plus and above. I'm sure there were a lot of people upset. It should have been mentioned beforehand, but that would mean that some people would have dropped out? Other than that, it was a great cruise. Gifts every night celebrating 50 years. I always found a pool chair and towel. Even at Coco Cay. Many chairs available with umbrella. I would have stayed another day at Coco Cay, it was just so beautiful. Food was excellent also. We went to the Fresh Water Lagoon, did not do the Water Park (not my thing, but looked exciting for those young at heart and body) Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
RCCL always delivers the best all around experience. Symphony, the newest Oasis class ship, offers the very best entertainment of any line. The water show Hiro, in the outdoor aqua theater, is absolutely thrilling and amazing. Best part, ... Read More
RCCL always delivers the best all around experience. Symphony, the newest Oasis class ship, offers the very best entertainment of any line. The water show Hiro, in the outdoor aqua theater, is absolutely thrilling and amazing. Best part, it appeals to any age passenger. The professional ice show surpasses any I've seen on land, and the Broadway production of Hairspray was top quality, and another "do not miss" was the main theater production of a show called "Flight". Through music, costumes, dance, and AMAZING technical aspects, the audience experiences the entire history of "flight". Again, a show that surprises, amazes, and appeals to any age passenger. The range of activities on RCCL Oasis class ships is nearly endless, from a full size carousel, to 17 deck high zip line to rock climbing, that is only the beginning of the choices on the Symphony. The promenade, main indoor area of the ship has a "mall like" atmosphere with parties, parades, plenty of shopping and many eating and drinking choices. The outdoor "boardwalk" area features Johnny Rockets and a wonderful sports bar called Playmakers which rivals any found on land. Short comings on Symphony were limited and could be overcome. One of the most frustrating aspects on any RCCL ship is the number of times you are given information and then, when you comply, are given exactly the OPPOSITE information or direction by another employee. I find this maddening on almost all RCCL ships. Cabin service is over all excellent, but, over the years it seems to me the number of new ships coming into service must be cutting the time shorter for proper training of cabin attendants. Most try VERY hard, but several in my party on the 11-02-19 cruise had personable, but rather poorly trainer, attendants. The hotel desk on EVERY RCCL ship employs (apparently ?) the most haughty, superior acting, personnel they can find. On this cruise I was told my refundable deposit could NOT be applied back to my credit card because it was "not on file". Of course this was ridiculous; I travel on RCCL often and always use the same card, an RCCL Visa. When I returned from my cabin WITH the card I had been asked to go get, stood in line a second time, and was told by a very haughty and superior young woman "WHY in the world did you bring THAT ?" When I explained, she (with a very patronizing voice and continence) said, "MADAM, we do NOT give refundable OBC back on credit cards, that is done in CASH". I had never found that true previously ! I decided to wait a day and try another employee. Next afternoon, another superior acting (and also bored looking) hotel desk clerk "barked" at ME, "what ever gave you THAT idea" when I relayed that I understood refundable OBC can no longer be put back on a guest's credit card. I simply replied, " what gave me THAT idea is your employee working the a.m. shift yesterday" ! While other areas of the ship employ people who are exceptionally friendly and helpful, the hotel desk's continue to employ the most superior acting individuals I have met at any hotel. While I love RCCL for the over all experience, the company needs to consult with Disney as to how to select and train employees for front desk hotel and ship hotel desks ! Food on Symphony was very acceptable for such a huge ship. Plenty of variety, much more than on NCL ships for sure, and of average quality. Some brands of products are very poor, lots of nice breakfast choices in waffles and pancakes, but the syrup is EXTREMELY poor, nothing more than high fructose corn syrup in several forms ! No actual maple syrup is even available when asked for ! Yogurt is also very poor quality. But most dishes are very good, though warning, the chefs have a VERY heavy hand on the salt in these days when heavy use of salt is frowned on. Perhaps allowing passengers to use salt to taste at the table would be a better choice ! The embarkation and debarkation could not have been faster or easier, though the port terminal in Miami is beautiful but really crowded due to extreme traffic congestion. Our driver spent over an hour just trying to enter the terminal to pick us up, and then had to make additional circles once in. The cabin, a boardwalk balcony, was small but efficiently planned. The bed was comfortable, however, be aware if you are sailing solo, the two twin beds will be pushed together with a huge uncomfortable gap in the middle of your "mattress" and NO memory foam toppers are available. Therefore, you will always have to adjust to a narrow twin bed. The balcony is extremely small, probably 50 sq. feet or less, but holds two chairs and a table that is nice for a.m. coffee and pastry while watching the open ocean and the activity down on the boardwalk. Physical activities are so numerous and geared to every age. Enrichment and cultural activities are almost non existent. All discussions are limited to selling, nothing really enriching or learning. There are no port talks (other than where to shop, shop, shop) on cultural or historical aspects, no cooking demonstrations or lessons, no craft or computer lab instruction, the ships is geared to high energy physical activity and the magnificent water parks, slides, etc. Photo department was a disaster ! The last night there was over an hour wait to purchase previously order photos ! The space is limited and the line went well into other venues. Also, no order or organization, as if it was a "surprise" that many people would be picking up photos on the last night ! ? Two individuals I know had photos delivered to their cabin. NEITHER recognized any of the photos or the individuals in the photos ! Something is wrong here, a photo department if one of the biggest money makers on a ship, again, though I am very "loyal to royal", they could take a major lesson from how Disney handles photo organization and sales on their ships. Coco Cay, the RCCL island, has been completely "revolutionized". Absolutely outstanding ! The food facilities are really exceptional ! ! Clean, glassed in kitchen/prep area, nice, new, and clean tables in the eating area, and actual hand sinks to wash hands, not just hand sanitizer dispensers. Also RCCL HONORS the drink packages their guests have purchased, something most cruise lines do NOT do. They shamelessly charge guests for drinks on their islands, even though they have already extracted some $600 to $800 dollars PLUS 18% tax for drinks ! Kudoos to RCCL for not following this shameful practice ! Every detail has been carefully thought out on the island, I even saw beach wheelchairs, and a tram comes right down the quay and picks up passengers just steps from the gangway and take them to the tram station where they can transfer to another tram that circles the island. Great accessibility for infirm and disabled. Did not travel with children this time, but the children's facilities on Symphony and other Oasis class ships are beyond anything I have ever seen on any ship, nearly an entire "school", complete with auditorium, science lab, and classrooms. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this cruise well in advance after accidentally hearing about this once in a lifetime cruise with President Michael Bayley on their newest, biggest ship. It did not disappoint. We expected a great celebration and special events, ... Read More
We booked this cruise well in advance after accidentally hearing about this once in a lifetime cruise with President Michael Bayley on their newest, biggest ship. It did not disappoint. We expected a great celebration and special events, but we did not envision that every day would be another surprise. Mr. Bayley was very accessible throughout the ship and conducted a question answer session that went for about two hours in a packed theatre. Drawings were held for quite fantastic prizes like free airfare and cruises, as well special logo merchandise commemorating this special cruise event. We even voted on the next years presidents cruise! Each night in our cabin we were surprised with a free gift such as logo caps, beach towels, fleece blankets and even a retro coupon book like used to be used instead of adding specials onto your Sea Pass card. These were all top quality gifts, nothing cheap here. All of the crew seemed pretty excited about being part of this event and many additional crew who normally work shoreside were onboard as well. Pinnacle members were treated to a special luncheon on shore in San Juan at the historic former casino building, a private dinner at the Solarium Bistro, as well as a concert by Hall and Oates on the last night. This was followed by a really wonderful fireworks display for all from the private RCI island Coco Cay, while we remained docked there after sunset. As if all these special events weren't enough, all of the regular entertainment was indeed super. Two ice shows, two aqua theatre shows, the production show "Flight" and the Broadway musical "Hairspray" were presented. The high divers and synchronized swimmers in the second aqua show were fantastic and the special effects in "Flight" were some I have never seen before on a cruise ship. This was one cruise where the event was the event. The massive balloon drops in the Royal Promenade completed the celebration of a truly one time cruise. At least until next years? Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Very excited when I booked the President’s cruise about 2 months ago......made all the reservations right away, enjoyed GREAT entertainment as well as the bonus venues for the special sailing and the nice gifts delivered to our ... Read More
Very excited when I booked the President’s cruise about 2 months ago......made all the reservations right away, enjoyed GREAT entertainment as well as the bonus venues for the special sailing and the nice gifts delivered to our stateroom. Royal did a great job of trying to accommodate ALL the top tier cruisers, with extra staff, lounge spaces, etc. The lines were not a pleasant experience, but unavoidable. We had a Great Day at Coco Cay just doing all the free stuff, arrived early, plenty of chairs and umbrellas, delicious food available and the water was clear and full of fish.....heading back in Feb for the Thrill Park. Our only negative for the sailing was with our room, not being ready until after 2:00 on embarkation and not serviced for 2 days.....Guest relations was amazing though when it was mentioned to them, even a visit from the head of housekeeping. My photo with Michael Bailey is my best souvenir! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise based on the marketing and recommendation of an onboard future cruise consultant. Basically we bought the hype and it turn out to be sadly deceptive advertising. This cruise was supposed to have ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise based on the marketing and recommendation of an onboard future cruise consultant. Basically we bought the hype and it turn out to be sadly deceptive advertising. This cruise was supposed to have special guest performers, and filled with prizes and surprises. We paid the premium price with high expectations, which Royal Caribbean failed to fulfill. The coveted special guest performers were revealed to be one only and it was Hall & Oates. The announcement was made on the internet and youtube. In addition we received a leaflet in our room with the onboard shows itineraries where Hall & Oates were highlighted. Also, the Cruise Compass (brochure) highlighted the two show times. Unfortunately, the night before the scheduled concerts, the decisions was made to change the concert from public to a private concert, only for certain tier levels. Shame on Royal. Being the 50th Birthday Cruise and with 5000 passengers on board we expected a fair amount of prizes. Only 4 cruises were given away. Two of the cruises were 4 day cruises. There was a two day inaugural Odyssey Cruise and the Grand Prize cruiser was a 7 day Caribbean cruise. 5000 passenger and thats the boldest that Royal got. The other prizes were small, minimal and insignificant. In addition to the Birthday Fiasco it was quite evident that Royal Caribbean has cut down one staffing in much needed areas as follows: 1. Security - Crowd control was scary because there was none. Im almost sure this was part of the reason for the concert change. 2. Entertainment - What entertainment ???? If there was a entertainment staff it consisted of the very nice Brazilian/Asian man and his sidekick Michael the entertainment director 3. Speaking of directors, where in the world was Ken Rush??? 4. No wait staff for drinks or clean up. They really cut down in this area 5. Cleaning staff - Remember how cruise staff were constantly cleaning the elevators and handrails, well that's a thing of the pass. 6. Housekeeping- It appears that the room stewards have had an increase in the number of rooms assigned to them. This results in passageways that seem to always have cleaning carts etc... obstructing the walkway. On a positive note our cabin was cleaned daily and very spacious.The shows are great. The food was fabulous. Our dining room waiters were the best ever. Our room steward was fantastic. This being said I believe Royal has made changes that don't acommodate the over 50 crowd. That may be the route they have chosen to go. Luckily we have other options. In conclusion I will never take a President's Cruise. Also, my husband and I who consider ourselves to be loyal to royal, will be looking at other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
First, let me give praise where it is due. Our wait staff in the My Time Dining room were pleasant, kind, dedicated, hard-working, and determined to provide us with the kind of care that Royal Caribbean is famous for. Our room steward also ... Read More
First, let me give praise where it is due. Our wait staff in the My Time Dining room were pleasant, kind, dedicated, hard-working, and determined to provide us with the kind of care that Royal Caribbean is famous for. Our room steward also did an excellent job. Many kudos and sincerest thanks to them. A 5 star rating is not good enough for the service they provided. Sadly, the rest of the cruise only occasionally rose to mediocrity and often sunk to the pits of frustration and humiliation. The failure of the cruise to reach anything close to expectations lies firmly on uncaring upper level corporate incompetence and mis-management decisions. So what went wrong? Last year we took the Transatlantic re-positioning of Symphony from Europe to Ft Lauderdale. It was a lovely trip. When asking about Future Cruises, we were told that we should look at the The President’s Birthday cruise on Symphony. “It’s going to be a major party!” Lots of big name performers! We aren’t allowed to say who yet, but trust us, you are going to be shocked at the lineup! (Wink, Wink, Nod, Nod.) Giveaways! Activities! Hey, it’s the 50th Birthday, Royal Caribbean is going to pull out all the stops! 50th Birthday only comes once! Etc, etc. etc. So we booked. Our problems began a few days before the Birthday cruise was to board. We got a call from Royal, saying our reservations for 2 nights dinner at Solarium Bistro had been cancelled. “Why?” we asked. “A Private Function is now scheduled in that venue.” They answered. “But we were really looking forward to those reservations. We don’t want to give them up.” “Sorry.” “What else can you offer us? Can you discount one of the other extra cost dining venues?” “There are no plans to offer discounts due to reservation cancellations.” “So what else can you recommend?” “You could try the Windjammer Buffet.” The Private Function turned out to be closing the Solarium to anyone except Pinnacle members. Ok, so we’ve still got theater shows and those “secret” premier performers, Performers is plural. We thought there would be one each evening. Nope, wrong to think that. One band scheduled for two performances in the Cruise Compass and the marketing package we received. Then the two performances became only one show. And then magically that show transformed into another of the dreaded “Private Function” for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members.” So what do you get if you are not Diamond Plus or Pinnacle? “You got a cover band three nights ago. What else do you expect? Have you considered the Windjammer?” And who were the premier performers? Hall and Oates. You may remember them slightly. No hits since 1984, over 35 years ago. Maybe you liked them way back when. But give me a break. They are not cutting edge, first-tier performers, at least in the 21st century. And was this the last problem with the cruise? No. You don’t want to read a novel here so I will recap a few issues. There were more. Security officers nearly non-existent. This means no crowd control. Is the Neon Night line turning into a stampede? It’s every man for himself. You can be run down by electric adult handicap scooters and Visa cardholders desperate to get a fifty-cent flashing necklace. This is true even if you just turned the wrong corner and are not trying to go to the event. Need a waiter for coffee in the morning or a drink by the pool? Forget it. My guess is crew staffing has been cut to the bone and then cut again for budget reasons. Electric adult scooters. They clog the halls and elevators, They will crash into you if you don’t jump out of the way. They pose a risk to other guests. Anyone can bring one. A genuine handicapped designation should be required to get one of these things on board. Children with no parents or no visible supervision. Your evening will not be enhanced by a five year old trying to strum the solo performer’s guitar while she is playing. This actually happened. Where is security? See previous comment. Speaking of children, why are they allowed in bars and dance venues after 9 pm? This is not Romper Room or a teen video game parlor. Nothing destroys the enchantment of an evening like being tripped by a band of marauding kids darting in and out of the dance floor. Are the Cruise and Entertainment Directors real or only holograms? You might see them projected on a stage but you won’t see them any other time. Presidents Cruise Prizes? Much ado about nothing. Four cruises of which two were in the lower level of Royal Caribbean ships. One was a two night inaugural cruise on the Odyssey and the Grand Prize was a 7 day Caribbean cruise. A few American Airlines fare vouchers which cannot be used on discounted flights making them virtually worthless. A handful of $50 on board credit vouchers. For a ship with over 5000 passengers this was paltry. Was this “The Biggest Boldest Birthday Party and Presidents Cruise Ever!” to borrow from Royal’s marketing blurb? After three back to back sea days with no activities different from any other cruise, cancelled reservations, and performances, I don’t think any passenger would agree. It was more Boredom than Bold. So, that’s my review of Royal’s 50 Years of Being Bold Cruise. It was a budget cruise at a premium price. I honestly believe the way this cruise was merchandised was a scam. I have been Loyal to Royal for a long time. I only wish Royal shared the same loyalty to its passengers. Shame on Royal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked the President Cruise to attend the Hall and Oats concert live. We are diamond members and were told on the ship that we could not attend the live concert due to high demand. You would think if Royal was Loyal to their customers ... Read More
We booked the President Cruise to attend the Hall and Oats concert live. We are diamond members and were told on the ship that we could not attend the live concert due to high demand. You would think if Royal was Loyal to their customers they would add a extra show. This is not rocket science just good customer service. and planning. Poor planning and customer service made for a bad experience. On this cruise, all the specialty restaurants are booked and all the shows are overcrowded. The shows are outstanding if you can get in. Food was good and we have a nice cabin and a great room steward who is very attentive. Generally not a relaxing vacation as there is a fair amount of stress with not getting into these events. This will be our last President s Cruise. It’s just not worth the effort and was no way special. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise line based on a friend's recommendation. I've never been on a cruise before so I followed her advice. What an incredible experience! I traveled with a friend and no children. This is a fantastic cruise line. ... Read More
I chose this cruise line based on a friend's recommendation. I've never been on a cruise before so I followed her advice. What an incredible experience! I traveled with a friend and no children. This is a fantastic cruise line. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly at every port. Tables were set up with cold water and towels at our return from the islands, which was very thoughtful, as well as music and entertainment. The ship in itself is marvelous, the decor and the way it is organized and set up is fantastic. Multiple bars and entertainment on each floor. We had a balcony cabin which we found was vey spacious for the two of us. It had a magnificent view and we could see the most beautiful sunsets. Our steward was very diligent and kept the room spotless all the time. The food at the Marketplace was delicious as well as our restaurant. A variety of delicious food at the buffet, we could always find something to eat. At the Seashore restaurant, the choice of menus was delicious. Every night they had a different cuisine, french, italian, etc and american dishes in case you did not want the chef's choice. The service was superb. The waiters, stewards, bartenders, photographers, etc. What a magnificent group of people! Attentive, nice, helpful, well informed, always doing their best to make you feel good. The entertainment department of this ship is marvelous. Every one of them was great! The shows are mind blowing. The crew is very talented and definitely keep you entertained. We did a couple of shore excursions and we had a great time. One thing that I did not like was the fact that we had to wait for the catamaran to take us to St john for 20 minutes in the heat. It was hard for the children and the eldest. They should have been more organized like the one at St Maarten 360. That one was well organized, went very smoothly. I attended the Cruise Critic meet and greet. It was very well organized. We met the captain and officers of the ship. Every one was very nice and attentive. We had a fantastic time on the Seaside. I will definitely recommended MSC and it is my cruise line of choice from now on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship is beautiful, and we enjoyed the balcony suite. The food was meadeocre at best, and there was an almost animal feeding frenzy at meal time. the people were very rude and jumping in front of you. i am 72 guess that didn't ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, and we enjoyed the balcony suite. The food was meadeocre at best, and there was an almost animal feeding frenzy at meal time. the people were very rude and jumping in front of you. i am 72 guess that didn't count for anything, and i move kinda slow. Breakfast was the best meal the rest were ho hum about the same thing everyday. carnival has burgers by the pool and barbq on the outer deck every thing is spread out on the seaside it was all jammed up. their are 18in support post within 2.5 ft of serving line that made it hard for two people to stand side by side, found the soft serve icecream and the 4th day it is behind the counter. Only one toster for bread and it is at the end of the line blocking everything. The excursion was a farce, we docked at puerto rico at 5pm we started the tour a 5:30 by six we were a the bracardi plant it was dark we sat around 30 min before gaining entrance to the meseum which consisted of 4 one was a courtyard the next was an old still, the 3rd was a reproduction of bracardi's office, and the last a reproduction of a havanah bar. BY THE TIME WE LEFT IT WAS DARK AND ALL THE SHOPS WERE CLOSED, NO SHOPPING BYE PUERTO RICO Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
To begin, I have a love hate relationship with MSC. If you wish to find more details, you can search MSC Comedy of Errors on cruise critic's MSC forum for more information. I'll detail a few of them before I get into the meat ... Read More
To begin, I have a love hate relationship with MSC. If you wish to find more details, you can search MSC Comedy of Errors on cruise critic's MSC forum for more information. I'll detail a few of them before I get into the meat of the review: 1. Booked a 4 night cruise out of Barcelona. We had sailed on Divina out of Rome 2 years prior. MSC changed the itinerary to a much longer cruise out of Brazil, but never informed us in any way about the change. No letter, no e-mail, no text, no phone call. When I finally found out, I called MSC, asked about losing status since the change was their fault and not mine. They told me I wouldn't lose status and then took away all of my Voyager's Club points. 2. Booked this cruise on Seaside. Package showed to be free drinks, but for some reason my sailing only included drinks at dinner. Later, better promotion including drinks anytime appeared. Was told I could change to the new promotion and keep the same nice midship balcony cabin. Moved to the new promo and they moved the cabin to a far less desirable room, very front of the ship, so less desirable location, apparently smaller, with a steel balcony (rather than the usual glass), and obviously it's hard to see through steel. Took months and an Act of God to get the problem fixed. Again, you can search through the rest of post as noted, but MSC's customer service has been hit and miss, with more miss than hit. That aside, we think their newer ships are beautiful and generally represent a good value, if you can get past the nagging customer service issues. Pro Tip: Once you have the cruise you want, try to avoid calling MSC customer service. They'll screw things up as often as not, if not more so. Now, onto the cruise review. MSC Seaside is a beautiful ship with some similarities to Bellissima but distinct differences as well. I'll touch upon some of those in the body of the review. Cabin: 4 stars. Quite comfortable, but not quite as good as Bellissima. Usually quiet, but we were on the 15th deck in Cabin 15113 right under the smaller Biscayne Bay buffet and during the day it was very noisy due to chairs being moved around. Fortunately it was quiet at night. There were some stains on the upholstery, but for the most part the room was in good shape. We found it to be a bit on the small side, like Bellissima, but it was large enough for our purposes. The cabin was mostly kept clean. However there were 2 nights where it was not cleaned and I'm still not sure why that was. Dining: I thought the food was quite good, better than on Bellissima or Divina. We were given lamb chops that were so wonderfully seasoned and cooked just perfectly. The same with respect to prime rib, just a perfect medium rare. I sent compliments to the chef on both occasions. The menus were often stained with oily food stains which was not so great. There was a heavy gasoline smell that permeated the Ipanema restaurant which I found to be quite foul. I asked staff about it. They said the smell came from a "diesel compressor" and it was the 2nd week that they'd had the problem. Not good. We found the Seaside restaurant to be nicer than Ipanema, which my girlfriend thought looked like a Denny's. The restaurants were nicer and restaurant service were better on Bellissima (which we sailed on in May out of Barcelona), but I think the food was better on Seaside. We enjoyed the food in the buffets and found it to be fresh and the variety reasonably good. Be aware than you may have a less crowded experience in the smaller Biscayne Bay buffet on the 16th deck. Less variety, but for breakfast it was similar to the larger buffet, but not as many people to fight your way though. Pro Tip: Things like New York steak, shrimp cocktail, Caesar Salad and salmon were available every night on the right side of the menu. The salmon was excellent as was the small but very fresh shrimp cocktail. The New York steak was pretty good, so if you don't see something you like on the left side, check out the "standard" options on the right side. Embarkation: We've had rapid and smooth embarkation and disembarkation experiences on all 3 of our MSC cruises. I think they do this very well. 5 stars. Entertainment: Entertainment was a mixed bag. Generally, we felt that the shows were disjointed and lacking in theme and quality. It seems like they said, "Hey, we've got a good guy who rolls around in a hoop and a couple of good roller skaters, so let's build shows around them". While I felt the Michael Jackson show was very good and the performer who played Jackson was excellent, many of the other cast members of all shows were just okay. The shows were much, much better on Bellissima. Also, I believe Seaside had recorded music in their shows where Bellissima had a live band. It made a big difference. We saw various other performers live throughout the ship. Not bad, but probably the worst of my 3 MSC cruises. On Divina, some of the performances and performers were amazing. I'm not a big opera guy, but there was an opera singer who was fantastic and a pianist who was incredibly talented. We didn't see much of that on Seaside. We thought they did a nice job on the Halloween party. Not as many passengers dancing as Bellissima, and the music could have been better. That might have played into things. Pro Tip: If you don't have a reservation for the show, you'll have to wait until the last 5 minutes to be seated and there won't be many seats left. So reserve the shows in advance. Fitness and Recreation: While I didn't use the gym, we did check it out and it appeared to be of a very high quality. Onboard Experience: Not sure what they're looking for, but I'd have to say that generally it was very good. We did have an engine failure our of St. Maarten which lasted for nearly 1 hour, but fortunately that didn't alter our schedule. Public Rooms: For the most part, spotlessly clean. They aren't as elegant as Divina or Bellissima, but generally pretty nice, in my view. I think Divina has the best soaring atrium, but they did have a fairly high atrium on Seaside. While Bellissima didn't have a soaring atrium, it does have that great promenade with a high-resolution ceiling, which was missing on Seaside. I think future ships should add the same promenade but also feature the soaring atrium where the lit elevators glide gracefully up and down the various decks. Service: Staff: On Divina, we had a snotty Eastern European staff who seemed like they hated their life, hated their jobs and hated their passengers. Things had improved on Bellissima and the service level was quite high. My girlfriend is from the Philippines and I've suggested that they should hire more Filipinos. They are a hard working people and very naturally friendly, for the most part. They did just that. While frankly, I thought the service was a bit better on Bellissima, the staff was super friendly on Seaside, which made for a more enjoyable experience. In terms of the bars, they couldn't make a decent cocktail on Bellissima. The same drink tasted wildly different from one bar to the next. On Seaside, the drinks were sometimes on the weak side, but at least the quality was consistent. Pro Tip: If you don't like your restaurant assignment, see the Matire 'D and see him early. We had a 5 pm dinner seating which I changed to 9:30 pm. The Maitre 'D on Seaside was a nice guy, but on Bellissima he was a total jerk. A Gripe and Suggestion: We had the easy drink package that provided basic drinks. If you wanted something fancier, you had to pay for the entire cocktail. I suggest that MSC allow credit for the basic drinks towards the fancier ones. So if the general limit for an easy package drink is $6 and one wishes to buy a drink costing $10, charge the customer $4 rather than the full $10 since they do have a drink package already in place. Shore Excursions: We only did one of MSC's shore excursions and that was the "Sweet St. Maarten, Maho and Marigot". For the most part, this tour was enjoyable and was a good value. But I could have skipped the visit to the ice cream shop, where you had to buy your own ice cream. I guess it did give one an opportunity for a restroom break. While I did enjoy the tour, our bus broke down in sweltering heat. So we're sitting diagonnally in the middle of the road, largely blocking both lanes of traffic. Oh, and no air conditioner either. And if that wasn't bad enough, everyone was honking their horns at us and police had to be called to direct traffic around our disabled bus. They did eventually get us another bus, but it was an uncomfortable experience and limited my ability to shop in the ports. In fact, I lost a dress I purchased for my girlfriend, in part, because I was rushed due to the bus' mechanical failure issue. Normally I'd give our excursion a 4 rating, but I'll knock off 1 star and a 3 is generous in light of the bus breakdown. Value for Money: I'd probably give it 5 stars. As noted, the newer MSC ships are gorgeous, the service was pretty good, food is getting better. I think that if you can put up with some funky customer service issues and a glitch here and there, MSC represents a very good value. We currently have a cruise booked next year and in 2021. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I’ve cruised once before on this line and about 25 other times on other lines. This was by far the most disappointing. I’m on the ship now on day 4 of our 7 day cruise. The food is terrible. The food choices at the buffet sub par. ... Read More
I’ve cruised once before on this line and about 25 other times on other lines. This was by far the most disappointing. I’m on the ship now on day 4 of our 7 day cruise. The food is terrible. The food choices at the buffet sub par. The shows are similar night over night with the same cast appearing in each show. Little variety. Tonight they repeated two of the acts. I will likely never cruise MSC again. There is nothing special about this ship other than the pool area. It’s a bit bigger than others I’ve been on. It isn’t spectacular and the entertainment during the day is not really there. We signed up for the thermal spa. This spa while it offers a variety of options with the exception of the sauna the areas are small and limited. The gym is decent. That’s about it. Wouldn’t return. I wasn’t impressed and didn’t like 3 levels of drink packages. It’s either you have it or you don’t. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and timing. The price was right as well. The activities staff were fun, personable, and lively. We enjoyed the main dining room as well as the Windjammer. The food was very good to excellent as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and timing. The price was right as well. The activities staff were fun, personable, and lively. We enjoyed the main dining room as well as the Windjammer. The food was very good to excellent as was the food service staff. We were aboard the Empress for Halloween -great decorations! While the gym was small, remember this is the smallest ship in the RCCL fleet, there were more cardio machines than on some larger ships and they worked. I could always find one available. Here’s the only real negative experience on the ship. We were on the 9th deck, mid-ship, starboard side. We think there were elephant races above us at night. Sometimes as late as 2:00 a.m. There was a constant banging of heavy footsteps above us. Others in cabins nearby thought the noise was caused by children running in the youth area, Adventure Ocean and vigorously complained to guest services. We would sail on the Empress of the Seas again, but AVOID deck 9 mid ship, starboard side. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Was originally scheduled to go to Cuba, but due to recent changes by the US government, the itinerary was changed. I followed the reviews for this ship for a few months and was very leary about going anywhere on this ship. Put your mind ... Read More
Was originally scheduled to go to Cuba, but due to recent changes by the US government, the itinerary was changed. I followed the reviews for this ship for a few months and was very leary about going anywhere on this ship. Put your mind at ease, the ship was great! It is small, but it is personable. The crew is great. You could not ask for a better wait staff. The servers were very friendly. Basically, I did not encounter any bad personalities. The guest were just as friendly, and very respectful of the staff. I have been on many cruises where that was not the case. As for the odor that some folks complained about, there is a whiff of a sewage smell on certain decks, but it is not overpowering or unbearable. Did not experience any plumbing issues in the cabin. I had an interior room and no roommate so space was not an issue for me. My sister and niece shared a room and they appeared to be able maneuver in the room without any issues. Entertainment was good. For the 8 days they had a nice variety. Juggler, violinist, Celine Deion impersonation, comedian, production show. Small casino with decent machines. Was cruising during Halloween and RCCL really did a nice job with the decorations and entertainment for that night. Had a blast at the 70’s party. Food was typical cruise food, but I would say one thing, best hot dogs, burgers and fries I have ever tasted on a cruise ship. Better than the Guy Ferier burger stand on the Carnival line. Caribbean night is also a good night to eat in the Windjammer. Very good oxtails....yummy! Did one excursion through RCCL in San Juan. Tour of old and new San Juan with a 2 hr stop at the mall. Two hours is not enough time for this mall. You need at least 4 hrs. This is a huge mall. All in all, this ship is the little ship with a big heart. So book your cruise and have a wonderful time. Go with an open mind and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Small ship experience at modest prices...I would give Empress an A+ for guest services , housekeeping, dining ( limited venues) , spaces to chill/ relax, best Schooner Bar space, superior shore excursions and activities staff , spacious ... Read More
Small ship experience at modest prices...I would give Empress an A+ for guest services , housekeeping, dining ( limited venues) , spaces to chill/ relax, best Schooner Bar space, superior shore excursions and activities staff , spacious Shops area Our room was a junior suite with a balcony. It was clean with excellent lighting especially for reading in bed HOWEVER if one wants quiet rooms/ junior suites on Deck 9 are a BAD choice. One deals with extensive pool noise from bands or movies shown on pool deck10 or pounding of little feet from Adventure Ocean with very bad sound attenuation We did not do our homework to see what was above us. Would we return to the Empress? Certainly... but we would get a Deck 9 suite far aft or suites off the aft part of the ship or even settle for a smallish ocean view (136sq ft) The Empress has wonderful public areas although the Centrum is small(but well utilized ) The ship is showing its age. We love this size ship but RCI seems to be moving to LARGE ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We just got home after an incredible 10 days in the Caribbean. We really enjoy the port intensive experience, with 7 of the 10 days in port. The downside is that the sea days are perfect also and we would have savored more time enjoying ... Read More
We just got home after an incredible 10 days in the Caribbean. We really enjoy the port intensive experience, with 7 of the 10 days in port. The downside is that the sea days are perfect also and we would have savored more time enjoying those wonderful sea days. The service and crew were incredible. The hostesses in all the venues, the waitstaff without exception and the bar servers were so good that it's ridiculous. The servers at the pool were always there to get you anything you could think of. Wine glasses in the restaurants were always topped off. The meals were served elegantly, no rushing, no running, no tossing silverware on the table between courses. If you need to eat in 30 minutes, this is not the ship for you. If you like to dine, enjoy your tablemates or your spouse, you will have a lovely meal with plenty of time at the end to dance, get to the show and get a seat with no problem or do whatever moves you. On the few occasions where we wanted a table for two and none were available, we simply walked a few yards to a lovely bar, enjoyed a perfectly constructed cocktail and when our table was ready an elegantly dressed host or hostess approached us, greeted us by name and escorted us to our table. Perfect in every way. By the way, the food was very good to outstanding. We never had anything that was just OK. The suite was well maintained, kept spotless by our steward and his assistant. They kept the mini bar stocked and fresh fruit was always on hand. By way of full disclosure, when we checked into our cabin on our last trip on the Mariner one of the vents sounded like a jet engine, very unpleasant. When the steward stopped by to introduce himself I pointed out the noise and asked him to try to handle it. We went to lunch, took a walk around the pool and had a beer. When we got back the problem was resolved. Just that quick. The public spaces were always clean and the restrooms always looked like someone had just refreshed them. The excursions were above average in my experience and the logistics were handled very well. Given the small passenger count we expected this to be the case and were not disappointed. The entertainment was excellent. The sets and costumes were simple, not as extravagant as say Princess, but the singers and dancers were the best we've seen on any size ship. With some major cruise lines (ie. HAL) cutting back hard on production type shows its incredible to see this kind of talent and staging on such a small ship. The orchestra did double duty most nights and followed or preceeded the shows with a dance or genre set. The also had a great, energetic and talented duo on board that played every night, did requests and kept us dancing. One topic that's harder to quantify is the quality of the passengers themselves. We met so many wonderful people on this cruise. Days spent with people on excursions or on the ship that were having a great time and not spending every minute trying to find fault was a delightful change of pace for us after traveling other brands. It was great leaving the cabin in the evening and seeing everyone comply with the simple elegant casual rule. Everyone looked great and dining was so much nicer. I wish some of the premium lines would compel passengers to adhere to the stated rules. If you need to wear cutoffs, ball caps, t shirts, etc. at night that's absolutely OK. Choose a ship that allows or encourages it. To my fellow travelers and reviewers that had problems on with their cabin, food or service I can only say that you had some very bad luck because we've been on the Mariner twice and they exceeded every expectation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have been on over 20 cruises on various lines. We took this because it was the next level up and we wanted to compare it to Oceania. One passenger describe it best when he said about the crew, they are very friending and smile but the ... Read More
We have been on over 20 cruises on various lines. We took this because it was the next level up and we wanted to compare it to Oceania. One passenger describe it best when he said about the crew, they are very friending and smile but the just don't understand what you are asking for. Alcohol is included in the price but if you don't drink, the staff does not know what to do with you. I never had a meal where I did not have to ask (seriously) at least 3 times per meal to have my water glass refilled. Everyday either first hand or watching others, orders (both drink and meal) were wrong or delivered to the wrong table. At least 3 times my order was delivered to someone else and I would not have gotten my order if I did not see this. In the dinning room we noticed that about 70% of the activity was around serving boos and not food. The meals were top notch. The everyday menu was excellent as a back-up if you did not like the daily choices. Chartreuse, the French restaurant was poor at best. Everyone we spoke to was very disappointed. One person was trying to be polite and when I said "it sucked", he said, "well.... yeah". The rooms were very roomy, that cabin crew nice but not as quick as we would expect. If we were gone for 2 or more hours in the morning, we did expect our room to be made up when we came back which did not happen about 1/3 of the time. Shore excursions are included in the price but you need to know that you have to book them within the first 5 minutes of them opening if you want to get a popular one. The excursions themselves were okay but because our itinerary was changed from Cuba to the Caribbean, I can understand that they were not excellent. The programs were some games and only had 2 enrichment seminars per day while at sea. For this group, more of that would have been appropriate. We are active people and there was not much to learn about of be active while at sea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with our family, which consisted of our adult children, my sister-in-law, and mother-in-law. We flew into Miami the day before departure, however we got in too late to really do any ... Read More
We chose to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with our family, which consisted of our adult children, my sister-in-law, and mother-in-law. We flew into Miami the day before departure, however we got in too late to really do any exploration of the city. About 8 weeks prior to our departure, my sister-in-law broke her ankle which rendered her unable to bear any weight on her foot. She had a knee scooter and also decided to rent a wheelchair while on the cruise. We arrived at the port terminal around noon, and due to my sister-in-laws condition we were quickly escorted to a special line for those with disabilities. From that moment on, the cruise staff assisted with pushing her wheelchair throughout check-in until we were safely aboard ship. We did observe during check-in that the crew was running what we assumed was intranet wire from the ship to the terminal, however we did not experience any delays and we were onboard the ship sometime around 1:00 pm. Not everyone was so lucky, as we later learned problems insued delaying the check-in process for many that day. The ship was beautiful, and clean. The crew was always present busily cleaning, attending to the ship, collecting dishes from the buffet, pool areas, waterfront. In addition the staff provided drink services in the pool area, theatres, lounges, and waterfront. They were also super helpful to my sister-in-law in assisting with her especially as she tried to gather her food in the buffet. We enjoyed our meals in the buffet, Taste, Savor, Cagney's, O'Sheean's, Teppykanni, & the Noodle bar. There is so much to do onboard the ship, I was a little worried as this was the largest ship we have ever been on, but getting around, and finding what you were looking for was very easy. For those in wheelchairs, knee scooters, or with walkers, and or canes the ship is easily navigated and had plenty of accessible public restrooms. Unfortunately, most problems that those with disabilities will encounter will involve that of fellow passengers as I observed numerous occasions in which able walking people will rush to crowd elevators ahead of said person who is physically incapable of using the stairs. So keep that in mind especially during high traffic times, and allow for extra time to get where you need. I watched both Rock of Ages, and Burn the Floor and enjoyed both shows immensely. I did make reservations for both these shows prior to departure. My sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and daughter also saw Wine Lovers the Musical and they all recommend it! We also saw the Comedy show, listened to music at Syd Normans, in The Atrium, and at Shakers Martini Bar. All were exceptional. We spent time lounging, drinking, and hanging out on the Waterfront on deck 8 both during the day and at night and it was just so pleasurable. Myself, daughter, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law enjoyed some massages in the Mandarin Spa and found the experience to be exhilarating for body, mind, and soul. Of course some up selling is to be expected, but in my experience it was done very respectfully and was not at all pushy or forceful. Our visit to SanJuan, Puerto Rico was just a leisurely stroll near the waterfront as the steep hills, and cobblestone was not walking friendly for pushing someone in a wheelchair. We enjoyed some local cuisine, drinks, and some local vendors who had tents near the cruise port. In StThomas, USVI we choose the NCL shore excursion on the KON TIKI boat, as we thought this would be an accessible tour. There were a few steps to get into the boat, and my sister-in-law was totally unable to bear any weight on her foot as she had surgery just 4 weeks prior. However the crew of this boat went above and beyond in assisting so that she was able to get on the boat. This was our best excursion, the boat ride was informative, lively, and fun!! The beach was incredible. The only bad thing was that it ended, as I wish I was still relaxing in the warm calm waters, or sipping rum punch while listening to music, or dancing with the engaging crew! The next day was Tortola, BVI and because of my sister-in-law's unexpected injury we chose not to elect any excursions in that port. We walked around briefly, stopped in some of the Shops in the port at Road Town, and headed back aboard the ship. In Nassau, Bahamas we choose the NCL excursion to Balmoral Island as we were told this was the best excursion for guests with wheelchairs. Once again, stepping down into a boat for a person who cannot bear any weight is tricky at best but the crew were again phenomenal in offering aide to get her aboard the ship. On this tour, we were actually able to get her on the beach and in a lounge chair. There was a gift shop, bar, and restaurant that were all on a path that was accessible for those in a wheelchair. In addition to the beach, there was a pool available for use as well. Disembarking was conducted in a separate area for those who were confined to a wheelchair or required special assistance. Once again, we were accompanied by a crew member from the ship to the port terminal, and although of course we waited, overall the experience was pleasurable. If any NCL representative is reading this, one suggestion would be to have coffee & hot water carafes available in the waiting areas on disembarkation day as that would be a super nice touch. Overall I was extremely happy with our experience, and most certainly any experience that was negative (which were very few) was the direct result of inconsiderate, or rude behaviour by guests which is certainly not something that the cruise line or it's staff can control at every conceivable moment. I will definitely be sailing again soon with NCL! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have cruised with NCL on several occasions and always find that it's good value for our money. The ship is spotlessly clean, the crew work very hard to see it's kept that way. The food on this cruise was exceptional, ... Read More
I have cruised with NCL on several occasions and always find that it's good value for our money. The ship is spotlessly clean, the crew work very hard to see it's kept that way. The food on this cruise was exceptional, particularly in Cagney's and Teppinyaki. Savor & Taste menus are always varied and very good. We did have a problem boarding the ship - there was a technical issue which resulted in us having to wait in a very crowded, hot room with hundreds of people for over 3 hours. This was after we had checked in and obtained our key cards. Unfortunately, these things happen and not much can be done about it. There was often a lineup 3 deep at the pool bars, but there are plenty of other bars that aren't quite as busy so it really wasn't a problem. Overall, it was a wonderful cruise and we look forward to cruising with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
No 24 hr open bar they closed at 2:00 . 3 bartenders and al in the same side of the bar , and dont make eyes contact to nobody This for no make drinks . Service at the rest was Poor always offset and when solicited more attention they ... Read More
No 24 hr open bar they closed at 2:00 . 3 bartenders and al in the same side of the bar , and dont make eyes contact to nobody This for no make drinks . Service at the rest was Poor always offset and when solicited more attention they Anwers back bad way. They made my son feel bad about the ropes course they made him go back to change his pants because they were damp and then the shirt because it got “wet” with the pants. The only one who treated us right was Federico the beverage and wine bartender the 1 reason that we went to this cruse was the slides when we got there the best ones were closed then they closed another one and there were only 2 slides left open but they opened another one but the best ones never opened I was very sad when my kids did not have the opportunity to get to the slides they wanted to. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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