2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My ... Read More
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My daughter was lucky enough to score a single room, and it was spectacular. The holiday decorations were beautiful, the shows entertaining, and the themed deck parties kept everyone dancing late into the night. I loved freestyle dining and had no problem finding a lovely place to eat. The bars were well stocked, and the service was quick and friendly. The pool area was entertaining, clean, and drinks and refreshments served quickly. As sad as I was to leave, getting off the ship, and finding our luggage was a breeze. Overall, I would score the staff, activities, food, and entertainment a 10. It was a week of unending fun. The Escape lived up to it's name and provided my family with an unforgetable holiday trip. Thanks NCL, I'll see you next December. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We decided to do this as a Christmas cruise with my parents as well as to celebrate their anniversary and my mom's birthday. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival so I kind of know what to expect in terms of how things go. I was ... Read More
We decided to do this as a Christmas cruise with my parents as well as to celebrate their anniversary and my mom's birthday. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival so I kind of know what to expect in terms of how things go. I was pleasantly surprised by the embarkation process. They now put your room keys in your mailbox on the ship so there were no lines and simply needed to flash our boarding pass and Since this was a "Journeys" cruise, we were expecting more in terms of exposing us to the different foods and cultures of the islands/ports we would be visiting, as advertised. We sort of got that, but let me just say, the food in the dining room for dinner was horrid just about every night. The most exciting part of dinner..dessert was an even bigger disaster every night. If you saw the pie crust they used for their pie of the day every night, you would weep in sorrow. It was like the pie filling sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard. I kid you not. The cafeteria (lido deck) at lunch time would be your best bet for food and I would always enjoy their BBQ upstairs. Desserts in lido were also way better than in the dining room. Breakfast in the dining room was a plus actually. They offered things like avocado toast and broken egg sandwiches Seaday Brunch was not a highlight, however, as these items weren't on that menu and I'd usually go with the steak and eggs but they almost always overcooked my fried eggs! But I will note, I never starved on the ship or anything, but the food almost always left something to be desired, especially dinner in the dining room. I believe quality has diminished because I do not recall it being this lackluster in all of my other Carnival cruises. The worst part was the entertainment. I agree with another review here that said it reminded them of a high school production. I mean, the singing and dancing was very sub-par. I don't know what happened! There also was only one variety act in the entire cruise and my last cruise I went on in 2016, we only had to endure something like two of the Carnival dancers productions and the rest was variety acts like jugglers, magicians, etc. That was enjoyable! I went to one comedy show and he was okay. Overall, there was a serious decline in the quality of the entertainment overall was not good. We actually found ourselves heading back to our room and watching movies on TV after dinner most nights and on seadays..well, there wasn't much to do other than the Academy of Fun sessions. Not a lot going on that didn't require you to spend more money. Way too much BINGO lol Anyway, I have to say, after this cruise, we are thinking of trying a more "upscale" cruise line. I'm just disappointed that it seems quality has diminished from Carnival and it wasn't like we're talking the best of the best of cruise lines either. They didn't have too far to go to be at the bottom and well, now, they are getting closer to that. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose the Reflection since we have been on other Celebrity Cruises and this ship did not disappoint! Celebrity Cruises is our niche. It was beautifully decorated for the holidays and the staff was ready for the first night of ... Read More
We chose the Reflection since we have been on other Celebrity Cruises and this ship did not disappoint! Celebrity Cruises is our niche. It was beautifully decorated for the holidays and the staff was ready for the first night of festivities for New Years. Embarkation was really nice. We had a Concierge level cabin and were greeted and placed in a separate lounge at the pier. Then we were escorted onboard before the regular class cabins New Years Eve was great. There were several parties going on before midnight and we were able to hop from one to another ending up at the pool for the midnight finale. They dropped the 2016 ice block into the pool and placed the 2017 up in its place. The rest of the cruise went without a hitch. Some of the highlights were the Lawn Club Grill, a must do participative dinner. Also the Silent disco was a huge hit. We had so much fun. We like Celebrity due to its classier style and dressy/casual evenings . Also seems to attract an experienced, diverse and well to do traveler. Wish they had 21 and older sailings. THIS IS FOR CELEBRITY TOUR STAFF Jamaica - We went on the Dunns River Falls and river tubing tour with the ship - this is the only time we felt uncomfortable on the trip. At the end of the tour they make you walk through the marketplace. There is no option. There were sellers trying to put items in our hands, when we refused they stated " Are you afraid of us " . Strange comment. There should be an exit option without the marketplace. We were also asked in a survey if the guides asked for a tip. We said they did not ask but then at the busses they had followed us and started asking and pointing to the people who did not tip after we had already taken the survey. So the guides figured out how to go around the survey and harass some of the people on our bus. Glad we had tipped ! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
First time we were away for Christmas and choose Celebrity because we love the line. Service was great as usual although there were a few hiccups in the MDR a few nights, but that is to be expected considering it was Christmas. The bar ... Read More
First time we were away for Christmas and choose Celebrity because we love the line. Service was great as usual although there were a few hiccups in the MDR a few nights, but that is to be expected considering it was Christmas. The bar service was terrific and the ship was clean the steward service was great. Pool stewards however need to enforce the rules, there were several loungers that had towels on them for practically the entire day with no one actually using them which was made worse on sea days. We didnt really go to any shows but form what we heard they were very good, the silent disco was a huge success and great fun. Embarkation was a breeze and the welcome on board was with a cheery smile and very friendly, the staff always said hello and were cheerful and welcoming, we never had a bad experience with any of them and nothing was too much trouble for them. The food was good as was the choice, however i would suggest that the try to offer a greater variety over the 7 days and not repeat meals over the week. The variety in the buffet was good and I for one am happy to see that the variety has been slightly reduced to stop waste. I would like to see more variety in the shops, as far as general merchandise is concerned. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We travelled with three couples who are all good friends. We were booked in Aqua class and there were various comments among us regarding the value. We absolutely loved Blu, the diningroom designated to be used by Aqua cabin ... Read More
We travelled with three couples who are all good friends. We were booked in Aqua class and there were various comments among us regarding the value. We absolutely loved Blu, the diningroom designated to be used by Aqua cabin passengers. The room is smaller than the main dining room, service top notch and I think the food is prepared in a different kitchen. We generally had breakfast there as well, fresh orange juice, yum..and Nice and quiet. I used the Persian Gardens almost daily, nice heated beds, steam and sauna looking out over the ocean, and the other perk is the shower in our cabin that had jets of water for the body and overhead. We did have lunch in the buffet. Because Blu was so good, we did not feel like we needed go to any of the private, extra charge dining rooms. Our friends, on the other hand, did not see the value. They said they are not foodies, don't care where they eat as "food is food" and there is plenty everywhere. They used the Persian Garden only once. And the third couple loved Blu and never used the Persian Garden. So, everyone is different. The ship itself was kept very clean. We were in the casino a few evenings and it was quite busy. The shows were hit and miss. The entertainment we enjoyed were In the Skydeck at 10 p.m. Almost nightly. Live Music, a bit of a show by the dancers, and the guests joining in, or just watching. The gym is large and very busy in the morning. More equipment available later. New Years Eve was magical, dancing and singing out on the deck with at least 1200 people on a warm Caribbean night under the stars. The band played for all age groups. Only minor issues were: Disembarkation was very, very slow getting through customs. I think it was because it was New Year's Day and they were short staffed. Chairs on the deck at the pool was a challenge ...people 'saved' seats by putting down towels and books, then left,..and lots of times those spots were vacant for hours. Not a great system. All in all, we complained that we had nothing to complain about. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It ... Read More
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It was an interesting and pleasant trip; we chose this for the itinerary (5 stops were new for us) and to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the tropics. Weather was warm (80s) and humid with plenty of rain showers and rolling seas. We were a full ship with ca 680 passengers. Most passengers appeared to be seasoned cruisers, and a good number of languages were heard. While there were a small number of children on board, there were no facilities or activities for them; that was their parents’ responsibilities. We had a suite (7th deck) that made for a most comfortable cruise. However, due to the small size of the ship, you do hear and feel the ship’s engine, especially when the speed is adjusted up or down. Also, the rocking and rolling of the Atlantic Ocean is much more pronounced on this ship, compared to any of the “regular” size ships of 2,000 – 3,000 passengers. 2. Travel to Miami and Embarking: Because we booked so early, we were among the passengers who were caught when Princess changed the port from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. We were unable to change our plane or hotel reservations, but our cruise agent worked with Princess so that we could take a bus from Fort Lauderdale airport to Miami port and reverse. A nuisance, but it worked out, and we were not alone. Check-in at Miami port worked smoothly, and we got on the ship quickly. Our suite was ready, and luggage appeared – piecemeal - in the afternoon. 3. The Ocean Princess: An attractive ship, enhanced by its smallness. Yes, it is being sold to Oceania effective in early April, and the ship may have had a slight tired look about it. However, the facility was still top notch and the crew was the same. Our suite was a delight with all the space and storage drawers/closets. Details can be seen in the cabin descriptions on the Princess website. The bathroom had a tub shower. There was a small safe and a small refrigerator. The balcony is spacious; however, we hardly used it due to rain showers, rocking and rolling, or the sun beating down on clear days. When we could sit outside, it was very pleasant. The flat screen TVs (set up for DVD movies) received the usual news, movies, music, etc. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are practically no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does a daily report from the bridge, and the Cruise Director may make a daily announcement on activities. There is no daily newspaper; you have to receive your news from BBC, Fox; financial news from CNBC or MSNBC; and sports from two ESPN channels. 4. Meals: As often on past cruises with other lines, we ran into problems in trying to get a table for two at dinner. Due to the ship being small, it had no “my time” dining. On boarding we learned that the first seating was changed from 6PM to 5:30 (nursing home hours). Next, we learned that although our cruise agent had been assured that our request for a table for two was confirmed, we were placed at a table for eight (nursing home group therapy). My wife and I both groused at the maître d, who finally backed off by telling us, “come see me at 5:30.” At that time we were shown a table for two, obviously hastily arranged, as were other tables for two around the dining room. We later received a card formally informing us that our table was permanent for the cruise. As for meals in the dining room, they were very good. There was clearly some talent in the kitchen, and we appreciated it. As we always had the same table, our wait staff did get used to our tastes. The wine list was also good, whether you wanted a bottle or a glass. We should note that no matter what ship or line you are on, including the Ocean Princess, the first night’s dinner is disorganized as diners and staff sort out who sits where and when. Panorama Buffet: We used it for lunch and a couple times when we wanted just a bite for dinner. There was quite a variety of good food, whether you wanted a meal, sandwich, or salad. The dessert area was equally varied. We did not use the two specialty restaurants (Italian, and steak), only because we are not big eaters. 5. Princess dress code: There were three formal nights; the rest were all “smart casual.” “Formal” for men meant mainly suits and sport coats; tuxedos were a minority. Casual was just that; most men did wear shirts instead of t-shirts. 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations on-line! This saves you standing in line at the ship’s tour desk. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship’s staff, you have support when there is a problem. Two of the eight ports were tender ports. In both ports, the waters were quite active, resulting in the tender boats bouncing around quite a bit during loading and unloading. Crew members literally had their hands full helping passengers on and off the boats. Also, tender boats are the ship’s life boats; they are not made for comfort and you have to clamber around in them for a seat. 7. Shipboard entertainment: We saw two of the individual entertainers and one of the “show” performances with singers and dancers. They were all pleasant. A reminder that the ship has a cabaret and not a theater. This means that there are no seats on tiers; they are all on one level. Your view of the stage is easily blocked by the person(s) in front of you. The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bingo, movies, etc, etc. The library appeared to be well stocked. There are NO art auctions. (Thank you, Princess.) The casino was small (three blackjack tables and one roulette table). The machine payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. The selection of duty-free liquor on board was not great, but adequate; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person’s shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 15 percent. If you want to tip anyone for exemplary service, you can give him cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer. This was the first ship where you only sometimes signed a ticket, and you sometimes received a copy of the ticket. Unless you keep your own notes on what you charged on your account, you will not have a clear idea of your bill until departure morning. I did ask for a preliminary bill a couple days before disembarking, and it was immediately supplied without question. If you do not do this, though, and you find questionable items on your bill, you will be spending departure morning in line at the Front Desk sorting it out. 10. Disembarking in Miami: Disembarking went very smoothly, and there were no bureaucratic delays. Once we got off the ship, we picked up our luggage and cleared customs and immigration in ten minutes. (Amazing.) 11. Conclusion: This was an enjoyable and interesting trip. The hiccups were minor and did not detract from the Ocean Princess or our enjoyment of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s on board in the Caribbean. We are sorry to see this ship sold to another line, but hope that its sister, Pacific Princess, will remain on itineraries in which we might be interested. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a balance of the good and the “needs improvement.” The best feature by far is the food. OH MY GOD! The food is phenomenal. Our whole party had the ultimate food packages. We ate at just about every specialty restaurant on the boat (There are about 10 of them). Some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Italian restaurant’s tiramisu was the best I have ever had. The Brazilian Steakhouse was amazing. The ribeye at the “regular” steakhouse was perfect. The food at the three “standard” restaurants was excellent too. We only went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but the food there was great too. Real whipped cream is rare in the Caribbean, but was plentiful for waffles at breakfast – Mmm. The only slightly subpar meal we had was at the French restaurant. It was not bad, but was not up to the standards of the other restaurants. The biggest problem with the cruise was the “structure” of the ship. It was a very full cruise – about 4500 guests. In the past we have often cruised Carnival. They have a large theater for shows, gatherings, games, etc. That is apparently not the Norwegian style. Everything on Norwegian is small and intimate. There is a theater, but it is arranged like a movie theater not a “gathering” room. The Atrium is where all of the events take place. They have Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Not so Newlywed Game, live music, WiiU dance for kids, and more amusing things. Lots of people, especially families, love these things. The problem…the Atrium seats about 50 people. They brought in folding chairs at times, but it was a madhouse. People were fighting over chairs. They need a much larger gathering space. Although they have a 5 slides, a small water park, a small kids pool, and a medium adults pool, the pool area felt small as well. To cram all the things in one place, they lost seating area. There were maybe 150 seats around the pools – not enough for a day at sea for 4500. There is nowhere for parents to sit around the kids area and watch their kids. The pools were not heated and were a little chilly – probably warmer or at least more refreshing if you don’t cruise in December. The slides themselves were fantastic and fun. Something for every age – even thrill seeking adults. The tube slide was the most popular. But even better than the waterslides was the ropes course. A two story ropes course with 2 zip lines. My teens spent hours on the ropes course. Plus there was a baby-safe mini-ropes course. My 2 year old LOVED that one. We also had the unlimited drinks package. I found the drinks to be excellent and maybe even a little too alcoholic! Many of the bars had their own specialty drinks as well, and they were mostly very tasty. The cabins were a solid good. They are bigger than Carnival cruise cabins, but they are still small – and we had balcony rooms. My stroller is a standard size (a city mini), but could not fit through the door. This made transferring a sleeping 2 year old into bed harder than it should have been. You have to keep your room card in a slot to keep the electricity on in your room. Therefore, you can’t charge your electronics while you are out – which was unfortunate. Then we discovered a piece of paper could be wedged into the slot instead of a card. But this means the cabin steward will think you are in (there is a light outside the cabin that turns on when the card is in the slot) and will not make up your cabin. A no win situation. Did I mention how great the food was? We found all of the people very nice. We prepaid our tips, and most people do, so they are not hustling for tips as much. Yet they still bent over backwards to be nice. There is a teens club that my kids loved. There are separate clubs for 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 year olds. There is even babysitting for a fee (we never used it). The younger kids in our group didn’t love the kids club so much – it’s all indoors in one room per age group and got too crowded. No scavenger hunts like we’ve seen other places. It is VERY secure – kids are essentially on lock down. The teens area is completely separate, much larger, and kids come and go at will. It is a new ship, and my wife says she has never seen public bathrooms so clean. They are obsessive with germs. Multiple staff people stand at every entrance to the buffet with hand sanitizer. Plus there are fixed sanitizer stations EVERYWHERE. Plus the bathrooms have paper towel dispensers JUST TO USE TO OPEN THE DOORS. They have hand driers to wash hands and dry them, but towel dispensers only at the doors with instructions to use them on the door handles. The entertainment options were great. There were two comics with a total of three sets each. There was karaoke at least once a day. Multiple piano bars plus dueling pianos many nights. One hiccup – my fourteen year old is a huge sports fan. The only place to watch sports with sound is the adults only bar. He was not happy about that at all. Overall, we had a great time. Even with 20+ people in our party, we had trouble finding each other – probably a good thing. There was always something to see, do, or eat, and it was usually funny, fun, and delicious. I would certainly cruise Norwegian again. 4 ½ stars. They lose the half on the small Atrium. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our second MSC cruise, having been on The Posea a couple of years earlier. The whole experience was brilliant, fabulous food, loads of choice, lovely waiters and cleaners. Other staff on the boat - hairdresser and cruise ... Read More
This was our second MSC cruise, having been on The Posea a couple of years earlier. The whole experience was brilliant, fabulous food, loads of choice, lovely waiters and cleaners. Other staff on the boat - hairdresser and cruise booking director need more training, not helpful at all. But the awesome shopping guide was worth loosing an hours sun bathing time, to find out where all the great deal were. The ports of call were ok, not as good as The Bahamas. Falmouth Jamaica was VERY artificial as was the last island on the itinerary. This was a Christmas cruise and apart from the decorations and the Christmas carol sing-a-long on Christmas Eve, there was nothing else. Christmas Day felt very flat, no excitement on the boat. We booked a Sunday flight and a night in Miami after the cruise, this allowed us to disembark 1st and take our luggage off. I highly recommend this strategy as having to wait around the boat for your exit time is a pain as we discovered on our first cruise. The extra night in Miami allowed us to get our land legs back! To summerise - great value for money. But if you want 24 hour entertainment and fancy food. (Lobster, crab etc) choose another line. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just got off the Carnival Victory 4 days Western Caribbean (12-18/12-22), our 7 cruise in the last 24 months, 6 on Carnival, 1 on Royal Caribbean. I am a firm believer of having a consistent user experience that is what Carnival has ... Read More
Just got off the Carnival Victory 4 days Western Caribbean (12-18/12-22), our 7 cruise in the last 24 months, 6 on Carnival, 1 on Royal Caribbean. I am a firm believer of having a consistent user experience that is what Carnival has delivered so far. Second time on the Victory. Comparing Carnival to my sailing in Royal Caribbean, simply no comparison, maybe I took the wrong ship with Royal (Vision of the Seas) on a Western Caribbean sailing back in October for Halloween (2014). Let me share some highlights… Excellent cruise director Marcelo, second time with him (different ships), great activities on-board, good entertainment especially for kids during the Holidays and the adult comedy is always great. I am trying to understand why I see comments from people complaining about the food, to me and my wife it was great, and at the Pacific dining room we had Reynaldo, great host to our table, very attentive to all of our request. Jeffrey our cabin attendant was great and very personal greeting us by name all the time. Bar staff with Benedicto by the pool on Lido deck was great; Ayu as well on the pool bar was great. Kelly from the Netherlands in Guest Services was excellent attending to my requirements. If you are on a budget an interior cabin is the way to go, we had 2342 on Deck 2, main deck, tough we felt some movement, and it was just perfect!!!! If in Cozumel as for taxi#50, Alex you will not regret it! A Happy Carnival customer and fan!     Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
PERSONAL Review Special Note: This review is presented in two parts: first, my own ‘Personal’ review (what happened to me) which is followed by a somewhat more objective view of the MSC Divina based on an Western Caribbean cruise as ... Read More
PERSONAL Review Special Note: This review is presented in two parts: first, my own ‘Personal’ review (what happened to me) which is followed by a somewhat more objective view of the MSC Divina based on an Western Caribbean cruise as a friend and I experienced in early December, 2014. Arrival The Ft. Lauderdale airport is not known for their efficiency and user services. Our Southwest flight on one of their newest 737-800’s was pleasant and just over 2 hours, non-stop from Providence RI. Baggage claim was the first sign that our troubles were starting. Signs and announcements claimed that Providence baggage was arriving on carousel 6. That changed to carousel 8 and then back again to 6. In the end, my traveling companion and I stood at each carousel. Our luggage arrived on carousel 7. I smiled and popped a valium. There was a cruise line rep gathering up passengers for the transfer to the Miami Cruiseport- 99% for the NCL ‘Getaway’ and us. The only reason I knew this is because as she passed by me, I noticed that she was also holding an MSC sign on the back of the NCL sign. She was less than pleased when I approached her and asked where we should go. We had purchased the transfer from our travel advisor. It was booked with MSC and added to our master bill ($40 each I think- the return was $20 each on a private van service). A 48 passenger motorcoach with 46 NCL passengers on their Getaway and 2 to the MSC Divina loaded slowly. MSC passengers were ‘tag alongs’. We waited for all the Getaway folks to board the coach first and then we took our place in the last row. The transfer was a merciful 40 minutes long. Now, the baggage drop, US Customs and escalators have become familiar and almost ‘old hat’ to us by now. We waited in separate lines to check in at what felt like a “mile long” check-in desk with dozens of MSC reps. I just about fell to the floor when my check-in clerk said, “Excuse me sir, are you sure you have the right ship? I don’t have you on any of our lists.” WHAT? I produced photocopies of my confirmation sent to us directly online from MSC with the oversight of our travel professional and that was the only thing that seemed to work. “We are sorry sir, but this information was not transmitted to us” he said more than once. I was not quite sure if he was accepting blame or throwing it back to my agent. Please know that I have been dealing with one, extremely professional and picky person who makes sure that all bases are covered when she makes my reservations. I trust her and her company and feel that whoever ‘dropped the ball’ was NOT her. My ‘clerk’ went to see his “boss” and returned after about 15 minutes and said, “Excuse me sir, but we still have that cabin available and we would be happy to accept you as a last-minute shore side reservation. Did that mean that my travel pro was then cut out of her commission? I simply said, “Put us in that cabin . . . now”. He accepted my charge card and issued an MSC room-charge card. It was about 1:30pm and I had thought that we could gain access to our cabin quickly. No. Cabins would not be ready until 3 pm. The buffet or sitting in any common area was the option. We went to the crowded buffet with our carry-on bags and waited for the call to access our Deck 10 room. Our room steward had cleaned the room but not separated the beds, so to ease his work- we stripped the linens, separated the beds and had it ready for him to make up more easily. They are all greatly over-worked and what we did was easy and he thanked us. He produced his room manifest for me to look at and sure enough- our cabin and names were NOT listed. I guess “the information had not been transmitted” to housekeeping either. Now came the most interesting challenge- dining. Our room ID – charge card did NOT indicate dining time or place: So, we boldly went to the 6 PM early seating in the Main Dining Room (The Black Crab) and requested to be seated at a table for 2 or 6. The maitr’d said “I am sorry sir, you are not on my list. We do not have any space at all. Our dining room is full and there are no empty seats.” I guess “. . . the information had not been transmitted” to Food & Beverage either. I was starting to feel like I didn’t exist. He suggested that we go to the buffet on the top deck. Like whipped puppies, we found an elevator and pressed 14. The buffet was hardly the way to open our glamorous cruise on the Divina. I don’t remember what the food was, and that should tell you how impressed I was. There was a savior. At the Reception (Front) Desk, where I was headed to blow up or commit a crime, I met a big burly man who knew how to snap out orders and get things done. I approached him with our story of woe. Pavel Gazzo, the Guest Relations Manager knew what to do! He checked my photocopy of what MSC had sent and started snapping out orders to various staff members. Things started to happen. As promised when booking, a packet of drink tickets magically appeared. The complimentary ‘no gratuities’ actually worked, and the sparkling wine and deluxe fruit basket of seasonal foods appeared on the second day of the cruise as I was changing to go to dinner. Voila: One banana and Granny Smith apples must have been “in season” in the Caribbean last December. That’s a kiwi fruit under the plastic. Have you ever peeled and eaten a kiwi fruit? The wine went to a Trivia game winner and we split the banana. The cruise was getting better. There is no more to write about. This review should give the average reader an idea of my first and last cruise with MSC. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Caribbean cruises aboard the MSC Divina (3,500 passengers) are enjoyable one-week getaways that come with a collection of offerings very different from those of other major lines serving Southern ports. To be clear, Mediterrean Shipping Company’s twelve passenger vessels serve Mediterrean and other European ports. Only one of their ships is assigned to the North American market, sailing out of Miami, mostly on 7-day itineraries. The company is obviously trying to establish a presence in a place they feel is underserved for their style of service. The point here is that MSC is attempting to make inroads to the American/Canadian markets and this cruise passenger maintains they are failing. From the outside, the ship looks beautiful. In fact, most of the cabins and public spaces are magnificent. It is a ship to be envied . . . but there are interior details to be considered. Negotiating in any direction is a challenge because there is little if any signage. Odd numbered cabins are on the port (left) side, and even on the starboard (right). It ends there. There are no front-back, forward-aft signs whatsoever. Deck numbers are hidden, even in the elevator lobbies. The Divina does maintain current industry standards; the theater is forward on lower decks, the main dining rooms are in the stern with one dining room (Villa Rossa) that can barely be found. It’s on Deck 6, but you have to go to Deck 7 and walk down one flight of stairs to get there. It takes practice and patience and makes me wonder what asylum did they put the designer of this misplaced room in such a difficult location . . . The “casino” is just outside the theater, of course. On a 2 year old ship, it looks tired and worn. Game tables are covered in a depressing dark forest green- not bright and lively green felt. Most of the 135 slot machines have aging front screens and games that 72-year old ladies who live in land casinos can’t understand. If they (the machines) look prematurely yellow and foggy . . . they are. After having cruised 23 times, I can remember that almost every passageway had “art”, some good, mostly bad . . . but I could remember the way to my stateroom by knowing that the ‘skyscraper’ came after the ‘wolf’ or the ‘Art Moderne nymph’ was just before the ‘manhole cover’. The Divina has almost no art on the walls- probably because the passageways (all of them) are too narrow. In fact, almost all walking areas are too narrow- especially those on the top deck buffet where hundreds of passengers walk at every meal. The 20 step Swarovski crystal double staircases in the atrium is a feature of the ship. They are eye-popping and worthy of a photo or two. I strongly recommend that you think twice before attempting them. Whatever you do, don’t look down and hold the handrail. Sooner or later, someone will tell you that each step cost $60,000 which means that one step is worth more than the median U.S. income, and collectively, could buy you a new Lear jet. Impressed? Food Today, food is one of the most important reasons people take cruises. The Divina offers a multitude of restaurants, both included in the price and some carrying extra charges. The difficulty is there seems to be nothing in print or online that lists which restaurants charge what. Maybe, it’s a secret. I avoided all of them and made myself happy in the main dining room, interestingly called “The Black Crab” . . . hardly a name one would expect on a ship from Italy. The Divina was built in France- it’s French ships that are built in Italy- go figure. The food is generally good (not great) with some exceptions. Menus offer a nice selection of appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts. Seafood is special with excellent prawns (big shrimp) as a main course. Roast beef offered on two nights was a toss-up- the first was passable, the second- impossible to cut through the grizzle. Maine lobster tail was already cracked with meat bursting from the shell. Expect the traditional Baked Alaska Parade and an Italian theme night. There was one appetizer that actually brought chuckles and giggles throughout the dining room from those who ordered it. It was described in print as: Seafood Seared Scallops on a creamy risotto with Prosecco wine and smoked Provola cheese When served, there was ONE (yes- one) half-inch overcooked scallop in the middle of a sea of mushy white rice. I guess there was wine and cheese in it, but my palate has not been to any culinary institute, so I couldn’t tell. I ate the scallop and passed on the mush. Please notice the “s” on the first line- ScallopS. The top-deck buffet has two names and I still don’t know why. There are NO ship buffets arranged in any way that makes sense. The Divina is the most confusing of all. First, it’s not arranged in a straight line. It has food stations out and indented with some semi-circular. Offerings change daily, and don’t assume that all breakfast items are the same or in the same locations. There are no cooked-to-order foods. My personal favorite, smoked salmon, was not available other than by special request. There was a selection of juices, but no tomato, another favorite that was missing. I’m told that the variety of pizzas was impressive (I am not a fan) and the burgers were good. Who goes on a cruise for burgers and pizza? Worthy of note are the fresh cut cold cuts for make-your-own sandwiches and fresh breads. On the minus side- there are no spoons to stir coffee- just wooden swizzles and never enough cream, or half & half to lighten any of the Divina’s strong coffee. There are not salt and pepper shakers anywhere on the deck- just annoying tiny packets, as are all condiments. Serving plates were large, oval and scratched Melamine (or Melamac), a throwback to the 1960’s. They were tacky. Bars There are more bars and lounges (18) on the Divina than on most ships her size- pool bars, sports bars, elegant bars, disco bars, etc. Alcoholic drinks were uniformly priced at $7.25 (Dec 2014) and included all the standards, as well as some inventive libations with names that never hinted at their contents. Rum, vodka and tequila all merged their way into “Deep Blue Lagoons” or “Deck X Smashers”. Be sure to check the drink packages for significant savings and remember to bring you room key-charge card wherever you go. Service Employees of any cruise line fall into two categories. Basically, those who work for a salary (entertainers, upper cruise staff, technical staff, the Captain and engineers, etc.), and those who depend largely on tips and gratuities (room stewards, dining room staff, casino dealers, etc.). Aboard the Divina, room attendants go out of their way to stay out of your way and clean the room carefully, at least once a day, usually more. Ice (tiny buckets) and fresh towels in the morning and at night. Our steward, Garfield Williams (Jamaica) had 15 rooms on Deck 10 to ‘make nice’ every day. In a 14 plus hour day, he had a total of one hour break time, and sometimes, not even that. Would you like that job? Those employees who never receive tips showed me why. Front desk (Reception) ‘clerks’ (best word to describe them) are efficient and professional. So much so, they often come across as Field Commanders for some general staff. They do their jobs, but, on the Divina, without a sense of humor, a smile or an attitude that “the customer is always right”. The same is true for the bartenders and photo staff when they are not hunting you down to pause on the jewel staircase or the fake ship’s wheel on the dock. Most people on the service side of the industry, frequently attend ‘smile schools’. They rarely work unless it’s a Disney related enterprise. The bottom line is that MSC scores low in service, not counting their dining room and housekeeping departments. Entertainment I had heard from a number of people, and had read online, that the shows were magnificent and I shouldn’t miss a single one. Wrong. The Pantheon Theater is impressive and the shows are generally good, with some better than others. The problem is ‘sameness’. The show names and costumes change, but the productions are only slightly different. It’s the same two singers and violin player. The same dancers doing the same moves and in a one-week cruise, there was one piece of “magic”. One. I heard the song “Volare” at least twice- maybe three times during the cruise. The dancers are A+ and perform the same choreography the same way in different elaborate costumes almost every night. The stage set is the same- a number of steps with LED lighting that change colors (wow!) and sometimes move a bit to accommodate an elevator lift in the center. In one show, a trio of Oriental ladies do some impressive acrobatics and the two hand-balance muscle men cannot help but impress. The Michael Jackson Revue is OK. It is not great- and that’s from a person who has published reviews of stage performances’. There are important pieces of entertainment that I missed. There are no comedians, no novelty acts, no mix of live musicians no patriotic shows, no magicians, no feature dancers, no Broadway or Hollywood themes . . . well, by now, you get the idea. I never even went to the last show. There is no live orchestra, and the sound equipment barely makes it on a level that my profession can detect. This was confirmed to me by a sound technician who admitted that MSC had cut corners on the microphones and other important sound equipment. Lighting programming (everything is digital of course) violates one of the primary rules of stagecraft. Powerful moving Gobo beam lighting circles the audience, shining in the faces of almost everyone. While interesting, these lights have proven to be a health hazard, triggering seizures to those who cannot handle the repetitive bright flashing. This is something that should be addressed immediately. If you were hoping for a cocktail or other drink to go along with the show, forget it. There is no bar service in the theater. “Guests may not reserve seats for others before show time” is another ridiculous policy in print that simply does not work on the Divina or any cruise ship. There simply is no ships staff on duty in the theater that I saw during any of the evening shows. Saving seats on this ship is as common as any ship in the Caribbean. Again, the take-away here is that show time on the MSC Divina is grossly overrated. It is barely adequate to other like-sized ships. In the winter of 2014, the ship’s Cruise Director is a nice lady who is linguistically challenged. She mispronounces many words and speaks so fast that many guests have difficulty understanding her. Maybe I’m being too critical and her talents are right for the Divinia or a stadium. Other entertainment in smaller lounges and venues are good, but always compete with silly art auctions-at-sea. Who goes on a Caribbean cruise to buy a really ugly painting? Bingo and a number of inside lounge ‘games’ are scheduled and I will admit to enjoying Kevin’s Trivia Quiz sessions. Ports of call My cruise visited the ports of Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cozumel and NCL’s (yes NCL) “private island”- Great Stirrup Cay. Any review of these ports would make this a book, so I will reserve port comments to another posting. “A Ship Within a Ship” (the Yacht Club aboard the MSC Divina) When one flies First Class, there are benefits and perks that those in Economy never see. Usually, there is a list of amenities that include special treatment from start to finish. MSC Cruises offers their version of First Class with “A Ship Wit hin a Ship”. It’s a special section of deluxe cabins, with a private elevator, concierge, pool, restaurant, etc. The balance of the passengers on any sailing receives a much different and lesser offering. It is fair to say that passengers in the Yacht Club are in a First Class setting that in almost all cases separates them in fact as well as cruise experience.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small ... Read More
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small cabins, separated toilet & shower means you dry yourself off in the hallway of your cabin(!!), no large atrium or glass elevators, very crowded buffet at Garden Cafe on deck 15, sundeck area is small. First time on Norwegian, loved the laid-back "freestyle" cruise atmosphere. No need to dress up for dinner, no assigned dining times. Food was excellent -- lots of selections from a variety of countries (Indian, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, American). It's a party ship -- lots of dancing and music on the pool deck. Even if you're shy or feel you can't dance, they have simple line dances that anyone can join. The inside cabin is very small. There's storage, but not much room to open your suitcase on the floor. If you order room service, you'll have to eat on the bed(!!). The bathrooms = everyone hates them. The toilet and shower are separated. So, if you want to dry off after a shower and change into your pjs or fresh clothes, you can only do that in the shower, or in the small space right in front of your cabin door. While brushing your teeth or washing your hands or face, your cabin roommate will see you, as the sink is located in the middle of your cabin. Entertainment and variety of activities is excellent. Blue Man Group is a must see. I attended several lectures on board -- digital photography, upcoming cruises, Meet the Blue Men, etc and found them extremely interesting and useful. Families with kids will love the pools, water slides and rock climbing walls. Saw a lot of teens at the video arcade and basketball court. The ship attracts a lot of families, so if you prefer quiet cruises, please choose another ship. Couples who want privacy (meaning no kids), can use the Spice H2O/Haven area at the rear of the ship. It's quiet and there are 2 hot tubs, a bar and a heated (!) pool. This was my third cruise. I would highly recommend Norwegian Epic to those who: -- want great food and entertainment -- like a laid-back, relaxing cruise, without dress codes and assigned dinner times. -- like a big ship and don't mind crowds -- are traveling as a family with small kids or teens Don't chose the Norwegian Epic if you: -- like peace and quiet on your holiday -- hate small children -- hate large crowds About me: -- Late 30s, female, Canadian living in Asia. Traveled on a "girl's only" holiday with a female friend. -- My parents (late 60s, early 70s) joined me on this cruise. They loved the ship and didn't care about the small children or noise. -- I've cruised Western Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean and Middle East with Costa. This cruise was my first time with Norwegian. -- I was impressed with Norwegian and will likely cruise with this company again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Where do I begin. Our first experiance with the Sky was truely one to remember. We normaly sail in a Balcony (BA class mid ship) but on this cruise the cruising gods were smilling down on us and three days before we sailed we were bumped ... Read More
Where do I begin. Our first experiance with the Sky was truely one to remember. We normaly sail in a Balcony (BA class mid ship) but on this cruise the cruising gods were smilling down on us and three days before we sailed we were bumped up to the Owners Suite! Thats right we went from the balcony cabin of 202 sqft. to 835 sqft. cabin, private balcony w/hot tub, free alcohol, treats from the staff every evening a butler & concierge service. SPOILED!! You could tell the ship was a little old and needed a little mait. here and there but the staff was friendly and attentive the entertainment was very good for a smaller ship and of course the food was as always with Norwiegian fantastic. We have taken four cruise's with Norwiegian in the past five years these guys know how its done! They have certainly won my buisness as a matter of fact we are already booked on the madian voyage of the new Norwegian Escape in November.....Cant wait!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we ... Read More
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we proceeded to the priority check-in. We took advantage of the kids sail free program, and we received great rates on the Balcony rooms. We were told our room was changed which had me concerned. I thought "it's already starting". The representative told us we were moved to the 16th floor. I thought, it's close to the pools so that is good for my daughter who is autistic and has a slight cerebral palsy and wears a brace on her leg. She has cruised many times including Hawaii on the Pride of America ship. We went to the fifth floor hotel staff once on the ship in the atrium to change our baggage delivery to the right room. Well, we were upgraded to a two bedroom two bath Haven complete with a butler, concierge, and more. We had double sinks with a soaking tub and a water jet shower which overlooked the ocean. We had a bottle of wine and champagne delivered to the room at no charge. Godiva Chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries. our own restaurant area. When we wanted to get off of the ship in port or tender, we were escorted right off the ship without any lines, we had exclusive seating at the shows, huge dining room and living quarters, we had our own sun deck and pool, spa to share with other haven owners. Too many things to mention, but this was by far the most relaxing we were due to the fact that we were secluded from the other 4,000 passengers or so to fight for a sun chair or a spot in the pool. In short the Epic was amazing ship and the Haven made it that much more special. What made it even more special was that we didn't even ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on ... Read More
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on average...and last year we did the NCL Epic and we were as usual happy, to just be on vacation.now for the NCL Getaway....the NCL getaway was the worst cruise I have ever experienced ! The staff was very unattentive, the ship was unclean, the food was unusually awful, I was very surprised that it was this way...I never complain, So I did not complain while on.the ship ..I just rolled with the punches..but, I did not like this cruise! The layout for the ship is choppy, but I had an issue with the cleanliness of the ship mostly. Cups,and plates sat out for hours by the pool, the public area restrooms had no toilet paper on more than one occasion. This is very unusual for cruises I have been on. Also my son was very excited about the water slide ( the drop one) he watched u tube for weeks before hand, so it was a bit of a surprise that you have to be 100 lbs to go on...it never said that ANYWHERE! He was really disappointed. It just was very underwhelming. I can not put the blame on one thing, it was as a whole a very underrated experience. I just wish I could say it was better. On the plus side , We love the shows. And the seal lion swim( excursion) is the most awesome thing ever! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I have taken many cruises on Holland America, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean and we were a little hesitant to take a Christmas Cruise on an MSC ship because of mixed reviews we have read. Most of our concerns were put aside ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many cruises on Holland America, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean and we were a little hesitant to take a Christmas Cruise on an MSC ship because of mixed reviews we have read. Most of our concerns were put aside immediately upon arrival at the MSC cruise terminal in Miami. The Embarkation area was well laid out and the process went smoothly and quickly. The ship is very elegant and was decorated tastefully. Our balcony cabin was on the Aurora deck (12), and was comfortable and very clean. Below is a list of the pros and cons from my perspective. PROS: ~Beautiful, modern ship with well planned layout. Elegant lounges and bars. Very clean throughout ship. ~Excellent shows in theater. Some of the shows were almost Broadway quality. ~Daily entertainment such as games (trivia, pictonary, dance lessons, etc) were fun and organized. ~Formal dining room, The Black Crab, well laid out and tastefully decorated (see Con below about table location). ~Excellent room service. (See Con below about selection). ~All inclusive alcohol package completely worth the money. Mixed drinks used high end alcohol and wine selection was good. Specialty coffees included and were delicious. ~Wide selection of food at daily buffets and quality was better than average. ~Cruise director was funny and engaging. ~Spa and hair salon's were very well run with a large selection of services with reasonable pricing. Cons ~Lifeboat drill was a bit scary. Took an extremely long time to get to our muster station. Crew seemed a bit unmotivated and did not control the evacuation well. ~Room service menu for breakfast was limited. Offered only breads and cold cereal as food options. ~Our table in formal dining room (Black Crab) #585 was terrible. It was located next to the main wait staff service area and entrance to the kitchen. It was terribly noisy and the bright fluorescent light shined in my eyes so I could not see the table mate across the table. This could have been remedied if the staff closed the doors to the kitchen, but refused to do this after several requests. ~Servers in all Bar areas were few and service was slow ~Main dining room was very hot with inadequate air conditioning which made for uncomfortable dining. ~Rules regarding children using hot tubs and adult pool area was not enforced so it was difficult to find a spa not overrun with children. Overall we were pleased with the ship and staff and would definitely take MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I'm usually not one for posting reviews. However, after this cruise I had to give our highlights. My family & I have taken numerous cruise before but this was by far the best cruise we had to date. The main reason....The ... Read More
I'm usually not one for posting reviews. However, after this cruise I had to give our highlights. My family & I have taken numerous cruise before but this was by far the best cruise we had to date. The main reason....The Entertainment staff under the Cruise Director, Eversen Bevelle aka Dr. E. This entertainment team was by far the best we have experienced on Carnival. I wish I could take Dr. E and his entertainment team on every cruise we take with Carnival. We stayed at Marriott hotel the night before which was approximately 20 minutes from the port. We used Premier Parking USA which offered a free shuttle to the port. The location for parking was great but the staff at the parking lot weren't very organized. I'm not sure if I would use them again, We left out of the Port of Miami on a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise December 2014. It was a smooth embarkation and the port itself was very modern and nice. The ship was nicely decorated with Christmas ornaments and the tree in the lobby was amazing. Carnival really put on a lot of nice Christmas activities so you didn't feel like you missed out on the holiday spirit. Each day there were fun activities to do. Dr E kept you laughing, dancing and really excited about everything happen around the ship. My family and I aren't usually one for the shows, but we did get involved this cruise. The Motown review, Hasbro Game Show and Welcome Abroad show and Name that Tune were our absolute favorite. The White Heat was great. DJ Devine played good music each and every night for each age group. The Dive In Movies were also a big hit with our children because they showed movies for each age range. Our only complaint would be the activities available in the Camp Carnival program. Our son is in the Circle C (12-14) age range. He wish they had more opportunities to play the game with each other. Most of the activities in this age group were after leaving the ports (4pm). However, during sea days they had a variety of activities all day. They still weren't very exciting to our child in particular. Carnival Glory had good cuisine and variety in the dining room and on the Lido Deck. Our favorites were Guy Fieri's burgers, the Blue Cantina, Pizza and Fish and Chips. Fish and Chips is actually a hidden gem many people miss. It is located above the Home Kitchen eatery. Take the staircase in the middle near the Sweet Spot. It's only open during lunch hours. Our favorite bar for drinks was the Red Frog Rum Bar. It also seemed to be the favorite for most of the cruise passengers. The pool area in the back of level 9 (near the pizza and deli) is adults only and we didn't get a chance to use it. If you are looking for a quiet area you will probably enjoy it. You could not hear any of the music from the Lido deck activities which was a tad boring for my husband and I. We like the liveliness of being in the middle of the action. There is a bar back there as well so you don't have to miss out on drinks. Elegant nights were very laid back for the most part. We found that the picture backgrounds were better on casual nights. Most people on this particular cruise dressed up for Christmas and not for the first elegant night. The wait for Your Time Dining was very short when we went between 7:30-8:30pm. All in all this was a very exciting cruise. More details about the ports is listed below.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I will start on a positive as we have cruised on the Eclipse four times now. As usual the staff really made the cruise as they are so gracious, interesting and hepful. Also the cleaniness of the whole ship was good. The ports were as good ... Read More
I will start on a positive as we have cruised on the Eclipse four times now. As usual the staff really made the cruise as they are so gracious, interesting and hepful. Also the cleaniness of the whole ship was good. The ports were as good as usual with no delays despite turning back to Curacao due to a medical emergency. The proceedure on and off the ship was efficient. We feel like many others that the cutbacks on the ship made our experience quite different. We tried for the first time the choice to dine when you wanted to and found the experience better than we anticipated. It avoided the rush to get ready for early dining as the other is too late due to a gasterol illness. There was no wait and we had the joy of meeting different people each evening. Also meant that it avoided sometimes sitting on an empty table. Like many others we did enjoy the food but somehow was not so special as often delays and feeling that the staff were too few. We actually ate in the buffet one night for the first time ever in the evening. Obviously the dress code has dropped very significantly which is a shame. The brunch is no longer in the Sonata and is now in the Ocean View Buffet Restaurant and was a shambles. There was nowhere to sit as full and when you did find a table to share all the dirty plates were still there so had to take to plate station so could set down own food. We loved the food and ice sculptures in the old brunch set up! Please bring it back. Also when asked whether everything was satisfactory we said the new tea bags were terrible as even with two there was no flavour. Three people took our Cabin No. and no-one came back. One gentleman working in Murano Restaurant high up said he would get loose tea and pot to us. We were so grateful but nothing. Would this have happened in days gone by - no never. We went to Sales Office to set up a forward passage but are home now and still heard nothing despite filling in form etc. on chasing it up on ship were told they had a pile to work through. Guess it is not going to materialise now! We probably will not go with Celebrity again despite Elite Status after seven cruises with them as wondering if it is worth the premium.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My family have been on several Carnival Cruises; however, this is our first time on Victory. The crew was nice, our cabin guy Wilfred was very attentive. Room service was prompt and courteous. We stayed in cabin 1015, which was a balcony ... Read More
My family have been on several Carnival Cruises; however, this is our first time on Victory. The crew was nice, our cabin guy Wilfred was very attentive. Room service was prompt and courteous. We stayed in cabin 1015, which was a balcony on the top floor. Cabin was snug for 3 people. Our son is 13, and he is 5 ft 2 in. and his legs were longer than the twin bed provided. The ship is false advertising so many things to the point that I cannot list them all. But to name a few: the sushi bar is no longer on the ship, the cabins are very much smaller than they look, and the food was the worst I've ever had on a cruise. The portions are very small, most nights we had to order two dinners. The shrimp cocktails were so wrong...baby flimsy,shrimp. The wait staff was rushed. The bartender in the Atlantic dinning room was sweet and attentive. I ate at the buffet on the Lido deck on my first day and my last morning. My last morning the breakfast buffet was hot with lots of choices. My family and I have been on 4 Disney Cruises and I must say that I cannot see myself on another Carnival cruise. You should pay the extra money and go on Disney. The teenage activities are so very limited. If your children are not into swimming each and every day, they find themselves roaming the ship in little groups trying to find something to do. So, here is the thing that really, really took the fun out of my days...the lines on day one to board, to eat, to get on and off the ship at ports, to debark. The best day was on the private island...which was ruined because they shut down everything at 2pm with the last ferry taking you back to the ship at 3:15. We waited in line for an hour just to board the ferry. Each port was cut shorter and shorter as the days went on. The island of Freeport which has the least amount of things to do, you guested it, is were we docked until 6:30 pm. Other days we were required to return by 4:30. And to make matters worst, we docked in Nassau on day before the big Junkanoo parade, which was on December 26th. We should have been in Nassau for the islands biggest event of the year. I hope this was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The Ecstasy is an older ship, even though it had a recent upgrade with painting and carpeting changes. But it is old. Nothing in the cabin lavatory works correctly. toilet does not clear everything, Sink lights are burnt out. No glassware. ... Read More
The Ecstasy is an older ship, even though it had a recent upgrade with painting and carpeting changes. But it is old. Nothing in the cabin lavatory works correctly. toilet does not clear everything, Sink lights are burnt out. No glassware. Hardly any storage space. Sink stopper when activated, will not release. Don't turn shower up to 50 degrees, you will not be able to turn it back to a normal temperature. Other then these inconveniences the room was ok. A bit small. No refrig. No ice bucket. Did have a safe. Little storage space. But comfortable. Some sound from thrusters when docking. Occasional wave sounds hitting the sides. 2 Portholes give good light and vision. I don't know if it was the Xmas holiday, or if it was normal, but the main entertainment was pretty poor. Singing and dancing was not good (maybe these were holiday substitutes). And the shows were inconveniently schedules between the main dining seating times. Other on board entertainment was good, lots of variety for everyone, and the adult comedy shows seemed to be the best attended. Food in general was just OK. Breakfast: bacon was as thin and greasy as can be. Take the ham instead. Eggs were good. Stay away from any potatoes. Pastries must have been purchased a week ago. Everything else was so-so. Ice Cream was a big breakfast hit for the kids. Main dining dinners had limited selections, and the meats had little taste. Nothing to write home about. Deserts were not spectacular and had little taste. Lunch: fresh deli sandwich were always great, as well as the 24hr. Pizza. Lunch Cuisine varied daily French, American, Asian, etc. but had little variety. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs and Chicken Strips were always popular by the pool. Key West was ... Key West. It has not changed much. Just enough time in port to get off, do some shopping, walk around the old town and to Hemingway's House, then time to get back on the ship and depart. Cozumel was a long stay, but docket after noon. Little time to take a long tour to the ruins as sundown was just a few hours away, so had to stay close. Walked and shopped around town, and spent some time at Senor Frogs for some good food and a big drink. Ship was unable to leave the dock. It tried for about 5 minutes, but the winds were too strong and kept us at the dock. Three hours later, with all propellers and thrusters at peak, we were able to back out of the port, and kept going backwards for quite sometime, until we were able to turn around without drifting into something !! 50 mph head winds kept the waves hitting the sides, and the ship rocking and rolling slightly. As it was past midnight when we left, it was very nice sleeping. As it was Xmas, there was lots of caroling in the main lobby, Songbooks were passed out, and everyone participated. Very well done. All in all, a memorable trip.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and ... Read More
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and the second with Carnival Splendor. Each of the prior cruises had highlights. NCL Gem had excellent food and an engaging cruise director, Sinan Ulucay, and the Carnival Splendor had some of the best stand-up comedian entertainment I've seen with "The Punchliner" series. Each of the above also had a variety of entertainment outside of the main theater. In contrast, there were no highlights on the Celebrity Reflection. Pros: 1. The ship is very clean, and the staterooms are the cleanest we've experienced. 2. The guest entertainers were good. Antonio Salci, Kyle Knight & Mistie, and Claire Vinkestejn (apologies if misspelled) were very talented, professional, and entertaining. As an aside, I often wonder why cruise lines continue to push the pseudo-Broadway experience instead of opting for more instrumental/orchestral music, other non-singing performers etc... 3. The dancers/aerialists were impressively excellent. 4. Everyone who works on the ship clearly works hard, and it shows. Slobodan, the guy who runs the buffet, is a workhorse. Cons: 1. There is very little entertainment on the ship. On other lines, including NCL and Carnival, the daily itinerary is chock full of activities like dancing, games, lectures, etc to the point that one needs to sacrifice certain activities to attend others. For instance, on the NCL Gem, there were something like two trivia games a day and a whole bunch of guest game shows, whereas on Celebrity Reflection there were approximately five trivia games and two game shows the entire cruise. Fun things to do, besides laze by the pool, were few and far between. Which leads me to my second point... 2. The majority of the itinerary consists of either shopping events or pay-to-play activities. Given the relatively high cost of the fare, I had incorrectly assumed that daily entertainment would be largely complementary as it is on other lines. How I was mistaken. Rather, the main focus was on being hocked "low-end high-end" items like Michael Kors bags and Invicta watches and paying $20 to do simple things like paint. For example, the majority public real estate of an entire deck, deck 5, consists of shops and specialty restaurants. Other decks aren't much better. 3. The food in the Main Dining Hall is average, slightly better than Carnival but certainly not worth the extra cost of the fare. It pales in comparison to the food on the NCL Gem. This is supposed to be a higher-end line, so I expected higher-end food as the default. Instead it seems that the food is made to be palatable but not special so that passengers are more likely to spend money on the specialty restaurants. The buffet food left a similar taste in my mouth, pardon the pun. 4. The entertainment is standard cruise fare, with shouting-with-tone Kelly Clarkson-style female singers, hopping agile dancers and poppy tunes. Not really a con, but not a pro. 5. Why is the library overlying the main foyer where the loud music comes from? It defeats the purpose... 6. The destinations, while good, were not timed optimally. Landing in San Juan at 1530 and leaving at 2200 doesn't leave one much time to enjoy non-Celebrity-arranged excursions. 7. The dining halls are closed when at port. I don't remember this happening on the other cruise lines. 8. In the games room on deck 9 there is an abundance of Mahjong sets but no Backgammon, and far too few decks of cards. Overall, my cruise felt like a shopping mall with an exorbitant cover charge rather than a truly entertaining vacation experience. I will not recommend the floating shopping mall, Celebrity Reflection. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
* This is my 4th cruise, 2 with Royal Carribbean and 2 with Norwegian * First time staying in a Studio Cabin, it was a great space for me with lots of storage. If you're claustrophobic you won't like it. If you are a large ... Read More
* This is my 4th cruise, 2 with Royal Carribbean and 2 with Norwegian * First time staying in a Studio Cabin, it was a great space for me with lots of storage. If you're claustrophobic you won't like it. If you are a large person you won't fit or will be extremely uncomfortable in the stand up shower nor in the separate toilet area. * My cabin number was 10523, this cabin was very noisy due to a design/engineering flaw. The black water pipe along with other systems are located right next to this cabin and you will hear a constant crashing/thunder type sound. This noise goes on all day long, overtime someone flushed the toilet or uses the water system. It's terribly loud. The room attendant and maintenence staff are very aware of this issue and there is nothing they can do. Avoid this room. I did bring it to managements attention and they acted as if they were surprised (but everyone else knew about it), they did offer to change my room among other things to ensure that I was satisfied. My only disappointment was that I had to escalate the issue all the way to the Guest Services manager and also not take no for an answer. I believe that customers shouldn't have to go through layers in order to be heard or have a known issue rectified. That was a little insulting to me. The issue was finally rectified to my satisfaction and I did enjoy the cruise. DO NOT STAY IN THIS ROOM. 10527 was also very noisy. * The Solo director Sharon was fantastic at organizing different activities and ensuring that we fit in all the shows and free dining areas. She is very flexible and can pretty much organize anything that the group would like to do. * Anything that you book in advance can be switched around if you decide to do the activities with the group. * I travelled from Dec 20th to the 27th. The boat was more than full, with large groups, a lot of children and families. It was virtually impossible to get early reservations at the restaurants. This was a problem especially for those that bought the dining package. Teppanyaki must definitely be booked in advance. We were not able to get in for the entire 7 days. * The food in all of the restaurants was good. I was not fond of the Garden Cafe (buffet) but i'm not a fan of buffets overall. I would say the best restaurants were Moderno the Brazilian Steak House and Cagney's. For some reason I didn't really have a lot of seafood on this ship there seemed to be more steak offerings. * Burn the floor is an amazing show!! 2 thumbs up. Legally Blonde was good too. To be honest, all the shows were good and a great night out. * Getting on and off the vessel was fast and organized. * The B.O.S.S underwater adventure in St-Thomas was an amazing experience and I'm not a strong swimmer. The ATV excursion in St-Maarten was smooth and easy. The Blue Lagoon beach break in Nassau was very relaxing and the lagoon beach was beautiful with clear water. * The pool and hot tubs were always filled with children, even the 18+ areas. * This is a great boat for children, with Nickelodeon characters, 5 water slides, arcade, teen club, splash pad, mini golf, bball court and more. * The Gym was small and always packed. They need a bigger gym. There was no floor space to exercise and the wait time was very long for the equipment. Overall the ship was amazing and I would definitely go on this ship again. It's spacious and has an infinite amount of things to do. You really cannot do everything in 7 days. Initially I was worried about having 3 sea days but they go by really quickly. The staff as usual was fun and ensured that you had a great stay. I saw a few familiar faces from the Norwegian Sky. This is my first time experiencing a completely full boat in addition to traveling during peak season. I made a wise decision to stay in the studio area as there were no children allowed and the general area was very quiet in addition to having access to a nice lounge with great espresso. The boat in general during this time had a lot of children, it was hard to book excursions and restaurants and the elevators were always full and took a while to get to you. Just a few things to think about when booking during peak periods.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We just got back from a 7 night caribbean cruise with MSC. We had a fabulous time. The wife and I have cruised with Celebrity and Princess before and we would put this right up there with Celebrity. I can't understand some of the ... Read More
We just got back from a 7 night caribbean cruise with MSC. We had a fabulous time. The wife and I have cruised with Celebrity and Princess before and we would put this right up there with Celebrity. I can't understand some of the negative reviews. Fast and orderly embarkation, and the ship was gorgeous. Our stateroom was a balcony and it did not disappoint. MSC is definitely an Italian based cruise line with a lot of Europeans on board ( I would estimate about 25% were Americans), however eveything was in English, and we had no problems. In fact we liked the little bit of culture (a couple opera shows...etc) that Europeans bring. They did have two other shows touting Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra, so there were definitely some things to appeal to Americans. Food was simply great, again I can't understand why the reviews ding the food. The buffet was huge with AUTHENTIC Italian pizza, and lots of variety. We were very busy during the cruise as there were a lot of activities to stay invovled. Gym was above average and very popular--get up early to get a treadmill. I wish there was a defined jogging track around the deck. The crew did a good job of keeping order and making things fun. I would definitely cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We traveled on NCL Getaway Dec 20-27. Was a fantastic Christmas vacation for a family from the cold Midwest!!! A little background... We were a group of 7ppl - ages 5 to 59, I myself am a 34 year old female. This was my 16th cruise, first ... Read More
We traveled on NCL Getaway Dec 20-27. Was a fantastic Christmas vacation for a family from the cold Midwest!!! A little background... We were a group of 7ppl - ages 5 to 59, I myself am a 34 year old female. This was my 16th cruise, first on NCL for my whole family. Previously tried Carnival, Disney, Princess and a diamond RCCL member. I love food, I love good shows and I love good service. This is why I/we cruise! We flew into MIA on Dec 19th and pre cruise stay was at the Miami Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel. While waiting for taxis, we found a van to fit us all (and our load of luggage) to the hotel for $50. He ended up being very friendly and offered to take us all to the Port of Miami for $40 the following day. Perfect. EMBARKATION DAY Our van driver picked us up at 11am from the hotel, only 15 minute ride to port. We were greeted by porters immediately and were thru the terminal and check in quickly. Waited for a short while in the holding area for our number to be called. Total from drop off outside to onboard the Getaway about 40 minutes. When you walk on the Getaway, there is not a grandiose promenade or atrium to awe you. It's just like "oh we are on the ship now". Pretty uneventful and unimpressive entrance compared to past cruises. Lots of decorations for Christmas though, many lovely trees and some tacky red and green stuff around too. We made our way up to the pool deck to walk around and grab lunch in the Garden Cafe (buffet). The main pool is very small. I'd be tempted to say tiny in fact. While there are an abundance of pool chairs all over the deck above the pool, the space by the actual pool is either covered or wasted space. It was disappointing for a ship that size. Most of the typical "pool space" gets hogged up by the Haven (super suite members) or the ginormous water slides. Yes my family thought the slides were fun but after the few minutes of fun on the slides, there was no space for them in the packed-in-like-sardines pool. The kids area is nice, also small, with no chairs in the sun. The Nickelodeon splash pool was packed all week. I did see several children in swim diapers in that pool, pretty sure that wasn't supposed to be allowed. The Garden Cafe was very typical cruise ship buffet. Go way to the back and it's less busy!!! We never had a problem finding seating. I will mention, the salad bar was always very fresh and my brother said the Indian food was fantastic. Head chef is from India so that's why!!! Morning omelet/egg station is great too. Side note-- One of the first things I noticed was the hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE. Crew has spray bottles and there are standing dispensers all over. I appreciated that as I personally know people that have fallen to the masses of norovirus passengers on a cruise ship before. The sanitizer continued to be everywhere the whole week also - kuddos NCL. Cabins were ready by 1pm. We had an interior cabin on deck 11 aft. My parents had a standard balcony on deck 11 aft also so I will make mention of both. Our interior cabin was the smallest cabin I have ever seen on any ship. And it was equipped with 2 pull down beds to sleep up to 4ppl. Wowza. No drawers at all anywhere. A few cubbies proved to be a space gold mine. At first glance we thought "no way we can unpack for 3 people in this cabin". Somehow, we did fully unpack 3 large suitcases and a carry on. I'm still unsure how. There were about 18" of space on either side of the bed, a nightstand on each side. With the pull down beds above the side of bed, smacking your head as you try to wedge beside the bed is likely (speaking from experience, ow). Bathroom was average size for our cabin category. Shower is a tad larger than the rounded capsules on RCCL or Carnival. And there is a little foot pedestal to help with shaving your legs, nice touch! Dispensers are in shower with shampoo and body wash. And a dispenser by sink with hand soap, no bar soap. 2 outlets by vanity only, none in the bathroom, I recommend bringing a small outlet plug in with additional spaces if you plug in multiple electronics to charge at night like we do. Note about cabin electricity --- you have to place a key card or credit card, etc in the main light switch to power your cabin. If you take that card out at night, your outlets go dead also and nothing will charge! We saved our pre cruise hotel key card so that we could always have a card in that slot. The room attendant didn't have a problem with us keeping our hotel key card in the slot, either. The one or two times we pulled our hotel key card before dinner, he put it back in so that the lights were on and the room was cool when we returned. The balcony cabin was average sized, typical layout. There was a couch in this room, unlike our interior cabin. Same bathroom as interior. Slightly larger closet. A single cup coffee pot was a surprising and fun find! The balcony was the smallest I've ever seen in our travels. 2 metal chairs and a small metal table. But hardly any depth to the space at all...someone with long legs would probably bump their knees on the glass in front of them when sitting out there. We all had the same room steward - Oliver. He made us 5 different animal towels over the week and was very kind to our 5 year old daughter. He didn't always bring ice or remember wash cloths but hey, whatever. If we asked, he was on it right away. He clearly had a lot of rooms, we couldn't quite figure out if he got a break from 8am-10pm because we could always find him. He became our daughters buddy by the end of our cruise. He even left her a note and tiny towel sting ray the last night. SEA DAYS (3 of them) I'm going to lump sea days together as we tend to do the same things. Eat/drink, sun bathe/swim, nap, eat/drink.... The towels-on-chairs pool hogs were rampant on this cruise. We were on the prowl for sun chairs by 9:00am each day. On the pool deck they were all "held with towels" by that time. We always went up a deck to find 3 chairs. Drink of the day was quite good, we tried them on sea days. Usually $6.95 so affordable. The NCL mini fish bowl was a cute favorite. Lots of servers walking around often. Deals on buckets of beer or bottled water daily. Shopping on this ship is horrid. Selection is virtually nothing. NCL Getaway tees, etc very limited or gaudy. Didn't buy anything onboard, except for 1 family photo we had taken. $25 for one 8x10. Photographers are everywhere as usual, however I felt they were slightly less annoying/pushy as I've experienced in the past. We did a group photo on day 6 and the photographer worked great with our group of 7 ppl and the pic was wonderful of everyone. FOOD I will admit to being a crazy food lover. I'm not picky, I like most types of food and can pick apart a crappy meal when I receive one. I will not say I am a "foodie" as I don't necessarily like the assumptions that some associate with that word. :) Anyway, we all agreed the food on this cruise was as good as our other cruises. We ate in the "free" dining rooms 5x, the Illusionarium and LaCucina. My brother and SIL had dinner at Ocean Blue one evening also and being Geoffery Zacharian fans were not disappointed- said it was innovative and scrumptious. Now to the "free dining" evenings- all but 1 night, service was prompt and took approx 90 min start. Servers were chatty and friendly. Drinks always took a bit coming from the bar. We enjoyed the selections available each day. Food was plentiful and flavorful. Almost always nice and hot, which can be a cruise food complaint sometimes. Beef was cooked perfectly medium or medium rare each time. The chocolate volcano molten cake is available daily and was a great dessert. The plain ol coffee you get anywhere on the ship is DARK roast, which is our fav so a big hit with our group, especially at dessert time. Illusionarium food was a set menu. App was a procuttio caprese salad, dinner a surf and turf with steak fries and a mini dessert trio. The app was my favorite of the week and the surf and turf was very good and piping hot also. Kids get chicken fingers and fries. I heard some other passengers requesting a fish only option and received a garden greens salad and salmon main dish. La Cucina is a casual Italian specialty restaurant. Cost was $15 for adults and $7.50 for kids under 12. Starts out with fresh warm italian bread and 4 dipping oils. Calamari app was great, as was the Caesar salad with lots of fresh shaved Parmesan. My mom and I shared main entrees - a creamy lobster pasta and a shrimp garlicky risotto. Both great. I was too full for dessert but my the tiramisu looked wonderful. We did lunch at OSheehans one sea day. Burgers, sandwiches, buffalo wings, etc. Good fast service, my daughter loved having an order of mozz sticks to herself. Standard sports bar quality. We liked it for lunch, did not try for dinner although were tempted by their all-you-can eat prime rib which was offered 2 different evenings. Being Geoffery Zacharian fans, we had to try the lobster roll and crab tostada at the Ocean Blue Oceanfront another sea day. $9.75 and $2.50 respectively. Both were delicious. Not a hearty lunch at all, but perfect when doing an earlier dinner. Ordered room service 1 time for breakfast, just for fun. For breakfast, you put a little card outside your door by 4am with requested delivery time and food choices. The breakfast room service menu was VERY limited basic cold continental breakfast only. No hot food items at all, not even toast. I chose 8:30-9:00am as my delivery time. At 8:12 there was a knock at the door from room service. My 8:15 alarm hadn't even gone off yet, how embarrassing to fly out of bed with crazy wild hair to get your breakfast at the door. It was presented well however and my daughter thought it was cool to eat breakfast in bed. ABOUT THE SHIP Getaway is clean and new looking still, coming upon her 1st anniversary sailing. Public areas are well appointed and each area unique. Savor and Taste are the 2 main dining areas, nearly identical, one blue tones, the other red. Tropicana is the third dining room, nicely adorned with the addition of a dance floor. If you are lucky, you will be there a night the Burn the Floor dancers are performing!!!! Atrium area has a large screen where movies are played and various entertainment activities are held. I felt it to be kind of a strange space right by the guest services and shore excursion area. Theater is beautiful although rather small for a ship this size. No balcony seating at all in the theater. Shows fill up early, be there 40 minutes early for the good seats. Legally Blonde and Burn the Floor are both held in this theater. Illusionarium is a unique mystical venue. Perfect for the magic show performers that make up that performance. Fee for Illusionarium was $___pp but worth the unique experience and really good meal. Something different that other ships do not have. Casino was decent size, yes it is smokey in spots. We found a few favorite penny machines with the wacky loud bonus games and played there several times- was a hoot. No one ever asked us about drinks once while we were playing, perhaps since we were on the cheap penny slots, who knows. A side note about the casino-- on the last night, we were playing our usual machines, were done for the night and hit the button to cash out. Nothing happened. Long story short, right after we hit "cash out" all the machines went crazy and you couldn't cash out. They kept saying on the intercom "Machines all have a glitch, we are working on a fix. Please do not cash out. Keep playing if you can." Nice one NCL. We got an eye roll from a casino staffer when we said we had cashed out before the announcement. 15 minutes later and 2 forms completed, we had our cash out. My sister-in-law had another issue - she hit cash out approx 2 min before we did. She took her little $7 ticket to an automatic payment machine, stuck it in and nadda. A technician opened up the machine and said, "sorry there is not a $7 ticket stuck in here" and walked away. So she got a manager. He just gave her $15 of free slot play since he didn't know what else to do. Problem was -- with the machines all in a glitch, she couldn't use the free slot play until things were fixed. Pain in the rear. So she went back an hour later, and machines still were down. Being 10:30pm by now and the night before debarkation, she just said forget it. Thumbs down for casino service. There are many other little venues with treats for a fee or specialty restaurants that we never visited so I cannot comment on-- a coffee shop, gelato, bake shop, or Cagneys steakhouse, a Brazilian steakhouse, Le Bistro French restaurant, Teppaniyaki hibachi and more. Even an ice bar- which to just step foot inside you pay a $20 fee (that does include 2 drinks). Many offerings for that extra charge!! ENTERTAINMENT I highly recommend booking all entertainment and dining online as soon as booking becomes available so that you get what you want. Although it's a pain you can't make changes online and have to call NCL to do so. Burn the Floor - one word... AMAZING. We all said it's one of the best shows, cruise or on Broadway, we have ever seen. We would have tried to go again but it stops midweek to change the stage for Legally Blonde. Legally Blonde - it was a good show with some good voices. Not quite like the movie but very similar. Really liked it but didn't love it like Burn the Floor. Mentioned Illusionarium above Grammy Experience this week was harmonica extraordinaire Sugar Blue. He put on a great hour of jazz. My hubby claims to be a jazz aficionado and thought it was unbelievable! Felt bad for Sugar Blue as his little venue was quite empty. Dueling pianos - maybe I am spoiled with a really great local dueling pianos because I thought this group was terrible. They could really play the piano but could not sing well at all. Fun for kids maybe early in the evening. I'd check it out again if different performers. Great concept and the little venue was packed! Skipped the Comedy club... It seemed to be busy. Splash Academy - the kids club! We have a 5 year old so she was in the 3-5 year old turtles group. She went daily and loved it, loaded with activities. They had a strange schedule, closed for 2 hours sround mealtime, very different than our previous few cruises with the munchkin along. They too sprayed kids hands with sanitizer coming and going and had safe check in check out procedures. All in all a great time for our daughter. Nickelodeon Pajama Jam - yes it's $20 per person for the same breakfast food you get in the Garden Cafe but it's a great way to see Spongbob, Patrick, Sandy, Dora, Diego and a few others and snap fun pix! And dance in your pajamas! Come on and be a kid again!!!! It was cute and the little ones loved it. Not sure where to put this so since it was in the theater, it goes here. NCL asked for a volunteer to hold a Christmas service. A pastor from Sweden and his family put on a short but nice ceremony on Christmas morning. SERVICE ETC Freestyle dining took some adjustments as we are used to fixed dining times. We had a good experience with Freestyle. But we did miss the comrodere you build with your wait staff when you have the same servers a whole week. Side note- We never waited more then 5 minutes to get a table for 7 in any venue. Dress is by far the most casual we have ever experienced. On "Norweigans night out" aka formal night, I seriously saw 1 other man wearing a jacket, outside the handsome suit or tux wearing men in our group. Jeans are very normal and dressy shorts are common also. My only real complaints with this cruise are service related. And rather detailed I apologize. #1 had an issue on day 2 with extremely loud metal on metal banging the entire afternoon. It finally put our daughter in tears so we called the service desk. Someone from maintenance was in our room within 10 minutes to check things out. Of course the banging stopped then... But we never heard it again after that. For the trouble, we received a bottle of wine and 4 chocolate covered strawberries. A lovely gesture I thought, until I found out my brother had called the desk twice regarding the same issue and he got a $100 onboard credit. Same issue, different perk. I did go down to the guest services desk to ask why the discrepancy (hey... $100 is $100) and i was told it is manager discression and that extra phone call my brother made must have deemed theirs a worse issue. Our cabins were side by side by the way.... #2 The NCL app. They now have an app that you can use for $7.95 per cell phone for the week so you can text or call others in your party that also have the app. Great concept!!! Horrible in application. The wifi that the app uses kicks you out of the app many times a day. iPhone users can get back in if you totally shut down the app and reopen it. Droid phones had to input their name and info every single time that happened. It gets about a 5/10 tainting from me because of the constant loss of wifi to the app. #3. My husband was walking by the pool one sea day and a lady fell out of the bathroom and landed on his feet. She had passed out in the bathroom, hit her head, got up and tried to exit the bathroom and passed out again. My husband stayed with her for 20 minutes while trying to summon help. A couple of ship staff in white officer like uniforms came and called the onboard medic several times. No one from the doctor on board area ever came. The lady did wake up and wasn't having pain so they found her a wheelchair and when they tracked down her husband, they got her down to the medical facility. I have zero faith in the onboard health care after this. #4 Not a complaint but worth the mention. We came back to our cabin one evening to find 2 housekeeping staff in the hallway with a mattress and 2 full biohazard bags. Also a housekeeping manager of some kind with a clipboard and checklist making sure all was handled properly. Apparently they have strict cleaning regimens when someone gets ill. I also noted many room service dishes outside that cabin for a few days so the sick person must have been quarantined for awhile. NCL seems to really be on top of the spreading of germs!!!! I already mentioned the hand sanitizer everywhere. Kuddos! PORTS St Maarten - we booked a 6 hour private van for our group thru Bernard Tours. Our driver was David in a closed air conditioned van. Very informative island tour. Shopping, sightseeing with photo stops and airport beach fun watching the planes land. The airport beach is packed and the waves are a little bit of a problem if you have small children. During the tour, David talked the entire time, so we got a lot of info about the French side vs the Dutch side. He had a huge cooler filled with drinks for us also. Recommend Bernard Tours. St Thomas - we booked Sunny Liston in a private van for 4 hours. There are 2 gates leading directly off the Getaway (which we did not know) so we were late finding our driver. We had Angela aka Gie Gie for the tour in an open air van. She didn't say hardly anything on the sightseeing portion, stopped 2 places for photos and again to let us shop. Then an hour at Maegans Bay which is beautiful and a calm bay but packed with people. Also had to pay an unexpected $4 each for entry to Maegans Bay. So so on the recommendation here - probably would recommend a different guide if you want more island info in your tour. Nassau, Bahamas We booked a day pass at the Hilton British Colonial hotel. Very nice pool and beach to use within walking distance of ship port. Very calm beach with chairs in the sand. Not over crowded. Service was very slow from the beach/pool bar and 1 server in particular was rude. But we all agreed the nice beach and drink specials would bring us back there if we stop in Nassau again. CONCLUSION Being a pretty seasoned cruiser, we know the things we like and don't like by now. Would I sail NCL again, yes. We did enjoy it. And the ship was lovely. Would NCL win over the other choices... It's a toss up and would come down to price for me. Being a diamond member on RCCL, it's hard to give up the perks. Another cruise in the books. When can I go again?! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The cruise was ok, but three main critics of the ship and our experience: 1) Not enough space - It is a huge ship, but the proportion of people to features such as pools, slides, hot tubs, sun deck space, etc... is not good. Way too ... Read More
The cruise was ok, but three main critics of the ship and our experience: 1) Not enough space - It is a huge ship, but the proportion of people to features such as pools, slides, hot tubs, sun deck space, etc... is not good. Way too crowded. The number of people in the pools and hut tubs was just gross. The only way to get a chair on the sun deck on at sea days was to get out there and put your stuff on one before 8am. Lines for the slides (which are great) was way too long. 2) Food was blah - Huge selection at the buffet which was great, but overall the food tasted very blah. We found very few tasty things. We also paid for a dinner at Cagney's which is suppose to be their best specialty on the ship. Nice restaurant, but very long wait, and food was just ok. We expected a much better experience. The best restaurant we went to was a complimentary restaurant called "The Taste". 3) Unexpected charges - We were not aware of the $12 per passenger per day charges. For my family of 6, for 7 days, that was an extra $504. I tip well and expected to pay tips, but not this much. Don't like surprises. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Very disappointed in this ship. It was smelly - former smoking areas have not been cleaned of smoke smell - several areas smelled musty. The cruise director acted very unprofessional; he was loud, obnoxious, spoke unclearly, and there was ... Read More
Very disappointed in this ship. It was smelly - former smoking areas have not been cleaned of smoke smell - several areas smelled musty. The cruise director acted very unprofessional; he was loud, obnoxious, spoke unclearly, and there was huge gaps in entertainment times. The Christmas show was put on very, very late (10:00) which included young children in the show, and the so-called Christmas story read by the entertainment director was terrible and not something that the children seemed to enjoy. Entertainment on this ship was not very good and we were somewhat bored. The ports were wonderful, as were the staff in the Platinum (lower) dining room (Ioan and Vlad - two thumps up). Our cabin steward was very friendly and accommodating. Overall, we did not find the staff very friendly. I will definitely never cruise on this ship again and am not overly thrilled with Carnival. One of the pieces of our luggage arrived with a broken wheel to which the staff sent us a letter saying that if we have it fixed within 30 days they will CONSIDER repayment. Also, getting off the ship in Costa Maya was horrendous - elevators letting people off into a crowd where the hallway and staircases emptied into one stairway was disastrous with pushing, shoving, yelling and stepping on toes! Also, I was upset over 4 things that I wanted to do that were listed in the Fun Times daily and were actually held on different days (one was for a Scotch tasting.) Read Less

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