First the pros:
VERY inexpensive cruise
Easy access from JAX airport to the port
Fastest check-in I have ever experienced
Musical entertainment was good
Dinners were good to very good
Evening Dining room service was good
... Read More
First the pros:
VERY inexpensive cruise
Easy access from JAX airport to the port
Fastest check-in I have ever experienced
Musical entertainment was good
Dinners were good to very good
Evening Dining room service was good
Salad bar in the cafeteria style dining was good and fresh
Burgers from the pool grill were very good
Room attendants did a good job
Nassau port was easily accessible – easy walk to town. Good beaches, good restaurants and shopping.
Now the cons:
Desperately needs refurbishing -
Major entertainment is marginal at best – mostly game show type events – no shows.
Shops were very small with very little merchandise
Breakfast dining room staff was not very good
Breakfast food in the dining room was marginal
The “Sunday Brunch” was the same food as any other day
Rooms really needed updating – the dresser drawers would hardly open, closet doors didn’t close – just OLD
Not very many room amenities – no hair dryer, no hair conditioner, no lotion, no ice bucket
Port of Freeport was almost inaccessible - in the middle of nowhere – at least 10 miles from town and when you got to town there wasn’t much to do or see.
Disembarkment process was AWFUL. They encouraged us to carry our own luggage to get off faster. We stood around the hallways of the ship for about an hour - then once we got off the ship we had to wait in a “snaking” line for almost another hour to get through immigration and customs. Very poorly planned. Read Less
Let me preface this review by stating that I am not a seasoned cruise traveler (and don’t know whether I will ever be one), but I approached this adventure with an open mind, eager to see what all the fuss is about. I now live in Fort ... Read More
Let me preface this review by stating that I am not a seasoned cruise traveler (and don’t know whether I will ever be one), but I approached this adventure with an open mind, eager to see what all the fuss is about. I now live in Fort Lauderdale and on a daily basis, I watch from my balcony as the cruise ships arrive and depart Port Everglades. I decided it was time I got on one of them again. A friend and I booked this cruise through a travel agent who secured our staterooms; we both paid the supplement to have private rooms, which were adjacent to each other. Because we were apprehensive about cruising (the second such experience for each of us), we picked a short 3-night and 2-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau.
First, the good: the Celebrity Silhouette is roughly 6 years old and most common areas of the ship look brand new. Dining experiences exceeded my expectations; we chose to have lunches in the buffet (Oceanview Café) and dinners in the main dining room (Grand Cuvee’). There are also a host of informal grills and cafes with free food throughout the ship as well as a handful of “specialty dining” restaurants, to which a “cover charge” applies. Entertainment options were numerous; something for everyone. The majority of the daytime events centered on the pool and the outdoors, as one would hope and expect. Evening options included live bands with dancing, games in the ship’s lounges, a colorful casino, and two or three nightly shows in the ship’s theater. The beverage packages seemed reasonably priced to me; we certainly got our money’s worth each day. We took one excursion in Nassau and it was a good one: the “Sea and See”, which is a combination of 1) a ride on a submerged vessel, giving one a close-up view of fish and coral, and 2) a bus ride through the old town, with a stop at a centuries-old fort that has the best view of the island. For someone who has never been to Nassau, it was a perfect blend of nature and history.
The downsides: I felt like I was nickel-and-dimed the whole cruise. Everywhere you turn, the ship is trying to sell you something extra or push upgrades on you, and the in-your-face promotions got old fast. My stateroom, for which I paid roughly $1100 for 3 nights (!), was very small, although the balcony was a decent size. We were on Deck 7, and our rooms were directly above the enormous orange lifeboats, which compromised the views. There is no coffee maker in the room. There is a small fridge, although most of the space inside of it is occupied by minibar items. My stateroom 7183 included a badly-worn sofa and bathroom drawers that were stained and scuffed. The towels were old and nearly threadbare; I asked for (and received) newer, fluffier towels, but I shouldn’t have needed to do that at these prices. On a positive note, my cabin steward (Abdul) was exceptionally good. He responded to every request almost immediately, and always with a smile.
The fitness center was satisfactory; I used it daily and never had to wait for a machine, but the spa was a disappointment. In order to use the steam room, you had to pay a significant upcharge. I didn’t bother. There were no male massage therapists. There were significant upcharges for routine fitness classes such as spinning. Other upcharges included on-demand in-room movies ($15).
Perhaps the biggest surprise was displayed by room service; I used it two mornings for breakfast and both times, silverware was either completely missing or the wrong kind was provided. The first morning, I received 3 spoons, but no fork or knife. By the time I noticed, the attendant was long gone and no one answered the phone after repeated tries. I finally gave up and ate with my fingers. An apology from the manager arrived that evening in the form of chocolate-covered strawberries. The next day, I got a fork and a knife, but no tablespoon. How can that happen? The food from room service was a disappointment. In the future, I would get dressed and go to one of the restaurants, where things are fresh. Servers there are not hurried and they generally display great pride in their work and concern for your satisfaction.
This brings me to my biggest quandary about the service on the cruise: a mandatory 18% tip is included in everything you purchase, and a separate $13.50 charge per day is added to your bill for “onboard gratuities.” Now, I have been a big tipper for many years, and I think nothing of adding 20 or 25% for the server if the service is good. But when a mandatory charge is added by the cruise operator, I wonder how much of that money makes its way to the people who do the work. Read Less
If you are considering cruising with Royal Caribbean, beware the Empress of the Seas. While all of the staff and crew were friendly and professional, the actual ship was tired and dated. Areas are clean, but in need of renovation. Our ... Read More
If you are considering cruising with Royal Caribbean, beware the Empress of the Seas. While all of the staff and crew were friendly and professional, the actual ship was tired and dated. Areas are clean, but in need of renovation. Our cabin felt more like we were in a mobile home.
Because this is RC's smallest ship there was quite a bit of rocking. My husband was seasick for 2 of our 4 days.
The pool on this ship is extremely small. Both the pool and the hot tubs were overrun with children without adult supervision. The adult hot tub had children in it constantly and with staff watching were never asked to go to the family friendly tub.
Worst of all was the quality of the food. The quality was terrible, and everything was served cold. I didn't have a hot meal the entire time. The service in the main dining room was extremely slow (2 hours to eat dinner with a table of strangers), and you would have to ask for things multiple times each night. (i.e. drink orders, napkins, etc)
The shore excursions were all really enjoyable, but I was unimpressed with the ship. Read Less
Empress of the Seas 1/17. Pool is way too small, 3 hot tubs overrun by kids eating and drinking and no supervision. Service at breakfast one day horrible otherwise good. Food quality is just ok. The food in paid restaurant-onboard ... Read More
Empress of the Seas 1/17. Pool is way too small, 3 hot tubs overrun by kids eating and drinking and no supervision. Service at breakfast one day horrible otherwise good. Food quality is just ok. The food in paid restaurant-onboard excellent though. Older ship with smaller staterooms. First ship Iwas ever on whenstill the Nordic Empress 20 plus years ago. Lots of improvement investments but mostly qualitative. So basic ship old and not up to today's standards. Entertainment was very good with good variety. Key West and Bahamas excellent ports of call. Have cruised on Princess before and feel that it is much superior and worth the extra costs. The older I get the quality issues matter more than the cost/value so will likely do more upscale in the future. On the only breakfast we had in the main dining room buffet there was no coffee, juice, water service until meal almost completed. Read Less
The ship is absolutely beautiful. The Christmas decor was a nice touch. The food was delicious and the selection was outstanding day and night. The activities and excursions were exciting and fun. The staff was friendly and helpful. ... Read More
The ship is absolutely beautiful. The Christmas decor was a nice touch. The food was delicious and the selection was outstanding day and night. The activities and excursions were exciting and fun. The staff was friendly and helpful. Everything was wonderful from start to finish. There was something available for everyone no matter the age. Went to the Bahamas and rode ATV's in the jungle of Mexico. I have told everyone about my experience and encourage them all to get on board ASAP. I was invited for a wedding and this was my first time on the Allure of The Sea, but not my last. I'm looking forward to planning another trip with more family members as I am definitely going again! The view from ship is breathtaking every single moment of the day. I enjoyed my experience and hope everyone will be able to share in the joy I did. Read Less
Short review - You get what you pay for! We didnt pay the top RCI dollars for their mega ships so we cant complain too much about it. Its a very small ship and maybe the worst of the RCI family. If you don't like to walk too far and ... Read More
Short review - You get what you pay for! We didnt pay the top RCI dollars for their mega ships so we cant complain too much about it. Its a very small ship and maybe the worst of the RCI family. If you don't like to walk too far and don't mind plumbing problems and noise issues, then it the one for you. Also, being a smaller ship the staff knew almost everyone in our table by their names and gave top quality service. That was the single most happy time of our cruise as we saw smiling faces greeting us at every meal. As for us this was our first and last cruise on this particular ship.
Long review - I totally agree with most reviewers about the size and quality of the ship - Small and Disappointing. Here are our good, bad & ugly remarks -
The Good: The wait staff, the servers, the greeters, the cleaners - All from various parts of the world made us feel welcomed and were always smiling in-spite of their hard day's work. The port of Miami check-in was a breeze and we were on the ship within 15 minutes of being dropped off by an Uber / Lyft ($35-$40 for 4 of us total from FLL, compared to $30 per person that the cruise ship wanted for airport transfer) at the gate. The entry and exit on port-calls was also very fast compared to other ships we have traveled in the past. The main show of the night was fantastic each night, specifically Elton John tribute on the 3rd night and the Showgirls at the last night. The Headliner show / comedian was OK. Not great but not bad either. The Cruise director and his staff were great and tried very hard to please. The overall food at main dining was not the best we have had, but not bad either. Windjammer food was sometimes better than the the main dining, so we skipped our My-Time dinner twice. The Brunch buffet was decent but overcrowded as the ship had only one place for it.
The Bad: The showers were extra small and lacked hot water even early in the morning or late at night. The plumbing was terrible at the very best. Several common ladies room were always in bad shape. The cushion seats at Windjammer were the ugliest thing we have ever seen. We always sat on the wooden ones. The condition of the ship needed to be much better considering it was refurbished just a year ago. The dessert selections at the Windjammer and the main dining needs some inspiration, as we saw same items every day. Also, NO 24-hour pizza place or soft serve ice-cream corner. The ice-cream machine frequently broke causing them to operate only for few hours everyday.
The Casino lacked variety, quality and space. It was so hot inside due to crammed up slot machines that they had about 20 fans running every 10 ft just to keep it bearable and breathable. The main tables were always full as they only had one of each - Blackjack, Texas Holdem, 3-Card Poker, Craps..! The slot machines were dated and not fun at all. The Gym was also tiny and had few choice of machines. There was NO Steam / Sauna rooms, that bummed my wife out as we had used them both in all our past cruises. The only activity place was the rock-climbing wall which again was packed with teenagers and time slots were taken up everyday. There was NO formal night or advance information about the dress-code (there was all white night, that would have been fun if we knew in advance before packing our clothes) The three hot water whirlpools were crowded most of the time, so we had to pick early morning (7am to 9am) or late evening (8pm to 9 pm) to use it. The walls of the cabins were paper thin and we had trouble sleeping every night. Some idiots next doors always rang their rooms between midnight trying to find their non existent family member and then eventually come to their room after partying hard at 2am. That woke us up each night and guest relations didnt do much about it. (its not their fault, just our luck to be stuck near loud and stupid neighbors)
The Ugly: We had a terrible experience with our room. On the very first night smelly water was logged on the entrance of the room. We brought it to the notice of the guest relations and their reply was sorry the ship is full! They put two huge dryer fans to fix the issue. It worked fine during the day, except for the problem to return every night and it was a huge puddle on night-3. Now they offered me a room - interesting since the ship was full two days ago. The reasoning given was some passengers left due to emergency - very possible, but too late for me. My family was out and i didnt want to move without notifying them, so survived the nights. It was only on the last night when i went to check my dues, i realized that no offer of apology or waiving of some charges was presented to us. Thats when i got angry and got diverted to talk with their guest relations manager. She was a very nice lady who was shocked to hear our horror story and promised to get to bottom of it and revert back to us. After her investigation she confirmed our problems and expressed dismay over inaction of her staff. She offered us onboard credits towards our bill and a future discount on RCI (On condition that i need to book something within a year). The offer was not close enough to our miseries, but did not have not much choice on it. It was just enough to cover for some body massages for us!!
N/A : We didn't use the Bar or the Spa so cant say anything specific about it.
Shore Excursions :
Day 2: Key West - We booked the Key Lime Bike Tour ($45 pp) through the cruise and were picked up by an awesome guide - Clint. It was a perfect tour to see the island and know its history. Clint made it entertaining and funny for all of us. Every single person in the group loved this excursion. The highlight of the tour was the description of the bloody battle of the "Conch Republic" vs "USA" and the free Key-Lime Pie served at the end of the tour. 5/5 for Clint and the tour.
Day 4: Nassau, Bahamas - We booked the Pearl Island day tour ($79 pp) through the cruise also and were picked up right outside the ship ramp via a boat that took about 40 mins to the island. A very tiny but beautiful island had got damaged in the last hurricane (Matthews), but didn't got its spirit damaged. The guide and the 5 other people serving us in the island more than made up for the perfect last day of the cruise. The tour included lunch (food) was great and enough for a fill and so were the free drink and paid drinks. They even included 2 photo ops that were printed and given to us as souvenirs. There was a tiny beach and about the perfect size for the 30 people on the tour. There was plenty of shaded and open chairs. There were 3-4 games available to play but we all were in the perfect blue water. The fun and attitude of the staff there was pleasing and made us promise them to come back again after they renovate in future! Read Less
A. To many people to serve at one time at buffets.
B. Disappointed because Guy's famous Bar-B- Que was only opened for one day of the entire 5 days and for 2 and a half hours at that. Never did get to sample his ... Read More
A. To many people to serve at one time at buffets.
B. Disappointed because Guy's famous Bar-B- Que was only opened for one day of the entire 5 days and for 2 and a half hours at that. Never did get to sample his wonderful prepared pork we had heard about. His hamburgers were the best I have ever tasted in my life. Loved his fries also.
C. We had anytime dining. We have chose this concept for the past 4 cruises. Well it did not work for us this time. We had a wait of 1 hour and 5 minutes to get seated the last evening for our dinner. When we did the early or late dining in the past we never had to wait over 15 minutes. This caused us to miss an activity we had planned on attending.
We loved Amber Cove. The sight seeing tour was worth every penny and more.
We took this cruise because we wanted to visit Grand Turk. We have been to Nassau in the Bahamas at least 6 times and wanted see different islands. Well we were unable to dock and was rerouted of course to Nassau. I was heart broken
It is a beautiful ship and well tended too. Someone was always cleaning something. That was a big deal with me. The workers on board were very friendly and went above and beyond their duty to help you with any needs you had.
The performers were the best of the best. I loved every minute of each show.
The CRUISE DIRECTOR was the most wonderful guy I have ever met. DR. J was so funny and had you eating out of the palm of his hand. I hope by Thanksgiving next year , some things change for the better concerning issues with dining. But I want to return to the Carnival Magic ship for the 7 day cruise only if DR. J is still aboard in November of 2017. Read Less
This was a great time and great memories!! Food was good, entertainment was good! Ship was clean, staff was friendly!! It did get crowded on at sea day but there was places to go that wasn't so crowded. We got up early every day and ... Read More
This was a great time and great memories!! Food was good, entertainment was good! Ship was clean, staff was friendly!! It did get crowded on at sea day but there was places to go that wasn't so crowded. We got up early every day and walked the ship when it was quite. Truly a great trip! This was my parents first trip and they loved it. Dinner was very good in the dining room. Lunch could get crowded on the lido deck but we would have a cocktail and wait the crowd out. On Nassau we did a Segway rides and it was awesome!! Worth every penny and so much fun, our guides were fantastic!!!! We got the cheers drink package and that was worth it as well, we saved money doing it that way. My parents and I would defiantly do Carnival again, it was great trip and we enjoyed it! Read Less
There was a party of 11 of us.I choose this cruise because it would be a quick one for my grands before school started back. My grands are ages 15 - 8. Our first day I never met the room steward. I had to call for ice to use for my ... Read More
There was a party of 11 of us.I choose this cruise because it would be a quick one for my grands before school started back. My grands are ages 15 - 8. Our first day I never met the room steward. I had to call for ice to use for my insulin. He bought me a bucket with a hole in it and when we returned from dinner ice had melted and the floor was wet,the counter and the water had ran in one of the drawers and clothes got wet.He never came to do the room that night. Me and my granddaughter had to try and pull the beds down.He bought the complimentary bottles of water and didn't even bother to put the labels on them just layed them down on the table. Besides all of this they had a great time. The two girls went to Camp Carnival and they enjoyed it. Everyone enjoyed Dive in movies at night.Our wait team in the DR was excellent.The food was decent.We had an inside on the 10th floor upgrades had been made to that room.The Dr. Seuss breakfast was good.We enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
We chose this cruise because it was convenient and sailed out of Charleston. It only took about an hour to board and start our vacation. That was probably the smoothest embarkation we've ever had. The first thing that struck me was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was convenient and sailed out of Charleston. It only took about an hour to board and start our vacation. That was probably the smoothest embarkation we've ever had. The first thing that struck me was the number of Children. My wife and I have children of our own and never thought it would be a good idea to cruise with kids. This definitely proved to be t the case. It almost seemed as though at some points, the children outnumbered the adults. The ship is older but still in good condition and our room was fine. We opted for a balcony ( which I would highly recommend ) and were very happy . This was out 4th Carnival cruise and it seems as though the cabin service has been lacking on the last two especially. Don't get me wrong, everyone was very friendly, but it just seemed as though it was very different from previous cruises. One thing we definitely noticed was the lack of bartenders and pool wait staff. We had the all inclusive drink package and again on our previous cruises, it seemed as though service was much faster and more attentive. it also seemed as though one it was known you had the drink package, the response was less than attentive.
The entertainment was good, We love the comedy shows and Karaoke bar. But again, there were a great deal of kids in the Karaoke bar and seemed as though there was no parental supervision. The ports were ok, Nassau was much better than Free Port and I would not recommend even getting off the boat in Free Port.
Overall of course we had a good time and love cruising, but we may have to consider another cruise line in the future to reduce the child factor. Read Less
We left from Port Canaveral on Thursday morning. We got to the Port about 10:15 a.m. and parked at the port. Parking was easy and literally at the ship. Perfect way to start a vacation. We had booked Faster to the Fun and there was no line ... Read More
We left from Port Canaveral on Thursday morning. We got to the Port about 10:15 a.m. and parked at the port. Parking was easy and literally at the ship. Perfect way to start a vacation. We had booked Faster to the Fun and there was no line for us to check in when we got there. We waited about twenty minutes inside and then got called to board our ship.
Faster to the Fun was a great option for us. We were one of the first on the ship, our rooms were ready when we got on the ship and our luggage was there just a few minutes after we walked in. Our room had a king size bed that was two twin beds that were pushed together. If there was too much movement on the bed they would start pulling apart but what can you expect. Our bathroom was small but one night when we were running late for dinner and two of us fit in there to shower and get ready at the same time. Plenty of closet space. I love that there was real t.v. on so we had something to put on when we went to sleep. Our housekeeping was perfect. Always on time and knew us by name. We really did appreciate the top rate service.
Next up Lido deck for drinks and food. The bars were already busy and the lines were already long. We were only in our rooms long enough to drop of our carry on. The lido deck was not a fun place to be ever on that ship. It was packed full from the moment we arrived until the moment we got off the ship. Many people saving deck chairs. Most of the time probably 50% of the chairs were just being saved. The lines for the buffets were always long and it did take forever to get our lunch each day. Breakfast was not as bad but could be long too.
Serenity deck was wonderful and I loved the bar and was usually able to find a chair there. I sat in the whirlpool with a drink and watched the Bahamas get closer and closer. Probably one of the best parts of my trip.
Noel in the Casino bar was amazing. He knew us by name and would make anything we asked him to. The machines were all working from what I could tell and it was a good experience all around.
Our Dinner staff was amazing and I wish I could request them for every cruise we go on. Special orders, drinks, Can I try this, they were always willing to go above and beyond the service we would have expected. The food was good and we were all able to find something we liked each night. I did order the lobster one night even though it was an extra twenty dollars. I feel like it should be included one night. I enjoyed the dancing and just fun vibe of the dining room.
We went to the comedy club one night. I did not really find the comic funny but many did. We had to sit in the back of the club and the waitress would not even look at us when we tried to order a drink. I would have liked to have a drink to enjoy with my show but it's ok I could have walked to the casino and got one from Noel if I really needed one.
Nassau was a nice little port. We visited the straw market to buy a few goodies to take home. Walked down to the beach by Fat Tuesdays and swam in the public beach that was not very crowded and was really beautiful. We ended up swimming with three manatees.
Overall we had a wonderful three day vacation. Carnival Victory is an older ship but the staff works really hard to keep it clean. One thing I noticed was a lot of people on the ship to party. While we were all on vacation to have fun, the lady trying to pole dance in the casino was a little distasteful. There was a fight on the Serenity deck Where a man hit a woman and knocked her into the whirlpool. Then the woman's boyfriend/husband jumped in and the two guys went at it for a good 8-10 minutes before anyone showed up to stop them. I am hoping by choosing a longer cruise on a bigger ship there will be more people there to relax and less there to just party. But we did have a great time and I would do it again and again if given the chance. Read Less
Blount Small Ship Adventures is just that, a small ship with adventures aplenty. Hubby and I have cruised with Blount many times over the past few years, but the cruise that I enjoyed most and I enjoyed twice was the Bahamian Out Islands. ... Read More
Blount Small Ship Adventures is just that, a small ship with adventures aplenty. Hubby and I have cruised with Blount many times over the past few years, but the cruise that I enjoyed most and I enjoyed twice was the Bahamian Out Islands. I always thought of the Bahamas as Nassau, well I soon learned that the Bahamas consists of 700 islands 30 of which are inhabited. Nassau was just our embarkation point.
Our ship, The Grande Mariner, is a small but well equipped small ship. Our cabin was also small, but it had two twin beds with a night stand between, it was clean, it had adequate drawer, shelf, closet area and a large mirror and it had a window to open if you so desired. The room had A/C. Our cabin also had a small, clean, well lit and well-appointed toilet and sink room and a separate shower stall. No television was also a plus for us. Our cabin had everything we needed.
This was a very laid-back and fun cruise. All the staff and crew were friendly and very accessible. Being able to visit the Captain as he sails the ship makes for a casual and relaxed atmosphere. The food is plentiful and delicious. With about 80 passengers on board, it felt like cruising on a friend's yacht. The cruise also had on-board very knowledgeable and friendly naturalists. They gave lectures in the evening about the day's activities and also presented a very informative snorkeling "how to" for us beginners. The naturalists were always available to answer questions and point out interesting facts. The ship comes equipped with kayaks and snorkeling gear for your use. No extra charge, by the way. Feeling comfortable with the crew and fellow passengers made me enjoy my trip even more. The bow landings were amazing. There's nothing like having your cruise ship only steps away while you're swimming, snorkeling or just sunning. Casual open seating meals is a nice way to meet new friends. Lots of fun activities are offered every day...hiking, sight-seeing, snorkeling, botanical garden walks, even swimming with pigs and swimming with sharks. Participation was your choice. Sometimes it's just fun to sit on the top deck in the sun and snooze. A BBQ on the top deck was fun. Visiting places like Spanish Wells where the people use only golf carts to get around and visiting some islands where there are no people at all was interesting.
Get off the beaten path and go where the big ships cannot. We enjoyed our Bahamian Out Island cruise so much that we took the cruise again a couple of years later. It was still an amazing, fun and educational trip the second time. I guess that answers the question, "Would you do it again?"...Yes! Read Less
I went to the Bahamian Out Islands with Blount it was the best vacation I have ever taken. We boarded in Nassau and cruised past 4 HUGE cruise ships. We went to the outer islands that big ships will never reach. Spanish Wells, Harbour ... Read More
I went to the Bahamian Out Islands with Blount it was the best vacation I have ever taken. We boarded in Nassau and cruised past 4 HUGE cruise ships. We went to the outer islands that big ships will never reach. Spanish Wells, Harbour Island and Compass Cay to name a few.
We had complete access to remote beaches and small towns inaccessible by usual tourists. We were docking with yachts and sailboats the entire time, even running into a few celebrities. The optional excursions were fantastic as well - my favorite is the ride in a glass bottomed boat with the Naturalist Luz who lectured us on fish and coral below the surface.
The crew on these boats are absolutely phenomenal. Beginning on day 1, they will know you by name. If you need ANYTHING, just ask! Fantastic service. I also enjoyed the food onboard greatly. One of my favorite meals was a fun cookout on the top deck during Caribbean night where the captain made his famous punch and handed out delicious grilled shrimp.
Blount is the type of cruise you take if you want to do something different and meet great people in the process. You bond with both passengers and crew greatly over the duration of your trip since they sail with less than 83 passengers.
The ships are not luxurious by any means. It's truly about cruising in comfort and enjoying your experiences with people who make you feel as if, you are cruising on a friend's yacht!
Blount also does trips from New York or Boston to Montreal, wish I am hoping to do one day, especially during fall foliage. I would highly recommend you put a trip with this cruise line on your travel bucket list!! Read Less
We leave near Charleston, so we chose this cruise because the port is so close. The ship is a bit dated but still nice. This was our first cruise so I was a bit shocked at how tiny the rooms are. It was tight even for just the 2 of us. ... Read More
We leave near Charleston, so we chose this cruise because the port is so close. The ship is a bit dated but still nice. This was our first cruise so I was a bit shocked at how tiny the rooms are. It was tight even for just the 2 of us. Boarding was a bit confusing once on the ship, but we stopped someone and they directed us where to go. Plenty to do aboard, many bars and shops.
My biggest complaint was the food. I always heard cruise ship food was so good so this was a HUGE disappointment. The food looked beautiful, but was truly almost inedible. The eggs at breakfast were powdered, and we tried the buffet and the dining room and they even used powdered eggs for the omelets. I ended up eating a bagel for breakfast every morning. I'm not really that picky but this food was just awful. We had beautiful steaks for dinner and literally only ate a couple bites...they just tasted bad. It wasn't even that the food was bland...it was just bad tasting food, Im guessing just low quality? I would've been happier with canned Chef Boyardee Ravioli.
We tried lots of different things and really didn't enjoy any of our food at all. I ended up eating bread mostly as it was the only thing that tasted pretty good. Even the desserts weren't very good. I'm not sure where they get the food from but man 5 days of bad food really put a damper on things. The pizza was even not very good. I had a Ruben and that is the only thing I think I had that I actually ate all of it. I will say the staff in the Lido dining room were great and we really enjoyed them singing and dancing. They really made it a special and fun experience.
Also cruising to the Bahamas in February is not ideal..we booked a snorkeling excursion not realizing that the water would be absolutely freezing! We did do an ATV excursion in Freeport and that was the highlight of our cruise. Overall we had a good time. But our next cruise we are trying a different line in hopes the food will be better. This ship is an older one and the main pool is not very big. Lots of hot tubs in other areas of the ship though. The gym was decent. Treadmills,and weights, some free weights even. We also had somewhat rough seas and you could really feel it on this ship! Would not travel this particular ship again. Read Less
We just returned from the Quantum March 13, 2015 sailing. Overall, we had a great time; although, we loved the Allure more.
We arrived at the Port of Bayonne around noon with a 1:45 pm check-in time. There was little to no ... Read More
We just returned from the Quantum March 13, 2015 sailing. Overall, we had a great time; although, we loved the Allure more.
We arrived at the Port of Bayonne around noon with a 1:45 pm check-in time. There was little to no line and we circled around and unloaded our car pretty quickly, given that we had 10 pieces of luggage for two adults and one 15 mos old baby. We also packed a case of water by itself and wrapped it in brown paper grocery bags. We marked it "water" and it was delivered no problem. We did end up bringing a convertible car seat and used the britax carry bag. We tipped the portor $20.
I took the baby inside the terminal and my husband parked the car in the surface lot. While we were waiting approximately 5 minutes for DH, I spotted someone with an ipad and knew to check in with her. After a few health questions, the baby and I were all checked-in. Be sure to check in online and upload pictures ahead of time. My husband then met us and the woman checked him in. Five minutes later we went through security. A few minutes after that we took the elevator up to the top and boarded the ship. All in all, embarkation took all of 20 minutes.
We booked a Grand Suite on Deck 8. It was very spacious and had more than enough space for all of us and DS's gear. There is a great youtube video of a grand suite to give you an idea. The back wall was complete windows and the door to the balcony was on the living room side. We used the closet on the living room side for all of our coats, handbags, backpacks, etc. We had the room stewart empty the mini bar and remove all of the snacks off the top of the mini bar cabinet and used that as a food prep area for DS. We were able to collect cartons of whole milk from windjammer and store in the mini-bar fridge. There was no freezer so I couldn't keep freezer packs frozen for his bottle bag. We brought with us shelf stable toddler milk to use off the ship. This came in handy. I also brought all of DS's pureed baby food pouches and his baby cereal for his breakfast and other snacks. But otherwise, DS ate off of the kids menu.
We also attached his booster/highchair on the chair at the desk in the living room that we used in the cabin for his breakfast and snacks. We stored the convertible carseat and big stroller on the balcony. All of our clothes fit comfortably in the closet in the bedroom side. DS's pack and play (graco) fit between the bed and the glass windows on the bedroom side. They supplied the pack and play but we brought our own sheets (b/c they didn't supply that). There was a retractible thick black-out curtain that we closed after DS went to bed so we could still have the lights on in the living room and watch tv or read.
The bathroom had a tub and two sinks. One sink we used as a washing station for DS's bottles, plates, sippy cups, silverware. The other sink we used for brushing teeth, etc. We also brought some bath toys, scoop and baby soap. The suite came with upgraded toiletries which were great.
The cabin was very pretty overall. The glass table was a bit dangerous with the baby but not terrible. The glass is not attached to the table so we had to watch our curious toddler carefully.
The balcony was large. It contained two lounge chairs with a table and a larger table with two chairs. We lounged out there during DS's afternoon naps. It came in very handy.
The restaurants we enjoyed the best was Jamie's Italian, Chic, Chops Grille, Silk and the Grande. We also really liked Coastal Kitchen. The crab cake that we enjoyed the best was from Chic. My DH also had a porterhouse from Chops that was out of this world. We also really enjoyed the 270cafe. I loved the cuban and turkey club paninis. Chops was the only restaurant that made us feel uncomfortable for having a baby with us. Our DS is also very well behaved in restaurants.
The restaurants always provided us with a highchair. DS was able to eat off of the child's menu for the most part.
On the other hand, we really didn't like Divinely Decadence or American Icon. The Windjammer was also disappointing. For the life of us, we really don't understand why they don't provide trays anymore. One thing we did like about windjammer was that they made everyone wash their hands before entering; however, then they let everyone serve their own food touching all of the handles, etc.
We liked the different restaurants but disliked the fact that we never got to form any relationships with the waiters. I personally also missed the fact that there wasn't a "formal" night. I also missed the big promenade like from the Oasis class ships.
Drink package. They really push the drink package. Almost every drink except for Quantum water, lemonade, unsweet ice tea, coffee and tea costs extra. There is also free apple juice and orange juice. As expected, the free coffee is not great. We did use the platinum benefits for bogo drinks here and there.
Entertainment and Activities
We enjoyed the shows. We saw Mama Mia. It was good but not broadway quality despite what others have said. We also really enjoyed Starwater which, we thought was better than Sonic Odyssey. We also saw the Headliner - hypnotist.
The iFly is a MUST. It was so awesome. We were able to do a baby swap so that we could both take a turn. The iFly booked up for the entire cruise by the first day. We missed getting a reservation so we had to go and wait standby. Fortunately, many people miss reservations so we were able to get on to a group quickly.
As for the Northstar, the lines were enormous. Everytime we went up there it seemed like the line was at least 60-90 minutes. We ended up waiting until the Nassau day when most people were in port. Even then the line was 30 minutes long. Again, we did a baby swap because young children are not allowed on the Northstar. I think the youngest I saw was about 7 or 8 years old.
The seaplex was also a blast. We did the bumper cars and roller skating. As others have said they offer each item based on a schedule. They even did a circus school with a trapeze but we didn't try that. We also didn't try the flowrider.
The Royal Babies program is pretty good. During embarkation day, we visited and made a few night-time reservations. They change diapers and provide food. They do want you to bring your own diapers/wipes, sippy cups etc. We were able to use the baby sitting for a few hours here and there to see some of the shows. The first night we used the baby sitting from 7-9pm and DS fell asleep and we were able to get him back into our cabin and his own bed without him waking up. The second night we were not so lucky and we didn't get DS back to bed until 11pm. The third night, he was absolutely hysterical and would not stay there. I got us seats at Sonic Odyssey and DH went back down to get DS. I was so glad that I sent DH to get him b/c DH said that he was completely upset and didn't want to be there. Surprisingly, DS LOVED the show and was clapping and laughing and totally enthralled.
DS really liked the Dreamworks stuff but we really missed the big parades that they had on Allure of the Seas. Quantum isn't big enough I guess for them to incorporate that. They did have little 10 mins shows from time to time with picture sessions afterwards. DS liked that.
We had great weather in Florida and the Bahamas.
In Port Canaveral, we met our in-laws and went to the Kennedy Space Center. It was a great day.
In CocoCay, we rented a Cabana and it was awesome to get away from the masses. It was quiet and secluded. A shady cabana, where DS could nap from 11-2pm. It included a lot of extras like water, beach chairs, floaties, champagne. I highly recommend it with the baby.
We ended up not getting off the ship in Nassau.
The weather going down was cold and windy days 1 and 2 and cool and cloudy day 3. Days 4, 5 and 6 we were in Florida and the Bahamas and the weather was awesome. The weather days 7 and 8 coming back up was cold and very windy. The only days that we were up on deck were days 3-6.
The overview of benefits for suites are well published. As for us, we used the priority seating for shows the most. We also used the Diamond Plus Lounge from 5-7pm. They had free drinks and appetizers. The priority disembarkation was also very nice. We were off the ship by 8am and home doing laundry by 9am.
I am a very avid spa user and have gone to very fancy spas and basic ones. The spa on Quantum is more like a discount massage chain than a fancy spa you'd find at a resort. Yet they charge the same prices as the fancy spas while providing the services of a discount massage chain.
I used the fitness center once and did the triple package (10% of first treatment, 20% off the second and 30% off the third). The fitness center was large, clean and had a good variety of equipment and classes. The classes are mostly for an extra charge. The gym was also very crowded. There were no locker rooms or changing rooms with the gym so you'd better use the bathroom at your cabin and forget taking a shower after your workout unless you go all the way back to your cabin.
The quality of the spa treatments were varied. I really enjoyed the 90 mins massage but she was late about 20 mins blaming a prior guests tardiness. She also pushed the sales right at the end. The facial was inadequate. There was no steam or extraction and the massage portion was very meager. The seaweed wrap was completely unacceptable. The room was very cold and the bed was not heated. I was told that they did not have heat in the treatment rooms. The seaweed was cooling and I was shivering so bad. The shower in the room did not work properly and the water alternated from scalding to freezing. Needless to say, they did not charge me.
I didn't like that they charged extra to use the thermalossary suite even if you paid for a treatment. I felt like that was very greedy of the company who runs the spa. Also, the changing room was also very meager. It was more like one toilet, one basic shower and one sink. There were about 10 lockers. The point is that the spa is not very "spa" like and was more like a basic discount massage chain. No robes, no steam or jacuzzi, no fancy showers unless you paid extra. The treatments are already very expensive. I was very dissatisfied.
Overall, the Cruise was good. We loved getting off the ship by 8:30 a.m. and being home by 9:00 a.m. but think we might prefer sailing on Harmony of the Seas instead of Anthem of the Seas. I really do like cruising from a port so close to home.
First let me state that I have traveled on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity cruise lines- so I have an idea of service, facilities, and features on the various companies. This was my second cruise on RC (my first was on the Monarch ... Read More
First let me state that I have traveled on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity cruise lines- so I have an idea of service, facilities, and features on the various companies. This was my second cruise on RC (my first was on the Monarch of the Sea). Given my fabulous experience on Monarch of the Sea, I was truly looking forward to this cruise. Sadly, I am disappointed. My next cruise will be a Carnival (for a quick get-a-way).
Upon arrival we were not notified that the boat was recovering from an outbreak of Noroviris. Our staterooms were decontaminated- the only delay was we were not able to enter our statements immediately (however, no one was discussing the cause...instead we were left to wait with no answers). Once the staterooms were cleared, naturally we went there. The rooms were not ready (I had to request toilet paper). Still no reason was provided, so we were left wondering. After having to request many additional basic staples of a cabin room, we were STILL not informed of the cause. We just received "we will get that for you right away". It wasn't until day three that a crew member informed us of the problem- and that was AFTER we stated we wouldn't choose Enchantment of the Sea again. Where is the communication? Had I been notified of the delay, I would have felt better. Knowing that appropriate steps were being taken to secure my health, I would have been extremely patient. Instead, nothing.
The food on the cruise was a disappointment. Was it tasty? No. Was there much of a variety? No. Was there food available after traditional "dinner"? Barely. For example, there was a dance party at 11:30 p.m. on the pool deck. Obviously this is adult party with drinking- the staff began to set up a food area. Food served? Chips and salsa & chicken wings (and they ran out of chicken wings). At 1:00 a.m. a small cafe served pizza- my husband was served two small slices- and that was all he was alloted.
The solarium pool deck is beautiful. It was was cozy & warm (the outside wind was chilly so this room was busy). We asked if the pool was heated- response: "No, the manager doesn't run the pool heaters."
None-the-less, the room remained busy. Were there waiters to assist with drink orders? No. There was one bar with two bartenders (who did a great job) but they closed at 7:00 p.m. We were directed to the main pool area (remember, it was CHILLY outside...there were no additional options).
Surprising things I learned:
1. If a patron orders one drink, the patron must wait a minimum of five minutes for a new request.
2. If a husband orders one drink for himself and orders a second for his wife (both members have the same last name on the sea pass AND both members have a pre-paid drink package), the drink cannot be made unless the crew member physically sees the spouse. Not a huge deal, but when the missing spouse is in the jacuzzi and there is NO wait staff taking orders, it reduces the "fun" and "relaxation" of the cruise.
3. If the crew feels a patron has had too much to drink, the patron is "cut off"- for 12 hours. (That didn't happen to us, but we watched it occur.)
4. If a patron visits the spa- there is an 18% added gratuity. (I thought we paid gratuities in full before we boarded the boat?).
5. While at Coco Cay, there is no wait staff. Don't get too settled while relaxing in the sun!