47 New Orleans Fitness Cruise Reviews

If you utilize Cruise Critics, you are somewhat obligated to review your cruises as they happen. I would like to follow-through on that commitment. I recently went on the NCL Getaway, November 24, 2019 to December 1, 2019. It departed ... Read More
If you utilize Cruise Critics, you are somewhat obligated to review your cruises as they happen. I would like to follow-through on that commitment. I recently went on the NCL Getaway, November 24, 2019 to December 1, 2019. It departed out of the port of New Orleans. Understand the Reviewer: I am 62. My first cruise was when I was 22 for my honeymoon. That was a stateroom with now windows and bunk beds on the NCL SS Norway. It was a great cruise and one of the best cruise experience. My wife and family have gone on over 20 cruises over the years. 10 years ago, my family started to cruise in suites class. Our family motto is, “Any cruise is what you make of it. Do the details up front, engage with people and go with the flow.” I am a very detailed person. I love to study everything about a cruise prior to going on it. This cruise was no exception. I love the process so take that under advisement when reading this review. Overview: To fully understand this review, I will start by saying we were in the NCL Haven Spa Suite. So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Said elephant is the question, “Is the Haven worth the premium?” The answer is, YES (to my wife and myself). Quite frankly in every way. This cruise was one of the very best of my 40 years of cruising. From start to finish, it was as close to perfect as possible. Happy to explain below, just needed everyone to understand a bit about me and that my review focuses on my Haven Experience. Pre-Cruise: I received a U.S. Mail letter from NCL Haven Desk 60 days prior. It welcomed me to the upcoming cruise and the fact that I was staying in the Haven. It gave me a phone number and an email to take care of any of my needs prior to boarding. I took full advantage of that offer. I had them fix my specialty restaurant reservations and times; excursion data; confirmation on perks; need for special water for my CPAP and especially the Premium Plus Drink Program. These few details only scratch the surface of my pre-cruise requests. It is very important to note that having this advanced ability to handle details, made a huge difference for this or any future cruise. Embark: Got to the port at 10:45 AM. Through security in less then 2 minutes. Found the Haven check-in area. Check in was 10 minutes tops, with no wait. My wife and I were escorted to the Haven Guest pre-boarding port lounge. The lounge was private, a bit small and kind of make shift. Still very nice. A cup of coffee and my first of many smoked salmon snacks was being consumed within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. In the lounge for about 15 minutes waiting on the ship to be cleared. Once cleared, we were escorted to the ship and up to the Haven lounge where the party started instantly. We were given sliders, a welcome aboard drink and waited a few minutes for the Haven Restaurant for lunch. They offered either the Haven Restaurant or Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for our lunch. Little hint, do the Haven Restaurant and get the huge pork chop. Another note, while at the port, they will give you a drink eventually. The issue is they must charge you tax even if you have the beverage package and it is a pain in the butt for them. Dinning: Dinning was the best I have every had on any cruise, ever. I am not talking about the specialty restaurants, buffet or main restaurant. I am talking about the Haven Restaurant. Last year I had a similar experience on the Celebrity Equinox in their suites restaurant called the Lumina. Similar however the Haven was better in every way from food, staffing and service. • Haven Restaurant: Only for Haven Guests. Even though the menu never changed from day to day, it was simply incredible. The service, attention to detail, quality and taste. My wife and I started the cruise on the Keto diet. We both lost huge weight prior to cruising. We stayed on Keto for most of the cruise. I lasted 6 hours on day one until I cheated BIG. It was on the chocolate cake alamode and it was earth shattering. I had it three more times during the week. My favorite meal is and will always be breakfast with French press coffee; steak & eggs; smoked salmon; almond Danish and the list goes on. The plates were heated so the food stayed warm. Everything was cooked perfectly. Lunch was no different. Three-inch pork chop; poached salmon; and chief salad were just a few choices. Dinner I had some of the best prime rib of my life. Flawless in all accounts. I really like to eat but I am also super picky. • Cagney’s Steak House (Cost Option): Save you money folks. This steak house is average to below average at best. It used to be something special. The only reason we went there was because we got four (4) specialty restaurants as perks. Now don’t get me wrong, it was OK and a cut above Outback™, especially the service and atmosphere. Remember I said I was picky. I was hoping for a GREAT steak like at a New York steakhouse. • La Cucina Italian (Cost Option): Not spectacular but had promise. The bread looks better than it really was. I had a filet mignon that was huge and good. The rest of the meal was good but not memorable. Service was average which was surprising. We skipped the desert and went back to our suite. We called our butler (I love saying that) and had him bring us the incredible chocolate cake alamode from the Haven and coffee. So darn good. Not Keto. • Le Bistro French (Cost Option): Now we are talking. Let me say that this was a perk from American Express Platinum Card. If you paid for your entire cruise on the card, you got $300.00 on board credit and dinner for two at Le Bistro. Lovely from start to finish. I had the veal and it was good. What made it better was the presentation which was a huge stainless steam cap pull off to display the course. The bread was over the top and the sauce on the veal was to die for. My desert was three scoops of vanilla ice cream, in a French pastry, topped with three different kind of chocolate candies and finally hot chocolate sauce. Don’t miss this place. • Ocean Blue Seafood (Cost Option): The best clam chowder ever. Great bread. The fish selection was very good. I have a habit of doing way too much red meat. If I say I liked this restaurant, then it must be good. I have to say. We said next to a couple that was our entertainment for the evening. They were married forever and seemed like they hated each other. She was so loud and never stopped talking to us. He did not say much but rolled his eyes at his wife all night. It seems as the story goes, she gambles a lot and this cruise was a perk. Yet they argued about the coast of the appetizer. Great dinner show. • Buffet (Complementary): It was exactly what you would expect a buffet to be. Looks great, lots of average food and filling. My wife was still doing Keto and she got a piece of pizza. She scraped off the meat and cheese and said it was good. I am old and have had my fair share of cruise buffets. To each his own. • O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill (Complementary): I hated it. I was spoiled by this time. My wings were just OK, and my burger was a hockey puck. I did not eat my food. We left and went to the Haven pool. There I got a cheese burger with not bun. It was great. Take my advice and just go to the buffet. • Final Note: I only review where I eat. Lots of food choice on this ship. I am also not a foodie. I like basic things like meat, fish and chicken. If I am at McDonalds, I know what I am going to get and enjoy it. If I am at a bar and grill, a McDonalds burger won’t due. All that said, if the food served is bad or just not to my liking, I don’t eat it. When I do, I liked it. Adult Drink Package: Here we go again with the Elephant in the room. “Is it worth it?” NCL usually gives the “Premium Drink Package” as a perk. It is a very nice perk and you should take it if you drink at all. I got that perk and upgraded to the “Premium Plus Drink Package” for about $250.00 per person per week additional. Think I am crazy, “nah, nah, I say!”. My reasoning; I was on vacation and we like nice wines and alcohol. Let’s start with how my wife and I used this package. At lunch and dinner, this package allowed my wife to get a bottle of great wine. Not all wines so the ones you can order has a star next to them on the wine menu. The bottle was listed at $89.00 a bottle. My wife usually drinks $9.95 litters. Therefore, this wine was the ultimate treat for her. If she did not finish the whole bottle at the meal (she did sometimes finish it), it would be delivered to the room at no extra charge, DING. Bottle water (with and without gas), energy drinks and specialty coffees were not included on the regular drink package. These were included on the Premium Plus Drink Package. I love bottled water and took it back to the room if not finished. There was no $15.00 per drink limit on the Premium Plus Drink Package. I was drinking Cuervo 1800 silver, spectacular red wine by the glass all week. They lost money this trip on our drink package, I assure you. I am now home going cold turkey at home on the 12-step program. That is a joke and I mean no ill intent. Haven Suite: On this cruise, my wife and I had a Haven Spa Suite. It was very nice yet not the nicest suite we have ever had. Not a very large suite with a rather small veranda. In the room, it did have a Jacuzzi built for two that allowed you to see out the huge window at the sea. The spa suite comes was complementary access to the Spa Thermal Facilities. Now that was a very nice perk. The suite bed, bedding towels, robe, in-room espresso machine all were over the top from a quality standpoint. This was the least expensive Haven suite ($2,099.00 per person), it was perfect for my wife and me. Future side note, I am taking my family of five (5) in a huge Haven two-bedroom Family Villa on the brand new NCL Encore in May 2020. Now that will be a suite to be remembered. No complaints about the Haven Spa Suite though. Just book it early before they sell out. Room Steward: We drove him nuts. First as part of my planning, we had everything in the mini-refrigerator that cost additional taken out. We would leave and come back to quickly for him to get the room completely finished. He never complained. Then we finally got the idea on the button’s located on the side of the door. Press one button, the room steward would clear your room. From then on, we were all in sync. His tip was part of the $18.00 per person per day while in the Haven. Butler: I studied on past cruises what to do with the butler. I had a two-page document with all our needs and requests. I told you I was very detailed. Everything from no candy, cookie, fruit or sugar snacks due to being on the Keto Diet. Special water for CPAP Machine. Replace the complementary champagne with Wine. Nuts, cheese and meats would be our afternoon snack. We ordered breakfast room service once and desert once. The main reason for this was the room was too small for full meals. Every item we outlined or needed was handled. I tipped him $100.00 at the end of the week. Entertainment: The best of any cruise ship for many years. I did not do everything, but I did do more then I have ever done in the past. Let me break it down: • Burn the Floor: This was incredible. From start to finish, high powered Latin dance. My wife is super critical on these shows. We can sit up front but choose to sit in the last row on the isle, so we can leave early and not embarrass ourselves. Not this time. When the show was over, my wife was the first one on her feet doing a standing ovation. I was right after her. Broadway quality. • Million Dollar Quartet: This was a Broadway show. It is about four past superstars of music and how they met for one session, on one night for Sun Records. What made this show great was the actors were also doing all the music and singing. Very talented folks doing a really nice job. Again, completely professional with a quality cast. • Other Entertainment: There was a dinner theatre show but we did not attend. We heard good things about it. I personally did not want to waste an evening with average food. There was a wine lover show, another pass for us. I did not hear much about the comedy shows except they were very crowded and first come, first seated. Activities: So many to do and not enough time to do them. Here are some of my favorites. First and foremost, the water slides. Even at 62 years old, they were awesome. Game shows in main area done very well. Thermal Spa was awesome. Cigars in the Haven Sun deck was simply over the top for me. I went to the humidor room however it was small and being outside was much more enjoyable. Excursions: I have been on many cruises. After going on some good and bad excursions, I have my Favorite. It was and always be Cabana’s or Bungalows. These are also the most expensive excursions. On this cruise, it is the same. We did the “All Inclusive Bungalow” on Rutan. Great time even though the tender ride was one hour off the ship. We also did the Tequila tasting which was educational, fun and very much recommended. We had a Snorkel and Catamaran trip, but the waters were to choppy. Conclusion: My wife and I had a GREAT time. Was it perfect? Never is on any cruise. The key is take responsibility for your own cruise. I learned that lesson early on when cruising. Yes, the Haven is worth every penny. However, once you do Haven, there is no going back. I had a plan going on this cruise, I worked my plan and finally my plan worked out. Preparation is everything and reduces disappointment. The one thing I will say, I was completely impressed with every member of the crew and staff. Not just in the Haven; on the entire ship. Anyone who reads this and doesn’t know me personally, I am a very tough critic. Let me tell you, I am NOT easy to please. I had such a good time and loved the size of the ship so much, I cancelled my upcoming June 2020 NCL Pearl cruise and re-booked the NCL Encore in May 2020. I hope the time I took to do this review helps you decide. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Me and my wife took the cruise for our honeymoon and first vacation ever to ourselfs. I was surprised at the selections of food they had on the cruise. Me and my wife definately did not go hungry, if anything we gained a few pounds while ... Read More
Me and my wife took the cruise for our honeymoon and first vacation ever to ourselfs. I was surprised at the selections of food they had on the cruise. Me and my wife definately did not go hungry, if anything we gained a few pounds while on our cruise. The sun decks were perfect for many people to enjoy the sun as well as other company. I enjoyed trying my hand at many games in the casino, even thou I didn't win anything. My wife enjoyed a couple of the games in the video arcade, at least the easy ones. The pool side movies were a nice touch, even thou I only got to watch one of the many they showed. The cabin was spacious for two people to share, might've been crowed if more than two had the same room. The steward we had, Junaedi, was very nice and helpful with any request. We thoroughly enjoyed our excursion we decided at the last minute to go snorkeling and eat a Mexican lunch with tequila tastings with Claudia. I would highly recommend taking the cruise with the triumph going to Cozumel, Mexico. Just make sure to bring plenty of spending cash. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have been on quite a few cruises and I always say that a cruise is what you make of it. Most of the time we know what to expect. This cruise was very very good. Embarkation was well organized and smooth. Our balcony cabin was ready by ... Read More
We have been on quite a few cruises and I always say that a cruise is what you make of it. Most of the time we know what to expect. This cruise was very very good. Embarkation was well organized and smooth. Our balcony cabin was ready by 1:00 PM. Every member of the staff, from the room stewardess to the waiters were always smiling and helpful. We didn't realize that there were quite a few young people on spring break on the Pearl. They were well behaved and didn't disrupt us in any way. My hats off to them! We had the dining and drink packages on this cruise. You can make your specialty dining reservations one month in advance of the cruise on the NCL website. If you do, be sure to confirm they were taken and print a receipt. We made reservations online and then three weeks out, they were gone from the website. We had to settle for late dining times. Not happy with this, but it did not distract from the good time we had. We had one night in the Summer Palace where the service was not so good. Everywhere else was great. We ate at Cagney's steakhouse, Le Bistro and La Cucina. If you like lamb, have the rack of lamb at Le Bistro. Awesome! We liked the freestyle concept, but we think people should dress appropriately for dinner. We don't dress up, but we don't wear shorts and t-shirts in the dinner dining rooms. The shows were average for a cruise ship, but we don't cruise for top rated entertainment. We only did two organized excursions. The sightseeing tour and beach at Roatan and a beach break at Costa Maya. Roatan was very crowded with four cruise ships in port. If we went again, we would probably take a taxi somewhere. We walked around San Miguel in Cozumel. We have been there before. We thought Harvest Caye in Belize was like Disneyland and very expensive. We took the ferry over to Placencia to see the real Belize. We found a great beach bar and hung out there. Prices were much better and we got to meet some locals.(English is the main language). The beach break in Costa Maya (Mahahaul) Mexico was good. Nice clean beach. Lots of drinks and great fish tacos. Disembarkation was great. We carried our own bags off the ship and by 9 AM we were off the ship, in the car and on the Interstate headed home. Very happy with this cruise and we would definitely go again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
1) because my brother and his wife have never cruised before. 2) the price 3) where it was going. 4) because my brother and his wife still like to party. Carnival seems more like a party type atmosphere. The staff was wonderful from our ... Read More
1) because my brother and his wife have never cruised before. 2) the price 3) where it was going. 4) because my brother and his wife still like to party. Carnival seems more like a party type atmosphere. The staff was wonderful from our room steward Wayan to our dinner stall Dede, Ignatius, and Polett. to the staff in cloud-9. spent the day in New Orleans before embarkation. Embarkation went very smoothly ( great job) our cabin 7203 is classified interior, but has a window. It is interior with a picture(walkway view).It was our highest level yet. and a good choice. they do sell out fast. we enjoyed most of our dinning I was disappointed in the main buffet, but like the other 3 buffet or was it 4? guy burgers was very good, the pasta bella was not a buffet, but a sit down where you place an order and drop it off at the head of serving line and then go sit down and they deliver it piping hot as you ordered. a don't miss if you travel on the Dream. Main dinning room was very good. the chef's table was an outstanding experience. It di cost extra, but we thought it well worth it. the shows in the encore lounge were to mush like Vegas style and loud. we like more Broadway style performances. disembarkation went very smooth also. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise as a winter break trip for a group of college senior girls who play lacrosse together. New Orleans was closer than Miami for us to drive. We stayed at the Marriott Convention Center as it is directly across the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a winter break trip for a group of college senior girls who play lacrosse together. New Orleans was closer than Miami for us to drive. We stayed at the Marriott Convention Center as it is directly across the street from the port. We parked our car at neworleansparking.com--secure and again walkable from the port. Last time we cruised out of NO, we stayed at Holiday Inn Superdome, which included parking, but was comparable in price to Marriott plus the price we paid for parking. I would stay at Marriott again. Went to Bourbon street the day before and, of course, Cafe DuMonde. Awesome! We had 9:30 embarkation, and got on the ship around 11:00. Quick and easy. I went directly to dining reservations because we had such a large group. Our rooms were ready by 1:00. Ate at O'Sheehans for lunch and met our favorite bartender who took care of us the entire trip. Just a reminder, the ship must charge tax on your drinks even if you have UBP until they get out of the Mississippi River. My husband and I have cruised 5 times on NCL, 3 times on RC, and 2 times on Carnival. We love NCL's Ultimate Beverage Package as it is not unusual for us to each have 5 drinks throughout the day. The bill we got on the other cruise lines was pretty hefty. DINING: We dined in Indigo the first night, but preferred Summer Palace overall--although no shorts or flip flops in this included dining. We had 3 upscale dining in our package and the service was much better than the included restaurants, but the service in the main dining wasn't bad. Our favorite foods included Beef tenderloin, lamb, and lava cake! We enjoyed Moderno although I am not a meat lover--I loved the pineapple and salad bar and the filet mignon--the experience and service was exceptional. Cagney's service was excellent too, but our favorite was Teppanaki! I would ask for the funniest chef as he had us in tears laughing and the food was outstanding. We loved Lotus Garden and went there 2 evenings as well--awesome potstickers, calamari, kung po, and soups! We ate at O'Sheehans often for lunch--awesome wings, fajitas, artichoke/spinach dip, and I loved to get the side salad with the fajita chicken breast. We also love the Caramel marshmallow brownie cheesecake!! ENTERTAINMENT: We missed the opening show, but loved the Cirque show, the impersonator show (Michael Jackson was awesome), the comedy show, and 80's show! All good! Not Broadway quality like RC Oasis and Allure, but better than many I've seen. Also, we saw the crew talent show during the day because it was raining--super funny! They did a great New Year's Eve party! Pretty much anything they did at night by the pool was great dancing. Otherwise, we headed to Spinnaker (which is nice to go during the day to look out the front of the boat). We missed having the Quest show on this ship--NCL usually has it on every cruise. ONBOARD: Basketball tournament was fun, Sexy legs contest, and the golf cages! Great fitness center--busy, but I could always get on a machine when I went between 8:30-9:00. PORTS: COZUMEL: We usually shop at this port, but it was New Year's Day, so we headed to Hooters to see the Bowl games and get free wifi..ugh. Some did an excursion through the ship to a beach which they loved. GRAND CAYMAN: Love this port to go swim with the stingrays--it was our 2nd trip out with Stingray Sailing (see trip advisor), and while the ship changed docks, times, and everything, they found us, and made sure to accommodate us. Captain Chip and Captain Chris BOTH took our group out, and it was a fantastic time--we couldn't do the sailing because the ship required us to get back early. Snorkeling was great, and the equipment was perfect. ROATAN: Last time we were here, we went to the numbered excursion booths you see when you get off the ship, paid $15 pp for the shuttle to a resort where we paid another $10 pp to use the pool, beach, bathrooms, etc for the day. Loved the snorkeling there! This time, it was pouring rain, but we did it again--but they took us to a resort that was further from the reef and weren't honest about the price. We decided to head back and get our money back, but our van broke down! We had not cell service and the guys pushed the van up the hill through a questionable part of the city!! YIKES! It was an adventure and we saw the island and got our money back--still tipped the driver though. Would do it again, but maybe reserve ahead through bananorama ($30 pp), but you don't have to haggle and nicer transportation. BELIZE--private island It felt like a beautiful all inclusive resort, but nothing was included but the beach chairs. We packed some fruit and waters for the day and enjoyed swimming in the ocean and the abundant beach chairs. The pool had a nice swim up bar, but the water was colder than the ocean..enjoyed our time here! COSTA MAYA We've been here several times, but never went to Mahahaul beach--WHY? It was awesome! $3 pp trolley ride there and $2 pp cab back. You can catch a cab there and save $1, but you have to walk a little ways. We reserved chairs at Tropicante, and I would highly recommend--no charge, but a great walkable beach, with amazing food (guacamole--and nachos--so authentic-yum!) massages $20 for a 1/2 hour and $30 for an hour plus tip. For 5 of us, we got 12 beers, 3 half hour massages, chips and guac, and nachos for $100 for the day--awesome! Overall, I was pleased! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Our Cabin had to be cleaned before we unpacked (clumps of hair on shower walls, stained carpet, pink splatters on walls and ceiling) Regular food was mediocre but we also had a Vegan with us and their idea of accommodation was to ask ... Read More
Our Cabin had to be cleaned before we unpacked (clumps of hair on shower walls, stained carpet, pink splatters on walls and ceiling) Regular food was mediocre but we also had a Vegan with us and their idea of accommodation was to ask her each night which of the side dishes from the other meals she wanted. The featured vegetarian meal was the same Indian food all 7 nights. Some the lunch restaurants have options such as a taco salad or veggie burger but they are not printed anywhere and you might only know about it until day 5 when you hear someone else in line ask for it. The specialty restaurants such as BBQ, Mexican, Burgers, Indian, Asian, Pasta are only open for lunch. Our group spent over $1,000 in the spa and they were slow, rude and not helpful on at least 5 different visits. You could not even leave the spa without waiting for the one person working the desk to complete a 10 minute sales pitch for someone else since you had to get your room key back from her. They have a cart with signs that let you pick your own ingredients for a self body scrub. When you ask the spa attendant how you use this service (that we paid for) she went in back and brought out a chocolate mint scrub. When we asked about the sign that tells you to pick your own ingredients, she said they don't do that and she went in back again and brought a second scrub option. I was charged for someone elses drinks one evening in the lounge and customer service took it off only to add it back on a day later. Over 60% of the ships daytime activities are based on getting more money out of you. (spa seminars, jewelry events, sales, auctions, photos, casino, yoga classes, ...) The ship's layout blocks sections of the ship on several of the activity and dining decks so you have to change floors, walk to the other section of the ship and then go back to the floor where you wanted to go. I don't know if this is Carnival or just this one ship but we will choose a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I used to love Carnival. Not the case anymore. This cruise, to put it politely, SUCKED. The service in the Scarlet Restaurant was non-existent. The service of the waiters and waitresses, non-existent. Trying to get a soft drink on this ... Read More
I used to love Carnival. Not the case anymore. This cruise, to put it politely, SUCKED. The service in the Scarlet Restaurant was non-existent. The service of the waiters and waitresses, non-existent. Trying to get a soft drink on this ship is like pulling teeth. No one pays attention to you unless you are an alcoholic. All the fun things happened while everyone was in Port, and the only thing they had to do at night was Seminars on how to improve your posture, and junk like that. I was not on a cruise to be "evaluated" on how I walked, I wanted to have fun. I had none. This cruise line is terrible to say the least. The food is terrible, the drinks were even more terrible and the only thing that made this cruise even worth the trip was the fact that some of the staff were over friendly, and there were a few places on the ship that are quiet and pretty. But again, for the most part, not worth the $3500 we spent . Never again . Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was my.... yr birthday cruise. We have sailed out of New Orleans before. The only negative of the whole cruise was the luggage drop off and directions to vehicle parking. After the cruise the luggage pick up and getting to our vehicle ... Read More
This was my.... yr birthday cruise. We have sailed out of New Orleans before. The only negative of the whole cruise was the luggage drop off and directions to vehicle parking. After the cruise the luggage pick up and getting to our vehicle was a breeze. The ship looks great. We had a mini suite- perfect. spa services were great. We had UDP and special dinning. Both were great. We did not like the shows, but that was not a big deal. Cabin steward was always working and kept our cabin clean. It was a little hard to find your way around the ship but after a couple of days we were find. Weather was a little cool to start but warmed up by day 2. Enough to get a sunburn. Harvest Caye was really nice and not crowded. We have been to the other ports before and have done the beach thing, the cave tubing and shopping. We did get off the ship at each port, but no big purchases, sorry DI. I would sail the Dawn again, a very nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I have been on 5 cruises with NCL ( always pleased ) and been on the Dawn once before, prior to recent renovation. Very nice redo and ship looks great, however that does not make up for lack of service- 24 hours before my steward showed ... Read More
I have been on 5 cruises with NCL ( always pleased ) and been on the Dawn once before, prior to recent renovation. Very nice redo and ship looks great, however that does not make up for lack of service- 24 hours before my steward showed up- and poor entertainment. My biggest complaint was fellow passengers who come to main dining rooms and speciality cafes wearing shirts with crude sayings and dirty baseball hats. A bunch of uncouth slobs who were never taught to take hats off while dining. Guess NCL does not enforce any dining apparrel policy at all- too much free and not enough style in my opinion. Music in theatre & pool deck way to loud. NCL is shilling for $ all the time with a constant barage of bingo, art auctions, watch seminars, jewelry cleaning gigs etc. Expected them to pop up in the toilet and hawk some type of $ toilet paper. They probably haven't thought of it yet. Same old same old on entertainment- nothing new. Most staff just going through the motions, but Spa staff very helpful. Even with Lattitudes Rewards point's I have built up, I doubt I will go NCL next time. Also 2 fake ports on this trip- Disneyland At Sea I call them. Stay home and save your money as the excursions on the fake islands are man made. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
First off, I feel bad for those who had a less than enjoyable experience on the Triumph. This was our 3rd Carnival cruise and our 1st on the Triumph. Our previous Carnival cruises were great, that's why we stuck with them in booking ... Read More
First off, I feel bad for those who had a less than enjoyable experience on the Triumph. This was our 3rd Carnival cruise and our 1st on the Triumph. Our previous Carnival cruises were great, that's why we stuck with them in booking this cruise. Generally, I don't read reviews before taking a cruise, but decided to this time (after we booked) because my wife and I had talked some relatives into taking this cruise with us. I must say, after reading so many bad reviews, I wondered if we'd made the right decision. From the time we stepped aboard the Triumph, we felt right at home! The crew was awesome-throughout the ship! I read reviews about rude crew members and workers not smiling at them. Well, every crew member we saw was very friendly, helpful, and with a smile. We were all very impressed with every crew member we encountered. The crew on the Lido deck would often stop at our table, and engage in long conversations. The food was outstanding, both on the Lido deck and in the Paris dining room, where we had early dining. Anyone with a taste for an awesome burger, Guy's burger is the place! With a bit of discipline, I limited myself to four burgers. I also read reviews about the rooms and ship being dirty and the occasional smell of sewage. A couple of the folks in our party are known for their keen sense of smell and none of us experienced a sewage smell throughout our five day cruise. We had multiple rooms in which they were all exceptionally clean. The ship was very clean and we often saw crew members sweeping, mopping, and polishing. I read reviews on other sights complaining that the Triumph is old, showing her age and shouldn't be sailing. I could be wrong, but I'm assuming that with today's technology, you'd check the website to see when the ship was built before booking a cruise. Carnival gives details of each ship, including when and where the vessel was built. That said, a ship built in 1999 is not going to look like a brand new ship. We've sailed on the Dream and Triumph's sister ship, the Victory. I can assure you that the Triumph is a beautiful ship! We were impressed! There was plenty of entertainment each day. We caught a comedy show which was good and a few others, including karaoke one night. The cruise director, Jess from the U.S. did a splendid job keeping things going throughout the cruise. As far as shore excursions, we didn't do any. We're content with just shopping around the port, people watching and going back to the ship for lunch. This was our first time in Progresso and we enjoyed the port! Although, it's not a high scale port, we still enjoyed ourselves. Cozumel was great as usual. We hadn't been there in a couple of years and it was good to see the few changes they made. Our experience at the New Orleans Port was less than desirable coming in, but was exceptionally good, and fast the day we debarked. We were off the ship and in my vehicle by 0815! Overall, this was an awesome cruise and I'd definitely take the Triumph again! Each person in our party felt the same way! Two thumbs up to the Triumph, and her crew-sail dates, December 19-24, 2016! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our party of five, ranging in age from 10 to 72, had a wonderful Christmas Cruise on the Carnival Dream. From the time we pulled into the parking garage at the NOLA port until we boarded was under an hour and we felt it was well ... Read More
Our party of five, ranging in age from 10 to 72, had a wonderful Christmas Cruise on the Carnival Dream. From the time we pulled into the parking garage at the NOLA port until we boarded was under an hour and we felt it was well organized. We choose Balcony cabins forward on deck 7 because we like a quiet location. It was perfect and the rooms were ready at 1:30. Our luggage was delivered within a couple hours and our steward met us and had us fill out a form with our preferences for things like extra towels, robes, turn down service etc. The first couple nights their was an issue with several young men being very noisy in the cabin next to my parents. This was a cabin that had an adjoining door and we will be sure never to book a cabin like that again. My parents complained to them directly and also to guest services. Guest services notified the parents of the complaint and that was the end of that. We were very pleased that the issue was addressed and resolved. The ship sailed at capacity and we heard that their were 1300 children on board. We didn't really experience any issues with it being crowded. We did see some lines for certain food venues but it didn't really effect us much. We only ate in the dining room 3 nights. We booked the cruise late and all that was available was the late seating. Starting a 90+ minute meal at 8:15 in the evening was just to late for us. The food on Carnival is good but not great. That certainly did not stop us all from gaining a few pounds. We loved the entertainment. We went to many family friendly comedy shows, a couple big production shows and many events held in the atrium. They had about a half dozen events that were specifically Christmas related and we had a ball. Jase the cruise director was outstanding. He was funny and charismatic without being over the top or annoying. We had no issues with service in any area. We only requested cabin service once a day and our room was kept in tip top shape. There seemed to be plenty of bar service and the buffet area was kept stocked and clean. We had a minor maintenance issue in our cabin and their was someone fixing it within 10 minutes of our call to customer service. Service in the dining room was slow but I think that had more to do with the mass seating than it did with the competence and efficiency of the wait staff. The Dream is about to go to dry dock for a refresher. We would definitely sail on the Dream again. This was my seventh cruise and I've sailed other pricier lines. I think Carnival and the Dream is a good value. My 10 year old had such a good time that she said she was near tears when we were getting off the ship. You can't beat that for a family vacation! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Had been on Serenity before, so our expectations were high and fully met. Staff everywhere were attentive and helpful. The bar tenders can actually make a cocktail--not just pour wine or make a mojito from a mix. (Seabourn, please note.) ... Read More
Had been on Serenity before, so our expectations were high and fully met. Staff everywhere were attentive and helpful. The bar tenders can actually make a cocktail--not just pour wine or make a mojito from a mix. (Seabourn, please note.) This may seem like a small matter, but clearly not as social time spent at the various bars reflected many more requests for a specific cocktail than for , example, scotch on the rocks. Beyond their capabilities, the three mixologists at the Crystal Cove bar--Riccardo, Maria and Johnathon--from 3 different countries--were charming and personable. Our cabin on Deck 10 was a Pure, meaning standard size bit with various features to make the space as allergen free as possible. (Again, we had a similar cabin on a previous cruise.) The chef happened to be Austria, and one night I asked Mario, the venerable controller of all things that occur in the main dining room, whether it might be possible to request saurbraten on a subsequent evening. A bit later i was informed by one of the head waiters that the dish would be available in 3 days as (with an unnecessary apology) the dish requires 3 days of marinating. And when it did arrive, ift did so with all the appropriate trimmings. Looking for things to carp about--and reallt does have to search--I would note that itb was impossible to get hot pancakes or french toast in the Lido. They were there, but the buffet process pretty much guarantees that hot food will never be hot when you get there. One clear exception was the custom egg station, manned by a smiling egg artists who flipped eggs with uncanny grace. Carp, carp. Well, the sweet potato fries in the Trident buffet were not very good, and the chili on offer was so mild as to disdain its description. And one last whine. One night the dinner menu offered curry, which I eagerly chose. The condiments offered were many, but the main attraction had no heat, no spice. Yes, I understand that many older folk have sensitive tummies, but curry must be offered at something approaching full strength--perhaps with a warning about its spiciness. Crystal is a very expensive and cossetting experience. I only wish I could afford it more often. A last comment: should your cruise include Grand Turk, I enthusiastically recommend the tour which takes you to Gibbs Cay, and a special gathering with stingrays. These noble creatures are not penned, they appear from the ocean while you stand in knee high water. seemingly as curious about you as you might be about them. It doesn't hurt that Gibbs boasts a tiny but perfect white sand beach, the ocean is a magical turquoise, and the December sun bright and warm. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The Dream is a large ship and very much understaffed. From the check in process, to the room steward, the dining room staff, bar staff, it was about the worst service I have ever received on a cruise ship. Carnival now asks that you ... Read More
The Dream is a large ship and very much understaffed. From the check in process, to the room steward, the dining room staff, bar staff, it was about the worst service I have ever received on a cruise ship. Carnival now asks that you chose when you would like your cabin serviced, evening or morning. My steward did not even show up the first night on the ship. Always a shortage of towels. Like to pick up the dirty towels and not replace them. Went 5 days with no pool towels. In the dining room, the waiters continually overlooked our table. I had to find the water pitcher and bread baskets/butter several times. Diner arrived cool several times. Had to track down the cocktail waiter many times when he should have know that we were a table of drinkers after the first night. Buffet was full of dirty tables most of the time. They now charge $20 for some items on the regular dining room menu such as a NY steak. We had an opportunity to dine in the pay restaurant. The food was quite good, however the service was also severely lacking and heaven forbid you ask for something out of the norm. There was no deviation from the printed menu selections. Bar staff and many of the staff in general were not the typical happy engaged employees we once saw on most cruise lines. The Serenity spa is a $139 fee for the week. The gal at the coffee bar would not take the time to make a drink when she prematurely cleaned up the bar 20 minutes early. She simply stated all I have available is... Entertainment seems to be primarily made up of ship staff more than than the usual performers that had been brought onboard. Be careful with your purchases in the gift shop. I purchased an Invicta 18165 watch marked at $795 at a discounted guaranteed lowest price of $149.. When I arrived home I see the watch can be purchased almost anywhere for $89 including Walmart. Having cruised many times, I do have Platinum status. Debarkation took longer than ever. Even with Platinum status it was after 9:30 before I could get off the ship. One good thing, we did luck out with the weather. All in all, try another cruiseline. Carnival has cut far too many corners. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
From the moment we began our check in...My daughter Jacorien...and myself were richly impressed. The staff were very professional, yet personal. We had previously come to New Orleans aboard The City of New Orleans from Amtrak. A very ... Read More
From the moment we began our check in...My daughter Jacorien...and myself were richly impressed. The staff were very professional, yet personal. We had previously come to New Orleans aboard The City of New Orleans from Amtrak. A very spacious train in their fleet. We spent a Night in Harrah's Casino Hotel...they offered a great rate. Even though this adventure would not have been possible had it not been for the partnership between Fitzgerald's Casino and Casino at Sea with Norwegian Cruise Line. The Dawn is a beautiful ship to cruise on. The Staff were exceptional and provided much needed information for our Ports of Call...Cozumel Mexico, Belize City Belize , Roatan Bay Honduras, and last though not least Costa Maya Mexico. Once aboard there were numerous activities for which to partake. Art, music, theater, jewelry, wine tasting, dancing and the food...classic American, Brazilian, Italian, French and Japanese. There was no need to try a buffet, their well planned menus that each restaurant prepared were elegant and most delicious. Everyday a three course meals. Never was I bored with my selections, and I only gained four pounds. The staff of the Dawn are the Most attentive to their guest that I have ever had the chance to meet. Always smiling and always one step ahead of what I was thinking. My stateroom was very spacious with amenities that only could be described as luxurious. A huge balcony that was right at the front of the ship...with a view "That was described as to Kill For" before I even saw it. I was most impressed with everything at that point. To view different country's that were still true to their ancestors was amazing. Apart from earning their living in various sorts, shows creativity is everywhere. All you have to do was look for it. The beauty of The Caribbean Sea is really beautiful, with water that is so clear and blue on one side of the islands we saw and emerald green on the shores leading to the mainland. If you are a diver, plain swimmer there is something for everyone. I saw pyramids, ceremonial mound built by The Mayans. The countries are beautiful with tropical vegetation, fruits are plentiful all over. Leaving the ship and checking back in was quick and no hassle. We were greeted with chilled water and a cool towel for refreshment upon boarding back from an excursion. If you have never cruise before, try it you will love it. It was my second and the best so far, I will not knock the other cruise line, they were good also. Norwegian was far more better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was not only my first cruise with NCL, but the 3 other passengers I brought with me. The impression was that the cruise was geared more towards an older crowd. We are in the range of 28-38 years of age. I didn't mind that it was ... Read More
This was not only my first cruise with NCL, but the 3 other passengers I brought with me. The impression was that the cruise was geared more towards an older crowd. We are in the range of 28-38 years of age. I didn't mind that it was not a party ship, but I would of liked to see more activities and entertainment for people our age. The food on the ship was very salty. The selections at the buffet were all high in sodium content and the selection was limited. The restaurants on the Dawn were Aqua and the Venetian. They both had the same menus each day. I'd like to think that one would serve something different then the other to promote variety but that was not the case. For free beverages, there was 2 flavors of "enhanced" water, lemonade, coffee, milk and ice tea. The juices were very sugary. I could handled these overlooked problems, but what I was unhappy about was that the food was often stale, hard, dried out, and again, extremely salty. On the flip side, this made me eat less! The next issue was the noise. We were on the 8th floor at the front of the ship. Our room was next to a door marked "crew only". At 6am, you could hear banging noises that woke you up. The sound of stuff being hauled out and rolled out of this room. When an event was taking place below us or above us, the sounds filled the hallways and often the room. This made it hard to try to go to bed early. The scheduled events listed Karaoke at 9:30 every night. One day one, we got all fixed up and headed to the lounge ready to sing. When we arrived the place was packed and football was on the screen. We pulled up a chair and waited. No karaoke. We asked the staff what happened and no one had a clue. So, day two we showed up again and just like the night before, no karaoke. The staff again did not know why it was not happening, they said the football game was happening. I went down to guest services and was told "more people like football then karaoke so majority rules". I approached the cruise director and he said he was unaware that it was cancelled, both times .Why didn't they just move karaoke to another venue? Why didn't they make an announcement so guests wouldn't cancel plans and show up? The third day, karaoke took place for 20 minutes until the machine wouldn't load songs anymore and it had to be cancelled. 30 guests left the bar upset. There was some kind of party with a dj at the lounge every night. The lounge is extremely crowded and hot. No air condition. The program listed was delayed by 30 minutes and the room was filled with senior citizens. The music was out dated. The younger crowd left before the party started. We left and headed over to the Blue Lagoon which serves food 24 hours. When we sat down to eat, 3 intoxicated men entered and sat themselves. They argued with the server. The server told them they had to leave. Two of the men left after ordering food. The angry drunk didn't like the waiter and requested a new waiter, which arrived. He placed his order. A nearby table saw how drunk the man was and got up and left quickly, mumbling something about not wanting to get in the line of fire. Moments later, the drunk appeared at my table and slammed down his water. He put his hand on my shoulders and squeezed as if he were trying to massage my neck. I felt a moment of fear not knowing if I was about to get bashed or molested. He shouted in Spanish at me. I ignored him and he let go of me and leaned on the table causing it to flip We caught it quickly and managed to save our food and drinks. He stood there looking like he was ready to pass out. He then reached over and touched my friend's shoulders, then pectoral muscles, and then head. Fondling all those areas forcefully as the wait staff looked on from afar. The man then proceeded to shout "May I have your attention please? Everyone, I want you all to meet the world's greatest man. A marvelous man I have just met.." Some people laughed included the staff at his drunkenness. Some people shouted sit down you drunk!" He continued to yell and walked over to an older couple. The woman was scared for her life. She shouted "get away from me, don't come near me, don't touch me, I mean it, get out of here!" He then shouted again, Excuse me everyone, may I have your attention" and walked back over to us and began to put his hands on us again. The woman's husband shouted across the room to the staff, "do you guys not work here? Why isn't anyone doing anything?" He grabbed his wife and abandoned his food and fled the restaurant. At this time, during one of his drunken speeches, the waiter comes over and says "would you like more water?" I said "no, taser this guy!" My friend said "get this man away from us, please!" The waiter ran off. As the speech went on, a female waitress came out and said here is your food and tries to force it onto our table. We said, this isn't our food, it's the drunks, please call for help and get him out of here away from us. She took the food and ran off. Security arrives 20 minutes later and chased the man all over the place. They would not touch him. When they got him out of the place, they blocked the entrance so we could not out and chose to interrogate him right there. We could not leave. Eventually, they had left and we went down to guest services where we were told that the protocol is to not get involved and to call security whom cannot touch the guest or detain them. We questioned about the safety of the guests and why no one came to our rescue, how the staff laughed and watched this man put his hands all over us (which is considered assault in the US) and why no one apologized and took down our names at the end of all this. We were told that corporate would review the complaint and contact us. Shaken, angry, and realizing that this incident now set the tone of the duration of our cruise, we were unhappy. What if this man picked up my knife and stabbed me? What if he bashed his glass into my head? What if he choked me or pressed my artery? Why did not matter to NCL that my experience was ruined, that my life was put in danger, that the safety of the guests were not a priority over the staff? Then to not even come over to our table and take down our names and tell their superiors what happened to us. So the next morning, we went to the guest services desk and inquired again. We were told that it was under review and that we should get an email from corporate at a later date that their hands were tied. Later, I went back to the desk and spoke with the Manager of guest services whom I met earlier on in the cruise. She was shocked. She added more notes and apologized. I was relieved to hear someone finally apologize. She ordered a bottle of wine and truffles to be sent to the room. When they arrived, the bottle was corked and there was no glasses and no cork screw. I had to go back to the desk and ask if we would be charged for requesting a bottle opener. They ordered glasses and the cork screw to be sent later that day. Kind of silly, right? We have yet to hear from anyone. When I do hear from them, I hope they offer a big explanation and show a huge amount of sympathy. I am not so sure I'd ever go on another NCL again or recommend it to people I know. I have always used Carnival and heard NCL was better, but I am not so sure about that now. My biggest worry was terrorism. We had the Paris incident happen right before our trip and while on the trip the California killings happened. There was no telling if this drunk guy had intentions of killing. Four people, all from different towns, all with different lives, all first time NCL guests, and all minorities. We have yet to share our experience on social media. I did put this all in my post cruise survey. And my final rant, upon leaving, disembarkation was a nightmare. It was by far the most unorganized mess in the history of cruising. People were missing their flights, the crew was hosing down the balcony glass above our heads and the water was spraying all over the guests! The elderly were unable to stand that long in the line and there was no place for them to rest once they got on the outside decks. The crew was sneaking guests to the front of the line, making the line waiting times longer and longer. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our 3rd Thanksgiving cruise (all with Carnival). We had 17 people in our party as we planned the trip with our extended family. I am sure others in the party will be pushing for another cruise line for next year. We have ... Read More
This was our 3rd Thanksgiving cruise (all with Carnival). We had 17 people in our party as we planned the trip with our extended family. I am sure others in the party will be pushing for another cruise line for next year. We have been on other Carnival cruises over Thanksgiving and had a wonderful time. I was really disappointed in the Dream. This is the largest ship we have been on and I expected that there would be additional thing to do see. As you would expect on a larger ship there was an additional 1000+ passengers than on other ships. But the amenities remained the same. There were the same number of pool (one of which was out of service for the two sea days), The same number of hot tubs, the same number of restaurants, etc. That means the lines are longer than you would see on other ships. It became very frustrating anytime you would try to get anything. The larger number of passengers also means that getting on and off the ship was a challenge. Getting on and off was even more challenging as the crew was very inefficient. I will step out on a limb and say that responsibility probably lies with the senior level crew. It is a poorly run ship on a number of different levels. A couple of examples: 1) A numbering system was used to qualify you for position on tenders, the priority was not followed. We arrived early to catch the first tender in Grand Cayman but when on the tender for numbers 1-8, we saw people getting on with numbers in the 20s and 30s. Even though we were early we still had to wait on the tender as more passengers were herded to the disembarkation point. Crew needs to figure out a better process and stick to it. 2) Disembarking in Jamaica was held up as people were trying to get back on through the same door. Other ships have had one door to get on and another to get off. At the end of the day, there was a long line to get back on in Jamaica because they shut the second door while there were still a lot of passengers trying to get back on. Even the crew were upset about that one (the fun dude was not so happy)! 3) Two pools on board and they shut one down for the two sea days! Rumor had it that someone pooped in the pool so it was shut down to be cleaned. There was no effort to get the pool up and running until late the second day. I am sure they had running for the next cruise. 4) I could go on but you get the idea... Ending on a good note, the food was excellent and the sit down dining experience was exceptional. Our wait staff was top notch and accommodated our larger group every day. This was definitely the highlight of the trip. All in all, I have been a loyal Carnival cruiser and will cruise Carnival again. I will not cruise on the Dream as it is way over-crowded and is not equipped to manage the larger number of passengers. If my next carnival cruise experience is the same as this one, we will move on to another cruise line and not look back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Our first cruise and absolutely wonderful Very organized at embarkment. We got the Oceanview room with 3 by 4 ft picture window Gorgeous no wasted space but plenty of room for everything. The Brazilian restaurant was my favorite well ... Read More
Our first cruise and absolutely wonderful Very organized at embarkment. We got the Oceanview room with 3 by 4 ft picture window Gorgeous no wasted space but plenty of room for everything. The Brazilian restaurant was my favorite well worth the cover. EVERYTHING cooked to perfection. The Aqua was also elegant and delicious It serves same menus as the Venetian but without the wait. The buffet had a wide variety of choices and delicious. I loved the separate children's area for eating in the garden cafe. Although I heard experience d cruise rs complaining that they like the assignment if dinner times because they feel more catered to, I loved the freestyle cruise and flexibility of eating when I want and not tied to a schedule. Lots of diverse activities I took a Salsa class, pilates, and attended a photography lecture. Two complaints The Spa gorgeous but dissappointly overpriced almost 200 fir a massage once u add gratuity .Get one on the beach instead! !! The tender one or two boats for 2000 people Really be carefull r you will be late for your excursion! Staff sweet but obviously tired and overworked Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I just got off of the Dawn 3 days ago. My twin brother and I cruise together and had a great time. The cruise went from New Orleans and stopped at Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya. The ship was extremely clean and ready to go. ... Read More
I just got off of the Dawn 3 days ago. My twin brother and I cruise together and had a great time. The cruise went from New Orleans and stopped at Cozumel, Belize City, Roatan and Costa Maya. The ship was extremely clean and ready to go. Luggage delivery took quite a while but they deal with thousands of bags so that is understandable. We couldn't wait for our dinner at Le Bistro and were not disappointed! This is easily my favorite restaurant on most of the Norwegian ships. We went to Cagney's the second night and the steaks were way undercooked and food was generally lackluster. We mentioned it and Max, the manager, came over to address it and invited us back later that week to make up for it. We returned Thursday night and it was wonderful! (Bison was great as was Max - thank you!) The Brazilian restaurant was good and the Osso Bucco at the Italian restaurant was amazing. The drinks were good. Mojitos were hit and miss but after a few of them, who cares! :) Cozumel - Always love going there. The dives were spectacular! Belize City - The Tender process is complicated. We booked a complex private dive excursion on Ambergris Cay that included a flight across the water. With the length of the tender process, we missed our flight, had to get a later one and missed the first dive of the day so keep the tendering in mind (we were 5 miles out from land I think!). I did hear that the cave rafting was amazing for those who did that. Roatan - Wonderful! The dives were great but Cozumel was the best! Costa Maya - If you know where to go (Almaplena) it is a paradise. If you don't, this is a so-so spot. I heard the snorkeling was good and the ruins were okay. Oh the Fitness Room - WOW! It was fantastic! A few suggestions - Out at the pool, as much as it is a drag - I would suggest a little more oversight. The teenagers that were drinking for the first time got pretty out of hand. It's a nit but safety might become an issue. Also, the Star Bar - What is going on there? It's a great spot and overlooks the pool but is not utilized at all. In fact the entertainment overall seemed to either reflect the sedated clientele or possibly contributed to it. I think we may have hit a weird week being right after Mardi Gras. Also, go up the glass elevators and look down at the dirty, cracked and semi functional lighting on the shelves as the elevator in the atrium goes up. Easy fix but everyone commented. Casino - I stayed away. The smoke was completely unbearable and I have a good tolerance level. Overall, I had a great time. It seemed that no one on the ship had ever seen twins before but this is hardly Norwegian's fault! :) The crew was awesome. Sheiba at Le Bistro, The entire group of officer who we met at the meet and greet and Sonja - sigh - I will be returning to propose to you shortly! :) Thanks for the memories Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian in general!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Originally I was worried about the number of sea days debut b/c we were with friends we spent the afternoon playing cards on those days. The steward we had was excellent in taking care of our cabin. The gym could use a few more recumbent ... Read More
Originally I was worried about the number of sea days debut b/c we were with friends we spent the afternoon playing cards on those days. The steward we had was excellent in taking care of our cabin. The gym could use a few more recumbent bikes-- the exercise room stayed empty most of the time but the tread mills, elliptical machines and bikes stayed very busy. The food was the best. We ate at both the freestyle dining rooms -- Azure and Tsar's for dinner And the Cafe on deck 12 for breakfast and lunch. The choices were amazing and there were plenty of serving stations so there were virtually no lines. We were greeted regularly by the officers as they moved through the dining room. Our excursions were as advertised and went well. They were worth the money. One was cancelled in Puerto Vallarta b/c of lack of participation but there was room on another which turned out to be a lot of fun. We rode the camels in Cabo San Lucas and our guide was a scream. I loved it. The only issue we had was the shuttle to the airport. We had to wait an hour after disembarking for a bus-- there were several which filled up fast. We were told that there weren't enough buses available that day. Don't know if it was NCL or the bus company that messed up but next time we will take a taxi. The shuttle for 2 people was $30. No idea what a taxi would cost but there would be no wait. OVERALL, we had a wonderful trip. The passage thru the Panama Canal was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We headed out in February for a beautiful cruise on the Jewel for 7 relaxing days. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we were treated with some of the BEST service from the staff on this cruise. The food was outstanding! KUDOS to the dining staff ... Read More
We headed out in February for a beautiful cruise on the Jewel for 7 relaxing days. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we were treated with some of the BEST service from the staff on this cruise. The food was outstanding! KUDOS to the dining staff and their Executive Sous Chef and Double KUDOS to Mr. Messiah for having such a fantastic staff in the Food division. Our cabin Stewart was top notch with a smile and willingness to take care of anything you might need! Everywhere we went on this ship we encountered smiling friendly workers. The down side of this cruise........ Lack of entertainment for adults over 30 and under 80. Come 10 Pm the ship shut down. There were no interesting shows or entertainment for the guests after 10 pm.When we say the ship shuts down at 10 PM we mean it shuts down. They close the adult Jacuzzi, the pools and most all Bars at 10 Pm Even the ONE bar open was a dud.With mainly workers present. The shows provided were good but there was no variety of choice each day. We are not bingo players and found that at times after dinner that there was nothing for us to do, If the show of the day was not to our liking. It appeared to us that the line catered more to the elderly and the super young and forgot about us in the middle. All in all this was a great cruise and will cruise this line again if for nothing else than the great service! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This is my fourth cruise, third carrier. 50 year old couple/empty nesters. The NCL Jewel was a nice ship. Clean, tidy and well organized. Staff ratio was good , overall size of the ship and layout and flow worked. There were enough ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise, third carrier. 50 year old couple/empty nesters. The NCL Jewel was a nice ship. Clean, tidy and well organized. Staff ratio was good , overall size of the ship and layout and flow worked. There were enough restaurants and food variety that one should not have a problem finding something worth eating. The main plus was the crew. Sorry Captain but we all know who runs the ship (Inside). That right, RIchard Janicki, Hotel Director runs a tight ship! Staff uniforms were pressed and sharp. His team did not look like they rolled out of bed like some other lines I've been on. Each member was on their toes and looking to assist passengers. I watched how they interacted with guests and each attempted to ensure that the guests had what they needed. Now I know there might be a few that disagree and that's ok because you can't please 2600 guests but the crew did their best . I would be re-missed if I didn't point out that Noel Chaves, Restaurant Manager was always on the floor to ensure guests enjoyed a great dining experience. Katya Plyakova, Beverage Manager has a great selection of wines and two good tasting events. Unfortunately, someone needs to share with NCL that the beer tasting of their low qualify beer choices is not a beer tasting event. It could use some improvement by adding two or three higher end micro beers. I have no real complaints and would recommend NCL to first time cruisers Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First, there was the embarkation. Long lines which reminded me of the Atlanta airport security check. But, the folks were very friendly, and of course we chatted with the others waiting in line. We had previously sailed on the MSC and ... Read More
First, there was the embarkation. Long lines which reminded me of the Atlanta airport security check. But, the folks were very friendly, and of course we chatted with the others waiting in line. We had previously sailed on the MSC and Costa lines in Europe. This was our second Carnival (US) cruise following last years cruise on the Carnival Ecstasy to the Bahamas. There were 3K+ guests on this cruise. I have to say that the crew were excellent, and very friendly, courteous, etc.. Only real complaint is that the entertainment MC's thought everyone was hard of hearing. Not only was the volume of the speakers at max ... they had to yell every word. We had to leave Henri's (?) disco because of that. And I might add that it was the only disco on the ship. No other dance place anywhere on board other then the open Lido deck (pool area). The Ecstasy had several. Cabin was far more than we expected. Lots of room, and had a 4 x 4 port window. Cabin crew was very nice and took great care of us. Room was always cleaned promptly and supplies replenished as needed. Very happy with this stateroom. Food was very good, but not as good as the Ecstasy. Dining room food was also very good. The seas were fairly rough 75% of the time, and this took some of the pleasure out. Of course we do not blame Carnival at all. The bridge crew did a great job of controlling the pitch and roll. I don't think any cruise line will ever get the embark/debark process under control. Just too many folks to load in a few hour span. Kudos to the luggage handling crew. Our dining crew was super. Many laughs and excellent service. Looking forward to the next cruise. Carnival is a good line to cruise on. Not to cheap ... not to expensive. All in all, a great value. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
First, this was my first cruise and my girlfriend's 5th We arrived on time (actually we had VIP boarding but due to a medical problem that morning boarded with the rest of the passengers). We received our shipboard cards and asked ... Read More
First, this was my first cruise and my girlfriend's 5th We arrived on time (actually we had VIP boarding but due to a medical problem that morning boarded with the rest of the passengers). We received our shipboard cards and asked about the ultimate beverage package. We were told that that had been received and there was nothing we needed to do. The ship was pretty and in good condition. We found our room, which happened to be a handicapped room so it was a bit bigger. My girlfriend said the ship was one of the prettier she had been on. So off we went and had a drink apiece. After each drink they give you a ticket which you sign which includes the auto-gratuity of 15% plus any additional gratuity you want to add. At a second bar we were again presented a bill and we inquired about the drink package we had purchased. The barmaid said we didn't have the sticker. So my girlfriend goes off to guest services who ask her to prove we paid for it. So my girlfriend goes to the room, but our itineraries had been printed before we had purchased it (we added it the day before). So now she went to the purser's office who asked for proof. Fortunately she found an email on her phone where it showed that we had paid. Then after the purser found "proof". So the purser out the sticker on our guest cards. Then she went back to guest services to get the previous charges taken off. They did this, but not after a 45 minute wait in line. Now here is the deal...all in fine print. you can have a mixed drink but it must list under $10.00 d includes a single ounce or 1.5 ounces or liquor per 12 ounce drink. A double would have been over the $10 limit and resulted in a full charge to the account. Beer was included up to $5.95 per beer. Wine could only be purchased by the glass and was only covered to $8.00 a glass. Each drink had to be billed separately. No giving the bartender your card and just getting refills as needed. No bottles of wine. If you brought your own wine on board, they confiscated it and you could retrieve it. They added a $15 corkage fee for each bottle whether you drank it in your room or brought it to the restaurants. The drinks were expensive given the minimal alcohol content. $8.75 was the average price. This contrasted to on shore where the drinks were almost overly potent...but $5-$7 each. The ultimate beverage package was $49/day per person and everyone in the room had to buy it. They still charged the automatic gratuity to account. Wine by the bottle (which is not included in the beverage package) runs 2-3 times liquor store prices. One could buy a bottle of grey goose vodka....for $120. The duty free shop sold it, but they put it away until you got back to your embarkation point. Duty free alcohol purchased ashore was similarly taken away from you and given back the night before disembarkation. They will allow you to bring your own soft drinks on board and being borderline diabetic I had sugar free tonic water. Eventually my girlfriend and I learned to go order the alcohol straight on the rocks, combine it into one drink and add our own mixers. The food in the main dining room was Freestyle. No reservations. It was fair to good except for the steaks which were clearly select or utility grade beef. The fish, chicken and pork were better. Breakfast in the main dining rooms was good. On the initial day at sea, seas were high and my girlfriend was a bit motion sick. I went to the main restaurant. They offered to either let me eat alone and then pack food for her, let me wait and take the food, or deliver it. I chose delivery. 5 minutes later they were there with out meals (as opposed to room service....see later). Additionally there was a buffet on the twelfth floor which was fine too. Not great food, not terrible, but not open late. 3:30 in the afternoon was a difficult time to find anyplace to get a snack or meal. We pre-paid for 3 specialty restaurants. The hibachi restaurant (Teppanaki) was standard Hibachi fair. Of course they lost the record we had already paid and charged us again. The steak house (Cagney's) was quite good. Of course the specialty restaurants were an extra $25 per person per meal. Two of our 4 excursions were cancelled due to weather. No fault of the cruise line. On the hand they are often late in notifying you and the excursion desk has minimal hours and minimal staff. So by the time you get there you find that everything is booked. So one day we took off on a tour or Roatan (honduras) with a taxi. It lasted as long and was 2/3 the price. I guess the cruise line marks up the tours quite a bit. Of course if you go about on your own and are late getting back the do not hold the ship. If it is their excursion they will. Dining late is difficult. No midnight buffet and limited menu where you can find food. Two attempts at room service were horrific. 45 minutes for an ice cold dry burger one. The second time at 11:50 PM I called and was once again and was told 45 minutes. After 55 minutes nothing had arrived. I just left, went to a comfort food restaurnant and was back in 10 minutes. Steward service is $12 per person per day. So I guess we spent $168 additional to have the room cleaned. They did bring ice and I did leave a tip. What surprised me the most was that there was no guide or magazine to the ship as to what was where, when it was open, etc. One had to ask to receive the daily guide (which we learned by the 4th day). When we had a request....such as an extra customs declaration form we were told to come to guest services....which was always undermanned and entailed a 45 minute wait. Internet was so slow as to be painful. It was as slow as dial up or even slower. Wasted $20 trying to check one e-mail. Of course they charge for internet. Finally, you will receive luggage tag to put on your luggage before disembarkation. Just like before we embarked, they take your luggage and eventually deliver it to your room (they lost one piece). What they don't tell you is that you have to go to guest services to get these for disembarkation. By the time we had called to find out we were well into the late disembarkation times. This company or this cruise has a serious communication problem. Every financial error is in there favor. They lost that we had signed up for their drink package....then made drinks so weak that beer was stronger. They lost that we had paid for the specialty restaurant so we had to get that refunded. The bill is inscrutable. There is a $30 non-refundable credit...for what it is unclear. So with the cancellations of the excurisions, I will get a credit to my credit card. But the $30 non-refundable credit went down to $25.60. I was so tired of arguing with them I gave up. There are few adult activities on the ship. The sports bar had one channel and no sound. We could watch European soccer on Saturday when college sports were on. There was bingo, a casino, and a show or two. Not much. Better dining was available....all at a higher cost. What it comes down to is that I think they sell the cabins cheap, the drinks expensive and weak, and then nickle and dime you at ever turn. I calculated it out and even though we drank quite a bit, we lost money on the drink package. We like good wines. We brought wine with us. We should have brought a case, paid the $15 corcage fee and been happier. The cruise was nice, but I think I will go with another cruise line in the future. Final note, customs in New Orleans seems not to care how much alcohol one brings in. The ship board people gave bad information. You are allowed one liter duty free per person. The shipboard people said..."as much as you want". We told customs 2 liters per person.....they just waived us through. I guess 2400 people arriving at once overwhelms them a bit.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Where to start? Well, we spent two weeks on the Star; two cruises back to back. The main theater shows featured seven (7) main singers. The most I've ever seen on any ship. This was my 49th and 50th cruise overall, so I'm not ... Read More
Where to start? Well, we spent two weeks on the Star; two cruises back to back. The main theater shows featured seven (7) main singers. The most I've ever seen on any ship. This was my 49th and 50th cruise overall, so I'm not easily impressed. The food was fantastic and my wife is Gluten free and she was well cared for in her diet needs. We enjoyed three of the seven specialty restaurants and were all outstanding. In Jan of 2013 we sailed on the Carnival Magic followed by the Mariner of the Seas. Two weeks later we are on the Norwegian Star. The Magic and Mariner were both fun and offered great food and entertainment and were much larger ships by comparison. But the Norwegian Star was much more fun and entertaining. One of my favorite cruise bands of any cruise ship was aboard the Star. Exotique! I first experienced Exotique on a Princess ship in 2008 and they quickly became my favorite band. They play Motown and all the great hits you love to dance to. If they don't get your feet moving, you're probably dead. The shows on the Norwegian Star were very Entertaining. My favorite "Elements" followed by "Band on the Run" are very well done. First rate singing and dancing. Just to let you know, I'm a fan of "So you think you can dance" and "The Voice" so I know what good dancing and singing is. Plus, I too can keep a beat and my favorite music is "to 40 POP". Sean, the Hotel Director runs a very happy ship. I guess this is why the service is excellent. I had the priviledge of getting the opportunity of talking to Sean and told him what a wonderful job he was doing and that my wife and I were having a great time. Kyle Dodson the cruise director is the best I've ever seen. He is really an excellent entertainer. He is witty, personable and very friendly. He is also a very good singer as he sang in the Lattitudes party. My wife and I are very friendly, outgoing and polite. So we participate in everything. We were on a fist name basis with many of the staff and they treated us like VIPs. Not that we are, we stayed in an Inside cabin and are not big spenders. My wife sleeps late and I wake early. So I love to spend my morning in the Blue Lagoon. I guess it's one of the best kept secrets aboard the ship as it was not crowded. If you sail on the Star, you need the know the Blue Lagoon if free. Hence, my attendance. The service is excellent and Charlotte, Oswaldo and Wilson will take great care of you. Shout out to Constancio for outstanding service. Thanks. Cruising secret. If you go to Belize, check out Pharmacy Express for ultra cheap prescriptions. P.S. My wife and I are booked for 51 days in 2014 on the Star. That's how much we loved this ship and it's crew. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was my first cruise on a non-Fantasy class ship with Carnival, and both my husband and I are impressed with the Carnival 2.0 upgrades done aboard the Conquest. The ship looked and felt almost brand new, which only added to the element ... Read More
This was my first cruise on a non-Fantasy class ship with Carnival, and both my husband and I are impressed with the Carnival 2.0 upgrades done aboard the Conquest. The ship looked and felt almost brand new, which only added to the element of luxury already present with the ship's French Impressionist themed decor. Everything from the cabins to the pool decks to the dining rooms was simply lovely. Although, from what I understand, our Cruise's itinerary was uncommon for the Carnival Conquest, we cannot wait to cruise aboard the Conquest again, regardless of her destinations! EMBARKATION: We sailed out of New Orleans, and we just love the updated ease of this terminal. We flew into New Orleans the day before our sailing and spent the evening enjoying the hospitality of the city. The next morning after a mandatory breakfast of chicory coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, we took a quick taxi ride from our hotel, the Intercontinental, to the terminal. We arrived just before noon, quickly made our way through the check-in and boarding lines, and soon found ourselves on-ship. THE STATEROOM: Our stateroom was ready by 12:30pm. Imagine our delighted surprise when we walked in and discovered that the normal, ocean-view staterooms on the Conquest are easily the equivalent of the balcony suites on the Carnival Fascination, only without the actual balcony itself. We had an unaccustomed amount of space for a Riviera deck stateroom! Both sides of the bed had its own end-table and lamp, the couch was both comfy and spacious, the coffee table was mobile and non-intrusive, and we still had 3 full closets, extra drawers and storage space, a flat-screen television, a mini-refrigerator, and lots of mirrors. I thought the bathroom was especially well-designed on the Conquest because it has actual vanity space with extra shelves extending up the sides of the mirror, and the head is located just outside the shower in an ideal location to provide an easy prop for ladies when shaving our legs. The only drawback I found about the stateroom was a very minor one. The hairdryer is perm-attached into the top drawer of the bureau, and since it is a coiled cord hairdryer, those with long hair may have difficulty stretching it far enough to reach. THE SHIP: After boarding and dropping our carry-on bags in the room, we made our way upstairs. We were immediately surprised at the lack of lines we found in general on-board the ship, and this fortunately continued throughout the week. While our sailing was not at capacity, I would estimate we had between 85%-90% capacity and yet we spent very little time waiting in a line of any sort on-board. All public areas of the ship were kept immaculately clean during our entire cruise. This, coupled with the lovely decor of the ship, made an otherwise average cruise feel even more luxurious. Both my husband and I loved the understated elegance of the French Impressionist theme as compared to some of the more garish decors of the Fantasy-class ships. We even spent a good part of our week debating the names and artists from our art appreciation classes in college for all of the beautiful painting reproductions scattered throughout the decor on-board! Our itinerary included three fun days at sea, and my husband and I spent the majority of those days parked on lounge-chairs by the main pool on the Lido deck. We LOVED the addition of the large-screen by the pool and the theater-style seating around the pool. These allowed for much more interaction with the guests and the pool-side entertainment. We thoroughly enjoyed The Morning Show each morning with the Cruise Director and Asst. Cruise Director, Gary and George. Despite being "adults", we spent an inordinate amount of time perfecting our runs down the twisty-twirly slide on the Lido deck and naturally judging other "adults" on their slide runs. Although our weather was so nice that we never had to take advantage of it, we loved that the aft pool deck had a retractable roof. We found the pool-area's design to be far superior to any other ship we'd been aboard. We found the entertainment areas to be nicely upgraded as well. The Toulouse Lautrec theater was enormous with surprisingly comfy seating. The lobby was especially well-designed to that it became an excellent entertainment venue as well. With the exception of the smoke wafting out from the casino, the Promenade was a delight to walk and browse and shop. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the Comedy Club, but we heard it was quite nice. I did like that there weren't an over-abundance of night clubs on-board because the large number on other ships usually splits the crowd so much that no place ever seems to have a good group out dancing. ALCHEMY BAR: Our single most favorite aspect of the new Conquest design though was the Alchemy Bar. I cannot speak highly enough about just how much we enjoyed our time spent there, and I certainly cannot categorize it to just Ship or Activities or Entertainment or Ambiance because it was all of these and more! Making the Alchemy Bar even better is the crowd that it draws. Its location is prime, and the drinks/service/show put on by Adri, Brian, and Izabella are so enticing that many who stop by while wandering the Promenade are apt to stay and mingle. We met many, many of the nicest people we've met on any cruise while having a drink at the Alchemy Bar. We wandered by our first day aboard, and after giving Adri a brief description of the types of tastes that I and my husband prefer, we soon learned that Adri is a cross between a magician and a mind-reader. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is your average martini bar where you sit down, order a drink, and merely enjoy a nice cocktail. Sure, you could do that if what you want, but doing so would be a waste of of the Alchemy Bar's special je ne sais quoi and certainly of Adri's talent. She brings the delightful palate of a discriminating chef to the art of cocktail making, so trust me when I tell you to let Adri have her way with you - just give her a brief description of your tastes and then let HER tell YOU what you want! If you enjoy a nice cocktail every once in a while, you will not be disappointed in a sojourn at the Alchemy Bar. DINING: Both my husband and I found the food aboard the Conquest to be better than Carnival's normal fare. Included in the 2.0 upgrade were Guy's Burger Joint and the Blue Iguana Cantina, and both were well worth their advertisement. We found ourselves spending very little time in the Cezanne dining room for buffet dining, other than the occasional slice of pizza. Instead, we'd have an early brunch in the Renoir dining room where the Huevos Rancheros was spectacular, a late lunch at either Guy's or the Blue Iguana, early evening sushi in the Cezanne dining room, and late evening dinner in the Monet dining room. While my husband preferred the burgers from Guy's, which were quite tasty, I personally tended towards the burrito bar from the Blue Iguana because the burritos were simply delicious plus I could name my ingredients, which means I could have a surprisingly healthy lunch. We were disappointed to discover that the Conquest no longer has a sushi bar in the early evenings; however, most nights there were a few sushi selections available from the Cezanne dining room. For the days in port, the ship served their typical seated breakfast fare instead of the brunch. The Conquest does have a The Point steak house, and we would highly recommend this for at least one night of your cruise. The price is only $35/person, but the meal is easily equivalent to a $200+ dinner at one of the top echelon steak houses here in Atlanta. The portion sizes at the steak house are enormous though, so come with your appetite intact! All in all, we are happy to report that we found the dining experience aboard the Conquest to be a cut above our previous Carnival cruises. ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT: My husband and I don't typically engage in too many of the on-board activities when we cruise beyond jumping into a few of the trivia contests. Given the large monitor and the theater seating design at the Lido deck's main pool though, we found ourselves spectating far more activities than we ever had previously, which we enjoyed immensely. The DJ mixing by the pool leaned too heavily into pop, R&B, and country, but he did play the occasional rock song when asked. Each afternoon also brought a live "guy and his guitar" style performance, which we also really enjoyed. We did attend a performance of The Brits one evening. We found it to be a somewhat lackluster performance, but we did hear from several other passengers that the Divas performance was very good. SERVICE: In all areas except one, the on-board service was stellar. When eating brunch in the Renoir dining room on fun day at sea days, we strongly recommend that you request be be seated downstairs. Apparently the service upstairs during the brunch is done a la carte so you can easily find yourself waiting 45+ minutes for your breakfast to arrive. The server was extremely apologetic about the delay, and when we requested downstairs seating the next day, we did not experience the same problem. That was the only service downfall we experienced on the entire cruise though. In all other areas, the staff was extremely attentive, friendly and very quick with their service. One thing we found odd on this cruise as opposed to previous cruises was that we had a "stealth" room-porter. Our room was perfectly serviced, but whereas our porter is usually ever-present and ready with friendly interaction, on this cruise, we rarely saw our room porter. He was there the moment we called if we needed something, and he learned our likes and proclivities quickly and readily indulged them for us, we just didn't see him very much. Again though, he did do an excellent job. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: This cruise was my reward for getting my dive certification, so it was chosen primarily on the merits of the diving offered at the ports of call. We dove with the ship in Roatan, Honduras, and we dove off ship in Belize. We chose not to dive in Cozumel. For the dive in Honduras, we purchased the ship-sponsored, 2-tank certified dive excursion. The muster point was a short walk from the pier, and once we completed the necessary paperwork, we were escorted to small buses for the drive to Anthony's Key for our dive. Each bus carried about 20-25 passengers, and the trip to Anthony's Key took about a half hour. Once at Anthony's Key, the dive masters took you directly to your dive boat. There were about 20 divers per boat, and the boats did seem to be in excellent repair. The dive masters took care of gathering and assembling all of our equipment for us, which was nice, and the dive outfit itself had very nice facilities. The dive masters did not query anyone about their amount of diving experience, though, and since this was my first ocean dive and I did not know enough to volunteer that information to the dive master, my first dive proved to be extremely challenging and could have ended very poorly if not for the intervention of the dive masters, Louis and Ben. The boat ride to the dive site was only about 2 minutes. The weather was rainy and very windy, so the water was quite choppy with 6'-8' swells. Because there were so many of us on the dive boat, we were somewhat rushed off of the boat so that no one wasted their air waiting on such a large group to enter the water. I was sent off the boat with my snorkel still in my mouth and without having a chance to test my BCD or my weights. Unfortunately, I took in a large lung-full of salt water, could not locate my regulator, was unable to inflate my BCD, and began panicking in an effort to keep my head above water in the large swells. Fortunately, the Louis spotted me after about 5 minutes and swam out to me to find out what was wrong. When I explained my issues, he attempted to calm me down by telling me "don't worry, you've done this many times before." When I responded that this was my first ocean dive, he was visibly shocked and said they should have been told. He then did a fantastic job of calming me down, getting my BCD inflated, getting my regulator into my mouth, and towing me back to the drop site because the current had taken me so far away from the others. The first dive was to 80', and the visibility was very good. We saw quite a bit of wild life, and even saw a baby sea turtle who was too small to know any better and kept swimming up to all of the divers to check them out! Unfortunately for me, my hyperventilating had caused me to blow through my air supply, so when Ben asked for the first air check at the expected 1,500 PSI mark, I discovered that I only had less than 300 PSI left in my tank. Since 700 PSI is what was needed to get me back to the surface including my safety stop time, we went straight to Ben and showed him my air gauge when he seemed to misread my air supply report. When he saw how little air I had left, he immediately gave me his secondary regulator, and buddy-breathed me up to the safety stop. Once at the safety stop, he switched me over to buddy-breathing with my husband's secondary regulator, gave us instructions for how long to stay at 15', and went back to take care of the rest of the group and get them back to the dive boat. We did make it back to the surface without any further issues. We went back to the dock for our surface interval, then after another 2 minute boat ride, we arrived at our second dive site. Fortunately, this dive went far better than the first, although the water was still extremely choppy due to the weather. The second dive was to be over a wreck then around across the reef and back up. Although the equipment seemed nice and in very good repair, we discovered on my second dive that my depth gauge did not work. The dive was only supposed to be to 60', but since they sent me in as the third diver so I could get my bearings, my husband caught me at about 85', yanked me back up to 60', and when he tried to show me my depth faux pas, realized that my depth gauge was broken. The dive masters kept a closer reign on me for this dive, and although there were no further issues, I did blow my tank before the rest of the group again and had to surface about 5 minutes before everyone else. The dive masters took very good care of me once they discovered I was a novice diver, but I would strongly recommend to anyone else taking this excursion that you make them aware of your dive experience if you are less than an expert, experienced diver. In Belize, the ship is too large to dock, so expect a fairly long tinder to shore - about 30 minutes. For our Belize dive, we dove with an off-ship company because of their extremely high recommendations on the PADI site, Sea Sports Belize. Belize is where I fell in love with diving. While I had read that Belize has the best diving in the Western Hemisphere. experiencing this for yourself is very different. The diving in Belize was spectacular! It was like diving in an aquarium. The weather was sunny and very windy, so the swells were 6'-8' like they were in Honduras the day before. Underwater though, the reef and the colors and the abundance of sea life were stunning. The dive experience with Sea Sports Belize was amazing as well. If you are a diver and you get the chance, DO NOT miss diving Belize, especially with Sea Sports Belize as your guide! For our Cozumel stop, my husband and I elected to be tourists for the day. We'd been to Cozumel back in April with his two sons (9 and 13), and we'd run the Amazing Cozumel Race, which is far and away the best ship-sponsored excursion I've ever done. For this trip, we walked around, shopped, drank cold beers along the way and visited many of the sites and attractions that we'd blown by running the Amazing Cozumel Race. Cozumel is a very tourist-friendly town, and its downtown boardwalk is a fun place to spend a nice, lazy day. DISEMBARKATION: We were slated for the last group to disembark the ship, so we thought we'd sleep late the last morning of the cruise. What we did not know is that you're awakened and asked to vacate your room several hours before your actual disembarkation time. Our room porter was exceedingly patient with us though, once we explained our misunderstanding, so we gathered our remaining things with undue haste, vacated our room, and gathered in the Toulouse Lautrek theater to await our groups disembarkation time. Despite being in the last group, the disembarkation process only took about an hour, which speaks to the relative efficiency of the terminal. SUMMARY: In our opinion, the new Conquest 2.0 upgrade was well worth it as this was our best cruise experience thus far. When we get the chance, we will definitely book another cruise on this ship. Some of the things I'm already looking forward to on my next Conquest cruise are: lounging by the big screen on the Lido deck's main pool, the Huevos Rancheros for brunch, the Blue Iguana burrito bar, a special night at The Point, and definitely, definitely, definitely the Alchemy Bar! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013

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