72 New Orleans Romantic Cruise Reviews

This was our second cruise, our first was with Princess. The Good: *Entertainment is amazing and the shows are top notch, best I've seen on and off cruise ships. *Punchliner Comedy Club (18+) was amazing, we never missed the ... Read More
This was our second cruise, our first was with Princess. The Good: *Entertainment is amazing and the shows are top notch, best I've seen on and off cruise ships. *Punchliner Comedy Club (18+) was amazing, we never missed the adult shows and they were all absurdly good. *Cabin was big, shower was hot, no complaints. *Steakhouse was to die for. *Our second restaurant crew was AMAZING (Led by *Embarking/Disembarking was super fast. The Meh: *The food at the buffet and general seating was mediocre. I wouldn't say it was bad because no cruise food is BAD....but it wasn't anything that blew me away. If you are expecting fine dining experience you probably won't be happy but you will at least be full. *The first restaurant staff we had completely forgot about us - they seem to be bogged down by four tables of 16 (we were a table of two stuck in the middle). Our waters weren't refilled once, nobody asked how everything was as it seemed they were constantly being called to other tables. Maybe not their fault, possibly a layout or assignment issue. We requested a table change and had the best staff ever. The Awful: *The people. Some of the arrogant selfishness I saw on this cruise made me almost embarrassed for the human race but there's nothing Carnival can do about this. Example is a couple groups of people plugging their nose and downing shot after shot at a Scotch Tasting event instead of listening to the staff talk about the different types was appalling. *I wasn't sure if it was a joke - the gym was the size of a closet and was pretty silly considering the ship has 4500 people. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Overall my stay on the Carnival dream was excellent. The food was fantastic, we ate in the steak house a number of times and throughly enjoyed it! The staff was always friendly, especially the bartenders at the Lanai bar who kept us ... Read More
Overall my stay on the Carnival dream was excellent. The food was fantastic, we ate in the steak house a number of times and throughly enjoyed it! The staff was always friendly, especially the bartenders at the Lanai bar who kept us laughing throughout the night! The ports were enjoyable (Roatan, Cozumel and Belize) and we did 2 excursions that were alot of fun.However, the tender to get off the boat in Belize was disorganized and we waited on a staircase for 30 minutes before even getting on the tender boat. The cruise ship had to leave at least 1 hour behind schedule as the tenders were not frequent enough to handle the large number of people coming back from excursions. My major complaint was that during the sea days the boat was VERY crowded. I went out at 9am to try and get 2 chairs near the pool for my fiance and I and could not as all the chairs were occupied with beach bags, towels and books (not necessarily people). Everywhere we went had huge lines (buffet, shopping on the main deck, the waterslides) and it seemed that there was not enough space for the number of people aboard. I didn't even attempt to get into the pool as there were always children jumping in and splashing (with no discouragement from the staff or parents...despite children jumping directly on me or throwing a football in my face). I understand that kids need to play, but I would have appreciated a place to go that was quiet...even the hot tubs were packed with kids splashing and diving. The adult only area of the boat had little to attract and did not have a pool. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our 2nd Cruise & the Dream was to be the best cruise ever! After the safety meeting we went to our Balcony room 6415 that smelled of raw sewage. We immediately requested to be moved which was refused & until I became sick ... Read More
This was our 2nd Cruise & the Dream was to be the best cruise ever! After the safety meeting we went to our Balcony room 6415 that smelled of raw sewage. We immediately requested to be moved which was refused & until I became sick 2 days later did they finally move us. LONG lines everywhere you go. The Wok cooking took 1 hour & 45 minutes where 2 chefs manned 3 woks cooking for endless amounts of people. The Asian staff was friendly & kind but the Russian Staff were curt & rude. Stay away from the Dunn River Falls Excursion as well, the experience was wonderful but the driver repeatidly risked the passengers lives with running of red lights & severe road rage. Carnival's customer care to correct bad experiences is horrible so don't expect them to make it right after they get your money. They gave us 2 $ 50.00 off credit for a $1900 Cruise that I was sick half of due to the sewage fumes. The fumes are prevelant in the back pool area as well. Hope I have better " Dreams" in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
If your planning on taking this cruise, you better get used to it! We needed to relax and we did! The cabin was comfortable (6265) and close to everything but the dining room. We navigated our way the first night and it really wasn't ... Read More
If your planning on taking this cruise, you better get used to it! We needed to relax and we did! The cabin was comfortable (6265) and close to everything but the dining room. We navigated our way the first night and it really wasn't a big deal after that. The elevators are ridiculous! People, at some point you just have to wait for the next one! Several times the weight limit light came on and people had to get off. That's just nuts! The Crimson dining room for early seating was nice. We were at a table by ourselves which I have mixed feelings about. We don't have children so we spend a lot of time just the two of us so maybe some company would have been nice. But it was what it was and we enjoyed our meal time together. We didn't enjoy our meals, but our time was nice. Lol...the food is just BAD. Not repulsive or putrid, just not good! The pizza and ice cream helped. Everyone raved about the wok place, so I waited in the LONG line and got some...YUCK! The buffet was ridiculous with weird salads and vegetables smothered in herbs and strange sauces. We did eat lobster and I did get two (which still wasn't enough to feed one person) but I was ok with that! The comedians Eric Schwartz and a black guy from South Carolina who was very funny kept us entertained. The only reason I remember the Schwartz guys name is because it's his show title! Sorry. I won in the casino on the second night and that was it! But I won enough to pay for our trip so I was a happy girl! Drink service, slow everywhere! Pictures weren't as good as in the past, just kinda hurried. Probably because of the four thousand people on board. This one not so great. Just hum drum. Beautiful? Yes. No motion sickness! Yay! I think maybe if we would've brought friends or friendly people with us it may have been better, because they certainly were not easy to come by on this ship! I've never seen this many unhappy people on vacation! I tried to stay positive but at times it was tough. I won't go on this ship again it's just too big, but I think Carnival is way better than NCL in every aspect of cruising so they won't lose me to them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I have nothing to compare this to since this was our first cruise. We purchased FTTF (Faster to the Fun) and found it got us past all the long lines on embarkation day. We were through security and on the ship in no time. We checked ... Read More
I have nothing to compare this to since this was our first cruise. We purchased FTTF (Faster to the Fun) and found it got us past all the long lines on embarkation day. We were through security and on the ship in no time. We checked into our ocean view cabin and was pleasantly surprised at the size. It wasn't huge by any means but I expected a much smaller and cramped space. The requested King bed wasn't there but was fixed the next day. Once we were settled we decided to get the all you can drink soda package. We found out very quickly that if you're not a daily soda drinker in "real" life, you won't drink enough to make it worth the $24 per person. In addition to that, they add on a tip each time you order one so that was an additional .14 each time. Not like that's a lot, but if you order a lot, it adds up. There were a lot of activities to do but if you wanted to do something fun, it costs ya. It seemed like everyone was trying to up sell something. This may be standard fare for a cruise but I was a little surprised at how much. The dinners in MDR (Main Dining Room) were a reprieve from the loud crowds and music. The staff was amazing and very attentive. It was also fun to eat with the same table mates each night since it was just two of us that went on this cruise. I found out quickly that people are serious about their cruises. With matching shirts and lanyards to hold their Sign and Sail cards, people really get into it. I would highly recommend that you go as a group rather than a couple. The groups seemed to be much more lively and really enjoyed their time. Our time in port in Cozumel wasn't nearly long enough to enjoy site seeing or shopping. We felt very rushed and paid way too much money for an all inclusive beach that was not worth the money. Additionally, it seemed to be a madhouse for debarkation in Cozumel as they didn't do it by decks or any type of organization. On debarkation day at the end of the cruise, we got into port at least an hour late. They did a horrible job of keeping passengers informed on the updated times. They were making people get out of their cabins without any explanation and made all passengers wait on two decks. Imagine the number of people waiting to get off? We didn't get off the ship until after 12pm. When asking an employee what the issue was we were met with an attitude as well as a, "Carnival won't apologize for our staff working". Whatever that means? When we called Carnival after the cruise to voice our concerns, we were met with no apologies. Go Carnival! They also don't tell you that if you don't do self assist bags, you're gonna still have to wait in the customs line like everyone else and you're going to be last off the ship. Next time we will carry our own bags off the ship. Overall, I'd say it was a good trip and I don't think I wasted my money making the decision to cruise. I just know a lot more now and will not make the same mistakes twice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my first cruise and my girlfriends 13th. I was open minded and asked other vacationers how this ship/ cruise line compared to others. Entertainment was FABULOUS, the crew was Awesome. We had the dinner package. They brag about ... Read More
This was my first cruise and my girlfriends 13th. I was open minded and asked other vacationers how this ship/ cruise line compared to others. Entertainment was FABULOUS, the crew was Awesome. We had the dinner package. They brag about "FreeStyle Dining and Cruising" We paid $250 for the extra dining package and NEVER got to eat in any of the premium restaurants. The other restaurants were very good, service great. The buffet was really good also. One thing that made not getting into the premium restaurants was there was a BBQ almost every evening at pool side. We chose several evenings to eat in out swim gear vs dressing for dinner. The disappointing item about the premium restaurants was the reservation desk was RUDE. I wish I would have complained on ship now. They were the rudest people. When we asked several nights why there were so many empty tables in 3 of the restaurants when we were told they were full, were told they were reserved. We stopped by an hour later and still empty. I did ask the customer service desk and they did admit that parties book several diff times and restaurants each night for their party then go to one of them. The rest of the crew was fantastic. The two times that someone on the crew did not know the answer that crew member found who did know the answer ASAP. The drink package was a joke. Yes we had paid for drinks but EACH drink was ran through the machine and TWO receipts were printed and you had to sign one. When asked why this was were told it was for tipping (they all ready ad 18%) or for a record. Our cabin neihbors got the soft drink package and smuggled their booze on, for this reason alone. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My girlfriend and I just took our first cruise (as an anniversary of dating a year) and chose Carnival out of New Orleans, so it was the Dream. We went to Key West and the Bahamas. The cruise was last week, the 20th - 27th of July. We had ... Read More
My girlfriend and I just took our first cruise (as an anniversary of dating a year) and chose Carnival out of New Orleans, so it was the Dream. We went to Key West and the Bahamas. The cruise was last week, the 20th - 27th of July. We had some issues that I think that Carnival needs to be aware of. First of all our room was 8472, so it was a balcony room on the back of the boat... and the AC did not produce enough cold air to even cool the room. I could feel the air coming from the vent and it was cold, however there was no volume to actually cool the room. I understand that with a large window for the balcony, that the room could possibly be warmer with sunlight. I called into to maintenance as soon as I walked into to the room for the first time. I was told that they would check it. We left for a couple hours and came back to the same thing. I called a second time and was told that they should have checked it but they would schedule it to be checked again. I have no way of knowing if the room was ever checked or not. I asked the steward about possibly moving to another room and was told that the ship was full and that we couldn't move. We basically tried to sleep on top of the sheets. It makes it rough to sleep which in turn causes you to be tired the next day. I take a workout supplement which has Melantonin in it. I just took enough to knock me out. We even kept the curtains closed and lights off during the day to keep the room as cool as possible. Paying $2800 for a room that is not cooled is not acceptable. Secondly: this is more of a suggestion… I notice that most every food item on the ship is garnished with cut up raw tomatoes. Here’s the problem, my girlfriend is allergic to raw tomatoes, well the juice actually so the tomatoes cannot be simply removed from a dish because the juice is still on the food. She had trouble actually finding food to eat. The first night onboard, we went to the dining room for dinner. There was only 2 items on the Today menu that did not mention tomatoes. She picked one of those dishes and it had cut up raw tomatoes as a garnish. So rather than taking a chance of the busy kitchen staff just simply removing tomatoes and sending the dish back out, she ordered the other item from the menu without tomatoes. Brisket was the other item… and wouldn’t you believe that the mashed potatoes came out with a cut cherry tomato in them! She insisted that I go ahead and eat instead of waiting on her dish to come out. So I was finished when her meal arrived. She ate a piece of brisket and just left. The service was great however; we liked our waiters a lot actually and spoke to them when we saw them around the boat. Now, I give credit where credit is due. We loved the piano bar with Martyn as the entertainer. We spent more time in there than just about anywhere it seemed. Burgundy room wasn’t too bad for karaoke, comedy, or meetings; it was rather warm most times, and sometimes just frigidly cold. That’s great for a girlfriend that wants to cuddle to keep warm, but it means that the AC does work. All in all, we had an uneasy experience. It’s an even worse feeling when we meet higher priority people who are cruising for free or almost free. Now I’m aware that an allergy to raw tomatoes is probably really rare and Carnival cannot please all the people all the time. However Carnival doesn’t have to use cut up tomatoes in just about everything. People pick around them anyway. My girlfriend did spend 2 complete and separate days sick as a dog to the point that she could not hold down water. She’s pretty sure that some dishes from the buffet lines would not have tomatoes one day and would have them the next… Or they did have them the first day and other people ate them leaving the juice left on the rest of the food making her sick. Like I said that’s a rarity I’m sure. I really considered getting the Carnival credit card to begin building up points to possibly start taking cruises… But I am starting to reconsider. My girlfriend has already decided to look for an 18 and older crowd for the next cruise. The number of unsupervised kids running around is just nuts. It’s really odd to be sitting at a bar and an adult conversation and have a kid hop up on the seat next to you to order a drink… I understand that AT&T doesn’t have an agreement with Carnival which means no cell service unless you’re willing to pay $2.50 per minute. And what really killed me is that there is no RED BULL onboard… I’m a vodka and Red Bull drinker; it’s just not the same with Rockstar. Maybe I should have carried it on but wasn’t aware… Seems like everyone that I tell of our experiences, is recommending to me to take a different cruise line. After the Cheers program, gratuity, and room fees, spending over $4,000 on our first cruise to have it end up like that is very deflating. I tell Carnival in hopes that other people do not have similar issues with their cruising. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
i remembered RCL being so very nice, great food, great service, just great in everything they did. I had pumped up RCL to my wife and family, that they would never again want to step on another Carnival cruise after going on an RCL cruise. ... Read More
i remembered RCL being so very nice, great food, great service, just great in everything they did. I had pumped up RCL to my wife and family, that they would never again want to step on another Carnival cruise after going on an RCL cruise. Boy was I wrong. Embarkation was smooth as silk, I did learn that if your going to use cash for your onboard, go ahead and put a cc down to avoid the long line on embarkation day at the guest services desk as the pier personnel dont deal with cash. The very nice lady warned me in advance, so I used a cc to set up my account then later in the day, after the lines had dissipated, I went to guest services and dropped my cash on the account, much easier then fighting the line right off the bat. Breakfast in the Windjammer was ok, it looked like there were losses in transaltion from whatever language to english. Example; Sausage gravy was called cream sauce, which for breakfast doesnt sound very appetizing. The biscuits for the gravy also left a lot to be desired, not good. Example at lunch, baguettes split for sandwiches were next to items called dips instead of salads. I like shrimp salad sandwiches, or tuna salad or chicken salad, but here they were all called "dips" instead of salads, confusing because there were no chips or crackers available for dipping. They did have a very nice smoked salmon bar for breakfast, the egg station was hit or miss as 1 day I watched a chef attempt an omelet, I and the guy behind me laughed out loud when it came out, more like scrambled eggs with extra ingredients, I opted for fried eggs that day. The set up for any meal in the Windjammer was excellent, many stations available, some serving different items some serving the same, keeps lines down. The outside of windjammer in the rear is a great place to find a seat if the weather is good. The Solarium is always crowded but Kevin at the bar was a great bartender, worth visiting again and again. We ate in the dining room for dinner 3 times, as we bought the package for all 3 specialty dinners. All of those were exceptional, especially, Giovanni's. Our waiter in the main dining room, Carlos, was very attentive and the food was very average cruise food, a real let down. Our big problem in the service area was at the bars outside. The wait staff were never in a hurry, there was no sense of enjoying their job. They would stand around and chat with each other or disappear for long periods of time, leaving me to going to the bar myself. We usually find 1 or 2 guys that we tip well and they keep us in drinks, we never found even 1 we could count on, very disappointing. outdoor entertainment was non existent, piped in music and a band for 45 minutes in the afternoon and you really couldnt tell the difference. The Schooner bar has a good bartender and the piano man, Simon was excellent. The R bar was entertaining because it had the surliest bartender on board, Faroud, he was entertaining in that he had such a crappy attitude and was fully engaged with his clientele. I saw him lose a passengers on board card and tell the passenger to look around because it must have gotten dropped. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
To start I would like to say that i have taken over a dozen cruises with Carnival and for the most part I have been happy with them all UNTIL......I cruised on the Sunshine out of New Orleans on November 18th. Carnival waisted money if ... Read More
To start I would like to say that i have taken over a dozen cruises with Carnival and for the most part I have been happy with them all UNTIL......I cruised on the Sunshine out of New Orleans on November 18th. Carnival waisted money if they think this is an improvement. Here is some of their great improvements.. 1. I counted in 1 day 11 buckets catching leaks in the hall ways going to my cabin and thats just on deck 6 2. The theater is now about 1/3 the size of any other ship I have been on and I have been on 10 with Carnival. The seats slide all over the floor because they have to remove them each night because now the show room is now not only for the shows but after the shows its becomes the night club. 3. 6 Deck Balcony Cabins may as well be in the Red Frog Pub because all night and I do mean all night your room will shake rattle and roll from the loud music not only in the Red Frog Pub but also from the live band that play just outside the Pub. Music so loud my TV as shaking. 3 cabins to my right and 5 cabins to my left on both sides of the hall all had the same issue..Nice upgrade huh!!! 4. Elevators were great to take when they were not broke down. Get used to the stairs!!! 5. The comedy club, the Steak House, The Piano Bar are now down some mysterious hall away from everything else. Then they pack a couple hundred people for a comedy show and if your one of the unluck ones that does not get one of the approx 50 seats in front of the stage you get to sit behind the stage and watch it on TV,,Sound like a good time huh?? NOT!!! 6. Rooms are now much smaller,, matter of fact my Balcony room was small then my neighbors inside cabin...Again another area Carnival cut bact to slam as many cabins in this ship as they could rather then comfort for guests. 7. as for the Decor of the ship,,,hell my kid could have done that for them at way less the $200 million they spent on putting Lido Deck bars on the ship. In the last year or so you can really tell how Carvival has cut back on EVERYTHING. It reall shows on the Lido deck with the lack of drink servers. Usually on deck a waiter will ask you if you want a drink at least 2-3 times an hour, well not on the Sunshine. There were 11 of us sitting on the lido deck from 9:30 am - 3:45 pm on 11-23-13 and we had 1 waiter come ask us 1 time if we wanted a drink and that happened at 1:20 pm. Yes we drank alot and got up and got our own drink everytime..Thats service for you HUH??? Now the Good on the Sunshine Only 1 thing was the food and the way the broke up the food stations to serve the food. It really worked and hardly ever had a line to wait in to eat. Guys Burgers are Ok bit the Ji Ji Asian place was great. Over all this ship SUCKS and this may have been my last Carnival Cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our second cruise on NCL and went from New Orleans to Copenhagen, Denmark leaving on April 21, 2013 for a 16-day transatlantic cruise. We decided to upgrade to a Family Suite about 1-½ weeks prior to departure, which was well ... Read More
This was our second cruise on NCL and went from New Orleans to Copenhagen, Denmark leaving on April 21, 2013 for a 16-day transatlantic cruise. We decided to upgrade to a Family Suite about 1-½ weeks prior to departure, which was well worth the extra $484.00 above the mini suite we had booked. Within this review I will address, service, cabin and ship cleanliness, dining, entertainment, educational enrichment, cruise activities while at sea, and Butler service, SERVICE: Wait Staff: Since this is free style cruising you will probably not have the same waiter or waitress during meals. That is a drawback since they are not as friendly and at times just flat forget to bring you what you ordered. We learned very quickly on our first NCL cruise to obtain standing reservations in the main dining room so you can develop a rapport with the wait staff. Once rapport has been established the wait staff takes extra time to learn your expectations and wants and then meets or exceeds your expectations. For example we had standing reservations in the Versailles Main Dining Room every night at 7:00 pm. For non-suite passenger's reservations can only be obtained before 6:00 pm or after 8:00 pm. The waitress learned very quickly that my wife does not like real strong ice tea and always had it watered down to her liking and brought an extra glass of ice so she could keep it fully stocked with ice. She also learned our favorite foods and would have extra placed on the plate so that we did not have to order seconds. I thought that was a really nice touch. Our table was ready every night and we experienced tremendous service since we developed a relationship with the waitress and her assistant. On the other extreme when we ate in one of the specialty restaurants or the Blue Lagoon the wait staff did not know us from Adam and didn't really seem to care. In fact in the Blue Lagoon, which we ate at 2 times, I found the service was very slow, and my order was not taken correctly either time. I received foods that I did not order, and foods that I did order I never received. Refilling our drinks in the Blue Lagoon was about non-existent and my desert I ordered never appeared nor did we ever see the waitress again after delivering our lunch. I would highly recommend obtaining standing reservations for a specific table and waitperson every night for the main dining room. The lines for the main dining room were long and unless you like to stand for 30 to 45 minutes while you are hungry, get a standing reservation. In fact on our first night aboard the ship we arrived at the Versailles Dining Room at 6:50 pm for our 7:00 pm reservation. The line was up the stairs and along past the elevator bank in the aft part of the ship. The hostess told us we had to wait in the line regardless of having reservations. I found an Assistant Head Waiter and told him we had reservations and could not understand why we still had to wait in the line. The Assistant Head Waiter immediately took us to a table and sat us for dinner. I told the Assistant Head Waiter that we would prefer the waitress we had on our first cruise in January, and learned that she was now in Le Bistro French Restaurant. A few moments latter Christine our waitress from January surprised us as she was in the Versailles that night because it was so busy. She spoke with us for a couple of minutes welcoming us back aboard the Star and then spoke with the Assistant Head Waiter. The next thing we know the Assistant Head Waiter had assigned us a table in Sheila's section and the table was reserved for us every night a 7:00 pm unless we told them otherwise when we had specialty dining. Every night thereafter the Assistant Head Waiter greeted us at our table and discussed the day's events. While he was very busy every night, I was impressed that he took the time to greet us every night to say hello and ask us about our day. Ship Service: All the ships personnel that we came across were always greeted us friendly and were quick to provide directions if needed. Generally, we had excellent service. I would like to note the bar staff around the pool, does not dog you to death all the time for drinks. They ask occasionally if they can obtain you a drink and then do not pester you as some other ships do when trying to push drinks. I liked this as they allowed me to relax without constantly fending off another question if I wanted another drink. The also provided wet cold towels on hot sunny days, fruit juices they would walk around giving out, frozen ice type treats, and fruit kabobs. I thought all of those were nice touches. Ship Cleanliness: All the public areas were neat and clean at all times. They constantly would clear the deck by the pool of water so passengers would not slip. The public restrooms were always clean, and it seemed like they had someone in the restroom the entire time keeping it clean. The carpets were clean and not worn throughout the ship. The only determent I saw was some of the caulking used to seal the windows that open around the pool area were leaking through and mold had started to grow on the caulk. I would have thought given the mold is black and the frame and caulk is white that they would have seen this issue and corrected the same. The entire trip the black mold was on the caulk and growing. Cabin Cleanliness: I was a little disappointed with our cabin steward, as he seemed to miss fruit loops on the floor of our cabin when we arrived, and there was an uneaten apple under the cushion chair from a prior cruise. In addition the plate glass windows had handprints from a child on them about knee height that were never cleaned by the steward. Instead of replacing used drinking glasses he replaced the dirty glass in the holder in the bathroom or on the tray in the room and then placed the white NCL paper lid back on the glass. I crumbled up the paper lid and threw it away in the trash and left a dirty glass on the sink in the bathroom. To my surprise he did not replace the white paper lid for 3 days, and put the dirty glass right back in the holder. I even left it with grime around the rim from something I was eating, and dirty fingerprints and he still did not replace the glass. Our cabin steward seemed to be bipolar very nice, pleasant and friendly at one moment, and frowning and unpleasant the next. He was so bold that he told us how miserable he was on the ship and that he was going to leave NCL and find another cruise line. All I can say is good luck buddy. Normally, I would have tipped the cabin steward $10 a day or $160 for the cruise in cash, but as a result of his lack of performance and temperamental attitude he only received $80 for the trip. Dining: They have a set rotation of menus they use and after two weeks they began to serve the same dinners. The breakfast and lunch menus are the same every day regardless if you are a suite passenger and eat in Cagney's or the main dining room. While the Cagney's menu is a better selection of food items, I would have liked it if they would have changed the food selection after a week for variety. There were only so many mornings that I could eat crab eggs Benedict before I became tired. While the variety was lacking the taste, quality and presentation of the food was very good and we enjoyed it very much. The specialties restaurants help provide variety at least for dinner, and we particularly enjoyed Le Bistro French Restaurant and Moderno Churrascaria. I regret that we did not try the Teppanyaki Room as I heard it was very good. There was not a night for dinner that I didn't find something I liked on the menu's as the nightly dinner variety is good, just wish they would not start serving it again after 14 days so I could have tried other dishes. Entertainment: On whole the nightly entertainment was average, I was disappointed with the Second City Comedy routine as it wasn't funny and was very bland and dull. All but one of the dance routine nights was pretty good, and Bud Anderson was ok, at times he was funny and other times he was just boring me to sleep. The hypnotist was standard and nothing unusual as was the magician. I did like the John Barry (or something like that) act, but the Russian guy was terrible. The Cirque du Soleil act was very good and we enjoyed it very much. It was by far the best act of the cruise with all the balancing and the way they moved to each other and the music. I wasn't terribly happy with the passengers that tried to tape the shows, or the big guy from the Ann Arbor, Michigan that sat in the balcony and took phone calls on his cell phone during the show. Both were very disrupting while trying to enjoy the show. The best entertainment by far on the trip was on the first Monday afternoon of the cruise when a man and woman had a foul mouth loud fight down by the library over whom was the leader of the pack of the clicks that were on board for the trip. They were so loud during their fight we heard them over the hair dyer my wife was using to dry her hair and we were six rooms down from where the action was taking place. The accusations were flying fast and furious from these two about special treatment that one was getting and the other was not. Then the woman would spew out a string of profanity in retort to something the gentleman would say. It was splendid to see two mature adults reduce themselves down to children and who was the king of the sand box. I should add they had a number of game shows they did in the Spinnaker Lounge at 8:30 pm and several such as the newlywed not so newlywed game were pretty good. The Match Game show was only the really poor one and we left after about 10 minutes, it was hosted and basically paneled by the Second City folks and that is why it was probably so poor. I was also very disappointed with the Deal No Deal Show. They advertised a $5,000 prize one night, only to cancel the show and game because of lack of participation. When we were receiving our refund I inquired why they cancelled the show and was told, "Well do you want us to lose money?" Now come on lets get real here if you are going to do a show that basically you are gambling then you take a risk that you might lose money. I asked the gentleman that gave us a refund, if the passengers had over subscribed to the game and they were making too much money would they cancel the game? Of course not, and when you gamble you might lose, so put on your big boy panties NCL and play straight and fair. The next night they advertised another $5,000 Deal or No Deal and had about the same participation, so they continued the game but lowered the prize down to $1,000 from $5,000. A good lawyer should have gone after them for false advertising. Educational Enrichment: I attended the seminar on Vikings and found the slides to be crammed with too much information, a disjointed presentation, and he skipped slides as he had discussed the content on prior slides. It was supposed to be a 45-minute lecture and I found that I knew more about the Vikings then the person presenting. The presentation was flat and boring, given in a monotone and on several occasions he would make a statement and that would raise a question and then say, "I don't know why". Why make a statement that will raise a question that you don't have the answer to? I found this to be very annoying as it occurred several times during the presentation and soured me on attending any additional educational enrichment. There appeared to be several interesting topics, but again given the presentation style and flat presentation I just could not put myself through that nap preparation exercise again. Cruise Activities: My biggest disappointment was the Cruise Director was never around. Kyle the Cruise Director made an appearance out and about on the ship on the night we disembarked from New Orleans, and then no one ever saw him again except sometimes to MC a show or the Newlywed Not So Newlywed show. Normally, on other lines you see the Cruise Director mingling with guests during the day, and especially during the evening. Not so with Kyle, I think they must have had a cage they locked him up in, and only let him out sparingly. I was also disappointed with the games at the pool or lack thereof. The cruise directors' staff was rarely seen at the pool and only once tried to organize any games at the pool. I can say that of the three cruise lines we have taken, NCL had the poorest cruise director staff with little events for anyone to look forward to or attend during the at sea days. The other issue I had with Kyle the Cruise Director is every time you did see him he was cocky. For example, I saw him in the afternoon of Sunday the day of embarkation in New Orleans, and said hello from a distance down the hall. The response I received was he pointing both his hands at me like a gun and winking. What kind of response is that from a senior member of the ships staff? On the other hand the young British gentlemen that hosted Deal or No Deal, Bingo and a couple of other things (I think his name is Ian) was very professional, warm and friendly. Ian was probably the only member of the Cruise Directors staff that I saw on a regular basis around the ship, and always made it a point to make you feel welcome. Finally, my last bitch about the Cruise Director. The pool had been closed for repairs for a couple of days and as we headed further north it was becoming cold and using the pool would be out of the question. The pool had finally been filled with water, and Kyle decided to have a stunt out by the pool. It was the half waypoint of the trip; the point of no return and he wanted to celebrate. He dressed up a couple of his staff as pirates and then brought them up on charges for dereliction of duty and such (actually it would have been appropriate that he be brought up on those charges). When convicted he smeared them with food from the ship and tossed them into the pool. Now remember it is getting cooler and using the pool will be non-existent as well as it had been drained and repaired during the sunny days. The ship had to drain the pool again and it was not available for use. Come on Kyle what were you thinking, or because you hadn't been around you didn't know the pool had been closed and now you closed it again. Maybe if you made more effort to get out and see what is going on with the ship and the passengers you would not have done a hair brained stunt like that. Butler Service: Since this is the first suite we have ever had on a ship, it was our first Butler and it is difficult to critique him compared to other services. Romell was attentive, friendly and always seeking to please. If we ordered room service he would answer the call, obtain what we ordered and delivered it to the room. He kept our coffee machine fully stocked and cleaned, and even prepared the cabin's table for our one time we ate in our room with a white tablecloth, silverware and the works. He severed us as we sat down at the table and it was very nice. Romell was always at our beckon call and when we would over sleep in the morning was quite as a mouse in delivering my wife's ice tea and sweet rolls. We probably could have used his services more and not been as self sufficient or independent. Overall we had a very nice experience on the cruise. It was restful, peaceful and pleasant trip that allowed me to relax and enjoy myself. I met some really nice folks on the ship and enjoyed their company over coffee by the pool early in the morning, or during breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was our first trip without our children, so it was a nice trip. However, I want to review the cruise itself, not how my husband and I spent our time. The ship itself was "okay". Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular, but ... Read More
This was our first trip without our children, so it was a nice trip. However, I want to review the cruise itself, not how my husband and I spent our time. The ship itself was "okay". Nothing fancy, nothing spectacular, but for the price, it was just fine. We had an oceanview room, no balcony. We cruised Carnival once before, ten years ago, and our memory was vivid. We were on a similar level ship, but the experience overall, has gone downhill since then. Back then, service was top notch, in fact we noted how amazing it was over and over. This trip, not so much. Wait staff for us was rude, both in the dining room and in the buffet line. Guest service personnel were always friendly and many others were. But, those we had the most contact with were not so friendly. The hallway outside our room smelled of mildew, the room itself was pretty run down. The overall "feel" of the crowd on the ship was that of a "party crowd"...loud, drinking, smoking, crass in general. I cannot complain because we got a great deal, and we made the most of it. However, I will definitely be looking at other cruise lines before I ever re-book on Carnival based on this past cruise. Had it been like it was 10 years ago, I would have been thrilled. But, service has definitely gone downhill. Maybe we just had bad luck? Hard to say!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
OVERALL If you have already booked your cruise on the Conquest out of New Orleans, please read this review only as guide to how best maximize your enjoyment and minimize disappointment. But don't worry--you are about to take a ... Read More
OVERALL If you have already booked your cruise on the Conquest out of New Orleans, please read this review only as guide to how best maximize your enjoyment and minimize disappointment. But don't worry--you are about to take a week-long vacation in paradise. There may be better cruises, but this is still a cruise and you can and will have LOTS of fun. Don' worry, Mon! If, on the other hand, you were a fan of the Conquest when it went out of Galveston then allow me to suggest you forget about this ship and move on. It is not the same. I convinced nearly my entire family to forego the 4-5 hour trip from Dallas to Galveston to take the new Carnival Magic and, instead, drive the 9 hour trip to take the Conquest out of New Orleans. Big mistake. As if doubling the commute wasn't bad enough, I felt like I spent the entire week apologizing to my family about the quality of the cruise experience. I last took the Carnival Conquest with my wife, then-3-year-old daughter, and my father and mother-in-law in May 2010. We took the western caribbean itinerary to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. And we absolutely LOVED it. We had to be pushed off the ship. This time, however, we were very ready to go home by the time Mother's Day and the end of our cruise came around. I still love the French Impressionist theme throughout the ship. And, while the ship has continued to age, it is still a very nice ship. It should be even better after its impending overhaul. But a facelift will not correct the problems we experienced. The food quality has suffered and the service and attitude of the crew and wait staff has suffered greatly. On past cruises, I found myself giving extra cash tips to the crew at the end of the week. This time, however, I ended up reducing the gratuities. You can continue reading for more in-depth explanation of the likes and dislikes of this cruise. It was not all bad (Camp Carnival, room service, and comedy shows were great), but I believe we could have probably done much better by booking with the new Carnival Magic. I have been a burgeoning "Carnivalista" and resisted my in-law's invitations to try out their fav Royal Caribbean. However, if I have another experience like I did this past week then I probably will be a Carnival "past guest" for good. STATEROOM During this cruise we chose a balcony stateroom on Deck 8, the Veranda deck, in the forward portion of the ship. We ended up about 3 rooms behind the ship's bridge. Although the bridge did get in the way of the occasional sunset/rise picture, it was interesting to be able to see the pilot or occasional glimpse of the captain on the bridge. Also, Deck 8 was a great location as it was a short walk up to the Lido Deck for swimming and buffet so we could avoid the slow elevators. The cabin was as expected and looked exactly as it had on our previous cruise. The only exception was that this cabin had a pullman's bed that our 5-year-old daughter absolutely loved and allowed us to maintain the couch for seating instead of giving it up for her bed throughout the day. The staterooms are somewhat dated with the old television sets that are not very responsive or clear. However, I imagine this will all be changed with the overhaul of the ship scheduled soon. CABIN STEWARD AND HOUSEKEEPING Our greatest disappointment this go-around with the Conquest was the very noticeable drop-off in the level of service provided by the crew. This downturn is enough to potentially scare us away from Carnival for good. (Although, we have decided we will give another try to the Carnival Magic out of Galveston before swearing off Carnival completely). On the first day, I handed a $20 bill to our Cabin Steward and introduced myself. I told him we were looking forward to a great week onboard. In the past, this has always helped in insuring that the Steward would be attentive and helpful. But, understand, I do not believe an up-front tip is necessary for the cabin steward to provide good service. I just like to let him/her know that good service will be appreciated. That afternoon I found our steward and asked that the partition between our and my father's balcony be opened. His response: "You do not understand the procedure. You must go to guest services to request that. I cannot help you." Although slightly perturbed by his answer, a trip to guest services a short time later confirmed that the procedures have changed. Still, I believe the steward could have provided a better answer than he did. Next, I asked our cabin steward to remove the alcohol from the mini-fridge. He replied: "I would rather not. You can take it out and put it somewhere; you should have room." To this, I responded: "I would rather not risk something getting lost and being charged for it." He simply smiled and said that he was sure I would find room for it and not to worry. The next day after sailing, my wife and I wanted to order room service but we could find no menu. I checked with my family in the cabin on either side and they had no menus. Further, while they had the hanging breakfast room service requests, we were lacking those as well. So I called room service and asked about the menu. I was told it should be in the cabin and I told them it wasn't. After having her read the menu to me, the room service attendant said she would have a menu sent with our food. It was not. That evening, with no menu, I went to guest services to ask for a menu. Again, I was told it was in our cabin and I had overlooked it. Insisting otherwise, however, I explained that NO ONE in any nearby cabins had a menu, either. Further, we did not having the door hangers. Guest services apologized and provided a menu. However, about 30 minutes after visiting guest services, I received a visit from the cabin steward. He had the door hangers and, after handing them to me, he said: "You should have called me directly. When you go to guest services, all they do is call me. So please call me first and do not call guest services." Now feeling quite awkward, I found myself apologizing to HIM because I went to guest services for HIS FAILURES. One night we returned to the room after dinner to find that a used and dirty scotch brite pad was left on the bathroom sink. Halfway through the cruise I needed some laundry done. There were no bags or request forms in the room. (Again, something else I was later informed SHOULD have been provided). I called the steward and he brought me a white paper bag. I put 3 items in, filled out the blank spaces on the bag, and left it for the steward to pick up the next day. However, that afternoon I returned from our excursion to discover that the bag was still in the room. Only now the steward had remembered to bring the laundry request form and left it on top of the bag. The problem then was that, in order to get the laundry done when I wanted because it was not picked up that day, it would cost me an extra 50% rush processing fee. Again, because the steward failed to provide the necessary papers. Finally, the towel animals were overall unimaginative and sloppy. Of 7 nights, we could only guess at 2 creations--an elephant and a heart. (And the heart was not very imaginative as I could roll up a towel to make a heart). The other nights we never could guess what the towel was supposed to be. FOOD SERVICE AND FOOD QUALITY We were also disappointed with the dining room service. On our last cruise on the Conquest, by the second night the wait staff had begun calling us by name and were becoming well aware of our preferences. Also, throughout the cruise they were always attentive, friendly, and never far off. We got to know their stories and shared ours. Before leaving, we made sure to increase our gratuity to the wait staff. That did not happen this time around. The wait staff never once referred to my wife by name. My 5-year-old only ate with us on about 3 occasions but she was ignored each time. Another toddler in our group was given attention and the wait staff made napkin animals to her delight. Not once did a single waiter even try speaking to my daughter. Furthermore, the wait staff always seemed to be busy with other tables. We had to wait to try and flag them down for requests of drink refills, condiments, or additional bread. On the first night we asked for iced tea; on the second night it was automatically provided. Each night after that, however, it was a wait to try and get anyone's attention to bring some iced tea and we settled for water the rest of the cruise. The food quality has lost much of its magic, as well. On our last cruise I was introduced to polenta--a vegetarian alternative dish--and eagerly anticipated having it again. This cruise, however, it was runny and cold and lacked flavor. The lobster tail was flavorless and chewy. The lasagna bolognese had a good flavor but the beef was grisly and poor quality. The prime rib was still good, however, and they offered a very good selection of delicious soups as starters throughout the week. The other highlight was that they still offer the warm chocolate melting cake each night and it is still a treat. The buffet also seemed to lack much of the pizazz it once had. At best, it might match the quality of a Golden Corral buffet but I'm not sure that description might not be overly generous. The pizza was still fairly good and served without too much delay. I only had the mongolian stir fry the first day and was not overly impressed, but then I can only compare it to Genghis Grill and do not believe that is a fair comparison. Finally, I will say that room service was MUCH improved on this cruise over the last. I was only able to order room service once on my previous cruise because I could never get anyone to answer. Even then it was served with an unreasonable delay. On this cruise, however, room service answered quickly and the food was delivered in no more than 15-20 minutes after the order was placed. The grilled cheese was one of the best I have ever had and both my wife and I loved the mozzarella and portobello sandwich and chicken fajita wrap. Sure, the menu is limited but what is offered is very good. Many times, the quality of room service well-exceeded what was offered on the buffet. ENTERTAINMENT As always, we loved the Seaside Theatre. They played family favorites such as Toy Story and Lion King. We also watched Field of Dreams and GoldenEye. The last night The Break-Up played and I would have loved to watch all of it but for the fact we forgot to put our suitcases out for collection. Still, there is nothing like sitting out on Lido with a blanket, drink, ice cream, piece of pizza, popcorn etc., and watching a movie. The live bands were somewhat disappointing to us. The calypso band was mediocre, at best, and managed to mangle even Bob Marley's best. Other songs which we had a feeling we should know were nearly completely unrecognizable. Most of the time we could not even understand the lyrics being sung. Further, I thought on our last cruise more than one band performed around the pool during the week. This time we were stuck with the same calypso band throughout the week. This was disappointing. The band in the promenade which plays outside the casino was, bottom line, not good. I believe the singer in the atrium was the same as on our previous cruise and, while I admit she isn't American Idol material, we loved her then and love her still for her attitude, stamina, and smile. As for the shows in the Toulouse Latrec Lounge, we only caught the magic show and the Married Show. The magic show was the EXACT SAME ACT as we had the pleasure of watching two years ago---down to the snow in the theater at the end. It is a very entertaining show but we were disappointed that in two-years time Carnival could not manage to put together a new show. The Married Show (think "Newlyweds" Game Show on a cruise ship) was boring. We could not tell if that was a result of boring contestants or a bad host. Overall, we thought Cruise Director Paul was funny. However, he spent far too much time talking about his past marriages and not nearly enough time actually talking to the contestants and poking at them for their answers. The past marriage shows we have seen were far funnier. The comedy shows were very good. My favorite was probably Carl Faulkenberry, who showed up during the second half of the cruise. A Jerry Springer look-alike, Faulkenberry spends as much time successfully interacting with and playing off the crowd as he does going through prepared material. Still, all of the comedians were funny. Finally, Vincent's Bar featured the sing-along performances of "Barry." We loved Barry, but I will warn you that as the night gets older and the drinking heavier, Barry does get crude. Still, he is funny and friendly and I would highly recommend stopping in for at least 30 minutes during your week. CAMP CARNIVAL Our experience this cruise with Camp Carnival exceeded even the last--and the last time was not bad. These staff members are so well-trained and friendly, I believe they deserve their own gratuity. One in particular, Tessa from Canada, (known as Miss Tinkerbell to the campers) drew our respect and admiration. Our 5-year-old daughter was in heaven and loved every minute she had to spend in Camp Carnival. She never wanted to leave and insisted on eating dinner with the Camp nearly every night. And she was kept so busy that when picked up at the end of the evening, she quickly crawled up into bed and went right to sleep without fuss. Thank you Camp Carnival for being the absolute best part of this cruise for my entire family. KEY WEST We chose to walk Duval Street during our stop in Key West. It was about a 10 to 11 block walk down Duval to the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. I cannot more highly recommend stopping in. I imagined a greenhouse with a few butterflies. But the minute we walked through the double-doors and these beautiful Blue Morpho butterflies began swirling playfully around our heads, we thought we were in heaven. Between the sounds of the birds and water trickling and sights of thousands of butterflies dancing throughout, this was a very magical stop. It is a memory my family will hold forever. There are also plenty of great shops and restaurants. You definitely want to try some Key Lime Pie, but family said the chocolate dipped version was way too rich. We stuck with the Roof Top Cafe, recommended in the port-of-call guide by Carnival. We were not disappointed. The 2-for-1 margaritas were good, the conch fritters delicious, and the Key Lime Pie was everything we had hoped. My wife also loved the BBQ chicken sandwich. FREEPORT In one word: Disappointing. We chose to book our own excursion with Barry at Paradise Cove on Deadman's Reef. However, the beach was dirty and snorkeling not at all what we had hoped. Of course, the sea was very rough and we could not venture as far out as we hoped. Still, I would not return. The shopping at Port Lucaya Marketplace, while limited, was somewhat rewarding. The Carnival-recommended shops were good and offered very reasonable deals. Venturing a little ways off found some small independent peddlers who almost seemed put-out to even sell to the nosy American tourists. Both of our cab drivers repeatedly mentioned that Bahamas (and especially Freeport) is dependent upon tourism--and specifically American tourism--to survive. So, in ignorance, one might believe the Bahamians that rely upon that tourism to make a living might be a bit more cordial to those of us willing to hand over our green. But no. Overall, both in Freeport and in Nassau, the Bahamians were very rude and unprofessional. NASSAU We booked an excursion through Carnival for the Blue Lagoon Private Island with lunch. This is one I would highly recommend. The waters were crystal clear, the beach sand white, clean, and powdery, and there was more to do than could be jammed in to 3 hours. Blue Lagoon was one of the high points of our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Out of fairness to the Carnival Conquest, I should preface this review with some information about myself. I am a self-pronounced foodie. I shop at Trader Joe's and enjoy television shows like Nurse Jackie and MadMen when I'm ... Read More
Out of fairness to the Carnival Conquest, I should preface this review with some information about myself. I am a self-pronounced foodie. I shop at Trader Joe's and enjoy television shows like Nurse Jackie and MadMen when I'm not engrossed in reading some writer's memoir, working, or playing Scrabble online with friends. I work hard and play hard. Life to me is about the little things, the textures, the tastes, the colors, good conversation, seeing new places, and meeting interesting people. I was drawn to this cruise mostly due the the port: New Orleans. We stayed at Harrah's and wandered the French Quarter prior to embarkation. Since this cruise departed during Mardi Gras season, the partying had already started. My husband took me late Friday night to Bourbon Street. I found myself in disgusting river of drunken idiots misbehaving in more ways than I can describe. The stench of urine and beer made me want to retch. I pleaded with my husband "please get me out of here!" We ducked into a restaurant called Pier 424 to escape the throng of miscreants and were pleasantly surprised to find the restaurant specialized in seafood. We ordered a dozen Charbroiled Oysters- they were done to absolute perfection. Succulent, meaty, just the right amount of seasoning. I slurped the juice and picked each shell clean. What a pleasant surprise! Embarkation- *WARNING* Do not attempt to walk to the Erato St Terminal- even IF you're staying at a nearby hotel. Pay the $14- take a taxi. Erato St terminal is not pedestrian friendly at ALL. My husband and I walked to the Julia St. terminal which was easy, but about halfway to the Erato St terminal I started having a meltdown. It's too confusing and frustrating- even WITHOUT luggage. Do yourself a favor, save your marriage, hail a cab- it will be worth it. Embarcation was well organized and easy. We arrived at 1:30 pm and we onboard in less than an hour. The lines were orderly, there were no "free-for-alls." Our room was ready. Stateroom 1356 was spacious- lots of storage room. Probably 2x as much as on the Celebrity Eclipse. There are 3 cabinets alone for hanging clothes! The decor was pastel passe, the bed - nothing fancy, not firm, nor soft. The bed did squeak incessantly which was probably more annoying to the neighbors than for us. The linens were a poly-cotton blend- not starched. Definitely NOT hotel quality. The tiny bathroom was extremely basic. I despise shower curtains, I was disappointed by this "El Cheapo" touch. All this being said, the room was comfy- well thought out. I thought the light switch in the headboard allowing one to turn out the lights from bed was a nice touch. We tipped our steward $20 upon arrival. I explained that I was "high maintenance." He smiled, brought me more hangers, ice, and was good at making up the room in mornings during breakfast, then did turndown nightly at suppertime. He made competent towel animals, his best being the "monkey" and the "dog." I thought it was cute how he placed my sunglasses on the "dog's" head. The steward always replaced the beach towels and kindly greeted us the few times we saw him. The casino is a "hopping" spot with live music, dancing, a full bar, tables, slots, and a nice ambiance. The cigarette smoke is a major bummer though. My allergies could only tolerate one night at the casino, the rest of the nights we attended comedy shows. These were funny and raucous. I thought I'd find the "Family Friendly" shows to be too tame but I surprised myself by enjoying them immensely. I watched about 5 minutes of a "dancing/singing production" in Toulouse-Lautrec. It seemed quite amateurish- better than high-school quality, but definitely not "professional." I was flabbergasted by the popularity of the "hairy chest contest" and the "bean bag toss." Not my cup of tea. Speaking of tea- High Tea at 3:30pm in Monet's upper level is a must-do! A casual affair served at community-style tables offering camaraderie and treats! What could be better than a steaming cup of Earl Grey with a cucumber sammy followed by petite fours?! Dining *WARNING* You could be seated at a community table with boorish, dull, bigoted people. If you have a set dining time, you can look forward to the pleasure of their company for the remainder of your trip. Carnival seems to adore "audience" participation, so prepared to have a singing-dancing-napkin-waving intermission each night. You can order what you like off the menu- I suggest ordering a couple of starters, a soup AND salad until you get used to the menu. This way, you can easily push food not-to-your-liking away without making a fuss. The cream of mushroom soup was the only memorable dish on the Monet menu, it was excellent. Everything else was competent except the scrambled eggs (very bad). We participated in The Chef's Table on Weds night. Pricey at $150 per couple but totally worth it. We started with a kitchen tour, canapes with champagne, only to be led into a private dining room with the Chef de Cuisine where we were treated to 7 courses of clever culinary creations. The dinners included wine pairing (white and red) and photos. The meal took 3.5 hours, what a feast! The Point Steakhouse messed up our Valentine's day reservations, so we went a couple of days later. I started with escargot- OK. It was followed with the lobster bisque, too watery and fishy tasting for my liking. Then I had filet mignon which was good, but not spectacular. I had an interesting chocolate sampler for dessert that was far-out; a neat row of little glass cups filled with peculiar gooey treats. Unfortunately, the I found the service to be stiff and unfriendly, it was the first time I felt any "attitude" from any of the crew members. Overall impression- Meh. It was not worth the $60 spent. Port#1 Montego Bay, Jamaica. Hot, unfriendly, dirty, and poor. Think of the ghettos from the movie District 9. We did the Erie Mon Beach Party excursion. The beach is lovely, the white sand struck me as being a little contrived with the perfectly lined up lounge chairs and same-color umbrellas. We were shocked to learn we had to pay extra for an umbrella! I was also discomfited by the asking for tips BEFORE a service was to be performed. The locals have a sort of "unspoken aggression" about them which made me wary and nervous. The water's entry is sharp with shells and rocks, I highly recommend swim shoes to protect your feet. There is a certain dichotomy on this island that is hard to explain; a sort of sweet (pristine white sand beaches, turquoise oceans) and sour (sullen resentful inhabitants) which left a bad taste in my mouth. Port #2 Grand Cayman. Open, clean, sunny, friendly, good infrastructure. We took a bus (go to Fort street- go right- head to library) to Seagrape beach. Total cost $5. We rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for the day for $20. We plopped down at the waterline and had a great time playing in the cornmeal like sand and swimming like children in the warm calm waters. It is a public beach so nothing fancy, however there are restrooms, trash cans, and a place to get drinks and grub. From there we took the bus to the Cracked Conch, a charming little restaurant on an exposed reef. We sat outdoors near the water (spectacular view) and watched the sandpipers chasing crabs and bugs in the rocks aside the tables. Conch tastes like a cross between calamari and shrimp, mild and meaty. Lunch was $60, the service was slow, the restrooms clean, but we knew we were paying for the view not the food. We took the bus by Hell (yes, it's really called that) then back to the pier. Mostly uneventful except the bus driver was cramming us into the bus (minivan) like sardines. Back in town, my husband changed $20 USD for $1 bills free of charge at Scotia bank, we bought a T-shirt and hat at a nearby gift shop, then tendered back to the ship without incident. All-in-all, a very fine day. Port #3 Cozumel. We didn't spend much time (or any really) in Cozumel due to our Tulum excursion. We walked directly to the clipper which took us to mainland (Playa del Carmen) then boarded a tour bus to the Tulum ruins. Once at Tulum, we took a tractor-ride to the site. It took almost 2.5 hours in travel time to arrive, so we had to rush a little to see the ruins, hit the beach (which was pristine but an aerobic stair climb for those out-of-shape). Tulum was nearly as impressive as the beach. The flora and fauna were captivating, however the "vendors" are really aggressive upon entering and exiting the site. Be polite and say "Gracias" even though you really want to say "go away." It actually works. We had fish tacos at Frosty's. They were "muy bueno!" The guacamole was plentiful with not too many tomatoes or onions. Lunch cost $26, expensive for Mexico but convenient and delicious. The whirlwind Tulum trip totally exhausted me. I felt it was too much "travel" to cram into one day. I wouldn't recommend it except for the uber-easy-going personality types (like my husband)- or the die hard "bucket list" types. Disembarcation was easy breezy. We put our luggage out at 10pm, our "relaxed debark" group was 32. I didn't like that we were kicked out of the room at 8:30am- this left us 1.5 hours to kill in a "public area" before we could leave the ship. It turned out to be OK in the end; I finished my novel then had a latte, my husband "hung out" doing a little wandering and leafing thru magazines. It took about 1 hour to get off the ship, the lines were long but orderly, there was no "guessing" what to do. Mardi Gras traffic and parades screwed up taxis and buses. We were made to wait about 45 minutes for a bus which took us to the airport at $10/head. It was not necessary to pre-purchase this onboard. Summary: A good cruise. It would have been better had it been my first cruise instead of following a more upscale Celebrity Cruise on a far newer ship (Eclipse). Words of advice- Take the taxi to Erato St terminal, bring hangers if you have a lot of "hanging up" clothes. Men- don't worry about a tie on elegant night (a jacket will suffice), take swim shoes to Jamaica, always rent an umbrella on the beach and get as close to the water as you can. Even if you have olive skin; SPF 15 won't cut it! You will be a crispy critter. Don't do the Mexico ruin excursions (Coba/Tulum) unless you are very fit and laid back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The Good: This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and was so excited after hearing about their reputation. Voyager is an absolutely beautiful ship, very nicely laid out with many good shows and several things to do on board. The music ... Read More
The Good: This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and was so excited after hearing about their reputation. Voyager is an absolutely beautiful ship, very nicely laid out with many good shows and several things to do on board. The music was good and getting on and off the ship in New Orleans was easy. The Bad: Food: My food rating is a C the food was just okay, but access and selection was very limited and I give a D. Food was not available 24/7 except by room service and that came with an additional charge late at night. Coffee at best was very bad, in fact we went to their coffee shop and had to pay for coffee that was better than what was free, but still not great. Here is one day actual menu in the Flute dinning room: Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Turkey, Grilled NY Strip Steak, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Calzone, or Panner Makhanwala. This was a typical menu for this dinning room. The buffet hours were very limited and the menu was limited compared to other cruises I have been on. They had specialty restaurants, that require additional charges like Johnny Rockets which is just a classy McDonalds with hamburgers, fries, and milk shakes. The Ugly: It was very hard to get answers from any RCI staff including from corporate office. Leaving New Orleans a big percentage were Saints fans. Many fans including my wife checked more than once before booking the cruise to see if the Saints game would be aired on board and was told yes. When we got to our room we noticed the game listed was the Giants game, but the staff on ship said the Saints would be on. Who Dats filled the sports bars ready for the game and were not happy to find out they were lied to by everyone at RCI. My wife and I ended up paying 60 dollars just to listen to the game on WWL online during the second half. Two of the ports were not good, Jamaica and Grand Cayman there was very little to do outside of finding a beach. Jamaica was scary and not safe. We heard many times to be very careful and stay with large numbers or get robbed. Cozumel was fantastic as always. The ship could have just docked there for 3 days and saved a lot of fuel. With all things considered it turned out to be a disappointing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Ok, let me preface this by saying this was my first cruise and my husband's second (his first on NCL). We both felt like the cruise was "ok" but not great, not terrible. If I had to choose a star rating, I'd say it was ... Read More
Ok, let me preface this by saying this was my first cruise and my husband's second (his first on NCL). We both felt like the cruise was "ok" but not great, not terrible. If I had to choose a star rating, I'd say it was 3 stars. Some parts were excellent, others were not. Ok the best parts: 1) Gerry, our room steward - he was amazing. I swear the man doesn't sleep and if I could have brought him home I would have! He even folded my husband's boxers. 2) Galaxy of the Stars - with house sparkling wine around $20/bottle, you can't go wrong. If you like sparkling wines. 3) the Adult entertainment - gameshows, trivia, etc. We won one night! So much fun (though the prize - a water bottle that didn't even have a free drink in it - sucked). 4) The buffet - I've read on here how some hate the buffet, we actually found it better than the Main Dining Room. Especially the Indian food - most of the crew is from Asia so if you like Asian I'd stick to that as much as possible. The chocolate desserts were less good, but there was unlimited ice cream which was good enough for us. 5) Bar service - if you were drinking they were always there to refill it. With another $6-10 drink, of course, but we expected that. The ok parts: 1) The entertainment on board other than what I mentioned 2) Bingo - it was a little pricey for what you got, in my opinion. Fun, but you shouldn't have to pay $40+ to play. Or they should have some free "just for fun" type of games as well. 3)Food at Bier Garden - buns were dry/stale and rest was just ok. Same with poolside buffet. 4) Their ability to accomodate moderately disabled passengers. They were great with wheelchair or scooters, but not so great with working with me on my mild disabilities (aka inability to stand for more than 5-10 minutes. 5) Birthday cakes - the cakes were a nice gesture but truly gross. 6) cabin size - we knew going in they were small, and in a balcony it definitely was. The bad: 1) Cost of drinks, especially beers. A beer in a plastic bottle should not be 5.50 or more. 3-4, sure, but 5.50??? They knew they had us trapped and took full advantage. 2) Service in the Main Dining Room - the first night it took us close to 3 hours to eat and because we ordered a bottle of wine, the waiter (who disappeared for 45 mins or so) had my husband's card so we couldn't leave. The second night, the waiter admitted he lost our order and waited 30 mins to come over and retake it. We ended up walking out after 2 hours when we had only had our main course. Then for breakfast they brought us food we didn't even order. We were too tired to fight with them so we just ate it and then called the maitre'd. We did not expect 5 star service but waiting 45 mins between courses is just absurd. For what it's worth, Deepak, the maitre'd did go above and beyond once we called him and reserved us the best table in the house and threw in complimentary wine. food and service greatly improved after that - but we are never ones to complain or send food back so for us to even do that should give you some idea of how slow it really was. 3) The casino - I would have gambled more but the smoke in there was unbearable and the nonsmoking area is a joke - it still reeks of smoke and all that is up there is slot machines. At least put one of those fun quarter ones and some video poker! 4) The bathrooms are showing lots of age - rust stains, dirty looking even though it was absolutely clean. They need re-tiling, or re-glazing desparately. 5) Constant nickel and diming. We knew to expect this but didn't realize exactly how much it would happen. Want a latte instead of a regular black coffee - that will be $3. Which would be fine, if the latte was decent. So instead we bought a pepsi pass and drank a ton of mountain dew to wake up. 6) The age range on the ship - which I know NCL has little to no control over - but we felt super young and we're in our 30s. Perhaps we just chose the wrong week to cruise and I have nothing against people in their 70s/80s but I was hoping to meet some more people our age on the ship and they were few and far between it seemed. 7) There was NOTHING going on during port days on the ship. Even the gift shop was closed during tender port days - so those of us who have disabilities that don't allow us on tenders were stuck to lay around reading by the pool. Bars were hardly even opened - I think one or two may have been but they were very inconvenient. Overall, I'd give NCL 3 stars...we might cruise it again, we might not. It would depend on the port itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We are a married couple in our early thirties from San Francisco, and this was our first cruise. We stayed at the Marriott on 555 Canal St in NOLA before the cruise (got it free thru Harrahs!) in a corner room with a view of the river (ask ... Read More
We are a married couple in our early thirties from San Francisco, and this was our first cruise. We stayed at the Marriott on 555 Canal St in NOLA before the cruise (got it free thru Harrahs!) in a corner room with a view of the river (ask for this). We love the Marriott, their beds are so comfy! We took a cab for $14 to the Julia Street Terminal at about 11:40am, which took about 10 minutes. We had forgotten our luggage tags, but the porter helped us and we got them checked very quickly. When we arrived there was a short line to check in, and then we waited in the terminal for about an hour. It took a little longer than normal because the ship had had an outbreak of gastroenteritis the week before, so they took extra time to sanitize the ship. Actually getting on took about 20 minutes, they give you a number and when they call that number you go up the escalator and into a line that snakes around and is very crowded. Here is where the constant hand sanitizing began! Staff were walking around, sanitizing everyone's hands and wiping the railings down. This was just a precursor to how it would be on the ship! When we got onto the boat, we knew we should go to Windows, but we were really hungry, tired and confused, so we went to the buffet. It was totally crowded and loud, and they had you sanitize your hands before you went in, and you were not allowed to take food from the buffet yourself (the whole cruise!). The buffet food was not that great, it was quantity over quality and not my style at all. When we did eat in the buffet on the ship, I stuck to the Indian food and that was great. We had room 6092, which shared a wall with Windows. You could not hear anything from the restaurant. We loved the accommodations and the picture window was totally worth it. It was so wonderful to wake up every morning and see the ocean and the sunlight. The room was big enough for us (but we live in a tiny apartment) and there was a ton of storage (but we only took carry on bags). The bathroom was small, and if you are a very large person I don't know how you would fit into the shower. We didn't do too many activities. I took a spin class, which was only ok, so I only did one. Didn't use the gym too much (although I had planned to!), but I checked it out and it was nice enough, with cardio machines that overlooked the ocean. The hubby played in the casino and it was a typical casino experience. We went to a couple shows, but they were pretty bad and not worth it. The singers were frequently off-key and the band missed notes and the selections were pretty cheesy overall. The service was great, and this is where the cruise really shined. It was so wonderful to be able to relax and not have to worry about cleaning or cooking. The staff were all smiles and willing to help all the time. They were really the highlight of the ship. For dinner, we ate Carney's twice and Windows/Garden (which really have the same menu) the rest of the time. The food in Windows/Garden was ok if you ordered the right thing and the food in Cagney's was slightly better. The thing that made me love Cagney's, though, was that they served real coffee. Everywhere else on the ship they served this blackish sludge that I think was instant coffee. I really loved that coffee when I had it and only went back to Cagney's for that reason. The best meal that we had was the Taste of India night. We got to try 20 different things and they were all great. I wish I was more hungry! Even though it was Christmas week, the ship didn't seem crazy crowded, as I expected it to be. I was able to find a chair by myself at the pool by 10 or 11 am. If you were willing to be away from the pool there were plenty of chairs. There was a band playing by the pool and they weren't too loud at all. There were kids in the pool, but they played nicely and weren't annoying. Also,they were about 7-10 years old, so a little more mature. For the ports, we arranged our own tours/transport and did not do anything thru NCL. We went to Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, and Cozumel. I'll review these in the port section. Disembarkation was super easy, we took our own bags and just left the ship. It took about 10 minutes. It was terrible to have to leave and go back to the real world, though, after being pampered for so long! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This is my 3rd Carnival cruise and second to Progreso and Cozumel. When we went before we were on the Carnival Holiday which is now not sailing out of the US. Positives: Fantastic service staff that were always willing to go above ... Read More
This is my 3rd Carnival cruise and second to Progreso and Cozumel. When we went before we were on the Carnival Holiday which is now not sailing out of the US. Positives: Fantastic service staff that were always willing to go above and beyond. Great food in the dining rooms. Buffet was a different story. Decent ports. Awesome cruise director. Negatives: Dated interior. Bad ship layout - we liked the Holiday much better...basically the main pool area is where everyone congregates all the time to eat, play at the pool, drink at the bar, etc. It was loud with lot's of loud music, there were kids and those without kids lumped together. Only one small pool, not enough places for people to eat. Multiple Maintenance issues - This was the worst thing about our cruise that may cause us to not return... We sailed out on Sat and Sat night (pretty late) the toilets stopped flushing and the a/c stopped working. The toilets were fixed by 9am but then went out sporadically throughout the rest of Sun until they were fixed for good later in the afternoon. The a/c was out until very late in the afternoon on Sun. It was pretty miserable. It was almost impossible to stay indoors in the ship b/c it was so hot. The light over the mirror in our room only worked half the time. The elevators by our room did not work. 2 seemed to be out completely and the other 2 did not seem to respond when we called it. It would only come to our floor if the button was pushed from the inside. Very frustrating when you can see that the elevator is bypassing your floor several times. Also, our bathroom stunk the entire time. Apparently this ship had just come off dry dock to get issues addressed but apparently it didn't work. Embarkation/ Disembarkation issues: Someone else's luggage was delivered to our room (room 168 vs. 186) upon embarkation. We purchased some liquor in port which was supposed to be delivered to our room by 9:30pm the night before we got back to New Orleans. It did not come so we called and it seemed that it was delivered to the wrong room and we were not the only ones. They finally brought it close to midnight when we were fast asleep. Upon disembarking and going to the luggage area we discovered that one piece of our luggage was missing. The folks in the terminal were less than helpful and even made a little joke about it which I did not think was funny. Most of my clothing was in that bag. We ended up having to track it down ourselves finding out that someone else took our bag and left theirs there. Crowd on the ship: We are both professionals with kids. (We left the kids at home) There were some folks that were "our people" but a lot of the folks on the ship were the "people of Wal Mart" type. I even joked about making a "people of Carnival" site because it was so bad. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Prior to embarkation, I studied the make up of the ship and its construction. We discovered that this ship was built in 1998 and was geared to sail the Far East and its decor mirrored this design. The ship was dry docked in 2008 for ... Read More
Prior to embarkation, I studied the make up of the ship and its construction. We discovered that this ship was built in 1998 and was geared to sail the Far East and its decor mirrored this design. The ship was dry docked in 2008 for renovations, however, the renovations are in dire need once again. The ship is falling apart. We spoke with many members of the cruise and discovered that they were experiencing several issues with plumbing, accommodations, and faulty wiring. Our state room was relatively small. I truly understand that the staterooms on ships are extremely small; however, our previous cruises with Carnival and Royal Caribbean proved to be a bit larger. In past cruises, we understood that the beds were pushed together to create the pseudo queen bed, which was fine. On the NCL Spirit, the beds were pushed together but never stayed that way. The food for this cruise was extremely salty or lacked taste. I must admit that I would have to begin taking blood pressure medications mixed with a diuretic to offset the amount of salt intake on this cruise line. I guess they could be cooking their food with the sea water; thus, providing us with beneficial sea salted cooking. As with all cruises, the buffet leaves little to the imagination. If eating in the buffet area, rest assured that you will receive the same foods on a daily basis. Raffles dinning area was always busy and provided a plethora of food, but by day 5 of eating in this facility, you wanted something different. Other dining on board included a multitude of additional pay specialty restaurants, including a steak house, Sushi Bar, Teppanyaki, Asian, Italian, and French restaurants. During our cruise, we enjoyed the food of the Steak House "Cagney's", which I believe is a Chicago steak house. The steaks were great and this was an additional cost of 25 dollars per person. Steaks were prepared appropriately very nice atmosphere. Included in your cruise, you are provided with two semi-formal restaurants, Windows and the Garden. NCL prides itself with "Free-style" cruising. On other cruises you needed to set a time to eat on the cruise line, limiting your eating times to either 6pm or 830pm. You would sit with individuals for the entire cruise. Unfortunately for my wife and I, we were generally sat with extremely obnoxious individuals that wanted to talk about how much money they made or how important they were. We were on the cruise to meet people and have a leisurely time. With the "Free Style" cruising, you decide when and where you want to eat. If you meet individuals on the ship, you can meet up with them for dinner if you wish. It is a great perk for this ship and cruise line. Similar to other ships, the pool area, especially sea days, was extremely packed. If you want a chair by the pool, you need to get there early. The ship is very small and the amount of room near the one pool is extremely limited. On board activities include gambling casino, bingo, multitude of music, and a plethora of attractions for all ages. Gambling is gambling. No matter where you are doing this activity, it is the luck of the draw, so to speak. We did not participate in any of the bingo games as the cost was extremely expensive. The other issue that concerned me about this was the children were able to play with their parents for free; thus allowing their parents more opportunities to win over the other passengers that did not have children. I found this unfair to these paying players. Our cruise director provided a plethora of games shows for old and young alike. The activities that we participated in were the best relationship, newlywed not-so-newlywed game, and the Cruise quest game. We only watched the first two and truly enjoyed it. The last one we participated along with several teams. This game is a scavenger hunt game that is truly adults only. It was on our last day of the cruise and we had a great time. I truly recommend this game for all to see. The entertainment activities were great. We went to the daily 715 show and had a great time. The first show was the welcome aboard show. It revealed the individuals that would be performing throughout the cruise. We decided that we would not really want to view the magician at that time, as he was not that exciting. We were told the acrobatic show was not to be missed. We were extremely impressed by these two individuals from Russia. They were the best of all the shows. I highly recommend them. You should attend all the shows on the ship, as each provides something different for every individual of the cruise. Bring plenty of money. The drinks on board are extremely expensive. We purchased two drinks as we boarded and it cost us 18 dollars. Later on I wanted to purchase a beer and discovered that the cheapest beer was Coors Light at 4.25 a bottle. You can purchase a bucket of beer for 25 dollars. I was able to have a beer a night for the entire cruise and only saved 50 cents. The coolest aspect, other than the "Free Style" Cruising, was the process for boarding and exiting the ship on the first and last day of the cruise. We arrived at the port at approximately 1100 and were quickly on board within 1 hour of arriving. The stewards are awaiting our arrival in the parking garage and took our luggage as we entered the garage....BIG PLUS!!! We each had a day bag that we carried until our rooms were prepared at 2pm. Leaving the ship was a joy. Not that we were leaving our vacation, just the benefit of the quick departure process. There are several options for this off boarding process. If you are a frequent cruiser, you have the benefit of off when ever you want. If you are going to carry your luggage off, you can leave at your leisure. We chose to obtain luggage tags the morning before. We received the blue tags, go early to get the blue tags, and were exiting the ship at approximately 915 am. We began exiting at 900 am and were escorted to our luggage area. We obtained our luggage and went through customs quickly. We got to our car and left the garage at 945. Fastest we have ever exited a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
This was the first cruise for my children (8,9,11) and the 2nd for my wife and I. We had very good weather, and great vacation, and a mostly good experience. I will detail the good & bad below. Departure: Excellent. We flew into ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my children (8,9,11) and the 2nd for my wife and I. We had very good weather, and great vacation, and a mostly good experience. I will detail the good & bad below. Departure: Excellent. We flew into New Orleans the morning of our cruise, were met at the gate by an agent, and taken by bus to the cruise terminal (30 minute wait, 20 minute ride). Once there, the line was no where near what I expected, and we were on board having lunch within 45 minutes. Stateroom: We had a balcony stateroom on deck 6, with our children directly across the hall in an interior stateroom with bunk beds set up for 3. Our room was a good size (larger than I expected) with a very comfortable balcony. We were able to prop the door to the balcony open in the evenings and sleep to the sound and smell of the water. Neither my wife nor myself have slept better in years. The room was cleaned twice a day, and while not as much was done as on my first cruise (14 years ago) where they would clean out your souvenir glasses, hang up your shirt if you accidentally left it out, etc, it was still kept very clean. Ship: The ship is beautiful, but very poorly laid out. There was no direct route anywhere. Luckily, our room was situated directly above our dining room, and below the pool, so we found direct routes to where we needed to go, but going anywhere new was an exercise in frustration. The ship showed signs of rust on its side and on our balcony, but was mostly in good condition. Some of the seats in the buffet (South Beach Club) were torn and needed recovering. Dining: We had traditional, early dining (6PM) since we thought it would be a good experience for the kids to have waiters, etc that knew their names and 'pampered' them. Our serving staff was excellent, in some cases making paper animals for the kids from the children's menu. The food was decent, though not exceptional, and definitely not as good as 14 years ago. Also, the quantities were very small. My wife was still hungry after ordering a second appetizer and her entree. As for myself, I needed to order 2 meals just to equal what I would normally eat at a chain restaurant (i.e. Chili's) and the reaction from the waitstaff seemed like it was abnormal to order this much. If portions were increased to a normal amount, I wouldn't feel like I was putting them out. Desserts were good, but also very small (i.e. cherries jubilee was 8 cherries!) Clubs & Activities: There was plenty going on at all times on the ship, though for the most part my wife and I chose to relax, which was also possible out on the main deck. One big negative was the first morning, at 10AM when we were laying in our lounge chairs on deck, the main screen over the pool was showing a 1/2 hour infomercial on a herbal supplement for prostate problems. With graphic descriptions of the medical procedure for curing it. Not what I want to be thinking about on the first day of our trip. The music was Madonna's greatest hits along with a bit of REM, and the occasional break for the ship's island music band to play Hot, Hot, Hot. The screen showed the same scenes of fish swimming and people scuba diving for 80% of the time. Most of the movies they showed were during our dinner hours, or while we were on shore. The children's club seemed very good, but my kids only wanted to spend a few hours there per day, preferring so sit out on deck or swim. Debarkation: We used the assisted, leisurely method where the stewards have your luggage waiting in the terminal. Very organized and quick debarkation (though too early!). Complaints: I really only have three main complaints. 1. Food & Drink. As stated before, main dining room food was not exceptional (I may have expected too much) and portions are minuscule. The drink prices are nuts ($6.50 for a bud lite?). If you go on this ship, avoid the beer and drink Martini's at the wine bar or long island iced teas! 2. Tipping. Carnival automatically deducts tips from your sail & sign account per person on the first day aboard. I understand that this may be easier for some people, but I would much rather tip personally based on actual service at the end of the cruise. We asked for the tips to be taken off the sail and sign account on the 3 different times, and kept getting told to wait until the next day. It was not until 10PM on the 2nd full day of the cruise that they allowed us to remove the charges. In the end I actually tipped more - in most cases - that they would have taken off, but it was at my discretion. Charging tips to your account should be an option that you request, not one that is forced on you. 3. Hot Tubs & pools. They were cold. Both pools were exceptionally cold salt water. The main hot tubs (mid deck) were the temperature of a typical hotel pool, and cooler than the air in most cases. After a day, I found the forward hot tub was warmer (more like bath water). The only truly hot tubs were on the rear of the ship. It was not possible to watch movies from the hot tubs at night because they were too cold and they close too early. Also, the water slide that features so prominently in advertisements was closed 2 out of the 3 days at sea, and when open was very slow. 2 of my 3 children got stuck halfway and had to push themselves down. The 3rd child just avoided it! Overall it was a good family cruise, though I will look at other options for our next one (which I hope is not 14 years from now!) Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
TRAVEL TO THE BIG EASY: We arrived in New Orleans the afternoon of Friday, January 28th after two smooth flights on Southwest Airlines. Catching a taxi was very easy in New Orleans with the taxi booth right outside of the baggage claim. ... Read More
TRAVEL TO THE BIG EASY: We arrived in New Orleans the afternoon of Friday, January 28th after two smooth flights on Southwest Airlines. Catching a taxi was very easy in New Orleans with the taxi booth right outside of the baggage claim. Taxi service was $33.00 from the airport to the Avenue Plaza Hotel in the Garden District. ACCOMODATIONS AND STAY IN NEW ORLEANS: We stayed at the Avenue Plaza Hotel on St. Charles Avenue. This was a great location as it was right in front of the St. Charles street car which generally came around every 10 minutes during the day and every 15-20 minutes at night. This hotel was about a 15-20 minute streetcar ride to Canal Street and an easy 10-15 minute walk to the French Quarter. In New Orleans we had Beignets at Cafe Du Monde, lunch at Napoleon House, Shrimp Po Boy at Johnny's, a great dinner at Clancy's (with a wonderful Icebox Lemon Pie for dessert), a fantastic dinner at Delachaise. We also ate at the Cheesecake Bistro (on St. Charles) but the food was average at best and food at Cafe Beignet on Bourbon street had a nice location but a very small bowl of shrimp and chicken Gumbo which two stale pieces of bread was $10.00. The streetcar system was very easy to navigate and reasonable at $5.00 for an all day pass or $1.25/trip - best if you have exact change. We did not go to Bourbon street at night, after walking through their several times during the day - just way too many drunk individuals, bars and strip clubs for us. We also visited the cemeteries and Audubon park as well as City park - both parks were nice and was a good place to run. EMBARKATION: Arrived to the Erato St. port via $14.00 taxi ride from the Garden district. We arrived around 1:00pm and were on the ship by 1:30. The lines were long but were always moving. Carnival did a good job getting 2400 people on the ship. We had lunch on the Lido deck buffet while we waited for our rooms to be ready and luggage delivered. CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: Generally, we have cruised on ships that are 4 years old or less. However, the Carnival triumph is about 11 years old. We had room 1227 on the Riviera deck forward. Room was okay for an older ship. The room was much larger than those on the Norwegian Pearl, for comparison. There was ample closet space and the bathroom/shower space was fine. Our room was well maintained by Lydia and her crew. They even brought us a foam mattress overlay to make the bed more comfortable (actually two beds pushed together). No complaints about the room itself. As for its location on the ship, it made for a lot of stair climbing and walking to the back of the ship for meals or shows. This room was also quite noisy when arriving at ports, with all of the thruster engine noises, vibrations and rubbing up against piers in port. The noise was especially bad the morning we returned to New Orleans - woken up at about 4 - 4:30am with loud vibrations, squealing and the engine noises. The other downside of being on this floor was that we were the first group to leave the ship at 7:00am - 7:20am. Nice being off first but getting up early made for a very long travel day back to California. The gym/spa on the ship was good size with plenty of equipment. We enjoyed reading outside of the coffee bar and in the Venezia lounge because both were relatively quiet and smoke free. Many other rooms on the ship were thick with smoke so we tried to stay away from those areas. We did not try any of the pools or hot tubs because these were in high demand throughout the cruise. The slide was good fun and really made for a good time with the kids on the ship. All in all, there seemed to be fewer community spaces on this ship compared to other ships we've been on. The atrium on the Triumph is impressively tall with easy access by stairs or elevator. ENTERTAINMENT: Favorites on the cruise were the two comedians, the newlywed show. The Carnival dancers were okay. The lead female had a wonderful voice. We did not get to see any magicians because they were delayed with the bad weather covering much of the northern US at the time. DINNING: We had the 8:15 traditional seating and ate on the upper level each night. We had great table mates from Kentucky and we had good conversation and laughs each night. Our wait staff was tremendous and really made our dining experience enjoyable despite the average food. I should start by saying that we are not really picky eaters and don't expect culinary perfection, not even close. However, compared to the Miracle, Norwegian Pearl and the Princess Sapphire, the food overall on the Triumph was...forgettable. The fruit on the ship was good, except for the sour oranges and inedible grapefruit the last day of sailing. We had a great Martini fish dish and an Italian chicken dish that were great. Two desserts stood out, the Chocolate melting cake and one caramel pastry that were quite good. The breakfast and lunch at the buffet were really average and the selection limited. Snacking opportunities on the ship seemed limited to three options: soft serve ice cream, burgers/hot dogs/fries, or the option of room service. After dinner snacks were not put out until 11:00 or 11:30pm. We had room service twice. The second was on the day of debarkation due to the 7:00am check-out time for our floor (self assist). The breakfast was tiny (one strawberry, one small piece each of melon, lukewarm coffee. Needless to say we went for a second small breakfast off of the ship. SERVICE: Service on the ship was excellent and all of the Carnival staff we encountered on the ship were friendly and helpful. As was said earlier, our room stewards and wait staff were tremendous and really did their best to be sure we had a good experience and we are tremendously grateful to them. PORTS OF CALL: We stopped at Progreso and Cozumel. We took an Autoprogreso tour of Uxmal ruins about an 1 1/2 hour ride outside of progreso. We were very impressed by Uxmal and this was really the highlight of our tour. We booked the tour by emailing Autoprogreso because this tour was not listed on their site. It was $49.00 US which was cheaper than the ship. We had air conditioned transportation, English and Spanish speaking guide (Sophia). The tour did not provide any water or snacks so that was on our own at the Uxmal ruins or back in town at Progreso. The tour was very professional. We walked around 8 or so blocks in progress but did not really see the need to look around much more. Would have been nice to go to Merida but time did not allow. We were back on board the boat with plenty of time to spare - the tour returned us right to the shopping area next to the ships, on the 4-5 mile long pier. We really had no plans in Cozumel so we shopped near the pier and then rented a tuk tuk (a kind of enclosed, three-wheeled motorcycle) for $45.00 US for the day. We used it to go to the ruins and around to the east side of the island, around Punta Sur and back to the town. Traffic was good we felt safe the entire time. As for shopping in either port, the prices are much better outside of the cruise line sponsored/built shopping adjacent to the ships. SUMMARY: We enjoyed our time in New Orleans though many parts of the city are very run down. The French Quarter was nice to visit during the day but we really don't feel the need to go back their specifically to visit...unless it would be to have a few more beignets at Cafe Du Monde. The french architecture of the Quarter and lower Garden district was beautiful. Transportation was very accessible and reasonable. As for the Triumph, we don't have any plans to travel on her again....only if an itinerary landed us on the ship in the future. Not much to do on board and the ship and not many places to hang out that did not allow smoking. I also think I would think twice about getting a room on the first level of the ship due to the noise and vibration in ports. We really don't have any desire to return to Progreso or Cozumel but would return to the Yucatan to see more ruins. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I was incredibly disappointed with the Triumph. We received an automated call from the cruise line telling us to arrive at 1:30 to board...unfortunately so did the other 3100 passengers. We STOOD in line for over 3 and a half hours just to ... Read More
I was incredibly disappointed with the Triumph. We received an automated call from the cruise line telling us to arrive at 1:30 to board...unfortunately so did the other 3100 passengers. We STOOD in line for over 3 and a half hours just to get on board the ship. Children, elderly, and handicapped alike all had to wait while the TWO security lines passed us through. One of the security personnel was even going around taking wheel chairs away from elderly people who were not actually handicapped. It was appalling! Then the ship finally left port at 6:00 (two hours late) with no explanation as to why we were late. We were subsequently late into every port of call for the entire trip. This cut into excursion time, as well as any time to shop, eat, or explore on shore. The food was good, not great. Breakfast was everything you could expect, but nothing out of the ordinary. The best lunches came from either the deli or the pizzeria. The lunch in the dining room tended to be bland. Dinner was the one bright spot. The dinner service was amazing, friendly and courteous, and delicious too. The steak, prime ribs, lamb, ribs, snapper were all amazing....the seafood (shrimp, scallops, calamari) was rubbery and chewy and flavorless. Room service was NEVER on time, and got our order right only ONCE the entire trip. After day three we stopped even trying. Possibly the most disappointing thing to me was the on board entertainment. Not the quality...The singers and dancers were extremely talented....almost every show was in either the casino bar or lounge or some other smoking area. The smoke was thick enough to make me cough on several occasions. On one occasion I was sitting in the lounge and started to cough, my server offered me a water. When I said yes she asked for my sail and sign card!! I got up and left. I was highly disappointed and when I told the service desk, they seemed put off not that they had done anything wrong, but that I had had the nerve to complain. WILL NEVER CRUISE CARNIVAL AGAIN! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was our second cruise. Our first was Royal Caribbean, on a newer larger ship. Most of the comments on this review are based on us liking the Royal Caribbean cruise much better. Positives: 1. We booked 9 months in advance, and ... Read More
This was our second cruise. Our first was Royal Caribbean, on a newer larger ship. Most of the comments on this review are based on us liking the Royal Caribbean cruise much better. Positives: 1. We booked 9 months in advance, and about 1 month prior to leaving, we found that the prices had dropped by 50%. We called in and upgraded to a balcony, from a window for $50 additional. 2. Freestyle dining was nice, as you could eat when you wanted and you didn't have to sit with strangers. 3. The magic show and improv show were cool. 4. The pub with the acoustic guitarist crew member was our favorite spot. Its kind of sad that our favorite spot for entertainment was the bar though. Negatives: 1. We had smokers on both sides of us in our room. Every morning, we were woken up by the horrendous smell of cigarette smoke. The rooms must share an air duct or something, because it was as if they were in the room with us. It made no difference if we opened the balcony door or not. The front desk told us that smoking in the rooms is prohibited, but they cannot enforce it. 2. Freestyle dining is nice, but there are only 3 places to eat for free. One is a dress up place, one is casual and the other is the buffet/cafeteria. All the rest are pay restaurants that are $15-30 per person. 3. The boat was small and old. This gave us a feeling of cabin fever after the first day. Because the boat was small, it added to the rocking of the boat, which made us slightly sea sick a few days. 4. The ship activities were few and far between. It's a good thing there were 4 ports to stop at. 5. The pool was small and not very elegant or inviting. 6. 95% of the cruise passengers were over 55 years old. This is not an exaggeration. Chit chat with the crew told us that Norwegian is known to cater to the older crowd. We did not know this before booking with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008

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