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18 New Orleans to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

This was mine and my girlfriends first cruise so I read a lot of reviews about the Triumph and now realize that most people are too picky and complain to much. We enjoyed our 5 night cruise and did not want to get off the boat. We enjoyed ... Read More
This was mine and my girlfriends first cruise so I read a lot of reviews about the Triumph and now realize that most people are too picky and complain to much. We enjoyed our 5 night cruise and did not want to get off the boat. We enjoyed our balcony room and will have to have one going forward. Loved having a glass of Crown and Coke on the balcony while the women got ready for dinner. However I will say, we were on Deck 6 close to the elevators and late at night you could definitely here the music from the night club which was pretty much my only complaint. Our first stop was Cozumel and we decided not to do a Carnival excursion. Instead we went with the Cozumel Bar Hop and had a blast. It was much cheaper then majority of the Carnival excursions and we got to see the east side of the island of Cozumel. All of the locations they took us to had amazing views of the beach and reasonable food/drink prices. The tour guide was very informative and friendly. After the Hop they returned us back to the dock our ship was at which was nice. The second port was Progresso and we decided to just stay on the ship and relax. It was nice since the ship was not as crowded on a port day. We enjoyed the dinner every night in the London Dining room (Request Allan, best server on board). Got to have a Woo-Woo shot from the little guy who walks around dinner with liquor (dude is a trip). Enjoyed the Dive-In movies, casino, bingo, and different activities that went on. The crew on this boat have exceptional people skills. The only rude people I encountered were other fellow cruisers which can be expected with 3000 people on board. We truly enjoyed our first cruise. This ship is what you make of it so go on with the right mind set and you'll have a great time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Cruised with three other couples. Overall, we enjoyed the Conquest much better after the 2.0 upgrade. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Guy Burgers and Blue Iguana. Staff was pleasant. Loved the new music format of artists on acoustic guitars. Now ... Read More
Cruised with three other couples. Overall, we enjoyed the Conquest much better after the 2.0 upgrade. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Guy Burgers and Blue Iguana. Staff was pleasant. Loved the new music format of artists on acoustic guitars. Now for the detractors. Lots and lots and lots of unsupervised kids. Kind of tough to balance a round Guy burger plate with kids running into you. Understandable though with the time of year we cruised. Music at the pool areas was too loud to the point of distortion. Can tone it down. Heard nothing but negatives about the DJ, but it wasn't too bad. Not my kind of music but oh well. Main dining room was late dining in the Monet. WAS NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL!!!!! Carnival will receive feedback from me on this. Although I understand serving a table of eight is tough, but if you're one of the first table with all the guests seated, there is really NO reason to be the last table out each evening. We lost ALL the serving staff for over 15 minutes. I was about to find the maître d when they came back and decided to serve. Main dining room food and service has definitely gone down hill. Oh and for the guests...what part of NO hats, swim suits and flip flops do you NOT understand?Went on the Gumbalimba Park tour in Roatan. Had monkeys crawling all over us!!!! We LOVED it. Go for this tour. Went ziplining and cave tubing in Belize. Overall had a great time, although they left out the one hour drive in a bus to and from. Was strange since there were other folks off the ship that were transported there in luxury buses. Found a GREAT beach on our own in Cozumel! Don't pay the high prices off the ship. We paid $25 each. The ship was hocking them for $49 each. This all sounds negative, but we REALLY enjoyed ourselves! Would recommend to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
First of all, the best part of this cruise was New Orleans. It was the first time in NOLA for my daughter and I. We got in a day before the cruise and instantly fell in love with New Orleans. The Navigator looks good, most aspects are ... Read More
First of all, the best part of this cruise was New Orleans. It was the first time in NOLA for my daughter and I. We got in a day before the cruise and instantly fell in love with New Orleans. The Navigator looks good, most aspects are the same that we experienced on Carnival Victory and Princess. They did not have an outdoor movie screen which limited outdoor interest for me. I read that they will do a rehab of this ship by next year. I had read several reviews of this ship before and noticed that a smell in the hallways was included on most. Our room was on the 6th floor, it was a balcony room and we did not notice a sight but noticeable mildew smell in the hallways. The thing that bothered me most about this cruise was the habit of walking to your cabin during the day or night and finding large bags that may have contained laundry in the hallway. There were also vacuum cleaners left in the hallway and a machine that looked like some sort of fan. I know that the room stewards have to get rid of dirty laundry and clean the rooms, but I have never seen up to twelve or more huge red bags lined up against the wall for hours a day. Everyone has seen the little carts that are used to replenish toilet paper, soap, clean towels etc..., but these items were frequently in the hallway and it looked so tacky and low class. I will be very surprised if no one else mentions this. The food was o.k., just o.k. The service was great, everyone worked very hard to please. The Windjammer's food was routine and boring, it never changed. The quality was so-so. The "Jade Restaurant" is a joke. I love Asian food and looked forward to some good Asian food. Most of the time the space in Jade was taken up with American type foods. Occasionally there would be some fried rice or stir fry that was poorly prepared. All in all, We still had a good time overall despite my criticisms. I would not say however that Royal Caribbean has consistently high standards. I know that Carnival has issues with their ships, but their rooms are larger, the entertainment was better, and I didn't feel nickel a dimmed for gratuities on an ice cream cone after you've already been charged an extra 15% for it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was a very relaxing cruise for us. Took a taxi to port at 10:30am and spent over 1/2 hr. stalled in traffic waiting in the terminal to be dropped off. Not fun. They could work on that. Once inside, it went fast, as we are Gold ... Read More
This was a very relaxing cruise for us. Took a taxi to port at 10:30am and spent over 1/2 hr. stalled in traffic waiting in the terminal to be dropped off. Not fun. They could work on that. Once inside, it went fast, as we are Gold members. No champagne welcome that we have been used to. It was cold so we just went to eat and get aquainted with the ship layout. Our luggage didn't get to our room until after 4, which is much longer than any of our other cruises. Our balcony room was very nice. LOVED LOVED LOVED the quality bedding! Like the rounded shower door as opposed to a shower curtain. Very clean room. Plenty of storage. Asked our room steward to have 4 towels each day and a bucket of ice. TV was old, and they were still showing a film telling about the largest ship, Freedom of the Seas, which is OLD (2006) news! Definitely not the largest ship now! The ship looked very good, and was sparkling, except for the carpet in the hallways. We had my time dining and ate at Chops the first night. Delicious! I had the filet mignon and it was amazing! The other nights, we were usually seated between 6 and 7. We carried on 2 bottles of wine and a corkscrew, so we took glasses of wine from our room to dinner. You can't take the bottle without paying extra. The food in the dining room was very good. We usually had 2 appetizers (soup, salad), entree and dessert. Very satisfied with it all. The lobster night (second formal night) was the largest we've ever had on a cruise! A treat! About the formal nights...most didn't really dress formal. You won't feel out of place if you like do formal, because there were some who did, but mostly it was just dressy, cocktail wear. Not all the men wore jackets. Ate breakfast, lunch and one dinner in the Windjammer. A little hard to find seating, but the food was always good. They have iced tea, lemonade and water, so we didn't buy the soda package. Desserts in the Windjammer were more "European" as in not real sweet. Made use of the ice cream machine often! Ate at Johnny Rockets once and most nights had a piece of pizza at the snack place on the promenade. DH appreciated that they always had a pitcher of milk out to go with the cookies! A plus to the Windjammer is the fella who welcomes you and "makes" you do the hand sanitizer! I didn't get his name but he was full of life! :D Don't miss the ice skating show! Very good! Went to a couple other shows...normal ship shows. Did a ballroom dance class, which was fun! Used the gym most days. Tip: we only take the elevators the first and last day with our luggage and always take the stairs the rest of the trip...a pretty good workout! We had lots of children on this cruise, which we think was due to vacation over Mardi Gras in New Orleans. They were all well behaved. Was actually fun to see many of them dressed up and eating dinner in the dining room! Enjoyed the 70s party in the promenade, as well as the Mardi Gras parade. Other times it is just fun to sit there and watch people! It's fun to shop the cheap stuff as well as the expensive. DH bought me a beautiful ring (from the expensive shop :)! Enjoyed browsing all the different stores. We thought the staff was very friendly and helpful. There were lots of hand santitzer stations that I saw many people use. No sickness on this ship as far as I know. Don't really know what we would add to make the ship or the cruise better. Just a very relaxing time and thoroughly enjoyable! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We won a Carnival cruise and decided to go on the Elation since we had never been to New Orleans. Our two days there were wonderful. We had cruised on the Elation once before through the Panama Canal. It was about 12 years ago, and ... Read More
We won a Carnival cruise and decided to go on the Elation since we had never been to New Orleans. Our two days there were wonderful. We had cruised on the Elation once before through the Panama Canal. It was about 12 years ago, and unfortunately, the passage of time shows on the Elation. Our stateroom was so crowded with the king bed that my husband had to roll over the bed to get in. Sometimes rust came out of the bathroom sink faucet. Overall, the cruise was okay. The food was good and the service was outstanding except for the front desk. When we realized that making our flight connection would be tricky we asked at the front desk how best to handle it. During the cruse director's debarking talk we were told that group 2 would be debarking first and we should make sure to be in it since our flight left before noon. When we told the front desk they told us that we did not need to be in "group 2", that we should use "self assist" and wait in our stateroom for our deck to be called. We would be leaving the ship at about 8 am. This would have been fine but no one ever made an announcement for any deck or any group. People just started lining up and other people appeared to be getting off the ship. When I asked the crew member who was supposed to be helping keep people in the correct area he said we had to go to the back of the line which by then was around the corner and down the hall. Of course people from other decks were coming up and down stairs and out of the elevators and simple getting in the line. I went to the front desk and asked how to proceed and was told to go to the end of the line and that they couldn't keep people (like the ones coming from other decks) from getting off the ship, could they? At that point I decided to one of those people and my husband and I walked to a place in the line and told the people we had an early flight and most were happy to let us in. I was told by other passengers that the people who left the ship first had paid extra for the privilege. Other passenger said they were supposed to be first off because they had cruised more that ten times on Carnival but no one had assisted them with the process so they were in no man's land like us. When we made it through customs, which went very smoothly, I asked the bus driver when he would be leaving and he said not for at least half an hour so we had to take a cab even though we had paid to use the ship's transfer service. By the way, it is less expensive to take a cab! I was told by two crew members and the bus driver to request a refund of the transfer fee when I arrived home. I did that and was told that the policy is NO REFUNDS under ANY circumstances. I asked for a supervisor and was told the same thing. Apparently my travel agent should have sent me a form and I should have been informed that the transfer service should not be used with a 10:30 am flight. I told the front desk as soon as we were on board that I was concerned about it and they said we would be assigned to a group that debarked first. I had to pay over $30 to use the internet to print our boarding passes, the transfer was $40 something, and the taxi was $33 plus tip. I will never cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Arrived in New Orleans on Monday and did not sail until Saturday. Fell in love with New Orleans. This is definitely my new favourite port to sail from. Spending time there was amazing. So happy we decided to do that. Got to port about ... Read More
Arrived in New Orleans on Monday and did not sail until Saturday. Fell in love with New Orleans. This is definitely my new favourite port to sail from. Spending time there was amazing. So happy we decided to do that. Got to port about 11:25 and was on board eating lunch by 11:55. Easiest embarkation ever in over 20 cruises. FANTASTIC!!! Had oceanview Cabin on Main deck, M169 - odd layout but biggest cabin yet. Was worried I would miss a balcony as we always have balconies but I did not. This ship only has a few balcony cabins and they are suites. I quite smoking over 100 days before cruise so I think that made a difference with not having a balcony. Progresso - many people did like this port but we did. Took the double decker 1/2 hour tour for 3 bucks. Looked around and ended up in a clean, bar and met lots of locals (well, people from canada and US that now live there). It is a very safe port!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved the double decker bus for 3 bucks. Ship excursion prices are high. Once off the ship and shuttled to town, you can get the same excursion or better than ship for less than half the money. Cozumel: We had been to cozumel numerous times so we just shopped, walked, drank, had a great lunch, etc. Very tired of saying no thanks, no thanks, no thanks to vendors - I wish they would give it up!!! There were a lot of kids on board but did not really see them as on sea days hung out on serenity. Found lido very, very loud and busy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved this cruise and ship. spent onboard time in the adults only serenity area - loved it - wish it was bigger as it was hard to find a spot. Only bad thing on this cruise was our first night in the dining room. We had any time dining which we love. Arrived for dinner about 8:45 and got seated - waiter did not say hello, introduce himself or ask us anything. Just handed us a menu then he proceeded to argued with us about wine when we were asking him questions. We wanted to buy a wine package and it seemed as if it was a big problem for him to help us with our questions regarding a couple of different wines. It was an awful experience. We felt so unwanted and if we had not of been on a ship, we would have walked out. This has never, ever happened to us on a cruise!! Next night we changed areas and ended up with the greatest head waiter ever - Oxsana. Wish we had a longer cruise than 5 days. It went quick!!!!!!!!!!! This cruise was so cheap and worth ever penny and more. Can't wait to cruise from NO again. Loved the elation - found it easy to get around. I wish they would lower drink prices though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Found gift shop jewellery staff pushy. Food was great! Quickest debarkation ever also. Self assist started at 8 - by 9:30 they told me they were ready for everyone so even though we had #20, they said we could get off. Got off at 9:45ish and used Advance check in for luggage - for 25 bucks for 4 bags they take your luggage to airport. Fantastic!! as we then had the whole day to spend in NO as our flight was not until 5pm. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
My wife and I have been on six cruises on four cruise lines. RCL; Holland America; Carnival and Celebrity. On this cruise we left from New Orleans. We had not cruised from there since before Katrina and were impressed with the port. There ... Read More
My wife and I have been on six cruises on four cruise lines. RCL; Holland America; Carnival and Celebrity. On this cruise we left from New Orleans. We had not cruised from there since before Katrina and were impressed with the port. There are several hotels from which you can easily walk to the port with your luggage (if there is one suitcase and one carry on each). We stayed at the Drury Inn for two nights prior to the cruise and one night after. We enjoyed the hotel. There is a good breakfast each morning - I like the biscuits and gravy with sausage patties. There is also an evening meal - hot-dogs the night we tried it. The evening meal, while great for families who want to save some money, is poor fare compared to the many great restaurants within walking distance. The day of departure we did take a taxi to the port ($7.00 each) because of weather conditions. Our cruise did not start boarding until 1:00p because it need to be sanitized due to a gastrointestinal problem on the cruise prior to ours. This meant everyone wanted to get on at the same time which resulted in long lines, about 1 1/2 hours for us. This though is unusual and while inconvenient was understandable. We were in a junior suite, which isn't really a suite at all in the conventional sense. It was a very spacious room with a walk in closet and a nice balcony. The balcony was shielded from the wind for the most part while underway which was very nice. It also seemed more private than some we have seen. Our steward provided us with excellent service, always straightening the room in the short time we went to breakfast. I highly recommend this stateroom if cruising on this ship. This ship itself is larger than we are used to. Meals were not of the same quality we have had on all other cruises. This is not to say they weren't good they were, just not as good as usual. Smaller portions and fewer choices.Of course you can always ask for more. Entertainment in the evenings was great. Comedians, jugglers (better than it sounds), a great ice show, and of course the singers and dancers. I highly recommend the ice show, I enjoyed it very much. I had only gone because my wife wanted me to, I would have skipped it and am glad I did not. Shore excursions were the standard stuff. I would just as soon wander at any of these ports. Jamaica is pretty but very "touristy" and the cities are dirty, crowded and mostly uninteresting. We went fishing in Cozumel which was fun but then I always have fun fishing no matter where we are. The Caymans are great. If I was to spend a week in one place in this part of the world it would be the Caymans. We did the dolphin encounter and turtle farm. The encounter was a lot of fun, glad we did it but wouldn't spend the money for it again. The turtle farm was interesting at best - overpriced if paid for on it's own. There was one thing on the Voyager we were very disappointed in. The best seats for shows and a separate, very nice looking, dinning room at the buffet are reserved for high rollers. Always before on a cruise we had felt first class and noticed no difference in the treatment of inside cabin users and luxury suite users. We are not naive, there is a difference, but it has never been obvious. On this ship there is first class and then the rest of us. We opted for carrying our own luggage off the ship. We were told we would be getting off between 715 and 8 in the morning. We started getting off, per the announcement, at 715 and had walked the mile back to the Drury Inn by 8. Just as promised, how often does that happen? The Drury let us book in at 8 in the morning when we arrived even though check in was 3p. I thought we would just drop off our bags and wander the city until 3, it was a nice surprise. All in all we will avoid the Voyager on our next cruise. We will opt for a smaller ship weather RCL or another line. Perhaps the decrease in food options and quality is the new industry standard but we are hoping it was because of the much higher number of passengers on board. We are also hoping on a smaller ship there is no obvious distinction between first class and the rest of us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
The New Orleans Voyager of the Seas departure was smooth & simple 12/3/2011. We easily parked at Fulton Place Parking Center http://fultonplaceparking.com on Convention Center Blvd. The parking structure takes up the whole block ... Read More
The New Orleans Voyager of the Seas departure was smooth & simple 12/3/2011. We easily parked at Fulton Place Parking Center http://fultonplaceparking.com on Convention Center Blvd. The parking structure takes up the whole block from Fulton to Convention & you can enter from a few sides. Cruise parking is $84 paid in advance & they accept credit cards. (Condo Parking Services, (504) 566-7275 was on our receipt.) After 11a, there are guys holding signs with a picture of the boat trying to direct you. You can park anywhere in New Orleans. I found the price reasonable for the week. They have shuttle service to the ship & guys to help with luggage, if needed. If you have special needs, this location is helpful. Fulton Place Parking is walking distance from the New Orleans port for a healthy person & kids. If you can't wait for all your cruise food, you can eat at Subway located in the parking structure. If you stay on Convention you can take a coffee break at Starbucks in the Marriott hotel. You'll walk down to Julia St. & head toward the biggest boat you can see. Guys on the street close to the boat will take your luggage. I hope you ordered your luggage tags in advance to properly I.D. your luggage. Hang on to your carry on with your necessary documents. Once you enter the terminal, you're almost there. I had read NOT to arrive early, but we were in the terminal before noon & after looking at the shop photos they take pre-boarding, others were onboard as early as 11:30a. The line moved steadily. The first check point checked I.D.s & the printed Set Sail Pass. You'll secure your Set Sail Pass after you do the online check in www.royalcaribbean.com > Before you Board > Online Check-in. Simply input your last name, reservation #, departure date & ship name. You don't need to have a username & password. That's something different. After the first check point, you'll go through what looks like airport security, only you can keep your shoes on & you won't be molested. I heard about water/liquids being confiscated. Still, I had a Monster Energy drink in my backpack. It wasn't confiscated & I noticed a number of other people with water bottles in their packs, too. Everything moved smoothly & quickly. Before check point #3, everyone is given a health survey. You're on the honor system to verify you're in good health & not a threat for spreading disease. You'll head to a big check in area, like the airport where it's one long desk with a ton of agents waiting to help you. This is where you present all your docs again & confirm your credit card information for you onboard purchases. You'll see security flyers about liquids & sharp objects, but there are no more security check points. By this time, if it hasn't been confiscated, you can keep it. One more stop, as you leave the port terminal they'll take your picture & create your Seapass card. This card will be your charge card & I.D. for the cruise. This is why they try to sell you lanyards with the plastic holder in the terminal. If you have one, bring it. If you don't, find a friend who frequents conventions. Definitely, keep your Seapass away from anything magnetic. I killed my card twice because my camera case seals with a magnet. I think this whole check in process took less than an hour. Once you've dropped off your carry on, head to the 5th floor Cafe Promenade where all coffee & desserts are included with your cruise. The Cafe is open 24/7. If you like your designer creamer, bring your own. I read about the Royal Caribbean Cruise Compass & was dying to look at one while I was doing my homework. Since I can't upload one, I'll do my best to describe it. This is the daily newsletter with important cruise details, trivia, the forecast, activities, shop hours of operation, the dining schedule & more. Your stateroom attendant will put one in your room each night he turns your bed down. You can also find a copy in the Windjammer entrance (11th floor) & by client services (5th floor). The front page has the Day (DAY 1, Saturday,Dec. 3, 2011) on the front which comes in handy about Day 3. I'm a planner & wanted to plan the whole trip before boarding. Not seeing this more than the night before will keep you spontaneous. Day 1 & 2 you'll want to take advantage of the Cruise Compass to insure you find the most fun for your time. Day 1, we changed our dinner time to 2nd seating, 8p. Your dinner time, dining room & table are noted on your Seapass card issued before boarding. La Boheme was our dining room & it was perfect. There are less people at 2nd seating & even less people in La Boheme. The other dining areas had seating for about 300 more people which lead to longer lines going in for dinner. We also set up our water & soda packages. I waited too long to do it online. Chad received a FREE no sweat cooler cup with the soda package. I did the smallest water package because I figured out I can bring h2o back from the ports. Chad & I drank so many bar drinks, we don't think he really took advantage of the soda package. I definitely drank all my water. Day 2, secure your tickets for the Ice Show. That's the only show requiring a tickets. We could only pick up tickets on Day 2 in the a.m. It was too windy on Day 2 for rock climbing. We earned a Gold Medal in the scavenger hunt. HINT: Knowing how to add was our edge. And, knowing what 'par' means would be helpful. Later on Day 2 we earned a Silver Medal in the pool relays. It would have been gold if I would have listened to the rules of the tie breaker. Shame on me. Tons of activities every day! napkin artistry, dodge ball, basketball, dance lessons, trivia, ice skating, roller blading, mini golf, art lessons, bingo, ice carving, & more. BE SURE TO TUNE IN. Every morning the cruise director does a morning show. He's very entertaining & informative. It's one or 2 channels from the main menu. Female comedian, Etta Mae, was on our ship. Sorry you missed her. She was the best show we saw. Being LSU fans, we were thrilled to watch the SEC Championship in the Theatre. Awesome! Thank you RC! The gym was well equipped & full to capacity with eager fitness dreams. Day two, it looked like a normal gym. Chad had the Thai Poultice massage & LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I had the Fire & Ice Pedicure & was VERY DISAPPOINTED. Our table mate had the pedicure earlier the same day from a different lady & had no complaints. I think I'm spoiled my local lady. Shame on me for having the same expectations for a process that cost 3x what I normally pay. Tips: Take the stairs if you can. Work out day 1 & 2 because odds aren't good that you will after that. Book your spa treatment for Day 6, that's when you'll need one. Pick up the daily Sudoku & Quiz in the library. Enjoy the drink of the day & the after dinner shot of the evening. Order what you want from the dining menu. If you want 2 entrees, order them. Tips are included in every onboard service transactions. The extra tip line on your receipt is for those people who go over & above. You can buy fun watches for $10 on the last day & other fun jewelry sales are regularly held on the Promenade. There's so much more I haven't noted. Jerry McLeod from The Times-Picayune has some great articles about the Voyager on NOLA.com. Click on my name to see if I figured out how to post my To do & to pack list. I also wrote about each port, Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
"I've read all of the other reviews of the Spirit and NCL--and its like we were on completely different ships/staff." -matthewthompson87; http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=80262This quote ... Read More
"I've read all of the other reviews of the Spirit and NCL--and its like we were on completely different ships/staff." -matthewthompson87; http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=80262This quote from the NCL Spirit reviews sums up my opinion of the Spirit. As a matter of fact, the cruiser in the link above was on the Spirit when it docked in New Orleans for my spring break cruise. My family has been planning this for a while, and we were looking forward to a good time.The Norwegian Spirit in general, as explained in the detailed review, has recently received a makeover. The ship is nice, small enough to get familiarized with the layout in a few hours.We arrived at New Orleans the night before the cruise, and stayed in the Holiday Inn on Royal Street. It was an average hotel, but we liked the deal we got to keep our car in the lot for a week along with the room for the night. We walked down Bourbon Street, went to the Cafe du Monde, and generally acted like tourists.Disaster struck on boarding day, 3/13/2011. We arrived there at 4PM, which we thought was early enough to get on fast. It turns out that there was already many people there who didn't get the phone call that the ship would be delayed because of a medical emergency (See the link above for the review by mattewthompson87; he explains it in more detail). When we finally got into the terminal at around 6PM, we waited for another three or four hours before they finally allowed boarding procedure to begin. Naturally, people were upset, especially those who didn't get the phone call that said that the ship would be further delayed and had been at the station since 10-11AM. Some of the crew was lined up at the front of the ship greeting the weary travelers, giving people drinks and beads for Mardi Gras. This, although a nice gesture, was in my opinion no way to make up for the hours of waiting we suffered through.On embarkation night, I was hungry enough to go eat at Raffles, the buffet. The food was good for a buffet, and the servers cleared your food fast as well as keeping the tables clean and the utensils pile stocked.What we also did on the first night was signing up at the teens' "Celebrity Disco", which was the teen center. We were one of the first ones to do so on that night, and they held a "Meet and Greet" that only had about twenty participants. Supposedly there were over 150 teenagers on board; I will say that there were no more than forty in the lounge at once and there were only twenty or so regulars there. The activities in the teen lounge were fun; Rexx and Jester (The Counselors) were both great and entertaining.What really made my cruise enjoyable was the people that I met on board. The majority of the people in the teen lounge were from either Texas, New Orleans, Mississippi, or Tennessee, as far as I'd found. Either way, everyone had stories to tell and it was a great crowd.On the people's subject, Cruise Critic had a meeting at Henry's Pub on the first day of the cruise at 10:30. Unfortunately, the crew picked that time to have the emergency evacuation drill, and I missed that meeting. Surfing the forums later on, I believe that people had fun at the meeting, but I had no way of knowing that it was rescheduled because Internet access was too expensive for me to check.That day, the teen center was mostly holding icebreakers and a couple games. I met a few people that I would be with for the majority of the cruise, who became my best friends on deck.One thing that I must bring up now is an allergy. Being deathly allergic to nuts, my family takes the time to explain to our waiters wherever we go that I have a bad allergy. The one time in my entire life so far I've had to use an EpiPen was on this cruise, when my egg rolls had peanuts sprinkled on top of them. I was out that entire night, recuperating after the incident. After that, I stopped going to the Garden and went to Windows, which had the same menu. I had a waitress that was very nice and made sure that all the plates I ate didn't have any nuts whatsoever in them after that, so the service on the NCL Spirit definitely isn't lacking.I didn't actually go on any of the shore excursions, but the rates were a bit pricey to me. A fellow cruiser recommended that you purchase your cruise excursion tickets beforehand, online, or on shore since they give discounts there. The actual ports were decent; I toured each port by taxi or foot. Cozumel was definitely the best of them all with the day spent at Paradiso Beach.Overall, it was the people that I met that saved this cruise from being an utter disaster. Sorry, NCL, but we probably won't be cruising with the Spirit again.*Note - Port reviews aren't as detailed as they could be. My apologies for that. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My husband and I cruise on the Norwegian Spirit from 12/26/2010-1/2/2011 over our holiday break. We both work in education, so we took advantage of having the week off and headed towards some sun with 2 hours to spare before the blizzard ... Read More
My husband and I cruise on the Norwegian Spirit from 12/26/2010-1/2/2011 over our holiday break. We both work in education, so we took advantage of having the week off and headed towards some sun with 2 hours to spare before the blizzard hit Philadelphia. This was my husband's first cruise and my third, where this was my first experience with NCL. I had previously sailed with Royal Caribbean on 2 occasions with my family. We have friends in New Orleans who picked us up from the airport and showed us around the city before boarding the ship. The weather on embarkation day was fairly cold, so it wasn't the best for site seeing around the city. Embarkation was fairly easy taking us only around 45 minutes to get on the ship, where our room was ready for us once we got on board. We had an oceanview cabin on the 4th floor and were surprise in a good way upon entering our room, where we both felt it was bigger than we thought it would be. Our bags were in the room about 3 hours later, airplane bottles and all! We had purchased the honeymoon/anniversary package as a gift to ourselves for our 3rd anniversary. I highly recommend this package (price $219), as it includes 2 massages and champagne among other things. We continued to feel the perks of this package throughout the trip and we ate at the speciality restaurant Le Bistro the night of our anniversary without a cover, including the bottle of wine. We used this vacation as a trip to be with each other, so we didn't interact very much with other guests...though people we did meet were very friendly. We have absolutely no complaints regarding the service on this cruise. The staff was overly friendly and constantly asking for feedback, and all interactions were perceived as genuine. Call it holiday spirit or simply a great staff. I had read reviews regarding Costa Maya prior to this trip, so we didn't plan anything for this port. We ended up lounging by the pool at the port for a while before the clouds rolled in and called it a day. We went to Mahogany Bay in Roatan and had a great beach day. Looking back I wish we had done more touring of the island, as it was truly beautiful, but this has become an excuse to go back there someday. Belize was incredible. We traveled here on our anniversary determined to find some sun and a beach, and what we found was truly a treasure. We booked a tour at the port not through NCL and took a 30 minute boat ride past the anchored ships out to Goff's Caye, a tiny island right by the barrier reef. It was as if we were marooned (in a fabulous way!) for an afternoon, and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Truly special and highly recommended for beach bums who want to experience a tiny beach in the middle of crystal clear waters with little other land in sight. The price also including snorkeling, but we were so in love with the little island we chose to stay behind during the activity. We chose an excursion through NCL for Cozumel for snorkeling through Fury Catamaran. Again, we experienced a very caring staff although the actual snorkeling fell short and was underwhelming to say the least. Cramming 30 people in a 15 yard radiance of water with their heads down leads to a lot of bumping and little sitings of fish. This tour included an hour beach break and unlimited margaritas, as well as many bouncy slides and trampolines in the water. We enjoyed the beach and sailboat more so than the snorkeling, but the staff was great. If we had not traveled as a couple, we may have been more disappointed in the boat simply because there wasn't much to do on board if the weather didn't cooperate. We ate the majority of our meals in the Windows main dining room and only waited to be sat once the entire vacation (where the wait was a little under 10 minutes). This included breakfast and we ate most of our lunches at Blue Lagoon (love some panini's!) The buffet was okay, but we preferred the sit down places and with little waiting time, why not? The staff was great, but the overall amenities of the ship were just too few in my opinion. I don't know if this is a result of the ship's age or if it is NCL in comparison to Royal Caribbean. We tended to partake in the 8:30 entertainment shows after dinner (in the Galaxy of the Stars) and only saw on show (Second City) in the theater. All were very entertaining. Though in our 20's, we admit to retreating back to our cabins usually prior to 11 (which is kinda sad, but we still had fun!) We did make it to midnight on New Year's and celebrated outside by the pool at midnight at sea. Overall, we had a lovely vacation to celebrate our 3 years thus far of marriage. My first impression of NCL was positive, but we will most likely explore another line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
The Triumph is a relatively old ship and that seems to be the Carnival way when a ship is getting on move it from Florida to one of its secondary ports. Pre-cruise, New Orleans was dry but bitterly cold and this caught a lot of ... Read More
The Triumph is a relatively old ship and that seems to be the Carnival way when a ship is getting on move it from Florida to one of its secondary ports. Pre-cruise, New Orleans was dry but bitterly cold and this caught a lot of people out. Judging by cruisers' attire, the souvenir shops did well selling New Orleans sweaters! Embarkation was slow even in the VIP section where they put the most senile staff to process cruisers as slowly as possible. The ship being old was a bit frayed around the edges, it's decor, layout etc is very standard Carnival! Staff were friendly and attentive but excrutuating slow in the dining room. One wonders why they persist with the stale and boring dancing/singing routine in the dining room when diners still haven't been served their entrees; its not like there aren't many other places on board where there is dancing and singing. The food was generally good but the usual Carnival menus! Cabin stewards as always did a first rate job. The entertainment was standard Carnival fare and not done particularly well or badly. Our call at the most interesting port of Roatan was cancelled; apparently the captain didn't fancy it because it was breezy so he disturbed everyone's sleep at 6-30am to announce this. As if this wasn't bad enough the jerk of a cruise director made the very same announcement just ten minutes later. How wonderful to be woken up at such an early hour. I guess the captain wanted as many cruisers as possible in the bars and casino as early as possible. Those who had booked excursions got the cost back and everyone got $9 port charges refunded. How generous of Carnival. A cynic might say Roatan was cancelled to maximise profit for Carnival but I am going to take the reason at face value that the captain is scared of a breeze. But why didn't the ship wait a hour or three to see if the breeze died down enough so the captain might overcome his phobia and everyone could have had some (albeit a shotened) time in port? The only reason has to be the captain maximising Carnival revenue. New Years Eve was a great night and Carnival did well for guests. The cruise had four sea days of which three were cool/cold days and Carnival was really found wanting in entertainment/activity terms on those days unless of course their strategy is to get as many passengers into the bars and casino in which case they succeeded. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
The great experience we were expecting, did not quite live up to past cruises. Let me first say that the staff aboard the Spirit for the most part is great, especially the front desk, the Captains staff, the Buffet staff and the room ... Read More
The great experience we were expecting, did not quite live up to past cruises. Let me first say that the staff aboard the Spirit for the most part is great, especially the front desk, the Captains staff, the Buffet staff and the room stewards, however when it came to the staff and the food at Windows and the Garden room it was like a night and day difference. My wife and I have been fans of "freestyle cruising" up until this cruise, but now we see some of the pitfalls of "freestyle cruising" that many other reviewers here have pointed out. The food and more importantly the service in the 2 main dining rooms leave a lot to be desired, it got to the point that after about day 5 we started to eat all our meals in the buffet. I think we only came across one smiling face in all of our meals at either Windows or the Garden room, and for the most part the wait staff seemed like they were just going through the motions and very disinterested in giving great service. The food in the main dining rooms was slightly better than the wait staff, but then again that is not saying much. The way they seemed to push the wine list made me think that the wait staff was not being paid by NCL, but rather just working for the embedded tips off the liquor sales, so we ordered wine a couple nights to see if that would get us any better or more pleasant service but it didn't seem to make a difference. As far as the shows go the Second city shows were great, the acrobat show was very impressive, the magician was pretty good, heck even the cruise director (Paul Scally) had a very memorable show, the production shows were just OK nothing to write home about. The Spirit is definitely an aging ship but I think that some of the previous reviews about it being dirty may be a bit overblown, we found the ships appearance to be quite acceptable, in fact there always seemed to be someone doing some painting or refurbishing. We did notice a little more aggressive selling of drinks, upscale restaurants, special services, shore excursions ect., than we noticed on previous NCL cruises and that was a bit of a turnoff, but that may be par for the course for the cruise industry these days? All in all it was an enjoyable cruise, however I think we will take a break from NCL and try Royal Caribbean, Princess or Carnival the next couple of times out! When we do get back to considering NCL again I think that I will just add in the surcharge for 7 nights in the premium restuarants and then compare the price for value vs. the rest of the cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
After 5 NCL cruises we have stricken NCL from our cruise line list. We cruise fairly frequently, at least 2x per year and have had about 20 cruises. Our NCL ship, the Spirit, was leaving New Orleans the night of Jan 10, 2010 for Western ... Read More
After 5 NCL cruises we have stricken NCL from our cruise line list. We cruise fairly frequently, at least 2x per year and have had about 20 cruises. Our NCL ship, the Spirit, was leaving New Orleans the night of Jan 10, 2010 for Western Carribean. Instead of enjoying the exciting night departure, we were below decks standing in line for an hour and then having our suspicious luggage searched for alcohol under the pretense of a security search looking for weapons! Clearly, the crew, who fondled through our clothing and personal items, pulling out clothing, my tuxedo, etc., were searching for alcohol. Their sensor equipment apparently identified container-looking items and the bags, ours and others, were marked with the suspected items -- "alcohol," was marked on bags everywhere. My wife and I always bring fine wines to enjoy with our dining room meals on cruises. We pay the usual corking fee in the dining room, just as we do when we take wine to land-based restaurant. We have collected wine for years and usually look forward to cruising in order to enjoy some special labels at dinner. From my observation watching others' bags being opened, and my own, and rifled through, at least half the suspicious alcohol containers were discovered to be other items. In our case, one of the containers had Zatarins spice purchased in New Orleans. This rather crude welcoming really set the tone for the rest of the trip. After pulling our bag apart, the foreign baggage handler found one bottle of wine and gave me the choice in broken English of paying the corking fee then and there, or having the bottle confiscated, to be picked up at the end of the trip. If there were no corking fee involved, of course, you didn't have the choice. I paid then and there my $15.00. Those many who chose to pick up their bottles of wine or alcohol later, were made to stand in line again at the end of the cruise to pull their bottles from a box and be signed out. After over an hour in line then being searched, missing the sendoff, we were finally left to carry our own baggage up to your room. Just unbelievable! I refused and insisted the ship's personnel bring the bags, for which we had contracted, but they would not do so before 8:00 p.m., I was grudgingly told. (My wife later complained to ships personnel, so we did get our bags earlier than 8:00 p.m. and had time to dress for dinner.) This episode was fairly typical of the loss of quality experience on this ship that we had previously been accustomed with NCL. It had been one of our favorite lines, but now is crossed off the list. Ships crew were generally unfriendly and seldom a smile or glance when passing in the hallway, quite different from our entire past cruising experiences. It seemed something was amiss. NCL has become the Denny's of cruising, appealing to the less experienced masses; not a way to spend a future vacation when there are other really fine lines available for the same or less cost. Other observations: no enrichment lectures. All classes and enrichment talks were focused on selling products, and emphasized drinking liquor or wine, or expensive alternative restaurants. The dining experience was lacking, without personal interraction with the waiters, etc., due to the open dining -- no assigned tables. NCL has become sort of a Wal Mart experience, and you can expect, at least on this ship, to be treated as though a dollar mark is inscribed on your back. Moreover, the standards for dress in the dining room were abominable, with men wearing caps and T-shirts to evening dinner, as well as excessivsly loud borish drunks carrying on in the dining room. And forget about formal night. Aint any such thing on NCL. It is not even announced in the daily guide, and ship's staff were uncertain when we inquired. I did wear my tux once -- for my wife's sake -- but I was out of place amongst the casual dressers and T-shirts. I hope this is not the direction of the entire cruise industry, but represents only one ship or cruise line. We had sailed the Spirit out of New York three years ago and found it a decidedly different and positive experience. For our cruise dollar, currently Princess seems to deliver a lot, which will be our future direction. We have also enjoyed Celebrity and Holland America, as well as others. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I are former NCL customers, having cruised on the Gem out of Barcelona in 2008 on our honeymoon. We enjoyed the experience so much, we booked another cruise on the Spirit for New Year's last year. We cruised out of New ... Read More
My husband and I are former NCL customers, having cruised on the Gem out of Barcelona in 2008 on our honeymoon. We enjoyed the experience so much, we booked another cruise on the Spirit for New Year's last year. We cruised out of New Orleans in December 2009 over New Year's. We recognize that it is an older and smaller ship than the Gem but there were a number of things wrong with our accommodations. The bathroom had mildew and the balcony was filthy. We did not use the latter even though we paid extra for this feature. I had placed a cloth makeup bag on the shelf under the sink only to find it drenched due to a leaky sink. To be fair, the leak was eventually fixed and we received TWO servings of chocolate covered strawberries by way of apology. We found the layout of the ship to be very confusing and I was constantly going in the wrong direction. We did not have this problem on the Gem. Maybe I had the Gem's layout stuck in my head and was trying to apply that to this ship but I heard other people making the same comment while we were onboard. The ship was overrun with childen on school break and our bad for not taking this into consideration before we booked. Unfortunately, many of them were allowed to run amok without supervision, screaming down the corridors and planting themselves on landings in front of the elevators or at the bottom of staircases. I blame the parents. The food was mediocre in the main breakfast bar. The specialty restaurants were adequate, with Le Bistro leading the pack in terms of service and food. The steak in there was 100 times better than the steak I had in Cagney's (which IS the steakhouse). The Asian restaurant was also very nice once we changed our table to one off the main corridor. What little entertainment we saw in the theatre was quite enjoyable as we spent most of our evenings in Champagne Charlie's listening to Margie and Sam, the then-resident piano and bass duet. They were quite accomplished performers and we just loved their show. The other guy, Buster something-or-other, was absolutely AWFUL! He had to search for sheet music constantly and sang off key most of the time. He chased us out of there every single time he sat down. While our experience on the Spirit was not ideal, we were thrilled with the Gem and intend to cruise again with NCL later this year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My boyfriend and I cruised on the Norwegian Spirit January 25th-February 1st and we had am amazing time. We spent a night in New Orleans which is the way to go if you've never been. It also gives you some time to relax and not be in ... Read More
My boyfriend and I cruised on the Norwegian Spirit January 25th-February 1st and we had am amazing time. We spent a night in New Orleans which is the way to go if you've never been. It also gives you some time to relax and not be in a rush on embarkation day. We stayed at the Country Inn on Magazine Street. I highly recommend this hotel. It is so close to everything, about a 3 minute walk from Canal St. and 15 minute walk to the French Quarter. Wonderful staff, nice clean room, nice gym. Great price too. On to embarkation. We decided to get to the port at noon to check-in right away and then keep enjoying New Orleans before we had to get back on the ship. Embarkation took about 40 minutes. We took a taxi to the port (which cost $16 from the hotel and was a total rip-off-be sure to ask how much it will cost to get there before you get on) and handed our bags over to the porters. Have a couple of singles to give them, they lug heavy luggage all day. Another tip, bring your own case of water. We bought a case of water at Walgreens, brought a bag and put the case in there, put the luggage tag on it and the porter took it away with our other stuff and it was at our room when we got there. The $6 you spend on the case will be worth it, trust me! Back to embarkation...we did wait in line for a while, but it wasn't too bad at all. Once you get through security, it's smooth sailing. When we came back around 3:30pm, it was empty, so if you don't have to be on the ship right away, take your time, arrive later and you won't have to wait at all. Oh and be careful if you try to sneak on any alcohol. One of my suitcases was held aside because they suspected liquor was in it. There wasn't, but they do keep an eye out for that. All they'll do is keep it locked up for the week and you'll get it back on the last night at sea. The first and second nights were great. We had fun enjoying the ship. It does have an Asian theme to it and its very nice inside. You will see maintenance people working on the ship all day, sprucing it up even more. The first sea day was extremely windy. We tried to hang out by the pool, but it was so windy, it just wasn't worth being so uncomfortable and a bit cold. We took a class called The Art of Sushi Making and Sake Tasting and had a blast. Definitely take one of the classes they offer if you get the chance. They have all types like wine tasting, margarita tasting, etc. We even got a free brunch on our last sea day because we took the class. They had a BBQ out by the pool on the first sea day and you can always get a burger or hot dog in the Bier Garden too. Before I get to the ports, here is some information on the restaurants and bars. Windows and The Garden Room are both good. You'll be tired of the food by the end of the week, so don't go there every night. Do try the Cooking Light selections, they are actually quite delicious! Raffles, the buffet, is great for breakfast and lunch. The nice thing about the buffet is that the staff handles all the food with gloves on so you don't need to worry about too many hands touching serving spoons, etc. They even serve you your drink. The best place for a burger is the Blue Lagoon. Cheeseburgers are my favorite food and their burger was excellent. They also serve other things like chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs...bar food. They are open 24-hours and can get quite busy, but again, the food is great! We also ate at La Trattoria Italian food. It cost $10 per person and was well worth it. The service alone is impeccable and the manager, Harry, is wonderful and will check in on you every 10 minutes. The bars are all very fast and efficient and really don't skimp on alcohol. Every morning, before 11am you can get bloody marys and mimosa's for $4.50 and there is a drink of the day, every day on special too. A bucket of beers, like Miller Lite costs about $19 and you get 6 beers. If you want imported beers, I think it's about $22 for the bucket. Well worth it and you can take it to your room...you can actually take it anywhere! Expect to spend anywhere from $4-9 for beer or drinks and they will automatically add gratuity to each bill. The ports were all fantastic. Costa Maya was first and we did the Chacchoben Mayan Ruin Tour through Tucan tours. Email diego@tucancostamaya.com or go to http://www.tucancostamaya.com/ to learn more. It's only $45 per person versus the $70 per person through NCL. They were great. Our tour group had 7 people on it compared the charter bus full tours. You'll take a shuttle or taxi to the Tequila Beach club and that costs about $3 per person to get there. They will take you back there, to the ship or to town when the tour is done. We went back to the club then walked to town (about 5 minutes). There is really nothing to do in Costa Maya unless you one of the excursions. The port is nice though, there is a pool and a beach area along with lots of shops so you don't really need to go anywhere else, but if you're looking for a busy city, this is not it. It's quite beautiful though. Our next stop was Guatemala. We did not book anything on or off the cruise, but at the port, we booked an awesome River and Livingston Tour that cost $35 each. It was about 5 hours long, mostly by boat. We went through the Dulce River, to a cave, to the hot springs, to Ak Tenamit and to Livingston. Our tour guide Karla was amazing. Our neighbors had booked the same tour online through Happy Fish and paid $50 each! We went through Sol y Mar I think...either way, they combine all the tour groups so we had some happy fish people on our boat along with other tour groups. Just get off the ship and you will have plenty of choices. This is not a Caribbean Beach area at all. This is kind of an industrial city that happens to be on the water. The other dock is where Chiquita Banana is housed. Be sure to go into Livingston. Great food and friendly people. Next was Belize and again, we did not have anything planned. You will have to tender in, so, if you do not have something booked through NCL you will have to get a ticket to tender. If you don't want to wait in line, wait until 9:45/10am and you won't need a ticket anymore. You'll just hop on the boat and make your way to the dock. Again, tons of people selling tours and excursions. You can walk into their downtown, but there isn't much going on over there. The area where the ships tender to is nice though. Lots of shops and restaurants. We wanted to go to the beach though, so we found a tour that took us to Bannister Caye for 2 ½ hours. It was so beautiful there. It is a private beach with its own restaurant, bar and facilities. There are no beach areas in Belize City either. You have to take a boat to one of the many islands. The water around Belize City is too dirty. But, there are so many tours you can take if you don't want to go to the beach. This tour cost $30 each and was worth the price. Lastly, Cozumel. We did do the NCL Beach Break excursion. It was awesome. They took us to Playa Mia which is this large beach resort without hotel rooms. It included all drinks, sodas and even food. You could also use the kayaks, etc. for no extra charge. The beach is beautiful and clean and basically opens when the cruise ship passengers come. All you need to bring is your towel and you'll be set. The beach break was definitely worth the charge. The water in Cozumel was a bit cold, but so beautiful. After the beach, we walked around town for a while which was fun. We asked our bus driver where we could eat that was authentic (I am Mexican) and he told us about La Choza. It was about 5 blocks from the ship and well worth the walk. The food there was so good and reasonably priced. The last day at sea was low key. It was colder out on deck because we were getting closer/on the Gulf. There are tons of activities going on though and you really can't get bored. If you have never cruised, be aware that the boat will rock. This was my 3rd cruise, but my boyfriend's first, and he had a hard time getting used to it. Our room was nice. We had a balcony. I've sailed on Princess before and you could practically have a party on their balconies because they are so big. Not on the Spirit. They really are tiny, just big enough for the two chairs and small table. It was nice to have because it made the room seem more spacious and we could let the air in since it can get quite stale inside the room. The bathroom is big for a stateroom and definitely has a distinct, stale smell. There are no refrigerators, but they will supply you with ice, once in the morning and once in the evening, but you can always ask for more. Most of the staff was very friendly and welcoming. The room service staff wasn't that pleasant and it takes almost an hour to get your food so if you're really hungry, you should go up to Raffles, unless it's after 11pm...go to the Blue Lagoon. Lastly, disembarkation was an absolute nightmare. I'm not sure what was going on that day, but something was way off. We were supposed to disembark at 10:00am but our color was not called until closer to 11am. We had a 1pm flight, so we decided to disembark with another color so we could get through the long, long lines. This was a bit helpful, but once we got to our bags, they were not ready yet so we had to wait even longer. 11:20 came along and I knew we would miss our flight so I asked for the 3rd time what we could do because we were going to miss our flight and they said if we hired a porter, we could get out of there quickly. Hiring just means tipping so that's what we did and we got out of there in no time. The porters have a different customs line too that is 100% shorter than waiting in line yourself. If we did not have the 1pm flight, we would have waited, but we did and had to get there. Fortunately, we got on the plane at 12:50pm! Again, not sure what was going on with disembarkation, but if you have an early flight, be aware. You can also choose to take your own luggage off the ship; you just have to take it instead of it being ready for you. That would have been our best bet, but again, on the other cruises, I have never waited more than 10 minutes for baggage and customs. Enjoy your cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We have been cruising for years it is our favorite family vacation. I have cruised on RCCL, Carnival, Celebrity and NCL. I think this is my 14th cruise. This is our second NCL cruise, we sailed Hawaii onboard the Pride of America a few ... Read More
We have been cruising for years it is our favorite family vacation. I have cruised on RCCL, Carnival, Celebrity and NCL. I think this is my 14th cruise. This is our second NCL cruise, we sailed Hawaii onboard the Pride of America a few years ago. I had mixed feelings about the "freestyle" dining. After the poor customer service and mediocre food, I never planned on cruising NCL again. We recently became certified Scuba divers and NCL had the best itinerary for a spring break diving cruise. We decided to give it another chance. We arrived a day early into New Orleans, we stayed at the Courtyard Marriott and took in the sites and flavors of a great city. When we arrived at the cruise terminal it was clean, well organized and very quick. We arrived just before 2pm and our room was ready. The explored the ship and found it easy to navigate and very family friendly. One unique spot was the spiral stairs that led down to a room where you could view the bridge. The stateroom was nice, I love the shower door versus the clinging shower curtain. I liked that the toilet had a door also. The balcony was small and completely salt encrusted. We only got the balcony so we would have a place to dry our dive equipment between ports, so it worked for us. Our room stewards rarely made up our beds, because they didn't show up most nights until after 9pm. We were usually in for the night by then. We had a lot of early mornings. The overall appearance of the ship was nice, a few places were showing some wear. Our favorite place to hang out in the evening is the casino. They only had 1 roulette table, and it didn't have the display that lists the last 20 or so numbers. That was a little bit of a disappointment. The table was often crowded and several times people had to wait for someone to leave before they were able to play. The food was a big disappointment. The steak house was not worth $20 per person. The steak wasn't aged, or seasoned. I've had better at Sizzler. The Italian was so salty that we left most of it on the plate and went to the buffet when we were done. The waiters at the Italian restaurant were not friendly, they were very slow and got our orders wrong. My son never got his entree. We dined in the main dining room one evening and found the service slow and food poor. We also found that seemed to be the place that parents took their misbehaving children. We did find a ray of sunshine. The Asian restaurant was great. We ate there a few times and enjoyed everything we ate. The shore excursions: In Roatan we had hoped to dive, but with the delay were unable to. We chose to do the SNUBA with the ship. We were disappointed. We spent very little time in the water and the guide seemed a little confused. He had us leave our snorkel gear behind when we had a lengthy swim before we went under, he mixed the 2 groups up which caused us to get tangled together. We were pulled along as the other group wanted to power swim around the reef and we wanted to actually see what was there. The whole thing was unpleasant. Santo Thomas was nice. We did the ships tour of the ruins. Our tour guide spoke english very well and was very knowledgeable. He made an effort to keep us in the shade as much as possible. Belize: We booked a private dive boat. We were due in port at 8am, so we booked our boat for 9:30am. This should have been enough time. They stopped tendering for a while. We were told the Capt. needed to move the ship because the seas were too choppy. We tried to be patient as they let the various tours go. Unfortunately, they continued to let tours with much later meeting times go before they allowed anyone with tender tickets go. The crowd was getting very aggitated. About 10am they were still letting tours go, some of them with meeting times after 11am. We finally got fed up and just pushed our way through. We were lucky that the dive shop waited for us. Another couple from the ship wasn't so lucky. I guess they waited until their tender was called and showed up about 45min. after the dive boat left. I don't have a review for Cancun, because we all got sick Thurs. night. When we returned from diving in Belize my son wasn't feeling well. By dinner time he was vomiting. I went to the buffet to get him some light snacks and we were no longer able to serve ourselves. I assume that was because several others were having stomach issues. I got sick during the night. My husband was became sick the next day. We were very cautious about sanitizing both before and after meal, before and after the casino, as well as anytime we were out of the room. I believe it was possible we were exposed during the SNUBA excursion. I did notice the ship made no mention of the outbreak. Just a noticeable increase in room service dishes in the halls, and a decrease of people at in the dining areas. We also took advantage of the Spa onboard ship. All the treatments we received were excellent. I just wish they didn't do the high pressure sales job at the end of each treatment. We chose to take our own luggage off the ship and were able to get off easily and quickly. I don't believe I will ever book NCL again. It just isn't my style. I prefer the personalized service I get from other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was our 6th cruise, and 4th with Royal Caribbean. We originally planned to take a larger vessel and had booked with our travel agent, however, after speaking to some friends, we learned that the Grandeur of the Seas, leaving from New ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, and 4th with Royal Caribbean. We originally planned to take a larger vessel and had booked with our travel agent, however, after speaking to some friends, we learned that the Grandeur of the Seas, leaving from New Orleans, was essentially the same as the Voyager of the Seas, with the same ports, at a much reduced price. We then booked with the cruise line directly. We advised our travel agent that we wanted a refund for the original cruise. Her response was that by changing the booking from Royal Caribbean to her she could even save us more money. So we did it. This is our fifth Xmas cruise all with our three teenagers. Generally we have travelled with a large group of people who we know. This was our first family trip where we didn't know a soul. We arrived in New Orleans on the 23rd of December, leaving one day early in case the flights were delayed or cancelled. We travelled U.S. Airways and no sooner than we arrived in New Orleans, one of our 6 bags was "lost." The weather was just at freezing, something that has not happened in many years there. Without a warm jacket, we weren't able to explore New Orleans. However, just as promised, three hours before we were to board ship, the missing suitcase arrived. We were feeling much better. The nasty weather didn't end as we sailed. The seas were rough and the temperature and wind did not improve. Even with stabilizers, there was some rocking and rolling for a few days. My teenagers and wife were not happy campers, but we still took advantage of most of the facilities. The rough seas did not allow us to visit the Cayman Islands, or Coco Cay in the Bahamas, but we did stop at Nassau and Miami instead. In the end the weather did improve, but there was always a refuge in the Solarium for us. My three sons, aged 17, 19 and 20 had a pretty good time, in spite of there being no basketball court as they had on other cruises. We actually were seated for supper with another family from our home town and we all had a great time. The food at supper and the wait staff were the best we've ever had. They searched out shrimp cocktail for every supper, the boys had steak every night and they were only too willing to find berries of all sorts especially for us. As we don't eat bread (Atkins) they brought us celery sticks every evening with a great Blue cheese dip. The food and service were as good as any top-rated restaurant, and our home town is Montreal, where there are an abundance of great places to dine. We can't say enough great things about our waiter Alex and helper Bruno, as well as our head waiter, whose name I never learned. The Windjammer had a good selection of food, but was not as good as dinner, so after a few days we ate breakfast and lunch at the restaurant as well. Our inside cabins were o.k., not the largest, but adequate, as all we did there was sleep and shower. My wife used the gym twice a day, and although it had machines she liked, there were not enough of them for a ship that size. We never use the Spa facilities other than the gym, as they are quite overpriced and a friend had an hour massage that only lasted 40 minutes. We read about an odor on the Internet reviews, but smelled it only in our bathroom, the day we sailed and another time while waiting outside the Great Gatsby restaurant for breakfast one morning on the 4th floor on the port side of the ship. I don't like taking the excursions, so the fact that we couldn't dock a few days did not disturb me. The boys were upset that we couldn't take the jet-ski excursion in Coco Cay, but we found out too late that they could have gone in Key West. The casino was very smokey, as we are non-smokers, and at times we left before we really wanted to. Besides the dining room staff at supper time, we found the crew in general was not as regimented and pliable to our request as on previous cruises. Everything else about the Grandeur of the Seas was as promised. In spite of the bad weather, we were glad we didn't plan to go to southeast Asia, instead, on our vacation. One last thing. Upon our arrival in New Orleans, we learned about a service called RUSH IT! airport storage and delivery. For about $40.00 they stored our bags when we disembarked. We were then free to explore New Orleans before our flight at 6:00 p.m. They delivered the bags to the airport, where we picked them up before our flight home. I would rate the ship and Royal Caribbean very highly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004

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