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4 Norfolk to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it was very inexpensive and we did not have to fly to Norfolk. We did upgrade to a Cloud 9 Spa cabin for a fee. If this was my first cruise I would never return. Because I know it can be fun and a great ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was very inexpensive and we did not have to fly to Norfolk. We did upgrade to a Cloud 9 Spa cabin for a fee. If this was my first cruise I would never return. Because I know it can be fun and a great time, I was terribly disappointed in the experience and would never return to this ship. While waiting for my ride from terminal I wanted to tell those new arrivals to run and not get on the ship. I am questioning Carnival overall. They needed another week to complete the finishes. Embarkation • Arrived at our appointed time 3:00pm and the line was wrapped all around the outside of the terminal at least 2 hours deep and moving slowly. Thankfully it was not raining. It appeared as if no one told Carnival that their ship was leaving at 6:00pm that day. We set sail at 8:00pm. Stateroom • Paid for a Cloud 9 spa cabin 1102. This upcharge included access to the thermal suite in the Spa. It was also supposed to provide “spa” toiletries in your cabin, spa robe and slippers. After 2 days and no toiletries we asked what we were supposed to have. The Spa manager said Elemis products however, they were not on board. We saw a lady in the spa wearing a brand new spa robe and slippers. After asking for spa robes and slippers we received old robes left over that had obviously been washed and not dried several times. • No ice bucket. When we asked for ice we received an uncovered plastic tub for which they sell multiple beers full of ice in our cabin. No tongs no cover, just a tub of ice. Bless her heart she brought it every day. Spa • If you do not have a spa cabin you can pay $129 for unlimited access to the thermal suite. • The steam sauna when working was dark and water pooled on the floor with sediment. The dry sauna and infrared salt room had construction dust everywhere and there were obvious splinters on the newly constructed seating. All three were in various states of repair during the cruise. • The warm thermal recliners were awesome. However, they are positioned directly under overhead lights which are too bright and the music is too loud coupled with the hammering of sauna repairs was anything but relaxing. In that same area is an aromatherapy color Chroma shower. Did not use. However, they will make a custom scrub for you to use in that shower. Fitness Center • New equipment. Nice assortment. • A large pile of construction debris left next to the rowers. Dust everywhere all over the floor, mats everywhere. Tape on all of the mirrors as if they just put them up that day. No one came during the entire trip to remove tape for construct junk or to even wipe down the floors. Dining • Guys Pig and Anchor was not open for business. • The main dining rooms had been nicely refurbished. Brighter not hazy. However, that new carpet was shedding like a large hairy dog. Big tufts of carpet fiber were rolling like tumbleweed in the dining room and in the common areas. • Lido was bright and large. Congested and very very long lines for no apparent reason. • Food quality was decent nothing new or different. However, desserts where better, fewer offerings but more of an American flavor pallet. • Seafood shack was greasy and under cooked. It could be a winner if they tried harder. Was not busy. • The Italian restaurant had tasty lunch portions of pasta for free. However, there was dust on all of the chairs as if they just pulled them out of storage that day. • There is an Asian place in addition to sushi. They offer 3 choices during lunch of various ramen, soupy rice things in bowl. They will not survive. • Sea Day Afternoon Tea – the only free tea on board is plain Lipton regular or Decaf and Bigalow Green tea. All other tea is $2.95 for an unrecognizable brand. Tea cakes, scones, sandwiches etc. were acceptable and plentiful. • Sea Day Brunch was okay. Ship overall condition • Lots of unfinished areas. New carpet on stairs 8 out of 10 stairs finished with that strip but they did not come back and do the last 2 stairs. Common all over the ship. No one did that deck by deck walk through for finishes and delivery. • I’ve mentioned several times the dust and construction debris. • Contractors and engineers all over the ship having sailed from Spain. They were very hard working men. You could see they were working very hard fixing things. • At 10 am on several days the toilets in staterooms stopped working with no warning. • On several days without warning no cold water in shower. Yes no COLD water. That explains the notice posted in shower warning about scalding water. • ATMs out of money on day 2. • Could not use sail pass card in casino on a few days. • The expensive WI/FI was not working for anyone. Was non-existent or spotty at best. No refunds. • No map view in any common area or on the dedicated channel in your cabin. No ocean view camera. Was is not plugged in? • Captain did not make ONE announcement. No welcome aboard. No daily greeting, ships position, destination, rate of speed. NOTHING. No bye get off my ship. Shops • Decent normal selection of merchandise. • Very very small section for alcohol. • I got sick on day 2 with cough and sore throat one day I purchased a bag of cough drops for $3.99 and noted the quantity and variety cold meds. The next day I purchased a $17.99 tiny bottle of Dayquil one of the last 2 bottles on the shelf. Obviously other people were sick too. Entertainment • Sigh…they did their best with the 7 people in the “fun squad”. The cruise director “Flying Scotsman” has too many jobs. He even headlined his own show in the Limelight lounge. The also did the daily activity announcements. The entertainment on this ship was not as good as on other ships. Many attempts at Motown references, Harlem Renaissance, Michael Jackson nods, but NO BLACK PEOPLE in the Fun Squad or in the entertainment group singing or dancing. How could that be? Disembarkation • Again we have this Cruise director trying to prevent people who are carrying their own luggage from getting off the ship. Normally all self-debarkation starts when ship is cleared and anyone wanting to carry off can go. NOPE, he attempted unsuccessfully to make people wait for their deck to be called for self-debarkation starting in the bottom of the ship. So after waiting 2 hrs for deck 11 to be called we took the elevator to 3 to get in the mix. We could not even get out of the elevator for 20 min. It took an hour to turn the corner and get off the ship. RIDICULOUS. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Picked the cruise due to origination from Norfolk. Also read that this ship had been just been refitted and the price was reasonable. Embarkation was a problem with long lines and open to weather. Fortunately it did not rain as many ... Read More
Picked the cruise due to origination from Norfolk. Also read that this ship had been just been refitted and the price was reasonable. Embarkation was a problem with long lines and open to weather. Fortunately it did not rain as many would have been soaked. once on board things went pretty smooth. Buffet was extremely busy and not enough space and food was warm but not hot. First night dinner was average with dinner warm and a strong smell of sewage just outside the restaurant entrance. Many of the public restrooms were closed and many rooms on the 6th deck had toilet problems. Customer service said this was first trip after refit and problems are expected. The toilet problems went on for two days. The movie channel worked sporadically and the internet system was a joke. The last day of the trip was the first day that we had a "hot" not lukewarm breakfast. Most of the crew members were good as they did not cause the ship problems and they did the best they could. The entertainment was poor with the exception of the Cruise Director "Chris" who was the best we have seen on any cruise. This was our first and last Carnival cruise. Too many issues. The best decision we made was to pick a 7 day cruise as opposed to a 14 day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this inaugural cruise of the Sunrise as we were travelling Virginia, D.C. and Outer Banks of North Carolina at the time so departure port was very convenient. This was going to be our first trip to the Caribbean and we hoped that ... Read More
We chose this inaugural cruise of the Sunrise as we were travelling Virginia, D.C. and Outer Banks of North Carolina at the time so departure port was very convenient. This was going to be our first trip to the Caribbean and we hoped that Carnival would similar standards to Holland America as they are the same company. Although we are not big party animals or boozers, we got the impression from pre-cruise reviews that there were plenty of opportunities for quiet times to enjoy the hot tub and adult-only space called Serenity. We are obviously not Carnival’s target market. We arrived at Norfolk port at 2 pm for 3pm boarding. As boarding was strictly scheduled, we figured we’d just walk aboard, have a coffee and snack, then unpack our bags. We had last eaten at 10am. We were told in the boarding line there would be snacks, sandwiches and pizza available when we got on board. Boarding took 3 1/2 hours! No snacks or water were available in line or when we boarded; snack bars were all closed. Our dinner was booked for 8:30. Bartenders gave preferential service to alcohol consumers over those of us who needed water. Most of our luggage arrived in our cabin before we did, and the cabin was very nice. However, before we could unpack we had to do a thorough dusting with wet facecloths as all surfaces were covered in sawdust. A female cabin steward introduced herself shortly after our arrival and asked our preferences for cleaning, robes etc. We never saw her again, nor did we ever get our robes. Cleaning was hit and miss with dirty rags found behind lamps, on floor, etc. We didn’t get water glasses until day 4. I asked a male cabin attendant if there was hair conditioner or body lotion provided. No, you have to buy these. Hairdryer had a concealed plug connected in a drawer with a 1 foot cord. Would have to put your head in the drawer to use it! When we booked our cruise early February, we were told “anytime dining” was fully booked and our only choice was late dining at 8:30pm which doesn’t suit our schedule or health. Carnival would not budge on this for us despite digestive issues and being early risers. We spoke to a very helpful maître d our first evening and she changed our dining quite easily to 6:00 if we were willing to eat with another couple, which we were. When we arrived next night for dinner at our assigned table, the couple we were put with refused to let us sit with them. After much fuss, the dining room manager asked us to wait in the bar outside until they could find us somewhere else. We waited an hour and weren’t even offered a drink or anything to make up for this embarrassing fiasco. Our waiters in the dining room for the rest of the week were great, but food was just okay. There is no real butter on board, only watery whipped butter, and no cheese taste to the cheesecake, or real cream in the desserts. Meat and fish were mediocre quality and portions were small. Steaks were tough. When I ordered a bottle of wine the first night (to be kept for subsequent nights), the waiter dropped the cork in the floor, then picked it up and put it back on my bottle. The Lido was a disaster. Unlike Holland America where you go to a food station for whatever you want, such as salad, fruit, dessert, eggs, sandwiches, pasta, etc., one must wait in a painfully long slow line just to get a box of cereal or piece of toast. Oh yeah, no butter for toast. Toast is premade and cold. Only 2 fruits offered all week. You can get eggs at another station, but nothing to go with it. Hygiene was lacking. Sanitizer dispensers were usually empty and hand washing stations had no soap. Coffee and beverages were regularly slopped all over the floor — why not have a coffee server making the rounds at breakfast. Nice desserts served after lunch, but only one station with long lines. Guy BBQ got shut down on day 2 for some reason, but Guys burger bar was good, as was the pizza. Mexican Cantina lacked hygiene precautions for condiments, and the added cost seafood stand was a rip off for simple fish and chips which should have been included for a lunch option. The adult only Serenity area is a joke. All lounges are scooped up at the crack of dawn and hogged all day — no enforcement when held by towels and books. Most loungers have no umbrella or shelter from sun. Too high to climb on rough sea days. Area shared with kids running up stairs to get to water slide. The hot tubs and pools were jammed with people lounging on the edges with their drinks; too crowded to get in for a dip. The excessively loud music and rah-rah-rah yelling of the “fun team” around the pool area was really annoying (is this kind of forced fun really fun?). Overall we found the ship just had too many people to find a spot to read a book, have a conversation or just relax and watch the ocean. The ship itself was quite filthy and ill prepared. Washrooms we’re closed as toilets backed up, bands had to play ‘unplugged’ due to electrical failures, toilets and showers stopped working in cabins with no explanation given, and staff just standing around eating areas while tables went uncleared. The stop at Half Moon Cay was the highlight; most beautiful beach and waters I have ever been to. Only complaint was lack of shade or umbrellas in the afternoon. Would have like to stay longer but couldn’t find shelter. Freeport doesn’t have anything to offer unless you pay for an excursion to get away from this huge industrial port. Grand Turk was okay except for blasting really offensive rap music on beach, certainly not suitable for young kids. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I was eagerly waiting for cruise day. Living in the Norfolk area and always wanting to take a HAL cruise this seemed to be a perfect combination. Cruise day was April 3 and we arrived at the pier at 2:30pm. We were processed and in our ... Read More
I was eagerly waiting for cruise day. Living in the Norfolk area and always wanting to take a HAL cruise this seemed to be a perfect combination. Cruise day was April 3 and we arrived at the pier at 2:30pm. We were processed and in our room by 3:00. Our luggage arrived very shortly thereafter. So far, so good. The room was probably one of the nicest I have had. Clean, bright and lots of storage. Sahri, our room steward was outstanding. Never seen, but everything done while we were gone. That was the end of the good things! I realize that this was Spring Break, but I never expected 300+ children on a 10 day cruise on a line with a reputation of usually having older cruisers. HAL obviously did not expect this either and their Staff decided to take the 10 days off themselves! The Staff I encountered were usually deep in conversation with one another and if you saw them alone, their eyes were downcast to avoid any conversation. There were not enough activities for the children and consequently they took over the ship. RUNNING and SCREAMING at all hours of the day and night. Both pools were taken over by the children, including those in diapers. I lost my desire to use the pool. I was not aware of the changes to our schedule until I got to my room. They were not, in my opinion, positive changes. Almost no time in San Juan, one of the most interesting ports. Too much time in Antigua, a nasty place! It was not until Day 9 that the Captain bothered to make an announcement regarding the changes. For all the wonderful things I had always heard about HAL I saw none of them on this cruise. Very rarely did I see any assistance given to the elderly with their trays in the Lido. In many ports the gangway was at an extreme angle and once again no assistance given to those who could have used a helping hand. There seemed to be an abundance of servers ready to get a drink for you at the pool; however, any debris on the ground or on tables remained for hours. I guess you could say I was not very impressed with HAL and you know that sometimes you only have one time to make a first impression. I cannot help but feel that I booked a cruise on HAL and got Carnival. I will return to Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004

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