13 Norfolk First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was my husband and I's first cruise. We had researched quite a bit before we left, but we still learned a lot on this first time of what we like and don't like. In previous reviews, other posters had commented on the ... Read More
This was my husband and I's first cruise. We had researched quite a bit before we left, but we still learned a lot on this first time of what we like and don't like. In previous reviews, other posters had commented on the decor of the Splendor. When one poster mentioned the "pink everywhere" I had mentally prepared for the hot pink garishness of teen girls' bedroom pink. In contrast, the decor is actually "old Hollywood meets Art Deco". The pink is a muted pink that is mixed with accents of black, gold and silver. I liked the decor. It was different but I thought it was interesting. Here are the positives of cruising in general (and the Splendor in particular): -We chose an interior room and it suited us fine. We were barely in the room except to sleep. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of closet and drawer space. The bathroom was not claustrophobic small either. -Lots to do: it took a few days for husband and I to accept that we just weren't going to have time to do everything we wanted to do. We got our Fun Times every night and just spent about 10 minutes narrowing down what the "must-dos" for the next day were. It was nice to have so many choices. We did various trivias, BINGO, 3 comedy shows, karaoke, played in the casino, relaxed in the hot tubs, and lots of other really enjoyable stuff. -Cleanliness: I have never been to a public venue with such a great sense of cleanliness. It was refreshing. Hand sanitizer stations everywhere. Crew cleaning everywhere. I mean, literally everywhere we went you could see a crew member wiping something down, wiping the floors, clearing plates and cups. I rarely saw anything out of place the whole time. -Being "off season" there were few families on this cruise. I'd say 80-85% were couples. Not that I don't love kids, but I left mine at home for a reason. We did not experience any ill behaved children or overcrowding in the pools and hot tubs. -We met REALLY great people. From the couples we sat with at dinner nearly every night to the groups we ate breakfast with or hung out in the hot tub with, we didn't meet one unpleasant person. -The cruise director Kevin was great! We even had coffee with him one early morning near the beginning of the cruise and he was just personable and cheerful and seems to LOVE his job. We attended his Q&A about the ship and he provided such interesting and sometimes funny information. -Our room steward (Sanjaya) and waiters (Joe, Paul) were phenomenal. Some people have probably gotten used to how attentive and great cruise staff usually are but both my husband and I work in the service industry in the "real world" so we were truly impressed by the customer service and efficiency of the staff. One night in particular, we were rushing to get through dinner in the MDR so we could get to another activity and our waiter (without us asking) quickly packed up our desserts "to-go" and helped us make our quick exit. -Comedy shows: hilarious -Food: Lido deck buffet was generally good. Step above most on land buffets I've been too. MDR food was hit or miss. Some dishes we liked, others not so much. But that's typical of most land restaurants I have been too. We had a lobster night and that was good. I am a pescatarian (I don't eat meat except seafood) and there was always plenty of options for me. But even a true vegetarian had several options available. On the Lido, I particularly enjoyed the Indian food station. -CHEFS TABLE! My husband knowing me all too well, booked this for us the first day. It is an extra $75/person but it was worth every penny. This is a private dinner (only 12 people allowed) in a private dining room with the head chef of the whole ship. Chef Rakesh is the most down to earth, interesting pro chef I have ever met. He took us on a tour of the galley which was super interesting to my husband and I (husband works in restaurant) and explained lots of how the food service on the ship works. He had prepared four different "bites" of food for us to try. Each one was more amazing then the last. Interesting enough, the staff had asked before hand if anyone had food allergies or dietary restrictions. I mentioned that I am a pescatarian. (Usually when I say this at picnics and BBQs everyone gives me a confused look and gets this panicked expression like "what is she going to eat???!!!") Not to worry, Chef Rakesh explained that he is originally from India, where several people are different forms of vegetarian and he was very used to cooking in that style. All that said, each dish including all the apps and entrees to follow were made specially for me without meat!! We ate the apps, entrees, and all the champagne and wine we cared to drink in the special dining room with the Chef explaining each course as it was served. He even paused to explain how he modified my dish to make it meatless. He answered several more questions about his job specifically and the food service in general on Carnival. Very fascinating! We will definitely being doing this again. Highlight on the whole trip. -Excursions: Fortunately, none of our excursions were cancelled although several other people's were. We did Snuba in Nassau. The people at Stuart's Cove are fantastic. So patient and helpful. Snuba seems easy in theory but certainly has a learning curve. I would love to do this again now that I feel like I know what I am doing. In Freeport, we did the "jeep adventure". Another fantastic tour company. Our tour guide Joanne "Jojo" was witty, interesting and patient. She guided us through Freeport and showed us pretty much all there was to see. The gorgeous beaches and serene "Garden of the Groves" was worth the trip. Here are some of the negatives (or things we know for next time): - Embarkation/Debarkation: Since Norfolk is still a relatively new and smaller port to the cruise game, you can tell they are still working out the kinks. We are locals to the area so getting to the port was nothing. We are elated that Carnival has come back to Norfolk because it makes it super convenient for us. We took an Uber to the port which saved us money rather then parking and paying. The lines were long, probably due to the comparably small terminal and the fact we just don't have a ship coming and going very often. -The BED, oh the bed. Now my husband and I can't decide what it is. Is it Carnival's beds in general, is it the bed in our "cheap" stateroom, or is it just us spoiled by our own sleep number mattress at home. Neither my husband nor I slept well at all. We both felt like we could have slept on a park bench and been more comfortable. In fact, it became our running joke as we sat or lounged in other parts of the ship that every other chair/lounger on the ship was more comfortable then our bed. -Weather: Not Carnival's fault but the winds were really rough the end of Nassau day and then all the next day. So much so, the captain cancelled our stop in Half Moon Cay which was supposed to be our beach day. This gave us an extra "sea day" which was still fun but I was really looking forward to just a laid back day on the beach. -Motion sickness: I took Bonine almost every day and was able to keep the sea sickness at bay for most of the trip. The last two nights however, I felt rough. I think it was a combo of the motion, being tired from all the activities and some of the rich food I wasn't used to eating all the time. Ship Layout: I read the comments beforehand and was a little confused until I actually got on the ship what the big deal was. Yes, the ship layout is WEIRD. We were assigned the Gold Pearl dining room. To get to this room, you cannot travel straight across the ship. You have to either go up or down a deck in either a "U" or "N" patter to get where you need to go. It threw lots of people for a loop and I was easily lost a few times just getting from a simple point A to point B. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. I would say the staff made the trip. First our Cruise Director was Kevin. He kept it light, and fun. Basically he had a great sense of humor and could take it as well as give it. Second we ... Read More
We really enjoyed ourselves on this cruise. I would say the staff made the trip. First our Cruise Director was Kevin. He kept it light, and fun. Basically he had a great sense of humor and could take it as well as give it. Second we encountered Christine who was a fun,irreverent, and sometimes x-rated piano player at the piano bar. Her entertainment is not family oriented. But that's why we liked it.Basically get drunk and have fun. I would go back on another cruise if I knew they were there. Plus the comedians were first class We were very lucky with our dining companions and really bonded. Our Cabin was really nice. We did not opt for a balcony and honestly we really did not spend a lot of time in the room except for sleep. We would choose this option again as there are a lot of other places to spend your money. We did one excursion which was the Dolphin Experience in Nassau. It was fun and where we probably took the most pictures. Its also the only place we bought photos on our trip. We were neither wowed nor disappointed with the food. Breakfast was great and the buffet at night was pretty decent.. Understand I am a big food person. I would have loved more shellfish like some sort of crab. There was an option to go to the steakhouse which I believe would have cost 35.00 a piece more for dinner. If we do that I would choose earlier in the week then later. I would definitly go on Carnival again. Realize we do drink and like to have fun. You do not have to drink a lot to enjoy yourselves. But it seemed that those who like to part have a better time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and i went with her graduating class to celebrate a high school reunion from the 80's and we had a really good time. Pleasantly surprised with the cabin space although i tried to upgrade my stateroom (willing to pay), but at ... Read More
My wife and i went with her graduating class to celebrate a high school reunion from the 80's and we had a really good time. Pleasantly surprised with the cabin space although i tried to upgrade my stateroom (willing to pay), but at the mere mention of an upgrade, the customer service counter rep enthusiastically shouted "the ship is completely booked". Mind you that at the security check in i was told there were some possibilities to upgrade, and i later found out that 95 staterooms were not occupied. The food choices were fun for day 1-3, but got old quickly after that. Guy Fieri's burger bar needs some improvements(cheese burger/hamburger/ fries, or hamburger/fries/cheeseburger, or fries/cheesburger....i think you get what i mean. The comfort food station was filled with foods that were not consumable....yuk! The Cruise Director Matt and his sidekick Evanson made the cruise a HIT. Professional when they needed to be, and complete cutups the rest of the time. Kept everyone engaged, and having a ball around the clock. I wasn't impressed with the Bahamas (nassau) but i did spend a lot of money with the locals,as did my wife. Which brings me to my major issue...I purchased Rum from Tortuga and was required to check it in when i returned to the boat. i was given a receipt from security for the goods and was told that it would be returned to my stateroom the night before we returned to Norfolk. Long story short, Thursday night, the cabin stuart stole our receipt and i never got the rum back. I called customer service multiple times, and they seemed so "not interested" in returning this gift to me that i purchased. I know this isn't the first time this has happened, and it really pissed me off that they didn't take an interest in finding it! In the End, they gave me a credit for what i spent for the Rum, but it is not the same thing. Is it just me, or has customer service taken a turn for the worst. I feel that Carnival should compensate me further, and i'm sure i will bad mouth them to everyone i see from now on until i feel like they have made an effort to satisfy me. Any person or business can make a mistake or create a bad experience. i judge them by what they do to rectify the problem. I WILL FOREVER EQUATE CARNIVAL CRUISE AS THIEVES AND POOR SERVICE.!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We only had a few complaints on this cruise, so I will mention them first. The room service is VERY slow! We never waited less than an hour- usually closer to an hour and a half. The first night, when I was a little sea sick, I ordered ... Read More
We only had a few complaints on this cruise, so I will mention them first. The room service is VERY slow! We never waited less than an hour- usually closer to an hour and a half. The first night, when I was a little sea sick, I ordered room service for my kids for dinner. It took almost 2 hours to get to us. Also, our refrigerator was locked the entire 5 days. I'm glad we didn't need it. We had to ask for ice the first day, but after that it was refilled daily for us. This was our first cruise, so now I know for the future, but they had the kids club info session during the sail away party. I was under the impression that the kids club info session was required (now I know it's not), so we missed one of the things we were really looking forward to. One thing I emailed carnival about, was that the adult entertainment was so late in the evening, when you have to pay extra for the kids club. I am a single parent, so I didn't have a lot of extra money to pay for child care, but I would have liked to see some of the adult entertainment on board. Unfortunately, I had to miss out on that. Our room steward was really good. He made towel animals for each of my kids every day. He even took the time to ask what their favorite animals were, and he made them! The entertainment was excellent during the day. I was there with my 2 kids, and we enjoyed several programs and activities together. Our wait staff, especially Henry, was outstanding!! On our last night, Henry even danced with my daughter, while serenading her. It was the perfect ending to our cruise. The food was really good. There were lots of choices, and we all enjoyed everything we ate. That's saying something- my kids are picky eaters.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My wife and I sailed for the first time on Glory on the first cruise out of Norfolk in May of 2013. So this is a review with no pre-conceived notions and nothing to compare against.We're a couple of 60-somethings and cruised with my ... Read More
My wife and I sailed for the first time on Glory on the first cruise out of Norfolk in May of 2013. So this is a review with no pre-conceived notions and nothing to compare against.We're a couple of 60-somethings and cruised with my wife's sister and her husband, and their son and his wife. I read many of the reviews here and am a bit taken back by some of the negativity. GETTING ON BOARD: Since we live in the area, the 6 of us took a taxi to the port. After checking in around 11:15, we were getting ready to sit down and wait for our boarding group to be called when one of the Carnival employees noticed my wife was walking with a cane. We hadn't registered her as having a mobility problem, yet the lady insisted on moving us to the head of the line and getting us on board with no waiting. After the obligatory getting on board photo, we worked our way onto the ship, had our sail-and-sign ID photo taken and we were ready to go. We were having lunch in the buffet by noon for a 5 p.m. sailing. Check-in was easy: Drop bags with porters outside, take the elevator up and go through airplane-style screening, then check in with one of what seemed to be 35 or 40 agents. STATEROOM: Because the ship had repositioned from Miami the night before, there were no passengers getting off. So as we were checking in, the announcement was made that staterooms were already ready. We were in 7304, an inside cabin. For any first-timers, there is plenty of closet space and our suitcases fit under the bed. Even though the rooms were small, we had enough space (not that we were spending much time in the room). OUr room stewards were on the ball. When we left in the morning for breakfast and any morning activities, we hung the Cruisin' sign on the door and our room was taken care quickly. The only problem was one day when the card got shifted around and the Snoozin' sign on the other side was displayed. But when we told our steward, he insisted on taking care of the room immediately.FOOD: We ate from the buffet for breakfast, either from the buffet or the burrito bar for lunch, and in the dining room at night. I've read reviews where people complained about the buffet lines. We didn't experience anything like that, not that there were no lines, but we never felt they were too long. After all, there are 3,000 people on board. Perhaps the highlight was the wait staff in the Platinum dining room. Our three-man team (Ricardo, Sami and Markus) were personable and attentive. With three of them to cover five tables, we never waited for anything. As for the food, it's not gourmet, but it's darn good. I never liked cold soups until this cruise, but I'm sold on them, especially the cucumber, strawberry and pumpkin soups. For first-time cruisers: one side of the menu includes the every-night appetizers and entrees, while the other side has the same for that night only. Then the deserts .... bottom line, if you go hungry on this ship, it is your problem. And I want one of those soft-serve machines in my house.THINGS TO DO: One thing is obvious, you can be as social as you want or you can keep to yourself as much as you want. We balanced the on-board activities with quiet time, and came away from the cruise totally relaxed. For us, the majority of the activities were trivia contests, the casino, sitting in the sun, watching the two young ones in karaoke and exploring the various nighttime activities. We did see one show, the Motown-themed show. The complaint there is the shortness of the show. It started at 8:15 and was over before 9. I realize now how the show sort of continued down in the Atrium Lobby, but by the time we got to the railing overlooking the lobby, it was full. Some people have complained about not having a live band ... not a big deal. The video board behind the show was fascinating. One tip: After breakfast the first morning, I went up to the Serenity deck to read, but that area filled up fairly quickly. So did the deck chairs on the Lido Deck. But on our last sea day, I happend to be in the Atrium Lobby and went outside out onto the deck there (Deck 3). There was a long row of deck chairs out there, with nobody in any of them. I read and watched the sea for at least a half-hour before anyone else came out there.SHORE EXCURSIONS: In Nassau, the six of us signed up to ride Segways. Easily that was the most fun thing on the whole cruise. We were taken to a beachfront area, given about a half-hour of instructions on riding the things, then we rode down the beach and around the area for an hour and a half. Cost was $80 per person plus tip. In Freeport, we hired a taxi driver to give us a tour of the area. This was totally unscripted because when we drove past a brewery that offered tours, we changed course on the spot and got a tour. Total cost: $30 per person for the taxi tour plus tip, then $5 per person for the tour plus tip.PICTURES: Yep, photographers are all over the place. We had decided before we left that the only pictures we were interested in were from the Cruise Elegant night. So we had photos taken other times, but only paid attention to the formal photos. CRUISE ELEGANT NIGHT: It was the second night, the night before our shore day in Nassau. By my rough count, most of the guys did dress up in some ways, from the father/10-year-old son in matching tuxedos to guys wearing slacks and a collard dress shirt. I would prefer to go casual 24/7, but in deference to the boss, I dressed up, too, and the pictures turned out very well. THE STAFF: Unfailingly attentive. We dealt mostly with our dining room servers and the room staff, but the others we can in contact with had smiles on their faces. On the first morning out, I was at an elevator trying to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. One of the staff saw me studying the ship diagram and stopped what he was doing to show me how to get where I needed to go.DISEMBARKATION: We were in group 15, so we knew we would have a bit of a wait. We ate breakfast for the first time in the Platinum dining room, then found a lounge that was open and waited for our number to be called. It didn't take long to get our luggage and go through customs, and we were home shortly afternoon.CONCLUSION: We're ready to go again. I drove past the terminal a couple of week later when the Glory was getting ready to go out on its last cruise from Norfolk in May. It took all of my willpower not to walk up to the ship, knock on a door and ask if I could come along! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Embarkation: Couldn't ask for anything better. It is a shame the port in Norfolk is so underutilized, it is a nice place, we got through security and checked in quickly and were on the ship by right before noon after arriving at ... Read More
Embarkation: Couldn't ask for anything better. It is a shame the port in Norfolk is so underutilized, it is a nice place, we got through security and checked in quickly and were on the ship by right before noon after arriving at 10:15am. Dining: For something fast and quick Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana and the pizza place were all great. The Steakhouse is an absolute must if you are a foodie and it is WELL worth the $35 fee. Our dinner the first night in the MDR was lackluster for me, and going forward I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there and waste the time it takes. My app was a shrimp cocktail and they were super small shrimp, almost like the ones you toss into a salad. My salmon was small and bland, the potatoes were undercooked and veggies were basically raw. The Fish and Chips station was tasty, though the fish was a little on the greasy side. I stayed away from most buffets due to lines. For breakfast I just hit up Blue Iguana for a breakfast burrito and it was great. The one time I did hit the buffet for breakfast it was just ok, with the eggs Benedict stealing the show for me. Entertainment: The only entertainment I went to on such a short cruise was the Piano Bar. It was fun but we caught them when they were in the middle of a trivia game, so for the first half hour all we were hearing were little snippets of songs. Once that was over it got better. We then walked to another bar that had a acoustic guitarist that was good...only problem was he was on him last song of the night and it wasn't even late...oh well. Bars: Hands down the best bar for me was The Alchemy Bar. Bartender was awesome, drinks were great but be warned at $9 (or $10 if you want top shelf) a drink your tab can get out of hand quickly. Casino: The Casino was fine, I know they can't stop smokers, but it really does detract from the overall experience having labored breathing while you play. One thing that did throw me off is I wanted to play Wheel of Fortune slots, specifically the $1 machine. They had one of them and a woman literally camped out at the machine from sun up to sun down. She even had a squatter hold her seat while she went to the bathroom. I know there isn't much they can do about it, but having two of each machine would help (the other WoF machine was a 25c machine). Service: Everyone was great on the ship. Friendly, welcoming and just really seemed like they wanted to be there to help you. That really surprised me. Cabin: I could not have been happier with my aft extended balcony on the Empress deck. It was plenty spacious and the deck was great, two chairs, a table and a lounger fit nicely. Only problem was it was very windy and chilly so unless you are somewhere warm or going somewhere warm I wouldn't waste money on a balcony as you won't be out there much. The surprise for me was the shower. Nice heat and water pressure from the shower, didn't expect that on a ship...it was better than most land hotels I have been in. Public Areas: Elevators were slow so we took the stairs the whole time. Each floor had its own strange smells which threw us off though I've never been cruising before so maybe that is normal. But it ranged from fish, to onions to musty...but it mainly stuck to the stairwell and elevator areas. Value for Money: Honestly this is where I have a problem. This Cruise to Nowhere cost me $918 for two people....to me that is just way too much, for the same price I could do a 5 day with an inside cabin. The value just wasn't there and I won't be taking any more 2 day Cruises to Nowhere. Overall: We had fun, we learned some lessons, like not to over eat or you will spend your trip taking food coma naps instead of partying. The alcohol is very expensive so when we do a longer cruise I will certainly be doing the Cheers! program. We didn't see anyone getting out of control which we expected with it being a two day "booze cruise". I will cruise again for sure, but next time it will at least be a five day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was my first cruise and I plan on calling my travel agent to book this cruise again and this time bring friends and family. The ship is beautiful, clean, enormous and fun. The ambassador of fun Big Sexy along with his sidekick are ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I plan on calling my travel agent to book this cruise again and this time bring friends and family. The ship is beautiful, clean, enormous and fun. The ambassador of fun Big Sexy along with his sidekick are fun, warm and work hard to guarantee you have a wonderful experience. The ship is clean. My stateroom was wonderful. I had a window view. The room was quiet and cozy. The location of my stateroom gave me and my husband easy access to the elevators. There should have been a better selection of food at the buffet. I preferred eating in the restaurants. The lines for the food at the buffet could get long and by the time your got there some of the dishes were cold. Use the dinning rooms your food will be hot and you are served by a wonderful staff. The entertainment was wonderful there was something to do all day and well into the night. Here is some advice I can give first time cruisers. It is important to pace yourself. Do not try to do everything. Use your fun ship news letter to map out your day. Try to make it to the shows they are wonderful. Be careful with drinks they add up. Make sure you have comfortable shoes to wear while exploring the ship. This ship is a small city and if you have on uncomfortable shoes you will not be getting to far. Be prepared to take tons of pictures. They have photographers all over the place taking pictures. I advice you to take as many pictures as possible so that you will have a large collections to choice from when you go t purchase your photos. I really enjoyed my cruise. I wish I knew how wonderful it could be, I would have been cruising sooner. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I have cruised with Carnival one other time for my Senior class trip back in '92. This was my wife's first cruise. We really enjoyed the cruise, mostly good, a little bad. Let me get the bad out of the way first. We had the ... Read More
I have cruised with Carnival one other time for my Senior class trip back in '92. This was my wife's first cruise. We really enjoyed the cruise, mostly good, a little bad. Let me get the bad out of the way first. We had the worst day on the way to Norfolk. We were traveling from upstate New York to Norfolk, VA on train. Let me point out our bad travel experience had NOTHING to do with Carnival. We were supposed to take a train to Penn station in NYC then switch trains to Newport News, VA. We could not take our first train to New York because of a bridge fire in upper Manhattan. So we had to drive to another town, catch the train to Grand Central Station. We took a "cab" to Penn Station where we got ripped off by the cab driver. Here's a word of warning if you have to take a taxi in New York City. Please make sure it says taxi on the car. The driver asked us how many of us there were and where we where going. He put our bags in the trunk. The car was a plain blue car with no writing on it, no meter running, no taxi driver's licence displayed. He charged us $120.00 to go from Grand Central to Penn station! I know it doesn't cost that much. We missed our connecting train at 1:05 PM and had to catch the next train at 3:00 AM. Again, this was not Carnival's fault. The only thing bad about our cruise was the Steakhouse. We don't really have any complaints about it, we just didn't enjoy it as much as eating at the Golden Restaurant. The service was good in the Steakhouse. The presentation was excellent. The taste of the food was just ok. We will not do the steakhouse again, however we do recommend that everyone should try the steakhouse at least once. Your experience might be different from ours. The rest of the cruise was great! I think every one should cruise at least once in their lifetime. We ate dinner at the Golden dinning room. We had the BEST wait staff. Our waiters were Alfredo, Agus, and Dickson. They were very friendly and always remembered our names. On the last night of the cruise they brought out an ice cream pie with 2 candles on it and sang Happy anniversary to us. Saijai, who took our drink orders, always had our sodas waiting for us. Every night the wait staff would either sing or dance or both. The comedy shows were hilarious. We enjoyed all the shows we went to, especially the legends show, where the guests would dress up and sing like famous singers such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Elton John, etc. If you missed any of the shows, their were about 3 carnival channels on your TV in your stateroom that played the shows, talks from Gary the cruise director, etc over and over again. They have a restaurant where the serve pizza 24 hours a day. The pizza was really good, but I felt they need more wait staff as sometimes you had to wait a while to get your pizza. They had had 24 hour self serve ice cream that was hit or miss. Sometimes the ice cream was too soft and runny and sometimes the ice cream was just right. We always ate breakfast at the Red Sail restaurant. We loved it. Lots of variety, food was good and always hot. Finding a place to sit was a bit of a challenge as it was always crowded and for some reason, I had a very hard time finding straws. Some days I would only find 2 or 3 straws and other days I didn't find any. I wanted to try the Mongolian Wok, but the only time I found it open, I wasn't hungary. We did the mini golf one day, had a good time even though we didn't know how to keep score as neither one of us ever played mini golf before. We swam in the pool and sat in the hot tub for a while. it was very relaxing. We will definitely cruise with Carnival again tn the Future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are first time cruisers so we picked the cruise to nowhere as a trial run to see if we would be interested in doing it again. Embarkation: We were told that we could board the ship at around 11am so we wanted to be early so we ... Read More
We are first time cruisers so we picked the cruise to nowhere as a trial run to see if we would be interested in doing it again. Embarkation: We were told that we could board the ship at around 11am so we wanted to be early so we could get the most out of this experience. We drove to the suggested parking lot and was told that we couldn't park yet because they weren't through unloading the previous cruise and to come back in an hour,even though we could see the parking lot was mostly empty. I asked where we should go wait for the hour in down town Norfolk and the lady told us to go to IHOPS or something because we weren't getting in. We left. We did find a parking garage right across the street that turned out to be $21 cheaper and we didn't have to take a shuttle or go away for an hour. We finally met up with our friends about 11 am and got in line to go sign in. We waited in that line until about 1230. Once we got through that and through security we went into a large room and checked in and waited until about 430 pm while they crammed hundreds of people in behind us like cattle to the slaughter. We finally got on the ship.Once on the ship we carried our baggage to our room and it was small but nice and clean. We liked it. Public Rooms: Roomy but confusing to find what we were looking for at first. A lot of dead ends and ups and downs. The elevators were slow as molasses but we figured out if you want one,get on the first one that comes by whether its going up or down because it was faster then waiting and they seemed to pass you by all of the time. Cabin: Loved it. No problems there. They must of came in and straightened it up 3 times a day. My wife was overjoyed. Dining: We didn't go to any of the restaurants. We hit the buffets,the grill,the fish n chips and the pizza. The pizza was awesome the rest was cold and the lines were long. The problem we had was the drinks. If you wanted a soda you had to find a bar,push your way up to the bar.Wait awhile. Order a soda for $2 then go back to your table and eat. If any of your food was warm when you got it,it wasn't now. Entertainment: It's just like you see on TV except a hell of lot louder. At one point I was really hoping a giant wave would come along and flip the ship over. Service: In my opinion they were overstaffed in some areas and understaffed in others. I don't think it's necessary to have your bed made 3 times a day but I would like to be able to get a drink in 15 minutes or less. Over all I think the people working there did a fine job considering the language barrier. Value for Money: I'm still debating this one. Considering this was a 2 day cruise that really was supposed to be only 40 hours that ended up being only 34 hours. I think it should be billed as a 1 day,2 night cruise. Plus, the gratuity is mandatory on drinks whether you liked the service or not. Overall: We had a good time but next time we'll make it at least a 5 day cruise. They say live and learn and we learned a lot but that's exactly what we intended to do. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Because we live in the Hampton Roads region, we elected to take the Carnival Glory to The Bahamas out of Norfolk, VA. My partner and I cruised with my parents, sister, and her friend. My folks had cruised before out of New York on the ... Read More
Because we live in the Hampton Roads region, we elected to take the Carnival Glory to The Bahamas out of Norfolk, VA. My partner and I cruised with my parents, sister, and her friend. My folks had cruised before out of New York on the Carnival Victory to Canada. I had read a review that Norfolk often is in the top of the cruise terminals and I have to agree. Aside from the longest line being mostly outside, the staff was friendly, efficient, and we moved quickly. We arrived at 3.00 and were on the ship by 4.30. It sounds like a long time, but the line was huge and it did keep moving. Norfolk advises that you park in the cruise parking lot, which is about a mile away, and take a bus to the terminal. They don't advertise that there is a parking garage right across the street that costs the same. We parked there, got out of our car, and hopped on the ship. We didn't have to wait for a bus or deal with traffic. If you are going on a Carnival ship, be prepared to party! We are not big partiers and happily avoided the crazy stuff, but everyone is drinking. They pretty much start handing you drinks as soon as you get on the ship. This caused a bit of a problem since they didn't do the safety drill until 2.5 hours after we left. Half the people there were DRUNK! It was definitely a big waste of time since the staff giving the safety talk recognized this and made it short. Dining was quite good. The food on the buffet was decent buffet food. Better than Golden Corral, but not as good as a fine dining Sunday Brunch. If you are an early riser, know you won't get hot food on the buffet until 7. I was up at 6 every morning and they had some fruit and cereal boxes on the buffet if I wanted to munch. The only concern there is that before 6.30, if you wanted milk for your cereal, you have to take it out of the carafes set out for people's coffee (read the label...I had cream in my cereal the first day!). My family actually preferred to do the open seating breakfast in the Platinum Dining room. There, we had excellent portion control, and superior food to the buffet. I had a ham and cheese omelet almost every day and it was so good! I did the buffet for lunch everyday. They have everything. Pizza, burgers, burritos, Mongolian wok, amazing fish and chips (get there early to avoid the line), and other average food on the main buffet. On the last day at sea, they had a chocolate buffet that was AWESOME. I had chocolate for lunch! Dinner service was awesome. It takes a while to get your bar drinks, but the staff is amazing. It was weird the first time I sat down and they put the napkin in my lap. One of our people had an allergy to peanuts and tomatoes. They came by every night at dinner and showed her the next night's menu. They did everything to help her. We both ordered Lobster Bisque one night and they made a completely different one just for her. BTW, if you don't like tomatoes, tell them you are allergic. They put tomatoes in everything. There is tons of entertainment. You don't have to loiter by the pool or drink constantly to have fun (although some seem to think so). The casino is fun. I broke even on black jack. If you are new to gaming, there is a tutorial the first day at sea and if you go most afternoons when it is slow, the dealer will help you out by explaining the game and some strategies. Well, some of the dealers. Some dealers were quite rude and scary. The White Heat Dance Club had a theme night every night. Music themes from 50's the first night and ending with the 90's the last night. The comedians were awesome. The shows in the Amber Palace was not that great. The sound was turned up WAY too loud and the lip syncing was quite obvious. Now for the bad stuff. The bar staff was just terrible. They are way too understaffed at the bars, especially considering the amount they want you to drink. The best bar is at the Colors Lobby. I had the best martini of my life there. Also, they advertise a drink of the day. It's cheap and you get a souvenir glass, but they premake it. It felt cheap. Language and cultural barriers were a challenge. Anyone would do anything for you, but they seemed to have an attitude if you asked anyone to go above and beyond. Also, a couple of people said things to me that they didn't mean. They got their words mixed up because English was not their first language. And somehow I became the official translator of the bartenders at On the Green. I liked that bar because it was quiet and you could smoke in there and watch sports. Last bad thing for me was the number of pictures. I probably had my picture taken at least 6 times a day. It was awful. And I know it's the job of the photographer, so I was always polite, except when they looked at my partner and told me to act like he's my brother. grrr. Oh yeah! GLBT cruisers, be warned. There was a gay event every night but it wasn't organized. It's called Friends of Dorothy (FOD). It felt more like we were being ghettoized for an hour. There was no cruise staff there to mediate the meet and greet. The guide could have said "Gays and Lesbians show up at x bar at x time." I have read about some ships offering special tours, etc. Nothing like that here. If you have read through my entire review, thank you. I know it was long, but I had hoped I had a good long review before I booked this. I hope I covered everything. If not, leave a comment if you can I will get back to you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Traveled on the Carnival Glory May 16'th out of Norfolk, VA. It was a very easy drive for us, being about 45 minutes east of Richmond. We arrived early, parked the car right across the street from the port ( much cheaper than the ... Read More
Traveled on the Carnival Glory May 16'th out of Norfolk, VA. It was a very easy drive for us, being about 45 minutes east of Richmond. We arrived early, parked the car right across the street from the port ( much cheaper than the Carnival parking option) and got something to eat. The ship was late getting into port ( we didn't board till 3:00 pm!)I was a little irritated that we didn't get a full day in port since we were technically paying for this day, but once we got on the ship, we forgot all about that! From the minute we got on, to when we got off, we had fun! Service was excellent in the dining room,guest services and our steward in the stateroom. Only OK at the bars, but that's to be expected when you have thousands of people trying to drink at once. We went to the steakhouse our 2nd night and would definitely recommend. The steaks and service here was excellent! Our ports were Nassau and Freeport. They're good ports, but just like anything, you get out of them what you put in. We went to the Fish Fry and Senor Frogs the first afternoon in Nassau. I would definitely recommend Goldie's at the Fish Fry to get a feel for the local flavor. The conch fritters there are the best. Since it was raining, we pretty much stayed at Frogs all evening.We got their signature "green yard drink" ( can't remember what its called!) and enjoyed the party atmosphere ( we are in our 20's with no kids!). We went to Cabbage Beach the second day and had a lot of fun relaxing on the beach. If you don't like people or crowded beaches, this is not the place for you. Its beautiful, but definitely crowded. We went fishing out of Freeport on Thursday and had a pretty good time. My only complaint here is that we basically only fished for a couple hours and had to get back to the boat. Carnival should really extend the time in this port. Other than that, we had a blast. The food was excellent. 6 pounds excellent when I got home, haha! I like that the pizza bar was open 24 hours. We had goat cheese and mushroom pizza a couple times at 2 am and it was always fresh and good. The dining room had great food as well. I enjoyed trying many different entrees ant the waiter would bring us little or much as we wanted. There were plenty of activities on the ship ( comedian was funny, my husband participated in a hairy chest contest on the deck) and I really liked the live reggae band on the ship while laying out and swimming. We even had fun on the waterslide. This was definitely a "party ship." We met lots of friends at the bars and liked the fact that we could stay up late at the casino. From what I hear, Carnival is the best ship for "partying" and we had a great, fun experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean a few times in the past and thought I would take my new fiance on his first cruise to celebrate our engagement. We saw a ship leaving out of Norfolk, VA and thought it was perfect so we wouldn't ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean a few times in the past and thought I would take my new fiance on his first cruise to celebrate our engagement. We saw a ship leaving out of Norfolk, VA and thought it was perfect so we wouldn't have to fly. The day of, we had our family drop us off at the port and in the family frenzy, the porter took my fiances carry on bag with his passport inside. No more than five minutes went by before we told the people at the ship what happened and they told us not to worry because it happens all the time and they could bring us the bag in time for us to board the ship. Over two hours went by and by the time we were told that this was actually impossible, we were standing in the terminal watching the ship sail away. We immediately got on the the phone with our travel agent and Royal Caribbean to see what could be done. Of course, after hours on hold and talking to multiple people, they said nothing. They wouldn't even let us talk to them directly without our agent on the phone! Long story short, after 5 people teamed up to try to get an answer, we got a letter stating that the only way for us to redeem out trip would be for it to meet it in the next port of call, San Juan. At our own expense of course. None of this was met with a kind word or an "I'm sorry for your situation" from the time we were at the pier to the time we arrived in San Juan. To top it all off, we were NOT told that someone had gone in my fiance's bag to retrieve his passport and thought it had been lost when they transported it to the room, because it was in the outside pocket of his suitcase. But on the last day on the ship (which was not the greatest ship I've seen), we happened to run into the same crew member who we told about the passport issue in Norfolk and he said "Oh, yeah, hey man, I have your passport". Ridiculous! How is it possible that you can hold on to someone's property and not tell them? Not to mention if we hadn't met the ship, they would have kept our bags on the ship and we would have had nothing. We saw them turn people away in Norfolk with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and their purses, and these people had no where to go. We were lucky in that we left out of our hometown and had family to stay with. Admittedly, we have two things working against us, one being we booked through an agent and turned down the agent's insurance. However, we did learn after the fact that the insurance would not have covered our situation and we would have been out the money anyway. Regardless, what is my ultimate concern is that you can keep people's money without providing them any kind of service. They made real money off of the three days we missed of our cruise and would have made more had we not showed up. Also, what makes it worse is when you encounter sour people with callous attitudes who put you on hold for minutes on end and respond flatly with the company line, "there's nothing I can do". If you're going to put me through a hassle, at least don't patronize me in the process. I have a good many years left in me of cruising, and from what I hear, RC doesn't want you on their boat if you are going to complain about anything, so so long Royal Caribbean! And you can bet, I've told this story to everyone I ran into who sails as well. Sorry to say. And I guess I should say something about the cruise itself. The ship was okay. Wouldn't recommend it. Had some toilet problems, which happens I guess. In the public rooms and our room. Also, one of the ports, Samana in the DR was awful. Some of our cruise mates said they didn't feel safe. We were stuck on the excursion to nowhere, guess that was a blessing in disguise. I guess the silver lining is that we didn't get sick? That no one was hurt? If that's the best thing about the cruise then what does that tell you? Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My boyfriend and I traveled on the Grandeur of the Seas with RCI in May 2009 to the Eastern Caribbean. This was our first cruise and it a fun experience with a few setbacks. Norfolk Cruise Port: Easy. I believe parking was $10 per day, ... Read More
My boyfriend and I traveled on the Grandeur of the Seas with RCI in May 2009 to the Eastern Caribbean. This was our first cruise and it a fun experience with a few setbacks. Norfolk Cruise Port: Easy. I believe parking was $10 per day, secure lot less than a mile from the dock. Tour buses run between the two free of charge. We arrived at noon to the parking lot and were on the ship at 1pm. Overall ship experience: My boyfriend and I are in our early 20's and we felt this ship didn't have a lot to do on it. I know it is an older ship in RCI fleet, but with 4 days at sea there were not a lot of activities that we were interested participating in. We did however enjoy the ballroom dancing class that was held daily. The ship seemed worn, but still modern. Food was great. Stateroom: We had an interior stateroom on deck 2. Plenty of space for two people. Itinerary: San Juan, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas and Haiti. We did not purchase a shore excursion for San Juan. Dominican Republic: We purchased a horseback riding tour to a waterfall. Please do not purchase this excursion if it is still offered. I feared for my life the entire time. We were placed on mules, not horses and traveled on very dangerous paths. I could not relax the entire trip. The animals looked like they had not been fed in months. A very stressful experience. St. Thomas: We had booked a 1pm snorkel tour that never showed. We found out our trip had been canceled since it was not full. This was after we waited 45 minutes for the tour to show up. We wasted a lot of our day in St. Thomas. After leaving St. Thomas the excursion desk told us we should have received a letter telling us to join the 9am snorkel tour. At this point they walked back into their office and gave us the letter that we should have received. So why did they have it and not us? We were refunded our money and told to book a snorkel tour in Haiti. We asked if we could get some type of discount for the inconvenience they caused us in St. Thomas. The excursion desk could have cared less. (Note: I emailed RCI after the cruise about this situation. They never responded to my complaint) Haiti: Beautiful, private area for RCI. We booked a snorkel tour and had fun in the aqua park. Our favorite port. Our eastern Caribbean cruise was good, even with a few setbacks involving the shore excursions. My boyfriend and I plan to travel on larger ships from here on out that provide more activities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009

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