19 Norfolk Romantic Cruise Reviews

We chose to sail on the Sunrise for the Bahamas trip due to the price and the convenience of sailing out of Norfolk. We were also thrilled to be on the Sunrise as we had previously sailed on the ship when it was the Triumph. The ... Read More
We chose to sail on the Sunrise for the Bahamas trip due to the price and the convenience of sailing out of Norfolk. We were also thrilled to be on the Sunrise as we had previously sailed on the ship when it was the Triumph. The embarkation in Norfolk was rocky, to say the least. Once on board there wasn’t much direction, but we assumed it was because they were still working out kinks in the new service. We were only the 2nd group to sail on her. The food was great. Drinks were great. Service was great. Show was great. We even enjoyed the casino, even though it was SUPER smoky. We highly recommend checking out the speciality restaurants or even have a visit to the spa. We got engaged on this trip, which was made magical by the photo team - We even bought one of the quite pricey photo packages, but it was absolutely worth it. Getting off the ship was a nightmare and that’s not just because our vacation was coming to an end. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I chose this cruise because it was perfect timing for my wonderful wife's birthday and it was leaving from Norfolk only 1 hour from our home in Gloucester. It was also affordable. The cabin was beautiful and comfortable.The huge ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was perfect timing for my wonderful wife's birthday and it was leaving from Norfolk only 1 hour from our home in Gloucester. It was also affordable. The cabin was beautiful and comfortable.The huge picture window showcasing the open ocean and beautiful ports of call. I just spent the better half an hour detailing all the wonderful experiences of our wonderful trip and my computer some how lost my writings. So I will not rewrite all of that again. So let me summarize in saying our Cabin Stewart Puji was remarkable. Our restaurant staff team Macedon, Jeffrey, and Zafar were wonderful in their service and pleasant personable demeanor making our dining experience especially the night we all shared dinner with the Captain who also was very engaging with the guest. Emma is phenomenal. How can one person harness and dispense such amounts of energy. We all were her Lovelies. The entertainment was fantastic Everyone was so friendly and most accommodating and gracious. It was a totally wonderful time for both my wife Lourdes and I. Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Embarkation and disembarkation went very smooth! The safety/security drill that occurred aboard the ship took an extended about of time. It was held outside on the deck in humid weather and limited about of space. Many of the elderly ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation went very smooth! The safety/security drill that occurred aboard the ship took an extended about of time. It was held outside on the deck in humid weather and limited about of space. Many of the elderly people standing near me had a very difficult time standing for the period of time. The ship was very clean, the cabin was clean, prepared and ready for us every time we returned. I have traveled and stayed at many resorts, been on a couple of cruises and stayed at several hotels but I have never encountered the level of customer service like Mr. Gusti provided!!!!! I know he worked long hours but he also greeted you with a smile and a delightful approach. He is the BEST!!! Mr. Sombari was great also. Dinning was delicious and service was great.....Ms. Ausrine! Entertainment and Activities were plentiful and fun!! Mr Leigh, Cruise Director is great at what he does!! I plan to book another cruise on Carnival Sunshine! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Carnival is reaching new lows each yr. Hard to book em any more, but we wanted to see Bermuda. The Food was a severe dissapointment. Service just as bad. We expect freshly cooked food in Dining Room, but this was not the case. ... Read More
Carnival is reaching new lows each yr. Hard to book em any more, but we wanted to see Bermuda. The Food was a severe dissapointment. Service just as bad. We expect freshly cooked food in Dining Room, but this was not the case. Entre's were all overcooked, dried out and obviously had been sitting under warming lamps for long times. Ordered a snapper entre that looked like dried out leather-rubbery. All meats are well done plus.. Lido buffet has long lines, dirty tables not bussed, and food that sits out way too long. Had a B-day and my wife ordered a whole chocolate cake to be delivered. Tried to cut into it and the entire icing layer peeled off like it was made of thin rubbery plastic. Awful .. Anytime dining means getting a beeper and sitting down 25 min later. Then having the staff rush your meal to turn the tables. They serve 2 dishes at once to each of us, even though we had no room at the small table for 2. Server puts dirty fork and knife on tablecloth instead of replacing or at least on the bread plate. The desserts look good but have no taste to them..do NOT order the Pumkin Pie if its on the menu..tastes like dried out zuccini clay. Coffee machines are out of order at lido for most of cruise. Had horrible sewage smell thruout the ship for a full night after leaving Bemuda. Casino full of chain smokers and staff take 30 min to get you a drink. Ship rocked continously every moment at sea..reminded me of the Miracle when they ran it for 4 months with an engine out of service on the Alaskan run. No more Capt reception with free drinks for GOLD members. only Diamond-Platinum. Soft serve ice cream machines often out of service. Always a wait for pizza, burgers cooked beyond well done. Splendor has turned into a cheap vegas style junket, where over half are cruising free or near free because of their casino credits. Its a sleazy experience . 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
This was our third Carnival cruise. Our main reason for taking this cruise was the port location (local to us). We knew the ship had not undergone the 2.0 upgrade, but we were prepared for that. The overall cruise experience was great. I ... Read More
This was our third Carnival cruise. Our main reason for taking this cruise was the port location (local to us). We knew the ship had not undergone the 2.0 upgrade, but we were prepared for that. The overall cruise experience was great. I would walk away saying my wife and I both enjoyed the experience. There were a bunch of "little" details that we noticed that detracted from the joy. At first I thought maybe it was just me, but I heard the same sentiment from our dinner companions and others in the casino while we played there. The lobster was gone from the menu. We knew it was removed from the five day cruise, but others did not. The chocolates on our bed were gone. My wife really liked that detail. The biggest issue seemed to be that the staff was overworked. I can't say for sure that there are fewer staff, but this is the first time I have ever seen outward appearances of fatigue. And it was not just one person. The steward, the wait staff, and the casino all seemed to be tired. There were other small cuts that others mentioned that I had not noticed until they said something. Individually, all these things are petty, but added up you start to notice the cuts. Overall, I would repeat that we still had a good trip. I just think Carnival needs to look at how the cuts look in the overall cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been a cruise snob for over 30 years and always considered Celebrity my mid level cruise line favorite (until lately). Tried Norwegian a few times but last one was just "meh". Last cruise ... Read More
Okay, I'll admit it. I've been a cruise snob for over 30 years and always considered Celebrity my mid level cruise line favorite (until lately). Tried Norwegian a few times but last one was just "meh". Last cruise on RCCL was also okay but again nothing special. Too much cutting back. After reading so many good things about Carnival on the CC boards we decided to dive in. The port of Norfolk and the timing was perfect for us because we have a new grandchild living in Virginia Beach so we combined our visit with our granddaughter and a cruise. So here we go: Hotel: Stayed at the Marriott the night before because of the cruise and park package. We were going to walk to the pier from there but it was pouring rain so we took a 2 minute cab ride for $6.00 including tip. Embarkation: Got there around 10:30 and thought we would be early but apparently everyone else got there early too so it was crowded waiting for the doors to open. Boarding was very organized and we boarded quickly. Remember it was raining and we noticed the luggage sitting outside in carts for quite some time and while we weren't too worried about our own hard sided luggage, we were sure there were going to be some wet clothing on board once the bags were opened. There were, and guest services handled it beautifully. We only had a couple of things a little bit wet. But others were not so lucky. The Ship: I kind of knew what to expect from photos but yikes! It looked like a clown threw up all over the ship. Truly no rhyme or reason to any of the decor in most of the public areas. But we quickly got used to it and had quite a few laughs over it, too. The ship is one of those that you have to go up to a high floor or to a low floor to get from one end to the other due to the DR being in the middle of decks 3 and 4. Just a small annoyance and we were glad to get the extra exercise. The Cabin: Loved it! We booked a balcony guarantee about 4 weeks out and within 3 days had received one of the famous L shaped cabins toward the aft. Huge balcony and though the square footage was probably the same, we liked the layout of the room too. Ladies they have a hair dryer in the dresser but bring a rubber band to put around the handle if you don't want to have to hold on to the button the whole time. The Staff: Some of the nicest, friendliest crew we've ever encountered from start to finish. Room steward, dining room staff, bar staff and guest relations were professional and friendly. The FOOD!!! Honestly the best food we've had on a mid level cruise line in more than 10 years. Sorry Celebrity. Almost every dish we ordered in the dining room was good. My husbands steak was always cooked exactly as he likes it. The lobster on Elegant Evening was real Maine lobster, not that rubbery stuff we've had on other cruises. There was more than enough variety with the Grill, Tandoor, The Rotisserie and the Buffet. Didn't do the Steak House as we thought $35.00 pp was a bit too much. We could pay that at home and really didn't think we needed to because the MDR was great. But the desserts! The desserts were to die for. Really. I love a good home cooked chocolate cake and theirs was the best! Carrot cake was excellent. Butter Pecan Ice Cream heavenly. Apple Pie just like mom used to make. The creme brulee was just okay and I could only find cheese cake with caramel in it and it was so-so. Nassau: Been to Nassau a zillion times and each time we regret getting off the ship. Freeport: Took a van for $10.00pp r/t to Lucaya Hotel. Got a day pass for $16.00 pp which was good for their pool and beach chairs. Loved the pool. Walked around the shops across from the hotel for a bit and back to the ship by 1:15. Disembarkation was not good. I think we arrived in port about 7:00 AM but we didn't get off the ship until 11:30. It wasn't Carnival's fault. Customs got backed up and I think they just aren't used to cruise ships arriving in that port lately. Hopefully that will be fixed. Misc good and bad: Too many smoking areas. I felt like I smelled like smoke all the time. Lots of music and entertainment in the evening. There was always some place to go and dance or listen to music. Having a dedicated comedy club is a great idea. They had 2 comedians that were pretty good, too. The Red Carpet club DJ seemed to be catering to the hip-hop crowd. Even on 80's night he was playing stuff I never heard of and I was clubbing like crazy in the 80's. Too smokey in there too. Nice looking Casino but again too much smoke so no money lost in there this time. All in all a great cruise. I'm now planning another one for our family to take together from Norfolk next year. Carnival won us over!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my 4th time taking pretty much this same cruise on the Carnival Glory. They finally upgraded the ship, which was really great. I had gotten bored with the ship and had kept hoping they would dock a different one at the Norfolk ... Read More
This was my 4th time taking pretty much this same cruise on the Carnival Glory. They finally upgraded the ship, which was really great. I had gotten bored with the ship and had kept hoping they would dock a different one at the Norfolk port because of that. But, though I ended up on the same ship I've been on multiple times before, the upgrades made it much better this time around. Before I go into that though, I want to voice a major complaint in hopes that Carnival reads these reviews. We are very, very unhappy about Carnival pulling out of the port of Norfolk, Virginia. We've been cruising Carnival out of this port about once every year and a half and Carnival leaving this port means that we will probably take very few cruises in the future. The airfare cost to other ports makes them too expensive - expensive enough that I'd rather do something else instead of cruise, or end up cruising on another line, which I know Carnival doesn't want. That said, Carnival, please, please, please come back to the Norfolk port!!! Okay, now back to the rest of the review. On the upgrades: First, they put in Guy's Burger Joint. The burgers on the ship used to be so-so at best. These are significantly better. They're a little more along the lines of 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. Yummy. They also upgraded/changed/added a few bars. The most memorable for us were the Red Frog Rum Bar and the Alchemy Bar. They also had a new tequila bar. I just don't drink tequila, so that wasn't my thing, but the menu did look good. Going back to the others though: The Red Frog Rum bar had some great choices. One of my favorites was the Caribbean Colada. It was the best colada I've ever had and great for days out on the deck. The Alchemy Bar is right next to the piano bar and, during previous cruises, that bar had very little business. Now, with this upgrade and becoming the Alchemy Bar, it was really busy every night. The drink concoctions were great. This bar had the best drink menu I've ever seen and we tried almost everything on the menu. We weren't the only ones either. The bar also turned out to be a great place to meet people, a lot because there were so many conversations that started out with, "Ooh, what's that you're drinking? Really, mine's a ???" and so on. The 3 girls that worked behind the bar every night were fantastic as well. Speaking of drinking, we splurged for the Cheers program. It's Carnival's new program where you pay roughly $50 per day per person and can drink up to 15 drinks a day, both alcoholic and non. If we didn't get the program, we would have had a lot less to drink because we would have been far more cognizant of the money we were spending. The program allowed us to not think about that and just enjoy what we wanted, so it worked out for us. I'd do it again just for that care-free feeling. But, at $100 a day for 2 people, it really would depend how long the trip was. I don't think I'd spend that much per day for a much longer cruise as I wouldn't want to drink a lot on a daily basis for much more than a few days anyway. The thing that convinced us to go with the program this time though was the fact that we didn't have to get it until the second day on the ship. That was huge because I felt like it would have been a waste for the first day on the ship since you're only really able to enjoy yourself from about 5:30 p.m. onward. We had great service pretty much every night in the dining hall (we had my-time dining in the Golden). After the first night, we asked for Yudi's (or Yuli?) section every night. We got him as a waiter the first night and he and his team were so good to us that they were actually part of the reason we ate at the dining hall as many nights as we did. The entertainment and shows changed since the last time we were on board... thankfully. I can't stand it when I take the same cruise ship a year or year and a half apart and the shows are the same. I was really happy to see the change this time. They had 3 new big shows in the Amber Palace; a Latin show, a Diva show, and a Motown show. All were great. All of the performers were really good, but one stood out for rme; Aaron, who has the most amazing vocal range and ability. With ability like his, I'm honestly surprised he's not a famous Broadway performer or something. The cruise director and his side kick (don't remember his name), were a blast. Those two really work together well to get people going and having a good time. They're both just the right amount of crazy and both know how to flirt and schmooze with the ladies as well. I'd say, whatshisname (good looking cruise director dude with the English accent) was probably the best cruise director I've had over the course of several cruises. My apologies for not remembering his name or most others only 2 weeks later. As had been the case in the past, the piano bar was one of our favorite places on the ship. Dave was the piano player this time and I think he ended up being our all time favorite, and we've seen several over several cruises. He got to know people's names throughout the course of the cruise. He also had instruments (maracas, tambourines, etc) for people to play, and he played some games with the audience too. One night, he had slips of paper with 20 lines. He'd play the first bar or two of a song, and we had to guess the song. We liked that game a lot because we won it! :) But seriously, what a great time this bar is when there is a great entertainer behind that piano. My only complaint to Carnival would be to set up the piano bar a little differently because you don't really feel like you're part of the action if you don't get a seat directly around the piano itself, which was a challenge this time because the bar was so busy. The other seats in the lounge should all be higher up so you can still see the entertainment. It's the only flaw of this bar and has been that way for years. Still a great bar despite that flaw though. As usual, we enjoyed some time on the Serenity deck this time. It's one of the only places you can get away from constant loud noise on this ship and the loungers are very comfortable there. It is, however, exceptionally windy quite often on this deck, which is not great if it's October and you're too far north. We also enjoyed the adults-only hot tub this time. In general, we like the adults-only pool/hot tub area in back of the ship and the adults-only Serenity deck in the front. We just wish that they would change things up a bit so that those weren't the only two adults only areas and so that the only two adults only areas were not at complete opposite ends of the ship. What else? Service: Consistently great from our room steward to our wait staff and everyone else throughout the whole cruise this time. Food: About the same as it has been in the past (which was always pretty good, and very good in the main dining rooms). Guy's Burger Joint improves things. Pizza Bar was good. Burrito Bar was a nice improvement as well. Still like the Red Sail - not the the greatest food in the universe, but some pretty good stuff, and convenient. Cabin: Bed seemed more uncomfortable than it ever has on a Carnival ship. I don't know if we just had an old bed or what, but it's usually more comfortable. There are never enough pillows and the pillows they do provide are way too small. I brought a couple of my own this time, which helped. Other than that, the cabins haven't changed; compact, but efficient, and had enough place to store our stuff. Always like having the safe for my photography equipment when it's not in use. Disappointing: We only had one formal night. That's because they cut this cruise down from 6 nights to 5. That is disappointing as well. In the past, they sailed out of Norfolk 4 times in October, I believe with two 4 night cruises and two 6 night cruises. I'd like it if they sailed out of Norfolk 4 times with one of each, a 4, 5, 6, and 7 night cruise, each with different ports. Give us some variety to choose from, Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
When we got in line, the cruise did not start boarding until 1:30 PM on Sunday. The line was long and it was a hot day but the excitement seemed to make the time go by fast. It took about an hour and a half and we were dropping our bags ... Read More
When we got in line, the cruise did not start boarding until 1:30 PM on Sunday. The line was long and it was a hot day but the excitement seemed to make the time go by fast. It took about an hour and a half and we were dropping our bags off in our room. The muster drill was long and drawn out. We were packed 5 deep and at least 3 people around us passed out due to the cluttered mess. The Muster drill took about 30 min. The first night we went to the steakhouse (FREE BOTTLE OF WINE) and paid $30 a person. The food was one of the best meals I can remember. Would have easily paid twice the amount. Ship was very nice, and room steward was friendly (only for the first few days, even after we tipped her everyday). Food for lunch was great all around. Smoking on one half of the ship was ok (we are smokers) and never really had a problem finding a table to smoke at. There were two downfalls for this trip. First the itinerary changed and we were only in Freeport for 6 hours (7am-1pm). We loved what we saw just wished we were there longer. The second problem we had will probably make us choose a new line. The food in the Main dining room was HORRIBLE! We went twice and could not take it anymore. I ordered Bow Ties with Alfredo sauce and roasted turkey breast. The noodles were not cooked and the "Roasted turkey breast" was a slice of deli meat. The second night we went was elegant night (had a guy with flip flops and a hat on sideways next to us) and we ordered the lobster and prime rib. Lobster was over cooked and couldn't even cut through it with my knife, and my medium rare prime rib was well done, tough, and they put gravy on it. Now I am not snobby and being a veteran of two wars I know bad food, but if I was anywhere else I would have sent the food back and refused to pay. Everything else on the ship was great. Very friendly staff, movie under the stars was great, and the rest of the foods were very good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
BACKGROUND: We drove to Norfolk, VA from upstate New York State to spend some time in Norfolk before the cruise. After calculating gas prices, airline rates, and hotel rates etc, it seemed we could drive down and spend 5 nights in motels ... Read More
BACKGROUND: We drove to Norfolk, VA from upstate New York State to spend some time in Norfolk before the cruise. After calculating gas prices, airline rates, and hotel rates etc, it seemed we could drive down and spend 5 nights in motels at a slightly lower cost than taking a plane and renting a car. The scheduled itinerary was 2 sea days, Half Moon Cay, Freeport and then 1 sea day. Intro: We're always on the lookout for the best deal so we booked an aft balcony cabin a deck below Lido (and the casual buffet eateries). That way we're close to the food but always use the stairs so we do get some exercise. Normally that works out well BUT on this cruise, our cabin was right below the pizzeria where they have a 24 hour a day contest called "Let's move as many tables and deck chairs as possible and tick off the cabin dwellers below". OMG- scrrrrrrrrrapes and squeeeeeeeeeals all hours of the day & night. If you consume alcohol continuously 24/7 or can remove your hearing aid, it's not bad but for normal people its gets very grating on the nerves. Next time I'll look at the deck plan a bit closer before I make a final decision for a cabin - LOL {*_*}. ARRIVAL: We parked at the Cedar Grove site (run by the Port Authority). The cost was $15 (cash or credit card) per day BUT that includes the shuttle to AND from the ship. Considering transfers or a taxi would be probably $5-$15 anyway, that comes out to $10-$12 a day. To me that was a good deal and it was a smooth easy process. We arrived at the pier a bit after noon and the process seemed mostly orderly. NOTE: make sure you have all your paperwork ready (ID, boarding passes etc) to make things easier. You can fill out your CDC health form while in line so have a pen ready. We were on the Lido deck ready to eat by 1:45 (after dropping off our carry on bags in the cabin). By 4:00 our "big" bags were delivered. Relatively smooth - in my opinion. THE CABIN: We were on Verandah deck aft (one deck below Lido) with a regular balcony. The room had a Queen bed and a convertible sofa. Because of the sofa, the closets are perpendicular to the cabin door and if you weren't careful, you could clobber the open closet door with the cabin door or the bathroom door. Took a little getting used to but it was OK. Plenty of storage space was nice. Bed was comfortable and I brought my own pillow so I was sleeping well. The TV is a flat panel but not a huge one - we were able to watch ABC, NBC, and CBS along with some cable and paid movie channels so there were enough choices. Bathroom was adequate as was the shower so no complaints there. Since this was the Verandah deck, there were no people above us to look down. Except for the Pizzeria area chair/table moving above us, there was hardly any noisy foot traffic down the corridor. A few cabins had really young children but luckily there were few crying episodes. THE FOOD: We had late dining 1st floor and only went to the dining room for the one formal night. Our waiter (Ms. Dilyana ) was very good and there was enough time to make the meal feel enjoyable and not rushed. The offerings were many and we especially enjoyed the lobster tails and prawns on that formal night. The Lido offered most of the same food as the Dining Room so you can eat according to your own schedule. OTHER EATERIES: The sandwiches from the Deli were very good - it was open quite a few hours during the day but be sure to check the schedule before you work up your appetite. The Wokery section was a great alternative as were the Burrito, Pizza, Fish + Chips and Grill areas - just be sure to find out when these are open since it might be just 2-3 hours a day. We dined at the specialty Steakhouse restaurant (Emerald Room) for an extra $60 (plus drinks) and I enjoyed the surf + turf while the wife was under impressed with the lobster ravioli. We never used room service so I can't comment on it. There are so-o-o-o many places to eat and so much to eat that it would be hard to go hungry unless you're very picky. PORTS OF CALL/SHORE EXCURSIONS: Freeport - Nautical Catamaran Sail and Snorkel. It was a 48' catamaran but not overcrowded. We sailed out to "Treasure Reef" - a snorkel spot that was good for novices but passable for more advanced snorkelers. On the trip back to port you could buy beer and soda while water and lemonade were complimentary. It was enjoyable but the crew could have been more helpful in giving snorkeling instructions beforehand and assisting snorkelers out of the water & back on board when snorkeling was over. Rating = 3.5 out of 5. Half Moon Cay: - We planned no excursion or activity. This is a beautiful island that is also used by Holland American Lines. Carnival now sends many of its cruises here and it's easy to see why. Prior to departure for Half Moon Cay, the passengers meet in the theater and are assigned to groups. When the tenders are available, passengers (by groups) are brought ashore by double deck boats rather than by the lifeboats. You can rent floating toys, snorkel, parasail, or just sit on the beach that is composed of sand so fine that it feels like powered sugar. We found a semi shady spot under a scrub pine and later had the BBQ lunch. There are "real" restrooms here and you can buy souvenirs as well as alcoholic drinks. I'd go there again just for the chance to sit in a beach lounger in the shallow water and let the small waves wash over me. Rating = 5 out of 5. OTHER SERVICES/MISC: The ship may have thousands of people but it's big enough that we never felt crowded. Just don't wait until "rush hour" to eat or go to the shows. It was easy to get from "here to there" and hardly had any contact with cigarette smoke except for the area of the casino, the Ivory Bar (where the internet terminals are located) and the occasional inconsiderate person on the Lido deck. We didn't use the Spa although I used the gym in the late mornings, afternoons and early evenings so I had no issues with finding an open machine. The machines/equipment are top notch. Internet Cafe is on deck 4 in the Ivory Bar (cigar and cigarette smoking allowed) BUT there is a door to keep out most of the cigar/cigarette smoke. There aren't a lot of computer terminals but I never had to wait for access. The Passengers' Service desk was helpful and I detected no "attitude" from the people there. There were some really outrageous/dumb requests from passengers and the staff kept their cool. We did attend one show in the Amber Palace Theater (Justin Illusion) - it was a combo magic and dance show which we enjoyed quite a bit. Didn't go to any of the clubs (not enough time) but we listened to music in the Atrium which was a nice touch. Our room steward (Mr. Joel) was very pleasant and helpful and spoke English well so there were no communication issues. DEBARKATION: We had general debarkation and our zone # to leave the ship was called approx 10:15 and so by 10:45 we were out the door, down the gangway, thru customs and on our way to the shuttle. No muss, no fuss - easiest debarkation in a long time. OVERALL: The ship is 8 year old and showing a bit of wear and tear but it's well kept and clean. Maybe we're too easy going to notice the picky-picky stuff but if we leave out the deck chair scraping above us, it was a GREAT time and a GREAT value. Carnival may be cutting back a bit (no more free Carnival pens in the cabins) but times are tough for everybody, cruise lines included. I can't say enough good things about the parking/shuttle service in Norfolk - it made the embarkation process so much easier. We're happy with our experience so we'll be back on Carnival next April headed to Bermuda! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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
This was mine & my DH's second cruise. We cruised Royal Caribbean last summer so I really only have RC to compare to Carnival. We did the 6 night cruise out of Norfolk, to the Bahamas. We were in Nassau 2 days and Freeport 1 day. ... Read More
This was mine & my DH's second cruise. We cruised Royal Caribbean last summer so I really only have RC to compare to Carnival. We did the 6 night cruise out of Norfolk, to the Bahamas. We were in Nassau 2 days and Freeport 1 day. I will try and cover everything I can think of because I know i always find these reviews helpful to me when trying to pick my vacation destination! First off, embarkation: This was a total disaster. Our cruise documents told us to arrive between 3:00-5:30pm. We arrived right after 3:00 and the line to even get into the Half Moon building was rediculous. We waited in line until about 5:00 and I think we finally boarded around 5:15. Last year we ended up getting there earlier than planned, so we had no problems. We only waited in line about 30 minutes last year, so in the future I think if it says we can board at 3:00, we will be there by 2:00 atleast! Other then the long lines, everything went smoothly. We didn't have any problems getting our sail & sign cards and getting onboard. I had read in another post that some terminals have computerized self-check ins but they did not have this in Norfolk. Now onto the actual cruise. We had a balcony room on the Lido deck (9). We were able to immediately get into our room, which was nice and clean. Compared to the interior room we had on RC, this room was huge. Atleast twice the size if not more! We never saw our room attendants at all. They did a great job at keeping everything tidy and replenishing anything we needed. The cruise ship itsself was different. They layout of the ship is not very good. Its very confusing, and not very open. We constantly were talking about how it was not easy to get around the ship. Especially in the Red Sail Restaurant. Nothing was easily accessible. The food was VERY limited. It was always cold, and the variety was very sad. Yes, like in other reviews I will agree the fish and chips tasted good, but they made me sick both times after eating them. The worst part about the trip were the other passengers. We almost immediately noticed that the "class" of people were different on this ship than the one we took the previous year. Carnivals prices were MUCH cheaper than RC and we definitely paid for that! I will never cruise Carnival again over RC because of the classless and rude people that I saw on this ship. You could just tell that because it was cheaper, the people were very low class. I even met a very nice older lady in the spa one day that told me the exact same thing! That she and her husband had been on RC the year prior and that is seemed much classier than this cruise. The food in the dining room for dinner was awesome. That was the highlight of the cruise for us! Because the food in the Red Sail was so nasty, we could not wait to get to dinner every night! Our waiter Frank was wonderful! Everything we both ordered for dinner was amazing. So that was definitely a plus up from RC because we didn't think the food was all that great there last year. The adults only Serenity area was VERY nice. But if you weren't out there by 9am , you would not get a chair. The shows were pretty decent. The comedy show we saw was fair, not great but not bad either. However, the so-called "majic" show.....was HORRIBLE. It was supposed to be for the whole ship but if I had my children in there I would have been horrified. It was wraunchy and gross. They played horrible music and carnival will definitely we hearing from me about this. It should have said 18+. The "living in america" show was spectacular! Definitely go see that if you are on board. The ports were good. We went to Atlantis, and we felt it was not worth the money at all. It was exhausting to have to walk around to get to anything and just way too crowded. Freeport was very dirty. I wish we hadn't even gotten off the ship at that port. Definitely do your shopping in Nassau! I made the mistake of only purchasing a few things in Nassua in hopes that I would find things in Freeport too but I was wrong. Overall our vacation was good, but I would just warn anyone to be careful because you really get what you pay for. I would not cruise Carnival again unless it was a newer ship, and it was probably out of FL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
DH and I wanted to do something special for our 5th anniversary. We'd honeymooned on the QMII but wanted to try a different line this time around. Frankly, our immediate criteria was finding an embarkation port that was within a ... Read More
DH and I wanted to do something special for our 5th anniversary. We'd honeymooned on the QMII but wanted to try a different line this time around. Frankly, our immediate criteria was finding an embarkation port that was within a drivable distance from our home in Durham, NC. This led us to the port of Norfolk, VA, which in turn led us to considering Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. After poking around a bit on Royal Caribbean's site, Cruise Critic, and on-line cruise booking sites, we settled on booking EOS for a 9 night Eastern Caribbean cruise departing May 20th 2010. As it turned out, I also contacted RCI a few times as we neared our sail date with a few specific questions regarding what we could or could not pack; plus, I utilized their web site to check in, print out Set Sail Passes, purchase a wine package, make an RSVP for the specialty restaurant (Chops Grille) and order a bottle of Champagne to be delivered to our stateroom on sail day. Everything turned out as expected. Knowing this, I'll not be quite so anal the next time we cruise ("quite"!) We stayed in Norfolk the night before we sailed at a B&B called The Freemason Inn (review on Trip Advisor). In short, I would not recommend this B&B but it was close to the pier so that was good. We arrived at the pier way too early; it was a bit chaotic with passengers getting off Enchantment, cars everywhere, porters going to and fro, and other people (like us) arriving, eager to get on board! DH parked the gar in one of Norfolk's public parking garages. This one was directly across the street from the pier (Plume Street). Word to the wise; all of the public garages switch to the same daily rate on sail day. We ended up paying $15 per day and had to pre-pay it (the day before, the rates were $12!) The boarding process was a breeze. Everyone was extremely helpful and the process moved along quickly. After going through check-in, we were ushered to a roped off waiting area. Coffee, tea and cookies were provided. We didn't have to wait long; they started boarding us around 11:00. DH and I were #3 and #4 on board (after taking the obligatory Welcome Aboard picture). Since we were #3 and #4 on board, it was obviously quite empty when we stepped aboard Enchantment; thus, we had an unique opportunity to look around and really see what she looked like. Although Enchantment is on the smaller side (although larger than she was after being "stretched" in 2005), we were impressed; she is a truly beautiful ship. We liked the open atrium area, the glass elevators, all of the sparkling polished chrome; it made an excellent first impression! Plus, everything was so clean and fresh (she'd just come out of dry dock in early May). We spent that first afternoon in the Windjammer area near the pool bar waiting to get into our stateroom. We were in by 1:00 pm; very reasonable. When we first arrived, our luggage was not all there but it showed up within a few minutes. Our bottle of Champagne was there on ice waiting for us and we eagerly explored the suite and unpacked. My Fair Lady Dining Room and Food in General We had the 2nd seating in the My Fair Lady dining room. We were originally assigned to a table for 12 in the middle of the bottom level. DH is a bit hard of hearing so he went to the Maitre'd and requested we be re-assigned to a smaller table in a quieter section of the room. They re-assigned us to a perfectly delightful table for two (by a window, no less) towards the rear of the dining room. We had no problem being in the back; in fact, we preferred it. We had excellent service by our waiter, Edmond and our assistance waiter, Clayton (not to mention Placid, who brought us our evening cocktail every night!) We ate in MFL all but one evening. In general, we found the food more than acceptable. There was always a decent selection of food; including options for low fat, low calories, low sugar, low sodium, etc. Each evening we had an appetizer, entrEe and dessert. Only once did I find something not to my liking. Many times, Edmond offered to bring us more than one of whatever we'd ordered and once he brought me two desserts because I couldn't make up my mind between them. We'd arranged to have one of the wine packages (in essence prepaid for 7 bottles of wine which turned out to be a better deal than buying a bottle each night in the dining room). Each evening, we were presented with the list of bottles to chose from (we'd opted for the middle of the road selections) and only one night was what we wanted out of stock and we had to request something else. My only issue with the dining room was that the dress code was not enforced. Many times, we saw people in the dining room wearing shorts, jeans, tank tops, etc., even on formal night. We're not snobs, but, we thought more attention should have been paid to this as it sort of took away from the elegance of the evening. There is always the Windjammer for those who don't want to dress for dinner. And speaking of the Windjammer, they actually enforced the dress code better than the main dining room! I wandered in there one afternoon looking for a snack and was told I had to go "cover up" (I had come in from the pool area and did not have a tee shirt on over my bathing suit). We ate in the Windjammer a few times for breakfast and lunch/afternoon snacks. The food was really good; fresh with a lot of options but, my, the crowds; people seemed to check their brains at the door, too). Also, I found it a bit off-putting when they'd shut down one side of the buffet an hour before it closed (getting ready for the next meal, I guess). It was amusing how quickly the bus boys snatched up any unused utensil, cup, plate, etc., off the tables! Better hold on to your self or they may snatch you up, too! Many afternoons we partook of the snacks over in the Solarium; pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, fresh fruit, cookies, etc.) We don't typically eat a lot of "junk" food but, man, were those French fries good! So good, in fact, that people started picking up the bin of them and dumping the entire contents on their plates. After that, the staff moved the French fries behind the pizza counter to be meted out a bit more equally! We also ordered room service several mornings. We delighted in this, too; since it was included in the rate and normally this is a luxury we don't indulge in. However, we did have a challenge trying to get the room service staff to understand we wanted TWO pots of coffee, even though ONE pot was supposed to serve two people (it didn't, unless you only require a cup and a half of coffee in the morning!) We paid the extra $25 per person to eat at Chops Grille one evening. This was DEFINITELY worth it; a step up in both food and service (and since the food and service in MFL was just fine; you can imagine how wonderful Chops Grille was!) Just imagine a typical, traditional Chop House in, say, Chicago or another big mid-western city, and, you'll have an idea of the food available in Chops Grille. Also, a fantastic wine list. Wrapping up food; we did not make it to the (one) midnight buffet they had. We typically did not finish up with our dinner until 10:30 or so. We just couldn't stuff any more food done that night! We only ate breakfast in MFL the morning we got off the ship. This was fine; nicer than the Windjammer in that is was a lot more civilized but breakfast was only served in there from 7-9 (or something like that) which was just too early for us throughout the cruise itself. Drinks A lot of people were griping beforehand that drinks on cruises are too expensive, especially the drink of the day; not to mention watered down. We didn't find them that expensive and the drink of the day (typically something with rum) was $5. Additionally, if you had a good poolside server (like we did with Placid), they were more than generous with the alcohol. We got a kick out of Dr. Yummy wandering around with a tray of cocktails announcing it was "Yummy yummy time" or, "Here is the medication for your vacation". Yeah, those were a bit steep; $7 or $8 BUT he'd gladly add a few extra shots of rum and you got to keep the "glass". In general, we stuck to beer, diet Coke and rum but we did imbibe in some of those frozen drinks on especially hot days. I fell in love with the frozen Mojitos. As previously mentioned, the wine list/packages were acceptable. The only "ouch" came in the form of spending almost $40 for two glasses of Champagne in the Champagne Bar one night. We did find it a bit odd that we were not able to take our half-consumed bottle of wine (from dinner) with us back to our room and yet it was perfectly fine for us to fill up our wine glasses to the brim and leave the dining room with them. Also, we were not able to order a bottle of Scotch or Cognac to have in our room for a night cap. That would have been nice, but, I suppose the idea is for you to be out in one of the lounges (we loved the Viking Crown Lounge and the Schooner Bar) or in the casino or at a show having drinks THERE. As far as non-alcoholic drinks, there was complimentary coffee, iced tea and lemonade pretty much every day, somewhere. There were both packages for all you can drink soda, too; plus, bottled water packages (we did end up paying $32 for eight large bottles of Evian, which were delivered to our stateroom). We ordered sodas a few times; about 1/2 the cost of a beer for a can of soda. Additionally, there was a Seattle's Best on board where we could have purchased lattes and the like; plus, a Ben and Jerry's (although with all that free dessert (including soft serve ice cream, why pa extra for that?) Service EVERYONE was wonderful. All of the staff always had smiles on their faces and were extremely helpful and pleasant. Our stateroom attendant, Esther, was excellent. We sure enjoyed seeing what towel creature we'd find in our stateroom each evening! Seriously, considering these folks sign on for 7 1/2 months and work 7 days a week, RCI must definitely be doing something right with regards to their employees. Next time I'm on board a RCI ship, I'd love to chat with their HR person! The only issue we had was when one of the waiters in the Spot Light Lounge one night got my Sea Pass card mixed up with someone else's. I didn't notice it until the next morning and went to Guest Relations to get it taken care of; no problem. Fellow Passengers Around the time we booked the cruise, I signed up for Cruise Critic and met several of our future fellow passengers via this forum. What a great experience; not only did I get several questions answered by these veteran cruisers, but, we organized an excursion together in Samana. Needless to say, all of these folks were wonderful. Ages ranged from late 20s (I'd say) to 70 or older. Initially, we thought the average age of fellow passengers was going to be 60 or more but it turned out this might have been because more senior folks were on board first (again, we were #3 and #4 on board). As the days went on, we adjusted the average age to be in the mid 30s to mid 40s. We didn't experience any issues with our fellow passengers save the minor irritations that arise from simply having so many people in one confined space at once. Yes, there were a few rude, pushy, loud, annoying or obtuse folks on board, but, definitely the exception, NOT the norm. All in all we loved Enchantment of the Seas. We're sorry that she is no longer sailing out of Norfolk but hope one day we'll catch her again. The RCI experience was fantastic; truly, it rivaled the QMII at about 1/2 the price. Who needs those white gloves, anyway? We were so "Enchanted" with RCI that we've already booked our next cruise with them on Radiance of the Seas next January. 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
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we were on one of the higher floors. We stayed on the 8th floor of the Grandeur. The room was actually bigger than I had imagined. The bed was very comfy, except that since its two twins pushed together to make a queen, sometimes we would wake up with a big crack in the middle of the bed it seemed like because the mattresses didnt sit up beside each other very well. The room was always very clean, the maid staff was great! We only saw them on the first day, so they could tell us what to do with towels and the little cards that go in the key slots on the door. After that we never saw them...only the remnants of always coming back to a clean room! The entertainment on board was pretty good. We saw a movie in the palladium theater on a rainy day. And we went to one of the late night shows in one of the lounges. We didnt see the comedian or anything like that, we stayed busy doing our own thing most of the cruise.The pool in the Solarium was our favorite...probably because its 16+ to get in (or supposed to be anyway!!!) The pool outside was always really loud with music. There were a lot of families with kids, and teenagers in that area. So we stayed in the Solarium where it was much quieter, I could read and still get some sun because they opened up the glass roof when the weather was nice. I also layed out on the top deck (deck 10) at the back of the ship by the rock wall. Its fairly quiet back there also, and not a lot of traffic because the rock wall isnt always open.The drinks were always very good, and pretty strong! Which surprised me (pleasantly). They were usually between $7.00-$9.00 (with a 15% gratuity already included in the price) so we never tipped ontop of the price. Bermuda was GORGEOUS. I cant wait to go back. We were docked in the Royal Naval Dockyard. We opted to go to the beach the first day we were there. The beach was beautiful, and not very crowded. We took the bus (which is a great way to get around there! I highly reccomend it!) to the beach for the day, and then back to the ship in the early afternoon to grab some food. Then we took the ferry (your bus pass is good for the ferry too) over to Hamilton. Unfortunately, the town was closed because of a holiday while we were there, but otherwise it looked like it had a lot to do.We were going to eat dinner in Bermuda...there are two places right near the dock, the Frog & Onion (mostly burgers...kind of a pub type place) and Bonefish. We ended up not eating at either because Bonefish was pretty pricey for dinner, and we weren't in the mood for burgers. Now, for the bad..... since this was our first cruise we had read reviews, asked friends and done as much research as we could before going. One of the main things that we were looking forward to was the food on the ship. You always hear about how good the food is and how theres always an abundance, but for us this was no where near the case.The food quality was quite poor in both our opinions. While there was plenty to choose from in the Windjammer, the food lacked taste and quality. I compared it to a low-grade golden corral (if that). Please keep in mind this was merely our experience... Even at dinner, the food was very poor. We chose the my time dining (which i wouldnt do again), and ate in the main dining room 4 out of the 5 nights we were onboard. One night I had shrimp ravioli that was pretty good, and other night we had lobster that was good. Other than those two nights, both myself and my husband left feeling not very full because we didnt eat our entire meal because of the taste. The my time dining seemed very chaotic. We had a different waiter every night, and we always felt rushed. The traditional dining part of the restaurant seemed much more calm, and we noticed that the waiters would act differently toward their tables. For instance, you always hear about people saying they had lobster one night and their waiter asked if they'd like more? Well they never asked us. As a matter of fact, we noticed a table that had traditional dining- same waiter every night, and they waiter came out with big plates of lobster tails asking his table if they wanted more. Our waiter never asked us...he barely ever came to our table! And I honestly dont think it was just that one night, each night we had someone different, and none of them were overly friendly or helpful. All in all, we had a good time. I think we might go back again.... it might take some convincing on my part though. I was very disappointed in the food quality, however... I have heard rumors from people that the food on another line has gone by the wayside as well, due to cutting costs instead of upping ticket prices. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
DH and I chose to celebrate our 1st Anniversary by taking a 5-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.  We sailed her for our honeymoon last year and really enjoyed the attentiveness and excitement of the crew.  ... Read More
DH and I chose to celebrate our 1st Anniversary by taking a 5-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.  We sailed her for our honeymoon last year and really enjoyed the attentiveness and excitement of the crew.  I gained 8 POUNDS throughout the cruise last year and my focus this year was fitness and eating healthy.  We arrived in Norfolk, VA at 12 pm and with a quick shuttle ride to the cruise port and a smooth check in process, we were on the ship by 12:30 pm. We went up to the pool deck until the rooms were available around 1:30 pm.  We were surprised to find out that many of the crew members that made the cruise special for us were not aboard a year later.  We had another cruise party director other than Dan Dan the Party Man and Mama was no longer passing out Bingo Cards.  The cruise entertainment staff did a great job keeping us entertained this cruise but we found ourselves getting nostalgic for last year's staff.  The entertainment shows also did not change much from last year so most nights were spent up in the Viking Crown Lounge Cigar Bar.  We were so pleased the first night to find Ken still working there since he made our cruise last year.  Now on to my fitness efforts... Grandeur of the Seas has a small spa and fitness center up on the 9th floor with 4 treadmills, 2-3 ellipticals, exercise bikes, free weights, and weight lifting machines.  It also has a space for group classes.  It was very busy in the mornings between 7-10 am and although signs were posted everywhere that there was a 20 minute limit on the cardio machines, it was still hard to find an open machine.  My goal was to workout at least 30 minutes a day whether it be taking an exercise class or scaling the rock climbing wall.  It became routine for DH and I to head up to the gym first thing in the morning and then head to the Windjammer for breakfast everyday.  I stuck to the Vitality meals and ate plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  I also was amazed at the classes available now for people wanting to live healthier.  I learned how to increase my metabolism, foods to eat to keep my belly flat, and even was able to get a body composition analysis (BCA).  The BCA gave me my optimal weight, body fat percentage, lean muscle percentage, and an idea of how water is utilized in my body. DH and I enjoyed the couples warm stone massage.  I also tried the Ion Cellulite Reduction treatment that was supposed to remove toxins from the body and help you lose inches in trouble areas but didn't see any difference afterwards and I refused to purchase a $500 lotion that you apply for 60 days for increased results.  Dislikes: 1.CD skipped making it very difficult on Name that tune game.2. Purchased 2 day bus and ferry ticket at Excursion Desk which were not honored when we arrived in Bermuda. I had to purchase the 2 day pass again and had slight difficulty getting a refund from the Excursion Desk the next morning.3. Billing Mistakes: Some of the Spa Charges that should have been on my account appeared on my husband's account and the gratuities should have been solely on my husband's account.  We fill out receipts and paperwork specifically informing the purser's desk where the funds should go and it is frustrating to have to wait in line at the end of the cruise to correct billing errors.Likes:1.  The food and our dining staff was exceptional... Thanks Carlos Vasquez and Mr. Small!!!!2.  Ken in the Viking Crown Lounge.       Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Pre Cruise - D (For American Airlines)We left on a stormy evening in St. Louis.  When we arrived, our American Airlines flight was already delayed 3 hours.  By the time we ate a little dinner our flight was canceled.  The next flight ... Read More
Pre Cruise - D (For American Airlines)We left on a stormy evening in St. Louis.  When we arrived, our American Airlines flight was already delayed 3 hours.  By the time we ate a little dinner our flight was canceled.  The next flight was next morning, and it was full.  We should have been on that flight because my husband is platinum on AA, but they overlooked us.  There was no way we would make it to Norfolk, VA to meet our cruise before it left.  All of the flights to and around Norfolk were cancelled.  Plan B was to drive to Norfolk from St. Louis (15 hours!), and it was storming, as I mentioned before, and there were tornadoes on the path to VA, so we moved to Plan C.  Plan C was to use our trip insurance to pay for a flight to meet the cruise at its destination, Bermuda.  That wasn't going to work as well as we thought, so we moved to Plan D.  Plan D was to check flights again going anywhere near Norfolk.  Most of those were also canceled because of the weather.  However, there was one flight going to Reagan- D.C.  It was leaving at 11pm ish.  We hopped on that flight, and then arrived at Reagan at around 2am.  We rented a car from Hertz...who knew they were open!  We climbed into our Nissan Altima with some life-saving equipment - a Never Lost - a.k.a. GPS.  Since we had the Never Lost, we decided to do some impromptu sightseeing around Washington D.C. before driving 3 or so hours to Norfolk, VA.Norfolk, VA / Embarkation - A+We arrived at the cruise terminal via a taxi ($28 +tip for both to ride) from the airport where we dropped off our rental car.  There were no lines at all when we arrived at 11am.  We were finished with the embarkation procedure at 11:30am.  No upgrades for this cruise.   Cabin - AOur cabin was 4749 (inside cabin) and we had a wonderful cabin steward that we never saw except for the first night, which we were fine with.  He was so thorough and came in to do his work while we were not there.  We loved his towel animal creations.  The bathroom was a good size for a cruise ship bathroom, and we had ample closet and drawer space.  The bed was comfortable.  I would recommend bringing a power strip if you have a few things that you would need to plug in.  We were charging various items, and I was using a hairdryer and straightener at the desk area.  Overall, we really enjoyed the location of our cabin in terms of proximity to the elevators/stairs.  We didn't feel a lot of rocking, and we felt like we had a wonderful cabin.  Overall, this was the largest inside cabin I had ever stayed in.  Cruise Experience - ADinner was something we always looked forward to each evening.  We selected late seating and a table of two.  We were pleased to see both requests were honored.  It was such a wonderful experience to dine in the Great Gatsby Dining Room.  We ate every night in the dining room because the quality of the food was so superior, we enjoyed our surroundings, we like to get dressed up, and our wait staff was the BEST!  Our waiter was Jozef, our Assistant Waiter was Karl, and our headwaiter was Kirk.  All were excellent servers, and eventually by the end of the cruise, they learned our preferences.  I always like iced tea with my dinner, so it was waiting for me when we arrived, and Christian prefers ice water.  I also always have dessert, and I love decaf coffee with lots of cream.  We always started dinner with an appetizer like shrimp cocktail, escargot, or mushroom puff pastry.  There were so many to choose from, and the menu changed each night.  After appetizers, we always had either a soup or salad.  Our favorite was the lobster bisque, but I also liked the minestrone, pumpkin bisque and chilled strawberry soup.  Our favorite salad by far was the caesar.  After that we always had an entree.  Our favorites were the prime rib, lobster tails, shrimp scampi, and pork.  They had really fancy names I can't remember right now.  The lobster tails were the best I have ever eaten.  The desserts were to die for!  I loved this decadent chocolate/ fudge dessert.  I asked for more!  The cheesecake, pots de crème, and all chocolate desserts were heavenly!The buffet in the windjammer was above average, and we really enjoyed the variety each day and the fresh brewed Seattle's Best Coffee.  We dined in the dining room once at breakfast, and it was a wonderful experience.  Mostly for breakfast and lunch we prefer to eat at our leisure and not get dressed up, so the Windjammer was perfect for our preferences.We felt like the entertainment and activities that were offered were fair.  We didn't attend the shows because we much preferred to sit in one of the lounges or walk the promenade deck in the evenings.  We enjoyed using the Fitness facilities, and we thought the rock climbing wall was challenging and so much fun!  We did enjoy the main pool and the solarium.  There were not any children in the adult pool in the solarium, so it was easy to relax with adults if we chose.The only real complaint about my cruise experience I had was that the Internet was expensive and slow.  We had a deal going through on our home, and we wanted to see our son on Skype.  We did get to check email, but Skype didn't work.Bermuda - AThe natives are so friendly, the public transportation is wonderful, and most parts of the island are not trash-filled like other islands we have been to.  It is an expensive island, but if you do most of your eating on ship, you won't break the bank.The first day, we bought a ferry and bus pass onboard that had to be redeemed at the ferry terminal.  After we redeemed our tickets, we hopped on a ferry to St. George.  It was a nice ride, and there was a friendly Bermudian working who gave us tips about the island.  St. George is a quaint town.  The shopping isn't great, but it was fun to look.  We did make our way to Alexandria Battery Beach to explore the Battery and pick up a treasure trove of sea glass.  This was one of my favorite things we did on Bermuda.  We ate lunch at a cafe, walked around King's Square and took pictures.  We then took a bus to Hamilton.  We took pictures, shopped for some souvenirs and did a lot of walking around the city just to take it in.  The second day in port, we took a bus (which broke down) to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse.  The views were fantastic!  This is a must see.  We also went to Horseshoe Bay.  It was a little crowded, but the beach and facilities were very clean.  We then went into Hamilton to go to Fort Hamilton.  That was a great free attraction, but it did need to be cleaned up a bit.  We did some more sightseeing, took a ferry back to the Dockyards, and then ate a late lunch on the boat.Disembarkation - AThis was a smooth process.  We ate breakfast, and then we walked to the Palladium Theater for Express Walk-off.  It began promptly at 7:30am.  The only complaint we had was that people didn't fill out their declaration cards prior to getting to customs, but that was not Royal Caribbean's fault.  After getting through customs, we took a taxi to the airport for our flight, which returned us safely to St. Louis.    Overall Impressions - ARoyal Caribbean is going to be our cruise line of choice from now on, and we loved Grandeur of the Seas.  This ship was comfortable and inviting, and the staff was top-notch!  Thank you to all involved for making our cruise vacation phenomenal! 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Sail Date May 2009
This will be fun to write and I hope enjoyable to read. I will be totally honest and opinionated so bear with me.  This being my 4th cruise and my fiancees first it was fun to see things through his eyes too!  We had an absolute blast. ... Read More
This will be fun to write and I hope enjoyable to read. I will be totally honest and opinionated so bear with me.  This being my 4th cruise and my fiancees first it was fun to see things through his eyes too!  We had an absolute blast. And we did it OUR WAY ! Embarkation and debarkation were speedy, smooth and hardly any waiting, course we got onboard at 12:30.  I heard the lines were longer about 1:30.  Every staff member from the pool servers to the cabin stewards to the greeters at registration to the porters, were there to serve you in any way they could, and always with a smile!The cabin was the smallest I have ever had, our luggage didnt fit under the very comfortable bed, altho we had huge luggage which did fit in the closet.  Storage space was adequate. More storage behind the mirrors too, look for it!  Glad we brought a nite lite as the inside staterooms are pitch black at night.  Our steward, Wilbert and Ms. Lovelace were fabulous and kept the room spotless and the linens well stocked.  Do bring your own shampoo and conditioner as they have a combination dispenser in the shower that didnt do a thing for my long hair.  Do bring a power strip if you have things to charge. The shower is super tiny but the water pressure and temp were perfect as was the air conditioning.  The TV is very small but does come out and swivel to the bed for viewing.  Cute towel animals greet u each nite! Just precious, but no chocolate.  Towards the end of the cruise we noticed a sewage smell in the hall as well as in the cabin, many others commented on it too.The Windjammer is the best designed buffet I have ever seen, traffic moved quickly and smoothly with plenty to choose from.  Nothing real spectacular, but it was good and the seating and view is terrific no matter where you sit.  Wait staff cant do enough for you and keep it spotless in there!The Great Gatsby Dining Room was probably beautiful, I wouldnt know, somehow we got seated at a table for 8, which i had requested in January when i booked the cruise, altho we were up against a beautiful round window and enjoyed the view and the 6  very entertaining table mates, I would have preferred to sit in the big dining room with the rest of the travelers, as it was we missed the waiters singing and their parade of nations. We were at table 2, there were 24 people in the little room which did have a private entrance off the ship hallway, so that allowed us NOT to wait in line at the early seating.  My fiancee was thrilled to be in this private room and said it was much quieter and cozier than the big dining room.  Our waiter and asst. were wonderful, treated us like royalty and memorized our beverages and knew our likes and dislikes.  The food was food, nothing spectacular, we tried many new things, enjoyed them, but we have had better.  The steaks always seemed to be tough, as mentioned by everyone at the table. Entertainment staff was excellent, their ideas, games and poolside antics were fun to watch and/or participate in.  Don't miss THE QUEST ! OR THE MARRIAGE SHOW & THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES ALL IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC LOUNGE.Enjoyed the two comedians and the final show, but didnt get to watch the ship performers as we were busy in the casino. My fiancee hit the $1000 diamond progressive jackpot on the first formal nite at the penny machines.  He was a happy clam for the rest of the cruise and didnt give it back !  Being smokers we were not considered outcasts, we could smoke on open decks on the starboard side as well as in the casino.  There were many many smokers on board.First Formal Night, we had pictures taken that turned out wonderful. If you buy 4 8x10's you get the 5th one free and they put it in a big leather frame/book with a picture of the ship.  Very classy, yet expensive, but I was worth it, after all I never looked so good in all my finery!  I will always treasure those pictures, just a fabulous rememberance!  I didnt see any formal pictures being taken on the 2nd formal night.  Altho they do have a photographer taking casual fun shots on a white background or a beach background, i saw numerous people taking advantage of that fun idea, its right near the portrait store.  We tried to attend the captains champagne social but the room was filled, so we grabbed a glass and moved on to the schooner bar and listened to the piano man.Not real impressed with the shops, altho the liquor prices and marlboro prices were very reasonable.  "Inch of Gold" looks pretty but it does "turn" as I had purchased it 2 years ago on another cruise. At noon everyday, the captain gives a quick brief over the load speaker, it would get real quiet no matter where you were as all ears were tuned to his very dry humor and comical reports.  DO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS, HE'S TERRIFIC! San Juan was pleasant, the weather couldn't have been better, we docked at 2pm, were off the boat by 3pm and walked around Old San Juan,  this is my second trip and my fiancee was not impressed.  The stores closed at 5pm and it was Mother's Day, so many were closed anyway.  TIP: When you get off the boat there will be many drivers offering you a 2 hr tour of old and new San Juan, for $10 @,  definitely take it.  Its an air conditioned ride that you will really enjoy and learn a lot.  I had taken the tour a couple years ago, fiancEe was more interested in getting back on the ship, he had more fun there! Oh, well! St. Thomas, (my 2nd visit) of course is a beautiful island, but having never ventured to the beaches I still enjoyed myself at the shops along the pier and the covered flea market in town.  The tiny jewelry stores and shabby streets didn't do a thing for me.  Some friends went up to the top of the mountain and said it was a real treat to see the bird show and the view. Samana, Dominican Republic is an absolute disgrace, Royal Caribbean should be ashamed to even take their guests to this shabby port! It was horrendous, filthy, vendors practically begging  you and tour directors almost demanding you get in their vehicles even tho the only words they used were: waterfall, beach ride & $10 dollars. Most just kept showing you pictures of beaches or waterfalls and opening the door to their van.  NOT ON YOUR LIFE AM I GETTING IN THERE WITH YOU.  I did see some fellow travelers in a small rickshaw-type vehicle being dragged by a motorbike.  I don't think there are any traffic laws and the chaos was scary to watch. We walked the short waters edge to the many vendors under tents, once that was completed we were back on board within the hour.  Many of us felt very uncomfortable here. Don't miss the REMAX Realty office with laundry hanging all over the building, it will be on your right side as you walk towards the vendors. Larabee, our last port is a private island owned by the cruiseline. LOAD UP ON THE SUNSCREEN!  A two story boat came from the island to pick us up, it ran very frequently.  This is an absolutely stunning sight, very tropical, loads of  lounge chairs, which you do not have to pay to have them moved to a certain spot.  Hammocks hanging everywhere for your  absolute relaxation.  We did the $89, Zip line ride, which was absolutely fabulous, something I will never forget ! 500 ft. above the trees/ water and half a mile ride at about 45 miles per hour!  After an enjoyable lunch we walked over to the Artisian Market and outside vendors.  Wait a cool sight!  No one announced that we should have taken some money with us as the vendors do not accept your sea pass card.  That information would have been helpful.  I did have a $20 bill with me so we walked thru, what a mistake !  Each of the 50 or more vendors had exactly the same thing and were in your face and not accepting " No" for an answer, it got to be frightening and there was nothing there that I needed.  Typical island treats.  I tried once more to go in and browse but the vendors were so overpowering I had to leave.  There are many water sports on this island and just a beautiful scenery to enjoy.  BEWARE: when we came thru customs in Norfolk, every  single person who had purchased a wooden spear, mask, fan, statue, doll or anything made of wood from this island, was escorted by security into a private room.  There were about 50 people just sitting in this room when we went thru about 915 am.  Guess they were looking for drugs or bugs or something.  But the "held" vacationer didn't look too happy. Our time aboard the ship was absolutely the grandest and we are looking forward to our next trip on the Water.  My fiancEe has agreed cruising is the way to vacation: everything at your fingertips!  food, entertainment, no arranging transportation and being treated like Royalty. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009

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