51 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Holiday Cruise Reviews

Embarkation - OK, long line but moved along well, no issues. Ship - I understand it is due a refresh, you can see some areas need it BUT not a problem. Food - good food buffet choice was good, restaurant, small portions but good. Went to ... Read More
Embarkation - OK, long line but moved along well, no issues. Ship - I understand it is due a refresh, you can see some areas need it BUT not a problem. Food - good food buffet choice was good, restaurant, small portions but good. Went to Portifino steak was great. Cafe in promenade starbucks coffee great, snack food choice great especially late at night, get the cupcakes. Jonny Rockets was a bit of a waste of space - top deck never seen it busy at all, if they relocated it to promenade then more people would use it I think. Crew - all good, very friendly and welcoming. Ports of call - Labadee could be better, did not like dogs roaming about, but good to get off ship for the day. Other ports at ABC islands very good. Entertainment - all good. Disembarkation - was terrible, took a long time and we were self assist. Line to disembark was into the casino where you are allowed to smoke - we do not smoke!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Disney Dream cruise was the best experience right from the start. Here is a detailed view: Checkin Process online prior to arrival at port - very simple and straight forward with all options clearly defined. Checkin process at port - ... Read More
Disney Dream cruise was the best experience right from the start. Here is a detailed view: Checkin Process online prior to arrival at port - very simple and straight forward with all options clearly defined. Checkin process at port - well organized and efficient. For little kids, get the electronic band immediately post checkin before 3pm. Boarding - Welcome team announces your family and you feel good as the crew and ambience make you feel that you are entering magical world. This is the just the beginning. Day 1 - Save up your energy and sign up for lot of kids activities. There is ton of stuff for teenagers too. For adults there are good socializing options. Day 2-4, it is filled with fun activities. Suggestions: 1. Don't need special cameras, let Disney crew take as many pictures as they can. Don't feel shy. It is worth it. In the end you can buy the cd and prints for a reasonable price around $300+ for unlimited pictures. 2. Pick your food selection of your choice based on dietary interests. You can always order food on the menu for free. 3. Pick a deck level 6-9 as they are the best, to avoid motion sickness. Room at the middle section is best. Stateroom with Verandah is worth the price. 4. Keep your valuables in room safe. 5. Take Airborne or similar to boost immune system. Use the wipes they give everywhere to stay healthy. 6. Tip your Head Server, Server and Assistant along with your host/hostess. They work 14 long hard hours to make your trip worthwhile. 7. Take Snorkle and swimming gear with you. If you can take swim jackets is worth it. Otherwise, they quickly add up in costing. 8. In Nassau, take the trip to see using the taxi first and then come back to ship for lunch and then go back for some more walking around downtown which is near port. All walkable distance of less than 5 min. You can pay everything in USD, and items are priced reasonably. Stores perpendicular to Main Street have better price on same product. Be mindful of pickpockets and folks swiping stuff. Otherwise very safe place. 9. In Castaway Cay, it is Disney property and most items are free except Snorkle gear and swimming gear etc. 10. As everything is charged to room and charge card on file. Be mindful, of what is free and what costs. Best of all it is crew and team work that make it memorable. There is plenty of food, soft drinks and ice creams for free always. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had a great cruise this December on Freedom. A child's life was saved and we made it home safely, with a loss of propulsion power. The ship was in great order otherwise. The staff were exceptional, and cruisers were friendly and ... Read More
We had a great cruise this December on Freedom. A child's life was saved and we made it home safely, with a loss of propulsion power. The ship was in great order otherwise. The staff were exceptional, and cruisers were friendly and polite. There were a lot of experienced cruises, as in diamond plus and above. Most experienced cruises did not mind missing Cozumel, while some were disappointed because the were looking forward to something there. Either way the captain makes the decisions and I am happy as long as all are safe. There was some excessive vibration in the aft, but usually only noticed this for a few minutes. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had a very enjoyable week. This was our 5th Carnival cruise and most of our expectations were delivered. Firstly we do not use the Spa or the premium steak restaurants so we cannot comment on those. The Sunshine could easily have ... Read More
We had a very enjoyable week. This was our 5th Carnival cruise and most of our expectations were delivered. Firstly we do not use the Spa or the premium steak restaurants so we cannot comment on those. The Sunshine could easily have been mistaken for a new ship. We have been on several previous cruises on new ships and this one compares. The embarking and disembarking experiences were excellent as expected. The food was just Okay. the breakfast buffet was the same every day which became a little boring. You do have the option of the burrito bar which was good. Again the lunch buffet seemed to be similar each day which became a little boring. Food quality was Okay. We did try the stir fry which was excellent (which explains the lunchtime lines), and the pasta bar which was good. Also, the Burger bar was excellent and very popular as was the Pizza bar. Dinner was again acceptable but not excellent quality. Maybe what you would expect from carnival as compared to a cruise line that would be more upmarket. The showtime experience on the sunshine was not quite up to the level that we have come to expect from Carnival. The stage looks smaller and there is no orchestra pit. This is to cater for the theater doubling as night club where they want the extra dancing space. The other entertainment experiences were up to the standards that we have come to expect from carnival. Overall, a very enjoyable week. I would recommend the Sunshine and would have no problem recommending it to others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Hi all, just done two weeks on Liberty around the East and West Caribbean. Good information to start the cruise from Carnival and the simple booking in system meant a minimum of delay on getting on board. We did two days in Cocoa Beach to ... Read More
Hi all, just done two weeks on Liberty around the East and West Caribbean. Good information to start the cruise from Carnival and the simple booking in system meant a minimum of delay on getting on board. We did two days in Cocoa Beach to help reduce the jetlag and found a wonderful place called, 'Fat Kahunas' which gave us one of the nicest meals we have ever tasted, so good, we booked for the day we came back from the cruise. Our cabin was spotless and our steward immaculate on both weeks, becoming almost a friend in their quest to assist. Son aged 14 enrolled into Circle C and we didn't see much of him apart from the trips and formal dinners - there seemed much for him to do. Probably had nothing to do with the teenage girls on the cruise either but hey ho. We ate in anytime dining and were extremely well looked after by the front of house team, their smiles brightened up the evening; we never bother where we sit as long as we can get food so putting us at a table wasn't too difficult. We had a bit of a wait one night when the battery failed in the bleeper and we received some lovely chocolates in the room by way of a not necessary apology. Praise Point: The staff are what makes this ship tick, they are simply outstanding and so hard working, a pleasure to be with them at this festive time. Development Point 1: Entertainment; we sailed on Liberty last year and the entertainment was nothing like what we found then. Fortunately, we are not drinkers nor massive on the entertainment side but we were slightly put out at the poor showing. We took a couple of excursions to the Mayan ruins on Cozumel which at St Gervaise were superb and Mike the guide, took us last year and was as outstanding on this years trip. Another asset to his culture and Carnival. We also did the trip on Roatan to the Marine biology centre which was brilliant, the rum cake 'factory' which was a shack near the lighthouse and I do not give my recommendation to a visit there as it seemed to be a quick take a small piece, decide and then buy. I prefer a laid back approach which wasn't abundant there. The Cameo visit was superb and an education, so laid back I did not realise that things were for sale there and had to ask - they were so lovely and dedicated to their craft, one of only two places in the world that does this work and well worth seeing. Development Point 2: The ship published details of armed robberies on this Island but when we asked the locals, they claimed that the robber had been severely dealt with and was in prison. Not sure how accurate or timely that advice was. The food on the ship was excellent and plentiful; I sent two dishes back, one an Eggs Benedict that had rock hard yolks (I was promised soft and runny!!) and no sauce apart from a yellow coating (I insisted I did not receive another!) and the second one was the mussels of which two were closed,,,,,,, not a good sign when mussels are closed. Other than that, the food was varied and as good as we can taste anywhere. Development Point 3: On Deck 6 where we were, there was a strong smell of faeces occasionally, I don't think it was someone with wind but it was very whiffy on more than one occasion. In addition, there was a noticeable list in the ship on its way back to Canaveral and vibration from what one Mariner on the cruise thought, a bent propeller. Either way, it could probably have been mentioned. Afternoon tea was another highlight on sea days and a chance to catch up, two Veterans meeting hours each week were really good, well supported and nice of Carnival to put on tea and coffee. Development Point 4: Someone insisted on putting coffee into the jugs and not washing them properly and the taste permeated each jug, as a result, I stopped ordering tea from room service and I took a cup at the Vets meeting and the taste of rancid coffee in the water was really strong and disgusting. As a retired military logistician, I think the people who do that ought to be made to drink it!! no point in mentioning it as the damage was done. The smell of smoke was creeping further than it should from the casino area, often being smelt on the promenade deck in the shops, I wonder if the extractors need a bit more ooommfff? Disembarkation was quite a simple process and was a pleasure until,,,,,,,,,,,,, we got ashore. Port Canaveral was a shambles. There were 5 ships in and a new terminal opening and no one from Carnival or the Port thought it a good idea to tell us. The taxi firm is literally only one company with limited cars and were overwhelmed so the lady wasn't ordering any taxis for anyone else other than her firm and strangers like us didn't know how to get to the hire car place. That is another story, National only sent one bus to our terminal and nearly two hours later, another had not appeared. We waited another 40 minutes for a taxi and went down to collect the car. A simple note to make sure that pickup was previously arranged would have prevented us spoiling our day and missing out on the trip to Kennedy Space Centre. A shambles and I probably wont be going back to Canaveral and couldn't recommend it I am afraid. Two hours and a bit to clear the port after disembarkation is not good. In summary, Liberty was fun, the crew amazing and did their best to make us welcome and share their Christmas away from their families with us. We have the usual lovely memories, it was an excellent place to be at this time; would we sail on her again? Almost certainly but we might even try a sister ship to compare but Carnival need to really address the entertainment side of things and up their game in that direction. We didn't go on a trip in Belize but I understand that some passengers were delayed by lack of tenders, it is probably little comfort to them that we waited for the rush to finish as suggested and walked onto a tender with no wait having breakfasted in slow time. It must have been quite serious as we got $50 per person as a shipboard 'sorry' from the skipper which was really nice but I am sorry to hear others were very inconvenienced. Cant wait until the next cruise with Carnival   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was the December 2nd nine night cruise, Southern Caribbean with stops at Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Labadee. Embarkation-We arrived early, around 10. There was a bit of a line, and they started getting us through screening and ... Read More
This was the December 2nd nine night cruise, Southern Caribbean with stops at Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Labadee. Embarkation-We arrived early, around 10. There was a bit of a line, and they started getting us through screening and check in a short time later. We were checked in and ready to board by 10:30, and they had us in a waiting area for around 15 minutes, on board before 11. It was a nice change from Port Liberty taking a crosswalk onto the ship at deck 4 rather than a gangplank on deck 1. One good thing about boarding in the first group was getting to windjammer for a bite before the crowd hit. It had the usual buffet fare, hot and tasty. We had an aft corner balcony again, this time 9690 on the port side. The cabin was ready a little after 1, and except for the older tube style TV, everything looked clean and fresh. We hit the pool for a while, then off to the muster drill. It still amazes me how people just want to skip the drill, which just delays the departure and they take the risk of being put off the ship. Anyway, it was quick and painless, and we were ready to sail. We had My Time dining, a little later than we preferred-there were a LOT of older people on this cruise and it seems they all wanted to eat early. As on previous cruises, the food and service was first rate, and our servers were fantastic. We skipped the MDR one night to go to the mystery dinner theater in Portofinos. This had a limited menu, but the food was great. The show itself was a bit cheesy, with acting that reminded me of a high school play-I highly recommend it, loads of fun. We only went to a couple of shows, the juggling comedians and the Love and Marriage show. Again, it was a nice interlude with plenty of laughs. Excursions- Aruba we took the Atlantis submarine ride. It was a little cramped and the seats were a bit low to see comfortably out the portholes, but everyone did have an individual seat and view. Thy spent a lot of time making turns to make sure everyone was able to see things. Pretty good but something I think I'd only do once. Bonaire and Curacao we just took beach excursions and went swimming and snorkeling, great clear water, a perfect temperature to stay in for hours. We signed up for the Castaway at Malfini in Labadee which was cancelled due to not enough people, and we couldn't get another excursion so we walked around a bit and went up to the artisan's market. I'll skip that in the future, the vendors are a bit too aggressive for my liking. We spent the rest of the day either by the pool, or at a party that our roll call group arranged. Debarkation-We were set up with the space center tour and transportation to the Orlando airport, so we were supposed to self debark with the group early. We were a little delayed because of a medical emergency, someone had to be taken off by paramedics. We were able to make up for lost time and didn't miss out on anything on the tour-It's a must see if you have any interest in science and space flight. Leigh and Erky were their usual whacky selves, and have a great interaction with the passengers. It's a shame Erky is leaving RC and Leigh going to another ship. All in all, another great job by Royal on a terrific ship   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I don't consider us as experienced cruisers since this is our our 3rd cruise only. Please take this into consideration. We have previously cruised on Disney Dream and the Norwegian Epic. We were a group of 26 people in 7 staterooms ... Read More
I don't consider us as experienced cruisers since this is our our 3rd cruise only. Please take this into consideration. We have previously cruised on Disney Dream and the Norwegian Epic. We were a group of 26 people in 7 staterooms (all ocean view) . Ages are from 5 to 78. Few days before sailing, we received an email regarding a change in the itinerary due to problems with the ship. The ports stayed the same but the hours at each port were reduced. We decided to accept the fact rather than get upset about it and ruin the vacation. The Ship: is BEAUTIFUL! Much better looking than the Epic and more beautiful than Disney Dream. The interiors and the decorations were amazing. Deck 5 is where the cafes are and it is amazing. The ship never felt over crowded even though there were more than four thousand people on-board. Casino is nice. The gym is nice but small for the size of the ship. As you might see from the other reviews, there are problems with the plumbing on this ship. Out of the 7 staterooms we had, 4 of them experienced flooding. Rating: Freedom-Dream-Epic Food: Is not that good and very repetitive. The buffet was almost the same for breakfast, lunch and dinner all 7 days with very minor changes to it. The Main dinning room food was OK to Good at best. The food at the Epic was much much much better. The food on the Dream was also better. Rating: Epic-------------------Dream--Freedom Activities: are endless. There is something to do most of the time. from Broadway shows to family game shows, to competitions. We were impressed with the shows on the Epic but this ship had way more. The family game were also awesome. We really enjoyed the Battle of the sexes (10/10), the Quest (10/10), and the Love and Marriage (9/10). There were also mini games like Sudoku Challenges, Name This Song, Sports Trivia...etc. Rating: Freedom-Epic-Disney Ports: Labadee, Puerto Rico, and St Maarten are nice. Our favorite is St. Maarten but unfortunately we only managed to stay there for 4 hours.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Last fall after visiting Universal Studios for a week my wife who is a big Harry Potter fan wanted to go back for Christmas however after checking prices and deciding that the park would be too crowded. We decided to take a cruise and ... Read More
Last fall after visiting Universal Studios for a week my wife who is a big Harry Potter fan wanted to go back for Christmas however after checking prices and deciding that the park would be too crowded. We decided to take a cruise and found that this cruise to be the most affordable available. So early on the morning of December 23rd we left our home in Maryland in a light drizzle and headed to Orlando where we arrived 15 minutes behind schedule at 11:10 AM. After retrieving our luggage we found the Royal Caribbean representive who escorted us to the ground transportation departures area for our transfer to Port Canaveral we were on board a bus on off to Port Canaveral by 12:00 Noon we arrived at the cruise ship terminal 10 at 12:45 PM and after our luggage was off loaded by the porters for transfer to the ship we got off the bus and headed in to the terminal as we entered and were on line to go through Security the fire alarm went off and we had to leave the terminal. After some confusion about where to wait for the all clear and the fact that the staff at the terminal had to yell as no megaphones were available it created some confusion. Around 1:30 PM check in resumed and after clearing security we made our way to the check in counters which was done by decks and completing the mandatory norovirus questionnaire we got our welcome photo we found ourselves on board. Since our cabin was available we went to our cabin to drop off our carry on and jackets. We arrived at our cabin and found an invite to a reception for Crown and Anchor Society Members and headed to the Windjammer for lunch. On the way into the Windjammer I bought a soda package and got a tumbler which you had to use if you wanted to get soda from the Coke “Freestyle” Machines located in the Windjammer and on promenade deck by the Café Promenade. As the Windjammer started to get full we headed to the Promenade deck where we decided to check the menu for dinner and to have a snack at Café Promenade and then headed to our cabin where we met our cabin steward and took a quick powernap. At 4:00 PM we made our way to our muster station for the mandatory guest Assembly drill. All guest had to check in with a crew member who checked off our names on their list. After the evacuation drill we headed to the Viking Crown lounge for sailaway and a drink. As we watched the ship make its way down the channel the connects Port Canaveral with the Atlantic Ocean. We had nice views of the visiting Norwegian Breakaway who was in the port on a visit on her cruse from New York to the Caribbean and the Kennedy Space Center and its launch pads. However with in half hour we found the ship at sea and after dropping off the pilot with the pilot boat we were off to Haiti. We headed to our cabin where our luggage was awaiting us we unpacked and headed to the Windjammer for dinner. After dinner we headed to the Royal Promenade to buy some souvenirs and then it was off to the Palace theater for the Welcome Aboard show hosted by our Australian cruise director Leigh who welcome everybody on board advised of the number of kids on board along with the breakdown of passengers by country. There were lager numbers of guest from the US but also China, Canada, Brazil, Australia and several European Countries. The show which is more of a variety show had some singing, a preview of a scene form one of the production shows and finally some juggling and comedy by Dan Bennette. After the show we headed to Café Promenade for a late night snack some more shopping and then we watch the Bon Voyage parade which was very entertaining. After the parade it was back to the cabin and off to sleep as tomorrow was the first of two day at sea. After a very restful night of sleep we awoke on Christmas Eve around 9:00 AM and after dressing headed to breakfast at the Windjammer. After breakfast we headed to the Palace Theatre for a Welcome Back reception for Crown & Anchor Members. The reception which included free drinks had some entertainment and then an introduction of the Captain and the Ships officers. The new top tier guests were presented with their pins and a bottle of Champaign. The presentation ended with a presentation of upcoming cruse deals with the ships loyalty specialist. While the reception was fun it was not as good as the reception we attended on Carnival a couple of year ago. After the reception we headed to a very entertaining Chili Cook-off where two teams of the ships chefs made their version of Chili while my wife had some chili I want and got my lunch form the Windjammer. After lunch we headed down to deck three to Studio B for the Skating Show “Sprits of the Seasons”. Due to limited capacity of studio Beach performance was allocated based on you muster station. The show as always was outstanding as the show is performed on a rink which was about half the size of a standard rink. I would recommend if you travel on a Royal Caribbean ship with the skating show that you take one in it is a wonderful treat. After the show we changed and headed to the pool for some swimming and a snack. After our snack it was time to head to the cabin to get changed as it was formal night. After getting some photos taking by the ships photographers we headed to dinner. Where I had a delicious shrimp cocktail and a steak which was a rather tough cut of meat and a chocolate soufflé that was ok. My wife had two appetizers one was a salad the other was a soup, Shrimp Ravioli which was quite good and crème broule that was cold. After dinner we headed to the palace for the show “Fast Forward” This was a very good review of Music form movie musicals. The shows on Royal Caribbean are also very good as they feature a live band as well along with a full complement of singers and dancers. After the show we headed to the Royal Promenade to attend the Capitan’s Reception which featured free Champaign and an opportunity to get a photo taken with the Captain. After the Captain introduced the senior officers there was a sing a long of Christmas carols. After Caroling we headed to the Place showroom where we attended midnight mass conducted by Father Enrique Camacho from San Juan, PR the mass was very nice and it was good to see that some of the ship’s crew were able to attend. After mass it was off to bed as it was Christmas and time to spend a relaxing day at the beach at Labadee, Haiti. We awoke at 8:00 AM and shortly after Leigh our cruse director announced that Santa was on the Royal Promenade and would be available for photos in Studio B. After showering and getting dressed for the beach. I went down to deck three and found two long lines of young people lining up by last name to get photos with Santa and a much shorter line to get towels for the beach so I picked up our beach towels. After breakfast at the Windjammer we took some pictures from the deck and then returned to our cabin where we gave our Christmas tip to our cabin steward and headed to explore Labadee. As we were leaving the Ship a group of local school children in uniform arrived to visit the ship for a special Christmas celebration. After getting our photo taken by the ships photographer and by my wife in front of the ship. Labadee is a private resort operated by Royal Caribbean and is a peninsula shat is on the northern coast of Haiti on the Island of Hispaniola which after Cuba is the second largest island in the Caribbean. To get around there were several trams which bought people from the pier to the various attractions. We got on one and got off at the market where we found the locals to be very friendly and eager to show and sell you their goods. My wife was able to negotiate the price for some souvenirs. We then headed to the beach on the Southside of the resort which faced the ship and after getting our beach chairs and finding with the help of the local beach attendant a nice spot to site we headed for the water which was pleasant. For lunch we headed to one of four buffet barbeques that were operated by chefs from the ship. The menu included hot dogs, burgers, ribs and bbq chicken. With salads, beans and corn on the corn on the Cobb. There were also selections of deserts available. Along with some complementary drinks (water, ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch). For those wanted alcohol or soda the Bar Staff manned the bars and the waiters were all for Haiti. After lunch we returned to the beach and around 2:30 PM we headed back to the ship along with most every one else. We showered and headed to the Promenade Deck for a snack. After our snack we headed to pool deck for sail away and then up to the Viking Crown Lounge for a drink and to watch the sunset. We then returned to our cabin where we began the process of packing. At 6:30 PM we headed to dinner in the dining room where I had one of the best turkey diners I ever had along while my wife a delicious fish platter. After dinner we headed to the palace showroom to see “Don’t Look Back” the Boston Experience” which was not all that good as me and my wife along with about 1/3 to one half of the audience left. We headed back to the Viking Crown Lounge to listen to the band there and then to bed. Friday was out final day at sea and were up at 6:30 AM and were at breakfast on the Windjammer by 7:30 AM as the Windjammer was starting to get full we headed back to our cabin to pack and to decide which suitcase will would use as our carry off. Around 9:30 AM we headed to the Royal Promenade to look around and headed to the screening room to see one of my favorite Christmas movies the Polar Express. After the movie we headed up to the Johnny Rockets on deck 12 for lunch and the restaurant was full and the service was the slowest of any Johnny Rockets I found on any of our previous cruses even though extra staff and tables were brought up from the Windjammer it was slow but the Burger fries and onion rings were very good. I actually prefer Johnny Rockets to the Guys Burgers served on Carnival. After lunch we headed to the Royal Promenade so my wife could do some final shopping while I ceheckd out the college football scores from the sports bar. After making our purchases we headed back to the cabin to finalize our packing and for a nap for my wife while I watched some College Football on the TV. Around 5:30 PM we headed to the Royal Promenade we headed for the Royalpalooza Parade featuring the entire entertainment staff. After the parade we headed to our cabin to get our bags ready to be placed outside our cabin for pick up. Since we liked none of the choices for dinner in the dining room we had our final dinner at the Windjammer. After dinner we returned to our cabin to place our bags outside for pick up and headed to the Palace for the final production show of the cruise, the production was “Invitation to Dance” with choreography by Luis Van Amsell of ABC’s dancing with the Stars which was terrific. At the end of the show the was a farewell song featuring some of the ships officers. After the show I got my phot with Leigh our Cruise Director. Then it was off to bed since Tomorrow it would be off to home. Saturday we awoke at 5:30 am and after showering, dressing and dong some final packing of our carry off we headed to the Windjammer for breakfast and to view our arrival at the pier. Our ship would be the first ship to arrive and depart later that day form Port Canaveral’s new terminal 1. As we arrived we found that there were two Carnival Ships the Liberty and Sunshine, Disney’s Fantasy along with an unidentified ship from Aida. After breakfast we returned to our cabin and completed our packing and shortly after 8 AM we headed to deck for to the dining room which was our designated waiting lounge after finding a place to wait we had some coffee and pastries but we did not have to wait very long as our tag numbers were called at 9:15 AM and we headed off the ship and into the brand new state of the art terminal 1. After we got to the arrivals hall we were able to find our luggage go through Customs and by 9:45 AM we were out of the terminal and headed to our transfer to Orlando International Airport at 10:00 AM we departed and were at our terminal by 11:00 AM. Overall we were pleased with our Cruise but felt that the food service was not as good as it was on previous cruises with Royal Caribbean bur if Royal Caribbean offered an itinery we were interested in would sail again with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just off Carnival Sunshine where we celebrated a new year with Son and family. I am always comparing Carnival and Royal Caribbean as we sail on both. I will list topics as I review Sunshine. Embarkation -Arrived around 1 and on ship in 30 ... Read More
Just off Carnival Sunshine where we celebrated a new year with Son and family. I am always comparing Carnival and Royal Caribbean as we sail on both. I will list topics as I review Sunshine. Embarkation -Arrived around 1 and on ship in 30 minutes. Stateroom - 2 with balcony near front of ship Port side.My husband and I in 1 room with small love seat that would make a small bed. My son and his wife had bunk beds for their 9 and 12 year old. Adequate storage but narrow space between bed and shelves in both staterooms. Long shower with curtain. We had 3 problems with toilet but service came soon to fix. A problem getting through on phone at 11:30 New Year's Eve but finally successful.Plumbing was right outside our room so they fixed it in hall each time. Fantastic steward by Marta and assistant. Food - Again I say Desserts are fabulous on Carnival and just OK on RC. Best tip is to take your buffet food to Havana Bar on aft.A few Cuban items at bar. Also wok and Italian available at no cost at lunch in this area.We always ate in this area for breakfast and lunch. Burrito and taco bar and Guy Fieri hamburgers at pool near this area. All very tasty. We had anytime dining. Hour wait the first night and received a dessert plate with apology. Not sure why but maybe not enough crew in dining room as saw empty tables. The rest of the cruise we asked for Perwira from Indonisa who was the best ever. So sometimes waited 20 minutes for his table. Check in at deck 5 Alchemy Bar( my favorite on any ship) and then go to deck 3 aft. New menu with many selections. Children always liked their food and adults seemed to enjoy appetizers more than entres.Did not care for most desserts except Choc Molten cake and Bitter and blanc.Buffet lunch was hit or miss. A lot of fried food but one day carved turkey and interesting salads each day. Desserts we awesome. Choc cheese cake was my favorite.RC always has mashed potatoes but only on lunch buffet one time. Sea Day Buffet was perfect. Kids club - Not as good as Enchantment on RC. kids went some each day but didn't stay long if no sports. rope course was12 year old granddaughters fav and putt putt 9 year old grandson's fav. Slides on long day were long waits and not 1 chair available. Ship was full and very crowded in public areas. Ship-Crew was extremely friendly and helpful.but so is RC. Jamie is best cruise director ever. . Production shows were high tech,loud, and entertaining but go early as not a lot of seats. Casino- Slots were very, very good to me. Husband won on 3 card poker. 1500 points on slots and you get free drinks.Every 15 minutes if you drink that fast. lol New year's eve seemed better on RC ,no chairs out on lido deck.Lobby also had a party and balloon drop but small area.some chairs available on serenity deck if you got there early. Miss the chairs and tables around pool which we have on RC. We loved serenity for pool days as a quiet place to read and some shade.But that separated us from family so sometimes sat with them on 2nd level. Jan 1 football day was the best!! pompoms and games on large screen. lido deck was full of cheering fans. Excursions- Only Grand Turk, son and family did flow rider and snorkeled and they loved it. My husband and I got on open-air free trolly in San Juan and it was really interesting and pleasant weather.We like to eat at Mojitos for local cusine. yummy but very busy and slow service this visit. You get cell service in San Juan so nice to keep in touch as this was a problem on ship. We get free drink vouchers on RC which makes the cruising experience different so hard to compare. My final thoughts- Carnival is trying hard to make the cruise fun and our family had a great week. Not a rowdy group maybe because it was an expensive week to cruise. We found a deal through a timeshare.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Eight days aboard the soon to be refurbished Explorer of the Seas. The good: Port Canaveral efficient as always - My first favorite port to drive to, and second to sail from (Port Everglades is my favorite to cruise from). Showed up ... Read More
Eight days aboard the soon to be refurbished Explorer of the Seas. The good: Port Canaveral efficient as always - My first favorite port to drive to, and second to sail from (Port Everglades is my favorite to cruise from). Showed up around 11:30 and was onboard in less than 15 minutes. Excellent bar service - Bartenders were very helpful even though I had the beverage package but my wife did not. Efficient service, great drinks, well worth the additional tips I provided. Very festive New Years Eve celebration - The Royal Promenade was hopping! I spend NYE 1999 in Vegas, and this crowd was just as rowdy (just not as large). Strong 8 day itinerary keeping us south enough to enjoy the warm temps everyone is looking for in December. The fact that you do more southern ports is the even more significant than you sail around for 8 days. I choose routes like this whenever I can. Excellent MTD service - MTD can go either way based on when you are seated versus those around you (makes things easier/more difficult for your wait staff). We had the same waiters all but one night, and they got us in and out there with no additional delays. The menus had enough variety for everyone in our party. Common areas in great ship - While you could spot the blemishes if you were looking for them, the truth is the ship looked good for one about to enter refurb. The so so: Cabin carpet and balcony floors showing the wear common to ships that are due to be refurbed. The sofa had noticeable stains as well. Neither impacted my vacation, nor would it have yours. If you are reading this review after March of 2015 these items will have already been addressed. Self debark was a nightmare as a LARGE number of people opted for it. People were lined up across most of deck 4, spiraling though the casino, wrapping around the dining room. Part of this was caused by the fact that the pilot was late arriving to the ship (~45 minutes; watched him arrive from my balcony), so it docked late. I give Royal a pass on this one due to the delay which was out of their control. Things I can't comment on: Missed most shows due to our dining times. The one we went to (dancers) was well done. All our excursions were private (seasoned cruisers), so I can't comment about the ones Royal was offering. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We took a family Christmas vacation on the Carnival Sunshine. We had 4 adults and two children (9 and 6). Absolutely wonderful vacation. The boat was nice, tons of activities for everyone. Waterpark on the boat is awesome for both adults ... Read More
We took a family Christmas vacation on the Carnival Sunshine. We had 4 adults and two children (9 and 6). Absolutely wonderful vacation. The boat was nice, tons of activities for everyone. Waterpark on the boat is awesome for both adults and children. Food was all amazing. Loved the selection and quality. The night shows are awesome, very high quality. Kids loved the camp, the Dr. Seuzs theme is great. All the staff were incredible, they all treat you like royalty. Second time on Carnival, both cruises have been amazing. Can't wait to go back.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our family, two adults and two children, just returned from the Thanksgiving cruise on the Disney Fantasy. We loved it so much we booked another cruise while onboard. Our kids, ages 8 and 10, loved the Oceaneer Lab; it was difficult to get ... Read More
Our family, two adults and two children, just returned from the Thanksgiving cruise on the Disney Fantasy. We loved it so much we booked another cruise while onboard. Our kids, ages 8 and 10, loved the Oceaneer Lab; it was difficult to get them to leave! The spa is beautiful and peaceful, and if it's in your budget, we highly recommend buying a membership to the Rainforest area of the spa. Hot tubs overlooking the ocean, heated lounge chairs, saunas and steam rooms, just heavenly. The food is very good for a cruise ship, however, given the number of meals to be served each day, it (understandably) does not measure up to five-star restaurants. What set the cruise apart for us was the level of service. Every request was granted with a smile. The staff seemed to go out of their way to anticipate our needs, if a request was made on one night, the staff repeated it on other nights without our asking. Due to the high winds on the first couple of days, the Aquaduck was closed, once it opened our 8 year old daughter rode it constantly. Our son loved the Donald pool and the Arr-Cade. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, prior to boarding we left our luggage in our precruise room at the Orlando airport Hyatt, DCL picked it up and delivered it to our stateroom. When leaving, DCL printed our boarding passes and checked our baggage to our home airport. We really had a wonderful time and can't wait until our next cruise on the Fantasy! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at ... Read More
Second time on this ship, 9 years apart, this time with kids. A different experience. The Explorer is still one of favorite ships, although she is by no means the smallest, she still offers the best of both worlds- the feeling of being at sea with a range of activities available. Nice mix of passenger ages. Embrakation was a nightmare- rumor that porters were on a slow down and certainly appeared to be true. The luggage was waiting outside while they sat around doing nothing. Our family lugged our own luggage and were glad we did- others we talked to received theirs very late. Unfortunately this also caused debarkation to be a nightmare as nobody seemed to trust personnel to move their luggage getting off the ship. Rather than motivating me to support their union, it made me hope the RCI will look into other options in the future once their contract is up. Onwards to the ship. We still love Explorer of the seas and her crew. We would have preferred a band that regularly played ballroom dance music.... but the musicians were talented. Service was very good overall, staff friendly. Michelle the ice skater (dark hair) was very sweet to my daughter and Yin (cleaned restrooms) was sweet as well. Best show is the ice skating program, hands down. This ship is a great value for 6 yo plus crowd. Daughter loved ice skating and rock wall. Lacked options for children under 3 years- if paying full fare (and it was more expensive to book 1 room than 2 separate), I would expect more entertainment for the younger crowd... at least a nursery. The explorer is in good repair and still has a respectable amount of entertainment options if you are at least six years old. Do not worry about reviews saying she is in poor repair... the worst is faded life boats but to me that in no way impacts the experience. The explorer may be a nice compromise between a mega ship and a bare basics cruise ship. The only question mark was when our entire party was moved to a table in the corner to make room for a larger family on the second night, the families sat at three separate tables that didn't communicate even after being placed adjacent. After asking for our table back, we were given it on the third night- but on the second it was very awkward to be asked after the family had already taken our table. The family could have swapped their best table with us to achieve the same effect- so I believe it was more an issue of not liking the original assigned table. Had we been seated there the first night it wouldn't have mattered to us, but seemed rude to be moved into the corner. Our tablemates from a different family were also confused by the table swap. It seemed like a poor way to handle the situation- honestly wonder if the family took it upon themselves to move verses the staff making that decision. When we were moved back we didn't get our old waiters, so very confusing overall. While I liked all of the waiters this was a bit of negative aspect. For thanksgiving they decorated the promenade and slowly Christmas decorations took over. It was a nice way to celebrate the holiday versus the traditional expectations. Although we love Holland (2 star cruisers), this trip was enough to make us reconsider them as our primary line. For reference- experienced cruisers have sailed with RCI, Holland, NCL, and carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We just returned our 8-day Holiday cruise on the Independence of the Seas. This was our first Christmas cruise and our first cruise without family and/or friends. We had a great time and ended up meeting some wonderful new friends. ... Read More
We just returned our 8-day Holiday cruise on the Independence of the Seas. This was our first Christmas cruise and our first cruise without family and/or friends. We had a great time and ended up meeting some wonderful new friends. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11am and was one of the first groups of passengers on the ship. There were a couple glitches with the system, however, things are bound to happen. Stateroom: Deluxe Oceanview Balcony: Typical stateroom, although I think they removed some of the shelving on this ship. Also, there wasn’t much room in the closets. I suppose on this ship, when the renovated her, they took away some of the storage space. The Food: Average, we don’t really cruise for the food, a lot of it, but just average. The food in the main dining room and Windjammer were pretty standard. I was surprised however, escargot was available in the dining room every night. I love RCCI’s escargot so I was excited, however, it was cold every night….that was disappointing to me. The Windjammer is pretty standard I think on each ship. Nothing really different there. The activities: Plenty to do for everyone. The shows on this trip were not typical RCCI quality, in my opinion. We have always enjoyed the shows on RCCI ships, the entertainers just didn’t appear to be the same caliber we have experienced on other ships. The Cruise Director was pretty good on this ship. He at least had some personality. He and his staff were fun and pretty interactive. The highlight was one of our sail aways. It was not planned and it was incredible. They set up music on deck, facing a Princess Cruise ship and not only did they have a BIG group on our ship, the entire Princess ship was rocking and rolling with us. They were wanting to come aboard our ship. It was the best sail away I’ve ever experienced and it wasn’t planned. The VIP event that RCCI put on for Crown and Anchor members, a night under the stars was outstanding. They did a really nice job. Really enjoyed the gathering and getting to actually talk to the Captain was a real plus. We participated in a Wine event, worth what we paid for this event. It was outstanding and I would do it again. We have done other wine tastings and weren’t so impressed. This one was outstanding, the team presenting did an outstanding job, they were knowledgeable and entertaining at the same time. The wine was great. Service: Very Poor service. I was very upset with the lack of service on this ship and the lack of care they give it. The only positive was Guest Services, one person there was caring and did an outstanding job. I have contacted RCI about that. We saw our Stateroom attendant one time, on day one, we had to track him down and get a hand towel and floor mat for our bathroom. Our dining room staff, HORRIBLE. The head waiter was nice, but neither of them really cared about us…BAD marks RCCI. It’s the first time in 13 cruises that I can say that. Oh well, hope it’s the last time…They do wine a little different on this ship and the assistant waiter takes your wine order, one night, he charged us for 595 bottles of wine. We had a charge for $18,000.00, they said they were sorry, that was big of them. The ports: We have been to all these ports before, had a great time in St. Maarten, beach extravaganza was Great. . . The beach was beautiful, the tour guide was friendly and helpful, the food out delish. St. Kitts is one of my favorite ports, however, the beach trip was terrible. Never again… Puerto Rico, we just walked around. Labadeee is wonderful. RCCI does a pretty good job with the BBQ. We did the sandbar getaway, it was incredible. Will do that again. Loved it…. The ship: Love this size of ship, since there is so much for everyone to do. I typically enjoy the shopping, however, did not like the shops on Independence. Something do to with it’s owner or something, but the choices are lacking in the shops. Just my opinion. Their loss, didn’t spend any money on this ship. The people: There were many, many children on this cruise. While I love children, there were many spoiled children who have no respect for anyone and that was sad. Some of them were wonderful, however, there were way too many always running and hitting and just being rude. But, for the most part, it was okay. Many people from all places. We continued to run into the same folks, which was very nice. We did however, meet some incredible folks. There was one family we actually met on our shuttle bus on the way to the port and we continued to meet them throughout our trip. We just loved getting to know them (LadyLion_AP) and her family. What a neat family and we feel blessed to have gotten to spend some time with them. Hope we meet up again. Disembarkation: We utilized the early off, we took our own luggage. We both were happy with that. We didn’t have to sit around and wait to be called. I don’t want to remark too much on this as if the word gets out this was good, it will become a problem… Overall....We really enjoyed this cruise! Was really worried about taking a Holiday cruise, but…it ended up being one of our best yet. Service NOT….but can’t win them all. Hopefully, our next Christmas and New Year’s cruise will be even better.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Ok, so this was my families 2nd cruise (2nd with Carnival). We stayed on the same class of ship of our first one. We sailed over Christmas with my Aunt, Uncle, 2 cousins, Grandparents, Mom, and Dad. In total, that makes 9. On this cruise, ... Read More
Ok, so this was my families 2nd cruise (2nd with Carnival). We stayed on the same class of ship of our first one. We sailed over Christmas with my Aunt, Uncle, 2 cousins, Grandparents, Mom, and Dad. In total, that makes 9. On this cruise, we went to Freeport and Nassau, going on excursions in each port. Our embarkation went smooth as ever! We somehow got moved up to the front of the line (probably because we were a group of 9). Once we passed baggage and the metal detectors, we had to wait only 15 minutes before we boarded the ship! I am kind of sad that we had such a good experience, because nothing will compare to how easy the embarkation was. Second order of business is the food. The food was amazing in the Ecstasy Dining Room. The food in the Lido deck restaurant was amazing as well. The lines were long, but the food was hot and delicious. Next, the cabin my family had was an ocean view room, M214. For 3 people, it was highly spacious and luxurious. Finally, our service was phenomenal! Our cabin steward Putu (i hope i spelled that right) knew all of our names before we left Port Canaveral. He did a fantastic job making towel animals and I always looked forward to seeing which one it would be that night. Lastly, our dining staff consisted of Jeffery, Ivelyn, and Marianna who all took great care of us and catered to our every will. One night, we ordered like 14 total appetizers (for the whole group not just us 3) and they didn't hesitate to bring it to us. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas vacation! Sincerely~ TheCruiseDirector Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked a Grand Suite and were new to the concierge experience on cruises. We received an email about one week before the Dec 29, 2013 sail date from the concierge to ask if we needed anything booked (specifically cabanas, which turned ... Read More
We booked a Grand Suite and were new to the concierge experience on cruises. We received an email about one week before the Dec 29, 2013 sail date from the concierge to ask if we needed anything booked (specifically cabanas, which turned out to be a great thing). Even though the timing of this email wound up being on Christmas Day, which was one week before our cruise, I took the time to reply to the concierge welcome email. I did not book spa services in advance because I thought the concierge could help with that and he did. I said I wanted a manicure/pedicure for my daughter (11yr) and I some time in the morning or early afternoon of New Year's Eve. If it couldn't be arranged I could do this before the cruise but I thought it might be a fun to do on the cruise. Rahul (who is awesome) emailed back that he would book it and we got a note saying there was a mani/pedi booked at 11am. It didn't mention if it was for just me or my daughter as well so I went down the first day to ask him. He was overwhelmed that first day with other guests and we left after waiting over 30min without talking to him. I went to the spa to just confirm that it was an appointment for two. The (australian?) lady at the desk was very rude and unhelpful. She said the note was wrong and that all she had was two manicures in the system. After a few go rounds the other lady at the desk tried to help. She also said the note was not in the system and tried to get me other times but they were either at 8:30pm (for just pedicures) or other ridiculous times. At this point I had promised my daughter a fun spa trip and almost took the 8:30pm slot. I wanted to check if my daughter really wanted it (bad enough to miss a show/evening activities) but was told I would really need to do it then and that if I booked I couldn't back out. I luckily didn't book it and spoke with the concierge the next morning. He said we absolutely DID have a reservation for two and it was through the spa manager so it might have not been in the system but not to worry. When I showed up at 11am for the appointment, the same lady, Mitzy, was the person doing my manicure. She asked if my being there meant I chose to only do the manicure. I said I was going to do both. I could tell she was very irritated. Apparently this affected her lunch time and she was not happy. It was a miserable spa experience. Silent hostility, cold water for the pedicure that was suddenly TOO, TOO HOT when I mentioned it. Miserable. As the rest of the spa cleared out (completely empty except my daughter and I at 11:30) the Jamaican background music progressed into very explicit rap music.  Luckily my 11yr old daughter was busily reading her book. Mitzy noticed my horrified face and did get up and change the music...but why was it even on in the first place? When she smugly handed me the bill to sign I saw that the tip for each $110 service had an 'Auto Gratuity' added on top for $19.60. It's more than the 15% I later saw on a price sheet and was apparently indisputable. I had to tip for that experience??!! The sad thing is that I'm a sucker for someone being forced to work their lunch time by their manager (especially on New Year's Eve) and I probably would have left a decent tip despite the hostile experience (My experience was hostile, but the lady who did my daughter's nails was very pleasant.) I spent about $260 for a miserable experience. I will tell everyone that will listen to do their nails before the cruise and never on it. Even if we didn't have such a horrible experience you only have 2 reds and 2 pinks to choose from for polish. I didn't pay $13,000 for a suite to be treated like this. Extras - Nickel and diming We're reasonably well off financially and paying for a cruise isn't that big of an issue for us. That said, I felt gouged paying over $13K for a grand suite and than being nickel and dimed with a $30 charge if I wanted lobster in the main dining room. Luckily the regular partial lobster dishes were excellently prepared (nothing chewy about it!). Waiting in line to get and return towels was also ridiculous at this fare. Kids Club This was shockingly awesome. My kids couldn't get enough of their councilors (named Lasange, Juice Box, Tiara...so fun!) It was also great that they have sessions/breaks so that the kids HAVE to come out for meals. Otherwise I might not have been able to pry them out. We also loved the Family night disco at the Crypt. Sea Trek Excursion The description said 'if you can walk and breathe' you can do this. That wasn't true. Of the 5 of us that paid $99/person to do this, only one of us went through with it. My 74 yr old father didn't go but didn't call in time to cancel (our fault), but I'm so glad he didn't go because my husband said it would have been too much for him. My 11yr old daughter started to go down the ladder with my husband but she said the pressure in her ears was too much. She did all the 'hold your nose and blow' techniques and it didn't help.They should mention the pressure equalizing in the description. My 9 yr old was so freaked out by her negative reaction that he didn't want to go. I was stuck out with both kids. The people working the tour were very nice and helpful and I think this is a great excursion for some. I just wish the description helped us make a better choice as it was a waste of our time and money. Also, I didn't appreciate the form they gave me to waive my right to a refund. Concierge I was very upset the first day because I had high expectations. I realized I was just one of many, many suite guests and I was going to have to wait for the ONE person assigned to ALL of us. It just fell below my expectations. After the first day, it wasn't an issue...BUT on the first day, he should probably have some help. Information before the Cruise Coco Cay - It would have been nice to know all the options on cabanas. We didn't know about the $50 cabanas on Barefoot beach until we walked by them. We luckily had one of the wooden cabanas which (despite the moldy cushions on the sofa) were very nice. ...but I still would like to have know there was a different option else where. Also, why not give a better map beforehand? New Year's Eve - planning for this frankly stressed me out. I'm a planner. I want to know what my options are. Is my 5:30 dinner time a good idea or not? We wound up doing that and not planning dinner at Chops at 9pm but simple info that they'll have a balloon drop in the main mall area would be great to know beforehand. Allergies Our main dining room waiter, Greggie, and assistant Lin were awesome. The lady/dining room manager meant well, but wound up being more annoying than effective. My daughter is allergic to all nuts and sesame seeds. This lady would come up, interrupt dinner and go on and on--presumably to show her concern--and say things like 'be careful'. What? Do you really think I want a lecture about being careful? I want information. I don't want my dinner interrupted with lots of silly generalities to 'be careful' of the buns on Coco Cay. Do they have sesame seeds or not? Can she have the turkey dinner or not? Luckily Greggie was much more pragmatic and Lin brought separate plain rolls up for her every night. Overall Overall, we had a great cruise and would recommend RCI to others. Most of the staff--with the exception of the spa folks-- were cheerful and friendly. I was happy to know that a lot of the staff had fun on New Year's too and that they genuinely enjoyed their fellow crew. We didn't speak with our cabin stewart much but his cleaning and timing were impeccable. Rahul did a great job as concierge once I leveled my expectations.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Been back from our Carnival Dream Thanksgiving cruise for a few days. I'll post a more elaborate cruise review on the Carnival Forum. Port Canaveral: We drove down from South Carolina on Friday after work. We stay at the Four Points, ... Read More
Been back from our Carnival Dream Thanksgiving cruise for a few days. I'll post a more elaborate cruise review on the Carnival Forum. Port Canaveral: We drove down from South Carolina on Friday after work. We stay at the Four Points, which has a nice Park and Sail package. We got the suite for $180 plus tax and had a parking garage to park in for the duration of the cruise. There is also a restaurant and lots of shopping in the hotel. Plus, my wife really enjoys the Starbucks there. One point of interest - There were only four families leaving from the Four Points and we boarded the shuttle first. There was a really long line at the Radisson. I probably wouldn't have wanted to sit through that wait. It seemed to be moving quickly, though. Embarkation: Going through the check in was really smooth. We did not have Faster to the Fun because it sold out before we could buy it. Even so, we were put into a seating area for about 30 minutes before we were called. No big deal. We got to the port around 11:00 and were on board by 11:45. Ship: I really like how the ship is laid out and decorated. It didn't take us long to figure out how to get around. You can go from forward to aft on Decks 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12. On formal night, they blocked off the cut through on Deck 4 for the photographers. On 5, you have to walk through the casino to get from one side to the other. On the days at sea, we split time between the Aft Sunset pool and the Serenity area. Never had too hard a time finding a chair, but we purposely avoided the main pool. The Sunset pool was crowded at times, but Serenity was typically very quiet and had plenty of chairs. We thought the staff was friendly and the bar service was good. The staterooms were well attended to. We had the Cheers program and ate at the Steakhouse. Both we thought were worth the money. The Steakhouse is excellent, and I would highly recommend. Ports: We didn't do much in Cozumel because we had been there so much. We kind of treated that as another Sea day. Belize was great. We went Cave Tubing and Zip Lining through Chukka. This is the Carnival sponsored tour. The zip line was fun and the tubing was interesting. I would probably not plan on wandering around too much in Belize on my own. Isla Roatan was a complete washout, which was unfortunate. You could tell the island is beautiful when the weather cooperates. We went to the Senior Frogs beach resort on Costa Maya. Had a great time. It's a short day in port, and we saw a few people having to run to get back to the ship. Disembarkation: Very smooth. We did the Self Assist, which we like because we are through customs very quickly. We pack with this in mind to be able to carry all our luggage. We were off the ship and cleared through customs at 7:15 or so. There were already shuttles heading back to the hotels. We had to wait in a small line to get back to the Four Points, where we had breakfast before hitting the road. Overall: We definitely agreed we would do this again. This is a great value vacation. There are some things that we have liked on other cruises better, but we would recommend this in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my ... Read More
Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my experience: Cleanliness/Ship- The good: The decor on this ship is beautiful. I found myself always noticing something new in the details. The color scheme is nautical and classic. There were always crew members cleaning; even cleaning places you would never think needed it! I wish ALL cruise ships were this lovely. The layout was easy to navigate, I never found myself needing to go up to get down or anything, although that may have been luck. Room- The good: The rooms are HUGE! We had an Ocean View (normally we like balconies, but this cruise was a gift to us so I'm not complaining!) and I loved how much space there was. With just two of us in the room, we didn't even use the majority of the storage provided. The "whatever": I'm iffy on the split bathrooms, I like the idea of it, but there was a lot of "Oops, that's the shower," and "Oops, that's the toilet." Not a big deal at all, but I'm just as content with the whole bathroom as I was the split one. Had it been more than my husband and I sharing a room, the split bathroom would have been VERY handy! The bad: Our Folio never worked on the TV, which was kind of irritating, but it may have had something to do with my mother-in-law being the one that booked the trip? It wasn't irritating enough for me to ever report the problem, though. So again, not a big deal. Our room had a lot of noise at night. We were under the Bridge, so I'm not sure what that was about? It got loud, though. Staff- The good: I've yet to go on a cruise where the staff weren't friendly and didn't seem happy. But on Disney, they were almost over the top accommodating. The Head Server (Alex) always cut the food for the younger kids in our party, the staff always said "Good Morning" and remembered our names, our Hostess (Nortel) played with the kids and chatted with us for about 20 minutes one night. All things I've never seen elsewhere. A+ to Disney on that one! The bad: The servers in Cabanas (the lido buffet) were actually not terribly friendly. There were a few that were always smiling and sweet, but several didn't even talk. Kind of odd! The Cruise Director- WHO? WHERE? He was not accessible and the only time he was seen was before the production shows. He didn’t even make most of the announcements. Food/Dining- The good: The soft pretzels that were served in The District (adult’s area) were the best food on the ship! The BBQ pizza from Luigi's was also fantastic. The apple deserts served in the MDR were good, but I didn't care for any others. I loved the rotational dining, but wish we had been at The Animator's Palate the whole cruise. Love that MDR! The characters on the TVs were interacting with the guests and, again, there was SO much to look at. Our servers (Alex and Merrick) were fantastic, as previously mentioned. Full of life and always happy to bring us MORE than what we even asked for. The bad: I really didn't care for any of the food I haven’t mentioned yet. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t eat anything that made me go “WOW!” with the exception of the pretzels, pizza, and apple desserts. The food was all just so-so. But believe me, I did eat. I’ve got three new pounds to get rid of! :) We were told that the buffet in Cabana’s was not open during dinner (not sure if that’s true or not) and I didn’t like that I felt there was no other option than to eat in the MDRs for dinner. There was nothing that was served 24 hours. Not even the ice cream. The times were weird for the Flo’s Cafe area, I didn’t like that either. I want to be able to eat whenever I want, even if it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I want something to hold me until dinner. Entertainment (get ready for more bad than good here)- The good: You can tell they put a great deal of money into their production shows. The actors are good, the dancing is good, and the staging is good. I like that they show first-run movies on board. We were able to watch Frozen while docked in Castaway Cay, which not many people can say they’ve done yet! The TVs in the staterooms offer almost every Disney/Pixar movie you can think of. I’m honestly not one to watch TV or movies on vacation, but… The bad: The productions shows got boring. My favorite show was the Vegas-style magic show, and we unfortunately left that early. I also went to The Golden Mickeys and Villains Tonight. They were cute, but boring at times. The fireworks on Pirate Night were short and followed a performance I couldn’t see from the amount of people on deck. There were other shows I didn’t make it to, but I didn’t love the ones I did see, so I’m not too upset. Having eaten at the early seating, my husband and I had a tendency to get full and tired before anything started for the night. I pulled myself to go do things the first three nights, but there were hour lulls where there was nothing else to do but go sit in our room and watch TV while he fell asleep and I waited. I didn’t feel like the Characters were around as much as people said. They only came out for scheduled pictures, then disappeared. I thought I’d see them all over the place? I didn’t like the lack of adult entertainment on board. I only went to one of the three shows that were 18+ because I really wanted to sleep at 10:30 after being bored for two and a half hours. That one show was… okay. It was the “Love and Marriage Game” or whatever. It went exactly as the games on Carnival go, same questions and all. This game was hosted by my favorite of the entertainment staff, Jo. But I only saw her once more. Other than that, there were two magic shows for 18+, neither of which I made it to. The only other scheduled adult activities were centered around Nightclub Dancing (no thanks), the Spa (not my cup of tea), and Fitness Center (I prefer to work out on my own). We spent most of our time on board in the Serenity area, but I wish they had some sort of entertainment there during the day. Castaway Key- The good: I want to OWN this island! Very pretty. It’s not overly Americanized and the island isn’t overly developed. With the exception of the beach area, the island appeared to be natural and untouched, which I love. I wish we’d been able to check out the Serenity area of the island, but we were spending time with family. The bad: Maybe I should have eaten the BBQ at Cookies, because I didn’t eat a thing from there that I liked! Embarkation/Debarkation- The good: Love that we can bring alcohol on board. That saved us a lot of money, even with still buying several drinks a day so we wouldn’t have to go to the room. Debarkation was awesome. We could just get off the ship whenever we wanted! The luggage was arranged by room number, very convenient! The bad: Maybe we should have chosen a later port arrival time? The embarkation process was just as I’ve experienced in the past. They make it seem like it would be more organized by giving you a time to arrive, but you don’t get on the ship at that time. That, I didn’t like. To end things- I loved the Disney Cruise, there are certainly things they do better than other lines. But I’m not sure they’re the right cruise line for me. Most of this rests in the entertainment and food schedule, obviously. But for those reasons, I’m not sure I would choose DCL if given the choice in the future. If they were to focus a little more on the adults at night (starting around 8:30 rather than 10:30!), I would definitely consider them again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on ... Read More
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on their vehicle, parking is FREE. It is the same at Ft. Lauderdale port as well, but easier at Port Carnival as they do not have to get a manager to come sign off on it. I think all ports in Florida allow free parking if you have a scooter lift. To be sure, check online what your port will do for it. I stress it is only for vehicles carrying a lift, and not just a disable decal hanging from your mirror. On this trip, it saved me $75 I think. I pulled up to the baggage drop off area. Very organized and quick I must say. Had a porter at my car as I pulled up. He pulled the bags out of the car. Since I already had the bags tagged due to printing them the night before, it was a breeze. I dropped my wife off with her scooter then went and parked. The regular parking garage was full at 2pm so I got put into the, what I call, the south 40 area (the other side of the exit booth for the parking). This is the 2nd time in a row I had to park there due to the time I arrived. No big deal though. Gave me a little time to walk and smoke a cig before I met back up with my wife. She had already breezed thru security/x-ray and was waiting by the elevator to the sign in area. I got thru security PDQ then met up with my wife by the elevator. Lines were not moving quickly at both security/x-ray and to get your sail & sign card. Must have been at least 100 people waiting to get checked in. Since my bride of 29 years uses a scooter to go long distances, we breezed thru both lines as they give the disabled VIP treatment plus we did a on-line check in months before the cruise so all we had to do was show our passport and we were issued our cards. After checking in, we were informed where the elevator was, and we were both on the ship within 5 min of leaving the check in counter. Cabin was M230 (main deck (deck 5) aft, port side balcony). Room was ready. We met our steward (Richard) who knew my name. He was very professional and nice. Did not miss a beat in his duties. I asked for bucket of ice to always be in the cabin, and it was. He changed it out twice a day. I had a issue with the TV in the room . He got AV department on it and they changed out the TV. Balcony was plenty big for the 2 of us. We used it a lot. Me more then her as that is where I did my relaxing and smoking from. Cabin wise, it was too small for my wife's liking. Her last 3 cabins have been either suites or disable rooms (she got spoiled). This cabin did not have a couch in it, which I truly missed. It did have 1 cushion chair with a back plus an ottoman. But I knew this months before and though I would adjust. I did, but was not truly comfortable watching TV (we spend a lot of time in the cabin). The bathroom did not have a table or good place to put the bag containing tooth brushes, etc. All that was available was a corner of the sink, but it worked. Common areas were always clean. Staff was friendly. Production shows were far and few between. They had the Brit Show and the Motor City show I think were the names. We attended both. I enjoyed them both. They have a coffee shop with some small sweet items as well for sale. I found the prices to be compatible with Starbuck, or even a little better in price. The MDR food was good. Always hot or cold as needed. I found the taste on all that I ate to be real good. The waiters (3 assigned to our table at one time) were top notch and always kept my tea glass full. They did not look like a chicken with their heads cut off in a daze. I think 3 to a table is working. We had 3 on our last 2 cruises and it looks like it is working just fine. Weather was not the best. Was a bit chilly for this Floridian on most days so I stayed away from the pool as it looked like most did (am sure that hurt the bottom line in alcohol sales). There was a meet up of Cruise Critic members for a slot pull that was arranged from the roll call page on here. There were 11-12 people that showed up. We contributed $20 each at 1 slot machine, each putting $20 bill all one after another before the 1st pull then did a set number of pulls (I forgot but it was like 12 pulls each I think) for the max money amount allowed for each pull.. After all pulled, it turned out we each lost $5 bucks (was not a good machine!!! LOL). Then we all went our separate ways....I must thank a women who I met who helped me out. THANK YOU. I never did get her name. I pulled my money from the cabin safe, but left it on safe by accident. She fronted me the $20 needed, as cards would not be used. After we were done, I went back up to the cabin and found the $20 sitting just where I left it. I brought it back and gave it to her, and all was good. We did not do any excursions (most were water related and it was too cold for my liking). Only walked off the ship to walk around the pier area and surrounding stores. It has been 20 years since we had been to Freeport. They have a few dozen junket shops at the pier. Location of the pier is in the industrial area. The shopping area on the island, I was told, is on the other side of the island, or a good taxi ride away. As my bride uses a scooter, it would be impossible for us, so we just lounged around the pier junket shops for an hour or so, then came back to the ship. Nassau was Nassau. I got to see their Navy ship tied at the pier again. I think they are close to derusting it and maybe take it out once in awhile....LOL We again just went around the pier area stores. My bride was looking for a certain type of dress and found it. She was a happy camper.... I used internet connection in Nassau from a Nassau pier area source for an hour at a cost of $10. Sat on my balcony and did my thing. Used all but 1-2 min. That is the only time I got on or cared about checking the internet Our afternoons (3 of them) were spent taking naps. Was WONDERFUL. My goal was to come on the cruise to relax. We did...:) Debarkation was a breeze. After about 1 hour from tying to the pier, they started letting zones off. We spent the waiting time at the buffet breakfast area enjoying our last ship's breakfast. All the other breakfasts were at the dining room midships where we were served and did not have to stand in line with plates for our food. I found my luggage easy enough. Got in VIP line, due to wife scooter use again, for Customs, and was outside walking to my car within 10 minutes. I had 2 bags so we just strolled to the car vice having me deal with traffic at the baggage pickup area. Then we just pulled out and away we went. Overall, the cruise met my desire of relaxation. Ship was clean. Staff was great. Food was good. I am sure there is some hit and misses with some cruises. this one was a HIT!!!! .   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean and most recently Norwegian Cruise line. To say I was underwhelmed with NCL on our last cruise is an understatement. We booked on Disney because we both love the parks and know that Disney is held to a ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean and most recently Norwegian Cruise line. To say I was underwhelmed with NCL on our last cruise is an understatement. We booked on Disney because we both love the parks and know that Disney is held to a higher standard as far as customer service is concerned. Pre-cruise info - We flew into MCO the night before our cruise and stayed at the brand new Art of Animation resort. We stayed in one of the little mermaid rooms. We thought that the whole hotel had been decorated nicely. We were satisfied with our stay. One perk about staying on Disney property is that you get picked up from the disney cruise line bus to go to port canaveral. Your bags are picked up from your room in the morning and then the next time you see them is when you are in your stateroom on the ship! Embarkation was a breeze! We got to the port around 1:30, went quickly through security, check-in and had our picture taken. I would say that this process took less than 20 min. First impressions of the ship: AMAZING everything was so beautiful... I don't think pictures can do it justice! And especially since the whole ship was decorated for Christmas! There are just no words... Disney had the ship decked to the nines with decorations... very classy and tasteful! Stateroom - we were in room 9016... great location, in the forward section of the ship. We loved our room attendant, RG. He was always smiling and always was very accommodating to anything we needed. We had a balcony which we used often. We liked that the bathroom was split so someone could take a shower, while another used the bathroom. this would be great for families. Our only complaint about the room was that the queen bed DOES NOT convert into two twin beds as on other cruises. We are two single girls traveling on the cruise and we felt as if it was strange that NONE of the beds converted. I would think that disney would want to accomodate many kinds of guests. My friend ended up sleeping on the couch bed... it was ok, she dealt with it and requested a foam mattress from housekeeping so she could sleep at night. The queen bed in the room was very comfortable and I just think that DCL should offer some rooms with twin beds. We also liked that the tv in the room had ENDLESS amounts of free on demand disney movies, shows, and other ABC shows. Not that we spent alot of time in our room but we thought it was a nice feature. Sailaway party was great - better than any I've seen on any ship i've been on! So much fun and definitly got you pumped for the vacation! Dining - I will be honest... We did not really care for the food too much. Either the food was "too fancy" or just didn't taste all that good. The restaurants themselves were amazing. Our favorite was Animators palate. Our servers were Elhan and Rakesh. They were so nice and really attentive every night. Activities - We knew when booking this cruise that DCL tailors the cruise to mostly families. And that was fine by us, we don't mind being around kids. Our only concern is there wasn't much for adults to do during sea days. Hmmm... do I want to go to an acupunture or posture analysis class today ;) We went to an animators class where we learned how to draw mickey and donald. that was really cool and I also liked the disney trivia games. I just think it would be nice to have a little bit more to do for adults. We loved going on the aquaduck! It was closed on two sea days because of high winds so we did not get to ride it as much as we would have liked. Entertainment - The shows on this cruise were amazing! Aladdin was so awesome and could be on broadway it was so good. The other two main shows were wishes and believe. those were very entertaining as well! Our entertainment host in the tube lounge, Trevor was great! He was so funny and kept everyone entertained. If you want a good laugh, go to the quest game show. We also went to battle of the sexes. They also had a magician, comedian and a group called buckets N boards onboard that week. they were all very entertaining. Pirate night was also alot of fun. people dressed up like pirates and they have a buccaneer blast fireworks show off the ship. Disney does not disappoint! We also liked going to get our pictures taken with the characters! so much fun! Ports of Call: St. Thomas - GORGEOUS island... seriously paradise! We went on the screamin' eagle jet boat in the morning which was so much fun! then we took the skyride to paradise point, which had amazing views of the island. San Juan - We took an atv tour through the EL Yunque rainforest. so awesome and alot of fun! Castaway Cay - I cannot say enough about castaway cay... it was great! So peaceful and beautiful. There was a private beach called serenity bay for adults. they also had a BBQ lunch on the island as well. I went parasailing that day and will never forget it! You must go to castaway cay! Service was impeccable on this cruise. Every cast member is so eager to help and happy to see you. This was such a different experience then when we were on NCL. Yikes! I would return to DCL in a heartbeat, just because of their awesome crew! Debarkation - We chose to walk off the ship with our bags since we wanted to get off as soon as possible so we could go check in at our hotel and then go to the parks. We were off the boat and through customs by 7:45... amazing... I've never seen embarkation/debarkation go so smoothly! Summary - I would not hesitate once about going on another Disney Cruise! I really want to go back! The Disney Fantasy is an amazing ship with so much to offer. Granted, it is more money for a disney cruise then say Carnival... but you get what you pay for. I felt as though on NCL you were constantly nickeled and dimed to spend more money when you had already spent enough (all the restaurants that you have to pay for) I liked that soda was included and did not have to pay for it extra like on other lines. Bottom line, you will love this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Where do I start? Overall, Disney Fantasy is THE nicest ship I have ever seen/been on. Starting with the Family greeting when you walk through the Atrium. Disney knows what they are doing. Service, forget about it. Everything you need ... Read More
Where do I start? Overall, Disney Fantasy is THE nicest ship I have ever seen/been on. Starting with the Family greeting when you walk through the Atrium. Disney knows what they are doing. Service, forget about it. Everything you need is taken care of. Dining room experience is incredible. Rotational dining with the same waiter is a nice touch. Food never got old or unattractive. Dinner was always delicious. Good variety of dinner options. Kids menu was good also. Free soda at dinner was a nice touch, plus all the self service free soda everywhere else was nice. The boat did move a little more than i am used too, not sure if it was the seas or the design of the boat, it seemed a little narrower than Royal Caribbean's Boats. I did feel the moving of the boat and not just at night. Kids programs, fantastic! my 4 yr old and 6yr old had a blast. hours 9am to midnight and a couple nights til 1am plus they feed the kiddos. Awesome! Character appearances at the kids club, games played, crafts, video games, u name it they had it. Mickey and pals appearance s on the boat, My kids both filled up their autograph books with signatures from all the characters and princesses. Pictures, good thing they had the all picture package, if you take all the pictures and professional setups they have you have no choice other than paying 20 bucks per photo it is a good deal. Ports were Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Castaway Cay(review in port section) Other than the price and smaller room than I like I can't complain about the cruise. It was nice being there on Christmas Day with Christmas Carolers singing in the Atrium, cookies and Hot Cocoa being served to everyone. Almost forgot about the shows, By far the best entertainment I have seen at sea. Disney's original shows do not disappoint. Buckets N Boards were outstanding family fun. Will definitely do a Disney cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First, I would like to start this review off by saying that my wife and I over all experience with getting on board as well as off board this "massive" ship was smooth and very quick!! Secondly, our overall interaction with this ... Read More
First, I would like to start this review off by saying that my wife and I over all experience with getting on board as well as off board this "massive" ship was smooth and very quick!! Secondly, our overall interaction with this ship's staff(restaurant, housekeeping, bar, casino) was EXCELLENT, they all took really good care of us while on our cruise! Thirdly, the ship's food was excellent, a lot better than what I have had on my other cruise, plus the room service was free for food orders(beer, wine you had to pay for), but it was also good. Ok, now here were some of the "little" things which kind of got on my nerves during my cruise: 1. If you are one who likes to GAMBLE, AKA play BlackJack, Craps, then YOU WILL NOT FIND ANY and I mean ANY $5 minimum bets on any of the tables on this ship!! The minimum bet on the tables start at $6, then go on to $10 and even a $25 table, but most of the Blackjack tables start off at $6, the same with the Craps table. Plus, they do use automatic card shufflers and regular card shues(usually half tables with automatic shue and half with regular shue). Also, carefully read the Blackjack table's sign, it clearly states that they play with 8 packs of cards and REMOVE ALL OF THE QUEENS!!! Nice, real nice, nice to see that Carnival's Casino believes in trying to keep that "house" edge!2. Also, some of this ship's casual eating stations which are located on the 10th floor in the "Gathering" section of the ship are supposed to be open from lunchtime up until 2:30pm-3:00pm, my wife and I found this to be a complete hassle all the time, these sections close way earlier than they are supposed to!! This completely sucked for my wife and I because a lot of these little eating stations have really good food!! 3. Another little pain in the butt thing that you have to watch out for on this ship is; the idiots who decide to when using the ship's elevator, to press the floor button and the close elevator button at the same time, which leaves you the party waiting for the elevator screwed because the elevator never stops at your floor and instead goes flying by you and then you have to wait another damn 30 minutes for a elevator to show up! 4. This ship is HUGE, you will get very tired on the very first day of your cruise from all of your walking around, so just take cat naps and go back out and explore this very cool and groovy ship!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our second New Years cruise on Freedom of the Seas (did it last year). We are 2 couples in our late 50's early 60's. My wife and I drove from Atlanta, Ga. to Port Canaveral going half way on Friday and the rest of the ... Read More
This was our second New Years cruise on Freedom of the Seas (did it last year). We are 2 couples in our late 50's early 60's. My wife and I drove from Atlanta, Ga. to Port Canaveral going half way on Friday and the rest of the way on Saturday (cruise left Sunday). Went to the port about 12:15 and were on the ship by 12:45 (had to wait for our friends). Boarding is so simple. As Diamond members with priority boarding you get a priority security line and priority check in. But even the other line was not too bad. Our cabin 9638 was on the hump. Normal size balcony but a great location. Near the elevators and 2 decks below the Windjammer. Junior Suites are great size. Walk in closet, sofa, chair, large balcony with 2 chairs, table and another chair with attached footstool. We gathered frequently in our cabin or on our balcony. Our friends had a balcony cabin on deck 8 and it sure seemed small compared to the JS. We sure are getting spoiled. Our cabin attendant, Simeon, was great. Was very "stealthy" in that he was rarely seen, but always available. Took excellent care of us. We had a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne and he kept them iced down as well as kept a full ice bucket for us. On the last Formal Night we returned to our cabin and he had placed rose petals on the bed. A very nice touch. Second seating in the MDR was fine. Our waiter was efficient but not all that personable. But there is a lot to be said for efficiency. Our Assistant Waiter was very good. Kept the wine poured, water glasses filled, rolls on the bread plates. We drink decaf at desert and as soon as we finished he would appear with the coffee. Food was good to very good. I like the new menu. Had salmon and halibut. Both were outstanding, as was the Duck. Chicken Marsala on last night..ok. Fried fish plate was also ok. But great appetizers. They list escargots every night, but tend to run out. So get them early in the cruise. Had a special menu on New Year Eve. It was quite good. Did breakfast in the MDR as well as lunch most days. All very good. New Years Eve was fantastic. Got a table in the Bull and Bear Pub about 9:30 and the entertainment was great. The singer is a lot of fun. The New Years party on the Promenade was great. Lots of excitement at midnight. Later went to the Schooner Lounge and the piano player is great fun. Spent many after hours in those two bars. Didn't go into Coco Cay as the winds were high and the tenders kept getting shut down. Did the "duty" ride into St. Thomas and went to our favorite place for Mudslides, the Big Kahuna. Shopped a bit then back to the ship. Cabbed to Orient Beach in St. Maarten and got lounges outside the Biking Bar. Laid on the beach, swam and drank Guavaberry Coladas. A nice time. Lots of kids on this cruise. Heard there were 1200 of them. Tended to "herd" and run around the ship. Only real gripe for me was when a group of about 15 teenagers tried racing from the top deck to the bottom deck down the stairs. As they rounded the landing nearly took out more than one passenger (including me). Some kids would play in the halls, and groups would ride the elevators up and down. Oh well, kids will be kids. One nice thing was how people dressed on New Years Eve and the second Formal Night. Lots of great looking, classy dressed men and women of all ages. Debarkation was very smooth. Had a 7:30 "off" time. Went to breakfast about 6:30 in MDR, was back in the room at 7:15, grabbed our stuff at 7:30 and was in the car at 8:15. I will say that we tip the porters well. When we checked in the porter was so excited at our tip that he gave me his cell number. I called him at 7:30 and he met us at the bottom of the escalator. I never lifted a bag. He got all our bags and took them all the way to the car (I was up the first ramp just undercover) and loaded them for me. You do get what you pay for. Bottom line, we did Freedom for New Years in 2011, now in 2012, and are going to book for New Years 2013 when we go on Allure in March. The only way to celebrate New Years Eve is on a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Usually it's my whole family going on the cruise but this time it was me, my 18 year old sister, and my grandmother. We had cruised like that one time before on the Explorer. I have been on 23 cruises and have been on the Explorer of ... Read More
Usually it's my whole family going on the cruise but this time it was me, my 18 year old sister, and my grandmother. We had cruised like that one time before on the Explorer. I have been on 23 cruises and have been on the Explorer of the Seas 4 times. I have also been on Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian and Carnival. I have also been to the Panama Canal and all the way north to Greenland and Iceland. Of all the cruises and ships I have been on, the Explorer can definitely be said as my favorite ship. Besides its convenient distance from our home, it has a beautiful layout, great entertainment and activities and a real "home" feeling. Ship-Even though the ship is almost as old as I am, I saw no major flaws-there were some little things here and there that were noticeable though. The ship is laid out in a very nice way; most things being easy to find in a short amount of time. All of the lounges are very beautiful also. My favorite lounge was Dizzy's where you looked over the pool deck of the ship. It was so relaxing you could fall asleep. Activities- The activities were very good. Some of the activities like the 70's Dancing in the Street party were not as fun as it was previous trips even though the music was great. This time it just seemed to focus mainly on the t-shirts they were shooting and the light-up rings they were throwing. The New Years party was very exciting, even though the whole crowd changed when the champagne was handed out. Most of the people around us were incredibly drunk; dancing and screaming like idiots. The Welcome Aboard reception was held before that also. Nobody let the officers speak- people were talking like he wasn't even there and I thought it was incredibly rude. The ice skating was one of our favorites. I do figure skating so I brought my skates and did the advanced skate session along with my sister. The skaters working there seemed to get a kick out of the tricks I was doing that were very similar to the ones they do. They have great Mini Golf and Inline Skating that we did not use this time due to weather but had used other times we were on the ship. Service-The service is what makes our trips so enjoyable every time. From the waiters to the entertainers, they are so nice and welcoming we come back on the ship again to see the same ones. We knew some of the singers, one of the girls in the shops, and some waiters who were all so surprised to see us again. My grandma would constantly say "If they were any nicer, they would kiss me goodnight". They work so hard yet treat everyone like royalty. Ports- The ports were okay. We didn't get off the ship in Port Canaveral because we thought we wouldn't have enough time to do what we planned. Instead, we stayed on the ship and went to the pool all day. In Nassau, we got off, walked around and did some of the shopping in the town. It was a great day and our only complaint is the pier stretched practically a mile! It was our first time in CoCo Cay and we were impressed! We were expecting it to be like their private island in Labadee, Haiti that we've been to several times. The actual beach itself was wonderful- except the hundreds of fish surrounding us in the water. The buffet grill was delicious too! Really good food knowing it wasn't "on the ship". The only bad thing about the ports was the terrible times that made doing things on land hard. Embarkation- The embarkation was as easy as ever. It seems that whenever we board the Explorer it gets easier every time. We got there about 11 o'clock and were on bus #1. We only waited about five minutes in the "Platinum" waiting area. The only bad thing was the weather that no one could control. Stateroom- The interesting thing about our cabin was it was the same room as our last cruise in August. We could have just left our stuff there! Compared to other ships, the storage was great and there was enough room for everyone. The beds were as comfortable as always and our veranda was as lovely as always- except the fact that it was cold outside the majority of the trip which made it hard to spend time sitting out. Our room attendant was extremely nice, constantly asking us if we needed anything. Dining- The menu had changed since the last time we were on the ship. The food was better than ever! Some of our favorites were the Duck, the carrot cake I had the first night, the Lobster (best I ever had), and the Baked Alaska. We were given a table for 8 even though we spent the night just the 3 of us the whole trip. Our two waiters were amazing, showing just how great service could be. I did not use any of the Teen Club activities. I never really go to the teen club on most of my cruises. I find that I can "hang out" with people my own age at home rather than wasting my vacation time doing nothing. Entertainment- The entertainment was also better than ever. The production shows proved how amazing the singers, dancers and musicians really are. The music itself was very nice to listen to because of its familiarity- even to a 15 year old. The comedian from the first night did not have a great preview show but had a hilarious late night show. There was also a comedian/ magician that was very entertaining. The 6th night there was Judy Kolba. We had seen her perform on the Explorer before but this time her show was more "friendly" unlike wild from before. The ice shows were definitely a highlight. It was more enjoyable for me to watch knowing that I was capable of doing what they could do. The overall entertainment was very memorable and outstanding. Disembarkation-Leaving the ship was just as easy as getting on. We went to the Palace Theater where we walked in and walked out to an elevator. They held up certain elevators for us to go straight down to Deck 1. I think they did that because we were all listed under Emerald for our grandmother. Even though it was cold, we waited for about a minute to get another bus back to the terminal where we easily found our luggage and left. Summary- All in all, our trip was fantastic and well spent! I would recommend this line and this ship in particular to people of all ages. They have something for everyone and their service truly makes them one of a kind. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Let me preface this review with the fact that I was a travel agent for 18 years prior to 9/11 but this was only my second cruise. I'm aware of the different types of travelers and what was important or unimportant to me might be ... Read More
Let me preface this review with the fact that I was a travel agent for 18 years prior to 9/11 but this was only my second cruise. I'm aware of the different types of travelers and what was important or unimportant to me might be different for you. I decided that staying home for the normal holiday family drama was not in the cards for me and decided to book a vacation that would be relaxing and didn't involve much stress. A cruise was the perfect choice. I waited until 3 weeks prior to departure to book and still got a good fare and was even upgraded. These cruises are an amazing feat of timing and organization. 2000 guest and 900 staff have to be fed and entertained. I was impressed with the positive and friendly attitudes of all of the staff. It really is amazing considering the sheer volume of humans that roll through a ship week end and week out. Our cabin 4247 was a typical cruise ship cabin. Everything is tiny, but it was adequate. You can stow 4 full-size suitcases under the beds and we managed to unpack all of our clothes in the closet and drawers provided. If you care nothing about the room other than a place to sleep, book a cheap cabin and spend your money on excursions. If you like to spend private time alone, book a stateroom with a balcony. If there are more than 2 of you, it's cramped. I shared a room with my 18 year old son and it was easier than I thought it would be. We really were only in the cabin at the same time to sleep. I enjoyed "Freestyle Cruising" and the choice of restaurants. It was nice to be able to go to the 7 Seas or 4 Seasons for a sit-down dinner without a reservation and whenever I felt hungry. It was also nice to get my new-found friends together for dinner and not be stuck with assigned dining companions. Cruise ship food is what it is. They are cooking for 2000 people, 3000 if you include the staff. They are also trying to accommodate a multitude of palettes. There was typical American fare as well as a selection of Indian cuisine on the buffet and the salad bar had a great selection. Hamburgers and hotdogs could be found everyday at the buffet as well as freshly grilled on the pool deck in the afternoons. There is an icecream bar in the main buffet as well as soft serve in the aft buffet. That seemed to be a hit with everyone as there was nearly always a line. The 7 Seas main dining room is on the 5th deck aft and the food and staff seemed more accommodating than it's sister MDR, 4 Seasons, which is on the same deck mid-ship. We also ate at the French restaurant, Le Bistro, one night (dress up night) and the service was fantastic. Although the table next to us brought an over-tired toddler to a 9PM dinner and she cried which spoiled the atmosphere. (Don't bring your baby to a French bistro at 9PM!) The White Party: I don't know if it's like this on every cruise, but the first hour is open to everyone including children. The dance floor was a mosh pit of pre-teens. They had to leave after an hour, but then it was 18-22 year olds who were basically standing there not dancing, so no one else could dance either except of the edges of the dance floor. I had heard this party was on the pool deck, but on our cruise it was at Dazzles and really too small a venue to hold everyone. Smoking: If you smoke you are limited to very few places. The Promenade deck and port sides of the pool deck and deck 12. No smoking in any of the restaurants or bars and there is no cigar bar. You can also smoke in the casino. As of January 2012, no smoking in your cabin unless you have a balcony. Casino: Total snooze fest! Shore excursions: Keep in mind that you will not see very much of your destination ports on a cruise. You will see port shopping at port prices. The cruise line does not force you to purchase their excursions, but they do make you fear booking with other vendors. If you book with them and are late returning they will hold the boat, if you book elsewhere they say they will leave you if you are late. You also pay 30-50% more booking through the excursion desk and they are reluctant to refund money if the excursion was a disaster. If you book on your own and pay by credit card, you'll have a better chance of getting your money back if the experience was terrible. My best advice is to check with the concierge desks of local high-end resorts for recommendations. It might cost you a phone call, but you'll save money in the end. Many islands have large tour operators who can offer all of the same adventures. The internet is also your friend and reading reviews is helpful. Cocktails, beer, and wine: I found the prices to be comparative to US restaurants. A glass of wine with dinner $15, martini $14, drink of the day $8. If you like wine I believe you can bring it aboard but must pay corkage of $10. It is still cheaper to pay corkage than double the price of a bottle of wine which is what all restaurants do including cruise restaurants. They will tag your bottle and it goes to a cellar and will be available to you no matter what dining room you are eating in. Tips and Tricks: Water, tea, coffee and milk are the only free drinks. At breakfast there is OJ, cranberry and apple juice but they turn that off after breakfast. If you like juice or soda, buy the softdrink pass for $70 per person, OR you can bring your own. You are allowed to bring aboard cases of water or sodas with your luggage. A large bottle of water on board is $7. This really only works if you are driving to your port. The number one piece of advice I can give to anyone traveling whether on a cruise or otherwise is relax and smile. Your attitude will be reflected back to you. Kindness and respect is the international currency. If one thing goes badly, take a deep breath and wait for it to pass. If you meet new people who are constantly complaining that everything is awful, avoid them. Attitudes are contagious. Bottom line, we had a great time, made new friends, saw new places and would go back again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011

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