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113 Caribbean - Southern Singles Cruise Reviews

Terrible food, like bad airplane food and no seasoning, odd combinations of food, and a glass of wine goes for $18, going to dinner is a 2 hour affair, fraudulent charges(watch your statement, they try to charge you), charged me $148 for ... Read More
Terrible food, like bad airplane food and no seasoning, odd combinations of food, and a glass of wine goes for $18, going to dinner is a 2 hour affair, fraudulent charges(watch your statement, they try to charge you), charged me $148 for a spa service I didn't even receive, rude spa staff that treat you like crap, nothing to do on board. The most exciting thing was bingo. One small pool for adults, and 2 small jacuzzis, and one small pool for kids. The ship is always swaying back and forth like I've never experienced before. I will never go on this boring, terrible cruise line again! Don't waste your time! You'll be disappointed! You're better off going on a direct flight to a beach. After all was said and done this trip cost me over $5,000. Totally not worth it by no means. Totally disappointed and upset about the whole vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe ... Read More
While one expects to have an older cruise passengers on a Holland America ship. With this said that with the money I spent I would expect like hot water and clean rooms. The first night the room had a musty moldy smell like maybe it had a leak at sometime and hadn’t been cleaned properly. My friend had gone through some lung issues just before the cruise so the second day he was sick it. So they moved us to new cabin. So now the new cabin had no hot water for four days Then the fifth day no cold water just scalding hot both sides. So after talking among passengers and crew that this was problems throughout much of the ship . Then the ship was just of dry dock and were also experiencing HVAC problems. We talked with several people among the staff and after several meetings with staff was offered compensation but was kept silent to the passengers and the ones I talked to were offered much less to nothing basically saying that if said nothing then that’s wat you or you if didn’t stay on their ads you got a much smaller competition. Not on a different topic entrainment what they had was ok but you could tell they didn’t budget much for entertainment. There was never a band of any kind poolside or around during the day. But I guess that didn’t make too much a splash poolside as we only had about half or time with the pool in service. On the positive side the food was spectacular and the wait staff was equally as good Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). However, this sailing I was celebrating a milestone of my own as this was my 47th cruise overall and my accomplishment was hitting a full year of my life at sea! Other cruise lines I’ve sailed on are Norwegian Cruise Line (Platinum Plus with over 25 cruises), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and lastly a couple of times on Carnival. My reviews are typically written in chronological order so you can follow along with when things occurred and what my thoughts on them were. At the end there’s a summary and thank you to staff who stood out. I hope you enjoy! Day 1 – Embarkation Day – New York City After the first cruise to sail from NYC had a bad embarkation, I was happy I wasn’t arriving to Manhattan until Noon on the bus I took down from Boston. Upon arrival to the pier, the porters quickly took our luggage and with a decent tip ($2 per bag), our bags were gone and down the conveyer belt in no time! We entered the terminal and encountered a fairly long security line at 12:30PM. When I had my documents out, the lady pulled me aside and told me to go into another line which was not snaked. I did so and we were at security in no time. The check in counters didn’t have any lines at all. I was taken straight away and we were on the ship by 12:45PM. It was pretty seamless! We embarked the Meraviglia from the front of the ship and walked down the indoor Promenade with the giant LED screen, the largest at sea! It was impressive, although some of the shows watching them looking straight up later in the cruise would make me get dizzy. To best view them, go to deck 7 by the spa and look the long way down the promenade. Helpful Tip: We registered our credit cards at the onboard kiosk on Deck 6 by the elevators mid-ship. There are two types of machines to register your room card with. One takes cash and credit cards, the other one takes credit cards only and is smaller. The cash machine had so many people fiddling with them, I just wanted the card machine and this was located on Deck 6 starboard side. We went to lunch at the Market Place Buffet up on Deck 15. The buffet is quite lengthy. Each side has the same type of sections. In the front on the port side is the pizza station which serves pizza pretty much ALL the time (breakfast pizzas, and a changing variety throughout the rest of the day). There’s a pasta, salad, rotisserie, sweets and wellness sections. On port and starboard side there was ethnic sections which largely consisted of Mexican / Spanish foods throughout our voyage. In the back of the buffet (most didn’t walk that far), there was a stir fry section which was really good. During the voyage, on port days, the back section of the buffet was closed. We grabbed a plate of food and sat on the outside deck overlooking the Hudson River. It was overcast but not too chilly to enjoy a lunch out there. While eating lunch, I connected to the ship’s WiFi and loaded the MSC for Me app. This app is quite handy in booking reservations for all the shows and seeing what’s on. It also has a chat functionality which you can use to stay connected to new found friends on the ship. It was the first cruise where I used the chat functionality and it worked quite well. The app also gives you guidance on where things are in the ship and how to get to them. I strongly urge you to download this prior to the voyage so you can take full advantage of what’s on offer and waste minimal time at the touch screens scattered throughout the ship. After lunch, it was announced the staterooms were ready. We proceeded to our stateroom and the luggage was already there! This was quite impressive given how short of a time it was. The rooms were ready at 2PM. Stateroom 9218: This is a Fantastica balcony stateroom. If you don’t know what Fantastica is, it’s a tier level of room you book on MSC ships where you get certain amenities – main among them is room service. This stateroom was located starboard side on the mid-ship bump out and it was the second to last room heading aft in the mid-ship bump out. MSC seems to have a standard stateroom format as the room looked exactly the same as Seaside. The closet was small and didn’t have enough hangars (we remembered and brought our own). There is two cubbies and two drawers on the right side of the closet with the safe in the middle. There’s also another cubby on the floor of the closet on the right side. The bathroom consisted of a shower with glass door, very deep sink (love the sink design on MSC) and a counter which extends down the wall for storage. There are three shelves in the bathroom. The stateroom was in physically good condition upon initial inspection. It quickly became apparent due to the ship’s configuration with the bump out, we must’ve been on the end of the vacuum line with our neighbors being the last. The toilet was very picky so you had to flush it constantly. We had to get it fixed twice during the voyage. The refrigerator was good at cooling items such as the water containers we brought. There’s a desk drawer under the counter top, it’s quite big and another helpful place to store stuff. The light to the left of the beds was constantly flickering during the voyage. I never used it but when the evening turn down was done, it would flicker. I don’t know if it was an electrical issue or what not. I did not report it. Now this part is important, when the ship was at sea and we had some rough sea conditions due to passing cold fronts, the room was constantly creaking! For a ship as new as this, I couldn’t believe the amount of noise the room made. It wasn’t anything the ship could do to fix it as it was the room itself. I still slept but when you were in the room, you could hear it with the ship’s movement. If you’re a light sleeper, book another room and probably not on the bump out. Of more important note, the room did NOT have any Kleenex / tissues. We asked for a box and were told the ship does not provide them, only to Yacht Club guests. Some guests on the previous voyage (where an illness had started to break out) were given them who were not YC guests. This would later come back to bite MSC big time. If you’re going to be an Eco Ship, why not get rid of bottled water but instead tissues? I’m still scratching my head over this one. After unpacking, we headed down to the dining room to change our dining time. We requested the early seating but when we said early – we didn’t mean 5:15PM. I don’t know why MSC doesn’t allow a person to pick slots in first, second and third order so that if you booked an experience, they could work best to accommodate you. Having fixed dining times is inherently lazy of cruise lines anyway! It’s the one thing on MSC that I do not like. The restaurant manager switched us from Waves at 5:15PM to 6PM in Panorama. Panorama is a really beautiful restaurant aft on the ship. However, what I didn’t realize is when he switched us, we went to a table share with two other couples. Thankfully they turned out to be quite lovely people when tables around us had some really odd pairings with people swapping out. This process took us over 1 hour to do so if you don’t like your dining time, change it first thing when you get on because the people pile up and you don’t want to spend your first day of holiday waiting. At 5PM as we wasted so much time getting the table and time changed, it was the compulsory emergency drill. Our muster station was in the casino (oddly it was on Seaside as well). We arrived early to get a seat for mom and waited and waited. People were not attending the drill like they were required to. Finally, it started and it was over in the blink of an eye. They only demonstrated how to put the life jacket on. The rest was found on the stateroom TVs which was clear during the voyage people did not watch (throwing cigarettes and other items overboard, smoking on the balconies, etc.). Fellow Passengers: There was truly an international mix of passengers on the ship. I became friends with people from Germany, Holland, Canada, Austria and Greece! What unsettled me was the group of people MSC used to fill the ship closer to sailing. I booked fairly last minute (8 weeks out) and thought wow, the ship is still fairly open. However, when they discounted the prices even lower around 3 weeks out, the passenger make up got really interesting both posting online beforehand and on the ship. The Cruise Director joked about it not being a Carnival ship one night in the theater, well I guess he never visited the nightclub. Those folks causing issues were the scum the low pricing MSC did brought onboard, amazingly and not shockingly… all Americans. Before you say how rude, I’m American but I do have a sense of propriety and class. I understand everyone is on holiday but save your offensive shirts, surly (perhaps drunk) comments, feeling up your fellow (perhaps drunk) cruisers for your stateroom or better yet… don’t cruise if you can’t act correctly in public. Most of the latter stuff was in the nightclub. Cruisers also didn’t seem to practice good hygiene either leading to a massive spread of a sinus and upper respiratory bug throughout the ship. Cough etiquette goes a long way. Coughing into your elbow is great way to stop the spread of germs, but most just chose to cough on everyone else. The lack of tissues made the spread of germs on all surfaces even better. Way to go MSC on that one! I will give credit to MSC for trying to make the situation right during the voyage. I truly appreciated the guest services hospitality when my concerns were addressed. It was dinner time in Panorama and the first night menu resembled a similar one to NCL with the vegetable spring rolls. I had the lamb t-bone. The spring rolls were great. The lamb t-bone was incredibly small so I asked for a second portion. Lino, our head waiter, delivered it without issue. Lino and Frederick in Panorama offered great service throughout the cruise. Frederick was very attentive and constantly filling my water glass. The food was way too salty and it just made me thirsty incessantly. Frederick would have to refill my water glass up to five times during the dinner service! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot We booked the 8PM showtime for the ventriloquist. I realize there’s an international audience on the ship so he would say somethings in English and I believe the other parts were Spanish. However, the little character was not really amusing and he was hitting on female passengers and calling other male passengers ugly. It was entertainment but not the kind I experienced on Seaside. I know Meraviglia had to add entertainment to the ship as they only had 7 production shows but this guy was not very entertaining overall. After the long day of traveling and getting up early, after the show I showered and relaxed. It was at this time that we discovered the room service menu’s inadequacies. I remember having room service on the Seaside and not having any issues finding something to eat. This cruise I was up in the buffet for breakfast more than I had anything from room service. Mom found items but it was challenging as she doesn’t like chocolate (and most of the menu was chocolate items) and can’t have dairy. Other entertainment going on the first night was a welcome party from the cruise staff around 10:45PM in the Promenade and the disco with the DJ after 11PM. DAY 2: At Sea The weather was still chilly outside and the seas were kicked up. Cold fronts coming off the USA East Coast would cause issues during various days of the cruise. Today was the Cruise Critic gathering and the ship did it nicely with cocktails being served at 10AM and little bites to eat. This time they let the passengers mingle a bit before they introduced the officers and presented us with a cake. It was a very nice touch and I got to make some great cruise friends along the way! It was today I discovered the Gym on Deck 16 mid-ship and wanted to do a workout since the weather wasn’t warm enough for it. The gym was packed solid and hideously small for a ship this size. Some of the cardio equipment was broken further compounding the crowded feel of the place. I went for a walk around the walking track with mom that goes around mid-ship to aft on Deck 16 to get some steps for the day. While doing the walking track, it’s single file so where possible I walked outside to the right of it to talk with mom. Runners were coming along on the other lane or just running everywhere and not staying in their lane. When you got to the aft section of the Horizon Pool where the track loops around on the Starboard side, you go right through a smoking area! How dumb!! If you’re trying to workout, why on Earth would you want to inhale smoke?! After an early lunch, I decided to go to the gym and finally found a spot to work out on the mat. I did have to work in for one of the two benches near the free weights. Very few guests were sanitizing equipment after use so I did before each usage. The side room which could be a good stretching area, was locked as it had the spin cycles in them. An aerobics room was missing on this ship since they used the basketball/soccer court for those classes. You couldn’t take a mat down there to stretch though! After a brief nap, I went to the single / solo cruisers gathering. It was there that I met two wonderful ladies at the bar who introduced me to some of the bar staff they knew from a previous voyage. All the bartenders and wait staff in the Sky Lounge were really friendly, helpful and out-going. It would become a good place for a pre-club drink or to pass time between activities. It was the first formal night of the cruise and I had the beef tournedos. The meat was cooked to order and very well presented but the sauce was way too salty. I didn’t have time for dessert as the ship had scheduled the LGBT gathering at 6:30PM in the Sky Lounge and I wanted to attend. Both the LGBT and the singles were unhosted events and unlike the Seaside – occurred every night of the cruise from night 2 onward at the Sky Lounge. Since we booked the 9:30PM show because I was unsure whether or not the LGBT gathering would run late or not, mom and I went to the Sportsplex which included the arcade, bowling, F1 simulators and the flight simulators. I purchased the Fun Pass pre-cruise for $100 for what I thought was unlimited usage of the entire complex, it turned out, it wasn’t unlimited but that’s not too much of a worry after the weather finally moderated. Of note, the bowling only had one functional lane meaning you had to arrange an appointment to use it. The 4D Cinema was intense. I played all three of the interactive movies with the skeletons in the mine one being the gentlest of them all. It’s quite an intense experience. The arcade has minimal games for a ship this size: 1 competing motorcycle game, Star Wars Game, shooting game (which didn’t seem to be working during the voyage much) and a demolition style sit down race car game. Turned out I was really good at destroying opponents in this game! The arcade would be a good place to pass time in between moments in the evening hours where entertainment gaps existed. I would highly recommend the Fun Pass at $100. The 4D Cinema is $10 per person, bowling is $25 for a half hour play, F1 was also expensive. One bad weather day and you could easily hit the $100! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: One Day More It was the first production show of the cruise, featuring Broadway hits like Singing in the Rain, Cats, Les Miserables. The productions make extensive use of LED walls for graphics saving tons of space for props and endless costume changes back stage. The production cast tonight was great, the opera singers were more overpowering of their cohort singers in group numbers but I knew they’d both be shining stars during opera night later in the cruise! I would definitely recommend catching this show on the ship! Tonight, was the first night I went to the Attic Club disco on the ship. It was here that I discovered one of the two DJs from the Seaside was onboard (and he wasn’t the better one from Seaside – DJ Tony). At the bar in the nightclub was a younger guy with his head down sleeping, apparently passed out. Security went over to check on him and let him stay there but he put his head back down. Eventually he ordered two Red Bull and was much more awake but only caffeinated. It was a good night out but most hung outside at the Horizon Bar to smoke on the starboard side. With the crosswinds, it would waft across the deck into the non-smoking area making it impossible to get air. The Attic Club was insanely hot as the ship still had the heat on from the colder cruises. I retired shortly around 1AM. DAY 3: At Sea It’s October 30th and the ship began coming alive with Halloween decorations. The culinary team in the buffet carved pumpkins yesterday all day in the kitchen they make the fresh mozzarella in and today they setup a display of them with fake candles. The display was just as you entered the Marketplace Buffet. Also, in the Meraviglia Lounge, they had pumpkins carved on the tables there and the whole bar was even more decorated than the previous day. Actually, the whole Promenade on Deck 6 was alive with Halloween items, including some scary looking man who was later used for photos by the ship’s photography team. The weather was not cooperating so well so the Fun Pass was used to play some bowling, arcade games and 4D Cinema before heading back to rest for the afternoon. The temperature outside was finally starting to moderate a bit but the weather was still overcast with occasional rain showers. We also found a nice place to go for a walk downstairs away from the smokers. It was on Deck 7 forward and was a horseshoe from port side to starboard side through the front tunnel in the ship from one bump out section to the other. It’s by the life rafts and was a good place to go to not be in the direct sunlight as well. There are NO deck chairs on this deck, it was strictly used for walking purposes only and it’s not very well advertised. Crew do a lot of work out on this deck so parts may be shut off as well. Today, the ship delivered strawberries and prosecco to the room as part of the Diamond status Voyager’s Club welcome back gift. Prior to sailing, make sure to status match with your other cruise line’s loyalty club status. On NCL I’m Platinum Plus which makes me Diamond on MSC. Just before dinner it was announced Cirque du Soleil’s scheduled performance of Viaggio was cancelled due to the rough sea conditions. I was scheduled to attend the 9:30PM showing. It would become practically a routine to visit the scheduling guy at the Carousel Lounge to get the shows rescheduled this cruise. Why would you ever build a show lounge at the aft of a ship for a Cirque performance? The least amount of movement is mid-ship! Tonight, after switching the dining time around, the birthday cake showed up to the Panorama restaurant for mom. The first night it was delivered to the Waves Restaurant because we were scheduled to be there but the second night I left early before it could be served. It became a running joke this cruise because the travel agent also bought a cake for my mom’s birthday so there were TWO cakes floating around the ship! The section host, William, did a splendid job of tracking them all down and getting them arranged though! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Born to Rock The second production show of the cruise with the production cast was mom’s favorite. She loves rock music and loved all the tunes. They had Tina Turner and many other rock legends. The production was pretty solid with full usage of LED panels and several wardrobe changes by all. Less group singing in this production so it made it a lot smoother. A definite must catch show! THEME NIGHT: Country and Western Night MSC has several theme nights on their American sailings or so it would seem (some appeared on the Seaside as well). The first theme night was Country and Western. I don’t particularly like country music but I was interested to see what they would do. The cruise staff dressed in Western attire and danced to the same line dance songs you’d hear most other places with a few country dance tunes thrown in for good measure. The overhead LED panels in the promenade had different graphics displaying throughout the event. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show This was an adult’s only improv comedy show. It started slow and just died. It wasn’t too funny and when it took too long to setup the next act, most people, including myself walked out. I felt bad for them but with a more engaging party (Country Night) going on just feet away, I felt my time could be better used to watch people have fun than those four TRYING to be funny. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Black Light Party Cirque du Soleil might’ve been cancelled but the Carousel Lounge was still open for usage. I loved the Carousel Lounge as a nightclub. Yes, the bar had a significant shortage of various types of alcohol requiring you to walk to the casino bar to get your drink but the lighting system and sound systems in there were FAR superior to the Attic Club. It also was much better climate controlled. It was sad the Neon party only lasted one hour before they closed it down at 12:30AM and sent us up to the Attic Club. DAY 4: At Sea – Happy Halloween MSC Meraviglia Finally, a good morning to go sunning on the pool deck after breakfast! I went up for a little while before returning to the room to join my mom at the Welcome Back Cocktail reception on the Promenade Deck 6 for all Voyager’s Club member. The event was attended by all senior staff on the ship with little snacks and drinks being served, including non-alcoholic ones. The best part was the production cast came through and did a song and dance number for us after the captain came by to say some remarks and toast. There was also a history presentation on the LED ceiling. It was very well done and probably the best welcome back party I’ve attended on any cruise line to date! After a buffet lunch, it was time to hit the gym. While most folks were out on the pool deck or worked out earlier, I could find a corner to do my ab workout and didn’t have to battle nearly as many people for the equipment. Dinner tonight was ribs and an Asian Salad. The salad was good. I asked for a double order of the ribs and still felt hungry. I didn’t order more because of the showtime and needing to get to the theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot Yes, this ventriloquist came back with a new show dubbed to be full of surprises and laughs. Some of it mirrored the first show and there were new elements. The female he selected from the audience clearly didn’t want to do it and looked like she could’ve punched him at any time. I was sitting in the back and her unwillingness was palpable from there! It was a show to see but again, if he’s on, take a pass on it. THEME NIGHT: Halloween Several cruise guests, largely Americans, dressed up for Halloween. The top 3 were picked by the cruise staff for final voting up on the bridge in the Promenade. I dressed up as Cesar, quite a few vampires around but the winner of the contest was a group of drag Pan Am flight attendants and a pilot. I’ve never had my picture taken by so many cruisers before! A ship’s photographer named Veronica (I think) also snagged me for a photo shoot and she did some amazing poses. She was having a ton of fun with it! I don’t customarily buy ship photos but I did from her shoot. She’s got a good eye! Music tonight was by DJ Fabiano and the LED ceiling was on fire with creative and spooky graphics. I’ve done 3 Halloween parties at sea and this was by far the best one yet! Bravo Meraviglia entertainment team! The after party was up in the Attic Club and Horizon Pool Bar at midnight but since I was getting up to go ashore tomorrow, I went up for a bit and went to bed. Cirque du Soleil was cancelled again tonight, although it was the SONOR show I was scheduled to see. It was again due to the ship swaying in the sea conditions (high winds). DAY 5: Land Ho! ST MAARTEN After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship and in a taxi with other guests to head to Maho Beach. I was heading to Cupecoy Beach, a LGBT friendly beach on the island. It cost me $30 for the trip for myself one way. When we arrived at Maho Beach, the beach was underwater and the sand had gone up over the wall and a bus got stuck causing a traffic jam. This should’ve been my clue to get out but I didn’t. I went to Cupecoy anyway and the beach conditions were similar. The beach was underwater due to the tides and high seas. I stayed and sunned myself on the rocks until some other cruisers from the ship arrived. We walked the different inlets from above and admired the views. I split the van on the way back with the other guys from the ship. It took us one hour to get back to the ship because the traffic was so bad. Mom spent the day walking around Philipsburg, St Maarten and finding tissues. She wasn’t sick at this point but the only option available at the time was to use toilet paper to clean out your nose when you awakened in the morning. This was very silly to her (and eventually to me too when I saw what a lack of it was doing to the ship) so she sought out tissues and made that her day ashore. She was successful. You knew it was starting to get bad on the ship because a hand sanitizer lady appeared in the entry way to the Marketplace Buffet. She wasn’t there until this day. When I arrived back onboard and synced by phone back to the Meraviglia Wi-Fi, the restaurant reservation was gone showing what time we were supposed to have Teppanyaki. My mom reserved the Teppanyaki for me to celebrate a career advancement. SPECIALTY DINING: Kaito Teppanyaki This specialty restaurant is where a cook prepares a meal in front of you using a grill and puts on a show. The price varies depending on what meal you select. I had the Samurai meal which was 7 courses and included sushi, salad, soup, tempura, steak, rice and dessert. Mom had the vegetarian version of it with tofu, cucumber rolls (versus tuna rolls), tempura, salad, soup and dessert. Dominique from the Philippines prepared our meal on the grill and did an excellent job of the show. I asked him if he’d been on NCL doing it as the show was quite similar and he said he actually did work on NCL. If you’ve done Teppanyaki on NCL, this is similar but with more food (courses). Also, during the reservation process, the lady asked my mom if I was celebrating anything and she put it in the computer. To my surprise, during dessert time, the Kaito crew came out with a congratulations cake and sang a modified happy birthday congratulations song to me! I wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard… my mom’s payback for the birthday cake for her earlier on I presumed! It was a great meal with excellent service. I would bump into the waitstaff in the mornings up in the buffet and they’d always greet me by name. Impressive! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Antonio Versini: A world of Hands I figured this would be the standard magicians show with sleight of hand magic tricks and such. It actually was that and a whole lot more. He put up this projection light on the starboard side and this circle screen in the back and started doing impressions with his hands of animals, singers while songs were playing and morphed them all together. It was quite impressive and unique as I’d not seen anything like this before at sea. THEME PARTY: White Party A signature event on MSC seems to be their White Party. It’s simple, you wear white and dance the night away. It was the first night a party was held at the Atmosphere Pool outside. It was high energy once the line dance songs ended that accompanied most theme nights on the voyage. We had some good EDM tunes before the party shut down at midnight and moved to the Horizon Pool and Bar on Deck 16 / 18 aft. I stayed up until 1AM enjoying the fun before heading to bed. DJ Fabiano was spinning the after party. At the bar, one of the late bookers was drunk and loudly complaining about how crappy the music was. He was a complete buzzkill for anyone near him at the Horizon Bar. DAY 6: FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE We called on Fort-de-France, Martinique and when the morning started it was sunny and I had a leisurely buffet breakfast. I was joined by another solo from New York who hopped on last minute. She was very pleasant and we chatted for a bit. By the time I got off the ship, the sky had changed and storms were coming. The local dancers were out and performing tunes for photo ops. We decided to head to the museum we couldn’t see the last time we were there because it was Sunday. This time it was Saturday and the museum still closed because it was a holiday weekend for them (All Saints Day). The problem with going to the other side of town was the sky opened up and it down poured. Everyone ran for cover; my very large umbrella was no match for the deluge of rain that came. I ducked into an open shop. It was at this time we began to realize most of the city was closed! After getting soaked, it was time to head back to the ship and change. We decided on a leisurely lunch in the Panorama Dining Room. It was leisurely alright; it took 1.5 hours to get our lunch service and it largely seemed because the waitstaff didn’t want any other people to sit in their section again. We never dined in Panorama for lunch again after this one experience. In the PM, I returned to the gym and did a workout waiting for the sun to come out and then watched as the new guests embarked. The cruise was split into two segments to try and get more of it sold. We had a lot of new faces but sadly the sick ones were still around coughing everywhere. I continued to use my avoidance precautions as best as I could but the buffet was a hot bed of germs. Tonight, seemed to be a Greek themed menu so I stuck with the selection of Greek plates including Zucchini meatballs (Kefeta [sic]), slovaki and a custard pie for dessert. A table mate recommended all the dishes and he was supported by Lino, our head waiter for our table. It was a pretty tasty meal. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Virtual The third production show of the cruise featuring the singers and dancers. The show is with more modern music and features a cast member interacting with a phone which has different apps. Dancers come out as dancing emojis and such. While the costuming was engaging, the show, in my opinion, was the weakest one of all the productions. It just didn’t flow right and seemed wonky as they moved from app to app on an iPhone displayed on the LED screen. THEME NIGHT: Space Party I didn’t know or have anything for this party to wear so I just went as I was. It seemed like a lot of cruisers just showed up because it was on right after the show. It was at 10:15PM in the Promenade. The LED ceiling had different solar system displays and stars showing. It was a nice party with the cruise staff decked out in light up silver wardrobe. The funny part was the party was over at 11PM and they told everyone to check out the after party up at the Horizon Bar. When I went up there along with several other cruise guests, there was no music! Someone messed up this night and left a one-hour gap between the two parties! When the DJ came up, it was music under the stars at the Horizon Bar and not inside at the Attic Club. The lack of music and movement for one hour made me exhausted so I headed to bed shortly after midnight. DAY 7: BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Our arrival was a nail biter for those of us on the starboard side of the ship. We watched as the ship backed into the channel and then come alongside a shipping container vessel (carrying some MSC containers by the way), and then slowly inching back. It was probably the tightest park job I’ve ever seen by a ship. We had to use this section of the pier because it was Sunday and the trolley trains wouldn’t be working. It was truly a sight to behold and nice work by the shore pilot and the bridge crew for an awesome docking without hitting anything (cargo ship or pier)! It was Sunday so everything was largely closed here. It wasn’t due to the same holiday in Martinique but just a very traditional church-going island. This actually worked in our favor as we decided to head to the Garrison and see if the George Washington House might be open. The ship was doing a tour to it so we figured we would try and the walk was a nice jaunt from the ship. We arrived and found a worker who was doing some clean up and said we could enter for $10USD per person. We did and walked the whole site and when we were leaving, the curator actually had just come back from church to close it up. He opened it before church for the ship’s tour. We lucked out! It was noon so we tried a place close by, one of two that were open for lunch called Brown Sugar Restaurant. It was a buffet lunch for $40 USD per person, since the other food option open was spicy Jamaican, we had to dine here. The service was non-existent. We needed water as the sun had emerged finally and it was a scorcher but the lady seemed to make it a chore to refill the glass even once. The buffet was extensive but not worth the money they were charging. After lunch, we decided to take a taxi back over to the port because it was so hot! The one-way taxi fare cost us $20 USD. Back on the ship, we showered and relaxed. Tonight’s dinner menu was not appetizing. I had the strip steak off the always available menu and it was tough despite requesting it be medium. This was one of two nights where I found the main dining room’s menu seriously disappointing and I’m not a picky person by any means. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Come Il Mare This night featured the Italian opera singers of the Meraviglia. We had heard them in earlier productions but tonight showcased their range. It was a spectacular show. Before the show and the previous night, the cruise director made it a point to say the show wouldn’t be for everyone. It wasn’t for everyone. The interpretations were on the side panels of the words being sung. The problem was the port side panel with the English was partially blocked by the curtain to the stage. I still enjoyed it! An aside: What I found really rude was despite the warning, the folks who had the 8:30 dining time still attended the show and got up and left en masse to their dining room! It was beyond rude given the caliber of the production being put on. MSC needs to put a block on reserving the show times if it overlaps with the person’s scheduled dining times. Folks with late seating need to see the first show only. Folks with the early seating see the second or third shows depending on when they finish. It’s much more respectful to the performers and the audience that way. THEME PARTY: Pirates Party Channel your inner Jack Sparrow mate and come along on the promenade for a fun-filled night at sea! I had a pirate shirt with me after learning of this theme on the Seaside the year prior. It was well-received by the staff who were surprised anyone had anything to go along! It was a typical night of line dances. However, when the party ended at 11PM this time around, I knew there would be a one-hour gap between music so I went straight to bed. DAY 8: GRENADA MSC SHORE EXCURSION: Spices and Rainforest Despite having been on so many cruises, sometimes I do go to someplace new. Today was the day to explore Grenada using a ship’s excursion because I didn’t know the island. I always take an organized tour the first time to a place and then go on my own the second time after I have my bearings. With that said, do NOT take this tour if you’re prone to motion sickness. The roads in Grenada are tight with lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. I got was getting car sick in the back and trying to get some fresh air. The AC in the tour van wasn’t working effectively and the hot air plus the lady who was coughing her head off up front was making me feel more nauseous. Finally, at the lake when I almost puked, the driver let me open the back window. I was fine thereafter but we had already stopped at the spice factory and driven well over an hour like this. The spice factory was short but informative with a 20-minute presentation and then time for shopping in the gift shop out front. The next stops were in the mountain at a lake and national park and then the Annendale Falls. The falls were spectacular and I wish I could’ve gone swimming but timing didn’t allow for it. They had cliff divers doing crazy jumps into the water for money. When the tour returned to the ship, I was still queasy. Overall, there were cheaper taxi options available doing a similar tour minus the nutmeg factory. However, no tour will be without the windy, bumpy roads so keep this in mind. We sailed for Curacao at 2PM. I went back and sunned for a bit before catching the Snow Party up on deck. At the pier welcome back show they had today, they had the snow machine out there and it appeared again on the pool deck for fake snow during this party. I live in New England, the last thing I wanted to see was snow – fake or real! Ha but it was a good afternoon party to have poolside and helped pass the time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Butcher’s Cut (Elegant Night) As a Diamond member, you are given a choice of complimentary specialty dining. We chose this restaurant. The sommelier was quite helpful in finding mom a non-alcoholic drink she could order since the first one she had ordered; the ship didn’t have one of the ingredients. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi and the sommelier delivered it promptly. He was very attentive and so was the specialty restaurant manager who stopped by to say hello. I had the shrimp cocktail, the New York Steak (better quality than main dining room) and cheesecake for dessert. It was a nicely paced meal with great service offered by all. It was a nice evening to have dinner away from Panorama and well done! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Way Yet another production show brought to you by the production cast of the MSC Meraviglia. It was a high energy dance show with some opera thrown in. I sat much closer to the stage than I usually do for this show because it had filled up quite early tonight. The dancers had a soda fountain themed attire and several wardrobe changes. I liked the energy from it and would recommend it. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque du Soleil’s VIAGGIO The production was off to a very slow start. It didn’t seem too engaging. When the jugglers and all the other entertainers got going together, the show ended. It took forever for it to ramp up to something exciting and when it did, it was over in the blink of an eye! Yes, there were people walking on the LED wall sideways and a bike which was being pedaled across the ceiling but this show was not like any other type of Cirque show I’ve seen before. It was my first Cirque du Soleil and frankly, I wasn’t impressed by it. My mother fell asleep because it was boring. Other guests were just as confused as we were when the show ended because it had just started to get good when it did so. Being so short, it meant it had to be high energy the whole way through and instead it seemed like the last 10 minutes were. I would skip this show. I did the drink option for $18 pre-booked online. THEME NIGHT: Gatsby Party The Gatsby Party was taking a step back to the roaring 20s with cruise staff in period costumes. Since I was in Viaggio during most of it, I didn’t hear the actual type of music played but the LED ceiling was still putting on a good show while it was happening. DAY 9: CURACAO We arrived at 1PM. I went up on the sun deck and grabbed some sun before our arrival. I started to feel a bit under the weather today. Mom had started to feel that way at the end of the previous day. By the time we docked at 1PM, I was definitely coming down with something. During the afternoon, mom and I walked over to the Maritime museum and had a look around at the exhibits. The museum was not too far from the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We had a walking tour of historical buildings in Willemstad we did afterward on our own. The ship was offering something similar but we found this walking tour online and it actually explained buildings quite well. We walked around quite extensively before heading back to the ship. Tonight’s main dining room theme was Tropical Night. The menu featured Jamaican jerk chicken and several other Caribbean favorites. It was a good menu, but not perhaps if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. It seemed like the spices weren’t too heavily applied though to the dishes I had but I have a high tolerance for spice. I went back off the ship after dinner since we were in port until 11PM to grab a drink in town with friends. It was a nice night off the ship. Most of the crew were off the ship that worked during the day, the production casts had the night off and were out and about in town. I returned to the ship and skipped the Tropical Latin Party to go to bed. I was exhausted and wanted to try and beat whatever this sinus thing was happening. Thankfully I had bought more tissues! DAY 10: ARUBA Today, mom and I walked around town which was scorching hot as the sun was out! It looked like it was threatening rain but it never materialized. We first went to the National Aruba Archaeological Museum. It was highlighted in a tour book of the island we had bought years earlier. When we arrived, the gentleman said we were in luck as the museum had just reopened during a ceremony the night prior with a new exhibit as well. The cost of admission was FREE. The museum was quite interactive and extensive on the island’s history and archaeological finds. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! The Aruba Historical Museum was also in Oranjestad and it was a five-dollar admission fee. What the gentleman at the ticket booth failed to state was this museum was also under renovations with the exhibits squished in the middle of the floor and largely unlabeled. They were in the process of moving things around. You could climb the fort tower and get a view in both directions. Overall, I would pass on this museum until they’re done their reorganization of exhibits. The island has a few other museums on offer as well and can be found by going to Visit Aruba’s website. We didn’t go to the model train museum as it was too far out of town. However, there was an antiquities museum in town as well. There was a free trolley running very infrequently from the port taking you on a loop around town. It was free as well. This was new since the last time I was in town. The entire port area had been done over nicely. When we returned to the ship, this was the first port where workers were outside squirting you with hand sanitizer besides the girl in the buffet. The gym was largely deserted so after a late lunch, I went there to do a workout and see if I could sweat out whatever this bug was coming on. I took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner. I didn’t write down what was on the menu tonight but it couldn’t have been too memorable as I didn’t take photos of it either. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Life is Magic Now here was a proper magic show with sleight of hand tricks, the sawing in half of the beautiful lady, putting her in a box and escaping and then switching it out for the magician. The show was definitely engaging and used some of the dancers as well to move things along between his wardrobe changes or setting up for the next act. I would recommend this show if it’s still around on the ship for the 7-day itineraries. For the second time, the production of SONOR from Cirque du Soleil was cancelled due to a technical issue. This time it wasn’t due to rough seas. When I went to go and change out the tickets, they were in the midst of a dress rehearsal or something and there were a bunch of technicians standing around. Since this was the second time I had to re-schedule this show, I wasn’t happy. If they had done this rehearsal earlier in the day instead of going ashore (which they did do because I saw them out), the cast would’ve discovered the technical problem and got it fixed in time. I was starting to regret booking any of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the ship. THEME NIGHT: 60s, 70s and 80s Party The cruise staff once again dressed up in their best 70s outfits, mostly bell-bottoms and glistening tops. The party was true to the time frames in questions featuring songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s which were heard at most of the other parties. I didn’t finish the party and went to bed. DAY 11: At Sea The morning consisted of a Welcome Back party for Diamond Card members only on the deck 6 promenade with more drinks and light snacks available. The LED screen did a performance of outer space landing on Earth and then the Captain and the senior officers appeared on the bridge. They seemed to be keeping their distance from the cruise guests as a good portion of the ship was now sick with whatever upper respiratory / sinus bug was going around. In the afternoon after a buffet lunch, I went out to the sun deck and relaxed. They had a King of the Sea show on at 4PM but it seemed like they picked up random people to do it. It wasn’t overly entertaining so I went back to the room to shower and take a nap. Tonight’s dinner was a formal night and the beef tournedos were on the menu again. I ordered a double of them as the meal was good the first time around. The first one was very tender but the second one on the plate was overcooked. I’m not sure how that occurred but the salt from the covering made me thirsty the rest of the night. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Paz This is a production showcasing the Flamenco dance with the art of Picasso on the LED screens behind the dancers and rotating through the audience projections. The lead dancers did an amazing job. The footwork of both of them was so fast and graceful, it was a good show. The artwork itself was enjoyable to see and how they worked it into the show. Definitely a must catch, especially if you like the flamenco dance. MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Cars 3 The ship had run a few shows and music video type productions on the big screen at the pool but tonight was Cars 3. I hadn’t seen it in its entirety with my nephew and was waiting on the silent disco to open so I watched it for a bit until I got to a part I saw and then got a drink and came back. It’s nice they have a movie on the big screen because during the day, the screen is largely used for what’s on at the pool deck with no movies playing. There’s just tables and chairs setup but no food on offer like Princess Cruises does with popcorn and such. The bar is open there if you want to do a walk-up drink order. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Silent Disco The Carousel Lounge once again opened up with a silent disco. Housing three channels, one EDM, one Latin and one old school, there was plenty on offer. It seemed most people were on the first channel which the DJ was actually spinning in real time. The other two were pre-recorded it seemed. You had to check in for the headset and check out for it. The problem was, the bar in the Carousel Lounge didn’t have Grey Goose so I had to exit to get a drink at the bar straight ahead in the casino. You also had to hand over the headset when you had to use the bathroom which was just outside the Carousel Lounge. It seemed a little bit silly if they scanned your cruise card for taking one of the headsets. However, the Carousel Lounge was an amazing venue and it was a fun night. The music continued after the Silent Disco ended up at the Horizon Pool and Bar. I stayed up a bit later to dance to the music before finally crashing to bed around 1:30AM. DAY 12: JAMAICA Now if you’re wondering why we hit Jamaica, it was because on November 4, 2019 after sailing from Grenada it was announced due to operational issues on Ocean Cay, the island was not ready to accept ship visits. As a result, the compensation offered was a $100 onboard credit and a 20% of cruise fare paid to be applied to a future cruise. The compensation offered was astounding for missing a private island. I wasn’t sure they were going to make it there when I saw the photos on Cruise Critic prior to sailing but if we did it would’ve been nice to be one of the first. Turns out three sailings stops were cancelled and now it seems on hold for the next sailings as well. Since we would’ve had 3 sea days instead of 2, MSC decided to have the ship call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica since there was berth space available. When we arrived in Jamaica, we pulled in and looked like we were going to dock at the James Bond pier which was not close to anything but swung a hard left and came around to the other closer pier. We didn’t book anything on this island as we’ve seen what we wanted to see. Mom just wanted to go to the shopping center outside the port area with Margaritaville and to find another box of tissues. The tissue hunt brought us way outside the port with all the harassing taxi drivers trying to sell you tours every 2 feet and then other seedy characters trying to sell you marijuana. Both were out of luck, in MA marijuana is legal. I don’t smoke it but told them it was legal back home so didn’t need it. They didn’t like that response. Ha ha! Soon, those annoying folks are not going to find someone to buy it. One interesting thing to note, while the taxi drivers were all local, a predominant part of the stores we visited in search of tissues were not owned by original islanders. We had noticed this in the last few ports but this was really in your face here. No wonder the locals are not making any money if they can’t even sell their tourist wares. It seemed more desperate than my last visit. I truly was annoyed with the locals pushing stuff at me every couple of feet. I wanted to get back to the ship asap. I really wished MSC had gone somewhere, ANYWHERE but Jamaica like Cayman or Cozumel! Tonight, was Italian Night on the ship. In the main dining room, the menu was Italian themed with meatballs as an app, chicken parmigiana and Osso Bucco on order for mains and a lemoncello-type of dessert. The waiter also brought the second cake for my mom that was ordered by the travel agent. It was a nice touch and they did a whole big thing. The cake said Best Wishes and it was handled by William, the section lead. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Meraviglioso Amor The last of the production shows was the second best for mom (Born to Rock her first) and one of my favorites as well. The production featured hits like Gloria, foreign love songs with familiar lyrics so the person knew what it was no matter what language it was. The dancers and singers came together at the end along with the cruise staff and selected staff from different areas to say goodbye to Italian opera singers singing Time to Say Goodbye. It was a fitting close to a great show and a capstone to the production shows presented throughout the voyage. After the show ended, we hurried down the promenade to the logo shop for the Logo Shop Happy Hour where if you buy 3 things you would get 20% off. I bought a Lego version of the ship for my nephew for Christmas and two magnets to give him of the Doremi character for the refrigerator and trip souvenirs. I was also entered to win a ship figurine signed by the Captain. Since it was 9PM, I stuck around for the drawing. I didn’t win it but it was a good thing I hadn’t because my luggage was already overweight! THEME PARTY: MSC Little Italy The cruise staff were dressed in the colors of Italy but sadly I was exhausted so I went to bed after quickly stopping by. To be in theme, just wear red, white or green or all three! DAY 13: Sea Day The last day on the ship meant doing things I’d said I was going to do the whole cruise and never got around to. After walking a bit in the morning after eating breakfast, mom and I stopped by the Bamboo Pool for a smoothie. The Bamboo Pool had a bunch of delicious smoothies and the MSC for Me app tipped me off to them when they offered a special earlier in the cruise. I did stop by and look at the beverage menu and said I would return. I never did until today. I had the Strawberry concoction with yogurt and it was very nice. Mom sampled a different one without the yogurt in it and hers was a purple color so I’m not sure what was in it. The drinks cost $6.50 each but were pretty decent for the price paid. I spent the rest of the morning catching some sun and returned for lunch to the Marketplace to meet up with mom. After lunch we decided to head to the Photo Shop to pick up the complimentary Mediterranean night photo and find the others. I found the Halloween photos and decided to buy one of them. The embarkation photo didn’t look good so we chucked that. Vanessa who did the photo shoot with the Halloween photos rang us up. I asked her why they had printed all these photos when you can tap the cruise card in the kiosks and print them around the corner. It is so wasteful and you have to jack up the price of the photos to cover all the paper and chemical waste. MSC should have a selection pre-cruise where you choose if you want any photos printed or if you want them done digitally and you can request the print be made if you like it. This would be more environmentally friendly and perhaps the cost savings could mean they’d purchase tissues for the staterooms again! Win win, right?! After finishing up with the photos, I met up with some cruise friends at the Polar Aquapark in the aft part of Deck 19. I had not been up there the whole cruise but wanted to try the water slides. The water slides were a ton of fun. Two of them require an inflatable tube to ride, the other one which shoots you into a bowl doesn’t require a tube. The bowl slide was not as fun as you don’t shoot around it as much and then stop and have to climb out and go down the stairs. There are other water features largely geared towards kids but tons of adults were in the water park having fun too! After the water park, I needed some sun to dry off as I had to finish packing stuff including the bathing suit. The girls who I met were in the Aurea area up front on Deck 19. I wondered what this area was like as it faces the pool deck. It wasn’t relaxing because the music from the pool deck is blasting right at you. It was also a bit windy up there since it was so high up. I went back down to Deck 18 forward behind the screen and a nap. At the last dinner we had an amazing time chatting with our table mates and wishing each other well in our future travels. We also missed the Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show. I wasn’t too saddened by missing it and instead enjoyed the company of our fellow table mates a bit longer. We returned to the room to do the last of the packing and get the bags out of the room. They had to be out by 1AM but ours was out by 9:30PM. We went to bed early because we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:30AM. All Diamond US citizens had to meet at that time and were assigned Lilac 1 luggage tags. DAY 14 – MIAMI, FL, USA I was up at 5:15AM to get ready and the Marketplace Buffet was open at 6AM. When we got upstairs, the Norwegian Breakaway was still in the Miami turning basin. Goodness, what an early start this was! We were in the channel in the early hours of the morning and tied up. The siren they have on the inside of the ship by the bulkhead doors that opens out is so darn loud and ricochets off the buildings it was impossible to sleep with our starboard side facing the pier. This made a long day even longer. We reported to the Carousel Lounge as directed by the information left in our stateroom. You had to vacate your stateroom by 8AM anyway. We noticed none of the luggage tags had been called. This continued for over an hour as we noticed more and more cruisers disappearing from the Carousel Lounge with Lilac tags. We had a noon flight and needed to get off the ship. When 8:30AM came and they said disembarkation had been stopped, I made my move and asked where the actual gang ways were because we needed to get out. The lady told me where they were but disembark had stopped. When it resumed, we were in position and got off. Most of the lilac people had done so as well. There was huge gaps in luggage in the terminal for a luggage color that wasn’t called yet! No wonder the whole disembarkation process was messed up. The line for the non-US citizens inside the terminal was lengthy. All of them needed to be fingerprinted. For US citizens, all they did was snap a photo of the passport with a handheld device and send us on our way. The US citizen line moved faster and those were supposed to be the ones getting off the ship first anyway if people read the instructions! We made it to the airport by 10AM and checked in for our flight home. THOUGHTS ON SHIP DESIGN: The Meraviglia is a ship dubbed for all seasons. Her overall design supports her being a ship for cold weather cruising only. Her top deck is woefully inadequate for the passenger load she has and this will become a problem when the ship commences its Caribbean season. One side of the ship is always shaded from the smokestack back and deck chairs are crammed in every nook and cranny along the walking/jogging track. If you’re looking for a proper sun deck, stick with the MSC Seaside sailing year-round Miami. The ship’s interiors have some really beautiful spaces including the crystal staircases in the atrium. There’s a lot of wasted space on Deck 6 and 7 midship where the entry to the dining rooms and casino / Carousel Lounge are respectively. The gym is a postage stamp and is in dire need of better equipment and expansion. The promenade is great but with all sorts of sales going on and photography setups, it makes passing this area a pinch point every night on the way to the shows. The bathrooms on this ship were always distant from where you were, especially for the nightclub. If you wanted a bathroom that was large enough from the Attic Club, you had to walk down past the kid’s club to the ones by the elevators. The Horizon Pool had a one stall bathroom on Deck 16 but this wasn’t enough to support a mildly packed nightclub. You’d always have to walk a distance to use the bathroom. This didn’t make sense if the goal was alcohol sales! Likewise, for the sun deck, if you are on Deck 18 forward by the solarium roof, you have to come down one deck and go inside across the Bamboo Pool below where you were sunning and into the bathroom there. There didn’t seem like any convenient bathrooms to the Atmosphere pool deck either. You had to go into the Marketplace buffet to go bathroom. I never found it more cumbersome to need a bathroom on any cruise ship than this one! I found this truly odd. The Carousel Lounge is a far superior venue and fully equipped with a lot of audio-visual equipment. I’m surprised only a very small portion of what the equipment was in the lounge was used for Cirque du Soleil. It was evident either the shows were changed in some way to shorten them or to make it easier for the cast. There were projections and a large circular screen which were never deployed during either Viaggio or SONOR. I tend to notice production aspects more and love a good visual show. Sonor used some visuals on the LED wall but not nearly as much as the room was capable of handling. Lastly, the ship’s walking and running tracks are so crammed during warm weather days with sun bathers and people trying to run and walk and just figure out what they’re doing, it would make sense to have walkers use the Deck 7 semi-loop and leave the runners topside. My mom got clipped a few times by runners while staying in her lane. The runners didn’t seem to care or apologize for it either. This ship is not the best for fitness if you’re looking for that. STAFF SHOUT OUT: I always like to recognize staff who went above and beyond to make my holiday memorable. Ahmadi, my stateroom steward for accommodating most special requests (sans tissues) and always greeting me in the hallway no matter the time of day or night when he was working. He got used to our schedule and cleaned our room when we had our dinner. Our dining team of Lino, the main waiter and Frederick, the assistant waiter, were amazing and kept us hydrated and offered us more food if we wanted it. If we wanted more, there was rarely a wait. William who oversaw this team of amazing professionals was also quite attentive and handled a special request to find decaf tea for mom. When coming to the USA, the Meraviglia had to get rid of this nice tea display case which didn’t comply with USCG Vessel Sanitation program inspection criteria. As a result, it was a hunt for various versions of tea. He saw to it mom had her supply! He also oversaw the birthday cake situation and figured out a workable solution! Ryan De Leon in the Sky Lounge and in the nightclub was also amazing. He knew my name and my drink order by heart! Lastly, the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant cook Dominique for a good show and the team who would greet me whenever they saw me in the Marketplace Buffet when they were up there selling the restaurant. Even the guest services staff on this ship were so kind and helpful (unlike Seaside’s guest service staff). I had a repeated issue with the ink on my stateroom keycard rubbing off in the intense heat topside and they replaced it without issue and with a smile. They have the toughest job on the ship constantly getting yelled at! SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a nicely decorated ship. The LED panel is a great way to entertain. The night time cruise staff went out of their way to make the ship enjoyable and make sure everyone was dancing. The crew on the ship were the happiest and most efficient if I had to compare it to the Seaside last October. The crew made the trip. The chef could lay off the salt and I’m not a foodie but if I’m saying it was salty, the food was not as good as the Seaside’s preparation was. I didn’t encounter a rude staff member anywhere on the ship and only had slow service once, in the main dining room during lunch. I know the crew had a chance to get off the ship finally in each of the ports we visited. I think that plus a crew party helped to lift spirits among them. Would I recommend the Meraviglia? For top notch service, yes, I would! Would I sail on the Meraviglia again? I’m not so sure I would. If it were the Caribbean and the Seaside were on offer, I would probably sail Seaside instead. If it is a cold weather cruise, then I would consider Meraviglia again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I love this itiniery, not a snorkler but really love Bomaire, but about the cruise. Ship was full (to capacity I believe, never the less, service was excellent. Kathleen my room attendant, who I saw in the corridor, slipped in and out ... Read More
I love this itiniery, not a snorkler but really love Bomaire, but about the cruise. Ship was full (to capacity I believe, never the less, service was excellent. Kathleen my room attendant, who I saw in the corridor, slipped in and out while I was out caring for my cabin and seeing that my ice bucket was always full as I had requested. On the first night In the main dining room I discovered I was seated with a lovely family from Germany. I am a solo traveller. Two of this group of 5 spoke english, but not with limited comfort. the others, did not. I don't speak German. Not ideal for me or them. Second night I spoke with the Maitre D who promptly sat me at a table of women, 3 friends traveling together, another solo and a woman traveling with her elderly mother. What a great group and we all enjoyed each others company, Our servers, Michael and Carlo were GREAT. Food was good. though there were a couple of disappointing creme brulee and an slightly overdone chocolate molten lava cake, The Royal Cheese cake was a hit with all at my table and was orderd several times by many. We also decided this was a healthier choice :) . The entrees were quite good, I particularly liked the lamb chops, and a couple of fish dishes (Talapia, salmon) I had earlier in the cruise. At the Windjammer, food was abundant. I was particularly drawn to and enjoyed the stews, perhaps because I don'y make it at home often. Servers at Windjammer were circulating with cold beverages (water, tea, and a very good strawberry-kiwi punch) and coffee. Most at my dinner table seemed to head for the carving station for lunch at the Windjammer. I did also try the dining room on level 3, for one lunch and one dinner. Here you had the option of a smaller, but very nice buffet, or table service from menu. Nice, simpler and more relaxed for lunch I jusd had soup and salad. Breakfast was fine but I think I needed the activity of the Windjammer to wake ne up. Entertainment was great, Lead Female Singer, I believe a recent graduate on New York Academy of Performing Arts, was SPECTACULAR.. All entertainment was good. Unfortunately, scheduling of Ice Show either conflicted with early dining, or Variety show for second performance, and was sold our for first performance, so I missed it. The service deask and tour desk, was extremely helpful arranging change to departure transportation, I had misread description of arrangements (with tour of Old San Juan) I had prebooked and would have arrived at airport too late for my flight. By the way cabin (inside, deck 8, overloooking promenade was great. I was thinking about changing it, but had read a positive review of this type cabin on message board and so stayed where I was assigned. So glad I did. Only problem was embarcation, long lines, outside in heat not acceptable. One more thought, I really liked the solarium pool area. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Its vacation made better! The opputunites that arise are not some you would see often so its like the saying goes. Travel while You can as your money will always return! Its about the expierence and what it does for you. This how ever was ... Read More
Its vacation made better! The opputunites that arise are not some you would see often so its like the saying goes. Travel while You can as your money will always return! Its about the expierence and what it does for you. This how ever was my third cruise and again!! Some how! it was made even better then the first two but they were still amazing experiences and thats simply because princess strides for nothing but the best! My first ever cruise was this year as well so it just shows how life changing it can be or has been for Me anyways. The photos speak for them selves. It just goes to show any princess cruise is well worth every penny as no one else can provide such an unforgettable time! (Dolphins,Stingrays,Sea lions,) with nice calm relaxing travelling to the Caribbeans Islands and so much more! I thank you once again princess cruises! You are the Top Cruise Line in my books! Its something i will be able to share and remember for the rest of my Life. But that also means i will be back! N thats what counts the most! Providing such a great time that everyone want ones to keep coming back, heck id live on one of the ships if it was possible! In good Time I will be back! Last but not least I Highly recommend princess cruises if you never have before! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My complaints are so minor they slip my memory. DO keep in mind I was a solo traveler (female mid-50s) and in arguably the best cabin onboard for me (16704). Embarkation was a complete cluster. Think NYC traffic, bozos everywhere and a ... Read More
My complaints are so minor they slip my memory. DO keep in mind I was a solo traveler (female mid-50s) and in arguably the best cabin onboard for me (16704). Embarkation was a complete cluster. Think NYC traffic, bozos everywhere and a completely disorganized plan. For those of us that paid the large premium for Haven it was a dismal start. There was no marked line. I had the choice of being extremely rude trying to be separated from the masses or (eventually) making the General Public feel lousy compared to my care. For me the the whole point of Haven status was the ability to disappear from public view. Instead I was on full display. Not a good start. But that was just a flash in the rearview mirror. Once someone figured out who I was I was led to a sad little room that looked like a jail visitation area. But there were yummy little bites and infused water and it was quiet. In just a few minutes we (total of 3 Haveners), were escorted to the ship and directly to our Concierge Bowen. He gave us a very rote intro to the areas, then we were directed to our suites (in mine by 12:30). Before I headed off I met my new bestie, Anita, the helm of the best-run bar ever. Even if you just drink coffee and juices, Anita ( Ineedadrink :)) is pretty much the Lady of the Haven on Breakaway IMO. The bar is open 7am-close. There are fun little bar games around 9 for those having a nightcap. I can't say enough about how well the bar service worked. Gotcha though - drink service is sporadic on the sundeck (17). The bar needs another body on sea days. Concierge - Mine was Bowen. I must say, several of us Haveners were cautious about him the first couple of days. He just seemed very stiff on a ship filled with the opposite. But by Day 3 we all loved him and on Day 10 he was a rock star. I didn't have much scheduled and probably way under-utilized his knowledge. Next time I will rely on my Concierge more. I sure hope it is Bowen. He never once led me astray. He was the one to recommend being the last off the boat. It saved me a ton of time. I also liked that I saw him all over the ship and not just with "us". He definitely had relationships with people throughout the ship, just as an excellent Concierge should. Room - 16704 I was a solo and of average size with a side of clumsiness. My suite was awesome,. The bed is king and comfy. The balcony is one of the most private on the ship. Forward is the glassed-in bath of the DOS; aft is the shower of a 2BS. Above is the sundeck. Below is the spa. My room was not ever well-cleaned. I had to request new sheets Day 7. The TV remote sucks, but they all do and there is nothing to watch. Bvlgari bath products are low quality. Remember the bath water is extremely hard so pack your own bath products, especially lotion. Storage is mind-boggling. There is an abundance of hangers (20++). Lighting is also very good so bypass packing a nightlight. I always travel with an extension plug but could have survived in this room without it. Butler!!!! I had Louis and he changed my life. I will never forget him and I still think of little trays of treats and smile remembering him. Think of Bowen, but all to yourself (or so it seems). I really tried to be a good guest, but am sure I was not. Poor Louis was lugging my empty plates, wine glasses and coffee dregs off all of the time., He started bringing me my afternoon treats as catered to my diet as possible. FYI I am a fairly obedient T1 Diabetic but did not want the line to limit my cheat options. Louis was very attuned to my food cravings. One night I was a tad ill and a sugar crash. Louis brought me orange juice and gorgeous grilled shrimp on skewers in minutes. I also saw him buzzing about in the GP a time or two. It was a great sign that "our" staff have relationships throughout the ship. Dining in the Haven was Heaven. The menu does not change but it is divine. If you do one thing, please have a taste of the chilled soup d'jour. It was not until Day 5ish that the kitchen and I came to terms. After that it was nirvana. My issue? Sizes for 3 people! It was all fantastic, but the better the food the less I eat. Good food just makes me filled and happy and it doesn't require crazy portions. So once I figured out that I could order 1 egg, 2 lamb chops, no starches, a few more beans... it was excellent. The female Maitre´d is lovely. I ate at a few of the specialty restaurants but quickly learned Haven dining was what I enjoyed. And do not forget your butler can get you anything your heart desires. Pool/Courtyard. The word is that they will open the glass cover at Port on request. I can tell you it was never opened on my 11 day trip. Our weather was almost perfect and I never felt having the top closed was a bad thing. Except for a handful of kids the area was quiet and a nice retreat to read or meditate. Meals were also served there and coffee/tea/water/snacks were available 7am-10pm. The hot tubs were just warm and sloshed into the hallway on 16 on sea days - mildew was the norm for that area. The sauna was great and never used that I saw. Back to Concierge - the area could use another body, especially at peak times. Forget the fancy robes, 24-hour butler, room service and private deck. Your Concierge is the BMOC on the ship. When you are whisked off to an event with the GP expect an escort that will lead you to the best seats for everything. The freedom of skipping massive lines easily pays for the treat of Haven. Seriously, just keep saving a little linger and then do it right. Disembark - - - per my Concierge I was the last to leave. From the lounge to starting my car was 19 minutes (6 block walk). Bowen is there to make us feel special. He was excellent. Someone needs to get me normal again! Service everywhere was top-notch (save my room steward). Not only will I remember all of the people on the ship that work so hard to make me happy, I will also remember my fellow travelers. My years are long in adventures and my favorite memories are the people I meet along the way. Everywhere on the ship there were pleasant people, but I felt a connection with my Haven Homies. We would trade ship stories and snippets of our real lives. I met plumbers, managers, artists, doctors, attorneys, longshoremen and pilots. I conversed with people of all ages and from many places. Do it again? Heck yeah and in a heartbeat. I will stick to the big ships because I am a Haven addict now and need the restaurant/bar. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I went on the cruise because of the price and itinerary…it didn’t disappoint. I was solo and the solo program is great. Geeofel Villanueva was our coordinator and did a fantastic job! This was my first Norwegian cruise. My biggest ... Read More
I went on the cruise because of the price and itinerary…it didn’t disappoint. I was solo and the solo program is great. Geeofel Villanueva was our coordinator and did a fantastic job! This was my first Norwegian cruise. My biggest complaint was the lack of activities and that the Freestyle Daily and app were incorrect. Activities listed in the Daily weren’t on the app. Activity locations were wrong in the Daily and app. The daily programs on other cruise lines are better. There was normally only two activities to choose from and neither were very exciting. The production shows were subpar. Besides those things, the cruise was very good. The cabin was very nice. The itinerary was excellent. The staff was absolutely fantastic, especially Geeo. All of the staff I interacted with remembered my name. The staff was friendly and helpful. The Cruise Director, Pedro, was too low energy for my taste. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
It was such a good price with no single supplement so booked it straightaway. PRE CRUISE. I booked the flights but as it was very late could only get a good price with flying to GENEVA and staying overnight then another flight next ... Read More
It was such a good price with no single supplement so booked it straightaway. PRE CRUISE. I booked the flights but as it was very late could only get a good price with flying to GENEVA and staying overnight then another flight next morning to NEW YORK. Got into NEW YORK around 1200 and went to HOSTEL and checked in. Went to the CRUISE PORT and got there in time to see NCL ESCAPE leave. Then went to STATEN ISLAND FERRY saw QM2 leave and then back to the HOSTEL. DAY 1 of CRUISE. After a good nights sleep went to MCDONALDS for a BREAKFAST,as hotel did not offer Breakfast. Then after getting a shaving foam i walked to the CRUISE DOCK in MANHATTAN. I dropped my case off and went to check in,i have PLATINUM STATUS so no waiting,had my picture taken and Boarded the NCL GEM. I thought the Cabins would be ready but they were not so went to the DINING ROOM and had lunch.then just after 1pm the CABINS were ready. I had to find my own way to my cabin on DECK 8.Still no luggage but got it just before the LIFEBOAT DRILL no lifejackets needed and a very quick drill. Was going up on deck but it was raining so went to OBSERVATION ROOM to see SAILAWAY.Passed STATUE of LIBERTY and VERRAZANO BRIDGE. SOLO MEET UP in BLISS LOUNGE We all introduced ourselves with our SOLO COORDINATOR MICHAELA from LONDON. We went to GRAND PACIFIC for a GROUP DINNER Had CHICKEN,CREME BRULEE.then to the WELCOME ABOARD show of the CREW and some of the acts it was pretty good.Into the cigar room to smoke then to CABIN to sleep the ROUGH SEAS HAD STARTED! DAY 2. AT SEA PROMENADE DECK was closed a lot of banging with the WAVES. Had BREAKFAST alone in the DINING ROOM(this is always a problem finding some to share with) Had a look in the shop and did the PORT TALK and MEET AND GREET in RESTAURANT there were 130 there i think.Then the SLOT PULL got a few WHEEL OF FORTUNE but only $30 or$40 so never won anything. Had FISH AND CHIPS for LUNCH in GRAND PACIFIC SAME MENU every day and HAKE is not my favourite,never get rolls unless you ask for them. Trip to the GYM then SOLO MEET and SOLO DINNER with our group,one lady kept trying to share her food with others! The Show was TIM KOMINSKI a COMEDIAN i have seen his act somewhere. Getting some audience up on stage to act like animals it is good though. PUT CLOCKS 1 HOUR FORWARD. DAY 3. AT SEA. After a MUSHROOM OMLETTE for Breakfast did the FREE BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR as i am PLATINUM on NCL normally it is $79. Saw DRESSING ROOM behind theb stage,LAUNDRY and GALLEY TOUR.Then LATITUDES COCKTAIL PARTY got a glass of CHAMPAGNE but nothing else!DINING ROOM for LUNCH had GROUPER. As i do not have a credit card had to make a cash deposit(there sure were quick telling me!)SOLO MEET and as a PLATINUM i get 2 free meals at the other dining venues for 2 people as i hate sitting on my own i invited a new friend i made to come to MODERNO a BRAZILIAN RESTAURANT. They bring meats one at a time until you say stop. I like the roasted pineapple and chorizo the best. The Show was KATY SETTERFIELD who was on "THE ONE AND ONLY" on UK TV. I fell asleep i woke up at 4am! DAY 3. Had breakfast on my own and saw BLISS TALK then lunch before we arrived in SAN JUAN. The tour of booked to RUM DISTILLERY canceled as nobody else interested so booked another including SALSA DANCING and 2 Drinks to sample and how to make a MOJITO.Got a PREMIUM BOTTLE OF RUM TO TAKE BACK. Walked back to the ship all lit up.Did not bother with DINNER as it was late went to COMEDIAN SHOW and saw up leave at 2200Hrs. DAY 4. ST MAARTEN,QM2 was in and had BUFFET ON DECK. Then took bus around the island and to MARIGOT where i was on a cruise a lot of devastation and the old SPEED 2 SNACK BAR WAS GONE. Had a COCONUT JUICE but at $7 overcharged. back on ship 1230 for lunch in O'SHEEANS of BANGERS AND MASH(not the best sausages with hard skins) and a guinness.solo Meet up and solo dinner. VERY TIRED NO SHOW or CIGAR. DAY 5. BARBADOS TODAY After a breakfast with a lady got off ship and finally found our driver to take is around the island for $20! Saw both RIHANNA'S houses a beach but sadly no time for LUNCH.Bought a rum punch(quite strong!) and back to ship. DAY 6. ST LUCIA TODAY,after an early buffet breakfast did tour of island and RUM DISTILLERY(21 RUMS TO TRY) and bought 2 you cannot buy anywhere else.After solo meet joined JUNE for her 70th BIRTHDAY DINNER with CHAMPAGNE and a cake. DAY 7. ANTIGUA today,Tour of the island today a bit dearer at $37 but a great price.another solo meet and solo dinner of the strangest trout i have ever seen(it looked like salmon!) KATY SETTERFIELD'S 2nd show but was mostly the same people she sang of. DAY 8. ST KITTS today P&O had the best docks so had to pay $15! to get a shuttkle bus into town. The tours were too pricey so walked around not much to see shops had the same things.Back to the ship for FISH AND CHIPS. Afternoon tea is not good on the ship sadly scone was not good at all.The show was TIM'S last show as he was leaving the ship to go to HOLLAND AMERICA i got a selfie and bought his DVD. DAY 9. LAST PORT OF CALL was ST THOMAS sadly a very short stop did not do anty tours and been there before so got a taxi(he sasid $10 but driver tried to charged me $13 but got it for $10 to the old RENAISANCE HOTEL which is now the MARGARITAVILLE looked mostly the same outside and the beach but inside not very impressive i ordered a taxi back and was charged $15! then took the CABLE CAR up to the top it started raining and saw a carnival ship arrive. they were selling bags of popcorn on the dock. DAY 10. Today we were at sea quite rough seas but PROMENADE DECK was open so did the 1 mile walk after lunch went to the GYM.Did the ART AUCTION but did not win anything but had 2 things on request. SOLO meet and DINNER with 2 others as nobody else was interested HAD BARRIMUNDI and PECAN PIE. MAGICIAN was pretty good. DAY 11. LAST DAY we were at sea Gotbsome PHOTOS and a HARD DRIVE for IPHONE as my memory had run out. Then last solo meet MICHAELA was a bit different to JOSE as she was leaving the ship instead of doing emails got crayons and got us to write everyone's emails it did not work as only got few and some i could not even read.sadly ROB did not come to the solo meet so will not be meeting him in SOUTHAMPTON.She got us 3 bottles of wine so that was pretty good. I went to the last ART AUCTION no raffle wins but bout 7 pieces of art. DAY 12. Today we arrived in NEW YORK woke up in time to see us go under VERRAZANO BRIDGE but as it was so cold i missed the statue of liberty. after breakfast went to reception and no money to come back and gave the cabin steward a tip he was so greatful he bowed! then called my platinum saw susana my new friend and carried her very heavy bags. i got a taxi to the gift shop to leave my case. Then to STATEN ISLAND iuts sadly changed so had lunch at SUBWAY and went back to the TRANSIT MUSEUM tried to get to RED HOOK to see QM2 sadly no luck and back to FERRY to see if qm2 would go it was dark so got back to MANHATTEN it was packed and had to walk to 42nd st and my wheel broke.I checked in at NEWARK airport no seat number(NO WINDOW SEATS then found one!) DAY 13. A good flight and got a little sleep it was raining when we landed and thru e passport gate ok and went home to do shopping. MY FINAL THOUGHTS. A great price and a lovely cruise meeting other people was good and made a new friend i will do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Hello my cruise travelers. I’m a platinum member on the NCL. I just came off the lovely NCL Escape November 25th, 2018, which is my 11th time cruising with NCL, and here’s my experience on the NCL Escape. I feel NCL is starting to ... Read More
Hello my cruise travelers. I’m a platinum member on the NCL. I just came off the lovely NCL Escape November 25th, 2018, which is my 11th time cruising with NCL, and here’s my experience on the NCL Escape. I feel NCL is starting to cut corners. First night use to be Lobster tail night, I use to look forward to having dinner the firsts night to get my Lobster tails, but for some reason they stopped. Plus, there’s no more 6 dollars Black jack tables, the minimum is 10 dollars which I think it’s way too much for first time players and players who’s not that fortunate financially, I was also disappointed that we didn’t stopped at Great Stitrrup Caye for some reason, when the weather appeared to be perfected when we checked the forecas They need to turn the 5 o’clock bar into a jazz and blues club, because what ever it is now it was always empty. I still love NCL they just need to stop cutting corners. Also they should had added a bar in the solo lounge like the breakaway and better menu at the complimentary restaurants. They menu were awful!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I needed a cruise to get away and relax and I have always wanted to do the Caribbean. Looked into cruises and this one gave me the most islands for the dollar.yes it is an older ship with some flaws but the staff and crew seemed to go out ... Read More
I needed a cruise to get away and relax and I have always wanted to do the Caribbean. Looked into cruises and this one gave me the most islands for the dollar.yes it is an older ship with some flaws but the staff and crew seemed to go out of their way to make sure I had an enjoyable time. Only negative I had was in the spa. After a massage I got the hard sell to buy their products. Even after saying no a couple of time they kept trying to sell me product. After meeting a crew member once they knew my name and always smiled and said hello. Public rooms were always nice and clean, pool deck had plenty of room and always music or something fun going on. Nightly game shows were fun to go to. Excursions were good and a lot of variety in the choices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise because of dates and itinerary, also offered better rates as compared to other similar alternatives. Always is a plus in my case that NCL offers a solo program, which I was looking forward to experiencing. The solo ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of dates and itinerary, also offered better rates as compared to other similar alternatives. Always is a plus in my case that NCL offers a solo program, which I was looking forward to experiencing. The solo program is fine, no pressures at all, met very nice people and shared dinners and nice conversations. Average entertainment (very good The Elements and PG Magician). Very good complimentary restaurants (specially Venetian and O'Shelly's). Lots of dining options for extra payment. Drinks packages and Internet extremely expensive. Great staff. Cabin looked old but was perfect for 1/2 guests (although it accomodates 4, please do not!) I enjoyed Old San Juan in my 2 days prior to embarkation. One day would have been enough. Cannot comment on shore excursions, I just got off the ship in every islands and looked for the nearest beach, which I found very accesible in all cases, just a shared taxi and a fee for the chair/umbrella. Do not need to book shore excursions to go to the beach. Ship is old but very well maintained, medium size, rare distribution, but I would no doubt sail on it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I had the opportunity to sail for three weeks onboard the Jewel Of The Seas (17 November to 8 December) and I honestly could have cheerfully departed the ship after the first week. The main reason I chose this ship was because of the ... Read More
I had the opportunity to sail for three weeks onboard the Jewel Of The Seas (17 November to 8 December) and I honestly could have cheerfully departed the ship after the first week. The main reason I chose this ship was because of the itinerary; these ports of call happen to be my favorites and so I stayed onboard. The cabin on my first week was #8590 (ocean view balcony) and this room was the worst stateroom I have ever been in. The ocean view balcony was exactly that; just a view of the ocean! You could not get two people on the balcony at the same time! The last 2 weeks were better in cabin #4014. Although this room did not have a balcony (it was an ocean view stateroom) there was so much more space in the room. The food in the main dining room was bland and unseasoned and three weeks on board saw the same menu each week. The Windjammer food was much better. It varied the whole time and was tasty, hot and nicely arranged. I did meet a problem with 'my time' dining inasmuchas this reserves only the time and not the table and I wanted to sit at the same table every evening; thus alleviating the necessity of having to join a very long queue to see which table was actually assigned to me for that night. Since I booked the same meal time every evening for 3 weeks, I did not appreciate the lack of planning. I enjoyed the theater shows, the orchestra and the bands on board but the only headliner act worth seeing were Spectrum. The comedians were awful and many people (including myself) walked out. On some trivia quizzes and baggo challenges, the activity woman arrived without pen, paper, microphone or prizes. This took away from the enjoyment of the games. However this should not reflect on Jerry, the Activities Manager. The guy himself did a great job. The Christmas tree is quite beautiful as well. The ship was always clean and the service mostly good. All in all, it was a pretty average cruise but I would not rush back to this particular ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose the Zuiderdam because I had cruised on it in 2013 and had a fabulous time. This was my 6th, but my sisters 1st cruise. We were celebrating each of us turning 60, me the year before. We were so excited, but that did not last, as we ... Read More
I chose the Zuiderdam because I had cruised on it in 2013 and had a fabulous time. This was my 6th, but my sisters 1st cruise. We were celebrating each of us turning 60, me the year before. We were so excited, but that did not last, as we slowly discovered that Holland Americas cruises are a mere shadow of what they used to be. The ship itself is still beautiful and as always the crew are always ready and eager to please. I could not have asked for more as far as service. Sal and Donny, our room stewards were the best I've ever had! And every single service person was fantastic. Now the not so good to bad. There was constant maintenance going on. Buzzing and drilling, sometimes at 8 or 9 am! At one point they were treating the wood where the pool is at the height of the day when people were sunning and swimming and the stuff they used had a strong chemical odor. Unacceptable! I know stuff needs to be done, but I have never been on a cruise where it was constant and interfered with the cruise enjoyment. The Lido Deck seemed to always have stations closed so the food variety was limited and it was closed way more than it should be. The food was for the most part just okay. Sometimes it was great, but for the most part it was mediocre to tasteless. The dining room food was the same. Nothing to write home about. In room dining was a challenge. Especially at night after 12. We would sometimes be put on hold for 15 minutes and then just give up. We were told that there were only 2 people on at night, one preparing, one delivering! Are you kidding? 2 people to service a ship with almost 2000 people! Again.....unacceptable! During the day it was pretty much the same offering of things to do day after day. And I was not at all happy that any activity we chose seemed to be a commercial promoting something to buy. I went for the morning stretch and was asked to do an imprint of my feet. The stretch (it was very good) turned into a commercial for the product Goodfeet! Anti aging talks were commercials for skincare. They even do botox and fillers! And teeth whitening! Oh brother! My sister got 2 massages and that is because the masseuse was incredible. I had a sample when I got a mini neck and head massage. Yes, they were fantastic! The casino staff were wonderful and helpful. Daytime activities were pretty repetitious and boring. The computer "expert" was anything but. Now to the entertainment.........or lack there of....... I don't know who came up with the idea of "The Music Walk", but they should be fired. Night after night it was the same. The BB King Allstars, were very good, but every night they played the same songs and by the middle of the cruise you could tell that even THEY were bored! And that was the only choice for dancing. One club. The Classical musicians were fabulous and did play a variety of offerings. Then we come to "Billboard Onboard" featuring something I assume was supposed to be like the movie The Fabulous Baker Boys, with 2 Baby Grands face to face. Unfortunately their voices and playing were mediocre at best. The singing was pretty bad, so off key and not just a little. I will say that the crowd, which as I mentioned in the title of this review were an average of 70+, seemed to really like them. I just couldn't get past the poor vocals. And finally we come to the Mainstage entertainment. The Ship Singers and Dancers were sub par. The 3 vocalists were just not good. The shows were boring. The female singer had zero passion and sang off key consistently. One of the male vocalists was okay, the other one was also off key a lot. 2 of the dancers were fantastic and full of passion and enthusiasm, the rest of them could have phoned it in. So mechanical! Such a complete disappointment! The guest entertainment was a mixed bag. Island Magic Steel Drums were superb! I absolutely loved them! Thomas John, the comedian was side splitting funny. Love love loved him! I was so looking forward to the magician and so, was a bit disappointed. He was okay, but his delivery was awful. He would preface each trick or illusion by telling us how great it was going to be or how we were going to be talking about it the rest of the night or the cruise for that matter. Really? He laughed at his own jokes which were far from funny. I will say that some of his illusions were good and his little dogs were adorable. Also, there were no passenger participation activities! Specifically a talent show. This was the first cruise I was on where they didn't have, at the very least, Karaoke! What a complete bummer! Our Shore excursions, two with Holland, two with vacations to go were great. I will not be going on another Holland America Cruise, even though my Mariner status went up a notch. They have gone so far downhill. They are nothing like I remember. They have gone from 5 star to 2 star. Everything but the incredible service of the crew has suffered.They have become a series of commercials for various items for sale. My next cruise will be on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I am a widow and a repeat passenger with Celebrity. This was my first cruise on the Equinox. I was part of a singles group on board. Celebrity staff was helpful, professional and always smiling. Captain Kate is the most awesome and ... Read More
I am a widow and a repeat passenger with Celebrity. This was my first cruise on the Equinox. I was part of a singles group on board. Celebrity staff was helpful, professional and always smiling. Captain Kate is the most awesome and hands on Captain that I have ever sailed with. It was a privilege to be a passenger on 'her' ship. Food is subjective, but for the most part, I enjoyed all of my meals. The buffet is excellent for a buffet; the Main Dining Room had excellent food and great service. Had dinner twice at the Tuscan Grille. Worth the upcharge. I had a Concierge Class Cabin which I shared with a friend from the singles group. Plenty of storage for two females. I did not go to many shows, but enjoyed the ones I attended. I took one excursion through the cruiseline - Bonaire Beach Bash and tour with l lunch. Excellent. I also took the All Access Tour. Very educational and lots of fun. I had accidentally booked duplicate tours and the Shore Excursion desk - especially Arisleidy - was helpful, smiling, professional and took care of the duplications without any negativity. She was also the tour guide for the All Access Tis our. Again, All Smiles. Captain Kate has a great sense of humor, is easy to understand on the public address system, is personable, and is seen all over the ship (always with a smile and willing to talk to passengers). Once I was at Cafe Al Bacio, and she was serving the pastries and taking coffee orders! I have never seen a Captain do that. I hope to sail with her again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I have been on many cruises but this was the first to Aruba. The price was down thanks to Hurricane Mathew . Just had a few gripes . Room 9380 is close to something that will wake you at 5:00 AM . That is not my time to get up. . After ... Read More
I have been on many cruises but this was the first to Aruba. The price was down thanks to Hurricane Mathew . Just had a few gripes . Room 9380 is close to something that will wake you at 5:00 AM . That is not my time to get up. . After two nights the staff found me 7296 and a midnight move made things greater. Come on Carnival wear is the variety of food on the buffet. NCL has you beat by 10 times. I know I need to lose a few pounds , but variety is the spice that makes me come back. The ports were great with four new to me adventures. I did turn a few rocks but no Natalie. I travel solo , so lets have a solo group gathering each night . Where did the chocolates on the pillow go and charge me a dollar more , Charmins would be great in the end. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was really my first cruise.. I had taken a 4 day Carnival cruise and it was crap! I work in the travel industry so I know quality when I see it.. MY overall experience on NCL was a 9 out of 10.. I will give a brief ... Read More
This was really my first cruise.. I had taken a 4 day Carnival cruise and it was crap! I work in the travel industry so I know quality when I see it.. MY overall experience on NCL was a 9 out of 10.. I will give a brief breakdown. Getting on ship was pretty easy.. took about 2 hours from check in. There was nothing to tell you where to drop your bags at all. THE STAFF and SERVICE. wow! point on.. they were all perfect, in a good mood, helpful always friendly, and remembered you from meeting you once.. wow!. FOOD was really great tons of options always available. CABIN attendant. He was always there for you!.. If you tip him/her $20 at beginning of cruise you will always get anything you want.. ENTERTAINMENT.. was good variety, excellent performers. I did like they mingled with guests in bar areas when they were not working. I LOVED THAT!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Other NCL ships are run by staff that is in the hospitality business. The Getaway is run by administrators and supervisors. There is no consideration or attempt at being gracious hosts. There is absolutely nothing offered to a ... Read More
Other NCL ships are run by staff that is in the hospitality business. The Getaway is run by administrators and supervisors. There is no consideration or attempt at being gracious hosts. There is absolutely nothing offered to a Platinum member other than the "standards" left in the cabin upon arrival. The Latitudes party was for every single level all mashed together outside in the heat. No receiving line. Short introduction of officers and then they could not get away fast enough. Not a party. Not even a real reception. The food was the worst ever and the buffet had countless problems. Big language/understanding problems with the staff. Staff person making Greek salads tried to tell me that there was no cheese on a Greek Salad. The word feta was impossible to communicate. Cobb salad the next day I just looked and shook my head. No blue cheese (cheddar instead!) no bacon and no avocado. I have owned two hot tubs. My cruise was to be a spa retreat. I had to point out two separate days that the water in the spa pool was not treated properly. Any sort of thermal pool should not have excess foam. That is a sign that water is not treated properly. I lost three days of spa relaxation until they got the water clean. Any point/suggestion made to an officer was merely taken in. On two occasions there was personnel stationed outside the dining room trying to move people up to the buffet rather than enjoy the dining room. There is smoking in more places than I have ever seen on a ship. The Sunset bar is ruined by smoking directly next to the seats on the bar. In the very middle of the pool deck there are a few glass walls and smoking is allowed right there. Up in Spice H20 the bar side is given to smokers. All this on top of the stink in the casino. I will never sail on this ship again and am giving serious consideration to leaving NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I must say, this was my first cruise and all around it was AMAZING. Everyday, every moment, every seconds I loved it. But what also made my 8 days at sea so wonderful is the amazing staff I came in contact with. First these to amazing ... Read More
I must say, this was my first cruise and all around it was AMAZING. Everyday, every moment, every seconds I loved it. But what also made my 8 days at sea so wonderful is the amazing staff I came in contact with. First these to amazing people Francisco and Thal in house keeping, always remember there pleasant and genuine smile in the mornings and evening. I should know because I LOVE people and these two they have a very gentleness and pleasant spirit towards them. I pray a special blessing upon them and their family. They were very kind. Next in Pixels is Sinisa (Serbia). He is very pleasant and does an amazing job at what he does in Pixel. He complements a girl's picture when he is in it. Must I also say, he is GORGEOUS. Just a bonus and glad he was on this ship. Now a sets of amazing waiters, Adi, William (Colombia), Esther or queen Esther (India), Edi (Indonesia) and James ( St. Vincent).... These crew made my Church sisters and I laugh so hard and was a great pleasure having them as our waiters. They made dinner in the evenings exciting and with a lot of laughter. I do pray they keep that excitement in them because they help made my first cruise very exciting and a great experience. And to top is off, Mike the cruise director, HE WAS AWESOME and FUNNY. Whatever he does he makes it very exciting and gets the crowd involved in fun and excitment. From start to finish was amazing getting on the ship was all pure excitement for me but leaving I wasn't ready. I am sure there are plenty more wonderful people on board like the few I mentioned, but I must say GREAT STAFF you have Carnival Horizon. Thanks to you and your staff especially the ones I mentioned for making my first experience a memorable one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I had time off and wanted to get away. I am a widow and traveling alone. NCL offer the best SOLO package.. The solo representative Marlina is fantastic and really look after the solo group. The restaurants like Taste was wonderful. The ... Read More
I had time off and wanted to get away. I am a widow and traveling alone. NCL offer the best SOLO package.. The solo representative Marlina is fantastic and really look after the solo group. The restaurants like Taste was wonderful. The Zimbabwean workers on aboard stop by our tables to see if we needed anything and we're really conscious workers.. my disappointment came at event time. The hostess has thick Asian accents and many times the audience did not understand a word they said. Especially the hostess by the pool side. . As a result many people did not participate. The room was a very nice size and comfortable. The comedians repeated the jokes ever night. So if you saw it one night there was no need to go back. Best to go to the bar! The ports had very unique shopping and souvenirs. The ports also had nice restaurants and jewelry store with free Wi-Fi! WiFi is expensive on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Embarkation was horrible. People everywhere and no direction. One person tell you to go here and then another person yell at you for going there. Just awful. Took about an hour and a half just to get through. Our room was great and the ... Read More
Embarkation was horrible. People everywhere and no direction. One person tell you to go here and then another person yell at you for going there. Just awful. Took about an hour and a half just to get through. Our room was great and the steward, Dewa. Room always clean and he was always available. We had two bathrooms and a small fridge which was awesome. Been on multiple cruises and never experienced had this before. Good - Guy's Burger, Guy's Barbecue, Cruise Director James, which he was a temp while the actual director was at training. The entertainment was great. The shows in the Liquid lounge and the Comedy shows were awesome. Always something to do. Disembarking went smoothly. The DJ's in the nightclub were wonderful. They played music that appealed to all genres. Bad - Food lines way too long at buffet. (Hello, everyone wants bacon so why not make enough) The lido deck often had plates of leftover food everywhere. Hard to find a place to eat sometimes because the tables weren't cleaned. In the past they have been picking up my plate while I was still eating. LOL. As I mentioned before Embarking was horrible. Took 45 minutes just to get a wheelchair for an elderly person in my group. Pizza line at night was way too long. If you know this is the only thing open, why not put 3 or 4 people back there. Many times it was just one guy working. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
It has been a many-decades long dream of mine to sail the Caribbean. I never quite got around to it when I was young enough to captain my own sailboat. As we are all aware, such fantasies are rarely matched by the reality of the eventual ... Read More
It has been a many-decades long dream of mine to sail the Caribbean. I never quite got around to it when I was young enough to captain my own sailboat. As we are all aware, such fantasies are rarely matched by the reality of the eventual trip. So as a 70 year old, reasonably fit traveler, off I went, and I can report that this trip, in all ways, exceeded my long help tropical sail dream. Some opinions on few important general items: -This is not a cruise ship, and will likely not appeal to those who love the big cruise ship experience. The crowds and lines and glitz and glimmer of large ships have never appealed to me, so this was really my cup of tea (or glass of rum). -This is a sailing vessel. There is considerable rocking and rolling during transit. The weather and seas were fairly tame as open-water sailing goes. Four of the 16 guests developed mild seasickness early in the voyage. None had to miss any meals or activities. Do bring sea sickness meds that you have tried out before the trip if you think you might be prone, and plan on exercising some caution as you walk about the ship during transit, especially for the first day or two. The captain always anchors the ship in protected harbors or leeward locations, so most of the time things are pretty calm and stable. -As an older somewhat overweight guy with 2 knee replacements, I had no difficulties with any of the activities. You do need a degree of flexibility and fitness to navigate the fairly steep stairway down to your cabin, to get on and off the dingy (excellent assistance from the crew with this maneuver), and to enjoy the hikes and snorkeling. -I loved the activities on this trip, but other reviewers seem to have expected more of a cruise ship experience. Expect time on gorgeous beaches, time swimming and snorkeling in amazingly clear and warm water, lounging on deck, and visiting small towns at your various island anchorages. The only "optional tour" on our passage was an island tour of Bequia, where we rode in the covered back bed of a small truck and visited small local attractions (model ship builder, turtle sanctuary, whaling museum. Our driver and guide was one of the last members of an extant whaling family, and his whaling history talk was fascinating). At $30, this was a great experience and a great value. The other notable activity was the optional after dinner dingy rides ashore to visit local bars. These trips were as much about the local culture as about drinking, and quite a rich experience. Just don't expect casinos, floor shows, spas, and tour busses. As others have noted, you will likely become good friends with your fellow passengers, and the crowd that chooses this kind of vacation tends to be a pretty unique and interesting group. That being said, we had a couple of passengers who preferred to spend more alone time, and there was plenty of space and support for that experience also. Some reviewers have mentioned the small cabins. Having sailed before on a smaller boat, I found my solo cabin to be quite adequate and comfortable. It was actually charming and cozy. The bathroom with combined sink/toilet/shower was very functional. Pack everything in a soft-sided carry-on and you will be fine. As others have mentioned, the food is remarkable for such a small ship. Portion sizes are just right, and you are always offered seconds. In addition to the three meals, excellent appetizers and rum punch were served every afternoon during "cocktail hour." The vinophiles on our trip described the house wine as fairly decent, and there were opportunities to buy premium wines along the route of sail. I'm a beer snob, and found the local lager (Piton), stocked on the ship, to be excellent. On one occasion, the crew prepared and delivered an excellent "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" feast to the beach where we were spending the day. When anchored, dinner on deck was a real treat. One of the keys to this cruise being so outstanding is the crew. We had 16 passengers and 10 crew. Each crew member was always busy tending to their duties, which often centered around the comfort and enjoyment of the passengers. They were personable, fun, yet professional. Our activities director was great, and gave us full briefings of the day's activities. She also accompanied us on most of our onshore adventures. I have never done a mega-cruise, and have only heard of the hassles on embarkation and disembarkation days. Getting on and off Vela was quick, simple, and well organized. Oh, and did I mention that this truly is a barefoot cruise? Except for the one island tour, I did not wear shoes from the time I boarded Vela until the time I got ready to leave for the airport. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was a round-trip cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico stopping at a different port each day in the southern (or lesser) Antilles islands down to Barbados. We arrived mid-afternoon and found our Junior Suite to be fairly nice. We loved ... Read More
This was a round-trip cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico stopping at a different port each day in the southern (or lesser) Antilles islands down to Barbados. We arrived mid-afternoon and found our Junior Suite to be fairly nice. We loved eating breakfast each day and watching as we arrived and docked at a different port. Then each evening, we would eat our dinner watching as we left that port. The one time when we weren't yet seated at dinner when just leaving port, we found out that the ship had left while we were walking around the on-board shops and we were amazed that we couldn't tell the ship was moving. Needless to say, we never took our drama mean. Two of our three shore excursions were great. We really liked the Sea Trek St Maarten and A Taste of Antigua Rum tours. The Sea Trek was a wonderful underwater experience with "sea helmets" allowing us to walk around under water. My wife is a poor swimmer, and she felt safe with the many nearby scuba staff showing us different things. There were young kids and much older folks -- all had fun. The taste of rum tour was not just rum but also a history lesson about Antigua and the other islands. That tour also was wonderful. However, we simply picked the wrong day for A Day Trip to Nevis with Lunch. The day we were there, the island was celebrating a holiday. So, we couldn't see the Alexander Hamilton house and museum and our guide couldn't convey any of that history. The dining experience ranged from great to awful. Not surprisingly, the specialty restaurants had the best chefs and wait staff. These were generally recommendable, but some were better than others for either food quality or service. We did try a regular restaurant for breakfast one day. We were there when the doors opened along with a long line of other passengers. Seating was immediate after the doors opened. However, it took a half hour to get a waiter to take our order and another twenty-five minutes after that to get our breakfast. The Windjammer buffet restaurant worked better for breakfast or lunch. Think smorgasbord, though. There was plenty of food, but unremarkable in its preparation. For example, I would like to have had eggs over easy for breakfast, but the short-order cooks had their stoves too hot. Their eggs were leaping off the sizzling, popping stove so the eggs were scorched on the outside and raw in the middle. The made-to-order omelettes were a better bet -- only one out of three was too burnt to eat. While onboard, we did discuss our dining experiences in the non-specialty restaurants with two other couples. Both volunteered that the Freedom class of ships seemed to get the "second class" help. Independently, they both said that the top talent was on the Oasis class ships. On our last night, we were in a specialty restaurant seated next to a Royal Caribbean employee on vacation. That employee confirmed that he, too, had noticed that trend. So, if you like the RCCL big ships, this is another reason to go that way. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this cruise because it looked amazing but looks aren’t everything. First thing happened when we just got on the ship was the bartender by the pool was rude. He told us hurry up pick a drink and it needs to be something quick. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it looked amazing but looks aren’t everything. First thing happened when we just got on the ship was the bartender by the pool was rude. He told us hurry up pick a drink and it needs to be something quick. Then it was so packed on this ship we waited in lines for everything. Waited forever for an elevator and when it came it was full so we started to take the stairs everywhere. The food was just ok i would never go to a restaurant and pay for the food that was free on the ship. They had some really good places to eat but u had to pay for the meals which were expensive. Everything we did it felt like they were trying to sell us something. We went to get a massage they tried selling us over $200 in products and more massages they told me i needed which were $300. We went to the arcade onboard and spent $50 in 10 mins. They were pushing for us to put a deposit on another cruise which i will never go on another Norwegian Cruise again. It wasn’t relaxing cause it felt like i had to fight off a sales pitch everywhere i went. Last night i was there my gf wasn’t feeling well so i went to get her and her daughter a sprite from the bar by the pool. The bartender told u can only get to 2 drinks that’s ur limit. I try not get into with him cause i didnt want to get into a fight so luckily he did not swipe my card so i was able to walk all the way to the next bar and grab myself a drink.it seemed like they had so many workers on onboard that they had to hire a lot of ppl and didn’t get high quality workers cause they were few and far between. Loved the guy that cleaned my room though tipped him $60 at the end on top of the money we paid for gratuity. We ordered a picture of the three of us for a frame we purchased on the cruise. It was the wrong size so they reordered it for us and messed it up again so we had to go back 3 times. I just smile and say it’s ok cause i don’t want any trouble I’m was on vacation. I’ve been on cruises before but this was the worse. My gf daughter want to swim with the dolphins so we booked it turns out one of us had to pay to do it with her we couldn’t just go and watch no one told us this when we booked it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I booked the NCL Getaway solo, and stayed in a studio cabin. I thought a lot of my other friends were going to follow my lead with doing this for our graduation gift, but that wasn't how it ended up. I had an amazing experience on ... Read More
I booked the NCL Getaway solo, and stayed in a studio cabin. I thought a lot of my other friends were going to follow my lead with doing this for our graduation gift, but that wasn't how it ended up. I had an amazing experience on the Getaway being solo (with the ultimate beverage package). I am a very outgoing person, and so were many others on that ship as well. The staff works incredibly hard to make sure you have the time of your life on the ship, and don't forget, it is also what you make it. What made my trip so fun, at the end of everyday, was the never-ending pool parties up on the top deck everyday, some of the comedy shows, and especially the night life (ended at 2-230am usually). I was a little worried about finding things that would entertain a 22 year old such as myself, but then I found out there was no need to worry. I met a lot of great friends and people on this ship everyday, and it was large enough to where you would constantly see new faces, but also constantly see the same friendly faces to start up a conversation with. If you're a young individual going solo, I would recommend this ship to you 100% with no questions asked. That is who this review is truly for. Even if you don't like to party 24/7 on cruise ships or just in general, there are still things for you to find joy in. If you book a studio cabin, you get special benefits to meet people in the same area as you on the ship, your own private lounge/bar area, and can acquire special activities in general. You just have to read the daily pamphlet they put in your room everyday and you will be good to go! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my first cruise with Princess and as a result of my experience, it will definitely be my last. Prior to booking, I had this impression that Princess was an elite cruising brand. I expected more of them than I would a Carnival, ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess and as a result of my experience, it will definitely be my last. Prior to booking, I had this impression that Princess was an elite cruising brand. I expected more of them than I would a Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise line. I could not have been more wrong. Let's start with the PROS since its a short list. PROS: Embarkation - Princess is very organized. I was on the ship in less than 20 minutes from my arrival to the pier. I have NEVER gotten on a ship that fast before. There was no haggling to buy onboard packages and no pressure to take pictures. It was the most quickest, easiest embarkation I have ever experienced. Shore Excursions - I really liked that while the Excursions desk was not always manned that they had iPads at the desk so I could book excursions during their non-operating hours. I struggled whether to add this to the CONS list really, because the Excursions desk was closed before and during our sail away period, but I do like that I had this as an option. I like to book my excursions as soon as I get on the ship. I later learned I could have booked them in my room via the TV. Entertainment - I really enjoyed some of the musical talent on this ship. I learned of some new artistic gems like George Thursting that I now follow through social media. Love them. Folks, that's where my PROS list ends. Let's dive into everything that made this cruise horrible and left me vowing to NEVER cruise with Princess again. CONS: Bed Bug (in Room B249) - I usually don't sleep much, if at all, the night before a cruise, because I am busy packing and getting my house (and life) prepared for my extensive departure, so I usually make up for that sleep the first night on the ship. This cruise was no exception. I grabbed a bite to eat and booked my excursions once I got on board and I headed straight to my room to snooze. After we set sailed, I got up to grab something out of my bag and when I returned to the bed I noticed what looked like a bed bug crawling over the duvet cover. I screamed! I ran outside where the cabin steward was. He came in looking embarrassed, but not surprised, and scooped the bug into a glass jar. I was mortified. All I could think was how grateful I was that I had not unpacked yet. I did NOT want to take any of these critters home with me. I hear bed bugs are horrible to get rid of. I went straight to the reception desk to report it. Its the first night, so there's a long line. I patiently wait. When I get to the line, the service desk rep (Ignacio and Aracelli) said there was not much they could do besides send someone to investigate and clean the room since the ship was sold out. They did not offer me some place to sit or rest at during this 2-hour investigation. They did not offer me a complimentary beverage or meal. They did not apologize for the inconvenience. They did nothing, but "investigate." I stood on the side of the reception desk for 2 hours exhausted. I finally got back in line to see if there was an update, since NO ONE spoke to me during those 2 hours and only after I got back in line did someone call to check on the "investigation" and that's when I was told they were done and they did not find anything else (meaning another bug). For all I know, the investigation could have been completed an hour earlier. I return to my room alone. Visibly shaken, they did not offer to escort me to my room to reassure me and show me their findings. No one was there when I arrived. It was hours later when the cabin steward supervisor and my cabin steward returned to tell me the supervisor found nothing. I asked if I would be able to get checked by medical - something the front desk rep said I would be able to get as a courtesy to check for bed bug bites - and the supervisor told me NO. He said the ship doctor is not like a doctor on land, they're expensive, so I would have to pay for this myself. Um... OK! I was done after this. Done. He treated me like I was an inconvenience. Very hostile. I never unpacked my bag. I kept it closed the entire cruise and I checked my room for bed bugs each and every day. I tried not to let this ruin my trip cuz then I would definitely be on the losing end. I tried to make the best of it. Ship - Its old. Real old. Very dated. There's rust, mildew and mold everywhere. While I stood in line at the guest desk, I noticed there were multiple leaks from the ceiling. Also, the layout makes no sense. They give each deck a name. For example: Deck # 11 is named Baja and Deck # 15 is named Lido. Instead of referring to the deck number, you had to learn the deck names, because that is how they were referenced. It was so cooky. Then there were only so many elevator banks. I believe there were three or four for the entire ship and one or two of those only went to a few floors. There were no machines for people to add money to their room card/key. Everything went through the very incompetent guest desk. And they had to escalate everything. No one at the desk could make a decision at their level. No one was empowered to just do common sense things for guests. While I waited for my bed bug investigation, I heard a man with Platinum Level Status get upset over his beverage package and how someone screwed it up. I stood there thinking: If this guy is a loyal Princess cruiser and they treat him like that, how should I expect them to treat me? Not good, folks. Not good. Dining - I actually like the seating in the buffet dining areas. I liked that there were pub seating that looked directly out the window, so if you're a party of one you're only taking one seat and not an entire table. That's where my likes end. The food options were very limited and buffet small. It was about one-third of the size of the buffet area on the average Norwegian ship. Horrible! I made due, but I was just shocked. In Conclusion: The pros definitely did not outweigh the cons. I cannot justify the cost of the average Princess cruise for me to try the brand again. Outside of wanting to experience the Princess brand, I really chose this sailing because it was going to the ABC islands and it was full of smart at sea days. Heed my warnings. If nothing else, stay away from this ship unless you've cruised it before and know what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018

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