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25 Bahamas Spa Cruise Reviews

Check In/Embarkation:  We embarked on October 19 with myself (first time cruiser!), my husband and our 3 and a half year old daughter. One of the reasons we chose this ship was because it embarked/disembarked in NYC (we only live 3 hours ... Read More
Check In/Embarkation:  We embarked on October 19 with myself (first time cruiser!), my husband and our 3 and a half year old daughter. One of the reasons we chose this ship was because it embarked/disembarked in NYC (we only live 3 hours away) so it was very convenient. We drove in and the pier was very easy to get to and the parking ample and conveniently on the same level. We arrived around 10:30am and despite the massive amount of people there (I didn't realize at the time that they were disembarking people from the ship at the same time as we were checking in), there were plenty of signs and pier workers there to direct us where to go. The initial check in was like airport security- you gave them your itinerary and passports and went through the metal detector. Then it was the final check in before embarkation to get your room keycards. They should have had more people working the counters to check people in to expedite the process but it went very smoothly. You also got a number that determined when you got to embark as well. It made for a easy process- when they began embarking, you waited until your number was called and everyone with that number could get on the ship. Ship: The Breakaway is, overall, an excellent ship. The size made for very smooth sailing. There were only a couple of times that we felt any movement or swaying from large waves as we were sailing back to NY. Otherwise you didn't even know you were on the water except for the wind or from watching the ocean. Noise-wise, there wasn't much noise from the actual ship~ just a buzz or clank every so often that we normally would hear from hotel plumbing anyways. We heard a lot of running/pounding feet from above (we were on deck 14 so we had the Garden Cafe/pool above us) but it was seldom and passed quickly. You could definitely hear music/voices/shouting/etc. if you were sitting on the balcony or had the balcony doors open. It didn't bother us but for those who want absolute silence on their balcony will be disappointed. For the most part, there was plenty of space on board. Obviously, indoor seating at the Garden Cafe is hard to find during meal times while at sea when it's windy out, but there are plenty of tables outside or at the Uptown Grill (and not too chilly with a sweater or jacket). On sea days, loungers by the pool filled up quickly (especially around the kiddie pools) but we would come back or sit at the tables by the Garden Cafe instead. The only places that it was annoyingly hard to find seating was at the Atrium (and the railing right above it outside O'Sheenan's where you could look down into the Atrium) for the game shows and concerts. The programming there was so great and well-run that it's no wonder people camp out to watch it, but it would be nice to either repeat the games so more people can attend or to move them to a larger venue. Activities: Having a preschooler with us, we split up onboard activities based on things we did all together, things she did and things we did while she was at Splash Academy (with more about that later). Family activities were offered though we didn't do much of those except for the family party at Spice H2O where they had music, balloon hats and face painting. Otherwise we spent a lot of time in the pool- there as a family pool that kids could swim in with parents as well as a Spongebob-themed kiddie pool with a little island and slide that was a bit hit. We also did the mini rope course, mini golf and played a few games in the arcade with her. By ourselves, we went on the water slides. The free fall ones are definitely a heart stopper. We also did the ropes course with a zip line at the end which was also absolutely terrifying but we would definitely do those again next time. Things we didn't get a chance to do/didn't want to try was a bouncing bungee/trampoline (where they strap you into harness and you can jump and flip and twist as you bounce on a trampoline) and a spider tower where you squeeze and climb up and slide down a twisty tube slide to get back down. Basketball, shuffle board, ping pong, mini golf and a giant chess set were available as well. And those are just physical activities. There were also a library, card room and informational panels about ports, shopping, health, etc. as well as the fitness center and spa. There's definitely something for everyone. Service: We cannot say enough about the superb service that we received. Everyone, from the moment we got on the ship, made us feel so special, welcomed and comfortable. Their professionalism, enthusiasm and all round A+++ service truly made this vacation for us. What really stood out to me was the way everyone made it a point to talk to and engage with our daughter as well. The truly wanted to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and took the time to chat and answer our questions which, now that I think about it, are probably ones they've answered hundreds of thousands of times. But they never gave any indication of any annoyance or feelings that we were bothering them. There was always a smile and "hello" that, while simple things, really added up. In particular, the following staff members went above and beyond: Renson (our steward), JC & Alvin (the cruise/assistant cruise director), Zappy, Ivy, BBQ, Mily, Lady Bug (Splash Academy staff) Cabin: We had a mini-suite with a balcony so for us there was plenty of room. The room, furniture, sheets/bedding and towels were very clean. There was plenty of closet space and little shelves/cubbies to store things. There was also plenty of space underneath the bed to put our suitcases so that was really handy as well. We loved the double sink in the bathroom. Plenty of space there for toiletries though we did bring a hanging organizer with pockets to store them since weren't sure about the space. The shower is surprisingly spacious with 6 spray jets in you choose to use them. The water gets incredibly hot which is nice, but just as a warning to set the handle to the colder side and turning it up slowly. The balcony was really nice~ the walls give a semblance of privacy but you can easily look around them to your neighbors on either side. Since we were directly below the pool & Garden Cafe, we could definitely hear everything that was happening if we were outside or had the balcony door open. Dining: Taste: Not on purpose, but we only went to Taste instead of Savor or the Manhattan dining rooms though the menus were the same at all 3 restaurants whenever I checked. We're not picky eaters so we found the menu to have plenty of options and everything was super tasty. Portions were very nice- not too much so that you could eat all three courses without feeling like you'll explode. La Cucina: We had the osso buco and shrimp risotto which were outstanding. The portions here were huge so unfortunately, I couldn't finish my risotto. I asked if the leftovers could be sent up to the room and our server said they'll send a new one up. We protested that there was nothing wrong with the one I had, which still had plenty left so he agreed. When we got it, they had replaced the shrimp we had eaten so it was complete again. Garden Cafe: Knowing that this is a buffet, we didn't go in with high expectations so we were pleasantly surprised by the selection and taste. It's a huge buffet so if there's something you want and there's a big crowd, go around the corner and chances are it will be there with less people. Le Cirque: The dinner show was awesome. It was hard to tell what was better- the entertainment or the meal. Both were wonderful and worth the price. It is a pretty long show so it might now be a good fit for those with little, little ones. Splash Academy: Splash Academy is the name of the children's club Norwegian offers. It's essentially a day care where the staff will arrange activities for the kids based on their age group. We highly, highly recommend it if you have children cruising with you. A. It's free, B. They have great hours and C. The staff members are great with the kids. They'll be taken care of and given lots of fun things to do and participate in. They started off the week with a parade through the Atrium, after painting the kids' faces, heading through the Art Gallery to the aft elevators and then up to the Garden Cafe where they walked around buffet, outside past the pools and then back down to Splash Academy. The kids felt so special and they got such applause from the crowd. There was also a special party at Spice H2O for the kids with balloon hats, face painting and dancing midweek. At the end of the week, they had a big circus-themed show where the kids from each age group would perform a routine for the parents. It was super adorable and impressive that they managed to throw such a show together in a few hours. Entertainment: Second City was hilarious, and we only saw 2 family improv shows. We definitely want to see them again and catch the later night shows. Dueling Pianos was a lot of fun too. The live bands and performers who performed at the Atrium and various lounges were amazing as well. There was a lot of talent on board and the music they played (ranging from easy listening, classic rock, 70s, 80s) was very nice. JC Sanchez & Alvin Oliva (the cruise director and assistant) had amazing energy at all the events they ran or reported at. They really kept a great vibe going the whole week. Disembarkation: The actual disembarkation from the ship was easy. You choose different colored tags that correspond to the time that you can disembark (Starting from 7:30am if you can carry off all your luggage to 10am). When your colored is called, everyone with that color leaves and goes to the section of the warehouse/port that has your luggage. Since we didn't have too far to go, we chose the 10am time slot. There was a long line to get into the port since there was backlog starting around 9am. The luggage was also just all lumped together but it was pretty easy to navigate and find your luggage. The most painful part was getting through customs, which has nothing to do with Norwegian but with the government employees. After getting your luggage, you were directed to get into one of two lines. There was no explanation on why there were two lines and no one asked about whether you were citizens or coming from abroad until you were at the front and THEN they split up the people based on that. There were also only 5 stations opened with 4,000+ people trying to exit until right around 10:30 when they finally opened up another 2 stations. I guess the 20 other employees they had there had to watch the line. So aside from a few things here and there, this trip was overwhelmingly great. We cannot wait to cruise again and look forward to seeing some familiar faces in a few months! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Let me first say that I was very apprehensive about taking this cruise. My husband and I are in our mid 50's and I was taking my parents who are in their late seventies. The only other cruise we took in the past was with Holland ... Read More
Let me first say that I was very apprehensive about taking this cruise. My husband and I are in our mid 50's and I was taking my parents who are in their late seventies. The only other cruise we took in the past was with Holland America to Bermuda and it was a very lovely time. The impression I always got from a Carnival cruise was that it was a huge party ship with people that were crazy, drunk 24/7, and loud so I never had an interest in booking a cruise with Carnival. My daughter and son-in-law went on this cruise at the beginning of May. They came back and said what a wonderful time they had and that we really should try it. Because we live in Connecticut about a little over an hour from New York City we decided let's give it a try. Clearly the decor of the Carnival Splendor is not to my taste however, as the week went on I got used to it. We had a balcony stateroom which also was a Cloud 9 room so we were able to access the spa at any time. The Cloud 9 spa saunas and warming rooms and whirlpool were just amazing. My husband who is a cheap accountant didn't want two spend extra money for the room but at the end of the trip he said it was well worth the money because he enjoyed the spa so much. And he normally is not one who wants to go to a spa. I don't understand the people who are complaining about the food. There was always something for everyone. If you couldn't find anything that you liked, maybe it was because you weren't looking hard enough. When we ate dinner at the Black Pearl, there was always a set menu plus an additional daily menu. For lunch when you ate on the Lido area of the buffet you also could go to the aft of the ship and have deli sandwiches which included wraps, panini, etc.. Or you could go to the Tandoori line were they had lovely Indian food. The lines were never really horrible, you would probably be fed within 10 minutes. The only thing I ever saw that had a big line was the Mongolian wok. My husband had to wait about 20 minutes but then again you have all day to eat so what's the big deal? We stayed at the aft pool for most of the day or we went to one of the other decks to just lie in the sun. We also went to the Serenity deck one afternoon which was lovely also. You could do as much or as little as you wanted. My parents who are in their late 70's went around the deck, laid out in the Sun a little bit, read on their balcony, and basically were able to fill their day. We briefly went to the casino 1 night which was nice however it really was terrible that Carnival lets everybody smoke in there. You stink when you leave. The entertainment in the theater was very good.I would say that the lead woman singer was a better singer than the man however who knows why they choose the singers. I believe his name was Derek and he was a little stiff. The woman, I think Allison had a real theatrical voice and stage presence. The dancers were very talented. The outside talent that they hired were fabulous. The first guy was a juggler/comedian who was fantastic.He was a semi-finalist on America's Got Talent and he was very entertaining. The other person I remember his name was Marcus Anthony and in the beginning I thought he was kind of a lounge lizard but his show ended up being really good doing many songs from Motown. We saw three family friendly comedy shows and 1 adult comedy show. The comedian that we saw at the adult show we also saw the family friendly show and he was much better at the family friendly show. Saying f*** every 4th word does not automatically mean the content is funny. Maybe Canival needs to rethink putting in more family friendly shows? THe staff were incredibly hard working, polite, and did whatever they could to make you happy. They make it a point to know your name and address you by it. They are well trained, and their efficiency shows. Their customer service was evident. My only complaints were: 1. The line to get drinks at the buffet was not placed correctly because people can't get by because it is in a major area getting to both ends of the pool. Both passengers and service people are trying to get through the same area were people are standing and self serving their drinks. 2. The pools were a little small to accommodate up to 3600 guests, however the pools were always clean and they always pumped the water in fresh about every other day. At least the aft pool was. I don't know about the pool in the front of the boat or the one in the main Lido area. I laughed when I saw a review that a person complained because it was salt water. How silly. Why would they put fresh water in the pool when they can just pump it in from the ocean? Our first stop was Grand Turk. The beach was nice but a little rocky but they were chairs for everybody to lie in the Sun. Or if you wanted to lie in the shade you could do that too because they were plenty of palm trees. Many people went through the shopping area to get to Margaritaville to go to the pool. I walked over there and it was a crowded mess. The second stop was at the Carnival private island on Half Moon Cay. It was beautiful! The water was gorgeous, the barbecue was a little crazy, but it goes with the territory. The third stop was in Nassau and we went off the ship for about an hour to walk around the town and my parents took a trip to the Arawak gardens and zoo. They liked the excursion and it was good for them to see Nassau since they had never been there. My husband and I went back to the ship after our 1 hour walk around town and it was lovely to be able to do anything on the ship that you wanted too because it wasn't very crowded. All-in-all we had a very nice time and we would probably try Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Was it spectacular? No, but cruising just isn't what it used to be 25 years ago. OK, so what do you expect from people who are worked many hours a day for very little pay. A very pleasant, polite crew (for the most part) who try to ... Read More
Was it spectacular? No, but cruising just isn't what it used to be 25 years ago. OK, so what do you expect from people who are worked many hours a day for very little pay. A very pleasant, polite crew (for the most part) who try to make 2,500 people happy on a daily basis. I'm not complaining as my family of 4 had a wonderful time. My sisters and I decided to take a last minute cruise and selected the GEM as it is a cab ride away. I had been on her a few years back on a European sail, so I knew the ship well. Must say she continues to be in good condition with very few flaws. Embarkation was good but, full disclosure, mother is in a wheelchair, so we had access to the front of the line! Our handicap cabin was very well appointed with all of our necessities. A big "thumbs up" for our cabin steward Gilbert Gendibe who provided us with all of our needs with a smile. Analisa Alvares, proved to be an excellent server in both the Grand Restaurant and Le Bistro, if you have the opportunity, sort her out, you won't be disappointed. Finally, Aithel Soriano, Guest Relations was absolutely wonderful. We initially had a couple of kinks which she quickly resolved. Read the menu carefully and you won't be disappointed with your food selection. My sisters and I made very wise choices and picked savory dishes that enhanced our food experience. Luckily for us we have family in Orlando and had a great family reunion, can't say much about the excursions. NCL's private island is just that.....an island for some fun in the sun! Families and younger couples looked like they were having a grand time. Lots of things to do and of course, lots and lots of food! An overnight in Nassau put a different spin on the cruise. A four-hour ride from the private island arriving in Nassau at 10:00 p.m. was a little weird but we made the best of it by cabbing it to Atlantis and seeing the entire place at night including the Aquarium and also got a little gambling in! Next day, spent the day at the Hilton, a hop, skip and a jump from the pier. All in all, we would do it again. We weren't looking for high adventure and got what we planned for, an easy going 7 days with good food and beach time. Oh, almost forgot to mention the entertainment. Mediocre, at best, if you have children in high school I'm sure you've seen better singers and dancers. Skip the shows and take a moonlit walk, a dunk in the hot tub, a drink at a bar or if you're up to it the clubs seemed to be doing very well. Hope this was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I need to qualify my review so that similar type of cruisers benefit and those that could be put off without need will not be. Hope that makes sense. In the last year I've ridden twice on the QM2 in the grills, enjoying both an ... Read More
I need to qualify my review so that similar type of cruisers benefit and those that could be put off without need will not be. Hope that makes sense. In the last year I've ridden twice on the QM2 in the grills, enjoying both an eastbound and westbound journey. At 150k tons the QM2 holds 2,620 passengers. The NCL Breakaway, at similar tonnage held 4,509 for my week aboard. I chose the Breakaway exactly based on its name. A lousy winter and I just wanted a casual environment where I could relax and renew cold and weary bones. I was not looking for a formal ship and have a 3 cruise (Med (Dream, 11/01), Western Caribbean (Sun, 04/02), and New England (Dawn, 07/05) history with NCL so calibrated my expectations accordingly. OK, with that proviso, here I go. a) 4500+ (we had 4,509 with 700+ kids) people in a 150k ton ship is just too many, especially when we are talking only two banks of passenger elevators that ride on a very slow door close and movement rate. Constant tussles between passengers and frustrations were voiced, many often opting for stairs, even if it meant 5 or more flights, out of pure frustration. Having said that this ship is great for families. Though the cabins are very small, the Splash Academy and outdoor slides, rope course and putt putt course, along with the pools, an arcade, etc etc are tremendous for kids and family fun. Kids have a blast on this ship and are kept well entertained. (some of their parents can learn a thing or two but that's another topic) b) Inconsistent customer service: customer service felt like you were one among 4,500 most of the time, which isn't to say awful but don't expect a high touch service, especially if you hit a snag, except for The Haven, a segregated "First Class" area (I was in there the last 2 days). Friends of mine (two women sharing a cabin) had a very bad time of it. Their cabin had a kind of intense swooshing sound that would startle and waken them throughout the night (inside 13th deck). It took 3 complaints before they were heard (4 days into trip) and moved. Once moved their new room keys didn't work which took another round of complaints before it was understood they couldn't get in their rooms (they kept giving them (3x) new keys instead of having maintenance check the door). They were eventually moved to a third cabin (in 7 nights, 2 moves isn't great) and were finally able to catch up on sleep the last 2 nights (just saying that phase says everything about their experience). Not really how you want to spend 7 nights but they were good soldiers. c) Food overall was what I expected. A bit better then a catering hall and a bit above that in the specialty dining areas, though I never found a dessert I liked, including sorbet or ice cream, though the ship's coffee was very good. I thought it was just me but polled a bunch of folks and they agreed. I was great with starters and entrees (nice variety) but desserts, yuch. Breads were good too. I did the ultimate dining package allowing me to sample 5+ specialty restaurants. I ended up with Le Bistro 3x and Cagney's 2x with the main dining room (Manhattan and Savor) the other two. The Garden Cafe was well done with nice variety, spacious and well staffed, though I avoided it at peak day periods for fear of my life. d) Entertainment: if you can't find something you like on this ship you're not trying. From the rides (for the kids but I did too @ 58! - slides scared the heck out of me and were a blast) to Second City comedy, to Rock of Ages (didn't like this cast much but it was OK), ito jazz, to bank-e-okee, etc, there's a huge variety (of course casino) of things to do and see. e) Ambiance: Based in NYC it's clear the designers went for more of a subtle NYC sophisticated style over in your face stuff. Lots of use of wood style (I don't think it was wood) paneling, muted colors, etc. Deck space is often criticized for being tight with chair/chair/chair/chair setting. True - with the space taken for rides on the main sun decks this is not the typical pools with surrounding deck chairs and one above. Though there's a wonderful sunning space on the front of the very top, port side. Beautiful views and wonderful sunning place. Where there are tons of people, you feel it and in my case, wanted. to get away as much as possible, which leads me to, f) The Spa: where I spent most of my days. Great hydrotherapy pools ($198 a week for daily entrance), steam room, sauna, sauna-light and Salt room. Great location at forward on 15, a true get away (no kids allowed), not very populated (calm, relaxing) and well done. There's also heated stoned recliners good for warming. I also indulged in 2 massages with Boigoy, the only male masseur and they were excellent. I especially liked the stone massage. The spa made the ship for me. I'd work out in the morning and spend a lot of time in the spa hydrotherapy pool, jacuzzi, steam or sauna and just relaxing reading. This was well worth the price of admission and I'd have to consider better than the QM2 Canyon Ranch spa even. Embarking/Disembarking: NCL has this down well and there weren't issues beyond a long line for immigration. Getting a taxi across the street was a bit weird but ultimately easy. Never easy to cross the West Side Highway whatever the hour or day. Freestyle dining: I like it for the freedom it brings, along with the variety. Having said that you do miss a sense of home base for dining and getting to know your waiters, etc. Still, I prefer free style, especially when looking for an informal warm weather cruise. On the high seas with 'Cunard' I like one table and one main dining room. Overall it did the trick but I know I prefer something around 100k tons with a great spa. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My wife and I just got back from a 7-day cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. We sailed during Spring Break because my wife works in the school district. It was our seventh cruise and our third on Norwegian. Due to Spring Break, there were ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from a 7-day cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. We sailed during Spring Break because my wife works in the school district. It was our seventh cruise and our third on Norwegian. Due to Spring Break, there were over 4800 passengers on board (1/3 of them kids) along with over 1300 crew. I thought that the cruise went well, despite the overcrowding. I have read many reviews about the ship and I will try not to repeat what other people have said, but truthfully, I had a hard time finding any negatives about this trip. We were looking forward to this trip for quite a while and we weren’t disappointed. We were interested more in the ship than where it was going. We had been to all three stops previously, more than once, so we didn’t bother getting off at the ports and stayed on the ship the whole week. You might think that’s strange, but it worked out great for us. We booked the Breakaway about a year ago and were able to choose a cabin with a balcony in the middle of the ship. We didn’t know at the time that you have a long walk to the elevators from the middle of the ship, but it wasn’t a big deal. The elevators and staircases are located about ¼ of the way from the front and rear of the ship with no access in between. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the pier early…about 10:15 for a 3:00 sailing. I’ll explain why we did that a little later. We got boarding #5. I’d say each number has about 200 people boarding with that number so I was a little surprised that so many people had gotten there that early. We waited about an hour before they started boarding, which is what I had figured. The overall boarding process was a breeze, from luggage to key cards to actually boarding. STATEROOM: Our cabin was clean and ready. I was surprised that there was more storage space than on the other ships we’ve been on. Both pieces of luggage fit easily under the bed and there was room for one more. There was a large closet with shelves and there were drawers for other items in different parts of the room, with some storage next to each side of the bed. The ship is only a year old so everything in the room should be clean and working and they were. The bathroom was a normal size for a ship, but somehow the shower seemed bigger than others. I read many reviews about the balconies being small but even though that was true, there was still room for two chairs and a small table. You just had to turn the chair a little sideways instead of facing the railing of the balcony. If you’re gonna complain about something like that, you might as well stay home. All the doors open outward into the hall which gives you a little more room inside. An interesting side note about the room is that the electricity doesn’t work unless there is a ‘key card’ inserted in a slot behind the door. Many ships and office buildings have started doing this to save electricity and costs. Sometimes you forget to put your key in the slot when you come in at night, but you get used to it. DINING: The Breakaway has many more places to eat than most other ships. Complimentary Dining; They have a ‘main dining room’ (long pants only for guys) called the Manhattan Room and they have two ‘satellite dining rooms’ called Taste and Savor. All three have the same menu. All have some of the same items all week long but they change some of the entrees and appetizers each night. We did not eat in the Main dining room at all but we had dinner in one of the others twice and breakfast in the others six times. The food and the service were fine with no complaints. The buffet is called the Garden Café and it has the usual buffet items that you would find on any ship and at any buffet. One night they had a fish concentration and served lobster tails, mussels and calamari with fra diavolo sauce and some other fish items. We had dinner there that night and one other night when they had an asain concentration. We had lunch there several times eating burgers with fries or chicken salad sandwiches or ham and cheese or whatever. They had somebody serving ice cream in bowls or cones (a little better quality) where as on other ships they had an ice cream machine. We never had a problem getting a seat or waiting on a long line for food. The ship has an Irish pub style restaurant called O’Sheehan’s which I think is named after the president or CEO or the owner of Norwegian or something like that. (not sure). They have pub food here (burgers, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, and so on.) The food is OK, nothing spectacular. We had dinner here once and I had breakfast there once. This place is the only one on the ship that is open 24 hours and there were plenty of people in there at 2:30 in the morning a couple of times. There is also another restaurant on Deck 16 called the Uptown Grill. This place is open for all meals and serves burgers and beef patties and has somebody cooking eggs for breakfast. Paid Dining; My wife and I decided not to eat in any of the specialty restaurants except for one because the food in the free restaurants are good enough so why bother. . We had dinner in Tepanyaki (specialty restaurant 25..00pp) on the last night and it was probably the best meal that we had. They cook on the table and the cook puts on a good show for you. The restaurant has eight tables which fit about eight people each and they have 5, 7 and 9:00 seatings. We did eat one dinner in the Shanghai noodle bar which was excellent. We had fried dumplings (potstickers), lo mein (which had many add ins) and fried rice. You have to pay a la carte in this place but it was inexpensive. We had dinner one night at the Cirque Du Soleil show. This was dinner and a show for 29.00pp/ Again, although I’d heard people complain about the food, I had no problem with the service or the taste. They served mozzarella and tomato appetizer and steak and shrimp for dinner. Meanwhile, the Cirque show is going on with the usual acrobatics that they create. The other specialty restaurants are Moderno (a Texas De Brasil type restaurant that serves meat off a stick right at your table), Cagney’s (steakhouse), La Cucina (Italian), Le Bistro (French), and Ocean Blue. All are 20 – 25 pp with Ocean Blue at a hefty 49.00 pp. They also have a la carte restaurants such as the Shanghai Noodle Bar (see above), The Raw Bar (oysters, clams, shellfish) and Wasabi (sushi). One of my favorites was Carlo’s Bake Shop, copied after the main bake shop in Hoboken, NJ from the “Cake Boss” TV show. This place had Cannoli’s (regular and chocolate), lobster tails (the pastry, not the fish), and other assorted cupcakes and desserts. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and believe me, this place is great. It’s located in the Atrium which is in the center of the ship on Deck 6. There is also a 24 hour pizza delivery service which is 5.00. And Carlo’s has a Gelato ice cream place outside on the deck. Most of the specialty restaurants have indoor and outdoor seating which is a feature only on the Breakaway. It is called the ‘Waterfront’. The outdoor seating is situated on a promenade type walkway on each side of the ship and is as if you’re walking down a street past the different restaurants. PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: As I said previously, we didn’t get off at any of the ports. They were Port Canaveral in Florida (The only thing I would have been interested in would have been the Kennedy Space Center but we decided not to go. The excursions for Orlando-Disney were at least an hour away and were outrageously priced), Norwegian’s private island (been there before and the tendering process in seas that are not calm is usually a pain in the rear), and Nassau, Bahamas (I’ve been there about 8 times and most recently in October). ENTERTAINMENT: The Breakaway has more entertainment to choose from than other ships I have been on. Even though most of the shows are free, you do need reservations so the ship’s crew knows how many people will be at each show. It helps with overcrowding and space. Rock of Ages, a replica of the Broadway show, was in the theatre a few times during the week, with 7:00 shows and 10:00 shows. I wasn’t impressed but my wife enjoyed it. I heard from some other people that the Broadway version was much better. A dance show called ‘Burn the Floor’ was the other main show in the theatre, also at multiple times. This show was energetic and kept moving with excellent dancing and singing. A must-see if you like dancing. My wife and I also had reservations for a dinner show from Cirque Du Soleil called Jungle Fantasy which took place in the Spiegel Tent, which is just another venue on the ship. As I said above, it was the usual acrobatics that you would expect from Cirque and the food was good. We saw a comedian/magician in the theatre and he was entertaining, nothing spectacular. I had read in reviews to try out the Jazz place but the ship changed entertainers in there the week that we sailed so since we didn’t know anything about the new act, we didn’t go. They had the usual ‘Newlywed Game’ in the Spiegel Tent which was OK. The people that were picked for the game weren’t particularly funny and the Cruise Director had a hard time making them funny. Most of the other games/participation events (Deal or No Deal, Karaoke, Dancing with the Stars) took place in the Atrium. The Atrium is in the center of the ship and is open on the 6th and 7th floor. Unfortunately, the area was always crowded for these shows and didn’t have enough seats. The Bake Shop and a bar are also in this area, and all of the seats for them were taken by the people watching the show. Guest Services, Dinner reservations, Excursion reservations, Cruise Credit and the Internet stations are also in this area.. They really should have these events in an enclosed area with seating for everyone. I realize that they wanted to take advantage of the two floors of people watching an event (O’Sheehan’s was directly upstairs along with a bar and stools overlooking the Atrium) but it didn’t work for me and I’m sure other people felt the same. It was just too crowded. The Atrium did have a large movie screen which showed pretty good recent movies from about 8 – 11 on some nights. There were usually seats available for that. Far and away, the best entertainment on the ship came from the Dueling Pianos show called ‘Howl at the Moon’ which took place four times during the week in the Headliners club. Three amazing piano players (only two play at one time) entertain for three hours each time with requests that they take from the audience. It seemed that whatever was requested, they were able to play it in a sing-along fashion. They constantly kept the audience clapping and singing in a way that was energetic and contagious and amusing. I couldn’t get enough of it. Great idea and a great show. The place was packed every night and with the doors open, you could hear the music down the hall. We did not take advantage of the Second city comedy sketches. We saw them on another ship and didn’t think it was funny, so we skipped it. They had some themed dances such as 70’s Disco and 50’s & 60’s Night outside at night in an area called Spice H2O. They usually started at about 10:30 and like I said, it was way too windy to enjoy it. Also I wasn’t impressed with the DJ’s for these shows. For instance, during the 70’s Disco show, he played four songs in a row from the 80’s and none of them were disco. Not a big deal but…….we left after that. This Spice H2O area is an adults only area during the day, with hot tubs and spray showers and nice lounge chairs. It’s open at night though to the kids and, on this particular cruise, due to Spring Break, there were 1650 of them under the age of 18. They also had a fireworks show on the left side of the ship (they shot them off from the ship) on the fourth evening. It only lasted about 7 minutes but it was a nice touch. The ship had a special Nickolodeon program going on all week. I didn’t have any kids with me so I didn’t take advantage of it and didn’t hear anything, good or bad, about it from others. WEATHER: We lost the first two days outside due to cold weather and wind, but we figured that might happen leaving New York in the middle of April. Even though it was a nice 65 degrees when we left, it quickly turned windy and cold when you get out in the ocean. We ended up with four really nice sunny days in a row. Then it was cold on the last day as expected. LAYOUT OF THE SHIP: I complained briefly in the previous section about the problem with the Atrium and the shows that were taking place there. Another problem with the layout is that the casino is in the center of ship on the 7th floor with an open staircase going down to the 6th floor, and its situated where everyone, everyone, everyone has to walk through it to get from the front to the back of the ship on that 7th floor. O’Sheehan’s pub is right next to the casino and is often crowded so everyone has to walk through to get there. The Shanghai Noodle Bar is on the other side of the casino and both of these places are open areas and not separated by doors, nor is the casino. Now it didn’t bother me, but I can definitely see how it would bother people with children who are walking through to get where they’re going and don’t want their children associated with that environment. Children normally are not even allowed to walk through a casino. Also the smell of smoke from the casino is not contained in that area so you can definitely smell it when you’re in the area or passing through. The Waterfront is a nice area to walk through and maybe to eat at, but it was a little too cold and windy for most people to take advantage of that. I imagine that it would be great in the summer months but that’s only three or four months out of the year. Even though we were in Florida and the Bahamas, it was still April and it was still pretty windy and cold out there when the sun went down. We arrived early at the pier early because we wanted to get on the ship first so we could sign up for this special ‘Vibe Beach’ area, which is up on Deck 17. This area is for adults only and has space for only 50 people. They have nice lounge chairs, lounge beds, cabanas, 2 hot tubs, a bar, and a glass enclosed shower area to cool off. There is no pool up here. It costs 79.00 pp and it was worth it to us to not have somebody else’s kids running around our feet and to have hot tubs where there aren’t 10 kids sitting in it at all times. We got four good days of sun, so it worked out well. We were able to relax and met a nice group of people that we hung out with all week. The Breakaway also has a private area called the Haven. The suites in this area are extremely expensive and they have their own restaurant, their own pool and, believe it or not, butler service. There is a concierge there to make your arrangement for dinners and shows. There are full families allowed here with children. They also have special reserved seating at the shows and special pre-boarding. The ship, overall, is very pretty (it’s only a year old) and everything works right in the cabins and in the public areas (it’s only a year old). ACTIVITIES: There were counselors doing things with the enormous amount of kids all the time and the kids seemed to be enjoying it. They had the usual bingo games a few times during the week although I didn’t take part in them. The casino had Texas Hold-Em Tournaments, Blackjack Tournaments and Slot Tournaments. The Slot Tournament was a little disorganized and we had to sit around and wait for a long time. There were some games being played at the pool but we didn’t take part in nor watch them. The pool area was small due to the large water slides and ropes course and rock climbing wall and zip line and basketball court that they have in that area. There is a small bowling alley along with air hockey and pool for the kids. There is also an arcade which is on Deck 16. You can really have a good time with all of the extras they have on board, especially kids. SERVICE: There were 4850 passengers on board (1650 kids due to Spring Break) and the crew had their hands full but from what I saw, they did a great job keeping everybody happy and satisfied. I always got a ‘hello’ and a smile from each and every crew member I came across. Our steward Sherry, was very friendly and always called us by our first names, which means something. Everything in the cabin was kept clean and organized and I had no complaints about her. The Cruise Director (Dan “The Man” Ollson) was very good at his job. He made himself visible and always seemed to be working hard and yet he did stop and talk once with my wife and I for 15 minutes. Very nice gentleman and I wish the best for him. His crew of 123 members all seemed to be doing their jobs. None of them were particularly funny or entertaining although they did try but I didn’t hear about any complaints when it came to the staff. The waiters, waitresses. busboys, bartenders (a big hello to Courtney in the Vibe), buffet servers, and everyone who kept the ship clean at all times, did a great job. DISEMBARKATION: We carried our luggage off the ship so we didn’t have to go through the annoyance of putting our luggage out the night before, then waiting around to here your color called, then looking for your luggage in a sea of luggage. If you carry (wheel) your luggage yourself, you can leave whenever you want, whether it be 8:00 in the morning or 10:30 in the morning. The ship was docked by 4:30 AM. Overall, no problems at all getting off the ship. SUMMARY: Overall, we had a great time enjoying the ship and all that it has to offer. Even though we only had four days of sunshine, it was still worth it to cruise out of New York. It’s very exciting and I live here. If you can’t have a good time on this ship, than you’re doing something wrong. If you have any questions that I haven’t covered, you can e-mail me at tffd01@earthlink.net. I’ll be happy to answer your questions   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We were disappointed with the ship. I'm surprised that it has a 5 star rating because it's an old ship and looks old. It's been refurbished, but mostly what they did was add the aqua level which costs a lot more unless one ... Read More
We were disappointed with the ship. I'm surprised that it has a 5 star rating because it's an old ship and looks old. It's been refurbished, but mostly what they did was add the aqua level which costs a lot more unless one is a high level frequent cruiser on Celebrity. I think the rest of the ship would get a much lower rating. The food in the main dining room wasn't good. The buffet food did taste good, but it was so crowded that it was stressful. We had beverage packages. I envisioned relaxing by the pool or on the upper deck and having waiters bring me drinks. There were only a few waiters walking around taking drink orders. Since the inside bars were closed during the day even when at sea, the bartenders on the decks were rushed and there was always a crowd waiting to place an order. That was stressful. The pool and deck chairs were crowded together to the point that they were all touching. There was no space between the chairs to set a drink or beach bag. It was difficult getting in and out of the deck chairs. The worst part was that strangers were squeezed together up close and personal in swim suits. That was not relaxing but stressful. We have no complaints about the cabin. The stewards were great. I missed not having ice in our room. That's a service they stopped unless someone requested it. We never got around to requesting it. The room was clean and neat and the stewards were friendly. I liked the drink packages. We could have all the drinks we wanted but just not in a relaxing or fun atmosphere. We can also stay home and get all the drinks we want. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My wife and I decided to set sail to the Bahamas this New Year's Eve with a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. We had previously sailed on her for the inaugural cruise to Bermuda. At that time, we were not 100% satisfied with the ... Read More
My wife and I decided to set sail to the Bahamas this New Year's Eve with a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. We had previously sailed on her for the inaugural cruise to Bermuda. At that time, we were not 100% satisfied with the experience. However, being that we are big NCL fans, we had no qualms about taking another cruise on the Breakaway. I can say, without hesitation, that this was a fantastic cruise. The service, food, entertainment, and ship itself exceeded expectations. Our steward, Roberto, was enthusiastic, kind, and did an excellent job taking care of us. Beyond the stateroom, we found the overall service on the ship to be top-notch. Every server, officer, and other staff were friendly, helpful, and ensured that we had a great experience. The food was quite yummy. We ate at three specialty restaurants this week: Ocean Blue, Cagney's, and La Cucina. Whereas on the previous Breakaway cruise I found myself unimpressed with the specialty dining, this was quickly dispelled by the tasty courses we had at each restaurant. Ocean Blue, in particular, stood out. For La Cucina we ate on the Waterfront (outside) as we sailed away from the Bahamas. Quite romantic! We ate at Savor and The Manhattan Dining Room several times. The Manhattan Room is great! They had a special New Year's Eve menu which included some more upscale dining choices that were greatly appreciated. We acquired Spa passes to the thermal suite within the first hour of embarking. This time, we also booked hot stone massages. As usual, the thermal suite was very relaxing, and the massages were exactly what we were looking for. The entertainment on the ship was top-notch with all of the acts giving it their all. The Cirque de Soleil show, which we had seen previously, had enough new material to make the show seem brand-new to us. This is quite impressive to see on a cruise... You would be foolish to miss it. We also saw the Presumed Murdered Second City murder mystery. We are huge Second City fans, and tried not to miss any of their performances. Both of these entertainment options did carry an upcharge, but were well worth it. On New Year's Eve, they fired off the fireworks at the stroke of midnight. A gorgeous display lit up the night sky! All in all, a fantastic cruise! Embarkation and disembarkation was a snap. However, we have gold status for Latitiudes which gave us priority embarkation/disembarkation and was greatly appreciated being that the ship was completely sold out for this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never felt crowded, even though the cruise was sold out. Also, being a vacation week, there were over 1,500 children on board. However, the crew is so attentive to them we never felt the children were an issue. The food on this ship was as good or better than we have had on any cruise. Several specialy dining options are available and we tried four of them...all were great but we enjoyed Le Bistro the best. The entertainment was fantastic. You have to try the dinner theater, which features magicians, acrobats, and jugglers. Amazing! Burn the Floor was also amazing. But, what made this cruise one of our favorites was the crew. They are incredibly polite and accommodating. One word of caution to people who get sea sickness, this cruise is rough. The Atlantic is much more rough than the Caribbean. It didn't bother us, but it did many others. We thought our mini suite was very nice. We booked our cruise late and was offered this cabin, which is normally reserved for handicapped passengers. Because of this, the room was much larger than a normal mini suite and had a very large deck. The only minor inconvenience is the door was automatic and took an long time to close each time we entered or left. Our cabin steward (Michael) was amazingly accommodating, professional and polite. We had an issue with the passengers above us throwing cigarette buts ant trash down on our balcony and Michael took care of that for us, saving me from getting myself in hot water! No sofa in this cabin though, but that was not a concern for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The Good: -Extremely fast embarkation/debarkation. It took only 15 minutes to embark and 5 minutes to debark. -Delicious food. Food was fresh, still hot, and of high quality. -Ship decor. Some Carnival ship's are gaudy and strange. ... Read More
The Good: -Extremely fast embarkation/debarkation. It took only 15 minutes to embark and 5 minutes to debark. -Delicious food. Food was fresh, still hot, and of high quality. -Ship decor. Some Carnival ship's are gaudy and strange. Not this one; It is just fun. It is themed fun bright colors, Cute Caribbean decor, (Example: Starfish all over the carpet in the room hallways, pictures of fun colored fish throughout the buffet. -CLEANLINESS! This ship is so very well maintained! The crew were constantly cleaning every square inch of it. So impressed. -Staff. Friendly, hardworking staff doing all they can to make your cruise enjoyable. -GORGEOUS spa area. Clean, beautiful, and elegant. -Great stateroom steward that greeted us by name each day and maintained our room very well. -The stateroom balconies were miraculous. They made the cruise for us. Worth every penny! Get a balcony room on the main deck (The lowest deck offering balconies). It is so neat to be that low to the ocean! -Great comedy. Loved laughing the night away. -The sports deck is gorgeous. We loved how it was never crowded. In fact, there were rarely more than 6-8 people up there. The sports deck includes the running track, mini golf course, and just nice areas to sit around by the mini golf course. -The Waterside in the back was super fun. BUT, it will only go fast for you if you give your self a good push and lie on your back! People who just sat down and started going hated it because they hardly moved. It is all dependent on the initial push you give your self going down it. The Bad: -Certain areas of the ship are always crowded, such as the main pool area and buffet. The buffet always had several minute long lines, especially the popular attractions like the Mongolian Grill, and American Grill. -The DJ music is so annoying. What happened to live bands on the lido deck giving you a relaxing resort like feel? Now it's just loud pop music blasted as high as it can go creating a heavy party atmosphere. There was no live music on the lido deck, only that annoying DJ. -The spa is wonderful, but they cheated us the last night of the cruise by closing an hour early. Very unprofessional. I guess that thought the cruise was close enough to done. -Neon lights in the dining room. I actually don't mind Carnival's neon lights throughout the ship. But in the elegant dining room, they need to go. -The wait time for room service is absurd. I first waited on the phone for 5-7 minutes just to be connected to someone to take my order, then you wait an additional 45 minutes for it to show up. -The hot tubs are not even close to hot enough. The swimming pools are freezing and they are all SALT WATER (obviously from the ocean). Step it up Carnival and give us fresh water in the pools. -Carnival doesn't do ice in the rooms any more? This was a disappointment to have to drink room temperature water. They didn't do it on my last cruise or this one. Strange. -This cruise had ALOT of alcohol and drunk people. Didn't really care for that kind of atmosphere. - The safety briefing was too long and disorganized. -The hairy chest men's contest was NOT family friendly. The things they had them do and what the girls did to them made it very suggestive and dirty. One guy got so out of line the director had to completely stop him. To Sum It Up: All in all a great cruise. What I love about Carnival, despite my complaints, is how much of a "bang for your buck" you get. For $200 dollars, this 4 night cruise couldn't have exceeded my expectation more. When you match the money with what you were delivered this cruise gets 5+ stars in a heartbeat. I highly recommend a 4 night cruise (NOT 3! - BOOZE CRUISE - TOO SHORT) on the Carnival Ecstasy.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our third trip out of NY with Carnival. The other two were with Miracle, a ship we prefer. We caught a direct bus out of Newburgh, as we live North of NY. The bus is run by Yankee Trails and is highly recommended and reasonably ... Read More
This was our third trip out of NY with Carnival. The other two were with Miracle, a ship we prefer. We caught a direct bus out of Newburgh, as we live North of NY. The bus is run by Yankee Trails and is highly recommended and reasonably priced. Certainly cheaper then parking at the NY Dock. Sailing out of NY was wonderful as always. It is a thrilling sail away. How foolish for the spa to run their, must be present lottery for spa credit during sail away. I left. We booked a spa cabin for access to the spa steam,sauna,hot pool, and easy access to the serenity area with it's padded lounge chairs. This turned out to be a waste of extra money. We love spas and use them frequently. This spa was ridiculously overpriced (and we're New Yorkers who travel). They certainly had spa sales where the prices became reasonable ie $60 for a massage, but the offered times for good prices were not. So we went without. As to access to the thallasotherapy pool, they couldn't have made it harder. You had to trade your sail away card for a spa card and get a band around your wrist every single time you wanted to use the pool as it was kept locked. Why not have my sail away card automatically keyed for the spa areas, since I was in a spa cabin? Very inconvenient. Anyway the thallasotherapy pool was empty on various days for " maintenance". And closes at 10 for the night, just when we would have wanted to go in. The cabin itself was standard but had a slightly larger balcony then the others. The Elemis toiletries were lovely. Our steward was perfect. Kept us in ice and emptied the fried so we could use it for our own soda. We brought plastic cups and made ourselves sodas in the room to take out to sit in the sun with. As to the Serenity area, yes the padded lounge chairs are wonderful, but anyone has access to them and most of the people were not spa cabin people. Also, this area is at the front, top of the ship. It is the coldest and windiest so unusable for the first and last day of the cruise. Overall it was a relaxing cruise. We laid around for 4 sea days and went to the beach for three shore days. Half Moon Cay was our favorite and we would have been happy just staying there for the three port days. The beach is soft white sand and the water is gorgeous and warm. Lunch is easy right behind the beach. Do pay the $20 for a clamshell as soon as you get there, as they run out midday, when people decide they need them. Clamshells protect two people from two much sun and in case it drizzles. Prop up the back to catch the breeze. Grand Turk beach is so rocky that if you don't have water shoes, you will avoid going in as it is painful. We walked to the free beach in Nassau, Junkaroo and paid $20 for two lounge chairs and an umbrella, and $30 for a shared lunch on the beach. But it's not great. If we go back, we'll go over to Dreams, pay $60 a person and get a better beach, free lunch and free drinks. We enjoyed most of our meals in the MDR. My husband had the flat iron steak most nights and was quite happy. It does take two hours but our table mates were pleasant and we enjoyed dining with them. We were seated by the window on the edge of the dining room, which sounds wonderful, however the window was filthy and we couldn't see any of the singing and dancing that mostly happened in the center of the dining room. We also used the MDR for breakfast, as we're not buffet people. We realized that the waiters were getting all the food at once, serving your fruit first and letting your eggs or pancakes get cold waiting. They all did this so they must be trained to do this. Very silly. By the last few days we learned to specify that we wanted our hot food first and would have our fruit afterwards. This solved the cold breakfast problem. The MDR was not available for lunch. So we had to use the buffet. We enjoyed the deli sandwiches, but had to go to another station for the fries to go with them. They should have fries available, right where the sandwiches are. The punch liner does not do brunch despite what the advertising says. The MDR had the brunch from about 8-1. Which was breakfast and an excuse not to do lunch. We enjoyed the shows and comedy. They were amusing and took up our evenings. Our friends enjoyed the piano bar most. Keith was good, but not every night. To get good seats for the shows, you need to be about 15 minutes early. When we came at the last minute our seats were just ok, off to the side and in the rear. Embarkation and Disembarkation were unremarkable and well organized as they should be. The captains reception no longer offers free drinks for past customers, so we skipped it. Instead they give you 2 drink coupons to be used in the MDR during brunch. As we only drink in the evening, I used them for cappuccino which is no longer free at breakfast. I would do this cruise and Carnival again only if the price is extremely advantageous. This must be the general thought as Carnival is in cost saving mode. We paid $1700 for two with transportation and aqua spa balcony cabin. It was too much for what we got, given multiple small disappointments.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The boarding process was a disaster we arrived at 1:30 and stood in line for 90 minutes. There were 4700 people (1200 kids) on our cruise and it was mayhem. We were shocked to see only 10 reps doing check in at the lower lobby before being ... Read More
The boarding process was a disaster we arrived at 1:30 and stood in line for 90 minutes. There were 4700 people (1200 kids) on our cruise and it was mayhem. We were shocked to see only 10 reps doing check in at the lower lobby before being sent upstairs where many reps were avaialable to hand out keys. Been on EPIC and Allure OS in the last 12 months and in both cases we were onboard within 30 minutes. Carnival Check-in was terrible - F Lunch in the "Lido" - good food quality if you could get to it, lines, lines, lines - blocking the doors and access. Facility was not designed to handle the load of passengers. We encountered this problem each time we went to "Lido" so we avoided it. Only good days were port days - when the food selection and quality was fair to good - C Dining Room - Saphire upper deck fixed seating - service ok, menu ok, food - average. Comedy brunch was nice on Sea daysOverall C Casino - Friendly staff nice facility - smoking should be banned because smoke travels throughout the room. Casino staff was good about enforcement. All in All good experience - B Spa & Serenity - Nice, clean, and efficient. Spa staff was unfriendly and curt - overall C+ Shops - junk unless cigarettes or booze. Other lines have much better jewelry and souvenir shops. Staff not very friendly Overall - D Shows - Relied too much on technology of video screens vs. performers with talent. Men were ok but the women while attractive and reasonable dancers could not sing and the big show was DIVA's the lead female singer who sang the Celine DIon song on the first night was terrible. Shows - D Cabin - SPa Cabin nice but too much noise from gym - see below - Overall B - Services: Cabin Steward - A, Coffee Bar A++++ (these two gals worked long hours and were always delightful) Piano Bar - Fun and at times risque - B+ Comedy SHows- room could not accomodate all that wanted to attend - should use main theater - C- Outside Deck Areas: Promenade - Very nice , love the umbrella seating areas - very nice to have a large unobstructed wrap around. Would not book a balcony cabin on deck 6 just above due to lack of privacy. - A Lido - no shade and too many people for small space. Pool way too small - gets packed with kids no enforcement of no food in pool or spa rules. - D Main area - beach Pool - Deck 10 crowded due to brs burger joint, and Taco stand - pool too small and no enforcement of no food in spa and pool rule. - D Main pool deck 11 - very nice shade areas lots of room - big overstuffed chairs/loungers very nice - A Waterpark - lots of fun either viewing or participating - we participated and enjoyed the facilities - A Serenity - very nice could use more shade but nicely maintained and rules enforced - A Disembarcation - Amazingly fast we were off the ship by 7:15 am they seem more eager to get you off than on! Price - Very reasonable but remember you get what you pay for. We were anticipating a lower end product and that is what we got. Comparison to NCL EPIC and RCCL Allure/Oasis of the Seas - spend a little more $$ and go on these ships instead as it will be a much better experience. Crowd - Diverse with lots of families. Kids were running wild the entire week - it is summer and was a holiday week - Carnival should have been more forecful with rules and security should have had higher visibility. We saw stupid things where kids could have been injured but that is really more of the parents responsibility than CCL. Overall Ship: Nice, clean, and very pretty - much nicer than the neon Farcas decorated ships. But will not hold up too long with the pounding it takes - Crew should be commended for keeping it so clean. B One note: They use a cleaning solution on the floor in the "lido" marketplace which makes the tile floor so slick and treacherous - people were slipping and sliding all week - be careful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
It has been a number of years since we have been able to get a way for a proper vacation. We decided to splurge and got the last suite (a 2 bedroom courtyard villa) in the area known as "The Haven." We now have a slight distaste ... Read More
It has been a number of years since we have been able to get a way for a proper vacation. We decided to splurge and got the last suite (a 2 bedroom courtyard villa) in the area known as "The Haven." We now have a slight distaste for NCL because they have spoiled us for good. We never want to cruise any other way. Embarkation was a breeze. We walked into the check in area and were escorted to the check in counter with a brief stop at security. Waited about 3 minutes for the agent at the counter to check us in. We were than directed to the priority lounge where Antonio Jabol the Haven Butler was waiting for the guests. He introduced himself and welcomed us. There were small appetizers in the lounge with coffee, a selection of teas, and iced water waiting. In just a few minutes another employee greeted us and escorted us on the ship and into the Cagney Steakhouse for a light lunch while we waited for our suite. It is here that we met some wonder staff working there. A big Thanks to Mary Ann Tan, Hazel Aragoza, Kent Charles Torrino, and Dinon. While everyone here was wonderful the above stood out because we got to know them very well. They were our servers for breakfast and lunch. We ended up eating there everyday. Their service and smiles were wonderful and genuine. The food was good. Each morning there was a small buffet with fruit, nuts, yogurt, breakfast meats and fish, ect. They also had a small menu that included pancakes, french toast, steak and eggs, omelets, Fruits de mer, and more. Coffee and a selection of teas were also available. Lunch included appetizers included hot or cold soup, salads, shrimp cocktails and others, main courses included such things as burgers, both turkey and beef, roasted kosher chicken, fish, both entree size and burger, just to name a few. Deserts finished off the meal and had such things as banana creme pie, chocolate brownie with ice cream, fruit, and carrot cake. After our meal we were escorted to our suite. Champagne and fresh flowers were waiting for us as well a small plate of goodies from the Captain. The Suite was wonderful. There was a small bedroom just off the entrance of the suite. It had a fold out bed and a bunk bed. It is called a children's bedroom. It also has a closed and drawer space and its own bathroom with shower, not to mention a small television. The living area has a couch that folds out into a bed, coffee table, flat screen television,dvd player, and two chairs. There is also a dining area with a table and 4 chairs, mini bar and coffee machine. This area has a door you can close to make the main bedroom/bathroom area private. The main bedroom has a queen sized bed with two night stands, a television and dvd player. The bed is enclosed in the room with curtains at the entrance that you can close to shut it off from the main bathroom. We kept them open because from the bed you can look straight through the bathroom which has a huge window offering great views of the ocean. What a way to wake up everyday. The bathroom area has a closet and drawers for storage, a double vanity with a sit down make up area, a shower with 6 body sprays, water fall shower head, and full window overlooking the sea. The soaker tub also has a window over looking the ocean. The bath rooms are stocked with Elemis spa soaps, body washes, shampoos, and conditioners, cotton balls, q-tips, and bath salts. A nice touch. The balcony is enclosed and has two seats and a table. Gigi our room steward was wonderful She works so hard to make sure everything is perfect, organized, and spotless. She is so kind and caring. Ryan Rabe was our concierge. His attitude was wonderful. He knew everything their was to know about everything related to the ship. He had reserved seats in the Stardust theater for guests of The Haven. He was able to reserve a table for us in the Grand Pacific dining room with our favorite wait staff there. Try and get Lourdes Del Rosario and Jean P. Lourdes is so professional, and really knows her job. She does her job in great style even under the most trying situations. Jean P. is the co-waiter. We called her Hollywood because she is a star. If you see her you have to say "Hi Hollywood." Once again very good at her job and these two ladies work in concert with each other. The courtyard area on the ship is an area exclusive to those in The Haven. It has a small pool, a Jacuzzi, steam room, a room with a treadmill and stationary bike, lounge chairs, and a couple of dining tables, and a sitting area with two couches and coffee table. This area is enclosed with a retractable roof so it can be used in all types of weather. The Courtyard Valet was Joseph So. He will serve you breakfast or lunch in this area. He also stocks the area with coffee, tea, danish, cookies, gummy bears, Iced water, and M&Ms. From the courtyard there is a set of stairs that lead up to a private sun deck. Here you will find lounge chairs, hammocks, and those big two seater loungers. We really appreciated the Courtyard. Joseph and the crew kept it spotless. Our only complaint was some of the other passengers. The two bedroom villas are great for families with children. Unfortunately some parents looked at the Courtyard as the kids playground. This shattered the peacefulness of the Courtyard. To give you an example, we heard one mother and father telling their kids to go into the jacuzzi to get all the sand off of them after a stop in Great Stirrup Cay. I immediately had to tell them that was not a good idea as it is used by all of us. Another example was some children jumping into the pool creating splashes. The Courtyard Valet was busy getting lunch ready for other passengers so he was out of the area. The mother was there, but did nothing to stop the behavior. Once again, I had to speak up. I totally understand the concept that NCL is going for with the Courtyard, but, this is any area that I feel they need to improve by providing better guidelines for the use of this area that is suppose to be a tranquil oasis for everyone, and not a private playground for children. That is why they have the kids clubs and children's pool and playground. Don't get me wrong, I put most of the blame on the parents for being so inconsiderate. So you want to get a deep relax going? The spa is a wonderful place to do just that. We found out that they do sell a week pass for 149.00 dollars. This allows you to use all the spa rooms. They have steam rooms, jacuzzis, saunas, heated loungers and more. The spa is at the front of the ship on deck 12 and offers great views of the water. We got a couple of treatments at the spa. Amber Roberts was wonderful. She was personable and went out of her way to make sure we understood everything and even put together a personal plan for us to follow after the cruise was over. I had mentioned that I recently lost 68 pounds and was worried about some medicine I had been taking. She put together a healthy eating plan that stuck to my diet, and would enable me to detox at the same time. The treatments were great. yes, everyone talks about how everyone is trying to sell them something. This has been the case is every spa I have been to. It is not just on the ship. The key is to understand your treatment and decide what is right for you. All you have to do is say no, and they did not pressure you further. On the other hand, if you are thinking about a product to take home with you it can be a better bargain on the ship. The is the case I found with my products. I did not buy them and when I went online to get them, they were more expensive. The gym is fantastic. As I mentioned above I am losing weight and wanted to keep going. The gym was state of the art. They have a weight room, a room with machines including Treadmills, rowing machines, stationary bikes, and elliptical. All in an area with huge floor to ceiling windows. They also offer exercise classes for a small fee. Things like Yoga and spin class. Other activities included Bowling, ping pong, a rock climbing wall, chess,checkers, shuffleboard, ect. The ship itself is spotless. The crew keeps it that way. Everything looked wonderful , 100 percent of the time. Even after the beach days where all the passengers came back with a ton of sand on them, the crew kicked it up a notch and after a short while you would never have guessed we were just at a beach. The stores were well stocked and offered many specials through out the 7 days. There were a couple of days where the specials were so good that it created a shopping frenzy. This could clutter the Atrium area with craziness, but, the deals were good. A suggestion would be to configure the tables in a line rather than in a U. The U shape really bottle necked everything and made it congested. There was a good variety of things at the stores. Everything from batteries and underwear, to emeralds and rubies. The entertainment at the Stardust was good. Some nights were better than others. The last night with the 70's rock music was high energy and groovy. Comedian Phil Tag performed on night too. It was standing room only. There was even an acrobatic act that was amazing. Through out the ship there are smaller bars that also have entertainment. Entertainment would be singing and piano or guitar. All very nice. Sinan the cruise director and Dan the assistant cruise director did a wonderful job on providing something for everyone to partake in. Weather you wanted to play Bingo, or have fun with the Quest the adult game there was something for you. They even had morning walks on the deck, Wii tournaments, and many more activities. So, if you did not want to work on your tan, swim in the adult pool, or take your kids down the water slide, there was still plenty to do. There were some quiet places on the Gem as well. The Library had a nice reading room and provided a daily Sudoku and crossword, the adult sunning area was a great place to read while working on your tan, and some of the smaller bars like the star bar were great places to escape and have a cocktail and conversation. The Crew on this ship were fantastic. No matter which crew you saw, there was always a hello, and how are you. The front desk was very helpful. Jenny Lin the hotel director was very personable and was always out and walking around. The crew was the shining jewel on the Gem. The food was good. I was not impressed with the flavor of some of the deserts. We primarily ate in the Grand Pacific. Portions were just the right size. I am sure many hearty eaters would disagree with me, but portion control is a good thing. The stuffed pork loin was a great standout. O.K. So I could go on for a long time. In summary, this was an excellent vacation. The Haven is well worth it. The added amenities make you feel like royalty. NCL does a great job. The crew made our vacation even more special. When we ventured out of the Courtyard, the crew all around the ship was top rate. I cannot begin to tell you how polite, caring, interesting, and knowledgeable they all were. Hats off to the crew for making this one of our best sailings ever!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was the best idea I have ever had. The ship was well kept, the staff was friendly, we all had a blast, and I have the absolute best wedding photos. The Ceremony was quiet and intimate, everyone cried including our Wedding ... Read More
This was the best idea I have ever had. The ship was well kept, the staff was friendly, we all had a blast, and I have the absolute best wedding photos. The Ceremony was quiet and intimate, everyone cried including our Wedding coordinator, Vanya. She was one of the highlights of the package. She was attentive, understanding, helpful, and my wedding would not have been the same without her. I read previous blogs about he photographs not turning out well, which I'm sure depends on the photographer that you get, but Wayan was FANTASTIC and made me turn in ways that made me look so good in the pictures! I think I lost 10 lbs in front of his camera. The reception had the best food on the ship. It was also never ending so when all the delicious fruit martini glasses were eaten - they would just bring more! Also the open bar was fantastic. A couple things to look out for: I was a little disappointed that I had to choose between a Social Host and an Entertainment Specialist. This meant I had to choose between my own playlist with my friends announcing things like the first dance or a dj picked top 40 with a professional announcing the activities. I chose my own playlist and my man of honor and matron of honor did a great job, but I don't understand why I had to choose. Although everything turned out great it was a little nerve racking knowing that the flowers (with your input) was pretty much up to the local florist. Also, the rooms were not 100% guaranteed until a week beforehand -- however, once I got on the ship I realized any of the lounges would have been a great place for the reception. Advice to couples looking to get hitched on the boat: 1) Keep it small (this is cheapest, most manageable, and most fun) we did about 20 people. 2) Start early. The earlier the better. We started about 1 1/2 years before to give the guests time to get vacate and such. 3) Plan, plan, plan - we brought (6) tall vases from Hobby Lobby with fake flowers (real ones not allowed on the ship unless from the local florist) as well as fake flower petals for the aisle. It turned out magnificent. 4) Have all of your guests cruise with you (perfect atmosphere for bachelor and bachelorette parties) 5) Make your spa (hair/makeup and nail) appts really early on board - as in right when you step on the ship. 6) Gift baskets can be delivered to the room (make sure all water is unopened) for a $1 fee. This added so much to the experience of our guests. We included a water spray fan, deck of playing cards, disposable camera, walkie talkies, and bottled water. 7) Oh yea, walkie talkies are a MUST to keep in contact, but avoid the crazy cell phone roaming costs. Overall I would rate the Wedding a 9/10. On board it was actually a 10/10, but the planning process made me dock that one point (I had to be over prepared to get what I wanted). It was fantastic! Thank you Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was our (wife and I) second cruise. Arrived @ port of Miami and was amazed how fast we got through checking in and getting onboard. When we entered the ship we were floored at how beautiful the ship was. It wasn't long before I ... Read More
This was our (wife and I) second cruise. Arrived @ port of Miami and was amazed how fast we got through checking in and getting onboard. When we entered the ship we were floored at how beautiful the ship was. It wasn't long before I found my way to The Guys Burger Joint and had an incredible burger, make that 2 burgers. After that off to our room to see if our luggage was there. It was. Got it all put away and went back topside to see us pull out of port. From the moment we left until our return we did not have one bad experience on this ship. Not one. Butch was our cruise director, he kept the activities fun. We stayed in an interior room on the spa deck, very quiet at night, very relaxing. Took in all the shows over the 6 days, Karaoke, danced on lido, did excursions, (Dunns River Falls was incredible) ,played in the water-park, climbed the rope course, played hasbro games, played some bingo. the comedy shows were hilarious (you will need to get there a bit early for a seat). The ship is just gorgeous. we tried to experience everything we could, you name it we tried it. very little in the casino for the simple fact people smoke in there. (x smoker) We met new friends (our across the hall neighbors) actually first met them at dinner (we elected to not be loaners like we did on previous cruise). Glad we did. Do not hesitate to meet new people at dinner. We also ate in our dining room morning, noon and night. Not one bad meal. Chocolate melting cake is too die for. Our room stewards and our wait staff in our dining room were outstanding. We are going on another Cruise next Feb on her sister ship and hope it's as wonderful as this trip had been for us. Next trip will be Me my wife, my Mom (never been on a cruise) My Son returning from the military (never been on a cruise) and our grandson he is 3 and you guessed it (never been on a cruise) I can't wait. Sence we have found cruising we will NEVER take another form of vacation again. I love the fact that I can leave my room a desheviled mess ad when I return its clean, with mints and towel animals even, that never happens at home. I Have lots of videos on youtube channel from the Carnival Breeze, feel free to check them out on my channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ragmanT Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Took the Miracle out of NYC on an 8 night cruise to Orlando/Nassau/Freeport on January 25, 2013. Easy embarkation, very organized. Overall we found the ship to be very clean and neat. We felt Carnival was very cheap with food; 2000+ people ... Read More
Took the Miracle out of NYC on an 8 night cruise to Orlando/Nassau/Freeport on January 25, 2013. Easy embarkation, very organized. Overall we found the ship to be very clean and neat. We felt Carnival was very cheap with food; 2000+ people taking off on a ship are going to be hungry; they were making personal size pizzas one at a time as we sailed down the Hudson. At 4 p.m., you can expect passengers are going to be hungry. We had an balcony cabin mid ship; plenty of storage space, ample room in closets, shelves in bathroom. We were comfortable. Dinner in the Bacchus dining room (we had early seating) was very good. There was enough variety to choose from every night. The brunch menu was a bit weak; we enjoyed lunch more on Deck 9 where they had a deli offering, a pizza/Italian offering, an Asian buffet, and a dessert bar too. We had room service for breakfast every morning; yogurt, cold cereal, fresh fruit, and coffee (we kept it as healthy and fairly light as possible). Most times the breakfast room service was missing something on the tray (one day silverware, one day coffee cups, one day wrong coffee order...). All in all, I felt Carnival was skimping on food and access to it. Most buffets on Deck 9 were closed for the most part in the evening not opening until 11:30 p.m. If you were hungry prior to that, a limited room service menu was your only answer. Our cabin steward was a great guy. He worked very hard to ensure we had the extra few items we asked for (extra towels and fresh ice). Plus he made great towel animals :) Several folks on the trip complained there wasn't enough to do; we didn't seem to find that to be a problem but then again we didn't have an expectation to be constantly entertained by Carnival. We saw most of the shows. We skipped the "Legends" show which is made up of passengers playing roles of Madonna, Elvis, etc. Our expectation here was that Carnival should be hiring professionals to entertain us; not passengers so we skipped that show. Obviously Carnival couldn't control the weather. I thought it odd some folks blamed Carnival for a rocky ride home and closing off outside decks. The winds were 50+ MPH on the last full day at sea... hello???? I wore a patch; didn't get sick and I'm usually very queazy. The TV in the room was a little too high to the ceiling, making it a bit uncomfortable. Bed was comfortable; couch not-so-much. Still room was very clean at all times. Casino was pretty good; well lit, pretty roomy, and the smoke was annoying but not too bad. I was able to tolerate it enough to play at the 3-Card Poker Table and did well. I didn't play $1/2 No Limit poker although I was tempted. I thought the rake was too high but better than the casino's riiculous cut for the poker tournament ($150 buy in) which I ruled out completely. Lots of drinking going on; I had two glasses of wine the entire trip at dinner; I thought the price of wine was very reasonable. One could really ring up a big bar bill since there's alcohol available EVERYWHERE and waiters happy to bring you all kinds of concoctions! :) Corey the Cruise Director was funny; really enjoyed his personality. Great guy! Loved the wait staff's nightly dance during dinner in the Bacchus room! Some of those guys have moves!! :) All in all, loved the ship. Was really pleased overall and would sail again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Departure was on time. We boarded the ship around 1:45-2pm, and much to our surprise, all staterooms were already available. We dropped off our bags and headed up to the Mermaid Buffet on the Lido ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Departure was on time. We boarded the ship around 1:45-2pm, and much to our surprise, all staterooms were already available. We dropped off our bags and headed up to the Mermaid Buffet on the Lido Deck. Tables were hard to come by, but after a few minutes we found a couple open seats and went to town on the buffet. Salad, bread, potato salad, pizza, and a desert. I was quickly reminded how much I love cruising. Sail away party was fun. It became clear we had some real personalities onboard for the week. Dining Due to late booking, we were waitlisted for early seating. Our sign & sail card showed late seating, so we went to the Normandie restaurant and met with the Maitre D, Manuel. He let us know he'd try to accomodate us with early seating and would let us know shortly. 30 minutes later, we had a note in our little mailbox at our stateroom- 6pm dinner! As it turns out, we were seated at a great table in the open area of the dining room. We quickly hit it off with our table mates, and are already facebook friends. Our waiter was poised, knowledgeable, and extremely professional. The food on this cruise was just about perfect. A couple dishes I didn't care for, but that was my palette's issue, not a problem due to preparation or presentation. Like most cruises, the servers sang, danced, and generally livened up after dinner. Navigating The Ship If I have one complaint, it's minor. For a cruise in December, we were looking forward to seeing the ship decked out in holiday decorations. We'd sailed on RC previously in December and that ship was beautiful. There was not a single decoration, although Santa Claus made an appearance on Friday night, and it "snowed" in the atrium lobby bar on Saturday night. This ship is very easy to navigate. All decks go straight through from the front to back. Elevator wait times seemed much less than other ships. We loved the "Punchliner" comedy room located below the showroom Taj Mahal. On the Pride, you are never more than 3-4 minutes from anywhere. The Staff Everyone, from our room steward to Kirk the cruise director, was seemingly happy and engaging. We rarely saw anyone without a smile on their face, They really all seem to enjoy their jobs. Cruise Director Kirk was entertaining. We've seen funnier guys (although he is funny), but I'm not sure we've seen a Cruise Director out and about as much as Kirk. I really wonder how much sleep this guy gets. He was EVERYWHERE. And, he seemed to genuinely care about people's experience on the ship. The Activities and Shows We were happy to win more Ships on a Stick. Aside from the usual trivia, we enjoyed a few of the shows. We've seen better and seen worse. Love and Marriage show is almost always funny. Singing and dancing shows were decent. Can't remember his name, but the comedian on the last night was very good. (Part of his act he donned a Batman mask while doing Don Knotts impression) Physical comedian was only so-so, but his feats had to be incredibly difficult as the ship was really rocking and rolling that night. The Spa and Gym We both had spa treatments. My girlfriend had the exfoliating treatment, I had the top to toe massage. Both were excellent and a decent price. The gym can get crowded. The best time to go is very early, or afternoon. Mornings around 7-8...forget it! You won't find anything open. Everything was kept immaculate in both the spa and the gym. The staff was eager to sell us additional products, but let up after the 2nd NO. Art Auction For the 1st time ever, we bought a piece at the art auction on Tuesday, and we won one of the raffle drawings! We really had a lot of fun and went to all 3 auctions. I've seen bad reviews for the Park West people, but in our experience they were straight up with us about everything. They made sure everyone's glass of champagne was full, and they kept things interesting. We actually learned a few things as well. Even if you don't plan on buying anything, it's fun and informative. Disembarkation It's always brutal! You've got 2,100 plus a few crew trying to get off the ship, and the same number coming on only a couple hours later. Plus, everyone is kind of cranky because their vacation is coming to an end and the real world awaits. Since we'd bought artwork, we decided on the traditional zone disembarkation instead of self assist. At about 8am, we had a relaxing breakfast in the Normandie restaurant. Then, we hung out in the Taj Mahal until zone 7 was called. It wound up being about 11am. They slid our sign and sail cards, and we each heard one final boink sound as we left the ship in a depressed state. A few minutes after clearing customs, we ran into a couple who was getting ready to board. They could hardly contain their excitement! Talking to them rid us of our blues! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I have been on this cruise a few months ago and liked it so much decided to take it again and bring my husband this time. This time was different than a few months ago as it was two adults rather than a teen and an adult, but I still had ... Read More
I have been on this cruise a few months ago and liked it so much decided to take it again and bring my husband this time. This time was different than a few months ago as it was two adults rather than a teen and an adult, but I still had a great time. I decided on this cruise as it was great for the holiday weekend and much more affordable than other options. I will say that some of the little things that may have bothered me last time, did not this time. It is all about timing and your personal preferences. I am a fairly easy going person about many things... "things happen" and sometimes you just need to roll with it. Embarkation was a little slower than my other cruises but we were a bit later in the day so that is to be expected with a higher volume of people. The process was smooth once we reached the attendant. Our stateroom was nice. It seemed smaller than the other cruise line we had been on but the bathroom seemed larger. I am not a fan of the bay door to the balcony as it never stayed open (though I do not think it is supposed to), but it was certainly manageable. The room attendant was very helpful and nice. Great Stirrup Cay was awesome. Best part about the vacation. It was so nice to relax and do nothing. There were servers always around to get drinks. The tender process was smooth also. I couldn't ask for more. The food was great. Breakfast was a bit boring with the same thing all three days, but it was good. No complaints about the quality. We had one weather day - it rained - poured- off and on Sunday morning, but it certainly did not ruin the trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
May 14-18, 2012, I surprised my 8 year old son by taking him on the Disney Magic for his birthday present. I found the price of the trip to be fairly reasonable and my thought was that I could get the excitement of Disney and the luxury ... Read More
May 14-18, 2012, I surprised my 8 year old son by taking him on the Disney Magic for his birthday present. I found the price of the trip to be fairly reasonable and my thought was that I could get the excitement of Disney and the luxury of a cruise all in one. My excitement was extremely short lived. At the terminal we were pleased to see Mickey Mouse!! Just as soon as we got in line to meet and get our first picture with Mickey, it was his break time so Minnie came out. I can understand that everyone needs a break, but I would have thought that on Day 1, when all of the passengers were waiting in the terminal, Mickey would have been around THE WHOLE TIME! I came to realize that this was to be expected with every character appearance for the remainder of the trip. Each day brought on new realizations that this Disney Cruise was a HUGE waste of money!!! Going into this trip, I was under the impression that it would be Disney everywhere, but I quickly realized that it was not the case AT ALL. The character appearances were few and far between and it seemed that every time we saw a character, the line would already be cut off. Our excursion to the Aquaventure in Atlantis was exciting!! That feeling was short lived when after only about an hour into the fun, the water park was shut down due to sever thunder, lightening and pouring rain. I understand that weather is not predictable. Back to the ship we went to find ourselves bored out of our minds!! What is there to do besides spend money playing bingo, or in the arcade?!!? My son did not want to go into the youth activity room so other than that, there is truly nothing to do as a family when the weather is bad. By the 2nd night on the ship, we both wanted to go home. Day 3 brought us to Castaway Cay. Another HUGE disappointment!!! It was a boring island. Leading up to the cruise, I was under the impression that Disney's private island would be packed full of Disney fun. All we found was a beach, 2 waterslides, and small game area. The weather was cloudy which made for even more of a disappointing day. Not to mention, a few short character appearances. We went back aboard the ship early...again The Pirate Party which wasn't much of a party. It was signing and dancing by the staff and a few fireworks. Oh, and this so-called "party" started at 9:30 which is not exactly a good time for CHILDREN! My whole extended family is planning to go on a Disney Cruise next year and I thought it would've been a memorable trip. I was looking forward to experiencing one of the newer ships but after this past week on the Disney Magic, I will not be going on the family trip next year and I am actually trying to get them to book another cruise line, or just a trip to the parks. I feel that the advertising for the Disney Cruise is extremely misleading. There should have been Disney characters EVERYWHERE and ALL THE TIME!!!! There should have been more Disney decor and activities. There should have been more family activities for families like mine who have children that did not want to be separated and sent into "daycare". I did not take him on vacation to have him spend time with other people I tried very hard to make the best of our disappointing week because, remember, this was my son's 8th birthday present. Looking back on our trip makes me incredibly frustrated and sad. I feel like my son and I were robbed of a fantastic vacation that we deserved and paid for. I spoke to a few others on the trip and they had the same feelings that I did. They were disappointed as well. I would definitely NOT recommend this trip to anyone. I sent my concerns to Disney Cruise Line but have yet to hear back from them. I will never agian cruise with DCL but look forward to going on another crise with a different company. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Overall, I really enjoyed this cruise. It provided a relaxing a fun 4 days in the sun. Since we literally walked off one cruise ship to another, there was a lot of comparisons made. The embarkation process wasn't as smooth as the ... Read More
Overall, I really enjoyed this cruise. It provided a relaxing a fun 4 days in the sun. Since we literally walked off one cruise ship to another, there was a lot of comparisons made. The embarkation process wasn't as smooth as the first cruise. The staff was not nearly as happy to be there as we were! Because the US Coast Guard was performing an inspection, we were held up for over an hour. When the time came to board, the photographers slowed everything down by trying to get photos of everyone boarding. Too many people were boarding at one time and the lunch process got jammed up with too many people. They did offer to hold carryon luggage in one of the bars until you were able to get in your state room. This was a nice option. The pool was small, but the four hot tubs in the middle always had space for one more. I liked the hot tub in the front of the boat near the wading pool. Since there was a much older crowd on this cruise, the wading pool wasn't very busy. Getting a bartender to this part of the ship was almost non existent. (I think I saw one the whole time). Pool side bar service was definitely lacking on this cruise. There was no serious hawking of products which I had seen on other cruises. With the exception of the wine steward who asked us constantly if we wanted a bottle instead of a glass, no one, including the photographers were harassing you to purchase something. We had a stateroom with a balcony. It had a large round window and sliding glass door which offered a lot of light. I don't think we will ever cruise without a balcony again. This added a really nice aspect to the trip that we didn't have before. At the end of the day, I'd sit out on the balcony getting the last bit of sun. We definitely used our stateroom more as a result. Also left the door open during the night and was lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. There were full privacy panels between stateroom balconies which gave a great degree of privacy. The beds were comfortable, but the pillows were a problem. They give you one flat one and one large one. Sounds good, but both of us had a rough night sleep because of the pillows. Next time we will bring our own. The lights over the bed have a shade that make it difficult to prop up in bed. The linens were a good quality. The bathroom had a round shower and the built in vanity had plenty of storage space. This was one of the nicer bathrooms and although small, I never felt cramped. Both the door to the hall and the balcony door were difficult to close. The cruise line would leave messages and notes on the outside of the stateroom door. My preference would have been to put it under the door. Food on this cruise was a mixed bag. I really did,not like the buffet. The foods did not change frequently, there were a lot of high carb comfort foods and processed foods. The set up made it difficult to get in and out of the buffet area. They do not provide trays,, so you have to go back numerous times for drinks, soup etc. After the first day, we ate all our meals in the dining room. With flex time dining, we could come and go as we pleased. As a result, we never had the same waiter and no one ever knew our name or our preferences. This was something I enjoyed on other cruises. The food in the dining room was excellent. Serving size was small, but more then adequate. On a few occasions we asked for more of something and never had a problem. Service was incredibly slow. The first night we ate there, dinner took two hours and we missed a show. At times it appeared that the staff was confused or "not ready" to serve. One complaint my husband had was the lack of lemonade. He is not a tea drinker, so was left to drink water. The water tasted different depending on where you got it from. My complaint would be the soft serve ice cream was a poor quality, it was only available during certain hours and there was staff to serve it. The entertainment was fun, cheesy at times, but fun. The comedian was excellent. Related to all age groups and seemed to really enjoy himself. The variety show and comedy routines were not Vegas quality, but fun none the less. The newlywed type game was great fun, although we were all holding our breath that the older couple would get hurt doing the physical stunts. Even their competitors were impressed and gave the cheap champagne prize to the older couple for their efforts. This was a very relaxing cruise, and although I didn't particularly like the plexiglass wind screens on the decks, I could always go back to the balcony in my room. The room had a small sofa, a mini bar which we didn't use, and a room safe in the large closet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Pro: The people were terrific, maintaining a previously set standard. The food was also terrific, again like usual. I felt the cruise director, Jamie, was the best I have seen and the photographers (which previously held no value for me) ... Read More
Pro: The people were terrific, maintaining a previously set standard. The food was also terrific, again like usual. I felt the cruise director, Jamie, was the best I have seen and the photographers (which previously held no value for me) were the best I have seen. The 80s showcase and the comedy shows were extremely entertaining. The putt putt area was pretty good and the new waterslide was a lot of fun. We had a limited time window and a limited budget, this cruise felt like the best value we've ever had cruising. The spa services also seemed more affordable compared to previous cruises. Con: I guess this is the smallest ship I have ever been on. The one pool really seemed pretty inadequate. I felt the beverage waiters were a little pushier than usual. The gym/spa felt kind of dinky; there wasn't an indoor hot tub or equivalent amenities. There was an incident with a pipe bursting in the dining room, which was quickly addressed at least. The casino seemed ridiculously smokey. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I finally decided to go on a cruise to celebrate our 50th birthdays. After much homework we finally decided on the new Disney Dream and boy were we glad we did. Right from the time we entered the airport, Disney took care of ... Read More
My wife and I finally decided to go on a cruise to celebrate our 50th birthdays. After much homework we finally decided on the new Disney Dream and boy were we glad we did. Right from the time we entered the airport, Disney took care of everything - they were the most organized company that I have ever dealt with. The ship itself is absolutely gorgeous - our stateroom was immaculate and roomy. The restaurant's and meals far surpassed my expectations, and this is coming from a master chef who has been in the hospitality business for over 30 years. Make sure you book a night in Palo - a truly wonderful experience. A day in the spa as well was a blissful but costly treat. The service was impeccable from everyone on-board. The shows were true Disney delights and there was so much activities going on throughout the day that it is impossible to get board. I could talk all day about the great things on this ship, but I find it more helpful to report the negative so that both Disney and the cruisers can learn from this. The few negatives I found, and believe me they are very minor in the scheme of things were as follows. The pool areas are simply too crowded during the day. We stayed in the adult section but the pool is not well thought out. There is no swimming, but rather soaking in a small crowed area with a bunch of other adults - not very inviting. Disney should consider another adult pool in the forward section of the boat where we found lots of free space. The elevators, though beautiful were constantly full and a waiting period was almost a certain. Perhaps a few more in the main section of the ship are needed. There were 2 free drink stations for soft drinks, coffee etc in the stern area of deck 11, but none in the forward part of the ship - this meant a bit of a walk if you wanted to get a drink. Have 2 stations in the forward as well. Other than these minor complaints we really cannot find anything else to complain about - the cruise was simply fantastic and we cant wait to do it again. Disney made sure everything was as smooth as silk - from the time we boarded to the time we dis-embarked, to our bus rides to and from the airport, our luggage - all went exactly as planned with little or no waiting. Well done! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I knew I was booking on a budget cruise; I knew there would be about 800 kids and 1500 adults (summer time cruising from Jax = lot's of kids!)and this was NOT my 1st Carnival cruise - but it's my last because of what I had to ... Read More
I knew I was booking on a budget cruise; I knew there would be about 800 kids and 1500 adults (summer time cruising from Jax = lot's of kids!)and this was NOT my 1st Carnival cruise - but it's my last because of what I had to eat. I'm over 55 and just don't need to endure such terrible food anymore. I'll give the staff good marks for being nice and trying hard, but the food - YUCK. Our 1st night we had fried chicken. It was not seasoned at all and was so dry that I had to drink a bit of water to wash it down. I ate a few bites and gave up. I did taste one bite of the 2 table spoons of mashed potatoes along with the cold gravy and decided to give up. It was THAT bad. The kitchen just missed the mark on every occasion it seemed. Food that was supposed to be "hot" was served warm at best and food that should have been "cold" was served at room temperature - like salad. Even the fruit wasn't ripe yet. The MILK was served "luke warm" I mean come on - who's in charge there? Just so you know - I've been in the food & beverage industry for decades and have run HUGE cafeterias so I know what CAN be done in the kitchen. On our last night we did the "build your own hamburger" thing in the dining room (NOT the pool patio) and was served a hamburger that was obviously cooked HOURS earlier and COLD french fries. I had to send the fries back and I usually don't do things like that, but I was completely fed up with the lack of quality control when it came to the food service. If you have kids, or are looking for a budget cruise then this would be a cruise for you to consider. Just don't think you're going to eat well. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was my 3rd cruise, and my partners 2nd. Our previous had been on Princess, so we will do some comparing here. Also this cruise had ALOT of children on board, so we'll give some tips on how to avoid them :)We live in CT and ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise, and my partners 2nd. Our previous had been on Princess, so we will do some comparing here. Also this cruise had ALOT of children on board, so we'll give some tips on how to avoid them :)We live in CT and sailed out of NYC. We took the metro north line to grand central and then walked from there. It was a little bit of a hike, as we each had just a backpack (with 2 bottles of wine in each) and a small suitcase, but we managed just fine. We walked back afterwards as well. It's about a 30 min walk.Embarkation was quick and easy. About 30 mins. They did charge us for each of our bottles of wine-$15 each, but still a good deal. We bought cheap wine, and paid the fee and it was still cheaper than paying for a bottle on the ship. And we're not picky! We were on the boat in no time, and headed straight to Tsar's for lunch!We had an inside room. The beds were separated when we arrived, but we left a note for the room steward and they quickly fixed it. We also asked for the fridge/mini bar to be cleared so that we could put in some wine, which they also did. There were plenty of drawers, shelves, and hooks everywhere to keep all of our belongings. We didn't plan on spending much time in there, so the size was not a problem at all for us.The ship itself was nice. clean. Had basically 4 main floors: 6-for food; 7-for bars and theater; 12-for pool and spa; 13-more bars.Dining-We ate mostly in Tsar's. Although we liked the decor better in Azura, the views are much better from Tsar's as there are large windows on each side and off the back. Because of 'freestyle' seating, we were never asked to share a table, and were always given a table for 2, usually right by a window, with very little wait, if any. That was GREAT. The food however, wasn't always the best. The mahi mahi the first night was rather dry and that set us off on the wrong foot. We are vegetarian/pescatarians and found that there weren't very many options for us on the menu. The "Vegetarian Special" was often something that we didn't understand and weren't willing to try. The fish was sometimes accompanied with a meat like sausage, and the pasta often with meat. The scallop appetizers were always great, but other than that, nothing really wow-ed us. Lobster was not on formal night, which was a little odd. The breakfast and lunch menus were always the same, there were no daily specials, and you could get many of the same things in the garden cafe (their buffet). But--in order to stay away from the kids and the crowds we often choose Tsar's. Overall-it was okay, but we were unimpressed.As far as activities on the ship. The nightly entertainment in the Stardust Theater was great! Jean Pierre, the comedian/magician was awesome, and did a 'close-up' show during the last sea day, which was nice. Le Cirque Bijou, as we had heard, was fantastic! The production cast plus the Duoartmotion dancers made a great combo. The typical newlywed and couples games were funny, as on any ship. The 'Idol' night was rather poor. Most of the cruise staff organized activities during the day were filled with kids. However, we did do (and win) the digital scavenger hunt....we got two decks of cards, which we gave to some kids. Dance classes were good, but usually only about 30 mins. We had 3 sea days total, and there was always plenty to do.There were kid's clubs and teens clubs. From the reaction during the crew show, the kids really loved their youth staff. If the kids weren't in there they were mostly at the pool-which we did NOT visit! We did sit out on deck 13 one morning for a few hours. There were also kids wandering around everyone, many eating or hanging out in the bar/lounge areas. Many unattended tweens and teens.Because there were over 1,000 kids on board, plus, knowing that our first and last sea days would probably not be beautiful weather b/c of our proximity to to nyc, we decided to get a pass for the thermal suites or the 'chill out lounge' as they call it. This was a GREAT idea. Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and our favorite... the thermal chairs. It was $120 for the week, but well worth it to get away from the crowds (aka, kids). It was hardly ever busy and we made use of it almost every day.The service overall was okay. Everyone did what they needed to do and were nice about it. But we didn't notice anyone really going out of their way. Towel animals were very fun.For the ports/excursions... In port canaveral, we have family that picked us up and we spent the day at epcot. It was crowded, but great. Dinner at Grill's Seafood in Port Canaveral---a GREAT meal!Great Stirrup Cay was nice. We waited until open tendering, which was fine, we were in no rush... there's only so long a person can sit at the beach out in the sun. So, if you don't mind waiting it's great. we went from about 12-5 and by 4ish the island was cleared out and there was plenty of room. In the Bahamas we did the Seahorse Sail and Snorkel. It was nice. We met some nice people on the boat and did some cruise comparing! You could see Atlantis in the distance. It was not too scenic otherwise. The snorkeling was in the middle of a cove/reef. Tons of fish, which people were feeding. Some nice corals. If you're a first time snorkeler, it was nice. However, we've done some snorkeling in Aruba/ Bonaire, and this just didn't compare!Disembarkation, we had the same theory as the tendering... wait it out, and go whenever we wanted! We carried off our own luggage so we could leave whenever and not have to wait for our color to be called. We left our room at 9am and were out on the street by 9:20. So easy.Now to compare-last year we had been on Princess and we had a much better time overall. Clearly-our ports on Princess were much better, but putting that aside.... The dining on Princess was MUCH better. There were nights when we just didn't know what to pick because there were so many options, and every meal was great. This trip, there were too many times when we didn't know what to pick because there wasn't anything that looked good at all. The activities on Princess were longer, for example, the dance classes were usually about an hour, and these ranged from 20-40 mins. Also on Princess, they usually plan so that after 2 country line dancing classes, they have a country line dancing night, where you could try out your new skills. Nothing like this happened on Norwegian. The spa on Norwegian was nice, however the services were too expensive for us. Princess seemed slightly more reasonable, and had some daily specials.In the future, if given a choice between Princess and Norwegian, we would go with Princess. However, the convenience of NYC is really nice for us. We've been advised to try Royal, and most likely will soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We sailed aboard the Norwegian Jewel for the Valentines week cruise out of New York. Boarding was not a problem, and we were told that our stateroom would not be available until after two so we should tour the public areas and get a bite ... Read More
We sailed aboard the Norwegian Jewel for the Valentines week cruise out of New York. Boarding was not a problem, and we were told that our stateroom would not be available until after two so we should tour the public areas and get a bite to eat. We did so, and were delighted with the Tzar's Palace dining room, which we chose for our lunch. When we finally drifted down to our Mini-suite, we received our first disappointment. The Mini-suite was REALLY mini. Our experience aboard other cruise lines led us to expect a much roomier accommodation. We had to sit on the bed, and only partially open the closet doors, because the bed was that close to the closet. In fact, the Mini-Suite was about the same size as the Veranda Stateroom our daughter had aboard the Caribbean Princess. Putting our disappointment in the size of the stateroom aside, the difficulty due to the physical layout of getting into the closet to our clothing was a definite disappointment. We chose this particular cruise due to our need for a relaxing vacation without any need to do extensive touring. Since we have been to Florida and Nassau MANY times, we anticipated staying aboard ship for just about the entire cruise. We understood that leaving from New York would involve two days where sitting out by the pool would most definitely not be an option, and we planned to utilize that time seeking on-board entertainment (Financial lectures, photography discussions, etc...). Sadly, the ONLY ADULT activities scheduled during the day was SHOPPING. This was not of any interest to us. There were however, a multitude of activities scheduled for children during the day (We found out that this was advertised as a Sponge Bob Cruise which we were not told of prior to booking). This was the case at the pool as well during the days when it was possible to sit out in the sun. Here I will post a positive (for my wife and myself). The Jewel has two pools, and five Hot tubs. The Largest pool and three of the hot tubs were mixed usage (Adults and children), and the small pool and two smaller hot tubs were clearly labeled as "Adult Only" areas. We were happy to see, that when children decided to utilize either, a crew member would address them and point to the sign designating this as an adult area. Unfortunately there were a number of adults who decided that the children could use these since they were there with them and they ignored the crew members and the sign. We had chosen this particular week for the cruise, since the following week (presidents week), was a mid- winter school break week for most of New York and New Jersey, and we thought that there would be fewer young children aboard. We were mistaken. While I have nothing against children, I find that adults who bring children on cruises, tend to ignore them and let them do whatever they wish since they are essentially captive, and they don't want to be responsible for them. They believe that they are on vacation and the children are safe. "To hell with the other passengers who feel children should behave" seems to be the attitude. Even the comedian aboard mentioned that parents brought children to his late night show which was labeled as being for ADULTS. He said that he had to make some ad lib changes to his routine. On the day that we were anchored at Norwegians private Island (Great Stirrup Cay), the crew decided to paint a fresh layer of waterproofing on the hot tubs. The fumes from this noxious sealer were almost unbearable. They did this during the day with literally hundreds of those who chose not to go ashore sitting out by the pool. My wife had a severe headache the rest of the day. We also chose NOT to eat in any of the specialty venues, due to the fact that (aside from the Italian restaurant), the stipend was almost as much as a meal at a local restaurant of that type would be in our home town. Why pay double (our fare supposedly included meals), for a meal. As it turned out, eating in the two main dining rooms posed no difficulty, nor did it present us with an unacceptably abbreviated menu. The menu was quite varied, and except for the (to me) poorly done seafood (I prefer it moist and possibly a bit underdone and it was invariably overcooked for me). The Food was quite well done and tasty. Now to the evening activities for the ADULTS; The Shows were both extremely well directed and performed. In fact, I found them to be better than those presented aboard the other lines we have sailed upon. The seas were rough and the dancers took this in stride and performed without noticeable problems. There were an adequate number of activities and entertainment venues presented each night, and the only complaint I might present, is that there was so much smoke in the Casino, that it became a non-event for my wife and I. We enjoy gambling, but not in an area as confined and smoke filled as that aboard the Jewel. Unfortunately, we had to pass through the Casino to get to the theater each night. All in all, while our cruise was mostly enjoyable, we probably will not be sailing aboard Norwegian again. The DEcor was dated, the public areas uninspiring and the Cabins small. We find other lines to be more to our taste. I have to say that having sailed aboard Carnival, HAL, Princess, and now Norwegian, we prefer Princess. Although we still have a number of cruise lines to try, and eventually, we will try them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
My family and I sailed on NCL's EPIC on 08/28/10 to 09/04/10. Embarkation was a breeze even when there were 12 of us booked on 4 different non-connecting staterooms. Having cruised with NCL twice before, I knew what kind of service to ... Read More
My family and I sailed on NCL's EPIC on 08/28/10 to 09/04/10. Embarkation was a breeze even when there were 12 of us booked on 4 different non-connecting staterooms. Having cruised with NCL twice before, I knew what kind of service to expect from the restaurant and housekeeping crew. However, to my disappointment, service at both main restaurants was horrible (Taste and Manhattan Room). The person in charge of making up my cabin/Turn down cabin was very lazy. He knew that there was 3 of us staying in my cabin, yet he didn't make up the there bed for the third person. When I reminded him that there were 3 of us, he said he ran out of blankets and linen and that his shift was over anyway. I insisted he remedy the situation as soon as possible and his response was that he would try. Also, I wanted to send some items to be pressed and when I called housekeeping to inquire about the charge for such service, I was told to check the laundry bag and slip left in my cabin. I explained to them that my cabin did not have a laundry bag or slip with any kind of pressing/laundry information. I was then asked to check carefully around my cabin, I then expressed my exasperation with them by informing them that I was not a child who couldn't find or look for things and that I had already checked my cabin. Called Room Service once and was on hold for 45 minutes and was never able to talk to a person at the time. Another thing that I didn't find pleasant was the smell on certain sections of deck 14 (close to staterooms 14109, stateroom 14109, stateroom 14073 and stateroom 14043). Although, I must admit I really liked and enjoyed my SPA Balcony (#14171) and access to the SPA. Also, the NCL commercials for EPIC make it seem that Nickelodeon characters are all over the ship at all times (at least the ones before advertising the two ALL NICK ALL THE TIME cruises that will sail in 2011). In order to see Sponge Bob you better take advantage of Breakfast with Nickelodeon or you will only get the opportunity to meet and greet Sponge Bob OR any other Nickelodeon character 3 scheduled times throughout the duration of the cruise (the meet and greet event is free but Sponge Bob may or may not be there, no guarantee). Oh, by the way, there's a cover charge for Breakfast with Nickelodeon. There is also a charge for Cirque Dreams and Dinner and there's also a charge to the Ice Bar. If you want to Bowl, there's a charge as well. There is no charge, however, for Blue Man Group or Legends in Concert (which is an awesome show, two thumbs up). Last but not least, I must say that had it not been for Silas Cook and his team (Cruise Director and his staff), our time on board the ship would have been a really bad experience overall. KUDOS to Silas and team they do a great job and inject a lot of energy in all they do so that vacationers enjoy their time on the EPIC. Disembarkation was no problem at all. I give the ship a 9 and I give a 6 to our overall time on the ship. Of course, time on shore was wonderful and much fun. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010

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