1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Western Caribbean Cruises
  4. Western Caribbean Cruise Reviews

77 Caribbean - Western Spa Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise to celebrate a Birthday and our Anniversary. We have cruised this trip on 4 other occasions. We are platinum cruisers with Carnival and have been on many cruises. This cruise tops our "favorite" list. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate a Birthday and our Anniversary. We have cruised this trip on 4 other occasions. We are platinum cruisers with Carnival and have been on many cruises. This cruise tops our "favorite" list. (Not the destination, but the cruise). We normally find ourselves drinking more than we normally do and come home exhausted. This cruise, we decided to pamper ourselves the entire cruise. We had a balcony suite on the Spa Level. It was awesome. We spent 90% of our time at the spa. We had the couples bamboo and hot stone massage, a facial, the men's shaving treatment/haircut/foot and leg massage, teeth whitening and even hired a personal trainer while on board. The Physian, Dr. Olachea, Spa Manager and all of the Spa Staff, Elina, Victoria, Megan, Oliva, Kate and many more, were the best we have ever experienced on a Carnival Cruise. I have a fractured heel, due to a running injury. Kate, the Personal Trainer put together workouts that were customized to my injury, still providing a great and challenging workout. They always made us feel "important" and treated us like Kings. We had to walk by the Spa door every time we left or came to our cabin. They always waved and were very friendly. We had the flexible dining schedule. Our waiter was the best we have had on a cruise as well. His name was Roger. He had 2 other young ladies working with him and they were awesome as well. Our room steward was great and very attentive. We did not visit the bars often, but when we did, they were always friendly. As far as the entertainment, it was average. We did partake in the casino (slot tournament) twice. The 2 female staff members that were in charge of the tournament were great also and very entertaining. The process gaining access to the ship was quick and efficient. The process departing the ship was quick and efficient as well. This was an excellent experience. We wish we could have this entire staff on every cruise that we take. In all the cruised that we have taken, we have never submitted a review, not that the trips were bad, but the trips in the past never really stuck out in our minds. We have never had any issues with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was my 7th cruise and we only had a couple of problems that need to be addressed. #1 the manager of the Internet was not Customer Service friendly, he was very short when my sister asked questions about the internet being so slow. He ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise and we only had a couple of problems that need to be addressed. #1 the manager of the Internet was not Customer Service friendly, he was very short when my sister asked questions about the internet being so slow. He never smiled and seemed not happy with his position. We have never had someone from the staff be so unfriendly. #2 we had two water leaks in our room which NCL did take care of, but we had to stay in the room for two days while the leak was repaired and the air blowers dried the carpet out. We did get strawberries and a bottle of wine, but we talked to other cruise members and said that we should have either been moved to another room or $compensated for this inconvenience. Otherwise we had an enjoyable time on the Sun and 99% of the staff were friendly and could not do enough for us. We did opt in on the ultimate dining plan which was good. Cagney's got our top review for food and wait staff with Le Bistro coming in second the others we could do without. At Roatan the excursion we took to Maya Keys was awesome. They served Sea Bass which was the best we have ever had and that is a compliment coming from 2 New England ladies that know what Sea Bass should taste like. The island was the best and I would recommend this excursion. Can't wait for our next cruise with NCL! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
From the moment we boarded we knew there would be trouble, spring breakers running around drinking in the pools and causing disturbances all around. We went to our Aqua Class cabin and it was not clean at all, stains on the couch, dirt on ... Read More
From the moment we boarded we knew there would be trouble, spring breakers running around drinking in the pools and causing disturbances all around. We went to our Aqua Class cabin and it was not clean at all, stains on the couch, dirt on the floor, a musty odor and the balcony was not cleaned from the previous guests. We called guest services asked for the supervisor because we wanted to get off and schedule a future cruise without the ambiance of a college dorm full of dropouts. We stated the ship was dirty, kids are running thru the halls banging on the walls and doors and all we want is a credit for a future cruise so we do not have to put up with this for 5 nights. We were assured there would be no problems, the crew was specially trained to handle this situation and security would not have a problem. We again said that is fine but we would like a credit for a future cruise because this was not our idea of a relaxing week at sea and not a preferable use of our vacation time. She said we could leave but there would be no credit. In hindsight I should have said I was feeling like I had the flu and left and fought with the insurance because this cruise was a nightmare and a pattern of lip service and inaction began that day. After we decided to stay, we asked to have the room cleaned because we did not want a dirty room. We went for a walk on deck 11, could not believe the antics at the pool and how the bars just kept serving the drunk and unruly dropouts. We went back to the room after they assured us again everything was under control and the room was clean and started unpacking. I went by the desk and found toe nails on the rug, I called and asked again if we could leave and get a credit but the employee of the year said no but they would clean again. Went for another walk came back and the toe nails I pointed out to the steward were gone, however, there were more under the desk which would have required him to move the chair to see which he obviously did not do. Yes,disgusting. That night dinner at Blu was very good but it went downhill from there everyday afterwards. The ribeye was just terrible and the waiters knew it. The day at sea, Monday was a total disaster, the crew members in the spa never checked for Aqua class cards to get into the Persian garden and as a result the dropouts were in there as well. While I am on that subject, don't believe the hype about solticizing the constellation, sorry, this was a lame attempt to renovate a basement on Long Island and it was just a small cramped dark dank space. There are no tile lounges only a bench that you cannot get comfortable on and a strange tower in the middle that served no purpose. The Aqua spa cafe was terrible, I am not sure what it was supposed to be but it didn't work had strange hours and the smoothies were disgusting. The pool was a sea of delinquents, security was permitting bottles in the pools and hot tubs and adults were driven from the area by the loud music and absolute lack of security. There was nowhere for adults to go and it was a total nightmare. The bar tenders never cut them off even when they were visibly drunk and disorderly. We complained to the employee of the year again and were told she didn't think it was that bad, when we asked her if she was on the pool deck she said no, she did not go there herself, amazing really to tell us it was not bad and she never left her office. More lip service and inaction. At one point on deck 11we could not walk the track due to all the drunks blocking the track and we looked down at the pool, there were 30 kids in one hot tub and at least 30 beer bottles lining the tub while security did nothing. The room was never really clean and we found the ship to be shabby in need of a few weeks out of service just to clean the ship. The furniture in all the common spaces looked nice until you look close, all shabby and in need of replacement. Needless to say, celebrity is not what it was years ago. The new CEO should be fired for incompetence to let the celebrity name be attached to such a shabby ship, inept employee of the year and really forgettable food. This cruise is on the heels of a cruise on the Reflection in December of 2014 which was not much better without the delinquents. No more celebrity for me. We sent a letter to customer service, called to complain and not a word. We met Captain Nicholas who was very friendly and listened to our complaints. He was a personable man and was one of the only crew who was friendly. Most of the officers did not acknowledge guests when passing on the decks and looked sloppy. I am comparing it to the Norwegian Getaway which we were on in September 2014 where every crew member was as sharp as a tac to the point it stood out. What happened to Celebrity? I read some people call this ship Connie, I call it a loser, don't waste your time or money booking this ship. Oh yeah, the adult pool had a slime floating on it for 3 days, we would not go in. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time. I've been sailing with Carnival for the past ten years because of the price point. However, since Carnival made wholesale changes (Cruise 2.0), I wasn't very happy ... Read More
I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time. I've been sailing with Carnival for the past ten years because of the price point. However, since Carnival made wholesale changes (Cruise 2.0), I wasn't very happy with either the food or the entertainment. Also, it seemed that other cruise lines were way ahead of the game when it came to Ships and what was on them, even though Carnival was coming out with some larger ships. The Oasis of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. The seven different neighborhoods were fun. Central Park was amazing. My stateroom was near Central Park and I enjoyed walking through it to get to the back of the ship and looking at the thousands of plants. Above the park there are balcony staterooms. It hard to believe you're on a ship in the middle of the ocean when you walk through central park. Compared with Carnival, Royal Caribbean has a much more international, more upscale group of guests. With high diving shows, Cirque de Soleil type shows and ice shows, RCCL's entertainment is far superior to Carnival. The food was also superior, but not by that much. RCCL's onboarding process is a breeze. A few days before sailing, I got an automated phone call requesting that I get to the port at 2:45pm, however since I was staying at a hotel and had to check out early, I got to the port at around noon and was on-boarded immediately. On Oasis, you board directly onto the Promenade deck, which is busy with tables set up on each side where the crew sells drink packages, dining packages, etc. There is a Starbucks toward the front of the ship on the Promenade deck, which I really appreciated. My stateroom was ready at 1pm. The My Time dining was a complete disaster and I don't believe they offer it on the Oasis any longer. Although I had reservations, several nights I had to wait quite a while and the maître 'ds were rude for the most part. I was ignored on several occasions while waiting for a table, skipped over so they could seat families and couples. After that, they kept calling out in loud voices that I was a "single". I almost cried I was so embarrassed. Being a single traveler, I was hoping for company during dinner, but for some odd reason, they sat me with other people only on the first night. The rest of the voyage, I was seated alone, even if I was at a table for four. The food was good both in the American Icon dining room and in the buffet on 16. I did not try any of the for fee dining, but I recommend making reservations as all venues were well-attended. Be careful when booking reservations for restaurants that say they are complimentary. Izumi and the Mexican restaurant both say they are free when you book them online, but when I arrived, I was told that they were al la carte and the "free" reservations were so they would know how many people would be there. The prices at Izumi were extravagant. I just don't get the for fee dining on a cruise. Shouldn't the quality of the food be the same across all venues, since you are paying for it? There are plenty of places to get great free food on Oasis, including Central Park, where you can beat the crowds at breakfast and dinner. The Solarium Bistro is free for breakfast and lunch, but has a charge of $20 for dinner. You can also grab a bite for breakfast and lunch at the Wipeout Café. I had breakfast there one morning when the Windjammer was full and the selections were sparse and cold. These venues are less crowded than the Windjammer, however. Personally, I loved the Windjammer. It has great ocean and sports zone views. Any spa is great. However, Carnival has a far superior spa than RCCL. The Thermal Suite on the Oasis is buried deep within the ship on deck 6. It is very dimly lit and small. There are about six heated loungers, two steam rooms and a dry sauna, along with two rain showers. There is a mud bath room and a couple's hot tub. A package for the thermal suite is available for couples which includes a single use of the mud bath and a single use of the hot tub. The area is very small and they only sell thirty spaces for about $99 on the first day of the cruise. Carnival's Thermal suite is huge and faces the ocean. There are many different thermal chambers along with a thalassotherapy pool (a giant mineral hot tub). It's a place you spend all day looking out at the ocean and up at the sky. Otherwise, the gym is great and the rest of the spa is nice. I got sucked in by a very determined aesthetician when I first boarded the ship. She was at a table set up to sell spa services. I went to her for a facial on the second day of the cruise and she was extremely unprofessional, telling me about her love life in detail. When I purchased one of the products she suggested, she kissed me passionately on the mouth. I was so taken aback!! I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing but push her away and act like nothing happened. There was no mistaking that this was something completely inappropriate. I've never experienced such unprofessionalism in all my years of cruising - and I go basically for the spa pampering! It made me so completely uncomfortable. YIKES!! That took a lot from the pleasure of going to the spa. I did not report it because I did not want to be responsible for someone getting fired. Royal Caribbean does not cater to the single traveler at all. Internet was offered for "$10 per day," but only as a double occupancy package. So it wasn't $70 for the entire week, it was $140 even though I was traveling alone. They wouldn't budge on that and suggested I "share it with someone else." Okay, as soon as I meet them in the dining room where I'm kept isolated. Geez. I wasn't the only person traveling alone, but there weren't many of us. Also, as I said, they didn't sit me with anyone in the dining room so I ate alone while reading. I mentioned that the maître Ds were rude, but I can't say enough about the fantastic quality of the service in the dining rooms. The waiters and waitresses were absolutely wonderful. I've never had such excellent service. On Carnival, you could spend two and 1/2 hours in the dining room the service is so slow. On Oasis, the service is fast, thoughtful and friendly. The wait staff was concerned that I was alone and came to talk to me every night. I felt a bit adrift (no pun intended) on the Oasis. There was no central meeting place like on Carnival ships; there are large screens on the Boardwalk, but no movies were shown; no Cruise Director talking to me over the intercom like I was part of a huge vacationing family like on Carnival ships. On RCCL, the single traveler is very much on their own and I really felt it! There were informal singles gatherings, but they were held so late that I never made one. In summary, the Oasis was a beautiful ship and I enjoyed exploring her, the shows were excellent and food were really great, but RCCL really lacks in it's service to single guests and the spa is lacking. The music around the ship wasn't to my taste - it seemed like a ship full of wedding bands. If you're a single cruiser, know that you are completely on your own on RCCL and except for the cabin steward and the people who actually serve the food in the dining rooms, no one cares. Although Carnival is more for "Joe Sixpack," the crew is friendlier and for that matter, so is Joe Sixpack. Not sure I'll be going on another RCCL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter ... Read More
We fear that the days of feeling like Royalty while traveling as a verandah-balcony-class passenger are slipping away. The Cruise Industry may be following in the steps of the Airline industry in their effort to economize. Space is tighter and services and amenities are being "redirected" to maintain profitability. As long-time balcony-cabin cruisers our first shock came when we saw the small 4 ft x 10ft balcony in cabin V5084 with just enough room for two of us and a couple of chairs, an ottoman, and tiny 18 inch high table. Balconies on older ships were significantly more spacious. Our Upper Verandah room was just above lifeboats #8 and #6 on Port side. The balcony was private and well protected from rain by a large overhang above, the only intrusion being maintenance crews greasing the lifeboat hoist mechanisms - which they did while docked on days 2 and 6 of our cruise. The cabin was small but adequate with very comfortable bed, and an additional couch and desk area. Bathroom with shower and small tub were fine (incl shampoo & conditioner & soap dispensers), though we wish there had been a night light; instead we kept the bathroom light on with door closed at night since light switches were hard to find in the dark. 2 cozy robes were provided. Closet space was ok but poorly illuminated. Three life-vests occupied the top shelves of the 3 closets --- these would be better stowed in the difficult to open cabinets above the couch. Volume on the small TV was poor while watching movies, even at max setting. Closed-captioning was definitively a help, but did not always work for some reason. Fortunately channel 44 announcements came through loud and clear. The morning sun was quite obvious since the curtains were not room-darkening enough. We faced away from land at Half Moon Cay and in Key West. The next shocker was the coffee - something that was always a treat on Holland in the past. It was downright mediocre and not becoming of the Dutch tradition of a "lekker kopje koffie" (delicious cup of coffee). The Half and Half was thin and milk-like. No doubt the motivation is to economize with cheaper beans and to drive coffee aficionado's to deck 11 Explorations Cafe, which features a Starbucks type coffee-shop that charges extra! Likewise, internet access is available but slow and expensive ($55 for 100 minutes). We had an excellent signal in our room, but just signing on and getting our backlog of messages consumed several minutes each time. Wi-fi calling was impossible on my t-mobile phone since the connection was too slow. The cabin stewards did their best, were pleasant, and were obviously being pushed to their limits: one afternoon my wife accidentally spilled some crackers in front of the couch, and while the room had been turned out nicely for bedtime, we found crumbs still all over the floor. When we asked about this the next day our cabin steward indicated they only had time to vacuum in the mornings. The ships' staff were excellent as always, and seemed to be even friendlier than we remembered in our past travels ... plenty of "good mornings", "how are you", "have a nice day", etc. The TAMARIND restaurant in particular was a truly exceptional experience! For the $20 extra cost you are treated to an extraordinary oriental meal, and my 1-1/2 inch thick wasabi-encrusted filet mignon put any other meat served in Lido or the Rembrandt restaurant to shame - especially the 3/4 inch drab filet they served on Steak & Lobster formal night (Note: we never ate at the Pinnacle Grill, so can't compare). Food quality and selection in general was very good and we never had stomach issues. We do suggest you plan on eating outside of "normal" hours since rush hour gets really busy. The elevators were TERRIFIC!!! Super fast and efficient with lovely waiting areas that were tastefully designed, and with roomy staircases. We loved the outside elevators with their awesome views. Other areas of the ship, in particular the main Lobby & Atrium on decks 1 & 2, seemed small and narrow, though most of the time they were not crowded. The Casino was ok but the older-type 25 cent slot machines we like to play were on the smoking side, and ventilation was inadequate to prevent drifting smoke from becoming unbearable at times. Neither of us felt compelled to attend evening performances in the Queen's lounge, and we missed the ol' days of magicians, comedians, and hypnotists. The shops are excellent, brightly lit with plenty of selection in a wide variety of prices. There was a sidewalk sale one day on Lido but due to maintenance on the the sliding roof mechanism the trapped heat and humidity from the pool and all the passengers present was stifling as we waited in long lines to pay the cashiers. The SPA was fantastic though expensive (as usual). We consider it a treat and don't mind the surcharge, though we did opt for shore days when rates were discounted. The facilities are lovely, and the very capable massage therapists had wonderful attitudes. The nearby Gym has plenty of room and equipment, with nice sea views. Exercisers have plenty of opportunity to walk on Promenade, the observation decks, and play tennis/soccer/basketball etc. on the very nice net-enclosed Sports deck. The Eurodam is equipped with the latest stabilizing equipment, but I doubt those were needed during our cruise since we had such perfect weather throughout our 7 day trip. Cabin V5084 is located exactly midships and therefore already extremely stable. We hardly felt the waves and it was only the soft vibrations of the engines that reminded us we were on a ship. In fact we didn't even experience the after cruise wave sensations that normally stay with us days after a cruise ends. So, while this new ship is technologically more advanced, for us the bottom line feeling was that of a cheapening of the cruising experience. New cruisers may have a completely different opinion, but we can't help make comparisons to our previous trips. The economic reasons are understandable, but nevertheless we will avoid the Eurodam, and its sister the Nieuwe Amsterdam, in our future travels. We hope that the older ships will maintain their stature and dignity long enough for us to enjoy a few more cruises before those too get redesigned to achieve financial efficiencies.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We surprised our grand daughters (whom we are raising) with this as their Christmas present! Emma, age 16 and MC age 8 were ecstatic! We were on our 25th cruise, but only the third with Carnival. Years ago, we went on two short cruises on ... Read More
We surprised our grand daughters (whom we are raising) with this as their Christmas present! Emma, age 16 and MC age 8 were ecstatic! We were on our 25th cruise, but only the third with Carnival. Years ago, we went on two short cruises on Carnival's older, smaller ships, and were not impressed by comparison to the Royal Caribbean and Princess cruises we had previously gone on. BUT, since the four of us could drive, thus savings $$$ in airfare, and because the Dream was so much larger and newer, we thought we'd give it a try. We had a great time, the girls loved their various activities, MC wanted to go to Camp Carnival every day. Emma was shy about going to Club O2 by herself the first night, but then met a few kids, and they ran around together in a pack all week. We had a very good cabin steward, he was in there at least twice daily, keeping the ice bucket filled, bringing us fresh beach towels, robes, and anything else we requested. Our main dining room servers were super friendly, remembering us by name each night. The food was typical cruise ship quality, mostly very good with a few exceptions each night. We were surpised to see that Carnival still serves lobster and escargot, and some other "fancy" foods that some of the lines had cut out. We dined one night at the Chef's Table steakhouse, and it was superb. Emma ordered lobster and it came with not one, but three tails! The desserts were to die for. We thought the production shows were good, but not over the top. The dancers were talented, the male singer was quite good, female just OK. And, yes, "family friendly" is a matter of opinion...a lot of sexy dancing in very skimpy costumes. The entertainment around the ship was sub-par, the singers in the atrium were pretty terrible and they were LOUD. We didn't care for the comedian either. I don't understand why, what with all the fantastic talent out there, the cruise line would hire such marginal acts. We did Faster to the Fun, and would do it again...for 50.00 for the whole group it makes embarkation a whole lot easier, and, on the last night, we went down to guest services and there were about 30 people in line but the FTTF line had only two ahead of us. There was a lot of smoking on this ship, the whole deck five around the casino area reeked of it. The kids loved the water slides, the mini golf, and we all watched a "Dive'In" movie, that was pretty special! All in all, a good cruise for our family, but if it was just the two of us, Carnival would not be my pick. This ship was VERY crowded and we like a more elegant atmosphere. (They actually announced in the dining room, that, on "elegant" night, men were not allowed to wear flip flops and wife-beaters, and no ball caps!) One other tip: If you are driving to the port, park at the Fulton Street garage, it was less than half of the price of the one at the port! It is only two blocks away, and they have a shuttle bus with porters to help with your luggage.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I just got back from a cruise on the Norwegian Epic and I must say I enjoyed just about every second if it. This was my second cruise on the Epic. The first was in June in the Western Med. It is interesting how you can be on the same ship, ... Read More
I just got back from a cruise on the Norwegian Epic and I must say I enjoyed just about every second if it. This was my second cruise on the Epic. The first was in June in the Western Med. It is interesting how you can be on the same ship, but have different ship experiences. There was only one sea day on the Med cruise and there ended up being 5 sea days on this cruise after the port was closed in Grand Caymen the day we were scheduled to arrive ( Thanksgiving Day). This time I went with my 75 & 80 yr old parents and we all shared one stateroom. My dad walks with a cane and was worried that he wouldn't be able to get around and would have to stay on the ship during port days, so I convinced my parents to get spa passes. They loved the thermal spa and said that was one of the best choices they made for this vacation. They aren't much for laying in the sun, although they did go up to the Quiet Zone on deck 18 a couple of times. But they did go to the spa for a few hours every day. They loved how quiet and peaceful it was after seeing how chaotic the main pool area is with the smokers, kids, and constantly moving groups of people. We had an aft balcony and loved sitting on the balcony listening to the waterfall (waves created by ship engines). The steward brought us a third chair that first day and we spent many hours out there. My dad has to get up and go to the bathroom often at night and I chose a room where the bed was closer to the bathroom so my dad would have a short distance to go. Plus, since I was sleeping on the sofa bed, I didn't want him to stumble over me. I was worried about the three adults in one cabin, but it worked out well for us. The sofa bed was actually comfortable. It pulled out from the back until it was a full twin. We usually worked out a couple of hours of quiet time for each person and didn't have many issues. Although, I must say, we tended to use the showers in the locker rooms instead of the stateroom since we had the spa passes. We ate in the main dining rooms for dinner every night (twice in Manhattan) and the remainder in Taste as my dad like wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt to dinner instead of long pants. I made reservations for most nights in Manhattan or Taste before the cruise, but we only needed to use the reservations twice - First night craziness and Thanksgiving Dinner. All other nights we walked in and were seated within five minutes regardless of the reservation time. But it was nice, on those two nights, to avoid the long lines and get seated immediately. We went to O Sheehans, Taste, and Garden cafe for lunches and enjoyed all. My dad found the buffet a little hard to manage with his cane, so we ended up at Taste more mornings than the buffet. Entertainment: We did more shows than I had on the previous cruse including Mystery lunch, second city, legends, Blue Man Group, Manhattan band, the Blues group in Fat Cats. The entertainment was so good, but I am just not a Blue Man Group fan. I don't get them at all. I agree it is the same as the show in Vegas, but I didn't get it when I saw them here either. However the kids in front of me ate it up and were glued to the stage. Ports: Jamaica - my mom and I did the river tubing. It was fun. We went in flip flops and they tried to sell us water shoes before the ride, but we wore our flip flops and had no issues. It was very scenic with a few mini rapids. Two guides per group to help if you get stuck in still water and to monitor you as yo go thru the rapids. No one flipped over in my tour. Just saw some red marks on the arms from rubbing against the raft/rope as you go thru the tour. Grand Caymen - ship didn't stop and had rough waters that whole day. Excursion tickets were automatically refunded the same day Cozumel - ship docked at 7ish instead of 10 am. I had booked a snorkeling excursion, but it was cancelled because the sea was still too rough and it was windy. We did a little shopping, then went back to the ship and hung out in the spa, which we had to ourselves. I took a deck of cards with me - my family loves pinochle and we played many of games on those long sea days at the library/Maltings bar. It is amazing how something so simple can help you enjoy your cruise. My dad is already talking about booking the next cruise. He enjoyed it way more than he ever thought he would.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
First I want to give a little information about myself. I am a very experienced cruiser, I have been on well over 30 cruises, just about every major Us cruise lines, I worked in the Cruise line industry for over 7 years, and I am currently ... Read More
First I want to give a little information about myself. I am a very experienced cruiser, I have been on well over 30 cruises, just about every major Us cruise lines, I worked in the Cruise line industry for over 7 years, and I am currently a travel agent. I was looking to book a cruise for my Honeymoon and I came across a great deal on the MSc Divina. However, after reading the reviews on here I was very skeptical about booking this cruise for my Honeymoon. Especially this was going to be my Wife's very first cruise! After doing a little research, I saw MSc also had some unbelievable Spa Packages! So I decided to take the risk and Book it! Not going to lie I was super nervous about this cruise.. Once I arrived, it was the most Beautiful ship I had ever seen!!!! I was blown away! What stood out the most was the Spa, unbelievable service and prices! The buffet food was way better then other cruise lines. However, I felt the main dining room dining did no live up to the expectations of Cruise Dining. Food portions were very small and bland. Service levels on ship were below average. A very relaxing type cruise, not many activities during the day. The Eataly Specialty restaurant was a Major highlight! Well worth it!! The pizza on board was best pizza ever!!! Then again it is Italian! Overall a very great Cruise! Book and Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
After seeing all the bad reviews of this ship, I have to write my review as we had a marvelous time. We had The Haven Spa Suite 14151 on the Epic embarking March 9. Embarkation Process: There was quite a line at the pier. Since we were in ... Read More
After seeing all the bad reviews of this ship, I have to write my review as we had a marvelous time. We had The Haven Spa Suite 14151 on the Epic embarking March 9. Embarkation Process: There was quite a line at the pier. Since we were in a suite I had thought there would be a line for suite guests, but all go through the same security line. It was long, but as the weather was nice, standing in line was OK - although I miss the much easier embarkation that we experienced for the Jade in Barcelona on two occasions. Unfortunately, right after security, no one checks to find out if you are in a suite to direct you to the VIP area, so, not realizing there was a VIP area, we went to the regular lines to check in. There was hardly any line in this area and the check in lady took us to the VIP suite area where we were escorted onboard - much better. The Spa Suites are lovely. 14151 has a gigantic balcony. There were already 2 chaise lounges and 2 chairs along with 2 tables on the balcony. PERFECT! We went to The Epic Club for lunch which was great. After lunch, we explored the ship and my husband signed up for the Texas Hold-em Poker tournament the next day. We had dinner at Shanghai's - really great spicy Chinese food - don't know why anyone would complain about these dishes. Shanghai's acts as overflow for the Manhattan Room - don't know why NCL allows that as it negatively impacts the experience for paying guests in Shanghai's. Fortunately we were almost done with dinner. This did create an interesting discussion between me and my husband about the issue of capacity planning for this ship. It is much larger than other NCL ships, so based on previous ships, NCL would really just be guessing as to how many would go to the specialty restaurants as opposed to the free MDR and buffet. Once the ship is built, they are stuck. If demand for the MDR outweighed demand for the other restaurants, what do they do? That night, I noticed that the tub in our room was leaking. As it was near midnight I didn't want to bother our cabin steward, so we mopped up the water, put the towels in the tub and went to bed. The next day, I explained to our cabin steward that it appeared to me that one of the pipes must be loose (based on where the water was coming from.) She had only begun working in this area on this cruise as the regular steward was on vacation. She filled the tub and after about 30 minutes, there was water everywhere and she wiped up the floor and contacted a plumber who came and took our tub apart and found a disconnected pipe, just as I had said. I told our cabin steward that between the two of us, we'd have cabin 14151 in the best shape it had ever been in! I subsequently found a few other problems, which she was quick to have fixed. All I can think is that the previous occupants of the suite never told their steward that light bulbs were out or that the tub was leaking. One of the surprises of the room is that the headboard actually has 2 pullout extensions with drop down tables that turn into nightstands! I had not noticed these until the 3rd night - at which time, I found out one of the extensions was stuck - another minor repair. None of these issues detracted from our stay in the cabin as the needed repairs were all immediately organized by our cabin steward. Our cabin steward did such an outstanding job on organizing the repairs, I gave her an extra $40 on top of her regular tip at the end of the week. She was so thrilled she hugged me and thanked my husband profusely. But, in fact, she deserved the extra money. She was always cheerful, always positive and always did the utmost to help and I repaid her by finding every issue that needed to be resolved in our suite and also monetarily for her excellent work in getting the issues solved. The first morning we discovered how absolutely great the shower was! This was possibly the best shower we have experienced in an NCL suite! We also enjoyed the use of the DVD player. I had brought along several movies and TV series for us to watch. My husband attended Blue Man group. He said it was a good show, although, he thought he had seen this particular show before. We both went to Cirque and really enjoyed that show. The dinner was so-so with only one choice (steak and overly salty shrimp) but the show was amazing. I"m not sure why they serve food in this show because, honestly, it was so good, it was hard to eat because I wanted to just focus on the show. We went to the ice bar. It is 10F in there. Of course we had to go to the first ice bar at sea. It was fun, but oh so cold - as expected. Apparently some Canadian spent more than 3 hours in there without a coat! in Jamaica, we went zip lining and the tubing on the river. I have been zip lining before, but not where you had to self brake. I've got no talent for the braking at all. We went on to the river tubing which was excellent. The water is crystal clear and cool and the tubes are very safe. There are areas where the tubes go through some small rapids which makes the ride a lot of fun. I would do the tubing again in a heartbeat! We had sushi that evening, which was OK but the offerings are rather routine and boring. I think that if NCL would do some more exciting roles such as those without rice - rolled in cucumber and rice paper, they would have a much busier sushi restaurant. I would hope NCL might look at the menu at edokusushi.com - especially the Maki rolls to get some better ideas about what people who really like sushi and sashimi expect from a sushi restaurant. Again, the sushi they did have was fresh, but rather average sushi rolls are the biggest thing holding back the sushi bar from being one of the busiest specialty restaurants on the ship. We ate at Teppanyaki one night and noticed the family sitting with us had come in with someone with a soy allergy. I'm not sure why they would have chosen Teppanyaki with the edamame and Miso soup with tofu and the soy sauce in the stir fry. But they did. Teppanyaki was your typical Teppanyaki experience. The chefs have a script they work from and do a good job of entertaining the diners. The food was typical Teppanyaki food. This was the first time I'd gone to Teppanyaki on NCL. That's probably enough for us. I wanted to try it and my husband reluctantly agreed to go along. We tried it and that's enough. Kind of like Benihana - you go once and that's enough. We did have fun talking with the other people at the table. On one side of us was a young couple on their first cruise. Then the family on the other side with the person with the soy allergy - they were very nice and it was nice to hear that they were all enjoying their cruise. I had meant to go see the action on Lobster night in the buffet. I didn't want lobster - I just wanted to see how the buffet handled that. I had visions of masses of people grabbing 6 or more lobsters at a time. This is the largest buffet I've ever seen on a ship and most of the time, when I went to observe the operation, it was under control and seemed well managed. However, the previous reviews indicate that lobster night was out of control. Unfortunately, I never made it to the buffet to see what was going on that night. It probably would have been very interesting to observe. One day we did a cabin crawl. We saw everything from a Studio to the Owner's Suite. ALL of the cabins were extremely nice. If I were alone, I would definitely cruise in a Studio because they set up group events - such as group dinners, where you eat with others from the studios. In some cases, some of the studio residents were married couples who like to sleep in their own room at home - so each had their own studio! The rest of the studio residents ranged from 20-somethings to retirement age traveling alone. I really think the Studios are a great idea! As to the controversial bathroom setup, well, it is what it is. Some people like it, some hate it but for me, the way I look at it, I don't own this ship, so it's not like I have to live with this forever. I find it different but it doesn't really affect me personally as it is not my property. It just is what it is. The Spa area - the thalisotherapy pool, saunas and so on were fantastic. My husband has only experienced this type of thing once at Hotel 1898 in Barcelona. He was reluctant to try it, but I managed to talk him into going based on his experience at Hotel 1898 and lo and behold, he loved the thalisotherapy pool! So much so, he wanted to go everyday for at least an hour. It was NEVER crowded in there, and we looked forward to it greatly each day. We also ate dinner at the Epic Club - really great. There were various shops on the ship, but nothing I needed. Still, they were a step up from the shop on the Jade! I think one issue was that the duty free liquor store only offered lower end products - no Louis XIII cognac, nothing to tempt a higher end buyer. Our last dinner was in Le Bistro and was outstanding. At any rate, the entire cruise was very relaxing. The food was good to excellent. We lounged on our balcony and our butler, Juan, brought us anything we wanted. We enjoyed peace and quiet and the lovely Epic Club for breakfast and lunch. Overall, it was an absolutely wonderful cruise. For suite guests, debarkation is arranged by the concierge so that you don't have to wait in line. Unfortunately, when we were sent down in the elevator, the concierge had disappeared and none of the employees knew where Haven guests were supposed to go. Next thing we knew, we were pushed into a general debarkation line with a few other Haven guests, including a 91 year old man. When we reached the main dining room, I noticed one employee had a cellphone and asked her to please call the concierge for us and asked for a chair for the 91 year old man, which she immediately provided. The concierge came to us and took us through service passageways and elevators to get us off the ship without a line - much better. Along the way, a ship employee spontaneously grabbed my luggage and pulled it for me all the way to the exit of the ship, where he had to stop. Debarkation after that point was swift and easy with literally no wait for a taxi. All in all, the only two glitches in our cruise really were the embarkation process (not being sent to the VIP line immediately after security) and the debarkation process where we got separated from the concierge and no other employees knew what we were supposed to do. In both cases, employees did their best to resolve the problem. It was overall a really great and relaxing cruise and I'd definitely sail on the Epic again. I loved the spa suite, even though I'm not a fan of the bathroom design - it was fine - after all, I don't own it - and having the access to the spa overrides the value of actually being in a suite in The Haven. I would choose a spa suite over any suite in The Haven just because of the included spa access. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Day 1: Embarkation - super easy. Arrived before noon. Security and check in was very easy. No lines then we were there. We learned they did not let anyone on until about 11:15 or so. We walked onto boat with our luggage. We travel pretty ... Read More
Day 1: Embarkation - super easy. Arrived before noon. Security and check in was very easy. No lines then we were there. We learned they did not let anyone on until about 11:15 or so. We walked onto boat with our luggage. We travel pretty light with carry on luggage. The doors to the rooms were closed because rooms weren't totally ready until 1:00 p.m., but we went through to drop off our luggage and our room was actually ready. We had planned to just leave it outside the door, but our room attendant, Little, had already finished our room and I admit we did surprise him, but he and all the room attendants were very nice. After dropping off our luggage, we decided to explore a little. Food: We purchased the Chef's Table package because we like to try out the various specialty restaurants. There are many specialty restaurants with surcharges and ala carte pricing. We had a chance to eat at a good number of them and we also ate at the Main Dining room and the Windjammer Cafe. We have had great experiences at specialty restaurants on Holland America, which last we checked had a surcharge of $25 pp but the food is superb and I always book a reservation at the Pinnacle Grill on Holland America - the $25 is totally worth it. Main Dining Room: We always choose the 8 o'clock seating because we like more time outside or lounging about and don't like to rush to the 6 p.m. seating. 6 p.m. is early for us and we found that most families with kids tend to choose the 6 o'clock seating. We ate there for breakfast twice (including the last day - disembarkation day). We had dinner there probably 3 or 4 times and we don't miss the lobster night - which is usually the 2nd formal night (I would check with the dining room when making your specialty restaurant reservations). We also had lunch here twice. We really enjoyed the main dining room. Since we booked late, we were put on the 3rd floor in the very back of the dining room, it wasn't the best spot but we had excellent service and also got to sit with a lovely couple from NJ. They were really fun and we enjoyed making friends with them. The wait staff took very good care of us and always brought extra things for us and we could order more than one of each thing if we wanted to. The food was very good in my opinion and for lobster night, the lobster was a good size and fresh. We also liked the steaks here better than at Chops. Lunch was ok, the service is so-so, but not bad. You don't get your dinner waiters, but the food is tasty and you can order off the menu or get the buffet option. Breakfast was pretty good too. Chef's Table: (I think its about $70-75 pp, but I am not sure I paid around $125 for a package of three specialty restaurants - Chef's Table, Chops, and Central Park). This is an intimate dinner in the loft area of the concierge lounge. I think each night there is seating for about 20 people and you sit at this very long table. Its a pretty elaborate tasting menu with wine pairings. The Chef comes and explains each dish and the sommelier describes each wine. This was fabulous. The food was fantastic and the wines were excellent. I think its a great deal. The service was very good of course. And you get a nice gift at the end (I don't want to spoil that surprise for you). We did this for my birthday. They even brought out a birthday cake for me and we made some nice friends at dinner. Chops Grill: (I think its about $35 pp - it was again part of my package) This was our least favorite dining experience overall. The menu was surprising limited and I was also surprised that their best steaks had an additional surcharge on top of the surcharge, which in my opinion was pretty high for a cruise ship. In Chicago, you can get a very good steak meal at some excellent steak houses for close to that pp without alcohol. Wine was not included in the price. So seeing more surcharges was shocking to me. We each ordered the NY strip steak and asked for it to be cooked medium and the steaks were cooked medium well (we honestly had better steak in the MDR and cooked to order). In retrospect, I wish I had said something, but we were really tired of being in this restaurant so I didn't want to make a spectacle of it. The sides were also so-so - I don't even really remember what we had because it was so unmemorable. The atmosphere was ok on the inside. I wish I had asked to sit in the atrium part of the restaurant because it was facing into Central Park, which is beautiful at night. Besides the food being ok, the service was interesting. The server was very nice and attentive, but he really was pushing selling stuff, like wine, and things like cook books and wine aerators. I thought that was weird, annoying, and uncomfortable. I don't know if they were required to do that or maybe they get a bonus, but I don't think they should do that anymore. I feel like it adds insult to injury with the expensive surcharge. We won't eat here in the future, however, some people really love it and have had great experiences. In the end, its an average steak house - but you can judge for yourself. Central Park 150: (I really don't remember this one - I think with our package the Chops Grill ended up being free - so I am guessing about a $40 surcharge). Beautiful restaurant with nice and different decor located in the Central Park part of the ship. Service is excellent and the food again is very high quality - beautiful, unique and delicious. I suspect the menu changes and I can only say overall we enjoyed this restaurant and there were several courses (a tasting menu style of meal). The food was delicious and rich and we felt pretty full at the end. I really liked the understated and attentive service - the server explained each dish, which was helpful and added to the experience. Another kind of Park Cafe here in Central Park - I forget the name, but its another free place to get salads and bistro food - you can also get free water, ice tea, and fruit flavored drinks here. We did not really eat here. Although the food looked good - its small and can get really crowded which turned me off. Wine bar: There is also a lovely wine bar in Central Park which serves tapas ala carte. We heard it was good, but we never had a chance to try it out. Seafood Shack: Ala Carte pricing, but very reasonable. This restaurant was located on the boardwalk several stories below our room and I love seafood and wanted to try it. Decor is like a beach side seafood shack. Nice ambience and service was good as well. We went because I heard that they have King Crab legs. So we went for an afternoon stack. I ordered a 1/2 pound of king crab legs for about $15 - I like them hot. They were delicious and I couldn't believe the price. The other things we liked were the coconut shrimp (something like $3 or 4 for a decent amount of coconut shrimp maybe 6 or so big pieces!). We had a major miss with the calamari though - it could have just been a bad batch. It just did not taste fresh to us, so we told the server who wanted to replace it with whatever we wanted on the menu, but we were not hungry anymore, in any event he brought us shrimp cocktail. The shrimp cocktail was ok - they give you a lot and they were a good size, but again, I feel like they weren't very fresh in the sense that the shrimp should have had a nice crunch to it. The MDR on the contrary had very good pieces of shrimp for their shrimp cocktail. Overall, I would come back here for the crab legs. They do have a lunch party with lots of different seafood, but we decided to pass on it - its a good deal, so you may want to check it out. Johnny Rockets: We had milk shakes and breakfast here. We did not get a chance to eat here because there are just too many choices. But it is a popular place and the surcharge is about $5 or $6 - years ago it was like $2 or 3 I think on other ships. The milk shakes were good and breakfast wasn't bad. They don't charge for breakfast. This is a combination surcharge and ala carte restaurant. Solarium Cafe: They have a surcharge for dinner at night, but we only ate here for lunch once which is free. They offer spa food and light healthy food. Its mostly buffet style and it can get busy during the day. They also have a couple of miso soup options. You pick the bowl with the ingredients already in it and they add the miso. You can also get water, ice tea, and fruit flavored waters for free here. We liked the light fare - its a nice change. Donut Place: I don't know what the actual name of this place is, but they serve free coffee and a nice selection of fresh donuts for free. Mostly the fluffy yeast donuts with glazing - I did not see any cake donuts, but I don't really like cake donuts. They have regular flavors like chocolate and strawberry glazed to exotic like passionfruit and key lime. So many flavors and very good. You can also purchase specialty coffee drinks. This place is located near the entrance of the boardwalk. Ice Cream Parlor: Also on the boardwalk, across from the Donut Place, this is an ala carte dessert place. It looks nice and the ice cream desserts look very good, we just were never hungry enough to stop for a sundae. Maybe next time. Sorrento's Pizza: Free pizza place located in the Promenade. Pizza is good and fresh - pretty standard. They offer cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and one special pizza that changes. They also have a choose your toppings personal pizza that you can order. I think they are open until midnight - not bad for a snack. Park Cafe: Free (except for specialty coffee drinks) and open 24 hours. They serve sandwiches, cookies, brownies, and coffee. You can get water and ice tea here too. Its located next to the guest services. Cupcake Place: A cute cupcake shop next to the Park Cafe. Pretty much small and large cupcakes of all kinds of usual and unusual flavors and decorations. They also have for sail cook books and cupcake themed things. We booked a cupcake decorating class here for about $22 pp. Its an hourlong class and they provide all the materials. We learned how to make a double burger cupcake with fries. Really fun and we got an awesome treat. Did I really learn much? Not sure, because all of the items were prepped ahead of time for us and we basically just put it together, but it gave me some great ideas. We also got a surprise gift at the end! I thought it was a lot of fun and there were a number of parents with their older and teenaged kids at the class (both boys and girls). They limit the size of the class to about 8 people. One beef I had, was that people kept coming in to buy stuff and there was only one employee there and she was instructing us! She said the shop is closed during class, but she had no sign or anything to put in the entryway. They should just have another person working to man the counter. I think having all those people in there taking a class actually draws customers into the shop. Was it worth it? I think so, especially with an older child or teenager, but I think for me once was enough. Windjammer Cafe: This is their buffet. We ate here for breakfast and lunch. I didn't think it was too small for the size of the ship. There are two sections with the same food items, plus I thought they did a good job of crowd control, which I liked a lot. They actually seated people and made sure that there weren't too many people at once at the buffet. We did not wait long to be seated. I am not sure what all the complaints were because they had a nice international selection of food and its buffet food - so not everything is going to be out of the ball park, but I really thought it was tasty and I liked the selection. The service was also good. We liked to eat here when we could. Breakfast was also good with decent selections. There are also some snack places on the pool decks which we never ate at because we just never did, too many choices. Izumi - a Japanese specialty ala carte restaurant on the same level as the Windjammer. Its lovely and has pretty views, but we never had a chance to eat here. I love sushi and am reluctant to try it on a ship when I have it quite often in Chicago, but the prices are very very reasonable for the sushi rolls and pieces. I would have liked to try it, but we just only have so much room in our stomachs. I think you should try it, if you either have never had sushi before or don't get a chance to have it very often. I watched the ship's cooking channel on their tv and they kept showing the chef from Izumi make food and it looked really good. I probably missed some other food opportunities, but I think this pretty much covers everything. Shows: Can I just say WOW! Definitely WOW! Royal Caribbean knows how to put on over the top amazing extravaganzas! We tried not to miss any of the entertainment, including the lounge singers and jazz musicians. Even their standard fair belly flop contests were fun fun. We missed some of the other standard fare, but not the shows. I recommend making reservations ahead of time, but most shows you can still get a seat - they let people in without reservations about 10 minutes before the show. The only exception is the comedy show. It is a much smaller venue - you will not likely get in standby. This show you must make a reservation. Hairspray - this is the broadway musical shown on the Oasis, the Allure is showing Chicago. The lead singer sang and played this part on Broadway for 2 years prior and I could tell. Its a full length Broadway show without any intermission. The talent was top notch, the sets were amazing, and the costumes were above par. We were amazed and entertained. Don't miss it! They only have maybe 2 showings for the entire cruise. A bonus, we saw the star of the show and the actor who plays her mom sing Broadway show tunes at the Viking Crown lounge one evening (see it if you can). Frozen: I think this is what its called is there icecapades show and what a show it is! Amazing! Its in the Studio B ice rink. The stunts, routines, costumes and story line are amazing. These are international Olympic skaters - also not to be missed. I don't want to give too many spoilers. Its not the Disney movie version. Oasis of Dreams - this is their incredible aqua show - again stunning with high dives, water ballet and acrobats ala Cirque du Soleil. Very much like the Vegas show "O" - this aqua stage is definitely state of the art and custom build costing millions. These are olympic and olympic quality gymnasts and divers. We were able to see the show from our balcony as well. Reservations are a must - as this is a popular show and get there early (about 30 min) to get a seat. We just brought our books and read. Only thing is the seats can be somewhat uncomfortable. Headliner - this is a special guest that is brought on for this show. It changes all the time, you probably don't need reservations. Comedy show: Hilarious! There are essentially 4 comedians and they differ, but the ones we saw were hilarious and many are featured on Comedy Central. I definitely recognized the comedians. MUST HAVE RESERVATIONS. The design was to make it feel like you were in an intimate comedy club and it worked for the most part. Parades! They have two parades in the Promenade - really over the top and a lot of fun. Great for the kids. Definitely worth seeing at least once. Various shows and special events - they have a great 70s dance party in the Promenade with singers and dancers all over the place. Lots of fun! There is a glow party in Studio B (they place some flooring over the ice) and its fun, but after awhile it basically becomes a teen party. However, same night they have an adult party in the Solarium with DJ - that was fun too. Night clubs and Bars: RC has so many bars all over, each one different and separately themed. We liked the one in the middle of the promenade that goes up to the Central Park and down again, there is a hidden one in the Central Park which is nice and we liked hanging out at the Boardwalk Bar. They have essentially one night club across from the Comedy Club, the music is good and most nights it is really hopping - the decor is kind of weird though kind of like a spanish dungeon or something. I am not too crazy about the design, but they have some fun and cool special effects and we had fun there. The other place we liked was Dazzles - really beautiful two story club that featured live bands and a lighted dance floor. It overlooked the Boardwalk - when there is a band it is hopping, otherwise it becomes a nice place to read. Pools: Boy this place has a ton of pools! A freshwater pool, saltwater pool, adult pool in Solarium, kids area pools, and hot tubs galore - I think there must have been like 10 hot tubs all over the pool deck. The kid's area was really cool and people really liked to congregate in and around the pools. We liked being in the shade and spent a couple of days at the main pools in the middle. We did not care too much for the Solarium because it became a sauna and was too hot. I think its the design with the enclosed glass which probably acts like a magnifying glass and traps the heat, plus it was consistently over crowded in my opinion with a number of drunk and sloppy adults during the day - evening it was nice and tranquil. The people were so annoying that I preferred the main pools with kids! The kids were for the most part mainly at the kids area and if a kid wandered to the other pools and acted obnoxious someone would ask the kid to act appropriately which worked. Most kids had their parents with them, so we never had kid issues. There were plenty of seats - so we typically were ok finding seats. We liked to go there in the later afternoon when there was less people and the sun wasn't too hot. By 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. a lot of people left for their 6 p.m. dinner, which was fine by us. One oddity was that the smoking section was in this small part of the pool deck by the bar and I don't get it, but the same people would spend the whole day there and night too puffing away. This was not a pretty part of the ship either. I just didn't get it, but I guess whatever floats your boat. Activities: Lots of activities for active people. There is a short zip line that went across the top of the Boardwalk, we tried it once and it was fun but short. A good number of people liked the Flowrider, which is the surfing and boogie boarding simulator - they have two of them and its harder than it looks. We did not try it - we thought about an individual class, but decided to pass because the water jets were very powerful. They have a miniature golf course, a carousel, climbing wall, and ice skating rinks. Of course they have a nice basketball court, which was constantly in use and ping pong tables which were also constantly in use. I am sure there are other things I am missing, but this gives you an idea. Oh and shopping - there are a number of stores on the ship and they have their specials like all ships. People seemed to like that a lot. Movies: They show first run movies in the main theater and have 3D capabilities. You won't know what movie is playing until the day of unfortunately and the movies rotate and are never replayed on a single cruise. We saw the last 2/3rds of the latest Thor movie and it was like watching a movie in a theater. Casino: We don't gamble, but I have to say that this was one of the largest casinos I have ever seen at sea. Its not cheap to gamble here, but people seemed to have a lot of fun. Guests: I liked the mixture of guests both young and old. It made the ship very lively and the atmosphere fun. The ship was probably close to capacity and I sometimes felt it, but it didn't bother me - there are many quiet spots, but there was plenty of room. A stroll at night in Central Park was one of my favorite things - its lovely and peaceful. Loyalty Club: Meh they don't have the best perks for loyalty members. Ports of Call: Pretty mediocre for the most part, except for Cozumel, but we were in this for the ship. Day 7 Disembarkation Day. We had breakfast in the Main Dining Room and then had plenty of time before we had to disembark. This was not as smooth as getting on the boat. But this was mainly because of customs. This was not Royal Caribbean's fault. They were very efficient otherwise, but there was a huge back up in Customs. It took us awhile to get off the boat and through customs. We decided to rent a car (Thrifty is the best deal and closest to Port Everglades) and drive to Ft. Lauderdale Beach. If you have more than 3 hours before your flight, its actually cheaper to rent a car to store your luggage than to store it at the airport through a service - airports typically won't take luggage more than 3 hours before your flight, but double check. We then spent the afternoon at the Ft. Lauderdale Beach and rented chairs, an umbrella, and towels from the municipal employees on the beach - my husband bargained with the guy and got this all for $10. We rented the car for about $25, but I have been able to rent it cheaper in the past. Overall Summary: Awesome ship, huge, beautiful, and surprising. We had a fantastic time and booked this cruise for the ship rather than the ports. We were not disappointed. You can't help but have fun and it is very easy to meet people. However, its hard to see them again unless you try or are lucky. We were both lucky and we tried to meet some of the same people on the ship. Great for couples, retirees, families, kids of all ages, I really love this ship. We plan on booking a cruise on the Allure of the Seas in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Embarkation was very smooth, as we stayed in the Presidential Suite, and had priority boarding.the room was ready when we got on board, and luggage was delivered soon after. We were part of the concierge club, which was a great bonus, as ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth, as we stayed in the Presidential Suite, and had priority boarding.the room was ready when we got on board, and luggage was delivered soon after. We were part of the concierge club, which was a great bonus, as we had access to exclusive services and evening access to appetizers and beverages. The boat was beautiful, well maintained and the staff were very friendly. The food was delicious in all venues, especially Giovanni's the Italian family style restaurant. We had access to the dining room menu for room service which was great, since traveling with small children. The pools were great, and the h2o zone was awesome for adults and kids, as it had the only heated pool on the ship. The adults only solarium was very relaxing and had the cantilevered hot tub-awesome! The shows were great, had very talented performers and the ice shows were great as well. Our room was 6414 the presidential suite. It has 2 master bedrooms, one slightly larger than the other, both with bathrooms including tubs. Also had 2 regular bedrooms with 2 upper bunks in each and hall bathrooms as well. All rooms were very spacious and comfortable. The living room had plenty of seating and dining table. The balcony was very large with a huge table and several lounge chairs and regular chairs with side tables. There was a bar with sink and sub zero fridge as well as a 6 person hot tub - amazing!!! Our steward Eunice was amazing and our concierge Raj was so helpful. In all, we had a great time with 6 adults and 3 kids in this suite, plenty of room and things to do! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising ... Read More
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising was a popular way to vacation) and in all of my travels with this line I have never really felt the need to complain about any ship/service/port, etc. Having said that, here are my thoughts on the Ruby Princess 5 day cruise (I would hope that these complaints would only apply to these shorter cruises and things would be "Princess normal" on the regular sailings). LIKES: 1. Great embarkation procedures -- as an elite passenger we waited to (priority) board in a separate area. The cruise rep made passengers sit in the order in which they came into the room (as opposed to "the mad rush to the door" we recently experienced on the Royal Princess) and we were permitted to board in the order in which we had arrived. Kudos to Princess for finally "getting it right" on this aspect -- hopefully it will trickle down to all the ships' embarkation procedures. Our Princess hostess was fantastic -- friendly, cheerful, entertaining and very professional. Nice way to start a cruise! 2. Delicious food -- the food on every other Princess ship has been very good, but the food on the Ruby was excellent! No matter where/what we ate....it was all delicious! We had anytime dining and were lucky enough to catch the same waiter both nights we ate in the dining room (Mandol and his assistant Victoria) and they made our dining experience pleasurable. We also dined in both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill and enjoyed both meals. 3. Wait staff/bar staff/cabin steward -- The staff on this cruise was outstanding -- some of the friendliest men and women I have ever met on any cruise I've been on! I sailed many times with the Commodore of the Ruby way back when he was a staff captain on Sitmar's Fair Sky (later Sky Princess) and his warm, gentle, friendly personality seems to have had an effect on the staff on his ship. Kudos to all working on board -- they were the best crew I have sailed with in many years! CONS: 1. The Sanctuary -- The Sanctuary is now $30 per day per person. REALLY? (No one told us about the increased cost and while we would have still booked at whatever price, it would have been nice to know in advance what I was paying, especially since we didn't pay that much on the Royal in December.) Also, they charge you on embarkation day (Royal, as well as the other ships on which we booked the Sanctuary for the entire week didn't open until first day out). In my opinion this was a wasted day since most people don't carry their swim gear with them and have to wait for their luggage to be delivered to their cabin (or are out "exploring the ship"). On this particular cruise there were only 20 people who reserved for the entire week; on day 2 when my husband went to the Sanctuary ahead of me he sat down "one seat over" from our seats and the original "owner" of the seat made a huge scene and the crew member chided my husband for not remembering his seat. Again...REALLY??? For what we are being charged and for the small amount of "guests," it would seem to me that SHE (the person who escorted my husband to our seats) should have known exactly where to seat him. Also, we didn't see the Sanctuary manager the entire cruise and the staff was not attentive in the least (no towel to take to the pool; had to chase them down for iced tea/water; no cool towels or mists, no one standing at the reception desk greeting passengers as they came into the Sanctuary). This was really an annoyance to me -- Princess is known for its attentiveness to its passengers, especially in specialty areas such as the Sanctuary, and in my opinion both the "missing in action" manager and his staff need extensive training if they are to stay in this location. The Sanctuary is located on deck up from the Spa and on other cruises the pool near the spa was reserved for Spa and Sanctuary guests only so that the environment was one of relaxation - not so on this cruise; the entire pool area was loud (which carried into the Sanctuary), crowded and, on certain days, filled with older teenagers. Again, I am not a complainer, but I have experienced and expect a certain environment (which I paid for) and was disappointed by what was actually experienced. As I stated earlier, it is my hope that these problems would all be rectified once the Ruby was back on a "normal" sailing schedule. 2. Passengers -- there was a wide variety of passengers on this cruise (still spring break in some parts of the US) and it was extremely obvious that many people were having "one too many" cocktails. I have never seen so many drunken people staggering around the public areas nor have I ever seen the maître d' permit passengers wearing flip flops/shorts/wrinkled tee shirts into the dining room at dinner time, let alone seating in the middle of the dining room clearly intoxicated women. Where has happened to the Princess standards? The same concerns hold for the one "formal" night - and I use that term loosely. I have NEVER seen such a casual formal night -- especially in a specialty restaurant. We dined in Sabatini's on formal night (excellent food, wonderful waiter) but we were quite surprised to see so many people dining in shorts, jeans, etc. (Again, I am hoping that everything reverts to normal after the short sailings have concluded.) 3. Passenger services -- I guess the staff here has never heard of the phrase "the customer/passenger" is always right... We had a problem with the safe in our room. We boarded at 11:15 a.m. and, once I could get someone to answer the phone (3 separate calls, wait times of 2 or 3 minutes before hanging up) I was told that someone would be sent up in "10 minutes" -- we waited 45 minutes and decided to leave for a quick lunch at the buffet (excellent food selections and everything was delicious!). Got back to the room a little after 2:30 and the safe had not been fixed. Called again; no answer. Went to muster drill, came back and called one more time only to be told that they were "busy" and would get to us shortly. Finally an extremely personable officer showed up, made a call to have the prior combination removed, and we were back in business! It took all of five minutes. Not sure what was happening at the front desk but they need to be instructed to answer the phone when it rings. Please do not think I am a "snob" or a "cranky old lady" because of my complaints. I am 57 years old, have sailed on many ships over the course of the past 30 years and I just think that cruising (and the passengers who enjoy the cruise experience) should be awarded the respect it is deserving of. Princess has always had high standards which were well known in the industry and to its loyal passengers. I hope that this is not a precursor of things to come with this line. I personally have always held it "above the rest" in terms of passenger service and it's "classiness" -- I will be highly disappointed if it falls into the same category as Carnival but that is what I felt on this past cruise. Will I cruise on Princess again -- ABSOLUTELY! Will I do a five day (or less) sailing again on Princess -- absolutely NOT. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First of all, a cruise is what you make of it. That said, I did have higher expectations of a ship that had gone through an extensive renovation to be in better condition that what it was. Previous posters re-affirmed what I saw, worn ... Read More
First of all, a cruise is what you make of it. That said, I did have higher expectations of a ship that had gone through an extensive renovation to be in better condition that what it was. Previous posters re-affirmed what I saw, worn varnish on wood and especially in the elevators, there is no way they could have been worn down that fast since the ship was reinstated. A few things of note: FTTF - We had purchased FTTF and can honestly say I don't know if it was worth it. Seemed worth it to get on and to get help at Guest Services, but debarkation, it seemed like we were waiting for a long time to get off the ship. Room - We had Aft balcony, room 7430. This was definitely disappointing. We brought drinks and they had no refrigerator and an old tube television. Not that you spend a whole lot of time in your room, but in the balcony rooms you do a little bit more, to relax, read a book, etc. during the days at sea. The refrigerator was most disappointing because I like my sodas cold, we went to guest services and they said the refrigerators are for people with medicine. Wish refrigerators would be standard in the rooms, they have plenty of room to put one in. Food - Guy's Burgers, FANTASTIC!!!!!!! Didn't eat at Blue Iguana, but my Bro-in-law was not impressed with their fish tacos. The buffet was adequate, nothing spectacular. Wish the Triumph had a steak restaurant, other than that, couldn't complain too much about the food. Entertainment - This has improved tremendously, they are almost comparable to Vegas style shows, which they are touting. The usual entertainment shows are still there, but they have enhanced their other shows too. And now with the recent announcement of concerts, Carnival is becoming top-notch with entertainment. Overall, it was a good experience. Nothing to complain about that would drive me away from Carnival. We did book another cruise while onboard so I wasn't disappointed that much, just a few things could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We are frequent cruisers but have cruised the last few cruises on Celebrity. We came back to Carnival to give it another try because we had heard about how wonderful the Carnival Magic out of Galveston was. It is a wonderful ship. ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers but have cruised the last few cruises on Celebrity. We came back to Carnival to give it another try because we had heard about how wonderful the Carnival Magic out of Galveston was. It is a wonderful ship. Waterworks, rope course, comedians, cruise director Noonan, spa cabin- There is something for everyone on the ship.The Magic also had excellent service and food.. The ship was mostly Texans, a very friendly group. We had beautiful weather for most of our cruise starting with sailaway from Galveston. Montego Bay was sunny in the morning but rained in the afternoon after we went back to the ship. We were hesitant about going out on our own in Jamaica so we used up some OBC and chose the Catamaran Snorkeling with the stop at Margaritaville. Very fun! Had a great time on the inflatable toys out in the water at Margaritaville after trying the famous and very fast waterslide. Grand Cayman started out very stressful. We purchased FTTF to get early tendering in Grand Cayman for a private excursion. We were at the service desk at 6:50 am to get the first tender. Told by staff to wait in lobby and as soon as tendering started, we would be escorted to first boat. Husband happened to look out the window after 7 to see tenders already leaving the ship while we patiently waited in the lobby. Had to ask several more times before we were escorted to the tender boat. Barely made our 8;30 meetup time. Tenders take their time loading even though there are always 3 or 4 other tenders circling waiting for passengers. Takes about 25 minutes to load the tenders. Magic's shiptime never changes so remember Grand Cayman time is 1 hour later if you book a private excursion. We booked a snorkeling excursion with Acquarius Sea Tours here that was the highlight of our trip. Pickup at the dock, snorkeling, pizza, private one on one time with the rays at Stingray City (while watching, across the way, boats packed with hundreds of people all gathered around a single guide and ray), another stop at Starfish Point, delivery back to the dock and free pictures taken by the guide of the whole excursion available on the internet. Could not have had a better day! Next port was Cozumel. Been there lots of times so decided to try America's Cup Racing to get out on the water on a sailboat. Captained the Canadian Boat to the win! I wanted to relax so I was made the Captain. My husband wanted to help sail so he was the Grinder. Fun! So we had a wonderful week on the Magic that all came to a crashing halt when we hit fog and were delayed getting back to port. I know, that's not Carnival's fault. The way they handled debarkation is though. The other reason we purchased FTTF was for getting quickly to the airport after the cruise. Debarkation was the worst we have ever experienced in all of our many cruises. Again, we had FTTF specifically to get off the ship quickly. The FTTF letter delivered to our stateroom even states that we will be among the first to debark the ship. With fog delaying the ship's arrival, we thought FTTF would really help get us to the airport faster. WRONG. We got off the ship fairly quickly just to wait over 50 minutes staring at our luggage at the port, being yelled at by port staff and not being allowed to pick up our zone 1 luggage until all zones had their luggage placed in rows. I don't understand why this happened. When finally allowed to proceed, we were put on a Carnival transport that then sat over 50 minutes to leave for the ride to IAH. The transport arrived 7 minutes before our rebooked plane left which was too late to make the flight. That meant incurring even more rebooking fees and hotel and food costs not to mention missing work and babysitting responsibilities Monday. We had spent a fabulous 7 days on the Magic with all the employees going out of their way to make our vacation special only to be rudely yelled at and dismissed by the port staff. They kept yelling at us to get over in the corner as we watched most of the ship walk off. We were to wait until all luggage was off the boat until we could access ours. The Carnival employee at the transport bus said she is allowed to hold us for an hour before she has to send the bus onto the airport. There were already about ten people on the bus before we got on and they waited the full hour plus for departure. Consequently everyone in front of us was missing their flights. We had to wait for the bus to fill up with a few more stragglers before we could leave. Shame on Carnival. They treated their most valued guests (those with Diamond and Platinum Status and those who paid extra for FTTF) the worst. I wouldn't recommend paying the extra $50. Save your money!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I recently returned from a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had cabin 8114 and our friends had wheelchair friendly cabin 8116. It was a wonderful cruise! Everything was topnotch...the food, the service, the ... Read More
I recently returned from a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We had cabin 8114 and our friends had wheelchair friendly cabin 8116. It was a wonderful cruise! Everything was topnotch...the food, the service, the itinerary and the shore excursions. If you are not heavy wine drinkers, they will keep your bottle for you for the next evening AND will transfer it to another restaurant if perhaps you're trying Pinnacle Grill or Tamarind... Holland America staff were waiting for us with cold bottles of water and cold, wet washcloths on the pier near the ship. What a nice touch after a warm day! One thing I did notice that I didn't like was a big vibration at certain points on the ship. It was particularly obvious in the Tamarind restaurant. We switched tables 3 times and couldn't get away from it there. We were traveling in cabins 8114 and 8116, an accessible cabin. 8114 had better close space, a nice baloney, and a bath tub (no jacuzzi). 8116 had less closet space and was geared for somebody in a wheelchair so a lot of your clothes need to hang in the lower half of the closet. The bathroom was very generous and there was a seat and bars in the shower, but no tub. The balcony on 8116 was at an angle facing the front of the ship which was especially nice when sailing. There is a ramp up/down through the balcony door for a wheelchair in 8116. I have been on other caribbean cruises, but the itinerary, ship and excursions on this one were the best yet!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I were extremely excited about this cruise on Royal Caribbean, as it was many years since we were on an RCI Ship. Our two previous cruises in 2013 were on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Glory. Together my wife and I have ... Read More
My wife and I were extremely excited about this cruise on Royal Caribbean, as it was many years since we were on an RCI Ship. Our two previous cruises in 2013 were on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Glory. Together my wife and I have cruised 30 times on multiple cruise lines. Embarkation in New Orleans was wonderful. We got on the ship and settled within 30 minutes. We heard great things about the Serenade and it's recent refurbishment but found the ship to be tight in public areas and not easy to pass through them. People with hoverrounds driving drunk, running over peoples toes and just pure rudeness. What really surprised us was the difference in the employees on RCCL versus Carnival. Carnival has their customer service onboard their ships down! The Royal Caribbean employees almost gave the attitude that they just did not want to be there. We never saw them polishing the metal rails, cleaning or anything. Our cabin steward did not service our cabin every day either. The "little" things that make it special were certainly lacking on RCCL. No towel animals every night, no turn down service every night, no chocolate at all on the pillows. In the dining room there was an upcharge for lobster or steak at dinner and the food was just so, so. The casino staff were rude and inconsiderate. We are certainly not impressed with Royal at this point and although we have great tatus with them, we are certainly going to look at Carnival first, then others and if the price is right, we may consider going back to Royal, but it would have to be a great savings. If Royal would go back to their old ways of customer service and "WOWing" the customers, we might consider travelling on them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Had a great time, Carnival never disappoints. Drove to the port and parked in the port parking lot. Arrived around 1100 am we went platinum this year but did not have room to set in the special waiting area too many Faster to the fun ... Read More
Had a great time, Carnival never disappoints. Drove to the port and parked in the port parking lot. Arrived around 1100 am we went platinum this year but did not have room to set in the special waiting area too many Faster to the fun people there already. When they started boarding they went into the special waiting room first so good thing we we're watching or they might have skipped over us. When we got on the ship our room was ready so we dropped off the bags and began to explore the ship. Ate at the Tandor station in the buffet loved it food was great. Indian food in MDR was awful, didn't work out for me. Loved the BBQ on the Lani little burgers were the best. Went to the Pasta station above the Buffet was told it was a 40 min wait but I looked around and set down anyway. Got our food in less than 8 min but it was bland and too much water. Ate in the Steak House one evening and it was wonderful. We did not watch all the shows as the singers and dancers are boring, we did however enjoy Gumbie the assist cruise director, be sure to ask him to show you how he got his nickname. We enjoyed the ventriloquist show something out of the ordinary. Do not miss the Comedy shows Carnival scores perfect with this bunch. The MDR staff was the best and the brunch sea days were my favorite. Don't miss the Eggs Ranchiro, yum. The pool areas had too many people for me good thing we had the Spa rooms to relax in. Liked the Movie at sea on the big screen, Carnival is still a fun ships but now I think I want a more relaxing and elegant cruise and for a few dollars more I can have that. I don't think that Carnival has changed that much but I have. The water works slides were wild.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I have sailed Carnival on a few occasions. The following is what to expect on the Paradise. Embarkation: Tampa has valet parking. A nice option we took advantage of for $20.00 more. We were in the grand suite so we had priority boarding. ... Read More
I have sailed Carnival on a few occasions. The following is what to expect on the Paradise. Embarkation: Tampa has valet parking. A nice option we took advantage of for $20.00 more. We were in the grand suite so we had priority boarding. Very smooth boarding, but I did miss not having a steward escort us to our room. We were on our own to find it. It was a lovely cabin with a leather sectional sofa, additional club chairs, large dressing/makeup area, nice size walk in closet and bathroom. I did not like that they automatically put the tip for cabin steward, waiters/waitresses on the bill. We are generous tippers and the service was much better before they started doing this. Now they are a bit lacking in the service dept. The ship is showing it's age. We expected that, but not as much maintenance going on in ports as there used to be. The ship is slightly inconvenient getting from deck to deck. Watch the prices for jewelry in the onboard gift shop. You can do much better at a port, however you must haggle.The food: We are not big eaters. The Lido deck buffet was not good with the exception of the Mongolian Grill which we ate at once during embarkation. The rest we ate in the dining room. I would rate the food good, not great. The warm melting cake varied every night from fair to excellent. No other dessert was anything to rave about. No more midnight buffets. We never ate at them anyway so we didn't miss it. A bathing suit from a previous guest was found behind the shower curtain. We had been showering in there for 3 days prior to the discovery. The spa was fabulous! My husband had his teeth whitened and I had a keratin hair treatment, cut and blowout. Purchase the products to take home to maintain the beautiful hair! The truly are great. Disembarkation is quick and easy or laid back and easy. Your choice. All in all we had a wonderful time spending time together. We always cruise in suites and it's back to Celebrity Cruise Lines for us. Carnival is about fun, Celebrity is about luxury.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Carnival has really lowered their standards and the Carnival Dream is no exception to that. The cut backs are really noticeable and I really believe it has become all about the money and it's no longer all about the customer. From ... Read More
Carnival has really lowered their standards and the Carnival Dream is no exception to that. The cut backs are really noticeable and I really believe it has become all about the money and it's no longer all about the customer. From start to finish, our cruise seemed out of whack. It was as if the ship and crew were not prepared for our cruise. We left late, ran out of certain foods, suffered through long lines, ate cold food, and had to deal with unfriendly staff. There were over 4,000 passengers on that ship and allegedly 1,100 crew members but it seemed as if they were lacking in all areas. You had to practically bump into a crew member for them to say anything to you and it when they did say something, they lacked the normal happiness I'm accustomed to on Carnival ships. The long lines were another problem. You would think that a ship that can hold 4,000 people would be ready to accommodate 4,000 people, but no. We waited in line for everything! Not to mention having to wait 2 hours, 2 different times to get a seat in the dining room. And once you're in the dining room, their are so many people that trying to place and order and get your waiters attention is almost impossible. And unfortunately eating in the dining room is the best place to get food because the buffet food wasn't very good and a trip to Applebee's would have been better. And if you were not early to the entertainment shows then you were just out of luck as everything was full 15 minutes before any show. Another problem was the lack of quality control. I went through countless utensils and dishes that had all kinds of crap stuck to them. It really made me wonder how they cleaned things. The cruise wasn't completely horrible but too many things went wrong for it to be completely enjoyable, but this was easily the worst cruise I've ever been on and can guarantee that we will not go on the Carnival Dream again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Background: My husband and I are both 30. We were looking for an inexpensive week in the Caribbean over the summer of 2013. Only a few cruise lines stick around in the summer and run Caribbean cruises. We booked only 6 weeks in advance. ... Read More
Background: My husband and I are both 30. We were looking for an inexpensive week in the Caribbean over the summer of 2013. Only a few cruise lines stick around in the summer and run Caribbean cruises. We booked only 6 weeks in advance. and Carnival had the ports we were most interested at a price we could easily afford. We also live 30 minutes from Port Canaveral, so the Carnival Dream was the perfect fit for a last minute cruise choice. Our first cruise in 2006 was with Carnival. We have also done NCL in 2010 and Disney in 2012 and 2013. We did not purchase faster to the fun and we chose Your Time Dining. Embarkation: The Dream was late getting into PC the day we were set to leave,. We weren't able to enter the terminal until around 1pm vs the 'normal' 11am. Despite the delays, we happily arrived at 1:30pm, checked in VERY quickly and they started the boarding process around 1:50 pm with the special groups and faster to the fun. They started general group boarding around 2pm, we had group 14 and we were called to board at 2:15. Anytime I arrive at the terminal and start "walking on the ship" within 1 hour, is a great experience. Dining: Meh. This is where I really feel we got what we paid for. Main dining room food was mediocre and its not that we go out for fancy dinners all the time, we eat out at Moe's, Chipotle, Panera, Chilis, Carrabbas, etc. Sometimes it was underseasoned, or over sauced. One night my tiramisu was frozen in the middle! Which led me to wonder how old anything was that we were eating, if it was frozen. I would rate dining lower except the Deli, Mongolian Wok, and Tandoor were EXCELLENT! We didn't get a chance to try the pasta bar, because we were out in port during lunch on most days. In fact, that was our biggest complaint. The deli is open most of the day, so it's always a good option, but the rest of the GOOD stuff is only open a few hours at lunch time. Public Areas: This is a big ship and our sailing was sold out. So we and our new 4500 friends got to share all the public spaces. The ship was very nice and the layout was pretty decent. Most of what you do is on decks 5, in the main theater, or on the pool/outdoor decks up top. I was worried that such a large ship would take a few days to figure out, but we had a good handle on the orientation by day 2. The only times we found 'crowds' were during the nightly entertainment and during some meals (on lobster night everyone goes to the dining room). The buffet specialty areas got backed up a few times too. Other than that the number of people wasn't very noticeable. The ship is decorated nicely. I thought it had a very modern yet glitzy feel to it. On our first Carnival cruise, I felt like we were stuck in old school neon Las Vegas at sea. This ship is a definite improvement over our first experience. The only time the layout got us was when we tried to use the middle bank of elevators, unless your stateroom is near that elevator bank and you need to get to the promenade deck, or pool/buffet area, don't use them! One other complaint are all those poles in the main theater and main lounge!! They create too much obstructed viewing. Entertainment: As far as the headlining acts go, we only went to ONE show in the main theater. It was dubbed the best in the fleet, "Dancing in the Streets". It was pretty decent and the break dancing team made the show for us. The singers were way too loud and the sound engineers didn't exist to fix the levels... I don't think i ever saw someone sitting in the booth!! Two of the nights were dedicated to country music, not our thing, and that's OK. Like I mentioned, the break dance team "Fun Force" was really good and we tried to attend each of their events going on after we realized they existed. I had seen "Fun Force Dancers" listed in the fun times earlier in the week, but had no clue what it referred to. They do a show in the Atrium that is GREAT. The comedians that we got to see where pretty good! But, the lounge they perform in is way too small and its the second largest venue after the main theater. This makes us think Carnival needs to switch this up. Some nights the comedians were the 'only thing' going on, so why not have them in the main theater instead? That way a lot more people can see EVERY set. When one set would finish, you had to exit the lounge and either get back in line and try to get a seat, or just leave like we did and try to find something else to do that probably isn't as good. There were too many occasions on this cruise where we had to arrive way to early to get good seats and were stuck sitting around staring at the walls for 30 minutes before EVERY show/comedian. Service: The service people on this ship were fantastic!! Our room steward was so nice and very attentive. We saw her every day but the first. She was always smiling and asking us how we were doing and what we did during the day. All the servers were quick, very nice, and had a happy demeanor. Dinner service is slow at times, but that is expected on a cruise with this many people on it. Everyone we encountered spoke good English. Activities/Enrichment: Every day there were large blocks of time that didn't have anything going on that we wanted to take part in. But, there was plenty going on during some parts of the day that it balanced out well enough. We took part in a lot of trivia! We also liked attending the 'game shows'. We did one that was "18+", I say that in quotes because children were in fact present. It was a battle of the sexes trivia war. Men vs Women and the questions were things the opposite sex would know. It was interactive and fun. We attended another game show, twice, that was music trivia related.... lots of music trivia on this ship! We tried something new on this cruise... the champagne art auctions. This is my new favorite thing to do on a cruise! It is incredibly fun to experience a real auction and I got to learn about newer artists. I wish we had attended one of these sooner in the cruise! We got to experience the final 2 on the ship. Each time we went you got an art print to take home. We watched a couple games of Bingo and they were horribly boring! Disney's bingo on board is amazingly fun and exciting... Carnival needs to take some lessons on how to spruce up a mindless game like Bingo. Other activities involved deck parties and hairy chests... no thanks! We aren't in college any more. Fitness/Recreation: We had access to the spa facilities on this cruise and it was a lot of fun. We had never been to a sauna or steam room before. We also did a spa tour, in which I learned that I really want a full body hot stone massage, just not at their prices! I also visited the gym and the equipment was very nice and there was plenty to go around and had a nice view of the ocean. Out on deck we didn't take part in the pools. We did visit 1 hot tub in the Serenity deck (adults only). It was quite hot. Not sure if that was because not many people were using or because the sun was shining openly on the tub. The serenity area was a nice, quiet area to escape to outdoors. I wish we had more time to sit outside and enjoy it. We did 3 or 4 games of mini golf on this cruise. They have a full 18 holes and it was a lot of fun. Only a few wear and tear issues in some areas. Otherwise it was one of the better kept courses we've visited lately! Prices/Rates: We booked late, so we didn't get to take part in the early saver rate that would have earned us quite a bit of OBC. No ones fault, just bad timing. Other wise Carnival is the lowest prices around, even last minute on a cruise ship that is about to sell out. Cabin: We had cabin 11-207, a handicap assessable interior Cloud 9 Spa cabin. We were able to book this cabin because it was the last one in this category. The room was spacious but it was lacking in storage space. Other cruises we have been on, there is always a place to stick all of our things. This category came with a 'free' week long spa pass for the two of us. Booking this cabin got us a $50 discount off buying a week pass and got us a cabin all the way up on deck 11. I was worried about the cabin being all the way forward on a high deck, but the movement was not bad at all! The placement of the cabin is right next to the door that leads to the back entrance of the gym/spa. The location was extremely convenient for the spa, not to far to the Atrium elevators, and a brisk walk across the ship from the buffet areas. One inconvenience we had was on port days. Most mornings we lugged our daily excursion bag with us to breakfast, so we could go straight down to get off the ship and not backtrack to the cabin (we had early days & tenders). Otherwise, I felt like the location was good enough for getting around day to day. Value: I would rate the value of this cruise as good. It is what it is, a cheap vacation that includes all you can eat food, transportation, and entertainment. We picked this cruise because of the ports we visited and because we were limited in who was sailing during the summer. In the future, if we have a choice between Carnival and spending a little more, we will spend a little more. Other Observances: The 'rules' on this ship were a mere suggestion in most cases. Children attending 18+ activities, and I don't mean high school kids that are probably OK with the content, I'm saying it was middle school and younger. Weird! Dress code really didn't mean a thing in the main dining rooms. We saw a guy in t-shirt and shorts on lobster night. It didn't ruin my experience, but why create a dress code if you aren't going to enforce it. I feel like Carnival is 'copying' NCL freestyle cruising without outright changing the 'code' and admitting it. It's not bad, just misleading?   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I had the pleasure of taking a cruise recently (March 24) on board the Norwegian Star to the Caribbean out of New Orleans. This cruise was part of a casino promotion for my wife and I and there were a lot of people on board with similar ... Read More
I had the pleasure of taking a cruise recently (March 24) on board the Norwegian Star to the Caribbean out of New Orleans. This cruise was part of a casino promotion for my wife and I and there were a lot of people on board with similar promotions. It was a wonderful cruise and I will tell you about the positives and a couple of negatives below. Embarkation: We took a cab from a local Marriott that was about 1 mile away. Getting on board was a breeze. My wife and I arrived at about 12:45 and there was a security line that was about 15 minutes long. After that we got our IDs and went right on to the ship. It took a while however, to get our luggage. The first piece arrived at about 4:00 and, after a phone call from me, the second arrived at about 8:00. The steward said he found it all the way down the hall where it didn't belong. Stateroom: Our cabin was clean and we felt very comfortable there during the entire week. The balcony was certainly big enough for the two of us. The thermostat worked perfectly as it got a little warm at times and the air conditioning kicked right on. The bedding and the pillows were very comfortable as well. Of course, the water never got cold enough for brushing teeth but that's the way it is on every cruise I've been on. Dining: The ship has five or six specialty restaurants for a fee, but we only ate in one of them. We tried Ginza (Japanese) on the last night and we were not disappointed. The fee was 15.00 but my wife had only sushi, so they waived the cover charge for her. Of course we had to pay for the sushi but the prices were not bad at all. The entire bill for us with the tip and cover charge was only 32.00. We had dinner in the main dining room (Versailles) the first night but I was told that I could not wear short pants in there from that night on. So we ate dinner every other night in the other dining room (Aqua) where there was no dress code. The menus are the same in both restaurants. The food was OK, nothing special. The first night was the surf n' turf night and I had steak with two lobster tails. I had a rib-eye one night but it was thin and a little too well done. Half the menu is the same each night and the other half changed from night to night. We also had breakfast in there once or twice. The waiter service, overall, was good. Freestyle dining on Norwegian allows you to eat whenever you want between 5 PM-- 9:30. It also allows you to sit by yourself, if you want that sort of thing. You also end up waiting for a table. Personally, I don't think it's that bad to sit with strangers each meal and to get to know them and the same waiter and busboys. But you would have to eat at certain times, either 6:00 or 8:30. Both ways have their pros and cons. We had breakfast in the buffet 4 or 5 times, and lunch there whenever we were on board for lunchtime. The food was regular buffet food, They did have somebody cooking omelettes in the mornings which was a big upgrade over the regular scrambled eggs. The variety for breakfast was plentiful. Toasted bagels were surprisingly good and the orange juice, in particular, was excellent. For lunch, they had the usual salads and cold cuts and hot foods. They also had slices of pizza but oddly, the slices weren't cut all the way through. All week long I, and other people, reached forward to separate the slices with our fingers only to be told not to touch the pizza. Outside, by the pool they had burgers and hot dogs and fries each day. A couple of days, they had a big barbecue at the pool, with ribs, corn on the cob, and other goodies. They had scoops of different flavor ice cream served at the pool each day and an ice cream machine inside for just vanilla and chocolate. My wife ordered room service the first two mornings. Both times they delivered similar but different items than she had ordered. She gave up after that. Overall, I would say the food was above average. Port and Shore Excursions: As per previous reviews, we decided to plan our excursions using the internet instead of buying shore excursions from Norwegian. As expected we saved mucho dollars doing it that way. It just takes a little internet searching. On the first stop, Costa Maya, as per previous review, we contacted the Tropicante Restaurant with it's owner Steve and his great staff. Steve answered my e-mail right away and although his loungers for the beach were booked, he said that he would do the best he could for me, even getting loungers from next door. He told me exactly where to go from the pier to escape the over-zealous vendors and pier transportation and to grab a local taxi outside the gate. The ride cost $4.00 for the two of us. We were there in five minutes. The Mahahual Beach in Costa Maya is a cement boardwalk which is about a half-mile long lined with small restaurants and small hotels and gift shops. Each establishment has it's own little section of the beach with lounge chairs, small tables for eating and plenty of massage tables, which I learned has been added recently. They charge $25.00 for a one hour massage. Incredible. Steve has three or four people working the beach for him, with Jorge being, kind of, the concierge. He takes care of the reservations for the loungers, as well as the scheduling of the massages. The entire crew is fabulous and even though it was a cloudy day with hardly any sun, they made it worthwhile. Steve was very personable and spent the entire day on the beach talking to his customers. The menu is simple with burgers, tacos, burritos, etc. and is reasonably priced. I recommend this place to anyone visiting Costa Maya. The whole day, with food, drinks and massages and tips cost about 90.00. Just e-mail Steve at the Tropicante. Do show a few weeks in advance if you want a lounge chair for the beach. We decided not to get off the boat in Belize. We weren't impressed initially with the reviews of Belize, and the whole tendering process with a half-hour tender ride is, frankly, a pain in the a-s. So we stayed on the ship and had any chair we wanted by the pool on a nice sunny day. The hot tubs were empty for the first time and it was nice and peaceful on board. We don't think we missed anything in Belize because we had a zip-line excursion booked for the next day in Honduras. Honduras was a definite step up from Costa Maya and Belize. The port and the area around the port was newer and built up. I had reserved a zip-line adventure with Pirates of the Caribbean tours and, through e-mail, I was able to leave a deposit and find out where to get the transportation. The ride there was in an air-conditioned van and was about 15 minutes. The zip-lining was a blast. First time for us. Our guides, Charlie and Iran were excellent and understanding for the beginners. My wife and I were alone with them because the other guides were with a bigger group. We did the 65.00 package which includes eight lines from 1100 ft. down to 200 ft. And the heights were high in the beginning to lower at the end. The guides helped somebody like me who didn't make it across all the way once or twice. But there is no anxiety at all .....except on the first jump when you have to get a running start off the edge. But I felt completely safe during the whole 45 minute adventure. We ordered pictures that they take, which cost about 50.00 for 35 pictures. Not too expensive for a great time and we were back on the ship by 11:00AM. In Cozumel, there was another ship at the dock with us, Norwegian Dawn. We had tried to reserve the Playa Maya Beach Club privately, but they wouldn't take reservations unless you did it through the ship. I knew that they would take walk ups so I did the excursion that way. Cozumel is a big city in Mexico and there were seven (7) cruise ships in port that day. We took a cab (16 dollars) to Playa Maya. There are many beach clubs in the area to choose from (some are private) but I knew Playa Maya from the cruise ship choices. Playa Maya is a tremendous beach club with a couple of hundred lounge chairs, umbrellas (charge), a massage area (55.00/hr.), an area with about 15 hammocks (of course there was a kid on each one), a kiddie area with water slides, a large pool, a large buffet area, bars, and a few stores. On the beach they have big water trampolines and slides, kayaks, sailboats, paddle boats, and other water activities. Also ping pong and volleyball. The prices are 75.00/pp for everything including food and alcoholic drinks. 55.00/pp for no food and some alcoholic drinks, and 39.00/pp for no food and no drinks. We managed to get two chairs with a free umbrella and the sun was in and out but that was fine. It's a nice place and it was a nice day. Unfortunately, the price that I paid was almost the same as the excursion off the ship, which would have been including food, so buying the excursion on the ship would have been better in that instance. Strange but the 16.00 taxi ride going there was 17.00 coming back. Oh well. One of my favorite memories from the cruise came when we returned to the pier from our beach excursion in Cozumel. The Norwegian Pearl had replaced the Norwegian Dawn at the pier right next to us (I'll bet the folks on Norwegian Dawn didn't like finding out that they had to tender back to their ship). Anyway, on the pier were about 25 crew members from each ship and they were lined up on either side to form a path to walk through and they were all dancing to music played by a DJ who had set up out there. The music was lively (top 40 stuff)(dance music) and all the crewmembers were dancing (usually line dancing) with smiles on their faces and getting people to dance with them as passengers strolled back to the ships. The Cruise Director from the Star (Kyle Dodson) was out there with a mike welcoming everyone back to the pier. They were also handing out jello shots and it was a lot of fun. The party atmosphere went on for three hours until the Star left. The music was still going on at the pier for the Pearl as the Star pulled away. A real great idea. I filmed some of it and will try to post. Entertainment: There was entertainment going on during the entire cruise, more than I remember on other cruises. You could walk around from venue to venue and find somebody playing jazz in the atrium and have a drink or a cappucino from the bar at the same time, or you could find folks doing karaoke in front of a packed house in the Irish Pub, or you could go the casino and lose (I mean win) some money there, or you could listen to someone just playing the piano. These things went on each and every night so you could do something different each night or enjoy the same things over again. They had a show in the theatre every night at 7:30 and 9:30 depending on when you ate dinner. The shows were surprisingly good for a cruise. The singers and dancers from the ship were good, in fact, five of the girls did a show one night by themselves called "Shout! The Mod Musical" singing songs from the sixties (Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, and so on) and the show was fabulous. The girls were really great. The had a comedy show called "Sharkbait" which is basically two jugglers but they were very entertaining involving the audience in their show. They had a real hard time completing their tricks with the way the ship was rocking, but they got through it. The two jugglers did a Q and A one afternoon for an hour and they answered any and all questions about their lives in Ringling Bros. circus for eight years, their lives in Clown College which is a whole lot more than learning how to be a clown, and their 8 years entertaining on cruise ships. They told us about their salaries, their sleeping arrangements, all the injuries that they've had on stage, and about their personal lives. Fascinating stuff. "The Second City" also did a comedy show in the theatre. It was funny but not great. They did an adult show one night in another room but I did not attend. One night they had a show with a husband and wife ballet team doing some acrobatics with hoops and curtains and sheets. They were talented but it wasn't really my kind of entertainment. On the last night, there was a show called "Elements" which featured the same ballet team, a magician who we had seen on an earlier evening, and some of the dancers from the ship. The show could have been a lot better compared to the way they were hyping it all week. Overall, I would say the shows were above average and a couple of them were memorable. One night we happened to be walking through the atrium and we came across an impromptu little show that the staff was putting on. Some of the chefs and crew members from other departments did some solos (singing) and were extremely entertaining. One little guy did "Old Time Rock n' Roll" (Bob Seger) and he had everybody singing and dancing with him. One of the girls from Guest Services was up on top of the counter dancing. The cruise director (Kyle) was there cheering everyone on. (I also have a video of this and will try and upload) It was a really good show for 20 minutes. But this is just an example of the different types of entertainment that were going on around the ship. They had the usual Newlywed Game one night but it wasn't as funny as it could have been. They also had a Dancing contest one night with crew members pairing up with passengers and the Second City folks were the judges. That was pretty entertaining. There was dancing every night either with a live band or with a DJ. Crew members who were off-duty would join in with the dancing and it felt like everybody could have a good time one way or another if you wanted to. Activities: There were Bingo games each day and you could join in for between 39.00 and 69.00 each day. There were bowling tournaments and ping-pong tournaments. In the casino, there were two Texas Hold-Em tournaments during the week with some good payouts, and there were slot tournaments and blackjack tournaments as well. There was also a Lotto drawing each night in the casino. There were exercise classes if you wanted to take part in that. Of course, they also had the usual Art shows and Jewelry shows going on during the week. They had a party for 18-25 year olds every night. They had counselors playing games with the little kids all day and night. There were plenty of other things going on around the ship that I haven't even mentioned here. I've been on other cruise ships before but this was the best for things to do and see. Service: The service was impeccable throughout the ship. The crew had smiles on their faces all the time and were always friendly with a "good morning" or "hello". Everyone did their job as they were supposed to and you can't ask for more than that. The spa, on the other hand, was a disaster. My wife had a facial on the first day and whatever they used on her face caused a reaction. She face swelled up and she was scratching so much that she eventually had to go to the doctor to get some medicine. When I arrived for my massage, I was not offered the choice of going into the locker room and changing into a robe. Very strange. It's the first massage I've ever had where I wasn't offered that. In addition to that, my masseuse showed up late (5 minutes). I was beginning to think they had forgotten about me. This initial treatment by the staff put a sour taste in my mouth and the massage itself didn't change that. It was average, at best. Disembarkation: I decided to take my luggage off the ship myself as I have done before and I had no problems. I didn't have to depend on someone else to move my luggage and I went through customs easily and swiftly. Summary: Before I close, I'd just like to say that the cruise director (Kyle Dodson) did an exceptional job. He was entertaining and enthusiastic but above all, he was visible. I saw him at least twice each day taking part in different events. A cruise director that's out there with the public is somebody who's doing a good job. One thing about Norwegian...they have this promotion where you can deposit 250.00 (up to four times) toward a future cruise (the money just stays in your Norwegian account) and they will immediately give you 100.00 to spend on your current cruise. They expect you to spend it on photographs or in the gift shop, but they also offer to give you 125.00 if you want to spend it in the casino on slot machines. But for someone like me, who doesn't play slot machines, the promotion doesn't work because they won't give you cash to play at the tables in the casino. So beware if you think they're going to give you cash. They will not. I complained about this part of the promotion vehemently. Why would they give you money to spend on the slot machines, but not at the tables? Nonetheless, as you can probably tell, I thought this one of our best cruise experiences. There were a lot of choices as to what to do on the ship and the crew went above and beyond to make it a joyous time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This trip was our second time on the Silhouette and we had another great time. Because of my husband's limited mobility, we basically use the ship as our destination. We are creatures of habit and often return time and again to the ... Read More
This trip was our second time on the Silhouette and we had another great time. Because of my husband's limited mobility, we basically use the ship as our destination. We are creatures of habit and often return time and again to the same vacation destination, whether it's a vacation beach home, vacation club destination or a cruise ship. Returning to the Silhouette gave us the feeling of returning home. We are in our mid-50's and live in Northern NJ, and we love to cruise without our now grown kids because it gives us a chance to be by ourselves and reconnect after 20 years of raising, focusing on and vacationing with them, which is the way it should be. We arrived the day before the cruise and checked into the Embassy Suites 17th street with views of Port Everglades. The place was buzzing with people either getting ready to cruise the next day or having just gotten off a cruise that day. The hotel never felt crowded even though we knew the place had to be fully booked. We had a nice meal at the restaurant before turning in for the night. The comfortable room had a balcony with views of the port and the 8 ships waiting for passengers. Between the sunset and the sunrise, and views of planes taking off at the airport, the location was perfect. The next morning, we thought breakfast would be crazy but it wasn't. People about to embark on a cruise tend to eat and get going quickly so finding a table wasn't a problem. Shuttle vs. Taxi to port - We had never done this before, so we asked at the front desk about taxis to the port and we were told to make a reservation for the shuttle since it cost about the same. We were told to get a reservation for the 2pm shuttle but I thought that would be late. Turns out it really doesn't matter when you reserve, because they always find room for you. We were tired of sitting around the room so I called downstairs and was told to come down now. However, even though the lobby was crowded, they have this shuttle thing down to a science and before we knew it the lobby cleared out and we were next. Off to the ship. I think that was around noon and we were on the ship by 1:15. This to me is the most amazingly coordinated effort on the part of the porters and van drivers and taxis, etc. Pull up to Porter, pull out luggage from the back of shuttle, hand to porter who piles it on cart and off we go. It's a bit of a walk to the terminal from where we were dropped off and for many that wouldn't seem like a big thing but for a man with two osteoarthritic knees it was farther than he wanted to walk. Thankfully, we had Aqua Class tickets so we didn't wait much at all on the security check line or the check in line to get our sea passes. Another long walk to the escalators and then to the gangway and then on the ship. Our cabins were ready shortly after we sat down at Cafe Il Bacio so we finished up our snack and headed up to check it out. We booked an accessible AQ because of the rental scooter we needed for my husband. The cabin size worked perfectly . We were able to maneuver very easily. The cabin was big enough for my husband to move the scooter around and do a k turn to face out. The bed is in the middle with a 1/2 couch in the corner by the door. The cabin is 1/2 size bigger than standard with a balcony size again 1/2 size bigger. The furniture on the deck was comfortable but the desk chair and couch were not. Storage is limited to a dresser/closet with no over-the-bed storage. The only real complaint that was a total surprise was that the door didn't lock. That creeped me out a bit but I guess that's for safety reasons. The bathroom is very roomy with a roll in shower. We did what everybody does and threw down some towels to keep leakage onto the floor at a minimum. Overall we were happy with our cabin, great location, some overhead noise in the morning but we were always up anyway. The cabin steward was a little aloof but tried hard to be nice. No towel animals. :( Ship: Beautiful, always clean, smooth sailing, not a bump or complaint. Food: BLU! Need I say more? Awesome. One night we had lobster tail cooked in a way I'd never expect - over a bed of spinach and served with mandarin oranges. Lawn Club Grill - waited until last Sea Day for 50% off offered to AQ and suite guests. We met another couple on the ship and had a lovely lunch. They let us stay and talk well after closing, until 4pm. Wonderful meal. Entertainment: We went to one show, it was very good. We spent most evenings after dinner at the Molecular Bar. Quiet and out of the way but still part of the festivities. I wandered down to the Martini Bar one night while Hubby stayed at the Molecular Bar. Chaos noise and crowds (all having fun but not what I wanted). You must try the Molecular bar, great cocktails using herbs and fresh fruit essences and ingredients. Pool: Here's what I like about this ship, there's something for everyone. Laid back and quiet if you want it or in your face crazy entertainment and activities if you want that. We spent a lot of time at the adult pool. I preferred it to the outdoor loud crazy pool. Hubby opted to sit with me and swim in the outdoor pool. He spent a lot of time there and heard a great Mariachi band on our cruise away from Cozumel. Alcoves - fully booked on last sea day. That's it. The only bad thing that happened was that on the day before disembarkation, our liquor box didn't show up so I called guest relations and to make a long story short, the cabin steward thought we had accused him of stealing it. Never in a million years would we do that, we just wanted to let someone know we hadn't gotten it yet and it was 9:30pm. They ended up finding it and delivering it. Disembarkation - long walk to terminal building left hubby's knees barking so we found a porter to help us through the mobility challenged line. In taxi to the airport in no time, again, these people do this for a living and it shows. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I will start off by saying, that we knew ahead of time that this would be an older crowd, like a previous reviewer said, the average age was around 75-80 years old. We are in our early 30's and were looking for an upgrade from ... Read More
I will start off by saying, that we knew ahead of time that this would be an older crowd, like a previous reviewer said, the average age was around 75-80 years old. We are in our early 30's and were looking for an upgrade from Celebrity. We aren't looking to party and wanted to enjoy all the ports. The food on Oceania blows Celebrity away. There is really no way to compare the quality. Its not that Celebrity has bad food but Oceania's quality is far superior. There are four specialty restaurants on board. Polo Grill was outstanding, better than any NYC steakhouse I have been to. Red Ginger was the only one that was mediocre, and that is most likely because I am not a big Thai fan. Still the decor was beautiful. Toscana was fabulous, their bread selection was amazing and also they had an olive oil menu as well. The food was incredible. Jacques was a real treat, the food also was outstanding, and the desserts were the best we have ever had. Get the Mille-feuille you will not be disappointed. The Grand Dining room was always delicious. We are a young couple, we have a table for 2 and we eat very fast. We don't like drawn out dinners we order when they bring the water. I think the staff was a little confused but overall they did a good job, the one downside is that since its open seating dining you do not have the same waiter, so unlike Celebrity they do not know your preferences. So if you like to have the same waiters every night this may be hard to do on Oceania. The Canyon Ranch Spa was amazing, We are big spa people, getting a treatment every single day, yes the treatments run $200-$400 and can get pricey but this is something we enjoy about cruising. This spa blow's Elemis away because the staff doesn't try to sell you all their products before and after your treatment. It was so enjoyable to being to get a massage and not have to have the therapist come in with a Card with all the products they want you to buy. The Gym on the ship was fabulous as well, brand new equipment. There was a separate room for spin class as well. We used the gym everyday of the cruise and found it clean and well stocked with Vitamin water, gatorade and bottle water. There were plenty of fresh towels. One bad habit I saw most passengers partake in was not using the lysol wipes after they were done using the equipment. Practically no one did so I would wipe it down before and after just to be safe. The Riviera Lounge where they show's were held was intimate, we didn't go to many shows and missed the big broadway show. We saw the cruise directors show and a few others. Again this is a small theater do not expect show's like Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Caliber. Most of the lounges and bars were empty all the time, sometimes it felt like a ghost ship but it felt nice to feel like you had the ship to yourself. We are not big drinkers so we didn't take advantage of the unlimited drink package. We were in a Concierge level room 9034 and this was a great location and I highly recommend it. Next door is the laundry which was so easy and it was great to come home to hardly any dirty laundry. The Concierge lounge was right next to our room as well, this lounge has a huge screen TV, an espresso/cappucino machine and fridge. In the morning there was plenty of pastries, bagels, and other goodies. The lounge always had people coming and going and I spent a good amount of time in there, the staff was always cleaning up and replenishing the items. The woman who cleaned our stateroom was very cold, she was really quite rude at first and didn't even introduce herself. She did an OK job cleaning, and would often not clean up the dirty glasses in the room and let them sit there. I wasn't her biggest fan but that is the only thing I can think of as a negative. The room was well appointed a little on the small side, the closet was awkward and the door was very noisy. The bathroom was nice, full size sink vanity separate shower and bathtub. Overall the staff was friendly and kind and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ... Read More
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ship but that was a minor inconvenience. We were a party of 4, in two staterooms and none of us caught the bug. :) Yeah! Royal Caribbean notified us of the virus before we left for the port and that there was a delay boarding. They were professional and everything was super clean. Us two couples travel together cruising and on land and we had a great time. We drove to the port and spent one night in New Orleans, boarding was late but efficient considering the extra precautions due to Norovirus. The windjammer was not open at the time of boarding which I thought was poor planning. They opened the windjammer (buffet dining) at 2:00 which meant everyone was on board and very hungry. Norovirus on board meant that they had to serve us in the buffet lines and the biggest problem was rude inpatient cruisers. We were all in the same boat (so to speak) and they had plenty food, people were just impatient, these people complained and were impatient the entire cruise, even though the Captain and crew were working hard to keep us all healthy. I had no complaints except chapped hands from an allergic reaction to hand sanitizer. Food was good but not great, I found it was not as good as our first cruise on Navigator of the seas in 09. NOS Captain was highly concerned about the virus and it was handled well. The port of New Orleans is nice for the New Orleans experience. The port itself was like navigating through a maze. Navigator is in the voyager class, has plenty to offer- multiple pools one of them an adults only pool with large hot tubs in the area, spa, beautiful 3 level dinning room, casino,clubs, and 24 hour cookie and snack shop on the Royal Pramenade. I had heard there are no quiet spots on mega ships, not true, there are numerous seating areas you can quietly sit back and relax. We found one next to the sky bar and played cards when we had extra time or wanted to unwind, just the 4 of us. We also had our private balconies. Our cabins we were on deck 8, room 8603, balcony room, great clean room, comfortable bed and quiet location. We were around the corner from the elevators but had no noise from that,we have booked same general area and we will continue to book this area, close to elevators and the internet cafe. I did not pack my own computer but enjoyed a few minutes to check on my family back home from the internet cafe. Speaking of internet is is slow, all ships have slow internet, you just expect that from a ship internet. The entertainment was a comedian who was very good his name is Scott Record but and an Elvis impersonator, he was talented guy but I do not enjoy a tall skinny Elvis as my headliner entertainment. The ship crew shows were OK, usual show for RCI. We always do the Ice Show, which is excellent, Love and Marriage show (always a blast) and the QUEST!!! A MUST SEE! (for adults ONLY!) There are two formal nights on the 7 night cruise, some still wear Tuxedos and Gowns, I prefer a nice cocktail dress. Our ports were Falmouth Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. Falmouth is still a port being developed and there is not that much do to there. Grand Cayman is beautiful and rich, which is why it stands out from other islands. Cozumel is typical tourist local with plenty to offer. We docked at Falmouth and Cozumel and had to tender to Grand Cayman. The tendering process was easy even though we were doing it during a storm. No problems at the ports getting on or off the ship. The Navigator is showing her age a little bit, I believe she is on the list to be refurbished, I think this was more apparent since we were just on a newer larger ship 6 months before this cruise. I would recommend this ship for a family, couple, or group of friends who want an affordable enjoyable week away in the beautiful Blue Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Our Stateroom: We stayed in the Forward penthouse with extra large balcony (9500). The view was incredible and our balcony was used even on sea days. It was quite breezy on days when we were underway, but still quite doable. There is a ... Read More
Our Stateroom: We stayed in the Forward penthouse with extra large balcony (9500). The view was incredible and our balcony was used even on sea days. It was quite breezy on days when we were underway, but still quite doable. There is a very thick, sturdy metal door that seems to airlock when closed. There is a sign that said for safety purposes to keep it locked when underway. For the record we did not, and neither did our neighbors. Also important to note is that after sunset, your curtains have to be closed to the window to block any light going out on the front of the ship. We did not mind. Our stateroom was well equipped with a sitting area, a table and 4 chairs, king-size bed and full bathroom with tub and shower. A separate vanity for putting on make-up, doing hair etc was also included. The drawer space was more than adequate and the closet was very roomy. There were two safes in the room. We had a fancy coffee maker and nice bar set up. The balcony held two full lounge chairs, two regular chairs and a small table. There was plenty of room on top of that. We also had a refrigerator and a DVD player. A doorbell to the suite is a nice touch. The bed was very comfortable. We had pre-ordered three different types of pillows and they were brought to the stateroom the first night. We also had two bottles of champagne waiting for us with chocolate covered strawberries. Also a box of Godiva chocolates which was a very nice touch. I had also ordered a bon voyage basket including wine and fruit. That was not delivered to the stateroom until late, well after sail away. We had two Latitudes pins and received chocolates at turn down. We also had snacks brought to our room daily. We also requested a pitcher of water be put in our suite and it took an extra day to get it straight, but Carlos finally came to understand my husband's expectations and he offered us complimentary water and kept it on ice. I think our butler, Carlos was stretched a bit thin; he seemed a bit rattled at times. We saw him at the most one time per day. Very nice, but our butler on the Epic was better. Our concierge, Monica, on the other hand was quite lovely!!! She helped us with shore excursion reservations and dining reservations. I waited until I was on board to book everything and there was no problem. We received everything we asked for. I was surprised that they did not have the interactive tv showing you your reservations like on the Epic. I missed that feature. Embarkation: The process was very smooth and we were on the ship by 12:00 noon. We were eating in Cagneys when they announced that our staterooms were already accessible. Cagneys is a great perk for Suite and Haven passengers. We ate breakfast and lunch there several times. After lunch, we dropped our carry-on bags in the stateroom, met our stateroom steward Jovell, (he was the best I have ever had on NCL) and headed up to the Mandara Spa. We took the spa tour and signed up for the week-long pass for the hydrotherapy suite. There is a limited number of them so go early if you want one. (Price is $119.00 per person) The hydrotherapy pool , Jacuzzi and heated ceramic chairs are all found in the unisex portion and then there are separate men and women's steam rooms, saunas, hydrotherapy tubs and cold plunge pools as well. The new electronic locks on the lockers were a constant annoyance and did not work correctly. Next we signed up for shore excursions; just to let you know there are some excursions offered on board that were not offered on the NCL website. Next came the lifeboat drill, our station was Stardust Lounge and next the sailaway party. The seas were rough and it was very windy. It was amazing that I was never once asked if I wanted to order a drink!!! Unheard of on NCL. I purchased a bucket of beer from Topsiders and we enjoyed the DJ and all the people dancing. I particularly loved the re-mix of the NCL "LET's GO" song and we heard it several more times throughout the week. You would hear people singing and humming it including passengers and staff. Our first night dinner was at Cagney's and we used our facebook coupon for a free bottle of wine. I had prime rib, and David had the filet! Excellent dinner!!!! We saw the welcome aboard show at 9:30 which showcases the talent you will see throughout the cruise. The seas were rough and in the front of the ship you do feel the motion much more. David had to take Dramamine, so we called it a night soon after. Day 2: Great Stirrup Cay (private island) Room service was on time and Carlos, our butler brought breakfast. In the suites you get a full breakfast menu and we always take advantage of eating our breakfast on the balcony. We used priority tending with Monica. The seas were very rough and tendering was a bit difficult. This is the first time I have been to GSC since the improvements. The negative is that there has been a lot of clear cutting and vegetation destroyed from the original state. It has lost some of its charm. The island was very crowded. We found chairs and used them all day. Rafts could not be rented as it was way to windy. Many people swam but it was a bit cool for us, so we worshipped the sun all day. Live band played reggae music and we picked chairs in close proximity so we could hear. We walked the island to some of the more secluded places and it was beautiful. Noticed that the cabanas are way out of the way from the main areas so be ready for a bit of a walk if you have reserved them. The buffet lunch was lacking in fruit and drinks. Later, we found out that the ship was having difficulty keeping the island stocked for its guests. We bought a bucket of beer; tendering back was even rougher than when we came over to the island. We returned to our room and no shore excursion tickets had been delivered or no ice water in a pitcher per our request. I called Monica who told me the shore excursion tickets had been printed and delivered to our room; after I told her that was not the case, she ordered a re-print and told me they would be delivered shortly. Finally David called Carlos who arrived at our cabin at 6:45 p.m. with excursion tickets, VIP captain party invitation and treats. He apologized that he was supposed to have delivered these much earlier. That is why I believe he was stretched thin. We also went to the spa and it was lovely as always. Dinner that night was Le Bistro. It was complimentary from Latitudes and included a free bottle of wine. Food and venue was perfection! I had the onion soup, escargot, beef tenderloin and crème brulee ( orgasm in a cup). We booked spa treatments for Thursday; they were normally priced at $269pp marked down to $139 pp. 75 minutes included full body massage, moisturizing facial, scalp massage and feet and ankle reflexology. Went and saw the show "That's Entertainment" and it was average. Day 3 Sea Day We started our day eating at Cagneys. We went to the gym afterwards; David worked out and I attended a health and wellness seminar on Detoxification of the body. After that we got changed and went to the general Latitudes party. This party has certainly cut back in what it offers. A few snacks and quantity and quality of drinks have lessened. It was also scheduled at the same time as the bar hop. Wish we had done that instead at 1:00 in the afternoon. Next, it was up on deck for some sun worshipping and listening to the band. Then on to the Blue Lagoon for a quick lunch about 3:00...then on to the spa and back to the cabin to get ready for the Captain's VIP party. Also it was formal night. The captain's vip party was in the Bliss Lounge and we met some very nice people! Quality of drinks was superb and musical entertainment was provided. Next was our dinner at Teppinyaki! First time I had tried this restaurant and it was very good! That night we attended the show "Oh what a night" a tribute to Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons....it was an awesome show!!! I highly suggest attending this one! We then went to the 70's disco party and enjoyed the crazy antics up there. Called it a night about 12 Day 4 Jamaica No tendering today! YAY!!! Our shore excursion was early so we had early room service breakfast and was on the dock by 9:00 am. We did the Bamboo Beach Break shore excursion. It was simply going to a local beach, where there was an open bar and lunch was served as well. Our guides were very sweet Jamaican girls, Tiffia and Teniqua, and they promised to be our mommas for the day. The beach was very nice with comfy chairs and there were bathroom facilities. Also a dj who played a variety of music. We drank beer all day , Red Stripe! After a while, I decided to go for a swim. WORD OF CAUTION!!! Wear water shoes because once you drop off the sandy beach it is all sharp coral and you cannot stand. I let the waves crash me back on to the beach where I managed to get back up on my feet and return to my chair. More beer and I was feeling no pain...everything was IRIE mon! Our girls served us several different courses to our chairs. We wanted for nothing! I had jerk chicken, a must in Jamaica. Finally, I did a little dancing, Cupid Shuffle and The wobble. GOOD TIMES!!! We got back to the port by 2:00...did a little shopping and then stopped at the small bar on the waterfront. More Red Stripe and reggae music. The locals were quite nice. Back on the ship, we went to the spa and then back to our stateroom for sailaway and wine and treats on our balcony. We went to Summer Palace for dinner and it was good, but service was slow. We were on vacation so no problems! After that we strolled the outer promenade deck and skipped the show. Overall very nice day.Day 5 Grand Cayman (Thanksgiving) It was a rough night on the ship! We rocked and rolled and had an early shore excursion at 8:00 am. We went to The Garden Cafe for breakfast! Yummy and not crowded. Made to order omelets, smoked salmon and crème cheese, along with fresh fruit! Washy Washy, Happy Happy!!! Tendering was again very rough and when we got on shore we found out that the Port Authority had ordered the reefs to be closed due to heavy seas and gale force winds. No excursions for us as we were supposed to go snorkeling and then Tiki Beach. We were never charged for the excursions so no problem with having to get refunds. So...change of plans....we shopped for a while and by 10:30 found ourselves in Margaritaville drinking strong margaritas and watching The Macy Day Thanksgiving parade from NYC...LOL!!! I think I have started a new tradition. Got a good buzz then decided to head back to the ship and eat lunch at Cagneys. We had our spa treatments that afternoon and they were wonderful! Then on to the hydrotherapy suite. Finally back to our cabin to chill and lay on our balcony. We had the second Latitudes party that night in Bliss Lounge for Silver, Gold and Plaitinum members. Great drinks and entertainment! We ate Thanksgiving Dinner at Indigo (main restaurant) and it served a great Thanksgiving dinner with pumpkin cheesecake to end it off. I had two Mojitos and they were served with lots of love!!! We both went and crashed at 9:30 and missed the White Hot party. Oh well... Day 6 Cozumel Wow what a day! It was beautiful sailing in to Cozumel . We started our day at Cagneys and I had steak and eggs. I mention this because it filled me up so much I did not want to eat for the rest of the day. Service was somewhat slow, so after eating, we went returned to our balcony to watch the arrival into Cozumel. Our arrival was scheduled for 11:00 and we had a shore excursion at 12:00. There were numerous ships already there including the NCL Star and NCL Dawn. I was more than excited to know there were three NCL ships in port; how cool. There were two other RCCL ships and three Carnival. It was a packed port. We docked alongside the Star. The camaraderie between the two ships was obvious from the beginning! How much fun was this day going to be? Our excursion took us to PlayaMia...it was a huge beach with many different activities to choose from. It had lunch included and an open domestic bar. It was really crowded at first but as other tours that had been there from earlier hours began to leave, it became much more pleasant. We found some chairs directly waterside, the music played from the DJ and the beer began to flow. Then it changed over to pina coladas and they were made with lots of love!!! David ate lunch; I wasn't hungry but I continued to drink pina coladas. They were awesome. We went swimming and the water was beautiful!!! It was a glorious day! Met lots of really nice people as well. By the time we boarded the buses to return back to the ship, I was feeling no pain to put it nicely. The walk back to the ship was extremely festive, a real party atmosphere. Cruise director Julie was up on stilts and the rest was just a crazy blur. We made it back to our stateroom to watch the sunset and the Star sailaway. Remember how I said I had not eaten since breakfast? Well it caught up with me and I took a very long nap that extended 12 hours into the next morning. We missed our reservations at Moderno Churrascaria and the Chocoholic Buffet...oh well...It was a great day!!! Day 7 -- Last sea day After my 12 hours of sleep, I awoke to the sunrise off of the coast of Cuba. This is one thing I love about cruising...always something new! We went to the Garden Cafe for breakfast and custom made omelets along with smoked salmon and crème cheese with fresh fruit. There really is something for everyone! It was extremely windy so we decided to hang out on our balcony. For some reason, the force of the wind was not as bad there as other places on deck. I had a few errands to do like buying my next cruise reward so off I went to the cruise consultant's office. While there, I think I sold two couples on booking Breakaway and convinced another couple to move to South Carolina. LOL!! Stopped at the shops to enter a raffle on the way back to the cabin. Then we spent from 10:00 until 2:00 on our balcony. It was glorious and we ordered room service for lunch and had lunch with champagne. We decided to go up top afterward to listen to the band one more time but it was very windy so we opted to go to the spa for one last time instead. The only thing that irritates me about the spa btw is the people who camp out for an hour on the heated ceramic chairs....Ughhh!!! One last time to the gym to have our basic metabolic rates tested and a health/wellness program assessment for us to follow at home. I loved Ryan who was a personal trainer! Great information from him and he gave me his e-mail to follow up. He is from England and should be back home as his contract was up on the Pearl the following week. Back to the room to start to pack and get ready for our final dinner on board. We chose Le Bistro because is it my favorite. NCL was generous enough to provide us with another complimentary dinner with wine. Of course I had to have crème brulee one last time. We went to the final show which showcased the talent of "Oh what a night" The final farewell from the staff was great. Time to leave: We do walk off with our luggage so we don't have to worry about luggage tags and putting our luggage outside the door at 12:00 a.m. We had a flight leaving from Fort Lauderdale at 11:20 am so we were off the ship first thing. We had priority disembarkation with our concierge Monica and were off the ship by 7:50 am, through customs and on the pier to wait for SAS transportation. Easy as pie! FINAL THOUGHTS: The Pearl has aged a bit since the last time we sailed her in 2008. The decor in the suites need updating and having the interactive tv channel should be a must for post drydock. There was an overwhelming odor of sewage in the hallway going from the front of the ship to the front elevators. It wasn't there all the time, but more than enough to get noticed. Unfortunately, we were unable to use the casino due to the heavy fog of cigarette smoke. It literally makes my husband ill and ventilation needs to be improved. This was our first time in a front balcony and for those who get motion sickness, the front of the ship does move significantly more than the middle. I loved the large front balcony which made up for the excessive motion. I thought the food in both the specialty and included venues was top notch. Our room steward Jovell was stellar in the service he provided and I tipped him extra and above the regular service charges we had applied to our account. I always tip the butler and concierge extra as well. The trip was fun, relaxing, entertaining and made me feel like I was home for the holidays. I would highly recommend the Norwegian Pearl and I can only imagine what she will be like after her drydock and facelift!!!!! She is my second favorite in the fleet only behind the Epic! Make sure to include her on your list of ships to try out!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click