5 St. Thomas Family Cruise Reviews

First I need to say is that anyone that wants to be picky should never go on a cruise!! I couldn't wait to write this review. In fact I'm doing it as we head to the Airport. The Escape was a very Beautiful Ship with the Wow ... Read More
First I need to say is that anyone that wants to be picky should never go on a cruise!! I couldn't wait to write this review. In fact I'm doing it as we head to the Airport. The Escape was a very Beautiful Ship with the Wow factor! From first entering the ship all the way to the exiting the ship on the last day the crew was Superb!! Starting at the Port to getting on the ship went smoothly! Yes there is a waiting period so don't get there at 9 am! We arrived at 11:30-11:45 and was on board by 12:45. Once on the ship we were able to eat a great lunch! It was so relaxing and the staff was always friendly! The only hiccup was getting 1 out 8 pieces of our luggage. The tag got ripped off so it was at the Guest Service Desk! If we would have thought to go there earlier I'm sure we would have had my luggage a lot earlier! Lesson learned! Throughout the cruise every single person was friendly and looked like they enjoyed their jobs! There is one exception and that was the young girl at the Excursion Desk! She was quite curt and seemed as if we were bothering her with our many questions we had about an Excursion! She must of been having an off day! Not that you have to but we tipped our stewards that cleaned our rooms and our friendly bartenders!! I know the gratuity is included but I think they deserved extra! Our room was cleaned very well and our kiddos loved having a animal made from towels left on their beds each day! On our port days the whole Embarkation process was so easy!! On our final day Exiting the ship was a breeze as well. We took our own luggage and it wasn't bad at all! I believe we were off the ship within 20 minutes. The food and drinks were the best I have ever had at a resort. The After Midnight show was spectacular. Only wished the Million Dollar Quartette wasn't cancelled. But all in all there are people that like to only point out the bad and I'm sure there are but the good definitely out weighs them on this ship! This was our first cruise. We are a family of 7! I will definitely sail on a NCL ship again!! In fact NCL ships put the others we saw at the ports to shame! Keep up the energy and greeting your guests back on the ships NCL! The other ships look boring and I think the other ships guests wished they were getting on our ship when they saw the special treatments we got as we were boarding...cool wash clothes, water and juice!! Very nice factor! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The Queen Elizabeth is basically identical to the Queen Victoria, same size, same layout same venues. The ship lacked vitality and excitement. It was boring and Cunard made no effort to make our holiday experience anything better ... Read More
The Queen Elizabeth is basically identical to the Queen Victoria, same size, same layout same venues. The ship lacked vitality and excitement. It was boring and Cunard made no effort to make our holiday experience anything better than staying in a good quality hotel for a few days. The attitude was simply "you should be honoured to sail with us" The truth was very different. The entertainment programme was very poor save for the one excellent Act and the in-cabin entertainment was poor and depressingly repetative.The ship had no buzz about it. Everybody looked fed up! The great standards of past Cunard Cuisine were not apparent. Cunard has lost its way. It does not seem to know what product to serve up. Striving to maintain old world class mixed with a modern cruise holiday experience does not work. We all agreed that we would not return. Sad really, because I have always looked up to Cunard as the leader of cruise excellence. Not anymore. The ship is beautiful but there are few venues to enjoy. Inside bars are few, no signiture restaurants and the queens room is totally under used. One solo musician actually held a concert when no one at all was present. Now that is what I call out of touch. Sad really. Gordon Stead, EXPERIENCED CRUISER Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We boarded The Arabella on Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at Red Hook on ST. Boarding the ship we were greeted by the crew and a frothy rum punch. Debbie the First Mate and Jack of all trades was ther to ease the sign in process. Debbie is the ... Read More
We boarded The Arabella on Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 at Red Hook on ST. Boarding the ship we were greeted by the crew and a frothy rum punch. Debbie the First Mate and Jack of all trades was ther to ease the sign in process. Debbie is the person that every organization is lucky to have. After check in we motored to SJ and dined at the tonyCaneel Bay. It is a swanky place and had a great meal there. Monday :Vieques We motor/sailed to Viequesand arrived there at noon. After a great lunch, we headed into town and checked out Esperanza.Our mates went snorkelling and enjoyed it. After 3 Viequensees we head back to the ship for cocktails and apps.After dinner, we went to The Bio Bay which was amazing.We hopped on a bus which brought us to a pontoon boat for our trip to Bio Bay.We educated on plankton that reacted to our body and lit up. Upon entering the water,we were all astounded. Lifting my arm out of the water and watched what appeared to be diamonds rolling down my arm. These were drops of water. This was a ball and I slept like a baby. Tuesday:Culabrita and Culebra At 0600 we motor sail to Culabrita. Arriving at Culabrita, I pack 3 Caribs in a ziplock bag with ice.After a vigorous 20 minute hike to the Lighthouse, I climb to the top and enjoy a breeze and great view.Here, I pop a cold Carib and enjoy the heck out of it.After a great afternoon, we head to Club Seabourne on Culebra for a great meal at a beautiful hotel. Wednesday:Christmas Cove on ST and Saint John. Leaving Culebra, we sail to Christmas Cove for lunch an good snorkelling. Arabella is a great sailboat and sails at 10 knots in a proper wind.We head to SJ for the night and anchor off two great beaches; Salomon and Honeymoon. After a relaxing afternoon we head to Zozos for chilled bottle of white and and the best sunsetview on SJ. Il Tapa lived up to its rep and was superb. We split five great apps. Plenty of food. There was an open mic at Morgan's Mango which was great fun. The local talent was amazing. Thursday:Norman Island and Willy T This was the best snorkelling on the trip. We took the RIB to The Caves and it was like descending into a fish bowl. The water was as clear as drinking water and the color of the fish was amazing. 75 minutes flew by and it was time to jump into the RIB and get squared away for the BBQ at Pirates Bight. After dinner a few of us headed to the infamous Willy T which lived up to its name. Something about half naked women, whipped cream and Baileys. What a hoot. This boy could only handle one hour of those antics. As always Caleb picked us up in RIB and returned us to our orderly home, Arabella. Friday: Jost van Dyke We arrived at noon off White Bay on JVD. After lunch, I checked into my favorite bar in the world, Ivans.Although, Kenny Chesney wasn't there, great folks were. You can't help but have a ball at Ivans. It has sand floors, superb bushwackers and icy cold beer.This side of the beach is uncrowded and as beautiful beach as you will ever see. I genuflected to Ivan as he was holding court in the bar. Ivan is a Vietnam Veteran. After 4 hours, we unfortunately had to leave. We motored around the point to Great Harbor. At sunset we headed into town and enjoyed the sunset and a cocktail or two at Corsairs which is a great place. Iam told Vinny's Pizza is the best. We moved onto Foxy's for the BBQ. It was really good, we wee invited first and there was a large crowd at Foxys. They had a great live band and everyone enjoyed themselves. Sadly, I caught the 10 oclock boat back to the ship and the dreaded packing for departure. Day 6:Saint John, Saint Thomas and Departure At 6:30 we motored to SJ to clear customs. Subsequent to this we motored to Charlotte Amalie and departure. This was all well handled and painless. We left the boat at 10:30 and headed for the airport. Epilogue Breakfast and lunch is served everyday on the boat. John Hawkins ,the ship's cook is talented and does a great job. All dinners save one is provided onshore. This gives an opportunity to enjoy local culture. The rooms are small but comfortable. You control the AC and the hot water is plentiful in the shower. Arabella is as clean as a whistle and the boat gleams. Public spaces are numerous and comfortable as you never feel crowded.The crew is attentive as can be. The bar is manned at all times and the BLOODYS are the Best.From all aspects this a high value experience which I can't wait to repeat.Captain John is very approachable at all times and loves to share the tech and sailing with all. Debbie is the glue that makes Arrabella a great experience. The entire crew will help you at all times. My hat is off to them Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Shhh, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I just turned 50...yikes! The funny thing is I didn't even mind. My sister had arranged for my siblings, in-laws and a cousin to celebrate with me on SeaDream I the week of ... Read More
Shhh, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I just turned 50...yikes! The funny thing is I didn't even mind. My sister had arranged for my siblings, in-laws and a cousin to celebrate with me on SeaDream I the week of December 5-12, 2010. Some background: my sister, cousin and I have been cruising together for close to 20 years. It started out as an annual cruise and as the years have gone by has turned into a 2-3 times a year getaway. In the past we have sailed on the mass lines: Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland - with Celebrity and Holland being our favorites. This past June we decided to take a leap and try the small lines. We booked a back-to-back Mediterranean cruise starting on Seabourn Legend and ending with SeaDream II. We were underwhelmed with Seabourn, although I will give their staff high-marks for friendliness/helpfulness. The funny thing is as soon as we stepped on SeaDream II we gave each other a look knowing that we had found something special. Unfortunately, a family emergency forced us to leave 4 days into our June cruise, but we knew, in that short time, that we had found a new addiction. Six months later we were packing for St. Thomas, ready to board SeaDream I. Our itinerary was to be: December 5, 2010 - Depart from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas U.S.V.I. December 6, 2010 - Esperanza, Vieques Puerto December 7, 2010 - Cruz Bay, St John U.S.V.I. December 8, 2010 - Gustavia, St Barts French West Indies December 9, 2010 - Norman Island B.V.I. December 10, 2010 - Virgin Gorda B.V.I. December 11, 2010 - Jost Van Dyke B.V.I. December 12, 2010 - Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas U.S.V.I. Dock 8:00 Am There was some revision to the schedule once we got onboard. A container of food hadn't reached St. Thomas by the time we were to depart, so it was decided to swap St. John and Vieques. After spending the first day in St. John, we returned to St. Thomas in the evening to load the container. We spent Day 2 in Vieques. Day 3 and 4 were spent in St. Barts. We were originally supposed to be anchored one day in St. Barts. It was never clearly explained why Norman Island was eliminated to add the extra day at St. Barts. First we were told it was due to the weather. Then we were told it was because Norman Island had suffered too much hurricane damage. This was a bit disappointing as I'm not a big fan of St. Barts and love the beauty and seclusion of Norman Island. What I didn't like was the way it felt like we were being given different story by the staff. Other than those 2 changes the itinerary went as planned. I was a little hesitant departing from St. Thomas as I had read horror stories on Cruise Critic about the St. Thomas airport, and it had been years since I had flown into that airport. To be honest, there was no problem arriving or departing from St. Thomas. The airport is small, but customs and security was well-staffed and didn't have long waits. The only negative I have with sailing from St. Thomas is that there are no direct flights from the Washington, D.C. area to St. Thomas. We stayed at the Morning Star section of the Frenchman's Reef Marriot for the 2 nights before and the 1 night after the cruise. Morning Star is located directly on the beach. The location and view of the beach was fabulous; the rooms just OK. The concierge and hotel staff were extremely helpful and pleasant. We had decent breakfasts and drinks at "Coco Joes" a few times during our stay. This open air restaurant directly on the beach was a nice place to watch the sunset and the cruise ships sail out. We had dinner 2 nights at Morning Star's onsite restaurant "Havana Blue". The food and drinks were fabulous, the dEcor was modern and gorgeous, our waitress was very good - the only negative was that the numerous hostesses seemed to have an attitude both nights. We also had dinner one night at "Windows on the Harbor" the Marriott restaurant located at Frenchman's Reef. The food and service here was mediocre, but the view of the Harbor was spectacular. DECEMBER 5TH - ST. THOMAS: We arrived with excitement at the dock around 2:30 to board SeaDream I. We were met by SeaDream staff and porters immediately. Hotel Manager John and Activities Director Colin (who happened to be our favorite bartender when we sailed in June - congrats Colin on your promotion) were there to greet and welcome us. We received our champagne and were checked in within minutes. We immediately took a tour of the ship and found the Top of the Yacht Bar. We were served our first drink by Konrad (great guy) and could tell immediately we were in for a great week! After unpacking we started what would become our routine for the week: cocktail hour, dinner, after dinner drinks at the TOY bar - life is good. A few nights we mixed it up with some gambling, singing at the piano bar, or just wandering around to see what was going on. At the first cocktail hour we were told by our captain that the sailing had 47 passengers and 97 crew. Wow! SeaDream II was departing with us from St. Thomas but their ship was full. I think that was due to their trip being 9 days compared to our 7 days. Dinner the first evening was in the Salon, the food was fabulous, and our cruise was underway. DECEMBER 6TH - ST. JOHN, USVI: We did a little shopping and then took a taxi to Honeymoon Beach. The taxi dropped us off at Caneel Bay Resort. We then had to hike about ½ mile to the beach. The sand and water was breathtaking, very secluded with no more than 20 people on the entire beach. Other people traveling with us went to Trunk Bay and Water Lemon key, they gave high marks to both beaches. Dinner that evening was again in the Salon. Our party of 8 was invited to dine with the Chief Officer Albert from Sweden. He was very interesting and personable and we had a lovely evening. A sidenote: our captain was very visible throughout the entire cruise and was always willing to chat and answer any question we had. DECEMBER 7TH: ESPERANZA, VIEQUES: The day was a little cloudy. We stayed at the pool during the day, did some swimming off of the marina, and jet-skiing. I love that the marina was opened almost every day. Dinner was served outside to the early diners, but as the rain came we were escorted to the Salon for dinner. DECEMBER 8TH & 9TH - ST. BARTS: The first day at St. Barts was off-and-on rain but we headed to the beach anyway. We stopped at St. Jean's Beach and when the rain started we popped into the beachside restaurant, "The Pink Parrot", for lunch and a drink. It had a very French vibe, and we enjoyed ourselves. For dinner that evening, we were served topside - nothing more decadent than being served a 5-star meal with views of St. Barts surrounding us! Wonderful evening. The second day at St. Barts offered the ATV excursion. Four of our group took this excursion and voted it the best experience of the cruise. They also stopped at Governor's Beach and thought it was breathtaking. From here on out, the weather was perfect- sunny and warm. DECEMBER 10TH: VIRGIN GORDA: We've tried to visit the Baths at Virgin Gorda on a few of our previous cruises, but it had never worked out. Finally, we were able to take the ship's excursion on this cruise and experience the baths. It was spectacular. The views were amazing, though we were told by the staff that it was a very easy tour and felt that it would have been difficult for anyone who is not fairly active The boat was anchored off Bitter End Yacht Club in the afternoon with tenders to the beach - very nice. Dinner was served outside again, and I know I'm sounding redundant, but it was delicious and the ambience perfect. The chef setup a Dessert Extravaganza on the pool deck after dinner, while a large movie screen played a Chakira concert. The boat had been repositioned to Leverick Bay for the evening which allowed us to tender to Jumbies Beach Bar. The majority of the passengers seemed to tender over to the bar. It was nice to see a lot of the crew enjoying themselves as well. DECEMBER 11TH: JOST VAN DYKE: Caviar Splash + Beach Barbeque + Degustation Menu = Heaven! A truly special day from beginning to end. Starting with the speedy Zodiac ride to the beach, hearing the blowing of the ship horn to signal the start the Caviar splash, enjoying the fabulous beach barbeque, walking to Soggy Dollars Bar, having champagne delivered to us while floating in the Caribbean, and then ending the day with the Chef's 7 course Degustation Menu for dinner - it was a day that we will remember for a lifetime! DECEMBER 12TH: What a fast week! We had our last, leisurely breakfast before departing a wonderful vacation. We said some thanks to the crew which had treated us so well. We left knowing that we would be returning to SeaDream in the not-too-distant future, as we had taken advantage of the onboard booking disount! FOOD: Overall excellent. Here are some of our favorites: Mushroom Soup, Mussels, Duck, Indian Salad, Grand Marnier Souffle, Indian Salad with Chickpeas, the Pea Risotto served with the Lobster (I didn't think I liked peas or risotto, but OMG it was delicious!), Pistachio Cookies, all 7 courses of the Degustation Menu. Also, all of our requests were easily accepted: crispy bacon, steak cooked to the proper temperature. ACTIVITIES: We enjoyed the daily cocktail hour, the blackjack table, the piano bar, the disco night, the staff afternoon with mini massages/crepe demonstration/fashion show, disco night. WATERSPORTS: Loved that the water sports were available every day! Swimming off the back of the yacht was lovely and the water temperature was perfect. The jet skis were available a few days (they are not allowed in the British Virgin Islands) and were great fun. Other passengers used the sailboat and kayaks during our sailing. STAFF: The staff is what makes SeaDream. Everyone seemed sincerely happy to be making our vacation special. Some of our favorites were: the Captai, Chief Officer; Hotel Manager, John; Activities Manager, Colin; Concierge, Nina; the Casino Dealer (her name escapes me, but she was very patient with us!); Sommelier, Tyrell; Bartenders, Konrad and Pablo; Waiters, Felix, Olivier, and Mikee, along with adorable Assistant Waiter Placido. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but as I mentioned I've turned 50 so my mind is not what it used to be. PASSENGERS: The fellow passengers are also a big part of what makes us love SeaDream. Everyone was friendly and not pretentious, as was the case on our other small cruiseline experience. With the ship being only half full, it seems like we interacted with everyone onboard. The age range for the cruise was mostly 40s/50s with a few younger and a few older. CABINS: We had 4 cabins on level 2. The cabins are small, but not a problem for us. The storage area was adequate and we had plenty of hangers in the closet. The bathroom is small, but oh that shower pressure and constant hot water was fabulous! The cabin dEcor is the only place where I see some need for improvement from SeaDream. The dEcor seems dated and could be easily and inexpensively updated. Color scheme, art, wood drawers could all be modernized. Plus, I hate the plants on the ledge...yes a little picky, but they seem tacky. SPECIAL MOMENTS: • The "Voila" moment at dinner in the salon. Makes me happy everytime! • Early on in the cruise we were served a homemade ice cream sandwich poolside. Pistachio cookies with homemade cherry ice cream -- they were amazing. A few days later the waiter came around with fruit kabobs. One of us said "what no ice cream sandwiches" and the waiter said "I'll make some for you, how many do you want?" Five minutes later he was back with a tray of freshly made ice cream sandwiches! • My brother and sister-in-law had the large bali bed reserved one night. They decided they would take a photo to use for their Christmas card. I thought they were crazy when they asked the concierge if they had a Santa hat they could borrow. 10 minutes later 2 santa hats were delivered to their cabin. • Jost Van Dyke! MISCELLANEOUS: • Love the casualness of SeaDream...no formal nights, yippee! • Love the shower...it's small but powerful. • Love the Bvlgari shower products. • Loved entering a cabin filled with balloons and decorations on my birthday. • Love the way that SeaDream allows the staff to actually enjoy themselves with the passengers. At Jost Van Dyke and Jumbies Bar the staff was able to have some fun. • Love cocktail hour...martini and crab claws before dinner, yummy. • Love the poolside pass-arounds. • Love the sunglass cleaning. • Love the alfresco dinners with perfectly set tables...casual and elegant at the same time. • Love swimming off the back of the boat. • Love the overall atmosphere. • Love getting to know the passengers and staff...so many interesting stories to hear. • Love being called by name as soon as we board...how the heck do they do it? • Love SeaDream I just as much as SeaDream II. I was a little leery after reading some cruise critic postings that SeaDream I wouldn't match up with II. I'm happy to report that the two ships seemed identical in looks and atmosphere. • Love that we took advantage of the open booking discount onboard and that we'll be returning to SeaDream. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise on Wind Star. We had not been on the ship before but have cruised on Oceania and Royal Caribbean. As with any cruise there is the good and the bad. The good news was the cabin ... Read More
My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise on Wind Star. We had not been on the ship before but have cruised on Oceania and Royal Caribbean. As with any cruise there is the good and the bad. The good news was the cabin was nice. The bathrooms were clean and the shower had two heads. The bose ipod speaker was great and the plasma tv was nice. The only really bad thing about the room was that it was so dark! We asked our room attendant about some holes above the mirror in the room where it looked as though there had been a light above. He informed us that yes, there had been a light, but the lights had all been removed because they got too hot. Regardless, lighting was minimal. The bad news is that the ship was rusting away. The outside of the ship and the outside deck was dirty and covered in rust. The plastic lounge chairs had not had a good scrub down in I don't know how long. The sails were very dingy looking. The captain informed us that they would be working on the ship during their two week transatlantic, but it is going to take a lot more than two weeks to get the ship looking good. The service was not even comparable to the Oceania ship. The food during dinner wasn't bad, but we sat outside one night where they grill for you separately and unfortunately the dinner was bad. The lunch buffet was pretty much the same every day, but the salads were good and the breakfast wasn't bad. The other good thing about the ship is because there are only 150 passengers on board, you easily meet one another and everyone seemed to be friendly and happy. My last comment has to do with the noise on board during the early hours. We were on the second level and I heard the first level was worse. Whenever they were preparing to ready the tenders or whatever they were doing, there was this loud noise which would awaken you at 6:00 am. This happened about 2-3 times during the cruise. Anyway, I've never been in a cabin that was noisy, but maybe my cabin was in the wrong spot, which was in the middle of the deck. I enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of the places before, so didn't really do any tours except for a snorkel and the Americas Cup Race, which were good. Oh, the only other thing was that the itinerary stated that you arrive back in St. Thomas at 6:00 am, but we found out later that it was 7:00 am. We had booked a flight for 7:45. I will give great credit to the crew, as they allowed us to leave right at 7:00 and we did manage to get on our flight. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009

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