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23 Tampa to Bahamas Cruise Reviews

My sister in law and brother treated my husband and myself to this cruise, we were. Ot told about the trailer park boys and there groupies being in the ship. They had multiple restraints and lounges closed for private events. We were not ... Read More
My sister in law and brother treated my husband and myself to this cruise, we were. Ot told about the trailer park boys and there groupies being in the ship. They had multiple restraints and lounges closed for private events. We were not able to go to the island due to weather they said, we went to Freeport which was awful they stayed from three oclock to eight o'clock. We lost out on our excursions. I was not impressed with the buffet Nd I didnt even know who my steward was . The safe broke.. should I go on. The bed was hard no room to get into the bed . The noise was out of control could not sleep.i think they need to offer something to the passengers that were not with the trailer park boys since we lost out on alot of experiences. Oh and the pot smoking was out of control. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our third cruise on The Pearl and again the ship and crew hit a home run. Even though this particular cruise was a half charter we didn't run into that group very often. The exception was in the hot tubs where the charter ... Read More
This was our third cruise on The Pearl and again the ship and crew hit a home run. Even though this particular cruise was a half charter we didn't run into that group very often. The exception was in the hot tubs where the charter members and spring breakers took over all of the hot tubs putting sometimes as many as 18 people in one at a time. However, to some extent this can be expected with the spring break group and was not the ship's fault. I did notice the crew monitoring and correcting the issues after day 1. The food was excellent as always I just wish they would mix up the menus more often. The food service staff was professional, personable and efficient. We were scheduled to stop at Great Stirrup Cay but were told that morning that weather would not let us tender in. Two items about this. First, NCL should seriously consider or expedite plans to build a pier at GSC. Second, why Freeport? That port maybe the worst port in the Caribbean to stop at. Again, these are not necessarily and relection on The Pearl but more so on NCL. We had a Meet and Mingle on the first day at sea at which all of the ship's key staff attended and welcomed us taking time away from what was already a busy schedule for the officers. There were plenty of refreshments and snacks provided by the ship which helped to make the Meet and Mingle a great success. It was our third trip on The Pearl, but not our last. We love this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was my first cruise. When it was booked I never would have booked it if I would have been informed that there was a private charter going on this cruise. The people in the charter were rude, obnoxious, and used a lot of foul language ... Read More
This was my first cruise. When it was booked I never would have booked it if I would have been informed that there was a private charter going on this cruise. The people in the charter were rude, obnoxious, and used a lot of foul language in front of everyone. This normally wouldn't bother me because I can ignore people like that but there were children present and children repeat things. They also told me, and a few other people that they were special and we will get the leftovers of privileges after they were done. We weren't able to get into different areas because of them, they had a few fights occur, and were just all around disrespect towards the other cruisers. The bar near the customer service had the rudest employees. They really need to separate the coffee, and soda pop away from the alcohol bar. We ended up going to Freeport instead of the private island. Never arrived there until 3 pm and had to be back onboard by 730 pm. Very disappointing. The cruise director scheduled to many raffles at the same time. You needed to be present to win if your name was called so you had to pick and choose. Went every night where the nighttime snacks were to be, and they were never there. The food was excellent, and our cabin steward was the sweetest young gentleman by the name of Henry. My cabin was excellent.We also enjoyed talking with a very special gentleman that worked in the jewelry . He was polite, kind, excellent conversationalist, and all over enjoyable man to talk to. I wish I could spell his name but can tell you it began with a Ny. The acrobatic show was very good. The singers were not to my taste so left shortly after the shows began. So overall this cruise was a big disappointment. I did send Norwegian a 3 to 4 page email about what all occurred. They never responded. I doubt that I will give them a second chance when they couldn't even respond to my email Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This cruise happened to fall into dates we would be in Florida for conference. Wanted to have a small honeymoon combined with birthday celebration. Sadly, it wasn't as we expected. Problems with the cruise - our luggage was ... Read More
This cruise happened to fall into dates we would be in Florida for conference. Wanted to have a small honeymoon combined with birthday celebration. Sadly, it wasn't as we expected. Problems with the cruise - our luggage was delivered to the wrong room - the tv remote control was missing. Even though they didn't believe us when we called to notify them of this and it took a couple trips for them to replace it, they managed to get us a new one. - The safety briefing at the start of the cruise was poorly orchestrated. No one knew where they were supposed to be, you couldn't understand the person speaking, and it seemed to be excessive amount of time to wait for the amount of information we were given. - our door broke and only way to keep it closed was to lock it from inside cabin. It took nine hours and multiple contact efforts to fix it (i.e. front desk, cleaning lady). - there was one rude bartender on the back of the boat who refused to give me another drink after he incorrectly made the first one because he said there were people waiting. This was after waiting 20 minutes to order my drink. (I was so angered and appalled at how rude he was, I took a picture) - we were not told that this was meant to be a Trailer Park Boys cruise beforehand (we felt bad for those with children!) - due to trailer Park boys many of the rooms were closed for private events so we did not have full access of the ship - we were told that we could not go to Great Stirrup Cay due to weather yet there was no indication of bad weather - Some scheduled events were canceled without notification (still showed up on the daily agenda and tv screen in hallways) - we ended up in Freeport with only a few hours on land, not enough to spend the additional money to travel the island and the tourist trap shopping that greeted us was not what we had in mind. (We waited in line to get scooters for 30 minutes or more before deciding to just go back to the boat.) - our excursion was cancelled since we were redirected; no one notified us of alternative excursions, but they were wrangling people for excursions in Freeport once we got there. Seems excursions in Freeport were not provided to us. - our "premium" package that included the "premium" level restaurant deal was a bit confusing and misleading. The food was average to poor and how many visits were covered was confusing. It would have been just as well to stick with cafe. - Indian food in cafe was great and our go-to - our cleaning lady was amazingly wonderful... responsive, efficient, and kind! Sadly, service on the boat was otherwise average (likely due to built in tipping... no incentive). - in looking up what the staff might be getting paid, we became a bit depressed. No wonder they were grumpy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 7th cruise (DIsney, Celebrity, Holland, Royal Caribbean), but our first time with NCL. We are a married couple in our late 50s. We enjoyed the more casual, laid - back, freestyle experience. The Pearl, although not as ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise (DIsney, Celebrity, Holland, Royal Caribbean), but our first time with NCL. We are a married couple in our late 50s. We enjoyed the more casual, laid - back, freestyle experience. The Pearl, although not as "elegant" as some other ships, still is in good shape, clean and modern. The Pearl staff was very friendly and attentive, especially our cabin attendant, Daniella. The restaurants and food variety was good, but not as good as Celebrity or Disney. We ate at 2 specialty restaurants, Cagneys and Moderno. Cagneys was excellent, Modernos not as much (although a great salad bar). We loved the musical entertainment (Avalon, Roxie the guitarist, sing-a-long with Peter, DJ Tazz) and pool entertainment more than other cruise ships. The pool water was a nice temperature, not too cold. We could not go to the only scheduled port, Great Stirrup Cay, due to high winds/weather, but went to Freeport, Bahamas instead. Our time in port was much shorter due to the diversion to Freeport. We had a very negative experience with the excursion desk staff and lack of announcements regarding the port of call change. This cruise had many spring breakers and cruisers that were part of the "Trailer Park Boys" theme cruise, so the atmosphere was younger and more energetic which we enjoyed, but some cruisers could not handle their alcohol. We smelled the strong, persistent odor of marijuana emanating from some of the rooms, hallways and common areas, although we did actually witness any cruisers smoking marijuana. For people with sensitivity to smoke or asthma, it may have presented a problem. We took advantage of the free perk unlimited beverage package (alcohol, soda and juices) although it is not totally free since you are charged a service fee (approximately $160 for 2 adults). The service fee, though, was well worth the package. The theater entertainment was very average (husband and wife magician and a solo singer). There were no big production shows, maybe because the shorter length of the cruise and the "Trailer Park Boys" theme cruise using the theater for special events. If you are looking for a casual, lively and energetic cruise, please consider NCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We were looking for a relaxing getaway but couldn’t take a whole week off work so this was a good compromise. The check in was great. The agent was friendly and efficient. We bought the beer and wine package. I think it’s a decent deal ... Read More
We were looking for a relaxing getaway but couldn’t take a whole week off work so this was a good compromise. The check in was great. The agent was friendly and efficient. We bought the beer and wine package. I think it’s a decent deal if you plan to have a few beers during each day and a couple glasses of wine in the evening. I suggest you buy drink packages before getting on. We bought on board and then we were told to go stand in a long line to actually get our key cards replaced. Staff on board were ok overall. Most seemed uninterested in guests but were adequate. We found a couple bar tenders that were great so we spent most of the cruise at the bar in the atrium. The food in the main dining rooms was mediocre and service was the same. The ship is descent but nothing spectacular. The cabin was clean and a descent size for 2. We didn’t make it to our destination of their private island due to winds but they tried to make it up by going to Freeport. As anyone who has been there can tell you, there is nothing worth seeing there. We decided to stay on the ship. On the last night of the cruise I noticed they had charged me for cocktails at dining I didn’t have. I had drank wine. I went to the guest service desk and rang a bell as no one was there. A guy came out and said “what’s up?” I explained the situation. I found him rude and unhelpful. He Explained that he needed a manager’s approval and he would have it taken off. I asked to speak to the manager and then he said he was the manager. I said if you are the manager why did you just tell me that you had to have a managers approval? He said sir you need to sto explained that he needed a managers approval and he would have it taken off. I asked to speak to the manager and then he said he was the manager. I said if you are the manager why did you just tell me that you had to have a managers approval? He said sir you need to calm down or I am not going to help you. I said to him that I am calm But don’t understand why you lied. He continued to say you need to calm down. I then said to him OK we can end this conversation but you will take it off. He said yes. Of course the next morning we received our final bills and he of course did not take it off, so I had to go back to guest services and stand in another long line to have it taken off. I haven’t heard from friends that they had had the same problem in the past on Norwegian but I have traveled several times and this was the first time it happened to me. Overall the cruise was fine and I would say go on the pearl But have no high expectations. I have traveled on Norwegian Cruise lines and many other cruise lines extensively in the past and I have to say Norwegian has declined in service. I did not receive the benefits that are listed in the latitudes program. I would say that I will travel Norwegian Cruise lines again most likely but at this point I prefer Royal Caribbean cruise lines as the service is better and you receive the benefits they promise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Very unmemorable cruise event. Overcrowded pool and hot tubs. We didn't;t get in pool or hot tubs as seemed at risk for germs with side by side throngs of people really-really drinking. Ship decor-tired; food in restaurants was ... Read More
Very unmemorable cruise event. Overcrowded pool and hot tubs. We didn't;t get in pool or hot tubs as seemed at risk for germs with side by side throngs of people really-really drinking. Ship decor-tired; food in restaurants was average but low quality in buffet dining room as was always cold (if supposed to be warm); desserts and breakfast rolls 100% pre-packeaged, dried-out, cardboard-like and high sugar-fat content. fresh fruits were good. Stopped at Freeport as was unsafe to ferry to original stop. Freeport was a dreadful, depressing collection of dirty shops desperate for tourists to buy any type of junk. There was nothing we wanted to buy and absolutely nothing to see in the tiny area in which we were let out in. Such a disappointment and cruise-line did nothing to make it better like a champagne toast or absolutely anything.Cruise-line very intent on selling anything and everything (art, jewels,casino...) Norwegian typically has really good entertainment but only one evening was really special-rest so-so. Do not recommend this ship at capacity; only recommend sit-down restaurants and really think not a memorable vacation experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise (day at sea-Norwegian private island- day at sea) because it’s close to our home and the prices were reasonable especially for spring break! The cruise was hosting Trailer Park Boys and their fan base which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise (day at sea-Norwegian private island- day at sea) because it’s close to our home and the prices were reasonable especially for spring break! The cruise was hosting Trailer Park Boys and their fan base which was honestly fine except that some areas were closed off for private events etc. the only real issue we had was that we had to move rooms (9505 to 8619) at 1am the second night of the cruise because TPB was hosting a rock concert two floors below us until 2 in the morning. Poor planning on Norwegian’s part in my opinion....it was so loud it hurt our ears two floors up. Most events in the Stardust theater are done by like 10 so this was definitely weird....however they were quick to help and get us moved! As far as the ship goes this is probably my favorite Norwegian ship! We enjoyed the specialty dining (Cagneys and Japanese) very much! We also enjoyed the Irish pub and the grouping of bars at the middle of the ship! Nothing ever felt crowded and the service was impeccable. I’ve only ever been on the Norwegian open bar cruises and honestly this one had a whole different vibe. Even though we still had the bar “perk” the bartenders were attentive and really took pride in their work! The pools were also great and never really overcrowded. In conclusion I want to say that this was probably the smoothest cruise I’ve ever been on....sounds weird I know, but it really felt like the the captain took great care to avoid bad weather and rough seas. In fact, we did not make port at stirrup cay because they felt the seas were too rough and they still took us the Freeport! All in all just a good time....we will definitely book again!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Disappointed that we didn’t receive any of our Platinum latitudes benefits except priority embarkation and dis embarkation. Would have been nice to get water bottles. The wine is unnecessary. Difficult to get drinks. Not enough waiters. ... Read More
Disappointed that we didn’t receive any of our Platinum latitudes benefits except priority embarkation and dis embarkation. Would have been nice to get water bottles. The wine is unnecessary. Difficult to get drinks. Not enough waiters. Long lines at the bars. Confusion on the part of NCL stafff as to what benefits we would get on a 4 days cruise. Cabin small but we expected that of an inside category. Entertainment poor. The welcome aboard show had no singers and dancers, just a lady singing was was just fair and some kind of trick by the magician. Service fair. All in all the most disappointing out of 10 NCL Cruises. For the third time we were not able to tender to Great Stirrup Cay. We will not take a 4 day cruise on Norwegian in the future. The Spinnaker lounge where we usually spend a lot of time was closed a lot due to the charter group on board which we had no idea about when we booked. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My wife and i felt like a mini-vacation for some R&R was needed so a cruise popped into our head as a good idea-- we wanted something short so as not to miss too much work, that was not so expensive, and that was different (through ... Read More
My wife and i felt like a mini-vacation for some R&R was needed so a cruise popped into our head as a good idea-- we wanted something short so as not to miss too much work, that was not so expensive, and that was different (through we'd been on cruises occasionally in the past). This cruise perfectly fit the bill! This cruise was supposed to include a stop at Great Stirrup Cay (GSC), NCL's private Bahama lsland, for a day of beach and local activities with a cookout, drinks, and relaxation in general. We even got there after two days of sailing, dropped anchor, and prepared to exit the ship to board the tender. But the Captain announced there were swells east of the island that would cause difficulty and safety issues (make getting back to the ship from the tenders difficult). So at literally the last minute he canceled the visit and announced we would go to Freeport 5 hours away, dock, and have much more limited time on the ground there. Too bad, and a few hours in Freeport really wasn't worth it. Still, it was understandably the right thing to do in cancelling GSC. We got to Freeport about 1:30pm but sat in the harbour for more than 90 minutes waiting to dock, leaving a little over four hours on the ground Freeport. So this was a great cruise, but really one to no where--we got off (and got hassled and hustled) and did some straw market shopping and got right back on. Enough of that--nice try NCL...not your fault. The promotions offered by NCL were superb--and smart business. For example, we got 100 minutes internet, ultimate beverage package, shore excursion credit, and a free meal in a specialty restuarant. The 100 minutes is great to have if you don't need to keep much on contact with home but need to check in--setting the phone up for "wi-fi calling" made it snap and saved a lot of money. The wi-ft signal onboard was also awesome--I was suprised (though directions for getting on were spotty and incomplete). Needing to check in a couple times a day with home, we bought the unlimited wi-fi package and it was handy to have throughout the trip--and worked very well after toying with our phone settings for a while to get it to work. The drinks package; obviously this is what most people want to take advantage of. About $85 a day give or take, but you have to pay about 20% of up front gratuities. So my wife and I normally would maybe drink one or two drinks a day, if that, but we paid abotu $75 each over four days for the gratuities--yup, the package would normally be over $400 apiece...not worth it to us. So, they made money on us clearly by giving us the drinks package and making us pay the gratituity...made more money here had they not offered it "free." At the same time, we did come up with reasons to drink 3-5 drinks per day on average. So if you are in it to party, or to drink a lot of soda and juice along with beer, wine, and booze, the value of this promo goes way up. The package covered drinks up to $15, and one is allowed to get two at a time per plan. However, it does not cover specialty coffees like expressos or fraps or bottled water. Too bad. That would get more people to buy it. It also does not cover room service drinks or anything at all in the stateroom minibars. The "Specialty Dining Package" promo is only for one night, and while I may have missed it, this wasn't clear until I called a cruise rep. That said, we also added the 3-meal package for two and dined in Le Bistro, Moderno, Cagney's and La Cucina--a specialty restaurant each night. Maybe overkill, but from a past NCL cruise, we also like quality over the ever-present high quanities food offered in other on-board restaurants (although make no mistake, the portions are huge and short one one entree, they will bring you as much of anything else as you'd want). The food in the specialty restaurants was all very well presented, and very tasty, with great table service. As for what to do onboard other than eat and drink to excesses, I'll first offer some context on my wife and I, as this is important to address entertainment from our point of view and why we chose what we did, including the suite that we did. We are both professionals, upper middle income, in our 50s, with me also being retired military; we both have traveled extensively all over the world. We live in in the Tampa, Florida area, own a pool home, and pretty much like to get out and see and do all there is. Living in Tampa is already close to paradise, so we don't need pools, parties, and beaches on vacation. Also at our age, we like to chill with the option of doing so with or without the crowds the top deck cruise ship pools, and don't really need to be in the middle of a big party or pre-planned event to have a good time. But we do like having the opportunity to be in the mix now and then, as well as take in some other onboard activities or shows--and we did. Which gets to why picked the suite we did and why it was so perfect for us (i'll get to that later). As for onboard entertainment on this trip, there were a variety of shows, with "Angels" (acrobatic performers) being the best. I really wasn't extremely impressed with the music featured but it was okay. We know that Blue Man Group left NCL a while back, and had heard that Legends performed on the Pearl. Well, to our disappointment, not on this cruise and nothing was said about it. Nonetheless, there are plenty of classes and interest groups and theme parties and things to do. Oh yeah, we typically go to bed fairly early but are up at 5 am. So after the first night, I realized I'd forgotten to bring any ear plugs about the time the band two floors away started their finale at 1 am, or when whatever was happening the theater two floors below kicked off late in the pm. But the NCL staff was great in setting us up withearplugs for next nights. Of course, we enjoyed so much of the ship's amenties between 6am and 12pm while so many passengers were still in the rack from a good time the night before. So all worked out great. Most important we learnd is to check the "Freestyle Daily" that comes out the night before and offers all the activities and important announcments of the next day. They delivered it to our suite and left it on the bed at "room turndown" and about Day 3 it was clear to study it carefully to be best prepared for meals and shows and other events, many of which can change. it would be great if this were emailed to gain familiarity in the days before the cruise, and certainly the night before we set sail. Our most recent cruise was out of Barcelona and it was no surprise to us the ship's superb crew was comprised heavily of people from Asia and Europe. That is, all of their nametags had the Country where they from also listed; but no matter the origin they worked as a team to provide a very high level of service. So it was interesting to note this crew sailing out of Tampa was simimlar in composition, with a few folks we met being from Central and South America but again mostly Asia and Europe. For the officers, I noted the ship's Captain was from Italy, though there were some Australia and USA folks mixed in there too; the bottom line is this was a very diverse crew committed to what they are doing, and they all did it very professionally each day. The Norwegian Pearl is neither the largest nor among the smallest of ships, and of course, the amenities are named identically in many cases (i.e., restuarants and bars). However, compared to a larger ship like the Epic that holds more than thousand more passengers than the Pearl, most venues aboard are smaller. The breakfast buffet at the Garden Cafe with made-to-order omelets and a very wide variety of other hot and cold foods will suit anyone's tastes. Th Great Outdoors and Sky High Bar were great places for drinks. The Garden Cafe was a good choice for lunch--though I'd suggest they offer at least four pots stickers and two egg rolls as a starter. Yes we could order more if needed, but it did seem a bit little. We didn't care for the pizza in the Garden Cafe and the "Mexican Lunch" buffet was a disappointment, but the food overall in the complimentary eating places was just fine. The Moderno salad bar was excellent, but some of the meats seemed a little "recycled" or hanging around as there were not many guests when we went at 6pm. It is certainly "the place" if you are into eating large quanties of meat. Cagney's Steakhouse for dinner was good in most cases. However, we noted our ribeye steaks had less marbeling than normal, and were not as tender and expected and that we'd normally seen in the past. Le Bistro and La Cucina were both excellent, and the service in all places was outstanding. Mary Ann. The ship was clean (except around 9560 or so there were clearly a couple of staterooms close for sewage problems...bad smell walking through there every time). The entire crew was always pleasant...they were good at what they do and seemed to take great pride in their jobs. So what was best? The suite, and I'll explain that. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a quick getaway for my husband & I. Having sailed on much larger ships before, we were slightly skeptical about this cruise. But then I read some really great reviews, & decided why not. It turned out to be everything ... Read More
This was a quick getaway for my husband & I. Having sailed on much larger ships before, we were slightly skeptical about this cruise. But then I read some really great reviews, & decided why not. It turned out to be everything we had hoped for & more! We met some really nice people; our cabin, though very small, was really well designed, we were not uncomfortable at all. The staff on the ship was friendly, cheerful, efficient, & hard working. Entertainment was good. We went to the theater 3 out of 4 nights, & we enjoyed ourselves. The Cruise Director’s staff were excellent! Very helpful, very encouraging. They drew us into lot of fun activities that we might not have otherwise participated in. The food could have been better. We ate at the Asian restaurant once, the food was really sub par. If the food was served at the right temperature, it may have tasted better. We did not go back. We ate lunch at the MDR once, it was excellent. The Indian food at the buffet, though quite good, can also be improved. There was a charter group (Trailor Park Boys) on the ship. There was initial concern about this on the boards, but as it turned out, there really wasn’t anything to be concerned about. The group was friendly & quite interesting. They were easy to spot because they kind of dressed alike! They had quite a lot of organized activities of their own. Whenever we did run into them, their enthusiasm was infectious! It was fun sharing the cruise with them. A side benefit was that the ship never felt crowded, even though it was 100% sold out. Embarkation was a breeze! The parking garage is just across the street from Terminal 3; we were parked, & checking in in no time. Disembarkation, on the other hand, was not so pleasant. No fault of NCL here, though. My husband said instead of dragging the luggage to the garage, why not have me wait at the port while he got the car. We saw other people getting picked up at the corner. But when my husband got there, the cops waved him off. I was told to cross the street where a lot of people were getting picked up. So I called my husband & told him I would meet him there. Then when I crossed the street, a cop told me he would write a citation if my husband stops the car there! So once again, I called him up, & this time I told him that I would be walking to the garage, & he can pick me up there. What???!! Things need to be more clear, & they can’t have different rules for different people! Perhaps, the Port Authority can have clear signage at the port, & NCL can guide cruisers, too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I spent 4 days on the Norwegian Pearl with a group of 11 other college students. We chose this cruise for its price, and because it would allow those in our group who were under 21 to cruise without their parents (we would have chosen ... Read More
I spent 4 days on the Norwegian Pearl with a group of 11 other college students. We chose this cruise for its price, and because it would allow those in our group who were under 21 to cruise without their parents (we would have chosen Carnival instead had they allowed it, I think). But this ended up being a really nice choice and despite some hurdles we all had a great time. The purchase and online check-in were pretty painless and straightforward. The cheapest option was to split our group into three groups of four in interior cabins. As Florida residents, we weren't interested in spending time in Tampa so we showed up close to departure. The check in process was pretty painless too, except for one member of our group who is in the US on a student visa. The check in desk bungled her process pretty badly and kept repeatedly telling her that her papers were expired even though she had everything together and it clearly said on the front of her papers that they weren't set to expire for quite a while. She spent a good half hour scared that she wasn't going to be allowed to get on the ship. When we got onboard we went straight to our cabins, which were a little cramped but still comfortable. Our room had two twin beds set up when we walked in and when we came back later our luggage had shown up and an attendant had set up a third bed in the middle and pulled a fourth bed down from the wall. Everyone had space to sleep but it was a little tricky managing four people plus four people's luggage in such a small area. It was a little disorienting to wake up at 10am and have your room be pitch black, but that comes with the territory of not having a window. The ship looks like it was decorated at least 20 years ago and some of the carpet is peeling but overall it was clean and nice to explore. The food is plentiful and pretty decent, and all the staff I met were very sweet. There are two pools on the top deck, and four hot tubs with a small covered stage in the middle. They blast music from there from 11 to 1 every day and it's a little obnoxious, but people have a pretty good time to it. The drinks are expensive and light. If you want a spot in a hot tub or a nice spot on the deck you have to get there early or fight for it. There are a lot of people who camp out in the hot tubs for hours and won't leave, and if there are too many in there a lifeguard will come over and tell you to clear out. They spend as much time doing that and patrolling the deck as they did watching the water, which peeved me a little as a lifeguard myself. There wasn't much going on in the pools, though, as they were pretty cold and the weather took a bit to warm up. Also, we didn't find out until we got onboard that this was supposed to be a Trailer Park Boys themed cruise that didn't sell out completely. That explained all the camo people were wearing. Probably about half the ship was there for that, a quarter were students on spring break, and the rest were families. The arcade was great fun and we played a lot of air hockey and guitar hero. We really enjoyed the rock wall too. Most of us only managed to attend one show on board - the magic show - which was cute but overall pretty mediocre. It felt a bit like we were just killing time. We showed up to the Spinnaker Lounge for a scavenger hunt event that seemingly never happened. The club is nice but the music is a bit iffy (a lot of Bruno Mars remixes, for some reason). So overall the entertainment provided was a bit scarce but we made our own fun. And there's plenty of room for it. The decks are great to explore and the ocean is really beautiful, plus you can play shuffleboard or giant chess while you're watching the horizon. The ship seems to shut down at night for cleaning so there are no chairs on deck or anything but the employees don't seem to mind if you're out there. As for the food, we had a dinner reservation at the Summer Palace dining room every night so we could all eat together. Every single night without fail they claimed that our reservation didn't exist. Luckily we had printed out papers that showed otherwise, but it was a bit annoying. We probably could have sat together on most nights without a reservation anyways since it seemed to be pretty empty. The food was pretty good but not great, but there was a lot of it and the staff were super sweet once we were sitting. We had lunch at Lotus Garden one day where the food was a bit disappointing, and had the rest of our meals at Summer Palace or the buffet. The soft serve machines sprinkled through the buffet were a big hit, as were the employees strumming a guitar at the entrance. We were supposed to hit Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island but got diverted due to weather. They automatically refunded our excursion reservations and we didn't have to do anything but wait to arrive somewhere else. We ended up spending about three hours in Freeport instead, where we took a taxi to the beach and had a great time. Most people were angry with how long it took to get off the boat (an extra 4 hours to get to Freeport, plus another 1.5 to set up the gangway) but I'm sure a lot of that was logistical considerations. It would have been nice if it had gone a bit more smoothly, but what can you do? Overall it was a nice first cruise experience and a really good time, especially for the price. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
On March 6, 2019, my husband, Bill and I cruised on the NCL Pearl out of Tampa, FL. Joining us on the cruise was my brother-in-law and his new wife. This was to have been a time for the four of us to relax and to enjoy each other’s ... Read More
On March 6, 2019, my husband, Bill and I cruised on the NCL Pearl out of Tampa, FL. Joining us on the cruise was my brother-in-law and his new wife. This was to have been a time for the four of us to relax and to enjoy each other’s company, eat good food and enjoy good entertainment. We were excited to get away! Unfortunately this turned out to be the worst vacation experience of our lives. I have waited to write this letter until I could convey my thoughts and feelings devoid of the anger and disappointment I felt at the end of the cruise. I want this letter to inform and enlighten rather than just rail at the inadequacies of the cruise. However, it is difficult even now after sixteen days to put perspective on our very bad experience. Admittedly this was a last minute booking and by the time we decided to book the mini suites were no longer available so we settled for family balcony rooms that cost more than the sale price for the mini suites. We booked and thought that was that but within days we received emails saying we could make bids to upgrade our rooms. The problem was we couldn’t because it wouldn’t guarantee that both couples would get the upgrade. This coupled with the idea that we would now pay even more money for the mini suites (that were not available when we booked) was pretty crass. This bidding program is just ugly and beneath NCL. It really makes NCL stand out as a cheap cruise line. We arrived for the cruise and the embarkation process was very smooth, especially since we are Latitudes members. Kudos to all involved in the process. Actually, I will say that with everything that wasn’t good about the cruise the staff on and off the ship stood out as professional, courteous and gracious, to a fault. I have nothing but good things to say about the NCL staff. We boarded and that’s when reality settled in that we found ourselves booked on a cruise with a very large number of guests all belonging to one group. I believe it would be called a partially chartered cruise since in this case there were more than 800 guests who were there for an affiliated event. A group that no one in my party would choose to be affiliated with yet now we found ourselves in the midst of wherever we went on the ship. This group had a definite agenda and they were there to enjoy themselves as were we. They were often in costume and they many were observed smoking on decks and by the pool and hot tubs. They monopolized every space. Most disturbing were the number of security personnel I observed which made me feel unsafe walking alone on the decks for exercise. The other group that I also need to mention were the number of spring breakers. They also were jockeying for space and so the areas around the pools and hot tubs and bars were simply not available to anyone else. I was heartened to see a family in a hot tub on the last day. I don’t know how they managed to secure it but I’m happy they did. The four of us were just trying to find quiet places where we could play cards and that was difficult to come by too! Even the card room next to the library was being used to sort shirts and was not available to use for its intended purpose. We decided to play cards in the café after meal service was over each evening. We just wanted a table and some quiet away from the craziness. This is also a pass through area from one end of the ship to the other. On two evenings we were treated to verbal altercations and threats between and among passengers. I am not a prude but their language was way over the top and disturbing. One evening was volatile with verbal threats of “I’m going to kill you”. So much for quiet space and playing cards. We were looking forward to the beach day at Great Stirrup Cay and a chance to swim and lay in the sun but due to rough seas they were unable to tender the passengers to shore and the ship was diverted to Freeport. We were offered three possible shore excursions, all at substantial cost. Now if we wanted to go to the beach it was going to cost, I think, $89.00. What was to be part of the cruise was now a paid gig. Add to that it was after 2:30 when passengers were allowed to disembark and it wasn’t worth the time or money and Freeport is an unpleasant little port. From beginning to end this cruise was just unpleasant. Even the entertainment was changed! We were expecting “Legends In Concert” but they never performed. There was a singer one evening, an acrobatic duo who were quite good on another evening. Otherwise the theater was occupied with the 800 members of the group and their TV idols. Finally, I expect that at the very least the ship is going to be clean inside and out. Our rooms were clean and the inside spaces of the ship were clean (if tired) but the windows, the balconies and the rails were filthy as were the clear walls in the outside spaces. Again, I have been on other NCL cruises and never found this to be a problem. We were also dismayed to see how much trash was left by fellow passengers in the elevators, on the stairs, in the hallways, and on the decks (cigarette butts). So, this was a cruise monopolized by one group. They were drinking heavily and many were smoking. The cruise seemed to be tailored to their needs. I have always avoided theme cruises and anything that smacks of a chartered cruise but I didn’t have the opportunity to opt out and that’s just not fair. NCL took advantage of me and others to fill up their ship knowing full well this was a charted cruise. Shame on you. Other cruise lines advertise their “special” cruises and I know to stay away. You can and need to do better NCL! So, what can you do? Be honest with customers from the beginning and tell them if the ship is partially chartered; provide quiet spaces on the smaller ships for people who want to play cards or games. If you are going to continue the after the fact bidding system then find a way to make it work for passengers booking more than one room and inform customers about the bidding system on your website. Finally, wash your ships! So I find myself a Latitudes member no longer enthused about being a member or taking another cruise on NCL. This review doesn’t address everything and the words really don’t convey how bad this cruise was. It’s hard to put it all down but this cruise impacted my relationship with NCL and you lost two prospective Latitudes members. This was their first and last NCL cruise. It was great on the Dawn and the Getaway and I had expectations that it would be great on the Pearl, but it wasn’t. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of leaving from Tampa (30 minutes from home) and the variety of ports on just a 7 day cruise. To make it even better, we were joined by 2 friends who were EXCITED about their first cruise. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of leaving from Tampa (30 minutes from home) and the variety of ports on just a 7 day cruise. To make it even better, we were joined by 2 friends who were EXCITED about their first cruise. Embarcation was less than 30 minutes and a breeze. It was pretty cool and windy up on the Lido deck but going under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge right at sunset was spectacular. We did have a couple dinners in the Normandie room but most were up at the buffet or the other restaurants on the Lido Deck. It was pretty average fare but no complaints at all from any of us. Guy Fieri's burgers and fries are fabulous but the pizzas are pretty greasy. We were attracted to this cruise because of its stops in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman. Each excursion was very unique and just plain wonderful. In Cozumel, we went on a catamaran, snorkeling and beach excursion. Despite fairly windy conditions, we had a great time on the boat. The snorkeling was a little subpar but our time on the beach was warm and relaxing. Great crew! Belize was an eye opener. There is abject poverty there but the people are alive and love their country. We took an excursion to Mayan ruins about 1 1/2 hours from Belize City. What a wonderful trip back to ancient times and the Howler Monkeys made their displeasure with our visit well known...from a distance. Climbing to the top of the pyramid is allowed and kinda scary. Happily, we did not encounter any Fer de Lance (3-step snakes) who do reside in the rain forest but are reportedly nocturnal. Roatan is a lovely island 40 miles from crime-ridden Honduras. The people were great and we chose an ATV/beach excursion. Although challenging, the ATV part was a disappointment. After a training session, we were taken to 2 circuits where we went round and round, up and down. It was fairly steep but sadly, there was no opportunity for freestyling, as we had in previous ATV experiences. We sure did get filthy, however. The staff was very attentive and focused obn safety which was greatly appreciated. The private beach was great. Cayman was a tropical paradise. We took the catamaran trip out to Stingray City. The captain and crew were fabulous and our time with the stingrays was terrific. It was perfect. It is amazing how many shades of blue and green there are in the Caribbean. One more day at sea and we were back in Tampa. It was as quick getting off the ship as it was getting on. Getting through Customs takes a bit longer than it used to but that is to be expected in today's world. GREAT TRIP ON THE PRIDE!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Pool and hot tubs were cold. Toilet overflowed twice and they tried denying it and leaving us in a stinky nasty room and still never let us switch rooms. Also we watched the cabin stuart across the hall from our room going through all the ... Read More
Pool and hot tubs were cold. Toilet overflowed twice and they tried denying it and leaving us in a stinky nasty room and still never let us switch rooms. Also we watched the cabin stuart across the hall from our room going through all the peoples stuff (even one of their phones ) while the people were gone so we refused to have them come clean our room unless we were right there. Most entertainment especially the musicians were brutal to listen to. Staff were unfriendly much of the time. They just want tips before they will acknowledge you. Pool deck was very slimmey and slippery . I fell once on it . It was like walking on ice at times. Most of the food was ok but could have had a better salad bar ( like there was no lettuce). Pizza was suppose to be 24 hours but not true. I tried to get a pizza at 5 am and they said they don't have pizza at this time. I could go on and on but have been on other cruises and very much enjoyed them . This one was just aweful in comparison. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The cruise was fun from the moment we embarked until we reluctantly walked off the ship. -- We got the $49 Faster To The Fun (FTTF) so embarkation was a breeze and our room was ready. Best $50 ever spent. We went directly to the buffet and ... Read More
The cruise was fun from the moment we embarked until we reluctantly walked off the ship. -- We got the $49 Faster To The Fun (FTTF) so embarkation was a breeze and our room was ready. Best $50 ever spent. We went directly to the buffet and Mongolian wok and had a VERY delicious lunch. Started the cruise on a full, satisfied stomach. Kids went to the O2 club where they met other kids their age 16+ and they had activities for them every day. Kids had rave reviews of club O2. There was soooo much to do on the ship. We went to all shows and participated in contests, and I even won the putting contest!! We relaxed, ate, exercised, met people, had fun at the comedy club. Too many things to list. ---- Cigarette smoke was not an issue. (unless I was at a smoking table in the casino.... where I expect smoke.) I found no overcrowding, some people complained about things that are not worth complaining about. (They are just hard to please.) Someone wrote that "the ship shows her age....." yes!! it's 20 years old!! It looked fine. If you want to be a jerk, then you can look in corners and see chipped paint. ??? If you want a newer ship, then pay the $1,100 per person for a brand new ship. ---- We had an ocean view which we enjoyed. Our room steward (Tree) was amazing! Made us feel like we were his only clients. This was my wife and my 3rd cruise. (Royal Caribbean in the past) ---Kids did the "Dolphin encounter" excursion. Worth every penny as the kids totally enjoyed it and we got some great pics also. (+$69) - The Cruise director Steve and assistant Hugo were ALL-THAT!!!!!! Made the shows even more fun. This cruise was amazing............ I could write so much more. Can't wait until we cruise again ASAP!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Recently, my boyfriend and me took a Carnival cruise on the Paradise during December 22-27 , 2014 . I was thinking , it's would be a perfect little vacation getaway. Usually we book balcony cabin, but this time we had inside cabin( ... Read More
Recently, my boyfriend and me took a Carnival cruise on the Paradise during December 22-27 , 2014 . I was thinking , it's would be a perfect little vacation getaway. Usually we book balcony cabin, but this time we had inside cabin( booked cabin 2 weeks prior cruising) . Instead my boyfriend got very sick ( we think , from poor air circulation and mold ). We complained for 3 days, that it's very hot in the cabin, only on day 3 did the technician finally unscrewed the air vent, witch was full of mold and solid black in color. In fact, most everyone staying on the empress deck was sick and coughing like my boyfriend. With regard to what is supposed to be the reason we all cruise (the superb food) Carnival Paradise's food was simply awful. Specifically the eggs were not real (seemed to be made from powder), the coffee and tea were not brewed. They both were made from syrup and water and tasted horrible. The juices were not made from juice. They use Vitality which is more like a juice drink full of added sugar. The ship was dirty and proper sanitation procedures were not used. Servers not wearing gloves and taking dirty plates away and serving food right after without cleaning hands or wearing gloves. Needless to say we would not recommend the Carnival brands and will never book with them again. They want to charge full price and provide 2nd class service. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Cabins were small and old in spite of Carnival swearing up and down that the Legend had been completely renovated in 2014. UNTRUE! The food was pathetic - no flavor, soaked in butter, unhealthy menu and cold. Both the captain and the ... Read More
Cabins were small and old in spite of Carnival swearing up and down that the Legend had been completely renovated in 2014. UNTRUE! The food was pathetic - no flavor, soaked in butter, unhealthy menu and cold. Both the captain and the M'atridee were clueless. When I complained to the captain of the vessell that the evening comedy shows conflicted with late dining his comment was "You should have booked earlier to get early dining". He obviously missed the point completly. Coffee as bad as the repetitive disgusting buffett food. Our bed was as hard as sleeping on the concrete floor which doesnt work for someone used to a flush pillow top mattress. The pillows were just as bad. If I had to rate the Legend it would be a 2 on a scale of 1-10 as it is the bottom of the barrel. Highly recommend you avoid Carnival like the plague unless you dont care about service, food quality and dependable staff. The entertainment was a joke, except the comedians, which were average. Nothing to write home about. To make things worse the cruise line gave us two free drink tickets for being past passengers but unfortunately they were only good for breakfast and lunch in the main dining room. I never start my day at 7am with alchohal and at lunch we were on an island every day. It was totally useless and a joke. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Why is it that 5 days at work drag, but 5 days aboard a ship fly by? Embarkation (vip) was a breeze, except for the confication of my rum. (oh well I tried). RCCL is EXTREMELY SECURE about alcholol. We saw them even open up packs of soda ... Read More
Why is it that 5 days at work drag, but 5 days aboard a ship fly by? Embarkation (vip) was a breeze, except for the confication of my rum. (oh well I tried). RCCL is EXTREMELY SECURE about alcholol. We saw them even open up packs of soda to make sure it was just cans of soda. We were on board by 11 am, eating lunch and touring the ship. This ship is awesome. My favorite place was the covered solarium with the hot tub and walk into heated pool. Our room was a large balcony with a sliding glass door and large spacious room. The bed was rounded at the end (kind of romantic!). The food was great and the new menus are super. Our servers Casa and Michael were top notch. The entertainment, not so much. Kenny james (star search winner) Puppetier with Chucky, and a Man of 1000 voices. The singer and dancers didn't perform till the very last night. It's a production called City of Dreams, and it was fantastic with what we saw. There were many technical difficulties and due to the fact that the show started at 9 pm and luggage had to be outside your door by 10pm, people were leaving in the middle of the show. Steve (CD) was really good. Disembarkation was a breeze with self disembark. We were off the ship by 730, picked up the car and home by 10am. We can't wait to sail with her again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Prior to this cruise, I had been on one other cruise with Holland America. We had heard so much about Disney we thought we'd splurge and go. Bad decision. The food was barely average, the wait staff was intrusive and did not clear ... Read More
Prior to this cruise, I had been on one other cruise with Holland America. We had heard so much about Disney we thought we'd splurge and go. Bad decision. The food was barely average, the wait staff was intrusive and did not clear plates, people smoked EVERWHERE... repeat, EVERYWHERE, the entertainment was just so-so, the massage I got in the "quiet, tropical beach-front hut" was OK, but the hut sat next to the bus stop, they (Disney) charges extra for everything, and I got sick on the 3rd day. Not seasick, food sick. I was sicker than a dog. All of us could not wait to get home. It was by far the worst vacation I have ever been on. The part I liked about the cruise was that room service made cute animals out of towels... whoopee! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Background Information: This is our third cruise overall--but our first on a Carnival cruise ship. I (30) shared my balcony room with a friend (33), my sister (38) shared the other balcony room with my mom (71). We were supposed to go to ... Read More
Background Information: This is our third cruise overall--but our first on a Carnival cruise ship. I (30) shared my balcony room with a friend (33), my sister (38) shared the other balcony room with my mom (71). We were supposed to go to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya. Thanks to Hurricane Dean, we were re-routed to Key West, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. Hotel Info & Travel To Port of Embarkation: We flew to Tampa from New York on Delta a day before the cruise, spent the day in Busch Gardens and stayed at Courtyard Tampa Downtown. The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel is fixed at $22. It costs about $25 to travel between Busch Gardens and the hotel. The hotel is pretty nice for the money. The rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable. The bell boys were not too friendly, but those at the front desk were very professional and helpful. We picked this hotel because it was relatively close to the pier and the hotel has a shuttle that would take you to the pier for FREE. The ONLY problem is there are only 10/12 seats available, and the shuttle runs every hour on the day of the cruise--that's because the shuttle is shared by this hotel and the Residence Inn Tampa Downtown (which is right behind this hotel). Ask about the pier transfer sign up sheet when you check in the hotel, because it fills up rather quickly. We end up paying $3 per person to take a taxi to the pier. We arrived at the port around 12:15 PM, and there was a line waiting to enter the terminal already. They did not allow anyone into the terminal at this time, so everyone had to stand outside and the sun was at full blast. Tampa was very hot and being in the sun did not help. It took an hour and a half to complete the boarding process. Ship Info & Stateroom The ship looks pretty good and rather new. The staterooms are a little bigger than the ones we had on Norwegian Spirit. There were plenty of closet space and the balcony was nice. The beds and the pillows were not as comfortable as those on the Coral Princess (actually, the beds and pillows at the hotel/Courtyard Tampa Downtown were better than those on the ship). The TV was a good size and we brought a portable DVD player and plug that into the TV to watch movies without problems. The safe uses a credit card and thanks to fellow Cruise Critic members, we bought some expired credit cards to lock/unlock the safe. The refrigerator is not that cold, but it's nice to have one in the room. Dining I am no food critic, but I expect my food to be hot and to have a variety of food while onboard. I found it very difficult to find either while I was on the Carnival Legend. The breakfast is boring, because you have the same food everyday on the Lido buffet. Can't they put some stuff out one day and replace them with something else the next day to make it a bit more interesting? The juices are either TOO SWEAT or had no flavor at all. I like to drink soda and sweet stuff, but I had to mix the juices with ice and plenty of water to make it taste right. The apple juice, the orange juice, and the lemonade are all in this boat. The ice-tea has no flavor, but if you add some lemon to it, then it tastes okay. Lunch on Lido is just as boring. You have the pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches, grilled ham and cheese all the time. It's good that they have an Asian corner that does not have the same food all the time. The only problem is that it is only available at a specific time, so if you went out on an excursion, you would miss out. My sister said the pizza was disgusting; I didn't like the self-service ice-cream that much, because there's no variety either (on the Carnival Legend, they had a full service ice-cream bar, and the flavors did changed from day to day). They did have a sushi bar that opens at a set time, and the sushi on day one tastes fantastic. After that day, they were okay, and the menu there does change from day to day, so you can try things that you wouldn't normally order. The sushi chef was very friendly and cheerful. Dinner at Truffles Dining Room did have a different menu throughout the cruise. The head waiter&waitress were nice, but their service could have been better. Water was plentiful at the beginning of the dinner, but it's hard to find any water toward the end. Not sure if they are serving more tables than usual because of the change of itinerary, they would wait for the food to be ready for all the tables before serving you. The result? The food is barely warm most of the time. The ice-cream would melt when it's served, that tells you how long it's been sitting on the plate. The lobsters were a big disaster. They were a bit hard and barely warm, not sure if they were not fully cooked, or if they have been pre-cooked a long time ago and were just reheated. I don't think it's just my lobster that didn't taste good, because the lady who sat at the other table requested that they reheat the lobster for her. Perhaps I have been expecting a lot since I had such a wonderful dining experience on Coral Princess that I expect everything to taste great. It's hard to find one thing that I can honestly say it tasted wonderful/superb. Activities & Entertainment I found very little interesting activities while on Carnival Legend. Once again, not sure if this is because of the last minute change in itinerary. My sister likes to learn dancing a lot, and she had plenty of opportunities while on Norwegian Spirit. Not so on Carnival Legend! There were only a few dance lessons, and they were scheduled when we were having dinner. The various entertainments were so-so. The main shows were okay, the comedian was pretty funny, other than that, the other stuff were mediocre. You can find your standard activities on Carnival Legend as you would on any cruise ships (like bingo, bathrobe party, hairy chest contest, newlywed not so newlywed, karaoke, etc.) The only unique thing I found on Carnival Legend is the waterslide. The gym was pretty good as well. Children's Clubs Since we don't have any children in the group, can't tell you how good/bad the children's clubs were. The only thing I can say is avoid the arcade. The machines are either broken/not functioning properly. I am surprised that they don't have someone inside the room to make sure the children are not breaking the machines or to help those who require assistance. Service Overall, the service was pretty good, except for my stateroom steward. He never introduced himself and never greeted us by names. My sister had a different stateroom steward and he was more friendly. Mine didn't make the towel animals on a few nights, and he didn't replace the ice on several occasions. He even put in a charge for two sodas that we never drank. So remember to check your bill very carefully as they might charge you something that you have never bought. Shore Excursions I did a lot of research and knew exactly what I wanted to do at the original ports, but was thrown off because of the change of itinerary. So we ended up booking everything directly through the cruise line. One good thing about Carnival is that you can order all shore excursions in your own stateroom with the TV remote control. In Key West, we went to Ripley's Believe It or Not, and boy, believe it or not, it's a waste of your money. The place is pretty small and there's not much to see. I am sure the price of admission is in direct relationship to the quality. I bet the one in NYC is much more interesting. We also walked around and did some shopping. There's a CVS store here, so if you have forgotten anything, it's your last chance to buy them. In Nassau, we booked the glass bottom boat tour, and it was a bit interesting, but a waste of money once again. There's really not much to see. You only get to go to the bottom of the boat for 10 minutes or so, as they split us into two groups and we had to share the viewing time with the other tourists. They did give you one complementary drink. We did more shopping here and the stuff was reasonably priced. We didn't reserve anything for Half Moon Cay, took the tender and went to the beach. There, we hunted a while before finding the place for renting non-motorized water toys. Please note that there is only ONE paddle boat that works here as the waterbike was not working at all. There were kayaks for rent also. It was fun, but make sure you put plenty of sun block on your entire body, including your legs. One hour of paddling can give you sun burn. In Grand Turk, we booked the Horseback Ride N Swim tour. This tour is through Chukka Caribbean Adventure. The ranch is 20 minutes away from the terminal. It was quite fun to ride the horse. The only problem is that it rained when we were ready to do the horseback swimming part. They whipped the horses while the horses were in the water, so be very careful, as the horses were going wild in the water. Two people fell off, but the tour guides were there to provide assistance. Not sure if our tour was cut short (actual riding time less than an hour) because of the rain--we had to wait a little bit as we arrived for the first tour to finish and then we had to sit there for a while for the next tour to arrive so we can go back to the port. On the way back, they gave us a tour of the area, showing us who owned what houses and where the various government offices were. Shopping here was a bit more pricey. The Margaritaville was quite interesting as well. Disembarkation We left our luggage outside our staterooms as instructed and were assigned group 15/16 for disembarkation. I think we got off the ship around 10:00 AM and had no problem locating our luggage. Did have to wait a bit for a taxi (for $22 fixed rate) to the airport. Flew Jetblue back to NYC. Summary Overall, it was nice to be on vacation and to be on a cruise ship. It's only reasonable that they changed itinerary due to the hurricane. It's sad that we didn't get to see Costa Maya before Hurricane Dean destroyed it. Hopefully they can rebuild soon and we'll be able to go there next year. As a CCL shareholder, I am quite disappointed by this cruise experience. We paid a lot of money for the cruise, the dull food and lack of activities made it not worthwhile. There was little fun in this "funship". I hope this is only because of the last minute change in itinerary, not the "status quo" for the entire cruise line. I might try Carnival again in the future, but would prefer a Princess ship anytime. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
On this trip was myself, 25, and my boyfriend Dan, 25. It was my third cruise (Inspiration 2004, Western, and Valor 2005, Eastern) and Dan's first cruise. We were anticipating going to the Western Caribbean, to all the ports I had ... Read More
On this trip was myself, 25, and my boyfriend Dan, 25. It was my third cruise (Inspiration 2004, Western, and Valor 2005, Eastern) and Dan's first cruise. We were anticipating going to the Western Caribbean, to all the ports I had visited on the Inspiration. We were a bit disappointed with getting our itinerary changed as we had already booked our excursions for Western and were really excited about what we had chosen. In the end we were just happy that we were still going on a cruise, and found cool excursions to do in the ports we did go to. We started the trip on Saturday the 18th, flying from Boston to JFK then to Tampa on Jetblue. Both of our flights that left from JFK were horrible. Well actually, just waiting on the runway for 45 min and 80 min and arriving over an hour late to both destinations was horrible. I will never go to JFK again. We stayed at the Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza. It's a beautiful hotel, with good sized rooms, extremely comfortable beds, and beautiful bathrooms. We would definitely stay here again. It had free airport transfers (just call then when you get your baggage and they'll pick you up). It took only 3 minutes after we called the hotel for the shuttle to get to the airport to pick us up. They will shuttle you to anywhere within three miles. Unfortunately, the Port was more than six, so we had arranged for Carnival to pick us up at the airport. We left the hotel at 10:30 and were on the first Carnival shuttle at I think 11:00am. We got to the port at about 11:20, and immediately checked our bags with the porters and got into the line in front of the "B" door. We were pretty close to the door, maybe about 60 people in front of us. However, the line behind us was getting extremely long and starting to get in the way of where the dropoff area was, and a Carnival Rep. came and moved from about 10 people in front of us to the end of the line over to the "A" door. We all stood at this door for about 20-30 minutes, until a guy that worked for the Port came over and was basically like, what are you guys all doing at this door? He was told that Carnival had moved us over here because the line was long, and he then told everyone to get back in the B line. WHAT??? Everyone was upset because now we were back in the B line, behind more people than we were when we were originally in it. Whatever. At 12:00 they started letting people through the B door. They looked at everyone's passports and Funpasses I think (I know the passports for sure), and then we were allowed in. Once we were in the building it took maybe 15 minutes to get on the ship. This part was very organized, but outside, not so much. By 12:30 we were eating lunch on the Lido and smiling like fools. After we ate we went down to see if our room was ready (1:30), but was not allowed in until after 2:00. We immediately were trying to find out about booking excursions, and were extremely disappointed to find out our remote control was not working with our tv. It was working with other tvs (had the steward check it out), but for some reason the signal wasn't going to ours. Anyways, I had to run around for about an hour trying to find the room steward to try and get the remote fixed by 4:00 (the time you could start booking excursions on the tv) and never found him. When I finally gave up and decided we'd just go to the excursions desk, my boyfriend opened our door to go look for the steward and there he was, right outside our door. Go figure. Anyways, we couldn't get it fixed in time, so right after the muster drill (really smooth, no issues, took maybe 15 minutes) we went right to the excursions desk and booked our excursions with no problem. Our Room: We had booked an oceanview guarantee, and got upgraded to an 8G extended balcony. On top of that, we got the handicap accessible room. This meant we had a larger bathroom and shower, and a TRIPLE BALCONY, which I found crazy. It was my first balcony, and while it was nice to have, I don't think I've become one of those people who absolutely need a balcony once they've had one. The only thing we didn't really like about the room was there being an emergency button right above the headboard on the bed. It was in a place where if we put our arms up, it kept getting pushed and we'd get phone calls from the info desk. The first time this happened we asked if they could just ignore it, and they said the were not allowed to. So we got quite a few unnecessary phone calls to make sure we were okay, when it was just an accident. Also, there was chair that folded down from the wall in the shower, which was nice to put your leg on to shave. One bad thing about the shower was that it's suppose to allow for a wheelchair to roll in, so there's no rim on the bottom to hold in water. A result of this was our bathroom floor being flooded every time we shower. There was a squeegee on a pole to clean it, but it didn't work too well. Dining Room: We were seated at a table from two at the first seating, table 180. We had awesome servers, Erceg from Croatia, and I Ketut from Indonesia. Erceg was dreamy and my boyfriend is probably still upset about my thinking this. You know Luka from ER? How charming he is? So was Erceg. We ate in the dining room every night except for Tuesday when we went to the Golden Fleece. Everything we ordered in Truffles we enjoyed, though there were a couple consistency issues. One night Dan got two filet mignons, one was really good and cooked perfect, the other was not that good (kinda tough). Also, I got two lobster tails on the first formal night, and one was a little chewy and the other was awesome. I've heard people say on the boards that the lobster can be salty, I didn't think this at all. Being from New England we have high standards for lobster, and I thought the lobster on the ship was very good (it was Florida lobster in Truffles, Maine in the Golden Fleece according to Erceg). I highly recommend the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. Once I had it, I ended up having it almost every night afterwards. Especially good if you eat the top off, then mix the vanilla ice cream in with the rest. Golden Fleece: We made a reservation on the first day for Tuesday at 8:30. Going at this time, there was hardly any one up there. The Golden Fleece was beautiful. You have about 3-4 different people waiting on you, and all are very helpful and informative. There was a live band playing that was okay. Dan had the beef capriccio, filet mignon, and chocolate dessert. He liked the filet so much that he talked about it for the rest of the cruise, said it was the best he'd ever had. He kept saying that we should eat there every night, but it wasn't feasible with the cost. I had the crab cake, lobster tail, and citrus cheesecake and loved it all. The warm potato salad under the lobster tail was soooo good. Also, the bread in the Golden Fleece is to die for. Entertainment: We didn't end up going to any of the shows. The last sea day we went to all the trivia and game shows and enjoyed them. We tried really hard to get a ship on a stick but didn't ;(. At the Battle of the Sexes game Dan was the spokesperson for the men and those buggers won by one point! We played bingo a couple times but never won, oh well. Casino: We went to casino most nights (addictive place). We both only played slots. I've had a thing for the Money to Burn game since my first cruise, and Dan played the Lucky Leprechaun game almost exclusively. Maybe it's him being Irish, but he loved that game and did pretty good on it. We played the first slot tournament but didn't get on the leader board. I never really found it smoky in the casino, and it was never really that crowded. The first sea day I had an issue with a bunch of kids being in the casino, screaming and jumping all over the games next to me. These kids were terrible, and it looked like their mother was just sitting playing a slot machine. She eventually came and took them out of the casino after about 15 minutes. These kids and their family sat one row over from us in the dining room every night, and every night the kids were rowdy and sitting on the platform behind the booth seats. What appalled me the most was that on the second formal night, the kids came in wearing shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, and one had no shoes on. And the staff did NOTHING about it. Enough about them. Excursions: Key West: We booked the White Knuckle Thrill Ride. This was awesome. It was run by a really laid back couple who were originally from I think Michigan and they were really cool. You take a 20 minute ride from the pier to Cow Key, where you get in this crazy boat that holds 11 passengers. You go for about a 45-60 minute hour ride in the ocean, where the driver spins and drives really fast and gets you soaked. The only thing that I would do differently on this excursions was either wear my sunglasses or bring some goggles, as the salt water is constantly going into your eyes and boy does it burn. After we were driven back to the pier we went on the ship, changed, and ate lunch. We went back into Key West for a little while and did some shopping on the street behind the pier. All the stores seemed to have the same stuff, like in any port, so we didn't shop for long. Nassau: On my last cruise I had gone over to Atlantis to go to the Dig and wanted to go back. Dan had looked online and found out they have a pass called Aquaventure for $105 each adult that gives you full access to the park and the new water park, so we did that. We realized that it was costly, but we were saving a lot on our excursions compared to what the Western ones would have cost us. Others have said to go book at room at the Comfort Inn next door for less money, and you get 4 passes to Atlantis, but we figured going right through Atlantis was easy and didn't cost much more, maybe $20 more. We had a great time sitting in the lazy river for a couple hours and doing the water slides. I got pretty burnt on my face (used a different sunblock on my face then body), but other than that it was great. We took at taxi to Atlantis, it was $4 a person one way. When we were finished there we took a taxi to the Straw Market and bought some gifts. Overall, it was a great day. Half Moon Caye: It was beautiful, but we only got off the boat for maybe an hour. We didn't want to go in the water since I was so burned, but figured we should get off to look around at least. If I go here again I would definitely spend the whole day in the water as it was very pretty. Grand Turk: This was Dan's favorite port. We did the Reef and Rays excursion and it was great. You take a 15 minute boat ride to a reef where they let you snorkel for 35 minutes. In the water is a barracuda named Harry that one of the staff scubas down to and feeds. It was awesome. It was low tide so we didn't get to swim over the reef but it was still cool. They then take you right to the beach, where you can swim with, feed and hold the stingrays. Took me about 15 minutes to get off the boat for this (fish freak me out and stingrays do even more) but I ended up getting in the water and held one of them. We did a little shopping at the pier and that was about it for that day. Overall, this was a great cruise. Dan loved it so much, that he was already talking about going on another one before we even got off the ship. I found the ship to be really smooth, not really much motion. On my last two cruises I did get quite seasick a couple days, even with taking prescription Dramamine and using the Scop patch. This time I just took the Dramamine and I had no issues at all. I really liked the layout of the ship and found it really easy to get around. I thought the service we experienced was better than my other cruises. I would definitely cruise with Carnival again and go on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007

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