226 Tampa First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Wasn't sure what to expect as a first timer but definitely enjoyed ourselves and kept busy throughout. Entertainment was outstanding and food, well, there was plenty of it. Excursions that we participated in was good for the most ... Read More
Wasn't sure what to expect as a first timer but definitely enjoyed ourselves and kept busy throughout. Entertainment was outstanding and food, well, there was plenty of it. Excursions that we participated in was good for the most part. I wouldn't say that some of the descriptions was very truthful but enjoyed most of it. Windjammer had a variety of foods and service was great. Ate at three of the ships dining facilities and they were all great as well as the service. The room was quaint and our room steward kept the room nice and clean. Wasn't expecting service three times a day. Only negative was the bed was a bit droopy but other than that, i'd like to try a room with a balcony the next time. Cruise Director and Activities Director were great and all over the place as well as information on the ship's TV daily to keep passing the information to the guests. There were many things we didn't participate in and if we were younger, we may have accomplished more but what we did participate in was very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our first cruise, so we relied on reviews and friends' experiences to prepare us. The ship was very nice, and our deluxe balcony cabin was clean and comfortable. The staff was for the most part friendly and accommodating. ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so we relied on reviews and friends' experiences to prepare us. The ship was very nice, and our deluxe balcony cabin was clean and comfortable. The staff was for the most part friendly and accommodating. The entertainment was excellent. We were, however, very disappointed with the quality of the food in the dining room--average, at best. Next time we will try the "specialty restaurants." We were also very unpleasantly surprised at the cigarette and cigar smoke on what was supposed to be a nonsmoking ship, with a few designated smoking areas. Obviously, the ship did not enforce any restrictions. The entire sixth floor, where the casino was located, was very smoky. In the evenings, guests smoked at the bar in the centrum, and the smoke drifted up to the upper floors. One entire side of the pool area was smoke-filled. In addition, it was very difficult to find a lounge chair at the pool area. Guests would leave towels on their chairs to save them for extended periods of time--another policy not enforced since cruise material stated that chairs could not be left unattended for 30 minutes or more. The music at the pool was at times much too loud. We went on two cruise-sponsored shore excursions. The 3-1/2 hour beach excursion was a waste of time. We basically paid big bucks for an uncomfortable bus ride to a small crowded beach. The other excursion was a short panoramic tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable and funny--a much better experience than the first tour. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The cabins were as expected for a cruise ship. If you take advantage of the activities you won't spend much time there anyway. Getting on and off ship was excellent and quick. Food was amazing! You could use the buffet or dinner ... Read More
The cabins were as expected for a cruise ship. If you take advantage of the activities you won't spend much time there anyway. Getting on and off ship was excellent and quick. Food was amazing! You could use the buffet or dinner venue. There were many things to do on the ship if you wanted or just to relax. There were activities for kids to senior citizens. The outdoor pool was kind of small but there was a second indoor pool for just adults. Everyone was very polite and friendly. Caution though...if you plan on buying things on your vacation plan ahead for carrying those things off the ship. LOL Every time the room was cleaned we had a different animal made out of towels to welcome us every day. Met a very nice guy named Mark from Florida but didn't get his information to stay in touch. Anyone knows him let me know. ) : Overall the cruise was fun and relaxing. RC might want to think about a web site to stay in touch with other people who take cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our first cruise ever. Before booking, we asked around. Carnival did not get a good review from our friends and others we knew. Royal Caribbean embarking and disembarking was efficient and flowed smoothly. The ship was always ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever. Before booking, we asked around. Carnival did not get a good review from our friends and others we knew. Royal Caribbean embarking and disembarking was efficient and flowed smoothly. The ship was always clean everywhere when you got up in the morning. Our stateroom was well organized and cleaned to perfection every day. The food in the main dining is incredibly good and the presentation is that of a fine restaurant. In their buffet on deck 11, the Windjammer, everything was fresh and the choices numerous. This particular crew's service was exceptional and did not lack on any count. When and if we would cruise again, Royal Caribbean would be are only choice based on their level of service, the crew's friendliness and helpfulness, their cuisine, their wait staff, and their entertainment crew. The ship has a marvelous layout and it was easy finding your way around as they put layout maps everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first trip and if we didn't have friends with us that had gone on numerous cruises that advised us this was their worst trip and the others were much better.We probably wouldn't ever cruise again. Pros: The ... Read More
This was our first trip and if we didn't have friends with us that had gone on numerous cruises that advised us this was their worst trip and the others were much better.We probably wouldn't ever cruise again. Pros: The staff for the most part were very friendly. We enjoyed dining in the dining room and choices. Enjoyed the shows. Cons: The shower overflowed into the bathroom and the hallway of the cabin. Got bites around my ankles at night in bed as did my daughter (hopefully not bed bugs). The top comforter Very out dated ship with many flaws. I had heard about the fact we could eat at any time of day or night. This was not the case. Most buffets shut down early and had the same old food (hamburgers,hot dogs and chicken tenders.) There was a small pizza place open that had one person working it and he couldnt keep up. Had to wait 20 to 30 mins for 2 pcs of pizza. It was a $20.00 sur charge for lobster and some other higher end steaks.(my friends said this was a first for them that usually its included. Bars didn't have enough bar tenders therefore it took a while to get a drink. Had conflicting stories from the ship personell about what could and could not be placed on my drink pass. Lastly, we were supposed to be going to Cayman and Cozumel but due to a medical emergency we had to return to the Cayman island. Therefore we spent two days there which is too much . The prices are awful on the island. While we understood why we didnt go to Cozumel we felt taht we were owed something but all we rec'd was 9.95 back. One drink in Cayman is that much . Will NEVER cruise on the paradise ever again. May never cruise Carnival again Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my first cruise and it was a "so-so" experience. I'll start with the GOOD: Embarkation process was easy. I got to the port a couple of hours before the posted "Embarkation Time" and it was easy to get ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was a "so-so" experience. I'll start with the GOOD: Embarkation process was easy. I got to the port a couple of hours before the posted "Embarkation Time" and it was easy to get the bags checked and get onto the boat. There was a line but it moved well. Layout of the ship was confusing me and when I asked an employee about it, she went out of her way to physically walk me to my room which was very helpful. This is considered a small ship and a short cruise but I found there were things to do. They always had seminars going about different things (I even won a "raffle" at one of them and got a nice pearl bracelet) but the seminars are more of a "sales pitch" than a real effort to teach or inform you about something....they're trying to sell you products and services. We were lucky and had good weather for the entire trip so I was able to spend a lot of time outside by the pool or on the decks or in the adults-only deck (that was a lifesaver to get away from rowdy children). They had song/dance shows almost every night and they were as good as some productions I've seen in Las Vegas. I also enjoyed the performers in the Comedy Club and they had different "routines" at each show, including routines for non-adults. The cruise director was funny and entertaining when he spoke and did things. I had several treatments done at the spa and they were awesome...expensive but awesome. *Tip: wait and go to the spa later in the trip. The prices seemed to be highest mid-trip...by the last day they were running much cheaper "specials". Also, beware that the technicians will try to sell you everything they use on you (lotions, scrubs, etc.). Still, they all seemed to know what they were doing and the treatments were top knotch. The casino was well-stocked with machines and games. I booked tour excursions through Carnival at Grand Cayman and Cozymel and enjoyed both. They stopped at major points of interest and let us get out at each and take pictures and walk around a bit on our own. I felt they were a good value---got to see a lot for what I paid. The passengers on board were a good mix of people of different ages, ethnicities and everybody was friendly. Going in the summer, there were probably more kids on this cruise than there would be when kids are in school. Now the CONS: the ship is old and it shows. Very dingy and outdated looking. Carpets were stained, walls had chips and marks, many things (public toilets, elevators, washers/dryers) were broken and not working. The pool area is very small and unimpressive. My cabin was absolutely disgusting. I had an Ocenview but you could barely see out of the window because it was so scuffed. The bed was lumpy and one night, I returned to the cabin and found yellow "stains" on the comforter that looked like urine stains. I called Guest Services to ask for the bedding to be changed. It took 2 hours and 3 phone calls to get that done. I also found a dried blood stain on one of the hand towels, there was strange, sticky "gook" on the desk that was right in your face as you slept, and it looked like there was mold on the ceiling. When I got home, I noticed small bumps developing on my feet and am really hoping I wasn't biten by bed bugs. The shower completely floods the bathroom every time you use it. It literally filled the whole room with 2-3 inches of water and I had to wait about a half hour each time for it to drain. The cabin was so gross that I literally stayed out of it as much as possible. Other areas were dirty, too. I was given a beach towel by the pool that also looked like it had dried blood stains on it, dishes in the buffet were dirty, the beach chairs were all very dirty and grimy, seats in the comedy club had big tears in them. I only ate in the buffet restaurant and the food was awful. Even though they have heat lamps, the food is cold. They do have a good selection but it was very low quality food...examples, I ate fried shrimp one night and it was so "mushy" inside I couldn't even tell it was a shrimp, had a piece of roast beef that was so undercooked and tough I couldn't even eat it, and bbq ribs that were nothing but fat. Service was ok-some staff on board were nice, others were rude. It was very difficult to get questions answered by most of them. They just would blow me off when I would ask about things. They do "nickel and dime" you a lot on the cruise, as well. I felt like everything was "extra". The shopping on board was very limited with just a couple shops and not much selection and everything was very overpriced. Sales clerks (particularly in the jewelry shop) were very pushy. All that said, I did have fun moments and I would do another cruise....but I will definitely book on a "newer" ship and might try a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my very first cruise and I really wasn't sure what to expect. I went with my 2 teenage children, my sister and my teenage niece. My sister and niece have cruised on Carnival before (on a larger ship and loved it). We ... Read More
This was my very first cruise and I really wasn't sure what to expect. I went with my 2 teenage children, my sister and my teenage niece. My sister and niece have cruised on Carnival before (on a larger ship and loved it). We got 2 interior staterooms and to he honest, while the decor was outdated, I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the rooms. Our stateroom steward (Arthur) was fantastic. He cleaned up after 3 teenage girls everyday (for that alone, we tipped him extra). We had fresh towels in our room multiple times every day, the trash was always empty and the beds were either made or turned down every time we entered the room. The shower was larger than expected. The water pressure was good the entire trip. There was a fine line between hot water and 3rd degree burn scalding your skin water...just had to play with the temperature to adjust it just right. The dining staff in the Elation Dining room was hit or miss. 2 nights we had excellent service but the remainder of the trip it was definitely lacking. We attended 1 Sea Day Brunch and honestly, we could of skipped it. The service was horrible and the food took forever. Once we got the food, it was cold and the server never even returned to check on us, let alone refill our drink glasses. We ended up leaving and going to the Lido deck to the buffet. The buffet food wasn't anything to write home about but it was edible and after a long day out in the sun, a nice salad or a ice cream cone always hit the spot. Of course, you always had to fight a line every time you went. We were lucky to grab a buffet lunch and get a table outside one day and eat while watching the ocean just go by. Very relaxing. The food was also hit or miss. I has some fantastic sea scallops and blue crab ravioli in a vodka sauce and some rather nasty eggs benedict and disgusting roasted chicken. One day we were served a chocolate melting cake that was literally, chocolate syrup, the next night, the same dessert was a firm warm chocolate cake. Very inconsistent. Getting a lounge chair was not a problem but the pools and hot tubs stayed packed so trying to get into one was almost impossible. We tried to get onto the Serenity Deck on 3 separate occasions but it was always crowded and we could never find a spot. I'll be honest, Serenity's location, hidden on the back of the ship, doesn't leave it open to a breeze and it gets rather hot back there. I'd almost rather sit on the top deck with the large crowd, were at least, I can get a breeze flowing. Since we cruised for my birthday, my sister and I decided to treat ourselves to massages in the spa. While they were definitely good services, they were way over priced (I know, typical of a cruise ship spa). We were stupid tho and booked on our first day, only to learn that they begin to offer really large discounts on days 3 and 4. We went to the comedy shows (both PG and 18+) and they were both fairly funny. The one comedian used a bit of the same material at each show and was a bit risque (even for the PG show) but the other one was fresh with each show. They also had a live HASBRO game show. It was nice family fun entertainment. My only complaint with it was that they broke it into 2 sessions with the 2nd session being in the middle of the day. Definitely should of been an early evening show like the first session. Leaving the comedy club you will pass by the casino, I am not a smoker and I feel so bad for anyone who has a room anywhere near this casino because the smell is horrible. It is so strong that I didn't even want to go inside and check it out. As soon as you come onto that floor you can smell the stale smoke. They definitely need better ventilation. The first port we visited was Grand Cayman. Can I just say I would live on Seven Mile Beach and rent beach chairs with the locals if I could! I LOVE it there! We bought and excursion to the Turtle Farm because the kids wanted to see the turtles. It really wasn't that expensive. It was really cool that they got to hold the turtles but they loved snorkeling with them. We left the turtle farm early and jumped into the public bus for $2.50 per person, we had them take us to Seven Mile Beach. I was in HEAVEN! Locals will approach you and try to rent you chairs and umbrellas, sell you food or braid your hair, we just politely told them no we didn't have much time and we weren't interested. We got to stay at the beach about 2 hours before we walked back to where the bus (actually the public bus is more like a van) and hopped back on the bus for it to drop us off back at the port. I would of loved more time in Grand Cayman. It is a beautiful island. The next day we arrived in Cozumel. We didn't purchase am excursion for this port. We just got off the ship, walked to the end of the pier, past all the shops and got in line for a taxi. The line was long but it moved quickly. It was $21 for 5 of us to go to Paradise Beach. $3.00 entry fee per person gets you access to the beach and pool plus chairs and umbrellas. There are numerous water inflatables in the water for the kids to bounce on and climb, access to those are and extra $18.00 per person (also includes paddle boarding.kayaking and snorkeling). We let the kids do the banana boat ride at an $15 per person. They expect you to spend $10 per person on food but honestly, no one is really checking. However, we did eat here and they food was pretty good. I did have a few issues, 1. The beach is really rocky, you can really only enter and exit in 1 section without stepping on old coral. 2. It was extremely busy the day we went so the water wasn't as clear as I expected it to be, 3. The same taxi ride back to the port cost $30 instead of $21. The driver said something about it being a "peak time". Not sure I believe that, or just the fact that he saw 5 women he wanted to get a few extra bucks out of. Overall, it was a nice family vacation. We got to visit 2 beautiful places for a fairly descent price and made some awesome memories. I will cruise again, however, I think it will be on a newer, larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We choose this cruise because it was coinciding with another trip we had planned. We had a good time we booked our own excursions and liked the Roatan Catamaran cruise as well as the Maya Chan Beach Resort day trip the best. the Al Tun Ha ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was coinciding with another trip we had planned. We had a good time we booked our own excursions and liked the Roatan Catamaran cruise as well as the Maya Chan Beach Resort day trip the best. the Al Tun Ha Ruins was beautiful but the service we chose had a vehicle that did not have any air conditioning; which made the 1 hour ride to and from the ruins kinda uncomfortable. The on-board service was good, our cabin attendant was polite and helpful. Our dinner attendants were also very helpful and pleasant. We had a group of 11 so we had the dinner attendants regularly in Versailles, We did try the Aqua room but their service was not as nice and the atmosphere was not as inviting. The food was good and plentiful. On the sea-days we wanted to do a morning stretch class, but there was no class those days. I think it would have been nice seeing as we were on the ship all day to have that service. The Entertainment was good they had acrobats, a magician, a strong man, singers and dancers, comedian, even a hypnotist. We had a good time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our first time cruising. It was just me (34) and my husband (35). We have 3 kids but left them AT HOME for this long awaited short getaway. We drove down from North Georgia and stayed at the Country Inn and Suites-Seffner. It ... Read More
This is our first time cruising. It was just me (34) and my husband (35). We have 3 kids but left them AT HOME for this long awaited short getaway. We drove down from North Georgia and stayed at the Country Inn and Suites-Seffner. It was just $116 total for the night and a short 20 minute drive to the port the next morning. Nice clean hotel with decent breakfast. We had prepaid parking at the official port parking deck, which is directly across and a very short walk from the Royal Caribbean terminal 3. We went straight through the boarding process and were on the ship within 30 minutes or so of dropping off our baggage, around 10:30 am. Very easy and smooth process. We wandered around and loved exploring when there weren't many others on the ship yet. We ate lunch in the Windjammer. It was good. There is no shortage of seating with a view! Gorgeous windows and seating everywhere inside and out. Impressive to us first timers! At 1pm there was an announcement that rooms were ready. We had a large oceanview cabin. We had prepared ourselves for a tiny room with zero space, and we were pleasantly surprised. We felt like we had ample room for moving around, storing our clothes, and my 6'6" husband DID in fact fit in the shower. ha. Our room attendant always had our room tidied up and we have no complaints about our room or the attendant. Our cabin was 3036, the very front of "mid-ship" and near the forward elevators. The only noise we heard was ship noise we assume from outside? There would be like the sound of creaking or like a chair moving or something, but we were under other rooms so not sure. It wasn't enough to disturb me. I'm a very light sleeper and we always have a white noise machine with us anyway. We had a large round (porthole) window. This is our first cruise, but I can't imagine not having a window. We loved being able to have a view and relax with food brought back to the room. Our table mates for dinner were pleasant. We had early seating and it seemed that people kind of show up within a half hour of that time. I thought it was a little odd. We were almost finished with our entrees the first night before anyone else had their drinks and appetizers. Not sure if that is the norm of not. Our wait staff for dinners in the main dining room seemed to be a little confused. We had some communication failures with more than one person asking for drink or entree orders, etc. but we enjoyed our food every time. We aren't picky and as this is our first cruise we obviously had nothing to compare to, but we were never hungry. I am an avid baker and dessert lover....and I came to accept that the way to go to get a good dessert was to stick with the creamy pudding frozen style desserts and pies. I wasn't impressed with anything I had that was baked. But the key lime pie, strawberry souffle, creme brulee....YUM! We also used OBC to eat at Chops. It was divine! Wonderful steak, SUPERB service, every single thing was perfect. Lovely views and dining companions nearby as well. For lunch one day we had sushi at Izumi. We love sushi and we loved what we had here as well. GREAT service and views. The park cafe was the only thing open for late night eating. I was a little disappointed that the Windjammer shut down by 9 pm and it was hard to find a place to refill our drink package cups with soda anytime after that. We tend to stay up late and I had looked forward to eating "anytime" but the park cafe was the only choice. It was fine. Everything we had was good. But it did get pretty busy of course being the only place open for late night food. We did order room service twice in the evening but it always took a very long time and wasn't worth the wait. The room service breakfast we ordered for port day was wonderful and delivered right on time. We had a very clear goal in mind with this trip, which was to do as little as possible, and we accomplished that goal. We got in the hot tub once. But other than that we spent our time walking, enjoying the views, sitting in shady areas, and eating. So no reviews from us on any of the activities around the ship. In Cozumel we reserved the Cooking Class at Playa Mia. IT WAS WONDERFUL! We love Food Network and eating, and cooking, and trying new foods, so this was a perfect fit for us. Chef Luis was funny and very knowledgeable. It was effortless to create a delicious and impressive 3 course meal under his guidance. Drinks (alcoholic and non) were included. We were in a group of 7 with the other 5 participants being from Independence of the Seas which shared our port time. We had a really fun group and I just can't express how much we enjoyed the entire experience. When we finished cooking the group had seating upstairs in an air conditioned dining room overlooking the beach area. We enjoyed the food we had prepared and had the opportunity to buy photos that were taken by a photographer during the excursion. We did not purchase any, but had taken several ourselves with our phones. After the class we had free use of the Playa Mia facilities, bar, but not the buffet. (Didn't need or want it after our meal anyway). We only attended the opening night and closing night shows. The comedian on night one was really great. The closing night show was fine, nothing special, slightly cheesy. I visited the children's and teen area for future reference. I am a very picky overprotective type mom and I look forward to being able to bring the kids next time, as I felt completely comfortable with the security and environment of these areas. Formal night was fun, we purchased one of our photos from the MANY that were taken throughout the cruise. We couldn't figure out why they insisted on taking a solo picture of us at the table every night at dinner. Definitely didn't buy them. We chose express disembarkation. We packed up the night before and were ready to walk out the door when the announcement of "all clear' was made at 7am. We were back to our car and pulling out of the parking garage by 8am after walking through customs etc. We absolutely have fallen in LOVE with cruising!!!!! We were so rested and relaxed. We loved that there were so many areas to just sit and relax, enjoy the views and even without participating in any of the many scheduled activities, we felt we got our money's worth from the experience. We are already mentally planning to bring the entire family (teen, preteen, and 5 year old) next time and we hope to actually book it ASAP! We will repeat with Royal Caribbean ,we had a lovely time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. We stayed at the Bay HArbour hotel the night before departure. It was very nice and had a great restaurant on site. We took the shuttle to the port and was able to board ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. We stayed at the Bay HArbour hotel the night before departure. It was very nice and had a great restaurant on site. We took the shuttle to the port and was able to board immediately. While on board we were never at a loss for something to do. The activities director and assistant was wonderful. Very funny and entertaining to watch. The shows were amazing. We had a stateroom with balcony room 8576 and our stateroom attendant was Benjamin and he was awesome. Always there when we needed something with a smile on his face. Room was always clean and fully stocked. The highlight of our cruise was without a doubt the dining. We had my time dining plan and we had the same window table every night at 5:30. Our waiter and assistant waiter were Donaldo and Lawrence. They truly made this trip amazing for us. By the end of the week they felt like family to us. They went out of their way to make our dinner special every night. Even though there were a couple thousand people on this ship we never felt crowded and the day we got back to port there was never a rush or crowd of people getting off the boat. It was just as smooth getting off the boat as it was getting on it. Thank you Royal Caribbean for making our first cruise enjoyable and memorable. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was my first cruise, so I do not have anything to compare it to, but we enjoyed this trip and I will do my best to review without having a comparison. We just traveled on the Norwegian Star, it left from Tampa and went to ... Read More
This was my first cruise, so I do not have anything to compare it to, but we enjoyed this trip and I will do my best to review without having a comparison. We just traveled on the Norwegian Star, it left from Tampa and went to the Western Caribbean. Parking at the port is about $16 a day, you can save money by taking a shuttle, we used The Parking Doctors, they were very good, they charged $8 per day and they were only 0.4 miles away, they put your luggage in the van for you, drop you off at the port and then you call them when you get back, it only took about 2 minutes for them to arrive. The ship left at 4, but you get an option of when you want to board, but you have to be there no later than 3. We chose 1:30, I think this was a very popular time chosen, so it was very busy and long wait times. I would suggest an earlier board time if you are able to, maybe 11-12. I checked in one of my bags and carried the rest, the room keys that my son and I received did not work, so we had to go back down the hallway and up 2 flights of stairs (elevators were full) to go to guest services and get a new key, they did not apologize at all and they were not friendly. We went back to the room and again, neither of the keys worked after giving us new ones, went back to guest services, again no apology at all, they attempted to give me a new key and I demanded for someone to come down to the room with me, so that I do not have to keep bringing the luggage back and forth, they had to reset the lock and it was finally fixed, off to a rough start, but now time to relax. We put our things away and went to get a drink and some food. We went to one of the complimentary restaurants called O'Sheehan's. The food was decent, there were not very many options though. The drinks were surprisingly very strong. We had the unlimited beverage package and I was expecting them to make weak drinks, but I was wrong. The waitress there was not very friendly and she lost my card (it is used for your room as well as drinks/purchases). Like I haven't been having enough issues with my card... I had to go back to customer service to correct it. You would think they would send someone down or she would fix it since SHE lost it, but no, she just offered me a free drink, I told her that I already had the beverage package, so it was free anyway, but I don't think she spoke enough English to understand me. Other dining experiences: the 2 main dining areas have good food, Aqua was the best, we did not try any of the specialty restaurants that you need to pay for and the buffet has a very wide variety of food that unfortunately has no flavor. Our group ate there a lot anyway because we needed more of a variety of foods to suit everyone's taste. If you are able to, I would stick with the main dining rooms. I like that it was freestyle dining, I read some other cruise lines make you eat at a certain time, which just seems like a pain, even more so if you are in a group. Everything is closed from 3-4 though which always seemed to be the time we would get back on the boat on port days and by then everyone was hungry, so it did suck to have to wait, but there is always room service if need be. They do not charge for the food, but there is a service fee, which I believe was $7.95, we did not use it though. They had hand sanitizer everywhere and employees at the door of the buffet squirting some on your hands, so they were very good about that. I brought a ton with me that I did not need to use except at the ports. Aside from the guest services desk and that first waitress, the employees were decent. There were 2 employees that were outstanding, a waiter named Garry went above and beyond to make sure our group was satisfied, he made napkin animals, which was very entertaining for the kids and even the adults at the table. He was very funny and friendly. We had some very picky eaters with us and he was very accommodating, they did not have alfredo on their menu, which one of the kids wanted, so he sent someone to another restaurant to get it. He also noticed that the bartender sent out red sangria instead of white, we were fine with it and didn't say anything about it, but he was apologetic and offered to get new drinks for us, which we declined, we were fine with what we got. The other employee was a bartender by the pool that was very nice and funny as well, he also helped entertain the kids by doing magic tricks. I cannot recall his real name, but he goes by Sunshine. We went to a few shows, an all ages comedy show which was great, a dance show and an acrobatic show, which were great as well and the final show was a talent show that involved the crew members, that was hilarious, very entertaining, probably my favorite of all of the shows. They also had deal or no deal and bingo, which we did, but I probably would not do those again. I feel like deal or no deal was way too expensive, $20 a ticket, and the kids were a bit bored at bingo. The pool was nice, there were 4 hot tubs around it and a big water slide, but I feel like they could have used at least 1 more pool. The kids had fun in there, I went in the hot tub once, but did not go in the pool because it was just too busy. Getting off the ship the first day was incredibly hectic, very long lines and it was not clear where we needed to be, they could have provided a little more information to us about that process. The remaining ports were much easier. My son only did the children's club once, he didn't like it, but he is kind of hard to please. They do have many activities planned for them and there is no charge unless it is at night or at a port. We stopped in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, Costa Maya, Mexico and Cozumel, Mexico. We booked excursions in Roatan and Cozumel through the cruise line and the other 2 through Shore Excursioneer. They all worked out ok, we got to where we needed to go, etc. In Roatan, we did the glass bottom boat tour. This is not meant for someone who gets seasick, I was feeling a little ill on there, but it was very beautiful. We also got to see a monkey and stopped at a restaurant, there was free tea there. Watch out for all of the kids trying to sell you things there, they don't stop hounding you, it is very annoying. Next was Belize, we did cave tubing here. Unfortunately their compresser went out and there was a group of 17 ahead of us, they had to hand pump all of the tubes, so there was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it. It was so beautiful. Another unfortunate thing was that my son's tube as well as mine deflated. Mine was completely flat, his was about 1/2 way and that water was freezing. After the tubing they gave us soda, rum punch and lunch. It is a 1 hour drive there and 1 hour drive back, they even let us take some punch for the drive back. David was a very entertaining tour guide and Carlos let us on the tubing, he was very nice. Next was Costa Maya. We went to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins. This is a good educational trip and it was very cool, but I do not recommend going with young kids. There is a lot of walking involved and not as entertaining for them, but I enjoyed it. This was 45 minutes away from the port. Costa Maya is another place that really hounds you to buy things. Next and final port was in Cozumel, Mexico, probably the most touristy place that we went. We went to Dolphanaris. This was only 4 minutes away. Initially I thought it was too expensive, but I feel like it was worth it. We got 40 minutes with the dolphins, unlimited food, drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, snorkeling, paddle-boarding and kayaking for $109. The only disappointing part here was that you are not allowed to take your own pictures with the dolphins. You have to buy theirs at $29 a piece if you want them. Leaving the ship was a bit hectic as well and we were not told that we needed a customs declaration form, so that was fun to try to do holding all of the luggage and being in a long line.... Overall, I really enjoyed this trip. All of the ports were beautiful and had plenty to do, I just wish we were not harassed so much to buy things. I was satisfied with the cruise line, I did have some problems with a few employees, but the good ones were so outstanding that they really made up for it. I would suggest for them to add another pool though. Don't fall for the $10 watch sale though, they are horrible quality. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Reading some of the other reviews for this cruise makes me wonder if we were all on the same ship? But everyone has their own expectations and I know it's not cool to refer to other reviews, so I'll refrain from doing so. ... Read More
Reading some of the other reviews for this cruise makes me wonder if we were all on the same ship? But everyone has their own expectations and I know it's not cool to refer to other reviews, so I'll refrain from doing so. I've cruised probably a half dozen times, mostly on Carnival and Norwegian. This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean. I had believed beforehand that Royal was a step up from the other cruise lines, but after cruising them I find them to be the same... no better, no worse. We had a small group of a dozen or so people, mixed with cruise veterans and first timers. Everyone had a wonderful time. Great memories, and new friendships! Yes there were some drawbacks, as well as highlights... but I've found that to be true on any ship, any cruise line, to any destination. Many of our group spent the night before at the Tahitian Inn in Tampa. This place is guilty of false advertising. Their web site says their on site restaurant serves dinner and even had a menu posted. Not true, closes at 3pm everyday. No dinner. Their web site says they have a spa and offer massages. Not true. The girl at the lobby desk told us the spa has been turned into a hotel room, and she didn't know why they still advertised it. (well it's because they are guilty of false advertising, that''s why!) She said they can call out for a "masseuse" to come to your room. ummm, no thanks. The nice looking room photos on the web site are "Executive Suites" located in the tower part of the hotel. But they dont tell you that, and you are led to believe that they are the regular rooms. Turns out the regular rooms are more like the Tahitian "Motel" where you have to go outside down a long sidewalk to your old, dated, smelly room which is nothing like in the photos. I CAN NOT RECOMMEND THE TAHITIAN INN, AND WILL NEVER GO BACK. Tampa makes a great port to cruise out of. The city is nice, the cruise terminal nicer than most although I didn't like that they ushered us outside after clearing customs while waiting for our shuttle. It was a little chilly and waiting indoors would have been nice. We had a long wait for our flight, but the Tampa Airport terminal has several nice places to eat, and the wait was not bad. I WOULD CRUISE OUT OF TAMPA AGAIN. I didn't find Royal Caribbean to be any better than the other cruise lines. We did the My Time Dining, and I found that Norwegians Freestyle Dining to work a little better. I'd suggest Royal try keeping the Windjammer Cafe open between 3-6pm. A number of us found we wanted to eat something during that time, and were limited to the Park Cafe. The Park Cafe had good food, but is just a little stand in line sandwich shop tucked away off the pool deck. Royal Caribbean's web site needs revamped. It's difficult if not impossible to navigate and find answers ahead of your cruise. They said I could request feather pillows, which I did. Once on board I was told they have no feather pillows. I was led to believe the tux I rented was for the entire cruise, but they retrieved it after formal night (the 2nd night). It seemed that what you are told by the cruise line ahead of time differs from the reality on the ship. I WOULD CRUISE ROYAL CARIBBEAN AGAIN, BUT AM JUST AS OPEN TO CRUISE NORWEGIAN OR CARNIVAL. Brilliance of the Seas is not one of the Mega Super Sized ships by any means, and I prefer that. We docked in Cozumel next to a larger ship and it's interesting to note the ships are close in width and length. The big difference is height. I think the super big ships have more decks of cabins, more people, more crowds, more waiting and proportionately less public space. I prefer ships with 2,000 passengers vs 4,000. Despite what other reviewers found on this cruise I never had problems finding deck chairs at the pool, or the theater for the shows, or in any of the bars. The only place I found myself looking for seating was the Windjammer Cafe, and the would often just sit outside in another public area to eat. The main dining room was nice. Our Maitre D made accommodations for our group to sit together, and looked out for us every night. Our waiter Kerwin was GREAT. I felt like we became friends by the time we said goodbye. The food in the main dining room was good, and we never felt the desire to eat in the specialty restaurants. My room steward was also great, kept things in order without intruding once. I also enjoyed a heartfelt conversation with him that I carried home with me. Very personable to say the least! The ship has its problems however. It could use more elevators, as waiting for them got old and I resorted to using the stairs often. I have found this to be true on other ships as well, so it may be my short patience when it comes to elevators. Brilliance's elevators are no worse than other similar sized ships. The cabin's shower and sink water temp were always "warm"... never cold or hot. Brushing your teeth in warm water...yuk. And trying to find drinking water was a constant chore, unless you were willing to pay though the nose for it. I had a outside balcony, and the view was nice but the balcony does lack privacy. You can see and hear your neighbors on their balcony. And if you lean over the privacy divider (not hard to do) you can not only see your neighbors balcony, but if their curtains are open you can see into part of their cabin... including the mirror above the bed, that then reflects almost the entire cabin..... NOT COOL!!! So if you're thinking of having a "private" balcony and being one with the sea, think again! Other than the noise from the neighbor's balcony, I found my cabin to be quiet overall. It was on deck 8, mid-ship. The layout of the cabin had the bathroom door colliding with the cloths closet doors. You have one or the other open but not both, so your constantly opening and closing both while getting dressed for dinner. Poor design. The rest of the cabin layout was nice. The shows after dinner were good, but each show was singing and music. One show was cancelled due to the entertainers stuff not arriving in time. I would have liked a variety to include comedy, or maybe a magic show. The timing of cleaning and maintenance onboard the ship puzzles me. Why do you close one of the hot tubs during peak hours? Why do you hose down the deck during peak hours? I actually witnessed a lady slip and fall during a ship planned dance event on the pool deck because the deck was still wet from being hosed down earlier. She had to be carried off on a stretcher, and I hope she is alright. Yes they had the yellow caution cones placed in the area, but why do that when the ship is planning a dance party? Yes it was St Patrick's Day and Spring Break so there was a certain amount of craziness, but as a 60 year old I did not find it to be out of control or annoying. If anything it added a certain element of entertainment!!! I have been on other cruise ships that had way more craziness and out of control drunkenness. I WOULD CRUISE ON THIS SHIP AGAIN, BUT WAS NOT OVERLY IMPRESSED. Our destination was Cozumel. I have never been here before so I wanted to do a shore excursion that took in much of the island to get an overall feel. I debated between the ship sponsored tours, my travel agents recommendations, and finding one on my own. I feel cruise lines and travel agents suggest tours that they get kickbacks from, but they do offer a certain level of satisfaction because the tour company is obligated to keep up to the cruise lines standards...or lose their business. However I ended up finding a tour on my own, and it worked out really well. The tour that 7 of us took was a "Photo Sightseeing Tour" given by Tati Biermas who is an award winning photographer from Germany who moved to Cozumel about 15 years ago. She picked us up at the ship, was willing to customize the tour to include sites we wanted to see plus the spots that she suggested, was informative and a lot of fun! This was one of the highlights of the entire cruise. You can find her by doing a internet search for CozumelPhotoTour. If you've never seen the undeveloped side of Cozumel (the eastern coast called the Wild Side) you really need to find your way over there and check it out. Theh colorful water, waves crashing on the rocks... just breathtaking. Also the Eco Park on the southern tip with the lighthouse is great. Climbing up the lighthouse may not be for everyone, but the view is awesome. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TATI'S COZUMEL PHOTO TOUR. I'm rating this overall with 4 stars because to give it 5 in my mind would require an outstanding cruise with incredible service....which it was not. However to give it 3 stars would suggest just an average so-so time, and it was more than that. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
FIRST TIME CRUISERS! Brilliance of the Seas. Balcony rooms. Timing of this cruise was crazy college spring break time but our family always got our 4 pool chairs on upper deck (early birds). We found so many things to do and really ... Read More
FIRST TIME CRUISERS! Brilliance of the Seas. Balcony rooms. Timing of this cruise was crazy college spring break time but our family always got our 4 pool chairs on upper deck (early birds). We found so many things to do and really enjoyed it! We loved our bar tender; cabin attendant, and Chef Brown in the Windjammer Cafe. They really made our trip memorable!! All were tipped extra! MOST aspects were amazing while a few need some tweaking! In short, we really LOVED it and can’t wait to do another!! Specific details/tips: SPA: PROS: Spa was beautiful and much larger than I expected! Highly recommend you go see it on boarding day! We bought the “Thermal Spa” week long access passes for all 4 of us (boarding day Spa "Open House" special). LOVED that component and used it regularly. Had hot tile beds "thermal"; steam room, sauna and more. All with fantastic ocean views! Thermal spa is Co-ed. CONS: Bought a few couples treatments that weren’t great. Last day treatment (a couples massage) went from bad to worse! We were 20 minutes early to be relaxed, changed and waiting. No one took us back until AFTER the scheduled appointment start time. Services started late; ended early; rushed every step; never did any actual “massage”; One masseuse left in the middle without explanation—after 5 minutes I sat up and inquired with other masseuse…apparently she went to the BATHROOM—yuck! Upon her return, she proceeded to “BRAID" my hair for remainder of time (took photos of final product in total disbelief)—NEVER once touched my back. Never had such a bad massage experience. Receipt clearly stated "Deep Tissue" and it wasn't even an actual massage! Must admit we are still laughing perplexed about what EVER it was! Disappointed when Spa Manager (with whom we were all on a friendly first name basis) provided excuses and offered a pitiful 30% discount rather than instantly offering a complete refund and an apology. I insisted on a full refund and eventually got it. Still, the Thermal Spa was a GREAT place to relax daily!! REALLY liked it! FOOD: We ate all Breakfasts, lunches and our last night dinner in Windjammer and absolutely loved it! Pleasantly surprised at the numerous healthy options for every special dietary need in my family. NOT the disgusting "fried and junk food buffet” we were expecting. Chef Brown enthusiastically made custom VEGAN creations for us at every meal! He went above and beyond. We tipped him heavily on last night. We found Windjammer to be superior food quality, food options, meticulous service and attentive staff. (Only desserts were better in the dining room) Main DR was beautiful with amazing staff and had potential, but fell short on quality. Food tasted like mediocre institutional chow. Our waiter was the NICEST guy with impeccable manners. He tried so hard and we really liked him!! It just felt like no one in the main dining room's kitchen was trained to understand VEGAN diet and in today's world, that's not acceptable. The system in there was not good. Our meals were tremendously slow to come out; we were never asked for a drink order, didn't get the drinks we DID request and bread was never brought unless we stopped someone else for it (drinks were apparently to be handled by a different person). Comically, appetizer orders continued to re-appear at our table. In fairness, our tables assistant waiter was injured and unable to work; leaving our waiter hustling completely alone. Bottom line: we definitely preferred the Windjammer! Never paid an uncharge for the other restaurants; they were empty—probably because ship was filled with college kids on a budget! We didn't care. The Windjammer was SO pleasantly surprisingly good, we didn't need to go elsewhere! WIFI: Bought package for 2 devices for entire trip ($30/day). Easily able to switch between family members and devices. Just won't allow more than 2 logged in at same time. Was fine but not to be relied upon as communication source between family members on ship. Connection was sporadic and unreliable at times. Explanation given was “due to rough seas, we keep losing our satellite signal, just keep trying”. (Take Walkie-Talkies if you need to reach people regularly on ship) Def would get it again! SHOWS/ACTIVITIES: Comedy show was GREAT! Ample seating. Movies poolside and in movie theater were great and changed daily! Make sure you pre-plan and coordinate times of activities with your dinner time! Unfortunately projector broke mid-movie the night we chose that over the live show. Oh well. Activities were plentiful and had something for everyone throughout the day. Putt Putt was fun with plenty of equipment for all. Excessive winds periodically forced rock climbing wall to close—during those times, you REALLY felt like you’d be blown overboard! Only real negative was excessive smoke throughout Casino and drifting into neighboring areas. THAT was only place we experienced smoke as rest of ship is non-smoking. EXCURSIONS: Water excursions booked thru Royal Caribbean were cancelled 24 hrs ahead in Grand Cayman due to “weather”. Full refunds provided instantly. Upon arrival in port, weather was gorgeous! We found ample vendors on Pier to take us and all was GREAT. Waters were def rough but boats went out. LOVED GRAND CAYMAN. Beautiful clean, smooth beaches!! After snorkel and stingray city adventure, we spent afternoon at Royal Palms Beach Club ($2 admission) with great beach, pool, showers etc. Grabbed quick vegan lunch at Bread and Chocolate 2 min walk from ships. BEST vegan sandwiches we’ve had! Was really nice! In Cozumel took cab from port to Carlos and Charlies where chairs, umbrellas, etc were FREE, no admission charges either! SO glad we didn’t purchase the advertised “packages” from cabs and pier vendors. Drank beer, bottled water and snacked on plain avocado and chips all day and our bill was only $22 plus tip!! Rinsed off in showers then shopped and explored town ($24 cab ride). GENERAL: REALLY HAD FUN! Ship is huge with tons to do!! Ricky the Cruise Director was AMAZING! All staff were so accommodating and genuinely happy doing their jobs! Made it fun for everyone everywhere we went on the ship! Customer Service is top notch! My biggest fear going was that our rooms were situated directly above the ships "night club" and bars. Only heard the bar below us on last night -- it was loud but not horrible! Seas were unusually rough and everyone felt it! Bumping into walls; drawers and doors banging open in the night; things falling. Def not the norm but found humor in it! KEY TO STAYING HAPPY IN ROUGH SEAS: TAKE BONINE (Meclazine; not drowsy like Dramamine)! (Medical facility gives it out free onboard; in waiting room in 2 pill packs on wall of waiting room). So much easier to tolerate the rocking if you don't feel sick! Summary: Can't wait to book another cruise with Royal Caribbean! Hooked! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We are a family of 4, children ages 10 and 13. This was our first cruise and were a little nervous based on reviews posted on line. All we can figure is that some people will complain about any detail, just to complain. This was a ... Read More
We are a family of 4, children ages 10 and 13. This was our first cruise and were a little nervous based on reviews posted on line. All we can figure is that some people will complain about any detail, just to complain. This was a beautiful, well kept ship. The food was good, based on the number of people it had to be prepared for. The staff was excellent, kind attentive and probably offered the highest level of service we have received on any vacation. The ship is small, compared to others in the fleet, but the trade off is minimal waiting in lines and areas available to catch a moment alone. We loved it, and are planning our next cruise already. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I was told that Royal Caribbean was rated highest among the cruise lines. They certainly did not disappoint. We sailed on the Vision of the Seas for 7 nights to the Western Caribbean and had an excellent time. This was our first cruise and ... Read More
I was told that Royal Caribbean was rated highest among the cruise lines. They certainly did not disappoint. We sailed on the Vision of the Seas for 7 nights to the Western Caribbean and had an excellent time. This was our first cruise and although we did a lot of research and talked to a lot of friends who had cruised many times, you are never really prepared until you have sailed at least once. First the port of Tampa could not have been easier to embark from. We traveled with another couple and drove to the garage right next to the port building. A 2 minute walk across the street where we were greeted by a friendly porter who took all the bags loaded them on a cart and left us to proceed with our carry-on bags to the port officials. We were greeted cheerfully, asked for our documentation and directed up an escalator by yet another friendly attendant to security, We went through the security and were asked to complete a health form which took about one minute then proceeded to the check-in desk with our passports. Again, no troubles and we quickly made it to the waiting area where after 20 minutes they began boarding and our group was called. Once we got on the ship we could not believe how smoothly the process was. I will not go into every detail but I will give the summary like this, the ship was nicely appointed and clean. Everyone and I mean everyone in the crew that we interacted with was friendly and cordial. When we had questions they were helpful. The facilities were nice and the size of the ship was not overwhelming. At no time did the ship feel too crowded either. There was plenty of space to not feel like you were one of 2000 sardines in a can. The food was what I would consider to be average but we had no complaints. We tried one of the specialty restaurants Izumi one evening and really enjoyed it. Otherwise we ate in the Windjammer every morning and some afternoons and the Main Dining Room all other nights. We had an 8:00 p.m. seating which worked out great for us on port days because we had time to go to the cabin, clean up relax take in an early show and then make our way to dinner. Our waiter Carlos and his assistant Mario were great. They took good care of us throughout the trip. The stateroom was Deluxe Ocean View on deck 4 Starboard side. Daniel was our stateroom attendant and was amazing. He almost anticipated what we needed before we asked for it. Only a few times did we even need to request something otherwise he had it for us. When we did need something, it was never a problem. One example was our Champagne that we brought with was on ice when we returned from our day in port waiting for us to bring chilled to the dining room. The folks at guest services were courteous and helpful. Our Cruise Director Rob McNally along with the Activities Manager Elvis Pinto were funny and entertaining. Both were having fun at their jobs and we had fun watching them in action. They made the whole experience lighthearted and fun! We watched the morning show each day with them on our in cabin flat screen and played the question of the day game. I also took advantage of the running track every morning on deck 10. My wife enjoyed the yoga class in the gym. The waitstaff in the Windjammer Cafe as well as all the greeters were so nice and accommodating each and every day. I know the life of a cruise ship employee is not an easy one with low pay and long hours but you would never know it from this bunch. They were all a pleasure. One unfortunate thing that occurred on the second night of our journey was that there was a medical emergency on board the ship on the way to Roatan Honduras. The Captain had to make the decision in the middle of the night to turn the ship back and go to Cozumel, Mexico which was the closest port that had the medical facilities to handle the situation for the guest. Although we were never told the nature of the emergency, it was comforting to know that Royal Caribbean or at least this captain put the health and well being of one individual above all else. We ended up getting to Cozumel in time to make it a full port day and still went on with the rest of the itinerary as scheduled in order to Belize, Costa Maya and then BACK to Cozumel. We did not mind but would have liked to see Roatan . Maybe next time. We did different excursions all sponsored by Royal Caribbean. In Belize we took the New River and Mayan Ruins excursion. Great! In Costa Maya we took the Catamaran and Snorkel excursion. Very Good. The entertainment on board was pretty good most of the time and very good other times so not every show was a knockout but the orchestra was terrific and some of the singers were as well. There happen to be a group of Elvis impersonators cruising on our ship and they did entertain in public one night. That was a lot of fun! Also the 70's night in the Masquerade Theater was superb and then the dance party in the Centrum was very fun after dinner. They had something entertaining in the Centrum every evening. We even took a Cha Cha lesson there one day and watched a cake decorating seminar with the pastry chef another day. On the last day we decided to go with the self-assist luggage option and man was that easy. We grabbed our roller bags and off the ship we went with no line no waiting and through customs in 5 minutes. A cab was waiting outside the port where another porter loaded our luggage and away we went to the airport. (the cab driver drove like a maniac but that's another story) I realize that I probably sound like a commercial for Royal Caribbean but I have to say we really, really enjoyed everything. No, we are not seasoned cruisers and sometimes we can be picky but I have to be honest and say this trip really worked out well for us. I read some other reviews that really had me second guessing cruising on any ship but I guess to each his own. I can't tell you that everyone's experience was the same as ours but we were away from the winter weather on a cruise ship in the Caribbean with friends and had an excellent vacation. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
On Saturday, January 30th 2016 my wife and I and our three children, ages three, seven, and eleven drove to Tampa Florida to board the Carnival Cruise ship Paradise and set sail the next day on February 1st 2016. On Monday February 1st ... Read More
On Saturday, January 30th 2016 my wife and I and our three children, ages three, seven, and eleven drove to Tampa Florida to board the Carnival Cruise ship Paradise and set sail the next day on February 1st 2016. On Monday February 1st 2016 we boarded the Carnival Paradise, and our nightmare began. We went to our stateroom on Deck 5 and placed our luggage with plans to visit Deck 10 so that we could see the dining areas and eat lunch at the buffets, which were supposed to be available. When we arrived at deck 10, many of the buffet food lines were closed, and we immediately noticed that the food that was available was not decent to eat, much of which was not suitable for children. One particular buffet line we visited three separate times over the course of three days at 5pm, 11pm, noon, and it was only open on the last day of the cruise, even though staff assured us it was supposed to be open every day. The carpet in our stateroom was sticky and dirty, and there was evidence of residue that had dripped down the walls and had not been properly cleaned. My wife had to put clean towels down so that the children could walk barefooted on the floor without sticking to the carpet. In all honesty, the condition of the room would easily compare to a Motel 6 or other low quality motel. During the course of this trip, our children experienced spoiled milk, and frozen milk that was undrinkable, and overall, an irregular food availability. The Cruise line offered lemonade onboard, but it was so sweet that it was undrinkable, and it had the consistency of syrup. The tea was bitter, and at no time was plain water available. When we ate at the Elation Dining Room, we inadvertently found out that we were scheduled to eat at a certain time without the availability of any exceptions. In this dining room, we experienced hard pancakes that were difficult to cut with a fork, very tough French toast that was unpalatable, and in general, food that was very bland, old and not fresh, or all of the above. On the second night of the cruise we were never informed that there was to be a formal dining dress code on that evening, and we were turned away because I was wearing khaki shorts with a collared business casual dress shirt. My wife was wearing a tie-dye shirt and sweat pants, and we were told because she was a female that her attire was acceptable, yet mine was not. We were then denied access to the dining room, having to look for food elsewhere aboard the ship, and again had to deal with the issue of other food areas unavailable or shut down. The schedule for this dining room was never explained to us, shown to us, or clarified when we asked questions regarding its availability. On the third night we ordered a steak at the dining room, and it was so tough it was unable to have been eaten. All of the food on this ship tasted as if it were from a package, and not fresh, let alone made to order as promised when we made our reservation. We addressed many of the issues with the on board staff, including the Maître’ D, which in turn sent the Chef to our table, who then gaffed off our concerns. Carnival Cruise Lines advertises that they have “Guy’s Burger Joint”, a “Seafood Shack”, and a Blue Iguana Cantina, all of which NONE of these were available on our ship. Only two other restaurants were available with limited dining times, and each had a bar or casino, in which children were not allowed access to these areas. On the fourth night, my wife ordered stir-fry vegetables that were not only tasted really bad, but were spoiled and inedible. French fries for our children were soggy, cold, and bland. The ice cream was water based, and inedible. On the third night, the potatoes served to me were grey in color (evidenced that they had been in the kitchen for several days and not stored properly prior to being prepared), and when I addressed this with the kitchen staff, it was shrugged off as “no big deal”. On this same night, my son (who is 11 years old) ate his evening meal, which made him incredibly sick, resulting in him puking from 2am to 6am that night (food poisoning). Carnival Cruise Lines assured us that their room service was all-inclusive, and offered exceptional service with wonderful food, all available at any time of the day. Room service only offered cold lunchmeat sandwiches and chocolate cake. Lunchmeat was slick and should not have been served. Fruit was never available as part of the services from room service, and juice was never available after the a.m. period. No vegetables or fruit on this ship were fresh, as all immediately appeared under-ripe or expired. Carnival promised us when we made our reservation that there would be plenty of activities for children; however, when we got onboard the cruise, activities for or involving children was minimal and almost non-existent. The ship had an area called “Camp Carnival” which the reservation representative assured would have arts & crafts, and fun daily activities for children of all ages. When we tried on four separate occasions to use this service and put our children in this area so that they could participate in these activities, the only activity offered each time to them was either video games or TV. When I took my three children swimming in the open deck pool, there was significant amounts of disgusting, soft, soggy, plastic debris that came in contact with our bodies. As we were unsure what these plastic items were submerged in the water, we quickly got out of the pool. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Just went on our very first cruise. I was so nervous after reading the reviews on this site but it was already booked so we had to go.........thank goodness! It was absolutely wonderful. I was blown away by how amazing this experience ... Read More
Just went on our very first cruise. I was so nervous after reading the reviews on this site but it was already booked so we had to go.........thank goodness! It was absolutely wonderful. I was blown away by how amazing this experience was. We took 11 family members and we had the best family vacation ever. I was amazed by the quality and quantity of food. Of note: I have numerous allergies, usually brought on by additives to food. I did not have one single food headache on this trip - which let me know there food is prepared fresh for you daily. The service was incredible. From our room steward (Ashkom - probably sp sorry) to our waiter (Joseph) we could not have had a better experience. We ended up letting Ashkom hold our little girl, and we NEVER let anyone touch our babies. He was just awesome and super pleasant - made our already good vacation even better. I am always very skeptical about "nice" people who are serving you, but in this situation both Joseph and Ashkom were just genuinely nice, wonderful people. Special mention also to the ladies at the java café in the lobby, I don't know there names but they made my little boy feel so special! The boys in our group (10,11,12) loved the children's area (pools) on this ship - and basically lived there. Also on embarkation we ended up having all kinds of difficulties w/ my father-in-law's passport. The staff manning the desks were absolutely amazing. They hung with us to get it figured out even when they were no longer on duty. WOW! Our first cruise, but it will NOT be our last Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I brought my mother on this cruise for her birthday. I pre-ordered one of the birthday decoration packages as well as champagne/chocolate covered strawberries. All of which were nice and set up by the time we got to our cabin. I ... Read More
I brought my mother on this cruise for her birthday. I pre-ordered one of the birthday decoration packages as well as champagne/chocolate covered strawberries. All of which were nice and set up by the time we got to our cabin. I thought the ship was well maintained. We stayed in a Junior Suite (1068) and it was worth the upgrade. The beds and bedding were comfortable. The temperature could be easily adjusted. The mini bar could have been a little colder. The closet was a nice size and had plenty of hangers. Our cabin steward, Arnold, was really great! The room was made up each morning while we are at breakfast and turned down while we were at dinner. It was clean and we had plenty of towels, etc. We tipped him extra. We planned to do some spa activities, the prices are outrageous. As seasoned spa goers, we decided to pass. The food at the Windjammer was about what you would expect for the mass quantity they put out. Some were bad, some were good, some were ok. A lot of it was bland. The same goes for the main dining room. However, it's loud and crowded and it feels very rushed. Tip: the eggs are powdered. I went to the omelet station each morning. On two of the nights we went to specialty restaurants. Giovanni's was excellent. Our server, Peter, was from India. He was great. The food was fabulous. Portions are more than generous. We also went to Chops Grill. Equally wonderful. There is an extra surge charge (on top of the first one) if you want lobster. We elected to order it and it was really good. Our server, Jason, took it out of the shell for us and was very attentive and knowledgeable. The shops on the ship are great and reasonably priced. They run specials each day. The bars were fun. The drink prices were reasonable and we mentioned several times how glad we were that we didn't get the drink package. We would've have really wasted some serious money. Unfortunately the weather was horrible. The seas were so rough one of the nights I think everyone on the ship was talking about it the next day. It was cloudy every day. At Cozumel we went to the Mayan Ruins and a beach break. They had a great restaurant where you can eat with your feet in the sand and the fish tacos were great. Our guide, Gustavo, was very informative and friendly. Disembarkation was little unorganized, but all in all it didn't take very long. I think we will cruise again, but will splurge for the specialty restaurant dining packages for dinner each evening. The food was so much better and worth every penny, Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I will start with the positives: Boarding and getting off the ship was a piece of cake, easy, easy, easy. The balcony room was well worth the money. The room was perfectly fine, room 7640 was quite, no noise. Easy to find your way ... Read More
I will start with the positives: Boarding and getting off the ship was a piece of cake, easy, easy, easy. The balcony room was well worth the money. The room was perfectly fine, room 7640 was quite, no noise. Easy to find your way around the ship. The crew at the Schooner Bar were fabulous. Honduras was by far the best shore excursion. Now, the not so good: Food at "my time dining" was horrible. The food was just as good or not better at the Wind Jammer Café. We ate twice at "my time dining then gave up". We ordered the drink packages for two adults and two children which were suppose to come with two complimentary RCCL Cups, we did not get the cups. My wife asked about it at Guest Service and the gentleman behind the counter told her they were out and if you don't like it we can cancel your drink packages. The pool is very small, there was never any lounge chairs during peek periods. The pool bar service was absolutely horrible. Not sure why the beer carts are not out all day or at least during peak periods. Everyone ordering mixed fluff drinks and it took for ever just to get a beer. I started going into Wind Jammer or Schooner to get a beer. Passengers were extremely mad about the towels before shore excursions, the staff would tell you to go to level 2, go to level 2, nothing. Makes no sense why the 9th level towel issue station is not open, knowing people were going to eat breakfast before leaving the ship. Shore excursion were confusing, like herding cattle, not my thing. Other reviewers talked about how friendly the staff were, I did not see it except at the Schooner Bar. Most were not very friendly. last, on 12-31-15 while in Cozumel on an approved shore excursion with RCCL, "Dolphin Encounters" someone entered the secured wall locker at hut # 3 after renting snorkel gear and somehow ran up $609.00 dollars on my debit card. I reported it to RCCL Guest Services filed a complaint, their response, the form is for insurance purposes only, BEWARE!! I would not go on this cruise line again and for sure not this ship. Failed to meet my expectations in customer service, food, and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I cruised on Brilliance of The Seas from Tampa to the Western Caribbean, I was traveling with a group of friends, looking to have a holiday in the Caribbean. The transportation to the embarkation port, such as buses, flights, were all on ... Read More
I cruised on Brilliance of The Seas from Tampa to the Western Caribbean, I was traveling with a group of friends, looking to have a holiday in the Caribbean. The transportation to the embarkation port, such as buses, flights, were all on very good airlines and were all on time and matched extremely efficiently with the ship's schedule. We flew in from Texas and we took the shuttle to the hotel Royal Caribbean provided for us, Ramada Tampa Airport on Westshore Boulevard. The hotel was excellent and really clean and was perfect for our early morning trip to the cruise port. The ship was really opulent and combined sleek swiftness with panoramic views and large, open spaces. With acres of glass enclosing the nine-story central atrium, elevators facing the sea, and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, you'll never be at a loss for an incredible view. They have many activities such as the Solarium Pool, Vitality Spa, Rock Wall, Broadway-style shows, Casino Royale, and a large number of bars. The staff were just amazing in terms of friendliness and helpfulness, they always went out of their way to help you. The shore excursions in both George Town, Cozumel were both excellent, various things like scuba diving and snorkeling made the shore excursions an all around pleasant addition to the ports of call. The cabin was great, providing a sense of elegance into the comfort that the room provided. The bed was really comfortable and the duvet and blankets were excellent. There were a combination of firm and soft pillows on the bed. The balconies were very spacious and quiet places, very good if you wanted some peace. They also had a mini-bar with a good selection of snacks, and a flat screen TV with a multitude of channels to browse and view. The bathroom was better than average, with granite counter tops, a walk-in shower, and a decent array of toiletries. The cabin was overall very clean and spacious. The cabin was very quiet and kept out all outside noise. The food was also excellent, there was a good selection of dining, cheap, upscale, romantic, or purely elegant, any taste that you crave, you can find it on board the ship. I went to most of the dining places to experience the difference and I could not find a single negative, they were all very good and had impeccable service. The entertainment came in many different forms, there was anything to satisfy your drive for entertainment. There were shows, theater acts, and internet cafes. All the shows and theater a were very original and well planned out. The internet cafes offered really fast internet. The disembarkation was very well executed and was very quick, the process was fast, but it was very organized and orderly, there weren't long lines or crowds of people, just an over all correlated process. Brilliance of The Seas is an excellent ship to go on for anyone, they have everything that will satisfy what you expect from your cruise experience. Well worth the money, amazing is simply the best word for it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First, the NCL cruise and It was not an amazing experience!! I would not recommend the Norwegian Star!!! For our first cruise, I am totally disappointed with the lack of service, and the lack of Compassion in accommodating their guests!! ... Read More
First, the NCL cruise and It was not an amazing experience!! I would not recommend the Norwegian Star!!! For our first cruise, I am totally disappointed with the lack of service, and the lack of Compassion in accommodating their guests!! The first day of embarkation, our keys were not coded correctly and could not get into our room cabin, so I headed to guest services, which the line was a mile long. I was told to relax by one of the captain Mgrs. and I should be thru the line in about 30 minutes, proceeding to tell me I must of had the keycard next to a cell phone which decoded the room keys, LOL, I didn't bring my phone on the trip! There were severe technology issues, especially when you hear NCL paging the technology tech consultants. The disembarkation in Roatan was unorganized and frustrating, and I would not recommend the Island sightseeing tour. After our tour in Roatan, I went to eat at the Market Cafe buffet a few minutes before closing and I wanted a second helping of vegetables and was told the line was closed, go to other side. The other side had desserts not veggies. I understand rules but I was already there just wanting more veggies. Again at the same place on Asian night I requested a vegetable stir fry and was told by the head chef mgr that the dishes available to all guests was the same as I requested, clearly not, I requested a veggie stir fry, NO MEAT or NOODLES!! Clearly that option was not available, feeling shoved, we headed to Ginza for dinner. There the hostess sat us in a hallway, which was not acceptable, since Ginza was not busy when we arrived, so my daughter requested another table. Then at the La Cucina I was charged again for a prepaid meal. The mgr captain was just worried about the two officer captains coming in and telling him turn up the lights, looks like a mortuary down there than resolving their mistake!! After what I thought would be resolved after checking the NCL app, and was not, the mgr told me to go to guest services, again shoved aside. Then at the Moderno we arrived about 6:50 for a 7:00 pm reservation, and the hostess said my reservation was at 7:15 so we walked back to the room to get our itinerary that clearly stated 7:00 pm so we showed her and she then seated. She commented it was the system, what another technology glitch, is this the Norwegian way, glitches?? The pool and Stardust washrooms were disgusting and at night all the Stardust toilets were clogged and overflowing. Could have been a severe spread of bacteria/viruses. The best part of the cruise was our server at the pool, Avelino, the band, Exotique very entertaining and talented. The Sugar Cane Mojito Bar manager was excellent and accommodating. The shows and entertainment were terrible except for the last night, yesterday. The show in the Stardust was excellent and the interactive Quest game show was great entertainment. However, the entertainment staff could have been more assertive in getting people more involved, seemed like they were dancing and mingling amongst themselves. Also, in the Spinaker there were too many under-aged drinkers that were inebriated ruining it for the adults, so the adult consent forms should be eliminated, shame on parents that allow their young teens to indulge! Also fire the djay. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Loved the first experience worth it to upgrade for the penthouse suite. Gave great priority access for embankment, ports and disembarkment. Didn't have to worry about getting to tenders or off ship in time for excursions. Enjoyed ... Read More
Loved the first experience worth it to upgrade for the penthouse suite. Gave great priority access for embankment, ports and disembarkment. Didn't have to worry about getting to tenders or off ship in time for excursions. Enjoyed room service, afternoon treats delivered to our room and the speciality dining. Our Butler Roy and Concierge Cristropher went above to make it a memorable event. We enjoyed our steward Monchul's added towel creations as well as keeping our room tidy and fully stocked. Would have like to know to bring something to carry the key card for the kids like lanyards. Also if didn't book ship excursions its easy and affordable to book once off the ship and out of the terminal. We brought our own snorkel gear so easy to grab a taxi and find a great place to snorkel. The entertainment was good for the size of ship and their was something for everyone. Enjoyed the freestyle but didn't feel out of place if you were dressed up for the evening. There was only one pool and it wasn't very big for the amount of passengers. The teen club was of little interest to our teenagers as it was small and had two foosball tables that weren't put together properly, boardgames and a couple wii stations. Had to book the speciality dining the first couple days as they booked up quick. But overall we would book with this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I booked a cruise on Carnival Paradise to celebrate my upcoming birthday (45). Some friends joined me, which was a couple and another single friend, and we had a pretty great time. We weren't travelling with kids so I'm not ... Read More
I booked a cruise on Carnival Paradise to celebrate my upcoming birthday (45). Some friends joined me, which was a couple and another single friend, and we had a pretty great time. We weren't travelling with kids so I'm not sure what the children's activities were like and there were a lot more on board than what I thought would be at this time of year. The room was bigger and cleaner than I expected with it being my first cruise and on an older ship. Our room steward, Adi, was very sweet and helpful. I LOVED the elegant Captain's dinner on Tuesday night. Delicious food, plenty of activities to choose from. The only issues were the elevators and there were not enough hot tubs and the pool was much smaller than expected. There were a couple of elevators that did not work, which made the disembarkation difficult. The stingray/snorkeling excursion I booked on Grand Cayman with Captain Bryan was by far the best. I learned a lot so the next time I book, I would love to try a singles cruise. I would definitely recommend a Carnival cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My first cruise - a present from my family as a combined big birthday present and beating cancer. My husband and I hadn't gotten away in years so we were looking forward to all the fabulous food and service we were told was ... Read More
My first cruise - a present from my family as a combined big birthday present and beating cancer. My husband and I hadn't gotten away in years so we were looking forward to all the fabulous food and service we were told was experienced on a cruise. We took the adult beverage package and I inquired through a phone call to Norwegian what do people to about bottled water. I was told to download an extrea luggage tag and tape to the case I could leave with the luggage. Didn't happen - my husband with a bad back - carried the case of water to our room. We were told by the person collecting the luggage that you have to buy Norwegian's water - he could not put it with the luggage. I did not make this up - I followed the directions received from Norwegian. Room was beautiful - balcony great. Couch was dirty - worn. We did find a receipt from the former occupant on the floor by the bed which gave me a bit of the skeeves. Our room steward - Jesus "Jess" was very accomodating. Loved the towel animals. No midnight buffets - dissapointment. No lobster - dissapointment. Loved the hamburger with pineapple at the pool and the food at the complimentary Ginza. We came back to room intense smell of smoke. We went to guest services where my husband was reprimanded for not calling from the room. We never were told what the outcome was. One bartender had attitude when getting drinks. He demanded the two room cards - one for me and my husband. Not nice. We are still waiting to hear back regarding the excursion in Belize from the snorkling adventure. Due to extreme current snorkling was not enjoyable. The guides kyacks capsized. Haven't heard about a refund. There was a definate language barrier with the staff. The assistant cruise directior - took us on the ship tour - at the spa he told the group the use of the whirlpool and steam room are complimentary. He left and the Madiera spa person took over and told us he is wrong there is a 139.00 fee for the week. Later on we saw him and we told him - he said yea I know its free on Carnival. Not that we would have used it but you make a mistake like that - he needed to offer that week complimentary. Also the chairs in the public rooms like the spinaker were so dirty. Will we cruise again - yes - on Norweigian - not sure. Will definately do more homework regarding food - Lobster! And I don't want to pay extra for it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Accommodations were very nice, food good but they want your money! Just about everything costs extra. Bingo was expensive and short, nothing like at home. Not many prizes. The shows were excellent (free) and had fun. The pool area was ... Read More
Accommodations were very nice, food good but they want your money! Just about everything costs extra. Bingo was expensive and short, nothing like at home. Not many prizes. The shows were excellent (free) and had fun. The pool area was fun and the music awesome. If you want to enjoy the sun and relax, this is the place to be. They offer events with chances to win stuff in order to get to there to purchase items onboard (art, spa services, etc) or when you are in port (Diamonds International). Beware of this stuff. Can be costly. I've been on hold for one hour trying to get a list of charges during our cruise. They work hard to accomodate you while there but not afterwards. Overall I enjoyed the cruise. Just think A LOT before you make any purchases. Steward for us was AWESOME! If you purchase something make sure you declare even if they say you don't have to. Will save time when debarking. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click