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36 Tampa to Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

Chose to travel on Royal Caribbean for the first time having heard how much better they were compared to Carnival which is the line we have used for many years. The plus side for them was on the following areas, embarkation, debarkation, ... Read More
Chose to travel on Royal Caribbean for the first time having heard how much better they were compared to Carnival which is the line we have used for many years. The plus side for them was on the following areas, embarkation, debarkation, buffet, shows. Getting in and out of the ship was the fastest we have ever experience, even with the VIP treatment at Carnival. They had real Broadway type shows with excellent performers two nights and a funny comedian on another. For the past few years Carnival shows have been amateur at best and done by the passengers the rest of the time. As soon as you board the ship you can tell the quality of construction and amenities all throughout. As usual as soon as we boarded we headed to the Lido deck to check their buffet area, of course since there were not too many passengers yet, there were plenty of empty areas to choose from to sit and enjoy lunch. Here we saw a big difference between them and Carnival, there were no one or two long food areas but several smaller "islands" for food service, with this system we never had to stand in line during the entire trip.Quite different with Carnival's loooong lines most of the time. The first night we chose to try the main restaurant, earlier we had talked with the maitre'd and requested a table for two or three couples since we enjoy talking to other passengers during dinning, he had a hard time matching the computer table numbers with the actual numbers on the tables nearby, he finally gave us a number for that evening. When we arrived that night we were escorted to the back of the restaurant to a table for 10. On top of that the other 8 people were an entire family, so needless to say, we hardly had a word with them since they were having a grand time. Service took forever, the food was not great and we left before dessert came. The other three nights we enjoyed the Windjammer with no problems. The major problems there were they had just a couple of tables for two so even if we had no trouble getting to the food, we had trouble getting a spot with no one on it. Carnival's pizza is not the best but ran circles around the one they were serving there, they also had ONE soft ice cream machine but on the plus side they provided many different toppings to put on it. We had an inside cabin which was clean and with sufficient storage for two people's "stuff" The bathroom did not have an outlet and as like Carnival's,they provided one bar of soap (gone are the days of a welcome basket there) Their mattresses NEED to be replaced, just like Canival's, you can tell there has been many overweight passengers sleeping on them. On the plus side, they DID have a refrigerator which was welcomed. Our steward (never knew his name) was hardly seen and never said a word or introduced himself unlike all the other stewards we ever had. On the Carnival ships there are always workers on the isles who always say something to you when you pass them by, on this ship you hardly passed any of them and when you did, they never said a word (actually one said "good morning" once) They were obviously recruited from a different part of the world. One BIG disappointment were their whirlpools/hot tubs, they had THREE small ones for 3 people each for a thousand passenger ship. Never got to use our bathing suits. Their "swimming" pools were no better We did enjoyed their small movie theater on deck 6 where they showed new releases. Their treadmills had no monitors so there was nothing to watch on them and the rest of the gym was unimpressive. All in all, it was a good voyage which we enjoyed, but will stick with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose our cruise for a quick get away to break from my ever stressful job. Plus my wife's birthday was on October 20th so we decided to do something relaxing and fun. We booked the Carnival Paradise knowing it wasn't going ... Read More
We chose our cruise for a quick get away to break from my ever stressful job. Plus my wife's birthday was on October 20th so we decided to do something relaxing and fun. We booked the Carnival Paradise knowing it wasn't going to be fancy and possibly full of interesting individuals! Needless to say we were so pleasantly surprised. This ship, although older and smaller than some was absolutely great! It had some of the best entertainment that we've experienced on any other cruise line throughout our 25 other cruises we have been on. The food was exceptional in the main dining room and the wait staff, assistant maitre'd, the hostess, all the way down to the cooks were the most friendly we've ever experienced. We booked an interior cabin but enjoyed the darkness and coolness during the day and took some naps where we caught up with some much needed rest. We met great friends along the way who also enjoyed this ship as much as we did. Our favorite thing on the ship was a trio called "Skye Breeze" which consisted of 1 Viola, 1 regular Violin and one Electric Violin. They were from the Ukraine. They took modern classics from Queen, Aerosmith, Rush, Nirvana, the Beatles, Shakira, Taylor Swift, etc. and put them to a classical violin genre. It was mesmerizing and captivating to just sit in the atrium and listen to them. Would I book the Paradise again? Absolutely. Would I book Carnival agan? ABSOLUTELY!!! This was the cleanest ship we've been on and the staff is constantly scrubbing, sweeping and polishing the brass on the entire ship. Way to go Carnival!! This was completely unexpected but pleasantly accepted!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Just returned from a 4-night sailing on The Paradise. Wondered throughout the trip why so many do not like this ship. Embarkation was totally without any problems. Once on board the ship impressed time-and-again as to the cleanliness; ... Read More
Just returned from a 4-night sailing on The Paradise. Wondered throughout the trip why so many do not like this ship. Embarkation was totally without any problems. Once on board the ship impressed time-and-again as to the cleanliness; fantastic crew attitude and all-around caring of the entire crew. Our cabin attendant was nearly invisible; yet, our cabin was kept neat and clean at all times. First time we were never greeted on embarkation day by our attendant. The dining room meals and waitstaff were very good to excellent. Carnival has cut back on waitstaff, so the wait was a tad longer - their attitude surely made up for it - - very caring and friendly. The Lido (Paris) restaurant was acceptable - nothing very fancy and not too much in the selection department for breakfast or lunch. The grill by the pool was very good. For breakfast, a suggestion is to eat in the dining room; in addition, try the "seaday brunch" - lots of great choices served by as great a staff. The Paradise is a smaller and older ship - and you can see that from low ceilings and dated things throughout the ship, including our cabin. However, this ship is very well kept by a very caring staff, so that many times you forget just how old (and small) she is in relation to the mega-ships in service today. The Paradise is not 5-star, in dining; cabins; or public areas. However, that being said, The Paradise crew and staff go out of their way repeatedly to make the experience on-board a great one. And again, the ship is very clean and very well maintained. The Paradise is very well worth the experience for a short(er) cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Royal Caribbean Christmas cruise was my best - happiest Christmas ever. I truly mean this. Delicious foods, friendly staff, special family traveling with me, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, carols from singers, snow flakes falling ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Christmas cruise was my best - happiest Christmas ever. I truly mean this. Delicious foods, friendly staff, special family traveling with me, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, carols from singers, snow flakes falling and sunny warm weather made this all special. My room was nice with a very attentive room attendant. Royal Caribbean is my favorite cruise line and I will definitely spend another Christmas with Royal Caribbean. If I could I would spend every Christmas cruising. Boarding from Tampa port was easy, lots of parking and no hassle. The Christmas entertainment and shows were wonderful. So much to do and enjoy without having to do much, other than find out time then show up. Mexico was wonderful - sunny warm day for tours and beach. We did San Gervasio Ruin tour with Royal Caribbean Tours on luxury comfort, air condition bus, friendly knowledgeable tour guide, amazing ruins and many nice stops for photos. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
PLEASE LET ME START OUT BY SAYING THAT THIS REVIEW NO WAY REFLECTS THE STAFF, as the staff was absolutely fantastic and VERY hard working (to work 7 1/2 months straight without seeing family and with no days off seems unfathomable to me). ... Read More
PLEASE LET ME START OUT BY SAYING THAT THIS REVIEW NO WAY REFLECTS THE STAFF, as the staff was absolutely fantastic and VERY hard working (to work 7 1/2 months straight without seeing family and with no days off seems unfathomable to me). Positives - Our waiter Rajul, and his partner Jorge were fantastic, and I wish I had them with me on every vacation :-). Our steward Franklin was great as well. Negatives - The ship. I'm assuming this ship hasn't been updated since it was built in 2003, as the accommodations were absolutely grotesque. Let me preface by saying that the minute I walked into my room I wanted to cancel the vacation. I didn't sleep for 4 nights because of the lingering musty smell of the room, as well as the lingering smell of SEWAGE throughout ALL of the common areas. I seriously don't know how the poor employees work 7 1/2 months straight in such conditions. Let me also preface by saying I have been on 2 other cruises, a Disney cruise and Carnival. I know Disney is a step above, but after being on a Carnival Cruise YEARS ago, I thought Royal Caribbean was a step above. I guess not? Just to finish up the room. There was trash in a corner from the guests who had stayed in the room the cruise before us (probably only a few hours before), oh, and an old egg salad sandwich in the fridge. We kept smelling urine in our room, and notified our room cleaner, in which he cleaned very well (I saw the poor guy on his hands and knees scrubbing every bathroom around us). Skip 2 days later, we notice our toilet was leaking, so no wonder. Apparently was fixed on our 2nd to last day. The room still stunk no matter how hard cleaned. Again, not his fault, just a dingy old room that needs updating! Common Areas - My 3 1/2 year old son couldn't walk into a bathroom on the ship without holding his nose and saying 'it smells in here.' There were times he wouldn't even go to the BATHROOM! Crazy considering he's 3. There were times I would dread going to the bathroom as I knew I would be gagging throughout. Again, I would see employees cleaning these bathrooms, so I know it's a larger problem and this ship needs a major redoing (if you check out other reviews online of the Brilliance of the Seas.......Something I WISH I did before I booked this cruise.... everyone complains about this same odor). Disembark DAY - We were scheduled to disembark at 930. At around 730 my husband went to use the toilet in our room and it would not flush. We called maintenance in which they said they would send someone down. After waiting a half hour, we asked our steward Franklin, and found out a guest had flushed down an apple, clogging the toilets and shutting them off ONLY on floor 8. We then went up to Floor 11 for breakfast, and in hopes that the toilets were working, unfortunately they were not. For 2 hours, no working toilets, and my son had to pee in a cup. I can't imagine the stench when the people arriving to that decrepit ship smelled upon check-in ONLY a few hours later. Those poor souls. My husband, who had only been on a Disney cruise, won't step foot on another cruise after our lovely Brilliance of the Seas experience. My advice, Sink the ship with nobody on board, or do a complete gut and reno. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Fifth cruise for us. Star is a nice sized ship that is easy to get around. Nice decor and clean. Easy on and easy off in Tampa. Waiting for our cabin to be ready, we dined in Versailles. Shrimp burger and Roast beef sandwich and ... Read More
Fifth cruise for us. Star is a nice sized ship that is easy to get around. Nice decor and clean. Easy on and easy off in Tampa. Waiting for our cabin to be ready, we dined in Versailles. Shrimp burger and Roast beef sandwich and both were very good. We enjoyed our wine and meal while the heard of people headed for the Buffet (no thanks). Room ready quickly. #10730 Aft. Great room with a large balcony (chair, 2 small tables and 2 loungers fit comfortably). The ship was beautiful, service was great. Breakfasts in Versailles every day and we enjoyed our Eggs Benedict very much. Dined in specialty spots 4 times, Cagney's steaks were the best I have ever had, go to Moderno hungry because the spectacular salad bar starts your meal out nicely then the chicken, steak, grilled pineapple etc just keeps coming and coming and coming! La Cucina is italian fine dining and fantastic also. All worth the extra few bucks if you want a "fine dining" experience. The Jazz Cats played most nights in the Atrium and added nicely to the ambiance. Excursions: Roatan: we visited Little French Key and had an amazing time. John was the attentive Bartender at the Neptune Bar (sit on a swing in the ocean and enjoy your drink while thousands of colorful fish swim around you in the clear water). John then served up our yummy lunch of Lobster, Shrimp, rice, beans and yucca chips, delish! Paradise. Then we explained to Ronely that we were interested in snorkeling but were beginners. He was so kind to first take out the experienced folks then return for us two. We boated out through this pristine clear water to the reef where he carefully suited us up and showed us the ropes. Just WOW is all I can say about the thousands of beautiful fish, Eels and healthy coral types. We will return to Little French Key. Belize: Just tendered into town for a cold beer and some shopping. Costa Maya: Spent the day at Tropicante on the beach. Nice set up. Easy $2 taxi ride from the port. Cold beer, amazing guacamole and shrimp tacos and loungers on the beach. Perfect day! Cozumel: Booked a 5 hour private tour with Pino from Tours Plaza. Island tour, local market, tequila tasting (nothing like the tequila from the states), San Gervasio Mayan Ruins (ask for Fanny, she was an amazing tour guide (For a $10 tip, she educated us well on Mayan life and this important site), chocolate factory tour and then lunch on the beach. Can't beat that day! We love NCL and the Freestyle Cruising and intend to sail again. We had a great time! TIP: Take enough cash with you, many small bills. Only cash accepted most places and you will need small bills for extra tips. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Sailing on the Norwegian Sun was a truly extraordinary experience! There's really no comparison to other cruise lines like Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Norwegian is insanely superior: it's the difference between ... Read More
Sailing on the Norwegian Sun was a truly extraordinary experience! There's really no comparison to other cruise lines like Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Norwegian is insanely superior: it's the difference between kinda-having-fun-on-a-boat and being treated like royalty 24/7. The boat itself is small and intimate (which means a larger staff-to-guest-ratio), it's beautiful, there's great entertainment (check out the wonderful "Sun Singers Unplugged" show; incredible singing in an intimate atmosphere), and the food is plentiful and tasty (the specialty restaurants are fantastic; the buffet's a bit hit-or-miss, but what buffet isn't?). Above all, the service is EXCEPTIONAL. Example: our shower head was less than satisfactory (picture yourself being stabbed with water), so we told our steward. Before we knew it, we had a brand new shower head installed (which provided one of the best showers we've ever had; we went from stab to fab in less than two hours!). The room staff is sneakily brilliant at knowing when you're away from the stateroom so they can clean up, fill your ice bucket, and create amusing towel sculptures. And the bar service is probably the best we've received ANYWHERE. Not only did our bartenders remember our names and greet us with friendly smiles, they created ridiculously tasty libations. And they didn't skimp or take short cuts. They muddled fresh fruits (and even herbs like basil and rosemary) to create sumptuous craft cocktails (just stop what you're doing, board the ship, and taste the Sparkling Garden. Seriously. It's kinda life-changing). Consider yourself very lucky to have a drink made by Brent, Dmitrije, Jonas, Emmanuel, Jeffery, Abner or Kyle. We took the seven-day Western Caribbean cruise, and it's been a little difficult readjusting to reality after being treated with such overwhelming kindness and inspired efficiency for seven days. All in all, it's the best cruise we've ever been on, and we can't wait to board the Sun again:) (And PS, be sure to pack white clothing for their amazing white party on the pool deck!) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I haven't cruised in 20 years....even better than I remember. spectacular service! I must give credit to Amane, our waiter. His service was exceptional! Always remembered our names, learned very quickly our food preferences. He was ... Read More
I haven't cruised in 20 years....even better than I remember. spectacular service! I must give credit to Amane, our waiter. His service was exceptional! Always remembered our names, learned very quickly our food preferences. He was full of smiles and laughter and a helpful tip with food selections. He made the excellent food even more enjoyable. Dinner was prompt, but not rushed. I simply can't say enough good things about him! We were part of a Zumba fitness group. The room for Zumba was wonderful, the sound system more than adequate. I am so pleased and can't wait to book again! the ship was the brillance, great small ship. Everything in great working order. We did a shore excursion for kayaking/snorkeling. Felt safe. Great price and value. Excellent choice!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Its interesting to read other reviews of this cruise. Were we on the same ship? As a seasoned "Celebrity" cruiser, I was initially disappointed with the small size of the ship etc. However, I soon got to like it and enjoyed ... Read More
Its interesting to read other reviews of this cruise. Were we on the same ship? As a seasoned "Celebrity" cruiser, I was initially disappointed with the small size of the ship etc. However, I soon got to like it and enjoyed easily finding my way around. Our embarkation experience was amazing - probably due to timing. We did not get to the port until about 2pm and breezed on to the ship. Our cabin (4068) was perfect - Marlon our attendant was silent and efficient. Noise from the Centrum could be heard only when the door was opened. Not a problem. Our dining experience in the main dining room was perfect - everything it could be. Sedrick and Sanjyot were totally on the ball, our table location by the window was lovely. Food was excellent. Not that impressed with Windjammer, but I was always able to find something to eat. The room was crowded so I took my food to the outer deck, which was delightful. The Captain was outstanding - his command of English superb, he was charming and very visible. The cruise director, Steve was also a plus - his enthusiasm and energy amazed me. We had such fun - the disco night was the best cruising entertainment I have had. The formal entertainment was disappointing, but we realize that these shows are organized well in advance by an on-shore company. The juggler was very funny. My one small complaint about the cabin was the "mini bar stuff" which clutters up the small counter area. No-one in their right mind would spend $5 on a packet of cookies when there is abundant food available on the ship. Please dispense with this, or give us the option to have these items taken away. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my third cruise, and my first with Royal Caribbean. Our party consisted of 6 of us, a family trip of my wife and I, my parents, and my sister and brother in law. Overall, our experience was good to excellent, from wonderful ... Read More
This was my third cruise, and my first with Royal Caribbean. Our party consisted of 6 of us, a family trip of my wife and I, my parents, and my sister and brother in law. Overall, our experience was good to excellent, from wonderful excursions, above average service, entertainment which seemed to improve throughout the cruise, and activities which seemed to strike the fancy of the different interests of our family. Was it perfect? I'd have to say no. The first night's aerial act was cancelled due to rough seas, the adult comedy show was a bit too adult, and our cabin (and cabin steward) were adequate but not spectacular. Also, the ships layout was difficult in ways to navigate, and seemed somewhat lacking. With no aft staircase, with an awkwardly placed shopping area, and with no complimentary food option in the centrium, I was not overly impressed. That being said, there was also a lot to really, really like about this cruise, and RC deserves much commendation for the many things it did well. Beyond day 2 the entertainment seemed to improve exponentially from day to day. The ventriloquist (Jay Johnson) was really, really funny and wholly entertaining. The Magician from America's Got Talent was also very good (bringing both his talent, and his personality into his show), and the comedian who closed out was among the funniest I've ever heard. I thought the second of the Singers and Dancers numbers (tribute to Broadway) was the better of the two... though I'm not sure how one can have a tribute to Broadway, and ignore the contributions of both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Schönberg & Boublil? Somehow, having a Broadway tribute without a single number from Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express, Les Miserables or Miss Saigon? Overall, my wife and I were both impressed with the three specialty restaurants, the Aquarius dining room, and with the Windjammer. The food at all venues was very good, the highlights being Chops Grille and Izumi. The issue, I thought was the lack of other complimentary food venues, especially in the centrium. My study of more recently launched RC ships has shown that the cruise line has largely corrected this problem, but on the Vision, there are no options apart from Ben & Jerry's, which is not included. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise, and enjoyed it very much. Vision is an older ship, and it has some issues. But it also has a lot to offer, and the cruise line offers a great deal through it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Was aboard the paradise from Tampa to Cozamel and back to Tampa FL in Jan 2015. Compared to other cruises we have been on, this boat was smaller but have to admit the cabins were same comparable size. the food was the usual for cruise ... Read More
Was aboard the paradise from Tampa to Cozamel and back to Tampa FL in Jan 2015. Compared to other cruises we have been on, this boat was smaller but have to admit the cabins were same comparable size. the food was the usual for cruise food, - dining room was very good. It was relaxing and we had a good time. Shows were very good and the cruise director was great. He was in one of the shows - played the fiddle as a pro. Our only real complaint was the bartending, some were great but quite a few were not so friendly. All bars were understaffed and it took a long time to get a drink. Worst of any cruise I have been on. The entertainment besides the shows was a bit lame as well. The piano bar, he could play the piano but didn't have a great voice. Karaoke was lame, normally the staff will make it fun but I think it was his last cruise and he was ready to be done. You could really tell. We sailed over SuperBowl and I would have thought they would have had a better setup for the big game. Maybe some type of entertainment. Some big screen TV's on the outside stage where more could watch the game. Otherwise the wait staff was wonderful around the ship. We had a very good time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Having only traveled on one other cruise line for several trips, this was my first experience from someone other than RC.although the staterooms were bigger and had larger bathrooms, the rooms were outdated. This was a smaller ship than ... Read More
Having only traveled on one other cruise line for several trips, this was my first experience from someone other than RC.although the staterooms were bigger and had larger bathrooms, the rooms were outdated. This was a smaller ship than what we have been used to but with our limited window of travel, this trip was our only choice. Our stateroom attendant Gregory, did a remarkable job for two people who are a little spoiled in our travels (200 nigts/yr for business). With the ship a little smaller the entertainment was limited but acceptable. The amenities were acceptable again given the size of the ship. What I found to be unacceptable was the seated dinners. The menus were lacking in presentation. I like to see structure showing several courses for the dinner experience. They have grouped everything between "starters" and then main dishes. In the main dish section there are the typical daily specials and then also ones that are offered every night. We tried a few off of both sides of this menu and found NOTHING worth bragging about. In the four nights we were seated the best item had by many at our table was the pumpkin soup. I ordered off the upscale side of a strip steak and it wasn't even something acceptable at a dive bar $10 special. Since the dinner experience is what we like most in traveling by way of cruise line, we will not be booking another cruise with this company. The table service was adequate and you may ask if I complained about my steak or another dinner, but realized it wasn't that peticular dish but the level of quality acceptable by the cruise line. I must also mention the excellent experience both my wife and I had in the spa. We both booked two different sessions and these were excellent. Petra was outstanding in her skills and demeanor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This cruise was my fourth on NCL and was my last. My family and I were so disappointed in almost everything about this ship. As soon as we boarded we asked where Moderno was, and s crew member had no idea what I was talking about. When we ... Read More
This cruise was my fourth on NCL and was my last. My family and I were so disappointed in almost everything about this ship. As soon as we boarded we asked where Moderno was, and s crew member had no idea what I was talking about. When we got to our cabin, the cabinet was broken as well as the lock on the door. We went to use the safe and it was locked and took almost 24 hours before someone could unlock it for us. As far as the food goes, it was really not up to par at all. The buffet was very small and did not have bacon the first morning at sea. When asked about it, we got no answer again. Our room steward was nice, except we called her many times and got no answer. There wer three of us in the cabin and only two towels were ever put out. The sofa that was to be made into a bed at night, was never made up into a sofa the entire cruise. One good thing was the entertainement. We loved the singers and dancers, alhough the comedian was pretty bad. Our best times were the ports of call. Also, being a silver Latitudes member I thought I got more perks than they gave me. The discount in the gift shop only included NCL items and there were hardly any the entire cruise. I could say more, but I am done with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was my first cruise and it was such a memorable experience. I was pleasantly surprised at how roomy my stateroom was and how extremely attentive and friendly the staff was (and I mean the ENTIRE staff was extremely professional, fun, ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was such a memorable experience. I was pleasantly surprised at how roomy my stateroom was and how extremely attentive and friendly the staff was (and I mean the ENTIRE staff was extremely professional, fun, and courteous). Steven, Hugo, "Fluffy", and Eric were all so genuine and hilarious, they made my first cruise so much fun with so many laughs. Sergio & Fanny were our servers for dinner and they were so kind, funny, and very attentive (Sergio is the BEST!). The food is surprisingly delicious and each menu for dinner has something for everyone. There are many different activities including trivia and "game shows" that are a great time. Carnival Quest was absolutely hilarious and left me in tears from laughing so hard, although not recommended for those who are easily offended, definitely an 18+ event! Overall, I highly recommend this cruise for anyone. I will definitely be sailing again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
The Carnival Paradise was definitely a "fun ship". If lots of partying is not your thing, this would probably not be the ship for you. We went on a 4 night cruise to Cozumel and had a really fun time. The ship is quite nice, but ... Read More
The Carnival Paradise was definitely a "fun ship". If lots of partying is not your thing, this would probably not be the ship for you. We went on a 4 night cruise to Cozumel and had a really fun time. The ship is quite nice, but the rooms could still use some updating. The staff was extremely friendly and the bartenders worked very hard to keep up with the crowds at the bar. The one overwhelming disappointment was the food. It just wasn't good. But we managed to find other options like hamburgers, pizza, etc. to keep from getting hungry. Since we had a suite, embarkation was very easy because we went through the priority line and was able to skip the long terminal check in line. Check in time was 1-3pm and we were on the boat and in our suite before 1:15. The Elation dining room was nice and the service was good. In retrospect, I wish we could have had the option of having a table for just the 4 of us. The tables sat 10 people and 3 of our original table mates had ZERO sense of humor and clearly not on the boat to have any fun. Needless to say they requested a new table. Made for a very uncomfortable and awkward dinner. Our first day at sea was spent on the upper deck laying out and sipping pina coladas. We were able to enjoy a nice breeze, good bar service, fun music, and lots of entertainment including the "hairiest chest contest". Cozumel brought us perfect weather and we docked right on time. We met in the theater for our excursion (Isla Pasion Twister boat - highly recommend!) and disembarked very quickly. Our excursion brought us back with a couple of hours to spare and those were spent at Senor Frogs. Major party location that I wouldn't take kids to. Our 2nd day at sea was much like the first. Pool, sun, drinks, music and more partying. The disembarkation process seemed a bit chaotic, but things quickly got moving and we were off the boat and back at the hotel to pick up our car by 9:45. Overall, this is a boat to party on. I would probably refrain from taking small kids unless they plan to spend a good chunk of their time in the kids club. I would have liked to have had another option for nightlife. The Rex nightclub is great for dancing, but mostly full of 20-somethings looking to hook up. The Casino bar seemed to be our favorite place to hang out, but the live music ended at midnight and we found ourselves staying up much later than that. My group opted for the "Cheers" program where we were able to have up to 15 alcoholic drinks per day (6 am to 6 am) and unlimited soda and smoothies. This was $45/day. Beers were $6 and mixed drinks around $8-9 so that saved us some money (don't judge us, we're on vacation). We left the boat feeling like we just left a 4 day party and still smiling about it a few days later. We had a blast, but probably not the best cruise for families or for those that are looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation. One last note, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Ybor City. We did the park & cruise package for a very reasonable rate and it included a hot breakfast, garage parking for the duration of the cruise, and a shuttle to and from the port. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This review is long overdue, but was searching Trip Advisor today and it reminded me to post it. Hopefully, some things have changed, but doubtful. The good things - In spite of it's age, the ship was kept very clean. The staff ... Read More
This review is long overdue, but was searching Trip Advisor today and it reminded me to post it. Hopefully, some things have changed, but doubtful. The good things - In spite of it's age, the ship was kept very clean. The staff worked their tails off to give good service. Our kids had a great time in the supervised programs. The ocean was beautiful. The food was pretty good. The bad things - I'm really writing this review on behalf of the hardworking staff of this ship who deserve better. Due to reaping every possible fraction of profit, the staff are completely exhausted and sick. There should be one turnaround day to get the ship ready for the next group of passengers so the staff can rest and perform better. It's not so easy to enjoy yourself on vacation when the person serving your dinner is coughing and barely standing up. Then you find out that this guy sleeps only a few hours a night, with no day off and a frantic pace for months on end. It was like that for all the staff we saw except for the ones in the fitness center who seemed to have more balance. From the second you walk on the ship to the minute you depart, the loudspeaker is going with obnoxious announcements several times an hour trying to sell you something or get you into the casino. The shows which are promoted as family friendly are NOT. We would never take a Disney cruise again based on these things - especially overworking the staff!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our 9th cruise and 2nd on Norwegian. We are not fans of "Freestyle Cruising" since you never get the same waiters twice and your tips are pooled. They really are not that motivated. The service isn't bad, but ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise and 2nd on Norwegian. We are not fans of "Freestyle Cruising" since you never get the same waiters twice and your tips are pooled. They really are not that motivated. The service isn't bad, but it's not as good as lines where the staff gets to know you and really work for their tips. The food was good but nothing to really rave about. We refuse to pay extra for an optional dining room when we buy a cuise from any line and we're usually happy with the offerings. We never had a bad meal, but again, we never really had a meal that was special. Activities were rare. I don't really know what the cruise director's staff did other than sell bingo cards and strip tickets. Other cruise lines we've been on had so many activities you had to pick and choose what to do on sea days. Our other NCL cruise had few activities, but it was Alaska so there was always something to do on deck. The dawn was one of the dullest ships we've ever been on. There was no theme to speak of. The theater could have been from a old mall in the states. Nothing special at all. The shows were like very good school production, but nothing you'd want to buy a ticket for. I assume Norwegion has a pecking order for the entertainers and the dawn is at the bottem of the list. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Traveled The Carnival Paradise on the August 29 sailing (4-nights). The ship is 15 years old; yet it is in better condition throughout than many new ships in the Carnival Fleet. Everywhere you look someone is cleaning; repairing; ... Read More
Traveled The Carnival Paradise on the August 29 sailing (4-nights). The ship is 15 years old; yet it is in better condition throughout than many new ships in the Carnival Fleet. Everywhere you look someone is cleaning; repairing; polishing. The crew is stellar in all respects. The customer service aboard The Paradise rivals that found in any 5-star hotel on land. Always friendly; always saying hello; always helpful - and in a genuine and warm manner. An example of the fantastic customer service - I mentioned to one of the chefs how delicious an egg plant dish that the ship served on the first day was. That evening the dish was prepared and waiting for me in the dining room. Totally outstanding. The dining on-board was very good - not totally excellent, but very good, with a great selection from which to choose. The shows were good; the "Shout" was excellent; the Country, not so much. The comedians were hysterical and not to be missed. Our cabin attendant was fantastic as well as our dining room waiter (thank you Nataria and Bagus!) The cabins, while dated, were kept immaculate and in very good condition. And, I have heard much about the dark wood on the ship. The wood added an elegance and warmth to the ship throughout, especially in the dining room, where we could hear ourselves speak and not have to yell in a three-story cavern of a dining room. The Paradise is an outstanding ship, with an outstanding crew. If there is any complaint to be found, it is that the swimming pool is way too small to accommodate 2,000 + passengers. Carnival would do well to add another pool when the ship is refurbished. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
An offer came in our email and the price was hard to beat, so we called RCI to book the March 7th cruise on Jewel of the seas. We decided to upgrade to a superior balcony, cabin 9254 and specifically asked if it was obstructed in any way ... Read More
An offer came in our email and the price was hard to beat, so we called RCI to book the March 7th cruise on Jewel of the seas. We decided to upgrade to a superior balcony, cabin 9254 and specifically asked if it was obstructed in any way and was told it was NOT... well they LIED!!!!! it is obstructed on not 1 or 2 but all 4 sides ( including up and down) so our views of the ocean were extremely limited! window washing equipment up and below us, a ladder for the window washer to the right and a hugeeeee i beam to the left!!!!! and for this view i paid MORE than a regular balcony!!!!! to say we were disappointed with our accommodations is an understatement! Boarding was a piece of cake, used capitol parking and we were at the terminal in less than 5 mins!, once inside, they do a great job of directing you to the proper lines and what information to have ready. check in was under 15 mins!, riht up to our stateroom to our major disappointment. went to guest services who told us that there was no place to move us, and that it was not a restricted view!!! i invited them up to the cabin to see for themselves!( nobody ever showed up) on to lunch at the windjammer... food was overcooked and mostly cold by the time that we got there! luckily we knew about the seaview cafe, best food on the ship! wonderful chili and fried fish! Meals in the tides were disgusting at best. Prime rib was raw, had to send it back 2x to get an edible piece, 2nd night the beef tenderloin was MOOING!!! the 2nd piece was so tough you could play hockey with it!, we skipped the 3rd night due to the poor performance... also rolls are COLD! i mean ICE COLD every night, bar service in the main dining room was a hit or miss, usually having to ask 4 or 5 times! no smiles on the waiters at table 144 must have been the end of their tour. another note was that there was NO escargot yet again ( have read this on other reviews) for the entire trip, they substituted with minuscule scallops in the escargot trays! Chops on the other hand was FABULOUS!!! of COURSE ITS A 39.00 UPCHARGE to go to that restaurant, steaks were cooked perfectly, service as it should have been and WARM rolls! everything of any quality has an UPCHARGE on this boat! you cant even get freshly squeezed orange juice without paying 2.50!!! coffee is starbucks and was delightful but again a 5.50 UPCHARGE for coffee!!! the most memorable person was the room service delivery guy he was FANTASTIC!!! as for our room steward, even though asked repeatedly every day, couldn't seem to remember to fill the ice bucket! but room service brought up the ice with a smile 2x a day!!! NOTE..... if you are a smoker..... there is NO smoking in the casino on formal night!!!!! no announcements made, but they not so politely tell you that when you light up on that night! casino was average for a cruise ship, saw people winning 5 and 6 hundred, so the slots were paying, even on the way back! NO free beverages in the casino, even though i had well over 1500 points! major disappointment! BINGO..... DONT Bother!!!!! $48 FOR 4 GAMES OF BINGO and the payouts were only $200 a game!!!!! majorrrrr rip off! Activities were varied and the staff was EXCELLENT!!! got people involved and made it fun to be by the pool! everything on RCI has turned into an " extra" getting your room is inexpensive, but the charges were MORE than the cruise, AND my husband and i DONT DRINK!!!!! all in all ill go back to carnival, where they do NOT nickel and dime you to death! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We've been on 6 cruises in the last 3 years, and being Canadian we pay extra in flight just to get here so we need a good deal! My parents however (who by the way come with us on every cruise) have been on 65 cruises!!! Snow bird ... Read More
We've been on 6 cruises in the last 3 years, and being Canadian we pay extra in flight just to get here so we need a good deal! My parents however (who by the way come with us on every cruise) have been on 65 cruises!!! Snow bird Canadians who hop onto one whenever they can. They are actually going on a Royal Carribean one next month. They've been all over the world so I always get them to review my work on reviews, just in case I'm being too sassy. Embarkation: Was a BREEZE!!! 10 minutes on the boat no waiting! I am very PROUD of Carnival for improving on this as our first time trip with the INSPIRATION ship was a nightmare getting on. Stateroom: We had three back to back. R204/206/208 (outside window)Unfortunately no adjoining cabins (bummer) but if you have kids just ask to hear the dead bolt before bed. The room was I must say, far bigger than any other I have ever been in and the beds were not bad at all. The TV's however were pathetic!!! Walls were good though didn't hear any noise. TAKE NOTE: you would think you would want to be in the middle of the ship for less rocking BUT we found that this area was always the most crowded most rowdy and OMG! the smell!!!! If it wasn't smoke, it was any number of foul bodily smells (use your imagination here). I was sooo glad to be on the back of the boat. Also take note, NO blowdryer. NO refrigerator. BUT the shower was huge and we never had a problem with temp of water. Dining: This was our first time using "Your time dining" in the Elation dining area. I liked it! Just show up and they get you a table. We found that one waiter loved my Dad so he always made sure we were in his area! Food was good. We're used to having the best in the dining room, and I'm a sucker for their flat iron steak and lobster night. They kind of left me flat on the deserts though and I ended up getting the melting cake (my favorite) every night as nothing else appealed to me. The food court area was always crowded! But you can always find a seat and they had many outside with great views!! The food was actually great for a food court! Get away from the ALL AMERICAN eatery and try the mediteranean fare and Mongolian WOK!!! That stuffed tomato was to die for and I want back for thirds! The sandwich station was great too! My girls always had ice cream no probs there. Childrens clubs: I have had the younger kids ones in the past but this was the first time my girls were in two different areas in a while. Daughter #1 was in the teen 15-17yr club and she loved the freedom. Meghan was the team leader from Texas and was a great co-ordinator. She found all guys to hang around with being a double black belt (what a shocker she finds most girls to be catty and trampy)and my other daughter found some friends to hang with in her 12-14 group one from Japan (also double black belt but speaks Japanese). She also had a blast they have all new interactive games and the Group leader was from Ontario (Bailey)and was a riot! JJ loved her! Spa Carnival: It's difficult to give a bad review for me. Since it was personal and doesn't always apply to everyone. My daughter got her nails done in the Fire and Ice. $55.00 (a rip off but it was her money) and they did a poor job, but that wasn't the worst of it. I gave a five dollar tip....the woman charged us twice!!!! I had to go to two different places and finally talk to the manager about getting charged twice just because the woman want double the tip. The manager gave a "brief" appology and we were mocked by the girls at the opposite counter which I broke into tears after and will never use the Spa facilties again. The worst of the worst: The workout facilties. I'm a workout girl. And love to watch the ocean go by as I work out. But this was the worst workout facilty of any ship I have ever been on and my Mom being 65+ cruises said it was deplorable and they should be ashamed. Entertainment: I only went two a few shows and they were quiet good. A little repetative in their moves (I used to dance competitively)but fun especially for a small ship! The actual interactive shows like MEN VS WOMEN were a blast! Activities: Everyone wanted to play and the WOMEN WON no matter what the men say! She declared it a tie but we know btter! I did lots of Bingo, and we went to one of the nights for comedy. Above fair, it takes a while for the MacDonald guy to get going with his jokes. Service: Okay we're getting into the more controversial element. I thought most of the employees on this ship were very good, from our amazing room steward (Suganga) to the entertainment director. HOWEVER.....my big complaint has been one that STILL isn't taken care of from past ships. If you are not paying your wait staff enough money in the dining area during breakfast PLEASE take care of this!!! There was this one European gentleman my husband wanted to tell off. He was rude and aloof. Sorry to bother you about our complimentary specialty coffees but they are complimentary!! Most of the staff didn't want to be there and were generally angry looking individuals. Getting simple ketchup from them was a crime! Shore Excursion: Cozumel....this is our FAMILY FAVORITE! Always will be a favorite - nothing will top Paradise Beach. I will have my youtube videos up shortly. Paradise Beach is 12 from port and only a 2 dollar charge for the chairs each...and if you want the water toys it's an extra fee (all inclusive which was awesome -snorkel eqiupment-kayaks-water toys which are many!-floaters all included for 20 bucks a person well worth it if you have young energetic kids!! They will sleep like a log once back on the ship!!The food AMAZING!! Beach AMAZING!!! Service AMAZING!!! They even brought our 2-Mexican platter trays beach side to our loungers!!!!! It came to only $30.00 bucks and the four of us feasted on a variety of Mexican food!! We had other people looking over to us saying...ummm whatcha got there!!! We had drinks brought to us by friendly NOT pushy servers and when they brought our tally to us they had already included the tip (which is well deserved!!! don't you dare argue!!) was $90.00 and that included the food, a bucket of beer $16.00, two margaratias yard glass ($15.00 more expensive what can I say I loved them!), and drinks for the kids. We like cozumel downtown but it has become quite pushy and some stores don't like you to touch stuff or they'll make you buy it if it falls to the ground like my husband when a shirt fell off the top pile. We had just purchased $30.00 worth of stuff and when he picked up the shirt to put it back the lady said you have to buy it now. He said politely ok...then refund me for all the things I just paid for and I'll buy the shirt. She recinded and allowed us to leave but I was really put off. There are some great deals but BEWARE!!! The taxi drivers take you all the way down to the end where they get a kick back for sending you into Diamonds International. DON'T go in!!!What a rip off place. We had to walk quite a distance to get to places that weren't over priced. When we started at the end Angie's hammock was being priced at $55.00. I told her forget it, don't be fooled. We walked further 45$ walked further and down one of the side streets...$35.00 I said not bad but really Angie....we got to Paradise beach and the man saw Angie getting her hair braided and asked what the lowest price of any item we saw in his shop...We said 35$ for the hammock....He said $25.00 we said DEAL!!!! It was colourful one seater and we have a stand for it already. She was thrilled, but learned a lesson from her Mommy. My husband had the same thing with Vanilla. The second largest bottle by the time we got to a side street went from $20.00 to $8.00. And Mexican vanilla is the best! I love shopping there, but beware they love to get unknowing vacationers. Final day at Sea: We finally decided to spend some real time in Serenity Deck. It was wonderful! We showed up late at 11:45am and figured we weren't going to get anything but to our luck someone left not liking the wind, but we loved the hot sun out there and it got even better half and hour later! The view was fantastic the hot Tubs were SOOOOO HOT!!! So you won't be in long! It was two and half hours of heaven away from our teenagers. The state of the ship: Another controversial subject it seems. Some people say it's run down....well it's an older ship. My parents have said it again and again...if you want a younger ship pay more!! I found it colourful and a happy place to be for the money we paid and my parents agreed. Problem is people love to nit-pick every little thing. Yes there were bumps along the way. Some of the poeple (that is patrons) on board were rude and obnoxius. Well it's the Holidays and it's a cheap trip. You're going to get all kinds on a trip like that, and believe me we did! There was one staff member last day at the stores who was absolutely the most rude employee of Carnival I have ever seen. He told a passenger to have another drink and bugger off. Mind you the customer was being obnoxious too, but NEVER should a member of Carnival cruise lines tell a passenger off like that no matter how much of an idiot he's being. He was removed a few minutes later by the manager and he made a joke and made everyone feel better, but the damage had been done it was our last day on the ship and there were great deals on merchandise and contests so the shops were full! That aside the ship is quite nice and it was never too full at any of the venues at least if you don't get there 5 minutes before the show. We still found a spot usually last minute BUT don't for the comedy skits!! Debarkation: A nightmare, didn't get off until last and that was at 10:30 the latest I have EVER been off a ship before. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the piano playing woman who sat down and entertained us on Carnivals piano for an hour and half with Christmas Music. She was a hit and everyone sang along. I don't know your name but you and your husband were wonderful and you will be in my prayers of thanks for the next month!! Both my Dad and JJ needed assistance should have used that maybe would have been off sooner. Would I return to this ship....hmmmmm maybe not during any holidays. The ship was fine, the food was fine and crew fairly great....but the type of "people" you get going on this ship during the holidays is rowdy and 800 of the 2100 passengers were kids! So be warned it was loud crying - loud screaming - Loud yells in hallways even at 3AM. I knew what we were getting into but I'm not sure I'll do a Holiday cruise again. Would I go if it was off season....you bet!!! Slower crowd, less kids. Must be getting older can't stand bad parenting any more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Been on a few cruise with my kids and Jewel was just average. Not RCCL's most up to date ship with a very small pool area (and pool), and next to no deck chairs available if you don't reserve one before 08:30. Do this even ... Read More
Been on a few cruise with my kids and Jewel was just average. Not RCCL's most up to date ship with a very small pool area (and pool), and next to no deck chairs available if you don't reserve one before 08:30. Do this even though they say reserving is not allowed. Nobody pays attention. Unfortunately no pool side BBQ's, you have to hike somewhere to find food and bring it back to your deck chair. While the service and entertainment was great as per RCCL's standards, I found that family activities were sadly lacking. Parties in the bars were the main focus as this is a revenue generator for RCCL. Food on board was only average. While at the pool area on day 2, was sitting in the jacuzzi talking the previous nights dinner and most seemed to agree the prime rib didn't really taste like beef!!!!! While I would do RCCL again, I would steer clear from the smaller ships and go to the newer ones such as Oasis. They do tend to nickel and dime you as well. You must buy the soft drink package for the kids (free on Disney) and ship board drinks are extremely expensive, so smuggle if you can!!!! Disney allows you to bring a bottle or 2 of booze without smuggling, they just ask that put it in your checked baggage. They won't make you feel like a criminal and you won't get surprised by a two ton bar tab at the end of your trip!!! Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Great cruise for the money. Cozumel was great Let me begin by saying that we went with a large party (10 people) and we could have gone any other cruise line and more than likely would have experienced the same thing. We didn't ... Read More
Great cruise for the money. Cozumel was great Let me begin by saying that we went with a large party (10 people) and we could have gone any other cruise line and more than likely would have experienced the same thing. We didn't see any shows, I didn't play putt putt golf, use the gym, or take advantage of any of the shopping excursions. We strictly hung out with friends, drank a whole bunch and continued this epic party into Cozumel and back. I will also note that 3 of our party are Mexican and that certainly aided in our ability to enjoy ourselves... Embarkment Quick and easy. I expected a long line so we got to the Tampa Port around 11 and after asking a couple of questions, was able to pay for parking and round up our luggage in no time. I will say that if would be advisable to have luggage with wheels. We had a suite so VIP check in was included and the amount of time it took from parking on the 3rd floor to walking onto the ship was about 25 minutes. Really. First Day No smells, public bathrooms were clean and it seemed like everyone was as happy as we were. We live near a beach in FL and I really could care less about the pool. I was glad to see that other people did not feel like me as they excitedly got half naked. I'm glad I had sunglasses on for the amount of pale northerners was a site to behold. Our waiter was extremely nice and accommodating and all the staff worked hard to expedite clearing of tables. We took advantage of the casino where I played BJ for about 2 hours and won 14 dollars playing minimum bets. The casino staff was just as accommodating but considering the amount of time we were in the casino I was surprised that none of us were comped a dime. We then had fun at the 'REX' club and partied our asses off till around 3am. Did not eat in the MDR, only the Paris buffet and it was as I expected. Hard to find a table inside, but was good food. Second Day--Cruise Day Woke up just as hung over as I expected. Had a dude facial at 10am. Guy was nice and used a 'mach 3 razor' instead of a straight blade. Cold weather in Jax FL dried my face out so I was hoping to look as good as Tom Selleck when finished. Instead, I got a facial RASH and still had to pay. I still tipped. Wasn't the guys fault...I think. Tried to redeem my unhappiness with my man facial and went to the casino. Lost $100 in 10 minutes. Went to the cabin to sulk and decided to get my $$ back. Lost another $100 dollars in 20 minutes. I still had fun even though the dealer had more in tip money than I walked away with. Met up with friends and continued to get shit faced although I stopped earlier than my fellow party goers...Wanted to enjoy Cozumel the next day. We got dressed up and went to the nice dining room. I was happy even though the lobster was as good as bad crayfish. I still ate 3 Lobster tails... Third Day--Cozumel HAD. A. BLAST. We took our time leaving the ship (1130) and after loosely browsing the available merchants, we decided to take a cab ride to playa Mia. Excellent Food, excellent service, excellent mojitos. Seeing Mexico like this pisses me off about living in America the Free. Drank Heavily and left a little early so we can buy the mandated tourist gifts. Being a tipsy tourist, my grande sombrero I was carrying accidentally knocked some shot glasses off a shelve...No problemo senor--they didn't make me pay. I love COZUMEL! Fourth Day--Cruise Day. The Carnival Paradise is an older ship. I don't know if a newer boat would be as bad, but we crossed the gulf with a looming front North of us. I stayed in the cabin all day sea sick. I am prone to sea sickness but no amount of Dramamine or Bomine(sp) saved me from the doom that awaited me. My GF got sick as well....So allow me to expand on our cabin. It was nice, a little dated, but nice. We smoke and the balconies were tiny. The commode felt great every time I had to flush. However, the mattress was as hard as concrete and I couldn't get comfy. I sat upright on the leatherette couch instead. Flat screen TV but no HD. Movies were okay at best. The fridge was nothing more than a storage box that didn't get cold. Room service was prompt and the express service for ironing my garments was quick (1 hour). The stewards were awesome (We love you Raymond!)...I got chocolates every time they came to straighten up the room. Disembark.. Just as easy as getting on the ship. Overall I had an awesome trip. With the exception of my sea sickness, I really don't have anything to complain about. Except my man facial. And I lost $200 at the BJ tables but that was my fault. (played 2 hands at a time) Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My husband and 8 year old daughter and I sailed on Royal Caribbean for the first time (5 Cruises with Carnival and 1 with Disney). This was by far the best cruise experience. I had always asked myself "Is Royal worth the extra money ... Read More
My husband and 8 year old daughter and I sailed on Royal Caribbean for the first time (5 Cruises with Carnival and 1 with Disney). This was by far the best cruise experience. I had always asked myself "Is Royal worth the extra money they charge"? My answer is YES! The ship is beautiful in design, easy to navigate and exceptionally maintained by the staff. In our opinion the food quality, and selection was superior to Carnival or Disney. The design of the Windjammer Cafe was well laid out, I never waited in line to get my food or to get a table, even on sea days! Staff appeared happy and were genuine in all areas of the ship. My daughter loved Adventure Ocean. This particular week had only 100 children on board. The staff combined the 6-8 year olds with the 9-11's which made my 8 year old daughter very happy. She was able to play with the older kids and be able to do different kinds of activities. In her words she preferred Adventure Ocean over Camp Carnival because "the councillors played with us and didn't just sit and watch us". My greatest surprise was how many of the bars were smoke free. This has always been my biggest complaint about Carnival, lots of smokers and no where for non-smokers to enjoy a drink in the evening. I am not a gambler, but Royal even had one night designated smoke free in the casino. I really felt that Royal tried to accommodate both preferences. (I did notice that the number of smokers on this particular cruise was extremely low compared to what I am use to). For the first time ever on a cruise, we booked an excursion not offered by the ship. If you travel to Costa Maya you must book a tour with Native Choice Tours. They are professional, safe and have great prices. My family did the Mayan Experience tour. Our guide "Joel" was very knowledgeable and passionate about his culture, I learned so much. After touring the ruins we visited a Mayan Community, were we made tortillas and enjoyed a locally prepared buffet lunch, it was awesome! My daughter loved the experience. In my opinion you can't have a bad cruise, they are all what you make them. However, Royal Caribbean wowed me and my family, the price difference is definitely worth it. The only thing that I missed from Carnival, were the robes!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We had not sailed on Royal Caribbean before and had high hopes. We traveled with 20 friends from our church and with pre-paid gratuity we all got to sit together in the Tides Restaurant, lower level, 6:00pm sitting. We had 3 tables: one ... Read More
We had not sailed on Royal Caribbean before and had high hopes. We traveled with 20 friends from our church and with pre-paid gratuity we all got to sit together in the Tides Restaurant, lower level, 6:00pm sitting. We had 3 tables: one 10-seater, and two 6-seaters. Only two waiters were assigned to us. (one Waiter and one Assist. Waiter) On the first night, the service was terrible. It took so long that some folks in the group missed the 8:00pm show. The waiters' attitude varied from indifferent to downright hostile. It was so bad that several people felt the need to talk to the head waiter. On the second night the service was tremendously better and the attitudes were fine, but 2 waiters just could not serve 22 people in a timely manner and it was still quite slow. (over 40 minutes to get the appetizer) Again a couple of people had a discussion with the head waiter because we felt he could have assigned another waiter. He never did, but the remaining 3 nights were fine, although I judged the quality of the food to be less than top-notch and never particularly hot. My wife and I foolishly bought the Coke package for about $70.00 (ridiculous!) but almost every time we got a Coke anywhere on the ship it was flat and tasted terrible. I ordered one at a bar and it had some alcohol residue left in it from those multi-product hand-held dispensers so common in bars. I took one sip and gave it back. Every night we complained to the waiters that the Coke was bad and every night they apologized and said they would get it fixed, get it from another dispenser, etc, and every night it was still bad. On the last night I went to Guest Relations (or whatever they call it) and told them my concern. The attitude was basically,"So?" I pressed my point a bit and she asked if I had told anyone. "Every night." After a bit more prodding she finally asked my cabin number and looked me up. I was then told that since I prepaid for the Coke package there was nothing she could do. That may have been true at that point, but the attitude is what really annoyed me. I never heard any words like "We're so sorry you had a problem". Almost every one we had was bad. Everyone else in our group who bought the package had the same problem:$70.00 for bad Coke. I would NEVER buy the Coke package again. The Windjammer buffet was quite disappointing. The breakfast eggs were reasonably warm most days, but the potatoes were always cold and chewy. I tried a hamburger one afternoon and it was obviously made from a commercial frozen patty and it was served at room temperature, not even slightly warm. One bite and I put it down. The cheese slices were warmer than the burgers. Yuck. After a few days I began to feel like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. I knew it was going to be bad, but I kept trying it again. I guess that makes me the crazy one. Going to the Windjammer was like going to the Golden Corral on Sunday at lunchtime. It was a zoo and the food was bad. Our cabin steward was excellent and the over-all experience was OK, but the above-mentioned issues clouded the experience. On a positive note, the ship didn't hit any rocks, no one on our ship got sick, and no one got left in Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012

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