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36 Tampa to Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

Imagine that you're returning from a lovely excursion in Cozumel and upon reentry to your cruise ship, your sea pass causes the crew-member to utter the scary phrase "You need to report to Guest Services immediately."This ... Read More
Imagine that you're returning from a lovely excursion in Cozumel and upon reentry to your cruise ship, your sea pass causes the crew-member to utter the scary phrase "You need to report to Guest Services immediately."This happened to me aboard Radiance of the Seas on Saturday, April 23rd. While relieved to hear that I wasn't flagged because of a death in the family, I was forced to process news of a water main break that had occurred in our absence causing flooding in the aft section of Deck 9. We were told not to worry: Our belongings would be cleaned or replaced and during the cleanup, we could take a shower in the spa and have free drinks poolside. The huge, loud fans in the room left it unusable for the remaining 41 hours of the cruise. We were told the flood water was clean but the towels used for soaking up were turning brownish yellow and the smell was sickening...so much so that my husband was given 3 medications by the ship's doctor for throat irritation the following morning(Easter Sunday.) In the lesser affected room of the 2 we paid for, a roll-away cot was set up for my teenage daughter, and my teenage son slept on the couch. There were no other rooms as the cruise was sold out, but the regular room was obviously intended for only two people, as evidenced by the two life vests which we would have needed to share if there was need. As you can imagine, movement through that cabin was difficult and privacy forsaken. We opted not to have our laundry done on board as our neighbors reported having to wait a very long time only to receive it back damp and discolored. While one crew-member assured us this had not happened before, another said their quarters were similarly flooded a few weeks prior. So Saturday at 7:00p.m. instead of attending a much-anticipated show, we went to Guest Services for a pre-arranged meeting. Thanks to an employee there by the name of Kwame, I now refer to it as guest "Dis-Services". His words to my husband were "I don't even know who you are and I'm finished with you!" in a very belligerent tone. We were told by Tanya that our only reimbursement would be a $175credit and 35% off one cabin on a future cruise. What is that? I did not even want to continue to be trapped in a smelly boat for the last two days and nights, so I don't expect there will be another Royal Caribbean Cruise in our future, and those "coupons" will be sent back. As for those "free" drinks they offered us, I was still fighting for a charge reversal at 10:10 Monday morning as everyone else had departed for the airport or parking lot. While at the Guest dis-services desk, I witnessed another passenger in a screaming match with the representative who said she owed for drinks purchased at the last hour. She said she paid $10,000 for her cruise, and now they were making her miss her flight over a charge that was not hers. I'm not looking for a golden ticket here...just reimbursement of a product we purchased (a habitable cabin) that we did not receive. Royal Caribbean may be finished with us but any cruisers who have a choice in ships will be well-advised to steer clear of Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I would never have thought I would be writing a review on a site like this, but I can't let this go by. I took my wife and our 2 teenagers on a Spring Break, Easter cruise on the Radiance of the Sea. I have been a huge fan of Royal ... Read More
I would never have thought I would be writing a review on a site like this, but I can't let this go by. I took my wife and our 2 teenagers on a Spring Break, Easter cruise on the Radiance of the Sea. I have been a huge fan of Royal Caribbean and have booked away from other cruise lines. I have always told family and friends just how much I have enjoyed Royal Caribbean on past cruises. Never again! I don't know where to begin so I will start where all the problems began. When getting back on the ship from a day at the beach in Cozumel, we were "flagged" and instructed to see Guest Services. We were told there was an accident and our rooms were flooded. I say "rooms" because we booked 2 cabins. There was one cabin between the two we booked. We were escorted to our 9th deck hallway to be overwhelmed by a disgusting odor. Walking towards the aft portion of the ship, where our cabins were, the smell became increasingly worse. Not to mention the carpet was now squishing under foot as if walking on a soaked sponge. The sound of shop vacs and blower fans screamed in the background. We get to our cabin and thank goodness someone had the foresight to put our belongings up on our beds. We thank our cabin attendant for his diligence. This would be a good place to mention there were a few individuals that were very courteous and went out of their way to apologize for this situation. "Few" being the operative word here. One of our cabin's was completely uninhabitable. Strong pungent odor and carpeting was drenched. We were told it would be replaced, it never was. We moved all our belongings to the cabin that was the lesser of the two evils. Thinking we may possibly be able to use our other cabin at some point, as they told us we would. The stains on the towels they had put down made us realize that staying in this one cabin would not be possible. Even if you could handle the industrial size blower fans that were placed in the rooms. Evidently, for the NEXT cruise. There we are, back from a day at the beach, and the water, the shower, and the toilets are not working. Dinner in less than an hour so we were instructed to shower at the spa and use the public bathrooms. It is never my desire to use a public toilet on board a ship that has been at sea a couple of days. That was our only option. So we got ready for dinner at the spa and get back from dinner to find a note saying how sorry Royal Caribbean is and please accept $175 for the inconvenience. A nice start we thought, considering $175 is a day at the pool for a family of four. I should also mention here that when our rooms had no water or toilets, we were offered to go to the pool bar for free drinks. We were instructed to use our sea pass and the charges would be deducted. I have had tooth extraction that was easier than getting the $100 taken off our bill prior to leaving the ship. Information came painfully slow. What are we to do? Is there another room we can move to? The smell is making us all ill. The ship staff was having a meeting to decide what to do with the 20 or so people this affected. We thought, "thank goodness, something will be done." It never was done. The ship was completely filled with every cabin taken. The next day our eyes were so watery, and throats so sore from the pungent smell of a damp, dank carpet that we were concerned about what was seeping in to the carpet. We were told fresh water. The smell made us think otherwise. I asked if anyone else was having symptoms of sore throats, itchy, and watery eyes, and it was requested that we visit the ship's Dr. I don't see a Dr. for the sniffles, but now I am concerned about what these fumes and odors are that we have been breathing in for the past 15 hours. The Dr. prescribed us steroids and benadryl and told us to stay out of the sun for these make one photo sensitive. SO with two more days, we are told not to spend any time in the sun. We were also asked by the Dr why we would stay where the fumes were making us this sick. Again, the ship was full, and our one cabin that was not totally sopping wet was our only option. He offered us a bed in the sick bay. In hindsight, maybe that would have been more comfortable. The 4 of us camped out thinking that a line with the reputation of Royal Caribbean would certainly make things right. Meaning giving us what we paid for. I regret to say, that has yet to happen. Not only has that yet to happen, it may take legal action to even get something other than what was already offered on board. I should mention we also have been offered 35% off a future cruise if taken within a year. I'll say here that some in Guest Services were just out right rude and nasty when we protested our treatment. One manager elevated the situation and proclaimed, "I'm done with you!" I have never been treated with such contempt by someone in the service industry. The cruise industry is thriving. The ship must have been testing its pipes while the majority of passengers were off ship. The pressure caused a major malfunction in our section of the ship, and we are pushed aside with $275 for this "inconvenience." It ruined our vacation. The insult to this injury is to be so loyal to Royal Caribbean only to be treated so rudely. I am disputing the charge through my credit card, am writing a letter to CEO Adam Goldstein, and will report back on how this situation is handled. For now, they have created a public relations nightmare that would have been very easily fixed on board the ship before we disembarked. As I said, we were 4 of about 20 people this affected. Some worse than others, I am sure. I would go in to detail about the other friendly personnel on board, but a favorable review of the entire experience is not possible. It would be like asking President Lincoln's wife "other than that Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?" I hope Royal Caribbean learns a valuable lesson here. I know I sure have. I will never cruise on this line again. I'm afraid this is a sign of our times. There is someone else behind me to take my place if I don't book on this line. They know that, and they are treating me like this. They have become just like the other lines that I would have never considered booking with. Just with a higher fee. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Our group of 4 drove to Tampa from New Orleans. Looking back we should have flown but we still enjoyed the drive over. Finding the terminal was a bit challenging. For some strange reason Terminal 2 has quite a large sign. So here we are ... Read More
Our group of 4 drove to Tampa from New Orleans. Looking back we should have flown but we still enjoyed the drive over. Finding the terminal was a bit challenging. For some strange reason Terminal 2 has quite a large sign. So here we are looking for a similar sign for Terminal 3- none exists (at least that we could find). After a second wrap, I spotted a smaller green sign pointing out Terminal 3. Unloading was a breeze and we opted for the valet parking. It was only $15 more and during departure,(which it was pouring rain) we were glad we did. We walked into the terminal with our paperwork and passports in hand. The lines were non-existent and were signed in by an older gentlemen. He could've been more cordial but we let it go since he was elderly and maybe was having a bad day. Other than that, embarking flowed smoothly and R.C.I. definitely has it figured out well; it took us less than 10 minutes from vehicle drop to boarding. Entering the Radiance was a bit of a different experience for us. There was no hoopla over you while boarding, no music, and no one pushing drinks. Looking back I do miss the announcement of the "Robichaux" family, as it makes you feel special and like your vacation is actually beginning and it was kinda lame to not even have tropical music being played. It was more like entering the lobby of a hotel. However, I did not miss being hassled to buy a souvenir drink every two seconds! After reading the board on this ship I was a bit concerned at its age. I have to say that being the age it is, it is well kept and hard to find many wear and tear. We made our way to the Windjammer, which was absolutely lovely and had a nice selection. I was happy to see that the tables were being cleaned (disinfected) quickly after each passenger. We had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer everyday. The food offerings changed a bit each day and I have no complaints about the quantity or quality of the food. After lunch we headed to find our stateroom (3110). Our luggage was there when we arrived and the room was ready to go. This room had two drop ceiling beds for our teenagers. We were able to hang most of our garments and unpack the rest into the drawer space provided. All of our luggage was put inside of each other and slipped neatly under the bed. Though the room was small, as most are, we never felt cramped or like we were stepping on each other. I also have to say that our room steward was exceptional. He cleaned the room constantly, we had a never ending supply of ice and water, and fresh towels. There was also a curtain partition that made it very easy for my daughter and me to change while the men were still in the room. One negative I have to admit was that at some point it felt like the a/c in our hall just stopped working. I called twice to have it looked into but, nothing changed. We were hot most nights and slept without covers. We never did experience any smells or wet carpeting as reported by others. Our commode refused to flush one evening, but one call and a few minutes later it was back in working order. Our main dining time was 6pm and the Cascades room was very nice. The food was excellent and so was the service. Our glasses never stayed empty more than 2 or 3 minutes and our waiters were kind, funny, punctual,and full of information. The selection during dinner was nice as well. There were 8 of us at one table and no one during the entire trip had any complaints. As for entertainment, I personally found the entertainment aboard the Radiance much nicer than that of the two Carnival cruises I've taken. The shows were excellent and the dancers got really involved down at poolside. Some points that I preferred on other ships were: -music by the main pool was exactly the same everyday and throughout the day, consisting of oldies and disco. By the time you hear Staying Alive 7 times, it is just frustrating. -Radiance had no "night clubs" for those of us who wanted to have fun with our 17/18 year old. When they decided to open it, it was only open to 18 and above. Sure there were other lounges open earlier but my teen doesn't want to hear big band music or Elton John hits (neither did I for that matter). -This ship was also very limited on it's gaming as well. -Though it is posted everywhere, seat holding on this ship was ridiculous. I could walk out at 7:30am and every chair had a towel, shirt, or book but no people on them. I actually found one without, sat and timed how long the chairs were being 'held' before someone came to actually use them - try up to 2 and 3 hours! And forget the Solarium, which by the way is really nice, but forget trying to sit in there. It is worse than the main pool for seating. Instead,we hung out in the library, read, played trivia, played pool in the Scoonger lounge, hit the arcade, and played putt putt golf. We took advantage of the Spa during the evenings instead of dancing. We took the teens and did the thermal spa which was great. My daughter did the Spa sampler and loved it. My husband and I did the Rasual, which is a must. On our Cozumel day, we did the Fury Catamaran and beach break. The catamaran and snorkeling was really fun and the gentlemen crewing the catamaran were great. The beach was awesome and we didn't have to fight for chairs or much else. The day was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. On our Costa Maya day, we just walked around, shopped, and lounged in hammocks. It was a nice change compared to being on board and having to fight for a place to sit in the sun. We were haggled a little but nothing as bad as some other ports we've been to. We were also able to get close to watch the dolphins being fed and played with. Basically this turned out to be just what we wanted, a very relaxing, laid back vacation. The ship is beautiful and full of things to do. Though I didn't get to sun poolside much, the other offerings easily took its place. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
After a flight to TPA I had an excellent, quick RCI transfer to Radiance - the lead ship of the excellent Radiance class. Quick walk aboard embarkation at about 1230, found that my Diamond Plus table reservation had been honored, ate the ... Read More
After a flight to TPA I had an excellent, quick RCI transfer to Radiance - the lead ship of the excellent Radiance class. Quick walk aboard embarkation at about 1230, found that my Diamond Plus table reservation had been honored, ate the usual, not very good, RCI embarkation lunch in a crowded Windjammer Buffet. Room available at 130 pm., small, only 179 sq.ft, with balcony. A quick and almost inconsequential "lifeboat drill", underway at 420 pm. and off to Mexico. Following a day at sea we were into Costa Maya where most people went off on tour. After a short walk ashore I returned to the ship as I have been able to visit all Caribbean ports thru the years and I enjoy being "alone" aboard while everyone is off touring. A horrible lunch in Windjammer but a most enjoyable quiet day aboard. Underway and off to Cozumel arriving before dawn the following morning where I repeated my custom of staying aboard while the rest of the pax were off ashore. Another horrible Windjammer lunch unfortunately. Underway a little late after waiting for a horribly drunken couple to succeed in navigating the pier to return. Off for a day at sea and back to Tampa. This was a very fine, if typical, RCI cruise. Crew very friendly and helpful, food OK at best, Captain's talks daily very informative, Production Shows very good, headliner entertainers less so, food - passable. Food is just not RCI's strength - its the area where they save money to justify low fares by using low quality, low price, foods. Its better than this bachelor can prepare for himself, but it is mass market food service at best. It is a tragedy as far as I am concerned that the Seaview Cafe, open sea days for sandwich lunches and other times during the day/night, is to be removed during the May dockyard period to be replaced by another "dining charge" restaurant. I always enjoy a cruise, am on RCI frequently, and greatly appreciate the "perks" given to their very frequent cruisers (Diamond Plus) especially access to Concierge Lounge etc. I always recommend Radiance class RCI ships as they preserve the idea of a ship at sea via their very large "glassed in" areas and outside decks. I constantly wonder why they are emphasizing Indian cuisine so much when their pax. are not Indian. The possible explanation is that the kitchen personnel are Indian, and Indian food, being largely vegetarian, is cheap. The problem is that they devote an entire section of the Windjammer Buffet to it at lunch and dinner, and no one seems to partake of it. O well!!! A quick and easy disembarkation, easy transfer to TPA and home. I return home having had a good, but not excellent cruise - but well worth the money paid. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
I just got back home from my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. It was amazing!!! The fun force was great and had many activities. The deck party at Christmas had great music, and we had a 185 member congo line. The slide and putt ... Read More
I just got back home from my first cruise on the Carnival Inspiration. It was amazing!!! The fun force was great and had many activities. The deck party at Christmas had great music, and we had a 185 member congo line. The slide and putt putt were fun, and the food was good, not great. Cozumel was a lot of fun, we took an excursion not sponsored by the cruise ship and enjoyed it very much. There were a lot of space to enjoy the sun, and each floor was always bustling with fun activities. The best part of about the cruise was the teen (15-17 year old) club 02. Our directer, Ilijah was the bomb. I had the chance to mix and mingle with other teens on the ship which was great. My only negative things about the ship is that many areas require extra fees, or require an age requirement. Also, the last "fun" day at sea, we drove into a massive all day storm, and half of the ship was seasick, and that really dampened things, along with the fact everything outside was closed for high winds. Lastly, our CD Stephanie Meads was annoying, her PA announcements sounded sarcastic, and woke me up on multiple occasions. Overall, Carnival's Inspiration is a great cruise. From the evening dinner "Shoooowtime!" to parties and all the "fun", it was a welcomed Christmas experience. Great for all ages. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This is our 3rd cruise this year, and thankfully our last till 2011 (Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean International). Is there such a thing as taking too much time off? This review is going to be a bit of a nitpicker I'm afraid. ... Read More
This is our 3rd cruise this year, and thankfully our last till 2011 (Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean International). Is there such a thing as taking too much time off? This review is going to be a bit of a nitpicker I'm afraid. I've been on too many different lines this year not to notice the differences between them. RCI, here's a biggie for us. Have you become a budget cruise line? This is not the first time I've been on a RCI cruise but the first time I've gone in my stateroom bathroom and not found any toiletries. No lotion, no shampoo, no conditioner, and just a plainly wrapped flat brick of hand soap. Did our stateroom attendant forget to put them out? I'm afraid not, I checked with the other folks in our group and they didn't have any toiletries in their bathrooms either. What the hell? I pulled the curtain back on the shower to see if they were there, nope. The only thing in there was a communal liquid soap dispenser. Oh boy! Are we staying in a gym now? My prior experiences with RCI were a couple of cruises on Sovereign of the Seas. Built in 1988, the bathroom was so small you could literally do EVERYTHING from one place. The bathroom in the Radiance (built in 2002) was slightly larger, though you still can't move in the shower without your body moving the curtain open and dousing the floor in the bathroom with water. With just about a 1" lip between the shower pan and the bathroom floor it's a good thing there's a floor drain in that part too or the bathroom would flood. Don't forget not to put anything you want to stay dry on the floor. Our balcony room was the smallest of the 3 balcony rooms we've stayed in this year, a big disappointment considering the ship was built in 2002. (Disney had the largest balcony room of the 3, built in 1998) The "sofa" in our room was wide enough for only 1 person to sit on so somebody always has to sit on the bed to watch tv or sit at the makeup table. The layout of the room is poor as well because they put the bed on the balcony side of the room instead of the bathroom side. Meaning the dividing curtain separates you from the bathroom instead of the balcony which kind of defeats having a balcony room, you can't go outside to enjoy it in the morning if someone is still in bed without blasting them with sunlight. Strange too was the overall exterior design of the ship. Our room was small because there was 15' between the edge of our balcony and the ocean. They made the rooms smaller to accommodate the exterior architectural design look. Nothing functional mind you, just a 'look' Our room was 7th floor, starboard aft about 3/4 back. Plus you look to the right of our balcony and the last 10 or so rooms had balconies that were twice as deep as ours (but were still 8' from the edge of the ship) though the room was still the same size. What the hell were they thinking when they designed this? Give me a bigger room! Other design flaws that hampered our enjoyment was the fact that there are no aft elevators on the ship. There are 7 elevators in the Centrum, midship and 3 more elevators in the forward section of ship. ???? We were told this ship was built for Alaska cruises. I'd have gone insane if I had to spend a week in that room. The Centrum was very nice as it is open from the 4th to the 12th floor. The shops were the shops, nothing special and what you see on any cruise line. Hawking gold platted chains outside the Windjammer (Foodjammer) cafe everyday along with the spa table hawking their services. And don't forget the "fresh OJ machine" $2-4 for a glass if you don't want the not from concentrate fresh squeezed that comes out of the carton around the corner. Has anyone else dumped the "soda package" fee beside Disney? I just can't shake the feeling that RCI has become the Nickle and Dime Cruise Line. Of course they have their 'you can't BYOB' rules and they're quite adept at locating any beverage you may have wanted to sneak by for consumption in your room. Clearly they go through additional screening checks/x-raying your bags for anything that looks like it may be a bottle or something that may have a beverage in it. Your bag WILL be held aside and you will be called to come to the security office to open your bag for inspection. Any bevs will be confiscated though you will be able to retrieve your bevs on the morning of departure. They, Celebrity and P&O are the only cruise lines that do this that I'm aware of (and all 3 are owned by RCI I do believe). Has anyone else had an experience like this with any other cruise line? The house chardonnay was $7+grat which struck us as being a bit steep. Absolut was $5.75+grat. Alcohlic bevs used to be quite reasonable on the high seas. Other than straight liquor drinks, apparently not so much anymore. The food was inconsistent. There was nothing in the Windjammer that was out of the ordinary or special. Other than the "blood sausage" there appeared to be nothing served at breakfast that you couldn't get at a Denny's. I remember the food on the Sovereign's Windjammer was so awesome with varied international dishes. The main dining room food was good and the service was too. We ate at Chops one night and the service was absolutely impeccable. We had 2 servers at our table and the Maitre d' was hovering over them and us pampering us at every moment. (the Maitre d' swooped in and replaced your napkin when you got up to go to the bathroom or smoke). The food was ample in size and of good quality (not "prime" rated beef) though my rib-eye was not as good as I had expected. They made a fuss when they asked how my steak was but I declined to have them make me another one. At $25pp it's the highest I would be willing to pay for an 'other than main dining room' experiences. That price includes the grat but we added an additional $10 and bought a bottle of wine. $108 for our steak dinner for two. Disney's upscale/upcharge restaurant (Palo)is only $15 and it's fantastic. Oh and by the way, by far, RCI has the most disgusting pizza in the industry. Princess had the best pizza (hand tossed and baked in pizza ovens in front of you and burgers (ground fresh onboard, you could even sign a waiver if you wanted a rare or medium cooked burger!). Premade crusts? Come on RCI, you should do better! With all that said, would we do an RCI cruise again? It's likely, but for the older ships, a 3-4 or 5 nighter would be my limit. I'll try the Oasis or Allure eventually. I just don't like getting nickle and dimed for everything. Price the cruise appropriately and include it! You're captive already, I don't want merchandising and selling being hammered upon me every minute of the trip. I can fly to anywhere I want to visit, to go by boat is the point of cruising isn't it? It's about the cruise, not the destinations. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Embarkation: The embarkation process went really smoothly. The Port of Tampa is larger than other ports that we have been to, and things seem to run well there. We had our fun passes, boarding tickets, driver's licenses, and birth ... Read More
Embarkation: The embarkation process went really smoothly. The Port of Tampa is larger than other ports that we have been to, and things seem to run well there. We had our fun passes, boarding tickets, driver's licenses, and birth certificates ready when we arrived. Public Rooms: The public rooms were clean. The decor is "artistic"...hence the name Inspiration. Cabin: The space was smaller than a hotel room, but was plenty for the two of us. We were able to put all of our clothes in the closet and drawers. The steward kept the cabin clean, and made us cute towel animals. :) Dining: I think that the dining experience is our favorite part of cruising. We were treated special each night and were entertained by the wait staff. The food was good, and we even tried things that we would not eat at home! Of course, we LOVE the chocolate melting cake, so we had that for dessert every night. Entertainment: The entertainment was good...not FABULOUS, but definitely enjoyable. There were 2 different comedians, and they were both funny. We went to the adults only show for one of them...don't go if you are offended by sexual comments or foul language. We were not offended, but I did hear some people behind us that were saying "oh, MY." The talent sow was fun too and there was some great acts. Service: The service was great. The only complaint that I have is that people that are Non-drinkers are driven half crazy by being asked, "would you like a drink" 50 times a day...however, if you are a drinker, I am sure that you are glad that the staff is so anxious to get you a drink. Shore Excursions: We did the Reef & Rays in Grand Cayman, and it was a lot of fun. The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. They took us to snorkel at the reef first, and then we went to Stingray City to snorkel. In Cozumel, we did the Mayan Ruins & Beach excursion. The guide, Moises ("MOY") was great. He is part Mayan, and was able to share some really cool history about the site. It was VERY hot and the mosquitos will eat you alive if you don't use bug spray. When we went to the beach there was a little bar and restaurant area. We ordered some nachos, and the salsa was the best that we had ever eaten. We enjoyed both of these excursions, and would recommend them to others. We had a great time on this cruise. This was our first vacation without our children, and we stayed busy (never even had time to miss the kids..LOL) This was our second cruise, and we will definitely cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
First, we live near Tampa so getting to the port and embarkation was a breeze. Valet park for the extra $15..totally worth it if you have several bags. The ship was nice, a bit outdated. Our Jr Suite was OK. The private balcony was a ... Read More
First, we live near Tampa so getting to the port and embarkation was a breeze. Valet park for the extra $15..totally worth it if you have several bags. The ship was nice, a bit outdated. Our Jr Suite was OK. The private balcony was a must. The room had small sitting area, fridge, hair dryer, 2 bathrobes, small TV, plenty of hangers and storage. This was on deck 8. Deck 9 has the pool, solarium, late night food, etc etc. Lots of activity and you hear it all night from deck 8. Sleeping was impossible. Surprised I never read that on any other reviews of this ship. We rent homes or condos when we vacation. We were concerned the ship would become confining and we would get bored. Well, that is exactly how we felt after completing the trip. There were activities that didn't suit our tastes on board. We felt that if you had kids and teens this was a great way to have them entertained day and night in a controlled environment so parents could enjoy themselves. Food was good. I was very disappointed with formal night. This was no more than any other night on the ship except you had to wear a suit, formal attire, etc. I thought there would be some differentiation but nothing. The shrimp cocktail had the smallest shrimp I've seen. And yes, people were coming to meals dressed as they pleased. I suppose it is time to eliminate most of the dress code written on the web pages. No one sticks to it anyway. The price of the drinks were no worse than any hotel and sometimes, cheaper than as well. The quality of the drinks was very good as well. However, the soda pkg was a rip off. You had to find an open bar every time you wanted a refill. The crew was very attentive and polite. The casino was small but I found a few slots that were paying. Table limits low entry as well. We just wanted to share with others that are contemplating taking a cruise for the first time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Embarkation: Tampa is getting better and better organized. We did a similar itinerary two years ago on this same ship with our two pre-teens. This time we tried the valet parking offer (great choice!) and literally were on board in 30 ... Read More
Embarkation: Tampa is getting better and better organized. We did a similar itinerary two years ago on this same ship with our two pre-teens. This time we tried the valet parking offer (great choice!) and literally were on board in 30 minutes of dropping the bags. Cabin: The suite was very comfortably set up with a generous balcony and enough room for four people to move about without stepping on each other. Our Room Steward Ferdinand did a great job. Wait Staff/Dining Room: We had a later seating which I noticed was not a popular choice for parents with children. Many thanks to our patient and professional wait staff who did a superb job! Kudo's to Evangelina, Ashish and Carmen. Shore excursion: We did the Rock-Climbing/Zip-line and Snorkeling Adventure in Cozumel and highly recommend it! Looks like Grandeur groups have a great time-slot. We arrived early enough in the day to enjoy the sun without roasting and to have the full attention of a talented and enthusiastic team. Couldn't have had more fun!!!! Disembarkation: Wow! I have never left a cruise ship more smoothly. We literally ate breakfast, went back to room to brush our teeth and get our bags, and they were calling our luggage tag group! Fantastic as we were in the car and on the road within less time than it took to get on board. Overall - another great experience with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
A little background info: We have cruised about 10 times. This was my second cruise on Carnival. I am 40ish with hubby and 3 teens.We live in Orlando. This cruise was a graduation gift for my 18 year old daughter and her friend. It was ... Read More
A little background info: We have cruised about 10 times. This was my second cruise on Carnival. I am 40ish with hubby and 3 teens.We live in Orlando. This cruise was a graduation gift for my 18 year old daughter and her friend. It was selected solely on price. I was looking for the cheapest thing less than 6 weeks out in high season. Embarkation: We drove over and parked in the garage. It was close to where we needed to load and very easy. We got there later than planned ,as usual, but boarding was fast and efficient. The counter help was very friendly.we headed right up to the buffet as we were starving. Cabin: Our luggage showed up promptly. our cabin was large. I expected in a triple to have a pull down bunk but the third bed was a cot. I expected to feel crowded but it was fine. Given that we had the "worst" cabin on the ship, it was much nicer than expected. The bedding was a very nice new option, feathery and comfy; however I was not on the cot. The teen did not complain about it being uncomfortable but I am notsure she would have even if it was terrible. Public Areas: The ship was a little worn but very pretty.I hated the Glory and thought it overdone. This ship was done with many of the same neon colored light that Carnival favors but at night it was really pretty. They had it mixed with pretty wood inlays and gold toned mirrors.The mirrors were a big hit with all us females because they gave you the illusion of being tan. The buffet area had these crazy purple pipe things on the ceiling that looked like an octopus, very interesting. Pool Areas: As on most ships there was not enough chairs available down by the main pool. There was a large stack of chairs and when I asked one of the employees to help me move 3 chairs, he told me no. I unstacked them and drug them across the deck to an open spot by myself. Later on, I did see an employee unstacking the rest and setting them upright by me. What is great about this ship is that at the front of the boat is another pool and hot tub area. It had a million chairs and a great breeze. The heck with the main pool. There was also a hidden third small pool that seemed to have a lot of space available The worst experience came with getting the elusive pool towels. My daughter stood in line for 10minutes , only to be told "No towels". I came down in about 15 minutes and stood in a long line while they searched a clipboard for children returning towels. Once again they ran out of towels one person in front of me and told me I could wait about 15 minutes. After about an hour, we were finally given 3 towels. This was a very inefficient system. Restaurant Meals: The food was very pretty good. We always ate breakfast in the buffet area and it had your standard nice selection of hot and cold items. They always had a person wandering around refilling drinks. There were many stations available for the lunch buffets. They had great items, ethnic themed, every day on the hot line. Iam not a vegetarian but the vegetarian choices were outstanding. Things like baked stuffed tomatoes and a greek spinach mushroom pie. They also did a nice job with the fish dishes. They had a sandwich station that was slow but made everything. They had a pizza area that stayed open all the time. The desert area was a manned station with a nice selection of cakes and ice cream concoctions. They had a nice little sushi area that was available from 5:30 to 8:00. They would have 3 types featured and they gave you a plate of it. It was good quality. We ate every night in the main dining room at the second seating. We were in a 10 top. The service was adequate. Our team was nice but a little disorganized. Our lead seemed like he was new. The people next to us kept trying to order a soda and a glass of wine and were unsuccessful. They finally got them at the end of the meal. I ordered a bottle of wine and it came fairly quickly. The appetizer soups were always very good, whether hot or cold. The salads were boring, Caesar or some variety of a garden. The various types of steak, prime rib or filet was always nicely done. I eat my meat rare but it was usually closer to medium. The little lobster tail and shrimp that was available on formal night was quite nice, very tender and not over cooked. my daughter tried the curry one night, the vegetarian choice. It came in a very nice presentation with interesting bread and sides. The one disappointment was the desserts. None of them were outstanding. None were bad just so so. They had a chocolate melting cake that was available every night that was by far the best. You could also get fruit and cheese that was good. Excursions: We did not book through the ship.We chose to rent a car in Cozumel and explore the island on our own. Bars: They had a really pretty champagne bar called Violins. Nice service,strong drinks. They had a neat Picasso themed bar that played rock music.The disco was disappointing. Oldies music that bored even me and I am an oldie. The girls were very disappointed as they like to dance. Shows: They were standard. Silly dancers and average comics. The late night adult comic was racy but very funny. They had a funny game show.Karaoke was available every night and was especially horrible. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
I have taken approximately 10 cruises with 4 different lines. I had taken a Carnival cruise out of Miami about 5 years ago and hated it. It was a wild drunken party with an unfriendly crew. Because of being part of a group I reluctantly ... Read More
I have taken approximately 10 cruises with 4 different lines. I had taken a Carnival cruise out of Miami about 5 years ago and hated it. It was a wild drunken party with an unfriendly crew. Because of being part of a group I reluctantly agreed to go on the Sensation out of Tampa this last August 12th 2004. Beginning with the boarding, we drove ourselves and parked in the deck across the street. The fun pass and lots of people to receive us in the paper work made what I had expected to take upwards to 2 hours. Instead we breezed right through and 45 minutes after we had parked my car I was sitting on deck eating a buffet. I would like to say that I was amazed at the difference. I heard in the reviews that Carnival was trying to get rid of the young drunken party boat reputation. Well, I think they have succeeded. Not to say that there were not any drunken idiots but we found that the majority of the other guests were very nice friendly families. I believe they said there was 700 kids on this trip. I assume that means anyone 17 and under. Although it was not apparent. We found the crew to be especially friendly and helpful. We found the rooms to be clean, roomy and very elegant. The towel animals and mints on the pillows were a nice touch. I was extremely pleased with the cheerfulness and promptness of the room service. The quality of the food was exceptional at the formal dinners, casual buffets and the room service. We never really had a chance to meet our cabin steward but his service was exceptional. We went out on our own in Cozumel and had a great time snorkeling. The shows were actually fresh and quite entertaining. Very deep in costumes and talents. Although there was supposed to be 2400 guests on this boat I never stood in a line for anything more than just a few short minutes. To sum it up this was a terrific cruise. This leadership team on the Sensation definitely has made me rethink Carnivals quality and I am sure I will sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004

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