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16 Tampa to Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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