128 Tampa Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Once onboard, we went directly to the Windjammer where we were offered a very disappointing lunch. Clearly, this was the worst food we had ever had on any Royal Caribbean cruise that we have ever taken. The selections were odd, to say ... Read More
Once onboard, we went directly to the Windjammer where we were offered a very disappointing lunch. Clearly, this was the worst food we had ever had on any Royal Caribbean cruise that we have ever taken. The selections were odd, to say the least, and poor at that. Service, however, was excellent. As far as the breakfast is concerned, after one try at the Windjammer, we decided to stay in the Dining Room, as this was never disappointing. Lunches were so bad, that I find it difficult to even describe. It didn't matter where you ate: it was a repetition every day in both the main Dining Room and in the Windjammer. A couple of meals were so bad, that I pushed my plate away and didn't even bother reordering. We quickly found that it was better to order Room Service at lunchtime. Those meals were much better than anything else offered. Dinners fluctuated from inedible to incredible. We ate one night at Izumi, but were not terribly impressed. Other passengers didn't seem to be entirely pleased over the other restaurants, so we didn't even bother. In fact, I think that business was so slow there, that that is the reason why they were offering 20% off at Izumi and a "Buy Chops and get Giovanni's Table for free". I do want to take this moment, however, to mention that the Dining Room service was impeccable and the best we ever had. Ernesto and Saturnino were on the ball and everyone was pleased for the entire two weeks. The maître d was visible every night, making sure to stop at our table and make sure everything was running smoothly. Entertainment was fairly poor. After late dining, there was barely anything to do or see, except for the little standard things (games, for example) going on about the ship. The shows were highly mediocre. The Centrum had several things going on, but it is very, very small and the passengers were packed three and four deep around four decks trying to see it. We gave up. Short of sleeping around the Centrum, it simply wasn't worth our time. Shore excursions were iffy. We did the Haunted House tour in Key West and all is can say, save your money and your time. Funchal was fun. We went up the mountain by cable and came down by wicker sled. My only complaint is that there was a tremendous amount of walking and there were times I wasn't sure if my husband was going to make it in one piece. We selected this tour as a "moderate" excursion and did not expect it to be a walking tour, which it clearly was, in large part. In addition, it was uphill, cobblestone climbing. Next was Gibralter. This turned out to be a surprise. We had a great tour guide and the place turned out to be much more interesting than we would have thought. We went up to the Rock by cable and partially walked down and partially rode down by bus, which was all o.k., considering it was downhill. We saw the monkeys, which were extremely amusing and visited the caves. It is fascinating. Don't miss it. Sadly, we couldn't view Morocco from there because the day was so cloudy, but I am sure it is still there and you might get luckier than we did! Malaga was a nightmare. We were supposed to have a moderate city tour, by bus. Hah! What we got was a bus ride up to the top of a big hill. Some passengers got out to take pictures and then returned to the bus, where we were brought back down the big hill. By this time, everyone was bellyaching for a rest room, which the guide kept promising. When we go down the hill, we all left the bus and raced to keep up with the guide. I was just telling my husband that I couldn't keep up with him, when suddenly an argument broke out between a passenger and the tour guide. The man was very angry that his wife, who couldn't keep up with this Speed Demon, had fallen behind and gotten lost. He had finally found her and was at it with the guide, who clearly had a "too bad" attitude about it. People began yelling for a bathroom. He told everyone to "meet him at this spot in 45 minutes. In the meantime, find a bar and use the bathroom". We were left in an upscale shopping district in Malaga with nothing to do. Everyone drifted off. In 45 minutes, we went back to the spot and the guide sauntered over and announced that anyone who wanted could go to the Cathedral now, otherwise come back to this spot in an hour. What Cathedral? Who cared??!? We couldn't walk anymore. We found a café and sat with a cold drink until it was time to meet again. When we did, we were bussed back to the bus. Money down the drain. I was going to take the issue up with Guest Services, but honestly, we were too tired to even bother. Everyone on the bus was angry. I think that in the future we just might start using other resources instead of going with the cruise line for excursions. It seems that the longer we travel, the worse these excursions are becoming. My husband's birthday card arrived days before his actual birthday. No balloons on the door, no singing of Happy Birthday in the Dining Room, nor did I notice anyone else getting special treatment. I guess that that is another ship that has sailed! We did go to the Future Cruise desk only to find that in order to get any stateroom credit, you had to book right on the spot for a cruise within a 12 month period. We were informed that once we booked, there was no way to switch for a better deal that might be offered at a later time. However, we could use the shipboard credit on this cruise if we liked. I asked the agent what the benefit was and he said "none", at which point we got up and thanked him for his time and left, unbooked and fed up. I noticed that the Future Cruise office almost always seemed empty during the entire cruise, which I have never seen before. I do believe that Royal Caribbean has shot themselves in the foot this time. Would I travel with them again? Only if the price and itinerary were superior to anything else. It just may be time to shop around with the other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our favorite cruise ever, thanks to Captain Lis and her wonderful crew! The ship was beautiful, we had many activities which were attended by Captain Lis, Cruise Director, Steve, and the whole crew. I've never seen such ... Read More
This was our favorite cruise ever, thanks to Captain Lis and her wonderful crew! The ship was beautiful, we had many activities which were attended by Captain Lis, Cruise Director, Steve, and the whole crew. I've never seen such crew participation on a cruise, and I've been on more than 50 cruises. In addition to the fun activities organized by the ship, we also enjoyed activities organized by our Cruise Critic Roll Call, such as a Cabin Crawl, Slot Pull, and two lunches in the MDR, one before the Cabin Crawl, and one for those of us who had cruised on the Oasis Westbound TA last October (thanks, Tim and Sue!). My DH played chess every day with two friends he met, and I enjoyed rehearsing for and singing in the Vision of the Seas Guest Choir (thanks, Kenny Washington, one of the Vision singers, who was our Choir Director). The food was great in the MDR, Park Café, and Windjammer. We did not go to any specialty restaurants this time. We also enjoyed room service breakfast in our cabin twice. We had a panoramic view cabin, 7084, and loved it! It was very spacious with a large window and a window seat where we could sit and look at the ocean, and watch our arrivals into the various ports. We boarded in Tampa (very smooth, no problems), then went to Key West, Funchal, Madeira, Gibraltar, Malaga, and debarked in Barcelona. We thought it was a very interesting itinerary, and particularly enjoyed Funchal and Gibraltar since it was our first time visiting them. In summary, Captain Lis is the best captain we have ever had the pleasure to cruise with on Royal Caribbean or any other cruise line. I hope we are able to cruise with her again. She made all of us feel at home, and she steered us away from a storm. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my second cruise, the first being a Baltic/Russia cruise 2 years ago, on RCL's Brilliance of the Sea. It was fantastic, and was port intensive. This time, I wanted my next cruise to have MANY sea days, and this ... Read More
This was my second cruise, the first being a Baltic/Russia cruise 2 years ago, on RCL's Brilliance of the Sea. It was fantastic, and was port intensive. This time, I wanted my next cruise to have MANY sea days, and this Transatlantic had 10 sea days, 8 of them consecutively. This is what I enjoyed the most - the ship's culture, activities, service, etc. The ports and excursions were secondary, but more on that further down. Embarkation went off without a hitch. Although the lines were long, there were sufficient staff waiting to check you in, that the line seemed to never stop, and rarely did one stand in the same place for any length of time. The ship itself was a bit smaller than the Brilliance and had no mini-golf, but this was known ahead of time, so can't fairly complain about that. The Windjammer Cafe seemed to have a fairly limited menu, but I was still able to find sufficient quantities and varieties of food, but did not quite meet my expectations. I ate breakfast here every morning, except on a couple of days when I went without, as the time change (we gained an hour on 6 days as we travelled west) occurred at 10 am, and made it too close to lunch time. Lunch was here every day, save one. My experience with both breakfast and lunch was the same: Food was adequate to excellent, and the service was ALWAYS excellent. Their attentiveness can't be faulted, offering juice, water, tea/coffee. Their pleasant demeanor and smiles made me feel welcomed and at home. One warning though: in an effort to remove empty plates and keep tables clean, the staff can be overzealous here. If you do go back for seconds, or for dessert, ensure at least one member of your party stays at the table - or if dining alone (as I sometimes did), leave a personal item (I would leave my e-Reader). Otherwise, you will come back to the table you had, but already occupied by others. Dinner was always in the MDR, again, save for one night. The menu each evening offered a fantastic variety of starters, main courses, and desserts - different each night (with a few staples or "Classic" entrees offered every night). Variety was not a problem, and the quality could rarely be faulted, although one fish dish I had was a bit on the cold side (but had been thoroughly cooked). As a pair, our servers were adequate. The main server was quite personable and interactive, always asking if "everything was ok", but his assistant was a bit of a mystery - he seemed to be always smiling, and was quick at filing my ever-empty water glass! But he barely said a word, and his heart just didn't seem in it. Perhaps he had too many tables to serve? But for me, I like to interact and chat with my servers whenever I can (in any restaurant) and he just did not seem to care. We did use the specialty restaurants twice - both times at Giovannis - once for lunch early in the trip, and then later on for supper. Both times we had the same waiter - in fact, he offered us to return for supper at a 20% discount ($20 for lunch, $25 for supper, but with the discount he offered, it was $20 for both). Ali was quite attentive, very enthusiastic about his service. He just LOVED to bring us food, more food than we could possibly eat. The supper we had, we had with a married couple we had met in the airport in Toronto (after having met online through the Cruise Critic Roll Call), and as a group, in good humour (and faultless motives) chided Ali about all the food he was bringing (large portion, etc.) For whatever reason (perhaps cultural?), he took offense to it. He did his best to hide it, but it appeared to us we had inadvertently cause some harm. So we did apologize and left what I hope were considerable tips (despite the menu saying the price of the meals included the gratuity). The only late night venue which offered hot food (or any food at all after 11pm) was the Park Cafe, located in the solarium, by the pool. I used it a few times for slices of pizza (adequte, but certainly not gourmet) or hamburgers, cold drinks, and a small selection of sweets. Salads and sandwiches were also usually available, but I did not have any of these. Ports of call were adequate, but this was not a focus for the cruise for me, and nor should it have been for many. Key West was our first one, and it was nothing special to me, although a visit to the one of its museums taught me much about its history. Funchal, Madiera (Portugal) was an occasion of white knuckles for me. We had booked a 4 X 4 Madiera Adventure, and that it was! Some of the roads on this island born of volcanic activity are extremely narrow - such that one would have to pull over to allow oncoming vehicles to pass. That some of these roads were right on the edge of cliffs, sometimes with no barriers, and often times at such high inclines, this is not for someone with a fear of heights (such as me). My hand actually started aching from hanging onto the handle that was handing from the ceiling of the Land Rover. Gibraltar was quite enjoyable. Exploring the Siege Tunnels, get a chance to see the Barbary Apes, and visiting Europa Point - the southern most point in Europe. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and seeing the north coast of Morocco was not possible. None of the excursions in Malaga appeared overly interesting, but I choose the Caves at Neja. For caves they were spectacular, but caves don't really capture my attention. The Port of Malaga is one that I could have done without. But having said that about the Ports of Call, I didn't choose this cruise for the ports. It was for the sea days - to do nothing if I wanted. I was able to read 5 books on my eReader, watch a few movies, and found a willing and much better Chess opponent, where we spent hours playing each other. It turns out he was once on his native country's national chess team. This entire period of the cruise was relaxing and rejuvenating. Just to do what I wanted - or do nothing at all - at my own pace - was liberating. One final highlight: Cruise Director Steve allowed High Seas Ministries to conduct church services on the 2 Sundays of our cruise, and on Sea Days, they did a 1 Hour Bible Study. Tracing the themes of creation, covenant, and salvation through each of the 66 books, we spent 5 days in the Old Testament and 4 in the New Testament. This was not something I had expected, but it was a wonderful blessing. About 50 attended regularly. Kudos for Steve and Royal Caribbean! Disembarkation went off well, although we were about 1/2 hour late leaving the ship compared to the posted schedule. But there was still plenty of time to get on our Royal Caribbean transfer to the Barcelona airport in time for our flight. In all, it was a very good cruise, and it was almost everything I expected. Ship was clean and presented well. Although I have little to compare it too, many often commented about the extremely high level of interaction by the ship's officers, from Captain and right on down. For what I wanted out of this cruise, I surely received it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have been on the Pride previous to the 2.0 upgrades and it was just ok. This time my experience was much different. The upgrades added greatly to my experience. The food choices and quality were much better. The venues were a great ... Read More
We have been on the Pride previous to the 2.0 upgrades and it was just ok. This time my experience was much different. The upgrades added greatly to my experience. The food choices and quality were much better. The venues were a great addition. I would have liked to see "Pub Grub' offered in the Red Frog Pub though.... The room still is in need of some upgrades, like a flat screen TV. The toilet had a long delay and the light in the bathroom took forever to turn on. The entertainment was the best I have ever experienced on any cruise I have taken. As, well as the entertainment staff. Although I didn't care for the new CD, Jase, the rest of the staff was great! The Gym has completely new equipment with tv's on each of the cardio equipment. The ports and weather were fantastic. Our favorite port being Bonaire! Disembarkment in Baltimore is the same as always, very slow. Nothing to do with Carnival, but Baltimore needs to figure out the kinks because it took over 3 1/2 hours. I am already excited to see the Pride again next year for the Journey cruise in March!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I have only been cruising for 18 months and the cruise on the Carnival Pride was my ninth cruise. We booked this cruise one month before while on the Carnival Fascination. I live in Jacksonville Florida and rented a car to get to Tampa. My ... Read More
I have only been cruising for 18 months and the cruise on the Carnival Pride was my ninth cruise. We booked this cruise one month before while on the Carnival Fascination. I live in Jacksonville Florida and rented a car to get to Tampa. My wife and I left the night before and stopped at a Hampton Inn & Suite in Wesley Chapel. I used the Carnival transfer bus to get from the airport to the ship terminal. The bus was waiting and it only took us about 15 minutes before we were on our way. They had us down for late dinner seating so once on the ship we went to get it changed to any time dining. We wanted early dining but that wasn’t available. Embarkation at the ship was very organized and didn’t take long at all. The guy at the terminal with the microphone was very funny and made the wait pleasant. As a bonus, the senior Carnival Cruise Director John Heald was at the terminal and he got on the microphone and had us all laughing. This was our first time to the Tampa terminal and I was surprised how quick we got on the ship. Our stateroom 1140 was ready around noon. Bags were delivered around 1 pm. The ship was delayed getting out of port, we were told because of the large amount of supplies being loaded. The amount of people doing anytime dining on this cruise was unbelievable. The lines to eat were very long. Dinner was good but not as good as I’ve had on other Carnival ships. A few times the food was not hot enough. Other times the food was chewy. Some dishes were outstanding, just inconsistent. The desert menu was not varied like on other Carnival ships. I just would have liked to see more pies or cakes. The staff personnel on the ship were very friendly. Our cruise director Jason (Jase) Apps did a great job. This guy has so much energy and is fun to be around. I have cruised with Jase before and he is my favorite cruise direct so far. This was a special cruise with John Heald onboard. I would go on another cruise if he was onboard, he is that good. I didn’t see my stateroom steward much, but if I left the room, even for a little while, he would have my room clean when I returned. What more could you ask for. We did three shore excursions with Carnival and they were all good. In Grand Cayman we went on the deluxe stingray tour and I would do this one again. I would highly recommend taking a shore excursion in Colon Panama and Limon Costa Rica. Right around the port area in both those countries was not that great, but get out and see farther away from the port and you will be happy you visited these beautiful countries. In Limon we took the Bus, Boat, and Train tour. We went to the rain forest and visited a banana farm. We took a boat ride were they showed us a lot of wild life and fed us fruit. We went on an old train and stopped along the way when they spotted monkeys. Take a camera there were so many photo opportunities. In Colon we did the City Tour which took us by bus all the way across Panama to Panama City. We stopped at a local straw market and had time to ourselves to shop. This tour was 5.5 hours and well worth the price. The big show dancers/singers were alright. I’ve seen better, so I stopped going to the song and dance performances. The other entertainers were very good. They brought in different comedians every few days and these comedians were very funny. They had plenty of other performers and all were top notch. Disembarkation in Baltimore was a lot of confusion for most. We had to move to another place to get off the ship than what we were originally told. Customs personnel were not manning all the available desks and they were going very slow. We had a lot of fun on this cruise. I really like the layout of the Pride. Overall this was a very good cruise and I would gladly do it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our fifth time on the Pride and was grateful for the changes from the "same old thing". Embarkation in Tampa was a breeze! Many folks ignore recommendations and insist on arriving at the pier at 930-10am and then get ... Read More
This was our fifth time on the Pride and was grateful for the changes from the "same old thing". Embarkation in Tampa was a breeze! Many folks ignore recommendations and insist on arriving at the pier at 930-10am and then get annoyed when they have to wait to board. We arrived around 1230pm and was on the ship within 25-30 minutes. We walked right on after getting our s&s cards....no line whatsoever. Ship: Loved the new upgrades. Some areas of the ship still really need to be repaired/painted but the 2.0 ares looked amazing. New areas definitely looked a lot more classy/polished than the old parts of the ship. Food: Guys Burgers were great after getting back on board, good burgers/fries and very quick service. Burrito/taco bar was a tasty alternative as well. It is only open for breakfast and lunch. Deli was good as always as was the pizza. MDR was good to very good. Steak house was very good but not as good as I remembered it. Buffet was VERY poor in my opinion. Caribbean stew and jerk chicken were good but found everything else I tried bland and luke-warm at best. Chopstix Asian buffet has some nice spicy offerings. Cabins: As expected, cabin was clean and well-maintained. Steward did a great job as usual. We had an obstructed balcony cabin for the first time but will spend the extra and get regular balcony from now on. Lifeboats made noise and being on deck 5 above dining room area you could smell smoke from below at times. No more obstructed for us. Entertainment: Ships shows were good, I don't get into musicals etc but they were still entertaining. Comedians ranged from very good to horrible. There were 8 different comedians over the 14 days. The final comedian we watched had approx 40 people walk out during his performance because he just simply was not funny. Most were good for a few laughs though. Staff: Amazing. Staff was great! Alchemy Bar bartenders are a must see! Debarkation: We were off the ship with no problems. Apparently there was a long delay right after us so many people were inconvenienced but we got lucky. The Good: New areas look great, addition of the dive-in under the stars was a nice option on such a long cruise, enjoy the band/dj at the main pool but the could change the song selection up a bit more. The Bad: Many people on board were sick, including us. I am amazed when the staff are all pushing the sanitizer on us and promoting safe hand washing etc and I still see men walk out of the washrooms without washing their hands or people coughing in/around the buffet stations etc Who raises these people? The buffet food deserves another mention here. Wow, was it bad. I tried the Asian buffet for the first time ever and glad I did as the rest of the buffet was tasteless and borderline cold. Love spicy food! Passengers: Chair hogs were running wild. We didn't bother with Serenity as it was jammed and those seats that were "empty" were "reserved". Table hogs-This one is new to me but on the last sea day when it was too cold to sit outside we witnessed several groups holding card tournaments in the buffet seating areas while countless numbers of folks walked around carrying their plates looking to sit down and eat. If you want to play cards go somewhere else....maybe the card room? Most people we encountered were great, fun people. What on Earth is with everyone announcing their Platinum/Diamond status to anyone who will listen within earshot? I experienced it on Royal but this group put all others to shame. Loved the Pride and her now options. Have sailed exclusively Spirit Class ships to date so really looking forward to the Dream in January. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We sailed on the 14 night repositioning cruise from Tampa to Baltimore with stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, Bonaire and St Maarten. The ship with the new Funship 2.0 upgrades is well maintained with lots of new ... Read More
We sailed on the 14 night repositioning cruise from Tampa to Baltimore with stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, Bonaire and St Maarten. The ship with the new Funship 2.0 upgrades is well maintained with lots of new additions, apparently done at the end of 2014. The Carnival mobile phone app and hub does not yet work on this ship. Embarkation in Tampa was easy and pretty quick. Debarkation in Baltimore was fine for us, but we heard from others that it took hours and hours! We had late dining and experienced great service from our 3 member team, of note Roy, Tony and Yasa. Food was good to very good but not as good as it was on our last cruise 12 years ago. The addition of the more casual dining stops was new for us (again, it’s been 12 years). My only complaint was their pretty limiting hours. The casual food places (buffet (various short hours stints throughout the day), Guy’s Burgers (noon to 6PM only), Blue Iguana, Pizza Pirate (somewhat short hours), and the Deli (11A-11P) offered good choices. In my opinion, at least Guy’s burgers should be open for those who have late seating and wish to have a burger. Guy’s makes great burgers with great condiments. The Deli made great sandwiches! Kudo’s to Okky who worked in the deli most of the times we were there. Pizza Pirate was only okay, but it usually took a while to get food. Breakfast in the buffet was pretty standard offerings, with lots of choices so you could enjoy something different each day (cereal, yogurt, eggs, toast, bacon, ham, sausage, eggs benedict, pancakes, French toast, waffles, omelets, various fruits, Danish, muffins and other pastries) along with the made to order breakfast burritos from Blue Iguana. Many of the evening activities started way before the diners who had late dining were done with their dinner. PORTS: Grand Cayman: Our group had a pre-arranged, non-Carnival, island tour. Was great! Costa Rica: Our group had two pre-arranged, non-Carnival, tours. First was an island and river tour. Had a great time and learned a lot. Lots of native plants and creatures to see. Second was zip lining. What a great time that was! Worth every bit of the $75. p/p. Panama: Because of the nature of Panama, we took a Carnival tour. We opted for the Kayak and Canal Locks combo tour. This was fantastic. We had a nice bus to transport us. First we kayaked around the canal lake. Yes, you’re gonna get wet on this. Dress appropriately in a swim suit, water shoes and leave valuables like your phone and more, in the chase boat. After this, we took the bus to the canals. What a great site to see! Highly recommended! Aruba: we took a private island tour on a Kukoo bus. Great time! Bonaire: Island tour through a private company. What a beautiful island! St Maarten: Island tour on a boat accompanied with snorkeling in several spots. The staterooms are nice. Room Steward, Winn, was great! The beds are comfortable. AC wasn’t quite adequate enough to keep the room cool to cold, especially at night and also when the sun was against the windowed door. Our room had about a 27” flat panel LED TV. Most of the time the channels worked, but at critical times (like March Madness), we lost reception on some channels. (DirecTV is the ship’s provider.) None of the channels in the room were HD. ESPN is not available in the rooms, but is on in the Casino and Sport Bar (I think they want you down there spending money and not in your room). Refrigerator in the room was okay. We kept our drinks and water in there and took out the bar supplies they had inside to make it a mini-bar. Unless the cabinet door was left open, the refrigerator could not keep up because the heat got stuck inside the cabinet. The ship’s on-board shops have the standard stuff – high priced alcohol that you can’t even use or drink on the ship and the other token stuff. Bar service around the ship was great! The only thing which bugged me was the person vending specialty drinks in the dining room. Everyday something different for some exorbitant price. We had the best service and the nicest people on the Serenity deck bar. We enjoyed this cruise enough that we rebooked for next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We very much looked forward to this cruise and it lived up to our hopes and then took flight! My spouse and I have never taken such a long cruise, and very much looked forward to the 7 days at sea. And 4 of the 6 ports were new for us. ... Read More
We very much looked forward to this cruise and it lived up to our hopes and then took flight! My spouse and I have never taken such a long cruise, and very much looked forward to the 7 days at sea. And 4 of the 6 ports were new for us. We were blessed to travel with two friends that were by nature curious and very smart (ok me and three Librarians from NC, all in 50-65 range) and then the frosting came when we found out 4 weeks out that John Heald (Brand Ambassador for Carnival) would be aboard. Planning- My only planning issue was the Cruise Critic Roll Call. Granted it started over 1 year out and it was a huge list (so big it had to be split 3 months out). I do wish there was some way to limit posts to those about the cruise or ports involved. Often there were pages of entries that never mentioned the cruise. Trip down- We found a rental car the best option. We stayed at Holiday Inn West Shore, enjoyed their restaurant and added a day to see the Florida Aquarium. It was a fun way to start the cruise. Take the cab to the ship, avoid the Hotel shuttle as it costs more and has less room. Boarding- Tampa has a great process. As Platinum VIFP we were on and in our cabin in about 45 minutes. We enjoy watching the shopping square near the ship. They have a slushy store for mixed drinks! Cabin 6151 is a hidden secret. Set back a few feet from the cabins in front of it, the wind is less, and the fun of a balcony is enhanced. Our Steward, Muktika Hary, was a kind, prompt and cheerful young man. Kept us in ice and spruced up digs! Could not ask for better Dining- Of 13 CCL cruises I have had MDR seating issues 2 times. Both involved the Matri'D Ken Burnes (?) I really do not care for him, my problem. We stopped at MDR to point out our issues, and by the 2nd meal we were seated as desired, thanks Jana! Our wait staff were the best ever- our Head Waiter was Milan, wonderful service, humor and yes he danced. His assistants were Putu, Edsel were just as wonderful. An added happy circumstance was that we used the MDR for breakfasts this trip and met Stanimir, another Head waiter, very affable and kind and a friend of Milan. How lucky were we? Food was only average - the two chefs were both from India and they were working on the European menus. Much of the food was very tasty but OMG NEVER call that Pecan Pie, NEVER! for shame, David's Steak house- What a wonderful experience. Exquisite flavors and presentations. SHows- 88 keys was phenomenal, absolutely the very best. Well done CCL Cast. We discovered the trivia games, what fun. We went to several, enjoyed the questions and the Hosts! CD- Jase was probably the best I have seen. Great solo and put him on a stage with the redoubtable Mr Heald and oh my goodness! He takes second seat to no one. Always lively, happy and kind. Hope to shre his boat again Ports- Grand Cayman- Not a favorite from 2 prior visits yet this visit was magical. Now the Lovely Susan has a new high priority port of call Puerto Limon, Costa Rice- We did the Cacao Experience and if you can do it, RUN for it. A quiet drive to the "plantation". Cacao grows in the rain forest and these folks take you from leaf to bud to blossom to processing chocolate. Yup they make it as you watch then you get to dine. We saw monkeys, a crock or caiman. And beautiful forest Colon - Panama the 2 ocean train got cancelled so we went with the ECO Tour- I am so glad we did. We saw the Gaytun locks in operation, then we took a boat on Lake Gaytun. What a Marvel of beauty. We base out of the School of the Americas and then saw Monkeys, crocks and a Momma Sloth with her baby on her tummy Aruba- Closes on Sunday at 1PM. But that was ok We shopped and had fun Bonaire- Great excursion to a hotel for swimming- The water was beautiful and chill enough to be invigorating. Phillipsburg, St Maarten- One of our favorites, always. This time we took the Island tour and it was quite fun. Overall- can't leave without mentioning John Heald's Marriage show. This will make your day and maybe your cruise. John we love you! Best cruise ever Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Best cruise I've been on! Fourteen days was perfect for us. The Pride was making its way back to Baltimore and many of the passengers were from Maryland and wanted to travel on her return home. There were only 40 children onboard ... Read More
Best cruise I've been on! Fourteen days was perfect for us. The Pride was making its way back to Baltimore and many of the passengers were from Maryland and wanted to travel on her return home. There were only 40 children onboard which made the whole ship adult friendly. We were told the average age of cruisers was 62. The only bad part was there was no late night life aboard, the night club open for two days only (the first two days). But the ship was always clean and the staff was very friendly and attentive. We were told by other guests that Carnival not only remodeled the Pride but changed its staff for better service. Both were greatly appreciated! I see that Carnival has scheduled this cruise for 2017. I am hoping I can be on it. Many of the ports it went we had not gone before and would like to revisit. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The Pride has beautiful art throughout the ship. The ship is very easy to get around on. Loved the new additions especially the Blue Iguana. New Dive In was a nice addition. The cruise director and staff were very helpful, polite and ... Read More
The Pride has beautiful art throughout the ship. The ship is very easy to get around on. Loved the new additions especially the Blue Iguana. New Dive In was a nice addition. The cruise director and staff were very helpful, polite and friendly. Had a great 14 days. All our excursions were what we expected. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We live in the Pacific NW and needed to come to Tampa for parathyroid surgery for my wife. Because traveling across country usually is very taxing, we looked to have a relaxing time on a Cruise prior to her surgery. We found this relaxing ... Read More
We live in the Pacific NW and needed to come to Tampa for parathyroid surgery for my wife. Because traveling across country usually is very taxing, we looked to have a relaxing time on a Cruise prior to her surgery. We found this relaxing time on the Norwegian Sun! Pre and post cruise stayed at the Best Western Tampa (S Dale Mabry) next to 24 hr IHOP and grocery! Every thing about this cruise was first rate and went as smooth as humanly possible. From the moment we stepped into the cruise terminal.we were made to feel welcome. We arrived about 1100 and were onboard having lunch by 1145. Our cabin was ready right after lunch and our bags were delivered by 1600. We ate in each of the complimentary dining venues. The food was varied and met our reguirements (I am a vegitarian and my wife has a gluten allergy (Celiac Disease). We were able to always find a selection to satisfy our appitite. Servers were attentive and helpful. We especially enjoyed the relaxed dress code and was a reason we chose Norwegian in the first place. The cruise allowed us to enjoy the time at our pace...to go ashore and be as involved as we wished or to remain onboard and go as slow and restful as we wished. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our 4th T/A, 6th cruise in last 3 years, but the first on Brilliance. The physical ship was in good condition and had all of the expected amenities however, the management of the ship seemed to be far less effective than other ... Read More
This was our 4th T/A, 6th cruise in last 3 years, but the first on Brilliance. The physical ship was in good condition and had all of the expected amenities however, the management of the ship seemed to be far less effective than other Royal Caribbean ships upon which we have sailed. Upon checking into stateroom, we found a dirty adult diaper in the closet and trash in other drawers and cabinets. The stated excuse was that cabin cleaner had completed his contract and left without doing a good job. Found a receipt stating that 16 -1 liter Evian bottles of water had been delivered. They weren't and it took 7 hours and numerous contacts with Guest Relations to find out that there were no 1 liter bottles on board and no one seemed to know what to do. We finally, after much persistence, received 48- 500ml bottles. By the way Guest Relations function seemed to be to let you complain; but do nothing. The MyTime dining was chaotic most nights with some people getting their same tables each night and others having issues getting seated. Having a reservation was not a guarantee of a seat. Lines to re-board after tours were long(up to 1/2 hour to get back on board) as some equipment wasn't functional. listening to the Captain make his pronouncements each day was like listening to a comedian. He certainly did not project any type of positive image.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we were not sure how we would react to all the sea days but things turned out really well. This was our 26th cruise on RCCL and our fourth time on Brilliance. We left Tampa on a Wednesday and we ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we were not sure how we would react to all the sea days but things turned out really well. This was our 26th cruise on RCCL and our fourth time on Brilliance. We left Tampa on a Wednesday and we had a very easy check in experience. We live in Tampa so there is nothing to tell about travel to the ship. Twenty five minutes after we left the house we were in the terminal. About 30% of the passengers were Diamond or higher so the Priority check in was long. The handicap check in was longer as well due to the passenger demographic being so old. That being said, there was no one in line at the overwhelming majority of the regular slots so we whizzed our way through. We received our bags in a timely manner and were unpacked by muster. The only unexpected thing was the soda I brought aboard. In the past it could be checked but now it had to be carried on. No big deal! We sailed right on time and it was 3.5 days at sea until we reached Boston. We had some rain before Boston but the first couple of days we were in Florida waters and it was pool temperatures. By the time we sailed into Boston it was highs in the 50's. The day before we arrived in Boston the captain advised us that there was a bad weather system that was developing at sea and we needed to cut Boston short to miss the worst of it. So we left Boston at 3 PM instead of 7 PM and as we sailed east we made some course adjustments to avoid the worst of the wind and high seas. The crew tied down the deck furniture on the top decks and in public areas they secured things that could impact passenger safety. Everyday the Captain made announcements on the PA and he was part of the CD daily tv broadcast so that we would be informed. As it was, we had some 15 foot seas and some 35 knot winds but for the most part they were from directly behind us so the forward motion of the ship cancelled out most of the effects of the wind.There were a couple of days where the sun was out and people were on Deck 11 and sheltered from the aft wind. So there was some sunning time mid atlantic. We had 6 days at sea after Boston and we participated in the Progressive trivia contest. It was super well attended and there were a lot of good teams. We fielded 3 Cruise Critic teams and had a very good time. My wife went to the art auctions to see what was available as a mid day activity.Just about every day we moved the clocks forward at 11 AM so we had a lost hour and a bunch of 23 hour days. It was good for me because lunch came early and all I had was coffee pre trivia. My wife swears by the Chicken Sliders in the main DR and we also had some Park Cafe roast beef sandwich lunches. The food in the Windjammer was ok but we don't eat there that much. There were some reported cases of the dreaded norovirus and so self service stopped everywhere on the ship. The food in the WJ as well as the plates, silverware, and condiments were all served by crew. The ship staff was non stop disinfecting everything and wiping down all common touch points. You could not walk into a food venue or the Concierge Lounge without a spritz of hand sanitizer. The ships senior officers were more visible during our days on board. We were constantly seeing the hotel director, his second in command, and there was a very nice lunch where we sat with the Head of Safety and the International Ambassador. We also had a lot of interaction with the cruise director due to her leading the progressive trivia. I had an issue about some amenities from my travel agent and that led to a trip to Guest Services. The agent that handled my situation was just great and got things straightened out with Miami. She called me back within 24 hours and it was great service. We had a great cabin attendant who kept the room spotless and brought us ice morning and night. The aft D2 cabin was perfect. We have been in this stateroom or one just beside it on every Radiance class cruise. It has a triple deep balcony that is much better than the ones on the sides. We just love that down the wake view! We also had a very positive experience with our dining choices. I assembled a table of 8 from our Cruise Critic thread and we requested a table location in advance from the MaitreD'. I scouted the DR in December and one of our table mates was on Brilliance about a month before we sailed so he met with the MaitreD' and there you go. No one else was interested in Specialty Dining from our table but another CC couple hooked up with us for Chops, Giovanni's, and the Chefs Table. The food and service were excellent in all three but the Chef's Table was a real indulgence for us. It really was great and we would probably treat ourselves on a future cruise. We truly loved this itinerary and each stop had something of major interest for us. We had a super active CC board with over 4,000 posts and we all shared tours, rides, etc. outside of RCCL transport and excursions. In Cork we went to Blarney Castle and Kinsale, in Cherbourg we had a whole bus of CC people that went to the D Day beaches, Pointe du Hoc, and the US Cemetary. In Brugges we shared a cab from the ship and then we wandered independantly to see the Madona & Child sculpture. Took a canal boat ride, and shopped for Chocolate. When we arrived in Harwich we had also teamed up with other CC members who chartered an 18 passenger bus for a ride into London to our post cruise hotels. It was a 2.5 hour ride an traffic wasn't that bad. The only real negative was clearing British Immigration between Ireland and France. The line was impossibly long due to people not showing up at the right times. We showed up at our time and they made an announcement to come back later due to the log jam. In London we stayed at the St Ermins Hotel in Westminster and it was just the best. It was walking distance to Big Ben, 10 Downing St., Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. It was also right next to a tube station even though we did not use the tube. We spent a day touring the Tower of London and rode the Eye. We saw the rest of LOndon from the HoHo bus. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Just came across a review of this cruise from someone who had problems and I wanted to add a bit of balance. WE HAD A WONDERFUL CRUISE. Although both of us have cruised numerous times with various lines, this was our first (but certainly ... Read More
Just came across a review of this cruise from someone who had problems and I wanted to add a bit of balance. WE HAD A WONDERFUL CRUISE. Although both of us have cruised numerous times with various lines, this was our first (but certainly not last) transatlantic and, I must admit, we are a bit biased, as Royal Caribbean is definitely our favorite way to cruise. With that said, however, we would be hard pressed to find anything about which to complain. Every member of the staff that we met was professional and oh, so, friendly (with a special "well done" to Harry for keeping our room spotless and working around our random schedule) and the ship was clean and well-maintained. "HelloClo" was my first experience with a female cruise director and she was great. Not only was she happy and positive and funny but, watching her make her way around the ship, it was amazing to see how good she was with people. Despite a schedule that would have sent most of us "over the edge", she ALWAYS seemed to take time to visit and answer questions without seeming in a rush. That's a talent! We had traditional style dinner and loved our tablemates and our servers. If there are better waiters/servers than Gabriel and Jeremy, I have yet to meet them. We felt like we were THE most important people in the dining room each and every night. Constantine completely blew away our previous opinion that the maitre d' is useless. We loved his visit to our table each night and are developing a TV reality show entitled "Constantine, the Constant Cruiser" for him! . BTW, while I'm talking about dining, the food was exceptional, especially in respect to variety. It might seem that such a long cruise could lead to a bit of samenes/boredom in the menu but no one at our table ever felt that way. The desserts were particularly tasty and varied. A lot of fun-filled time was spent at Vintages and i must give a "shout out" to Robert and Cosmo who always greeted us with a smile and who made our evening's glass a wine a great time. Loved the ports and loved that they were NOT the big cities the everyone visits. Our only problem, which had nothing to do with Royal Caribbean, came in Cherbourg where we were told by the folks inside the terminal that there was a free shuttle waiting outside to take us into town. We asked outside and never found the shuttle (despite the fact that one of us speaks French). Our dinner tablemates later told us that they had lucked into finding the shuttle which was, in fact, a large bus with absolutely no identification and no one on it.. It's quite a long walk into town and someone on land in Cherbourg needs to get that situation cleared up. Although the nightly shows were good, the real entertainment were the individuals who played in the pub or played piano/sang in the Schooner Bar or played classical guitar in various areas around the ship. Felt as if there was always someone "performing" in one of the common areas to hear and enjoy. Although this review may sound like it, I really don't work for Royal Caribbean and I only own enough stock to qualify for the stockholder benefits...LOL   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We returned from our Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas on May 17th. The boarding process at Tampa was quick and painless. Some passengers had yet to hit vacation mode and were pushy and vulgar. However, the helpfulness ... Read More
We returned from our Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas on May 17th. The boarding process at Tampa was quick and painless. Some passengers had yet to hit vacation mode and were pushy and vulgar. However, the helpfulness the staff more than made up for the annoying people. The ship is very beautiful and well taken care of. For the most part the crew was outstanding, YoClo was a very good Cruise Director, she kept everything lively. Another staff member that really stood out on this cruise, was Michelle, the Casino Host. She took care of all of our needs and was a nice person to visit with when she wasn't busy. The entertainment was the second best we've enjoyed on a cruise. The acts that really stood out, were the "Two Funny Guys", they kept us laughing , Toni Warne, Greg London, and Graffiti Classics (we would love to see this group again, doing a full show, they were absolutely wonderful). They also preformed in the closing show and they were just as good. Our Cabin Attendant, Dave, was wonderful. The room magically cleaned itself while we were gone. We had a couple of issues with the cabin when we first arrived, but David took care of it. We were on the aft of Deck 10, as we were heading east, the sun would heat up our balcony making it very comfortable in the afternoon to sit out and listen to music. However, around 10 p.m. and then again at 7 a.m. we listened to furniture being moved. Fortunately, it didn't last too long, but if you went to bed early or slept in, it was annoying. One of the things we missed were the ice carvings and vegetable floral arrangements at the functions. It could be cost cutting measure. This does sound petty, but the arrangements seemed to add a touch of class. There was a little bit of a health issue while on the cruise, but the crew was very proactive with additional cleaning, serving food in the Windjammer, and numerous notifications and updates of what one needed to do. The only disappointment of this cruise, was the food service. Our wait staff team, started out adequate, and went downhill from there, we're not sure if they were new, hadn't worked together before, just not meant for the job or they had additional tables. Even after talking with the head waiter, service didn't improve. The head waiter assisted at our table, but it still didn't help. If it was just the two of us complaining, it could just be us being too picky, but when most of the table had concerns about the service, we realized it was more than that. We are used to outstanding service in the Main Dining Room, but this time, it fell flat. The evening menu left a lot to be desired. The food was good, but not like what we have experienced before. Also, one of my favorite things was not on the menu, lobster. We were not the only one to ask about this. The specialty restaurants were very good. We enjoyed the Chef's Table the most, with Chops and Portofino's running a close second. We had wanted to try Rita's Cantina but, we could not get service in there. The Park Cafe was another favorite stop. We ate lunch there on most sea days. The Roast Beef on Kimmelweck was outstanding. The salad bar next to it was very good. Plus it was a little easier to find a table on some days. On the morning of disembarkation, we were to be at the theatre at 6:45, so we headed up to the Windjammer at 6 to get a light breakfast. The line was extremely long, and the Windjammer was not open. It did not open until 6:15 and if we would have waited in the line we would have missed our disembarkation time. We ended up not having breakfast that day. With there being so many sea days, they had a "Crew Talent Show". It was great. Jamie "Mississippi Mama"'s, rendition of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" was fabulous. Other than the Main Dining Room issues and the line at the Windjammer on the last morning, all in all, this was a very good cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
After reading the several reviews on this TA, I had to add my humble Opine. We are Diamond Plus on RC and this was our best cruise ever. Too many of us focus on the negative and lose sight of 14 days of service, entertainment, food, fun ... Read More
After reading the several reviews on this TA, I had to add my humble Opine. We are Diamond Plus on RC and this was our best cruise ever. Too many of us focus on the negative and lose sight of 14 days of service, entertainment, food, fun and people interaction. Positive points. Cruise Director and staff - Best in the Fleet, Scheduled activities, food and stateroom service, ports, embark an disembark process, passport return process and the send off in Cobh Irleand, thanks to the cruise director, was a once in a lifetime experience with the town folks, local TV, ladies in their 1912 formal best, High School River Dance group performing and the town band playing, highlighted by Anchors Away as we got underway. All of the guests from the balconies where cheering and clapping and it brought tears to this old Navy veteran. There was a couple of items that could have been better. The host at My Time was overwhelmed with the job, she may have been trying but is wasn't working. After several nights of issues with our group of eight, we had NO reservations. We spoke kindly to the section head waiter and wala, we had the same table and the same time for the rest of the cruise with no check in at the desk. Great service from him, a negative into a positive. On board customs, at sea, for Harwich, was, to say the least was a zoo. The ship scheduled by cabins but the folks just showed up dispite all the announcements. A solution, was to do the same on deck by deck system they used for passport return and this negative would also go away. RC you set the bar high, next TA, Serenade to the Big Easy this Novemeber. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Previously, I sailed with Holland-America, on the Veendam in 1999, and the Volendam in 2001. Fine and impeccable was the service of the day, back then. Unfortunately, the service which previously existed, is alas, no more on the Ryndam. ... Read More
Previously, I sailed with Holland-America, on the Veendam in 1999, and the Volendam in 2001. Fine and impeccable was the service of the day, back then. Unfortunately, the service which previously existed, is alas, no more on the Ryndam. No sooner had my wife and I boarded the Ryndam on Dec. 1, 2013, that I noticed that there was a problem with the diverter valve in the shower. I was unable to get the water in the bathtub, to come out of the showerhead. Hence, I summoned the cabin attendant, who also had a problem with that device. In addition, the water was not properly draining out of the bathtub, as it was clogged. Someone had to have known about that problem, prior to Dec. 1, 2013. In any event, I called their main "service" desk, and reported the problem. One would have thought that both the cabin attendant and the main desk, would have contacted the ship's plumber. In fact, the matter was never addressed, until I again complained on Tuesday. I contacted a ship's officer, and also complained to the main desk, in person. This time, I got some action, as a maintenance person was actually sent to diagnose the problem. Afterwards, two plumbers came, and not only attempted to fix the problem, but also repaired a leaking faucet in the bathtub. However, I still had continuous problems with the diverter valve for the rest of the cruise, although I eventually got the water to come out of the shower head. To make matters worse, the toilet stopped flushing several days later. This time, the matter was expeditiously taken care of, and repairs were rendered. In addition to the maintenance problems, there were problems with the Ryndam's security personnel. Some of them, whom we encountered when we disembarked and embarked at the various ports of call, were the lowest of the lowest, pertaining to professionalism, or the lack thereof. They had no training in dealing with customers who had mobility issues. I saw one of their lowlifes, grab the wrist of an older lady, as she was having issues with walking past their security scanner. Another one screamed at a passenger, who inadvertently left his cell phone in the security area, after he successfully passed through screening. I personally complained to the number two man on the ship (the Hotel Manager), and he straightened the security miscreants out. Unfortunately, when we left the Ryndam in Tampa, on Dec. 8, 2013, there was mass pandemonium regarding the expedited disembarkation. It was extremely disorganized, and some of the Holland-America crew, were shouting at the passengers. Again, it was very unprofessional., and could have been handled better. When we asked for assistance with our luggage, in getting off, the Ryndam refused to help us. However, there were plenty of porters in the Tampa terminal, once we exited the ship. Years ago, Holland-America used to have a master baker on board, and he would bake the most delicious pastries. Then, in the evening, those pastries would be displayed for all of the guests to enjoy. Unfortunately, the Ryndam no longer does that, as the type and variety of pastries, left a lot to be desired. Entertainment-The so-called entertainment on the Ryndam, with one exception, was definitely third rate. Years ago, Holland-America had a number of variety acts, singers, dancers, and comedians, similar to the Ed Sullivan Show. Today, the performers are definitely substandard. In addition, the Ryndam employed a violinist who put me to sleep with boring melodies, every night. Also, the bands in the Crow's Nest, and the Ocean Bar area, were not the greatest. Lifeboat drill- I wasn't impressed with the so-called lifeboat drill. Years ago, on the Veendam and the Volendam, we were required to put our life jackets on before coming to the lifeboat station. And, the life jackets were inspected by the crew, to make sure that they were properly placed on the passengers. Now, it is no longer required. Also, there was confusion at the various lifeboat stations, and the deck crew were rude to the passengers. They wanted the door area cleared, but there was no area, for the passengers to stand, since we were crowded on top of each other. I always wondered how everybody would act, and how efficiently the crew would handle the task in a real emergency. Dining Room- I have to compliment our Waiter, and Assistant Waiter, as they worked very hard, and the food was very good. Unfortunately, it appeared that the personnel in the dining room, have been trimmed, Elevators- The elevator service on the Ryndam was atrocious. Not all of the elevators worked. Also, the elevators were not that large. Unfortunately, there were quite a number of overweight people on the cruise. When they enter an elevator, there is very little room left, for less obese people. I make a point of letting several elevators pass, rather than getting on a crowded one. However, there are some selfish individuals, who will opt to make a crowded elevator even worse, by shoving themselves onto it, instead of waiting for the next one. Type of passengers- There were passengers of all ages, including young children. I noticed two instances which made my blood boil, whereby the parents who should have known better, actually endangered the physical well being of their children. In one case, a young Mother, held her small child, over the top of the railing to show him the ocean! In another case, a young Mother got off the elevator, and failed to notice that her child was standing in the area, where the door closes. The Mother was completely oblivious to the danger that she placed her child in, by not exercising better supervision. Captain of the Ryndam- My hat goes off to Captain Werner Timmars, as he continuously kept us informed of the progress of the Ryndam, pertaining to Longitude, Lattitude, Water Temperature, Air Temperature, speed of the ship, etc. In addition, he was a very personable, and friendly individual. I was not impressed with the Cruise Director Rick Barnes, who seemed to be making excuses for the lack of quality entertainment. Internet Service Manager- I was impressed with that individual, as he assisted me with printing my airline boarding passes, while onboard the Ryndam. Once, I came online, it was very easy to use the computer sevices at sea. Overall, on a scale of 1-100, I'd have to regretfully rate the Ryndam at 72% or a C. The Ryndam is nearly twenty years old, and it should be retired. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Home being Montreal we selected this 12 days repositioning cruise for the convenience of being closer to home when we disembarked in Boston, it also gave us a sixth port of call. One way flight to Tampa and spent the night at the Crowne ... Read More
Home being Montreal we selected this 12 days repositioning cruise for the convenience of being closer to home when we disembarked in Boston, it also gave us a sixth port of call. One way flight to Tampa and spent the night at the Crowne Plaza Tampa-Westshore. The room was spacious, continental breakfast and transit to the ship for $10.00 pp. Embarkation - Arrived at the pier around 10:30 am. Embarkation was easy and fast, we were on the ship by 11:00 am. Coming on board they offer you special deals for the cruise, soft drink card, specialty restaurant package, wine package... after some checking we took the wine package. You pick 8 to 12 bottles for the list they give you for a 20% discount. Keep in mind that you'll have to pay a 15% gratuities charge so you end up with a 5% discount. Ship - NCL Dawn was a pleasant surprise for us. The lay out of the ship makes it easy to get your bearings, the decor is tastefully done especially the Venetian dinning room. The staff were excellent across the board. Anywhere you went they're present and always ready to help with a smile. Sun Deck - Never had to look for a chair on deck. I mean we got up there around 09:30-10:00 am. The service on the decks is ever present but not over bearing. They came by a few times with fruit kebab or a nice cold face cloth. A BBQ at noon every day on deck. Nice spacious pool, as ship goes. Activities - The cruise director was very good we must say as we aren't the type to participate in those games. He was very verbal and entertaining enough that we got up most of the time to go enjoy his play full games most of the time. He also seemed to be every where with his staff. The best we've seen so far after 5 cruises. Buffet - The buffet offered a varied selection every day. It was well presented and tasty every time we lunched or had breakfast there. Above average buffet our compliments to the head chef and staff. Venetian main dinning room - The ship's dinning room is the nicest we've seen so far in 5 cruises. Very stylish and classy, Venetian glass light fixture and Italian art. Leo our waiter was knowledgeable in every aspect of is dining room so much so we requested him every night. Our cruise mates and us enjoy a good table and conversation. Leo never rushed us, he never gave the full order to the kitchen so every plate that came out of there was served almost instantaneously hot and fresh. No waiting around on a counter while you finish your appetizers. Such a good waiter that we asked to be seated in is section 10 days in a row. We sincerely hope to have the pleasure of meeting him on a future cruise with NCL. The food quality was great overall. Again our compliments to the Venetian dinning room head chef and his staff. Cagney's - Steak house specialty restaurant, Cagney's offers a very nice menu. The meat selection is very good. The food was well prepared and tasty. The service was a bit above average. The whole experience was agreeablee but we don't feel $30.00 pp extra is warranted. Le Bistro - French restaurant? Nice decor helped by the fact that there is an original Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir painting on the wall. Food was good, service was attentive but average. The problem with Le Bistro (same thing on the Epic) is that they say it is a French restaurant. So this time I asked ahead how they prepared the Coquille St-Jacques. Good thing I did. The bottom line is if you can't prepare it the French way why bother putting it on the menu. I have no problem with the extra $20.00 pp as long as I get what is advertise. French cuisine is not French-American fusion... Entertainment - We didn't attend any show as we are dining room groupies. But from what we heard from cruise mates they were good if not above. Disembarkation - Any way you do it, self disembarked or with NCL the process was easy and efficient. 20 minutes after being call, purple in our case, 20 minutes later we were on the dock. Repositioning - The itinerary and length is the beauty of a repositioning cruise. When we cruise for 7 days with 3 or 4 port of call when we get home bushed. This cruise with it's 5 port of call and 6 days at sea was perfectly balance for us. A mix of western (Ocho Rios, Jamaica), eastern (St-Maarten and St-Thomas) and southern Caribbean (Curaçao and Aruba) no ordinary itinerary. The price of this cruise made it even more tempting... like having 5 free night on board. We are now looking to next year as me might take this repositioning cruise again. The good news is they will stop in Grand Cayman instead of Ocho Rios. Jamaica is a beautiful island but the people are to aggressive with the tourist Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The ship itself was very nice, a bit on the opulent (like Vegas) style which I thought was very nice but some thought was a little "over the top". Despite some of pre-cruise issues with propulsion system it ran flawlessly and we ... Read More
The ship itself was very nice, a bit on the opulent (like Vegas) style which I thought was very nice but some thought was a little "over the top". Despite some of pre-cruise issues with propulsion system it ran flawlessly and we went through some very high winds (peaking >60mph)for couple of days but ship was amazingly stable. Almost no sense of movement at the worst of it. Ship was clean. Wait staff in main dining room was not very professional generally but there also many that were just delightful and overall we enjoyed these dinners. Our cabin steward was a delight and a wizard with towels for our nightly amusement. The negatives were a noticeably lower quality of night time entertainment, just average food most of the time and very little to choose from in off hours dining. No sushi in open dining at all and only offered one time that I ever saw. Absolutely the worst regular TV, movies and video I've ever had on a ship. This was my first transatlantic (in a cruise ship)so maybe that is common but I got more news while crossing in my own sailboat. Other cons were that communications while on board were quite limited so it was not always easy to know what was going on. Overall we considered it a great value and a wonderful relaxing way to cross the ocean. Beats the hell out of flying and was only a little more expensive!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
we have sailed Carnival many times, Celebration, several times and Royal Caribbean a few times. but we happened upon the best cruise we have ever taken last October when our travel agent from Carnival, Jackie Dyson, mentioned a re-po ... Read More
we have sailed Carnival many times, Celebration, several times and Royal Caribbean a few times. but we happened upon the best cruise we have ever taken last October when our travel agent from Carnival, Jackie Dyson, mentioned a re-po cruise. We had certainly heard of re-positioning cruises, but never seemed to get enough info about them to set one up. this time we were in luck. we decided on Carnival again and the cruise was from Tampa, Florida to Barcelona, Spain. 16 days, 8 ports and what we thought would be a whirl wind of fun. we always get an inside cabin and in this case the inside cabin on this cruise turned out to cost about $100 more than we had been paying for the same cabin on our 7 day Caribbean cruises. this was hard to believe, but true. we had never been on the Legend before, but what a pleasant surprise when we embarked at Tampa. The embarkation process was fast and easy as it usually is on Carnival Cruises. the ship was magnificent. the decor was that of many legends, both of man and fable. there was a bar designed around the life of Billie Holiday, one around Satchmo (the legendary, Louis Armstrong) the Lido deck walls are covered with the legend of Hercules, all the walls on all the decks have fabled legends depicted on them. on a previous cruise on the Dream we had come across a change in the menu in the dining room. it wasn't obvious to first time cruisers but to those of us who had cruised many times before, it was significant. they had eliminated several of the more expensive items, like escargot and the lobster tails were slipper tails not the normal larger ones. so when we arrived at our appointed table for our first dinner on the Legend, we didn't know what to expect. we were pleasantly surprised night after night. the food was presented beautifully, served by a great wait staff and all of our favorites had been returned to the menu. the dining experience was exceptional. the professional Broadway-like shows, we really enjoyed and they had several different ones. there were also various variety shows in the main auditorium. a magician, a few individual singer shows and more. all in all a great way to end your evening. we attended various seminars given on the ship on traveling, shopping, gems and others too. enjoyed the champagne art auctions, bingo, karaoke, dancing lessons and more kept us busy every day. we didn't go into the pool much, although it looked inviting, because the weather wasn't conducive but we did spend quite a bit of time on the Lido deck enjoying the food and the sunshine and the company of our fellow cruisers. we met Keith the piano player/singer, at Billy's Bar, one morning on the Lido deck where we were having breakfast, and soon we became frequent visitors at Billy's. we met the regulars and soon became part of the gang and sang along with them far into many a night. you can keep as busy or as stay as quiet as you like. days reading or listening to music in any of the common areas of the ship are at your beck and call or keeping busy by going to any or all of the possibilities listed in the ships daily newsletter. sixteen days- exciting, wonderful ports, get days at sea, a really spectacular vacation. we did not disembark in Barcelona, Spain with the other passengers, but our baggage remain on board for our return to the ship to continue on with our second cruise to through the Mediterranean. after spending the day in Barcelona we returned to the Legend and found our baggage had been moved to our new room and the entire re-embarkation process was done smoothly and quickly. we plan on taking this re-positioning cruise again and again and using all the knowledge that our fellow cruisers had imparted to us to make the next cruises even better.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The Ryndam carried us on our first trans Atlantic cruise. We had smooth sailing, wonderful service and food. We enjoyed all of the ports, especially Barcelona. But, the one thing I'd really rave about is their five new shows. They are ... Read More
The Ryndam carried us on our first trans Atlantic cruise. We had smooth sailing, wonderful service and food. We enjoyed all of the ports, especially Barcelona. But, the one thing I'd really rave about is their five new shows. They are Broadway-quality shows with exquisite costumes, professionally choreographed dancing, fabulous music, varied and gorgeous sets. One of the shows even showcased an aerial performance. Three of the shows won national awards in their category. So, if you're sailing on the Ryndam and also the Nordam, be sure to attend these phenomenal new shows--they aren't the usual fair of quaint singing and dancing! As of right now, these shows are being scaled to be reproduced on several of HAL's smaller ships too. So, be watching for fantastic new shows on HAL! (How do I know? Our son is the set designer. We went on this long cruise so we'd be sure to see all 5 of the shows!) Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The facilities at Tampa port are not up-to-date. It took quite a while until a porter showed up to collect the luggage. The waiting area plus luggage facilities before entering the cruise terminal in Tampa are way too small. The ship ... Read More
The facilities at Tampa port are not up-to-date. It took quite a while until a porter showed up to collect the luggage. The waiting area plus luggage facilities before entering the cruise terminal in Tampa are way too small. The ship itself is of a nice interior, partly quite stylish (e.g. Mix Bar). But the overall cleanliness of ship is quite a desaster. The Lido is really filthy. We were quite shocked to see that the waiters would just drop leftover food on the floor instead of wiping it onto a tray or something. So for sure following guests stepped on the food on the floor and everything was quite bad. The curtains in the Lido were full of stains - it nearly looked like a design but it was dirt and it wasn't dirt from only a couple of days. Dropped food in front of the Lido food stalls remained there for hours before they were removed. You really weren't sure if all this was due to lack of crew (is HAL cutting down on personnel?) or is it pure carelessness of the responsible crew working in the Lido? The supervisors in the Lido were present but they did not seem to care. One day we even saw on of the supervisors in the Lido inspecting his chest through his shirt and the pressing out a pimple - really disgusting when next to it you sit and eat!!! The supervisor only once was really attentive. That was when a three-striped officer came to visit the Lido and there the supervisor told the cooks (and we stood next to him and heard it): "Big boss is coming - put out more food". We looked at each other and thought 'ah, this is how it works'. Because the food in the Lido is pretty meager. Very little desserts and little to choose from. The newest thing is to put desserts on small plates so you only choose little. HAL does not offer large plates or trays in the Lido to pick for yourself. So our impression was that only offering small plates leaves passengers with little portions. But this for the passenger is really annyoing as you have to get different plates which means more ways until you finally have your breakfast together. And the you have to walk back to get your coffee. Speaking of meal times. Don't even try to sleep in. HAL decides for you when to eat. Breakfast is only until 1000 am, a "continental breakfast" until 1030 am. But the continental breakfast has little options to choose from. Funnily enough on port days breakfast is until 1030 am and continental breakfast until 1100 am. Where is the logic in that? Breakfast is offered longer when everyone is off board? So if you decide to sleep until 1000 am and get ready there is no food for you until lunch starts at 1130 am. Really nice that you get up and don't get breakfast and then the only choice to eat is pasta or mongolian beef. Here HAL can learn from Princess cruises how proper meal times work. Meal quality is ok in the Lido but better in the dining room. But at dinner the appetizer are so incredibly small that you think they must have made a joke. Really tiny. Let me get back to hygiene on board. All of a sudden right after leaving Tampa there was a dove/pidgeon on deck. As all of us know doves/pidgeons are heavy bacteria transmitters. So my thought was that the crew must get rid of the dove/pidgeon right away as the Ryndam has a bad history of Noro virus outbreak on board. No - they didn't do a thing. Deck 11 (Lido) as well as deck 10 were full of dove/pidgeon faeces (poo). Very disgusting. Some times the dove would even walk in the Lido were the crew grabbed it und carried it out back on deck. Then back in the Lido working with food. I finally complained because you really had to look on deck where you could walk not to step in the poo. You know what they said? "it won't leave the ship". The captain adressed it in his daily announcement and even gave him a name. He laughed about it. And the deck got dirtier and dirtier. I finally told them that I would inform the CDC in Atlanta about it as is really was so disgusting. The port of Ponta Delgada/Acores is nice. Pretty small town Portugal. Easy and cosy. Cadiz/Spain is always nice and a train ride to Seville is done with complications on your own. Motril/Spain is another story. The ship docks way out of town. You have to take a shuttle bus for USD 10 p.p. This was supposed to leave at 9 am. It just wouldn't. We asked when the bus would leave and they said "when the bus is full" which is ridiculous for a shuttle service. The shuttle was accompanied by a very rude Romanian girl who did not care at all about the passengers. We speak Spanish so we heard her talk about bad about the passengers to the bus driver (e.g. "stupid old people" and things like that). The shuttle then stops somewhere in the utterly uninteresting city of Motril. If you choose to go to Granada on your own you then were forced to walk up a hill for some 20 minutes to get to the bus station. So if you are in Motril and want to go to Granada on your own you better take a taxi from the ship which is cheaper than USD 10 p.p. anyway. Palma de Mallorca is ok but quite full with tourists anyhow so the place gets packed when a cruise ship is in. Plus: lots of pick-pockets! Watch out. Departure in Barcelona was easy - there you see the advantage of a smaller ship. All in all: an average experience - next time definetly again Princess cruises! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We booked this cruise because we had fallen in love with the ship and the crew on our fall trans-Atlantic cruise on this ship. We wanted to come back to the Ryndam and whoever said 'you can't go back' was very wrong. This ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we had fallen in love with the ship and the crew on our fall trans-Atlantic cruise on this ship. We wanted to come back to the Ryndam and whoever said 'you can't go back' was very wrong. This cruise was even better than the first time. FLIGHT To start our holiday we flew with WestJet from Moncton to Tampa - a good flight. Comfortable seats and excellent in flight staff. HOTEL We were booked into the Riverwalk Sheraton and found the hotel comfortable and its restaurant to have good food as we ate there for the two days we stayed. We had a room with a balcony overlooking the river and spent time watching the activity on the river. The downside of the hotel occurred after we had left on our cruise. We had been warned here on cruise critic about crooks who used equipment to scan charge cards and passports that have embedded technology. Before we left home we purchased covers to protect our charge cards and passports. When we arrived at the hotel to check-in (our room was already paid) we were asked for a charge card to cover incidentals - which is normal procedure. When my husband's card was scanned he was told 'it was not working'. He then pulled out a back up card which is never used but after he pulled it out he was told his original cards was now fine and working. This was the only time and place this backup card was brought out. Internet is never good in the middle of the Atlantic and we did not bother to try checking our bank information until about two weeks after sailing - because we were not using our cards. It was a shock to see that almost $1000 had been run up on my husband's back up charge card - after we had left the hotel and embarked on the ship! These charges were in Tampa and other locations in Florida. My husband immediately contacted his charge company and that card was cancelled and the charges reversed. I hope the businesses that lost money track down the thief or thieves and charge them. EMBARKATION We took a taxi to the ship around 11:00 a.m. and our luggage was promptly taken and we were only waiting a short time before having our photo taken and our cabin keycard issued. We went to our cabin - dropped off our carry on cases, put our money and passports in our safe and headed off to the Rotterdam dining room for the 'welcome back luncheon'. We went back to our cabin after lunch and the first of our suitcases was already there and by the time we had it unpacked, the other cases had arrived. Absolutely excellent service. THE CREW We were delighted to find we had the same Captain, Werner Timmers, and the same Hotel Director, Simon de Boer on this cruise. The captain has a great sense of humour and is very personable and visible to the passengers. Simon has become a friend of myself and my husband - who appreciate both his kindness and his teasing. He is the heart and soul of the ship. We were delighted to find a lot of the crew we had met in the fall were still on board and very pleased that they remembered us too. ENVIRONMENT The Ryndam is a small ship (approximately 1200 passengers and 500 crew members). It is also an older ship that has recently had a refit and new carpets were visible in many locations. It is extremely well maintained. We found the ship very clean - and the first three days after each embarkation (we were on for 3 back to back cruises) the cleaning was constant and repeated over and over again to ensure that embarking passengers were not bringing illness aboard. There were middle of the night checks (while passengers were sleeping) by crew to test for any bacteria. These were the healthiest cruises we have ever been on as a result of the hard work of the crew. I saw an earlier review that stated otherwise. As far as I am concerned (and others in our ship roll-call who saw the review agree)it was a pack of lies by someone hiding behind a handle who was not willing to sign their name to their review. I am more that willing to state my name and give an honest review of our cruises. When one is in a port of call - the ship is open to the elements - flies or birds can come on board temporarily on Lido deck - but these do not remain there. I never saw the Lido deck other than clean. FOOD The food on the Ryndam is excellent whether one is in the Rotterdam dining room or the Lido cafeteria. There is terrific variety in the menus and in 34 days we were never bored with the food and could eat something different every dinner - never repeating ourselves unless we wanted to do so. The quality and freshness were excellent, we were especially delighted with the wide variety of sugar-free desserts available to my diabetic husband. We have never found this variety on any other ship or cruise line. We were amazed by the number of specialty regional meals, deck barbeques, chocolate evenings and other offerings in addition to all the regular dining choices. Even more impressive was the sizing of the meals and variety of healthy options so that one could enjoy all the wonderful meals without gaining a lot of weight. The first two days after embarkations - the Lido was not self-serve - to prevent any health issues. It means more work for the crew but certainly paid off in having a healthy ship with healthy passengers and crew. I owe a special thank you to Avinash - one of the excellent chefs on board - for sharing recipes of some of our favourite dishes. WINE STEWARDS and BAR SERVICES In the past we have opted for open dining. This time we switched to traditional dining simply because our favourite wine steward was working in the traditional part of the dining room. Roy Nunga is an absolute gem. We arrived for dinner and the first thing he said was 'I have some of that Moscata wine you liked, Stephanie'. This was 6 months after we had last seen him but he remembered us and what we enjoy drinking. My husband loves red wines and Roy suggested different ones that Dave might like and he never disappointed. In all honesty - I probably drank more wine in that 34 days than I drank in the last year - simply because Roy was so adept at finding wines I would enjoy. Roy and our waiters Rudy and Yohannes definitely added to our dining pleasure - anticipating our wishes and just being nice friendly people. In the bars - we found the staff to be always friendly and helpful - even if just looking for a glass of ice water rather than a cocktail. STATEROOM We picked cabin 359 again as we had that cabin on our fall trans-Atlantic cruise. This cabin is on deck 6 and is an inside cabin. We joke that we have the largest balcony on board as we just leave our cabin - walk a few steps and are out on the deck to stroll around the ship or sit in one of the many lounge chairs to read. We also picked that cabin because it is just a short walk to the atrium. The Sjoelen (Dutch shuffleboard) games are there and we both became quite addicted to them on the previous cruise. Our cabin was comfortable (beds and pillows are excellent, there is more storage area than we could actually fill. We had three suitcases with us as well as carry-on luggage and there was still free space when everything was unpacked. Our cabin stewards Johar and Ronald for the first 16 days and Ronald and Wayan for the second 16 days did a marvellous job of keeping the cabin neat and tidy and still found time to refill fruit bowls and make towel animals every evening. We are big people and found we had sufficient room in our cabin to be comfortable - even with the addition of a fridge (for Dave's insulin) and a fan (I have temperature problems) for me. The laundromat is just down the hall and the location of our cabin is quiet - who could ask for more? ENTERTAINMENT We were definitely spoiled for choice on ship. The Cruise Directors (Eric for the T/A and Kieron for the European cruises)were both excellent and their staff was very hard working. There were port lectures and other lectures of interest. There were cooking demonstrations and entertaining tips and hints. There were our much enjoyed trivia contests and there were loads of games and activities. I don't think we have ever been as active on any cruise in the past as we were on this cruise. We played Baggo, and Golf putting and entered Sjoelen tournaments. There were dozens of active choices available. I don't know when some of the entertainment staff (of Location staff as they are now calling it) ever get to sleep as there were things to do from early in the morning until evening. The library on board is excellent and we read more than a dozen books while on this cruise. There are a variety of games available at the library - really something for everyone. As well one could borrow Ipods and do a self guided tour of the ship and its artwork - something we have done in the past. There were computer courses available as well as computers and internet time for the folks who like to keep in touch with home and friends while cruising. There was a variety of music around the ship ranging from a fabulous violinist and piano duo who entertained in the Explorer lounge, a guitarist/singer who entertained in the Mix, a dance group who played in the Ocean bar for those of us who love traditional and ballroom dancing, a group in the Crow's Nest who played for the younger crowd, a pianist/singer who entertained in the evenings and of course DJ music in the Crow's nest too. There were some wonderful guest entertainers in the showroom, ranging from magicians, jugglers, impressionists, musicians and singers. Some of our favourites were Stringfever - 4 English guitarists; Al Brown -singer/entertainer; Zambara (a local cultural show that came on at Palma de Mallorca);Shirley Domingues - a harpist; and Penny Mathisen a singer with a gorgeous voice. The production entertainers - the singers and dancers of the Ryndam - were fantastic. There are all new production shows on board and they are not to be missed. They are some of the most unique and outstanding shows I have ever seen - as good as anything on Broadway or the West End. The four singers all have lovely voices on their own but also harmonize beautifully. The shows are all new - adding video to the productions and absolutely fantastic costumes. I have never seen as many costume changes as in these shows and all of them have played to enthusiastic audiences. In the past I used to get bored with some production shows but these are new and innovative and exciting - do not miss them ! A big thumbs up to the Ryndam orchestra too. They did a great job - working with so many different guest performers - with a wide variety of music and had a great sound. SERVICE I have read a negative review of the service on board and I am here to say - it is not true. We had fabulous service everywhere on ship. Our cabin stewards were wonderful and very accommodating and our cabin was always in excellent condition. Our dining room waiter Rudy and his assistant Yohannes were terrific. They made sure there was always brown bread or rolls on our table (white is not good for diabetics) and they were efficient, accurate and more importantly - were fun. Holland America staff is well trained - but they are also people and we enjoy talking, teasing and having fun with them. We talk to everyone and we were treated like guests - not just customers - and there is a big difference in that. We felt welcomed, wanted and we were definitely pampered. I've mentioned Roy, our wine steward, before. He added to our pleasure at dinner time with the wines and the conversation. My white wine was always chilled and waiting for me and Dave's red wines were ready for him and Roy had suggestions for the next bottles as these ones emptied. He never disappointed because he provided wines that we enjoyed, in a price range we could afford. The 'Maitre d's' welcomed us and other waiters and staff that were looking after other tables always spoke to us as well. The gentleman with the ginger and mints as we left the dining room knew what we liked and it was ready for us when he saw us coming. There might be 1200 guests on the ship - but we were always made to feel special. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido most of the time and the staff there was wonderful too. It is self serve but it was hard to do that there as someone would say - I'll get your tea or let me carry your plate for you. People were so helpful. We would have staff come to the table and say - can I get your coffee for you - and have to say No thanks - some one else is already doing that. We were well and truly spoiled. The ladies and gentlemen in the serving lines got to know us and what we liked and I must admit I ate more turkey bacon than I would have at home as Trishna really spoiled me at breakfast. Staff met us at entrances with sanitizing liquid - even though self serve machines were there - and we stayed healthy - as did the other guests on board. We saw other staff from housekeeping working hard keeping the ship clean and the public bathrooms spotless. I have never seen as much constant cleaning and polishing on a ship as on this ship - and it was beautiful. The front desk was awesome. It was a delight to see staff I had met before on other cruises and I especially appreciated their patience with me as I must have de-magnetized my keycard about 8 times on this cruise. Between my magnetic bracelet and having the camera get close to my key card -- I must have been there at least once a week to get a replacement card. I owe a special thanks to Angelo who was there for the T/A part of our cruise. We started our cruise as two star mariners but would have enough to become 3 stars after the first week. Our agent had told us the star change would probably not happen until after the second cruise and the information on it said about 10 days after it ended -- but Angelo contacted the Mariner section of HAL and we were awarded our 3 stars after the first part of our cruises. Now we are working to get up to 4 stars. I really appreciated his efforts for us. As well, when we discovered the charges that had been run up on my husband's card - the staff at reception immediately called through to the charge company for him so he could get this situation corrected. The photography department on ship was much appreciated. Because my husband and I have been on a lot of cruises in the last 7 and a half years -- we have dozens of photos. Both of us really do not want more until we slim down. No thank you was accepted politely without people pushing us to have photos. We have been on ships where staff was really pushy -- not here. They were very pleasant. I only visited the Spa once. I had an excellent massage and later stopped by for a minute to purchase a spa product. Usually I visit more often but this trip we seemed to be always doing something and I was so totally relaxed on this cruise that I did not feel a need to de-stress in the spa. Housekeeping was really efficient in more ways than one. One day I was doing laundry and one of the machines was not working. In less than a half hour -- people were checking on it and it was immediately repaired. I wish we had repair people like that at home -- where one can wait for a week for a service man to come and fix something. They really kept on top of things on the cruise -- any problem was quickly looked after. PORTS OF CALL I have said earlier that the ship was the destination and holiday for us -- the ports of call were just icing on the cake. We had 19 ports of call between Tampa and Dover. We visited some of them but not all of them as we had been to many of them quite a few times in the past. I will comment under that section about the ports we visited. DISEMBARKATION British immigration boarded the ship in A Coruna and processed all the passengers before we reached Dover. This was quick and efficient and better still -- saved long line ups and delays when we left the ship. Disembarkation was well organized. We opted to leave at the earliest possible time and said our good-byes and walked off to get our luggage and then board a bus. We had booked a tour with 'International Friends' which was a day long tour. We went first to Canterbury and spent several hours there and then continued on to lovely Leeds Castle for a three hour visit there. After that it was on to London where we were taken to our assorted hotels and to the airport for those flying home that evening. We were at our hotel by 6 in the evening and would highly recommend this tour as an excellent way to get from Dover to London. SUMMARY This cruise was a holiday and a celebration for us. We had my birthday, Dave's birthday and our anniversary in a 9 day period in April. They were very special occasions -- because of Simon de Boer -- and gave us memories we will always treasure. We were certainly spoiled beyond anything we have experienced in the past and in all honesty, hated to leave the ship when we reached the end of our voyages. It was without doubt the best cruise we have ever experienced and I say that after nearly 400 nights on ships in the last 8 years. We have never had a bad cruise -- some better than others- but at the end of them we were ready to come back home. This time we would happily have stayed on for another 34 nights if it had been possible. I fully believe that the cruise was wonderful because of the Hotel Director Simon de Boer and his wonderful staff. Attitude comes down from the top. Simon's standards are passed down and the staff we met and the experiences we had on ship were all outstanding. We look forward to an opportunity to cruise with him again. The highest rating it is possible to award here is 5+ stars. If there was a higher rating -- I would be giving it. Stephanie Chazalon ( Steph'n'Dave) Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
It was great to get back to the Ryndam after a somewhat diappointing cruise on the Niew Amsterdam. The Ryndam reminded me why I like HAL so much - the service was simply outstanding. What a wonder group of people! The Niew AMsterdam is ... Read More
It was great to get back to the Ryndam after a somewhat diappointing cruise on the Niew Amsterdam. The Ryndam reminded me why I like HAL so much - the service was simply outstanding. What a wonder group of people! The Niew AMsterdam is just too large to provide the individual touch that I experienced on the Ryndam. Food also was a bit iffy on the NA but was outstanding on the Ryndam. I retired last summer and my yougner wife is still working. I've always wanted to try a longer cruise (seven days is our typical one) and a TransAtlantic, and my wife is interested in neither. It's hard to beat the price, even for a single, on a repositioning crusie. So off I went. After booking an inside on the lower prom deck, I was upgraded to an obstructed view outside on the same deck. Early cruises have all been in cabins with verandas so I thought I would miss it. but I still had quick access to the promanade deck. And, the weather generally was not conducive to being outside so the veranda wouldn't have gotten much use anyway. I made my own air arrangements. After a $20, 20 minute cab ride I was checked in at 11:30. Boarding started at noon. I was in group 8 and in my cabin by 12:20pm. I was able to carry my bags so can't comment on luggage delivery times. Although I am a three star Mariner (four after this trip?) I went to Lido for lunch. There were no lines (as was the case the entire 15 days) and the food selection, quality, temperature, etc. was great. I had requested fixed seating for dining at a large table. They had placed me with six other singles and that worked out just fine. We all "bonded" quickly and I enjoyed dinner for the duration of the cruise. There were daily singles get togethers scheduled that were reasonably well attended. We sailed from Tampa to Bermuda arriving on day five. Weather had been warm and seas very calm. I thoroughly enjoyed a visit on my own to the excellent Bermuda History Museum in the Dockyards at King's Wharf. Leaving Bermuda, the seas and wind picked up considerably and temperature dropped a bit each day. We had 20 foot seas and 30-40 knot winds. The ship was rocking and rolling, but not enough to curtail any activities as far as I could tell. The rolling did create a problem. My cabin (forward port side) was right under a space used for emergency exits from the showroom. There was a door at the top of the space going up to the outside that kept springing open. Then as the ship rolled the door would bang against the adjacent metal wall. This kept me up for two nights until they installed a rubber door stop and worked on the latch to keep the door closed. The front office staff handled this with great concern and care. They offered to move me to an mid-ship outside on a lower deck (declined - I liked where I was) and to my great surprise provided a $75 credit to my account on the last day of the cruise as compensation for the experience. After Bermuda, there were seven full days at sea. Would I get bored? Absolutely not! There were two excellent lecture series: one by a meteorologist specializing in cyclones, tornados, waterspouts and hurricane; and, an astronomer with great lectures on the stars and planets. I also attended all the cooking demonstrations in the excellent Culinary Arts Center, Sydney, the onboard Party Planner, made these great fun and enlisted the Captain, Executive Chef, and Cruise Director to provide some variety along with the culinary chef, Andie. The movie selections were also great -- including "The Artist." Music was also varied and outstanding: a string quartet made up of four young ladies from Romania; a jazz pianist/singer with a trio in the Ocean bar each night; a popular pianist/singer in Mix and a folk/country guitarist/singer early in the evening in Mix. There were also various fun themed events. For example, we sailed directly over the Titanic's resting place exactly one week before the 100th anniversary of her sinking. The precise time overhead was 1 AM in the morning. Captain Timmers canvassed for volunteers to gather in the Crow's Nest starting at midnight to form a special "Iceberg Lookout Watch Team." And all in attendance received formal certificates marking the event. (This was all tongue in cheek -- the icebergs now are all well mapped and tracked!) So the sea days were relaxing, but busy. I found myself unable to fit in all the events I wanted to attend. In fact I was usually exhausted and went to bed soon after dinner. So I did not attend any of the nightly entertainment events in the Showroom. I did hear lots of favorable comments about the shows. During the crossing, I focused on food attending La Cirque Night in the Pinnacle Grill; the Cellar Master's six course meal with special wine pairings, also in the Pinnacle; and "Dine with Chef." Here the Executive Chef prepares a seven course meal in front of 12 guests seated around the counter in the Culinary Arts Center. Again, each course was paired with a special wine. After this dinner I got an email announcing the arrival of my second grandchild, an 8 lb 7 oz girl. She was born during the entree course and joins her three year old brother. Meals in the Main Dining Room were also excellent with varied menus, fast efficient service and cold items were cold, and hot items were hot. I lunched most days in the Lido. Again selection was very broad. Any occasional line cleared quickly. Food was hot (or cold if it was supposed to be) and there was never an issue with seating. By the seventh day of the crossing, weather was in the forty's but winds had calmed somewhat as we reached our second port, St. Malo in Brittany, France. I had booked the ship sponsored tour to Mont St. Michele. This is truly a spectacular, unique place and was clearly the highlight of the cruise. The next day we were in Cherbourg. The terminal here is the Art Deco building -- the last on visited by the Titanic. There is an outstanding maritime museum adjacent to the terminal. I visited this in the morning before leaving after lunch on the ship's tour to Utah Beach and St. Marie Eglise. Although the scenery could not match Mont St. Michele, the tour was quite good. Then we were onto Zeebrugge, Belgium with options for several tours in Bruges and Brussels. Here I had booked a beer tasting tour through the ship. Unfortunately not enough people signed up and the tour was cancelled. This was probably for the best. As we arrived the temperature was forty degrees, the wind was 40 mph and it was raining. I did not have the right clothes to deal with this weather. So I cancelled plans to venture into Bruges on my own and spent a quiet day on the ship. Arrival in Rotterdam was right on time. Disembarkation was well managed and uneventful. I am a bit surprised about the comments saying the Ryndam is showing her age. If one looks hard, there a few spots where metal is marred or wood is worn. But I saw no worn carpeting and the ship was very clean and orderly. (In fact, the carpeting in the Caneletto was replaced one evening while we were at sea.) Again, after the abundance of brash plastic on the Niew Amsterdam it was nice to see the mellow wood finishes that dominate on the Ryndam. My flight from Amsterdam was too early to try and leave the same day. A retired business colleague lives in the city and took me around the harbor and Rotterdam. It is a beautiful city and I was glad to finally see more of it than just a conference room on many earlier business visits there in the past. He dropped me at the Central Station in Rotterdam where I caught the high speed train directly to Schipol airport. After spending the night there at the Hilton I flew back to Washington, DC to visit a lovely new granddaughter. My only negative was expensive, slow, spotty internet service. Although it gets better each time I cruise, it still has a long ways to go. I didn't realize how much I relied on access to the internet. Although I would love to do more long cruises, I probably won't until service improves and pricing is reasonable Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We prefer HAL and were new to the Ryndam, chose this cruise because we wanted to be in England early May. I would not choose the spa room category again, thought it was a waste of money, a water feature took up a lot of space and splashed ... Read More
We prefer HAL and were new to the Ryndam, chose this cruise because we wanted to be in England early May. I would not choose the spa room category again, thought it was a waste of money, a water feature took up a lot of space and splashed our "stuff" on the desk area. We normally go for verandah but this ship goes from ocean view to suite category and a huge price difference. Our 21 day voyage began with a stop in the Bahamas and then off to Madeira we thought. To miss a bad storm we headed south of the Canary Islands and up the inside passage, well worth missing Funchal, we were a small ship,been in storms. Canary's were amazing, Lanzarotte, our second stop was volcanic and was like a moonscape, we will return. Perhaps same time next year. The ports of Cadiz, Spain, Lisbon, Portugal, St Malo and Cherbourge, France and Zeebrugge, Belgium were very special too. We took ships tour in Cadiz, to Jerez de la Fronterra, mainly because it was Eater Sunday and the city was closed-up. Lisbon we had toured previously so we chose to walk to the Fortress. Vigo is Vigo, we had toured there before, spent our time window shopping. St Malo is a walled city with lots of charm, tendered out here and again walked the walls. Seeped in history. Belgium is almost perfection, having toured Bruges, we chose a ship's tour to Ghent, included a canal tour, brilliant educated guides, perhaps best ever. Embarkation and Dover disembarkation ran very smoothly, Sunday morning, May 1 after the Royal Wedding weekend, we were in Heathrow before 10 a.m. for the flight home. Of course it's a very short run across the Channel from Belgium. This was our 4th transatlantic, last year on Norwegian Sun and on the inaugural Noordam voyage to Rome. In 1967 we were on the old Constitution to Gibralter in a hurricane, navy duty station transfer, it took a lot of courage to get back on a ship but it has been well worth the effort. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click