8 Tampa Spa Cruise Reviews

This was my 7th cruise and we only had a couple of problems that need to be addressed. #1 the manager of the Internet was not Customer Service friendly, he was very short when my sister asked questions about the internet being so slow. He ... Read More
This was my 7th cruise and we only had a couple of problems that need to be addressed. #1 the manager of the Internet was not Customer Service friendly, he was very short when my sister asked questions about the internet being so slow. He never smiled and seemed not happy with his position. We have never had someone from the staff be so unfriendly. #2 we had two water leaks in our room which NCL did take care of, but we had to stay in the room for two days while the leak was repaired and the air blowers dried the carpet out. We did get strawberries and a bottle of wine, but we talked to other cruise members and said that we should have either been moved to another room or $compensated for this inconvenience. Otherwise we had an enjoyable time on the Sun and 99% of the staff were friendly and could not do enough for us. We did opt in on the ultimate dining plan which was good. Cagney's got our top review for food and wait staff with Le Bistro coming in second the others we could do without. At Roatan the excursion we took to Maya Keys was awesome. They served Sea Bass which was the best we have ever had and that is a compliment coming from 2 New England ladies that know what Sea Bass should taste like. The island was the best and I would recommend this excursion. Can't wait for our next cruise with NCL! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I have sailed Carnival on a few occasions. The following is what to expect on the Paradise. Embarkation: Tampa has valet parking. A nice option we took advantage of for $20.00 more. We were in the grand suite so we had priority boarding. ... Read More
I have sailed Carnival on a few occasions. The following is what to expect on the Paradise. Embarkation: Tampa has valet parking. A nice option we took advantage of for $20.00 more. We were in the grand suite so we had priority boarding. Very smooth boarding, but I did miss not having a steward escort us to our room. We were on our own to find it. It was a lovely cabin with a leather sectional sofa, additional club chairs, large dressing/makeup area, nice size walk in closet and bathroom. I did not like that they automatically put the tip for cabin steward, waiters/waitresses on the bill. We are generous tippers and the service was much better before they started doing this. Now they are a bit lacking in the service dept. The ship is showing it's age. We expected that, but not as much maintenance going on in ports as there used to be. The ship is slightly inconvenient getting from deck to deck. Watch the prices for jewelry in the onboard gift shop. You can do much better at a port, however you must haggle.The food: We are not big eaters. The Lido deck buffet was not good with the exception of the Mongolian Grill which we ate at once during embarkation. The rest we ate in the dining room. I would rate the food good, not great. The warm melting cake varied every night from fair to excellent. No other dessert was anything to rave about. No more midnight buffets. We never ate at them anyway so we didn't miss it. A bathing suit from a previous guest was found behind the shower curtain. We had been showering in there for 3 days prior to the discovery. The spa was fabulous! My husband had his teeth whitened and I had a keratin hair treatment, cut and blowout. Purchase the products to take home to maintain the beautiful hair! The truly are great. Disembarkation is quick and easy or laid back and easy. Your choice. All in all we had a wonderful time spending time together. We always cruise in suites and it's back to Celebrity Cruise Lines for us. Carnival is about fun, Celebrity is about luxury.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Very nice cruise. Had good weather and the seas were mostly calm. Everyone I spoke with on the ship liked the port of Roatan, Honduras the best. We always enjoy 'freestyle cruising' as we can dine wherever and whenever we ... Read More
Very nice cruise. Had good weather and the seas were mostly calm. Everyone I spoke with on the ship liked the port of Roatan, Honduras the best. We always enjoy 'freestyle cruising' as we can dine wherever and whenever we prefer. The most exciting part of the cruise was on the last sea day when our Captain announced we were going 45 minutes off-course to rescue a sailboat in trouble. It was exciting to watch as our crew rescued the couple and brought them back to our ship. Everyone was so proud of our Captain and crew that had done such a wonderful job. We all applauded when the loud speaker announced that the folks were safely on board and we are on our way to Tampa. Unfortunately, we were delayed disembarking and the entire process took over 2 hours before we were able to get our luggage and go through Customs. Traffic outside the terminal was horrendous. As usual the food was well prepared and very tasty. Our cabin was wonderful and the bed was so comfortable. The next time we sail we will go back to booking a forward suite as we feel it is quieter. However we will miss the aroma of fresh baked bread baking in the early morning hours. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
First, I want to write that I follow reviews on Cruise Critic very carefully and was very concerned when I started reading all the October reviews on the Norwegian Star's arrival in Tampa and the first few cruises out of there before ... Read More
First, I want to write that I follow reviews on Cruise Critic very carefully and was very concerned when I started reading all the October reviews on the Norwegian Star's arrival in Tampa and the first few cruises out of there before ours started. Thank god we saw nothing that others complained about! The average cruise is around $1000 for the week per person. That's $142 per day! You can't rent a decent hotel anymore for less than $200 a day. To get 3 good meals a day, great shows, a resort-like experience and oh yah - get to move around the world and see different ports - that is a BARGAIN. I think a lot of people who complain on these reviews are expecting $1000 a day experiences for $142 a day. We got what we paid for and MUCH MUCH more on our recent cruise on the Norwegian Star. To begin, we booked our cruise back in March of this year. Since it was for our 10th wedding anniversary, we decided to splurge and get a mini-suite. In July, my parents, who have never cruised, asked if it would be imposing if they could join us (in their own cabin). Of course we were overjoyed to include them. Two weeks before our cruise, NCL contacted us to tell us they had two Penthouse cabins left at the bow of the ship and that we could upgrade to them for an additional small cost - we both jumped at the chance! It turned out to be great that we had my parent next to us and even better that our balcony railing got low enough near the bow that we could climb across easily to their balcony if we wanted (not recommended for small children :)) We flew from Boston to Tampa on Saturday before the cruise on Jet Blue - it was a great flight and the airports were quiet. We arrived 30 min early. There was a big air show going on in Tampa that day - so that was nice. We took a $25 cab ride right downtown to the Marriot Waterside. With a great ocean view, we had a nice vantage point to watch the ship sail in the next morning. For dinner, we walked over to Columbia's Cuban restaurant at the History Center which was awesome. I highly recommend the table-side Mojito pitcher's. The mix them right in front of you. The next morning, we enjoyed a great breakfast at the Marriot (Creme Brulee' Otameal), and walked around the beautiful boardwalk trails on the Tampa waterfront. At 10:45am we hoped in a cab for a short 2 minute ride to the ship. Since we were now Penthouse passengers, we got to board early at 11am. Even though we had priority check-in, we saw none of the horrors that others mentioned in October. I asked others that arrived later and everyone said Embarkation was smooth. Everyone was very friendly - so I guess they have now smoothed out any earlier wrinkles. We were escorted aboard to Cagney's and had lunch (another Penthouse perk). When we were done with lunch, our cabin was ready. What a great cabin it was - we would learn later of two downfalls to it, but I would say we were 99% happy with it the entire cruise. We departed Tampa with smooth seas and had a great ride with no rain all the way to Honduras (Roattan). In fact, we had sun the entire week - so the weather was great. All cover the ports more below. Dining: We dined in every restaurant on the ship. We quickly noticed the huge lines forming each evening at around 5pm at Aqua and Versailles (the free main dining rooms) and then noticed that other than the Japanese Steak House (Tepanyakki), all the other restaurants were mainly empty most of the cruise. Even though we made reservations at the specialty restaurants, I don't think we needed to. (We saw this phenomana in the ports too - no one was spending any extra money - if it wasn't free, they weren't buying). Every restaurant was great - but Ginza, the asian restaurant was our favorite. We loved the Godzilla sushi roll! One night, we were the only ones there at 8:30pm, and the awesome waitress Maria Refuela and the awesome hostess Doris Prado kept bring us different appetizers to try. It was truly special. We also loved the French Bistro (escargos to die for), Cagneys, and especially the special Indian buffet in Ginza the last sea day. We liked Versailles and dined there twice. Aqua was a bit plain but good food. The only food the entire cruise we sent back was the Oysters Rockefeller in Cagney's - it was very plain. They made up for it with the crab cake benedict we had for breakfast there each day (penthouse perk). Spa: We weren't going to do it, by my parent insisted, so we bought the $120 spa pass for the week. That turned out to be an awesome purchase. It was never crowded (they limit it to 100 people only for the week) and we enjoyed that space more than any other on the ship. The area was clean and relaxing. I was always the only person in the pool. My wife and I enjoyed the bubbler pool and the jacuzzi. We especially like the aft facing relaxation rooms and went to them often to read books in the comfy chairs. My wife liked it even better when she learned that she could have her bloody mary's sent to her there. I had one swedish massage and my wife had three massages during the cruise. All were great! The in-port day specials on massages were well worth it - especially in Costa Maya, since that port is not worth going ashore for. Entertainment: Every show we saw was great! Second City comedy and Elements were both awesome! We enjoyed Bingo in the Spinnaker Lounge as well as some of the other singers there. The only entertainment that was AWFUL was the guy playing the piano outside the Ginza, Bistro, and Italian restaurants. He was HORRIBLE! For some reason - he had fans - we wanted to throw him overboard. We noticed a lot of cruisers on the ship were sitting in the crummy cafeteria most of the cruise, which really surprised us. We never ate there nor did we need to. I highly recommend that future cruisers really use the ship and enjoy the experience. I was looking at the complainers and noticing they were not doing anything - they were dining at 4:30pm, complaining about waiting for tables, complaining about anything they could. I decided they must be the people who write negative reviews here. We had a blast all week! I did see one person screaming at the Customer Service person telling her she wanted to be moved to a new cabin because there was some hair on the floor under her bed. Come on! There were times I was embarrassed to be a white middle class average American on that cruise. I wonder what the wonderful crew of the Norwegian Star thinks of all of us since some people were so difficult and whinny all the time? Speaking of the crew - they were all great. I didn't meet one crew member who was not overly friendly. Somehow everyone of them that we interacted with more than once remembered our names and always personally greeted us. Summary: Great cruise. I am now a devoted NCL customer. I can't imagine sailing with any company other than NCL. The negatives, not that they were major negatives, were that our cabin being so far forward, was quite uncomfortable to sleep in one night when it was rough since we were close to the bow slamming into the waves. We were over the Stardust theater and could hear all the shows very loud. It wasn't a problem for us - but it could be for someone who turns in before 10:30pm when the last show ends. Being far forward, it was a long walk to get anywhere. Also, it was up close to the bow deck where the crew goes to sit in their hot tubs. One evening, I was enjoying myself on our balcony and 3 girls and 1 guy I recognized from the Excursion Desk were in it. I don't think they realized that their voices carried over the noise of the spa motor. They were talking quite inappropriately and even acknowledged my presence and not me at one point saying, "shh - it's one of those fuckin guests" and they all looked at me. I almost called for an officer to come talk to them about their voices carrying, but an officer showed up. I thought he was going to talk to them - but instead he took pictures of them. Anyway - if that was my most major complaint - then we did great. We spent an additional $1,400 total above and beyond Debarkation: After breakast, we realized our flight was at 4:45 YUCK! So, we went back to the Marriott lobby, hooked into their free wifi and caught up on the worl. We spent an additional $1,450 total on our cruise after the initial cruise amount. Half of this was on the spa and massages - the rest on specialty restaurants and drinks, bingo, etc. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
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
Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. ... Read More
Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. We took this cruise because we brought 4 of our kids and it was a little cheaper. Well, this was a hard lesson in "you get what you pay for". We will never, ever cruise Carnival again. I was *extremely* disappointed in this cruise. The ship itself was in good shape -- but the decor was so obnoxious. Horrible colors, very loud decor, very cheesy. The food was pretty bad. There were only two dining options for dinner. Either the main dining room -- which was about a 3 out of 5 stars, and the buffet, which was incredibly bad. The "sushi bar" was the size of a small closet and it was just shoved in the middle of a hallway not connected to any other eating areas. It was really odd. I guess I am used to having multiple, GOOD, dining options -- NCL has many different restaurants on their ships. I was shocked that we only had two options for dinner. At lunch they had a burger grill by the pool and a Mongolian stir fry area by the pool. Drinks were good -- but expensive. A cocktail was around $8 each. Smoothies for the kids were $5. I know I sound like a broken record here -- but the entertainment was horrible! On this 5 day cruise, there were 2 shows. That's it. 2 productions. The other three nights they had trivia or bingo in the theater. It was ridiculous. The first night they offered "Shout", which was actually pretty good. The lead female singer has a beautiful voice. There wasn't another show until the last night. And it was so painful to watch, I actually had to leave. The dancers timing was off so badly, it was distracting. Again, with NCL, they had shows EVERY night. Great quality shows, every single night, like Chicago Second City and Cirque. I guess I've been spoiled by NCL. On every NCL ship I've ever been on, the food, entertainment, and overall experience have been wonderful. Carnival was the direct opposite. The best part of the Carnival Inspiration? In my opinion, it was the cabin. The cabin was spacious for two people. There were 3 closets, 5 large shelves in the closet, and 4 drawers on the make-up desk. The bed was comfortable, the bedding was nice. It was actually roomy, and the bathroom wasn't bad at all. The staff on the Carnival Inspiration were very nice. Very gracious, very polite. Everyone smiled and were very accommodating. The Circle C club for 12-14 year olds and Camp Carnival for 7-11 year olds was pretty good. Our kids (ages 14, 11, 9, and 7) seemed to have a good time. They entertained themselves swimming or they would ask to go back to the organized kids activities, which we took as a good sign. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. The clientele on Carnival leaves something to be desired. In 6 years of cruising, I've never had to call security. I had to call them twice because of loud, obnoxious, drunken idiots in the cabin next to us. You pay cheap prices, you get cheap quality. Definitely NOT recommended.Let me preface this review of the Carnival Inspiration with this: We are frequent cruisers, who have only ever cruised with NCL in the past. We have been on 5 past NCL cruises, 4 of which were to the Caribbean, one to New England/Canada. We took this cruise because we brought 4 of our kids and it was a little cheaper. Well, this was a hard lesson in "you get what you pay for". We will never, ever cruise Carnival again. I was *extremely* disappointed in this cruise. The ship itself was in good shape -- but the decor was so obnoxious. Horrible colors, very loud decor, very cheesy. The food was pretty bad. There were only two dining options for dinner. Either the main dining room -- which was about a 3 out of 5 stars, and the buffet, which was incredibly bad. The "sushi bar" was the size of a small closet and it was just shoved in the middle of a hallway not connected to any other eating areas. It was really odd. I guess I am used to having multiple, GOOD, dining options -- NCL has many different restaurants on their ships. I was shocked that we only had two options for dinner. At lunch they had a burger grill by the pool and a Mongolian stir fry area by the pool. Drinks were good -- but expensive. A cocktail was around $8 each. Smoothies for the kids were $5. I know I sound like a broken record here -- but the entertainment was horrible! On this 5 day cruise, there were 2 shows. That's it. 2 productions. The other three nights they had trivia or bingo in the theater. It was ridiculous. The first night they offered "Shout", which was actually pretty good. The lead female singer has a beautiful voice. There wasn't another show until the last night. And it was so painful to watch, I actually had to leave. The dancers timing was off so badly, it was distracting. Again, with NCL, they had shows EVERY night. Great quality shows, every single night, like Chicago Second City and Cirque. I guess I've been spoiled by NCL. On every NCL ship I've ever been on, the food, entertainment, and overall experience have been wonderful. Carnival was the direct opposite. The best part of the Carnival Inspiration? In my opinion, it was the cabin. The cabin was spacious for two people. There were 3 closets, 5 large shelves in the closet, and 4 drawers on the make-up desk. The bed was comfortable, the bedding was nice. It was actually roomy, and the bathroom wasn't bad at all. The staff on the Carnival Inspiration were very nice. Very gracious, very polite. Everyone smiled and were very accommodating. The Circle C club for 12-14 year olds and Camp Carnival for 7-11 year olds was pretty good. Our kids (ages 14, 11, 9, and 7) seemed to have a good time. They entertained themselves swimming or they would ask to go back to the organized kids activities, which we took as a good sign. To sum it up, you get what you pay for. The clientele on Carnival leaves something to be desired. In 6 years of cruising, I've never had to call security. I had to call them twice because of loud, obnoxious, drunken idiots in the cabin next to us. You pay cheap prices, you get cheap quality. Definitely NOT recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We arrived at the Port of Tampa at 1:30 pm and walked right on the ship. We immediately went to the Rotterdam dining room to see if we could change our late seating to early. It was changed without a problem. Our table was on the 7th floor ... Read More
We arrived at the Port of Tampa at 1:30 pm and walked right on the ship. We immediately went to the Rotterdam dining room to see if we could change our late seating to early. It was changed without a problem. Our table was on the 7th floor (lower) along the back window looking out the back. (Table for 6) Our waiters were Gus and Sandy and they were great. We put our order in for shrimp cocktail and escargot every night and they said they would try their best and we were very happy that they wanted to please us. Dinners were very good. We did eat one night at the Pinnacle Grill. I would not go again, mainly because I do not like to spend another $40 for a meal when I already paid for my meals. I ordered Filet Mignon and it was very tender but it was really salty. I ordered a desert and asked the waiter if the ice cream had any chocolate in it and he said no, so I ordered it. It had chocolate chunks. The waiter felt bad. It was their version of Baked Alaska. The Pinnacle Grill has their own kitchen behind the dining area so nothing is prepared in the main kitchen. Our stateroom was on the Lower Promenade Deck (365) and our steward was Mono. We meant him the first day and never saw him again until the last day. Sometime between breakfast and changing for the gym he got everything looking great in our stateroom. We did not use any port or shore excursions. The entertainment was good. I worried because we went to the welcome show the first night and only two dancers were there with 4 singers(2 male, 2 female). I would recommend the night they do Broadway and the night that they have the full orchestra. We had a comedian who had us rolling on the floor. The Crows Nest had 2 for 1 drinks during "happy hour". We used the gym every day and paid the extra money for the area in the spa when it was limited to 50 people. There were 2 steam rooms, thermal pool, heated lounges and showers plus the relaxation room was also available. It was wonderful and would recommend it. Disembarkation was a snap. We asked for early off and we were off by 8:15 and my husband went to the parking lot to get our car. We were away from the terminal by 9:00. I would highly recommend Holland America. No complaints about the service, food, entertainment and staterooms. I still do not like how they do the tips. They charge your credit card everyday $11 per person. I spoke to one waiter who was working when it was still owned my Holland America and he said he made more in tips back then then he does now because the monies get split up among people who do not work as hard because they know they will get paid no matter what. At the Lido Deck for breakfast and lunch they no longer furnish trays. It makes it hard to carry a plate and a drink and find an empty seat. Older people were having a hard time with this. I read in the brochure that shorts were not supposed to be worn in public areas after 6 pm but naturally you still have some people who think they do not have to abide by the rules. I did see men in Tuxs and in one instance his partner had cotton capris on. She certainly did not compliment her partner. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
To celebrate our 20th anniversary, my husband and I took a cruise on the Ryndam. Major goal was to get away and relax. Having studied and worked extensively in Latin America and Caribbean, neither of us needed to see anything. Our goal was ... Read More
To celebrate our 20th anniversary, my husband and I took a cruise on the Ryndam. Major goal was to get away and relax. Having studied and worked extensively in Latin America and Caribbean, neither of us needed to see anything. Our goal was to get away from the demands of life. We chose the more expensive deluxe veranda suite and purchased the optional spa package (the most wonderful option and only sold to 30 people, first come, first serve). It was perfect. The room was large and lovely, the service was excellent. We ate several nights in the Pinnacle Grill (excellent for both food and ambience). The upgraded service was well worth the price. My personal goal was not to worry about children's schedules, pets, work or anything else. We ate breakfast either in our room on the balcony or in the Pinnacle Grille. Ate dinner three nights in the Pinnacle and the rest of the time in the main dinning room. Every meal was wonderful and the service was without complaint. Our staff was perfect and bent over backwards to ensure that our experience was all it should be. I had one minor problem with something in the room and it was corrected within 24 hours. Being in one of the expensive suites, we were invited to multiple special invitation events. A couple of disappointments - they said every suite had a flower arrangement. Ours was a pathetic carnation floating in a goldfish bowl. It might be better not to say fresh flowers and then put the single flower in as a surprise. The second was the quality of the appetizer/canapes. Most of them were made with mayo....pretty much a Eurpoean thing. If you don't like mayo stay away from them. Also, on a 7 day cruise, they served the same canapes day after day with little or no variation. Certainly helped with the diet. I found most of the desserts to be so-so (except in the Pinnacle Grill). We avoided the buffet so I cannot tell you what kind of food they served there. Several suites on our floor were without air conditioning (and the ship was fully booked). I would not have wanted to be one of those suites. Would I sail with HAL again? Yes because it was exactly what I needed. No schedule, no demands just relaxation. We didn't attend most of the onboard events because my husband and I just wanted peace and quiet. If we had booked onto a cruise for the events and wide variety of things to do, we might have booked a different cruise. Perhaps the most disappointing thing was the lack of a good place to dance to anything that wasn't for seniors or loud noisy music - nothing in between.I have nothing but good things to say about the staff. Amazingly positive and friendly attitude for people who work every day they are on the ship. I am in awe that non native English speakers will have memorized your name by the time you have been on the ship less than 24 hours. Ship condition - right after we cruised, the ship was slated for a much needed refurb. While very clean, when something is used 365 days a year, things wear out. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009

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