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10 U.S.A. Holiday Cruise Reviews

We just returned from a 4 night Thanksgiving holiday cruise on the Golden Princess. We have sailed on the Golden Princess previously but this time was definitely not like the first. Most of the dining staff and buffet staff were so ... Read More
We just returned from a 4 night Thanksgiving holiday cruise on the Golden Princess. We have sailed on the Golden Princess previously but this time was definitely not like the first. Most of the dining staff and buffet staff were so unfriendly I couldn't believe it. Food was definitely not the best and on Thanksgiving evening they ran out of dressing and we sat down to eat at the first dining. When food was finally served (1 1/2 hrs after placing our order) it was cold and just plain not up to Princess standards. On two plates they actually put 2 chestnuts as the dressing! We finally had such poor service and food we just went to the buffet the next evening. At least we could get our food but the wait staff in that area were just as unfriendly. It was like they were all tired and did not want to serve you, after all, with automatic tipping they will get tipped whether they do a good job or not. Also if you ordered a drink at the dining table, the waiter had to go get it. Bar service needs to be returned to the bar staff as the waiters already have plenty to keep track of. The bartenders at the Lobby Bar were the best! John, Ferdinand and Delton! Wow do they know how to make drinks and were so friendly and nice. The pool bartenders were rude and one of them in the Vista Lounge actually challenged one girl in our party about why she didn't order when everyone else did! So rude! Production shows are always the same - nothing new. Hawley Magic show was very good. This was my 5th cruise with Princess. If this was my first cruise with Princess I don't think I would be a returning cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Your day would start with a breakfast filled with frustration and dread! Around came your boy with water for tea, somewhat tepid as he's been up all night doing another shift, so walks slowly. Tea sir, yes please we say, into the ... Read More
Your day would start with a breakfast filled with frustration and dread! Around came your boy with water for tea, somewhat tepid as he's been up all night doing another shift, so walks slowly. Tea sir, yes please we say, into the cup goes the tepid water, waiter goes away; 'tea bag' we enquire, yes sir. Five minutes later he retraces his steps with tea bags in hand,' over here' is heard the dry cries; milk my good man, yes sir, five minutes later................ The waiters round the pool were more attentive, but as sales were poor due to the very high cost, one would run for any sale, after all they do need the 15% charged on top for everything you purchase, it's their wages. The shows were good, but when introduced in 4 or 5 languages, they were somewhat tiresome, and the so called entertainment director had a very annoying habit of walking very slowly from the back of the theatre in very high heels (she was very proud of her arse) to let you know what's on tonight, yes in 4 or 5 very poor languages. Asking the staff how they liked the ship, poor pay and long hours, did not help. However, the main problem was they all came from Indonesia; some 300 were all from the same agency, they had to learn very basic English to get the job then learn Italian, French, German and now Russian when on board. No wonder the tea boy looked so knackered. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My husband and I booked this 4 night cruise to get out of hosting Thanksgiving for our family this year. We left Los Angeles on Wednesday, 11/27/13 with easy boarding. The ship looked nice, no obvious signs of wear and tear for an ... Read More
My husband and I booked this 4 night cruise to get out of hosting Thanksgiving for our family this year. We left Los Angeles on Wednesday, 11/27/13 with easy boarding. The ship looked nice, no obvious signs of wear and tear for an "older" ship. We are both foodies - love great food - and we couldn't find it on this cruise. We were so disappointed in everything that we tried. The executive chef is from Scotland, perhaps that is why the food was so bland(?). We dined at the Crown Grill one night and even that was blah. We were served an abundance of food, but that didn't make up for the lack of flavor. Aside from very boring food I was extremely put off by Princess for not having a single representative at our meet & mingle. Granted Princess does not host these as the other lines do, but the only other time that we sailed on Princess there were several officers who came and greeted us. No one at this one. The icing on the cake - the biggest insult and the nail in the coffin against Princess for me is that I had brought this oversight to Princess' attention in my comment cards and here it is well over a month later and nobody has responded to me. The heck with you Princess! I'll spend my money on Royal Caribbean/Celebrity from now on. You don't need me! I don't need you! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I have done 29 cruises, mostly ocean but several European river cruises. My wife likes new ships so we decided to do the American Duchess. Overall, the ship is fine but we seemed to notice that dinning room service was ... Read More
My wife and I have done 29 cruises, mostly ocean but several European river cruises. My wife likes new ships so we decided to do the American Duchess. Overall, the ship is fine but we seemed to notice that dinning room service was lacking. We couldn’t quite determine the problem. Not sure if the dinning room was poorly designed in that the tables were too far from the kitchen or maybe they were under staffed or even poorly trained. It didn’t matter which meal it was all the same. For breakfast it took for ever to get that first cup of coffee and a refill later was sparse. We had to ask for juice always. The waiters seemed to be very busy despite the dinning room being less that half full. In fact some of them walked very fast back and forth from some where but nothing seemed to get done. The waiters were very kind and friendly and apologized often for late food, etc. I have one suggestion, and that would be to hire a helper or two for the waiter staff just to fill coffee, water glasses, rolls, juice, and bus some dirty tables. Some tables were left cluttered the whole time we were in there. The buffets were not any better, sometimes there were no plates or bowls or they were out of soup or salad item,etc. Overall dinning seemed to be very disorganized and at best I would have to rate it 2star. Other guests we talked to concurred. At times my wife and I would bet each other on whether we would get that dinner roll or that second cup of coffee,etc.. Overall, the ship is in good shape, the cabins are large for a river boat, and the staff is very friendly. It is just the dinning experience is not any thing close to 5star. These cruises are expensive, and when paying over $1000 per day per cabin plus tips you should expect good dinning service. In short, we did not find this good value for the money. I think we will stick to European rivers and the Ocean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
First off let me say that I really like this cruise line. So much so, that we are taking them in Alaska this summer. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The food service and staff were excellent. The other passengers were quite ... Read More
First off let me say that I really like this cruise line. So much so, that we are taking them in Alaska this summer. The crew was very friendly and helpful. The food service and staff were excellent. The other passengers were quite friendly and engaging. The entertainment, with one glaring exception was very good. The lectures and information about our ports was exceptional and the shore excursions were very good. The cocktail hour every afternoon is a great way to mix and mingle and get to know the other passengers. If you are on this Cruise Critic site to help in the selection of your next cruise, let me give you some idea of what to expect and not to expect from American Cruise Lines…. - If you want a cruise with 4000 of your best friends, assigned dinner tables and times, food from a cement mixer, half hour waits to get on or off the ship, an iPhone App to save you from getting lost on the ship, a $500 bar bill for a seven day cruise, being nickel and dimed to death for everything other than your room and meals, American Cruise Lines is not for you. - If you want to cruise in the lap of luxury with a spacious suite cabin, a mini bar and fridge in your cabin, 24 hour coffee bar with a barista, a fancy bar and lounge with a uniformed bartender, over priced and spotty wifi, over priced and poorly presented shore excursions, and young adults frolicking in the surf, then American may not be for you either. - What you do get on ACL is a compact, efficient ship with great food and a very helpful and friendly crew. We cruised from Charleston to Jackson on a New Years holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it. We have cruised Royal Caribbean, Avalon, Seabourn, and a small motor sailer in Greece. AMC is one of our favorites. We have already booked another cruise with American. - Since this is supposed to be a critique, let me address a few things to the ACL home office that might improve the overall ACL experience. Never use the band we had on New Years Eve and New Years again. They were so bad that there were requests to have them put off the ship on Sapelo Island. Get new uniforms for the hotel staff. Whatever that is they are wearing in no way reflects their high level of professionalism. Get “plug-in” clocks for the night stands. The battery operated LCD clocks are hard to see in the daytime and impossible at night. Get bigger TV in the staterooms. Considering the average age of your guests, I am not sure anyone could see those 15” mini screens. Get better coffee in the lounge. I heard several passengers say they were going to Starbucks when they got off the ship. - I never expected ACL to be Seabourn, but for heavens sake, fire your interior designer. OMG! Valences over the windows! With the exception of the dining room, the rest of the furniture, especially in the lounge looks like an assisted living center. Your passengers might not be spry but your decor should be a little more spry and up to date.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is a fantastic cruise company for seniors or people who like a slower pace, (perfect for me, as I love taking photos). They accommodate physical disabilities as much as possible throughout the trip. Children were rare, but the crew ... Read More
This is a fantastic cruise company for seniors or people who like a slower pace, (perfect for me, as I love taking photos). They accommodate physical disabilities as much as possible throughout the trip. Children were rare, but the crew made a special effort to find activities and food they would enjoy. Special diets can be accommodated. The locations they stop include plantations, museums and national parks. There is time to go to the local towns, with shuttle service. You will never be hungry on this trip: breakfast, warm cookies at 10:00, lunch, Tea Time, Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and dinner. Open seating in the dining room. Balcony for every stateroom. On board they have bingo, lectures, and evening entertainment. It was a Christmas trip to remember: carolers greeted us as we boarded, decorations, food, the opportunity to attend Christmas Eve service and even gifts! The crew was the most cheerful and attentive I have experienced with any cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We enjoyed our first "Christmas Away From Home", on board the "Queen of the Mississippi", along with 135 other passengers. Arriving a few days prior to the trip, we stayed at the Dauphine Orleans hotel in the French ... Read More
We enjoyed our first "Christmas Away From Home", on board the "Queen of the Mississippi", along with 135 other passengers. Arriving a few days prior to the trip, we stayed at the Dauphine Orleans hotel in the French Quarter - a good choice for location and top quality service. Café Du Monde (and their famous bignets) and the St. Louis Cathedral, and Antoine's were highlights. Our taxi dropped us off near the "Queen of the Mississippi" where we were greeted by crew members who took over our luggage and escorted us to our cabin. We set sail on Saturday around noon. The cruise included port stops and tours each day - since we have traveled with American Cruise Line in the past, all our tour costs was free. Each day we returned to the boat for Happy Hour at 5:30 - all snacks and drinks were "on the house". Each evening there was local entertainment - of course, on this cruise, that included a lot of jazz, New Orleans style. No problem with outside or hall noise. We were very pleased with the size and "freshness" of our cabin; our 3 meals a day in the dining room included our choice of wines at both lunch and dinner. The crew and staff were all friendly and seemed to enjoy their job and anxious to be of service to us. The staff was helpful in getting us and our luggage to the airport, train depot, etc. In summary, this was an enjoyable trip and one we can recommend. We are already signed up for our next cruise with American Cruise Line.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have done River Cruises in Europe before, but this was our first in the USA, There are some differences in this inclusive cruise package depending on where you book - my friends booked through the National Trust and my wife and I ... Read More
We have done River Cruises in Europe before, but this was our first in the USA, There are some differences in this inclusive cruise package depending on where you book - my friends booked through the National Trust and my wife and I booked through Vacations To Go. My friends had an extra night in New Orleans at the Bourbon Orleans. We had just the one night at the Hilton Riverside included in the package and had to book the extra night on our own. We received a $700 discount plus a $100 Onboard credit. The American Queen docks right outside the Hilton. At Embarkation, our bags were tagged and collected at the Hotel and we didn't see them again until we were in our cabin. Our friend left her expensive carry on bag with the checked luggage at the Hotel and it never made it to her cabin - word to the wise, keep your carry on luggage, jewelry and documents with you. With flooding in the Upper Mississippi, we were facing a fast flowing current as we were running upstream. On our first night we had a generator problem - I never did find out how that affected the performance of the ship (or boat) however it necessitated our running ashore until repaired - apart from trimming a couple of Willows the boat suffered no apparent damage however we had to wait for the Coast Guard to come up to us and do an inspection before we were allowed to continue - as a consequence we were not able to stop at Oak Alley. Later, upriver, we had to also give up Helena, as our mooring area was underwater. Ship happens! Our cabin, #202, was great! especially after I saw the size of the cabins my friends were given. Check the size of your cabins - some are really small!. Check it out on the deck plan. Regina Charbonneau, who created the menus, was on board and supervised the kitchens and dining room. From what I have read there have been problems with service and food preparation on previous cruises and I think they, Regina in particular, are making a strong effort to improve food prep and service. I found the food to be very good - the only time I experienced a problem was when I was served a pasta entrée that was cold. The menu is varied and interesting. The Dining staff were obviously trying very hard to serve everyone promptly, however, as I know most of you who have travelled a lot have observed, we no longer have wine waiters, and the same guy is scrambling to put bread rolls on plates, get extra butter and pour wine - remember wine is complimentary, on this cruise, so I noticed that he was kept on the run refilling glasses that were emptying more quickly than if folks were paying for it , As a regular wine drinker, red wine in particular, I was quite pleased with the quality of the wine, as was my Australian wine afficianado table mate. The 640 miles of river between New Orleans and Memphis has a long, colorful and sometimes violent history from the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War. The stops we were able to make were interesting, and as you probably know, 2 buses meet you at each stop and provide Hop On Hop Off free service, which was excellent - average wait time between stops was about 15 minutes. I find the river itself not very interesting, brown water and tree lined shores that varies little for the whole cruise, with the occasional Pulp mill or Chemical processing plant and of course the non stop barge traffic. Fortunately there is always plenty going on in the boat to keep you amused, when you are not eating! The evening entertainment was good and there were plenty of onboard activities including lectures from the onboard "Riverstorian". Excellent trip! I think it gets better each time as the staff gain more experience. You have all the amenities aboard that you would find on a Blue water cruise, and as one wag told me "The only Rock and Roll" is in the Piano Bar. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We recently booked a cruise aboard the Oosterdam traveling from Vancouver to San Diego - a 4 day re-positioning cruise. It was our first cruise celebrating our anniversary. From the moment we boarded the Oosterdam to the time we ... Read More
We recently booked a cruise aboard the Oosterdam traveling from Vancouver to San Diego - a 4 day re-positioning cruise. It was our first cruise celebrating our anniversary. From the moment we boarded the Oosterdam to the time we departed in San Diego we met with the friendliest, hospitable, dynamic and outgoing staff who gave 100% to making sure we were comfortable and well looked after. It was hard to believe that they were dealing with close to 2000 passengers, we rarely had to wait for service and given the mix of passengers they dealt with everyone with the same attentiveness and courtesy. The only issue we had was with some of the self-centered, self-important passengers -â€" yet the staff was non-plussed and went out of their way to please. The stateroom was impeccably made up, our luggage on our bed when we arrived, chocolates and towel animals nightly. The balcony unit where we stayed gave us a wonderful view of the sunsets at sea (make sure you book on the starboard side heading south). The food in the Vista was extraordinary - they had three chefs and the menu changed each night -â€" with gourmet 5 course meals. The service equally remarkable given the numbers, they were extremely well staffed. The entertainment was as good as any Vegas show we've seen, comedian, a dance troupe who did a retrospect of music from the 40's to contemporary with dance styles in keeping with each era and a magic show we missed. They had music in different clubs to address everyone's taste but in doing so they seem to water down repertoire (quazi jazz group -â€" more like pop trio, a string quartet playing standard repertoire and some trite classical standards, the pop group was quite good however as was Mark the pianist. I don't know how he played so well, the piano he was using was deplorable piece of equipment for a grand piano with a broken string -â€" he must have keyed all his pieces to avoid the note because I didn't hear it during his act. The Discotheque was hosted by Brett Rudolf - this guy has boundless energy, a fun-loving extremely personable human being who loves life and loves people. He befriends all his guests showing his new steps and tries to make everyone feel comfortable -â€" even those of us who have two left feet. Last day of our cruise my wife and I met him to thank him for making our stay so enjoyable, we told him of our anniversary in passing -â€" he disappeared and came back with bottle of champagne on his own tab. He would make wonderful cruise director if Holland America notices his gifts. The actual cruise director we had, Dave was excellent, his organizational skills kept things completely on track throughout the trip. The flawless disembarkation was largely due to Dave's thoughtful processing -â€" arranging customs and leaving by deck number so that there would be a minimum of waiting. All said it was a remarkable experience for us -â€" a true 5 star rating for this cruise ship, its staff and the wonderful attitude and genuine hospitality they provide. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Hey - I'm from Vancouver, Canada -â€" thanks for reading my review: Having had a previously positive experience on NCL - repositioning from New York to New Orleans - my wife and I decided to book ourselves onto the Jewel ... Read More
Hey - I'm from Vancouver, Canada -â€" thanks for reading my review: Having had a previously positive experience on NCL - repositioning from New York to New Orleans - my wife and I decided to book ourselves onto the Jewel of the Seas to reposition from Boston to Tampa on this 14-day journey. Note -â€" this is an extremely popular cruise -â€" and has all sorts of alumni who book this cruise every year. In fact, I believe that next year's cruise is already fully sold out. We reserved our balcony stateroom, #1014, in early December last year -â€" and it was one of the last balcony's left at that time. We had never been to Boston before and were looking forward to exploring this historic city for the first time. Even though the Boston Bruins thumped the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup this past spring -â€" I managed to keep an open mind -â€" and refrained from cancelling our cruise and putting our deposit elsewhere. I'm glad I did -â€" because Boston is truly a beautiful city. Being a citizen of another beautiful city -â€" I'm qualified to judge! We stayed at the Sheraton Prudential Center -â€" very convenient when it's raining -â€" because it's attached to two malls -â€" including a Cheesecake factory, California Pizza Kitchen and a famed fish restaurant (Legal Seafood). It's also walking distance to Fenway, REI store, Filene's basement and downtown Boston. Highly recommended. Loved the 0% sales tax! TIP: For those staying at the Sheraton -â€" don't pay for wireless in your room. Simply plug your laptop into the Ethernet jack located on the desk and your Internet is free! (Must be a glitch) Sorry iPad users -â€" you're out of luck. Internet is also free in the lobby. Check-in: Smoothest check-in I've ever experienced and I've cruised 24 times. I was basically jogging and couldn't keep up with the line. We were moving so fast -â€" the welcome aboard photo was completely blurred! Naughty Room: Be forewarned, Royal Caribbean x-rays every piece of check-in luggage for prohibited items. Shortly before supper on the first day -â€" we started to be concerned when only 2 of our 4 suitcases had been delivered to our stateroom. This is when I noticed the flashing voicemail light on our bedside phone. The message summoned me to the deck 2 hold where about 100 pieces of luggage and a line-up of nervous looking people were being processed. I watched as bag after bag of luggage was opened to reveal a bottle of wine or liquor -â€" or in one instance a case of coke zero (this was allowed). To say the naughty people were irate about losing their bottle(s) would be an understatement! In my case (no booze) -â€" I was told there were illegal scissors in my wife's bag -â€" which we never found. In my bag, the security person, who spoke very poor English, told me he was looking for an electric 'wire'. I thought he was referring to my various camera battery chargers and laptop cables -â€" essential equipment for me -â€" and therefore denied I had an electric 'wire'. Because they could find neither of these items -â€" I was apologized to profusely by staff -â€" and allowed to go on my way. I subsequently discovered my wife DID have a large pair of scissors and I DID have a brand new extension cable -â€" both of which are apparently a no-no on RCI. For those of you who are contemplating smuggling stuff in your suitcase onto an RCI ship, you can forget about: scissors, extension cords, knives, toasters, kettles, irons, and any kind of booze or blow-up dolls. (Just kidding about the last item -â€" but it could prove to be an embarrassment if your bag is searched in front of your fellow passengers). Warning: The naughty room is a very public display of the contents of your suitcase! The guy in front of me had one suitcase stuffed with the entire inventory of aisle 3 at Walgreens! Gathering Storm: During the muster drill -â€" a very serious sounding captain announced we would be heading into hurricane force winds -â€" with 30-40 foot waves! When I finally realized he wasn't kidding I proceeded to swallow 5 Gravol (motion-sickness) pills over the next 5 hours. The good news was I didn't get seasick during the storm. The bad news was that after the storm had ended, I slept for 36 of the next 48 hours from the residual effects of the pills. And what a storm it was: the captain revealed in a later Q&A session with the passengers that it was the worst storm he had EVER sailed in -â€" after 40+ years! He said the biggest waves coming over the bow were topping 85-90 feet! He also mentioned we were skirting a hurricane by just 8 miles. Had we been any closer -â€" we would have had to divert our course. Another ship, the Caribbean Princess, was scheduled to leave New Jersey the same day and elected to stay in port over night. Our balcony was on deck ten near the bow. The spray was coming up over the top of our balcony to the deck above! Water was leaking in through our sliding door. RCI promises 'adventure' in their ads -â€" and boy do they deliver! Halloween Party: This cruise takes place over Halloween and many many folks get into the spirit and bring a costume on board -â€" lots of ghosts, vampires, witches, pumpkins and cross-dressers. Fun! My first impression was that way too may folks dressed up as 'fat people' -â€" but eventually realized -â€" these weren't actually costumes. In any case, given another chance in the future -â€" I would definitely bring a costume. A great party was had by all. Ports and Excursions and Activities: Not recommended: any purely boat or bus to the beach type trip. (Just take a cab). Also in St. Lucia -â€" don't take the 4-hour boat cruise to the Pitons -â€" the cruise ship does this route when it leaves! (And it's beautiful). Any Royal Caribbean dancers shows -â€" (except for Tango Buenos Aires). Comedians are either brilliant or totally lame -â€"but I can't remember their names so it's about a 50-50 chance. Recommended: St. Kitts train ride, St. Lucia Jeep safari, snorkeling from a catamaran in St. Thomas (not a beach), any beach on the gold coast of Barbados, Barbados Rum tour, Curacao snorkeling by boat over the sunken tugboat. Mystery Murder Dinner, Tango Buenos Aires, Elton John Tribute, Johnny Thunder (of the Drifters). Revolution Beatles Tribute, Make a Wish Foundation Walk-a-thon (even if you don't walk -â€" it's a nice 10$ tee-shirt and a great cause). RCI Cruise Staff: Incredible in every way. I don't know how they do it. Royal Caribbean Customer Service: Vastly improved and it shows. Extremely attentive to our one complaint about one of our shore excursions as well as problems we were having with the Internet. RCI is clearly making every effort to achieve complete customer satisfaction. Kudos! Final Notes: This is a great cruise -â€" happening only once every year on the Jewel -â€" my favorite (radiance) class of RCI ships. The total sea miles traveled is very similar to driving from Miami to Los Angeles and back -â€" except on the ship there is almost no access to McDonald's, Denny's or Whataburger. BONUS SECTION: Fun things to say to your dinner table mates: 1. I always bring an empty suitcase and Styrofoam balls on board - because I'm collecting RCI dinner plates and stemware. 2. Zagat rates Carnival dining as far superior to this ship because of the 24-hr pizza counter. 3. I hope the bedbugs from our apartment didn't sneak into our luggage again. 4. We're hoping that this is the first cruise our dinner mates don't ask us to move to a different table. 5. I've decided to not do any shore excursions -â€" because I heard the ports were filled with foreigners. Fun things to say to cruise staff: 1. I think the waiters were 'lip-syncing' during their song last night. Should I knock 10% off their tips? 2. Should I take a hotdog to the mustard drill? 3. If my wife fell off our 10th floor balcony, would she survive? 4. At the embarkation check-in -â€" point to the port terminal roof and say: "this is the cheapest-looking cruise ship I've ever seen." 5. Do cruise ship passengers have immunity from crimes they commit during shore excursions? Seriously though: If you have any questions about this cruise or the Jewel of the seas -â€" feel free to email me at peter_agnew at yahoo dot com. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011

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