General: Loved our cruise holiday, loved the room (Superior with Balcony –Deck 7 (room 7640), very happy with friendly helpful staff. Very pleased with amenities, 'cruise compass' newsletter communication (delivered during ... Read More
General: Loved our cruise holiday, loved the room (Superior with Balcony –Deck 7 (room 7640), very happy with friendly helpful staff. Very pleased with amenities, 'cruise compass' newsletter communication (delivered during turndown service dinner time) and activities.
Apologies this review is a little all over the show, as I drafted it whilst cruising, jotting things as I thought of them! Feel free to ask any questions : )
Last (smaller) cruise I suffered terrible sea sickness first 2days but all good on this one, thanks to the ship being much more stable (twice the tonnage (137,000) plus I took anti motion sickness tablets 3 hrs prior to sailing away.
There were 3,500 people on this cruise, fully booked out. That said, there were still plenty of sun deck lounges/chairs. If you are the type of person that needs to have the ‘best seat’ right next to the pool then you may be disappointed – instead if you are prepared to look a bit further out, there were ALWAYS empty/spare seats upstairs around the walking track. We went up to the High Notes lounge a few times on cruise days – it was so peaceful, relaxing, not crowded at all. Lots of different areas all over the ship to chill out and have your ‘own space’ if needed.
There will always be people who focus on the negatives or let unimportant things ruin their trip – we tried to avoid those sort of people or change the subject.
Main thing that was perhaps different to what I had read in previous reviews….Ice Show Tickets – the cruise compass advertised you had to get your tickets on a certain day/time eg. “between 0915-1030 tomorrow a representative of your party will need to pick up your Ice Show tickets”. (Previously this seems to have been done by muster station??). You do not even have to show your SeaPass or be part of same room or booking….one person can show up and request tickets for their travelling party for a particular show , these are usually 1330 or 1530 and then repeated the next day same times. Don’t worry too much though as they release seats 10mins prior to show starting so you can rock up to your desired show.
My biggest tip for embarkation day? Between 11:30 to 13:30 probably best to avoid the Windjammer for lunch –staterooms are not usually ready before 1300 so EVERYONE is having lunch at the same time and for the faint hearted this could be quite overwhelming. If we knew how good Café Promenade (deck 5) was for lunch we definitely would have gone there instead. Whilst there are not that many tables there, you can grab something and take along to other tables and chairs/tavern/public areas. However if you do go to the Windjammer, don’t let the crowds put you off for the rest of the cruise, as this is the busiest it will probably be for the entire cruise. Also, we avoided Windjammer during peak times eg 6-7pm for dinner, 1230-1330 for lunch. Most other times you can easily find a table.
Quite a few opportunities to meet n greet DreamWorks characters plus they have some great parades! (Advertised in advance in c.compass)
Unless you are intent on purchasing the advertised sale items in the various Promenade sales, I would suggest to avoid that area of the Promenade until the 'frenzy' atmosphere has dissipated somewhat! The Cruise Compass will advise sale times. If frail, unstable on feet etc would be very tricky to navigate through the crowd fyi.
Only important announcements are broadcast through your room speaker, and you can even switch to 'off'. General info announcements from cruise director/activities director/ the Captain will be broadcast via corridor speakers, you will faintly here these in yr room so just open your door slightly to hear clearly if you want to.
Breakfast room service tip: we ticked 2x 'Assorted Jams' and we got 2 Apple Jelly sachets in total. So prob best to have a little supply of spare jams, extra sugar for cereal from the Windjammer (ie take during the bfast session).
Pizzas/Food: best pizzas are via room service, much better dough base. Beware they are small pizzas (4small quarters) and NOT by the slice!! Pizzas in promenade/wjammer very ordinary, prob the ONLY food that is, so do not despair.
Soft serve 'ice cream' dispenser allegedly nicer in Wjammer than pool area fyi. Handy for adding to your crumbles, puddings etc!
Cafe Promenade has handy takeaway cups n lids for when you want to walk around with your coffee from the drinks station. Fyi they had water station but no lemon/flavoured drinks.
Day 1: Arrived 11am, stapled suitcase tags prior to getting in taxi, thus avoiding line of people waiting to get their tag attached! Have ready Passport, Signed sea pass, lanyard for your card.
About 15-25 mins for rci check in, about 10 mins for customs/immig then we were on! If you wanted to shave off time, you could arrange to fill out those green immig departure cards (ie get some from an airport beforehand)
Rooms are not ready til 1pm, our deck 7 luggage arrived around 2:30-3pm ?
Windjammer for lunch approx 1145, yes it was busy and stuffy & chaotic but after only 5mins found seats. Bit overwhelming for the faint hearted though for your first hour of cruisin..but great range of food, drinks station where there us a tray of water, lemon cordial, and often another flavour, you ask them for coffee/hot water. Self serve with milk, brown/equal/white sugars, herbal teas of chamomile & peppermint available, plus decaf tea, green tea, black teabags etc.
Dreamworks Parade was great, we stood on deck 6 overlooking it, as promenade very crowded. If you want a spot down on the Promenade just line up 10-15mins prior along the promenade strip. There are cute little public balconies overlooking promenade which are good for videoing or photo opps ie deck 6/7/8.
Really like Cafe Promenade, usually 4-5 varieties rolls/sandwiches, 2-3 diff cookies, 2-3 desserts/cakes, plus u can ask for either piece of cheese pizza or pepperoni pizza and sometimes Roast Beef.. Every condiment you could want on the counter! Self serve Drinks station with coffee, hot choc (Nestle dark choc sachets, lowfat) tea, milk etc , even decaf.
Day 2: Saw Johnny Rocketts staff singing and dancing, great atmosphere. Didn’t eat there as the hamburgers (make your own up) were pretty good in Wjammer
Watched stand up Flow Rider this arvo, lots of falling off!
8:15pm Fantastic Broadway show, live band, brilliant dingers and dancers. Mitch is cruise director, very funny and personable, introduced and closed the show. Room service can be ordered easily via your TV – they will then phone you within 10 mins or so to confirm your order and the estimated delivery time. Our delivery times were usually 30mins.
Day 3: Main dining room breakfast, Diamond club members first, approx 10 mins wait for 0830.
Walked around Promenade shops, upstairs to pool/solarium area-great adults area, easily found vacant deckchair seats. Some of the pools closed due high winds, showers. Sea up to 3m.
Lunch in main dining room was nice, miraculously got table for two! In the middle of dining room there is a salad bar (served up to you by staff behind counter) and also a self serve section w diff cheese, salami, meats, salmon etc which you can have with/before/after yr menu meal (or in place of).
Walked round Promenade after lunch, great live band opp cafe promenade, they took requests too..great atmosphere everyone singing along to Sweet Caroline : )
Windjammer for afternoon tea at 3pm, (this is everyday between 3-4pm….delicious scones, jam n cream, apple crumble!
The ice show at 3:30 allows entry 3:20 onwards if enough spare seats so we went down and got in, very talented performers.
Room service breakfast usually arrived 10-20 mins earlier than booked, so be prepared lol. Got to have a great bfast on balcony watching us come in to port (0800). Very rainy and overcast so spent time at port side undercover market, then wandered round main streets, then back to under cover market before back on ship. Poor people who had booked snorkelling tours had had them cancelled due poor weather.
Day 6: Lautoka, brilliant view from our balcony looking on to water. Tried Main dining room breakfast Buffet style, good for a port morning and lot of variety, all self serve except tea/coffee/hot chocolate.
Around 30 degrees outside! Would have been good to take umbrella for shade.
Lots of tour operators and taxi drivers requesting yr business. There was a $8 return price for cruise shuttle, but we walked to McDonald's/Post Office area in approx 15 mins at reasonable pace. Reminder McDonalds needs either Fiji dollars or eftpos $10 minimum for their transactions (ie if going there for free wifi with a purchase) .
Back on ship, went down to the Helipad, accessed off Deck 4 forward (steep) stairs, great view from helipad. Usually closed at various cruising days due to very high winds out there, so a port day good opportunity.
Enjoyed the Towel Animals in our room every 2-3 nights. We did the Behind the Scenes All Access Pass – was on Day 10 ($150 pp). You can also do Galley tour only , when Giovanni’s offer $35 lunch with galley tour.
Overall, had a really wonderful cruise. Read Less