1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Southern Caribbean Cruises
  4. Southern Caribbean Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: August 2012
My husband and I traveled on the 7 day southern Caribbean itinerary on the victory. We are a young married couple (24 and 25) and have traveled a lot and in all different parts of the world. This is our 5th cruise together (only one other ... Read More
My husband and I traveled on the 7 day southern Caribbean itinerary on the victory. We are a young married couple (24 and 25) and have traveled a lot and in all different parts of the world. This is our 5th cruise together (only one other on carnival). My husband traveled on cruises frequently as a child with his family, and earned enough days at sea to be considered a platinum member. After our honeymoon last year on the carnival liberty, we intended to avoid carnival this year, however this itinerary was too good to pass up (only one at sea day!!!). The platinum membership was a great convenience to have. We received priority check in (no waiting in line), priority line at guest services, a dessert tray sent on the first formal night, free 3 bags of laundry, and a party with free appetizers and drinks! The ship is old. My husband traveled on it as a kid 10 years ago and reported that it has not changed at all. The decor is outdated, however, the crew does a nice job of keeping it clean. We had a balcony room, which is a downgrade from our honeymoon suite. The room was spacious and well kept, however the bathroom was horrible. It was TINY, as to be expected, but the grout was coming up and the toilets had a black ring of what looked like carbon. Additionally, the hair dryers in the rooms are horrible! Ladies, bring your own dryer!!! The shower pressure and temperature in the showers is inconsistent. We started off on the odd side of deck 8, in the center. This seemed to be the perfect location, however, we could hear ALL of the noise from the lido deck. Particularly the scraping of deck chairs and tables early in the morning and late at night. I am a heavy sleeper and even I was woken up by the constant scraping of the chair legs against the floor. We request a room change immediately, and were graciously given one after the second night. We were moved to a balcony on the even side of deck 8 toward the front of the ship. This room was MUCH quieter, the TV was newer (the previous tv was from the 90s and had discoloration on the screen). The food was much improved from our last carnival cruise last year. We were very pleased with the food and service throughout our vacation. The entertainment on the ship was mediocre. The first 2 comedians were fantastic, although carnival has them perform in the punchliner, in the adriatic lounge, which is frequently too small for the amount of people in the audience and there are a lot of people left standing in the back. The singers and dancers were OK, we were not impressed and left halfway through one of the shows. The magician was also OK. The juggler was wonderful, we loved that show. The final 2 comedians were awful and not worth watching. Many people were offended, we however just did not find them to be funny. We loved the ports of call. All off them were different and amazing. We highly recommend doing the catamaran with cool runnings in Barbados. It was our favorite excursion. Overall, we enjoyed our vacation. Because carnival is an affordable line, it attracts a less affluent crowd. We still favor royal Caribbean over carnival, but did enjoy this cruise and chose it (as we always do) based on itinerary, not cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
My wife and I (mid 30s) recently took the 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise (3/1/12 - 3/9/12) on the Carnival Miracle. Kind of a second honeymoon. Though we travel together often, (as I enjoy her company, which I find best for the ... Read More
My wife and I (mid 30s) recently took the 8 day Southern Caribbean Cruise (3/1/12 - 3/9/12) on the Carnival Miracle. Kind of a second honeymoon. Though we travel together often, (as I enjoy her company, which I find best for the marriage) neither of us have been on a cruise in our lives. Carnival did the big picture things really well for us. Food, in particular, seems to be the area most of concern for review seekers and writers. I found it pleasantly surprising in all terms of variety, availability, and quality. We are not really picky people, though. I have extensive experience in the food service industry, so my expectations are usually tempered. I was quickly impressed. My wife was occasionally disappointed in the temperature of the food itself (she was right), but being primarily buffet (even the Bacchus room is a fancy buffet service), there's very little you can do about that. They weren't using real eggs or butter, the hallmark symbols of some serious food coming your way. But, as far as needing to feed thousands of people every eight hours, I was seriously amazed at the amount of quality and variety they were able to offer day after day. For instance, my favorite dish all week (we ate all over ports and paid additional for a night at the Miracle steakhouse, Nick & Noras) was an appetizer at the Bacchus; Smoked Duck with Pomegranate reduction over Thai Rice Noodles. It blew my mind. Another thing Carnival does well is people. Our steward, Fernandy, knew our names without us even introducing ourselves and called us by them every time he saw us. He was quick to answer questions, even ones not related to his specific job. We absolutely qualified the level of service we got as "borderline creepy". It seems we would go to breakfast and come back to the room to prepare for the pool or an excursion and the bed would be made, the bathroom like it did when we first opened the door. We went to breakfast at all hours, too. Like I said, kind of creepy. Servers at the Bacchus were pleasant and attentive, almost offended when you didnt eat. We had occasional general quasiness from the boat, not nausea or anything. Just some nights, you didnt feel like eating an entire half rack of ribs. I did mention the situation to the waiter when he asked, and he was quick to bring fruit and sherbet to the table, which really helped. During an elegant night at the Bacchus, I was asked to remove my hat by the maitre d', which I planned to do at the table. I had some sunburn issues, and didnt want gross anyone out with my peeling at their dinner. It was a nice hat and matched my sportcoat, button down shirt and slacks I wore, but I took it off because she asked. Moments later she sat a guy with a Larry the Cable Guy t-shirt directly next to me, and I was a little offended. Not that he was allowed in, or anything, just that her standards had dissolved so quickly. Someones pride shouldnt be valued or expendable based on the amount of disappointment you are going to hear about, is my point. Have an Elegant night or don't. Have a bathrobe night, you gave one to everyone. Let us wear that to dinner. There were some issues with accents and asking someone in uniform a question and getting an answer to an unrelated, more common, question would happen occasionally. But mostly they were about food or directions on the boat and not about what will get you arrested or involved hundreds of dollars, so good casting on Carnivals part. Not coincidentally, the sales people spoke GREAT ENGLISH. Try not to be surprised at just how well the jewelry salespeople speak English. Overall, everyone was great. Smiles and hellos, knowledgeable, friendly, understanding, understandable. So noticeable was the pleasantness, it was like seeing Bigfoot ride a Unicorn while eating a bowl of mac n cheese when the late night pizza guy openly sighed at us for asking if he had something other than pepperoni at 3am. Again, though, if you asked an engineer who happened to stop at the urinal next to you what time your boat to Sanoa Island was going to stop to pet giant starfish next Tuesday, I'd give you even money he'd know the answer. The room itself was half awesome and half a problem. My review might not help you since it seemed we got a jack of all trades kind of room. Giant bathroom for a handicapped person, but the bed was like two fancy cots put together. The pillows were probably real nice if you sleep on your back, but I sleep on my side and literally felt kind of choked trying to use it. Usually when four pillows are in a hotel bed, 2 are soft and 2 are firm, but these were all basketball shaped marshmallows. We saw an advertisement on the TV that the towels, and bathrobes were for sale and we were considering it. But then the mattresses and bedding were for sale too and we both burst out laughing. The TV itself also was like someone had the turned the brightness all the way down and there was no way to fix that. Not that we watched much TV, but some people might like to not miss shows or feel at home for a night. But the balcony is where we spent most of our time in our room, because what we got was exactly what we wanted there. I have three situations I'm counting as disappointments. Negative events we came across on more than one occasion. One of their casino games is rigged. That a serious charge, and I'd feel strange accusing them of it if I didnt have proof. After paying $60 over three days into the "Casino Vault" machine trying to win an iPad, I noticed strange coincidences. So I used the ships satellite internet (at outrageous cost) to download the owners manual. They changed the name of the machine (actually Sega's "Key Master" which I found out only by suspecting they'd have one in arcade to scam kids, which they did.) They market the game as a skill game, but it's not exactly. You can only win after the payoff lines have been "unlocked", or you miss the skill shot by the default amount set by the casino manager. The way to unlock the payoff line, is to put more credits into the machine than the item is worth (set by the casino manager). I have the owners manual available to any interested parties, please feel free to contact me if you'd like a copy. I stuck to table games until even that felt dirty. At the Serenity deck, people would save cabana seats empty for hours. We went to watch the sunrise at 5:30am and found one woman had gaffled sunrise corner by herself for people that didnt show up until 8. We would have been gone by then to have breakfast and start our day. One woman said she complained to an attendant and the attendant told her that he would go claim one for them, but then she would have felt uncomfortable being neighbors with an asshole for the next couple hours. I can understand that. There should be someone there supervising independently of complaints or a waiting system. They really put the screws to our wallets. Coffee was free, but cappuccinos were $4. Ice cream was free, but milkshakes were $6. Sea queasuiness was free, but Dramamine was $8. One game of Bingo was $30 and they must have paid back around 33% of the winnings with some simple head counting and math. On the last day at sea, they were selling $30 watches for $20 and you'd think they were selling gazelles to lions. People were buying dozens for Christmas presents, like they were savvy. Why not have these deals throughout the cruise and not cause a scene? Because they may not buy a higher priced watch earlier instead, of course. Why do you have to walk through the casino and shops to get to the free entertainment? HAHAHAHAHA It just seemed at every opportunity available, there was a price tag attached. Though, we took those small bummers in stride. Overall, the money was worth the experience and we will cruise again. Might try another company, but I'd still recommend Carnival to family, friends, and you, who read my novel. Thanks for your time. Good Luck on your adventures. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
in general and who isn't even a very strong swimmer. But by the end of day 1, they had me. From the professional crew and the comfortable quarters, I knew this was going to be a great week. The Diamant is a wonderful little ship for ... Read More
in general and who isn't even a very strong swimmer. But by the end of day 1, they had me. From the professional crew and the comfortable quarters, I knew this was going to be a great week. The Diamant is a wonderful little ship for exploring the Grenadine Islands. Island Windjammers does a bang-up job from start to finish. Reservations are easy and questions are promptly answered. Transfers went without a hitch. They really go out of their way to ensure a care-free vacation. The Ship Seemed small to me at first glance, but once I settled in, I could see that there would be plenty of room for the 12 passengers and crew of 6. The ship is immaculate and very well taken care of. It's old school with gleaming wood everywhere. Right off the kitchen is the breakfast room/library. We had breakfast there each day and it was a good place to sit and relax if you wanted out of the elements. Also comfortable in the evenings to play games (dominoes were big on our trip) and just hang out. The front of the ship was where most of the crew activity took place; putting up and taking down the sails, etc. With plenty of places to sit and watch, it was a good place to take in the sights and catch some sun or to have that first cup of coffee in the morning. Perfect for star gazing at night. There's a nifty rope swing for those brave enough to try it. Some did on our trip. The back of the ship was my favorite place. Open, but covered during the day to keep you out of the sun, this is where we had dinner. Comfortable padded seats. A perfect spot for reading a book and watching the world go by. Unlike large cruise ships, you feel this ship move all of the time and it is wonderful to be lulled to sleep by the rocking of the boat. Cabins Once again, at first glance small, but realized soon enough it was not small, just compact. There was plenty of space for storing things. In fact we didn't even use all the little cubbies and hooks. The bathrooms were private with plenty of space for storage. Bottom line- air conditioned, comfy bunks and plenty of hot water for showers. What more could you ask for? Food and Drink Lots of variety. There was usually only one entree offered at dinner, but plenty of sides to choose from and always lots of fresh fruit and salad. Yummy desserts too! Philbert was a pro when it came to presentation and abundance, creating all of this in his little tiny kitchen. Every day we had a happy hour with snacks and swizzles (rum punch) and it was all delicious. One day we had a wine and cheese party which was especially good. The Captain had hand-picked the cheese earlier that day on the island. There was also a little breadbox stocked with treats if you were an early riser or got hungry anytime during the day. Drinks were included; rum swizzles, beer, house wine, soda, mixers and ice tea. You're allowed to bring your own alcohol on board, and some passengers did, but I was completely happy with their offerings. The crew actually brought lunch out to us one day on the beach. They also brought snacks for us out to Happy Island and always delivered cold drinks to us at whatever beach we might be. It must have been lots of extra work for the crew, but was greatly appreciated. Ports I won't go into detail on this. All I can say is new and wonderful places each day. Gorgeous beaches, quaint little villages and great snorkeling. The ship did arrange an excursion on Bequia which was well worth the $30.00 per person. 4 of us went and we got to see much of the island and visit the turtle sanctuary. Check out Island Windjammers website for details on their itineraries. These are places the big cruise ships never get to. Captain and Crew We had Captain Nervo. He was professional, but quite personable and very approachable. He was never too busy to answer questions and always encouraged our input. Since he was the one who originally brought the Diamant from the Galapagos Islands, he had wonderful stories about the ship and its history. He was fun to be around and I liked that he had dinner with the group each night. Each day he would tell us something about where we were and what the options were for the day and then asked us what we wanted to do. This is a hardworking crew. Very friendly and accommodating but they all had jobs to do and they were busy! I don't know how the crew manages to stay so fresh for each new group of passengers asking the same old questions over and over, but they do! They were a fun group and we got to know all of them pretty well as the week went on. A special thanks to Crystal for getting us on and off the ship with ease and taking care of our on-board accounts and all the passport stuff. Passengers The ship was full with 12 passengers, all from different states in the US. One couple was young, one couple was retired and everyone else was in between. Only one couple had taken this trip before and they were actually staying on the ship for a second week. We were all very jealous of them! What we all had in common was the love of travel and a spirit of adventure. One of my concerns going in was with such a small group, we might feel pressured, or at least obligated to along with group activities. That never happened. This was truly our own adventure. There were times that some of the people went to town while others went snorkeling. Some people wanted to swim while others were happy to stay on board and read a book. One couple had the ship arrange a diving expedition. Some people went out in the evening while others did not. You could do whatever you felt like and the crew was most accommodating. The atmosphere was laid back and casual. For the most part, the week was spent barefoot, in shorts and tee. Meals were communal and it was fun to get to know such a lively group and make new friends. We all exchanged email addresses and have passed around our pictures. Motion Sickness and Sun Yes, I got sick. Once. I was fine the first few days but on day 3 it seemed a little rough in the morning. Remember, I have no sailing experience and I'm sure I have no idea what "rough" really is. I think the crew was amused when I described it as rough. I was feeling a little queasy and got sick. Felt bad for about an hour. After that I took the medication and never had another problem. There is no need to test yourselves people! Just take the medication! The sun can be another problem. Do not forget the sunscreen! The sun is hot, hot, hot and will burn you so quickly. Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than a nasty sunburn. Grenada Grenada is an interesting island. We went in two days early and stayed 2 nights after the cruise. We stayed at the Grenada Grand Resort on beautiful Grand Anse Beach. The resort property is gorgeous with wonderful facilities. The rooms are better than ok but not great. Small things like closet doors that won't open or coffeemakers with no coffee available. Little things, but enough to make you notice. And when you try to get things corrected, service is very, very slow. You wait- and wait some more. None of this affected our trip though, and the good part is, this resort is so centrally located and on such a beautiful beach, we would not hesitate to stay there again. Right across the street is a supermarket for stocking up on supplies. In the mall there is also a place to get a nice pizza. We went to Coconut Grove one night for dinner and it was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the rum punch at Garfield's too. Do not miss the downtown main market on Saturdays. One of the crew members has an aunt that has a booth there and we were lucky enough to find her and purchase all of our spices to take home. There is a bus stop right outside the resort. The bus will take you downtown and it is a wild experience to ride the bus. The island is full of friendly people and we always felt perfectly safe venturing out on our own. Hands down this was definitely one of my favorite trips. We travel a lot but have never done anything quite like this. For me, the best part was the ship. There is just nothing that can compare with the exhilaration of sitting on the top of the Diamant, on the open sea under full sail. I could have stayed there forever. And there lies my only complaint! Too short! With only 6 nights, and 2 of those nights being in port in Grenada, you're really only "out there" for 4 nights. By the time you get your sea legs and become accustomed to island time, it's time to go home. I understand Island Windjammers has taken care of that though. Apparently they now offer longer trips and are adding new ports to their itineraries. If you like ships and the sea, and beaches and islands, you will love this. If you like traveling with a small group, with people of a similar mindset, in a casual, laid back atmosphere, you will love this! Hopefully we'll be back next year to do it all over again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We flew into San Juan the day before and stayed at Cervantes Hotel. This hotel is very nice, and is within walking distance (2 blocks) from the port. They also held our luggage the next day so we could tour the city before boarding the ... Read More
We flew into San Juan the day before and stayed at Cervantes Hotel. This hotel is very nice, and is within walking distance (2 blocks) from the port. They also held our luggage the next day so we could tour the city before boarding the ship. By getting there the day before, we had a very relaxing start to our cruise. Getting through the airport was a piece of cake. Boarding the ship was also no problem. We have waited much longer on other cruises. The boarding couldn't have gone smoother. We found our room to be clean and perfectly comfortable. I also love the nice size bathrooms on Carnival. Now, I will get the negatives out of the way. We usually cruise in May or October/November because these seem to be to "quiet" times. This was not the case. There were a lot of very loud, rude people on our ship. (could this be because of the departing port?) I also did not appreciate the "spanish only" announcements. The other negative had to do in part with the layout of the ship. Deck 5 is the only deck that you can go the whole length of the ship. So why do they have events right in the middle of the only pathway from one end of the ship to the other. This caused major traffic jams. I also felt the dining room food was not quite as good as usual. Back to the fun-even though the ship got a little noisy for our tastes, it was ok because every day we could go into a wonderful port. Our first day (St. Thomas) we went to Megan's Bay. On other cruisers recommendations, we just went out to the taxi stand and took a taxi to the beach. I was concerned that it would be very crowded because this is the most popular beach, but if you just walk to your left a little, the crowd thins out. Day 2 (day at sea) Day 3 (Barbados) This was probably are best day. We booked an excursion on line with Silver Moon. This was a catamaran cruise and snorkel with the sea turtles. They met us right at the cruise port and we had the most fun and relaxing day on the boat. We snorkeled, sailed, had a fantastic lunch, all the drinks were included as well as banana bread and pina coladas for the sail back to dock. They have 2 boats. One for 12 people and one for 24. We went on the larger (24), but never felt crowded. We still had plenty of room to sun on the deck. Day 4 (St Lucia) Here we did a zip line tour with another private company. We used "Treetop Adventure Park" This is a great tour. The guides did a fantastic job (they even took a lot of pictures with "my" camera instead of trying to sell me theirs) Day 5 (St Kitts) We did the Volcano Tour with Thenford Grey tours. Thenford Grey tours is a great tour company. I would not recommend the volcano hike unless you are in EXCELLENT physical condition. The view at the top was breath taking, but the hike is very demanding. It is more than 5 miles round trip, straight up, then straight down. At places the trail (if you want to call it that) is only 10-12 inches wide, many rocks, roots, branches to continuously climb and crawl over. I could not walk for 3 days. Day 6 (St Maarten) Thank goodness we had planned another beach day since I was not able to walk very well. We again took a taxi to Orient Beach. This beach is beautiful as well. It is both French and Dutch, so you will see topless. We heard there were parts that were nude, but did not see any (maybe further up the beach). St Maarten is a beautiful island, we had such a relaxing day. The fact that it only costs us about $35.00 for the whole day was another plus. Back on the ship-We found the evenings on board to be fun as usual. We enjoy the shows, the comics, the games, sing-a-longs, etc. Found the food in the dining room to be a little less than the norm this time, but still very enjoyable. The staff was great, as usual. We usually use the self-assist for debarking. We had to get going a little earlier to do this on this cruise, but to us it was worth it to avoid all the crowds. We were off the ship, in a taxi, and on our way to the airport in no time. Because we arrived before everyone else, we breezed through customs and security at the airport. We had to wait for our flight, but since we had to be out of our staterooms by 8:30 am, we figured we might as well get going instead of just sitting in the lounge waiting to be called. Thanks, Carnival, for a wonderful cruise. Look forward to sailing again soon Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
I heard lots of complaints about the lack of the Wow factor however the service, food,shows and ports of call more than made up for it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the State rd. It took 10 minutes to get to the port and thanks ... Read More
I heard lots of complaints about the lack of the Wow factor however the service, food,shows and ports of call more than made up for it. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on the State rd. It took 10 minutes to get to the port and thanks to All Star transport, we were picked up after the cruise within 5 minutes of our call. You need to be aware of the port charges (if not included in your charge) We paid over $500. each in port fees and taxes-quite a chunk. In addition there is a service charge of $11.00 per day per person-not a huge amount but it adds up. If you drink don't expect a hefty one. They carefully measure each drink to the tune of 4 to 6.50 each with a 15% gratuity added on. You are not permitted to carry on hard liquer but can take as much wine as you wish. The excurisions were good but for me I chose to stay on board during the actual canal trip. We actually saw more on the way out so we're glad we did it. We would do it again and loved the experience. The low point of course was deimbarkation which is always the case. Long lines, finding the luggage and getting your transportaion-however this one was well organized and efficient. Do at least one dinner in the Pinnicle and one in the Italian(free) restaurant. Our favorite was the zip line in Costa Rica. No matter what age you are you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Introduction A friend and I were on the Emerald Princess for its Southern Caribbean Cruise from September 29 to 8 October 2010 out of Ft. Lauderdale with Ports of Call at Princess Caye, Bahamas; St. Thomas, USVI; Dominica; Grenada; ... Read More
Introduction A friend and I were on the Emerald Princess for its Southern Caribbean Cruise from September 29 to 8 October 2010 out of Ft. Lauderdale with Ports of Call at Princess Caye, Bahamas; St. Thomas, USVI; Dominica; Grenada; Bonaire and Aruba. I am a 55 year old male and my friend is a 48 year old female from Mexico that speaks little English. We are new to cruising with only one other seven day cruise on Carnival Conquest out of Galveston in May of this year. Arrival We flew from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Ft. Lauderdale, arriving at 3:30 p.m. on the 28, a day before the scheduled cruise departure because I no longer trust the airlines. Flight was uneventful. I had done quite a bit of research on Ft. Lauderdale, the location of the cruise terminal and hotels and other amenities in the area of the cruise terminal. The cruise terminal is very close to Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and about a 15 minute taxi cab ride from the airport which costs $12. Departure Port Hotel We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at 1500 SE 17th Street Causeway, 954.728.2577. I had booked the hotel about a month before our stay and had no trouble with getting a room. The hotel was fairly new, comfortable and moderately priced at 109.89 with taxes. It is two blocks west of a Walgreens if you need any last minute items for the cruise and there are a number of shops and restaurants in the area, as well as a number of hotel choices. Best of all it was only an $8 taxi ride to the cruise terminal from the hotel. We had dinner at Kellys Landing, 1305 Southeast 17th Street, without reservations and the food was outstanding and the service excellent. It is an Irish Pub with an excellent seafood menu. Coming from Texas, the seafood was a great change of pace from BBQ and Mexican food! Embarkation Process The next day we slept in and headed to the cruise terminal at 11:30 a.m. which took only ten minutes from the hotel. There were many people already there and I wished I had gotten there two hours earlier to beat the rush. Princess says to be there at noon on the day of embarkation. The process went very smoothly. I had filled out all forms immigration and boarding pass - before the cruise on-line. After going through security, we were given a colored piece of plastic and you could only go to a service desk when your color was called. We waited for about ten minutes before our color was called and preceded to the service desk and waited in line for about 15 minutes to get our Cruise Cards, and then preceded to another line to board this ship. From the time we arrived at the cruise terminal to the time we had our pictures taken on the cruise ship and were free to explore took about an hour and fifteen minutes, but keep in mind we did arrive early. We were very impressed after experiencing the Carnival boarding process. First Hours As soon as we boarded the ship we went to our stateroom. Before entering, I saw our stateroom steward, Fernando, in the hall and introduced myself and asked for a couple of ashtrays as my friend and I are both smokers. He proceeded to tell us that smoking was not allowed in the stateroom or on the balconies, but that he would look the other way if we smoked in the bathroom. I had checked out Princesses smoking policy on-line before booking the trip and again verified the policy with the Princess travel agent that took my reservation and booking. Needless to say, I went ballistic with Fernando. Fortunately, there was another steward in the hall that overheard our conversation and corrected Fernando by telling him the new policy of no smoking in staterooms and balconies did not take effect until 15 January 2012. This was not the way I had hoped to start off my cruise and left me very angry. Smoking Policy Princesss smoking policy states, Clearly marked Designated Smoking Areas are available onboard and include a sufficient number of ashtrays that are emptied regularly. Smoking areas were NOT clearly marked. Ashtrays were the only indicator as to where a smoking area was located. After my confrontation with Fernando, I asked three people at the service desk over a two day period to explain their smoking policy and provide me with a map of the designated smoking areas. I also asked three uniformed crew members and no two answers were the same. The only consistent answer I received was smoking was allowed on the Port side of the ship, but when I lit up there, other passengers complained and of course there were no signs or ashtrays to be found anywhere on the port side of the ship. When I tried to smoke in Skywalker Lounge, one of the areas of the ship where crew said I could smoke, smoking was only allowed on the starboard side and I know I offended some people who were on the Port side of the ship. I am a considerate smoker, but was extremely frustrated as I could never understand where smoking was allowed. I counted only 80 seats in public smoking areas (36 by Neptunes Reef Pool; 16 Speakeasy Cigar Lounge; 28 Horizon Terrace). I never did figure out whether Skywalker Lounge was smoking or not. In the day there were no ashtrays. At night, there were ashtrays on tables. And no one could tell me the policy. Its hard to be a respectful smoker when none of the crew could answer policy questions! The Ship The ship was big, laid out well, and never seemed crowded, even in the dining areas. My only complaint was on the Lido Deck by Neptunes Reef Pool there were structural steel members and tables and chairs making a very narrow corridor for those walking. It seemed like one in seven people on board were in wheel chairs or other mobility devices and if you got behind one of these, traffic jams occurred. The tables and chairs along the port and starboard side around Neptunes Pool should be removed to aid in wider and better pedestrian walk ways. I consider this a serious safety hazard in an emergency. Stateroom Although I had requested on my Special Requests form on-line I wanted two twin beds and not a queen, the queen bed had not been prepared as requested. When our steward broke the bed apart, he removed all linens and mattress pads and stuck them under each of the now separated twin beds allowing little room for our suite cases. After three days of tripping on my luggage protruding from under the bed, I tossed all of the bedding out in the hall and it magically disappeared. My twin bed had no mattress cover and was very uncomfortable. We were in Dolphin 115 (9115), a mini suite, and were three staterooms from the bow of the ship on the starboard side. We encountered small waves during the voyage and at night you could hear the waves slam into the ship and feel a shudder. I cant imagine what moderate to large waves would sound/feel like. I will never book a room that close to the bow for this reason. The balcony was good size with four chairs, but there was no ceiling and it was uncomfortable sitting outside when the sun was on that side of the ship. We also had like an island separating the beds from the small sitting area that I felt was wasted space. There were two TVs, one on each side of this island and the one remote controlled both TVs, so when youd try to turn the TV on or off, the other would come on or go off, too. Princess needs to automate their TV system so you can access your charges like almost all hotels do now. Dining Our seating for formal dining was for 8:15 p.m. in Botticellis. The food was good and the service was good, but it was very obvious the servers were overworked and it affected their attitudes. They were so busy and always in a rush that they never had time to be friendly and make you feel welcome. I blame this more on Princess and not the hard working staff. We dined in Botticellis for only three nights and then dined at Michelangelo for three nights and then in the Caf Caribe and Horizon Court the other nights. I thought the food was very good, but the service in the Caf Caribe and Horizon Court left much to be desired. One would load up with food and by the time the wait staff got to your table, took your drink order, and returned from the bar with a soda or other drink, you were almost finished with your meal. I just opted for the iced teas at the self-service bars. Orange juice in the morning was another ordeal. The wait staff would bring you this small 8 oz glass, filled to only five or six ounces, never to be seen again. When I asked for two glasses of OJ, the waiter said it was policy to bring only one juice at a time! And the coffee in Caf Caribe and Horizon Court just sucked. It was horrible! It had to be instant. Even though it bordered on putrid, I drank my fair share before I discovered the Calypso Coffee Bar on Deck 5. But at $2 to $6 a pop for a coffee or cappuccino, the costs added up. I do not understand why Princess would skimp on good coffee what a disappointment! Room service coffee and coffee in the dining rooms were very good. And I dont understand why they didnt have milk dispensers or cartoned milk or soda/juice fountains in the drink stations. I was not pleased with the drink accommodations on board. Of course, Princess does this for revenue. I am amazed at how Princess reaches into your pocket at every turn to make a quick buck. Talk about corporate greed on Wallstreet Princess is the epitome of profit maximization. If hotels can create all inclusive packages, why cant the cruise lines? Id easily pay more on the front end, rather than being nickeled and dimed every time I turned around. We really enjoyed the Pizza and Ice Cream Bar. The staff here were the friendliest on the entire ship. Kudos for the staff! The ice cream was good, but very rich. Carnival has a number of self-serve ice cream machines on the Conquest and their ice cream is yogurt which I enjoyed much more. Room service was OK but had a very limited selection of items. Two mornings we waited for room service way past the time we had designated on the cards we hung outside on the door the night before, and finally gave up and went to Caf Caribe or Horizon Court. I was very disappointed in room service compared to Carnivals room service. Kudos for Princess for having menus in other languages. My Mexican friend was very happy about that! Carnival only had menus in English. Soda Card I had purchased two soda packages at $11.75 each and was very dismayed when I found out the only diet soda you could get with the cards is Diet Coke! If you wanted Sprite Zero, you had to pay $2.00 a can! I spent several hours in ports trying to find any clear, diet soda and finally was able to buy some diet Mountain Dew in Bonaire, but this was another strike against Princess. I did, however, receive a full credit for each soda card at the end of the cruise, but never requested one. Not sure how that happened as I never complained or mentioned it to anyone. Entertainment Because my friend didt speak English, we didnt do too many of the Entertainment venues, however I did step in to the Beetles show for about ten minutes and it looked and sounded excellent. I very much enjoyed the String Quartet in the Piazza. We did attend a Big Band Concert, at least that was how it was billed in Princess Patter and the only Big Band Tune played was Moonlight Serenade, the very first song. Everything else was from the late 50s or 60s. Apparently, the band was not familiar with the era in which Big Band music was popular. I looked forward to this event all day and was very disappointed. Activities Because my friend doesnt speak English, we did not do many on-board activities. We did enjoy the swimming pools and hot tubs, but wished the ship had a water slide. I watched part of a movie at Movies under the Stars and wished I had seen more. It was really cool, but very loud. We didnt find too many good deals on board from a shopping perspective. They did hawk some neat T-Shirts but they all had Princess Cruises written on them and I wont be a walking billboard for any company. The perfume was priced the same as back home at Dillards. The jewelry was overpriced, but they did sell a lot of imitation stuff for cheap and my friend bought a lot of that. Shore Excursions 1. Princess Cayes One of the biggest tourist traps I have ever seen designed to get passengers to part with their dollars. All excursions were at least double the price of those in other ports. Princess hopes to cash in on your dollars by making this the first port of call on the cruise. Talk about corporate greed! I tried to take a picture of my friend in front of a plastic shark and was told I couldnt because the shark was private property. A Princess photographer would take your pic and try to sell it back to you for $25 bucks. Absolutely amazing. When I went to snap a pic of my friend in front of the shark, the lady photographer pushed (yes, pushed) my friend out of the way and stood in front of the shark to block the shot. Incredible! Absolutely incredible! 2. St. Thomas Castaway Girl Shipwreck Cove Sail and Snorkel. This was a great and inexpensive shore excursion. The crew and staff were more than friendly and helpful, plus they were happy. Not many of the crew and staff on Emerald Princess seemed genuinely happy. I would highly recommend this excursion. After the snorkel we taxied into Charlotte Amalie and went straight to AH Rise where I bought a Rolex watch. I dont think I got any kind of a deal, though, compared to anywhere else. Buyers beware. If you buy more than $1,600 in the Virgin Islands, it is subject to duty when you get back to the States. I had to pay $250 in duty for the Rolex. Had I bought it where I lived, the tax would have been $675, so I did save a little. For you smokers, AH Rise sells dirt cheap cigarettes. I paid $125 for five cartons, or a little under half the price per carton I pay in Texas. 3. Dominica Titou Gorge Swim and Hot Springs and Scenic Drive. This was another excursion I thought was well worth the money. At the Titou Gorge, you swim to a waterfall through steep canyon walls. I had my wallet and two cameras with me and did not want to leave them unattended, so we did not see the falls. The hot springs were awesome and I could have spent a couple of hours there very relaxing. (Left all valuables in the van this time.) We then shopped downtown and wasted about an hour trying to find clear, diet soda. 4. Grenada - Grand Etang Park, Ft. Frederick & Annadale Falls. Well worth the money. Ft. Frederick was like any other old fort but had excellent views of the island. Then we drove around the island and saw coco pods, passion fruit and breadfruit. We stopped in St. Andrew and I was able to buy 8 oz. of saffron for $4. Then we went up on a mountain and saw an extinct volcano crater good photo op. After the excursion we shopped downtown for a bit. 5. Bonaire I had not booked this in advance like all the other excursions and we were disappointed. We did a snorkeling cruise to Klien Bonaire dont have the exact name in front of me. We began at 3:30 p.m., sailed to Klien Bonaire and snorkeled. The lady in charge of the boat was a witch very bossy and not friendly at all. She treated my Mexican friend terribly to the point I had to tell her if she said another word to my friend, Id throw her overboard. She seemed to get the point. Skip this excursion. For years I have heard about how great Bonaire is for scuba and snorkeling, but we didnt see much of interest. Got back to the ship with just five minutes to spare. 6. Aruba I did the Certified Scuba Dive and it was excellent. Saw the Antilla ship wreck and a lot of wildlife and coral. My friend did the Snorkeling Cruise and Antilla Ship Wreck. She said it was a great experience. After the cruise were shopped in Aruba. We bought an underwater camera from the photo gallery for $23, and it seemed to work under water, but none of the pics came out. Im sure Princess bought these for $5 each and made a ton of money on faulty equipment. Disembarkation We had to be out of our staterooms at 8 am and were assigned to wait in the Windjammer Lounge until our group was called at 9:30 a.m. At 9:40 am our group was called and by 10:20 am we were off the ship, had our luggage and on our way to the airport by taxi. Princess really tries to get you to take their transfer to the airport for $18 per person. We took a cab for a total price to $12. Just one last attempt by Princess to separate you from your money. Dont fall for it. Overall Experience Overall, the cruise was very pleasant and we did enjoy ourselves. But several factors really detracted from the experience like the lack of a smoking policy, only one diet soda option on the soda card, the deplorable coffee, and not being able to get much to drink in Caf Caribe and Horizon Court. The ship was beautiful, the ports and islands were awesome, and most of the shore excursions were well worth the money. Overall, the staff were hard working folks, but seemed overworked and not happy. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
This was our 6th cruise, the 3rd with Royal Caribbean and the first on the Serenade of the Seas. This is one of the smaller RC ships and we loved it. At no time did we feel crowded like we've felt on other ships. We didn't have ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, the 3rd with Royal Caribbean and the first on the Serenade of the Seas. This is one of the smaller RC ships and we loved it. At no time did we feel crowded like we've felt on other ships. We didn't have to search for seats in the Windjammer, except for the morning of debarkation. We were impressed with the quality and attention paid to the layout and the interior decor of the ship. On the Serenade you could walk from bow to stern without having to go up a deck, through the casino then down a deck. The decor was elegant and understated. Our stateroom with balcony was tastefully decorated and most importantly, the bed was comfortable. We were pleased there were no obstructions on the balcony as we spend a fair amount of time on the balcony; before breakfast having coffee and before dinner having cocktails. The staff, from the dining room to the stateroom attendants, was fantastic. They were very knowledgeable and had a great attitude. Our stateroom attendant, Leon, did a great job. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer where there was a wide selection of food, all of which tasted great. We never had to look far to find a table next to a window. For dinner we chose "my time dining" which worked out very well for us. We ate dinner in the Reflections dining room. The menu choices were varied and the food was VERY well prepared. As a Sous Chef for 17 years I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food and the presentation of each course. The wine selection was nice and our waiter, Ajay, was well versed in what wine would pair nicely with the meals we chose. We didn't try the specialty dining rooms, Chops or Portifino, but will on the next cruise. The comedian and other acts, with the exception of the song/ dance show, were good - not great but good. As far as the ship excursions, we booked ours privately so we can't comment. There were three aspects of the cruise which slightly disappointed us. The first was boarding. Having one camera to take the security photo showed a lack of planning; we spent an hour on line to get our pictures taken. The pictures should have been taken during the initial check in, where there were more then 20 check-in desks. The second issue was with the production shows. They are not as good as some of the other cruise lines. The mix of the song and dance routine was a little bizarre but the cast was talented, shame to waste it on the poor choice of show tunes. The third issue was with the glass roofed Solarium. The roof could be opened but never was and while the room itself was nicely decorated it reeked of chlorine from the whirlpools. Overall, we were pleased with the crew and the experience we had aboard the Serenade of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Embarkation: Was well done, even better than Carnival that we had sailed on in May of this year. The process was made very easy by checking in according to your cabin level. The ship: Very attractive on the inside. The colors were ... Read More
Embarkation: Was well done, even better than Carnival that we had sailed on in May of this year. The process was made very easy by checking in according to your cabin level. The ship: Very attractive on the inside. The colors were bright and appealing not dark like the Carnival Freedom. I was very surprised to see that the outside of the ship had rust showing in several places and places on the hull that looked like they were painted over with out sanding the rough spots. Carnival clearly does a better job at keeping the ship snow white and attractive on the outside. This was proven when we docked between the Carnival Freedom and another Carnival ship in the Virgin Islands. Dining: We were spoiled by Carnival early in the year. Princess started out slow but came on strong and I thought the food and the selection was good especially through out the latter part of the cruise. Two negatives were the lack luster service on refills unless green coated supervisors were around and the need to allow people to get their own refills if they wish to. On several occasions I attempted to get my own refills while the unsupervised servants stood around like zombies. The ice machines were almost always out of ice. Entertainment: What we saw was good although we are not hard to please in this area. The cruise director Marahscalh , a alabama traveler himself , kept every one informed and entertained to the best of his ability which I thought was done with class and professionalism. Cabin: Our cabin was satisfactory. You give some and you take some and Princess gave more closet space with less bathroom space than Carnival Freedom. The shower was so small that at six feet tall I almost had to shower half of my body at a time. To bend over and wash my feet or legs while in the shower I had to stick the upper part of my body out of the shower which caused my face to almost go into the toilet bowl. The balcony was larger than the last cruise ship but the seats did not recline which was a real disappointment for me since I spend a lot of time on the balcony. Room service: Our room servant missed changing the sheets and towels on one day and did not bring fruit but brought double on a later day. We understand that these people are very busy and are human and can forget , so no problem. Service: The lack of posting one's account on the TV screens was a big negative because you have to go all the way to the customer service counter for account information and my information was not correct or updated on more than on occasion when the public print out monitor and the customer service monitor are only feet away from each other. Ports of call: The Ports of call were the highlights of this cruise. The itinerary was well planned and laid out and none of the stops were disappointments to us. Over all the cruise was relaxing and affordable. We enjoyed it and appreciate the effort of Princess and staff. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
This was our third trip with Carnival, and first leaving from San Juan on Carnival Victory. We stayed at the Sheraton just about a block away from the pier, so it was easy to grab our bags, and walk over to the ship. We got to the pier ... Read More
This was our third trip with Carnival, and first leaving from San Juan on Carnival Victory. We stayed at the Sheraton just about a block away from the pier, so it was easy to grab our bags, and walk over to the ship. We got to the pier around 11 a.m., and were on around 1 p.m. Positive: Overall I would say the trip was great. The weather was wonderful (except for an occasional shower), many ports to visit, and activities to enjoy. We made two great friends, who dinned with us at the late dinner (Hi Donna, Barry:) Our room (with balcony) was located on the Lido deck which made getting something to eat, or jumping in for a fast swim in the deck pool a breeze. We enjoyed numerous excursions. One of the highlights of the trip was the last night show of Carnival Legends where passengers put on a show playing such famous persons as Frank Sinatra, Madonna, and the king himself...Elvis! The staff was always friendly, especially those who took care of our room. They were so efficient that if you got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom you found the bed made when you got back :) Negative: I have read where other people have talked about the sometime rudeness of some of the passengers on board. Unfortunately I experienced the same thing. When it came time to come on board the ship, it was nothing but shoving, pushing, and cutting in line. Same thing happened time, and time again when waiting for elevators, or getting something to eat on the Lido deck. I have also traveled on two other Carnival ships, and never had to wait in such long lines to just grab a fast bite to eat. I know you're there to relax, and normally there's no reason to be worried about time. But when you have to stand in line for about half an hour just to grab a hamburger, and fries, it gets a little tedious. My wife and I had late dinning, and while the dinning staff were very friendly, for some reason found it took a long time to get done with the meal. I would say on average it took two hours from start to finish, one time almost two, and a half hours. When you start eating at 8:15 and don't get done until 10:30, it eats up a lot of your time. Plus, it made getting to the shows somewhat difficult. Disembarkation was a breeze, got to the airport early, so had no difficulty getting our tickets, and getting through security. Only hard part was knowing that we wouldn't be walking back onto the ship :( Overall though enjoyed our time aboard Carnival Victory, and while probably would not want to do so in the immediate future, wouldn't mind cruising once again some time down the road. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Hello!  My husband and I just completed the 7 day cruise on Carnival Victory Sunday, July 5th.  I specifically picked this ship for it's itinerary; stopping at 6 islands in 7 days: St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominica; St. Lucia, Antigua, ... Read More
Hello!  My husband and I just completed the 7 day cruise on Carnival Victory Sunday, July 5th.  I specifically picked this ship for it's itinerary; stopping at 6 islands in 7 days: St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominica; St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Kitts.  If you count San Juan we actually visited 7 islands.   While we are exhausted, we loved the cruise and the ship and have nothing but praise for our cabin steward Noel and dining room head server Victoria and Budi.  In fact, one morning as I had gone for coffee and had my hands full, one of the maintenance staff saw me, stopped what he was doing and literally ran over to open the door for me.  He did not have to do that but it was appreciated.  I wish I had gotten his name.   Our cabin was on deck 10 - 1038.  The only issue that we had was that the kids club was directly over our cabin and it sounded like the ceiling was going to fall in at night!  Fortunately the noise did die down around midnight.  Also, our first cruise with Carnival was on the Miracle and our room was a bit larger than Victory; but beyond that the room was comfortable, clean, and the beds are great.  It is tempting to buy their sleep system!   The ship has 2 dining rooms; the Atlantic and the Pacific.  They are very close to each other but getting to the Pacific (which was our assigned dining room) was very confusing.  From the front of the ship; you needed to go down to either deck 4 or 5 - go behind the Casino and then down to the 3rd deck.  You cannot just go to the 3rd deck from the front of the ship.  Ladies - do remember your sweaters or shawls as the dining room and Casino can get chilly.We went early so that we could experience Old San Juan.  We stayed at the Sheraton and were able to walk across the street to the cruise terminal.  We were onboard by 1230. Embarkation and debarkation are a breeze. Even the airport was straightforward - we had been warned about the USDA check but that took us maybe 5 minutes - maybe it was because we were an early flight out and got there before the rush of the late flights.Old San Juan was nice - we saw the fortress along the coast which is impressive itself but all along the coast are colonies of feral cats; hundreds of them.  We never got to the beach or the castle or traditional San Juan food but we enjoyed our visit all the same. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2007
This was my very first cruise back in 1997. I noticed that they didn't show the port we embarked at which was Puerto Rico nor was they year available but I was determined to see St. Lucia's Marigot Bay where they filmed the ... Read More
This was my very first cruise back in 1997. I noticed that they didn't show the port we embarked at which was Puerto Rico nor was they year available but I was determined to see St. Lucia's Marigot Bay where they filmed the 1960's version of 'Dr. Dolittle' with Rex Harrison (after attending 6 yrs of vet med and dreaming of becoming a doctor since I was 5 and when the movie came out...I was about 7 and knew it would be a veterinarian because of it lol.) We drove from New Orleans to Miami to visit family before we fly to Puerto Rico to board. This went well enough but living in Vegas for a year...my first impression was that it was as gaudy as the casinos :P No matter. It was about the ports of call and although I felt like a kindergartener getting off a bus for a field trip...I was pleased by all the different places you could see in a 1 or 2 weeks on these things! As bikers, we are used to a lot of freedom so being cramped in what we called a sardine can and having to dine at the same place at a certain time didn't appeal to us. Nor having to come in from play at certain times but all in all...the trip to St. Lucia with its Pitons, Harley rentals in Guadeloupe, and the spice island of Grenada (which also had a vet med there) was worth it (we didn't care for the us virgin islands or other places...we are rain forest, hiking trails, waterfall buffs. I had a beach house anyway so laying on a beach wasn't a vacation to me at that time). I didn't cruise again until last year. Twice. Now it will be twice this year! I am gaining more knowledge on how to use the ship's facilities, book my own excursions if they are sold out or have nothing appealing, make sure we are in a large balcony at minimum, and dining alternatives (although the busy carpeting is an eye sore lol) and realizing the value of these types of vacations!!!! You can't stay at the holiday inn down the road and eat at fast food joints for these prices!! And really....although bikers will say that it is all about the journey....sometimes I'd prefer to dig the destinations :))))) All in all...I wish I did these cruises more when I was younger. I am partial to carnival because of the king bed and a bit larger rooms but would like to try other ships. I believe for the value though...I'll always be loyal to Carnival :) Looking back now that I am older and wiser now Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise