In hindsight, booking a cruise mid-June was not the smartest if you don't LOVE 2,000 kids running around. The ship was full and lines were long for everything, that would be my only big complaint. Trying to get a deck chair, ... Read More
In hindsight, booking a cruise mid-June was not the smartest if you don't LOVE 2,000 kids running around. The ship was full and lines were long for everything, that would be my only big complaint. Trying to get a deck chair, ANYWHERE on board after 8:30am is not possible. Old ladies in their scooters are propped up saving rows for their grandkids, who are probably still in bed.
Embarkation was very smooth. Got on board, got all of our instructions, and were allowed into our rooms within an hour of boarding. Luggage was there quickly too! We were on deck 1, so getting an elevator was challenging at times. Food is on deck 10, so stairs weren't any faster.. since I kept having to stop and rest.
Very bummed that our first port (Half Moon Cay) was cancelled due to weather, but the crew handled it very smoothly. The cruise director Simon London was very good! He was constantly running from one activity to the next, always with a smile and still stopping to chat & greet guests. Honestly, every single staff member I encountered was awesome the entire time.
Ok - the ports were something I wish I'd researched more. Unless you book an excursion, there is nothing to do in Amber Cove other than sit around another pool! It is a huge nice pool, but 4400 people fill it up quickly. At least here there are plenty of deck chairs available.
Grand Turk is basically all about paying to get shade or a drink. The first 3-4 rows of covered chairs by the water are 'paid upgrades', upwards of $25 depending on which guy catches you as you walk on the beach.
Food was good, not fantastic. The best spots are the burger bar and burrito/taco bar on the pool deck. Oh and 24-hour pizza is a huge hit with my kids! Read Less
We choose this cruise (7th cruise) because of the itinerary. We purchased FTTF, so our boarding and disembarking went very quickly. Took no more than 10min to board, and we were off the ship by 7:30 on the last day! We had a balcony ... Read More
We choose this cruise (7th cruise) because of the itinerary. We purchased FTTF, so our boarding and disembarking went very quickly. Took no more than 10min to board, and we were off the ship by 7:30 on the last day! We had a balcony cabin. Nothing wrong at all. AC worked fine. Only issue was the first nite, we ended up leaving about 8pm for dinner, so our cabin was not serviced because it was too late. Even tho we were on the 9th floor, not very much noise. Dining was great. Service in the main dining room was excellent. Even though we had read reviews of long lines, I personally didnt experience this. Could just be timing. Spent most sea days on the serenity deck. I will say, get there early if u want a cabana. Our first port (Halfmoon Cay) was cancelled because of rough seas. Next was the Dominican Republic. We did the waterfall excursion and it was one of the best experiences ever! Only issue was the tour company said not to take ur phone or camera (understandable) and that they would take all the pics u needed. We did purchase the USB they had for $55. There were literally 4 pics of each group in our group, but they were all posed pics on the trail or afterwards. Nothing on the jumps or slides. Also was told we were doing 7 waterfalls , but it was only 5. Still had a blast. Third port was Grand Turk. Snorkeling was amazing. Lunch afterwards left something to be desired. Was also disappointed with the shops at both ports. All stores seemed to be very commercialized. Same items in every store and very expensive. None of the unique & local items we gave gotten in other ports. All in all, great experience. We plan on doing the same ship & itinerary with our kids next time! Read Less
Before I get too far along I want to say that the crew, bar staff, room stewards etc.. were excellent. They did what they could..
Now, some complaints:
1. The main dining room food was a disappointment most days. Lunch menus were ... Read More
Before I get too far along I want to say that the crew, bar staff, room stewards etc.. were excellent. They did what they could..
Now, some complaints:
1. The main dining room food was a disappointment most days. Lunch menus were identical every day. specialty dining, on the three nights we had it, was much better but I was left suspecting the main dining rooms are suffering to drive passengers into paid venus..
The buffet was a complete disaster. The food was just ok, but the crowds were overwhelming. The crowding was some of the worst I have witnessed on any of my dozen or so cruises.
2. The Bahamas Atlantis excursion was a disaster. It seemed they sold half day tickets without regard to crowd size or infrastructure of the port. We stood on a pier under construction with no shade water or seating in 95+ degree sun for about an hour before the line even thought about moving. 100s if not thousands of passengers were shuttled the short trip to Atlantis in 25 passenger Van's, severely cutting into time to be spent at the park.
3. Disembarkation in Miami was only slightly improved from the Atlantis excursion. Ncl called categories much faster than people could exit the ship, and snaked the line of passengers through most common areas on the ship. I understand they need to make ready to set sail, but this was an absurdity. No one will forget standing in a massive line an inordinate amount of time like this and it will hurt return business.
4. The water slides were often out of service for maintenance. When I went on them I found why. They are brutal. The sliding surface has a cheese grater like effect and was dry in spots as you go down the slide causing your skin to chafe.
5. Crowding everywhere. This may seem repetitive, but its intentional. I don't know if it is understaffed or what but there were lines on top of lines...for everything.
1. Osheeans was pretty nice to have but was overcrowded with 30 or 40 minute waits standard.
2. The rock band at the pour house was incredible and saved our cruise singlehandedly.
3. Embarkation was pretty smooth. Read Less
I just got off this cruise sailing (June 16th-23rd) and will start by saying WOW!! Where can I start.
I booked this cruise as a Father’s Day and daughter cruise which not only blew me away, but made my daughter happier then ... Read More
I just got off this cruise sailing (June 16th-23rd) and will start by saying WOW!! Where can I start.
I booked this cruise as a Father’s Day and daughter cruise which not only blew me away, but made my daughter happier then ever. From the food to entertainment, I couldn’t of asked for a better experience. The shows were beyond amazing. I did see their Aqua Theater show Ocean Aria three times out of the first three nights, I did see Mamma Mia but wish I saw it a second time, Blue Planet twice which was amazing. The Juggling Act of Charles Peachock which is a cant miss. Overall for entertainment, this in my opinion was far above suburb.
The food on board was great, buffets were stocked and well organized, I didn’t really experience the sit down locations, since there is so much to do and my daughter was a picky eater. Everything from the burgers ya Wipe Out Cafe to the ice cream poolside was worth the “weight gain” on the ship.
The service overall was excellent. Despite a(n) medical emergency which caused our experience to miss Labadee, Haïti where I was excited for our excursion, the crew/staff really held their ground and still made this trip standout. I was disappointed, but coming from a position where I work in hospitality/Guest Services, I understand safety is a priority and need to accept it. I wanted to personally mention The cruise Director, Jimmy Rhodes along with other members of the staff, for balancing out a great experience throughout the week we had. I also wanted to give Captain Ron a huge thank you for his professionalism during the issue that took place and still made this experience outstanding
The pool/recreation was great, so many pools (about 4 along with 6-8 whirlpools) made the crowd spread out so it didn’t cause the pool deck to feel clogged. The activities poolside were fun and entertaining, the mini golf, ice skating, flow rider all are great for the kids. The weather was great so it made it worth it being poolside.
Finally, the overall service was a solid 10/10. I’m not one to typically write a solid review, but this made me realize why this cruise line the only one I will sail with. The only flaw I experienced which honestly wasn’t a huge issue, was communication in the in-room phone was delayed and no one answered within an reasonable time. That didn’t stop my daughter who’s 6, and myself from having a great time.
I hope to those who booked this cruise and are reading this, take this as an example of what you’ll experience. I promise you won’t be disappointed Read Less
Embarkation was swift and easy as well as the disembarkation. A nice surprise was the addition of Carrot Juice for breakfast as well as different types of pizza including deep dish varieties at other times. The singers and dancers ... Read More
Embarkation was swift and easy as well as the disembarkation. A nice surprise was the addition of Carrot Juice for breakfast as well as different types of pizza including deep dish varieties at other times. The singers and dancers performances were superb. They were always in sync, graceful and elegant. Don’t miss “Bravo” & “Fantastic Journey”
We had a large number of first time cruisers of varying ages and there was always an activity to cater to everyone. And the courteous decorum of everyone was apparent.
The Caribbean Princess is a Medallion Class Ship. There are still a few kinks to iron out but overall it was a great experience especially being able to wear your Medallion instead of carrying your card. As you approach your cabin, the door automatically unlocks.
You can play games, locate your shipmates, and order drinks with the apps.
From the dining room menus to the exceptional service we hated for our cruise to end.
We will be back! Read Less
I booked Princess because of the reputation of service and quality
I am not kidding when I say the majority of staff had attitude our room was
Dirty, found shoes in the bathroom (not ours). Work
Was done on balcony they left a ... Read More
I booked Princess because of the reputation of service and quality
I am not kidding when I say the majority of staff had attitude our room was
Dirty, found shoes in the bathroom (not ours). Work
Was done on balcony they left a mess and the steward did not clean it.
We are also nickel and dimes for everything
We also had a prepaid dinner in the paid restaurant. We went to book in the steakhouse and was told they were all booked and we could eat in the seafood restaurant. I asked to speak to a manager and was told there wasn’t one and I didn’t have a choice
Princess, I DO have a choice. There are many other cruise lines out there. If you think Princess will give you great service, think again. Chose Celebration
The rooms are great. We had a mini suite
Other passengers felt the same as us Read Less
I am a male in my mid-30s and this was my fourth cruise with Carnival (I've also been on the Splendor, Pride, and Horizon), along with two from Royal Caribbean and one from Princess. I will be providing an extensive review below, in ... Read More
I am a male in my mid-30s and this was my fourth cruise with Carnival (I've also been on the Splendor, Pride, and Horizon), along with two from Royal Caribbean and one from Princess. I will be providing an extensive review below, in the hopes it proves helpful to those reading (I know I appreciate detailed specifics of positives and negatives others give in their reviews, so I like to be equally thorough). While I'll be providing some slight criticisms, mainly related to the ship's layout of certain things, I gave this cruise a full five stars, because for all ten days of this trip, I witnessed what I felt to be virtually-perfect execution of all things within the control of the personnel on board, from dining, to entertainment, to service, to fostering an unrivaled fun atmosphere.
Embarkation in Manhattan: Despite going through the same terminal last year at about the same arrival time and boarding the larger Horizon very quickly, this seemed to take a bit longer to get through security this time around. It appeared the line formed on a first come, first served basis, like an airport. No big deal, but it seemed not to make a difference what boarding time/group was arranged beforehand, despite Carnival asking passengers to indicate in advance such arrival times/preferences.
Ship Layout: The Sunrise certainly looks nice enough following the refurbishment; however, in transforming the eateries and public spaces from its dry dock as the Triumph, two key issues seemed to have developed. One, the lines at the main buffet itself, regardless of if it's during breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even during the Midnight Buffet this itinerary had, were way too long to be considered normal (the lines at all the other surrounding lunch stations were at least reasonable and moved plenty quickly, like on other ships Carnival has). Two, the placement of the Limelight Lounge (an important venue to get to, since it hosts not only the nightly popular comedy shows and the nightclub it converts to after hours, but also random activities during the day), sandwiched between the two main dining rooms on deck 4, was problematic and even crew members admitted it's hard to find when you're looking for it. You're expected to take one specific set of elevators/stairwell to get to it from a different deck, but no one will blame you if you feel like walking right through the restaurant before, during, or after dinner to avoid the maze. Those two things aside, the ship in general is easy to navigate and they did a good job adding/subtracting venues based on current demands. It's much better that the Promenade Deck has a large RedFrog Pub for popular trivia and games/live music performances instead of separate smaller lounges and library space other ships have had that aren't a good use of real estate, and it's smart that the higher decks now have the Serenity areas, sport square, ropes course, and sizable water park replacing skylights and glass domes that offer less benefit. This helps manage the crowds and keeps adults and kids alike further entertained.
Entertainment/Activities: This itinerary was unique in that it is considered a "Journeys" cruise, which means it's nine days or longer, and as a result includes some activities and entertainment options not normally found on shorter cruises Carnival does. Some examples of what this means is a designated 80's-themed day (they played throwback lido deck games that were popular back then, showed 80's movie classics on the poolside movie screen, and featured a lot of live 80's rock and pop music at the various venues at night, also encouraging people to wear costumes), more enrichment-type classes (including ones featuring different kinds of dance lessons for couples and larger groups), a quick walk-through of the galley for those interested in how the dining rooms run their operation, a Captain's Cocktail Party that included drinks and finger foods, and additional opportunities for guests to interact with cast and crew (there was an open Q&A with reps from different departments, a separate Q&A focused specifically on the Broadway-style performers, and most interactive of all, a special one-performance-only show in the main theatre that allows guests to sing and dance with the cast on stage). Without exception, the entertainment offerings were top-notch, not just what I mentioned above, but also each and every one of the musicians on board, all of whom were exceptional and versatile in their respective styles: the Black Diamonds electric violin trio, the Hip Stars and Have Mercy Horns bands, Piano Bar performer Scott, acoustic guitarist Tim, and Steel Drum player Keith. The music playlists were not tired and cliched; they were innovative, varied, and included something for everyone, regardless of age or preferred genre. I was actually having trouble deciding who I wanted to listen to each night, because they were all so good.
Dining/Bars: The rebranding as the Sunrise resulted in some upgrades here, including getting the popular Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Pub, and newer eateries such as Guy's BBQ (not to be confused with Guy's Burgers, which it already had as part of the previous Fun Ships 2.0 upgrade that saw the cruise line uniformly put it in along with the build-your-burrito/taco bar, rum bar, and tequila bar across most of the company's main pool decks), Bonsai Sushi, and Cucina Del Capitano (free create-your-own pasta lunch by day, fee-based Italian dinner by night). The one surprise worth pointing out that didn't seem to be talked about much is that there's a new free asian bowl lunch option on the Lido Deck the opposite side of the deli, and it's really good. It's not as customizable as Mongolian Wok, so the line moves faster than ships with the Wok, but it's good quality and fresh. Dining room food was excellent each night, as I usually find it to be, and my lunches mainly consisted of the taco/burrito bar, Guy's BBQ, Guy's Burger's, the deli for hot dogs, and the pasta at Cucina on Embarkation Day (hard for me to pick a favorite). As far as the bars, I went to where the action was at a given moment, but I often found myself at the lobby bar (especially when the electric violins and atrium parties were happening) and the piano bar (the aforementioned Scott was brilliant and kept the room lively enough where I constantly chose him over the nightclub for my late-night destination).
Staff/Service: This was, without a doubt, the best I've ever seen on any cruise I've ever been on. Every person, without exception, was fantastic, and it was like the stars aligned to bring this group of MVP-caliber cast and crew together. Here are just some of the things I witnessed during the time onboard: a member of the photography team volunteering to help a family of five complete a six-person "cheerleader pyramid" by getting on all fours herself for a photo op, a random crew member amusing a young kid on the elevator to keep him happy during the ride up, a bartender at Alchemy going all the way to the sous chef just to get more basil for a joke drink one passenger wanted to give someone, and the Playlist Productions cast singing "happy birthday" to a young boy during their Q&A. As far as how else the cast and crew went above and beyond: the electric violin players performed my dad's request (even though they had been sticking to a set playlist throughout), the Playlist Performers were constantly setting aside as much time as requested for passengers to speak to them, practice with them, and learn from them both randomly after performances in the atrium and related to the show that featured guest participation (shoutout to Jeremy and Paige for their work in teaching the singing and choreography to the larger group for the show, and especially to Jeremy for gladly arranging an impromptu backstage tour for me to see behind-the-scenes when he learned of my interest in such production details), and Scott at the piano bar was always up for chatting at the end of the night, no matter how late it was. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how great the dining room staff was, particularly my waiters Ferdinand, Landomar, and Dennis, as well as the personable and hardworking bar staff throughout the ship (though I want to specifically mention Neenee at the lobby bar, and Miguel at the piano bar, both of whom stood out to me, and in the case of Miguel, also doubled as a first-class Elvis impersonator for a contest during one of the shows and joined in sing-alongs at the piano bar). I cannot say enough about how great everyone was, and how much I wish I have the opportunity to see at least some of them again.
*I'm giving a separate note here for the cruise director, Chris "The Flying Scotsman" Williams, who as far as I'm concerned, has revolutionized the concept of what a CD can, and should, be. Not only was he the best cruise director I've ever seen, he falls into a category all his own. He didn't simply "make appearances" at events or "hype up" an act before they came on, Chris WAS the event and WAS the act (coming from a strong musical performance background, he even headlined his own main theatre show one night, singing everything from rock hits from bands like Whitesnake to the operatic Nessun Dorma to a heartfelt rendition of a Scottish song to share his roots). He was always around, he always stopped to talk with guests and take pictures, and he brought a level of energy and passion to his work that made you wish Carnival execs were present to see what all their other cruise directors fleetwide should be doing to truly capture the "Fun Ships" experience.
San Juan - Went here last year, and did the same thing: walked around the city and the nearby shops a bit, without doing an excursion. The port time was a bit odd, in that it got in late and left late, so I got some nice pics of the ship from the pier around sunset and after it got dark.
Tortola - Did a beach/lunch excursion at nearby Jost Van Dyke. The beach over there was beautiful, somewhat secluded, and had a few bars nearby, including the Soggy Dollar (supposedly the place that created the Painkiller cocktail). Lunch was basic hot dog or hamburger and chips, but it is noteworthy that unlike other places that might give you one ticket or voucher to redeem, they didn't have any issue if you wanted a second hot dog or hamburger or more chips; they weren't being cheap or strict about that.
St. Maarten - Did a beach/lunch excursion at a beach on the Dutch side near the airport (not the famous beach directly under where planes lanes, but adjacent). The beach was nice enough too, though I had hoped Orient Beach had recovered sooner from the hurricane so I could have also experienced the French side of the island (Carnival had apparently just started offering a similar excursion there again, but didn't really promote it leading up the cruise, and only a few passengers found out about it in time to book that one instead). Lunch was a little nicer than hot dogs/hamburgers (ex: ribs was an option)
St. Thomas - Did the Kon Tiki beach excursion, which was the most fun during the trip to the beach, as they offered unlimited rum punch both to and from the beach, and the vessel included a glass bottom to briefly see marine life (plus they fed yellow snapper off the side to get them to surface). Additionally, they had a steel drum band, a dance lesson, and a limbo contest. The beach they took us to was Honeymoon Beach, very secluded, and even better than Magen's Bay.
Grand Turk - Stayed at Margaritaville last year, went down the beach to Jack's Shack this year. The owner's daughter was cool and thanked us for adding a license plate to their collection. Had a couple drinks, some wings, and rented an umbrella for the free chairs out front. The dogs roaming the area were adorable and were living the dream. Read Less
My wife and I have traveled many times with Carnival and like the upbeat atmosphere. Although the cruise started off rough due to the port fiasco (arrived at 11:00 a.m., got onboard at 3:00 p.m.), we ended up having a great time. Dinner ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled many times with Carnival and like the upbeat atmosphere. Although the cruise started off rough due to the port fiasco (arrived at 11:00 a.m., got onboard at 3:00 p.m.), we ended up having a great time. Dinner seating (early with friends) was not correct but Maitre D fixed it first night for us. This was a Journey cruise with an 80's theme. The Flying Scotsman was excellent as far as entertaining everyone (and a great singer too!). Food at the restaurant seemed to have fewer choices than normal. Looks like Carnival is trying to cut back as a way to save money. Food was decent just the choices were much less than it has been over the years. Cabin was nice (room 2340) and has been recently redone. Stewards did a good job cleaning although took till late morning on some days to get done. Guys Pig and Anchor good but not as good as on Horizon. Guys burgers was excellent. Breakfast/lunch on lido was average. Serenity lounge is in front of ship and was quite windy. No pool, 2 Jacuzzis and had a prevalent garbage smell on one side. Read Less
GREAT ENTERTAINMENT, BAD SERVICE AND MEDIOCRE FOOD
RC has gone to new depths to encourage you to spend money. There is no comfortable seating anywhere in the ship, including your cabin, except in the bars. There is no place ... Read More
GREAT ENTERTAINMENT, BAD SERVICE AND MEDIOCRE FOOD
RC has gone to new depths to encourage you to spend money. There is no comfortable seating anywhere in the ship, including your cabin, except in the bars. There is no place to sit and read a book. Indeed, there is no library on board. The only half decent food is in the specialty restaurants. So if you do plan to go, despite my warnings herein, add the cost of specialty restaurants to the price of the cruise and make your reservations early. Their on ship app is awful and frustrating, it has limited information, doesn’t always work, and doesn’t notify you if you get a message. So....you will have to buy the WiFi package. The upsell is constant and they must be under a lot of pressure to make quota because they won’t take no for an answer......so very annoying. The shops are over-priced, you can get the same thing in the overpriced tourist traps on shore cheaper. One thing of note, an 18% tip is added to all the bills and called a “service charge”. . So when you are contemplating a tip keep in mind that you have already given them 18%. For myself, I don’t appreciate the deliberate deception. Give great service for a great tip.
MEDIOCRE FOOD. Looking forward to great food on your cruise? You won’t find it here. This ship falls way below standards. In main dining the chef does a decent job of cooking the meat properly, but the meat is of the poorer cuts and such low quality that it is tough to cut and chew. The sauces are watery and served skimpily, perhaps a tablespoon. I can’t say if they are tasty as there is not enough served on your plate to make a determination. I don’t know what the eggs are, but they are not real eggs....powder maybe? Note: if you still take a cruise on this ship, there is a fried egg station hidden aft ..... we found it on Day 6. OJ is simply disgusting, not made from oranges. I could go on. Most of the alternatives for lunch, such as Johnny Rockets, aren't worth paying extra for.
BAD SERVICE. The wait service in main dining is non-existent. They are quick to take your drink order and charge your account, but you can wait up to 17 minutes (we timed it one night) to have your food order taken.
WONDERLAND SPECIALTY RESTAURANT
In contrast, we ate at Wonderland one evening and experienced the best meal we had of our life. We have traveled around Europe and the US to some of the best restaurants, so that is saying something. The creativity, the imagination...and I’m talking about the food, not just the surroundings. Bread made into foam, clear tomato juice, meringue dessert in the shape of toadstools. The explosion of flavors as they hit your palette. I won’t spoil the awesome surprise with the smoking eggs and chocolate dessert. Don’t let the menu dissuade you, this is an experience not to be missed and be prepared for the gastronomic experience of your life!
GREAT ENTERTAINMENT. I was very impressed with the variety of entertainment and quality of the performers. The ice shows were spectacular. We saw 1887 and the iSkate show, the latter being one put together by the performers themselves. They are world class champions skating for your entertainment pleasure. The aqua show was equally outstanding. The stage rises and falls, the choreography is wonderful.....high divers, tight rope walkers, and a guy who twirls for 10 minutes. We asked, because we had to know, but apparently he meditates and that’s how he can do it for so long.
The thing to keep in mind is that they are doing all this on a ship that rocks back and forth!
There is also a lot to be said about the cool things on the ship. Imagine the elevator doors opening up and there before you in the elevator is a funky guy with a funky hat, singing and playing the piano.... a piano in the elevator! I rode up and down with him and had a jolly good time. So cool! Or you can order a drink and watch a robot make it for you! Too cool! Or you go sit at a bar in Central Park to have a drink and the entire bar rises and falls three stories! Or ride a carousel....on a cruise ship. Or how about watching a replica of the kinetic sculpture of Kafka in Prague (a silver head that turns around in sections). Hard to describe. Zip lines, water slides, this ship has it all.
For us, this was our first and last RC cruise, even if they did improve the service and the food. In addition to the things discussed above, there is music everywhere. You cannot get away from it. Music in one area competing with music in another area. Then on top of that, the many passengers trying to talk above it all. Waiting long periods of time for the elevator because of the masses of people waiting for one.The lack of comfortable seating. The void of a place to go an sit quietly and talk or read. The awful food and service. I can spend my money on a ship far more enjoyable that doesn't confront you with a sales pitch at every turn Read Less
This was a family trip with my Dad and Sister. Every bit of it was perfect. I enjoyed the serenity pool and hot tub. My room steward was very nice and prompt. The room was clean and comfortable. Best sleep I've had in a very long ... Read More
This was a family trip with my Dad and Sister. Every bit of it was perfect. I enjoyed the serenity pool and hot tub. My room steward was very nice and prompt. The room was clean and comfortable. Best sleep I've had in a very long time. I wanted to take the mattress home. The shows were very good...we saw movies on the deck, comedy shows and variety shows. I was unable to book any excursions due to an injury prior to the cruise, but there was shopping and swimming right off the ship. I have to admit, I had all but given up on Carnival's food before this trip, but they did a fantastic job. It was definitely up to par this time. I would book on this ship again as the staff was very welcoming and attentive. The only complaint that I could muster is that the shower did not maintain temperature throughout. It would go from a little too hot to a little too cold. Read Less
My son, daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, wife and I sailed on the Harmony of the Seas departing on June 9, 2019 returning on June 16, 2019. The itinerary was Perfect Day at Coco Cay, day at sea, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and two ... Read More
My son, daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, wife and I sailed on the Harmony of the Seas departing on June 9, 2019 returning on June 16, 2019. The itinerary was Perfect Day at Coco Cay, day at sea, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and two additional days at sea. Our staterooms were 7630 and 7632, adjoining Jr. Suites. Note that my wife and I are experienced cruisers with more than 20 cruises, most with Celebrity and Royal but with others as well. This cruise vacation is summarized below.
We live in Orlando so getting to Port Canaveral is an easy drive. We left the house at 9:45 and arrived at the port about an hour later. I dropped off our bags passengers and parked in the onsite garage which was very convenient though a little pricey. Check-in was very quick as we used the Royal App and had all information on our cell phones. I purchased the digital photo package on-line prior to the cruise so we had numerous photos taken on boarding. The on-line price for the package was $249, onboard it was over $300 (although Royal had different promotions for it throughout the week). Our rooms were obviously not ready so we headed to Park Café for lunch and to make our home base until the rooms were opened up which occurred at 1:00 as advertised.
While others were getting their lunch I headed up to Country Kitchen to make our dinner reservations for a party of 6. This was my first disappointment on the cruise. I asked for reservations at 6:00 each night but was informed the restaurant opens at 5:15 so I could have 5:15 or after 7:00. They told me that they only had two tables for 6 so that was my only option. After much haggling they gave me 5:45 for the first 3 nights but 5:15 for the remaining nights. I chose to chill and explain the situation to my son and daughter-in-law but they were not happy as 5:15 as it was way too early for them. 5:15 was too early for my wife and I as well for that matter. Getting two young children (5 & 23 months) and themselves ready by that time would significantly eat into their afternoons. In hindsight I should have bumped up my issue to a higher authority above the restaurant manager. This situation resulted in much stress each afternoon but we all coped the best we could. I am not sure why they couldn’t accommodate my request as the restaurant was half empty each night and they easily could have created a table for 6 as they did one night.
After lunch we headed to staterooms and met our stateroom attendant. As always the rooms were very nice and spacious with lots of storage space. If within your budget I would highly recommend booking a Jr. Suite as it just makes the cruising experience a little more pleasant. We had the divider opened between our two rooms making it essentially a two room suite. The grandchildren enjoyed being able to come over at will. Our stateroom attendant was friendly and did a great job doing his job. I would say he exceeded my expectations for service.
Day two was supposed to be our Perfect Day at Coco Cay. It turned out to be anything but perfect. I bought tickets to the Thrill Water Park for all (the 23 month old was free) paying a little over $300 on-line prior to the cruise. I did my research and both my son and I clearly understood the restrictions for the 5 year old and what she could ride. However once inside the park what we thought the 5 year old could ride she could not even though she was well over the lower height restriction. The problem, we did not put a life preserver on her, our bad. But the life guards did not advise or direct us to do so either. They simply said she could not ride. Also for the adults the wait times on the rides were anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. They also closed the rides for 2+ hours do to lightening in the area (10 mile radius) although it never rained on site. Bottom line is that in a best case you could get maybe 5 rides in. In our case after taking time out for lunch and letting the kids play in the areas outside the water park none of the adults rode any of the thrill rides. The next day I received a message asking me to review the Perfect Day at Coco Cay and I gave it a very negative review. Subsequently I was contacted by guest services to clarify my review and in that conversation I requested compensation for my dissatisfaction. At first they offered 25% refund, which they were refunding everyone because of the weather closing, but I was adamant that I received zero value for my money. After two additional conversations with guest services and the manager of shore excursions they refunded me my total amount. I am happy that Royal eventually took my complaint seriously and did what I believe is right but I am disappointed that it took so long to do so. Bottom line is make sure you are willing to wait on long lines and maybe get only a few rides in. Also if you have a young ones over 40 inches but not yet 48 inches put a life vest on them (note though I only saw a 48 inch height gauges no 40 inch gauges). Also RCL should figure out how to accommodate chaperones who do not ride on the attractions such as older grandparents, why charge someone who is not using the facility. Will I use the facility again, maybe, but at least I will go in with full knowledge that I am just giving Royal my money with little value in return.
Other ports were essentially noneventful. Getting off and boarding at each was easy and quick. We didn’t take any tours and simply made them beach days. In St. Thomas we took a taxi to Emerald beach which worked well for us. In St. Maarten we took the water taxi to town and rented chairs and beach umbrellas. We also had a great lunch in town in a restaurant along the boardwalk. The water taxi worked out well so I would recommend it if it works into your plans. On previous cruises to St. Maarten we simply walked into town which is an easy walk.
Our dining experience onboard was mixed. We only used Windjammer for breakfast and lunch a few times. I was very disappointed in the breakfast served there. In the past on Harmony you could get eggs benedict there but not on this cruise. Also in the past you could get omelets made to order, no more, only pre made omelets. Pancakes and waffles were also pre made and were cold and dried out. You could get fried eggs to order though. Lunch in Windjammer was a little better. Windjammer food quality and choices though are simply declining. We went to American Icon twice for breakfast and it was ok but not great. I ordered eggs benedict and the eggs were over cooked and the Hollandaise Sause was dried out on top. Second time I simply ordered eggs over medium and they came out as you would expect. They also had a very good French toast that I enjoyed. In short I would say everyone in our party enjoyed their breakfasts in American Icon. The best breakfasts we had on the ship however was at Johnny Rockets, killer omelets with nice country fried potatoes in a nice location on the ship. Also Johnny Rockets had plenty of seating and service was quick and friendly. We also used Mini Bites a few times for lunch and snacks and were pleased with the offerings there.
We ate dinner the second night of the cruise in Wonderland as my wife and I enjoyed it on our last cruise on Harmony. No so much this time. We simply remember the dining experience being much better. The meal was ok but nothing to write home about. We used a specialty dining coupon we had from our TA and in retrospect we should have eaten at Park 150, we have never been disappointed there.
All other dinners were in Coastal Kitchen. The reservation times aside the staff there was spectacular. They honored our every request including asking for several items from the MDR. They were great with the children. The food offerings there however were not as good as I remember it on past cruises. One of the reasons I book a Jr. Suite is to dine in Coastal Kitchen. In the past we found it better than any specialty restaurant on the ship, but not on this sailing. We found the menu selections ordinary, nothing special. The head chef came by each evening and one night I asked him if the menu was his or Miami’s, he said Miami. Too bad, I think in the past the chef may have been given more flexibility to use their creativity in creating dishes. The food was not bad, just not the exceptional dining experience I have become accustomed to. One big mistake serve what is on the menu, one night they said they had Pear Salad but when it was served it was apple salad with a different dressing. The server should have known that the Pear salad was not available. No killer nightly dessert either, just ho-hum. As with Windjammer dinner in Country Kitchen appears to be on the decline, at least on this ship.
The nightly entertainment was enjoyable. We have been on Harmony in the last 18 months so the shows have not changed. Make sure you make reservations online well in advance on line, we did and it worked out great. Although we enjoyed the shows we look forward to RCL rolling out some new shows on Harmony. I found the musicians on this cruise to be outstanding, better than I have been accustomed too. The two comedians onboard Nery Saenz and Heath Harmison were fantastic, very funny guys. The Headliner Showtime act, Tribute Band, Private Stock, was ok but not a great show although many in the audience enjoyed them more than I. Another new item I did not appreciate was the large number of reserved seats for suites (Grand and above), Diamond Plus (not there yet, maybe never) and Pinnacle as well as seats for those that purchased The Key. It used to be that the first couple of rows were reserved for Suite guests, now 2/3 of the seats in the center section are reserved for the above, very disturbing. It simply means getting in line early at the front so you can run to get your seats when the doors open. This simply creates more stress and watch watching during dinner. Guess it is just another indication of the cruise line going back to the class system; regular paying customers are not as appreciated as they were in the recent past.
Daytime activities onboard were very good and what have become accustomed to. Note however a change in the procedures on the Flow Rider. My son is a very experienced Flow Rider having sailed on Freedom, Independence and Harmony. He signed the waiver, got his wrist band and was in line for about 30 minutes for the standup Flow Rider when the attendant told him he needed to ride the knee board Flow Rider first and get a different colored wrist band. So this cost him about an hour of wasted time in total. He should have been advised of the change in procedure when he signed the waiver. He complained and they began making announcements to this requirement, it would have been nice if they were making announcements prior to his complaint. Apparently this is a new procedure implemented a few months back, not sure what its purpose it has.
I do not like writing what is mostly a negative review, particularly since my past sailings on RCCL have been outstanding. So what is my take away, will I sail with Royal again, sail on Harmony again? Probably yes to both depending on value and the itinerary. As I live in Orlando I will likely sail on whichever Oasis class ship Royal is sailing from Port Canaveral, not sure it is worth the drive to Fort Lauderdale or Miami for me. But given the value of the cruise and itinerary driving south is always an option. Will probably only sail RCL though with grandchildren, for me Celebrity is still my go to cruise line and ships. But I will also be looking more closely at Princess as I have had good past experiences with them as well. Read Less
We were looking forward to this cruise being we had cruised Celebrity 12 times before and were always satisfied with our cruise. This time was a real let-down.
We had an Aqua class room and ate at Blu restaurant. The quality of food ... Read More
We were looking forward to this cruise being we had cruised Celebrity 12 times before and were always satisfied with our cruise. This time was a real let-down.
We had an Aqua class room and ate at Blu restaurant. The quality of food was not good. We sent back a number of dishes. The staple salad (Caesar) came to the table limpe. As if it was laying out for some time. The strip steak was uneatable! One morning the bacon was so greasy and dry that it stuck together and was unable to cut.
The service in this restaurant was also not up to par. Recommended to us one night what to order and then came back after we took her suggestion, and told us they didn't have it. Took a creamer off a table next to us that they were cleaning and placed it on our table. I could go on and on.
Our room was always kept immaculate!. Our steward name was Francisco. Excellent job all week.
Didn't do much activity on port days being we were there before.
We had cruised 29 cruises and always returned to Celebrity. Sorry to say, we don't think we will again. Read Less
Departed out of Ft. Lauderdale which I LOVE. So much easier than Miami. We live in the area so we just drove down that morning. This was our 9th Carnival cruise (gold). With two kids (13 and 6) we go for the ocean suite and it makes ... Read More
Departed out of Ft. Lauderdale which I LOVE. So much easier than Miami. We live in the area so we just drove down that morning. This was our 9th Carnival cruise (gold). With two kids (13 and 6) we go for the ocean suite and it makes priority embarkation/debarkation worth it. We bypassed all the long lines and we were on the ship in about 15 minutes. Our room was already ready by 12:30.
The cabin itself was good (7277). To keep the lights on, you do need to keep a card in the slot upon entrance. I had no idea, until reading another post, that we could literally use ANY card to do this, including business cards! Ah well. Now you know! The room balcony is my favorite place on the ship. I read out there for hours. Keep in mind that on this floor (well, 6 and above), your balcony won't be directly above water. You will be looking at the edge of deck 5. Some rooms had a view of the hot tub on deck 5. I would have not enjoyed that at all, but our room just had lounge chairs and it was always quiet and didn't obstruct my view when sitting and looking out to sea.
Bring a ship approved adapter so you can have more outlets. I also bring a travel fan and digital alarm clock.
The muster drill was much better! We just met in a specified room based on our muster station and heard the safety instructions. No standing in rows in the hot sun on the decks!
I thought the ship was clean. There's always someone cleaning something. It never felt exceptionally crowded, except the first day on the lido when everyone's scrambling for lunches. After that, I never felt overwhelmed with people. We spent most of our time near the water slides which my kids absolutely loved. We mostly had breakfast in Northern Lights (sit down) which service was VERY slow, but we kept going because it was a nice way to start the day without the chaos and heat of a Lido breakfast., We ate lunch at Guys our the taco place (or deli) which is great. We did early dining.
The first couple of nights in the dining room were awful. Either they didn't take our drink order, or they did and they never came. Felt completely ignored. We even wondered if they were short staffed. Slow service. I'm talking 30 minutes to get the dinner rolls! And that's if we got to pick them. Sometimes they just handed you whatever kind without even asking you which break type you wanted. I know, it's little stuff. But we were so annoyed that for the first time, we booked a specialty restaurant (the Italian place) for the third night just hoping to get better service. The service was great at the specialty restaurant, though the location is a bit odd. I think the basketball court is right above it so there was a lot of banging.
Anyway, when we went back to the dining room the 4th night, service improved greatly and for the first time, everyone at the table got their drinks! Each night after that was perfect. The food itself is very good too. I gained 7 pounds! (Currently down 4 of those pounds tho!)
We never used the kids club even though I sign them up every time!
I actually thought the shows were pretty good! Especially compared to the last couple Carnival cruises we've been on. The director was great (British guy), the staff was great too! Having kids, our fav was the movies at night on the deck. You can get popcorn and rent a blanket.
St. Maarten: we did the Golden Eagle Catamaran tour and loved it! Very organized. Smooth ride. First stop was snorkeling. Even my 6 year old loved it. Second stop was a beach. Beautiful waters. They served a lot of beer and rum punch. The punch was awesome! Of course a few passengers over indulged (there's always a few!) but luckily they were happy drunks and nothing got too crazy. Would def do that excursion again.
St. Kitts: meh. To be fair, we didn't book an excursion because the only ones that interested us, the min age was older than 6. We just walked around the port and then tried to navigate the town a bit and it was just a little too much for us. The roads/drivers made me too nervous with my younger one. I didn't find it to be very friendly there, but if we were to ever go back, I'd def book an excursion because I am interested in the history of the island.
San Juan: We've been here a few times but it was the first time for my youngest. We always visit the National Historic Site. We read everything and explored. We also walked around the city/shops. It's such a cool city! We've never done an excursion here though.
Grand Turk: my husband's favorite. Honestly, we just enjoy the beach/Jimmy Buffets. Bring your water shoes and snorkel. We saw the most amazing fish just swimming on their beach. Rainbow parrot fish being our fav. We want to go back to Turks for a week just to snorkel!
Overall it was a great vacation and we were lucky to have amazing weather! I would def go on this ship again. Read Less
This was my 3rd cruise, but first time with Carnival. We went as a group of 9 for a family vacation. Five in my group were new to cruising. The 5 children ranged in age from 6 y.o to 14 y.o. Unfortunately, everyone in the group ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise, but first time with Carnival. We went as a group of 9 for a family vacation. Five in my group were new to cruising. The 5 children ranged in age from 6 y.o to 14 y.o. Unfortunately, everyone in the group returned extremely disappointed.
The pools were remarkably small, barely larger than hot tubs, and were nowhere close to being able to accommodate the number of passengers on board. My husband and I weren't even interested in using the pools although we usually like to jump in.
The casino took up an extremely large space and made the entire 5th floor smell like stale cigarette smoke. The casino actually took up more space than all THREE children's areas combined!
My kids were so bored when we dropped them off at the child area, that they refused to go back. It actually took me 20 minutes to drop off my 2 kids, and another 20 waiting in line to pick them up an hour later. It was disheartening to not be able to drop them off to have fun so we could do "adult time".
The lines for food were equally as frustrating. After our first stop in Amber Cove, hungry, exhausted passengers returned on board to find that only pizza and burgers were available to eat; resulting in lines that were excruciatingly long. This was pretty much the recurring theme each time we wanted to eat. This was even true for the buffet lines...when it was open. It is like they purposely timed the food areas to be shut down or at half staff during the most inappropriate/busy times. We had never experienced lines like this on our other cruises.
Activities were mostly limited to sales, raffles and Bingo to encourage additional on-board spending. Two soccer tournaments were offered, but were limited to 18+. The one craft we attended was so short that the workers were actually taking supplies out from under my 6 y.o. daughter's hands to put them away. How disappointing. We enjoyed the live music, especially Liz and Lucas, who were AMAZING! I wish there would have been more on board to do other than just sitting in a bar listening to music. Even though we loved the band, we would have liked more family time on our family vacation.
The 2 teens in our group actually enjoyed hanging out with new friends. The 13-15 y.o. teen area facilitated the opportunity for them to all meet, but after 2 days they preferred to spend most of their time as a group outside of the monitored area.
There were some positives on our cruise. As I mentioned before, music by Liz and Lucas was amazing. Our group all liked the port locations; especially Grand Turk and San Juan.
We would have loved to spend more time in both places. Despite frequent long lines, Guy's Burgers, the BBQ place, 24/7 ice cream and the pizza place were delicious. We also liked the burrito shack. Red Frog pub had board games available that entertained us for an hour or so. My children liked the water slides when they were available, but they were always done within 30-45 minutes. The adults used the workout area and were pleased to find plenty of cardio and weight lifting equipment available during both visits.
Overall, the combination of minimal pool space, constant lines for food, lack of activities and boring childrens' areas, we will NEVER consider returning to Carnival. The negatives outweighed the positive by a HUGE margin. Our cruise was pretty much only enjoyable while we were off the ship or listening to Liz and Lucas. Read Less
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to ... Read More
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.
The ship is absolutely immaculate. It is easy to navigate, super clean, and glamorous. There are TVs all over that have an interactive map, allow you to book shows, and show you daily activities. There are tons of lounge areas and bars, a little something for everyone. We never felt the boat rocking (our room was on the 14th floor).
There are several pools. We actually had the best luck at the jungle pool. We also enjoyed the adults-only South Beach pool. The Miami Beach pool is packed most of the time. My husband and I both with there were more hot tubs, ESPECIALLY in the adults-only pool section. Hot tubs are typically overrun by kids. I also wish they stayed open past 9!
FANTASTICA EXPERIENCE AND ROOM (14th FLOOR INTERIOR)
With the loss of the 12 drink vouchers, Fantastica basically gives you the option of “better” rooms and dining time choice. However, our room location wasn’t anything special and we requested early dining and were assigned a 9:30pm dinner time. Yes, we could have changed that, but who wants to wait 45 minutes in the dining room to change their dinner time when you just arrived? Not us. Unless you REALLY care about your room location.
Speaking of room, we were in interior room 14044. I thought our room was great. It was cleaned twice a day. We utilized some storage hacks (like the over the door hanger and pop-up laundry hanger) and I suggest doing the same. Water pressure was amazing. Splurge for a balcony if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t. Having an interior room makes you get out and explore the ship.
As is pretty typical of cruises, the food was good, not great. I know a lot of people complain about the buffet options, but honestly there are TONS of options, they just don’t change very often. The pizza is AMAZING. I also loved the cinnamon rolls at breakfast. The Marketplace buffet (deck 8) is way bigger than Biscayne Bay (deck 16). Plenty of places to sit; we liked to sit outside and enjoy the view. I wish drink classes were bigger; the cups for water were practically shot glasses haha. I would suggest bringing your own bigger cup.
We only ate in the MDR once. We dressed “smart,” but there was literally a guy in a tank top and hat…so clearly not strict on dress code. The food, again, was good, not great. The couple sat along with us at our table said they also had the fantastica package and requested the early dining time and were also assigned the latest time.
DRINKS ON US
We received this package as part of an Expedia promotion. Be aware: despite what you may have read in this group, this is NOT the “old version of the easy package.” It includes different things. The good part is it includes a wide range of beers (which Easy doesn’t.) My husband was happy about this. But it only includes basic mixed drinks made with well alcohol (vodka soda, rum and coke, etc.) and absolutely nothing blended. If you want blended drinks, you pay full price. You will pay a 15% tax on all drinks (even ones “included” on DOU.) MSC would be smart to just change over everyone’s DOU package to easy to avoid this continuous confusion.
We were blown away by the MSC staff. There are over 2000 staff on board and they all work VERY hard literally all the time. There is never an idle worker. There is a reason the ship is so immaculate. They will go out of their way to help you.
One thing that bothered me is that on several occasions I saw the crew members dressed in the white official looking outfits (I have no idea what their title is) harshly reprimanding staff members for minuscule things. I saw one of them yelling at the poor kid who makes pizzas for 29384 hours a day because he had the tongs in the wrong spot and then at this super adorable, fun kitchen worker who was laughing (along with us) at the birds coming on the boat and trying to take the food. I understand that they are trying to make sure the boat is pristine, but I also don’t support that type of management of people who work incredibly hard, especially in front of guests.
I will say that bar service is very slow. However, this is NOT because the servers/bartenders themselves are slow. They work their butts off! They just need WAY more people working behind the bar. Often times during prime pool hours there were only 1-2 bartenders responsible for all at-bar orders AND orders placed by bar maids. MSC needs to put more bartenders behind the bar. Good news is that their pours were VERY heavy
We booked the experience that included two 30-min massages and week-long passes to the Thermal Area. The massages were nice (my husband had never had one and was VERY skeptical, but he said he would do it again) but not the best I’ve ever had. We visited the Thermal Area 3 times. It was nice, but honestly I probably would have been fine with one day. It was nice to get away from crowds and relax. I loved the steam room with the cold showers. It felt SO refreshing, as did the showers with the “rain storm,” “cold mist,” etc. The snow room was unbearable to me, but neat. The Jacuzzi honestly wasn’t worth it because it was more warm than the hot Jacuzzi experience I was looking for. There is a private deck area with a small hot tub and some sun chairs that only Thermal Area-goers can use, which was really nice. We were always the only ones out there. However, again, for some reason the hot tub out there was also just slightly warm.
I thought, overall, the entertainment was great. There were a couple bands and some solo singers that all sounded great. The only thing I’ll say is that it got kind of repetitive by the end. The entertainment staff who put on the parties and lead the dance classes were AWESOME. You MUST go to the White Party dance party at Miami Beach Pool. They put a cover on the pool and have an awesome party until 1am, and TONS of people go. This was the only theme we dressed up for, and trust me…you want to bring your white outfit! Everyone dressed up.
As far as shows, we went to the R-Rated Beerprov show and Starwalker. We were DYING laughing at Beerprov. We wanted to go to the other shows they put on but it just didn’t work with our schedule. Starwalker was very good as well. I feel very conflicted because, well, I’m not about to be cheering for Michael Jackson after all that has come out, but I just decided to appreciate the music and dancing, which was awesome.
The entertainment staff CLEARLY love their jobs and make sure everyone has a great time.
PORTS OF CALL
Puerto Rico – This is kind of an odd day because it is a basically a sea day combined with a port day. We got in at 5:00 and walked up to a nearby fort. However, all of the forts closed at 6:00, so if you want to see them you better hurry! We walked to dinner and had a pina colada (they were invented in PR, you have to have one!) and then strolled around. Although charming, this was probably our most boring stop.
St. Thomas – We did the Sail and Snokel experience on Castaway Girl 3. We had a great time! We didn’t see many fish and not other aquatic life, but it was fun nonetheless. On the way back you are given rum punch and we leisurely return to the port, just enjoying the ride. After that we went to the Fat Turtle by the port and drank beers and chatted with locals. If you want a beach you will need to take a taxi.
Sint Maarten – Ugh, such a gorgeous port. Leave the shopping area, take a left and keep walking until you reach the sign for the beach. About a 10-15 min walk. Beautiful beach, lots of shops and bars/restaurants. Find a deal for lawn chairs/umbrella. Most about $20 for 2 beach chairs, umbrella, 5 beers OR 2 frozen drinks, and wif. We got that deal sans the alcohol for $10 a ways down the beach. Do be prepared for lots of locals trying to sell hair braiding, massages, bags, etc. Just say no thank you and they will move on. This is a short port day (7am – 1:30pm) so I suggest just making it a beach day.
Nassau – If you want to pick a day to spend on the boat while in port, this is that day. If not, I suggest finding an excursion or riding to another beach. We went to Junkanoo Beach, and….well, it has Junk in the name for a reason. It’s a very rocky beach with lots of glass, at the top of the beach there is lots of trash, and the drinks and food are crazy expensive. We stayed for a short while and just took a dip and then walked to the Twisted Lime for some delicious cold drinks and then went back to the boat and enjoyed some breathing room while others were in port.
As many have mentioned, this is a very diverse boat. Having lived abroad, I loved being immersed among all of the different language and cultures. The ONLY drawback is that many things we consider polite or appropriate behavior is not the case in other countries. Lots of cutting in line, lots of talking/talk-yelling in public areas, and just what seemed to be a general unawareness of anyone besides themselves. This, of course, is not the fault of MSC, but is just a reality to be aware of.
I highly suggest hooking up a CREDIT card to your account. You can easily do this on a kiosk the first or second day there. If you use a credit card, you don’t have to settle your bill at guest services. I can’t even imagine waiting in that line to settle my bill!
I know some people have had charges on their account that were wrong. We didn’t have that happen, BUT we did have on two occasions the bartender pass us their little machine to sign only to see that they were charging us for four drinks instead of two (remember, we had the DOU package so each drink had about a ~90cent service charge added.) When we refused to sign they took it off, but it was still sketchy. Read Less
After not cruising for 7 years, I went on a cruise for the first time on NCL to try out a different cruise line. Last year, I thought NCL was terrible but after experiencing Celebrity Equinox it's really put that cruise line into ... Read More
After not cruising for 7 years, I went on a cruise for the first time on NCL to try out a different cruise line. Last year, I thought NCL was terrible but after experiencing Celebrity Equinox it's really put that cruise line into perspective. Just to give some clarification, I've been on two Celebrity Cruises but it's been over ten years since I've cruised with them. Our family was a loyal RC cruising family until we decided to branch out. So without further ado, let's jump into the review:
• Honestly, what made my cruise enjoyable was the dining staff I had in the main dining room. Our waiter was Reynaldo. M. and Carlos at table 166. Those two were fantastic waiters and were on top of everything. They were friendly and it was nice to form a bond with them. Reynaldo always made sure we were pleased and happy with everything from food to service. Carlos was overly friendly and accommodating to our table and was a laugh and joy to have. We will miss them dearly. We had no issues in the MDR.
The food was excellent on board. I always looked forward to eating in the MDR. I actually prefer Celebrities' chefs more so than the Moveable Feast chefs that came and prepared dishes that night. I found on the Moveable Feast night I greatly disliked the appetizers and main meals created by those two chefs. The only redeeming quality was the desert. If you do the MF again, get better chefs.
• I had no issues ever finding a seat on the pool deck to tan or sunbath. This is usually a common problem with cruises, but I did not have this issue. The pools were well kept and not crowded and were set at nice temperatures.
• I really enjoyed having Capt. Kate as our captain. I've been on at least 20+ cruises and I've never had a memorable cruise captain, but I can honestly say Kate is a memorable and fun one to have. I enjoyed listening to her morning riddles and hearing her sense of humor. There was something so humble about that and humanizing. Loved it.
• Our room steward was fantastic. He was super lovely and very consistent. He always had our room cleaned quickly and efficiently. I could see he worked super hard and wanted to make sure we were taking care of.
• I spent a lot of time in Sky 14 and I'm sorry, but the bartenders up there have to be some of the rudest people I have ever met. Day 1, for sail away, I went up there to get a drink. There were only two people at the bar, one who already had a drink, and another gentleman who was waiting to get served. There were two bartenders cleaning/stocking the bar and ignored both of us for eight minutes. Eventually, they acknowledged us after that time but seemed bothered by the fact that we wanted to order a drink. Then another bartender from the pool deck came down and got my drinks made. What made it worse though is that then he berated me about why I wouldn't want to get the drink package. I don't drink that much, in fact, I only had one drink the entire cruise, so why would I want to spend $50 a day only to drink once??
Basically, I found that most of the bartenders were rude anyway. They tended to look over your head and act like they didn't see you, which only further turned me off from utilizing them. I also hated that they were desperately trying to shove the drink package down our throats. If we didn't want it, we didn't want it!
Activities on board:
• There were not enough activities to keep people entertained on board. I would have loved to see more game show type of games on board. The last sea day was the most boring day I have ever experienced on a cruise. We had one trivia game at 10:15 AM and then a huge gap where nothing but seminars or paying ($$$) activities were available until 3:15 PM. I found that absurd because on NCL I was never bored with the entertainment. They always mixed up the activities or game show ideas, but on this cruise I found myself being bored many times. Why are there so many activities where you need to pay additional money or listen to people talk? We're already paying a lot as it is. (Most of the seminars are to get you to spend more money, like on wellness products)
Speaking of activities...I found the entertainment group to appear to look like they don't enjoy their jobs very much. They always looked super melancholy and would rush through the activities they did happen to provide as if they had better things to do. They'd speed through the trivia questions or show up late, etc. Darren and Charlotte were my favorites out of the group, but as a whole, they didn't look like they worked as a team. Also, the locations where they'd hold the activities were not suitable. I still don't understand why they'd host the interactive game shows on Deck 4 in that small entertainment court. It got too congested and there weren't any seats.
• I really enjoyed the layout and location of our room. We were located in room 8277 and it was right near the elevators. It was lovely and cool during the day but at night it felt like a sauna in there. Every night on board, my mother and I would wake up around 3 AM- 4 AM sweating like pigs. We did not have the duvets draped over us, just the mere thin sheet. It was terrible and we complained to guest relations and our steward and they said nothing could be done. Needless to say, I did not get the best sleep on board.
Another thing that was kind of annoying was the fact that the walls were paper thin. I could hear conversations from either side of my room. I would hear when people sneezed, coughed, or snored.
• Internet was pretty spotty most of the cruise. It wasn't great and would disconnect often.
• So one thing I was not planning was getting some sort of allergic reaction while visiting a beach. It happened the 4th day in and I was covered in an itchy, blotchy, red rash on my arms. I went to the infirmary to see if there was anything they could to alleviate it. I was greeted by one of the nurses or doctor, but I'm not sure since she didn't even introduce herself. She said, "What do you need?"
I said, "I have a rash I got from the beach and--"
"--What do you want me to do?" she cut off abruptly. I couldn't believe how short she was with me. She didn't even bother to look at my arms and proceeded to say. "Take some Benedryl."
"Um, I don't have any. I came here to see if I could get some."
"You want me to sell you some??"
That was the type of service I received...
Basically, there were some aspects I loved and some I just really did not care for. I will say this though, this does not make me want to run out and book another Celebrity cruise line. I will probably return to Royal Carribean next time. Read Less
This was a great trip - better than we could imagine! We did not do aqua class and were perfectly happy in Main Dining Room.
Clean ship, great staff, lots of activities on board !
One complaint - people hold chairs with towels so on ... Read More
This was a great trip - better than we could imagine! We did not do aqua class and were perfectly happy in Main Dining Room.
Clean ship, great staff, lots of activities on board !
One complaint - people hold chairs with towels so on sea days all poole chairs saved by 730 am EVEN though that is not supposed be allowed. People put a towel/stuff and don’t come back for hours . This is really infuriating and I wish Celebrity would at least try to help/prevent.
Excursion 1 - San Juan - walking food and culture tour - it was amazing- small group and actually joined by Michelle Bernstein. Perfect excursion!
Excursion 2 - bus tour St Thomas with 2 hours at beach, 2 hours shopping, and ride to top. NEVER AGAIN Unfriendly, rude, not safe, too long -ugh
Excursion 3 - escape to Tortola PERFECT. This was early 730 am but that meant crowd low we got there before crowds. We sat at Hendo hideout because as long as you eat/drink there chairs and umbrellas free. We liked this less crowded area more than Celebrity area provided.
No excursions at Nassau - barely off ship for an hour - not clean or friendly - maybe good excursions available that we missed ?? Read Less
We choose Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas because we were traveling with a multigenerational group three adults in their fifties and two children in their mid twenties This was a perfect itinerary 9 days and it was in driving distance ... Read More
We choose Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas because we were traveling with a multigenerational group three adults in their fifties and two children in their mid twenties This was a perfect itinerary 9 days and it was in driving distance to port. This was not our first cruise. We have also sailed on Princess and Celebrity and it's been nearly 20 yrs since we sailed with Royal Caribbean
Embarkation was a snap. We arrived at port around 10:00am but didn't check in until 11:00am because we were waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Had we checked in sooner we would have only been waiting in the waiting area to board. By 11:00 we just check in and walked onto the ship.
We avoided Windjammer and headed to the Solarium Bistro. They had a small buffet but it wasn't crowed and there were enough choices for a quick lunch in a relaxed area. After lunch we stopped by Boleros for our first cocktail on the ship and purchased the Royal Caribbean wrist band so that we wouldn't have to always carry our sea pass around.
Anthem has a nice selection of eating venues. 270 was my favorite. There they had a nice choice of sandwiches and salads and they also made specialty coffee. I quickly became addicted to the blended mocha creamice and the strawberry scones. We ate breakfast in the MDR anytime it was open. It was quiet and pleasant to enjoy the first meal of the day. We only ate breakfast in the buffet one time because of port time. The food wasn't as good. Eggs were cold unless you ordered an omelet and the pancakes were soggy. The nice thing about the MDR for breakfast is that they also had a small buffet so if you wanted to grab something quick you could. They had good selection of fruits, cereal, waffles made to order with a variety of topping, pre made omelets, danishes, pancakes assorted meats. There really wasn't anything missed by not going to Windjammer.
We had dinner My time dining in the MDR 7 of the 9 nights. We made reservations and never had to wait to be seated. The other nights we went to Wonderland and Jamies Italian restaurants which were very good. The food was excellent with the exception of the rubber lobster tail on formal night. I have experienced this on other cruise lines and also ordered the Prime Rib as a back up. Meat was tender and cooked to order. The side vegetables were fresh and crisp. Nothing tasted like it was over salted the way cruise food usually does.
As good as the food was I can't say the same about service. Everyone was racing around and getting a beverage was an issue every night. On the second formal night they didn't even take drink orders. Coffee and tea were never offered with dessert. One night I was so aggravated waiting for a refill of wine for my wife and a bottle of water for myself that I just went up to Vintages in the middle of dinner and got my own drinks. I mentioned this to the head waiter that night but nothing changed for the rest of the cruise. On the second formal nigh they just rushed us through. They handed out the menu and before we could read it they were taking our order.
To my surprise bar service around the pool, adult solarium, and in the bars and theater were excellent. I figured that since the drink packages were so popular that it would be difficult to get a drink. Waiters were always walking around asking you if you wanted a drink.
We enjoyed all of the entertainment from the comedians to We will Rock you and Spectra's Cabaret.
Overall I enjoyed the cruise and would book the Anthem again. Although the ship is larger than what I prefer it did have some beautiful public venues with beautiful views like the Adult Solarium and Club 270. The Royal Esplanade was always crowded so we avoided it by walking one deck up in order to get from one end of the ship to the other. Read Less
Our first cruise on the Anthem was March 2018. In a little over a year, there has been a general decline. Coordination was poor in several areas. We had Anytime Dining. When asking for a table for 4, you would have thought I asked for ... Read More
Our first cruise on the Anthem was March 2018. In a little over a year, there has been a general decline. Coordination was poor in several areas. We had Anytime Dining. When asking for a table for 4, you would have thought I asked for nuclear codes. Some nights, it took 4 or 5 staff members and several radio discussions to get a table assignment. One night, they sat us at a table in the hallway used by wait staff. We even had other cruisers sitting on a sofa next to us.
Another huge step down was the Cruise Director. Last year we had Clo, this year Mitch. I know people seem to love Mitch, but I just don't see it. Mediocre Mitch. The CD Entertainment Staff was also a big step down. Last year, they were humorous and engaging. Not so this year.
Technical difficulties appeared everywhere -- multiple shows rescheduled due to technical difficulties; Name that Tune only had 7 of 10 contestants due to technical difficulties; Royal IQ app that couldn't connect many times; the North Star didn't work in the 9 day cruise.
But the big problem was in our friends' cabin (8222). Bed bugs were found on day 6. After one night, they had itching backs and thought it was soap. Looking past the huge miss on turn over day 1, Royal handled this horribly. A general message was left on their phone. What??? Someone should have met them when they came back on the boat or in their room, not a phone message.
They were downgraded from their suite to a balcony, all their clothes and belongings taken away in clear plastic bags down the hallway. Royal dropped the ball again when NOTHING was offered to them. Show empathy, guest services, and throw them a specialty restaurant dinner while you figure out the next step.
Throughout the days ahead, the only thing Royal offered was a future cruise credit for their original amount. Everything else was asked for by my friend. They did comp a cabana at Labadee and a specialty dinner, but only after they asked for it. Royal offered an onboard credit for this cruise. When my friends asked for the money to be changed, lower future credit and larger current cruise credit, corporate turned them down.
They then received a form letter describing how they were unhappy that their cabin did not meet their expectations. Since when was a bed bug free cabin an "expectation". Read Less
Well just got back today from my second RCL cruise and definitely my last. I have been on 14 cruises and this was the worst one I’ve ever been on. My husband, son and I had a balcony room on the 11th floor. I will say the room was nice ... Read More
Well just got back today from my second RCL cruise and definitely my last. I have been on 14 cruises and this was the worst one I’ve ever been on. My husband, son and I had a balcony room on the 11th floor. I will say the room was nice and stayed very cool throughout the whole voyage. That was great. There was nothing else positive. Food was just ok in the buffet. Very little variety. A little better in main dining room. Coffee horrible. Our toilet overflowed 5x during the 9 day cruise. They had to come in and replace the whole toilet and it still overflowed. Water was clean but flooded whole bathroom. This was happening to a lot of people on the ship. The North Star was broken all week and actually was broken before we got on the ship I found out. Nobody ever got to go on at all. We had 2 reservations for it which meant nothing and they never informed anyone it was broken. It’s literally the main attraction of this ship and one of the reasons I booked it. Everyone was very disappointed. We had reservations for the We Will Rock You show. 1000 people in the theater waited an hour for the show just to have a guy come on stage to tell us to leave because the show is cancelled due to technical difficulties. People were not happy. Another show also cancelled due to technical problems. The entertainment on this ship is the worst I’ve ever seen. The few shows I did get to see were boring and lackluster. The goodbye show was so so bad. I feel bad for the crew on this ship because they do not look happy at all. Overworked and underpaid and it shows. Nobody bothered with us unless they were trying to get money. They nickel and dime you the whole cruise to the point where you want to hide somewhere. $3.00 for a little bag of popcorn for the show.....which gets cancelled anyway. The wait lines for any of the activities were way too long. Bumper cars, flow rider. The bigger ships just mean more people. This benefits the cruise line not you. They keep touting how great these huge ships are but more cabins don’t mean more fun for you. I’ll stick to smaller ships from now on. When I voiced my issues and concerns with guests services they did absolutely nothing for us. This will definitely be my last RCL Read Less
We' cruised on the Allure out of Ft Lauderdale the past two years and wanted to try a new new ship. We traveled to CoCo Cay, St Thomas and St Marteen on the trip. OUr daughter and her best friend just graduated from college and the ... Read More
We' cruised on the Allure out of Ft Lauderdale the past two years and wanted to try a new new ship. We traveled to CoCo Cay, St Thomas and St Marteen on the trip. OUr daughter and her best friend just graduated from college and the trip was a gift to them.
We took the Cortrans shuttle service from the Embassy Suites airport hotel in Orlando to the cruise port and from the cruise port to the airport at the end of the cruise. Relatively inexpensive, timely, friendly and comfortable. Embarking at Port Canaveral was a breeze. On the ship in 15 minutes from the time we stepped off the shuttle.
The Harmony is big, beautiful, and busy. Longer lines than the Allure, but nothing severe. All the shows were fantastic, and the food was great. We tried the Abyss slide (very cool, only slightly terrifying at the beginning) and the water slides. Both were fun. We also did the Escape Room on the trip and found it very entertaining. We did "escape" with ten minutes to spare lol. We've done the zip line and rock climbing on previous cruises.
The water view rooms we booked (3654, 3656) were fantastic! Quiet, convenient and perfectly situated. After the cruise the wife and I both agreed that we liked it better than our previous interior balcony view rooms on deck 12 on the Allure. Steps from the elevator and main dining room, but around a corner so there wasn't much foot traffic going by, and plenty of room to move inside, with lots of storage.
St Thomas, St Johns and St Marteen have all come a long way from the hurricane damage of 2017. We love St. Marteen and toured the nation park on St. Johns. It was incredibly beautiful and we would love to go back. On St Marteen we toured Ft Luis in Marigot and took the See and Sea tour at Grand Case. Much cooler than I expected! Saw sting rays, sea turtles and a barracuda at the reef. The "kids" did the sting ray excursion at Coco Cay and the Sea Lion excursion at St. Thomas and can't stop talking about them. And speaking of, Coco Cay was wonderful. Lots of activities on the island, beautiful beaches and the water was amazing. We went kayaking and saw coral reefs and sting rays swimming by. Also spent some time swimming in the huge freshwater pool. We both liked it even more than Labadee.
Dining room was excellent as always and it seemed that the staff on the entire ship have been given happy pills. The crew members on RCCL have always been great, but this was over the top. You always felt like a VIP every time you interacted with a crew member.
All in all a great time! Read Less
I wanted to see how the big ships work. The check in and off ship was fast and easy. I thought I would be standing in lines but I was not. Maybe the ship wasn't full but there were still loads of passengers.I loved having cruise ... Read More
I wanted to see how the big ships work. The check in and off ship was fast and easy. I thought I would be standing in lines but I was not. Maybe the ship wasn't full but there were still loads of passengers.I loved having cruise documents on the app and knowing cabins would be open at 1:30 (they were). Sea Pass was on my door.The storage seemed a little space but I was by myself so had room. My android phone did not fit in the charging station. I still wish there was music in the cabin (brought my own CD player). The entertainment choices were wonderful. From the shows to individual musicians. It was hard to keep on top of what I wanted to hear. Make reservations for big shows if you are a group. It will show up on your app and remind u that u have them. Food was good enough. I especially liked being able to have Indian curry when it was not on the menu. The buffets had big assortments of food. I would have like to have more gourmet cheese like brie to take to my room. Being a Diamond member I liked the free cocktails at bars during cocktail hour. That way I didn't need to go to a specific area for them. Loved the quiet of Central Park. Have booked another cruise in this area.The pools were crowded and water warm with all the bodies. I went to the solarium and kids pools to get in cool water. I loved Momma Mia and saw it 3 times. Read Less
Our first cruise ever was on our 25th wedding anniversary in 2002 on the Soveriegn of the Seas. My DW and I had never been treated so good. We did 2 other sailings with RCL as well as 2 with Disney, 2 with MSC, 1 with Princess. For this ... Read More
Our first cruise ever was on our 25th wedding anniversary in 2002 on the Soveriegn of the Seas. My DW and I had never been treated so good. We did 2 other sailings with RCL as well as 2 with Disney, 2 with MSC, 1 with Princess. For this year's cruise we wanted to get back on RCL, so we booked the Allure. Never having been on a "Mega-Ship" we had concerns. We did our homework on the ship. DW and I watched TONS of You Tube videos (Thanks to all that posted!) and I studied the deck plans so we both felt comfortable with moving around on board. WELL ....... the ship was much larger than we could have imagined and even with all our homework we thought "Oh No, we're gonna be lost!" Not the case. Moving about the ship was so simple! The ship is simply beautiful! We loved the "Neighborhood" concept. We booked a Boardwalk Cabin with a great view of the Aqua Theater so we could see the show anytime we liked! John, our cabin steward was AWESOME!!! He treated us like we were the only people in his section! We absolutely loved him! The room itself was great plenty of storage space. Also I let RCL know that I had a CPAP for my sleep apnea and they had an extension cord and a gallon of distilled water for me to use during the cruise.How great is that?!
The food was FANTASTIC and our wait staff of Andre(the giant) our assistant waiter, Marlon(Brando) our waiter and Aton(no nickname) our head waiter were absolutely wonderful! We were never in need of anything, anything we wanted we got! They were also just plain great to be around! Wonderful people. RCL's entertainment is top notch. Ocean Aria, Mamma Mia, Earl Turner (Headliner), Blue Planet and Ice Games ...... ALL AMAZING! We also went to comedy live and never laughed that hard in quite awhile! The entertainment staff is funny, engaging and just plain FUN!! Jimmy Rhodes (Cruise Director) and Flavio (Activities Manager) are the best! Jamezy and BeBe are great! We've never had that much fun playing trivia!!! Ice Skating in Studio B, The pools, hot tubs and "The Current" (not giving that one away), rock climbing wall, zip line sport court miniature golf, Flow Rider total thumbs up! The service is simply off the chart! The staff on RCL just can't do enough for you. Cristan (bartender at Sorrento's) and Iris (bartender at the Pool bar) are just the greatest! Other cruise lines do these same types of things and, although I've had good experiences with other lines, it's RCL's people and Customer Service that set it well apart from all the rest! I know I've left some things out but I'm at work writing this and, unfortunately, I need to get back to reality! Read Less
The Breakaway was very clean, the staff on board was pleasant. The dining experience was exceptionally well. We dined at Cagney’s, which is one of the ala carte restaurants. I definitely recommend booking a reservation here. They have ... Read More
The Breakaway was very clean, the staff on board was pleasant. The dining experience was exceptionally well. We dined at Cagney’s, which is one of the ala carte restaurants. I definitely recommend booking a reservation here. They have options for everyone.
We also ate at the French restaurant Le Bistro. Small and romantic- dress code applies. The other nights we ate between Taste and Savor.
We chose this cruise because of the destination. All 3 ports were amazing. I had no expectations, but it was very enjoyable. Nobody was pushing you to buy things, and everyone was so nice. We did a non NCL tour in San Juan, PR. it was with a company called "Taste of San Juan." We walked and ate on our tour. Our tour guide was very personable and he explained everything, and gave us the history if he knew it.
St. Thomas we did the skyride and then the Champagne Cataraman snorkel on the dancing dolphin - through NCL. that was an awesome experience as well. if you like to check out the beautiful landscape/ocean/and ocean life. this is the excursion for you.
Tortola we just hung out and did the island beach break. our taxi bus driver was cool, he told us alot of the history and answered questions people had about the island. once you get to the beach you pay $5 per chair and umbrella and swim in the ocean or catch some rays. You are pretty much on your own until it is time to leave. There are resturants and bars along the beach and water activites you can do for a price. Read Less
I am a fan of Carnival cruise line. I have sailed on multiple cruises with them. The Breeze is one of the best ships I have been on. They offer a good selection of entertainment and activities [we really enjoy the karaoke and trivia and ... Read More
I am a fan of Carnival cruise line. I have sailed on multiple cruises with them. The Breeze is one of the best ships I have been on. They offer a good selection of entertainment and activities [we really enjoy the karaoke and trivia and were disappointed that we missed some trivia games due to being in port while they were taking place :(]. The staff are very pleasant and attentive to guests’ needs. The food is high quality and Guy’s restaurants are delicious, which is one of the top reasons I prefer Carnival cruise lines. On the Breeze I would avoid balcony stateroom #6406 if you are a light sleeper (which unfortunately I am). The room is right above the Redfrog pub and most evenings you will hear loud music until midnight or later. You can also hear the music from the Liquid nightclub even after the pub has shut down for the night, which is a constant bass beat and can be quite annoying. The lanai promenade and corn hole game is also just below the outdoor balcony and you can hear when people are playing the game(even while inside the stateroom)it is a constant thumping sound and is sometimes played late in the night as well. People outdoors on the lanai promenade can be very loud at times. The balcony view is also not ideal due to the lanai promenade obstructing the view. Read Less