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Sail Date: January 2006
Sailed on the Zuiderdam Jan 7-14.. First time with HAL. This was my 16th cruise... have sailed previously with Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Carnival. Embarkment was a breeze. Arrived at the terminal around 12:15 and we were on the ship by 1pm. ... Read More
Sailed on the Zuiderdam Jan 7-14.. First time with HAL. This was my 16th cruise... have sailed previously with Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Carnival. Embarkment was a breeze. Arrived at the terminal around 12:15 and we were on the ship by 1pm. During embarkment we were each given a questionnaire regarding whether or not we had been sick with fever, vomiting etc within the last week. We were aware that there had been approximately 2-300 passengers sick on the previous cruise. We also received a letter stating that there had been a number of people ill on the previous cruise and should we decide not to cruise we would receive a full refund and help in returning home. Measures had been taken to sanitize the ship plus additional measures would be in place throughout the cruise. Which did create a lot of additional work for the crew, plus they were also short handed as a number of them were also ill..... enough about that for now. Had really been expecting a super clean, updated ship since she had just returned from drydock. Were disappointed that there still seemed to be a lot of areas that had not received the attention they should have, but we were still happy to be onboard. We were in a VA Veranda Aft.. 5184. Cabin was a nice size with a small twin size sofa, queen size bed and a full bath with tub. Nice closet space but was lacking for drawer space.... in fact the only drawers were in the night tables. Balcony was a nice size..... narrow but extra deep as it was an aft cabin. Our aft cabin with RCCL was wider and did accommodate more outdoor furniture, also was more private.. but would still take an aft cabin any day compared to one on the side.. After we boarded, we went up to the Lido for lunch. Nice variety of food. Because of the extra safe guards in place, no one was allowed to serve themselves anything... also a crew member to assist you. Even with coffee, water etc. No salt and pepper shakers were on the tables etc. This did create more time in line, but we were pleased to see the extra effort being put forth. The crew really did do any excellent job throughout the whole cruise. And even though' they were working extra hours, they also maintained a cheerful attitude and we were always greeted with a smile. We found that while the food was good..... nothing was really "wow"... poor selection of desserts both in the Lido and the Dining Room at night too... We were fortunate to have received a table for 2... had an excellent server and his assistant. They were always more than happy to accommodate you in any way they could. Once again the food was consistently good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Did find the filet mignon to be dry and slightly tough both times.... Feel the food on Celebrity to be the finest at sea. Strictly our opinion... but every night was a true dining experience for us on the Century and the Millennium... One thing I really missed was that there was never any music during dinner... not even on the formal nights.. Room service for the most part was good.. Even when an error had been made, it was quickly corrected. Just would have liked to have had more room on our balcony to enjoy breakfast out there instead of in the cabin. Entertainment was fair... once again I have found that the entertainment was far better on Celebrity, RCCL and even Carnival. Did have some wonderful music for dancing in the Crow's Nest and the Ocean's Bar... And longer time periods than we had found on Celebrity and RCCL. This we truly enjoyed... Half Moon Cay was outstanding. One of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen. Very shallow and great for just wading. The BBQ was not the best and we found ourselves going back to the ship early to get something else to eat. Do get there early if you want to have a lounge chair. We had rented a clamshell online before our cruise and it was well worth the 9 dollars. We have been to St. Thomas frequently, so this was just another shopping day for us. I have noticed that during the last few years, St. Thomas seems to be deteriorating.... everything is more run down and not as clean as it once was.. Even Megan's Bay does not have the appeal it once had. We took a cab out just for a quick look after shopping and it was not worth the trip.... Tortola was wonderful. This was my 2nd visit to this charming Island. We rented a jeep for the day and drove all over the island. Beautiful views, foliage, beaches etc. My husband has decided he has found a new favorite place for us to revisit for a longer period of time.... We did not go to the Baths as the water was quite rough.. however, others said the cruise over was not nearly as bad as we had thought it would be... Now back to the ship..... Because of all the illness, the hot tubs never did open as well as the hydropool... We did peek in to the hydropool area and I must say the area on the Millennium is much larger and there is not an extra fee... At least there was not when we sailed a few years back... The main pool area was never over crowded, even on sea days.... I did miss the Caribbean music at poolside... Just adds to the overall feeling ...... There were also very few pool games etc... No late night buffets.... and the absolute worse casino we have ever been in whether it be on land or sea. We enjoy the casino... and spend a lot of time there after shows etc. We never had one winning night... in fact... there was not even "1" Royal Flush on any of the video poker machines during the whole cruise by anyone. Lots of people were commenting on the machines etc. and lack of them. So if you are like us, and enjoy a casino at sea... I would suggest you sail with another cruise line. I had really looked forward to Sailing with HAL... had read some excellent remarks by others on the HAL Board. However, I have come to the conclusion that those cruisers that are "Loyal HAL Cruisers" overlook a lot of areas that perhaps those that cruise on various other lines notice. I'm not sure we would cruise with HAL again. Price and circumstances would have to be very attractive for us to do so. Once again, I really do have to compliment the CREW..... they were excellent and really were one of the best we have had the pleasure to experience... . Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
I just returned (Jan. 15) from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the CostaMagica. The ship is only a little over a year old and is very well maintained. What hit me immediately is the gaudiness of the ships interior design. I know that ... Read More
I just returned (Jan. 15) from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the CostaMagica. The ship is only a little over a year old and is very well maintained. What hit me immediately is the gaudiness of the ships interior design. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but this was one of the most overstated interiors of a ship I have ever seen. Although there were some nicely decorated areas, the colors of gold and red dominate the interiors. On deck 9 where the Bellagio buffet is located, the light fixtures are molded arms holding bare light bulbs  much too crazy for my taste. If you enjoy the atmosphere of the old Las Vegas casinos this would be great. Also, many of the chairs in the various lounges were rather low and small scale and quite uncomfortable. This was not my first cruise and I have experienced the grandeur of the Queen Elizabeth ll to the tackiness of the Magica. One of my avocations is cooking and I really enjoy cruising because I am an adventurous eater. I can usually remember most dinners and what I had to eat. There were only two dishes on the cruise that I can say were memorable  one was a pasta dish of gorgonzola sauced gnocchi and the other was a risotto with mussels. Im not saying the food was bad, rather Im saying that the food lacked creativity and did not live up to my expectations based on what people had told me who had cruised on other Costa ships. Most disappointing were the pastries and desserts. Dessert at dinner was much improved over the offerings at the buffet which tended to be average in taste, unimaginative, repetitive, and sometimes scarce. The nice thing was I saved some calories from not eating them. I did enjoy, however, the bake shops rolls which were crusty and delicious. One thing that concerned me was the Bellagio buffet area did not have hand sanitizers for the passengers. This made me feel a little uneasy especially after all of the outbreaks that occur on many cruise ships. We mainly ate our meals in the full service restaurant. On all of my other cruises I never remember so much cigarette smoke on board. Perhaps this was due to the large number of Italians and other Europeans on the ship. The persons in the adjacent cabin did nothing but smoke and order room service. Every time they smoked I could smell it through the door. It wasnt pleasurable to be awakened during the night and smelling smoke. I was surprised that there are no rooms or group of rooms that are strictly for non smokers. Since my cabin was forward on deck two, I heard the rough seas bang against the bow which sounded like a gun firing and kept me awake the first night. We had an outside stateroom which was spacious, nice and very well kept by the cabin stewardess. CostaMagica needs to learn something about entertainment for American passengers. The shows consisted mainly of disjointed dance routines with bad canned music. They werent my cup of tea. The most entertaining night featured a newlywed and not so newlywed game which consisted of 4 couples from the audience. They were so funny I was almost crying from laughter. The final night of the cruise was a toga party and the ship supplied sheets and a paper crown for all to wear. The Roman night entertainment was a talent show of passengers singing and dancing, culminating in a finale with the ships singers and dancers. Great fun was had by all that attended. The ports on the Eastern Caribbean were San Juan (arrived at 6pm and it rained) St. Thomas, the shopping capital of the Caribbean, Catalina Island (beautiful all day beach island which Costa owned), and Casa De Campo (La Romana, Dominican Republic), and Nassau (seas too rough to pull into harbor). I would have preferred to spend more time in San Juan and St. Thomas  be sure to look at the itinerary carefully. Perhaps Costa should try to fine tune the itinerary so that the stay in San Juan is more than a few hours at night. The ships gym was adequately stocked with equipment. There were 4 ellipticals, 4 treadmills, 2 step machines, several stationary bikes, free weights, and weight machines. As a Navy veteran, what really impressed me on this ship was the way it handled the rough seas when we sailed through the Atlantic both going to Puerto Rico and then returning to Florida. From my estimation we had some 6 to 8 foot swells with white caps. The winds were up to 80 km per hour and this ship sailed through it with very little pitch and roll. I found the service aboard the ship to be very adequate, although not the most attentive that Ive encountered. I would probably sail again on Costa, but not on the Magica, unless it was a deal that was too good to be true. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
My family and I were disappointed with our Carnival Liberty cruise. We found the ship decor to be very chintzy and somewhat gaudy. Some of the decor was actually plastic instead of real material. Our room was nice, but small for three ... Read More
My family and I were disappointed with our Carnival Liberty cruise. We found the ship decor to be very chintzy and somewhat gaudy. Some of the decor was actually plastic instead of real material. Our room was nice, but small for three people. We had adequate closet space but not enough hangers. My son loved the towel animals left every night. Our room steward was pleasant, but forgetful and had to be given several reminders of items we needed ie: extra ice, robes etc. We found the food to be good in the main dining room, but were very disappointed in the quality of our desserts. Our head waiter was outshined by his assistant and they were both outshined by our bar maid, who had our drinks at our table before we even sat down. The quality of the on board activities and entertainment was fair. The day time activities seemed somewhat juvenile and EXACTLY the same as all our other Carnival cruises. The evening shows were better than the daytime activities but we still walked out of a couple shows early. My 8 year old son was not impressed with Camp Carnival and only attended during Play Station time. The activities were for a much younger age(he was one month from being able to attend the older age group, but it was STRICTLY forbidden). They did have an awesome arcade that kept him entertained. Had an excellent experience in the spa! The stylist who did my hair for formal nights was very good and even convinced me to cut my hair. My husband and I loved it. Debarking was a breeze and so much more pleasant than our first cruise experience. I think that the embarking process has also improved. There is a lot less wait time. We also found that arriving a little later really cut down on the wait time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Overall we were satisfied with our Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Carnival Triumph. We had a great time, but there was definitely several things we disliked. For first time cruisers, the boat was definitely impressive. We never really ... Read More
Overall we were satisfied with our Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Carnival Triumph. We had a great time, but there was definitely several things we disliked. For first time cruisers, the boat was definitely impressive. We never really found anything in need of repairs/replacement, and everything was well cleaned. Embarkation was rather smooth. There are several different line-ups to go through, but actually, I thought it was okay rather than being in one super long line-up where you feel like you are making no progress at all. We arrived at 1pm, and we were on the boat by 2pm. WARNING TO THOSE WHO BRING THEIR OWN ALCOHOL: Don't pack it in your carry-on! I had my Vodka taken away from me. However, my boyfriend had three 2 litre bottles of pop in his backpack, and they didn't notice it. We definitely could have poured the vodka in those and been fine. The alcohol that was in big luggage was fine. I strongly suggest packing it in your large suitcases. If you are scared of it spilling and ruining your clothes (like me) and want to put it in your carry on, then definitely put it in a plastic bottle. We had mixed thoughts about the food and food service. To start with the best, the food at the Paris Dining Lounge was very good. Sure, the portions were small, but they let you order as many appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts as you wanted! Seriously, no fuss at all. They were very happy to bring you a lobster and steak at the same time. In fact some people at my table ordered 3 main courses without problem. I ordered 2 desserts every night. The main courses were usually delicious. The appetizers were more of a gamble, but perhaps that because we don't have expensive tastes, and they were usually tiny and unique foods. The desserts were usually good/fine, but not amazing. The cheesecake was definitely not up to par with the rest (not smooth enough), but I have never had delicious cheesecake when the meals are all-inclusive. Overall, we were very happy with the food in the dining room. Some of the people we were with were much more impressed than us. The service in the dining room was great. Our head waiter was absolutely fabulous. The assistant waiters were sometimes slow with drinks and bread, but usually they were fine. The food at the other restaurants, including the Coney Island Grill, the pizza, and the sandwiches at the New York Deli, was delicious, but the service was horrible! The line-ups were ALWAYS REALLY LONG. No matter whether it was noon or 3-4pm, it was always a long wait. I waited for 30 minutes at the Coney Island Grill for a chicken burger at 4pm in the afternoon. When I was finally near the front of the line (after waiting 20-25 mins), I told the cook I wanted a chicken burger because I didn't see any being prepared, he said it would be 5 mins. But by the time I was first in line, he still hadn't put my chicken burger on the grill, so when another cook asked me what I wanted, and I told him a chicken burger, he had to put it on and I had to wait an extra 10 minutes. I thought this was ridiculous. There was always 15 people in line, each ordering 2 or 3 burgers, but they only have a dozen burgers on a grill at a time. Also, several other times we left the line-up for sandwiches or the grill because it was way too long. The line-up for pizza was generally a bit shorter (average 5-10 mins). Overall, I was VERY UNHAPPY about the long wait for lunch. To me it was totally unacceptable that we should wait in line this long when what we really want is to grab some quick food and then go back to having fun on deck. What was most frustrating was that sometimes it didn't matter where you went, ALL of the line-ups were long, so you had no choice but to choose one place and wait (the buffet closed at 3:30, and we often didn't eat lunch until 3:30 because we had the 8pm dinner seating). Breakfast was good, but nothing fabulous (scrambled eggs, hash brows, toast, bagels, cereal and pancakes or french toast). The best was the omelette station, but because of a bad layout (i.e. the omelette station is at the end of the buffet line), the omelette station caused a long line up for the rest of the food. We couldn't access the buffet food because people waiting in line for the omelettes were standing in front of the entire buffet. Still, we never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get through the buffet line-up so it wasn't that bad but it definitely would have been really fast if the omelette station was located to the side. As for the buffet lunch/dinner, we were generally disappointed with the selection. We found the buffet to be a lot smaller than the buffets at all-inclusive resorts. There was generally only one meat, one type of potatoes...maybe 6 side dishes in total etc. There was a pasta station, but they only had plain sauces, nothing fancy. The night we were in San Juan I really wanted to eat at the buffet so we could back to exploring the city (the dining room was a 1 1/2 - 2 hour process since we were a table of 8 and its a 4 course meal) but there was so little selection we changed our minds and went to the dining room anyway. One of the things that really annoyed us was that pop was not included. I don't understand how come we can order several expensive plates for dinner (i.e. lobster AND prime rib etc) but they charge us for a coke? YES, even at meals you have to pay for pop! On the first day we bought a fountain card which gives you free pop all week for 45$. But we only bought one for the two of us (this meant that at dinner only one of us could order pop until the server came back to take drink orders again. But on deck I would just go to one bar and then my boyfriend would go right after me). Others couples we were with who had bought 2 cards later regretted it. Also, there are free juice stations at the buffet and other restaurants, which has free lemonade, fruit punch, apple juice and orange juice 24 hours a day. I really didn't understand why juice, and also coffee, was free but not pop? It was a pain in the butt because we always had to go to the bar and sometimes we had to wait 5 minutes or more because the bartenders were busy making alcoholic drinks and ignoring our request for a pop. Would have been so much easier for us and the wait staff if they just had unlimited fountain pop. The other thing I was not crazy about for this cruise was the itinerary. San Juan wasn't that great because you get in late (we got in an hour early, but we were in our rooms getting ready and they never made an announcement to say we had arrived in San Juan, which I thought was really dumb). St. Thomas and St. Maarten were great, but overall, you feel like you only have 2 port days, and that's not enough. If I was to go on a cruise again, I would want to have 4 full port days. We definitely didn't get to spend enough time at the beach. And the pools on the ship are really small, so it was way more fun to be sun-tanning/swimming at a beach than on the ship. In St. Thomas we took a 4$ cab ride (per person) downtown to do a bit of shopping. Also from the boat we took a 6$ cab ride (per person) to Morning Star beach, which is the closest beach to the port. It was a really nice beach. In St. Maarten we took the water taxi (5$ for a day pass) to the Front Street Beach right near the port. It's a convenient location because there is a long beach, plus shopping right next to the beach. Also since we were so close to port it only took us 10 mins to get back to the port for lunch. However the beach was not the nicest (it was definitely fine, but not AMAZING). We paid 5$ to rent beach chairs for the day. I think the beach might have been nicer at Dawn or Orient beach, but those were a bit farther from the port. All in all we had a great vacation, but we didn't necessary think that the extra cost of a cruise versus a resort vacation was worth it. Also, next time I would like to try another cruise line to compare (we didn't dislike Carnival, but perhaps some stuff would be better with another cruise line). Finally, in the future I will definitely pick an itinerary that includes more time in port: 3 if not 4 FULL days in port (arriving in San Juan at 5pm was better than nothing, but I still felt as though we only had 2 real port days). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
We did the Christmas cruise to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Bahamas. Our 4th cruise. Overall a good cruise. The weather was great every day which makes it nice. We where in the welfare section on floor 1 in the bowels of the ship but we ... Read More
We did the Christmas cruise to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Bahamas. Our 4th cruise. Overall a good cruise. The weather was great every day which makes it nice. We where in the welfare section on floor 1 in the bowels of the ship but we had a very roomy outside cabin, (I recommend you unhook the speaker that is located just below the desk ,it has a plug so you can just unplug it, this makes for a nice quiet cabin), well appointed, and our steward, Jorge, (he liked to be called George)was very efficient and was always available. Actually the lowest floor has its advantages, as you can exit for ports in just a few steps. Initially getting aboard the ship was the typical long lines as a number of large ships where in port. Your MP3 will come in handy here. I would say the food on the ship was good overall. Nothing outstanding, but good, hot, fresh and plentiful. The Lido deck had your typical cruise fare of a buffet line breakfast with omelette stations, various lunch selections, burgers and dogs by the pool, and they would have different specials every day like Chinese or BBQ. The dining room was very nice, we had the 5:45 early seating, which is like eating at 4:45 after turning your clock ahead an hour. The dining room food was very good and the friendly staff didn't blink an eye if you requested more than one entree. They even made my wife a special HUGE bowl of ice cream every night for dessert. They had one formal dining night and you can get away with a golf shirt on the others, except for the last night everyone wears a Toga for the Toga Party.(sheets provided). The only complaint we had was the lack of dessert variety. We are dessert eaters and were disappointed by the lack of chocolate based sweets, etc. The desserts they did have were all the same the entire cruise. Mostly sponge type lemon cake, fruit tarts, and other boring items. No pie, cookies, brownies, flaky pastries, cheesecake, or other American type desserts. This may have actually saved a few pounds around the waist!! They did have a nightly midnight buffet which had plenty of food but all the same desserts. We don't drink so we saved some money there. We brought on a case of bottled water and I drank the free ice tea for most of the cruise. I also brought on a coffee maker and 2 lbs. of Dunkin Donuts coffee, I found that the early morning coffee on cruise ships can be iffy at best. We purchased a $55.00 drink card for our 13 year old daughter that we wouldn't do again, she didn't end up using the entire card. The casino was a typical cruise venue with plenty of slots and a few table games, and it never seemed real busy. We tried to make reservations in the alternative pay restaurant on our second night only to be told it was fully booked for the entire cruise. The place only seats 60 and obviously you must make your reservations the second you get onboard. We walked by the window on several nights only to notice the place was always half empty! You would think that they would have a cancellation list. The fitness room was very nice with plenty of modern equipment, steppers, treadmills, bikes, rowers, nautilus, and dumbbells. I'm an early riser and would be there every morning at 6am. The gym didn't officially open until 7am but it was always open. The only complaint we had was they have a hot tub in the middle of the fitness center that they fire up about 8am and the chlorine rises up to the elevated cardio area making for uncomfortable breathing...go early. We were docked at all the ports (no tendering) which was nice. They have to rethink their San Juan stop, you only get 8hrs at the port and it's at night. We arrived on Christmas night and there wasn't a lot going on. I guess if you're a night owl its fine. St. Thomas has great shops and beaches, we rented a Jeep at Budget ($80.00) and swam at Megan's Bay and Sapphire Beach. We had been here before and it was very nice. My daughter had her hair braided on Sapphire ($70.00 inc. tip). Tortola is truly gorgeous. My wife, daughter, and I rented 2 scooters from the first guy we saw when we got off the ship. (I don't recommend this !!) We rode to the other side of the Island to Long Beach, truly a beautiful beach with warm clear water for swimming. We also stopped by Sopers Hole, at the west end of the island, a really cool marina with some small shops, an open air bar/rest. and plenty of Big $$$$ Boats. Check out the grocery store (small box of Corn Flakes $4.59!). The reason I don't recommend renting scooters is it is way too dangerous! People blow by you on the narrow roads and the ones we had stalled on one of the tall hills and we ending up ditching it. We only had some road rash but were lucky. The bikes they rent are only 50 cc and are not powerful enough to handle the terrain with 2 people aboard. Get the jeep ..same price!! Bahamas was O.K., we all (9 of us), rented a van-taxi to Paradise Island ($4.00 each/each way). Nice beach but water was too cool for me. The natives are all over you the second you step on the sand renting chairs, jet-skis, boat rides and selling t-shirts, jewelry, coconut drinks, ganga, whatever you needed or didn't need. My wife and her sister got a nice half hour table massage on the beach for $40.00 with the tip. They leave you alone if you don't buy anything. Pretty clean beach though. Shops in Nassau all pretty much the same, T-shirts and jewelry stores. I never go to any shows but my wife thought that they where not that great, just O.K.. They seem to have a lot of activities, which I don't participate in, (I know, I'm a pain in the rear) the typical cruise stuff, bingo, toy horse races, sexiest men's leg contest, that kind of thing. The TV had no ESPN or FOX station which made watching football tough, but I did catch a couple on the network stations. They have an internet cafe (open 24/7) but the rates are extreme ($1.00 a minute !ouch!!) It's nice to have though if you need it. They have plenty of Pools with an adult only pool at the very back of the ship. The crew was very friendly and generally helpful. Overall we thought it was a good cruise and we would go again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Check in: Had trouble at check in. I asked an NCL woman standing in the doorway where was the line to get on the ship? She did not tell me. Later I learned it was right in front of her. Other people in line had the same experience with ... Read More
Check in: Had trouble at check in. I asked an NCL woman standing in the doorway where was the line to get on the ship? She did not tell me. Later I learned it was right in front of her. Other people in line had the same experience with her. I thought this was rather cruel on her part. I think NCL should have a sign that says, THIS IS THE ENTRANCE LINE. If you are not a cruise regular there is no signage as to how to get on the ship. Extremely confusing and stressful. Not off to a great start. The Ship: The ship is quite pretty, as it is so new. No dramatic atrium, but very colorful. Good signage everywhere. What I really appreciated was there was lots of hand sanitizers around the ship. The one place where thy need hand sanitizers is for the casino dealers. I often saw dealers sneeze into their hands and deal cards and hand out money. What I didnt care for was the relentless sales. Over the intercom was Come to bingo at $30.00 per person. Wine tasting was $50.00 per person. Whiskey tasting cost extra. Come to the art auction. Buy jewelry. Buy carpets, buy wrinkle cream, buy another cruise, buy photos, buy tooth whitening, buy spa products, buy gold. Buy Buy Buy. Enough already. The Cabin: We stayed in a balcony room that was lovely. Cabin stewards terrific and cleaned your cabin twice a day. Great shower with strong water pressure. Balcony bigger than I expected and private. Pretty wood touches everywhere. Lots of closet space. Good powerful hair dryer in room. Room service: God-awful. Very limited choices. For breakfast it was continental only. No bacon eggs or sausage, nothing hot. Cereal, juice, fruit, yogurt and rolls only. Other meal choices were very slim pickings. Nothing very tasty. The Bars: Expensive. But lovely. My biggest complaint was that they let babies and screaming kids into the bars. It is hard when you want to relax with a glass of champagne to have two tables full of tweeners bouncing off the walls and parents who just let their tykes run everywhere. Babies that wont stop shrieking, the hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up. It was never ending. There are plenty of kid spaces on this ship, please no kids in adult bars. Why doesnt NCL have a family friendly bar? So those of us that want adult time can have it in our own bar? The Coffee: They had a pot to boil water in the room with packets of instant coffee. Sanka and Maxwell House. No coffee maker. With specialty coffee shops on every corner in the world, it is interesting that this ship is using bad coffee from the 1960s. They had espresso machines where you could get your own coffee, but honestly it was not very tasty. I brought my own coffee on board but there was no coffeepot in room to make it. So if you want great coffee bring it along with your own pot. The spa. Just lovely. $15.00 per day to use the spa saunas and hot tubs. If you want a massage, book early. The restaurants. The food on this ship was gross. The sushi bar (extra cost) was the worse of my life. The rolls actually had mayo in them. The guacamole had mayo in them. Tapas Restaurant. Apparently they have no idea what tapas actually are. Their tapas was chicken wings and fried something. Icky. It is just bad Mexican food. Cagneys. Get reservations early. This was the best restaurant in my opinion. Not a lot of choices here. The filet mignon was ok. My favorite was the oysters Rockefeller which was actually fairly good. The Garden Cafe: Truly terrible. Lots of choices but nothing to really eat. The desserts were uninspired and had no flavor. They need a new chef. It was like a bad cafeteria. It was one of the few places to get lunch. Le Bistro. The French restaurant with few French choices, your basic steak and salmon. Azura. This was my worst nightmare. We went to formal night; about 35% of guests were dressed up, the rest in t-shirts. Given a horrible table. When we asked for a better table it seemed like a huge deal, they called over the headwaiter who made us feel like fools. They offered lobster that night. I am not exaggerating when I say the lobster was the size of a shrimp. It was served with quiche. So nasty I could not believe it. It was cooked to death. Note to chef, quiche is not a good side dish with lobster. Every single plate we saw being carried back to the table had quiche untouched on it. You would think that would be a hint. In general the staff was just so so. Not enough servers in Chin Chin. We waited nearly 30 minutes in Chin Chin for water to be brought to our table. They just did not have enough servers in the restaurants. The Islands: We did not get to go to the private island on the last day due to the weather. So we ended up in Nassau with five other cruise ships in port. No one on the ship told us what to do or where to go. We were on our own. No excursions were available. Not a fun day. I did love Puerto Rico (the old San Juan was wonderful). I really did not care for Turners Beach in Antigua because so many locals were on the beach trying to sell you t-shirts; jewelry, coconuts and hair braiding and it never stopped. We could not wait to get back on the boat. St. Thomas was much better. On Board Activities: I wish they had more wine tastings that were affordable. One was $10.00 that we missed the other was $50.00 per person which was too expensive. A lot of the other offerings were just sales pitches. I enjoyed the shows & they have a very nice theatre venue. No cup holders however. We enjoyed the games such as the Newlywed game, Family Feud, Weakest Link etc. The parties were fun. They had a chocoholic buffet, we showed up 10 minutes before it started and the line to get in covered two decks. You just could not get into it. It was only offered once. I would be happy to answer any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
I have read some of the reviews and I wonder if I was on the same ship. I sailed on 12/05/05 and the cabin that I had size was was the same that I had on it's sister ship Brilliance. I cruise all the time as I and on many different ... Read More
I have read some of the reviews and I wonder if I was on the same ship. I sailed on 12/05/05 and the cabin that I had size was was the same that I had on it's sister ship Brilliance. I cruise all the time as I and on many different lines. This cruise was a cruise from hell. My cabin had a sewage problem. Water was backing up on the floor for the first 3 days. The smell in the bathroom was disgusting. They had to put an ionizer in there just to mask the odor. I had people in and out of my room the whole trip, changing pipes, etc. and the odor was coming not only from the toilet but from the sink as well. I know that my room was not the only one, because the maintenance men were working non-stop outside a lot of cabins just on my floor alone. The bathroom areas by the pool, both men and women were dirty and overflowing. and broken. I really do not go on a cruise for the food, so I won't comment there. My cabin steward stayed far away to distant himself from all this. Now the good part. Customer Service could not have been nicer. They only could offer me another room that was an inside cabin, and I refuse (the odor was only in the bathroom, so I could deal with it), and my waiter was the greatest. I thought the entertainment was just fine for a cruise ship. The shops were terrible. I wish that I could be a buyer for one of these ships. You have a command audience, so why not sell nice stuff. The ship is going into dry dock in March. Hope it comes out better. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
I want to start by saying that this review is for people who are very careful in choosing their cruises and value opinions of fellow travelers. It is not negative, as you might think at first. I tried objectively to point out things that ... Read More
I want to start by saying that this review is for people who are very careful in choosing their cruises and value opinions of fellow travelers. It is not negative, as you might think at first. I tried objectively to point out things that were different on this ship/cruise and things that we did not enjoy. If you cruise for itinerary or just cruise on every ship there is, you would not pay attention to reviews anyway. However, if all you can do is one cruise a year and you look forward all year to that cruise - you might find my points helpful. I will not go over obvious things like food on Princess is better then on Carnival, service on Princess is better then on NCL, or entertainment in general is more interesting and more varied here then on Holland America but much less so then on Carnival. My purpose is to describe our experience with Caribbean Princess and not to generalize about cruises or Princess Company. We just returned from our Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Caribbean Princess. This was our 12th cruise all together, and 2nd cruise on Princess. We have cruised on Sun Princess 3 years ago and were not impressed with service and amenities of this line. However, we decided to try this ship and this company again because we were told that this is a grand class ship and very different from anything else afloat. For the first time we took out kids and my parents along on the cruise. To begin with, we were not impressed with this ship and do not think that it has more class than any other ship. Moreover, we were overwhelmed by crowds, lines and just mass of people on this ship. We sailed with a full ship of 3200 people onboard. There were constant lines everywhere - you could not get a table, a lounge chair, a drink, a seat at the theater, a seat at the lounge, or simply get on or off the elevator. The ship was not designed to hold 3200 passengers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You could feel the lack of space everywhere. You had to come to the theater 40 minutes before the show just to have a sit. You had to have lunch at the buffet at odd hour in order not to stand in the line for 20 minutes. One day after standing in a buffet line for 15 minutes, I walked with a plate of food for another 15 minutes on deck 15 just trying to get a table, and after not finding one I just settled for a lounge chair that miraculously was available. Most annoying on this ship were hordes of people everywhere. You could not find a quite place. There were never chairs available at the game room, at the lounge, or at the club. Since I had to accommodate for my kids and my parents, I was running up and down the stairs all day long because I could not get on the elevator for the life of me. Now from the beginning: The embarkation area is not big enough to handle 3200 people out of the ship and 3200 people in the ship. It is a mess. We arrived at 11 am and people were still leaving the ship, the line to get onboard was about 1500 people. Doors opened at noon and after that the process went very smoothly. By 1 pm we were onboard. We dropped our bags and went exploring the ship. We were looking forward to seeing a big screen movie theater. It was impressive and kids liked it. The best about it was night time watching when pool is closed and you are just relaxing under a warm blanket. They have second run for most movies, however selection was very poor. They mostly had last year movies for kids - Finding Nemo, Shreck, Incredibles - and pretty old adult movies - Shall We Dance, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tina Turner in concert. So even thought it was a good idea, and we hoped to catch up on newer movies, we did not use it because selection was very limited. (To compare to Celebrity, they were playing all new releases in their theater last year). I have to say a few good words about the spa. They have great variety of treatments available and some of them are very reasonably priced. I took a tour of the spa, and would use it if I was on the ship without kids and parents. This trip I had no time for myself. I used the beauty salon and was impressed with Ken, who colored and styled my hair. Most of the people at the spa and salon are impressive. Overall, the ship is very tastefully decorated, very nice colors and scheme selection, and very relaxing environment. However, atrium is too small and not very impressive. (To compare to Carnival, there were no 11 story atrium on this ship. It is also not as wide and spacious as RCCL). Crooner's piano lounge is jammed in the corner with only a few tables and always full of people. Club Fusion is a great idea and a very useful space. The only one that seemed to have empty chairs at most times. Skywalker is the ship-top disco with a magnificent view and poor music selection (calypso, western, English bands). The Wheelhouse Bar has musical duet with less than average musical abilities. They also have quartet but we never seen or heard them on the ship. Explorers' Lounge is another nice place that is used as movie theater, comedy club, art auction center, and for all other purposes. It is also crowded most of the time. The environment had changed to the better since our last cruise on Princess. And service had improved. They were still forcing you to buy cola stickers, but only on the first day. You still got myriads of sale flyers in your mail slot, but we just learned to toss them without reading. You still got annoying announcements about art sales and such, but we learned to tune them out. The shops are small and not very broad selection, however they had very beautiful Italian made costume jewelry and some nice shawls and purses. I got snubbed by cosmetic sales girl for asking her about newer cosmetic line of Lancôme, otherwise it was ok. Our cabin was on Baja deck with covered balcony. Cabin (203 sq ft) was too small for 4 of us and balcony was small, the shower was laughable. Room attendant was good, service was good. I was surprised to see the balconies below us without cover and privacy. I knew that some were covered and some were not, but this was ridiculous. My husband and I enjoy private dinners late at night and sometimes get intimate on the balcony, but on this ship you felt exposed no matter on what deck you were. Food was an experience on this ship. Buffet featured long lines, crowded rooms, permanently occupied tables, and mostly cold food. Dining room had poor selection, food was tasteless, and there was nothing delicious, special or gourmet. We are used to soups, salads, and lots of vegetable dishes for our everyday meals, but also enjoy gastronomical adventures that are usually available on most ships. Here was an exception. Most of the nights, I had shrimp dishes because there was nothing else to choose from the menu. I had soup once, lobster bisque, and it was just so-so, the rest of the nights soups were uneatable. You had to go to the buffet to get a good salad, and also I had to find some food for kids (they do not eat cheeseburgers, pizzas, and hot dogs) and it was an ordeal. Few nights we went to the dining room to avoid crowds at the buffet and after not finding food that kids or parents can eat at the menu, had to return to the buffet at a later time. We solved food problem by ordering juices and fruits to the cabin each morning, and having salads for lunch, dinner was problematic most nights. One night they had Indian cuisine, another night Creole, next night Chinese/Japanese, next night Caribbean/Jamaican - needless to say we hoped for some nice Italian, French, or American dishes. We are not big meat eaters, so we did not go to Sterling Steakhouse. And I could not justify $120 for Italian meal on the ship at Sabatini's. Room service offered a selection of cold sandwiches and Caesar salad. I am used to ordering veggie tray with dips, cheese and pastry trays from room service to have with our wine on the balcony. On Princess you had to pay extra for these items. I also did not order in-cabin dinner service for $50 per person because of the lack of space in the cabin and no privacy on the balcony. Entertainment was a huge disappointment. The 750-seat Princess Theater is always crowded; you cannot reserve chairs there and have to be there at least 40 minutes before the show in order to get a sit. The so-called production shows were amateurish at best. I was ashamed to have my parents next to me on these shows after I raved about other shows on Carnival and Celebrity to them. There were in total 4 comedians, 2 English singers, magician, juggler, 2 production shows, and crew entertainment night. We walked out on most of them. After 12 cruises, this was the WORST entertainment ever !!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My school plays were more professional than that. They had no choreography, no great dancers, no special effects, very limited costumes and terrible decorations. I do not know if this is what they have on all Princesses sips now, but it was very different 3 years ago. We are used to one Broadway style show, one Las Vegas show and one music and dance show on the 7 night itinerary. Here they had 2 music and dance shows and both of them unprofessional and just a pretty lame affair. Because of the young kids, we could not go to the late night parties. So champagne waterfall at 11:30 pm was too late for us to attend. Midnight dance party at Skywalker was also out of reach. Tropical dance party was nothing special, just your typical island party music and dances. Huge Huge Huge disappointment with entertainment. Port stops were very nice; Princess Keys is a wonderful stop. They have provided everything on the beach including food and did not overlook any details. St. Thomas is beautiful as always. And St. Martin became one hot island since the last time we visited. Many great shops, beautiful beaches, French designer clothes, nice promenade. Overall, ship is too crowded; it cannot and should not accommodate more than 2500 people. It has no room and no facilities for 3200 people. Crew tried to do their best and they were able to achieve amazing results with little space that the ship has. They work twice as hard as on any other ship just trying to cover for the lack of space. The service was very good and everyone was very nice and helpful considering the limitations. My husband was very disappointed with the cruise and rated it below expectations. My kids liked child care onboard and enjoyed going there and watching movies on the big screen. My parents were disappointed with swarm of people, poor food selection and bad entertainment. I would've had a better time if we were cruising alone, my husband and I, without kids and parents. But since I had no great hopes to begin with, I think that it met my expectations except for entertainment, lack of space, and crowds of people. European Cruise Lines (4), Regency Cruises (1), Carnival (1), NCL (1), RCCL (1), Celebrity (2), and Princess (2). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Cruise Line: Carnival Name of Ship: Liberty Itinerary: 8 Night Eastern George Taylor, Cruise Review December 10, 2005. Embarkation- Was fairly smooth. Don't try to sneak booze on in your carry on. Check it in. Beer and soda are ... Read More
Cruise Line: Carnival Name of Ship: Liberty Itinerary: 8 Night Eastern George Taylor, Cruise Review December 10, 2005. Embarkation- Was fairly smooth. Don't try to sneak booze on in your carry on. Check it in. Beer and soda are ok. Cans only. Cabin - Very nice. Had balcony on Lido deck # 9214. Very clean and nice. Best beds I've had on any cruise. We went with a group so we had staff open up balconies. Great for gathering and private party. Food - Average. It was eadible. That's all I care about. Not one of those food mongrel cruisers. I have better things to do while on vacation. I don't as others do, rate eating and food as the primary purpose of my trip. I never went hungry. Service - Acceptable and that's a bit generous. New ship also came with new crew. Very inexperienced. Several instances there would be no bowls, cups, spoons etc.. Very unorganized on lido deck. They would only have part of the food areas open, which caused very long waits to eat. I have never seen anything like it on a cruise ship before. Kind of reminded me of driving by soup kitchen lines at the local YCC's. Very frustrating. I would hope that this will improve over time. But the staff definitley looked lost. Dining Room - very nice, Service there was acceptable but far from the best. Entertainment - Shows were very good. great sets on stage. Comedian Percy Crews a must see, extremely funny. Band at the Stage Lounge was very good. They do several theme nights. Disco, Beatles and Oldies. Ship - Beautiful. Nicely decorated. Casino is quite large compared to other ships. Shops are nice. Lounge areas, Sports bar, Piano bar are all very nice. We rousted up Duane at the Piano bar several nights and had a good time. Did lots of sing a longs and specialty songs. Ports - San Juan. Very nice to sail into and that is about it. Wandered into town for a couple hours and returned to ship. Good liquor deals at the port bld. We were there at night so our options for activities was limited. Had been there twice before and would just reccommend walking around town. friends of ours went on the night kayaking tour, and they said it was ok. St Thomas - Again have been there several times. Went to Megans Bay this trip. Beautiful place to go to spend day on the beach. All the facilities you need are readily available. Coki beach however was better. Went there last year. The have a beginners Scuba class and dive tour right there. Give yourself a few hours to wander through town and shop. good deals available on diamonds if you know how to shop for them. Antigua - First visit there for me. I was pleasantly surprised. Beautiful Island. Locals were very friendly. I would reccommend the Catamaran Beach and snorkel tour. Not the best snorkeling in the caribbean but was pretty good. Shopping is Ok. Most of it is right off the boat. Tortolla - Unbelivable !! What a Gem of an Island. we went out to the Baths at Vigin Gorda. This is a must see and do. However the ship charges 69.00 dollars a person. We did it on our own for only 35.00. Just get off the boat and walk into town, catch the ferry. Its a 30 min. ride to Vigin gorda. Absolutely stunning beauty. When you arrive at the dock a cab will take you to the baths. If you like hiking this is the best. Once you get to the baths after a ten min. hike you won't believe the scenery. Make sure you get off the ship as early as possible though. You will need to catch the 9 am ferry going, and the 1:30 coming back. If you dont get on the 9 am don't bother going. We caught the 11 am and only got to spend an hour at the baths. Very regretable. Nassau - Been here several times also. Lots to do here. Shopping is good. Went to Atlantis resort and local beach. Cabbage Beach is beatiful with some decent waves for body surfing. Just beware of all the locals trying to sell stuff. Once you get settled on the beach they pretty much leave you alone. Can't reccommend tour beacause I havent gone on one there. Summary - I wanted to keep this as short as possible. We had a great time as always, but were very disappointed in the crew and service. Still beats my best day at work though. I decided in the future that I will not go on a new ship again. As nice as the ship was it certainly cost us in the services we are used to seeing on other ships. There were just alot of not so normal things that happened on this cruise. Alot of what would seem to be petty things, but they add up. I will spare the details in this review, but feel welcome to E mail me with any questions. I would be glad to answer. If you are booke, make the best of it. You will have lots of fun. Just don't expect to much from the crew. w. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
 Carnival Cruise Lines > Carnival Liberty Cruise Review > 8-Night Eastern Caribbean > George Taylor > Age: 45 > Occupation: Technical > Number of Cruises: 9 > Sailing Date: December 10th, 2005 Embarkation - fairly ... Read More
 Carnival Cruise Lines > Carnival Liberty Cruise Review > 8-Night Eastern Caribbean > George Taylor > Age: 45 > Occupation: Technical > Number of Cruises: 9 > Sailing Date: December 10th, 2005 Embarkation - fairly smooth > > Cabin - Very nice. Had balcony on Lido deck #9214. Very clean and nice. > Best beds I've had on any cruise. We went with a group so we had staff open up balconies. Great for gathering and private party.   Food - Average. It was eatable. That's all I care about. Not one of those > food mongrel cruisers. I have better things to do while on vacation. I don't as others do, rate eating and food as the primary purpose of my trip. I > never went hungry. > > Service - Acceptable and that's a bit generous. New ship also came with new crew. Very inexperienced. Several instances there would be no bowls, cups, spoons etc.. Very unorganized on lido deck. They would only have part of the food areas open, which caused very long waits to eat. I have never seen anything like it on a cruise ship before. Kind of reminded me of driving by soup kitchen lines at the local YCC's. Very frustrating. I would hope that this will improve over time. But the staff definitely looked lost.  Dining Room - very nice, Service there was acceptable but far from the best.  Entertainment - Shows were very good. great sets on stage. Comedian Percy Crews a must see, extremely funny. Band at the Stage Lounge was very good. They do several theme nights. Disco, Beatles and Oldies. Ship - Beautiful. Nicely decorated. Casino is quite large compared to other ships. Shops are nice. Lounge areas, Sports bar, Piano bar are all very nice. We rousted up Duane at the Piano bar several nights and had a good time. Did lots of sing a longs and > specialty songs.  Ports - San Juan. Very nice to sail into and that is about it. Wandered into town for a couple hours and returned to ship. Good liquor deals at the port building. We were there at night so our options for activities was > limited. Had been there twice before and would just recommend walking around town. friends of ours went on the night kayaking tour, and they said it was ok. St Thomas - Again have been there several times. Went to Megan's Bay this trip. Beautiful place to go to spend day on the beach. All the facilities you need are readily available. Coki beach however was better. Went there last year. The have a beginners Scuba class and dive tour right there. Give yourself a few hours to wander through town and shop. good deals available on diamonds if you know how to shop for them.  Antigua - First visit there for me. I was pleasantly surprised. Beautiful Island. Locals were very friendly. I would recommend the Catamaran Beach and snorkel tour. Not the best snorkeling in the Caribbean but was pretty good. Shopping is Ok. Most of it is right off the boat.  Tortola - Unbelievable !! What a Gem of an Island. we went out to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. This is a must see and do. However the ship charges 69.00 dollars a person. We did it on our own for only 35.00. Just get off the boat and walk into town, catch the ferry. Its a 30 min. ride to Virgin Gorda. Absolutely stunning beauty. When you arrive at the dock a cab will take you to the baths. If you like hiking this is the best. Once you get to the baths after a ten min. hike you won't believe the scenery. Make sure you get off > the ship as early as possible though. You will need to catch the 9 am ferry going, and the 1:30 coming back. If you don't get on the 9 am don't bother going..  Summary - I wanted to keep this as short as possible. We had a great time as  always, but were very disappointed in the crew and service. Still beats my best day at work though. I decided in the future that I will not go on a new ship again. As nice as the ship was it certainly cost us in the services we are used to seeing on other ships. There were just a lot of not so normal things that happened on this cruise. A lot of what would seem to be petty things, but they add up. I will spare the details in this review, but feel > welcome to E mail me with any questions. I would be glad to answer. > gtaylor962@msn.com. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
This review is for the 12/10-12/17 sailing. Airport Transfer/Embarkation: The airport RCI reps could not have been more professional and gracious. Everything was as organized as could be. This made for an excellent first impression and ... Read More
This review is for the 12/10-12/17 sailing. Airport Transfer/Embarkation: The airport RCI reps could not have been more professional and gracious. Everything was as organized as could be. This made for an excellent first impression and served to increase my anticipation for another wonderful week with RCI. Once we got pierside that impression quickly changed, as MASS disorganization prevailed. RCI personnel blamed Customs, but they've been in business long enough to be better prepared. Inside the terminal I felt like I was at Penn Station for the LIRR rush hour. After about one hour we finally boarded the ship. Amazingly, only one crew member (wearing a polo shirt- Not very classy ) stood at the gangway to welcome passengers and he seemed to resenting that post...No smiles, No eye contact, just mumbling something. And then we were inside the ship itself... Just like entering a shopping mall, nothing to indicate this was going to be an event or grand occasion of a wonderful vacation. Being my first time on a Voyager class ship, I noticed how DARK and drab the interiors are... I missed the Centrum w/ all the floor to ceiling windows. Crew members we passed on our way to the cabin didn't project feelings of a warm welcome. Service, Food & Beverage: Simply put, I've had MUCH better tasting food at Bellevue Hospital. The embarkation buffet was mostly cold food & offered little variety. Sometimes we couldn't find a bar server to take our drink orders in lounges but the poolside servers were aggressive to the point of being obnoxious. My travel partner asked for an iced tea and was told to get it himself from the Windjammer Cafe. THAT'S POOR SERVICE! The much touted new "improved" menus left little to be desired, and the new Le Brasserie Lunch is only a way for RCL to make a downgraded lunch appear like better idea. The lack of late night buffet options is also indicative of obvious downgrading. Aside from our dinner waiter and assistant waiter in the dining room, the VAST majority of crew weren't very interactive or friendly. This was the first cruise I've been on that seemed to have TOO MANY crew. I know by now you may be thinking "Why is this guy so negative"? I wish I could report that the Voyager of The Seas was a wonderful cruise, but it was one of the worst. I came on with an open mind and positive attitude, but being a hospitality industry worker, I know what is excellent, fair or mediocre product presentation... If you looked up MEDIOCRE in the dictionary, you'd see a picture of the Voyager of The Seas! Conclusion: It is sad that Royal Caribbean puts too much emphasis on activities and on-board marketing, while not concentrating on what really makes customers loyal... Friendly customer service, good food and quality. I have a TransAtlantic cruise booked on the Brilliance of The Seas and am willing to wipe the slate clean & give RCI on more chance. On this cruise I felt like I was trapped on Amtrak for a week! Happy Sailing Everyone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty Cruise Review 8-Night Eastern Caribbean George Taylor Age: 45 Occupation: Technical Number of Cruises: 9 Sailing Date: December 10th, 2005 Embarkation - fairly smooth Cabin - Very nice. Had ... Read More
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Liberty Cruise Review 8-Night Eastern Caribbean George Taylor Age: 45 Occupation: Technical Number of Cruises: 9 Sailing Date: December 10th, 2005 Embarkation - fairly smooth Cabin - Very nice. Had balcony on Lido deck #9214. Very clean and nice. Best beds I've had on any cruise. We went with a group so we had staff open up balconies. Great for gathering and private party. Food - Average. It was edible. That's all I care about. Not one of those food mongrel cruisers. I have better things to do while on vacation. I don't as others do, rate eating and food as the primary purpose of my trip. I never went hungry. Service - Acceptable and that's a bit generous. New ship also came with new crew. Very inexperienced. Several instances there would be no bowls, cups, spoons etc.. Very unorganized on lido deck. They would only have part of the food areas open, which caused very long waits to eat. I have never seen anything like it on a cruise ship before. Kind of reminded me of driving by soup kitchen lines at the local YCC's. Very frustrating. I would hope that this will improve over time. But the staff definitely looked lost. Dining Room - Very nice, Service there was acceptable but far from the best. Entertainment - Shows were very good. great sets on stage. Comedian Percy Crews a must see, extremely funny. Band at the Stage Lounge was very good. They do several theme nights. Disco, Beatles and Oldies. Ship - Beautiful. Nicely decorated. Casino is quite large compared to other ships. Shops are nice. Lounge areas, Sports bar, Piano bar are all very nice. We rousted up Duane at the Piano bar several nights and had a good time. Did lots of sing-a-longs and specialty songs. Ports - San Juan. Very nice to sail into and that is about it. Wandered into town for a couple hours and returned to ship. Good liquor deals at the port building. We were there at night so our options for activities was limited. Had been there twice before and would just recommend walking around town. friends of ours went on the night kayaking tour, and they said it was ok. St. Thomas - Again have been there several times. Went to Megan's Bay this trip. Beautiful place to go to spend day on the beach. All the facilities you need are readily available. Coki beach however was better. Went there last year. The have a beginners Scuba class and dive tour right there. Give yourself a few hours to wander through town and shop. good deals available on diamonds if you know how to shop for them. Antigua - First visit there for me. I was pleasantly surprised. Beautiful Island. Locals were very friendly. I would recommend the Catamaran Beach and snorkel tour. Not the best snorkeling in the Caribbean but was pretty good. Shopping is Ok. Most of it is right off the boat. Tortola - Unbelievable !! What a Gem of an Island. we went out to the Baths at Virgin Gorda. This is a must see and do. However the ship charges 69.00 dollars a person. We did it on our own for only 35.00. Just get off the boat and walk into town, catch the ferry. Its a 30 min. ride to Virgin Gorda. Absolutely stunning beauty. When you arrive at the dock a cab will take you to the baths. If you like hiking this is the best. Once you get to the baths after a ten min. hike you won't believe the scenery. Make sure you get off the ship as early as possible though. You will need to catch the 9 am ferry going, and the 1:30 coming back. If you don't get on the 9 am don't bother going. We caught the 11 am and only got to spend an hour at the baths. Very regrettable. Nassau - Been here several times also. Lots to do here. Shopping is good. Went to Atlantis resort and local beach. Cabbage Beach is beautiful with some decent waves for body surfing. Just beware of all the locals trying to sell stuff. Once you get settled on the beach they pretty much leave you alone. Cant recommend tour because I haven't gone on one there. Summary - I wanted to keep this as short as possible. We had a great time as always, but were very disappointed in the crew and service. Still beats my best day at work though. I decided in the future that I will not go on a new ship again. As nice as the ship was it certainly cost us in the services we are used to seeing on other ships. There were just a lot of not so normal things that happened on this cruise. A lot of what would seem to be petty things, but they add up. I will spare the details in this review, but feel welcome to E mail me with any questions. I would be glad to answer. If you are booked, make the best of it. You will have lots of fun. Just don't expect to much from the crew. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
PreCruise: Stayed at Embassy Suites on night. It was adequate as they are still renovating. The location is excellent. Took the water taxi to Las Olas for dinner. It was very lively and fun to walk around. Shopped at Publix for precruise ... Read More
PreCruise: Stayed at Embassy Suites on night. It was adequate as they are still renovating. The location is excellent. Took the water taxi to Las Olas for dinner. It was very lively and fun to walk around. Shopped at Publix for precruise drinks. Embarkation:took a cab to the port at 11am. We had to wait for our in-laws so it slowed us down, we could have gotten right on. Considering we dropped our luggage off early we did not get it until after dinner--the latest ever I have waited for luggage to come. we did tip and apparently it did no good. The embarkation itself was easy but you enter the sip in a very crowded small lobby space, difficult to navigate with my mother in law in a wheelchair. The Cabin was an outside on the Main deck, very spacious. My in-laws were in a hc room which was TINY--all the space was given to the bathroom, there was very little storage for them and the wheelchair could not fit inside the room. Dining--we had 5:45 dining upstairs in the silver room. There was no view where we sat and we couldn't see downstairs either. The service was good. The food was so-so, not Carnival's best. We did Harry's one night and sat under the Jogging Track (I kid you not). The food was good and the singers excellent. The buffet--this was very limited and closed early. I have seen much better on the Spirit class ships. The Public Rooms--they are splashy but not much going on. The layout of the ship is confusing and has a lot of dead ends. Fitness-- this has good equipment, was never crowded as has a nice sauna/steam and Jacuzzi. Did not use the spa services. Casino--OK the first night and tight after that. Entertainment--the production shows were good and the last night Legends show not to be missed. Did not make it to the midnight shows. the other shows stunk(i.e., the Village Idiots were awful). Too much Bingo as well. The Ports--This was the best part of the cruise--we had 5 ports. San Juan at night was OK as it was warm and was decorated for Christmas. We had a drink at the Parrot club and picked up some cold remedies at Walgreens for my father in law. St Thomas we docked at Crown Bay which was a shock, nevertheless we took a cab to town then the ferry from Charlotte Amalie to St John (not the original plan). Went to Cinnamon Bay and Trunk bay. In Antigua, we booked Eli's Eco Tour which took all day and was fun but pricey. In Tortola, we went to Virgin Gorda to the Baths. In Nassau we got off right away and went to Atlantis where I had booked a room online at Coral Towers. We were given 4 keys and had use of all the facilities. The pools and Jacuzzis on the ship were very nice and there were always seats somewhere to be found. We truly had great weather as well. All in all a good cruise but I felt Carnival has really cut back on food and activities. My in laws stayed aboard in 3 of the ports and there was nothing going on at all. We ended up going to watch Karaoke several nights and when the passengers are more talented than the paid Entertainment,this is pretty bad. I should add that we had a great Cruise Critic group on this cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Impressions from Millennium Cruise, 12/11/05 - 12/18-05. The Good: Notwithstanding certain comments recently seen on these message boards, we found Millennium to be spotlessly clean and well maintained, both in the staterooms and ... Read More
Impressions from Millennium Cruise, 12/11/05 - 12/18-05. The Good: Notwithstanding certain comments recently seen on these message boards, we found Millennium to be spotlessly clean and well maintained, both in the staterooms and public areas. Perhaps a lot was replaced/updated during the recent drydock, but there was no trace of the sewage smell previous cruisers complained of. Overall condition - excellent. Boarding was marvellous. While other cruise lines had lines reaching well outside the terminal at 11:30 AM, we were able to stroll inside and, thanks to having the Xpress Pass filled out, cleared all the procedures and were on board ship within 15 minutes of arrival. The longest step was security, which had the metal detectors set so low that a wristwatch set them off. We were met by representatives of the line with champagne or orange juice as promised (although that seemed to be somewhat hit or miss). The stateroom was ready when we boarded and, all in all, it was a painless process. The Bad: I don't know if it was particular to this cruise or not, but the vast (90%+, seemingly) of our fellow passengers were octogenarians. This led to some of the predictable difficulties while on board - inability to ever secure a lounge chair by the pool, lots of public bickering, fights to get on/off the elevators, etc. Loud complaints at speciality areas like the ice cream stand, poolside hamburger bar, etc/. The entertainment seemed to only be geared to the older crowd noted above, and was generally dreadful. Lounge music was provided by a pair of 60+ twins whose repertoire was basically early Benny Goodman, with an occasional sop to us the "younger" crowd with a 50's era song. I almost expected them to break into a chorus of "There'll always be an England". Other acts included a 1950's era Catskill-type comic whose gag lines pretty much seemed all be along the line of "Take my wife - PLEASE!!!". Movies were not only old releases, but given at inopportune times (i.e. during lunch). Pretty much a bust. The indifferent: The cafeteria food was generally only fair to poor, both in quantity, presentation and in variety. The last day the chef had to get rid of all the seafood left over, so every dining area was inundated with every form of shrimp. The main dining room was pleasant and the food was good, but not of the caliber one would expect from Celebrity's celebrated alliance with Michel Roux. This was on a level with decent hotel food on land, but no more. The Olympic Speciality Dining Room is spectacular to see, and the service cannot be faulted, but again the quality of the actual food seemed to miss the mark. The Steak Diane had a large chunk of gristle, the Lobster Veloute soup came lukewarm, and the crepes suzette have been removed from the menus. The highlights were the goat souffle cheese souffle and the Olympic pudding. The service throughout the ship rated our constant commentary. The best description I can make would be to classify it as "cooly professional". We failed to see a smile on any staff member during the entire cruise. While unfailingly greeted in the passageways, the marked impression was that of a rote, required greeting. The same could be noted with the dining room staff - everything was carefully and professionally scripted, but it all had the ring of "Hi - I'm (fill in name) and I'll be your server tonight" that has become the hallmark of chain restaurants. The difference in warmth between the staff on HAL and Millennium was marked, and Millennium definitely needs some improvement in this regard. Staff at the service desk were condescending when asked about a minibar billing question. Room service is encouraged to be handled through the interactive TV in the stateroom, but the menu available is very limited, and does not provide for soft drinks, nor a variety of other options. For this you are still required to call the Stateroom Assistance number, who apparently relays the info to Room Service - not a very user-friendly system. No room service breakfast fill-out card was provided. In short, while there is little fundamental complaint about the Millennium, I, my wife and adult daughter all found it compared unfavorably with comparable cruises with HAL or Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
I am in the Travel business and am a seasoned "cruiser". I have sailed on Holland America, Princess, RCL and Carnival. This was my first time on Costa. I read all of the reviews prior to making my reservation and I was somewhat ... Read More
I am in the Travel business and am a seasoned "cruiser". I have sailed on Holland America, Princess, RCL and Carnival. This was my first time on Costa. I read all of the reviews prior to making my reservation and I was somewhat nervous about the reviews I had read. But we do need a change and I also needed a holiday! Embarkation was a breeze, arrived at the pier at 11:15am and we were on board by 11:45am had lunch and were in our suite by 1:00pm...quickest ever and luggage was delivered by 3:00pm. We had a Panoramic Suite and it was wonderful, prior to this cruise we always had a balcony. The decor was both soothing and relaxing and I just loved the bathroom, double sinks, whirlpool tub and I also had my own private dressing area. My partner had his own closet space and drawers so we never bumped into one another. Our butler Yhen and cabin steward Victoria were just perfect. Our bed was too hard and on day two, an extra mattress and pillows were delivered. Our butler Yhen delivered our tea and coffee each morning which was a nice change from many different staff as on my previous cruises. This ship is beautiful, albeit somewhat overdone...but hey, we are on vacation and its nice to admire the various art and colours throughout this spotless ship. The staff are constantly cleaning and polishing. The staff on board are mainly from the Philippines and always have a smile and say hello to you. I would say probably 90% which I haven't encountered on other ships. The food...well...it wasn't as good as on my previous cruises, but I certainly didn't go hungry. The buffet for breakfast didn't have the choices that even Carnival had and it was very basic. Lunch buffet was just OK and the dinners in the main dining room were typical cruise fare. Though the pasta and the pizza were excellent! They serve hamburgers and fries on deck, I didn't try them as I do not go on a cruise and have a burger. We did have dinner one evening at Medusa (charge is 20.00us per person) it was wonderful and the service was excellent. But if it wasn't included with our suite I don't think I would have paid the extra to dine there! A few tips: I brought 3 bottles of wine in my carry on. My partner brought some pop and water Buy the 1/2 litre of wine instead of a glass Bring some snacks...chips etc... The average drink on board is quite expensive at 5.50us If you don't like your table and tablemates at dinner you can always change...we did... And lastly...try the "Wheel of Fortune" in the casino...my partner had a nice win the last night of our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
We just returned from our cruise on Sunday, December 11. I will not make this review long, but get right to the point. This was our first time on a Royal Caribbean ship. We try to cruise once or twice a year, usually we travel with ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise on Sunday, December 11. I will not make this review long, but get right to the point. This was our first time on a Royal Caribbean ship. We try to cruise once or twice a year, usually we travel with Celebrity. The staff on board were very pleasant. Our room attendant could not have been nicer and keep our room very clean. This was a smaller room than we are use too, but were able to put all our items away and four large bags stored under our bed. We loved the shower stall doors and not having to deal with a curtain. The shows very just OK and the ports were fine. Our San Juan excursion which included the rum factory was long with lots of walking at the fort. We enjoyed it very much and the exercise felt good. Our other excursion was the afternoon bash at the beach on St. Maarten. We were not aware we had to pay extra for a beach umbrella ($3.00) and were bothered by vendors walking by our chair trying to sell their items. The surf was very rough and won't recommend this excursion. In the Tides dining room the food was poorly prepared, with cheap cuts of meat. For example shank of lamb or veal. The food had little or no taste. It was not served hot most of the time. The shrimp cocktail was never cold (because it was not on ice) and they ran out of lobster tail. When the chefs did their march around later in the week, our whole area booed them. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. LOUSY The Windjammer was not much better. We would never go back to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
This is our tenth cruise and first on Holland America. There were 10 people in our party, which included 2 children ages 5 1/2 and 8. We were celebrating 2 anniversaries. Each set of grandparents were celebrating their 40th and 48th years ... Read More
This is our tenth cruise and first on Holland America. There were 10 people in our party, which included 2 children ages 5 1/2 and 8. We were celebrating 2 anniversaries. Each set of grandparents were celebrating their 40th and 48th years respectively. We found the food better on this cruise but the service and the crew were a major disappointment. We had requested a table for 10 but the request was not honored. We had two tables instead next to each other. This proved to be a major inconvenience and frustration. The children were not happy that we were not all sitting together. The staff all the way up to the Director of Hotel Services were rude and inconsiderate. I understand that the ship was full but there was no effort to remedy this mistake. They did not even offer a bottle of wine or a night in the speciality restaurant. The only word that they all seemed to know was "Impossible". Physically, there was a strange odor from the public bathrooms located between the Dining Room and Theatre. After 9:30 there was nothing to do on the ship. When there was an evening event planned the room assigned to the event was too small and presented a fire hazard. A suggestion to change the room, was ignored. Another indication of the crew's unfriendliness. I can't believe that this ship won the Hospitality Award for 2005. It must have been presented by Holland America to themselves because no critic would have found this ship top notch. The ship sailed full with 400 children, unfortunately they were trying to use the same size crew for a full sailing as they would have used when the ship went out only 75% full. I would not recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
This cruise was totally unexpected. a last minute deal that came up on the internet for the CostaMediterranea. Although the ten of us were already booked for a New Year's sailing on the Carnival Glory, we all said "why not?" ... Read More
This cruise was totally unexpected. a last minute deal that came up on the internet for the CostaMediterranea. Although the ten of us were already booked for a New Year's sailing on the Carnival Glory, we all said "why not?" and booked the CostaMediterranea that very day for the November 27th sailing to the Eastern Caribbean. Then I went to Cruise Critic and read the reviews. There were a few positive reviews and some very negative ones. I also went to some large, online Cruise Travel agencies to compare prices and noted that they did not even represent Costa! Had we made a mistake booking in haste?. So, I decided it couldn't be too bad, a fairly new, beautiful ship and the ports of call were wonderful. St. Maarten and Tortola were two of our favorites and at least we would be getting away from the cold, winter weather and traveling to the warm, sunny Caribbean. Here is what I have to share about our experience. Overall, the cruise was a good value, considering how inexpensive our tickets were. Many of the complaints that were written about the Mediterranea in Cruise Critic are true but there were also some pleasant surprises. The embarkation went smooth once they opened up the line. We had booked an outside cabin on Circe deck. Our cabin #1240 was the very last one located aft on port side. It was clean, spacious with plenty of storage space. I did notice a loud rumbling noise in our cabin while waiting to sail. At first I said to myself "oh, no, we are going to be hearing the rumble of the engines and generators during the entire cruise". Then to my surprise I looked outside my window where the noise was coming from. A large garbage barge was tied up to the side of the ship taking on loads of foul smelling refuse from the ship. The barge was about 15 -20 feet below our window and it stayed there taking on garbage until time to sail. Outside on deck if you walked past, the odor was noxious. Needless to say, this did not make a very good impression. The CostaMediterranea sailing was delayed by two and one half hours that night while the captain waited on a plane from Europe that was bringing one hundred passengers. It is my understanding that Costa caters to the European and Italian travelers but we as Americans were treated very courteously by the staff. One of the best things about this cruise was the music. Having sailed on thirty-six ships, this ship had the best pool side band, hands down, of any we have ever heard. One night on the ship, they had a poolside, tropical party and it was a fantastic blow out, The ships dancers and staff dressed up in costumes and danced with us. It went on for about two hours. The entertainment in all the lounges at night was also excellent as were several of the shows in the main theatre lounge. The pasta dishes in the formal dining room at night were good and our service was fast and great! Now for the cons. Yes you guessed it! As many other reviews have stated, the beds are indeed very hard. Six inch pads on a metal cot. When you sit down on the bed your tailbone hits the metal. Thin, hard pillows and yes impossible to get more. I heard passenger after passenger bitterly complaining over the bed situation and if any one thing is hurting Costa's business, this has got to be it folks! I even heard passengers getting off the ship while we were waiting to embark complaining about how bad the beds were and they were never sailing Costa again! Surprisingly, I spent a great deal of time trying to get a washcloth and then found out that Europeans evidently don't use them. Why the heck they can't provide them to their American guests beats me and they don't put chocolates on your pillow at night either! Also, as complained about in previous reviews, our cabin was always too hot. Several, earnest and well meaning crew members kept making visits to our cabin to try and fix the problem. They finally threw their hands up and this is what they explained to me: Their European and Caribbean passengers like it very warm, so different crew members started fiddling with closing valves, readjusting switches and even made some permanent rigging to the system and now no one crew member knows how to go back and straighten out the system. Basically, the thermostat in the cabin is a joke. Fortunately, I had brought a small, electric fan and an extension cord with me. The buffet food on the pool deck is downright awful. Some of the worst I've eaten. In fact, I couldn't eat it and I usually will eat about anything. The pizza was the worst I've ever had on a ship which was surprising considering it was an Italian ship. Mainly a slab of pale, tasteless, dough with practically no sauce or toppings. The hamburger grill kept me fed for lunch but what I missed the most was a salad bar. Everyday they would put out a pan of assorted leaf lettuce and sit beside it maybe a choice of one topping for the day, like radishes. I missed the wonderful salad bars we've had on other ships. There was always a good choice of fresh fruits though. The desserts on the Lido deck were very boring and tasteless. The same small cakes sliced in thin layers with thin slices of not very sweet honeydew melon and cantaloupe in some jellied substance on top of all of them. These little cakes were served everywhere on the ship for the duration of the cruise. Breakfast on the Lido deck was a scramble to try and get juice and coffee in the am. They were always running out or the machines were broken. People would queue up trying to get a beverage at breakfast time. We never made it to the formal dining room for lunch but several of my traveling companions said it was good. Some of the entrees in the formal dining room at night were sub par, especially the beef dishes, We all had a tasteless slab of something that passed for filet mignon but not by any stretch of the imagination. The desserts were fair. The ports of call were enjoyable. However, we did not purchase any of the ships shore excursions. We found them to be very overpriced compared to the price of excursions on other cruise lines we've been on. On Tortola, six of us rented an open "surrey like" cab for $6 each way went to Cane Garden Bay beach for the day. when we arrived in St. Marten, passengers have to be tendered to shore as there were five ships in that day and the dock could only accommodate three. It took us three hours to get a ticket and wait in line to be tendered off the ship. In Nassau we docked along with seven other ships that were there. Some of our group bought tickets and went to Atlantis for the afternoon. We were only there for six hours. The streets and shops were crowded. The clerks both in the shop and the straw market get ruder every time we visit Nassau. I guess a constant glut of cruise passengers has made them complacent and of course I get angry because thousands of cruise passengers are now forced to be be funneled through the Nassau Port shops in order to get out of the port and into the streets. Disembarkation took a long time. It was eleven Am before our group could go off ship. The disembarkation announcements were not heard in all parts of the ship. Would I go on a Costa cruise again? Probably not, because I am able to compare from first hand experience what other cruise lines are like. A first time cruiser, with nothing to compare it to, might think this is as good as it gets but we know different. We got our money's worth but next time I will go back to the tried and true cruise lines, even if I have to pay a few bucks more. I like to eat well, sleep comfortably and use a clean washcloth to bathe everyday. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
We were on the November 26th Eastern Cruise. Embarkation was fine. The lines moved a decent pace, but there were too many lines. There was one to go through metal detectors and x-ray machines for bags which is a necessity these days. ... Read More
We were on the November 26th Eastern Cruise. Embarkation was fine. The lines moved a decent pace, but there were too many lines. There was one to go through metal detectors and x-ray machines for bags which is a necessity these days. Then, rather than giving you your keys when you checking in, you had to check in in one line, and then get into another line to get the keys. Then you got into a 4th line to have your picture taken by security for debarkation/embarkation procedures during ports of call (normal stuff) and then a 5th one to have the photographer take a picture of you boarding the ship with cheesy backgrounds. There was no way to bypass the photographers...you just had to stand and wait for your turn to either have a picture taken or keep walking. They were very friendly and smiley while boarding so you at least felt welcome. Unfortunately, that is where the smiles stopped. I found that the majority of the staff on board were rude and cranky. The odd staff member smiled and were helpful, but most couldn't be bothered to say hello and be friendly. Our Steward, head and assistant waiter and bar waitress were extremely friendly and saved the cruise lines their reputation. If it had not been for them, we probably would have had a miserable cruise. The spa people push product on you the whole time, so if you get a treatment, start off by telling them to can the sales pitch, otherwise expect a horrible time while getting that mani/pedicure treatment. They even went so far to insult my wife by saying she had black rings around her eyes and that she needed to buy their special cream and get some special treatment for a 100 bucks to clean that up. Needless to say, we left no tip and demanded a refund (we got a partial refund) when her nail polish began to chip off the next day. The food really was nothing to be proud of on Carnival's part. The buffet was tasteless most of the time, and most of the food in the dinning room was hit and miss. The meats/prime rib had way too much fat on them. The seafood was ok at best. Their soups and salads were good. The bread was very fresh and always warm. I was really disappointed in their attitude of "feed you and get you out the door as fast as possible" theory. I also don't like only being provided with one fork and knife for a 4 course meal. Their dinning room is very laid back, and not appropriate for a "classy" dinning experience that you come to expect on a cruise at night. The gala buffet was the worst I had ever seen on a cruise. There is more in my pantry than there was during the gala buffet. They had one ice sculpture, some cakes, cold cuts, sushi, salad and a few other items. There were no sculptures made out of chocolate or bread like every other cruise I have taken. Quite disappointing. Thankfully I found a way to bypass the line to see the buffet and didn't waste a half hour in line to see it. The pastries and cakes on this cruise were horrible. You can get a better cake out of a Betty Crocker mix than on this cruise. If you went to the 24 hour sweets counter and asked for a piece of cake, they charged you between $2 and $5. I thought that food was supposed to be included in the price of the cruise. This was a rip off. At least the Sushi was free...not that I would pay for it given the average quality of sushi offered. If you like soda, they serve you cans or bottles of soda...not fountain garbage like most places so that is s huge plus. Their bars are well stocked and they can make just about anything you want. There are a few bars thought that apparently do not have soda, so don't expect a Rum and Coke or Vodka Tonic everywhere you go. What was good about the cruise was the ship itself. It was a nice ship to be on and had some fun lounges and piano bars to sit in and pass the time after the sun set with friends. Unfortunately, the music was way too loud in a few lounges including the lobby to have conversation without shouting. The color theme was not too in your face like older Carnival ships. The pools and hot tubs were nice. The water was cool in the pool and luke warm in the Jacuzzi's so you could enjoy bubbles under the sun without melting away due to hot water and a hot sun. Those who want 100 degree hot tubs will be disappointed though. There are 2 adult only Jacuzzi's at the back, but no adult only pools. The water slide is a fun addition to the cruise that I used a few times. The live music around the main pool is too loud for most people, and the CD music that they play has about 20 songs that repeat over and over again so if you spend a few hours around the pool when there is no live music, you hear the same songs a few times every day. The deck however is clean, the chairs are comfortable and plentiful. We had a full house and I always found some pool chairs at all times of the day. Please note however that there were not to many kids on this sailing and therefore a full house means no empty staterooms, just not full staterooms. The shows were good and the information provided to us everyday in the "Carnival Capers" newspaper was great. The internet was a rip off, so don't expect to email home every day unless you plan to spend some major cash to do it. Wait until you get to shore and use internet cafes on the islands. That probably explains why the internet room is hidden away in a corner behind a bar where no one can find it. Overall, we had fun on the cruise due to our steward and waiters. They took good care of us even thought no one else really tried. We met a few great people and made our own fun. Had neither of these occurred, I suspect that the cruise would not have been very good. You get what you pay for with Carnival...low price, low quality. If you want great service and a great experience, This is not the cruise for you. If you are looking for an inexpensive cruise and you don't care about high end dinning and service, than you will be happy with the experience provided by Carnival. Personally, I will not sail with Carnival again. not because they are bad, but because my expectation for service is higher than they strive to provide. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
Let me begin by saying that I have been on two Royal Caribbean cruises and decided to give Carnival a try. We found ourselves comparing the two cruise lines, even though we tried not to. My husband and I were traveling with our ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I have been on two Royal Caribbean cruises and decided to give Carnival a try. We found ourselves comparing the two cruise lines, even though we tried not to. My husband and I were traveling with our daughters, age 25 and a friend age 26. We stayed in a suite and the girls stayed in a balcony cabin. There was one advantage to having booked a suite - you are taken to a separate VIP check-in area and don't have to stand in long lines for as long. Eventually, you are going to be standing in a long line at embarkation but honestly, it was no big deal. When we arrived in our suite we were pleasantly surprised with the large size, 2 closets, jacuzzi tub and marble countertops. Really nice! BUT when the ship started to move, our cabin made a terrible creaking noise along with a tapping and sometimes pounding. We were miserable the entire 7 nights! Our daughter's cabin did not have the noise. Our cabin must've been cursed! Another problem encountered with the cabin was the our steward never replaced burned out lights that I requested. I also asked for bar soap several times and he indicated that he couldn't provide it - there was a problem. We never got a single bar of soap all week! Enough about the cabin... Our dining room experience was very good but not what I had hoped for. Filet Mignon was tough and overall, flavors of foods were unexceptional. We had some breakfasts and lunches in the Mediterranean buffet area. This was a big disappointment. The selections and choices were minimal. Only a couple of choices for entree at lunch, very little to put on a salad and not all that good. I know that all sounds like I'm a picky person but really, I'm not! I am a pretty easy going and accepting person. Our cabin steward had a hard time figuring out that we had early seating for dinner and for the first 4 nights we had to wait up for him to make up our bed/etc. I told him we went to bed early on the first night. He was a very nice person but just didn't get it. The cabin steward should provide service that you hardly have to think about. Not this time. He was always late. I had planned this vacation to avoid any possibility of hurricanes and tropical storms but as luck would have it, a depression formed near us. Obviously, this isn't the fault of our ship or Carnival but what would have been nice is if the crew had let us know what was going on. The seas were 7-12 feet and nearly everyone was sea sick. We didn't know what was going on until the cruise director made a casual remark that "since there is a tropical depression out there, we are changing the Tuesday entertainment to Friday and vice versa for the safety of the dancers". That was all the info we had. Watching the TV for world news was near impossible. It was only a depression so it didn't get much mention. But if you're in the middle of the ocean, a depression feels different! I would've liked more info. We did have these problems on the cruise but no matter what, you can find happiness in your vacation. I happen to work at a resort and I know the value of customer service. There was a lack of customer service on Carnival's part on this cruise and I think that bothered me most. Sometimes when things are going badly for one of our guests we try very hard to make up for it with over-the-top service. I am always impressed when I see someone make an extra effort. It just didn't happen here. I feel bad when I read someone's negative review and sometimes I think that person is probably overly critical. A vacation can be what you make out of it. And if you can laugh at the weather and long lines, that is half the battle. I just felt that the crew on Victory could've made it much better with the little things. We tried to enjoy everything but found ourselves vowing to never cruise on Carnival again. And I'm sorry for that. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
GREAT! The ship BEAUTIFUL, the Crew WONDERFUL! they went out of their way to do anything! The food was incredable! 10 restarants (3 just inside of the Chin Chin. but you must make reservations when you board for the wk. My only ... Read More
GREAT! The ship BEAUTIFUL, the Crew WONDERFUL! they went out of their way to do anything! The food was incredable! 10 restarants (3 just inside of the Chin Chin. but you must make reservations when you board for the wk. My only complant is that children under 12 should not be allowed in the speciality restarants. They dont like the food nor do they want to sit there. especlly childen 6 and under. The casino staff was great, made loosing FUN! (for me) This cruise line gives a lot away from a chance to win a free cruise (3 times) to involement gifts for particapating in games, casino, free art raffles and spa raffles almost everyday. Bingo starts at $9 to (a little high for the computer lap tops) $49, especially if you play everyday. Activies were fun, I'd like to see more of them since there were times I had nothing to do. I love the fact that this cruise lime also brings out late night snacks in the bars and casino around 11 each night. Also that the Slots machines are open always while at sea, and that they also have penney slots to play. There new program in the casino which awards cash back at the end of the cruise on the rating of play was not bad eighter. We got $170. cash back ourself even though my husband won $500 in the slots tourment and got $750 for 4 of a kind in Caribbean Stud. We came out ahead on this cruise!The ship is bright with colors all over. CLEAN (still new only 8 weeks old) who ever designed this one went on a cruise! They have put all the sun bathers on the 2 upper decks witch made it great for getting around the pool to eat at the tables outside. We had 650 kids on this trip so after the second day the crew had to inforce the adult only rule for the adult pool. Also the pools were open 24 hours which was nice for the late night jaccuzi! Also NO signing out beach towels! Just take as may as you want! The spa was nice, not as warm & fuzzy feeling of being wanted as some of the other ships I have been on, but the massages and services recieved were good. No heavy sales eighter!They did a movie while docked in ports, I wish they would do one everyday. Our room was a baloney, bright, full of colors. Our room attendant and asst was so good we hardly saw them. They left great towel animals and every request made was taken care of without ever asking again. (like leave a extra towel, and they did everyday) Art actions- personaly I think most of the art now adays is trash, my kids can paint better! But I still can find a painting or two. I felt the actioneer on this ship was too pushy and direct. I like the secret bidding on something you cant see that their other ships have and moving on to the next one if no one bids instead of pushing the art work at us. It wasnt too bad we did make it to almost every auction and bought 4 paintings. The shopping area is huge for a ship. Entertaiment was good too. Overall this cruise was GREAT, and I'd jump back on this ship again! (which says alot since we dont like to repeat ships). Cruise on this ship you won't be disappointed! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
This was my first cruise on Princess; I have sailed previously on Celebrity, once the Constellation and once the Mercury. I was very disappointed with Princess. For the Caribbean Princess being a new ship only about 18 months old, it felt ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Princess; I have sailed previously on Celebrity, once the Constellation and once the Mercury. I was very disappointed with Princess. For the Caribbean Princess being a new ship only about 18 months old, it felt as if it was at least five years old. The ship showed its wear, and was not very clean, the cleanliness I blame on the fact the ship does not have enough staff, and they seemed overworked. There were also way too many people on board, ships are getting bigger but the majority of the space is going to staterooms, not public areas. So you really notice the 1,000 extra people onboard. I am comparing this cruise to the previous Celebrity cruises I have been on, I felt the stateroom attendants were very over worked; they clean about 20 rooms a day, in the morning and turn it down in the evening. On Celebrity each stateroom attendant had an assistant to help with the cleaning which is needed considering the amount of rooms that they are responsible for. I was not fond of the Personal Choice Dinning option that we were stuck with; luckily I made a reservation for the dining room for the same table and the same waiter, so we didn't have to wait for a table. However I found that service lacked because our waiter had a lot of tables and everyone was at different stages of there meal, I think this made it harder on our waiter also, more running back to the kitchen. Also there were no wine stewards or bar staff taking drink orders, two extra jobs our waiter had which slowed him down. Also customer service does a poor job explaining the personal choice dinning options, there were six of us total and I was concerned about the whole dinner thing. Once you get on board call the concierge and they make the reservations for you, but make reservations other wise you end up waiting for a table. The buffet was set up in a very unorganized fashion, it was set up in different sections very hard to get through it. Also it would have been nice if they had trays to use, not just a big plastic plates. On Celebrity they gave you a try and once through the buffet line waiters were waiting to take your tray to your table for you and offer to bring you coffee. Another thing that was missed for the breakfast buffet was the waiters walking around with pastries. I felt the food quality was lacking, and one recommendation is stay away form the buffet, just go to the dinning room. We ate at the buffet once and it was horrible, you get a much better meal in the dinning room. I missed the Baked Alaska because of the Personal Choice Dining -- this one thing the waiters can't do. I like the Baked Alaska Parade and really missed it. It's a cruise tradition. One thing I was just shocked by was room service, when the food was delivered they asked you to sign the back of a card and it asked for a tip, my fiancE and I were just so surprised by that, he has been on about 14 cruises and has never seen that. Not to mention the room service staff would often times point out the gratuity line on the card. Also room service tried to up sell you when you would place an order, they would ask if you wanted a beer with your hot dog. The staterooms are nice, the showers are a little small, and we had a huge balcony which was very nice. Here is a bit of advise, higher is not better on this ship, the lower floors have bigger balconies. We were on Caribe this floor I think had the biggest balconies and floor below us were a bit smaller but bigger then average. The rest of the floors have average sized balconies. So request Caribe if you want the big balcony. I understand that all cruise lines need to sell extras but, I felt this whole cruise was a sales pitch. It was very difficult to get from one end of the ship to the other; the flow of the ship was horrible. One great thing was the Movies under the Stars, very nice. We never got to see a show because the theater only holds about 700 people and there are 3000 passengers, you do the math. I did not like that they automatically add the $10 per day tip; I prefer to give the tip directly to my waiter and cabin steward. The tip is shared with everyone, and I found out that the cabin steward only gets about $1.75 per day per person form that $10, I didn't think that was fair, for the amount of work that they do. We ended up giving our cabin steward and waiter an extra tip on top of the $10 per day. I felt that the reason service lacked was not because of the staff it was because there was not enough staff and everyone had to work extra hard. My fiancE and were hoping that Princess was going to be a nice line because we are planning on getting married on a cruise. I did like that Princess offers to marry you at sea by the Captain, but after seeing the tacky chapel I decided against it. Also for this ship being new I was surprised that nothing was automated, the waiters had to hand write the guest checks. Even on the older Celebrity ships everything is automated, you can check your balance on the TV in your stateroom, order shore excursions form you TV and see what ones are available, and you can also order room service form the TV. There were many little things that I missed on Princess that were offered on Celebrity: Champagne when boarding the ship on the first day. Cold towels when getting back on the ship after a day in port, this is very nice when it is hot out. More room service choices and in the morning you would get a call letting you know room service was on its way. Traditional Seating for dinner. Fresh pitcher of water and bucket of ice in the morning and in the evening after your room was cleaned. Friendly staff. The Specialty restaurant really is extra special on Celebrity. I wouldn't cruise Princess again, I feel that for a first time cruiser they would have enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
Plus Points: Beautiful spacious ship - 110,000 tons on 13 decks Interior dEcor far more restrained than usual for Carnival Fewer intrusive announcements than previous Carnival cruises Spacious comfortable cabin with plenty of closet space ... Read More
Plus Points: Beautiful spacious ship - 110,000 tons on 13 decks Interior dEcor far more restrained than usual for Carnival Fewer intrusive announcements than previous Carnival cruises Spacious comfortable cabin with plenty of closet space Good shows, Good dinner menus offering lots of choices and the biggest lobster I have ever had on a cruise. Negative Points: Lido Buffet (Red Sail Restaurant) badly organized creating long lines. Apart from cereals all hot and cold items on the same counters. On our previous Carnival cruises the continental breakfast items were separate Lido Buffet choices at breakfast display lots of niggling cost cutting: Many items only available some days e.g. pancakes, French toast, porridge, and grits. Some items not available at all e.g. oatmeal, meusli and english muffins Jam only available from one big jar on the counter, no individual portions. The same for syrup for french toast. Very little fresh fruit at breakfast, only melon and grapefruit. Lido Buffet choices for evening meals was abysmal compared to the dining room menu. On the night our tour was back late the only starter was soup, there was only one salad, two entrees pork or fish and the deserts were the same as lunchtime. Dining Room dinner menus no longer mention that a grilled steak, chicken or salmon is available as an alternative to the listed entrees. Our Assistant Maitre D'' did however confirm that they are still available. They clearly don't wish to encourage people asking for them. Lounge entertainment has no soft music options. Only for the previous guest reception did the band play music for ballroom dancing. Rear dining room on decks 3 and 4 can only be accessed from higher or lower decks as galley blocks the way. We had inside cabin 1298 on Riviera Deck, which proved very comfortable and was kept in tiptop shape by our Filipino steward Dexter. We were on the 5.45pm early sitting dinner on table 510 on the upper level of the Platinum dining room. We had requested a large table as we enjoy meeting people but had been assigned a table on our own. Our waiter Leila from Estonia and her assistant Noel from the Philippines looked after us well but seemed very rushed when 16 of their 20 assigned people were present. Some nights there were barely half that number and they were much more relaxed and chatty. We had been to all three ports before but we like them so it was no problem. We did our own thing in Nassau and went to find the beach just past the Hilton Hotel. We had a force 8 gale between Nassau and St. Thomas, which made us three hours late docking at 1pm. Some tours were canceled but ours to St John went ahead normally, though it meant we returned on the ferry from St John in the dark and missed our dinner sitting, hence our comments about the second rate buffet dinner above. Lido dinner patrons really are second class guests on this ship. We also did our own thing in St. Maarten. We saw 7 shows, which were very good, though the sound was often too loud. The Welcome Aboard Show, comedian Percy Crews, Living in America, singer Marcus Anthony, British magician Justin Illusion, Rock Down Broadway and comedian/magician Greg Ray. The gale resulted in one show being delayed for the safety of the dancers. The female cruise director Shawn Bussey was outstanding. The biggest laugh was when she invited three newly weds on stage. She persuaded the bridegrooms to do something special for their brides. When they returned to the stage they were dressed as Chippendales and strutted their stuff. When she got around to asking the third one what he did it brought the house down when he said he was a minister. Not only that but a hundred of his congregation had come on the cruise with them! I have never seen a cruise director speechless before, but Shawn was so convulsed with laughter, as was the audience and the participants, that it was ages before she could compose herself and continue. The minister and his bride were good sports who seemed to take it in their stride. They say that laughter is good for the soul! Despite 3,200 passengers on the ship, which has a double berth capacity of 2,974, it rarely seemed crowded and there was no problem finding a sun lounger. We preferred the rear pool area with its opening glass roof as the background music tended to be more to our taste than the main pool area's throbbing style. Embarkation at Port Canaveral had been very smooth and only took minutes. Disembarkation was another story. We finally got off two and half-hours after disembarkation started, the longest it has taken on any of our 14 cruises to date. It wasn't practical for us to use the Self-Assist option of taking all our cases ashore ourselves, which would have been much quicker. We have taken two previous cruises on Carnival Fantasy and Inspiration. While we didn't like the dEcor on Inspiration it had the best food we have ever experienced apart from Celebrity and both Fantasy and Inspiration had excellent buffets. Sadly Glory was far below that standard so while we still enjoyed the cruise we have decided that Carnival's buffet cost cutting means that Carnival is now the bottom of our list for future cruises. Our next four cruises in 2006 are on Celebrity Summit, Saga Ruby, P&O Arcadia and Celebrity Zenith and we hope they have not succumbed to the same sort of niggling cost cutting. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
I would like to start the review by letting the reader know that my wife and I were married on this trip which I fully urge anyone to do however, not with Royal Caribbean. We originally wanted to book a trip with Holland America as we ... Read More
I would like to start the review by letting the reader know that my wife and I were married on this trip which I fully urge anyone to do however, not with Royal Caribbean. We originally wanted to book a trip with Holland America as we have had an outstanding experience on the Oosterdam. We should have stuck with that. We spoke with some travel agents and wanted suggestions for what cruise line would be best to get married on. They insisted that we would like Royal Caribbean more as it catered to younger people and families. Although I made them aware that age of passengers didn't matter, what we cared most about was food quality and variety, service, and entertainment. We knew that Holland America went above and beyond our expectation in those categories. Even though we did our research and noticed that the passenger to crew ratio was way higher in the Explorer of the Seas, we wondered how so few crew members could service such a mass of people. My wife and I remember saying to each other at one point, "It's a cruise, how bad could it be? I'm sure everything will be fine."...and against our better intuition we booked it. So let me start this way, booking the trip was simple, and booking the wedding was also simple. Royal Caribbean sent us a package of islands we could be married on, the cost of each, the location on each island and all the services and upgrades we could have for the ceremony such as # of guests, open bar, food, steel drummer, flower arbor, live music, all of which we selected to do on St. Thomas. If you are thinking about getting married in the caribbean, do it! All of the above pretty much cost under $3000 and we had 30 guests! One thing that irritated me about the booking was that I ordered gifts to my stateroom each day to surprise my wife and make the trip more memorable. These items included chocolate dipped strawberries, bottles of wine, wedding decorations, decorative cake, etc. I called Royal Caribbean several times to make these arrangements and even to correct them several times. The people they have working in their call center are not very knowledgeable of their product and are very rude. One day I ordered a bottle of merlot. The woman on the phone insisted is was pronounced "merr-lott" and ordered a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon which she also felt the need to correct me that the correct pronunciation was "Cab-er-net Savings" and that Dom Perignon was "Don Pig-non" and Moet et Chandon was "Mote and Shannon" being irritated over this I called after my order to make sure it was correct and surprise surprise it wasn't. If your sole purpose of your job is to fulfill wine orders...don't you think you should know at least something about that product...perhaps how to pronounce the brands and varieties? On another order I ordered, flowers, chocolate dipped strawberries, decorations, etc. the man on the phone took the order wrong. Not only did he have it going to the wrong stateroom but it was addressed to my wife from my wife. After calling to correct this they corrected the stateroom problem but when we arrived on the ship it was addressed to my wife from Tom...my name is Steve...and we don't even know a Tom. One thing I am disappointed about, although the wedding was beautiful, we wanted to get married in Megan's Bay because it was a beautiful beach but Royal Caribbean told us it wasn't possible. 2 years later we witnessed a wedding there when we were cruising with Holland America again, it was beautiful. Oh well. Embarkation was sloppy. We arrived by taxi and there were swarms of people trying to figure out what to do with their luggage. We didn't know who to trust, and the crew only confused matters. After an hour of trying to figure that out we managed to find a very long line that we were suppose to be in. Even though we filled out our electronic boarding pass it took at least 3 hours to get through this line. Other cruise lines have much smoother embarkations. Once getting on the ship we were sort of lost. Normally there is a crew member there to greet you and fill you in. There is one thing I have to say about Royal Caribbean that is true. Their ships are breathtaking! I hate to admit it but yes, their ships are a lot nicer than Holland America, Carnival, and Princess BUT, and this is a big BUT, Royal Caribbean ships are very, very crowded! I must applaud them on their architecture, it is as if they dream something up and make it happen. Very flashy, well decorated, you stand in awe looking down the promenade which is several stories high and designed to look like a shopping mall on a street with cafe's and bars. We eventually heard over an announcement that lunch was being served in the buffet. We made our way over and waiting in a very long line to serve ourselves. The food looked delicious and fresh but was actually pretty tasteless. Finding a table was also painful. I know that most of the crew was busy with embarkation procedures so I tried not to judge. On a further note, the food in the buffets stayed the same daily, remained tasteless, remained hard to find a seat, and had never ending lines. We ate there only twice the entire cruise. although I despise most buffets, this was the least impressive of them all. As for the Dining Room, the food was only ok. This was disappointing because my wife and I eat practically all our meals in the main dining room on a cruise. WE ARE FOODIES! There were a few decent dishes throughout the week. Most of it was bland and repetitive though. If you ordered a medium steak, they would bring a well done steak. If you asked them to replace it with a medium cooked steak, they would once again bring you a well done steak. Lets get one thing straight, Royal Caribbean obviously caters to the masses. They don't care about custom order to please the individual and make your cruising experience more personable. Carnival and Princess have dining much better than this and Holland America far surpasses all of them. Another thing that bothered me about the dining room was that the menu never changed for breakfast and lunch. 2/3 the dinner menu stayed the same daily, they just had a few different specials every night. So the food was not only tasteless but it was boring. You were sick of the menu by the end of the week. The positives, our servers were very quick, and very happy to serve us. Very nice guys. I had 2 amazing meals on this ship and they were in Portofino's, the pay restaurant on the ship. They had a great wine selection, they decanted each bottle for you. The meals were amazing! My only complaint is, every meal in the dining room should be of this standard just as it would be on every other cruise line. As for the cabin, it was spacious as far as cruise cabins go. It was clean, had traditional decorating. We had a verandah but had no privacy. instead of separating each deck with a wall, they had a glass panel, and our neighbor was able to see us...which led to an awkward morning when my wifes bath robe fell off...why would Royal Caribbean design it that way? NOT ROMANTIC! Our cabin steward, met him at the beginning, he seemed like a nice guy but never remembered who you were. Normally on a cruise, your steward makes a point to get to know you and your preferences making the trip seem more customized and personal. Over all I have no complaints about him as he did manage to clean our room daily. Service is very important for cruising and for the most part Royal Caribbean was a miss. Aside from our dinner servers, we actually found most of the crew to be anti-social or rude, including the captain who at his dinners seemed to want to avoid and have nothing to do with the passengers. We met some very nice bartenders also but that was it. I remember seeing crew yell at passengers for walking on an area that was just vacuumed in a public spot in the ship...if it is a public area, and it isn't closed off, shouldn't you be able to walk on it? It is a heavy populated cruise ship. Other cruise lines give you service that makes you seem like family, a warm in fuzzy feeling, didn't get that here. Entertainment was a total flop. I remember seeing 3 shows and walking out after realizing I just wasted my time. The magician was not funny or entertaining, he was actually just offensive and did the typical card tricks everyone in the world has seen. The comedian gave us a few laughs on another night but nothing memorable. We also saw a singing and dancing act another night...couldn't follow it or get into it. I couldn't tell if there was a story or a theme. The words were hard to make out, the dancers were not in sync, and once again, the acts were not memorable. Overall, I don't think Royal Caribbean puts much thought into their shows. It was as if they booked people without researching them and what they did. We had much better entertainment experiences on other cruise lines! We didn't bother making out to other shows after that, and from what we hear, it was best that we didn't go. As stated above we loved the public areas. Absolutely fascinating. You will not be disappointed here! Once again, I would like to point out everywhere was crowded! Other cruise lines will design their ships to feel less crowded. We went to the spa which was very professional. My wife and I each did an individual treatment and then a couples treatment together. My only complaint was that the couples treatment was suppose to last 2 hours but it was about half that. The night club was amazing! it will blow you away! My biggest complaint here, the DJ did not play variety. It was always gangster rap and hip hop. There was no top 40 or a mix of anything to please everyone. I don't hate rap or hip hop but when you listen to the same songs every night you really want a change. We asked the DJ to mix it up a couple nights and he told us he wouldn't. He said that most americans our age listen to rap and hip hop so that was all he would play...wow that was a shock! The pool areas were nice but impossible to find a chair. As I said before, Royal Caribbean has crowded ships. What irritated me most was that I only noticed on 2 days that they had live music. Almost every day they put on a cd of you guessed it, rap or hip hop. It was quite bothersome as there was no mixing of genres to please all age groups, and it was far too loud. It was not remotely relaxing to lay in the sun and I remember having to yell at my wife next to me to have a conversation. Other cruise lines will have as much live music as possible in a populated area of the ship for not only variety but to interact with the crowd and even take requests. The drinks on this ship were very good but also more expensive than I have seen on other ships. I did like that they occasionally had a drink special on certain days or certain bars like 2 large cans of fosters for $5. not bad. This is my biggest problem with Royal Caribbean, they have a lot of useless stuff that looks attractive but really adds no value to the cruising experience what so ever! Examples, rock climbing wall, mini putt, skating rink, and daily activities that never took place. First, rock climbing is something that may entertain you for 5 minutes after a long wait. Once you have done it, you have done it, there is nothing more entertaining about it. Mini Putt...this is counter productive and useless. Not only is the tiny course very cheaply made and boring...trying to put on a rocking cruise ship is counter productive don't you think? The skating rink seems like a neat idea but the show was very boring, late starting by almost an hour, and the rink was very small. You could tell the skaters were good but you could tell they really struggled to stay in the tiny rink making the show look nothing but awkward and very boring like any other show. It seemed as if no thought was put into any show. Shipboard activities never happened. They were on a schedule, I went to participate, but never happened. Pool games, wine tastings...never happened. The above flashy items I spoke of may seem attractive to a cruiser but I did rock climbing, mini putt within the first hour of being on the ship and didn't go back to them. BORING In conclusion, Royal Caribbean makes for a great eye candy experience on their large ships that will make you gaze at their common areas in awe, but, the rest of that experience is ruined by pushy crowds, rude crew, boring food, bland entertainment, loud repetitive rap music, and waiting...waiting for everything in a long long line...In my opinion the larger the ship the worse the cruising experience, worse service, worse food quality. You lose everything cruising is about on a large ship, and that is personal, customized service from a crew member who treats you like family. There is a lot of flashy stuff to attract you to cruising with them and they may advertise the most, but they are by far not the best. I find small and medium size ships offer a great balance for quality. If food quality and variety, service, and entertainment are things you really look for on a cruise, go on a Holland America Vista Class ship which are designed for all ages and although aren't as flashy as Royal Caribbean, they still have beautiful ships and certainly cater to the people who appreciate the finer things in life. Or try another line, HAL is just my favorite but you would even have a better time with Carnival. My closing statement, Don't get sucked into the flashiness of ship features you won't use for more than a few minutes like surfing simulator, rock climbing, mini putt, skating rink...cruise for the features that a real cruiser looks for, good food, good service, good entertainment. The Explorer of the Seas lacks all of these. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
This was our 19th cruise, 3rd on Celebrity, and 2nd on the Century. We previously cruised on the Century in 1998 and sailed the Infinity in Alaska. After sailing the newer ships of the Caribbean Princess and the Mariner of the Seas in ... Read More
This was our 19th cruise, 3rd on Celebrity, and 2nd on the Century. We previously cruised on the Century in 1998 and sailed the Infinity in Alaska. After sailing the newer ships of the Caribbean Princess and the Mariner of the Seas in the past year, we were very disappointed in the condition of the Century. We had read reviews on how beautiful this ship was and from our previous experience on the Century in 1998, we had high hopes that Celebrity would maintain the ship to it's high standards. Were we wrong! We later found out that the ship is to be dry docked to totally refurbish the ship and add additional balconies. Embarkation was absolutely terrible as was debarkation. Even though the ship was undergoing a Coast Guard inspection, no one from Celebrity made any announcements of any kind as people sat there waiting for up to 4 hours. Fights nearly erupted at both embarkation and disembarkation. At embarkation, numbers were given to some people, but numbers were never called. No announcements were ever made and everyone was jamming the doors to try and get through to check-in. It was pandemonium! Disembarkation was just as bad as Celebrity forced everyone to get there luggage first, then go through customs by forming 2 long lines which was a joke because people were trying to drag all there luggage through the line and people were cutting the line. Consequently, tempers flared and pushing and shoving ensued. Once on board is where the real disappointment set in. 9 nights on an old, dated ship! That says it all! Celebrity gave up on this ship knowing it would be going to dry dock. Fact is they gave up on this ship long ago as it has not changed since we sailed 7 years ago! Sailing the Celebrity vs. the Caribbean Princess was not even a fair comparison, and both are rated 5 stars! All common areas were old and dated, the theatre seats were falling apart, carpets very aged and the pool deck and walking track deck were even worse. On the walking deck above the pool deck, you might think you were on a freighter, it looked that bad! This ship seems to attract VERY old people as 90% were probably over 60. I always order flowers for my wife for embarkation and they have always been in the room when we arrived. Not this time. They never did arrive. I inquired on the second day and they apparently were on the ship lost. They did make up a fresh bouquet and sent them to the room on the 4th day after I complained on 3 different occasions. We also received a credit for the flowers which was deserving after having to make 3 trips to the purser's desk. We had an outside room on the lowest level near the Kids Zone. The location ended up to be OK, with little noise from the kids, but the room was dirty. My wife and I had to clean hair out of the sink, clean the TV, and the window to mention a few. By the 6th day of the cruise, we had lost an engine and had to replace Barbados with St Thomas which made a lot of people unhappy. Service aboard the ship was above average and the food at night in the main dining room was very good. The rest of the food at the buffet was OK at best. Waffles always undercooked, Pastries dry, Desserts inedible (except at dinner), and poor selection at the buffet. Celebrity should be embarrassed by continuing to offer what they advertise to be a 5 star cruise experience with ships that are not kept updated. This experience has totally turned me off to Celebrity! Read Less

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