This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We previously switched from another cruise line because of recommendations from friends plus we wanted to try it for ourselves. When we arrived to Bayonne, NJ, the entire process to get on ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We previously switched from another cruise line because of recommendations from friends plus we wanted to try it for ourselves. When we arrived to Bayonne, NJ, the entire process to get on the cruise was effortless. Where it took us over an hour the last cruise we went on, it took us roughly 15 minutes with Royal.
Our cabin was great. We had the pleasure of getting a balcony this time. The interior is good for first-time cruisers or if you're on a budget. We actually utilized the balcony quite a bit, either during our sea days or when we arrived/departed our ports. Views were spectacular. It was spacious enough to fit all our belongings and had plenty of drawer space for both of our clothes.
Food was good. We went to the Windjammer Cafe during breakfast/lunch and did the "My Time" dining at dinnertime. There were plenty of options to choose from outside these two options. Wife and I ate at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant for our 3-year anniversary and the service was above and beyond. There was a sushi and steak restaurant I didn't get a chance to try but will keep it in mind for our next cruise.
What impressed me was the cleanliness of the entire cruise ship. Prior to eating at the Windjammer Cafe, we were always instructed to wash our hands before serving ourselves. We were always greeted with "Washy Washy" which still stuck to me even after the cruise. Every time I went to the public restroom there was always someone in there either inspecting the restroom or cleaning it. As someone who is slightly germaphobic, I felt at ease the entire cruise.
The service between housekeeping and the waiters/waitresses was fantastic. During the cruise our waitor Fuchao (I think that's how you spell it) knew us on a first name basis and catered to our every need. I really hope we run into him again on our next cruise. Our housekeeping could've used a little work but still did a great job.
Our ports were the highlights of the entire cruise. Our favorite was probably San Juan, Puerto Rico where we did a Food and Culture tour. The tour guide gave us a taste of Puerto Rican cuisine and gave us a thorough history of San Jaun as well. Our second favorite was Labadee, Haiti. Apparently, Royal Caribbean owns part of the island which made it a great experience. There was anything from snorkeling excursions, a few beaches, floating bars, zipline excursions, and shopping available. Put plenty of sunscreen on because it gets HOT in Haiti.
Only con was the price of everything. Drinks, without a drinks package, cost $10+ per drink which is more than the average drinks price in New York City. Be prepared to spend quite a bit on anything extra not included in your cruise package such as excursions, select restaurants, drinks etc.
This was the best cruise we've experienced so far. We were considering giving their sister company, Celebrity Cruise, a shot but will be sticking with Royal going forward. If you're contemplating cruise, I highly recommend Royal Caribbean. You won't regret it. Read Less
This was our first cruise, and we enjoyed our week on the Breakaway. Embarkation in Miami was very efficient. We went through the check in process quickly and the person assisting us was helpful and courteous. Getting onto the ship was ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we enjoyed our week on the Breakaway. Embarkation in Miami was very efficient. We went through the check in process quickly and the person assisting us was helpful and courteous. Getting onto the ship was almost effortless—just a few drips to avoid since it was raining. Disembarkation was really the only negative (and not a game changer for us) as the line was REALLY long and weaved and twisted all around deck 7. We heard it was due to a new customs process. Our balcony cabin was fantastic. Cyril, the cabin steward, was great—friendly, courteous, and helpful. In the dining areas, we also experienced very friendly and courteous staff—not at all what some reviewers described. In fact, all of the staff that we encountered were pleasant. Our meals were all delicious—we mostly ate in the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants. We especially recommend Ocean Blue, Moderno, and Teppanyaki. For breakfast, be sure to check out the free buffet at Margaritaville for a quieter place with great views. We did the San Juan City Tour and the Island Beach Break (Tortola); those were our favorite excursions. While we enjoyed snorkeling in St Thomas and the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter in Nassau, these were over-crowded and expensive. All of the shows that we attended—Velvet, Dueling Pianos, Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor—were very professionally performed. We would most definitely cruise on the Breakaway again. Read Less
We chose the first check-in time at 12p. Embarkation went very smoothly - we arrived at 11:30a, and we were on the ship by 12p. We knew the buffet on the Lido deck would be mobbed on the first day, so we ate at Guy's Pig & Anchor ... Read More
We chose the first check-in time at 12p. Embarkation went very smoothly - we arrived at 11:30a, and we were on the ship by 12p. We knew the buffet on the Lido deck would be mobbed on the first day, so we ate at Guy's Pig & Anchor on deck 5 and there was no line at all. Later that afternoon we went to happy hour at the Red Frog Pub, also on deck 5. They have 1/2 price drinks on beer and Caribbean cocktails for 2 hours in the afternoon on the first day and port days. You can get a huge fishbowl drink for $10 (the Blue Bahama is excellent).
Some information for first-time cruisers: I recommend bringing lanyards. The ship card comes with a hole punched in it already. You need the card for the room, to buy drinks, at the casino, & to get on and off the ship. It's so much easier to just wear it on a lanyard. You also need the card to keep the lights on in your cabin - there is a slot near the door. No one explains this to you, however, and it's not really apparent that's what it's for.
We prefer to eat in the main dining room. The food is so much better than the buffet and the lines at the buffet were always long. The service in the MDR is kind of slow, but it's a much nicer experience. For lunch we ate at Guy's Burgers (great fries!) and Blue Iguana for tacos and burritos. I find the food at these stations to also be better then the buffet. I did eat once at the Mongolian Wok in the buffet and it was excellent, but it also took 45 minutes in line. The omelet station at the buffet is really good also.
It's very chilly everywhere on the ship, so bring a light jacket. I'm normally very warm, but I wore a sleeveless shirt one day and I was too cold.
There's a towel station near the main pool where you can exchange wet beach towels from 8am to midnight.
The R-rated comedy shows were super crowded. I got to one show 45 minutes early and every seat was already taken. The PG shows were not as bad - you need to arrive 20-30 minutes early to get a seat.
The chair-saving situation around the pool is very frustrating. You really need to be there by 6:30a-7a to get a lounge chair. I arrived at 7:45a on a sea day and they were all taken already. I was able to find a loveseat, and I had a view of 8 lounge chairs that had been saved. Two hours later I still hadn't seen anyone use the chairs. Apparently people save them at the crack of dawn and then go back to sleep.
Be prepared to hear the phrase "Lovely Jubbly" multiple times a day.
Half Moon Cay was canceled unfortunately. It looked beautiful. At Amber Cove there is no beach access at port - just a large pool. I didn't eat or drink while there due to all the news stories, but the 4 people I was with were drinking and they were fine. I haven't heard about anyone getting ill at Amber Cove.
I really enjoyed Grand Turk. I walked all the way down the beach to Jack's Shack. It's located near the other, shorter pier. It's so much quieter down there and the water is much clearer than the water near the ship. It's $10 to rent an umbrella and they have great jerk chicken & free wi-fi. Walking back I couldn't believe how crowded the beach area was near the ship, and the pool area was even worse.
Resign yourself to the fact that disembarkation is going to be a two-hour ordeal. What a hassle it is. Trying to get an elevator is impossible. I had to lug a very heavy, very large suitcase down 4 flights of stairs. The line for customs is ridiculous. Then there was another long wait trying to get an elevator in the parking garage. It's a shame to end a nice cruise vacation with the chaos of disembarkation. Read Less
This was our first cruise and our last vacation as a family. We had so much planning and money that went into this vacation knowing it would be our last. Two months before we left we got a change in itinerary that shortened our stay in ... Read More
This was our first cruise and our last vacation as a family. We had so much planning and money that went into this vacation knowing it would be our last. Two months before we left we got a change in itinerary that shortened our stay in Puerto Rico and Labadee due to propeller problems on the ship. I understand RC can change itinerary at any time per the contract. However, during our trip there was a medical emergency and the boat had to return to San Juan. Due to the existing propeller problem the captain told us we were unable to make it to Labadee or any other port to make up for it. They also said they were having a meeting with corporate that day to discuss compensation. It was my son's birthday and we had jet skiing, coaster rides and a beach day planned. We now had another day on the boat which was already getting old at this point having been on it for so many days with so little port time due to their initial change. We called RC when we returned and they said, sorry they are offering nothing as compensation. In the contract, it says, if changes are made due to technical issues, compensation will be made. We will never cruise Royal Caribbean due to there horrible customer service.
Allure was a beautiful ship, with amazing employees working on it, who went above and beyond to try to make up for the changes. Just want to clarify my 1 star review is for Royal Caribbean, not the staff of the Allure. Unfortunately, corporate is the problem. Our servers in the dining room were amazing, Vladamir and Eduard who were so personable and knew our names and everything we liked the first day. I was a little teary eyed the last day saying goodbye. The food in the dining room was the best we have ever eaten. We were never disappointed in a meal. We felt the windjammer food was very good too. The shows were spectacular also. My husband never saw a musical and he said Mamma Mia was fabulous. The aquashow was exciting. I did not expect much from Blue Planet from the reviews I read but the whole family enjoyed that as well. Our headline show was the juggler from Americas Got Talent Charles Peachock who was spectacular and funny!
When you are on a ship with 6300 guests, expect lines for things like rock climbing (1 hr long one day) and flow rider. Could not even get on the ice for ice skating since that filled up so quickly every time we went when they had open skating. My favorite part of the ship was the central park, so peaceful. The ship does really have it all. Even enjoyed the gym and running track. Read Less
We chose this trip because it was at the right time for vacation. We were very excited to go because 2 of the ports we love. Well, first problem was we received an email telling us that we would have a shortened visit at San Juan because ... Read More
We chose this trip because it was at the right time for vacation. We were very excited to go because 2 of the ports we love. Well, first problem was we received an email telling us that we would have a shortened visit at San Juan because of a problem with the propulsion system on the ship. The next problem was that there was a medical emergency (of which they had no control) and the decision was made to turn the ship around and go BACK to Puerto Rico. We were about 4 hours away from there and we made it back in around 2 hours! The repercussions from this was, we could not stop at our final port! We then spent the last 2 1/2 days on the ship! This, instead of 3 full ports of call, we experienced maybe, 1 1/2 ports! What a disappointment! When we called to complain, being Emerald members and loyal to Royal, we got NO SATISFACTION! They told us that the company made the decision to do nothing for any of the passengers! We did not even receive an explanation of what happened or an apology for missing so much time at our ports of call! To be honest, I am now looking for another line to start using, just not Carnival, too many people power drinking! It hurts me to say that we are looking for a new line, because we have NEVER had any problems that they did not try to resolve. Very sad! As far as the on board entertainment, it was wonderful! The food was excellent and the service was spectacular! In that case, it was a typical Royal cruise. Read Less
This is my 4th trip on NCL and first time on Breakaway. Was on Getaway a few years ago and thought it would be much the same. It wasn't. We had to search for help, The wait staff left our food sitting. Even went so far as to bring ... Read More
This is my 4th trip on NCL and first time on Breakaway. Was on Getaway a few years ago and thought it would be much the same. It wasn't. We had to search for help, The wait staff left our food sitting. Even went so far as to bring my daughter and I dessert that was supposed to have ice cream but ended up with a puddle of milk. There were 2 times we enjoyed our meal, and both times we went out of our way to find someone and actively engage the people. Waiting on someone to come to you and ask is a thing of the past in all but 2 places. We lucked out at Cagneys and got a great server the second time and he was on top of things. The other great experience was at Savor and I finally had to compliment the Asst. Mitre'D. She did an excellent job of making sure everyone was in their place and attending to customers.
My other issue was with the shows. They were crude and not very friendly to families. The most family friendly show we went to was at the comedy club starting at 8:30 in the evening. The one time my daughter went to the splash academy she complained there was a bully there and she wasn't interested in attending any more (of course I didn't find this out until we were ready to leave the last evening).
There were some really great people that made this cruise work. The entertainment staff and some wait staff and officers made this trip work. I have an Alaska trip planned for 2020 and if not for these people renewing my faith in NCL I would probably reschedule with another line.
I'm still waiting on over $250 in last minute charges that mysteriously shown up on my CC. They took hours to take the money out and have 15 days to explain why? Seems a bit crazy to me. Read Less
Very overcrowded, Casino allows smoking, food and staff was above par. Rock of Ages in the main theater was a bunch of high schoolers. Mini Suite emphasizes on mini with a very small balcony. Beds were 2 twins put together to make a king ... Read More
Very overcrowded, Casino allows smoking, food and staff was above par. Rock of Ages in the main theater was a bunch of high schoolers. Mini Suite emphasizes on mini with a very small balcony. Beds were 2 twins put together to make a king but with a valley between the 2. Very uncomfortable. The water in the sink was scalding hot immediately so if you have small kids keep them away from the sink until the water cools down. Our suite was 1 level above a night club and the noise kept us up passed midnight.. Ship posts a passenger capacity of 3963 but we were told there were almost 4800 passengers. Forget about a chaise near the pool on sea days or getting someone to serve drinks. Pool area was plain and boring, whitewashed walls. Shore excursion was very overcrowded as well. Most of the time the soap dispensers were empty in the public restrooms. The buffet staff was excellent in reminding us to wash our hands but missed the small area of black mold on one of the walls and ceiling. Disembarkation was a total cluster. We had to leave our cabin by 9am but our disembarkation color wasn’t called until 9:45. We stood on a very long line for another hour trying to get off the ship which took us thru the smokey casino. I tried to enjoy the casino during the cruise but if you are an asthmatic like me “stay away” Read Less
This is our third time on the Magic, and as always it was great. Honestly this has been one of the best cruises we have ever taken. We did miss Half Moon Cay due to the weather conditions, and that was a disappointment. But that's ... Read More
This is our third time on the Magic, and as always it was great. Honestly this has been one of the best cruises we have ever taken. We did miss Half Moon Cay due to the weather conditions, and that was a disappointment. But that's the risk you take when booking a cruise that goes there. We decided to make the best of it, and spent the day playing trivia and Bingo.
We were upgraded to a spa cabin, which was nice. We especially enjoyed the heated pool in the spa. The only drawback to our cabin is lack of closet space. I didn't know when we upgraded that it is a handicapped cabin. So, our bathroom was huge, and very nice, but very little room for our clothes. The cabin itself is very roomy.
The entertainment staff on this ship is wonderful. We had a great time at every activity. I played and won trivia so many times Maddie, the trivia lady, knew me by name.
I can't say enough about our waitstaff. We had early dining in the Northern Lights dining room. On the first night, my husband didn't order dessert. When the waitress asked why, he told her that he doesn't eat very many sweets. And that they no longer serve the only cake he really likes in the dining room, Black Forest cake. A few minutes later, the hostess Daria comes to our table. She asks my husband about the Black Forest cake, and he told her its no big deal, just the cake that he always used to get. The next night, she comes to our table and tells us that on the last sea day she has a surprise in store for him. The last sea day, they bring him his very own Black Forest cake! I thought that was such a wonderful surprise, that definitely went above and beyond typical service.
We hadn't book an excursion for Amber Cove yet. When we got off the ship, we walked through the gift shop and there is a shore excursion stand just outside of it. We talked to the man in charge and chose a short excursion that went to town, toured the church and town square, stopped by the beach for pictures, and then stopped at the fort for a few minutes. We also went to a gift shop, and watched a man make cigars. The guide had told us that the tour would be around 2.5 hours. We left at 10 and got back at exactly 12:30. We spent the rest of the day at the port, in pool.
At Grand Turk, we walked to Jack's Shack and spent the day relaxing.
Overall it was a nice, relaxing vacation. I am already planning the next one! Read Less
I chose this cruise because I wanted to experience one of the mega-ships to see what it had to offer that smaller ships don't. I also had never been to the Caribbean so this seemed like an ideal cruise.
Embarkation and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to experience one of the mega-ships to see what it had to offer that smaller ships don't. I also had never been to the Caribbean so this seemed like an ideal cruise.
Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely easy and quick. We checked in online weeks before leaving and were on the ship within minutes of arriving at Port Everglades.
Our first impression of the ship was WOW! It literally took my breathe away. The Royal Promenade, Central Park, the Boardwalk etc are amazing. The ship is ten years old but most of the public areas look pretty much pristine. From a design point of view the only downside I could find is that there are no windows or sea-views from many of the public areas and, personally, I like to be able to see the ocean (we are on a ship after all). The carpets and soft furnishings in most areas are looking tired. I believe the ship is due for a refit next year which I think is needed.
The cabin was lovely, very clean and well laid-out. The balcony was large compared to most ships and the bed was extremely comfortable. Bathroom was adequate - average cruise ship bathroom. The soft furnishings in the room looked tired and are in need of replacing.
The food was very good in the MDR and the specialty dining restaurants. 150 Central Park was, however, by far superior to any of the others, such a wonderful experience. The food in the buffet was good, but was often too busy to eat in there. Strangely, the buffet seemed incredibly small and out of proportion with the size of the ship.
The entertainment was excellent. The Aqua Show and Mamma Mia were brilliant and the headliner shows were pretty good too. I wasn't too keen on the comedy show as I'm British and it was definitely geared towards an American crowd. Strangely the cruise director and his assistant were not very visible around the ship. I think I only saw him in-person once. The activities on the ship were mixed. I did the zip-line over the Boardwalk and it was great fun. The day-time trivia, bingo and usual cruise activities were fine but seemed uninspired and the hosts all looked like they were just going through the motions.
On that note, most of the staff came across uninterested and quite rude. The bar staff and MDR servers were clearly overworked and visibly tired. The bars in general were understaffed and we had to wait quite a while for a drink. We had My Time Dining which was laughably slow. We had to wait a long time to be seated and the service was pretty shoddy. Waiters were rude and kept asking us to provide positive feedback on the end-of-cruise survey. The entertainment staff were very false, and just not very good compared to most of the ships I've been on. Out stateroom attendant, Philip, was excellent.
The Allure is currently having propulsion issues which meant out time in port was shortened. Four hours after leaving Puerto Rico we had to turn around due to a medical emergency. Unfortunately this meant the next and final port, Labadee, was cancelled. The ports we visited were a little disappointing as we didn't have much time to look around. Only visiting two ports on a seven night cruise is a very strange feeling but being on such a large ship with so much to see made it bearable.
I would not go on such a large ship again due to the impersonal service. It has made me realise what is important to me on a cruise and that is feeling like I'm being taken care of, which I didn't feel on this ship. Read Less
Cruise was a normal Norwegain experience, which I think it pretty good!
Embarkation was a little unorganized. With the new terminal under construction, we were in terminal G and the signage on which line to get in was poor to ... Read More
Cruise was a normal Norwegain experience, which I think it pretty good!
Embarkation was a little unorganized. With the new terminal under construction, we were in terminal G and the signage on which line to get in was poor to non-existent. There were Norwegian staff to point you in the right direction but it was still confusing. The check in counter is a circle with lines all around it. I think they could do a much better job with signage here. But once we got to an agent check in was fast and efficient.
We spend a lot of our cruise in SpiceH2O and was shocked at the state of the waterfall feature! We have been on Breakaway in the past, and it has been a few years, the difference was drastic. We collected 4+ tiles off the bottom every day of the cruise, the rain shower and misters no longer worked and were all rusted. The waterfall was very slow in some spots and heavy in one particular spot. We are scheduled back on the Breakaway in Nov and hope this is refurbished by then.
Increase in Cabin Service Charge was a popular topic aboard ship. In case you have not seen it, you will be charged $15 per person, per day! Even if you pre-pay gratuities you will not be able to pre-pay this amount. For my wife and I this was $210 on our on board charge that was not expected. For families with a couple small kids this could easily be 400-500 dollars they might not be expecting. I think this should just be built into the cost of the cruise fare and not tacked onto your room charges. Or at least allow it to be paid ahead of the cruise. But I suspect its an easy way for them to give you some free at sea $$ but then charge it right back to you.
Disembarking is my least favorite part of Norwegian. It is just much less organized than other cruise lines. This time there was facial recognition used, which actually worked pretty well (was surprised) and helped. But then once off the ship there was no clear direction on which way to go and the Norwegian staff nearly got into a shouting match with the porters on which way we should go. And a large garage door was nearly closed on a elderly guest in the process. luckily someone pulled them out of the door way in time or they would have been knocked to the ground or worse by that door. Read Less
In hindsight, booking a cruise mid-June was not the smartest if you don't LOVE 2,000 kids running around. The ship was full and lines were long for everything, that would be my only big complaint. Trying to get a deck chair, ... Read More
In hindsight, booking a cruise mid-June was not the smartest if you don't LOVE 2,000 kids running around. The ship was full and lines were long for everything, that would be my only big complaint. Trying to get a deck chair, ANYWHERE on board after 8:30am is not possible. Old ladies in their scooters are propped up saving rows for their grandkids, who are probably still in bed.
Embarkation was very smooth. Got on board, got all of our instructions, and were allowed into our rooms within an hour of boarding. Luggage was there quickly too! We were on deck 1, so getting an elevator was challenging at times. Food is on deck 10, so stairs weren't any faster.. since I kept having to stop and rest.
Very bummed that our first port (Half Moon Cay) was cancelled due to weather, but the crew handled it very smoothly. The cruise director Simon London was very good! He was constantly running from one activity to the next, always with a smile and still stopping to chat & greet guests. Honestly, every single staff member I encountered was awesome the entire time.
Ok - the ports were something I wish I'd researched more. Unless you book an excursion, there is nothing to do in Amber Cove other than sit around another pool! It is a huge nice pool, but 4400 people fill it up quickly. At least here there are plenty of deck chairs available.
Grand Turk is basically all about paying to get shade or a drink. The first 3-4 rows of covered chairs by the water are 'paid upgrades', upwards of $25 depending on which guy catches you as you walk on the beach.
Food was good, not fantastic. The best spots are the burger bar and burrito/taco bar on the pool deck. Oh and 24-hour pizza is a huge hit with my kids! Read Less
We choose this cruise (7th cruise) because of the itinerary. We purchased FTTF, so our boarding and disembarking went very quickly. Took no more than 10min to board, and we were off the ship by 7:30 on the last day! We had a balcony ... Read More
We choose this cruise (7th cruise) because of the itinerary. We purchased FTTF, so our boarding and disembarking went very quickly. Took no more than 10min to board, and we were off the ship by 7:30 on the last day! We had a balcony cabin. Nothing wrong at all. AC worked fine. Only issue was the first nite, we ended up leaving about 8pm for dinner, so our cabin was not serviced because it was too late. Even tho we were on the 9th floor, not very much noise. Dining was great. Service in the main dining room was excellent. Even though we had read reviews of long lines, I personally didnt experience this. Could just be timing. Spent most sea days on the serenity deck. I will say, get there early if u want a cabana. Our first port (Halfmoon Cay) was cancelled because of rough seas. Next was the Dominican Republic. We did the waterfall excursion and it was one of the best experiences ever! Only issue was the tour company said not to take ur phone or camera (understandable) and that they would take all the pics u needed. We did purchase the USB they had for $55. There were literally 4 pics of each group in our group, but they were all posed pics on the trail or afterwards. Nothing on the jumps or slides. Also was told we were doing 7 waterfalls , but it was only 5. Still had a blast. Third port was Grand Turk. Snorkeling was amazing. Lunch afterwards left something to be desired. Was also disappointed with the shops at both ports. All stores seemed to be very commercialized. Same items in every store and very expensive. None of the unique & local items we gave gotten in other ports. All in all, great experience. We plan on doing the same ship & itinerary with our kids next time! Read Less
Before I get too far along I want to say that the crew, bar staff, room stewards etc.. were excellent. They did what they could..
Now, some complaints:
1. The main dining room food was a disappointment most days. Lunch menus were ... Read More
Before I get too far along I want to say that the crew, bar staff, room stewards etc.. were excellent. They did what they could..
Now, some complaints:
1. The main dining room food was a disappointment most days. Lunch menus were identical every day. specialty dining, on the three nights we had it, was much better but I was left suspecting the main dining rooms are suffering to drive passengers into paid venus..
The buffet was a complete disaster. The food was just ok, but the crowds were overwhelming. The crowding was some of the worst I have witnessed on any of my dozen or so cruises.
2. The Bahamas Atlantis excursion was a disaster. It seemed they sold half day tickets without regard to crowd size or infrastructure of the port. We stood on a pier under construction with no shade water or seating in 95+ degree sun for about an hour before the line even thought about moving. 100s if not thousands of passengers were shuttled the short trip to Atlantis in 25 passenger Van's, severely cutting into time to be spent at the park.
3. Disembarkation in Miami was only slightly improved from the Atlantis excursion. Ncl called categories much faster than people could exit the ship, and snaked the line of passengers through most common areas on the ship. I understand they need to make ready to set sail, but this was an absurdity. No one will forget standing in a massive line an inordinate amount of time like this and it will hurt return business.
4. The water slides were often out of service for maintenance. When I went on them I found why. They are brutal. The sliding surface has a cheese grater like effect and was dry in spots as you go down the slide causing your skin to chafe.
5. Crowding everywhere. This may seem repetitive, but its intentional. I don't know if it is understaffed or what but there were lines on top of lines...for everything.
1. Osheeans was pretty nice to have but was overcrowded with 30 or 40 minute waits standard.
2. The rock band at the pour house was incredible and saved our cruise singlehandedly.
3. Embarkation was pretty smooth. Read Less
I just got off this cruise sailing (June 16th-23rd) and will start by saying WOW!! Where can I start.
I booked this cruise as a Father’s Day and daughter cruise which not only blew me away, but made my daughter happier then ... Read More
I just got off this cruise sailing (June 16th-23rd) and will start by saying WOW!! Where can I start.
I booked this cruise as a Father’s Day and daughter cruise which not only blew me away, but made my daughter happier then ever. From the food to entertainment, I couldn’t of asked for a better experience. The shows were beyond amazing. I did see their Aqua Theater show Ocean Aria three times out of the first three nights, I did see Mamma Mia but wish I saw it a second time, Blue Planet twice which was amazing. The Juggling Act of Charles Peachock which is a cant miss. Overall for entertainment, this in my opinion was far above suburb.
The food on board was great, buffets were stocked and well organized, I didn’t really experience the sit down locations, since there is so much to do and my daughter was a picky eater. Everything from the burgers ya Wipe Out Cafe to the ice cream poolside was worth the “weight gain” on the ship.
The service overall was excellent. Despite a(n) medical emergency which caused our experience to miss Labadee, Haïti where I was excited for our excursion, the crew/staff really held their ground and still made this trip standout. I was disappointed, but coming from a position where I work in hospitality/Guest Services, I understand safety is a priority and need to accept it. I wanted to personally mention The cruise Director, Jimmy Rhodes along with other members of the staff, for balancing out a great experience throughout the week we had. I also wanted to give Captain Ron a huge thank you for his professionalism during the issue that took place and still made this experience outstanding
The pool/recreation was great, so many pools (about 4 along with 6-8 whirlpools) made the crowd spread out so it didn’t cause the pool deck to feel clogged. The activities poolside were fun and entertaining, the mini golf, ice skating, flow rider all are great for the kids. The weather was great so it made it worth it being poolside.
Finally, the overall service was a solid 10/10. I’m not one to typically write a solid review, but this made me realize why this cruise line the only one I will sail with. The only flaw I experienced which honestly wasn’t a huge issue, was communication in the in-room phone was delayed and no one answered within an reasonable time. That didn’t stop my daughter who’s 6, and myself from having a great time.
I hope to those who booked this cruise and are reading this, take this as an example of what you’ll experience. I promise you won’t be disappointed Read Less
This is my second Carnival Cruise, first on Magic. We had a group of 21. Where do I begin? We sailed on June 16th. The pros, the service people work hard, the balcony cabin was nice but (see cons), food was decent, white hot party and ... Read More
This is my second Carnival Cruise, first on Magic. We had a group of 21. Where do I begin? We sailed on June 16th. The pros, the service people work hard, the balcony cabin was nice but (see cons), food was decent, white hot party and mega deck party were fabulous fun and cruise director Simon was awesome. Negatives - ship is poorly designed. Having the majority of the food choices at the same place as the popular pools is just dumb. It caused mobs to gather in one location. They are incredibly understaffed and expect too much from their employees who work hard but can’t meet the demand for service causing long waits for everything. We got the soda package, note that we would never do it again! No soda machines or souvenir cup like RCCL provides. Have to order from the bar which means a 20 minute wait. Frozen drinks are no longer frozen when they finally get to you, food often lukewarm at best. We had four connecting balcony rooms with the intention to have partitions unlocked for one large party balcony except the partitions don’t fold back so they either block your window or your door and they bounce around keeping you up all night. No night service on cabin like we had with RCCL. No real theatrical shows for family to enjoy,
Iike Mamma Mia on RCCL’s Allure. (Yes we are spoiled by and love RCCL as is obvious by our comparisons). On board Shops were uninspired, casinos non smoking machines were overrun with smokers with no one enforcing the rules. Seriously in this day and age how difficult is it to implement a non smoking casino? Trust me people will still gamble! Amber Cove was a pleasant surprise (though none of us drank due to the recent death toll}, Grand Turk was disappointing. Have to walk a bit to get away from the water filled with limestone and the locals rob you blind on chairs and umbrellas (free ones are at the ugliest part of the beach and fill quickly) and locals were smoking weed around Cruise families, unbelievable the lack of respect for those providing tourism income, nephew offered cocaine while walking thru one of the shops. Unfortunately bad weather made us skip half moon cay which was disappointing but understandable. We had a great cabin steward, Ricky. However I need to make one last note on a Carnival team member named Brandon. We unfortunately had him as host for trivia several times and for karaoke, regardless how many times he was told he could not be heard, he would not speak up instead just was in his own world oblivious on how to engage guests. At the end of the trip there was delay in getting off boat causing unsafe conditions near elevators. He was clearly given a task to clear areas near elevators, again using his low voice he half heartedly tried to advise people then immediately said I give up and walked away. I don’t say this ever but he should be fired. His arrogance was beyond words. Read Less
Trip details: This was our third cruise on a Carnival Fantasy-class ship and we will likely do it again. Despite their age, Carnival’s refurbishment program has done a good job at maintaining and updating these vessels. Having done ... Read More
Trip details: This was our third cruise on a Carnival Fantasy-class ship and we will likely do it again. Despite their age, Carnival’s refurbishment program has done a good job at maintaining and updating these vessels. Having done our pre-cruise homework, we knew exactly what to expect and were not surprised by anything.
Getting to the port terminal: We stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach the night before sailing, which is about one-mile from the cruise terminal. Thus getting to the terminal was a breeze. Signage at the Port Canaveral terminal is excellent in directing you to your ship, luggage drop-off and parking – traffic was very light at 11:00 AM.
Embarkation: We were dropped off in the covered luggage area at 11:06 AM and drug our bags up a short ramp (100 feet away) into the terminal facility. We were immediately greeted and directed to an empty security line. After clearing security, we were likewise directed to a check-in station with no line. Our documents were scanned and Carnival pulled our photos from our embedded passport RFID – no photos to take. We were then directed to the waiting area and found seats proximately adjacent to the boarding gate. There were several hundred guests already waiting and Platinum/FTTF boarding was underway. With an 11:30 – 12:00 check-in appointment, and boarding group A01, they called us to board at 11:26 AM. 20 minutes from arriving to boarding – UNBELIEVABLE! Needless to say, embarkation was the best we have ever experienced for any ship at any port. FTTF would have been a complete waste of money for this cruise given the ease of access at Port Canaveral and both of our Ports of Call.
Settling-in: Once onboard, we found seats in an air-conditioned area near Blue Iguana/Guy’s Burgers and enjoyed our leisurely Mexican food lunch. Lines were short to non-existent and food was good/plentiful. After lunch we casually strolled around the atrium decks and ended up next to the Coffee Shop on Deck 9, where comfortable seating was plentiful. Cabins were available at 1:30 PM as advertised and we were fully moved in prior to the obligatory safety briefing.
Underway: We were underway on time and all of the cruise was so smooth (typically Beaufort 4) that it was hard to know you were moving at 19+ knots unless you were up on an open deck. Elation was the first cruise ship to be equipped with an Azipod propulsion system. The pods give Elation better maneuverability compared with her sister ships. Our course was direct to Amber Cove and Grand Turk, making each right on time. The weather was excellent and rain virtually non-existent; we had headwinds heading south and quartering tailwinds returning. One should be so lucky every cruise.
Port & shore excursion reviews:
Our first port was Amber Cove, DR. The 25 acre port complex developed by Carnival is secure and quite comfortable. We did not plan an outside excursion, opting to stay in the Amber Cove Aqua Zone, with swim-up bar and lazy river. Being one of the first to disembark, we found loungers in the shade of a palm tree. Umbrellas were available to rent for $20, but if you are early, you can find shaded seating. There is the usual port shopping, but the nice thing is there are no ‘locals’ trying to get you to but their T-shirts or take a tour to see their cousin’s chicken farm.
We were the only ship in Grand Turk on the day we ported there and thus it did not feel crowded. The Grand Turk Cruise Center is a world-class, beach front cruise facility nestled among nearly 18 acres of landscaped grounds. The beaches are public, and the clamshells, beach chairs and umbrellas at the Grand Turk cruise center are free to use, so a beach tour, to us, seemed superfluous. Following the guidance of past visitors, upon entering the center, we went to the beach on the right and had our choice of clamshells in which to relax. The water was semi cloudy from swirling sand, but you could still see a few fish and swimming was easy. Hint: Get off the ship early for best seating and wear water-shoes at the beach.
Food: We selected early dining and had the same table-for-two for the full cruise. Because we did our homework, we knew what the Main Dining Room (MDR) would offer and were again not surprised. There was always an entrée we wanted and multiple appetizers. Staff were OK, but not top-shelf. A few mistakes were made in our orders, but always corrected. Hint: About two weeks before you cruise, send an email to the Maître’d with any seating requests. As to Blue Iguana and Guy’s Burgers, the food was good, but be ready for lines at peak times that can move a bit slow. We timed our visits to be while others were ashore when lines were short. Tiffany’s is a small buffet, but the deli toward the back was quite efficient. Chris Anne (from St. Lucia) was wonderful at the coffee shop and we visited her often for iced tea and cappuccino.
Entertainment: The stage shows were disappointing and we elected not to attend the last one. The comedians were a bit repetitive and the late shows laced with lots of unnecessary profanity. Because we have enjoyed the dueling pianos on NCL we hoped that Duke’s Piano Bar would offer something similar. Regrettably, it is not scheduled to open until 10:00 PM and even by 11:00 PM, we never saw a pianist in the bar. I think he missed the cruise.
The Elation has a cute mini-golf course up on Deck 14, but was closed for high wind on our southern sailing. When we found it open, it was typically busy. There is a club and ball rack as you enter, but it was always empty. We came to learn that you had to check these out at the towel station on the Lido deck.
Final Notes: One of the Atrium elevators was non-functional for the entirety of our cruise. The other had to be repaired mid-cruise. This was a minor inconvenience as there are forward elevators nearby. Finally, we had a pool towel fiasco as we were preparing to disembark. Upon boarding, our room steward provided two pool/beach towels. We turned in the dirty ones to him after Amber Cove, but only got one clean towel back. We borrowed two from the pool for Grand Turk and informed her of the situation. Again our steward collected the dirty towels upon our return. Minutes before disembarking, I got an alert from my bank that Carnival was charging us $44 for two missing towels. No one on the ship had bothered to inquire of us about the towels; just billed us minutes before leaving. It took 45 minutes with Guest Services to challenge this charge, who refused to issue an immediate credit. It took a call to my bank from Guest Services to dispute the charge, where they finally relented and agreed to take it off my final bill. Lesson to the wise – review your account right up to the final minutes on-board lest you get stung with an improper charge as you leave. Read Less
We choose the Caribbean Princess based on recommendations from some friend who are big time cruisers. This was our first cruise so we really had no idea what to expect. We set off for a two week East/West Caribbean cruise to celebrate our ... Read More
We choose the Caribbean Princess based on recommendations from some friend who are big time cruisers. This was our first cruise so we really had no idea what to expect. We set off for a two week East/West Caribbean cruise to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. Here are a few things that we'd like to share.
The Caribbean is absolutly beautiful!
The ship was beautiful and dang big. Takes days to see it all!
We had smooth sailing even in somewhat rough seas.
You're going to be around people from all over the world and our country, we really enjoyed this!
The food was much, much better than we expected in every restaurant!
The wait staff was exceptional!
The nightly entertainment was much better than expected.
There was always something going on. No matter what age, you'll find something fun to do!
Loved the workout room, the sauna and steam rooms.
There is a adult only "sanctuary" area for some quite pool/sun time.
The high energy band "Static" was incredible!
Most all entertainment was really good!
We received $600 in onboard spending money. They took back $420 in mandatory tips for the hotel staff. Essentially, you're paying their wages for Princess Lines
We had really good service and really lousy service. Regardless you're going to pay an additional 18% mandatory tip on all purchases regardless of service. We didn't like this.
Spa prices are way over priced, especially the facials.
The rooms are really small, showers are even smaller!
Off shore excursions are over priced. Do your research and you'll find better for less.
Our excursion to Xcaret was time limited and missed the best shows
If you do a facial, a massage or acupuncture be prepared for the sales pitch to buy the over priced products.
Getting through to the front desk on the phone will drive you nuts.
You're going to be nickel and dimed to death.
We have traveled the world, I traveled for a living for 30+ years. This was big event for us, so we did it all. We had the balcony room, did the spa, acupuncture, facial, ate at a nice restaurant a couple of times. Drank some good wine and a lot of margarita's. After two weeks onboard, we had a great time but to be honest when I got the final bill, I just don't think the value was there. Paid a premium for above average vacation. Will make some changes and do more research for the next cruise. Read Less
Princess provides just a little more sophistication than some other cruise in today's more mixed cruise passenger clientele. By that I mean there is a more diversified passenger which require different styles on many lines. Tank top ... Read More
Princess provides just a little more sophistication than some other cruise in today's more mixed cruise passenger clientele. By that I mean there is a more diversified passenger which require different styles on many lines. Tank top versus suit jacket simply. We prefer the latter when possible so Princess offers a better possibility of having that on a particular cruise.
We have sailed Caribbean Princess before, last being 2014. We were sailing with friends that we have cruised with since 1992 when we met and stood up for them marrying on St Thomas. They wanted to re-visit Paradise Point, the location of the ceremony 27 years ago.
We took Jr. Suites we were in D614. Found the location and condition of the cabin good. Bed extremely comfortable.
We had been put off the Medallion program simply because of the incessant harassment of Princess to pre-participate in in it. Worse than robo calling. Emails, phone calls, texts, by time we got to pier we all hated the word Medallions. Medallion class more a market tool than a real boon to the world of cruising. Basically it is a half dollar size Medallian that houses an RFD chip. Chip readers everywhere including in your cabin. A gps locater and grocery store type tracking system, door key and pay for it card. No magic there but it worked well and we actually liked it in many ways. Opening cabin door via electronic lock, using it on slot machines instead of having to put a card in.
We had traditional dining, staff were excellent, food, soso. They, like most lines still call medium shrimp Jumbo, large shrimp prawns, total bs. Lobster really no more, they are really prawns or rock lobster. Steak okay nothing to brag about. Of course continue to have option of BUYING better food even at main dining.
We had complimentary dining evening at extra pay steak house. The ribeye was excellent, everything else run of the mill. Service staff masquerading as high end wait staff, basically NOT! I would equate main dining to high end diner, extra pay, to decent small restaurant in moderate sized community. Example in extra pay restaurant. Replacement silverware for main course placed, one fork dirty. Asked fancy waitress to replace since was dirty, answer " are you sure ? " Of course I am sure, matters not should be simply replaced. Steals came cooked perfectly no complaint but no one ever asked as served for us to check. A good restaurant would do that, a high end restaurant would never fail to check with you if our steak was properly cooked. Plus, you must be kidding me, extra charges if you want lobster in an already up charge restaurant? What a joke, if this had not been complimentary I wouldn't have even bothered going there.
The buffet area same as always they simply changed decor and added cutesy signs. Food as good as any cafeteria I have been in. As with most lines now and Princess no exception, marketing gimmicks is where the money goes not food and service.
Pool area, Pizza and outstanding Stromboli. Hamburgers, hotdogs and fries etc good. BUT GEEZ even there they have an up sale hamburger for $5. No I didn't try it nor did I see anyone else order one.
Entertainment, was good mix comedy and show, magician was good but close hand magic hard sell in a large theatre. Moved slow and far from exciting though appreciated at least different. The comedy was excellent!
Overall a very good cruise made so more by great initial deal, onboard credits etc. My wife spent several hundreds in spa and raved about the two head to toe whatever's she got and raved about their spa staff, excellent! Also excellent weather and smooth sialing never hurts.
Ports we stayed on ship except for short trip to Paradise Point. Sadly yet another crazy place now, expanded, $21 pp to go up tram, 2 beers 2 Bushwackers, $36 a round. But still has great picture view of harbor.
Internet, fastest I have ever seen on sea. Just as fast as my home network. I took unlimited 1 device, on first day with discount $56 for the week. Works for us, you can use different devices but only one at a time can be signed in. Families I could see this getting $$$ for needing multiple devices and unlimited.
We did have interesting call for blood donors midway through the cruise for a sick or injured patient. The need was quickly filled. Never saw that before in almost 80 cruises. Also on way home we were advised we were going top speed for yet another patient to get back to Fort Lauderdale. However we slowed and arrived normal time, hopefully because they got better and refrigerated.
BEST system on Princess out of Fort Lauderdale. For $25 a bag, they will take your bag last night and you don't see it again until final destination. They also get your airline boarding pass. Love that, no getting bags at pier and taking them through customs and bringing them to cab etc. There are restrictions, airline and flight times.
One caveat this cruise, ship seemed to have some problems balancing air conditioning through out the ship. Both in cabin area and public area. The Explorer lounge area was always pretty warm section of ship.
Wife really enjoyed the Parrots demo brought onboard in St Thomas. Used to be on Paradise point and she was disappointed not to see them there anymore.
We had friends cabin decorated for anniversary. Good thing it's the thought that counts because for $49 the decorations were worth about three bucks. Some card on strings and a paper congrats sign on door, what a rip off.
George in NY Read Less
Family Went for my son's graduation trip and had a good time. Plenty to do on board. Many friendly staff. Good food. This was our 2nd cruise with RC and won't be our last. Kids (9,13,17) had a great time at the pool, arcade, ... Read More
Family Went for my son's graduation trip and had a good time. Plenty to do on board. Many friendly staff. Good food. This was our 2nd cruise with RC and won't be our last. Kids (9,13,17) had a great time at the pool, arcade, loved Sorento's and laser tag. We didn't catch the shows as they were bad timing for us and my boys really didn't care for them. Slides were awesome at the pool. Lifeguards at every area. Walk slow on deck around pool, many people slipped and fell. Rooms were clean and roomy. We had an interior promenade with window very nice. Bring earplugs if you're a lighter sleeper. The beds were horrible! So hard. The oasis had awesome beds. The symphony does not. Heard that complaint quite a bit around the ship. We enjoyed the food thought it was great. My boys aren't picky eaters. We really didn't care for Coco cay. Thrill park is overrated and small for the amount of people on island. Young and elderly had issues getting around. Tram is only for the pier. Should also provide it for the island. Overall great trip for us. Read Less
Embarkation was swift and easy as well as the disembarkation. A nice surprise was the addition of Carrot Juice for breakfast as well as different types of pizza including deep dish varieties at other times. The singers and dancers ... Read More
Embarkation was swift and easy as well as the disembarkation. A nice surprise was the addition of Carrot Juice for breakfast as well as different types of pizza including deep dish varieties at other times. The singers and dancers performances were superb. They were always in sync, graceful and elegant. Don’t miss “Bravo” & “Fantastic Journey”
We had a large number of first time cruisers of varying ages and there was always an activity to cater to everyone. And the courteous decorum of everyone was apparent.
The Caribbean Princess is a Medallion Class Ship. There are still a few kinks to iron out but overall it was a great experience especially being able to wear your Medallion instead of carrying your card. As you approach your cabin, the door automatically unlocks.
You can play games, locate your shipmates, and order drinks with the apps.
From the dining room menus to the exceptional service we hated for our cruise to end.
We will be back! Read Less
I booked Princess because of the reputation of service and quality
I am not kidding when I say the majority of staff had attitude our room was
Dirty, found shoes in the bathroom (not ours). Work
Was done on balcony they left a ... Read More
I booked Princess because of the reputation of service and quality
I am not kidding when I say the majority of staff had attitude our room was
Dirty, found shoes in the bathroom (not ours). Work
Was done on balcony they left a mess and the steward did not clean it.
We are also nickel and dimes for everything
We also had a prepaid dinner in the paid restaurant. We went to book in the steakhouse and was told they were all booked and we could eat in the seafood restaurant. I asked to speak to a manager and was told there wasn’t one and I didn’t have a choice
Princess, I DO have a choice. There are many other cruise lines out there. If you think Princess will give you great service, think again. Chose Celebration
The rooms are great. We had a mini suite
Other passengers felt the same as us Read Less
First, some personal background. I am a 63 year old widower cruising with my 34 year old son. This was my 6th cruise with Carnival to go with 2 on Royal Caribbean, 1 on Princess, and 1 on Norweigian. This was his 4th with Carnival to go ... Read More
First, some personal background. I am a 63 year old widower cruising with my 34 year old son. This was my 6th cruise with Carnival to go with 2 on Royal Caribbean, 1 on Princess, and 1 on Norweigian. This was his 4th with Carnival to go with 2 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on Princess.We try to go on a cruise together once a year as he lives in another state and we only see each other a few times a year.
Here is my review:
The Sunrise is the new name for the refurbished Triumph (which I sailed on in 2007).
There were only a few things I noticed different from the Triumph, a main difference was a very poorly designed Marketplace Grand Buffet. The design created very long and slow lines, a problem that I spoke to an officer about several days into the cruise (he informed me that Carnival was aware of the problem and was looking at their options). Otherwise, the other food venues and the main dining room were quite good, with many options and delicious food..
There were a couple of problems with the layout of some of the public areas. Some of the "routes" through the ship were confusing, requiring some roundabout travels to get to some of the public places.Nothing that would constitute a crisis, but annoying anyway.
The entertainment aboard ship was terrific. Oh sure, it had the usual Carnival stuff like trivia, bingo, multiple comedians, stage productions, etc., but it had an absolutely AMAZING cruise director, Chris Williams AKA The Flying Scotsman (and yes he wears a kilt all day every day). This man may very well be the BEST cruise director on any ship today. He is an electric bundle of energy and talent and it is obvious he loves his job.He keeps the crowd rocking every day, leads parties and activities, lingers and interacts with the passengers all day long. He sings, dances,and even has his own show 1 night in the big showroom.(sometimes I wondered if there was more than 1 of him on the ship as he seems to be everywhere at once). You can see some of him on his Facebook site.
I have nothing but great things to say about the ENTIRE crew, staff, entertainment people, etc. on this cruise. Without exception, they were all terrific. A special call out to our room steward Javier, waitstaff Ferdinand/Dennis/Landomar, and bartender Neenee for their wonderful and attentive efforts to make us happy...they were nothing less than perfect.
Now to the ports and excursions:
San Juan: Just walked the Old City area, we had been there the year before and did the same thing. Shops, restaurants, nothing noteworthy.
Tortola: We went on a Jost Van Dyke beach excursion consisting of a 20 minute boat ride from the port to a very beautiful and picturesque beach for a couple of hours of swimming, sunning, etc. that included a light lunch (burger or hot dog, bag of chips, and a beer/soda/or water). Very enjoyable, highly recommend.
St. Maarten: We went on a "Beach Break With Lunch" excursion. A 45 minute bus ride to a pleasant enough beach for a couple of hours sunning and swimming and watching small lizards scamper across the sand. Lunch consisted of fish, chicken, or bbq ribs with rice, and included unlimited fruit or rum punch during the entire stay at the beach. Also a nice excursion.
St. Thomas: We went on the "Kon Tiki" beach excursion which consisted of a 30 minute boat ride (with a live steel band) to another beautiful beach and also unlimited fruit or rum punch.(no lunch though). This boat also stops over a reef for a few minutes and opens up to multiple glass bottom sections of the deck to observe the reef life (some fish, nothing shocking). What makes this excursion unique is that on the return trip, it becomes sorta a party boat - dancing and a limbo contest to go along with the steel band and punch.Highly recommend.
Grand Turk: We took a 15 minute walk down the beach from the port to " Jack's Shack", a family owned bar with a limited food menu and enjoyed the ambiance of the non-cruise environment. (even some of the cruise staff go here to avoid the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded port).(note: $10 gets an umbrella and 2 lounge chairs) There even are a couple of friendly pooches that are part of "the family" that roam and interact with the visitors. (Jack's Shack has a website if you want to look at it).
Summary: a great staff and crew led by an amazing cruise director made this trip a rousing success, with only a flawed buffet set up and some weird routes required to navigate the ship keeping me from giving it 5 stars. Read Less
We are veteran cruisers and this was our return to Carnival after only cruising Royal and Celebrity for the last ten years. We chose this ship because it was a family vacation including grandchildren; it left out of Manhattan so no flying ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers and this was our return to Carnival after only cruising Royal and Celebrity for the last ten years. We chose this ship because it was a family vacation including grandchildren; it left out of Manhattan so no flying was involved and the length and ports were desirable.
Embarkation was the worst of all our 30+ cruises. It took us 3 hours waiting in line in a hot terminal before boarding. It was pandemonium and no one would tell us what the problem was. Carnival personnel were not very helpful. We were on the ship by 3:00 pm and it was supposed to sail at 4:00. Muster was postponed until 5:00 and we never left the pier until at least 7:00. No explanations given. Perhaps it was the rainy weather, but don't know why.
Our dining arrangements were supposed to be the same as the other family members, but Carnival gave us all different seating times. It was straightened out by the following night but it resulted in waiting in line yet again to correct it.
The food in the main dining room was just okay. I am not a fussy eater and enjoy not having to cook, serve and clean up but the selections were not to my taste and the food was just barely warm most of the time. We avoided the Lido buffet most days because the lines were tremendously long. The other eateries (and there were plenty of choices) were more to our liking and we made it a point to eat during off times to avoid those lines.
The cruise director was probably the best I have ever experienced. The Flying Dutchman (Chris Matthews) was everywhere on the ship and was absolutely fantastic. I don't think he ever slept. He was a definite asset to Carnival and must have a sweet future with them. I cannot say enough good things about him. He is the best thing I will remember about this cruise.
Having been to all of the ports previously, except for Grand Turk, we choose to do beach days rather than excursions. All the beaches we visited were gorgeous, especially Cane Garden Bay Beach in Tortola. We had so looked forward to Grand Turk but were very disappointed in it. We were the only ship in port yet it was still overcrowded. We could not find free beach chairs, and the pool was very crowded as well. The beach was full of seaweed, rocks and looked dirty. Not your typical Caribbean beach. We stayed 1/2 hour and returned to the ship.
Our biggest gripe was the extreme overcrowding on this ship. They supposedly added many cabins when it was in dry dock, and there were just too many passengers. Common areas on the ship were few and far between and everywhere you went there were hoards of people. The two pools were inadequate for the number of swimmers; all you could do was just stand there shoulder to shoulder with everyone. We did find that the number of lounge chairs was adequate and we never had a problem finding them poolside. Carnival pool attendants did make it a point to patrol chair hogs and left stickers on chairs warning them their possessions would be taken after 45 minutes if left unattended. Nice touch!
We chose to walk off with our luggage and that went pretty seamlessly. We were off the ship and in a taxi by 8:32.
All in all, any cruise is better than no cruise, and we had a good time being with family. However, I doubt I would choose to cruise with with Carnival again. Read Less
I am a male in my mid-30s and this was my fourth cruise with Carnival (I've also been on the Splendor, Pride, and Horizon), along with two from Royal Caribbean and one from Princess. I will be providing an extensive review below, in ... Read More
I am a male in my mid-30s and this was my fourth cruise with Carnival (I've also been on the Splendor, Pride, and Horizon), along with two from Royal Caribbean and one from Princess. I will be providing an extensive review below, in the hopes it proves helpful to those reading (I know I appreciate detailed specifics of positives and negatives others give in their reviews, so I like to be equally thorough). While I'll be providing some slight criticisms, mainly related to the ship's layout of certain things, I gave this cruise a full five stars, because for all ten days of this trip, I witnessed what I felt to be virtually-perfect execution of all things within the control of the personnel on board, from dining, to entertainment, to service, to fostering an unrivaled fun atmosphere.
Embarkation in Manhattan: Despite going through the same terminal last year at about the same arrival time and boarding the larger Horizon very quickly, this seemed to take a bit longer to get through security this time around. It appeared the line formed on a first come, first served basis, like an airport. No big deal, but it seemed not to make a difference what boarding time/group was arranged beforehand, despite Carnival asking passengers to indicate in advance such arrival times/preferences.
Ship Layout: The Sunrise certainly looks nice enough following the refurbishment; however, in transforming the eateries and public spaces from its dry dock as the Triumph, two key issues seemed to have developed. One, the lines at the main buffet itself, regardless of if it's during breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even during the Midnight Buffet this itinerary had, were way too long to be considered normal (the lines at all the other surrounding lunch stations were at least reasonable and moved plenty quickly, like on other ships Carnival has). Two, the placement of the Limelight Lounge (an important venue to get to, since it hosts not only the nightly popular comedy shows and the nightclub it converts to after hours, but also random activities during the day), sandwiched between the two main dining rooms on deck 4, was problematic and even crew members admitted it's hard to find when you're looking for it. You're expected to take one specific set of elevators/stairwell to get to it from a different deck, but no one will blame you if you feel like walking right through the restaurant before, during, or after dinner to avoid the maze. Those two things aside, the ship in general is easy to navigate and they did a good job adding/subtracting venues based on current demands. It's much better that the Promenade Deck has a large RedFrog Pub for popular trivia and games/live music performances instead of separate smaller lounges and library space other ships have had that aren't a good use of real estate, and it's smart that the higher decks now have the Serenity areas, sport square, ropes course, and sizable water park replacing skylights and glass domes that offer less benefit. This helps manage the crowds and keeps adults and kids alike further entertained.
Entertainment/Activities: This itinerary was unique in that it is considered a "Journeys" cruise, which means it's nine days or longer, and as a result includes some activities and entertainment options not normally found on shorter cruises Carnival does. Some examples of what this means is a designated 80's-themed day (they played throwback lido deck games that were popular back then, showed 80's movie classics on the poolside movie screen, and featured a lot of live 80's rock and pop music at the various venues at night, also encouraging people to wear costumes), more enrichment-type classes (including ones featuring different kinds of dance lessons for couples and larger groups), a quick walk-through of the galley for those interested in how the dining rooms run their operation, a Captain's Cocktail Party that included drinks and finger foods, and additional opportunities for guests to interact with cast and crew (there was an open Q&A with reps from different departments, a separate Q&A focused specifically on the Broadway-style performers, and most interactive of all, a special one-performance-only show in the main theatre that allows guests to sing and dance with the cast on stage). Without exception, the entertainment offerings were top-notch, not just what I mentioned above, but also each and every one of the musicians on board, all of whom were exceptional and versatile in their respective styles: the Black Diamonds electric violin trio, the Hip Stars and Have Mercy Horns bands, Piano Bar performer Scott, acoustic guitarist Tim, and Steel Drum player Keith. The music playlists were not tired and cliched; they were innovative, varied, and included something for everyone, regardless of age or preferred genre. I was actually having trouble deciding who I wanted to listen to each night, because they were all so good.
Dining/Bars: The rebranding as the Sunrise resulted in some upgrades here, including getting the popular Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Pub, and newer eateries such as Guy's BBQ (not to be confused with Guy's Burgers, which it already had as part of the previous Fun Ships 2.0 upgrade that saw the cruise line uniformly put it in along with the build-your-burrito/taco bar, rum bar, and tequila bar across most of the company's main pool decks), Bonsai Sushi, and Cucina Del Capitano (free create-your-own pasta lunch by day, fee-based Italian dinner by night). The one surprise worth pointing out that didn't seem to be talked about much is that there's a new free asian bowl lunch option on the Lido Deck the opposite side of the deli, and it's really good. It's not as customizable as Mongolian Wok, so the line moves faster than ships with the Wok, but it's good quality and fresh. Dining room food was excellent each night, as I usually find it to be, and my lunches mainly consisted of the taco/burrito bar, Guy's BBQ, Guy's Burger's, the deli for hot dogs, and the pasta at Cucina on Embarkation Day (hard for me to pick a favorite). As far as the bars, I went to where the action was at a given moment, but I often found myself at the lobby bar (especially when the electric violins and atrium parties were happening) and the piano bar (the aforementioned Scott was brilliant and kept the room lively enough where I constantly chose him over the nightclub for my late-night destination).
Staff/Service: This was, without a doubt, the best I've ever seen on any cruise I've ever been on. Every person, without exception, was fantastic, and it was like the stars aligned to bring this group of MVP-caliber cast and crew together. Here are just some of the things I witnessed during the time onboard: a member of the photography team volunteering to help a family of five complete a six-person "cheerleader pyramid" by getting on all fours herself for a photo op, a random crew member amusing a young kid on the elevator to keep him happy during the ride up, a bartender at Alchemy going all the way to the sous chef just to get more basil for a joke drink one passenger wanted to give someone, and the Playlist Productions cast singing "happy birthday" to a young boy during their Q&A. As far as how else the cast and crew went above and beyond: the electric violin players performed my dad's request (even though they had been sticking to a set playlist throughout), the Playlist Performers were constantly setting aside as much time as requested for passengers to speak to them, practice with them, and learn from them both randomly after performances in the atrium and related to the show that featured guest participation (shoutout to Jeremy and Paige for their work in teaching the singing and choreography to the larger group for the show, and especially to Jeremy for gladly arranging an impromptu backstage tour for me to see behind-the-scenes when he learned of my interest in such production details), and Scott at the piano bar was always up for chatting at the end of the night, no matter how late it was. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how great the dining room staff was, particularly my waiters Ferdinand, Landomar, and Dennis, as well as the personable and hardworking bar staff throughout the ship (though I want to specifically mention Neenee at the lobby bar, and Miguel at the piano bar, both of whom stood out to me, and in the case of Miguel, also doubled as a first-class Elvis impersonator for a contest during one of the shows and joined in sing-alongs at the piano bar). I cannot say enough about how great everyone was, and how much I wish I have the opportunity to see at least some of them again.
*I'm giving a separate note here for the cruise director, Chris "The Flying Scotsman" Williams, who as far as I'm concerned, has revolutionized the concept of what a CD can, and should, be. Not only was he the best cruise director I've ever seen, he falls into a category all his own. He didn't simply "make appearances" at events or "hype up" an act before they came on, Chris WAS the event and WAS the act (coming from a strong musical performance background, he even headlined his own main theatre show one night, singing everything from rock hits from bands like Whitesnake to the operatic Nessun Dorma to a heartfelt rendition of a Scottish song to share his roots). He was always around, he always stopped to talk with guests and take pictures, and he brought a level of energy and passion to his work that made you wish Carnival execs were present to see what all their other cruise directors fleetwide should be doing to truly capture the "Fun Ships" experience.
San Juan - Went here last year, and did the same thing: walked around the city and the nearby shops a bit, without doing an excursion. The port time was a bit odd, in that it got in late and left late, so I got some nice pics of the ship from the pier around sunset and after it got dark.
Tortola - Did a beach/lunch excursion at nearby Jost Van Dyke. The beach over there was beautiful, somewhat secluded, and had a few bars nearby, including the Soggy Dollar (supposedly the place that created the Painkiller cocktail). Lunch was basic hot dog or hamburger and chips, but it is noteworthy that unlike other places that might give you one ticket or voucher to redeem, they didn't have any issue if you wanted a second hot dog or hamburger or more chips; they weren't being cheap or strict about that.
St. Maarten - Did a beach/lunch excursion at a beach on the Dutch side near the airport (not the famous beach directly under where planes lanes, but adjacent). The beach was nice enough too, though I had hoped Orient Beach had recovered sooner from the hurricane so I could have also experienced the French side of the island (Carnival had apparently just started offering a similar excursion there again, but didn't really promote it leading up the cruise, and only a few passengers found out about it in time to book that one instead). Lunch was a little nicer than hot dogs/hamburgers (ex: ribs was an option)
St. Thomas - Did the Kon Tiki beach excursion, which was the most fun during the trip to the beach, as they offered unlimited rum punch both to and from the beach, and the vessel included a glass bottom to briefly see marine life (plus they fed yellow snapper off the side to get them to surface). Additionally, they had a steel drum band, a dance lesson, and a limbo contest. The beach they took us to was Honeymoon Beach, very secluded, and even better than Magen's Bay.
Grand Turk - Stayed at Margaritaville last year, went down the beach to Jack's Shack this year. The owner's daughter was cool and thanked us for adding a license plate to their collection. Had a couple drinks, some wings, and rented an umbrella for the free chairs out front. The dogs roaming the area were adorable and were living the dream. Read Less
My wife and I have traveled many times with Carnival and like the upbeat atmosphere. Although the cruise started off rough due to the port fiasco (arrived at 11:00 a.m., got onboard at 3:00 p.m.), we ended up having a great time. Dinner ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled many times with Carnival and like the upbeat atmosphere. Although the cruise started off rough due to the port fiasco (arrived at 11:00 a.m., got onboard at 3:00 p.m.), we ended up having a great time. Dinner seating (early with friends) was not correct but Maitre D fixed it first night for us. This was a Journey cruise with an 80's theme. The Flying Scotsman was excellent as far as entertaining everyone (and a great singer too!). Food at the restaurant seemed to have fewer choices than normal. Looks like Carnival is trying to cut back as a way to save money. Food was decent just the choices were much less than it has been over the years. Cabin was nice (room 2340) and has been recently redone. Stewards did a good job cleaning although took till late morning on some days to get done. Guys Pig and Anchor good but not as good as on Horizon. Guys burgers was excellent. Breakfast/lunch on lido was average. Serenity lounge is in front of ship and was quite windy. No pool, 2 Jacuzzis and had a prevalent garbage smell on one side. Read Less