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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I embarked on a 7 night cruise on the MSC Seaside, leaving from Miami and going to San Juan, Charlote Amalie, Phillipsburg, and Nassau. While I have been on a few cruises before, this was a first cruise experience for my wife and I chose ... Read More
I embarked on a 7 night cruise on the MSC Seaside, leaving from Miami and going to San Juan, Charlote Amalie, Phillipsburg, and Nassau. While I have been on a few cruises before, this was a first cruise experience for my wife and I chose it because of the size of the ship and an expected smooth ride for my wife, as well as the ports and the appearance of the MSC Seaside. My impression with MSC began before I boarded while I was preparing for my cruise. I ran into issues with the MSC web site and customer service which have been discussed in this post, https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2674801-msc-website-bugs-and-support-experience/?tab=comments&source=122648#comment-57780603 . Now that I have cruised on the MSC Seaside, I'll share my onboard experience. The Embarkation and boarding experience started off excellent, it lost excellent status with baggage delivery and I'll come back to this. Have you ever gone into a super market, motor vehicle office, or other service area, looked at the long line and wondered why so many stations were unstaffed and things were't operating optimally? This was NOT the case with MSC embarkation. I was amazed to see every station was staffed, some with more than one person. We walked right up and found the staff knowledgeable, polite, and efficient. We did have priority boarding with the Aurea experience, but every station was staffed and they were prepared to operate at full efficiency. Bravo MSC, I could not imagine this process running any better. Since we got on so fast and early, our room wasn't ready but no complaints here as it wasn't supposed to be ready yet. We ate lunch, had a couple of drinks, and were then notified that our room was ready an hour before it was supposed to be. When we got to the room three out of our family's five bags were delivered. This was not an issue at first because bags were still being delivered. This became an issue several hours later, after dinner, when the two bags were still not delivered and the ship had left port. My wife was worried as one child had no clothes other than what she had carried on for that day and she didn't know if the bag made it on the ship. We returned to our room again about 8:00 pm and a note was on the door saying a bag needed further security scanning and we need to pick it up at the luggage center. Here's where MSC can use some help with communicating. We look in the MSC App which contains the ship map and you can find out how to get to things onboard and there's no "luggage center" found. We check the ship map by the elevator and there's no luggage center. A few other passengers show up with the same note and are having the same problem, nobody knows where the luggage center is. We go down to deck 5 which is where customer service is and of course the line is really long being the first day onboard. It looked like about an hour more wait by the number of people and the rate at which things were moving, but I will say every station was staffed again. A few of us wandered around looking for the luggage center and eventually came across a crew member in the hall, asked about it, and he took us to a room we would have never found on our own. Our largest bag was there but another was still unaccounted for. The bag was flagged by security for containing a surge protector. Security flagged it but the ship allows it onboard. I read on here to bring one but it was not necessary and ended up causing me some grief. Keep this in mind if you bring one. I now had to get this large fifty pound bag from the luggage center on deck 5 to my room at the front of the ship on deck 12 with ship activities in full swing and people everywhere finding their way around on the first day. Delivery luggage late at night through a crowds of people wasn't how I wanted to be spending my first night onboard. If they cleared the luggage, why couldn't the crew just deliver it. After all, we still had another bag that we were told was being delivered. That second bag showed up at about 10:00 pm and caused a bit of a panic. My advice is to just know that bags can come pretty late. Carry on what you need for the first day and just be patient. There's a lot going on. We had booked an Aurea Grand Suite (SE3) for the family and were expecting a separate bedroom for us parents, and a couch that converted into bunk beds for the kids, a table, and four chairs. This is how the room was laid out in pictures and seemed like a pretty nice cabin for a cruise. MSC does state that furniture may vary in rooms and it did. Instead of bunk beds we had a couch that folded out to a double bed, no table, and one chair. Furthermore the room had a techno gym attached to the wall in the living room. This may sound like a nice bonus to some but this thing was a monstrosity and room space is very valuable on cruises. We didn't want that, never saw anything saying it would be there, it was unappealing, and in the way. My wife waiting on the long customer service line to see what could be done about it and that didn't go well. I talked to our cabin steward (who was wonderful) and her boss. My wife was told someone would come by to fix it, the steward boss told me it couldn't be fixed. One look at it and I knew we'd be stuck with that we had there. There was much back and forth with several people and my wife was not having a good first cruise experience. We were told the room was a wellness suite and came with the gym. We didn't book a wellness suite, we booked an Aurea Grand Suite, and it was not feeling very grand. The steward boss called his boss at one point and had the call on speaker phone. The woman says "he has the big room with a gym, what else does he want?" Well, I didn't want a gym in my room, I wanted bunk beds for the kids, table, chairs, and staff that listens to the problem. The room was what it was and there was nothing that could be done about it. The kids had to share a bed and get on with our vacation. The other disappointment was that we were so far forward that our balcony had a steel wall instead of glass. When you sat down on the balcony, the water could not be seen and instead you look up at the sky or at the steel wall. It was nice though if you stood up. Pay close attention to where your room is on the ship and what your experience will be. On the 2nd day of the cruise we had a Cruise Critic meet and greet with senior officers of the ship. The cruise director, Gene Young, came by to chat with us and see how things were going. I shared my pre-boarding experience with the web site and my onboard experience so far. Gene seemed very sincere and listened to what we had to say. He was glad to hear that some things were going very well and that we loved the ship, he was sorry to hear some of the negative experiences. Gene told us that he would talk to the senior officers of various departments and he himself would give us a call back. Gene did in fact call us the next day. Of course he couldn't fix the furniture or get the monstrosity out of our room but Gene and staff did offer us a few things to help smooth things over and make up for the disappointment. Ideally the cabin experience should be very clear. The wellness suite experience with a techno-gym in the room is very different than what was expected. We're grateful that he listened and the staff did what they could. Cruises are known for eating and the food on board was very good, but I also expect it to be very good. Both the buffet and dining room met expectations and I was satisfied with all of my meals. Lots of people rave about the pizza onboard the MSC Seaside and being a native New Yorker, I'm a bit of a pizza snob. Us New Yorkers tend to think we're authorities on pizza and have our expectations. I'm enough of a pizza snob to know the best NY pizza is not in Manhattan but instead in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Now that I established myself as having strong opinions on pizza, I made it one of my first orders of business to go to the buffet and try this famous MSC Seaside pizza. I sampled the pepperoni pizza, some plain cheese, and a white pizza and the verdict is, thumbs up. I really didn't expect to like the pizza on the ship but it was genuinely good pizza, even by my tough standards. For those who like some simple grilled foods, you can always get a good burger at the buffet. Most of the carving stations were very good too, although I did find a pork loin to be a little bland. It was from a buffet though, so it is what it is. One more note on the buffets, the traffic flow is very chaotic. I'm not really sure how to solve this, but their must be someone on the MSC payroll who deals with these problems. It becomes a real challenge to get through there without getting a plate of food dumped on you or dumping yours on somebody else. There are lots of people going in every direction trying to load up as much as they can on their twelve inch plate. I don't know if I can fault MSC for this, but it would be nice if they can study it and find some way to improve the traffic flow. The dining room meals were excellent whether it was meat, pasta, or seafood. The famous Butcher's Cut steakhouse on board was a disappointment and I do not recommend it. I've been to some pretty nice steak houses in the same price range, and this one does not compare. I thought the NY Strip I got in the main dining room was better than the rib eye I had at Butcher's Cut and the Butcher's Cut steak was no better than any supermarket steak that I cook myself. The atmosphere didn't help either when one family was in there with their kids running around and screaming like they're in Chuckie Cheese. You can't always blame the restaurant for guests behavior, but the food just was't up to par either. We went to the theater four nights and were impressed with every show. The performers were very talented although you do see some of their acts get recycled and repackaged from show to show. Something that was oddly enjoyable was how they rebrand things and mix aspects and music from different shows together. After the first show we thought "that was good, but doesn't make any sense and we don't really know what they were trying to do". Things just don't seem to fit together. However, think of the movie "Moulin Rouge" and see if if you haven't before attending a show on a this cruise. Somehow that helped me to get it. They're reusing music, sometimes basing a character on another character, and creating their own show. It's not an attempt to perform a story you know, especially one with copyrights, they're instead creating their own show using some elements that you've seen and heard before. MSC has rolled out bracelets which can be used in place of a cruise card except for leaving and boarding the ship. Unfortunately, these bracelets which could be great are another negative story. The first problem you run into is just putting the bracelets on, which is really difficult without help from another person and this is unacceptable. Watches have been in use for a long time and we now have many successful wristband models from smart watches, and sport bands. There have been so many easy to use bands, that I don't know how MSC managed to roll out something so difficult to put on. Get one when you go on their cruise and you'll see what I mean, it's just absurd. The next problem, is they don't work everywhere onboard as they're supposed to. Most places no problem, every now and then you get a drink and you're told "I need your cruise card, I don't have a reader for the band", and they sometimes seem annoyed to have to tell you that. In MSC's propaganda and their app they mention how you can track every member of your party to know where each other are. This can be a great thing when you want to split up to do different things onboard and just find each other later. Nowhere does it tell you than this tracking doesn't work with the Aurea experience bands you get when you board. Instead you're given some instructions to setup people that can't be completed because the band doesn't have the QR code. I gave up on it thinking it was more trouble than it was worse but happened to ask someone at the game room when I saw they were selling another band for this purpose. We were told when we checked in that one daughter would get a kids band that is free and allows tracking, and the band would be in our room. The band was not in our room, my wife had to wait online in the kids center for over an hour to get it, the setup was confusing and cumbersome, and towards the end of the cruise a $15 charge showed up for it when we were told it was free. The kids band also stopped working one day. My wife went to customer service and was told to go do the kids center and they would need to set it up again. There were about twenty other people there with the same problem and more on the way. The poor guy working there was pulling his hair out and telling people it is a system wide problem, he couldn't do anything about it, and he doesn't know why people are being sent to him. This lack of communication between departments and passengers being sent from one place to another is a common theme onboard. The crew knows who has the kid bracelets and they know what room they're in. They also have daily announcements that come out every day from our good friend and cruise director, Gene Young. It seems they could've just came out and told people via an announcement or another letter left on the door that the kid bracelet tracking was offline. That would have saved passengers a lot of time from trying to get it resolved and saved a lot of crew member stress and time dealing with the issue. The bracelets are a great concept with some great features, but it wasn't a great experience. I'd like to know get back to some positives. The ship was immaculate. Every space was very clean and it seemed rather effortless for them to maintain it. With 5000 people onboard you expect things to get messed up but they didn't. Everywhere was clean and you rarely saw the staff cleaning it. They just popped out like little elves, took care of it and vanished. Whenever the ship was in port, there would always be people swinging into action to paint or clean things, but you really had to look for it to see it happen. Our room steward was excellent and one of the sweetest women we ever met. I often had to wait a while to get a drink, even at our exclusive Aurea deck bar, but the wait was not any different than I'd have anywhere else. If you go to a busy bar, or any pool bar at a hotel, you're not going to be the only one there and you'll often have to wait your turn to get a drink. The staff was always polite, friendly, and happy to help once they got to me. Early reports of the ship mentioned an odor that they encountered onboard. We did not experience any such odor. Disembarkation was orderly and impressive. They staged us in groups waiting to disembark. All of our luggage was waiting for us and easily found. I can not think of anyway they could have made this process go smoother. I'll likely travel with MSC again, but I don't know if my next cruise will be on an MSC ship. I think they're doing some really great things, but there needs to be more focus on the customer experience. This experience starts with the purchase, continues during the pre-cruise period, onboard, and leaving the ship. I think MSC will have a growing presence in the cruise industry and will be a major player, but customer experience needs to be emphasized in everything they do. Just accepting something as being what it is or expecting that customers will figure out that something isn't working or where some place is, is not good enough. Every experience needs to be stress free, pleasurable, intuitive, and impressive. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Mixed review of the MSC Seaside. The Seaside is a beautiful ship overall. However it struggles with certain amenities and service levels. For example, their are Four Banks of Elevators that cannot adequately handle 5000 ... Read More
Mixed review of the MSC Seaside. The Seaside is a beautiful ship overall. However it struggles with certain amenities and service levels. For example, their are Four Banks of Elevators that cannot adequately handle 5000 passengers. Waits can be up to 10 - 15 minutes at peak times. Be aware that, if you get a room that has a door to an adjoining room, it is not "soundproof". They do leak sound and I would never take an adjoining room again. Rooms are small for a new ship especially the bathroom and shower. If you are tall with long legs, you will likely have to sit at an angle to avoid hitting your knee on the sink cabinetry. Shows are top rate BUT YOU HAVE TO BOOK in advance. Otherwise you see no show at all except for a recording of it on the tv. Food is consistently good but not great except for the pizza. The choices on the buffet are not as varied as Celebrity or NCL. They have vegetarian choices that are nicely labeled but they are very limited on vegetarian hot proteins. This is mainly because their Asian and Indian choices are limited due to the small numbers of people of those cultures who cruise with MSC. The food in the dining Room is also consistently good and occasionally very good. However, unlike Celebrity, NCL and RCL, there is no special night for lobster or steak. Both lobster and steak do appear on the menu every evening but for an additional price of up to $24. Some of the ports have strange arrival times. For example, the ship arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 5 PM on a Monday when many stores are closed. This departed at 12:30 am. Forget about museums or Segway tours. The ship arrived in St Maarten at 7 am and passengers had to be back on-board at 1:30 PM. That leaves precious little time for the beach or touring the island. Staff tends to be disinterested and not nearly at the level of service as Celebrity, NCL or RCI. Dining room staff are overworked and about 1/3 of the staff you get on Celebtity. This causes long delays between courses, sometimes taking almost 2 hours for the meal. It is important to understand that dining Room seating is not separated into an early and late seating like most ships. Instead, there is a seating at 5:15 p.m, 7:15 p.m. and 9:15PM in one dining Room and 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the 2nd dining Room. If you ask for early seating, be aware that you may have to enter the dining room at 5:15 PM and, possibly, not be seated after 5:30 PM. The shows start at 7:15 p.m. 8:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., also causing havoc when people cannot get to their dining appointments on time or it takes too long for them to finish their meals. Keep in mind that every evening show has to be booked in advance and seats do run out. The performers are amazing. They do the same show three times per night and they are action-packed, highly physical shows. The only really attentive staff we had was the cabin attendant. If you're looking for a romantic dinner table for two, be forewarned; there are very few of them that are truly away from other tables. Most tables for two are just a 3 table system separated by about 6 inches which is essentially the same as having no separate table for two. Finally, MSC has no concept of how to manage crowds. For example they had a tasting party for the Specialty Restaurants to promote their menus. It was attended by about 200 - 300 people squeezed into a small area. As a result it was nearly impossible to get close enough to sample any food in at least 2 of the restaurants. In addition, the layout of the ship on the 16th floor is not good. Only one set of elevators goes to the Specialty Restaurants. If you get on the wrong elevator you have to get off on the 15th floor and hike to the stairs or the second set of elevators. In addition to having over crowded elevators in general, 2 elevators in the front are designated for yacht club members which means that, when they use their card, they control the elevator. You have a lot of people pressing both up-and-down buttons when they want to go up hoping that they can travel down in an elevator so that they can actually find room going up again! Perhaps the worst elevator problem occurred on embarkation. There were literally hundreds of people waiting for elevators for 15 minutes to half an hour. Many people decided to walk up the steps carrying heavy luggage. Again, this was not a good system for controlling passenger embarkation. There did not seem to be any problem upon disembarkation for the ports, however. I think, overall, that MSC is good value for the money but it could do much better in service, food, and crowd control. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
A little about us. Family of 5, grown kids ages 18,19,23. Been cruising for 25 years. Over 30 cruises. Generally like different aspects of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. To be more specific, enjoy the ship amenities of RCCL, we ... Read More
A little about us. Family of 5, grown kids ages 18,19,23. Been cruising for 25 years. Over 30 cruises. Generally like different aspects of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. To be more specific, enjoy the ship amenities of RCCL, we love the Haven experience on NCL and we have always thought Carnival had the best food and service. Unfortunately, this Carnival cruise did not meet with those expectations. I will comment on a few major areas. CABIN: Standard cabin. Basic size. Balcony slightly larger than other lines. Bathroom basic and no concerns. Problem was poor AC. As others have said on Carnival Board, the AC simply does not cool down the room. Furthermore, the standard heavy duvet makes for very warm conditions. Even though my wife does not like our bedroom as cold as I do, she complained of how hot the room was during the day and night. (Note: the duvet would have been great had this been a winter escape to the Rockies). Mattress also did not seem to have as much support as on previous ships. Pillows were older, inconsistent and offered limited cushion FOOD: Chef's Table was very good. A- grade. Superb service, variety of foods that we would not usually order including Quail and Veal. Was a little disappointed with the wine offering which was Layer Cake Cab. On RCCL, there are 5 different wines served usually with Caymus with tenderloin for last course. Cucina del Capitano: C grade. We had mediocre service. Food was OK. Better than dining room, but just OK. Slightly better than Olive Garden. Only $15 per person. But probably would not spend extra for this quality of food. Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: A- grade. Great service. Food very good. Steak quality good....perhaps not to quality of Ruth's Chris or other national steakhouses, but definitely much better than Outback and Longhorn as others have commented. BIG HINT.....on the first night, they offer a free bottle of wine with dinner. Do not get this...instead take advantage of the 50% off any bottle deal. We enjoyed 2 bottles of Caymus at half price. And I would note that wine prices all of the ship were very reasonable and much better than RCCL. Caymus was priced at $90 per bottle....it is ~$130 on RCCL. So we had 2 bottles of our favorite wine for $90 on the first night. Main Dining Room: Service was good, although it seemed poorly organized. More importantly, the food quality was just not good. As stated in intro, we have always thought main dining room food on Carnival was much better than competitors. No longer the case. Plenty of tasty appetizer options, but some did not live up to expectations. On the other hand, there weren't that many dessert options. Melting Chocolate Cake is often the only good option. Entrees were so-so most of the time. Lunch Options: Awesome....Guy's burgers, Pizza, Mexican buffet, and BBQ. All awesome. ENTERTAINMENT: This is by far our biggest complaint. At a time when competitors are providing plenty of entertainment options including 90 minute Broadway shows, Carnival continues to offer the 40 minute song and dance deal with taped music and cruise ship dancers. 3 different shows. Same thing each time. Very similar to the shows of the 1990's before everyone else stepped up their game. The only good entertainment was the comedy venue which is larger and better than RCCL. Good performances. SO....at night, the only good options are the comedy club and the casino. Perhaps that is what Carnival is looking for. MISCELLANEOUS: We didn't really sense that most of the staff was happy. Service was adequate, but not usually friendly. CRUISE DIRECTOR continued to make announcements that were unnecessary. Average of 6 public announcements throughout the ship each day. Some were really poorly timed including a Wake up on Sea Day at 9:30 to tell us Shops are open. Excuse me.....folks are sleeping. Another notable message was to announce in cabins that there would be an emergency drill at 9am on a port day. Some people were not going to shore and were sleeping. There was no reason to wake folks up to tell them there was a drill going on. Loud younger teens running through the hallways from 11p-2a. No supervision and security would not answer the phone So, all in all, we will likely not travel with Carnival again. Carnival cruise prices are often a little lower than competitors. But that price difference is definitely seen in total experience. Food quality no longer superior and more importantly, entertainment options in evening are severely lacking. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This is our 4th time in Celebrity; 3rd time on Equinox. The ship has been upgraded some from our sailing imbalance April 2018. Very disappointed in the Blu Restaurant. In the past it has been a step above regular dining, but we have not ... Read More
This is our 4th time in Celebrity; 3rd time on Equinox. The ship has been upgraded some from our sailing imbalance April 2018. Very disappointed in the Blu Restaurant. In the past it has been a step above regular dining, but we have not found that to be the case this time. The food has been average and the menu has nothing new from a year ago. On the other hand the Tuscan Specialty Dining is top notch. Excellent service, delicious entrees and beautiful scenery overlooking the ocean on the rear of the ship. This is our 3rd day, hopefully things will improve in the Blu. By the way, Celebrity still makes you pay for internet which is ridiculous- you can get it free at Walmart- don’t know why upscale cruising company Celebrity can’t do the same for its patrons. HoHum with Celebrity this cruise- expected better from a cruise line which promotes luxury sailings. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked this cruise on -line then called to make our restaurant choices, but were told we had to do that when we boarded. I also, asked about booking the North Star and was told they are all booked up due to varies groups being on-board ... Read More
We booked this cruise on -line then called to make our restaurant choices, but were told we had to do that when we boarded. I also, asked about booking the North Star and was told they are all booked up due to varies groups being on-board so we would have to do that on-board as well. So first thing as we arrived, I went to Guest Services and was told a different story - as we were suppose to be able to book both when I called, but not the case when talking with foreigners on RC reservation line. Next our room was very well laid out, but not cleaned well - stuff was still in the refrigerator from the people before us that was rotten. Never saw our stateroom attendant till day 2 and by then we were both sniffling and coughing. I do not think our room was sanitized at all. Bed was hard as a rock and when I asked about getting foam or something to soften it up - no one ever came to do as they said they would, and our stateroom attendant said I can use the couple of flattened covers under the bed to help, but that was all he knew of to use? So by the end of the 9 nights, I was very sore glad to be back home. We did enjoy all the shows, especially We Will Rock You!! Dining went ok - loved the specialty restaurants, but our main dining room table got moved when we showed up the second day - so we were place elsewhere, but it worked. Casino was extremely smokey and the slot machines were next to each other for smoking and non-smoking - nothing to block or distribute clean air to non-smokers! Ports of call were enjoyable. Boarding and disembarking was a breeze if you got there early and carried off your luggage. The SeaPlex was full off kids and there was no "adult" time for the Dodge cars so waiting was a issue just to say you did it once. Also there was no one sanitizing hands before you got in your car and with kids picking their noses, and coughing, sneezing, I would think RC could do a better job - like they do when you eat!! Never saw anyone cleaning banisters or elevators to keep germs at bay either. We did like the North Star as something different to experience. All in all, just an average cruise - not really impressed. I would like to highly compliment the wait staff and bartenders who did an exceptional job at keeping us happy and well fed. I didn't find the Anthem to have many activities to do for adults - so we got bored at times. Since it was the holiday weekend/week - there were several kids running around and the pool area was totally packed each day. Thank goodness we had a balcony to escape and relax. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I am going to present to the best of my ability a fair review based upon my experiences in cruising. This was my 11th or 12th cruise, the second for Royal Carribean. 20 years ago, my husband and I set sail to Bermuda on our honeymoon on ... Read More
I am going to present to the best of my ability a fair review based upon my experiences in cruising. This was my 11th or 12th cruise, the second for Royal Carribean. 20 years ago, my husband and I set sail to Bermuda on our honeymoon on the last ship of the fleet, making the last trip, before the new class of cruise ships were born. It was not a great experience, and being 25 back then, I was sure I wouldn't do it again. Alas, the opportunity came up again several years later, and I fell in love with cruising but hadn't returned to RCCL until now. FOOD: I have been on Carnival, Norwegian, Disney and Royal Carribean. Each line is unique in how they deliver their services, and the cruising experience, but most of the tenements of cruising are the same. To be foolproof, you pretty much have to nail down the dining, because let's face it, you are stuck on this floating hotel for a week, and what better way to occupy your time than eating. That being said, the food on Royal Carribean was the worst out of all of the lines I've cruised. The first 2 days, I just couldn't get a good meal. They served a Salmon En Croute that was so fishy, I had to spit it out. By the third night, I was eating dinner rolls, anticipating the bad food that lied ahead. RCCL did not disappoint. I was served an actual bowl of gristle ( yes you heard correct, gristle) it was at that point that I asked the chef to come out so that I could show him what was being served. He was horrified and asked us to be his special guest the next night, in which we did eat a very nice meal, but still not fantastic. The food stayed at a 2-3 stars the whole trip, but I learned to eat things in their natural form (ie: hard-boiled eggs, grapefruit, etc) so this was a big disappointment. We did eat in 2 of the specialty restaurants, Jaimie Oliver's and Wonderland. The food was very creative in Wonderland and a great experience, but the taste was lacking. Jamie Olivers was better, but the eggplant parm was soaked in oil. Nothing on this cruise "wowed" me as far as food goes. Compared to Norwegian and Carnival, I don't think I would choose to cruise RCCL again based on this alone. ENTERTAINMENT: The ship spends quite a bit of money on their entertainment and it shows. All the shows are technically executed perfectly as well as the sound and lighting. The sets are some of the best I've seen and the performers are super talented. Yet again, I didn't find the shows engaging, and never left feeling invigorated or that I would want to see it again (which has been the opposite on all of the other cruise lines. Norwegian Breakaway had some of the best shows I have ever seen). POPCORN: RCCL puts popcorn makers outside of all of their shows and they CHARGE you for a bag of popcorn. SERVICE: The service was mostly good and served with a smile almost every time. I am always amazed at how hard the staff works to please the guests, and I try to be grateful and humble when dealing with the staff knowing what they endure on a daily basis. SHOPPING: This is where RCCL has failed in a big way. The first thing I would like to bring to your attention is that I have never been on a ship that NICKELS AND DIMES YOU TO DEATH the was RCCL does. They push you to BUY, BUY, BUY and that is the center of focus on the ship. The shopping on the promenade is riddled with overpriced luxuries that have been marked up 3 times and pitched to you as a "deal" because you aren't paying taxes. Also, if you plan on shopping, PLEASE get the internet package and price shop. I bought 3 bags on the boat which I googled and found at half price, in which they had no choice but to price match it (as long as it's a reputable site: no Amazon, sorry). I felt like the entire cruise was a money grab and between the art auctions, jewelry talks and raffles, they just want more of your money. They were selling CHICO's clothing for more than I would pay at CHICOs! Also, they make your setsail card inactive if you punch a hole through it and they sell you the lanyards or the wow bands at double the price, so PLEASE get a lanyard WITH THE PLASTIC INSERT before you go. WARNING: If you like to purchase Art, no one tells you that if you exceed the amount allotted via customs, you will be stopped by customs and have to pay duties on the framing of the art you buy if you exceed your allotment so please ask about this when you buy art. TIPPING: I do not remember if every boat is the same, but we were charged $14.50 per day per person, totaling $60 in tips x 9 days. In addition to this, they tack on an 18% gratuity on every service related purchase. Then you will be given tip envelopes to tip above this. ACTIVITIES: This ship has nothing for kids. No fun slides, no real events by the pool, in fact, unlike Carnival that always delivers a good time poolside, the pool was overcrowded and uneventful. No fun DJ, or Large Screen TV with movies, so my 18-year-old and his girlfriend never wanted to go. They did have the IFLY and the NORTHSTAR for free, and there were a lot of activities in the sports complex, but often it was very crowded and on a ship this size, you spend a lot of time waiting. MOST VALUABLE TIP: Sign up for Escape the Room Puzzle break first day on the ship! This was the most fun we had :) Lastly, as a whole, with the islands and excursions in mind, it was a nice cruise, the weather was good, and so were the seas. Some people are "Loyal to Royal" and I truly wanted to drink that cool-aide, but for now, I will stick with Carnival and Norwegian. Safe travels, and enjoy the cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Long lines everywhere. Forever to get drinks at some bars. Room steward MIA.. Room service Non existent. TRIED 4 times. Once food never showed up Once received COLD horrible food. Twice received message that room service unavailable..even ... Read More
Long lines everywhere. Forever to get drinks at some bars. Room steward MIA.. Room service Non existent. TRIED 4 times. Once food never showed up Once received COLD horrible food. Twice received message that room service unavailable..even though ordered during "open" hours. We will not be booking any further MEGA ships. We did the same things and had as much fun as we have on smaller less expensive ships. It's impossible for the crew and ship to keep up with that volume of people!! Staff are overworked and stressed out. Not all. There were some that were great. Putra and Mark at pool bar were great..even though Putra was in the aqua show in addition to bartending 12 hours at pool bar. He would leave do the show and come back to bartend. ???? Staff spread toooo thin!! We still had a fabulous cruise. Ports were amazing !! Too big is a thing!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Largest cruise of 4 that I have been on and big disappointment. I thought there would be more pools and there was several things in pictures on sight that was not available. Food was great as well as all of the staff. They always answered ... Read More
Largest cruise of 4 that I have been on and big disappointment. I thought there would be more pools and there was several things in pictures on sight that was not available. Food was great as well as all of the staff. They always answered our questions and concerns Room was hot but may have been due to we was right under the LIdo deck which is open floor plan with door opening and closing all the time. Ports were all great and we never had any issues with directions for shops and other things. We did do and excursion in Amber Cove. We was under the impression we would be doing close to 27 waterfalls and jumps. we only got to do 7. The group leaders were awesome but when you pay for that money you want to do it all. Also no where was we told closed shoes for the waterfalls and we all wore Chacos and then had to rent 4 pairs for $8 a piece. We traveled with a 16 and 20 year old. Not a lot for the 16 bc they can not get into a lot of the clubs. I will do another cruise but I will go back to a smaller ship..More personal and fun.But if just looking to lay out and relax this ship will meet your needs. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Embark was chaotic with suitcase and people drop off from Ft Lauderdale. I have no idea how someone has not been hit by a car. Disembark was great- easy peezy. Because we are VIFP members- we stick with Carnival- however the loyalty ... Read More
Embark was chaotic with suitcase and people drop off from Ft Lauderdale. I have no idea how someone has not been hit by a car. Disembark was great- easy peezy. Because we are VIFP members- we stick with Carnival- however the loyalty program is fair at best. They could learn a ton from Omni or Southwest Loyalty programs. The crowd was shady. The neighbor staterooms partied all night (no problem there) and thought it was hilarious to scream and knock on doors around 3AM. Then other stateroom residents would get angry and scream at them. I was sure a fight was about to break out any moment. Constant cursing. Las Vegas felt more kid/teen friendly than the cruise ship. The excursions are awesome. We did Monkeyland in the Dominican Republic, Snorkeling in Grand Turks, and beaching at Half Moon Cay. All wonderful. The shows were great but I had to miss a lot of them due to a late dinner. The staff are awesome. Our stateroom attendants Gede was always smiling and speedy quick at cleaning the room. Mudiantara and Komang were awesome dinner attendants. They were incredibly observant and catered to our personal preferences incredibly well. They deserve a bonus. I will absolutely miss them. The cruise ship director was also great. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The ships staff and crew were not very friendly. The main dining room has very slow service! Every area on the ship seems very overly crowded! The Air Conditioning in the rooms was not very cold, it didnt blow strong and was very ... Read More
The ships staff and crew were not very friendly. The main dining room has very slow service! Every area on the ship seems very overly crowded! The Air Conditioning in the rooms was not very cold, it didnt blow strong and was very unpleasant especially in a balcony stateroom. The shows were incredible! Ice Skating, Main Lounge and Aquatheater! The elevators are very fast and easy to use! The royal carribean app is very slow, outdated and unresponsive! The water slides are incredible but have lines that can take 30-60 minutes on HOT sea days! same with the Flow-Rider, Ultimate Abyss, Zip Line and more! Windjammer Marketplace was very clean and the food was always great and i was never let down or disapointed! The Windjammer Staff was very friendly, helpful and inviting! The wifi is very fast and well worth the money! Miami Embarkation took around 15 minutes! Incredible :) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Carribean Princess. It was just OK. Maybe we are spoiled because our last cruise was on the Regal Princess which was amazing. Pros -Medallion Class is awesome. I could always find my ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Carribean Princess. It was just OK. Maybe we are spoiled because our last cruise was on the Regal Princess which was amazing. Pros -Medallion Class is awesome. I could always find my travel companions. -Concierge website was great to check account balances and events. -OceanCompass and OceanNow are great. -Embarkation and disembarking were so fast and easy. -Friendly bartenders that remembered you. No long lines for drinks. Shout out to Melissa at the casino & Mo at Churchill’s). -Decent Casino with room to move around. -Crown Grill was fantastic and went twice (shout out to Alexander & Christian) -Sabatini’s was good -Good itinerary -Quality food in main dining room, but not as good as Regal -Excellent fitness center, large and spacious -Decorated our door for my birthday and gave a free specialty restaurant cover and $25 for on board shops. A really nice surprise. -Good variety of table games in the casino -Churchill’s Cigar bar is large with a great bar inside it -Excellent Internet speed. I could stream Netflix with no issue. -Beds were very comfy. Cons -The buffet layout is atrocious. If one side is closed you have to go outside and come in another side. No sign telling you the side is closed. Traffic in buffet is disarrayed. Food is ok, but not great (lunch) -Ship Layout is awful. You can’t get there from here....up, down, around. -Constantly out of pizza. The pizza was great....if you wanted to wait while the lines stacked up -The adults only pool in the front has only about 12 loungers which are taken bright and early and not given up even if people were not there. No other space or shade. -The thermal spa is tiny with only 4 loungers. Not worth the price. -Limited smoking areas and none with loungers. Mostly under cover or standing only. (pro or con, depending on your point of view Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise for the islands that it offered. I was extremely upset to find out the one of the islands was changed. Even thou Puerto Rico was "ok" it wasn't close to St.Maarten. That was extremely disappointing. ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the islands that it offered. I was extremely upset to find out the one of the islands was changed. Even thou Puerto Rico was "ok" it wasn't close to St.Maarten. That was extremely disappointing. The food was fantastic nice variety. There should have been more food available late at night for alcohol consumption. The staff was great! My sheets were disgusting dirty yellow stains on sheets and pillow cases. Under the sofa and bed were dirty not cleaned. There was too many theater based activities. Loved the zip line, the pools could have been separated for adults and kids.Not big enough to hold all those people. Got smack by a child's elbow. What ever. The Jacuzzi where beautiful well done. The stores were all high end, did not accommodate middle class income. The spa was extraordinary! Well done the atmosphere was incredible The spas were too push on selling you an item. maybe suggesting is better the pushing a sale. Love the itemized bill. very accurate. Not sure about the drink package, The wait at the bars were horrible, I actually calulated a 15 minute wait. Some bar tenders were rude. One female. I felt bad for the Life Guard who has to stand guard for 1 person, dumb. but I get it. Some of the bathrooms were gross! Pee everywhere. Our dinner staff was the best and love the dancing we did with them. Everton specially, he was great serving our table, made it very enjoying. Love him The disembarkation for Bermuda was horrific. Other then that it was a great cruise.j . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship is pretty, the food is good, the crew is pleasant. BUT There is constant pressure to buy "Specialty Dining" packages at inflated prices, excursions at inflated prices, jewelry, perfume, art and spa treatments. Very ... Read More
The ship is pretty, the food is good, the crew is pleasant. BUT There is constant pressure to buy "Specialty Dining" packages at inflated prices, excursions at inflated prices, jewelry, perfume, art and spa treatments. Very insistent pressure. If you cruise at the "Bella" experience (cheapest "level"), there are parts of the ship you cannot access and the bar staff will be much less interested in serving you if you have a drink package. Your table in the dining room will be by the aisle and traffic flow, and they won't be happy about changing it. It will be difficult to get an elevator to ro from your deck. The free drink package we had made no sense, with some items not included that cost less than included items. There is a 15% service charge for every item you get, so it's really not free. This is in addition to the 12% pp per day service charge. The room stewards are incredibly good and efficient. Service desk helpful. Dining room waitstaff top notch. Dining room menus offered great selection and almost everything tasted good. Buffet had a wide selection of interesting items, but had the same items every day. Drink station not well organized, with cups and glasses hard to get to and no traffic flow marked. Entertainment was below average. Nightly shows, while flashy, make no sense and all the music is canned, most vocalists lip-synching. Why is there a juggler and aerialist in every theater show? Lounge entertainers were awful and used karaoke type backing tracks all the time. The only actual "band" was not well rehearsed, and had to play country one night, islands music another, 70s stuff another. Waterslides were fun but always had long lines during limited open hours. Pools closed nightly at 7 or so. No night time swims or hot tubbing. Would we go again? Not at the Bella level, and not with the Drinks on Us package. Higher levels pricing negates using this cruise line, so probably not. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
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. The good: 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
Sail Date: June 2019
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 good- 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! The bad- 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 The ugly- 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This journey cruise was a initial family Carnival cruise for my sister-her husband and two young adult granddaughters as well as myself and my adult daughter. The cruise was initially selected because 1-the schedule worked well with the ... Read More
This journey cruise was a initial family Carnival cruise for my sister-her husband and two young adult granddaughters as well as myself and my adult daughter. The cruise was initially selected because 1-the schedule worked well with the college ladies school breaks and 2- noted that the ship would be undergoing a big renovation- which we decided would make it a pretty much like new ship. Embarkation day- very confusing and chaotic- upon checking into Manhattan terminal- we inquired of numerous personal where to go for priority check-in(suite guest)- first were sent to one side of terminal than to the other-no one seem to know for sure, we finally were seated in some area with TA'S, after that the boarding started and we got on board- quickly enough. We did the unthinkable and went to the lido deck for a bite to eat- crowded and congested, when announcement made that cabins were ready we were more than ready to go. I was especially ready to unload my mass of luggage. Cabin was expansive and my daughter and I were more than pleased with the layout and amenities.Small comlaints- my daughter on the 2nd day noticed what she called a trace of a " funny smell in the bathroom- her nose is younger and keener- i did not pick up on it until the the 4th day-wasn't sure what it was had seen numerous reviews from other cruisers of sewage smell in some hallways and cabins. We always travel with a can of Lysol and upon entering the room everything was sprayed down. My niece who was in the cabin with my sister and brother-in-law- indicated their cabin had the same odor and indicated with was akin to "kitty litter"- As indicated it was noted but not enough to drive us out of the cabin. 2- I am a senior with some joint problems- and found it a little challenging getting in and out of the tub- was very happy for the safety railings in there. No problems with the AC-often we had to adjust it because it became too cold. The balcony was was wonderful with a lounger and two chairs and table. I've always enjoyed relaxing on balconies. The large in room sofa was a great place to relax on too. Our cabin stewardess Yuli was very friendly and courteous- we opted for once a day room service, however if we happen to see her in the eve and required extra towels -she was always accommodating . We purchased the value wi-fi packages pre-cruise and it worked well- no problems- were able to text each other surfweb--post to facebook- . I am not a fan of school cafeteria dining layout, and the dining buffet was so crowded so i frequently would order a continental breakfast coffee- toast-juice and fruit. The MDR experience i enjoyed,we had early seating and it was nice to just walk in and always have a table waiting for us, the food was tasty and our waiters- Henri-Jerry and John were great, very friendly- knew our names after the 1st night. Enjoyed the Italian restaurant for lunch one day and the steakhouse for dinner- The adult comedy shows in the punchline venue were fantastic, i tried to attend many, what was annoying was having to exit the venue on one side go up and come down to enter again on the other side- very poor planning as crowds of people were on the steps and blocking those attempting to enter or exit the dining room and or elevators. The venue was also very small and AC barely functioning. Enjoyed the flying Scotsman show in the liquid lounge, the venue was able to accommodate large crowds and no problems with the AC. This was also the area where our muster drill occurred- plenty of seats for all. As have been reported in other reviews- the casino location was a poor choice, very smokey went thru there first night on way to dinner and thought i would lose my breath. so thereafter went upper or lower to other floors to avoid smoke. Biggest disappointment was the so called serenity deck- my only previous experience was on the anthem and that was delightful.Pre-cruise I had planned to spend most of my time in that area- but disappointed to see no shaded areas- NO POOL and the small hot tub that was there did not have hand rails to aid people in entering and exiting, after checking it out first sea day never went back again. The Sunrise is a pretty ship but i shall not cruise on this ship again. Ports of Puerto Rico, ST. Thomas, ST. Marten, Tortola and Grand Turk were all great. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My son, daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, wife and I sailed on the Harmony of the Seas departing on June 9, 2019 returning on June 16, 2019. The itinerary was Perfect Day at Coco Cay, day at sea, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and two ... Read More
My son, daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, wife and I sailed on the Harmony of the Seas departing on June 9, 2019 returning on June 16, 2019. The itinerary was Perfect Day at Coco Cay, day at sea, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and two additional days at sea. Our staterooms were 7630 and 7632, adjoining Jr. Suites. Note that my wife and I are experienced cruisers with more than 20 cruises, most with Celebrity and Royal but with others as well. This cruise vacation is summarized below. We live in Orlando so getting to Port Canaveral is an easy drive. We left the house at 9:45 and arrived at the port about an hour later. I dropped off our bags passengers and parked in the onsite garage which was very convenient though a little pricey. Check-in was very quick as we used the Royal App and had all information on our cell phones. I purchased the digital photo package on-line prior to the cruise so we had numerous photos taken on boarding. The on-line price for the package was $249, onboard it was over $300 (although Royal had different promotions for it throughout the week). Our rooms were obviously not ready so we headed to Park Café for lunch and to make our home base until the rooms were opened up which occurred at 1:00 as advertised. While others were getting their lunch I headed up to Country Kitchen to make our dinner reservations for a party of 6. This was my first disappointment on the cruise. I asked for reservations at 6:00 each night but was informed the restaurant opens at 5:15 so I could have 5:15 or after 7:00. They told me that they only had two tables for 6 so that was my only option. After much haggling they gave me 5:45 for the first 3 nights but 5:15 for the remaining nights. I chose to chill and explain the situation to my son and daughter-in-law but they were not happy as 5:15 as it was way too early for them. 5:15 was too early for my wife and I as well for that matter. Getting two young children (5 & 23 months) and themselves ready by that time would significantly eat into their afternoons. In hindsight I should have bumped up my issue to a higher authority above the restaurant manager. This situation resulted in much stress each afternoon but we all coped the best we could. I am not sure why they couldn’t accommodate my request as the restaurant was half empty each night and they easily could have created a table for 6 as they did one night. After lunch we headed to staterooms and met our stateroom attendant. As always the rooms were very nice and spacious with lots of storage space. If within your budget I would highly recommend booking a Jr. Suite as it just makes the cruising experience a little more pleasant. We had the divider opened between our two rooms making it essentially a two room suite. The grandchildren enjoyed being able to come over at will. Our stateroom attendant was friendly and did a great job doing his job. I would say he exceeded my expectations for service. Day two was supposed to be our Perfect Day at Coco Cay. It turned out to be anything but perfect. I bought tickets to the Thrill Water Park for all (the 23 month old was free) paying a little over $300 on-line prior to the cruise. I did my research and both my son and I clearly understood the restrictions for the 5 year old and what she could ride. However once inside the park what we thought the 5 year old could ride she could not even though she was well over the lower height restriction. The problem, we did not put a life preserver on her, our bad. But the life guards did not advise or direct us to do so either. They simply said she could not ride. Also for the adults the wait times on the rides were anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. They also closed the rides for 2+ hours do to lightening in the area (10 mile radius) although it never rained on site. Bottom line is that in a best case you could get maybe 5 rides in. In our case after taking time out for lunch and letting the kids play in the areas outside the water park none of the adults rode any of the thrill rides. The next day I received a message asking me to review the Perfect Day at Coco Cay and I gave it a very negative review. Subsequently I was contacted by guest services to clarify my review and in that conversation I requested compensation for my dissatisfaction. At first they offered 25% refund, which they were refunding everyone because of the weather closing, but I was adamant that I received zero value for my money. After two additional conversations with guest services and the manager of shore excursions they refunded me my total amount. I am happy that Royal eventually took my complaint seriously and did what I believe is right but I am disappointed that it took so long to do so. Bottom line is make sure you are willing to wait on long lines and maybe get only a few rides in. Also if you have a young ones over 40 inches but not yet 48 inches put a life vest on them (note though I only saw a 48 inch height gauges no 40 inch gauges). Also RCL should figure out how to accommodate chaperones who do not ride on the attractions such as older grandparents, why charge someone who is not using the facility. Will I use the facility again, maybe, but at least I will go in with full knowledge that I am just giving Royal my money with little value in return. Other ports were essentially noneventful. Getting off and boarding at each was easy and quick. We didn’t take any tours and simply made them beach days. In St. Thomas we took a taxi to Emerald beach which worked well for us. In St. Maarten we took the water taxi to town and rented chairs and beach umbrellas. We also had a great lunch in town in a restaurant along the boardwalk. The water taxi worked out well so I would recommend it if it works into your plans. On previous cruises to St. Maarten we simply walked into town which is an easy walk. Our dining experience onboard was mixed. We only used Windjammer for breakfast and lunch a few times. I was very disappointed in the breakfast served there. In the past on Harmony you could get eggs benedict there but not on this cruise. Also in the past you could get omelets made to order, no more, only pre made omelets. Pancakes and waffles were also pre made and were cold and dried out. You could get fried eggs to order though. Lunch in Windjammer was a little better. Windjammer food quality and choices though are simply declining. We went to American Icon twice for breakfast and it was ok but not great. I ordered eggs benedict and the eggs were over cooked and the Hollandaise Sause was dried out on top. Second time I simply ordered eggs over medium and they came out as you would expect. They also had a very good French toast that I enjoyed. In short I would say everyone in our party enjoyed their breakfasts in American Icon. The best breakfasts we had on the ship however was at Johnny Rockets, killer omelets with nice country fried potatoes in a nice location on the ship. Also Johnny Rockets had plenty of seating and service was quick and friendly. We also used Mini Bites a few times for lunch and snacks and were pleased with the offerings there. We ate dinner the second night of the cruise in Wonderland as my wife and I enjoyed it on our last cruise on Harmony. No so much this time. We simply remember the dining experience being much better. The meal was ok but nothing to write home about. We used a specialty dining coupon we had from our TA and in retrospect we should have eaten at Park 150, we have never been disappointed there. All other dinners were in Coastal Kitchen. The reservation times aside the staff there was spectacular. They honored our every request including asking for several items from the MDR. They were great with the children. The food offerings there however were not as good as I remember it on past cruises. One of the reasons I book a Jr. Suite is to dine in Coastal Kitchen. In the past we found it better than any specialty restaurant on the ship, but not on this sailing. We found the menu selections ordinary, nothing special. The head chef came by each evening and one night I asked him if the menu was his or Miami’s, he said Miami. Too bad, I think in the past the chef may have been given more flexibility to use their creativity in creating dishes. The food was not bad, just not the exceptional dining experience I have become accustomed to. One big mistake serve what is on the menu, one night they said they had Pear Salad but when it was served it was apple salad with a different dressing. The server should have known that the Pear salad was not available. No killer nightly dessert either, just ho-hum. As with Windjammer dinner in Country Kitchen appears to be on the decline, at least on this ship. The nightly entertainment was enjoyable. We have been on Harmony in the last 18 months so the shows have not changed. Make sure you make reservations online well in advance on line, we did and it worked out great. Although we enjoyed the shows we look forward to RCL rolling out some new shows on Harmony. I found the musicians on this cruise to be outstanding, better than I have been accustomed too. The two comedians onboard Nery Saenz and Heath Harmison were fantastic, very funny guys. The Headliner Showtime act, Tribute Band, Private Stock, was ok but not a great show although many in the audience enjoyed them more than I. Another new item I did not appreciate was the large number of reserved seats for suites (Grand and above), Diamond Plus (not there yet, maybe never) and Pinnacle as well as seats for those that purchased The Key. It used to be that the first couple of rows were reserved for Suite guests, now 2/3 of the seats in the center section are reserved for the above, very disturbing. It simply means getting in line early at the front so you can run to get your seats when the doors open. This simply creates more stress and watch watching during dinner. Guess it is just another indication of the cruise line going back to the class system; regular paying customers are not as appreciated as they were in the recent past. Daytime activities onboard were very good and what have become accustomed to. Note however a change in the procedures on the Flow Rider. My son is a very experienced Flow Rider having sailed on Freedom, Independence and Harmony. He signed the waiver, got his wrist band and was in line for about 30 minutes for the standup Flow Rider when the attendant told him he needed to ride the knee board Flow Rider first and get a different colored wrist band. So this cost him about an hour of wasted time in total. He should have been advised of the change in procedure when he signed the waiver. He complained and they began making announcements to this requirement, it would have been nice if they were making announcements prior to his complaint. Apparently this is a new procedure implemented a few months back, not sure what its purpose it has. I do not like writing what is mostly a negative review, particularly since my past sailings on RCCL have been outstanding. So what is my take away, will I sail with Royal again, sail on Harmony again? Probably yes to both depending on value and the itinerary. As I live in Orlando I will likely sail on whichever Oasis class ship Royal is sailing from Port Canaveral, not sure it is worth the drive to Fort Lauderdale or Miami for me. But given the value of the cruise and itinerary driving south is always an option. Will probably only sail RCL though with grandchildren, for me Celebrity is still my go to cruise line and ships. But I will also be looking more closely at Princess as I have had good past experiences with them as well. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The bedding in the stateroom is perfection, the stateroom attendant was great. With that said, we were traveling with a party of 10, 5 balcony cabins in a row but somehow they split one of the cabins and so not a fixable thing. Also, one ... Read More
The bedding in the stateroom is perfection, the stateroom attendant was great. With that said, we were traveling with a party of 10, 5 balcony cabins in a row but somehow they split one of the cabins and so not a fixable thing. Also, one of our cabins had leak from Sunday to Wednesday and it was a flood zone 4 ft in from the doorway...and all they wanted to compensate was 2 drinks until my friends fought and fought until there was a resolution. Dining room food was never hot and the menus not so great. No escargot--my favorite, also no Bananas Foster, another favorite. Shows were good, bars were ok. Embark and debarkation was easy. Islands were great; it wouldve been better if we could've stayed longer--crappy times for the ports. Also, chairs were saved in the Serenity adult section from 6:30 am so we never got to experience that area. This was my 18th cruise and I wont be doing Carnival again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Newer Ship caught my eye as well as price and itinerary. The bathroom is quite small and you can not sit on the toilet without your knee hitting the sink. The shower stall is hard to stand in if you're a little large. My GF baggage ... Read More
Newer Ship caught my eye as well as price and itinerary. The bathroom is quite small and you can not sit on the toilet without your knee hitting the sink. The shower stall is hard to stand in if you're a little large. My GF baggage was a little delayed eventhough we put our items together on the check in area. The dining room food was average at best and we ate most of our meals in the fee paying restaurants. I recommend the Surf and Turf roll in the asian market...delish. The on board shows were very nice and there were plenty of seating in the theatre. The ports were very nice but I do not recommend the Quad tour in St Martin unless you request a single rider vehicle. We books on the MSC website and it specifically says single rider and we were forced to take a double. Of course the business said blame MSC and MSC says blame the business. The Casino is below par...NO CRAP TABLES OR CASH POKER (only Beat the dealer poker) I would go on the ship again but at a better and lower price. 3 stars at best Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Friends had went on this cruise a year ago. We needed a vacation and thought let's give it a try! First time cruisers, so we have nothing to compare it to. Beautiful ship, and scenery. Clean also. Unfortunately a lot of rude ... Read More
Friends had went on this cruise a year ago. We needed a vacation and thought let's give it a try! First time cruisers, so we have nothing to compare it to. Beautiful ship, and scenery. Clean also. Unfortunately a lot of rude guests. People can really be inconsiderate aholes. The staff we encountered, were all pretty friendly and helpful. Food was good but not fantastic. A lot repeated dishes. Expensive up charges for specialty restaurants. We had a drink package that didn't include much, so basically worthless and to upgrade was astronomical. Elevators, they should have built more into the ship. You would wait forever at peak times and even slow times. Excursions were fun. Unfortunately MSC found a way to screw the guest and make some money on our SXM atv tour. We booked single riders and when our tickets came in, they marked everyone as double riders. So the poor atv tour owner got an earfull but it wasn't his fault, it was MSC BEING GREEDY. The tour was so fun and awesome but was somewhat ruined by that situation. We are doing a beach day today in Nassau, hopefully they can't screw that up. Spa package was nice. Massages were amazing. Thermal area was busy and hard to enjoy, especially with the inconsiderate guests. Cabins were clean and kept clean daily. Bed was horribly firm and uncomfortable. We woke up everyday sore. I truly hope the yacht club people didn't have those beds. Over $4,000 a person with that bed, oh hell no! All in all, an ok experience for us. Not sure if we will do again. Pretty sure not on MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
we wanted to go on a cruise for our 16th wedding anniversay and to get away for a few days from our kids and just relax embarkation was a breeze as was disembakation got on ship before noon and our room was ready we were on deck 11 which ... Read More
we wanted to go on a cruise for our 16th wedding anniversay and to get away for a few days from our kids and just relax embarkation was a breeze as was disembakation got on ship before noon and our room was ready we were on deck 11 which we liked because we are smokers and didn't have to go far dinner in the main dining room the first night was not very good we had a very nice waiter but the problem was we had to have them take the food back 4 times because it was tought or not well cooked second nite in the main dining room was a little better it was a seaday where you dressed up plus we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary the shows were more geared to people in the 20's and 30's on sea day we spent most of our time on the smoking deck and met a lot of nice people the bad part there were a lot of very young kids and they seem to run all around the only excursion we went on was an island tour at turks which was very enjoyable the only thing that we disliked was no wheel chair available to take you to the end of the pier i asked for one and they said they didn't have one on the way back to the ship we were walking when my husband who had his walker had problems walking and so did i so someone that was from the other ship in port called for a wheelchair for my husband and they brought on it had to be 100 degrees out we are from florida so we should have been used to the heat but we weren't in amber cove i got off the ship to fo shopping and they had the best idea when i got off the ship there was a rickshaw with a guy riding a bicycle and i paid the guy 6 dollarseach way to take me to the end of the pier Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Overall experience was good, Ship- too big, good for family with kids, nice, plenty of things to do. Cabin, pretty big than the regular balcony, clean. Dining, too crowded, line up every night, I suggest to book the specialty restaurant, ... Read More
Overall experience was good, Ship- too big, good for family with kids, nice, plenty of things to do. Cabin, pretty big than the regular balcony, clean. Dining, too crowded, line up every night, I suggest to book the specialty restaurant, on first few night. Food, everyday same menu, steak so thin unlike before from my experience from other Royal caribbean, Grease and Fine line is awesome, I suggest come in 20-30 mins before to line up, to get good seat. SERVICE!! NOT SO FRIENDLY, AND GUESS WHAT, A SECURITY GUARD OF DECK 10 AND THE HEAD OF HOUSEKEEPING ON DECK 10 CAME TO OUR ROOM, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE THE SIGN OF "DO NOT DISTURB' IN OUR ROOM IS POSTED IN OUR DOOR., I OPENED THE DOOR AND THE SECURITY GUARD INTRODUCED HIMSELF NAME JACK AND PUT ME ON CAMERA, AND I SAID YES, AND WHAT THIS IS ABOUT? HE SAID 'WE WANT TO KNOW IF YOU'RE STILL ALIVE?' What kind of questions is that of course we are alive coz we' re in and out of the ship, coz we were on port on that day, and spend 3-4 hours only but we also rented the towel and scanned our sea pass, so obviously we are alive, and HE ALSO WANTS TO CHECK OUR ROOM. So I let him. this was so intimidating TREATING US LIKE A CRIMINALS. this is my 5th cruise, and i wasn't treated this way, They should teach their crew how to ask properly, I understand that they have policy to follow, but at least ask nicely, like " sorry ma'm to disturb you we just notice your sign is still up, is everything ok? " They should teach them how to be polite. So we had a meeting with the Head security and head of the maintenance of the ship, and all they said was sorry. I'm actually glad that it was on camera and they heard how the security guard ask me. and they didn't offer anything to compensate us. The last day of the cruise I went to the guest services and talk to Maria B, and she offered us at least a bottle of wine, But i don't drink, and its end of the cruise and my husband won't drink it anymore. She was kind enough to offer me port credit. So Thank you Maria B. Good thing our next cruise is not with Harmony of the sea. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
this Was the fourth cruise with Carnival. All the others had been outstandingly enjoyable so was really looking forward to this one. Another couple that has traveled with us in the past was also with us on this one. They had never been to ... Read More
this Was the fourth cruise with Carnival. All the others had been outstandingly enjoyable so was really looking forward to this one. Another couple that has traveled with us in the past was also with us on this one. They had never been to Nassau and none of us had spent enough time in Key West. The ship, although rather aged in cruise vessels, was very well maintained. Not much rust was apparent and the ship was clean. The staff was exceptional as was expected. We ate our evening meal in the main dining room and the food was good but not as good as other cruises. The entertainment was very disappointing. The main shows lacked enthusiasm, the only bands were in the atrium and it was always crowded. I have always enjoyed the piano bars but it was always hard to find seating except on the Glory. My wife and I went to the piano bar and I was shocked to see so many empty tables and chairs. That is until the pianist begin playing and singing. He should not be allowed to be anywhere near a microphone. One more thing, although the staff was very good, they seemed to be understaffed and overworked. My sister in law stated that had this been her first cruise she doesn’t think she would ever take another. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
First of all let me start by saying that this was my 14th cruise and I've been on 7 different cruise lines. We choose this cruise strictly based on price. Overall, I guess we got what we paid for. The 'Easy Drink Package' ... Read More
First of all let me start by saying that this was my 14th cruise and I've been on 7 different cruise lines. We choose this cruise strictly based on price. Overall, I guess we got what we paid for. The 'Easy Drink Package' & 3 GB of data were included in our package and we had the 'Fantastica' experience with a balcony. The drink package worked out ok for us as we are wine & rum drinkers. The thing that mystifies me about this package is that you are very limited on the mixed drinks that you can get but you can get various 'virgin' drinks included. While on the ship, I mostly drank mojitos in the afternoon but my package didn't include alcoholic mojitos but I could get a virgin mojito and a shot of rum on the side so I would just pour the run into the drink before I left the bar... that made absolutely no sense to me. (You can do the same with Pina Coladas and several other drinks!) Even the bar staff agreed that it made no sense!! We found the food to be good in both the buffet & the main dining room. The only complaint there was that we felt a bit rushed as we had the 7:15 seating and there was another seating at 9:15. The staff in the Ipanema restaurant were beyond fantastic. Our waiters were fabulous especially Kelvin A. Gurley who was always right there with our wine as soon as we were seated (and returned several times during dinner to refill our glasses). Pande Putra was our server and he was also great.. although he did forget a few minor things over the course of the week but he was so sweat, we forgave him for that. We had the absolute best head waiter (Maitre d') that I have ever had the pleasure to meet and his name was Organ! It's been my experience that you meet the Maitre d' on the first night and don't see him again until the last night. Organ came to our table several times every night to make sure everything was how it should be. I saw him cut the steak for a challenged guest one night... that goes above and beyond in my opinion! I would definitely give the wait staff 5 stars. We didn't try any of the Specialty Restaurants so I can't comment on them. Now let me get to the main issues I had with this cruise. I very much enjoy having my coffee delivered in the mornings and sitting on my balcony for an hour or so enjoying the scenery. I only drink decaf coffee as caffeine upsets my stomach. The first morning when it was delivered.. it was instant coffee!! I hate instant coffee!! I mentioned it to our Head Waiter Organ, and he said it would be fixed and I would definitely get my decaf coffee for the rest of the cruise. He had arranged for someone from Room Service to go to the buffet and get me a pot of decaf coffee every morning. Through no fault of Organs, I never did get my decaf coffee. There was always an excuse! I would have to get dressed every morning and go to the buffet to get my cup of coffee and bring it back to the room. By the time I got back it was always cold because the elevators are so slow! (Plus we were in a Forward cabin & the buffet was Aft.) I was told by Room Service that there wasn't enough requests for decaf to warrant them having it available although every time I went to the buffet, the decaf dispenser was always empty... Go figure!!! Another issue for me was there was no table on the balcony. So when sitting out there enjoying the scenery I had to put my drink on the floor! (Minor issue for some I know but still a pain & definitely an easy fix to make guest more comfortable). Another major issue for us was the nightly entertainment. The shows in the main theatre were great for the first couple of nights but after that it became very repetitive... same acts in different costumes! The Beer Prov (very funny) and the Michael Jackson show were the best. The entertainment in all of the lounges was always Spanish. There was a group of young men entertaining in the Haven Lounge every night that sang in English but they finished around 11 and the lady that replaced them every night only sang in Spanish! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of Salsa.. but not every night!!! Also, I want to mention the smoking issue on this ship. It appears that smoking is allowed everywhere in the outside areas on this ship and of course in the Casino!! Not a nice experience for non smokers. Other cruise lines have designated areas for smokers! Before I finish, I would also like to mention the timing at the Ports of Call. 5pm-1am in San Juan and 7am-2pm in St. Maarten is absolutely ridiculous! Arriving at 5pm in San Juan allows you absolutely no time to explore the island and having to be back on board at 1:30 in St. Maarten is just unacceptable. The next stop after St. Maarten was Nassau where we were docked from 12-7. I would prefer they shave some time off of that port and add it to St. Maarten which is a far nicer place to spend your day!! Now I'm going to touch on Disembarkation Day. We had to be out of our cabin by 8am (which is the norm for most cruise lines). After going to the buffet for breakfast I thought I'd make a quick stop at the Ladies before leaving the ship... WELL... There was a lineup at every ladies room on the several decks I tried. The reason for this was, the stalls had been cleaned in preparation for the new guests getting onboard and then the stalls were locked, leaving only one stall in every ladies room on multiple decks!! This gave me the feeling of.. 'We have your money so now you're not important to us.. get off the ship!!' I listened to many disgruntled guests in the lineups that morning!! Once off the ship, don't even think about stopping on the gangway or just outside the terminal. You will be shouted at by MSC staff to keep moving. I overheard one of the staff telling who I assume to be a new employee.. "Speak with Authority!!".. Really???? Mostly we enjoyed our cruise but the coffee issue and the lack of nightly entertainment would deter us from booking another MSC cruise. These things are an easy fix and I hope MSC makes an effort to fix them. Read Less

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