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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary, but had never heard of MSC prior to this trip. Not knowing the line made us nervous, however we did plenty of research and reading of reviews prior to sailing so we had no surprises. ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary, but had never heard of MSC prior to this trip. Not knowing the line made us nervous, however we did plenty of research and reading of reviews prior to sailing so we had no surprises. Embarkation was a breeze and were on the ship less than 30 min from stepping out of our Uber. We knew to register our credit card, which we didn’t see right away but a crew member saw we were lost so walked us to the right location to get that completed. We were then free to grab a drink and explore the ship until our room was ready before 2pm. Our luggage was delivered to our room by about 4. There was a mistake in our dining selection time, as we requested late dining but was assigned a 5:30 time. We were told it would not be a problem and to request a time change with the maitre’d, which we did, but learned the wait list was over 100 people deep. Although frustrated we just decided it would not ruin our trip. Much to our pleasure, we received notification the next day our change was compete with our desired time. The food in the main dining room was very good. Dishes were small, but you could order additional if desired and they were very accommodating if it was something you didn’t like. I used this as a way to try something I would not order at home. On theme nights they had a short song/dance which we enjoyed. The food in the buffet was also very good, although it can get crowded with pushy people who push in front (but you get that anywhere). They did have pizza (get the white pizza at least once) burgers/hot dogs all the time but the other options changed. I saw many reviews with complaints that selections were the same every day, but I did not notice that although I always eat the same thing for breakfast every day regardless. We only did the buffet for breakfast/ lunch and rarely eat in between meals so we had plenty of choices for something different every day. When we did want a snack we loved the selection of meat/cheese available. Our room attendant, Colette, was very sweet. They have lights above the door so she knew when we were in room or not which we appreciated. (They do have a do not disturb button to select as well). We had one day where the toilet would not flush so we let her know. She called the plumber and it was fixed by the next time we were back in the room. The shows were very good, but had repetitive acts. The talent reminds you very much of a Cirque De Soleil show. I did enjoy them all, and none were over 40 minutes so it was a nice way to relax after dinner. The ship does get more formal after 6pm, which we enjoyed. We did hear from others who didn’t care to dress up (which was totally fine as well) but most stuck to the “theme” within reason. After dinner/show we ended up at the Miramar bar on the 19th deck every night. We loved that it was a quiet place with outdoor sofas and the best bartender, Sergio, on the ship. All the bar staff up there were great, non intrusive if you wanted a quiet evening, or kept the conversations going between guests at the bar. I am pretty confident this was one of our favorite places on the ship and we looked forward to it every night. During the day we enjoyed the 16th deck pool. There was a good mix of entertainment and time with just music. Being American we, especially, enjoyed the mix of different countries music. The entertainment staff spoke many languages and included everyone. We absolutely loved the fact that so many different cultures were enjoying the same thing together. We also enjoyed that the crew was very good about keeping children with parents, so they did not invade others space. It seemed that the kids kept mostly to the Jungle Pool and the kids area, although there were families on deck 16 as well. We noticed many times if a child was running around unattended the staff would escort them back to their parents or made them point them out so they knew they were not alone. Bar service at the pool could get busy, but it was easy to track someone down from your chair who would bring you something. The port of call times were unusual, but we did get into port early every time. This was our first Caribbean cruise together so we opted to explore on our own vs booking excursions. We noticed that St Thomas and St Marteen still have not recovered fully from the hurricane so we stuck to the shops and Maho Beach in St Marteen. Puerto Rico was a pleasant surprise as we were apprehensive of being there only at night, but never felt unsafe and loved the culture. Bahamas was beautiful and we enjoyed the public beach by Atlantis. (Pebble beach I believe). A taxi was only $4 per person each way, and we were able to get a taxi within the gate of port so it was very safe. I would highly recommend getting a drink package as bottled water/soda/juice and cappuccino is not included. We knew this and had the Easy Package purchased ahead of time. One thing to note is that the Easy Package includes select alcohol, drinks and coffee/tea to $6. A frozen alcohol drink, poolside is $11 so not part of the easy package. With that said, you can order two drinks per person (in cabin) at a time. The bartenders will help you get what you want. We ordered many “Virgin strawberry daiquiri’s with vodka” :) After a few days the staff learns your preferences and makes what you want. (Within reason of course). Overall we enjoyed our trip very much and already booked for next year. If you enjoy meeting people from all over the world you will love MSC. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We choose MSC for the price and the perks they were offering. We booked through vacations to go, it helped that our agent knew the ship and he was able to set us up for exactly what we were looking for. We selected the fastantica package ... Read More
We choose MSC for the price and the perks they were offering. We booked through vacations to go, it helped that our agent knew the ship and he was able to set us up for exactly what we were looking for. We selected the fastantica package which gave us all drinks up to $6.00 This worked well for us as the selection of drinks had what we normally drink plus a couple more we tried. I would also like to note, I am in the customer service industry, I get rated also, I have had 5 stars, and I have had 1 star. I read a ton of reviews right here on cruise critic, as you can see they are all over the place. The Ship. The Seaside is both stunning inside and out. You really don’t see how big it is until the first port at the dock. It seems like the terminal at Miami hides it a little. The inside is a bit overwhelming at first, but once you explore a little you see it’s true beauty and everything she has to offer. There are mirrors, chrome, glass, and marble everywhere. We arrived at the terminal at noon. I found the outside to be very busy, remember there are at least 5 other ships there at the same time. Once exiting the Uber in front of terminal F, people were there to take our luggage. We entered the terminal, went through security, and proceeded upstairs to check in. Check in was a breeze, there were at least 80 to 100 people behind the counter checking people in. From there we went up to a waiting area with a number. They were calling numbers every few minutes and taking a group onto the ship. We did not wait long at all. From arrival to our first steps onto the ship was exactly a half hour. That was impressive considering the cruise was sold out. Upon entering on floor number 6 there were people everywhere, it felt like everyone took 6 steps onboard and just stopped. We pressed through and went to find a kiosk to register the credit card. There was a long line at customer service, but there was staff working their way through the line to see if they could help faster, and this was the case for us, she came up to us, we asked where the kiosks were and she took us right to one. From there we went up to deck 18 to get away from the crowd. It looked like most people went right to the buffet on deck 8. We ate before we got on so we were able to explore. Don’t plan on getting on an elevator quickly on the first few hours, but we found elevators towards the front ( right off the casino) that were not too busy. State rooms are not ready until 2pm, so find a place to hang out and relax or explore during that time, I would avoid the atrium during that time. Once rooms are announced as ready it tends to calm down and doesn’t feel like there is 5000 other people around. The Staterooms We had an interior state room on deck 14. Again, ive read reviews where people complained that the state rooms were too small. Well they aren’t large but they are fine for the purpose. Your in your state room to sleep, shower or get dressed. They are the same on all cruise lines. Your not on a ship or on vacation to sit in your room all day. We met our room attendant Colette the next morning. She always smiled and greeted us anytime we saw her. Rooms were cleaned every morning, and our bed was turned down every night. She replaced our towels every time also. All in all no complaints whatsoever on the room. Our dining time was wrong on the first night, we had requested 7:30, but they had us at 5:30. No big deal, we ate at 5:30 and saw the maitre’d on the way out. The next day we had a letter on our door and he was able to accommodate us and got us the 7:30 dining time. We were put at a table with 3 other couples, not a big deal and actually I was very glad to meet all of them. The Food The food was not bad at all on both the Dining room. They allow you to order whatever you want and any amount on the menu. There is a different theme every night. Other reviews complained the portions were too small, they aren’t huge but there was an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. I was always full after leaving the dining room. The buffets were great, a lot of selection. Other reviews complained the selection was the same every day. To a point that is true, the staple foods were the same. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salad, French fries, etc. Everything else changed up daily. There is also a meat carving station towards the back of the buffet, there were different carvings daily. We went every morning to the buffet on deck 8 for breakfast and ate outside on the deck. Hint, the pizza on deck 8 was thin crust, but the pizza on deck 18 was thick crust. The Pools. Miami Beach pool was where we were the whole time. Yes people reserved chairs early, however there were enough of them and there was never any issues up there. South beach pool was the adult only pool and we did hear of some issues with chairs down there. We would eat breakfast no later than 8am and then go up to Miami Beach and there was always chairs. After lunch chairs would clear out, and more would be available. The entertainment staff kept it alive with activities every day, especially on sea day. I don’t care how old you are, hit the water slides at least once. Hint, if your racing someone, the slide on the right is faster when your facing them. We are 42 and 43 and it got quite competitive. The Bars Yes bars can get busy, I never found them understaffed at all, did it take a few minutes? Yes, sometimes. There are also plenty of waiters and waitresses around the pool deck on sea days. Flag one of them down and they will check in on you all day. Our favorite was Miramar bar on deck 19. We went there every night, there are comfortable chairs and always a nice breeze, never crowded either. Be sure to go there and meet Sergio the bartender, he keeps it fun and has an array of his own concoctions he makes. The Crew and Staff Everyone was always kind, gave you a smile and greeted you depending on the time of day. We went to the cruise critic meet and mingle. Captain DiPalma asked for reviews both good and where they can improve. He personally made his way around to greet everyone, and claimed he baked the cake. Every staff member was helpful, some made recommendations, especially at the chocolate bar. My Summary For having 5000 people on a ship it hardly ever felt like it. There is so much outdoor deck space or somewhere else to go relax. Our toilet did break one afternoon, it was fixed within 2 hours. The shows were of perfect length (40 minutes) they have some excellent talent in that group. We went every night except on Thursday. Two small issues I noticed. The restrooms are hard to find, they are there tucked away, but the signage could be a bit better. There are also aren’t a lot of waste cans, there’s a few recycle cans, but given I don’t leave my bottles and stuff lay around, I found this to be difficult. There are guests from all over the world on this cruise, remember it is very popular in Europe, in fact I think this particular cruise was about 40% American. Very diverse, many were fun and great to talk to, some were kind of pushy, not rude, but they would get in front of you to get what they wanted first. Kids had their own areas and activities. Many people dressed up for formal nights. The photographers on board are top notch, we purchased a package to bring home and the prices really weren’t bad at all. Our friends and family were waiting on our opinion and experience. I can tell you this; we have found our cruise line! We booked our next cruise on board on Wednesday night.As of right now we reserved 3 rooms for next June. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Embarkment: We got there at 10:30 and walked right on the ship. Almost no waiting. We watched from the Windjammer as traffic backed up seemingly Pennsylvania (obviously exaggerating lol) Point is: get there early or you will have a rough ... Read More
Embarkment: We got there at 10:30 and walked right on the ship. Almost no waiting. We watched from the Windjammer as traffic backed up seemingly Pennsylvania (obviously exaggerating lol) Point is: get there early or you will have a rough time. Excursions: Took the ferry to Hamilton in bermuda and shopped their. Then got back to Kings Wharf and went to the Rumcake store. Definitely worth checking out as their rum cake is delicious. You can also watch them make glass figurines and such too. We went on the SXM party boat. It was fantastic. One of the best excursions I've ever done. Tripple decker boat took us from the ship to mayo beach. You don't actually go on the beach. The boat anchors a little ways out and lowers its own dock. They have snorkel gear included in the price and you can just jump in, snorkel, and watch the planes land. If you don't want to swim the boat has plenty of seats and you can grab a drink and enjoy the view. We were worried this might be a bunch of drunks going crazy, but everyone was really chill and we just relaxed the whole time. We paid $7 each for a bus tour of san juan. saw old town and new town. The tour was maybe an hour and a half. after the tour we walked around old town and went to Señor Frog's. Went to Nellie's Beach in Labadee. This beach seemed to be the least crowded. Water was nice and warm. It is worth bringing snorkel gear if you can. A few people there with me found some interesting creatures while snorkeling. If you swim out past the peninsula with the cabanas you get a great view of the ship. Walking distance from the lunch area and the shops. Lots of cool stuff at the shops, but the vendors are a bit pushy. Pools: As with every other cruise, you will not find anywhere to sit due to chair hogs. The Solarium pools and hot tubs were fantastic. I have seen people complain about children being in the solarium, but I never saw one there during my cruise. There are 3 shallow pools that were seldom crowded. and 4 hot tubs. The indoor pool seemed to be much less crowded than the main pool. That is where I swam the most. It also save me from sunburn. Entertainment: We Will Rock You - Phenomenal! For those that don't know this is a musical based on the music of queen. I may be bias, because I saw this in the West End in London a few years ago, but the cast and the music were amazing. Be sure to catch the cast when they sing live at the Schooner bar. The Gift: Story was very hard for me to follow. The music was good. Mostly covers of pop songs. Definitely skip this if you aren't into musicals in general. It was hard to get through all the way. Spectra's Cabaret: Show was very entertaining. Cast worked their butts off. Lots of high energy dancing. Dining: I had no issues with the quality of the food at any restaurant. Went to 3 specialty restaurants. Jamies, Chops, and Wonderland. All fantastic. My time dining is awful as far as wait time. even with a reservation it took 20 minutes to get a table. Norwegian has similar setup for dining and we always just walked right in. If you are able to do traditional dining I believe that is the way to go. Our waiter (Loyale) told us we could talk to the staff and ask to sit at his table every night. This did allow us to beat the system and skip the line the last 3 nights of the cruise. Disembarkation: Honestly it seemed like waiting to get off took forever, but I think they got held up with customs(or so I heard). Not a big deal. We were all cranky anyway, because the cruise was over. To sum it up: Overall experience was great. Only complaint is the my time dining. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This is our third RC cruise - Oasis, Allure and now Anthem! In comparing, I do like the Oasis class ships better for their design and size, but the highlights for me of Anthem are: The Two70 lounge, Seaplex and being able to drive to the ... Read More
This is our third RC cruise - Oasis, Allure and now Anthem! In comparing, I do like the Oasis class ships better for their design and size, but the highlights for me of Anthem are: The Two70 lounge, Seaplex and being able to drive to the port, park and get on the ship. All Staff we came across were very friendly, efficient and went out of their way to make our vacation the best. I was really surprised with how fast the embarkation was - from passing on our bags, to parking, to checking in, we were on the ship in 1/2 hour. Disembarkation was just as easy - sitting in theatre waiting for our luggage tag # to be called, getting off ship, to getting our bag and going through security (facial scan), pay for parking, getting car - all within an hour. The shows on board were great. Got to experience our first silent disco, and I even did iFly. We did excursions in Bermuda and Puerto Rico; St. Maarten, we just took a water taxi to beach. Labadee was a lazy beach day - very enjoyable - the lunch was delicious. I was worried about a 9 night cruise, but when day 7 came around, I was glad we had two more nights. We have a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
After 10 cruises on the Liberty of the Seas, the Anthem was an AMAZING experience. Starting with our cabin, 8226, it was a spacious balcony. They removed the coffee table that is usually in the cabin but we did not miss it since it gave ... Read More
After 10 cruises on the Liberty of the Seas, the Anthem was an AMAZING experience. Starting with our cabin, 8226, it was a spacious balcony. They removed the coffee table that is usually in the cabin but we did not miss it since it gave us so much more room. They have maximized storage. We had more than enough room for the first time ever. Our only complaint was the lighting. We had a lighted mirror but it was not good enough to put on makeup. As always all the staff was friendly accommodating and hard working. My girlfriend wanted to go to Wonderland, I wasn't so sure. It was a delicious and entertaining meal. I can't wait to go back. We also had lunch and Jamie Olivers. Another hit. The ship itself is beautiful with very much to see and do. Lots of places to sit, sleep and people watch. My only disappointment was that the solarium did not have a pool. It had hot tubs and a wading pool? Not sure what you would call it. I like to swim and I need a pool with stairs due to a disability, I can't use a ladder. We ate our meals in the MDR or TWO 70. TWO 70 was perfect, never a crowd and plenty to choose from. The MDR was good, just like every other ship we've been on. The shows were very good. I would highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We sailed from Cape Liberty. The port was driving distance from our home. We had a 1230-1pm boarding time. We drove directly up to the porters and luggage crates albeit a line of cars the luggage drop off went pretty smoothly. The ... Read More
We sailed from Cape Liberty. The port was driving distance from our home. We had a 1230-1pm boarding time. We drove directly up to the porters and luggage crates albeit a line of cars the luggage drop off went pretty smoothly. The parking garage was on the right after the terminal. Parking for 9 days cost $198. The terminal was a bit crowded with a long line of passengers trying to get through security. Once passed the security you had another line for the cruise check in both seemed to take a bit of time. Since we are Emerald, the cruise only had 3 check-in stations, where Gold had at least 10+ stations and Diamond+ levels had 6 or more stations. The only nice part about being delayed in the terminal is that our cabin was ready once we boarded so we could drop off out carry on bags, go explore the ship and grab something to eat. The entertainment staff and CD were good. The production shows were the same as a previous sailing other then a few cast member changes. This is where I wish that Royal Caribbean switched up the shows every six months-12 months. There seemed to be a lot of passengers that have sailed with the Anthem of the Seas multiple times. The Headliner show and the comedian were excellent. The cover band Led Zeppagain was excellent and fun to listen to. Again, I wish there was more than one band that played in the Music Hall. The Music Hall seemed like a lot of wasted space. The 5th floor was very hard to view the main stage located on the 4th floor. There are 3 well worn pool tables located in this areas. The Schooner bar had excellent bar staff. There was nightly music and daily trivia played in this area. The Brass and Brock bar was also filled with excellent bar staff and live Acoustic singers. The Two 70 Lounge is one of its kind. The sound system, electronics and views were outstanding. The show Spectra was a unique experience as well. We had my time dining and had the same wait staff team every night for dinner. Their service was superb they went over and beyond our expectations. Food choices were plentiful. Everything tasted fine. One unique thing that has changed when ordering in the MDR. The waiter takes your appetizer, main course and dessert order and the same time. North Star and I-fly were neat experiences and must tries. Sign up in your cruise planner before you set sail. Bumper cars were hysterical. Watching adults of all ages laughing like they were kids again was fun. Being apart of the bumper car action was even better. Expect a little whiplash. The pool areas were as annoying as they usually are due to the chair hogs. I did not see any deck employees policing the area of this. With the bigger ships it seems like too many people and too little seating around the main outdoor pools. Bermuda was very windy so we just walked around the port on our own. We found a mini golf course overlooking the ocean and played for $15 pp. We booked the Maho Beach excursion in Saint Maarten. That was an experience seeing the planes land and take off so close to the beach. In San Juan we booked the bike excursion in which was a private tour by accident. We were lucky and the Shorex team allowed us to go. We rode around San Juan and the beach area for 8-9 miles. One hidden gem was an umbrella street not in the touristy area. In Labadee we rode Jet skis. I was little bummed my jet ski was not functioning properly. I didn't go as fast as I wanted to. On the last run, a better jet ski was brought out to me. I wish they listened to me on the first run when I told them the engine light was alarming. Disembarkation was very slow. Our deck number was called and then stood in line on the ship for a good 30 minutes. Customs on shore froze the line to lessen to number of passengers onshore going through customs terminal. It seemed a bit disorganized. All in all it was a great cruise and had good times. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is my husband and I's 7th cruise together, my 8th. We LOVE cruises and this one was probably our favorite. It was the biggest ship we have ever been on (even though they are all set up the same). I was really nervous about ... Read More
This is my husband and I's 7th cruise together, my 8th. We LOVE cruises and this one was probably our favorite. It was the biggest ship we have ever been on (even though they are all set up the same). I was really nervous about lines/cleanliness etc based on reviews I read before I left, but this was by far a great vacation and fantastic ship. We flew into Fort lauderdale the day before and stayed at the La Quinta inn and suites. They have a free shuttle that picks you up from the airport and takes you to the hotel. Expedia, however, lost our hotel booking and after an hour of the front lady going back and forth with Expedia, it was resolved. The hotel upgraded us to a suite for the mix up. We took an Uber from the hotel to the shuttle the next morning. Getting on the ship: Embarkation was extremely smooth and efficient. We almost instantly got on the ship even though we were early. We grabbed lunch at Guy's burger and found a set of seats under an umbrella outside. The day everyone was getting on the ship was the busiest of any of the days and had the longest lines. They weren't even that long though! I read some other reviews of 45 minute long lines throughout the cruise.... I'm not sure what they were trying to wait for because we didn't experience anything like that. Ship: Great ship. More modern than the other ships we have been on, so that was nice. The lanai on deck 5 was pretty great! Clean and well maintained. There are a ton of hot tubs on this ship! Dining: We had anytime dining and showed up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30. We used the app to reserve our table. This was our first cruise using the app and it is such a GREAT addition. We would reserve it in our room and by the time we walked to the dining room, our table was ready. We always requested to sit by ourselves and it was always honored. Food was always great and prompt. I even had a few odd requests like an additional side of mushroom risotto or extra plantain chips that was used as a garnish for a dish (so delicious!) - and they would always bring them to me. Also - if you're new to cruising, know that you can order multiple things. I usually would get 2 appetizers. Shimp cocktail and a salad, or a salad and xyz. Food: We usually order room service the night before for the coffee and some fruit in the morning but this was the first cruise we didn't do this regularly. We are usually early risers and so when we ordered room service - the coffee was stale/burnt and it just wasn't worth the hassle of trying to make sure we were up and dressed. That's another big thing about ordering room service - they come INTO your room to set down your order. I have made the mistake of not being fully dressed when answering the door. So fair warning! - I WISH I WOULD HAVE TRIED THE OMELET STATION SOONER! I tried it on the day we got off the ship and it was SOOOO good. - I ordered 24 bottles of water before we got on the ship for $10? and it was delivered to our room when before we arrived. Best decision ever, as I hate the taste of tap water on the ship. Specialty coffee: Grab a latte on level 5. They are priced well and well made. Make sure you go on the first day and get the punch card. If you end up getting 1 drink a day, you'll get your last one free. You can use the punch card for multiple people too. Entertainment: We LOVE going to the comedy shows but the shows need to be held in bigger venues. I'm not kidding when I say, we had to show up an hour beforehand if we wanted any choice in seating. The place is full 30 minutes prior. We loved the shows though. Make sure you go to the Love and Marriage show. I will say this, there were quite a few dead times on the ship. Compared to 7-9 years ago, I feel like they have cut back on things to do in general. This has nothing to do with the Magic specifically though. If you JUST started cruising though, you would know no difference. We usually go back to the room and take naps during the dead times. Our last cruise with Carnival, they had a magician on board. That would have been a great addition to the Magic. No pun intended haha Service: As usual, we had great service. There was one incident with people under us having a bose speaker that was vibrating our balcony from how loud it was playing. Carnival handled it quickly and in a professional way. I read other reviews of crew members being mean or acting like they don't care..... again... not sure how that is possible. Staff was always fantastic, no matter where we were on the ship. Ports: Half moon cay + Amber Cove + Turks and Caicos HMC - this was our 3rd visit to half moon cay but by far our best visit.... simply because this time, we brought our own inflatable rafts. I went to 5 below before our trip and bought 2 rafts. We unfolded them and blew them up and floated for hours. Everyone around us kept asking where we rented them from. It was the best $5 we ever spent! Make sure you get off the ship early so you can have your choice of a chair and bring plenty of sun screen. Drinks on the Island are pretty expensive as well even though they sell a ton. Amber Cove- This was our first time we visited Amber Cove. I'm glad we booked an excursion because just like Freeport and a few other ports, if you don't book something, there would be nothing to do. We did the waterfall of damajargua (spelling?). It was an amazing excursion and was ran extremely well. We brought our Gopro to take videos and pictures, but they did a good job at taking pictures/video that are available to purchase. I believe it was $50? I would highly recommend the excursion. Turks and Caicos - this was our second time here and we didn't book an excursion, so we just ventured around the shops for a bit and then enjoyed the pools on the ship while everyone was off the ship. We also were the only ship in all the ports all week, so it was awesome that we weren't crowded! WARNING WARNING - GETTING OFF THE SHIP! I am SO glad we didn't book early flights. Getting off the ship when the cruise ended was the worse de- embarkation we have ever experienced. They kept stopping everyone because the gangways, customs were backed up. We didn't get off the ship until 11 am. The worst part is that THEY SHUT OFF THE WATER AT 9 AM. That means you couldn't flush toilets, get water to drink, wash your hands etc. There were still a ton of us on the ship, so I found this extremely frustrating. You had to be out of your room by 8:30 am, so there were hundreds of people just waiting anywhere they could. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose our cabin after my husband researched the aft ones. The view could not be beat, as one can see almost all of the port or other islands. Embarkation/Disembarkation was worse than going through TSA at any airport hub. It totally ... Read More
We chose our cabin after my husband researched the aft ones. The view could not be beat, as one can see almost all of the port or other islands. Embarkation/Disembarkation was worse than going through TSA at any airport hub. It totally should have taken a lot less than the 30 minutes, coming and going in Port Everglades. Our cabin did not disappoint, as it had lots of closet spaces and plenty of drawers. However, the bathroom could have used an extra sink and some shelves for toiletry storage. The bathtub, with its jets was a complete dream. So good for a soak and rest! Wished that I could have folded it up, and put in the suitcases! The shower was a good one, with a great showerhead that could be adjusted for different streams. The overall shower needed to have a different kind of door that sealed, as there was a stream of water that escaped out the bottom and flooded the bathroom! Dining did not disappoint...plenty of venues and choices. Whether your tastes run to steak, seafood or ice cream, it was all good. The wait staffs and managers were totally top notch!! We had one of our shore excursions cancel, due to nature, and the others were a complete surprise with the places we saw and areas we viewed! Would do it again in a heartbeat!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as a family and it could not have been better. We flew into FLL the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. It was a short ride to the cruise port and the hotel was near stores to get things ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family and it could not have been better. We flew into FLL the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. It was a short ride to the cruise port and the hotel was near stores to get things for the cruise. This was our second time sailing out of Terminal A and the experience was great once again. From curbside to ship was about 15 minutes and we were able to use our mobile boarding passes. I'll touch on this later, but traffic management around the Terminal is atrocious and RCL did an awful job with it. Everything about the ship was great. We had a boardwalk balcony room and fit 4 people inside. It wasn't ideal, but it was cost effective. We didn't spend a ton of time in the room anyway so it was doable. The couch turned into a sofa bed and the bottom pulled out to create a second sofa bed. The room was super clean and had ample storage, we had no problem fitting clothes for four people. The activities on board were endless. HIRO was outstanding. We did like Ocean Aria on Allure a bit better, but HIRO was still top notch. The activities manager (Katy) was more involved than the cruise director, but they did a great job making sure there was a ton of things to do. There was also great bands and musicians on board providing entertainment in Central Park, Boardwalk, etc. The Piano player in the Schooner Bar wasn't all that great. We did the Sushi Class on the ship. We had done this before and at this point we do it just to get a nice lunch. The amount of sushi you get makes it well worth the $30 charge for the class, and on top of it the class is fun. The only other specialty dining experience we had was at Jamie's Italian and it left a lot to be desired. The pasta dishes we had really didn't taste much different than what you would get in the MDR, and it was fairly expensive. I would definitely pick 150 Central Park or Chops, I feel like it's a much better value for the price. Speaking of food, everything else on board was SO good. El Loco Fresh was amazing, it did get slightly crowded at times, but it was never that long of a wait. They had tacos, burritos, chips, salsa, guac, etc. We stopped here for lunch a good bit. I also really loved the addition of Playmakers. We bought food here one night, the poke nachos, and they were so so so good. My only gripe with Playmakers is that RCL needs to strike some sort of deal with DirectTV or whoever to get live sports each night. The sports bar atmosphere was fantastic, but for nights in late May, they had no NHL playoff games, a few NBA games, and like 2 MLB games. Most of the time it was just soccer replays. A lot of people seemed to be watching sports on their phones at the bar, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sports bar. The atmosphere was great, but they really need to get better sports programming. While I'm on the topic, VOOM was great as well. We had the Surf + Stream package and had no problems with it all week. It was more than enough to stream video and podcasts. Our MDR staff was also top notch. Felipe and Khem took great care of us every night and the food was just outstanding. All of the staff we encountered on board was friendly as well. I would like to specifically mention Aladdin and Roman at the Schooner bar. Aladdin was one of the funniest and most entertaining bartenders we've ever had on a cruise. We ended up at this bar almost every night. Our room steward (Jeffery) was very attentive and our room was always spotless with the beds made. The ports were great. We didn't end up getting off at St. Kitts and stayed on the boat. If you aren't attached to a port, I'd recommend doing this atleast once, especially on an Oasis class ship. St. Thomas was great as well. We took the Secret Sands Beach Excursion and Lindqvist Bay was absolutely beautiful. The tour bus was a little bit late but once we got going everything was good. We got about 2.5 to 3 hours at the beach. The ride was very scenic. There were chairs, snacks, and drinks provided. They will expect you to tip if you take advantage of the food. There was also excellent snorkeling at the beach. We saw several turtles, rays, and there was a large reef just off the coast. We were super excited to visit CocoCay because of the Perfect Day renovation and we were not disappointed. Everything on the island was 10x better than before. First off, the island is much more broken out now, with 6000 people it didn't feel crowded and it was easy to get a lounger. The food was what I was most impressed with. Before when we were there, it was just generic and bland. This time it seemed like they had a ton more options and they even had a snack shack with funnel cakes and special chicken sandwiches. It was very good. We did do an excursion which was a huge mistake. We did the reef snorkeling and sandbar getaway. The reef we went to wasn't exactly a reef. It was a couple of rocks in an area of construction. There weren't many fish and the bottom was pretty much barren. We then went to a sandbar which was nice, but we only had a little bit of time. Given the activities on CocoCay, I would definitely stay on the island next time. The tour was a complete waste. We did spend some time at Oasis Lagoon and that was another awesome aspect of CocoCay. The pool is enormous and the swim up bar was super convenient. The best part of all is that there is now a dock, so we don't have to worry about a tender. The only thing (out of our control) that wasn't great was the water was pretty rough. But that's to be expected there. We would definitely sail Symphony again. It was one of the best cruises we have ever been on. Despite the size of the ship, it never felt crowded. The shows, the entertainment, and the activities were all top notch. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
there were 9 of us on this cruise. We have been on the breeze two other time but always left out of galveston. This time left out of port canaveral, it was a mad house getting on the ship compared to the smooth way galveston does it. The ... Read More
there were 9 of us on this cruise. We have been on the breeze two other time but always left out of galveston. This time left out of port canaveral, it was a mad house getting on the ship compared to the smooth way galveston does it. The porter would not let us take on own bags on the ship as other wheeled by with there luggage. We are plantium and had to wait till after the muster drill to get our luggage, then I had to go to the luggage cart and find our two bags myself. The cruise itself was great. The room steward and staff was great, very friendly crew everyone said hello. Food servers where 2nd to none, felt like they paid more attention to us then other diners, lucky us. the comedy club comedians were funny, the shows not so good, they had someting called "flick" which didnt make sense to us. But all in all was a good cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Crew is exceptional: friendly, attentive and experienced! Bar staff: best at sea! Be sure to visit Tijana at the Good Spirits Lounge I’m Deck 5! Bedding is heavenly! Entertainment second to none! If sailing on her, be sure to visit the ... Read More
Crew is exceptional: friendly, attentive and experienced! Bar staff: best at sea! Be sure to visit Tijana at the Good Spirits Lounge I’m Deck 5! Bedding is heavenly! Entertainment second to none! If sailing on her, be sure to visit the Wheelhouse for a terrific band and dancing and take in the comedian’s act - he is hysterical!! Embarkation and disembarkation, cabin access via Medallion access, was fast, easy and fabulous. The Crown Grill boasts delicious and forks tender steaks - yum! The Horizon Buffett has been upgraded to a fresh market place. Lighter and brighter with more room and seating than before. Princess now offers EZ transfer service. Your luggage is picked up from your cabin and you don’t see it again until your destination airport. No overweight fees! Your check in is completed for you. Your boarding passes and airline luggage tags are provided to you. Service is only $25 pp, a GREAT bargain sooooo civilized! Can’t wait for our next Princess Cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I do have to admit a bit of bias for this one- my wife and I got married on this cruise, so we received outstanding extra treatment by the ship's staff including the Captain- Mario Ciruzzi. That said- I saw a lot of mixed reviews ... Read More
I do have to admit a bit of bias for this one- my wife and I got married on this cruise, so we received outstanding extra treatment by the ship's staff including the Captain- Mario Ciruzzi. That said- I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this ship before we headed out. It is smaller than the Royal Class ships I had been on before, but in some ways that made it nicer. It wasn't quite as crowded and was at least slightly easier to get around. We got a mini-suite stateroom (D715) and were very surprised at how much room it had. The cabin was very comfortable with two nice flat-screen TVs and an air conditioning system that actually worked (unlike my previous cruise). Medallion Class embarkation was just as-advertised. After a quick passport check and scanning in our medallions, we went to a nice waiting lounge for the ship to start boarding. It was a lot easier and faster than the old cruise card check-in process. Once we boarded- we explored the ship to figure out where everything was. We went up to check out where our stateroom was, and our steward already had it finished (almost an hour early!). As I said in my summary above- we were very surprised at how much space it actually had. We LOVED the large bathroom and sitting area, and extra-large balcony. The furnishings and ship itself are a bit dated. While the electronic systems have all been updated, the furnishings and decor are a bit older and showing some wear. Everything was clean and in good condition though. Most of the lighting is fluorescent, which I found a bit annoying compared to the instant-on LED lighting of the newer ships. Things I loved about the ship: Lots of pools! They have a Sanctuary pool, but beside it- there are two large main pools and one adults-only pool on the aft side of the ship, along with hot tubs at all of them. This gave us a lot of options for different music and crowds while we were onboard. I think the Explorer's Lounge is an upgrade from "Princess Live" on other ships. Very nice bar area and lounge, with frequent entertainment options. Skywalkers. It has kind of a 70s vibe and I'm not really into dancing, but it is a unique feature that I thought was fun and special about this ship. Negatives: The only real negative I have, which I have complained about before, is the almost-constant marketing, in particular from Effy. Beyond that- the "usual" complaints pretty much everyone has about a cruise ship- I felt like I spent way too much time waiting for lifts, and the food choices, particularly in the buffet, weren't the greatest. The latter is really subjective though. Princess Cays: I complained a lot about this place on my last cruise. This one was better. It was actually raining pretty hard when we first got there, but it cleared up after an hour or so and we had a great time. We rented a clamshell/chairs and a paddleboat, and enjoyed a lot of beach time. The beach is rocky part-way out- so bring water shoes, but the sandy areas and water itself were wonderful. Bar service is still slow- they seem to be trying to implement medallions, but still do all of the orders on paper, which is very inefficient. The food was okay for what it was, and the service there was pretty fast. The only real feedback/complaint I have this time is they really need more showers and foot wash areas. We explored St. Thomas on our own, and overall had a great experience shopping and hanging out in the local bars and restaurants. We were supposed to go on a tour (not arranged by Princess) and the guy overbooked and took off 10 minutes before he was supposed to leave, so we missed it. Fortunately we didn't pay in advance! On St. Maarten we did the SXM Airport Adventure boat, booked through Princess. They had a great bar and food on the boat, and took us around to the bay in front of the famous Princess Juliana International Airport. We watched jets and other planes take off and land while enjoying great music, food, and drink. There was snorkeling and floating off of a platform attached to the boat, and the crew was fun and very helpful. I highly recommend that excursion. After that we explored the local shops and bars, and spent a couple of hours on the beach next to town. There are a few sections there where you can rent a beach umbrella and chairs cheap. (We paid $15 for an umbrella and two chairs for the afternoon.) Debarkation went even more smoothly, as they had "EZ-Check" to our airline (Southwest), so we checked our bags through to our destination from our cabin. I think it took less than 10 minutes from our cabin to the shuttle bus to the airport. This is a great service Princess offers if you can take advantage of it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked an ocean balcony room on the 11th deck mid ship for this cruise. We were very happy with the room and the service of Marlon our room attendant. The room was a typical 200 sq.ft. cruise ship room and the two of us were perfectly ... Read More
We booked an ocean balcony room on the 11th deck mid ship for this cruise. We were very happy with the room and the service of Marlon our room attendant. The room was a typical 200 sq.ft. cruise ship room and the two of us were perfectly comfortable. Embarkation-incredibly easy and from entering the ship(at about 10;45 am) to getting on board was less than 10 minutes. DIning-the main dining room food was very good and service by Lal our server was spot on. We had breakfast every day in the main dining room and stayed away from the overcrowded buffet on the 16th deck. We tried 3 specialty dining venues and were a little disappointed with 150 Central park-food was lukewarm at best and service was lackluster.Jamie's Italian was superb with more food than we could eat. The service was excellent and the food was mouth watering tasty. Our favorite was Chops-we ordered the 9 ounce filets which were some of the best steaks we have ever had. Entertainment-all of the entertainment was great and Hairspray was even better than the Broadway production which we had seen. You must book reservations for the entertainment prior to the cruise otherwise you have to stand in line hoping to get in 10 minutes before the shows. Ports-Having visited St. Kitts and St. Thomas several times before we decided to just shop in the shopping area just off the ship in St. Kitts. Prices there are very reasonable and there is something for everyone. In St. Thomas we too the FastCat Christmas cove snorkel excursion($69pp). It is a really nice way to spend the day and was totally enjoyable. Coco Cay-the reformation of this island is incredibla and the "new" island was in its second week of operation. There was ample chairs and umbrellas for the 6000 people on board the ship. There is a stunning fresh water pool in the middle of the island with chairs that sit in the water. The lagoon was very nice and again there was plenty of room for all. The food on the island was tasty. When they call this the Perfect Day they are not kidding-it is that nice! Disembarkation-from leaving the ship at approx. 7:30am until we got in our car in the parking garage took all of 10 minutes. Seriously they have this down to an art-there are no more Customs forms or lines just a facial recognition camera and you are done. All in all a great cruise , a great ship with plenty to do and an enjoyable week. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Symphony. This was my 9th cruise on RC (#10 for my wife) and our first on Symphony. My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband also cruised with us. My wife ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Symphony. This was my 9th cruise on RC (#10 for my wife) and our first on Symphony. My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband also cruised with us. My wife and I aren't "big ship" cruisers, but we wanted to give Symphony a try and I'm glad we did! Itinerary include new ports for us: St. Kitts (nice!), St. Thomas (uggh!), and Perfect Day at CocoCay (WoW!) Like most of my reviews, this is a little long, but hopefully helpful, so a few thoughts up front. The ship is amazing and huge. There were nearly 6,500 cruisers on board including 1,200 kids...but the ship does a great job of diffusing that crowd and only once or twice did we notice. I'll note we bought the Key upgrade which probably contributed to why we didn't notice the crowd...it's basically like a FastPass at an amusement park. More on that below. OK...on to a regular review: Pre-embarkation: We flew into Ft. Lauderdale (Southwest doesn't fly to Miami) and used SAS Transportation to get down to Miami (cost is about $15/person, takes about 30-45 minutes). Second time we've used this company. Second time we've been pleased with the service. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami – Downtown. Very nicely sized room with views of the Bay. We booked a stay and sail package that included breakfast in the morning (very nice buffet) and a shuttle ride to the ship. If you don't book the package, you can still sign up for the shuttle. I think it was $6/person. Location is good with plenty of restaurants near-by including an outdoor mall/market right across the street that had a ton of bars and restaurants. We had a drink there, then headed back about a block from our hotel to CVI.CHE 105, a Peruvian restaurant. Highly recommend. We headed to the port about 10 am on embarkation day. Embarkation: Terminal A is the brand new terminal in Miami and it's impressive. However, the traffic snarl was also impressive. It was probably a 5 minute drive from our hotel to the terminal and then another 15-20 minutes to go the last half-mile for the shuttle to park and unload us/luggage. After that, it was a breeze. We had the Key package so bypassed most lines and were guided to the same check-in group as suites/Diamond+. Security screening was quick and then it was on to the ship. If you have the Key, don't be shy and let staff know...they're trying to move the crowd along so if you don't tell them, you'll just get swept up in that, but if you do tell them, they pluck you out of the crowd. Even with the traffic snarl to park, we were on board by 11 and that was in part due to waiting to link up with the rest of our group (who used RC's travel package option) before boarding. You enter on deck 5, the Promenade, and it's very similar to Freedom/Anthem class ships if you've sailed those. After a quick beer at the Pub, we headed up to Chops in Central Park for lunch (that's included in the Key package). We got a table almost immediately since we were a group of 6. Service was good, but a little slow. Food was very good. We didn't really mind the wait as we were mainly waiting for the rooms to open up, which they did at 1 pm. You pick up your room keys at your stateroom. Before that, you just use your SetSail pass or give them your room number. Meals: We love RC but hate My Time Dining, so were happy with a 5:30 pm main dining room. Our table was near the entrance which worked well since my sister broke her foot two weeks before we sailed and had a little knee scooter thing to help her get around. Food was above average, and we generally are happy with RC food...so Symphony was a step-up from “normal.” Each night there is a chef's recommendation and that's probably your best option. Waiters work very hard and seem to have less time to “get to know you,” but they do their best. Ours were Jeffrey and HongXiang and we couldn't have been happier with their service. HongXiang was the sweetest and happiest person ever. On two occasions, Jeffrey expedited our dinner so that we could make a show time. Very much appreciated. One night, three of us did Wonderland. We paid pre-cruise so it came at a discount, but I don't remember how much. If you haven't done Wonderland, I highly recommend it. It's eclectic, tasty, and a very nice experience. Our waiter was very earnest, but once we settled him down a bit, it was great. We basically ordered a variety of items and then ate family style so we could all try it. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but basically, the top of menu are appetizers and the bottom of the menu are the main meals. They're themed after elements (Air, Sea, Wind, etc...). Very cool. We didn't have any kids with us, but I noticed that they have a special kids menu for them that keeps the theme while still offering things kids eat. We made reservations for 6 pm, told them we had an 8 pm show and they got us out of there about 7:30 without feeling rushed. If you like Chef's Table, I don't think they offer that on Symphony, or at least I don't think it was available on our itinerary. One night all 6 of us went to Jaimie's Italian. Again, the waiter was great and made some great recommendations. Again, we ordered a bunch of appetizers and shared them family style and then each of us ordered a main meal. Appetizers were better than the main meal overall. I had lasagna that frankly reminded me of Chef Boyardee. My brother and brother-in-law had the Tagliatelle Bolognese and both said it was very good. Deserts were impressive. The waiter basically brought out a selection of everything so we could try it. Lemon cheese cake was super lemony (wife said “Amazing!”) Three of us did the “make your own sushi” class (which you then get to eat afterward) at Izumi. Second time for my wife and I to do this and it was just as good, just as fun, and slightly different than our previous time, so that was cool. If you like sushi, I highly recommend this for lunch one day. Four of us did the wine tasting. Second time for us and will be the last time. The wines are fine but on both Grandeur and now on Symphony it was terribly organized, the crowd noise is louder than the wine steward (I think they allow too large a group to participate in a single seating), and the wine steward didn't know how to handle that. The wines were great, but the experience was poor. We won't do it again. My brother did the Galley tour that included a deluxe brunch (he had steak). He said it was very good after some initial chaos. Once they were broken down into groups of about 25 and got going, it was good. Breakfast most mornings was in the Solarium Bistro. Lots of choices, to include an omelet station and seating was never a problem except for one morning, but we just walked out into the outdoor seating area in the Solarium. One morning we had breakfast at The Park Cafe in Central Park. Standard fare (parfait, yogurt, cereal (hot and cold), breakfast sandwiches/wraps, fruit cups). Perfect if you're in a rush. From our balcony we could see it did pretty good traffic all day, but was never overcrowded. This is also a good light lunch option. One morning (CocoCay Day) we had breakfast in the Windjammer and we ate lunch there twice. Very impressed. Traffic flows were much better than on other ships and we never had trouble finding a table. Bravo to Symphony on that. The food was very good with a wide variety. Delicious Indian food on the buffet! The Shows/Entertainment First...Symphony has a great Activities staff. Even though the ship is huge, there were still lots of opportunities to interact with them, especially if you play the games/trivia (and we do). The folks that ran bingo and line dancing and trivia and the game shows and..and..and...were great. The Ice shows were excellent. There is apparently a story/plot to 1976, but I'm not sure exactly what it was...but it doesn't matter. The venue, the music, the skating...all were great. They do a second show that had even less of a plot...but again, great music, great skating. Very impressed. We skipped Hairspray, the Broadway show, but did see Flight. Wow. They achieve some amazing special effects. Definitely a “go see.” Highlight was Hyro, the water show. Mostly dancing, but it's really well done. But there's also diving, high-diving, tightrope walking, and, and...and. Wow. We caught a matinee and had great seats due to the Key program. It was great and would have been even better at night. Quick note on stand-by lines. If you don't have reservations, you can wait in a stand-by line. About 10 minutes before the show starts, they release all seats to the stand-by line. I don't think anyone ever got turned away, it's just the seat choice was a bit more limited. So..if you really want to see a show, make a plan and make reservations, but don't be afraid to just show up if you didn't. During the day we did trivia, the game shows, bingo etc....Lots of fun. Most evenings they had game shows in On Air. If you want a seat be there at least 20 minutes before the show starts. There is a good bar in there, so you have something to keep you occupied while you wait. Casino...pretty standard. Pretty lively. Very smoky. Half is “smoke free” but I don't think any of the ships have figured out how to actually do that. Outdoor pools – there are two or three and they were busy, but never overcrowded that I noticed. This ship just does a great job of spreading out the population. Several hot tubs, rarely were they full because there are so many. Even in the Solarium we were always able to find a lounger. Waterslides/Ultimate Abyss – waterslides were fun...not super fast, but fun. My brother rode the Ultimate Abyss – he said it was a rush. Lots of stuff to do next time that we didn't get to. One more note on the Key, there was an activity per sea day (sometimes 2) and a block of time (usually an hour) that was reserved for Key holders...so Flowrider, zip line, climbing wall, Ice skating....I can't remember what else. You just have to plan accordingly. Room: We had an “interior” balcony over Central Park on deck 11, room 11605. Very nice. Balcony caught a lot of sun in the afternoon and when in port, it was too hot to sit out there...but they're cool. Soundproofing works great. AC only works when the balcony door is locked, so keep that in mind. Room was spacious with the bed and a large couch. Had a mini-fridge. Storage was very good (suitcases fit under the bed and it seemed like more closet hanging space that other ships). Bathroom was good. Shower seemed bigger. Looks like they made the sink area smaller to make the shower stall a bit bigger. Only downside was the mirror fogged up when shaving. Otherwise...great! Toilets worked fine throughout the ship. Room steward Navim was great though he was that ninja-elf you hear about (it was Day 3 before we actually caught him in action and had a chance to talk). Departure: Departure was super easy, thanks to the Key. We carried off our luggage, but were able to have a special breakfast in the main dining room where we could store our bags, eat, and then proceed directly to the exit gangplank, avoiding the “regular” departure lines. Immigration and customs took less than 2 minutes. They used facial scanners which really sped up the process. Once outside, we called SAS Transportation and 15 minutes later we were on our way back to Fort Lauderdale. Excursions: St. Kitts – Booked a beach day via RC. Got off the boat about 9 am, walked around the St. Kitts shopping market a bit. There are loads of folks selling excursions off the ship and “take a picture with my monkey” but they're not pushy and many were rather funny. In short, I didn't mind because while they're trying to hustle up some business, they took no for an answer. Got in line about 9:30 for our excursion, were loaded onto a 15 passenger bus and headed for the resort. Got to see a lot of the island. It was clean, tidy, and very pretty. Some amazing views on the way and then we arrived at a beach club. Our excursion included beach chairs but umbrellas were $10 extra. Recommend paying it as it was well worth it...otherwise there isn't a lot of shade there, though some folks did drag their chairs under a tree. There was a bar and restaurant offering food/drink for a fee (which weren't cheap, but weren't crazy priced either.) They also had jet skis for rent and a small bouncy island water park thing (I don't know what they're called, but it's like a bouncy castle on the water). We were there about 2 – 2.5 hours. At 1 pm our driver returned and took us back to the ship. Ride was about 25 minutes each way. St. Thomas – We didn't book an excursion. We walked off the ship at the Crown Pier (?). It's about 2.5 miles from downtown St. Thomas. There a shopping area there. (Fun fact, the area used to be a U.S. Navy submarine base). You can also catch a jingo taxi (pick-up truck modified with benches) to downtown. Cost was $4/person each way. We took the taxi downtown and wandered around for about 30 minutes. Wow (and not in a good way). Very pushy vendors and guys hustling to get you to go into store A or store B. Inside the shops, the staff were nice, but there are a ridiculous amount of jewelry stores (like every other store is a jewelry store). There are also some bars/restaurants but we'd had enough of saying “no thank you” every three steps only to have the guy follow you down the street, so we headed back to the ship. We talked to some folks that took a catamaran/snorkling trip and they loved it...so...maybe choose accordingly. I'm sure there is a nice part of St. Thomas, but downtown isn't it unless you love browsing jewelry shops and constantly getting hustled. CocoCay – Perfect Day You've seen the commercials, but the transformation is truly amazing. If you like “old CocoCay,” it's still there, you just have to walk out a bit further. The waterpark is similar to those in the U.S. and looked like they did a good business while we were there. Judging from the crowd at the swim up bar in Oasis lagoon, I'd say most people did the half-day ticket in the morning. There were lines we could see but not crazy long and things seemed to be moving pretty well. We didn't do the waterpark, but I didn't hear anyone complaining either. Disembarking in the morning was fast, if you can use the stairs. If you need an elevator, it may take a while. Not sure what was happening but my sister had to wait longer than normal for an elevator to come. Ashore they have beach wheelchairs. They tended to be lined up near the bathrooms, and that made it pretty easy to get her to areas that weren't paved with cobblestones. Staff are posted around the park with “Ask me Anything” shirts and they're very helpful too. You can get to a lot of places without needing the beach wheelchair, but not every where. We rented a cabana at the Oasis lagoon. Had a ceiling fan, two chairs, a big couch, a cooler/table with 6-8 water bottles, and 4 sun loungers. They'll also bring you lunch if you order from the menu in the cabana. Bar tenders come around, but as we were just across from the swim up bar (there's a walk-up side too), it wasn't an issue. Never did see the balloon go up...Did see wild chickens and iguana... I think that's long enough. Enjoy Symphony! We're not usually fans of the big ships, but Symphony won us over. We spent a week on-board and still didn't see/do it all! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a family of ten, ages 3-54, cruising to celebrate a marriage milestone. We choose this specific ship due to wide variety of activities it offered to our multigenerational family. Symphony of the Seas did not disappoint, there was ... Read More
We were a family of ten, ages 3-54, cruising to celebrate a marriage milestone. We choose this specific ship due to wide variety of activities it offered to our multigenerational family. Symphony of the Seas did not disappoint, there was something for everyone. Our adult children had inside staterooms and mentioned that they were quite spacious. (They were really only in them at night). We were in a Junior Suite and I loved how large our balcony was. Our stateroom attendant was outstanding, he was friendly and kept our room spotless. We really appreciated him. We ate the majority of our evening meals in the main dining room, with the exception of one night dining at Chops. We all really enjoyed our meals there. My daughter and I both have Celiac Disease and I just really appreciated the efforts of our Head Waiter, Laarni Confesor, waiter, Siti, and assistant waiter, Nuur for providing us with safe and delicious meals to eat from morning thru night. If you have any food allergies or issues, it really is imperative to connect with your head waiter and team. I was extremely impressed. My granddaughters were delighted by the origami Nuur created for them at the end of every meal, he really made them feel special. Siti was fantastic too. Honestly, the service throughout this ship was outstanding. To those who have written reviews that have said otherwise, I suggest you look at yourselves and ask why you may have received less than good service. We really enjoyed all of the shows, I really can’t say which was my favorite. I cannot stress enough how important it is to book your reservations prior to boarding. We arrived approximately 15-20 minutes before each show and never had a problem finding great seats. We enjoyed our time at St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Coco Cay. We booked early morning beach excursions so that the youngest members of our family could enjoy the sand and water and still allow time for the older members of our family to explore the port on their own. We booked a Beach Bungalow at South Beach (Cocoa Cay) and loved the location and beach. It really was a Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay. My only advice for those that have booked bungalows on this private island is to go to Shore Excursions ASAP once on board to choose your bungalow. We were not aware that this was something that needed to be done until the night before and we were not given a choice. We were in the back by the towel station and bathrooms. We did have a view of the beach and in the end our location worked just fine for us. If being right in front of the water is important to you, make sure to choose early. All in all this was a perfect family vacation that we had planned and looked forward to for nearly two years. I wouldn’t change a thing- one of our best family vacations ever! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Honestly the best service, food and entertainment I’ve ever experienced on a cruise. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are still trying to recover from the hurricanes so I’m not going back there for a while. I would go on the same cruise ... Read More
Honestly the best service, food and entertainment I’ve ever experienced on a cruise. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are still trying to recover from the hurricanes so I’m not going back there for a while. I would go on the same cruise again ASAP but I’d skip the off ship opportunities. If you are a music fan and or even a karaoke whore like I am, you will love their licensed version of the “Voice”. Princess has an exclusive and they do a great job with it. Of course there isn’t a big contract or check wait for the winner...just a keepsake trophy. I was a finalist and while I didn’t win, I did get to sing on stage to a packed house...lots of fun! Program alert...the food is awesome and everywhere all the time. Don’t go if you are on a diet! Don’t miss the production shows or the staged games like Marriage Match. They are worth the price of the cruise by themselves. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I love Princess! Rooms are amazing, and the beds are more comfortable than my own. Staff pampers you and there are many great things to do. We are already planning our next Princess cruise. Princess is our preferred criuse line. Took a 14 ... Read More
I love Princess! Rooms are amazing, and the beds are more comfortable than my own. Staff pampers you and there are many great things to do. We are already planning our next Princess cruise. Princess is our preferred criuse line. Took a 14 day European cruise on Princess last year as well and was amazed with the ship experience as well as the excursions. You can relax and enjoy your time and thete is something to do for all ages. The only way to vacation for me now will be cruising. Pools, casino, ocean view, great food, bingo, and night time entertainment all wrapped up in one. It is even better with the medallion, makes everything so easy. Love the room service and speed and quality of the food. Lookung forward to the many many more cruises I will be taking with princess. Bon voyage until we cruise again. Thank you Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because we love the Oasis class ships and had been on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas the two previous years. While they are all very similar, each has their different nuances. We have been on 12 cruises ( 8 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love the Oasis class ships and had been on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas the two previous years. While they are all very similar, each has their different nuances. We have been on 12 cruises ( 8 with Royal Caribbean ) and this was by far absolutely the quickest embarkation ever. I can't say enough good things about it. I had coffee one morning with a guy that had been on over 70 cruises ( not a travel agent ) and he confirmed what I already knew, Royal Caribbean all the way. They have the embarkation down to a science. Another thing I've always liked about Royal Caribbean is they do the muster drill in one of the dining rooms so there is a place to sit as opposed to other lines that have you stand for 30 minutes or more on one of the outside decks. The ship itself was beautiful and well maintained. If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely sail on this ship. The only thing I noticed and didn't like was that you could hear the noise inside your cabin from the Boardwalk whereas on the Oasis and Allure, you could not. We also noticed that the closets were configured differently ( which we liked ) and had drawers in them which the other ships did not. The shower was noticeably bigger with a completely closing glass surround. ( again, we liked this ) I don't remember the name of the motel we stayed in ( Titusville )( I think it was a Quality Inn ) but it was a dump and the steakhouse that they were so high on ( on the grounds ) had good food but I don't think they've cleaned their bathrooms in a couple of years. Our room steward Delano was great and very attentive. The entire staff was very friendly. The cabin was always very clean although I wished they had vacuumed a little more. Shore excursions were mediocre at best. Next time, I will not book any shore excursions. Perfect Day at Coco Cay was fabulous. We had a 10 o clock balloon ride booked which they had to cancel due to the wind. ( Royal Caribbean has no control over the weather ) Even though it started off cloudy in Port Canaveral, we had pretty good weather 95% of the time. ( again, Royal has no control over mother nature. ) The new Coco Cay is gorgeous. The entertainment on board was superb. As a guy, I don't normally like musicals but I thoroughly enjoyed Grease. Great production. We traveled with another couple and they enjoyed the cruise as much as we did. The service in the MDR was a little slow but there are 13 complimentary places to eat so this really didn't matter. That's another thing I like about the big ships, variety. Even though it was a large ship, I've been on smaller ships that seemed a lot more crowded. The belly flop contest, worlds sexiest man and women's cannonball contest were hilarious. The second Aqua show was a lot better than the first. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Allure pretty much exceeds all expectations. This ship is so large that you don't really mind those sea days and doesn't usually feel crowded even with so many people on board. Embarkation: 5/5 Embarkation was the quickest ... Read More
Allure pretty much exceeds all expectations. This ship is so large that you don't really mind those sea days and doesn't usually feel crowded even with so many people on board. Embarkation: 5/5 Embarkation was the quickest we've ever experienced. They really have it down to a science. We arrived at 2 and were in the ship within 20 minutes. Cabin: 4/5 Pretty standard cruise cabin. Typical size. Nicely decorated. A few complaints: the outlets on the desk were worn out and our chargers wouldn't stay in without being propped up. The beds were very hard. The sofa bed is terrible. Cabin Bathroom: 4/5 Surprisingly larger than most. The sink/counter was very low for a tall person like me. The shower was a bit larger than normal as well. The light blue/green tile is very pretty. It also had a dim nightlight that was a nice touch as well. Dining: 4/5 The windjammer does a decent job managing the crowds, but it gets strained to capacity during peak times. The wipeout cafe is a nice alternative but has a limited selection. Other venues like the park cafe are underwhelming. The main dining room food and service were great. Service was a bit slow the first two nights, but things started to click after that. Breakfast and lunch in the Dining Room (only deck 3) offers a more relaxed experience and some unique items you won't find in the windjammer. Entertainment: 5/5 Allure really shines on entertainment. The OceanAria show was the best. It's amazing what they can do with such a small diving pool. Mamma Mia was also surprisingly good. I didn't really to expect to like it as much as I did. They have some really talented people on the staff. Ship Public Areas: 4.5/5 The Royal Promenade is one of my favorite features on RC ships, but this is one area where the ship feels its 6000 passengers onboard. It can get really crowded. The casino technically has a nonsmoking side, but it really smells terrible. Everything else seemed really nice and very clean. Outdoor Areas: 4.5/5 Central park and the boardwalk are really nice additions. They make the ship feel so much larger. Central park is a nice relaxing space. The pool deck is really large and there are so many pools and hot tubs scattered around. Chair hogging is a big problem. It can be hard to find places to sit. especially in the shade, on sea days. Although most the seats were "occupied", only about ~40% actually had butts in seats. Ports: 4/5 Our itinerary was changed by RC a month or so before departure due to "propulsion issues". Apparently they changed all of the ship's remaining cruises until it goes into drydock in December. We did not mind the change since we like Puerto Rico better than St. Thomas anyway. St. Kitts: There's really nothing there unless you book an excursion and there isn't much to choose from. We went ashore to shop for a couple hours and then came back to enjoy the uncrowded pools on the ship. Puerto Rico: If you've never been, go to the Castle del Morro. We have been before and elected to go to the beach. There is a public beach called Ocean Park which is a 10-15 minute cab ride ($14 each way). You can find umbrellas and chairs for rent. It was not crowded at all when we were there. The Carnival Magic was also in port that day. Nassau: There were five ships in port that day. If you are wanting to go to Atlantis, it is worth it to book with the cruise line because the bus picks you up at the pier and drops you at the casino entrance. We heard that the line to get into Atlantis if you didn't book with the cruise line was over an hour and half. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas relocated to Port Canaveral on May 6th and made its first seven day sailing on May 12th. My wife and I, along with several neighbors and friends, booked the cruise shortly after the relocation ... Read More
Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas relocated to Port Canaveral on May 6th and made its first seven day sailing on May 12th. My wife and I, along with several neighbors and friends, booked the cruise shortly after the relocation announcement. We all live less than one hour from Port Canaveral so the Harmony will be our home port RCCL ship. The Harmony will be sailing from terminal one, a relatively modern port designed for the Oasis class ships. So we had a new ship, a new port, a new terminal and the first seven day cruise. We booked a grand suite so we have the Harmony and a suite experience from its new home port. Nice! Embarkation: Efficient and fast. The process starts with a check of paperwork followed by a security check. Check-in begins before 11:00 am but boarding doesn’t begin until about 11:00 am. A lot of people check in early and wait in a large holding area. There is a separate, adjacent holding area with comfortable chairs and couches for suite, diamond plus, and pinnacle members. It is not real large. Check-in is done using iPads, so having checked in on line and holding a sea pass and passport are necessary. Photos may be taken with their iPads if necessary. Boarding is done orderly with the priority area boarding first followed by each RCCL cruisers’ status, so loyalty does have rewards. We have our own wheelchair so we were met by a “pusher” at the terminal entry who guided us through the process and on to the ship. We did call ahead to ask for assistance and it was provided willingly. Dozens of passengers were in the same situation, some with their own wheelchairs and some just needing one of the RCCL’s chairs to get up the ramp onboard. Ship: The Harmony is an Oasis class ship with more up-to-date features that one would expect with newer ships. The iPad check-in system is the first of the new features. The card key system that uses a touch process (touch the cabin door) rather than a slide or insert system for use around the ship. The casino slot machines, for instance, use the touch process so no more concerns about leaving your room key in a slot machine. There are digital and interactive displays in many places around the ship. There are new water slides and even a dry slide, a huge multi-story slide called the “Abyss”. Apparently, the RCCL app is useful on board the ship for getting a variety of information. We left our iPhone in the cabin and got along just fine. It is newer, nicer and more modern than its sister the Oasis and the Allure, as would be expected. Restaurants, Food and Service: All the restaurants we sampled had excellent food and service. Our primary breakfast and dinner restaurant was the Coastal Kitchen on deck 17 that is reserved for suite guests and pinnacle cruising status members. The Assistant Maitre D’, Ace, leads an excellent staff who are seasoned veterans. Ace described the process for becoming a staff member and the results have produced some of the best servers. They all have different personalities but work very well together. Ace rotates the waiters among tables so it is easy to meet most of them in a week. The food was very tasty and nicely presented. Chef Henry led the kitchen staff and was out sampling feedback from guests. I try fish at many meals. The branzino was the best. The lobster, cod and shrimp were also nice. We ate in the Windjammer for a few lunches. The food was very good and a nice variety was presented. Some people miss the pasta bar and desserts, complete with ice cream located toward the back of the ship (aft). We also had lunched in the Sabor and Izumi restaurants. Both are recommended. Casino: The Harmony of the Seas has a large, brightly lit and active casino on deck four. It contains a wide selection of modern slot machines and table games. There is seldom a time when there are no places or machines to play. We had no problems. The casino uses the “tap the card key” process for logging on to each machine when played. The computer awards points for play that can be redeemed for cash and used for awards of small discounts on future cruises, although the restrictions are pretty stiff. Onboard credit can be redeemed at the machines and cash can be charged to the cabin. No more standing in line and having the cashier handle the transactions. There are also machines for cashing in chits, much like on land casinos. Interestingly, the casino is open a lot more than in the past. It was closed only for the port of St. Thomas on this trip. We enjoyed playing every day that the casino was open. Our favorite time is in the mornings while the place is quiet. The downside of the casino is that smoking is allowed in one area. Smokers, many who do not play, just use it as a smoking lounge. A real negative and no one but the smokers’ benefit. Suite Experience: We have enjoyed the experiences and the benefits of ship suites for a while. They may be of interest to some readers. First, the cabins and the benefits do cost more, sometimes a lot more. It might be worth a try once, but be careful as it is easy to get hooked. Hint: Suite cabins sell out very early in the booking process so procrastination can cost you your favorite location. We book at least six months in advance and normally a year. We tried four months recently and the selection was limited. The experience starts at embarkation. The terminal has a special, comfortable lounge for waiting embarkation. Suites are the first to board so you can beat the race to the restaurants. The Coastal Kitchen and the adjacent suite lounge are open so it is an opportunity to relax then have a nice lunch at noon, when the restaurant opens. Snacks and beverages are also available in the lounge area. The cabin is the next benefit to experience. The grand suite is 371 square feet with a 105 square foot balcony. It has a bedroom, TV room, two TVs, large bath with combined tub and shower, an entryway with a bar, lots of storage space, a safe, coffee maker and large balcony. Treats are delivered a couple of times during the cruise. The concierges, Elaine and Checker, are located in the suite lounge area and are helpful in making reservations and arrangements as well as answering questions. The Coastal Kitchen is open for every meal. Breakfast and lunch require no reservations but dinner does. Sometimes there is a waiting list for dinner. The food and service, as mentioned above are superior. Assistant Maitre D’, Ace, and Chef Henry do an excellent job managing the operation. There is also an outdoor suite pool and lounge area. We did not partake in that benefit. Reserved seating is available for suite guests in the ice, aqua and main theaters. A special area is saved until about ten minutes before showtime. The seat locations are nice. Disembarkation is the final benefit. The concierges lead guests off the ship at three times, the first meeting at 7:15 am and leaving at 7:30 am. The suite guests are provided priority at each point in the disembarkation process. This is a very nice benefit. Because we have a wheelchair the concierge also made special arrangements for a “pusher” to get us into the terminal. Conclusion: The Harmony of the Seas and our suite experience on the ship’s first seven-day cruise out of Port Canaveral was all we expected it to be. The entire staff that we encountered were excellent. The venues were all in top shape, many have to be seen to be believed. We highly recommend the suite experience for at least a once in a lifetime experience. We are booked for our next Harmony experience from Port Canaveral. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The crew on this ship is the most helpful, thoughtful and kindest of any cruise line we have ever sailed. We took our 91 year old mother on a cruise for Mother's Day.When we arrived Savannah the cruise director greeted mom and had a ... Read More
The crew on this ship is the most helpful, thoughtful and kindest of any cruise line we have ever sailed. We took our 91 year old mother on a cruise for Mother's Day.When we arrived Savannah the cruise director greeted mom and had a brief conversation with her. The next day mom received chocolate covered strawberries in the room. Wow! For the rest of the trip she felt like a rock star. What a nice gesture. Jess, the server in the casino bar was always quick with a drink and always remembered our names. (makes us feel welcomed). The staff at the Normandie Restaurant was just wonderful. When you travel with an older senior it can be difficult, but everywhere we went on the ship the crew were always so kind and helpful. We have sailed on different cruise lines and have sailed on this ship before. I would have to say that the embarkation process for this cruise is the best we have ever had. The staff at the terminal checks your documents and photographs you on the way into the building. Then you are sent through security. That's it! No standing in line for hours. After security we went directly on to the ship. WOW! We had a balcony stateroom that was plenty big enough for 3 adults. The room steward, Claudius was very attentive and our room was very clean and tidy every day. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our first cruise, and couldn't believe what a great ship this was. Started at embarkation from FLL, an absolute breeze and were on ship in about 20 mins. Headed straight for food, and then to the red frog pub for drinks. ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and couldn't believe what a great ship this was. Started at embarkation from FLL, an absolute breeze and were on ship in about 20 mins. Headed straight for food, and then to the red frog pub for drinks. Balcony cabin aft on deck 7 was great (apart from noise of neighbours slamming door, oh and smoking weed on his balcony) Food was always great - big fan of guys burgers where we ate a few times. Food in MDR was always great, though sometimes not overly warm which was more due to the room temperature more than anything else. We also ate in the steakhouse, which was amazing food and the best steak I've ever had. Also booked the italian restaurant for our last night which again was lovely food, and really big portions. We didn't purchase the drinks package, but did make use of happy hour when we could catch it. Spent our sea days up on Serenity deck which was nice - but be warned it can be really hot up there as not a lot of shade about. I booked a pedicure in the spa, but it wasnt a great experience - mainly due to staff being quite rude and not interested in interacting with customers at all! All in all I don't think there is anything else i could fault about our cruise, staff and room steward were all lovely. I would definitely book to go on this ship again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
After choosing the cruise we were abit worried as the size of it and the amount of passengers. Not the case though. Embarkation was effortless and quick. Ship so clean and felt spacious. Never had to queue for bar, toilets etc. ... Read More
After choosing the cruise we were abit worried as the size of it and the amount of passengers. Not the case though. Embarkation was effortless and quick. Ship so clean and felt spacious. Never had to queue for bar, toilets etc. Never felt crowded in any areas on the ship. The staff were very attentive and always had a smile. Ipanema restaurant food was delicious and staff were great. Big shout out to the entertainment staff who every night entertained and danced with the passengers too. Ports were great I would say the only port which was abit of disappointment was San Juan as we arrived at 5 and left at 1 and it gets dark about 7 so you couldnt see very much. Disembarkation was also quick. Our only issue was our flight was at 5pm so we booked an excursion so we had somewhere with our bags, as there is no where you can leave your baggage. That is something I think would benefit alot of passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose RCCL for our vacation this year for the port stops and the number of sea days. To avoid any travel delays, we stayed overnight in Newark the day prior. The embarkation process went very smoothly and we boarded Anthem just before ... Read More
We chose RCCL for our vacation this year for the port stops and the number of sea days. To avoid any travel delays, we stayed overnight in Newark the day prior. The embarkation process went very smoothly and we boarded Anthem just before 11. Our first impression of Anthem is that she is a beautiful ship and very clean. Prior to entering any dining rooms, guests are encouraged to "washy-washy"! Crew were often seen cleaning and kept areas neat. For this cruise, we chose a virtual balcony inside stateroom (10517)and were pleasantly surprised. Although a smaller cabin, it was cozy and the virtual balcony gave you the feel you had an actual window or balcony. Dining: We had dinner in Silk 3 nights. The decor is pleasant, the food is average, service was slow , the waiters were pleasant to talk to and knew the menu well. We enjoyed having dinner at Solarium Bistro. This is a little different dining experience where it is quieter, less crowded, and located in the adults only Solarium. Over the 3 nights we ate there, we were able to get right in with no wait. The menu is such that the apps and desserts are buffet style and entrees are served. The food here was very good, esp the NY Sirloin Strip. I'm not a big steak eater, but this was good! Breakfast in the Windjammer was always good and there are tons of selections. Snacks are a plenty all day and night. Entertainment: imo, I have seen better, but was good. Spectre Cabaret in Two70 was noted for the moving screens, which made this show a hit ( for me anyway), The Gift was ok and We will Rock You was good, then again, any music by Queen is good! Service: As previously mentioned, service in the main dining room was slow, however, our stateroom associate, Karla, was fantastic! Karla came to our cabin soon after we got settled to introduce herself and ask if we needed anything and how to contact her if/when needed. We asked for a couple of things and Karla delivered. She kept our cabin neat and tidy, leaving us with towel animals on several nights. Thank you Karla! Ports: The ports are beautiful and there is a lot to see and do, however, we found the cost of excursions was too expensive and did not book any. While in PR, we did find a 2 hr tour by the locals. This was a shuttle tour we found once off the ship, $15pp and made numerous stops and provided us with a lot of historical info and photo opportunities. I look at it as a good sampling of PR. It was worth the money and the bus had a/c too which was great considering it was in the 90's the day we were there. With this, we would like to visit PR again in the future to see more of this beautiful place. My favorite port was Bermuda as it has a good vibe and the beaches are so beautiful and yes, the sand is pink! St. Maarten was nice. We took a shuttle to Maho Beach so we could experience the planes coming and going overhead. The beach isn't much of a beach and was crowded but the water was beautiful. There is a strong current there, so for little ones, this isn't the beach to go to. The experience of the planes so close overhead is great and photo ops are a must. I grew up right near an airport, but not this close! Labadee is a beautiful place, the beach is pretty, and the water beautiful. RC provides a BBQ lunch which was nice and locals provide some entertainment. Shopping for souvenirs was annoying as the locals in the markets are VERY pushy and don't leave you alone. Not a fun, relaxing experience. Anthem is a beautiful ship and activities and entertainment are plentiful. We had a medical emergency on board, requiring us to divert to Nassau . This diversion delayed us getting back to Bayonne by 1 day. The Captain did a fantastic job of handling this and we were able to get the passenger to a medical facility quickly. Last we heard, the passenger was doing well. With this, we had an extra sea day. Due to the delay, many passengers who had booked flights had to make alternate arrangements and it was announced that internet and phone would be available to all. There was a logistics issue once back in Bayonne due to our delayed arrival, so once we arrived, we were to be off the ship by 9 am as another ship was due in. We did self-disembarkation( as did hundreds of others) and were off the ship by 7am. Even with this, all went smoothly. Overall impression: Having cruised with 2 other cruise lines, I anticipated a more up beat vibe. The vibe on Anthem is great; calm and relaxed. Even with the large number of passengers( over 4k), you wouldn't know it as there is plenty of room to spread out the crowds. It took me a few days, but I managed to get the relaxed vibe and especially enjoyed the adults-only Solarium. A note about children: we didn't see many kids on this cruise and those we did see were well-behaved. There were a large number of retirees , couples, groups and some singles. Chair hogs in the Solarium were plentiful with one going so far as to hang their handicapped parking tag on their lounge chair! Late afternoon and evenings were good times to be in the Solarium and pool decks as most were at dinner or shows so the crowds were less. We had reservations on North Star, but due to what we were told were 'technical issues', it wasn't running at all this cruise. We did have reservation on iFly and had a blast! As mentioned, we had a virtual balcony cabin which we enjoyed and would book again, however, we see where many times, had we had a balcony stateroom, we would have spent more time there, away from the crowded pool decks to relax. We very much enjoyed Anthem and look forward to sailing with her again soon! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My Mother and I are lucky enough to do a "mother/daughter cruise" each year. We chose this cruise because: a. we've never been on NCL b. we had never been to Tortola We have been on every cruise line BUT NCL. ... Read More
My Mother and I are lucky enough to do a "mother/daughter cruise" each year. We chose this cruise because: a. we've never been on NCL b. we had never been to Tortola We have been on every cruise line BUT NCL. What people need to know is that in Miami, before you board the ship, yo are given a numbered card. This is your boarding group. We had no idea what was going on! They finally called our number 17, all people had cards which went up into the high 20's and 30's, and we boarded. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL and huge ship! The cabin was nicer than the other cruise lines as the shower had a door and you can actually turn around comfortably in it. The dining was great! The food was fantastic. We did not go to the "fancy" restaurants that you have to pay extra and make reservations for, as the other ones were simply enough! I say that in a good way! The shows were great! Loved the comedians and the "Rock of Ages" production. The only one I didn't care for was "Burn the Floor". A lot of high energy dancing, but no recognizable music.... The service was outstanding! I was watching the in cabin tv and saw the entire crew. The show was explaining the careers of the various officers. GM, Captain, etc. Well, I was at the pool and I saw the GM and told him how I had seen him on tv and thought that he had a remarkable career! He was very kind. Next thing you know, Mom and I are invited to a party in the haven. The Haven is where the ships' most exclusive residents are located. It's quite pricey from what i can gather. The party was top notch and we had a marvelous time. Then, we get to our stateroom and find a bottle of wine and fruit from the GM. This didn't stop! Every day we had either hor de hourves or chocolate strawberries in our room! These folks really do care about their guest and I'm here to tell you! Read Less

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