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Sail Date: December 2014
My family had a nice cruise on the Reflection. Overall, the cruise was good with food and service being mostly excellent. It was the little things and the continual feeling that I was in the middle of a week long sales pitch that really ... Read More
My family had a nice cruise on the Reflection. Overall, the cruise was good with food and service being mostly excellent. It was the little things and the continual feeling that I was in the middle of a week long sales pitch that really distracted from the experience. Embarkation: Very good. We arrived at 11:00ish and were on-board and at the Oceanview Cafe by about 11:30. Ship: Very beautiful and very clean. Cabin: we were in 1027, a concierge verandah towards the front of the ship. Cabin was beautiful and the balcony was nice. We have had this size room several times, this was the first time that it seemed a bit small. There were three of us (DH, DS 15, and myself). We were on a different cruise line last summer and the cabin was roomier, had a curtain divider, and 2 TVs so I guess we got a bit spoiled. I continue to think the storage over the bed is a too high for me (5'5'') and don't understand why the closet does not have some shelves. Food: We were unable to get traditional dining so we decided to do a splurge and spend a week eating at the speciality restaurants. They were all excellent with good service. Murano was our favorite and the Lawn Club Grill was our least favorite. The soufflé desserts were excellent as was the Murano lobster. Service was exceptional. Qsine is interesting and has good food and service. Tuscan Grille was a close second to Murano. The beef ravioli appetizer was a real standout. The service at LCG was not that good. For example, I asked about rubs/sauces on the menu and was told they would come "later". yes we had multiple sauces, but my steak had no rub and no flavor. Also, I am not sure what happened to the do it yourself concept as this was not offered and there was no interactive part of the meal at all. My husband thought his filet was the best of the week. It had a great dark outside searand was rare instead as request. My medium NY strip was grey. No color, no flavor. The buffet was very good for breakfast and lunch. Room Service: I am breaking this out because it was disappointing. The list seems to be smaller than it used to be. The choices are not very good or inspired. Delivery was very slow. There were add on choices for additional cost. Beverage Package: We had the regular package from 123 and upgraded to premium. Big mistake on our part. I upgraded to get better wine choices. The people managing the menu/purchasing for beverages and the package people need to get together. The wine limits make no sense versus the menu choices. At most of the specialty restaurants I had one choice at $9 (for which the classic would have been fine) or multiple choices above the $13 limit. I ended up with extra charges of $2-$6 a glass. If the package is going to be $9 and $13, they need to work to put more options on the menus that align with these price points. We did not have many mixed drinks, but did use the package for water and coffee. Going forward, I would take the free gratuities instead of the package. I would then buy the non-alcoholic package and wine by the bottle as I go. Entertainment: The band Xstrea (?) was very good most of the music was good. We were very disappointment with the daytime activities. There was one top chef activity that was good. It was on the last day. It was at the same time as the only enrichment speaker and one other event. at 10, 1, 2 there was nothing. If you look at the daily planner, most activities fall into a few categories: 1) for additional fee (fitness classes, wine tastings, bingo, etc.) 2)sales pitches/seminars - ("port shopping talks, spa seminars, even a specialty dining sales pitch) and 3)notices for actual sales/special events at various shops. There was live music throughout the week and the usual nighttime shows. There was one movie shown in celebrity central, no food demos except the one top chef, one speaker. The free in-room movie list was much shorter than prior cruises and the choices were older movies. It was really terrible compared to Princess choices. $13 for pay for view is steep and yet another area where it seems to have become about extra charges. Itinerary: St Maarten and St. Thomas were good ports. The 3:30 arrival in San Juan is silly and should be revisited. Wasted port in many ways. Disembarkation: We require an escort of the ship due to a block on one of our passports (from a known identify theft case). The wait was 20 mins. Once off, I didn't like how luggage was done on the carrousels. We waited another 15-20 mins for our bags to come around. I prefer when they are already lined up in groups by number. Conclusion: It was a good cruise. We will be elite for our next cruise, but it may be awhile until we take it. I am not sure if I am just bored with Celebrity or if things have deteriorated, but we just were not that impressed. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our very first cruise we got on board and my luggage never made it to my cabin, went to customer service they looked in lost luggage and it was there, They asked me what color it was he walked in the back and brought to me. the ... Read More
This was our very first cruise we got on board and my luggage never made it to my cabin, went to customer service they looked in lost luggage and it was there, They asked me what color it was he walked in the back and brought to me. the bag was all torn up. so they said they would by me another. so that was ok. If you are looking for a ship that serves hot food(temp not spice) this is not the ship for you. Never had at hot meal on the boat. If you want a ship that is quite at night this is not the ship for you. The kids were unsupervised by the parents they ran all our the ship at all times of the night running up and down the hall way and slamming the doors. If you want a ship were you can lay around the pool this is not the ship for you. Unsupervised kids everywhere between the ages of 5 to about 18. so many kids in the pool all you saw were heads. they have an adult pool and hot tub but that was full of kids. The kids would get in the elevator with you and push every button and then jump out and run. so you had to stop at every floor. This is not a relaxing cruise unless you have about 4 kids and you do not want them around cause that what this ship is. Read Less
50 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the New Year sailing. Very pleasant transfer to port & return. Check in was accomplished in a blink of the eye. It was nice to board and see the traditional champagne greeting. We were pleased with our veranda room and had ... Read More
We were on the New Year sailing. Very pleasant transfer to port & return. Check in was accomplished in a blink of the eye. It was nice to board and see the traditional champagne greeting. We were pleased with our veranda room and had excellent room stewards. We found the ship generally well maintained. We particularly enjoyed the Seven Seas Lounge for pre dinner cocktails. The cuisine was better than our previous Regent cruise although several dishes which should have been served hot were, at best, tepid. There is no cheese cart, only a plate but you can make the selections. We found 2 excellent waiters and sat in their sections. Entertainment was very weak w. an effort to use the troupe for just about everything. New Years Eve was a poor celebration. We missed 3 tender ports due to winds but there was no compensation, including port taxes. So what were the 'unhealthy' aspects? There were several families with very young, still diapered children. They used the pool,along w a variety of blow up rafts and tubes, all day. Regent has rules ags this but declined, despite many complaints, to enforce them. Ditto for the whirlpools. On the final day, probably due to an onslaught of complaints from other guests, the families removed the diapers, placed the babies in swimsuit & directly into the pool.Really, the USPHS should look into this. The toddler also put their hands into the buffet items. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This is my 20th cruise, on varied lines. I would give this ship and 5 out of 10/average rating. Relevant points: - RC, like other lines, has given up much of their "public space" to private revenue restaurants and VIP spaces. ... Read More
This is my 20th cruise, on varied lines. I would give this ship and 5 out of 10/average rating. Relevant points: - RC, like other lines, has given up much of their "public space" to private revenue restaurants and VIP spaces. On the Grandeur, this impacts passengers as the cruise is out of Baltimore, and weather and seas can be rough / more inside use. - Grandeur had the worse "table cleaning/ bussing" I have ever seen on a ship. Consistent problem. Hard to find a table that was available due to this. Passengers would move dirty dishes to another table. Many bars had so few waiters, that many folks "ran" their own drinks. Food debris/ bannana peels and cups/glasses at the elevator trash receptacles seen many mornings on way to Windjammer. - Park Cafe in the Solarium area, was not good. Customer "flow" was horrible, lines often very long (understaffed and supervisors must know when there would be a "rush" their due to port times), often out of napkins or glasses.....or food. When they run out of food, they just stop providing it. At their lunch time (2:30-5:30) they have chips ( in bags) for about 20 minutes....and when they run out.....no more provided. Park Cafe is also the "late night" snack area.....again bad food choices, primarily hot dogs and pizza. This area needs MUCH IMPROVEMENT. - No outdoor food service / burgers, pizza, etc....outside on the pool area, as is typical on most ships. This leads to huge traffic inside the Windjammer, where the "burger line" is. Understand this might be due to ships route/inclement weather, but the ship should of been remodeled to provide food service on outdoor pool area upon arrival in the warmer Caribbean. They did cook Paella outside one day. - Entertainment was good and varied. However, holding so many events in the Centrum area is tiresome. Limited seating and access. Who wants to stand for 45 minutes? Passengers move all the furniture to the rails, and all others stand. Also, if you are not interested in the activity in the Centrum, the only other entertainment option often is the piano bar. Grandeur lacks entertainment in multiple lounges....it is in the piano bar ( which is poorly designed, a "walkway" with no personal feel) or the Centrum. The South Pacific Lounge is used for Karaoke, etc/ a nice space which is underused for live entertainment. - I had set dining time....service is good. Wait staff are efficient and well trained. Not as good as in the "old" days, but better than many currently. - Ship has no real library or game room (again, lack of "public spaces"). Has one set of cabinets with some books/games in them. - Solarium Area was nice. Fun to use in evening. Parents did a nice job of keeping their small children out of the area. Opening and closing of the roof/exposure worked well. - Cabin Steward was excellent. - Main Dining room food is average to good. They repeat the lunch menus in the dining room. - Ship does NOT have mini-fridges in many (all?) of the cabins. I use them and like to have one. - RC allows you to bring on two bottles of wine per cabin, but always puts this info "in small print". - Ship does have a promenade deck with chairs for sea watching/ reading. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We (a couple in our mid 60's) took this Carnival Valor Caribbean cruise the second week of December as a pre-Christmas treat in lieu of gifts to each other. Normally, we are loyal NCL cruisers, but when checking possible cruises, I ... Read More
We (a couple in our mid 60's) took this Carnival Valor Caribbean cruise the second week of December as a pre-Christmas treat in lieu of gifts to each other. Normally, we are loyal NCL cruisers, but when checking possible cruises, I discovered that we could either take an NCL cruise from Miami with 3 ports, or the Valor cruise with 5 ports. Fight for a lounger on the pool deck on NCL during sea days, or hit 5 beaches with Carnival? It was a no-brainer for us, plus the Carnival cruise was $150 less per person than NCL. The airfare to San Juan was $150 more per person than it would have been to Miami, so the cost evened out, but having 2 extra ports was fantastic as we love swimming and snorkeling. I almost didn’t chose the Valor cruise, because my first Carnival cruise was on the Breeze and it was very disappointing. Our Valor cruise changed my mind about Carnival. The best things about Carnival compared to NCL in my opinion are: you can bring a bottle of wine on board each; the pizza is pretty good for a cruise ship; and, there are laundry facilities on board. My only mistake in choosing this cruise was to fly to San Juan on the day of embarkation, rather than fly to San Juan the day before and stay overnight. Living in the Northeast, we had to get up at 2:00 a.m. to get to the airport in time to make our 7:00 a.m. flight. Since the muster drill was not until 9:30 p.m., we couldn’t go to bed early, and I was extremely tired the whole week, as I refused to sleep in during the cruise as the beaches were beckoning. Embarkation was quick and easy. We took a cab from the airport and were in our cabin in less than 40 minutes of reaching the pier at 3:30 p.m. The nicest surprise on the Valor was how spacious our cabin was. We had a balcony cabin on deck seven, portside aft. The cabin was the largest balcony cabin I’ve ever had on a cruise ship, and the size was greatly appreciated, even though we spent very little time in our cabin. The two of us could navigate the cabin without bumping into each other constantly, and I wasn’t constantly stubbing my toe on a table or chair like I tend to do in some cramped NCL balcony cabins we’ve had. Our Valor cabin seemed larger than our balcony cabin on the Breeze, and our Valor cabin attendants were 10x better than those on the Breeze. The colour scheme on the Valor was rather jarring (especially in the Lincoln dining room), but I guess that is the case with the older Carnival ships. I don’t cruise for the decor on the ship, but for the ports, so the interior decorating choices on the Valor would not prevent me from sailing on the Valor again. One cabin observation we did make on the Valor was that the area in the foward part of the ship is open to the top of the ship, and there is a lot of noise from the entertainment area on Deck 3 that wafts to the upper decks. It was quite loud in the hallways in the area of Cabin 7270 and the surrounding cabins on the port side, and the corresponding cabins on the starboard side (as well as the cabins in this area on other decks). I have no idea if the loud entertainment could be heard in the aforementioned cabins or not, but it was very noticeable in the hallway, and thus those cabins might not be suitable for those who go to bed early. Speaking of the Lincoln dining room, I was amazed by how good the food was on the Valor for the most part. I normally put cruise food in the “not fit to eat” category, so my meals in the Lincoln dining room were usually met with relief, as I tend to expect the worst. Was it 5 star dining? Of course not. Was it quite edible? Yes. Except for the meal our last night on board - which was dreadful, but I find that the Carnival melting chocolate cake makes up for a multitude of sins. We had all of our breakfasts at Rosie’s, the buffet. Nothing spectacular, but certainly no complaints, either. And I am one to complain! Other than an adult comedy show (which was very vulgar and geared toward drunken 20-40 year old males), we didn’t opt for the entertainment shows. Instead, we spent our evenings watching people having their photos taken in front of the faux backdrops. For some reason, we find this to be the height of entertainment on cruise ships, and we were amply entertained by people watching. For two people who would not dream of packing much more than shorts and t-shirts for a Caribbean cruise, we were astounded by how many people chose to bring “dress-up” clothes on this cruise. Not to mention pay a fortune to purchase the photos. As for people watching, about one third of the passengers were Puerto Ricans, and I was delighted by how well behaved their children were on the cruise. They are apparently a late night group of people, because I never saw any of them at the buffet in the morning! Plus, “Camp Carnival Night Owls - for children aged 0-11" opened at 10:00 p.m., which was a revelation to me. I guess if you want to party and you have children, this is the cruise for you! On this cruise, we docked at 2 ports I’d never been to before, i.e. St. Lucia and St. Kitts. As I find the stray/starving/pregnant dog problem on many Caribbean islands to be heartbreaking and disturbing, and knowing the above 2 islands have a significant problem with stray dogs, we opted for snorkel tours, rather than going to the beach, as I figured being on the water would alleviate my distress over seeing the strays. On St. Kitts we took the Carnival catamaran snorkel tour. The catamaran was wonderful and the crew was fantastic, & free rum punch and beer on the way back to port. The snorkeling - a mere 45 minutes of it - was not so good. Plus, for liability reasons, we were forced to wear life jackets. Mine was given to me partially inflated, and once in the water, it kept strangling me, so I’ve learned my lesson - don’t bother with ship snorkel tours. You’re forced to wear a life jacket and the time in the water is very brief. On St. Lucia, we took a snorkel tour that I’d booked on line before leaving for the cruise. Nice trip, and 5 hours instead of the 3 ½ hours we got for the St. Kitts cruise, for the same price. Alas, we stopped at one beach on the St. Lucia snorkel tour and there was a stray dog. The water in St. Kitts and St. Lucia is not the crystal clear water of some of the other islands, and the snorkeling was not optimal for that reason, nor was there much in the water to see. But, any time in the water is fine - especially when you know you are going home to freezing temperatures - so except for the stray dog, it was all good. We went to Coki beach on St. Thomas - a small, but nice, beach which is very shady in the morning, so not the best place to work on your St. Tropez tan. Easy to get to on a “safari bus” from the port. There were some vendors there, but if you politely told them you were not interested in their wares, they were not aggressive. When you get to Coki, you will be met by someone who “takes possession” of you for the day. Your "warden" will guide you to a spot for your chair and umbrella, and inform you that they will get your drinks and food, should you desire such. I asked our “warden” how much a frozen drink was, and she replied “$9.” Hmm... I took a 60 second walk to “Coqui Cocktails,” and frozen drinks with rum were $7, so the “warden” was gouging patrons $2 per drink, and no doubt expected a tip to boot. The young woman who made my drink was sullen, and my drink was the most watered down, totally tasteless drink I’ve ever had in my life. But, I was there to snorkel and swim, so on my next trip to Coki, I’ll forego a beverage. When we left, the “warden” insisted on escorting us to the safari bus waiting area, and was very displeased that we forgot the name of the bus driver who dropped us off, as apparently the bus drivers and “wardens” have some sort of agreement to stick together. On St. Martin we just went to Great Bay - $7 water taxi and $20 for lounger, umbrella and beer. No snorkeling there, but a nice day on the beach, and we went to the Guavaberry shop to pick up some rum to take home. When we got to Barbados, we took a cab to The Boatyard. Another couple we’d met on board said it was very commercial and we should avoid it, but the price was right and what we were looking for. The cab to the Boatyard was about $15 with tip, and entrance to The Boatyard was $20 each, which included our loungers, umbrella, free drink and ride back to the ship. We were very happy with our day at the Boatyard - beautiful beach with “swimming pool” clear water. A lovely, relaxing day - just what we were looking for. Unfortunately, after seven too short days, we had to disembark. Before leaving on this cruise, I’d heard horror stories re: cruises from San Juan about getting off the ship, through customs, and to the airport, so we skipped breakfast and disembarked at 8:00 a.m. for our 1:00 p.m. flight. We chose to take our luggage with us, rather than leave it outside our door the night before. It took a little less than an hour to get off the ship and through customs. We got a cab to the airport quickly, and were left with over 3 boring hours with nothing to do at the small San Juan airport. So, perhaps disembarkation can be difficult if you opt to have your luggage removed the night before, have a leisurely breakfast, search for your luggage when you get off the ship, and a long wait at customs due to crowds, but we didn’t experience any difficulties with disembarkation. All in all, I would love to take this same cruise again (as many of the people we met on board had), even though St. Kitts and St. Lucia were not as enjoyable as I’d hoped. I’m more than willing to give Carnival another try, based on my experiences aboard the Valor. The Breeze was the “dreary ship,” and the Valor was the “FUN SHIP” for sure! Value for money paid, this cruise gets 5 stars from me. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We are veterans to cruising on many different cruise lines. Always thought Celebrity was top notch and could not be compared to say Norwegian. I was wrong. We had an Aqua Class Balcony which they are doing away with to make you book a ... Read More
We are veterans to cruising on many different cruise lines. Always thought Celebrity was top notch and could not be compared to say Norwegian. I was wrong. We had an Aqua Class Balcony which they are doing away with to make you book a suite for the Aqua spa. Anyway, the room was very small, cramped really, with a coffee table I finally asked the steward to remove because it was always in the way. Cabin was the first disappointment. We tried to eat at the Aqua spa cafe but the food was downright awful, tasted like they sprayed in with some sort of chemicals, just terrible. So we went to the buffet which we did not enjoy at all. For dinner, the Blu restaurant is included with the Aqua class cabins. This was the biggest disappointment of the cruise, other than breakfast there which was very good we found the food in the main dining room to be better, it was a shame because we wanted Aqua class so we could eat at Blu, not worth it. One night we went to Qsine, OMG, it was horrible to the point we could not eat the food. When I saw the potatoes coming in a shot glass I knew we were in trouble. On the plus side we bought the premium beverage package for both of us so we could wash away the bad tastes. Molecular bar was lots of fun, the ice topped martini bar was also fun as was a few of the other bars. I think we would have been sick from the food if we didn't drink so much. Anyway, the other annoying thing about the Reflection was the constant swaying, even in port, I think the huge overhangs from the pool deck act as wings on the darn thing because even in calm seas it was rocking hard. I asked the crew members several times if the ballasts and stabilizers were working,it was that bad. There were older people bouncing off the walls, we felt terrible for them and we could hear them complaining all over the ship. Very disappointing. Our last cruise was on the Norwegian getaway and it was much more stable a ship. Well, my wife booked two future cruises for the on board credit but I told her I think I will forfeit the money before I cruise the Reflection again. We are going on the Constellation in March and we will see if that is our last Celebrity cruise or not. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My wife and I have been on over 40 cruises on various lines. This cruise was unfortunately one of the worst we've ever taken. Two days before Departure We received an e-mail indicating that one of the three scheduled stops had been ... Read More
My wife and I have been on over 40 cruises on various lines. This cruise was unfortunately one of the worst we've ever taken. Two days before Departure We received an e-mail indicating that one of the three scheduled stops had been canceled due to the ship being unable to reach top speed. As it turns out celebrity knew that there was a problem with its propulsion system back in August of this year. The manufacture of one of the two rear azipods had received signals from the unit indicating a malfunction. In order to sustain the Warranty they advised celebrity to throttle down the right rear azipod on the ship. This impacted the ship's ability to reach full cruising speed. It also forced the use of excessive stabilizer output the result was a slow ship that pitched and rolled incessantly during the entire week. even worse because of its inability to make up speed, a medical emergency on the night of departure forced the ship to return to Fort Lauderdale which consumed eight hours round-trip and forced yet another change in our itinerary. Originally we were scheduled to make three stops. Before the cruise San Juan was taken off the itinerary. After the medical emergency because the ship could not reach full speed and had been delayed San Juan was put back on the itinerary but St. Kitts was dropped. This was very disappointing to us because the only reason we took this cruise was to go St. Kitts as we had been in St. Maarten and San Juan many times. We are Kosher cruisers and when we did order kosher dinners they were inedible, served to us frozen on more than one occasion. Apparently the caterer mislabeled the dinners. What was beef was supposed to be chicken and vice versa. One dinner served to us was totally rotten and spoiled and disgusting. After complaining loudly to the headwaiter, the executive chef sent a three dollar bottle of Manischewitz wine tour room. Unfortunately we don't drink wine and we didn't think that gesture was even remotely adequate. The ships entertainment staff was two people only and although they were very nice other than the production shows, entertainment was sorely inadequate. In place of the usual Caribbean band at the pool an individual singer was provided occasionally. We were told that band members have laryngitis and couldn't perform on more than one occasion. Games and onboard competitions were held in an open area with minimal seating which seemed ridiculous. There was a huge emphasis on selling merchandise to the point of blocking thoroughfares on the ship routinely. Not one of the lecturers on the ship had American English as a first language and consequently lectures that were provided by ships staff were extremely difficult to understand. Meal service was extremely slow and it was typical for us to wait 30 to 45 min. for anyHim food to be delivered to her table for dinner. To top things off, we were forced to walk nearly 1/2 mile to collect our luggage and bring it to private car pickup area. Never have we experienced anything close to this .I cannot recommend this cruise and feel extremely disappointed by the dishonesty of celebrity, poor service, and the disappointment in this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We sailed on the Christmas sailing of the Carnival Glory. We were (2) adults late forties and (2) teenagers 17 and 13. Embarkation was fast and efficient. No need to buy the faster to fun ad on. In general food was very good. Guy's ... Read More
We sailed on the Christmas sailing of the Carnival Glory. We were (2) adults late forties and (2) teenagers 17 and 13. Embarkation was fast and efficient. No need to buy the faster to fun ad on. In general food was very good. Guy's burger is excellent. We did not try the buffet. The main dinning room is very good for breakfast. We had the your time dinning option. The first (2) nights we had a 30 minutes wait and after that there was no wait. Food was overall good, but service was slow. Waiters and staff were pleasant. Organized activities for the kids were almost non existent. There were around 1K kids on board. Kids tend to hang out in the basketball court and in the clubs. Activities for the adults were limited too. We were able to get lounge chairs without a problem. Serenity desk and hot tubs were very good. Comedians were good too. Epic Rock show was very good. Movies at night in the lido deck was very nice too. Overall I feel that Carnival delivered a good experience at an exceptional value. If organized activities for adults and kids are a must, then this is not a good choice for you. Another issue is the lack of healthy food choices on board. Also there are no group exercise classes on board.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband, myself and and three teenagers (ages 17-19) just returned from a fantastic cruise on the NCL Getaway. We picked this particular ship as there is much to do for kids their ages. Ship: Beautiful, easy to find your way around, ... Read More
My husband, myself and and three teenagers (ages 17-19) just returned from a fantastic cruise on the NCL Getaway. We picked this particular ship as there is much to do for kids their ages. Ship: Beautiful, easy to find your way around, and very clean. Embarkation was fast and easy. From the moment we stepped into the terminal until the time we disembarked, the service was excellent. I consider myself a harsh critic and was very pleased. The technology on the ship was impressive. There are touch screens near all the elevators where you can see what's going on plus the availability & menu at all of the restaurants. You can also see it on your TV. The electricity is all controlled by your room key card. When your card is in the activation port on the wall, there are lights on outside each cabin that lets the room steward know if you are in there. You can also press the do not disturb or make up the room buttons & lights as well. There are hand sanitizers a everywhere including staff spraying hands when returning to the ship. The staff was always accommodating, friendly and service-oriented. For those with small children, the top 2 decks aft were all for them. There were so many kids being the week of Christmas but for the most part, were well behaved. The kids clubs did a great job with the kids. The mini-golf, kids watermark, water slides, climbing wall and ropes course are all next to each other. About the water slides....there are 2 in particular called "drop slides" where the floor drops from underneath you and it's quite a thrill. You cannot wear ANY jewelry or accessories. Many people climbed all the way up then had no place for their earring, rings, etc.... So they had to walk down all the stairs or take one of the other 2 slides down (much less thrilling but still fun). I did the ropes course and found it a bit physically demanding but very fun. IF YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH, you can "walk the plank" where you walk about 8 ft over the side of the ship, 18 decks above the ocean and you grab the pull chord and it takes your picture...was cool and a bit scary. YOU NEED GYM SHOES TO DO THE CLIMBING WALL AND ROPES COURSE. Cabin: My husband and I had a balcony stateroom and our kids were across the hall in an inside. The rooms are spacious with the best storage capacity I've ever had on a ship. The balcony was a bit smaller than we are used to plus there is a little tiny snack table. We missed having a bigger table as we like to eat breakfast on our balcony but it was a tight squeeze. Dining: There are 3 dining rooms, Taste, Savor & Tropicana. Taste & Savor are right across from each other and are mirror images of each other, very contemporary decor. We preferred the Tropicana because of the wonderful ambience. It is like a supper club, Art Deco, dim lighting and a dance floor/ live music. It is also much bigger than the other two so there was hardly a wait time. This ship doesn't have the typical main dining rooms like other ships. The Garden Cafe (main buffet) was always crowded...I thought the food was okay but the rest of my family is less picky and Iiked it. There was always a large variety. We enjoyed the ice-cream parlor area. On other ships we've been on, this is an extra charge but not on NCL. Specialty Restaurants: Important tip: BOOK YOUR SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS ONLINE PRIOR TO YOUR CRUISE. it will be less stressful and ensure you get what you want at whatever time. We really enjoyed Teppanyaki. The food was delicious (almost too much food) and the chefs were very entertaining. Cagney's was very good. The ambience was lovely, outstanding service and delicious food, however, both my husband and son's steaks were a bit fatty and tough. My filet melted in my mouth. They had the best desserts! After a few disappointing meals in the dining rooms, we added on La Cucina the last night. Ask to sit outside on the Waterfront. We ate underneath the stars and moon and listened to the water.... Was heavenly, including the food. If I had to do it all again, I would have purchased the specialty restaurant package...lesson learned. I'd also recommend the Ocean Blue window on the waterfront. From 12-2 while at sea, I highly recommend the Lobster Roll. I am salivating just thinking about it! Port disembarkation was easy and when you return to the ship, the DJ is playing music, you get cold towels and water/juice. Was a very nice touch, especially watching the disappointment from the Ruby Princess passengers docked next to us in Nassau and they had nothing! Most of them were watching all the fun from their ship and dancing on their balconies...was fun to watch. Seemed as people were really in the holiday spirit. Tips: I felt compelled to tip the wait staff in the specialty restaurants. Apparently this isn't common practice. I did so also because it was Christmas week. Despite the fact there were over 4000 passengers and 1600 crew members, we never stood in long lines or felt crowded. Entertainment: Do not miss " Burn the Floor"... It is OUTSTANDING. the dancers were phenomenal. Despite the reviews about Legally Blonde, my daughter and I saw it. It was enjoyable (I'd rate it a 6/10) but many people got up and walked out. We also felt the comedians at Headliners weren't very funny at all. Every night there was a different themed party at Spice H20. Don't miss the White Party ( same as glow party). Make sure you bring white clothing (shirt will do). Loved " Joel" the cruise director. He was always around and involved with the passengers...very likable as all of the crew. We loved the special touch on Christmas Day at sea when all the ships' officers gathered around the crowded pool and deck areas and sang holiday tunes. Then Santa jumped into the pool as the crowd chanted "Santa" "Santa", it was funny. Disappointments: There is one pool for all adults. It is very crowded when full. For sea days and sun worshipers, you need to get lounge chairs before 9:30 am or you will have to go to the very top sun deck. It gets hot up there. I wanted to take a spin and body sculpting class. They charged $25-35 for each class but you can use the equipment for free. I opted not to pay. Excursions: We did the Champagne Catamaran & Snorkel and LOVED IT! This is a great excursion for teens. The staff were amazing----Josh, Suzanne and Lenny. I'd go on this tour again! In St. Marten, we just wanted a beach but didn't feel we needed to spend lots of $$$ on a beach excursions since there are very nice beaches right off the pier. The main shopping area ( Front Street) is the first street inland...so convenient. People will try and sell you their chairs with umbrellas. The further we walked down the beach, the less expensive it seemed. We paid $30 for 5 chairs with umbrellas right on the water. There are also floating trampolines for the kids. The best price we found for jet ski's was $50 for 30 minutes. I highly recommend " Caribbean Blend" for lunch. It's right on the beach and has excellent bbg ribs and lobster. It is cash only. All-in-all, I'd definitely cruise NCL again. It was a great family vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I'll start with the flight, Departed from Manchester on 26/12/2014 - was a ridiculously long queue for check in even though we arrived some 4 hours before departure, I suppose it was a good job we did. Flew via Thomson on the ... Read More
I'll start with the flight, Departed from Manchester on 26/12/2014 - was a ridiculously long queue for check in even though we arrived some 4 hours before departure, I suppose it was a good job we did. Flew via Thomson on the Dreamliner with Pre-reserved Seats and can say it was a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Staff were friendly, and the food on board was pleasant and tasty. Arrived at Barbados Airport and had a seamless transfer to the Port whereby we had a slight wait of about 15 minutes to Register and then embark. First impressions were that the Staff on the Port side were quiet and a little surly, and then as soon as we stepped onto the Azura I immediately had a run in with one of the Photographers who clearly thought he was David Bailey. (I was with my wife and my Parents who are in their 70's!) We deposited our hand luggage in our Cabins and went to explore and to show my Parents what P&O could offer. As you would imagine for their first time cruising they were a little overwhelmed but still excited. We had a drink on the Top Deck, followed by our first evening meal in the buffet and by the time we went to our rooms our luggage had arrived. For the rest of the holiday, we had an enjoyable time, although to be fair, it has become apparent that P&O have really taken their eye off the ball. 1) The Stewards are worked incredibly hard and the cabins are not in the best of condition, with bits of furniture missing and clearly need some TLC. 2) The Restaurant Staff are friendly and pleasant, as long as you are with them, and rightly so, I feel that they work extremely hard and try to be efficient however, it is clear that a lot of the experienced Staff have been moved to the Britannia and there was a large number of new Staff on board. Sometimes Service in the Meridian Restaurant was slow and a little below the expected par! 3) The Bar Tenders / Waiters appear stretched, they can be a little surly but they do work hard and are polite when you can get served / or stop one. 4) I have no idea what the Captain nor the Senior Cruise Team look like, nor the Entertainments Team as they were conspicuous by their absence. 5) Food - The food choice was always excellent and very well prepared and displayed. We ate most mornings in the Peninsular Restaurant for breakfast and lunch, again prompt service and always hot and tasty. We had freedom dining in the Meridian Restaurant and were looked after fantastically and again, the food choice every night was excellent. To be honest, you can eat for 24 hours on board but I feel this is unnecessary and there is a large amount of food wasted daily. Perhaps P&O should reduce this feature and use the savings in food to recruit more Staff and improve Service throughout the Ship. 6) Sunbeds - if these were policed correctly then there would be plenty for the sea days, however, the people on board certainly gave the Germans a run for their money, with certain people putting towels out at 3am on their way to bed, then not using their "reserved" sunbed until late afternoon. Not once did I see any Officials removing towels or other items that had been placed down to keep sunbeds for the invisible sunbathers! This in itself created a myriad of problems and also resentment from genuine Cruisers who wanted to Sunbathe. 7) Clientèle - the vast majority of People on board were pleasant, polite and friendly, HOWEVER, since P&O dropped the price of the Cruise 6 weeks before Departure (which I feel is extremely unfair as we booked in January!) there was an influx of Holiday Makers who thought that P&O was a floating Butlins. Now I am no Snob by any means,but I understand how important it is to be polite, courteous and friendly, not only with the Staff but other people on board. These people on the other hand were happy to be rude, used their wheelchairs as a weapon to get into lifts before letting people out, left drinks half finished in lifts, towels in toilets, you name it, and they were more than happy to partake in stuffing their faces to excess and drinking until they couldn't stand up or speak! If this is the future of P&O then they will drive away the nice people and will eventually become a laughing stock with the need for serious Security on board!!! 8) Swimming Pools and Jacuzzi's - it was apparent from this new breed of Holiday Cruiser that they weren't happy to follow the rules around the Pools / Jacuzzi's - mainly letting their children dive bomb, and jump in and create a nuisance to everybody else. Coupled with this, I noticed the language used on board by Parents to their Children and friends was full of profanities and every other word seemed to be F**K! Regarding the jacuzzi's, they also clearly didn't understand that unlike the Sunbeds they had reserved for days on end, that this didn't apply to the Jacuzzi. So much so it would have been easier to steal the Crown Jewels than ask them to move up so we could get it!!! When we finally departed, we had a 2 hour delay due to a brake issue and then a gentleman was taken seriously ill and we had to divert to the Azores and spend a night / day there until we arrived home some 20 hours late. My overall impression is that we had a great time on board Azura, however, as always it is the small minority of "Riff Raff" who seem intent to spoil it for everybody else. Based on our experience we willbe looking at another Cruise Liner Company until we can see and read that P&O have listened to the feedback from current Holidaymakers. 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Sail Date: December 2014
I have taken 14 cruises prior to this, my first Disney cruise. I was very impressed by many things on this ship. A couple things to note, we were 4 adults and a 17-year-old traveling on this vacation. Check-in was super easy and fairly ... Read More
I have taken 14 cruises prior to this, my first Disney cruise. I was very impressed by many things on this ship. A couple things to note, we were 4 adults and a 17-year-old traveling on this vacation. Check-in was super easy and fairly speedy. We were not traveling with small children and I do realize this is geared towards families with children but the check in arena was kind of crazy with lots of whining, crying, wound up children and strollers galore. Just go into knowing this and having patience. Once on board we headed out to investigate the ship. It was really beautiful, super clean and they offered a wonderful "adults" only section up top. I noticed a couple times some smaller kids tried to use the adult pool but were quickly escorted out. Now if you are traveling with kids, then you hit the jackpot! Their kids pools with lifeguards and huge screen tv's were the place to be for that age group. They all seemed to be having a ball, it was also very crowded in that area as well on sea days, while the adult section was really nice and quiet and we always found deck chairs to lay out on. We did go to a couple of shows which we all really enjoyed. If you are looking for that promenade area to have drinks and people watch, you won't find it on this ship. They have a huge center area where they have photos taken, character meet and greet, etc and it is very near one of the dining rooms. There is one bar there and gets a lot of traffic right before dinner starts. On another note we went to a different dining venue every night (rotation thing) which was rather interesting. Dinner was always entertaining as our servers were the absolute best! Never a dull moment. Not to complain but the food wasn't anything to write home about. It was okay. Nothing I'd go out to pay for at a restaurant. I do know it is hard to crank out food for thousands of folks all at once. I did not complain, just found appetizers that I liked and would order a couple of those instead of an entree. We did the buffet for lunch instead of dining room and it was not bad. The stateroom was excellent. Very clean, lots of room and plenty of storage space. They also had small refrigerators in them and used that daily. Nice to have to keep the wine chilled :) I never used the gym but my husband did. Said very clean and mostly cardio equipment which was what he wanted. My other adult traveling companion wanted weights (crossfit guy) but said it was pretty much lacking in that dept. We all enjoyed their private island. It was super clean and the beach was excellent. Getting off the ship was so easy. I have never had such and early and easy departure and it was kind of nice. All in all, we probably won't sail with them again just because we are looking for more adult oriented things. We like to stroll the promenade at night and visit different bars, etc. Not that we are big party people but miss that from RCCL and Carnival.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The Breeze is a fabulous ship! Beautifully decorated, elegant, huge, and full of things to do! Where to start. This ship has everything. This was my husband and my 20 th anniversary and we chose the week of De 6th hoping there would be ... Read More
The Breeze is a fabulous ship! Beautifully decorated, elegant, huge, and full of things to do! Where to start. This ship has everything. This was my husband and my 20 th anniversary and we chose the week of De 6th hoping there would be less kids. There were more than I expected but it didn't bother us at all. We chose YTD and loved it. This allowed us to relax and not worry about schedules. There was a 10 -15 minute wait from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Not a problem. We were seated by ourselves and it was nice. The staff was excellent and the choices were very good. The food was outstanding! The N Y Strip steaks were huge and tender. I had 2 lobsters on elegant night plus steak. The deserts were amazing. We enjoyed the movies under the stars, Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana, Cucinos Del Capitano, the taste bar, the lido buffet. Secret tip!! Head to Cucino's for lunch for delicious Italian where you create your own dish. It's free for lunch but $15 per person for dinner. Guys Burgers is all that it's hyped up to be!! It's the toppings bar combined with huge juicy burgers and soft buttery buns. Don't waste you time at any Art Auctions if you are just looking for free Champagne. You might get two glasses and it tKes a few hours. We definitely enjoyed the Serenity Deck, especially sea days! The Hot tubs aren't boiling hot so they are great to stay in and enjoy to sunshine. My only complaint was the Serenity Spa. I had been planning on purchasing the Spa Package as we did not get a Spa room. We immediately went to the spa after we boarded and asked for a tour before deciding to purchase. While our tour guide was nice and it really was beautiful, we encountered the rudest staff overall. While touring we wanted to see the barbershop as my husband wanted an old fashioned razor shave with the works. Well the "barber" was a young female who didn't turn to face us and said she was too busy "setting up". Our guide asked for just a quick word but she refused with a nasty tone! Then while walking into the whirlpool area, another tour was coming out. The tall blonde tour guide held the door for us and before we could say anything she said "your welcome" sarcastically. My husband was offended and after getting stopped by the tooth whitening lady and her high pressure sales (I told her my daughter works for a dentist and I have free whitening through the office and my teeth are very white), my husband and I decided to save our $369.00 and spent it in the Casino where he won $70 and I won $111.00. So then we went on an awesome all day sailing, snorkeling Adventure in St Thomas. Awesome. We really enjoyed the outdoor Lanai areas on deck 5. The cruise director Matt is the best man for the job for sure! A comedian in a way, positive, approachable and always got the crowds motivated. We did experience a medical emergency on a sea day and a woman had to be airlifted off with her family. The coast guard did an excellent job but the crew of the Breeze were quick, precise and professional through the whole ordeal. They quickly returned everything back to normal and 5 minutes later you would have never known. Overall, I found this cruise to be an amazing adventure and I can't wait to go back!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
1. FOOD a. We found that there was a sharp improvement in the food quality and taste, as compared with our cruise on the Gem and Jewel in 2012 and 2011, during the same time of year. The food was very tasty, well prepared, very fresh and ... Read More
1. FOOD a. We found that there was a sharp improvement in the food quality and taste, as compared with our cruise on the Gem and Jewel in 2012 and 2011, during the same time of year. The food was very tasty, well prepared, very fresh and perhaps the quality of a decent New York City restaurant. The service was exceptional in the dining room, leaving nothing less than 4 star rating. We noted one particular waiter, Robert Panov, from Macedonia, that gave particular interest to detail, and when he forgot some milk for one of our beverages, he made sure to return to ask if we wanted it, which was some 10 minutes later. This was a very wonderful example of how detail was included in our trip. Compliments to Mr. Panov and the other members who so ably did their jobs in the dining room. The deserts at the buffet still left something to be desired. They were very simple, small-portioned and not varied. However, some of the dining room deserts such as cheese cake, were exceptional. b. In various instances, we found that the coffee had a horrible taste which resembled a form of metal being added to the coffee, even though actual metal was not in our coffee. The flavor was horrible and we attested to this in different areas of the shop serving coffee. Instead, we drank tea for the remainder of the trip (7 days) even though during the latter days of the cruise, we were told that English Breakfast Tea was very scarce and many of the waiters were not able to get it for us. 2. POOL - We often noted that children under age 14 were in the hot tubs. It is our understanding that a child’s body under 14 is not properly able to adjust to extreme temperature changes, which could seriously affect the health of a child. There was no notice posted about this, nor did we see any effort by the staff to remove those children in that age group from hot tubs, etc. 3. TIPS - We were told by a senior staff member that all tips collected were given to the waiters and cabin stewards. We also heard from several waiters that they get no tips, but a fixed salary. We were quite upset by being informed about this, which let us to believe the ship was taking these tips which the passenger was being led to believe, and recording them as total extra revenue. We felt that this was deceptive and were considering asking that we not be charged the $12.00 per person, per day tip charge. It is understood that the tips that are automatically added to your bill are not mandatory, and that if you wish to modify them…or even remove them, that is your choice, but consideration should be given to the staff members who served you at the end of one’s cruise. 4. GYM - During a 3-day period when we used the gym consecutively, we saw some debris on the ground in a corner of several machines, which had, in fact, remained there for those several days. We therefore felt that there was insufficient cleaning and maintaining of the gym equipment area, and in particular being a place where bacteria and disease could seriously fester. There certainly should be more detailed cleaning of the gym and equipment, done in great detail, on a daily and strict basis. 5. ENTERTAINMENT – a. The Magician/Comedian, Chip Romero, we heard Monday night was superb! He kept the audience’s attention for over 45 minutes and captivated our curiosity. He was not only funny, but his magical presentation was remarkable. The audience gave him a standing ovation at the end and I think he would want to be a top consideration on the ship’s list for the future. b. The dancers/singers we saw several times were also superb. They had wonderful variations of routines and were extremely well coordinated in every number, and gave the audience a terrific “Broadway-quality” entertainment. Many of us stayed after the curtain fell, and watched how many people went on the stage to take pictures with the entertainers, who were fully cooperative, especially after doing a show lasting almost an hour, and at that, the second of the evening. Congrats to each of them. c. The Cabaret and Crew Show (Sunday, Dec. 21st) – I felt that there w there were two extraordinary acts in this show: (1) Dana (Backstage Technical person) who played the flute and (2) Alan (Entertainment) who did the magic act. They are very gifted people who should be certainly rewarded and perhaps, given an opportunity to advance their particular skills. Thanks so much for having them. 6. SPECIAL ATTENTION – a. Chanukah celebration - Being that we celebrate Chanukah, we found that it was particularly gratifying that the staff set up kosher [Manichewicz] wine latkes, jelly donuts and challah in the Chapel on December 16th, and in the Academia for that night and the remainder of the six nights of Chanukah. There were at least 50 attendees each night and a fine celebration was had by all. We appreciated this and wish to thank all involved for their sensitivity and consideration in doing this for us. b. Cruise Critic Cabin Crawl – About 30 people participated in viewing other cabins. It was interesting to visit the specialty cabins like the Forward Facing 1-bedroom penthouse, the Owner’s Suite, and the Garden Villa, among others. They were very finely furnished with all the amenities of a very expensive home. What was especially lovely was that that NCL donated a sumptuous buffet at the last cabin, consisting of delicious 4” shrimp, a wonderful cheese plate, fruit, soft drinks, fried mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, M & M’s peanuts, salsa chips and lots of goodwill. Last, but certainly not least, was a fine supply of champagne with all the trimmings. Thank you, Jenny Lim, for all your help and generosity. This was a very successful event, and we felt that after speaking with several of the guests that they were going to do the $250 NCL deal for their next cruise. 7. DISEMBARKING THE SHIP – other (not NCL) a. We found it preposterous that we were lead to the front of the ship to disembark, and then after exiting the ramp onto the pier, we were lead to the extreme rear of the pier to wait for at least 15 minutes until we were permitted to enter the building. Why we were lead to the rear of the ship on the pier when there were several doors which had “do not enter” signs on them, was more than most of us could believe. It was cold today and the very last thing one would involuntarily do is to walk somewhere essentially not necessary. Perhaps this should be directed to those in charge of the pier or U.S. Customs. b. And speaking of U.S. Customs, we noted that there were initially two Customs officers on each side to handle some 3,000 guests departing the ship. Within 15-20 minutes, there appeared another two on the citizen side where we were and one on the non-resident side.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We are in our 40's and been on a handful of RC cruises. This was our first cruise with our kids and parents and first on Carnival. This trip exceeded our expectations! The ship was clean and felt very updated and Modern. Our favorate ... Read More
We are in our 40's and been on a handful of RC cruises. This was our first cruise with our kids and parents and first on Carnival. This trip exceeded our expectations! The ship was clean and felt very updated and Modern. Our favorate things included: Dr. E, cruise director was incredibly talented, great entertainer at all times of the day. We hope he is there next year and doesn't get swept up by Hollywood, seriously... fun to watch movies outside on the deck on the big screen, craft cocktails at Alchemy bar, Mexican at Blue Iguana, great burgers at Guys, hilarious comedy at the kid friendly and adult shows, awesome New Years party on the upper deck, great bands. Low points were very small: slow service at pizza place, one of our rooms was extremely noisy, avoid 6th floor in the middle. Itinerary was great, loved Grand Turk catamaran snorkle excursion. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
It has been ten years since we last sailed with Holland America although we have been on over twenty-five cruises with other lines since then, predominantly Celebrity. The size of this ship was the immediate draw, having a promenade that ... Read More
It has been ten years since we last sailed with Holland America although we have been on over twenty-five cruises with other lines since then, predominantly Celebrity. The size of this ship was the immediate draw, having a promenade that completely encircled the ship. Embarkation was quick until we were about to board the ship and encountered the "picture line" which had everyone standing in line at least another fifteen minutes while the ship's photographers tried to persuade each boarding passenger to have their visage immortalized. Once on board, we had immediate access to our cabin since it was now after 1:00. After dropping off the luggage, I elected to take the ship's tour. This was conducted by a personable young man. Unfortunately, he was new to the ship himself and was a little unsure in his guidance. It was good, however, to get an overview of the ship's layout.. This is a beautiful ship, very "clubby" in feel with an oriental flair. It has two public pools, one of which is for adults only and is located on the rear of the ship where smoking is allowed. Everything is clean and well kept. Following the tour I returned to the room to unpack. The cabin was quite attractive, with ample storage, a tub in the bathroom, and a roomy balcony. There were three hanging lockers and I particularly enjoyed having plenty of hangers. There was a lighted magnifying mirror at the dresser which was really needed since the sun from the balcony was so bright on the wall mirror that they had a darkening film on it making applying make-up impossible. Our room steward Sugi and his assistant Putu were wonderful, efficient, friendly, and made amazing towel animals. They always had a smile and a happy greeting. The lifeboat drill on this ship is conducted the first afternoon on deck, in the blazing sun. Many passengers were not on time, causing those who had complied with the time to have to stack up like sardines against the ship's hull and wait until all were accounted for. Some of the passengers became faint and had to seek seating although not in their appointed station. This seems a rather barbaric way to conduct a drill since I had become accustomed to indoor drills. Holland, however, to their credit, seems to take safety quite seriously, conducting crew safety drills several times during the week with the accompanying ear piercing whistles and on one occasion shutting down all the elevators. They even launched some lifeboats at one port in order to test them out. Food on the ship was sort of a mixed bag. The Lido, which is the buffet area on the 9th floor, was excellent, with many fresh and tasty offerings. The fresh fruit and bread varieties were wonderful. Ditto, the hand scooped ice cream! The offerings at the "Dive-in" burger bar on the pool deck are delicious, and the pizza served in the adult pool area is quite tasty. I was a little less enthusiastic about the main dining room, the Rembrandt. I guess I have been accustomed on other lines to a two page menu. Here, it was compressed to one page, perhaps to cut down on waste.. The entrees have a distinctly Caribbean flair, which is fine if you enjoy jerk seasoning. I, unfortunately, am not one who does. I was generally stuck between ordering steak, chicken or salmon, which varied in quality day to day. The portions were quite small and the saucing very skimpy.. The desserts were pedestrian, at best. Holland pushes their Pinnacle restaurant and I am hoping that the lack of selections in the main dining room is not an attempt to "up sell". The last night of the cruise, which was billed as the "International Dinner", had such strange and unappealing selections that my husband and I elected to eat at the Lido, a rather sad farewell. Our dining choice in the main dining room (two person table, requested three months prior)) was not honored on the first night so we elected to go to anytime dining the second night. We then received word that they could honor our original request, so we returned to our early seating. This, of course, took a toll on the service which never quite recovered, no fault of the wait staff. Sony, in the anytime dining section was a standout waiter, although we only had him one night. One of the largest flaws, in my opinion, of this cruise was the lack of daytime activities and the nighttime entertainment.. The first night there was no entertainment and four of the other nights consisted of the ships singers and dancers performing. They are quite talented but, enough is enough! They pretty much missed the demographic of this cruise's clientele, however, the sets and costuming were nice. There were only two nights of "outside" performers ( a comedian and a steel drum band). This, to me, is an obvious attempt at cost cutting. The daytime activities were few and far between. The Trivia games were a particular disappointment. Our team was fortunate enough to win on all six contests, but no prize was offered whatsoever after it was found that four of our six players were non-drinkers, and the prize was a bottle of champagne. They would not trade it out for cokes! I don't think that the cruise lines realize how important these silly Trivia contests are on cruises, especially on lines that court the more mature passenger. Prizes need not be large (a deck of cards, a ball point pen, a note pad, mug, Frisbee, ANYTHING) just something to commemorate a win. Most lines give a tee shirt to the teams with the highest cumulative wins during the week. Another shortsighted cost cutter for the line that will come back to bite them. The other daytime activities seemed just thrown together, as if this was the first time they had been presented (cooking, flower arranging). One time, the sample offered was not the recipe presented. The galley tour was a disaster, with safety sirens going off throughout and crowds far to large for the narrator to be heard. There was very little planned in the way of activities other than music, in the evening. The crew, throughout the ship, were unfailingly smiling and friendly. The pool bar staff was never pushy, and perhaps, best of all, Bingo was kept low key. The casino was small, and although smoking is allowed, the smell of smoke was not particularly pervasive. The shops were lovely and seemed well populated with customers, especially during their "side walk" sales. There is a small movie theater on board with comfortable seats which shows relatively new PG rated movies. There is also a catalog in each cabin of 100's of DVD's that are available free of charge from the front desk. This was not the cruise I had expected from Holland America, which I consider to be an upscale line. The food and entertainment were major disappointments. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on celebrity. I'm not sure whether we have been spoiled by other cruise lines or whether this was just a very average cruise line, but regardless the experience was most disappointing. We haven't ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise, 3rd on celebrity. I'm not sure whether we have been spoiled by other cruise lines or whether this was just a very average cruise line, but regardless the experience was most disappointing. We haven't cruised Celebrity in eight years and decided to once again give them a try. We booked a suite on the Reflection & the premium beverage package. The onboarding was efficient and only took about 15 minutes. We arrived about 11:30am so we decided to have lunch. We were directed to the Buffett which we found rather tasteless and unappealing. After a light lunch we went to our cabin where our luggage had already slowly begun to arrive. The suite was clean, spacious and much to our liking. A bottle of sparkling wine was iced down waiting on us. We found the service on the ship to be very good and professional although we were surprised that a number of staff members did not speak English well and we had difficulty communicating our needs to them. The food in the main dinning room was mediocre and not to the level we have experienced on any of our previous cruises. We dinned at two specialty restaurants and had to send our food back at one as did a person at the table next to us. Three other couples told us of disappointing experiences they had at the specialty restaurants. Although we had the premium beverage package we found the majority of wines to cost above the allowed $13.00 per glass. There seems to be no dress code for dinning as on formal (optional) night there were men dinning in the main dining room wearing dockers & polo type shirts. The entertainment was below the level I have experienced on most other ships. I felt we we nickel & dimed to the point that the experience actually became unpleasant. After spending over $4000.00 on a one week cruise, this was the first cruise that hat we were glad when it was over.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My wife and I have cruised with Princess 8 times making this our 9th voyage with them. We had very nice weather. This was our 1st time on the Regal Princess. I will alternate between positive and negative to hopefully provide balance. ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with Princess 8 times making this our 9th voyage with them. We had very nice weather. This was our 1st time on the Regal Princess. I will alternate between positive and negative to hopefully provide balance. Positive - Entertainment We thought the production shows were the best we saw on any of the Princess cruises we took. For my money, these are a must see. Negative - Sort of In the past, we never had any issue with Princess, no illness, always attentive staff, and reasonably good dining. We knew this voyage would be different when the toilet in the stateroom started leaking with the 1st flush. We immediately called passenger service to inform them of the situation. They said they would send a plumber. Several minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was our cabin steward. I told him we had a flood in the bathroom. He started dealing with the problem. We left for the lunch. When we got back, a ship's plumber was at work with our steward watching nearby. OK, problem solved and a good traveler's tale. Positive - Buffet Dining We really liked the Horizon Court on this ship. It is much larger and seems to have a larger selection. We never had a problem finding a table, even on embarkation day. To be honest, I liked the food here better than at the other dining options. Negative - Anytime Dining We had issues with Anytime dining. There seemed to be a shortage of seating and one of the restaurants did not open till 7:30 making it tough to make the 8:30 show. I guess on this ship it is a good idea to make reservations but we have never had to do that in the past. We always walked up to the host or hostess, said we would like to share a table, and were immediately seated. This gave us a chance to meet fellow cruisers, something we look forward to. On the Regal, we told the hostess that we would like to share but were then seated at a table for 2. We tried to explain that we would like to share a table with fellow passengers but were told no other table was available. Curiously, there was an empty table for 6 behind us that was empty for our entire meal. This miscommunication scenario played out several times. I understand that not everyone speaks English and we tried to be patient but it sure got aggravating. Fortunately, by the end of the cruise we discovered the magic spell. Plan for an 8 to 8:30 dinner. When we did this, we were able to share a table with other couples. Positive - Best Place on the Ship Check out deck 16, aft. Go all the way back. There is comfortable seating and it is quiet. Negative - Pull the Curtains if You are Under the Skywalk When you choose a cabin, be aware that guests walking on the skywalk can look down into the cabin. I think decks 14 and 15 would be most exposed. Be sure to pull the curtains if you are under the skywalk. Positive - Princess Live My wife enjoyed the games and karaoke. There are some talented folks who happen to be guests. Negative - Getting Around There is a curious quirk when getting around the ship. There seems to be a missing stairway amidships. If you only want to go up or down in this area, your only option is to take the elevator, even if you are going 1 deck. Positive - Pub Lunch I went to the Pub Lunch twice. I can recommend the Bangers and Mash as well as the curry chicken. I did not try them but many of my fellow diners ordered the fish and chips. For something a little different, try the Boddington's beer with you lunch. Minor Negative - Gelato Stand I would take a pass. The product is not worth the up charge. Go for the free soft serve on deck 16. All in all, I came away from this cruise vaguely disappointed. Maybe this is because the ship is only 6 months old or so and the crew is still settling in. Too often it seemed that there was inadequate communication between staff members. For now, I think I will take a pass on this ship and book passage on one of the Grand class Princess ships   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We sailed on Carnival Sensation for New Years, from December 30 to January 4, 2015. We were assigned a handicapped room (E64). The only difference between our room and a standard room is that in our room, they had removed the lip on the ... Read More
We sailed on Carnival Sensation for New Years, from December 30 to January 4, 2015. We were assigned a handicapped room (E64). The only difference between our room and a standard room is that in our room, they had removed the lip on the floor of the shower. This likely was done to accommodate a wheel chair. The result of this cheap, quick "fix" was that every time one of us took a shower, the entire bathroom flooded and the attendant had to come and mop the whole thing up. He then laid a towel on the floor in anticipation of the next time! This was awful. Most importantly, our "handicap room" was directly below what is called Circle C which is a youth room for ages 12-14. Apparently, the recreation staff run various programs for the youth. When planned activities were over, the room remained open 24/7 for the youth to use. On the first night of the cruise, we heard what sounded like furniture being moved around and scrapping the floor. After a time, I called the room attendant and it stopped. The second night, the noise was worse. It also included a knocking sound and I kept getting up to answer the door! This went on until well after 2 am. The next day, my husband and I both went up to the room at different times. Once I was able to talk to the staff just outside the room and they sympathized with our problem but were told they had to keep the door open at all times. One boy had a can of red bull in his hand and the tops of the metal stools were scattered all over the place. It was obvious that they were given carte blanche to trash the room. I went or called to Guest Services and I was told that if there was noise, I could call them and they would look after it. This was a reactive solution and not a proactive one. On the last night of the cruise, I called Guest Services again to complain about the noise coming from above. They told me that the room would be closed at 10:45 pm. I asked them what had changed and the woman said that they always close it then. That was a lie. At 10:45 pm the noise was still intolerable, so I called Guest Services and got the security guard. I told him that it was past time and that he was to go and empty the room and lock the door. About 20 minutes later, the noise stopped. My husband and I spent the whole cruise missing sleep and reporting noise. It absolutely ruined our experience. We were looking forward to a nice fun time on the cruise. Instead, it became days filled with anxiety about sleep and having to talk to a variety of people who had various accounts of things. Why would a youth room be placed directly above handicap rooms? Do handicap people not need sleep and a dry bathroom? We are appalled at the treatment we were given. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
we have cruised with ncl since our first cruise in 2010 and we love the cruise line we have been on the pearl, jade and spirit. I did read these reviews before we sailed with it being a brand new ship so we boarded in Miami and being gold ... Read More
we have cruised with ncl since our first cruise in 2010 and we love the cruise line we have been on the pearl, jade and spirit. I did read these reviews before we sailed with it being a brand new ship so we boarded in Miami and being gold latitude members we were on the ship within 20 mins of getting to the port. The ship is lovely we had a mini suite and I must agree the room itself was lovely but the balcony was smaller than the other mini suites we've had on the other ships. The most stupid thing is your cabin room door opens outwards which if your bags arrive while you're out that's good but if like us they arrive when you're in the room you can't open the door as they put them outside and I nearly knocked our steward Oswald out one day as he was walking past when I opened the door so after that I had to cautiously open it to make sure no one was coming past. Also while we were sailing if the was rolling our room creaked like mad and also we could hear the toilets from the other rooms especially the one next door which sounded like they were launching the life boats every time they flushed it never had that on the other ships. I also agree with the majority of the reviews ncl have sacrificed a lot of deck space on this ship we missed not having the outdoor garden cafe at the rear of the ship as we like to sit out there and eat also not having the pool deck buffet bar serving food during the afternoon was a disappointment as it's nice to sit round the pool and have something to eat and the pool is not as big. The illusinarium show was brilliant didn't like the fact that you had to book seats for the free shows and missed not having the different shows every night in the theatre as we did on the pearl we only managed to get to one show legally blonde which we had to leave early as most of the restaurants including the garden cafe stopped serving at 9.30 pm which is different from the other ships. There was a lot more choice of dining options also I can recommend Carlos bakery. If you haven't cruised before you will enjoy this ship but as we have we did find somethings on this ship that we didn't like but something's that were better it hasn't put us off cruising with ncl and we will continue to do so. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My Dearest Husband and I have been on approximately 14 cruises since 2011. The Allure was not our favorite. In summary here are some of the pros and cons of our week. Pros: Royal Caribbean has the absolutely best coffee of any cruise ... Read More
My Dearest Husband and I have been on approximately 14 cruises since 2011. The Allure was not our favorite. In summary here are some of the pros and cons of our week. Pros: Royal Caribbean has the absolutely best coffee of any cruise line. There is something to be said about waking up and having a wonderful cup of coffee. Coffee has actually hampered my mornings on other cruise lines. The Aqua Shows and Ice Games and Ice Shows were wonderful. Chicago was a good production, although it is not my favorite Broadway show. Ma5ic was very good although I found the music a bit loud for my taste. Food was good, sometimes in the dining room in the evening it was very good. General comments: Broadwalk and Central Park are nice but are not a large as one would expect for them to be amazing. Cons: Guest Services: this crew has no idea what they are doing. A new manager started about 3 weeks ago so hopefully he can get them organized. I believe someone should write a training manual as you get all sorts of different answers depending who you speak with. There was always a line to speak to guest services, some times as long as 30 minutes. There is someone from guest services who goes around and asks if she/he can help but usually they can not. Also, they don't ask until you get to position #5 on the line. The crew also can not fix problems. They always stated they had to get back to us. Dining: The dining room was very disorganized for breakfast. I asked for cream after my coffee was already poured, the wait was 15 minutes. They have milk on the tables inside the creamers for coffee. It took about 12 minutes to place an order and about 20 minutes to get breakfast. Lunch in the dining room was smooth but it could be that we were there as soon as they opened. Service for dinner is good but our head waiter was useless. I booked this cruise just because I loved the idea of free restaurants. Well good luck getting in. Lines were extremely long. I even video taped several lines just to show management but didn't want to wait 1/2 hour in guest services to show the video. If you have "My Time Dining" the lines are a block long. I even had a crew member tell me: what do you expect with 6,300 people on board. OK Allure, I expect not to wait in line for over 20 minutes when I want to eat. Shows: ok, you book online before you go but get to the show 45 minutes early if you want a good seat. Library: nice but small room with a very poor selection of books. Most of the books were in foreign languages. First time a board a cruise that I did not borrow a book from the library. General Problem: You have to wait for everything..... Let's see: what did you do on your cruise: I woke up super early to be able to have breakfast without waiting in line (although, I usually enjoy a later breakfast). The rest of the day, I waited in line to see shows, eat and get concerns resolved in guest services. I am sure that others will not agree with my review. However, for us, we decided against ever going on a Mega ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
In a Nutshell: The elegant MS Nieuw Amsterdam is a ship designed for this decade. It reflects how cruise ships have evolved from a medium of transportation to a hospitality vessel. The seven day Eastern Caribbean “holiday” cruise ... Read More
In a Nutshell: The elegant MS Nieuw Amsterdam is a ship designed for this decade. It reflects how cruise ships have evolved from a medium of transportation to a hospitality vessel. The seven day Eastern Caribbean “holiday” cruise exceeded expectations. HAL is working hard to keep up with the competition, trying to appeal to the budget cruiser who is looking for a bargain. The food in the main dining room and specialty restaurants is of high quality. Most personnel is professional and courteous. HAL has focused in bringing aboard top-notch musicians. The company can make some minor improvements. Food servers at the Lido and the Tamarind are subpar compared to other restaurants. Bartenders across the ship – receive an automatic 15% tip on every purchase – are rude and inefficient (and especially at the Lido). And on a full ship, personnel can be overstretched. Guests can see them running around and working hard. But there is only so much their employees can do at one time. It seems that they don’t have enough employees in this big ship, and as a result, quality suffers at times. Overall, sailing the MS Niuew Amsterdam is a vacation worth living. A ship for these times, made for different types of guests who want to be entertained and want to enjoy the pristine waters of the Caribbean (in this cruise). With a few improvements in customer service HAL could easily surpass other similar cruise companies within their category. Embarkation at Port Everglades Smooth as Caribbean waters. Embarkation went fine at 1:30 p.m. Not a long line and there were enough staffers to check in guests. Although, there are some negative reviews of Port Everglades, per my experience this is much better than other more crowded ports. The Ship: The 2100 plus passengers’ M.S. Nieuw Amsterdam is impressive in every sense. It was designed to be a cruise for a targeted public within the Carnival Corp. line. It is obvious that the corporation wants to focus their different brandings to reach several markets. Carnival, to start with, is for families and a younger crowd. Seaborn, on the other side of the spectrum, is geared towards more selected and wealthier customers. Then it is HAL. With the Nieuw Amsterdam, the corporation is trying to elevate the cruise experience to be more “luxurious,” but still affordable. They seem to want to eliminate the stigma of a cruise line for an older crowd and welcome more 30s-50s year’s old customers with above the average education and income – a demographic group that tends to spend more on vacations. This ship hits the target. The ship has more verandahs compared with other similar vessels. The restaurants, part of their “excellence” program, are elegant and offer an international array of food (Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern...etc…) This is pretty much what you could find in a posh neighborhood in Manhattan, San Francisco, LA or Washington, DC. The entertainment venues include anything from BB King’s Blues Show to a classical music bar. Passengers can also find some peace away from the crowds in the Explorations Café and the Crow’s Nest on the 11th floor. Once again, these cafes are similar to an upscale Starbucks (if there is such) surrounded by computers and books. The ship is elegantly decorated to “imitate” a Manhattan from the 50s or 60s. The Manhattan room, their main restaurant, is red and silver – a mixture of a modern type of art deco. Throughout the ship guests can find photos of New York City and of older ships, when HAL was actually owned and operated by the Dutch. Hygiene was a top priority for HAL during the trip (as it should be). There were hand sanitizer dispensers in several key spots across the ship. The Lido area was cleaner compared to other ships from the same corporation. However, some of the public restrooms (especially restrooms for the handicap) were not cleaned frequently enough. At least one time one of these restrooms had a strong odor that could be felt from the hallway. The stateroom (verandah, see below) was excellent. Not only was spacious, but the newly designed Neiuw Amsterdam maximizes the space. This ship has, perhaps, one of the best cost/benefit when it comes to staterooms. For those first time cruisers, the Lido is the Lido. Guess what? The pool and the main informal restaurant are here. Yes, this is where everything happens, where everyone meets and where there is noise at all times. Thus, this Lido is not better than your Carnival or Royal Caribbean experience in the sense that guests might need to stand in line to get some buffet food and won’t be able to lunch in silence. But the adult only pool does make a difference for those who are in search of calmer waters. This pool is big enough to fit enough people at once. Before getting excited with the thought of getting your own deck chair, on full cruises there is the usual problem of overcrowding, albeit there were always regular chairs available. Another positive point is that the adult only Lido has less disruptions than other ships’ pools. During this cruise a metal drum was the staple. Noise control was a plus, for those travelers who don’t want to be disturbed by MTV – Spring Break type contests. The main problem at the Lido were the employees serving the buffet and at the bar (more below). If you are looking into sliding into a water toboggan, climbing a rock, and an MTV like party, then this ship might not be the best bet (disclaimer, I previously cruised in Carnival and NCL, and after my experience, I will never step in those again.) But if you are looking into a more relaxing and upscale experience, with cafes, great food and a variety of talented musicians, then the Nieuw Amsterdam has it all. Fellow Passengers In case you were wondering, I am an urban professional in my 30s and I traveled without any children. With that said, this HAL Eastern Caribbean cruise was, perhaps, one of the most diverse I have ever been at. Every single demographic group was represented in this cruise. There were many families, some with children, and others with teenagers. You could find passengers from Asia, Europe and Latin America, although most fellow cruisers were Americans. The passengers’ age varied from 5 years olds to 80 years old, but the average was between 30s and early 50s. Most passengers seemed to be working professionals (and in the case of the international passengers, more wealthy than the average). In contrast to other cruise ships departing from a U.S. port, the diversity in this cruise made it exceptional. The fact that there were so many people from different backgrounds helped to improve the cruising experience, making it more interesting and “international.” Smokers were not a problem in this cruise (I expected worst judging from other reviewers), but there were some people smoking in the Lido. I agree with other cruisers that HAL should restrict smoking to certain areas away from other passengers (if they want to compete with, say Celebrity, they should start from here). Service Service first and above port excursions. Why? Because passengers spent most of their time dealing with cruises’ employees than in the port of call. The service was the difference in this HAL cruise – from the best in the industry to the worst. I would book again my next cruise on HAL because of the service and I would not cruise again with HAL because of the service. The main problem is that service is not standard in all decks and restaurants. There are some places where service excels all expectations and others where it is very disappointing. Here are some examples: The Manhattan Room (aka. main dining room) and the Pinnacle Room (also Le Cirque) both located in the second and third floors offered the best service. All the waiters were professional, gentle and courteous at all times. Even when they had to handle several tables at the same time, they personally took care of all customers. Both servers who handled my table during dinner were excellent to say the least. They were very well trained, and they could easily work in a top restaurant in Paris or Manhattan. Service during breakfast and lunch at the Manhattan Room was very good, depending on who served you. But overall they were all great. Most of the stewardess who tended the staterooms were very efficient and courteous. My impression is that they always took care of all passengers. My stateroom was cleaned twice per day to perfection. Every time I encountered a stewardess in the hallway, he/she smiled back and greeted me. Excellent training from HAL. However, the big disappointment comes from the Lido servers and bartenders, and most of the bartenders in the ship. I cannot affirm there is a direct correlation with the 15% tip that the company forcefully charges each passenger for every drink and the bad service. But I can assure that most bartenders (again especially in the Lido) are rude. While waiters in the Manhattan Room are nice and always willing to serve you, bartenders and buffet servers at the Lido seemed to hate their jobs. At one point a bartender in their private island (Half Moon Cay) who worked at the cruise, served me two drinks instead of one and started arguing and yelling. Not a customer friendly attitude, especially in the hospitality industry. In addition, while the food at the Tamarind Asian restaurant was superb (see below), the service was subpar. The waiters/waitresses were not to the level of the other restaurants. The wine specialist won the price for the worst service ever in a cruise. This lady not only insulted my family by making discriminatory jokes, she was extremely rude. I had to communicate these issues to the ship’s customer service manager, who handled the complaint very well, taking immediate action by notifying all other managers. Nevertheless, I recommend that HAL changes the practice of charging 15% tip and making it a voluntary contribution. HAL should also enhance oversight of their bartenders and retrain them or rehire other bartenders. Their attitude is not only unfair with the customers, but also with their colleagues in other restaurants who work so hard to make a good impression. Overall, the ship’s mostly Indonesian crew was exceptional. HAL should make more to retain the good employees, giving them additional incentives for their good service. Also, the mostly Dutch officers and managers were excellent. They were active taking care of every single detail to make of this trip a very pleasant one. Food Not all food is created equal. Not at least in the Nieuw Amsterdam. Not even in the Manhattan Room, where the daily menus varies. The food in the Manhattan Room could be excellent to average, all in the same menu. There are days when the menu presents such a variety of gourmet food that it is difficult to pick one item. There are other days when there is excellent food and mediocre food at once. For instance, you can get lamb with mint sauce (top of the line) or a mediocre roast beef in the menu. The Christmas menu was delicious, worth every single bite. The Manhattan Room, in short, serves high quality food. Open seating at the Manhattan Room could present an inconvenience to those with fix dinner times. Apparently, there are nights when the restaurant is totally full, stretching out the limited personnel available. This results in higher waiting times to get the food and to eat. The problem are not the hard working servers who do everything they can to attend their guests. It is the lack of personnel during the busiest times. HAL can make adjustments to train and transfer personnel from less busy restaurants (dinner at the Lido) to take care of open seating at the Manhattan Room. Or they could just hire more people to rotate in the ship. Le Cirque is something else. Offered once in every cruise at the Pinnacle Room, cooks work extensively to imitate the cuisine from the famous New York French restaurant. The price, at $50 per person, is too high for the food they serve. This would be a better experience if they lower the price to match the quality (although close to Le Cirque, it is not Le Cirque). I never tried the Canaletto Italian restaurant. But the fact that it is within the Lido, it is not a good sign. A reviewer here complained about having formal dinner with people walking around with swimsuits. I agree. The Lido food is the Lido food. That means that it is buffet food. Good and tasty buffet food, but that that’s it. Also, as I remarked above, the servers are not in their best mood. The Dive, serves excellent burgers, fries and hot dogs. The pizza is your average cruise pizza (no gourmet). A good alternative option is to eat lunch at the Manhattan Room, pay $10 for the Pinnacle, or a free lunch at the Tamarind, which is a paid restaurant in the evening (best secret in the cruise). The Tamarind food is incredible. This is, without any doubt, one – if not – of the best Pan-Asian restaurants in cruise industry. The wantons are more than delicious. The only problem is the service – again—from average waiters, to rude wine specialists to a grouchy chef (a great but uncharismatic cook). Breakfast delivered to the stateroom is a perk that is unmatched anywhere else. HAL elevates the cruising experience with this service. People who are looking into buying a cruise should look into the unique breakfast service. Nothing better that eating breakfast with an ocean view. Mix drinks are horrible. Avoid them at all costs. For a little less than $7 you get a sugary drink without much alcohol. It seems that bartenders around the globe are in short supply, because HAL cannot find the right people. It’d be even acceptable if they were only rude, but they cannot prepare a Mojito at all. This is just not right, but it’s fixable (tip for HAL recruiters: search in bartending schools). Ports of Call This seven day Eastern Caribbean cruise had the following ports of call: Grand Turk: The best was Governors Beach, just a short walk from the cruise port. The worst, the taxi service. It is very expensive. Avoid going to downtown, not worth the expense. While there are tours operators to take tourists, it is recommended to check the ship’s excursion. San Juan, PR: The Old San Juan is worth walking. It is very small (in 2-3hrs people can see the entire old city). San Juan has, unfortunately, turned to a “cruise” tourist economy, meaning that there are less business for locals and more small shops selling souvenirs. For a real experience take a cab to La Placita de Santurce and dine in El Condado beach. St. Thomas, VI: The stay here is too short to go to St. John’s VI National Park (Turks Bay), but just enough to go to crowded, but beautiful Magens Bay or Linquist Beach (just be careful of unreliable and expensive taxi cabs). Half-Moon-Cay (Private Island): The disembarkation to the tender is very organized (like every single activity and movement in the ship). The private island is beautiful, like a postcard. The beach is outstanding. But with 3,000 plus people visiting (from two ships) it gets very crowded. The staff at the Captain Morgan Bar is extremely rude (they are the same people who bartend at the Lido). The BBQ is very crowded as well and it is served by the same servers at the Manhattan Room who try their best, but again seemed to be understaffed (try to eat earlier, rather than later). Entertainment HAL is trying to program activities that are more inclusive. From wine tasting to beer tasting, metal drum classes, to cooking exhibition and family activities, HAL’s staff does everything within their reach to keep their guests busy. On the downside they can always be “more creative.” Here are some of the shows they offer: BB King Blues’ Club: Very talented musicians. They play everything from Santana to Matchbox 20 to Motown classics. That is everything, but blues. If you expect a trip to the Mississippi river, then think about it twice. But the band is excellent. They know how to animate the public. At the end of their performance everyone is standing and dancing. If they played more blues (and honor their name), it would be much better. Expect to dance those classics until late at night. Classical music players: Both musicians were good, but not really good. For any classical music lover, this is a far cry from a good string-piano duo. They try hard, there are not just good enough. Beer tasting: What a joke! Miller Light and Blue Moon? An insult to any beer lover. Why they don’t bring some good Belgians, German lagers, British Ales, and American IPA’s. They can do much better. Sports: While they cruise ship has a basketball and a mini-tennis courts, the staff could do more to organize tournaments for different ages and groups. Cuisine Exhibitions: It is more like watching Food TV while munching a small appetizer. Cero interaction. What about smaller classes where guests interact with the chefs? Maybe selling a package with a cooking class and a dinner at the Tamarind. There is goes….more imagination is needed to create more engaging activities. Disembarkation Disembarkation was organized and smooth. This is the product of the methodological organization that is notable throughout the cruise. Cruise planers think of every single detail. Port Everglades do not have enough CBP officers to handle large ships as the Neiuw Amsterdam (2,000 plus passengers). Disembarkation times could improve with more CBP officers processing passengers. Outside the terminal ground transportation can be messy with several ships arriving at the same time and taxi drivers seizing the moment by charging exorbitant fees for short trips. An airport transfer might be ideal for some people. Conclusion The 7 day Western Caribbean holiday cruise aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam is a bargain for what it has to offer. HAL can make some adjustments (such as improving customer service, especially their security personnel, bar personnel, and service at the Tamarind) and could ramp up its entertainment activities. HAL managers might need to check how they can maximize their limited personnel to make sure that they can expand their operations more efficiency in order to attend all customers even in the busiest times. The elegant ship, beautiful selected Caribbean beaches, the food and the overall experience, makes of this trip an unforgettable vacation. The only regret was not being able to stay in the ship longer for their 14 day Eastern-Western Caribbean cruise. I’ll be looking forward to sail with them again, and I do hope that next time, HAL improves their customer service at all levels. Total perfection is unachievable, but with a few adjustments, HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam 7 day Caribbean cruise can be as close as it can get to a perfect vacation.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
this is the second year that I've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays on the QM2. My mother does not like to fly to get on a cruise ship so we are limited to ships that sail out of New York in the winter. Our cruise was ... Read More
this is the second year that I've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays on the QM2. My mother does not like to fly to get on a cruise ship so we are limited to ships that sail out of New York in the winter. Our cruise was relaxed and low key, plenty to do if one wishes. The entertainment was a mixed bag. I particularly enjoyed a group of soul/swing/Motown singers~the Flywrights~who were terrific~and the juggler. Beyond that the acts were just OK. The enrichment speakers were excellent, in particular, Dr. Jon Bailey, who presented four fabulous lectures analyzing Broadway musicals and Angela Schneider who spoke about different aspects of the Caribbean,including the devastating effects of the sugar trade. Having Ms. Schneider speak was important, I felt, giving travelers a more nuanced understanding of the history of the islands they'd be visiting beyond shopping and beaches. I enjoyed the food for the most part, especially considering the number of people they feed around the clock. I'm a pescetarian, and there were always plenty of options beyond meat and poultry dishes. That said I am not a picky eater and simply feel blessed when someone else is doing the cooking. The coffee leaves something to be desired. I love the Brits but they just don't know how to make good coffee. High tea in The Queens Room is a lovely indulgence. I'm already having scone withdrawal. The pools on the QM2 are a tad odd, probably because it's an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. For an older or less mobile person, they are very hard to get in and out of, having only ladders. I did indulge in a full pass to the aqua therapy center and used it to full advantage. It's not very large and it definitely needs some updating but I enjoyed the hydrotherapy pool, two saunas and steam room. We had cabins with protected balconies which I've heard some folks don't like because they "can't lie in bed and look at the ocean" pffft, get your butt up and quit complaining. Worked fine for us and our steward very promptly opened the partition so that my mother and I could go back and forth between our cabins on the balcony. The ports were great! St.Thomas which is well, St. Thomas. I don't bother, I just take a ferry over to St John for a much better USVI experience. Dominica, which I've visited before, and just love. They are stepping up their emphasis on eco-tourism and it's really a lovely island. St. Lucia was new to me and I visited the rainforest and did an aerial tram ride and a short hike. Gorgeous. Next on to Barbados which I'm lukewarm on. At the last minute I joined a snorkeling with turtles excursion which was rather lame, we did see plenty of turtles but also saw way too many people. The last port was St. Kitts which I also love, I did a great sail and snorkel excursion. Most snorkeling excursions don't allow enough time in the water for me but this one was long enough I was just starting to get cold when they blew the "come back" signal. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, plenty of porters, and as I was using a Cunard transfer to La Guardia, was off the ship very early. NO line at customs. All in all, it was delightful. I spent many hours in a chaise lounge reading and gazing at the ocean, Some folks might want more from a cruise but if relaxing is what you are after, the QM2 provides. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This ship was a disappointment from the first step on board. The staff was uninterested and at times even rude. The ship itself was dirty, handrails and counters were sticky and stained. Guest services had old poinsettia plants, with ... Read More
This ship was a disappointment from the first step on board. The staff was uninterested and at times even rude. The ship itself was dirty, handrails and counters were sticky and stained. Guest services had old poinsettia plants, with leaves falling off. It was like no one cared. The spa staff was unfriendly. I walked in and tried to get some information and no one said anything, they just looked and me and went on working. Staff in the main dining room did their best, but the food was hopeless. Often served cold, undercooked, with poor cuts of meat. Our cabin attendant was a kind man who worked hard, but I felt he was rare on this disaster ship. It should be renovated completely. It's a mess! Most of the staff needs lessons in customer service. I would not recommend this ship to anyone. Seven nights on this cruise was too long. I've never said this about a holiday, but I couldn't wait to get off this ship. One thing I witnessed, was a man in the 5th floor promenade (ice cream counter) flirting with young girls. He was probably in his 40's and I heard one of the girls say to him, they were almost 18. Don't know his name but he was a bald Caucasian man about 5'7" and had a Russian (I think) accent. He usually wore a black baseball cap and red shirt. My daughter was with me and she thought his behavior was disgusting. I found staff to be rude over and over again. Most of them don't smile and aren't interested in being helpful. It's like a really disconnect in the training of staff. There was an exception worth mentioning though and that is "Samantha Telesford"a (I hope I have her name right). She is a gem! Personable, professional and a lovely lady, with a sense of humor. I have worked the in customer service industry and this ship falls short. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We are frequent cruisers on Princess. We found the new Royal to be a beautiful ship. The best improvements from other Princess ships are: 1) Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro were so well laid out that it never seemed crowded. It was easy ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers on Princess. We found the new Royal to be a beautiful ship. The best improvements from other Princess ships are: 1) Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro were so well laid out that it never seemed crowded. It was easy to miss a selection of the food offerings, however, as there were several small areas with different offerings. We liked the relaxing ambience of the dinning area especially in the Horizon Bistro. 2) The Princess Theater - easy to see from any of the seats and we were always able to find a seat within 10 minutes of show time. We usually went to the late show. The vast majority of the dancing was in the atrium. The hard marble floor doesn't compare to a nice wooden dance floor. We miss the pre-dinner and/or pre-show dancing in the Wheelhouse Bar of Explorer's lounge. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We love cruising and Celebrity is our favorite cruise line. We were on the Eastern Caribbean 7 day cruise that departed on Sunday, December 7, 2014. This cruise, with the exception of one aspect, did not disappoint. Pros: The ship is ... Read More
We love cruising and Celebrity is our favorite cruise line. We were on the Eastern Caribbean 7 day cruise that departed on Sunday, December 7, 2014. This cruise, with the exception of one aspect, did not disappoint. Pros: The ship is beautiful. The only time it felt crowded was when we were in the food areas - main dining room and the buffet area. There are many nice lounges and seating areas that are beautiful and peaceful. We really enjoyed the guitarist Jonny Java - he was fantastic! We loved our stateroom - Concierge level on deck 11. It was spacious and quiet. The chairs on our balcony were comfortable. Food was great - never had a bad meal. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants because we had an awesome group at our table for dinner and we did not want to miss out on their company! We are Select members of the Captains Club and we enjoyed the events that were held for the Captains Club - a wine tasting, two cocktail parties, and a backstage tour. Cons: Fortunately we have cruised before but if we had not cruised before and this was either our first cruise or our first with Celebrity it would have left a bad taste. The only downside to this particular cruise is something that we have never experienced before on any of our many, many, many cruises. Really hard to generalize but overall the other passengers on this cruise were an incredibly obnoxious, poorly behaved group. The kicker.....the worst behavior we routinely witnessed was from the large population of retired senior citizens traveling on this particular cruise! A few examples: Experienced the "F" bomb being directed at fellow passengers in the buffet line on multiple occasions - once toward my husband. Witnessed seriously rude & disrespectful behavior directed at the performers in the comedy show. The last day of the cruise they put out a very nice buffet for lunch - it is called the Extravaganza (or something like that) - it was total mayhem & chaos because the passengers behaved like a pack of entitled starved animals. Very unappetizing so we left. We had been on a Celebrity cruise the year prior during spring break. There were 500 college aged spring breakers on that cruise and the behavior was much better - more polite & better behaved than the cruise we just took. The spring breakers really added to the enjoyment and fun of that cruise. On this cruise the large population of abysmally behaved senior citizens detracted from the fun & enjoyment of the trip. My one take away from this experience....hell will freeze over before I will ever entertain the idea of living in one of those 55+ retirement communities in Florida! Read Less

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