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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2005
I recently boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise, on March 26. My wife and I paid for a guaranteed balcony room. The first night we noticed a bug between the sheets, but brushed it off and didn't pay too much attention. The next morning we ... Read More
I recently boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise, on March 26. My wife and I paid for a guaranteed balcony room. The first night we noticed a bug between the sheets, but brushed it off and didn't pay too much attention. The next morning we found 2-3 more bugs in the bed, called for the staff to check it out. An officer came up and stated he was stunned as this has not happened before, while his maintenance guy states 'let me check one spot'. Behind the headboard was a swarm of bugs, they were climbing up curtains and in our clothes in the closet. They moved us to a non-balcony room, without mention of any reimbursements of fees. They took all of our clothes to be laundered, therefore we spent two days in the same clothes. However, my wife and I tried to make the best of it, since I had had a heart attack 1 month prior, and we were on the cruise to attempt to relax. We spoke with lower management about needing a balcony, to avoid long walking distances to the decks since I have a 100% blocked right coronary artery, it is impossible for me to walk extended distances. We would not have gone on the cruise without having a balcony room. They stated they did not have any available and moved us to a smaller room with no balcony. Soon after, the passengers who had had the room which we were moved to, walked in while I was in bed in my underwear. Apparently, security did not take their keys from them when they were moved. We asked to speak to the highest member of management on the boat, since the head guest service person could not answer questions about reimbursements, etc. Meanwhile, due to the stress levels, my wife was in tears and I was popping nitro pills from chest pains. It took 24 hours just to be allowed to speak with a higher level manager. We decided to leave the ship at the first port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My wife is an optometrist, and paid $2400 dollars for replacement doctors to fill-in for her, so we decided we should try to salvage our vacation elsewhere. Royal Caribbean finally decided to refund our money and pay for a flight home on April 3. Prior to leaving the ship, my wife realized she was missing items of clothes (pajamas). Management found them in the original bug infested room and stated that they were laundered and then rushed them to us prior to leaving. My wife wore these pajamas on Thurs. and Fri. nights. On Friday she started developing bumps and by Saturday she developed an incredible rash and hives on her arms, face, neck and back. Sat. April 2 she ended up in the ER on the island of Vieques for a Benadryl shot in the butt and IV steroids. The itching has continued and on April 4th, the bumps on her face were even worse. She went to a dermatologist here at home (Boca Raton, FL), on April 4th, who stated that the bumps definitely look like bites. He biopsied one bump and then stitched up the wound. Additionally, stronger medications were prescribed. As a doctor, my wife is very embarrassed and disconcerted attending to patients looking like she does. As you can expect, she and I are quite upset. The cruise line has reimbursed some of our costs but they are being very difficult to deal with. I just wanted to pass this story on to you, in case it might be of interested. I did not take pictures of the bugs but I have many pictures of the bites and my wife is still covered with them. From what I have found by researching "bed bugs", the pictures shown are exactly the bugs we saw. They are blood sucking bugs that are difficult to get rid of, can spread diseases and usually the infections grow unless something serious is done. Just by witnessing the ship's employee say, 'let me check one spot' and finding a swarm in that spot, we were pretty sure that this was far from an isolated incident. Higher management's comment to us was that in the hospitality industry 'bed bugs are common and always will be'. Well, we've never seen them before. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
I bid and won this cruise from an online agency because we have used this agency 2 times before and are very pleased with the service and email response. This particular cruise, the agency had a plate full of designer chocolate ... Read More
I bid and won this cruise from an online agency because we have used this agency 2 times before and are very pleased with the service and email response. This particular cruise, the agency had a plate full of designer chocolate delivered to our cabin and the next day, a bottle of champaign (sp). The embarkation was not handled too badly and we arrived in our stateroom quickly after testing the buffet. So far so good. Then came the meals-Swill. A fellow passenger was ill one full day with vomiting/diarrhea, another passenger said he'd never put so much into his mouth and taken out so much from his mouth in so short a time and that if this was a restaurant, he'd never return. We found the food to be particularly bad as compared to other cruises that we have been on. Many leftovers were used and understandable since this is one area that one can save a lot of money with. But, even the filets that were prepared were tough. Most other ships had the herbal tea set out for consumption but on the Elation one had to ask for a bag of tea. (Regular Lipton teas were by the coffee maker for passenger pickup) When my wife asked for a herbal tea from one of the busgirls, she promptly got it for her and handed it to her with the plastic gloves still on after scraping plates. I noted that the inside handle and surrounding door area in the pizza prep area was filthy from being opened and closed. It had what looked like grease and soil from staff entering and exiting the pizza prep area. Never met our cabin steward until the last full sea day. Children were stomping up and down the halls, slamming doors and waking us several times during the night. We were GLAD to disembark, now the wife never wants to cruise again. The food is one MAJOR reason to cruise but on this cruise it was like being at a 2nd class truck sop on some highway in Wyoming. Jorge the cruise director was especially funny during the customs briefing and found to be better tna some of the comedy shows. The Caper for Cozumel was never delivered to our cabin and I found one the next day at the Purser's desk after returning from that island. Regardless of where we ate whether in the Tiffany Buffet or main dining room, the food was extremely poor. Perhaps those who eat out and don't like to cook found it palatable but we can and do cook and know quality food and this simply wasn't. I wish it had been better but it isn't. We arrived at the port of debarkation tired, sleepy and wanting a good meal. A day later at home we haven't recovered. The wife is still complaining of abdominal discomfort. Maybe someday she'll agree to cruise again but that day probably far off. In consideration for other passengers, some felt the food was good and others said it was so-so. Maybe we had so much difficulty because it was such a small ship? Also, I noticed the table servers were taking the plates beneath the salad bowl and setting them aside for later use with 2nd seating (And I know I put my fork and knife on the plate). Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
We sailed Feb 27 - March 6, 2005. My husband & I booked and paid for a family trip for 9 people ranging in age from 2 to 82. We had 4 cabins. This was our 4th cruise (3rd on Carnival). We arrived in Miami the day before cruising to ... Read More
We sailed Feb 27 - March 6, 2005. My husband & I booked and paid for a family trip for 9 people ranging in age from 2 to 82. We had 4 cabins. This was our 4th cruise (3rd on Carnival). We arrived in Miami the day before cruising to avoid flight problems, etc. We arrived early sunday at the port terminal to await boarding. Embarkation went relatively smooth though the terminal was undergoing some construction so it was difficult to hear the instructions as the employees had to shout them. We did note that the terminal staff weren't as friendly as we have normally experienced. Once aboard, we were impressed with the ship's design. Very patriotic. My 15 year old son loved it. We had a very nice first night aboard just exploring and getting used to the ship. We had early seating for dinner and it was mediocre, but okay. Our first problem came on Monday morning. We had pre-paid for 9 tickets to the Dolphin Discovery in Nassau before we left home and were on the pier to meet our tour guide 15 - 20 minutes early. Once the hour passed we began to get worried as most all of the other excursions had left with their tour guides. Eventually another tour guide came over & explained that the Excursions manager would be out shortly to speak to us. Paul Heslop came over and explained that there was a mix-up somehow & the Dolphin tour was unaware that we were coming. He then offered to refund our $900+ and send us on a complimentary tour on whatever was left. We were extremely disappointed and chose a tour of Atlantis as it would accommodate all of us. Problem was, it was a strenuous walking tour which was mostly rushed as we were already behind schedule. With a 2 year old & an 82 year old as well as a woman with a bad knee it was not an enjoyable tour. Things happen & we moved on determined to enjoy our trip. Our next stop was St. Thomas & we had booked all of us on the Atlantis Submarine tour. Once again, on the pier we were told by the tour operator that it was oversold & we could not go. Paul Heslop again stepped in and after much discussion with the tour operator we were somehow allowed to go. Others were turned away & rebooked for a later time. Our last port was St. Maarten and many of us decided to just hang out at the beach while my son (age 15), my daughter (age 23) & her friend (age 32) decided to do a combination tour of a Golden Eagle Catamaran tour along with some snorkeling. We booked this tour based on Carnival's tour book found in the cabins. Nowhere in this beautiful description did it say: "Booze cruise to nude beach, snorkeling not recommended". My son & daughter came back and said that it was a party boat full of minor children with many extremely intoxicated adults and they went straight to an all-nude beach. The tour guide pointed out a red buoy 1/4 mile or more down the beach and said if anyone wanted to snorkel that's where they could go but he didn't recommend it because if they weren't paying attention and were not back in time they would miss the boat. The kids said it was a long and very rocky walk & was virtually unsupervised by the tour operators so they decided it wasn't worth the risk. Once they were back on board I immediately went to the Excursion Desk to hear an explanation and wasn't expecting what I heard. Paul Brenner, the manager, upon hearing my son's description of what the tour was like, looked at me & stated "It's common knowledge that the beaches in St. Maarten are largely nude." I asked him how we were supposed to know that as we'd never been there before, he further stated that if we'd bothered to attend the "Travel Talk" the Cruise Director had mentioned it. With 8 other people to keep track of, the Travel Talk wasn't on my radar. So, be aware that in order to find out the "real" scoop on your excursions, do not trust the booklet that Carnival provides for you. In this instance Mr. Brenner might simply have apologized and diffused the situation, but rather he pinned much of the blame on us as travelers & guests. We have cruised before & do not expect perfection as we were all on vacation and looking to have a good time. Many of the things we found to be unsatisfactory we did our best to overlook as they weren't really vacation makers or breakers just simple disappointments along the way. For example, the food. The food was not the quality that we have experienced on prior cruises, the dinner service wasn't great. Bear in mind if you travel with children they are paying almost full fare, yet the dining room dinner menu is limited to Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Chicken Fingers & Pizza. This gets tiresome for even a two year old. On this ship versus others we have sailed on we experienced many indifferent or downright rude employees. For example, my daughter & I were watching my granddaughter swim in the kiddie pool and were unable to find an open deck chair yet there were stacks of them tied & locked together nearby. My daughter approached a crew member to ask whether they could untether them so that we may have a chair (we were sitting on the deck) the crew member said "no." She went on to explain that the reason she was asking is that there were none empty and none on that level and we were willing to share. This crew member simply said "That's too bad" and walked away. Drink service on the deck was poor at best, we just went & retrieved our own drinks. If you purchase a soda card (very overpriced) for any of your party you might as well plan on getting them yourself because the service staff does not get a gratuity on them & they will do their best to ignore you if they can. Our last horrible experience with this ship & Carnival in general was Debarkation. The debarkation went fine, it was leaving the Port Terminal that really hurt Carnival. We retrieved our bags and were trying to corral all of our bags & all of our people to the buses to depart for the airport. My husband & I were in charge & had everyone's documents and as we were digging for the bus vouchers, a woman who assists the drivers by collecting the vouchers and directing passengers was rudely shouting at people to get their vouchers out & ready. My daughter was standing nearby with my granddaughter in a stroller and waiting for us to find all of their vouchers when this woman snapped at her to get her voucher out NOW! My daughter told her to calm down and pointed to my husband & myself & told her we were working on it as fast as we could. She snapped back at my daughter & told her "Don't you take that tone with me!" My daughter said "Well you're being very rude and they're working on it." With that, the woman (wearing a Carnival name tag) made an unkind comment in front of my 2 year old granddaughter! My daughter wrote down her name & walked over to where I was standing and repeated the conversation to me at which point I was livid! I dropped my bags & went over to ask the Carnival employee about it. She denied she had said anything of the sort. I told her that I would be sure to include her name in the letter I was already set on writing to Carnival and let them know how she is representing their company. With that she removed her name tag. She went on to tell me "It won't matter, I'll still be here next year when you come back." As we removed our bags from that bus and went to find another way to the airport, this employee took one more parting shot at my daughter. Now.......before you book a cruise with Carnival, ask yourself if it's worth spending your annual vacation or hard earned money on a family trip and encounter this kind of treatment when you were expecting quite the opposite. We apologized profusely to our first-time cruising guests after promoting this trip & telling them they would have the time of their life & be pampered by the service they would receive. It did not happen on this ship. I have never encountered so many unhappy, indifferent employees in any past trip. I did write that letter immediately upon our return and to date have not received a response; which surprises me even for Carnival. Don't waste your money on Carnival, we won't again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
The Glory is a beautiful ship. A stretched Destiny Class. Deck Plans are almost identical. The trip was the worst. We left on Saturday 2/19/05 with propulsion problems. Were not informed until Sunday afternoon while in Nassau. They ... Read More
The Glory is a beautiful ship. A stretched Destiny Class. Deck Plans are almost identical. The trip was the worst. We left on Saturday 2/19/05 with propulsion problems. Were not informed until Sunday afternoon while in Nassau. They changed our itinerary from St. Thomas & St. Maarten to Freeport Bahamas & Key West, Florida. You could either get off the ship or suffer the trip. They gave everyone onboard a $100 credit and kissed us off. They sold us a Caribbean Cruise and gave us a Bahamas/Florida cruise for the same price. The $100 credit on the Sail & Sign account was no gift. It was a credit for a difference in our port charges. The Cruise Director is Carlo. Talks cryptically and has a dry British Type sense of humor. Almost speaks as if he doesn't know what to say. The Casino is tight, yet the Casino Manager Kimberly was a great host. Too bad it was her last trip before moving on to her new contract on the Pride. She was a true example of a customer service oriented, friendly and accommodating staff member. Only half the elevators were working all the time, the rest were constantly in use by crew or just down. Get use to taking the stairs. The hot tubs on Lido deck are lukewarm. Pools are always crowded and hard to get a deck chair unless your up at the crack of dawn. Meals in the Red Sail Restaurant are average fair. Breakfast food always seemed a little on the cold side. Golden Dining Room is beautiful, but the staff were disorganized and constantly rushing us through our meal. The staff don't participate as much as they use to in the dining room dancing and singing. Kind of disappointing. After sailing on the Festivale, Fantasy, Victory, Triumph, Legend, Fascination and the Glory, I think I have had my share of Carnival and think it's time to move on to Royal Caribbean. They are a cut above and you are treated like a person, not a number. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
My wife and I were aboard the Carnival Glory for the "Propulsion Cruise". This was the cruise in which the ship developed propulsion problems on the first day out. The problem could not be fixed until the sixth day of our new ... Read More
My wife and I were aboard the Carnival Glory for the "Propulsion Cruise". This was the cruise in which the ship developed propulsion problems on the first day out. The problem could not be fixed until the sixth day of our new itinerary which included Freeport, and Key West. I find it hard to believe a corporation as large as Carnival could not do better in servicing their fleet. The Captain decided to change the itinerary so they could milk as much money as possible from all the guests that were being bambozzled. I heard from more than one ground worker at Port Canaveral when we returned that the ship had experienced problems the cruise before, and that they were not repaired. I find this even harder to believe. The crew would not elaborate on any of the questions that were put before them which was very aggravating. We had a Stateroom on the Riviera deck next to a storeroom and very near the elevators. The room was a disgrace. Stains on the linens, stains on the lamp shades, lights that didn't work, and a very uncomfortable bed. The bathroom was compact, and the drains were very slow. Along the Riviera deck for the entire cruise there was a strong smell of sewer gas emanating from the area where the ice machines were located. I reported this several times to the pursers desk, with no resolution to the problem. Also, in the storeroom next to our Stateroom, was the artwork that was to be auctioned off on the cruise. Each day at sea at 1p.m., there would be a preview for the auction which started at 2p.m. Well, at 6 a.m., yes that is 6 in the morning , around 4 or 5 crew members would come to the storeroom to get the art. Does it really take 7 hours to bring art up 5 floors? I don't think so. Every day of the cruise we were awakened by loud crewmen, laughing and slamming carts around while they were loading the art. This was totally unacceptable. I confronted the crewmen on more than one occasion, only to be awakened the next morning. The Staff was possibly the rudest I have ever encountered. This was my third cruise, and by far the WORST. The crew seemed inconvenienced at any request. They seemed to be in their own world, and we were intruding on them. Our waiter and his assistant, Ralph and Colin were really the bright spot of the cruise. They were great, the food was not. Tough and dry lobster, fatty or very undercooked beef, to small dainty portions. The buffet in the red sail restaurant was better than the dining room. The casino was very, very smokey. The staff for the most part were pleasant, but the smoke was chokingly bad. The waitresses had a tough time with an extremely overcrowded area. I know that there are smoke filtering systems that can be used in situations like this, but carnival is obviously not concerned about the health of its passengers. The clubs were all right and a few of the shows were up to our expectations. One of my biggest gripes about the cruise was that it occurred on one of the biggest racing days in NASCAR's season, but the crew could not find it appropriate to accommodate the dozens, if not hundreds of passengers, who wanted to watch the race. They have satellite TV on board the ship, but it would have been too much of an inconvenience to put the race on the ships TV system. But they could have 3 channels of the same garbage that was happening on the ship. Our new ports of call were split 50/50. Key West was awesome, and I wish we could have had more time, and Freeport Bahamas was an absolute pit. This was my second Carnival cruise and I am pretty sure it will be my last. Service on the most part was sub par, food was sub par, and the overall attitude of the Carnival staff was repulsive. Carnival, trying to "do the right thing" gave each passenger that stayed on the ship after Nassau, a $100 credit on their sign and sail account. This was a slap in the face of all the people who had spent a lot of money on what they had hoped would be a vacation of a lifetime. ANyone thinking of booking a Carnival Cruise should seriously research the ship that they plan to sail on and be sure to get plenty of travel insurance. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2005
My wife and I just returned from a ten-day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean, which sailed on Friday, January 28, 2005. We have been on four previous cruises -- Holland America's Maasdam (twice) and Volendam, and Celebrity's ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a ten-day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean, which sailed on Friday, January 28, 2005. We have been on four previous cruises -- Holland America's Maasdam (twice) and Volendam, and Celebrity's Mercury. We have nothing but praise for our previous cruise experiences. Our cabin, an outside balcony, along with many other cabins on the ship, smelled of sewage. We were told that this problem periodically occurs on the ship for unknown reasons and that there is no solution. The port of Barbados was skipped due to a problem with the holding tanks. The service staff, with few exceptions, seemed indifferent. Service in the Lido was practically nonexistent. The food, while adequate, was not up to the standards of either Holland or Celebrity. There are not enough seats in show areas to accommodate the number of people on the ship. In order to get a seat for any of the shows we had to arrive 45-60 minutes early. We heard nothing but complaints from fellow passengers, something we have not experienced on previous cruises. We do not plan to sail on the Sun Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about our most recent cruise experience upon the ms Oosterdam November 7, 2004. This was a most disappointing cruise experience. I booked this cruise 7/20/04. I made a great effort in planning ... Read More
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about our most recent cruise experience upon the ms Oosterdam November 7, 2004. This was a most disappointing cruise experience. I booked this cruise 7/20/04. I made a great effort in planning this cruise so that my partner would have the most exciting experience of his life, Planning the details with the cruise consultant required a lot of my time and his for that matter, details from the fact that David loves bananas and requesting that they be available in our stateroom on a daily basis as part of the "fruit bowl that was to be in our cabin, Arranging a special spa treatment for us both, Asking that David's Birthday cake be delivered to the cabin and NOT in the dining room, because David embarrasses easily, planning excursions, just making sure we had the best Vacation we could on Holland America. Day one after arriving on board we made our way to the our stateroom because I wanted David to see the difference between our accommodations from our first Holland ship the Ryndam where we were guests in a B class stateroom and now we are in a SS class. He was really excited about being in the larger cabin, and had no idea that we would be having fresh fruit in the cabin for a healthy snack, there was no fruit available at that time, which didn't concern me at that time because we had entered the cabin before the announcement that the cabins were "officially ready". So with David excited we made our way back up to the Lido deck to have a first day cocktail and toast our Vacation! To our surprise once up on Lido Deck we saw Ramon the bartender from the Ryndam that gave us such a wonderful experience, we ordered our drinks and caught up with Ramon. Just until the announcement that cabins were ready. We made our way back to our cabin and to my surprise there were no flowers or fruit waiting for David. I eventually had to request fruit and flowers from our steward. Which we received late the next morning. Consisting of one banana, one apple one pear and one orange, very disappointing especially after telling the cruise consultant how much David liked his fruit. After unpacking I made our way up to the Spa to confirm and book our reservations for our message and facial experience that I had pre purchased. I scheduled it for 1:30pm the next day after our brief stay in Nassau. We also took a tour of the spa facilities and eventually signed up so that both of us could take advantage of unlimited use of the Hydro pool and sauna facilities. The $250.00 couples package. The next morning I went to the spa for a sauna and hydro pool treatment and found that the pool was filthy, grime on the chrome resting bars and rust looking substance floating in the water. Very disappointing. Upon arriving at the spa later that day for an afternoon of pampering, we were greeted at the front desk and shown to the "relaxation room. We received the massage but was told that they didn't have time to do the facials because they didn't know we were to receive one, and then were asked to make another appointment later in the week to receive the facial, needless to say I was disappointed because the whole idea of the pre package was to have a spa experience not a massage and facial, the staff at the spa made no apologies for the mix up, this was most disconcerting for me because once again my partner was disappointed. So now David and I both had two separate times for our facials His Thursday at 3:00pm mine Thursday at 4:00pm. Once again a couples experience was not to be had and once again no real concern was shown by any member of the staff. Later the appointments were changed again to accommodate both of us at the same time Saturday at 5pm. It was almost like "hey we have your money don't bother me" Dinner aboard ship that night was horrendous food that had a nice presentation but no flavor, Cakes delivered to our tables that were supposed to be delivered to our cabin, cream that had gone bad and curdled when poured into our coffee. I could go on and on but needless to say the food had no flavor, I remember one night I had the Peppered corned sirloin steak, but there was no taste or appearance of peppercorn. Our wine steward took our order for six bottles of wine to be served over several nights of the cruise, more often then not the wine had no ice bucket and was place on top of the table, I had to pour refills my self, I had requested that one bottle be delivered to our state room for consumption at our discretion, It was delivered but with no cork screw. St. Maarten was a disaster, we were schedule for a tour of the island but there were not enough buses available to take us at 12:45pm and when the time reached 1:30 and buses had not arrived we decided to go back to the ship with out our tour, when I mentioned to the tour staff how disappointed we were, she said well" I'm sorry" but we had to ask for a refund and when I mentioned that this was a busted port stop as far as we were concerned she just looked at us, with no real concern for our satisfaction, It was a crew member from Princess Cruise line suggesting that we take a water taxi over to the downtown section of Philipsburg. The next morning we had breakfast in the dining room and .well let me just say, I'm still waiting on my V8 Juice ... so disappointing. Enough was enough I decided to express my concerns to the Hotel Manager, when I made my way down to the front desk and asked to speak to the hotel manager. I was given excuses but when I insisted, out came the Guest Relations Manager, not who I asked to speak with, but I went ahead and expressed my concerns about the attitude and professionalism of the staff, the tasteless food aboard the ship, the cleanliness of the spa the fact that our cabin bath room smelled moldy, her response was "yea, yea, yea" very condescending. I mentioned to her how disappointed we were about the suite life thing that I though we were getting when I originally booked my cruise in July, shortly after that time Jeph informed me that that was only for S Class and Penthouse guests, and he apologized to me for the misunderstanding, we had talked about and how that Marketing should do a better job distinguishing suite life from ordinary suite amenities; she offered to give us access to the Neptune lounge, which we never received. And what really sent me over the edge was our day at Half Moon Cay. One of the biggest things for me personally on this vacation was my beach time, to my surprise Staff members allowed 4 service animals to run around unleashed and swim in the ocean. They showed no concern for this action I need not tell you that I didn't pay the money that I paid for this cruise so I could swim with DOGS. That's just plan out NASTY. I left the island about 20 minutes after I arrived. After returning to the ship I made my way down to the front desk and requested that all gratuities be removed from our bill and that we would be tipping those individuals that we felt were deserving, we were informed that we had the right to do this but the baker might not receive his tip! Just another example of how the staff aboard this vessel isn't interested in guest satisfaction. Acquaintances of ours that we made on board had purchased beverage cards for the island but were not able to use them until close to 12 noon because there were no beverages available. You don't throw a part then wait for your guest to arrive before going to the store for supplies. They mentioned to me that they got 3 cokes that afternoon, which made them some of the most expensive beverages on record almost $7.00 a can. Day 4 and 5 the fruit bowl was never refilled. So David had No fruit. The evening of day 6 the fruit bowl and flowers were removed from our stateroom and the mini bar was locked. I really felt that was a tacky thing. The last night in the dining room was just more of the same, after tipping our waiter and dinning room assistant, we ordered coffee I had an espresso and David ordered regular coffee. It took almost 10 minutes to receive our coffees and then the order was incorrect they had delivered 2 espressos, when I tried to correct David's order it took another 5 to 6 minutes and once again the cream was curdled. Needless to say I was ready to cancel all future travel with Holland America but David wanted me to give you guys a chance to make things right. I reported this to our cruise consultant from the airport in Dallas Texas, when I was able to finally get someone at Holland America on the phone, and he tried to find a resolution, I wrote him a letter which he said he would walk up to Guest relations department. That was on the 16th of November. As of this date I have not heard from Guest Relations. We previously cruised with Holland America because of the high standards that are set, unfortunately this was not the case on this cruise, and I not only cancelled our next cruise which was booked before this cruise, but have also stopped our plans for our European Vacation with Holland also. (This would have also included another couple.) Just to recap... The staff was unprofessional, the food was tasteless, the spa and bathroom in our cabin was not as clean as it should have been, Crew members passing the buck, and No one wants to take responsibility. This over all experience has really soured me on Holland America, What is supposed to be a five star Luxury Cruise Line to me was more like what we would receive on Carnival Cruise Line. Just thought you should know. Sincerely, Joseph Brecker   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This cruise actually took place on 11/14/04. We waited this long to post a review because we gave Carnival a chance to reply to our letter of complaint. However, since Carnival demonstrated their complete lack of good customer relations ... Read More
This cruise actually took place on 11/14/04. We waited this long to post a review because we gave Carnival a chance to reply to our letter of complaint. However, since Carnival demonstrated their complete lack of good customer relations and the low class they are known for we decided to post as a warning to future Carnival passengers (or should we say victims). We have just returned from the most horrible trip on the Carnival Victory (11/14/04 sailing). This was our ninth cruise, but first and definitely last with Carnival. It started with having to endure a three-hour wait with two small children through three different lines during embarkation (the worst embarkation process we ever saw). One of the reasons we went on this ship was for our children to enjoy the water slide. Out of the seven days the water slide only ran for two and a half days. The first two days the weather was windy and the ocean was rough so we completely understood, however the balance of the trip the weather was perfect. We, as well as other disgruntled passengers called the purser's desk to find out what was going on only to receive different answers, none of which sounded legitimate. No one we asked could give us a straight answer. In the pool area there were rust stains on the tiles as well as recurring sewage smells. The smells were also detected inside the ship and some passengers said they had them in their cabins as well. In the dining room the noises and vibrations at times were frightening, the whole room would shake. This is pretty bad since this ship had just come out of dry dock for refurbishing purposes. What was refurbished? This ship seemed as if it was fourteen years old not four. We decided to purchase a soda card, however when we were around the pool and ordered soda we had to wait anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour on numerous occasions until I got frustrated enough that I had to go to the bar myself only to be met with attitude from the bartenders because I was ordering only a soda. Neither the waiters nor bartenders like serving you soda when the soda card was used because there was no 15% gratuity added to those particular orders. I guess that the 15% paid at the time the card was purchased didn't count. When I finally would see the waiters I asked them if they had forgotten about my order and their only responses was that they had other people to serve. Maybe it's not their fault; maybe the pool area was under staffed. Regardless, it was quite evident that the soda card was a nuisance to them. I notified the Food and Beverage Manager about this on numerous occasions and was assured he would correct this problem, but it never changed. The lines at the buffet and the grill were terrible -- anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour wait. The food was average on its best day both at the buffet and dining room. The crew was unfriendly and hard to understand. The only exception was our cabin steward James (cabins 2208 and 2202). He went over and above and was always more than helpful as well as accommodating. This individual should be commended. On one particular day "Funship Freddie" was roaming the ship and went up to my six year old. As I was about to take their picture a ship's photographer informed me I was not allowed that only he could take the picture. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This guy was telling me I couldn't take a picture of my own child. When I challenged this he just glared at me. He may have been trying to intimidate me, however I took the picture anyway. It was becoming quite obvious as the grueling days went on that this was all about how much money Carnival and their staff could make not about how the passengers should be treated. Our shipboard account showed that we spent over $1,200.00 on this cruise so it's not just a question of the money. We wouldn't mind spending it if we would have been treated properly. On departure day we almost missed our plane due to the bus company, which handles the transfers for Carnival. We had a 12:10 p.m. flight out of Ft. Lauderdale; we obtained the proper luggage tag for early flights from the purser's desk and were told we would be off the ship by 8:30 a.m. We were off the ship at 9:30 a.m. and were told by the bus people we had to wait for the bus to fill before we could leave. After having told them of our flight time they told us there would be no problem in getting us there in plenty of time. The bus finally left at 11:15 a.m. By the time we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale Airport and they dropped us off at our terminal it was 11:50 a.m. we had twenty minutes to check in, clear security, and get to the gate with two children and all our luggage. Fortunately there was not much of a line going through security because we got to the gate as they were about to board the last two passengers. I guess the topper was Cruise Director Dana Hutson on stage during the disembarkation talk stating that if passengers didn't have a good time on this cruise it was their own fault. First of all I have never heard on any of our previous eight cruises (three on RCI and five on Princess) a Cruise Director or anyone else from the cruise staff make such an arrogant and negative statement to the passengers. I guess he told us who was in charge, didn't he? Again total disregard for the passengers and this sentiment was echoed by other passengers in conversations on the last night of the cruise. I guess it was our fault there were sewage smells, or that the service was poor, or that the water slide didn't work or that we couldn't get a soda when we had a soda card or that the ship vibrated and made so much noise or that we almost missed our flight. No, Dana it wasn't our fault we didn't have fun. It was your cruise line's fault. There is more I could elaborate on, however I am tired of reliving this nightmare of a vacation. I filled in the comment card and am writing a letter, however I do realize it will probably fall on deaf ears. If Carnival truly cares about its guests and the quality of service they receive then maybe I can get some explanation. I realize Carnival now owns Princess. Their methods, customer service techniques and standards should be benchmarked. We enjoyed, in fact loved, all the Princess cruises we've been on and were planning a cruise on the Diamond Princess in January. However we are now having second thoughts about it for fear that by that time it will have been Carnivalized as well. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
The Carnival Legend is a ship that caters to the masses of unseasoned travelers. The levels of service, atmosphere and quality are at the very bottom of the industry standards. As I was traveling with my children, the well publicized ... Read More
The Carnival Legend is a ship that caters to the masses of unseasoned travelers. The levels of service, atmosphere and quality are at the very bottom of the industry standards. As I was traveling with my children, the well publicized slogan "the fun ships" is the reason I chose this ship however, there was nothing "fun" about poor service, over-crowded public areas, weak activities, bad food and so on. At a cost of $110 per day, per person, before gratuities and on-board costs, this cruise was not a good value and not a pleasant experience. Below is a fair account of the "highs and lows" of the ship and its staff. Embarkation: Embarkation at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is quite efficient. The port is located less than 10 minutes from the airport making it affordable and convenient to arrive by taxi rather than the cruise transport services. The embarkation process was smooth and quick, particularly if you pre-register all the members of your party in advance on Carnival's website. To my pleasant surprise, there was abundant seating available for much of the embarkation process. In addition, guests were permitted on board prior to the published 1:30 p.m. boarding time. Given the large number of passengers, this was impressive. DEcor: The dEcor on the Carnival Legend is ghastly. Never have I seen such gaudy, mismatched dEcor and I live in Las Vegas! The intentional clash of materials (mirrors, glass and simulated wood) combined with urns and Southwestern dEcor (entrance to show room) is in extremely unattractive and dizzying. The ship lacks any sense of sophistication and good taste. The carpets in the hallways adjacent to the staterooms had been replaced, however, the original carpeted cove base had not, thereby illustrating an obvious cost saving measure and creating a mismatched result. Guest Suites: The two adjacent extended balcony suites which we occupied were both decorated in various shades of orange which reminded me of the 1970's. The suites were painfully lacking of "extras" as there were no flowers, fruit baskets or welcome aboard gifts. The closet space was sufficient and the clearance under the beds was appropriate to fit our large hard case luggage. The shower was a pleasant surprise in both spaciousness and water temperature. A plastic dispenser with body soap and shampoo was provided in the shower in lieu of individual sized toiletries. The extended balconies offered space for greater comfort and we were pleased that our room steward made arrangements to have the partition opened between the two balconies allowing us easy access between the rooms without the necessity of going out into the hallway. The doorway to the balcony, however, was not a sliding glass door thereby eliminating the option of sleeping with the door open denying us the pleasure of listening to the sounds of the ocean anytime we were in our rooms. Dining Options: The choice of dining on this ship was extremely limited. The main dining room was available for open seating for breakfast and lunch (except in port where lunch was not served). Dinner was pre-reserved at designated tables, being served by the same waiter and assistant waiter nightly. It appeared that the main dining room was not sufficiently designed to accommodate a full passenger capacity. As such, a small adjoining room was also being used during the dinner seatings. Persons having the misfortune of being seated in this room were reassured that they had the best "quick exit" out of the restaurant! Despite having booked two balcony cabins, we were assigned to this sub-standard seating. At our request, we did manage to be reseated the following evening to more superior location. The main dining room food was inconsistent. We noticed that the menu would often over promise and under deliver. One such example was the promise of prawns when 30-40 count shrimp were served. Another example was the promise of vine-ripened tomatoes when un-ripened tomatoes, clearly packaged green, were served. There were several dishes that had to be returned, namely the Coquille St. Jacques that was tremendously overcooked and the highly overstated Chateaubriand. Dessert choices were also so poor that we opted to have fruit for dessert nearly every evening. The only free alternative dining was provided on the Lido deck where cafeteria style dining awaited! I refrain from calling this "buffet style" as calling the Unicorn Cafe a buffet would be an insult to any genuine buffet offered on the Las Vegas strip. The atmosphere, quality of food and despair of the employees made this a place I chose to avoid as much as possible. A small coffee station was available to purchase coffee and breakfast pastries. I purchased two pastries, one for myself and one for my son, only once, discovering that the exterior presentation far outweighed the flavor. Finally, one additional restaurant, the Golden Fleece, was available in the evenings for an additional $25 per person per meal. This restaurant was the only dining on the ship that met our expectations. The service and quality of food were very good. Staffing and Customer Service: With the exception of a handful of employees (our room steward, and the waiter and assistant waiter at table 231 being exceptions), the only way describe the crew is miserable. It is completely evident that the crew members do not enjoy their jobs and enjoy the presence of the passengers even less! Smiles were non-existent. Courtesies and good manners were rarely extended. Several incidents described below set the tone of the entire atmosphere. Upon boarding, as my children and I made our way to the Lido deck for the welcome aboard luncheon, we literally ran into our first of many wretched employees. This particular pool area waiter was carrying a tray of fruity welcome aboard drinks when he made an abrupt 180 degree turn thrusting himself directly into our oncoming path. The tray wobbled while he desperately tried to stabilize it. In the end, one tall drink tumbled to the tile floor below causing the contents to shower on myself and my daughter. One would expect a sincere apology but instead the waiter cast us a disgusted look and began to pick up the ice on the floor. Still standing in the same spot with stains on our clothes, my daughter was forced to ask if we could use one of the towels to wipe ourselves. Still without a word, he finally handed us a towel. A second event occurred shortly thereafter in the Unicorn cafe which was a cafeteria style restaurant which required the use of trays (the only free alternative dining on the ship). It was extremely crowded with most tables being occupied. Those tables that were not occupied had not been bussed. As we were aimlessly searching for a place to sit, much to horror, my huge tray caught the edge of the protruding window frames and slammed into the floor. Naturally, I felt terrible and was distraught. Fortunately, a bus girl was nearby and I caught her eye hoping for a sympathetic smile. But she didn't smile or rescue me at all. She didn't offer any sympathy, spoken or unspoken. I asked her if there was a towel that I could use to assist in the clean up, but she merely waved her hand at me signaling me to go away. I was so upset by the incident that I did not eat at all and left the area. During breakfast one morning in the main dining room, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple who genuinely reminded me of both of my deceased parents. Needless to say, I was delighted by their company as we enjoyed breakfast together around 9:30 a.m. Shortly after finishing our eggs, as we sat and drank coffee and tea together, it became apparent that the staff was more interested in clearing this section of the dining room than in the comfort and pleasure of the customers. Two waiters actually began standing directly behind us (within a foot) making it very clear that we were not welcome to stay despite the fact that the dining room would not close for another hour. One morning, at the excursion desk, quite a few customers were discussing what alternatives might be available since their excursions were being cancelled due to poor weather. We were among those persons. We discussed the alternative tours which were still available and asked for a few minutes to consult with the children. The staff reassured us that taking a few minutes would be no problem. When we returned 10 minutes later, the desk was closed! A ship with superior customer service, out of courtesy for the guests, would have remained open extended hours (or minutes) due to the large volume of passengers being inconvenienced but the Legend employees would never provide anything more than the absolute minimum standards! On the last day of our cruise, we arrived for breakfast in the main dining room at 7:30 a.m. to allow enough time to be at our designated meeting spot by 8:30 a.m. Although we were seated immediately, by 8:15 a.m. we still had not been served our meals. Two dozen persons, who arrived much later than us, had already been served and were leaving the dining room. When I expressed concern to the waiter about our time constraints, he literally yelled at me. He shouted that the turnover days for the staff are very busy and stressful and that our food would come when it got there. The horror on our faces must have embarrassed the other wait staff as one of the other waiters did have the good manners to apologize to us for the behavior of his co-worker. Shortly after this incident, we gladly left the ship, forever! Activities: The activities offered on the Carnival Legend are weak. Perhaps hairy chest competitions and blaring music at the pool is considered entertainment by some, but not by me! The best activities and entertainment on board were several of the evening shows in the showroom. Children's program: My expectation for the industry's best children's programs was the main basis for booking this cruise. Unfortunately, the Carnival Legend fell short in this area too. My eight year old son was not at all enthused to be stuck in a windowless room (except for the skylight windows) with six and seven year olds playing board games and computer games with outdated computers. Having cruised with Carnival before (out of Los Angeles), he was expecting to have fun and found none! My thirteen year old son met a number of other teenagers on the ship and enjoyed roaming the ship with his new friends outside of the children's program. In conclusion, the Carnival Legend is a ship which will please only those with minimal standards. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
I just came off a 7 day cruise on the Zaandam. The good: It was a nice ship, tho somewhat aging, but classic decor. Nice cabin, very spacious, the best part of the cruise! Food was average, with average presentation /taste. The bad: Had ... Read More
I just came off a 7 day cruise on the Zaandam. The good: It was a nice ship, tho somewhat aging, but classic decor. Nice cabin, very spacious, the best part of the cruise! Food was average, with average presentation /taste. The bad: Had to wait in line for 2 hours to get on board, terrible long and slow embarkation! Average age was 75 yrs, and all married couples...(I am 40 and single). Terrible odor of boiled cabbage throughout atrium, main deck area, and other days it was an odor of sewage!! Same choice of breakfast buffet every day, nothing different. Poor entertainment, nothing suitable for younger age group. Very miserable bar staff especially at the Dolphin pool bar. Supposed to be designated smoking areas on ship, but this was rarely adhered to unfortunately, so it was offputting to go to any bar/lounge. Supposed to get fruit every day in cabin, but had to wait 2 days for it. No toiletries provided, had to ask, they had forgotten, then only one bar of soap for entire cruise, no replenished items (fortunately I had my own). All in all, it was nice to get away and relax in the sun, but definitely would not recommend this line for any younger, single folks that are looking for some fun and entertainment. If you are married and over 70, then it will be a perfect cruise for you. I was very disappointed, and realize that this line seems to cater for an older clientele, and is not really appropriate for a single, younger traveller... Hey! I got a good sun tan at least! Sorry Holland & America...I am sure I will cruise again with you, but probably not for another 30 yrs....then I know I will have fun and appreciate it all! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
This was the worst cruise i have ever taken. First we arrived at the dock at 1pm. When we got there, passengers where just getting off the ship from the previous cruise. It was just a mad house. We did not get on board until after 4pm ... Read More
This was the worst cruise i have ever taken. First we arrived at the dock at 1pm. When we got there, passengers where just getting off the ship from the previous cruise. It was just a mad house. We did not get on board until after 4pm -- no explanation for the delay. When we asked we got a different answer each time. The ship left after 6pm one day out. We were informed the the ship would not stop in San Juan, P.R. For this missed port of call and all the hassle getting on board they had the nerve to give us only $25.00 on board credit which they said was very generous. The mix up with our onboard accounts between my acct and my son's acct was a joke. I had to go to the service desk 7 times within the week to get it sorted out. Then when we went ashore in St. Thomas and tried to get back on the ship they had our photo's reversed - my photo on his card and his photo on my card. Another error on their part. This ship was drab looking compared with ships of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and the cruise director was the worst I have ever seen. We cruise at lest twice a year but you can be sure we will never go with CARNIVAL again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
This was a first cruise for my family and was to be a last big vacation for us before our kids are off to college. All we heard were GREAT things about cruises,how you are waited on hand and foot staff is at your beckon-call. WELL LET ME ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my family and was to be a last big vacation for us before our kids are off to college. All we heard were GREAT things about cruises,how you are waited on hand and foot staff is at your beckon-call. WELL LET ME TELL YOU NOT ON THE MARINER OF THE SEAS!!!. First of all the staff is rude it's a sure thing they do not like their jobs until TIP TIME. Even then its not a 100%. Second food was not even mediorce like I read prior to my review. If I wanted to eat @ IHOP or Dennys I would have saved $1400.00. We heard food was everywhere on these ships you never went w/o. NOT ON THE MARINER OF THE SEAS. This was our main concern since we had 3 teenagers and a 9 yr old. As most normal parents know kids want to eat real food every 1/2 hr. Not just dried up sandwiches and frozen pizza for 8 days. Room service another disaster like another prior review room service slower than turtles and not happy w/ their jobs. No tips for these people. Food was just as bad as the buffet. Staff not helpful at all needed direction first few nites these people didnt know what to tell me. DUH! Our sheets on the beds never changed the whole 8 days. Didnt even dawn on me till the last night my fault I guess. My kids weren't that thrilled with all these activities everything they wanted to do was for 18 yrs old (like kareoke). Shows were O.K something to do @ night. Hollywood definitely won't be calling them soon though. All in all we in our opinion wasted over $8000.00 for the worst trip we've ever been on.Somebody who knows how to keep customers happy better take over Royal Carribean soon or this ship is going to sink faster than the Titanic!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
I was very disappointed with Carnival's Triumph. Our group, the Memory Makers booked 14 cabins. We had preprinted wallet cards that detailed everyone's cabin number and deck location. We were unable to put the printed material ... Read More
I was very disappointed with Carnival's Triumph. Our group, the Memory Makers booked 14 cabins. We had preprinted wallet cards that detailed everyone's cabin number and deck location. We were unable to put the printed material to use because the cabin telephones did not work during the entire seven day cruise. We were told on our Saturday debarkation day that the phone were down due to line problems and would be working by Monday. The phones were never repaired and we were not given any explanation as to why. In my opinion they should have posted Mickey on the side of the ship and sailed off. There were children ranging in age from 8 to 16 years old in the clubs as late as 2:00 a.m. Security did not enforce the teen hours at ended at 12:30 even upon request. There were children at the adult comedy show throwing paper on stage at the comedian. Even when pointed out to security and the cruise director, these children were not removed. There were children sitting at the bars with their parents at 1:00 a.m. and children sitting at slot machines gambling. Carnival did not enforce it's policy again even upon the request of it's adult patrons. The room keys only worked on occasion, one of our group members sat outside their room for 30 minutes waiting for a steward to arrive to let them into their room even after they had their key card changed twice to correct the problem. Our group was not made aware of the early debarkation option so we were not afforded the option to book earlier flights. There was plenty of food, just the same type of food every day. Our group was separated at dinner seating even after we faxed the request in for our seating preference and arrangements months in advance. Our special occasion request was not honored. I was not pleased with the cruise over all. There was no effort made by carnival to correct any of the problems that there bought to their attention. It seemed the crew had been trained to have an excuse handy for every situation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2004
Well, the next time we will NOT listen to the travel agent, and instead go with our gut! I read many reviews that made me leery of going on the Mariner, however, after the RAVING from the travel people, we took their word for it and gave ... Read More
Well, the next time we will NOT listen to the travel agent, and instead go with our gut! I read many reviews that made me leery of going on the Mariner, however, after the RAVING from the travel people, we took their word for it and gave it a try, wish we had NOT! The food was about like cafeteria food or worse! NO KIDDING! The service was blah and the stateroom attendant even worse! I filled out their survey but did not leave it because I wanted to make sure I still felt the same way weeks later. WE DO! To us, the whole $2800 for a balcony room was a waste, because the food and service was that bad! Same old same old too! Not much to choose from there! Room service was always cold if it was supposed to be hot and the only good food I suspect was ala cart at Portofino's or Chops and Johnny Rockets was ok, still a cover for that too! The other two were $20.00 per person. We heard it was good, but I was shell shocked by then and just waited for the trip to be over. Since there were only 3 ports and we left earlier than our cruise papers from the travel agent said, that was yet another disappointment. Oh well, here's hoping that because Royal Caribbean now owns Celebrity, that they haven't ruined that! Because that's the one we'll do next time, later this year. Since that's the one we did before and wanted to go on this last time! Good luck with all the kids running all over the place too, unattended to and all hours of day and NIGHT! Teenagers took over all of the clubs that were worth listening too and then they would change the music to suit them. What a big bust of a cruise and a BIG waste of money!! Never again!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
This was my 13th 7 night cruise, and my 4th with Carnival, and it will be my last. We arrive at the port around 11:00am. There wasn't any long lines yet, so that was good. It took longer getting our picture taken then anything. The ... Read More
This was my 13th 7 night cruise, and my 4th with Carnival, and it will be my last. We arrive at the port around 11:00am. There wasn't any long lines yet, so that was good. It took longer getting our picture taken then anything. The rooms wasn't ready yet, so we started exploring the ship trying to find our way around. When we decided to go to the buffet for lunch around 12:30, it took us about 20 minutes in line to get to the food. The food was the worst food I have ever had on a cruise. I mainly only ate a salad. All the meat was tough as shoe leather. The desserts were very cheap desserts. Example sponge cake with different flavors everyday, jello, cookies, and cheesecake (cheap). The Decor of the ship was okay. All the public bathrooms all had broken toilets. Especially the restroom besides all four bars. In the ladies room there were 6 toilets and 4 was broken. It was that way all over the ship. One of the worst things on the ship was that there was 1200 Cuban Americans on the ship, and they reserved a lot of entertainment area for them only. The Disco was reserved for them I think 4 out of 7 nights for Lula Party and etc. Carnival is saving a lot of money on entertainment. The first night all there was to do was play bingo, and the entertainment was the cruise director talking, and getting people on the stage to play the spoon game. That was it. The second night was a broadway show with only two singers (all the other ships had four singers) So there was a lot of fake singing from the dancers, the show was okay. The third night we had a magician who was okay his girl dancer was better than the ship dancers. Don't stay up for his all adult show at midnight, it only last about 10 minutes. The next night's entertainment was the passenger talent show only other than bingo and karaoke. The next night was a broadway show. The first half was bad, but it did get better. The last night was a Motown singer who was excellent. At the bars there was a group called Too Slick, they were excellent but they were there last week, because they decided to make that bar Karaoke every night. (Yuk) The sing a long piano player last name rock, was good too. If it wasn't for those two bars there would have been nothing to do. Since we don't gamble. Food was horrible. At night in the dining room was okay. It didn't matter for breakfast if you went to the dining room or buffet, it was still horrible. Every time my husband ordered a omelet it came out black. I ordered eggs benedict and only rec'd one, anywhere I have ever been I rec'd 2. One morning in the dining room we were told we could not have any eggs because the grill was broken. So we just started ordering a continental breakfast in our room. Whenever you went to the buffet, grill, deli, or pizza place there was always a 20 minute wait. I never rec'd a good breakfast or lunch at the buffet. If you like burnt hamburger go to the grill, the hot dog was good (but who wants to wait 20 minutes for a hot dog, plus who goes on a cruise to eat a hot dog). The pizza was not great, but the line was shorter and better tasting than the buffet. The deli was good, but the lines were very long. At dinner they rush you. I didn't like the waiter and busboy entertainment dancing on the tables. Our room was very small to have a balcony room. The guest that had an outside room had a larger room. We are non smokers and every time we go on our balcony the cigarette and cigar smoke would knock you down. We had more closet and drawers space then any ship we have been on. There was really no entertainment by the pool. Volleyball game two different days, and a hairy chest contest one day. The band different play everyday by the pool. In San Juan we just walk around Old San Juan, and walk to the fort. It was a nice night, and we just enjoyed the walk. In St Thomas we took a taxi to the ferry and went to St John (my favorite island) we rented a car, and went to the other side of the island and went to some of the most beautiful beaches you have ever been, and there's no one over there, the one beach there was only six people there, and the snorkeling was great. In St Maarten we did the Sailboat Regatta Racing that was are second time doing it, and we will do it again. We love it. Then afterward we went to the beach on the french side. The islands was great It was the first time that I wanted to go home early on a cruise. I will be cruising again, but not on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
RCL ~EXPLORER OF THE SEAS ~ MY REVIEW April 3, 2004 Sailing Port ~ Miami Itinerary ~ Eastern Caribbean This was our second cruise on Explorer and my personal 13th RCl cruise ~ three more making 16th total cruises (1 Princess & ... Read More
RCL ~EXPLORER OF THE SEAS ~ MY REVIEW April 3, 2004 Sailing Port ~ Miami Itinerary ~ Eastern Caribbean This was our second cruise on Explorer and my personal 13th RCl cruise ~ three more making 16th total cruises (1 Princess & 1 Carnival) and one Windjammer out of Maine. My heart will always belong to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Just the sight of RCL's ships is exciting! Embarking......Diamond Members so it was very fast. We booked a pre cruise thru RCL and it was wonderful. We stayed at the Hyatt, had adjoining rooms and RCL provided our transportation to the hotel from the airport and to the ship the next day. Our cabin steward was one of the best we have ever had. Our cabins were made up as soon as we left them. "V" accommodated & anticipated the fact that my 16 month Granddaughter would be taking a nap daily. In the evenings, same service.....made up as soon as we left our cabins. He made us cute towel animals and the cabin was always clean, refrigerator refilled, ice in buckets, etc. Special little things were done for the baby by 'V'. Our robes were always there, dry and clean. We let him know just how much we appreciated him too ~ realize it is his job, but picking up for 7 females, in two adjoining cabins, is no easy task! (and remember one was a 16 month old) Needless to say, 'V' received a great tip! All our luggage arrived by 4 PM and we found that we had ample space for all our clothes and shoes. Having adjoining cabins is always a plus for the 7 of us....as is having the 2 balconies. Friends of the family had an inside across from our 2 cabins....that worked out wonderfully....although, next cruise, they are going to get a balcony cabin too ;o) Sunday was our first day at sea. Several in our family decided to sun for the day and had no problem finding lounge chairs.....but did notice the chair police out and enforcing. If you got up to use the restroom and were gone too long, your belongings were taken off the chair and it became someone else's. They felt their 'policing' was a bit too strict in some cases. Guess there is no easy solution to this situation. RCL pools are salt water so always fresh and clean. We enjoyed them very much. We have cruised this itinerary so much, we decided not to take another excursion when we stopped in St. Thomas or Puerto Rico.....although most of us did get off the ship and shop. In St. Martin, 4 from our family went on an excursion - Beach/Snorkel. Felt it was too much and not really enough time. Next time, will just go to a beach. In St. Thomas we shopped in the AM and came back on the ship, ate and enjoyed the pool with a lot less people! In PR 5 went shopping while 2 of us stayed back to relax around the pool. NASSAU....it was Good Friday so all the downtown stores were closed....not a surprise to us. We planned around this and went to the straw market and bought some traditional pocketbooks and a few items to bring home to friends. Senior Frogs was open & we enjoyed it in there ;o) FYI: Full head of braids was $100. and my niece has very long hair. FOOD: Windjammer - We found the food to be delicious and a nice variety. ROOM SERVICE: Most mornings we ordered room service for breakfast and ate on our balconies. It was relaxing and not a rush. My Mother and I also ordered late in the evenings when everyone else was out and we were baby-sitting the baby ;o) A+ room service. DINING ROOM: Service was very good. Presentation attractive. Roy and his assistant took care of us very well.....mannerly and helpful. The dining room shows were same ~ entertaining. The FOOD in dining room on the whole was not impressive. The cold soups were to die for - Peach and Banamarama were my two favorites! Turkey dinner, I was told, was great. Steaks were OK, Prime Rib better. Veal was very good. Chicken -good. Desserts all looked yummy although I did not have any. My sister-in-law enjoyed all the seafood dishes she ordered. One niece ordered Caesar Salad with Chicken every night and loved it. Nice variety for the baby.....she had lots of special attention too ;o) Johnny Rockets will be charging VERY soon on Explorer as well as all their ships...this was explained to us at the Meet and Mingle Party. Not a real issue with me - if on vacation and I wanted JR for my meal, I would go for it. I didn't this cruise but nieces did. We have a JR in a mall near us at home. We decided not to go to Portofino's this cruise. Rating foods is so hard because we are all so different......I do not cruise for the food (there is always something I like and eat) so hope this helps and does not change anyone's plans re: cruising with RCL. I have been on other cruise ships and liked their food less and others better. A lot has to do with the Chef, but most of all personal taste. SHOWS: RCL is known for it's fantastic shows and again they did not let us down. Do not miss the ice show! It is just fantastic....although the same show we saw before when we were on Explorer, we still enjoyed seeing it again. Hal Frazier came aboard ship for a show. I did not go to it. No one in my family did so I cannot comment on the show itself. INTERNET: We decided not to take our laptops this year for service in our cabins.....using the Internet cafe was almost as easy and worked well for me. I was able to email my husband daily and he me. That is the only reason I use Internet -to email my husband ;o) otherwise, I would not take the time to play on a computer while on vacation. MEET & MINGLE ;o).... Our Meet and Mingle Party was a huge success. Our teens met and had a wonderful week together. They are probably busy on their own computers now emailing back and forth! I know the adults I met are wonderful people.....again, thank you for the Meet and Mingle Cruise Critic and RCL ;o) My family of Gals are booked on RCL Serenade of the Seas already for next Easter. We were booked on Jewel of the Seas, but decided on Serenade instead. That may even change - but for now ~ we are booked ~ March 26th, 2005 and hope to book on the Ultra Voyage Class RCL ship Easter 2006. CASINO......a few in our family won ~ always a good thing ;o) Thumbs down to all the cruise lines for charging so much for the soda cards. It cost $48. which did include tax and gratuity, for an adult soda card. I felt a bit steep for soda fountain cola. Ice cream was all over the ship.....always a plus. The Explorer is a beautiful ship with a fantastic staff. Dana, at the Purser's Desk, was probably my favorite person on the ship. He is such a nice person. Had no problem getting a wheelchair for my Mother, and we did not order one ahead because she felt she would not need one. I think part of that was luck, but we were most grateful. Actually we liked some changes that they offer Diamond Members.....the gifts and treats delivered to the cabins almost daily were a wonderful surprise. Thank you RCL. Happy cruising! Lindy Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
What a major disappointment! We had taken two prior cruises with Royal Caribbean (RCCL), one three night and one seven night. Carnival Triumph could not even compete! Our cabin steward was friendly but not really helpful. Our cabin ... Read More
What a major disappointment! We had taken two prior cruises with Royal Caribbean (RCCL), one three night and one seven night. Carnival Triumph could not even compete! Our cabin steward was friendly but not really helpful. Our cabin stewards on RCCL were not only friendly, but they were helpful! They deserved their tip for all the helpful insight before going ashore in different places, as well as four star service. My cabin steward with Carnival threw away my daily "Carnival Capers" (daily ship newsletter)and several paper menus I had collected from restaurants we had eaten at while ashore on the last night of my cruise while we were at dinner, I had planned on using these as part of my scrapbook from my trip, but the only explanation I received was "Sorry, I didn't think you would need them anymore." As for towel exchange, he gladly exchanged bath towels, but would never exchange pool towels unless requested. Overall food service was average. The lines for the grill at breakfast and lunch were 15-20 minutes during peak times. We never waited more than 5 minutes on RCCL. Formal dining experience was less than desirable compared to RCCL. Service was slow and if you requested more than water to drink, it was 10-15 minutes before it was served. The entree was never hot, lukewarm at most. Overall staff attitude appears to be "I could care less" Overall staff attitude on RCCL is "I care, what can I do to help?" Yes, Carnival, I plan on writing headquarters and letting them know of my experience, the ports of call were the only saving grace...getting off the ship! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
This is going to be a rather lengthy review so please bear with me, but keep in mind, I traveled with a small group and we all had basically the same review. DAY BEFORE CRUISE/ we arrived in Miami, we had reservations at he Wyndham beach ... Read More
This is going to be a rather lengthy review so please bear with me, but keep in mind, I traveled with a small group and we all had basically the same review. DAY BEFORE CRUISE/ we arrived in Miami, we had reservations at he Wyndham beach resort, which I highly recommend to everyone. It was clean, right on the beach, the service was excellent, I think I could have spent my vacation there. DAY ONE/ embarkment was long and you waited forever, this was to be expected. When we got on the ship, lunch was waiting at he Windjammer cafe, but due to the thousands of people getting on, finding a place to sit was a challenge, plus so many people were just wondering around looking at things and just bumping into everyone and everything. Our luggage arrived in a timely fashion and our cabin steward, Salvatore, was terrific. Let me tell you, the rooms are soooooooooooooo small It is very difficult to get around to the other side of the bed, CARNIVAL rooms are much bigger. You had to turn sideways to get past the bed, very very very small, our friends had the balcony room, (which I do recommend) and it was just as small, but at least they had light. DAY 2,AT SEA....don't try to get a deck chair, because people wake up at 7:00 a.m. and put towels on them, so by the time normal people wake up all the chairs are taken, (we found out later that people did that) rude rude and more rude. Ship is really crowded, so expect to wait in line for all activities. DAY 3 PUERTO RICO- we started the day touring Old San Juan, we had the distillery tour and the Old San Juan tour, but the night before, it was cancelled, and we started the day wondering what to do. We ended up touring the city on our own, and shopping... We were told by the SHOPPING QUEEN ON BOARD, SANDRA, not to buy too much because items were cheaper in St. Thomas...so we held off.  DAY 3 ST. MARTIN, OR Maarten OR HOWEVER THEY SPELL IT.... Our favorite port, beautiful beaches...nice people, great GUAVABERRY PUNCH..... You have to get the guavaberry, it is the only place to get it and it is fabulous. Most of all...DO NOT LISTEN TO SHOPPING SANDRA ON THE SHIP.. This is place to shop,,,get everything here, liquor, cigarettes, (9.95 per carton) We don't smoke but that is definitely a deal... Everything is cheaper here, especially the jewelry, and it is much nicer. LOVED THIS PORT... That night at dinner, started the many times our waiter, Teodore, from Romania, reminded us of the tipping practices practiced at the end of the cruise...This became quite annoying as he was a very moody waiter, not at all like some of the other passengers around us who had happy bubbly waiters, our busboy, was Lucas from India. He was so sweet, but during one of Teodores tipping speeches, Lucas was filling coffee cups and in front of all the guests, he reprimanded and embarrassed him...It was very uncomfortable. DAY WHATEVER... St. Thomas... This is the place shopping Sandra tells you to buy all of your jewelry, and liquor and stuff...DO NOT LISTEN...They must get a kick back, because at this port things are higher priced. It is a lovely place and we did the B.O.B. excursion. It is an underwater scooter... It was great. You can snorkel until it is your groups turn to ride B.O.B. the crew take your underwater cameras from you and actually will chum the fish so you are surrounded by fish and take your picture... This excursion lasts about 3 or more hours and is definitely worth it. We ate dinner at Portofinos, and was worth every penny spent. $20 per person. The service excellent, the food can't even tell you about my lobster, because it was mouth melting. Not that the food on the ship is bad, Portofinos is better. and you don't have to hear constantly about tipping...(we did, because they didn't keep reminding us) plus the service was excellent, they even cut my salad... NEXT DAY, AT SEA...same as before, you had to reserve any beach chairs early, We did rock climbing and miniature golf and it was great. I highly suggest everyone at least try the rock climbing, it is an experience. Next day, Nassau, what a difference in this city from the last time we were here. They cleaned the city and redid lots of buildings it is actually very pleasant...(not like St. Martin). Back at the ship, our waiter was practicing his nightly tipping speech...now the tv has started with their RECOMMENDED TIPPING... it is very annoying. We are tippers who will tip where the service is. On the final night, I gave our Head waiter, who was excellent, our waiters envelope by mistake, our waiter actually left our table to go to the back and count his money, when he returned he told us that we should have given him $50, we realized we gave him the wrong envelope and he put out his hand for his remaining tip... it was so embarrassing... I didn't put $50 in the envelope to start with because his service was just poor, when he was done serving us, we only saw him to return to give his tipping speech. Lucas the bus boy was always there... keep in mind, you only have this waiter for dinner, breakfast you are seated with other people...strange as it may seem, nothing like CARNIVAL.... Will we ever travel Royal Caribbean...probably not... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
We were looking for different ports to visit, so decided to try MSC's Lirica. The ship is lovely, with pleasant pastel colors and nice decor throughout the ship. We had a very nice room with veranda. To our dismay, we had cigar ... Read More
We were looking for different ports to visit, so decided to try MSC's Lirica. The ship is lovely, with pleasant pastel colors and nice decor throughout the ship. We had a very nice room with veranda. To our dismay, we had cigar smokers on both sides of us, so we couldn't always enjoy the veranda without that disgusting smoke. Now for the food. My husband cruises to eat, but he was sorely disappointed on this cruise. Though the pasta and veal dishes were often very good, the fish and beef dishes were truly terrible. There were no extravagant desserts. Service was very slow and disorganized, often taking 2 hours at dinner. The ship ran out of butter, so served margarine that tasted like lard. No brewed decaf coffee, only little packets of dried coffee. Re the gym, there are only 3 treadmills with no sign-up sheets. And these were shut down during siesa time, from 12 noon to 3 every day. The entertainment was adequate, though repetitious, with the same acts reappearing with different costumes and routines. The Animation Team, a group designated to instill laughs in the passengers, was supposed to be slapstick--but actually bordered on cruel, using passengers and their own sidekicks as pawns. There were no movies on board except on the TV, and these were repeated over and over. The "new" ports were the best part, with beauty to be found in St. Lucia, Grenada, and Tortola--but St. Barts is just a collection of expensive boutiques. We would not choose to travel on MSC again. They are young, new and learning a difficult trade. But we are not willing to be their victims, paying good money for a bad experience. They need to learn fast or depend on first-time customers for their profits, for they won't get many repeaters. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
I LOVE RCCL and the Mariner is a beauty! This is my third cruise -- have sailed Disney and Celebrity before. By far my favorite although I loved the Disney cruise -- this one was longer. We got to the port about 10:00 and had to wait a ... Read More
I LOVE RCCL and the Mariner is a beauty! This is my third cruise -- have sailed Disney and Celebrity before. By far my favorite although I loved the Disney cruise -- this one was longer. We got to the port about 10:00 and had to wait a little while because they had a wedding party and a special luncheon for travel agents and such. We were the third or fourth family in line and waited probably 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Once the line started moving it went really fast and very easy. Found our cabin with ease and met our steward -- Gerome was great all week and his assts. were great while he was "on vacation" for a few days. We left our carryon luggage and went to the Windjammer. The food was great and we got a seat by the window -- I loved the way this was set up to let in so much natural light -- it was always bright and sunny here. The food was pretty much the standard buffet food, but there were a lot of choices and it was good. The dining rooms are unbelievable -- very elegant. I know several families who felt uncomfortable and opted for alternative dining -- but I like to be spoiled. Even my 9 year old got used to being catered to very quickly! The food was great and just got better. Many choices to cater to vegetarians and health conscious as well as those of us who just like food! We loved our server, Tamer, and his asst. Joel. Not crazy about the maitre d -- he tries too hard and didn't do anything much. I will quickly mention our shore excursions Nassau -- swim with dolphins -- awesome! Do this if you never have! We were taken by bus to Blue Lagoon where we were given a quick introduction course on dolphins -- how and where to pet them, etc. Then we put on wetsuits and lifevests and sat on the dock. The dolphins (Jake, Fat Man, and MacGyver -- the same ones in the "Flipper" movie which was filmed here) and we pet them. We got in the water and they jumped of us, we got hugs and kissed on the cheek and lips, danced, and turned in circles. Then we lay on our stomach and they pushed on our foot all the way across the lagoon. such fun -- the take a video and pictures of all this which are expensive -- but what a memento! St. Thomas -- power snorkel -- my nine year old's favorite. We were taken by bus to Coki Beach and given a snorkel and mask and flippers. We headed down to the beach and the instructor handed us our equipment and gave us a quick lesson. We were given a glove with a magnet in the thumb and a yellow board with a propeller in front. You lay on it and touch the button with the magnet to make it go. Takes a few minutes to get used to, but was such fun! We went way out and saw blue squid and a sea turtle and coral and fish -- incredible. When we got back to the beach we had some time to play before the bus left. Shopping was great in St. T, too! St. Maarten -- went SNUBA diving here. Boat took us out and we snorkeled for 25 minutes first. Then we got weight belts and regulators and a quickie course on how to use them. I had a little problem with the pressure, but eventually made it to the bottom and touched the ocean floor. We fed the fish and explored shipwrecks. On the trip back we danced and had rum punch. It was so much fun! I would recommend these excursions. One I would not is the glass bottom boat tour in Nassau -- my mother went on that and was VERY disappointed. Back to the ship. Wait outside Johnny Rockets about 1/2 hour before lunch and you'll get seated right away -- otherwise you'll wait. the onion rings are to die for and I had a hamburger once and a BLT once. My son loved their hotdogs. And their malts and milkshakes are worth the price. Adventure Ocean was my son's favorite place to be -- after the first night he skipped dessert so he could go back to the cabin and change and go to AO. It was great that he could sign himself in and out -- it gave him responsibility and some independence and gave me peace of mind that we could test his maturity in a somewhat controlled environment -- I mean, where was he going to go? We were on a ship! They give the children a wristband -- even if they're not in AO -- with your muster station on it so if they get lost, they will be taken there. RCCL isn't dumb -- one must go thru the arcade to get to the AO rooms so that has to be monitored. The games are $1.25 - $2.00 and you get $10 on your sea pass. My son loved the PlayStation and fooz ball in AO room -- it was a little dark, but the lighting was cool and they always had music playing. My son loved the games, contest, and activities and begged to stay for Late Night. I let him stay for one hour one night ($5/hr) but there is no useful reason for a child to stay up that late that I could see. AO ends at 10:00, but late night ends at 1:00 or when the last child leaves. The pools were great and there was plenty of chairs to go around on any deck I was on. The crew was great -- helpful and friendly. The Royal Promenade was fabulous -- don't miss the parades! The ice show -- I'm sure you've heard it's not to miss. I went to two shows "Pure Energy and ...can't remember, but the talent is incredible. Especially when the ship was rocking. Now don't worry -- all ships rock sometime. I did not notice anything worse than walking thru a moving train and it was not constant or disruptive. There was no china flying thru the air or people lurching all over -- at least not the sober ones. I did not think it was excessive and the captain and CD were apologetic -- by the way Captain Johnny and Ken Rush are fabulous! I wish now I'd gotten the captain's book -- I'll check Amazon.com! If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them. All around I can just say this was a wonderful cruise and our next one will definitely be w/ RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
Embarkation: Waited for 45 minutes in the car as traffic in and out of the drop-off loop was slow. That was the best part however, as once inside the terminal you are put into a never-ending Disney-style line-up that winds back and forth ... Read More
Embarkation: Waited for 45 minutes in the car as traffic in and out of the drop-off loop was slow. That was the best part however, as once inside the terminal you are put into a never-ending Disney-style line-up that winds back and forth about 6 times. The wait in line through immigration was over an hour long as the desks were understaffed, with only one(!) person rotating between three separate lines to hand out room keys. By the time you get on the ship, the lunch service has already conveniently ended. Embarking in St.Thomas is a NIGHTMARE and completely the company's fault. Every person on the ship is required to gather in a large room or dining hall before embarking to have your passports and personal documents returned (you have to give them up when you first embark). They do not allow people to be checked through customs until all guests are in the room (and they threaten a $250 fine if you're the one that holds up the process). Once everyone's in the room, then you can go through customs. Unfortunately there are only two customs officials so this process takes over an hour and a half. We also saw people arriving late throughout the process, and believed that the $250 threat is just that, an empty threat. I would suggest you disregard, go for breakfast and resign yourself to the fact that your short stay at your destination will be even shorter. Disembarking: Check your own luggage! You'll be the first one off the ship. Leaving your luggage to be checked the night before means you'll be off on to two hours later than the self-checkers. Oh, and you'll have to wake up at 6:15 am to meet in another understaffed customs line. Lifeboat Drill: Yes, we know its mandatory required by the coast guard, but you could prepare us for what is going on. It s a total joke in that you are all called down onto one deck, squished back against the wall and then allowed to return to your cabin. The Room: Words that come to mind are gaudy, tacky, and dated. Reading through the Carnival Glory book in the room I discovered that Carnival has been using the same designer for the past 27 years, and it clearly shows throughout the ship; which is a hodgepodge of every conceivable geometric pattern. Down right ugly. But I digress, back to the room... the small coffee table had some sort of sticky substance on it that we had to clean off, two of the pillows were extremely dirty and there were blood stains on the mattress covers. With a quick call to our room steward, the mattress covers were replaced.... with ones that also had blood stains on them!!!!. Once this was remedied we received an apology and four free drink coupons. The Ship: The Carnival Glory is beyond gaudy and tacky. If you have a complete lack of taste, this is the ship for you. All of the electronic signs in the ship are LED lighted and change colours non-stop making them impossible to read. No two carpet patterns are the same as is the case with each and every different surface in the ship (countertops, window surrounds, faux-wood paneling, carpets, ceilings, etc.) In one room alone you will be blinded by a sea of patterns and materials that have no business being together, let alone existing in the first place. This ship is straight out of the late seventies/early eighties. With constantly changing lighted ceiling panels, giant candles and torches liberally sprinkled throughout the ship, the ugliest carpeting you can imagine, multicoloured plexi-glass partitions, a layout that is utterly confusing and will lead you to several dead-ends as rooms in the middle of the ship are not always open. You are also forced to go through several incredibly smoky sections of the ship if you want to stay on the same floor; confusing and almost useless elevator system (the elevator will only stop on your floor if it is empty; you will learn that the electronic display that shows which floor the elevator is on is useless when it constantly passes you without the doors opening) as well. For a little more depth here are the particulars about the ship... The Gym: The gym is nice and well equipped with a sauna and a hot tub. Any classes you would like to attend, besides the first introduction sessions cost money, as everything else on the ship does (see "The Money Grab" below) The Pools: Extremely small pools that are a waste of time as their are no lifeguards or supervisors to keep in check the numerous kids that are constantly horsing around in them. The pools and facing sunbeds are also barraged by a two-man reggae/Calypso band which is isn't bad; however, the volume is way too loud to enjoy comfortably. You are forced to pass by them to get to the restaurant, pizza and grill locations and are deafened each time. Shuffleboard: Not even a proper shuffleboard surface; you'll need rotator cuff surgery after trying to get your puck from one end to the other. We cheated and were playing from the middle and we still had sore arms afterwards. Ping-Pong: Hey, I've got a great idea, lets put the ping-pong table on the 11th deck so that the blustering wind makes playing the game impossible. Basketball: I was surprised to see a half court basketball court on the ship, which was nice. Spa: Everything costs a lot of money; more than you would pay at your local masseuse. But every second day there is some new kind of "sale". Casino: The ships saving grace. Craps, blackjack, roulette, slots, caribbean stud poker, etc. Smokyas hell, but you expect that in a casino. A bit odd to see kids gambling next to you, but I guess that's their parents fault (The ship allows it). Art Auction: The art auction was interesting in that there was some top notch stuff including some Salvadore Dali works, Miro, Picasso and Rembrandt. Prices seem to be well below appraisal and surveyed prices, which makes me think that its too good a deal for a reason, but overall not a bad way to spend an hour. If I knew anything about art, I might take the cruise for the express purpose of buying some quality works on the cheap. Various nightclubs and bars: White Heat: doesn't open until very late, decorated with numerous, large and small plastic candles. Terrible. Cinnabar: A very nice spot, and one of the few tastefully decorated. Bar Blue: another nice one, although perpetually deserted. The Black and White Library: A good idea if all the books and games were not locked up for the majority of your trip. Entertainment: The big "shows" are quite amateurish, although there was one exceptionally good singer from St.Thomas and some good comedians and an illusionist who came on the ship for one time performances. There are also pretty current movies available on the room TV's, with one new one each day. The other arranged functions, including the Hairiest Chest Contest, Mr and Mrs. Show, Trivia Game, Ship Survivor, etc.,. I would not bother seeing again if given the opportunity. Food: Nothing that wows you. The ships saving grace is that the Pizza place is open at all hours. You should also take advantage of room service, which is free, and can be used 24 hours as well. I'd like to recommend the Sushi bar, only it never seemed to be open when I wanted some. The Deli was a good spot and rarely had much of a lineup, unlike the buffet. Evening dinners in the dining room were excellent with a wide selection of menu choices. Staff: Overall the staff were fantastic. This includes the casino staff, room stewards, waitresses, maitre d', cleaning staff, etc. It does not include the tour director or the photo staff who are constantly employing the "hard sell" to get you to buy more products. Upon exiting the ship one day at St.Thomas and declining to be photographed on the gangway by a Carnival staffer we were told. "Oh come on, quit being so cheap". The Destinations: The destinations were the highlight of the seven days. Although I've got some complaints about them too. First of all, you don't have much time to see the spots. Being cruise ship destinations means every "marketplace" is tacky and full of the same cheap crap. You can't sit on a popular beach without being harassed by locals selling more of this crap at least every ten minutes. The same person that you said "no" to half an hour ago, will continue bothering you for the rest of the day. It seems that the locals don't make any effort to clean up their islands so you will see plenty of abandoned cars and half demolished buildings. Take every effort to go on tours that take you away from the crowd, if that's the sort of stuff you like(St.Johns, for example) The Money-Grab: Besides your room and the set mealtimes (including the pizza place and room service) costs money. Photos are taken as you enter the ship, leave the ship, walk around the ship and even go on tours (videolog). All available at our gift shop for a price. You want some bottled water, pop, beer or liquor. Well that'll cost you too. All beer and liquor prices average $4.50. You want some apple strudel, a smoothie or a piece of cake outside of the buffet? It'll cost you. Carnival doesn't recommend going on any tours not affiliated with them, because they won't make any money. Fancy a bingo game? bring your wallet (to be expected I suppose in this case). The gift shop is having a sale! Watches and high fashion jewelry only $10!, you could get this stuff out of a vending machine at the supermarket for a quarter. When stuff is on sale on the ship that means its come down to what you'd pay regular price on land. The staff would be happy to show you how a Pilates or Aerobics class is done, but if you want to participate in an actual class, in the small corner of our gym, it'll cost you $10. I have no doubt that the majority of Carnival cruise goers will be shocked when they find out they spent the same amount on their cruise as they did on the assorted "extras". Would I recommend going on a Carnival cruise again, hell no. Would I go on another cruise on another carrier, of course (although I believe Carnival owns Royal Caribbean and a few other lines already) Were there any positives? Yes, the staff are a delight. Most of them are from Romania or some other Eastern Bloc country and they are very friendly and eager to please. The majority of the locals are also very friendly. In regards to the ship, the casino is a saving grace and the imported entertainment (non-Carnival employees) is pretty darn good. The Pizza joint, non-stop soft ice cream and main dining room food was excellent. Certain tours were great. The basic "around the island tours" would be better from a private guide, found easily once you're off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2003
My husband and I have been on 15 cruises in the last 3 years, We have sailed on every major line in the industry . We are pretty much laid back people and we had always thought that there was no such thing as a " Bad Cruise" but ... Read More
My husband and I have been on 15 cruises in the last 3 years, We have sailed on every major line in the industry . We are pretty much laid back people and we had always thought that there was no such thing as a " Bad Cruise" but alas, we just experienced one. For HAL's benefit I will list the positives first: 1} Embarkation and debarkation were easy and very organized. 2} Casino literally gave away money!! I truly had never seen a ship casino pay out on so many slot machines. 3} Entertainment was better than average Thats IT for positives!! Now for the negatives The Zuiderdam cannot find its place in the HAL lineup, You know that they are trying to achieve a younger audience but they just can't pull it off. Between the Decor ,[If you could call it that} which looks like a remnant sale at Kmart , the closed in hallways, the low ceilings and congested layout, this boat is was headed for disaster before it even left on its maiden voyage. We read the message boards before going on board, so we sort of knew what to expect. The first time cruisers on this ship probably thought it was wonderful, but if you are a seasoned cruiser, PAY ATTENTION TO NEGATIVE FEEDBACK on different boards, they are all true!! The vibration problem in the back of the ship is NOT a myth, it is a reality. After speaking with the maitred requesting a change of tables BEFORE the ship even sailed, he informed us that the upper level dining room was completely booked and not to worry we were in the front of the lower dining room. And by the way ,he mentioned that they had brought in heavier tables to reduce the vibration so the plates don't vibrate off the tables anymore. We knew we were in trouble when I asked if it was true that the ship was going into dry dock, He responded with a reluctant yes, and the ship will be drydocked in December for Mechanical Problems.. The sewer odor problem is NOT a fantasy! This ship is obviously not vented properly ,because at certain times of the day the overwhelming odor of raw sewage is prevalent throughout the ship. We could not use our balcony every morning because of it. Maintenance was sent, but they were well aware of the problem and their was nothing that they could do. Lack of maintenance was appalling, this ship is only 9 MONTHS OLD! It could easily pass for at least 5 years old. Water leaks in The "GRAND ATRIUM" turned the gold leaf green and moldy. I watched the art auction with buckets around me to catch dripping water from the ceilings. decks were not cleaned in the A.M. from the previous evening. laminate surfaces were buckling everywhere, door cabinets were hanging off hinges, paint was falling off the balcony roof in our friends mini suite . HAL definitely gets an F in maintenance. Dining room service is a disaster. We had only a waiter, no asst waiter or busboy. The food service was rushed and hurried ,they were trying to get second seating diners out in 1 hour! We had to keep calling the maitred over to tell our waiter to slow down. The first night at dinner he threw the menus at us and told us to make it "snappy". It all went downhill from there. The food was mediocre at best, the dessert selection was even worse, unless of course you consider JELLO to be a Treat! We were constantly holding onto our plates so our waiter would not swipe it away from us while we were in " Mid - Bite". It got so bad that the Head waiter removed our waiter from our section and served us exclusively the last 3 nights of our cruise. We were not alone in hearing dining room horror stories from other passengers ,we knew of at least 10 other tables that were experiencing the same kind of service. We also took a walk toward the back of the dining room one evening to "experience" the vibration problem. If anyone DARES to write that they felt no vibration, then they were either dead or drugged. You had to raise your voice just to have a conversation and the background noise from the vibration was like a scene out of the movie EARTHQUAKE! HAL definitely gets an F for dining room service. Our Cabin which was a category B balcony was below typical of other cruise lines. Once again you had the WAL-MART decor surrounding you, which flowed so beautifully with the prison grey corridor walls. A painting or two would help along the corridor walls but they obviously didn't have it in their budget. HAL gets a D for room and hallway decor The Staff on board was helpful in getting my room changed from the back of the boat to midship { Due to the heavy vibration in our cabin} other than that you are basically getting Holiday Inn level of service. I will have to say that room service was the highlight of HALS customer service. HAL gets a C- for service { it would have been a D if not for room service!} I have taken pictures of many of these things that I have listed here and intend to email them to HAL. Lets just say that this was a major disappointment on HALs part. As everyone knows HAL is giving away their cruises because the senior population is not traveling as much as they once did and they have to open themselves to other markets. They have a very long way to go and should look upon Celebrity Cruise line as their role model. If you are a 1st time cruiser all I could say is Bon Voyage, If you are a truly experienced cruiser then you will quickly know that all is not right with this vessel. Read Less

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