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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our 4th festive cruise on Ventura around the Caribbean islands. The usual efficient P&O system of dealing with flights and luggage soon had us in the holiday mood. This time we were on a Dreamliner from Manchester. We were ... Read More
This was our 4th festive cruise on Ventura around the Caribbean islands. The usual efficient P&O system of dealing with flights and luggage soon had us in the holiday mood. This time we were on a Dreamliner from Manchester. We were happy with our balcony cabin on B deck and this was kept immaculate by our Steward Edward. Overall this was one of the best cruises we have done with wall to wall sunshine for the whole trip. We thought the quality and quantity of the food and also the quality of service had improved since the previous Christmas and also the standard of dress of the passengers was very high. Many ladies and girls opted for long dresses or cocktail wear even on the non-formal nights. Also on formal nights there were more men in evening dress than previously. So we were well happy. In the evenings we drank mainly in the Glasshouse or Tamarind. Prices seem to have held since the previous year both for drinks and meals in the speciality restaurants although they have introduced a cover charge for the Beach House restaurant in the evenings. This clearly had the effect of reducing the once mandatory queuing to zero and on the evening we ate there, hardly any other diners. The one blot on the proceedings was the requirement to queue to reserve your dining times for Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. I was near the front of the queue and it still took 1.5 hours for me to be seen to. Some people were queuing for up to 4.5 hours. This is appalling and P&O need to find another way of addressing this matter for example by using Cruise Personaliser. Like many others we will not be on Ventura for Christmas 2015 as we will all be on the Britannia. All in all an excellent cruise on the home from home Ventura . Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Rather then go into a whole lot of detail I will write bullets to get the idea * Ship was beautiful the entertainment was outstanding * Dynamic Dining (several restaurants to choose from all have limited menus) The menus never change ... Read More
Rather then go into a whole lot of detail I will write bullets to get the idea * Ship was beautiful the entertainment was outstanding * Dynamic Dining (several restaurants to choose from all have limited menus) The menus never change usually have meat fish and other to choose. Be prepared to take 21/2 to 3 hours to eat supper service is slow and typically disorganized Waiters do their best. Each waiter has 4 tables to serve with limited help. Extra people going around with bread,water, coffee. * We purchased a soda package (we have done this on many cruises) On this cruise they give you a large mug to carry around and you can get soda's at special machines which recognize a chip in the cup. You could not attach the mug anywhere on you belt or around your neck. PAIN IN THE NECK TO CARRY A MUG AROUND WITH YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO ON THE SHIP. * We went to Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant (pay extra to go) They did not have pasta and meatballs what Italian have you been in that does not serve pasta and meatballs. The only other thing I understood on the menu was lasagna so I ordered it. Lo and behold when I received it and could not eat it I asked what was in it.PUMPKIN in lasagna yup you got it PUMPKIN. * The new WOW bracelet is suppose to make it easy to charge things like drinks merchandise. Most of the time it does not work on the first try. When we entered the theater at night they started to ask for the ship pass cards rather then the WOW bracelet it was just more reliable. I quote an employee in the casino saying WOW when it worked. When you order a drink at the pool or in the theater you must remove your bracelet and give it to the server he then goes away and brings it back. It is a real pain the neck for the server since most of the bracelets are black with no name on them you have no idea if you are getting your bracelet back or not. * This is speculation on my part but I believe their is much less help on the ship then others we have been on. More profits for the cruise line   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My partner and I consulted a Norwegian Cruise Agent about the "Gem." He told us since its a week before Christmas most of the cruisers would fall in our age range (I'm 30 my partner 31). This was not the case, 85% were ... Read More
My partner and I consulted a Norwegian Cruise Agent about the "Gem." He told us since its a week before Christmas most of the cruisers would fall in our age range (I'm 30 my partner 31). This was not the case, 85% were senior citizens, 10% children, and 5% percent our age range. It seems to be a ship catering more to kids and older folks. Not that my partner and I have a problem cruising with older people or kids, but at least have some decent activities that cater to our age bracket. Upon entering our room we discovered a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries, a gift i purchased prior to embarking for the 14th of December not the 13th, with an anniversary note for my partner. So that surprise was ruined. The music at Spinnaker and Bliss Lounges/Clubs were repetitive every night. The poolside music was ok but not something we would rock to everyday. As soon as some EDM or R&B played a senior citizen would complain to the DJ to change it. The Casino was our main source of entertainment so we were there everyday and night. Not one cruiser ever one big money. The mystery prize at the DaVinci Quarter Game was a joke. A beer cosi sleeve is the cheapest things you could give a gamble/cruiser after spending $40-$50 and a couple of hours of playing. Would it have hurt the cruise line if they gave away a dinner for two at a specialty restaurant or a free 20 minute massage. We also won the bubbly prize which was a Brut Dry Champagne, we asked if we could switch it for semi sweet or sweet since we get heartburn drinking the dry Champagne and were simply told by the arrogant lady "the prize you win at the machine is this one." Play at your own risk at the Casino, Norwegian Gem seems cheap when it comes to customer satisfaction. We also asked if we could upgrade our room and would be willing to pay whatever it was but were told it was fully booked. Days later we met a woman who said she had bed bugs in her cabin that attacked her mother and was upgraded to another room. We soon realized there were other rooms available but nobody bothered to contact us after they said they would. My partner got sick eating some buffet food the last three days. 6 Hours (7am-1pm) in Tortola was a joke, Nothing was opened til 11am. Even the island people were surprised the ship wanted to leave that early (cruise ships are how the island people make their money). Norwegian Cruise Line SIMPLY GREEDY. Overall the ship is beautiful but the execution or even activities for our range is very very poor. I really doubt that we would ever book Norwegian again after this experience. We heard from other cruisers that Carnival or Royal Carribean would have what we are looking for. If we do decide to give them a second chance we will likely go with Sky as we were told by the crew and people we met their that Sky is likely to have what we are looking for. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The ship was clean and well maintained. Food was good but seating was limited in the buffet area. The 24 hour pizza was terfific. My biggest gripe were the passengers lack of respect for others between midnight and 3 am. Getting back to ... Read More
The ship was clean and well maintained. Food was good but seating was limited in the buffet area. The 24 hour pizza was terfific. My biggest gripe were the passengers lack of respect for others between midnight and 3 am. Getting back to their cabins quietly was not possible. Disembarking took a long time with a nearly two hour wait in the liquid lounge. Cabins were spacious and showers were great. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We just returned from our first Cruise. We have chosen Costa Cruise based on program and price. As we didn’t know what to expect we were very excited, and the Costa Luminosa, didn’t disappointed us. It was a fantastic experience. ... Read More
We just returned from our first Cruise. We have chosen Costa Cruise based on program and price. As we didn’t know what to expect we were very excited, and the Costa Luminosa, didn’t disappointed us. It was a fantastic experience. Everything was so clean, well maintained, especially compared to other ships which came to the same ports. In every harbor they cleaned the outside of the ship, painted if needed and so on. The cabins (we reserved two) were comfortable and clean, well equipped. Fantastic cabin crew, named Frenky, so committed, I appreciate his energy. Always visible in the corridor, busy with making people feel like a King. Same for the people at the restaurant and bars. Food was very good. I visited the kitchen, in my previous job as food inspector I inspected many restaurants kitchens and I have never seen a clean and professional equipped industrial kitchen like in Luminosa. A big compliment for the chef and his personal. So a couple of key words: • Super clean • Good drinks and foods • Over all, friendly employees • Good balance between price and quality   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
First of the boat was amazing, the captain and crew were great. I stayed in 11510 with my wife and kids our housekeeper Jacob was the man. He made the cruise very comfortable for me and my family. His animal display has my kids still ... Read More
First of the boat was amazing, the captain and crew were great. I stayed in 11510 with my wife and kids our housekeeper Jacob was the man. He made the cruise very comfortable for me and my family. His animal display has my kids still talking about Jacob and how they miss him. The bar waiters Fred Charles and Quincy M., made my trip. There hospitality and drive to keep a smile on me and my families face was memorable. I felt as if I was surrounded by family because of those three men. The nick characters and crew was a bonus for my kids who were already excited from all the events and places they had for kids. I recommend that every family no matter what age you are does the gem cruise at least once. If I was president I would make it mandatory for every family to do it. Its affordable for everyone and the atmosphere on the boat changes you, it could change a serial killer into a model citizens. Everyone had a smile on the boat if it wasn't a smile it was a laugh. I never been on a boat in my life the Gem has turned this tuff gut into a cruise junky, my choice of drug Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
You never forget your first cruise. Like your first kiss, the memory sweetly lingers. It’s those warm fuzzies that drew us back to Celebrity’s Constellation in December—eight years after she introduced us to a whole new way to ... Read More
You never forget your first cruise. Like your first kiss, the memory sweetly lingers. It’s those warm fuzzies that drew us back to Celebrity’s Constellation in December—eight years after she introduced us to a whole new way to travel. But those were the days of midnight buffets and chocolates on our pillow. They’re long gone and the Constellation is a different place, run by the same—but yet a very different—cruise line. The Ship: Wearing the Years Well The Constellation has held up very nicely since its 2002 inauguration. Its upgrade and “Solsticization” in 2013 brought new beds to the cabins, refreshed carpeting throughout, new restaurants, bars and more. It’s a handsome ship, with a commanding marble staircase dominating the Grand Foyer on Deck 3. One of the ship’s highlights is at the very back of Deck 10, what I call the “Teak Deck” for its upgraded picnic furniture (officially, it’s the “Sunset Bar”). The little patio, like most of the ship (including rooms and balconies), is now smoke-free, enabling all of us to enjoy the view of the stern’s wake without wheezing. The ship is compact and easy to get around; we had the layout down in a day. Its relative smallness at 91,000 tons gave it an intimate feel, which, after many trips on larger vessels, was a nice change of pace. The Entertainment: Mixing It Up There’s been a big change in the daytime activities. Where once there were guest speakers, there are now “Life Enhancement” lectures on health and fitness. “Enhance Your Life Through Exercise” and “Happy Feet for Healthy Life” were some of the offerings. There are also more pool and game show activities, as the cruise line works to appeal to younger cruisers. An officer vs. guest pool volleyball game made its debut on this trip, joining the usual “Newlywed Game” takeoff, “Battle of the Sexes” and “Liar’s Club,” which—a first for us—featured the ship’s captain on the panel. Evening entertainment was good quality, albeit standard fare—Broadway-style shows, a comedian, violinist, magician and singer. Off-stage entertainment ran the gamut, from folk music to classical to rock and salsa. The Food: A Turn Toward Ordinary Alas, from this foodie’s perspective, quality was sacrificed for quantity. When we first took the Connie, the three-star Michelin winner Michel Roux was running the show and each meal in the main dining room was a gastronomical high. Today, the food is plain at best. Entrees ranged from good (there was a nice crispy breaded pork chop and decent tenderloin) to poor (one steak had a very strange consistency). Desserts are merely ordinary. Instead of the rich and decadent “Opera” pastry I enjoyed on Princess, for example, the Constellation serves up chocolate layer cake. The ship’s buffet, the Oceanview Café, runs until 9:30 p.m. at dinner, but compared to buffets on competing lines, seems an afterthought. There are some nice features, such as made-to-order grilling (choice of steak, salmon, chicken and pork), stir-fry and pasta, good pizza and an ice cream bar with syrup and candy toppings. But the desserts seldom varied from puddings or cupcakes. On the other hand, the breakfast and lunch buffets offered a huge variety. (Although sorely missing was the array of fabulous rolls we once looked forward to.) The Extras: A Few Still Remain Some of what earned Celebrity the reputation of a premier cruise line is still there—the welcome champagne at embarkation, iced towels greeting you after a hot day at port, but we find it a changed cruise line, and the Constellation, a changed ship. Those sailing on the Constellation for the first time will enjoy a smaller ship experience, quality entertainment and a crew eager to please. In short, a good cruise, but not a spectacular one.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was my husband's and my 17th cruise since 1992, and our fourth on a Royal Caribbean ship. We love cruises -- in the first 25 years of our marriage we traveled all over the world, and had plenty of adventure and drama and cultural ... Read More
This was my husband's and my 17th cruise since 1992, and our fourth on a Royal Caribbean ship. We love cruises -- in the first 25 years of our marriage we traveled all over the world, and had plenty of adventure and drama and cultural experiences/immersion. When we started cruising, we found a different world - the chance to get around without care about logistics, largely prepaid, comfortable, even luxurious, wonderful food, great service, and the choices to do a lot of active things or nothing at all. I recommend Royal Caribbean for first time cruisers as its always a good generic experience. But it hadn't seemed to excel in anything much, so we had tried other cruise lines. When we took a RC cruise, Brilliance of the Seas, in 2013 mainfly because it went out of Tampa (we lived in the Tampa Bay area and were moving, so we thought we really should take a ship out of the most convenient port!), we were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the ship and cruise. I should say here that our all-time favorite cruises have been the destination ones - Alaska, New England-Canada, and Europe. The Caribbean cruises are for relaxation, r&r, being on the sea, sunshine! We were happy to book this cruise and it exceeded our expectations. It was our first holiday cruise (Dec. 28-Jan.3) and we enjoyed the three-deck high Christmas tree and the New Year festivities. There were many families, teens, young adults, and children aboard and they all seemed happy - in our 70's, we enjoyed seeing their happiness and being surrounded by younger people. Did not experience bad behavior. We thought the food on this ship was superior to the other RC cruises we'd been on. Most of the offerings in the main King Lear dining room. where we ate dinner every night were excellent. We usually had several starters, sharing a third or each having two as they were all wonderful. The service at our table was excellent - kudos to Randy and Vic of the Philippines - and the dining room was, we thought, one of the best run ever. Junior Bailey is the head waiter, a very affable guy who seemed to be on top of it all. LIve music was provided nightly by piano and violinst, and a guitarist. The first night the sound was pitched too loud for us to hear each other; we mentioned this to Mr. Bailey and he had them lower it to a very pleasant background music level and I think everyone enjoyed it more then. The ice skating show was fantastic!!! The other entertainment we weren't much interested in. We had an internet package, expensive at $200 for the entire trip, which though not perfect, was the best we've had yet aboard a cruise ship. We loved our cabin 8328, midships, quiet, clean, cozy, comfortable with balcony, and plenty of storage space. I liked the bathroom sink-counter-three sided mirror set up with shelves behind the outer mirror - didn't have to have all my cosmetics and meds lined up on the counter for a change. All the crew we encountered were pleasant, helpful and competent. I usually avoid spas, looking in on them only because they usually seem cold and a little intimidating. Went to two presentations, and yes, I bought the featured products, expensive but have found them to be wonderful! No one in the reviews I have read of this ship has mentioned the wonderful Royal Promenade -- I loved this feature. It made a focal point on the ship for seeing people, having an onboard "destination" and providing more walking, and it's very photogenic. I liked the Promenade Cafe at which coffee, tea, pastries and interesting sandwiches were available without charge all day and evening. It made a great venue for New Year's Eve. We enjoyed the three port stops, and found both embarkation and disembarkation a smooth process. Seemed to me that Royal Caribbean still provides an all-around excellent cruise, though maybe too blatant in trying to sell you something, and is trying hard with much success in the food and service categories. It was, for us, a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This is the first time we sailed in December (first week of). Coming home it was hard to adjust to the Christmas atmosphere. Some said there were more kids on this one because of the time of year but I didn't think so. One complaint ... Read More
This is the first time we sailed in December (first week of). Coming home it was hard to adjust to the Christmas atmosphere. Some said there were more kids on this one because of the time of year but I didn't think so. One complaint was I thought this was a new ship(my fault there for not checking more thoroughly). The Sunshine is a sister ship of the Breeze(which is new) we sailed on in March. However this is a remake of the old Valor. Nothing wrong with it but I would have chose the Breeze if I had known. This is a smaller ship, so everything is smaller where it counts. The pool area, the casino, the lounge. First time sailing out of Port Canaveral. We took the Coco Beach Shuttle from the airport for $108 round trip for two. It was one of least expensive ones. It was a 15 passenger van. About an hour drive. The port itself is a mess. Too many cruise lines and a bottlenecked area. Allow plenty of time to arrive. Once in we got right through. We were on Lido deck just before noon. Our room was not ready for about 2 hours though. FYI If you arrive early you may not want to lug stuff around till your room is ready. We took on 2 bottles of champagne they did not even look in the bag to see what it was. And as always we packed some alcohol in our baggage and have not had it taken away yet. Departure was worse because they lead you down a hallway to escalators. They did not tell you this. So some waited in line only to find out they had to take the elevator because of strollers, wheelchairs, luggage etc. Once down in the warehouse it was like the rest, find your bag and go through customs. All in all not bad timing. I have heard this captain is not always on time. If you want to self embark and the ship is on time they were letting people off I think as early as 7 a.m. or so. Pool: only one community pool smaller no frills. Serenity Deck for adults only is larger that most with lots of lounges, chairs and pods as we call them. There is also a bar there with a hot tub, music, restrooms, tables. Most of the pods facing the pool are reserved real early but you can usually find some empty anytime of day. They do have a small pool with a fountain coming down from the floor above. Dining: We did the anytime dining. This ship does it very different. You just don't show up, first you go to the Ocean Plaza on deck 5 to check in. They give you a buzzer and if there is a wait you stay there until your buzzer goes off then go down one floor to the Sunrise dining room. You can sit alone or with others. You can also request the same waiter each night if you wish. Next cruise I think we will try the scheduled dining. They do have the other dining rooms where you pay for your food but I don't know why you would when you already paid for food. Those places were not busy at ALL. Breakfast: We dined a lot in main dining room. You can get a nice hot breakfast. If you like omelets go to deck 9 Havana Bar they make them to order. We enjoyed the music at the Piano Bar, the Ocean Plaza and Red Frog Pub. Liquid Lounge: It is a lot smaller than most and the floor seats are not bolted down so you can move the chairs around. I think if they had the benches like most ships it would be better. Even with the smaller seating the only time we had trouble finding a seat was for the Past Cruisers Happy Hour meet & greet. I have seen some of the shows before on other ships. It would be nice if they had different shows for each ship. There are a lot of people who cruise often and seeing the same shows is a bummer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Along with friends from the U.K. which we met on previous cruises aboard NCL ships, my husband and I booked this cruise to the Eastern Carib. It is our habit to book full suites, mainly for the amenities suites cruising offers. At first, ... Read More
Along with friends from the U.K. which we met on previous cruises aboard NCL ships, my husband and I booked this cruise to the Eastern Carib. It is our habit to book full suites, mainly for the amenities suites cruising offers. At first, we booked a mini-suite, but upgraded later at nearly double the fare. The suite was very nice, but that is where the benefits ended...we should have stayed with the mini-suite...that is how we were treated. The promised amenities, paid for dearly, either did not appear or had to be requested. Both couples in our party received the same generally poor service, although our room steward was efficient, friendly and overworked. In dining venues... poor. Priority boarding and disembarkation was non existent. To be blunt, we were, in fact, the last two people to disembark after waiting three hours. We waited, waited, waited and realizing we had been forgotten finally heard our name called. A lady from cruise services rudely complained "you are the last two passengers on this ship." When we inquired about the expected escort through customs she grabbed another lady and rudely replied "I am not escorting you, you will just have to find your way. " Which is what we did. Moral is...don't pay for services that won't be provided on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but ... Read More
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but compare. Carnival has a lot more free options and the food is 10 times better. Norwegian's food was bland and always the same. I did not try their restaurants that you had to pay extra for. The Bad 1. There was a smell coming from the aft stairs 2. The bartender in Ramblas bar was rude, never smiled and always looked away. No wonder it was always empty   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I can't write any negative about this cruise and the cruise company or the ship. This ship is only 2 years old, so everything is new. A lots of activities for every ages, kindergarten with everything a kid needs. Beautiful interior ... Read More
I can't write any negative about this cruise and the cruise company or the ship. This ship is only 2 years old, so everything is new. A lots of activities for every ages, kindergarten with everything a kid needs. Beautiful interior and design, excellent Italian and international foods, endless choices in the buffet. Always-smiling and helpful staffs. Shows in the theatre were impressive and had a different show on every night. The only one negative thing was the early wake up on the last day. We had to leave the rooms no later than 7AM. only one restaurant was open, so everyone were there with big bags, was very hard to find a place to sit. But after that, de disembarkation was quick and smooth.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We traveled with our adult daughter and teenage grand-daughter. We had next door balcony staterooms on the Lido deck.. Drove from the Atlanta GA area and overnighted at the Hampton Inn West in Port St. Lucie. Arrived at the Port of Miami ... Read More
We traveled with our adult daughter and teenage grand-daughter. We had next door balcony staterooms on the Lido deck.. Drove from the Atlanta GA area and overnighted at the Hampton Inn West in Port St. Lucie. Arrived at the Port of Miami on Saturday around 10:30am. We booked FFTF Fastest to the Fun for each stateroom. FFTF provided priority check-in and boarding (right after the Diamond and Platinum groups) and we were on board before 11:00am. FFTF, also, provided priority stateroom access and our staterooms were clean and ready when we boarded. We dropped our carry ons and went to the check out the food. We always check out all of the buffet lines (they usually offer some different items) and new restaurants/grills. Glory was refurbished in 2012 and we really like the changes - especially GUY's and the Burrito grill. The Steakhouse was our dinner choice. The food was excellent! Service had some minor issues - my medium rare steak was served to my wife and her medium steak was served to me. We just traded steaks and ate our merry way through dinner! Breakfast and lunch provide good variety. Choose wisely!! Have dessert first! Dinner - there seems to be fewer menu items (maybe it's my memory) than last time we cruised Carnival. Food was good and cooked as requested. Service was timely with some minor issues - orders presented to the right table, wrong person. We never had to wait for water re-fills or bread. By the way eat more that one appetizer and/or entrée. Or, it you don't like what you ordered get something else! We had to make appointments to visit with our grand-daughter. She joined Club O2 and made several new friends. The adults went to several of the productions, adult comedy shows, etc. Some were really fun and some were okay. We visited St. Maarten (Dutch side only), San Juan, and Grand Turk. Enjoyed each port and their unique cultures. FUN ALL OVER THE SHIP ON DECEMBER 31ST!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just got off the 11-day, Dec. 1st sailing. This was my 25th cruise, 2nd RCI. There's no doubt this ship is GORGEOUS, but leaves a lot to be desired. Carnival wins hands-down as the FUN ships, for sure! Here's my review by ... Read More
Just got off the 11-day, Dec. 1st sailing. This was my 25th cruise, 2nd RCI. There's no doubt this ship is GORGEOUS, but leaves a lot to be desired. Carnival wins hands-down as the FUN ships, for sure! Here's my review by category: FOOD was horrible, and I'm NOT a picky eater, by far. I truly couldn't find many enjoyable items in each restaurant. We did every pay restaurant, and there's not one I'd go back to, except Chops Grille, which was FANTASTIC (other than running out of veal chops one day.) I do love the idea of Dynamic Dining, but there should at least be an alternate menu or more options if you want to go back. Because we had a party of 8, it took over 3 hours to arrange all the dining and shows, which was a hassle. I was SHOCKED that they constantly ran out of BASIC foods. How's that possible for an established cruise line? That, to me, was inexcusable. Two70 HAD the best Chicken Caesar Salad I've ever had ... until they ran out of Romaine lettuce by Day 3. They also ran out of potato chips by Day 3. The ship ran out of bananas, hot dogs at the hot dog stand, no veal chops, no bass fish, no Jack Daniels. And creme brûlée was nowhere to be found on the whole ship ... and that's THE treat I look forward to on every cruise. ROOM SERVICE was pathetic. It's a main reason I won't go back. My favorite thing on a cruise is to wake up to bagels and lox brought to my room every morning. This had the smallest, worst choices of free delivery available. The first day, I decided to at least have tea and toast delivered, but they called AN HOUR LATE to say they were just now "on the way." ACTIVITIES were the best! I loved iFly, bumper cars, trapeze, ping pong, and air hockey, but the alloted times were VERY limited. For example, rollerskating was only scheduled during dinner, so we never made it there. The NorthStar kept breaking down, so we only got to see it in port, never over the ocean. SHOWS were great and professional, but I do miss going straight to a show every night after dinner. Mamma Mia was better than a Broadway performance! CABINS are roomy. Plenty of space and storage. Categories aren't accurate, though. "Large Interior" cabins aren't the same, as some had sofas and twice the size as the others. Our shipmates even had to waste some of their day to move their room. STAFF was friendly. Many waiters seemed overwhelmed. We often had to ask multiple times to get water or bread. They weren't very attentive. Staff is hard to find anywhere around the ship. PASSENGERS were old and crabby ... maybe because it was only the 2nd sailing, all the "regulars" came out. The average age was probably 68+. (Of course, there were VERY friendly older people, but sadly, that seemed to be the exception rather than the norm.) I've NEVER had a problem with anyone anywhere, and I had 5 confrontations with crotchety old people who had a sense of entitlement, pushing their way through to fronts of the lines. I've also (on vacation) never heard SO many people whining and complaining and criticizing in my life, as if they're professional cruise critics LOOKING for everything wrong to complain about. If you're looking for bad, you'll find it -- in ANY situation! That was so sad they couldn't just let go and feel blessed to have the opportunity to get to go on vacation at all, and on this amazing ship, to boot! I think these people sealed the deal that I never want to go on another RCI ship. My opinion is that RCI may be recognizing the age dynamic, too, as they're adding so many activities and themes for younger people. PORTS were a great selection, except for the Puerto Rico stop. What did they expect us to do at night? We were there 4-9:30, and it got dark at 5:30. That was just a total waste of time. We couldn't find a tour that had a full bus ready to go, so we just went to Starbucks to get on WiFi. Sad. St. Maarten has plenty to do. Martinique has plenty to do. Barbados is gorgeous, with a fantastic beach area called The Boatyard. St. Kitts is pretty, too, and Friars Beach is beautiful. DECOR is just breathtaking. Again, hands-down, Royal has class. The art was fantastic, beautiful, and whimsical. I love how they change the tiles in the elevators for each day of the week. The animal posters on the elevator walls were fun. Felicia, the big magenta bear was fun, especially as we've met her blue and orange brothers in person, too! The glass art was gorgeous. I especially LOVED all the different types of seating and cubby areas to just lounge around the ship. At the Schooner Bar, it was entertaining watch the art use wipe-off boards to erase their work. The yellow car at the Royal Theater was amusing, too, as I stood and watched the whole loop for about 20 minutes. The atrium's pastel art with all the animals was breathtaking, too, and I especially loved the butterfly theme throughout. ALL IN ALL, I think ANY vacation is a good time, but this was a great one, flaws and all. But I'm determined NOT to go Pinnacle anytime soon with Royal. Carnival is still my favorite that keeps me busy and having FUN at ALL TIMES.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We took our first cruise aboard the Carnival Sunshine. Not only was it our first cruise experience, but it was our first holiday cruise. The staff aboard the Sunshine are amazing. Jamie our cruise director was the best ever, I have never ... Read More
We took our first cruise aboard the Carnival Sunshine. Not only was it our first cruise experience, but it was our first holiday cruise. The staff aboard the Sunshine are amazing. Jamie our cruise director was the best ever, I have never seen anyone with the energy and enthusiasm she has for her job. She did everything possible to make our first cruise one that we would never forget. We had the best service you could imagine. The staff were friendly and the ship was spotless. Dining in the Sunset Dining Room was perfect. The Matre De Ante was superb and made our dining experience fun, fun, fun. His staff provided great service and entertainment. The meals were delicious. Magdalena the dinner host was always working to make sure everything was perfect. Our bar waiter was Andres and he was so friendly and helpful. Our wait staff Darnico and Adrian always had a smile on their face and provided excellent service. The team head waiter Svetislv provided us with a smile everytime we saw him and excellent service. Slavika was so friendly and helpful too. The entertainment staff was also excellent. The shows were amazing and the entertainers were captivating. Lodaska was so friendly and helpful as our bar waiter during the eventing shows. Jimbo at Guy's Burgers had a smile waiting for us every time we got a burger, and by the way they were delicious. Throughout our cruise the photographers captured every moment. Adrian at the photo desk was so very helpful also. Morgan with the Sports Staff was the sweetest young lady and always offered her smile. We will choose Carnival Sunshine for our next cruise. We rate it A+++++++++++ in every category. Thank you Carnival Sunshine for make our first cruise memorable.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
My wife and I were married last year, at sea, by a RCCL captain of Adventure of the Seas. This was our honeymoon cruise. We had a wonderful time on this ship. Embarkation The port was designed to handle the large volume of people getting ... Read More
My wife and I were married last year, at sea, by a RCCL captain of Adventure of the Seas. This was our honeymoon cruise. We had a wonderful time on this ship. Embarkation The port was designed to handle the large volume of people getting on the ship. Everything moved fast. Accessibility The elevators ran faster than smaller ships, I have been on. The ship was stable, but weather was mostly calm. Amenities The layout is very interesting with the stern park and amphitheater having a carnival/fair like quality, to the mid-ship central park of extra charge restaurants. The promenade is loud and exciting. Prices in the shops are inflated. In my Opinion, best to just window shop and then buy when you get back to your home or, for jewelry, in the Caribbean. We had an issue that came to bite us. My wife bought me a watch on board. But the store did not get us the box and receipt, which I didn't think was too big a deal. However, we got flagged buy customs as they required the store to provide the receipt and serial number before we could leave. The customs officer was not upset with us, they were displeased with the ship. The store should have known about this and delivered our receipt or notified us that the receipt was ready. Caveat emptor. We took in Chicago at the theater. It was an abbreviated version, but it was well executed and hit the highlights of the longer Broadway play. The talent was exceptional. Service was always exceptional. RCCL does a fantastic job to keep 6000+ passengers happy. Dining RCCL has made changes to the main dining experience I do not like. I previous cruises, the staff participates in song and parade. This has been discontinued. I have always felt that was a great way to see all the folks that work so hard and gave us a chance to show we really appreciate them. The food was adequate and service was great. We also tried the specialty restaurants. We had tasting menus 3 nights. The first night was very good and we discovered some new flavored salt that we had to have when we got back home. I would only recommend ordering a tasting dinner from one restaurant one night only. Order al a carte after as they all seem to share the same food. Overall I was very impressed how a large ship could still deliver. The experience was great and I did not feel crowded, rushed or finding myself having to wait more than what I felt as reasonable. That said, I find personal touches on the smaller ships more interesting and the food better in quality. I will be cruising on Oasis in March and Navigator in August.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We have cruised HAL many times. After this cruise we both noted that service and shipboard life have slipped. Embarkation was good....lines moved, on board and into our balcony cabin in no time. We had been on the Noordam once before and ... Read More
We have cruised HAL many times. After this cruise we both noted that service and shipboard life have slipped. Embarkation was good....lines moved, on board and into our balcony cabin in no time. We had been on the Noordam once before and she is in good shape. Learned that she is going into drydock in February for an update...wish i checked on that prior to booking. But the ship was clean. Things that broke were quickly fixed (dvd player in cabin, shower in cabin). Our cabin steward was attentive but we noticed that he had a lot of cabins to service....he looked exhausted but very friendly each time we met. Food on board was good. The variety in the main dining room was OK, wait staff seemed to have many tables and the service suffered. We had "as you wish" dining and as we expected, it took several days for us to get a time and table that was suitable. We like a table for two for many reasons....and after 4 days we selected a good time and were seated with reservations. Service is much better with smaller tables. After our first night at a table for 10 and a 2.5 hr meal we ate in the Lido as the maitre'd said we could not reserve a table for 2 at a specific time. Dinner in the lido has changed ! They close one side at 7:30 and then announce on the other side that at 8 they will also close. Lido was packed the times we ate there ! Lido staff in am and lunch were mixed...50% helpful and 50% not. Lido staff stood in front of beverage dispensers not helping passengers, almost surly when asked to clean tables. A change for us ! HAL has cheaped out with rewarding past mariners...they now have a lunch...which i attended....after 1.5 hrs our table never got food ! They send out RSVPs .... both floors on the dining room were almost full ...one would think they could have planned for the numbers coming ! I left. That was disappointing! Entertainment was interesting. Same production (usually expected) numbers (different costumes and singers but same frantic dancing and head shaking)....one evening it was passengers in the marriage game, another it was a blues group (they also had a nightly venue on the ship). The comedian was OK but the piano player was fabulous. Both entertainers were on board the entire 11 days, but only performed one night each. Using passengers for main entertainment is a...cheap-out ! IMO. Daily activities were lame....ex: bird watchers meet, aviators meet, etc really???....no crafts, captains talk, local info (except for shopping). Other topics were sales pitches for the spa etc. The best was the tech time...I took advantage of many classes on Windows 8.1 and they were great ! Only 12 computers in the "lab" and almost each session was full. Perhaps more computers or more interesting sea day activities?? The culinary events were good. The movies selections (during the day showings) were awful ! No one kept track of the quality and in one showing I went to the front desk to complain the sounds was too low ....guess other passengers would just sit there and lip read ! I was thanked when i got back to my seat. We enjoyed the intense port schedule....hitting 2 we had never been to before...St. Kitts and Martinique. We took 2 ship tours...one snorkel at the private island and a train ride in St. Kitts. Both were good but the organization on shore...awful ! I don't think we will be sailing HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our 10th cruise but only second on the Princess. Before we left I read many reviews that had me a bit worried. I decided to forget about the bad reviews and try it out for myself. I am so glad I did. I think this cruise was my ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise but only second on the Princess. Before we left I read many reviews that had me a bit worried. I decided to forget about the bad reviews and try it out for myself. I am so glad I did. I think this cruise was my most favorite one next to the cruise I took with mom and day in 1964 from England. The ship was clean and the staff was friendly. I noticed there were not any towel animals in the room and I was ok with that. The sea was smooth so I did not get nauseated one day which is very unusual. Our room was clean everyday. There were a few things I was not happy with. I slept in a top bunk and the bed was uncomfortable. The railings were rattling and it was hard to get off and on because of how it was positioned. I usually love sleeping in the top bunk and had a wonderful comfortable bed on a Royal Caribbean ship and hoped this one would be as good but it was not good at all. The bathroom was very, very small I was grateful that each member of my family was not over weight or else we would have hung out of the shower stall. My daughter is very slim and it was tight for her. All in all it was a great trip, I did not sleep as well because of the bunk and I was afraid I maybe a bit cranky but the staff was so genuinely nice that it all worked out well. The food was exceptional. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
• Background information I took this cruise with a single college friend of mine (I’m married, but I like to cruise more than my wife and she was tied up with work). We are both in our late 30s and have each been on many cruises. This ... Read More
• Background information I took this cruise with a single college friend of mine (I’m married, but I like to cruise more than my wife and she was tied up with work). We are both in our late 30s and have each been on many cruises. This is my 20th cruise and I’ve been on most of the major lines. • Ship information In short, the ship is outstanding. The crew has done a great job of keeping her in tip-top shape. There are many interesting areas of the ship which I will touch on later. There were more unique sitting areas on this ship than any other I’ve been on. For example, the Deck 5 Lanai area is unusual in that it has hot tubs. There is also the fee-free Serenity adult area complete with its own hot tubs, hammocks, and clam shell seating. The Sports Square area is also very cool with pool tables, foosball, ping pong, bean bag toss, ropes course, and mini-golf. • Activities In my opinion, Carnival does an excellent job with activities. Although they may not have the same investment into facilities as say Royal Caribbean with ice skating rinks and FlowRiders, they make up for it with exceptionally run activities. For example, Carnival had a social staff person running sports competitions like they were Olympic events. One social host (Regan – totally committed to his job and super nice), was doing play-by-play over a mic during a bean bag toss competition. Dodge ball was closely monitored by Regan or Cruz. As an active guest, I appreciate the organization and dedication. I’ve been on Princess cruises where the daily schedule shows something like “Volleyball with fellow guests”, and a staff member does not even show up. Not so on Carnival. If they advertise an activity, there will be a staff member there to keep it running smoothly. I should also mention that there is a lot of trivia on this ship, so if you like that sort of thing, you are in luck! • Service It would be really hard to ding Carnival on service. I could go on and on, but in an effort to keep it short, I’ll just say that I really have no complaints. Whenever I needed anything, I was taken care of. • Port & shore excursions We did not do any excursions planned through the ship, but we did do something at every port. Please see my port reviews for specifics. • Travel to embarkation Port I’m from the western part of the country, but traveled to Miami after visiting family in the northeast (where my friend also lives). We decided to fly in on the day of the cruise. While I was a little concerned about this given it was December, I just booked the earliest non-stop flight, and it was fine. We really liked the ability to check in for the cruise at the airport. Carnival runs two desks at different baggage claim areas of Miami Airport, and you can obtain your key card and check in there. Once you get to the port, you just show your card and stamped papers and then go through security. You will be able to board at the same time as Zone 1 (those who were earliest to check in at the port). Definitely check in at the airport if you are flying in on the day of sailing. • Cabin In an effort to save money, we booked a category 1A stateroom. I was careful to make sure that this was not a bunk bed room. Cabin 2207 has a regular bed and a sofa bed. The room is more or less square. It is the second room from the front of the ship. We noticed minimal noise, but there is some vibration when you come into port. Still, I’d book this room again vs. spending a couple hundred more for a regular room on Deck 1 or 2, or even a higher deck. I got plenty of exercise as I only took the elevator once (I had to for a photo scavenger hunt). I was trying to find some information about this specific room, because it is a unique 1A. So to satisfy the next guy who was as curious as I was, here is the room layout. The entry door wall of the room shares wall space with the bathroom. Going clockwise, the next wall has the regular bed. The next wall has the sofa bed. The final wall has the desk, tv, and closets. The sofa bed was not quite as comfortable as the regular bed, but with a foam pad it was pretty close. We liked the open space in the center of this room, and found it to be a great value. • Dining Dining on this ship was excellent. Try to find a ship with more free options at lunch. Guy’s Burgers were as advertised – outstanding! I had one seven out of eight days. They were heavenly! The Blue Iguana Cantina was also very good with fresh, tasty ingredients. My friend and I would generally order three appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts each at dinner. So over eight nights (we ate in the MDR every night), that makes 56 items that I ordered. I had minor issues with maybe two of those items. I think that is pretty darned good when considering they prepare food for up to 4,000 diners. • Entertainment I really enjoyed what the ship offered for entertainment. The production shows were very good. The comedy shows were exceptional. Other lines just give you one or two comedians who do a couple shows each. Carnival gives you four comedians who do about four shows each (both family and adult). Another outstanding value! Matt, the cruise director, was one of the best I’ve ever seen. He is very visible on the ship and very well received. We liked that he was dressed casually most of the time, but still very sharp. Some cruise directors are stuffy and wear suits every day. Matt is much more low key and the impression is that he cares more and is more relatable. Any of the shows he hosted were a hoot! We also really liked the 4D Theater. We paid the extra $15 for this option (unlimited shows), and it was so worth it! We saw all of the shows – and all were good – so we definitely got our money’s worth. We also really enjoyed the water slides. They were a blast for kids and adults alike. • Disembarkation I disembarked relatively early using self-assist. I was off the ship about five minutes after leaving my room, and through Customs after another ten minutes. Very easy! • Summary I read a number of reviews on this site before sailing (probably well over 100). Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I will provide you with some of my reflections on where the reviews were right and where they were wrong. Food – The food was overall a great success. I recall one reviewer saying “the food has no taste”. I don’t know if this reviewer tragically lost his tongue to some especially hot soup or what, but I don’t know how you can make that blanket statement. I love food, and I loved the food on this ship. Lines – Many reviewers did say that were a lot of lines on this ship, and that is essentially true. I sometimes wondered if I’d encounter a line to get into my cabin at night. Yes there are lines, but it isn’t the end of the world. Carnival is able to offer great pricing because their passenger to space ratio is lower than most other lines. They offer a great product and I personally don’t mind the occasional wait. A lot of people said the comedy club had lines and you couldn’t get in. This is not true. We went to five shows and we only stood up once. Yes, you will need to be there 10-20 minutes early, but you can get a seat. Even if you can’t find a seat, you can still watch while standing in the back or on the side. Moving these shows to the main theater would not be possible due to other events in the theater. I also enjoyed the ambiance of the comedy club. Production shows – I thought these were pretty good, although a lot of people have negative comments. I thought the singing was generally very good. Yes, you now have eight singer/dancers instead of dedicated singers and dedicated dancers, but they obviously use the best singers to do the lead parts and the others as backup. The use of sets with the high resolution screens was amazing technology. See the Brits show especially, and you will know what I mean. I thought the screens were underused for the Motown show, but otherwise they did a really good job. If nixing the show orchestra and lavish sets/costumes saves us all a few bucks on our cruise fare, I’m all for it. Pools – Yes, the pools are small and can be crowded. I’m not much of a pool guy, so this didn’t affect me much. Still, I didn’t notice them to be horribly crowded. My friend even swam laps a couple times. There are plenty of hot tubs, and they were generally not full. As I mentioned, I’ve been on many lines and I’m not loyal to any one. I think they all do different things a little better than others. In short, no one does value better than Carnival. If you want a great product at a great price, the victor is Carnival! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard Ventura. I'll will try to summarise my thoughts .... The service from the steward and dining room staff (early sitting) was excellent. The dinning room food in the evening was largely good with just a few disappointments but in nearly all cases the meat portion was too small. Our D deck cabin was very average with no internet access when the ship was moving, poor maintainance in the bathroom, a faded settee, questionable AC and ridiculous noise from the tender launching process at 7am (!) in Tortola . To add to this the balcony was not at all private with virtually every cabin above it having a birds eye view of us. The balcony was often littered with cigarette butts which I assume came from the rooms above . The guest entertainers were typically good but the production shows were over ambitious given the singers available and their lack of talent . It's takes a brave girl of any description to offer a "tribute" to Karen Carpenter but if they cannot sing well its just not practical and how 3 white guys can try to mimic the Drifters is beyond my comprehension - they must be able to both sing and dance and do both at the same time! The Calypso band that played in various venues was quite good but the rock band much worse. There was a constant problem with the lack of sun beds . This is down to bad deck design or even ship design and poor management - given though P&O can cure this but they have to want to do it. Similarly the show lounge is too small and requires a 3rd nightly show. P&O employ "minders" around the swimming pool whose sole purpose appears to be annoy the kids who are jumping in and out and enjoying themselves. These pool minders even kick out adults in the pool if the appear to jump in, even though they weren't. Making these people redundant would offer a serious cost saving . They could be re employed as traffic wardens where they could irritate a larger number of people and not damage the cruise's reputation. For some reason the hot tubs were often closed for cleaning - even on Christmas Day - is there no planning or consideration given to the days on which this happens? Ship maintenance, such as refreshing of paint, occurred during day hours. Why? Wouldn't it be easier to do this at 5am or when passengers are sleeping rather than make paying passengers move this lounge chair during the day to accommodate ship repairs? The kindergarten now operates a nonsensical process for signing the kids in and out and this needs to be looked at. As it stands a cruise card with a kids club sticker on it is "worth" a child and a signature the same as the one on that card is the only thing required to release the child. If there really is such a problem a picture of the parents maybe more worthwhile. I suspect the process was engineered by someone at a desk with a pen but little or no practical experience. The itinerary worked well except from Christmas Eve in Dominica. As you may know it rains there a lot so to organise Santa's arrival on the open deck as we left was frankly stupid, it was always going to rain and of course the entire event, witnessed by hundreds of families, was a complete wash out. Clearly a different port or venue or time was needed. At Tortola the dock is being rebuilt and is closed for the duration. The itinerary suggested it was a "possible tender" port. It's a definite tender and those on deck 9 should have been warned of the very loud noise and shuddering vibration a 7am when the tenders are launched. To be fair the tender process seemed to worked ok but there is no need to go there at all until the dock is built - there are lots of other islands. There were too many formal nights - 4 in total. This was way too many and should be re thought on family cruises. Given the fact we all had to fly in with the accompanying baggage problems, a clear dress code itinerary would have been useful ahead of the cruise, sadly it's not provided. The passengers were an eclectic mix of pensioners, couples and families with older and or younger children, some of whom were well heeled educated types and many others who could be described as "tattooed wonders", some of the later may perhaps be better served at a guest house in Blackpool or Butlins. I realise P&O is not going to conduct IQ tests on the passengers at the pier prior to boarding but I recommend they think of something before the entire cruise resembles a remand centre. There were too many smokers onboard and now may be the time to ban smoking completely. This would discourage those who need budget fares and relieve non smokers of ash, smell, and dirty ash trays which ruin otherwise useful deck areas. I noticed on a number of occasions that "housekeeping" was not as it could be with abandoned coffee cups left in halls for many hours and festering nappies in lifts. Some of this will be as result of the passenger mix but P&O should know who they sold the cruise to and prepare accordingly. Throughout the cruise the air conditioning did don't seem to work too well. Cruise ships in my experience are typically really quite cool inside but the Ventura was always warm. Even with the AC set to minimum in the cabin it was often too warm to sleep and other passengers who commented on the issue suggested it was a cost cutting measure..... P&O offer what amounts to late check out of the cabin to those who wish to pay for it. The process for this defies belief - as after paying £85 you have to leave the room you've had to the last fortnight together with your hand luggage at 9am and come back an hour later to room a few doors along the hall. If a good hotel offers late check out they let you have the room you are in - it saves preparing it again - and often they do not charge either. On this cruise all the passengers arrive on flights in the later afternoon and those going home need to leave before that. The only explanation for devising such a scheme is to collect cash and generate work for the stewards, it really is that silly. The additional cost restaurants are multiplying - and getting pricey. We went to the "Beach House" where even the burger is £2 extra - over and above the £6 you've just already agreed to. The place is ok but really you should stay with the dining room. Many of the other dining places are much more money and where often empty. Breakfast in the dining room was a slow a prescriptive saga and I see no reason to go there. The buffet arrangement upstairs seems better with plentiful if rather average food but often a shortage of tables unless you go out on the deck and sit in the cigarette smoke and ashtrays. P&O now serve Costa coffee which is big improvement on the liquid served in the buffet. Given their quest to charge for everything they can they should serve it at all the bars and for breakfast at a "nominal charge" of course. The buffet lunches were a bit tedious with the menu only changing a little each day and offering some bizarre choices for a Carribean cruise including faggots and a hotpot! On deck they serve burgers and hotdogs which are quite good but again the lack of tables either with or without smokers is an issue. The reception desk staff were typically polite but often could not answer many questions sensibly and they also had a habit of not answering the phone at all. P&O want you to buy a "wine" package for dinner but while this appears to offer some value the chosen wines are not good and the wine list selection is a better bet albeit at extra cost The beauty parlour prices where laughably high and it's hard to imagine anybody paying them. The return flights on Thomas Cook were only just about acceptable and only because we paid extra for Premium seats. The economy looked too cramped for an 8 hour flight and the food and drink are extra back there too. To add to this if you want to sit together as a family you have to pay another £15 each - each way - £90 for a family of 3!. This is a rip off and those concerned should be ashamed of such fees on families who have, in some cases, already paid £8000+. The gratuity policy appears now to involve charging every adult £55 (for the 2 week cruise) to there account and this covers the gratuities, however what is less clear is who gets the money, how much of it and what happens if you choose to opt out of the £55 deal. I asked for the money to be credited back to the account and it was and I gave cash to the room steward and dining room waiter and his assistant, but if more than those 3 were about to receive from me did they do without and in any event who were they and what is it they did for me? As with so many other silly fees in this world P&O should scrap the gratuity like they have with the one on the bar bill and pay their, largely excellent, service staff a sensible wage. As Ryan Air will tell you making people mad will not generate repeat passengers and P&O should take a good look at what they are doing before the policies get any worse..... I expect I will sail with P&O again - we are booked already but the Ventura will not be on my shortlist and P&O need to sort themselves out if I am to stay a loyal passenger. I am hoping the issues only relate to the Ventura but I am not hopeful.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
We have cruised the Carnival several times and have never been disappointed....until this time...We were on a New Years cruise and it didn't go as planned. First place, the kids totally took over the ship all the pools, hot tubs, ... Read More
We have cruised the Carnival several times and have never been disappointed....until this time...We were on a New Years cruise and it didn't go as planned. First place, the kids totally took over the ship all the pools, hot tubs, dining rooms, buffet. I love kids and Carnival has always had lots of them but not under foot 24/7...That was the first disappointment...We have cruised summers and holidays and have never seen it this bad. Evidently the kids activities were not being used. Second was the spa...We always get aleast one massage or service. Booked the couples massage..They were running 45 mines late which made us late to dinner. .The room was noisy, and the plumbing pipes were gurgling thru the whole time. Not a relaxing massage. And after we got home and checked the bill, they over charged us. Then went to get into a hot tubs, full of kids and water not circulating and was cold. We had convinced brother and sister in law to come too and this was their first cruise. We wanted to make cruisers out of them. We spent the whole time making excuses for how things were...... We had already booked the 12 day on this same ship in March and not looking forward to this ship...... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I don't consider us as experienced cruisers since this is our our 3rd cruise only. Please take this into consideration. We have previously cruised on Disney Dream and the Norwegian Epic. We were a group of 26 people in 7 staterooms ... Read More
I don't consider us as experienced cruisers since this is our our 3rd cruise only. Please take this into consideration. We have previously cruised on Disney Dream and the Norwegian Epic. We were a group of 26 people in 7 staterooms (all ocean view) . Ages are from 5 to 78. Few days before sailing, we received an email regarding a change in the itinerary due to problems with the ship. The ports stayed the same but the hours at each port were reduced. We decided to accept the fact rather than get upset about it and ruin the vacation. The Ship: is BEAUTIFUL! Much better looking than the Epic and more beautiful than Disney Dream. The interiors and the decorations were amazing. Deck 5 is where the cafes are and it is amazing. The ship never felt over crowded even though there were more than four thousand people on-board. Casino is nice. The gym is nice but small for the size of the ship. As you might see from the other reviews, there are problems with the plumbing on this ship. Out of the 7 staterooms we had, 4 of them experienced flooding. Rating: Freedom-Dream-Epic Food: Is not that good and very repetitive. The buffet was almost the same for breakfast, lunch and dinner all 7 days with very minor changes to it. The Main dinning room food was OK to Good at best. The food at the Epic was much much much better. The food on the Dream was also better. Rating: Epic-------------------Dream--Freedom Activities: are endless. There is something to do most of the time. from Broadway shows to family game shows, to competitions. We were impressed with the shows on the Epic but this ship had way more. The family game were also awesome. We really enjoyed the Battle of the sexes (10/10), the Quest (10/10), and the Love and Marriage (9/10). There were also mini games like Sudoku Challenges, Name This Song, Sports Trivia...etc. Rating: Freedom-Epic-Disney Ports: Labadee, Puerto Rico, and St Maarten are nice. Our favorite is St. Maarten but unfortunately we only managed to stay there for 4 hours.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The ship and overall cruise was very good. We did have a few problems.......embarkation at ft Lauderdale terminal to start. We used a wheelchair and had to wait over 1 hour outside for an escort into the terminal . This was not the fault ... Read More
The ship and overall cruise was very good. We did have a few problems.......embarkation at ft Lauderdale terminal to start. We used a wheelchair and had to wait over 1 hour outside for an escort into the terminal . This was not the fault of the Celebrity, but the cruise terminal staff. Our biggest problem was with the shore excursions. Being handicapped, we called weeks before the cruise to make sure the "easy" shore excursions were just that. Our little go- go scooter would be no problem on the tours we picked. As it turned out, we had to cancel some tours because they did not have the ability to handle the scooter. We were given incorrect information before the cruise. They did refund our prepayment. We also had an issue with the fine dining in the Italian restaurant. The service and the meal were just ordinary and extremely slow. The matre'd did call us to apologize Also, there are no self laundry machines on this ship. We pack light and plan to wash once during the cruise. Even the Queen Victoria, an excellent Cunard ship, had a laundromat! So we sent our clothes to the ships laundry and they lost my husbands socks! Needless to say, we became fast friends with the concierge, and he made sure all problems were corrected. He called daily to check up on our satisfaction. We were impressed with their concern for our satisfaction and would have no problem cruising with Celebrity again. Overall it was a fun cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just went on my second solo cruise. Found Norwegian Epic searching for ships with studio cabins. I was not disappointed at all. The cabin had enough room for one. Shower and toilet room were tight, but large enough for me. Favorite ... Read More
Just went on my second solo cruise. Found Norwegian Epic searching for ships with studio cabins. I was not disappointed at all. The cabin had enough room for one. Shower and toilet room were tight, but large enough for me. Favorite highlights from the trip. Embarkation was super fast, with friendly staff. Entertainment was top notch. I actually liked the entertainment around the ship as good or better than the "main" entertainment. Though Blue Men was great too. Highly recommend checking out Jim Capik (guitar), Howl at the Moon, and Fernando Vazquez (piano and vocals). I had no problem finding deck chairs but am not one to be right by the action. Plenty of seating in the cafe, just avoid the times of highest volume- 8 am, noon, and 5-6. Literally a half an hour earlier or later makes a huge difference. Nice gym with plenty of machines- treadmills, elipticals, and bikes (plenty of each) plus weight machines, classes, etc. Specialty restaurants were very good. I only ate once in a main dinning room, but heard others complain about them (only complaint I heard). Especially loved Cagneys and Moderno. Opportunities for various groups to get together and meet (singles, Lgbt, etc). I was most impressed about not feeling lonely as a solo cruiser. Staff was very friendly with me and engaged me in conversation. Also, I chose not to buy the drink package and was treated exactly like other cruisers who did, which was lovely. On another cruise line I tended to be ignored because I didn't have the "sticker" which means staff have to make extra effort to take my card and write up a receipt. Bravo! I will cruise with this line again just for this reason alone. I'm not a huge drinker, but when I want a drink, I want to be waited on and not ignored. I had an overall great experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I mainly wanted to share some tips at the port of calls, which were St. Martin, St. Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. We are a retired couple and this was our 4th cruise. We sailed on the Freedom two years ago and liked it, plus the price ... Read More
I mainly wanted to share some tips at the port of calls, which were St. Martin, St. Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. We are a retired couple and this was our 4th cruise. We sailed on the Freedom two years ago and liked it, plus the price was good being the week before Christmas, so we signed up for this cruise. As for the ship, it seemed about the same, which was good. It had a recent update, but I was hard pressed to see any of the physical differences. I guess they were there, but again, no problem. This time, we had a balcony room instead of an ocean view and like it, although you should know the space for the balcony comes out of the space you would have had if you had an ocean view room. Still the space was ok. We thought the food selections were good, especially for dinner in the main dining room. The only negative there was the service. They have assigned seating and we were assigned to the lower level in the rear (Posh) dining room. We found from our previous cruise that in that dining room, the ship has this jerky shake and find it annoying, and it was present again on this cruise. So we asked to be seated in the midsection or Chic dining room. We got to move the next evening. We had early dining, and the service at our table was terribly slow. It took about 1.5 hours to get our entrees that second night. When the head waiter asked how we were doing, I told him, the service was too slow. He acted surprised, and I pointed out that by the time our entree arrived, they had dimmed the lights so the waiters could sing and dance, which is usually done when desert has been served. He promised to give us better service the next night. It improved slightly. I might note this was a table of 8 people. The first night we sat at a full table for 10 in the Posh dining room and had better service. Our waiter was a new head waiter and his helpers were new too. Another couple sitting on the opposite side said they also had really slow service and complained and ended up getting a new head waiter. The bragged that their service improved dramatically. We stayed with our waiter for 5 nights, and at that point it was too frustrating to continue at that table, so we were moved to the table that the other couple were at and found for the last 2 nights, a much more enjoyable experience, with desert finishing up in about 1 and 1/4 hours. The point here is that as early diners, we don't want to be rushed, but also don't want to sit with nothing except an empty plate in front of us for long periods between courses and we want to be finished in time so we can attend the early theater shows (by allowing some time to return to our cabin to freshen up). As far as the meal choices, they were fine. We had also heard of other people complaining about slow service, so we were not alone. If you have that problem, I suggest you talk directly to the maitre-d. Also of note, the lower level of the Chic dining room is for Anytime dining, and the upper level, where we sat is for assigned dining. We did get excellent service for our cabin steward. On the second day, I asked for ice, and from then on, he replaced the ice twice daily for us. The room was always cleaned and make up quickly each day and turn down was prompt too. We had a few minor problems in the room, one being the toilet didn't stop filling and he got that fixed quickly for us. We did find the main theater shows a bit less elaborate. Stage props are pretty minimal compared to when we sailed before. Now they primarily use projections onto screens on the stage. Two issues with us and others is that on some of the shows, they use lights such that they flash into the audience's eyes, and not just briefly, so its very annoying. This happens if you sit on the first level or the upper levels. And the amplification is sometimes over the top to cause distortion of voices. Finally, what use to be Death by Chocolate, where they would put out an elaborate display of chocolate desserts and ice carvings is no longer. What they had instead is on the last day, they had their normal dessert section focus on chocolate for lunch. Our embarkation port was Ft. Lauderdale, Port Everglades. When we sailed on this ship two years ago, the process was very quick but this time they held people in the terminal for a long time, got very congested. They implied the ship was late arriving, but when we asked the cabin crew, they said no, it was early and they had our cabin ready before the stated time. They didn't let us onto the ship till after 12:30, but had been boarding priority passengers since 11am, as they straggled in, so the ship seemed to be ready to accept passengers earlier. So it seems they are cutting back on things they use to do, but overall, it was still a good cruise on a ship we like. Read Less

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