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Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: January 2007
My family recently returned from our first cruise experience. I had been searching online for many months to learn as much as I could before leaving on our cruise. This site has been VERY beneficial! I made reservations on the Princess ... Read More
My family recently returned from our first cruise experience. I had been searching online for many months to learn as much as I could before leaving on our cruise. This site has been VERY beneficial! I made reservations on the Princess Cruise website without any difficulty at all. I had made airline reservations on my own with the hope of getting the times that I desired. We decided to fly in a night early since the weather in our area can become very severe during January. Which in fact became the case when our St. Louis, MO flights were canceled at 9PM the evening before our early morning flight! I scrambled to make alternative flight reservations, and ended up having to drive to Nashville, TN to catch a flight that cost me $600 more the next day. Not a good way to begin a trip. Fortunately everything went smoothly after that bump in the road. We had made reservations at Sleep Inn & Suites in Dania, FL. They offer free shuttle service from the airport & to the port the next day. This was very handy. They also offer a nice breakfast in the morning. Seemed to be a very busy place. We arrived at the port around noon and the embarkation process was very easy. We were in our room by 12:30pm. I had been hesitant about our room location - especially the open balcony. But we loved it! Did not feel "exposed" at all, and took advantage of sunning on our balcony on the first couple of days at sea since the sun was on the starboard side of the ship! Our room steward was very pleasant. The room was much more spacious than I expected on a cruise, but the bathroom could be improved, the drain took forever to drain! The ship is very impressive! We spent many hours exploring it all! Loved the MUTS, but the popcorn they offered was horrible in my opinion! We had chosen anytime dining and visited the Horizon & Cafe Caribe numerous times during our cruise. To be quite honest my family was very disappointed in the quality of food. The deserts were very beautiful but had no taste at all! I suppose the "taste" of food is very objective, but we were disappointed. The ship was kept quite clean while on our cruise. The housekeeping staff always seemed friendly and happy to be there, but the deck attendants and waiters all seemed either bored, mad, tired or a combination of all three! I realize they would prefer enjoying the cruise instead of working on one, but for the money we spend choosing to cruise I expect to feel appreciated while on their ship. I would prefer also to tip on my own accord. We kept the $10 automatic tip per/person on our final bill, but really would have preferred to given our money directly to the people that we felt deserved the tip. We did purchase the soda sticker. They could improve on this as well. I did not like waiting so long to get a soda at the bars. They need separate "bars" and "soda fountains", or a soda fountain that you can serve yourself after swiping your cruise card that could be coded with an indication that you have purchased a "soda sticker". Would be much more handy. We selected express walk-off for disembarkation. Worked fairly well, except for people coming down to the gangway when they had not signed up for the express walk-off. They slowed it down for everyone else. The cruise could have set that up more clearly for everyone. Overall I have to say I was not impressed with the cruise. The ocean views were beautiful and I am grateful to have seen them, as well as the beautiful views in the ports. BUT most other aspects were a disappointment. I feel it will be a while before we chose to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
My husband and I were on the Legend for the Barenaked Ladies Ships and Dip charter event. Similar to Rock the Boat, the band the Barenaked Ladies along with a host of other great bands provided the on-board entertainment for a 4-night ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Legend for the Barenaked Ladies Ships and Dip charter event. Similar to Rock the Boat, the band the Barenaked Ladies along with a host of other great bands provided the on-board entertainment for a 4-night cruise that stopped in the Turks & Caicos. Being huge fans of the Barenaked Ladies, we signed up with little research about the ship or the itinerary. That being said, we went on board with extremely open minds. This was our 3rd cruise and unfortunately, by far, the worst cruising experience we have experienced. Our previous 2 cruises were on the Celebrity Infinity and Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas. From the moment we stepped foot on the ship we were completely turned off. No one greeted us as we entered the ship. There was no welcome drink or assistance with locating our cabin. The interior of this ship has to be the ugliest currently sailing the seas. Gold urns EVERYWHERE cheesy LED lit signs throughout and some of the loudest colors and patterns I have ever seen. I wish I were exaggerating but I promise you, I am not. While the ship is only a few years old you would easily think it was designed in the late 80's/early 90's. Personal design taste aside, we also found the ship to be less than tidy and clean. For starters, when we got to our balcony cabin #8162 (think 1980's peach and sea-green) we proceeded to unpack and find garbage left from the previous guests in the drawers, the remnants of streamer-type decorations still hanging from the ceiling and a pretty heavily soiled carpet within the cabin. Needless to say I wore shoes in the room the entire cruise. While our cabin steward did a thorough job cleaning throughout the cruise, the actual core elements of the cabin (carpet, furniture, walls) needed an industrial style cleaning and from my perspective, a major updating. Additionally, the ship exhibited signs of wear that I did not find on RC or Celebrity - peeling/tarnished paint on the exterior of the ship. extremely dirty windows and antiquated looking furniture. I will sum up the food on this cruise in one word  INEDIBLE! Aside from the Golden Fleece Supper Club the food in both the Unicorn Cafe and in the Truffles Dining Room left EVERYTHING to be desired. Think room temperature salads served in hot bowls, tasteless sauces on overcooked meats, etc. Additionally, the service stunk. We experienced the most unfriendly, unprofessional staff we have ever encountered on a ship. From main dining room waiters with gold capped teeth to those that couldn't speak any English, I just could not believe the lack of quality we found in the staff on this cruise. That being said, as this was a chartered cruise, our gratuities were paid up front as part of the package. It would be truly disappointing to think that the way the payment system was arranged contributed to the poor service found throughout the ship. I would highly dissuade anyone that wants to have a decent vacation from reserving on Carnival and especially on this particular ship. However, I will say that the Barenaked Ladies and and their many friends ROCKED! This was our 3rd cruise and by far, the worst cruising experience we have experienced. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
My wife and I are 60 with many previous cruises including 2 recent cruises on Princess. The boarding process went smoothly considering the size of the ship. We had a penthouse suite which was very nice with no defects. We traveled with ... Read More
My wife and I are 60 with many previous cruises including 2 recent cruises on Princess. The boarding process went smoothly considering the size of the ship. We had a penthouse suite which was very nice with no defects. We traveled with other parties who had similar cabins. Cabin service was overworked so it was often slow and late. The ship is very similar to all recent Princess ships which means it is very hard to get fore and aft except on cabin floors and level 7. This was difficult for the handicapped. The ship is well maintained. There was a lot of entertainment, but all of it was very average quality, and there was no string quartet which we enjoyed on other Princess Cruises. There was no enrichment series or educational lectures. The food was very below average for any cruise line, especially Princess. Pastries were poor enough we just did not eat them. Desserts were very average. Many dishes were quite salty and poorly presented. All of this meant that we came home about the same weight we left which was a plus. The ship service was quite inconsistent and virtually every crew member mentioned or openly complained about being overworked. We always try to enjoy the staff and treat them like passengers, but this made it difficult to even speak to most of them. Several of the crew were just plain rude without provocation of any kind. The Matre'd was always rude to passengers and embarrassingly cruel to staff at times, which we have encountered before on our Princess Cruises. The workout facilities and spa are very nice. They had daily Ping Pong tournaments which I enjoy, but the table they used was right up front, on a slanted portion of the deck, and too windy to really play. This was inspite of the fact that there are two enclosed, level tables in the back that you could play on any time, the host would not let us go to those. Needless to say that led to unhappy customers. There were no children in our group, so we cannot comment on those programs, but there were lots of kids onboard. We know the Caribbean well so we did not take tours, but members of our party were not too happy with their experiences. Everyone enjoyed Princess Cay. Disembarking slow and orderly due to the large number of passengers, but the real problem was not related to Princess. 10 ships had arrived that Sunday, and Port Everglades just cannot handle that. The traffic jams were impressive. Keep that in mind if you are making a flight. I could not get a Taxi until I made a sign that said to Miami airport. Every driver wanted that fare. The airport was flooded with people from cruises that were all leaving about the same time. It took the full 2 hours to get checked, through security and out. So schedule accordingly. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We booked this cruise some 14 months prior to departure, and as a result we were looking forward to this holiday with great anticipation. Our group consisted of 10 passengers from 4 countries (UK, USA, Germany and Australia) and we were ... Read More
We booked this cruise some 14 months prior to departure, and as a result we were looking forward to this holiday with great anticipation. Our group consisted of 10 passengers from 4 countries (UK, USA, Germany and Australia) and we were all very excited about the prospect of cruising together again. Our embarkation was quite painful in Fort Lauderdale, it was raining and they didn't open the terminal for 20 mins whilst we stood out in the rain. Once inside the terminal we waited for about an hour before they opened the check in desks. Luckily being a suite passenger and with a wheelchair we were given priority, however the arrangements were poor and very disorganized and I felt sorry for the other passenger that had to wait at least two hours before they got onboard. Our suite was a big disappointment, although it was the largest suite on the ship, there was something not quite right about the layout and the quality of the fittings. We did however enjoy the balcony and thought it was the best asset of the suite. The other cabins that the group had consisted of a mini-suite and balcony cabins (all located together on the same deck) and the group was very upset to see how small the cabins were compared to other ships (we all cruised together on Sapphire Princess two years ago) Service on the ship was dire to say the least, they didn't know the entitlements of the suite passengers, and didn't understand the concept of "afternoon tea" a special service for suite passengers (not just coffee and cake!) overall we were most disappointed with the service on this ship, it just wasn't up to princess standard. We changed our dining room reservation albeit after much fuss and meetings with various members of the ships crew. It was really difficult to change anything or get the entitlements of the Elite Status (captains circle) that we were entitled too. We didn't get invitations to the captains party till AFTER the event and had to ask several times for one of the group to have their internet spend and dry cleaning bills removed. The food was average for princess and probably the worst food we have had on a ship in ages. The service in the dining room WAS good however, but had to send food back for being cold or overcooked. The head waiter loved himself so much, that I am surprised he could take time to move away from the mirror to get to the dining room! On most of the ports of call we arranged our own excursions, which we priced cheaper than Princess, and without being herded around like goats. A quick internet search for port of call and tours gives you the opportunity NOT to book with Princess. We did however on Princess Cays hire a beach bungalow where they looked after us, and there was a small table inside with air conditioning, worth the $199?? Probably not. On a more positive note, the bar staff were very good, and got to know me and our group by name very quickly and the use of "soda" cards is a fantastic idea. I think the only thing that saved this cruise was our company that we had, we were able to laugh at the various situations that princess messed up on. As a result of this cruise, we will look for an alternative line. It is a shame considering that we have done almost 20 cruises with Princess, and will miss some of the perks such as free internet (now discontinued!) laundry and discount from the ships boutiques. If you think this is a biased opinion, please see my other reviews for Sapphire Princess and Diamond Princess, where we were very very happy campers with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We had previously cruised with Disney, Carnival and RCI, so were looking forward to a chance to try Celebrity. We were very, very disappointed. From registration and embarkation, something seemed to go wrong every day. At registration, ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Disney, Carnival and RCI, so were looking forward to a chance to try Celebrity. We were very, very disappointed. From registration and embarkation, something seemed to go wrong every day. At registration, as Canadians, we were told that while it is not normally required for Canadians, we had to go the registration desk for aliens. After standing in a line of not many people for over 20 minutes, we discovered the delay was due to a problem with only one guest, and the insufficient number of staff to deal with the problem. Then someone looked at our passports for about 20 seconds, and let us on. We never did understand the point of standing in the line. After boarding, we had some lunch, after which I decided to book some appointments for the spa. I went, and discovered an enormous line. Once again, there were too few people handling the line. I stood in line for over two hours, only to get to the front of the line and discover that there were no appointments left for massages at any time worth having. The system was set up so that people who were in line first, could book as many appointments as they wanted, only to leave nothing for any other guests. Needless to say, it was a frustrating and stressful start to the cruise. We had booked two adjacent Concierge class cabins. Our teenaged children slept in one, and my wife and I in another. Because bookings need to be made with adults in each one, we required passkeys to let our son (actually booked with me) get into his cabin and my wife (actually booked with our daughter) get into ours. The passkeys were issued, and on the second day, our son lost his Seapass card. Replacing it required reprogramming all of the keys. That's when the fun really began. While similar things have happened to us before, Celebrity seemed singularly incapable of dealing with it. Eventually, it took 9 visits to guest relations, 9 sets of keys over 5 days, a meeting with the Hotel Director and an enormous amount of frustration to get the problem solved on the second to last day of the cruise. I finally tried one massage. It was the worst massage I have ever had. We went on a shore excursion in the Dominican Republic. It was a "cigarette boat tour" and beach swim. We got to the marina. The boat's engine was being worked on. Eventually, it was clear the boat didn't work. We asked if we could go on another, clearly newer and better conditioned boat at anchor in the marina. We were told by the guide that the newer boat was about to go out. After an hour of waiting, we asked to go back to our ship, to try to salvage some of the day. The guide, constantly begging for time and calling his manager on the phone, refused. Ultimately, we waited 2 hours in the hot sun, without a drink, an apology or a true explanation (among other things the new boat I mentioned never moved) and were finally taken on an abbreviated version of the tour on a boat now available because another group's birdwatching tour was over. Celebrity's reaction? The Excursions desk (almost never open) dodged the problem for two days. They accepted a complaint form, but lied about whether the manager was available (I was told he wasn't in, and discovered the lie only when the other counter staff told a guest that she had just talked to him). After two days of delay, in the meeting with the Hotel Director I referred to earlier, the Hotel Director refunded the cost of the excursion. We found the food to be of lesser quality than we have experienced on other ships. The much vaunted service was of lesser quality with more staff. Our rooms were not cleaned as well, the dining room staff not as attentive as we have been used to, and the staff generally more surly and less friendly. Finally, the advantages of the added cost concierge suites: Other than fruit every couple of days, 4 tiny hors d'oeuvres served in the afternoon, and (admittedly) higher quality soaps and shampoos in the bathrooms (although not replaced often enough), there was really nothing for the added cost. In all, we were so disappointed, that we have chosen not to travel with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We booked "back to back cruises" sailing both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. This was our first (and last) time on Costa and our 33rd cruise. Our room (minisuite) was spacious with a large balcony and plenty of storage. ... Read More
We booked "back to back cruises" sailing both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. This was our first (and last) time on Costa and our 33rd cruise. Our room (minisuite) was spacious with a large balcony and plenty of storage. However, the beds and pillows were the hardest and most uncomfortable we have ever encountered. Our Room Steward was sympathetic as this is a common complaint and found us an additional mattress but it was no better. Our bed had a blue blanket that was so worn it should have been discarded long ago; the requested replacement was no better. Our Room Steward was extraordinarily helpful and friendly but, alas, the rest of the staff were lackadaisical and uninterested. The European staff definitely did not like Americans, even as paying customers. The ship was immaculately clean (on a par with Crystal and Radisson) and most guests found it to be very beautiful. A common complaint was navigating the ship since many decks did not extend through the ship. The pool and the gym was clean and all the amenities were well cared for. The food was adequate and room service was prompt; cold food and hot food were served at appropriate temperatures. Service is the dining room was uninspired on both weeks of our cruise. The first week we were seated with only guests from the largest suites and their complaints garnered some improvement. The second week we were seated with guests in a variety of accommodations so the service was very bad. The luncheon buffet is far better than the dinner buffet. We visited the "pay" dining room twice because this was a free benefit to suite guests. It is very lovely and the entertainment in that room was top drawer. The food was beautifully served but was ordinary. The servers tried hard and did a better job than the wait staff in the dining rooms. Unfortunately, almost all of the staff had attitudes that may have been inspired by the fact that tips were automatically placed on the bill and few guests tipped additionally. Therefore the wait staff did not extend themselves. The entertainment was good. The shore excursions were done well. This is a very crowded ship where, it seems, smoking is encouraged so smokers would like the Costa Magica. Non-smokers like us were less than thrilled. Ours was a "back to back" cruise and that seemed to confuse the staff at the desk who were basically unfriendly and decidedly unhelpful. If you like Carnival, you may like Costa but Princess, Holland America, RC and Celebrity and other "step above" cruise line fans will not be happy on Costa. Americans and Europeans may have different standards but Costa does not understand, cater to or appeal to even like their American customers. The cost of a Costa cruise is relatively inexpensive so one could say that value is received for money spent. However, the staff and crew need remedial training in courtesy and customer service. However, the Captain was visible and approachable throughout both cruises but was bombasted constantly by irate customers to which he responded with good humor. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Take a Costa cruise, but expect a Carnival experience. Carnival decorated ship, Carnival lack of hospitality, Carnival food, Carnival rules and so on. Our anticipated holiday cruise started poorly and ended the same way. At the departing ... Read More
Take a Costa cruise, but expect a Carnival experience. Carnival decorated ship, Carnival lack of hospitality, Carnival food, Carnival rules and so on. Our anticipated holiday cruise started poorly and ended the same way. At the departing terminal, our baggage was collected and a tip was asked for, even though signs were posted that tips were not necessary, the handlers are paid well by the cruise lines and the labor were union members. While we were inside being processed, our luggage was outside being heavily rained upon leaving our clothing wet and soggy when we received it much later that evening. The ship is a tacky tribute to decorating gone wild. Our cabin was nice with a veranda, but all the public areas were overrun with children of all ages but in common, all were undisciplined, mostly foreign, and rude to the other passengers. We ate mostly in the dining room we were assigned to, and I can state the noise from the staff clanging dishes and silverware was most of the time deafening. Children in the casinos should be banned, but they were participating as observers at all hours. Children were allowed at the "Adults only" pool and hot tub, yet they had three other pools to attend. Phooey!!! Destinations were visited for only part of the days, so we never spent the evening hours in port. To me this means the cruise line was so cheap, not wanting to spend the money for port fees overnight. I had arranged activities in each port, only to be rushed to make it back to the ship before it sailed. Without any notice, the itinerary was changed at The Dominican Republic from Casa de Campo, where I had plans for the day, to an island with little or no access to the mainland, ruining my plans. When I asked the service desk staff to e-mail the folks with whom I had arrangements, they refused rudely. There was nothing pleasant about the cruise and My wife and I have cruised for years (she on her 23rd, I on my 18th), so we are not novices. We have been aboard Celebrity, NCL, Oceania, Cunard, Crystal, Windstar and some I may have forgotten. All of the have been fun, relaxing and totally fine. This Costa was the worst. One more thing: Costa allows smoking almost everywhere on the ship, including pool areas, casino, buffets, and all public rooms. Cabin service was fine, and the entertainment repetitious. I urge future cruisers to research your potential cruise with care, especially at holiday times to avoid kids and the noise they generate. Know before you go. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our first...and, I am afraid to say, last cruise with Princess. We have been cruising for many years with Princess's sister company, P&O, based here in UK. This year we decided it was time for a change. Our flight from UK ... Read More
This was our first...and, I am afraid to say, last cruise with Princess. We have been cruising for many years with Princess's sister company, P&O, based here in UK. This year we decided it was time for a change. Our flight from UK to San Juan was without delays, no problems and were well looked after on the flight. A rather disappointing delay through San Juan airport immigration followed - and this was to be one of many queues for immigration processes throughout our cruise. It is one of the reasons in the future that we will not choose an US port of embarkation or have an American port on the itinerary. It is just too time wasting for the Brits to spend ones holiday. In future we shall continue to fly to Barbados for blissful, stressfree ..straight onto the coach and to the ship arrivals and departures - you really can't beat that, and it was something that maybe we had taken for granted previously. Anyway! On with the review! Our first impression of the ship? Looks enormous! Is enormous! BUT doesn't feel too big once you get inside. There are plenty of areas to go where one doesn't feel overwhelmed by the sheer size and numbers onboard. The only time you are reminded just how big it is, is when you take a look at this ship when on land!! We didn't experience any ports via tender as now Granada has a new port there were no more tendered docks. Our cabin was as we expected for an inside cabin - enough space for us and our things - as long as we were tidy (not easy...but one tries eh?!). Bathroom etc all fine. Brilliant cabin steward who introduced himself and the company very well. Very obliging and helpful and kept our cabin spotless. Now! this is a message for any BRITISH LADIES who may be travelling with their faithful GHD (or similar!) hair straighteners!! - THEY WILL NOT WORK - OK!!! - this was discovered to my HORROR on the first day, when plugging them into our trusty little adapter, they sort of flickered and went out.... not a good start for any evening, frizzy hair, moody wife and fed up hubby... Went to reception whereupon they kindly gave me another adapter, but realized that as some of our electrical items are no compatible....the second day in port was spent tracking down a pair of hair straighteners with an american plug. Sorry guys, if this bores you, but I know just how important something like this can be to us girls - am I right?! Food! - One of our delights on a cruise is to enjoy our food. This we didn't on the Crown. There was plenty of it...and after all we did manage to put on half a stone! - it wasn't of the luxury type and not what we have come to expect. Again from a Brit point of view...we like our veggies here in UK..and they were VERY sparse on the Crown, and I mean VERY. Salads etc fine at lunchtimes, but evening meals left a lot to be desired. Very much missed the tractional puddings/currys etc always to be found on P&O... Lots of incidents within the restaurant we weren't happy with. From having to eat our morning cereal with soup spoons (every day..) to teaspoons unceremoniously stuck up in tea cups..and waiters with a very bad command of basic English. This caused probs throughout for many and resulted in some peculiar incidents. including the morning when hubby tried to book a table for the evening (we were on anytime dining - again, a word...don't do it! - Everyone ends up usually wanting to eat at a similar time, they can't cope with it and it ends up like a glorified canteen arrangement to see who can get their table finished first...that's if you get to eat before 10.pm) the guy could not understand that we wished to book a table and thought we wanted to purchase a book! hmmmmm... Talking of food/drink etc - If Princess are supposed to welcome Brits they need to make sure they have staples in like....PIMMS! Pernod! and MARMITE!! none of these items could be found - or in some cases understood. We are also used to having our coffee as a separate course I do not like it swilled down with my dessert (if indeed I had chosen one of their revolting looking desserts in the first place). The have visited all the ports on the itinerary before, but chose some new independent tours. Would not wish to visit St Thomas or St Marten again due to the pathetic immigration process set aside for us Brits. Although for us here in UK, this cruise wasn't considered a "back-to-back" as we purchased the two week cruise with airfares all thrown in, but for a majority of pax they were either on the ship for just the first week or second week only. We should have been able to have jumped from P&O's loyalty scheme (The Portunus Club) where we are on their top Gold Level - but because in UK this cruise was considered just one cruise we have to wait until our next cruise with Princess before being an Elite pax. The worst day spent on this cruise was the day in the middle when the ship returned to San Juan. We had previously arranged an independent tour on this day. Only to discover that we were not allowed off the ship (unless on a Princess tour...funny that..) unless we have completed the formalities..as they so cutely said. This involved us Brits having to wait until 11.30am, we were herded into a dining room, then marched off the ship all through immigration again...frisking, the works...only to then have our new cruise cards issued to us, then had to join the queue of new pax coming onboard!! incredible, quite incredible. By the time we had followed this queue, gone through the whole process of being "welcomed onboard" ..again... it was 3pm what a complete waste of a day. Also to add no bars or facilities were open for us "in Transit" pax. Disgusting, and this is one of the reasons why we not be including any American port or cruising with Princess again. There were of course good points...somewhere... Oh! yes, Adaggio's the bar was nice. But no Pimms or Pernod of course. I apologize if this revue is slightly on the negative side, but this is just a personal view. You will, like us no doubt want to make your minds up yourself. What we would say is... If you are very much a British type of passenger, think VERY carefully before cruising with Princess, as we found it very alien to what we are used to. We met with many lovely people from all parts of the world and this was obviously a good point to the cruise. I couldn't describe the ship as being what is referred to in the brochures as a "friendly ship" in general people kept themselves to themselves. The new idea of beaming in the Cruise Director from one office somewhere in the world is a good one, it must save thousands in salaries. I don't think you can beat the old fashioned cruise directors you get to say good morning/afternoon too around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Explorer of the Seas with my family, there were 5 of us in total, myself, my wife and our 3 children, 2 daughters, age 8 and 5, and our son, age 3. We were looking forward to this cruise, as my ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Explorer of the Seas with my family, there were 5 of us in total, myself, my wife and our 3 children, 2 daughters, age 8 and 5, and our son, age 3. We were looking forward to this cruise, as my wife and I had previously been on 3 cruises and had always had great experiences on them. We have previously cruised on Celebrity Galaxy, RCI Empress of the Seas and the Royal Majesty when it was still a private cruise ship not part of the NCL line. Taking our past cruise memories into account we figured that our kids were now old enough to enjoy a cruise, at least the 8 and 5 year old. In the years since our last cruise, 8 years ago aboard the Galaxy, we have taken vacations in Disney twice, Las Vegas 5 times, Atlantis on Paradise Island and Europe twice. After doing some research and it seemed like the RC voyager class of ships would be a good choice for cruising with the kids. THE GOOD 1. The Adventure Ocean Camp program was well run and offered many activities for keeping the little ones busy and happy all day and long into the night. Kids could be dropped off from early in the morning and could stay until 10:00PM free of charge or until 1:00AM for a fee of $5.00 per hour per child from 10:00 PM until 1:00AM. 2. The entertainment was also very good. The Vibeology Show was well produced and had the audience tapping their feet and clapping their hands, the music and singing was crisp and the skits well choreographed. Although this was the last cruise for the six month run of this show. Not sure what will replace it. The 2 of the 3 Comedians on this sailing were very funny and of National prominence. The Ice show was well produced and it was quite interesting seeing what the skaters could do on such and small ice surface. Any show that can incorporate music from The Doors, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen among others has to be good. Also had a good acrobat team from Australia perform a few times but their performances were usually too short. 3. The staff at the Rock climbing wall was very attentive and went out of their way to accommodate my 5 year old even though she was too young to actually use the wall. They let her climb up they wall as far as she could get without a harness with one of the staff members spotting her from behind. It would have been nice if somewhere on the literature it stated that you had to be 6 or older to actually be allowed to use the wall, this way we could have left her at camp when taking her sister to try out the wall. The only other issue here is that you are only allowed to use the wall once per cruise, same thing with the skating rink, something that RCI conveniently omits from any and all pre cruise advertising and literature. 4. The ship itself is very well appointed and visually stunning. The midship Royal Promenade is a focal point of the ship and a very unique feature on a cruise ship. The ship is very spacious with numerous public areas and bars, even though there were over 3200 passengers on our sailing we never felt crowded or cramped. The rooms are standard fare for cruising. We had two outside Staterooms with a connecting door. We didn'tt book a balcony since we were concerned for the kids safety being out on their balcony alone. One thing to note, on Deck 3 there is no connecting passageway from the Stern to the Bow of the Ship and visa versa. If you want to get from say the Main Dining room to the Palace Theater you would need to go up to Deck 4 or higher or down to Deck 2, and cut across. Our Rooms were on Deck 3 and we found ourselves going up over and down many, many times. Elevators were plentiful and never much of a wait for them. 5. Room Service was also very prompt and accurate in filling the orders, we would leave the preprinted breakfast cards out and we would receive the order exactly as ordered at the right time the next morning. Great way to keep the kids from bugging us as we were getting ready and they were hungry. 6. The Cafe Promenade has a good assortment of snacks sweets to choose from 24 hours a day, and the selection varies from day to day unlike the breakfast in Windjammer which was always the same. THE BAD Going in with high expectations for a high level of service based on past cruise experiences this sailing was major let down. For the most part service was non existent. Most ship personnel were indifferent or plain rude. 1. What happened to walking onto the ship and being greeted by the Captain or some of the ships Officers and then having someone escort you to your room? When we boarded we directed to a station were our children were given bracelets to wear during the cruise which would indicate their muster, or as our five year old called it Mustard, station in case of emergency. After that we were on our own to find our room. Upon embarking the ship you are on Deck 4, the desk were the kids get their bracelets is towards the stern, so after getting the bracelets we walked down on deck since our rooms were on Deck 3, upon hitting a dead end, we asked one of the crew if they could direct to our cabin they sent us to another non thru passageway on the same deck. Finally another crew member told us of the situation on Deck 3, because of the layout of Studio B area, were the ice rink is located Deck 3 does not have a thru hallway we would need to go up over and down. Okay we went up to Deck 5 as suggested by this crew member thru the Royal Promenade and then down. While walking thru the promenade we asked another crew member to make sure that we were going the right way and were told no our cabin was not that way so back the other way, I was starting to get frustrated at this point, so I stopped at guest relations to get this cleared up once and for all. After asking how to get to our room we were basically looked at like we were dumb as dirt and pointed to a map of the ship to figure out how to get to our room. Gee that was helpful. Finally figured out on our own how to get to our rooms. I guess it's too much too ask that at least the crew know there way around the ship. 2. After a quick bite to eat in Windjammer it was time to make our way back to our room for the Muster Drill, now we have 2 adults and three children but the life jackets are all for adults, our cabin Stewart tells us that the kids don't need theirs and he will bring 2 children's and one infants life jackets to our room after the drill. Okay that's reasonable, return from the drill no life jackets for the kids. Nothing on day two, we ask again we are told no problem you will have them. Day three still nothing, stop by guest relations to inquire/complain about this and we are told they will be delivered right away. Well right away ended up being on Thursday night, day 5. It was after speaking to the Assistant Cruise director about another issue and mentioning this situation of the life jackets that they were finally delivered. Again where is the customer service, repeatedly asked the cabin steward, spoke to guest relations and nothing was done, luckily they weren't needed but what if they were. 3. Okay I don't recall exactly what day this happened but I believe it was day 3, the day at sea from San Juan to St. Maarten. Win an upgrade to the Owners Suite Bingo; we had received two coupons in the Cruise Compass for a free Bingo Card for this, two since we had booked two cabins. So we go to Bingo buy one Bingo Card for $35.00 and present our two coupons, now nowhere on the coupons do they say any purchase is necessary all the cards say is bring this coupon to Bingo and receive a free Bingo card. We are told that we can only use one coupon since we only purchased one card. I ask the crew member to show me on the coupon where it states a purchase is necessary and she says it's not on there but that is the policy. Again I ask her to show me some documentation of where this is implied and she can't, I ask to speak with a supervisor, I am told that no one is available the Asst, Cruise Director is busy calling Bingo as the game has already started. I ask to speak to his supervisor and I am told that he is not available; I ask how she knows this if she hasn't checked. I am told that there is nothing they can do, that I can take it up with Guest relations. Well that would be convenient for them, I go to guest relations they log it into their book and in the meantime I miss Bingo. Don't get my free card and don't get to use the card I paid for since I am going to Guest relations while the game is going on. Sorry I don't buy into that. I ask them to get an officer or supervisor to come down to assist us. Seeing that I am not going to be easily dissuaded from leaving she proceed to give me the free ticket and states "I wish that Corporate would change these coupons as every cruise this becomes an issue. And that we cheap American are always trying to get something for nothing, that a $10.00 ticket is not worth her hassle." So I infer that this has happened numerous times before and they just try to get the passengers to buy a ticket when it's really not necessary the way the coupons are currently printed. I take the cheap American comment in stride as I know that I will be to speaking with the Cruise Director about this after Bingo. 4. We then proceed to play Bingo, having missed the first game by now, the free ticket was just good for the final game which is the chance to upgrade to the owner's suite. After Bingo I proceed to Guest relations to log the complaint about the affair at Bingo, also the problems we had in finding our room, again to mention that still no life jackets for the kids and one other problem that I will detail later. The person looks at me like I have three heads and says he will log these complaints into his book but that it is very rare for anyone to have so many problems. Again this to me seems as if RCI is taking the position that I am the one with the problem instead of working to rectify their shortcomings. Nothing like burying your head in the sand and acting as if all is well. 5. Service in the dining room was passable, Our Waiter was polite and but not very helpful. He would basically read to us what was on the menu but not offer any recommendations or in any way tells us what to avoid. The asst. waiter was friendly and made and effort to learn all our names on the first night and quickly remembered everyone's drink and bread preferences. Service in Windjammer was non existent, plenty of crew around but all they basically did was clear the tables when a party leaves. No ever offered to get us a drink, clear empty plates away to make more room on the table, or see if we needed a high chair, things like that. We actually had one waitress insult my son to another couple that she didn't realize we were friendly with. The situation was that we ran late one day in getting ready to go the Dining Room for dinner and opted instead to eat at Windjammer, now granted when our son does not take a nap during the day he tends to get cranky and restless. So we figured that a late night dinner at Windjammer at a table away form the main crowd was probably best. Half way thru the dinner our son wanting no part of the food that was available got out of his chair and started walking around our table hitting his sisters on the head playing duck duck goose. It was at this point that the waitress called him a brat to another couple. A little while later as I was going up to get some dessert I was made aware of this and confronted her, I asked her how she felt it was okay to ignore our table the whole time, didn't have time to clear any of our empty plates but found it perfectly okay to insult a 3 year old. Of course she denied having said anything, when I asked if she would like to walk with me the couple she made the comment to she ran off into the back never to be seen again. I approached the Dining room supervisor about this and he promised me that he would speak with her and we would get an apology. We are still waiting for that. I understand we probably should have ordered room service that night but if this waitress or others felt that his behavior was so out of line they should have discreetly approached us and recommend we make a plate for him to go or perhaps order room service. I would not have been offended in any way and would have gladly done so. I have taken my children to some fine restaurants, Spago's In Vegas, and hotels, The Peninsula in Chicago, in many places and have no problem removing them from a public area if I see that their behavior is inappropriate. His behavior was no better or worse then several other children we observed during the cruise and therefore we felt that this casual setting was not inappropriate for him. I found this waitress actions to be offensive and abusive and the lack of response from the supervisor equally disturbing. The next night I voiced my dismay to the head waiter in our dining room who explained that the procedure is they keep a log of these complaints during a sailing and if a wait staff received three complaints against them during any one cruise they are let go. So basically the wait staff can insult two passengers per cruise without worries of a repercussion. Pity!! 6. Lastly on the day of disembarkation, we followed the instructions and waited for our color to be called, it was called an hour earlier then we expected and then what we told the party picking us up, but I guess for people rushing to catch a flight this is a good thing. So we make our way to get off the ship hand our Sea Pass card to the guard and we are told there is a problem and we must go to Guest Relations. We do as we are told, when we get to guest relations I am dealing with the same purser that I spoke earlier in the cruise regarding our Bingo incident. I am told that our CC was denied and he will need another form of payment. Puzzled as to why I ask use their phone to call the CC company, in the meantime I give him another card to run. I turns out that Chase put a stop on our first card as a security measure when they saw large charges for purchases on the various islands we had stopped at. Yes I bought the wife a new Tag Heuer Watch and perfume and and and. Okay I actually admire Chase for this Fraud Protection Initiative, now where is the Purser with my Amex card. He comes and has me sign a receipt and then says he needs to go in the back to get approval. I am used to the merchant getting the approval first then the customer signs the receipt, but okay. After waiting for five minutes and no sign of the pursuer with my card or receipt I ask one of the others Pursuers if he can check on where the original one is and what the delay is. He says to me He is in the back Oh really, I know he is in the back I saw him go back there, what I asked is could he check on what the delay is. SO I ask to speak to a supervisor and I am told that he is the supervisor and no else is available. I see another Pursuer existing from the back and ask her if a supervisor is back their which she states yes would I like to speak with him. She gets him for me and as he comes out so does the one with my card and receipt who then disappears into the back again with the one that claimed no supervisor was available. Supervisor was apologetic but offered no other assistance. My gripe he is why wait until a passenger is almost off the ship to inform them that there is a problem with their account, why not contact them before hand either the night before or that morning to clear up any problems. Again a lack of service. 7. The rake in the Texas Hold'em is 10% up to a max of $10 and the table can only accommodate 7 players. This is very very steep rake for a 7 person $5 -$10 game and they would not cut the rake when 4 or fewer players played, a very common standard in any casino. Also would not up the game even though all the players wanted to play higher stakes nor would they run a tournament. Craps table offered nothing but single odds. 8. The water slide could only be used if the child was 46 inches or taller otherwise they had to go with an adult, okay seems like a reasonable safety requirement right. Well when an adult goes down with a child they get stuck half way down and have to walk down the rest of the way since they slide was designed to slow down in the middle. They consider this to be safe. Walk down a wet slippery surface. Now my 5 years is 42/43 inches all and has been on numerous water slides at various water parks with any trouble but on this ship we had to go down together and get stuck half way down. I then had to push her the rest of the way while walking down. THE UGLY!!!!! 1. The thing I found most disturbing was that fact that the shower stall in one of our cabins was covered in mold around the base of it. I have pictures of such. Again various comments to Cabin Stewart and Guest Relations, Asst. Cruise Director and nothing was done about this. How awful, we would not let our children in this shower, we were lucky that we had two rooms, what if we didn't. With all the attention being paid to keeping passengers from getting sick on the cruise, we actually had to sign a form about this, you would think that they would want to address the mold issue. I ended up using this shower most of the time and trying my best to remove as much of it as I could using the shower head, I was able to get some off but not a lot. All in all our experience with RCI Explorer of the Seas was a memorable one but not for the right reasons. We will definitely cruise again but not with RCI, next cruise will be of the Hawaiian Islands, our children loved the cruise and being on the ship, I will not give RCI anymore of my money if they are not going to address their shortcomings and neither should anyone else, there are others choice as far as cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
We travelled from Australia and did back to back cruises starting on the 11/4/06 through the eastern caribbean and then on the 11/11/06 did the western. The ship's condition is very impressive and the Atrium bar is spectacular. There ... Read More
We travelled from Australia and did back to back cruises starting on the 11/4/06 through the eastern caribbean and then on the 11/11/06 did the western. The ship's condition is very impressive and the Atrium bar is spectacular. There is always staff to be seen cleaning or carrying out general maintenance and they all have smiles on their faces. We had a low level state room towards the front of the ship which we found to be quite and comfortable. There was ample storage for the two of us with all of our clothes etc. The service we receive by Manuel our cabin steward was first class and he worked non stop all cruise always with a smile and a warm greeting. We we on the 8pm seating for dinner in the Paris dinning room and our waiter was Nathaniel and his assistant was Putu. They were awesome and made our dining experience a great deal of fun. The quality of the food was first class, we didn't visit the buffet as we preferred to be waited on since this was available for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there wasn't one meal in the entire two weeks that I could of complained about. The shows were of a very high standard and there was always some entertainment happening on board. I will never forget the look on the passengers faces on a cruise ship docked next to us at St Maarten as our ship was partying you could see the desire in their faces wishing they were on board with us. I must make special mention of Mark "the piano man" he was always entertaining and we had plenty of sing-a-longs and laughs in the Big Easy Bar. The bar staff were fantastic and very efficient, I thought the drinks were a little on the expensive side from what we are used to here in Australia however the were strong though. I would like to mention Myra and Marty who always greeted us with a smile. We didn't book any excursions and pretty much ventured off on our own once on land. we didn't have any problems finding our way around and at no time did we feel unsafe. I will say I think Carnival could think of another option to San Juan as we arrived so late, not much is open. Finally we had no problems at embarkation (took around 30 mins from the time we arrived at the port until we were sitting up on the Lido deck) and disembarkation (took around 45 mins from when we walked down the stairs until we were sitting in a cab.)I would also like to give a special mention to Eduardo from the pursers desk who assisted everyone that was doing back to back cruises, he made this process very simple under quite difficult circumstances. I would happily recommend Carnival to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
My husband and I have been doing cruise vacations for more than twenty years now, but I might have a hard time convincing him to ever go again after this one, at least on an RCL cruise. To be fair, it wasn't all negative. The ... Read More
My husband and I have been doing cruise vacations for more than twenty years now, but I might have a hard time convincing him to ever go again after this one, at least on an RCL cruise. To be fair, it wasn't all negative. The embarking and disembarking were handled well. And most of the staff like our waiter and cabin attendant were good, if not great. And the shore excursions were handled quite well. RCL has got those parts right. But other than that there was nothing but shortcomings and frustration. I would characterize what RCL has done with the cruise experience as disneyfying it. At Disney you wait in line after line. RCL seems to be suffering from this same scarcity of everything, only unlike a theme park, they should know exactly how many people to expect right? We waited in line for everything on this trip; waiting for the elevators till we gave up and walked down or up many flights of stairs, waiting in line to get into the buffet, waiting for a seat at the buffet, waiting for ice show tickets, waiting to get into the theater, waiting to tender off the ship, waiting for a deck chair, etc. Either RCL has dramatically screwed up in their planning for how many passengers this ship can hold, or they just don't care that the facilities can't accommodate the number they are sailing with. Even something as simple as jogging on the deck was a challenge. So many people milling around, and deck chairs in the path, you can hardly walk, much less run. The food was disneyfied as well. The facade of a high class meal was there, but the food itself was generally sub par. The dining room had tough steaks, greasy poultry, and dried out fish, day after day, and the $20 per person restaurants were only slightly better. The buffet was pretty much the same bland fare, over and over again. Johnny rockets wasn't bad, but how many times can you have fast food over and over again without bringing your cardiologist along. Every other cruise we've been on has had yummy and varied snack places all over the ship. Here you have to go down to deck 5, and you are limited to a cold sandwich or a tasteless cookie. C'mon RCL, are you trying to be the K-mart of cruise lines? Our cabin was pleasant, but for this kind of cost I expected decent shampoo, lotion, and maybe even a bathrobe like most other lines give you. Nada! Just some strange smelling shampoo in a dispenser and Motel-6 type bars of soap. Entertainment on board is pretty hit and miss as well. The ice show was very professionally done, as was at least one of the comedians one night. But that was it. The rest was high-school talent show level. If this is the future of cruises I suspect I am going to start staying home. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Mariner of the Seas October 15, 2006 Our 25th Wedding Anniversary date was October 15 and after some thought a cruise was our choice to celebrate this special occasion in the Eastern Caribbean. Embarkation began in Port Canaveral where ... Read More
Mariner of the Seas October 15, 2006 Our 25th Wedding Anniversary date was October 15 and after some thought a cruise was our choice to celebrate this special occasion in the Eastern Caribbean. Embarkation began in Port Canaveral where we got in the customary line to board. In the lines we noticed an unusual number of large bald and bearded men with bear paws tattooed on their backs and arms and thought maybe a Hunt Club was cruising this time. They wore badges that read Bear Voyagers. After going thru the lines we came aboard the beautiful Mariner of the Seas. We had not sailed on this ship before so we explored the ship initially and settled to a drink to begin our vacation. Our room attendant, Yvette, greeted us upon arriving to our room and she was a wonderful and efficient attendant throughout the cruise. She made regular visits to our room and kept the room very neat and tidy. Our only complaint was that one side of the mattress on the bed was collapsed and uncomfortable. She brought a waffle back cover and that helped the issue. She always had ice in the evening and was very attentive when we saw her every day. She gets great reviews. The next day we were at sea and we looked forward to spending some time in the adult pool as this was the first lengthy vacation without our children and grandchildren. The Mariner having an adult pool was pivotal in our decision to take this cruise. Remember those large bald and bearded men with bear paw tattoos on their backs? There were 800 of them on this cruise. THEY were ALL in the pool and it soon became apparent they were ALL GAY!! Soooo to the community pool we went. Coco Cay as usual was beautiful and the weather was great. We rented Jet Skis and had a great tour guide who showed us the surrounding islands and their history and actually during our tour saw a 1 foot diameter star fish in the water (later saw many more)&scooped him out and got to touch him gorgeous. That evening was formal night and we became acquainted with our waiters in the dining room where we sat at a table of six but only three of us were at that table the entire cruise. We had a seat partner who we thoroughly enjoyed having dinner with the rest of the cruise and soon became good friends. Our waiters Jonas and Peter were both very attentive and friendly. Made dinner time a pleasure. The food was good but not exceptional, although lobster and steak night was good. The important thing was dinner was good due to service and good company. The Champagne bar was great!!! The bartender Dean was fantastic!!! We visited him every night and he has a standing invitation to come to see us in St. Augustine Florida anytime he wishes-Hi Dean! St. Thomas was great as we had a great group from Atlanta in our tour and the tour guide Henry was absolutely fantastic and very knowledgeable regarding St. Thomas lived there for many generations and had many insights on the government issues and as a side would stop on our way to the top of the mountain to explain some of the plants and their health benefits would stop and actually pull a fruit or leaf off the tree so we could see it. He was a true jewel Afternoon rain brought the tour to an end and the side trip to the beach did not happen so we returned to the ship. St. Maarten was the next stop the following day and sadly the weather was hard rain most of the day.  We however could not resist getting off the ship and although restricted to tour by the weather we did go shopping and had lunch in the town. Would have liked to tour the island with someone like Henry though the island was very beautiful. The next days were days at sea on our return to Florida.  here is where everything goes downhill.  the conduct of the Bear Voyagers grew more lewd and perverted as the days went on the adult pool had a sign restricting pool use to the gays only..which they probably did not have to restrict it don't know of too many people that would get in that water with them they were openly kissing, pulling pants down, forming circles in the water and laying on top of each other NOT exactly a family environment and this WAS a family cruise people we understand actually disembarked in St. Maarten because of THEM and the conversation on the entire trip was how unhappy the other 2000 passengers were due to being subjected to this&if we had been advised they were going to be on board a different ship would have been our choice. Their rights became more important than our rights and this impacted everyone's vacation time. Many said they would never cruise with Royal Caribbean again including a platinum member. A petition was circulated on board to protest this group. The problem is while on a ship you cant exactly go elsewhere like you would have that option at a hotel&we were stuck and it did impact everyone's perception of this cruise with people feeling duped by the cruise line not having disclosed this important fact. 800 or 900 people are hard to ignore they were everywhere with their lewd behavior don't know if we will trust our vacation again to Royal Caribbean as we have in the past especially if we have all our children and granddaughter as we have in past cruises. In closing I am glad we did not have our granddaughters with us this trip or we may have changed our vacation to a land vacation in St. Thomas on this particular cruise. Buyer Beware. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
This has been my 9th cruise and my first back to back on Carnival. The first cruise on 10/22 to 10/29 was with my dearest friend. Our main purpose was to shop in St. Thomas. Boarding was not a problem and our room was sufficient. The food ... Read More
This has been my 9th cruise and my first back to back on Carnival. The first cruise on 10/22 to 10/29 was with my dearest friend. Our main purpose was to shop in St. Thomas. Boarding was not a problem and our room was sufficient. The food was simply put...eatable, the entertainment was ok. We enjoyed the itin and had a good time. We did the self assist embark and disembark and I will think twice before I do that again. Disembarking was horrible since we ported with another Carnival ship. The lines were long and slow. My husband joined me in Miami Sunday night and we boarded the Fascination on Monday for a 5 day cruise to Key West and Cozumel. The ship was horrible. We were on the Main level in 116 and the hall as well as the room had a septic system odor. Although the food menu was exactly the same as on the Valor, it was not even eatable in the dining room or Lido. It was simply awful. The shows, including the dialogue in the game shows was exactly the same as on the Valor. On both ships I purchased the soft drink card. On the Valor, I could use it anywhere. However, both my friend and I had to "hunt down" a waiter to get any kind of drink...they were simply NOT anywhere to be found. We were in a club for over 3 hours and had one drink. I purchased my card on Tuesday and by Friday I only managed to get 3 sprites....not worth it. I was very annoyed. The Fascination was a little better with the drinks but not much. I would guess the booze sales must be down by at least 30%. On the Fascination, I was only allowed to use the card at the lobby bar and the Lido..it was a waste of money. My biggest complaint is the service on both ships. This I attribute to the "prepaid tips" which are charged to your card before you even settle in. On the Valor, we disputed the charges right away and had them removed, requested envelopes and tipped as we saw fit according to our service. On the Fascination, my husband left the charge on the card but he even noticed the big change in the quality of our service....it just is not there. I heard complaints on both ships about the lack of service and most agreed that why would anyone care about give good service when they know they are going to get tipped anyway. I understand the reasoning...that a lot of people do not tip with envelopes. However, I would think that it would be better to increase the salaries and encourage good service for the additional monies to be made. I would love to hear others overview of the new tipping policy. I never really enjoyed Carnival as much as the other lines but the price was right this time. This was our 5th cruise on Carnival and at no time were we able to get any upgrades. When we requested, we were told that the ship was full. However, too many times we found out that "first time cruisers" were given upgrades AFTER we had boarded and were denied. This seems to be the policy on Carnival and I find it hard to remain loyal under the circumstances. I receive upgrades from RCCL and Princess. I do not think that we will be cruising anymore on the Carnival line. I am of the opinion now that I would rather pay a few extra bucks. Also, all you smokers out there...bring your own ashtrays because they are scarce and it does get ugly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We embarked on our 7-day cruise out of Port Everglades on 10/28/2006. We have been on 27 cruises, but this was our first cruise with Holland America. We thought we were saving the best for last! This cruise was very disappointing. ... Read More
We embarked on our 7-day cruise out of Port Everglades on 10/28/2006. We have been on 27 cruises, but this was our first cruise with Holland America. We thought we were saving the best for last! This cruise was very disappointing. Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived about 1 pm. We had filled out the precruise forms via the internet and were on-board within 15 mins. However, since the cabins are not ready until 1:30 we were directed to the Lido deck and the buffet style lunch. The food was excellent for the entire cruise. Much praise for the chefs; however that was about it for the praise. The ship although only 4 years old? - looked like it was 20. There was rust wherever rust could be. The decor of the ship was gloomy, very gloomy. We were on deck 5, cabin 5181 back of ship with verandah. The hallways had the most depressing black and white pictures of every "dam" ship imaginable, and looked like depression era pictures! The stateroom itself was also sparse and gloomy. Lighting was terrible in the cabin. We put our clothes away in the closets as there were no drawers (or so we thought). On day 5, we discovered there were two drawers under the bed, and two drawers under the loveseat (but this was NEVER pointed out to us; we discovered the drawers by accident). Public rooms really were no better, and the pool area again was simply a pool deck with pool and chairs. No pretty decor at all. We heard about the European style service that we could expect with HAL - sorry to say, it was not to be found. The best service on the entire ship was the Lido buffet restaurant. Our hats off to the staff there. We only ate in the dining room for 3 meals; the remainder of the cruise we at up on the Lido. The food was freshly prepared up there; they had the same menu as the dining room; and the staff was far more attentive. We overheard other frequent HAL cruisers expressing their dissatisfaction with the ship and overall cruise experience, as well. It seems Holland America is NOT the same as it was 5 or 10 years ago. We ordered room service twice, and twice it was brought 1/2 hour earlier than we wanted it. We had time changes 3 times on a 7-day cruise. (As we said we have cruised these islands many times before. We never had that many time changes.) Our cruise began on the day that Daylight Savings ended, so we set our clocks back, only to find out that the ship did not change their time for that! Instead they changed the following day. We lost half our morning on the first day because of this time discrepancy, and no one told you NOT to change your clock. It also made it dangerous for anyone with diabetes having to taking medication at a certain time and eat at a certain time. (So, for us, it was 4 times we had to change our clocks!) This did not lend itself toward relaxation, not knowing what time it was where and when. Very confusing. The entertainment was bland, nothing special. The activities were pretty much the same day in and day out and were boring. Other cruisers shared with us that the wine selection was terrible and the drinks expensive. We don't "drink," but did purchase the soft-drink card which was 20 sodas for $18.00. We purchased two, one each, and found by Thursday morning we had 22 sodas left to consume in two days. The tours were the same tours one would find on any Caribbean cruise. We only took one, and were disappointed again because our 3 hour tour was only about 1-1/2 hours. The other 1-1/2 hours were spent driving to the appointed destination and the constant plans being made by the tour guide on where to meet her, how to meet her, etc. Her microphone was broken so those of us on the tour bus could not experience any island history from the driver. It was just a bland 1/2-hour ride each way. We did not go over to Half Moon Cay at all. By this point, we just wanted to go home. It seems like more than half the ship felt that way too, because there were no tender lines to wait in per the cruise staff. Probably half or more of the passengers did not go over to the island. We had a free gift to the Pinnacle Restaurant given to us by our Cruise Agency; however we could not go there because they were all booked. (And, probably just as well because other passengers said they were very very very disappointed in it.) Also the TV in the cabin had no channel listing provided; so there was no way to know what time and on what channel we could watch whatever! Tour talks, movies, etc. - we were told, "you can catch this on your cabin TV." but when and on what channel - that info was NOT provided. The photo shop called us - now get this - at 11 PM on the last night, before disembarkation - woke us up - to tell us we had a free photo we could get that our Travel Agency had given as a gift and why don't we come down and get it now. 11 PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was 22 months since our last vacation. This was a vacation we needed desperately. This was the worst vacation we have had in our 60 years of life! Holland America - we will never sail with you again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Please enter your review. I just read a Cruise Critic Member Review on the Crown Princess by Cheryl. I couldn't say it better, but I have more to add. I, too am a big fan of cruising. We have traveled on several cruise lines, and I ... Read More
Please enter your review. I just read a Cruise Critic Member Review on the Crown Princess by Cheryl. I couldn't say it better, but I have more to add. I, too am a big fan of cruising. We have traveled on several cruise lines, and I have always rated Princess as one of my favorites. I am now an Elite member with 15 cruises. But if ever a cruise was a huge disappointment this one was. We had booked Crown Princess as well as a cruise on RCCL Freedom of the Seas almost a year ahead and looked forward to both. Both were Caribbean cruises we have taken many times, but the Freedom was so innovative, and we have never been to Bermuda, so the Princess would take us to some place new, and we could enjoy and compare two new ships. We did get to see Bermuda - from afar! But, like Cheryl, we never docked there. The captain said it was too windy to enter the channel, and another port would not replace it. We traveled in slow motion for two days to kill time returning to NYC. Ditto to Cheryl about the Crown Princess looking bigger on the outside than the inside. Our balcony stateroom was smaller than on the Freedom, and unlike the comfortable bed on the Freedom, the bed was unbelievably hard. Relatives in another balcony stateroom got an egg-crate mattress cover that seemed to help, but none were available when we asked. We used the comforter underneath and asked for blankets and sheets to cover. Our balcony looked out on other balconies, for two decks down. Not a lot of privacy for those below though the young people didn't seem to mind, and the topless one seemed to enjoy every bit of exposure. The narrow hallways were especially inconvenient for handicap in wheelchairs and scooters. The layout of the ship and the elevators was confusing, and nothing seemed outstanding about the looks of the ship. Not enough shows and way too many comedians filled out the entertainment. The main theatre was very crowded on show nights. Our plight began, however, before we arrived at the ship. We had booked directly with Princess, who did our air, transfers, and insurance. We have always felt more comfortable letting Princess set this all up for us. We flew into Newark, NJ for a forced overnight at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott Hotel. When we arrived at the airport baggage area, we expected to see the familiar Princess Cruises greeter with sign. We collected our luggage and searched for our greeter. We sat and waited for two hours. Never had this happened to us in all our years of cruising. Fortunately, we had our cell phone, so I called 1-800-Princess. After another hour of confusion, we were told that this had been going on all day there, and they could not locate any one to help us. We were to go hail a taxi to take us over to NY, and we would be reimbursed for the cost when we got on the ship. With a wild ride and $75 out of pocket, we arrived at the hotel. We had planned a nice evening but were too tired to do anything but go to bed. The next day we were transferred by bus to the ship. When we got there, we were told to identify our luggage. One piece was missing. We spent 30 minutes waiting in the sun and were finally told to go on board, and hopefully it would be located and sent to our room. We were by then at the end of huge lines, and even though I requested the preferred boarding line as shown on my documents, we were herded into one of the long waiting lines and told to stay there. Our embarkation was not smooth as was Cheryl's. When our luggage arrived, the one piece was still missing, but it did get to our cabin eventually, at which time we noticed all three pieces had been mishandled and smashed. We were fortunate that customer service had us fill out a form allowing the ship to try to fix them, and we got our luggage back the night before disembarkation in usable, if not the best, condition, for which we were grateful. The real ordeal began when we tried to collect the $75 from customer service. It took three days of standing in line at the counter and arguing for the money to be replaced. They didn't feel they should have to pay the toll fees or the tip for the taxi driver. Later they would only agree to credit our account. I finally insisted on $75 in cash, and after sheer determination won. By this time our vacation seemed in much too much turmoil. I, too, wrote corporate office to no avail. The letter I received reads: As we are certain you know from your many Princess sailings, transfers are operated by independent ground personnel contracted by Princess. Therefore, as stated in our Passage Contract, Princess cannot be held responsible for problems arising out of such arrangements So there is your customer service after the sail. I am still in shock. This is not the Princess care we have experienced before, but seems this will be the norm for doing business now and hereafter. Obviously they DON'T CARE! Buyers beware! Wanting to end with something positive, I must say we had lots of good seafood. Our waiters were excellent. They were fun and funny and did their jobs so well all 10 of us at our table could relax and enjoy that time of day. The Freedom of the Seas is a gorgeous ship, and at least one of our two cruises was a joy! Down with Princess and up with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
Since this board has been very useful, I wanted to provide on trip report about experience on the Crown Princess, 9/30/06 (Eastern Caribbean). As background, I am a solo traveler in my forties and this was my 32nd cruise (9th on Princess, ... Read More
Since this board has been very useful, I wanted to provide on trip report about experience on the Crown Princess, 9/30/06 (Eastern Caribbean). As background, I am a solo traveler in my forties and this was my 32nd cruise (9th on Princess, the balance mostly on Cunard, Celebrity, & Holland America with a few on Crystal & NCL.) I dont like huge ships, but the price was so low and no flights were needed, that I decided to go anyway. Embarkation: Drove from Connecticut to the cruise terminal in Brooklyn, NY. Parking is provided adjacent to the actual terminal in a fenced lot. Cost is $18 per day (including tax). HUGE line inside the terminal waiting to check-in, but as a platinum member I had priority check-in so was able to bypass the line and got the fast-track onto the ship. Cabin: I booked an inside cabin on Deck 11, forward. Smaller than interior cabins on other ships but fine for one person. Large, open closet area (about 6 ft) with plenty of hangers, but not nearly enough shelves/drawers. Mini-fridge, TV (contrary to the brochure, not flat-screen, but fine). Good lighting in the cabin area for reading, putting on make up, etc. Cabins now feature premium bedding  basically a duvet & nice sheets. The cabin was warmish so the duvet was often too hot (cabin steward remade the bed with a top sheet so I could flip the duvet on & off); several other people mentioned the same issue, so it wasnt unique to my cabin. Bathroom was small (shower only) but that's what I expect. It was dark in the bathroom  the bulbs were yellowish. Steward service was good  friendly but not obtrusive. Passengers: With 3000 passengers, the ship was nearly full. Probably 95% Americans and average age was probably 50. Only about two dozen kids. It appears that Princess is now targeting a different demographic which doesnt appeal to me. The majority of the passengers were under 40, tattooed, pierced and loud. They didnt seem to be well-traveled, werent particularly courteous (pushing past people, talking during shows, snapping fingers at the waiters, cursing, shouting outside their cabins, etc.) Any central areas (such as the Neptune & Calypso pools, the piazza atrium and the buffet lines) were crowded, loud, and hectic. Everyone is entitled to enjoy their vacation but their approach had nothing in common with mine and I quickly discovered the quieter spots on board  Terrace pool, Adagio, Sanctuary, etc. and dined at off-peak hours. The other people who I met in these areas were also disappointed at the change in the passenger make up and the consensus seemed to be that they wouldnt be sailing on Princess again (Celebrity & Holland America were the lines people mentioned instead). Meals: I chose traditional style dining, second seating in the Botticelli dining room. Since I travel solo, I like having an assigned table where the whole table can get to know each other and catch up on our days activities at night. Although the traditional seating option was filled up when I boarded, the maitre d was able to add me to a table with two couples and another solo traveler. Nice people (one couple was on Princess for the first time and the others were platinum members). Service was good (interestingly, no wine sommeliers or stewards on this ship; instead, the waiter provided suggestions. Im not a wine drinker, but the other couples are fairly knowledgeable and were amused that his suggestions were based on the nationality of the food&if it was Italian night, he suggested they order an Italian wine  no specifics as to type of wine or vineyard, just pick something Italian). Head waiter provided several special appetizers to his tables  cantaloupe & ham, parmesan & ham, escargots. Overall, dining room food was sub-standard. I dont expect gourmet food on a ship, but this was below average. The menu was very limited and the food was routinely bland. Appetizers and desserts were low points; side dishes were unimaginative (sliced carrots, green beans & mashed potatoes were regularly featured); entrees were not varied and the quality was poor  veal cordon bleu was tough and salty; rib eye steak was dry and gristly; chicken breast was OK but no flavor; pork was dry & tough. The lobster tails were large and good, although the melted butter was some kind of butter substitute. The buffets (breakfast, lunch & dinner) were awful. Breakfast: No omelet station, no waffle station, no egg station. Instead, one type of omelet was precooked and stacked on a hot tray; same for the pancakes  a huge platter of pancakes on a hot tray with another platter wrapped in plastic wrap behind, waiting to go on the hot tray. Fried eggs were pre-cooked and placed on rows of plates on the hot trays. Fresh cantaloupe had obviously been cut & stored hours  if not days  ago since it was dry and had a white film on top. Lunch: meals were lukewarm (e.g. veal stew); chili had marble-sized balls of fat & gristle; Chinese & Mexican day entrees were lukewarm, bland and dry; canned fruit was readily available (peaches, pears and good old Del Monte fruit cocktail); no sandwich station or even platters of cold cuts to make your own sandwiches  instead one pre-made sandwich was available each day&.sitting on trays, either drying up or getting soggy; desserts included vats of Jello  jello molds and straight jello; only two flavors of cookies  oatmeal & choc chip. The buffet food was Dennys quality  Im not looking for a 4star restaurant, but something equivalent to a buffet at a Marriott hotel would have been an improvement. I ended up having pizza for lunch a few days from the pool-side pizzeria and that was the best. Entertainment: Three production shows, one of which (Destination Anywhere) was spectacular. All the dancers were exceptionally high quality  on my other cruises, Ive gotten used to so-so dancers but this troupe was very good. Two comedians who didnt appeal to me  one had lots of farting jokes and the other one had material about gays, black vs. white women & farting. The audience was so unimpressed with him that he had to ask if the microphone was turned on&. A hypnotist, magician, and a variety show. Each lounge had live music, movies were available (under the stars and in a lounge), Karaoke, American idol, dance contests, etc. Team trivia twice a day was a hit  about 30 people each time. Pool Olympics & various pool sports. Public areas: Ship is physically in great shape since its so new. Lounges are fine, but dark. Too bad there arent more windows to see the water on the four sea days. The Starwalkers nightclub was great  high up, at the aft end of the ship, offered great views during the day & was empty. Pools: as others mentioned, people were reserving deck chairs at 8:00 am. Very annoying. Husbands sitting there surrounded by four empty chairs, each with one book or a hat on it, while the wives were having breakfast. The most peaceful spot was the Terrace pool, which is an adults only; small pool with no diving allowed. In summary, I got a good price on this cruise so enjoyed the sun & relaxation but will not be cruising on Princess again. The food was so bad and the clientele was not appealing to me. Luckily, Celebrity & HAL have plenty of ships and itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
First, I want to mention that this is my first ship review and first time on Princess Cruise Line. This was my third cruise. July 2006 Disney Wonder, January 2006 Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. We flew into FL on Saturday the ... Read More
First, I want to mention that this is my first ship review and first time on Princess Cruise Line. This was my third cruise. July 2006 Disney Wonder, January 2006 Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas. We flew into FL on Saturday the 30th approx. 12:15pm, took the Princess shuttle bus to the port. Check in went smooth and was on the boat around 2:15pm. Our room was ready when we got on the boat so we dropped off our one bag after checking out the nice room. (We booked a cheap priced inside cabin room) and headed up to the buffet. After getting full in the buffet, we decided to give ourselves a tour of the ship and ended up at the Lotus Spa and did the spa tour. Were impressed with the spa and paid the $109.00 fee for two in the Sanctuary. Went back to our cabin luggage was already at room and put some things away and went up to the muster drill. After the muster drill went up to the top pool for the Sail Away party. This party was good and they had random drawing for prizes and such. Had dinner at 8:00 that night and went to the show in the theater at 10:45. (Show was a bit boring.) After the show we turned in for the night. First day at sea we got up and had a breakfast buffet and decided to try the Spa Sanctuary out. The beds did not seem as warm as the day before so we decided to go to the aroma steam rooms but the aroma was not working at all that morning. After a short time in the spa we just relaxed around the pool for awhile until we had the lunch buffet. After lunch we lounged around the pool until our 8:00 dinner and then proceeded to the theater for another show at 10:45 (This show was a little more entertaining than the first night). After that show we went to Explorer Lounge to see James "The Kid" Michael's R rated show at 12:15am. It was definitely R rated but hilarious! After the show we went to bed. The second day at sea we had breakfast in the buffet and then tried the spa once again but once again the aroma for the steam rooms were not working properly once again and one of the stem rooms were not working at all. Spoke with the spa personnel at the front desk, but they didn't seem to care much and said they would look into the problem. After leaving the spa we went back to the pool and just relaxed. Had lunch in the buffet again relaxed by the pool got cleaned up and went to the Comedy show in Explorers lounge of Steve Moris which was excellent! After the comedy we went to diner at 8:00pm. After dinner went to the theater for the 10:30 comedy show of Carl Strong who had us rolling out of our chairs! Decided to turn in for the night after that because we had St. Thomas the next day. St. Thomas morning we had a breakfast buffet and headed off the boat. Went to all the shops in the area. Sampled many of the local types of alcohol and bought a small amount. Had lunch in St. Thomas and then back to the shops and straw market. After a long day of shopping headed back to the boat. Decided a good relaxing time in the spa would be nice only to get into the spa and find out all the steam rooms were not working. Spoke with the staff and was told that maintenance was working on them. Left the spa once again without being able to use it. After getting cleaned up we went to the 7:15 show in the theater, but had to leave the show early to make out 8:00 dinner time. (Cannot figure out why they scheduled the start time to conflict with dinner?) After dinner there was a party on the top deck of the pool with didn't really get started until 10:45. Stayed at the party for about and hour but decided to leave it early since we had St. Maarten the next morning. St. Maarten morning we had a breakfast buffet and headed off the boat. Did some local sight seeing for the first half of the morning and then to the shopping areas. Did manage to get in the water some at the beach by the shopping areas. Had to be back on the boat at 4:30. We grabbed a small bite of pizza and tried the spa again. Once again the steam rooms were not working properly only one room was even warm. After cleaning up we went to the 7:15 show in theater Dave Di Muzio (juggling and jokes very boring) didn't mind having to leave his show early for the 8:00 dining. After dinner wasn't much of anything to we wanted to do on the boat. Slow night for entertainment so we turned in early. Sea day so we slept in some had the breakfast buffet and stayed by the pool most of the day. Did not try the spa this day was already upset with the spa from previous days where it was not working properly. Changed our diner time to 6:00 and then went to Explores Lounge to see Rollin Jay Moore at 8:30pm. Great comedian! Stayed in the Explorers Lounge to watch the Newlywed game. After the newlywed game went to Club fusion to participate in the Caribbean quest at 10:30pm. This was by far the best night of entertainment we had. Princess Cay's day on Friday after breakfast buffet and then almost hour long wait to get to the island with the tenders. $21.00 for snorkel equipment. Lunch was ok but no cokes with the coke card on the island. Tea was horrible so ended up having lunch with water. Went back to the boat around 2:00. Cleaned up went to 6:00 diner. Went to 8:30 Farewell Show watched the sentinel at movies under the stars then turned in for the night. Back at port had breakfast buffet hung out in Explorers lounge until our color was called. Disembarking went really smooth and left the dock area and went back to FL airport. Princess staff did refund my money for the spa since they had so many issues with it during our stay and after I spoke with the management. The staff of the boat was rude at times and would run over you in the hall and not say a word to you. I suggested to Princess that they do away with the auto tipping because a large portion of the staff was just rude. I am sure the next cruise I take will not be on Princess Cruise line. The ship is beautiful but the staff on the boat next to work on the customer service skills. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
I guess my wife and I could be considered seasoned cruisers, this was our 17th cruise. I do not like to give negative reviews on any cruise that we have been on; I feel any cruise is as good as you make it. This cruise, however, is one ... Read More
I guess my wife and I could be considered seasoned cruisers, this was our 17th cruise. I do not like to give negative reviews on any cruise that we have been on; I feel any cruise is as good as you make it. This cruise, however, is one that I think other cruisers should be warned about. We sailed out of New York on 9/9/2006 on the Carnival Legend for an 8-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We are from Pennsylvania and we took a bus to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, then a taxi to the pier. We arrived at the pier around 11:30am and after a fairly smooth boarding process we were on the Lido Deck by 12:30pm. We were advised that our rooms would not be ready until 1:30 so we had a buffet lunch and a drink on the Lido Deck. We were very disappointed with the food at this point but figured it was something they just threw together for the people coming on board. After lunch we decided to see if we could get into our cabin. We had been on the Legend before in October 2003 and knew how to get around. As started to navigate the hallway to our cabin we were shocked to see how dirty the carpeting was. When we were on her before everything was immaculate. We could not believe the change! Shame on Carnival Cruise Lines to allow such a beautiful ship to become this dirty. As we continued to walk to our cabin, water kept falling on us from the ceiling. Then we noticed puddles on the carpeting from the dripping from the ceiling. Our cabin was clean except for the area under the vanity. It looks like the vacuum cleaner cannot reach close to the cabinet and was never cleaned. If they were to take a tank type vacuum cleaner and use the hose attachments they could clean under the cabinet. We met our cabin steward, Newborn. My wife noticed that one of our lamps did not have a bulb in it and mentioned it to Newborn. He said he would take care of it. As far I know the bulb is still missing. It was not replaced at any time during our cruise. Luggage did not arrive until 7:30 that evening so we had to go to dinner in our dirty traveling clothes. Toilet did not work for 8 hours after our arrival. We could not control the thermostat and froze the first night. The food during the entire cruise was terrible. On all of our other cruises, the meals were the highlight of the trip. We and several other diners actually left the dining room one night because the food could not be eaten. It was terrible!! Don't even think about trying to get wine with your dinner. I had to argue with our server that a particular wine I wanted was on the wine list when it was the very first item. Breakfast and buffet lunch on the Lido deck were no better. First, you had to fight long lines all the time and most off the stations for coffee, juice etc. were out of order during the entire cruise. When you finally did get some food it was not worth the wait. I cannot believe that they would offer such poor quality of food. The entertainment was just so-so. The main shows were the same shows we had seen the last time on the Legend. Same shows, different entertainers. The piano bar was not very popular, in fact, none of the bars were overly busy. Due to a medical emergency in Tortola, we were running about 7 hours behind schedule. We were informed of the Medical Emergency through the public address system, however, the PA was not broadcast in the cabins, only in the hallways and public rooms. It was impossible to hear what was being said while you were in the cabin. It would have been better if they announced over the television in the cabins. If they were trying to sell something it came loud and clear on the TV, but not the important messages. The Captain tried to make up the lost time but never could. Due to the speed he was traveling we were rocking quite a bit. The crew was not very friendly. When you passed them in a hallway they never gave you that pleasant "Hello" we used to get on other cruises. They did their job and nothing else. They were not very friendly at all. On other cruises, when you go to the Captain's party you are introduced to the Captain by the cruise director or another officer and shake the Captain's hand and have a picture taken. At this party the Captain had his back to us as we entered the ballroom and sort of waved at us as we walked in. Overall, this was the worst cruise we have ever been on. We talked to others that had traveled on the Legend before and we all agreed that we couldn't believe the change. The food was terrible, the entertainment just so-so, the service poor, the condition of the ship was deplorable. Noticeably missing was the Baked Alaska parade after dinner. Usually, after the Captain's Dinner they had all of the waiters carry a Baked Alaska in the air and paraded around the tables. This time they stood by your table and waved a towel in the air. We and other past cruisers on the Legend could not believe how the ship has deteriorated since the last time we sailed on her. SHAME ON YOU CARNIVAL. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
Background: A first time cruiser. I was looking for a relaxing vacation away from DC. Being the idiot I am, I went alone (big mistake, more on that later). Embarkation: I was told at the airport to go to a podium to check in for my ... Read More
Background: A first time cruiser. I was looking for a relaxing vacation away from DC. Being the idiot I am, I went alone (big mistake, more on that later). Embarkation: I was told at the airport to go to a podium to check in for my transfer. I was greeted by two old ladies who upon looking only at the first page of lists tell me that I didn't pay for my transfer. After showing them my receipt, they look through the other pages and finally see my name. Oh... I see.... Otherwise, getting on the ship was fine. I've seen shorter lines at Logan take 2 hours longer. Another bad part is being harassed to get my picture taken. I will not pay $10+ for a picture I can take myself Cabin: Decent for the price. I made the mistake of getting an inside cabin. I certainly like knowing whether it's day or night without having to look at my watch (they don't supply alarm clocks). The cabins are always kept clean and orderly. The TV has all the standard networks, so I didn't miss the season premiere of CSI. Most of the channels however are advertisements to by the cruise DVD. Activities: Appeals to the lowest common denominator. Hairy Chest contest, eating contests, knobby knee contests, and some woman telling you how to shop. I went to a seminar by a "golf pro" The golf pro turned out to be some college kid who apparently needs about 6+ years to graduate, even though his major is, I'm not kidding, golf. The kid had no enthusiasm whatsoever. I've taken private lessons for many sports and almost all of my instructors at least do a good job of pretending to like to teach. This kid spent most of the seminar bragging about getting lessons from Tiger Woods and couldn't even segue very well. Dining: Surprising quality. I expected nothing better than college cafeteria food, but instead got 4 star quality meals. Some will complain that the portions were too small but they were fine for me. Our waiters were very accommodating and would bring other meals if what we ordered wasn't to our satisfaction. The matire d' at lunch time, on the other hand, seemed shock that someone would dine alone and always had an annoyed look on her face when I said that it was just me. I ate at the Red Sail during days I didn't feel like eating at the main dining hall or when I needed something quick. The food was ok. The pizza was undercooked, the chicken tikka did not look like chicken tikka. The lines were long, seating was at a premium, and the smell of dishwashing was prevalent. The low light of the whole dining experience is the dancing waiters. The one Chinese waiter who would make noises as if he was a monkey and the Jamaican waiter who shouted OPA! really got on my nerves. Service: Your wait and cabin staff are attentive as they, like any employee worth their paycheck would, know that their livelihood comes from tips. Mine always greeted me when I walked by her. Excursions: If you are someone who is not comfortable driving around a big island he/she has never been before, these are the only way to really enjoy the ports of calls. We were fortunate that the weather was excellent as there was a good chance we would run into one hurricane. Therefore, any excursion near a beach or a body of water was well worth the high price. Shopping is vastly overrated, especially if you don't want to drop a grand on bling. Entertainment: Again, appeals to the lowest common denominator. Simon Cowell often compares American Idol rejects to cruise ship entertainers and you see why. I've seen better at high school productions. The sad part is that many feel that these acts are high quality. Overall: Stay away from Carnival. Pay more for a cruise line that won't insult your intelligence Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
Enchantment of the Seas 5 day cruise 09 11 2006 to 09 16 2006 Cruise Experience over 22 cruises Embarkation Instead of sending us the Immigration form for the Bahamas so we could fill it out before we got to the port, they had hundreds ... Read More
Enchantment of the Seas 5 day cruise 09 11 2006 to 09 16 2006 Cruise Experience over 22 cruises Embarkation Instead of sending us the Immigration form for the Bahamas so we could fill it out before we got to the port, they had hundreds of people sitting everywhere trying to fill out the forms, this isn't too smart of them. Food One of the main reason people cruise is the food and it is a real hit or miss on this ship. On only the formal night was the food excellent and on lobster night it was good. But on the other 3 nights the food was barely ok. Lunch was the exact same thing everyday in the dining room and buffet, which is ridiculous, I have never seen that on a ship before, the same exact food everyday. Don't take this cruise if you like good food. Dining room service Excellent, as to be expected. I think almost every ship these days has excellent service in the dining room, except for Carnival. Room steward This was the second worst room steward we have ever had in over 20 cruises, the worst was on Celebrity which is also owned by Royal Caribbean. The day we got on the ship our room wasn't ready until 3 pm. Then, on the day we went to the private island we left a note on our door to do our room. When we got back at 4 pm the room still wasn't done. I also sent a shirt out to be cleaned and it was supposed to be back by 5 pm the next day. At 5 30 pm no shirt, had to call them to get it delivered at 6 pm. Service In the buffet the service was excellent, they would also get your drink for you. The customer service desk always had a long line, so they really didn't care much about customer service. Overall, the customer service on the whole ship was ok, but much better than Celebrity. Shows They had the worst singers, comedians and shows I have ever see. They would sing a popular song, but no one had any idea which song it was because the singer was so bad. The shows were a real waste of time. They should just do away with the shows on this ship and just have the stupid art auction all the time. The art auction would take over the whole ship everytime they did it, and only about 20 people were interested each time. Activities I would say for a large ship, they were very few activities. On the NCL ships, they have at least 3 times the activities of this ship. Keep that in mind if you like to do things. Spa Royal Caribbean is all about money. In the remodeling of this ship they took out all the free steam baths and now you have to pay if you want one, that's so stupid. Private Island They have the most beautiful and largest private island I have ever seen, with real houses. The beach was a mile long with so many chairs, that only about 20 percent was being used. Compared to NCL private island, where the beach was only about 200 ft and everyone was fighting to get a chair and it was so crowded. Captain Normally I don't mention the captain of the ship, because they just do what they do.. But this captain was very straight forward and honest about everything. He is also the funniest captain we have ever seen. They should put him in the show. Cruise Director Again, normally I don't mention the cruise director, because they just do what they are supposed to do. But, this was the absolutely worst cruise director I have ever seen. He would tell jokes and no one out of 1,000 people would laugh, he was that bad. They must have gotten him the same place they got the comedians. Ship Design Even though this ship has been around 8 years now, the design is excellent. It doesn't have the mall the newer royal caribbean ships have, but the atrium is very nice. The 2 story dining room is also very nice. The ship design is much better than even the new NCL ships. The whole ship looked brand new except for the carpet which needs to be replaced on the whole ship. Also, they have a very nice band playing in the atrium almost everynight, but they are so stupid they put them in the smoking section. Now, on a ship do you have more smokers or non smokers. Of course you have much more non smokers, so why put the band there. Also, this ship definitely has some water problems. On the first day of the cruise, the water in everyone's room was totally yellow and many times there was no water. I know people that took this cruise 2 years ago and they had the same problem then also. Disembarkation Took a very long time, we had the longest wait on this ship, longer than on any other ship before. Overall Despite all these things, we did have a nice time on this cruise, as we always do. But, you can see that Royal Caribbean really doesn't care about customer service especially at the bar or in the room. They also really don't care about the food you eat or the water you drink. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2006
Where was the magic? This was our third cruise, having sailed on RCCL and Carnival over the past three years. Out of the three cruises, Disney was the worst. How could this be, you wonder, after reading all of the great reviews? ... Read More
Where was the magic? This was our third cruise, having sailed on RCCL and Carnival over the past three years. Out of the three cruises, Disney was the worst. How could this be, you wonder, after reading all of the great reviews? Here's why: Embarkation: Summary expect long lines and with two kids this can be a problem with them wanting to be held, stepping out of line, running around, etc. We flew into Orlando arriving at 11:45 the day of sailing and purchased transfers to the ship through the cruise line. Once we arrived, we checked in to the Disney Cruise Transfer counter and waited in a line for the bus. We probably waited 30 minutes. Once on the bus, it took about an hour to get to the cruise terminal. Once off the bus, we waited in another line (about 30 minutes) to check in and get our Key to the World cards. Cabin: Disney upgraded us to a cat. 3 family stateroom. Cabin #8502. Thank heavens b/c even this was a tight squeeze with four people. The room was fair. Really the only thing setting this cabin apart from others cruise lines is 1) the mattress, very comfortable with no sagging in the middle 2) upgraded linens 3) cabin steward. The low points: TV a measly 13, c'mon---when you travel on a ship supposedly a notch above the rest (you certainly think this when you pay the bill), you'd think they'd put bigger TVs in the room. Air Conditioner-it was very warm in our room the entire time only at night did the room cool down. Odor the room smelled stale and moldy. Dining and Service: Summary Wonderful--IF you like cafeteria food. I can't decide what was worse, the food or the service. In fact, it was so bad we stopped eating in the main dining room after the second night. Hmmm, Animators Palate food-mediocre, service-poor, ambiance-way to crowed, loud and un-magical. Parrot Caye, ditto. Lumeire's didn't eat there. Topsiders buffet actually, the buffet food here was better than main dining. As a bonus, you can order off of the main dining menu here at night, it was much quieter and the service better. All of the other fast food places were ok, its what you'd expect if you bought everything out of your local grocer's freeze and prepared it yourself. Oh, forgot room service: expect to wait at least 30-40 minutes from the time you order. Of course I'll save the best for last-PALO. It was the only saving grace for the boat food-excellent, service superior Entertainment: Ok, I know I've been bashing DCL, but I have to give it to them the entertainment was great! Ship- Summary very vanilla Where's the magic, Disney? If you've ever been to Disney World, you'd think the ship would be first class the art was questionable when you saw some, mostly Disney character stuff, the grand room wasn't impressive and the dinning rooms seemed decorated a bit on the cheap side. Pools--I can only comment on the kids pool, which was way overcrowded and had to be emptied at least once a day for the kids defecating in it. This usually kept it closed for at least 3 hours. I should take this opportunity to talk about the cleanliness of the ship: The ship staff passed out sanitizing wipes before you walked into any dining room, which tried to cut down on germs. But, my whole family still got sick with colds. Character Appearances: Summary Unless you were in a line at a scheduled time, you did not see them. I think I saw goofy one time roaming the decks of the ship and that was for about five minutes. Conclusion: After hearing all the hype about Disney and paying a lot more we expected great food, service and a magical experience. Well, don't get your hopes up. It's just OK. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We just returned for a not so pleasant week and I have to say I am quite disappointed by Carnival. I had not sailed on Carnival before but had sailed on other cruise lines so there was something for me to compare this trip to. The one ... Read More
We just returned for a not so pleasant week and I have to say I am quite disappointed by Carnival. I had not sailed on Carnival before but had sailed on other cruise lines so there was something for me to compare this trip to. The one saving grace of the trip was the beautiful room we had. We were in a penthouse suite complete with double balcony, jacuzzi tub & bidet. Fabulous room with tons of room and closet space. Carnival had made a mess of our reservations and upgraded us from a balcony room to a penthouse suite at no charge. I think the worst part of the trip was the food. I was amazed at just how bad they can make food taste. I was truly concerned to see rare and bleeding turkey being carved on the buffet line. I did mention it to one of the chefs and they changed the turkey to one which was cooked but not before serving half of the turkey raw. The one saving grace of something decent to eat was the Deli which was open 12 hours a day. If you desire a snack after normal dinner hours the only thing available is pre-made frozen pizza that is worse than horrible. I actually lost weight on this cruise and I was NOT trying to diet. We did the BOB excursion on St. Thomas. This is where you ride this scooter looking thing with a diving helmet attached. The info claimed it was 3 1/2 hours of great fun on the BOBs. They took a group of 40 people out and only had enough Bobs for 10 people at a time. The other 30 people could either twiddle their thumbs on deck or snorkel while waiting their turn. Our turn lasted 25 minutes to the tune of 125.00 per person. My husband does not snorkel so he was quite disappointed to just sit on the boat for 3 hours. Oh...and the most interesting part had to be the fact that they were putting these things into the water during a lightning storm. They said we were safe under the water. We went at the end after the lightning had stopped. The one that hubby got would not operate at all and the guide wound up dragging him around for his 25 minute ride. Several others malfunctioned and most of the group had negative things to say about this expensive venture. VIP check in took 2 hours and 10 minutes. I can only imagine how long the poor souls waited that didn't have the VIP check in. A fiasco at best, with computers not working properly and understaffed to handle all the VIP guests checking in. If you're over 5 feet tall you will find the pools to be quite small. There are 3 pools on the ship. The depth of all pools is 4'6" tall. You literally had to sit on the bottom to get your whole body wet if you were tall. The rules said no children in the jacuzzis but that rule was overlooked to the extend that the kids' horseplay in the jacuzzis kept the adults out. There was a herd (aprox 40) of children ages 5-20's from one family group, and they were a constant hazard, running thru the dining rooms soaking wet, disturbing all the other guests with their splashing in the pools, cursing, and monopolizing the pool areas, intimidating the guests. I brought this to the security guards' attention 3 times...they did nothing except stop them from throwing food into the pool at one another. I was disgusted to say the least. Oh...and ever wonder why the pools are dark blue? That is so you can't tell how filthy the water is. The sides of the pool were slimy. All in all, a bad week at sea to be in a $4,000.00 a week room (2 people). The only way I would go back on a Carnival boat is if they gave me a free cruise to make up for the one that was a total disaster. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
I had arrived with my mother on 8/27/06 for the cruise on Elation after transferring from Fort Lauderdale to save money on airfare since airfare to Miami was more expensive. Getting on the bus in a timely fashion was smooth. Check in at ... Read More
I had arrived with my mother on 8/27/06 for the cruise on Elation after transferring from Fort Lauderdale to save money on airfare since airfare to Miami was more expensive. Getting on the bus in a timely fashion was smooth. Check in at Port of Miami was smooth and waited roughly 45 minutes in line. Check in was easy. Got right onto the boat around 1pm. I have cruised in the past on Royal so this was my first time on Carnival. From the RCCL experience, I had high expectations for this cruise. Yes, Royal did in fact set the standard high. I think the quality of this Elation cruise I could see was a waste from the get go. Now- here we go with in-depth review from the one and only redsocksrockstar! Aftter checking into the ship with a not-so-warm friendly welcome from the staff of the ship, I proceeded to the state room. The room was a great size with comfortable beds. Much bigger then RCCL's 119 sq ft rooms. The stewards I had were Nyoman and IMade who were awesome, friendly and sociable from the get-go. The ship was rather clean and smelled good. Hallways were rather quiet at nights. Not much noise of people running up and down the halls which was nice. I slept pretty well, better then on the RCCL. These beds come with down comforters i guess u'd call them, great sleeping experience! Muster Drill started around 4:00pm. THIS WAS ANOTHER BLOW TO THIS CRUISE comparing my cruises with Royal. The embarkation sucked! As they did Muster Drill, we were pulling away from Port! Alot of people in this world like to watch the pulling away from port aspect of cruises and take pictures. That pissed off alot of people. (Alot I talked to said the same thing, on alot of cruises, they do muster drill then take off giving passengers the chance to watch the ship pull away). No real Welcome Aboard Show or Farewell Show. Or at least comparing to the RCCL cruise. The cruise director Jorge pretty much did things as simple as possible, getting us in and out of the Mikado Lounge. Didn't detail the rundown of the cruise to come. The show dancers were not that energized or seem to put alot of energy into this first day's show. Farewell was terrible, pretty much a comedy show and a brief actors show. Very lame and I was disgusted. Now the ports of calls. Half Moon Cay was cancelled out due to inability for the captain to dock safely with Ernesto passing to the south. This was replaced with Nassau on Saturday. So Monday was a sea day instead of Half Moon Cay which bummed out alot of passengers I came across, but acknowledged it wasn't Carnival's fault. St. Thomas was an amazing breathtaking experience. Changed from a 12 hr stop to an 10 hr stop and moved back to Thursday instead of Wednesday. Before leaving home for the cruise I researched Island tour companies and found one I'd be interested in. Godfrey's Tours (www.godfreytoursvi.com). Tons of fun and saved a bunch of money by switching to an island tour company! Carnival can be expensive! On his site, says the tours are 25-30.00 or something to that effect with a 1 hr shopping stop and 3 hrs at the beach. Well, I overslept and met him out at the ship an hour later! What a nice guy to wait. Instead of shopping, paid $20.00 for round trip shuttle to Coki Beach and 3 hrs there. Note- Coki Beach I heard from people on the island has the best, clearest, and nicest water along with all the water sports. There is wave running, snorkeling, water floats, etc.. I rented a float for 5.00 and used it for the 3 hrs, tons of fun! The beach is clean, very sandy, beautiful and nice water. Alot of trees behind the beach but the beach is in the open. There are a long line of island tour companies and taxis at the ship so you can save money rather then on Carnival. Just give the people enough time to get you back, preferably, an hour before departure. San Juan, Puerto Rico was good- changed from an 8 hr stop to a 12 hr stop on Wednesday instead of Thursday. We did the Bacardi Distillery Factory Tour/Fort San Cristobal excursion (2 in 1). $35 so was affordable. Nice experience. This tour comes with 2 free Bacardi drinks when you get there. Mixing it up with Sprite I think is best. Fort San Cristobal was AMAZING. Well Maintained and historic with opportunity for great pics from the top of the fort. Spent 40 minutes or so there. About a couple hrs I'd say it was at the Bacardi. We were dropped off in the shopping district around the ship area- note: stores close up, most of them, around 6 to 7pm. Senor Frogs is right by the cruise terminal. Good prices, average 10-15.00 a meal. After seeing all of that, made it back to the ship a half hour before departure. What a day in Puerto Rico. Grand Turk was BEAUTIFUL. The island is a little under-developed but then again, it's in the middle of nowhere so who cares, we just want the beach! ha! Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is the hot spot there. Opted to not eat or drink there, as things are a little pricey. There was a bar and a DJ and a large pool. One hell of a party there! Most of the people spent the time split between Margaritaville and the beach. The beach is close to the ship, seemed like the ship was a few feet away (someone made a joke to me that we were swimming in ship sewage because the ship was so close). The whole dock area, stores area is all new and in the developing stages. They are in the future looking to make it a large-scale docking area for a number of vessels. The water was clean and warm. At this port of call, We did the clear water kayaking adventure which included 45 minutes roughly on another side of the island of free-style snorkeling. Kayaking was around 45 minutes I'd say. Kayaking takes you up a small river, smooth water, and relaxing kayaking into a cove type area. then back to the docking area to unload the kayaks. Then the tour operator shuttled us 15 minutes away to snorkeling with the fish. I noticed a woman sunbathing topless which I guess is alright and not illegal, or either that the police on this island don't care. At first I thought I was dreaming and maybe it was a tan color top to make it look it from a distance. But after a few more glances over she sat up to get sun tan lotion and I could see the breasts and nipples so I knew I wasn't dreaming!  I'd be a fan of nude sun bathing but everywhere I been and know of in this world, its illegal. So that's cool I guess, if you're into nude sunbathing, tho I wouldn't do it knowing it might not be legal. Nassau was on Saturday, a 7 hour stop. We did Pearl Island stingray snorkeling adventure. This is a nice place to see stingrays, plenty of them and swim with them! The tour operator takes you snorkeling on arrival for 45 minutes at your leisure, snorkeling with the fish. Then onto the Stingray adventure which goes for as long as you choose to snorkel with them. This excursion was a 4.5 hr trip for 59.00 so it was reasonable for us. After swimming and learning about petting stingrays and about them, I opted to go hang out on the beach. But that did not happen. Got stormed on. Was cool to see a good size Bahama storm. Lots of lightning and thunder, brief heavy rain. Back to the ship an hour before departure. Shopped briefly but didn't buy anything as I been there several times. We ate once during the trip in the dining room. Checked back the 2nd night to see if the menu was any better. Comparing this food to Royal, I was grossed out and not attracted to the menu. No selection really of american food, pretty much very fancy american food or just foreign food. When I asked for something more traditional, the waiter said "what you see is what you get" and my mouth dropped to the ground. On RCCL I could get anything I wanted. This waiter offered after questioning for a couple minutes, I could have chicken nuggets, hamburgers, hotdogs and I was ready to smack him. I am 24, not a toddler, I don't go on cruises to eat that crap in a dining room. I'd expect to eat the traditional steak, chicken, turkey, ham, pastas, whatever. So we had our meals nightly and for lunch at Tiffany's. Tiffany's was horrible! Very small selection of food, only 1 side of the buffet was open daily (unlike RCCL having a room full of food) The room service was prompt the first night but an hour long+ wait the 2nd night I ordered! The 24/7 Pizza is nasty and soggy. Not crisp like on RCCL. Seemed like it was rushed to be cooked to keep up with the demand since there was high demand because alot of people didn't care for the buffet or dining room. Breakfast was a disaster. Eggs were not scrambled- they were soggy and a bunch of mush! ew! Sausage was watered/greased up along with the bacon. We didn't attend formal nights, its more fun kickin back laughing at fools getting overly dressed up on a cruise for formal night. I have gone through that before and find it a joke. It was fun to see the first-timers get excited and wear elaborate cocktail and ball gowns and tuxes. Entertainment is lacking. The Lido Deck was dead daily. Maybe one day out of the week the Band was playing most of the day. The rest of the time- would see them an hour or two if ur lucky, each day. They had comedians that were hilarious. The juggler was cool and interesting. Big Sexy is funny and Jorge isn't really that entertaining even when he tried. He basically had to grab people by the arm to get us to respond. Lame director! I've seen much better. The social hosts tried to be outgoing and entertaining but were very straight forward with no sense of humor for the most part. Not your overly friendly, social people you'd see on alot of cruises. Lounges were rocking around the clock. Obviously, Carnival wants you to have fun inside the ship instead of outside. See with RCCL, their motto is GET OUT THERE! so they keep you going outside most of the days and nights. Carnival really didn't live up to the "FUN SHIP" in entertainment outside. Karaoke was a big hit every night from 8-11pm. Drinks are pricey, but the bar staff that walk around are very good (because they want ur money). I tried a Miami Vice which was 50/50 Daqari-Pina Colada- it was awesome! ! The bar people behind the counters had no personality and don't talk much. Very kept to themselves even if you pull their arms. Shame on Carnival. The staff in general is un-attentive to you. They are not in your face alot like Royal, and are not very sociable. Most of them seem like they don't even care to know you! Stateroom guys I had were the only life of the ship I'd say. Getting any info from any staff on this ship is like talking to a wall or a corpse! I have heard from many and seen it for myself, tho I still bought the pictures... RCCL HAS MUCH BETTER QUALITY PICTURES... Carnival lacks in this department........ In spite of a lot of negative comments I have made, it was nice to just relax for a week and get away from work. I do have to commend Carnival for a wonderful debarkation but rip them on embarkation/welcome aboard/farewell. They have general debarkation now where they announce that everyone can leave, instead of making you wait by deck color. Self Debarkation goes first at 7am, then general clearance at 9am in which I was off the ship in 10 minutes. I won't sail Carnival again simply because the quality.  I was hoping for (food, entertainment aka "fun ship", staff personality). I'm thinking.. RCCL Just is the better bang for the buck.... and Carnival is just average to every other cruise line, but a step below... Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Our family of 5 - comprising myself, my girlfriend, her youngest daughter of 13, her oldest daughter of 17 and her oldest daughter's best friend of 18 - were looking forward to this cruise with huge expectations. This cruise was a ... Read More
Our family of 5 - comprising myself, my girlfriend, her youngest daughter of 13, her oldest daughter of 17 and her oldest daughter's best friend of 18 - were looking forward to this cruise with huge expectations. This cruise was a graduation present for the oldest daughter and as such we were so happy to make it happen and couldn't wait to see her face! This was my first cruise (and the kids) and my girlfriend couldn't wait to see us all enjoy something as cool as this! 1) The drive. Not bad at all! Being from South Central PA, we were less than 4 hours away from Bayonne - an easily doable drive which proved to be smooth for the most part. 2) Arrival - ok... I understand the port is pretty much undergoing that "pull itself from the brink" stage and it is evident that there is much work to do with the port before it reaches any stage of glory... so no need to beat up this point... but it was a madhouse pulling into a "unloading" zone, sucking the bags out of the vehicle so fast that you'd have thought I had hydraulics, and then winding my way all the way back around to get into another vehicle line to get parked in the port lot. I'm not sure what the problem was, but I sat in that line of cars going through 2 booths for over 45 minutes... and the people in the booths sure weren't in a hurry... seemingly taking their time with everything - I couldn't help getting the feeling that they were trying to say "after all, where else ya gonna go buddy?" - they were nice and all and smiled a lot - but SLOW! 3) Check-in. Not as bad as I had expected - but not entirely logical either... Nothing like getting herded in front of a backgdrop while carrying all your crap so some overzealous photographer can take a picture in front of a fake ship! I know we all got up mighty early in the morning and just drove for 4 hours on a HOT day and we knew we didn't feel or look up to this picture deal... which by the way was a nice slowdown point for the ENTIRE line... Hey, I know! If you're not interested in pictures, How about a FAST LANE!? Get us cranky people checked in so we don't stand around and feel our lives passing away in what seems like a complete waste of time for something we have no interest in! bing! I smell a winner! 4) Shuttle to and from the ship and embarkation. This was a real joke as far as I'm concerned... let's all cram on a shuttle bus to take us to the ship and then get stampeded as all of us "where are we" types mill around the elevators trying to figure out where to go next... Royal Caribbean could take a lesson from Wal-Mart.... Greeters!!! It's nice when you feel totally lost, have no idea what you're doing or where you're going to have an overnice flamboyant person offering to at least distract you with a little kindness and maybe the status of every available elevator within hiking distance and maybe even hand out little maps and an intro flyer like "Feeling Lost? Follow the yellow footprints if your on deck X..." OK... finally got to our cabins... and of course when the baggage started to arrive... it went pretty much all over the ship between our 3 cabins... even though we grouped the baggage according to cabin - it was pretty much tagged at random and shoved onboard. yay. Nothing like traipsing up one deck, all the way forward, then down 3 decks and all the way aft and then up another deck over and over again trying to get everyone's stuff to the right place and all the while trying to get the layout of this floating city/hotel.... and from the amount of other roamers in the hallways beating their luggage up against the walls and such, this wasn't isolated to just us.... I think the ballast on that ship probably had to be rebalanced a good 50 times before pulling away from the port.... Since we were in 3 separate cabins and needed to be able to communicate - I thought walkie talkies would be perfect! Good idea - Bad implementation! They worked some of the time and some of the time they were worthless. Lots of steel on this bad boy!! If you're going to get walkie talkies, get the super ultra mega high powered talk-to-the-moon types... they should be able to work regardless of the amount of "ship" between them... mine were the 10 mile types and they weren't strong enough.... So we finally all head up onto the outside deck to watch the ship pull away... absolutely beautiful view from an absolutely beautiful ship! Lady Liberty in the distance.... it was awesome! Loved pulling under the big bridge into New York.... 5) OK.. so now we're off and now we're looking at what do we do now? We figure we take a tour of the promenade and see the welcome aboard type show going on.... Beautiful Promenade... Nightmare #1 hits... Drink Packages! Wait a minute here... I just spent a small fortune to get 6 people on this ship on an adventure of a lifetime and I can't even get a free coke? Carnival doesn't have this do they? so now I'm looking at shelling out over $60 per person for 6 people just so we can get a coke or juice whenever we would like... $360 bucks down the drain... so much for horseback riding in Puerto Rico..... I don't get this one at all.... except as another avenue for revenue... aren't the prices high enough as they are to be able to provide this? This bothered me to no end.... 6) Another note... food... There were two places that I know of that you could get food 24 hours a day.... the other places shutdown.... I was always told that the one thing that you can count on during a cruise was having enough food around to gain 100 pounds just thinking about it! Not on this ship! Don't get me wrong... the food was wonderful both in the main dining hall and in Windjammers.... it just needed to be made more available for us vacationing "who cares what time it is" types who are just happy not to be at work or sitting at home! 7) OK... On to the BIG GRIPE #1: Age differentials with the young adult/teen activities. After a day or so, we learn that the oldest daughter and her best friend can't really do anything together outside of sitting by the pool... WHY? Because one is 17 and the other is 18 and Royal Caribbean will NOT allow an 18 year old into a 17 year old activity/event/place and definitely not allow a 17 year old into an 18 or older place (which I understand.) SO! We go to guest relations and ask about having the 18 year old waive her ability to get beer/wine/alcohol of any kind so she can "demote" down to 17 year old type activity... we're told to get permission from the manager of Adventure Ocean (the kid activity place) - so we traipse up to Deck 12 from Deck 5 and eventually locate the Asst Manager who says he has no problem with that... cool! Back to Deck 5 where the clerk at Guest Relations now calls up to verify and gets a hold of the Manager... who denies the request! So we immediately ask to speak with this Manager named Denise.... my girlfriend is PO'd in ways you don't want to see.... she's got a daughter who the entire cruise is for and she can't even enjoy it with her best friend!!! Now back to Deck 12 where we get a big dissertation on why they refuse to allow mixing of 17 and 18 year olds mainly due to alcohol - which makes NO sense since we are looking to have the 18 year old's ability to purchase alcohol taken away!! No Dice!! But there ARE places where they can be together Denise says... so we check them out... and wouldn't you know it! They are all BARS!!!! HELLO!? Walking around the ship we see big groups of 17, 18, and 19 year olds who are all friends and want to be together but can't officially congregate anywhere!! And the places where they CAN go play Big Band music or Old time Jazz!! oooh! What young adult would be caught dead in a place like that!? I'd say there had to be at least 200 to 300 kids in the exact same boat (no pun intended) who were bored out of there skull... I think they should have all got together and went to the Maharaji lounge and booted out the Geriatric crowd and took it over and had a dance party until they dropped! So stinking sad! Boredom begets trouble with teenagers!! and you're a teenager until you turn 20!! What's so hard to figure out here? It only takes one walk on any given night to see all these completed disenfranchised and bored teens.... truly sad. 8) Next MAJOR Gripe point! Scheduling. ok... We've arrived at St. Thomas which is absolutely fantastic!! left there and arrived at St. Maarten... wonderful!!! left there and are on our way to Puerto Rico when we learn that there is a Deck party Buffet set for that night! Cool! ABOUT TIME!!! They should be EVERY NIGHT!! Deck party runs to about 2 am but the buffets shut down at 12:15! One WHOPPING Hour! It took longer to get it all setup than the time it was open!!! and when it goes down, it's GONE!!! POOF! OK.. riddle me this Batman.... I'm thinking cool, RC finally saw that there wasn't much in the way of night time activities so they threw together a deck party with food... until late... with IMMIGRATION SET FOR THE NEXT MORNING!!!!! DUH!!!! Can you spell BRILLIANT!? Another example of idiotic scheduling? Take a gander at the sport activities: Rock wall climbing, in line skating, ice skating, etc... You know, none of these are open after 5!!!! WHA? So I finally get out in the sun, spend an hour finding a chair to use, get some good sunning in, have a nice leisurely light lunch at WindJammers, and now am looking at maybe catching a show or starting the hot tub soakfest.... and I'm thinking, wouldn't it be cool to do some inline skating after dinner? Or maybe the rock climbing wall since it's DAYLIGHT UNTIL ALMOST 9:30 PM!!! But NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! It's putt putt for you big daddy!!! Enjoy!! GRRRRR!!! Hey!! I have a better Idea!!! Wait until everyone gets out of the pools to get ready for dinner and then SHUT DOWN THE POOLS!!! After all, there's only 2 more HOURS OF DAYLIGHT after the LAST DINNER!!! Oh! And we know the jets don't work in the Adult only Jacuzzi - enjoy the kids! But Wait there's more! We've never even thought of playing music in the Solarium!!!! Adults HATE music right? Sure it's a nice quiet place to escape the kids (SURE IT IS!) but how about at night turning it into a Adult only escape complete with MUSIC and BAR action!? HELLO? Since the main pool bars close at 7!!! (Can you believe that? 7!!!) 9) I think it's number 9.... lol OK... lots of small complaints... and who knows, maybe I'm off my rocker.... after the 17 and 18 year old incident and the manager Denise pretty much deflating the whole purpose for the cruise... we were promised to get a call from the Director of Guest Relations at 9am the following morning.... RIIIIIGHT!!!! They must have been busy cleaning up from some other guest who went postal from all this illogical stupidity! Maybe someone threw them overboard... either way, no phone call.... nothing.... gee... what a surprise.... SO! What about the 13 year old? She LOVED IT!!! Bored for the first two days until we discovered Adventure Ocean and their young teen programs... 12-14 year olds... EXCELLENT!!! She was off and running and we didn't see much of her at all!!! Until we found out that yeah, they DO go to the hangout place (Optix) but then once they have a small group of friends, they pretty much run all over the ship... instead of partaking in the activities outlined in the schedule (that WE have so we know where she SHOULD be and what she SHOULD be doing)... yeah, that's not exactly RC's fault... but it could be a little more "hip" to keep their interest and more structured..... There is so much more that really burned me up (the shipboard accounts still send me into the red zone!!!)... and yes, there was a lot that was truly wonderful.... but for my first cruise... I should have went with the party Cruise Line... Carnival.... Royal Caribbean has soured me.... Never again.... not even with Celebrity or anyone/anything affiliated with them.... Truly sad... and it could have been so much better with some logical thinking..... Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
My family and I cruised on the Navigator of the Seas on June 3-10, 2006 to the Eastern Caribbean. We went to San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau, Bahamas. We flew into Miami the day of the cruise and made it to the ship with ... Read More
My family and I cruised on the Navigator of the Seas on June 3-10, 2006 to the Eastern Caribbean. We went to San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau, Bahamas. We flew into Miami the day of the cruise and made it to the ship with plently of time to spare and since we had a grand suite, we had priority boarding and the whole process took about 5 minutes. We went to our room and it appeared to be clean, just a small bug on one of the life vests. We thought nothing of it, I will discuss this later. We left Miami 45 minutes late, still don't know why that was. We did get to see the Freedom though. Dinner every night was fabulous, we had the greatest waitors and service, even though they were a little difficult to understand. This was definitly a highlight of the entire experience. The food was also pretty good too. The Windjammer food never was really that great so I opted to go to Johnny Rockets many times, which was really good! They would sing and dance and the milkshakes were very good. The entertainment seemed to be better on our last cruise. One of the shows was supposed to be rockin' through the ages, and ended up being a tribute to the Backstreet Boys and Madonna. My grandma did not enjoy that show one bit. The farewell show was hilarious. The guy from Argentina with the balls on strings was great. The man who sang the Happy Days song's show seemed disorganized and the song choices weren't great. The ports were ok. San Juan we just took a tour. Kind of interesting. St. Thomsas was nice. We went to Magen's Bay for the day. In St. Maarten we did the dolphin discovery swim and even though the boat ride there was rough, it was a GREAT experience. Truly once in a lifetime. Mead's Bay was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The Bahamas wasn't as cool as I thought it would be. We were stuck on an overcrowded ferry to Atlantis that I thought for sure would tip over. And the weather was terrible that day. Rainy and VERY humid. Now back to that bug we first saw on the first day...this definitely ruined our whole trip. I should tell you that we were in grand suite 1248. DON'T STAY IN THAT ROOM! Just a word of warning, even though I'm sure it's not just that room. I'll explain. The first night my mom and I discovered a few little black spots on our sheets, and we thought it was ink, or permanent marker, and didn't think much of it. Every night the black spots seemed to increase in distribution. Then they started to look like dried blood, which began to scare us. One night I woke up with a bug on my arm. I flicked it away and couldn't sleep the rest of the night. We also saw these bugs on the curtains. I thought the bugs lived on there so I tried to pull my bed away from them. There was a bug in my bed every night. I also had these bites on my legs, but I thought they were mosquitoes. We still didn't know what was going on in that room. The final day of the cruise came and we were sad but ready to leave. We got all packed and put our suitcases out at around 11 and we got lavender color tags, 7:30-8 I think. Customs took FOREVER. Well, the line did. The actual process when were actually at the desk took 2 min or less. We got home and were unpacking when we found one of the bugs from the room on a pair of my brothers shorts. Then it ALL came together. These were BED BUGS!!! GROSS!!! And those black spots that we slept on were their excriment. We looked up bed bugs on the internet and they were the exact bugs that we had seen on the life vest the very first day. My mom is now covered in red bites. We had to get rid of clothes, luggage, and shoes to make sure our house doesn't get infested. We are being very careful. I just hope that this doesn't have to happen to anyone else and if you see any of the signs ask to change rooms IMMEDIATELY. Once they infest they are very hard to get rid of, and I would hate others to become infested too. I just can't believe we didn't see the signs, I didn't even know what bed bugs were. Our stateroom attendant must have seen the bugs when he changed the sheets. Now thinking back to it, he never would even look at us in the eye, he never spoke to us. Royal Caribbean must know and something has to be done. Before they know it the entire ship will be infested and then the problem will be even worse. I hope something is done. Read Less

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