1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Eastern Caribbean Cruises
  4. Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
13,705
6,721
4,351
2,245
1,203
Sail Date: June 2006
This is the fourth cruise my husband and I (we are both in our forties) have taken. Two were on Carnival and two on Norwegian. Embarkation was easy; my first impression of the ship was it was not very pretty. The food was not up to my ... Read More
This is the fourth cruise my husband and I (we are both in our forties) have taken. Two were on Carnival and two on Norwegian. Embarkation was easy; my first impression of the ship was it was not very pretty. The food was not up to my expectations; it was the worse we have ever had. Breakfast in Rafffles, the cafeteria style restaurant was bearable, however they do not give you trays to carry your meals on, so forget it if you want to have coffee and eggs and a bowl of fruit, it is impossible to carry. The lunch and dinner menu did not vary much, and again it was difficult to navigate in the dining room without trays. We had breakfast in Windows one morning -- the service wasn't bad, however we were never offered the pastry tray. Lunch on deck by the pool offered up the typical barbecue faire, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, etc., however everything was always burnt to a crisp. Dinner in Windows and The Garden offered up the same foods and service was mediocre at best. Some of the evenings menus were the weirdest I have ever seen. The best dinner we had was Le Bistro, which was very good. If you are going for great food this is not the cruise for you. The itinerary for this cruise was St. Thomas, Tortola and Bermuda. In St. Thomas we took the Catamaran/Champagne Snorkel tour which was the highlight of our vacation. It was a lot of fun and the tour guides were great. After our return from the excursion we took a cab downtown from the ship to do a little shopping and found out all the stores close at 5:30pm, this was a great disappointment. The next stop was Tortola, my husband and I didn't have an excursion planned and we did not get off the ship. I did hear from others that evening that we were smart to stay on as the island was filthy. Bermuda may have been nice, but it was pouring the entire day and we didn't get to do much but shop in the rain. The rooms were a little smaller than what we have had. We had a balcony room, which the doors and windows looked like they had not been cleaned in a long time. The room stewards were not very friendly, my husband liked to sleep late and this made the steward a little upset that he had to keep coming back to our room. Every other cruise I have gone on I have had a cute little animal on my bed every evening, but I only had three this time, I know its not a big deal but it just makes the cruise that more enjoyable. The shows weren't so good except for the Black Street Boys, two young black comedians. We spent most of our nights in Henry's Pub where there was an excellent singer and guitar player, Corey Jones. The other activities are the usual, bingo, trivia, table tennis, etc. The pool area is also smaller than the other cruises we have been on. Disembarkation was easy, they want you off the ship quick, so they can ready for the next vacationers. I would not recommend this ship to anyone, as it was a great disappointment to me. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
This was our sixth cruise, and the only one that we didnt enjoy. On the previous cruise a passenger jumped overboard, which delayed the ship leaving on time. We received a call on Saturday to come to the pier at 8:00 P.M. We arrived at ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, and the only one that we didnt enjoy. On the previous cruise a passenger jumped overboard, which delayed the ship leaving on time. We received a call on Saturday to come to the pier at 8:00 P.M. We arrived at 6:30 P.M. and the ship didnt arrive until after 8:00 P.M. We were given a number when we arrived as to when we would board. During the wait there were no Carnival representatives in sight, we just had to wait and wait. Finally our number was called at 11:30 P.M. and it was 1:00 A.M when we finally got to our cabin, tired, and hungry. It was like a zoo, over 2200 people in line to board at the same time. We will never travel carnival again. This was our second time on the Legend. The first time was in September 2003, and we were diverted because of a hurricane. No matter what happens, Carnival will only give you $50.00 shipboard credit. Due to the delay the ports were changed, plus we lost four hours in St. Thomas. My husband and I both got sick, and it was problem to just get hot soup (broth) delivered to your cabin. You had to notify the dining room a day in advance. The only thing Carnival is good at is making more money. The more Sea days the more money you can spend on the ship. Everything is so expensive. Our balcony stateroom was excellent, and so were the cabin steward. The food was just OK, the deserts were no very tasty. Didnt attend any shows. Only went ashore in Grand Tucks, and St. Thomas. We went on the city tour in St. Thomas, and nothing changed from when we went several years ago. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
We sailed on the 8-day cruise from NYC 5/20 to 5/28. Unfortunately, this was the ship that had the "man overboard" situation but kudos to Carnival for the way they handled it. The Legend is a great ship with numerous fun ... Read More
We sailed on the 8-day cruise from NYC 5/20 to 5/28. Unfortunately, this was the ship that had the "man overboard" situation but kudos to Carnival for the way they handled it. The Legend is a great ship with numerous fun activities. This couple of 60 year olds had a grand time enjoying the shows, food, piano bar, hot tubs and pools. We started our vacation early by joining the CC Roll Call where we had the opportunity to share ideas and thoughts with fellow cruisers for months in advance. Then we got to meet this great group of people and shared time with them at various times on the ship. We also used the boards to pick up numerous cruising hints which we used to make it more enjoyable for us. I'll break this review down into sections that I hope people will enjoy reading. Food Wow, the food was great!!!! I read reviews about small portions and limited menu choices but I found none of this on the Legend. I'm 6'2 and 240 lbs and NEVER left the dining room hungry. One night I didn't care for the selections (not a fish eater) and I asked for a steak and was served a melt in your mouth filet mignon. The choices were outstanding and the cuts of meats were tender. We ate in the buffet for breakfast and the eggs over easy were a nice option along with the many omelets, pancakes, french toasts etc. that were available. Lunch was either GREAT pizza or good hamburgers and fries from the grill. We ate one night in the supper club and that was an outstanding meal and well worth the $30 per. Another highlight of the dinner was the music and dancing with the duo taking requests for songs and they did a GREAT job with the Righteous Brothers. Ice cream was available around the clock and they even had a make your own sundae mid afternoon treat if you had any room for more food. Nice touch to have juices and iced tea available too. We would fill up our insulated mugs after breakfast and lunch and have them with us at the pool. Never used room service because we were always too full. Midnight buffets were well worth the wait although you paid the price trying to sleep afterwards. Nice treat to have ketchup and mustard bottles instead of those stupid packs. The only negative food comment I had was that one night we missed the early seating at dinner and decided to eat dinner in the buffet. Very limited selection and wouldn't waste my time going for dinner again. Entertainment The shows were entertaining and another activity to do. Not outstanding and not terrible. Enjoyed spending time at the piano bar with Mark who is a super entertainer. Always had bingo to lose at but somehow they made it fun an less painful to lose. Lots of places to kick back and listen to music while enjoying a cocktail. Taught Sweetie to play black jack and we spent a few nights enjoying the casino and we even both made a little money although I wish they could get a better exhaust system for the smoking. Cabin We had a suite on the verandah deck with a wrap around balcony. Enjoyed the comfy bedding and robes. Tons of room to move around in and storage spaces throughout. You could easily have accommodated 15 people on the balcony. We had 3 chaise lounges, 2 regular chairs and 2 snack tables with plenty of space leftover. Great ocean views and would book this cabin again without hesitation. With the military discount it was only $2900 and well worth it. Service OUTSTANDING. Dining room attendants were right on the ball and made you feel special every night. The room stewards did a super job taking care of our suite and went above and beyond with the towel animals. We brought a collapsible cooler which we asked them to keep filled with ice on the first day and it was taken care of from then on. The service people we met at other venues were friendly and all seemed to enjoy their jobs. And that's a special feat because they do work hard every day and have to put up with us passengers who aren't always bright and cheery and may even complain a tad. We fortunately never had an issue with any members of the staff. Pools and Hot Tubs Yes, the slide was open and many people enjoyed using it. I passed as the old hip isn't what it used to be but everyone that used it seemed to have big smiles after their slide. Pools and hot tubs were on the smallish side. Room for about 8 in the hot tub. There was an area around the pool that you could sit and put your feet in the water which was nice. Adults only area in the aft was pretty much kept to just adults. Gym Normal stuff such as treadmills, elliptical and free weights that were in good shape and a hot tub available too. Not crowded the 2 times we used the area in mid morning. Extra Stuff I'm glad we brought and used: Travel clock, Duct Tape (held the clock on the dresser) Insulated Mugs, collapsible cooler, extra wire hangers and extension cord. If you're going on the Legend, you will enjoy your cruise. If you're thinking about going, it will be an experience you will enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
Our cruise on the Carnival Legend was a complete nightmare. Our lives were put in jeopardy during the debarkation process which I will go into detail later in this review. During our embarkation, they had a few hundred travel agents ... Read More
Our cruise on the Carnival Legend was a complete nightmare. Our lives were put in jeopardy during the debarkation process which I will go into detail later in this review. During our embarkation, they had a few hundred travel agents boarding prior to any passenger that stood in line, and treated those who waited like little children in a elementary school. We have cruised with Carnival numerous times, and are familiar with what to expect from a cruise, but this cruise was a complete shock. Carnival has found every method to cut costs to save them money, and found clever ways to make more from their passengers. First cost cutting methods concerned the food, and its quality. The first evening dining in the Truffles Restaurant, the chair I sat at cut my arm because the chairs arm rest had completely separated having sharp edges...and you used to get freshly baked bread prior to ordering, now its stale, and hard as a rock. Used to have a choice in salads, forget that, now its the same every night, tossed green salad. Bottom line, the menu selections have diminished to either chicken or fish on every menu. Now not everyone can eat whats listed on the menu, but if you order something different, they will give you every excuse as to why you cant order other then whats listed on the menu. The overall service received from the crew on this cruise could have cared less, maybe thats because they figure on getting their tips before a service is rendered. We learned long ago, that upon boarding we head straight for the purser desk and have the automatic tips removed, do you tip your waiter or waitress before they serve you, we certainly dont. As for the quality of the food, we found the food to be undercooked, cold, bland, and tasteless. We were sick for days from day one, with stomach pains, cramps, and nausea. Its way beyond our comprehension as to why so many people enjoyed that same old breakfast day after day on the Lido deck. It made us sick to even watch people gorge themselves on scrambled eggs, undercooked bacon, greasy sausages, over ripened or under ripened fruit, just plain old gross food. Seriously, the majority of people we observed on this cruise were so grossly obese, even that it made us sick to even watch these eating frenzys. A cruise meant you were pampered, and the food was fabulous, now is just plain sickening and unhealthy garbage. Its all to save a buck for the Cruise Line. Next, our stateroom. We booked a Cat 9A, deluxe stateroom with oversize balcony. As for the size of the room it was sufficient, but as for the carpet stains, broken doors, poorly decorated fixtures, non working lights, creaky ceiling, and backup sewage smell in the bathroom it wasnt worth the money spent. Also, when you take a shower, better place all the towels on the floor to soak up the water. Speaking of towels, you're provided two beach towels for swimming, lose them, and they will charge you $22.00 for each lost towel. When was the last time you spent that much for a used cheap towel, Id say that is price gouging. They did provide two bath robes, but lose them and it will cost you big time too. The theme of this cruise, well Id say its nickel and dime you to death for everything. The ship rocked so badly, that you need to be a acrobat to stay upright. Keep in mind, we have sailed this ship before, so its not the rough seas. We also noticed a large dent on the front right of the ship, which was simply just painted over. The overall decor of this ship is tacky, and the color scheme is one to be desired. We did think Satchmos lounge to be very nice. First port of call was San Juan, PR, and if you never been there before you wont want to return. Soon as we were off the ship, two bums and a drug addict haggled us for money, and we ended up ducking into a store till they disappeared, and then we rushed back to the ship ASAP. We did arrive early in San Juan, that was because a man fell down the stairs and needed emergency care in Port, god rest his soul. Suggestion, go in a group, otherwise carry a stun gun. It took over two and half sea days to get there, and for entertainment, it was exactly the same we saw on this ship two years ago. Nothing changed. If you're new to this ship great, but do they tell you its a repeat performance? Same stupid games, but what really bugs us is they get these passengers to participate in the games and video tape it so they can make a profit from it too, but wont offer you any royalties on it. Why not paint dollar signs on the side of the ship. You need a fly swatter to rid the photographers out of your face for those special moments, and $20.00 snapshots, and let's not forget the 15 percent gratuity tacked on those watered down cheap drinks. Next Port of call St. Thomas, and frankly we been there before. Went to Magens Bay for a nice swim and beautiful beach. Here Carnival has every type of excursion possible, and of course way over priced. Hope you people know you can get the same excursion for half the price off the ship. Last Port, Tortola, and that was even worse then San Juan, PR. We got into port at 7AM and departing 2PM, just as well there isnt much time for anything, and then its 2 ½ Days at sea back to NY. Okay, now comes the scary part of this cruise, arriving back in the port of New York as scheduled 9 AM. We attend the debarkation briefing the day before, and the cruise director (Trevor Block) makes the announcement that we are a hour or more ahead of schedule. Thats great !!! Wrong, on the morning of arrival we wake up early, finish packing our bags, go to eat the crappy food up on Lido deck, and head back to the room. Here I turn on the TV and tune it to the GPS mapping to show how close we are to port which was within 2 miles. All of a sudden we notice the ship is diverting in a 180 degree circle away from the port, and I wonder what is going on. I look out the balcony forward of the ship and notice another cruise ship ahead of us, but no reason for alarm as we are ahead of schedule. Wrong, the ship now another 180 degree turn heading back towards port. I tell my wife lets go place our luggage in the self assist line so we will be the first ones off. We do, and we are second in line. Time passes, and suddenly around the time we are to be in port the cruise director makes a announcement that we are going to be delayed going into port because of Rough seas the night before. I said to my wife they are not telling the truth, I now become alarmed, go to pursers desk and inform them we need to be off the ship asap when it docks. They now say we are sorry, theres nothing we can do, its because of rough seas. I ask them why the are lying to the passengers and demand to speak to someone of authority. They again say they are sorry, there isnt anyone, and youll have to make your complaint to guest relations when you get home. That is IF we get home. What do they care about you know for, the cruise is almost over and they got your cashola. Next while waiting in line, numerous passengers are becoming unruly, jumping in front of the self assist line, arguing with other passengers, and on the brink of a riot. Many passengers begin to jump in front of the line, and I inform one passenger where the end of the line is. This passenger now threatens us with bodily harm. I promptly look for security to report the situation at hand, but none to be found. Found a crew member, told him he better get security down here immediately as 100s of passengers are angry and making threats. He said, sorry, theres nothing I can do. I again demand some security or call the captain of the ship and get this under control. It's now past 10 AM, the crowd ready to kill, and our limo driver calls 6 times asking when we will be off the ship, and I cannot give a definite answer. Another half hours passes, and people are totally out of control, and many passengers asking for help from the crew members, which they continue to answer, sorry, nothing we can do. Next, we dock at 10:30 AM, and within 10 minutes they let the crew members off first, and now the passengers are extremely irate. Our limo driver calls again and says he is leaving he can't wait any longer. Now how are we going to get to the airport on time? I am now having chest pains and anxiety attacks, and other passengers are helping to see if I am okay. I plead and beg to a crew member for help, and no help arrives. I am now on the floor, and at 10:45 AM immigration and customers clears the ship. The people first in line are kind enough to let us go first, off we go pulling 75 lbs bags as quickly as possible, and next they get my sail and sign card jammed in the machine. Out of breath, and heart pounding, we make it outside, but no limo driver. I look over and notice the cruise ship that was ahead of us, and its the Norwegian Dawn. I call limo driver on his cell phone, and plead him to return, in which he does. Its now 11:00 AM and we are heading 22 miles to JFK, except next the driver informs us we have to pay for his wait time. The driver now speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour, and we make it to JFK in 30 minutes. Long story short, we just make boarding our flight by the skin of our teeth, worn out and exhausted ready to collapse. Upon our arrival home, I look up the info on the Norwegian Dawn, and discover it was due into port at 10 AM, one hour after we were scheduled in. Something smells fishy here, and I make a official complaint to CCL, and the USCG. We will never cruise again, nor will we ever allow any cruise line to place our health and safety in jeopardy like that ever again. When it comes to feeling secure, think twice about taking a cruise, have you heard the news media lately. Scary !!! And the US allows this to happen in their waters and ports. Cruise ships are not regulated, they fly the flags of foreign countries, and its there laws you are under. The Security workers could care less too, they are over worked and under paid, and you put your life in their hands, not us ever gain -- NEVER !!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
We stayed at the Hilton Hotel as it came with the cruise pkg. A beautiful hotel in the Blue Lagoon area! It was packed with other cruiser's and as a result it took ages to get on our bus. I'd rather go on our own in a taxi to the ... Read More
We stayed at the Hilton Hotel as it came with the cruise pkg. A beautiful hotel in the Blue Lagoon area! It was packed with other cruiser's and as a result it took ages to get on our bus. I'd rather go on our own in a taxi to the port and not waste so much time in the lobby. The embarkation went fast and smooth. By the time we got on many were at the bar's and extremely loud and happy. It set the tone for the "Party Ship". There was 12 lounges which were very smoky and noisy. We found one that had a postage sized dance floor right in front on the band but in time I had coughing fits and had to leave. We didn't enjoy seeing the amount of people who had drunk too much and couldn't walk straight if they tried. The ship would probably be great for young ones but us in our 50's, it was way too much of a party ship. The food was superb, just wonderful. And we loved our balcony which we were upgraded to from an oceanview. We had breakfast (a cold one only) delivered to our room each day but often missing cutlery, toast or cream cheese etc. If you want a cruise to dance on this is not the one. Royal Caribbean is great. I didn't enjoy having to see kids practically making out near the casino area either. The tour to Trunk Bay on St. John's island was pretty. I only saw two white fish while snorkeling! The color's of the sand and water were superb. The boat is well maintained and clean. Be sure to bring a sweater as it was cold in the boat. We missed San Juan and it rained and stormed in St. Maarten so we just took a water taxi to the downtown area and walked. I loved the shops and variety. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
We took our first cruise as a Honeymoon trip sailing out of Miami, FL on 4/30/06. We sailed on the Carnival Victory through the Eastern Caribbean stopping at San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. Having heard so many good things about ... Read More
We took our first cruise as a Honeymoon trip sailing out of Miami, FL on 4/30/06. We sailed on the Carnival Victory through the Eastern Caribbean stopping at San Juan, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. Having heard so many good things about Carnival, we were really excited; maybe the reality of the bad service, bad food, neglected maintenance, sticky handrails, pushy sales people, and dishonest staff wouldnt have been so heartbreaking if we hadnt been. When we arrived on the very large Carnival Victory we were map-less, and they werent offering any that day; we did receive a map the second day. But the ship is designed in a logical way and we didnt have any difficulty finding our cabin. Along the way we noticed all of the light bulbs that were out and had not been replaced. The Victory is designed with lots of indirect lighting and lighting as decoration. There are Octopus Tentacles with light bulbs in place of suckers in almost all of the public areas and on the glass Mid-ship elevators. Very few of these had working light bulbs. The last two days of the seven day cruise someone finally started replacing the burnt out bulbs, but they never got passed the elevators and into the other public areas. Our baggage arrived to our room ahead of schedule and we unpacked before dinner. I got my CPAP (a piece of medical equipment that forces air into my lungs when I stop breathing in my sleep) and its padded travel case from my suitcase discovering that the baggage handlers had broken it. I asked the Cabin Stewart for help and he said that his Supervisor would have to talk with me. After waiting 2 hours without the Supervisor showing up, we let the Cabin Steward know that we were going to dinner but would be back immediately after. About 3 hours after that the Supervisor came to our cabin, agreed that the machine was broken and he sent me to the Purser. The Purser agreed that the machine was broken and that the Baggage Handlers broke it, but claimed that no one on board the ship was authorized to deal with my complaint and directed me to the Home Office. When I asked to speak with someone from the Home Office, I was advised that I would be charged the per minute rate for the Ship-to-Shore call to Carnivals Home Office. The purser gave me some tape and recommended that I duct tape the machine back together so that I could breathe. The Purser was polite, empathetic, and a gentleman. He explained that problem wasnt a lack of wanting to help, it was that by Carnivals Rules and Policies he was not allowed to help. While exploring the ship we kept feeling a shudder run through the ship as we were tossed around, apparently the water was unusually rough coming out of Miami that trip. We noticed that the Water Slide and an Elevator were Out of Order. With all these different maintenance problems in the Public Areas of the ship, we couldnt help but wonder what wasnt being maintained in the Mechanical and Crew Only Areas of the ship. That made us suspect that the Shudder running through the ship those first two days was something wrong with the ship. We asked an employee and were again directed to the Purser. The Purser claimed that he couldnt feel what were talking about. There were 6  10 people lined up behind us all feeling what we were feeling and equally shocked that the Purser claimed we were imagining it. The Water Slide and one of the Aft Elevators were not repaired in the seven days that we were on Board the Victory. There were two other Elevators, one Aft and one Mid-Ship, that were constantly in and out of service. On our third day we gathered in the theater to disembark on our Shore Excursions at about 4:15pm, we were scheduled to be there at 4:30pm but no one wanted to be late. At 5:05pm when no one had arrived to organize our exit from the ship and we hadnt felt the ship dock, I went looking for someone in charge. I found a member of management, they wear nice bright white uniforms, who said he couldnt tell me anything and hustled me back to the theater. At about 5:15pm Malcolm in the Middle announced via loud speaker that there was A Propulsion Problem and we wouldnt make San Juan. This confirmed that the shudder wed been feeling hadnt been imaginary. The Captain of the Carnival Victory knew that we would not arrive in San Juan at 5:00pm before the 5:15pm announcement. Did he not believe keeping the passengers informed was important, or did he not know where he was? Either way it was a huge blunder. For this blunder, Carnival gave us $25 each -- Woo Hoo! For missing out on one third of the reason for the $2000 trip, we got $50. Our Dining Room was on Deck 4 in the Aft of the ship, right above the screws -- Not a good place for a Dining Room. The first night out of Miami the aft section was doing Figure Eights and sloshing the water in our glass. The food in the Dining Room was all right, but it was never up to the quality that I would expect, and receive, in the equivalent Nashville restaurant. The food never arrived to the table hot and the maitre d' didnt make an appearance until the last 2 days when it was Tip Time. One of the highlights of our trip was the two couples that we met at our table they were great people who were fun to talk with and their company is what kept bringing us back to the Dining Room. The Buffet in the Mediterranean Restaurant was never at the right temperature. The brochure promised the opportunity to try exotic foods and cuisine from a multitude of cultures. They specifically talked about offering the foods of the ports we would visit. There was one day that they offered sushi, it was the only time that the buffet offered as many selections as a Shoneys (a neighborhood buffet restaurant chain prevalent in the Southern U.S.) The cold food was never much below room temperature and the hot food was never much above room temperature. My wife and I became ill on the ship and we believe it was either the Buffet of the sticky Hand Rails that we got us. The Travel Agent and the Carnival Customer Service Agent told that me the Activities on ship would include Learning a foreign language, History of the ports we were traveling to, Dance lessons (ballroom, etc.), and other fun, educational activities. What Malcolm in the Middle, our Woo Hoo Cruise Director, gave us was: Bingo, a Hairy Chest Contest (it was entertaining), Name that Tune, and more Bingo. The ship did offer one class in country line dancing, but that was the only Dance Lessons we were able to find out about. If the Carnival Victory was only going to offer activities for the nearly dead, at least they could have offered Shuffle Board& that looks kind of fun. Ian The Carnival Shopper was a big disappointment. We attended his talk on Gemstones and Jewelry Buying and were really impressed. Then we attended his lecture on Shopping in Port. He sounded like hed given the same speech way to many times, but we still thought we had received good information. One of the main tips was go to a Carnival Approved Shop, ask for a specific salesperson, and show them a card with his photo on it. This would gain us the best price and the items would be guaranteed by Carnival to be genuine. The explanation was that Carnival sends the shop a large amount of business, this volume allows the shop to sell their products to Carnival Passengers at a discount and still rake in a bigger profit than their competitors. That sounded logical, but I guess thats because I wanted it to be true. We went to a Carnival Approved Store and my wife asked the price of a piece of jewelry, it was easily twelve times the price of the same thing in Nashville. We walked out of the store and then I remembered the Ians Supersaver card. I went back inside, asked for the recommended salesperson, and showed the card. The salesperson got a glow in their eyes and quoted me a price higher than the one my wife had been given! The new price was sixteen times the Nashville Price. Let me give you some specifics prices: the Change color in the sun nail polish was $8 per bottle from Del Sol with the Supersaver Card and $2 at Clares in Opry Mills Mall (Nashville, TN), a pair of 5mm x 8mm Tanzanite earrings with 14K posts were $1,500 with the Supersaver Card and less than $100 at Variety Jewelry (Nashville, TN). The two stores on the ship have signs posted guaranteeing the lowest prices on the items that they carry, their jewelry prices compared the way the port prices did. We found lower prices on Tortuga Rum Cakes and brand name alcohol in Non-Carnival Approved stores in Port. When I showed my receipt to the store clerk and requested that he honor their guarantee and sell me Tortuga Rum Cakes at a price that matched or beat the Port prices, I was told that it only counts if I bought the item from a Carnival Approved store. So Carnival stacked the deck against the customer, again. (http://www.joescoffeehouse.com/shop_gourmet.asp?type=33) will sell you Tortuga Rum Cakes cheaper than Carnival every day of the year. We never saw San Juan. The map Ian the Super Shopper gave us of St. Maarten was wrong and the Water Taxis were not priced as announced. St. Maarten was dirty, over priced, and the people treated us like a plump goose ready to be plucked for cooking. St. Thomas was wonderful! The island was beautiful, the people friendly, and the prices were less than St. Maarten. We took the Blackbeards Castle tour and it was everything Id hoped it would be. We would return to St. Thomas in a heartbeat, it was everything we ever hoped a Caribbean destination would be and more. If you get the chance dont pass up the opportunity to let these warm hearted people show you their picturesque island. The Carnival Victory appears to cater to the Lets get drunk a scream spectrum of customer. There was a couple next to us who came in screaming at each other every night. One memorable night they spent 13 minutes (we timed them) in a screaming match because they were too drunk to operate their cabin door and each believed that the other one was responsible. People three cabins away Forward were quoting the couples argument the next day. If there was Security on this ship, they didnt feel that this situation merited their involvement. Another good example is the night that we watched a passenger tumble down the main stairway from Deck 4 to Deck 3. No employee of Carnival moved to help the woman lying in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. It was other passengers that went to the womans aid. She seemed un-injured and once she was up, declined further assistance. The problem was that she was too drunk to stand. She was eventually able to get back to the bar, about twenty feet from the stairs, and after many tries she got onto a bar stool. Once she was perched precariously on top of it, the bar tender began serving her more liquor. Whenever there was a problem with anything, the passengers were directed to the Purser. I stopped the Manager of Food and Beverage about the temperature on the buffet and was directed to the Purser, I asked a Maintenance Supervisor about the Water Slide and was directed to the Purser, etc. Every problem addressed to the Purser was met with: No one on the ship is authorized to assist you; youll have to file a complaint with the Home Office. When we got back, we filed a complaint with the Carnival Home Office, its been three weeks and they have yet to respond. Our Travel Agent filed a complaint with his contact at Carnival and she refused to accept the complaint. We may take a cruise again someday, but it will not be with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
This was our tenth cruise and the first and last on a mega-ship. We prefer the mid-size ships of Celebrity Cruise Line. The ship was an incredible engineering feat and spectacular but we prefer less crowds and a more intimate environment. ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise and the first and last on a mega-ship. We prefer the mid-size ships of Celebrity Cruise Line. The ship was an incredible engineering feat and spectacular but we prefer less crowds and a more intimate environment. We are in our sixties and did not like being on a ship which caters to families and children. The extra features of the ship did counter balance the disadvantages of a large ship. The food in the Windjammer buffet was steamed to death. It improved to average in the main dining room and the service was excellent. One tip is to make your reservations for Chops and Portofino's the first night as they fill up immediately and were excellent. The worst feature of the ship is the ear splitting band at the pool in the afternoon. It will cause permanent damage to your and your children's ears. We had a balcony cabin four decks below the pool and could hear the band clearly from there. Our cabin was lovely with its balcony and we had wonderful service. The balcony is worth the extra money. Our cruise went to RC's private island which was enjoyable. We snorkeled, enjoyed the lunch, and swung in hammocks. St. Thomas is just so-so. We signed up to sail on the Farr 65 and the tour should have been canceled due to no wind. It was a bust. Do not sign up for any of the "racing sailboat" tours until you get into port and see if there is wind. The tour personnel on board are rude and aggressive and should be replaced. St Maarten is really trashed out by too many tourists and hurricanes. We did the island tour which was fine. We went to the downtown No Problem Beach using the water taxi and rented an umbrella and chairs and had a much better time than the ones who went to the tour beach. They said it smelled badly and was dirty. Overall, Mariner of the Seas is a ship like a Carnival Cruise Line ship, geared for large traffic, families with children, and poor quality food. The service is very good. The entertainment was brief, good quality, but cheaply done. We will stick with Celebrity which is the same cruise line as Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
My husband and I spent 10 days cruising on the Norwegian Dawn . This was our first cruise, so we were quite excited. To make this slightly easier to read, I am going to split the reviews into specific reviews on one area. 1) Embarkation. ... Read More
My husband and I spent 10 days cruising on the Norwegian Dawn . This was our first cruise, so we were quite excited. To make this slightly easier to read, I am going to split the reviews into specific reviews on one area. 1) Embarkation. We had read that embarkations can be a bit of a nightmare, and it certainly confirmed our fears. The 'holding' area consisted of rather cramped conditions in an uninspiring concrete warehouse type area. We were told to head upstairs, which was just an area full of basic seating . There were no specific guidelines as to what was going to happen e.g time waiting etc..After sitting for about 10 mins in this cramped, claustrophobic atmosphere we decided to head back downstairs and trying our luck to get in a queue for boarding. At this stage everyone was confused as to what was happening. There was a seating area in the middle and two queues at either side. People just started queuing up without any guidelines from the very limited NCL staff. We decided to get in the queue also. We were all then penned off like sheep and had to stand for about 45 mins - 75 mins amid lots of confusion as to why others were being released from their 'pens' before us. There seemed to be no logical order at all to this process and several people became quite irate. It probably took about 2 hours before we finally got onboard. The word 'organised chaos ' springs to mind. 2) Ship Interior/Exterior. The best part of the cruise This was visually appealing, with the expected glass lifts, nice lobby etc.. Everywhere was kept spotless on the ship by the hard working employees, including our cabin, which was an inside stateroom. We could not fault any of the areas of the ship, decor wise, although bearing in mind that this is quite a new ship. The main outdoor pool became very densely populated most of the time with loud music blaring out. We did find some nice quieter sunbathing areas, however, around the front decks. 3) Cabin room. Compact but adequate. The staff will put your twin beds into a double if requested. Shower and toilet area OK. We didn't use our mini bar much as stuff was expensive, but it was adequately stocked. Tv in room and everything else you would expect. Our Cabin girls where excellent, very pleasant and accommodating. They work very hard and we had no problems whatsoever with cleanliness, cabin service etc.. The girls delighted us a couple of times with funny toweling animals left on our bed at night. 3) Reception & Service. Staff at reception where helpful throughout. Queries were answered promptly, also, you can request a printout of your tab at any point to keep a check on how much you have spent. This was helpful as drinks and stuff can easily add up on this ship. Service in all areas from restaurants to bars was on the whole excellent. A lot of the staff are from areas such as the Philippines, Romania etc...In particular, Myla and Leoncio who work in the Pearly Kings, came from the Philippines where it is hard to find work. Both had had to leave their families for work (which I suspect may be the case for a lot of the employees). They were lovely, always smiling, and nothing was too much trouble for them. Most of the staff are also very helpful and courteous. We heard some people talking to them as if they were servants, and were horrified that they were talked to like that. A lot of these staff do not see their children & families for months at a time. The last thing they need is an obnoxious holiday maker!! Oh, by the way, treatments at the spa are extortionate to sya the least , $250 for a couples massage, come on NCL, get realistic! 4) Dining. Our expectations of delightful, quality of food was dashed in an instant. The first night, we dined at the Venetian which is visually impressive. We ordered a 3 course and the quality of the food set the standard for the entire cruise. For instance, our Angel hair pasta with fried basil and pesto cream sauce turned out to be extremely bland lukewarm bog standard spaghetti with absolutely no sign or hint of basil. We ate there another time, thinking that we may just have hit on a bad night, But, alas, the food was again bland and very disappointing. I seem to remember that I had better school meals. Basically, it was a dressed up glorified canteen . Not to be put off, we decided to try most of the restaurants on offer, but failed to find any kind of decent food. The Garden Cafe was like ' bunfight at the Ok Corall '. We renamed it the 'Garden from Hell ' or ' Glutton Bowl ', due to amount of food that some people were eating. They would pile their plates with mountains of food and very often leave half of it. It was quite disgusting at times. Also, parents were letting their kids get mounds of food, then leaving most of it. As ever the food was bland and mass produced, the Indian buffet was terrible, there lentil dahl consisted of a handful of lentils in water. I could go on and on about the bad quality of the food, but you get the picture. Cheap food, mass produced grease that most of the people appeared to enjoy. You could get burgers almost everywhere but they were tasteless and cardboard mulch. We simply couldn't find tasty healthy food, not everyone wants to eat burgers day and night. My husband is a pesco vegetarian and did find it very limiting. Most of the holiday makers were American, and found there was a high emphasis on meat,pizza, burgers etc..and not many healthier options. We did try LeBistro but weren't expecting much, and we were right. much the same food, prettied up to look like 'pretty patterns on plates'. I felt sorry for the waiting staff as they relished serving the food with such a flourish, but the service and food did not match up to the surroundings at all. Not to be snobbish, but we have eaten in places all over the world and can appreciate top quality food, which Le Bistro's certainly was not . Save your money!. Every other restaurant (e.g Salsa, Impressions) was also as disappointing. We found the most decent place to eat was at a little cafe called the 'Blue Lagoon' near the Pearly Kings pub. They provided surprisingly tasty Chilli and not too bad Fish & Chips. We ended up eating there quite a lot. 5) Entertainment. ' Butlins at sea' springs to mind. Failed wannabes presenting 'cheesy' entertainment. We tended to give it a miss. Felt a bit like 'Carry on Cruising'. I haven't done the Hokey Cokey since I was about 6 years old, and didn't intend doing it in the Spinnaker Lounge either. Fine if that's your bag, 'nuff said! 6) Excursions. What can I say but 2 words 'rip off'. Get into the ports and organise your own and save ££££/$$$$. 7) NCL in general. Everything is geared up to do the utmost in parting you with your money. Very heavy on advertising this in the daily activities programmes and TV. Art auctions, overpriced perfume & jewelry etc.. I found one of the perfumes I like 50% costlier on the ship! Never seen such a commercial money making machine like this to this extent before!! The 'prizes' in competitions were laughable.. bookmarks/mugs/pens etc.... Surely , NCL are making an absolute mint to be able to provide something a bit more substantial. 8) Conclusion. I know it's quite a negative review but reviews are meant to give an honest opinion. What can I say? Disappointing in the least, we won't be sailing the Norwegian Lines anymore, although we may try to find a smaller, more classier cruise line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
Background Information: This is our 5th cruise, 4th with Carnival. Our cruise was to the Eastern Caribbean - travel dates April 15-22 2006. We have 2 teenage boys that traveled with us on this cruise. I wanted to write down everything ... Read More
Background Information: This is our 5th cruise, 4th with Carnival. Our cruise was to the Eastern Caribbean - travel dates April 15-22 2006. We have 2 teenage boys that traveled with us on this cruise. I wanted to write down everything while it was fresh in my mind. Travel To Port of Embarkation: First of all, BOOK your own airfare. Don't go with Carnival's air, it is not cheaper, and they will book you on the worst flight to save money. You have no choice of flights, and be assured you will not be happy. They try to get out of paying for overnight accommodations. Don't be fooled by their website that says they will pay for overnight accommodations, west of the Rockies. We are from California, (can't be more west then that). Our first flight that Carnival booked for us was a red-eye leaving at 10:30 p.m. with a 4 hour layover in Cincinnati, to arrive in Port Canaveral almost at the same time we were suppose to be boarding the ship. After complaining repeatedly to my travel agent and Carnival, they re-booked us on a red-eye direct flight to arrive at 6:45 a.m. Not sure it was much better, but at least we did not have to sit in Cincinnati for 4 hours. They did give us dayroom accommodations, after much complaining. The trip to the port was good, and the lines to get on the ship went relatively fast. Stateroom: We were on the Promenade deck (10th floor) Room 1060. Nice to be on a floor that is not all cabins with people running past your door. The room was SMALL for 4 people. The veranda was small too, but nice. The bathroom is standard for a ship; bring hangers for your clothes there is not that many in the cabin. Dining: Very disappointed with the food choices and quantity. The portions are very very small. If you order shrimp cocktail, be prepared to get one shrimp and a drip of sauce. You can order 2 meals, which we did after the first night. We asked for early seating and were surprised that we didn't get it; we were bumped to late seating. We asked the Maitre d' if we could change to early seating; he did it, but forgot to tell us. When we showed up to our normal table at the late seating, he had given it away. The Maitre d' was very confrontational also, please steer clear of him. He was only nice on the last night, when he wanted his optional tip. We were moved 3 different times due to the Maitre d' messing up our seating assignment so we were able to experience 3 different waiters. The first two were not as friendly as in past cruises, but 3rd time was the charm when we got Luis from Costa Rica, and Kiss Kiss from Indonesia, they were the best. Table 402 lower level in the aft dining room. Activities: Same old contests, never changes. Carnival is one big sales pitch, a day does not go by that they are not trying to sell you something or get you to spend more money. The bingo games were ridiculous. They would collect 5,000 in bingo, 20.00 per card and only pay out 750.00 in prize money. Where is the extra money they collected, in their pocket of course. They make so much money on Bingo, don't be fooled. They have the Carnival Vacation Club now, which they try to pitch to all the guests to sign up for. The drinks are high, and stay out of the casino. Nobody was winning! Childrens Club: Camp Carnival for kids is always good for them. My teenage boys had a ball in the disco and just hanging out with their new friends. Service: Dining service was great, the cabin service not so good. Our rooms were never made up in the morning in time, usually by lunch they were made up. The TVs were always playing the cruise video they wanted you to purchase, and the movies were 8.95 if you wanted to watch something else. Carnival likes to make the sales pitch. Entertainment: Mark Price the cruise director, what a bomb. He was the worst!! He was not very funny, he told the same jokes and claimed they happened on this cruise. He was never out on the decks, and thankfully we only had to listen to him in the Amber Lounge or over the intercom. His asst. Wee Jimmy was very funny, but on our cruise he was promoted to cruise director for the Sensation. He is probably glad to be away from Mark... Karaoke was hosted by Lenka, what a voice. She had a nasal twang that believe me you will be mimicking the whole cruise long. The passengers were pretty entertaining, and the comics were great. Carnival, please change your entertainment, sick of the hairy men chest contest, bingo and karaoke. Be more creative; get a new entertainment director to come up with better ideas. Shore Excursions: Don't choose the Carnival Excursions, they are Very Very expensive and not worth it. They say they are not making any profit from them, but don't believe it. We rented a jeep on our own in St. Thomas and drove around the island to explore. We could plan our day ourselves, and did not have to sit on a bus with more people and leave when they did. We could do what we wanted when we wanted. Avis is not far from the port at all, you can rent mopeds and ATV's too, but Carnival doesn't want you to, because they don't get a cut of the money. In St. Maarten, we rented a hummer and did the same thing, explored on our own. We went shopping, but the prices seemed the same as here in the states. Don't miss Megan's Bay, they have a bar that makes the best Bailey's bushwhackers and banana Daiquiris. They also have a drink called "feeling no pain". Nassau was the best. It was very clean, and tropical. We took a water taxi to Paradise Island for 3.00 per person, and went to the Atlantis Resort. Kelly Clarkson from American Idol was there vacationing and the boys got their picture with her. St. Thomas and St. Maarten were a little dirty and very 3rd world looking. The only nice places were the resorts and near the ports for the tourists. Jet skiing is about 40-50 dollars for 30 minutes and para-sailing was 65.00 for 12-15 minutes. The water is very beautiful and clear. Disembarkation: Of course, one big sales pitch. 5% how to get off the ship, 95% don't forget to buy Carnival pictures, Carnival liquor, Carnival cruise videos, your carnival t-shirts and bags etc etc etc... We did the self-assist and took our own luggage off the ship, we were off by 8:30, but had a 2:45 flight with of course a transfer in Atlanta, booked by yours truly Carnival. Summary: I think we are done with Carnival, overall the cruise line is cutting back on food and overall comforts, and stepping up the "how to squeeze more money from our guests" pitch, but the ports of call were fun. The never ending sales pitch was more than we could stand. Have they not made enough money from us with just the cruise, they need to back off. Be prepared, everyone has their hand out too. We were surprised the pilot on the plane didn't come around with his cap off looking for a tip. Bring plenty of money, you will need it for tips. The Glory is a big ship, not many private areas, too many people. Everywhere you go, people with short tempers. The lines are plentiful and the food is scarce in the dining room. It never changes for breakfast and if you eat healthy, you won't find it on Glory. The fish and chips were the best and the frozen yogurt was good too. The room service selection was terrible, and the food at the buffet tasted all the same. The chocolate bar was not very good either. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
I will make this short w/o a lot of fluff. The Norwegian Sun, narrow beam and tends to react badly to rollers. Any time we were going into them they had to close the pool due to the water surging back and forth. The cabins, deluxe with ... Read More
I will make this short w/o a lot of fluff. The Norwegian Sun, narrow beam and tends to react badly to rollers. Any time we were going into them they had to close the pool due to the water surging back and forth. The cabins, deluxe with balcony were great and the cabin attendants great. The pool, as usual on most ships, has too many guests and no enough space for lounge chairs for all. Well, too bad I guess the early bird gets a good location. The disembarkation process is slow and uneven, plan to stand in line and wait a lot. To compound the problem you cannot hear announcements inside the cabins. Don't be surprised when you get your bill if it is loaded with service charges. Everything is very pricey, 11 to 12 bucks for a special drink is too much. The main dining rooms, eating is a important pastime, menu are mediocre and the food unexciting for the most part. The pay-more-to-go restaurants are better but not up to other cruise lines. I would have to rate NCL at the bottom here. Entertainment was very good but hampered by poor angles of viewing. The Star Dust theater NEEDS to be rebuilt so you can see what is going on. Freestyle dining is OK but I missed the personal attention and formal approach to an evening meal. Too bad society has gotten into the KFC and Burger King mentality. We have forgotten that eating can be an event and there is an art to the presentation of food. All in all I would rate this cruise, in comparison to ones on RC and Princess as only fair overall. Of course the bottom line is, no I wouldn't cruise with NCL again when I get get more of what I personally like elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
Celebrity food seems to be highly overrated. Have you cruised with Princess or HAL? I just do not understand how Celebrity constantly gets recommended for their food as it seemed very mediocre compared to most of the restaurants I have ... Read More
Celebrity food seems to be highly overrated. Have you cruised with Princess or HAL? I just do not understand how Celebrity constantly gets recommended for their food as it seemed very mediocre compared to most of the restaurants I have visited and substandard compared to other cruise lines. It was better than Royal Caribbean, but that is not saying much from my perspective. I even ordered a second entree most nights trying to find a meal that tasted good and also tasted my wifes meal. It was all very mediocre. The bands were good, but not great. The shows in the theater were hit or miss. The theater disappointed me but you may feel different. I was happier with the shows on every other line I have traveled on. Cabins were pretty standard. The biggest recurring problem I noticed when walking the halls was that the sewer lines stunk up the ship in moderates seas. This is usually a design issue concerning water traps on the sewer lines being inadequately designed to handle the waves. I wish you lucky room selection or exceedingly calm seas as it did not take much to cause the ship to get stinky. I guess you might be able to run the water all the time in the bathroom to keep the water traps full on the sewer lines even in rough seas, but this is not optimal ship design. Unless you get lots of rooms running water the hall will probably remain stinky, but at least your room will likely be just fine. I would have rated the fitness facility higher, but it was always very full. This is one advantage to HAL where most passengers do not use the equipment for extended periods of time. Service was good, but service has always been good on every cruise ship I have been on. Unfortunately service was not great and many of the special treatment I have read about were just missing. One example was the cold towel when returning to the ship. First it was not that big a deal. Second I returned to the ship 5 times in 4 ports and only saw cold towels available on 1 of my returns. Similarly carrying my tray to the table in the Lido never occurred although I did see them helping the elderly, but lots of lines help the elderly. I really do not need someone carrying my tray, but while the service was good do not expect better service than any other cruise line. It just seemed at every turn the normal service passengers were provided was OK but not as good as expected. Actually, I think the service is better on other cruise lines, but Celebrity service is not poor. Cruising is always fun and I am sure most people have a good time on Celebrity. I just do not see why I should sail with mediocre food and OK service when other lines are available with GOOD food at least as good service and some have better prices. I met someone who sailed Celebrity for many years on the cruise who indicated he believed the food went downhill after Royal Caribbean purchased Celebrity. I do not personally know if the food use to be good, but I can assure you it was not during my sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
BACKGROUND/EMBARKATION: We were a family group of 9 (four generations)and choose this cruise because NCL didn't charge full price for a 6 month old infant (Most other lines did). Unfortunately, the highlight of the cruise was ... Read More
BACKGROUND/EMBARKATION: We were a family group of 9 (four generations)and choose this cruise because NCL didn't charge full price for a 6 month old infant (Most other lines did). Unfortunately, the highlight of the cruise was embarkation. This went as quick and smooth as I have ever experienced and I have been on over 30 ships. TRANSFER FROM AIRPORT: We booked our own air into FLL and took the transfer to the Port of Miami. We did have to wait over an hour, but the bus was fine and the luggage went separately on a truck and was delivered to the rooms quickly. STATEROOM: We had 3 BB Balconies and one Inside. The balconies are very tiny as are the chairs on them. The room is quite small and required stepping around the bed to cross to the balcony. There is plenty of storage..however, the fridge was full as was a cabinet..full of food and drink you could purchase for an absurd amount of money! The room steward refused to empty the fridge so we had to do this ourselves. The crib for the infant was old and small and it was a good thing we brought our own sheets, the ones provided were stained and nasty. We had expected a porta-crib but didn't get one. DINING: It looks like "Freestyle" has come to mean "Pay As You Go" if you want good food and service! The food in the main dining rooms was barely adequate. Lobster and Steak were served only once and on the same night! The service was so bad the first night that we all complained and after that the Dining Manager made sure we had acceptable service. The alternate dining venues required more $ but if I had to do it again (which I won't with NCL)I would have dined in them every meal as the food/service was superb. I truly believe that doing away with tipping based on service is a major flaw with Freestyle. PORTS: The ports were good for the most part. One gripe is that Cayo Levantado is NOT Cayo Levanto unless you spend $69 for the excursion. The port is Samana, where you arrive at 10 AM....not 8 AM, wait for the excursions to disembark, and then take the tender to a small town with nothing but a small marketplace. DISEMBARKATION: Very quick and smooth. Credit to NCL for not waking us early and trying to rush us off the ship! Also..we went thru customs in St. Thomas which speeded things up as well. OTHER: The Spa has deals, wait for them before booking! If you have one treatment you get a 40% off coupon for another. Alternate dining rooms are 1/2 price the second night. Book one immediately! FINAL THOUGHTS: Despite the disappointments we did have a very good time as a family. Sorry if the review is negative but this way you won't be surprised! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
My family and I have taken 5 cruises prior to this one. Three have been on Carnival and 2 have been on Costa. By far this was the worst cruise we have taken. The service of our waiter was excellent, but the food was sub-par, especially ... Read More
My family and I have taken 5 cruises prior to this one. Three have been on Carnival and 2 have been on Costa. By far this was the worst cruise we have taken. The service of our waiter was excellent, but the food was sub-par, especially in the main dining room. I had 2 steaks, both were very tough and undercooked. My wife and son went on two shore excursions that were very poorly organized and were not what they advertised. For the amount of money they charge for these, you would expect prompt and courteous service which was not what they received. On both of them (one on St. Maarten and one at St. Thomas) they had to wait over 30 minutes for their transportation. On the St. Thomas one, they did not even bother to go on the second part of the trip as it would have been cut short so much that it wasn't even worth the effort. Getting on and off the ship were improved (especially getting off as we availed ourselves of the ability to carry off our own bags and leave the ship around 7:30 A.M.). Overall, despite this being a newer and bigger ship, we were not impressed. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
This cruise was in celebration of my dad's 65th birthday, out first family vacation in many years. We had two cabins one a mini-suite on dolphin the other a ocean view on emerald slightly obstructed(yeah with a life boat and a big ... Read More
This cruise was in celebration of my dad's 65th birthday, out first family vacation in many years. We had two cabins one a mini-suite on dolphin the other a ocean view on emerald slightly obstructed(yeah with a life boat and a big metal girder). Both cabins were always clean and made up nicely.Our cabin stewart did a great job most of the time. he got us the egg crate mattress toppers that we requested right away. Food- the buffet was a buffet like any other you have ever been to in your life, with just one difference, it was always a mess, and the service was spotty at best most of the time. the food tasted good what we ate and you could definitely tell the lunch was dinner from the night before re-prepared into a different form. Dinner was nice, the service was great our waited and his back waiter were not only funny but the running joke at the table became the cleaning of the crumbs where people at the table actually started making more crumbs just so the guys had something to clean. They even let us clean it for them at times. They were great! Entertainment- The shows were always good some better then others but for the most part good. They had the typical calypso band playing on the lido deck by the pool for most of the day and it was a bit loud at times if you were trying to relax and read a book. Spa- I had a 1 hour swedish massage treatment that was rather good but i felt rushed and uncomfortable for the most part. The rush you in make you fill out some forms and then stick you in a room with a ocean view that you can't view because your face down on a table. And when you get to turn over your facing a door. suggestion to princess turn the massage tables around let me see what i can for $110 for a hour massage. And stop trying to sell me stuff at the end of the massage that i don't want or need. The ship - While big and full of people it was always clean for the most part, no bad smells or any major problems seen. Kids- This ship was full of kids everywhere and parents not to be found thank god for security being all over keeping them in line. And out of the clubs at night. Overall it wasn't a bad trip but probably my last princess cruise for a long long time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
For starters, this was our 3rd cruise in as many years. Our two previous cruises were on Carnival Victory (7 days) and Carnival Paradise (6 days). We had embarked from Miami on both of those, but living in NJ, we decided to take NCL this ... Read More
For starters, this was our 3rd cruise in as many years. Our two previous cruises were on Carnival Victory (7 days) and Carnival Paradise (6 days). We had embarked from Miami on both of those, but living in NJ, we decided to take NCL this year right out of Manhattan. NCL seems to be trying to build up a clientele from NY for year round cruises, and with the low fares they were offering to do that, we chose the Dawn for our vacation this year. We travel without our children once a year, so we cannot accurately judge the Childrens Club. Our travel to the Port of Embarkation, NYC, was very easy because we didnt have to fly. It was a 1 hour train ride and a 10 minute cab ride from Penn Station. In all, it cost us $50 R/T for both of us. Getting on the ship was a different story. The organization of the port was less than adequate, to say the least. There were several lines of hundreds of passengers who had no idea where they were going or who would be let through security first. After that, it was a long wait to check-in as well. I must tell you however, that our last two embarkations with Carnival were a lot easier because we booked cabins that qualified us for the Skippers Club, a personal check-in and an escort right to the front of the security line. NCLs Captains Club required you to book a top of the line cabin to qualify. It seemed to us that because the port was contracted out, there was no communication or cooperating between the cruise line and the port contractor. It was a bit chaotic. Our stateroom was very nice, although smaller than the ones we had on Carnival. One thing about our room that drove us crazy was the nickel and dime attitude that NCL has. When my wife called to get a razor and toothpaste from housekeeping, we were told that the gift shop was opening momentarily. By the way, no bathrobes either; those are reserved for the garden suite occupants (at $15,000 per person). The NCL Dawn is a beautiful ship. It is very clean, spacious and has A LOT of things to do. One drawback is the pool. It has one outdoor pool for all 3000 passengers, so if hanging out in the pool is your thing, its might be a bit tough. Plenty of room to lie out in the sun though. We're most disappointed with the dining experience. NCL is the #1 proponent of Freestyle Dining, which is great idea on paper, but fails to measure up in reality. There are 3 main dining rooms, and 5 specialty restaurants, three of which you pay a surcharge to dine in. The Italian restaurant had good food, but the service was almost non-existent. The all you can eat sushi bar had good service, but the food did not seem fresh. The Mexican restaurant had little or no variety on the menu and the food was not good at all. It did however have the best service out of all the specialty places we ate in. We did not eat in Cagneys, a steak house or in Le Bistro, which served French. The best food and service by far was in the main dining rooms. Service in Impressions was horrible. People at the table next to us received damp napkins to eat with. Service in Aqua was equally bad; we had to wait for a long time to get our food. The Venetian had the best service, (kudos to Jessica and David!). The ship had no midnight buffets, and VERY limited late night snacks at the Blue Lagoon. Fish and chip at the English pub was very tasty, but even the service there was poor. Room service had no variety at all. Caesar salad was about the only thing you could count on. Lunches out on the pool deck were very bad. Hard, stale bread for burnt hamburgers, undercooked fries. The lunch buffets were very bland in choices and taste as well. Over all, the dining experience was not good, at all. The specialty restaurants, in our opinion were not worth the extra $$$. It a good idea not to be locked into a particular time to eat every evening, but we felt it wasnt worth it because of the quality of food and service. Stick to the main dining rooms, or better yet, stick to Carnival, for great food, great service, and great price. Activities were plentiful. If you try to take advantage of all the activities they offer, youll feel like you need another vacation when you get home. Here are some of the things we did. Obviously, we lay out for a few afternoons, reading and relaxing. There is a hot tub on the front the of the ship that we would go to in the late afternoons, very relaxing and you get to meet some interesting people. We took a lesson on couples massage; we were the only two who signed up so we got some personal treatment, well worth the $50. We worked out every morning; the gym was in good shape, a few machines out of order, but overall it was it was great. The spa was great too, a lap pool and large Jacuzzis. We have to admit that we loved the casino because we did very well, paying for most of our onboard expenses by the end of the cruise. The Cigar room was relaxing, a bit small, but well-venerated and comfortable. We took advantage of the movie theatre for a few evenings too, with popcorn from the English pub. The TV entertainment is very good on NCL as well, we took in a few movies late at night to cap off our day. One cool thing we liked was the library because you could borrow tourists guides for the ports of call. So lets move on to entertainment. The NCL Dawn had good entertainment, outside the usual Vegas-style cruise shows. One night we were delighted by a very funny comedian, but the highlight for sure was the Second City Improv Group that did 2 shows and some workshops. Extremely funny and very talented entertainers. The couples game-shows in the evenings were very funny too. The bands around the ship were mediocre at best though. The usual rent-a-musicians from wedding band agencies. This was our second trip on an Eastern Caribbean cruise, so we knew what to do and what to stay away from in terms of ports. St Johns excursion was the only one we paid for on board. It was well worth the ferry ride from St Thomas, however save yourself the NCL fees and hop the ferry yourself and hike through the national park with a map from the visitors center thats located right next to the ferry dock. Its a lot cheaper that way. We didnt do much in St Thomas, been there done that, too much of a tourist trap. Tortola was fun, not too touristy, which we like. Not as developed as the US Virgin Islands, more crafts and homemade wares, which was nice. Next stop was St Maarten. Best shopping in the Caribbean, as far as our experience goes. Lots of liquor and Cubans for very cheap. Fun place to be. San Juan was very enjoyable, we ventured up to El Moro for the day. It was beautiful, sunny with a nice breeze. We took a cab up there, because the ship told us it was too far to walk. In reality, its less than ½ a mile, although up hill, if thats a concern. We walked back through town; a delightful Spanish colonial city. By far our favorite port. Last we were scheduled to stop in Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, but the weather was bad, large white caps made tendering passengers too dangerous so we left. We spent 2 ½ days at sea on the way down and 2 ½ on the way back. We were afraid that would be too much, but it gave us plenty of time to relax and rest. Well worth it. One plus about NCL over Carnival for us was the amount of time spent at the ports-of-call. Carnival seemed to always get us there either early in the morning and then require us to leave mid afternoon, or get there late morning and leave early evening. We always felt rushed. NCL docked early in the morning around 7am, and we didnt leave until 6 or 7 pm. Enough time to enjoy the stay. Disembarking was a breeze. We chose the early, carry your own bags option, which did seem to shaping up as another chaotic experience. But once customs cleared the ship, we got off, went through customs, hailed a cab, and were on the train in less than 40 minutes. As a matter of fact, it took us less than 2 hours to get from deck 7 of the Dawn to our home. Overall I would say our experience with NCL was a disappointment. Bad service, sub-par food and no variety in dining were the worst of it. When you pay the fares that cruise lines charge, you dont expect to get nickeled and dimed about the small things. Drinks, souvenirs yes; toiletries, no. We value our dining experiences, so for us that alone would prevent us from sailing NCL again. The ports are the same with any carrier, so thats a wash. Our experience with Carnival was by far much better and so we will cruise Carnival again. The airfare and flying down to Florida, although inconvenient, is worth it to get the better experience. NCL, unless some serious changes are made, will not be in our vacation itinerary in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
My husband and I, along with two of our friends, sailed on the CostaMagica in March. First let me say, what a beautiful ship. When we boarded, it was a pleasant surprise. The rooms were not ready so we were asked to go to the theater to ... Read More
My husband and I, along with two of our friends, sailed on the CostaMagica in March. First let me say, what a beautiful ship. When we boarded, it was a pleasant surprise. The rooms were not ready so we were asked to go to the theater to sign up with our credit cards for a sea pass. Within an hour we were told we could go to our rooms. After a long day of flying, and standing in lines, I couldn't wait to see the room and freshen up. Woe!! Our cabin was on the second floor from bottom and the minute we exited the elevator and turned the corner we were hit with the most pungent smell of sewage or something very close to it. It was asphyxiating. And you guessed it, it was coming from the service room right across from our room. We went into the room, which by the way, was a pleasant surprise. We opted for a not-so-fancy room because we wouldn't use a veranda, so this was fine. We did have a large window with unobstructed view of the magnificent ocean. To make a long story short, we spent the next two nights and three days, that's right, calling the guest services number, but to no avail. We complained and complained; we told them no one should have to live like this. They said they'd look into it, but no one ever got back to us. When we made port in San Juan, we ran into the Cruise director; (first and last time). I told him how unhappy we were and how the smell was causing us to be sick. I said, that after three days of having it, I'd had enough and nothing could be done about it, then they should tell us, because I would opt to fly home right then and there rather than deal with it another day. He said he'd look into and get back to us, but of course, we never heard from him. Everyone walking down that corridor was holding their noses and remarking, "Glad our room is isn't here!". Imagine, all this time, and no remedy. Our cruise should have been a fun time. You don't realize how many times during the day and night you have to go back to your cabin, until you come to a situation like this one. Let me tell you, it's a lot!! I would not recommend this cruise to anyone. It leaves something to be desired. They have a long way to go to "making their passengers comfortable". The food is European style; so they tell us. Frankly, the quality was poor. We missed out on a lot of nice activities, because they weren't put in the daily publication. Organization is not one of their qualities. We had a wonderful wait staff who truly tried to grant our every wish. Our cabin steward was right on the ball, too. The young kids working with the cruise director had a lot of energy. Wouldn't know about the director himself, since we never saw him in action. The casino was very small, but suited our needs; We even played in some tournaments there. The hot tubs on the pool deck should have been called the tepid tubs; A tub for disease spreading germs. Never once did the temp in hot tubs go above luke warm. Also, beware of Catalina Island. JELLYFISH; they sting, your blood pressure goes up and you need to go to the Medic station, which is right there. They warn you about them in the daily pamphlet. My question was, if they know they're there, why bring you there? There is nothing else on the island but the beach and a few huts with merchants selling their wares. It's very hot! You end up either going in the water, or taking the tender back to the ship; We went back to the ship! In closing, it seems that from everyone we talked to on board, those with U.S. Passports were the ones who were mostly unhappy with the food and the cruise itself. There are so many wonderful cruises out there. Don't settle. We wrote to Costa, but to date, have had no reply. I like a company who backs their product, don't you? You certainly aren't going to like every single thing on a cruise ship, however, this was a murphy's law; what could go wrong, did. And frankly, I believe they owe us at least an explanation and apology for the unhealthy air we had to breathe for almost three whole days. That's the LEAST they could do If you decide to sail Costa anyhow, I wish you the best. Don't say I didn't want you. Bon Voyage. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
I took this trip with nine other family members. It was the worst experience I have had on a Carnival cruise. I've been on about 10 Carnival cruises over the years and this one is at the bottom of my list. Embarkation: Pleasant ... Read More
I took this trip with nine other family members. It was the worst experience I have had on a Carnival cruise. I've been on about 10 Carnival cruises over the years and this one is at the bottom of my list. Embarkation: Pleasant surprise. Short line with friendly service. Although I'm not sure why I filled out a FUN PASS, they took the same information placed in the computer. Once past the gate things slowed down. Why wait 40 minutes in a long line for a picture that I didn't want to purchase or have taken. This is not to be mistaken for the security picture, but the cute shot with the Valor in the background. Room Service: No problem. Good stewart who met all of my needs. Ship: Confusing layout with a small city roaming through the ship with very lost looks on their faces. Elevators were slow and confusing to many older guests. Children: It was Spring break, but the children took over the ship. Kids running wild throughout the week. A Toga party of kids looking to be 15-16 years old. Our soon to be 18 year olds thought the Club O2 was boring and filled with younger kids. Our 14 year old thought many of the activities in the Caboose were stupid and uninteresting. Yes, our kids became very bored on the boat on FUN DAYS at SEA. It would be ok if you have a child who is interested in joining in the activities with kids they do not know. Not very interesting for Big City Savvy kids. Children took over all of the pools and whirlpools on board, making it rather obnoxious at times. Food: Nothing special. Fair variety at Washington Room, Rosies was ok, but after a few days rather boring. Sandwich workers were extremely slow and often obnoxious. After waiting in a fairly long line the guy let us stand there saying nothing than closed the window and said we close at 11:00PM. Long lines all day at buffets. Bar server in Dining Room: Worst Ever. Never got the drinks right or came to the table to ask for orders. Service: Fair, often slow and sometimes people were simply rude. Entertainment: Shows were decent. Especially comedy shows. Last night's Karaoke show was funny but too long. Shore Excursions: Acceptable good choices. They have improved by allowing you to book in advance of cruise online Disembarkation: No problem if you leave early and carry your own luggage which we did since we had an early flight. Casino: Seems like slot machines only paid well on first night. The rest of the nights the machines were very tight, with few people winning anything significant. I'd like to know the rate of return on your dollar. One member of our group played big stakes Blackjack every day and was given some cheesy prizes for spending big bucks. Stuff was so cheap we didn't want to take it home. Summary: Overall, the experience was good because it was with 10 family members, but the overall experience of this ship was very disappointing. It made me realize that you get what you pay for and Carnival is getting worse. The nickel and diming on the ship is also increasing. Twenty dollars for a Bingo card is getting pretty high. I had such a bad experience on this ship that I don't think I'll be going on another Carnival Fun Ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
I took this cruise with my two sisters (both mid 50s) to celebrate my 40th birthday. I'm a fairly experienced cruiser (12 cruises under my belt), and usually sail Celebrity, but decided to give Holland America a chance because we ... Read More
I took this cruise with my two sisters (both mid 50s) to celebrate my 40th birthday. I'm a fairly experienced cruiser (12 cruises under my belt), and usually sail Celebrity, but decided to give Holland America a chance because we wanted to cruise the Eastern Caribbean and Celebrity had nothing there during this time. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day before the ship left and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on State Road 84. It was a short ride to both the pier and the airport. The hotel was wonderful. It is the newest hotel in Ft. Lauderdale and the facilities are practically perfect. A complimentary shuttle picked us up at the airport and took us to the pier the next day. A full continental breakfast was served that included toast, hard-boiled eggs, pastries, cold cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, milk, juices and coffee. Complimentary internet access is also available. Our room was large and had two queen-sized beds (versus doubles), coffee maker, DVD player, fridge, microwave and a nice desk with two comfy chairs. The bathroom was spotless and included shampoo, conditioner, lotion and nice soaps, and the best shower head and towels I've had in a hotel room in quite a while. The staff was friendly, and allowed a late checkout (12 noon) the next day. It was a great start to our vacation. Embarkation and Stateroom Embarkation was the smoothest of any I've ever had. Since access to cabins is not granted until 1:00 pm, we opted for late checkout at the hotel and arrived at the pier about 1:00. Curbside porters were friendly and didn't ask for tips, although we gave them one anyway. We were in a deluxe verandah suite and had a separate check-in counter. The staff were friendly and quick and we were boarding less than 15 minutes after arriving at the pier. Our room was the most beautiful and spacious of any cabin I've ever been in. There was more than enough storage space and room to accommodate three women and all of their belongings. The beds are the best I've ever slept on outside of my own. The mattress was thick and supportive, but not hard. There were feather pillows, 250 thread count percale sheets and a down duvet on each bed. A large leather sofa was opened each night for the third bed and was ensconced in the same wonderful bedding. The bathroom had a dressing area attached with mirrors and a lighted make-up mirror along with a vanity seat with a lid that lifted for yet even more storage space. The dressing area had a curtain for privacy. The bathroom itself was large, with a double vanity and a shower stall, plus a bathtub with yet another shower. The bathroom was stocked with shampoo, lotion, a shower cap and Royal Dutch soaps (which we all found a bit slimy and difficult to rinse off), as well as a bath mat for the tub. The shower heads were wonderful, and the water pressure and temperature were always correct. Our stateroom afforded us the use of the Neptune Lounge. It is a large room with comfortable seating and a television tuned to CNN. Continental breakfast and lunch are served each day along with endless fruit and pastries. The staff in the Neptune was courteous and took care of shore excursions and answering questions that arose during the trip. My sisters utilized their resources to arrange a surprise birthday cake at dinner for me one evening. My only complaint about the Neptune Lounge is that minors are allowed in without their parents. As we all know, kids will be kids, but I found their bad behavior a bit irritating considering I had paid a premium for use of the facilities. Ship Information The Zuiderdam is a beautiful ship with modern decor. Primary colors brighten up the public spaces without seeming garish. I especially liked that the hallways in the public areas curved, thereby alleviating the "tunnel" look on most ships. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to hunker down in, and all of the furniture around the public areas was very comfortable. The Crow's Nest provides breathtaking sea views and their is a seating area adjacent to it that looks like a beach house. The library is the best-stocked of any I've seen at sea and employs a true Dewey Decimal System to make finding books very easy. The seats in the library are ultra-comfortable and have movable backs that adjust to each individual. There is also a large marble-inlaid table that is quite impressive. The internet center is available 24-hours a day with pay-per-minute rates at .75 a minute, going to as low as .40 a minute with the purchase of a package. The spa was nice and was on-par with others I've been to at sea. Shopping was okay, but the staff informed us that our purchases could not be sent to our cabins. That was a first. Dining -- To say that I was dissapointed with the food on this ship would be an understatement. Although I'll admit that I'm probably spoiled by the food on Celebrity, truthfully, I've had better food on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. The dishes were salty and otherwise lacked flavor. Although there was a variety of stations in the Lido restaurant, none of the food was all that great. The salad dressings in particular were horrible. I've had better from a bottle. The standout dish in the Lido was the fresh pizza. Hot from the oven, the crunchy crust and tasty sauce made it a treat. Most days we opted for pizza for lunch. The dining room food was no better. Sauces were thick and gummy, meat was over cooked, and fish was not served every day. Also, there was little variety in the fish that was served, unless you REALLY like salmon...you can have salmon seven different ways every day. The standout dining experience was without a doubt the Pinnacle Grill. If you sail on the Zuiderdam, DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS. It is the best meal you will have on board. There is a $20 surcharge for this meal...and I would have gladly paid $30 or more. The pear and lettuce salad was superb, with a peppery bite. The Sterling Beef filet mignon was melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and cooked to perfection. The side dishes were awesome. Try the potatoes au gratin...I've never had anything like them. The veggies were steamed to perfection and the chocolate volcano was heaven. Chef Troy stopped by our table to see how we liked the meal, and when we complimented him on the Chocolate Volcano, he returned a few minutes later with the recipe. Service -- Sadly, service is probably one of the weakest areas on the ship. With the exception of our cabin steward, Evan, the service is not what I expected on a "premium" cruise line. Let me start with the positive, though, and tell you about Evan first. Evan kept our cabin spotless and stocked with everything we asked for. My sister fell ill during the voyage and Evan made sure to keep the cabin stocked with hot water and tea, virtually around the clock. One evening when she was especially ill, he politely asked people in the hallway to "sshhh" because someone was sick. He was friendly, courteous and helpful with everything. In fact, he was the highlight of our cruise. Holland America institutes a mandatory $10 per person per day tip on your cruise bill. Ordinarily, we don't like a "forced tipping policy". However, on this cruise, we didn't feel bad about the $10 minimum, because none of us thought the service deserved more. Evan, on the other hand, was the recipient of a very generous tip from all of us...he received additional money originally ear-marked for other staff. Service in the dining room was the worst I've ever had on any ship. Our waiter and busy boy barely spoke English and could provide little in the way of description or suggestion. Worse than that were their manners. Our waiter stood next to me, and reached across the table to hand someone else their plate of food...while at the same time assaulting me with a nose full of bad body odor. I lost my appetite at that point. Even more startling was watching our waiter lick sauce off this thumb, and then place THE SAME THUMB on my sister's plate as he handed her her meal. That was our first, and last, visit to the dining room. We ate in our cabin for the rest of the cruise. Unfortunate Incidents We received a note in our cabin stating that "balcony maintenance" would be done on our balcony while we were docked in St. Thomas. That evening, we noticed that the balcony divider had been left open. We didn't think much of it until 3:00 am when we hit rough seas and the divider door kept banging open and closed. After listening to it for a half hour I went down to the purser's desk and asked that a maintenance person be sent up to lock the divider. I was told that they were all sleeping and that it would be taken care of in the morning. This was not the answer I expected, and it took me a good 15 minutes to get the staff to agree to send someone to our room. On the second night of the cruise, my sister fell ill with what we thought was a heart attack. I called 911 on the cabin phone and got the nurse who told me to bring her down to the infirmary. When I explained that she was in severe pain and couldn't walk that far, the nurse told me to have her "try anyway". We got as far as the Neptune Lounge before she collapsed. The nurse was summoned from the infirmary and she was obviously very put out. There was nothing kind or understanding about her. I told her that we needed a wheelchair, and she stated, "well, I'm not going back down there for one", and directed the staff of the Neptune Lounge to have someone bring a wheelchair to us. Once we arrived in the infirmary, the doctor was both kind and competent. She ordered an EKG, basic blood work and cardiac enzymes and started an IV. When cardiac problems were ruled out, the doctor zeroed in on the problem and administered the drugs herself to care for my sister. All in all, the doctor was great. She apologized for ordering an expensive test, but explained that she felt it was absolutely necessary to ensure the proper diagnosis. Throughout the entire ordeal, she kept me well informed and explained everything. The final bill was $877 U.S.D. which I didn't think was bad, and it was covered by Travel Guard Insurance. Upon leaving the infirmary, we observed the ship's safety officers escorting an obviously drunk and disorderly crew member past us presumably to the brig. Since one of the safety officers was armed with a billy club, I can only guess this is where the crew member was being taken. On the third night of the cruise, the ship lost all power at 1:00 am drifted in the Caribbean Sea for over 3 hours. During the entire ordeal, we got only 2 updates. The first one began with "ladies and gentlemen, you may have noticed that we have no power". No kidding. The second one informed us that they were attempting to restart the engines. That's it. No more information. The next day, the crew didn't even acknowledge the incident. When asked questions about it they replied "Power outage?" Finally about 7:00 pm we got a note from the captain under our door informing us that "at no time was the vessel in any danger". All in all, I would have preferred more information during the incident. Overall I would have to say that this was my first, and my last cruise on Holland America. The negatives outweighed the positives, especially since I'm a veteran Celebrity cruiser. I believe I get a much better value for my money on Celebrity, and better food and service too. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
Cruise 18-25 March 2006 Ship: Norwegian Sun Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean: Miami, St. Thomas, Tortola, Dominican Republic, and Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas. CRUISERS BEWARE!! Cutbacks are happening even in the cruise industry. This ... Read More
Cruise 18-25 March 2006 Ship: Norwegian Sun Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean: Miami, St. Thomas, Tortola, Dominican Republic, and Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas. CRUISERS BEWARE!! Cutbacks are happening even in the cruise industry. This cruise was less than glamorous. I have never been on such a low quality cruise in my life. We cruised Norwegian as recent as last year and at that time it was still nice. This year its like a different company has taken over. Here is how our cruise went: We boarded the ship, and no welcome aboard drink. No biggie, we were sure this was just a small change. So we went for lunch in the only dining available, the buffet. How about this? No trays. Here you are in a cafeteria style line. You have a salad, a plate of food and a drink, and no tray. This is absolutely ridiculous. They said they are trying to cut back on some small things. What is a person supposed to do? Balance it on their head? OK, we moved on. We decided to try the free style dining. Well this is where it went down hill. The tables were set with minimal silverware, no flower, no candle. Well no biggie the food will still be great. Surprise again. The menus are horrible. Almost every evening was a list of unappealing meals. There are a few appetizers, one soup and one salad choice. Your choice is do you want it or not? Also, there is no more dessert tray to choose from. This is the cruise companys way of getting you to spend more money and eat at the special dining which has a fee per person. They feed you bad food and try to squeeze more money from you by forcing you to pay. We were so hungry that we thought we would try the specialty dining. Well guess again! You couldnt get a reservation. So now we had to eat really bad food. Even the buffet had strange eastern food most of the time. The desserts looked great but no taste, only high calories. Oh yea and how about this, no more fruit punch or lemonade, only ice tea. But if you wish, you can buy coke for the week at $42.00 a person. (crazy, isnt it?) Alcohol is at a very high price too. You can get a drink for $4.50, but its served in a juice glass. The decent size ones are $8.50. Coke is $1.75 a can and tasted like water. It looked like a coke can but&. No taste at all. The least they could do is post the menus for the week so you could decide if you want to try making reservations elsewhere. One of our stops was a private island. Here they even botched a picnic lunch. Although the dogs and hamburgers were OK, they were served on stale rolls. And the fruit salad must have been made up well in advance, it was extremely slimy. The breakfast wasnt bad. Most of the food was traditional and eat up in the morning, there wasnt much to look forward to after that. There is less help in the dining rooms also. The poor waiters have to run their legs off for several tables with little help. Then the Danish waitress just stands around and doesnt replenish her supply until its about empty. On the positive side: " I must admit though, there was a pasta bar and it was excellent, (thank God). We loaded up on Carbs every day for lunch. (or starve). " The staterooms are the nicest Ive seen on the cruise ships. They are spacious and very nicely equipped. " The pools were nice and 4 hot tubs were available. " The fantail now has a canopy covering it so it was really nice for sitting. Most people go to enjoy fine dining and you wont get it here. If this is how all Norwegian is heading dont even consider sailing with them try Princess, Celebrity, or Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
First we will start with embarkation, the lines were very long, and went very slowly, we were there at 1pm, so I believe next time we will get there a little late, to avoid long lines, all else went fine in this phase. We were first time ... Read More
First we will start with embarkation, the lines were very long, and went very slowly, we were there at 1pm, so I believe next time we will get there a little late, to avoid long lines, all else went fine in this phase. We were first time cruisers and it was only my husband and myself. I had made my reservation in June 2005 and requested early seating, because we are early risers, we get up around 6 am and like to eat dinner around 530 or 6pm. We were put at late seating, so I did exactly as our good friends the "experienced" cruisers told us and went immediately to the head waiter. He said in a very snotty manner that I must have made my reservations late, I told him we made reservations in June, he said oh well I will put you on the list, you will only be second on the list and you should get your preferred seating. I did not, as my travel agent suggested, slip him a 50.00 for my preferred seating, I felt I'd prefer to tip for service received, not line pockets to do what they should be doing in the first place. Anyway THREE days later I received a note under my door that they couldn't change our seating. This was a huge deal for us, because it interfered with shows, if you go to an early show, then you'd have to leave before it's over to make your seating on time, so basically we skipped most of the shows, which was a huge disappointment for me. The food was mediocre for the most part, and downright BAD at times in the buffet lines. We were served a brisket that was literally unchewable. However twice we ate at the Emerald, which of course cost extra, the food was outstanding here, we wondered if they hired different chefs for this area and had different meat and fish suppliers, because it was perfect both times. The ship was beautiful, our room very comfortable, our Steward was named Mon and he was OUTSTANDING. We are not big sunbathers, so that kind of left us cold, but the ports were great, well all except Nassau, it was extremely cold and windy and we had booked a snorkel on paradise island, well it wasn't canceled and it was just unbearable. The open boat ride to the island was freezing, there was no shelter on the island except a small gift shop, the water was freezing, the reef was a JOKE, no color at all and hardly any fish. When a young couple with 2 small children complained at the excursion desk they were coldly told that "we do not control the weather" and "you got what you paid for and we cannot control whether they cancel an excursion or not" The whole issue was that they should have canceled this particular excursion due to cold weather, but they didn't. Debarkation went very smoothly and we had no complaints at all. I did feel that we were a money cow to Carnival, and I truly believe that they cha ching you to death on the ships. I will not be taking Carnival again. However we adored the whole cruising experience and feel we now know what we need to do to choose a good cruise line and I've already booked an 11 day on Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
I have been on ten cruises, the last one on Norwegian Dawn, and also Radisson, Silverseas and Princess. This was the worst cruise that I have ever been on. We were all excited. The reviews were good, and we got two suites, 7268 and 7266. ... Read More
I have been on ten cruises, the last one on Norwegian Dawn, and also Radisson, Silverseas and Princess. This was the worst cruise that I have ever been on. We were all excited. The reviews were good, and we got two suites, 7268 and 7266. There were a total of six, four adults, a six year old and a ten month old. Embarkation- A disaster for those not reserving suites. We got VIP check in, still poorly managed, and still taking 80 minutes. Others averaged over 2 hours. Ship- New, but absolutely trite with eagles, red white and blue colors, flags, rooms named after Presidents, etc. The entire ship was rather claustrophobic, broken up, with poor access through many decks. It was clean and well lit. Crew- Our waiters and stewards were wonderful. In fact our waiter came from an area of Guatemala where we set up only the second endoscopy unit for a country of 30 million people. They could not have been better. Food- Not at all bad. The dinners were well prepared, the food warm, and the variety great. HOWEVER, there was a line everywhere, an at times we just gave up. PROBLEMS- Where do I begin? 1) There was smoke everywhere, in our stateroom, the decks, the corridors, our balcony, the restaurants (it came in from the atrium), bars, etc. What happened- my wife developed conjunctivitis, my mother had an exacerbation of her COPD, and my poor ten month old Noah developed acute asthmatic bronchitis requiring inhalers every four hours, and is still not well, two weeks later. 2) I left 8 messages to meet with the Hotel Director of the chief purser. No response until my brother, the lawyer, called the corporate headquarters of Carnival. The head guy, Jose, said that his staff told him all our problems were addressed. Why did we want the meeting? No upgrade. No refund. We wanted to get off this ship from hell. They could have resold our suites. 3) We were kicked out of Scarletts. My 10 month old came with me when we made reservations. I checked twice to tell them that we needed a high chair for our tenth month old. In the middle of our meal, we were asked to leave, and handed the bill to sign. No refund. Callous, callous behavior. 4) BEWARE- There was cross contamination from grill cooks touching uncooked hamburgers, then rolls and lettuce with unwashed hands. I am amazed, as a gastroenterologist, that there was not a salmonella, E-coli or Campylobacter outbreak. When I told Jose about this, he responded that They must have been busy This is the head guy on the ship, mind you. 5) Security was lax. I saw many teeny boppers served alcohol, people throwing cups and cigarette butts off the balconies, etc. 6) Not Carnivals fault, but a significant minority of the passengers were drunk for a preponderance of the cruise. At least we got off. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun Mid-February 2006. The Eastern Caribbean was an alternate itinerary as it was to sail from New Orleans but due to the hurricane it left from Miami. Our party of 8 booked 4 Mini-Suites for the sailing. These ... Read More
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun Mid-February 2006. The Eastern Caribbean was an alternate itinerary as it was to sail from New Orleans but due to the hurricane it left from Miami. Our party of 8 booked 4 Mini-Suites for the sailing. These rooms are about the same size as the mini suites on the Princess but have more room in the bath/closet area and less in the living area. Housekeeping was excellent. We cruise for 3 features  Food, Relaxation, Entertainment and Service. The food was usually quite good. The menu had several selections. Steak served only one night. Lobster one night. It seemed they have a real problem with pasta dishes being served with the pasta not hot enough. Even the beef stroganoff was not right. Pork chops were over done like leather. The fish was usually done well. Presentation was ordinary. The hard rolls in the evening are to die for. The dessert selection was good. One night we went to the steak place for a $20 extra which yielded the best ever steaks. Moms New York strip was not the best, however. Relaxation was difficult. The noise around the pool made it impossible to relax there. Between the children and the LOUD music (live and canned) it was impossible to find a place to read near the pool. There is no quiet pool area. There is an area two flights up with lots of lounge chairs but poor bar service. Entertainment was good and bad. A folk singer in the tapas bar was excellent. The Piano bar singer was good. The stage presentations were OK but the volume was so loud we had to plug our ears to prevent PAIN. As I mentioned, the live entertainment at the pool was too loud. Service was mixed. Housekeeping was excellent. We were to have access to a concierge in the suites but it was difficult to find her available. The wait staff in the dining area varied greatly. All in all, I would not wish to take this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
We were aboard the Jewel for the week of 2-12/2-19. I must say that the ship is quite beautiful. Our stateroom was very nice and the help on board was great. Some of the things I found I did not like about the cruise were the speciality ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the week of 2-12/2-19. I must say that the ship is quite beautiful. Our stateroom was very nice and the help on board was great. Some of the things I found I did not like about the cruise were the speciality restaurants. We went to three different restaurants, the Teppanyaki, Momma's, and Tango's. I would not recommend any. The waiters were unusually pushy in their attempts to have you order wine, especially in Momma's. Although, these were in smaller areas, the service took longer in all three. We took the Beach Escape tour for St. John while docked in St. Thomas. We had occasion on another cruise to tour this beautiful site and were very much looking forward to another visit. What a waste of time. First, the tour guides were late in arriving. Then after the boat ride (45 minutes) we arrived at St. John. After a 1/2 hour tour, we arrived at the beach. We were only allotted one hour and ten minutes at the beach. However, upon returning to the dock to return to St. Thomas, we were told we were going to be waiting for over an hour before we departed. It was very hot waiting for the ferry to leave and we were wet and sandy and did not feel like shopping in the few elegant shops available. I think they must call this the Beach Escape tour because you must escape the beach prior to having any fun. We took the Antigua Highlights tour and it was delightful. Our guide SyriAnn was the best. The lobster dinner could have been a little more filling but the beach was delightful. Be prepared for the natives to slather you with fresh Aloe without your permission and then ask for cash. All in all, what NCL promised was delivered. However, I will never cruise on a boat that carries approximately 3000 passengers. It was difficult to avoid the many rude passengers and believe me, there was abundant numbers of individuals pushing and shoving in the Garden Cafe for breakfast. People stole you chairs around the pools and decks when you went to the rest room and threw your "stuff" on the deck. I would not recommend the NCL Jewel to friends and relatives. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
My wife and had the misfortune of booking a fourteen day cruise to the western Caribbean in Jan. 06 on the Sea Princess. I had read the Cruise Critic review on the Sea Princess that said the ship catered mostly to British clientele but I ... Read More
My wife and had the misfortune of booking a fourteen day cruise to the western Caribbean in Jan. 06 on the Sea Princess. I had read the Cruise Critic review on the Sea Princess that said the ship catered mostly to British clientele but I thought little of it since I like the British people and they are generally very polite and friendly. The Horizon Court Our first encounter with the British influence was the Horizon Court buffet as my wife and I are fairly active seniors and try to eat healthy. The breakfast buffet was an advertisement for Lipitor or Crestor etc. The meats and sausages of all colors and sizes were so rich in saturated fats that one's arteries clogged up just looking at them. So down with the buffet line for breakfast and lunch! That was not the last of the problems with the Horizon Court. When my wife and I would arrive there about 8:30 to 9:00 AM, after our attempt at at exercising (the gym doesn't open until 7:00 AM) more about the gym later. After a shower we proceeded to the Horizon Court to grab a bowl of cereal (the only food fit to eat for breakfast) the next challenge was to find a table to eat at. The Brit. had colonized all the tables and were working on their third cup of tea and socializing and my and I are looking desperately for a table to sit down to gobble down our cereal. Good Luck! The Brits. sipping their tea are not going to move until have to go to the bathroom but they leave one sweet old lady sitting there who tells you the table is not available and that her friends will soon be back with another cup of tea for her and they will be there for a while more. Off to the deck outside to eat our cereal rain or shine cold or windy because it that or eat standing up! When I stupidly mentioned to the head waiter that perhaps a little announcement or something reminding people that when they are finished breakfast and one cup of tea there are other people waiting for a table he told me the Brits are their primary customers and he would not do anything to ruin their vacation forget about our vacation. So if you like fat greasy sausages,ham and/or bacon and other foods we didn't recognize and you like eating standing up then I recommend the Horizon Court on the Sea Princess. The Gym The Gym on the Sea Princess is there to say they have a gym. It is not intended to be used by semi serious health conscience people. The main piece of equipment was a Nautilus circa 1950 so full of rust and corrosion that I was worried about cutting myself and requiring a tetanus shot. The life cycle bicycles were of the same vintage and sad also. When I mentioned this to the poor guy running the gym he agreed it was pretty sad. The vast majority of the passengers on this cruise didn't care if there was a gym as they were not going to use it anyway! The Room The worst part of the experience was our room Dolphin 316. If you have to take a cruise on the Sea Princess for whatever reason don't accept this room or any near it unless you are the type that does not plan to retire until after 1:30 to 3:30 every night while cruising. The room as measured is directly overhead of the Combo stage of the Wheelhouse bar on the deck below. The bar features small group entertainers usually two or three at most to a Combo. All the groups and there was a few used the bass enhancer to simulate "Large Combo" sounds. The speakers are attached to the ceiling onto the metal superstructure. Now everyone is aware that sound is conducted through various mediums and metal is an excellent conduction medium for the low frequency amplifier enhanced base notes! Well as we are early risers we are usually in bed after the first shows in order to be on our trips ashore the next day. Well the first night we came to the after the show in the Princess Theater. As we walked up to the room we heard loud music coming from somewhere. We then opened our door to our room and to our horror the walls were vibrating to the base notes. I ran to the pursers desk and said we can't sleep in that room and he politely pointed to nicely placed sign "there are no alternate rooms we are fully booked" Well that is when the battle began I asked for two weeks to have our room changed but it was always well we have to pick up more Brits in Barbados and what about the ones getting off? Well we will try sir but we can't promise anything right now. The battle went on for two weeks with our room never being changed. In summary after this experience with the Sea Princess we will not sail on the Princess Cruise Line again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
One lady said to me when we were disembarking that this was the first cruise she had ever lost weight on. She was not the only person to comment on how awful the food was. I was so surprised that food was as important to me as this cruise ... Read More
One lady said to me when we were disembarking that this was the first cruise she had ever lost weight on. She was not the only person to comment on how awful the food was. I was so surprised that food was as important to me as this cruise soon revealed to me. The first few days you think you have ordered badly until it begins to dawn on you that it is the food. Instead of looking forward to too many choices we began to hope there was at least one choice on the menu we wanted. Simply put the food was tasteless, unimaginative, poorly presented and without interest. Even the lobster was overcooked and I didn't even finish it. The buffet was not much better. The rooms was the smallest room I have ever been in. My partner could not go the bathroom at night without crawling over the bed. There were no drawers in the room and only one closet. The bathroom was so small that when you went to the bathroom you could sit there and turn the bed for the night. We had second seating and the room steward would call our room, to check if we were there and hang up if we answered because he/she wanted to finish for the night. One night they never even bothered to make the room. I like to play blackjack before dinner but couldn't because the tables were closed from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm while the dealer had dinner. I asked why and was told there were only 7 dealers. Funny but I don't recall much more on the other ships I was on. The ship is nice - modern and sleek with lots of nice places to sit and read. The lounge chairs are the most creative I have even seen allowing to you to block the sun from your face while you read. The entertainment was above average sort of Cirque du Soleil. I read the comment on here before I left and it gave me a wrong impression about the ship. What people refer to as Italian flair I would refer to as attitude. "We will get to you when WE are ready." The food isn't different it is bad. I don't know how this cruise line which is already heavily discounted can continue to attract people. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise