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Sail Date: January 2006
This ship is too big, Service is ok but the food is great at the buffet at the back of the ship on the 15th floor. We ate at all the restaurants and ended up only eating at the buffet which in our minds is the best service and no wait and ... Read More
This ship is too big, Service is ok but the food is great at the buffet at the back of the ship on the 15th floor. We ate at all the restaurants and ended up only eating at the buffet which in our minds is the best service and no wait and all the food you could EVER want. My mother went to a Detox talk and spent $394 on crap, yes crap as I have seen the same tablets on line for $22 and she was ripped off. The big screen for the movie was great. Be careful what you order as the ship needs to make money.....and boy do they make money. It was our first and last Cruse. My mother always talked about going on one and we had to rooms sorry (shelves) as they are so small, The way to see the world is to travel and this is not traveling, Its a big hotel that moves to 3 ports and charges you a lot to do it. One last thing, The dress up nights are for the class of people who do not get out much as they all dress up and talk about their upgrades. Please people this is not the real way to travel. Fly to the Islands and stay at a resort and rent a car and go to all the islands by ferry not 7 hours on a bus looking out the window. Well some people are happy on a shelf in an over priced over fed Hotel. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
I agree with the earlier reviewer who said rated her Zuiderdam cruise as the worst vacation shed ever had. Mine was as well. Now, normally when I read a statement like that, I assume the person who wrote it is a perfectionist, a chronic ... Read More
I agree with the earlier reviewer who said rated her Zuiderdam cruise as the worst vacation shed ever had. Mine was as well. Now, normally when I read a statement like that, I assume the person who wrote it is a perfectionist, a chronic complainer, or extremely closed-minded. I swear, I am none of those things (at least when it comes to travel). I travel quite a bit, and I understand that things happen  that can be part of the adventure, and often makes for a good story. My approach has always been to ignore or laugh off the bad stuff, and enjoy the good. Thats what I did on this cruise too, but there was quite a bit that had to be ignored& This was my fourth cruise, although its been about 5 years since my last one. Previously, Ive cruised on Royal Caribbean & Carnival. I expected HAL to be a step up, or at least on par with Royal Caribbean but I didnt find it to be so. The good: Embarkation was the best Ive experienced. Thats something I give HAL high marks for. Similarly, disembarkation was also very painless. The staff, for the most part, seemed anxious to please (although I did see some exceptions to this). The cabin was a decent size, and I really appreciated having a tub as well as the shower. We were in a partially obstructed view cabin. I booked a guarantee, but because it was the New Years cruise, it was a full ship & I got the category I booked. Not a problem. I was pleasantly surprised  the window was very large, and I could see quite a bit around the end of the lifeboat. I expected far more obstruction, actually. It wouldve been nice to have a balcony, but I just couldnt justify the cost on this particular trip  I was content to have some sunlight coming in. I peeked into the gym & saw that they had some excellent equipment, including Cybex ellipticals. I never wound up using the equipment though, because of the virus described below (I didnt want to touch equipment that other, possibly sick, people mightve touched). The ports were decent and we had ample time in most ports. Tortola was new to us, and thats the port that I was most looking forward to  I was determined to dive the wreck of the Rhone. Thankfully, I had the foresight to charter my own dive boat (nothing was going to stand in the way of my doing that dive!) And sure enough, the ship canceled their excursion to the Rhone. We met another couple who had signed up for the ships excursion, and invited them to share our charter (it worked out well all around  they got to dive after all, and we got an even better price on the charter because we had more people). Incidentally, the Rhone was the highlight of my entire cruise. It was fantastic! The bad: Our cruise was hit with the Norwalk virus. Ill admit that that has a big impact on my impression of the cruise. At first, I figured it was just bad luck with the virus  the ship cant prevent something like this from happening. But when I returned home, I checked around the internet & found a report from someone on the cruise immediately prior to ours. They reported that on the day of disembarkation, there were a lot of people who got sick in the public areas. Given this, I think HAL shouldve distributed notices warning us to be especially cautious right from the start of the cruise. I am careful to wash my hands, etc., but I wasnt thinking twice about putting my hand on the stair railing & then having a drink, for instance. And yes, I did get hit with the virus myself. (The cruise was for my 40th birthday, which was New Years Eve. I started feeling ill at dinner, went back to my cabin and spent the next 2 hours getting very sick. Definitely a birthday Ill never forget&) The hot tubs were closed once the virus officially hit (the second day) and remained closed throughout the cruise (not that you couldve paid me to get in them at that point  ugh). We spoke to someone who had paid in advance for a spa extra involving dry float tank. They were told that the virus wasnt anything to worry about with the tank, but the passenger didnt feel comfortable & wanted to cancel the treatment. They were told they couldnt get a refund. I know that the service must have been impacted by the virus as well, since some of the staff was also sick. The others had to pick up the slack (as well as serve all buffet items, salt & pepper the food, etc., since they were trying to reduce the spread of the virus and passengers werent allowed to touch anything except their own food). When I did experience some less-than-courteous staff, it was at the buffet area when we had to track someone down to serve beverages  I suspect they didnt want to get stuck at the beverage station serving a long line of people, and werent too happy at the request. But when youre trying to get a glass of water or coffee, and its roped off so you cant serve yourself, youll ask whoever is around for help. Overall, I found that the service was not as good as I expected. It was perhaps a little better than Carnival, but definitely worse than Royal Caribbean, based on what I recall of those cruises. The food was the biggest disappointment. It simply wasnt very good. There were a couple items that were excellent, but for the most part, it was very mediocre. Royal Caribbean was far better in my opinion, and Carnival was at least as good. The breakfasts were especially poor on the Zuiderdam. We ate in the dining room three times, and the selection was very slim (and never changed). The service was slow  one couple at our table waited over 30 minutes for their food to arrive, and coffee service was hit or miss. The breakfast hours were poor as well  we tried eating in the dining room but found it closed at around 8 or 8:30 AM (I cant remember the exact time, but it seemed very early). Incidentally, we spoke to a number of people who felt the same way  the food was not impressive, and definitely not on the same level as other cruise lines that had been on. The ugly: One thing that stood out to me (in a bad way) was the ships BBQ. It was truly awful. It reminded me of a cheap summer picnic that a small company might throw in a public park, with overcooked chicken and tasteless side dishes. They were pushing the drink of the day (mustve asked us 15 times if we wanted one). We only wanted water at that point, and when I went to the beverage area by the buffet, they only had one person serving. The line was very long, the server was frazzled, and it took me at least 10 minutes to bring back water for my husband and myself. (Given the fact that we couldnt serve ourselves due to the virus, they shouldve had more than one person serving, or had someone walking through the BBQ with pitchers of water & pots of coffee.) Then, at the precise minute when the BBQ was scheduled to end, they started packing everything up. While people were still eating, they were closing up chairs & removing tablecloths. We finished our food to the sound of the tables & chairs being slammed shut (including the table right next to ours  they werent only shutting down the areas that were empty&) Another night, we ordered room service and waited 25 minutes for someone to pick up the phone. My husband called at 9:40, and refused to hang up until someone answered. When they finally picked up, they informed my husband that he couldnt order his selection because it was on the served till 10 PM menu and it was after 10. I know room service mustve been extra busy due to the number of sick passengers, but that was still a pretty poor response  not something you want to say to someone who as been on hold for 25 minutes. My husband insisted on his original choice and they did eventually agree (it wasnt anything too outrageous to provide it was a chef salad!) A final note: HAL definitely does cater to an older crowd, and it does have an impact on the cruise atmosphere. I didnt think it would matter to me (Im 40 and my husband is 49), but it actually did to a degree. I felt a bit out of place. It wasnt enough of an issue that it wouldve stopped me from booking another HAL cruise if everything else had been good, but given the rest of it, I can confidently say that I wont be taking another HAL cruise, on the Zuiderdam or any other of their ships. In fact, my husband is swearing that he never wants to take another cruise on any line, because this one was so bad. I only listed a some of the issues we had with this cruise, since this is already turning into a novel. But there were so many other, smaller, things  to say it was a disappointment would be a huge understatement. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
I found the MSC Opera to be a beautiful ship with great potential; however MSC has several issues that need to be resolved before it can provide an enjoyable cruise experience. I was looking forward to a relaxing and rewarding cruise ... Read More
I found the MSC Opera to be a beautiful ship with great potential; however MSC has several issues that need to be resolved before it can provide an enjoyable cruise experience. I was looking forward to a relaxing and rewarding cruise based on the information I received from my travel agent and various web sites that critique cruises. The itinerary seemed great. The itinerary and the price was my major reason for choosing MSC, which I was unfamiliar with. However the cruise was filled with disappointment. One of the major issues was communication. This became obvious when I first boarded the ship and realized that my dining requests had been completely ignored and I had to stand in line for thirty minutes or more to get them changed. MSC did fulfill my request by the following day. There were several areas where communication was a problem. Although the dining room staff worked diligently there were few who could communicate adequately in English to explain the menu or to take special requests. I also found it difficult to get information from the reception desk concerning the itinerary. Either they were unable to communicate adequately in English or they did not know the information or how to obtain it. For example the daily paper printed the names of streets to shop at one of the destinations in the Dominican Republic. However, the name of the city was not listed. Since the port was near several small villages it was unclear if the streets listed were from one of the villages or Santo Domingo (a two hour drive away). When I asked the staff the name of the city where these streets were located they were unable to provide an adequate answer. In addition on most cruise lines we were told in the daily publications and/or over the intercom system how to get off the ship at the Ports of Call. On the MSC Opera each passenger was on their own to figure out which Deck to exit on. Another major issue was the inability of the ship to arrive at several of the ports on time. We were 2-3 hours late leaving Port Everglades due to high winds, which meant we arrived in San Juan at 8:00 p.m. instead of the scheduled 5:00 p.m. This left a little more than 2 hours to visit San Juan. One instance of arriving late can be blamed on inclement weather; however this happened at other stops as well. This problem reached its climax at the end of the cruise when we arrived into Ft. Lauderdale for disembarkation approximately 5 hours late and were unable to get off of the ship until 12:30 p.m. or later. Obviously many flights were affected. We were scheduled to disembark at 8:30 a.m. MSC attributed this late arrival to issues with Port Everglades that were beyond their control. Late arrival seemed to continually be a major problem plaguing the MSC Opera, which I have not experienced when traveling with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean or NCL. There were several other minor problems too numerous to mention (limited cuisine choices and poor food quality; unfriendly staff members; limited availability of tea and coffee; poor itinerary either due to limited time at Ports such as San Juan or St. Maarten or limited activities at Ports such as La Romana). Although many of issues were small problems in and of themselves they accumulated quickly to diminish the cruising experience. On the positive side the performances in the theater appeared professional and most people seemed to enjoy them. Our cabin stewards were friendly and hard working. Our cabin was kept clean and they were quick to get us what we needed. The same is true of our dining room staff. However, communicating with both the Cabin Stewards and Dining Room Staff was very difficult. We have traveled on other cruise lines where English was not the first language of many who worked on the ships, but there were always people available with whom we could communicate. This was not true of the Opera. There were very few people available with whom we could communicate adequately to resolve issues or gain more information. This was probably the most frustrating part of the cruise. What is most amazing is that there were several people who were on the MSC Opera a year ago. They rebooked the cruise because they had a great experience the previous year; however after this cruise they were disappointed and were not planning to rebook. I am not sure what occurred in the past year to make such a difference, but obviously something has changed. I have enjoyed all of my previous cruising experiences with various cruise lines. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, but overall they have been excellent cruises. However the same is not true with this cruise. At this time I am not planning to rebook with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
This trip was unlike any other Carnival Cruise I've been on. This was my 6th with Carnival the third time with our 3 children, agest 8-13. Our last trip on the Pride was absolutely wonderful. We were so disappointed this time. We ... Read More
This trip was unlike any other Carnival Cruise I've been on. This was my 6th with Carnival the third time with our 3 children, agest 8-13. Our last trip on the Pride was absolutely wonderful. We were so disappointed this time. We liked our inside cabin until the first night. We went to bed around midnight and realized that above us was noise that seemed as those there was a bowling alley on top of us. The noise continued all night long. In the morning we inquired at the Pursers Desk what was above us and what was going on. We found out that the galley was directly above us. There is activity there 24 hours a day. What we were most likely hearing was them rolling around carts with dishes and other items. When they dropped things, and they did, we were jolted out of our sleep. We were told at the Pursers Desk they would document our problem and we should keep letting them know the situation. There was no change in this situation all week. Even more upsetting to me then the noise was the staff. In particular the bar staff. The most unfriendly, actually even nasty and annoyed at times. I purchased soda cards for my children, but try to get them to serve the kids, almost impossible. I watched my 13 year old stand at the pool bar for a coke for 10 minutes. They avoided him and took care of everyone around him. I finally went to the bar and asked why they had ignored him and was told they did not see him. I was told this over and over at each location he tried to get a soda. The bar staff acted as though they were being inconvenienced and annoyed at my questioning them. Rosie's which is the buffet on the Lido Deck was horrible. I have never experienced lines like on this cruise. Sometimes a half an hour to get to the food. Forget it if we were in port, we opted for the dining room. Even at the grill they had one poor guy doing all the work. I felt bad for him. He was doing everything including the cooking. I felt like there was not enough staff this time. The Cruise Director was nowhere to be found except at the beginning of the shows. I heard it was her last cruise so she had pretty much checked out and didn't care about the lack of activities. There were no pool activities and far less of any activities all day. The shows were not up to Carnival standards as well. The female singer in their Las Vegas type show was so awful we had to leave and she was in more than 1 show. The open decks were so crowded there were no chairs to be found by 9-10 in the morning. It felt as though they added more passengers on this ship but didn't design enough pool and deck space. It was crowded and noisy all day. We could not find one quiet place other then on deck 3 outside the lobby. The one bright spot I did find on our trip was the Camp Carnival staff. I found them generally warm and caring. The kids had a terrific time. I never thought I wouldn't have a great vacation on Carnival. Unfortunately this cruise has left me uncertain of returning again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
A little about me before the brief review. Family of four, two boys 2 and 4. We have been on about eight 7 days cruises in the past three years (Carnival, Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean). We had two rooms, one an oceanview ... Read More
A little about me before the brief review. Family of four, two boys 2 and 4. We have been on about eight 7 days cruises in the past three years (Carnival, Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean). We had two rooms, one an oceanview and the other an interior view. The check-in process was painful. The ship arrived late, the taxi drive told us that this is common with MSC. We had to wait outside in the heat since the metal detector was at the entrance not the interior of the building. Once past the heat, the embarkation was fair. On the boat, ship is newer, nicely decorated, with very small but deep elevators. The ship is definitely long but not very wide. The room is clean to me but my wife wasn't impressed. One nice thing I would say is that there was lots of closet and space made available for you things compared to the other ships. Now to the main reason why we cruise, the FOOD! The food was at best mediocre. Another person I met on the ship put it more bluntly, "I would return it if I was at the restaurant!" However, they do have some good stuff. Their best has to be the spaghetti and the pizza. However, these things are not available 24/7. In fact, we had to time ourselves constantly for certain type of food. It seems like the food places were open for the ship's personnel's convenience. The only available food 24/7 was the room service with only about 10 items on it. They will NOT deviate even if you offer incentives. They even suggested that I not bother them and go to the buffet! I had to hang-up after telling him the line for that buffet was two miles long! One more thing, the Europeans have this thing for eggplant. I must admit that they prepare it well. However, I could only tolerate three days of consecutive eggplants. Next reason to cruise, service. Here worse in than other cruise line is the language problem. Since more than 30% of their clients are European and 70% of the worker are from Italy, there is definitely a language barrier. This may get better with time but it was frustrating for us. One big complaint from my wife is the children program or lack of it. There was an attendant there but not much beyond that. We had only two hours in Puerto Rico. St. Maarten was nice. La Romana of Dominican Republic scares me but I think it is just a developing nation with lots of people loitering about. The Cayo Leventico is MSC private beach place and it was the best stop. The entertainment was different and good. I will end it here and hope it helps with your decision to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Background Information: we have cruised Carnival several times in the past and jumped at this offer for an extremely inexpensive cruise on the Destiny. We had no idea we would be getting what we paid for. Hotel Info: We flew into San ... Read More
Background Information: we have cruised Carnival several times in the past and jumped at this offer for an extremely inexpensive cruise on the Destiny. We had no idea we would be getting what we paid for. Hotel Info: We flew into San Juan Puerto Rico the night before our cruise and stayed at the Embassy Suites. Very pleased with the hotel. Clean, great service, plenty of taxis to take you out, and close to the cruise terminal. All staff were English-speaking. Ship Info: This was the strangest embarkation process. There were 2 side-by-side lines leading up to the check-in desks. My husband was directed to get in one line, and I in the other. This occurred with all families: half in one, half in the other. It was explained to us we would "meet up" at the end of the line. The only reason we could see for this was to keep people from "cutting" in line - which we found later in the cruise was happening constantly. We spent about 2 hours approaching the desk in our separate lines and checked in. Following this, we had to wait in another line to get on the ship - this one took about 3 hours. People were cutting in front of each other, pushing, shoving, only to meet up to closed doors. We were told the ship was delayed because of people from the last cruise remaining on board too long. While we waited, there was a rap DJ singing, rapping, playing drums, making crude jokes - it was bizarre. The duty free was handing out free alcohol and all guests were encouraged to take liquor on board (very different from any other cruise). Finally we made it on board, for the worst cruise of our lives. To be honest, by the 4th day, it was comical and several other couples shared in our horror. Read on... Huge families of 8-20 people dominated the ship. In the lines for the buffet or pictures, one person would stand in front of you, only to have dozens more arrive as you approached your turn. Walking through the halls we noticed huge families sharing tiny rooms - reeking of smoke and alcohol, screaming into all hours of the night. It was like being in an MTV video for a week. On formal night we counted 8 middle-aged women in their old, yellowed wedding gowns from the past. It was weird. The bars were literally deserted at all hours - bartenders told us they were shutting down early and/or asking for other ships to be transferred to because no one was buying drinks or tipping the entire cruise. The only place with any people was the Latin Club, which screamed into the night. The alarms around the photo booths where one could purchase photos were constantly going off as guests tucked photos into their clothes and ran like thieves in the night. I could write about dozens of situations, but you get the point: lines and cutting, children screaming, insanity abounded. We could make a movie out this trip. Service: to be honest, we had very good service. Most of the staff were openly frustrated and as appalled as we were; stating this is "typical" for this cruise ship. Staff who were employed on other ships before reported they had never had such a terrible experience - and it's the same every week. Since my husband and I buy drinks and tip well, after a few days, they were terribly attentive, thankful for the gratuities. We found out from a couple staff members that whatever rooms aren't book prior to the ship leaving are sold to locals for $200/person. Shore Excursions: greatly enjoyed! We SCUBA dive and had a fantastic time at every port. Aruba was spectacular - both on the island and in the water. Dominica is still the best dive we've ever experienced with an incredible wall reef. Few passengers left the boat as long as the buffets were open, so we had the islands to ourselves! Stateroom: nothing spectacular, but clean and well maintained by staff. No complaints. We had a balcony room and were happy. Some friends of our roomed above the Latin Club and complained daily for a new room, as they were up into all hours of the night because of the noise. They were turned down for a room change daily.... Disembarkation: we were all called into the theater according to deck and color card. After waiting over an hour, we were instructed that each row starting in the front would be able to disembark. Low and behold, dozens of people starting sneaking in the front door of the theater and cutting in the exit line. I couldn't stand it anymore and asked a staff member to intervene, which they did, only to have more arrive and push their way into the line. Summary: I wouldn't take this cruise again if it was free. The stress associated with giant screaming crowds that cut in front of you isn't worth it. I would definitely cruise Carnival again on any other ship they have. I would also visit these islands again - just not on this ship! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
What follows is what we discovered aboard RCI's Mariner of the Seas (or should that be "Monster of the Seas"? WHAT WAS GOOD BOARDING: Speedy and painless. We did to the online check-in, and it really helped. We arrived ... Read More
What follows is what we discovered aboard RCI's Mariner of the Seas (or should that be "Monster of the Seas"? WHAT WAS GOOD BOARDING: Speedy and painless. We did to the online check-in, and it really helped. We arrived at Port Canaveral around 10:30, checked in and by 11:15 we had deposited our carry-ons in our stateroom and checked out the main dining room. Fastest and easiest boarding we had ever seen. CREW: With a couple of exceptions (below) they were just great. Courteous, helpful, cheerful. Everything positive. WEATHER DECKS: Cleaned daily, washed down before 5:00 a.m. A great deck crew. DECK LOUNGES & CHAIRS: Better than average and comfortable. Unfortunately many were messed up with the potions that sun bunnies apply to themselves, even though they were cleaned daily in the early morning. WINDJAMMER PERSONNEL: All were very patient, kind, cheerful, and they couldn't do enough for you. We've never seen better service in the "casual dining area" of a cruise ship. EGG HARBOR: One of the two locations where you could get hot food, as it was cooked while you waited. The personnel was cheerful, prompt and efficient. HOT CEREAL/SOUP AREA: The second location where hot food was available. Having hot milk, walnuts, almonds & raisins available was a class act. The soups were OK, and they were hot! STATEROOM: Once again, RCI has the smallest staterooms in the cruise industry (at least in our experience). Alfred, our cabin steward could not be faulted. He and his assistant did a great job. We were lucky enough to be assigned to 8211, which is the last starboard forward inside cabin, it was very quiet. No one was across from us. THE SHIP: This leviathan rode very well in the gentle seas, and the propulsion system was noiseless, except for the bow thrusters. It is a beautiful ship, and "THE DECK PATROL" did a great job keeping up with the litterbugs. SHOWS: The ice show was really great. We enjoyed the comic magician, the comic duo, but not the comic from New York who drew his material from negative stereotypes and senior citizens. Most of the shows were late, and we skipped them. WHAT WAS BAD AND UGLY INCORRECT INFORMATION: Evening attire: Our cruise documents listed two formal, three smart casual, with the remainder casual, and we packed accordingly. Actually, there were two formal nights and the remainder casual. BERTHING AREA: Going two and from our stateroom we had to run a gamut of room service dishes which littered the hallway. It wasn't the responsibility of the stewards to pick these things up, so they just accumulated, an unsanitary and unsightly scene. FOOD IN GENERAL: It was never hot, in fact I suspect that bacterium were feverishly multiplying in the "friendly" environment of food which was just above room temperature, i.e., lukewarm. Even though I got a fresh slice of pork from the roast and was told that it was hot, it was tepid. We always took our "hot" food to a table immediately after getting it. On a scale of 1-10, the food was about a 3. HAMBURGERS & HOT DOGS: Again, they were never hot, even when we went ashore on Labadee for the "barbecue." If they cooked the stuff there, it would sit in serving pans for a long time before we could get to it, and it was dangerously cool. BREAKFAST: Again, cold gray sausages, cold bacon, scrambled eggs that could be called warm. While waiting for an omelet at "EGG HARBOR" I saw breakfast potatoes being removed from the fryer. Aha, I thought, I'll at last have some hot fried potatoes. Never! The potatoes were delivered to the "hot breakfast" area, and stored below, waiting for the cold potatoes to be consumed, and then, only then, would they be brought forth, probably quite cool. FOOD IN GENERAL: We felt that the temperature of the food was dangerously cool, never hot enough to prevent bacteria from multiplying. The menu was monotonous. COFFEE: Contrary to claims, it was not available 24 hrs, and three out of ten days, the machines in the Cafe Promenade were down, while personnel who were supposed to be attending to the machines were engaged in conversations with passengers. Seattle's Best is really good coffee, but the quality varied. This was, of course, around six a.m. At that time, the place was such a mess that a self-respecting pig would not have been caught dead in the Cafe Promenade area. INTERIOR DECKS (PUBLIC AREAS): Cafe Promenade wins the dirtiest, greasiest and slipperiest deck award, hands down. They also came in first with being generally littered and unclean. 1st Runner-up was Johnny Rockets. I stepped through the door and nearly took a header on the greasy deck. It wasn't wet, didn't look dirty, but it was very slippery. 2nd Runner-up was the Royal Promenade, with very slippery areas, because of careless passengers dropping foodstuffs, soda, coffee on the deck." The Windjammer should be mentioned here, because of the many children (and careless "adults"), who dropped all kinds of food on the deck. There were extremely slippery areas, and we had to walk as if we were on ice. Apparently those responsible for cleaning these areas only damp-mopped the decks, leaving the grease from thousands of dropped french fries etc. on the deck. In fairness It must be said that there were literally hundreds of adults teenagers who frequented these areas, and they left a mess wherever they went. Examples of anti-social behavior: Cigarettes ground out on the hall carpeting. A fat kid was driving golf balls with a putter, several landed on the aft deck, He came down, and began swinging the putter like a baseball bat. A gentleman spoke to him about it, and he continued his obnoxious and dangerous behavior. I found "Security" and they took care of the matter. Unsupervised kids were a very big problem on this cruise, blocking stairways, refusing to move, bumping into people as they walked. There was always debris in the elevators in the early morning . . . crushed beer cans, spilled beer, soda cups, coffee cups. The crew just could not keep up with this. It's difficult for us to understand why people think they can just drop their litter where they are, and always expect someone to pick up after them. Do they do this at home? I realize that RCI is not responsible for the behavior of their clientele, but they failed miserably in enforcing their own rules concerning behavior, dress, etc. MUSIC AND DANCING: A bad situation as nothing happened until after ten p.m. CAPTAIN'S WELCOME ABOARD: Done in the Royal Promenade, one of the worst in our experience. We really didn't need a Captain who is a would-be comic. AND NOW . . . THE PIECE de RESISTANCE It was impossible to get a table for two (at least that's the first story we got from the assistant maitre d'. He advised us to come back in the morning on the second day of the cruise. I felt that he was waiting for his palm to be crossed with silver. We were assigned to table 506 in the Sound of Music dining room, main seating. We showed up for dinner at six p.m. The waitress, Amalia, came, introduced herself, etc. We asked her if it was necessary for us to wait until the other guests assigned to our table appeared before we could order. No, she said, it's not necessary to wait until the others appeared for us to order. She indicated we could order earlier. She was also pushing wine on us, and didn't seem happy that we were non drinkers. Meantime, the next table was full and her attention was directed there. We had been waiting to order for ten minutes. The other people assigned to our table, a family with two little girls, showed up at six-fifteen. It was then that she came back to our table, took my wife's order, ignored me, and went to one of the little girls making a big fuss over her, getting her order. I turned to my wife, and said, this is not going to work. So we took our only option and left the table. As we were leaving the dining room, a supervisor asked us if everything was all right and I replied in an emphatic no. At this point we just were fed up with this situation. He was all apologies, asked us what happened . . . and told us that we could have been given a table for two at the outset, as they could have brought one out. We took all our evening meals at the Windjammer, and were very happy with the personnel and good service there. We have never experienced treatment like this from a waiter or waitress on any of our cruises. She deliberately took my wife's order, ignored me (to put me in my place) and perhaps thought we were first-time cruisers. It was odd, that she asked us how many cruises we had been on and I replied "around twenty." She really did not listen, and was only making "polite" conversation, and giving lip service. DISEMBARKATION: This could and did ruin what might have been a good experience for a lot of people. It took us four (4) hours to get from our mandatory exiting the stateroom at eight a.m. to get to our car in the garage. In fairness it was not all RCI's fault, as there were 1500 foreign nationals vs. the usual 300, and the immigration personnel were overwhelmed. While we were waiting we did not hear one positive comment about this cruise. Unhappy campers were in the vast majority. IF . . . You are a first-time cruiser, have kids, and wish to let them run wild, this is the ship for you. You will find that the dress-code, rules of behavior, rules concerning two-way radios in the restaurants and anti-social behavior is tolerated on the "Monster of the Seas." It's not for us, and neither is any other RCI ship. PREVIOUS CRUISES: Jun 1989, RIVER CRUISES, -- Paddlewheeler Julia Belle Swain, GD Sep 1993, US NAVY TIGER CRUISE, USS Halsey CG23, HI-CA, EXC Nov 1997, CAPT. COOK CRUISES, Murray Princess, Australia, EXC Jan.1993, RCL Majesty of the Seas 1st big cruise ship, we were green May 1998, US NAVY TIGER CRUISE, USS Fife DD 191, HI-WA, EXC Apr 1998, US NAVY TIGER CRUISE, USS Fife DD 191, HI-WA, EXC May 1999, DELTA QUEEN STEAMBOAT CO, Delta Queen, EXC Sep 2000, US NAVY TIGER CRUISE, USS Fife DD 191, HI-WA, EXC May 2001, HAL Maasdam. E. Caribbean, VD Feb 2002, HAL Rotterdam, S. Caribbean, exc. ship decor, EXC May 2002, CARNIVAL Pride, W. Caribbean, garish decor, VG Sep 2002, CELEBRITY, Mercury, Panama Canal, Rail & Sail FR Dec 2002, CARNIVAL Spirit, E. Caribbean, nice decor, VERY GD Apr 2003, HAL Statendam, CA-HI, good all around, VERY GD Aug 2003, CARNIVAL Paradise, E. Carib., non-smoking ship, EXC Sep 2003, CARNIVAL Paradise, W. Carib., non-smoking ship, EXC Dec 2003, HAL Noordam, E. & S. Caribbean, VG Mar 2004, HAL Volendam, W. Caribbean Wayfarer, VG May 2004, MSC, Lirica, West Indies, GOOD Nov 2004, HAL Prinsendam, 28-day Amazon River Explorer, VG Feb 2005, CARNIVAL Glory, E. Caribbean, POOR Mar 2005, CARNIVAL Glory, W. Caribbean, POOR July 2005, CARNIVAL Miracle, W. Caribbean, EXC Dec 2005 RCL Mariner of the Seas, E. Caribbean REVIEW COMING UP Apr 2006 HAL Ryndam, S. Caribbean INCLUDING ARUBA! Sep 2006 CARNIVAL Sensation, Bahamas (a short one) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
My new wife and I, yes, this was our Honeymoon vacation of what was supposed to be a grand ship with lots of Mediter. flare and fancy. The Ship of dreams, or so we thought.... Oh yeah it was a dream, it was a NIGHTMARE! First to shed some ... Read More
My new wife and I, yes, this was our Honeymoon vacation of what was supposed to be a grand ship with lots of Mediter. flare and fancy. The Ship of dreams, or so we thought.... Oh yeah it was a dream, it was a NIGHTMARE! First to shed some perspective, I am 28, (attorney) my wife, Tara (nurse), is 27, and we both have cruised numerous times before on various lines and generally enjoy cruising. We selected Magica basically because of the newness of the ship and the size, expecting lots of space and functioning mechanics without breakdowns, etc.... We could not have been more wrong - cramped spaces and low end A/C system!!!!! Seriously, my wife, who is a stubborn, strong willed, "tough" girl was in tears by day three begging the staff to get us tickets to fly home and get off of this horror! First of all, boarding on Monday the 26th was a complete disorganized mess, with RUDE Costa employees yelling at everyone to get in line, make circles, then reversing the lines, then reversing them again, while they let the Italians, Hispanics, French, and German passengers sneak in line, push people, shove people, kids kicking and hitting other passengers, etc and said nothing. My first complaint was the four hour line getting into embark. process. It was awful. No one knew what was going on. We finally got on the ship after 4:00, starved, and found nothing but hot dogs and horrible cheeseburgers, and I will say now, the one variety of pizza on this ITALIAN based ship was cheese, and ONLY cheese, all the time cheese pizza and dry foccacia (pizza dough cooked with a couple spices). No pizza bar, no pasta bar, no toppings, no nothing. Tasteless sandwiches, fatty, salty proscuitto ham cold cuts everywhere, and nasty tea and juice "cocktail" sugar saturated drink substances. We decided after realizing there wasn't any real buffet of any kind offered after this long line of hell to skip it and wait for the nighttime dining experience. We headed to our Honeymoon cabin - room # 1007 as Costa had told us they had no balcony rooms when we booked but would try to get us in a room we would like. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Room 1007 is one of the smallest on board, a handicap room --- why ----- I have no idea as neither us are handicapped or requested one..... Oh, by the way, room 1007 is not air conditioned. We knew by dinner the A/C was going to be a problem as neither of us could breathe in the room and it was dead stale air coming through the vent. We called and reported it, let's call it request #1. OH, did I mention, by dining time, (2nd seating), 9:00 the Magica had yet to pull out of Lauderdale, as they apparently were waiting on one passenger. So the cruise for the rest of the week was delayed- getting us to Puerto Rico extremely late (after dark) on Tuesday for a mere four hour port of call in San Juan. Dinner on night one allowed us to experience the only real highlight of our cruise, our dining buddies, Pete and Alison from Chicago. What a totally cool couple. The one thing Costa nailed was hooking us all up as we were the same age and personalities, etc..... So much fun! - So kudos on that one Costa - we have made new friends that will be lifelong I am sure- they got engaged onboard and we got to be part of it, truly touching and romantic! Great people - and from Chicago USA!!!! Dining in the dining room was an overall decent experience, but probably more from the pre dinner booze and good conversation with our new friends. Pete and I often commented that no matter the variety of meat we were offered, it all tasted the same and joked that it came from the same hunk of whatever it was that we called "mystery meat" - one day pork, one day veal, the next day lobster (all the same flavor and texture, just different shape and color). ;o) The food on a scale of one to ten in the dining room would be a 5 at best on its best night, and probably more like a 3 or 4 on most nights. Dessert choices were awful, as I opted for the sorbet every night and it was the most watered down, over sweetened sorbet I have ever had. Service was ok, we liked our waiter and his assistant, but overall the major complaint with Costa was the lack of customer SERVICE and special attention to its guests. After dinner we found a note that the A/C was as good as it would get, so I called again. They sent a guy up that told me to turn off all the lights in the cabin and it might be cooler, so forget any reading or planning for the next day, enjoy your dark - hot cabin, honeymooners! aka, the SWEAT BOX! We didn't sleep very well on the hard as rock beds, the mattresses seriously, no lie, are less than 2 inches think and on metal frames. Horrible, I talked to several guests that slept on the decks as the pool chairs were much more comfortable than the beds. My wife's neck was so sore the first three days she felt as if she had been rear-ended by a bus. My TMJ in my jaw has been bothering me since night one on these Hard Huge over firm pillows and hard as stone beds. Accommodations in the cabin SUCKED to say the least. No shampoo, conditioner, funny things left by the porters each day to keep you amused as we've found on other lines.... We did get a plate of dates and figs for Italian good luck on New Years eve and that was it! Just yumyumeroo! NOT, I won't even tell you what my wife and Alison said those figs looked like! We continued to complain and ask to switch cabins for 3 days when finally in St. Thomas someone did not get back on the ship and they offered us a DOWNGRADE to a smaller cabin, and, no lie, suggested that one of us should stay in one cabin, and they would let us keep 1007 for the other so we would have more space and maybe be more cooler. Nice idea, Costa, you actually thought you were doing two Honeymooners a FAVOR by offering them to stay on separate ends of the ship. I blame a lot of that on the LANGUAGE barrier- no one speaks english on this Lauderdale based cruise!!!!! Wake up calls on the phone are in Italian and you can't understand it to program it! Then they want you off on a few ports by 8 AM! I continued to try and explain to these Italian speaking people that this was unacceptable, and was told to go back to my cabin and "you're welcome". NOT a single freebie or comp offered, no chocolate on pillow, no "congrats" or a free bottle (or even a glass) of cheap champagne, which every other cruise would have provided. Not a single ounce of attention that it was our honeymoon. and it was explained and on our reservations, I read it on their computer myself. Captains night offered low budget champagne and an orange juice concocted "whiskey sour". whateva! ICK! The shows are ok, the highlight is the last night on board you have toga night. Everyone is supplied a bed sheet and a crown to wear to the dining room and then attend Roman night to "judge" the talent show of passengers on board. That was the best part of the entertainment all week - and they were amateurs - just passengers on board- but they were really very good! NO comedians all week, just the same dancers - ok, I'll admit it, the dancers are pretty good looking, but that is about the only thing I can say good about the shows. The low end Carnival last year we did had MUCH better entertainment and a nice variety. My wife was so pissed the night of the Newlywed Game as we had hoped to participate then at the last minute MAX, the cruise director decided to pick couple that had been married like 50 years! Yeah MAX why call it the NEWLYWED GAME! ??? again no special attention to the newlyweds on board... and we talked to a couple others that felt slighted the same way. The only place we really enjoyed was the piano bar - the bartender in their - Richard from the Philippines - and pianist, Lucky, from South Africa had real customer service skills. They were fun, got to know the four of us, and we all loved it up there. The only two nice staff on the ship were Richard and Lucky. The cruise director, MAxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!, has a head the size of all of Europe and is very stuck on himself. He basically loves himself so much he speaks all the time, oh and you get him on 5 of the 7 channels giving different talks on the TV all week along if its not enough seeing him all night every night. ( on day 6 they are still running his welcome speech on channel 8) While on that subject, the TV selection is ABC / NBC / and a dozen foreign channels. And for an 8.95 fee you too can see "Meet the Fockers" which has been on DVD for a year! Only reason we wanted to watch the boob tube was to relax because the pool decks FORGET ABOUT IT! There were so many rude Europeans on this ship that took up all the space, smoking, talking VERY loudly, letting their kids go crazy....... It was a panic attack every time you went to a main deck as there was nowhere to walk, everyone was pushy and shovy, would cut you off getting on elevators, getting in line to get off the ship, buffet lines, etc..... This cruise line clearly does not like nor cater to the Americans, the crew and staff was not friendly except the two mentioned above. All seem VERY unhappy to be onboard, no smiles, no going out of their way to take care of you. THAT is my main beef, I say again, LACK OF ANY KIND OF CUSTOMER SERVICE, send the Disney Corp. in for a 10 day makeover - this cruise sucked. We paid a premium since it was New Years, very little New Years eve activity, the 11 year olds ran the disco every night, drinking, smoking, no one saying a thing! Hell, they were playing slots and the casino games at the tables with me all week as well. You feel like a third or fourth rate citizen on this ship as an American. Everyone talks in code even if they can speak English - they purposely don't to leave you out and feel like you are in a tower of babbling tongues. The ports of call: San Juan, St. Thomas, Catalina Island/Casa De Campo- Dominican Republic, and Nassau were very short stops, two of them being after dark (San Juan & Casa de Campo). We enjoyed the shore excursions we did - they were nighttime activities, and they were nice. Not quite sure how they offered it, but many opted to Kayak in the dark in San Juan. and then by midnight we were back on the ship for more SWEAT BOX. There was nowhere to relax on this ship. NO WHERE, we wanted to get off and not get back on when we were in port. To sum it up - RUDE people, bad food, lackluster entertainment, big bookoo bucks at this time of year, MEGA bookoo bucks on bar bill and extras, hell they take the tips from you at 8.95 a day per person and take away your ability to tip who you really want! So you end up spending even more on tips -- all said and done, this was over a 6K trip for a week, and we didn't even have an outside cabin. Costa comped us nothing for our troubles with no A/C and the split room on opposite ends of the ship from each other they wanted us to spend our honeymoon in rooms across the ship from each other!!!!! I still can't get over not even one free drink for this s&*t! I must say I will NEVER cruise COSTA again and this week of hell makes me not want to cruise at all again for fear this nightmare could happen again. I'd rather take my money, go to Hawaii, get a NICE suite, with space, and relax and take my time - and eat at 5 * dining and know I am getting a filet or a piece of prime rib when they say it is! Now, we are home, thank God, and back with some space to move, no shovy LOUD smoky Euros (and smelly - deodorant would have gone a LONG way for a lot of these folks on board!) and the A/C in Florida working well. I am off to my nice comfortable bed for the first time is 8 nights and can't wait to flip on the DirecTV -- Trust me people, if you can get out now- DO - DON'T DO THIS ONE!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S SO NOT WORTH IT. Pretty ship, nothing more can I say positive other than Richard the bartender and Lucky the pianist and our new friends Pete and Alison! I would grade this a C- / D overall experience and that is being VERY generous---- Costa - oh yeah, it'll cost ya! Horrible experience. Feel free to email me for more questions / thoughts / slams on this ship :o) mcrumpton@swfla.rr.com Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
the crew wewe not as accomadating as all other cruise lines i have sailed on.from the guest services desk to the cabin stewarts quarters. request were met with an attitude of why are you bothering me. i traveled with my granddaughter who ... Read More
the crew wewe not as accomadating as all other cruise lines i have sailed on.from the guest services desk to the cabin stewarts quarters. request were met with an attitude of why are you bothering me. i traveled with my granddaughter who is 18, and one cre member(intertainment staff, juan)suggested she come to his cabin. matier d in main dinning room was not accomodating when asked to check for other seating, not just me but several others were told to get out of HIS dining room. our water(ansel cristy)was excellent. but he also was shouted at when trying to help us. the lady in charge of the photos was also quite condescending. the matter of digging through boxes of photos to find yours was a bad idea. we bought many photos but the settings were not the quality of other cruise lines. one photographer was excellent and really knew how to pose individuals, sorry i did not get his name. best part of all intertainmemt was toga night, but should have included more for cruisers, such as contests etc. this was my first costa cruise,and im sorry to say my last. the cleanliness of the ship was outstanding,rmbarkation was swift, but that is about the only good things on my list Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
I want to start by saying that this review is for people who are very careful in choosing their cruises and value opinions of fellow travelers. It is not negative, as you might think at first. I tried objectively to point out things that ... Read More
I want to start by saying that this review is for people who are very careful in choosing their cruises and value opinions of fellow travelers. It is not negative, as you might think at first. I tried objectively to point out things that were different on this ship/cruise and things that we did not enjoy. If you cruise for itinerary or just cruise on every ship there is, you would not pay attention to reviews anyway. However, if all you can do is one cruise a year and you look forward all year to that cruise  you might find my points helpful. I will not go over obvious things like food on Princess is better then on Carnival, service on Princess is better then on NCL, or entertainment in general is more interesting and more varied here then on Holland America but much less so then on Carnival. My purpose is to describe our experience with Caribbean Princess and not to generalize about cruises or Princess Company. We just returned from our Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Caribbean Princess. This was our 12th cruise all together, and 2nd cruise on Princess. We have cruised on Sun Princess 3 years ago and were not impressed with service and amenities of this line. However, we decided to try this ship and this company again because we were told that this is a grand class ship and very different from anything else afloat. For the first time we took out kids and my parents along on the cruise. To begin with, we were not impressed with this ship and do not think that it has more class than any other ship. Moreover, we were overwhelmed by crowds, lines and just mass of people on this ship. We sailed with a full ship of 3200 people onboard. There were constant lines everywhere  you could not get a table, a lounge chair, a drink, a seat at the theater, a seat at the lounge, or simply get on or off the elevator. The ship was not designed to hold 3200 passengers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You could feel the lack of space everywhere. You had to come to the theater 40 minutes before the show just to have a sit. You had to have lunch at the buffet at odd hour in order not to stand in the line for 20 minutes. One day after standing in a buffet line for 15 minutes, I walked with a plate of food for another 15 minutes on deck 15 just trying to get a table, and after not finding one I just settled for a lounge chair that miraculously was available. Most annoying on this ship were hordes of people everywhere. You could not find a quite place. There were never chairs available at the game room, at the lounge, or at the club. Since I had to accommodate for my kids and my parents, I was running up and down the stairs all day long because I could not get on the elevator for the life of me. Now from the beginning: The embarkation area is not big enough to handle 3200 people out of the ship and 3200 people in the ship. It is a mess. We arrived at 11 am and people were still leaving the ship, the line to get onboard was about 1500 people. Doors opened at noon and after that the process went very smoothly. By 1 pm we were onboard. We dropped our bags and went exploring the ship. We were looking forward to seeing a big screen movie theater. It was impressive and kids liked it. The best about it was night time watching when pool is closed and you are just relaxing under a warm blanket. They have second run for most movies, however selection was very poor. They mostly had last year movies for kids  Finding Nemo, Shrek, Incredibles  and pretty old adult movies  Shall We Dance, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tina Turner in concert. So even thought it was a good idea, and we hoped to catch up on newer movies, we did not use it because selection was very limited. (To compare to Celebrity, they were playing all new releases in their theater last year). I have to say a few good words about the spa. They have great variety of treatments available and some of them are very reasonably priced. I took a tour of the spa, and would use it if I was on the ship without kids and parents. This trip I had no time for myself. I used the beauty salon and was impressed with Ken, who colored and styled my hair. Most of the people at the spa and salon are impressive. Overall, the ship is very tastefully decorated, very nice colors and scheme selection, and very relaxing environment. However, atrium is too small and not very impressive. (To compare to Carnival, there were no 11 story atrium on this ship. It is also not as wide and spacious as RCCL). Crooner's piano lounge is jammed in the corner with only a few tables and always full of people. Club Fusion is a great idea and a very useful space. The only one that seemed to have empty chairs at most times. Skywalker is the ship-top disco with a magnificent view and poor music selection (calypso, western, English bands). The Wheelhouse Bar has musical duet with less than average musical abilities. They also have quartet but we never seen or heard them on the ship. Explorers' Lounge is another nice place that is used as movie theater, comedy club, art auction center, and for all other purposes. It is also crowded most of the time. The environment had changed to the better since our last cruise on Princess. And service had improved. They were still forcing you to buy cola stickers, but only on the first day. You still got myriads of sale flyers in your mail slot, but we just learned to toss them without reading. You still got annoying announcements about art sales and such, but we learned to tune them out. The shops are small and not very broad selection, however they had very beautiful Italian made costume jewelry and some nice shawls and purses. I got snubbed by cosmetic sales girl for asking her about newer cosmetic line of Lancôme, otherwise it was ok. Our cabin was on Baja deck with covered balcony. Cabin (203 sq ft) was too small for 4 of us and balcony was small, the shower was laughable. Room attendant was good, service was good. I was surprised to see the balconies below us without cover and privacy. I knew that some were covered and some were not, but this was ridiculous. My husband and I enjoy private dinners late at night and sometimes get intimate on the balcony, but on this ship you felt exposed no matter on what deck you were. Food was an experience on this ship. Buffet featured long lines, crowded rooms, permanently occupied tables, and mostly cold food. Dining room had poor selection, food was tasteless, and there was nothing delicious, special or gourmet. We are used to soups, salads, and lots of vegetable dishes for our everyday meals, but also enjoy gastronomical adventures that are usually available on most ships. Here was an exception. Most of the nights, I had shrimp dishes because there was nothing else to choose from the menu. I had soup once, lobster bisque, and it was just so-so, the rest of the nights soups were uneatable. You had to go to the buffet to get a good salad, and also I had to find some food for kids (they do not eat cheeseburgers, pizzas, and hot dogs) and it was an ordeal. Few nights we went to the dining room to avoid crowds at the buffet and after not finding food that kids or parents can eat at the menu, had to return to the buffet at a later time. We solved food problem by ordering juices and fruits to the cabin each morning, and having salads for lunch, dinner was problematic most nights. One night they had Indian cuisine, another night Creole, next night Chinese/Japanese, next night Caribbean/Jamaican  needless to say we hoped for some nice Italian, French, or American dishes. We are not big meat eaters, so we did not go to Sterling Steakhouse. And I could not justify $120 for Italian meal on the ship at Sabatinis. Room service offered a selection of cold sandwiches and Caesar salad. I am used to ordering veggie tray with dips, cheese and pastry trays from room service to have with our wine on the balcony. On Princess you had to pay extra for these items. I also did not order in-cabin dinner service for $50 per person because of the lack of space in the cabin and no privacy on the balcony. Entertainment was a huge disappointment. The 750-seat Princess Theater is always crowded; you cannot reserve chairs there and have to be there at least 40 minutes before the show in order to get a sit. The so-called production shows were amateurish at best. I was ashamed to have my parents next to me on these shows after I raved about other shows on Carnival and Celebrity to them. There were in total 4 comedians, 2 English singers, magician, juggler, 2 production shows, and crew entertainment night. We walked out on most of them. After 12 cruises, this was the WORST entertainment ever !!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My school plays were more professional than that. They had no choreography, no great dancers, no special effects, very limited costumes and terrible decorations. I do not know if this is what they have on all Princesses sips now, but it was very different 3 years ago. We are used to one Broadway style show, one Las Vegas show and one music and dance show on the 7 night itinerary. Here they had 2 music and dance shows and both of them unprofessional and just a pretty lame affair. Because of the young kids, we could not go to the late night parties. So champagne waterfall at 11:30 pm was too late for us to attend. Midnight dance party at Skywalker was also out of reach. Tropical dance party was nothing special, just your typical island party music and dances. Huge Huge Huge disappointment with entertainment. Port stops were very nice; Princess Keys is a wonderful stop. They have provided everything on the beach including food and did not overlook any details. St. Thomas is beautiful as always. And St. Martin became one hot island since the last time we visited. Many great shops, beautiful beaches, French designer clothes, nice promenade. Overall, ship is too crowded; it cannot and should not accommodate more than 2500 people. It has no room and no facilities for 3200 people. Crew tried to do their best and they were able to achieve amazing results with little space that the ship has. They work twice as hard as on any other ship just trying to cover for the lack of space. The service was very good and everyone was very nice and helpful considering the limitations. My husband was very disappointed with the cruise and rated it below expectations. My kids liked child care onboard and enjoyed going there and watching movies on the big screen. My parents were disappointed with swarm of people, poor food selection and bad entertainment. I wouldve had a better time if we were cruising alone, my husband and I, without kids and parents. But since I had no great hopes to begin with, I think that it met my expectations except for entertainment, lack of space, and crowds of people. European Cruise Lines (4), Regency Cruises (1), Carnival (1), NCL (1), RCCL (1), Celebrity (2), and Princess (2). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Got to pier at 10:00 Sat. morning.  I know we were a little early, but figured better to wait here, than motel. Ship didn't finish unloading until 11:00. There was total chaos at the loading zone. There were 150 travel agents to do a ... Read More
Got to pier at 10:00 Sat. morning.  I know we were a little early, but figured better to wait here, than motel. Ship didn't finish unloading until 11:00. There was total chaos at the loading zone. There were 150 travel agents to do a ship inspection and a wedding party, beside the regular customers. No one knew who went where. My wife is in a wheelchair, and that didn't help, of course. Finally. at 11:50, we were able to process, and go on board, but not to our cabins, because they wouldn't be ready until 1:30. By the way, pre registering on line was great, as check-in took about 30 seconds. We went to the Windjammer to eat lunch. The food was fair, but we wrote that off to the crew being rushed. We have sailed Royal Caribbean 5 previous times, on a variety of ships, and never encountered anything like this. The ship is beautiful, and the cabin spacious, and comfortable, with the balcony. The rest of the afternoon we just found our way around the ship, and were impressed. It wasn't the Mariner of the Seas, but none the less, impressive. The luggage came in an orderly time. We had main seating for dinner at 6:00. The food was horrible. Six of us at our table changed dinners, but it didn't help. The waiter, and his assistant tried very hard, but they didn't cook it. Day 2 started with breakfast at the Windjammer, and again the food was horrible. The eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, etc., were all cold. That's the way it was the whole 8 days. The food in the Tides dining room was essentially tasteless, and the variety less than awe inspiring. We settled for the black angus steak as an alternative almost every night. The only meal they didn't screw up was the 2nd formal night, which offered lobster. That was delicious. I hate the thought of Royal Caribbean's food being so bad, because we never had that problem before. I hope this was an isolated case, along with our other complaints. The shows were definitely below par. There were only 2 production shows, and only one of which was pretty good. The other 5 nights they had headline acts that we walked out on. Our first time to ever do that on any cruise line. These acts were the reason vaudeville died. Management seems to have cut back on expenses in this area, and instead offering shows to appeal to all ages, they seem to be focused on the 80+ category. We will probably sail Royal Caribbean again, but if this continues on another ship. they have lost a loyal, and previously happy family. I won't go into the rest of the gory details, except for disembarkation back at Fort Lauderdale, which was another debacle, not to be blamed on customs. They told people with disabilities to go to the Tides dining room between 8:00 and 8:30. What they didn't tell us was that we'd be waiting in the narrow doorway entrance, not the dining room itself. It was supposed to be the disabled person, and one other family member. There were as many as 5 members in some parties, and nothing was done. We weren't told anything, nor were there enough crew available. More chaos. We finally got off the ship at 10:30. Except for the crew, which tried very hard to be accommodating, it was the worst cruise we were ever on, and that includes Carnival and NCL. We would never recommend the Jewel of the Seas to our worst enemy. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
Somewhere in the deepest bowels of hell, where they keep the people who have been very very bad, there is a place where the hell dwellers are forced as their punishment to spend an eternity checking in to board the Norwegian Jewel in Miami ... Read More
Somewhere in the deepest bowels of hell, where they keep the people who have been very very bad, there is a place where the hell dwellers are forced as their punishment to spend an eternity checking in to board the Norwegian Jewel in Miami over and over again. First, you stand on the sidewalk in the broiling sun for half an hour filling out a form no one told you you needed until you arrive. Then, you wait on the check-in line for another 90 minutes. Then you speak to a clueless clerk who does not know how to operate the machinery. Then you wait on another line to enter the next room. Then you wait on line to get your room key. Then you wait on line ("the sitting down line") to wait on line to get thru security. Then you wait on the security line. Then you wait on line to have your picture taken. Then you march in the broiling sun, on a metal walkway, the entire length of the ship, so that they can welcome you on board at the very bow of the ship, so that you can march all the way back to your cabin. Norwegian feels that if they make your life a living hell to get on the ship, the cruise itself won't seem so bad. It doesn't work. Think of the Jewel as a sort of big, ugly bus with high-school cafeteria food that cruises the seas. I was in a category AF mini-suite. The cabin number is 11572. This cabin is directly below the "splash down kid's club", so do not book this cabin unless you like the sound of 200 little feet pounding on your head from 9 to 5 every sea day. The mini-suite was smaller than any comparable cabin I had on Carnival, NCCL, or Princess. The decor of the cabin (and most of the ship) is "colorful". I like color but this ship looked like Walt Disney threw up on it. The predominant color scheme in my suite was lime green, hot pink, yellow and red. I complement them on the bathroom, it was large, well-appointed, has a separate toilet room, and was tastefully decorated. Best ship bathroom I ever had. Forget the all-inclusive cruise. They hit you up on this ship for everything. When three of us got done buying drinks, eating in the up-charge restaurants, and buying water, with the mandatory tipping, we went for another $2800. in 14 days. A regular drink is $4, a double (2 ounces instead of 1) is $8, and a martini can go for as much as $14.50. OUCH. Learn to love Iced Tea. The food on the poolside buffet was uniformly terrible. Low-grade institutional food. The food in the main dining rooms was mediocre, cold, small portioned, and service was what you would expect in a no-tipping situation. Of the up-charge restaurants, the Teppanyaki room and the French place were excellent. Stay away from the steak house. It is over priced and the food was inedible. Forget using any of the spa services unless you like paying extra. One more thing I will mention was the nightmare tender service in Grand Cayman. Do not use their lifeboat tenders. Use the big tenders provided by the port service or you will be stranded in a hot lifeboat bobbing in the open sea for an hour. When you return to Miami, you get to claim your luggage in a steel oven. No I'm not kidding. You claim your luggage in a steel building where the five giant A/C units which are cooling the check-in area vent out. It's like being inside an over for an hour or so. I was done. Suggestion: the Caribbean Princess. Same itinerary, light years better in every possible way, same basic price. DO NOT TAKE THIS SHIP. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
Many issues with the ship. I have been on many cruises chose the transfers with the company. If you are elderly, be prepared for a long registration. Bring water. Upon the arrival the line snaked outside the building. After being dumped by ... Read More
Many issues with the ship. I have been on many cruises chose the transfers with the company. If you are elderly, be prepared for a long registration. Bring water. Upon the arrival the line snaked outside the building. After being dumped by the bus driver I mean dumped in chaos. All I had to look forward to is a long line. They open at 1pm with 2000 people waiting. Leave it to your imagination.. It is a terminal too small to handle the crowds. Unlike Holland America its a mess. The ship is no doubt clean, great staterooms good layout but with 3200 people on it long lines, unable to find a lounge chair by pool, food service lines long unable to find a table. The island dining had issues. It was no problem if some people where absent, but a full dining room resulted in spotty service forgotten drink orders. The food was fair. In the Horizon dining room horrific. They need to stay away from serving Chinese food. Even though the kitchen staff and floor staff where trying their best 3200 people is a mammoth task. Ports of call really not worth noting individual tastes dictate. One to note Perfume Palace in St. Thomas best prices best advice I ever received. They introduced me to best skin care for me.. thankful for that. Skip your workouts 3200 on here always crowded small gym. The fitness instructor Ryan fantastic. Pool areas noisy kids seemed to be everywhere no peaceful areas. Nighttime shows great but again, try to find a seat. Promenade deck no deck lounge seats. To sum this all up, the company is owned by Carnival.. The ship is Carnivalized. Maximize space. I would recommend another cruise line. The ship is too big. The little things carrying your food tray to find a seat, always a crowd, food cold, eggs prepared for the masses, prison mess hall type food displays big vats of food..,overworked crew, congested noisy pool areas on sea days..It's simple -- the ship is too big compromising public areas to maximize people they carry. After being on 13 other cruises this one ranks at the bottom. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
We returned form a cruise on the Jewel last month expecting an outstanding trip after reading the reviews on this site and having cruised on RCCL in the past for a total of seven cruises but I AM SORRY TO SAY WE WERE VERY DISAPPOINTED. ... Read More
We returned form a cruise on the Jewel last month expecting an outstanding trip after reading the reviews on this site and having cruised on RCCL in the past for a total of seven cruises but I AM SORRY TO SAY WE WERE VERY DISAPPOINTED. We traveled on the 9/21 trip out of Boston. There were two changes on ports after we booked last year. Tortola out, San Juan in and less time in Bermuda to make room for RCCL's Victory on the pier. This was a disappointment. We traveled with my sister and her family who had two people in wheelchairs. The ship is good to get around but we had a very very hard time getting correct information about what they could do and couldn't do on the ship and in the ports and on Haiti. The stop there is NOT on an island as they say it is very much part of Haiti but very nice. We asked many people on the ship about services and were not helped at all. The standard answer was " the ship has just come from England and we don't know. The food was good in the dining room a 7 The outside spaces (rear of the Windjammer and poolside) were very dirty. Spilt drinks by staff not cleaned up and paper items left on the deck as staff walked by. I have never seen this on other lines or RCCL in the past. Our snorkeling "best in St. Maarten" was a bust with only 20 mins. in the water. Lastly the shows with the excepting of Marty Allen were very poor. The worst on the high seas. It's back to Celebrity and Princess for us. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival and we were looking forward to another great time. SHIP'S CREW: When we arrived on board, we were given maps of the ship and were left to find our stateroom, this crew never smiled ,talked, or ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Carnival and we were looking forward to another great time. SHIP'S CREW: When we arrived on board, we were given maps of the ship and were left to find our stateroom, this crew never smiled ,talked, or were friendly in any way. SMOKING: This is a smoking ship, and it is everywhere, even where there are " No Smoking " signs they are ignored. Lido Deck [ Buffet ] Every day the Lido deck ran out of coffee at breakfast, not just one machine, all machines and always all at the same time....... Scheduled events: These events were always late and that forced people to be late for everything else...... The Red Sail Restaurant: This menu never changed for seven days except one. On that day they had AMERICAN FOOD that turned out to be breaded chicken back bones. There were good things also, our stateroom and it's staff were great. Our waiters and the food in the Dining Room were excellent. The entertainment was first rate All & All we enjoyed this cruise, but it was because of the passengers not the Glory. If this was the only Carnival Ship we ever sailed on, We would not be back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
Right off the block, I got my experience of being cattle as the lines were long and lots of bodies just to get on board. Our stateroom was very nice, we had an owners suite. Nice 42 inch plasma that rotated between bed and living room. ... Read More
Right off the block, I got my experience of being cattle as the lines were long and lots of bodies just to get on board. Our stateroom was very nice, we had an owners suite. Nice 42 inch plasma that rotated between bed and living room. nice size bathroom, but toilet was crammed between wall and bidet, where it was impossible to properly wipe without standing up. Plenty of closet and drawer space. Overall, the room was very nice. Every worker on ship was polite, friendly and courteous. They made the trip as pleasant as could be. The food was terrible. The Windjammer should be renamed foodcrammer. After two visits, it was hard to pick out something to eat as you have already tried everything in hopes of finding something that was decent. The formal dining room was adequate for breakfast. but the dinner meals were an attempt at being fancy in a banquet fashion, didn't work. Limp Caesar salad every night. Steaks were poor to bad. lobster were more like langostinos. Some at our table ordered 6 or more lobster tails , but each one was about two bites. I ordered one as one was enough for me to know I didn't want more. Johnny rockets was ok to get a burger or grilled cheese and be entertained by a great set of workers. Elevators were a pain in the butt as always busy and crammed. Excursions were just ok, but i have a feeling the people running them know the mediocrity they can get away with in dealing with people on a cruise. Mediocrity is the best word to describe cruise and the people who enjoyed them. It is a very mediocre vacation with people with low expectations may find enjoyable. These people are the ones who load up on all the free stuff and think they are getting a deal. Ones who would gripe about paying an extra for $3.95 for Johnny Rockets. If you are looking for a first class experience, this isn't it. Making us dress up two nights for dinner doesn't make it first class. I was embarrassed to say i was on the cruise ship while in port as i didn't want to be lumped into the group as i think locals have less respect for those coming off the boats. Overall, good room, lousy food, crowded and boring. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
The adults on our cruise had a nice time, however the teen/preteen program left much to be desired, especially since we went on the Carnival Legend the year before. In our teen/preteens eyes, the offered program simply did not measure up. ... Read More
The adults on our cruise had a nice time, however the teen/preteen program left much to be desired, especially since we went on the Carnival Legend the year before. In our teen/preteens eyes, the offered program simply did not measure up. The teens/preteens were fairly miserable, and the issue seemed to be with a no nonsense "Nanny 911" type consular running the entire operation. She would have been delightful for the younger set, but did not seem to know how to run a teen program. After the Legend, with 2 cool Australian "dudes" running the teen program, I must say, the teens/preteens were very disappointed and refused to attend. When we went to talk to Nanny, she had a very stern personality and attitude, and we could instantly see what turned off the kids - heck, I wouldn't have gone! We have cruised quite a few other lines (Disney, Celebrity, RCCL, Carnival) and I would say, the vote from the kids was this was the worst. Other than that, it looked like a nice program for the 10 and under set. From the adult standpoint, the food left a bit to be desired.  We ate in the regular dining room and had several poor dishes, most notably rubber lobster in a horrid sauce on Lobster night. I missed the lack of exercise classes. I am not one who enjoys doing it on my own on a machine. I think there was 1 class a day at inconvenient times. The shows were very good, however I missed the raunchiness of the midnight shows on Carnival. I would say overall a bit stuffy for us! On positive side, the ship was beautiful and the rooms were very nice. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
This could have been a nice cruise. Overall I would call it good - not great. My only prior experience cruising was Carnival's Glory to Western Caribbean. It was better in many ways. The ship had one major problem. Too many ... Read More
This could have been a nice cruise. Overall I would call it good - not great. My only prior experience cruising was Carnival's Glory to Western Caribbean. It was better in many ways. The ship had one major problem. Too many children and especially too many wild - unsupervised often troublemaking teens and pre-teens. I don't mind the kids. I brought mine (7 and 9) and they enjoyed it. But the kids camp was overcrowded (sometimes a 30 to 1 kid to counselor ratio) so it wasn't as good as it should have been. The kids didn't fit in the kid area. They used the teen club during the day to house the 9-11 year olds. Now - my real gripe. There was a large contingent of rowdy new jersey and maryland teens and preteens being completely unruly. And no one - not parents or Royal Caribbean staff did anything to correct it. How about a teen climbing the smokestack - or 20 teens in a hot tub and swinging from the structure above into the way-to-crowded pool. Running, loud foul language, and late night parties in rooms of teens whose parents were oblivious and who were on another deck. We missed Port Canaveral due to Katrina (Hurricane) so the last three days were at sea. Key West is a nice stop - and Coco Cay is great. Cozumel - The shopping was disappointing, and we didn't stay long. Much better off snorkeling or some other excursion. We didn't because the weather was almost 100 degrees. Freeport - If you don't plan on going to a beach or an excursion, don't get off the boat. Freeport is a dump. The food was pretty good - but not great. My gripe about the food is this: The only other place to eat besides the dining room is the windjammer, which is the buffet. I tried eating there a three or four times and every time the same result: no tables available. I would have to stalk a table as someone was finishing and jump on it before someone else got it. This problem was caused by dirty tables not being cleared fast enough. So if you plan on eating every meal in the dining room, you'll probably be satisfied. Let me be clear about this - the unruly teen problem was not only my perception, but often the topic of conversation around the table at nearly every meal in the dining room. Teens were running down hallways at 3 in the morning knocking on doors and taking the door hanger room service requests for breakfast. (Which resulted in sitting around waiting for a meal that never showed up - and then being too late to eat in the dining room.) With fewer unruly teens on board and not missing a port, this cruise would be a lot more enjoyable. - But I would not give it a high recommendation given my experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
This was my first Carnival cruise and the first time I embarked from NYC. I have been on Celebrity's Galaxy and Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. When my family and I arrived at the port we had to wait about a half hour, ... Read More
This was my first Carnival cruise and the first time I embarked from NYC. I have been on Celebrity's Galaxy and Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. When my family and I arrived at the port we had to wait about a half hour, having to listen to a lady that kept screaming at everyone to sit in "rows". We were then put on line after line, this took about an hour and a half. When we arrived on the ship you walk into the main lobby, which my father thought was extremely nice. I thought it was strange and at first it made you very dizzy. I don't understand why Carnival would choose urns as a main decoration. Everywhere you can possibly imagine they toss in an urn. Odd. There were 4 people in my stateroom. We were pretty comfortable and there was more room in this stateroom compared to the others I have been in on other cruise lines. Dinner -- Service was excellent, however the first night we had to switch tables because 2 members of our family were put at a different table. They switched it promptly, but when we arrived to sit down, one of the maitre d's wouldn't let us in until we showed her our card, with our new table on it, which we didn't have with us. Also every night, we had to wait 10-15 minutes to get into the dining room. We had the late seating, and they wouldn't open the doors until exactly 8:15. Never had this problem on my last 2 cruises. The waiter and assistant were very good and prompt. The food was really good, better than Royal I think, but sometimes the meat wasn't cooked how we asked for it. The pools are too small for the amount of people. Children were always jumping all over the place. The chairs were uncomfortable and always breaking. There is not much going on during the day. They play dumb pool games during the day. I don't think hairy chest competitions are entertaining. On Royal Caribbean they always had something to do at all times, not in Carnivals case. The shows were good, with a one or two weird ones. Our cruise director was good and entertaining. Besides the dining staff and the cabin stewards, everyone else was unfriendly and snippy. The workers in the shops could care less. My mother needed to purchase something in one of the shops, and she forgot her seapass card, and only had cash on her. She knew they wouldn't accept cash. Instead of telling my mother, "Well I am sorry, we don't accept cash", or "Sorry but I need your seapass card", the women responded with "Too bad!" and walked away. Something else I didn't understand: The ship seemed clean but every 20 feet or so the area of the ship would stink like cheese or other poor odors. One night in the theatre the smell was unbearable. The last day in the area where the shops are located it stunk like fish. Strange. The ship also has some vibration problems for under our table at dinner we felt constant vibrations. Everything on the ship is located on the lower 2 levels. Why? The ports of call were not too great. The only thing to do in San Juan is go to the Bacardi Factory. The resorts don't let you on the beach. St. Thomas has nice beaches and good shopping. Tortola looks just like St. Thomas. There is only one beach. I would not sail on the Legend again, nor Carnival either. Maybe they should try to follow their slogan for the cruise was not as fun as they constantly claim. They need better service and more entertainment. I wouldn't recommend this ship or cruise line to anyone, unless they are looking for a poor cruise full of bad service, broken pool chairs, nothing to do, and strange decor. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
This was our honeymoon trip and I have to say that both my husband and I were extremely disappointed in Carnival, in general. Though there were some highlights, we have decided to not sail with Carnival ever again. This was our second ... Read More
This was our honeymoon trip and I have to say that both my husband and I were extremely disappointed in Carnival, in general. Though there were some highlights, we have decided to not sail with Carnival ever again. This was our second cruise, but our first with Carnival. We had an excellent time on our first cruise (with RCI) and was looking forward to a similar experience with Carnival. We were wrong. EMBARKATION: Total chaos. We dropped off our luggage and were then told to go have a seat to get checked in. We were told to sit as close to the front as possible as that is how they would begin checking people in. As we sat, we watched countless people go get in line--some were checked in, some were told to go have a seat. After about 1/2 an hour, more and more people were getting in line and being checked in--even though we had followed our original orders to have a seat and wait to be checked in. Eventually, we got to the line and checked in. This checking-in process was being completed by TWO people. I'm not sure how many passengers had to check in (I'm guessing at least 2500), and they had TWO people checking in? This just did not make sense to us. After we checked in, we were told, once again, to have a seat and then we would be allowed to get on the ship in a little while. Luckily, the process of actually getting onto the ship was a lot quicker & smoother than their checking in process. It seemed that all of the employees at the pier doing the check in procedures were not organized and did not seem to know what was going on--they were definitely not on the same page. SHIP'S APPEARANCE: The ship's interior was beautiful. The themes of each room and/or lounge was very detailed and it seemed like I was always finding something "new" to look at. FOOD: The food was average. There were a few nights at the Truffles Restaurant when I did not know what to order, as I have very simple tastes in food. I thought some of the food was too extravagant for some of my likes. Our waiter was fine, but the assistant waiter was much more personable and friendly. The food at the Lido Cafe was a bit disappointing--it seemed that they had the same food each day: the deli, the Chinese, the grill. It would have been nice to have more choices. Only two of the buffets changed daily. The "Taste of Nations" was a good idea--even though I did not eat any food from that buffet, I did like the concept of having a different nationality's food represented each day. The midnight buffets were pretty much the leftovers of the day, in my opinion. The maitre d' created a fun atmosphere in the dining room for dinner by having the waiters sing & dance--that was cute! ENTERTAINMENT: The nightly shows were definitely one of the high points of our trip. Except for the last night, all of the shows were pretty good. The "Las Vegas" style shows put on by the singers & dancers were all excellent! The comedians were funny--except for the last night. The last night of the cruise was a disappointment in the entertainment department for us. The comedian that they had was HORRIBLE--the only time I applauded is when he LEFT the stage! The singer who they brought on after him was a little better, but nothing that I would have wanted to sit through again. The ship had two late night comedy acts which were SUPPOSED to be adult only. I say SUPPOSED to be, because I'm pretty sure that there were just as many children there as adults. At the one show, the comedian actually asked a 14-year old girl to leave...but she left and came right back in about 5 minutes. If you are labeling the activity as "Adult Only", then I think it is Carnival's responsibility to check ID's before letting children into the show. For the most part, the children & teenagers ran all over the ship and had little or no respect for other guests. Again, I fault Carnival for another area: at the dance club, you had to be 16 to get in. However, alcohol is served to those people over 21. I'm not sure if they were checking ID's for alcohol or not, but I don't think it's a wise idea to let minors into a dance club that is serving alcohol. It would be a better idea to have some nights designated as "Teen Dance" and other nights for those guests over 21. I, for one, did not want to be on the dance floor with a lot of teenagers. A fight almost broke out one night and there were only two security guards (who were about 5'5" and weighed 125 pounds). There was the sing-along bar and the bar with the live band--both were pretty fun and I enjoyed myself in both of those places. The cruise director & his staff were average. No complaints, no compliments...just average. SERVICE: Again, the service was just average. I had better service on our previous cruise and I had high expectations for this cruise--but, unfortunately, my expectations were not met. SHORE EXCURSIONS: My husband did the golf excursion in St. Thomas and enjoyed himself immensely. I did not do any excursions for two reasons-- 1: they did not appeal to me; 2: I thought they were overpriced (I think this is common on all cruises--though) PORTS OF CALL: Again, I thought the ports of call were just OK. I wasn't excited by any of them--perhaps this is because our first cruise was to Hawaii, and we had excellent ports of call. It was nice to say that we were there, though! The scenery was beautiful at all three stops. Overall, the cruise was better than being at home or at work, but I was not impressed. I thought the majority of the crew was indifferent towards the guests, and the other passengers were not all that friendly either. There were WAY TOO MANY children and teenagers who were left to run all over the ship--unsupervised by their parents or Carnival staff. I felt that they did not have respect for other guests. As I said earlier, this was our honeymoon and not what we had imagined as a relaxing get-away. We both agreed that there were way too many smoking areas on the ship--especially in the lounge where you had to wait to get into the dining room. After waiting in line in a smoky lounge for our first two nights, we decided to just come to dinner 10 minutes late so we would not have to wait in line, but could walk right in. Would I recommend Carnival to others? Not unless it was for college students or college graduates looking to have a good time. I definitely would NOT recommend Carnival to couples on their honeymoon or those people who do not wish to be around children 24/7. My husband and I decided on day #2 that this would be our first and last cruise with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
Try and work with me here, our cruise was in 2002, but I just found this web site in an article I was reading and had to say something. I had been on a cruise prior to getting married, vowed I would probably not do it again. However, my ... Read More
Try and work with me here, our cruise was in 2002, but I just found this web site in an article I was reading and had to say something. I had been on a cruise prior to getting married, vowed I would probably not do it again. However, my wife, sister-in law and her husband had not been on a cruise, so I reluctantly agreed to go one more time. Royal Caribbean seemed to be the way to go, the ship, Voyager, looked great!! I have to ask....they make these enormous ships to carry literally thousands of passengers, yet they have not improved the embarkation. Here is the over view. We had adjoining cabins, with balcony's, and if I was dragged onto another ship it would have to have a balcony!! Our cabin steward was unbelievable!! As our waiter was also!! I'm sorry, who else am I suppose to tip on the vessel and why? Never met anyone else, maybe a bartender or two, but I was paying for those drinks afterall!! Where is all of the staff of this ship? Kids in the adult pool area, why was that permitted? Maybe since there was no one to tell them otherwise. We stopped at one of our favorite places, Grand Cayman, but so did 4 or 5 other ships that day, have you been to GC? then you will know how small the area is when you arrive ashore! Getting off the ship, wow that was an adventure! Once again, not enough staff to control the mob! Then when we got ashore there was no one to direct us to our excursion, after we were told to see the member of the ship's staff when we arrived, it was utter chaos to say the least! The food is mediocre at best, but that was to be expected. Service other than what we received from our cabin steward and our waiter was nonexistent. The various venues on the ship are not always open and you have to fight the mobs to sign up right away for the rock climbing wall etc... or you lose out. The "mall" area was a joke to say the least, prices on the ship are astronomical! for what you are receiving. When it is all summed up, when I go on vacation I do not want it to be dictated to me when I can do what and when, and for the first couple days of sailing....I would say that my idea of a vacation is not to be trapped on a ship with thousands of other people and have no place to get away....besides our balcony! I certainly would not cruise again, and if I had to it would not be on Royal Caribbean, as I had stated my issues to them and never received a response. So when they actually can handle the number of people they are "suppose" to be catering to while they are on vacation, let me know. I will take an all inclusive resort ANY DAY over a cruise, after using the spa etc, we had spent well over $5,000, not that the money is the issue when it comes to vacation, but it is was you are getting for the money. We went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic the year prior and had the most incredible vacation, for about half the price. Again, cruising is just not our idea of a relaxing vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
I have sailed on Carnival before and this was the worst cruise by far. The best was the Spirit when we cruised Alaska. The staff was great and the ship was beautiful. This cruise in no way compares to any that I have had. We sailed from ... Read More
I have sailed on Carnival before and this was the worst cruise by far. The best was the Spirit when we cruised Alaska. The staff was great and the ship was beautiful. This cruise in no way compares to any that I have had. We sailed from Miami after a very very long wait to board. Once on ship the rooms were nice even though the crew seemed a bit rushed and abrupt. I attributed this to the stress of boarding so many passengers. However I cruised Alaska on the Spirit and never saw any evidence of stress or abrupt behavior from any of the crew. The fun actually started the next day. It was Spring Break in the Northeast and we boarded with what seemed to be every child from New England to the Carolinas on board. Carnival has Camp Carnival but the parents did not take advantage of the activities it offered and the other passengers were subjected to many children in a confined space. Not only did the parents not enroll their off spring in Camp Carnival they let them roam the ship at will. Running down the halls at all hours of the day and night slamming doors, and yelling. Trying to get an elevator was practically impossible, it was usually full of kids, and a mess. When we finally went to the purser's desk to complain, we were told that you can't lock them in their rooms... No you can't but as a paying guest I think we deserve some peace and quiet and not have to be subjected to unruly children at all hours. Our group was not the only ones put off by these children other guest were also, and we saw and heard 2 male guests tell a group of teens to behave and stop swearing. One kid was shaking a container of mustard to squirt on others in the Mediterranean dining room and they were getting ready to fight. On the night of the gathering for returning passengers a couple that we sat with said this was their last Carnival Cruise also as they were not happy with the service or the ship. Some of the staff members were rude and acted as if they were doing you a favor by serving you, even though you were tipping them. At this gathering of returning passengers I asked one young lady for a drink and her attitude was really nasty to the point of one friend asking what "was wrong with her"? I am a returning passenger and the drinks and hors d'oeuvres were complimentary. Even so they obviously they DO NOT want repeat passengers. The food was not a bargain either, and there was often a wait for the buffet lines. Our cabin steward Justinan was a treasure and truly a shining star among his peers. Our waiter Carlton was also a sweetheart and my hat is off to them they were courteous and charming and very efficient. This is the type of service I am use to when I cruise with Carnival. The entertainment left a lot to be desired, maybe if there was something to keep the kids occupied (those who do not go to Camp Carnival) they would not have roamed the ship wreaking havoc. The entertainment certainly did nothing for me. From Carnival in Miami, the response was we're sorry and maybe when you book your next cruise you may want to check to make sure it isn't spring break. I informed her that I have sailed before on "spring break" and we seldom saw any children. I can truly say I am disappointed in my last vacation with Carnival and the response I received when I let them know about my last cruise with them. They ask for comments and my question is why? Are they going to improve service and train the staff on how to be courteous to the guests? This will be my last cruise with Carnival for a long time I will be sailing next year but it will be on Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
Hello all, just wanted to write a quick review on our trip on Carnival Triumph (BEWARE). Embarkation in Miami: Not to bad, it took about an hour. We got there at 11:30am and were on board by 12:30pm. They do have about 3 different lines ... Read More
Hello all, just wanted to write a quick review on our trip on Carnival Triumph (BEWARE). Embarkation in Miami: Not to bad, it took about an hour. We got there at 11:30am and were on board by 12:30pm. They do have about 3 different lines that you have to go thru. Cabin: We had gotten a balcony 8C on the Verandah deck. We couldn't really use it (the balcony) for 2 days because they had scheduled cleaning for it and was un-usable for 2 days. The room steward was fine until he found out that we were a female couple. He was from Columbia and was very rude about any and everything. He cleaned the room ok, but things came up missing from the room (more details to come). We had a total of 5 people in the room 2 adults 3 kids and found if you stay organized it will work out well. (Bring an over the door shoe organizer for the bathroom, bungee cord for the balcony (which came up missing), we also took a cord and clothes clips and it worked out well to dry our swimsuits and our own towels-we didn't want to be charged $22 for a lost towel). Show: We lacking in originality. We'd taken other cruises and this, by far, was very "unworthy" staying up for. The adult comic wasn't funny, he was crude. The "World Show" was the best of the bunch. Don't do the bingo, it's better to loose your money at the casino than try to win $100 divided by all the winner (one time their was 19 winner, so it only paid out a little over $5). Theirs usually a lot of people, more than 300, which pay from $10 to $20 for there play cards, and then only to win $5, that's just wrong. Worse was we played every time and never one anything. Ship: I found the ship to be ok. It was clean, but the decor was more vegas than caribbean with neon lights and it was just a bit corny. We never found any balls for ping-pong, and their was never any deck chairs available near the pool. The pool area was always extremely crowded and not relaxing. They sold a lot of stuff outside of the jewelry store on the 5th deck and it was always very congested. We didn't find any "great deals" on anything and many things on the boat were more expensive than at your local Wal-Mart. $32 for a carnival T-shirt, don't think so. The ship was always very, very cold. Lucky for us that we kept the balcony door open at night, or we'd freeze (the a/c controls didn't work). Take a light sweater or be prepared to spend $ on one on the ship. It was pretty easy to get around, once you get use to it. Food: We always ate in the dinning room for dinner and a few times for lunch (never ate breakfast there). It was the best thing out of everything else on board (for the adults). We always got more than one dish and tried a lot of different foods. The food always was prepared perfectly (steaks were very good, but the seafood was better). The desserts were a little bland, but all of the chocolate desserts were good (including the ice cream - good). Lunch in the Lido deck was good. Didn't like the noodle place, didn't try the deli, the burgers and pizza were very good and the ice-cream was good. Our headwaiter was very good, but his assistant was not very helpful. He did everything by himself and excused himself constantly (for her). All she did was complain about carnival and how she had to come to work the day after she got their (she had been off for 2 mos). Service was pretty lacking everywhere on board. Photo center: What a joke, we had bought some pictures and went back to buy some more and when we asked for help they told us that they work 12 hours a day 7 days a week and they don't have time or don't care if we find our pictures. I had told them that we spent more than $3000 for our trip and didn't appreciate his comments and he laughed at us and said he couldn't believe people spent money for this ship. Camp Carnival: Never available (unless you pay a fee) for the late shows or during the day they are closed form 12-2pm, 3:45-4:45pm and you have to pay fee for after 10pm. The lines to drop off took almost 45min at times. During Port days it was even worse. I had told the director that my son was ADHD and to let me know if he had any problems, I also asked for them not to allow him to over due himself with any desserts or drinks. During their coketail party they allowed him to have 17 cups of soda, the next day he through up on the Lido deck (breakfast) and he had diarrhea all day. We had gotten to our 1st port early (3pm) and because he was ill we didn't go until 7pm and just for about an hour. After I complained, his CD player was stolen, along with over $100 worth of CD's. I went to the Pursers decks on many occasions and they seemed very "who cares". We just wanted to let someone know, not any type of compensation and they kept asking us what we wanted. We just wanted someone of authority to talk to us and assure us that this would not happen again, instead we got drink coupons under our door (last time I checked, kids can't drink and it's their vacation that's really being messed up) I pointed this out and they just wanted us to deal with carnival once we got off. They all seemed just to want it over with and they mentioned that they will get a new badge of guests next week and it didn't seem to bother them. Sorry, just needed to vent...My kids were 6 (girl) 10 & 13 (boys). The 13 year old enjoyed it the best because we gave him some freedom, he would stay with his friends, but the teen club activities was a joke, they had to entertain themselves.. Shore Excursion: We booked our on. In San Juan we walked around (son was very sick, over dosed on coke). St Thomas, we got a safari taxi, right outside of the ship and went to Coki beach. It was very nice the kids fed the fish (they sell dog biscuits) and we went out snorkeling (we brought our own snorkels). In St Maarten we took an island tour and learned about the two different governments (my son had to do a Powerpoint presentation for school, and he took a lot of pictures here, along with getting foreign money for his project). In Summary: We had a lot of problems and no one seemed to care. Everyone except for the headwaiter was very rude, not just a remark like I'm tired, but more like who cares, we'll get more suckers next week. I removed all gratuity except for the headwaiter, no one else deserved anything, actually I feel like I wasted $ and I will go to RCL or Disney next time. GOOD LUCK & BEWARE Oh: They did change are room stewart after drinks came up missing along with the bungee cord (we brought our own water and sodas). Disembarkation: Was really bad, it took almost 3 hours and that's once we actually got off the ship, lucky for us we were driving home to Orlando. We live in the tourist capital of the world "Mickey Mouse Land" Orlando and we expect decent service, on this ship service WAS NOT part of their vocabulary. We travel often and stayed in Manhattan on New Years 04, Times Square to see the ball drop and the New Yorkers were very friendly compared to the cruise people, and I almost got run over in NY... Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
This was our 12th cruise, most having been on Carnival. I always wondered where the bad reviews came from, because I had not been on a "bad" cruise. Well this one fell into the "bad" review category. Embarkation was ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise, most having been on Carnival. I always wondered where the bad reviews came from, because I had not been on a "bad" cruise. Well this one fell into the "bad" review category. Embarkation was not bad, had a short wait until boat was clear. We were with a group of 28 and had come into Miami a day early so we were at the dock early so lines were short. Some of us had booked a guarantee outside, which is what we got. But one family had 4 people squished into a triple! They were given a small cot to use that anyone over 3 foot could not fit into. We called our travel agent and they tried to work something out with Carnival but boat was sold out. Went to purser and the would try to change rooms after San Juan, after that they said after St Maarten, after that after St. Thomas...needless to say they were never moved and were not happy. As I said we were a large group with 16 kids ages 5-17...very disappointed in the what was offered for kids to do! There was no basketball, ping pong, the only thing was in the arcade where is cost $1.00 per game! Pools were not open 1st 3 days, only the one small pool near the slide was open daily. No explanation just closed, one day at sea, was about 85 degrees and they started painting the edge of one of the pools! The stop in San Juan is a waste, got there at 5:00pm, told on a tour most things were already closed. Why do they have such a short stay in St. Thomas? It's not like we had to be anywhere the next day, except at Sea. St. Thomas should be a longer stop. On the Pride they had an ice cream station with toppings etc. Nothing like that on the Victory...just soft-serve, no toppings. I even asked and they said NO, we don't have anything like that here. Dining, food was good but here Carnival screwed up again, with the same family that had problems with room. They had a table of 8 and needed a table on nine, maitre d' came over and said "Sometime that happens and had them again squish together! Layout of ship was quirky, I found the Pride a much better layout and would recommend that ship over the Victory. Excursions we did on our own and were very good...kids finally had a good time, too bad it took 3 days! Service was spotty at times, it was a hit and miss. Debarkation was great if we only had know that they give you 60 minutes to carry all luggage off if you wanted to. We had changed out flight plans because original flight was at 12:30 in FLL and were worried about getting from MIA to FLL in time, changed non-stop to one stop flight at 4pm. If we had known about early exit we would have been much happier in getting home at 3:30 instead of 11pm. While on this subject they also should fix the customs check after St Maarten/before St. Thomas, I understand it needs to be done but they should have a better system then everyone going at same time and wait for hours to have passport/birth cert checked. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
My husband and I, and our 3 sons, ages 17, 12 and 8, decided to try out a Carnival Cruise for a family vacation during Spring Break. I was pretty disappointed in the whole experience and wish we had put our money to better use. The whole ... Read More
My husband and I, and our 3 sons, ages 17, 12 and 8, decided to try out a Carnival Cruise for a family vacation during Spring Break. I was pretty disappointed in the whole experience and wish we had put our money to better use. The whole "Fun Ship" was packed to the gills with kids, which is to be expected, but this ship was packed! By 7 AM every morning, all the lounge chairs were taken and people would have to wait for someone to leave before they could get one. The teenagers and adolescents seem to form bigger and louder packs as the week went on, and there were quite a few underage teens staggering drunk around the ship on the last night, besides all the screaming and running around they did late every night. There were tons of activities for the teens, karaoke, a disco, all kinds of planned events. However, our older sons weren't interested, it seemed like the activities were more for teen girls. There was a live Las Vegas style show every night which was always really good, but other than that my husband and I were really bored. We wanted to dance but the disco was only for teens until very late, and though there was a live band in another bar, the singer was terribly off-key and it was like trying to dance to karaoke. We played in the casino a little bit but that got kind of old quick too. My 8 year old kind of liked the kids camp, but the camp closed right in the middle of the day for 2 hours every day so it was hard to get him in there. The pools were so small and crowded that none of the kids wanted to get in. The water slide was great though but always had a very long line. Everything seemed to be about making money, including the fact that all of the tips were added to our bill automatically ($10.00 per person per day, including kids) and were difficult to adjust. When we had questions, the Information desk phone rang and rang, no one ever answered it. Room Service was free, but each order took 1-3 hours (or sometimes never) to arrive, and then they always forgot something (like silverware, or sugar for the coffee). There was a constant push to buy stuff, sodas, drinks, jewelry, bingo cards, a book about making towel animals, etc. It was exhausting after awhile. The food at dinner was pretty good and the desserts were wonderful. Our dining staff and room steward were great, but the other service wasn't very good. I definitely will never go on vacation during Spring Break again, and I may go on another cruise but not with Carnival. I would rather pay a little more and have more to do, like a rock climbing wall, a better nightclub etc., first run movies at night, etc. (Carnival did offer pay per view in the room, for an extra fee) I would also like much healthier food choices. The only thing my kids really liked was the constant food, but other than that I don't feel we got our money's worth and won't go with Carnival again. Read Less

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