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Sail Date: November 2013
We live in California and had a group of 14 on this cruise for my 30th birthday. The ages ranged from 3 to 71. We paid for the faster to fun and it was worth it! The cruise terminal was packed but embarkation did seem to be going quick. ... Read More
We live in California and had a group of 14 on this cruise for my 30th birthday. The ages ranged from 3 to 71. We paid for the faster to fun and it was worth it! The cruise terminal was packed but embarkation did seem to be going quick. Our rooms were ready and we went straight to Guy's burgers.. they ARE as good as people say. The kids loved Waterworks and so did the adults. All of the kids went to Camp Carnival at some point and loved it! They kept them busy and had good activities. My nephew was the oldest at 12 and LOVED his camp experience.. they had a bit more freedom. The food was good and the rooms nice. We loved the Red Frog Pub and beer :) The "juggling" show was great and not what I expected. We were only ever able to see the male comedian and he was very funny.. show up early to get a seat. We went to the steak house on our last night and it was AMAZING.. By far the best food! The ports were fun 1. Grand Turk- not much to do but enjoyed ourselves at the beach and the Margaritaville pool 2. Ochos Rios, Jamaica- Gorgeous! We rented a sea doo and relaxed on the beach. Then got amazing food at the Jerk Centre. 3. Nassau, Bahamas- we did a tour to a chocolatier and rum factory then we're dropped at a white sand beach on Paradise Island Overall we all loved this vacation and it was by far our favorite cruise. Even my Dad that can be very finicky and opinionated had nothing bad to say! Good job Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Our latest P & O Cruise on board Ventura began way back in July 2012 when we had a family get together back up North on Merseyside when my eldest brother in-law wanted to arrange a special birthday (60th) but didn’t know what to do, ... Read More
Our latest P & O Cruise on board Ventura began way back in July 2012 when we had a family get together back up North on Merseyside when my eldest brother in-law wanted to arrange a special birthday (60th) but didn’t know what to do, having cruised many times over the last decade I suggested a cruise, the question came back ‘Where can we go were the weather is good on the 30th November (His Birthday) My answer either the Canaries or the Caribbean, Caribbean won, so we booked a fly- cruise A party of four departing from Manchester & Us from Gatwick meeting on board Ventura in Barbados for a 14 night PARTY. During the weeks leading up to our departure date we kept a close eye on the long range weather forecast, which wasn’t looking to good Rain/Rain/Thunderstorms/Partly Cloudy & more Rain, never mind it has to be better than the UK @ the end of Nov, what a pleasant surprise to find on arrival in Barbados glorious sunshine knocking on the door of 30C, after having been given a flight upgrade to B/A, a cabin upgrade plus onboard credit, could things get any better? We arrived at Bridgetown Cruise Terminal just short of 6.00pm, were Ventura awaited, given our Cruise Cards and headed to our pre-arranged meeting place of Deck 16,Starboard side(Smoking), Breakers Bar to meet the family, whom had arrived earlier in the afternoon via their Manchester Thomas Cook flight. Whilst participating in ‘Sailaway’ drinks, we compared flights and general pre- cruise arrangements (1-0) to British Airways. Once our luggage arrived which to be fair wasn’t too long, we spent our time before dinner, unpacking and having a leisurely drink on our (Upgraded) balcony as we sailed into the sunset. We decided against Dinner at our designated table in the Bay Tree Restaurant (Deck 6 aft) & headed for the on Deck BBQ (Deck 15 Laguna Bar & Grill) accompanied with poolside tunes from our on board Caribbean Band ‘Caribbean Cruise) Our first full day on board Ventura was a Sea day were we spent most of the daylight hours around the pool enjoying the beautiful weather which wasn’t forecast, us boys having a few beers, whilst the girls tried several of the cocktails on offer inc ‘Cocktail’ of the day, the evening, our first of four ‘Formal’ nights we dressed appropriately Tuxedo for the men and Ball gown or Cocktail dress for the ladies as we headed for second sitting (8.30) for dinner, after which there was an array of entertainment to choose from either in the ‘Arena’ theatre, Tamarind Club or ‘Havana’ to name but a few. Day Two: Our first Port of Call: Grenada After getting up pretty early 5.30am to watch us pull into port and tie up in the capital of St. George’s, we met in the ‘Waterside’ for a Full English cooked breakfast as well as fresh fruit, croissants yoghurts etc..The Manchester crew (My two Brothers in law & their respective partners) headed for their meeting place for the first of their many pre- booked excursions on this occasion they had chosen ‘Hike to the Seven sister’s’. We in turn just decided to wander the streets & the old fort before having a few beers in a local tavern which happened to be owned by a very friendly German & his wife. Back on board before departure we had the usual drinks by the pool, this time with music by ‘Cruise Edition’, followed by dinner. Tonight’s entertainment was to be a tribute to ‘The British Queen of Soul’ Dusty Springfield in ‘Havana’ or Jimmy James ‘The priest of Soul’ in the Arena Theatre. Day Three: St Lucia Even though this was my fourth time in the Port of Castries, St Lucia it was the first time I thoroughly enjoyed it, 1st time we never managed to get ashore through adverse weather as it was a tender port 2nd Walk the perimeter fence of the airport trying to find a beach 3rd didn’t venture out of Castries due to a very heavy night the previous evening. So after nine years of wanting (We were first here in 2004) we managed to arrange/haggle a taxi to take all six of us to Marigot Bay ‘the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean’ white sand, turquoise waters, swaying palms, ticking every box in tropical paradise and to top it off the location of the infamous film ‘Dr Dolittle’ In a word FABULOUS After a very strenuous day at the beach as I’m sure you can imagine, we didn’t do a lot after dinner other than a few drinks in Havana again and then enjoyed the evening on the balcony watching the sun disappear, hoping it would return in the morning and the sound of the waves crashing alongside Ventura as we headed to our next port at a tranquil average speed of 7.9 knots Day Four: Dominica Sunrise; 6:13 am & up early again, this time split into three teams after what seems to be the compulsory Full English and everything else that goes with it Breakfast, the Manchester crew are split Boys/ & Girls. The boys are going ‘River Tubing followed by Hibiscus Falls, whilst the girls are ‘Hot Springs Escape’. Us in turn are doing our usual photo shoot around port then heading for what is probably the most ‘Bizarre’ bar in the ‘World’ Having been here again a few times in the past we have seen the ‘Ruins’ Caribbean Bar as it is known grow in stature. 1st year No Roof, 2nd year Electric & a roof (The Beer fridges & Music were getting the electric from a petrol generator in the street) 3rd time: Air Conditioning, every time we have been we are the only non local people to enter, by the time we leave it is full of fellow ‘Cruises’ it is an experience not to be missed, the Rum punch is unforgettable, Oh I nearly forgot they have a snake pit in the cellar. Looking forward to the next year of improvements. Back on board we had our usual ‘Sailaway’ followed by getting ready for dinner , this time meeting for pre-dinner drinks in Ventura’s stylish ‘Glass House’ (Deck 7 Fwd) a relaxed wine bar that also serves food which is dedicated to the love of fine wine . After dinner ‘Mark Walker’ deserves a mention as he performed his Award winning impressions of Billy Connolly, Freddie Mercury & Michael Jackson etc… in the ‘Arena theatre’ (Deck 6 & 7 Fwd) Day Five: St Kitts After a leisurely overnight passage of some 50 miles, we arrived in St Kitts, accompanied by two other cruise ships MSC Musica & Aida Bella, so between us 9000 passengers, split approx three ways 3 thousand Brits/Italians /Germans headed into the sleepy town of Basseterre and have a party, what a day, with the local Carib beer being sold for as little as 99 cents a bottle & souvenirs in abundance, together with yet another great day of weather other than the odd minute long shower , fun was had by all. Frivolities continued into the early hours with the Entertainment team as they took us back in time with the 60s & 70s night around the Laguna Pool & Breakers Bar (Deck 15 & 16 fwd). Day Six: St Maarten My personnel favourite, our first time hear we came ashore by tender, however a new cruise terminal & complex has been built over the years, again beautiful weather welcomed us to the island of St. Maarten an island shared 50/50 between the Dutch & French, we chose to walk the short distance into town, you can take a water taxi if you prefer. After the compulsory browse around the many shops & market stalls as well as the unbelievably cheep Duty Free shops, we found a spot on the beach for the afternoon until which time we had to make our way back to the ship, on walking back to the cruise terminal were both Ventura and NCL Norwegian Gems, awaited their respective passengers the heavens opened & we experienced a tropical storm that I had never had the pleasure of before, so we had to dive into a bar for cover as well as to sample the local beer. ‘Sailaway’ unfortunately was a complete wash out due to the weather which eventually passed over, then the usual drinks before dinner, then dinner & the evening entertainment in the several venues. Day Seven: Tortola Half way through already (Not Good) The BIG day had arrived, the reason why we were all here (The 60th Birthday) so to start the cabin door was decorated with the usual 60th banners & balloons. Cards, presents and best wishes were presented to the ‘Birthday Boy’. After breakfast we headed ashore, wandered around Tortola on a very humid day, unfortunately the port of ‘Road Town’ doesn’t have a lot to offer other than a few bars around the marina area and several shops, one of which was fascinating ‘The Best of British’ a convenience store, the likes of which you would find back home, selling everything ‘British’ cans of Heinz bake beans, soups, Kelloggs corn flakes, English canned beers to name but a few, they were doing a roaring trade in this ‘British Virgin Island’. We headed back to the ship reasonably early as we had pre booked an Al Fresco table in the alternative dining restaurant ‘White Room’ for 6:30pm. Marco Pierre White now has an alternate dining venue on six out of the seven strong P & O fleet (Azura being the exception) The intimate dining room offers superb views out over the ship’s wake and a terrace area for Al Fresco, unfortunately closed on our evening due to adverse weather, this however didn’t spoil, what turned out to be a fabulous evening, the menu is as impressive as your surroundings. After desert, a Champagne bottle shaped birthday cake arrived at our table with a single candle and duly decorated wishing ‘Paul’ Happy Birthday. Day Eight: At Sea. After a late celebratory night, we duly went for our usual buffet breakfast and a lazy day ahead as we were at sea as Ventura maintained her course across the Caribbean Sea towards Curacao, we spent most of the day @ Breakers Bar overlooking the pool as the weather was Sunny with temperatures topping 32 C. The Evening attire was ‘Formal’ and a ‘Black & White’ ball was held in the atrium Day Nine: Curacao Curacao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast, and we docked in the capital city of Willemstad. Another beautiful sunny day and we just strolled around the city which is split into two main districts, the Punda and the Otrabanda , by St. Anna Bay, the view from either side is of beautiful 17th Century gabled houses ,typically Dutch in all aspects bar one- their facades are wild pastel shades. Queen Emma Bridge, also known as the floating bridge or The Swinging Old Lady links the two main areas of the city. After ‘Sailaway’ we decided to have tonight’s dinner in ‘The Waterside’ buffet restaurant as the evening Theme was Neptune, which was everything fish, once finished we headed to Havana as the tribute was John Ellis as Elton John. Later in the evening we headed back up to Breaker’s Bar as one of the entertainment team were playing Relaxing Reggae under the Stars. Day Ten: Bonaire. Another sunny/fun packed day awaited us as we arrived early in the port of Kralendijk, the island of Bonaire is surrounded by coral reefs and the boys had pre-booked a Cruise &Snorkel day trip on board a 40ft catamaran ‘Mushi Mushi’, we in turn headed for Eden Village a beach resort we had found several years ago on our previous visit. ‘Sailaway’ this evening is advertised as the BIG one. As we are invited to the biggest party of the cruise. A good old knees up around the Laguna pool, with music, dancing, and lots of flag waving, it did not disappoint as everyone on board joined in and as a finale the entertainment staff cooled off by jumping into the pool fully dressed. The party atmosphere continued as tonight was Tropical Party Bonanza Night, with the Caribbean buffet bbq fired up and the sun setting in the sky, everyone duly arrived in their newly purchased Caribbean Tropical attire, the party continued into the small hours but we didn’t need to be up early the following day as we had two sea days ahead as we headed back to Barbados which awaited some 534 nautical miles away Day Eleven: At Sea. This was the first of our two (2) days at sea, we woke up to another fine morning, but a little windy on our port side balcony as we had no sun our side until later in the day, I decided that before breakfast, I would take advantage of the laundry facilities on board and get our washing out the way, all was done in a little over an hour, all washed and dried and ready to pack. We spent the most of the day as per usual at Breakers Bar whilst the sun continued to shine. The shops were busy all day with last minute Tax & Duty Free shopping The evening was to be our final ‘Formal’ night, so we duly got ready for dinner, we had, yet again a delicious meal at our table in the Bay Tree Restaurant. Day Twelve: At Sea. Our final sea day before arriving in ‘Ventura’s home port of the winter months Barbados, another fine day at sunrise just before 6.30am, I wandered the open decks as I usually do first thing, and after several cups of coffee & a few cigarettes, met up with the others for breakfast, after which the day was spent in and around the pool. The shops were again busy with fellow guests purchasing their last minute shopping and photographs from the photo gallery. The atmosphere was quite sombre during the day as the majority of passengers were disembarking in the morning and heading back to the U.K. The evening was more or less the same, but as we were finishing our dinner in the Bay Tree, we had the traditional ‘Chefs Parade ‘ were all the ships Chef’s gather together and walk through the restaurant to raptures of support and thanks. As the evening drew to a close we had a few hours in Havana’s and then circumnavigated the Promenade Deck (Deck 7) before retiring to the comfort of our own cabin & balcony. Day Thirteen: Barbados On arrival and watching from our port side balcony, the quayside was a hive of activity with passengers disembarking and luggage being taken from the ship to be transported to the airport, We thankfully still had a full day in Bridgetown, Barbados to look forward too. So after the compulsory breakfast, headed off the ship and toward town, a fifteen minute stroll along the esplanade, across the bridge of the harbour, which is full of deep sea fishing boats for hire and onto the ‘Boatyard’ a beach resort, that we found awhile back and this was to be our fourth visit. For a small admission charge of $15.00 (About £10.00) you have the use of all the facilities, sun lounger, parasol, bar, restaurant, rest rooms, beach games & a free homemade Rum Punch! An absolutely fabulous way to spend our last afternoon in the Caribbean, until next time of course. They also offer a complimentary mini-bus return to the ship if you choose to use it, as well as a shop with plenty of beach wear to choose from. Our final evening on board was spent packing our suitcases for collection from our cabin for transfer to the airport. Our farewell dinner in the restaurant was completed by saying a big thank you to the superb waiters for excellent food and service. A few drinks in the Havana, again thanking all staff that we came across. We had a reasonably early night, and not looking forward to having to head back home to the British weather in early December. Day Fourteen: Final Day As per usual I managed to awake early, and wanting to find out the previous days football results , turned the TV on to Sky Sports News, only to see ‘Breaking News’ scrolling along the bottom of the screen. ‘Airport Delays all over the UK’. After watching for awhile, I alerted the others in our party. Thankfully after breakfast the ‘Ships Company’ announced that instead of us all having to spend an unknown amount of time at the airport, we were allowed to spend the day on board Ventura until which time our flight was confirmed. As each flight was called, we said our ‘Goodbyes’ to new found friends and our family, who were heading back to Manchester. As the ship began to fill with new passengers, we eventually headed to the airport at 17.00hrs. The flight was due for take-off at a re-scheduled time of 20.30hrs. All went well and we arrived back in Gatwick after our overnight flight after what must be a near record time of seven hours flying time. All in all a fabulous and most memorable holiday cruise and has made us decide to do it all again in a little over three months, so will need to start packing again in the middle of March 2014.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We are Diamond Members and cruise as often as we can. We travel from Jupiter Florida to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami by Limo Service only as a convenience. The parking is difficult at Ft. Lauderdale. Who needs stress after a great ... Read More
We are Diamond Members and cruise as often as we can. We travel from Jupiter Florida to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami by Limo Service only as a convenience. The parking is difficult at Ft. Lauderdale. Who needs stress after a great cruise.!!!Embarkation was effortless. Independence left out of Oasis dock which was great. Returning we were in the cargo, container area Pier 29. For us it was OK as we were picked up by Limo Service, but if you had your car parked at the Oasis Pier you had to grab a shuttle to go to your vehicle. The parking needs to be improved upon in Ft. Lauderdale. For the first few days the seas were VERY rough. Many people were seasick and didn't come out of the rooms or were on deck. Many sick people. We have sailed in rougher seas and are not bothered by this. We did feel really bad for the people that did not have their sea legs. The Independence is a Beautiful Ship just like her sisters Liberty and Freedom. We have sailed all of them. We opted for a balcony cabin instead of a Junior Suite only for economics this time. The cabin was fine and we still had a balcony. We asked and were granted a table for 2. We found the food in the Dining Room to be less than exciting. It was good but lacked the "OOOOH I have to have that factor".The waitstaff was fabulous as always including our head waiter. Sometimes you don't see the head waiter too much. We had been to most of the ports before so we opted to take a tour in St. Kitts. Last cruise on the Navigator we took the Train Tour, this time we took an island tour with a time at the beach. We did not want a tour with beach time, as I requested, but we got it anyway. We didn't know about it until after we were underway.I should have read the fine print. My fault I guess. We stayed at the restaurant and bar while everyone else went to the beach. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We are experienced cruisers (approx. 40) on many different lines but have always been partial to Princess. When we first learned of the Royal being built we knew we had to experience her early on. We chose the inaugural 7-day eastern ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers (approx. 40) on many different lines but have always been partial to Princess. When we first learned of the Royal being built we knew we had to experience her early on. We chose the inaugural 7-day eastern Caribbean sailing and booked the first day cabins were available. We watched all the videos as she took shape and were even more excited when we learned Captain Tony Draper would be the master. We’ve sailed with Captain Draper twice before and love his wit and dry sense of humor. Reading the initial reviews during the Royal’s Mediterranean season began to cause us some concern. Normally we attribute negative reviews to personal observations but there seemed to be recurrent issues reported by the Princess faithful. Nonetheless, our sailing day arrived and seeing her in Port Everglades made us giddy with excitement! Initially embarkation went very quickly and smoothly right up to the time we got our cruise cards and saw many passengers queued up inside the terminal building. More and more people arrived and there was no information from Princess what the delay was. We were early, but not that early (1030 AM), and we sat not knowing what the issues were. Finally we heard that the boarding was delayed due to a back-to-back passenger who failed to get off the ship between sailings (as required) and could not be found. This caused thousands of others to wait up to two hours before boarding finally commenced. Not Princess’s fault but some info would have been helpful. Once on board, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by the beauty of the atrium and the gleaming "new car” look the Royal has. Everything shines and we were anxious to check out the rest of the ship. I will try not to be too repetitive on comments already covered in other reviews but some do warrant further discussion. Cabin: Our favorite category is the mini-suite and we loved the soothing decorations. We don’t watch TV on cruises (or much any other time) so the new flat screens did nothing for us. Yes, the balcony is much smaller but we were able to enjoy our morning coffee out there. The cabin seemed completely soundproof and we never heard anyone next to us or above us- very nice! Cabin steward was friendly, very efficient, and much deserved the extra gratuity. Elevators & Stairs: Much has been written on this and most of it is accurate. What concerned us was not so much the inconvenience for able-bodied persons but if one has mobility challenges we could see a lot of frustration (if not downright danger) should one need to move quickly. I’m sure the Royal has an excellent evacuation plan, but I couldn’t help wondering what one would do if the elevators went out. Horizon Court: The newly designed and expanded Horizon Court is just fantastic. So many choices, no lines, and excellent food. In the rear is the new Horizon Terrace where we enjoyed all our breakfasts and several lunches. It is covered from the sun, has comfy chairs, and never felt crowded. Dining: We always choose Anytime Dining on Princess and the Symphony Dining room is dedicated to that group. We loved that there are many, many tables for two now and we never waited more than 15 minutes for a place to enjoy a quiet dinner. The headwaiter quickly learned of our location preference and the waiter team treated us famously. Princess has upped their game in the food department and one meal was better than the next. As a side note, I was also very happy to see enforcement of the dress code on formal nights. A passenger was very upset to be turned away but the staff stuck to their guns and I complemented them on this. We were very disappointed last year on HAL when people in shorts were allowed into the dining room at night. If one chooses not to dress up, there are plenty of other options on the ship. Speaking of other options, don’t miss Alfredo’s Pizzeria for great pizza and salads. Pub lunch was offered twice- it was good as always. Pools & Spa: We had read much about the pool situation and agree that during the Caribbean season this may lead to a lot of overcrowding. We liked the adults only Retreat Pool but unfortunately were not really able to use it. A very large charter group (several hundred) chose this area to gather each day so there were no chairs to be had and the pool was filled with people to capacity. For those liking sauna or steam rooms, your only option is the Enclave located in the Spa. This involves an extra charge ($159 per person) and gives access to the thermal pool, heated benches, steam, and sauna. We went for it and used it each day but this, too, was a favorite of the group on board and it was quite crowded at times. One should be able to at least use a sauna without having to pay extra each time, especially on longer voyages. Gym: We work out regularly and were looking forward to seeing the facility onboard. All the necessary equipment was there but the area was very tight and claustrophobic. I wanted to participate in the TRX classes but found $60 to be ridiculous. Without paid classes, one cannot use the TRX equipment. Library: As others have noted, it is painfully small for a ship this size with very little in the way of interesting reads. Not everyone has an e-reader and this would again be an issue on a longer cruise. Entertainment: Wonderful choices all week long no matter what one’s taste is. The highlight was comedian Carlos Oscar, the Princess 2011 entertainer of the year. If he is on your ship, do not miss it! We also very much enjoy the art auctions and have decorated our home with many pieces purchased onboard Princess ships. The art director, Daniel, was knowledgeable and very personable. Ports of call were standard Eastern Caribbean with Grand Turk being substituted for Princess Cay due to high winds. Grand Turk is, unfortunately, beginning to look a lot like Disney Land or Vegas with loud music and people crammed into Margaritaville. We fled back to the ship after a very short time. All- in- all we loved our cruise on the Royal. Yes there are some design decisions that make experienced cruisers shake their heads, but we have to defer to the experts and enjoy the ship- or not. Clearly with the Regal coming out next year it will be interesting to see if passengers warm to these ships or if they become deeply discounted just to fill them. Only time will tell. For now, we say go and enjoy the first class service, great food, and wonderful entertainment.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Yo Ho Ho, My family, fiance'/his 7 year old niece and my 10 year old daughter, just returned from a 9-day Eastern cruise on Gem. Since it is hard to pack all the great things about our cruise into one review, I'll list the ... Read More
Yo Ho Ho, My family, fiance'/his 7 year old niece and my 10 year old daughter, just returned from a 9-day Eastern cruise on Gem. Since it is hard to pack all the great things about our cruise into one review, I'll list the highlights and tips. 1. Embarkation: $13.00 cab ride from Port Authority. We arrived at Port 88 about 11:00 a.m. We boarded without incident at about 12:20. 2. As soon as we stepped foot on the ship, I asked if there was a spa representative in lobby, and I was immediately directed 5 steps over to spa table. We purchased 2 spa passed for the 9 days at $139 per person. (Be careful.....they charged us for body scrub and pumice stone $28.00 which I didn't notice at first, but the next day had it removed). 3. We proceeded directly to Grand Pacific where we were served an awesome Cobb salad and NY strip steak cooked perfectly. The girls each had a large plate of macaroni and cheese. They could have had anything on the menu and they want mac n cheese, lol! 4. When we booked our trip, we prepaid for the drink package and gratuities and the drink package was well worth it. If you do this, you have to go to guest services to get a sticker on your stateroom card, then proceed to any bar and they will give you travel mugs which can be used for refills or just show your card with the sticker at any bar for drinks. 5. Then we proceeded to the Tree Tops to sign the girls up for the Splash program. Every day the girls spent at least 2 to 3 hours doing crafts and many other things, including a parade through the Garden Café and Atrium as pirates. The second to last night they prepared the kids to do a Circus Show in the Stardust Theater. They felt like Stars! 6. Once they announced our room was ready, we proceeded down to our mini suite balcony. The room was great. We did bring our own cleaning supplies to do a thorough cleaning. However, our luggage was not there yet. 7. All of our luggage arrived except for 2 duffle bags. We inquired at guest services and they said to wait a little longer. Then one of the duffle bags came, but we were still missing one. We went back down to guest services, and my fiancé was brought to a room where unclaimed luggage was, and he spotted his bag right away. The tag had come off. 8. We had an awesome sail away view from the Outdoor Grill, which was aft on the 12th deck. There was a beautiful sunset as we passed Lady Liberty. It was enchanting. 9. From the room steward to the kids club staff to the waiters to guest services to the spa staff, everyone was courteous and helpful. 10. We ate at the Buffet, Grand Pacific, Blue Lagoon and Magenta. All were exceptional. Favorite dessert was Chocolate mint cake and warm butter bread with caramel sauce. 11. We chose the easy walk off to disembark. We were cleared to get off at 8:00 a.m. and we were at customs by 8:10. If you can do the easy walk off, I highly recommend it. The overall experience was wonderful and we look forward to cruising with NCL again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
My mom and I decided to let the nice people at Royal Caribbean make Thanksgiving dinner for us, and so we set forth on a cruise to the Caribbean for Thanksgiving. We have sailed 5 times from Bayonne, Nj. This was our first time leaving ... Read More
My mom and I decided to let the nice people at Royal Caribbean make Thanksgiving dinner for us, and so we set forth on a cruise to the Caribbean for Thanksgiving. We have sailed 5 times from Bayonne, Nj. This was our first time leaving from Baltimore, and Baltimore was not nearly as well-organized as Bayonne. My almost 92 year old mom needs a wheelchairfor the long distance to board the ship. In Bayonne this was never a problem. In Baltimore, Mom had to walk so far to get to the wheelchair that she was exhausted. Once we were on the ship we went to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch and then to our cabin. We had a Junior Suite. We were very pleased with the closet space and especially with the drawer space. Hooray! We had someplace to put our clothes. We had a nice table for 2 in the Main Dining Room with friendly people sitting next to us. Our waitress, Sharon, and her assistant waiter, Alberto, did an outstanding job and helped to make dinner a lovely experience each evening. Our cabin steward, Dan, also did an excellent job. We would like to commend Ricardo and Lourdes at Guest Services for their assistance when Mom needed a wheelchair during stormy weather. We loved listening to music in the lounges after dinner. It is a lovely way to end the day. We enjoyed our cruise and are ready to pack our bags and sail again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We loved our MSC cruise from the 23-30 to the Eastern Caribbean and only wished it was longer! The food, entertainment, staff, and the ship itself were five star! We were on the ship and eating lunch around noon! The food was always ... Read More
We loved our MSC cruise from the 23-30 to the Eastern Caribbean and only wished it was longer! The food, entertainment, staff, and the ship itself were five star! We were on the ship and eating lunch around noon! The food was always excellent---tender beef , fresh salads and pizza , plus incredible desserts! We never had a disappointing meal. Just one tip--if you have the late seating , don't come early as you could be in a crowd waiting!! If you arrive right on time you can walk right in. Also, don't miss the witches show the first night as it is a French review and got three standing ovations!! All the shows are spectacular and worth the cost of the cruise alone!!! In addition, the entertainment in the lounges had a wonderful variety to suit every taste. We discovered a couple in La luna bar that sounded like Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash , Tammy Wynette and George Jones, Patsy Cline and Glen Campbell!!!! There was hard rock too for the teens , oldies, and classic live music. This is not a dull ship--- waiters parade in with flaming baked Alaska ! (Best dessert ever!) The Aurea suite Balcony was huge with walk in closet, marble bathroom , two televisions, separate living room , and panoramic windows in the bedroom. It is more windy at the front but we loved the rocking motion and the privacy! The ship itself just gleams with beauty and is clean, clean , clean! We are spoiled by Divina and feel no other cruise line could match it in value. We have done 4 MSC cruises and 1 Princess. Our friends ,who were on the Divina for the first time, are now hooked on MSC!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My wife and I boarded the Gem to celebrate our 41anniversery,her retirement and my second year of remission from cancer. It was a rocky day or two on the gem due to a virus on board from the last cruise. The wait staff was overworked and ... Read More
My wife and I boarded the Gem to celebrate our 41anniversery,her retirement and my second year of remission from cancer. It was a rocky day or two on the gem due to a virus on board from the last cruise. The wait staff was overworked and doing the best the could. They had to add staff from the ding room. As a result of no passenger self service at the buffet. The staff added to the buffet was drawn to the buffet to serve the food. That left the two main restaurants to be understaff, they really did the best they could. My wife and I accepted this and had a great time. we did not leave the ship. We both joined the spa so we would not a Have to deal with kids in the pool or hot tubes on the main deck. The spa is a quiet retreat from the main pool. Also has wonderful view of the forward section and the sea. The menu was fine but it was similar each night at the Ocean Pacific. We ate at the steak place paying 30 dollars each, they have a new policy they charge 10 more dollars if you wish a second entree. My steak was very good, but my wife order of lobster and shrimp was a major disappointment. The lobster tail was very small, the shrimp was hidden in pasta. There were only two! Cabin steward was great! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We booked this Cruise for our 30th Anniversary, sailing with Princess twice in the past we had high expectations for this voyage and from the staff and we were not disappointed. The ship is beautiful and was identical to the Crown Princess ... Read More
We booked this Cruise for our 30th Anniversary, sailing with Princess twice in the past we had high expectations for this voyage and from the staff and we were not disappointed. The ship is beautiful and was identical to the Crown Princess from our previous sailings so we felt right at home. The staff was exceptionally friendly, everyone said hello or good day in passing and went out of their way to ensure our trip was an enjoyable one. I would like to extend Kudos to Antonio our cabin steward and to Roberto our bartender at the Explorers lounge. Both are exceptional employees and they do everything they can to make sure the passengers are happy and comfortable. We had roses in our room and Antonio laid out our nightwear on the bed and placed one of the roses on the bed for us each night. The room was always kept immaculate by Antonio and we truly hope he is given a raise or promotion soon, he truly deserves it. He definitely was the best cabin steward we have ever had on any of our cruises. We found out the chef was the same chef we had on the Crown so the food was exceptional as always. We did a mix of anytime dining, buffet and we also dined on our balcony one evening. That in itself is something everyone should experience once in their life. It was $100 a couple but well worth the cost for what we got. The only part we did not enjoy was the champagne, it was very harsh and not a good champagne. The shows we saw were wonderful, we watched Matilda twice. We love Terry Fater and Jeff Dunham so it was a no brainier that we were going to enjoy Matilda. We did notice for the Princess Singer and dancers the shows were reduced to 30 minutes so they were able to get 3 shows in but they were very good shows and the staff was very talented. Our ports of call were Antigua, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas and Nassau. We did a catamaran tour on Antigua and had a lot of fun, on Saint Lucia and Barbados we did the Rum tours which were very informative. On Saint Kitts we did a private tour with our cruise critic group with Thenford Grey which was very fun and I would highly recommend. Saint Thomas and Nassau we just walked through the towns and shopped since we had been at both of these islands before. Our cabin was a Mini Suite on Emerald Deck E727 and this room was very quiet and nice. The only problems we had was we had to remove the drain plug from the tub to shower so the water would drain, and it took a day and a half for the fridge to cool our water and soda. The balcony was not as large as we thought it would be, and it did seem as though our Caribe deck balcony was a little larger, but it was large enough for us. We did notice they no longer put the loungers on the balconies, only the chairs with foot stools. Overall we loved our cruise and would highly recommend Princess to everyone and anyone who wants to cruise. If you do not have a good time then the fault lies with you, not with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Simply couldn't be happier with our cruise to San Juan, Grand Turks, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. Had no problems in Ft. Lauderdale or the Port Everglades. We dropped our rental car off at Avis and then took the shuttle to the ... Read More
Simply couldn't be happier with our cruise to San Juan, Grand Turks, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay. Had no problems in Ft. Lauderdale or the Port Everglades. We dropped our rental car off at Avis and then took the shuttle to the Holland America terminal. The check-in and wait time weren't bad at all. Our trip ran from November 24 through December 1, 2013. Upon checking in, we went to the front desk and asked about upgrading to another room. We originally got an inside room and for $200 upgraded to an ocean view room. We met our Seward, Endganm, and went to explore the ship. The food on board was good and the servers were very pleasant. Also those who worked in the lido and main dining were very professional. Most os the cruisers on board were middle aged however there was a sprinkling of younger kids. During our stop in San Juan, we did the "stroll through old San Juan". Our guide was awesome! While in St. Thomas we walked around in town. Half Moon Cay was ok. Oh, rented a cabanah during the trip. Ed and Julius were outstanding,,, Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
Five of us took this cruise in Concierge Class. My DW and elected to stay in CC and we were glad we did as I will explain later. We are Elite Plus with many cruises from around the world under our belts Before embarkation day,we received ... Read More
Five of us took this cruise in Concierge Class. My DW and elected to stay in CC and we were glad we did as I will explain later. We are Elite Plus with many cruises from around the world under our belts Before embarkation day,we received a text warning of delays due to Coast Guard and other what not. We arrived at 12:30 with no delay. The ship is impeccable and staff very friendly and attentive. This was much superior to our experience on the Solstice in Australia, earlier this year. Ships' Officers on the Solstice were cold as ice, except the CC Host. Only negative was the was a mix up on the table arrangements for Early seating and we were not assigned on one table.(this never happened to us before) The Opus Matre D found us an excellent table on the second night and the rest of the cruise. We were happy campers. We purchased the Premium Liquor package for this cruise. We had trepidations about service. However unlike others' experience, the bar staff was very willing to keep the beverages flowing. Only exception was the Sunset Bar where they are severely understaffed. The rest of the sommeliers and bar staff were more than happy to serve us as many drinks as we wanted. Consider the more drinks the more tips they automatically make. We were a bit concerned about the number of children on this cruise. Whether it was just a set of well behaved kids or the size of the ship, it was not total chaos. We also experienced the higher noise level in the common areas. The solution? - move to the quiet areas. The new Captains Club system was announced during this cruise. Depending on your status, you were either happy or mad. I witnessed some really cruel people lambasting the poor CC Hostess. Come on folks don't shoot the messenger. Lastly the food in the Opus MDR was excellent. We must be from another planet, but we had some excellent meals.. In fact it was a step up from our last Blu Restaurant experience. Blu food on our last Solstice cruise was not up to the standard of several prior AQ cruises and service was too slow. As a point of reference, we have eaten at some of the best culinary restaurants in London, NYC, Florence, Sydney Yes we would sail Reflection again. It reminded us of the Century and Galaxy experiences of 12 years ago. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
The ship is gorgeous! The atrium/piazza area is striking, many "sit and watch" areas, lots of food and drink choices. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, as expected from Princess. The crew, as well, were gracious and ... Read More
The ship is gorgeous! The atrium/piazza area is striking, many "sit and watch" areas, lots of food and drink choices. The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, as expected from Princess. The crew, as well, were gracious and attentive; it did seem, however, that the dining rooms were short-staffed and a little more rushed than on previous cruises and not nearly as much fun. Maybe need to look at staffing? The pool areas were lovely, but no one seemed to pay attention to the "towel holding" of the chaise lounges -- it was hard to find a seat! The movies at night and the fountain show were both spectacular! Lovely cabin, as always; we were upgraded to a balcony room, which was a treat for us. Bed was really comfortable. The balcony was really small, hard even for two people to both sit out there; sitting on one chair with feet on the other seemed to be the optimum use of the space. The toilet paper holder is in a bizarre place, very hard to reach. Otherwise, the room was a delightful as always! However, it appears that some public areas have suffered for the large, expansive atrium. The entertainment venues seem smaller, the public-area restrooms are quite small, and we really missed the Explorers Lounge. There was no lounging area either fore or aft where one could sit inside and watch outside. The library was very small. We missed the Promenade Deck; the jogging track is up top and was very windy, even on a calm, beautiful day. And the balconies are teeny-tiny, as we all know by now. All in all, the ship is lovely, the crew wonderful as always, and we still love Princess Cruises! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
Here's a quick overview of our cruise for anyone who may be interested. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable.I travelled with my husband It was our 4th time on Azura and my second transatlantic from Southampton The weather was a ... Read More
Here's a quick overview of our cruise for anyone who may be interested. Overall the cruise was very enjoyable.I travelled with my husband It was our 4th time on Azura and my second transatlantic from Southampton The weather was a bit rough for the first few days with force 10 winds and quite a lot of rolling. Thankfully we were both fine and were able to eat and drink as normal We were on second sitting dining on a table for 8 in a good location near the window and had great dining companions. We dined once during the cruise in Seventeen and thought that the food and service was as good as it always has been when we have dined there. The meals in the MDR were served as normal with veg served separately by the waiters, with the cheeseboard offered after the puddings every night, although the cheese choice was very restricted with Brie (my favourite) or Camenbert only available once during the cruise. No Stilton that we saw, even on formal nights. The food was always hot, but In our opinion the menu did seem to have less choice than we have had in the past and the meat portions were definitely smaller with the steaks being very thin. Green beans appeared most nights as veg and a couple of times potato croquets were served with a roast gravy dinner which seemed a bit unusual to us. However, there's no chance of going hungry on a cruise. We ate in the Glass house at lunch time on a few of the sea days and that was as good as ever. David Essex the star performer came on in Antigua and left in Barbados. We saw him coming off the ship in St Maarten where he had a few passengers asking to have photos with him(mainly women ) Reported sightings around the ship were very few. The ticket allocation worked really well. There were 4 concerts over 2 nights one at 8.30 & one at 10.30 Each cabin received tickets delivered by the stewards based on their dining time, tickets were coloured card based on show and had cabin numbers on them. The Horizon asked that anyone not wanting tickets please return them to reception. The doors to the Playhouse theatre opened 30 mins before the concerts . As we were 2nd sitting we were at the 10.30 show on a formal night. The entrance was ticket only and strictly enforced by P&O staff. We couldn't believe our luck when with two of our table companions we went in to the theatre at 10.10 and there were 4 seats left on the end of the 1st row although the theatre was almost full. What a great show it was. The icing on the cake was when he walked over, caught my eye and asked was I alright ( I swooned ) . He did all the favourite songs and the audience were up dancing and singing at the end of the show and 2 encores. P&O should be congratulated on the ticket delivery to cabins and the organisation behind the scenes to ensure a fair ticket distribution. Our allocated cabin on B deck 307 wasn't great as it was exactly opposite the door where the staff keep trolleys and the staff lifts are and so early mornings were noisy and the last two nights were noisy with them moving suitcases in the night with the door banging, but it wasn't a real problem overall and we would book a Getaway again if available and hey, we were in the Caribbean sunshine. We also managed to get sun beds when we wanted them and there were still plenty left in piles for anyone who could find space available. The flight back had about an hours delay leaving Barbados and the usual confusion around where to queue once the flight is announced. As the boarding cards are issued in advance there wasn't a need to bother about where you are in the queue to board. The flight was fine and the plane was an ex first choice plane configured 2-3-2 throughout with a good choice of free films and TV/games . Can't wait to get back on Azura at Christmas. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
My wife and I took our honeymoon aboard the Allure of the Seas on a 14 night back to back (eastern and western Caribbean) cruise. It was our first cruising experience(and first real vacation as well) We're going to write this review ... Read More
My wife and I took our honeymoon aboard the Allure of the Seas on a 14 night back to back (eastern and western Caribbean) cruise. It was our first cruising experience(and first real vacation as well) We're going to write this review from the point of view of a paleo/gluten-free/dairy-free couple so that others with similar dietary issues can get a good idea of what it's like. However, before we get into that, let us just say that the ship itself, the amenities, the clubs, activities and such were all amazing. I personally really enjoyed the rock climbing wall, the numerous bars and clubs and the plethora of hot tubs. Others have written here extensively about those aspects of the Allure though, so we'll focus on our unique experience. On to the Gluten free/Dairy free situation. My wife and I went paleo/primal about a year and a half ago, around the time we discovered her allergies with gluten(not celiac, proper allergic reaction). Since then she has also found through elimination trial and error that dairy is not so kind to her either, though not as an allergy, more of a sinus congestion issue. I myself attempt to stay as Primal as possible, but it's not critical for me. So as we approached the vacation, being able to stay gluten free was a must, dairy free was more of a bonus. After speaking with our travel agent and RCL staff on the phone, they assured us that our dietary needs could be met. We have to say that overall, it's true, they can accommodate just about any special diet, but that comes at a cost(not monetary, but time and choice). The main dining room on the ship is your best bet on ease of getting food choices. You can get the same wait staff each night which makes the experience 10 times easier for dinner. At this point we have to give a shout out to our waitress, Mary Jo, and our head waiter Memish(we did my time dining btw). They were PHENOMENAL and went the extra mile every night we were there to make sure she didn't have any contamination or issues.(The second half of the cruise Memish was in a different area then Mary and he still came back over to check in on us and help out if there were any issues). If you have a dietary need, ask if either of them are on your sailing and ask to be seated in their area when you arrive the first night. That being said, even in the main dining room, my wife often found that while there were gluten free options, finding one that was also dairy free was challenging. She often ended up eating the same salad each night(which was ok with her since it was Caesar which is normally not dairy free, but they made it so). Lunch and breakfast options were more limited in the main dining room, and somewhat repetitive, but we were able to make do without any incidents. Outside the main dining room (with the exception of the specialty fine dining restaurants) was difficult. The buffet type places, like the wind jammer and solarium bistro for instance, were hit or miss, and it was kind of a pain to have to go get a chef to come out to the buffet each time to point out what was safe and what wasn't(Also, you should talk to the chef each time you visit the buffet, even if it’s the same place. We found different things were safe or not on different days, for instance sometimes they had bread to soak up grease in the bottom of the bacon pans… and sometimes they didn’t). This wasn't RCL's fault necessarily; it's just a fact of life when eating gluten free at a buffet. Because of these inconveniences, we opted to try and make the main dining room meal times where possible and avoid the other restaurants. The one exception was the Mexican place on the boardwalk, Rita's Cantina. Towards the end of the second cruise we found this place and while it wasn't strictly paleo or healthy, it was gluten and dairy free, which was a welcome change in options. The specialty restaurants that we tried (Giovanni's, Chops and Samba) were all very accommodating and we had no problem there. Having to make the times for the main dining room times was a bit restrictive for us since that meant we had to keep to a somewhat normal schedule in order to make breakfast and lunch each day(breakfast till 10:00am and lunch between 12-1:30pm. It gave the days a somewhat rushed feeling that we probably would have avoided had we not had dietary restrictions. Shore days For days that we were in port, the hours on the main dining room were more limited and so we braved the buffet on these days sometimes, or we had brought some food aboard that was gluten free(nuts and protein bars, dried fruit, etc) or stuck to fruit. We were able to carry the sealed prepacked bars off the ship into port, which helped us avoid the need to try and find gluten free options in port, though we didn't spend more than 4 hours off ship at any point. Paleo while cruising For me personally, not succumbing to the avalanche of non-paleo foods was definitely challenging. The deluge of breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, ice cream was unbelievable. They are everywhere. I avoided them as much as my will power could muster(I think I only cheated 4-5 times with desserts or bread), and chose to save my cheats for alcohol instead(which there is also an abundance of). The gym is pretty nice, plenty of equipment, and a track around the outside of the ship. Myself personally, being more into body weight exercises just chose to do my morning workout on the balcony, though there is also an area in the gym with mats to work with. While this review may sound like a bit of a downer, the dietary issues were just a small portion of the trip, and the rest of it more than made up for any struggles with food. We had a wonderful time and are very grateful that we had such a fantastic ship where we could travel without too much worry about where we were going to get gluten free foods. We highly recommend it and will probably end up going again.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Just returned from our first cruise and I can't say enough about this ship. It is absolutely amazing. The ship, the crew, the food, all first rate. We loved Ronald and James in the MDR. They took great care of us. The entertainment ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise and I can't say enough about this ship. It is absolutely amazing. The ship, the crew, the food, all first rate. We loved Ronald and James in the MDR. They took great care of us. The entertainment was the best we've seen. We had a balcony on deck 10 overlooking the Boardwalk, we were a little worried about noise but there was very little and we had a great view of the Aqua Theatre and the back of the ship. We've been to many all inclusive resorts on many different islands and nothing compared to this trip. We can't wait to come back. The only negative thing I would comment on is beware of the coupons they give you for free jewellery as you leave the ship in the different ports of call. We spent a lot of money in Effy Jewellers in St Thomas. We had a coupon for a free silver chain with a garnet charm on it. We purchased the matching earrings and gave it to our daughter when we got home last night. She loved it and immediately put it on. Woke up this morning with rust around her neck!! Yes, I realize it was free (the earrings weren't) but that is a little ridiculous. I realize this isn't RCCI's fault but they are heavily promoting this jeweller on their ship. Just thought I'd give you the heads up!! Again, beautiful ship and amazing crew who take care of your every need. We'll be back!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Background: I am 37 years old, married , two children ages 5 and 3. I have been on 15 cruises, first time on Princess. Chose the Royal Princess for its luxury during a Thanksgiving vacation. The good: This ship is amazing, elegant, ... Read More
Background: I am 37 years old, married , two children ages 5 and 3. I have been on 15 cruises, first time on Princess. Chose the Royal Princess for its luxury during a Thanksgiving vacation. The good: This ship is amazing, elegant, luxurious, modern and relatively easy to navigate through. Venues are either in the Piazza, a stunning place to relax, grab a drink and take it all in, or in the aft section of the ship. The Ship NEVER felt crowded. Pool deck is not as bad as other reviews. There are two pools dedicated just for adults. Staff are courteous, hard working and will make sure that all passenger needs are met. Superb is the only way to describe their hard work!! The Bad: Old people by the hundreds whose sole mission was to complain, complain, complain. Four minutes on the Ship, they were already complaining about the elevators. 1000 people showed up and tried to use six elevators at the same time, come on people!! Halfway through our cruise, I watched a lady call customer service because she waited five minutes for an elevator and demand they stop it on deck six for her. Mind you, the dining room was on deck five! Any ship will have lines at lunch and dinner. Be patient, you're on vacation! The deluxe balcony stateroom: If traveling with four, be advised the sofa bed and the upper berth block 90% of the balcony doors. Stretch before trying to get out or in before you wake the kids, just a bad design! The balcony itself seems to be of average size, functional and relaxing. Did I mention the old people!! They wouldn't have a good time if free Bingo cards fell from the sky!! Summary: The Royal Princess is an amazing vessel accompanied with a dedicated staff. It was our fellow passengers that "ruined" it for my wife and I. I'm not kidding about the amount of disgruntled nasty elderly people we ran into. Be warned if you are traveling with young children, the staff at Princess Pelicans did a great job entertaining our children, its the eye rolls and dirty looks from the seniors when they see a child laughing or standing in one of their elevators that gets old really fast! Advice: If you are old and drink tap water all week and enjoy complaining, welcome aboard. If younger than 40 traveling with kids and enjoy cruising, sail on a different line. Nothing against Princess, but their client base is obvious, Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I have been dreaming of a cruise for several years. I had been planning to do one, and I was offered a free cruise from Horseshoe Casino. After upgrading, fees and taxes, it seemed to equate to a buy a cruise get one free. It was not a bad ... Read More
I have been dreaming of a cruise for several years. I had been planning to do one, and I was offered a free cruise from Horseshoe Casino. After upgrading, fees and taxes, it seemed to equate to a buy a cruise get one free. It was not a bad deal. I also received 2 casino cards that provided complimentary drinks in the casino. We arrived in New Orleans on Saturday and stayed the night. We were able to park for free at the Harrahs Casino garage. On Sunday morning, we drove over and dropped our luggage off. It seemed a bit hectic as there was a lot of cruise traffic for Norwegian Jewel and Carnival. We parked our car, and walked back over to board. The boarding too me was much like boarding at the airport, although it may have been a bit quicker. Our cabin was located on deck 10, midship, port side. One thing I recall is as I exited the elevators and started down the isle, a certain area seemed to have a bad sewer smell. I just walked fast to get by, and was happy that the smell was not near my cabin. In preparing for my trip I knew I have a history of getting motion sickness. Therefore, I had my seabands on, and had the travel patch for behind the ear. The doctor had instructed me to put on when I boarded the ship. I thought better, and figured I would rely on the seabands. I felt good the first day, but basically we were just cruising very easily down the Mississippi River. I thought this is a piece of cake. The first day at sea, I woke up early, and felt fine. We had breakfast and a nice lunch. We walked and explored the ship. The wind was very strong, and I felt a lot of ship movement. All of the sudden I started feeling bad and I applied the patch behind my ear. Well the patch usually takes a few hours. I started feeling miserable. The sea sickness to me is so bad, that you almost feel like jumping into the water and ending it. By this time we must have been dead in the center of the Gulf of Mexico. I had no idea of what to expect, all you see is water, nothing else. I think I thought I would see birds, and fish jumping in the water. My nice husband fetched me green apples and I slept for a while. Later I went to the high center of the ship and tried to relax and get fresh air. Wonderful news the next day, I woke up and felt great. The patch worked. We had another day at sea. The next day we arrived in Jamaica. I booked excursion to see Rose Hall. The trip was long as traffic seemed terrible, and I was surprised that the tour bus took us by their airport. The airport did not seem to be anything to see, and a waste of time. They also took us to Margaritaville, which too me was cliché. Also the tour bus was packed, and there was not a free seat. It seemed miserable. Rose Hall was very interesting and historic and had a nice high view of the ocean. The next day we arrived at the Cayman Islands. I did a beach excursion. It was nice, but did not feel like a lot of time at the beach. I am used to Florida beach, and never really can see my feet through the water. There it was like I could see too much, and there were these little spiny ball things, that you were afraid you would step on. Day 5 we arrived at Cosumel Mexico. I booked the Tulum excursion, as my husband had always wanted to see the Mayan Indian ruins. I did not realize that we would be taking a ferry from Cosumel to Tulum. I was scared to death I would again get sea sick. People all around me got seasick. But this time my patch was on, and I did not get sick. Although it was not a fun time on the ferry. Tulum was beautiful, and worth the ferry ride. I was very pleased with what I saw of Mexico, as I had very low expectations. I was picturing it being dirty and very unpleasant. I found it was great, and was my favorite stop. The ocean and beach on the side of the cliff of the Tulum ruins were simply beautiful. Time just went way to fast. We enjoyed some tacos at Tulum, the salsa and chips are still fresh in my memory, and I cannot wait to go back and have some more. Maybe some day. Day 6 we were back on ship for the last day at sea. The evening was very interesting as it appeared as that we were close to land. We could see a lot of lights and maybe sandbars. I think we were seeing oil rigs. It was dark so it was hard to see. I did see another cruise ship come by. We were able to wave at each other. Day 7, we awoke and we were back in New Orleans. We had breakfast and got off the ship. I removed my patch. I felt great. We walked around New Orleans, and had dinner at Mothers. We spent the night at Harrahs. The next morning when I woke up, I felt bad. I had a rocking feeling, and felt like I was moving. I did not get really sick, but I just did not have balance. I felt like this for almost a week. At that point I said never again will I cruise. Now, the feeling is behind me, and it has been almost 3 months. The cold weather here at home, has made me want to do it again. I do want to try cruising again. I don't know why, but overall I had a wonderful time. Next time, I will do the patch correctly, and I am wondering if one of the bigger ships would help.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I want to say thank you to Carnival and their awesome hospitality. My wife and I along with our two children traveled by car from near Tampa Florida. This is our second cruise with Carnival with our previous cruise being out of Tampa on ... Read More
I want to say thank you to Carnival and their awesome hospitality. My wife and I along with our two children traveled by car from near Tampa Florida. This is our second cruise with Carnival with our previous cruise being out of Tampa on the Legend. We arrived at embarkation port at Miami around noon...kudo's to the Port of Miami and Border Security, we were all checked in and on board within 30 minutes of arrival. Let's talk about the ship. The Conquest is a beautiful ship with a French Impressionist theme. We were greeted by friendly staff upon entering on the Lobby Deck(all the great information from excursions to customer service is located here). We took the shiny glass elevator up to the Lido deck on 9. We had a delicious lunch at Restaurant Cezanne which is the cruise buffet. A hidden gem to look out for...check out Fish and Chips for great seafood on the second floor of the buffet. The food at the buffet, Guy's Burger Joint and they had a cool taco/burrito bar were all fresh, hot and good. The food on the ship was great with no bad meals for our party of four, for the entire 7 day cruise. We ate at the Renoir Restaurant and Gusti was a great Head waiter. The food was always interesting and satisfied even my youngest child's picky eating habits. Gusti and his staff were attentive and provided outstanding customer service. We ate breakfast most days in the Monet Restaurant and were happy with the food selection and service. Overall, we were happy with our food. Our cabin which was 1241 was located on the Rivera deck and was an oceanview cabin. It was spacious enough for two adults and children(fold out bed and bunk bed, we had a king). The room stewards cleaned the room and did a turn down service in the evening. No complaints with the room or staff. Children activites-my oldest daughter who is 13 participated in Circle C, this is the group from 12-14 year old's. She had fun doing scavenger hunts, watching movies with friends she met, and played video games. There was always an activity to keep her busy if she wanted to spend time away from the family. My 10 year old enjoyed Camp Carnival. She could not keep herself away from all the activities. The highlight was the Glow Stick party until 3am Friday night. The nice thing was that a staff member brought her back to the stateroom so we knew she was safe and secure. We did one excursion during our trip and this was one of the only downsides to the cruise. In St. Thomas we went to Magen's Bay. The trip to the beach was adventurous with an open air truck taking us up a winding scenic road that stopped at Drake's Point(famous explorer) to take pictures of the beautiful town and ocean below. The beach which is heralded as a top 10 beach by National Geographic was just so-so. The area to lay out is very skinny with hardly any room to spread out a towel. The view was nice with an island jutting up out of the water in the distance but that did not overcome the feeling of overcrowding we had on the beach. Activities on board were numerous and fun. We really enjoyed Trivia with Bruno, Emily and the rest of the staff. We spent tons of time hitting up the comedy club, karoake, trivia, and crafts. Gary and Matt were the cruise director and assistant cruise director and both were very entertaining and informative. The shows were great. We saw all three showings of Hasbro the Game Show(felt like a TV production), The Brits and Diva's. The performers sounded good and performed their hearts out. The first showing of Diva's was cancelled due to heavy rocking of the ship due to inclement weather but Gary had the group come out and give us a taste of things to come and it was worth the wait. We really enjoyed Matt (assistant cruise director) and Gary(Cruise director). Both were very active in all of the activities on board and they worked very well together. Both did a great job, teasing each other and joking around to the benefit of the people on the cruise. We disembarked on December 1st and were picked up by a relative. The only problem with getting off of the ship was that people on board were not listening to the times being called and were crowding the gangway which slowed down the process. We had no issues upon leaving the ship and the port porter and Border Security were both efficient and friendly. Bravo Carnival for making this a Thanksgiving to remember. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Just back from our 41st cruise, most have been with Holland America and Princess. The Westerdam is a wonderful ship, not too big or not too small. As with all HAL ships the Westerdam was clean as a whistle and kept up very well. ... Read More
Just back from our 41st cruise, most have been with Holland America and Princess. The Westerdam is a wonderful ship, not too big or not too small. As with all HAL ships the Westerdam was clean as a whistle and kept up very well. Embarkation was a snap and we were on board about 11:45 and having lunch in the Lido at noon. One of my complaints in the Lido is there are no trays and you are constantly going back to get a drink or desert or whatever else, I was told by my personal cruise consultant and HAL this is done so passengers will take less food. Loved the sandwiches at the deli and the salads at the salad bar. My wife had fish just about every day for lunch and it was always great. I had a couple of slices of pizza on 2 days for lunch and it was OK, nothing special. Our cabin was ready by 12:30 and we had our luggage by 1:30 which is fantastic. Our cabin was spotless and our steward Eko did a great job. It is was nice to have a bath tub as I have a nagging back and I like to soak in the tub. We had fixed seating early dinner in the MDR and never had a bad meal, soups and appetizers were very good as well the main courses and deserts. Our waiter Indwar was one of the best we have had, very professional. Shows were also very good except we did not care for the Country Western show. The BB Kings was one of the best shows we have seen on a cruise ship. Movies were also available but had some weird starting times. Ports of call were Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. Having been on 41 cruises the ports of call in the Caribbean do not matter to us anymore as we have been to places like St. Thomas and others 20 times or more, for us the ship is the destination as we love sea days. That being said it is always a thrill to sail by El Morro as we come into San Juan, we walked around San Juan and St. Maarten for and hour or two and bought a few items, we did not get off in Grand Turk or Half Moon Cay. The Mariners lunch was held on the last sea day and we are not fans of it, we liked it when they had the cocktail party on the last formal night. HAL if you are reading this, please go back to the cocktail parties. Dis-embarkation was a breeze as we live in Florida and do the early walk off where you carry off your luggage. We were in our car by 7:45 and home by 10:15 as we live about 150 miles from Port Everglades. I was hitting golf balls at noon. Looking forward to our next cruises on the Royal Princess in March and then the Nieuw Amsterdam in November.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We just returned from our second cruise on the Allure. We have also been on Oasis, so are familiar with these wonderful huge ships. We took our cousins with us. They are frequent cruisers on another line, but this was their first time on ... Read More
We just returned from our second cruise on the Allure. We have also been on Oasis, so are familiar with these wonderful huge ships. We took our cousins with us. They are frequent cruisers on another line, but this was their first time on RCCL. I booked Boardwalk Balconies for us. We were on Deck 12, starboard, the fourth and fifth cabins back from the Aquatheatre. The location was perfect since we could see all of the shows from our balcony and also see the ocean. Our cousins were wowed! Embarkation and debarkation were very smooth, although once off the ship, the customs line was very long. This is not the fault of RCCL, but is due to recent government cutbacks in this area. We were driving so it didn't matter, but anyone with an early flight might have had problems. The entertainment was all spectacular, our table in the Main Dining Room was in a quiet hallway next to a window. We were thrilled with our location and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Our Maitre D;, waitress, and assistant waiter were excellent and we enjoyed all of our dinners there. I think the food at dinner has improved, and I was very pleased with our selections. We found breakfast and lunch in the MDR to be rather chaotic and rushed, so we avoided going there. We had breakfast twice in Johnny Rocket's and twice in the Park Café. Both places had very good food and a fun atmosphere. The good news about the Windjammer is that now they seat you when you go in. The bad news is that you may get a really bad table! We spent a lot of time in the Promenade Café eating sandwiches and cookies, plus pizza that we would bring over from Sorrento's. We loved Captain Johnny! He was very visible, personable, and funny too! We were also very impressed with Assistant Cruise Director, Zac, from South Africa. I think he would be a great Cruise Director! For the first time on the big ships, we encountered somewhat rough seas on this cruise. I don't know if this had something to do with the azipod problem, or if it was just "rough seas". It wasn't terrible, we have certainly experienced much worse, but I was surprised. We are good sailors, so no problem for us. All in all, it was a wonderful cruise, and RCCL did their very best to WOW us!!   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I’m going to complain about the complainers! I am just so saddened by all of the negative remarks I see about this amazing ship. I’m convinced people just want to complain about things just to see if they can get something out of it ... Read More
I’m going to complain about the complainers! I am just so saddened by all of the negative remarks I see about this amazing ship. I’m convinced people just want to complain about things just to see if they can get something out of it for free! I would recommend the Norweigian Epic to anyone! WITHOUT HESITATION! My husband, 5 year old son and I went on the 7 day Cruise leaving from Miami on Saturday November 16th. Check-in was a breeze! Once we arrived at the port we were on the ship in twenty minutes! And oh by the way, we were not early, we arrived at 1:00 pm! You would think it would be a mad house, but it wasn’t! Upon entering the ship we did notice the casino, and yes of course a hint of smoke. People complain as if the place were full of smog or something. You could barely smell it! I’m not a smoker, I hate smoking, but it didn’t bother me to the point where I would complain about it. We studied the ship map before heading on board, so we knew we would enter through the casino and made our way right to our cabin. To avoid the hint of smoke, we made sure to use other floors to get across from one end of the ship to the other, easy! The Norweigian website provides tons of information to help you prepare for your cruise, study that next time before you get on board. We enjoyed learning as much as we could before the cruise, especially since we booked it in January. It was fun and we knew exactly what to do when we got on! Our stateroom was easy to get to. We were located on the 8th floor, starboard side. We had read a review here on CC which was also very helpful, in telling us about La Cucina, which is located under the Garden Café, so we made our way up to the 15th floor, to the beautiful and bountiful Garden Café, where there was a huge selection of food (from Italian, to Thai, to Indian to good ole fashioned American) and headed to the back of the Garden Café, and down the stairs to a very quiet and cozy table by the window in La Cucina. I think it’s lovely how they allow people to sit there even though they are eating from the Garden Café. It’s a hidden secret (just as the CC review said, now that’s the kind of thing I like to see in reviews, tips to help me, not miserable people complaining about the most minimal things or things that happened to them because they made bad decisions. I mean really, be thankful for having the opportunity to be on a cruise, instead of being at home bored!) Anyways …. Our 5 year old absolutely loved the children’s program! There were a few themed nights “Sports Night” “Super Hero Night” “Pirate Night” “Princess Night”, and I happen to read a review where a Mom suggested we bring dress up clothes for he kids, so I did! He brought last years Pirate Costume and this years Ninja Costume and a Football Jersey, so he was dressed for the part! The kids staff was amazing! Happy, cheerful, caring, playful people who loves what they do, and I felt more than comfortable leaving my son there for a few hours in the morning. He didn’t want to leave the kids area, that’s how much he loved it! They have a Nickelodeon program, so he got to meet Dora and Diego and Sponge Bob, and the Fairly Odd Parents and his favorite, Avater Eng! The kid was in heaven! They had a Pajama Jam the morning we landed in St. Marteen where the kids got to have breakfast with the characters and take pictures. Great way to send them off to their first island stop. The pool area was tons of fun too! They have not 1, not 2 but 3 slides. Adults and kids were having a blast and they were open from 10-8!!! There were plenty of food options both free and custom dining available by reservation. We noticed a Grill Area by the pool, as well as the Garden Café which is where we went mostly to eat. We ate at Le Bistro for our Anniversary Dinner where the waitress Ida was amazing as a waitress! Taste was absolutely lovely and the waiter Walter shared in excellent conversation with us! The Manhattan Room I visited with my son for the Pajama Jam breakfast only, and I wish I had gone there for dinner one evening, as I heard nothing but great things from the guests we met onboard. There’s so much to do on this ship 7 days isn’t enough! One last thing… WHITE HOT PARTY, on the back of the ship, last night of the cruise. LOVED IT! Richard “Papichulo” Abreu, my fellow Dominican, who happened to be the Assistant Cruise Director got the party started and the peoples hips moving!!! Fabulous job! We had a blast!!! Stayed out til 1:30 am, shut the party down, I can’t remember the last time that happened.. and thank you to the good people in the kids program, who watch the children til 1:30 am and tuck them snug as a bug into bed until we arrive to pick them up! So… fantastic cruise, we’re already planning our next one and recruiting family and friends to tag along! NORWEIGIAN EPIC ROCKS!   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
This was my 2nd cruise ever, the only other being a Medeterranian cruise. Embarkation was a lot of waiting. Check in didn't take long but we arrived around 11/11:30 and had to wait over an hour to get on the ship. This may be ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise ever, the only other being a Medeterranian cruise. Embarkation was a lot of waiting. Check in didn't take long but we arrived around 11/11:30 and had to wait over an hour to get on the ship. This may be standard, but on the Med cruise we walked right on after check in. We did go straight to the room and it was still being cleaned but he let us leave our luggage, as we only had carry-ons. Had lunch in the MDR, which was almost empty and peaceful. The staff was not very excited about us being there. I know you are encouraged to eat at the buffet for Embarkation lunch, but we wanted peace and quiet. After lunch we returned to our room and our steward was still cleaning rooms but ours was done. Miguel was wonderful, always happy and very accommodating. The Room: we had a balcony room on deck 9 and it was as expected. I had a mini-suite on the other cruise and I'd like to touch on the differences. While online the bathroom doesn't look smaller, it really is. There is no tub, just a shower. I was fine with that, I wasn't going to take a bath anyway. However, the shower was tiny. And for two women, there was no place to bring your leg up to shave. So we put the small table from the balcony in the shower and it worked fine. The toilet area is small also compared to the mini suite. My knees would bang the wall when I would sit down, so in order to use the toilet, I had to sit sort of sideways out the door. Storage was plentiful for two people, three might struggle. We put the coffee maker in the top of the closet so to make more room on the desk. The ship: the ship was almost identical to the Jade, which was my first cruise. Same class, same design, just different names for some of the venues. We ate at the buffet mostly. I did prefer the Jades separate stations as opposed to this ships one long buffet. The long buffet made for a lot of cutting in. We didn't spend much time around the ship except for the casino. That was the main purpose for this trip. I found the staff to be less friendly than the Jade, but still nice, polite, and attentive. The cards were not in my favor on this trip as they were before. The blackjack and slots tournaments were fun. The Ports: only two ports on this trip, both very disappointing. And identical. Cozumel and Grand Cayman, probably like all carribbean ports are mostly for water activities. We are not beach/water people so we just took inexpensive tours( $20-25 ea). The islands were mostly run down and dirty. Not much to look at but it gave us something to do. I would not travel to these islands again. I have booked the Pearl again to Alaska this June. I would rather be on the Jade but that's not an option. (Going back to a mini-suite this time). Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I have read all the reviews which relate to the Royal Princess and the Eastern Caribbean Cruise and I am beginning to think these people were not on the same ship or cruise, the complaints and criticisms are totally unjustifiable. This ... Read More
I have read all the reviews which relate to the Royal Princess and the Eastern Caribbean Cruise and I am beginning to think these people were not on the same ship or cruise, the complaints and criticisms are totally unjustifiable. This ship is truly amazing and I cannot find fault with anything at all, maybe you did sometimes have to wait for the lifts, but we are talking a few minutes here, so what's the problem. We had all our meals breakfast, lunch & dinner in the Horizon Bistro, the choice and quality of food was excellent, the service superb, and we did not feel the need to use the anytime dining restaurants The entertainment was also excellent and there were plenty of activities at all times. The new colours of the world show in the theatre was brilliant and the Live TV studio productions in particular the making of the Wake Show with Sam & Dam was most entertaining. All in all a fabulous cruise and we would definitely choose to sail on the Royal Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I are totally addicted to cruising, having been on 29 cruises in 5 years. In fact, we love cruising so much we moved to Florida to be closer to the cruise ports. We now live on the Gulf Coast, just a 3 1/2 hour from Port ... Read More
My husband and I are totally addicted to cruising, having been on 29 cruises in 5 years. In fact, we love cruising so much we moved to Florida to be closer to the cruise ports. We now live on the Gulf Coast, just a 3 1/2 hour from Port Everglades. This is our 13th cruise on Princess and the first on the Royal. We had a bit of a hiccup a couple days before our cruise - our credit card company called to say our card security had been compromised and they were canceling our card. Oh great! Our replacement card wouldn't arrive for several days. Luckily we have a second credit card so we didn't have to take a bucket of cash for our on board account. When I changed my credit card at check-in, the agent said at least 3 other people that day had told her the same thing. Good lesson for us - always have a second card. Embarkation was slower than what we're used to, I don't know if it's because we arrived at 12:30, a busy time, or if it's because the ship is so big. Since we are Platinum we used the Preferred Boarding line but even that line had 50 people in it. Luckily, it moved quickly and we were checked into our room and lunching in the expansive buffet by 1:30. I was really looking forward to seeing how beautiful this new ship was and was certainly not disappointed. I never said "wow" so many times in my life. The Piazza was gorgeous, with a staircase that looked like it was suspended by a ribbon. I loved all the tile, granite and marble. The ceiling above the Customer Service Desk had very interesting painting techniques. Loved being able to see pictures of the Naming Ceremony. We loved the first production show, Colors of the World but weren't crazy about the other 2, too much recorded singing. The theater is a weird design and anyone coming in late on deck 6 had to walk down front and across in front of the stage to get to the available seats. Very disruptive. A couple times they interfered with the singers and dancers who were performing in the aisles. We always arrive a little early so that we can get a seat near the front. Love the energy of the performers. We were very impressed with all the music every night on the ship. Just leaving the theater we'd pass at least 3 venues with live music. The Beatle Maniacs in the Piazza is not to be missed. The whole crowd was dancing! We don't eat in the main dining room much anymore - not much impressed with the food or the service. We had surprisingly good food both nights we ate there but miserable service one of the nights. Crown Grill was good as usual. Our server worked very hard to please. Alfredo's has a great menu and very attentive servers. I can't say enough good things about the buffet, so many choices! Loved having such a great salad bar, especially near the end of the cruise when I was so full I was sure I'd explode. Our cabin attendant did a great job for us. We didn't see him much but the cabin was always clean. I found the new bed to be disappointingly hard so our steward found an extra pillow top for me and that helped. I think they used the wrong kind of feathers for the pillows because it was so hard that I couldn't use it. The synthetic pillow was fine. We rarely do any ships excursions, usually take a cab to the beach and that's what we did in both St Thomas and St Martin. The tenders to Princess Cay went very smoothly with very little wait. We don't join many activities on the ship either - mainly lay in the sun (plenty of open loungers) and read books. We were grateful that the MUTS only showed travelogue type pictures and not the blaring concerts of the past. What impressed us the most on this cruise was how happy the crew seemed. Everyone greeted us with big, friendly smiles. One of the stewards was whistling Christmas carols every time we passed. The Maître 'd and the head chef put on an amusing culinary demonstration where they teased each other endlessly. It was obvious they liked each other, and their jobs. Shortly before we disembarked I saw the head chef himself escorting 8 young cooks around the ship. He said (with obvious pride) that he was showing them the new "city" they'd be working on. Sadly, we had to leave the ship after 7 wonderful days. Disembarkation was very smooth, nearly 1/2 a hour ahead of schedule by the end. Our second hiccup of the cruise was waiting for us at the off site lot where we parked. Our car had been crunched by one of their valets. Luckily they admitted fault so it should be no problem getting it fixed, but a time consuming hassle for something we didn't cause. I'll be looking for self park and not valet for our next cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I was a reluctant cruiser. The thought of being inactive and surrounded by people and food did not impress me. I had enjoyed the intimate river cruises with Viking for the last 3 years and needed a winter break somewhere warm at a more ... Read More
I was a reluctant cruiser. The thought of being inactive and surrounded by people and food did not impress me. I had enjoyed the intimate river cruises with Viking for the last 3 years and needed a winter break somewhere warm at a more affordable price than Viking have now become. We booked 5 weeks before on a getaway deal. We were impressed with the balcony room on B deck. The balcony was just big enough for 2, 4 at a push when our daughters joined us if they sat on the foot stool and table. Small shower room though. My parents paid £200 more each for a deluxe balcony room with a bathroom and a living area with a 4 seater sofa and chair in their larger room. They also had a bigger balcony and were on D deck., but it was overlooked by all the decks above ( As are the balconies on C deck). No privacy if you want to sunbathe. The ship is cleverly designed. Adults in the front, kids at the back, noisy pool with dj in the middle. The food in the restaurant was lovely and varied. The service was exceptional. The staff were friendly and the captain a delight to talk to. We were tempted to eat elsewhere one night and pay the extra cover charge, but we didn't want to abandon our waiters or the food and stayed loyally eating at the 6.30pm sitting. Prices on the ship were reasonable. £15 for a bottle of wine, £20 for a trip to the beach, more for more exotic excursions. We went Whale watching for £55 each, Kayaking and snorkelling £46 each. On other days we organised our own taxi tours that were plentiful and competitively priced. The cruise island itinerary was good ( Barbados, Granada, St Lucia, Dominica, St Maarten, St Kitts, Tortolla and then our favourites Curacao and Bonaire (Little Gems),. There was a good blend of island days and sea days to relax. Good idea to have 2 sea days to take us back to Barbados where we chilled and relaxed by the endless pool, It was not boring and neither was it like Butlins I am really glad I took the leap. Read Less

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