We choose the carnival Breeze this year because we heard it was an incredibly ship, and it was. Our cabin Stewart was Great she was very friendly and made us feel welcomed.
The lines on the lido deck were long but hey we’re on ... Read More
We choose the carnival Breeze this year because we heard it was an incredibly ship, and it was. Our cabin Stewart was Great she was very friendly and made us feel welcomed.
The lines on the lido deck were long but hey we’re on vacation, not a big problem for me. I enjoyed the chance to talk and meet new people.
We Loved the 80’s Rock and Glow night, we just wished they had the 80’s trivia game the same night. We enjoy dressing up in our costumes.
The ports were beautiful and breathtaking, the water was so blue.
The staff was also extremely friendly and really helpful we never needed anything. Our waiters in the Dining Room were incredible, they remembered our names and what we liked to eat and drink.
Thanks Carnival for the wonderful memories Read Less
We did a lot of research as both my wife and I haven't cruised for at least 20 years as so much has changed. We wanted to make sure we saw the new features so were looking for a newer ship. This ship had so much to offer with the ... Read More
We did a lot of research as both my wife and I haven't cruised for at least 20 years as so much has changed. We wanted to make sure we saw the new features so were looking for a newer ship. This ship had so much to offer with the zipline, rock climbing wall, water slides, basketball court, numerous pools and hot tubs as well as being a new ship. We watched a number of videos and attempted to create a packing list of what we thought we needed which were very helpful. The only two things we missed was Aloe (had to pick some up in Puerto Rico) and a package of straws. We didn't realize they use paper straws so attempting to drink a frozen drink from a paper straw is a frustrating experience. We'll make sure to pack some straws the next time.
For the on-boarding process I thought it was absolutely fantastic, granted I don't have experience with other cruise lines but I couldn't have pictured this going any smoother. We parked in the parking garage at terminal A, mostly because this was our first time in the area and knew we were going to pay a premium for it. We got to the terminal at about 10am mostly because we were excited and couldn't wait any longer to get there. Our boarding time was slated for 12pm. Once we parked someone came right over and took our bags away (we had the tags already on them). Then it was just us and the carry on bags which was simple to navigate. We entered the terminal and there was always an agent telling us where to go next. We walked straight into the security area with no wait at all. Certainly not like an airport. Then entered the waiting area. Once they started calling groups (key members, layers of loyalty members, etc...) we were in the first group they called and they called a bunch of groups right after each other so people could enter the ship pretty quickly. We were on the ship by 11:30.
We knew not to go to the windjammer as it would be packed so instead went to the boardwalk and got a couple hot dogs and started to explore this beautiful ship. The rooms were available at 1pm right on the dot so certainly a well organized machine they have going on here. We immediately unpacked as our luggage was there, something else we learned from videos. I tried to find a room with bunk beds for the kids but I couldn't find one in the balcony area. They may exist but I just couldn't find one. So we had a couch with a pullout for my son. It was fine except in the mornings you can't make it to the balcony without stepping on the bed waking him up. Magnets work great on the walls but use the rare earth magnets. I had a combination of cheap magnet hooks as well as rare earth ones and there was a significant difference. The dry erase board was also a big winner as we could leave notes for each other when we left and where we were going. The bathroom was fine and there was enough room for one person and on occasion we had a couple people in there but not for long. Standard balcony size is good. Didn't need any more space out there and the chairs were comfortable.
We signed the kids up for their respective kid areas but my son never wanted to go and my daughter (16) really only went the first night then hung out a couple times with a friend she met. When signing up Royal didn't really communicate with either one of them what they would be doing, or could be doing there so our kids hung out with us which was fine, just think though they lost a fun experience with the kid events.
Service was excellent all the way around. We had my time dining and had is scheduled pretty much at 6:30-6:45 each night. Something we noticed quickly was that when we left there were long lines trying to get into my time dining on deck 4 (around 8pm or so). Might be something people should consider when using my time dining, to get their time slated for 6-7pm to avoid some waiting. Another really nice touch I thought should be called out was that we ended up having the same server for dinner each night. I didn't expect that because we were in my time dining and not the set time of the main dining room. I thought that was a nice touch that they were able to organize that so you can build a relationship with the staff and learn a little about them and where they are from.
I think the thing we had work on was the elevators on the ship. I don't think they are optimized or something. We would see elevators cruise by us (the clear glass ones) in the direction we were going but it didn't stop, then when one did arrive it was packed. I would say 80% of our elevator rides were packed. If we were on decks 5 or lower we would catch an elevator going down to go up. If we were on the 14-16 we would go up to go down. It would allow us to get on the elevator before it got packed. We also noticed that the elevators were always moving floor to floor. Some stay on a floor for a very long time so there seems to be something with optimization that could help with this problem. We also used the stairs more as the cruise went on.
The fitness center and track around the ship are excellent. We spent a lot of time walking the track and really enjoyed the occasional game of shuffleboard hidden away along side the track. The ping pong on the other side was really difficult as their are open areas that allow wind in, and the ping pong ball would go flying due to the wind.
The shows are pretty good. We really liked the Hiro diving show the most. Hairspray and Flight were okay but not our favorites. I thought what they did with Flight was really cool technically being able to accomplish those effects on a cruise ship. The comedians were okay. The ice show was really good from our perspective.
We booked a kayak adventure at RC's Labadee, Haiti port and I wish I had thought about that more. If you aren't experienced with Kayaks or a canoe, it may not be a fun experience. Also this is not a real short trip so it could be tiring if you are out of shape. Our biggest complaint though on this excursion was that they stop half way through on a beach then subject you to locals pushing their merchandise. They were pretty aggressive and it was uncomfortable. There were ample opportunity to buy the exact same items in areas that with the main shopping areas. There doesn't seem to be a need to have this here and they were much more aggressive then in the main areas. Also keep in mind that lunch is 11:30-1:30 and our excursions were back to back so we almost missed lunch. Ooops.
Watch out for the watch sales on the ship. If you want to buy a watch, make sure you have the internet package so you can price shop. The alcohol prices were pretty good especially if you buy in 2-4 bottles to get the discounted prices. I ended up buying some rum in Puerto Rico which I was happy with that wasn't available on the ship. It was delivered to my room the last night of the cruise.
We found an advantage using the parking garage for disembarkation. When entering the area where the luggage is located there is a line of helpful guys ready to take your luggage to your vehicle. This was a no brainer. We tipped the guy $2 a bag and he navigated all the way through customs and to our vehicle. I also think they allowed us to bypass some of the line since we had them helping us. Not sure about that but there were folks that had their own luggage and we walked right by them.
I called out a few of the things we learned on this ship to help others on their adventure. We had a great time on this ship and everything on this ship met our expectations. The food was top notch, the facilities are practically new and fully functional, the crew was fun and we were really pleased we chose this ship. The bar is set pretty high for our next cruise. Read Less
I have cruised with Princess many times and not been disappointed. But This was the best ship ever on Princess, Great Activities, shows, music, food, many pools to suit everyone. quiet pools as well as kiddie pools and music pools spa ... Read More
I have cruised with Princess many times and not been disappointed. But This was the best ship ever on Princess, Great Activities, shows, music, food, many pools to suit everyone. quiet pools as well as kiddie pools and music pools spa pool hot tubs deep pools shady pools. Easiest embarkation ever. Luggage delivered to my room 2 hours before scheduled Front Desk handles all request, fun parties, wonderful kid programs - get the kids to join you won't be sorry. Buffet is awesome. Hard to believe the number of breakfast items to suit all tastes. Burger shop, pizza shop Gluten free, sugar free desserts every day. Best service ever at the buffet.
There were 186 teens aboard and they were kept very busy. St Marten 10 best sites excursion is well worth $49.95 and if you are lucky enough to get "Ash" you'll see and learn more about this Island than you knew existed. Have fun and Don't hesitate Read Less
We arranged this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary! We were a group of 9, ages from 3 to 72. Everyone had a fabulous time! The kids programs for ages 3, 6 and 12 were really wonderful. The food was some of best we've ... Read More
We arranged this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary! We were a group of 9, ages from 3 to 72. Everyone had a fabulous time! The kids programs for ages 3, 6 and 12 were really wonderful. The food was some of best we've had (we've sailed on Norwegian, Princess, Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean). Our whole group ate at Giovanni's to celebrate our anniversary and I would definitely recommend it. The entertainment was amazing and we went to all the shows! We had a balcony cabin and the cabin steward was great. We didn't do any excursions through Royal Caribbean and did our own thing in ports. Our favorite port was St. Maarten. We reserved chairs and umbrellas ahead of time with Nik at Lazy Lizard Beach Bar which was an easy 15-20 minute walk from the dock. The chairs and umbrellas were right on the beach and all set up and waiting for us when we got there. We got 2 chairs, umbrella, use of a locker and restroom, Wifi and bucket of 6 beers or 2 cocktails for $20. Best deal anywhere! Nik and his wife were super nice and helpful and the food and drinks were amazing! Really the only thing I can criticize about the whoe cruise is all the upselling and charges on this ship. Charging for popcorn, really?? Also, the drinks were crazy expensive. Read Less
My husband, daughter and I just got off of the Allure on Sunday. We had the best time on this beautiful ship. Everyone from the cabin steward (Norman, room 6280) to our waiters (too many to mention) to the nice people that we met, ... Read More
My husband, daughter and I just got off of the Allure on Sunday. We had the best time on this beautiful ship. Everyone from the cabin steward (Norman, room 6280) to our waiters (too many to mention) to the nice people that we met, including a family that lives about 10 mins from us, was wonderful.
Our room (ocean view balcony) was very roomy and we had plenty of room to store all of our clothes and "stuff". There were 3 adults in the room, so we thought that would be difficult, but to our surprise, it wasn't at all.
The shows were fabulous as well. We saw "Ocean Aria" and the comedy show (twice) as well at the headliner show. We didn't get to Mama Mia though and I'm sorry that we didn't. The pool games were all fun and the staff was energetic and entertaining. We thought the cruise director was very good and fun too. We especially loved him dancing in the "70's show" on the Promenade.
All of the food was very good as well. We had my time dining and enjoyed different locations with different waiters every night. The buffet was delicious, hot and diverse too.
We enjoyed all of the ports, but Labadee the most. We did the Orient Beach/Maho Beach excursion at St. Maarten and the traffic was a nightmare. We probably wouldn't do that again. We just shopped and walked around a bit (in the drizzle ) in San Juan.
Getting on and off of the ship was a breeze too. We did expedited dis-embarking so we could pack our "beauty aids" with us in the morning and it wall went as smooth as clock work.
Really the only thing that we didn't like, was having to say good-bye to this fabulous ship, but we will definitely be back. Read Less
This is my sister and I second experience sailing on seaside along with my nephew and his girlfriend for my sis 59 birthday. The trip didn't disappoint and hold up to our great pervious experience. Embarkation was a breeze and the ... Read More
This is my sister and I second experience sailing on seaside along with my nephew and his girlfriend for my sis 59 birthday. The trip didn't disappoint and hold up to our great pervious experience. Embarkation was a breeze and the line moved from the port lobby very quickly to get us onboard in no time. The staffs were great and friendly as well as the other cruisers who did speak English. Please keep in mind majority of the cruisers are from abroad therefore English is not the first language but you will get a smile with no words. I am ok with that. The shows on Seaside are entertaining and holds your attention the entire time. I am a average cruiser total 15 ytd on RCCL and NCL and I can gladly confirm, Seaside shows are the best at sea. The food are above average and taste the same. Nothing to write home about here. It's cruise food so we made the best used of it. The public areas are kept clean with plenty of bathrooms around but 2x I found 2 of the smaller bathrooms out of toliet paper. So always check for toilet papers first before undressing. Words of wisdom. The room Stewart Manuel is a ninja at keeping the cabin clean and stocked. Our restaurant hosts were also friendly. The ports were nothing to write home about since I am also from the Caribbean and have done the Eastern routes more than once. I have learned very quickly to enjoy the cruise ships life and not the destination since I live in Fl. This was my floating home for the week. My overall experience was great and booked another MSC Experience for Nov 2020 on the next new ship coming to Miami. Looking forward to another week of R&R next year on MSC. Read Less
Despite the negative reviews I had read, I was tempted to try MSC by the status match (Diamond on RCCL matched to Gold on MSC) and the price - and I'm so glad that I did! The Seaside is absolutely gorgeous, the crew were polite and ... Read More
Despite the negative reviews I had read, I was tempted to try MSC by the status match (Diamond on RCCL matched to Gold on MSC) and the price - and I'm so glad that I did! The Seaside is absolutely gorgeous, the crew were polite and accommodating, entertainment was excellent, and I achieved my goal of rest and relaxation!
Embarkation was fast - arrived at the port around 1:30pm, was on the ship by 2pm.
I was in an Aurea balcony, room 9030 - cabin steward (Angela) was friendly and efficient, room was kept spotless! Loved the extended balcony and having a full size lounge chair to nap in. As others have mentioned, there is not a lot of storage space - only 2 drawers and a few shelves in addition to some hanging space - it was fine for just me but would have been challenging for 2 or more in a room. The shower is also small (if you drop anything you have to really maneuver to pick it up!), but does have a glass door instead of a shower curtain.
I had the Easy Drink package as part of Aurea booking, but I don't drink alcohol so only took advantage of the non-alcoholic offerings (and frozen virgin drinks were included in the package). Gelato and specialty coffees/drinks at the chocolate bar were not included, but the gelato was so good it was worth paying the $6 for a cup every now and then!
The spa and thermal suite were outstanding, so much better than what RCCL ships offer, and on par with what NCL offers on Breakaway class ships. I scheduled 2 massages that were excellent - and there was absolutely no effort made to sell me product afterward!
I ate some meals in the buffet - I thought the offerings were similar to what you would find on RCCL, and also found that if you traveled to the back of the buffet you could find things that were not on offer at the front - it was also much less crowded at the back, and there are plenty of tables to eat at both outside and inside, I never had difficulty finding a table.
I had anytime dining in the Seashore room, never waiting more than 5 minutes for a table and the service was always efficient, dinner never took more than an hour, and I enjoyed most of the dishes I chose.
The nightly shows were excellent, especially the Michael Jackson show on the last night. They were all relatively short (30-40 min) and extremely well done - great singers, dancers, acrobats!
I did only 1 shore excursion - coffee tasting and walking tour in San Juan - it was just OK, the guide was very informative but we only stopped at 2 places for coffee and did not have choice on what to have, and very little information presented. In St. Thomas and St. Marten I just walked around and did some shopping (have been to both of those islands many times before). In Nassau, I visited the Ardasta Zoo and Gardens (home of the marching flamingos) on my own and had a wonderful afternoon, highly recommend!
I thought that the crew was friendly and efficient - I was very happy with the service I received throughout the cruise. I also did not experience any "rudeness" from fellow passengers as mentioned in many reviews - I met a lot of interesting and friendly folks from all parts of the world!
My only disappointment was the casino for 2 reasons - no craps table, and too smoky.
I will be sailing on MSC again in October on the Bellissima - can't wait! Read Less
We booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary, but had never heard of MSC prior to this trip. Not knowing the line made us nervous, however we did plenty of research and reading of reviews prior to sailing so we had no surprises.
... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary, but had never heard of MSC prior to this trip. Not knowing the line made us nervous, however we did plenty of research and reading of reviews prior to sailing so we had no surprises.
Embarkation was a breeze and were on the ship less than 30 min from stepping out of our Uber. We knew to register our credit card, which we didn’t see right away but a crew member saw we were lost so walked us to the right location to get that completed. We were then free to grab a drink and explore the ship until our room was ready before 2pm. Our luggage was delivered to our room by about 4.
There was a mistake in our dining selection time, as we requested late dining but was assigned a 5:30 time. We were told it would not be a problem and to request a time change with the maitre’d, which we did, but learned the wait list was over 100 people deep. Although frustrated we just decided it would not ruin our trip. Much to our pleasure, we received notification the next day our change was compete with our desired time.
The food in the main dining room was very good. Dishes were small, but you could order additional if desired and they were very accommodating if it was something you didn’t like. I used this as a way to try something I would not order at home. On theme nights they had a short song/dance which we enjoyed.
The food in the buffet was also very good, although it can get crowded with pushy people who push in front (but you get that anywhere). They did have pizza (get the white pizza at least once) burgers/hot dogs all the time but the other options changed. I saw many reviews with complaints that selections were the same every day, but I did not notice that although I always eat the same thing for breakfast every day regardless. We only did the buffet for breakfast/ lunch and rarely eat in between meals so we had plenty of choices for something different every day. When we did want a snack we loved the selection of meat/cheese available.
Our room attendant, Colette, was very sweet. They have lights above the door so she knew when we were in room or not which we appreciated. (They do have a do not disturb button to select as well). We had one day where the toilet would not flush so we let her know. She called the plumber and it was fixed by the next time we were back in the room.
The shows were very good, but had repetitive acts. The talent reminds you very much of a Cirque De Soleil show. I did enjoy them all, and none were over 40 minutes so it was a nice way to relax after dinner. The ship does get more formal after 6pm, which we enjoyed. We did hear from others who didn’t care to dress up (which was totally fine as well) but most stuck to the “theme” within reason.
After dinner/show we ended up at the Miramar bar on the 19th deck every night. We loved that it was a quiet place with outdoor sofas and the best bartender, Sergio, on the ship. All the bar staff up there were great, non intrusive if you wanted a quiet evening, or kept the conversations going between guests at the bar. I am pretty confident this was one of our favorite places on the ship and we looked forward to it every night.
During the day we enjoyed the 16th deck pool. There was a good mix of entertainment and time with just music. Being American we, especially, enjoyed the mix of different countries music. The entertainment staff spoke many languages and included everyone. We absolutely loved the fact that so many different cultures were enjoying the same thing together. We also enjoyed that the crew was very good about keeping children with parents, so they did not invade others space. It seemed that the kids kept mostly to the Jungle Pool and the kids area, although there were families on deck 16 as well. We noticed many times if a child was running around unattended the staff would escort them back to their parents or made them point them out so they knew they were not alone. Bar service at the pool could get busy, but it was easy to track someone down from your chair who would bring you something.
The port of call times were unusual, but we did get into port early every time. This was our first Caribbean cruise together so we opted to explore on our own vs booking excursions. We noticed that St Thomas and St Marteen still have not recovered fully from the hurricane so we stuck to the shops and Maho Beach in St Marteen. Puerto Rico was a pleasant surprise as we were apprehensive of being there only at night, but never felt unsafe and loved the culture. Bahamas was beautiful and we enjoyed the public beach by Atlantis. (Pebble beach I believe). A taxi was only $4 per person each way, and we were able to get a taxi within the gate of port so it was very safe.
I would highly recommend getting a drink package as bottled water/soda/juice and cappuccino is not included. We knew this and had the Easy Package purchased ahead of time. One thing to note is that the Easy Package includes select alcohol, drinks and coffee/tea to $6. A frozen alcohol drink, poolside is $11 so not part of the easy package. With that said, you can order two drinks per person (in cabin) at a time. The bartenders will help you get what you want. We ordered many “Virgin strawberry daiquiri’s with vodka” :) After a few days the staff learns your preferences and makes what you want. (Within reason of course).
Overall we enjoyed our trip very much and already booked for next year. If you enjoy meeting people from all over the world you will love MSC. Read Less
We choose MSC for the price and the perks they were offering. We booked through vacations to go, it helped that our agent knew the ship and he was able to set us up for exactly what we were looking for. We selected the fastantica package ... Read More
We choose MSC for the price and the perks they were offering. We booked through vacations to go, it helped that our agent knew the ship and he was able to set us up for exactly what we were looking for. We selected the fastantica package which gave us all drinks up to $6.00 This worked well for us as the selection of drinks had what we normally drink plus a couple more we tried. I would also like to note, I am in the customer service industry, I get rated also, I have had 5 stars, and I have had 1 star. I read a ton of reviews right here on cruise critic, as you can see they are all over the place.
The Seaside is both stunning inside and out. You really don’t see how big it is until the first port at the dock. It seems like the terminal at Miami hides it a little. The inside is a bit overwhelming at first, but once you explore a little you see it’s true beauty and everything she has to offer. There are mirrors, chrome, glass, and marble everywhere.
We arrived at the terminal at noon. I found the outside to be very busy, remember there are at least 5 other ships there at the same time. Once exiting the Uber in front of terminal F, people were there to take our luggage. We entered the terminal, went through security, and proceeded upstairs to check in. Check in was a breeze, there were at least 80 to 100 people behind the counter checking people in. From there we went up to a waiting area with a number. They were calling numbers every few minutes and taking a group onto the ship. We did not wait long at all. From arrival to our first steps onto the ship was exactly a half hour. That was impressive considering the cruise was sold out.
Upon entering on floor number 6 there were people everywhere, it felt like everyone took 6 steps onboard and just stopped. We pressed through and went to find a kiosk to register the credit card. There was a long line at customer service, but there was staff working their way through the line to see if they could help faster, and this was the case for us, she came up to us, we asked where the kiosks were and she took us right to one. From there we went up to deck 18 to get away from the crowd. It looked like most people went right to the buffet on deck 8. We ate before we got on so we were able to explore. Don’t plan on getting on an elevator quickly on the first few hours, but we found elevators towards the front ( right off the casino) that were not too busy. State rooms are not ready until 2pm, so find a place to hang out and relax or explore during that time, I would avoid the atrium during that time. Once rooms are announced as ready it tends to calm down and doesn’t feel like there is 5000 other people around.
We had an interior state room on deck 14. Again, ive read reviews where people complained that the state rooms were too small. Well they aren’t large but they are fine for the purpose. Your in your state room to sleep, shower or get dressed. They are the same on all cruise lines. Your not on a ship or on vacation to sit in your room all day. We met our room attendant Colette the next morning. She always smiled and greeted us anytime we saw her. Rooms were cleaned every morning, and our bed was turned down every night. She replaced our towels every time also. All in all no complaints whatsoever on the room.
Our dining time was wrong on the first night, we had requested 7:30, but they had us at 5:30. No big deal, we ate at 5:30 and saw the maitre’d on the way out. The next day we had a letter on our door and he was able to accommodate us and got us the 7:30 dining time. We were put at a table with 3 other couples, not a big deal and actually I was very glad to meet all of them.
The food was not bad at all on both the Dining room. They allow you to order whatever you want and any amount on the menu. There is a different theme every night. Other reviews complained the portions were too small, they aren’t huge but there was an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. I was always full after leaving the dining room. The buffets were great, a lot of selection. Other reviews complained the selection was the same every day. To a point that is true, the staple foods were the same. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salad, French fries, etc. Everything else changed up daily. There is also a meat carving station towards the back of the buffet, there were different carvings daily. We went every morning to the buffet on deck 8 for breakfast and ate outside on the deck. Hint, the pizza on deck 8 was thin crust, but the pizza on deck 18 was thick crust.
Miami Beach pool was where we were the whole time. Yes people reserved chairs early, however there were enough of them and there was never any issues up there. South beach pool was the adult only pool and we did hear of some issues with chairs down there. We would eat breakfast no later than 8am and then go up to Miami Beach and there was always chairs. After lunch chairs would clear out, and more would be available. The entertainment staff kept it alive with activities every day, especially on sea day. I don’t care how old you are, hit the water slides at least once. Hint, if your racing someone, the slide on the right is faster when your facing them. We are 42 and 43 and it got quite competitive.
Yes bars can get busy, I never found them understaffed at all, did it take a few minutes? Yes, sometimes. There are also plenty of waiters and waitresses around the pool deck on sea days. Flag one of them down and they will check in on you all day. Our favorite was Miramar bar on deck 19. We went there every night, there are comfortable chairs and always a nice breeze, never crowded either. Be sure to go there and meet Sergio the bartender, he keeps it fun and has an array of his own concoctions he makes.
The Crew and Staff
Everyone was always kind, gave you a smile and greeted you depending on the time of day. We went to the cruise critic meet and mingle. Captain DiPalma asked for reviews both good and where they can improve. He personally made his way around to greet everyone, and claimed he baked the cake. Every staff member was helpful, some made recommendations, especially at the chocolate bar.
For having 5000 people on a ship it hardly ever felt like it. There is so much outdoor deck space or somewhere else to go relax. Our toilet did break one afternoon, it was fixed within 2 hours. The shows were of perfect length (40 minutes) they have some excellent talent in that group. We went every night except on Thursday.
Two small issues I noticed. The restrooms are hard to find, they are there tucked away, but the signage could be a bit better. There are also aren’t a lot of waste cans, there’s a few recycle cans, but given I don’t leave my bottles and stuff lay around, I found this to be difficult. There are guests from all over the world on this cruise, remember it is very popular in Europe, in fact I think this particular cruise was about 40% American. Very diverse, many were fun and great to talk to, some were kind of pushy, not rude, but they would get in front of you to get what they wanted first. Kids had their own areas and activities. Many people dressed up for formal nights. The photographers on board are top notch, we purchased a package to bring home and the prices really weren’t bad at all.
Our friends and family were waiting on our opinion and experience. I can tell you this; we have found our cruise line! We booked our next cruise on board on Wednesday night.As of right now we reserved 3 rooms for next June. Read Less
Embarkment: We got there at 10:30 and walked right on the ship. Almost no waiting. We watched from the Windjammer as traffic backed up seemingly Pennsylvania (obviously exaggerating lol) Point is: get there early or you will have a rough ... Read More
Embarkment: We got there at 10:30 and walked right on the ship. Almost no waiting. We watched from the Windjammer as traffic backed up seemingly Pennsylvania (obviously exaggerating lol) Point is: get there early or you will have a rough time.
Took the ferry to Hamilton in bermuda and shopped their. Then got back to Kings Wharf and went to the Rumcake store. Definitely worth checking out as their rum cake is delicious. You can also watch them make glass figurines and such too.
We went on the SXM party boat. It was fantastic. One of the best excursions I've ever done. Tripple decker boat took us from the ship to mayo beach. You don't actually go on the beach. The boat anchors a little ways out and lowers its own dock. They have snorkel gear included in the price and you can just jump in, snorkel, and watch the planes land. If you don't want to swim the boat has plenty of seats and you can grab a drink and enjoy the view. We were worried this might be a bunch of drunks going crazy, but everyone was really chill and we just relaxed the whole time.
We paid $7 each for a bus tour of san juan. saw old town and new town. The tour was maybe an hour and a half. after the tour we walked around old town and went to Señor Frog's.
Went to Nellie's Beach in Labadee. This beach seemed to be the least crowded. Water was nice and warm. It is worth bringing snorkel gear if you can. A few people there with me found some interesting creatures while snorkeling. If you swim out past the peninsula with the cabanas you get a great view of the ship. Walking distance from the lunch area and the shops. Lots of cool stuff at the shops, but the vendors are a bit pushy.
As with every other cruise, you will not find anywhere to sit due to chair hogs. The Solarium pools and hot tubs were fantastic. I have seen people complain about children being in the solarium, but I never saw one there during my cruise. There are 3 shallow pools that were seldom crowded. and 4 hot tubs.
The indoor pool seemed to be much less crowded than the main pool. That is where I swam the most. It also save me from sunburn.
We Will Rock You - Phenomenal! For those that don't know this is a musical based on the music of queen. I may be bias, because I saw this in the West End in London a few years ago, but the cast and the music were amazing. Be sure to catch the cast when they sing live at the Schooner bar.
The Gift: Story was very hard for me to follow. The music was good. Mostly covers of pop songs. Definitely skip this if you aren't into musicals in general. It was hard to get through all the way.
Spectra's Cabaret: Show was very entertaining. Cast worked their butts off. Lots of high energy dancing.
I had no issues with the quality of the food at any restaurant. Went to 3 specialty restaurants. Jamies, Chops, and Wonderland. All fantastic.
My time dining is awful as far as wait time. even with a reservation it took 20 minutes to get a table. Norwegian has similar setup for dining and we always just walked right in. If you are able to do traditional dining I believe that is the way to go. Our waiter (Loyale) told us we could talk to the staff and ask to sit at his table every night. This did allow us to beat the system and skip the line the last 3 nights of the cruise.
Disembarkation: Honestly it seemed like waiting to get off took forever, but I think they got held up with customs(or so I heard). Not a big deal. We were all cranky anyway, because the cruise was over.
To sum it up: Overall experience was great. Only complaint is the my time dining. Read Less
This is our third RC cruise - Oasis, Allure and now Anthem! In comparing, I do like the Oasis class ships better for their design and size, but the highlights for me of Anthem are: The Two70 lounge, Seaplex and being able to drive to the ... Read More
This is our third RC cruise - Oasis, Allure and now Anthem! In comparing, I do like the Oasis class ships better for their design and size, but the highlights for me of Anthem are: The Two70 lounge, Seaplex and being able to drive to the port, park and get on the ship. All Staff we came across were very friendly, efficient and went out of their way to make our vacation the best. I was really surprised with how fast the embarkation was - from passing on our bags, to parking, to checking in, we were on the ship in 1/2 hour. Disembarkation was just as easy - sitting in theatre waiting for our luggage tag # to be called, getting off ship, to getting our bag and going through security (facial scan), pay for parking, getting car - all within an hour. The shows on board were great. Got to experience our first silent disco, and I even did iFly. We did excursions in Bermuda and Puerto Rico; St. Maarten, we just took a water taxi to beach. Labadee was a lazy beach day - very enjoyable - the lunch was delicious. I was worried about a 9 night cruise, but when day 7 came around, I was glad we had two more nights. We have a wonderful time. Read Less
After 10 cruises on the Liberty of the Seas, the Anthem was an AMAZING experience. Starting with our cabin, 8226, it was a spacious balcony. They removed the coffee table that is usually in the cabin but we did not miss it since it gave ... Read More
After 10 cruises on the Liberty of the Seas, the Anthem was an AMAZING experience. Starting with our cabin, 8226, it was a spacious balcony. They removed the coffee table that is usually in the cabin but we did not miss it since it gave us so much more room. They have maximized storage. We had more than enough room for the first time ever. Our only complaint was the lighting. We had a lighted mirror but it was not good enough to put on makeup.
As always all the staff was friendly accommodating and hard working.
My girlfriend wanted to go to Wonderland, I wasn't so sure. It was a delicious and entertaining meal. I can't wait to go back. We also had lunch and Jamie Olivers. Another hit.
The ship itself is beautiful with very much to see and do. Lots of places to sit, sleep and people watch. My only disappointment was that the solarium did not have a pool. It had hot tubs and a wading pool? Not sure what you would call it. I like to swim and I need a pool with stairs due to a disability, I can't use a ladder.
We ate our meals in the MDR or TWO 70. TWO 70 was perfect, never a crowd and plenty to choose from. The MDR was good, just like every other ship we've been on.
The shows were very good. I would highly recommend this ship. Read Less
We sailed from Cape Liberty. The port was driving distance from our home. We had a 1230-1pm boarding time. We drove directly up to the porters and luggage crates albeit a line of cars the luggage drop off went pretty smoothly. The ... Read More
We sailed from Cape Liberty. The port was driving distance from our home. We had a 1230-1pm boarding time. We drove directly up to the porters and luggage crates albeit a line of cars the luggage drop off went pretty smoothly. The parking garage was on the right after the terminal. Parking for 9 days cost $198. The terminal was a bit crowded with a long line of passengers trying to get through security. Once passed the security you had another line for the cruise check in both seemed to take a bit of time. Since we are Emerald, the cruise only had 3 check-in stations, where Gold had at least 10+ stations and Diamond+ levels had 6 or more stations. The only nice part about being delayed in the terminal is that our cabin was ready once we boarded so we could drop off out carry on bags, go explore the ship and grab something to eat.
The entertainment staff and CD were good. The production shows were the same as a previous sailing other then a few cast member changes. This is where I wish that Royal Caribbean switched up the shows every six months-12 months. There seemed to be a lot of passengers that have sailed with the Anthem of the Seas multiple times. The Headliner show and the comedian were excellent. The cover band Led Zeppagain was excellent and fun to listen to. Again, I wish there was more than one band that played in the Music Hall. The Music Hall seemed like a lot of wasted space. The 5th floor was very hard to view the main stage located on the 4th floor. There are 3 well worn pool tables located in this areas. The Schooner bar had excellent bar staff. There was nightly music and daily trivia played in this area. The Brass and Brock bar was also filled with excellent bar staff and live Acoustic singers. The Two 70 Lounge is one of its kind. The sound system, electronics and views were outstanding. The show Spectra was a unique experience as well. We had my time dining and had the same wait staff team every night for dinner. Their service was superb they went over and beyond our expectations. Food choices were plentiful. Everything tasted fine. One unique thing that has changed when ordering in the MDR. The waiter takes your appetizer, main course and dessert order and the same time.
North Star and I-fly were neat experiences and must tries. Sign up in your cruise planner before you set sail. Bumper cars were hysterical. Watching adults of all ages laughing like they were kids again was fun. Being apart of the bumper car action was even better. Expect a little whiplash. The pool areas were as annoying as they usually are due to the chair hogs. I did not see any deck employees policing the area of this. With the bigger ships it seems like too many people and too little seating around the main outdoor pools. Bermuda was very windy so we just walked around the port on our own. We found a mini golf course overlooking the ocean and played for $15 pp. We booked the Maho Beach excursion in Saint Maarten. That was an experience seeing the planes land and take off so close to the beach. In San Juan we booked the bike excursion in which was a private tour by accident. We were lucky and the Shorex team allowed us to go. We rode around San Juan and the beach area for 8-9 miles. One hidden gem was an umbrella street not in the touristy area. In Labadee we rode Jet skis. I was little bummed my jet ski was not functioning properly. I didn't go as fast as I wanted to. On the last run, a better jet ski was brought out to me. I wish they listened to me on the first run when I told them the engine light was alarming.
Disembarkation was very slow. Our deck number was called and then stood in line on the ship for a good 30 minutes. Customs on shore froze the line to lessen to number of passengers onshore going through customs terminal. It seemed a bit disorganized. All in all it was a great cruise and had good times. Read Less
This is my husband and I's 7th cruise together, my 8th. We LOVE cruises and this one was probably our favorite. It was the biggest ship we have ever been on (even though they are all set up the same). I was really nervous about ... Read More
This is my husband and I's 7th cruise together, my 8th. We LOVE cruises and this one was probably our favorite. It was the biggest ship we have ever been on (even though they are all set up the same). I was really nervous about lines/cleanliness etc based on reviews I read before I left, but this was by far a great vacation and fantastic ship. We flew into Fort lauderdale the day before and stayed at the La Quinta inn and suites. They have a free shuttle that picks you up from the airport and takes you to the hotel. Expedia, however, lost our hotel booking and after an hour of the front lady going back and forth with Expedia, it was resolved. The hotel upgraded us to a suite for the mix up.
We took an Uber from the hotel to the shuttle the next morning.
Getting on the ship:
Embarkation was extremely smooth and efficient. We almost instantly got on the ship even though we were early. We grabbed lunch at Guy's burger and found a set of seats under an umbrella outside. The day everyone was getting on the ship was the busiest of any of the days and had the longest lines. They weren't even that long though! I read some other reviews of 45 minute long lines throughout the cruise.... I'm not sure what they were trying to wait for because we didn't experience anything like that.
Great ship. More modern than the other ships we have been on, so that was nice. The lanai on deck 5 was pretty great! Clean and well maintained. There are a ton of hot tubs on this ship!
We had anytime dining and showed up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30. We used the app to reserve our table. This was our first cruise using the app and it is such a GREAT addition. We would reserve it in our room and by the time we walked to the dining room, our table was ready. We always requested to sit by ourselves and it was always honored.
Food was always great and prompt. I even had a few odd requests like an additional side of mushroom risotto or extra plantain chips that was used as a garnish for a dish (so delicious!) - and they would always bring them to me.
Also - if you're new to cruising, know that you can order multiple things. I usually would get 2 appetizers. Shimp cocktail and a salad, or a salad and xyz.
We usually order room service the night before for the coffee and some fruit in the morning but this was the first cruise we didn't do this regularly. We are usually early risers and so when we ordered room service - the coffee was stale/burnt and it just wasn't worth the hassle of trying to make sure we were up and dressed. That's another big thing about ordering room service - they come INTO your room to set down your order. I have made the mistake of not being fully dressed when answering the door. So fair warning!
- I WISH I WOULD HAVE TRIED THE OMELET STATION SOONER! I tried it on the day we got off the ship and it was SOOOO good.
- I ordered 24 bottles of water before we got on the ship for $10? and it was delivered to our room when before we arrived. Best decision ever, as I hate the taste of tap water on the ship.
Grab a latte on level 5. They are priced well and well made. Make sure you go on the first day and get the punch card. If you end up getting 1 drink a day, you'll get your last one free. You can use the punch card for multiple people too.
We LOVE going to the comedy shows but the shows need to be held in bigger venues. I'm not kidding when I say, we had to show up an hour beforehand if we wanted any choice in seating. The place is full 30 minutes prior. We loved the shows though. Make sure you go to the Love and Marriage show.
I will say this, there were quite a few dead times on the ship. Compared to 7-9 years ago, I feel like they have cut back on things to do in general. This has nothing to do with the Magic specifically though. If you JUST started cruising though, you would know no difference. We usually go back to the room and take naps during the dead times.
Our last cruise with Carnival, they had a magician on board. That would have been a great addition to the Magic. No pun intended haha
As usual, we had great service. There was one incident with people under us having a bose speaker that was vibrating our balcony from how loud it was playing. Carnival handled it quickly and in a professional way. I read other reviews of crew members being mean or acting like they don't care..... again... not sure how that is possible. Staff was always fantastic, no matter where we were on the ship.
Half moon cay + Amber Cove + Turks and Caicos
HMC - this was our 3rd visit to half moon cay but by far our best visit.... simply because this time, we brought our own inflatable rafts. I went to 5 below before our trip and bought 2 rafts. We unfolded them and blew them up and floated for hours. Everyone around us kept asking where we rented them from. It was the best $5 we ever spent!
Make sure you get off the ship early so you can have your choice of a chair and bring plenty of sun screen. Drinks on the Island are pretty expensive as well even though they sell a ton.
Amber Cove- This was our first time we visited Amber Cove. I'm glad we booked an excursion because just like Freeport and a few other ports, if you don't book something, there would be nothing to do. We did the waterfall of damajargua (spelling?). It was an amazing excursion and was ran extremely well. We brought our Gopro to take videos and pictures, but they did a good job at taking pictures/video that are available to purchase. I believe it was $50? I would highly recommend the excursion.
Turks and Caicos - this was our second time here and we didn't book an excursion, so we just ventured around the shops for a bit and then enjoyed the pools on the ship while everyone was off the ship.
We also were the only ship in all the ports all week, so it was awesome that we weren't crowded!
WARNING WARNING - GETTING OFF THE SHIP!
I am SO glad we didn't book early flights. Getting off the ship when the cruise ended was the worse de- embarkation we have ever experienced. They kept stopping everyone because the gangways, customs were backed up. We didn't get off the ship until 11 am. The worst part is that THEY SHUT OFF THE WATER AT 9 AM. That means you couldn't flush toilets, get water to drink, wash your hands etc. There were still a ton of us on the ship, so I found this extremely frustrating. You had to be out of your room by 8:30 am, so there were hundreds of people just waiting anywhere they could. Read Less
We chose our cabin after my husband researched the aft ones. The view could not be beat, as one can see almost all of the port or other islands. Embarkation/Disembarkation was worse than going through TSA at any airport hub. It totally ... Read More
We chose our cabin after my husband researched the aft ones. The view could not be beat, as one can see almost all of the port or other islands. Embarkation/Disembarkation was worse than going through TSA at any airport hub. It totally should have taken a lot less than the 30 minutes, coming and going in Port Everglades.
Our cabin did not disappoint, as it had lots of closet spaces and plenty of drawers.
However, the bathroom could have used an extra sink and some shelves for toiletry storage.
The bathtub, with its jets was a complete dream. So good for a soak and rest! Wished that I could have folded it up, and put in the suitcases! The shower was a good one, with a great showerhead that could be adjusted for different streams. The overall shower needed to have a different kind of door that sealed, as there was a stream of water that escaped out the bottom and flooded the bathroom!
Dining did not disappoint...plenty of venues and choices. Whether your tastes run to steak, seafood or ice cream, it was all good. The wait staffs and managers were totally top notch!!
We had one of our shore excursions cancel, due to nature, and the others were a complete surprise with the places we saw and areas we viewed!
Would do it again in a heartbeat!! Read Less
We chose this cruise as a family and it could not have been better. We flew into FLL the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. It was a short ride to the cruise port and the hotel was near stores to get things ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family and it could not have been better. We flew into FLL the night before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. It was a short ride to the cruise port and the hotel was near stores to get things for the cruise.
This was our second time sailing out of Terminal A and the experience was great once again. From curbside to ship was about 15 minutes and we were able to use our mobile boarding passes. I'll touch on this later, but traffic management around the Terminal is atrocious and RCL did an awful job with it.
Everything about the ship was great. We had a boardwalk balcony room and fit 4 people inside. It wasn't ideal, but it was cost effective. We didn't spend a ton of time in the room anyway so it was doable. The couch turned into a sofa bed and the bottom pulled out to create a second sofa bed. The room was super clean and had ample storage, we had no problem fitting clothes for four people.
The activities on board were endless. HIRO was outstanding. We did like Ocean Aria on Allure a bit better, but HIRO was still top notch. The activities manager (Katy) was more involved than the cruise director, but they did a great job making sure there was a ton of things to do. There was also great bands and musicians on board providing entertainment in Central Park, Boardwalk, etc. The Piano player in the Schooner Bar wasn't all that great.
We did the Sushi Class on the ship. We had done this before and at this point we do it just to get a nice lunch. The amount of sushi you get makes it well worth the $30 charge for the class, and on top of it the class is fun. The only other specialty dining experience we had was at Jamie's Italian and it left a lot to be desired. The pasta dishes we had really didn't taste much different than what you would get in the MDR, and it was fairly expensive. I would definitely pick 150 Central Park or Chops, I feel like it's a much better value for the price.
Speaking of food, everything else on board was SO good. El Loco Fresh was amazing, it did get slightly crowded at times, but it was never that long of a wait. They had tacos, burritos, chips, salsa, guac, etc. We stopped here for lunch a good bit.
I also really loved the addition of Playmakers. We bought food here one night, the poke nachos, and they were so so so good. My only gripe with Playmakers is that RCL needs to strike some sort of deal with DirectTV or whoever to get live sports each night. The sports bar atmosphere was fantastic, but for nights in late May, they had no NHL playoff games, a few NBA games, and like 2 MLB games. Most of the time it was just soccer replays.
A lot of people seemed to be watching sports on their phones at the bar, which kind of defeats the purpose of the sports bar. The atmosphere was great, but they really need to get better sports programming.
While I'm on the topic, VOOM was great as well. We had the Surf + Stream package and had no problems with it all week. It was more than enough to stream video and podcasts.
Our MDR staff was also top notch. Felipe and Khem took great care of us every night and the food was just outstanding.
All of the staff we encountered on board was friendly as well. I would like to specifically mention Aladdin and Roman at the Schooner bar. Aladdin was one of the funniest and most entertaining bartenders we've ever had on a cruise. We ended up at this bar almost every night.
Our room steward (Jeffery) was very attentive and our room was always spotless with the beds made.
The ports were great. We didn't end up getting off at St. Kitts and stayed on the boat. If you aren't attached to a port, I'd recommend doing this atleast once, especially on an Oasis class ship.
St. Thomas was great as well. We took the Secret Sands Beach Excursion and Lindqvist Bay was absolutely beautiful. The tour bus was a little bit late but once we got going everything was good. We got about 2.5 to 3 hours at the beach. The ride was very scenic. There were chairs, snacks, and drinks provided. They will expect you to tip if you take advantage of the food.
There was also excellent snorkeling at the beach. We saw several turtles, rays, and there was a large reef just off the coast.
We were super excited to visit CocoCay because of the Perfect Day renovation and we were not disappointed. Everything on the island was 10x better than before. First off, the island is much more broken out now, with 6000 people it didn't feel crowded and it was easy to get a lounger.
The food was what I was most impressed with. Before when we were there, it was just generic and bland. This time it seemed like they had a ton more options and they even had a snack shack with funnel cakes and special chicken sandwiches. It was very good.
We did do an excursion which was a huge mistake. We did the reef snorkeling and sandbar getaway. The reef we went to wasn't exactly a reef. It was a couple of rocks in an area of construction. There weren't many fish and the bottom was pretty much barren. We then went to a sandbar which was nice, but we only had a little bit of time. Given the activities on CocoCay, I would definitely stay on the island next time. The tour was a complete waste.
We did spend some time at Oasis Lagoon and that was another awesome aspect of CocoCay. The pool is enormous and the swim up bar was super convenient. The best part of all is that there is now a dock, so we don't have to worry about a tender. The only thing (out of our control) that wasn't great was the water was pretty rough. But that's to be expected there.
We would definitely sail Symphony again. It was one of the best cruises we have ever been on. Despite the size of the ship, it never felt crowded. The shows, the entertainment, and the activities were all top notch. Read Less
there were 9 of us on this cruise. We have been on the breeze two other time but always left out of galveston. This time left out of port canaveral, it was a mad house getting on the ship compared to the smooth way galveston does it. The ... Read More
there were 9 of us on this cruise. We have been on the breeze two other time but always left out of galveston. This time left out of port canaveral, it was a mad house getting on the ship compared to the smooth way galveston does it. The porter would not let us take on own bags on the ship as other wheeled by with there luggage. We are plantium and had to wait till after the muster drill to get our luggage, then I had to go to the luggage cart and find our two bags myself. The cruise itself was great. The room steward and staff was great, very friendly crew everyone said hello. Food servers where 2nd to none, felt like they paid more attention to us then other diners, lucky us. the comedy club comedians were funny, the shows not so good, they had someting called "flick" which didnt make sense to us. But all in all was a good cruise. Read Less
Crew is exceptional: friendly, attentive and experienced! Bar staff: best at sea! Be sure to visit Tijana at the Good Spirits Lounge I’m Deck 5! Bedding is heavenly! Entertainment second to none! If sailing on her, be sure to visit the ... Read More
Crew is exceptional: friendly, attentive and experienced! Bar staff: best at sea! Be sure to visit Tijana at the Good Spirits Lounge I’m Deck 5! Bedding is heavenly! Entertainment second to none! If sailing on her, be sure to visit the Wheelhouse for a terrific band and dancing and take in the comedian’s act - he is hysterical!! Embarkation and disembarkation, cabin access via Medallion access, was fast, easy and fabulous. The Crown Grill boasts delicious and forks tender steaks - yum! The Horizon Buffett has been upgraded to a fresh market place. Lighter and brighter with more room and seating than before. Princess now offers EZ transfer service. Your luggage is picked up from your cabin and you don’t see it again until your destination airport. No overweight fees! Your check in is completed for you. Your boarding passes and airline luggage tags are provided to you. Service is only $25 pp, a GREAT bargain sooooo civilized! Can’t wait for our next Princess Cruise! Read Less
I do have to admit a bit of bias for this one- my wife and I got married on this cruise, so we received outstanding extra treatment by the ship's staff including the Captain- Mario Ciruzzi.
That said- I saw a lot of mixed reviews ... Read More
I do have to admit a bit of bias for this one- my wife and I got married on this cruise, so we received outstanding extra treatment by the ship's staff including the Captain- Mario Ciruzzi.
That said- I saw a lot of mixed reviews for this ship before we headed out. It is smaller than the Royal Class ships I had been on before, but in some ways that made it nicer. It wasn't quite as crowded and was at least slightly easier to get around. We got a mini-suite stateroom (D715) and were very surprised at how much room it had. The cabin was very comfortable with two nice flat-screen TVs and an air conditioning system that actually worked (unlike my previous cruise).
Medallion Class embarkation was just as-advertised. After a quick passport check and scanning in our medallions, we went to a nice waiting lounge for the ship to start boarding. It was a lot easier and faster than the old cruise card check-in process.
Once we boarded- we explored the ship to figure out where everything was. We went up to check out where our stateroom was, and our steward already had it finished (almost an hour early!). As I said in my summary above- we were very surprised at how much space it actually had. We LOVED the large bathroom and sitting area, and extra-large balcony.
The furnishings and ship itself are a bit dated. While the electronic systems have all been updated, the furnishings and decor are a bit older and showing some wear. Everything was clean and in good condition though. Most of the lighting is fluorescent, which I found a bit annoying compared to the instant-on LED lighting of the newer ships.
Things I loved about the ship:
Lots of pools! They have a Sanctuary pool, but beside it- there are two large main pools and one adults-only pool on the aft side of the ship, along with hot tubs at all of them. This gave us a lot of options for different music and crowds while we were onboard.
I think the Explorer's Lounge is an upgrade from "Princess Live" on other ships. Very nice bar area and lounge, with frequent entertainment options.
Skywalkers. It has kind of a 70s vibe and I'm not really into dancing, but it is a unique feature that I thought was fun and special about this ship.
The only real negative I have, which I have complained about before, is the almost-constant marketing, in particular from Effy. Beyond that- the "usual" complaints pretty much everyone has about a cruise ship- I felt like I spent way too much time waiting for lifts, and the food choices, particularly in the buffet, weren't the greatest. The latter is really subjective though.
I complained a lot about this place on my last cruise. This one was better. It was actually raining pretty hard when we first got there, but it cleared up after an hour or so and we had a great time. We rented a clamshell/chairs and a paddleboat, and enjoyed a lot of beach time. The beach is rocky part-way out- so bring water shoes, but the sandy areas and water itself were wonderful. Bar service is still slow- they seem to be trying to implement medallions, but still do all of the orders on paper, which is very inefficient. The food was okay for what it was, and the service there was pretty fast. The only real feedback/complaint I have this time is they really need more showers and foot wash areas.
We explored St. Thomas on our own, and overall had a great experience shopping and hanging out in the local bars and restaurants. We were supposed to go on a tour (not arranged by Princess) and the guy overbooked and took off 10 minutes before he was supposed to leave, so we missed it. Fortunately we didn't pay in advance!
On St. Maarten we did the SXM Airport Adventure boat, booked through Princess. They had a great bar and food on the boat, and took us around to the bay in front of the famous Princess Juliana International Airport. We watched jets and other planes take off and land while enjoying great music, food, and drink. There was snorkeling and floating off of a platform attached to the boat, and the crew was fun and very helpful. I highly recommend that excursion. After that we explored the local shops and bars, and spent a couple of hours on the beach next to town. There are a few sections there where you can rent a beach umbrella and chairs cheap. (We paid $15 for an umbrella and two chairs for the afternoon.)
Debarkation went even more smoothly, as they had "EZ-Check" to our airline (Southwest), so we checked our bags through to our destination from our cabin. I think it took less than 10 minutes from our cabin to the shuttle bus to the airport. This is a great service Princess offers if you can take advantage of it. Read Less
We booked an ocean balcony room on the 11th deck mid ship for this cruise. We were very happy with the room and the service of Marlon our room attendant. The room was a typical 200 sq.ft. cruise ship room and the two of us were perfectly ... Read More
We booked an ocean balcony room on the 11th deck mid ship for this cruise. We were very happy with the room and the service of Marlon our room attendant. The room was a typical 200 sq.ft. cruise ship room and the two of us were perfectly comfortable.
Embarkation-incredibly easy and from entering the ship(at about 10;45 am) to getting on board was less than 10 minutes.
DIning-the main dining room food was very good and service by Lal our server was spot on. We had breakfast every day in the main dining room and stayed away from the overcrowded buffet on the 16th deck. We tried 3 specialty dining venues and were a little disappointed with 150 Central park-food was lukewarm at best and service was lackluster.Jamie's Italian was superb with more food than we could eat. The service was excellent and the food was mouth watering tasty. Our favorite was Chops-we ordered the 9 ounce filets which were some of the best steaks we have ever had.
Entertainment-all of the entertainment was great and Hairspray was even better than the Broadway production which we had seen. You must book reservations for the entertainment prior to the cruise otherwise you have to stand in line hoping to get in 10 minutes before the shows.
Ports-Having visited St. Kitts and St. Thomas several times before we decided to just shop in the shopping area just off the ship in St. Kitts. Prices there are very reasonable and there is something for everyone. In St. Thomas we too the FastCat Christmas cove snorkel excursion($69pp). It is a really nice way to spend the day and was totally enjoyable. Coco Cay-the reformation of this island is incredibla and the "new" island was in its second week of operation. There was ample chairs and umbrellas for the 6000 people on board the ship. There is a stunning fresh water pool in the middle of the island with chairs that sit in the water. The lagoon was very nice and again there was plenty of room for all. The food on the island was tasty. When they call this the Perfect Day they are not kidding-it is that nice!
Disembarkation-from leaving the ship at approx. 7:30am until we got in our car in the parking garage took all of 10 minutes. Seriously they have this down to an art-there are no more Customs forms or lines just a facial recognition camera and you are done.
All in all a great cruise , a great ship with plenty to do and an enjoyable week. Read Less
My wife and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Symphony. This was my 9th cruise on RC (#10 for my wife) and our first on Symphony. My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband also cruised with us. My wife ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Symphony. This was my 9th cruise on RC (#10 for my wife) and our first on Symphony. My brother and his wife and my sister and her husband also cruised with us. My wife and I aren't "big ship" cruisers, but we wanted to give Symphony a try and I'm glad we did!
Itinerary include new ports for us: St. Kitts (nice!), St. Thomas (uggh!), and Perfect Day at CocoCay (WoW!)
Like most of my reviews, this is a little long, but hopefully helpful, so a few thoughts up front. The ship is amazing and huge. There were nearly 6,500 cruisers on board including 1,200 kids...but the ship does a great job of diffusing that crowd and only once or twice did we notice. I'll note we bought the Key upgrade which probably contributed to why we didn't notice the crowd...it's basically like a FastPass at an amusement park. More on that below.
OK...on to a regular review:
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale (Southwest doesn't fly to Miami) and used SAS Transportation to get down to Miami (cost is about $15/person, takes about 30-45 minutes). Second time we've used this company. Second time we've been pleased with the service.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Port of Miami – Downtown. Very nicely sized room with views of the Bay. We booked a stay and sail package that included breakfast in the morning (very nice buffet) and a shuttle ride to the ship. If you don't book the package, you can still sign up for the shuttle. I think it was $6/person. Location is good with plenty of restaurants near-by including an outdoor mall/market right across the street that had a ton of bars and restaurants. We had a drink there, then headed back about a block from our hotel to CVI.CHE 105, a Peruvian restaurant. Highly recommend.
We headed to the port about 10 am on embarkation day.
Terminal A is the brand new terminal in Miami and it's impressive. However, the traffic snarl was also impressive. It was probably a 5 minute drive from our hotel to the terminal and then another 15-20 minutes to go the last half-mile for the shuttle to park and unload us/luggage.
After that, it was a breeze. We had the Key package so bypassed most lines and were guided to the same check-in group as suites/Diamond+. Security screening was quick and then it was on to the ship. If you have the Key, don't be shy and let staff know...they're trying to move the crowd along so if you don't tell them, you'll just get swept up in that, but if you do tell them, they pluck you out of the crowd.
Even with the traffic snarl to park, we were on board by 11 and that was in part due to waiting to link up with the rest of our group (who used RC's travel package option) before boarding.
You enter on deck 5, the Promenade, and it's very similar to Freedom/Anthem class ships if you've sailed those. After a quick beer at the Pub, we headed up to Chops in Central Park for lunch (that's included in the Key package). We got a table almost immediately since we were a group of 6. Service was good, but a little slow. Food was very good. We didn't really mind the wait as we were mainly waiting for the rooms to open up, which they did at 1 pm. You pick up your room keys at your stateroom. Before that, you just use your SetSail pass or give them your room number.
We love RC but hate My Time Dining, so were happy with a 5:30 pm main dining room. Our table was near the entrance which worked well since my sister broke her foot two weeks before we sailed and had a little knee scooter thing to help her get around. Food was above average, and we generally are happy with RC food...so Symphony was a step-up from “normal.” Each night there is a chef's recommendation and that's probably your best option. Waiters work very hard and seem to have less time to “get to know you,” but they do their best. Ours were Jeffrey and HongXiang and we couldn't have been happier with their service. HongXiang was the sweetest and happiest person ever. On two occasions, Jeffrey expedited our dinner so that we could make a show time. Very much appreciated.
One night, three of us did Wonderland. We paid pre-cruise so it came at a discount, but I don't remember how much. If you haven't done Wonderland, I highly recommend it. It's eclectic, tasty, and a very nice experience. Our waiter was very earnest, but once we settled him down a bit, it was great. We basically ordered a variety of items and then ate family style so we could all try it. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but basically, the top of menu are appetizers and the bottom of the menu are the main meals. They're themed after elements (Air, Sea, Wind, etc...). Very cool. We didn't have any kids with us, but I noticed that they have a special kids menu for them that keeps the theme while still offering things kids eat. We made reservations for 6 pm, told them we had an 8 pm show and they got us out of there about 7:30 without feeling rushed.
If you like Chef's Table, I don't think they offer that on Symphony, or at least I don't think it was available on our itinerary.
One night all 6 of us went to Jaimie's Italian. Again, the waiter was great and made some great recommendations. Again, we ordered a bunch of appetizers and shared them family style and then each of us ordered a main meal. Appetizers were better than the main meal overall. I had lasagna that frankly reminded me of Chef Boyardee. My brother and brother-in-law had the Tagliatelle Bolognese and both said it was very good. Deserts were impressive. The waiter basically brought out a selection of everything so we could try it. Lemon cheese cake was super lemony (wife said “Amazing!”)
Three of us did the “make your own sushi” class (which you then get to eat afterward) at Izumi. Second time for my wife and I to do this and it was just as good, just as fun, and slightly different than our previous time, so that was cool. If you like sushi, I highly recommend this for lunch one day.
Four of us did the wine tasting. Second time for us and will be the last time. The wines are fine but on both Grandeur and now on Symphony it was terribly organized, the crowd noise is louder than the wine steward (I think they allow too large a group to participate in a single seating), and the wine steward didn't know how to handle that. The wines were great, but the experience was poor. We won't do it again.
My brother did the Galley tour that included a deluxe brunch (he had steak). He said it was very good after some initial chaos. Once they were broken down into groups of about 25 and got going, it was good.
Breakfast most mornings was in the Solarium Bistro. Lots of choices, to include an omelet station and seating was never a problem except for one morning, but we just walked out into the outdoor seating area in the Solarium.
One morning we had breakfast at The Park Cafe in Central Park. Standard fare (parfait, yogurt, cereal (hot and cold), breakfast sandwiches/wraps, fruit cups). Perfect if you're in a rush. From our balcony we could see it did pretty good traffic all day, but was never overcrowded. This is also a good light lunch option.
One morning (CocoCay Day) we had breakfast in the Windjammer and we ate lunch there twice. Very impressed. Traffic flows were much better than on other ships and we never had trouble finding a table. Bravo to Symphony on that. The food was very good with a wide variety. Delicious Indian food on the buffet!
First...Symphony has a great Activities staff. Even though the ship is huge, there were still lots of opportunities to interact with them, especially if you play the games/trivia (and we do). The folks that ran bingo and line dancing and trivia and the game shows and..and..and...were great.
The Ice shows were excellent. There is apparently a story/plot to 1976, but I'm not sure exactly what it was...but it doesn't matter. The venue, the music, the skating...all were great. They do a second show that had even less of a plot...but again, great music, great skating. Very impressed.
We skipped Hairspray, the Broadway show, but did see Flight. Wow. They achieve some amazing special effects. Definitely a “go see.”
Highlight was Hyro, the water show. Mostly dancing, but it's really well done. But there's also diving, high-diving, tightrope walking, and, and...and. Wow. We caught a matinee and had great seats due to the Key program. It was great and would have been even better at night.
Quick note on stand-by lines. If you don't have reservations, you can wait in a stand-by line. About 10 minutes before the show starts, they release all seats to the stand-by line. I don't think anyone ever got turned away, it's just the seat choice was a bit more limited. So..if you really want to see a show, make a plan and make reservations, but don't be afraid to just show up if you didn't.
During the day we did trivia, the game shows, bingo etc....Lots of fun. Most evenings they had game shows in On Air. If you want a seat be there at least 20 minutes before the show starts. There is a good bar in there, so you have something to keep you occupied while you wait.
Casino...pretty standard. Pretty lively. Very smoky. Half is “smoke free” but I don't think any of the ships have figured out how to actually do that.
Outdoor pools – there are two or three and they were busy, but never overcrowded that I noticed. This ship just does a great job of spreading out the population. Several hot tubs, rarely were they full because there are so many. Even in the Solarium we were always able to find a lounger.
Waterslides/Ultimate Abyss – waterslides were fun...not super fast, but fun. My brother rode the Ultimate Abyss – he said it was a rush.
Lots of stuff to do next time that we didn't get to. One more note on the Key, there was an activity per sea day (sometimes 2) and a block of time (usually an hour) that was reserved for Key holders...so Flowrider, zip line, climbing wall, Ice skating....I can't remember what else. You just have to plan accordingly.
We had an “interior” balcony over Central Park on deck 11, room 11605. Very nice. Balcony caught a lot of sun in the afternoon and when in port, it was too hot to sit out there...but they're cool. Soundproofing works great. AC only works when the balcony door is locked, so keep that in mind.
Room was spacious with the bed and a large couch. Had a mini-fridge. Storage was very good (suitcases fit under the bed and it seemed like more closet hanging space that other ships). Bathroom was good. Shower seemed bigger. Looks like they made the sink area smaller to make the shower stall a bit bigger. Only downside was the mirror fogged up when shaving. Otherwise...great! Toilets worked fine throughout the ship. Room steward Navim was great though he was that ninja-elf you hear about (it was Day 3 before we actually caught him in action and had a chance to talk).
Departure was super easy, thanks to the Key. We carried off our luggage, but were able to have a special breakfast in the main dining room where we could store our bags, eat, and then proceed directly to the exit gangplank, avoiding the “regular” departure lines. Immigration and customs took less than 2 minutes. They used facial scanners which really sped up the process.
Once outside, we called SAS Transportation and 15 minutes later we were on our way back to Fort Lauderdale.
St. Kitts – Booked a beach day via RC. Got off the boat about 9 am, walked around the St. Kitts shopping market a bit. There are loads of folks selling excursions off the ship and “take a picture with my monkey” but they're not pushy and many were rather funny. In short, I didn't mind because while they're trying to hustle up some business, they took no for an answer. Got in line about 9:30 for our excursion, were loaded onto a 15 passenger bus and headed for the resort. Got to see a lot of the island. It was clean, tidy, and very pretty. Some amazing views on the way and then we arrived at a beach club. Our excursion included beach chairs but umbrellas were $10 extra. Recommend paying it as it was well worth it...otherwise there isn't a lot of shade there, though some folks did drag their chairs under a tree.
There was a bar and restaurant offering food/drink for a fee (which weren't cheap, but weren't crazy priced either.) They also had jet skis for rent and a small bouncy island water park thing (I don't know what they're called, but it's like a bouncy castle on the water). We were there about 2 – 2.5 hours. At 1 pm our driver returned and took us back to the ship. Ride was about 25 minutes each way.
St. Thomas – We didn't book an excursion. We walked off the ship at the Crown Pier (?). It's about 2.5 miles from downtown St. Thomas. There a shopping area there. (Fun fact, the area used to be a U.S. Navy submarine base). You can also catch a jingo taxi (pick-up truck modified with benches) to downtown. Cost was $4/person each way. We took the taxi downtown and wandered around for about 30 minutes. Wow (and not in a good way). Very pushy vendors and guys hustling to get you to go into store A or store B. Inside the shops, the staff were nice, but there are a ridiculous amount of jewelry stores (like every other store is a jewelry store). There are also some bars/restaurants but we'd had enough of saying “no thank you” every three steps only to have the guy follow you down the street, so we headed back to the ship. We talked to some folks that took a catamaran/snorkling trip and they loved it...so...maybe choose accordingly. I'm sure there is a nice part of St. Thomas, but downtown isn't it unless you love browsing jewelry shops and constantly getting hustled.
CocoCay – Perfect Day
You've seen the commercials, but the transformation is truly amazing. If you like “old CocoCay,” it's still there, you just have to walk out a bit further. The waterpark is similar to those in the U.S. and looked like they did a good business while we were there. Judging from the crowd at the swim up bar in Oasis lagoon, I'd say most people did the half-day ticket in the morning. There were lines we could see but not crazy long and things seemed to be moving pretty well. We didn't do the waterpark, but I didn't hear anyone complaining either. Disembarking in the morning was fast, if you can use the stairs. If you need an elevator, it may take a while. Not sure what was happening but my sister had to wait longer than normal for an elevator to come. Ashore they have beach wheelchairs. They tended to be lined up near the bathrooms, and that made it pretty easy to get her to areas that weren't paved with cobblestones. Staff are posted around the park with “Ask me Anything” shirts and they're very helpful too. You can get to a lot of places without needing the beach wheelchair, but not every where.
We rented a cabana at the Oasis lagoon. Had a ceiling fan, two chairs, a big couch, a cooler/table with 6-8 water bottles, and 4 sun loungers. They'll also bring you lunch if you order from the menu in the cabana. Bar tenders come around, but as we were just across from the swim up bar (there's a walk-up side too), it wasn't an issue.
Never did see the balloon go up...Did see wild chickens and iguana...
I think that's long enough. Enjoy Symphony! We're not usually fans of the big ships, but Symphony won us over. We spent a week on-board and still didn't see/do it all! Read Less
We were a family of ten, ages 3-54, cruising to celebrate a marriage milestone. We choose this specific ship due to wide variety of activities it offered to our multigenerational family. Symphony of the Seas did not disappoint, there was ... Read More
We were a family of ten, ages 3-54, cruising to celebrate a marriage milestone. We choose this specific ship due to wide variety of activities it offered to our multigenerational family. Symphony of the Seas did not disappoint, there was something for everyone.
Our adult children had inside staterooms and mentioned that they were quite spacious. (They were really only in them at night). We were in a Junior Suite and I loved how large our balcony was. Our stateroom attendant was outstanding, he was friendly and kept our room spotless. We really appreciated him.
We ate the majority of our evening meals in the main dining room, with the exception of one night dining at Chops. We all really enjoyed our meals there. My daughter and I both have Celiac Disease and I just really appreciated the efforts of our Head Waiter, Laarni Confesor, waiter, Siti, and assistant waiter, Nuur for providing us with safe and delicious meals to eat from morning thru night. If you have any food allergies or issues, it really is imperative to connect with your head waiter and team. I was extremely impressed. My granddaughters were delighted by the origami Nuur created for them at the end of every meal, he really made them feel special. Siti was fantastic too.
Honestly, the service throughout this ship was outstanding. To those who have written reviews that have said otherwise, I suggest you look at yourselves and ask why you may have received less than good service.
We really enjoyed all of the shows, I really can’t say which was my favorite. I cannot stress enough how important it is to book your reservations prior to boarding. We arrived approximately 15-20 minutes before each show and never had a problem finding great seats.
We enjoyed our time at St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Coco Cay. We booked early morning beach excursions so that the youngest members of our family could enjoy the sand and water and still allow time for the older members of our family to explore the port on their own. We booked a Beach Bungalow at South Beach (Cocoa Cay) and loved the location and beach. It really was a Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay. My only advice for those that have booked bungalows on this private island is to go to Shore Excursions ASAP once on board to choose your bungalow. We were not aware that this was something that needed to be done until the night before and we were not given a choice. We were in the back by the towel station and bathrooms. We did have a view of the beach and in the end our location worked just fine for us. If being right in front of the water is important to you, make sure to choose early.
All in all this was a perfect family vacation that we had planned and looked forward to for nearly two years. I wouldn’t change a thing- one of our best family vacations ever! Read Less
Honestly the best service, food and entertainment I’ve ever experienced on a cruise. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are still trying to recover from the hurricanes so I’m not going back there for a while. I would go on the same cruise ... Read More
Honestly the best service, food and entertainment I’ve ever experienced on a cruise. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are still trying to recover from the hurricanes so I’m not going back there for a while. I would go on the same cruise again ASAP but I’d skip the off ship opportunities.
If you are a music fan and or even a karaoke whore like I am, you will love their licensed version of the “Voice”. Princess has an exclusive and they do a great job with it. Of course there isn’t a big contract or check wait for the winner...just a keepsake trophy. I was a finalist and while I didn’t win, I did get to sing on stage to a packed house...lots of fun!
Program alert...the food is awesome and everywhere all the time. Don’t go if you are on a diet!
Don’t miss the production shows or the staged games like Marriage Match. They are worth the price of the cruise by themselves. Read Less
I love Princess! Rooms are amazing, and the beds are more comfortable than my own. Staff pampers you and there are many great things to do. We are already planning our next Princess cruise. Princess is our preferred criuse line. Took a 14 ... Read More
I love Princess! Rooms are amazing, and the beds are more comfortable than my own. Staff pampers you and there are many great things to do. We are already planning our next Princess cruise. Princess is our preferred criuse line. Took a 14 day European cruise on Princess last year as well and was amazed with the ship experience as well as the excursions. You can relax and enjoy your time and thete is something to do for all ages. The only way to vacation for me now will be cruising. Pools, casino, ocean view, great food, bingo, and night time entertainment all wrapped up in one. It is even better with the medallion, makes everything so easy. Love the room service and speed and quality of the food. Lookung forward to the many many more cruises I will be taking with princess. Bon voyage until we cruise again. Thank you Read Less
We chose this cruise because we love the Oasis class ships and had been on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas the two previous years. While they are all very similar, each has their different nuances. We have been on 12 cruises ( 8 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love the Oasis class ships and had been on Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas the two previous years. While they are all very similar, each has their different nuances. We have been on 12 cruises ( 8 with Royal Caribbean ) and this was by far absolutely the quickest embarkation ever. I can't say enough good things about it. I had coffee one morning with a guy that had been on over 70 cruises ( not a travel agent ) and he confirmed what I already knew, Royal Caribbean all the way. They have the embarkation down to a science.
Another thing I've always liked about Royal Caribbean is they do the muster drill in one of the dining rooms so there is a place to sit as opposed to other lines that have you stand for 30 minutes or more on one of the outside decks.
The ship itself was beautiful and well maintained. If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely sail on this ship. The only thing I noticed and didn't like was that you could hear the noise inside your cabin from the Boardwalk whereas on the Oasis and Allure, you could not.
We also noticed that the closets were configured differently ( which we liked ) and had drawers in them which the other ships did not. The shower was noticeably bigger with a completely closing glass surround. ( again, we liked this )
I don't remember the name of the motel we stayed in ( Titusville )( I think it was a Quality Inn ) but it was a dump and the steakhouse that they were so high on ( on the grounds ) had good food but I don't think they've cleaned their bathrooms in a couple of years.
Our room steward Delano was great and very attentive. The entire staff was very friendly. The cabin was always very clean although I wished they had vacuumed a little more.
Shore excursions were mediocre at best. Next time, I will not book any shore excursions.
Perfect Day at Coco Cay was fabulous. We had a 10 o clock balloon ride booked which they had to cancel due to the wind. ( Royal Caribbean has no control over the weather ) Even though it started off cloudy in Port Canaveral, we had pretty good weather 95% of the time. ( again, Royal has no control over mother nature. ) The new Coco Cay is gorgeous.
The entertainment on board was superb. As a guy, I don't normally like musicals but I thoroughly enjoyed Grease. Great production.
We traveled with another couple and they enjoyed the cruise as much as we did.
The service in the MDR was a little slow but there are 13 complimentary places to eat so this really didn't matter. That's another thing I like about the big ships, variety.
Even though it was a large ship, I've been on smaller ships that seemed a lot more crowded.
The belly flop contest, worlds sexiest man and women's cannonball contest were hilarious.
The second Aqua show was a lot better than the first. Read Less