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Sail Date: April 2010
My wife and I sailed the Star's Mexican Rivera cruise last week. We previously rode the Star during her Fall repositioning from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and fell in love with her. The staff was friendly and efficient, the food was ... Read More
My wife and I sailed the Star's Mexican Rivera cruise last week. We previously rode the Star during her Fall repositioning from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and fell in love with her. The staff was friendly and efficient, the food was great, and we really liked the feel of the public spaces--except for the Galleria shop, which we thought previously resembled a department store bargain basement. Now that we've done another week on her, and have before and after comparisons, we still like the Star but will probably not sail her again. The recent retrofit has some distinct hits and some equally dismal misses. The biggest loss is, of course, the forward Spinnaker lounge. I did manage to be in the right place and the right time to see inside the deck 12 construction zone forward of the pool. It's completely gutted except for areas on both sides which I assume are the old restrooms. It was a bit sad standing at the pool-side doors and looking all the way forward out the front windows. To our surprise, we liked the new aft Spinnaker, even though it was awfully dark and the dance floor was tiny--eight couples pretty much filled the floor. Besides losing the view windows, which will be crucial on any sightseeing cruise such as Alaska or Panama, the ship felt much smaller with such a huge public area closed. There was simply not enough room to get away from the crowds, and nowhere that was as quiet as the now-shuttered old library. It was impossible to sit quietly and read without distraction. We also missed the movie theater; watching a movie on a 19 inch television, in wide-screen mode just doesn't compare. The new shops, photo display, and new Blue Lagoon location are definite improvements. However, in the haste to complete those changes during drydock, the shops were poorly built. The walls of the hallway are a cheap, dark wood-grained plastic laminate, contrasting badly with the rich, exotic wood laminates used throughout the rest of the ship. Also, no consideration was apparently given to lighting in the new jewelry shop; it's so dim the jewels have no sparkle. One of the "changes" still puzzles me. The port side of the Garden market buffet used to become La Trattoria in the evening. I understand the new restaurant on Deck 6, replaces La Trattoria, but Norwegian still shuts the port side of the buffet in the evening--without doing anything in that space at all. The staff is still wonderfully friendly, and our cabin stewards were outstanding. The food was plentiful and delicious. The shows haven't changed, which can be seen as either good or bad depending whether you really like them or whether you think that it's time for Norwegian to update the entertainment. All in all, we enjoyed our return to the Star, and will miss her as she leaves the west coast for her new home port in Florida. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
I had trouble finding specific information before our trip. I called in advance and even asked onboard (which was helpful at some restaurants), but I am just a person who likes very specific details, so I am sharing as much as I can here ... Read More
I had trouble finding specific information before our trip. I called in advance and even asked onboard (which was helpful at some restaurants), but I am just a person who likes very specific details, so I am sharing as much as I can here for others to be more informed before upcoming trips. To provide background, I eat dairy (eggs, cheese, etc., but I avoid any touch of fish/chicken or beef - including stocks, broths, & sauces). We dined at each specialty restaurant and most cafes / shops (or at least browsed some to see what they offered). Here is my list (we worked hard to get everywhere in our 8 days!). Complimentary Dining: Windjammer Cafe: always great veg options. Salad bar is always there as an option, but there are also a variety of pretty tasty hot options as well including ratatouille, eggplant, roasted tomatoes, stir fry, and soups. Solarium: great veg options (open for breakfast and lunch only). These are a bit more 'Whole Foods' in nature with tofu wraps, assorted granola, and miso soup. Park Cafe: bagels, fruits, and great panini & yogurt parfait options. Hot Dog stand - no veg dogs (perhaps the only place on the ship there was nothing veg). Good news is that the ice cream shop is across the way, which is a great substitute for lunch in my opinion... For a Fee: Rita's: Who doesn't love Mexican? Well, at Rita's you'll love it even more. We veggies all know we're more inclined to fill up on chips & order a salad to be safe, but, they also have a great grilled asparagus, tacos (just ordered without the meat), etc. It's all pretty delicious, including the salsa & queso. This was also the one place on the ship I thought might have a tasty guacamole. Unfortunately, not the case (keep in mind I'm pretty picky with guac). Izumi: Complementary starters are edamame & then veg miso soup. Both delicious. They also offer tasty tofu rolls (sans seeweed). It's a cool dining concept with great light options. Vintages: It's a wine bar, but they offer tapas style cheeses, tortilla (Spanish), olives, guac, bruschetta. Giovanni's: Oddly, this was the most complicated order of our cruise. Everything is family style, so we had to work around the enormous portions (my husband pretty much only eats meat). I am so glad we did go anyways because it was awesome - they have several great salads (Caesar / tomato & mozzarella, etc), the BEST mushroom risotto we can ever remember having & a fabulous sautéed spinach & eggplant dish (no pasta, but they'd make it with if preferred). On a whim here, we asked for a side of marinara. It was unbelievable. I wanted eat more but literally ran out of room... Chops: No veg entree is advertised on the menu, but for the veg option, they put a huge plate in front of you with every side on it. If you've got your humor with you and don't mind some confused looks from the room, it's all pretty great. 150 Central Park: this was one of the best veg meals on the ship. It was pricey, but so worth it. The service was impeccable and very attentive to vegetarians. Meat eaters get a choice of 2 tasting menus. Veg is just veg - so they provided small bite sized apps, a small broth-based mushroom tortellini dish & a ricotta/eggplant dish that was so so so good my mouth still waters. I was ashamed and proud all at once to have licked my plate of course 4 (5th was dessert). Chefs Table: This is also a pricey dining option. Honesty, I wouldn't recommend it unless you're really that curious to see it once. The experience is paired with wines & had a whole bunch of people all eating one thing and then mine was separately explained to the group, plated and served to me. It was kind of an ordeal, and I felt bad when I didn't love anything (tomato salad, small tasting soups, eggplant with Gruyere & a roasted veg platter). The chef was very good about making sure I had what I needed, but it was just kind of awkward in the end. They served so much wine that it didn't really matter at the end, but, we agreed we would rather have a nice bottle of wine and go to a different restaurant. Last, Samba Grill: we didn't go, but we did look. If you can handle Fogo de Chao, then you're all good. It's the same concept in a beautiful atmosphere. Well, I hope this provides some others clarification as to what you might expect. I hope you enjoy as much as we did!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and ... Read More
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and the second with Carnival Splendor. Each of the prior cruises had highlights. NCL Gem had excellent food and an engaging cruise director, Sinan Ulucay, and the Carnival Splendor had some of the best stand-up comedian entertainment I've seen with "The Punchliner" series. Each of the above also had a variety of entertainment outside of the main theater. In contrast, there were no highlights on the Celebrity Reflection. Pros: 1. The ship is very clean, and the staterooms are the cleanest we've experienced. 2. The guest entertainers were good. Antonio Salci, Kyle Knight & Mistie, and Claire Vinkestejn (apologies if misspelled) were very talented, professional, and entertaining. As an aside, I often wonder why cruise lines continue to push the pseudo-Broadway experience instead of opting for more instrumental/orchestral music, other non-singing performers etc... 3. The dancers/aerialists were impressively excellent. 4. Everyone who works on the ship clearly works hard, and it shows. Slobodan, the guy who runs the buffet, is a workhorse. Cons: 1. There is very little entertainment on the ship. On other lines, including NCL and Carnival, the daily itinerary is chock full of activities like dancing, games, lectures, etc to the point that one needs to sacrifice certain activities to attend others. For instance, on the NCL Gem, there were something like two trivia games a day and a whole bunch of guest game shows, whereas on Celebrity Reflection there were approximately five trivia games and two game shows the entire cruise. Fun things to do, besides laze by the pool, were few and far between. Which leads me to my second point... 2. The majority of the itinerary consists of either shopping events or pay-to-play activities. Given the relatively high cost of the fare, I had incorrectly assumed that daily entertainment would be largely complementary as it is on other lines. How I was mistaken. Rather, the main focus was on being hocked "low-end high-end" items like Michael Kors bags and Invicta watches and paying $20 to do simple things like paint. For example, the majority public real estate of an entire deck, deck 5, consists of shops and specialty restaurants. Other decks aren't much better. 3. The food in the Main Dining Hall is average, slightly better than Carnival but certainly not worth the extra cost of the fare. It pales in comparison to the food on the NCL Gem. This is supposed to be a higher-end line, so I expected higher-end food as the default. Instead it seems that the food is made to be palatable but not special so that passengers are more likely to spend money on the specialty restaurants. The buffet food left a similar taste in my mouth, pardon the pun. 4. The entertainment is standard cruise fare, with shouting-with-tone Kelly Clarkson-style female singers, hopping agile dancers and poppy tunes. Not really a con, but not a pro. 5. Why is the library overlying the main foyer where the loud music comes from? It defeats the purpose... 6. The destinations, while good, were not timed optimally. Landing in San Juan at 1530 and leaving at 2200 doesn't leave one much time to enjoy non-Celebrity-arranged excursions. 7. The dining halls are closed when at port. I don't remember this happening on the other cruise lines. 8. In the games room on deck 9 there is an abundance of Mahjong sets but no Backgammon, and far too few decks of cards. Overall, my cruise felt like a shopping mall with an exorbitant cover charge rather than a truly entertaining vacation experience. I will not recommend the floating shopping mall, Celebrity Reflection. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our second cruise this year on the Getaway. A truly beautiful ship. Service staff was excellent. Our cabin was just right for us. Having cruised into these ports before, we decided to take it easy and be care free. For ... Read More
This was our second cruise this year on the Getaway. A truly beautiful ship. Service staff was excellent. Our cabin was just right for us. Having cruised into these ports before, we decided to take it easy and be care free. For entertainment, see Burn the Floor! Wow, what a show it was. The dancing was incredible, and their energy was amazing! The Illusionarium was something different and entertaining as well. The ship is just beautiful, with it's Miami theme. The Waterfront is great. Do try the outside menu at Ocean Blue. If you like calamari, they do it so well. Nice lunch out on the deck. Cagney's and Le Bistro never fail. Fabulous dining experience! Sunset Bar and the Waves pool bar are the best for service, drinks and service. Go see Marcos at the Pool Bar! He is the Pape of the bunch. If you enjoy sunbathing, there is no shortage of space on the Getaway. The main pool area is small, but there are so many other areas you can find a chair and relax. Our only quip was the amount of smoke filtrating through the main atrium areas from the casino. Even if you do smoke, it smells very stale. They took away the Lobster night and served it as a Seafood night. It was not good at all. It was smelly and awful. Don't go to La Cucina if you enjoy real Italian food. The appetizers and desserts were great, but the entrees were not prepared with fresh ingredients. Frozen chicken and salty seafood. Wait staff was very attentive, but the overall experience lacked. Our room steward, Ernesto, whom we had the first cruise on the Getaway was awesome. Our cabin was always in perfect shape! The employees at the customer service desk were not very friendly or pleasant. Very stiff and uncaring. Need to change that, for sure. They never smile, and they seem irritated when you approach them with questions or requests. Chose your shore excursions before you sail. It will be so much easier, as you will find your docs in your cabin when you sail. Don't forget to take care of the personnel who take care of you. Be kind and gracious when you receive service that goes beyond the normal. They work very hard to take care of the passengers. Enjoy the Getaway, as she is a beautiful ship with great amenities. Hope you see the fireworks display, as well. Captain Rune has a forum while on board. Go meet him and his staff to ask questions. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Blessed by living near Port Canaveral, is it simple for us to take cruise vacations and they remain our favorite getaway. This was our fourth Carnival cruise, having been to the Bahamas before and both eastern and western Caribbean, but ... Read More
Blessed by living near Port Canaveral, is it simple for us to take cruise vacations and they remain our favorite getaway. This was our fourth Carnival cruise, having been to the Bahamas before and both eastern and western Caribbean, but this was our first time on the Sensation. We were impressed from the first moment with the friendliness of the staff and their full attention to our needs and comfort. Our room steward, Davis, was exceptional and on-the-spot with every single request and our cabin was well laid out, spotless, and quiet. Our lead waiter, Romel, took particular care in dealing with a special dietary need, even ordering me specially prepared desserts. Our favorite relaxing spot, the Serenity Deck, was very well-staffed by Johney, who was always friendly and ready to help and answer questions. The comedians at the Punchliner venue should not be missed! Go on the first evenings of the cruise, as word gets out and the place gets more crowded each night. Jorge Salano and Tom Foss were the headliners during our stay and they were both hilarious, though they have very different comedy styles. The magician on board was also amazing and fun. We chose this particular cruise because of the LeAnn Rimes concert available in the theater for a very modest additional fee. The concert was fantastic, the atmosphere informal, and Ms. Rimes quite personable. We also took a "Behind the Fun" tour of the ship, which I wish we had done years ago. Brett was a great tour guide and seeing the bridge, engine control room, kitchen, backstage dressing room, laundry, and crew training areas made such an impression about the amazing amount of hard work behind the scenes that goes into your fun. Negative aspects were few, but we had to leave the first show, as the sound was amplified to the point of being painful. Thankfully, that problem was resolved before the concert and the second show. The ship layout is not the easiest to figure out, but it is an older ship and has been nicely updated. Unfortunately, the view from the top deck is blocked by the lifeboats, but there are other places to take in the sea views. Music venue choices were strange: the only live music bands were relegated to a hallway location outside the casino where there was no room to dance. When the crowd did finally start dancing anyway, it blocked the only accessible route around the ship for handicapped guests--not good planning. The Karaoke venue, on the other hand, had a large dance floor and a tall stage that was obviously designed for a musical group. Personally, I needed a stepladder to get up there gracefully and safely and after one try where I caught my heel in the hem of my dress trying to get down, I was finished with that activity fearing a face-plant on the marble floor. I watched several singers knock their heads on the low light fixtures on the stage, too, though I am too short to do that. Perhaps some location switching is in order? Overall, the ship's advantage is its awesome staff, and yes they will be calling you by name at every opportunity. Great job! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
So, myself and my boyfriend went on our first cruise. We live in D.C and we drove to my uncles house in Jacksonville. We embarked at the Jacksonville port on Sept 22nd, 2014. After I booked this cruise and started to view the reviews I was ... Read More
So, myself and my boyfriend went on our first cruise. We live in D.C and we drove to my uncles house in Jacksonville. We embarked at the Jacksonville port on Sept 22nd, 2014. After I booked this cruise and started to view the reviews I was a little discouraged. The reviews were pretty bad. After getting on this ship I will never listen to people and their over obsessive complaints again! This was by far the best vacation I have ever gone on. I did not have to lift a finger on this trip. They clean up everything after you, from your room all the way down to the plate and cups you have used. I was overly impressed by the food especially the food in the dining room. Amazing food! The all adult serenity deck is a must if your over 21. Two hot tubs and lots of chairs and umbrellas. The Lido deck was always Poppin, always something going on. I cant see how anyone can ever say they got bored on this cruise. They must have a hell of a life off the boat cause I did more on that boat in 2 days then I do at home in a month. From shows, to the casino, and the mingling on the Lido deck it was fun the whole time. All ill say is dont come on a cruise and be a ass. Its easy to meet people and make it the time of your life rather then sit around and be unhappy the whole time. I met so many sweet people that my boyfriend and myself connected with.Also i dont have kids but I dont think this is a vacation I would like to be bothered with younger kids. Teens are ok if they have a buddy but this is def, a grown and sexy trip. All in all if you want a fun filled trip with a once in a life time experience you have to take a cruise. Whatever line or fleet you decide to go one make it a GREAT one. Your on this boat with total strangers that you will more then likely never see again LIVE IT UP!!! Dance on tables and make a time you will never forget. It was my first cruise, but not my last. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
I've noted several other recent Miracle cruisers recently posting about the ship's propulsion issues, and felt obliged to post what I know. We had a marvelous two week cruise to Hawaii this past September. As we booked AFTER the ... Read More
I've noted several other recent Miracle cruisers recently posting about the ship's propulsion issues, and felt obliged to post what I know. We had a marvelous two week cruise to Hawaii this past September. As we booked AFTER the formal announcement by Carnival (which I found weeks after I'd booked anyway), we didn't get offered any partial refunds or other compensation - but the iteniary had been altered from the original catalogue's plan which had an overnight in Maui to only a day-trip. Again, as we booked after the issue had been noted, we simply paid the fare, took the trip, enjoyed it and got back to LA on schedule. ---- I don't know of any crew members attempting to conceal the issue; in fact, being retired military with years at sea myself, I was curious to know what the issue was - and was enthusiastically briefed during a behind-the-scenes tour by the ship's engineering staff. Simply put, the manufacturer of the pod systems noted that they'd been experiencing premature wear on the bearing cages, and advised Carnival to keep the maximum speed below 20 knots to avoid any overheating issues. Carnival did publicize that they could have either taken the ship offline and moved the overhaul period up, or simply tailored the iteniaries to fit within constraints imposed by speed restrictions, which is what they did. Most of the time, we were making 18 or 19 knots, which...if you've ever gone to sea with the US Navy...is actually moving along at a brisk (though not quite 31-Knot-Burke) clip. Heck the bartenders I chatted up every night talked about this. ---- We had a fabulous time; the crew was great, the food was great, the shows were limited but that's expected on longer voyages. The wife and I did a "re-committment" marriage ceremony with the Captain, and he was great; took time off the bridge to officiate, pose for pictures, and talk with us personally. An unforgettable experience all around. The Miracle is a sister ship to the Pride, which we've cruised on three times - but was far better maintained. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My husband and I were looking forward to cruising with Princess. We understood it to have a 5 star rating. Previously we have cruised with Carnival and Norwegian. We paid extra to choose our cabin but discovered that we were not in the ... Read More
My husband and I were looking forward to cruising with Princess. We understood it to have a 5 star rating. Previously we have cruised with Carnival and Norwegian. We paid extra to choose our cabin but discovered that we were not in the cabin we selected. We were moved to the forward most room next to a warehouse/storage area where large carts were banged around all night. The noise was terrible and continued throughout the night. Customer service was a joke. The long line of disgruntled passengers was near constant each time we approached the desk to try to resolve our room issue. Apparently we were not the only ones unhappy with the cruise line or the accommodations. The cruise line denied any responsibility and claimed to be completely full so moving to another room was not an option. The food was alright although the wait times were long for the buffet and dining rooms. The ship appeared to be rather old and not well maintained. The entertainment was lack luster. The ship advertised a particular show but instead replaced it with a rather boring mentalist. The cruise director did nothing to encourage passengers to participate in any activities, unlike Carnival where you always know what is going on and when/where to go if you want to participate. The sea days were long and boring with little to fill the time. We were fortunate that we met another couple on board to play board games with. I left several items on board the ship and contacted customer service to report them missing when I returned home. I received a canned letter stating the items were not found, even though one of the fellow passengers emailed me that they had found the missing item and turned it into guest services for me to claim. Obviously, the guest services staff kept it for themselves. Overall, the experience with Princess was a big disappointment. We will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
It was just the two of us; my boyfriend and I on the first of three vacations we take every year. This one was 04/20 - 26/2014) and we decided to try the Epic for the first time for this seven day vacatiion. The ship is rather beautiful, ... Read More
It was just the two of us; my boyfriend and I on the first of three vacations we take every year. This one was 04/20 - 26/2014) and we decided to try the Epic for the first time for this seven day vacatiion. The ship is rather beautiful, and we love that you don't feel the amount of people that's really on it at all. Once embarkation starts, guests are allowed to go straight to their cabins, we love that. I like to unpack and get things put away well before it's time for the drill, and he goes and make spa reservations, purchase bottled water for our stay etc., we always get a balcony cabin, but this is our first time being in one like this. Guests are not notified in advance of the engineer washing your cabin glass doors, which leaves the balcony with about 2 inches of water that can only be evaporated by the sun. The food is good in the buffet styled dinning, which we usually don't do but we thought we'd give it a go and loved it, all 7 days. The food at the Asain restaurant serving sizes are that of the French, VERY SMALL. The Brazilian restaurant really don't want to start serving the meats at all, they were thought to be procrastinating so someone took them to task (if you will), about it, "boy was that funny!" You'll enjoy the deparcation party on the gangway too, a show not to be missed. Spills are left too long, I feel for guests on walkers etc., so do be ware. Oh ladies, DO bring your sexy little white dress for the "Hot White Night Dance," I did, lots of fun! All-in-all, we enjoyed this cruise, and if the price is right the way it was this time, agreed, we'd do it again! So GO, you're gonna love it! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
This was probably our 15th cruise and 4th time in the Southern Caribbean. We decided to fly in a day before, even though we are from Houston and haven't had bad weather - we knew the north had snow- storms and flights were delayed. We ... Read More
This was probably our 15th cruise and 4th time in the Southern Caribbean. We decided to fly in a day before, even though we are from Houston and haven't had bad weather - we knew the north had snow- storms and flights were delayed. We stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan, right across the street pretty much from the ship. The hotel is nice and in the perfect location for walking around Old San Juan. After reading many reviews and tips (thank you!), we took the free open air trolley cars up and around both forts! They stop in front of the Subway across the street from the CVS and then again around the next corner. We also bought our 2 bottles of wine that you are allowed to take onboard at CVS. Check out was 11 am at the Sheraton and we were on the ship by noon. Embarkation was 10pm so off the ship we went after finding our cabin and the buffet at Rosie's to explore Old Town and walk around! Our luggage was there when we got back. We loved the ship and the crew! We chose anytime dining and usually ate at 6pm in the Lincoln Dining Room to get a table for two by the window. Our balcony was one deck and a few cabins down from the Captain's Bridge, 9214 and quite smooth sailing! We loved it. We were on a good side to dock near many mega yachts and beautiful ports. The "Falcon", the "Luna" and several yachts were docked next to us with their helicopters, boats, pools, etc. onboard. It always amazes me to see such beautiful yachts and sailboats in the Southern Caribbean. Our Cabin Steward, Nelson was wonderful. The beds were comfortable and the pillows too...........throw in those comfy white robes and I was in Heaven. We had towel animals and chocolates every night. One day we got back and their was rust, paint, a mask and goggles on the balcony. We called maintenance and within 5 minutes they had it cleaned up. I truly cannot see why anyone would complain about the service, crew or this beautiful ship. The first day was St. Thomas. Our booked excursion over to St. John was cancelled due to the ferry they contracted having technical difficulties. Bummer. We wanted to explore the other side of St. John with a ship excursion and did not want to risk taking the ferry on our own and missing the ship. We chose the Meghan Bay and Blackbeard Castle excursion and loved it as usual. The turquoise water ceases to amaze me. The second day is a sea day and formal night. We baked by the pool, watching snow reports and the Olympics on the huge screen! They had the usual mixologist contest, hairy chest, etc. and good music. There never was a problem finding a chair and the sun felt wonderful. Pack sunscreen and hats! Lobster night was great and the shows were great. As far as the dress code and what I have read on here, I'd agree that half were dressed real formal and the rest, Sunday best or resort casual, the latter for the other nights. We loved the shows. Barbados - we took the ship's snorkel excursion and sailed along the coastline and close to several beautiful homes and beaches, had lunch and open bar after snorkeling, good sun, beautiful warm water....... great day! St Lucia ~ we took the snorkel excursion to Pigeon Island since we had already seen the Pitons, otherwise, I wouldn't miss them! We had a nice day just swimming, laying out (chairs were part of it) and drinking a few Piton beers! St. Kitt's was the Snorkel St. Kitt's and Nevis Island Catamaran excursion. We loved it and had a blast. The crew were great, lunch, bar snorkeling... were all part of it. Go online and book it as it booked fast. I think this was the second formal night, if I remember right! We had been to St, Martin, Orient Beach, etc. so decided to get off the ship and take the $7. round trip water taxi over to the town and beaches. We needed a day to just relax and to pick up a few souvenirs and thoroughly enjoyed walking up and down the cobblestone streets, markets, shops, etc. all the time looking out on white beaches and turquoise water. We never felt bothered in the markets as we are used to Mexico! People are super friendly here. There are hundreds of chairs and umbrellas for rent here, along with Segway's, bars, restaurants, shops, etc. We got back on the ship for a late lunch at the buffet and luckily ran into the chocolate buffet next to it! It had a chocolate fountain and anything chocolate imaginable. The nut cake was divine - like Italian Cream. Embarkation was a piece of cake. We were number 20 but got off when we wanted. Getting on and off was easy, I thought. There were tons of taxis waiting and we were off to the airport within minutes of finding our luggage. We used the Menu on the tv to check on shore excursions and our bill. We asked for ice and had a bucket every day, otherwise they don't put it in the cabin. Who knew. We hope you have as much fun as we did! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We stayed at Townplace Suites Fort Lauderadale West prior to our cruise. Nice hotel with full kitchen. Would stay there again. We boarded around 1pm and got right through with only a few people ahead of us. Fast and friendly service at ... Read More
We stayed at Townplace Suites Fort Lauderadale West prior to our cruise. Nice hotel with full kitchen. Would stay there again. We boarded around 1pm and got right through with only a few people ahead of us. Fast and friendly service at Port Everglades Cruise Port. We boarded Royal Princess for our 5th Princess cruise. (We've previously cruised one time each with RCI & Carnival). We were "wowed" by Royal. We 1st stopped off at our interior cabin on the Lido deck. We were greeted by our fantastic cabin steward Rommei then entered our beautiful cabin. Comfy and cozy with awesome bedding. We then headed for the Lido deck. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, cloudy and light rain. Loved the sail away anyway with the ship's horn playing the theme from the Love Boat series. Grabbed a couple sail away drinks and enjoyed it even in a drizzling rain. Then we headed for the Piazza atrium. Larger than other Princess ships, the Piazza has 3 floors with plenty of seating on each floor overlooking the Piazza where there was much entertainment throughout the days and evenings. Lots of music and dancing took place here and lots of fun people watching. There were bars/lounges, shops, and eating establishments (24 hr International Cafe and Alfredo's Pizza) surrounding the Piazza. This was one of our favorite areas on the ship. Our 1st stop was at Princess Cays. Beautiful private beach with plenty of lounge chairs. We got off an hour or so after 1st tender and had no problem getting great loungers in the 1st row. Didn't swim as the water was too cool for us but there were plenty of people swimming. The seas were rough that afternoon which made tendering back to the ship a challenge. They stopped the tenders at one point because they had to wait for the waters to calm down to let people the people who had already tendered get off and onto the ship. The tender ride back was like an amusement park ride, swaying back and forth, several people didn't fare too well but many of us enjoyed the thrill of the massive rocking of the tender. Next port was St. Thomas. Weather was drizzle rain and we had a kyack, snorkel, hike excursion booked through the ship. Was a lot of fun despite the less than perfect weather. They were running late but knowing Princess would wait on us since we booked through them was comforting. Next port was St. Maarten. We took a privte tour, hired off ship. It was an all day island tour with stops along the way suggested by our driver. We also asked him to stop at other places which he was more than happy to do. One stop was Orient Beach where one way was the nude beach, the other clothing. We shopped at the clothing side a bit, took a quick look from the beginning side of the nude beach (with a few laughs), and went on to several others stops before we asked for our final stop in the main part of shopping near our port. We were with our driver 6 1/2 hrs for only $36 a piece (there were 8 of us). There is a large sign at the port that has the prices of tours. This was the last selection listed on the board and defiantly the best value. Our driver was super friendly and very knowledgable about the island. We toured both sides, Dutch and French, with stops at both. Back on the ship we enjoyed the Lido deck with live music twice a day, ice sculpting, pool games, and great movies as we soaked up the sun. Had great entertainment with our favorite The Beatlemaniacs. They were one of our favorite cruise memories from this cruise. They played one night in the theater and one night in the Piazza. People including myself and husband had a most enjoyable time feeling like we were actually at a Beatles concert. They sang all the classics and changed costumes to fit many of the songs. They played again at 10:30pm one night in the Piazza, with people singing and lots of fun dancing. Best of all ship entertainment I have experienced. Also great entertainment was the comedian Troy Thirdgood. This guy was hilarious with good clean shows. He also participated in the game show Liar's Club which was also a hoot. Other game shows such as the marriage show was fantastic. We dined everywhere on the ship, all being great quality food and service. Melchor in the Symphony anytime dining room was fantastic. Funny and friendly as well as knowledgeable about the food selections. Donuts in the morning in the International Cafe were a treat! New dessert station was also great, just wish they had an ice cream machine in there to top off desserts. Large eating area and never had a problem finding a seat, most often eating on the aft deck. One other things i loved were the free in room movies. Many series including Love Boat, Mike and Molly, as well as drama, family, sections, and many many movies. You could stop your movie and and come back later to resume. Always nice to start my day and unwind at night. Hope this happens on all Princess ships. Disembarkation was as easy as embarking. We did the walk off at 7:25am, and it was well organized and went quickly ans smoothly. Royal is beautiful, classy but comfortable, with excellent crew. Would sail on her again, wish I could have her on all the iteneraries of my choosing. Fantastic 5 stars from beginning to end. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I seriously don't know how you could have a bad time on this ship. I think the big problem is that this new ship is drawing so much attention from experienced cruise goers that you get a lot of very critical reviews. This is only my ... Read More
I seriously don't know how you could have a bad time on this ship. I think the big problem is that this new ship is drawing so much attention from experienced cruise goers that you get a lot of very critical reviews. This is only my second cruise, although I've traveled extensively across the states and Europe. Pros: Food was soooo good! - we ate at Sabatini's, Alfredos, and the various buffet options including the pizza and grill on the Lido Deck. Sabatini's was nice, but I don't think the food warranted the price. The service was the same as you receive in the dining halls. Alfredos was a nice change of pace and fun to have a view of the atrium while we ate. We loved the buffet. I was picking up stuff I hardly knew what it was and it was delicious. The desserts at every venue seemed about the same. I lot of cheese cakes and mouses. Don't get me wrong, they were great, but maybe a little boring. Our room was just right for us! Of course it's small (you're on a ship!), but was just perfect for two people. We had a standard balcony room. The balcony was a bit small, but bigger than people were making it out to be. It's perfectly comfortable having 2 people out there. The beds were perfect firmness for us, although there's a hump in the middle where the two single beds were pushed together. The on-demand movies and tv were a nice surprise! The live-tv options though are limited to sports, news, and princess' own productions. The bathroom was extremely functional and came well stocked. The Attrium was a beautiful sight. It blows my mind that this is on a cruise ship! We loved the big movie screen and getting served free ice cream, popcorn, and milk and cookies! Cons: Our shore excursions were a bit of a mess. We reserved all of our excursions the day they became available online. The first day on the ship we got a letter saying one was canceled. We rebooked that and got a new ticket, only to have that one cancel too. The excursions themselves were ok. It's just so weird to get off a luxury cruise ship and onto the back of a sketch flat bed truck to get bussed off to your excursion. The same goes for Port Everglades. That place is no better than a below average bus stop. Pre-paid tipping just seems like a poor system. I get charged 11.50 per day per person and yet gratuities are always added to any purchase and tipping cash still seems to be the norm. I guess I just don't get why Princess markets this as being a convenient service for the passenger? Anytime Dining seemed a bit pointless. We called for an 8:30 reservation. After showing up at 8:15 we were given a pager and told to wait. We got seated at 8:40 in another dining room upstairs. It was 9:00 before we had our menus, water, and finally some bread. The service there was honestly pretty bad and the food not much different than buffet. I'm glad we only went to one formal night.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Our 5th cruise, we are no cruise experts but feel accomplished enough to say that was the best cruise ship and holiday we've been on. We booked concierge class which bumped us up to a room with a better position. Our room was ... Read More
Our 5th cruise, we are no cruise experts but feel accomplished enough to say that was the best cruise ship and holiday we've been on. We booked concierge class which bumped us up to a room with a better position. Our room was exceptionally comfortable, the en suite and balcony was an impressive size. The food was superior to other cruises and the staff couldn't be better, they would go to get you your favorite drink no matter where it was on the ship and bring it to the bar or restaurant where you were. I also was happy with the value for money our drinks were. It took 3 days to actually see children, we were happy about that because the last ship was full of kids. We really don't have any complaints about this ship and will be looking for another cruise on it again. One important thing they did on the Solstice was increase the hygiene, they were very strict about anti bacterial hand wash, it seemed overkill but I'm glad they did, they have a lot to be proud of keeping us well and try to prevent the Nora virus epidemic. There were so many nice little touches that we appreciated and the ship seemed to spare little expense to ensure our experiences were wonderful.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My husband and I stayed in new signature suites and they were lovely. Tons of storage space, the bathroom was bigger than expected. Our butler, Nilesh was the head butler and he exceed our every request past our imagination. The suite was ... Read More
My husband and I stayed in new signature suites and they were lovely. Tons of storage space, the bathroom was bigger than expected. Our butler, Nilesh was the head butler and he exceed our every request past our imagination. The suite was worth every penny. The private hallway was serene, we never heard a door open or close. We had breakfast every morning on our patio (which was very large) with a bottle of champagne with fresh orange juice. The small up charge for in room dining for breakfast was worth the money. Our favorites were the steak and fried eggs and crab cake benedict. The "beetle" button has been referenced in past reviews- we solved it. It is a button on the inside tub that pumps extra oxygen into the jets. The tub also has very cool LED lighting. Our room and lots of areas on the ship were quiet creaky. The first night on board we had to use our noise cancelling headphones to sleep and we have no problems sleeping. However, this was resolved very quickly. We were lucky enough to have dinner at the Captain's table with the Chief Engineer and within seconds he was on his cell phone and the problem was solved. They also fixed the divider on the balcony that kept slamming into the lock. The robes, towels and other products all seemed quiet normal to me, nothing special. The toilet paper is dreadful, bring your own. We did not enjoy the ocean view cafe, worse than my college cafe. We ate at Opus twice, both formal nights. The first night we were at the Captain's table and spoiled to death. The second time we were rushed through the courses, and the food was average. We stuck to the special restaurants the rest of the time and had a fantastic time. Qsine- worth $90 maybe? but it's 1/2 entertainment from your waiter and 1/2 crazy food. Very fun. Our butler coached us through the best picks. Lawn Club- one of my favorites. Relaxed atmosphere, small area. We went twice, I enjoyed making our own pizza and learning from the grill masters. I kept asking questions to learn all the little cooking secrets. We felt like we were on a small boat at that restaurant, it was wonderful. Tuscan- quiet, food is amazing, very lovely. The filet mignon there was the best on the whole ship, along with the creme brulee. It's actually better than a lot of steakhouses I have been to on land. Blu- breakfast was great, when we left our room, nice alternative to have We did not do Murano, since we were told it was a 3 hour dinner. Maybe next time. We won't do the Caribbean again. We docked in St. Maarten and there were 8 other large cruise ships, it was terrible. In St. Thomas we went to St. John and it was great. Puerto Rico- not much to do, we zip lined and it was way more rugged than any zip line I've done in the US. All in all we had a good time. We never wanted to leave our suite or our private hallway. The small perks were great like a sail way party on the helipad. Every suite is given coupons for free internet, laundry and so forth. They put all the suites with the elite members for different events and disembarkation. We had a tough time on our ship, some of the elite members were so entitled to things it was hard to be around them. Word to the wise, be nice to the crew members and they will make your vacation that much more enjoyable. Maybe it's a southern thing but you always get more bees with honey. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
My family and I just returned from cruising the southern caribbean on Jewel of the Seas and simply loved touring the islands. Getting on the ship was tiring. We had to wait in line in HOT sun (I am used to waiting in air conditioned room ... Read More
My family and I just returned from cruising the southern caribbean on Jewel of the Seas and simply loved touring the islands. Getting on the ship was tiring. We had to wait in line in HOT sun (I am used to waiting in air conditioned room for embarkation). Sorry to say we did not enjoy some of the things on the Jewel. Beautiful ship, but food in dining room was not up to par..our head waiter tried but was very slow and kept getting food orders mixed up...Windjammer was great. The production shows were not entertaining (songs we'd never heard of). Good voices, but shows had no themes. Very boring (and there were seven of us who thought the same). Last two shows were decent, but after the first two, some of us did not attend anymore. Casino was horrible. Slots were so tight. I know they place them in there to make money, but winning just a little to play on would be nice. Our room steward was great. She did a spectacular job. Called all seven of us by name from day one, and always asked if there was anything else we needed. One of the biggest problems on board were the unsupervised teenie boppers running around. Holding up elevators and hitting all buttons so elevators would stop at each deck. They were also very unruly on the miniature golf course. My next comment is on the fitness center. Our group had three young women who are very much into fitness. When they visited the center, there were trainers there, but instead of talking or welcoming the three women, the trainers talked among themselves. Very unwelcoming....never approaching our group. We were somewhat surprised playing Bingo. We decided to attend one afternoon because they were giving away $500. Previously on cruises, there would be numerous games played in one session with the last one being a cover all winning the grand prize. This time we each paid $20 for our cards, just to find out there was only one game. Guess we should have checked it out a little further prior to playing. After reading what I've written, it sounds like we had a horrible time, but we didn't. Touring the islands was fascinating and we enjoyed all the shore excursions that we participated in. Would I travel with Royal Caribbean again....definately, but I don't think I would want to go on the Jewel again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
This was my 4th time taking pretty much this same cruise on the Carnival Glory. They finally upgraded the ship, which was really great. I had gotten bored with the ship and had kept hoping they would dock a different one at the Norfolk ... Read More
This was my 4th time taking pretty much this same cruise on the Carnival Glory. They finally upgraded the ship, which was really great. I had gotten bored with the ship and had kept hoping they would dock a different one at the Norfolk port because of that. But, though I ended up on the same ship I've been on multiple times before, the upgrades made it much better this time around. Before I go into that though, I want to voice a major complaint in hopes that Carnival reads these reviews. We are very, very unhappy about Carnival pulling out of the port of Norfolk, Virginia. We've been cruising Carnival out of this port about once every year and a half and Carnival leaving this port means that we will probably take very few cruises in the future. The airfare cost to other ports makes them too expensive - expensive enough that I'd rather do something else instead of cruise, or end up cruising on another line, which I know Carnival doesn't want. That said, Carnival, please, please, please come back to the Norfolk port!!! Okay, now back to the rest of the review. On the upgrades: First, they put in Guy's Burger Joint. The burgers on the ship used to be so-so at best. These are significantly better. They're a little more along the lines of 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. Yummy. They also upgraded/changed/added a few bars. The most memorable for us were the Red Frog Rum Bar and the Alchemy Bar. They also had a new tequila bar. I just don't drink tequila, so that wasn't my thing, but the menu did look good. Going back to the others though: The Red Frog Rum bar had some great choices. One of my favorites was the Caribbean Colada. It was the best colada I've ever had and great for days out on the deck. The Alchemy Bar is right next to the piano bar and, during previous cruises, that bar had very little business. Now, with this upgrade and becoming the Alchemy Bar, it was really busy every night. The drink concoctions were great. This bar had the best drink menu I've ever seen and we tried almost everything on the menu. We weren't the only ones either. The bar also turned out to be a great place to meet people, a lot because there were so many conversations that started out with, "Ooh, what's that you're drinking? Really, mine's a ???" and so on. The 3 girls that worked behind the bar every night were fantastic as well. Speaking of drinking, we splurged for the Cheers program. It's Carnival's new program where you pay roughly $50 per day per person and can drink up to 15 drinks a day, both alcoholic and non. If we didn't get the program, we would have had a lot less to drink because we would have been far more cognizant of the money we were spending. The program allowed us to not think about that and just enjoy what we wanted, so it worked out for us. I'd do it again just for that care-free feeling. But, at $100 a day for 2 people, it really would depend how long the trip was. I don't think I'd spend that much per day for a much longer cruise as I wouldn't want to drink a lot on a daily basis for much more than a few days anyway. The thing that convinced us to go with the program this time though was the fact that we didn't have to get it until the second day on the ship. That was huge because I felt like it would have been a waste for the first day on the ship since you're only really able to enjoy yourself from about 5:30 p.m. onward. We had great service pretty much every night in the dining hall (we had my-time dining in the Golden). After the first night, we asked for Yudi's (or Yuli?) section every night. We got him as a waiter the first night and he and his team were so good to us that they were actually part of the reason we ate at the dining hall as many nights as we did. The entertainment and shows changed since the last time we were on board... thankfully. I can't stand it when I take the same cruise ship a year or year and a half apart and the shows are the same. I was really happy to see the change this time. They had 3 new big shows in the Amber Palace; a Latin show, a Diva show, and a Motown show. All were great. All of the performers were really good, but one stood out for rme; Aaron, who has the most amazing vocal range and ability. With ability like his, I'm honestly surprised he's not a famous Broadway performer or something. The cruise director and his side kick (don't remember his name), were a blast. Those two really work together well to get people going and having a good time. They're both just the right amount of crazy and both know how to flirt and schmooze with the ladies as well. I'd say, whatshisname (good looking cruise director dude with the English accent) was probably the best cruise director I've had over the course of several cruises. My apologies for not remembering his name or most others only 2 weeks later. As had been the case in the past, the piano bar was one of our favorite places on the ship. Dave was the piano player this time and I think he ended up being our all time favorite, and we've seen several over several cruises. He got to know people's names throughout the course of the cruise. He also had instruments (maracas, tambourines, etc) for people to play, and he played some games with the audience too. One night, he had slips of paper with 20 lines. He'd play the first bar or two of a song, and we had to guess the song. We liked that game a lot because we won it! :) But seriously, what a great time this bar is when there is a great entertainer behind that piano. My only complaint to Carnival would be to set up the piano bar a little differently because you don't really feel like you're part of the action if you don't get a seat directly around the piano itself, which was a challenge this time because the bar was so busy. The other seats in the lounge should all be higher up so you can still see the entertainment. It's the only flaw of this bar and has been that way for years. Still a great bar despite that flaw though. As usual, we enjoyed some time on the Serenity deck this time. It's one of the only places you can get away from constant loud noise on this ship and the loungers are very comfortable there. It is, however, exceptionally windy quite often on this deck, which is not great if it's October and you're too far north. We also enjoyed the adults-only hot tub this time. In general, we like the adults-only pool/hot tub area in back of the ship and the adults-only Serenity deck in the front. We just wish that they would change things up a bit so that those weren't the only two adults only areas and so that the only two adults only areas were not at complete opposite ends of the ship. What else? Service: Consistently great from our room steward to our wait staff and everyone else throughout the whole cruise this time. Food: About the same as it has been in the past (which was always pretty good, and very good in the main dining rooms). Guy's Burger Joint improves things. Pizza Bar was good. Burrito Bar was a nice improvement as well. Still like the Red Sail - not the the greatest food in the universe, but some pretty good stuff, and convenient. Cabin: Bed seemed more uncomfortable than it ever has on a Carnival ship. I don't know if we just had an old bed or what, but it's usually more comfortable. There are never enough pillows and the pillows they do provide are way too small. I brought a couple of my own this time, which helped. Other than that, the cabins haven't changed; compact, but efficient, and had enough place to store our stuff. Always like having the safe for my photography equipment when it's not in use. Disappointing: We only had one formal night. That's because they cut this cruise down from 6 nights to 5. That is disappointing as well. In the past, they sailed out of Norfolk 4 times in October, I believe with two 4 night cruises and two 6 night cruises. I'd like it if they sailed out of Norfolk 4 times with one of each, a 4, 5, 6, and 7 night cruise, each with different ports. Give us some variety to choose from, Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My husband and I went on the Valor Sept 1-8th. We had an amazing time. We flew into San Juan the day of and were on the boat by 3p.m. We took advantage of the transportation Carnival provides to the ship from the airport. It was quick ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Valor Sept 1-8th. We had an amazing time. We flew into San Juan the day of and were on the boat by 3p.m. We took advantage of the transportation Carnival provides to the ship from the airport. It was quick easy and cheap. I believe the cost was $15 one way per person. Once we got to the boat check in was easy. Waited in line for about 20 minutes and then went through security. We were able to go to our room and eat lunch and were off to explore San Juan by 4:15. In San Juan, please explore the food trucks. My husband is half Spanish and we stopped at a Taco truck and it was the best taco I have ever had!! Super cheap too. We walked around Old San Juan so much that we almost forgot to check our watches as we were coming up on the 8:30 hr to be back on the ship. That night we ate at the Lido deck and enjoyed exploring the ship. Food for lunch and dinner were very good. I wont go in detail at every port since I have noticed some people have done this. St. Thomas went to a beach near the ship and it was beautiful. We had a great time and swam and snorkeled. There was a welcome aboard show this night. I have to say the shows really were not that good. I think this one turned us off because we didn't make it to another show after this. The dancers were not in sync and they were not really that good. I was actually kind of shocked. I wasn't expecting a Tony Award show just something that kept me from thinking of other things we could do the next day. At Sea Day Slept in and went to the only at sea day brunch. Great that it didn't close till 1pm. Made for a stress free morning. Food was great! Service was amazing as well. We went to the Serenity Deck and lounged for half the day. Great music was playing and we were glad there wasn't much child activity or splashing water all over the place. That night we went to the comedy show and both comedians were pretty funny. We went there every night there was a show. Barbados. By far our favorite port. We went to the Boatyard near downtown. For only $12 you get one welcome drink, free WI-Fi, two chairs and an umbrella, your transportation back to the ship and some activities on the beach. There are others walking around selling snorkeling, and other water activities. The water was beautiful, the staff was attentive and answered your questions. They could have easily charged $25 for what they offer!! When we go back to Barbados we will be going back to the Boatyard. Its a must see place! St. Lucia unfortunately it rained pretty much the whole day off and on. We took the water taxi into town and explored and shopped. Ate at this great place called Chef Robbie's right where you get on and off for the water taxi. This place was sooooo good! Food was delivered hot and was delicious. The servers were great as well. The owner came over and spoke with us and he was so nice and down to earth! St. Kitts we took a group taxi out to Cockelshell beach and enjoyed a beach day! There are several areas you can rent chairs & umbrellas. The cheapest we saw was $10 for both two chairs and an umbrella so we stuck with them. The owners building burned a few weeks prior, so she had a "shack" that she used to harvest cold drinks and beer. She was very helpful and spoke to us about where we were from since she had once visited. The beach was about 20 minutes away from the ship. You can get this excursion as soon as you leave the ship. There are always people selling excursions at a cheaper price. St. Maarten the only time we used Carnival's excursion. My husband wanted to do the Regatta Cup Tour where two boats compete against each other. I honestly went into this thinking I would not have fun and that I was taking one for the team. Boy was I wrong! That was by far my favorite excursion ever!! I would suggest this tour for anyone traveling through St. Maarten. It was fun and my husband had the time of his life sailing a real race boat that competed at one point. Afterwards we went into town and shopped for a bit. This is definitely the place to shop if you are looking for deals. I found things I didn't even know I would want! :) Every night except two we at our dining hall which was my time dining in the Lincoln hall. Never had to wait for a table. We kept requesting the table we sat at the 3rd night since we were treated like royalty our first night dining with them! Even our bartender remembered us and always came over and knew what each of us wanted to drink. The food was amazing!! We ate so much! I couldnt get enough. We also went to the Steak House one night. We paid the traditional $35 per person and it was well worth it. The service was amazing, and the food was top notch. I couldn't believe how much they gave you and how well everything was seasoned. We had a room on the 6th floor and never again. We were right above the O2 arena which is a club for teenagers. At first we thought it would be fine since it was the first week in September and most children just started school or started 2-3 weeks prior. Grant it we didn't see that many children but we did run into a few. The room would vibrate from all the bass from O2. And we weren't going to bed early either. We didn't get in our room till around 1am each night. I would have to say that was the worst part of our trip and it wasn't really that bad! We did have a balcony room which was amazing. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is willing to spend the extra money. It was nice to go out there at night or during the evening before dinner. And it was priceless to get out there in the morning before we hit the port or while they docked. The views were breath taking. They do need to update the rooms. The television was a tube tv. The bathrooms were old and so was the carpet. It looked like these haven't been updated since the late 80's early 90's. We were very concerned that we would have smokers near us, but we were lucky enough to not have any! We had a smoke free balcony! I think Carnival has really taken all of the bad criticism and worked to prove that they are the real "fun ship." We had an amazing vacation and wouldn't trade our experiences for the world. Every guest we encountered was usually nice. We met a lot of nice people on this cruise. I was surprised since we were not as lucky that last few times we cruised together. One note of advice...don't buy an excursion on the ship. Wait until you get off the ship and there are at least 20 taxi drivers and excursion specialist that will provide the same tour for a lot cheaper!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was my wife and I's honeymoon and first cruise and it was amazing. Priceline gave us a hotel discount and we stayed right downtown near the aquarium, which looked amazing and we instantly decided we should come back with the ... Read More
This was my wife and I's honeymoon and first cruise and it was amazing. Priceline gave us a hotel discount and we stayed right downtown near the aquarium, which looked amazing and we instantly decided we should come back with the kids, Baltimore is a great downtown. Our first night on the ship we went to Davids Steakhouse the first night and were treated to a complimentary bottle of wine with one of the most amazing meals I've had in my life. I felt like I was in a movie or something with how the food was artfully presented. The rest of the cruise we ate in the Normandy restaurant where we tended to order at least 3 appetizers to sample the fares that are much fancier then what shows up in our household. The portions do seem small but the staff always encouraged us to order whatever and however much of whatever we wanted. There is always the buffet to select from as well, and lines were never really that bad at any time to get the food. My wife and I didn't try the pizza till the last day when it was the only thing left open and were blown away at some of the best hand tossed pizza we've ever had. The decor of the ship is out of this world, in some of the pictures we had seen it appeared as though it might be tacky but it really wasn't. This is after all a ship so the surroundings were just extra treatments that let us know we were on some serious vacationing. There are lots of windows and we never felt claustrophobic or trapped which my wife was a little worried about. As it was our honeymoon we booked a room at the aft of the ship, cabin 4232, standard 185 sq ft. layout with extended balcony. We were right near the flag but they only fly it while in port so it never bothered us really, Cabin service was amazing, our steward was seen very frequently and always greeted us by name with a smile. We took a gel air freshener for the bathroom but it wasn't really smelly to begin with, it could have been. Our bed was nice and firm and the blankets comfortable. There really wasn't much noise except for the sound of the slamming door to the balcony from our neighbors. Shower water pressure was good and the hot never ran out. We didn't do any of the excursions. We stayed on the boat while in Port Canaveral where my wife got a discount on a spa package and I lounged around the Serenity pool sipping pina coladas. In Nassau we forged our own excursion starting with getting drinks because you can walk around with them, then we headed to the Queens Staircase and the ruins of the forts left over from the pirate days. Really for the history buffs, there isn't much to do beyond take in the historical significance of the site and stand on the same ground. We took a cab back towards the port where the driver pointed out some notable sites and dropped us off at the straw market where we strolled around for souvenirs before grabbing another cab to a local recommended local eatery for a taste of the conch we had heard about. The cabby dropped us off at a little hut like building in a row of hut like eating places, I was instantly worried about the Bahamas version of Montezuma's Revenge but the fried conch they served was amazing and washed down well with a local brewed Kalik beer. It was then time to head back to the boat, we left plenty of time to stroll back so I went ahead and took up the offer to purchase a few most likely bogus cuban cigars, they were still a good smoke while lounging on the private balcony we had. We also walked by the pirate museum but didn't end up going in, I think it was closing up by that point but it looked to be as much store as museum. We got off in Freeport and grabbed a cab to a beach, but to be honest the port call is pretty short and by the time the cabby filled the van to capacity and dropped us off at the destination, it was only just enough time to walk 20-30 minutes to the beach, get our feet wet in the water and take a few pictures and it was time to head right back to the boat. There is shopping right off the boat in Freeport we could've gotten souvenirs from. Freeport seemed mostly industrial until you got to the resort areas which were not at all near the docks. We had no problems getting on or off the ship, they are pretty proficient at moving the crowds through the security and back onto the boat, even when checking in the duty free rum purchases. Entertainment on the boat was really good but they can get crowded. The show schedule does repeat shows so there is more opportunities to catch them, but we did catch a stand up act and one of the main performances standing against a wall. I particularly like the stand up and if you sit in the front rows you will probably end up part of the act. There is almost always a band playing at any one of the bars and lounges. Even dining in the Normandy is entertaining as they tend to do a little song and dance number each evening that was always endearing. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
My wife and I sailed on this ship in 2000 for our honeymoon. At the time, the ship was only a few years old, and was a great fit. We loved almost every aspect of the cruise, however, it was our first. We didn't cruise again until last ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on this ship in 2000 for our honeymoon. At the time, the ship was only a few years old, and was a great fit. We loved almost every aspect of the cruise, however, it was our first. We didn't cruise again until last year. In April 2012, I decided to take the family (now we have two children...8 and 9 at that time) on a short cruise to show the kids how "cool" it was. I selected the NCL sky. At first the kids were very excited about this "coolest hotel" ever, and loved the activities, but my wife and I decided soon after that it definitely wasn't what we had experienced with Royal Caribbean. We didn't really have high hopes going in due to the fact that I had already read the reviews about the Sky and expected a lower quality "booze cruise." That said, I booked the Enchantment 4 day, this year hoping that our previous experience with RCCL would be similar to what we would get this time around. When I realized our honeymoon ship was back in Florida, had a "stretch" in 2005, and recent renovations, I had to book it. In summary, we weren't disappointed in the least, and have decided that we will cruise more often, and it will definitely be with RCCL. The detailed review is as follows: Booking: I booked about five weeks prior to sailing. We received a $120 ship board credit Embarkation and Port Parking: We arrived just shy of 11 am. Were able to park inside the parking garage in a protected and shaded area, relatively close to the terminal door. The check in process took less than five minutes, and we were boarding at just a few minutes after 11. This process was very quick and efficient. Cabin: Through reviews on Cruise Critic, and after seeing online photos, I decided that cabin 7666 would be perfect. It is a junior suite in the far aft starboard corner of the ship. It is a tad smaller than the other JS's, but has a very large walk in closet with tons of hangers and drawers, and a very large wrap around balcony that has both aft and starboard views. The balcony included three chairs, two tables, and two chaise loungers, which were perfect for private sunning, and morning dining. The bathroom has a full sized tub/shower combination, a hair dryer, and an assortment of soaps, shampoos, lotions, and the like. The cabin furniture was in good shape, and included the bed, sleeper sofa, an upholstered char, coffee table, two end tables, and the desk/vanity. There is a refrigerator under the tv which was loaded with four large bottles of Evian, and six cans of assorted cola's intended to serve as the mini bar, but the fridge is large enough to put a few extra things in, and didn't include a warning not do to so. The air conditioning in the room is a little erratic. We didn't adjust it for the first couple of days, however, the temperature fluctuated quite a bit, which could have been due to opening and closing of the balcony slider, and the taking of hot showers, but it seemed like it took a long time to recover. The cabins were ready by the promised time on embarkation day, which I believe was around 1:30. Our cabin attendant Ollie was rarely ever seen, but he was very courteous and called us by name when we did see him, and we never wanted for anything. The cabin was always well cared for! Dining: Dining in the "Windjammer" for lunch on embarkation day is a little hectic, as most people review, however it wasn't horrible. We were able to get our food, find a table, and depart within less than thirty minutes. Windjammer staff was very helpful, but obviously a little overwhelmed. We did not dine in the Windjammer again for the duration of the 4 day cruise. "My Fair Lady" dining room was just as I had remembered it. It was in terrific shape, with everything looking new. The staff was amazingly attentive without being bothersome. There was an extensive menu, the food was always very fresh and tasty, and served at the proper temperature. This is one area where RCCL really shines!! The "Park Cafe" behind the indoor pool had really good sandwiches and salads. I ordered the shrimp and noodles. It is pre-packaged with a small side salad. I asked the attendant for some blue cheese dressing on my salad, and he dumped globs of it all over the salad and the shrimp and noodles. Ooops. No problem, I just got another one, just remember to be specific with your instructions here. Room service. As I mentioned before, the cabin balcony is well equipped. Rather than fight the crowds in our PJ's we dined a couple of mornings on our balcony. We filled out the breakfast room service card/ door hanger in the evening, and requested the 7:00-7:30 delivery. Like clock work, we received a call from room service, both mornings at 6:57 informing us that our breakfast was on it's way. Perfect timing. Each day the attendant placed it directly on the balcony, after asking for permission to enter the cabin. The menu is rather limited, but includes scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, cereals, breads, pastries, and all the breakfast beverages. Having lunch at Coco Cay was interesting. It was a giant barbecue party, and the food was actually really good, with perfect serving temperatures, but something has to be done about the way it is served. It is buffet style, but the line to get a plate and cutlery is crazy! This buffet included burgers, ribs, wings, and hot dogs. There were a good variety of salads and deserts as well. Drinks: Every bar was great, and the pours were generous. The prices listed on the menus seemed reasonable. We had the all you can drink "premium drink package" but I don't know if we will do that again. You have to drink pretty steady to "get your money's worth." The pool bar staff was fantastic and upbeat. The rest of the bar staff was "ok." Specialty drinks varied greatly from bar to bar, and often had completely different ingredients from bar to bar. "Schooner" and "Boleros" bartenders argued with me on this issue, but apologized the following day, and even had the bar manager contact me to apologize. Activities: The activity games, game shows and trivia were fantastic, with enthusiastic hosts. The Casino was pretty good with a variety of table games and slots, however both the reader and sorter on the reulet wheel didn't function half of the time. The staff was fantastic and always eager to help. The Magician/illusionist team was great, and the "broadway" style production was okay. Coco Cay: The tendering process was quick and efficient. The "straw market" was typical for a market of this variety, however, the people were not pushy, only eager to help, which of course is refreshing. The snorkeling was nice, and there was plenty of areas to relax and unwind. The drink selection on the island is a little bit limited, but bar service was quick and friendly. Nassau: The 8 am to midnight stay is GREAT! Plenty of time to do whatever you want, including getting on and off the ship several times. There are many places in Nassau that offer free wi-fi, or the you can purchase a 24hr pass from Wi-fi max for $15, which I was able to use on the ship. We had a full moon sail away, which was great from the aft balcony. Wow! Leaving the ship: We elected to do the self depart without baggage assistance, and were off the ship and cleared through customs withing ten minutes. Again we were impressed with the staff, customs, and port employees. Quick and efficient. All in all this was a great experience. We were very pleased with the ship and staff, and will always consider this ship when thinking of a three or four day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
My new husband and I sailed on the NCL Dawn at the end of August for our honeymoon. We stayed in an aft facing penthouse suite which we loved! This cruise was our forth cruise, and our first on NCL. This was easily the smoothest and most ... Read More
My new husband and I sailed on the NCL Dawn at the end of August for our honeymoon. We stayed in an aft facing penthouse suite which we loved! This cruise was our forth cruise, and our first on NCL. This was easily the smoothest and most organized embarkation we have experienced (we have stayed in suites before, so it wasn't just that). The suite amenities offered by NCL were far better than I've seen offered on other lines. All the little touches made a big difference. The large balcony was great and the room was very nice. We have never had an aft facing room before, and I think there was definitely more motion felt than in other parts of the ship. That being said looking out at the wake of the ship with only the water and sunset in the background was stunning. The ship itself was very nice. We liked the set up of the pool. Around the pool area is a very shallow area that you can sit with just your ankles in if you just want to cool off. One complaint we had was finding chairs. Our first sea day we didn't get up really early to get a chair. We knew by doing this that we wouldn't get prime spots but expected to at least find a chair. We couldn't. We literally saw people taking chairs from stacked up piles in the back of the ship and putting them on the helicopter pad just for somewhere to sit. On this day they only had one side of the upper decks lined with chairs. The next day they lined both sides which was helpful. We did enjoy the freestyle concept. I found that you could be comfortable wearing whatever you wanted. If you wanted to dress up (I like to) you could, and if you wanted to dress down you could. Not having a specific meal time left us a lot more flexibility which we liked. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was good. They had a wide selection and I liked everything I tried. We found the food in the main dining rooms to be average. We had dinner at the Italian specialty restaurant which was very good, and the steakhouse which was excellent! Since we had a suite we could get room service breakfast from the steakhouse which was also very good. We filled out a card with what we wanted for breakfast, what time we wanted it, and left it outside our door at night. It was prefect. Then we come to my biggest complaint. The staff do not seem to have any clue about food allergies. I am allergic to tree nuts and carry an epi pen at all times. At all the bars they put a container of nuts on each table. I continuously said No thank you, I'm allergic. Even after saying it several times they left it anyways. Then my husband would have to get up and move it. Then to make it worse I watched at several bars at how they fill these containers. The have huge tubs of mixed nuts. They take the container with their bare hands and scoop the nuts into the container. Never once did I see the bartender do it with gloves or wash their hands after. If they then used their hands to put a lime in my drink that could be enough for me to have an anaphylactic reaction. Also at the buffet I saw a worker with gloves arranging muffins with nuts and then arranging blueberry muffins with the same gloves. Again that would be enough for me. I was constantly worried I was going to have a reaction. The bars were good. Our favorite was the English pub. The staff in there was exceptional. They remember our names and what we were drinking from night to night. Even if we walked through during the day we got a warm welcome. They were definitely a highlight of our trip. The drink service around the pool areas was definitely lacking. On other cruises you never had any problems getting drinks. We typically got up and went to one of the bars because there was very rarely servers walking around. We loved Bermuda. It was definitely a different experience to be in the same port for such an extended period of time. It was nice. Overall we really liked our cruise. I would definitely recommend going to at least one specialty restaurant as the food there seems to be far superior to the food in the Main dining rooms. We live about 15 minutes outside of Boston, so the location is great for us. I think we would definitely consider taking this cruise again.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
I said with my husband on the Norweigen Gem cruise that departed from New York on July 20, 2013, sailing for 7 days, stopping at Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas, and returned to New York on July 27, 2013. We booked our cruise with NCL ... Read More
I said with my husband on the Norweigen Gem cruise that departed from New York on July 20, 2013, sailing for 7 days, stopping at Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas, and returned to New York on July 27, 2013. We booked our cruise with NCL for our wedding anniversary and we feel there was not enough information given to us in the brochure prior to booking the cruise vacation. Below, I will explain some experiences we encountered aboard the ship: When we entered the Norwegian Gem, we first stopped at the Pacific Dining room for lunch, which turned out to be a big disappointment. I ordered an olive 'tartar' which turned out to be a dip with half a pita cut into 4 triangles and as a main course, the steak with fries, the steak had no flavor (no seasoning added) and the fries were covered in steak grease, absolutely disgusting (I hate to say this about food, but there was no other way of describing it). My husband had a Fettuccine Alfredo pasta, again with no seasoning, and to his surprise, no cheese! It was only heavy cream with no taste! However, he is forgiving, as he is Italian and doesn't expect great pasta outside of Italy. Then we finally arrived to our tiny stateroom. I must say I expected it to be small from the reviews of other travelers, and that didn't really bother me as I figured I would not spend much time in my stateroom. I was wrong. The bathroom made a loud blowing noise, which made it difficult to sleep, and the water pressure of the sink was very low, making it difficult to wash. Also, my husband didnt receive his luggage until the evening, so we couldnt change our clothes. We then went out to check out the ship. We were curious about the pools and seeing where we would be having fun for the rest of the week. We found the first pool, which was for children, and the second and as it turns out, the ONLY pool for adults. It had children in it who were splashing adults and swimming in a dangerously deep pool with no lifeguards. Not a very nice situation, but we continued exploring and looking for the other pools that most cruise ships have. We didnt find any, because there was only 1 pool on the entire ship, 1 pool for over 3000 guests! My husband and I tried not to let this bother us, and went out to explore the ship. We were very excited, as this was our wedding anniversary gift and we hadn't been on a cruise since 2005 where we first met each other. We saved up the money and vacation time to be able to take this cruise. Needless to say this cruise meant a great deal for us. The next day was our first Sea Day. We were excited to go and have our first pool/sun day. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and it was raining and chilly outside. We decided to look at some activities and went to the Bingo, which to our surprise cost a whopping $40! Frustrated and fed up with everything, I told my husband I was returning to my room for a rest, as I didn't want him to see me upset, so I went back to the stateroom, feeling very depressed. I cried and cried and regretted my decision of taking the cruise, as I was not going to have any Caribbean Vacation on a rainy week. There was no indoor pool, no sauna, not even a decent fitness center on the ship! What kind of Caribbean vacation cruise ship doesn't have an indoor pool?! What if it rained the entire time?! Then we wouldve had no Relax, no water, no fun? This was the first cruise ship I have ever traveled on that had no indoor pool or sauna available for guests. (For reference, I have been on 6 cruises in the past). When my husband returned to our stateroom to find me in tears, we decided to go speak with guest services and see if they could help us. We didn't want the vacation to be ruined and hoped there would be some way they could help us. But we were wrong again. We were met with hostility and a quick "What do you want us to do, there is nothing we can do," from both the Agent and the Manager, who was from India, my apologies, I dont recall her name. We thought that perhaps since it's been raining, we can enjoy something indoors, and that was when the manager revealed that there was an indoor pool but you must pay extra fee to use it! What a shock (at least at the moment it was a shock, now I know that NCL charges extra for just about everything!). More than the over $1500 we had already paid!! This was very upsetting for us. As a matter of fact, it made me feel sick to my stomach, (that mixed with the grease filled fries), and I ended up with some diarrhea. I was instructed to go the medical center, which for a simple stomach ache, they decided it appropriate to confine me to my tiny claustrophobic stateroom. What I didn't know at the time (because it wasn't explained to me), was that I would not be allowed to go ashore in Port Canaveral Florida!!!! This for me was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I was devastated. I had already purchased my tickets to the Kennedy Space Center for $100/person! Now that money is lost, and no reimbursement was made on behalf of NCL; which would be the very least that NCL could do for us, considering the circumstances. Later, I received a call from guest services, offering us a 'free movie' in our stateroom, since we were confined. One free movie for a 24 hour confinement Better than nothing I suppose. To add insult to injury, when we received our final bill, we were charged the $9.99 for the movie, and had to go in person to Guest Services to settle it. Otherwise NCL would have NOT kept their word and charged us the $10!! Anyway, our Caribbean vacation of a lifetime was nothing but frustration and desperation.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
I'm 39 and my husband is 49. This was our honeymoon. Two nights before the cruise we decided to upgrade our room to a bacony..... Best decision ever. We were originally booked into an ocean view room on the main deck in the middle ... Read More
I'm 39 and my husband is 49. This was our honeymoon. Two nights before the cruise we decided to upgrade our room to a bacony..... Best decision ever. We were originally booked into an ocean view room on the main deck in the middle of the boat. We ended up in 7447... A corner cabin on the Empress deck (7th). It's at the back of the ship with an absolutely HUGE balcony! The balcony was about three to four times the size of the average balcony and wrapped around the corner. It made all the difference in the world to us. We had two lounge chairs, four regular chairs and a small table and it gave us the perfect view. We saw tons of flying fish, a pod of dolphins and. Several whales...... All from our balcony! Not to mention amazing sunsets and sunrises. Definitely a 10. The food... The buffet was ok... Not gwret although there were a few saving graces.... The back deli on the lido deck serves amazing hot and cold sandwiches late into the evening, there was always great fruit available, and don't miss the chocolate extravaganza! The food at the sit down brunch in the black pearl was the best breakfast and our diners were all quite good in the gold pearl. Our waiter Kamsi was the best! We were sat at a table of 4 with a rather odd couple but about half way through the trip we had made some good friends that happen to sit very near us in the same waiters section and we were able to make some different arrangements. Overall the food was an 8 but the service was very good in the dining room. Buffet... Was maybe a 5 or 6. We highly recommend avoiding the daily drink Neither one of us is prone to seasickness. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We chose the Norwegian Jade to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary because we wanted to be with our NCL friends and it could not have been better. We sailed last year on the Jade on a 14 day back to back out of Venice in Suite 10500 ... Read More
We chose the Norwegian Jade to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary because we wanted to be with our NCL friends and it could not have been better. We sailed last year on the Jade on a 14 day back to back out of Venice in Suite 10500 which we really enjoyed but decided to upgrade to the Deluxe Owners Suite 15000 when we were made an offer we couldn't refuse. I will cover the Suite under the cabin review so this part is really about our time onboard as we only did two tours and walked ashore on three occasions, mainly because we were so comfortable in the Black Diamond Suite. On arrival onboard we were delighted to see that Carlos Zarate was still the Concierge and we were soon welcomed with great hugs, so nice to see him again. Across to Cagney's for a spot of lunch to find that Estu the waiter was also still onboard and we were soon brought up to date with regards to Johannes, now in charge of the Jasmine restaurant and Jasmine who was in Le Bistro. We chose to eat off the Grand Pacific menu in the Suite on our first night and Roshan the Butler soon had the table set and the meal delivered, which was excellent. Our daughters had ordered a Romance package so the roses, chocolate strawberries, chocolate and sparkling wine were a nice surprise. Breakfast in Cagney's shows just how good the crew are when I was presented with a bowl of Mini-Wheat's, the only sugar free cereal available onboard and a question as to whether or not I would be having my favourite Jalapeno three egg omelette which they remembered I loved. I have to say that the omelette was excellent and I had two more during the trip. Off to the Meet and Greet in Le Bistro and I was a bit disappointed this time. The officers attended with brief introductions and then as they left the Meet and Greet became a Tour organizers session and we who were not part of the tours were told to be quiet as important things were being organized. I am sorry but it is called a Meet and Greet and I doubt I will attend another. Later that day was the German buffet and Oompah Band in the Great Outdoors, followed by the Latitudes party, where as you are not allowed to shake hands with the officers, I started the knuckles style of handshake which seemed acceptable. From there a quick sleep, then down for our formal photo shoot and then to the Captains Cocktails where we were very well looked after before going to Le Bistro for our anniversary celebrations. Carlos had arranged a rose for my wife and a celebration cake which was very nice and we were serenaded by the staff. We had a quiet day on Monday and dined in the Grand Pacific which I find quite noisy, but the food was excellent. We had put our name down for Dining with the Officers and I recommend everyone puts their name down, we had Heather the Acupuncture Manager as our host and we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal. We had a look round the Haven, but really preferred to just laze around the suite. On Tuesday we walked ashore at Alanya, and had our Romance Package dinner in Pap's where we got another serenade and another cake. On Wednesday we went ashore at Limassol and had a pleasant lunch before returning via the shuttle bus to the ship. In Haifa we took an NCL tour to a winery and Rothschild's Gardens and this was very interesting with good samples of wine and cheese, and on Friday we stayed on board enjoying the peace and quiet. Carlos invited us to have dinner with him and an Australian couple Alan and Lynne in the Grans Pacific and we soon had made some new friends who we invited to visit us in Suite 15000, and Roshan soon had the table set with nuts etc. and we opened the bottle of champagne supplied by NCL and had a wonderful afternoon. In Crete we did another wine tour which was quite good and had dinner in Jasmine before attending the crew show. Simone, the Cruise Director is excellent, his own piece was very funny and the Fountains were as excellent as ever. On the next sea day I got an invite to visit the Bridge and found this very interesting with a lot of information forthcoming. That evening we ate in the Blue Lagoon before going to the Chocaholic Buffet where as usual there was an excellent spread. In Naples we chose to go to Sorrento by taxi, and Rafaele proved to be an excellent guide, looking after us well and making sure we got some good images and returned us safely to the ship. As it was the last night, we had dinner again in the room from the Grand Pacific menu before turning in one last time in our ivory tower. It is interesting that on this trip we never really saw any officers to talk too except Simone and Carlos, unlike the last trip when we regularly talked to everyone. You saw them at a distance but they didn't seem keen to mingle. Getting ashore was emotional saying goodbye to Carlos the Concierge who looked after us so well, always keen to chat; I can't wait to get back onboard. You can see the images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/magickpyggie Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was ... Read More
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was the fastest decision we ever had, took us around 15 minutes to close the booking we even decided to do an early anniversary celebration for it. We booked before the embarkation by a several month and till the big day we kept dreaming and fantasize about how it will look like beside lots of research. To cut it short to the review we landed in Dubai the day before the embarkation and stayed at Savoy Central hotel about 5 minutes drive from the port. And here comes the big day as we were approaching the port and got the 1st visual contact with the ship we were amazed by the ship's massive size (I know it's a small one compared to RCL fleet but we still rookies) , RCL land staff on the port were very nice , helpful ,smiling and organized the check in process took around 20 minutes including double checking with UAE coast guards our eligibility to take a return visa to UAE at the end of the cruise. Finally we got our sea passes and headed to the ship and from the moment we stepped in the ship the fascination started from the Centrum till we reached our stateroom at the 9th floor, after checking out our beautiful room we decided to talk a walk around the ship and since then we didn't stop walking till we reached back Dubai. Our stateroom was on the 9th floor we booked a balcony room very spacious with a nice size balcony , very comfy bed and pillows bathroom was good the shower was a little bit tight but wasn't a problem as you don't want to waste too much time in the shower , room service was great they clean and make up your room several times a day and by every night you will find your cruise compass along with a very nice wrapped towel (we had an elephant , dog and a hanging monkey. The ship is amazing with lots of activities from live shows to various dining options , relaxation by the solarium to watch movies on the huge screen by the pool, interactive touch screens on each floor showing the ship map , point of interests and all the activities going on board was very informative. For the dining we tried several places along the trip (Windjammer , The Reflections , Giovanni's Table and Park Cafe) usually we had breakfast around 8 Am , Snack 1 PM and Dinner 8:30 PM. 1- Windjammer : The food on windjammer is very nice with lots of varieties and the main thing we loved in Windjammer that no matter how crowded it is you'll never feel it due to its spacious space. 2- The Reflections : The food was very tasty and sophisticated and very nice wine menu. 3- Giovanni's Table : we went to Giovanni's Table on the Mystery Wine Dinner night Same as reflections very tasty and sophisticated and the show was awesome. 4- Park Cafe : Very nice for a mid day light snack and they have the best Roast Beef sandwich I ever had. Regarding the onboard activities we enjoyed the lovely animation team on the Serenade they had different activities every day , the Arabian night was wonderful . We went to the tropical theater a couple of times and were impressed by the huge production they have onboard , also the shows on the Centrum was very amusing specially the 70's disco night. The good thing that if you missed on any show (which defiantly you will as some shows are played together) it will be broadcasted on the internal channels on your stateroom TV. Also all live bands were very nice playing different genres of music from easy listening to latin music. The overall entertainment onboard the ship was awesome Service on the ship is wonderful and very professional from room attendants to restaurant greeters and waiters, bar tenders , animation team ,onboard shops sales representatives all officers and senior officers everyone is greeting you with a huge smile and won't save an effort to help you in anything. We didn't do any kind of shore excursions as we enjoyed the ship very much and we didn't want to waste any time outside it, we only got to a short tour in Oman by our own around 2 hours but from the excursions list we got on the ship seems like they offer lots of on shore activities with very reasonable prices. The most thing we loved in the cruise is the guests onboard the ship a very nice combination of multi culture people that are looking forward to spend good time all guests were friendly , smiling and happily greeting each other, we had lots of short/long side conversations with many people from all around the world we even managed to earn new friendship with a very lovely German couple on the 2nd day and we spent the rest of the cruise together. The only thing we didn't like on the whole cruise that the outdoor swimming pool became very dirty by the last 2 days of the cruise. Checkout process was very easy specially that I had all the onboard expenses debited from my credit card directly. Bottom line we enjoyed every second on the cruise and we are officially attached to the cruising life. we started looking for 2014 cruise already. In the end I would like to thank everyone working on the Serenade Of the Seas for making our dream vacation comes true. Hope the above info. Was informative for you. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Where to start: This ship is huge, but easy to get around. It's packed with people, but hardly feels that way! Do yourself a favor: reserve all of the shows, you'll regret it if you miss one. The entertainment is top-notch. ... Read More
Where to start: This ship is huge, but easy to get around. It's packed with people, but hardly feels that way! Do yourself a favor: reserve all of the shows, you'll regret it if you miss one. The entertainment is top-notch. Hairspray was great. The ice show was so well-done that you forget that the rink is so small. Come Fly With Me was so good, we saw it twice. The Comedy show was very funny, but if you can't handle the f-bombs, there's a family-friendly version on the last night. The Dive show was like nothing I've ever seen. The level of production was incredible, especially for a ship. I've seen shows on other ships and the Oasis made them look like a preschool play. The headliner was a Sammy Davis Jr-type of show, which we skipped"not my generation I suppose. Usually in the afternoon, they show a 3D movie and at night in the 2nd half of the week, there are movies in the aqua theater. The food: Not once did we eat at a specialty restaurant! I'm not sure what some people eat on a normal basis to where they would think that the dining room food was sub par. I could cut the prime rib with my fork, the lobster was huge and the overall quality of the food was 5-star! If you want more than one item, order 2! By the end of the week, our servers just assumed we wanted several items. We basically had a buffet! My Time Dining was great! We had a table for 2 every night and had the same servers, whom we were sad to say goodbye to. The staff on the entire ship was top-notch. I don't know how they do it. We were off the ship in Labadee for about 30 minutes. We live near the beach, so we wanted to take advantage of an empty ship and were so glad we did! In Jamaica, I hired a private guide (http://www.jaital.com/tours-and-excursions-in-falmouth-trelawny-jamaica-17.html) b/c I wanted to do more on the island than what the cruise offered. We had our own driver and he took us river tubing, Dunns River Falls and shopping. He took us to a local restaurant for authentic jerk chicken/pork. Cozumel was nothing but a money trap. Guard your stuff carefully"my wife's sunglasses were stolen and she just set them down for a second to get something out of her purse! This ship is not intended for people who just want to take it easy and read, sleep, etc. There is so much to do. The flowrider and zipline and ice skating are a blast and the lines are not that bad. The rock wall is challenging, but doable. The gym is perfectly adequate, but go in the afternoon b/c it seems like everyone wanted to get their workout done b/f 10 am. There are plenty of pools/jacuzzis and chairs available. The only complaint I had was the price of pictures. They are high quality, for sure, but 5 pics for $150 is outrageous! We took 600 pics, so we captured some good moments. If you want some photos of you all dressed up, look up a photographer in your area who can probably do it for a third of the price! Some Don'ts: 1) Don't get on an elevator just to go up 1 floor; use the stairs! 2) Don't think you're hot stuff if you can stay in 1 position on the Flowrider for a long period of time; there are people waiting. One guy just stayed in 1 position for 5 minutes while his wife took thousands of pictures to where the staff had to pull him off. 3)Don't argue with the comedians, then get highschool-hurt if they embarrass you! 4) Don't save seats after they clearly state "Do not save seats". We will definitely go on this ship again!! Read Less

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