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Sail Date: March 2010
Our family chose the Celebrity Summit for a Spring Break cruise based on price and ports-of-call. Our daughters are now in high school and this is our eighth cruise as a family. We arrived in San Juan on Thursday night and stayed at the ... Read More
Our family chose the Celebrity Summit for a Spring Break cruise based on price and ports-of-call. Our daughters are now in high school and this is our eighth cruise as a family. We arrived in San Juan on Thursday night and stayed at the Caribe Hilton, booked room on Hotwire for $119/night. The hotel was a wonderful place to start our vacation. The grounds are beautiful and relaxing. We spent Friday doing some last minute shopping at the Las Americas mall, picked up a couple bottles of wine to take aboard at the convenience store across the street from the hotel and had a nice dinner in Old San Juan at the Cafe Puerto Rico. On Saturday we checked out of the hotel at 12 noon and took a taxi to the pier, by 12:30 we were eating lunch in the Waterfall Cafe. Embarkation was painless, no lines, no hassles, no worries! After lunch we stopped by our cabin and put our carry on luggage away, by 1:30 our luggage arrived. At 5:30 they had the muster drill. The ship was in good shape overall, some of the railings could use sanding and varnishing and some exterior paint was needed, but otherwise everything else seemed great. Our stateroom was a balcony on the 9th floor forward, starboard side. The balcony was well shaded by the beauty salon above but this just fine with us, you can always find sun up by the pool but shade can hard to find. Cabin had a King bed, pull out couch bed and pull down ceiling bed, a little crowded for 4 people, but comfortable. Our cabin attendant, Elizabeth, was wonderful and attentive. Only two US plugs in cabin, next time might bring a powerstrip for more plugs. We initially had a table for 4 at the late seating but after the second night decided to switch to the early seating and sat at a table for 7 by the window. The food each night was very good as was the service. Our waiter was named Jimmy Carter and he was from India. We ate in the main dining room each night and usually ate breakfast and lunch up in the Waterfall Cafe. The teenagers had soda cards, probably a good deal for them. We usually drank iced tea or water with meals; coffee, iced tea, lemonade, and orange-passion juice(great mixed with rum;>) were always available at the cafe. We attended some of the shows, the singers and dancers were good as was the xylosynth performer. The impressionist was a little boring. Our two high school girls met some nice kids on the ship and spent much of the on board time hanging out, they did not spend much, if any, time in the ship-sponsered teen program. Disembarkation was very easy, we were at the airport in San Juan by 8:15. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
My wife and I have just returned from the 2 week maiden voyage on Britannia to the Mediterranean. We are regular cruisers and have been on most lines that sail from Southampton. There is a lot to like about the ship but also many problems ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the 2 week maiden voyage on Britannia to the Mediterranean. We are regular cruisers and have been on most lines that sail from Southampton. There is a lot to like about the ship but also many problems that spoiled it for us which, unfortunately, cannot easily be rectified. I’ll divide this review into two parts: the ship itself and the service/food/entertainment aspect of P&O’s offering. The ship A lot has been said about the contemporary design of the interior but we felt it was all a bit too subdued. Fellow passengers used the word drab. Dark brown and little else throughout. There is no real ‘wow factor’: even the atrium is not that special compared to that on other ships. The designers seems to have chosen style over functionality and as a result many of the seats in the public area look great but are very uncomfortable. The tables in the Sindhu bar area are, frankly, ridiculous. The seats in the restaurants have plastic covers which invariably leads to a sweaty bottom and legs after sitting on them for a couple of hours. My wife, (5’2”) found the chairs in the theatre too tall to put her feet on the ground. The balcony cabins are slightly smaller than we are used to although perfectly usable and comfortable. The air conditioning is quiet and the fridge makes no noise which, being seemingly more sensitive to noise at night-time than others, we were grateful for. As with other P&O ships there is ample storage and hanging space for a 2 week cruise but there are no coat hooks which was nuisance particularly as we had a couple of rainy days. If you are from the UK and have a rechargeable shaver or toothbrush you will have difficulty plugging them in in the bathroom because the shaver socket accepts US and European 2 pin plugs only, which would seem to be a design oversight given the ship has been designed for the UK market and has 3 pin 13A sockets elsewhere in the room. So, take a UK->EU or UK->NA adapter. Surprisingly, there was a lot of vibration in the cabin when the ship was at full pelt. Our cabin was just in front of the middle lift shaft and while engine noise was not a problem, vibration was, particularly when outbound to Gibraltar when, presumably, the ships is going full speed. Vibration was also evident in the dining rooms and back of the ship but it was nowhere near as bad as on, say, Azura. The balconies are absolutely miniscule, I estimate about 4 foot deep. A couple of reclining deck chairs, a foot stall and a small table are provided but there is barely room to fit them in and it’s impossible to position the chairs so they are facing the sea. The in-room TV system is very backward technologically: you can’t see your account; you can’t book shore excursions or speciality restaurants; you can’t watch TV other than 4 channels of news and football; you can’t catch-up on yesterday’s port lecture. There are some video-on-demand films and TV shows available but that’s as far as it goes. Difficulties in getting seated in the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch due to insufficient space in them can often ruin a cruise so I pleased to report that the Horizon restaurant on Britannia is suitably sized for the number of passengers and at no time did we have problems finding a table. We did not have good enough weather for the whole ship to want to sit outside but it looks as if there is ample space on the open decks for when it does. The furniture is good quality and comfortable, with a mixture of sun loungers and wicker seats with cushions. Now for the worst thing about the ship: For reasons known only to the ship’s designers, but probably something to do with being able to squeeze more inside cabins in, there are no stairs in the amidships lift area above deck 7. There are 6 lifts, granted, but they are the busiest in the ship, with people going down to the restaurants and main decks or up to the Horizon. Consequently those that would use stairs to traverse a couple of floors are forced to wait, often 2-3 minutes or more, for lifts which are always crowded as a result. The odd thing is that there are stairs where you’d expect them, but they are for crew only. If you have an amidships cabin it will cause serious logistical issues and prevent easy movement around the ship, particularly if you're a wheelchair user because the lifts are constantly clogged up with able bodied passengers who have no choice (other than to walk to either end of the ship, of course) but to use them. I often like to be on deck when arriving at a port, preferably looking out from the front of the ship. Unfortunately it is impossible to get anywhere near the front on Britannia due to the position of the Retreat which prevents access to the front of the main open deck. The Crow’s nest bar provides a front view but that’s no good if you want to take photographs as I do. Service/food/entertainment I have no complaints whatsoever here: the food was excellent everywhere we eat, the service was mostly impeccable and the cabin steward personable and efficient. The musicians on the ship were all superb, in particular the female singers of Pulse, the house band in the Live Lounge. The Limelight Room is a great idea and we very much enjoyed an intimate performance by Jaki Graham there. The entertainment in the theatre was pretty much as you’d expect on a cruise, although some on board expressed disappointment that ‘big names’ were not on the bill given it was the maiden voyage. Evening entertainment was on the whole very good and we didn’t have a single evening where there wasn’t something we wanted to do or see. That wasn’t the case on during the day on sea days, though, and compared to other ships we’ve been on, there was very little going on other than health and spa seminars. If the weather is good, it’s not a problem, but it wasn’t so on most sea days we were a bit bored come mid-afternoon. So, in summary, we did enjoy ourselves and don’t regret going but we felt more effort could have been put in to make the maiden voyage a truly special and memorable occasion. The design of the ship has some serious flaws that marred the overall experience for us, flaws that almost certainly won’t be addressed anytime soon. It’s very much ‘more of the same’ as far as P&O goes and if you like their offering you will like this. But if you want more ‘wow’, innovation, technological advancements and prefer to be doing something other than chilling out during the day, look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Day 1 - before boarding both of our suitcases were searched & our clothes were a ness after they rumbled all through them in Miami. After we finally got on the ship we ate and the food was good. Our room was an inside room which was ... Read More
Day 1 - before boarding both of our suitcases were searched & our clothes were a ness after they rumbled all through them in Miami. After we finally got on the ship we ate and the food was good. Our room was an inside room which was just enough room for the two of us. Our steward was very nice and hospitable. We went to get some sun on the lido deck & was surprised by all the thongs! This was not a family type cruise. Spring break was going on & that could have been the reason for lack of clothes. Day 2 - Stirrup Cay was a nice beach where you could be in the middle of the entertainment or walk to a more private area and enjoy the water and the sun. When time to board back on the tender boat there was no modesty. They should require everyone to have on a cover up Thongs were again an issue especially with familes. There were other families talking about the lack of covering. Day 3 - Good trip to Nassau and tour of the city. The shows were very good in the evenings but the adult show late at night was a comedy until they started asking for women's shirts! I thought Carnival was a party ship but Norwegian has the same caliber. I will not cruise from Miami again & will not cruise during Spring Break! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
I chose the Carnival Liberty based on the price, the ports, and the good reviews received on cruisecritic. I will admit that I was very wary about cruising on Carnival but, now, I don't where Carnival got its negative reviews. I ... Read More
I chose the Carnival Liberty based on the price, the ports, and the good reviews received on cruisecritic. I will admit that I was very wary about cruising on Carnival but, now, I don't where Carnival got its negative reviews. I thought that everything was as good if not better than our previous cruises. I booked two pre-cruise hotels from priceline.com. We live ten hours away from Miami so we opted to travel to Orlando and visit Downtown Disney. We stayed at the Doubletree By Hilton Orlando At Seaworld. What almost turned me off to priceline was when I called the hotel to request a non-smoking room, the operator told me that I had to call priceline for my requests. I did, and the priceline operator said that if I wished to specify a non-smoking room, that I should have used their regular online price instead of the name your price option. I let it go and decided to do just but with another online travel service. When we arrived at the hotel however, the nice gentleman at reception asked me if I had requested a smoking room and two beds. I said, no that I would prefer nonsmoking and one bed. And that is what we got! We paid $75 for a truly beautiful room. That night, we went to a wonderful burlesque comedy dinner show called Treasure Tavern. The food was good and the show was great! We then went to Downtown Disney where we window shopped and listened to outdoor entertainment. The next morning we drove to Fort Lauderdale to stay at our next pricelined hotel, Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort. The only thing that I was looking for in Fort Lauderdale was an affordable hotel on the beach. We paid $99 for this hotel. It was older hence the cheap price. The hotel rooms need serious updating and the bed was very uncomfortable but the hotel fit my needs to be on the beach so that I could look for shells. I fail to mention that I had to pay parking for both hotels but I think that is par for course nowadays. We got up the next morning and drove the short way to the Port of Miami. We arrived around 10:30 and parked in the parking garages at the port. It is worth it to me to have my car right there at the port when I get off the ship. But for that privilege, it costs us $20 a day. I will say that the Port of Miami is easier to get into than Port Everglades. At Port Everglades, you had to show your boarding passes before you even permitted entry into the port. At the Port of Miami, we just drove in. We purchased FTTF and boarded right after the wedding parties and all the Carnival Priority Clubs. We were in our rooms by 11:45. We were there so early, we didn't need the FTTF to get on early but it was nice to get to our cabins and put down our things! Our luggage was delivered early that afternoon. The Carnival Liberty is a beautiful ship that has been well maintained. After all the sedate cruises on MSC and Princess, the decor did come off as a little more festive and bright. We had a 4J cabin on the Empress Deck. I had researched to find the quietest deck, and we were not disappointed. The 4J cabin is an interior cabin that features a picture window with no view but plenty of light. We loved it! I never travel without a scopolamine patch so if there was any motion because of the location of this cabin, I did not feel it at all. My husband who rarely get sicks, did not feel any motion either. We had the best sweet lady who was our room attendant. I cannot remember her name (sorry!) but she was simply the best. She always met us with a greeting and a smile on her face. The food is truly a blur. I don't know how anyone could go hungry aboard the Carnival Liberty. There were so many different options for meals. We tried them all and always found something to love! We had Your Time Dining. I almost didn't try this because I heard about the very close dining of tables for 2's, the impersonal service, the wait time and the slow wait service. We didn't find any of that to be true. Well . . . except for the tables for 2 . . . they were close but I didn't feel like they were that close. When you check in for Your Time Dining in the beautiful Golden Olympian, you are asked for your room number which generates your name. The wait staff uses your name the entire service. We never had the same wait service but we found all to be genuine, friendly and helpful. We found Your Time Dining to be a pleasant experience. We went to all the shows. I found these shows to be better than most of the cruises than we had been on before. I thought that the cruise director, Karl, the entertainment team, singers, and dancers to be fun and energetic. The theater is truly spectacular with great seating! My husband and I don't drink but we never felt bothered by the waiters. We were asked once wherever we went, and then, never again. Picture folks were everywhere, but again, we didn't feel bothered. We snorkeled at all of our ports. We always carry our own snorkel equipment (masks, fins, and snorkel vests) and always book excursions before we leave home. In Cozumel, we booked an excursion with CozumelH20 that was cancelled because of high winds. We went on to snorkel Dzul-Ha Reef at Money Bar. This excursion cost us a taxi ride plus our drinks and snacks. I always love the crystal clear pictures that we get at Dzul-Ha, however, you must watch out for the currents. In Belize, we booked Sun Kissed Goffs Caye Beach Break & Snorkeling Excursion through Island Marketing. This is one excursion that I wished that I had booked through Carnival. It took 30 minutes to tender to Belize, then 30 minutes to tender to Goff's Caye, then another 30 back to Belize, and then 30 to tender back to the Liberty. If I had booked through Carnival, we would have tendered directly to the snorkeling spot from Liberty and then, directly back to the Liberty. Goff's Caye is not available through Carnival, but I think that there would have been one that I liked as well as this one. When we got to Goff's Caye which is very beautiful, my husband and I decided not to snorkel due to the dangerous conditions caused by the high winds. The staff from this excursion were friendly and helpful, but I do wish that we had taken another excursion. In Roatan, we booked the Bananarama Beach Package for $35 each. This package included taxi to and from the cruise port, a beach chair, and a welcome drink. We snorkeled the beautiful reef at West Bay and took many pictures of coral and fish. This is the second time that we have used this excursion. I also walked to the right of Bananarama for about a quarter of mile and found Karma Jewelry. Karma Jewelry is owned by Miss Karla who makes beautiful handmade silver jewelry. I purchased a beautiful sunburst pendant. In Grand Cayman, we booked Fat Fish Adventures for a four-stop jet ski tour. Ryan was the best tour guide! He took us to swim with the sting rays, took our pictures with the sting rays, took us snorkeling at the prettiest live reef that I can remember in recent history, took us to find star fish, and then took us through the mangroves. Ryan let us take us much time as we wanted at each of these spots! I still can't get over how beautiful the reef was! I highly recommend this tour! The FTTF that we purchased was worth the price alone when we had to tender in Belize and Grand Cayman. It also served well when we ready to disembark. We were the first off the ship and through customs in no time at all. We will be cruising with Carnival again because of the friendly staff, good food, great shows, and beautiful ship! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Some of this may have been repeated in other reviews or the forums which were so helpful in helping us plan this vacation. We've cruised several times before and would rank this at the top of the list for a great experience. My. ... Read More
Some of this may have been repeated in other reviews or the forums which were so helpful in helping us plan this vacation. We've cruised several times before and would rank this at the top of the list for a great experience. My. 16-year old son has been asking for the last couple of years to bring a friend on vacation with us and this year worked out for all parties. Our entire family knows my son's friend and his parents well so we were comfortable it would be compatible for all. We drove from Atlanta to Port Canaveral (a hellish 10.5 hour drive) i75 had construction nearly the entire way so the planned 8 hour drive was significantly extended. We were very glad to see the Country Inn and Suites right as we entered Port Canaveral. There was a unique vibe to this property as their entire clientele is there for a cruise and they do a great job managing through the frenzy (a chocolate chip cookie at the front desk doesn't hurt either). We checked in and signed up for parking which is only $30 (cash only) for the week. I was a bit bummed to learn the earliest shuttle was at 1:30 as we like to get on the ship early to enjoy our fist day at sea. The room was perfect for our group- a bedroom with a door with 2 queen beds and a separate sleeper sofa in the living room so we could have privacy from the boys but not blow our budget on essentially a place to sleep (if you can) and shower. We ordered pizza in the room and watched the NCAA game. The pool area is lovely and 30 minutes in the hot tub erased the 10+ hour drive. We had the free breakfast the next morning (good selection- but a bit of a zoo) and had the front desk call us a cab at 9:45. We did find out after we called the cab that they would be able to work us in on the 10:30 shuttle, but the cab was already on the way and for $4 a person to the port it was worth it to us to cab it. My advice is if you don't like your shuttle time check in the AM to see if any slots open up. The cab driver(888 is the company) was awesome and provided some interesting history about Port Canaveral. This is our first time embarking from Port Canaveral and it is very clean and comfortable. We were hoping to get on board by 11:00 but a surprise Coast Guard inspection delayed our arrival until noon. We saw one person carry on a 12 pack of water without issue. Under normal circumstances, it would have been a 45-minute process. As we were traveling with 2 minors one of the adults had to be assigned to each room on the records, but we obviously had the boys in one cabin and my husband and I in the other. We explored the ship and hit the Windjammer for a tasty lunch. At 1PM we could enter our cabin and we were at the pool at 1:15. We had inside cabins 1585 and 1583- quiet, mid ship and a short one flight up to the Windjammer and pool deck. Muster at 4 PM (people were more attentive than past cruises based on the recent Costa events). We enjoyed our dining experience (early seating as MyTime was completely booked). Our waiter, Antonio and assistant Adrian took awesome care of us all week. Antonio always had a smile on his face and was eager to give you the inside scoop on what was best to order and Adrian always knew the perfect moment to bring more bread or fill your water glass. Every service encounter was a delightful experience- I was impressed by the good cheer and professionalism at each encounter in all the dining venues. Overall, the food was very good- only one miss and that was the prime rib which was a bit tough. Because we had early dining we did miss 2 nights because we could not get back from excursions on time. Since there bas been extensive discussion about bringing outside drinks on board, I wanted to share our experience. We are big water drinkers and since I did not want to spend my son's college fund on bottled water on board, we decided to pack two 12 packs sealed in plastic in a rolling suitcase for ease of transport. There is nothing in the contract that prohibits water from being brought on board so we decided to try it. We packed the water with shoes. The suitcase was not delivered to our room at 5 pm with the others so we figured we'd have to make a visit to the "naughty room". We received a call to the cabin after dinner to inform us they "may have discovered liquor in our suitcase and could we come down to deck 1 to discuss. When we got down to deck 1 we found 3 bottles of water missing "for testing" and they would let us know later in the cruise if the water would be returned to us. We tried to reason with the staff member to understand why 3 bottles would have to be tested from an obviously sealed package, but they feigned a lack of authority with all the charm of the DMV. We later has the water sans the 3 bottles delivered to the room. The 16- year olds seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience and were generally a pleasure to be with- when we saw them. They did go to the mix and mingle the first night and met a group of friends but avoided most of the organized events because they found them a bit "lame." The boys mostly played basketball (very popular) and hung out at the pool during the day. At night, they had dinner with us and even squeezed in 2 shows but mostly "hung out" on the Promenade at the pizza (free) place and Ben and Jerry's. They also just liked having the run of the ship and using the hot tubs at night. To my knowledge, they adhered to the 1 PM curfew on all but the last night and did not have anyone else in their cabins nor visit anyone in their cabin which were our rules. On the last night,they broke curfew by 20 minutes and were promptly encouraged by Royal Caribbean staff to return to their cabin. Overall, all the children we encountered on the ship were pleasant and well-behaved.Labadee was great- my husband and the boys did the zip-line and declared it a blast (I think it was worth it). I was the official photographer and waited after the test zip line and the full zip line to snap the appropriate picture. While I was waiting to take a picture after the test zip line, one of the staff members on land ordered to take a photo because he could get an up close shot- he steered me to a bench in the shade and was able to get a great shot of each of the 3 men. This kindness was most-appreciated. The Haitian people were so helpful and pleasant - very service oriented but not pushy. I did bring a few dollars on the island to tip the staff person who brought our lounger and clamshell and also tipped Henry who took those pictures for me. Water shoes on Labadee were a must as you have to climb over several yards of rock and coral to get to a sandy bottom to swim. I later discovered that on the other side of the island next to the area reserved for suites that there was a swimming area without rocks. RCL served salad, burgers, chicken and BBQ with fruit and desserts- it was good, not great. Falmouth for me was a bust. The shopping was not great and it was high pressure. Jamaica always depresses me- it's beautiful, but there's trash everywhere. My husband and the boys took the RCL Bobsled/Dunn's River Falls tour and declared it great fun- but a 1 hour bus ride each way makes me wonder if Falmouth makes sense. I would strongly recommend tours through the ship for safety reasons. We had to delay sailing by over an hour for a tour that Grand Cayman is my favorite port- unfortunately, you're not there long. I booked a Stingray City / Snorkel tour through Native Ways specifically because they were short enough to get us back to port with plenty of time to make the 3:15 tender. The must have had a bad day because all the logistics were messed up. We left late, we had too many people to fit on the bus. When we finally got to the boat, it appeared things were looking up- Andrew and Andrew were awesome helping us at the pristine Stingray City. After Stingray City, Andrew began taking lunch orders (I didn't think our tour included lunch) and mapping out 3 more stops. I asked him about our return time and it was unlikely we would make our tender by 3:15. I showed Andrew our email confirmation and they had apparently put us and another party on the wrong boat! Andrew was able to solve the problem and transfer us to another Native Ways boat enroute so alls well that ends well- but someone directed 8 people in total to the wrong tour. Cozumel, we rented a car from Ace (get all the insurance) and drove to Paradise Beach Club. The facilities are lovely, clean and well kept, but the water is rocky and had a great deal of sea weed in it so if you love clean, pristine seawater this is not your place. We drove to the eastern end of the island which is beautiful and wild, did a short shopping trip (I am traveling with 3 men) and back on ship. We enjoyed the ice show and the a Capella group 425 (awesome!). We did the self debarkation and were back at Country Inn and Suites just 30 minutes after leaving our cabin. Crystal, the bus driver greeted us with bunny ears to celebrate Easter. A nearly perfect Spring Break. Can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We just got home from our Spring Break Cruise to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Embarkation: This went pretty smooth. Line was a bit slow at 1st because there only seemed to be one scanner open, but began to speed up. We were in the ... Read More
We just got home from our Spring Break Cruise to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Embarkation: This went pretty smooth. Line was a bit slow at 1st because there only seemed to be one scanner open, but began to speed up. We were in the Windjammer within an hour of getting to the port. Stateroom: Everything was clean and in good condition. The TV did not work when we got there but our attendant was on it and it was fixed within 30 minutes. Not a big deal at all. Speaking of our state room attendant...Bernadette Prince. She was the best ever. The ones I have had in the past have been great, but Bernadette just went above and beyond. She paid so much attention to the small things. She even folded some clothes that were on the couch one night when we were in a hurry to get to the show. If she saw us coming down the hall she would open our door for us. MRD:We ate there every night. I was worried the quality had gone down after reading some of the reviews but there was nothing to worry about. Of course there were some things that needed more salt and pepper but I think considering they are cooking for 3500+ people they do an amazing job. Aaron and Christopher were good. A little shaky the 1st night,but on night 2 they had our drinks to us and most importantly kept my Diet Coke full. Aaron knew after night one how we liked our steaks. Christopher always made sure to keep my mom stocked up on her favorite savory bites. They were very accommodating in bringing us and extra appetizer, dessert, or entree. Shows: They were good. New cast and CD. The group Mosaic performed and blew the roof off of the place. We even ran into them the next day in Cozumel...very nice group of young me. Disembarkation: Total nightmare. Long delays. It took us about 3 hours to get off. I think it was a combo of too few agents and some problem with someone trying to bring something in that required the fire marshall to be called out. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We were very concerned after reading some of the reviews on Carnival Imagination on this board. While the ship may be somewhat older, the amenities on the ship are very good. We stayed in a hotel near FLL the night before and took a ... Read More
We were very concerned after reading some of the reviews on Carnival Imagination on this board. While the ship may be somewhat older, the amenities on the ship are very good. We stayed in a hotel near FLL the night before and took a ride to the port of Miami. We also flew back on an 11:45am flight from FLL, so we disembarked with the "early disembarkers" at 0830am and that worked out well. My daughter has many food allergies: she is severely allergic to eggs, wheat, milk and gluten. So a varied, nutritious and tasteful diet for her can be a challenge. We were very happy with the food overall on our cruise. Because of my daughter, we almost always ate in the dining rooms (not on the Lido deck), either in Sprit or in Pride. On all occasions, the service was superb. It takes longer to eat in dining rooms, but we enjoyed the leisurely meals. Volha Yafimik, Junior Hostess (act BV Hostess) was gracious and always very helpful. Every evening, she would ask my daughter what she would like for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and voila! the chefs made sure that the special meals were tasty, nutritious and allergen free. Volha and the dining staff provided exceptional service. We could not have asked for anything better. The other, non-allergic ones in our party, chose the meals from the ones offered, and enjoyed almost all of the entrees, and all of the desserts. We also really liked the Sushi on 2 of the 3 evenings. The comedy shows were also very enjoyable, specially the one for married couples (PG-16+). The staff was very attentive. They did all they could to make our stay comfortable. The room service was great, and so were the break dancers. We did not enjoy the dance shows as much, as the music was somewhat dated; and needs more songs from the 80s and 90s. The dance shows seemed for geared for 70+ audience, even though the demographic was quite different. I disagree with the reviewer who mentioned the "staff doesn't speak English or is hard to understand". Though most of the crew is international - from South east asia (Indonesia, Philipines, Eastern europe etc.), they understand and speak English quite well. They have a tough life on the ship, but they serve with dignity and pride. We stayed away from noisy parties on the Lido deck, preferring instead to enjoy the sun from the aft deck (next to the water slides). Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Went with my husband and two daughters, 8 and 5. I am not a huge fan of cruising as I would rather be in a desination than sailing around. That said, our previous cruises were okay, but not my favorite. We cruise as we live in FL and ... Read More
Went with my husband and two daughters, 8 and 5. I am not a huge fan of cruising as I would rather be in a desination than sailing around. That said, our previous cruises were okay, but not my favorite. We cruise as we live in FL and we can drive to the port and not deal with airfare. We know Carnival is the Holiday Inn of cruising, so we don't have crazy expectations for food, expected lines to eat &embark, and knew the people on the ship would be heavy party drinkers, ect... This trip was AWESOME. The kids had a wonderful time....swimming, playing in the jacuzzi (which previously kids were never allowed in), making tons of new friends. Lots of kids, as it's Spring Break. They opted not to do Camp Carnival, which was fine. Weather perfect the entire trip. Staff friendly. Cabin a bit larger than on the Legend. EMBARK/DEBARK: Quickest yet. No lines on or off. Did online check in which sped up the process. Luggage was in our room before we sailed. PORTS(we did all on own, not prepurchased excursions): Grand Turk....awesome Margaritaville pool and music (beach beautiful too) San Juan....made them walk to two forts and shop....loved it. St. Thomas....up the 99 steps, kids loved the Amber museum & Blackbeards castle & older homes. Half Moon Cay...7 hours on the sand in the water, slides, intertubes, snorkeling. A+++ Only negative was this was a tendered port. FOOD: Typical Carnival food fare...ok, not fabulous not terrible. Tiny portions in dining room, slow service. Preferred Lido buffet for the kids to have more options. Breakfast Burritos and Guys Hamburgers on Lido deck were SO YUM. Ate the burritos every morning....yum! Bought 1 soda card and made max use of it. Drinks pricey, as usual on the ship, as this is their money maker. SHOWS: Family Friendly comedy was fun....went 3 nights. Went to Just Rock! was decent. Kids loved family Karaoke and we did the 80s trivia. NOTE: Carnival ALWAYS is trying to sell you something....pix, gold, ect...we just ignore this and know that Diamonds Int'l is a rip off as are most of their "specials" on board. Lido deck music is LOUD...good for party atmosphere, but certainly not quiet. Would sail again....for a relaxed beach/sun vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We just recently returned from our first cruise on Elation out of NOLA. Food: We were assigned to the Imagination dining room and had early dining at 6 pm. We ate in the MDR every night, had breakfast all but one morning there, are one ... Read More
We just recently returned from our first cruise on Elation out of NOLA. Food: We were assigned to the Imagination dining room and had early dining at 6 pm. We ate in the MDR every night, had breakfast all but one morning there, are one lunch. I liked eating breakfast there because it was quiet and it's open seating, so we were seated by the window. We ate less in Tiffany's because it was always so crowded, but when we did eat there, we went to the small deck area just behind the pizza place (overlooking Serenity). We were really happy with all of the food. The only meal I wasn't crazy about was the Prime Rib ordered one night. For red meat, the steak on the regular menu was better. There were more options between the regular and daily than I even anticipated. From a vacation in general standpoint, I liked the convenience of all-one-stop instead of deciding where we'd eat, etc., like when we are on a vacation at the beach. I bought my kids Unlimited Bubbles, and they showed the sticker the first night, and after that, they were good. I enjoyed some of the appetizers and desserts probably more than anything. Room: We had an oceanview room and agreed that we would have preferred a balcony, but since it was our first cruise experience, I did not choose that. There are less balcony rooms on The Elation than other ships (which I didn't realize), and the upgrade was pretty substantial (like $1000). The room itself was great. I was worried about space, but mostly we just slept there, so it didn't matter. We had a bunk pull-down and a rollaway, and everybody was fine. The only problem we encountered (not a problem, really, but space-wise, an issue) was everybody taking so long in the bathroom before dinner. I am the only girl, so I wound up being affected mostly, and wound up getting ready first and then going to sit somewhere like the library or the atrium waiting for the rest of them to finish. Formal night was the longest because it took my teenage boys so long to tie their ties and whatever. The room was great, but next time, we'll try to get connecting rooms or them a bunk room across the hall. Lots of families seemed to be doing that. There was plenty of closet space, hangers, drawer space, and medicine cabinet space. We had no problems at all with the room. The bedding was great. The steward came every morning as soon as we left (how do they *know* ;P) and put away the bunk and rollaway, so it wasn't in the way. The only hiccup with that was the first morning because I let them sleep in, so they slept through his morning run. We didn't need much, but when we did have questions (i.e. we only had two beach towels in our room), the steward was prompt and took care of everything quickly. Shows: We didn't see many, and I was not a big fan anyway, but my kids really loved what they saw and enjoyed the comedian they saw. We tried to stay for the 9:30 show, but it was not family, and they IDd my teens, so even though I was the parent who didn't mind, we could not stay. Some of our tablemates went to most of the shows, and they seemed to really enjoy them. Decks: Music is really loud everywhere, and I was disappointed in the Serenity Deck. The attraction is that it's adult only, but I was looking forward to quiet in general, and they had music piped in there, so it was still loud. They do have a nice shaded part in the back (and shade was not always found easily), and all the chairs are cushioned there. Pools/Hot Tubs: We did not use them much, but the pool on top AFT was super cold; it felt great when we got really hot. The Lido area was so busy that we never hung out there. We mostly used the chairs on the very top and on the other side of the putt putt area where the jogging track goes. I liked that area especially because the chairs are all just lined up in a row, so you have a great view and not a lot of people around. Other activities: We did not use the youth activities, but I occasionally saw some groups traveling around, and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot, and the adult/kid ratio was like 1:5 for the age groups I saw mostly (which were older - probably 9-12). My boys played putt putt a lot. The atrium was great for people-watching. I saw people playing board games in the library quite a bit, too. We thought we'd go to the gym, but we never got around to it. I also did not use the spa services, but I walked through it. I would have used the sauna if they'd had a co-ed area, but I didn't this time. This was our first cruise ever, and we all enjoyed it. My husband and I agreed that it far exceeded our expectations. I think the actual convenience of everything so nearby was probably the best. We have already booked another cruise for May just the two of us. I really pared down my packing list. We got everything into two duffel bags (not military - just regular) and carried on. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was our third cruise, the first with kids. The other two cruise lines were Carnival and Princess. Other than food, RCI definitely was the best of the three lines. Entertainment: Royal Caribbean definitely has the best ... Read More
This was our third cruise, the first with kids. The other two cruise lines were Carnival and Princess. Other than food, RCI definitely was the best of the three lines. Entertainment: Royal Caribbean definitely has the best entertainment, hands down. I enjoyed everything, especially the magic show and the skating show. We'd booked the shows three months before the sail date online, but found that the staff only checked reservations for the one time we went to the late show. We saw all the other shows at 7 and just walked right in. Food: We ate only at the "free" places. The buffet was fine and substantial for breakfast and lunch, if not repetitive. We ate lunch in the dining room only once. Service was very slow but we enjoyed the down time looking out the large window at the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Dinner in the dining room was pretty good as well. Service time was to be expected. We ate at 5:30. One huge plus for us was that our waiters went out of their way to make sure our kids (who have food allergies) had fresh, delicious, and safe meals every time. We were incredibly impressed as they exceeded our expectations. I was a bit worried before the cruise but now I have no more trepidation. It was more difficult to get a seat in the breakfast buffet on port days, when everyone woke up early to eat. We ate at 8:30 am or so on the other days and had no problems finding a seat. Kids' entertainment: They enjoyed the camps very much. We would only put them in in the morning. The talent show at the end was cool; they enjoyed earning medals. The black light show put on by the staff was excellent. Don't mIss it. We also attended the Dreamworks character breakfast. Same food as the buffet but it was cool meeting the characters. We also booked this three months in advance online. No cost. Pool area: Fabulous! Impossible to get deck chairs as they're all reserved by towels all day long. We came back early from port all three days to enjoy the quiet and non busy times. The kids loved the H2O Zone. All in all, it was an excellent cruise. We would definitely travel on the Freedom class of ships again. Read Less

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