The Galaxy is a beautiful well laid out ship. We boarded at 5 pm after an easy check-in and were very impressed that we were shown to our cabin by a Galaxy employee. By 10 pm we still didnt have our baggage. We went to Guest relations and they initiated action to find our baggage. Guest relations staff were very helpful but no baggage. We did receive our baggage luckily the next day just just before departing St Thomas...our baggage took a detour to Philly <G>.
We cancelled our tour in St Thomas in order to go shopping for clothes which USAir will reimburse us for. As it turned out it rained all day in St Thomas so our Meagan Beach tour wouldnt have gone well.
The cruise staff were FANTASTIC...from Guest Relations to room service.
The stop in St Kitts (Sunday) was'nt noteable due to most stores being closed and it rained the first half of the day. In Barbados we did the 4X4 tour and it was great. Also bought a LOT of rum cake for people back at home <G> Also shopped for other things. No rain lol. In Margarita we did a bus tour and really enjoyed it. Highly recommend a tour there due to distance to town from the ship. Aruba was GREAT...very clean and great shopping. We did a Catamaran/Beach tour.
For the first time ever we did great on the poker slots! We never lost our "lose" limit. We actually came out ahead 6 out of the seven nights. Deb is soooooo lucky!!!!!! The casino seemed small (naturally) compared to larger ships we have sailed BUT the staff was great. By the third night the staff all remembered us by our first name and made a point in greeting us.
Dining was great......wonderful food and service. Our asst waiter Made was wonderful as was our waiter. Both very anxious to please. We used room service alot! By the third night when I called around 1am for service...LIsa told me our order!!!! lol. Also, 5 out of the seven nights we had the same young man deliver our late snack <G>, He was wonderful. ie...one night I wanted pizza but we couldnt get pizza after 1 am......he was so sorry and must have apologized 10 times . The next night we played slots late so I went poolside and got pizza early (cold pizza is goodddd)... I didnt order pizza with our other regular items at 130 am...YES he got a pizza for me earlier and kept it till we ordered......needless to say on our last night when he delivered our food he received a very good tip above what we usually gave him when he delivered room service.
The only negative I can express for this cruise (THIS IS IMHO only!) There were 1400 people from PR on our cruise and we, as others, were a little taken aback by what they paid for their cruise.......200 and under pp.
Also (maybe its a cultural thing) when we wanted to relax poolside..we found it impossible to do so with 4 or 5 groups of up to 35 each Puerto Ricans singing (if one can call it that) very loudly, and using the tables as drums. Also many children running around on the ship minus parental supervision and playing on the elevators (up and down). Also, I only met two Puerto Ricans who were friendly toward us and spoke. The rest did'nt appear or pretended not to speak English. This I found surprising since PR has been a US territory for many years and I thought the schools there taught in English. Also, it was hard at times moving around on ship because they travelled in very large groups and would stop to converse with little or no consideration for others trying to navigate the passageways.. As a I said this is IMO and others passengers we spoke to. We loved the ship and the ship staff HOWEVER, due to what we conceived as blatant rudeness of the Puerto passengers and their lack of politeness for their non-Puerto Rican fellow passengers.....we will never cruise out of PR again. But we will definitely sail on Celebrity. While on board we booked the Century OUT OF FLORIDA for next Dec.....Got a great price...plus 100 ship credit and Captains Club memebership (fee waivered) as an incentitive to book while on board.
Rick and Deb
Thanks for a good review--you included both the good and the bad. On
the problem of luggage, just a suggestion for the future. We never tag
our bags for the ship until after we have claimed them at our destination.
We had a similar experience, but never recovered the luggage. While
cruise lines always suggest tagging the cruise at time of airport check-in,
we have felt more secure claiming them at the airport and then placing the
cruise tags on them. Just a suggestion--it has worked for us 14 times.
In fact, it was interesting to note that in the booklet that came with our tickets for our last cruise, Celebrity now recommends exactly that--not putting the ship's tags on the bags until you see them at the destination airport.
I know that all lines used to recommend that you just forget about your bags, but now they seem to be changing their tune--and wisely so.
If the bags don't show up it's far better to get the paperwork started at the airport than from the ship.
What a great review!! We're sailing on the Galaxy out of Baltimore next September, and it's nice to read some positive comments compared to the negative ones from the complainers. Last year my luggage was lost when we went on the Sovereign of the Seas. We flew in the night before and my luggage was "snatched" or lost in Orlando. It's a terrible feeling and a lousy way to start out a vacation. The baggage counter told me that there is a group of thieves preying on tourists at the airport. So, I don't know if it was stolen or lost. I had to stop at a Mall and try to find some clothes to wear, but I got through it and tried not to let it ruin my cruise...and it didn't. .
I agree.....However, I should point out that in the case of USAir only......they are still using same system in PR as before 911. In that you do not claim your bags at the airport then turn them over to Celebrity. As before (when booking cruise/air together and flying in on USAir) , your never see or touch your bags until they appear at your cabin. This is not the case when you return, regardless of your airline. When you return you carry your bags to the airport and check them in. But when you arrive on USair....its the same as before 911.
Well, but isn't this completely under your control? You don't have to spill the beans at your originating airport that you're going on a cruise. Just check in and have them tag your bags normally to the desination airport. Then when you pick them up, add the ship's tags and find a cruise rep.
They won't pre-pull bags that don't have ship's tags. Just arrange to be another everyday airline passenger.
AR obviously you didn't absorb my post fully.....based on info here and other sources......we were under the impression that due to security since 911, EVERYone arriving PR had to claim their bags and turn them over to the cruise reps. As I stated......USAir is the only major airline going into PR that still does it "the old way" for arriving (not departing) cruisers. Also, you stated "You don't have to spill the beans at your originating airport that you're going on a cruise." What? Sorry AR, but it's not in my nature to be intentionally deceitful, even before but especially not since 911. But for whats it worth AR, everything worked out great for us.....Celebrity is giving us an additional 200 dollar credit on our upcoming Dec 2002 cruise on the Century to say they were sorry they didnt get a claim number assigned to our delayed baggage claim, which caused us a hassle trying for reimbursement from USAir. PLUS talked to USAir today and they are sending us a check for the items we had to buy while waiting for them to get our baggage to us (189 dollars). That money will buy a lot of "beans" <G>
Since when is checking your luggage to your embarkation point and not informing the airline "Oh, by the way we will be going on a cruise!" deceitful? I don't usually tell the airline when I will be staying at my aunt's either. By the way I didn't understand your previous post either so maybe I didn't understand this one either.
You are right, about the "deceitful" thing. Thanks for making me take a second look at my comment about that. BCC, the main thing I would like you to see in my posts above is that Deb and I really enjoyed our cruise. The Galaxy is a beautiful ship and the Staff was outstanding. The baggage issue happenened....we dealt with it. End of story.....end of my comments about this. Can't dwell on it cause gotta plan for another cruise on Apr 27, 2002 (not 2001!!! <G>). Happy cruising BCC.
Rick and Deb
I was also on the 12/14 Galaxy. I agree wholeheartedly with your review, although I didn't have the luggage problem. Our only cruiseline-related problem was dinner seating: we requested large table (which Celebrity confirmed table of 8 a few weeks prior to sailing when my TA called to verify) and we got a table for 4 (large = 8 or 10). I thought booking 10 months in advance the request would have been honored, especially when Celebrity "confirms" it a few weeks prior to sailing, but guess that didn't matter. Got it changed by the second night though (requested change about 2:00 day of embarkation).
Anyway, my question for you is this: Do you think all ships going out of SJU have the same passenger clientele, regardless of the cruiseline? Or was this a unique situation due to the fact that Celebrity practically gave the ship away to people from a particular geographic region? (Maybe the other ships did not have those specials that particular weekend?)
The overwhelming rudeness of the majority of the passengers almost ruined this cruise for us, and I had spent many hours researching Celebrity prior to booking last February (reading boards online, reading books at the bookstore, attending a cruise show in Dallas, etc). I didn' t know if this was normal Celebrity passenger clientele, or if Celebrity was the only line that just happened to put out those "cheaper than dirt" deals for certain geographic regions. (Yes, I loved paying more for my inside cabin than most paid for their outside cabin... yet Celebrity still wanted to charge us $300 to upgrade to outside - I used that $300 in the AquaSpa instead - one of the few places on board I could find peace.) I was well aware of the Celebrity rates prior to the cruise, as I watched them on several websites on almost a daily basis to be knowledgeable of any upgrade opportunities at the pier. My particular category (9) was never advertised less than $549 per person that I saw, which is what I booked ten months in advance.
Last year, the same timeframe (week before Christmas) we went on Norwegian Sky out of Miami for 7 nights. The passenger clientele actually behaved more up to my standards (no knocking people with canes over - like my tablemate, no repeated cutting in lines, no acting like a mob walking down the halls leaving no room at all for "oncoming traffic", no loud "singing" at the pool like you described, proper dresscode for dinner at night was adhered to, etc.) We thought Celebrity would be a "quieter", more classier line - which is why we booked it. I would hate to form my opinion of Celebrity based on this one cruising experience: I'm only 27 and have many many many more cruises ahead of me!! (Yes, Celebrity had some features that were much more elegant than Norwegian Sky, but the passenger clientele was not anything like I had read about in my cruising book. Had experienced Carnival years ago and was wanting something more "quiet".) And no, I'm not some sort of anal person - just expect people to treat others with basic respect. Regardless, I think Celebrity lost a lot of would-be-repeaters. My tablemates (six of them) vowed to return to Princess and RCCL - this was their first (and last) Celebrity cruise and all had at least 10 cruises under their belt.
Anyway... I had noticed you said you would never sail out of SJU again, which is what I am leaning towards at this point. (Maybe Aruba still has some cruises that start there? I've seen them advertised before.) That's why I was curious if you thought our cruise 12/14 was unique for Celebrity because of those specials we were told about on board (I had three different staffers tell me about those specials).
I get a sense this is happening on a whole bunch of cruises out of San Juan. People from the mainland US are not generally flying to SJU for cruises so many of the berths are going to "locals", for better or worse. Give Celebrity another try out of Ft. Lauderdale, Alaska, or NYC for Bermuda and you'll see more of what you have been reading about for so long!
We sailed on the Golden Princess thanksgiving week...a cruise which was heavily discounted due to 9/11. It was a very rowdy crowd in many ways, and several staff I talked to said it wasn't the usual Princess crowd, but I think with all the falling prices a different type of cruise passenger is being attracted perhaps?? We found the food and service not nearly as good as Celebrity.
Now for us....we might just be giving the Constellation a try in May for 7 nights out of Barcelona!!
Thanks Jeff! That makes sense. Everything else (like Ric's review) about the Galaxy was awesome! The staff spectacular, meals splendid, AquaSpa a dream, cabin spacious, etc.
We will most likely try Celebrity again, but probably not any cruise line out of San Juan. Loved the Southern Caribbean though! (That's why I was thinking maybe Aruba for starting out.)
Happy New Year!
Sorry for getting in late on this, but we cruised the Carnival
Dynasty out of San Juan on 25 November and experienced
almost exactly the same set of rude behavior problems described
so eloquently by Rick in his review. I and many of my fellow
passengers agreed that we will not sail out of San Juan in the
future for this reason.