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Old April 10th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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Default Cruise Reviews

Instead of making a new thread for your cruise experience, please post your review here!! It will make it much easier for people to find.
You should also make the title of your post the name of the ship..or just bold and enlarge the name at the top of your post.

Include details relating to food & dining, cabins, layout, teen program, public spaces, entertainment, spa & fitness, shore excursions & ports of call, em/debarkation, service & crew, and overall.
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Booked Cruises
NCL Dawn 6/21/06 Bermuda

Past Cruises
10/30/08 X Constellation Caribbean
Costa Fortuna 3/08 Eastern Caribbean
Costa Magica 2/07 Western Caribbean
HAL Noordam 11/06 Eastern Caribbean
X Zenith 6/06 Bermuda
HAL Zuiderdam 5/05 Western Caribbean
HAL Maasdam 6/04 Canada/New England
CCL Triumph 12/03 Western Caribbean
CCL Victory 11/02 Eastern Caribbean

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Old April 10th, 2007, 10:59 PM
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Default Costa Magica

This is what I wrote up for Cruise Critic today..and thought I should post it on here too!!

Background Info: I am 16 years old, and I cruised with my mother from February 25- March 4, 2007. This was our first time on Costa, but not our first cruise. It was my 7th, and her 8th. We have sailed on HAL Maasdam, Zuiderdam, & Noordam; CCL Victory & Triumph; and X Zenith. We live in upstate New York, and only booked this cruise 18 days in advance.

Embarkation: We flew down to Fort Lauderdale on the day of the cruise. We were supposed to arrive by 11am, but due to flight complications, we didnt get to the cruise pier until about 3pm. (Good thing it didnt set sail intil 7pm!) The luggage porters took our bags as soon as we stepped out of the taxi, and then we were off to go through security and check in. The line was surprisingly long, but moved quickly. We passed through security smoothly, and then waited some more to check in. From there, we got on the ship. We were onboard the ship within an hour, and were surprised at not receiving our cards or having our photos for them taken! Since we arrived so late, we were able to go straight to our cabins and get settled in. Not having to carry around our suitcases was great!!

The Ship: The Magica was impecable. Everything was clean, she looked brand new. The layout is a little wonky, but you will get used to it. It was annoying not being able to walk from bow to stern on every deck, and we would always forget that. We loved the art work that is all over the ship, especially the panels in the stateroom hallways, and the large pictures in the stairwells. The lightbulb holders in the buffet area were very unique (arms and hands holding the lights).

Public Areas: There were 11 lounges and bars, and every night something exciting was happening. The Salento Grand Bar is the best, it is located right in the middle of deck 5, and is very open and has a nice dance floor. The Capri Lounge was great too, and the band that played in there was amazing. This is where kareoke took place. The Urbino theater is gorgeous...but make sure not to sit somplace where the poles would be blocking your view! The atrium is gorgeous...and the glass elevators are just too much fun (no matter how old you are!). The nightclub, Grado Disco, was tons of fun!! Popular music was played, and everyone was dancing and having a good time!

Activities: It would have been impossible to attend every single activity that was planned. Every day, there were dance and exercise classes by the midship pool. Also, many games like hula hoop competition, sexy legs, kens vs barbies, old macdonalds farm game, ect happened near this pool. Multiple trivia and quiz gatherings, as well as volleyball, ping pong, and basketball games occured daily. Even Italian lessons!! The activities staff was amazing, each one speaking at least 5 languages!! It is unbelievable how much energy they have, and we talked to some of them personally and they dont know how they do it! No matter how fun their jobs look, it is very socially demanding and hard; most of the time their smiles are false.

Pools: There were 2 main pools...both on deck 9, located aft and midship. There was a smaller pool located up on deck 10, next to the end of the waterslide. Also, a kiddie pool was up near the childrens room. The pool area is the most active, and where everyone is on sea days, and the line for the waterslide often went down the stairs! Watch out for little kids (in the deck 10 pool)...they had discovered that the plastic cups were great for throwing water at people. There were several hot tubs, all of which were wonderfuly hot and relaxing.

Service: Wonderful. The crew was amazing and very friendly (would say hi to us whenever they saw us, and remembered our names). I dont know how other people could say bad things about them!! They all spoke English very well (as it is a requirement for them if they come into contact with passengers), and were extremely accomodating to all the needs of the passengers.

Cabin: We were in cabin 7380, an inside on deck 7. It was the second one back from the aft elevators, and only 2 decks up to the buffet and 2 down to the casino and shops; no complaints at all about the location. There was plently of storage space for all of our belongings. There were 4 drawers in a dresser, 2 nightstands, and 4 closets (one with shelves). The bathroom was spacious, and there were 4 shelves above the sink (perfect size & location for beauty products). The shower was good, had a retractable clothes line going across which was handy, and a shampoo dispenser (smelled quite nice, but we always bring our own). There was one problem with the shower. It would overflow everytime i used it. The drain was very slow, and the ledge around the base was not high enough to contain all the water! There is a drain behind the toilet too, and a path around the perimeter of the floor for water to follow, so maybe this was supposed to happen?? I doubt it though. So dont leave your clothes on the floor! Another oddity about the cabin: the handles on the drawers and closets were leather-like, and hard to get ahold of, resulting in the opening of them veryyy difficult. We often left everything slightly open to avoid this issue. The lighting was great (fixtures were unique and modern), and there were plenty of mirrors everywhere. There was a minifridge, and a safe too. The artwork was cute, and the beds werent that bad. Maybe because we were so tired when we retired to sleep? It doesnt matter. (We were happy to be on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and NOT in the -10 weather in NY.) The sheets and towels were a little rough for our liking, but that didnt ruin our cruise or anything. (The pool towels that are left in your room for shore excursions are wonderful!!)

Food and Dining: Once again, I can not believe that people have complained about the food!!! It is delicious!!! We were disappointed at no sushi, but dont worry...they made up for it in their pasta dishes!! In the buffet, the food was great!! Always pizza, pasta, salad, a meat or 2 of some sort, fresh fruit, vegetables, all the regular cruise fare. The only area they lacked in was dessert. The selection was very limited, and always cold (pie is supposed to be warm!) The ice cream made up for it though, having self-serve machines located all around deck 9. There were specialty ice creams available at the bars, but we thought that it was rediculous to pay for ice cream on a cruise so we never got any. The food in the buffet is just about the same as in the dining rooms. We went to dinner the first couple of nights, but each night the service got slower and slower!! Originally, we were assigned the early seating, but we were able to easily change that to the late seating (allows much more time to get ready after being onshore all day). On the second formal night, instead of lobster, there was king crab legs. Personally, I prefered this!! It was delicious!!
Breakfast: offered in the dining room (Smeralda) from 7:30-9:30. We never went to this. A buffet was set up from 7:30-11am. The one by the back pool was always the least crowded, and had the same exact things as inside the Bellagio. There were pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, bagels, hash, and fresh fruit available.
Lunch: offered in the dining room (Portofino) from 12-1:30pm. We also never went to this. The buffet was available from 12-2:30 in the Bellagio, and the grill was open from 11am-6pm.
Dinner: There is 2 different seatings in each restaurant.
Costa Smeralda: 5:45 & 8:30
Restaurant Portofino: 5:30 & 8:15

Also, a buffet is set up from 7:30-9:30 in the Bellagio, and a specialty restaurant from 6:30-9:30pm (never went to it). ONE OF OUR FAVORITES: from 9:30pm-1:30am, a pizzaria was set up in the Bellagio. We did not discover this until near the end of the cruise, and the pizza here is THE BEST. Each night there were about 5 different types of pizza offered, so Im sure you would be able to find something you liked. They would make you your own pizza, about a foot in diameter. Also, every night there was a midnight buffet, and the theme differed from night to night. Furthermore, there was tea time. One was in the Spoleto Lounge, Deck 5, from 3:45-4:45pm,where there was a WIDE variety of tea to choose from. The other was in the Bellagio and had mini sandwiches and desserts (4-5pm).


Childrens Program: I participated in the teen program (13-18 years old), and it was wonderful!! The two teen directors, Marco and Sabryna, were fabulous!! There were a couple activities scheduled daily, and they were tons of fun! The prizes were great too. I saw the littler kids around the ship sometimes, participating in themed dinners and treasure hunts, and they all had a smile on their faces (and often face paint too!!).

Entertainment: The one show I actually went to, Myth Trio in Circus of the Seas, was FANTASTIC. I actually went to both seatings. It was unbelieveable!! All of the other shows were basically the same as on every cruise...a special singer one night, a Broadway-type show, a magician, ect...

Theme Nights: Almost every night had its own theme. It was so much fun, this is part of the reason why Costa is amazing.
Italian Night: Supposed to wear red, white, or green. There were several stations all around deck 5, such as rose making, mask making, face painting, and dance classes.
Mediterannean Night: You were able to visit 4 different countries this night. France..and there was a Can Can show (hilarious!!!!), and Moulin Rouge-type singing. Greece...a fun dance..OMPA! Spain..dancing the Paso Doble. Egypt and Turkey....crazy belly dancing!! (also HILARIOUS). Also followed by a midnight buffet with food from each country in each section. DO NOT MISS THIS!!
Roman (Toga) Night: This is one thing Costa is known for. Everyone is supposed to get dressed up in a toga (and accessories!) and spend the night in it! This is the Guest Talent Show and Crew Show night too, and happened on the last night of the cruise. Maybe only about 50% of the pax actually wore a toga, but the ones who didnt missed out on all the fun!
Tropical Night: Tropical wear, with music by the calypso band and dancing by the pool! Dances such as the YMCA, and limbo. Tons of fun!!

Ports of Call: all of the ports we had been to already, so we knew what we wanted to do.
Cozumel: we went to Mr Sanchos for the day and just relaxed on the beach. It was $15 each way for a taxi. Then we went shopping around town, bought vanilla and liquor.
Grand Cayman: We walked to 7 mile beach. It is gorgeous there. Did not like having to wait for tender tickets in the Urbino Theater, and the tender ride was long.
Ocho Rios: We shopped and then went back to the ship.
Grand Turk: Took a taxi ($5/person/each way) to Cockburn Town. Walked along the beach, which was gorgeous and secluded!! and shopped around town. We found out that there are NO TAXES (land, school, ect..)at all, but it will cost you $22 for a roll of aluminum foil. (still only $1 for a beer though!)

Other Passengers: About 80% of the passengers were European. Being onboard this ship was like being in a foreign country. Most of the other pax were Italian and French. None of them were rude at all, they were all lovely to converse with (give that you can speak their language/interpret their English). A couple were pushy and cut in line, but hey, Americans do that too!!! Im sure you would find someone on any other cruise line who would cut infront of you (we found it on HAL!).

Debarkation: There was the option of early self-debarkation. We opted not to do this, since you would have to carry all your own luggage offboard, and 2 woman pack a lot!! They hand out colored tags, depending on your cabin and status, and you get assigned a time to get off the ship. They dont even check if you leave in the right time (we got off earlier than assigned). There was one discression with a passenger and his/her card, apparantly they tried to get off without paying for their onboard purchases. That did hold up the line, but was resolved quickly. After we got off the ship, was had to go through customs. There were 2 different lines, one for US passengers and one for Foreign. They both moved at about the same rate.


Overall, we had a wonderful experience and would cruise Costa again in a hearbeat!! We are trying to plan to go on the Fortuna this winter. (The Magica wont be sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. Too bad. This ship is amazing!)


Feel free to PM me with questions, or if you want to see daily programs, menus, or photos!!
__________________
Kris

Booked Cruises
NCL Dawn 6/21/06 Bermuda

Past Cruises
10/30/08 X Constellation Caribbean
Costa Fortuna 3/08 Eastern Caribbean
Costa Magica 2/07 Western Caribbean
HAL Noordam 11/06 Eastern Caribbean
X Zenith 6/06 Bermuda
HAL Zuiderdam 5/05 Western Caribbean
HAL Maasdam 6/04 Canada/New England
CCL Triumph 12/03 Western Caribbean
CCL Victory 11/02 Eastern Caribbean

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Old April 16th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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Default MARINER OF THE SEAS 12/24/2006

Mariner of the Seas Review for December 24, 2006
Stats:

Ship Name: Mariner of the Seas
Sail Date: December 24, 2006
Number of Days: 7
Itinerary:
Day 1: Port Canaveral Fl.
Day 2: Coco Cay, Bahamas
Day 3: At Sea
Day 4: St. Thomas
Day 5: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten
Day 6: At Sea
Day 7: At Sea

Ports of Call: The ports for this cruise were less appealing than what I had expected, primarily St. Thomas. For our port day in Coco Cay, we stayed on the ship. The appeal of a private but primitive beach didn’t warrant getting up early nor tendering over to the island. Luckily this was the only tender port for the entire cruise. St. Thomas USVI was not nearly as beautiful as I expected and was VERY commercialized. The landscape was similar to that of Haiti, which we visited over the summer. When we got off the island, I immediately noticed that the focus of nearly all of the shops was three (3) items: Perfume, Liquor, and Jewelry. The liquor I had expected as it is a common item for people to purchase in the Caribbean due to the duty free and tax free laws. But essentially my family and I just got off for a while, bought some jewelry and got back on the ship. Now for our third (3rd) and last port of call on this trip: Phillipsburg St. Maarten. For the first time since Grand Cayman last December, my family decided to take a pre-arranged shore excursion. This excursion included transportation to Orient Beach, a complimentary rum punch, beach chair and umbrella from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. I would say this was one of the best island experiences I’ve ever had. The ride through the mountains was similar to that of a roller coaster but fun until we nearly hit an idiot on an ATV who tried to pass on the left of the bus when it was turning left! :0 Morons, but it was still fun before and after as was passing from the Dutch to the French side of the island. When we arrived at orient beach the staff at the beach bar that hosted the tour greeted us with smiles and free drinks! After chilling on the beach for a while I decided to take a walk down the beach to one of the many little beachfront bars/shacks and shops and try a local drink called a Rumrunners Punch and holy hell that was a strong ass drink! 3ml of alcohol in a small party cup. Essentially it was a giant shot with a little bit of cranberry juice, thus further proving to me that drinking is really not that great. But I had to try it while the drinking age was 16 on the island. Later in the day I tried a local beer, Carib Lager and same reaction, jeez these people are alcoholics! Alas at the end of the beach was the nudist resort and as the tour guide had warned us, they were wearing 1 thing and 1 thing only, their birthday suits and some were ironed out well and others, well lets not go there. It truly was a life changing experience and although there were a couple of hotttttt college girls, there were plenty of non-hot, non-college girls that I just wanna forget about. All in all though, great day, good drinks and I brought back a pretty decent bit of rum for use later on the ship.
The Ship: The Mariner as I had seen before was immaculate and astounding just in its size but you can tell that it is starting to show its age. Our cabin walls had that typical discoloration seen from age, wear and tear. The shower went from the temperature you set it at, to rather cold then very hot. Not pleasant at best but still better than having the curtains like on other ships. The public areas were clean and for the most part sane during most of the cruise. I say sane, because there was a drinking crowd on this cruise who just went nuts sometimes. The condition of the nightclubs was rather good, and the teen club had obviously had many repairs made since my last visit. We had strobes, all of the scanners worked and didn’t have broken mirrors and get this, they were allowed to use fog! So much fun if only people used it, more on that later. The pool area was another area that could have used work, the once brightly canopies that cover the larger hot tubs are now fading and just look like crap. But in all I have to admit, for the volume of people this ship handles, it is in good condition and is scheduled for a dry dock restoration in April of 2007.So 4 out of 5 stars.

The Food: This was the only area that I felt the mariner was really lacking in. And this is pretty much fleet-wide. First off the food in the windjammer is of low quality, it is simply institutional style food that is just heated up. The selection also lacked, particularly on this cruise. It seemed like the same food was served for every meal and if something was cooked for the lunch seating and was not gone by the end, it was nuked (microwave) and served at dinner. We had dinner in Rhapsody in Blue © dining room and had the main (6:00) seating. I had the same thing every night, the angus sirloin, which, yes, was good but I found it odd that I didn’t seem to find much variety on the menu as I usually have a different entrée each night on other ships/lines. The surf and turf night was good as far as both portions and quality of food. The deserts tasted bland and were obviously mass produced and essentially tasteless. The coffee, however, was very good. The food in Johnny Rockets doesn’t really warrant many comments, as it was good as far s fast food goes. The food in the Café Promenade was pretty good, the cookies and sandwiches fresh and many enjoyed the pizza. Room service was also pretty good, all things considered. On our first sea day, my family and I had dinner in Chops Grille. As many times before, it was VERY good and was by far the best meal of the cruise. I personally had the 10 oz. fillet with the green peppercorn sauce along with a baked potato and cheesecake for desert.

The Service: The service onboard the Mariner continues to be the control factor for everything else because to date, there has been no fault on the ship that the service cant make up for. Our cabin steward was very accommodating and pleasant and spoke to my family and I regularly as we passed through the corridor. Our dining room waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter were all very pleasant and were attentive to all of our needs even when it was obvious that they were ready to chill and get some rest! I have the utmost respect for the dining and staff because they really do a fantastic job keeping up with everyone’s preferences and orders throughout the cruise. The guest relations desk was very accommodating and helpful for myself after I became an idiot and lost my ipod and even offered a credit for the inconvenience. Our cruise director Phillip was loads of fun and was seen often all around the ship interacting with guests and making sure everyone had a great time, can I get a woop woop!
The Entertainment: When you cruise a lot as I am very fortunate to be able to do, you start to realize that the variety acts that are privately booked onboard ships are pretty standard. The entertainment onboard the Mariner was top notch, but the variety entertainer had an act that I’d seen many times, still good though. The productions put on by the Mariner of the Seas Singers, Dancers and Orchestra were awe striking as usual. The high energy show “Pure Energy? was a load of fun and had a spectacular pyrotechnic ending. The only fault I have is that this ship, unlike the smaller vessels I have traveled (Fantasy, Elation, Sensation, Sovereign etc.), had the same shows that I saw back in April! Oh well they were still good. The Ice Shows were also very good. The main show “Ice Under The Big Top? I had seen before but was still amazing as far as the engineering on how they did all that work in such a small area. There was also a special Christmas show for everyone that was also very cool. Another entertaining factor was that Santa visited the Mariner of the seas. Not only did he visit bright and early Christmas morning but he also brought gifts for every passenger between 0-17! For younger kids, book bags, middle aged kids: adventure ocean shirts and for teens 12-17 Fuel and The Living Room sweatshirts.

The People and Teen Club: This was one of the biggest disappointments of the entire vacation. There was a huge group of teens aboard, 500 between the ages of 12 and 17 and 300 of those were between 15 and 17! Out of those 300 there was seemingly a group of 50 that I ever saw more than once. And the overall group itself seemed to be comprised of a lot of drinking teens whom didn’t use the teen club the entire cruise. I personally however got into/made a group of about 10 whom were, like me, die hard partiers (sober lol) and we had a good time and danced. It seemed like everyone had a great time though doing their own thing, lots of people met significant others (myself included) that they spent the better part of their cruise with.

Overall Opinion: I have had a great time and have made memories that will last forever and friends that hopefully will last just as long. This was a great cruise and although my review may seem a bit critical, please keep in mind that it is a review and is designed to overview the highlights of the trip and things that I personally felt needed work on. Will we travel this ship again: maybe but I think that its time for my family to try something new and find a different port and new ships to explore. So my final rating for the mariner:


4 out of 5 stars
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Allure of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
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Enchantment of the Seas
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 02:15 AM
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Mariner of the Seas Review for April 1, 2007
Stats:

Ship Name: Mariner of the Seas
Sail Date: April 1, 2007
Number of Days: 7
Itinerary:
Day 1: Port Canaveral Fl.
Day 2: Coco Cay, Bahamas
Day 3: At Sea
Day 4: St. Thomas
Day 5: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten
Day 6: At Sea
Day 7: At Sea

Ports of Call: The Mariner of the Seas visited 3 ports on our Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Being that I have been to all 3 before, multiple times, I only got off at St. Thomas so my review for the ports will focus on that port only. First of all, any cruiser who is planning on traveling to a USVI from a US port (Port Canaveral for me) should know that you must present yourself to US Customs for inspection whether you intend to get off the ship or not. So after my family and I cleared customs, we proceeded off the ship to the breathtaking island of St. Thomas USVI. In port with us were the Costa Magica and Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas. In another port on the other side of the island were 2 Holland America Ships (Westerdam and Zuiderdam I think) and in the Harbor was the Disney Magic. My family and I had decided to take a Shore Excursion to Magens Bay. In the past all of our shore excursions have been disasters, this one was no different. Well it wasn’t a disaster but the outcome was less than desirable. We boarded our safari bus for a roller coaster ride to the top of the mountain for a BREATHTAKING view of the bay. Although the area where we viewed was highly congested and quite dangerous. Anyhow we then proceeded back down the hill to one of “The Worlds Most Beautiful Beaches?. Well that was BS. To envision Magen’s bay, think trashy state park. I could go into detail but it was most definitely a tourist trap and I’ll leave it at that. Therefore my family and I got a good laugh as we got a taxi back to the port before the safari shuttle of the tour had completely unloaded. Back in port I stopped by one of the 1000s of jewelry shops and purchased myself a new ring and then our family had a really good lunch in this little Deli behind the shops. I then proceeded back on the ship. And that was the first last and only port for me. My suggestion for people going to St Thomas: It’s a GORGEOUS island. Grab a taxi and take a ride because you’ll see far more than just taking a tour.
The Ship: The Mariner of the Seas is an astounding piece of art. I say that because it truly is an art for something that large to float across the globe with nearly 5,000 people onboard (guests and crew). Its hard to believe that the Mariner of the Seas is nearly 4 years old. It looks brand new in all of the public areas. On April 29,2007, however, the Mariner will be taken into Dry Dock for a period of time while the entire ship is refurbished. It was evident that some of the preparations were being made during my Spring Break cruise. The crew was removing handrails and refinishing the wooden ones. Overall I’d say that one of the areas that need the most attention is the teen facilities. They’re starting to show some wear and tear from the teens that go through there every week. All of the public areas were kept clean for the entire duration of the cruise and I hadn’t the first time to see a piece of trash lying around the ship which I consider a major task for a ship as large as the mariner. My final comments go towards our cabin. My mom and I booked a regular balcony cabin and somehow ended up with a handicap cabin and people let me tell you that this is the way to go. Its by far the largest cabin I’ve ever been in that wasn’t a suite. There was more than ample closet space and LOTS of walking room. The bathroom was what amazed me. It was the size of a small cabin! And the balcony was about 2X as large as well. Nice Job RCI, Thanks a LOT!!!

The Food: The food on this trip was FAR better than on our previous Mariner of the Seas cruise. We dined in all of the restaurants with the exception of Portofino. So I’ll outline them:
Formal Dining Room-Top Hats & Tails Table 400: I had dinner in the formal dining room on 3 of the 7 nights. Typically I’m not very big on the whole sit down and spend 2 hours eating thing BUT, this time RCI did a good job of keeping the meal to a reasonable time. 2 of the nights I ate in the FDR were the 2 formal nights and of course one of them was LOBSTER night. I hate seafood in general but that was good. Out of all the cruises I’ve taken I think this was the best “Fisherman’s Plate? dinner I’ve ever had. I give the culinary team a high 5 for their service and food in the dining room.
Johnny Rockets at Sea: I ate in Johnny Rockets 3 times throughout the cruise and although the experience was good its getting a little old. RCI should look for some other outside franchise to bring onto their Genesis ships. Johnny Rockets food is good but greasy and sometimes a bit loud. Overall I’d say that its good to do it once a cruise but otherwise Johnny Rockets is just like every other fast food joint in the states. Nothing amazing here.
Chops Grille: This was THE BEST meal of the cruise by far. The quality of the food and the service in Chops is by far the best of any restaurant that I’ve ever visited and that’s quite a compliment considering the amount of travel that I do. The steak was seasoned and cooked perfectly (10 Oz. Filet Mignon).
The Windjammer/Jade: The food in the Windjammer and Jade was at one time mediocre and comparable to a cheap Chinese buffet but without the selection. However, I must admit that in the time since my last Mariner cruise, some serious reforms have been put into place in the buffet area. Jade had a wide variety of Asian food this time and most of it was recognizable! Lol And in the Windjammer, the food actually changed from day to day and was surprisingly good. The addition of the “Meats Cooked To Order? including beef, pork, chicken, and salmon was a nice treat considering that most of the meats were usually just tossed out there and now u could order whatever you wanted, how you wanted it. This section only appeared once on the previous cruise. I give the Windjammer thumbs up for improvement since the last cruise. And all of that ^^ goes for breakfast, tea, lunch, and dinner.
Café Promenade: Café promenade is notorious for being THE place for teens to hang after the club closed and this cruise was no different. As a matter of fact on a few occasions, the Deck Patrol sat with us and shot the bull! How cool is that. Café Promenade is home to a small deli, pizza parlor open till 3am, bar and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The food here is always great and just what u need when its 3am and u refuse to give up and go to your cabin!
Room Service: So yeah, aside from the last night I ordered room service and thoroughly enjoyed it! By night 5 the guy answering told me it was on its way cuz they already knew I was gonna call!

The Service: The service on all of my Mariner of the Seas cruises has been amazing. My cabin steward danced with me in the middle of the night, my waiter always had quick service and something interesting to say, even the usually cranky ppl at the pursers .. excuse me “Guest Relations? desk were polite and appealing at 4am when I had deactivated my SeaPass and was locked out of my stateroom. Everyone was awesome. And surprisingly so was the Deck Partol who I nicknamed “Big Bird Rent-a-Cops? for their yellow attire. Overall the Mariners officers, crew and staff were all wonderful and hard to leave.

The People and Teen Club: This was THE highlight of the entire vacation. The people in the teen groups this time all had great chemistry and for the first time ever, there were no little cliques of people who hated each other. Everyone got along well and I’m proud to say that this cruise was completely DRAMA FREE! WoW! As for me, well keeping my bragging to a minimum I had a great time with the girls on the ship and along with a few other guys and Token, we dominated the teen club, grinding all night every night with different people nearly every song. There was of course plenty of action that took place out of the club but anyone interested in that (weirdos) will have to PM me. The teen club was hot every night with a large group of teens. The only night that the teen club didn’t pick up was the night of the AMAZING deck party at which we all hung and for the first time grinded at a deck party!! The people on Spring Break 2007 were awesome and made that cruise worthy of an award so for the first time since June of 2005, the prestigious title of BEST CRUISE will me changed to the Mariner of the Seas voyage of April 1, 2007 and Spring Break 07!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Entertainment: The entertainment on the ship is absolutely magnificent. There is a detailed outline below:

Pure Energy/Variety/Review Shows- The shows in the Savoy theater are awesome. An amazing combination of light, sound, elaborate costumes, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and stunts that defy the common perception of what one would find at sea. The shows, namely Pure Energy, the 80s review show are all very well designed and are amazing especially considering that this all takes place on a MOVING SHIP! My congrats go out to the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers and to the Show band Musicians.
Parades: The Mariner of the Seas is home to 2 parades each cruise. The first is on the first night and is a lively Caribbean tribute parade that incorporates elaborate costumes and representation from every member of the Mariner’s crew including the International Ice Cast, Entertainers, Adventure Ocean Staff, Service Crew, Social Hosts, Dining Room attendants and more! The 2nd show is a lively magical experience that transforms the Royal Promenade into a majestic castle hallway where knights, unicorns, elves and villains traverse through the walkway ending with an explosive shower of confetti!
Ice Under The Big Top: The ice show is well worth getting up to get tickets for. I find it amazing to this day how so many people skate choreographed on such a small piece of ice and all the while the ship is moving! The show itself is cool with a Cirque De Soliel type of feel. Also there is a special guest star for each show and a silk act which is a must see. I find that the entire production is perfectly put together. The actors/skaters, lighting, music, and acrobatics are all amazing.
Disco Deck Party: This is a new idea for Royal Caribbean and supposedly was implemented only 2 cruises previous to my own. The days of the boring deck party with just food and the YMCA and Cha-Cha Slide are OVER. First of all there wasn’t some cheesy band playing Play That Funky Music for 10 minutes in a Caribbean way like I had expected. There was a real DJ spinning on digital turntables and HE WAS GREAT. The dance area was packed; people were pushed into the bar and flowing out into the sides in all directions. The party was hot from 9 to 1 and there wasn’t a single break. DJ Anthony really knew what he was doing and from 12-1 was a hip hop section for all the teens and “young people? and we loved that! Grinding galore!

Overall Opinion: The Mariner was an awesome vacation, clearly characterized by the title of Best Cruise. If anyone has any specific questions about the ship feel free to PM or IM or Email me! Its “Like No Vacation On Earth? so “Get Out There?.

MY RATING

10 out of 5 stars
__________________
Ryan- The Cruise Encyclopedia

Oasis of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas
Enchantment of the Seas
Monarch of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas
Sovereign of the Seas
Fantasy
Sensation
Fascination
Carnival Glory
Carnival Valor
Carnival Conquest
Cunard Queen Mary 2
Disney Magic/Wonder
Cruise Total as of March 2012: 100 Cruises
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old June 28th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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Default [b]Cruise Review: Sovereign of the Seas June 18, 2007[/b]

Cruise Review For June 2007

Ship: Sovereign of the Seas

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Number of nights: 4

Itinerary:

Day 1- Port Canaveral, Florida
Day 2- Coco Cay, Bahamas
Day 3- Nassau, Bahamas
Day 4- At Sea

I just returned from a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas onboard the M/V Sovereign of the Seas, and learned that the ship has many areas in which they can improve the experience for their guests. For those of you who are reading this and immediately assuming that this will be just another bashing review, let me assure you that such is not the case. I have come to expect highly of Royal Caribbean and personally feel that there is much that they can improve upon onboard the M/V Sovereign of the Seas.

Boarding: My family and I reached the terminal at Port Canaveral just after 11:45am on Monday June 18, 2007. We were directed to pull to the 2nd side of the luggage terminal and were pleasantly surprised at the speediness of the crew despite the massive amount of cars traveling through the small luggage terminal. After tagging our luggage, due to our last minute booking, our porter added it to the stack of luggage ready to board the 73k ton Sovereign of the Seas and off we were to pay up the $48.00 charge to park for our 4 day adventure. After parking and assembling all members of our troop, we proceeded to the entrance to the terminal where we moved smoothly through security and upstairs to a seemingly packed boarding and registration area. Now here is the advantage to booking a higher cabin and/or in our case being Diamond cruisers. Our side of the terminal had approximately 400 people waiting in line according to the pier hostess, however, we moved to the front of the entire pack thanks to a magical little sheet of paper provided by the Crown and Anchor society. I highly recommend any returning Royal Caribbean cruisers apply for this complimentary rewards program. After a speedy check in and a bypass of the gangway pictures, of which we have several of the same one, we had our SeaPasses activated and proceeded onto the Sovereign of the Seas.

The Ship: A bit of background research will show potential cruisers onboard the Sovereign, that it is currently the oldest ship in the fleet and second smallest preceded only by the Nordic Empress/Empress of the Seas. The Sovereign of the Seas was commissioned and put into service officially in January of 1988. This shows that the ship is now over 19 and one half years old. Unfortunately, unlike Royal Caribbean’s other dating ships, the Sovereign has seemingly been allowed to fall deeper and deeper into a state of despair. From the outside, the Sovereign looks quite clean and updated with the exception of the ugly teal detailing that is unique to my knowledge, only to this ship. One will notice, as soon as they enter the Centrum lobby that this ship came from the magical 80s and shows characteristics similar to those of her Carnival counterparts the M/S Fantasy and Celebration in the form of large amounts of gold paneling. While this décor can add greatly to the aesthetics and appeal of a ship, the gold and other metals onboard the Sovereign are overdue for a major cleaning. I will give the crew of the ship credit as they do seem to do as much as is in their power to keep the massive amounts of shining metal clean and smudge free. I can’t add up the number of times I’ve been headed to my cabin at 3am and seen a miniature army of cabin stewards, deck hands and anyone else still awake, polishing and scrubbing handrails. Another thing to note when you first board the ship is the piece of artwork in the Centrum lobby. The clock is one of the original pieces of art found onboard the Sovereign. My primary concern with the Sovereign of the Seas was the ever obvious and present garbage that littered the ship. The area surrounding the teen facilities, back deck and basketball courts was filthy by the third day. It was littered with napkins, bottles, cans and other assorted items of garbage. I understand an occasional piece, and think that it is unfortunate that people trash a vessel, but it is the job of the cleaning and maintenance crews onboard to keep the areas of the ship clean. In addition, the Sovereign is one of the few ships I’ve been on that has not yet replaced its blue indoor/outdoor carpet covered decks with teak wood. This material gets soggy and VERY Slippery when wet, not to mention rather nasty when people spill melted frozen drinks, suntan oil and other various unpleasant liquids on it. The temperature was another issue that the crews onboard seemed to have an issue with. The ship was warm-hot in all areas for the better part of the cruise. Constantly, maintenance engineers would have their head stuck up in holes in the ceiling trying to fix something that probably hasn’t actually worked in 10 years. Finally, and I promise this is my last “*****-out? for this section, the smell on this ship was not only present, pungent and putrid, but it was EVERYWHERE. The entire ship, at one time or another smelled like the unmentionable fluid that runs through its sewage system. The plumbing on the ship is supposedly being replaced during each cruise, which A. contributes to the smell but also B. Tells me that there is some plumbing that has been here since the ship was built in 1986/87/88. If you believe that this ship was fully renovated as the website and brochures state, then you might want to re-consider what you are reading.

The Food: The food onboard the Sovereign of the Seas was less than satisfactory, in the spectrum of what I’ve come to expect from Royal Caribbean. I’ll outline the dining experiences by venue below:

The Windjammer/Jade: This became the most popular eating establishment after the first night of the cruise and had the most tolerable food on the ship. The food in the Windjammer was actually better than I had expected. The menu changed daily for both lunch and dinner and had themed nights such as Venetian Feast one night and Comfort Food another. The desert bar was also well stocked with food that seemed like effort was put into it. My personal favorite was the Kabobs that they offered on the 3rd night of the cruise along with a selection of other barbeque favorites.

Johnny Rockets:
The food here was on par with the rest of the ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The problem was actually getting it. I went with a group of my friends on the sea day and we sat through 2 rounds of 3 different songs (6 total) from the Johnny Rockets production team. I swear our waiter spent more time dancing than cooking and serving. But none the less we had a great time and had the opportunity to talk and get to know one another and when the food finally made its way to our table, it was very good.

Illusions Dining Room: This was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire dining experience onboard the ship. I have come to look forward to Royal Caribbean’s intriguing and exotic menu items and their excellent formal cuisine. Our family had the early seating at 6:00pm (another option was at 8:30pm) and had lucky table number 001! Well it wasn’t quite so lucky. We were right practically in the server’s station and spent the better part of the evening yelling over the clashing dishes and banter in languages I’ve never heard of. I was surprised to find that the Sovereign of the Seas does not offer a Lobster and/or Surf and Turf night on either of its 3 or 4 night sailings. This is a first for me. I’m not a big seafood or shellfish fan but its just principle that you order lobster on lobster night! The “Captain’s Dinner? on formal night consisted of a Fillet Of Beef, not to be confused with Fillet Mignon and a variety of sides and salads. I opted for an alternative menu item which wasn’t much better than the horrid looking slab of meat served to the rest of my family and called a “Fillet of Beef?. I will, however, give credit to our waiter, and assistant waiter, and even the headwaiter who were extremely polite and offered us anything they could possibly provide to make up for the less than quality food that was out of their hands. We only ate in the dining room ¼ nights.

Sorrento’s Pizzeria: I don’t feel the need to elaborate on the quality of the food here. It was average. Carnival’s pizza is better. Lol

Ben and Jerry’s/Latte-Tudes: I will admit that the ice cream was excellent and a nice treat at the end of the sea day. The coffee was excellent and much better than the coffee that sat in the machines 24/7 on pool deck 11. Mt only concern was the crazy woman who swore she would get fired if she sold me a coke when I had a soda package sticker on my card. Oh well, some people are just nuts! Gotta love them!

Room Service: The room service onboard was an absolute lifesaver! The food was of excellent quality and made me wonder, why they didn’t serve this food on the buffets or in the dining room. Like clockwork, my mom and I ordered cheese, sandwiches and a hamburger for myself whenever we stumbled into the cabin somewhere around 3-4am. A+ on the room service food!

Coke® Fountain Packages: For anyone who isn’t familiar with this program, every Royal Caribbean offers an unlimited soda, juice, water and tea package featuring Coke® products. (Juice, water and tea are always free). The cost is $4.00 per day for children 17 and under and is $6.00 per day for adults 18+. The price also includes a commemorative RCI/Coke Tumbler Cup for use on the ship and at home. If you are an avid or social consumer of soft drinks, I highly recommend purchasing the package, as the cost of a canned coke product onboard is around $2.00. On a 4 day cruise, as a teen, if you drink 8 cans of soda, you’ve just spent the same as having an unlimited package. Please note however, that the package does not include sodas in your stateroom fridge, or from room service.

Our Stateroom: We booked a balcony Jr. Suite (actually we booked an oceanview, Crown and Anchor upgraded us) located on deck 10. Our cabin, 1050, was ideally located as the first cabin on the hallway right next to the elevators, 5 steps from the stairs and 20 to the Windjammer Buffet. YES!!! The cabin itself, while not huge, provided sufficient space for our belongings and persons for the small amount of time we were in there. The shower does not have a barrier around it on this ship however so be warned if you throw down a towel or your clothes on the floor, then shower, there is a 99.9% chance it is going to become a sponge! Otherwise, however the bathroom, while dated, was clean, though we did receive some funky smells on occasion. Our cabin steward, Betty was amazing and polite and of course complimented each day with a lovely, gourmet RCI Mint Chocolate and a towel contraption each evening!

Public Areas: The Sovereign of the Seas is home to several RCI staple public lounges such as Boleros, a Latin themed lounge that offers spicy martinis at their bar, live music nightly from a combo band and pianist, and salsa lessons on the sea day of 4 night cruises. In addition to Boleros, there is the Nautical themed Schooner bar where a concert quality pianist plays requests nightly on a full sized grand piano and the bar compliments your evening with a ship drink of the day such as the Bahama Mama! Casino Royale is another action packed hot spot for hardcore gamers and first timers alike! With over 200 exciting slot machines and table games including Caribbean Stud Poker named after me, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps and 3 card, there is sure to be something to keep u a winner. For adults looking for a night in the club or some karaoke fun, Voltage, the Sovereign’s nightclub rocks late into the night with their DJ spinnin the latest hits as well as select favorites from the 70s, 80s, and 90s! The poolside band, Extra also keeps your body rockin’ with a variety of Caribbean classics with their own true style.

Entertainment: The entertainment options on this ship were sadly not what I had expected. The Sovereign of the Seas still offers the same 2 shows that they have had since 2004, Dancing Through the Movies and Flashback. IN addition, the comedian was… nevermind and El Gaucho was a sad attempt at a variety entertainer. Flashback and Dancing through the movies are fine shows but the Follies Theater on the Sovereign is so small and dated that I find it hard for any performer to work on their stage. However, the cast of the productions, well referred to as “Your Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers? make up for any flaws and size limitations through their bright and energetic personalities and high energy throughout the shows.

Shopping: The galleria shopping plaza is one of the smaller ones I’ve seen but of course offers up the best in fine jewelry, liquors, tobacco products, gifts, souvenirs and sundries and all Duty and Tax free. Shoppers should definitely check out the Inch of Gold products. I personally, have 3 chains from them, 2 silver and a 14k gold one as well as the matching bracelets. These moderately priced and highly styled pieces of jewelery are an excellent invest ment PLUS as I’ve well discovered, if they get even smudged or slightly tarnished, Inch Of Gold Inc will replace them free on any of their participating ships which include all ships in the RCI and Carnival Line!

Activities: The activities, primarily led by our cruise director Casey were classics and were well executed. Some of the other activities also included the “Cruise Director’s Staff? made up of social hosts, Adventure Ocean staff, and Teen specialists and were also well put together and coordinated. Some of these included the Sail Away party where everyone learned how to swing their engine, the Caribbean Deck party on night 3, the Men’s International Sexy Legs Contest and Hairy Chest Contest. The coordinators of these activities, as well as the participants were a load of fun and made the cruise just that much better.


Pools and Recreation
: The Sovereign of the Seas is home to 2 pools, a forward and an aft pool. The forward pool is supposedly reserved for guests 18 and older, but that hardly works out. Both are small but kept clean and usually packed! The Sovereign also has 2 whirlpools located between the forward and aft pools which they refer to as their “Solarium?. For guests who have traveled on Radiance, Voyager or Freedom class ships, do not confuse this with the solariums that they have on these larger ships. The Sovereign also has a 4 sided rock wall located on sports deck number 12 aft (back of the ship). The wall is open primarily in the evenings and only the front and rear are open because of the intense sun and heat on the sides of the wall. I don’t know why they think the sun affects that more but whatever floats their boat. In addition the Sovereign has improved “The Back Deck? also known as their sports court. This plays host to a ½ court basketball court, a pair of shuffleboard courts and a ping pong table. Surprisingly, the materials for all of these games were available all the time, a first in my cruise experience.

Service: Though I do feel that there is much work to be done on this ship, the staff have been polite and well receiving of all of the guests onboard the Sovereign of the Seas. My gratitude goes to our cabin steward, head waiter, waiter and assistant waiter as well as all of the other staff and crew that made our vacation an overall success. I would like to personally give thanks and a shout-out to Kristy, the teen host for the 15-17 age group onboard the Sovereign. She is BY FAR the best teen director I have ever had on any ship, on any line and even bailed me and 3 of my friends out of security’s grasp when we got busted for playing a game outside of the teen club. Kristy aka Kristy Kreme, YOU ROCK!

Teen program: The teen program onboard the Sovereign of the Seas includes both Fuel and The Living Room, located on Deck 11 Aft. As a part of the Adventure Ocean program, the clubs offer come-as-you-please activities as well as a full nightclub at night for teens 12-17. The ages on this ship were pretty lax which in my opinion was a good thing. It allowed my younger cousin who, though she’s 14, is much more mature than the kids in her age group and is now in high school so her being able to participate, hassle free in the 15-17 age group was a help. As I’ve said before the teen director was great. The teen director for the 12-14 age group, Neuman also known as NEMO was also a load of fun and one heck of a deck party dancer! The teen compass was packed with a lot of cool activities that teens actually went to such as the dating game, casino night and Gotcha!. Rumor might even have it that this teen director has been known to organize games of spin the bottle but u didn’t hear that from me ! Overall, the teen program, club and directors on this ship are excellent and make it a pleasure cruising, despite the less than gigantic club!

Ports of Call:


Coco Cay, Bahamas: I personally skipped this port just because of the hassle of getting up early, stumbling down to the depths of hell in the hull of the ship then boarding a modified dinghies aka a Tender Ship only to be carted to an island where they charge you to breathe. Coco Cay, while tropical and beautiful is really a “Once You Go, You Know? destination. The activities on the island can be fun but are in my opinion, overpriced. For those out there, however seeking an adventure in water-sports, this is the place to do it. Though you can do waters-sports in Nassau, you stand a better chance of surviving here on Coco Cay where everything is owned by the cruise line. Adventure seekers can give their best effort at kayaking through the crystal clear waters of the north Caribbean, or fly high above the Atlantic in a breathtaking parasail ride. If you feel the need for speed, be sure to check out the JetSkis/Waverunners for rent or take one of the tours. Also, you can go for a rough ride on the thrilling banana boat or chill at the AquaPark! Whatever you want, they have it. Not adventure bound; no problem, grab a chaise lounge or rent a floating mat and relax on miles of sandy white beach. One last thing, before you return to your floating home at sea, be sure to try the island drink special, the Coco Loco. You can get one from any bar or any of the crazy Bohemians shouting “Coco Loco, Coco Loco, Very Yummy in the Tummy?. CocoCay is excellent for first time cruisers but experienced sailors will appreciate the calmness of the ship during a port of call.

Nassau, Bahamas: Nassau is almost a staple and required stop for any short 3-5 night cruise. This tiny capitol island in the ring of islands known as the Bahamas is home to more tourist traps than the entire state of Florida! Nassau is a trinket shopper’s paradise with everything from duty free liquor, fine jewelry, toys and more. The ship has certain recommended shops such as Diamonds International and Del Sol which in some cases are reputable but in others, just jack up prices. Jewelry is a common purchase for tourists visiting these islands. Enjoy yourself and take advantage of the special discounts and low prices that the islands offer but be wary of people ripping you off. For high $ purchases, I’d recommend going through a ship preferred store. Many tourists and cruisers like going to Atlantis Beach resort in Nassau/Paradise Island. Its another place, like CocoCay, Once you’ve seen it, theres nothing else to go for. Atlantis is gorgeous but getting around as a visitor is HELL! Forget about using the pools or beach or going into the aquarium unless you are a guest, on a tour or have a rather expensive wristband. In my opinion, Atlantis is overrated and does not give a cruiser an accurate view of the true Bohemian lifestyle. For those seeking a high quality destination that still has that true Caribbean feel, grab a cab to Cable Beach and Crystal Palace Casino at the Wyndham Nassau resort. This property offers all that you can imagine and you’re welcome to use its facilities as a guest of the hotel would. Crystal Palace Casino offers gaming in a relaxed atmosphere. The Seaside Buffet offers some of the best food I’ve ever tasted in Nassau, and the pools, swim up bars, slides and Jacuzzis are open for your use. If you missed the watersports on Coco Cay, no problem, there are vendors up and down the beach offering JetSki rides, parasailing adventures and more. Just remember, never take the first price they give you. $45 should get u about ½ an hour on a jet ski, not $60. Another staple attraction in Nassau is Senor Frogs, located at the pier. This wild bar is known for its shots, crazy entertainment and drinking age of bar height. Lookin to lose some money, clothes and cares, come to Senor Frogs bar, Grille and Clothesline!

Debarkation: It’s a sad time when you have to pack your bags and hit the road again, but one can’t live this fantasy forever. We opted to have our luggage carried off by the staff for us this time. Make sure you remember to leave out some clothes for the next morning! Then pack your bags, tag them with the provided debarkation tags and leave them outside of your stateroom door by 12-1 at the latest. Then the next morning, when your color is called, you will exit the ship and have your seapass scanned one more time! One last *Bleedunk* through the machine. Debarkation was a breeze. We exited the ship around 9:30am, were through customs by 9:40 and were in our car out of the terminal by 9:50. The process of unloading just under 2,000 passengers is a great task and I have to give it to the staff of the Sovereign, they kept it moving fast and efficient.

Overall: My experience on the Sovereign wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from Royal Caribbean, but the issues presented in the above review were not so much that of the fault of the crew or staff but rather of the ship itself. Its getting old and sometimes things just need a wakeup call. As far as the food, I’m not sure what to say about that other than, I really hope the fix it! I’ll give the ship an overall rating of 2/10, the crew a rating of 7/10, the activities and entertainment a 6/10 and the overall cruise a

5/10 rating.

I hope this review has been helpful to anyone who has made it this far. If you have comments or sugguestions, feel free to contact me by PM, email at Ryanspecialevent@msn.com, AIM at TheCruiseKing or Yahoo at Djcarolina15. Best wished to all and happy sailing!
__________________
Ryan- The Cruise Encyclopedia

Oasis of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas
Enchantment of the Seas
Monarch of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas
Sovereign of the Seas
Fantasy
Sensation
Fascination
Carnival Glory
Carnival Valor
Carnival Conquest
Cunard Queen Mary 2
Disney Magic/Wonder
Cruise Total as of March 2012: 100 Cruises
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old November 23rd, 2007, 10:02 PM
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Ship: Freedom of the Seas

Cruise line: Royal caribbean

Itenerary

day 1: Miami
Day 2: at sea
Day 3: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 4: St.Thomas USVI
day 5: St. Maarten
Day 6: at Sea
Day 7: at sea
Day 8: Miami

Food: the food wasn't as good as i expected, but the specialty resteraunts were outstanding. Galelio's dining room was ok, it was nothing compared to Carnival. The windjammer was up to normal expectations.

Why the cruise was not as good as usuial: Freedom was in the middle of a crew shift so half the crew didont know what was going on, and this greatly disrupted the expectations of passengers. When we booked this cruise it was three times carnivals price. We expected great things. We could have had 2 suates on carnival for the price of a balcony stateroom on royal caribbean.

Teen club: allthough the facilities were nice, the group of teens was a major dissapointment. there were verry few and the ones that were in the teen club were wasted and throwing up in the bathroom, or laying on the couches. it was a nightmare the teen club fuel was verry nice, but lacking updated music playlists. The living room was cool place to chill. The teen list of activities was nothing compared to CCL, i expected way more. i found myself wishing that the ship was back in miami and the cruise was over oftenly. The teen staff was rude, they shut down fuel early and never were nice, but allways verry airogant.



GO WITH CARNIVAL is what i would have to say after this cruise. Im giving RCI one more shot to empress me on Liberty of the Seas, but after that nightmare for that much money it was ridiculous









SUMMARY


The flight to miami was verry enjoyable. we flew over the port and saw Carnival Tiumph, and Liberty of the Seas docked. Miami had a nice airport, baggage claim was fairly simple to navigate. After that we hoppid in our taxi and headed for the Holiday in At the Port of miami (our tab for the taxi ride was about 22 dollars). This hotel is a must for cruisers. we had a window looking right at the port and the bayside market wich was just across the streat and featured lots of shops, live music and entertainment. it is a taste of miami and a must see. it also had tour boats departing from it that take you around biscayne bay to see the cruise ships and the houses of the rich and famous ( Shaq, Rosie Odonnel, and the inventor of the "happy pill"! . After listening to the various bands, we decided to head back to the hotel. This was the week that Liberty of the Seas had a neuro virus onborad so the sailing was delayed till 10 pm. Wich thanks to our hotel room view we were able to see her sail into the ddark sky, but we could see the blue anchor symbol on her funnel untill she got obout 4 miles ofshore. The next morning when i woke up, i flung the blinds openn and saw Freedom of the Seas standing tall in the port towering over the bridge and in the port was also the Carnival Valor. this was our first time to sail with royal caribbean, and we felt a little cheated because on the website everything says 2pm boarding, when we soon figured out that people were gettting onboard at 11. we payed as much as they did and felt like we could have been better informed. Embarkation was terrible (much better process with Carnival) due to a computer system failure. the terminal was nice but nowhere near as good as Port Canaveral or Tampa. When we finally got onboard, we headed to our cabin, and then to te lido for some lunch. after the muster drill, we headed to the bow to watch us sail out of miami with the Valor leading they way in front of us. After tht we headed to our cabin to get ready for dinner. we were suprised to see our table intamately placed infront of the huge window! dinner was goos, but not as goos as carnival. we had a slight problem with our waiter getting our drinks filled. the evening was excellent and fuel was a little dull but thats expected for any teen hangout on the first night. day 2 was at sea wich was smoothe as glass. we did not have a problem getting a deck chair. and as many people as this ship holds, it was verry spacious and never overcrowded. after a day of hanging with freinds and chilling out in the "living room" teen lounge, and a sroll on the promenade wich offers Ben&Jerrys, Sorrentos Pizza, Bull and Bear pub, Cafe Promenade, Boleors, Vintages, "get out there", and various other shopping stations set up in the middle of the street. The dinner was good, the staff threw themselves to make sure we were having fun, but as on every cruise u come acrosss airrogance in crew members. the teen staff was ok. they were not as good as carnivals. that night i learned that when they threw us out of the disco afer only 45 munite, and no, nobody was doing anything illegal, he simpily "was tired". as i recall in club 02 on ccl the teenstaff go ut of there way to make sure we are happy and often put in extera hours. the next day we arrived in San Juan at about 3 oclock. the fort was cool but many sections were shut down for meightance purposes. good shopping, but no the best beaches. we went through our usuial night but we actuialy got an hour in fuel. the next day we were in St. thomas. we took a snorkeling trip wich was nice and an island tour wich we enjoyed but as expected a crazt driver. Tonight was different however, it was teen bling party night in the crypt adn that was verry fun. Thursday we arrived in our last port of call, St. maarten. this os one of my favorite islands in the caribbean. it had great shopping, and i got to ride jetskies alond side the ships! it felt like i was in the RCCL commercial. the next two days at sea were funn, and i basicly hung out and did crazt things with my freinds all day. . on the last night we stayed up till back in miami and then dissembarkation was a nightmare! overall i would give this ship and cruise 4 stars. just my advice although freedom was nice ccl is still my favorite
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PAST CRUISES

Carnival Miracle 2005- Western Caribbean
Carnival Glory 2006- Eastern Caribbean
Freedom of the Seas 2007- Eastern Caribbean
Carnival Fantasy 2008- Western Caribbean
Liberty of the Seas 2008- Western Caribbean
Carnival Liberty 08-09 New years cruise
Carnival Valor 2009- Western Caribbean
Carnival Dream 09-10 new years cruise
Freedom of the Seas 2010- western caribbean
Carnival Conquest 2011- western caribbean
Allure of the Seas 2011- western caribbean

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Old January 23rd, 2008, 12:43 AM
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Hey guys, I'm gonna attempt to cover a bit of everything in this little review. Forgive me if I forget something, cuz its kinda 11:45 at night.

Ok so in tradition Ryan Review Style Here we go:

Hey guys, most of you know I just got back from a 3 night bahamas cruise onboard the M/V Sovereign of the Seas. It has BY FAR, achieved the ranking of Best Cruise Ever and did so within the first night.

Itinerary:
Day 1: Port Canaveral, Florida
Day 2: Nassau, Bahamas
Day 3: CocoCay, Bahamas*
Day 4: Port Canaveral, Florida

Day 1: We boarded the ship around 12:00 pm, after an overall easygoing morning. We were welcomed back by the staff at the door and the security guard at the metal detector! We then proceeded to pick up our cards from the desk. They had my Crown and Anchor membership ALL wrong, and had me listed as a 21 year old (no holes, no shadow, no M1 on my card, I had complete freedom) and as a Gold Member, which pissed me off because we're Diamonds. Anyhow, no big deal. We had lunch up in the windjammer and it was very good, especially compared to Mariner's buffet. Then we headed down to our last minute cabin 2518 and surprisingly, even being in the bottom of the ship, there was no wet carpet, unpleasant smell etc. the whole cruise. Our cabin steward, rasheed was pretty chill as well. After mustering and learning about the Convention for Safety of Life At Sea, The International Maritime Law and RCI's Guest Conduct Policy, I went up to deck 11 for the first of many great parties. The deck party kicked off well with a great dj and a group of girls who were quite friendly, a dance company, and there was some "fun" dancing at the deck party which was PACKED. I've never had a deck party like that in January/February. Afterwards I unpaked, made up my gameplan, ate dinner etc. and headed to Fuel. The teen director, David, or Dave, was wayy chill and he and I got off to a good start together. He'll be onboard SOS until April. I started talking/flirting with one girl in particular on one of the couches in The Living Room when we played Two Truths and One Lie, and again when we went to the conference room to play the Quest. Anyhow, we came back and got the party started, despite the old music, we had a great time and about 1:30 am, the girl from the couch, Mary and her friend Heather asked me and another guy to walk them to their rooms. So I went down to two, not quite knowing what to expect and when I said goodbye, she kissed me and I was kinda taken aback but knew it was gonna be a great cruise if this was night 1. It did get better tho, their parents let them back out for another hour so from 1:30-2:45 was spent making out on the back of the ship (good spot btw, deck 9 aft).

Day 2: We were in Nassau and since the weather was so nice, being sunny but with a nice cool breeze, that i decided to bake and listen to my iPod rather than get off the ship. My mom went to cable beach to gamble lol. About 1 I ran into the girls and shortly thereafter Justin (other guy) and we kinda split off into pairs to sit, talk makeout w/e etc. It was kinda awkward the first night, meeting someone like that just because it usually doesn't happen till the last night on 3 nighters. That evening, after formal dinner, I dressed out for deck party and got both of the girls LEI-d . We went out to the pool deck and had a great time, doing the line dances, cupid shuffle, soulja boy, and some ghetto booty dancing, for which i got an honorary mention by the DJ. Then we headed back into fuel, to find it deserted, so we went back down to 9 again and talked a little while and watched Nassau as we sailed away, then of course making out etc. (like i said, fun cruise)

Day 3: We were scheduled to stop at CocoCay but at 8am we heard *ding dong "Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking from the bridge. Given the unfortunate inclement weather conditions, we will not be able to safely carry out tendering operations to CocoCay and therefore I regret to tell you we will be having to cancel the stop at CocoCay." I sat up and was like YESSS. Well too bad it was COLD AS HECK and cloudy, so when I ran into Mary, we hijacked the comforter from my bed and just kinda chilled on the back deck together. That evening, we had Dusk and it was pretty gangsta. I dyed my hair Neon Green and brought in my laptop to DJ with and it really picked the club up. I'd never seen so many people in Fuel as that night. Nothing like the blacklight night to get people going. I also brought with me, Glow Paint, Necklaces and some other cool glow in the dark giveaways. Something about having green hair that glows, attracts people to you so I was in heaven with a crowd around me whenever i wasnt in the DJ Booth! The ship was doing some serious rocking though. At 1, i walked with Mary back down to her cabin and went through the final night goodnight process and it really hurt to leave. I hadn't experienced that on a 3 night cruise before. I was lucky though to see her again for a little while the morning we got off. It was the best 3 days of my life.

Food: The food on the Sovereign of the Seas was exceptional on this trip, with the exception of the dining room, which was no big deal because i wanted out to go back to hooking up anyway.

Service: Service was very good as well, except for the little bi*ch at the crown and anchor desk who swore to me that i had been on 3 cruises and acused me of lying when i brought her 20 something seapass cards from different cruises.

People: Obviously, meeting someone you connect with right away isn't something that happens on every cruise, so its really special when it happens and something i'll never forget. Aside from that, in general, all the people got along well, and this was a rare drama-free (for the most part) vacation. And for the couple of you who have heard the detailed story, the last night was INSANELY AWESOME!

Having earned the Best Cruise title, I think we're planning on going back on the Sovereign of the Seas over the Sensation in Feb.
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Ryan- The Cruise Encyclopedia

Oasis of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas
Enchantment of the Seas
Monarch of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas
Sovereign of the Seas
Fantasy
Sensation
Fascination
Carnival Glory
Carnival Valor
Carnival Conquest
Cunard Queen Mary 2
Disney Magic/Wonder
Cruise Total as of March 2012: 100 Cruises
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Old April 6th, 2008, 08:42 PM
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Hey guys! I am recently back from my cruise on the Jewel of the Seas on March 21-30

We flew from cleveland to orlando, then to ft lauderdale. we got through security and everything with no issues... even though it was easter weekend.

The ship was beautiful once we actually got onboard. It took us a while because they only had one machine that scanned the sea pass cards up and running, the other ones were broken for some reason.

The food was really delicious, I almost always ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer and they always had a variety of foods to eat and try. I ate dinner every night in the dining room it was always delicious, our waiters kept us entertained and showed us a lot of cool tricks.... the only thing I would possibly change was the fact that we had later seating. Alot of my friends had earlier seatings.

The teen area and fuel was not so good on this ship. No one EVER danced in fuel....the teen area was basically all filled with younger teens playing rock band.

Our stateroom was nice! We had two, my parents stayed in one that had a balcony and me and my sister shared an inside cabin. Our stateroom attendant would always leave us extra chocolates!

I felt that the service onboard this ship was great. Not once would I have complained about anything, and our cruise director "auntie clo" was a hilarious woman.

The only thing that I wish were better onboard this ship would be the Teen Activities, but trust me the teens all found something to do ...... Everything else on the ship was top notch!

I would definitly cruise on the Jewel again !
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Old May 8th, 2008, 07:52 PM
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Default Carnival Fantasy April 28-May 3, 2008


Cruise Review For April 2008

Ship: Carnival Fantasy

Number of nights: 5

Itinerary:

Day 1- New Orleans, LA
Day 2- At Sea
Day 3- Progreso, Mexico
Day 4- Cozumel, Mexico
Day 5- At Sea


Embarkation: My first view of the ship was at 9:42am. By 10:02am we paid for parking at the terminal parking garage and the porter was taking our luggage. The check in process began at 10:30am sharp and we were checked in and ready to go by 10:42am. We were soon after informed that boarding would not begin until 11:30am and we were to sit in the 4th row due to a wedding party. At 11:25am the wedding party were beginning to board so by 11:33am my photo had been taken for my sail and sign card and I was continuing up the gangway to my home for the next week. I was asked to show my drivers license several times along with my sail and sign card. At check in of course, but when I got in line for my photo for my sail and sign card, once on the gangway, & once again coming aboard the ship. I first stepped foot on the ship at 11:42am exactly 2 hours after my first view of the ship. So basically it was a complete breeze no trouble at all and my parents voted Port of New Orleans their favorite to date for embarkation.

The Ship:When I first stepped into the atrium I was in awe. I love it when I first step foot on a ship. I get this overwhelming joy. There hasn't been a ship yet that I have not absolutely loved. The lobby wasn't exactly something I'm use to due to I have been on bigger Carnival ships, but it was gorgeous in it's own way. I was greeted by friendly crew members and alot of smiles. I did get lost several times within the first 2 hours of being onboard. The first thing that my family done was eat of course. The welcome aboard buffet on the Lido deck was delicious. My parents wandered off to purchase 3 fountain fun cards, one for my dad and then the other two were for my sister & I. Overall the ship was very clean and the crew extremely friendly. We were not able to go to our cabins until 1:30pm sharp. Once in the cabin my sister and I just kinda crashed for almost an hour from pure exhaustion.

The Food:The food onboard the Fantasy was top notch. Everything was always easily accessed at all times. The lido buffet was always delicious at whatever meal you would like to attend on the lido. The Jubilee Dining Room dinner seating was at 5:45pm at table number 257. The odd table numbers were on the blue team and the even were the red team. Each night at dinner I always tried to order something different or something that I haven't ever tried before. Each night I was always very pleased with the selections that I chose. The head waitress Viktorija was always ready with a smile and always had a suggestion for each meal. I do suggest if you are stuck on deciding between two items ask your waitstaff they are more than happy to give their opinion. Breakfast I always had in the sit down breakfast in the Celebration Dining Room and it was delicious! Lunch I usually went for pizza or at the deli. Each had a great menu to choose from. The food on the ship was excellent no bad reviews here.

Fountain Fun Packages: For anyone who isn’t familiar with this program, it offers an unlimited soda, juice, water and tea package featuring Coke® products. (Juice, water and tea are always free). The cost is $4.00 per day for children 17 and under and is $6.00 per day for adults 18+. If you are an avid or social consumer of soft drinks, I highly recommend purchasing the package, as the cost of a canned coke product onboard is around $2.00. The Carnival mugs were an extra charge of $4.75.

Our Stateroom: We booked an interior cabin on the main deck and were upgraded to a interior on the empress deck. Our cabin number was E205. Our cabin steward was very friendly and he always seemed to be in the hall working on someone's cabin. My sister and I shared the cabin and was very spacious for the two of us. We had two large suitcases 2 garmet bags and one carry on. The cabin has 3 closets which were put to very great use and 5 small drawers in the vanity. Each night we would enter our room and there would be a towel animal of some kind. There was actually 3 mornings of the cruise that after breakfast I would return back to my room to get whatever needed for the day and there would be another towel animal on my bed with some extra mints. This was always happily welcomed in our cabin we just love those animals

Entertainment: The entertainment options on this ship were more than expected. The welcome aboard show was wonderful. The comedian was absolutely hilarious. He was definitely from the south as you could immediately tell by his accent. He had the entire room laughing from the beginnging to the end. The other 2 shows were wonderful, we really enjoyed both of them.

Activities: The activities were excellent in my opinion. Some of these included the Sail Away party where everyone learned that to be outgoing and make a fool of themselves was the only way to go. The Deck party on night 4 was so funny, & the Men’s Hairy Chest Contest. The coordinators of these activities, as well as the participants were a load of fun and made the cruise just that much better.


Pools and Recreation: The Carnival Fantasy has 2 pools, a forward and an aft pool. Both are small but kept clean and usually packed! The Fantasy also has 3 whirlpools located between the forward and aft pools. There was a miniture golf course, ping pong table, basket ball court, and Shuffle board. You were required to go to the lido deck mid ship to retrieve any of the equipment needed for each game, and also required to give them your sail and sign card in case something happened to the equipment.

Service: My thanks goes to our cabin steward, head waiter, waiter and assistant waiter as well as all of the other staff and crew that made our vacation an overall success. I absolutely loved my teen director Timmy. He was always ready to do whatever to make the 7 teens in the club have a great time.

Teen program: The activities started around 1pm for club o2. There was only 20 teens onboard and only 6-9 teens in the club each night. It stayed open everynight until midnight. Very few attended the activities in the day so we improvised each time. Timmy was excellent at making the activities so much fun considering the number of people he had to deal with. Between the 2 of us we got everyone comfortable and well associated with one another. Club o2 is my favorite part of the entire cruise I always have such a great time and I will be really upset when I finally turn 18

Ports of Call:

Progreso, Mexico: At first I was very unsure to whether I was even going to get off in this port. I was there once 10 years ago and that visit was enough for me. Well my mom decided that she wanted to do a shore excursion, well 90% of them are about 5-8 hours long. I really didn't want to be in the port for that long. She finally picked an excursion that was approximately 3 1/2- 4 hours long. We went on the buggy beach break. That was one of the best excursions I have ever taken. We went driving off road for about 3 hours. Afterwards we went back to the private beach were there was an open bar and 2 pools. It was very relaxing and extremely fun. I do suggest if you are going to do any shopping do it on the pier right before you head to get back on the ship.

Cozumel, Mexico: This was my 5th visit to Cozumel. My mom once again booked an excursion. We went on the Playa Mia beach break deluxe. Personally this was not my favorite excursion I have been on. There was jet ski's that was there for your use at a $100 an hour. The water was beautiful as usual. The snorkeling was ok you had to swim out about 200 yards to even see much of any sealife, and it was about 15-20 feet deep so get a life vest before swimming out there. The water activities such as kayaking, peddleboats, hobiecats, and water mats/rafts were to your use at any time after signing a waiver. There was also a iceburg rock climbing wall in the water, and this was a good swim as well I would say about 100 yards out and the water was about 10 foot. The water trampoline was about 50 yards out and once again the water was around 10 foot, but the trampoline was unavailable for use due to a rip in the trampoline. There was also an open bar and buffet included in the price for the deluxe package. After spending a while there we caught a bus back to the dock. We had about 2 1/2 hours to shop before heading back to the ship. We docked within walking distance of downtown shopping and Senor Frogs. Overall in Cozumel we had a great time even though the shore excursion wasn't a favorite.

Debarkation: It’s a sad time when you have to pack your bags and head for home. My parents decided that we were going to do the self-assist debarkation. Wow do I regret that..haha. My suitcase weighed probably as much as I do, plus I still had my carry-on suitcase. So it was difficult for myself and my sister as well. We woke up at around 6am had breakfast in the Celebration Dining Room. The waiters there were extremely prompt. We just got done eating our breakfast when we heard the announcement that we were in the process of being cleared by customs. We headed back to our room and not even 10 minutes later the announcement came over the intercom that the self assist passengers were ready to debark. The floor that we stayed on for the week is the same floor we got on and off the ship. This was extremely easy and fast. They started the debarkation at 7:30am for self assist and we were off the ship and in our vehicle packed and ready to go by 8:30am. Which was not that bad it took around 25 minutes standing in line to go through customs and then 10 minutes at customs. The rest was down hill from there. This was a fast and easy debarkation and very organized.

Overall: My experience on the Carnival Fantasy was excellent. Even though I have been on the larger classes of Carnival's Fun Ships I really enjoyed this ship. The ship wasn't too big and wasn't too small. The crew was friendly and always had a wonderful attitude and always ready to help anyone that had any questions. I loved the Fantasy and enjoyed every minute onboard. The only thing that made me a little upset was the amount of teens. I know Carnival has nothing to do with that but still. I had a great time with the teens that I met and I think that Timmy went over and beyond to make everyone have a great time. I give this cruise a 9 of 10 stars. Great job Carnival
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Past Cruises
Commodor Enchanted Isle of Capri-06.97
Carnival Holiday-10.26.02
Carnival Conquest-02.22.04
Carnival Conquest-02.06.05
Carnival Legend-3.25.06
Royal Caribbean Sovereign OTS-4.16.07
Carnival Fantasy 4.28.08
Carnival Fantasy 10.27.08
Norwegian Pearl 3.13.11
Carnival Elation 11.14.11

Future Cruises
Carnival Ecstasy 5.21.12
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