Breldan

Breldan
Third Mate

Joined: 11/01/2015
2
Cruises
2
Reviews
11
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Breldan's Past Cruises

Brilliance of the Seas

April 2016 - Brilliance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Wonderful family cruise

Took this cruise with my husband, in-laws, and my brother and his family.  I've cruised several times on the west coast, but this was my first time to Florida and the Caribbean.  Everything about this trip worked out perfectly.  We all got to Tampa the night before and stayed at the Tahitian Inn, which I would recommend.  It was $150/night, they picked up my brother's family at the airport, we parked our car there for free, and their shuttle took us to the port the next day. Rooms were fine, they have a nice pool with a bar, and the restaurant served an excellent breakfast.  There's even a Starbucks next door.  Embarkation was a breeze, I've never seen it go that quickly.  It actually made me nervous that we were doing something wrong and would get sent back to the beginning, but no, we were on the ship in about fifteen minutes from when we were dropped off. We ate in the Dining Room each night.  The only glitch in the plans I'd made was that they lost the reservations I had made before the cruise so we had to eat at 5:30, but that turned out to be a good thing as we were done with dinner in plenty of time for the 7 o'clock shows.  I always laugh when I see people complain about the food on cruise ships, and wonder where they usually eat.  I've never had a bad meal on a ship and this was no exception.  Our servers were Jaromy and Raveen and we had such a good time with them every night.  They really made it special for us.

 

We didn't do a whole lot of activities onboard, we watched the musical shows and comedy acts, the Love and Marriage and Battle of the Sexes game shows were hilarious, and the music and dancing in the Centrum were excellent.  My inlaws enjoyed the movie theater, and we watched about half of the James Bond movie out by the pool one night.  Played mini golf and ping pong.  Spent a little time in the casino--my husband and mother in law spent a lot of time there and actually came out ahead--a lot of people complain about the smoke, but I didn't find it bothersome.  If you like a late night snack, they serve food late in the solarium.  Mostly I relaxed.  I did get the internet package, I signed up for it onboard and got a discount so it's better to wait.  The service was okay, but too slow for videos.  We carried our luggage off ourselves and were off the ship and on the road by 7:30. All in all it was a perfect vacation.

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Carnival Inspiration

October 2015 - Carnival Inspiration to Mexico

Not so fast to the fun

This was my third time on this particular cruise on the Inspiration to Catalina, so obviously it's a trip I enjoy.  I took my parents and sister with us this time, and since my mom and sister both have back problems caused by arthritis, we purchased the Faster to the Fun package so we wouldn't have to wait in long lines (standing for a long time is difficult for them) could board early, go straight to our rooms, have luggage delivered early, etc. It was the first time I purchased it, but had read reviews from people who'd had good experiences and figured it would be worth the extra cost. And I'm sure it would have except for this particular cruise.  We got to the terminal about ten am, no waiting at check-in, but were told there would be a delay in boarding because of damage done to the ship by the previous cruisers.  Okay.  So we waited.  Explored the Queen Mary for about an hour.  Waited some more.  Got told we could start boarding at one, then that was changed to one-thirty.  We were given a paper that said the delay was due to a charter group, but was told by an employee that 300 passengers were still partying and refusing to leave the ship.  I don't know if that was true, or if the charter had arranged for them to get off later than usual, but it was a huge mess for all of us waiting.  We ended up getting lunch at the little taco truck at the terminal (which was pretty good food, btw).  My parents and sister were very uncomfortable waiting on concrete benches in the heat--which is what I was trying to avoid by buying FttF in the first place.  Finally started boarding about 2:30, and of course the rooms weren't ready yet.  I went straight to Guest Services and asked for a refund for the money spent on Fttf, since I had paid extra for a service I did not receive (got the refund for all of us).  The girl I talked to also offered me a coupon for a free drink which I accepted gladly haha!  Everyone was pretty grumpy about the crappy way the cruise started, but we didn't let it ruin the rest of our vacation.  We had no problems with our food or service.  There was plenty of evidence of the debauchery the night before, mainly cigarette butts EVERYWHERE, all over the decks and staircases which staff hadn't had time to clean up before we came on, but by the next day everything was fine.

 

We had a wonderful day on Catalina, which is the main reason I like this itinerary.  The weather was perfect.  My parents and sister rented a golf cart to explore the island, my husband and I took the trolley to the botanical gardens which we hadn't been to before.  It's a very pretty place and a nice walk--if you have mobility issues probably not the thing to do, it's a steep gravel/dirt path--but we enjoyed hiking up to the memorial and seeing all the different types of cactus.  Beautiful views from the top. For some reason (I heard one employee say "clearance issues", not sure what that meant) we didn't leave Catalina until after ten that night.  A lot of people were grumpy because that meant no casino or fun shops--Carnival lost a lot of money there!--but I enjoyed seeing the island lit up at night.  The later it got, I started hoping there was a problem with the ship and we'd just stay there for a couple days but no luck, the next day we were in Ensenada.

 

I've done Ensenada twice, this time chose to just stay on board. My folks went out to the little market at the terminal but didn't venture out into the city.  One piece of advice for this trip--don't buy any shore excursions for either place through Carnival.  At Catalina you can buy tickets for everything right on the pier, and in Ensenada there is a bus you can get on there at the terminal for three dollars round trip that will take you downtown and you can buy tickets there for half the price.  If you go to La Bufadora, you have to pay for the bathrooms so bring quarters. We just enjoyed the day visiting and watching the dolphins in the harbor.

 

I bought the internet package this time since it's no longer pay-by-the-minute.  I had read that it would be $16/day so I had planned on only buying it for the two days I would spend on the ship.  Once onboard I saw they had a package that was $35 for the whole cruise, so that's what I got.  I didn't have any speed issues, but a few things like videos I couldn't open.

 

We had an early flight home, so we did self-assist and were off the ship and into a cab in about ten minutes.  Much nicer than trying to get on!  All in all, we had a good time.  The food was delicious (I always wonder about people who complain about the food.  Where do they normally eat??)  Everything we had was amazing, the service was excellent, we were very well taken care of the whole time.  We enjoyed our vacation and didn't let the snags ruin anything for us. If you're looking for something negative you will find it everywhere.  I was looking for a relaxing trip in the warm sunshine being catered to and that was what I found.  Looking out my window at the monsoon outside, I'm sure I will take this trip again next winter.

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Breldan's Tips

Key West, Florida - For Key West, I booked the Conch Train and Aquarium tour, at $30/pp it was actually cheaper than buying it independently. I wish we'd had more time in Key West, it looks like a fun place, the tour was interesting, saw a lot of beautiful buildings and lots of chickens running around. The aquarium was small but nice, we got there when they were feeding the stingrays and I got to feed one, too. We ate conch fritters and key lime pie.
Cozumel, Mexico - In Cozumel, we took a cab to Paradise Beach since I had seen so many positive reviews. Honestly, they didn't do it justice, it was an amazing day. Can't recommend it enough. The cab ride was $15 each way, admission and water sports for two people was $42 and we spent $40 on lunch and drinks. Everyone there was friendly and helpful. We had chairs in the shade under the coconut trees, food and drinks were brought right to us there, bathrooms were nice. We went snorkeling for the first time, I didn't expect to see much since it's a busy beach but there were so many beautiful fish (and some really ugly ones) rays, crabs and conchs, too. We got there early, shortly after it opened at nine. By the time we left at two it was starting to get hot and crowded. Bring water shoes if you go there, the beach is sandy but as soon as you get in the water it's very rocky. Oh one funny thing--do not try to bring fruit off the ship. They actually have fruit-sniffing dogs who will find it and they'll take it away.

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received a helpful vote on their Brilliance of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful family cruise

received a helpful vote on their Brilliance of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful family cruise

received a helpful vote on their Brilliance of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful family cruise

received a helpful vote on their Brilliance of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful family cruise

received a helpful vote on their Brilliance of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful family cruise

received a helpful vote on their Brilliance of the Seas cruise review - Wonderful family cruise

added Apr 9, 2016 cruise on Brilliance of the Seas to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and gave it 5 stars!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Inspiration cruise review - Not so fast to the fun

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Inspiration cruise review - Not so fast to the fun