CruisinDiva

CruisinDiva
Second Mate

Hometown: Tampa
Joined: 02/13/2011
14
Cruises
6
Reviews
12
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2503

About CruisinDiva

Love to Cruise! My first was in 2000 and I was hooked! I have a passion for travel and photography and am also a travel agent! Check out wwtponline.com


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CruisinDiva's Past Cruises

Oasis of the Seas

November 2015 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Sunshine

March 2015 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Bahamas

Disney Dream

December 2014 - Disney Dream to Caribbean - Bahamas

Disney Dream- Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise

 

We sailed aboard the Disney Dream for our second time. I think we already knew this, but our cruise on the Dream proved that three nights just isn’t long enough. It is an amazing ship with just the right amount of Disney touches where it is not overwhelming! We all know that Disney does things their own way but did you know that they could not decide on a color for the ship, they knew they wanted the classic ship look and finally a co worker in the office named Monica had a pair of dark blue pants on and it fit the bill! The hull of the ship is called Monica Blue! (but she receives NO royalties…bummer) it also took two years to copyright the Mickey yellow life boats! Legally they are supposed to be orange so Disney had to prove that they can be seen in case of an emergency just as well. Yup, as usual they got what they wanted and I have to say it is a beautiful ship.

This specific sailing was a Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise. These are available on sailings departing November through Christmas!

On the ship, discover a festive fusion of holiday-themed entertainment, activities and décor—with a life-sized gingerbread house, 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and more! Castaway Cay also has a few Merry touches! (Did you know that 100 crew members actually live on the island!) not a bad deal huh! and for a bit of movie Trivia….Splash with Tom hanks was filmed there before Disney owned it!

Some of the Holiday onboard enhancements include:

Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night, with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games. Tree Lighting Ceremony, where kids can help light the tree and kick off the holiday festivities, Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa and his elves, Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday attire, Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties—private celebrations where teens and tweens can hang out with new friends. Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea and around the world. Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, go on a holiday scavenger hunt and more. A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house. Holiday merchandise is also available for this event.

I do recommend this cruise for families of all generations. There are adult only areas and how amazing will it be for the grandparents to attend a pirate party with the kids! These are so fun! they also feature what used to be the only fireworks show at sea! Until recently Norwegian Cruise Line also has them now.

As always Disney did exceed my expectations. The service, food and cleanliness of the ship was exceptional. If you are a Disney addict you will enjoy it. If you are not….once you get past all the kids (well it is Disney)…you will also!

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Enchantment of the Seas

September 2013 - Enchantment of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas

Jewel of the Seas

December 2012 - Jewel of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

My sailing on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas

For my 11th cruise I sailed on the Jewel of the Seas this past December. We arrived at the port around 11:30. We gave our bags to the porters and then headed into the terminal, check-in was a breeze! With our passports and Set Sail Pass in hand we proceeded to the priority check-in line, received our Sea Pass cards, and were immediately able to have our pictures taken and board the ship before noon … a very quick and smooth process. Our cabins, were not available so we headed to the Windjammer for lunch and then explored the ship. The Jewel is one of Royal Caribbean’s more traditional ships. She has very classic and nautical décor with lots of natural light. She features a 10 story glass centrum with panoramic elevators that span 10 decks along the ships’ exteriors and face the sea.There’s a rock-climbing wall, as well as an amazing indoor Solarium that is only available to adults. You also have the option of an outdoor pool, spa and a fitness center. There is a sports court that has both basketball and volleyball court, an indoor and outdoor country club that has a great golf simulator and for the kids…mini golf! There’s even a lounge with pool tables that level themselves to match the motion of the ocean! Besides all that there are many intimate “nooks and crannies” that really give the ship a different feel. The centrum, is topped by the Crown and Anchor Lounge on Deck 12. Off of the centrum are many of the major venues such as the Windjammer, Schooner Bar, and the dining rooms. The only major venues at the front of the ship are the Coral Theater, spa, and the Solarium. The Solarium is beautiful and very peaceful.Our cabin was on Deck 4 right off the centrum, making it the most convenient cabin I have ever occupied. I’m trying not to compare but try to imagine how nice it is to be so close to everything, breakfast, theatre, shopping and the casino! It’s all right there! I will be the first to admit I personally love the HUGE ships. My last 3 sailings were on the Disney Dream, Norwegian Epic and the Allure of the Seas. (All of these hold over 4000 passengers) yes, I like to have the WOW factor! You can imagine what a major difference this was! I do see where it would be better and more convenient for certain people with mobility issues or those wanting more of a relaxing experience. One thing I did dislike about this ship is the walking decks. On the pool deck, the jogging track has many little turns and bends which makes it a pain to use once you throw in other walkers/joggers and people who move their chairs into the track. You also don’t realize they are there until you are about to get run down! Overall I left with a very positive impression of the Jewel, especially some of the gorgeous artwork on in the stairwells. Check out all my pics.. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151288367793853.475822.142061353852&type=1&l=2515da7706

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Allure of the Seas

December 2011 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Weighing in at 225 tons...

Weighing in at 225 tons, the Allure of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship -- by five centimeters. (Oasis of the Seas comes in at a close 2nd) and the WOW factor is truly there! This was my 10th cruise so not a newbie; I do have a few under the belt I can compare too. We traveled Dec 18-25 with 2 children ages 6 and 9. We had a promenade view cabin on Deck 7. This was a holiday cruise. We sailed with 6300 of our closest friends of which 1800 were children!! I will admit I was a little worried about this but surprisingly we barely felt it. It is incredible that for a ship this size, it never felt too big or crowded. We were always able to get a seat by the pool (there are 4) dinner always went smoothly no waiting, we went on the zip line a few times each with maybe a 5 minute wait! The boys could ride the carousel to their hearts content! The one place that you could feel the congestion was at the Windjammer cafeacute; for breakfast and there it was mainly a seating issue. The kid's zone otherwise known as the H20 zone is a large water spraying octopus Water Park. There are also 2 family friendly hot tubs and plenty of shade to go around for the little ones. This ship class has a neighborhood concept, which divides the ship into distinct spaces. When you board this ship you find yourself in the Royal Promenade, this space is A_M_A_Z_I_N_G!! It looks like an upscale shopping mall. It extends through three decks in height with shops, restaurants and bars. This is also where you will find the first ever Starbucks at sea and keep an eye out for a flash mob! (Not kidding!) Continuing past the aft elevators to the back of the ship is the Boardwalk, featuring a full sized Carousel, Johnny Rockets, Ritarsquo's Cantina, a hot dog shop, donut shop, candy store among other clothing, and photo shops. Very Coney Islandish with clown visits and an animal balloon-making artist. At the aft of the ship the boardwalk ends at the water amphitheater. The Aqua Theater offers a spectacular performance of diving, fountains, and music. This show I actually saw twice LOVED it! On Deck 8 is Central Park with live foliage, crickets chirping and birds singing, beautifully landscaped areas with winding walkways, restaurants, with outdoor seating and designer shops--and open to the sky some seven decks above. The production of Chicago is very good and every bit as good as what you would see on Broadway. I think some of the audience didn't understand what the show was about as there were small children in the audience, though their numbers shrank as the show went on. We enjoyed the "Blue Planet" this is similar to a Cirque show. It had the gymnastics and aerial work, but the songs and music were a more trendy collection that included music by the Black Eyed Peas. The best techy thing on the ship I thought were the large touch screens throughout the ship. They look like large IPADS! They will help you navigate its 16 passenger decks and even tell you how full the restaurants are. If you want the info within reach you can opt for the WOW phone, which is an Iphone stripped of its outside calling abilities. The phones are loaded with deck plans a cruise compass and even a tracking device for locating your little one! The phone rate is $17.50 per phone for the week. You may wonder if there is a quiet spot anywhere? No worries, there is! The glass covered solarium (16 and over). It has lots of space, cushioned chaises even a bistro and bar. With all these options you may ask what additional stuff am I paying for? Well it is what it is and there is plenty you can pay for if you choose but all of these options are included mini golf, two rock climbing walls, the Carousel, an ice skating rink, two surfing pools, full size basketball and volleyball court in one that is surrounded by a wall of glass to keep the balls in the court. There are several Ping-Pong tables on the ship as well and a zip line. My best tip would be to make sure to book all of your entertainment well in advance. They do book up quickly although I found in most cases you can stand by for them. In closing it was an awesome cruise on an unbelievable ship. There are simply no other ships in the mass-market that can equal the experience that the ALLURE can offer. This ship is pricier than most of the competition (excluding Disney) but in my opinion well worth the extra cost. The experience has quality written all over it. A job well done Royal Caribbean!

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Disney Dream

February 2011 - Disney Dream to Caribbean - Bahamas

If you are young at...

If you are young at heart and you want to have the Disney Experience off land, hop on board and give in to your childhood fantasies! This ship was built for the kids with grown ups in mind. Reading this review please take into consideration these are my own thoughts and opinions from my own experience. My comparisons are based to other cruise lines. This was my 9th cruise but 1st on Disney. Parents will pay a hefty price for the innovations on Disney Dream, Decor is a combination of nautical and Disney character motifs, mostly in red, white and blue. Although there are plenty of "hidden Mickeys" for fans to seek out, most of the character decor is subtle rather than in your face. Kids will discover a plethora of features onboard the Disney Dream whether it's exclusively for children, teens, or families! One of the most innovative features is the exciting 765-foot-long AquaDuck water coaster, sends guests on an exhilarating journey around four decks over the side of the ship. The young ones will enjoy playing in Nemo Reef and Mickey Pool. Although when the ship is at full capacity good luck! This would be one of the negative aspects that I noticed the first day. When you have that many young children you need more pool space. Adults do have their own Quiet Cove Pool an adults-only area featuring a 4-foot deep main pool with connecting bar. The problem here is the location. It is located between an elevator and a dining area. So you constantly have children and parents walking through the Quiet area. So it is anything but. Are the adults-only facilities so extensive that a grown-up could sail on this ship without coming in contact with children? NO! You may find a refuge in The District bar; where at night it turns into an adults-only zone, with Evolution, a nightclub; the Skyline Lounge, with video skylines of five cities (New York, Chicago, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong) and drinks inspired by those cities; Pink, a champagne bar with Murano pink glass bubbles, Riedel pink champagne flutes and pink champagne by Tattinger; 687, a pub; and the District Lounge, with live piano music. In fact, an adult Mickey fan traveling without children might find some of the ships features downright annoying (example: When Crush the animated sea turtle comes to life during dinner in Animator's Palate, conversation is virtually impossible). And it may not be the right ship for a family with older teens. Disney ships "are the perfect choice if you have small children” seeing the princesses, being able to take your picture with Mickey and Minnie. And if the grandparents want to tag along, it's a good fit. But if you have 16-, 17-year-olds, that's where other cruise lines might be a better choice." This ship is all about the kids, characters and the Disney magic. Not a Disney Fan?Don't even bother. The Disney Dream also provides many Disney-themed kids clubs, areas, and programs. Ages as young as 3 months can stay in the It's a Small World Nursery, kids can dress up as their favorite princess or hero in Disney's Oceaneer Club, and children can partake in a wide variety of interactive games and crafts in Disney's Oceaneer Lab. Also, kids ages 11 through 13 can hang out in Edge, a tweens-exclusive’ space with videogames, music, and more, and teen's ages 14 through 17 can enjoy their own exclusive area in the Vibe venue. The kids clubs are absolutely AMAZING! There is nothing on the open seas to compare them to. "This space is all about magic and pixie dust," as quoted by one of the imagineers. Disney gets high marks in this category! So much thought and creativity has been put into these rooms it is unbelievable. "Enchanted art" is all over the ship” photos, cartoon cells and other art that come to life when a passerby sets off a motion detector. Talk about advanced technology. There are 2 pictures that actually shoot canons at each other! The Dream uses the rotation dining system. Guests are assigned to a seating group that rotates through three main dining rooms, along with their wait-service team. The restaurants are: Animator's Palate, featuring design sketches and scenes from films that look like papers pinned to bulletin boards but are really video screens — starts out mostly in black and white, and gradually turns to color during the evening. This is also where Crush, the surfer-dude sea turtle from "Finding Nemo," appears on huge video screens and talks with diners. Enchanted Garden, inspired by the gardens at Versailles, has trees, trellises, light fixtures that "bloom" into flowers, and a Mickey Mouse fountain. At night, the ceiling becomes a sky full of stars. Royal Palace, the most elegant of the three, has a design inspired by four of Disney's classic princess movies: "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Beauty and the Beast." The decor is regal ” hand-blown glass chandelier, wall sconces from "Beauty and the Beast," fluted columns from "Cinderella," portraits of the princesses, and window valances topped with tiaras. Perhaps because Disney carries a greater percentage of families than other lines, it also has one of the best bathroom setups, The bathroom is split by a full wall with a toilet and sink on one side, and a small tub, shower and sink on the other. Very convenient in the mornings. If I were to find any little flaw it would be the hairdryers on the Disney Dream are not very good. If you want to dry your hair quick, you will want to bring your own. I did find that they work better if you plug them into the vanity in the room. The clocks in the staterooms, another little pick, were a little hard to figure out and they had the strongest blue light ever! It illuminated the whole room. I had to turn it to face the wall. Like the other Disney ships, the Dream does not have a casino. It does have a 16,000-foot spa with exercise equipment and classes, salon and barber shop. The Buena Vista Theatre screens movies all day, some in 3-D. It was a nice surprise to see movies that were currently playing in the theatres. The Disney Dream Walt Disney Theatre had a wonderful show every night of the cruise. Our line-up included the Golden Mickey's, Villain's Tonight, and Believe! They were all excellent! Great for all ages with an adult twist. Villain's Tonight was my favorite it was hilarious. Castaway Cay is officially one of my favorite places on Earth! I would take another cruise just to go there! We all agreed this was the best part of the whole trip. The water is beautiful. There is something for everyone to do; water slides, palm trees to lay under, water bikes, stingrays, snorkeling, bicycles, massages cabanas, endless drinks and even places to eat. Disney makes everything easy for you, and the food, childcare, and beach experience is no exception. The new water slide was great, but you have to swim out and back about 50 yards to use it. Disney's idea of a buffer, I guess. The entire operation was well supervised with life jackets for kids who were not great swimmers. The "Spring-a-Leak" water playground may not look like much to an adult (a series of spouting water), but every kid between 3-10 loved it. They also have a kids club, which features a Whale Dig children dig for whalebones in the sand. As adults is was great to be able to relax at a beach knowing kids were engaged and safe. Which brings me to Serenity Bay, this is a adults only beach. It is beautiful and quiet! As I said, overall the cruise was amazing. It's obvious that it's a new ship and the crew is still getting their "sea legs" so to speak, but nothing major and nothing that took away from the quality of the cruise and ship.

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Norwegian Epic

September 2010 - Norwegian Epic to Caribbean - Eastern

Stepping onboard I could see...

Stepping onboard I could see it was a BIG one! A big airy atrium with lots of seating, a cafe (that even made my favorite Carmel Macchiato!), the reception desk, and the shore excursion desk still left enough open floor space to accommodate ballroom dancing if they so desired! The two-story screen, a familiar site on all recent NCL ships, is used for Wii and many other functions. During my cruise there was a good crowd cheering as they watched a football game on the giant screen, and then again one evening to see families munching on nachos and watching a movie. Decks six and seven are an entertainment mecca. The casino itself encompasses a full deck! I like the fact that each show had its own dedicated lounge with the appropriate ambiance. There is truly something for everybody. Headliners was a great space, a bar in one corner, the stage in another and rows of chairs with small tables in between. Perfect for comedy and for Howl at the Moon€. They take requests; in fact, there are slips for this purpose on all the tables that you complete and put in the request bowl on top of one of the pianos. So if you don'€™t like the music they€™'re playing you have no one but yourself to blame. Singing along is encouraged even if you only know the refrain, and there was some friendly competition among patrons when they divided the place in half for certain songs! I went to see the 'Blue Man Group'. The show was very good, actually more so since I didn'€™t pay the going price of $80 per ticket! Even if you saw them before go again. The show had some new material and some acts are funnier the second time around! If you haven'€™t seen them this is a €œmust do and is perfect for the entire family! Cirque Dreams and Dinner€ held in the Spiegel Tent is comedy, acrobatics and dinner all in one! It has been compared to the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris and while I see the similarities, this show is fine for the entire family! Of course there is the one act with the gorgeous guy in the bathtub, and although some may think it's a bit steamy, it was not inappropriate! There was a fixed dinner of a salad with a thousand island dressing, an entre of filet mignon and chicken Florentine (both) served with scalloped potatoes and asparagus, and chocolate decadence for dessert. The show was quite long which may be an issue for families with small children and since dinner is served during the show you may want to consider this before making a reservation. Although my 5 and 7 year old boys were entranced by all of it and certainly didn't mind the length. Wrapped in a furry coat I ventured into the Ice Bar€ and although I left with my toes close to frost bitten it was a fun experience! Bring socks and shoes! Flip flops won't do! It is a frigid 17 degrees! The cover charge includes two drinks and though I'm not much of a drinker, I appreciated the toasty warm feeling that spread through me after downing the first orange flavored one! They do offer non alcoholic beverages also. It'€™s a great photo op so don't forget your camera. 'Second City'€, 'Legends in Concert'€, and '€œFat Cats'€, were also very good and surpassed my expectations. The Manhattan Club and Taste Restaurant are the main restaurants that offer the "included" dining. We did enjoy the quality of food but the menus out side of the addition of 1 new item each night stay the same throughout the week. I do recommend venturing out to the specialty restaurants for variety. We loved O'€™Sheehans, an Irish pub! Great food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. It is also open 24hrs and also included in your cruise rate! The Garden Cafe is the buffet restaurant and is open from early morning until late at night with multiple stations offering a large variety of foods. I had breakfast here most mornings and was pleased to find eggs Benedict being served. The options are truly endless here. The cafe itself had lots of seating both inside and outside. On Deck 5, one can find the Photo Gallery. No longer do you need to search all of the pictures on the wall - looking for yourself. The Photo Gallery uses facial recognition to locate pictures of you ( and people who may look like you) and displays those photos to you for quick and easy viewing. This approach also is "Green" since the photo staff no longer needs to print all of the photos and reduces the need for photo-processing chemicals and paper. The Epic offers an incredible amount of activities for the young and the youthful at heart. Including Aqua Park with water jets, Pools and Hot tubs, 3 Water slides (the most at sea) The Epic Slide allows those young at heart to ride an inner tube down a sloping and winding pipe into a bowl shaped basin where tubers are twirled around a few times before existing the bowl. I did this and survived! I even video taped it! Quoits, Shuffle board, Tennis Court, Basketball Court, Bungee trampoline (it was too windy on the day I wanted to attempt this) Ice skating on deck (not real ice) Rock climbing wall, Movies on deck, 6 Bowling Alleys (indoors) and Pool Tables (Indoor - O'Sheehan's). I had a balcony cabin for this cruise. To my surprise our cabin had an extended balcony that was double the size of a standard balcony! I love the fact that it had a coffeemaker in each cabin and I didn'€™t have to rely on room service to bring up a pot. The cabin was sophisticated and contemporary, done in a palate of cream, teal, and wine I loved the powerful blow dryer although the lighting could have been better in that area. Overall, the concealed contour lighting added to the upscale design of the room. Storage was incredible! We discovered hidden cabinets usually by accident! Now I suppose I must address the bathroom situation as it seems to be what everyone is concerned about. The room had an opaque plexi-glass enclosed shower (with a great shower head which can be adjusted to 2 heights), and a separately enclosed toilet with the same style door. A vessel sink is located within the bedroom area. The segregated areas offer increased functionality, though some felt the design compromised on privacy. A curtain does allow division of the bath / bedroom. The only complaint I would have would be the sink the faucets were very high which caused the water to splash out onto the counter space and floor. In regards to that complaint though the cruise line was in the process of changing out the faucets on the lower floors so I believe they just hadn't gotten to ours yet. Although I did not stay in the new studio style rooms, I did check them out and was very impressed. First of all, they are not buried in the bowels of the ship, but are on deck ten and eleven. The corridor of the studios is lit in blue; very cool. To achieve the proper balance of style and function a specific designer with experience in smaller accommodations (think private yachts), was called in solely for the design of these spaces. Tiny-no doubt about it-but hip and stylish and absolutely perfect for a single traveler! What really makes the whole concept work is the private '€œliving room'€ that studio guests share. This area looks like a lounge you'd find in a NYC boutique hotel! Morning cappuccino, pre dinner drinks, or just a great place to meet and make plans with new friends!

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Carnival Triumph

January 2010 - Carnival Triumph to Caribbean

Norwegian Sky

April 2009 - Norwegian Sky to Caribbean - Bahamas

Celebrity Century

December 2008 - Celebrity Century to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Sun

February 2005 - Norwegian Sun to Caribbean - Western

Norwegian Sky

December 2003 - Norwegian Sky to Caribbean - Southern

Carnival Ecstasy

October 2001 - Carnival Ecstasy to Mexico

Majesty of the Seas

September 2000 - Majesty of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas

CruisinDiva's Tips

Disney Dream Disney Dream - Don't forget about Pirate night! they will leave a bandana for you in your stateroom but it's always fun to dress up! argggg!
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Arrive early if you want a seat for the Dreamworks "Move it" "Move it" parade! And stay towards the middle of the promenade (around Sorrentos) that's where most of the show is.
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Bring gym shoes & socks. You need them to use the basketball court, zipline and rock climbing wall. They are very strict about this.
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Bring your own blow dryer unless your ok using those small hotel ones! For my long hair it was BRUTAL!
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Make your entertainment reservations in advance! but don't hesitate to standby if you don't. We were on a holiday cruise and surprisingly there were lots of no shows!
Disney Dream Disney Dream - Don't miss Castaway Cay no matter what! It is officially one of my favorite places on Earth! 
The water is beautiful. There is something for everyone to do; water slides, palm trees to lay under, water bikes, stingrays, snorkeling, bicycles, massages cabanas, endless drinks and places to eat.


Norwegian Epic Norwegian Epic - Book your entertainment early and arrive early to miss the lines! and don't bother bringing a hair dryer they have full size ones they provide!

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