Second Mate

Joined: 08/17/2013
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About HermanBarbara


HermanBarbara's Past Cruises

Celebrity Equinox

October 2015 - Celebrity Equinox to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Beautiful places with great touring opportunities, but not so much with their tours

We enjoyed many aspects of the cruise. But the level of information we could get was pretty limited.  Crew seemed predominantly new. Sometimes we knew more about the ship than they did. 

Not impressed by the entertainment. Victor Cruz (acoustic guitar) was good, but seemed to play the same songs every day. Airband and the jazz group were good. But those were the only decent groups. And this is a long cruise.

The evening shows were some good/ some ok. 

The customer service group was also really spotty.  Some had no idea about the cities we were going to. They weren't sure where shuttles went. When I asked info about the material they passed out about the ports I got a lot of "I don't know" responses. 

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Norwegian Sun

July 2015 - Norwegian Sun to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Beautiful scenery; great entertainment

We were very lucky on the weather. Only a couple bad days. 

The stops themselves are not that great. Hoonah wasn't worth the trip into the city. But there was something to do at several locations. Because the trip hit the same cities in both directions, we had an easy time to make up our mind about what to do.

This ship had the best entertainment groups, and best planning of any ship I've been on. There was a cycle of groups in different parts of the ship, with something new starting every 15 minutes. So there was always at least three groups singing/ playing all the time.

"Into the Drift" was the best singing. "Amber Strings" was great instrumental. And the Cabaret event with Philip was great.  I would have been happy to have had him a couple nights.

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April 2015 - Noordam to Panama Canal, Central America

Poor selection of ports; limited entertainment on board; not well managed

Some of the ports were just industrial areas with no"tourist" facilities. Shore excursions involved long drives and short tours.The cruise passed several ports which are scenic and/or interesting. 

If you like knitting, cooking, bingo, art and purse sales, or gambling, this is it. They also had ping-pong. If you like pleasant quiet music outside at lunch, forget it. 

They seemed to have no idea that a lot of people would be looking for coffee in the morning. Long lines, and sometimes working coffee makers. Did you want ice in your drink at lunch -- well maybe... Staffing and food operations seemed to be designed around an idea that there would be an even flow of passengers over two or three hours. So when the crowds all show up in a short time, they were completely unprepared.

One day we had no hot water. The first response was "I'm sorry you're having a problem with your plumbing. I'll send you someone to explain how to turn it on". Later it became "We're already aware of a problem. You don't need to tell us". The third time it was "The problem was fixed some time ago. You must not be running the hot water long enough".

The balcony had rust on the metal, and white paint drippings scattered around from the last paint job. 


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Celebrity Eclipse

December 2014 - Celebrity Eclipse to Caribbean - Southern

Good cruise but not up to our expectations

A lot of time on the ship, but not terribly good entertainment. One good lounge group; but the rest were very loud and obviously amateurs pulled from eastern Europe.

Production shows very good; but entertainers brought in for evening shows were not top class.

Food in Ocean View was the same thing every day, and got dryer by the day.

Service really bad on average. Seemed like few people really cared whether you were there or not.

This was a high cost trip with low amenities. It goes to some beautiful places which are worth seeing. And if you are OK with not worrying about the entertainment, and not trying to get drinks, that's worth it.

We were on the Celebrity Silhouette in June. That was an overwhelmingly better experience. Don't know why there was so much difference in quality on essentially the same ship, but it was dramatic!

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Carnival Legend

February 2014 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean - Western

Weather was great

Carnival just seems poorly managed. They can't even get coffee in the morning. Lines for everything because of thoughtlessness.


Singers were just not that good. At best couldn't make it on shore.  TC in the piano bar was at least entertaining.  Angie was loud. Teeples are good musicians, but need a singer. Having been on another Carnival Cruise recently, I see that they've come up with a formula -- these are the songs you will sing. If someone requests something else, you don't know it. They're all the same, generically not bad, but no feeling anywhere. If you sing a John Maier song and a Carly Simon song, they have to sound the same. Your Willie Nelson song would have to feel like your Abba song.


On the other hand the "shows" were very good. Although the director seemed to confuse "epic" with "Queen". If you had to come up with a set of "epic" rock songs for a 30 minute show, would three of them be Queen?


Room was nice (balcony). But air conditioning was impossible to control. We kept the balcony door open most of the time because it was too cold. Didn't bother us, except when the wind picked up.

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Carnival Miracle

October 2013 - Carnival Miracle to Mexico

Generally poorly managed with low variety of food and entertainment

Ship personnel generally nice but either not well informed or just all new. They gave conflicting directions on the ship; couldn't answer basic questions about procedures at ports; and just passed the buck.


Entertainment was really low-end:

-the one musical show was pretty decent High School. 

-they relied on the same things over and over

-one night of comedy was OK, but not significant

-a lot of what they called "entertainment" was kareoke and amatuer hour.

-when they actually had a variety of entertainment activities (once), they scheduled all of them at the same time.

-there was a piano bar, but it was used almost exclusively for their sales programs. They sold art works, jewelry and probably time sharing.

-I think they considered gambling their primary entertainment.


Food was essentially the same thing every day in the buffet. On two mornings they had one person making omelettes for the entire ship. Hard pancakes; hard, dry toast, overcooked potatoes.


There was one "customer service" desk. They either wouldn't answer key questions, or gave false answers. Their explanation of the transfers from the ship to Cabo were an outright lie. Their explanation of leaving the ship at Long Beach was completely off the wall.


They made it clear that if we made arrangements for shore excursions through the travel agent who booked the cruise it was our own problem that we wouldn't get off the ship in time to get there. Really obnoxious about that. 


On the last day, they described the final morning as "relaxation time", in which the entire ship had to vacate their rooms by 8:30, and had to wait on two decks while they set up for debarkation.  We didn't get off until 11:30, and we weren't nearly the last.  Their idea of "relaxation" is a lot different than mine. And there was no effort to make that time more pleasant. Nor was there any information about the status or what we had to go through. Nor was there any attempt to stage the debarkation so some people could sleep late. It was army-style:  everyone be there by 8:30, and we'll take care of you at our convenience in the next few hours.


I was not impressed!

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HermanBarbara's Tips

Norwegian Sun Norwegian Sun - The ship might be fun again when the captain changes. It was good to get off the ship almost at any place.
Norwegian Sun Norwegian Sun - Go to the cabaret show by Philip! Into the Drift and Amber Strings are the best regular groups.
Victoria, British Columbia - would have been nice if we would have had time to actually see anything. Seems like it's thrown in just say they stopped at the port.
Huatulco, Mexico - Don't do the land and sea tour. The boat captain said he wouldn't do it except that the Noordam wanted him to. Three people threw up.
Noordam Noordam - Definitely NOT the ship you want to be on in the open seas. Not stable in wind like the bigger ships.
Basseterre, St. Kitts - Great place. Railway has great views, but a little bouncy; don't go if you get seasick. We also did the helicopter ride back. More great views.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - More beautiful views in a tour. Catamaran tour not as nice as it might have been -- it was raining.

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received a helpful vote on their Carnival Legend cruise review - Weather was great

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Legend cruise review - Weather was great

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Legend cruise review - Weather was great

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Eclipse cruise review - Good cruise but not up to our expectations

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sun cruise review - Poorly managed and oriented to cheap.

commented on a Norwegian Sun cruise review. - "I have to add that the company may be quite a bit different from the management of this cruise.  Because of my comments, Norwegian gave us a signi..." read more

followed a discussion, Norwegian Sun - Poorly managed and oriented to cheap., on the cruiseline forum.

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sun cruise review - Poorly managed and oriented to cheap.

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sun cruise review - Poorly managed and oriented to cheap.

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Sun"The ship might be fun again when the captain changes. It was good to get off the ship almost at any place."