I first started cruising back in 1990's. After hearing my parents talk about cruising since the 1970's. I gave it a try and an addiction was born. Since I went semi retired in my 30's my biggest challenge is finding friends that have the time off to go and explore with me. I have been lucky enough to take some trips for 3 to 6 weeks at a time with a combination of land and sea.
Ships: Celebrity Equinox
I take the 3 and 4 night cruises out of LA when I get a good price on them and have time. The Imagination was good. The ship is clean, great room steward staff, great Buffet staff, great Cruise director, game shows by the staff were fun, show in the showroom was good and Serenity deck was kept clean. The only negatives were the MDR, slow service and never a hot meal and the towels in my cabin had holes through some of them. The Guest services desk was polite and professional. The Sea day Brunch was the highlight of the food for this cruise, only hot meal I got in the dining room.
Catalina Island is nice to get off the ship and walk around, grab lunch and an Ice cream.
This trip we took the Shopping tour in Ensenada. We did that for the stop at the Santo Thomas Winery showroom stop. The tour was nice. Good Margarita at the first stop was included. Second stop was the Winery for tasting of wine, Olive Oil with bread and cheese. I bought 2 bottles of the Port and one Olive Oil. The third stop was down town for shopping. What can I say it is Ensanada, Since I was just with a buddy we did get asked if we were "Looking for a Date?" and on the other side of the street when walking back to the buss asked if we needed a Massage when we said no thanks it was added we would enjoy the ending.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.The Good: Getting on the ship was quick and easy in Miami. Getting off and going through customs in Miami was quick and easy as could be. Most of the food in the MDR was good if you got it when it was hot. A couple of times dinner and side dishes were not hot. Food in the Lido was over all good except for mostly tasteless deserts. Lots of good fruit, small selection of cheese, Ice cream machines 24/7. The Blue Iguana burrito bar was excellent, Pizza was good, Guy's burgers were OK, not great, disappointing. Dinner in the Emerald Steak House was great and worth the $ 35.00 each. Cabin steward Zack was great and a nice guy. Most of the ship staff was great except for the front desk. Ed Rrocks in the piano bar was the best entertainment on board, best Piano player on any ship I have been on. Trevor who was working his first week on a ship in the Cina-bar. The Bad: The ship is laid out so that the Casino is open to the hall way on deck 5, this lets all of the smoke out of the casino and makes any of the entertainment in that area not usable for non smokers. The smoke smell goes into all the open area's around the Casino and that part of deck 5. The band playing on 5 sounded good but could not stay to listen to them because of the smell of stale smoke :-( Photographers everywhere, stopping people in the hall part of deck 5 and holding up everyone on there way to dinner or a bar. Also stopping everyone on the gang plank on the way off of the ship, holding up the line of 3000 people trying to get into port. I have never been on a ship with so many Photo stops. If people want a photo let them move aside, not hold up lines of thousands of people. Limited dining menu. Not the selection of other lines. The American table menu seams to be designed for cost savings, not a full a run of silverware put out. jars of water to be fill by the diners, not the staff, no table clothes and less service. This ship did side dishes in small plates for each person, the Inspiration put out large bowels of sides to be served family style. The side dishes came before you main dinner or as you were 1/2 way done with it, not all your meal at the same time.
Staff not enforcing the rules, people smoking Vapor cigs in the comedy club (bar staff taking the drink orders but not telling them it is a non-smoking venue), children running and screaming in the hall ways at all hours and people holding lounge chairs. The production shows.... wow were they bad, the Latin Heat show had no heat what so ever. What a waste of time, glad it was a short show. Bad pick of song, worse dance steps and bad costumes. I felt sorry for the dances to have so little to work with. The Ugly: A few cabins across the hall from us had small kids that the parents put into a cabin, not one adult and one child per cabin, parents in one cabin, kids in the other. The kids would lock each other out of the cabin and yell and bang on the door at all hours of the day and night. Even after being asked to keep the kids quiet by the person in the cabin next to mine. I went to the front desk and spoke to Iskra to ask them to quiet the kids down and was told to call when they were loud, nothing else could be done. I said by the time security gets there the yelling and door slamming could be over and was told to bad, that's all they could do "I can not have security there 24/7 for you" was the answer form the Guest Services person. She would not call the cabin and ask the parents to keep the kids from slamming the door, yelling or pounding on the cabin doors. She said to call even thought the phones do not have a button to the Guest Services, you have to know the extension and it is not an option listed. That night after dinner I went back to Guest services to get the persons name and was told Iskra is a supervisor that was of no help and was rude to me. I asked to talk to the Hotel manager and was told I could not talk to him, I had to talk to her manager that was off duty at that time. He would call me the next morning. She got upset when I asked for the supervisors name and spelling so I could send a letter to Carnival Corp offices and said you can talk to the manager. I had to insist and yell to get her name. I did get a call from someone saying to be her boss, and an apology, told they would talk to the people with the kids, even knew the cabins they were in. But the noise continues after that even at 2 am yelling and door pounding and slamming. I did not bother to call the desk or report it as they were of no help. This is my 4th Carnival cruise this year and to get spoken down to by the supervisor of guest services and refused to be allowed to talk to the Hotel manager is not acceptable customer service. Not sure if I will take Carnival Again for anything more then the 3 and 4 night trips. I do like the layout of the Inspiration ship better then the Glory.
What can I say this was my 3rd time on this ship in a few months, I must like it. It was my first time cruising solo and I met lots of nice people. Since it was my 3rd time on the ship I knew a few of the crew.
Most of the crew on this ship are great. I would have given it 5 stars except for the waiter at table 227 in the Mardi Gras dining room. I do not think you should have to ask 3 times form bread with your dinner on night and have to ask again the next night. HE was very attentive to the ladies at the table but almost ignored the men. I would have asked to change tables but this was a short cruise and the table mates were fun.
I will give a shout out to the 2 guys that take care of the towels and deck at the Serenity Deck. Both of them are very nice guys, in happy moods and kept the area clean and made sure you had anything you wanted. One of them even remembered me from the last cruise a month ago.
The shows were the same as last month so I did not bother to see them again. The adult only comedy was good this trip better then last time.
I have been on over 20 Cruises, 6 different Cruise lines, from 3 night to transatlantic, from Carnival to Celebrity. If you get on this cruise thinking it will be Celebrity of Crystal you will not like it. If you get on this ship for what it is, a 3 night Baja trip at a great price you can not help but have fun. It is vacation after all, so nice to not have to put on a tux for dinner. For "Fancy night" I wore nice jeans with a long sleve shirt and it was fine for the dinning room.
The ship is an older mid size ship, but she is updated with mini golf, water park and adults only area. she is clean everywhere you look.
I can not say enough about how great the staff is. This time we were in inside cabins, last time we were outside cabins. On this trip I noticed the shower drained slow, I called guest services and went to lunch. When I got back from lunch there was a note that maintenance had been in my cabin and all was repaire. it was done quickly, politely and with just one call, they even gave me fresh towels and filled my Ice bucket (I had left a note for the cabin stewart that I would like Ice).
With the current promotions we traveled one per cabin since it was the same price as if we shared a cabin. We were set at a dining table that was all single occupancy cabins. This made it great for single travelers not to be stuck at a dining table with families. Food in the dining room was overall good. Service in the dining room was great (awesome service at table 209 this trip, 229 last trip was also great service) It always amazes me how friendly and helpful the staff are considering the hours and days they work, All the staff knew my name after asking it just once.
Be sure to have a Pastrami sandwich from the Deli, try the Mongolian wok and burgers by the pool. Service in the buffet was good, clearing tables and asking if you wanted a refill on your drink. Food at the buffet was also good over all, some not great and other items worth getting seconds.
Entertainment is good, the big shows are typical cruise ship shows. It is fun at the end of the show where the dances lead everyone out to the lobby and everyone is dancing or watching. The comedy club is fun at the adult hour. The Piano bar is fun but not the same with out Billy playing (he was on the 02-24-14 Cruise)
When I booked this ship it was for the price, a inexpensive getaway is all I had thought. I had called a friend and asked if he had vacation time, he said yes, why ? I asked "want to go slumming?" He said "Carnival" I said for the price why not. It turned out to be so much fun that we did it again this time the 3 night cruise. I am booked to go solo the end of May.
I will say the 3 night weekend trip is more a party boat then the 4 night. Everybody was there to just have fun. The ship is a mix of social classes, ages and backgrounds, everyone got along and had fun.
Carnival does a great job of keeping the kids in the kids area. The adults only sun deck is great, Amazing how quiet it can be back there. The towel guy back there is great, he makes sure you have what you need and that you are happy, very nice guy, I did not get spelling of his name but it is pronounced "Why you".
What a fun time. I have to say what made this trip was our dinner mates, We all had such a good time at dinners that we went ashore together and rented a taxi for tours together also.The trip was from San Juan Porto Rico to South Hampton England. 2/3 of the ship were from England and the Brits know how to drink and have fun. We started the trip with a week in San Juan before the cruise. what a nice place to visit with warm friendly people and good food. San Juan is mixed, new nice buildings next to abandoned boarded up buildings. We stayed in the Miramar district rite by the water. It was clean and safe enough that we took the city bus into heart of old San Juan, saw the fort, had dinner and hit the bars till late at night. Boarding the ship went rather quick given the size of the ship. On the ship in less then 1 hour. The port is just a short Taxi ride from the hotel or airport. The Ship is getting old and in need of a dry dock that I think is going to happen soon. Other then the peach and mint color the ship is nice, you can tell she was decorated for the islands. The cabin was nice and large with a good sized balcony and plenty of storage for a 14 night cruise. Food was set for the English taste, I did not find it the best selection some of the nights and the waiter was able to get the chef to make me the Salmon that I had a few nights before and liked. Dining room staff were great on this trip, trying so hard to make sure we enjoyed the food in the MDR. Our waiter was Raymond that provided magic tricks after dinner each night besides top notch service. One of the nights I did feel up to come to the dining room (sprained ankle) and he had a special dinner made up and sent to my cabin including my favorite Raspberry Sherbet that was not on the menu that night. One night our full table went up to the Italian restaurant for dinner and it was well worth the extra few dollars. The entertainment was good in the show room and what a blast for the "British invasion" dance show and party on the main street. It was standing room only with everyone dancing and having fun. This was my first time on a ship that has the main street promenade, what a great feature for show's, dance parties, people watching and to meet up in the pup for a pint (see all the Brits are rubbing off on me) This was my second Transatlantic cruise, I love the days at sea to relax, read a book, go to a lecture, lay by the pool when it was warm out and play mini golf. Mini golf gets more challenging when the ship is rocking in rougher seas. As we got close to England the weather got cold but plenty of people in warm coats playing mini golf. Customs was done on the ship one of the last days at sea, so no lines or hold up when we ported in South Hampton. We took the excursion to Stonehenge that dropped us at the airport (only $30.00 more then just a buss to the airport), In Building 5 basement we took the Tube line to Kensington that dropped us 2 blocks from our hotel. Be sure to buy an Ouster card for the subway, much less expensive then paying for each subway trip if your staying for a week. The tube (subway) can get you all over the city with lines going everywhere (unlike here in Los Angeles) The Tube is pretty clean and easy to get around on but it does shut down late night.
It was great to be back on the Equinox, kind of like being back home. The ship looked as good as she did the year before when I was on her. Traveling in Europe you do get a more international passenger mix. We were the only Americans at our dinner table of 10 and had great dinner companions, even went out to some or the clubs with them after dinner some nights.
The Greek Islands were fantastic to see, they are beautifull, good food, good local beer and nice people. I want to go back.
Since we traveled out of Los Angeles CA and knew that I will not get to Europe often we did a pre-cruise and post cruise week in Rome. I love Rome and the week was just not long enough to enjoy the sights, food, wine and people of Rome. We stayed in historic Rome in the military district just 2 blocks from a sub way stop, 1 block form a pizza place, 3 block forma market and lots of cafe's close by. We used the sub way mostly at the end of a day when to tired to walk back to the hotel. Shopping in Rome is also great, you can get clothing in Europe that you can not get here in the states (better style and better cut if your a slim guy).
If you are a nonsmoker you will be surprised at how much smoking is done in Italy. Even our driver smoked .
From Rome you can take a train to the port. We chose to take a car service since we packed for a month long trip to much luggage to haul on and off a train. The drive takes over an hour and our driver was going fast after we got out of the city. The drive is nice to see the country and the farms and hills.
The ship is clean and well maintained. she has a good lay out and is easy to find your way around. The food in the MDR was good to great every night. This is a modern, elegant, bright ship with clean crisp decor, not an old world ship full of dark wood work. The itinerary had great stops but I do wish it had an extra sea day put in to relax between visiting all the ports. We only had one sea day out of a 10 night cruise.
The cabin was a large balcony cabin with lots of storage space in the closet and the bins above the bed. The Bathroom has a lot of storage and is very nice size for a ship. The sliding door to the balcony can be locked with it left open a bit so you can hear the waves at night. What better way to fall asleep then hearing the waves on the ship?
Service was typical Celebrity, very polite, professional yet a bit stuffy service. The room steward keep the room spotless and changed the towels every day if they had been used (not just when we left them on the floor) The ice bucket was always full and he put out an extra blanket for me each night that had been put away during the day.
Celebrity has good guest lecturers on board. This time we had talks about famous ships in history. Last trip we had a history of the rise and fall of the German U-boats during WWII by a veteran British Commander.
This was my first 14 night Transatlantic Cruise. I was not sure how I would do with 7 days in a row at sea. It turned out that I enjoyed the sea days. The ship had a good floor plan and is easy to get around, beautiful and elegant modern ship. Cabins are nice with clean lines and lots of storage. For a ship bathroom it was very nice, good size with lots of drawers for storage.
The ship had a great guest speaker that gave the history of the rise and fall of U-boats during WWII. The speaker was a WWII British Commander. The Glass show was interesting to see also. I did not go to any of the nightly shows. The music groups that played were good.
The food in the MDR was great, best cruise ship food I have had. Buffet food was good. Rooms service was MDR quality food but was slow.
Where to start, the beginning. Arrived to the port and the line was so long and slow that it backed up out of the building. Line went very slow to check in as people stood outside in the cold damp weather.Cabin. We booked an outside cabin. The room was fine until the A/C kicked in, the air ducts made a loud popping sound when the a/c went on or off. This was loud enough to wake me each time. When I looked you could see screws into the ceiling trying to help this. We went to customer service and asked for another room and were told "Why don't you try it a 2nd night, you may get used to it" Had to insist that they change the room since they know this cabin has issues evidenced by the attempted repairs in the ceiling. All I wanted was a quiet cabin to sleep and relax. After about 1/2 hour they agreed to move us to different cabin. This one was quiet until 6 AM when kids were running and yelling on the open deck above us. Dinning room. Most night we had table for 6 to 10 friends, On 4 out of the 7 nights food was not all brought out at the same time, one or two people waited as the rest had dinner. This happened in the pay restaurants and the MDR. Only good dinning was the French restaurant. Service in the MDR was slow at dinner, not as bad at lunch. The ship layout is not as bad as it used to be. It is now more like the Pearl. The only good thing on this trip was traveling with a large group of friends and having fun in port. Most of us said this would be our last trip on NCL.
I took this cruse to give NCL a 2nd chance after a bad first cruise on the NCL Star. What a world of difference. The Pearl is Clean and has a good lay out. The service on the Pearl is good in MDR and the specialty restaurants. We had great service at the Champagne bar and cabin steward.
This ship has events going most of the time, you will find something to do. The Cruise Director staff kept things lively and going on. Such a difference from the Star.
The Re positioning Cruise stopped in San Francisco CA, Astoria Organ, Victoria B.C., Ninimo B.C. and ended in Vancouver B.C. Astoria is a quaint little town on the River, nice place to get off the ship and walk around to get lunch and coffee. We had some frineds drive down form Seattle to visit with us in Astoria.
The 24 hour restaurant is grate on this ship, not the huge buffet but a small cafe with windows to see the water, They have a good menu for Breakfast, snacks and lunch.
Friends and I booked this as a quick trip so I could have my B-day at sea. We started with a night in San Diago. took the train down from L.A. The Holiday Inn on the Bay picked us up at the train station for free. For dinner we took the Trolly into Old Town and ate at Rocking Baja, Great drinks in glasses big enough to be a bird bath. The Hotel dropped us at the ship for free the next morning.
Check in at the ship went smooth and quick. The ship was clean and had a good lay out. Nice size ship, not to big. MDR service was great and they sang Happy B-day to me. Service on the ship was great, not sure if it was just the ship or because we were buying wine at $100.00 a bottle a couple times a day. we did get comped Chocolate covered Strawberries when in the Champagne Barr and a Cheese and fruit tray in the Schooner bar.
this was the first time I splurged for a balcony cabin. I loved it, slept with the door open a bit to hear the waves, ordered breakfast on the balcony most mornings. It did spoil me to wanting a balcony after trying it.
This cruise was during the Swine Flue out break in Mexico so on the 4 night we had two sea days and one day in Catalina island. Since it only made the one stop the price was so low it did not pay to stay at home. I figured for this price what the heck I'll finally break down and try Carnival. Going with low expectations made everything so much more then what I had expected. Boarding was quick and we were on the ship before we knew it. Food in the MDR was great, service was great also. The extra sea days made the trip very relaxing to enjoy the pool. The ship is older and still one of the Las Vegas tacky decor ships. but that kind of adds to the overall fun of not having to dress up or be formal. This trip was good enough that I will do Carnival again.
Friends and I were planning a short Cruise for my B-day. Our TA suggested we try Celebrity out of San Diego. We gave it a try since we had all done RCCL before. I'm glad I listened, This trip is when Celebrity became my favorite cruise line. The Service in the MDR, Cabin and bars was the best I have had to date on a ship. Second night for dinner and or head waiter Walter had our drinks waiting for us at the table without us asking. The food in the MDR was excellent, surf and turn done to perfection. The shows were good, The inside cabin was a good size and everything in perfect shape. Over all it was just a step above of RCCL.
OK, the only reason I did not give 5 stars is due to the age of the fellow passengers. Now before you all get mad at me, I was about 40 at the time and the majority of passengers were well into senior years. So not a lot of people to party with. The ship was set for its demographic, Everything was very nice, excellent service in the MDR, Bars, Pursers desk and cabin staff. Nice large cabin compared to other ships I had been on to that point. Classic cruise line decor with lots of wood work and nice art collection. The food was good, just a bit on the bland side, nothing spicy, nothing out of the norm, nothing to remember other then it was good. The entertainment was also set for the ships demographic, not my taste but shows were done good. Lucky I like the Oldies music and classical since that's what played in the bars. I could see loving this ship if I was 70 or 80. I guess at that age I was more a RCCL kinda passenger.
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