The1edge

The1edge
Cruise Director

Joined: 04/19/2014
32
Cruises
6
Reviews
70
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The1edge's Past Cruises

Liberty of the Seas

October 2017 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Liberty of the Seas

Voyager of the Seas

February 2017 - 12 Night South Pacific & Fiji (Sydney Roundtrip) Cruise on Voyager of the Seas

Very Nice Cruise

For starters, our Suite was upgraded automatically by Royal Caribbean (Owner's Suite), and it was a very nice surprise.  We love cruising out of Sydney, and always plan on a few extra days in the city.  This cruise was 12 nights, with 2 stops in Fiji, Vanuatu, Mystery Island, Isle of Pines, and Noumea.  The beaches on Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines were absolutely beautiful. 

 

The Explorer is still a very nice ship, despite it's age.  The food in the Dining Room and Windjammer Buffet was very good...pretty consistent with the other ships in the fleet.  Chops Grill was outstanding, and our waiter, Alfredo, made it a great experience.  Our Suite Concierge, Elizabeth Wong, was the best we have ever experienced.  Wonderfully engaging, pleasant, and knowledgeable.  In addition, the bar service provided in the Lounge by Jose and Eka was excellent.

 

Both embarking and disembarking were a breeze.  Finally, our agent, Patricia Opera, was once again outstanding in every way.  Patti has helped us select and plan cruises for several years, and we use her services exclusively.  We would highly recommend her to all cruisers...new and experienced.

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Rhapsody of the Seas

December 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip) Cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas

Explorer of the Seas

October 2016 - 24 Night Transpacific Westbound (Seattle To Sydney) Cruise on Explorer of the Seas

River Countess  (RETIRED)

April 2016 - April 17, 2016 Cruise on River Countess (RETIRED)

Carnival Breeze

March 2016 - 8 Night Southern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Breeze

Very good Spring Break

My wife and family are experienced cruisers...25 or so in the last 13 years.  Although we have used most of the big cruise lines, including Carnival, we usually opt to go with Royal Caribbean.  However, with 8 of us cruising (including our three grandchildren 7 and under) during the peak of Spring Break, it was more affordable for us to go with Carnival.  We really liked the itinerary of this particular 8 day cruise, as it included some ports we had not seen before.

 

All of our 5 previous cruises with Carnival had been good, but we had always found the service, food, and ship to be one step behind Royal Caribbean.  We were surprised and impressed at how much better our overall experience was this time. 

 

The Breeze is a newer ship, carrying around 3500 passengers.  Carnival has done a nice job with their deck plan layouts, and public space amenities...specifically the nice assortment of casual dining options.  During sea days, when we are spending most of the day by the pool, it's nice to have food venues other than just the buffet.  Their poolside hamburger stand was absolutely outstanding...the best burgers and fries we have had on a cruise ship.  They also offer a taco and burrito stand (including breakfast burritos) there.  On Deck 5 they have barbecue stand that was very good as well.  I would give them an A+ for their casual dining options and quality.

 

For the 8 of us, we had 2 balcony cabins, and one ocean suite.  My wife and I had the suite, and it was a nice place for the family to congregate.  It was very nice, with a pull out sofa, Jacuzzi tub, dual bathroom sinks, and a larger balcony.  The balcony cabins were typically small, but adequate.  The stateroom service for all of us (our rooms were not together, and we all had different stateroom staffs) was really great...again, I would give them an "A".

 

Our grandchildren loved the childrens program on the ship, and between that and the childrens pool area (which included 3 water slides and many other fun features) we were never at a loss for something to keep them occupied.  Grade "A".

 

For the rest of us, we all enjoyed the cruise director's activities.  He was truly one of the best we have experienced.  Great sense of humor, and he did a great job of "setting the tone" for his entire staff.  Grade "A".

 

Our dining room experience was probably the least impressive part of the cruise.  I had assumed that a family of 8, including 3 children ages 2, 3, and 7, that we would have had a table to ourselves.  Unfortunately, they seated us at a table for 10, with a nice couple that only spoke Spanish.  It was extremely awkward for us, and I am sure it was for them as well.  And, although our wait staff was very courteous and hard working, the food was average at best, and often served lukewarm.  I appreciated the waiters bringing the kid's food out immediately, without being asked.  However, the rest of the meal was always very slow, and was likely the reason our food wasn't as hot as it should have been.  For our family, the Dining Room experience is always one of the most important parts of our cruise.  Overall, on this cruise, it was a major disappointment.  I would give it a grading of C-.

 

The embarking process was quick and easy...aided by the fact that we had a suite, and that gave us preferred boarding.  The luggage handling was very strange.  This ship uses the public elevators to handle their luggage delivery.  On the first and last day, it was nearly impossible to use an elevator, or even to walk through the elevator vestibules, as they were packed with luggage carts. Very odd.  I'm not sure if they have elevator banks just for their crew (as does every other ship we have been on) or maybe they weren't adequate.  Our luggage did not arrive at our rooms until around 8pm the first night.

 

The disembarking process was an absolute nightmare.  We elected to carry off our luggage (they call it "self assist").  We always have late morning flights, and this ensures we have plenty of time to get to the airport.  Normally, passengers who do this can leave the ship immediately after it is cleared by the Port Authority.  This ship, however, requires you to wait until your deck is called before you can carry your luggage off.  In our case, we had to wait over 2 hours, sitting in the stairwells (none of the elevators were available) dragging our luggage, and trying to keep our little ones under control.  There has got to be a better way of handling this process.  I would rate it an "F".

 

Even with some obvious disappointments and/or opportunities, I would rate our overall cruise a B+.  And in comparison to Royal Caribbean, in total they are very close...surprisingly close, and 10-15% cheaper.

 

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Navigator of the Seas

September 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Navigator of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas

April 2015 - 18 Night Transpacific (Sydney To Honolulu) Cruise on Radiance of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

March 2015 - 8 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Independence of the Seas

Great Family Cruise

This was our annual family cruise, and we traveled with our grown children and 3 grandchildren, ages 1, 2, and 6...8 total, in three staterooms on level 9.  We always use , because of their outstanding cruise specialist, Patti Opera.  We are experienced cruisers, and prefer Royal Caribbean, as we have found that they deliver a consistently great cruising experience.  The itinerary included St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Labadee.  We loved the fact that it was an 8 day cruise...we felt the extra day was a "bonus."  As always, there were a few "standout" members of the cruise staff that made our cruise memorable.  In this case, it was our entire dining room wait staff.  Our waiter and assistant waiter, Randy and Julius, were outstanding.  The anticipated the needs of our grandchildren, and brought out their food early each meal to keep them occupied and satisfied.  The Head Waiter, Vivek, was the absolute best Head Waiter we have experienced.  He was personable, and highly involved with our service every evening...ensuring we were all (including the kids) enjoying our dining experience.  He even performed magic tricks for the grandkids.  Overall, another outstanding experience with and Royal Caribbean.

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Freedom of the Seas

October 2014 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on Freedom of the Seas

Another great experience on Royal Caribbean

I am an experienced "cruiser", and this was my 4th of the year.  My son and I decided to take advantage of a "last minute" offer on Freedom of the Seas, visiting St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Coco Cay.  We have been on the Freedom before, as well as its sister ship the Independence.  It is a large ship, but is easy to navigate, and we never felt crowded.  I greatly appreciated the "no smoking" section of the Casino.  Our dining experience at Chops Grill was outstanding.  Our stateroom attendant was "Susie", and she was terrific.  The only "hiccup" was that the specialty coffee machine in the Diamond Lounge was out of service for most of the week...something I really missed. 

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Allure of the Seas

August 2014 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Allure of the Seas

First time on the Allure

Although we are seasoned cruisers, and have been on many Royal Caribbean ships, this was our first time on the Allure.  We had read reviews and seen pictures, and while the ship looked beautiful, we had some concern that it might be just too big.  Still, we thought it would be worth a try, so we booked adjoining balcony cabins on the 9th deck.  From the moment we entered the ship we were blown away by the spacious public spaces.  It was around 1 pm when we boarded, and we went directly to our cabins where our luggage had already been delivered.  We unpacked, and then went to the pool deck to relax and let my grandson enjoy the H20 Zone (kids pool area).  The entire week was spent relaxing, exploring the ship, enjoying Nassau, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas.  Our dining room service and food was outstanding, as was our cabin attendant.  The ship was at full capacity, but with the exception of the Windjammer (buffet) it never seemed crowded.  After having a difficult time finding a table there, we decided to take advantage of the information available on the cabin  TV which told us which restaurants were busy and which had immediate seating.  There are a tremendous number of complimentary dining options, and we found all of them to be great.  The ship is stunning...Central Park and the Boardwalk were great places to relax and people watch.  The Allure is a very large ship, but still had the Royal Caribbean "personality" ...just with many more venues.  One final point...the childrens program (Adventure Ocean) is absolutely outstanding.  This is my grandson's 4th Royal Caribbean cruise, and his favorite part of cruising is being able to go there.  If there are any potential cruisers out there that are apprehensive to take small children on a cruise, take our word for it...they will have a ball!

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Serenade of the Seas

April 2014 - 16 Night Transatlantic Eastbound (New Orleans To Barcelona) Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Great Transatlantic Cruise

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Big Smile

 

We are very experienced cruisers, with most of our experience on Royal Caribbean...we prefer this line because they have consistently delivered a great cruising experience.  This was out second Transatlantic cruise with Royal Caribbean.  Our first one was very good, but this one was great.  The Serenade has been recently refurbished, and the entire ship sparkles.  From the moment we boarded, were impressed with the friendliness of the staff.  In fact, we were extremely impressed with the entire crew, from the officers to the various service teams.  This was our first cruise as a "Diamond Club" member, and really enjoyed the various amenities that status offers.  This ship is smaller than most of our previous cruises, but still has all of the features that larger ships in the fleet have.  The food was outstanding, and much better than our previous transatlantic.  We dined in all of their specialty restaurants at least once, and they were all wonderful...with the exception of "Rita's Cantina", which seemed like a mediocre Tex-Mex restaurant you could find in any city.  The Main Dining Room food and service was among the best we have ever had.  We liked the fact that we had a stop in the Caribbean before making the crossing.  St. Maarten is one of our favorite ports, and was a nice day ashore before the 6 consecutive sea days.  We had never been to the Canary Islands or Spain, so this itinerary was great for us.  We ended in Barcelona, and spent an additional 4 days in that spectacular city.  For those looking for a great ship, staff, and itinerary, this one would be tough to beat.

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Navigator of the Seas

April 2014 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Navigator of the Seas

Another nice cruise on the Navigator.

This was the third time we had cruised on this ship.  The first was in 2003 when the ship was only a couple years old.  Last year we took a 16 day Transatlantic, and enjoyed both immensely.  This time, we took advantage of last minute pricing.  The ship was just refurbished in December of last year, and looks great with all the new carpet and other fresh touches.  The new Sabor restaurant is outstanding.  On this trip, there seemed to be many crew members in training, and although the service we received was great, there seemed to be something "off" with them.  There seemed to be morale problems...you noticed it when they weren't engaged with a guest.  Not many smiles.  Also, they need to update the mattresses and the pillows...both are too hard for my taste.  I am a big fan of RCCL, and cruise with them pretty much exclusively.  Although this cruise was not the best one I have taken with them, it was still significantly better than those I have taken with other cruise lines.  And I would still recommend them highly.

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Jewel of the Seas

October 2013 - 7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan roundtrip) Cruise on Jewel of the Seas

Navigator of the Seas

April 2013 - 15 Night Transatlantic Eastbound (New Orleans to Rome) Cruise on Navigator of the Seas

Carnival Dream

August 2012 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Dream

Freedom of the Seas

July 2011 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Port Canaveral roundtrip) Cruise on Freedom of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas

September 2010 - 7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan roundtrip) Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

March 2010 - 8 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Independence of the Seas

Carnival Valor

May 2009 - 7 Night Exotic Western Caribbean (Miami roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Valor

Carnival Pride

January 2009 - 7 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Pride

Carnival Victory

March 2008 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Victory

Jewel of the Seas

March 2007 - 8 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Jewel of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas

October 2006 - 6 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Radiance of the Seas

Voyager of the Seas

March 2006 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami roundtrip) Cruise on Voyager of the Seas

Grand Princess

March 2005 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston roundtrip) Cruise on Grand Princess

Celebrity Constellation

March 2004 - 7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Constellation

Navigator of the Seas

April 2003 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami roundtrip) Cruise on Navigator of the Seas

The1edge's Tips

Noumea, New Caledonia - The wine tasting excursion was a joke! They took us to a hotel, and let us gave us a few sips with bread. We thought we would have gone to a vineyard! Although, the bus ride was pleasant, and we were able to see a good part of the city.
Sydney, Australia - We stayed at the Sir Stamford at the Circular Quay a few days before boarding the ship. This was our 2nd visit with them. Outstanding Grand Hotel, and wonderful location. Only a couple of blocks to the Sydney Opera House. 5 Minute walk to the Quay, with tons of restaurants, Ferry System, and shopping. The Overseas Passenger Terminal is only .5 KM from the hotel...a super easy walk, even with cruise luggage!
Mystery Island, Vanuatu - Beautiful little island. Suggest doing a complete walk around the island (about 2 miles)
Suva, Fiji - Suggest an excursion. Suva is a large city, and if you want to see FIJI, you need to get out of the city.
Voyager of the Seas Voyager of the Seas - The Promenade Café is a great place to go for a quick snack...sandwiches, pizza, cookies, pastries, etc.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island) - Loved the relaxing day. be sure to get off the ship early so you can claim your perfect spot...particularly if you have need of constant shade.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - If you just want a beach experience, there is no need to pay for an excursion. Just take the water taxi into town, and get and take advantage of the beaches there...$25 for an umbrella, two loungers, and a bucket of beer!
Independence of the Seas Independence of the Seas - If you are traveling with a large group (over 4), it is sometimes difficult to find a table in the Windjammer during peak breakfast and lunch hours. The staff is great in assisting you finding a table, but if possible, you will find it much easier if you go a bit earlier or later.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - Maribel's Half Day Catamaran was a great time sailing, snorkeling, and enjoying the water and scenery.
Port Canaveral, Florida - We flew in the day before the cruise, and rented a car (one way) at the Orlando Airport. We enjoyed the afternoon, and it was nice to have our own transportation...and the price was less than our shuttle or taxi fares would have been.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - Shopping was great. If you have already been to Magens Bay (which is incredible), a good alternative is Emerald beach, which is just a few minutes from the ship.
Freedom of the Seas Freedom of the Seas - I have always booked balcony cabins. This time, however, we took advantage of a good rate on an oceanview cabin. It was great...we were able to take advantage of the water view without the expense of balcony.
Nassau, Bahamas - Dolphin Encounter was great fun for my son and grandson
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - The Park Café in Central Park is a great place for breakfast and lunch.
Malaga, Spain - Great stop. City was so clean and friendly. Interesting architecture and historical sites.
Cartagena, Spain - Like Malaga, only smaller. Wonderful tapas restaurants and fun place to people watch. Friendly people.
Barcelona, Spain - This has become our favorite city. Can't wait to return. We stayed 4 days at the Princesa Sophia Gran Hotel, located close to the Barcelona soccer stadium. Wonderful hotel, great staff, incredible included breakfast buffet, and great location.
Tenerife, Canary Islands - Very interesting port. Tenerife is a nice city. We regret not doing an island tour. We did a wine tasting tour instead, and didn't see as much of the island as we would have liked.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - Wonderful port, with great shopping...especially watches and Jewelry. Great beachfront restaurants as well.
Serenade of the Seas Serenade of the Seas - The Park Cafe on deck 11 became our preferred stop for breakfast or a quick snack. It is located in the Solarium, and is less busy than the Windjammer buffet. Isabel, is a gem. She also serves at Chops Grill, and we enjoyed her service immensely.
Navigator of the Seas Navigator of the Seas - The cafe on deck 5 is great fora quick cup of coffee, great sandwiches, pizza, and cookies/pastries. And, they remain open when the buffet and dining room is closed.

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checked in for the roll call for Jun 2, 2019 cruise on Harmony of the Seas!

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