Writeandcruise

Writeandcruise
Cruise Director

Joined: 04/23/2015
11
Cruises
9
Reviews
53
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About Writeandcruise



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Writeandcruise's Past Cruises

MSC Seaside

April 2018 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean & Bahamas (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Seaside

MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

Los Hermonos Tasting Room Seafood Speciality Restaurant Open for Business

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A ship worth exploring. It’s ‘sea’ focused. You know you’re on the water because you can see the sea from just about everywhere. The outside public areas are awesome. The crystal staircases are stunning. Just be prepared for the main dining room’s rigid seating times. And do try the pizza!

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Oasis of the Seas

January 2018 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on Oasis of the Seas

Always More to Do than There is Time on Oasis

Oasis remains my favorite ship. Love the variety of venues. The ship only feels crowded before cabins are ready and muster completed. Only minor disappointments that are due to Royal making changes, not the crew or ship’s fault. Good service and plenty to do.

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Nieuw Amsterdam

November 2017 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam

Bah Humbug Niuew Amsterdam

Golden sand beach on tour to Las Teranas from Samana

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Nieuw Amsterdam is my least favorite Holland Ship. Very dead, little music. Dominican Republic is a beautiful country , but you must take excursions away from the port. Beaches and villages are worth the trip.

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Empress of the Seas

October 2017 - 4 Night Key West & Havana (Tampa Roundtrip) Cruise on Empress of the Seas

Wow. Empress surpasses Expectations

Dining room was lovely

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I only expected Empress to be transportation to Cuba. She's much more. I'd cruise her again. I missed having a balcony, but the cabin layout works well. Don't hesitate to give this one a try

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Oasis of the Seas

March 2017 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Port Canaveral Roundtrip) Cruise on Oasis of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas

January 2017 - 10 Night Southern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

September 2016 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Plan Ahead and There's A Lot to Like on Allure of the Seas

What's not to like? Music in Central Park View from balcony Try for lunch in St. Thomas Bar between the Flow Riders

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When the kids are in school, this ship offers a lot for adults to enjoy. Make your show reservations online well before your cruise. Keep your itinerary and meal reservations in mind when booking shows. Don't miss the aqua theater show. It's only offered early in the week and can be cancelled if there's rough water. Watch the daily bulletin for activities you don't want to miss. We enjoyed the cast of Mamma Mia performing solos in the jazz Club late one evening. This cast is very talented and they performed a wide variety of songs. We don''t normally eat in speciality restaurants, but this time we did. Park 150 is amazing. Loved the speciality salts. The lunch we enjoyed in Sabor was probably the best meal we had. Try the shrimp, and of course one of the margaritas. On a sea day we attended the pasta demonstration at Giavanni's Table. For one price, we had mimosas at the demo, learned some culinary tricks, then enjoyed lunch. Another interesting activity is the horticulture tour of Central Park. I enjoy it so much, I've taken it three times on Oasis and now twice on Allure. Choose your cabin to enhance your enjoyment of the cruise. I've stayed in balcony cabins seaside, overlooking Central Park, and now the Boardwalk. Central Park is quiet, you can enjoy the musical performance from your balcony, but if the people across the way from you disregard the notice not to leave things on your balcony, it's distracting and disappoint - why do people think hanging men's pants from their balcony is okay? The other downside to these cabins is you can forget you're on a ship. It's more like being in a resort hotel. The Boardwalk balconies give you a glimpse of the water and you can watch parts of the aqua show. They are hot, though without the sea breeze and people on the basketball court can be noises. The staff was friendly, service was good. The itinerary included St. Kitts, a very nice change from the typical St. Thomas and St. Martin stops. If you go to St. Kitts, get away from the port area and see this beautiful island. Brimstone Hill Fortress offers spectacular views, The Caribel Batik shop is a good place for nice gifts for the folks back home, and you'll probably spot monkeys somewhere along the way. The only disappointments on this cruise were all related to Crown and Anchor Club benefits. I'm a diamond plus level and on this ship, diamond plus does not get access to the concierge level lounge which is the old Vikin Crown Lounge - it's suite guests and Pinnacle Club members only. The bridge tour offered to Daimond Plus members occurred while in port at St. Kitts and conflicted with our shore excursion. The loyalty ambassador was unable to offer any other alternatives, This was disappoi

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MSC Divina

April 2016 - 7 Night Bermuda (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Divina

MSC Gets Better Each Cruise

The small wine tasting Chocolate replica of ship Black card status gift Garden Bar Crystal staircase

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This was my fifth cruise with MSC. There are people who don't enjoy this line, and that's fine, but there are several reasons to give them a try. Divina is a beautiful ship, well laid out, and one of the cleanest I've been on. (This was my 35th cruise.) The entertainment is varied and almost nonstop every evening. They even do an opera one afternoon. Overall value is excellent with fares typically lower than other lines. Drink prices are much lower than Royal and Celebrity. Every day from noon until midnight the wine bar offers a mini wine tasting of three generous pours along with a plate of appetizers for $9.90. For a fee you can learn to blend your own wine that you can name and buy bottles to take home. These make excellent gifts. The food is comparable to others lines with the exception of really good pasta options and fresh pizza since this is an Italian line. Things that irk the detractors include a clunky website, long waits for reaching an agent on the phone, and they do announcements in multiple languages. 

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Oasis of the Seas

January 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Oasis of the Seas

Eurodam

November 2015 - 14 Night Eastern/Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Eurodam

What Holland Does Best

Eurodam does embarkation and disembarking better than anyone. I dislike all ship buffets so I loved that Mariner club members can eat lunch from a full menu in the dining room when they arrive by noon.. Also our room was ready.  Departure day we could wait anywhere including our cabin, if we wanted.  Dining room also offered full menu on last morning. These little touches made a seven day cruise feel like a full seven days. The other lines should figure out how Holland does this. The crew is outstanding. We attended the crew show and it was very entertaining. Enjoyed the daily teas, but esp. Liked the Indonesian tea day. Food is a notch above other lines. The ship is small, but lovely.  Half Moon Cay is the nicest of all the private islands. Good itineraries.

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MSC Divina

April 2015 - 7 Night Bermuda (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on MSC Divina

Judge MSC and Divina for Yourself. You May be Surprised

antipasto came with wine in wine bar Main pool at night dramatic atrium First class baked alaska classical trio played every evening

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This ship has excellent entertainment. The production shows and the lounge entertainment are the varied. There is almost non-stop music available from 5 pm onward. Wine list is more varied than other ships and they serve lovely plates of antipasto with the wine. Average drink price is $7.50. The decor is dramatic. The fresh made pizza is very good and seems to be always available. Fresh baked cookies come out at 10:15 every night. Check-in was orderly, but slow. This cruise attracted large busloads of people who all arrived at once. We had a lovely balcony cabin with adequate storage space. The showers are larger than the norm. Service was unobtrusive and the crew responds well when you are polite and undemanding. 

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Writeandcruise's Tips

San Juan, Puerto Rico - San Juan is open for business. The old town area is busy and bustling. We toured to see how the recovery was coming along. More obvious damage once you are away from the port. We were in the middle of our tour when the entire island lost power for a 24 hour period. Things are still difficult there. Highly recommend the tour to Caugus ( i think that’s how. It’s spelled) for the Sangria tasting. Los Hermonos is the locally owned Sangria provider. They have a cute tasting room. We were served four large wine glasses of different flavored Sangrias along with ‘appetizers’. Not your typical walk up get a plastic tiny tumbler of a beverage tasting. This was comparable to a separate fee wine tasting, but included with the tour. A very nice surprise.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - They are making a great recovery from Irma. Most shops and restaurants are open again. We toured to see how the interior was doing. Marigot is not as far along as Philipsburg. It’s a friendly island and the people are great. Only current negative is that the road into the port is still one lane and traffic is very, very heavy. If you plan to tour on your own or use a cab be very early returning to the ship. Our ship excursion returned 20 minutes after the ship was supposed to sail (not on board time) They waited for the excursion, they won’t be there if your private driver gets caught in traffic.
Miami, Florida - Sail Away is always pretty here, but I personally don’t like driving into Miami for a cruise.
Nassau, Bahamas - Didn’t tour. Just walked around. We’ve found a plaza (next to Senor Frogs) where local artisans with tourist bureau credentials sell handmade items. They are delightful and have nice and inexpensive items. We like supporting them. And we avoid the Straw Market! There’s a restaurant there as well where we try a local beer before heading back to the ship.
MSC Seaside MSC Seaside - If you’re a frequent cruiser with status on another line, be sure to take advantage of MSC’s status match. We are diamond Plus and Royal and MSC put us in their top tier of their program. Their perks are much better than our ‘home’ line. Do this as soon as you decide to take an MSC cruise!
San Juan, Puerto Rico - We only walked around in old town since we’ve been here multiple times and stayed on the island as well. There was better traffic control than in the past with officers watching out for pedestrians. Everything was up and running in Old Town, our stop was early and the ship left right after lunch.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - Always enjoy Philipsburg, the hurricane damage is extensive, but they are up and running as best they can.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island) - Just a beach day for us. The beaches are lovely, but crowded. The buffet lines are way too long and it is often hard to find a place to sit when you get food. Holland’s Half Moon Cay is much better for beach time and buffet. Labadee is excellent if you want the more active options like the zip line and water craft.
Oasis of the Seas Oasis of the Seas - Study the deck plans before you go if you’re new to Oasis class ships, plan your must do’s - you can’t do everything- and avoid the main dining room for breakfast when they are doing the Dreamworks program for kids. It’s super loud no matter where you sit in the dining room, you will hear it.
Puerto Plata/Dominican Republic - You need to take excursions to enjoy the island. Cabaret Beach was very nice. The town square is okay. We also stopped in Samana and our tour to Las Teranas was wonderful
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (Private Island) - Best private island of all the lines (I've not been to Disney's). It's gorgeous and there are plenty of pavilions for the buffet. Minimal lines too. The beach is beautiful
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - St. Thomas is not in the UK. St. Thomas is slowly recovering from the storms. Our favorite restaurant (Gladys' Cafe was open and most of the shops. Homes are still without power, but the islanders are happy the ships are back
Key West, Florida - No excursion. Don't miss Kino Sandals. Glad to Keybw Set back opens once
HAVANA, CUBA - Amazing to finally see the forbidden isle. We took the eight hour excursion. A HUGE disappointment is that the Hemingway House was removed from our tour and that's why we choice this one. Did enjoy overall. The hour at the hot and crowded souvenir warehouse is the stuff of nightmares, but the people and their wares were not the problem. It's way too crowded and hot. Thirty minutes is enough time. Lunch was fun with entertainment and I liked the chance to walk a bit in old town. The cemetery was actually more interesting than expected. The mosaic place is something you need to see to believe. Guide was wonderful.
Tampa, Florida - Just drove in and out. You can reserve parking via port of Tampa website
Tampa, Florida - In over forty cruises, this was the absolute worst disembarkation process ever. The fault lies on both the port and the ship equally. We were called two hours later than the estimated time. The port is not staffed in customs sufficiently to handle even this small ship. The ship's issue is that rather than let us wait comfortably where we were, they called us and then we stood in a line nearly an hour. Do not book an early flight. Even the walk-offs were backed up on the terminal because of the low staff in customs.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - Try Glady's Cafe for lunch. If you're lucky she sings. The bottled hot sauces are great gifts to take home. Just ask anyone in Charlotte Amalie how to find it. It's in one of the alleys just off the water
Basseterre, St. Kitts - See the island. It's a gem. Brimstone Hill Fortress offers spectacular views. You do need to climb though. Caribel Batik is picturesque and a great place to buy unique gifts.
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - On day one the buffet is not your only option for lunch. The cafe in Central Park and the Solarium Restaurant are excellent alternatives.
Grand Turk Island - See the island, enjoy meeting the little donkeys and have lunch at Margaritaville
Eurodam Eurodam - Join the Mariner club and take Dvantage of embarkation lunch in the dining room.
MSC Divina MSC Divina - The Garden Bar on the open rear deck is a great place for sail-away.
MSC Divina MSC Divina - Put one of your room keys in the slot next to the door to activate the electricity in the cabin. And don’t leave one in there when you exit. There’s a little light above the door that lets the cabin steward know if you are in the cabin so they don’t come in to clean the room until you leave.

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received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

received a helpful vote on their Oasis of the Seas cruise review - Always More to Do than There is Time on Oasis

received a helpful vote on their Empress of the Seas cruise review -

received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

received a helpful vote on their MSC Divina cruise review - MSC Gets Better Each Cruise

received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind

received a helpful vote on their MSC Seaside cruise review - MSC Seaside is One of a Kind