Second Mate

Hometown: St Petersburg, FL
Joined: 12/06/2015
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About danaglow

Middle class American trying to survive, but still finding ways to travel and enjoy!



danaglow's Past Cruises

Norwegian Star

March 2016 - Norwegian Star to Caribbean - Western

My worst cruise so far - Do your research first on this ship

I was so excited to try NCL. Booked a 7 day cruise with my mom (87 years young). She has had great experiences with NCL in the past and wanted me to see how great they are. Well, it didn't work out that way.

Let's start with the over priced mid-ship balcony on deck 10. These are the smallest rooms my mother or I have ever encountered. The room is only 166 sf, of which a third is the bathroom and closet. The twin beds and trundle bed take up more than another third. Throw in the TV and table with chair and you really have no room at all. Also note that there is no bureau, only a single closet.

Next we experienced the free style dining. Service was questionable to poor every meal. One hostess was seating passengers while she kept one hand in her pockets. Another waiter rolled his eyes at me when I placed my order. Several times the order was incorrect. All rolls were cold, never served warm. The food was poor to fair. The vegetables were previously frozen and improperly prepared (shriveled and dry) and the Cordon Blue was one step below the frozen meals we buy in the local grocery store. Having talked with many other passengers, we heard the same reviews of the service and food. Note, the Ginka restaurant was excellent in both service and food.

NCL also used misleading nomenclature in their daily brochures by stating 24/7 dining without having dining available 24/7 except when ordering Room Service (which has a $7.95 fee each order). Beware of the free style dining dress code. Shoes and shirt are required, however sleeveless "shirts" are not considered shirts. In the Main Dining after 5:00 PM, shorts are not allowed, unless you are female and carrying your drinks with you. After 11:00 PM the only food available is in the sit down dining and all buffets are closed.

The pool was a joke as it was smaller than most backyard pools. Granted there were four hot tubs around the pool, but the pool itself was tiny. They had two water slides, but only had them open on occasion, and I never saw both open at the same time. The hot tubs were limited to six persons and no food or drink. However many times there were ten to twenty persons in each hot tub and with glass bottles and mixed drinks in glasses. One evening I walked by the pool after it was closed and saw a drinking glass and a glass bottle both on the bottom of the pool. I noticed that my dress code for the restaurants broke the rules and were enforced, but those who are buying the drinks were allowed to do as they pleased.

One of my favorite things on a cruise is the nightly comedy shows. Too bad NCL only had two shows in this seven day cruise. I tried to attend one of the shows but the lounge was so over crowded that I couldn't even see the stage or walk into the lounge.

On a positive note, the shows in the theater were good, even though one was a single stand up comedian and another a hypnotist. There was no enforcement by the crew to make sure passengers wouldn't interrupt the shows by arriving late. Every show had people walking in during the show up to a half hour after the shows started.

Speaking with many of the previous NCL passengers on this cruise, almost every one of them commented that the crew treated the passengers as if the passengers were an inconvenience rather than guests. So many commented, "This is the rudest crew ever".

Now for the nail in the coffin. I spoke with the supervisor of NCL excursions and he made a special call to housekeeping to make sure my m other would have a wheelchair available to get from the ship to the excursion. Being safe, we checked on the morning of the excursion and the cruise director called housekeeping, who were already on the pier, to confirm the wheelchair. My mother and I weren't allowed to bring her scooter on the tender, but we managed to get to the pier. We had to walk the length of the pier to get to the NCL tent where they refused to let my mother use the wheelchair! We managed to walk, stop, and rest until we reached the excursion. On our way we met three other NCL cruisers riding their scooters which were brought from the ship via tender.

I will not let this keep me from cruising in the future. Unless I have a free cruise with NCL, I will never use their cruise line again. I have always had better success and treatment on Carnival and will continue to support them in the future.

BEWARE: NCL now offers unlimited drink packages which appeal to many. My personal guess is with this, NCL will become the new "party" cruise. Be prepared for everyone to drink from the minute they embark until the minute they disembark. I think it is great for them to party, however the alcohol creates some truly unwanted actions on board.


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Carnival Paradise

November 2015 - Carnival Paradise to Caribbean - Western

"Port is minutes from home"

Best deal for the price, if only disembark can be fixed

    Phenomenal deal for the money. Carnival staff makes you feel like a member of their family. Comedy was the best ever with two fantastic comedians. Dinner offered many great choices and service staff treats you like a king.

     The down sides of this cruise include a very short length of stay at Grand Cayman, only about four hours. Being one of the smaller ships meant no large screen for evening movies on deck. The two revue shows were sub par, at best. The two sea days did not offer enough activities for all ages to enjoy. Sea day brunch menus in the dining hall were not much better than what was offered on deck. Steve, the Cruise Director was all about himself and lacked the ability to make the activities feel as if they were meant for the guests.

     The worst part of the cruise is Carnival's inability to control the disembark process. Although well planned (on paper) by assigning time slots for certain groups to disembark, about 2,000 guests crammed the gangway at the same time regardless of the planned time slots. Carnival should be ashamed of this massive exodus of guests who don't care about the rules and their crew's inability to control this. 

     Personal note: Many guests are unaware that the photo team has a Wall of Fame. This is where your photo can be displayed to all guests when your picture is deemed worthy. Making the Wall of Fame not only offers that feeling of being special, but offers you the photo for free. In our case, we had two pictures on the Wall of Fame at the same time! We stopped by in the morning and were told we could pick up our photos later in the day. Unfortunately, Ana, the photo manager found out that we had two photos on the wall and removed one before we returned. She stated that she didn't know what she did with the other photo and that Carnival only offers one free photo, not two. This was the first time we ever met a Carnival crew member who was almost rude and unapproachable.

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Carnival Valor

June 2011 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Western

"Trying a full week this time"

Great trip - recommend to all

Cruise number two for us. This time we found the time available to do a 7 night cruise. What a great choice! We loved the entire cruise. This time we spent the extra money for a balcony. If you don't have children with you, we recommend a balcony room. Imagine it's the middle of the night, the stars are out, the ship is quiet, and you can feel the breeze in your face while watching the flying fish as the ship cuts through the water. Also, the balcony allows a private place to 'hide' when you want a break from the other guests.

The destinations were fantastic, with plenty of time at all port of calls. The dining room was festive with great shows every night by the wait staff. The shows, revues, comedy, and other activities were spectacular. Once again bingo was offered daily and the pricing was fair. Some day we will do this cruise again.


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Carnival Sunshine

June 2009 - Carnival Sunshine to Caribbean - Western

"Testing the waters"

First time cruising

This was our first experience cruising. We selected Carnival because of price and needed a short duration. Cruise was enjoyable. At the time we cruised, the ship name was Carnival Destiny.

As a first time cruiser our experience was both good and bad. We selected a short length cruise because of price and available time off. This was a mistake because of the number of families with children, many of whom were left unattended and very disrespectful. Jamaica was scary. We had the horseback ride in the ocean excursion and our tour guides were required to carry firearms because of the constant threat of attack. Grand Cayman was extremely enjoyable as we strolled down the seven mile beach and found a place to relax. There we rented kayaks and snorkeling gear. Simply beautiful.

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danaglow's Tips

Norwegian Star Norwegian Star - Beware of the unlimited drink packages. This will make NCL the "Party" ship of the future. Always read the individual ship reviews BEFORE you book.
Cozumel, Mexico - We booked the the Melia Vacation Club all-inclusive for one day. The price was far less than your typical excursion. Imagine how relaxed we were, while sipping drinks in the swim up bar. Or while casually snorkeling in the Gulf. Food was good and the drinks were great!
Cozumel, Mexico - Try a one day all-inclusive resort instead of a shore excursion. We did and absolutely loved it!
Carnival Paradise Carnival Paradise - Have bottled waters sent to your room before your cruise date through the Gift Services, this is inexpensive and will be delivered to your room. Ask your room staff to provide ice each morning.
Carnival Sunshine Carnival Sunshine - Short length cruises attracts many families with children who cannot afford the longer length cruises. Unattended children everywhere and many disrespectful.

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received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Best deal for the price, if only disembark can be fixed

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Star cruise review - My worst cruise so far - Do your research first on this ship

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Star"Beware of the unlimited drink packages. This will make NCL the "Party" ship of the future. Always read the individual ship reviews BEFORE you book."

added Mar 6, 2016 cruise on Norwegian Star to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Norwegian Star and gave it 1 star!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Paradise cruise review - Best deal for the price, if only disembark can be fixed

commented on a Carnival Valor cruise review. - "jwendt1 - any local pharmacy carries them. You can also purchase on board, nut why worry when you can have them before your embark.
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commented on a Carnival Magic cruise review. - "amrupj, typically it depends on dock or tender. Not all ports have docks for the cruise ships and tendering typically takes a long time. Imagine tr..." read more

replied to the discussion, Resort Day Passes on the cruiseline forum.

followed a discussion, Resort Day Passes, on the cruiseline forum.