dmnd100

dmnd100
Third Mate

Hometown: Lake Orion
Joined: 06/05/2014
4
Cruises
2
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23
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dmnd100's Past Cruises

Regal Princess

January 2016 - Regal Princess to Caribbean - Eastern

Royal Princess

October 2015 - Royal Princess to Caribbean

Norwegian Jewel

January 2015 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western

The Ship and Staff are great, but the food and on-board activities... not so much (Good Overall value.)

MY wife and I wanted a cheap getaway so we opted for an interior cabin. Our background: We sailed 3x with Carnival, 3x with Princess, 1x Holland America, 1x with Royal Caribbean, 1x Disney and was our first time on NCL. 

+ Boarding process very good and no long waits were experienced. (Top Notch.)

+ Ships decor nice... Stylish 

+ Inside cabin was compact but surprisingly well laid out. No issues and was acceptable. 

+ Best bathroom shower and sink for an interior state room - Shower door was a great plus - no flimsy curtain here and the sink was large and faucet was high with plenty of hand room.  

+/- Toilet on angle that doesn't allow leg room to wall and you have to sit slightly side saddle on an already small opening.  (Not as bad as the inside cabin Royal Caribbean toilet.)

- Experienced Slow service in sit-down restaurants. 

- Coffee tea cart virtually non existing - only once for the 7 day cruise.   

+ Good OJ and more selection for the included drinks 

+/- Food variety at buffets seems to be less as cruise progressed.  There was still plenty of food and we always found something to eat, but we rate the food the lowest of all previous cruise experiences.

- Sit down restaurant food and all deserts seemed like presentation took priority over taste. 

- What no lobster? (It appears that it's only offered in the specialty restaurants.)

- Cookies please!   (Cookie availability was hit or miss... mostly miss.)

- Simple hearty deserts please! Stop the foo-foo fancy-tasteless ones. The coconut cream pie and banana cream pie were very good but only had them available once.  

+ Good quality ice cream in the soft-serve machines.

- I love my ice cream but I don't like it when they have to get it for me and they don't know how to make a cone.  Causes backup and a line.   Machines were often down and it seemed like they were trying to ration the ice cream as the cruise continued.

- Cakes dry - Bread and muffins not very good.

+ Main production shows were excellent very talented singers and dancers 

- Other entertainment and activities were mediocre at best and sparse on the final sea day. 

+ Love the NCL concierge app!!!  Just wish that it listed all ship activities vs just the main ones.

Bottom line:  We would recommend NCL and we will probably sail with them again.  If we do sail with them, it would definitely be based on a lower price.

One other thing to consider if leaving from the Houston port... ground transportation seemed excessively expensive.  for the two of us... $80 from IAH airport to Hobby Hotel - 25min drive, $50 Hobby hotel to cruise port - 15min drive, and $90 Cruise port to Airport.  (For $100 we ended up taking the Houston Highlight tour - worth the $10 extra bucks since we had a 7pm flight.)  Our ground transportation totaled $230 not including any tips.

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Grandeur of the Seas

May 2014 - Grandeur of the Seas to Bermuda

Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

Our experience could be quite different from others on the same cruise and I am just passing along our experience. The cruise was very nice overall, but was middle of the road when compared with our past-other cruise experiences. (This was our eight cruise and first time on Royal Caribbean.) I guess part of the problem is that my wife and I bought into the hype from all the "Loyal Royals" and went in with high expectations.

 

Dining - food and drink:

The "Great Gatsby" sit down restaurant was on par with the other cruises...very good with excellent service.  We did the "My Time" dining but it really wasn't since they required you to reserve a time. This is problematic since we were not aware of the schedule of activities for the next day. (In consequence we conflicted with a few desired activities)

The Windjammer buffet was just so-so and we did not like the layout relative to other cruise lines. It was also apparant that the staff could use a lesson or two on how to wipe a table and chairs.

The Park Cafe had decent soup and sandwiches and was adequate but doesn't even compare to the available food on other cruise lines... (Guy Fieri Burgers and the Blue Iguana were awesome on the Carnival ships)

 

Ice cream was only in one spot and only available in the afternoon and shut down too early.. Why? Also, they had two machine but only utilized one.

Drink: OK, I'll admit it, I can't see paying the bucks for a soft drink package so we stuck with the ice tea, juice and water... This may sound trivial, but there were basically only three drink dispensers. It was somewhat pathetic because only two of the stations had an ice machine but were often out of ice or broken down.  Juice enhanced water was only available at the park cafe in the back. (Each dispenser had four heads, one would be ice tea, the other three water. (Why couldn't they have all three choices available at each machine.

 

Stateroom:

We decided to go last minute on the cheap and had chosen an inside stateroom. It was smaller than the other I/S staterooms on other ship, but was functional and was clean. The Bathroom was by far the smallest with the smallest showers of any other ships previously. Small is one thing, but not really a complaint. There are three main bathroom issues... 1.)Toilet placement - too close to the wall and had to sit side saddle and not easily fixed.  2.) Shower size - The shower could be corrected easily by adding a bowed upper curtain guide to move the curtain out and away and use a better- heavier-weighted grade shower curtain. (The curtain was very light and kept pushing in.)  3.) The sink faucet was not tall or long enough for the vessel style sink... Easy fix to replace faucet with a teller, better sized faucet.

 

Entertainment - Activities:

It seems that everyone is cutting corners and my wife and I have noticed a progressive cut in entertainment and activities over the past several cruises. With that said, the entertainment and activities were the worst of any of our previous cruises. The only jewels in their entertainment were the ships singers, dancers and ship's orchestra. The Comedians were OK, but a very short shows... Matt Yee was terrible so I wouldn't call him a comedian.  Other activities... trivia, etc were few and ill timed with dinner times etc. The two band that were playing in a few locations around the ship were mediocre at best.

 

Time in Port (Bermuda)

Bermuda was a fantastic and is now one of our favorite places. There are many things to do and see... very picturesque with dramatic shorelines with perfect white sand and blue water.  With that stated, it would have been nice to spend a little more time there. OK, when we booked the trip, we got mixed up with the celebrity schedule and were disappointed when did not arrive in Bermuda until after 3pm the first day and found out we had to be all aboard by 5pm the last day. The Grandeur of the Sea puttered across the ocean at a slow 12–13 knots and could have easily added time in port by going a little faster. One other issue was that we arrived on a Sunday and Monday was a Holiday so we were limited on our activities since most shopping etc was closed on those days.(Still found pleanty to do.)

 

Bottom Line:

We would do Royal Caribbean again but would not pay anything extra for the privilege. 

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Viking Ingvi

May 2014 - Viking Ingvi to Europe

MS Vienna

May 2013 - MS Vienna to Europe

dmnd100's Tips

Belize City, Belize - Nothing to do unless if you take an excursion - or pay rip off taxi prices to go to beach
Cozumel, Mexico - Good shopping, but not much else unless if you take an excursion
Grandeur of the Seas Grandeur of the Seas - Truly recommend to use the Gatsby for all meals. If Ice machines are out or broken, I was told that you can get ice from the soda pop machines inside the windjammer - even if the doors are closed. On Bermuda, the day passes for transportation worked out well and made it easy to get around.

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - The Ship and Staff are great, but the food and on-board activities... not so much (Good Overall value.)

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - The Ship and Staff are great, but the food and on-board activities... not so much (Good Overall value.)

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Jewel cruise review - The Ship and Staff are great, but the food and on-board activities... not so much (Good Overall value.)

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines

received a helpful vote on their Grandeur of the Seas cruise review - Overall nice but wouldn't pay more than a similar cruise from other cruise lines