katj

katj

First Mate
New Jersey
Joined 08/2014

26

Cruises

9

Reviews

104

Helpful Votes

I took my first cruise in 2008. I now have 16 under my belt. I live on the east coast. I would love to live in a port city like to Miami. I would probably sail every other month with those specials. I plan to retire on a cruise ship some day.

Upcoming cruises

Past cruises

Norwegian Getaway

January 2020 - 9 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Getaway

Fantastic Cruise

Getaway is a beautiful ship. The staff is great. The food was well prepared. The itinerary was exciting. As usual with any cruise, the experience will be what you make of it.

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Brilliance of the Seas

August 2019 - 12 Night Baltic (Amsterdam Roundtrip) Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas

Fantastic Itinerary

Great cruise with a great itinerary. The ship is bright and open with wonderful views. The staff and crew are engaging. The food in the specialty restaurants is great, but you'll be fine with the complimentary options also.

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Grandeur of the Seas

February 2019 - 9 Night Southeast Coast & Bahamas (Baltimore Roundtrip) Cruise on Grandeur of the Seas

This was my third or fourth time on Grandeur. I love the convenience of cruising out of Baltimore. It is a great embarkation port. The ship is the perfect size if you're a fan of traditional cruising. The food was good. The service was fine, but not as good as past cruises. I might be wrong, but I got the feel that a few, not all, crew members tended to ignore some guest in an attempt to cater to those they perceived to be "good tippers". I was fine with this approach, it became a self fulfilling prophecy for quite a few of them and saved me a ton of money. I went to customer service and had the auto gratuities removed and tipped at my discretion. Servers in the MDR weren't as personable this time around so I did not tip them. The service wasn't horrible, but it was sub par compared to past waiters so whatever RCL paid them is what they got from me. For the guests they showered attention on; hopefully for them, those guests tipped them well. I'm pretty low maintenance so I think I like this new approach, it will certainly save me money. Naturally, on my next cruise if the staff delivers the wow I'm accustomed to, I'll be back to over tipping. I enjoyed my cruise immensely so there will be a next time. The entertainment was great, the crew performance was probably some of the best. There was always something going on. They made good use of the Centrum with the evening performances since they are no longer using the space for aerial shows.

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Vision of the Seas

October 2018 - 13 Night Transatlantic Westbound (Barcelona To Miami) Cruise on Vision of the Seas

Smooth Transatlantic Voyage

Vision is a lovely ship. There weren't a lot of kids onboard which is why I selected the longer off peak itineray. As usual what the smaller class ships lack in bells, whistles and modernity, they make up for in personality, service, and charm. The captain was new. I was so looking forward to sailing with the captain that everyone raved about, but that was not to be. I still had a marvelous time. It would be pretty hard not to with Steve and Talitta at the helm. Their energy is infectious. I would defintely sail Vision again. I would have loved to done the Panama Canal cruise on this vessel. One day soon.

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Grandeur of the Seas

May 2018 - 9 Night Canada & New England (Baltimore Roundtrip) Cruise on Grandeur of the Seas

Grand Time on Grandeur

Canada/New England is a lovely itinerary. The lobster rolls and blueberry pie is not to be missed. Oh, and the clam chowder, not to be missed. Budget for lunch in town. It is well worth the expense and not to be missed. Try to find someone that serves the lobster roll hot and buttered or dipped in a lobster bisque. Sorry I don't remember the names of any restaurants. I walked until I found a place with room to accommodate me. The Sushi making class and Champagne Brunch with galley tours were wonderful, if you're inclined to pay the fee. I would suggest getting one of the dining packages and using it to cover these activities, if you're thinking about participating.

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Empress of the Seas

January 2018 - 4 Night Bahamas (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Empress of the Seas

Empress is a lovely vessel. She is a 5 star ship if you board her with the expectation that she is one of the oldest and smallest ships in the fleet and the understanding that she is not meant to compete with Oasis or Quantum class vessels. This is traditional cruising as I remembered it, sans dress codes. MDR dress was the most casual I've seen. The stateroom attendants are always around and accessible, and refreshing the room as you come and go. The food and service in MDR were up to par. Each night was a challenge to decide which entree I would get. This was a 4 day stint so the lobster and prime rib dinner was a pleasant surprise. The fresh shrimp cocktail tower and paella in the luncheon buffet on embarkation day was a nice Welcome Aboard treat. I always found seating in the Windjammer. I didn't experience unreasonably long lines at embarkation or when disembarking. I didn't find the activities lacking. They had a 70s night, a white party, a pool party, photo op with the captain. Movies by the pool, parade of flags, trivia, Vegas style shows, dance lessons, etc. I would sail her again since I like traditional cruising and don't suffer from fomo or require constant stimuli. I'm the person that once on board, I try to find the peaceful nook so when I'm ready for down time, I know where to go to read. There weren't too many kids and those that were onboard were very well behaved. I don't have kids; however, I did speak with parents who advised that their kids enjoyed Adventure Ocean. I was unable to detect motion until the last night when the sea got rough. If my sea sickness vets bad, I go see the Acupuncturist. This time around Dramamine and ginger ale dd the trick so kudos to the construction done on this older vessel. She managed to hold her own. Waves weren't too crazy. They got to about 10 feet. Folks were having a ball in the pool as the shipped was being rocked by the waves.

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Norwegian Breakaway

November 2017 - 7 Night Bahamas & Florida (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Breakaway

I loved, loved, loved this ship. I think it maintains enough elements of traditional cruising while keeping pace with changing times to keep it lively for guests of all ages. I sailed solo. The studio accommodations are "cozy" but more than adequate with a full bed and ample storage. The Studio Lounge was a nice amenity offering juice, coffee, tea, and snacks. The entertainment is excellent. There was usually something to see or do in the Atrium. I would suggest a visit to LaCucina. Ocean Blue did not require a jacket or tie the night I dined there; however, men in shorts were refused entry, but offered seating at the less formal Raw Bar. Yes, there's a heavy lingering smell of cigarette smoke from the casino, but they did their best to air the venue out daily. The lines for dining sometimes had a queue, but I never had to wait longer than 15-20 min. I suggest reservations for dinner and shows. I also suggest arriving 10min prior to the window for dinner and 20 min earlier for shows. Pretty much the same routine one would follow for a land based dinner and show evening. Kids were plentiful but in most instances well behaved. Staff and crew were pleasant and engaging. Garden Buffet waiters were on point quickly clearing vacated tables. Sometimes too quickly, it was funny to come back to have them have cleared the table, don't make the mistake of leaving your table unattended. No complaints about this ship. I did get annoyed with passengers that liked to show up in the library for the sole purpose of having a lively conversation. Oh well, what are you going to do. Happy Sailing!!

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Carnival Sunshine

May 2017 - 10 Night Eastern Caribbean Carnival Journeys (Charleston Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Sunshine

Loved the Carnival Sunshine Journeys cruise. 10+ days of pure delight. The room was clean and ready upon boarding and well maintained throughout the cruise including evening turndown. The food in the MDR was great with only one Friday night exception. I wanted them to serve something other than what they had; a simple fish and chip entree would have been preferable to what they threw together. However, I acknowledge that it was way more than what is normally in my fridge on any given Friday so no complaints, just an honest observation. The MDR staff, phenomenal, as always. Shows were entertaining but Liquid Lounge venue is just not the best or most comfortable accommodation. Closing off the venue to create a running of the bulls queue didn't lend itself to the most relaxing experience; but if you manage to not get too jostled and to find a decent seat, the shows were very enjoyable. Emma, your cruise director is entertaining. I'm not a huge party person, but others that like to boast about being up to the wee hours weren't impressed with the night life (second hand information). I was surprised, the Lido deck desserts were very tasty and not just different shapes, sizes, and colors of the same sugary sweet base. As with most vessels, they ridiculously made the smoke filled casino the bridge to connect the ship's forward and aft sections. If you're an avid cruiser, you're use to this so you knuckle under, take a deep breath, and go full speed ahead to the other side. Sewage smells were sporadic and temporary, just a footnote in your experience that might easily go unnoticed. I think I realized it only because so many others mentioned it in their posts. I can be pretty oblivious when the ocean is calling. It was nice of them to announce the Towel Animal deck exhibit in the Fun Times; I usually miss it, but I got to see it this time and it was great! Sunshine isn't a new ship with all the bells and whistles, but you'd have to work pretty hard to not enjoy what she has to offer. Great staff, great food, great accommodations. Embarkation and disembarkation were a cinch, but full disclosure our ship came in with no passengers. The crew had a day at sea with no passengers, pretty sweet. They were ready for us. Disembarkation can be relaxing and organized if everyone adheres to Emma's instructions. The Muster Drill was a delayed, disoganized, mess causing my spa appt to be rescheduled leading to a conflict with my Steakhouse reservations. Oh well, ship happens, their fire drill to sort. I was on vacation.

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Celebrity Reflection

March 2017 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Reflection

My first time on Celebrity, but not my last. Celebrity continues to give the star treatment that other lines are starting to abandon. This cruise line still seems to have enough staff to passenger ratio so the people don't appear tired and strained. The staff is courteous and attentive. I was happy to see the evening chocolate treats are still part of their nightly turndown process. I did however miss the towel animals which they don't do as part of the turndown, but will upon request. The evening performances were top notch. The food was delicious and served hot. The ship is laid out nicely. There were always enough deck chairs and loungers and hammocks to accommodate the passengers who didn't seem to over abundantly hog space while disapearing for hours. This ship also had nooks and coves that provided a place to sit back and relax and read without subjecting you to isolation. The pods were enclosed but still part of the main central space. Occasionally the space was over run with kids that should have been in the areas that were designated for them. They had nicely appointed facilities for younger passengers, but what are you going to? The kids weren't being obnoxious, they were just being kids. This ship still had far less children than other lines I've sailed so no complaints. Especially since they were never playing over the food in the buffet. The silent disco was a different and nice experience which shouldn't be missed. I wasn' t sure how they would cross honor my Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor status since they never inquired. But they knew, and they did provide equivalent benefits for their Captain's Club tier. Great week and looking forward to cruising with them again.

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Carnival Vista

October 2016 - 13 Night Transatlantic Westbound (Barcelona To New York) Cruise on Carnival Vista

Grandeur of the Seas

May 2016 - 9 Night Bermuda (Baltimore Roundtrip) Cruise on Grandeur of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas

August 2015 - 14 Night Italian Mediterranean (Southampton Roundtrip) Cruise on Anthem of the Seas

Norwegian Pearl

May 2015 - 10 Night Alaska Glacier Bay (Vancouver To Seattle) Cruise on Norwegian Pearl

Carnival Conquest

September 2014 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Conquest

Carnival Splendor

January 2014 - 8 Night Bahamas & Florida (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Splendor

Rhapsody of the Seas

May 2013 - 13 Night Hawaii Northbound (Honolulu to Vancouver) Cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas

Norwegian Jade

February 2013 - 10 Night Eastern Mediterranean (Rome roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Jade

Enchantment of the Seas

May 2012 - 8 Night Bermuda & Northeast (Baltimore roundtrip) Cruise on Enchantment of the Seas

Carnival Spirit

September 2011 - 7 Night Alaska Glacier Bay (Seattle to Vancouver) Cruise on Carnival Spirit

Jewel of the Seas

September 2010 - 14 Night Transatlantic Westbound (Harwich to Boston) Cruise on Jewel of the Seas

Carnival Triumph

September 2009 - 5 Night Canada/New England (New York roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Triumph

Majesty of the Seas

April 2008 - 4 Night Bahamas (Miami roundtrip) Cruise on Majesty of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

Sail date: May 10, 2018

Grand Time on Grandeur

Canada/New England is a lovely itinerary. The lobster rolls and blueberry pie is not to be missed. Oh, and the clam chowder, not to be missed. Budget for lunch in town. It is well worth the expense and not to be missed. Try to find someone that serves the lobster roll hot and buttered or dipped in a lobster bisque. Sorry I don't remember the names of any restaurants. I walked until I found a place with room to accommodate me. The Sushi making class and Champagne Brunch with galley tours were wonderful, if you're inclined to pay the fee. I would suggest getting one of the dining packages and using it to cover these activities, if you're thinking about participating.

Read full review

Brilliance of the Seas

Brilliance of the Seas

Sail date: August 11, 2019

Fantastic Itinerary

Great cruise with a great itinerary. The ship is bright and open with wonderful views. The staff and crew are engaging. The food in the specialty restaurants is great, but you'll be fine with the complimentary options also.

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Vision of the Seas

Vision of the Seas

Sail date: October 18, 2018

Smooth Transatlantic Voyage

Vision is a lovely ship. There weren't a lot of kids onboard which is why I selected the longer off peak itineray. As usual what the smaller class ships lack in bells, whistles and modernity, they make up for in personality, service, and charm. The captain was new. I was so looking forward to sailing with the captain that everyone raved about, but that was not to be. I still had a marvelous time. It would be pretty hard not to with Steve and Talitta at the helm. Their energy is infectious. I would defintely sail Vision again. I would have loved to done the Panama Canal cruise on this vessel. One day soon.

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Grandeur of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

Sail date: February 14, 2019

This was my third or fourth time on Grandeur. I love the convenience of cruising out of Baltimore. It is a great embarkation port. The ship is the perfect size if you're a fan of traditional cruising. The food was good. The service was fine, but not as good as past cruises. I might be wrong, but I got the feel that a few, not all, crew members tended to ignore some guest in an attempt to cater to those they perceived to be "good tippers". I was fine with this approach, it became a self fulfilling prophecy for quite a few of them and saved me a ton of money. I went to customer service and had the auto gratuities removed and tipped at my discretion. Servers in the MDR weren't as personable this time around so I did not tip them. The service wasn't horrible, but it was sub par compared to past waiters so whatever RCL paid them is what they got from me. For the guests they showered attention on; hopefully for them, those guests tipped them well. I'm pretty low maintenance so I think I like this new approach, it will certainly save me money. Naturally, on my next cruise if the staff delivers the wow I'm accustomed to, I'll be back to over tipping. I enjoyed my cruise immensely so there will be a next time. The entertainment was great, the crew performance was probably some of the best. There was always something going on. They made good use of the Centrum with the evening performances since they are no longer using the space for aerial shows.

Read full review

Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway

Sail date: January 17, 2020

Fantastic Cruise

Getaway is a beautiful ship. The staff is great. The food was well prepared. The itinerary was exciting. As usual with any cruise, the experience will be what you make of it.

Read full review

Celebrity Reflection

Celebrity Reflection

Sail date: March 18, 2017

My first time on Celebrity, but not my last. Celebrity continues to give the star treatment that other lines are starting to abandon. This cruise line still seems to have enough staff to passenger ratio so the people don't appear tired and strained. The staff is courteous and attentive. I was happy to see the evening chocolate treats are still part of their nightly turndown process. I did however miss the towel animals which they don't do as part of the turndown, but will upon request. The evening performances were top notch. The food was delicious and served hot. The ship is laid out nicely. There were always enough deck chairs and loungers and hammocks to accommodate the passengers who didn't seem to over abundantly hog space while disapearing for hours. This ship also had nooks and coves that provided a place to sit back and relax and read without subjecting you to isolation. The pods were enclosed but still part of the main central space. Occasionally the space was over run with kids that should have been in the areas that were designated for them. They had nicely appointed facilities for younger passengers, but what are you going to? The kids weren't being obnoxious, they were just being kids. This ship still had far less children than other lines I've sailed so no complaints. Especially since they were never playing over the food in the buffet. The silent disco was a different and nice experience which shouldn't be missed. I wasn' t sure how they would cross honor my Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor status since they never inquired. But they knew, and they did provide equivalent benefits for their Captain's Club tier. Great week and looking forward to cruising with them again.

Read full review

Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Sunshine

Sail date: May 15, 2017

Loved the Carnival Sunshine Journeys cruise. 10+ days of pure delight. The room was clean and ready upon boarding and well maintained throughout the cruise including evening turndown. The food in the MDR was great with only one Friday night exception. I wanted them to serve something other than what they had; a simple fish and chip entree would have been preferable to what they threw together. However, I acknowledge that it was way more than what is normally in my fridge on any given Friday so no complaints, just an honest observation. The MDR staff, phenomenal, as always. Shows were entertaining but Liquid Lounge venue is just not the best or most comfortable accommodation. Closing off the venue to create a running of the bulls queue didn't lend itself to the most relaxing experience; but if you manage to not get too jostled and to find a decent seat, the shows were very enjoyable. Emma, your cruise director is entertaining. I'm not a huge party person, but others that like to boast about being up to the wee hours weren't impressed with the night life (second hand information). I was surprised, the Lido deck desserts were very tasty and not just different shapes, sizes, and colors of the same sugary sweet base. As with most vessels, they ridiculously made the smoke filled casino the bridge to connect the ship's forward and aft sections. If you're an avid cruiser, you're use to this so you knuckle under, take a deep breath, and go full speed ahead to the other side. Sewage smells were sporadic and temporary, just a footnote in your experience that might easily go unnoticed. I think I realized it only because so many others mentioned it in their posts. I can be pretty oblivious when the ocean is calling. It was nice of them to announce the Towel Animal deck exhibit in the Fun Times; I usually miss it, but I got to see it this time and it was great! Sunshine isn't a new ship with all the bells and whistles, but you'd have to work pretty hard to not enjoy what she has to offer. Great staff, great food, great accommodations. Embarkation and disembarkation were a cinch, but full disclosure our ship came in with no passengers. The crew had a day at sea with no passengers, pretty sweet. They were ready for us. Disembarkation can be relaxing and organized if everyone adheres to Emma's instructions. The Muster Drill was a delayed, disoganized, mess causing my spa appt to be rescheduled leading to a conflict with my Steakhouse reservations. Oh well, ship happens, their fire drill to sort. I was on vacation.

Read full review

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

Sail date: November 19, 2017

I loved, loved, loved this ship. I think it maintains enough elements of traditional cruising while keeping pace with changing times to keep it lively for guests of all ages. I sailed solo. The studio accommodations are "cozy" but more than adequate with a full bed and ample storage. The Studio Lounge was a nice amenity offering juice, coffee, tea, and snacks. The entertainment is excellent. There was usually something to see or do in the Atrium. I would suggest a visit to LaCucina. Ocean Blue did not require a jacket or tie the night I dined there; however, men in shorts were refused entry, but offered seating at the less formal Raw Bar. Yes, there's a heavy lingering smell of cigarette smoke from the casino, but they did their best to air the venue out daily. The lines for dining sometimes had a queue, but I never had to wait longer than 15-20 min. I suggest reservations for dinner and shows. I also suggest arriving 10min prior to the window for dinner and 20 min earlier for shows. Pretty much the same routine one would follow for a land based dinner and show evening. Kids were plentiful but in most instances well behaved. Staff and crew were pleasant and engaging. Garden Buffet waiters were on point quickly clearing vacated tables. Sometimes too quickly, it was funny to come back to have them have cleared the table, don't make the mistake of leaving your table unattended. No complaints about this ship. I did get annoyed with passengers that liked to show up in the library for the sole purpose of having a lively conversation. Oh well, what are you going to do. Happy Sailing!!

Read full review

Empress of the Seas

Empress of the Seas

Sail date: January 11, 2018

Empress is a lovely vessel. She is a 5 star ship if you board her with the expectation that she is one of the oldest and smallest ships in the fleet and the understanding that she is not meant to compete with Oasis or Quantum class vessels. This is traditional cruising as I remembered it, sans dress codes. MDR dress was the most casual I've seen. The stateroom attendants are always around and accessible, and refreshing the room as you come and go. The food and service in MDR were up to par. Each night was a challenge to decide which entree I would get. This was a 4 day stint so the lobster and prime rib dinner was a pleasant surprise. The fresh shrimp cocktail tower and paella in the luncheon buffet on embarkation day was a nice Welcome Aboard treat. I always found seating in the Windjammer. I didn't experience unreasonably long lines at embarkation or when disembarking. I didn't find the activities lacking. They had a 70s night, a white party, a pool party, photo op with the captain. Movies by the pool, parade of flags, trivia, Vegas style shows, dance lessons, etc. I would sail her again since I like traditional cruising and don't suffer from fomo or require constant stimuli. I'm the person that once on board, I try to find the peaceful nook so when I'm ready for down time, I know where to go to read. There weren't too many kids and those that were onboard were very well behaved. I don't have kids; however, I did speak with parents who advised that their kids enjoyed Adventure Ocean. I was unable to detect motion until the last night when the sea got rough. If my sea sickness vets bad, I go see the Acupuncturist. This time around Dramamine and ginger ale dd the trick so kudos to the construction done on this older vessel. She managed to hold her own. Waves weren't too crazy. They got to about 10 feet. Folks were having a ball in the pool as the shipped was being rocked by the waves.

Read full review

Cruise tips

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Jamaica was wonderful. The cooking class tour was better than expected with stops at the Bird Sanctuary, Turtle Farm, and Hell.

New Orleans, Louisiana

NOLA is always fun and energetic. Food is amazing so if time permits definitely try the local cuisine.

Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway

NCL likes it queues so be patient and get to the venues early. Book dining ahead of time if you can to make sure you get the venue and time you want.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Beautiful walkable city. There's so much to see and do. Mind the bicycles, they have the right away. Use the hop on/off to get away from city center and explore other areas of the city.

Copenhagen, Denmark

We docked further away so shuttle to city required. Hop on/off is a good way to get around.

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

The best port visit. The tours were great. The people were amazing and friendly. If possible book smaller more personal tours for best experience.

Brilliance of the Seas

Brilliance of the Seas

Deck 6 Aft is a great place to relax and see the aft sail away views.

Malaga, Spain

Very scenic ride to the countryside. It was worthwile to visit the caves.

Ponta Delgada, Azores

Unfortunately it was slightly overcast so we didn't get to see the glory of the blue green lake that the city is famous for, but it was a lovely visit and we had a nice nice hike to the viewing site the craters lakes. We also got to see remanants of the Roman aqueducts which are still in excellent condition. It's hard to believe the ingenuity that preceded us without the help of modern technology. The downtown architecture is beautiful. The city gardens are equally amazing.

Cartagena, Spain

Cartagena is also a walkable port city. There is plenty of history. I loved visiting the castle.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is an excellent port city. It is walakbel and there is plenty to see and do. The port is not too far from central tourist area Las Ramblas.

Nassau, Bahamas

I stayed on the ship. I've been to Nassau quite a few times and love it. The locals can be understandably aggressive, but I've never felt threatened or feared for my safety when I was in port.

Miami, Florida

The ony thing I don't like about Miami, it usually signifies the end of a good time. Great city with high energy. As the disembarkation stop, I was not looking forward to this port stop.

Vision of the Seas

Vision of the Seas

If you don't have a dining package, multiple visits to your favorite speciaty dining venue could net you a discount.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Acadia is lovely but may still be overcast in May. Park services don't open to later in the month so no passport stamp if visiting in early May.

Grandeur of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

Viking Crown lounge has excellent views. I was able to hear some music from the theatre above but it wasn't so loud that it presented an issue. After awhile you don't notice it.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a beautiful city. I easily saw how they earned their reputation for being the top friendliest and the most historical. A tour guide mentioned that they are second to Rome, Italy. If that's true, that's impressive. The morning greetings from those Daughters of the Republic were not rhetorical; they were having none of my north eastern avoid eye contact, keep your head low in case you need to tuck and roll, and move swiftly. I would visit again for the food alone; but considering the city has so much to offer, I'm looking forward to my next visit to the low country for the people, the food, and the charm.

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