Third Mate

Joined: 08/01/2014
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About mkgouwens


mkgouwens's Past Cruises

Norwegian Pearl

April 2015 - Norwegian Pearl to Caribbean - Eastern

First Time Cruiser with NCL

My husband and I have cruised several times before with RCCL and Carnival, but this was the first time with NCL, and the first time on a 10-day cruise.  The longest we've cruised is 7 days.  We liked the free-style aspect of NCL where we could eat dinner at whatever time we wanted and was never assigned a specific table, although the service was a bit slower than we're accustomed to on other cruise lines, and the waiters were not as friendly.  They were not interested in who we were, where we were from, how we enjoyed the ports we visited that day, etc.  They were just there to take our orders and serve our dinners.  The Pearl has only one pool (outdoors), and it was extremely crowded, and to find a chair past 9 o'clock was next to impossible, anywhere on the decks, even away from the pool. We enjoyed all the ports except Martinique.  The language barrier and their currency was a hindrance.  We had an inside cabin, and it was smaller than inside cabins we've had on other cruise lines.  The shower though, was bigger than past cruise lines. We missed the outdoor theater that we're accustomed to, and they do not have the any oversized, cushion outdoor deck chairs/couches to sit on in the evenings to enjoy the night air, which we missed.  We spent a lot of evenings in the casino, which was on the smaller size, and we didn't like that they continuously add every hand back to the deck shuffler, which continuously shuffles 6 decks of cards, and the fact that the deal hits on 'soft 17', which is a big disadvantage on all counts to the gambler.  We had wonderful weather on our cruise; 80's every day, so that was a plus.  Overall, we would try NCL again.

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Carnival Glory

July 2014 - Carnival Glory to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Glory Review

This was our second cruise with Carnival, the first being on Carnival Freedom back in December, 2011.  The Glory was very similar to the Freedom, as far as layout opf the ship.  We traveled with our 4 adult children, ranging in ages from 21-24, and occupied 3 cabins on the Riviera Deck.  The cabins were small, as we expected.  We had to wait a little while to embark on the ship, but once we did we went straight to our cabin and dropped off our carry-on luggage and went to get some lunch on the Lido deck.  We did not receive our checked luggage until close to 6 o'clock, which was a little disappointing since we were on our way to dinner (early seating booked).  We noticed sometime in the afternoon that mine and my husband's Set Sail cards listed a different table number for  dinner than our 4 kids (Platinum Room), and we tried to rectify the situation with the restaurant staff, but they said we would have to wait until 6 o'clock when the restaurant opens and talk to the head waiter, which we did,  Even though I booked all three cabins at the same time, and told the agent that we were all traveling together and obviously wanted to sit together, she did not link our cabins together in the reservation, and since mine and my husband's last name is different than my kids, they separated us.  The head waiter was nice and placed us at a table for 6, and was hoping we could have that same table our entire cruise, by the next day we had a note slipped under our cabin door changing our table to a table for 10 instead, which turned out okay.  The 3 others traveling together seated at our table were nice and we enjoyed their company all week.  The shower in our bathroom must've been clogged because the first time we took a shower there was water coming up over the lip of the shower stall, but Housekeeping quickly fixed the problem the next day while we were enjoying our "day at sea".  There were a lot of young children on our cruise, which was expected, but not enough pools and deck space near the few pools.  We had to lay out on a top deck above the pool, whether it was the family pool or the adult pool, everytime we wanted to cool off or swim in a pool.  We were disappointed in the food selection.  There didn't seem to be enough variety on this cruise.  No "theme" nights like we experienced on our first Carnival cruise (chocolate buffet, etc.), and the specialty restaurants were very limited (only a steak house).  We enjoyed the burgers at Guy Fieri's place, and took advantage of the late night pizza and Reuben sandwiches. We were also disappointed in the evening entertainment, feeling there was not enough variety in that either.  There were just singing variety shows every evening, nothing else.  We did enjoy the comedy shows, but they needed to host it in a bigger venue because the club they held it in was not big enough for the popularity of the show.  If you didn't get in line an hour before the show started, you wouldn't be getting a seat, and if you did, it would be single seats only.  There wasn't enough variety of activities to do throughout the day either.  No games to play by the pool, and nothing really to do indoors either except music trivia or Bingo, which was costly.  There were no movies playing during the day, inside or out, and the movies they played in the evenings on the big outdoor pool theater was so packed, you could never get a seat.  We enjoyed all the ports except Costa Maya.  It was run-down and dirty and nothing to do except walk the "boardwalk" to the end and walk back, but you didn't dare walk the entire way on foot because it took you through run-down areas which were a little sketchy, so you had to take a cab or bus.  The staff on the ship were excellent; very friendly and accommodating.  We had great weather, sunny and hot everyday, which was a plus.  Overall, we enjoyed the cruise, but was a little disappointed in the cruise line and ship itself.  In addition to the other Carnival cruise we took in 2011, my husband and I have sailed on 2 Royal Caribbean cruises, and thoroughly enjoyed those.  I would probably try another Carnival ship in the future, but only if there was a great sale or offer going on.

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mkgouwens's Tips

Fort-De-France, Martinique - dirty, we don't speak French, and almost everyone there does, didn't have their currency, and it was a Saturday, so all the banks were closed
Miami, Florida - Add a tip. What was your favorite thing to do here?
Norwegian Pearl Norwegian Pearl - the chocolate volcano dessert in the 2 main dining rooms is AMAZING.
Carnival Glory Carnival Glory - Avoid the brunch in the main dining room on disembarkment day; no variety and they were out of bananas!!! Staff seemed a little sluggish on the last day.

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Pearl cruise review - First Time Cruiser with NCL

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Carnival Glory Review

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Carnival Glory Review

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Pearl cruise review - First Time Cruiser with NCL

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Pearl "the chocolate volcano dessert in the 2 main dining rooms is AMAZING."

added Apr 6, 2015 cruise on Norwegian Pearl to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Eastern cruise on Norwegian Pearl and gave it 3 stars!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Carnival Glory Review

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Carnival Glory Review

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Carnival Glory Review