Overall it was a great trip. I wish they would've spent more time in Kauai and Maui though. I suspect if they changed the order of the islands they stop at, that it would be totally doable. And four hours in Mexico isn't enough. Although I had heard all kinds of terrible things about Ensenada, we were very pleased with the stop. The people were friendly and there are deals to be found there. The part of the city we saw was clean and at no time did I feel we were in danger. I would certainly take this cruise again.
4 out of 5
A bit of a mad house and could use a better procedure to dropping off luggage. With some passengers speaking limited English and elderly that don't always hear so well things got extremely congested. Once the luggage was dropped off the process went smoothly and we were on board within 15 minutes.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Overall I felt the food was really good. However, on two separate occasions we found hair in the food. Once during dinner, and once in the buffet for breakfast. The appropriate action was taken I presume and the waiter in charge of the dining room and buffet were extremely upset with this. Thre drinks were good but lacked some consistency. The same ingredients weren't always used which changes the flavor slightly. But mostly I have no serious complaints. The crowne grille and Sabatinis were great and never disappoint.
3 out of 5
I felt there was plenty to do for myself to be satisfied, but then I'm happy just laying by the pool all day with the occasional cool drink. Not much geared towards kids though, so if that's important to you then maybe find a different cruise. A lot of things seemed to repeat and some of the more important things to me always seemed to be scheduled near our dinner time, such as the veterans meeting. So I was a little disappointed in that. The Broadway type shows though were very good and the comedy routine was good. In fact I had a very brief conversation with one of them after a show he performed when he thanked me for my service. Even though he was Canadian, (myself American) I was really impressed and he was a warm and thoughtful person.
4 out of 5
See above also. The show's were decent, but nothing to write home about. The Broadway shows and comedian routines were good overall. The ship's entertainers seemed to repeat their performances nightly though and on a 15 day cruise..... it got a little old and stale. One group though, the supersonics, were really good. Changed things up often and played a variety of things. From oldies, to classic rock and even some country. The female in the band was very easy on the eyes and the musicians were really good.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
The service was amazing and the staff was always available. Our room steward and waitress did a fantastic job and one server in the buffet remembered my name even though our interaction had been brief a few days before. I left really impressed with the level of service and they hit this one out of the park in my opinion. My only gripe would be that they used to have someone deliver blankets and cookies and popcorn during movies at night. That didn't happen on this cruise. Also, day time pool service seemed to be lacking. If you wanted a drink you pretty much had to go get it yourself most if the time.
4 out of 5
I could sit and nitpick things, and since it's an older ship it would seem natural to do so. There were little things that needed to be done, but this didn't detract from our overall satisfaction of the cruise. The big picture was we had an enjoyable time and I would definitely sail on her again. My biggest complaint was getting passed by the elevators multiple times during peak hours, such as dinner time. That gets old quick and is extremely frustrating.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The cabin was an average balcony stateroom. The bathroom seemed a bit dated and could use a makeover. The bed was really comfortable and the balcony a bit larger than what I've had in the past. The larger TV mounted to the wall was a pleasant surprise since it gave us more usable shelf space. Everything was clean. A bit of rust did show on the balcony and some paint drips on the glass. But if you can overlook that then this is a wonderful cabin.
Make sure you pack an extension cord. Outlets are limited. I also prefer my own soap and shampoo. I find that the stuff they provide doesn't work all that well and you need to use more of it. Also, a small battery operated LED nightlight in the bathroom is nice since it's very dark in there at night. This way you don't need to blind yourself.
We stayed the weekend before our cruise and booked tours independently. The first one was through "Tower Tours". This was a 2 part tour. They picked us up at the hotel then brought everyone to their main office. From there we had to walk to the pier to catch the boat to Alcatraz. This was my only real complaint. The walk was about 5 or 6 blocks long, minimum. If you're elderly or have a disability, the walk wouldn't be an easy one. If they offered rides to the pier it wasn't made known to me. Then we had to exchange our ticket for a different one once at the pier, which again wasn't made clear. After moving into two different lines we were finally ready to board, nearly missing our scheduled time. Alcatraz itself was a great tour. My hat's off to the park service for keeping this site in pristine condition. Very informative. The other part of tour consisted of agm inner city tour. After walking back to the office we then boarded a bus. The driver was fantastic. Very funny and knowledgable we went by several great places. Golden gate bridge, fisherman's wharf, China town, and the Presidio to name just a few. Unfortunately we didn't have much time at any one and only few offered stops to get out and stretch or take pictures. This really should be a full day tour instead of being crammed into 4 or 5 hours. We were then dropped off at our hotel. The next day we went to the "aquarium of the bay". Another great place to visit, then hung out at pier 39, which is right next door. A carnival type atmosphere and a fun place stroll and look for deals or people watch. With great sight lines of both Alcatraz and the golden gate bridge along with the famous pier 39 seals. A great day overall.
The day we were there it was windy and rainy. So be prepared. We were told this island gets more rain than all the others combined. We ended up taking the "zip line through paradise" tour. Overall it was a good tour with pickup and drop off at the ship. Light snack half way through the course and very knowledgeable and entertaining guides. If you want to video I strongly suggest using a go pro though. Trying to do this one handed like I did was extremely strenuous. The equipment was all top shelf and they do provide rain gear if needed. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is I felt it was hard to control which direction I was facing. Even though I would do what they told me to do I always came in backwards. I also think it was a bit on the pricey side, but the beauty is unmatched anywhere.
Using the ship's tenders was kind of a pain in the butt, with that being said however, I'm glad we did. We only went to the beach. It was within walking distance, but the beach itself wasn't that great. It was sandy, but about 15 yards or so into the water it's very rocky and lots of coral. Where shoes if you want to swim out farther and even then be prepared to get some minor Knicks or cuts. It's very sharp as I found out. The weather was nice and the water warm. Lots of surfers and cameras, so be prepared.
The city was nice, and the weather great. Stopped at pearl harbor on the "stars and stripes" tour. Visited the USS Missouri and enjoyed the tour of her. I highly recommend this tour, informative and inspiring. I was a little disappointed in the tour as a whole however. Let me explain. Our driver was fantastic. His father was on the California when it was attacked at pearl harbor, so he knew his stuff. The drive to and from was filmed with great stories you couldn't hear from anyone else. The bad part comes from the fact that we had people on our tour that were also scheduled for another tour later in the day. So as to not disappoint them and cause them to miss their next tour we were all rushed. We didn't get to see everything on the mighty Mo due to time, so I was a bit disappointed in that. So if I had to do it over again I would've probably done things differently. Pearl harbor was awesome. But even here people sometimes lose sight of what's important. On more than one occasion the on site park officer had to tell people to be quiet. A unfortunate evil when dealing with people who don't speak English as a first language. It's a place of remembrance and people need to respect that! Again there wasn't enough time. But I understand, they gets lots of people wanting to go there and in order to keep everything moving you need to go with the flow. A dream come true for both my wife and I since this was on our bucket list. Something everyone should see in my opinion.
I heard so many terrible things about Ensenada we almost stayed on the ship. But after some careful thought decided to go on the tour we booked anyway. And I'm glad we did. We had a great time and the driver and tour guide were extremely engaging and informative. We took the Guadalupe winery tour and after getting there was taken on a tour of the winery. Showing us a step by step process it was breathtaking at what goes into making this great wine. After a tasting session where we tried four different wines, were given cheese, olives, and bread, we were given a bottle of malbec each. Then brought back to our ship. It was a great time and the parts we saw were clean. At no time did we feel like we were in danger or made to feel uncomfortable. This stop certainly deserves more than 4 hours. Besides the wine tour we found great deals on vanilla, olive oil, some leather goods, and silver jewelry. Do yourself a favor if you go. Get off the ship and explore, you won't be sorry.
We loved this island. In truth, we really didn't do anything. A short walk from the pier is a great beach. All sand and the surf was a blast to play in. Watched the surfers and just soaked up the sun. Very relaxing and unlimited beauty surrounding your every move.
4 out of 5
This too was a bit confusing. We got off the ship and found our luggage quickly. But getting to the bus that took us to the airport wasn't immediately clear until I asked someone.
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