smilley424

smilley424
Third Mate

Joined: 08/27/2014
2
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smilley424's Past Cruises

Carnival Glory

February 2015 - Carnival Glory to Caribbean - Western

Wonderful itinerary, great service, great stops..the sun and heat couldn't be beat!

We cruised on the Carnival Glory two years and have cruised Carnival many times. We planned this cruise around the itinerary and chose the Glory based on past experience. The cruise was fantastic, with the heat, sun, activities and food we have come to expect from past cruises. We ate dinner each night in the Platinum dinning room, early seating, except for one night in the steak house. The food in both was amazing, more than meeting our expectations.

Sea days were crowded on the deck, but we were up at a reasonable hour and got a couple chairs on the back deck one day and the Serenity deck the other. The first port of Cozumel we took the ferry to Playa del Carmen and met friends for the day. We chose to purchase ferry tickets through the shore excursion desk. It actually ended up saving us money!

In Belize we booked the zip line and cave tubing excursion through Carnival. We had a great time hiking through the jungle of Belize, seeing a real, wild Toucan and being introduced to a variety of local vegetation by our nature guide. We then went tubing through a mile long cave large enough to build a hotel in. It was a great time and a beautiful location. the tubes were linked together by rope to that we could relax and take in the scenery while the guide swam us though the cave, avoiding rocks and other tubers. We then went on to Zip lining! This is something everyone of able body has to try at some point. It is exhilarating zipping along above (and through!) the trees of the jungle from platform to platform.

In Roatan we decided that we would take it easy, spending the day at Mahogany Bay beach. We rented a clamshell, floats and brought along our snorkeling gear. After laying in the sun, people watching and swimming we donned our snorkels and masks and found out that Mahogany Bay is one of the best snorkeling sites we had been to up to that point that cost nothing extra! Just head to the far side of the beach by the wharf and climb in, swim away from the dock and look around.

In Grand Cayman we went swimming with the Stingrays with MOBY DICK tours. The tenders from the cruise ship were poorly organized (*we were told it was Grand Cayman's issue, there were five ships at anchor that day) and it took three hours to get off the ship! We waited and watched as tenders came and went empty, with no information given to us about why things weren't moving along. Once we finally made it to shore we had assumed we had missed the excursion, but no, the rep from Moby Dick Tours was waiting for us with, leading us to a boat and heading out to the reef!! It turns out that Moby Dick's added an extra trip just for those of us that were late getting off the Glory! I can't say how happy I was for this. We went swimming with the stingrays, an experience you can't even put into words properly. Spent 45 minutes snorkeling the reef seeing hundreds of fish and coral as well.

All in all this was great trip!! If I had to come up with some negatives I would say that Carnival needs to work on its ships a little more. The Glory is showing its age, and the wear and year of 3000 people every week. Some paint and elbow grease would bring everything back up to the level I expect form a cruise ship. I also found cutbacks to the service staff and the services in general in order to save costs onboard were very obvious. I have cruised with Carnival 9 times, and this one stood out for this, sadly.

All in all I would have to say that I really enjoyed this cruise and would suggest anyone that has the opportunity book the Western Caribbean, looking at the excursions we tried and one way or the other, enjoy the warmth and the sun of the Caribbean.

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Norwegian Dawn

August 2014 - Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda

Great cruise, more than I had anticipated!

Norwegian wasn't my fist pick as a cruise line. I had read reviews and articles that claimed that Norwegian was the "budget" cruise line. I found that not to be the case. While the line doesn't have the glitz and the shine of the other ships I've been on, it puts it's money where its mouth is. The room we booked was clean, comfortable and better set up than any of the others I have been in (we had an ocean view cabin.) The bathroom was much better organized and set up than anything I had experienced before. The room itself was a decent size with out being extravagant. We tried the two main dining rooms and both were very good, with great service and very appealing food. The Lido deck Garden Café was well set up with none of the lineups I had experienced in the past on cruises. There was really good food, some that I didn't recognize. The pastry products weren't all that good, in my opinion. Many of the rolls, pastries and even the pizza available in the Garden Café seemed to be from a box and formerly frozen. This wasn't the case for the pastry in the main dinning rooms. It all seemed fresh that day.

The ship had plenty of activities and the cruise director (I'm assuming that he is responsible) deserves recognition for the organizing of these activities. Other cruises I've been on had activities that were disjointed and seemed to be individually planned. On Carnival the DJ's were responsible not only to keep the music going, but to keep the crowd going as well. This never seemed to work well and the dance bars often remained empty. On the Norwegian Dawn the cruise directors staff was present at every activity, engaging the crowd, drawing the people and making one activity flow into another. This resulted in a large crowd at every activity, every bar, every dance floor. It made for a lot of fun in the evenings.

The cabin and restaurant staff were exceptional. They did their job, were polite, helpful and professional. I would like to also point out that we weren't constantly being remained to "remember" the staff with our pocket book. The last few cruises I've been on were pretty steady with requests for more tips than the standard daily rate.

The entertainment onboard was exceptional in many ways. There was a Caribbean rock band on the main pool deck that was exceptional. A duo in the atrium that held a crowd of over 100 people daily, another band that played classic music and was very entertaining. The theatre shows were ok, but the final "Elements" show was very well choreographed, and exceptional. There was also a comedian that we thoroughly enjoyed.

 

One thing we both noticed on this cruise was how smooth the ship sailed, even in 15 foot seas. I have been on 8 cruises and many rocked and bobbed. A couple times there were people ill from the motion of the ship. The Dawn never seemed to even move with the waves. We heard noise off and on, but never felt we needed to get our "sea legs" as the ship was level and calm throughout the voyage.

 

For a trip to a place like Bermuda, where the cost can be prohibitive for many people, this is a great way to visit.

 

Given the experiences onboard the Norwegian Dawn to Bermuda we have a new appreciation for NCL and would definitely book with Norwegian again. Our experience with was outstanding and we would definitely call them again as well to do the booking for us.

 

SM

 

 

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smilley424's Tips

Cozumel, Mexico - Travelled the beach with friends form a resort! Beatiful beach!
Carnival Glory Carnival Glory - Book excursions that allow you to experience the jungle. This itinerary goes sot the wild islands of Belize and Roatan. Take advantage of the wild!
Norwegian Dawn Norwegian Dawn - Get up early as you will have trouble getting a deck chair on sea days. Mind you, early is 8:30, not 6:30!

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great cruise, more than I had anticipated!

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great cruise, more than I had anticipated!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Wonderful itinerary, great service, great stops..the sun and heat couldn't be beat!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Wonderful itinerary, great service, great stops..the sun and heat couldn't be beat!

received a helpful vote on their Carnival Glory cruise review - Wonderful itinerary, great service, great stops..the sun and heat couldn't be beat!

uploaded a photo album from their Carnival Glory cruise on 2015-02-28

shared a quick tip for Carnival Glory"Book excursions that allow you to experience the jungle. This itinerary goes sot the wild islands of Belize and Roatan. Take advantage of the wild!"

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Carnival Glory and gave it 4 stars!

added Feb 28, 2015 cruise on Carnival Glory to their profile.

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Dawn cruise review - Great cruise, more than I had anticipated!