steelergirlinfl

steelergirlinfl

Cruise Director
Joined 09/2014

1

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10

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121

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Past cruises

Carnival Victory

September 2015 - 4 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Victory

Girl's Weekend on the Victory

Our group of 9 over 18's, some of whom were cruising for the first time, recently took the Carnival Victory from Miami to Key West and Cozumel.   Having been on other Carnival ships, I can say that this ship, while not one of the newer boats, has many attributes that make up for its age.   The food, compared to other cruise lines 3 and 4 night cruises, was really well done in both the dining room and the buffet on lido.  The staff was accommodating and friendly.  While the entertainment was not up to par with some of the longer cruises, there were ample things to choose from.   The movies nightly on the pool deck along with popcorn and bar services was a really nice feature.  The pool decks did not feel crowded even when at sea.   Our balcony cabin had a much roomier shower than the NCL and RCCL older ships that I recently traveled on.  No shower curtain touching me adds bonus points!   The ship could use a carpet refresh but was clean and the atrium embellishments with the colored glass and other architectural details make this a very pretty ship.  Embarkation and debarkation were easy and timely.  I would really recommend this cruise ship for first time cruisers as well as those looking for a getaway with a nice itinerary.  

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Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

Sail date: January 10, 2016

A Very Excellent Adventure

This was a belated 10 year anniversary trip for us.  We chose the Silhouette, the third boat in the Solstice class that we have had the pleasure of sailing on.  For this trip, unlike the others where we sailed in Aqua Class, we were in Concierge. The trip was a relaxing yet port busy trip and we enjoyed the sea days book ending the 4 ports we enjoyed on the trip - Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth (Important), Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti.   The boat itself was beautiful and never really felt crowded although I was told she was almost full.  The staff, as with  most Celebrity sailings, were accommodating in every way.  We enjoyed all the perks in the 1-2-3 go package with our Concierge cabin.  The live music entertainment was very good.  We made new friends and made the most of each day.  

 

 

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Majesty of the Seas

Majesty of the Seas

Sail date: October 13, 2017

Good time had by all...the Majesty withstanding

As a seasoned cruiser, this was not a ship I would have chosen to sail on but as this was a group trip for a wedding held on board, it was the choice for weekend cruise out of Port Canaveral. I had been on the Monarch - its sister ship -- last trip before it was retired and don't remember having this much to comment on. It could use a refresh if they are going to keep sailing it, and charging the premium $$ when similar trips on nicer ships out of Miami are considerably cheaper. I personally think long weekend cruisers out of Port Canaveral deserve more from RCCL. The trip saves itself by long times in port in Bahamas and the private island -- which is the main reason to take this cruise.

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Enchantment of the Seas

Enchantment of the Seas

Sail date: November 14, 2014

A very good weekend

I finally sailed on the long wished for and often tried but WOULD not afford Enchantment of The Seas.  Living on the east coast of FL, this is the most convenient port for me, however, I am not always willing to spend $200 more/person just to sail out of this port to this itinerary.  However, this weekend, the price was right so we tried it.  Just coming back from the NCL Sky cruise in late September to the same location gave me a lot of comparison opportunity.  I found the boat, overall, not as nice as the Brilliance or Radiance, but perfectly enjoyable for a weekend cruise to the Bahamas.

1.  DO NOT expect to go on this ship and get great nighttime shows as there are none.  DO expect to go on this cruise and find many ways to entertain yourself.  The music entertainment garnered a 3 of 10 from me on my RCCL survey.  (I seriously thought the band playing in the Centrum area was karaoke a couple of times.  Imagine my surprise when the same girl kept singing the next couple of songs in the set....definitely not karaoke)

2.  DO expect to have a good dining experience in the MDR.  No need to go to Chops and pay $30 when you can have the same filet in the dining room for $16.95.  The side dishes were good but not worth another $15.

3.  DO NOT worry about overeating the rich desserts.  In fact the Enchantment should consider a new pastry/dessert chef as I could not find one dessert that would garner more than a 5 from me and that personal favorite was an oatmeal cookie.  Several of the desserts were downright laughable (the mud pie in Chops and the dark chocolate souffle' in the MDR) which is sad because I don't eat dessert that often and was looking forward to this part of the meal.

4.  DO NOT expect to sleep on a cloud in your statement.  The bedding is comfortable and clean, but the mattress border more on the Flintstone side of firm than the other.  I did learn that you can request for your steward to "flop" the mattress to a side that is more cushy and they can add an egg shell top under your mattress cover to lessen the pain your will surely feel in your hip/shoulder if you are a side sleeper.  Also, note to self, if  you like your pillows flat,  no need to carry on comfort from home.  If not, consider making space in the carry on.

5.  DO expect great service from the on board staff.  Everyone was very helpful and friendly.  Hopefully you will not want to interact personally with the cruise director because he was rarer than a pearl in an oyster.

6.  DO take time to enjoy a movie on the big screen outdoors.  Very fun.

7.  DO take time to go the spa on the first day as the special they offer those that attend the raffle drawing is a great deal.  $89 for a plethora of treatments with the ad they hand out after the raffle.  Saves you about $40.

8.  DO take your own drink to the gym.  The water fountain squirts a minimal amount of fluid and is in an unfortunate location.  The vending machine that was there takes $$ bills not your room key and was also out of service all weekend.

9.  DO expect a great variety of food at the buffets.  120% better than the NCL offerings on the cruise I took several weeks ago.

10.  DO expect easy embarkation and debarkation.  Purely magical.

11.  DO NOT expect this to be a sparkling new ship, even though it has replaced the Monarch. DO expect it, however, to be well-maintained.  The 3rd floor starboard side had an abnormally pungent sewage odor.  It did not creep into the cabin, but every time you entered the hallway, you were reminded that you were on the 3rd floor.

12.  DO NOT anticipate using the fabulous coupon book for repeat guests.  The coupon book is now a preloaded benefit on your room card and varies dependent upon your level.  BUT there was nothing free for Gold or Platinum and the offerings were almost embarrassing.  I think that RCCL should just discontinue this if this is as good as it gets.

13.  DO NOT expect a past guest party if you are not Platinum or higher.

14.  DO expect to have a great time on the private island.  The water is beautiful, the chairs plentiful and the bbq lunch more than adequate.  Go early, stay late.  Tender service was easy peezey.  

Comparatively with the NCL Sky, the boats are similar.  The island at NCL is a little nicer, however, if a beach is what you are looking for, you are golden.  There is NO comparison between the food on the Enchantment vs. the Sky.  Hands down big winner here.   The entertainment in the evenings on the SKY is a big thumbs up but not having to drive south to Miami would make me consider this cruise again.

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Celebrity Infinity

Celebrity Infinity

Sail date: February 09, 2019

Sun, Sea and Relaxation

I would go again tomorrow on this itinerary. A little longer than a weekend trip, but the 2 sea days were just what we needed. Celebrity has never let me down.

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Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

Sail date: May 09, 2019

Short weekend on a Tall Ship

Truly the Harmony is a beautiful ship, great for a family trip or those with children covering a spectrum of ages. There are so many things that require an additional payment, though, that I was a little taken aback. The bars were always active and service did not seem to be taking too long. By the way, the small view that we got of Coco Cay as Captain Johnny practiced docking there, looked like this will be a fabulous perk for going to the private island when using Port Canaveral as your embarkation point.

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Celebrity Infinity

Celebrity Infinity

Sail date: September 17, 2017

Not to be missed itinerary

I wanted to do this itinerary for a long time and I was not disappointed. I would consider doing the reverse from San Diego ending in Vancouver simply because British Columbia has so much to offer. But the US ports of Seattle and Monterey also have many beautiful scenic things to do. If this is on your bucket list, check it off and make your reservation (but not before I do...I want a cabin on the reverse cruise :) )

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Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Sky

Sail date: September 19, 2014

A great weekend getaway

I had not been on the Norwegian Sky in several years and was happy to see that the boat is aging well.   Norwegian's private island makes this trip worth it in itself as they have added more areas to the island and offer a lot to do.  Take the waverunner excursion - the local guides show you a lot of the surrounding area and even allowed a small time to get into the water and dive for starfish.   Nassau, having been there many times, is not my favorite port of call, but there is always something you can do there.  We spent the morning shopping and then went back and had the boat to ourselves seemingly until about 3 p.m.   The entertainment band, Hotwire, was a great respite and provided hours each day of good entertainment.  They can cover a lot of music genres.  The evening shows were very good considering it's a short hop cruise.  The only thing that keeps this cruise from getting 5 stars for me was that the food in the main dining room and the buffets earned a big YUCK from us.  We ate at Cagney's on the first night and were very happy with our choices there.  The second night we ate in the main dining room and got up and left because service and the food was awful.  We spoke to the maitre' d about it as we were leaving and they actually offered us a night at Le Bistro.  Room service had a great BLT, although it took over an hour mid-day to receive our order.  Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze - I like that NCL let's you pick the time you wish to debark with appropriate tag colors.  For the money, this was a great little weekend getaway.

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Carnival Victory

Carnival Victory

Sail date: September 24, 2015

Girl's Weekend on the Victory

Our group of 9 over 18's, some of whom were cruising for the first time, recently took the Carnival Victory from Miami to Key West and Cozumel.   Having been on other Carnival ships, I can say that this ship, while not one of the newer boats, has many attributes that make up for its age.   The food, compared to other cruise lines 3 and 4 night cruises, was really well done in both the dining room and the buffet on lido.  The staff was accommodating and friendly.  While the entertainment was not up to par with some of the longer cruises, there were ample things to choose from.   The movies nightly on the pool deck along with popcorn and bar services was a really nice feature.  The pool decks did not feel crowded even when at sea.   Our balcony cabin had a much roomier shower than the NCL and RCCL older ships that I recently traveled on.  No shower curtain touching me adds bonus points!   The ship could use a carpet refresh but was clean and the atrium embellishments with the colored glass and other architectural details make this a very pretty ship.  Embarkation and debarkation were easy and timely.  I would really recommend this cruise ship for first time cruisers as well as those looking for a getaway with a nice itinerary.  

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Celebrity Summit

Celebrity Summit

Sail date: December 03, 2016

Basking in the sun and Celebrity service

This was our 6th Celebrity Cruise but our first on a millenium class boat, the Summit.  Recently refurbished per our sales agent, Danielle Smith, we chose this for the offer that included Bigger Better Best - at a great price in Aqua Class AND because there were ports of call that we had not visited previously.  Over the last several months, I've nervously been checking the cruise reviews and noticed a lot of complaints about wear and tear and shabbiness.  Not the case, people.  This boat is NOT the Solstice but it is not the RCCL Brilliance either.  Still elegant and classy and well maintained.  There are some quirks to getting around the boat due to the Solstice features they've instituted but it's very doable and very beautiful.

 

BUT the standout thing about the Summit is her crew.  Captain Kate is really truly an engaging person and her apparent love of her job trickles down to every crew member on board.  Our traveling companions agree that this was the most friendly service oriented crew top to bottom that we've ever experienced (they are Elite Plus and travel mostly on Solstice boats).  Our BLU dining staff was excellent.  Thank you Wilmer and Param for such good service and the little touches that made our days.  Our cabin steward, Seahu, was always prepared to make our day a little better with ice on the ready when we returned from excursions and extra towels.

 

Things to know about the Summit if you're Solstice"ized".  The Persian Garden is different.  There are no lounge type chairs to rest your tired bones on.   It's a semi-circle bench that is heated but it is different.  The Canyon Ranch services are nice (pricey).  We both got deep tissue massages and they were great.  I used the hydrotherapy tub ($49 for 30 minutes of soaking in a jetted tub with a hydrating lotion after ---heaven) and the Sultans Bath Steam room.  With only 1 sea day, it was a little difficult to fit as much time in at the Persian Garden as I would have liked but we made it work.  There is no Lawn Club Grille which is our favorite and we don't enjoy Qsine without a large group so no specialty dining for us this time.  The outdoor movie area is really kind of nice.  Try it if you can fit it in as the viewing times were a little odd.

 

Dining in Blu was still good, although there were a couple of nights where we looked at the menu and could not find anything on the main entrees tempting enough (Tuesday and Friday).  Lamb and Pheasant were not popular choices in our group.  But the food was still delicious and interesting.  The portions are small but plentiful if you would like to try more than one.  I did not find the pasta dishes or salad entrees worth ordering this time.  I have not been in Blu for two cruises now and this menu was definitely a little harder to find something that you said YES YES YES with the exception of filet and lobster night (Sunday and Thursday).  But BLU for breakfast is still a #1 option.  Good choices, cooked to order, with things not offered at the Ocean View.

 

Speaking of the Ocean View, in this particular itinerary, Celebrity did keep the pasta bar opened past 3 (where they opened the high tea items) but with MANY of the excursions returning between 2:30 and 3:00 it would have been nice to have other options than pizza, pasta and hamburgers.  I know it seems petty as those are great options in most cases.  The food in Ocean View was consistently good.  I love the change to the pizza where they are making the crust now.  It improved the pizza 10 fold.  Not to be missed is the lunch where the Chef's display the dessert bizarre.  it was fabulous to look at if not eat.

 

Entertainment on this boat was a mixed bag.  The comedian was funny and enjoyable.  Divas 3 was a little too stiff although they were hugely talented.  The "thru the films" cast show was good but not enough to make us return for the follow up show.  However, the live entertainment, include Michael Redden in particular was great.  He was on Silhouette in January and we were happy to see him back on board this trip.

 

Ports were interesting, although I do not like the new docking port in St. Thomas that requires you to take a taxi to get to the downtown area.  More on ports below.

 

One more note on the itinerary.  We had 1 sea day.  On Friday, we heard many people saying they could use another sea day or were surprised we were headed home without a travel sea day.  The distance between these islands doesn't merit one - in fact, many evenings after debarking port, it felt like we were standing still in the ocean just off shore as they are so close together.

 

This was not my absolute favorite ship, but the staff and the itinerary made it definitely one of my top 5 cruises.

 

 

 

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Celebrity Summit

Celebrity Summit

Sail date: October 27, 2018

Those sweet southern nights

This was a great trip made even better by splurging on Aqua Class. We took the onboard spending and drink package perks and enjoyed coffee every day in cafe al bacio and prosecco with dinner every night. Make sure to take advantage of the excursions which will save you some $$ and are great options. We always come back from these trips looking forward to the next one.

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Cruise tips

Lahaina, Maui

I had a blast here in Lahaina. We did the ship tour of the Pineapple plantation - Maui Gold -- hugely more tasty than Dole, I have to say. I think I ate an entire pineapple myself. We also took Sail Triology to Lanai. This was a fabulous way to spend a day.

Honolulu, Oahu

My least favorite port on this trip. Honolulu reminds me of Miami -- very modern and crowded. We rented a car and went to the north shore. Now this was much better. Try local food--I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse

If you haven't done Aqua Class and have sea days that might be a little chilly, the Persian Garden is a great ambient space that is hugely relaxing and is part of your cabin package.

Hilo, Hawaii

Might be my favorite of our stops. Volcanoes, great local food trucks, waterfalls abound, easy to navigate with a rental vehicle. The best excursion I ever did was here -- Stargazing and Lava Tubes with Epic! Island Tours. Must do.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

We went Blue Marlin fishing with a local guy (Northern Lights) here and both of us caught 150 lb Blue Marlins. And the captain was great enough to pick us up at the port and take us to Kona Coffee Company on our way back to port so I could pick up some local coffee. Great take home gift.

Nassau, Bahamas

We visited Melia Resort at the north end of the island. Absolutely fabulous beach. However, without a discount from my cruise agent, it is not worth the $$ for the day even with food and drink included. Nassau itself is not my favorite island unless I take an excursion to a beach. The downtown area does not always feel safe for two ladies on a day trip.

Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

DO prepared to have so many things to do that you can't them all done. Enjoy the size of the ship and take in all of the sights. Read the signs on the wall for inspiration. And always take a glass of water with you for bedtime as there is no where near any of the cabins to get water that you don't pay for.

Cozumel, Mexico

I really really like Cozumel. This time we took a Celebrity tour to El Cielo to snorkel. The water was AMAZING and the star fish were abundant. The Aqua Dream 2 staff made our trip so fun. Dancing on the deck on the way back, great food prepared by a Chef on board, open bar. Afterwards a little shopping in port for vanilla, jewelry and ceramic dishes and then back on board. Great day.

Key West, Florida

It poured in Key West and was very windy so our excursion for jet skiing was cancelled but we enjoyed walking around downtown. Note to Celebrity: your umbrellas are not made for this type of rain. We finally gave up trying to use it as it kept turning inside out. It is what I will remember most about Key West - standing in a downpour holding the umbrella and laughing, Good food at B.O. Fish Shack.

St. George's, Grenada

Close to Dominica in it's lushness, Grenada was a great last day of excursions. We visited the Spice factories and then went to Concorde Falls. The island is a beautiful more populated version of Dominica.

Bridgetown, Barbados

The water at Carlisle Beach was the clearest most beautiful water I've ever experienced. The sand is silky white and it hurts your eyes when the sun is shining. Try Copacabana for a good beach experience.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Once you've seen Old San Juan then what? Go in a day early and spend some time in Dorado. It's a $38 uber ride from the airport and is a great beach town and truly beautiful. And don't forget to drink coffee here. It's really really good.

Roseau, Dominica

My favorite of the islands we visited. This is a lush tropical paradise. The champagne reef is amazing - like snorkeling in a glass of prosecco -- and the Emerald pool is beautifully refreshing and easy to access. Titon Gorge is not for the faint of heart - especially if you decide to jump into the gorge instead of walking in -- but the people are friendly and you will be amazed at all of the things that grow here.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Our cruise critic group took a day trip on the Too Rhum Punch catamaran. This was truly the best excursion of the cruise for us. Get your group together and check it out. You will not be disappointed. 9 hours of sailing and snorkeling with a rum punch bar and sandwiches.

Celebrity Summit

Celebrity Summit

It's not a ship to go to be entertained every moment of the day. This is a ship for good food, conversation with other passengers, or finding your quiet spot as there are plenty all over the ship. Be prepared to feel well looked after.

Cococay (Cruise Line's Private Island)

Coco Cay is THE reason to take this weekend cruise. The island has been enhanced (probably to accommodate the larger ships like Oasis and others) and offers a lot more seating than when I was there in 2013. Sadly, there are no more adult only areas and the quiet hammock areas were surrounded by DJ's playing music and the limbo contest. Many things on the island are "fee only". I would like to see them add a few "free" to use things -- kayaks, paddle boards, bikes, etc. The lunch bbq was plentiful and drink prices were good as they ran specials. The water was spectacularly beautiful and warm. This island is a gem.

Nassau, Bahamas

Because we arrived in port late (3 p.m. instead of morning), there was not a lot of reason to take a beach excursion or a sailing excursion. Even using the $100 credit offered to us to visit Atlantis by our cruise agency would have been a waste as the beach water park closes at 5. So we visited the straw market and walked around the shopping area. We have been here many times so a island tour was not necessary. We spent about 2 hours on island and then went back to the ship to get ready for formal night dinner.

Majesty of the Seas

Majesty of the Seas

There is no real benefit to a suite on this ship. One of our group had booked a suite and it's marginally larger than a normal cruise ship balcony cabin. We were on the 6th floor ocean view and the picture window was nice as compared to the porthole window on some of our group located on floor 3.

Seattle, Washington

We took an excursion with Shutter Tours that was to Snoqualmie Falls and included a City tour as well. We met a Pike's Market, an easy walk from the ship terminal. Great tour at about 1/3 the price of what was offered similarly by the Ship. Check it out.

Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia

Vancouver is one embarkation port that must include some time prior to embarkation to explore. There is much to see, whether you take a ferry or float plane to Victoria, ride a bike thru Stanley park, visit Whistler on a day trip or just enjoy the plentiful and tasty restaurants in the area.

Astoria, Oregon

The ship excursion that we took was a little disappointing as I am not much of a shopper, We visited Cannon Beach and Sea Side. Other than breathtaking beaches, there is not much going on in these towns during the fall months. It also left no time to explore Astoria itself which is a slight walk away from port.

Santa Barbara, California

We took the trolley that provided a 90 minute overview of the City including a Mission, some of the famous hotels, and some landmarks. It was $22 and tickets could be purchased a short walk from the end of the pier. We found the ship excursions to be hugely expensive here. There are wineries with tasting opportunities in town so don't feel like you necessarily have to spend the big bucks to go to the winery if tasting is what you are interested in.

Monterey, California

We took a ship excursion to the Aquarium and the Carmel Mission. Both were entertaining. There is plenty of time to explore the Aquarium and the town of Monterey before boaring the bus and heading to the Mission. The drive to the mission is so scenic and the rugged shoreline you are traveling alongside is truly beautiful. We saw whales in the Bay which added to the fun.

San Francisco, California

We took the ship excursion to Muir Woods and Sausalito. The tour guide Len was excellent. He allowed an unscheduled stop to allow some of us to get off the bus before returning to port so we wouldn't have to walk back to Fisherman's Wharf. Muir Woods was awe inspiring when you think about the size and age of the trees. Very easy to navigate (wood walkway over most of the trail). Wish we had had more time to hike to the ocean. Sausalito was a pretty viewpoint for the Oakland bridge and San Francisco. I am not much of a shopper so this part was not so grand. Tour left plenty of time to explore San Francisco once you return.

Celebrity Infinity

Celebrity Infinity

As I've stated above, I was a little nervous about the Infinity because of the some of the reviews I've read about poor food, rusty, worn areas, etc. While this is definitely not an S-Class ship, it has its own elegance, is easy to navigate and was a wonderful way to spend 7 days. I'd go again without question.

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

The Classic Package was included in our 1-2-3 perks. We don't drink alcohol, but used it for the sparkling sodas and coffees and of course, bottled water. Don't forget that the pastries in the gelato and coffee stands are FREE!

Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Sky

Don't forget to check out the italian restuarant in the morning for breakfast - great waffles and the line is short.

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