steelergirlinfl

steelergirlinfl
Cruise Director

Joined: 09/30/2014
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steelergirlinfl's Past Cruises

Celebrity Summit

December 2016 - Celebrity Summit to Caribbean - Southern

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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Carnival Victory

September 2015 - Carnival Victory to Caribbean - Western

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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Enchantment of the Seas

November 2014 - Enchantment of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas

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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Norwegian Sky

September 2014 - Norwegian Sky to Caribbean - Bahamas

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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steelergirlinfl's Tips

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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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sky cruise review - A great weekend getaway

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Summit cruise review - Basking in the sun and Celebrity service

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sky cruise review - A great weekend getaway

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sky cruise review - A great weekend getaway

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Summit cruise review - Basking in the sun and Celebrity service

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sky cruise review - A great weekend getaway

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Summit cruise review - Basking in the sun and Celebrity service

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sky cruise review - A great weekend getaway

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Silhouette cruise review - A Very Excellent Adventure

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Sky cruise review - A great weekend getaway