youngatheart
Second Mate

Hometown: Huntley, IL
Joined: 05/20/2013
5
Cruises
2
Reviews
44
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About youngatheart



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youngatheart's Past Cruises

Zaandam

March 2014 - Zaandam to South America

A Cruise Adventure but not your typical cruise

The Zaandam, its cruise, food, crew and accomodations were great.  Our stateroom was very comfortable, clean and reasonably appointed and they gave us the selection of 3 types of firmness for our pillows which was a nice touch.  Our cabin stewart was very attentive and we could count on our stateroom being made up after we returned from breakfast.  We ate breakfast in the Lido, mainly because we either had an excursion or slept in :-).  They had just about anything you could want for breakfast including cook to order eggs or omelets and the service was fast. We loved visiting Billy in the Ocean Bar for a couple of cocktails before dinner - a great bartender.  Dinner in the dining room was excellent.  The menu was quite varied but they also included some basics for the less adventurous pallet.  Service was good and the presentation on each course was wonderful.  What we didn't like was out of the 13 day cruise there were a total of 8 "sea days" and only 5 ports after you leave Buenos Aires.  Unfortunately we had heavy seas and winds so we couldn't go on the outer decks while we cruised the various channels, glaciers and the Cape Horn so we missed a lot of it and photo opportunities through ship windows just aren't great.  It was frequently foggy as well and cold at about 40-50 degrees (March 4-17).  We had looked upon cruising the Cape, glaciers and channels as we would an excursion - that was not the experience.  Additionally we had such rough seas the Captain couldn't take us in the Chilean Fjords so we missed that totally.  Of course the weather there is usually cool and rainy.  In Ushuaia the guide on our excursion told us that out of 365 days in a year they have only 44 full sunny days.  Guess we should have researched more.  We also felt that with that many "sea days" the Zaandam should have had more varied entertainment.  After a couple of days, tango lessons, bingo, art and jewelery shows get old.  The evening entertainment was great - wonderful shows in the lounge, but when you can't go out on the outside decks during the day it gets a bit boring.  Many people were reading in the lounge areas, my though was I can read at home.  The fitness center is great, used it several times but when the seas were rough I was reluctant to get on the equipment.  The best time to be had was with Buddy the piano man in the Mix Lounge.  He was a great entertainer but as of May 2 he is going to the Holland cruise in the orient.  If you take that cruise with Holland be sure to stop by and say hello to Buddy!

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Carnival Legend

May 2013 - Carnival Legend to Europe - Mediterranean

12 Days in the Med - great taste of Europe

We enjoyed this cruise but really had to come home to rest. We visited Venice, Dubrovnik, Croatia; Izmir, Turkey; Athens, Sicily, Naples, Rome, Florence, Marsailles and Barcelona. My advice to anyone wanting to make this a worthwhile visit - book excursions. Most of the ports are not near the cities mentioned and going it on your own can be a waste of your short time in each port while you get your barrings. The excursions can be expensive but the ones we took were more than worth it. Getting priority into the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel with excellent guides. This was true for our drive from Naples down the Amalfi Coast and to Pompeii as well as Izmir Turkey where we went to see Ephesus. As for Carnival and this ship - OK. Pros: Our stateroom was well maintained and clean and our stewart was excellent. The ship has an understated decor which we liked after being on some that looked like a circus. The bartenders were great. Cons: The food was not the greatest. We have been on other cruise lines and enjoyed the food much better. Particularly the meat cuts/selections at dinner tended to be tough and not very tasteful. I resorted to vegetarina dishes as they were much tastier. Because we had early excursions breakfast was usually the buffet, same every day. The scrambled eggs seemed like they were made from powdered eggs so if the lines weren't too long I opted to get an omelet or eggs over - much better. Orange juice was way over the top with sweetening. Bacon was not usually crisp and dripping grease. Pastries and yougurt or ceral also availalbe and of course that was OK. Fruit at breakfast was scarce and of little variety. Another complaint we had was that we took the "anytime dining" as opposed to the set time seatings. Unlike other cruise lines that have anytime dining we were restricted to one restaurant on the ship and only one level of that. Of course you could opt for the steakhouse but at $35 each we didn't try it. Like all the other cruise ships the liquor was expensive. With qratuity added in they were like $9 each for a mixed drink, don't know on beer. You could buy an all you want to drink ticket for like $45.00 a day if you have a big appetite for liquor but if you are traveling with another you both have to buy the package even if one of you doesn't drink so you have to weigh that out but at $45.00/day x 2 x 12 day cruise it is $1080 for liquor. As a past cruise customer I got a ticket for complimentary drinks BUT they had stipulations that you had to order them in the dining room at breakfast or lunch. Well, we don't drink at breakfast and most lunches we were on excursions or at the pool so ate from the buffet so not much of a gift for us. Another con was the entertainment. Not much of it and not much variety. Also, they geared the start/stop times for the entertainers to go with their scheduled dinner times 6:00 & 8:15 so if you were on an excursion or ate on your time you just couldn't make many of the shows or just caught the end. After taking numerous cruises I know that most charge big for liquor that is where they make their profit and of course all push the pictures and the stuff they sell in the shops on board. I will say that we took excursions in many of our ports and they ones we took through Carnival were OUTSTANDING. Wonderful guides, great itinerary, good transportation and coordination from the ship to the bus for your excursion. Top notch!!!

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Carnival Valor

February 2013 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Southern

Norwegian Sky

April 2012 - Norwegian Sky to Caribbean - Bahamas

Pride of America

March 2010 - Pride of America to Hawaii

youngatheart's Tips

Cruise Glacier Alley - saw the glaciers through the ship windows and from our balcony, outer decks were closed due to weather
Zaandam Zaandam - Enjoy your evening meals in the dining room. Great food and presentation. Many on the cruise ate in the Lido for dinner so as to stay in their jeans. Believe me bring your "smart casual" and have your dinners in the dining room. Formal nights are a blast as well.
Barcelona, Spain - Loved Barcelona, wish we had stayed longer than the 2 extra days we booked there.
Naples, Italy - Stay out of Naples, go direct to the Amalfi coast and Pompeii. Naples is not a good town to hang out in. They warned us of pickpockets and issues with cars.
Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy - Do an excursion, Civitavecchia is 90 minutes from Rome and with the excursions you get priority access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
Piraeus (Athens), Greece - Was there in 2005, gone downhill. They are taking the Parthenon apart, not much left on the Acropolis

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Escape cruise review - Fun ship - especially for families

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Escape cruise review - Fun ship - especially for families

received a helpful vote on their Zaandam cruise review - A Cruise Adventure but not your typical cruise

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Escape cruise review - Fun ship - especially for families

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Escape cruise review - Fun ship - especially for families

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Escape cruise review - Fun ship - especially for families

received a helpful vote on their Zaandam cruise review - A Cruise Adventure but not your typical cruise

received a helpful vote on their Zaandam cruise review - A Cruise Adventure but not your typical cruise

received a helpful vote on their Zaandam cruise review - A Cruise Adventure but not your typical cruise

received a helpful vote on their Zaandam cruise review - A Cruise Adventure but not your typical cruise