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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is a review of the NCL Jade 5 night cruise out of Miami. This cruise was a Christmas gift for my wife - our first cruise without the children. When booking, I envisioned a short relaxing vacation to get away from the cold of the ... Read More
This is a review of the NCL Jade 5 night cruise out of Miami. This cruise was a Christmas gift for my wife - our first cruise without the children. When booking, I envisioned a short relaxing vacation to get away from the cold of the Northwest. To that extent, the cruise was a success. As we had previously sailed on Disney and RCCL, I was looking forward to trying out another line. What got me to choose NCL was a good price and a lot of reviews touting the quality of the food (which is highly important to me). We flew into Ft Lauderdale the day before departure and took an Uber to Miami (Southwest doesn't fly into Miami International). The Uber cost ~$40 and was super simple. Just grabbed the bags, walked out to the ride share curb, and ordered up a ride. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Miami which is about 2 miles to the Port of Miami. Downtown Miami was what you'd expect from a major city - lots of concrete and tall buildings. The most memorable thing about Miami was the traffic. I've never in my life heard so many horns being honked. It's like they have their own language/communication system consisting of just the horn (and a few hand gestures) :) We ordered another Uber in the morning to get over to the port (~$6) and arrived at around 10:15. The check in process was extremely quick which I'm guessing is from the early arrival time. Security was quick - metal detectors & routine stuff. We waited in line for maybe five minutes to get to the counter. Showed the agent our boarding docs, got our freestyle cards, and was assigned boarding group 2. Then up to the terminal to wait for boarding. I checked the time when we completed the process and it was 10:29 (yup, from curb to terminal waiting area was a whopping 14 minutes). We expected to be waiting until 12:00 to board, but the ship was ready early and we were onboard at 11:30. I couldn't be happier about the process. Once on board we headed to O'Sheehan's on deck 8. We were seated promptly and the service was good. We tried the fish-n-chips and the Shephard's Pie. The Shephard's Pie was tasty. The fish was greasy/soggy - While the taste wasn't too bad, it was very much standard school cafeteria fare, not even as good as a chain restaurant. After lunch we wandered around the ship a bit. Overall it was very nice. Everything was easily accessible and laid out well for a smaller ship. What did stand out was the lack of recreation options. There's a multi-purpose basketball/tennis court on Deck 13, but that's it other than the pool area. On that note, I'm glad my kids weren't with us, because this ship is not made with active teens/tweens in mind. Not a huge factor in this review, because I didn't select this cruise for that (just a heads up if you were thinking about bringing the kids). The staterooms opened up around 1:00 and we headed to ours. We were in cabin 11604 which is a mini-suite. To me, this "mini-suite" was comparable to the standard balcony cabins on Disney/RCCL. The room was nice enough - 2 double beds pushed together, a sleeper sofa, flat screen tv, coffee maker, and refrigerator/mini-bar. (Note: I left a note for the room attendant to empty the mini-bar so I could use the refrigerator. Instead of removing the items from the cabin, he just moved them to other shelves and under the desk area -- I guess I'll need to be more specific in the future, ie please remove from the room). Bathroom was nice with a full tub/shower and separate toilet area. I did find it weird to have a separate toilet area with a see through glass door? Kinda defeats the purpose in my mind. Overall the room was very quiet. The deck plan shows an open area on deck 12 above this room which I believe is a galley area. One night I think I heard a heavy cart being rolled somewhere - lasted all of 2 minutes and then silence again. Here's a huge thing to note - this ship is small and as I mentioned, there's not a lot of outdoor space. Finding a lounge chair near the pool or upper deck was dang near impossible unless you wanted to wake up a 0-dark thirty and reserve one all day! But - the balcony was a God-send and we spent a lot of time on it. I mention this because on the bigger ships I've been on, while I might not get prime seating near the pool, I've never been unable to find somewhere to sit outside - which was often the case on this ship -especially on the sea days! You've been warned! Food: We tried the Atrium, Grand Pacific, O'Sheehan's, the Garden Cafe (buffet) and the Outdoor cafe - we didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants. The Atrium and the Grand Pacific share the same menu each night. The Atrium is the casual restaurant and the Grand Pacific is more dress up. To be honest though, the dress code at the Grand Pacific is a low bar to overcome - if you have long pants, you're in (and they do enforce that). You're supposed to have a collared shirt as well, but I saw many a t-shirt as well as numerous flip flops so shoes don't seem to be required. Overall, I liked the Grand Pacific better for the atmosphere. Food was good in the main dining rooms with a decent selection. Nothing over the top - no seafood nights, or anything special, just okay food. The buffet on the other hand was disappointing. Breakfast was blah and so was lunch and dinner. I found most of what I ate at lunch/dinner to be overcooked and under flavored. I was also underwhelmed by the variety. Ports: Harvest Caye - was a fun beach day. I would have liked to see some ocean inflatables to play on, but not having them was fine. Plenty of loungers and umbrellas - no reason to rent a cabana. People were enjoying the zip lines and there was an area to rent paddle boards etc. The pool was nice and had a swim up bar. Just an all around relaxing beach day. Costa Maya - We booked a tour to the Chochaben ruins through Native Choice travel for $110. Note: The EXACT same tour through NCL was $99 each - save your money! That was a great tour and very educational. Our host, Fabiola, was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and quite fluent in English. The trip was about 4hrs with a 45 minute drive to and from. Our group had 12 people which allowed us to ask questions and was very relaxed. When the cruise tours of 30 plus people showed up, I was even happier that I booked this on my own. After the tour, we walked around the port area. It's your typical Caribbean port - if you've seen one, you've seen them all. There was a taco stand near the Port entrance that's authentic and worth the visit. $3 for a beef or chicken taco - yummy. Entertainment: Prior to booking, I checked to see what the entertainment on board would be. I was super excited about the Blazin Boots country music show. Alas, it was replaced by an on-board production show... :( The local talent was okay and they put on a decent show, but it was not professional tier in my opinion. The comedy show was decent. The aerial rope show was quasi erotica and probably not a good choice for kids. They were exceptional athletes though - so I would recommend it just for that. The Cruise Director, Jackie Tran (nope, I didn't make that up), was a little hokey. Overall, the entertainment was subpar when compared to Disney and RCCL. Service: The crew lacked energy and excitement. I'm used to happy faces and engaging staff, but that is not the norm on the Jade. Most just seemed to "be there". Not happy, not sad, just there. Obviously, there were exceptions - Maria and Maria in the Grand Pacific were fun to talk to and joke with, and a bartender at the coffee shop was upbeat, but other than those three, I couldn't name a single person. I never met our room steward - he was a ghost. Overall: Overall I'd rate the entire experience at three stars. It wasn't bad, it was a good value, and I got what I paid for. It just wasn't memorable. As I cruise more, this particular vacation will not stand out in any way. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Picked the cruise as a B2B with the Western Caribbean cruise leaving a week earlier. Must preface all remarks that we were one of about 6 who developed Influenza A for the whole week. Also I am a retired physician. I caught this flu ... Read More
Picked the cruise as a B2B with the Western Caribbean cruise leaving a week earlier. Must preface all remarks that we were one of about 6 who developed Influenza A for the whole week. Also I am a retired physician. I caught this flu the last day of the previous cruise even though I was vaccinated. Likely came from another person who was not US citizen. Take-home—maybe consider getting more than one flu vaccine making sure you get the flu endemic to the area of travel. This flu is aerosol transmission meaning all the great handwashing will not prevent. And have to credit Pricess with running water hand washing stations at the Horizon cafe. Even though many just blow by with proper hand sanitation. Medical staff was excellent. Didn’t agree with a one day quarantine, so stayed to cabin most of the week. Which was good as on day 3, I spiked a temp to 101.2 on Tamiflu and could have had full run of the ship. The problem was the “Unlimited Beverage Package” I had purchased pre-cruise. Some computer glitch told my wife that I was not on the package for the second cruise. Obviously too ill to drink. After day 4 I was told we were on the package after all, just a computer glitch. Princess finally agreed refund of three of those ambiquous days but still wanted to charge me $275 for the four days I was medically unable to drink while I sequestered myself in my cabin so as to not infect anyone else. Problem with decisions like this is that apparently there is no one who can make decisions onboard in real time. All issues have to be reported by email to Princess central and then acted upon days later. Princess should have comped all drinks and even our cruise fare as we prevented a possible pandemic in my opinion. That may be an exaggeration, but we are home still feeling under the weather. Too ill to see what Princess has decided. Room M427 DO NOT TAKE. One floor under the furniture serving the aft LIDO deck and the ice cream station. At least two times in the evening they rake the furniture with no plastic foot protectors across the floor for cleaning. It makes unbelievable cabin noise in the cabin ceiling. Some tips shared by me on cruise one by a 1400 day Pricess passenger. If you like Scotch order a Rob Roy, no bitters, no vermouth and you get two shots of Scotch for the price of one drink. Did the Chef’s table on cruise one, very worth the $115 per person charge and you get a free cookbook. Immediately on boarding call for a place on the wait list. Rum Runners work fine if you need to bring small amounts of alcohol onboard. No problem with locking you luggage with TSA locks. Ours were not violated. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I haven't sailed with Princess in years and thought I would take a February cruise on the Regal as it had 3 sea days. Overall it wasn't a bad trip. My girlfriends sister really talked up the ship so I had high expectations, and ... Read More
I haven't sailed with Princess in years and thought I would take a February cruise on the Regal as it had 3 sea days. Overall it wasn't a bad trip. My girlfriends sister really talked up the ship so I had high expectations, and after sailing on the Regal I was somewhat disappointed. First the food, the breakfast buffet was well appointed but by day 4 it was getting old with the same items. I really enjoyed the eggs benedict, and discovered they only had them out 2 mornings. For my birthday she insisted that we ate at the Steakhouse. The service was fantastic but I wish we could say that about the food. My ribeye was very chewy and her filet which she wanted medium well was very well done. The burgers served at poolside were great and the pizza wasn't bad if it just came right out of the oven, otherwise forget it. We opted for anytime dining and this was a first for me. The servers did a great job but the food.....well it wasn't the quality from my past dining experiences. One night I ordered linguini with claim sauce and it was served lukewarm. Some of the dinner items shocked me......fried chicken with fries and coleslaw? Which ended up being 2 very small pieces of chicken. Our last night was an American night theme so I guess they were justified putting meatloaf on the dinner menu ! That spoke volumes how they are cutting back! So much for standard surf and turf. A small filet with several pawns. The lobster tail was offered separately on another night . Our room was nicely appointed and clean. However the table on the veranda was rusty and had very old soda rings embedded on the top. Seriously, how much could a replacement cost them in the quantity they are buying. Our room steward did his job, and never went the extra mile. With all the cruising I have done one thing has always stood out. They are all so nice to you from the time you board the ship until.......the morning you disembark. That's when their true personality shines. I am never one to demand anything and have always tipped them well. I just think the cruise lines need to tell them to crack that one last smile as your passengers leave because that's the one they will remember! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have taken 20+ cruises and chose Princess this time because we were traveling with 8 other people who chose this ship and itinerary. Princess always has beautiful ships and this was no exception. We booked a "balcony deluxe" ... Read More
We have taken 20+ cruises and chose Princess this time because we were traveling with 8 other people who chose this ship and itinerary. Princess always has beautiful ships and this was no exception. We booked a "balcony deluxe" instead of a regular balcony because this room includes a sofa bed and provides a little more space. (The balcony rooms are small.) The room was very nice, but the balcony was very small. On other ships our balconies usually hold both a chaise lounge and one regular chair with a table, but this balcony only fit two small chairs and a small table. The ships breaks "break up" in several places, so it is a little more difficult to just walk from one end of the ship to another in several areas. Elevators required a more extended wait time because people needed to use them to even go up or down one level. (This is just a fact, not a criticism because I understand there were mobility limitations for many of the guests.) We usually just took the stairs. Without exception, the food in both the buffet and dining room were absolutely fabulous. Everyone thought the choices and variety were excellent. There were a lot of activities offered, but we felt most were geared to a more senior crowd (which was 80% of the ship.) We would have preferred more festive music on the lido deck while sunbathing, but Princess usually showed movies on the large screen TV during the day. At night it was great to watch the "movies under the stars", but I prefer not to watch a television during the day on vacation. It was lovely in the evening sitting under the stars on the cushioned chairs with warm popcorn and a blanket, watching movies. Service was excellent and Princess has the most efficient boarding and disembarking procedures of any ships I have been on. As far as the ports, Princess Cayes was as expected. You are tendered ashore where there is a large beach with shops run by the ship. A buffet was included that served hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, ribs, and salad. The food was very good and plentiful. They also provided ice water at the end of the buffet line. As far as the beach, it is quite rocky on the shoreline and when walking into the water, so I would recommend wearing water shoes. I purchased a "clamshell" online prior to the trip. It is $40.00 and covers two people and two beach lounge chairs. It was great to have some protection from the sun and was well worth the money. It is a good idea to preorder since there are a limited number available. There is not much to do but enjoy the beach on this excursion. St. Thomas is absolutely beautiful, with lots of excursions available. We went on the St. John Catamaran Sail, Snorkel and Beach tour. It included a 45 minute ride out on a catamaran to St John where the snorkeling was great. Honeymoon beach is a beautiful spot. We saw lots of tropical fish, an eel and sea turtles while snorkeling. The boat ride back included snacks, rum punch, mimosas, etc and was worth every penny. Larry and his crew took excellent care of us. St. Maarten is also a lovely port where you can just walk off the pier to the shopping areas. Water taxis cost $7.00 round trip to take you to Phillipsburg where there are streets full of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. (We just took the 20 minute walk there.) The only negative is that all the shops closed at 5 p.m., so plan your day accordingly. There were many tours available but we just wanted to walk about on this day. I would definitely come back to see more of St. Maarten. We were told by locals that the french side of the island had been hit very hard by the previous storms and pretty devastated, so we just stayed on the dutch side for this trip. We will definitely be back because there is so much more to see. This ship was using the new medallion program throughout the vessel. It was nice to just approach our cabin and see it recognize us and just unlock, but many of the staff were still having difficulty with their devices recognizing and reading our medallions when purchasing something or when using slot machines in the casino. The medallions replaced the previously used cruise cards. You could wear them around your neck on a necklace or put them in your pocket. I purchased a clip ($5.00) that held the medallion and attached to a belt loop on your clothing. It was very convenient and had an elastic line that stretched out so I could just pull the medallion line out to make purchases without disconnecting it from my belt loop. This was much nicer then having to wear something around my neck. We had some difficulty with some of the APPs associated with the medallion (like linking with our shipmates to help find one another), but I am sure it will get better with time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first Norwegian cruise. So many complaints! 1. Terrible customer service: upon boarding we discovered no drink or specialty dining packages were associated with our reservation, even though we had paid for them. We had ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise. So many complaints! 1. Terrible customer service: upon boarding we discovered no drink or specialty dining packages were associated with our reservation, even though we had paid for them. We had booked through a travel agent (USAA Travel Services) and the ship customer service desk refused to help us because we had not booked directly through NCL. Very rudely told us to fix our own problem. After someone from the travel agency called the ship directly and provided proof of the purchase, they still would not fix the problem, told us it would take 2 days (of a 5 day cruise!) to update. 2. So many passengers falling down drunk most of the cruise. Could not take my kids to the family pool because of this. Ship employees did nothing about this and continued serving obviously intoxicated people. 3. Dining room staff indifferent and slow. Food quality uneven and often cold when served. Took at least 2 hours to eat a 3 course meal. 4. Very poor wine list. Mixed drinks were good if you could get served. If you didn’t have a bikini on the bartenders would ignore you completely. 4. Had a mini-suit on deck 11. Woken every morning before 5 due to noise from the buffet above. Very poor housekeeping in our suits. Never once met our steward. 5. The kids club had the weirdest hours. Made it very difficult to utilize. Staff was very rude. 6. The spa staff was forever trying to sell you their products. After a very relaxing massage the spa employee would not let me leave until I listened to her pitch, and then was extremely rude when I told her I wouldn’t buy anything. We will NEVER sail with NCL again!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall our cruise was delightful. The only downsides being: first, some of the ports on this cruise (Road town,Tortola and Rouseau, Dominca) were odd choices. They are both sadly still suffering from hurricane damage. My second issue was ... Read More
Overall our cruise was delightful. The only downsides being: first, some of the ports on this cruise (Road town,Tortola and Rouseau, Dominca) were odd choices. They are both sadly still suffering from hurricane damage. My second issue was the awful wi-fi, even with the premium service we received for being in a Silver Suite. At times it simply did not work, and we were only doing emails and checking the weather and written (not streaming) news.. The explanation that it's tough to do wi-fi at sea is at odds with our very positive experience with wi-fi on Silver Muse about 18 months ago. Moving on to all the many positives: The Ship was in perfect, pristine condition. It was interesting to play "find the stretch spot". It was done so well that only with the help of a crew member could we figure out precisely where the work was done. And the additional room at the pool and Grill made for a better experience. I particularly like the new, Muse like, color scheme; others may disagree. Dining options are plentiful. We made reservations on MySilversea and all were honored. It was easy, however, to make some changes as the cruise went on. And, Atlantide and Indochine require no reservations. Even with a nearly full cruise (544 passengers) there were no problems making adjustments. The increased space in La Terraza was a mixed blessing. It was easy to get in there for dinner, but the relative intimate nature of the space is gone. And, I notice they no longer mention Slow Cooking in the description; sadly, the duck pappardelle was just OK. We tried Silver Note and enjoyed it. The duo (singer and pianist) were quote good, took requests andwere not at all too loud. The crew make the Silversea experience and this trip was no exception. They were uniformly charming and a delight to interact with. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall, this voyage was disappointing relative to our expectations. Pros: - The cabin, with a small balcony was very pleasant, and had excellent service. - Sleeping on a sailing vessel was marvelous - ... Read More
Overall, this voyage was disappointing relative to our expectations. Pros: - The cabin, with a small balcony was very pleasant, and had excellent service. - Sleeping on a sailing vessel was marvelous - just enough pitch to be soothing. - Desserts were truly exceptional. - The ship’s officers were pleasant, and accessible. - Spa services were excellent. Cons: - Breakfast and lunch were buffets, and underwhelming. Dinners varied greatly in quality. Overall, we had expected better cuisine. - Ports chosen by the ship were oft secondary ones, & distant from attractions, despite “name” ports being near. The rationale for this apparently was visiting beaches rather than population centers. Be sure this is your goal. - Very little to do onboard. Glad we had a balcony to use up the hours. - Gym was disappointing, with some equipment not being usable given low ceilings. - Enrichment lectures and entertainment were minimal. In short, boredom became a factor for us — the first time I have experienced this to any significant degree in 20 plus years of cruising. Many folks seemed to really enjoy this style of cruising, but it was not for us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This is the first time on a Viking Ocean cruise and will probably be the last. Have been on two previous Viking River cruises in Europe. Our cabin was 6042 (deluxe veranda). We have been on more than 24 ocean cruises and have experience ... Read More
This is the first time on a Viking Ocean cruise and will probably be the last. Have been on two previous Viking River cruises in Europe. Our cabin was 6042 (deluxe veranda). We have been on more than 24 ocean cruises and have experience with numerous cruise lines. Our favorite cruise line still remains Oceania even after trying Viking Ocean. The cruise embarkation (Jan 28, 2019) was late starting. Everyone had to wait in the common spaces until 2:35 PM before the cabins were ready because the ship had to be disinfected due to GI problems on the ship on the previous cruise. On that cruise no one could serve themselves at the World Café. We had no food problems like that on our cruise. There must have been a special deal in England for this cruise because 375 of the 913 guests were from there. The ship never felt crowded and there was never much of a wait for anything. Lots of times it felt deserted. The rule that keeps anyone under 18 from being on this ship certainly skews the age of the passengers. The average had to be in the 70's. Pregnant looking men (and women) were in abundance. The elevators were put to a strain. The entertainment wasn't much. However the guitar and piano players who circulated into different spots on the ship were excellent. The violin and cello music duo would have been more appropriate at a wake and it sounded like it. The dining was mixed. We could make two reservations prior to embarkation and we did so for Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. We were able to snag another Manfredi's reservation while on the ship. It's almost impossible to get extra speciality reservations while on the ship as they are really booked. The Chef's Table theme changes about every three days. We had the Mexican theme and the food was great. Manfredi's was a disappointment so we tried it twice to be equally disappointed. What Italian restaurant has no tablecloths? The answer is Manfredi's. So you end up with a placemat on a wooden table and when tables are cleared next to you it doesn't look too good. The food was nothing special at Manfredi's. The main restaurant lighting looks like you are eating in a very well lighted cafeteria and is way too bright. We complained and joyfully ended up at a table with less lighting. Ask for table 175/176/177 if you want it to be a little less bright. The design of the main restaurant is poor- narrow spaces running down both sides of the ship. Have they ever seen the main restaurant on Oceania Marina or Riviera? That would have been a plan to follow. The cabin design also needs help. There aren't enough drawers to put things in. The bathroom is nice however. Bring a bunch of coat hangars that you have saved from your dry cleaning and use them in the closet because there aren't too many supplied. I guess you could ask for more but the ones you being don't weigh much and you can leave them there when the cruise is over. The TV entertainment system has lots choices of things to watch but it constantly buffers and it freezes and you can't hear anything for 5-10 seconds and it happens ALL the time. Even with their own ship broadcasts the system constantly buffers. Try to listen to the shore excursions briefing on the TV and it is a real chore. Watch a movie, others have mentioned, and it buffers in the middle of it and it could never be restarted. Speaking of the free shore excursions. They aren't much! In the Caribbean they are just a 2-3 hour open bench seat bus holding about 20 people or a 20 person small bus that takes you to places to look at things. We opted for 2 paid shore excursions. One was at Saint Luicia and was a 6-7 hour tour on a catamaran that took us to a nice hotel resort for lunch and then back to beach to swim or snorkel a bit and then back to the ship. it was nice but $498 for two was a high price. Harrison Cave on Barbados was the other tour we paid for and it was nice but the cave was really nothing special if you have seen other larger, more beautiful caverns. Other complaints I have with Viking overall is that they never offer shipboard credits when making a reservation. So NEVER book directly with Viking. Our travel agent gave us a $600 shipboard credit that paid for the $30.00 per day gratuities that they add and the drinks that we had plus a purchase in the store. Also Viking charges you $100 apiece if you make a reservation and then cancel it. No other line does that I think. Also with the Viking River cruises they want their money almost a year in advance which is ridiculous. Wouldn't do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The ship is not handicap friendly!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO walk in showers --have to CLIMB in a VERY TALL TUB.Ramps that are very difficult to move on a walker without - assistance. Service in the dining rooms were VERY SLOW most usaually the food ... Read More
The ship is not handicap friendly!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO walk in showers --have to CLIMB in a VERY TALL TUB.Ramps that are very difficult to move on a walker without - assistance. Service in the dining rooms were VERY SLOW most usaually the food was warm at best when served . When you want something HOT to eat you needed to go to the HOT ROCKS at night or during the day the buffet on deck 7 or snack area on 8. ROOM service always came with great food and served (here you could get hot tea-coffee ) all the time. Takes 2 1/2 to 3 hrs to eat evening meal -very poor service .Food not avaiable at all time like on lots of ships only during certain windows of time evening meals start at 7:00 PM make for very late night -SHOWS not worth seeing at 10PM Suites were great walk-in closet lots of storage great butler and maid--BATH leaves a lot to be desired. VERY expensive --have been on many other cruises far better for LOTs less. The experience of getting on and off were the best of the cruise very fast- Read Less

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