Every Thursday, we'll randomly select five cruise reviews to feature here! Plus, we'll send each member a Cruise Critic logo item. We hope they enjoy it!
Navigator of the Seas The Only Way To Go by PonyUp77
My wife and I have learned a great deal from our first three cruises. Our intention was to apply those lessons learned to create a cruise experience that would be perfect. This cruise lived up to those expectations, with only a few exceptions. TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION We booked our flight through Royal Caribbean's air travel partner with connections getting us to Rome early on the morning of the ship's departure. In hind sight, I was concerned that we would miss a connection, face a delay or lose baggage along the way. However, everything went just fine. We also booked transfer to the ship through Royal Caribbean. We were met at the baggage claim and had an easy bus ride to the cruise ship terminal with time to complete any additional paperwork for embarkation. Our baggage was processed and delivered to our stateroom about an hour before the ship left port. There are less expensive options for transfer to the cruise ship terminal including taxis and trains, so you should explore those options. If you do choose to incorporate an extra night or two in Rome prior to embarkation, be aware that crime is very high. Pickpockets preyed on multiple passengers of our cruise. Take every precaution possible to guard against theft. Continue reading... The Only Way To Go
Noordam 11 Day Ancient Mysteries HAL Cruise 5.17.2013 by TMelendez
For the last 7 years or so the trend has been for the cruise lines to position their ships around the world, and visiting more international ports than ever before. Which can only be great for the traveler. Part of that trend, especially in the last 2 or 3 years is to also create multiple itineraries as part of one big trip! I think Holland America is leading the way. THE ITINERARY The embarkation was painless. I embarked on an 11-day "Ancient Mysteries" cruise on May 17th, 2013 out of Istanbul. That day there were also people who were beginning a 22 days or 33 days cruise! You could have booked each 11 day segment by itself. The itinerary took us from Istanbul, along the Dardanelles pasageway, to Mykonos, to Kusadasi, Turkey, to Rhodes, an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt, then to Iraklion, Crete and finally to Athens. After I booked this segment I wondered why I didnt book the 22 days as this would have pretty much covered for me all the places Ive ever needed to visit. Now I need to go back and spent more money for just a few more ports. I do not know people's tolerance to be at sea for 33 days, but that itinerary would have covered all the ports for you might otherwise need 4 mediterrenean cruises. The overnight in Alexandria, Egypt was in lieu of a stop at Port Said that was cancelled by the cruise line for safety reasons. There were really 3 days at sea, going and coming out of Egypt, and the cruising thru the Dardanelles. Another thing I noticed was that on this particular trip I never saw the ship go faster than 14 knots. So it was very leisurely! Continue reading... 11 Day Ancient Mysteries HAL Cruise 5.17.2013
Celebrity Constellation First time cruise will be hard to beat by kneedoc
Late last year I decided my husband and I should take a cruise. I had never really wanted to cruise, but after hearing about a friend's recent experience, I decided that we should give it a try. I am an incurable detail person and embarked upon an exhaustive review of cruise lines, ships, passengers and just about every other detail that I thought might be pertinent to achieving the perfect cruise experience. I had a long list of requirements: I didn't want to be on the party barge, I needed a little luxury, I wanted to be with more "middle aged" people and less 20-somethings and children. I had to have a nice stateroom and a good wine list. The Constellation kept coming up as the ship for us. We flew into Miami on the morning of embarkation and had a seamless transfer to the ship. A friendly Celebrity representative was there to greet us and direct us to the bus which was waiting nearby. The journey to the port was short and comfortable and once we arrived (around 1:00) were able to board the ship with no delay whatsoever. Being first time cruisers, we had no idea what to expect, or even where to go. We were handed a glass of sparkling wine upon our arrival and directed onto the ship. We weren't exactly sure where to go at that point, so we asked one of the many smiling and helpful Celebrity employees what we should do. His response, "you can do anything you want! You're on vacation!" We decided to head to our stateroom which was a concierge level room with a balcony. We found it to be sparkling clean and ready for us, which was a nice surprise because I had read that often rooms are not ready. We had hors d'oeuvres waiting for us along with a chilled bottle of sparkling wine. Continue reading... First time cruise will be hard to beat
Pride of America Sailing Away In Paradise by puddles99
Upon arrival at the pier, we dropped off our bags & went through security. One thing we learned that is different about boarding an American-flagged ship is that some TSA rules for banned carry-on items are in effect, even in checked luggage. In other words, we could not board the ship with his pocket knife packed in checked luggage. Instead it needed to be checked in with TSA and was available to be reclaimed at the end of the cruise. This isn’t really a big deal, but not something we had considered. After security and embarkation pictures, we asked someone to direct us to the Suite Check-in and we were escorted aside and completed the check-in & boarding process quite quickly. Here we met briefly with Nikki from Group Events to confirm the details of the Meet & Greet and met our fantastic butler George (more on him in a bit!). We were welcomed into the Napa Wine bar with a glass of champagne and met the Concierge James. I was actually quite impressed with some aspects to this greeting - the word had gotten to the spa (via the pre-cruise concierge) that we wanted to book massages for Monday afternoon and the representative was there to confirm the times with us. We also were able to book the Chef’s Table at this time (again, it was noted that I ha informed the pre-cruise concierge of our interest). Continue reading... Sailing Away In Paradise
Grand Princess It was the best of times, it was the worst of times by Chiguy1957
We had heard such great things about cruising, that we finally broke down and decided to belatedly treat ourselves to a 25th anniversary cruise. It was our maiden voyage and we were prepared to like it, love it, and want more of it. Unfortunately, this was another case of the hype outweighing the substance. It started out wonderfully with a long weekend in San Francisco prior to setting sail for the Inner Passage. TIP: If possible, arrive at your departure port at least a day early to avoid flight hiccups and last minute rushing. On embarkation day, Pier 35 was bustling with activity and excitement. We got there around 11am for a 1pm boarding. TIP: If you get to the Pier early, hunt down one of the Princess agents and see about early boarding. That's exactly what we did, and they ushered us right in to get the onboarding process started. You don't ask, you don't get. From there getting settled was pretty smooth. They had crew members on each floor at the elevator banks directing guests to their cabins. Continue reading... It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
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