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Admin February 14th, 2013 06:26 PM

Reviews of the Week by true45, astro1861, big_schots, bunbastic & Dasbeak!
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!

Celebrity Equinox Equinox lovers, I see what you mean by true45
I don't mean to dis the other Celebrity ships -- we loved the Millenium, Century, Horizon, Solstice and some parts of our Eclipse sailing. We even tried Princess just to see if it was "just like Celebrity" -- definitely not. Embarkation painless. Balcony cabin works well with great storage in bathroom. Nice glass doors & handy bar for putting your legs up on to shave. The only thing I missed was my trusy hand-held shower head which Celebrity offers in AquaClass & above only. For an 11-night cruise I was able to store my gear with no problem. We had bed near the bath with nice sofa and coffee table near the sliding door. Enjoyed the view many beautiful days and full moons. Cabin steward terrific. You can check your bill every day on the tv -- also good channels, fox news, bbc, msnbc, cnn, tbs, movies on demand free and pay. The MDR dinner food was exceptional -- best on our 17 cruises. Celebrity certainly has gotten its act together -- or is it just this great ship, not sure. Service fine. There was also Aqua Spa Cafe for healthy meals open embarkation day and every day breakfast & lunch -- they cook fish & chicken to order for lunch -- lovely spot in the Solarium. Buffet was nice - varied, not crowded. Continue reading... Equinox lovers, I see what you mean

Navigator of the Seas Navigator of the Seas Jan 12, 2013 by astro1861
My wife and I live in the Chicago area, and last summer we started planning a winter escape for January 2013. We were mainly interested in Caribbean itineraries, but didn't care which port we cruised from. A search on the RC website showed some very attractive pricing on the Navigator of the Seas out of New Orleans. These 7-night cruises included Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. The order in which the ports are visited varies from sailing to sailing. We selected an itinerary that started with two sea days, allowing us time to decompress and switch into cruise mode. To keep the costs low (and just to try something different), we decided to ride the Amtrak train from Chicago to New Orleans. We have been on Amtrak several times before, but never on an overnight train. This would be a new experience. If you purchase either a roomette or a bedroom on Amtrak, the fare includes meals in the dining car. The combination of an overnight train ride plus a night in New Orleans plus a 7-night cruise and finally another overnight train ride back resulted in a 10-night vacation with all but two meals included in the cost. Continue reading... Navigator of the Seas Jan 12, 2013

Crown Princess Crown Princess 1/26 to 2/02 - Solid, Not Perfect, Experience by big_schots
Background: My wife and I (early 50's) took a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise, out of Galveston, on the Crown Princess. The voyage took place January 26th through February 2nd. This is the 11th cruise for my wife and I, and our second with Princess. We have also cruised with Carnival (7 times), Royal Caribbean (once), and Celebrity (once). Embarkation: We drove down to Galveston, on Saturday, the day of the cruise, and experienced virtually no traffic, arriving around 10:30 A.M. I had booked (and paid online for) parking with Lighthouse Parking. They are $50 for the seven days, versus $65 for the Port Authority parking. They took us, and our luggage, directly to the cruise terminal where a porter took it away. I would definitely recommend their service. We entered the terminal at 10:40 and within 15 minutes we had been fully processed, and were given a Group #1 boarding pass. We had to wait, in a seating area, for an hour before we were finally allowed to board. They said they were running about 40 minutes behind, because there was a lack of customs agents causing the prior cruise debarkation to be behind. No big deal. We ended up having lunch at 12:15 P.M., after dropping off our carry-on luggage in our room. Continue reading... Crown Princess 1/26 to 2/02 - Solid, Not Perfect, Experience

Azamara Quest Azamara Exceeds Expectations by bunbastic
Contemplating a trip to the Antarctic poses manifold choices. Each of six major cruise lines sailing to the South Atlantic offers distinctly different options as to duration, destinations, comfort, formality, and shore excursions. In many ways, it is truly a dice toss, as itineraries are notoriously subject to change due to variant weather conditions. We got lucky. We chose Azamara's January, 2013 16-day cruise on the Quest, a 694-passenger, 592-foot, ten-deck ship refurbished in 2007. With a small handful of exceptions, virtually everything about the Quest's on-and-off-board experience was exceptional, if not inspired Itinerary/Excursions: Our cruise began in Buenos Aires, sailing subsequently to Montevideo, Uruguay; thence to Port Stanley in the Falklands; on to Elephant Island and the Antarctic Sound; time in the Beagle Channel remembering the journeys of Charles Darwin; sailing by Cape Horn, Chile; and then back north through the notorious Drake Passage to Ushuaia, Argentina (the southernmost city in the world); north again to Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and a final two days at sea to return to Buenos Aires. As it happened, high winds precluded our docking in Ushuaia and sailing around Cape Horn. We did not find this unacceptable; we found it prudent. And there were many engaging sightings in lieu of those two failures. Continue reading... Azamara Exceeds Expectations

Eurodam 1st Time Cruise Report Eurodam 1/26-2/2, 2013 by Dasbeak
Friday -- Pre-Cruise Day -- When coming from the north in winter make sure to go a day early. We had weather delays and it would be too risky and stressful to fly on in embarkation day. Flew into FLL on Friday and found two very nice and helpful HAL ladies waiting by baggage pickup. They helped get us and our bags onto a charter bus that took us to a Westin hotel. Very nice place. Wasn't anything close to walk to get wine for the ship, so we took a cab to a Publix (couple of miles away). Good wine selection and they give you a free bottle tote that carries four bottles. Walked right on the ship carrying problem. Back at the hotel, a couple of HAL reps were there in the lobby to prepare us for next day boarding. Saturday -- Embarkation -- We packed a charter bus with Eurodam guests from the Westin and headed to the port. After verifying our checked baggage was there for the porters, we headed to check-in. Smooth process and we had our room cards and headed onto the ship. Our balcony room on deck 6 was ready and we were pleased to see the pre-ordered beverage cards and drink packages were there waiting for us. I did figure out that you should wait to order drink packages after going out to sea. It's cheaper once we were past whatever the offshore distance is. On schedule, the ship started moving...backwards. We backed to the turning basin and got going the right direction out to sea. Our room was on the starboard side, and with drink in hand we had a great view of the sunset over southern Florida. Family had early dinner set for MDR each night, but DW and I reserved 8:30 Tamarind for the first night. After some exploring, we dressed up and headed to the Crow's Nest for a pre-dinner drink. What a view and nearly deserted. Fantastic meal at the Tamarind with a bottle of well spent. Continue reading... 1st Time Cruise Report Eurodam 1/26-2/2, 2013

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