Hi Everyone, We just got off Connie on Monday and I thought I'd leave my first ever review. After reading all the grumbling lately, I was a bit concerned. So I thought I'd throw in our 2cents. A little about us. We are in our 40s. This was our 16th X cruise, but we hadn't cruised since 2017. We bought a house in 2018, covid happened and we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. People come here to vacation, so we were making do (hehe). Then X sent us a blue chip cruise and how could we say no? All the options were 10-14 days and this one fit in our work schedules. We prefer cruises over 7 days. Seven day cruises are always too short.
Our fellow cruisers were mostly older. There were exactly seven children onboard which is how we like it. We met a lot of career cruisers on B2B or once a month in the winter etc.. There were also quite a few first timers either to cruising or to X.
In general we really had a great time and this cruise reminded us why we love cruising. The crew is fantastic. They really want you to have the best possible time. We saw so many people speak down to them and mistreat them. I wish more guests would treat them like the hard working people they are with a little respect.
To cover some of the more controversial things:
Main Dining - The menus in the Main Dining room have become very creative. I feel like they are in the kitchen with what corporate has found on sale that week like the baskets in that food show. "We will give you a turkey, some celery root and a bag of apples. Make a three course meal." There was a lot of celery root and apples in many different ways. However, we never went hungry and everything we did have was delicious. The bread and choice of dips was always great. We live near the sea and I don't eat frozen lobster so I cannot weigh in on the lobster debate.
Buffet - The buffet always looked plentiful. The pizza was good, waffles fabulous and the ice cream station always had great options. The pizza station is an eggs benedict station in the mornings which I thought was nice. The crew was always cleaning and friendly. The presentation was a little less wow than I remember. Never saw an ice sculpture or much vegetable art. Some root veg flowers was about it. What I was not a fan of was being approached at our table trying to upsell the special restaurants every time we sat down. Once in a while would be fine, but every time is not.
Room Service - It's sad that they do not offer the evening menu to eat on your balcony any longer. One of my fonder cruise memories is sitting on our balcony in Turkeye having dinner after a busy day sightseeing listening to the evening call to prayer. We ordered hot breakfast once and it was a very pleasant experience. They called a little while after it was delivered to make sure we got everything and were happy with it. I don't remember that happening before. Maybe now they have more time to do that.
Drink Packages - Didn't have one. We are Elite+. There are enough perk options for us to be happy. Plus, I've been known to spend a fair share of time in the casino where the drinks are free. If they mess with my perk lattes though, we may have an issue. 😉
Internet - The app is free to use on the ship. It has a messaging feature to reach other passengers which was handy to message the husband. We each received 240 free minutes as our E+ perk. This was plenty to check email and social media. It always worked when I wanted it to and was fairly quick. No problems.
Tampa and the Fog - We had fog on embarkation day delaying docking. The port of Tampa needs to find an acceptable option for somewhere nearby for passengers to relax and wait to board their ship with proper accommodation and communication. Turning people away at the port and having people who flew in wait at the mall with no communication is not acceptable. There were elderly, infirmed people without sweaters or jackets outside standing in line after dark waiting for buses that came one at a time achingly far apart. Never knowing when the next one would come and who would get to go on it. Some were there for 6+ hours. We will think twice about booking a cruise that boards in that port again.
In closing we really had a lovely time. This may be my fourth time on Connie and she looks great. Perfect size. I love the old school promenade deck of the Millenium class with the loungers to feel the breeze and watch the sea while not in the pool deck energy. There is always an option to join in the fun in one lounge or find a quiet nook to read a book, watch the sea or work on your latest knitting project in another. The crew is always always cleaning and spiffing up and it shows how much they care for the ship. Never too busy to say hello though. There was a crew of electricians changing all the lightbulbs throughout the ship while we were there. They were even super friendly. Maybe I just have a penchant for talking to strangers. My mother is to blame.
Hope this was helpful to whoever reads it. Happy to answer any questions.
Oh PS. Thanks to the lady who did the live report in January. The little $10 transfer bus to the airport was so easy and great! Walked out and they were right there. Super tip.