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!

Golden Princess Relaxing Fun by FiveString
As a prelude I should point out two major driving forces that inform our motivation and expectations for this trip. First, my wife and I were fortunate to have lived and worked in HI for five years back in the 1980s; we were residents of Oahu and took frequent weekend trips to all of the major neighbor islands. Second, our last cruise was a 12-day Rome->Venice itinerary in the summer of 2011 - in many ways the trip of a lifetime, but with only one sea day and an excursion on all the others it was exhausting: getting up every morning earlier than I would at home to go to work and returning to the ship just in time to sail to the next port. Fantastic trip; very little relaxation. Having sailed on the Star and Crown Princess previously we felt familiar with the layout of the ship and staterooms already. We chose a mini-suite on Deck 9 and found it to be exactly as we expected from our earlier experience. A compact but functional layout with queen-sized bed, desk, sitting area, two small flat-screen TVs, and a mini-fridge. The balcony had the expected two chairs and small footstools which were quite comfortable and new-looking. The balcony floor had the usual blue mat that provides some cushioning while allowing water to drain. I was pleasantly surprised by the nice shower-massage feature and great water pressure. Continue reading... Relaxing Fun

Eurodam Eastern Caribbean Feb 2 2013 by superoma
Hotel -- We arrived on the 1st and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Davie Road using the Park and Cruise package. We were able to leave our car for the week and had two seats on the shuttle to the port. We bought two more passes, since there were four in our party. The shuttle came promptly at 11 am. They tried to sell us return passes for $15 a person but we opted to wait at the port for a taxi instead. The drive to the port was not long but 595 and the entrance to Port Everglades is under construction and the traffic jams took a while to get through. We were glad we didn't try to drive down to park at the port. The hotel has a Publix and a CVS pharmacy near it and not much else. Embarkation -- We were quickly checked in. This was one of the shortest lines I have ever gone through. We received our boarding number and our ship cards and sat down to wait. There are lots of seats in the terminal and the wait was not uncomfortable. HAL was handing out bottled water and granola bars since we were delayed boarding. The Eurodam came in under code red and was getting a deep cleaning. Continue reading... Eastern Caribbean Feb 2 2013

Riviera Riviera - a big, small ship experience by mikesms
We just returned from the 10-day Caribbean Hideaways cruise on the Riviera. Our last cruise had been on Azamara's Journey, an 'R' ship that is about half the size of the Riviera -- both in terms of size and passenger count. One of our curiosities was whether or not we'd experience that 'small ship' feel on Riviera that we so enjoyed on the Journey -- and we were not disappointed! Our overall experience was wonderful, and we'd gladly recommend an Oceania experience to anyone on the fence. Embarkation: Very fast and uneventful, although our ID cards had been misplaced at the check-in counter and couldn't be located. The concierge escorted us aboard and had new ones printed for us on the spot. With a 6:00pm cast-off from Miami, we had about 4-5 hours to become acquainted with the ship before watching our departure. Continue reading... Riviera - a big, small ship experience

Celebrity Silhouette Great cruise on Celebrity Silhouette by Tampart1
We sailed on the Silhouette Feb. 3-10, 2013, and had an enjoyable time. The Good: Beautiful ship, friendly crew, fantastic entertainment, no-smoking in cabins, verandahs, casino, most lounges, or theater. Huge towels, nice amenities for concierge level. Great party for past guests. The Bad: Celebrity messed up the beautiful lawn club on Deck 15 by putting in alcoves. Thinnest toilet paper we have ever seen. Shore excursion agent mislead us. The Ugly: Nothing. The ship was immaculate, and we constantly saw crew members cleaning the ship. Very friendly crew, from the Captain on down. She is basically the same ship as the Eclipse that we went on in 2012, but with some major disappointments: They have put alcoves on the lawn club and they take up a lot of space; we never saw anyone use them, but we were not there every day. I do not know why anyone would want to pay $149 per sea day, and $99 per port day to use them. We hope Celebrity wises up and removes them. Celebrity has done away with the Corning glass show and put in another grill, which costs $30 extra for lunch and $40 extra for dinner--never saw anyone eat there, but we did not check it out every day. On the positive side, Celebrity has eliminated smoking almost everywhere, even in the casino. We never smelled smoke at all until we walked around the port side, aft, where they allow smoking. We wish other ships would eliminate smoking inside. Continue reading... Great cruise on Celebrity Silhouette

Norwegian Epic Epic Voyage by TaterGuy
My wife and I just finished a 7-day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean (St. Maartin, St. Thomas & Nassau). We sailed out of Miami. This was our 8th NCL cruise. We've also sailed with Princess, Viking and Vantage. Our previous NCL ships were the Majesty, Dawn and Pearl. The Epic was the largest ship we've sailed on. With over 4100 passengers, making it all work puts a heavy load on the ship, staff and services. EMBARKATION and DISEMBARKATION We were impressed with the speed that a large number of people were processed. The lines moved rapidly. We arrived at the pier about 1 and were on-board before 2. We hung out in the Garden Cafe on deck 15 and then wandered down to our cabin around 3. Our cabin was ready, the room steward, Johnny, was there to greet us and we settled in. Our bags caught up with us about 4 hours later. We participated in the requisite life-boat drill which, for the first time in our experience, did not require us to don our life vests. Continue reading... Epic Voyage

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