Every Thursday, we'll randomly select five cruise reviews to feature here! Plus, we'll send each member a Cruise Critic logo item. This week: Over the Shoulder Travel Bag -- we hope they enjoy it!

Freedom of the Seas First-time Family Cruisers: some tips and a few warnings by Quixotic
BACKGROUND (or, "The kids make a difficult choice") My children are one year apart with the same birthday (2/12/03 and 2/12/04). Every year we throw a pretty big party, since we only have to do it once. Last year, we rented out a dueling piano bar, hired a caricature artist, a face painter, the whole nine yards). It wasn't cheap and it lasted for three hours. Then I had a brilliant idea: we could skip the party and use the money for a big vacation instead. (We're not wealthy by any means, so everything for us involves a trade-off.) Continue reading First-time Family Cruisers: some tips and a few warnings

Carnival Spirit Disappointment by Rookie36
Read this if you plan to take Hawaii 15 night cruise aboard Carnival Spirit!! While we enjoy reading reviews prior to our bookings,for many reasons, this cruise did not have any reviews for us to work from, and we would have booked elsewhere and not wasted the money. So here are a few pointers if you too decide the price is too good to be true!!! - 15 nights typically means a general age above 55+. NOTE THIS. Embarkation: We saw the lines out and wrapped around the hanger at 2pm. Instead of waiting in the heat, we went down to marina a few steps and sat to eat, drink, and make last minute calls til 4pm when we went back to board with ease. Wait til later and you will have 1/2hr in line at most. Continue reading Disappointment

Marina A Very Mixed Experience by lovethe24car
This was our 23rd cruise; the first on Oceania. We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Princess, NCL, Holland America, and Celebrity. Oceania is not a line we can typically afford because we prefer to use that money to cruise two or three times per year, but this was a great deal and a great itinerary so we booked it. We learned a few things on this cruise: if you prefer balconies, stick with them. We would have been miserable in an inside cabin for 12 nights, especially with the movement on this ship. Also, size does matter. The Marina is about 66,000 tons, and after sailing on Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Allure, we really felt the movement on this ship. We had sailed on a small Princess ship in 2006 and loved it, but subsequently got spoiled on the larger vessels, so keep that in mind when selecting your cruise. Continue reading A Very Mixed Experience

Norwegian Sky Fantastic 2nd time with the Sky by jjthebig1
This was the second time for us on Norwegian Sky and we enjoyed it even more. Despite being an older ship, it packs a good deal of fun and services that more than makes up for the older decor. The only downside was the weather; it did not cooperate with our plans Embarkation: we were checked in and on the gangway in less than 15 minutes from arriving at the terminal. The buffet was already open as well as the Il Adagio restaurant (made-to-order pastas and pizzas). We had lunch and relaxed at the quiet area on the 12th deck. Continue reading Fantastic 2nd time with the Sky

Crown Princess Super bowl cruise by dirkpitt11
I don't normally write reviews, good or bad, but since there doesn't seem to be much on this particular cruise I decided to write. This was my fourth cruise and my second with princess. First I would like to say I had read the reviews the mentioned norovirus in some December cruises but it appeared that the issue had been solved. However after arriving in fort lauderdale, it was all over the local news that the Crown was coming in to port loaded with people ill with norovirus. Continue reading Super bowl cruise

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