Freedom of the Seas Fabulous Freedom! by MrsB05
We're Florida residents who typically sail out of Tampa. However, wanting a longer cruise on Royal Caribbean means driving elsewhere so we elected to try Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. Day Prior and Embarkation We drove to Port Canaveral the day prior to embarkation. We'd read good reviews of the Radisson Resort and the Port and their park and cruise package. So, we booked there. As it turns out, we ended up meeting up with many folks from our Roll Call on Cruise Critic both at the hotel's pool area and prior at a local restaurant called FishLips. This was great fun as we were able to watch Saturday's large ships (Disney and Carnival) sail-away! Although we'd booked the park and cruise package (which seemed well organized), we decided to take a cab to the port. This took less than 10 minutes and by so doing avoided the crowds of the shuttle. After dropping off our luggage with the porter (note: we took our packaged/bottled water WITH US through security) we were in line,through security (no problem with the water), upstairs, checked in and waiting in the suite-sitting in less than 15 minutes. After about another 15 minutes of waiting, we were ushered through the doors, got our required Welcome Aboard picture, and were on the ship by 11:15 or so. Continue reading... Fabulous Freedom!
Norwegian Jewel Hurricane Sandy at our backs by bttravel
Background: I have sailed on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess. Was a little bit wary about trying NCL since I had heard the food was not so good and wasn't sure about the any time dining thing. I treated my son and daughter in law to a cruise vacation but told them they could pick the cruise. Part of the deal was they had to pay for transportation to the pier. So...since they were paying for that part, they picked leaving from NYC since we live in upstate NY and could take a Trailways bus directly to the pier. Debarkation: My sister, son, daughter in law and myself arrived at the pier about 11:30. A "longshoreman" entered the bus once we arrive at the pier and let us know there would be a $2 fee per bag if we would like to be rejoined with our luggage on the ship. Got off the bus and went through the registration process quite quickly. Entered the ship about 12:30 or so. Nobody was there to show us where to go but eventually found out what floor the food was on. I was impressed with the offering and was able to find a seat. Rooms were ready about 1:30. Continue reading... Hurricane Sandy at our backs
Celebrity Infinity Panama Canal & Beyond by packrats
IMPORTANT: There is no self serve laundry on the Infinity. So either you take all the clothes you need for the trip, or you pay to have it done ($4.00 shorts/shirt, $5.00 pants). There was a rumor that we would be offered a per bag laundry deal...didn't happen, so be prepared. TAKE EXTRA HANGARS. IMPORTANT: Don't waste room in your suitcase taking irons and heating pads. They will be confiscated when you board the ship. Gentlemen...don't take penknives OF ANY SIZE. They will also be confiscated. My husband took his knife off at a port and it was taken when reboarding. You will be given a receipt to pick up your item(s) at debarkation. Crochet hooks, knitting needles and needlepoint items don't seem to be a problem. I pack my scissors in my checked luggage. PACKING: suggest you take...extra hangars, clothes pins, small flashlight (for when you drop the earring under the bed), envelopes for extra tips for wait staff, ANY meds you think you might need (cold, aspirins, nasal...expensive on ship), highlighter to mark what you want to do daily on the Celebrity Today so you don't miss anything, alarm clock (no clocks in your room....you can put in for wake up call but we heard they didn't always work). Continue reading... Panama Canal & Beyond
Adventure of the Seas Canary Islands Cruise by Nelbr
This was our second cruise (the first was on 2010). We started to look for a cruise when we were told of our kids November vacation's schedule. Their week off coincided with their birthday and with the cruising low season in Europe. The fact that RCI had a cruise leaving from Malaga on a interesting itinerary to Canary Islands at a really good price, convinced us to go. The ship was the Adventure of the Seas, the same ship we had already cruised before but that was not a problem, as we had really liked the first time. We learned from previous mistakes and travelled to Malaga the day before, which allowed us to visit the city. We slept at the very convenient and confortable Barcelo Malaga, right on the train station/shopping center, as we went from Madrid to Malaga by AVE, the Spanish high speed train. In Malaga, we visited Picasso's museum and the Cathedral. Next day, we went to port at 11:00 AM, just after a late breakfast. Arriving early, check-in was a breeze and in 15 minutes we had dispatched our luggage, had our sea pass cards, shopped at the duty free shops, got our kids the security bracelets and boarded the ship, in time to sit at a still almost empty Windjammer for lunch. Continue reading... Canary Islands Cruise
Viking Sun Basel to Amsterdam on the Viking Sun by Wander58
The Rhine Getaway cruise from Basel to Amsterdam was our third cruise with Viking. We flew into Zurich three days early to tour Lucerne prior to the cruise. We always like to arrive early not only adjust to the time difference but to also provide a buffer should there be any travel delays. All went according to plan and we took the train from Lucerne to Basel the morning the cruise was due to start. From the Basel train station we took the #8 tram to Kleinhningen and then walked about a mile (we travel light with only carry-on roller board bags) to the where the Viking Sun was to be docked. No ship. Since we were on the dock level we never saw the Viking Rep on the street level directing passengers back to the airport. We walked back down the dock to the other side and found a Uniworld rep who informed us that due to the recent week of rain the Rhine was too high for any of the ships to make it to Basel. We called the Viking Sun to find out what we should do and they also explained that the ship was in Breisach and we would need to take a bus from the airport. They also told us they would check with their representative on the dock and find out where they were. Within 10 minutes a taxi pulled up with another Viking couple to take us to the airport. My biggest frustration was that Viking knew the previous day that the ship was not in Basel and could have sent an email to everyone. In chatting with other passengers we found many similar situations -- and there was NOT any advance notification. The only exception was if you had purchased their pre-cruise hotel package as those passengers were taken to the airport instead of the dock. This was simply wrong of Viking. Since we received dozens of emails before the cruise they could have easily sent an update as to the status of the ship and minimized the confusion. Continue reading... Basel to Amsterdam on the Viking Sun
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