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!

Carnival Splendor New Years Eve Cruise Aboard the Splendor by Sailfish
We booked this New Years Cruise on the Carnival Splendor over a year ago; we got a great price and a free upgrade at the last minute. Overall, we had a very enjoyable cruise that we would not hesitate to do again. My huband and I are experienced cruisers; however we are not particualry loyal to any cruise line. We are Platinum level past guests with Carnival. Over time, we have noticed a lot of changes within the cruising industry; cost cutting measures mostly that have affected Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival - the cruise lines we cruise with the most. Although some of my comments reflect my disappointment, it's mainly due to the fact that I know what it was like before. If you are new to cruising, my issues shouldn't phase you. And if you and I are in the same boat - well then, don't let the little things bother you! I certainly didn't. So please take what I say with a grain of salt, and just know it's my opinion and what it's based on! Enbarkation We spent the night at the Hotel Maya and took the 10am shuttle to the ship. I checked in with my husband and waited in the enclosed VIP area at the Long Beach Pier until we were escorted to the Priority Boarding Line around 11:15am. We then went through security and onto the ship. Cabins were ready around 1pm; until then, we had lunch on the Lido deck. Continue reading... New Years Eve Cruise Aboard the Splendor

Statendam The Beautiful and Elegant Statendam 2012 Holiday Cruise by califgary
Embarkation: Arrived at the San Diego Pier at around 11AM - the Statendam had arrived that morning from a 28 day South Pacific itinerary so we didnt know if it would take any longer than usual to get the ship off loaded and ready to board - happily we board at 11:30AM although our stateroom was not ready we were able to drop off our carry ons and go to the Mariners lunch. The beautiful and elegant Statendam: As we toured the ship (knowing she is one of the "older" ships in the fleet) we noticed how well maintained the ship was. Deck 8 contained the main throughfare of shops, casino, bars and all was clean, polished and very nicely decorated. Up on Lido Deck 11, the steel band was going, drinks were flowing and people were milling about exploring this very nice ship. The deck chair cushions were the only things that we really noticed needed some attention (we also knew the ship was headed to dry dock after our cruise so this may be moot now). Tasteful Holiday decorations around the ship, not over bearing or tacky. Our stateroom: We had a balcony stateroom on deck 9 aft - very roomy, lots of storage space. Again a few scraps on the wall here and there, but nicely maintained and CLEAN. Our stewards were awesome, I need extra pillows and they were brought up promptly upon the request. Throughout the cruise, our great cabin stewards remained so friendly, happy and quickly learned our "routine" so that they were in and out of our cabin when we were out to breakfast or dinner. Continue reading... The Beautiful and Elegant Statendam 2012 Holiday Cruise

Celebrity Solstice Sydney and New Zealand holiday delight! by allgames
Celebrity Solstice - Australia/New Zealand 12-23-2012 to 1/4/2013 12 night pacific cruise. With over 20 cruises under my belt, I looked at this cruise as one of the ultimate cruises to go on. Coming from "The States", it is not often that we get to travel so far. This was our first trip to Australia. This was also our first cruise on Celebrity. I had to say our expectations were pretty high for this trip. The cruise ship especially. In short, some areas surpassed while other areas fell short. Keep in mind that this was a holiday cruise with over 450 kids on the ship. Not the typical celebrity experience. Pre-cruise 12/19 We booked our cruise through a TA with insurance. We also booked our air through choice air. Choice air was very limiting for us. I would not use them again. Difficult to deal with when Qantas pulled out of Auckland for the LAX direct flight. You can get better deal going through the airlines directly. They also had changes without communication to us. Definitely no more Choice air for us. Since we were flying from Atlanta, we would most likely book Delta next time. Now, I have to say, the Qantas Airbus 380 was an amazing plane. We flew from ATL to LAX on delta. We stayed a night at the Marriott LAX. Wonderful hotel with free transfers. We did walk about 10 minutes to go to the In-and-out. Yum! We stayed a night in LA before our overnight flight to Sydney. Continue reading... Sydney and New Zealand holiday delight!

Liberty of the Seas Liberty New Year's Cruise by lorimay
Here's a review of our 12/31/12 5-day Liberty of the Seas cruise. This was our 8th cruise, our 5th on Royal Caribbean. We turned platinum C&A members one day into the cruise (not that it makes any difference). We are a married couple cruising with our teenage sons. We live in Florida so we drove to the ship and arrived at Port Everglades about 11:30am and had no problem getting to the pier since the traffic was light. After dropping off the bags, parking the car, and checking in we were in the Windjammer by 12:15. The lines moved quickly and the staff was efficient. The Windjammer was busy but not packed when we arrive but by the time we were done they were begging people to leave the tables and go somewhere else to wait for the staterooms to open. We had been on the Independence of the Seas a few years ago so we were familiar with the layout of the ship and didn't need to do much exploring. The only updates I noticed were the big screen tv by the pool and the interactive screens around the ship, both of which I thought were really great. Continue reading... Liberty New Year's Cruise

Norwegian Dawn Wonderful New Year on the Dawn by shelly11
This was our first time on the Dawn and we had a great time. We had a balcony room for us and a oceanview room for our teens. We drove down to Tampa and stayed at the Hampton Inn. They have free parking if you book the cruise/airport package. Checking in was fast but not as friendly as the Miami port. We are latitudes members and we didn't get any special number to board. On our second cruise in Miami we got a latitudes boarding pass. Still we got on fairly fast and began to check out the Dawn. The ship is lovely. The buffet was good all week. We did miss being able to eat outside like on the Sky but it was still good. Without the outside section the buffet area is very long! Happy happy washy washy! Our rooms were ready very fast. Both rooms were bigger than I thought. The bathroom was very nice! I was expecting the tiny round circle shower with the shower curtain but the separate shower stall on the Dawn was a great surprise! There was plenty of room for all of our things in the bathroom and in the closet. The tv is a flat screen and the bed was very comfy. The room we had was a hull balcony. I had no idea what that meant when I booked it and it was just fine. We had 2 small chairs and you really couldn't have fit a full beach chair on it to sun in, but that was fine too. Still nice to walk out and get fresh air and a view of the ocean whenever we wanted. Continue reading... Wonderful New Year on the Dawn

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