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flyfan

Review: 2 Night Cruise to Nowhere 6/15/04

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Let me start by telling you who we are and how we got on this cruise. My husband, John and I are in our mid 30s and we have 3 boys, ages 14, 12 and 10 months. We usually sail on Celebrity and this was our first trip on Carnival.

 

Our older sons got out of school last Friday and John had taken vacation this week. We had looked at different vacation possibilities and decided to wait until the last minute and see what struck our fancy. So on Saturday, 6/12, I was perusing the last minute cruise sites and found Carnival Victory’s 2 night Cruise to Nowhere sailing out of New York on 6/15. Since I hate to fly, this seemed like a great way to try Carnival and get away for a few days. We made babysitting arrangements for our littlest one and left at 8:00 Tuesday morning for the 3 and a half hour drive to NYC.

 

Since we didn’t have any documentation other then our email receipt from the consolidator and our funpass from Carnival, we had to go to a ‘will call’ desk for our docs. No problems, took about 20 minutes. While I did that, John parked the car. Parking was $48, cash. From there, we got in the first long line to pass through the first security check point, wait time, 35 minutes. After that, we got in the next long line to have our bags checked, wait time, 45 minutes. After getting through there and stopping for the lovely embarkation pictures, we got into the next line to actually check-in. Wait time for this line was only about 2 minutes, but since we were a last minute addition, we had to have keys made for us. This took another 30 minutes or so. So, if we add it all up, we’re now pushing 2 hours. My guys were fantastically patient though, much more then many of the adults I witnessed.

 

After finally figuring out what room we were in and dropping off our bags (no porterage, as this was only a 2 night cruise) we went off in search of lunch. We found burgers and pizza on deck 9 aft and decided it was preferable to fighting the lines at the buffet. Both were quite good. I bought the kids each a soda pass ($4.50 for entire trip) and sent them off to the pool, telling them to meet back at our room by 4pm or when they announced the lifeboat drill, whichever came first.

 

The lifeboat drill was scheduled to begin at 4pm, and cabin attendants were shusshing people out of their rooms to attend the drill. Sadly, the drill did not actually begin until 5pm, so many people were stuck on deck for over an hour with their life jackets. I would come to realize that this was going to be a constant trend over the next two days. Nothing was on schedule and seldom did anyone actually seem to know what was supposed to be going on.

 

After the drill, we dropped the life jackets off and went back up top to experience sailaway. Of all the ports I’ve sailed from, this was the best. The sun was just starting to dip into the west as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty and the reflection off the water and her torch was magnificent. I’m glad to have experienced it. After passing what seemed to be just a few feet under the George Washington (I think) Bridge, we began to wander around the ship to get acclimated and the kids began their vacationing (ie, swim, eat ice cream, swim, eat pizza, swim...)in earnest.

 

The ship was lovely. Not at all too tacky as I expected. It was much glitzier then we were accustomed to, but not garish. Only exception was our bathroom, which was a frightening shade of pink. The public spaces were comfortable and for the most part well laid out. The glass elevators in the atrium were impressive.

 

Another positive was the crew. They were all quite friendly and helpful, most possessing rather good English. We were surprised at the number of female staff. Much, much higher then on Celebrity.

 

So, now that I’ve said all the nice things I can think of, I’ll tell you about the rest of our experience. The food was mediocre. I was taken aback by the fact that you didn’t get trays in the buffet, but had to carry everything by hand. One morning John got sour milk, which of course he didn’t realize until after taking a big gulp. When ordering room service, two of the 3 times we didn’t get utensils – tough to eat frosted flakes and milk with your fingers. Smoked salmon was available for breakfast in your room, but nowhere else on the ship – John was very disappointed by that one. Dining room service was efficient, but not spectacular, not unexpected on a ‘no gratuity’ cruise. I was shocked to see stacks of cardboard boxes in the dining room, both nights. The dining room was quite noisy and the portions were rather small. The desserts I sampled were fine, but nothing to brag about. The chilled strawberry soup seemed more like melted ice cream. Lobster was okay, but cold. My youngest son ordered prime rib medium and it was perfectly cooked – I’ve never seen a better job done cooking a steak ‘medium’. He said it was very good. We did grab lunch from the East River Deli, sandwiches were great, but there were no sides, so you waited 30 minutes and got only a single sandwich – if you wanted anything else you needed to wait in the main buffet line. The ice cream I tried was quite tasty, and the kids seemed to enjoy it. They ate so much I think my one son is beginning to look like a swirl cone.

 

The teen program was a joke. Three different ‘events’ were scheduled, two during late seating dinner. The first night the ‘meet and greet’ was supposed to begin at 8pm. We watched from a nearby lounge as kids would come in, see no one there and leave. Carnival staff finally arrived at 8:20 to sign kids into the program, but by that time most of the kids had given up. Afterwards there was supposed to be a teen disco from 8:30 to 9:30. When the kids kept going into the Arctic Lounge, where the dance was to be, they were repeatedly told, “we’re not ready yetâ€. When things finally were ready, it was 9:15 and then they were shooed out promptly at 9:30, so they could get ready for the adults. The second night there was supposed to be a dance under the stars for teens on the pool deck, but it was cancelled due to fog. Not rain, but fog! No alternative location was given, so once again, the teens were left to their own devices. At no point were any of these changes announced to the parents. So next time you see herds of kids wandering around on their own, realize it is entirely possible that their parents believe that they are taking part in a supervised activity that failed to materialize. My kids still had a good time, but I was disappointed, as this was their first cruise experience and I wanted it to be a good one. We will be sailing on the Mariner of the Seas next year with all three kids, and I am sure the kids will have a better time on that cruise.

 

As for the adult entertainment, most of it was fine. A few notables – the piano guy in the Irish Pub was fantastic, as I had read in advance. Unfortunately, if you didn’t arrive early, it was standing room only. We were able to catch a bit of his show before dinner one night. The jazz trio in the Ionian Room was also quite good, but due to the large number of cigar smokers there, we didn’t stay long. As for the main show lounge, we only saw one show, ‘Vroom’, and it was not to my liking. Too loud and way too much skin for my taste. Most of the shows started late, as did late seating dinner. It seemed to be a common theme and no one felt the need to apologize.

 

Disembarkation was another nightmare. No instructions were given, either over the loudspeakers or in our rooms. It was mass departure, carrying your own bags, and of course, we were an hour late arriving into port. No one mention that you would need your sign and sail cards to be presented until you actually arrived at the gangway, so the lines moved horrifyingly slow as people searched their bags for their cards. The experience in the port was also an absolute disaster, but I won’t blame that on the cruise line.

 

All in all, I can say without a doubt that I won’t be taking another ‘cruise to nowhere’. I also highly doubt I will sail Carnival again. There is nothing wrong with the product, and I can see why it has its devotees, but it’s just not the line for me. If you only ever sailed Carnival, you probably wouldn’t even notice the complaints I had (except for maybe the spoiled milk – that was hard to miss.) It’s better then no cruise at all, but for me, I think I’ll stick with Celebrity without the kids and Royal Caribbean with them.

 

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GOOD REVIEW, FLY. Welcome back...

 

Rick,24 cruises and counting! Next cruise- #25-Riverboat cruise from Amsterdam to Vienna in July '04

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Hi. Sorry the cruise wasn't up to your expectations. I've never done a short CTN, but would give it a try if one were offered from N.O. or Mobile - on any line.

 

Seems they would've had a departure talk, as they do on longer cruises. As far as the fog, perhaps they considered it a safety factor to cxl the teen activities on deck? Can't understand the food being so bad, as it's always been outstanding on my cruises.

 

Well, at least you enjoyed some aspects of your cruise. Thx for the review. icon_smile.gif

 

"Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

Festivale 1987

Carnivale 1988

Mardi Gras 1989

Pacific Princess 1990

Norway 1994

Holiday 2001

Holiday 2002

Holiday 2003

Sensation 2004

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Great review, Fly! Thanks. I won't be taking any cruises to nowhere! icon_wink.gif Sorry your trip wasn't better.

 

<font face='Lucida Handwriting' color=#1E90FF> <font size="6"> Mike <marquee>20.gif </marquee><a href="mailto:lynnw55@flash.net">12_1_200.gif </a href><font size="4">Send me e-mail

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Fly, sorry the cruise wasn’t that great, my Miracle cruise last month was fantastic, I’d sail on her again anytime!

 

Hi Mikey!

 

This ship 10/91

That ship 11/95

Whatever ship 12/98

here a ship 13/99

there a ship 14/00

everywhere

a

ship ship 15/05

 

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You said, "Dining room service was efficient, but not spectacular, not unexpected on a ‘no gratuity’ cruise."

 

How was this a "no gratuity" cruise? When I took a 2-night cruise to nowhere on the LEGEND, the gratuities had to be paid in advance on your credit card when you booked the cruise. icon_confused.gif

 

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Carnival Legend 1/6

 

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Fly,

Thanks for your review! I appreciate your view on short cruises, to nowhere. They must truly be different than a 7 day cruise!

My first cruise was a 5 day, and it got me hooked! Then last summer, a friend and I did a 5 day on Carnival. It was good, not great. I probably wouldn't do the shorter ones again, either! I don't usually want to get off! icon_biggrin.gif

 

Nita

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I just wanted to let you know the teen program on the Fascination was excellent. My 16 yo found many activities to keep him busy on our 4 day cruise this past April and my overall experiences with Camp Carnival have been excellent.

I have found the lifeboat drill to run late on every cruise I have been on, no matter which line. There are always some folks who think compulsory does not apply to them and we have to wait while the crew rounds them up and gets them going.

Having said all that, I am very sorry your first cruise with Carnival was less than stellar. I hope your next cruise with RC is wonderful. I know my kids loved their time on Majesty of the Seas last August.

 

Shirley

cruising-courtesy-kindness

 

Surprise! 4 Night to Canada on the Victory . . . July 22, 2004

 

3-Night Anniversary Cruise on Majesty of the Seas . . . January 7, 2005

 

Family spring break cruise on the Dawn . . . April 17, 2005

 

NCL Majesty 11/98

CCL Ecstasy 1/01

CCL Fascination 11/01, 4/03, 5/04

RCI Majesty of the Seas 8/03

CCL Imagination 12/03

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Excellent review Fly! I am wondering how much of the problem was due to it being a cruise to nowhere rather than a "real" cruise. Was it a one time thing or does the Miracle do this every so often? Part of the problem might be tht the crew had never done this itinerary before and had no idea what they were doing!

 

Hm, I see more of the Celebrity posters are here than Carnival folk.

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Fly, I think you need a "corrective experience" on X.

 

NBP [7<sup>2</sup>=49]

Boten, you're always good for a laugh - newtocc

Boten, I want to speak with Mrs. Boten. NOW - brigittetom

 

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I wanted to add that my husband and I were also on this cruise and had a wonderful experience. This was our 12th cruise, 6th on Carnival. I found the food great, especially the second night(formal night). I was not even expecting the lobster, pumpkin soup, etc and was pleasantly surprised. We had been upgraded to a balcony and had a really relaing time. I ordered room service three times and it was timely and good. The pizza was great as usual. We had seen Cam in the piano bar on the miracle in april and were so happy to see him again. The casino was good to me(for once). I had only one complaint. That God-Awful coffee!!. Thank goodness they have a coffee bar. And the carrot cake there was fabulous. Didn't go to any shows, but we never do. At the end of the cruise, we sat outside the coffee cafe and waited patiently. Everyone else was jammed up in the lobby waiting to get off. What was the big rush?? Anyway, I had a great time and would do another CTN in a heartbeat.

 

melissa

 

Nordic Empress 1996

Majesty of the Seas 1998

CarnivalTriumph 1999

Grand Princess 2000

Sovereign of the Seas 2000

Explorer of the Seas 2001

Disney Wonder 2001

Galaxy 2002

Imagination 2003

Carnival Pride 2003

Carnival Miracle 2004

Carnival Victory 2004

Carnival Legend 2004

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Hi Fly!

Thanks for the Review! Too bad the cruise wasn't better, but any cruise is better than staying home cooking and cleaning. The shortest cruise I have ever been on is four nights and that seemed a little too short to me.

See ya icon_cool.gif

 

<font face='Comic Sans MS' color=#FF00FF><font size="3">

Hasta icon_cool.gif

Kathy

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RCCG's sister's cruise time

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Southward 1993, Jubilee 1998, R.Magisty 2002, Ecstasy 2002, Navigator 2003, Monarch 2004, Rhapsody 2004, Mariner 2005

 

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I’m glad to have experienced it. After passing what seemed to be just a few feet under the George Washington (I think) Bridge, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

 

I guess being a NYer, I've always known what bridge it is, but it's amazing how many "What bridge is that" questions I hear when we sail under it.

 

It's the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

 

If your cruise ship ever heads toward the GW Bridge when leaving, tell him to turn around! If not, you'll eventually hit bottom.

 

peter.gif

 

__ /7__/7__/7____

\:::::::::::::::::::/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Legend 5/13/05 NY to E. Caribbean

Miracle 7/10/04 NY to Bahamas and Port Canaveral

 

Disney Wonder 3/04/04

Pride 7/16/03 Bermuda

Legend 10/17/02 CTN

Disney Wonder 9/15/02

Destiny 4/29/01 Southern Caribbean

Victory 9/14/00 Canadian Maritimes

Triumph 9/99 Canadian Maritimes

Jubilee 4/98 Trans Pacific/Hawaii

Imagination 4/97 Western Caribbean

Imagination 4/96 Western Caribbean

Fascination 4/95 Southern Caribbean

Ecstasy 4/18/93 Eastern Caribbean

Fantasy 9/25/90 Bahamas

Jubilee 5/13/90 Mexican Riviera

NCL Seaward 1/15/89 Western Caribbean

Jubilee 4/24/88 Eastern Caribbean HONEYMOON

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Wow what a difference a few days make. We did the 2 nighter out of Norfolk on 6/11 and it was much better. We didn't need our cards to get off but most passengers had them ready thinking we did. I wish you would have had a better experience. Ours made me realize that I would like to try this type of cruise again but I do not think I would take my DD.

 

Fascination 1997 Destiny 2000

Victory 2000 Sensation 2001

Norway 2002 Legend 2002

NCL Dawn 2003 Inspiration 2003

Victory 2004 Holiday 2004

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We were also on this cruise 6/15. This was my 9th and LAST cruise on Carnival. The service was awful everywhere we went.

We ordered room service twice...once it never came and the second time it was totally messed up. Our cabin steward was nowhere to be found AFTER we signed his mandatory sign sheet.

We never had beach towels or clean glasses.

The dining room was a joke. We never had anyone offer us any bar service...both nights we got up...went to the casino bar and got our own. The food was OK...just OK, the waiters never even introduced themselves. We were planning on adding to the tips prepayed, but didn't.

I agree getting off was a nightmare. There were a lot of "first timers" who had no idea of what to do. As for the one poster who asked "why the rush"....some of us had planes to catch...we couldn't afford to sit around for hours and wait.

Also, we had two rooms full of partiers near us each night and I'm talking ALL night noise. We called the pursers desk both nights around 4 am and of course, they did NOTHING.

We expected a lot of roudiness on this short cruise, but I think 4 am is late enough to keep half your floor awake.

We are definately going to try another cruise line.

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Thank you for your review. Sorry to hear your cruise did not meet your expectations. Sounds like the Teen program staff had some definate problems. I however would not judge any cruise line solely on one 2 day cruise. If the opportunity arises, please try a 7 day carnival cruise. I think you will find a big difference. On a 2 day cruise if there are a few problems it is a big percentage of the total cruise. On a 7 day cruise a few problems is just a drop in the bucket. All cruise lines have a few downfalls. Have a great time on your next cruise but don't count Carnival out for future ones. They would not be so successful if they were consistently bad.

 

Mardi Gras 4/1988

NCL Norway 8/1990

Sensation 8/1996

Sensation 4/9/2000

Paradise 2/1/2002

Triumph 1/31/2004

 

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9/5 Paradise- Panama Canal

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Thanks for your review.

 

I have taken a ctn and in no way, shape or form will I expect my next ctn be the same as a cruise going somewhere. Im sorry you will base your opinion on Carnival on that trip to nowhere because it is different on a cruise going somewhere.

 

Even longer cruises I have seen a lack of teen programing..which is a shame as these kids have nothing to do but hang out.

 

Hoski: why wont you take your daughter?

 

 

 

Living on Earth is expensive,

but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.

 

Going NOWHERE

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Miracle, February 13, 2005

Legend, October 22,2004

Voyager August 31,2003

Victory September 22,2002

Regal Empress,June 2001

Sensation,August 2000

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serene56, she is 4 (almost 5) and on the one we went on we only found 2 other children her age. I asked one parent and that was pretty much it. Just a lot of little things like the self assist luggage and a little one, stuff like that. For a 2 nighter I would rather have her stay at Gramma's. I take a lot more stuff when I take her and I'm not sure I'd want to lug it along for two nights.

 

It's not that I "wouldn't" take a little one on this type of cruise (ours did not seem overwhelmed with partiers) but it is just my preference not to take her for this short of a cruise. I could just hear her on the last day, "we are leaving already?".

 

Fascination 1997 Destiny 2000

Victory 2000 Sensation 2001

Norway 2002 Legend 2002

NCL Dawn 2003 Inspiration 2003

Victory 2004 Holiday 2004

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We just returned today from the 6/17/04 CTN on the Victory. We had a mostly positive experience. Embarkation took a couple of hours as we expected. We were on the Lido deck enjoying our cruise by 1:00 p.m. so all was well. Service was very good in the dining room, room steward did his job, however the second day I had to call and ask for washcloths, pool towels, and toilet paper! Hey, just an oversight - no big deal. We didn't get any instructions on debarkation and one of our group called and was told we didn't have to be off until 10:30. We had breakfast in the dining room (they opened at 8:00 a.m.) returned to our room at 8:55 to find they were finishing up cleaning for the next guests. We were mostly packed so that wasn't a big deal, but didn't dare use "our" bathroom because it had been cleaned for the next passengers. Lack of communication I guess.

 

Carnival Destiny 1/30/00

Carnival Spirit 2/7/02

Golden Princess 2/7/04

Carnival Victory 6/17/04

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I never saw the CD, but I do remember hearing his voice many times a day telling me how fantastic the liquor prices were at the shops.

 

Was it Blaze something?

 

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<marquee width=50%>Until Mariner Reali-tini Cruise</marquee>

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=6B8E23&cdt=2005;10;16;17;0;00&timezone=GMT-0400

CLICK HERE for the ROLL CALL

 

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