Cruises Transport International
Disney Cruise Line
Until a few years ago we'd never been on a cruise, then suddenly Disney brought our their own cruise liners. Now me and my other half are both big Disney fans and thought why not give cruising a go, we'd combine a holiday at Walt Disney World in Florida with a four night Disney cruise tacked on the end, that way if we didn't enjoy the ... cruise we'd already had a good holiday before hand.
So how can I put this, without being too over the top, WE ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT and have been on more Disney Cruises since.
The fleet originally consisted of just two ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, but these have since been joined by the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream. I can only comment of the Magic and Wonder, which are identical in the way they are built but have their own unique touches. There are three main seated restaurants on each ship which you rotate throughout your cruise. Each has two dining times 6.30pm and 8.30pm, or at least they were when we last went on a cruise, and the novel thing about these dining rooms is, you sit at the same numbered table each night and your waiters go with you, so by the end of the cruise they know your names and what you like to drink before you even have to ask. You also get to sit with the same people as well, which some might find strange, but it does save on having to make new friends everytime you sit down for a meal. There are also lots of fast food places which serve burgers, pizza, hotdogs, chicken strips, fries, icecream and also a buffet style restaurant where you help yourself.
The staterooms are spacious and have either a bathroom with a toilet or a seperate bathroom and toilet. They can sleep up to four people each having a double bed and a pull out sofa bed or bunks. A fridge and television and if you've booked an ocean view room a porthole window, or you can book a room with a veranda. The blankets are truned down every night and a flyer is left in your room telling you of the next days activities. The cute thing that the room stewards do is make towel animals and leave them in your rooms, we've had elephants, snakes, swans, turtles and monkeys. Who knew a towel could be so versitile.
There are seperate pools on deck for children, families and adults only which makes it great if you want a quick dip to cool down and not be bombed by kids. There are play areas just for kids as well which offer a wide range of activties created just for them. So parents can get rid of the kids in the morning and not see them until dinnertime.
The shows that are shown whilst you are onboard too are spectacular, worthy of any West End or Broadway show and are held in a huge plush theatre and feature many of your favourite Disney characters. There's also a cinema on board which shows new Disney films, some even before general release. There are planty of onboard activities to take part in, such as towel folding, wine tasting, quizes, the list just goes on and on. They also offer a wide range of shore excursion, which can be expensive, but they do give you a taste of what the courty you are visiting is like, should you wish to go back yourself.
Disney even has their own private island Castaway Cay, which each ship stops at. The island is just a mass of beaches, again designated into areas for children, families and adults only. We were thrown off the teen's only beach as we'd inadvertently strayed onto it, eventhough there weren't and teens on it. I say thrown, actually we were asked politely to leave.
Disney now operates cruises to Alaska, the Med and places like the California Coast as well as the Panama Canal, so there's sure to be a cruise to suit everyone.
Like all Disney theme parks, the staff are friendly and attentive, the ships are clean and tidy and well maintained. You'll see the Disney characters walking round the ship and as an added touch of magic they sometimes dress in the national costume of the country you are visiting.
These ships aren't just for families, they're for anyone both young and old.
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Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas (18/08/2012 - 25/08/2012) I thought I had lost this review! I found it on a usb from last year! We have been on four cruises all with Royal Caribbean (2009 - 2012) - Voyager/Navigator/Mariner. All of the destinations have been within Europe such as Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, ... Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Corsica, Sicily, Sardinia and Vatican City. We love royal caribbean cruises, here my my review of our experiences on this ship. There are different 'classes' of ships and they are not all alike.
- The Boarding Process and Safety Drills
The boarding process takes part in the harbors terminal some of which are make shift (e.g. Roma/Civitavecchia), although some are terminal buildings with basic facilities. Transfers to the terminal are sometimes included depending on the cruise package and personal preferences (we checked this with our travel agent). The boarding process begins with dropping the luggage off to be processed and taken to the state room, filling out forms. Then we went through various security checks, for example, security and hand luggage scanners. We then progressed through to the check in desk (this can be very hectic and busy depending on the time of day and ship size, in our experience).
At this stage we filled in some more forms such as the legal age of alcohol consumption form, depending on which country you come from. As I was over 18 for all but one of the cruises my parents had to fill out the previously stated form to allow me to drink on the ship - we had to do this because Royal Caribbean is an American owned company and their law states that you can only drink over the age of 21. However in the UK it is 18 years so I was able to drink on the ship. Also at the desk we obtained our Sea Pass cards which gained us entry and exit off the ship, access to our room and with it we were able to buy items on board as this is used in placement for currency. Sea pass cards are VERY important you have to keep them with you at all times and you can keep them after the cruise.
After all this is complete we walked (well, ran!) passed the photographers and up to activate our Sea Pass card. Where we had our photograph programmed onto the card/system for identification and security purposes. Then proceeded to our room as we usually wait for our bags before we do anything else however this could take longer than an hour as there were over 3,000 passengers. Once everyone is settled there is a mandatory safety drill for all passengers and staff (the back of your stateroom door informs you of your allocated point). The safety drill is obviously important but it can be a bit long and boring (about 30/40 minutes).
- Our Room (Deck 8)
Our room was a Superior Ocean View Stateroom which has a balcony - I would highly recommend a room with a balcony as there is nothing nicer than watching the sea and land go by on your own balcony. There are other types of cabins such as Interior, Outside, Balcony, Family, some to suit those with wheelchairs and Suites. The room we were in contained: a hair dryer, lots of storage, telephone, flat screen TV, drinking glasses, private bathroom, mini fridge, deck chairs, sofa bed, a changeable thermostat and a safe. However the room does not have: tea/coffee making facilities (some rooms do), not a lot of storage in the bathroom and there aren't any European plug sockets - you need to buy American plug socket converters. You can take food and drink back to the room (which we often did) and you can also order room service. The customer service desk and engineers are on call, for example, our safe and hairdryer broke on previous cruises we have been on - they were fixed promptly. All of the rooms that we have stayed in have been clean, well decorated and the balconies were a good size and clean - smoking is prohibited on balconies although some people in cabins next to us did smoke!
There is a TV in the room, it has numerous channels in various languages. There are a few English channels such as BBC world news and BBC entertainment which has shows on like hotel inspector, junior doctors etc. There are also movies always on TV such as War Horse, Kung Fu Panda and many more - the movies are also really quite recent. You can also view your bill/sea pass card purchases on your TV - for items you have bought on the ship such as excursions and store buys. There are channels exclusively for choosing what excursions you want to go on and there is information information (delivered by royal Caribbean staff) about the ship/cruise/activities. A channel with a map/course/knots is also on the TV. Announcements are made by the captain over the tannoy daily with weather updates and other information (spoken in numerous languages) in your room.
- State Room Attendant
There is one stateroom attendant for several rooms and it is always the same person each time. The stateroom attendant cleans up, takes away used towels and bedding, turns up/down the bed and sofa bed, provides information leaflets and towel animals (amazing!). They have always been friendly, helpful and informative individuals - very good English. Concerning the towel/linen usage, Royal Caribbean have numerous environmental policies such as 'save the waves' which encourages customers to re-use towels and to not thrown anything overboard.
There are numerous places to eat on the ship from the main dining rooms (you are assigned to a dining room depending on what floor your room is on - although the dining room can be changed upon request). There are other eating places such as a: cafe, bars, pub, a buffet style dining room, specialty dining rooms (such as portofino, chops grille) and johnny rockets.
The cafe is open 24/7 and it is free! The price of most food places is included in the price of the cruise (apart from some places). Cafe promenade is situated on the main deck (deck 5) which is the same area for all of the shops and customer services. The food at the cafe ranges from pizza and sandwiches to cookies, cakes and drinks (tea/coffee/hot chocolate). The drinks are self service but the food is served. I love the four cheese panini and pizza there! There is also a Seattles best coffee and or a Ben and Jerrys counter. You can take the food elsewhere such as your room and pool deck. No smoking here, large inside cafe, friendly staff and clean area - usually seating available but sometimes it is fairly busy.
For the first four cruises we went on we always went to the Windjammer for breakfast/lunch but it has always been very busy and very chaotic! We used to get food then couldn't find a seat for a while because most people go here to eat. However, for breakfast on this cruise we have been going to the main dining room where you get a menu and are served rather than the buffet style self service (mainly) at the windjammer. However, myself and my sister went to the Windjammer for dinner a few times because we didn't want to go to the 'formal night' in the main dining room. The Winderjammer during dinner times is not that busy and is fairly pleasant - with really nice food all of the time! The food ranges from sushi, burgers, curry, pasta, chips to lots of fruit, cereals and amazing deserts - the food changes daily and depending on the time of day.
One of the main points I was worried about was the availability and range of vegetarian options (I have been a vegetarian for 9 years now) but I was pleasantly surprised at the wide range of vegetarian options available at ALL of the food places on the ship. The food here again is free, the staff are very friendly and helpful, the winderjammer is usually fairly clean and it is not open 24/7 - it opens at certain times of the day.
On this cruise we went to Johnny Rockets for the first time ever and wondered how we missed it for the other three cruises! Johnny rockets is just amazing! It is basically a 50's style American diner - with American food, drinks, music, decor and dancing waiters. My parents and sister had various burgers and I had a grilled cheese sandwich (basically a cheese toastie) - chips, water and dips were already provided when you sat down. We also had apple pie and an oreo milkshake. You have to pay here (we paid about $20 for quite a lot of food/drinks for four people so it is very reasonably priced) and it is not open all of the time (open times for everything is in the information booklet in your room). Also there were dancing waiters who 'performed' every 15 minutes. For Johnny Rockets you have to wait for a table and as it is very popular we had to wait for 15 minutes for a table for four but I would highly recommend Johnny Rockets!
*Main Dining - The Sound of Music Dining Room*
As stated previously, there are three main dining levels/rooms depending the deck you are on. The main dining rooms are all connected whereby you can see the floors below/above. The decor is very expensive looking and there is a large chandelier in the middle of the three floors. We definitely recommend getting a table next to a window, there is nothing like watching the sea go by with the sunsetting. The windows in the main dining room and the Windjammer are massive so you get fantastic views. The staff are very friendly, helpful and efficient - they also were informative regarding the places being visited. The service is VERY quick and the menu is very varied and changes daily. There is also a 'vitality' section on the menu which has low calorie/healthier options. The food is exceptional and there is always more than one vegetarian option which is great for me. Barmen with a good variation of alcoholic drinks and other restaurants dishes on call (at a price). I really like the dining rooms, they look so chic and expensive - like the titanic I imagine, although without pool in the dining room! There were two 'formal nights' on our cruise (one week cruise) which are nights were everyone who wants to dine in the main dining room that evening has to dress up - women usually wear gorgeous dresses/heels and men wear suits or tuxedos! I have been on a few formal nights but I don't really like dressing up as it makes me feel quite self conscious so myself and my sister go to the windjammer were you do not have to dress formally.
- Bars, Lounges and the Pub!
There are lots of bars available such as the Champagne Bar and Schooner Bar (the best one with live music and the one we used the most). The staff are always friendly and helpful and there is a range of live music. Lots of drinks/cocktails available which you do have to pay for. There are various activities that take place in the bars during the day such as quizzes, language learning 'classes' and towel folding demonstrations (we went to one and the staff show you how to make the amazing towel animals you get in your rooms - myself and my sister know how to make a swan and money!). The pub onboard is based on an English pub but it is nicer than most English pubs that I have been in!The decor is nice with wooden chairs but the pub is quite dark and people are allowed to smoke in the pub - this is the main reason we didn't go in the pub as much (the pub is called the wig and gavel). The price of drinks may be viewed as a little bit expensive. Live music is also available on the promenade and pool deck. There is also a sports bar with ESPN and other sports channels on the TV - although the sport times are for american time zones, so you have to watch it later.
- Facilities and Activities
There are many activities on board for all ages such as the casino, pool, mini golf, rock climbing, Broadway style shows, ice shows, quizzes, language learning nights, nightclubs and a small cinema. There are also BBQ's, dancing nights, a fitness centre, spa and much more! One point to note with the casino is that you can smoke there which makes it quite off putting so we do not go in there. There are also activities for specific ages such as the Adventure Ocean Youth Area for children and Optix Teen Centre for teenagers. We attended several theatre and ice shows which we love. There are a limited number of tickets, although they are free and there are several showings. The ice show was called Ice Under the Big Top - as with the other ice shows we have seen it was amazing! The ice shows are like Dancing On Ice but so much better and more exciting. We also saw a theatre show called Emperors of Soul, which again was fantastic and highly recommended. Apparently Emperors of Soul was on UK TV and they are a British band. There is no limit to the amount of activities you can do and there is truly something for everyone. ALL FREE including the thrilling ice skating activities, make sure you bring fairly warm clothing as you can ice skate yourself!
- Library and Internet
If you don't want to take part in the group activities, for example, you can go to the library and or the computer room. The library contains books, magazines and quizzes in various languages and genres. The library decor is gorgeous and it has a great view over the promenade (great for photographs). It is one of those places for sitting back and watching ship life, relaxing and meeting people. The chairs are leather, large and really comfortable. You can take books out of the library and donate books too. The internet/computer room is above the library and there are numerous computers (usually there are spaces). The cost of the internet is paid for via your sea pass card, you can buy a package or you can pay per minute. We either pay per minute or get a WiFi package which we paid $15 but it depends on the length of time you want to stay on the internet over your cruise. In my opinion the internet is quite expensive so we just used the time to check Facebook/emails quickly! The internet can be a bit slow but you are usually in the middle of the sea when you are on the internet - so it is pretty good! Some people didn't know how to use the internet/computers so they asked myself and my sister - always carry your sea pass card with you as you will need it to pay for things on the ship etc. There are also phones around the ship to call your room.
There are numerous shops on board such as the general store, fragrance/beauty store (my favorite shop obviously) and the royal Caribbean merchandise store. The fragrance/beauty is definitely my favorite and because of the exchange rate between the American dollar and British pound the items are usually much cheaper. There are beauty brands such as Clinique, Smashbox, Dior, Prada and Chanel - the store is mainly fragrance but there are amazing makeup sets. I have bought a couple of makeup sets each time from Dior onboard. The general store has things you may have forgotten such as razors and the other stores carry brand like Swarovski (I bought a Swarovski necklace on a previous cruise as they prices are fairly good), Guess and Fossil. There are also $10 sales which I love (get there early as they can be quite busy)! There are shops/facilities for children such as temporary tattoos and a 'build-a-bear' type of machine. There are big interactive screen near the elevators/stairs at each level if you don't know where to go or where your stateroom is - they are quick and easy to use - getting around the ship is fairly easy. There are numerous elevators (where you can look out and get good views) and there are lots of easy stairs.
Excursions are tours which you can take in the different countries - I would definitely recommend booking them as soon as you find one you like as it may be very popular and sold out. In the evening your stateroom attendant will leave a booklet in your stateroom with all of the excursions stated along with information and prices. You then proceed to book them at the excursions desk on deck 5 or you can ring; the booking process is simple and easy. However you do not have to go on an excursion as some of the ports are very close to the city so you can either walk in or they will provide a shuttle bus into the city (usually free or very cheap). On this cruise we went on an excursion for each place - I would advocate strongly for going on excursions as you get to learn a lot about the places you are visiting as yours are usually guided - we booked an excursion to go to Portofino which also included going to San Marghetia via water taxi (prices included) - the views were spectacular! However some prices for excursions are extortionate in my opinion but some are well priced and include guides/quick/free access to popular sites/food. After getting back from an excursion you and your handbags have to pass through security (as you do whenever you arrive back on the ship) and myself and my sister usually get a good amount of exercise by walking up the 10 decks of stairs (we are very very tired at the end). But the excursions and walking around the ship is good exercise and it makes you feel good!
- Crown and Anchor Society
The Crown and Anchor Society is a reward scheme based on the number of cruises you go on with royal caribbean. The more times you cruise with Royal Caribbean the more points and benefits you receive such as a free messenger bag, coupons, gold member party (with free drinks/food) - and you get to meet the Captain and cruise directors. Also your sea pass card denotes your member status, for example, after our cruise this year we will be platinum members, for more information see the following link - http://bookings.royalcaribbean.co.uk/cas​/benefitsLoggedout.do?wuc=GBR
- Additional Information
One point to note is the different times for different ports, for example, you may only have a half day at one of the ports therefore you have to be back on the ship earlier - arrival and departure times at the ports are shown on the day planners provided the night before. In the event that you miss the ship your luggage will be taken off and you will have to make your own way to the next port (we have seen this happen a couple of times unfortunately). If you are on an excursion via royal caribbean that it late however, the ship will not leave and will wait. However we have done our own trips before just be conscious of the time and transport back to the ship.
Also one point you might want to know is about the movement/vibrations of the ship - I was slightly concerned about this on the first cruise as I wouldn't be able to sleep if I felt like I was moving - but you can hardly feel anything! There is only slight movement (very slightly/vibrations) which does not affect you at all!
Overall, we have been on four cruises with Royal Caribbean so far (fifth in August) and I will definitely be going back again and again. They are expensive but in our opinion they are definitely worth every penny! We were recommended Royal Caribbean cruises through friends and we have now recommended it to others! Since our cruises we have recommended these cruises to family and friends both of which have loved the cruises and are going again! Everything (well 99%) of the cruises/company is just fantastic! I would only go on cruises now, I do not think a 'normal' holiday would compare. Very highly recommended from all of us!
*You get to explore a lot of places in a fairly short space of time
*Staff - always friendly, smiling, helpful, multilingual
*Excursions/tours - informative, unique and a great way of seeing lots of places in a fairly short space of time!
*Facilities/activities on the ship - something for everyone from bingo, ice shows and shopping to drinks in the pub, live music in the bars and reading in the library
*Room - clean, lots of storage, TV, stateroom attendant, and balcony
*Environmental policies/charity - save the waves and make a wish foundation
*Ice shows and theatre shows - great performances, lots of seats available, free
*Dining - food, drinks, staff and Johnny rockets is fantastic
*Cleanliness in general
*Smoking in some areas - such as the casino and pub
*Chaos of the windjammer and limited seating (particularly at breakfast)
*Some excursions/tours are really expensive, in my opinion
Thank you for reading my review - as you can imagine I haven't covered everything that I wanted to in this review otherwise it would be even longer! So if you have any questions or specifics just message me. Also our experiences may differ to yours and the ship may have been slightly updated since our cruise last year. I hope this review has been helpful! My Ciao review has photographs.
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Carnival Cruise Lines
I have just returned from a 12 night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Carnival Legend, so here is my review while it is still fresh in my mind. We booked a fully packaged holiday with Carnival, meaning that Carnival booked our flights, arranged our airport to ship transfers and of course supplied the cruise. I'll leave the ... flights for another review as they were provided by KLM, but from leaving the airport at Venice to arriving at the ship was very smooth.
After leaving the airport, luggage was loaded onto a small van while passengers boarded the waiting bus, which soon left for the port. This was the last we saw of our luggage until it was delivered to our cabin about an hour after we had boarded.
The embarkation process was very quick and smooth. We had already underwent the online boarding process a few weeks earlier where we provided passport information and set up our onboard billing account so we were given our Sail & Sign card and allowed to board the ship where a picture was taken for ID purposes.
Your Sail & Sign card has two important functions - it is used in place of cash on board, so any spending on the ship, be it on drinks, spa treatments or shop purchased get billed to your Sail & Sign card, which can be paid by cash or credit card at the end of your cruise. The card also features as your boarding card which is scanned every time you get on or off the ship.
We had pre booked a cabin near the main atrium so that we were in a central position with easy access to all facilities on board, and the location was spot on. The cabin itself was small, although having cruised before, we had expected this. However the cabin was perfectly adequate in terms of storage, with three wardrobes, and five drawers, and a few small cupboards. Luggage could also be stored under the double bed.
In general, the cabin was looked rather tired and could do with getting a refurbishment, but again this seems to be a general criticism of the cruise industry rather than of this shop.
Our balcony had enough space for two reclining chairs and a small table. Although we never got any sun on our balcony it was nice to sit out in the shade with a cocktail and enjoy the fresh sea air.
All food onboard is included in the price of the cruise, with the exception of the Steakhouse which served premium cuts of steak for a $35 dollar per head surcharge.
The main restaurant, Truffles, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, although we only ever used it for dinner. Here, two menus are served every day - the standard menu that is served every day and the daily menu which is different every day. I especially liked the 'Didja' (as in 'did you ever') starter of the day which featured oysters, escargots, frogs legs, sushi, shark, and various other small bites for the more adventurous diners.
Between the two menus I would say there was always something for every taste, and the only problem I ever had choosing was trying to decide between the various dishes!
The food was always of a high quality and the serving staff were very attentive, and were always available without being too 'in your face'.
This restaurant has three options for dining - early seating, late seating and open seating, and you can specify your choice at the time of booking. However if you go for the early or late setting you do have to go at your located time and can't decide one night to eat earlier or later than normal. For this reason we opted for the open seating option.
If you fancied a less formal dinner, the Unicorn cafe was open pretty much 24 hours for snacks, cakes, pizza, meals, whatever whenever. The Unicorn cafe was also where we chose to breakfast in the open air each morning.
For lunch and dinner, one could help themselves to a vast variety of food from Chinese, pizza, salad, hot dogs, burgers, chilli, nachos, and the Chefs Choice which varied every day from British to American, Mexican to Indian, Caribbean to comfort foods.
There was also the sweet treats for afters which normally included at least 3 types of cakes, fruit salads and cookies.
Ps I highly recommend the pizza which was available 24 hours a day. Thin and crispy, perfectly cooked every time and tasted great!
Drinks are not included in the price of your cruise, although freshly brewed coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lemonade, water and iced tea are freely available 24 hours a day at the Unicorn cafe nod around the pools, will various fruit juices are also served with breakfast.
All other drinks are charged to your Sail & Sign card an billed to you at the end of the cruise.
Carnival also offer the choice of various drinks packages, such as Bottomless Bubbles which entitles you o unlimited soft drinks over the cruise, or the Wine Packages where you buy say 5 bottles of wine up front but only pay for 4.
Th option we chose was the Cheers programme, which gives you unlimited soft drinks and up to 15 alcoholic drinks a day (after this the bar manager will assess you to see if more drinks can be served or whether you've had enough, although we never came close to this limit.
We liked this option as it meant we could drink what we wanted without having to think about the cost. With most alcoholic drinks being in the range of $6-$9 dollars, we though this was good value at $42 a day per person.
Disadvantages of this package is that it must be taken by all adults over the age of 21 glaring a cabin (the minimum drinking age onboard is 21) so if one of you is teetotal or a light drinker it may not be cost effective for you.
It also only included alcoholic drinks up to $10 dollars so there were a few drinks that were excluded although you did get a 25% discount of these drinks. Wine is also only available by the glass, with this package offering no discounts on wine by the bottle. Lastly, energy drinks such as Rockstar are not available on any package.
Of all the cruises I've been on, the entertainment on Carnival Legend was by far the best.
There was the standard cruise ship fare of piano bar, singers and bands, but the highlight of the entertainment was found in the Follies theatre. Here, the onboard show team put on two high quality shows, featuring great singers and dancers. However the real highlights were the special guest performers that come aboard during the day, do their show then leave at the next port. Amount these artists were an illusion act (Justin Allusion) and a vocal impersonator (Katie Setterfield the winner of BBC's The One & Only talent show in 2008).
These two acts were amazing. The illusionist performed illusions that really made me believe in magic, whilst Katie did some amazing impersonations of Dusty Springfield, Cher, Bette Midler and Tina Turner.
The cruise also featured 6 comedians who were only onboard for 2 days before being flown off again. Each act did a family performance and an adults only performance. The best one in my opinion was Anthony Scott, a Scottish comedian, although it is fair to say that a lot of the American passengers onboard didn't quite get all his jokes - whether it was his broad Scottish accent or the subject matter, I couldn't say!
The Cruise Director (John Heald) and his assistant Calvyn made a great double act - honestly if you're onboard with them you must catch their morning TV show in your cabin - words can't describe but they will make you laugh!
One not so good part of the entertainment was the 'Cigars Under the Stars' jazz night. Picture the scene - sailing under the stars at night somewhere off the coast of Italy/ France, a 4 piece jazz band plays - sounds romantic, sounds lovely right? Add in people smoking cigars, mostly in a canopied bar area. The smell was disgusting, and hung around the only covered area in the open deck so much so that we couldn't enjoy the jazz. The smell was still around the next day, and clung to the soft loungers. Even worse, guests were being encouraged to smoke cigars in this NO SMOKING area, I even saw one member of bar staff telling someone to put a cigarette out this night as smoking wasn't allowed despite people smoking cigars all around!
The Ship in General
The ship was in great condition for a 10 year old ship, spotlessly clean and constantly being polished, swept and painted by the army of staff.
I believe that the ship was designed mainly around Roman legends, but the best thing to describe it, particularly the main atrium is as Las Vegas style - full of glitz and completely over the top, however within a few hours it seemed to fit the rest of the surroundings.
Apart from the cabins, the ship is still in great condition, although I believe it is getting a refit in 2014 to make it more 'fun' in line with the Carnival cruises ethos.
On the main deck, there is three pools, each with a jacuzzi, and I believe there was also a children's pool. There was also a water slide, mini football/basketball court and crazy golf course on the open decks, long with giant chess and table tennis. The casino also had snooker tables.
And if all that wasn't enough to tire you out, the nightclub, Medusa's Lair, was open to late every night.
Of course, a cruise holiday isn't just about the ship but the destinations visited.
This itinerary started with an overnight stay board the ship in Venice before departing the following day heading for Dubrovnik, Croatia. From there we sailed to Piraeus in Greece, before a day at sea whilst we sailed towards Izmir in Turkey. After that stop we had another day at sea before we docked in Messina, Sicily. From there we had a short journey to Naples (after circling the Stromboli volcano which was erupting at the time). After Naples, we docked in Civitavecchia for Rome, then onto Livorna for Florence and Pisa. Then we travelled to Marseilles in the south of France then onto Barcelona where we disembarked on started our journey home.
Again this was one of the best organised disembarkations I've experienced on a cruise. As Carnival had organised our transfers to the airport they handled our luggage from the cabin directly to the airport whist we waiting for our transfer to be called. The whole process was smoothly handled and wasn't a crush to leave the ship as I have experienced on other lines.
Overall, I thought this cruise was great. Great food, great destinations, great ship. Is it for everyone? Honestly, no.
I'd say 90% of the passengers were either American, Canadian or Australian, and, forgive this sweeping generalisation, were loud and brash, so if you were looking for a quiet relaxing holiday it may be better to stick to the more British orientated cruise ships.
We paid approx £1300 each for a balcony cabin on deck 8, with flights and transfers included. At the time of our booking (January 2013) Carnival were also doing an offer of up to $500 per person onboard credit, and we got the full $1,000 dollars which largely covered our Cheers drinks package and other small purchases on board.
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Cruises Transport International
Transport International / Traditional Turkish motor-yacht cruise.
Transport International / One of Royal Caribbean's huge 13 deck ocean liners, based in Dubai the ship sails to ports around the Middle East and India
Transport International / Cruise service which operates from Perth to Freemantle
Address: Shop 35 / Transport International / Marina Mirage / Port Douglas QLD 4877 / Australia / Tel: (07) 4099 6999
Transport International / Luxury cruise ship.
Royal Caribbean / Transport International / 12 day cruise covering Scandinavia and the Russian Baltic
Address: Bridgetown / Transport International / Barbados
Transport International / Cruises in the Caribbean.
Transport International / Cruises world wide.
Transport International / TSS Earnslaw takes you on a cruise of beautiful Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided farm visit & barbecue diner.
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