A little background first - DH and I are in our 40s and this was our 5th cruise - 4 on CCL and 1 PCL. We sailed this same cruise on the Fascination the same week last year with our 3 children - this year we cruised childless. Last year we had a balcony, this year had interior cabin. We decided the balcony wasn't worth the extra money for us, especially since last year our neighbors smoked pot and cussed each other loudly at all hours!
I have thought about what kind of review I would write of this cruise and, quite honestly, I could write two very different reviews. I could focus on the negative, be picky, overreact to minor problems and write a pretty depressing review. Or I could overlook the minor hiccups and say it was a great trip - which it was!
So which review will I write? Hmmm... Why not both? I'll give three negatives, 3 so-so and 3 positives.
The negatives - like I said these are picky and did not change our overall cruise experience - but they may have meant more to us if we had paid more for the trip.
1. We were not impressed with the live (and lack of live) music - but we expected this from last year. The lido deck duo sang a lot of slow Lionel Richie songs - I like Lionel Richie, but not on the lido deck. And I don't know why they refuse to put any music in the Passage to India lounge - I think the band would be better received in a real lounge instead of the Stars Bar hallway. But this was the same as last year, so we didn't really expect anything different.
2. The back-up comedian was horrible. I hate to say that but really he was really horrible. It was just bad for all concerned. But the headline comedian was better - not the best we have seen but okay.
3. the "fun staff" or whatever those guys are that lead the games, etc. were the worst we have seen. DH plays a lot of trivia so we get a fair amount of exposure to them and they were really not good. Couple of Examples - they played 80s music trivia around the pool area but after 20-25 minutes of song snippets they never went back and gave the answers except to the people sitting right down front so if you listened from upstairs you got all the music bits but no answers; the guy leading the movie trivia in the lounge drug it out for 40 minutes while he literally talked to himself; the others just didn't have much life to them. But no big deal.
1. Lido deck food. It was fine but nothing special. The lines seemed longer at the grill so we never ate there. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet and the deli.
2. Room location. We were aft Upper (191). We liked being interior - dark for napping - but the room staff woke us up making a ton of noise right outside our room every day when we were napping (around 5:00-6:00 pm) and this morning at 5:45 am!! That was just unlucky room location where the steward setup cart was right outside our door.
3. Weather - no storms, etc. So that's a blessing in Oct. But it was very windy and seas were choppy the last two full days.
1. Dining room - Our tablemates were great once again (we have always requested large tables and had great tablemates). The food was good for the most part - soups were great, every appetizer I had was really good, best lobster I remember having on a ship, ....
2. Excursions. We have been to these ports (key west and Nassau) three times in the last 15 months. In key west we rented a scooter and just rode around - it was fun - even when it poured rain for about 30 minutes, DH did a standup paddle board and snorkel excursion through CCL in Nassau and he had a great time. I stayed on board and had a good time too.
3. Got just what we expected. We had a relaxing, fun and great trip. Just what we expected for the $$. (all total including room, tips, tax, sail & sign, excursions, photos... $1000-$1050).
So there you have it - the good and the not-so-good. Would I do it again? I would not have changed anything this year, but our next cruise will be to different ports and maybe on a larger ship ... Maybe.