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Reviews of the Week by wiskt, RetiredNTraveling, knwnsav, DavidandMarla & sawpgw!

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Every Thursday, we'll randomly select five cruise reviews to feature here! Plus, we'll send each member a Cruise Critic logo item. This week: Cruise Critic Reusable Grocery Tote -- we hope they enjoy it!


Carnival Legend 9/23-30/12 CARNIVAL LEGEND by wiskt

I'm a little behind getting my 9/23/2012 LEGEND review submitted, but better late than never. We had a great CC roll call and held a Private Cocktail party for a fairly large group during the 1st day at sea n the PIANO BAR. Did a fun gift exchange and met some really good people. Hope to sail with some of you again in the future. The Carnival staff provided Open bar drinks and some snacks and were very courtious. This is a great way to meet a lot of people early in the trip & possibly find others to converse with later in the cruise, Especially if you are a solo cruise or first time cruiser. I'm a people person and like the "social intermingling experement" and always try to pass along money saving tips & "what to do and not do's" to others. I am PLATINUM on Carnival and I have also cruised NCL and RCL. Although I enjoy Carnival, I do critique what I see and my overall experience in hopes the cruise line and future passengers may benefit. I tend to cover multiple captions in depth and I hope that my experience is helpful to you. I sailed the LEGEND in 2006 out of NY and loved it then so was interested to see what changes have been done. I sailed on the DREAM in Sept 2011 and LOVED it also but IMAGINATION is still among one of my favorite Carnival ships. So this would be a good comparison between the smaller and larger CCL ships. Continue reading... 9/23-30/12 CARNIVAL LEGEND



Star Princess Star Princess Shines Brightly by RetiredNTraveling

My wife and I just returned from a 7day Inside Passage Cruise aboard the Star Princess. It was the most relaxing and luxurious cruise we have been on. We were able to upgrade from a mini-suite/balcony to a full suite for a very nominal fee. Since we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary it was money well spent.

The Star outshined herself and was a floating palace on the waves. Our stateroom steward, Edgar, was phenomenal! On the Inside Passage cruise in September you should expect rain, drizzle, sunshine and whatever else. Well, we experienced all of it, but being travelers use to adverse conditions, it made little difference. The scenery was outstanding and just beyond belief. Mountains, waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, fjords, wildlife, waterfalls, whales: humpback and orca, stellar sea lions, and did I mention waterfalls. They were everywhere. Well, we have taken the cruise before, but we were still astounded by the sheer magnificence of the wonder of God's beauty. Continue reading... Star Princess Shines Brightly



Volendam Awesome Alaska Cruise but ship service lacking by knwnsav

My husband and I and 5 friends cruised Alaska's Inside Passage on Holland America's Volendam from 9/19 to 9/26. This was our first cruise and I will tell you that we loved the experience. We will cruise again. Maybe with HA and maybe not. The things we liked outweighed what we didn't but here is our assessment. 1) We loved the ship. We had a veranda room on Level 6 and the verandahs next to us were occupied by some of our friends. A a first time cruiser I wasn't sure what to expect as far as room size but it was biggger than I expected, particularly the bathroom. All in all I thought the room and the overall ship were great. Very clean. 2) The Crow's Nest. What a great spot to watch the beautiful Alaskan scenery! 3) Glacier Bay. I can not tell you what a fantastic experience Glacier Bay was. It still takes my breath away to think about it. My husband got up early the morning that we were to arrive in Glacier Bay and he saw the Alaska Park Rangers pull up in a boat next to the Volendam and board. Those park rangers, four of them, were with us all day. One was broadcasting as we entered Glacier Bay and bascially narrated everything we saw. It was as if we had paid someone for an excursion to Glacier Bay. Two of the other rangers were giving talks about the glaciers in certain spots and talking about the native people. Because the Volendam is not quite as big as some of the other cruise ships we were able to get all the way to the Johns Hopkins glacier which proceeded to calve while we were there. A huge calving event. You just have to see if for yourself. Continue reading... Awesome Alaska Cruise but ship service lacking



Wind Spirit Windstar Cruise from Athens to Istanbul by DavidandMarla

My wife and I spent a week on the Windstar Sprit cruising from Athens (7/14/2012) to Istanbul (7/21/2012). We had a very good time (A-), but the heat was terrible with the temperature over 100 degrees most days. There are not many online reviews of the Windstar line or this itinerary, so I hope this review helps. We are not "cruise people" and the only other ship we have been on is the Disney Dream with our children. The Sprit is a motorized sailboat which carries about 140 passengers and 96 crew. It is much smaller than a large ship such as the Disney Dream. On average, the sails provide 20-30% of the propulsion. The atmosphere is very casual with no formal dinners or theme nights. For dinner, they request men wear slacks and a collared shirt. You can visit the bridge anytime the boat is sailing. The crew members are almost always willing to talk to you and answer questions. The average passenger is about 50 years old and most are married couples ranging in age from 25 to 70. There were a few teenagers and a few friends traveling together. I did not meet any passengers who were traveling alone. During our trip it was 100+ degrees most days and you needed to be somewhat physically fit to tolerate the heat and climb the ruins. The few passengers over 72 y/o struggled at times on some of the tours. Continue reading... Windstar Cruise from Athens to Istanbul



Freedom of the Seas Good Time by sawpgw

My wife and I flew into the Orlando airport on the morning of departure with the air travel booked through Royal Caribbean and the price was comparable to booking through the airline. Our flight arrived around 1100 and we took the Royal Caribbean shuttle (it would be nice if they had their own buses like one of the other cruise lines that commonly use the Orlando Airport). We arrived at the port about an hour and a half later (after waiting for the shuttle and the drive to the port). We are Emerald Crown and Anchor members so we had expedited boarding and were on within 30 minutes, dropped our stuff and on to the Windjammer. We ate all meals on board in either the Windjammer or Johnny Rockets. The Windjammer food was quite good. The sushi in the Jade areas was very good and they had the typical condiments. The food was generally very good and moved quickly in general and so did not become stale. Their curry dishes were excellent. Desserts were good to excellent and my favorite was the Royal Chocolate Cake. Hats off for the new Coke machines. I normally don't order a beverage package, but with the ability to get diet, caffeine free soda and light, flavored lemonade. Ben and Jerry's, Starbucks (yeah and made excellent Americano's), Cupcake Cupboard (charge per cupcake and my wife enjoyed the decorating class). The Bear and Bull also had a great selection of beers. The Royal Promenade was a multi use area. The Britannia show was a lot of fun and covered several of the British Invasion. Continue reading... Good Time


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