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Reviews of the Week by Wavedance, Love the Fantasy, ElEl, AnnaBeth & tne1106!

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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 Insulated Sportsbag-- we hope they enjoy it!


Carnival Victory Friendly folks, fun & sun on Carnival Victory by Wavedance

Our decision to book on Carnival Victory was a last-minute one, as friends were going, and urged us to come along. We had cruised to the Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Solstice from Fort Lauderdale in January, 2011, so we were eager to see more of the Caribbean islands. Some reviews of this cruise have been on the negative side, so my husband and I had drastically lowered our expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised! The decor, while over the top in places, is interesting and appealing. The Sleep System in the staterooms is very, very comfortable. The stateroom as a whole was well-organized. But what was most remarkable on the cruise was how friendly other passengers were. First off, a large contingent of passengers were Puerto Ricans who spoke Spanish. A Spanish-speaking Assistant Cruise Director hosted activities for them. A number of other cruisers hailed from South American nations such as Colombia and Uruguay. The cruise is also sold as a Barbados round-trip, so about 50 or so folks from Barbados come aboard on Day 4. And of course, there was a diversity of passengers from the U.S. with a number of African-Americans from the South and East. Continue reading... Friendly folks, fun & sun on Carnival Victory



Disney Fantasy Fantastic Vacation by Love the Fantasy

This was the first cruise for me, my wife and my 8 year old son. We originally wanted to go for vacation to Walt Disney World and stay at The Animal Kindom Lodge but the week we had scheduled for our vacation they were completely booked. Just out of curiosity I checked the Disney cruise website looking for cruise prices. We also spent a long time reading all the reviews and most people absolutely loved the DCL. We learn the some people regret not booking a cruise longer than 3 or 4 days, with that in mind we booked a 7 night cruise on the Disney Fantasy on October 20th. We are from the northeast so we flew in to Orlando on the 19Th and we rented a car. We spent our evening in Downtown Disney shopping and we ate at the RainForest Cafe. The morning of October 20Th we arrived at Port Canaveral around 12:00 noon. and there it was The Fantasy ... WOW !!! Spectacular very impressive ship, we took some pictures and got in line to board the ship - that took about 25 minutes -and before going in to the Fantasy we took our picture with Mickey. They announced our name as we were boarding the ship - from there on the wows never stopped. They sure know how to make you feel like you are the guest of honor from beginning to end. Continue reading... Fantastic Vacation



Noordam 21 Days Civitavecchia to Fort Lauderdale on the Noordam by ElEl

This was a 21-day cruise that started in Civitavecchia, Italy and ended in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It combined two HAL cruises: a 7-day cruise with stops in Livorno (Florence, Pisa), Monaco, Barcelona, Caligari (Sardinia), Sicily (Palermo), and then back to Civitavecchia followed by a 14-day cruise that stopped at Alicante, Malaga, Cadiz, and Madeira before heading on a 7-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. What attracted us were (1) the cost savings -- HAL gives you a discount when you combine two cruises together like that; in addition, the 2nd part of it was a repositioning cruise, which also saves money; (2) the itinerary; and (3) the mix of interesting ports with lots of at sea days. We flew out early so that we could spend three nights in Rome before our cruise. We booked our airline and hotel (Visconti Palace in Rome) through HAL. This worked out extremely well. I don't think that we could have gotten a better deal on airfare, and the Visconti Palace turned out to be an excellent choice: great location (you can walk from there to the Vatican or to the Spanish Steps or the Pantheon, etc.) and a surprisingly fine buffet breakfast each morning. There was a HAL rep onsite at the hotel. The transfers from airport to hotel and from hotel to the Noordam went very smoothly. It made schlepping luggage much less of a problem than it would have been if we had made our own arrangements. Continue reading... 21 Days Civitavecchia to Fort Lauderdale on the Noordam



Freedom of the Seas Family Cruise by AnnaBeth

We planned this cruise to celebrate our 15th Wedding Anniversary. We decided to take the kids along, as well as friends who were 1st time cruisers. Our party of 8 included DH and me with our 2 dd's age 7 and 10 as well as our friends and their 2 kids, dd7 and ds3. We had noted on our reservation that we were celebrating our anniversary, but there was no acknowledgement of this all week. We booked the cruise package at the Country Inn and Suites. Arrived on Saturday and signed up for the 1030 shuttle. We arrived very early in the day on Saturday, and although our room was not ready, we were given complete access to the property. On Sunday, our shuttle left a little early and we arrived at the port shortly after 1030. Check in was easy, we had a short wait outside then moved easily through security. This was the first Freedom cruise after the change in the wine policy; my friend and I had both picked up 2 bottles of wine and they were all taken. The security guard taking the wine was quite slow in filling out the form, but overall no big deal. (We did get our wine back later in the cruise, checked with Guest relations a couple of times and it finally showed up in the room on day 3.) DH and I have cruised RCI before so we were in the gold line for check in, our friends had not so they took about 20 minutes longer in the regular line. Continue reading... Family Cruise



Norwegian Jewel First Time Cruiser Delight by tne1106

Despite Sandy the week before, we had things well in hand and were determined to go for our 7 day cruise the week of 11/4/12. My DH turned 35 while aboard, and this cruise in part was our much delayed Honeymoon. We live local to NYC, only about 40 minutes away by car. We were lucky enough to have family drive us in. No traffic issues. Pier 88 had no power of it's own, they were plugged into the ships power. We got there about 11:30. Check-in was quick and efficient, with quickly moving lines and good cheer. Lines for different check in lanes were clearly marked ( Suites, Top level Latitude Members, general check in). Things were a touch crowded, but I think they had to consolidate operations some due to using ships power. Because we were suite level, after check in we had a side room to wait in with some light snacks and water/coffee/juice. We met our Concierge for the trip, Ruth, who had a big smile despite being very busy. Continue reading... First Time Cruiser Delight


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