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Reviews of the Week by firstever, brino99, KevLK, ashellypnut & gregjm!

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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. We hope they enjoy it!


Allure of the Seas First-timer's Useful FAQ by firstever

Not to compete with the many excellent reviews already posted, I have decided to keep this mini-review short and well organized, covering just the essentials that I wished I knew after reading the many other posts/reviews on these boards. While I realize that just about everything I have to write is probably already posted somewhere, I am pretty sure they are not all posted in one place, and the following highlights things that I was still unaware of by the time I set sail after months of reading Cruise Critic reviews/forums. I also try to clarify from a newcomer's perspective many of the concerns and questions that were raised and caused much consternation on the boards. Since I am only one person, this FAQ only represent's my opinion and my sailing (in particular, the Allure of the Seas Eastern Caribbean May 12), and of course, your mileage may vary. Also, I stayed in an inside stateroom, so those with more expensive accommodations may have a different experience. Continue reading... First-timer's Useful FAQ



Carnival Freedom Cruising the Carnival Freedom by brino99

Let's start with embarkation. When we were dropped off at the port (took a shuttle...$9.00 each), there was luggage staged on either side of the driveway. We weren't quite sure which one to go to, but ended up on the side where the entry to the terminal was. We were going to leave our larger bags and take our carry-on bags with us, but the gentleman standing there suggested we give him all our bags...along with a tip and he would "take care of us." So, we left all our bags with him. More about that decision later. The first gentleman we encountered asked to see our passports and boarding pass. He then told us we would no longer need our boarding pass. The next person we encountered asked for our boarding pass. I said we were just told we no longer needed it and she asked who told me that and said she could not imagine why we would be told that. Anyway, her job was to point us towards line 1 or line 2. We got in line 1 and were soon waived over to get checked in. You can guess what the first thing was we were asked for...it was our boarding pass. We had arrived at the port a little after 11:30 p.m. and within less than an hour were on the ship. So to review, hold on to your boarding pass and getting on the ship is pretty swift...at least for us. Continue reading... Cruising the Carnival Freedom



Norwegian Breakaway Norwegian Breakaway Maiden Voyage by KevLK

Where to start? Being the maiden voyage to Bermuda obviously the ship was in perfect condition! The decor was gorgeous and perfect! We boarded the ship around 11:30 and were able to go to our state room (spa balcony) right away. We were greeted with chocolates, a gift bag and the bottle of wine we pre-ordered so it was great to be able to sit and have a glass of wine on our balcony.Our room was beautiful. Nice and spacious, bathroom was large. The balcony was a little smaller than usual, but the size of the room made up for that. Our room steward was phenominal too! *suggestion - you need to use your room key to turn on the power and lights so if you plan on charging anything, we went to the front desk and they gave us a fake key to leave in while we were out of our room. We next explored the ship. Fortunatley we had 7 days of perfect weather. The layout of the ship was awesome! For such a large ship it was simple to get from one end to the other. Luckily being in the spa rooms we were one flight of stairs from the spa and pool deck. Continue reading... Norwegian Breakaway Maiden Voyage



Celebrity Summit First time cruising on Celebrity Summit (long review) by ashellypnut

BACKGROUND/SHIP INFO: To celebrate our one-year anniversary as a married couple, my husband and I booked a cruise through our travel agent. We cruised Celebrity Summit out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ to King's Wharf in Bermuda from May 12-19, 2013. He has cruised once before (Royal Caribbean) and this was my first cruise. ACTIVITIES: Each day we received an itinerary of activities happening the next day. Although we found this to be informative, we felt like most of the things offered were geared towards an older crowd (we are in our late 30s). We watched a cooking demo, an ice carving demo & shopped at sales in shops. Especially since the weather was cool and breezy aboard the ship, we were looking for things to do but we found the activities offered did not interest us. We enjoyed just relaxing on our balcony or exploring the ship though! Continue reading... First time cruising on Celebrity Summit (long review)



Celebrity Solstice A wonderful cruise to Alaska with a few rough spots by gregjm

This was our fourth Alaskan cruise. Our first Alaskan experience was on the Infinity in 2008, followed by two Princess cruises (on the Golden Princess) and now the Solstice. This was our third time on the Solstice. In the review I am not going to cover the major areas of interest to most cruisers. Embarkation: We arrived at the Pier at 12:00 and were in on the ship by 12:30. The announcement was made at 12:50 that rooms were ready. A great start One piece of luggage went missing, but thanks to Gavin at Guest Relations it was found, having been delivered to the wrong stateroom (crisis averted) First night dinner/Tuscan Lounge I went into greater detail regarding this experience in an earlier post so will not rehash it in great detail. We were early diners on a very slow night in the restaurant. Great table by the window, yet it took close to 15 minutes for anyone to appear at our table. Service was terrible and food was acceptable---nothing spectacular. Continue reading... A wonderful cruise to Alaska with a few rough spots


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