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Reviews of the Week by VikingExplorer, seaskag01, Softbay555, KrazyK's & mathdan!

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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!


Queen Mary 2 Memories of the original QM better than the modern QM2 by VikingExplorer

I'm an active senior solo veteran traveler with 38 cruises experienced. As a child, my family went to a bon voyage party on the old Queen Mary, and I still remember the elegance and tradition of that grand old ship. With Carnival owning the Cunard brand, however, I did not expect anything special on my first voyage on a Cunard liner. I liked the idea of spending the Fourth of July week on a ship and booked the cruise when I saw that Boston was a port stop. I rode Amtrak from my Northeast home city, and stayed at a mid-range Hilton near Times Square - a favorite hotel which welcomes me as family on my many visits to New York City. I used the Carey Limo Embarque reasonably priced limo service from mid-town Manhattan to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and while it costs a bit more than the usual NYC cabs, it is well worth it for a serene, clean ride with a polite driver. I always "position" the day before a cruise, rather than risk stressing over a late train, plane, etc. Continue reading... Memories of the original QM better than the modern QM2



Star Princess Sunny Alaska by seaskag01

We are from the Greater Seattle area so this was our 6th trip to Alaska. We got an e-mail from Princess indicating some great discounted prices on balcony staterooms. The price was right $499 plus $150 in fees. With vacation time coming up we tried to book on the internet. This would not work so we called Princess and got a very helpful man who booked us but we had to wait several days to get our cabin number. My girl friend is a Princess Platinum member. She got a personal phone call from a hostess who gave us the room details and arranged for our friend ( who drove us to the ship ) to have a ship tour on embarkation day. We parked in the very large parking area and soon caught the shuttle to the terminal. Very straight forward, left our luggage with a bag guy and up the stairs to clear security. Being with a platinum member we went right to the platinum check in, and were on the ship shortly. Our friend got his own card and a special badge. He had to be off the ship by 3pm. Since this was our third straight trip on the Star Princess we showed him around and then took him to the buffet. Once he left we had the muster drill and sailed away under cloudy and cool Seattle weather. Continue reading... Sunny Alaska



Carnival Dream Carnival Dream, Western Caribbean, June 2013 by Softbay555

If I had to sum up the best thing about our cruise in a single word, it would be 'Tandoor' - simply awesome. If I had to sum up the worst thing, it would be 'Excursions' (or lack thereof). More later. Travel / Embarkation Since we live in central Florida, we can drive to the pier - 45 minutes doorstep to doorstep. The parking garage affiliated with the Dream is pretty convenient, although bordering on ridiculously expensive at $16 / day. The garage is just across the way from the terminal - a 3 to 5 minute walk at most. (As a side note, my brother called me the day before the cruise and asked me what time I was leaving for the port. Huh? He said that he forgot his passport. Thank goodness for FedEx. Our cousin was able to mail his passport to my house next day, Saturday morning delivery. It made it to the house by 9:30am, and we brought it to the pier with us. As soon as my brother and his family pulled into the luggage drop-off area, I was able to hand him his passport - crisis averted.) We dropped off our luggage with the porters before parking. We tried to check a case of water, and the porter informed me that they no longer accept cases of water there. He said we needed to carry it with us on board. Thankfully we took our full size stroller for the baby, so I was able to put the case of water in the basket underneath. Continue reading... Carnival Dream, Western Caribbean, June 2013



Norwegian Breakaway Fabulous Breakaway Cruise - 4th of July by KrazyK's

I am going to break everything down into sections for ease of reading. Obviously, this is just one point of view, but we had a fantastic time with very little to complain about. Background I am 44, my husband is 46, my son is 17 and my daughter is 14. Also traveling with us were my in-laws. This was our 3rd family cruise and the 5th for my husband and me. We drove from Massachusetts and parked at Pier 88. Parking and embarkation The drive from western Massachusetts to the Pier was very easy - down the Taconic Parkway, to Saw Mill Parkway to Henry Hudson Parkway directly to the pier. We arrived around 10:30, parked and made our way down to check-in. Check-in was a breeze, we were assigned a number for boarding, had our embarkation pictures taken and settled down to wait for our boarding call. Boarding began around 11:00 and we were on the ship by 11:30. I immediately went to the Spa to obtain a weekly pass and then met the family in the Garden Café for lunch. Ship We thought the ship was beautiful and liked the more subdued look. Although this is a larger ship, we found it easy to navigate. There was plenty or choices for dining, entertainment and leisurely activities. Capacity I do not know for sure how many people were on this sailing, but heard it was way over the 4,200 double occupancy figure. I was told directly that there were 1,400 children on board, including over 500 teens. Continue reading... Fabulous Breakaway Cruise - 4th of July



Rotterdam Rotterdam Norway with 2 Teens by mathdan

Family of four, two teenage daughters. 2nd time cruisers first time on NCL as part of a family reunion. Cruise was part of a 3 week long Europe trip. Chosen somewhat because of HAL and Norway, but honestly more because it fit our schedule of Europe travel. Embarkation Took taxi from Rotterdam train station to cruise port. Easy to figure out where to go at first. Dropped off luggage, then went upstairs to waiting room. We were there about an hour before our 1:00 time on our boarding passes and were ushered into a table like sitting area to fill out health forms, and we thought to wait until 1. About 12:15 we asked the person working if they would call the 1:00 group, and she said no we could go anytime. Guess they did not really want to say that, hoping more that they could sell some drinks before hand. Because we were in a Neptune suite, we got to skip most of the line and check in was quick and easy and it was up to board the ship. Did the picture thing, checked out our room really quickly and joined the buffet for lunch. Not too much of a zoo. After lunch we went back down to our room. Luggage was waiting outside of door, not sure if we had gone a bit later if it would have been inside, but it seemed most of the suites had luggage still outside. Lots of time to check out ship before leaving since it was not scheduled to leave until 4. This was nice. Safety drill - "changed so more realistic". We were ushered to our respective spots and shown how to put on life vest. None of us had them. I guess the more realistic is that is was done on the spot we would meet, but I'm thinking in a real emergency I am not going to watch someone put on a lifevest, I might put my own on.... Continue reading... Rotterdam Norway with 2 Teens


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