Prepared for TheDamienZone by: Geri Palumbo of Winter Garden, Florida, USA.
The ship is the same as all ships except it’s bigger. Think of any ship you have ever been on and make it bigger and there you go.
There is really nothing special about it. Same kind of layout and same kinds of staircases and the same thing where there are too many people and not enough elevators. During peak hours, get ready to use the stairs because you are going to wait forever for an elevator, and when you do get one, it is stuffed with people.
For the kids, or the kid in you, there is a rock climbing wall and a surfing pool that are both kind of boring and cost extra — they often forget to mention that fact when you are pricing the trip and your kids are hovering over you as you book the dumb thing. Also, if your kid does either activity, there is a photographer taking pics, and while they do not FORCE you to buy the pics, why do they take the pics if they see you taking pics yourself?
Here are some important notes:
The staff is friendly and helpful but they seem to all be from Spanish speaking countries. Perhaps the Eastern Europeans have figured out that working on a cruise ship is not as romantic as it used to be. Nothing wrong with Spanish speaking people but one begins to notice it and the whole thing of Poles and Russians and Estonians and Latvians is lost. In other words, speaking as a woman, there are no more long and tall handsome European guys with soothing accents. Call me a cougar.
The dining at the main restaurant is nice but annoying in that you have a seperate waiter for food and drinks and the whole pain in the ass of lulling out your card gets more and more annoying as the trip goes on. After a few days you start to realize that all of thesee people have a routine or a script that they rehash every week with a new set of passengers.
They have specialty restaurants but they cost extra and it’s probably the same food. The suckers get all dressed up for that because it makes them feel like Vanderbilts and Whitneys instead of the plain old midwest tumbleweeds they really are. I guess everybody needs their “moment” or something.
It’s a hoot to see some of these women in evening gowns they bought in 1998 on a ship that caters to 20-something boozers in flip flops.
The ship is not smooth. Granted, some seas are choppy and some seas are calm, but this ship seems to have a contstant bump and go feeling to it even in calm water. You don’t get used to it either.
The casino is SMOKEY! You will choke on the smoke. It’s awful. If you like casinos more than you hate smoke, you’ll do fine.
Be careful if your teens go on a school trip or something because they push the booze. I am not saying they serve alcohol to minors, but it would be very easy for a minor to get a drink poolside simply by having someone else order it.
Remember, they make all of their money off of alcohol and the entire cruising experience for many is the booze — and they really play that up. Also, the quality of the exotic drinks is not as good as on Norwegian Cruise Lines so they ought to look into that.
Getting on the ship, if you are leaving from Fort Lauderdale, is a huge pain in the ass. It’s not the cruise line’s fault, but it is a nuisance. Getting off is even worse — you will want to jump overboard.
The excusrions to beaches and other day trips are too short and all they do is beg beg beg for tips — it’s frigging annoying. “I am not saying you have to tip anybody but you get the speech on the excusions, “We all have families and we work hard and blah blah blah” — These guys don’t work for the ship but the ship should be more careful about who they use to haul you to an island or a snorkel spot. I know people are cheap and they do not tip properly, but that’s life. For a good tipper like me, being constantly reminded to tip makes me tip less simply because it’s annoying and I shave points for that.
The street that runs through the middle of the ship is a waste of time after one pass. They have a “General Store” but there’s really nothing in it worthwhile. I needed a razor blade and all they had were those cheapo yellow and white Bic razors that cut you like shards of glass. They have perfume stores and whatever but it’s all over-priced stuff like shops in an airline terminal.
They sell junk watches all over the place and it’s annoying to see the “80% OFF” tag with the final price of $275.00 for a watch that is $200 at Macy’s — and who knows if this stuff isn’t bogus? The whole 80% off routine is such an obvious lie. I think the cruise line rents this space out to vendors who aren’t exactly on the up and up. I would never buy a watch on a ship. There’s something sketchy about it.
And talk about sketchy — the art auctions — what a bunch of junk. WHY DO THEY KEEP PULLING THIS ART SALE JUNK! People who cruise are often easy to scam. They are often on the trip of a lifetime and they’ll buy anything that makes them feel like a bon vivant and this crappy art auction thing is a complete crock. They pawn off this junky art and prints with fake bids and fake phone in bids — yuk. And how do they get these phone in bids anyway? You can’t make a phone call from this ship unless you’re on the bridge — who the hell do they think they’re kidding. That kind of stuff ticks me off.
The toilets are a little smelly even when they are not clogged. There is an odor sometimes and if you run your shower at full force and you have large feet, the water from the showe runs out onto the floor. Who designed that drainage system?
Overall — the ship is nice and fun and only as annoying as all other ships. In other words, there is nothing uniquely annoying about this boat. It is what it is. Norwegian is always a few notches better — or at least that has been my experience.
NOTE: There are a few gays– not whole lot — but enough that they have a “Friends of Dorothy” sing-along every night at 8pm at the Schooner bar. The gays always make things more fun but the annoying and drunk straight people hone in and ruin it. I kept my distance and enjoyed the fun, but I wasn’t one of those girls who jumps up on the piano and tries to outshine the guy who sings the showtunes — you know what I mean?
NOTE: BRING SPF-50 SUNSCREEN. You will get burned on this boat without realizing it. If you go anywhere like Bleize or Cozumel, bring your sunscreen — YOU MUST!