Arrived into Tampa Bay this morning, I BELIEVE, late, around 7:30am. Captain Sig fought 55 mph headwinds and some fairly big "chop" upon passing Cuba and entering the Gulf all the way back to Tampa. Truely an event trying to float in the solarium or the pool with the water surging fore-aft so quickly! Interesting, since I've only run into waves like that at a beach somewhere.
Plus comments; Ship has been refurbished nicely; the various new food venues in the solarium, Rita's area on the aft deck behind the Windjammer, Giovanni's taable replacing Portifino's are great, and widely used, especially the Park Cafe area in the solarium!
Staff were wonderful, very friendly and helpful, and everywhere all the time! Steve, the cruise director and Tom the activities director were both funny and, also, everywhere. And the entertainment was first rate!! Great guest entertainers, plus the Brilliance OTS singers and dancers, and they also now have a "flying" act in the centrum which is short, but very well done! Diamond lounge and concierge club are both in the former Viking Crown area; concierge area very small portion but the diamond lounge was the rest. Both were filled to the brim every night; almost 1100 diamond and above on this cruise, and two men we met had over 1100 points, one with 1850! As a GS guest, we got to go to the bridge tour, and also to the captains quarters for a meet and greet: impressive both.
Minus comments; balcony cabins seem to be slightly smaller, and the shower doors have been removed and replaced with shower curtains. There are no where near enough electrical outlets in the cabins. So much cabin "goodies" were plugged into every outlet in the GS, that there were two US and two European outlets on the dressing tablePlug in the coffee pot or the hot water plate/pot and you're done until they are done. No area big enough for a laptop if you needed to use one, even tho they say there is a pull out "desk" spot. You could write a letter on it, but that's about it. Neither we, or our four other couples, we abe to hear any announcements without opening the cabin door. On Mariner, there was a speaker on/off switch with a volume control at the dressing table-that I know of, none of the cabins have this function. Your account function on the TV to keep track of your bill was usually not working properly, which took 4 trips to the customer service desk to finally fix. These above comments were not crew faults, but more like shipwide working equipment faults. I would have thought that the refurbish would have corrected these glitches. Short of removing the cabins and re-wiring them for more outlets, I don't know what else they could have done. I did have a problem, which was corrected by a crew member at the desk as fast as he could call Miami, getting my TWO Visa card on board credits I had bought. They easily found one, but could not find the other until I provided him with a printout of both, which he copied and faxed to Miami. Within the day, it had been fixed, and I had the credit.
Lastly, two things. We LOVE two week cruises, and have already booked a JS
on Liberty next year from Barcelona to Port Everglades (which only needed $200 to book while on the cruise!!) However, secondly, if the level of treatment to the staff and crew by some of the most self-centered, me first now and forever, my way or the highway people, is the "norm" for so many of we "older" travlers, I may have to reconsider so long a trip. I really had to put my "cop patience" to the test way more than once, or they would have thrown me off the ship like a few of our fellow travelers should have been. One man we and our friends called, to ourselves, "Chef Boy-r-Dee" because he loudly and consistantly criticized the food, and the service, and was "on" the staff like white on rice. "Shut up!!" was the nicest thing I told him after I cought him picking on a windjammer worker because the area was closed to prepare for dinner!! I only let my wife near the shops after dinner before the shows because some of the "ladies" would knock you down and over to get to the "sales" items!
The cruise was great, and I may have turned a couple of my friends on to booking another cruise! They all bought a next cruise booking number after telling them it never expires, and they get an on board credit when they Do book one.
Hope I didn't ramble too much! I really DO love to cruise!!