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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Apart from having to queue for 90 minutes to check in due to Cunard computer crashing several times, the cruise was everything we expected and more. There was a bottle of champagne waiting in our cabin, robe and slippers supplied and ... Read More
Apart from having to queue for 90 minutes to check in due to Cunard computer crashing several times, the cruise was everything we expected and more. There was a bottle of champagne waiting in our cabin, robe and slippers supplied and lovely toiletries and the beds were so comfortable. There was plenty of choice in Lido restaurant for breakfast and lunch and dinner in Britannia restaurant was excellent for quality, choice and service. Golden Lion pub served excellent British food for lunch, the Atlantic cod, chips and mushy peas were a favourite. Afternoon tea served in Queens room by waiters wearing white gloves was an experience. There was plenty of activities to take part in if you wanted to and plenty of seating if you just wanted to read. We took up the offer of 'book inside cabin and get free upgrade to balcony'. However it was not used very much as the weather got quite rough crossing the Tasman Sea and travelling down the east coast and round to Fiordland, so unless the same deal offered next time, an ocean view would suffice. Definitely recommend this trip to New Zealand. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
After a great cruise on the Queen Mary in 2017 we had great Expectations of First Class service on Queen Elizabeth in March 2019. Our cruise from Melbourne started poorly with a Cunard Computer glitch at the Port check in causing long ... Read More
After a great cruise on the Queen Mary in 2017 we had great Expectations of First Class service on Queen Elizabeth in March 2019. Our cruise from Melbourne started poorly with a Cunard Computer glitch at the Port check in causing long delays. In fact as we boarded the crew were in their life jackets directing all passengers to their muster stations for our safety drill. Obviously they were leaving on time no matter what. Anyway these computer problems do occur but we missed that welcome aboard photo, the officer’s greeting and the champagne. Not to worry we were on the Queen Elizabeth heading out of Port Phillip Bay heading for New Zealand on a 12 day cruise with one of the best ships on water. Generally the waiters in the Lido Dining Room were just not interested in providing service to their guests with avoidance of eye contact and little interest in meeting our needs. At Britannia Dining Room the service was improved but still it was no better than that of a café . Drinks service was appalling. On day six they ran out of scotch in the dining room so served Jack Daniels without asking if OK. Bourbon is not Scotch. Despite all bars on the ship having plenty of scotch (one had 31 bottles) the waiter said he could not borrow or restock and we would need to ask head office why not? Really? Our table of ten ordered 4 bottles wine throughout the cruise with 3 of them out of stock. These were all listed on their wine menu. Food was Ok with rather small portions and limited selection and variety compared to previous cruises. Drinks service at the Golden Lion Pub was very slow whether they were busy or not. Staff seemed disinterested in good service. Plumbing issues began on morning one when our toilet would not flush. Maintenance responded after my 2nd call adjusted something and it worked. Great til morning three when same problem same result after my 2nd call again. Morning four Toilet won’t flush. By now we are “Not Happy Jan “so again after my second call maintenance arrives and I indicated you can’t just keep adjusting this thing every day or we will have to move. He pulled the whole thing apart found the component that was faulty and surprise surprise it was fixed for good. Happy with the outcome but we did not need three goes to get that result. I am sure this is a regular problem so they will be aware of what needs to be done. On morning eleven toilet would not work but neither did the water supply. Seems they had a main water pipe burst and the entire ship was without running water. To be fair these things happen I guess but I got the impression this was not the first time. Anyway the Casino, Shops and many Staterooms were flooded as this occurred during the night. We were without running water until 9.30am just as Captain Simon Love had announced at about 8am. The flooded areas had poker machines and tables in pieces trying to dry them out before the next cruise that started the next day. We did speak to some guests whose rooms were flooded and the crew were helping dry out their clothes and belongings. Our Stateroom Staff were very efficient and friendly. Our room was in good condition but the balcony was in need of rust treatment and painting roof and rails. It doesn’t make it appealing when it looks grubby. We found the entertainment nightly was very good with entertainers of high quality well presented. Well Done! The Thermal Spa and the Gym were very well equipped with helpful enthusiastic staff. Well done! Ports of call were good with even a tendering port Akaroa being not problem at all. Cruising through Milford Sound was a highlight with an onboard commentator who gave great descriptions of the entire area with the Captain and crew placing the ship perfectly for viewing throughout the ship. Well Done! In summary we found the ship was as expected with good facilities and décor but the service and staff are letting the Cunard Experience down badly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose a 3 night Sydney - Burnie - Melbourne cruise as a sampler and introduction to Cunard cruising. Embarkation was reasonably painless. We arrived a little earlier than the allocated boarding time and was told to board anyway. We ... Read More
We chose a 3 night Sydney - Burnie - Melbourne cruise as a sampler and introduction to Cunard cruising. Embarkation was reasonably painless. We arrived a little earlier than the allocated boarding time and was told to board anyway. We dropped off bags, queued for about 15 minutes and then found ourselves on-board. Finding our cabin was easy as we were escorted by our cabin steward who did a good job of explaining our cabin facilities. The cabin was comfortable and clean, though no larger than what we've previously experienced. Power is via British and American sockets, which is no problem, but there were no USB sockets. The bathroom was small but everything worked as expected. The bed was comfortable, but I found the pillows too soft. A nice touch was a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine on ice in the cabin. As a tip for Cunard though, next time source a wine that is drinkable. Two lunches and breakfasts were in the Lido buffet. As a buffet, the food was reasonable quality with a good variety. Shouldn't have to pay extra for espresso style coffees though. One lunch and dinners were in the Britannia Restaurant. This was disappointing. The food was no better than a reasonable RSL club bistro. The service was reasonably attentive though a little hit and miss. After our first night's dinning I found myself with someone else's keycard. This was quickly fixed up at the purser's office and provided a lesson to check the card after purchases. A highlight of the food experience was the high tea, which we experienced on our second day. Being our only day at sea, it was very popular and the overflow ended up in the Britannia Restaurant. The tea (or coffee) was plentiful and hot, the food, sandwiches, scones and sweets, were spot on and the service was attentive. Drink prices were on the expensive side, especially once you remembered to convert from USD and add the gratuity. Being Australian, gratuities, and tipping in general is a pain. If it is part of the standard or expected cost, just roll it into the overall price and be done with it. Then we can decide to tip if we feel the service deserves it. Overall though, the service was good. We didn't take in a show but did experience some of open the entertainment on other nights. The bands were what you would expect and reasonably entertaining. We took in a talk by a historical expert regarding WWII Japanese hold-outs (refusing to surrender after the war) in the Pacific. I found this interesting as I enjoy the historical aspect, but it wasn't to my wife's taste. My wife though did sample the shopping, fortunately without much success. Our one port day was in Burnie, Tasmania. This a good, honest working town, but not a very inspiring cruise destination, especially as it was a public holiday and would have been completely dead if it weren't for hundreds of cruise passengers wandering around looking for something to do. There were very few cafes and you couldn't even have a beer and lunch in a pub as they were all closed. At least the mayor was there to greet us when we came down the gangway. We didn't do any organised shore excursions, but my sister, who was part of our cruise group, did, and enjoyed the Cradle Mountain excursion. Overall, the ship had a decor in keeping with it's image and wasn't overcrowded. We weren't disappointed, but now feel we've done the Cunard experience and probably won't be sampling it again. We are going on a longer Oceania Mediterranean cruise later this year. It will be interesting to compare that experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise for the destinations, which were wonderful. Ship was very clean and overall staff very friendly and attentive. Speciality Restaurants were of a very good standard. Spa was excellent. Entertainment shows were very ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the destinations, which were wonderful. Ship was very clean and overall staff very friendly and attentive. Speciality Restaurants were of a very good standard. Spa was excellent. Entertainment shows were very good. Live music being played during day and evenings in Main Foyer was repetitious. Main Dining was at times “ hit and miss”. Felt they had skimped somewhat on the seafood offerings. Buffet selection was limited and very few salads. Hardly any healthy options or sugar free or low carb dessert alternatives. Wine list was very limited as were range of drinks on offer with a silver drinks package. No premium bottled spring water on offer even with drinks package. Ship layout was similiar to that of River cruises. Ship also vibrated throughout the cruise. Had to wedge paper between doors on wardrobe to prevent noise from keeping us awake at night. Disappointing for a new ship. Bed vibrated from the ship shuddering. Captain did a great job of staying ahead of Cyclone at the top of Australia. We did miss seeing Thursday Island and the shore excursions we paid for well before we sailed in March. Quite understand the importance of staying ahead of the Cyclone however we were promised to be refunded the US$278 at the end of our cruise. Home one month now and still have not received a refund! Poor processing and customer service Viking . Overall value for money was not there with Viking. Azamara, Celebrity, RCL offer a better deal, wider variety of food at a higher standard. Have also cruised on Crystal which were faultless. This was our 12th cruise and we would not cruise with Viking again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise as an opportunity for my partner to experience a cruise steeped in history which he loves and for a little luxury. I have been on other liners and the difference was quite significant. We arrived early and was ... Read More
I chose this cruise as an opportunity for my partner to experience a cruise steeped in history which he loves and for a little luxury. I have been on other liners and the difference was quite significant. We arrived early and was pleasantly surprised to be let on board immediately. Embarkation was a breeze. To keep this review brief I will deal with the disappointments. I expected more of the food. It was very ordinary and at breakfast only one person was doing personalised egg choices. We gave up. Cheapest bottle of wine - $48 USD which equated to almost A$70. Toilettries were never replaced even after asking 3 times. In fact the steward was only seen three times and it was very poor service. Finalising of account queue on the last night. Both my partner and everyone in the queue were furious at the wait time with 2 people serving and another desk free being payment for tours with nobody at it. People eating at 8.30 pm session had to wait till 10.30 to see a show lasting sometimes till 12. My partner would have loved a tour of the ship's history perhaps as a speaking or walking activity. We spoke to others who agreed. It was both my birthday and our anniversary and there was no provision or opportunity/acknowledgement for anything special as with other liners where a sign and balloons are put on your door or they bring out a little cake to your group dinner table (sounds trivial and not that I wanted to be centre of attention but if it's a special occasion, it always goes down well). When I enquired about this they advised I should pay for the specialty restaurant or purchase one of their expensive gift packages. We did not go on a shore excursion with the ship as most were booked out and were quite expensive. We went on a private tour and it was the highlight for us. It was a public holiday in Burnie but as the operators were locals they knew all the places to go. We were stressing before we went as to how formal the gala dinner would be, what to wear and how this would be presented. It was over-rated and nothing special was done. On the positive side - room was comfy, smooth sailing, nice surprise of a bottle of bubbly in the room, entertainment good, good guest speaker talks, impressive fit out of ship and we particularly loved the bar near the theatre (can't think of name) where the meals there were better than most restaurants and were free with such a great atmosphere and we found the staff here to be the most welcoming and engaging of all Happy it was a sampler but wouldn't go again.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a short cruise Sydney-Burnie-Melbourne. It was my 5th cruise, 3rd on Cunard, first on QE. Other 2 Cunard cruises were on the Mediterranean and loved them I echo the other reviews that you see on here - lovely ship, quick ... Read More
This was a short cruise Sydney-Burnie-Melbourne. It was my 5th cruise, 3rd on Cunard, first on QE. Other 2 Cunard cruises were on the Mediterranean and loved them I echo the other reviews that you see on here - lovely ship, quick on-boarding, good service on dock, ordinary service on-board Had to visit the purser couple times and had to wait 30+ min each time. Whenever i walked by, always a queue. No such queues at tour desk where you need to pay for tours.On last night went there to pay bill and only 2 on desk. All waiting complained incl 2 poor souls who were locked out of cabin but had to wait for new keys with those waiting to pay. Issues in cabin - see below. It was very disappointing I wouldn't go on Cunard in Oceania again (but Med yes) , though my wife did enjoy, even with the issues. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We thought we were going on a luxury cruise holiday. The ship needed an update. We were promised first setting of evening dinning for health reasons but we did not get this. When spoken to Maître-de & Purser this was denied and not ... Read More
We thought we were going on a luxury cruise holiday. The ship needed an update. We were promised first setting of evening dinning for health reasons but we did not get this. When spoken to Maître-de & Purser this was denied and not available to us. Some of the service staff looked and acted as though they didn't wish to be there. Disembarkation in Sydney treatment by Customs very unpleasant experience if you triggered the metal detectors. we were very disappointed with the whole cruise. Bar staff were very good chatty and always had a smile Room was serviced daily but when looking for something I dropped found a cigarette butt under the bed and a bottle top behind the sofa. No top sheet on bed and bed linen was not changed at all over the entire 10 nights. Mini bar was never refilled from day 1 Any of the entertainment was to loud and hard to hear correctly. Staff could not always be understood with broad accents. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Since we first started cruising, about 4 years ago, we always wanted to try Cunard and see what the real difference was at this level of cruising. This was our 15th cruise so we have a few ships to compare it to. First impressions were ... Read More
Since we first started cruising, about 4 years ago, we always wanted to try Cunard and see what the real difference was at this level of cruising. This was our 15th cruise so we have a few ships to compare it to. First impressions were amazing. Gorgeous decor, lovely stateroom, beautiful rooms to relax in, we were very impressed. On sailing might, we went to the Verndah restaurant which was first class, even the following night in the Britannia dining room, the food and service were top notch as was the first couple of shows that we went to in the main theatre. At this point of the cruise this was 'best cruise ever' material. Then we came to Sydney and 1700 people disembarked, with 1700 new people embarking and for what we could see a lot of first time cruisers, getting the chance to experience Cunard at a reasonably lower cost, given that this was only a 5 day cruise, to Tasmania and back. The whole vibe of the ship changed, people were older loud, rude and obnoxious, the English Pub was always full, so Trivia was standing room only, the buffet was full and almost impossible to get a seat there for breakfast. There were many old people with scooters and walking frames. I have never seen people with walking frames on a disco floor, but I guess there is a first time for everything and good on them for giving it a go! We really were ready to disembark after 9 days, a first for us. All in all QE is a beautiful ship with first class food and service but maybe it's that we are just not old enough. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night ... Read More
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night before from the roof top bar of our hotel. Sailing on smaller ships is a great experience. More attention from crew and an altogether sense of community familiarity that just happens among the passengers. We had a balcony room, midship on the deck 6. It was very comfortable and the small shower was adequate. Because of weather or just being out and about we really didn't use the balcony much but it was nice to have. The crew was always attentive, the entertainment very, very good, and most meals were well prepared. However more attention should be given to timing and suggestions as when to eat in the dining rooms if you want to make a show. Any time after 7.15pm creates a rush. Prime C was a disappointment, the food was just ok, the service slow and the room needs to be refurbished. Aqualina though did not disappoint. My only other comment on the food was that there way too much. Something was always there, available and too inviting. We did several exercise classes. More thought needs to given to the space required as many were popular and people couldn't participate. However they were advertised as 45 minutes, but most were barely 30. The Amazing Evening in Melbourne was in a beautiful recital hall with a performance by a top Australian vocal artist. Very enjoyable. The White Night was well done, the production performers professional and personable. Dancing in the Living Room to the Sound Sensations became a nightly destination for us. The crossing to New Zealand was a day and a half of rough seas, but part of cruising. But we found there were too many sea days, especially when they were back to back. All the ports provided something to do, some more that others. Napier was special and unique with its art deco architecture. We don't do cruise sponsored shore excursions. We find better value and choice is always available at the port. Cruise lines ask you think about the environment when using towels, etc, but they don't do anything about the amount of newsletters, brochures, invitations and sale announcements they produce. There must be better and more efficient ways to communicate to your guests and cut down on paper useage. It was ridiculous on this cruise. Overall, there is no reason not to consider Azamara for fun and enjoyable experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first cruise - three nights Melbourne-Burnie-Sydney. Unfortunately the first impression was a negative one of just over an hour in the queue to board. Apparently everyone (several hundred people) had been told to arrive at the ... Read More
This was our first cruise - three nights Melbourne-Burnie-Sydney. Unfortunately the first impression was a negative one of just over an hour in the queue to board. Apparently everyone (several hundred people) had been told to arrive at the same time of 12 noon. We were standing in a slow moving queue like cattle. Very poorly organised and managed. Once on board we were seriously impressed by the beautiful decor and high quality throughout the ship. Our Balcony Stateroom (category BA) was more than we had expected. Our Stateroom 5110 was a disabled accessible cabin with far more space than the regular ones in this category. Our balcony was large enough to hold two banana lounges and two chairs! Meals were generally high quality with plenty of choices, especially in the Britannia restaurant where we took dinner each night (early sitting). Service in that area was a bit hit and miss however. On one occasion the next table had their second course before we got our first. On another night we had to ask twice for the wine list. We enjoyed lunch in the Golden Lion pub and had two other lunches at the Lido buffet. The Lido was just ok, salads in particular were extremely plain and unimaginative. Room service breakfast was mixed - lovely scrambled eggs with sausage and hash browns but a really basic and tasteless fruit salad. Toast was also tasteless. I suspect the sliced bread had been frozen but rolls and scones seemed to have been freshly baked. Breakfast in Britannia was excellent however, although on the sea day with everyone on board it was rather slow. The Royal Court Theatre put on two good shows (the house singers/dancers plus a Beatles tribute band) but you had to be early to get seats, especially if you wanted to sit with friends. We really enjoyed an art lecture and a talk by a cinematographer about the Titanic. Drink prices were on the high side of reasonable but internet pricing was extortionate. At about A$1 per minute we decided to go without, which did us no harm but meant we had a pile of emails and texts when we docked in Sydney. No tissues in our stateroom. As first time cruisers we were very surprised that we had to put our luggage outside our room the night before arrival. Had we known this we would have taken an airline carry on bag for use in the morning. Overall a terrific experience but with a few shortcomings that would not be hard for Cunard to address. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Superb from embarkation to disembarkation. My daughter took me on this cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday and I could not recommend it highly enough. She has sailed with Silversea before so I knew what to expect but it exceeded ... Read More
Superb from embarkation to disembarkation. My daughter took me on this cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday and I could not recommend it highly enough. She has sailed with Silversea before so I knew what to expect but it exceeded my expectations by a thousand percent. The service, the dining experiences, the amazing staff, the excursions, the suite, our butler and cabin attendant, the pool, the gym and all the extra little touches were beyond comparison. (I travelled on a Celebrity cruise last year and I would give that half a star (only for the excursions). Silversea would rate 10 stars if it was possible. From the room attendants, the wait staff, right up to the Captain, everyone went out of their way to be polite, friendly and helpful. Our suite was so comfortable, even including a bath! and a seperate dressing room. Our needs were met promptly and efficiently and we never felt that anything was too much trouble for the crew. Every day another new surprise greeted us. From exclusive chocolates on our beds at night to a waiter complimenting me on my jewellery and even remembering that my daughter was wearing something similar several nights before. The meals were like dining in a 5 star restaurant each time. It’s very easy to put on some weight. Silversea is expensive but it’s all inclusive, so you never feel as though someone is fawning over you just to earn a tip, which is what has happened on other cruises I’ve taken. Will definitely be sailing Silversea again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This trip should b a no brainer for SS, but it's not. To many little issues turn into stupidity. Examples, a Milk shake in US is made with ice cream and milk, they use no milk but use ice. Very difficult to explain how to make ... Read More
This trip should b a no brainer for SS, but it's not. To many little issues turn into stupidity. Examples, a Milk shake in US is made with ice cream and milk, they use no milk but use ice. Very difficult to explain how to make since there order system doesn’t allow explanations. The restaurants have a set menu, which means no different meals. Oceania, Regent, Crystal all have new menus for dinner every day, they also post outside what that nights menu is. The food is good but trying to customize a meal is difficult as you must order at least 24 hrs in advance. All, except 2 restaurants, must have a reservation, even though they are not filled. With empty tables at 8PM, you cannot just walk in. When we boarded we were told we needed an Australian Visa...but why wasn’t that notification made prior to boarding? So, request was made by Muse, but they applied to agency other than govnmt. Which charged more than double, notification was made about the problem and I was told I had to solve it. Fortunately others had same problem, so Muse handled the problem. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Being Cunard we expected something better that Holland, Princess and Royal Caribbean but we were disappointed. We booked some months in advance and requested the early dining @ 6pm but found we had been allocated 8:30pm. No good for me ... Read More
Being Cunard we expected something better that Holland, Princess and Royal Caribbean but we were disappointed. We booked some months in advance and requested the early dining @ 6pm but found we had been allocated 8:30pm. No good for me with gastric reflux issues. We saw the Maitre D' who was disinterested but put us on a waitlist of 2 pages of other people. This meant we ate in the Lido Buffet for the first two nights - the food was typical cafeteria food and nothing special. After 2 night of poor food we complained to the Purser that we didn't book the QE for poor quality food. Next day we were given the early dining. We joined in Adelaide but 2 people on our table joined in Melbourne and had only booked 3 days before and were given early dining - pathetic. TV picture quality in Balcony room 6119 was poor, given that we were cruising in Australian waters there were no Australian channels for news. At the time we had bush fires in TAS, NSW and floods in QLD and parliamentary chaos federally and in NSW so news would have been nice to hear. The shows were excessively loud, even with ear plugs and pretty boring. Service in the main Dining room was very good once we got access to it. Service in the Lido buffet was not good, especially if you were old and with a walker (not us). We helped an old lady get a glass of water because none of the staff would and she said she had to get only a half-full glass because it would spill carrying it back on her walker. A couple of the lectures were interesting 1. Lowry the painter and his stick people paintings; 2. RAF pilot and his experience of being shot down in the 1st Gulf War and being captured. In addition there were water colour painting classes which were very helpful. On shore tours were the usual price of most cruises but there were some interesting ones. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Last year we really enjoyed a 14 night Baltic cruise on Queen Elizabeth in a Princess Grill room. Decided to try the Queens Grill on this short cruise and regretted the decision to move up from the Princess Grill. The Queens Grill room was ... Read More
Last year we really enjoyed a 14 night Baltic cruise on Queen Elizabeth in a Princess Grill room. Decided to try the Queens Grill on this short cruise and regretted the decision to move up from the Princess Grill. The Queens Grill room was larger but didn’t provide a significant upgrade over the Princess Grill. The Queens and Princess restaurants have the same menu and waiting staff rotate through the range of restaurants so there was no upgrade there. The menu in the Grills restaurants is very conservative and quite bland but the waiting staff were excellent and dealt very well with some very rude passengers. The singers and dancers currently on the Queen Elizabeth are much better than the previous group and the entertainment was really good on this cruise. The room staff, waiting staff and other service staff were very good but the security staff who manage the port disembarkation/embarkation were awful and on a number of occasions were rude and overly officious with passengers attempting to get on or off. The things that annoyed us with the earlier Cunard cruise, very expensive Internet and the gratuity/service charge gouging, haven’t changed and we’ve decided we won’t travel with them again until this is improved or they are offering free gratuities and Internet. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because it included Australia and New Zealand. This is a beautiful, well appointed new ship. The crew was fantastic, the food, and the entertainment were very good. There is never a long wait for dining, and every ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it included Australia and New Zealand. This is a beautiful, well appointed new ship. The crew was fantastic, the food, and the entertainment were very good. There is never a long wait for dining, and every seat has a view.The shore excursions left something to be desired, but they are new to this itinerary, so I can forgive them. We had a few problems one night, however, when we went to the proper channels they were quickly correctly, and from that moment on, we were treated like royalty by the entire staff. The embarkation process at each port was very slow because it seem that every tour came back the same time, and they only had one entry to the ship. The included Wifi was great. No trouble communicating anywhere. Overall, we would be very happy to sail with Viking again. This was our 39th cruise, and our first on Viking. We are an older couple, so we wanted a quiet ship , so if you're younger, looking for excitement, don't go on this ship. No children under 18 yrs and there were no couples on the ship under 45 of yrs of age. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This is our review of our recent trip from Sydney to Auckland on the Silver Muse. We were fortunate to have booked an Owner’s Suite in the ship and we were expecting to be blown away by the whole experience but, unfortunately, it did not ... Read More
This is our review of our recent trip from Sydney to Auckland on the Silver Muse. We were fortunate to have booked an Owner’s Suite in the ship and we were expecting to be blown away by the whole experience but, unfortunately, it did not really end up that way. Embarkation and disembarkation Very good and smooth. Food and Restaurants In our opinion, the food was excellent all round and although other reviewers complained of the lack of variety, the menu is changed every 7 days at the evening restaurants, except for “La Dame”. We felt this catered for enough variety as there are various dishes within one menu to guarantee no repetition of the same dish within two visits to that restaurant in a 7-day cycle. We loved the pizza at “Spaccanapoli”, the lamb at “La Dame” and the overall experience at “Indochine”. Perhaps the one restaurant that lagged was “La Terraza” (Italian) in the evening. We felt the food there could be improved. Service on board Outstanding, that is all we can say. Every single member of the crew made us feel welcome and always greeted us with a smile. We would like to point out the outstanding service provided by Shinuda (maître d’) who was always helpful and happy, Gabor at Indochine who went out of his way to make sure that our wishes were met, and Nuria at Indochine who was always happy and cheerful and made our dinners a joy. Butler For some reason our butler was not as good as it could have been. Not much attention to detail and seemed to be stressed most of the time. We have had better experience with butlers before. This was not one to remember. Entertainment and activities onboard We had a guest guitarist, Vincenzo, who gave two shows in the 15-day cruise. Very good. The Silversea singers were very good but on a 15-day cruise, their shows, we found them to be repetitive. Silversea should consider bringing in more guest entertainers on longer cruises. Our cruise director was good. Activities were average. Cabin That was our biggest disappointment. Having the Owner’s suite booked we had high expectations as regards services, overall experience and luxury. The reality is that other then the size of the room (basically 3 varanda suites -one with no balcony - put together into one suite) the overall experience is the same as any other suite in the ship. We expected to receive additional perks to the standard suites for the cost of the Owner’s suite but that was not the case, but the cost of the suite is over x2.5 times that of a standard Varanda suite. The sitting/dining room had two large TV sets opposite one another in a room that was no more that 5 meters in distance between opposing walls. We did not understand the reason for two TV sets in such a small space and it felt as though one of them was an afterthought to justify the suite category. Totally unnecessary. Our experience with the owner’s suite is that it simply is not worth the money and they do not represent value for money. We are not likely to ever book an Owner Suite or any of the other top suites until there is a clear value for money appreciation in the suite. Booking a Varanda suite will get you the same level or service and extras and if you are after more space, then a Silver suite is a more reasonable option. Just as a point in reference, we had an Owner’s suite quoted for a trip to Antarctica in 2021, the cost was quoted in excess of $110K whereas the Varanda for two costs $35K. Bear in mind you are getting exactly the same service on board. Just not worth the money in our opinion. Crew Never saw them. Did we have one?. Ports and excursions The destinations were what sold us the cruise. Outstanding experience, amazing journey. The excursions were good, and we particularly appreciated the Middle Earth (Littleton, NZ) excursion hosted by Hammond Peek, he made our day – excellent person and great host. Passengers We felt that the average of the cruisers was more in the late 60’s – over 70’s range. Perhaps the distance, time of the year and cost keeps away younger people. My wife and I are 55+ and would have preferred a merrier atmosphere and not so formal. The sea days were particularly tedious with almost no entertainment in the swimming pool which gave it an impression of a 5-star hotel with no entertainment. This area needs to be improved. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
(Apologies if this is a bit long, but I know i love to get all the details when I read a review!) Day 1 - Boarding As others have noted Ponant are very strict with their 1 hour boarding window, and even turning up 15 minutes early ... Read More
(Apologies if this is a bit long, but I know i love to get all the details when I read a review!) Day 1 - Boarding As others have noted Ponant are very strict with their 1 hour boarding window, and even turning up 15 minutes early meant we were only able to leave our luggage and head for a beer in the brewery next door! Boarding in Cairns was very straightforward, with no Immigration requirements as this was an Australian cruise. There was a short delay boarding while both the Captain and the Chairman (Sarina Bratton A.M.) greeted every passenger. Once on board we were escorted to our cabin (312 which is about 10m from Reception). First impressions of the cabin were excellent. The light airy décor and general cabin layout were good, and the cabin was spotless. Departure As the next day was a port call at Lizard Island, the programme once aboard was rushed. Just time to grab a welcome drink before at 5pm (as boarding finished) there was an expedition briefing in the theatre and issue of lifejackets for the Zodiacs. Then back to the cabin to retrieve our full lifejackets for lifeboat drill in the theatre at 5:30pm – fortunately nothing is too far from anywhere on Le Laperouse. This was immediately followed by drinks on the rear deck for sailaway at 6pm, then dinner from 7:00pm. Day 2 – Lizard Island Our call at Lizard Island was affected by weather with the preferred anchorage unsuitable due to wind and swell. However the crew had a Plan B and we stopped on the other side of the island (although the captain was unable to anchor and had to drift and reposition the ship all day). This meant a slightly longer 15 minute Zodiac trip to the beach, and no real opportunity for snorkelling although the water was pleasant for swimming. The passengers were split into 4 colour groups for the duration of the cruise, and this determined your activity order and Zodiac boarding time. Generally this process ran pretty efficiently and too schedule. There were a couple of guided walks offered morning and afternoon which weren’t too strenuous and allowed us to become better acquainted with some of the Expedition team. Sailaway preceded the Captains Welcome party on the rear deck and the first of what proved to be many 6-course degustation dinners! Dress was what I describe as ‘semi-formal’ with most men wearing jackets, some wearing a tie as well, but others in long-sleeve shirts and slacks (noting it was 30ºC plus outside). Due to the balmy weather, the Grill on Level 3 was open every meal for those who didn’t wan’t a large extended dinner or wished to dress more casually. Day 3 & 4 – Willis Island Due to the massive complexity of Australian marine regulation (discussed by Sarina Bratton during her Q&A session) the cruise included 2 days at sea to make a “technical stop” at Willis Island. This constitutes ‘leaving Australia’ and avoids coastal-cruising fees which otherwise would be lumped onto the fares. Activities during what were effectively 2 sea days included lectures from the Expedition crew, and Sarina’s Q&A session. Snorkelling equipment was also issued to those so inclined, which you kept for the duration of the reef visits. A highlight was the seafood luncheon prepared by the guest chef, Guillame Brahimi, and the first of his 2 degustation dinners. Worth noting that the degustation dinners took nearly 2.5 hours to get to the final course as everyone was served at once. Day 5 – Hardy Reef The visit to Hardy Reef involves being moved by Zodiac to a moored reef pontoon some 20 minutes away by Zodiac. This is due to the restricted anchorage available for ships of this size. Due to choppy weather conditions, everyone got soaked en-route to the platform – fortunately the water was warm! We had the run of the platform except for between 11am and 4pm when we were joined by day-trippers. This included a ride in a semi-submersible over the reef, an underwater observatory, and snorkelling. Coffee, tea and water and toilets were available on the platforms cruise boat moored at the platform. Day 6 – Percy Island We moored off Percy Island in calmer conditions with a 5-10 minute ride into the beach. The crew had erected beach umbrellas on the sand, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and 2-man kayaks were available to tour the small lagoon at the end of the beach during the morning. 2 walks were available, which were a bit more strenuous than Lizard Island, although a few wilting passengers were kindly transported by ute and quadbike by the residents (all 5 of them). Percy Island’s highlight is the “Yacht Club”, a large A-frame building covered in plaques and memorabilia from passing yachts (and cruise ships) – you could spend hours looking through them all. A pleasant surprise in the afternoon was a ‘cocktail party’ on the beach with rum punch, champagne and beer and a game of boules! Followed by another degustation dinner… Day 7 – Lady Musgrave Island Ponant arranges with the Lady Musgrave Experience tour boat for access to its facilities at Lady Musgrave Island. This includes snorkelling of their large reef boat, a glass-bottom boat tour and a walk around Lady Musgrave Island to see the turtle rookeries and bird colonies. However, rough weather made it impossible for the Zodiacs to be loaded, although the captain to his credit tried everything. Ultimately, to our amazement, they arranged to try a direct boat-to-boat transfer to the large reef boat! Some great seamanship on both sides saw 110 passengers taken to the reef to get a shortened experience for 2-3 hours. The snorkelling was excellent, and the guided walk (although necessarily short) was well done. All credit must go to the captains and crews for making it possible – lots of other cruises ships would have called it off hours earlier. Days 8 & 9 – At sea The next two days saw us cruise in increasingly better weather down the Australian east coast. An advantage of a ship with no casino, and smaller size, means they travel closer to the coast and there is more to see. One morning it was our colour groups turn at a Wine and Cheese Tasting hosted by the Sommelier, a chance to try some of the wines on the wine list paired with some excellent French cheeses (a step up from those on the buffet). Another degustation dinner… Day 10 – Newcastle Newcastle is a former steel making town that is re-inventing itself as a tourist destination based on its beaches and proximity to the Hunter Valley winery region. Ponant had organised an included tour, with each colour group boarding a coach to visit three of four wineries in the Hunter (so no 2 groups were at the same place at the same time), with all coaches converging on one winery for a 2-course lunch with some excellent local wine. A good day capped off with another degustation dinner… Day 11 – Sydney Our visit to Sydney highlighted the crisis the iconic harbour suffers with insufficient cruise ship capacity (particularly for large ships). We were unable to moor at the Overseas Passenger Terminal until 7pm due to another ship being port, and no other berth being available. The day started very well with the ship pulling into Broken Bay at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. Zodiac tours ended up at a “surprise” location on a local tourist boat where we had an oyster shucking and testing session with some nice local wines – I sat among a group of non-oyster eaters and had a great time! The oysters were wonderful. About 30 passengers disembarked (mainly due to early flights the following day), and the remainder were allowed off from about 8pm to wander around The Rocks and Opera House precinct. Day 12 – Sydney Disembarkation was a nightmare – although it wasn’t particularly Ponant’s fault. At 4am Le Laperouse had to leave the OPT and moor at a mid-harbour anchorage so a large Carnival ship could berth. Passengers baggage was taken off and left at the OPT. The remaining passengers had to disembark by tender from 7am. This involved a bumpy 20 minute tender ride to the steps of the Opera House, very difficult for passengers with reduced mobility. That’s where the fun started… We were then herded across the Opera House forecourt by rude Security staff and loaded onto small buses to be taken to the OPT to clear Border Force formalities and get our baggage. This trip took nearly 20 minutes to cover what would be a 5-10 minute walk… Once at the terminal (about 8:15) we were forced to sit in the terminal (unless you joined the escorted tours to the toilets) until nearly 9:30 while Border Force finished with the Carnival ship. After all that, the actual Border Force process involved handing over the Incoming Passenger card and walking through… they would have processed all the passengers in less than 5 minutes. We could have dropped the cards in a box and been just as thoroughly processed. A very ordinary introduction to Sydney for our international visitors (although perhaps no great surprise to those of us locals who put up with their bureaucratic nonsense on a regular basis!). Overall Impression The Cabin Main Area – The bed and pillows were very comfortable, and the air-conditioning well controlled. The only real issue is the very narrow space at the foot of the bed requires the occasional pas-de-deux with your companion. Storage – shallow draws beneath the bedside tables (wide on one side of the bed, narrow on the other) with some space below. Good cupboards under the bench below the TV (although draws might have been better). Main wardrobe had good hanging space and plenty of hangers, with a shelf above (occupied by life jackets) and 4 storage shelves full-height on the side. Another cupboard to the side held the coffee/tea facilities (including a Nespresso machine and a kettle) and the mini-bar fridge (stocked with gin, vodka, scotch and bourbon along with beer, sparkling water, Coke, Coke no-sugar, tonic and fruit juice). The under-bed space was sufficient to store suitcases, although larger cases would need to be ‘butterflied’. Bathroom - The separate toilet and shower are a good idea, although the toilet cubicle is very small! The shower recess is quite roomy for a ship. All products were Hermes (a tie up with a parent company). There is a single large draw and 2 shelves and some bench space around the sink for storage. The only issue was that you can’t plug the sink to shave. Entertainment A large flat-screen TV has about 15 channels of mixed French/English entertainment and news channels, as well as channel for the front webcam and another for an underwater camera. There is a wide selection of new and old movies (although “Titanic” and “Lifeboat” may be odd choices for a cruise ship!). The only sport was mainly soccer (EPL etc), although watching the Super Bowl in French was novel! The Ship The ship generally has everything you want. Social life focusses around the main lounge and bar and the Grill area outside in fine weather, and in the Panorama Bar/Lounge above the Bridge. The much vaunted Blue Eye lounge is only open a few hours a day, and was rarely used. A short “Blue Eye Experience” was interesting, but otherwise it wasn’t open when you wanted it to be… The medical centre is staffed by a doctor and nurse, and a couple of people who had need of their services said they were helpful but expensive! The shop sells a lot of clothing and a few souvenirs, but doesn’t really stock any forgotten necessities. The Spa was well customised, the Sauna is beautiful (but not much used when it was already 30 plus outside!) and I believe there was a gym ! The theatre is comfortable and spacious, and can seat all passengers at once. It is used for daily recaps and briefings on Excursion cruises, and shows with the ships dancers on roughly alternate nights, weather permitting. The open-bridge policy is nice, and the crew are happy to answer questions. Once per cruise you can attend a bridge visit with the Captain who spent nearly an hour talking about the ship and it’s equipment and answering questions. The marina dock at the rear of the ship made boarding the Zodiacs relatively simple, and it can be raised to serve as a stage for the Captain’s welcome. Watching it unfurl itself from under the rear deck is a piece of theatre in itself! The Crew In a word, outstanding. Always friendly, quick to learn who you were and very visible and available – particularly the Captain who would frequently be on hand at the Marina as you boarded the Zodiacs. The opportunity was presented a couple of times during the cruise to ‘dine with an officer’ via a sign-up list at the Reception desk. We had two very pleasant dinners with crew, one hosted by the Reef Pilot and his wife, and once by the Cruise Director and the Shore Tours Manager. We were also joined by one of the Expedition team for a celebration dinner for my birthday. The waiters were generally engaging and efficient, and the bar staff quick to learn your preferences and anticipate your requirements! The Expedition team were all very friendly and engaged with the passengers frequently. When manning Zodiacs or taking guided walks they were well informed on the locations and wildlife. Our cabin steward was highly efficient but must have abseiled into the cabin ninja-like, as I think I saw him twice in 11 days for about 30 seconds each time. I never even found out his name… The Food… the food… the food… I guess that on a Food and Wine theme cruise, I shouldn’t have been surprised but there was SO MUCH FOOD…! Breakfasts were served either in the Nautilus Restaurant or the Grille, and were largely self-serve although egg dishes were available to order. A good range of juices, cereals, pastries, bread and hot food were available at the buffets. Lunch was similar, with one themed lunch run by the guest chef apart from the on-shore lunch arranged in Newcastle. Afternoon ‘tea’ food was available in the Main Lounge if you couldn’t hold out until dinner. Due to the theme, the normal 3 ‘Gala’ nights were supplemented by 2 others run by the guest chef, hence there were 5 six-course degustation dinners over 11 nights which was too much! To cap it off on the guest chef nights, you returned to your cabin to find a box of caramels or nougat on the bed… There was always a small treat left by the steward every night at turn-down, although many went uneaten as we couldn’t face any more food… The food itself was extremely good, and some of the dishes produced by the guest chef were sublime. There was a strong seafood content, although alternatives were always available, and a full vegetarian degustation was always offered in parallel on Gala nights. Room service was also available and included, but unused in my case. Drinks There was an ‘open’ bar including the in-cabin minibar, however there were a variety of extra-cost items and an extensive wine list with wines up to €900+ per bottle. There was also the option to purchase a €20 Euro/day (full duration only) package on the first 2 days that added more premium spirits and cocktails, and additional wines, to the package. Oddly, any premium spirit was charged at full cost despite the cost differential to the standard spirit being small (e.g. Johnnie Walker Red was included but Johnnie Walker Black was an extra €8 per serve, despite the cost differential between whole bottles being only roughly €10 in Australia or about €0.75 per serve – the same thing with Gordons vs Bombay Sapphire gin). The Itinerary The itinerary was as interesting as you would like an Expedition on the Great Barrier Reef to be. A pity that the local regulations forced the 2 sea days for the ‘technical stop’ as it would have been good to visit another part of the Great Barrier Reef (or one of the coastal towns). As a first time visitor, all the locations were interesting however they were all unsurprisingly to the same theme (swimming, snorkelling, beach) except Newcastle. In Summary Summing up this was a really excellent cruise despite the weather and the intervention of the Australian rules and regulations. Ponant have an excellent product and their crew are determined to make sure you enjoy your holiday. The cruise, even when hampered by weather, was conducted in good spirits and the small number of passengers made it very social as you ended up dining with nearly everyone at least once. As a first time Ponant cruiser, it was interesting to see the number of repeat cruisers with many following Sarina Bratton from her former Orion line. There was a definite French ‘touch’ to the ship, mainly in the décor, food and entertainment, but with 70% of the passengers being Australian the cruise was conducted entirely in English with all the crew bi- (or tri) lingual. I heard very few complaints (one woman was outraged she couldn’t order Eggs Benedict one day when it wasn’t the ‘egg of the day’) apart from the general concern about the disembarkation. A few passengers were amazed that they wouldn’t be able to disembark and make an 11am international flight – however their stupidity in booking a flight that required them to be at the airport (30 minutes from the terminal), an hour before the scheduled disembarkation time can hardly be laid at Ponant’s door, despite the passengers best efforts. All in all, highly recommended. We cruise again on Le Laperouse in 2 weeks to the Sub-Antarctic Islands and I can’t wait! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Words can’t do this cruise justice as is was far beyond anything that you expect The team are great and very knowledgeable. They are only too happy to share this with you. The wild life is amazing, beautiful and diverse. The ... Read More
Words can’t do this cruise justice as is was far beyond anything that you expect The team are great and very knowledgeable. They are only too happy to share this with you. The wild life is amazing, beautiful and diverse. The zodiac tours are great with lots of penguins all around you and the ship at Macca. They follow you like babies following mum. They are so fast in the water and waddle on land. The weather is cold but you are dressed properly and I was never cold. The ship is a great haven in the middle of nowhere. Warm, good food, drinks. There are rules that you have to abide by, no food to leave the ship, take nothing with you when you leave, stay on the boardwalk, don’t touch the wildlife. All outer clothes have to be vacuumed when you get back so as not to contaminate the next stop. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
New Zealand and Australia have been on my wife and my bucket list for a while and we did it on this cruise. It was as beautiful as we hoped. As was our cruise ship the Silver Muse. It is a new ship and very well done. Our cabin was ... Read More
New Zealand and Australia have been on my wife and my bucket list for a while and we did it on this cruise. It was as beautiful as we hoped. As was our cruise ship the Silver Muse. It is a new ship and very well done. Our cabin was exceptionally well laid out and the crew was very very friendly. It was obvious that Silver Seas has put their best onboard. For example, I normally have a night cap of Baileys Irish Cream and coffee in our cabin every night but the coffee maker was for espresso and not American coffee. But I found a bartender just down the hall that listened to me and prepared my night cap exactly the way I like it every night. Each crew member we passed smiled and said hello. Embarkation was somewhat disorganized. Check in on the dock was quick but we did arrive at a time where there were not very many people. But it was not complete. We had to do some further check in on the ship and this was a bottleneck. There were only four lines to service guests and they were backed up. Disembarkation was very easy. But again we were staying at a hotel in Auckland and did not have to leave with a lot of people. We tend to eat in our cabin but there are lots of dining venues. I was able to get sushi for lunch one day by just walking in and sitting down. Unfortunately the sushi rice was like the kind you get in a supermarket, not very good. We did not do any of the speciality dining but the main dining room was beautiful and all the food on board was very good. Except maybe for the hamburgers, in this day of gourmet burgers these were pretty bland. But then there were the pizzas, best we have had. Also, the lobster was just OK. Kind of hard to describe but while not badly prepared it was a little tough. One big problem for me. I have a gluten allergy that causes me to break out if it eat it. I spent most of the cruise broken out, meaning I was getting gluten, so if you are celiac i would not cruise on this ship. We did not do any of the silver Seas tours but heard complaints from other passengers. We also heard from one couple in a Silver Suite like us but on deck 9 that were kept up till midnight because they were under the kitchen for the Grill. They could not get another Silver Suite but had to sleep in a smaller cabin and spend the day in their suite. I would not stay on deck 9 under the area around the pool and kitchen because of all the activity. The biggest negative on the ship was the entertainment system. Watching involved a lot of buffering. In other words having what you are watching pause while the system caught up. I mean a lot, at times every few minutes. This happened for onboard movies, “live” feeds, and even the bridge camera. We even had the system get in a mode where it took over a minute to respond to a click on the remote. A reset took care of that but no amount of resets took care of the buffering problem. In addition, the system was hard to use. There was no easy way to navigate a movie and the home button on the remote did not take you home on the system. Overall we enjoyed our cruise. Having such a nice cabin and crew more than made up for the other issues we ran into. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had been on a Silversea cruise to Alazka on Silver Shadow and loved the size and service. The Muse was even better. We traveled with my Brother and his wife and it was there first Silversea experience. From the minute we arrived at the ... Read More
We had been on a Silversea cruise to Alazka on Silver Shadow and loved the size and service. The Muse was even better. We traveled with my Brother and his wife and it was there first Silversea experience. From the minute we arrived at the terminal Silversea treated us with class and diginity. We arrived at Sydney terminal at around 11am and thought we would try and drop off our luggage. We were pleasantly surprised that we were allowed to get on the ship and start our cruise. What a bonus. The service was amazing. After 2 days almost every crew member knew our names. We sat at the pool bar and ordered 4 separate drinks (Joey is the best). The next day he saw us coming and prepared the exact 4 drinks as ordered the day before. Sounds simple but it was special. The best addition that the Muse had was the pizza restaurant. We are pizza snobs and love Neopolitan style pizza. The pizza chef is from Florence but he had it down pat. Amazing Diavola pizza, almost as good as we had in Rome. We cannot say enough about the various restaurants. No complaints anywhere. I have read other reviews and we are either easy to please (Do not think so) or others may be expectting Michelin star restaurants. We spent a good amount of time at the pool deck with other couples we met and the pool staff were incredible. So many special people attended to everything we asked for and then some. The Muse has so many places to get away from it all and get an espresso, snack or a drink. The additional size of the Muse (%50 I think) compared to the 400 on the Shadow was not noticed. I could go on and on but have to go back to work. Congratulations to the Silversea team, a home run. We already booked our next cruise (On the Moon) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My partner and I with a group of friends cruised on Silver Muse for 14 nights from Sydney to Auckland. It was a wonderful cruise that exceeded all expectations; we have been cruising with SIlversea for over 20 years and have been on each ... Read More
My partner and I with a group of friends cruised on Silver Muse for 14 nights from Sydney to Auckland. It was a wonderful cruise that exceeded all expectations; we have been cruising with SIlversea for over 20 years and have been on each of the Silversea vessels many times; this was our first time on the Muse and we absolutely loved it. We were very impressed with the new direction that Silversea is taking: everything seemed to be more modern and more upmarket (and the product was terrific in the first place.) Lets start with the ship: its gorgeous! The layout is similar to the Spirit with certain areas expanded and improved, the décor is beautiful with a modern and elegant look, all of the rooms and spaces are accounted for with new additions such as the cute Arts Café and a supersized Lobby/Dolce Vita area, and the outdoor space has been enhanced with a pool and deck area that is longer/larger than the equivalent space on the Spirit (before it was lengthened) and an extra Jacuzzi aft. All good. We had a Deluxe Veranda Suite that was simply beautiful; the suites are (I think) slightly larger than on the Spirit but the new and very beautiful interior design makes the suites feel roomier and brighter. There was a super bathroom, good walk in closet, and lots of storage; all as expected on Silversea. Everything being new and fresh is a good thing and we enjoyed our Suite very much - simply superb! Dining was extraordinary: the food was terrific in each of the eight restaurants. The dining and reservation issue seems to have worked out on the Muse; the system is now perfected. We had advance reservations for many evenings and everything went according to plan; on our non-reservation evenings (when we ate at Atlantide or Indochine) we never had a problem getting a table directly even around 800PM which seemed to be the peak dinner hour. The décor at the restaurants is pretty and each venue has its own design and style. The food at each Restaurant was wonderful: we ourselves were surprised that we enjoyed Indochine as much as we did. Of course, La Dame is a wonderful dining experience and our dinner at Silver Note was an adventure in dining. So much fun. We also thought that the wines being served (and there was much variety in the standard categories) were rather good; Frank, the chief sommelier who we know for years, was onboard and very gracious towards us. The service that we received onboard was nothing short of spectacular; we knew many of the crew members and (I think) that they were genuinely happy to see us. At the restaurants, we were catered to at each and every meal regardless of venue - the head waiters and maître d's always checking and making sure that we were pleased. A big thanks to all of them, especially Giwa who made sure everything went well. Waiters, bar staff, and the pool staff were all active and engaged, knew our names by the second or third day, and looked after us. Our butler, Alan, was marvelous and took care of many details for us (including a ridiculous amount of laundry) and Sam, our cabin attendant did an outstanding job looking after of our cabin which was always spotless. Although we do not do ship shore excursions, the members of the shore excursion team were helpful and assisted us with a smile. All good. As for entertainment and activities, its standard Silversea. The singers were lovely and had talent and we went to a few shows.....but entertainment has never been and never will be Silversea's strongest point; this is not where small ship cruise lines excel. The cruise director, lecturers, entertainers and social staff were all engaged and passengers seemed quite happy. The only odd thing was that many of the production shows were scheduled for 615PM which we found unacceptable as we don't care for early shows; scheduling the shows early left us with little to do after dinner. It was not a big deal, just strange. As always with Silversea, embarkation was a breeze (from curbside at the port to La Terraza for Lunch in less than 30 minutes) and debarkation was even quicker with us leaving exactly at the designated time. Our Sydney to Auckland itinerary was lovely: this is the third time that we have done this cruise over the years but Australia and New Zealand are absolutely beautiful and the ports of Burnie, Picton, Napier and Gisbonre were all new to us. And, its always wonderful to spend a few days in Sydney before embarkation. I cannot comment on the shore excursions: we make our own arrangements and tour independently with private guides so that we can set out own pace (we move more quickly than most ship operated excursions) - it works out better for us. Our only issue was internet at sea; its frustrating and remains so on the Muse. In our technology driven world where we are all dependent on the internet for just about everything, its time for internet at sea to catch up. I understand that this is not a Silversea issue (we have had the same problem on Regent and other small ship cruise lines) but, nonetheless, reliable and fast wifi is a necessity and not a luxury in 2019. In summary, we had a wonderful experience on Silver Muse and look forward to her sisters Silver Moon and Silver Dawn joining the fleet; as a "small-ship person" I never thought that my partner and I would like the "larger" Muse as much as we did. Also, we adapted to the multiple dining venues much more easily than we thought we would - we both always loved the ease and simplicity of the Restaurant on the smaller Silversea vessels. We cant wait to return and are already planning our next voyage with Silversea: we are deciding between the Med and Northern Europe for the summer and its probably South America next winter Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I go on a cruise almost every year. We have cruised with Crystal, Regent, Ocena, Princess, Cunard, Holland America over the years. Crystal has always been our preferred cruise line. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: ... Read More
My wife and I go on a cruise almost every year. We have cruised with Crystal, Regent, Ocena, Princess, Cunard, Holland America over the years. Crystal has always been our preferred cruise line. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: (1) I badly wanted to visit my mother's grave in Hobart (Tasmania) and this cruise included Hobart in its itinerary; (2) we wanted to go to Australian Open tennis tournament after the cruise; and (3) we wanted to see the main cities of New Zealand and Australia. Additional considerations for us included the newness of Viking Orion, good reviews of Viking ocean cruises, being only for adults and no requirement for formal attire. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The ship was beautiful; eveything on the ship had been tastefully designed. Our cabin was on deck 6 and classified as deluxe veranda; its size was perfectly satisfactory, the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was fine. There was an excellent fridge in the room and the WiFi signal was acceptable. In commen areas WiFi worked very well about 80% of the time (10-15 Mbps), which is excellent considering the remote areas we were sailing at. Dining: There were two specialty dining venues in addition to the main dining room and the "world cafe" where food was served buffet style. There were also three other locations where one can have open sandwiches, hamburgers etc. Entertainment: Compared to other cruises there was minimal entertainment of relatively low quality. Since we didn't much care about the generally low quality stage performances on cruise ships this was not an issue for us. The lectures were fine. Now, why do I give this cruise only 2 stars: The captain decided not to go to Christchurch and more importantly Hobart for weather related reasons. In his announcements he repeated that "our safety was his main priority" and provided only scant reasons for his decisions, which didn't satify anybody because weather, as far as we could determine, was not particularly bad at either port. That is two ports of call out of seven. I was very disappointed and angry as I wondered when will I ever have another chance to go to Hobart. So we ended up spending two extra days at sea and one extra day in Melbourne, which meant nothing to us because we were going to be in Melbourne for Australian Open anyway. The food was prepared by non-specialist cooks and the quality was in general quite poor. Our first dinner on board was just awful and I knew right at the outset we were going to have problems with food quality. Dinner on December 31st, New Year's Eve, was nothing special. They made no effort whatsoever to celebrate the arrival of the new year in the dining room. The variety of the food items included in the menus of the main dining room and the World Cafe became absolutely monotonous and boring. Fruit selection consisted of melon, watermelon, pineapple, apples, and strawberries all of which were tasteless. There was plently of meat but very little edible seafood. They even managed to cook salmon welldone! Shellfish was also plenty but tasteless. Imagine, you are travelling in the middle of summer in places that are well known for their vegetables and fruits (e.g. kiwi fruit, mangos, peaches, grapes) and none of them made an appearance at our dinner table. Same for seafood. The fish served were all of European origin and frozen - that's probably why they always cooked the fish until it was compeletly dry. Barista coffee was bad - we were told by one of the coffee baristas that the machines, not the coffee beans, were to blame. The staff clearly needed more training and better language skills. Often they did not understand what we asked for. Poorly selected music (rock, country etc.) played loudly on deck 7 where everyone congregated most of the time. The cover over Deck 7 would often be closed when the weather was hot with no wind making the place like a sauna and open when it was windy and cool. I mentioned this to staff and got no response. The included shore excursions were good. We received an email from Viking offering us $250 credit towards a future Viking cruise for missing out on two ports of call. I also received a phone call from a Viking representative after we returned home who tried to sell me another Viking cruise by offering "additional (to $250) cruise credit as further compensation". That is not an acceptable service recovery in my book. I will not go on another Viking Cruise and my wife feels the same. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I picked Viking For my ocean cruise because they did such a wonderful job on my river cruise in Europe. Unfortunately they are beginners on the ocean. The cruise was disappointing On many levels to the point of me feeling I had wasted my ... Read More
I picked Viking For my ocean cruise because they did such a wonderful job on my river cruise in Europe. Unfortunately they are beginners on the ocean. The cruise was disappointing On many levels to the point of me feeling I had wasted my money. Unlike the river cruise which was leisurely with a pampered and elegant feel, the ocean cruise was hurried And low budget. We missed several ports of call because passengers got seasick and there was too much wind? Unlike other cruises that pass out nausea medication prior to hitting open sea, Viking waited until passengers got sick and then rationed seasick pills. Some bought them in the pharmacy. There were barf bags On every floor. I saw one passenger vomit in the dining room. I didn’t see any wind. I do get seasick without medication but the water looked fine to me.There were rumors that the crew Lacked Ability to get into the harbors. The staff were all very pleasant and agreeable but lacked real comprehension of English. I was told my laundry was included in my cabin but was charged for it. A communication misunderstanding. I qualified for a free pressing but not for free washing.At dinner the waiters explanation of the meal described a casserole but it was just a piece of roasted chicken. The gentleman who gave the daily slideshow presentation had such a thick accent that we understood little of what he said. We were stuck for several days On board with Little to do Unless you play bridge or drank all day.Even our TV didn’t work. It took four calls for maintenance for them to replace the remote Which we said was the problem during the first Maintenance call. Unlike my river cruise where my gluten-free meals were arranged daily by one wonderful staff member, there was no coordination of meals On this cruise. I had to ask at every meal for gluten-free options. Sometime I got a stare. Often I got a cold roll after I had finished all of my meal. One time I was told to go stand in line at another location, ask for the bread and then come back to get the rest of my meal. I was told at times that there wasn’t a gluten-free option. I got daily letters at my cabin addressed to Mr. But I am a woman not a man. They never did fix it. Considering how many thousands of dollars I paid for the trip you would think they could at least know that much about me. My brother got food poisoning after eating mussels in the restaurant. My sister made several trips to the infirmary From riding in the wheel well Of a Jeep during A long day excursion. They missed several day excursions and Viking would not refund what they paid for them. I wrote a detailed letter to Viking when I returned home listing all of the above problems and more because there were more. All I got was a voucher toward another cruise which expired in 12 months. Absolutely insulting! After a cruise like that who would want to repeat it ? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The evening shows have always been the weakest of the Silversea's offering followed by the tours which tend to be lame and very overpriced. On the Silver Muse just about everything else is sub standard as well. It would seem ... Read More
The evening shows have always been the weakest of the Silversea's offering followed by the tours which tend to be lame and very overpriced. On the Silver Muse just about everything else is sub standard as well. It would seem Silversea has had problems finding enough extra staff for this relatively new larger ship and as a result many of the barmen are incompetent and waiting staff untrained. The chef's too have some weird interpretations of well known dishes albeit this is not the weakest area. 8 restaurants is too many though, better fewer and less strange.Our cruise from Bali to Sydney was not full (it would have been even worse on many fronts if it had been) but even so they ran out of things. What was even more unacceptable was that people left and joined the cruise at nearly every port making it seem like an upmarket ferry. Some were on for just 2 days! Needless to say we were not given or told about this option having booked and paid long ago. Due to Silversea not doing well currently they are now offering all manner of incentives such as this, included tours and cabin credits to try and get bodies in beds. They are very keen during the cruise to sell future cruises to their captive audience but based on the above one must seriously question the wisdom of falling for this. The price may rise as time passes but so very well may the incentives! As for celebrating Christmas I would simply say that in my opinion Jingle bells and Rudolph the red nosed Reindeer are not carols. New Year was a little better being harder to get wrong. All in all this felt like a shakedown cruise which is not what we paid for. The private owners of Silversea sold 67% of it last year. They made a mistake - they should have sold 100% as the once very good Silversea is slipping down the rankings fast. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Fantastic cruise with every segment connected to the ship Fantastic. Like heaven. Ship pristine and staff excellent and friendly. Everything perfect on the ship. The hotel before and after and the excursions were not the same level. The ... Read More
Fantastic cruise with every segment connected to the ship Fantastic. Like heaven. Ship pristine and staff excellent and friendly. Everything perfect on the ship. The hotel before and after and the excursions were not the same level. The ship is stunningly beautiful and is filled with staff who have the goal to please every guest. Food is great. You can order anything if you give the chef 24 hours notice. You can order from the 24 hour menu anywhere on the ship. Don’t miss the galley or bridge tour. The chef is a character. Reception can help. The butlers Are professional and not just wearing a uniform. If you have a special occasion, they’ll decorate your cabin. Grab pool seats early as they can get taken on sea days. Excursions- not the same level as Silversea. Excursions were disappointing. Over crowded and too much driving with less fun than expected. Read Less

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