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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I’ll keep this short as I find I stop reading if people write to much. In bullet point fashion. Embarkation: great Cabin steward: absolutely marvellous and they always are. Ship: a bit tired looking, could do with new carpets ... Read More
I’ll keep this short as I find I stop reading if people write to much. In bullet point fashion. Embarkation: great Cabin steward: absolutely marvellous and they always are. Ship: a bit tired looking, could do with new carpets and paint etc. Staff: reception: awful. If a smile is all your after, that’s all you will get. They really are dreadful. Waiting staff: at breakfast they are miserable and slow even though we were all extremely polite and patient. The evening the attitude is slightly better. Other guests: Rude, arrogant and miserable. Honestly why come on holiday if your going to be like that. I’ve found this to be true on Victoria as well. I think this contributes to the mood of the staff. Food: very good. Kids club: great Pools: dirty (all of them) I went in with my son wearing goggles and wished I hadn’t! Perhaps I’ve gone on too much but really I don’t expect anything to change and if Your only interest is to tell people you’ve been on Cunard you’ll probably continue to put up with it. Holland America beats them hands down (I’m English btw). Enough droning as I’ve definitely gone on too long. Happy cruising Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and feel I have a critical but fair eye. I had high expectations of this line and particular ship from word of mouth recommendations and other favorable reviews. I was quite disappointed and will list out all of my reasons while still making sure to give credit where credit is due. I will start with the positives first. My overall summary of the below is at the bottom of this review. Cabin: Our cabin was very nice and spacious. Bed and pillows are comfortable, ample room with a nice walk in closet and separate seating area. Bathroom has a double sink which is very nice, shower is marble and still small but pressure very good. Bathtub a waste of space in my opinion. Balcony nice size and overall room very spacious. We were in cabin 651 on the 6th floor located toward the center of the ship which was great. Molton Brown products in the bathroom and a selection of body soap offered on the first day. Room stewardess was attentive and did a very good job. Only complaint on the first day is that the room wasn’t cleaned well. The soap in our bathroom which was a body wash had been used and there was a lot of dust and finger prints on the table in the room. Otherwise, cabin was excellent and gets high marks from me. I believe we were in category V5. Ship: the ship is beautiful. Modern, clean, more yacht-like than cruise ship. A lot of wood paneling. 600 people but still felt very quiet even on sea days. Our favorite place to relax was the cappuccino lounge on floor 7 where they had tons of seating and recliners. Decor of the ship was very simple yet elegant. WIFI: very good! Much better WIFI than any other ship I’ve been on - in room technology good. Service: this is where our experience goes down the tubes. The service on this ship was HORRIBLE!! The staff do you a major favor and if asked for something that requires them to go out at all of their way, they are rude. We had some staff that were nice (mainly in cappuccino lounge and main dining room - except for maitre de) but all and all, the service sucked. Management lacks tremendously, customer service is non existent and the staff seem poorly trained, disingenuous and disinterested. I’ve really never experienced anything like this before - had we not met several other couples who also shared the same sentiment, I would have thought I was going crazy!! A few examples - almost every meal without fail we waited 10 minutes before getting anything to drink. If we needed a sauce to accompany a meal, we waited 10 minutes. In fact, we stopped ordering sauces because it was such a lost cause & by the time it arrived our meal was over. I asked for cream with my coffee - by the time the cream came, my coffee was cold. We were almost always at a meal with an empty drink that needed refilling. No accommodating what so ever. My husband likes the salmon in the colonnade - we asked if it could be served on the patio 20 feet away and they said no, they prefer not to. At dinner in the main, I asked if i could have a croquette that came with a different entree than what I ordered and was told no, they only had a certain amount and could not accommodate me. I mean, come on! I tried to move my Thomas Keller reservation because my husband wasn’t feeling well and was told with 11 days left on the trip that they couldn’t accommodate us. Finally, after getting the guest services manager involved, we got one at an undesirable time on a different day but at this point, we took what we could get. These may seem Iike minor gripes but we encountered them several times per day and was a major turnoff and took a lot away from the experience. The overall staff attitude was rude and requests of them felt like inconveniences. This in itself was bad enough to never return to this ship. As I said previously, several other couples experienced the same rude service. My husbands Camera was lost day 1 and finally arrived at our cabin with a cracked and dented lens. We requested compensation for the lens. Seabourn asked us to provide the link to the lens - which we did directly from the website - to prove it was $500. They tried to tell us it was a $200 lens (they had the wrong lens) and refused to refund us. We have yet to resolve this issue with them. Food - We are major foodies and we’re quite disappointed in the food on this ship. I will say that the quality is there in a lot of areas (not all) but the execution is not. Breakfast was good but the same every day. Not a bad thing, but boring after a while. A decent selection and probably the best meal. Lunch was a mixed bag. Salad bar always had nice items and the grill items - fish, burgers, hot dog, etc always very tasty and fresh. Meat quality good, fish quality good. My only complaint on the fish was it never had any seasoning or flavor - this was a major theme for most items on board - but I would still prefer to add salt vs. having the sodium and preservative packed food a lot of ships have, so this wasn’t a major complaint. All lunch hot food served in the chaffing dishes were slop and never hot. We almost never ate any of the prepared food served at lunch because it was room temperature and unappealing. Dinner : main dining room was respectable but not great. We didn’t have one meal there that was really delicious. Temperature was an issue and seasoning was non existent. I’ve never put so much salt on my food in my life. Service mixed. Our first night there we waited about 15 minutes before anyone came to our table. Finally the waitress comes over with an iPad looking down and says “what can i get you” - no greeting, no introduction. Very impersonal feeling. Sushi was nothing to write home about. A lot of rice and uninspired. I actually overheard someone say “it’s not as bad as gas station sushi” - I’ll leave it at that. The colonnade was OK - probably our least favorite. They do special nights like rib night or clam bake night and they look beautiful but just don’t quite execute it well. For example : rib night - the ribs came out in a beautiful Staub cast iron pan presented family style and looked delicious. Unfortunately, the ribs were dry, cold and had clearly been sitting on a heat lamp for an hour +. We sent it back and got a new rack that was the same dry and Luke warm ribs this time with some bbq sauce slathered on top. To put the icing on the cake, the assistant maitre de came over and instead of apologizing that the food came out lacking temperature and dry, explained that the ribs weren’t Texas style but st.louis style and weren’t supposed to fall off the bone..I mean ..really ? I’m not expecting anything more than a simple apology or some sort of follow up to see if the second round was better. Instead, I was blamed for expecting them to fall off the bone and they didn’t. I didn’t need ribs that fell off the bone, just didn’t want to eat something as dry as wood. The Patio by the pool in our opinion offered the best most innovative meals but even those fell short on flavor and execution. We also had a Northern Europe itinerary with a lot of rain and cool weather and found ourselves eating outside in the windy cold weather because the patio was the best choice. Thomas Keller which is the specialty restaurant was very good for a steakhouse on a cruise ship. I would say this is likely the best option on board. Food delicious but once again, service lacking. Not attentive and seemed to do you a big favor. We found in all restaurants that the deserts were mediocre and most didn’t taste cooked on board. I don’t think I had one desert I loved. I also found the breads were uninspired. In summary : good quality ingredients (for the most part ) that aren’t executed well. Oceania food trumps Seabourn by a landslide. A few other items to note: Older crowd, no children. Except for us (in our early 30s), most people were 65+. Not good or bad, just our cruise demographic. Free laundry was a nice feature with Miele commercial washers and dryers and complimentary detergent. Gym was small but clean, coffee on board was very good. Entertainment was respectable. Nice job at including different daily activities. Excursions - expensive but well organized. I read the ship docs at ports further away from the destinations to save on docking fees. Not sure if this is true. We did a few excursions - food provided on them was mediocre and limited and tours very pricey. Spa - didn’t use but quite expensive. Very few discounts offered throughout cruise. They had a “promotion” that if you do 3 treatments from a select number of services you get 10% off first, 20% off second and 30% off third. Note this is per cabin and not per stateroom. I know all cruise spas are expensive but this was more than canyon ranch on Oceania. I may have left stuff out but to summarize my overall impressions: cabin and ship top notch and classy, food better than the celebrity level lines but nothing special. Service was so bad it border-lined on offensive and as a result, I will likely not return to Seabourn. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge ... Read More
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge becomes bigger it is a definite improvement. However The Journey is a lovely ship, we did not notice any shabby areas, she gleamed! Add to the experience the wonderful crew, a Captain who was so personable and who made in scheduled ‘stops’ so the chef could source local Norwegian berries and cheese and you have a recipe for a fun time. We even did an oil rig safari! Not many can say that! The food, service and overall holiday was first class. We are already booking two back to back cruises with Journey in November, can’t wait. Caribbean here we come! Thank you Azamara for Azamazing holidays Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
My first impressions began with late lunch on embarkation day in Kings Court. Dodging employees with food carts, they didn’t give way for guests - to the point of being dangerous. Good food selections available, although meat over cooked ... Read More
My first impressions began with late lunch on embarkation day in Kings Court. Dodging employees with food carts, they didn’t give way for guests - to the point of being dangerous. Good food selections available, although meat over cooked to toughness. First day party impressive poolside and music was excellent as we watched NYC fade away. Our eight-person seating companions at dinner each evening were excellent and we promised to stay in touch. Disappointed in repeated shows in planetarium. Was hoping for something other than dark matter and meteorites. Arson lecture was really good. As was lecture on British history. Live shows excellent in theater but very short. My very favorite restaurant was the Golden Lion. Trivia contests and space sharing brought us in contact with so many fine people for the fun competitions. My biggest concern was uneven flooring that felt like rotting wood under carpets, especially in the casino. With all the alleged grandeur, this seemed dodgy. Would not opt for balcony cabin again. North Atlantic, even in dead summer, is not conducive to enjoying outdoors. We didn’t use it. Food good in Britannia but as I don’t drink much alcohol, waiter acted as if I was less than when I ordered a soft drink with my dinner. Public spaces are beautiful. I might do it again, but looking at nothing but water for seven straight days was trying. I was excited on day six when I saw actually spied a bird as we approached land. All in all, I wasn’t all that impressed after reading all the glorious reviews about this glamorous ocean liner. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose Princess because we had friends who suggested them. Princess exceeded our expectations. No problems with embarkation or disembarkation. The cabin, a deluxe balcony room, had all the space and amenities we needed, it was easy to ... Read More
We chose Princess because we had friends who suggested them. Princess exceeded our expectations. No problems with embarkation or disembarkation. The cabin, a deluxe balcony room, had all the space and amenities we needed, it was easy to manage getting around the ship and the entertainment was very good with a very good house band, Evolution, playing different music styles. Danced many nights and especially enjoyed Rock Night-great! Food was good to excellent in open seating dinning room where we ate every night. Never had a bad meal. The buffet, which we only used for breakfast and lunch when on ship, was huge and good. Really like eggs/omelets made to order every morning on buffet. The shows were great with a huge theatre so never a problem getting a seat. Booked all shore excursions with Princess. Just wanted to keep it easy and price was reasonable to third parties. Booked the small group tours in Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Oslo. Just went on our own in Tallinn and Warnemunde. All equal or better guides then we have had with European tours in the past. Really pleased we did it this way and the groups were always less number of people than allowed. Service on the ship was excellent!! Room always very clean and Princess people just very hard working and nice. My wife and I have been to Europe 8 times in the last 13 years and recently retired. We use the internet very little and no cell phone when we travel but internet and TV sometimes do not work well in the Baltic Sea or places like Russia. I always felt it was foolish to work on European vacations anyway so never did in any of my previous trips. We will cruise again and Princess will be the company we will use. It was a great experience and look forward to more. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship offering excellent entertainment options and an amazing dining experience. It does have some problems, as does every ship I've sailed on, but overall I think you'll enjoy your experience. ... Read More
Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship offering excellent entertainment options and an amazing dining experience. It does have some problems, as does every ship I've sailed on, but overall I think you'll enjoy your experience. First of all, it is not a young person's cruise. The average passenger on my cruise was 70+ years old. If you have trouble with elderly people walking very slowly in front of you and stopping suddenly for no apparent reason, you may be frustrated at times. At the height of the summer cruise season for families, there were hardly any children on board. Secondly, It is largely a British clientele, which I found charming. The average cruiser was well educated and well mannered. No line jumpers of chair hogs, which was refreshing. I could strike up a conversation with almost anyone I met and found most of them interesting. However, if you want to shoot the breeze about NASCAR, baseball and the NFL, you may be disappointed. Check-in was smooth on the dock, but scattered and unprofessional on board. No one met us in the lobby. There was no sign telling us where to go. We were boarded on the open deck three and had to find our own way inside. Even inside, no one greeted us or offered to help us find our cabin, lunch, etc.. We had to ask! Talk about a bad first impression. It got better after that. We had a suite and were dining in the Queens Grill. Our butler met us at the door (Suite 7050), took our alcohol orders for the in-room bar, showed us how to work everything in the room and walked us to the elevators to show us how to access the private Queen's Grill dining room. She was amazing throughout the cruise. She set up a cocktail reception in our room for a half dozen guests (the complimentary appetizer platter was huge and delicious). Lourdes took care of last minute laundry requests and kept our suite spotless. She also restocked the bar any time we were running low. The suite has a boxy crowded configuration which made the room seem much smaller than it was. There were plenty of electrical outlets with both American and British sockets. We had no problem keeping two cell phones, two tablets and two fitbits charged. The love seat is fine. There is adequate storage space and the butler stowed our empty luggage so we wouldn't have to worry about it. TIP: Don't remove your stateroom luggage tags. You'll need them to find your luggage at disembarkation! The balcony was large enough for a table and three chairs plus two loungers. The bed was very comfortable, however they do not use typical American sheets, on board, but rather European duvets. Very comfortable, but not what I'm used to. The bathroom was functional, with a private toilet room and a private room for showering and bathing, The tub was jetted and offered a very relaxing bath with bubbles. The towels were not soft at all, The teri cloth material made for the worst towels I've experienced in 25 cruises. The suite's bar was stocked with loads of teas, coffee and cookies. My wife and I each chose a brand of alcohol. I requested Crown Royal, even though it was not on the list offered by Cunard. The butler made it happen! The fridge was stocked with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, 7-Up, tonic nd soda water, Carlsberg Beer and plenty of water, Again, our butler replenished our bar twice a day! We dined in the Queen's Grill, which is the best dining experience on the seas, in my opinion. The menus are very similar to those in the Princess Grill and Britania Dining Room. The difference is we were invited to order off the menu at every meal, and the dining staff did their best to accommodate us. Among the items I ordered off the menu were: Caviar, shrimp cocktail, Dover sole, chateaubriand, lobster, veal parmasean, fettuccine Alfredo, pistaccio ice cream, french onion soup and several different salads. Basically, the sky's the limit, if they have the ingredients on board, The tables are close together. My wife and I were seated at a table for two, but conversed easily and often with diners at nearby tables. When we wanted privcy, we were left alone. However, we all became instant friends. Here's a tip: Be the first to say hello to someone and do it early in the cruise! Coincidentally, one gentleman, at a six-top next to us, turned out to be a Cruise Critic member I had conversed with on line! He and his wife were positively charming! I found the entertainment on board to be excellent. The big production shows were good, but not amazing, Headliners like the magician and acrobatic dance team were marvelous. And it seemed on any given night there were six or more venues offering music and fun. I've never experienced such a wide variey of musical enterrtainment on any ship I've sailed. It truly was a highlight of th cruise.And it meant fewer crowds. We never had a problem finding a table or a seat in the showroom for the late shows. The only bummer was the Grills Lounge never had live entertainment. The enrichment activities were a disappointment. Cunard offers wine tasting seminars on its web site. High end wine seminars. However, after pre-booking a very expensive tasting, we got on board to learn the wine seminars were canceled. In fact our sommelier told us they han't done the high end wine tastings in six months. Cunard refused to credit the money from my canceled wine tasting to my shipboard account and told me I'd have to try to get refunded when I returned home. VERY POOR CUSTOMER SEVICE on that! Tip: Do NOT PRE-ORDER WINE TASTINGS! There were 3 speakers on board. One was a retired fighter pilot, who offered some fun anecdotes about his flying career. The other two sounded so boring, I cannot even remember them. I believe one woman was discussing the film career of an actor I've never heard of. We did not use Cunard for shore excursions. We booked everything independently. I suggest you consider private independent shore excursions as well. Remember, every group tour moves as fast as its slowest member. Everyone else has to wait on the slow poke. You may only have one shot to visit some of these ports. Do you relly want to wait on that last person? Additionally, Cunard builds profit into its excursions. The independent tours are almost always cheaper. Cruise Critic has an excellent section devoted to independent tours. Disembarkation for this cruise was difficult, because we got off in Kiel. It is an hour+ drive to Hamburg from there. It's pricey and difficult to reach the airport in time to make flights to the USA. Many people opted to spend an extra day in Hamburg. Don't take the negative aspects of my review as an indication I was disappointed. I was not. I will definitely cruise Cunard again if I can find the right itinerary. And I will definitely book Queens Grille for the dining experience. These reviews are supposed to help future cruisers prepare, I hope I have! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose the Serenity having travelled on the Espirit and the Harmony and because we wanted to do a Baltic Sea Cruise. We have suite 11060 which is fine and it an added benefit to order dinner from any of the dining establishments. The ... Read More
We chose the Serenity having travelled on the Espirit and the Harmony and because we wanted to do a Baltic Sea Cruise. We have suite 11060 which is fine and it an added benefit to order dinner from any of the dining establishments. The check in was seamless. Our butler and cabin attendants, Jose and Lydia, were the best!!!! You could not find anything lacking in their lovely demeanor and commitment to our well being. The first two days we were in Copenhagen. The weather was less than attractive, rainy and overcast, but the city's personality shown through. The Danes are a wonderful people, very conscious of the environment, very hygge, the perfect city to start the cruise. The second port in Germany was kind of a bust. The town was ‘eh’. It is a nice little seaside town in Northern Germany. We took a long walk into town along a boardwalk filled with German tourists. English was rather sketchy. I recommend getting off the main tourist area and walking into town. They have a lovely church square and a sweet little park that the local use. Day 4 was the day at Sea and Formal Night. The cruise seemed very casual. Less than half the men was saw adhered to Crystal Casual or the Semi Formal attire. We had dinner in the dining room which is where our problems started. My husband was the first to succumb to the norovirus the morning of day 5. I will not subject you to the details, but suffice it to say it was extremely unpleasant. The medical team admonished him for not washing his hands enough, and he was quarantined leaving me to go to a lower floor overnight. His poor health lasted two days missing Helsinki and one day in St. Petersburg. I succumbed the 2nd day in St. Petersburg missing St. Petersburg and Tallin. I did not expect to find the Norovirus in such a high end cruise. I don’t have an official count but the ship has seemed very quiet and the medical center was very busy both days we visited. An airborne food disease is not the ‘fault’ of guests. It is the responsibility of the ship to provide a clean and disenfected environment. The first evening aboard the ship I witness tissue on the ground on the 11 floor, trash left in a stairwell to the work out room and napkins in the elevator. Really! On a Crystal ship! We have sailed on 17 different cruise ships since 1991 and this is the first time we have encountered the Norovirus. As far as other aspects of Crystal, I have yet to find a barista on board at least at the Marketplace that can make a decent cappuccino. How can you call yourself a luxury cruise line when the coffee station cannot make cappuccinos and don’t use the proper size cup to get the ingredients correct. I don’t drink alcohol but I do love my mocha and cappuccinos. Sorry to say, I have not had a decent one since we left the d’Angleterre hotel in Copenhagen. Excursion desk. My question is this, how can I purchase my ticket to the Russian ballet 5 months in advance and be seated with the crew, when someone who bought their ticket for the excursion a couple of hours before the show had tickets in the second row. Also, did I mention we purchased penthouse suite? That just did not make sense to me☹️. Also, you need better excursions. The company that took us to Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg also took us to a place to purchase souvenirs. On another day a private guide we arranged to use to a souvenir shop and the items were 40-50% less. Beware! I thought the service staff was great. Crystal society rep was less than lack luster, I approached while my husband was in the room, he was getting up to join his friend at the Cruise Sale desk. I stopped him to tell him what was going on, he did not ask me sit just let me talk to him in an open lobby, and immediately joined his friend when I was finished talking. I don’t like to say never, but after having travelled on the Espirit, I will not ever take another voyage on Crystal Serenity. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We thought we booked the same line we took on another cruise, but it turned out to be the Crystal Serenity, which was even better. The staff were happy, which we like because it means the company treats them well, then they treated us ... Read More
We thought we booked the same line we took on another cruise, but it turned out to be the Crystal Serenity, which was even better. The staff were happy, which we like because it means the company treats them well, then they treated us very well. We liked the way every time we sat down, whether it was in the central lounge on Deck 5 or the Forward lounge on Deck 12, there was someone approaching us to ask if there was anything they could get for us. It was called an "amenity" cruise, and it was indeed. We were treated extremely well from the time we arrived at the ship, throughout the cruise, and when we left to go home. The food was fabulous, the prosecco, chamboard cocktails and wine flowed freely, and there were light activity shore excursions that I could enjoy. Crystal is definitely now my favorite cruise line, and I hope we can take another cruise with this line soon. Having talked with others who have taken other cruise lines to the same locations, I find that the fact that Crystal allows you to take as many or as few shore excursions, but only pay for the ones you take, is an advantage. As my ability to walk decreases, I would take fewer shore excursions, but would enjoy every bit of the cruise as much or more than I did this time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We had taken a Viking River cruise and loved. I wasn't sure what to expect on there smaller ocean ships. It was and incredible surprise. They offers so much entertainment and the staff was prefect, after several days you were on a ... Read More
We had taken a Viking River cruise and loved. I wasn't sure what to expect on there smaller ocean ships. It was and incredible surprise. They offers so much entertainment and the staff was prefect, after several days you were on a first name basis, every staff member spoke English which was very nice, you wanted for absolutely nothing. Port excursions were excellent and well organized. Being 67 I appreciated this is not a cruise line for children nor is it a cruse line for gamblers who spend there day in a casino. Minus kids and gamblers made for a great atmosphere of fun and conversation. On a late arrival back to the ship after and all day trip to Berlin were were greeted by 200 of the ships crew in line out side the ship with a welcome back, music, champagne and horderves. Upon arriving at our cabin we found a plate of finger sandwiches, deserts and a bottle of win which a letter from the captain apologizing for the German train system delay, they did this for all 600 people who were on that train. Tell me what other cruise line would do that. I will continue to be a loyal Viking customer. Big ships with 5000 of your closest friends are not necessarily better Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally ... Read More
Iceland bucket-list trip on a tired old ship. Everything about the ship was off on this trip--rooms were worn, carpets stained, tables scratched, etc, tours late or over-booked, food so-so-ish, and service mostly good, but occasionally lax. Everyone from the Captain, yes the Captain, on down seemed unhappy with the ship and the itinerary. Rumors circulated that the Captain had complained about being saddled with this route at the Captain's dinner--"what did I do to deserve this...." My sense was that Windstar was just trying to get through a few more cruises on this ship before it enters drydock for a major overhaul in October. The ship's team talked constantly about the need to move on--every complaint was met with a sigh and a promise that the overhaul will fix all bad things. Don't like the broken shower faucets? We're fixing it. Don't like the drink stains on the table? We're replace them all. Wonder about all the repair work? Give us some duct tape and come back a year from now. Windstar did this to itself in many ways. Part of selling future cruises on this Iceland trip was to explain the company's desire to add cabins to every ship--the plans were widely advertised to passengers as a way to keep Windstar in the small-ship category by getting as close to 350 cabins without crossing over. Hence, the conversation was almost always about how tired the ships all are--"we'll be converting staterooms on the Wind Star here and on Star Pride there, etc., but will never go over. The whole dialogue was a distraction and left me wondering why we weren't told that this was a bucket of bolts before booking. And it definitely was a bucket of bolts. It was a great ship ten years ago after it was updated before joining the Windstar fleet, but it has suffered at every turn and the company has spackled its way to the drydock. Food was good, but this ship is not designed for an Iceland itinerary--not easy to eat outside when it is near freezing outside. And the inside amenities were, as noted, aging. Three ancient treadmills and two stationary bikes is not a fitness room and looping the same movies over and over day by day is not an entertainment program. As for ongoing service, reception desk was great but couldn't solve most problems--took us too long to get small things fixed and the ship was confused from time to time with scheduling, in part because Captain Surly was anti-social. The frontline staff was terrific as usual--highly motivated, but worn out by a brutal schedule. Lovely folks out of SE Asia for the most part on short-term contracts and 7-day schedules. Got to love them for their enormous effort. Nothing they could do about the ship's condition so far from the penny-pinchers in Seattle. Would I go on another cruise with the Windstar fleet after this? Absolutely. It's a fine company that cares about quality. I just wouldn't sail with them again this year or next. Give Windstar time to work through the kinks as its fleet goes into the renovations--these are major, major changes that involve cutting ships in half and adding new sections of cabins (see the promotional material at https://www.windstarcruises.com/starplus/). This is not just a little paint and new beds. I'm of the opinion that how a ship goes out is just as important as how it comes in. This cruise was a joy on many levels, but our satisfaction was IN SPITE of the company, not because of it. They have let this ship decline ever since they decided on the upgrades and it shows. Be careful about this, Windstar. Your own advertising about the upgrades contains the shadow of the neglect you've tolerated as everyone waits for the teardown. It showed on this voyage. If we had known more about it before booking, we would have taken another ship. Once burned, forever shy? (Oh, why does embarkation have to be such a crowded mess on Windstar? Not enough people and too little space to do this right on this ship. A mess and uncomfortable. Is that because the all-you-can-drink package sales-team is trying to make a sale? It's the last stop on this brutal, unhappy welcoming.) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was the first Viking Cruise we have taken, previously having sailed with Disney. The whole ship exudes quality both from the quality of furnishings, food and crew. The transfer arrangements went smoothly and without hitch. We had a ... Read More
This was the first Viking Cruise we have taken, previously having sailed with Disney. The whole ship exudes quality both from the quality of furnishings, food and crew. The transfer arrangements went smoothly and without hitch. We had a starboard cabin on deck 5 (5053) which had everything we needed and exceeded the quality of Disney product. The self service restaurant was where we had breakfast and lunch and food and choice were excellent. Evenings we are in The Restaurant which was waiter service and had the most wonderful server in Sophia - a credit to Viking, in our view. The food was well presented and delicious. One night we ate in Manfredis which was Italian specialty and delicious. We didn’t visit the Chefs Table but did lunch a couple of times in Madsens, the Scandinavian restaurant which was excellent. My only criticism was that some guests seemed to get to eat in Manfredis regularly and there should be limitations so that everyone can benefit! I have to say that the entertainment team were awesome led by Cruise Director Bevin, no mean singer in his own right either. His assistant Brian Rodriguez had an amazing voice and the vocalists Dan, Becky, Maddy and Damien performed shows each night that would not have disgraced the West End and backed by a terrific band. The crew from Capt Olav downwards were friendly and could not do enough for us. Special mention for Olex our barman as well. Shore excursions lived up to Vikings cultural enrichment theme and were well organised. We have already booked our next cruise whilst onboard! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I would like to comment on the excellent experience we had with my wife at Viking Sky. Before leaving, we had apprehensions regarding entertainment on board and the age of the passengers. We are not young (58 and 46 years old) but we ... Read More
I would like to comment on the excellent experience we had with my wife at Viking Sky. Before leaving, we had apprehensions regarding entertainment on board and the age of the passengers. We are not young (58 and 46 years old) but we knew that the average age was higher. The truth is that although the average age is higher, it was very nice for us to be on the boat without children or teenagers, without a casino, without photographers, without sellers of trinkets. the shows were of quality, the conferences very interesting, the first level gym, the extraordinary spa, the fantastic living rooms to read, the swimming pools with sun loungers available, the exceptional food both in the buffet and in the restaurant, always, and I insist, always with tables available for dinner, breakfast and dinners. This is our 15th cruise and we have used MCS, Costa, Royal, Azamara, Princess and Celebrity, and from all of the above we can say that Viking has been our best experience and best quality price ratio. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I chose this Viking’s “14 Day Into the Midnight Sun” trip specifically because it had port stops in the Orkney and Shetland Islands and also crossed the Arctic Circle. We also chose Viking due to their reputation and ... Read More
My wife and I chose this Viking’s “14 Day Into the Midnight Sun” trip specifically because it had port stops in the Orkney and Shetland Islands and also crossed the Arctic Circle. We also chose Viking due to their reputation and positive reviews we had read. Unfortunately our trust was misplaced and we will definitely not be using this cruise line again. First, the positives: airport arrival and embarkation were amazingly efficient and easy, the ship is beautiful throughout with spacious well-appointed suites, the food was excellent, and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately the rest of this review is less than stellar. The first problems we encountered were relatively minor: our luggage took over 7 hours to get to our stateroom, quite a bit longer than what we’d normally expect. Second, the remote control to our TV stopped working late at night and I had to get dressed and walk down to the help desk to retrieve a new one since I was cut off twice when I attempted to reach them by phone. These little irritations were a foretaste of what was to come later. Less than one day out of Greenwich the Jupiter lost an engine and had to return to the industrial port of Tilbury for repairs. The lost time subsequently led to cancellation of port visits to the Shetlands and Orkneys as well as reduced time at Edinburgh and Honningsvag. Needless to say we were extremely disappointed since visiting these destinations was a major goal of our trip. After the March incident involving the Viking Sky I felt that Viking would have ensured the mechanical integrity of the Sky’s sister ships, including the Jupiter. In a memo Viking assured us that we would be contacted regarding compensation after the trip was complete and that in the meantime we would receive a $250 per person non-refundable credit for shipboard purchases. However, instead of offering us a partial refund Viking would only offer a 20% discount on a future booking made within a year. According to one of Viking’s customer relations representatives this was justified on the basis that Viking wanted us to travel with them again in order to show us that they can deliver on a quality product. She offered no explanation when we challenged her as to why we would spend more money on a second cruise when our expectations on the first one had not been met. I certainly understand that missing ports due to ‘acts of God’ such as bad weather are beyond control and that’s a risk the customer assumes. However, mechanical problems should be the responsibility of the cruise line, especially when sister ships recently experienced such problems. It baffles me as to why some reasonable monetary compensation could not be provided since this has been the practice on other cruise lines. Suffice it to say that this was our first and will be our last cruise with Viking. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation ... Read More
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation was boring and bland. The dress code is not policed and many evenings gentlemen turned up to dinner in polo shirts. The shore excursions were expensive and sometimes involved long journeys presumably because Seabourn do not wish to pay more expensive docking fees. The pillows and mattress had the consistency of a marshmallow. Despite firm pillows being offered our steward could not find any which wasn't great. The one female hairdresser on board was awful and the service generally slow. My husband ordered roses for our anniversary and they turned up at 10pm that night. The entertainment was boring and very few enrichment talks compared to Cunard. We could seldom have breakfast in the restaurant as we were on excursions and it did not open until 8am. The Colonnade was like a zoo. Very very disappointing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise because of its itinerary. This was my first time on Regent. I usually do Princess. If you want to try Regent, start with another ship. The Navigator is old, small, has very little entertainment during the night or ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its itinerary. This was my first time on Regent. I usually do Princess. If you want to try Regent, start with another ship. The Navigator is old, small, has very little entertainment during the night or day and the decor is average at best. One of my biggest problem with this cruise line is their costs to book your hotel and airport transfers. They pay for your first night before the cruise, but obviously it has been figured into the cost already. If you want to stay additional nights, I strongly suggest that you book it yourself. They charged $419 per person for the additional night. Our room only cost about $300 a night for double occupancy. So by booking with Regent, I paid over twice as much for that second night. I had my daughter with me on this trip and even though she was staying in our suite during the cruise, I had asked for an additional room for her before cruise. They put her in our room on the sofa bed and charged an additional $769 to do so. So now this extra night has cost me $1,607. Apparently, a third person in a suite does not get a free room the night before. I was encouraged by Regent agent to book the room through them because they could not guarantee both nights would be in the same room if I did not. I ended up paying for my daughter to have her own hotel room for both nights and Regent would not refund me the $769 because it was not done 30 days prior. I did not realize there was only one hotel room until I arrived in Dublin. Long story short - I would have saved a lot of money if I had personally just booked two rooms for two nights and skipped on their "free" one night of hotel. The airport transfers are no better. They have a private driver pick you up at airport which is very nice but they forgot to notice that my daughter was on a different flight and then never picked her up. She took a cab for $56. Regent charged us $113 times 3 for airport transfers. It did include a ride on a bus from the hotel to ship but still very pricey. The positive things about this cruise were the staff and the food. Everyone that assisted us on the ship were top notch. The food was the best I have had on a cruise ship. Their one specialty restaurant was excellent but we could only get one night's reservation on a 12 night cruise. All alcohol is included with your cruise and they serve excellent choices of liquor, wine and beer. The downside is people can over drink when it is basically free. The excursions were also included and they were satisfactory. We ended up paying for premium tours 3 times but there are plenty of free ones. Be sure and book those early on and do not wait till right before the ship departs. The good tours fill up fast. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Having sailed on sister ship Riviera in 2018 we were confident in what to expect on Marina. Excellent service, wonderful ports and great food and spirits. Marina did not disappoint. The ship is small enough that you can easily move ... Read More
Having sailed on sister ship Riviera in 2018 we were confident in what to expect on Marina. Excellent service, wonderful ports and great food and spirits. Marina did not disappoint. The ship is small enough that you can easily move around, yet large enough to have multiple entertainment and dining options. My wife likes the shows, I enjoy making an evening contribution to the casino. It is nice that they still have a craps table. Many ships have done away with them. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants and Le Reserve. The main dining room is beautiful, we really enjoyed a peaceful breakfast in the MDR. The buffet option can be crowded. We embarked in Denmark visiting; Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and disembarked in Sweden. St. Petersburg was fantastic. We hired a private guide and driver through TJ travel. Excellent choice. Slatvana Andrusheko, was encyclopedic in her knowledge of Russia. In another life she was a Russian History professor. It really made the trip extraordinary. We had her and the driver for 2 full days. It is a big plus having a driver ready to pick you up to take you on to the next site. Plus they have already acquired all entry passes to the venues you must see. She took us to local restaurants and markets. We got a real feel for St. Petersburg. Our first port, Warnemunde, Germany was a real surprise. Very nice summer vacation spot with a real small town appeal. Take the train to Rostock if you are inclined, very easy trip. We rented a car on the Island of Bornholm, Denmark. A very nice day drive. In many of the ports, we just jumped on the Hop-On - Hop Off bus for a great city tour. Helsinki was really a highlight too. Our cabin was spacious and very accommodating. No complaints about the food or drinks. We do purchase a drink package and find it to be a good value. We didn't book any of our tours with the ship, we found better value doing it privately. We are also a bit more adventurous and enjoy hunting out different sights. The only "negative" we found on the ship was my wife wanted to participate in the on-board art class, but this ship had more children on then usual and they were crowding the art class. Not a big deal. We do enjoy Oceania because it is primarily all adults. We love children, but we don't miss the screaming, crying and running. The literature and website is quite clear in this is primarily adults. No climbing walls, no slides, no big screen TV, no Mickey and Minnie. As a grandparent, we have taken our grandchildren on cruises, but more age appropriate lines. All in all, Oceania met our expectations. We put a deposit down on another cruise in 2020. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have been on the Queen Victoria before and also the QM. We are regular passengers on other lines. This was the first time we had tried Princess Grill and it was a real treat. We were on board for the ship experience and not the ports. ... Read More
We have been on the Queen Victoria before and also the QM. We are regular passengers on other lines. This was the first time we had tried Princess Grill and it was a real treat. We were on board for the ship experience and not the ports. Priority check in but when waiting at the Mayflower terminal the suite guests were just huddled in a separate area no real advantage. We just sat in the main area as there was more room. We had researched about the Grills experience - strange but the Britannia Restaurant is described as the Britannia Grill? Anyway we knew pretty much what was in store for us. This was a no holds barred cruise so if we wanted it we bought it. First this was a spa package as we did not expect to be able to use the outside pool so we bought this for 2 for 7 days no discounts so this came off our on board credit. I know from experience that drinks prices on board the Queens are about the highest afloat but so to is the quality. So we had decided that we would buy 2 full drinks packs for the full 7 nights this was $69 a day each so $138 so with our exchange rate it was £109 a day so £763 for the week. We were told that we could only buy this on board so we went to the Grills lounge and asked. It would seem that there have been problems with this package as people have not really read the small print. You are limited to the number of alcoholic drinks - 15 each per day. But the soft drinks and mixers are unlimited. Some staff had difficulty understanding what unlimited soft drinks meant! OK so I like a drink and this is for 7 days. I tried my best but I really could not get through 15 alcoholic drinks in one day! We have been on other ships with these packs and we see people simply ordering the bar taking a sip from each and throwing the rest away just because they can. So a limit is sensible if in some cases a bit frustrating. We eventually bought the pack and ordered drinks. At the end of the cruise we worked out that had we paid over the bar it would have cost us over £1660 and I never manager 15 alcoholic drinks in a day and neither did my wife! Food is next and the menus in the Princess Grill are fabulous, service to was the best we have experience so far and we have been in suits in Celebrity ships. We had the same table for all our meals which was fortunate in being next to the window - we were lucky I guess. Drinks before dinner in the Grills lounge where they brought round a selection of 3 hot and cold canapes. Dinner was 7 courses including cheese board and coffee. We ordered wine by the glass from our package and this was perhaps a bit limited. Menus were everything we were expecting - fillet steak every night if you wanted, lobster twice that week. There were specials that you could order at lunch time so they could be ready for you in the evening. We did this once with Duck L'Orange where a whole duck was cooked for us to share - has to be cooked so long and it was fantastic. You can also ask the Maitre'D to do Crepes at the table Weather was not too great but toward the end of the cruise there was a bit of a heat wave. So much so that we were able to dine outside in the Grills terrace. The lunch time menu is a bit smaller but quality was top. Breakfasts were again at our table and usual range with just about everything on call - eggs Benedict, fillet steak and eggs and the ubiquitous English breakfasts. Didn't go much on the entertainment this time. Saw Mick Miller on the second night but after that I we were not really too fussed and went to the commodore club to listen to the lady piano player and singer. Only did afternoon tea once which was in the Princess Grill restaurant. Very goo but too much. We were served tea on the grills terrace in Rotterdam which was also very nice but had to be careful because dinner is just around the corner though you can go in at any time and your table is waiting for you. Tipping is always controversial and Cunard apply a daily charge to your account. Our rate was $13.5 per day. We usually remove one of the daily charges from one of us and then give individually the same amount or indeed usually more to staff who have stood out. I am now not to sure that this achieved what we wished. On the last night I handed out envelopes to both waiters, sommelier and Maitre'd. I also gave cash in dollars to our room steward. We paid out more than if we had had the automatic gratuities but at least I know they actually go to who I wish without interference from Cunard. My wife was therefore startled the following morning to see the waiters and all staff making a big fuss over another table and thanking them for their tips whilst our service was a bit flat. I seem to think that they thought that we had only given them half of what they expected yet we have given them more! This did leave a bit of a sour taste. I will talk a bit about the drinks pack we bought. We worked out roughly how many drinks we were likely to have each day including coffees, water and soft drinks. A large gin and tonic would have cost around $15 which would include the mixer and the 12%service charge. On the pack you could have any drink up to $11 but you were then given the mixer free so to speak and did not have to worry about the service charge. Coffee in the lounge was around $4 so a couple each in the morning after breakfast would soon mount up. We also ordered a bottle of water with nearly all our drinks the pack limited you to small bottles but you could have as many as you liked during the day. There had to be around 10mins between each alcoholic drink order. This was starting to get complicated. As I said I never got through 15 alcoholic drinks in a day though I did try! I could not keep this up for any longer but this was a holiday. Now saving for the next one. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We have been on all 3 Cunard ships which are all beautiful and very well presented. The staff are second to none and very helpful. We chose this cruise and had booked a year in advance whilst still on board in 2018. It was our ... Read More
We have been on all 3 Cunard ships which are all beautiful and very well presented. The staff are second to none and very helpful. We chose this cruise and had booked a year in advance whilst still on board in 2018. It was our wedding anniversary on the 24th June so we like to go away the same time every year. We don't mind where to as long as it falls on our anniversary date and as long as we are on board a Cunard ship! Our stateroom was serviced twice daily and a turn down service for the evening with chocolates provided, just before bed time (as if we hadn't already eaten enough) and tomorrow's programme of events to browse through and plan tomorrow, before some very much needed zzzzzz's after such a fabulous day/evening. We usually chose a large table of 6 for dinner as we enjoy meeting like minded cruise buddies. Two of our 'tablemates' we'd met on a previous cruise the year before (we had arranged this with them and are certainly now lifelong friends). We met two other guests who were delightful. We all had a lot in common particularly when it comes to cruising! The food was very well presented and tasty. The Lido buffet on board is fabulous. The food is fresh and plentiful in choice. Despite being in the Grills, we still love a wander through and maybe a little nibble here and there ;) The entertainment on board is amazing. I particularly enjoy the Cunard singers and dancers and all the other shows and guests appearances/entertainers. Also during the day on sea days, we love going to the on board speakers insights/enrichment talks. They are very interesting and have met some really lovely speakers from famous sports people to pilots to ex-policemen/detectives. There is always plenty to do around the ship on sea days and of course there's the swimming pools and hot tubs and the gym if you feel you need to burn off a few gained pounds! The service on board from the stateroom steward to the waiters and sommeliers to the cleaning staff and pursers desk are always so helpful and nothing is too much trouble. They are always welcoming and are very polite and say 'good morning' or 'have a good evening'. The shore excursions are varied and interesting. The coaches are clean and comfortable and the guides are very knowledgable. I love the fact that we can book an excursion and know the ship will be waiting for us whether we are late or not. We have travelled with our grown up children who equally love the Cunard ships. We haven't got grandchildren yet but I'm sure they would love it with their very own special area and staff to entertain them on sea days. We will certainly book again soon. We just have to save up the pennies first :) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I did not know whether to title this review “The Last Cruise” or “The $22,000 Colds.” As much as we like Crystal, in 2018 I had booked a cruise on Pro-Iceland for a 7-day cruise of just Iceland. But in April I was in hospital ... Read More
I did not know whether to title this review “The Last Cruise” or “The $22,000 Colds.” As much as we like Crystal, in 2018 I had booked a cruise on Pro-Iceland for a 7-day cruise of just Iceland. But in April I was in hospital with heart problems and we cancelled the cruise and got all of our money refunded from our travel agent David Butterfield of All Cruise Travel in California. By late summer of 2018 I was feeling much better and we booked the Iceland-northern Norway cruise on the Crystal Serenity for 2019. Unfortunately by February I had more heart problems and was back in the hospital for 45 days and three operations. But, damn it; we were not canceling the 2019 vacation. It turned out I should have stayed at home, The cruise was Reykjavik to Copenhagen over 17 days. We had two prior cruises on the Crystal Symphony that were great. Getting There: We love Icelandair! It is the only airline we can afford to fly first class on (they call it Saga Class), but getting a flight from St. Louis to a city served by Icelandair can be a problem. You have to get your baggage after your domestic connecting flight and recheck it. We went through Chicago this year, which was a bit of a mistake. The International Terminal is nowhere close to any another terminal, requiring a bus ride across the airport complex. We were delayed two hours for a 45-minute flight because they had to replace a seat (apparently there was a human discharge.) Once in Chicago things were a little smoother, with one exception. I left an “Andy Carpenter” mystery novel by David Rosenfeld that I was in the middle of on a luggage cart stand. The flight to Reykjavik was great and in fact one of the flight attendants was on our Iceland Air flight in 2006. She did not appear to have changed a bit in 13 years. There was a free large bus from the airport to the dock. This is where I frist discovered I would be having problems. The long walk to the bus showed my heart was still having issues. I had to stop about every 100 feet to catch my breath caused by my heart beating too fast. I had left instructions that if I die on this vacation to give my body to a medical school in Reykjavik or Oslo and save the shipping costs back to the U.S. THE SHIP AND THE CRUISE: The unusual: There was a long line to get onto the ship. It was outside and there was a cold wind blowing with drizzle. This was unusual for us as past Crystal Cruise there were no lines. The Usual: Since Crystal is “an all inclusive” line I have referred to it as the “Cruise Line for Alcoholics.” Passengers were met at check-in by staffers holding trays of glasses of Champagne. Once on board check-in was very fast and efficient. The Stateroom: We got what we paid for even if it was about $7,500 a person for 17 days. The stateroom was small. The only chair in the room was a desk chair. The sofa was narrow and low to the ground with a vinyl covering. You had a tendency to slide off of it. Unlike the beds on the Symphony which had firm mattresses, the bed had a soft uncomfortable mattress and the cruise was for 17-days. If you are in colder climates dry hair is a must and there were two hairdryers, one in the bathroom and the other by the desk. Since our last Crystal cruise they added large screen TVs. There was no disk player in the TVs to play DVDs or music on CDs. However the new large screen TVs came with a selection of downloads that included 84 movies, TV shows and several hundred music selections. The bathroom was nice with a couple exceptions. There was not a walk-in shower but a high wall bath tub/shower combination. The tub was short. Since most people on Crystal are going to be older, this creates two problems. It is difficult for people with knee and hip problems stepping over the high wall of the bathtub. It also seems that the tub was so small it would be difficult to get in and out of it unless you are 5-foot-1 or smaller. A walk-in shower would still need a higher lip, since the drain is slow during peak hours of use, but it would better than the tub. The other areas of concern was that they could use another “grab bar” in the shower and one next to the toilet seat, which like all other seats on the ship is low. THE FOOD: As usual the Crystal food was better than I have had on any other cruise line. There was one exception. One night in the main dining room T-Bone steak was on the menu. My steak was so tough that you could not cut it with steak knife. This was not an isolated bad piece of meat. Diners at other table had the same problem. If you could cut off a piece you ran the risk of choking on it. WHAT? They did have Beef Stroganoff on the menu. I didn’t look closely to the menu since everyone knows Beef Stroganoff is served on noodles. Everyone knows that except the chef and cooks on the Serenity where it is served on rice. The Main Dining Room: It is named the Waterside. As usual there were no lines or long waits to be seated. Service was very efficient but not rushed. My wife had a favorite waiter and we sat in his section on most nights. This was good as I did not have to feel guilty about not leaving a dozen waiters a tip, I could simply leave one large tip at the end of the cruise on our ship’s account for one waiter. Beyond the call: All the desserts were good depending what you like. My wife asked a question if they ever had Strawberry/Rhubarb pie. They don’t, however a maitre told her to come back the next night as he would have one especially baked for her. They did and she said it was very good (I’m not eating rhubarb on a bet.). The same thing happened at the Palm Court bar on the 12th level. I was easy as I always wanted a Coke or a Dr. Pepper. But my wife enjoys mixed drinks. One night she ordered a “Bee’s Knees” cocktail. The staff was unfamiliar with the drink. But the bartender looked it up on the internet and the next afternoon she was served a Bee’s Knees. The specialty restaurants: These were all good, plus they had a few items on the menu that were not part of the specialty dishes for spouses who hated the normal specialty items. At the Silk, a Chinese restaurant I was disappointed they did not have my favorite “Lo Mein” on the menu, but I was well aware that “Lo Mein” is not really Chinese, but something sold at American Chinese restaurants. Bistro: We would often skip the traditional breakfast and go to the Bistro on Deck 6 for fresh fruit and muffins. At night we would often skip dessert in a dining room and go to the Bistro where they had a number of desserts for you to pick from including chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate truffles (I started with 3-truffles a night and by the end of the cruise was downing six.) plus desserts in cups such as Crème Boule. ENTERTAINMENT: Dan Davies in the Piano Bar, The American Saloon, isn’t American but is an Australian. He also was the best entertainment on the ship. He was funny and showed signs of being a very good jazz pianist. He won’t be selling any CDs of his vocals, but still he was worth several trips to his venue. The majority of the passengers got sick with colds and sore throats Dan was not an exception, but his piano work was so good on the nights he could not sing it was still very entertaining. The passengers’ requests were a problem. People should realize the piano bar guys hate playing the Piano Man and My Way. It didn’t stop the passengers from requesting them and Dan reluctantly playing them. There were two comics on this cruise, both British entertainers. One was very good and the other was barely “OK.” On July 4, a British female singer with a number of performances in shows in London’s West End was the featured entertainer. On the program it stated there would be patriotic 4th of July songs for the Americans. I thought it was odd that a Brit would be singing songs reference a war that King George III lost. My worries disappeared when the only song she sang was “When the Saints go Marching In” which has nothing to do with American Independence and is most associated with New Orleans which belonged to the French until 1804, The Crystal Quartet was a group of musicians from the Philippines. They performed music from the American Songbook and pop tunes through the 1980s. They usually played in the Palm Court on the 12th floor. This is also where the ships male dancers, the Ambassadors, who danced with single women or wives whose husbands could not dance, were found on most nights. You could detect a slight accent of the female singer, with one exception. When she would sing songs made famous in the 1950s by the “Singing Rage Patty Page” she sounded just like her. TORTURING OLD PEOPLE: Just like in the cabins, in the bars and lounges all the chairs were extremely low to the floor. In the Palm Court there were four high back chairs that were actually off the floor and they were always occupied. Older people getting up from all the other furniture sounded like a Rice Krispies commercial, “Snap, Crackle and Pop” coming from people’s knees. THE CON: One lecture on the ship was “The History of the Swiss Watch.” The lecture was not by a nice person from Switzerland but by a Brazilian, who happened the run the ship’s “Watch Shop.” He handed out raffle tickets to people attending, but the winner was not announced at the end of his talk in the movie theater. You had to follow him to the Watch Store where he would draw the winning ticket for a small gift certificate. I did not follow him to the store. I felt I was being scammed and walked in the opposite direction. THE DIRT COVE: On thing that really amazed me was that for a ship that was in dry dock for an allegedly complete interior overhaul, was how filthy the white chairs in the Crystal Cove. These were covered in dirt and it is hard to believe that staff was not aware of their condition. This is one of the higher priced cruise ships in the world. You would expect the furniture to be clean. HIGH MARKS: Chief Concierge Marco Juen from Germany went out in the rain and got us a taxi to standby when we simply asked if there were any cabs available while the ship was docked in Tromso, Norway. Juen told us to have a seat. We thought he was going to make a call. Instead he went off the ship and retuned in 10-minutes, wet and telling us there was a cab waiting for us. MOST POPULAR GUY: That would be the guy manning the Scoops Ice Cream bar from noon to 6pm on the 12th level next to the Trident Grill. This guy was serving up Ben and Jerry’s and soft serve for six hours straight, often getting unusual requests to mix the flavors in half or quarter scoops. Regardless how busy he was and how stupid the request was, he always had a smile on his face. FREE: This was the first time on a cruise ship where the computer/internet service was completely free. The ship had a computer room with at least 12 computers available for passengers. Several other computers had leading newspapers’ online editions at no charge. SYMPHONY VS SERENITY: While we found almost everything on the Serenity to be very nice, we preferred the Symphony. Everyone we spoke to who had been on both ships said the same thing. TOURS: My wife and I often differ on places to see. I like to see where people live and styles of houses. She likes to go to where the tour busses are going to famous locations. To handle this dilemma we try to find a taxi that will give us an hourly rate. On this cruise we found that the taxi was often cheaper than the ship’s tour bus trips. The only problem was in some smaller towns there were no taxis to hire. The last full day of the trip was in Copenhagen. The ship offered a free shuttle bus into downtown Copenhagen. It was about a 30-minute ride one-way. It was a rainy day and they rain increased when we got downtown. We just stayed on the shuttle bus and went back to the ship. We got a free 1-hour tour of Copenhagen, a city we had been to before and spent lots of time on a sunny day seeing the tourist sites. WEATHER: Iceland was relatively warm with temps around 54f. In the Norway towns north of the Arctic Circle there were July days where the temperature was near freezing with a combination of drizzle and snow. THE COUGH AND SNEEZE: By the end of this cruise at least half the passengers were coughing and sneezing. Both my wife and I went to the Ships Medical Center. We knew better than to rack up a big bill by seeing the doctor. Instead nurses gave us cold medicines that were very reasonably priced. My wife was in bed for three days on the ship and a week after our return. I was carrying a wash cloth to cough into while on the ship. Counting the cost of the cruise, airfare and other transportation, plus the dog sitter back home our total cost was around $22,000 and perhaps in years to come the biggest memory with be the cough and cold. DEPARTURE: My wife had signed up for the shuttle bus from the dock to the airport. On our last full day on the ship we learned that a taxi to the airport was the same price as the bus or cheaper. Marco Juen at the Concierge Desk had no problem cancelling the bus. We were then able to reserve a taxi with someone from Copenhagen’s Tourist Bureau who was on the ship. It turned out the taxi fare was cheaper than the bus. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
As someone who always believed inside cabins were sufficient I was dazzled by my first time in a suite (albeit the smallest suite possible). Still, a walk-in closet on a ship and a bathtub! We really enjoyed our cabin and our roomy ... Read More
As someone who always believed inside cabins were sufficient I was dazzled by my first time in a suite (albeit the smallest suite possible). Still, a walk-in closet on a ship and a bathtub! We really enjoyed our cabin and our roomy balcony, having breakfast on the balcony almost every day. It was also great fun on the balcony waving to all the boats that accompanied us out of Hamburg. The Princess Grill was superb every night except the first. The fish that night was average and we, two older women, were seated way off in a corner. Eating in the Princess Grill had been on my bucket list but I felt that I was still on the outside looking in. However, the (very entertaining) maitre d quickly moved us to the center of the part of the room that overlooked the promenade deck and we were much happier there. The food was very good, mostly well executed classics, and anyone looking for more trendy choices might be disappointed. We loved the Dover Sole and the Chateaubriand and the Cherries Jubilee (you get the picture). Mostly we loved the atmosphere of muted, leisurely meals in an attractive room with excellent service. Dinner became our evening activity and we often missed the planned entertainment as a result. What else did we do? We enjoyed the singers and dancers when we did make the shows and regretted missing the violinist. The planetarium was moderately interesting as were the speakers. We tried to visit all the bars but gave up and pretty much settled on the Carinthia where we could have a light meal with our wine. Zumba was fun but the pools were rather cold. The Golden Lion Pub offered good fish and chips. Afternoon tea in the Queen's Room was a disappointment -good food but a mad rush to get in and get a table. The library was lovely and the Promenade Deck was a comfortable place to sit or get some exercise walking. Service was excellent and we appreciated the young man who brought our room service breakfasts, our assistant waiter, and all the nameless crew members who smiled and made us feel welcome. We only took one shore excursion - to Bruges - which left us needing to do a lot of walking to get to the center of town but was well organized and on time. We explored on our own in Hamburg and Guernsey. Regarding the ship, she is showing her age (I had sailed on her in 2005) but just barely. She is still a magnificent "grande dame". Just don't expect glitz and glitter and instead settle into a leisurely, relaxed way of life. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We were booked in a concierge level cabin and it was kind of a disappointment. The bathroom was quite small and was tight on storage. Our cabin steward was not the friendliest and hardly spoke to us. The only benefit we had of the ... Read More
We were booked in a concierge level cabin and it was kind of a disappointment. The bathroom was quite small and was tight on storage. Our cabin steward was not the friendliest and hardly spoke to us. The only benefit we had of the concierge level was the use of laundry facilities. Internet was sketchy much of the time and we had even purchased a $299 internet package. We found a lot of the staff to be not always considerate of the passengers - frequently we had them walk across right in front of us, without as much as an excuse me. Breakfast and lunch were like on any cruise we’ve been on and dinners were very good, especially in the speciality restaurants. The Grand dining room was also good, but some nights the menu was hard to find something appealing. We did shore excursions in every port and most were very good. A couple of them made us very aware that the guide can make or break a tour. Sometimes the departures seemed a bit unorganized. Overall the ship seemed a bit tired and could use some updating. The passengers overall weren’t as friendly as on other cruises. The alcohol packages were ridiculously expensive. A cooking class was a highlight of the cruise. Our disembarkation experience was less than stellar. We left the ship with our assigned group and when we went to get our luggage, one piece was missing. We asked for help and they didn’t seem to know what to do. After a frantic 45 minutes of looking a lady came in with the luggage that she had taken without verifying that it was hers. It seems like there could be some way to prevent this from happening. Overall, I doubt we sail with Oceania again. For the money we had a much, much better experience with Viking Ocean. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had tried to get a group of friends together to tour the British Isles for a few years, but it never happened. My wife and I decided to take a British Isles cruise on Regent's Explorer instead, and are very glad we did. We used ... Read More
We had tried to get a group of friends together to tour the British Isles for a few years, but it never happened. My wife and I decided to take a British Isles cruise on Regent's Explorer instead, and are very glad we did. We used the included business class to arrive in Southampton a day early. We mainly used the day to shake off jet lag, and the next day used the hotel's complimentary car service to get to the port at around 12:30. Embarkation was a breeze; we were the only passengers there, and had a choice of 10 people to take care of us. We had cocktails on the pool deck, and were in our room with our luggage just after 2:00. That couldn't have been easier. The room was an F2 (Superior) suite. It had a large walk in closet, with more hangers than we needed (and we overpacked). The bathroom was nice with double sinks, a bathtub and a separate shower. All of the surfaces were luxurious marble. The bed was very comfy and faced the veranda, the veranda was big and had nice wicker chairs,and our room attendant dropped off a bottle of scotch and a bottle of bourbon. No complaints about our room at all, and it was one of the bottom end suites! We spent some time touring the ship, and were frankly amazed at how nice all of the public areas were. It's maximum luxury, almost obsessively so. Everything was spotless and appeared to be in perfect shape. Explorer has been in service for about three years, and looks like it's a brand new vessel. It's supposed to be refurbished this fall, but the passenger-visible areas don't seem to need it. We split our dinners between Compass Rose (the main dining room) and the specialty restaurants. We like to eat late, and that made it easy to get additional reservations at the specialty places. We can honestly say that we didn't have a single dish that we were unhappy with. The service was also great, everything was perfectly paced. One or both of Prime 7 and Chartreuse are open for lunch each day, and that was really nice. All in all, it couldn't have been better. We don't pay much attention to the entertainment. Since we eat late, the show has usually started by the time we're ready. But what we did see was pretty good. Cruise director John Barron's show was excellent. He's really a great CD, the best we've run across. They had an Irish flute player that we liked. The real highlights were two groups that John brought on board. In Belfast there was a troupe of musicians and dancers that told the Belfast story. But the topper was in Liverpool where he had the Cavern Club Beatles on stage. They are the house band at the Cavern Club, the place the actual Beatles play hundreds of times. The theater was definitely rocking that night! Cons: 1. The theater has too many obstructed vision seats. The steps are tricky when the lights go out, and we saw a woman fall and break her ankle. She had to be airlifted off the ship the next day. 2. British weather. Pros: 1. Literally everything else. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We recently did the 12 day cruise from Norway to Iceland on the Viking Sky. We usually cruise with Regent so we curious to see how the Viking Ocean Cruises compared to Regent. Everything about this cruise exceeded our expectations and in ... Read More
We recently did the 12 day cruise from Norway to Iceland on the Viking Sky. We usually cruise with Regent so we curious to see how the Viking Ocean Cruises compared to Regent. Everything about this cruise exceeded our expectations and in fact, we booked another Viking cruise while on the ship. Ship - Everything is clean from the decor to the housekeeping. Everything sparkles! Service - Beyond incredible. Everyone from the housekeeping staff (who always remembered our names from day 1) to the restaurant staff and coffee bar. There was never more than 30 seconds in the buffet, when someone did not ask if we needed anything or were cleaning up dishes. They all had a smile on their faces and really seemed like they enjoyed their jobs. Food - Buffet - first, we usually avoid buffets, but after eating at the Viking Sky's buffet the first time, we were regulars for breakfast and the occasional dinner. The food was amazing. Fresh and hot...always. Restaurant - Again, outstanding food. Wish they had a little more poultry options, but still great. Manifredi's Italian - Not sure how we will ever eat Italian at home again. This was by far the best Italian food that we have ever had. The bread is delicious. We did not try the other restaurants. Room - We stayed in 4104 which was just towards the aft. We loved the location of our room. It was quiet and always one of the first to be made up. Everything was perfect in the room, though a bit tight. Two people cannot pass each other around the bed. The bathroom was perfection, especially the no fog mirrors and heated floor. The bed was very comfortable. The storage space was perfect for a 12 day cruise. We had plenty of room to store all of our things in the room and bathroom. Entertainment - We loved it. Cute shows with great singers. We were never bored. Over and above - this is where we were most impressed. - Our flight home was very late in the day. Viking did not kick us off the ship. Instead, they arranged for a late departure from the ship and then transported us to the city center. They arranged for our luggage to be stored while they provided us with a nice lunch at the opera house and time to walk around the city. Then they transported us to the airport. It didn't stop there. They escorted us into the airport with our luggage until we checked in! Wow! We cannot wait for our next Viking cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We did mostly eat at the World Cafe (amazing sushi and crab legs), we did also enjoy Manfrettis and the Restaurant a few times. We also did use room service. The food was wonderful. No complaints. I cannot eat gluten and I was ... Read More
We did mostly eat at the World Cafe (amazing sushi and crab legs), we did also enjoy Manfrettis and the Restaurant a few times. We also did use room service. The food was wonderful. No complaints. I cannot eat gluten and I was completely taken care of. I felt safe and appreciated the extra care they went to. Our room was a delight. The bed was comfy and for us we felt spoiled with having the room cleaned twice a day. We were very glad that we chose to do a lot of our excursions with other companies. There were far fewer people and it cost less. Best example: Use All Tours in St. Petersberg. They were amazing. We also booked our own Rodne Tour for Pulpit Rock at less cost for the exact same trip. Because there were so many ports, in the end it was just a bit exhausting. If we do a cruise again, it would be one with fewer places to visit. We found every single person who worked at Viking to be friendly, helpful, and kind. If, like us, you do enjoy quality spirits, I strongly suggest purchasing a few bottles at the Stockholm Airport Duty free store. It was less expensive than at home and far cheaper than any other place we stopped. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for a few reasons. We had previously sailed Seaborn Encore in the Mediterranean and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, food and service that Seabourn provided, therefore, Ovation, which is the same class ship as Encore, was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a few reasons. We had previously sailed Seaborn Encore in the Mediterranean and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, food and service that Seabourn provided, therefore, Ovation, which is the same class ship as Encore, was an easy sell for us. Ovation was just beautiful.....almost identical to Encore. We love the size....large enough, light filled with beautiful yachtlike decor but small enough to give us the feeling of being on a private ship. Our suite on the deck above the pool, was well appointed (hello 3 sinks!) and our needs were more than meet by our stewardess who always had a smile & pleasantry to share. We felt the service and the entertainment were a cut above our previous cruise....this being only our second cruise ever. We were addressed by our names each & every day. Our Captian was very visible and engaging as was CD Handre. Both were class acts. Servers in all resturants were pleasant, engaging and good at their jobs. We wanted a late May cruise and this itinerary seemed interesting. We had been to Lisbon but not Northern Spain or Western France or Southern England. We have been to Normandy, Brugge, Amsterdam etc. but were very happy to return. I was a bit apprehensive since I had heard that the Bay of Biscay is notorious for rough seas. Well, she was a gentle giant. Lisbon was faboulous with warm temps and sunny skies. Northern Spain was just beautiful, with a bit a rain here and there, but nothing to dampen the beauty of the coastal towns of Gijon and San Sebasion, Biblao etc. and the wonderful sights & food. We did miss one port, Biarritz, France due to the port closing. The sun & moderate temps made a welcome return in Bordeaux......this was one of the highlights of the cruise. We came up the Gironde River and docked right smack dab in the middle of the city. We were the only ship in town and the locals came by in droves to relax and picnic in our shadow. A lovely French lady approached us on our return to ship just to chat about our cruise and our reflections of her city. The Bordeaux wine region is spectacular.....St Emillion is not to be missed. Southern England, port of Torquay was a pleasant surprise....warm temps and sunny skies, contrary to the Agatha Christie image that I expected. We visited the sea town of Dartmouth with its' interesting seafaring history. As an American, the beaches of Normandy hold a special place in our hearts and it was good to return. We arranged for a private tour & spent the day with a lovely local French lady, three generations removed from the events of WW2 but whose grandfather was head of the resistance movement at the time......her reverence for those who helped liberate her homeland was palpable....not to mention her expertise in the places and events of the Allied invasion. Wow....just Wow! We sailed up the Thames to the Greenwich neighborhood of London. Spent two wonderful days....Windsor, the Cotswolds etc. Then is was across the Channel again.....may I add that the seas in all our Channel crossings were calm and I mean, calm....to Zeebrugge, where we chose to visit Ypres and Flanders Field (of WW1 fame) as we had been to Brugge & Brussels in the past. Beyond moving! Amazing how a city and region so devastated by that horrible war has risen from the ashes to present a gorgeous city and countryside. We ended in the city of Amsterdam with all its charms etc. The Anne Frank House is a must do along with a private canal cruise. This cruise seemed to us to hit a very historic note. We enjoyed it very much as we had a sample of Western Coastal Europe with its' amazing role in the history of two world wars. From the German UBoat stalls in Bordeaux, to the beaches of Normandy to the Fields of Poppies in Flanders to the London Underground bunkers.....We were impressed with the spirit of the European people who endured so much during those dark times. Cruise & Ovation both get an APlus from us. Read Less

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