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Sail Date: September 2014
This was our 12th Disney cruise and the first transatlantic crossing. We had plenty of issues with our stateroom during the first 5 days on the ship. For several days the toilet didn't flush for up to 3 hours because there were ... Read More
This was our 12th Disney cruise and the first transatlantic crossing. We had plenty of issues with our stateroom during the first 5 days on the ship. For several days the toilet didn't flush for up to 3 hours because there were "issues in this section of the ship" - if Disney would at least had told us BEFORE using the toilet rather than just acknowledge there is a problem once we called it in. Then there was a constant issue with the veranda door. First it wouldn't close properly and after the second attempt to fix it the veranda door closed so well that it locked someone out at the veranda and it took two people to open the door again. It hasn't been too long that the Magic came out of dry dock so I was very disappointed to see that many technical/mechanical issues. Other than that the Disney Magic is a wonderful ship and the staterooms are very comfortable. Barcelona (Spain) was a beautiful city and is worth spending a few days before or after a cruise. We took a tour from Malaga to Granada to visit the Alhambra - that was one of the best shore excursions ever! Tenerife was awesome. However, the shore excursion we booked had too much in too little time and turned out to be a rush and we didn't got to enjoy the things that matter. Go and see Mt. Teide. In Antigua the souvenir dealers were all over us during our shore excursion and it was annoying. Disney cancelled the scenic railroad tour in St. Kitts on us last minute without any explanation (other than saying it was to improve guest experience).   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We chose Carnival as we had enjoyed a previous cruise with them sailing out of Tampa Florida..The food and entertainment were excellent and we had a wonderful holiday. Sadly the same could not be said for this cruise. The embarkation was ... Read More
We chose Carnival as we had enjoyed a previous cruise with them sailing out of Tampa Florida..The food and entertainment were excellent and we had a wonderful holiday. Sadly the same could not be said for this cruise. The embarkation was dreadful with unhelpful staff and long queues. My friends handbag was snatched off her before she could close it and her passport was lost . Eventually it was found under the rollers of the x ray machine but not before being told she would not be able to sail. Not a good start to a holiday. The food was plentiful and varied at the self service which we had at lunch time but in the evening we like to eat in the Restaurant. I feel the very large number of passengers on this large ship led to cold food being served,Also the standard of food was not too good and I haven't eaten a steak since being served a large steak which a good vet could have resurrected. I h ad asked for a small medium rare steak. The southern fried chicken appeared to have been cooked a long time prior to being served and was hard and dry.The food would have been excellent to anyone whose criteria was if there is a lot of it its good. The entertainment was mundane ,repetitive and lacking variation . The cruise Director was excellent,naturally funny as were the comediens who were on later at night. The ship was lovely and the cabin comfortable and clean .As we have slight mobility problems we chose a cabin near the lifts but the length of the ship posed problems. However that was our own faults for not foreseeing that problem when booking. We certainly could not just nip back to the cabin. We only had one day when the decks seemed crowded. Most days we sat in comfort on easy chairs. The sail into Venice was the highlight of the cruise, taking advantage of being on an upper deck. Sadly this may not happen again as Venice may be stopping the larger ships from entering the lagoon. We only did a few excursions as we had been to many of the ports and it was lovely when only a few passengers were on board. The drinks were quite pricey but we expected that. Disembarkation was planned with military precision. We look forward to another cruise but probably not with this company due to the poor entertainment and food. Also we would choose a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
We have been planning this trip for 2 years, and had to postpone it from May to Sept when my mother had complicated cancer surgery in April. Norwegian was great when we had to change our plans. I don't know how we rated the offer, but ... Read More
We have been planning this trip for 2 years, and had to postpone it from May to Sept when my mother had complicated cancer surgery in April. Norwegian was great when we had to change our plans. I don't know how we rated the offer, but we were given a chance to upgrade from our balcony to a penthouse suite with butler, etc. I had to pull off the side of the road to finish the call from the cruise line. We booked our own flights on Delta to have more time to make the time change, and get the max in frequent flyer miles. I cannot say enough about the care and attention everyone gave us, from the check in in Barcelona, until our departure in Venice. We stayed at the Montblanc Hotel thru NCL including the transfer program.The VIP service was so amazing. We were in the Taurus suite. We splurged on a deal for reservations in the specialty restaurants as soon as we got on board, which scored us a nice bottle of wine too. During the 12 days we tried out every specialty restaurant, the sushi bar, the Aisan fusion place (not the Hibachi- the noise gives my husband a migraine). We did 3 nights in the main dining room. You don't have to be a foodie to enjoy the dining experience of a Chef's Table. The food was spectacular, and the company fun. We did not go to much of the entertainment on board- not really our thing. The DVD selection was good. The onboard movies were pretty good. Excursions: After reading reviews of the excursions, balancing the cost, and reviews on the Rick Steves websites and Cruise Critics, we decided to try private guides in Rome and Istanbul. The DriversinRome people were fabulous and we saw as much as we could see, with just the 2 of us. They even set up a private guide for us at the Vatican. Our guide in Istanbul was excellent but we got sucked into the carpet and pottery hard sells. We thoroughly enjoyed the Spice Market and chose to spend our money there. I walked around Mykonos on my own- easy to do leisurely. The Marseilles/Aix-en-Provance tour was good and worth the money. The lack of public restrooms was brutal (and none on the bus). In Florence we chose the Florence on your own option. I had no appreciation of how long the drive was so I overbooked us at the the museums for the actual time that we had. We therefore never used the 35 euro/pp tickets to one of them. We did make it to the Academia to see David. We will have to go back sometime on our own. We were glad we did the afternoon Pompeii guided tour in Milan- we would not have gotten as much out of it on our own without a guide. We opted to to the VIP small group NCL tour for Athens. We were happy with our guide and driver. The food at the restaurant was included and amazing. We had plenty of time to wander around the Acropolis Museum and shopping (not much shopping however). Ephesus has to be done on a guided tour. We did it via NCL and were happy with our guide. For Venice, we took an overview tour to get our bearings on day one. The "drive" into port was fabulous from both the deck and our balcony. While getting off the ship was easy, getting to our rental apartment was not fun. I definitely overpacked (but I wore everything and we had serious souveneirs) and did not fully appreciate the vaporetto and bridges issue. We used Cross Pollinate to make our apartment reservations and they were great about the changes we had to make for Sept from May. The apartment was just what we wanted in a perfect location. We are sold on the VIP experience and will save up to do it again for the Panama Canal in 2015. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
This was our 3rd Cruise with Royal Caribbean. Embarking was smooth and very quick.. Came in two days early stayed at Eurostars La Rambla great little hotel with a great location at the bottom of La Rambla Street. Cabbed it over for 15 ... Read More
This was our 3rd Cruise with Royal Caribbean. Embarking was smooth and very quick.. Came in two days early stayed at Eurostars La Rambla great little hotel with a great location at the bottom of La Rambla Street. Cabbed it over for 15 Euros was on Board by 11:30am We picked up 6-pack of water bottles and some pop nice surprise because we were told wine only. room was ready at noon knock on door was our niegbour wanting to know if we can switch rooms with her friends who were on the other side???? must have been newbies, sea passes prebooked excursions are all linked to your room and the starboard side no way 3 of the 4-bags showed up shortly after... oh no they found my 4-beers in the empty lays chip containers ( holds 2-cans of beer each). knock on the door 4th bag arrived all good or yah 2-more in my shoes..lol Come on RCI why can't you bring a few beer on board for your room??? Cleared all there crap out of the fridge and put ours in. Met our room attendant Raj.....excellent attendant...best we have had by far. Ice was always topped up very knowledgeable about the ship and the ports. We had My Time Dining Went to the dining room for the first of only 3-nights 1- was a formal night kind of disapointed with the menu...seemed to be same selections every night. We stuck to the Windjammer Buffet. Happy with the variety had a differnet theme every night. Room service was excellent for breakfast on excursion days. Also liked the salad bar in the adult pool area. Great BBQ's on two of the four at sea days Internet or WIFI such a scam.....should be free bought 75.00 packgage .50 a minutee all fine no problems kept telling me logged off but not really I had charges on my folio for 165.00 and 195.00. but they did say they were having problems and did credit it back.Enjoyed the entertainment in the Centrum Area descent bands and the aerial perfomers were amazing. All of our Excursions were great all guides were excellent while except for the one for the trip to Monte Carlo very annoying wouldn't shut up on way back. One minor glitch but us on wrong bus in Athens but they caught it quick and we changed over after a half hour or so. Biggest Surprise Turkey, had no idea it was so beautiful Hakan was our tour guide was our favourite by far. Santorini and Almalfi coast just like post cards. All in all great cruise and intinery we will be sticking with Royal Caribbean for all our future cruises. So glad we took the port side had great sunsets and sunrises and views of the coast from Barcelona to Sicily. Already planning next one Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
This was a 24 day cruise sailing out of Barcelona with stops in Italy (Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples and Messina), Greece (Nafplion, Katakolon, Corfu), Croatia (Dubrovnik) and Venice - then from Venice to Montenegro (Kotor), Greece (Athens, ... Read More
This was a 24 day cruise sailing out of Barcelona with stops in Italy (Florence/Pisa, Rome, Naples and Messina), Greece (Nafplion, Katakolon, Corfu), Croatia (Dubrovnik) and Venice - then from Venice to Montenegro (Kotor), Greece (Athens, Mykonos and Sardina), Turkey (Istanbul and Kusadasi) and finally back to Venice. This was our first cruise with HAL - we have previously sailed on other cruises with Princess, Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Line. We picked HAL and this ship because we had never been to the Mediterranean and this itinerary was perfect for our needs. We decided to spend 3 days in Barcelona with a pre cruise excursion arranged through HAL. This was excellent and covered a lot of ground for 3 days including a city tour and a day trip to a winery and Montserrat. The 4Th day we boarded the ship. Embarkation was fast and efficient. Our stateroom was nice - lots of storage. The room stewards were attentive and if we asked for anything it was quickly provided. There was a terrible smell in the hallways by the elevator, however by the second part of our cruise the smell disappeared. Don't know what the staff did but it was gone. The ship is quite nice however it is not as nice as some of the other cruise lines we have sailed with. There are 2 pools on this ship - very small By one of the pools there are lots of cabanas which were never used - this is just wasted space. The other pool is for adults only but again there is not seating area around the pool - consequently we ended going up to one of the other decks. There were too many formal nights - everyone complained about this - especially when the preinformation provided stated there would be 4 - there were 6. We opted for open seating in the Main Dining Room. The meals were good but sometimes the service was a little erratic - some nights good other nights terrible. We booked the Pinnacle for dinner one night - this was excellent and we really enjoyed the steak. We also tried the Tamarind - only because the ship gave us a complimentary dinner. We are not into Asian food but we were pleasantly surprised - it is very good. We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch (when we were on the ship). Very crowed and was so-so. We did do dinner in there one night as we had an evening excursion - terrible -I'm glad we didn't make a habit of going there. We did a evening excursion in Istanbul - when we got back only one side of the buffet was open and the line-ups were horrendous - why close up to 3/4 of the buffet when they knew people were coming back late from this excursion would want dinner. We opted to go for a pizza outside to avoid the line ups. The shops on this ship were not the best seemed to be a lot of high end items - not too many people were buying. On other cruise ships they have a store where you can buy miscellaneous items like Kleenex, cold pills, etc. - there was just a small little hole in the wall with not much. We took the shore excursions offered by HAL in most of the ports (except for Corfu which we did on our own) - I did find charging a fee for the shuttle bus was a very expensive (in Corfu and Dubrovnik) - these should be free of charge. I have reported on the shore excursions separately. Even though they are expensive at least you don't have to worry about being late getting back to the ship. Disembarkation in Venice was good - we opted to stay the night in Venice as we couldn't connect with flights leaving the same day. We did a shore excursion of Murano and Burano and then stayed at a hotel by the airport. In summary, this was a good cruise - we enjoyed all the ports we visited. The weather was good - very hot. The ship was nice but if we were to cruise again with with HAL again would pick another ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
During a family cruise on the Celebrity Solstice in November of 2011, I was physically assaulted by one of the crew members. When entering the main cafe I politely refused hand sanitizer and proceeded to enter as I had the entire trip. ... Read More
During a family cruise on the Celebrity Solstice in November of 2011, I was physically assaulted by one of the crew members. When entering the main cafe I politely refused hand sanitizer and proceeded to enter as I had the entire trip. The crew member lept out in front of me, pushing me into a wall. This upset me to the point that I was unable to be with my family during the arrival to Venice. This was to be the highlight of our trip and was ruined by the crew member's highly unprofessional behavior. I have no desire to cruise on the Solstice again after such an experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
Well as I type this I am on Barcelona Airport waiting for my flight home. I have just disembarked from the Norwegian Jade cruise ship. What a relief to be off the ship at last after a 21 night back to back cruise. We had previously ... Read More
Well as I type this I am on Barcelona Airport waiting for my flight home. I have just disembarked from the Norwegian Jade cruise ship. What a relief to be off the ship at last after a 21 night back to back cruise. We had previously spent 5 weeks on this cruise ship and had always been more than happy but this time was a different matter!! We did 14 nights in July 2008 and another 21 nights in January 2009. The standards have dropped so much we just couldn't believe it. As we were about to embark the ship we were given a letter addressed to each individual to say that they had experienced quite a high percentage of Norovirus on the previous cruise and if we wanted to cancel then they would credit what we had paid towards another cruise. I know that this is unavoidable on ships but I have always had a letter or an email before leaving home to inform me of such. It's a bit late when you have flown out to Barcelona and spent a night in a hotel there. Incidently my husband fell victim to this and was confined to cabin for 24 hours. I don't think that it is a virus, more like the food standing about for too long. The embarkation was very smooth but when we got on the ship there was no-one to greet us with a glass of wine as there had been on previous occasions. In the cabin we were disappointed to find that they had taken the coffee machines out and even more disappointed when we went to the Garden Cafe for our lunch. Don't get me wrong I know that the Buffet Areas on all ships can be a bit chaotic but this was exceptionally very disorganised. The tables were very close to each other, that's if you could find one with spare seats. They have taken the cappuccino coffee machines away and the only coffee that you could get unless you paid for it was extremely bitter. For the first few days of each cruise you could get an English Breakfast cup of tea but this soon ran out and all that was left was a cheap Lipton's tea bag. They also ran out of many provisions after a few days. The ones that we noticed at breakfast were Bananas, Prunes, various types of cereal, tinned peaches and even Soya Milk, and they had been informed that my husband was only to have non dairy!! Even when it was available he had to ask a member of staff for it and invariably he had to wait 10 minutes before they produced it. I was shocked when I went to get a slice of toast to be asked 'do you want it warm madam'? Lunchtime was even worse. The food on offer never varied in all the 21 days aboard. The food that was meant to be hot was barely warm, no matter what time you went in. The soup was Corn Chowder for 18 days of the entire cruise being replaced on the odd occasion with a very watery tomato and an equally watery pea and ham. The cold meats were of the cheapest variety and not very appetising at all. Even the desserts remained the same i.e cheesecake, banana cake and a cake they called pound cake. These cakes were also on offer for afternoon tea but by this time they had gone rather stale on one side from standing. They did scones, jam and cream but on various occasions these were very stale, obviously being used up from the previous day. We had small tuna fish sandwiches on 2 occasions but these also were dry on the upper side. We dined in the Grand Pacific for our Evening meal but even this wasn't an experience that we enjoyed. We were always happy to share a table but still had to wait on several occasions, being given a pager to be called when there was an availability. We didn't mind the wait to be seated in the dining room if we had got served a bit quicker after we had sat down. Very often we would be sat in there for 2.5 hours having our meal as the service was so slow. If you wanted to go to the first show then you had to be in the dining room at 5.30p.m to make sure that you were out in time and even then sometimes you had to skip the dessert and coffee. This we did quite often and then went up to the Garden Cafe after the show to have a dessert and coffee. The portions that they served were very small and definitely not the quality of food that we have experienced on other cruise lines. After about a week we got a card in our cabin asking for comments. I stated that I was unhappy with the dining in general and later that day I had a phone call from the restaurant manager. He said he realised what I was saying and said that he would make sure that things improved. He asked us to meet him by the Grand Piano in the dining room that evening and he would make sure that we got a table quickly and received good service. This we did and for once we enjoyed our meal. He then invited us to have a meal in Le Bistro as his guest the following night. I must say that this was quite a nice meal and he even included a free bottle of wine. If we had paid for this it would have cost us about $70 cover charge. I don't think that you should have to pay so much extra to have a nice meal when you have paid good money for your cruise. In spite of all his promises and apologies things didn't improve at all. Enough said about the dining experience but I could go on and on!!!!! We were unable to go into Alexandria for Cairo as planned, due to the trouble they are experiencing and we were grateful that the ship decided on an alterative port of call. We were to spent 2 nights in Istanbul, of all places. Of all the nice places in the Mediterranean we were taken to this city where even the cruise terminal was closed down for the winter months because the weather was so awful. It was freezing cold and wet for most of the time. The ship docked about 45 minutes brisk walk from the city and they didn't even put a shuttle bus on. We visited the Blue Mosque and the Bazaar on the Saturday but as the 2nd day was Sunday most places were closed. As it was so cold we spent most of the time on the ship. We ended up spending a lot of days at sea or on the ship because it was too cold to get off. There were very few activities on board and it was very boring. Although I must give credit where credit's due the shows in the evenings were usually very good and better than I have seen on other lines but other than that there was very little in the way of entertainment unless you liked Karaoke or Bingo. A comedian asked what the letters NCL stood for. When no-one answered he said 'No Cash Left'. There was an element of truth in this as everything was very expensive onboard. Two Barcardi and Cokes cost $14 and you couldn't even taste the Bacardi. Two cokes alone cost $4.90. There wasn't even an ice bucket in the cabin to use if you wanted a drink from the fridge.All the usual little extras that you normally get on a cruise ship had been taken away. No daily newspapers, no chocolate on your pillow at night, no BBQ's or deck parties, no bands on deck or sail away parties even when we were in the Canaries were the weather was very warm. We spent 3 nights at Butlins in November and can honestly say the dining experience was much better there, than on this ship and the food was much better presented. To call this cruise 'Butlins at Sea' is an insult to Butlins. I have read negative reports about this ship before and didn't believe them but now I have experience it for myself I can believe anything they say. The difference in 2 years is unbelievable. To sum up 'BEWARE' and think twice!! This was my 24th cruise on various cruise lines including, P and O, RCCI, Princess, Celebrity, Cunard and NCL and this was my worst experience ever. In fact it's put me of cruising for ever. If you have any questions then feel free to email me. If you have booked to go on this cruise but the option to cancel due to the change in itinery then i would advise you to take your money and consider yourself lucky. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2010
My husband, my mom and our almost 3-year old daughter, sailed on the Brilliance of the Seas between 5/3 - 5/15. We booked private tours for all of our shore excursions (detailed below) and rented a car (www.santorinicarhire.com) at ... Read More
My husband, my mom and our almost 3-year old daughter, sailed on the Brilliance of the Seas between 5/3 - 5/15. We booked private tours for all of our shore excursions (detailed below) and rented a car (www.santorinicarhire.com) at Santorini, Greece. This was an active and busy cruise and it was an amazing trip for us. It was not easy to travel this itinerary with a small child but with the help of our private tours, we enjoyed all of our ports of call a great deal. We loved all of our private tours and would recommend all of our tour operators. The Brilliance of the Seas was a beautiful ship and we choose to have to two state rooms (one balcony and one inside) because we knew we would be really cramped in one of those tiny inside cabins. The food at the dining room was great and our dining experience was outstanding since we had the most wonderful waiter ever! He name was Adrian. The buffet was convenient but selection was somewhat limited compared to the other cruise we were on. The ship was clean and well equipped. All of the wait staff was very friendly and helpful. On board entertainment was outstanding. The only complaint we had was the information desk was always crowded but our over all experience with the ship was great. Nice - Revelation Tours (http://www.revelation-tours.com/) We had Ingrid as our driver and tour guide and she was knowledgeable and very polite. She was waiting for us when we arrived from our tender. We visited Nice (market of the old city), the medieval villages of Saint-Paul and Eze, as well as Monaco and Monte-Carlo. Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy - Tuscan Heart (http://www.tuscanheart.com/Home.htm) We reserved a Tuscany and Pisa tour for May 5th, 2010 with Daniele's Tuscanheart since we read a great review for the company and Daniele on Cruise Critics. Daniele was extremely responsive to our questions prior to our arrival and he was such a pleasure to communicate with. He gives his potential clients the benefit of doubt and didn't even charge us a deposit!! Livorno was our second port of call and we hit some wicket waves at our first port, Villefrance. Our ship was suppose to dock at Livorno at 7am but didn't make it into the port until 1pm or 2pm. We weren't sure if anyone was going to be there to greet us since we were about 5 or 6 hours late and had no idea what time we were going to get there until a couple of hours before we docked. When we got off the ship, there he was, Daniele was there with a sign of our name just as what we discussed before. Daniele told us that he was not aware of our delay and arrived at the dock by our original meeting time, 8am, and was informed that we would be late and he subsequently returned to pick us up. He was able to cover most activities we had discussed in less time and he even gave us a discount due to the shorter tour! Daniele set up a wine tasting tour for us with Pierluigi as part of our Tuscany tour and it was excellent. http://www.torciano.com/giachi-wine-club/index.htm. We had a case of Chianti shipped back home. It was a little pricey but worth it! In summary, I would recommend Daniele's Tuscanheart to anyone who may consider a private tour in that region. Daniele is extremely flexible and he can customize your tour for you. This was less expensive for us then going on a ship tour and our experience was far better than the big bus! You can get more info at http://www.tuscanheart.com/Home.htm. Turkey - samyeli (www.sammystravel.com) I booked a private tour with Sammy's travel and their local operator is Samyeli Tours. On the date of the tour, a guide, named Isik met us at the cruise ship exit and she led us to our vehicle and the driver. The van was large enough to accommodate 12 people and our group included 7 adults and one child so we were very comfortable. The tour guide had a microphone which was very helpful and we all could hear her very clearly. Turkey was an amazing place and a pleasant surprise for most of us on the tour. Isik was very knowledgeable about the history of all sites we visited. Isik took us to Siren Village for lunch. We walked on a winding and rather steep path to reach the restaurant. For me the climb up to the restaurant was very rewarding as we got to see the village and real people who lived there. Lunch was served family style and was delicious. We had so many courses and could not even finish it all. The view from the restaurant was also gorgeous. Isik told us that visiting a Turkish rug store was part of the tour but it was optional. There was no pressure about going to the rug store and some of tour mates chose to go back to the ship directly. The only thing I'd like to see done differently was instead of going to the pottery factory as the first thing in the day, spending more time at Siren Village would have been nice. However, overall, the tour was a very good experience and we enjoyed it very much. Naples - Giovanni Lerusce (www.positanocardrivers.com) We wanted to visit Pompeii and Amalfi Coast while in Naples. I contacted Giovanni Lerusce for a private tour. (AUTONOLEGGIO Via Sal. Quisisana, 35 80053 Castellammare di Stabia (Napoli) ITALY Tel/Fax +39 0818715021 Mobile +39 3383244002 E-mail giovanni.lerusce@tin.it Web-site: www.positanocardrivers.com) Giovanni was responsive, courteous and thorough in answering my questions. He sent a picture of the Mercedes van in which we would be riding for the tour. He made recommendations as how to schedule our time and detailed meeting instructions. He recommended that we hire a private tour guide when visiting Pompeii which proven to be invaluable and greatly broadened our knowledge and appreciation of this amazing ancient ruin. On the day of our tour, Giovanni was waiting outside the port with a sign of my name as we had previously discussed. He informed us that he had rearranged our day to visit Pompeii later in the day because the port was extremely busy that day and majority of the visitors in port were heading to Pompeii directly which would make our visit less pleasant and cause us to lose time slotted for other sites. We went on the drive for Amalfi Coast and stopped by Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. The view was truly breath taking! Giovanni then took us to a family restaurant (unfortunately, I forgot the name) for lunch where we enjoyed delicious food (awesome pizza!!), great service and wonderful view. We then visited Pompeii after lunch and our guide was great and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. By the way, Giovanni had driven many famous people including Daniel Craig and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In conclusion, I can't say enough good things about Giovanni Lerusce and would recommend his services to anyone who may be interested in visiting Naples. Rome - Rome Cabs (http://www.romecabs.com) My husband and I have been to Rome a few years ago on our own and we absolutely loved it. We wanted to show my mom and our daughter the city as well and went on a private tour with Rome Cabs in Rome. I communicated with the owner Stefano prior to the tour and he was extremely responsive and helpful. In addition to suggested tour information, he forwarded us the link to purchase Vatican ticket online and told us to obtain admission tickets for 2pm. On the day of our tour, Alex, was waiting for us at the dock with a beautiful Mercedes Van when we got off the ship. Alex had such an excellent command of English and I thought he lived in the US for a period of time. Alex had an intimate knowledge of the winding, narrow, incredibly crowded Roman roads and got us so close to all the sites. We covered all the major sites in one day and got back to our ship with plenty of time to spare. We enjoyed our day in Rome a great deal and would recommend Rome Cabs and Alex to anyone when might be interested in coming to Rome. Rome is packed with famous historical sites and one can easily spend a whole week and not see everything. With the help of a private English speaking driver, you remove many unknowns and save a lot of time. Athens - Athensbytaxi http://www.athenstaxi.org or https://www.athensminibus.com I booked a tour with Paul for a private tour in Athens and reserved the taxi. Paul was very responsive and courteous. On the day of the tour, Paul's son, Dimetrious, came to meet us outside the customs' building. The taxi was clean and comfortable. We visited The Acropolis, The Temple of Zeus, The Hill of Lycabettous where we took the most amazing photo of Athens, The Old Palace, The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier and The Changing of The Guards and we stopped at Plaka for lunch. There is no way that the big bus tour could come close to what we were offered! I want to express my sincere appreciation for all our tour guides! Our experience was greatly enhanced by these wonderful and hospitable people. I also want to thank the wonderful group of people whom we met on Cruise Critics and on board. Their insights and recommendations made our cruise a success. Gary, thank you again for doing all those organization for the group! Lastly, I want to send a special thank you to the gentleman at msbrant825@netzero.net for the thorough and extremely detailed review posted on Cruise Critics. I chose almost all of my private tours based on his review and they all turned out beautifully. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Overall, hard to beat a cruise that hits 4 countries, 6 ports and includes X-mas and New Years! .. Traveled to Spain, Italy, Egypt, Turky and Greece. Going in, I was very excited about visiting Egypt but it was somewhat of a disappointment ... Read More
Overall, hard to beat a cruise that hits 4 countries, 6 ports and includes X-mas and New Years! .. Traveled to Spain, Italy, Egypt, Turky and Greece. Going in, I was very excited about visiting Egypt but it was somewhat of a disappointment in the end. Best part of the trip was Pompey & the Almafi coast. Next best was Izmir Turkey .. Ephasus. I've been on several cruise lines but enjoy the Free Style cruising and selection of restaurants. I think we at out almost every night at one of the 7 or 8 choices which were for the most part very good. The main dining room was mediocore at best. We had a balcony room which is really the only way to go ... sunsets - sunrises and listening to the sounds of the ocean as we sail along. I fully expected going in that the excursions would be as much if not more than the on-ship costs. We went somewhere at every port of call and spend a couple days in Barcelona .. 1 coming in and another leaving .. very nice city. Again, Pompey & Almafi were plain fascinating and Cairo was just dirty. So foggy in Alexandria, lost > 1/2 day waiting and riding the bus. Every stop in Egypt was a sales pitch from the vendors .. even on board the bus. Pyramids were incredible but wouldn't go back .. sooooo many vendors. In the end, I was very annoyed w/ NCL at the various money grubbing hurdles they put me through on the ship. My biggest gripe was the phone service charges I acumulated when getting back. This alone and how they reacted will probably keep from visiting thier line for a longgg time to come. ATT is my domestic service and I took out all the overseas calling plan options I could get. I was warned before hand about data roaming and even had this turned off once I arrived in Eourpe.... Turns out my international roaming service was as advertised for all LAND based services ... but when on board NCL ships, the rules don't count. Most ATT reps weren't even aware when I got home. They aren't a Eourpean country so they can charge whatever they want and did .. a $1000+ later. I think the other part that bothered me was how the charged for services, a % of every expense regardless of service quality. I started out tipping everyone depending on what they did for us. Checked my bill about 1/2 way thru and caught on to thier system (my fault for not reading close enuf). I even bought a wine package at suprised in the end to see that there was a fee charged regardless of where and how we consumed our beverages .. room or restaruant. By the way if you go, stock up with beverages after entering the Barcelona customs before getting on the ship .. they don't check! Ocean balcony was quite nice .. have to say, one of the highlights of the trip with given the variety of stops. Stayed in our room > 1/2 time on the ship. Was a double bed .. 2 singles put togther but more comfortable than expected. Had a couch, desk table and chair. Bathroom had a nice size shower and the toilet area had a slide door. TV was fairly small but didn't really use it much .. read, sat on balcony all hours of night and day. By the way, ship was dressed out in Hawaiian decor .. was transplated and not renovated. Didn't really bother me but just seemed out of place. Read Less

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