9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Retirement present for self and Husband. Never been on a cruise before, went with another couple who were seasoned at cruising. Staff on ship friendly, but lack of contact communication from Thompson reps, seemed to walk past the ... Read More
Retirement present for self and Husband. Never been on a cruise before, went with another couple who were seasoned at cruising. Staff on ship friendly, but lack of contact communication from Thompson reps, seemed to walk past the passengers without any communication. Cabin staff worked very hard, and keen to please, our. Cabin was on the outside, but spoiled by air conditioner and engine noise, and vibration at all times Fantastic food, available at any time Great not to have to worry about cash as all inclusive, but this lead to abuse of alcohol especially with youngsters. Great New Year Party organised. Despite an adults only pool, children were often the occupier of this facility. The ship did look dated and tired, but not too big which made getting about easy. Trips, especially the 4 x 4 into the mountains was a complete waste of money, -driver couldn't speak any English, and the entire journey was in silence, photo stop on way back for electric pylon!!- what is that about??- should have complained but just glad to get back to ship.Sight seeing trip in Dubai was also a disaster due to fog- in realty saw absolutely nothing- pity there was no provision when the trip organisers knew the weather was against what the aim was. Unsure if I would cruise again-didn't float my boat! Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Only booked this for the destination really and to try msc as we have never sailed with them before and after this experience we wont ever again ! Whilst the ship itself was lovely that's the only thing that could be said was good ... Read More
Only booked this for the destination really and to try msc as we have never sailed with them before and after this experience we wont ever again ! Whilst the ship itself was lovely that's the only thing that could be said was good about it, The service was virtually none existence. All the staff ( with the exception of the cabin steward) looked totally miserable and as though they didnt want to be there and were so rude and ignorant. It was like it was in inconvenience for them with guests being there. They would let doors slam in your face and expected you to always move out of the way if you happened to be walking in the same pathway. We only ate in the restaurant the first night. £2.50 for a bottle of water and it was in a warm & in a blue plastic bottle. The food was so little that it would look lost on a saucer. 3 pieces of meat just larger than the size of a 50p piece and about 4 diced sized potatoes does not equate to a main meal. The food in the buffet was exactly the same everyday with what wasn't eaten at lunchtime still there in the evening. The shows if you could call them that were very similar each night with no change in the stage set and mostly acrobatic. There was no seating on the prom deck and most days they put chains on the doors saying it was closed due to high winds, but the sea was like a millpond. We have been on many cruises before and always enjoyed the evening entertainment and the formal nights but this is the first time ever that we never got to wear the tux & evening dress as it would have been wasted. Hardly anyone bothered and lots were still in their shorts. I could go on and on but I think you get the just of it !!!! on a plus note... Abu dhabi & Dubai were fantastic and so we will be looking to re visit there for a holiday in style Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first experience of cruising so we had mixed feelings once we started to read the reviews but I suppose you can't please all of the people all of the time. We were met at the airport and because of the time of day 8:00am ... Read More
This was our first experience of cruising so we had mixed feelings once we started to read the reviews but I suppose you can't please all of the people all of the time. We were met at the airport and because of the time of day 8:00am we were taken to a lovely hotel for breakfast and whilst there we completed our paperwork in preparation for boarding the ship. That was effortless and then a short journey to the ship we were told that our cabins would be available in a couple of hours but all facilities were open for us to use so again that was fine. We really enjoyed our holiday, the food was first class, our cabin 2004 was adequate clean and plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, we had an ocean view but with a pothole so it was a little dark. The staff were friendly and very obliging and nothing was too much trouble. We ate every night in the King & I restaurant and had no problem booking a table and the food was excellent. The Windjammer at lunch time was always extremely busy and there was a window of 1.5hrs 12:30-2:00 when it was very chaotic and tables were very difficult to get. We had one day at sea which was difficult with 2000 people all using the ships facilities they were strecthed to the limit with people having to sit on the deck floor as all sunbeds were full. Drinks packages we bought the package before we started our holiday all I would say is if you are not sure if it's for you there's no hurry as you can purchase on board the only stipulation is when you buy it it has to be for the rest of your holiday eg buy Wednesday you would pay for 5days. Water, juice,coffee and tea are free from drinks stations. If you don't want to go on trips you can do your own thing and there are free buses from the ship to take you into the resort. There was plenty of entertainment choices from line dancing to quizzes during the day if that's your thing and the evening could easily be enjoyed going to a show or just relaxing in one if the bars. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise ever, so we went with no preconceived ideas and no expectations. We chose the cruises mainly on price, it was cheap and it went to interesting places in the Middle East that I wanted to go to. We knew we would ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, so we went with no preconceived ideas and no expectations. We chose the cruises mainly on price, it was cheap and it went to interesting places in the Middle East that I wanted to go to. We knew we would be off the boat most days and to us it was just a floating hotel. Embarkation was good and quick and we arrived on board straight away after arriving at the cruise terminal. However our suitcases took more than 4 hours to arrive at our cabins. We could have gone into Dubai or relaxed by the pool except we had our UK winter clothes on and couldn't change. Now we know to bring a change of clothes or swimsuit in your hand luggage. In general the ship was great, no complaints. We had a cabin without windows which was adequate in size, very comfortable and cheap.We bought an Allegrissimo drinks package before we came, which was cheaper and very good, as you never had to think about the costs of drinks. We found all the staff to be very professional and very helpful. There was a service charge daily but I think the staff deserved this. The main sit down and be served restaurant served excellent food, though portion size was small. The buffets, breakfast, lunch and dinner were excellent in the choices and ranges of food available. They were very busy and sometimes you had to share tables, but this was good for meeting people of other nationalities. I can't comment on entertainment as we never attended any. Excursions were expensive but well organised, though the guides let them down by not being able to offer up information, history or stories. It did say they give basic information only but our guide on the Desert Safari didn't even do that. He only spoke when questioned, didn't say where we were or how long we had at that spot. I booked the Big Bus on line before coming and got a combined ticket for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat. This was a lot cheaper than individual tickets bought on the ship. Finding free sunbeds or places to sit in the sun outside was also a problem. You could reserve you place with a towel, which people did and then disappeared for the rest of the day. Staff were supposed to remove them after 30 mins but they never did. Lastly and most importantly, my husband contracted some kind of food poisoning on the first evening, maybe after eating mussels. He was sick all night with diarrhea too. This then lasted the whole week and on into the week we got home. He visited the medical centre who examined him, gave him advice and medicines and even 2 drips but nothing worked. Also it cost us 526 euros! even though we are in the process off claiming some of it back through our insurance. It spoilt the cruise for us, especially for me as I was alone for a lot of the time. This year we are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and had planned a variety of holidays to celebrate, but this turned out to be a disappointment due to the illness and the ships inability to cure it. Despite this the cruise itself was very good and I would recommend this company. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first cruise. It was our Wedding Anniversary and my husband's 70th birthday, so it was booked up last June. We paid £3,900 for the holiday + £600 for 2 drinks packages, so expected some luxury... And we were so ... Read More
This was our first cruise. It was our Wedding Anniversary and my husband's 70th birthday, so it was booked up last June. We paid £3,900 for the holiday + £600 for 2 drinks packages, so expected some luxury... And we were so looking forward to our first cruise.... I could not sleep at all. The air con was on continuously blasting out all night. You couldn't turn it off. Neither did the temperature dial work. By Wenesday, I just wanted to fly back home. The sleep deprivation was making me feel quite ill and I was very worried about my husband who has a lung condition and air conditioning irritates it. He had a really nasty nose bleed in the night which we believe was brought on by the aircon. I did make an appointment to see the guest relations manager. He didn't turn up, so had to see the front desk manager, he said EVERY single stateroom was the same i.e. As it was an old ship, the aircon had to be on continuously. I would love to know if there were any staterooms were you could turn off/regulate the aircon. There was no empathy with our situation what so ever. The front desk manager gave me a pair of ear plugs! I did try them, but they were too uncomfortable to wear. Found one person in particular on the guest services desk to be very arrogant. Room no. was 6000 with a Balcony. It was a very small room. Found out that deck 6 had had the balconies fitted as an add on. There was no fridge and no coffee/tea making facility. The food was mediocre ... Not what we expected at all. In the Windjammer, evening meal, I called over a waiter and gave him a beef slider that was completely raw in the middle... No wonder there were tummy upsets. The bar "service" poolside was non existent most of the time. You could feel the movement/engine humming... Didn't expect that. Entertainment? Daily activities? oh dear.... We were both so bored. Some positives ... The other travellers on board were great, met some lovely people. A couple of the poolside staff were wonderful. The casino... Loved that. When we disembarked we transferred to Le Royal Meridian beach resort and spa (5*) for 3 days... It was pure luxury, top notch food and service. Sleep quality was fantastic. Dubai was fab. So at least we had a nice ending to the holiday. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was my maiden trip on a cruise and was absolutely mind blowing experience. Since I was travelling with my mother, I must say I was bit apprehensive given the health conditions of both of us, but that fear did not deter us from ... Read More
This was my maiden trip on a cruise and was absolutely mind blowing experience. Since I was travelling with my mother, I must say I was bit apprehensive given the health conditions of both of us, but that fear did not deter us from embarking on this wonderful journey. The decor inside the cruise resembled of a 7 star hotel and can give a run for their money on every front. The staff were well trained and were so hospitable that they were just a call away for any help required. The food was another WOW factor and the way the food gets churned on a daily basis is nothing short of a miracle!!! The rooms were well ventilated and had a nice spacious balcony and the housekeeping staff would attend 2 times a day to keep things spic and span In short I would say everyone on the cruise was pampered for choice be it for the food, beverages, entertainment and not to the mention the ambience!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first cruise and, having undertaken extensive research, booked RSS with the USP of Holy Land tours included. We travelled business class from LHR on Virgin, which was the worse business cabin we have ever experienced. Dubai ... Read More
This was our first cruise and, having undertaken extensive research, booked RSS with the USP of Holy Land tours included. We travelled business class from LHR on Virgin, which was the worse business cabin we have ever experienced. Dubai hotel, JW Marriott Marquis, was excellent. Embarkation was very well managed and lunch on the pool deck was a wonderful start to our trip. Our Butler Suite, thank you Joshua, was spotlessly clean, fantastic walk in closet with all the space you could wish for, champagne on ice to welcome us, mini-bar stocked with our personal choices, and nightly canapés delivered shortly after we had unpacked. Our Stewardess, Recel, and Steward, Michael, looked after us so well - it was almost magic, our suite was always serviced, twice a day, and we were never inconvenienced. The balcony had a lounger, two reclining chairs and a table. As we were in a stern suite we invariably enjoyed sunshine most of the day and enjoyed really good views of the ports. We were very close to the launderette, but not close enough to hear the noise generated by the very efficient machines. Food: pool lunches were varied and tasty; Compass Rose - good solid product; Prime 7 - steaks and sea food to die for; Signatures - highest quality food, presentation and service. Sette Mari - good quality but menu repetitive. La Veranda - breakfast was the weak point but still not bad. Drinks free flowing and good quality. Tours: all very well organised with friendly, military precision. Tour guides all well informed professionals with one exception in Cyprus, who was shockingly awful! Trips in Israel were really good and the highlight of the trip for us. Comfort: bed very comfy with good linen. Bathroom well supplied with top end toiletries and towels. Plenty of bathroom storage space. Very convenient all together. Well serviced by Recel and Michael, great ambassadors for RSS! Safety: this is taken very seriously from the lifeboat drill on day 1, the piracy drill because of our sailing itinerary, and the regular crew drills and updated safety information for passengers. Entertainment and Enrichment: all looked high end but we were not interested in participating. Good variety if this is for you. Overall organisation, especially disembarkation day when Voyager arrived 2.25 hours late due to a Force 9 gale. Staff quickly changed flights and re-scheduled D-bark times to accommodate revised arrangements so smoothly, very well done with no problems. We stayed on in Barcelona, making a great finale to our trip and using RSS business class return flights with BA. Special mention for Ray Solaire, Cruise Director, a real character, Daniel Green the Captain, and Roxana from Signatures who was the most delightful and helpful member of the crew, and that is high praise as all the crew were truly outstanding. We are looking to re-book with RSS before too long. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Last cruise on Celebrity Century fantastic. Stayed in the Penthouse, was spacious, luxurious, kitchen, dressing room, very large bathroom, large balcony with furniture & jacuzzi great fun and nice and cool! So it was last sailing ... Read More
Last cruise on Celebrity Century fantastic. Stayed in the Penthouse, was spacious, luxurious, kitchen, dressing room, very large bathroom, large balcony with furniture & jacuzzi great fun and nice and cool! So it was last sailing before being sold, shop closed yes and bars ran out of some drinks, but plenty more to choose from. You can shop anytime!!! Lots to do every day couldn't keep up! Lots of space to sunbathe away from pool if that is what you like, which I do. Food absolutely amazing !!! Maurano restaurant delicious. Service & staff throughout the ship exceptional. Couldn't do enough, very clean. Captain George a cheeky Greek we loved, captains table amazing, made us feel very special indeed. John & Jane entertainment organisers did a great job! Theatre shows something for everyone... It was Century's last cruise, cannot believe guests didn't know this before boarding!!! But it made it more special ! After reading some of these reviews of guests who were on the same cruise, you should be ashamed of yourselves.. Can't keep everyone happy though! Always get moaners! They explained why shop had to close, but plenty enough shopping at ports! Celebrity it was our first cruise we will definitely be booking again, just need to earn the pennies.... Penthouse worth every penny, Thank you butler Nelson & housekeeper Frazer fir looking after us, you spoilt us! Also Sylvia Smidt concierge Michael's lounge, professional through & through who couldn't do enough for everyone . Good luck to all the staff on Century hopefully meet again one day x Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our first ever cruise and hence our first review on this site. A couple of earlier reviews of this ship on this website were very helpful for us so thank you for taking the trouble - they really helped us prepare and set ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and hence our first review on this site. A couple of earlier reviews of this ship on this website were very helpful for us so thank you for taking the trouble - they really helped us prepare and set expectations. We chose this particular cruise as a 'floating hotel' to see the fascinating places it stops at (Dubai / Muscat / Khasab / Abu Dhabi) rather than for a cruise experience per se. We booked several excursions through cruisingexcursions.com - I wouldn't use them again. Before we arrived we received conflicting/confusing information about embarkation procedures, as did others. Many disgruntled folk had been transferred to the port from the airport in the morning but did not know that they were not allowed into their cabin till 8pm. Cabin was clean and pleasant inside (an outside cabin with small balcony) with plenty of storage space. The balcony was a bit grubby and many people used their balcony for smoking which made sitting outside rather unpleasant for a non smoker as the smell of cigarette smoke wafted down the length of the ship. The ship is decidedly Italian and the décor awesome but not in a good way. The interior design team should have been sacked at an early stage in the process but were seemingly allowed to realise their nightmare visions unrestrained. Such extreme design is bound to irritate a good proportion of any audience and that included me. That together with the wretched music in every public area of the ship made our cabin a welcome retreat. Still the holiday was cheap (I kept telling myself). We were told that the average passenger consumes 5.2 meals per day on the ship. The food was certainly plentiful and some of it was really good and much of it healthy also. But looking at many of the passengers, taken together with the statistics, I concluded that dietary self control is a serious problem on cruises like this. The level of food waste, especially in the self service restaurants, was disturbing as some people piled vast quantities on to their plates only to leave much of it. The evening five course dining experience was varied with some excellent dishes and others less so. But not bad overall once we realised that it wasn't compulsory to eat every course. The service from staff varied considerably between wonderful and non existent. At times staff would walk at you as if you weren't there, whilst at other times staff were genuine and really made an effort to be friendly and helpful. Unlike the number of places in the lifeboats, there weren't enough sunbeds to go round. This provided excellent people-watching opportunities. I've never before seen people steal others' clean towels from sunbeds and replace them with their own dirty ones. The Giove Theatre seemed bigger than many UK provincial theatres. The nightly shows were glitzy and clearly had taken significant effort and resources to stage. They just got a bit samey and weren't all that entertaining judging by the efforts needed to get the audience to respond. We had a couple of 'hot stone' massages in the spa centre - a truly excellent service there. Wonderful. A disappointment for me was the complete cultural separation between the ship and the outside world - no attempt was made to educate or inform about the places being visited - no talks, no experts in middle east culture, art, religion etc to help us get more out of the experience. Just bar staff selling drinks packages and shops selling stuff you can get in a duty free shop anywhere. The excursions were a wonderful relief - these were the windows to get out and make the most of the short period in each of the fascinating places we stopped. The Costa excursions seemed much better organised but considerably more expensive than the cruisingexcursions.com trips we had booked. However we experienced various difficulties with ours (one excursion was cancelled without telling us and another left several people behind). The information and process for disembarkation was reminiscent of our experience of the Italian railway system at Pisa last year. None of what we were told actually happened in practice and we ended up carrying our own cases off the ship at 6am on our last day. Overall - would we go on a Costa cruise ever again? Absolutely not. Interestingly everyone we spoke to on the ship said the same. Should we be put off ever going on a cruise again? Most people said there were great cruising experiences to be had so we'll keep looking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
It did not start well - an overnight flight from the UK which was very squashed and uncomfortable (Emirates. VERY disappointing) and then we were in the embarkation area by 9.30am and told we would not have a cabin until 20.00. We were ... Read More
It did not start well - an overnight flight from the UK which was very squashed and uncomfortable (Emirates. VERY disappointing) and then we were in the embarkation area by 9.30am and told we would not have a cabin until 20.00. We were appalled. Luckily we managed to get a good armchair each and catch up on some sleep. Then there was a mad surge forward around 3pm and it was utter chaos. We began to panic thinking we had come on the 'Ryanair' of cruises. However, somehow our chairs were near the front and we slipped into the queue and the embarkation was then painless and quite efficient although I would not have been able to stand for several hours as the people at the back must have done. We went on board and ate on Deck 9 at the lido grill and all was well. I went off to locate our cabin and was told we could not have it until 20.00 (it was 16.00 then and I had a dreadful headache and this seemed totally unreasonable) I spoke to the steward and explained I felt unwell and needed to lie down and amazingly he said we could have the cabin at 18.00 and sure enough we did. After that it was pretty much perfect. We had balcony cabin 8439 at the back of the ship and it was fine. The air conditioning was a little noisy but the main problem was a 'squeaky wardrobe' when the ship was in motion overnight. This really was irritating. Cabin steward Joe anticipated our every need and was faultless, absolutely SUPERB. We ate on the early sitting in the Michelangelo restaurant for 6 nights and at the buffet on deck 9 for one. We didn't care for the pushing and shoving in the self service and greedy people in shorts and singlets piling it high. We didn't go to any of the entertainment as not our thing - we sat on our balcony and read. Bliss. We retired early as all the trips started early. The trips were superb, really enjoyed them all, excellent guides. We did Niswa and Jabrin Castle, Mystical Muscat (LOVED Muscat) Khasab and surroundings, Abu Dhabi and Dubai city tours. All brilliant. We thought the ship was great, we have no complaints about the decor and I especially liked the rear sundeck on deck 9 and the adults only pool which I mostly had to myself every day for half an hour or so. We have confidently recommended Costa cruises to our friends (and everyone sneered when we were going because of what happened to the Concordia) and we will certainly travel with them again if they go where we wish to travel. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My Wife and I decided to do a Cruise this Christmas to get away from it all. We flew to Dubai on the 20th December from Dublin, good flight. The Hotel overnight supplied in Dubai was excellent and we were up graded to a Junior Suite(not ... Read More
My Wife and I decided to do a Cruise this Christmas to get away from it all. We flew to Dubai on the 20th December from Dublin, good flight. The Hotel overnight supplied in Dubai was excellent and we were up graded to a Junior Suite(not sure why). Breakfast next morning and transfer/embarking the Ship was very smooth and painless. Accommodation was an Ocean View Stateroom which was first class. Everything about the Cruise was, in our opinion, excellent from the food to the all inclusive Drinks Package. I would recommend that people do one of these Drinks Inclusive Packages as drink can be expensive and the package will pay for itself in a matter of days. This was our first Cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised. The Dining provided something for everyone, be it a casual buffet on the 12th deck or a Formal Gala sit down meal in pleasant company. We found all the food to be excellent. All staff from waiting to bar staff were very helpful and courteous. The tipping is added to your bill at the end and costs €7 per person per day. we asked to have this removed at the beginning (it was removed on the end bill) and we tipped the staff we felt appropriate, i.e. the Cabin Stewart, our main Waiters and certain Bar Staff. I believe all were happier with this arrangement. Only two things we were not delighted with were two Ports, Kasab and Al Fackat which had nothing to see at all. in Kasab we did a bus trip supplied by MSC into town for ten Euros only to get straight back on it and return to the Ship. One observation that we both made was a couple of individuals, one a Family and one a Couple who had previously availed of 5/7 star cruises on the Princes and Royal Caribbean lines. They complained bitterly and constantly and out everything from food to entertainment. One of these actually compared the food on the Lirica as being comparable to being the difference between your "local chippy and a four star Michelin Restaurant". Fine, if that is the case pay for the 7 star cruise and don't complain about being on a four star one! All in all, a wonderful experience and one I would recommend and hope to do again this year if at all possible. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company ... Read More
Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company informed us about apart from saying it is our responsibility. Despite our far and wide air travel experience,we discovered the hard way,India is very different,true to her much vaunted advertising slogan,"Incredible India". It cost us two £187 not least having to complete on line a lengthy form,travel twice to Hayes in Middlesex,UK,once to hand in the documents and again for collection after waiting in queues each time! If that was bad enough,Indian Immigration Officials (just two) had to conduct a ludicrous visa to face check on board before arrival in Goa for around 3000 passengers and repeat the same ordeal before her next port of call,Cochin in India. First time,we queued for nearly 3 hours and felt sorry for elderly and frail passengers. Our hotel accommodation in Dubai after flying out on Emirates A380 from Heathrow was great and prepaid transfer was great. Transfer from hotel to Port Rushid in Dubai was bungled and we had to pay for a taxi ourselves. Hotel accommodation in Singapore was very mediocre.Our stateroom on Deck 9 with private balcony was superb and spacious. Room attendant was friendly and polite deserving the handsome tip. Ship information service was very good and accepted our instruction not to preload gratuities as wanted to reward those who made our vacation special.Hand sanitisation requirement was excellent and food was good albeit tasting pretty much the same. Orange juice was free only at breakfast and iced water was preferred to iced tea and lemonade. Electric violinist Jane Cho brought tears of joy to my eyes and we had the privilege of meeting her by chance at breakfast the following morning. Disappointment that she had only a three minute slot on the final day before reaching Penang where she left the ship while other artistes had bigger slots,some of whom bored me to tears! We found ship's shore excursions restrictive and not value for money and therefore,venturing out on our own with a couple of fellow passengers to share expenses giving more freedom.Not allowing passengers to bring their own choice of alcoholic drinks was a big disappointment as we enjoy a few drinks on holiday and relax in the privacy of our room or cabin.In summary,it was an experience to 'enjoy' but,cruises calling at different ports of call in the same country giving some 7 or 8 hours to go sightseeing instead fewer ports of call and spread of different countries giving more time for sightseeing and definitely,NOWHERE IN INCREDIBLE INDIA after our own experience. Sadly,it is not the country nor the people but sheer BUREAUCRACY that we do not want a repeat of. It is a shame that such itineraries did not include neighbouring Sri Lanka,a tourist friendly paradise with simple on line visa requirement which costs much less. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Firstly, for those who have read my previous reviews I hope I've demonstrated that my comments are as objective as possible and where possible as positive as I can be. This review is based on my expectation for the price we paid. Had ... Read More
Firstly, for those who have read my previous reviews I hope I've demonstrated that my comments are as objective as possible and where possible as positive as I can be. This review is based on my expectation for the price we paid. Had I paid less I may have thought our experience was acceptable. This is quite long, but bear with me! As a result of lots of positive comments from friends and the fact that I love anything to do with water we decided to give Cruising a go. I chose Royal Caribbean because it sounded like an American company and therefore I expected a really high standard of customer service. Furthermore, as it was a first time experience I decided to go for a high-end option. To make the booking I initially rang straight through to RCI, but they couldn't organise the itinerary I wanted (odd), but they sold the cruise well so I contacted my own agent and they were able to book the complete deal without any fuss (dial a flight -- Michelle). Paying the amount we did we expected priority for various procedures such as boarding, lounges, bathing, dining, the usual and from the tone of the call to RCI I wasn't expecting anything less -- you get what you pay for. We set off, really looking forward to the trip! We arrived at the port in Dubai to embark on the 'Serenade of the Seas' (1) We were surprised to note that there was no one at the entrance to identify what type of customer we were and to guide us from there. In fact this set the tone for the trip and much of what we discovered over the next 7 days was as a result of default rather than good customer care. We made our way to the check in and were advised that we could access our stateroom at 1pm. (2) we were told to wait in the general waiting area. First impression was not very good. (3) Deck 11 is a bit tired looking and reminiscent of a 2-3 star holiday camp. By the way, I was 15 years old the last time I was at a holiday camp and I think I'm well past that type of experience! We made our way to what was an Owners Suite. It's a 2 bed-roomed suite with a living area, a bathroom, en-suite and balcony. Couldn't swing a cat on the balcony as 2 sun-beds, a table and 2 chairs took up all the room. (4) As the week progressed the balcony became a real source of irritation. We were in very high temperatures and as the barrier was fully with no ventilation it became like an oven so unusable! By day 2 when I realised that getting a location on the general sun deck that didn't involve getting intimately close up and personal with all the other guests was nigh on impossible, the fact I couldn't our balcony was really frustrating. Later that afternoon we went in search of lunch. 'The Windjammer' was the only option. This is a buffet style canteen. First impression -- Staff really very miserable and unfriendly -- oh dear, and worst of all, plastic plates - Yuk! Unfortunately, having 24 years in the customer services sector means I'm more aware of what good service is and if you've read my previous reviews I'm really good at complimenting those organisation who deliver well. However, rather than throw myself overboard I decided that the best course of action is to eat (the plastic food) and have a glass of wine. (5) We had bought the premium drinks package $55 per day per person, which included all types of drinks. Total cost to us, as 4 adults in the family, was £995 for the week. We aren't heavy drinkers, but we didn't want the hassle of having pay for each item so consolidating it seemed a good idea. I asked the rather fed up waitress if I could have a glass of wine. Waitress - "Do you want red or white?" Me- "White wine pleases. What have you got?" Waitress- "Chardonnay" Me- "Don't you have Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio" After all these are probably 2 of the most popular grapes!! Waitress- "No, just Chardonnay!" Brilliant, I thought, this is going from bad to worse, which way to throw myself over board? So far rubbish greeting, shabby boat, horrendous canteen, miserable staff and now I can't get something reasonable to drink! Needless to say we dispensed with the premier drinks package -- at the end of the week we spent less than the cost of the package anyway, so would not have been worth it! (6) When we got to the cabin we were advised that our luggage would be delivered to our cabin by 8pm. Joy -- this meant we wouldn't have had the option to lie in the sun as we didn't have any swim wear! We booked 'my time dining' for 6.30pm so couldn't get changed for dinner either! (7) Our cabin attendant arrived to show us round the cabin. He was a nice chap but not very informative. He showed us the manual and left. At 6.30 we made our way to 'my time dining' located in the Reflections restaurant. It was very cramped, but looked really pleasant and professional. Nice tableware, neatly laid out and thankfully smiley waiting staff. Thank God for Yasar and Harry. Yasar is from the Philippines and was genuinely keen to ensure that we had a good dining experience. Our family just loved him. He was so sweet and polite, and so we generally took his menu recommendation. To be fair, he was normally absolutely right. 'Miss Alice' and 'Sir Alan' was how he addressed my daughter and husband, I think I was 'Madam Janet' and he really made up for the poor impression we'd had up to that point. What was even more endearing was that even though we'd eaten at the speciality restaurants for the following 3 nights and given that there were 2000 guests on board, he remembered our names when we ate there again. So impressed were we with this team we ate there for the rest of the week. Harry was also really sweet and as the week progressed he opened up a little more. They made a very good team. Top tip -- Take the 'wine package' for dinnertime, as you get better choices and overall probably works out as being more cost effective. General comments - (8) Entertainers on this ship were awful. Singing is not there best feature! Whoever auditioned them needs to have their ears tested. The karaoke singers in the pub were better. - Casino -- Staff don't smile. We didn't actually use the casino, as we wouldn't know what to do except lose money, but it was interesting to observe. - Theatre Shows - My husband and daughter attended the Beatle's night (big hype for this show!), and had it not been for the fact they were at the front, they would have left very early on. I was given the impression that the shows were fabulous on a cruise -- not evident on this one! - Pool area and sun deck -- one word Horrible. Beds were plastic and uncomfortable and far too close (some very intimate moments could be had if you were that way inclined) and the pool looked decidedly dodgy. (9) I love the sun and it was one of the key features of why we chose this cruise. However, I managed 6 very unbearable hours in cramped and thoroughly unpleasant bathing conditions. My family did not even entertain the idea of going out onto the deck and as our balcony was like an oven we couldn't lie out in our own space. As a result we came home the same colour as we left! - Restaurants - Chops Grill -- Really, really great steaks and pudding. A definite must. Giovanni's -- Good Italian food. Azumi -- very bland and lacked character - Concierge Club -- Opening hours not brilliant as these were 8-10.30am and 5-8.30pm. Wasn't opened on day 1 from 1pm, which would have been really useful as could have given us a lot of information. We were booked on an early sitting so didn't get round to going there until day 3. Provided complimentary drinks and food, which were okay, but no Gordon's or Bombay Gin! Dawson and Lee were lovely and ensured that we were never without a drink. Francois was really helpful. - Trips -- Seriously overpriced and so we didn't use the service - Stop over's --Throughout the trip we docked at industrial ports so nothing attractive to look at. Nothing to be done about that, but again as we were first timers it was disappointing. Suggestions -- as per numbers 1. There should be someone to meet priority clients and to guide them through the process of checking in and then advise what to do 2. The concierge lounge should be open for the whole day on day 1, as it would allow guests to meet each other, break the ice so to speak. It would also provide an opportunity to learn more about what to expect or what is provided during the trip rather than guests having to figure it out as they go along 3. I understand that the ship has had recent refurbishments and this is evident in most parts of the ship, but the areas on deck 11 look really worn, so first impression not good. Other areas did look good. 4. The balcony should have slatted barrier to allow air to get through. Useless in extremely high temperatures 5. Premier drinks package should have a variety of wines. Lets face it a reasonable bottle of Sauvignon Blanc can be bought at cost for a few pounds, in bulk even less, so don't be mean. It appears a bit money grabbing!! 6. For priority client's luggage should be taken to rooms at earliest time, otherwise what's the point in paying extra? 7. Cabin attendants for Gold card clients should be given time to actually instruct their guests on options and what to do rather than directing them to a manual to read 8. Get better singers. 9. Section off an area for Gold card clients to sunbath What we loved 1. 70's night was hilarious 2. The guests who sang on the Karaoke night 3. Yasar, Harry, Dawson, Lee and Francois 4. Chops Grill 5. Coming home! Would we cruise again -- Yes, but on a smaller and more customer focused ship. We would never travel to this part of the world again and will try Europe or somewhere that has a more attractive and interesting landscape. Also one where you pay for the whole package rather than feeling as though everywhere you turn someone is after more money. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was ... Read More
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was the fastest decision we ever had, took us around 15 minutes to close the booking we even decided to do an early anniversary celebration for it. We booked before the embarkation by a several month and till the big day we kept dreaming and fantasize about how it will look like beside lots of research. To cut it short to the review we landed in Dubai the day before the embarkation and stayed at Savoy Central hotel about 5 minutes drive from the port. And here comes the big day as we were approaching the port and got the 1st visual contact with the ship we were amazed by the ship's massive size (I know it's a small one compared to RCL fleet but we still rookies) , RCL land staff on the port were very nice , helpful ,smiling and organized the check in process took around 20 minutes including double checking with UAE coast guards our eligibility to take a return visa to UAE at the end of the cruise. Finally we got our sea passes and headed to the ship and from the moment we stepped in the ship the fascination started from the Centrum till we reached our stateroom at the 9th floor, after checking out our beautiful room we decided to talk a walk around the ship and since then we didn't stop walking till we reached back Dubai. Our stateroom was on the 9th floor we booked a balcony room very spacious with a nice size balcony , very comfy bed and pillows bathroom was good the shower was a little bit tight but wasn't a problem as you don't want to waste too much time in the shower , room service was great they clean and make up your room several times a day and by every night you will find your cruise compass along with a very nice wrapped towel (we had an elephant , dog and a hanging monkey. The ship is amazing with lots of activities from live shows to various dining options , relaxation by the solarium to watch movies on the huge screen by the pool, interactive touch screens on each floor showing the ship map , point of interests and all the activities going on board was very informative. For the dining we tried several places along the trip (Windjammer , The Reflections , Giovanni's Table and Park Cafe) usually we had breakfast around 8 Am , Snack 1 PM and Dinner 8:30 PM. 1- Windjammer : The food on windjammer is very nice with lots of varieties and the main thing we loved in Windjammer that no matter how crowded it is you'll never feel it due to its spacious space. 2- The Reflections : The food was very tasty and sophisticated and very nice wine menu. 3- Giovanni's Table : we went to Giovanni's Table on the Mystery Wine Dinner night Same as reflections very tasty and sophisticated and the show was awesome. 4- Park Cafe : Very nice for a mid day light snack and they have the best Roast Beef sandwich I ever had. Regarding the onboard activities we enjoyed the lovely animation team on the Serenade they had different activities every day , the Arabian night was wonderful . We went to the tropical theater a couple of times and were impressed by the huge production they have onboard , also the shows on the Centrum was very amusing specially the 70's disco night. The good thing that if you missed on any show (which defiantly you will as some shows are played together) it will be broadcasted on the internal channels on your stateroom TV. Also all live bands were very nice playing different genres of music from easy listening to latin music. The overall entertainment onboard the ship was awesome Service on the ship is wonderful and very professional from room attendants to restaurant greeters and waiters, bar tenders , animation team ,onboard shops sales representatives all officers and senior officers everyone is greeting you with a huge smile and won't save an effort to help you in anything. We didn't do any kind of shore excursions as we enjoyed the ship very much and we didn't want to waste any time outside it, we only got to a short tour in Oman by our own around 2 hours but from the excursions list we got on the ship seems like they offer lots of on shore activities with very reasonable prices. The most thing we loved in the cruise is the guests onboard the ship a very nice combination of multi culture people that are looking forward to spend good time all guests were friendly , smiling and happily greeting each other, we had lots of short/long side conversations with many people from all around the world we even managed to earn new friendship with a very lovely German couple on the 2nd day and we spent the rest of the cruise together. The only thing we didn't like on the whole cruise that the outdoor swimming pool became very dirty by the last 2 days of the cruise. Checkout process was very easy specially that I had all the onboard expenses debited from my credit card directly. Bottom line we enjoyed every second on the cruise and we are officially attached to the cruising life. we started looking for 2014 cruise already. In the end I would like to thank everyone working on the Serenade Of the Seas for making our dream vacation comes true. Hope the above info. Was informative for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
We have recently returned from a week's cruise in the Middle East on board RCI's "Serenade of the Seas". This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We booked very early, paid extra for an outside ... Read More
We have recently returned from a week's cruise in the Middle East on board RCI's "Serenade of the Seas". This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We booked very early, paid extra for an outside balcony and chose cabin 8102. On our balcony were 2 sunloungers, 2 chairs and 2 tables ... and there was still plenty of space. The cabin itself was compact but there was ample wardrobe space, hangers, cupboards and also a sofa. The shower was always hot with plenty of pressure. The staff were superb, particularly our waiter (Sandry) and assistant waiter (Ajay) who made our evening 3-course dinner in the Reflections Restaurant even more enjoyable (Table 451). The food was superb and sometimes it was difficult to decide which dish to have. There was also a "healthy option" but we did not select from this menu! One point to mention is regarding the dress code for dinner. According to the information we were sent prior to the cruise, there were 2 formal nights (tuxedo or suit and tie), 2 smart casual nights (jacket and shirt) and 3 casual nights. However there were no smart casual evenings so my husband had taken a jacket and 2 shirts for no reason! In addition on the formal nights we were disappointed to see that several guests wore casual clothes. Surely if the literature referred to a dress code, and the daily "Cruise Compass" newsletter left in the cabin stated what was required, then it should be enforced? The "Windjammer" self-service restaurant is available to everyone at no extra charge so those guests who did not want to make an effort should have been advised to use that restaurant on formal nights. Check in was very efficient. We flew overnight from LGW on the Emirates flight and were taken to The Hyatt Hotel for breakfast where we completed the necessary boarding documentation and received our cabin keycards. Mid-morning we were then taken to the ship where we could take advantage of the sunshine relaxing on loungers on the sun decks until our cabin was available. There was no queue to get onto the ship. Disembarking the ship was even more efficient. Luggage was collected from outside cabins at midnight and guests were advised of the time of their departure and where they should assemble in the morning. Purchasing drinks packages prior to departing the UK is definitely worth doing as it means you can have some control over the costs involved, paying for these in advance so that it's not such a shock at the end of your cruise! We chose the unlimited soda fountain package and a 7-bottles of wine package (other deals are available). Obviously you can purchase more drinks when on board which will be charged to your cabin. We were also allowed to take 2 bottles of wine on board with us that we had purchased at LGW duty free, but you should declare them before boarding the ship as other drinks might be confiscated. The ports of call were interesting. We had previously been to the Middle East and visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi but had never been to Muscat in Oman. We therefore decided to do the Mystical Mosque and City tour but booked this independently via our travel agent about 2 months prior to leaving the UK. This meant we had already paid for our trip and it was at a much lower price than if we had booked it direct with RCI. Imagine our surprise to find that we were the only 2 people on this excursion, chauffeur driven in an air conditioned luxury car by our very knowledgeable and helpful guide and we could therefore explore at our own pace. The mosque was fascinating and definitely worth a visit. However it is only open to the public until 11 a.m. and please note that ladies should wear loose long trousers (or loose long skirts), long sleeves, preferably socks with sandals and a scarf to cover your head when in the mosque itself. Men should not wear shorts. On board ship there's plenty to do during the day and in the evening but it is up to you whether you wish to join in or just relax. There are numerous bars, lounges and places to sit. We had a great time and will go on a cruise again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in ... Read More
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in Dubai the morning after before setting off on our cruise so what a relief that was. After arriving at the port, it was manic, we were queuing for 2& 1/2 hours before eventually boarding the ship. We got talking to people who had cruised before & they were saying they'd never had anything like that before. After boarding the ship, we went to our room which was nice then went for our safety talk in case of emergency etc. A reggae band started playing on deck 11 which were brilliant & was playing while we set sail. We were celebrating our silver wedding which they knew about. We sailed on the 14th May 2012 & our anniversary was on the 23rd may 2012. On the 1st night we went to the Magic Flute dining room & they sat us on a table with 4 other people & we could not wish for better people to sit with. One of the couples, we ended up spending the whole duration with & they didn't live far from us. We we're Huddersfield & they were leeds. That same night we got talking to a lovely couple from Hull who we also spent the rest of our holiday with (all similar age & sense of humour). We were quite disappointed with the entertainment. We got told entertainment on Royal Caribbean was excellent. I'm sorry but we have better entertainment in our local bowling club on a sunday afternoon & to say there were over 3000 passengers on board, the bars were empty. There were smoking allowed in The Vault nightclub which spoiled it because there didn't seem to be any ventilationThere were also smoking allowed on the right hand side walking into the Windjamer restaurant so you had to walk through all the smoke if you wanted to eat there. We visited Goa, Cochin, penang, Kuarla Lumpar & Singapore. All those places were fantastic & we did our own thing rather than book trips off the ship. We shared taxi's with the people we met so was much cheaper. We only saw our room attendant twice & for four days she left our soap dispenser empty in the shower. Fortunately we took our own. The most disappointing thing for me was on our silver wedding, i thought they might have at least given us a bottle of cheap bubbly or put a small bouquet of flowers in our room, but no there was nothing at all yet when we went to Cuba & mexico for our Anniversary they gave us champagne, sprinkled the room with rose petals & alsorts,they proper spoiled us & it weren't a special anniversary. It was the people we met who spoiled us. One couple bought us a superb picture that we had taken on the ship in a beautiful frame & the others were fantastic, they made sure we had a good celebration. In the restaurant if our friends hadn't have told the waitress we wouldn't have got anything, even then it was a piece of cake about 2" square with 1 candle on & they sang happy anniversary to you (not happy birthday). I think if there were just my hubby & i, we wouldn't have enjoyed it nowhere near has much so thanks to all the lovely people we met for making it so enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
About us: A couple with children (that were left at home with my parents) travelling on our first trip together post being married all those years ago, and celebrating my husbands 40th Birthday. Boarding: We didn't have any issues ... Read More
About us: A couple with children (that were left at home with my parents) travelling on our first trip together post being married all those years ago, and celebrating my husbands 40th Birthday. Boarding: We didn't have any issues at all with boarding, and heard loads of horror stories about other peoples experiences. We arrived at the terminal early, as I had emailed RCI earlier as initially I had been told boarding would take place from 12 noon, and then our paperwork all stated 2pm. I wanted to be on board earlier rather than later, so with no queues to worry about, we were on board by 12:30pm, and it was completely uneventful. That being said, I really feel for those that came later and had the multi-hour wait in the terminal tent. The air conditioning couldn't match the heat, so it was more a sweat box! Disembarking: Ok, we were the first people to arrive at the new terminal in Singapore. Not having too many issues previously, I guess this was the most frustrating day for us. There were big delays getting off the ship. It was funny, as I had joked that by the time we did get off, all the entertainment and fun of being the first to arrive would have packed up, and it had. We were delayed by an hour and a half in a line that just didn't move as they were having technical issues. We received a token postcard for being the first to arrive in the terminal. It was a big building, but there was still work to be done on it to have it completed. Due to the volume of people getting off the boat at the one time, the taxi bay, was a nightmare, so they offered free buses over to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where away from the congestion you could just jump straight into a taxi. We gladly took up this option. Cabin: Initially I had booked an inside cabin. I am so glad we upgraded to the junior suite. It was perfect. There was so much room in it. Ok, so the destinations and weather was probably too hot to actually use the balcony the majority of the time, and we did under use it, but the extra space in the room we just adored. Our Room attendant Sihal Zong, was amazing. I'm not sure that he actually had any time off during the cruise, because I can't remember not seeing him in the hallway at least twice a day during the cruise. The first day he made the effort to learn our names and pronounce them correctly, and every time he saw us after that we were greeted personally. He kept our room very clean, shoes all lined up perfectly (in the end we tried doing as much as possible to spare him these little things), and the bathroom products continually replaced as we used them. You couldn't have asked for anything better than that! Food: I think we only ate in the Main Dining Room four times during the cruise. First night I requested the Salmon, and the waiter kind of told me off, asking why I ordered that, and didn't I like the beef or the other options, and since salmon was on the menu 9 times during the cruise I should choose again ... So I guess I wasn't allowed Salmon and choose whatever else he wanted me to have. Needless to say, I never got my Salmon, which was a bit disappointing. Loved the formal night menus. In the end we ate mostly in the Windjammer, due to the fact we were able to choose what we wanted to eat without being "told off, or persuaded otherwise". We also liked the informality of the buffet, and the selection of food was really good. We never actually ordered room service, we kept meaning to, but were too much on cruise mode, and that seemed too much like planning. Range of food on board was really good, and we never went hungry. The dessert range in the Windjammer was at times a bit underwhelming, but I didn't mind that too much, as its not like I eat desserts for lunch and dinner daily back at home, so helped me not put on weight. Entertainment: I guess being a mum, its sad to admit, but I loved the 3D movies they played as part of their entertainment package. I'm not sure starting them at 10:15pm however was really a good option all the time. Luckily there weren't many children onboard, especially as they were all kids movies that they played. Was just surprised that they didn't replay these movies during the daytime giving you two chances to go and watch them. The Cruise Director Gordon, I really liked, I didn't really go to many of the Headliner shows though, as they just weren't my thing. My husband did sit through most of them though. The Ice Skating show, definitely was the best entertainment onboard. I did have the misfortune of sitting in the wrong seat, so ended up being pulled out on the ice for what seemed an eternity. They really picked the wrong girl for that because I hated being out there, and for being the best show of the cruise, it did wreck it for me, and was so disappointed that I ended up missing alot of it, because my nerves were shot to pieces when they finally let me go back to my seat. I guess it wasn't their fault, but would have loved to have been able to have sat and just enjoyed the show. Everyone said it was amazing. Staff: To the most part staff were really helpful and friendly. There were a few onboard that were either brand new to sailing or just wanted to be elsewhere, but you get that everywhere. Had a bad experience with the hairdressing service. I guess I might try it one further time, before writing off their service altogether. The girl who did my hair was just really rough, and it was hurting the way she pulled my hair about. I did have quite alot of hair come off when I washed it out the following morning. So it wasn't a good experience. I did go twice to the same girl and the second time, was also a very rough and she wanted to be elsewhere experience. I think she was being timed for how fast she could pull off a hair style because 15 minutes later I was out of there $70 something dollars poorer for the experience. Ports: I chose to do my own thing in all the ports. Goa was definitely an experience. Probably the biggest cultural shock of the lot. We hired a taxi with another couple, and I think we were all eager in the end to get back onboard sooner rather than later. Cochin, we went on a group tour organised by someone on cruise critic. It was an amazing port, and we did so much. Was so much fun and a beautiful destination. Penang was another Taxi port, where we went about with another couple. I had pre-booked with Ocean Jupiter tours, and they were amazing. We saw so much of the city in the time we were there. It was a very well rounded trip. Kuala Lumpur, I had pre-organised a tour of the city for 16 of us. It ended up being a very full day and also alot of fun. Best food of the trip was in the KL Towers on their 4th floor food court. Was amazing, and so much fun! Ship: There were renovations onboard during our cruise that we weren't informed of before boarding. We had been aware that there were to be some worked completed on the earlier legs, but we had no idea these were to continue for our leg. One of the shops was closed the majority of the trip, which wasn't too bad I guess, because when it opened, it just had all the things the other shops had. The souvenirs were all from their previous ports in the Caribbean. I dont understand why they didn't leave them there and pick up something a bit more relevant to our cruise? The main area they renovated on our leg was the children's area at the back of the ship behind Johnny Rockets. I believe they opened up the area two days before we got off. Honestly, that looked like the type of place I would have spent alot of time as it had a gorgeous view, was more sheltered from the sun and wind, and the kids pool was just too cute. Other than that, the ship looked in good condition. People complain about the hand rails not being polished and everything else, but didn't have a problem with any of it. The ship looked in really good condition. Hopefully I haven't missed anything. We did have a ball on the cruise. We met amazing people, who I'm sure we will continue to remain in touch with. For a first cruise, apart from a small bout of sea sickness, which I didn't take medications with me for (how stupid am I), it was a really smooth cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
My husband and I stayed 2 nights in Dubai before joining this cruise which we enjoyed. My first impression of Royal Caribbean was not good as we had to wait over 2 hours to embark the Voyager of the Seas. However, once we were on board ... Read More
My husband and I stayed 2 nights in Dubai before joining this cruise which we enjoyed. My first impression of Royal Caribbean was not good as we had to wait over 2 hours to embark the Voyager of the Seas. However, once we were on board we went straight to our balcony cabin which was wonderful. The room was clean & had plenty of space to store your clothes & toiletries. We had ordered bottled water, bathrobe & slippers which were already in our stateroom when we arrived. Our stateroom attendant Joel was very helpful, friendly and efficient and anything we asked for (laundry bags/menus) was delivered promptly to our stateroom. During our cruise we used many facilities on board. We regularly went to the Gym which was well equipped & got really busy late afternoon. My husband went rock climbing and I went iceskating. There really is plenty to amuse everyone whatever their tastes onboard! We are not really into shows but we did go and see the 'Broadway' show and the Iceskating show, both were very good! We also visited the cinema & casino on board & tried the putting. Most nights we ate in the Magic Flute main dining area, we were on My Time Dining as we had pre paid our tips when we booked the cruise. We managed to reserve a table for 2 every night, right by the window which was perfect! Our waiter Francis was very nice and always recommended the tastiest dish to eat. There were 2 menus, the main menu and the low fat one. I am a really fussy eater and always managed to find something that I really enjoyed. We also tried Johnny Rockets for dinner one night - it was really quiet, the food was tasty and the milk shake was fantastic! The Windjammer also had a good choice of food although it was sometimes really difficult to get a seat. For breakfast each day we got room service. Cafe Promenade was great for a light snack. We booked our shore trips with Royal Caribbean and found them to be really enjoyable but perhaps a bit overpriced, especially Goa & Cochin trips. The round the island tour of Penang was really good. I liked the 'cruise compass' which is a daily newsletter telling you about the activities onboard for the following day and what the dress code is for dinner. Overall we found that everything was very well organised onboard, we found the ship to be very clean, the staff really helpful and friendly & the service fast - no big queues! I would certainly book another Royal Caribbean cruise! We then stayed in Singapore for 3 nights after our cruise. . Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My very first cruise experience; so didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Very diverse crew; very few Americans as it is Middle East and they don't go to that part of the world. Lots of fun Brits, South ... Read More
My very first cruise experience; so didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Very diverse crew; very few Americans as it is Middle East and they don't go to that part of the world. Lots of fun Brits, South Americans and other Europeans. People very friendly and chatty and willing to go all out and join in the events to have fun. Children were well behaved and had their own areas. The entertainment staff were wonderful; Paul Lancaster, Jerome and Lisa were flawless in their quest to make sure everybody had a good time and we loved the Morning Shows they produced on TV. The on board experience was great; definitely worth getting a room with a Balcony. The rooms are serviced regularly. That was one thing that annoyed me. We had rooms on two floors, on one floor the laundry carts; rubbish bags, hoovers and general crap were always littering the place. On the other floor the corridor was usually left very tidy. Quite a few people commented about how much crap got left everywhere for long periods. The ship was clean, however they did have a problem with passengers getting sick (Vomiting and Gastroenteritis) and all passengers were evacuated in Dubai so the ship could be fumigated. It's not surprising as there is a lot of food left out in Windjammer Cafe in buffet style and tons of people round, so germ heaven. Formal Dining room (Minstrel) was very good and my advice would be to avoid to eat well at Breakfast and dinner, where it's Al La Carte and civilized, and avoid the lunch where everybody is shoveling in their piles of food and fighting for tables. I eat there once and got food poisoning from the Paella. Chops bar was very good if you are a big meat eater; Portofino was poor and not worth the supplement charged. Overall you won't go wrong staying in the main restaurant. They do small tables - 2 & 4 which you can order. Sitting with a load of strangers at dinner is not my idea of fun. For you Brits - Tea on Board is just AWFUL. Take some PG Tips and some of those "taste like Real Milk" sachets. The milk on the ship is UHT and tastes foul, nothing fresh. As the ship is American they use hot water and have no idea how to make tea or how to boil water. Spa and Gym area were well managed and well worth visiting, not over priced and good quality for massage and other treatments. Christy and Joseph from the Gym will do a customised Fitness Programme for you. We did Boot Camp which was fun and nearly killed me, but I look great now :) You will get yelled at if they ever see you drinking diet coke. Bars and drinks generally were a little pricey; Pre-purchased Wine Packages are a good deal - I got the Platinum one - all the wines were very drinkable. Disco was fun but a bit dated. Think revolving bar and Spectrum in Saturday Night Fever. Also very smokey. The excursions and Ports of Call are not up to much. I did the Wonders of Dubai; where you get dragged from one Hotel to another to take pictures of the outside (yawn) and then chucked in a few Malls for an hour with a million people and then see the Fountain display which lasts exactly 3 minutes, get crushed in the crowd on the way back, lose a load of punters who had to take a taxi back to the ship. RUBBISH! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
This was our first cruise with Oceania and shortly after we boarded one of the staff commented that it was pretty brave to choose an unknown cruise line on which to pass the next 65 days. We choose our cruises based on the ports of call ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Oceania and shortly after we boarded one of the staff commented that it was pretty brave to choose an unknown cruise line on which to pass the next 65 days. We choose our cruises based on the ports of call first and then the size of ship. Of course one always has a preference to a known cruise company but our agent was certain we would enjoy what Oceania had to offer on board. Oceania did play around with the itinerary just before final payment was due and we had booked a back to back, so when Myanmar was slashed for "whatever" reason I did do a hmmmm but made the final payment and thought oh well, hopefully they don't slash any more ports. First Kenya, Tanzania and then Myanmar, basic reasons we did choose this cruise. They truly didn't "think about" the ports they put in place of those slashed, so corporate office get someone outside that little office to think about what to replace Myanmar with - not Trincomalee Sri Lanka! Anyhow on to the Nautica and I must say from the get-go the staff was excellent. Possibly one of the best bunch of crew we have had the privilege to sail with. Friendly, helpful always going out of their way to make sure our day was just that much better. From the Captain down each person was a pleasure to interact with. I have not come across a General Manager that was more human, helpful and thoughtful than Dominique a gem of a gentleman. If from here I continued to mention names of people that impressed me it would fill the page. The food fantastic! Imagine every day fresh berries (at least 2 varieties) and fresh tropical fruits like mangos and papayas alongside.. never missing a day. The Grand Dining room was just that, a slow, relaxed dining atmosphere. The 2 speciality restaurants and the management fantastic. The alfresco evening dinners in the Terrace were also a delight. Perhaps the best were the baguettes and French pastries, took me back to small bakeries in rural France, fresh out of the oven. The afternoon tea with the Florentines took me back to my younger days in Europe - thanks for the memories! There was a "situation" with the doctor, hired by Oceania, and eventually it could not be overlooked those in charge of the ship, brought it under control in a gentlemanly way as quick as they possibly could. It did mar the Dubai to Cape Town leg and gave for some worrisome times, I did even call Oceania's head office in Miami to lodge a personal complaint, which I never did hear anything from, another sweep under the corporate carpet. Before we sailed I had read 3 important/interesting things about Oceania. First, there are no activities for any child or even teen so don't expect to see many, if any, children on board. Second, Oceania is a port intensive cruise line so don't expect too much from the nightly entertainment, truly some of the entertainment sent by corporate office was questionable. Third expect the best beds in the cruise industry. True, true and true! The little touches of no charge on specialty coffees and non-alcoholic drinks and the free speciality restaurants were a nice touch. My only complaint was the lack of port talks. Yes we did get a verbal reading of what each port was like and what there was to see. But it was a "report" not a port talk. Nobody mentioned about the local dishes to try in different countries, or what to expect if we didn't take one of the very, very over priced tours. There are some people like my husband and myself, due to medical reasons, we cannot commit to the tours and then had to research or talk to others in order to glean something about the ports of call (remembering the speed and cost of the Internet we couldn't even search for ideas of what to do) Fortunately again the multi-country staff came to the rescue and gave us some ideas of what to expect. Other cruise lines I have sailed sell their ship tours but still give the independent traveler a lot of information and encouragement to enjoy the strange new countries they are about to see and experience. Many a passenger on this cruise had no idea of the poverty or the difficulties the countries were up against as that wasn't in the "manual". Perhaps some of the passengers would have appreciated things they saw more with a real port talk. On arrival in a port it was often heard, there is nothing to see here so guess we will go into port for a look-see. Even the names of the ports and important sights were so badly mispronounced it was hard to imagine what was being said. With the international crew on board one could have just asked around for correct pronunciations (that is what we did) to educate the passengers properly. With a little more enthusiasm during the port talks the guests would have been humming with delight for all the countries we were privileged visited. Will I cruise with Oceania again, hmm not sure. That is to say it is only the corporate office that is not getting my vote. Pricing of the cruise itself was very high. Pricing of the tours unreal. Spa prices hit the roof and the doctor prices (company quoted) were astronomical. I am writing this in comparison to the many other cruises we have taken. If I base it on my time spent on Nautica with the excellent staff - yes I'd sail with them again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
We were apprehensive about Costa after reading some of the reviews but decided to book and decide for ourselves. We found that lots of the reviews we had read had made valid points. We were disappointed to find when we arrived at the ... Read More
We were apprehensive about Costa after reading some of the reviews but decided to book and decide for ourselves. We found that lots of the reviews we had read had made valid points. We were disappointed to find when we arrived at the port in Dubai at 9am after a night time flight that no passengers could board the ship until 3pm and then not given access their cabins until 8pm. All passengers also had to vacate their cabins by 8am on the final day of the cruise in Singapore and everyone had to leave the ship by 10.30am. Our flight home was at 23.00. The cabin steward, waiters and waitresses in all the bars and dining room were excellent, friendly and helpful. The Italian staff on duty at reception were not interested in offering any advice and support (we asked before each port of call for a map and any information, such as advice about availability of taxi`s, trains etc and were told they did not know)and boarded on being rude. Thank goodness we had done some homework before travelling. At several ports of call the length of time in port advised on our itinerary was changed, giving a much shorter time to visit. The call at Fujairah was a waste of time, nothing there, a stop for the ship to re fuel and to charge passengers 8 euro`s each for a minibus trip to the town - everything was closed as it was Friday (early closing - Muslim Country) When arriving at Mumbai we had to spend several hours the previous day waiting to sign passport documentation and again at Cochin, on the morning we docked. The drinks were expensive - 5 or 6 euro` each and there was no happy hour (mentioned on a review we had previously read). The entertainment was very amateurish and we did not go to any shows after the first night. The food was nothing special but ok, no tea and coffee available after 9pm and the ice cream machine was broken for the whole of the cruise. We spoke to other passengers who had been on other Costa Cruises and they all advised us that this cruise was more basic than previous ones, but to be fair, some of these people also felt that all the cruise ships were making cut backs in their services. We really enjoyed visiting all the different countries, we chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was really nice to wake up each morning and be at the next port, rather than be packing and unpacking. We did not book any trips through the ship and found it very easy to negotiate prices with local taxi`s at the port gates. Another passenger worked out that it would have cost 500 euro`s if we had booked a trip through Costa for every port but had in fact spent about 70 euro`s each. We did enjoy the holiday, we have made several new friends and now have lots of information and tips about how to get the best out of a cruise. We will definitely go on another cruise, but with another company and will be interested to see how the next one compares. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2011
We booked this cruise rather on the spur of the moment - we live locally, know all the ports well, and looked on it as an opportunity primarily for an on-board getaway. The Brilliance of the Seas delivered a first-rate experience across ... Read More
We booked this cruise rather on the spur of the moment - we live locally, know all the ports well, and looked on it as an opportunity primarily for an on-board getaway. The Brilliance of the Seas delivered a first-rate experience across the board. Embarkation went smoothly (being in a Suite helped, as at our arrival time, about 3:00, there was a substantial line. Even so, it did seem to be moving fairly well for all passengers), and within 20 minutes of being dropped at the port, we were in our starboard Grand Suite. First impressions were extremely positive, and they remained so throughout our week. I'm a little mystified by reviewers who say that this ship isn't well-maintained - everything we saw sparkled, every corner was spotless, and the ongoing maintenance of little things that did crop up was around-the-clock (a call to fix a toilet problem was taken care of within five minutes, for example). Even the Windjammer, which must be a nightmare to keep clean given its heavy use, was immaculate, with tables quickly bussed and order generally maintained. We spent most of the days moving between late breakfasts in the Windjammer (although we enjoyed room service as well!), long mornings in the Solarium (adults only, a policy blessedly respected throughout the cruise), a theoretically lighter lunch back up in the WJ, and then afternoons enjoying the balcony in the Suite. I really can't say enough good things about the GS itself - well-laid out, spacious, and with an amazing amount of storage space. We are two large guys and we didn't travel light - but the closets and drawers available weren't half full. The bathroom storage, which includes large medicine cabinets as well as drawers, was especially welcome, and overall the amount of storage made it easy to keep the stateroom tidy and pleasant. The bed was firm and comfortable, and sofa and easy chairs equally so. The balcony had a lounger and table with two chairs, all in a nice faux-wicker. The curtain dividing the bed from the sitting area (and balcony access) beautifully accommodated an early riser and a late sleeper. The bathroom was the size of a standard hotel bath, with two basins, tub, and a fine shower. Our stateroom attendant, Nina, was great - prompt, thorough, and thoughtful. We really appreciated the various perks available to Suite passengers - the Concierge Lounge especially, but also the reserved sundeck up front (off of Deck 12), the reserved space in the WJ (especially nice on the more crowded day at sea), and the little extras like good Gilcrest and Soames toiletries, the Captain's reception in the Colony Club, pool towels in the room (no queueing or worrying about returning them), chocolates on the pillow, etc. I would say they definitely were worth the little splurge. The Concierge Lounge is small but comfortable, and current Concierge Edson Rosa is a thorough professional, as is his sidekick, bartender Norman. The contintental breakfast was always a quiet place for a first quick coffee, and the evening canapes and cocktails were a nice way to meet other passengers, with good quality hors d'oeuvres and good label liquor (Finlandia vodka, etc.). Dinners in the Minstrel Dining Room were on the whole excellent - this isn't top-flight gourmet dining, but careful choosing (with excellent advice from our waitstaff) made for few complaints. Especially good were the prime rib, mixed grill, and many of the starters, especially one night's creamed wild mushrooms. It's always fun to have traditional choices like escargot and shrimp cocktail; we steered away from some choices, such as the cold fruit soups. Desserts lacked sparkle some nights, but we were always happy with ice cream on the evenings when nothing from the menu appealed. We had a table for two on the MDR's upper level, but ended up chatting several evenings with our neighbors - we didn't miss being at one of the larger tables, where service didn't seem quite as personal (or quick - we rarely had to wait more than a few minutes between courses - really excellent pacing even on the busiest nights). We attended several of the shows and thought it a pity that they weren't more crowded - the two production shows (a Tango evening and a generic song-and-dance show) were great fun, and lead singer Charyn Cannon is simply wonderful, a real talent (a couple of her colleagues can more charitably be described as trying their best, but on the whole it was all pretty polished). The non-production nights featured tribute acts (Beatles and Elton John); we passed, but heard mostly satisfied comments from those who went. All of the other musicians were terrific, and it's fun to so many live-music choices scattered around the various venues, especially the Centrum (the soaring main lobby). The Champagne Bar was a major evening destination, and always had some fun people enjoying bartender Rusti's excellent cocktails. We wandered about a fair amount in the evenings as well, and while the disco and bar in the Viking Crown on 13 seemed rather lightly filled, there were always happy crowds in the Schooner Bar. We especially appreciated the two smoke-free evenings in the Casino, but never found smoking a big issue anywhere on board, even with a (considerate) smoker on the balcony next door. We appreciated the (free) spa facilities, with an excellent sauna and nice steam room. It was rarely crowded. We're not gym types, but the gym itself looked fine. We didn't use any of the paid spa services, but the range available looked excellent. Of the various packages available, we took a box of bottled water for the room, a soda package for my partner, and a five-bottle Diamond wine package. I'd recommend them all. It was nice to have the water in the room (tap water is fine, but can be chlorine-y; living in the region, we're just more used to bottled). The soda package was convenient at all times of the day and evening and meant less dealing with receipts, waiting, etc. I thought the Diamond wine choices fine, and was pleased that the billed Korbel sparkling wine has been replaced with the (better, in my opinion) Domaine Ste. Michelle brut. We liked having the unfinished wine at dinner sent up to the room for later enjoyment. The passenger mix for this cruise was diverse - lots of older couples (60s and 70s), but also plenty of 30-50s, and some younger people as well. Comparatively few children (which we liked), and most of those who were aboard were well behaved. At the welcome show, Cruise Director Paul Lancaster (a fine and very funny host, by the way) mentioned that there were travelers from over 40 countries on the trip - there were certainly lots of British and Spanish guests, but also many from other European countries, at least one Chinese group, and a lovely group of Nigerians as well. Everyone seemed to get along very well. The itinerary was definitely not a major concern for us, although we enjoyed the port days as the ship was so uncrowded. Most folks we talked to especially enjoyed Muscat and found Fujairah a little underwhelming. Port access at Muscat (our only stop) was via convenient complimentary shuttle to the port gates, where there were lots of taxis or a short walk to the souq/market area. Muscat, on this cruise, is the one place that travelers will really feel they're in a faraway place - the souq is vibrant and traditional, the people are friendly (if also traditional - I did rather wish that fellow-travelers dressed a little more conservatively in Oman!), and the geography - rocky hills rolling right down to the sea - stunning. The Grand Mosque is a great place to visit, as is the excellent private Bait Al Zubair Museum. Our day at sea was wonderful - even at its most crowded (and the main pool and Solarium both did get crowded - with a fair amount of the inevitable chair-hogging), there were always quiet corners in places like the library, the Colony Club, and the other little nooks and crannies indoors and out. I actually would have preferred another night and day at sea to the final overnight and day in Dubai (not least because in port, the Casino stays closed!). I've read posts complaining about the amount of heavy marketing and upselling on RC cruises, but we weren't really bothered by it - they do push photo packages and such, but I never felt like we were being sold on anything we didn't want. The only bad thing about disembarkation was that it marked the end of our trip. We had a light breakfast in Chops (for Suite guests) and were off the ship and in a taxi within 7 minutes of our scheduled time. So far it's all raves; any little irritations we had were pretty minor, but just so it's not all praise: we were suprised that the pools were so chilly (perhaps being too used to the bathwater-warm pools in the UAE). Pork selections weren't always carefully noted (the Dubai cruises aren't really marketed to local audiences, I know, but still it felt odd for the region). Food in the Windjammer can best be described as serviceable, although with careful choosing, you can do alright (we loved the corned-beef hash at breakfast, the Indonesian choices at lunch one day, and the seafood pie; less successful were most of the desserts and most of the other "ethnic" choices). In both the WJ and the MDR, soups tended toward the thin and tasteless, with the exception of a fine roast garlic soup one night at dinner. In short, I can't imagine a better introduction to cruising than we had on the Brilliance. We are demanding travelers, used to good hotels, excellent restaurants, and good service while traveling in Europe and the Middle East, and this ship measured up. We'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise from Dubai around Gulf Just returned from a Royal Caribbean cruise on board The Brilliance of the Seas. We joined the cruise in Dubai and had 7 nights aboard on a full board status but this did not ... Read More
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise from Dubai around Gulf Just returned from a Royal Caribbean cruise on board The Brilliance of the Seas. We joined the cruise in Dubai and had 7 nights aboard on a full board status but this did not include drinks. Our ports of calls were Fujairah, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This was our 1st cruise and was unsure what to expect however our expectations were completely surpassed and we will now find it hard to go back to package holidays. On arrival at the Terminal 1st day we were greeted by a very organised and friendly staff that made check-in very easy and quick. They explained the different ways to pay on board as cash is not an option while on board. We chose to add it to a debit / credit card which we were able to keep track of at all times and pay at the end of the cruise before leaving ship. This was the system used by nearly all travellers. You could pay each day if you wanted but knowing your balance all the time was very convenient. Our bags were left at the quayside and transported to our cabins for us on arrival. The ship was amazing, very clean, spacious, and well equipped for all occasions. There was absolutely masses to do, theatre which was huge, casino, lots of bars throughout ship both inside and out. Restaurants and café bars were placed all over. The main dining area during the day was the Windjammer which was open from early morning to late on at night and had everything you could possibly want to eat and at a very good standard. Just help yourself until you were full amazing. There was a main dinning restaurant for evening meals with a further two specialist restaurants but a supplement was chargeable in these two. Depending on what you selected. The menu in main dining area was very good and had selections for all tastes I can thoroughly recommend the Sirloin and sea food dishes or if you were hungry why not both have, the waiters was very helpful and friendly. There was also catering for vegetarians. Entertainment on board in the theatre was very good and the casino was also very good. There were parties / events in the bars and pool side at night and if you fancied a dance there were dance lessons most nights. Dress was very casual except for main restaurant which was casual / smart and on two nights it was formal attire, bow ties etc but not compulsory. On board ship was a few duty free shops which had sales on most nights and there were some very good bargains to be had. The shops were open during sailing times. At one end of the boat there was a miniature golf course and golf simulator, rock wall, football/basketball/ volleyball courts. Children's play area and pool although there was not many children on board. There is also a very well equipped gym and spa centre, the staff were very knowledgeable and ran classes in all sorts of things from nutrition to fitness and well being. When leaving ship at various stops the organisation was very good and easy. The ship had approx 12 lifts supplying the 13 floors and access for the disabled was well catered for and easy to navigate. Cabins were very clean and twice a day they were checked and cleaned by the staff. They consisted of plenty storage areas, bathroom and the most comfortable beds you could ever get. I would definitely do this again it was, as the ships name suggests, brilliant. Summary Good points - Excellent ship and standards were very high. - Food very good and plenty at all times of day - Entertainment very good with plenty to do - Ships staff and crew very good and helpful - Totally relaxed atmosphere no rowdies or charvers on ship - Abu Dhabi and Dubai were fabulous, - Trips available at each port if required (would recommend trip at Dubai to see tower) - Too many good points to mention you will not be disappointed Bad points - Drinks can be expensive on board, check for fully inclusive and drink packages, our travel agent said there was none but plenty of passengers had them. - Itinerary could have been better, places we stopped at (Fujairah, Muscat) basic but very interesting anyway, mainly markets and shops. - No more apart from leaving you wanting to do it all again and again. Check before booking as the prices between passengers for the same trip varied a lot. We paid just over £800 which included flights on emirates airlines and a 1 night hotel stay at Dubai before joining ship. Some passengers paid nearly double for same trip and package. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My partner and I have visited the Emirates before and stayed in hotels. I was eager to try a cruise and he took some convincing. However this seemed an ideal compromise. We flew with BA (world traveller plus) and stayed in Sofitel in ... Read More
My partner and I have visited the Emirates before and stayed in hotels. I was eager to try a cruise and he took some convincing. However this seemed an ideal compromise. We flew with BA (world traveller plus) and stayed in Sofitel in Dubai for 3 nights before embarking. Hotel was nice and in good location. We arranged our own transfer to the ship which was without problem and it was quick and easy embarking the ship.Things went downhill from then on. Although we had never cruised before, there appeared to be too many people for the ship to accommodate comfortably. The 'windjammer' was always busy and proved difficult at peak times to get a seat anywhere. The sunbeds were an absolute joke. They were so tightly packed that it was difficult to actually get on and off them. That is is you could manage to obtain one in the first place. The ship has a policy that beds cannot be left unattended for more than half an hour but this is not enforced.Accommodation was very small but kept clean. Entertainment was poor and very 'butlins', as was the quality of the food in our opinion. We only went to the dining room once and had to wait an age. Don't bother with 'my time dining' as you will soon find that it is not your time choice at all (unless you reserve a table at least 24 hours in advance). Despite only using the dining room (minstrel) once, all gratuities were automatically deducted from our credit card. SHAMEFUL! We went to Choppes Grille - good steak but nothing to write home about and Portofino was awful -food was cold and mediocre and service was poor.We didnt get off the ship at first port of call as we knew there was not much to do. We did not book any tours with RC as they were already squeezing too much money out of us. We got off at Oman and paid a taxi driver to give us a tour of Sultans Palace and some of the nice hotels and then went to a private beach which was lovely and well worth a visit. In Abu Dhabi we caught the tour bus to Marina Mall and got a cab to Emirates Palace and then spent the day at the Hilton (you can buy a day pass to use private beach and pool and restaurant facilities). In Dubai we visited some malls and then found a little public beach and park. We then went to the Marina (Festival city mall) and ate at the Intercontinental Hotel which was fantastic.RC purports to offer a 5 star service. No RC, you offer a 3 star service and charge 5 star prices Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Embarkation We arrived about half an hour after the allotted time and found no queues. Staff were friendly and helpful. Bags were delivered to our cabin in a few minutes. Others we spoke to who arrived too early had not had a pleasant ... Read More
Embarkation We arrived about half an hour after the allotted time and found no queues. Staff were friendly and helpful. Bags were delivered to our cabin in a few minutes. Others we spoke to who arrived too early had not had a pleasant experience as they were not allowed to board, although there was a baggage drop area. Ship This is a new ship and as you would expect is in excellent condition. Some areas were roped off for varnishing and painting on some days but it did not cause a problem. From the outside it is not a pretty ship but the interior is very different. Full of 'over the top' Italian styling with chrome, glass, mirrors, chandeliers and original artwork everywhere. All a bit garish for more conservative British tastes but nevertheless quite spectacular. Cabin We booked an outside cabin with balcony. When our tickets arrived we had been supposedly "upgraded" to a Samsara cabin. I could not see any difference between this and the regular B2 balcony cabin excepting it was on the Samsara deck, one higher. In truth, this was a downgrade as we experienced quite a lot of noise from the Lido deck directly above. Otherwise it was clean and comfortable with plenty of storage. Check your minibar is stocked with what is on the list. Ours had discrepancies. Activities These are many and varied, ranging from the usual poolside stuff to golf, table tennis, F1 simulator, dance classes, etc. etc. If you want to partake, there is something to suit everyone at almost any time of day. Or, like us, you can just read a book or wander round the huge decks or have a coffee in one of the many bars. There is an excellent, under used gym with state of the art equipment. Dining Our fist dinner was in the buffet as we were too late for the more formal main dining rooms. It was typical buffet food. Luke warm and overcooked but edible. We gave it a miss for most of the week except for the occasional breakfast which was fine if a bit noisy and crowded. If you enjoy a drink with your meals then order the X1 drinks package which gives you unlimited wine by the glass, beer and water in any of the dining rooms, but not the bars. In practice, if you order a glass they bring you the bottle to help yourself. Our evening meals were top notch. Excellent food, perfectly cooked and presented. If you want a more personal dining experience try the Samsara or Club restaurants. We found the extra cost to be worth it. Service All the waiters, bar staff and our steward were excellent. Always cheerful and efficient. We tipped our steward and dining room waiter because we felt they had given excellent service but on the Costa web site (very confusing incidentally), it says tipping is not expected or necessary. A service charge is added daily to your onboard account for the cabin and for any bar drinks or services you buy using your Costa card. Entertainment There is a nightly show in a state of the art theatre. Not always to our tastes but surprisingly good. Two shows depending upon which dining sitting you are allocated. We also enjoyed the 4D cinema. There is a huge casino if you like that sort of thing and also at least 5 bars with live music plus a disco. Excursions We did two city tours. Quite expensive but interesting and informative if you get a good guide. The rest of the time we used the free shuttle buses to get from the ship to the port perimeters and did our own thing. Muscat was our favourite place to wander around. Disembarkation Costa use a coloured luggage label system depending on what time you want to leave the ship (you choose the time). Guests do not have to vacate their cabins until 16.30 and can leave the ship later still if required. No problems at all, with our luggage on shore at the time we asked for. Summary This was our first cruise and after reading a lot of reviews on the Costa Deliziosa, ranging from "never again" to "wonderful" I have to say we were not expecting too much at the price we paid but we were pleasantly surprised. We spoke to others who found things to moan about but I don't really know what they were expecting on what was a budget package. The ship caters for first class if you want to enjoy the comforts and exclusivity of the Samsara Spa and suites but you have to pay for it. Read Less

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