1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Western Mediterranean Cruises
  4. Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: May 2009
It has always been our dream to travel on the Cunard ships , and this year we finally got our chance .  We booked the "Mediterranean Delights " voyage for 11 days out of Southampton on May 14 . We flew into Heathrow at 8.30 a.m. ... Read More
It has always been our dream to travel on the Cunard ships , and this year we finally got our chance .  We booked the "Mediterranean Delights " voyage for 11 days out of Southampton on May 14 . We flew into Heathrow at 8.30 a.m. and were met by a Cunard representative at the airport . Our luggage was taken from us , and we didn't see it again until we were in our cabin . Nice touch ! A motorcoach took us to Southampton , about a 2 hour transfer . I had to laugh when the busdriver announced that he was due for his teabreak and had to stop for a while  . It took me right back to the year I spent in England way back when . After all , we were only half an hour away from the ship , but that's the Brits for you , and I love them anyway ! In Southampton check-in was a breeze ! From the time we arrived to our first step on the ship it took about half an hour . We had done our pre-registration on line , so everything was easy as pie . According to Cunard , the QM2 is the most magnificent oceanliner in the world , and we were not disappointed . The ship itself is just beautiful . The first day was at sea , and I used my time to explore she ship top to bottom . The murals just took my breath away ! Every corner oozed class and sophistication .  All public areas were beautiful and inviting . Our cabin was on Deck 12 , right behind the bridge . I guess cabins are always small compared to regular hotel rooms , but we had all the space we needed . Plenty of drawers and closet space , roomy balcony . We didn't spend much time in there anyway , mostly to change , shower , and sleep , and that very well . The beds were the most comfortable I had ever slept in . It was great that there was a way to see bridge operations through the observation window . On other ships you never got the chance to take a peek at the inside of the bridge . We were assigned to the  Britannia Club ,  so we could pretty much go for dinner whenever we wanted . Food and service were impeccable . We usually had lunch on Deck 7 at the buffets . Most of the time we had to wander a little for a table , but never had trouble finding one . The desserts just about did me in , they were so delicious I just could not resist . I also noticed that a lot of care was being directed towards passengers with disabilities or any kind of mobility problems , and there were quite a few . Being middle-aged ourselves , we quite enjoyed not being surrounded by a hoard of screaming teenagers . The average age of passengers is quite high , a plus in our eyes . On the whole voyage we never saw more that a couple of kids .  After supper we would be in the Queen's Room without fail , because we like to dance . The music was great for dancing , the bands were very accomplished . I could have done without the one singer they had a couple of times , his voice was a bit like fingernails on a chalkboard .  They also have a dance pro couple , who did beautiful presentations . They also gave lessons every day in the ballroom .  I have to admit that we never made it into the theatre  , we were having too much fun dancing . I heard from others that the shows were very good .  The shore excursions we took were very nice . There were plenty of choices for all activity levels . You could do a 10 hour walking tour of Rome like we did , or just a city tour of Barcelona by bus . All people who had booked tours were taken off the ship in groups to buses which were already at the pier by the time the ship docked . We had excellent guides every time who really knew their stuff . Disembarkation was very well organized . You could have breakfast at your leisure and just wait  , until you group was called up to leave the ship . The night before you got colour-coded labels for your luggage , and while you had your morning coffee the different colours were called on to leave .  In total , it was a fantastic experience . If I want to mention anything negative at all , be warned about the cash machine near the theatre . We decided to get some British Pounds for a cab before we left the ship to get to the airport , and ended up with one 5-Pound note , the rest were single US $ , which didn't help at all . Thankfully , the cab driver accepted our Euros after some grumbling .  Other than that , it was perfect . We will definitely go back . Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
My husband and I did the Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas, leaving out of Barcelona on June 3.  He is 31, I am 25; we have done 3 previous cruises together, one of which was on RCCL.  We returned because we ... Read More
My husband and I did the Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas, leaving out of Barcelona on June 3.  He is 31, I am 25; we have done 3 previous cruises together, one of which was on RCCL.  We returned because we liked the quality of service with RCCL and enjoyed their selection of onboard activities.  Plus, when Carnival cancelled their 2009 Mediterranean itinerary, this was the next best itinerary we could find for the price.  We admittedly chose this cruise more for the ports than the ship/cruise line. Embarkation and Rooms: We stayed in Barcelona for 2 nights before the cruise began.  We had the hotel concierge call us a cab, and we were at the pier in no time.  Porters were quick to take our bags, and the line inside took us maybe 20 minutes to get through.  I believe we arrived at the port around 1pm, and we were on board by 1:30pm.  Very smooth process.  The only thing I would note is that they took our passports away for the week.  Because Turkey is not part of the EU, Greek customs required RCCL to present all of our passports when we left Turkey and arrived in Athens.  Kind of threw us off (every traveler knows not to go without a passport!) but we had no problem getting them back after the Athens stop. We stayed in a balcony cabin on deck 7.  The room was your typical cruise ship accommodations.  The only complaint I had was that the shower had a curtain, not a sliding door (as we've seen on other ships).  This was super annoying, since the curtain would stick to you throughout your entire shower.  The location on deck 7 is nice because you can get to the Centrum activities easily, but there is not a lot of noise on this deck. Entertainment: Our cruise director was Kieran, he was great.  Very funny and friendly guy.  We also saw him out and about at many of the ports, which was nice.  Brilliance had your typical production shows...we did not attend all of them, but the ones we saw were pretty good.  There was a Beatles cover band one night that everyone LOVED, as well as a very good magician.  There were 2-3 stage performers that we thought were just so-so; they did musical and comedy routines that were definitely geared towards the older people in our audience.  Though we were admittedly in the minority as far as age range goes, we were hoping for some of the more fun and risquE comedians we've seen on other ships. The Pacifica Theater was a good spot for the shows, not a bad seat in the house.  We visited the Schooner Bar quite a bit for the live music, and the Colony Club was good for the karaoke-type events, though there were a lot of obstructed views there.  We enjoyed the sports bar—lots of TVs, plus the bartender there really knew how to make a strong drink!  The Champagne Bar is great—visit them after 6pm for free appetizers. The one thing about onboard activities that we didn't like—most of the entertainment was done by 11pm.  Really the only thing open late was the Starquest Disco, which was quickly taken over by the small group of teenagers on board.  Not much for the 20-something set after hours. Other Amenities: We took advantage of both the 24-hour mini golf, and the rock climbing wall—good fun!  The pools were always quite crowded, with all the seats claimed no later than 9am.  Get up early if you want a fighting chance.  We tended to stay in the Solarium pool area...quieter, less sun (good for those of us not working on a tan), and the bar isn't as busy as the main pool bar.  Also, it's adults only, so no screaming and yelling. Food: Overall we enjoyed our dining experience.  RCCL did an EXCELLENT job with the seating arrangements.  We were at an 8-person table at the later dining time (9pm).  Honestly, we were afraid we would be the only young couple at the table, but we were paired with 3 others nearly our age, as well as a wonderful middle-age couple from the UK.  We had fun with them all week.  Our waiters, Worawit and Miro, were great, some of the best we've had on a cruise.  Wit was especially helpful with his hints on the ports, we often got better information from him than from the Cruise Compass! The food itself was good, though there is a difference from our past cruises.  They seemed to rely on pasta dishes a lot more than usual, and of course there was no lobster or filet mignon.  All the food was good quality, we just felt that the selection was not as great. The Windjammer was typical buffet fare, nothing special to note.  Be aware that the food at the Latte-tudes Coffee Bar is FREE.  A lot of people assumed there was a charge there (because the coffee is not free), but we were happy to figure out that we were free to eat all the brownies and cookies we wanted. PORTS: Barcelona: We arrived here on June 1 and stayed at the Hotel Banys Orientals for 2 nights pre-cruise.  We booked this on our own, not through RCCL.  We had an excellent experience with Banys.  The price is amazing (99 euro/night), the staff is friendly, and the location can't be beat in the Barri Gotic.  I would much rather stay here than La Rambla, which I thought was overrated anyway.  I highly recommend using the tourist bus to help you get around to many of the sights.  It runs frequently and on time.  In 2.5 days we were able to see all of the major highlights that we wanted.  Must sees include: Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Picasso Museum, Barcelona Cathedral, beaches at Barceloneta, and the FC Barcelona Stadium.  If you want great tapas, try Cal Pep (best meal I've had in a long time), or Taller de Tapas. One recommendation: if you plan to spend extra time in Barcelona, I'd do it before the trip.  We were so exhausted by the end of the cruise, I don't think we could have done half of what we did in Barcelona by that point.  We actually ate with a couple who cancelled their post-cruise stay in Barcelona because they were just too tired to do it. Villefranche: We did not schedule an excursion for this port.  We got tickets for an early tender (hint: when they are giving out tender tickets, if you want a low number, get in line at least 30-45 minutes before they start handing them out).  We took the easy walk to the train station, and bought tickets to Nice (only a 10 minute train ride).  Nice was beautiful, definitely a beachy resort town.  We explored the shopping areas and the Promenade d'Anglais, and made a stop at Castle Hill.  There is a great food/craft market near the Castle Hill end of the promenade—we ate lunch at a great little restaurant in the middle of it.  Overall this was a really relaxing day, bring your bathing suit if you visit Nice.  You can also take the train to Monte Carlo (20 minutes) or Cannes, though I believe Cannes was further away. When we finished in Nice, we did get about 2 hours in Villefranche, which is a very quaint little fishing village.  It's good to give yourself some time to explore it and get lost in the winding streets. Florence: One of my favorite ports.  We booked the "Florence on your own" tour for this excursion.  Essentially this is just a bus taking you the 90 minutes from Livorno to Florence, and they bring you back at the end of the day.  We started off with a bang as our bus driver plowed into the car in front of us on the Italian highway...yikes!  We were delayed about an hour waiting for another bus, but we were given extra time at the end of the day to make up for it.  Well handled.  We were dropped off at the Basilica of Santa Croce and given about 6 hours on our own.  My husband and I visited all the major sights, and I highly recommend climbing to the top of the Duomo—amazing!  A long climb but worth it.  We didn't have time to go into the Galleria d'Accademia to see the David, or the Uffizi gallery...you will need to spend your day doing just those things if you really want to see them, in my opinion.  We did have a great lunch at Antico Fattore, the pasta and wine were amazing. A note about the "on your own" tours: they are pricy (usually at least $80 a person) but we felt they were very much worth it.  We always got more time in town than our friends who took trains in, because we didn't have to waste time finding the station, and at the end of the day, we didn't have to leave early in fear of missing a train.  A good deal if you want to maximize time and not worry about missing the boat. Rome: We did "Rome on your own" this day.  No bus crashes on the 90 minute drive in, thank goodness.  We were dropped off near St. Peter's; my husband and I immediately took a cab over to the Roman Forum to begin our whirlwind day.  We got a 3-site ticket at the Forum to see it, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum.  DEFINITELY buy this ticket at the Forum, there was no line at all, whereas the line at the Colosseum was massive.  We visited all three sights, then walked towards the Trevi Fountain.  Stopped there, had some pizza, and threw in our coins (we will be back!).  Made a stop at the Piazza Navona before heading back towards the Vatican, crossing the Ponte Sant'Angelo (gorgeous).  We made a beeline for the Vatican Museum so that we could see the Sistine Chapel, which is absolutely a MUST see.  Breathtaking.  Afterwards we walked around St. Peter's Square, but we weren't left with enough time to go into St. Peter's.  This was truly a crazy, fast-paced day, but you can see both sides of Rome if you really hustle.  We had a lot of fun though we were quite exhausted at the end. Santorini: We didn't book an excursion here.  First off, Santorini is gorgeous.  Take your time here, and take in the scenery.  We took the cable car up to Fira and explored some of the shopping areas for a while.  We then took a city bus (quite reliable, and cheap) over to Perissa, and stopped at the black sand beaches (warning: black sand is hot!).  This was a nice relaxing way to start the day.  We thought about taking the bus to Oia as well—we would have had time, but barely, so we just decided to head back to Fira for some relaxation.  We had a long, leisurely lunch at a rooftop restaurant, sampling all the classic Greek fare: souvlaki, Greek salad, saganaki, Greek wine, baklava.  We ended the day by watching the sunset over the caldera.  What a beautiful place! Kusadasi: We booked the Ancient Glories tour for this port.  The tour began quite early, and took us to the ruins of Ephesus, Miletus, Magnesia, and Didyma.  Beware: Turkey is HOT!  Nearly 100 degrees this day.  Bring water and dress cool if you are taking any of the tours.  The tour guide was very informative, which was great because we got a lot more out of the ruins by hearing about their history.  A buffet was also served at a Turkish restaurant near Didyma, which was excellent—lots of local fare and fresh fish.  The tour ended back in Kusadasi at a rug shop.  It was interesting to see how the rugs were made, but it was a little annoying to have to sit through their sales pitch—ah well.  We explored the Grand Bazaar for a while before heading back to the ship at the end of the day.  Lots of deals to be had at the bazaar, especially if you're into clothes, bags, watches, etc. Mykonos: No excursions for us this day.  We kept hearing how great the beaches were in Mykonos, so we decided to find them on our own—everyone said they were so easy to walk to.  This was not so!  We, along with many other confused-looking passengers, ended up giving up our search for the beaches after an hour of walking, trying to figure out the Mykonos buses, etc.  Very frustrating.  RCCL should either run buses to the beaches (they are on the other side of the island from the ship), or they should provide a better map to tell you how to get there.  But, this did not ruin our day.  We walked around town, which was great because the winding streets are so beautiful.  Had lunch at a little cafe, and explored the windmills near town.  Mykonos is definitely a relaxation destination. Athens:  Our plans were initially foiled by the Greek Tour Guides Union strike—all tours were cancelled for the day.  RCCL let all of us know this the day before we arrived in Athens, which was a sea day.  This was very poorly handled by RCCL.  We were told the day before that all tours were cancelled, but RCCL would be running a shuttle into the city if you just wanted to be dropped off in Athens.  If you wanted a ticket for the shuttle, it was $25, non refundable, and they went on sale that afternoon at the excursion desk.  We were also told that seats were limited.  So, of course everyone rushes to the desk that afternoon and buys the tickets.  Well, that night at the show, the cruise director tells us "a little secret": the train station is not a long walk from the ship, and train tickets to Athens are only 1-2 Euro.  Imagine how upset we all were!  RCCL clearly needed to make their money back from the cancelled tours, so they sent everyone into a panic over the shuttle tickets, and never said a word about the train.  (I'm sure Kieran was given a talking to about informing us later on, poor guy.)  In general, we found that RCCL staff were very reluctant to give out any information about a port that was non-excursion related.  We understand that they need to make their money, but we know many passengers were frustrated, not just by the Athens incident, but also because simple questions they had about other ports (where a train was, etc.) were skirted by RCCL employees in an effort to boost excursion sales.  Tsk tsk. Anyway, on to Athens.  My husband and I took the shuttle into town, and were dropped off near Hadrian's Arch.  We walked up to the Acropolis first—this was probably the hottest day of our cruise, so yet again, pack water and dress lightly for this city.  The Acropolis and Agora were close by each other and definitely worth the hike.  We also walked over to the old Olympic stadium, through the Botanical Gardens, and over to Syntagma Square to view the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Had a great Greek lunch in the Plaka district as well.  All the major sights in Athens are fairly close together, so we had no problem exploring on our own this day. Naples: We booked the Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius tour for today.  We had not heard great things about Naples itself (other than the pizza), so we were okay with forgoing a trek into the city.  The Pompeii tour was good, though a bit shorter than we had hoped.  It would have been nice if we had some time on our own in the ruins, rather than just being guided the whole time.  Mt. Vesuvius was amazing though.  We were driven most of the way up the mountain, then given time to climb on our own to the peak.  The volcanic crater is very cool, and the views of Naples and the Mediterranean were great once the clouds lifted.  This is definitely worth it, especially if you enjoy hiking!  If you do this tour, be aware that you'll get quite dirty climbing up the mountain, there is volcanic ash all over the place and my shoes/pants were never the same! Overall this was an excellent cruise for two people who had never been to Europe.  We knew that we wouldn't be able to spend tons of time in each place, so we spent a lot of time before the trip planning out exactly what we wanted to see.  It's important to do this, or else you will just be overwhelmed by all that you can do in one day.  This is definitely not a relaxation vacation—we were exhausted by the end, and slept our way through most of the sea days.  But if you want a cruise with amazing ports, this is it. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
My wife and I were traveling with another couple. We stayed at the Confortel Barcelona Hotel the night before the 7 day cruise and also the night after the cruise ended. The room was clean but looked more like a dorm room than a hotel ... Read More
My wife and I were traveling with another couple. We stayed at the Confortel Barcelona Hotel the night before the 7 day cruise and also the night after the cruise ended. The room was clean but looked more like a dorm room than a hotel room - very austere. We took a taxi from the hotel to the dock on day of embarkation. The embarkation went smoothly accompanied by a glass of champagne upon entry into the lounge area on deck 7. Our luggage arrived earlier than some cruises we have been on. The staff and service was superb during the complete cruise. The food served was better than average and a wider selection than on other cruise lines. We especially liked the "freestyling" concept where you do not have to dress up for a formal night. The staff paid great attention to having cruisers use hand sanitizers upon re-entry to the ship and into food service areas - a big positive! The layout of the ship was very logical and easy to find your way around, which can't be said for some ships we have been on. We would highly recommend this cruise line if all the ships in their fleet (and staff) were like this ship. WE took advantage of NCL's shore excursion on 4 of the five ports. Our experiences were not bad but, in my opinion, a customized tour from reputable local guides at each of the ports would provide a more memorable and pleasant experience and for roughly the same price. Buses do not maneuver as easily as a van in some of the bigger cities and there is no waiting for stragglers to get on the bus. You can also take in more and spend more time at a particular location if desired, which is not an option on the cruise line's canned excursion. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
First and foremost I want to talk about the excursions. I would say don't book with the ship because it's overpriced and you'll sit on a bus with 100 other people and be on their schedule. Booking a private tour offers ... Read More
First and foremost I want to talk about the excursions. I would say don't book with the ship because it's overpriced and you'll sit on a bus with 100 other people and be on their schedule. Booking a private tour offers flexibility and convenience. I reviewed each port individually but I cannot say enough about Your Tour in Italy (www.yourtourinitaly.com). We booked all three days in Italy with Aldo (the owner) and were so very pleased with every aspect of his service. The cars were in great condition and very clean. Each driver was native to the area we visited that day which was key - they were able to provide personal accounts of each area we visited and recommend restaurants and shopping first hand. I read several reviews on this site looking for a tour company and Your Tour in Italy came up often. There were several companies with great reviews but Your Tour offered a tour in each Italian port. It was much more convenient to have 1 company to book with than 2 or 3. There were no hidden costs. We paid the driver at the end of the tour. We used travellers cheques so we wouldn't need cash but my conversion rate was different than theirs so I would recommend asking Aldo for the rate before you buy your cheques. Also we tipped our drivers/guides in cash (Euros). Please find the contact info below and see my specific port reviews for more details. Your Tour in Italy di Aldo Monti P.Iva n 02341610596 Via Ferrazza 986 04100 LT Rome Italy www.yourtourinitaly.com info@yourtourinitaly.com As far as the ship is concerned - it was very clean. We had a stateroom with a balcony and that was very nice. The bigger bathroom was worth it. The TV station selection is poor, there's about 5 options. The Internet was extremely slow and very expensive (you pay by the minute and it's about $1/minute). We never dressed up and enjoyed being casual the whole time. Restaurants: We tried the steak place our first night - Cagney's. It was $15 cover plus another $10 if you wanted seafood. The food was ok but not worth the additional cost. The king crab legs were not king crab legs and the lobster was a very small portion. We tried the Italian place our second night, it had a $10 cover. It was again - just ok. The food was not worth the cover. Our third night we tried the Mexican /Tapas place with a $10 cover and were again disappointed. We ate in the included restaurants from t hat point forward. The service in the restaurants was generally poor. We waited for a while for drinks and sometimes for anyone to even greet our table. You can get unlimited soda for a flat rate and if you drink a lot it's worth it. If you don't have that you will $2.50 for a can of soda. You can't bring any food or drinks on the ship so if you buy anything at a port they will hold it until you disembark in Barcelona (pretty standard for a cruise). There's a guy who gives "talks" about each port on a daily basis - he has good tips and knows a lot. It's worth your time for sure. Docking into Malta is beautiful, just make sure you're out there early enough. We asked the desk what time to be there and were given a time that was too late. We saw most of it but I would have liked to be on deck for the whole thing. They add a gratuity to your bill every day so DON'T TIP on every check. You'll be tipping twice. The conversion commission on the ship is horrible, change money before you go on your trip or in a port at a local bank. It will save you some money. You don't need Euros on the ship, everything is paid in USD. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
My husband of thirty-six years and myself both aged in our mid fifties, medium health, non-smokers, and light drinkers. This is our third cruise and we live in Europe although we are American's. Unfortunately we had our flight ... Read More
My husband of thirty-six years and myself both aged in our mid fifties, medium health, non-smokers, and light drinkers. This is our third cruise and we live in Europe although we are American's. Unfortunately we had our flight arrangements with British Airways and they would not tell if they would be striking or not so we did not know until the last minute making us leave a day early using our leave days and spent $300 on a room by the Rome airport with only basic amenities. We rode their shuttle to the airport and with the help of another couple we finally found where Holland America was picking people up at the airport. They only had one paper sign taped to the back of a wide cement column. This was not a very warm welcoming committee let me tell you. Then the long bus ride to the ship on a very tight fitting bus so when the woman in front of me put her seat back it crushed my knees. I felt bad for her since she just got off the transatlantic flight. We had to wait in a line to board because all the Deluxe Suites were taken when we booked this cruise; you get head of the line privileges in a suite. We then had our photo taken with some showgirls then ID pass photo and moved right along to our prepared room. Room: This room was adequate with balcony but the sheet had a big brown stain on it so the first night being too tired to ask for it to be changed I put a towel over it and passed out. I left the sheet down so the steward could see it but he just remade the bed and did not remove the sheet. I let it go but on the third afternoon seeing it still there I requested it be removed. I felt the stewards on this cruise really lacked merit and that is the first time I did not tip them more than what the ship was already charging ($11 @ day each). They did not refill the soaps or shampoos which ticked me off. One person wrote if you go to Deluxe suite you can never go back down and they were 100% right! Dining: We love the Pinnacle Grill on this ship! "Sam the Man" was on here and we knew him from a previous cruise. He is fantastic and does showmanship to the extreme. He does the whole lighting things on fire and what a great presentation, and always cracking jokes. Also I had it arranged to have a bottle of champagne and a cake for our anniversary and the staff did a fabulous job! Sam is now on the Neiuw Amsterdam We tried the Tamarind Restaurant but limited selection mainly fish which I do not eat so we canceled our second reservation after the first. Nice presentation here also, with relaxing atmosphere. In room dining: We had lunch on our balcony since this ship had a dining table and we relaxed drinking wine in the port of Portofino. We didn't have any problems with our orders being taken. Canaletto-was a big let down. How do you make Italian food bland? Sometimes I think they are cooking for the aged. Excursions: Portofino: We had to use a tender and meet with our guide who took us on another boat. We hiked up a path to this church, then further to a point with what they called a "lookout" nah nothing there so we hiked back did a wee bit of shopping and went back to the ship. We had a very memorable lunch from room service and drank a bottle of wine looking at the pretty island with the sparkling water. Marseille, France: This port was very limited without an excursion and we took this rattletrap of a train to the huge church Notre-Dame De La Garde it was big! We did our postcards and returned to the ship the people were very unfriendly in this port. The Hop & Ride is right near where the ships shuttle lets you off but it was not reliable that day people were upset. Barcelona, Spain: Loved it! We did an Ipod tour which had a very slow start, one poor girl to handle the whole ship and the Ipods would not work most of the time. We had no problem and walked around on our own. We took our own ear plugs. Cadiz, Spain: This could have been a great port but the ships excursion was lousy! We took a bus to a point and walked from there. The guide was hard to understand and we did not see much. We did go to the famous church there and ended the tour with a Flamingo dance in this hole. I was livid, this is what I had been looking forward to and I was stuck in this corner where they had us all squeezed into. We received a paper thin slice of greasy ham, a harsh smelling paper thin slice of cheese, two tiny cokes and told to share the plate with our neighbor. I could not see so had to hold my camera up and take a movie over everyone's head to see the dance. One dancer didn't even fix her hair she just put it into a rubber band. It was hot and the place was just unsavory. Lisbon, Portugal: no tour, we walked on our own but got a bit lost which adds to the flavor. We walked in the early morning before the residents were up and moving. We saw the backstreets walking parallel to the coast until we found the major shopping area and the attractions. It rained lightly off and on and the sidewalks there are small squares of marble, it is extremely slippery and the streets steep. The piano player on the ship fell and broke his arm in two places so he was flown home. We enjoyed our time here but shopping the items did not interest us. St. Peter Port, Guernsey, UK: I loved this port! We tendered in and the place was closed I think it was a Sunday. We had a tour of Renoir it was walking along a trail and such beauty with clean air. The guide and older woman told us the history and included plants etc. This tour is about the scenes Renoir painted not the man himself like two guest thought it would be. We were supposed to go to a pottery shop but it was closed. We ended the tour with a proper English tea in an English garden at this restaurant. Oh it was so lovely and I don't normally get into stuff like that. Le Havre, France: Ship tour of D Day beaches and museum, with a visit to the cemetery there. We had lunch and this was the rudest staff I have encountered they did not speak to us nor smile. My husband said he really liked this tour. Dover, England: Well we opted for the ship transfer with a trip to Canterbury on the way, forgot we already visited there, getting old. We got to the airport to find our flight was cancelled and we had to stay in a hotel overnight to catch one tomorrow with Lufthansa. The hotel was scary!!! We had to lug our suitcases on and off the bus then again the next day. We finally got our flight but it was going to Frankfurt and then we were stranded again, all flights were filled to Stuttgart. We were told we had to take the train! That did it! NO I am not dragging this huge suitcase up and down stairs on those overcrowded trains. So they said they would ship them and when they arrived they were thoroughly abused. Turned out our seats on the train did not exist so the conductor gave us seats in the enclosed space with other people. I hate riding the long distance trains in Germany! We liked the Eurodam and would do another cruise on this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
Took a weeks cruise on the Costa Magica. After reading all the other reviews on this cruise I should have took more notice as everything bad that was said happened.So much so that after four days my wife and I booked a flight on the ... Read More
Took a weeks cruise on the Costa Magica. After reading all the other reviews on this cruise I should have took more notice as everything bad that was said happened.So much so that after four days my wife and I booked a flight on the internet and came home.This is not I repeat not for English passengers.After 15 other cruises we though we knew what to expect. WrongAll the English waking trips were cancelled as late as eight pm the night before.The food was really bad, and if you didn't eat by the time the dining room closed that was it until the next morning. That is unless you wanted dried up pizzaI would strongly suggest that you avoid Costa. We tried to switch off by going to the adult only pool.On arrival it was more like a children's holiday camp. This cruise was the pits Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2011
Just returned from our first ever cruise on The Royal Carribean, Grandeur of the Seas. We thought the ship was lovely, just the right size, nicer than I expected after reading some reviews on trip advisor. There were plenty of ... Read More
Just returned from our first ever cruise on The Royal Carribean, Grandeur of the Seas. We thought the ship was lovely, just the right size, nicer than I expected after reading some reviews on trip advisor. There were plenty of activities provided on the ship in fact we didn't have time to participate in them all as we were off the ship for 4 days. The service was exceptional in all areas, particularly in the main dining hall where we had a fantastic waiter, Amel. Our 3 excursions were brilliant, when we booked initially we thought they were expensive but they were well worth the money. Our transfer from the airport to the ship was excellent with an added extra stop at a beautiful castle in Majorca. The return trip was just as well organised although there was a big queue for check in which is to be expected. Our stateroom although very small was designed very well with plenty of storage and made us realise you don't actually need a big room. Dining was excellent, plenty of places to get food whenever you wanted, from 6.00am to 2.00am. My son loved the fact he could get free ice cream whenever he wanted. The childrens club looked good with plenty to do but my son never actually went. The entertainment was good, in particular a Beatles tribute band. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Holland America 21day Mediterranean Treasures. We were with a group of 147 adventurers on an inclusive - air, hotel, transfers, some meals group. We flew over the pole from Seattle to Barcelona - only way to go. The ports were mostly ... Read More
Holland America 21day Mediterranean Treasures. We were with a group of 147 adventurers on an inclusive - air, hotel, transfers, some meals group. We flew over the pole from Seattle to Barcelona - only way to go. The ports were mostly islands and all UNESCO or World Heritage Sites. It was intense with a different port every day except two. We took private excursions at each port. My overall impression of the Ryndam was good. It was big, but not too big. The dining experience in the Rotterdam was inconsistent. We tried ordering fish - halibut - didn't look like any we had eaten before - sent it back. The lobster was too mushy for me. The salmon was sometimes overpowered by the sauces. Our stateroom was an outside window on the main or 5th deck. One of my personal favorite places to be. I like the robes provided - the choice of bath or shower. It took me some getting used to the water regulator vs faucets for the shower. Our room steward were attentive and greeted us by name. LIDO Dining experience was very uneven. I like the "eggs Florentine" when the spinach is heated a little bit and the egg is set but not hard. It was hit and miss if it was served this way. We had "any time" dining in the Rotterdam and liked to be at a table for six or less because my husband has difficulty hearing with more. Host was always very friendly and attempted to meet our requests cheerfully. The Captain was able to secure dock space for us at every port which was awesome - even at the ones marked as Tender Required. We liked the port talks the captain shared. Good sense of humor and friendly when he was out and about on the ship. The main disappointment we had was our experience at Canaletto's dining. The food wasn't as special as I had remembered from our previous experience. The wait staff was almost "too friendly". We were disappointed in the variety of entertainment. There were not very many outside entertainers. There were five singers (3 males and two females) and only two female dancers. The performances were good, but nothing spectacular and was repeated. We usually never miss a show, but made an exception on this tripl First port was Tripani, Sicily, Italy- Small port. We took a bus tour to the salt beds. Easy to walk from port to the city - right there. Small but nice port. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We sailed on the magic on sept 4 th from Barcelona, having done the carriibean the year before the first thing my husband and I noticed was---- the food wasn't up to our last cruise,so this time we ate in the dining room, we did find ... Read More
We sailed on the magic on sept 4 th from Barcelona, having done the carriibean the year before the first thing my husband and I noticed was---- the food wasn't up to our last cruise,so this time we ate in the dining room, we did find we got warmer food, as on our last cruise the food was cold every night Our balcony state room was fantastic-- We thought it was us expecting too much with the entertainment, we could not believe John the out standing cruise director ( so HE says) would have those kiddie shows, using the guests as entertainment, wow!! What a insult to our intelligence , and we were told by one of the " props" it was all a setup, Anyway we flew to Venice to do our grease cruise on the norwegian jade, we had been told by bored guests we met on the magic, we would love the entertainment on the jade, we thought yep right! Well we did love it, we could not keep up with the entertainment, and it was nearly as good as broadway. I just had to meet the entertainment officer, to congratulate her, I had the cruise staff in fits of laughter, on our experience with " big fat John,and his entertainment, especially his mornings with Calvin who we loved, and I might add every time Calvin said he was going to leave, because John was insulting him--- we wished he had-- I feel the big wigs-- like the bearded ones as John calls them-- never follow these critic views, if you do reply. Bearded ones We are Aussies, not Americans , so I agree with the London lady Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but ... Read More
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but in the buffet one it was alway cold and the same menu every day no variety. The ports of calls were not great really enjoyed Kopei and Dubrovnik but should have stayed on board in Bari. It was not a very nice location especially the old town felt like we steped back in time but not for nice reason. It was like walking into a slum. The house were really run down and children tearing through the narrow streets on bike. The staff were very helpful on the ship until you had a problem. We returned to our room one day and the lad cleaning the room advised that the toilet was leaking and that he had reported it. We left the room and came back a few hours later to a flood. We rang maintenance 3 time and they kept saying they fixed it even though it was still flooding. Ended up going down to reception to complain and she got the same answer from maintenance. They promised to send up a man but a girl with a cloth to dry the floor arrive. She again had to ring before they believed us. Beware of buying watches etc on board. I bought a watch and when I got home it didn't work. Emailed them and they won't replace or refund as it was bought duty free on the sea. Its their rule if it is an expensive watch I would have to contact the maker no signs on board to this effect. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
I received a promotional invite from Caesar's Palace for a "free" trip on either the Epic or the Jade. Since it was his big birthday, my H choose the Epic because his grandparents came from Italy. Free ended up costing me ... Read More
I received a promotional invite from Caesar's Palace for a "free" trip on either the Epic or the Jade. Since it was his big birthday, my H choose the Epic because his grandparents came from Italy. Free ended up costing me $500 USD with the upgrade taxes and fees. But that was better than the full price of $2600 USD. I really cant complain overall about my experience on the Epic. I ready nearly 100 of the reviews before we left, and was somewhat concerned about the negativity of these boards regarding the Epic. Yes the ship is BIG and it was full, but there were no crowds in any of the venues or restaurants. I did not experience any of the hogging of the pool chairs, but then the weather was not exactly warm enough to sit by the pool. Yes the pools were small but then I did not go to Europe to sit by the pool. Living in California, I can stay home to do that. About the only place that was crowded was the spa, and there were chair hogs there, but only in the afternoon. Go after dinner to avoid the crowds I learned. If you really liked the spa experience I would recommend buying the week long pass. The massages and other services rates were more than what I pay at Caesar's Palace, which frankly has probably the best spa I had ever been to and ten times bigger and better than the Epic. What really frosted me about the spa was on day that the 20% discount was offered, it turned out to be a joke. The ship then charged not only 18% VAT but then told you (after you have already made the reservation and showed up for the treatment) that there was a mandatory additional 18% service fee. So a 100 minute massage and treatment without the 20% discount would have cost $366 USD which is about $116 more than the same treatment (with the same product line of Elemis) and the same massage costs at Caesars Palace. Not cool in my mind. Especially when you were not warned at the time of booking about the 36% additional. Frankly, that is the only negative things about the cruise that I experienced. Food was ok, not exceptional, and yes the buffet was crowded and noisy. Ate dinner there one night, breakfast there one day and then never went back. Had breakfast most days at Taste, which while repetitive, was good. Ate dinner all but two nights at the Manhattan, which was ok except for the first night's paella, which was great. Ate at the Brazilian restaurant one night, and the food was excellent. My H big complaint was no decent movie theater, and tv movies were expensive and no choice. Also he was upset about the tv not having any US based sports (as in not ever the score of the World Series games) He also thought the shore excursions with NCl were expensive, and we got better service, smaller groups and a better time booking with people I had met on CC trips with Rome in Limo. I have cruise before with Carnival (three times) and Princess (three times). I would overall rate the Epic much better in all categories that Carnival (except for deserts cause NCL deserts were unremarkable) but not as high quality as Princess (where I never had a bad meal, or room, or poor service) except for one thing: the casino. The Epic Casino is beautiful, smoke and all, and the machines do pay off. The service was excellent in the Casino, from drink servers to the clean up crew, to the casino hosts, even more attentive than most of of the Harrah's properties. And having been sent on this cruise via Harrah's "dime" I can honestly say that I did feel like I was in a big Las Vegas style hotel the entire week. So if your idea of cruising is to eat yourself sick, this is not the ship for you. It is not quite and restful, nor is it designed for lounging by the pool. If you have "bathroom issues", you will find the rooms claustrophobic and no matter how much closet space there is, you wont like it. But if you are adventurous, like to gamble, and a fast paced daily tour schedule, this is the trip for you. Only be prepared for needing another vacation as you will come home exhausted from a week on the Epic, especially if you live on the west coast of the US like I do, Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We had an aft cabin on deck 7. We were really looking forward to this since we had never booked an aft balcony. I couldn't find much information before we left about the aft balcony. We wanted it because we knew it was a bigger ... Read More
We had an aft cabin on deck 7. We were really looking forward to this since we had never booked an aft balcony. I couldn't find much information before we left about the aft balcony. We wanted it because we knew it was a bigger balcony and we could enjoy seeing where we've been. On our second day (a day at sea) we noticed black ashes on our towels on the lounge chairs as well as on our table (between the chairs). I initially thought that people on the top deck were smoking on the rear of the ship and their ashes were being dropped on our balcony. As the day went on though, we had more and more ashes. We finally figured out that it was coming from the smoke stack on the ship. We reported it to the Purser's and the agent looked at us like we were crazy. She said that no one else on the aft ship had reported anything (which is entirely possible, since it seemed that we were the only ones who actually used our balcony) and she had no idea what it could be. She said she could send someone out to look at it. They had scheduled someone, but they never showed up. On the 5th day, someone actually showed up and she said that they had never had this problem before, however, as my husband continued to question her she finally admitted that it "could" be coming from the smoke stack. What really aggravated us was the fact that everyone tried to deny that they had ever had this issue come up before. It was clear that it was the smoke stack because on the days that the wind blew in a different direction we had no ashes. On our last day, someone from customer care called and said that she had left a previous message for us (although we didn't have any messages). She had indicated that they hadn't had this problem before but was willing to give us a credit on a future cruise. Since we didn't know when we would be sailing again she offered us a $100 discount for this cruise. What annoyed us more than anything was the denial by all staff. If they would have just told us that this was a drawback to an aft cabin, we would have accepted that, but the fact that everyone acted like this had NEVER happened before really irritated us. It was not our objective to receive any compensation, just an acknowledgement that this occasionally occurred and explanation of why. On a positive note, we LOVED our stateroom attendant and wait staff. Every time we ran into any crew members, they were always very pleasant. The food in the Windjammer cafe was almost always the same. That was a disappointment. The menu in the dinning room was the same everyday, except for a different flavored "pancake of the day." This was fine for us because we LOVED the french toast and omelettes. The food in the dinning room for dinner was good and offered a good variety. We felt VERY rushed to get off the ship on the last day. We got to port at 0530 (30 minutes early) and it was a very loud. The ship vibrated strongly as it felt that we came in and turned ourselves completely around. If the arrival hadn't woken us up, the numerous announcements made over the intercom definitely would have. We had asked previously if we could take our time getting off the ship, as we had no immediate plans for the day, and we were told that we had to pay to stay later than our departure time (which was assigned at 7am -- the first assigned departure). So, we left at our assigned time. Thankfully our local hotel checked us into our room at 0830 - that would never happen stateside. So, overall we had a great vacation and enjoyed our ports of call. We were a little disappointed with Royal Caribbean (we had sailed with them before with no issues). We were happy to learn that the ship was going to dry dock after our cruise, a little updating would help spruce it up. We liked the fact that it was a smaller ship and we were able to recognize crew members and get familiar with them, however, a larger ship does offer more amenities and more to do. Again, we couldn't have asked for better stateroom attendants and waitstaff. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Cruising was a lot more comfortable than taking trains, planes, and other methods of rushing across Europe, trying to get to different places. The Solstice was a beautiful ship and I was glad to go AquaClass, because it gave me access to ... Read More
Cruising was a lot more comfortable than taking trains, planes, and other methods of rushing across Europe, trying to get to different places. The Solstice was a beautiful ship and I was glad to go AquaClass, because it gave me access to Blu, a restaurant I'll solely miss, now I can no longer go there. The dining area was modern, but a lovely kind of modern, with walls carved in the shape of a rose and windows looking out at the sea. I could eat healthy, beautifully prepared food there. The other specialty restaurants didn't capture my heart the same way, although I did have a very lovely meal at Murano's. Everyone on the ship was courteous and attentive to my needs. Arthur, the attendant to our cabin, found out I preferred cheese to canapes and I got cheese every afternoon in my room. The shore excursions were excellent, especially Florence on Your Own, Rome on Your Own, the Kusadasi/Ephesus excursion, and the Malta walking tour. On the ship, I really enjoyed the lecture/presentations of both Miriam and Gordan. They gave us a lot of information relevant to the ports we were visiting in an interesting fashion that was easy to absorb. The shows were also excellent. There was a wonderful circus performance with acrobatics and contortionists, as well as an extremely talented magician. A lot more was going on that I didn't go to, but I was mostly interested in events that had to do with the ports we were visiting. Our cruise director, Lisa Richards, was very attentive to my questions and needs, pointing me in the right direction when I wanted to know more about the places we'd be passing by on our voyage. If I had one complaint, it was that things got crowded at times. It was hard finding a place to sit in the buffet and we missed one of the shows, because there were no seats. The buffet was, however, excellent, and I'll miss the pizza maker who made such wonderful pizza every day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
We went on the holiday (Dec 24-31) cruise on the Oasis with my 3 boys (18-23yo) and my parents in their 80's. It was wonderful. The best part was the crew. Everyone we passed in the hall or anyone we had contact with had a smile ... Read More
We went on the holiday (Dec 24-31) cruise on the Oasis with my 3 boys (18-23yo) and my parents in their 80's. It was wonderful. The best part was the crew. Everyone we passed in the hall or anyone we had contact with had a smile on their face. They made eye contact, said hello and asked how they could help. What wonderful training RCI has for their staff! The ship is big and we had 6200 passengers on board but honestly we never really felt crowded. There are so many venues to hang out and people do so many different things that there are no crowds. Even the check in at the terminal was incredibly efficient. (btw, we got on at 11am. Don't believe the 2pm arrival time. You can start your vacation 3 hours earlier!). The only time we had an issue with crowds was waiting for an elevator at dinner. That took quite some time but I can think of no other time we felt overwhelmed with people. Again, the staff was great. My dad was having trouble walking around so we asked for a wheelchair. With no questions asked, we received one from Guest Relations. When it didn't work well, one of the cabin attendants noticed (not our attendant) and called on his walkie talkie and another one was sent to the room. The dining room food and service was wonderful. We ate there every night. Our waiter was great and entertained us with card tricks on a few nights. Amazing staff! The nice thing about the Oasis is all of the other restaurants available. My parents really liked going to the Park Cafe and just hanging out in the Central Park Area. It was very relaxing. A couple nights they had a violin and piano duo playing. It was very classy. In Labadee we went on the wave runners (our third time). It was great. The instructor/leader was really funny and made it lots of fun. A really fast ride! The shows were all top notch: Hairspray, Come Fly with Me, the Ice show and the comedy show. The Headliner was "The Nelsons" which I didn't think was quite up to the standards of the other shows. Half of the show was just video montages of their father, Ricky Nelson. All in all, a wonderful ship. Brand New. Tons to do. Great food and shows. Most of all, a wonderful, caring crew!! We would go again without question. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
I've never cruised on my own before but would definitely do it again. Started in Rome and left out of Civitavecchia port, next day we were in Scilly (Messina). I had booked a tour through the ship to see Taormina. I found the guide ... Read More
I've never cruised on my own before but would definitely do it again. Started in Rome and left out of Civitavecchia port, next day we were in Scilly (Messina). I had booked a tour through the ship to see Taormina. I found the guide very organized and informative and enjoyed seeing the ancient city, originating in 1440's. Even though I was the only person not "coupled up" I was welcomed and treated friendly by other guests. After a long day traveling it was a delight to go back to my balcony room all clean and tidy. My cabin steward was an angel, I miss him now I'm home. My room was extra large as the balcony bowed out from the ship I was starboard aft and could see the bridge at the front but also close to the end of the ship. My only complaint about the balcony was my neighbors were heavy smokers and it drifted into my room whenever I opened the balcony. I choose late dining as we were in port fairly early, the service was top notch and attentive but had a friendly tone. The food was average, none of the meals stood out even on formal nights. I think the RCCL could improve in this area. That being said, the entertainment was wonderful. Second night was a BeeGee's tribute show that had everyone dancing in the isles. I saw the ice show and it was very entertaining, I still don't know how the performers managed such high jumps! In the promenade one evening everyone was dancing to a group of dancers doing the Village People impression. I didn't join in the conga line but maybe I would have if I was drinking. There broadway rendition was also first rate. The entire atmosphere of the ship was calm and efficient. Another port of call I booked with the ship was the ruins of Ephesus. We left Kusadasi port early and the excursion lasted 5 hours exploring the ancient Roman ruins dating back to the 11th century. A lot of walking on marbled streets filled with chariot ruts but well worth the 3 mile trek. The tour guide had the frailest guest set the pace. Day 4 was Athens which I did on my own but wasn't impressed. Got ripped off for $160 eu for a lunch I didn't order, I only wanted a snack. Wouldn't bother with Athens again. My all time favorite is Chania, Crete. I rented a convertible and drove up around the mountains with the beautiful turquoise waters following me. The only traffic I saw was a few mountain goats. Followed the road along the Northwest coast up to ancient Monasteries, tranquil little villages with the sound of birds calling me further up. I stopped at the British Commonwealth War Cemetary, which lies on a small plateau, just above sea level on the Souda Bay.Along the winding "old road" of Crete I saw many honey farms. The last day out was a sea day, so I took advantage of the saltwater pool on board, it was cold, but refreshing. Overall a great experience. What I would like to see improved would be the food, the spa, the pursers desk (not helpful), and disembarkation process. I was thrown out 3 hours prior to my transfer. Still I would recommend this to any solo travelers or couples. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
OK... This was our first cruise and this is also my first review. I'm writing this so that other first timers will know what they are getting into. My fiance and I embarked the Adventure of the Seas at Malaga and despite a little ... Read More
OK... This was our first cruise and this is also my first review. I'm writing this so that other first timers will know what they are getting into. My fiance and I embarked the Adventure of the Seas at Malaga and despite a little of "where do we go now", the process was smooth and quick. We got on board at midday, when we arrived, instead of the time printed on our tickets of 1pm. I wish we hadn't, none of the rooms were available, so it felt like everyone and their seadogs were sitting in the windjammer. We got a little stressed out since there were no seats and we were faced with the horrifying idea that every meal would be like this (it wasn't in the end). One upside was that we were given a seat next to a lovely Irish couple who we would see throughout the trip and enjoy some drinks with. However, once we got into the room, everything started going uphill... We had a balcony room (well worth getting, didn't cost us too much as it was a late deal cruise) which was very nicely presented, a little dated but comfortable and clean. Our stateroom attendant really was very good and comes in to clean at least a couple of times a day. Port 1: Valencia - I wont say too much about ports since I recommend you explore yourself. We got a shuttle transfer from the boat since the grand prix was on at the time and we were a little worried about traffic etc. We were also a little worried at the small print on the shuttle ticket which stated that everything closes in Valencia on a Sunday... As it happened we found a couple really nice little bars and didn't really notice things were closed. Port 2: Rome - We didn't get off... hoping that the boat would be a bit quieter, it wasn't. I wont start on the behaviour of some Spanish children on the boat (no fault of the cruise of course). Port 3: Livorno - This was by far the best port for us... We took the train to Florence and got back to Pisa for a photo op for about half the price it would have cost us to do an organised excursion... Port 4: Ajaccio - looked lovely but we spent most of the day in bed... and not in a good way! More on that in a minute, back to the boat, we were definitely impressed with the size although we're not big fans of people (probably shouldn't have gone on a cruise) and so thought it a little busy at times. We spent most of our time in the windjammer, the casino and the theatre and have to say had a good time in all. The only problem with the casino is that everything is in USD and since we only took euros, you can imagine the type of exchange rate we got in the casino... and also I don't think the rocking of the boat helped with the roulette (seriously, the boat is as steady as a rock). The Theatre was a bit of fun, mostly geared at kids but the male singing group were pretty good. We didn't go to the ice show in the end, because we slept in and missed the one day you can get tickets, our Irish friends said it was good, if only because they kept falling over...Apparently people were getting let in at the door without tickets anyway. The food was pretty good though got a little repetitive in the windjammer but that was because we tended to eat at odd times. We ate in the impressive formal dining room twice, the first occasion was during a formal evening... you really do need to dress up, some people didn't and I thought I wouldn't bother, but I would have felt uncomfortable and normally that kind of thing doesn't bother me. The second time we ate in the dinning room my paella didn't taste right so I didn't eat it... sure enough I got no sleep that night because my fiance was sick on the hour, every hour, until I called the nurse who told her she had a norovirus, gave her an injection and confined her to quarters for a day and a half... Needless to say this kind of ruined Corsica and the remainder of our holiday. Also, just as we got home and she was feeling 100% again, I got sick and had three days off work... Tipping - Everyone expects a tip even though a service charge is already auto added to the bill. I didn't mind actually because we don't drink much and everyone was really friendly... If you want the scoop on what to do in a port and the cheapest way to go about doing it, speak to the crew (particularly the croupiers who only work nights and can therefore get off at ports) these people (and they are people) spend 7 months on ship and you don't see any of them on the shuttle bus... at the end of the holiday you get envelopes where you can put tips. We gave the stateroom guy a decent tip but nobody else since we only went to the restaurant twice and the second time got sick... Some people might think that harsh, but you know what, cruises are expensive and i'm not giving money to my "head waiter" who I didn't even meet!! I'm getting bored now, so i'll sum up: Would I go on a cruise again, yes BUT only with a balcony room, an equal sized or bigger boat and preferably more stops where you can just walk out from the boat i.e. you don't have to get a shuttle or taxi. If you take one message from this review it's this: Cruises are good, expect to have to pay for drink, do as much excursions yourself at half the cost, wash your hands as much as you can and if it don't taste right, don't eat it!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Let me start by saying we are loyal Crystal cruisers but Princess' itinerary attracted us, so we thought we'd give it a try. To compare Princess to Crystal would in no way be fair, so I'll try to be objective as possible. ... Read More
Let me start by saying we are loyal Crystal cruisers but Princess' itinerary attracted us, so we thought we'd give it a try. To compare Princess to Crystal would in no way be fair, so I'll try to be objective as possible. EMBARKATION: As easy as it gets. We got there early and once we checked in,we sat in a waiting area. Ruby Princess is a gigantic ship and with 3,080 passengers, we sailed full. Most of the nationalities were U.K., Spanish, Australian, Canadian and American along with a small contingent from the Phillipines. There were only 16 children on board and we hardly saw them. At 1:00 pm, we were allowed to board. CABIN: Our cabin was extremely small. One side of queen bed was pushed against the wall and we had a narrow L-shape to walk around. Cabin was divided by a long closet with shelf and hangers. Another narrow closet housed a cranky safe. Shower was very tiny. We shared one sink and a wide countertop. TV transmitted enough channels to satisfaction. Our steward, JORDAN, was really, really good. Although our requests were small, he made sure they were met and always wanted to do more. Great job, Jordan!!! FOOD: Food was good, not gourmet. We ate breakfast and lunch on top deck at Horizon court and we never felt cramped or crowded. On the days when excursions forced us to eat early, other couples at tables willingly let us share their table. We had anytime dining and I found that the desserts in the dining room were much better than Horizon Court. Horizon court offered many puddings, mousses (blech!), and always a fresh selection of fruits. Fabulous Fabbio is the maitre d' of the DaVinci dining room. He is very concerned about the quality of the service. If you have any complaints regarding DaVince, see Fabbio & he will resolve it right away. Trident Grill always served up hotdogs, hamburgers and fries. Pizza bar was pretty good. Soft serve ice cream was cold and tasteless. FORMAL NIGHTS: Ladies unless you already have formal eveningwear,don't go crazy for formal night. A nice pair of black slacks and pretty top will do the job and lighten your load. That's what most women wore, myself included. Most men wore a jacket and tie. I saw three tuxedos. SABITINI'S: Definately worth the cover charge. Husband & I had lobster 3 ways which was delicious and they also gave us a small portion of spaghetti with clams. Everything was good, the waiters were very attentive and the food was out of this world. ENTERTAINMENT: We both agree that Ruby has the best entertainment.I'd rather gamble than see shows so the first night he dragged me kicking and screaming. I was so impressed by the talent, I went almost every night. The dancers kicked and flipped and did things I didn't know were possible. Also the singers were very good. One night they had a second rate magician who was so lousy, I walked out. Don't miss the crew's talent show night. It was the best!!! Also, a salute to Broadway and Once Upon a Dream were beautiful. Each show is approx. 45 mins., so just as I was beginning to get antsy, it ended. Also DUO CLAUDIO perform mid-court around 8:00. They are acrobats that are so daring, you got to see them to believe it. Social director is Sam Hawkins from England. She bubbled over with cheeriness and enthusiasm. She did her job well.BEST THINGS: The Serenity Pool way up top prohibits children. It is a wonderful escape. I used it several times. Movies under the Stars is a delight. They give out blankets and we snuggled under the stars to watch the giant screen. Waiters come around with popcorn, pizza and ice cream. Another stroke of genius. If you go for a massage, ask for TASHA. She was absolutely amazing and did in one session what my chiropracter couldn't do in four. She's a petite woman with magic hands. I wanted to take her home with me. The Lotus Spa was beautiful. Unfortunately I didn't find that out until the trip was almost over. WORST THINGS: Didn't like the constant hawking of specialty drinks and photographers trying to get us to buy. One night our waiter asked us three times if we wanted the specialty drink! It became annoying. Also, next time I will do more research on cabins before I book. Now we realize that it would have been worth the extra $$$ to upgrade, but being first time Princess cruisers, we didn't know. Overall, I'd say Princess does a pretty good job of juggling 3,000 passengers and keeping things running smoothly. We didn't have any ugly situations or run-ins with rude passengers. The staff we encountered were courteous and friendly. They responded to our every request. In conclusion, we would definately sail Princess again if the itinerary were good. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Liberty was an interesting ship. Everything felt clean, new, modern but somehow cheap as well. I didn't get a palpable sense of luxury here. Food options were disappointing. The Windjammer and Jade buffets were abysmally bad. Some of ... Read More
Liberty was an interesting ship. Everything felt clean, new, modern but somehow cheap as well. I didn't get a palpable sense of luxury here. Food options were disappointing. The Windjammer and Jade buffets were abysmally bad. Some of the worst food I've tasted, competing with hospitals and retirement homes. Chops, on the other hand, was excellent, on par with any Chicago steakhouse. The main dining room was hit or miss. A surf and turf (steak from Chops, lobster from Portofino) was one of the best I've ever had. A NY Strip from the dining room, was almost inedibly tough, full of connective tissue, and a low quality cut. Some entrees were quite bland. Other days were decent. Johnny Rockets was OK, the burgers are overcooked to the point of dryness, but everything else is great. See note below about billing though. We did not eat at the pub. The Ben and Jerries was good, but the cupcake shop was getting no love from anyone, it was empty the whole time. Drinks were strong at bars across the ship, which was nice. Room service took 75-90 minutes (they said 45-60) each time, but the food was decent. Prices seem wildly scattered. Stores on the ship, especially the duty free, had rather competitive pricing. But then some massages were USD 300 and up, and we sometimes had billing discrepancies. For example at Johnny Rockets, we were billed much more than the cover charge and cost of our shakes. Some places will charge you for drinks despite having a package. The jeweler neglected to give a discount that they told me they had included, to the tune of 150 Euro. I had to return my item and repurchase with the discount. Crew and Staff were all competent and very nice. Our stateroom attendent went out of her way to help us, and our waiter for dinner did the same. However, we for some reason had a 9:00 pm seating, while others were 8:30, 7:00, 6:30, or 6:00. And that was scheduled, not "my dining" times. Random, and very late. Entertainment: The shows were uninteresting sounding so we skipped them. Other than that, there wasn't much going on -- hot tubs and pools were great, but hot tubs were lukewarm and bubbles didn't work all the time. Pools should be heated if you're going to be on an open air deck with 50+ knot winds. Freshwater was very nice, but heavily chlorinated. Deck entertainment was quite good, some great bands (also good bands at the bars and elsewhere on the ship). Flowrider didn't seem to get much use, neither did the rock wall. Either they should be free, or should be replaced. Overall, the boat was nice, but more so for the crew and the experience we made out of it. It felt like a boat that was trying too hard to appear luxurious and modern, but didn't really live up to the hype. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise