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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
My wife and I have frequently sailed with Saga and much enjoyed the charm of her smaller ships, Pearl and Sapphire so it was, with some uncertainty, that we sailed on her new Ship Spirit of Discovery. As we approached her berth I wasn’t ... Read More
My wife and I have frequently sailed with Saga and much enjoyed the charm of her smaller ships, Pearl and Sapphire so it was, with some uncertainty, that we sailed on her new Ship Spirit of Discovery. As we approached her berth I wasn’t initially enthused by her look, but gradually, throughout our back to back cruise, she grew in stature and even majesty. With a bigger ship one wondered whether Saga would retain the warm community feel of her earlier vessels. They had. Immediately one boarded one saw the smiles of the staff and to be frequently greeted by name was astonishing. Cabins (ours was a Standard Cabin) are very comfortable with a pleasing balcony and pleasant sitting area. The one limitation is the gap between the end of the bed and the cabin wall/television which is fairly narrow. But you make it work. The bathroom is neat and compact with a very fine shower. Dining has always been a great delight aboard Saga ships. The new Grand Dining Room though large is separated into sections which, though part of a grand whole, appear as individual restaurant areas. The food is as always a delight. On the ship there are three speciality restaurants. Coast to Coast, a fish restaurant, produces outstanding dishes and the The Club Restaurant, a steak house, provides succulent and large steaks. There is an East to West restaurant, but my wife has some dietary difficulties thus we declined that experience, though told it is very good. My wife’s dietary limitations were always well catered for: she receives the dinner menu a day early to assist. Even the wine offered at lunch and dinner has slightly improved..... still some way to go. Public areas are a joy. The Living Room is at the centre of the ship, busy and a great place to have the free coffee. The Library is a delight but crowded, too crowded. It is close to the Craft rooms which are good to see, but enthusiastic Passengers mean that classes are still too big for the amenities. On Saga Ships the Britannia Lounge has always been very important. It is a splendid space but, during the day, it is hardly used and we found it quieter than the Library, just how we like it. All these public rooms have coffee facilities linked and bars. In addition there is the South Cape Bar, stylish and very busy before dinner. At the rear of the Ship that are terraces on every deck encouraging passengers to relax and be lazy, while the Lido area is a magnet for many with a reasonable size pool. A first for Saga is the Playhouse, seating approximately 450. Watched a film there with 11 other people! It does allow performers greater opportunity but seats can sometimes be at a premium. Entertainment quality is mixed. The permanent Company are more mature performers than on previous ships and it shows. The guest performers vary in quality: haven’t yet seen a successful Comedian/Magician. There seems to be a penchant for flashing lights and excessive noise. Some like it, but not my cup of tea. Give me the Classical Quartet which provides talent and pleasure. They were challenging and very musical. Activity on board seems less than on the older ships and some passengers missed the variety of competitions. The Excursion team do a great job, though the value for money aspect of some of the excursions needs consideration. We had an evening excursion in Copenhagen, same as an afternoon trip, but we did have some peanuts and a glass of “bubbly, but it cost £20 extra. A poor excursion. The great joy of travelling with Saga are the Staff and Officers, all of whom seem truly interested in your well being. It is a superb ship, but even so there is a list of oddities. No washing line in Cabin Bathrooms. I think this is being addressed. The Fridge in the Cabin is ridiculous and noisy. A delightful television but on a 19 day cruise we had programmes for only about 7 days (and we were sailing relatively close to U.K.). Post the Captain’s Cocktail Parties the Grand Dining Room is overwhelmed and has problems coping with seating. Throughout the ship there are wonderful and many varied chairs and settees, but I do wonder whether anyone sat on them before purchase. One needs to be 6ft 3 ins to be comfortable in most. The disembarkation process was more chaotic than usual. Too many people were herded into the Britannia Lounge to await disembarkation....... with not enough seating. For many regular Saga passengers some comment that now they have to walk further. True, the Ship seems larger but the additional distances are not great. I love the Ship and the experiences. Counting the days to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
Never been on a cruise before (myself and wife) and I would NOT enjoy any type of formal dressing up; so, chose this for a beginner. The embark and disembark went well and if you are fearful of sea sickness...the ship is too big to be ... Read More
Never been on a cruise before (myself and wife) and I would NOT enjoy any type of formal dressing up; so, chose this for a beginner. The embark and disembark went well and if you are fearful of sea sickness...the ship is too big to be rocked by a few waves. The GOOD - Large ship with a few entertainment options. Initially I thought it was massive, quickly realized that it was just right. - Cabin was comfy (balcony), the room was made up every day (twice) and all was good. - Food was acceptable, although the chefs from the various restaurants (even the a La Carte) has a VERY similar menu with minor variations. The BAD - Shore Excursions. Book your excursions with OTHER companies as the Prices NCL charge are equal to Robbery! However, be warned, if for whatever reason the ship does not make it to any port (due to weather etc...) you have lost your money. The UGLY 1. The information disseminated was poor; as the ship did not make it to Gothenburg; instead made it back to initial port (Copenhagen). NCL put on free transport to the city centre HOWEVER announced NOTHING. 2. As I was not pleased, I went to Customer Services (CS) queued for 20 min and asked for a gesture of good will from the ship (like additional credit etc..) the response someone will be in touch... I am still waiting... 3. I had credit due so I went to Customer Services (queued for 20 min) and asked if it was possible to get the dollars due put back into the account; the response certainly sir. So, I went away. The next day message on the cabin phone to report to Customer Services; again (queued for 20 min) went to CS discussed the refund and was given the same response that it will be paid to my account. The following day cruise over went to leave got pulled to the side and was given a wad of cash... I explained to no avail... Final Assessment To me it appears that when staff do not have an answer to either a complaint or an issue the resort to saying that someone will be in touch... do notice that when they resort to this they immediately avoid eye contact... I am not alone in this assessment; I believe that NCL staff are trained to deal with things in this way as you have no way of getting anywhere. I noticed this more than once with others on the cruise as well. I won't say that I will NEVER cruise with NCL again however be VERY wary as they have your money and they REALLY DO NOT CARE!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
BACKGROUND: seven day cruise out of Southampton, to Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Hamburg and LeHavre. Mother, 88yrs, and daughter 50’s, active and love to participate in activities like trivia. Mom uses a scooter on cruises due to severe ... Read More
BACKGROUND: seven day cruise out of Southampton, to Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Hamburg and LeHavre. Mother, 88yrs, and daughter 50’s, active and love to participate in activities like trivia. Mom uses a scooter on cruises due to severe arthritis which makes walking long distances challenging. SHIP: I liked the ship. It isn’t particularly easy to navigate as there are multiple bars and rooms but that’s why there is a readily available map and guide. It was very easy to find a hideaway to escape the crowds. The Swarovski Crystal staircase is beautiful. DINING: I found the dining room horrible for me, my mom loved it. I don’t eat meat and the options were abhorrent. Everything was cold and tasteless. The buffet in both our opinions was disgusting although my mother didn’t have to navigate the bun fights as I usually chose for her knowing very well her likes and dislikes. It was truly chaotic. The buffet did not have a natural flow and was always an incredibly unpleasant dining experience. The food was very cold. The only way to get a hot cup of tea for my mom was to go to the barista and get boiling water from the bar. The urns of “hot water” were either cold or empty. I have read that people eat food colder in Europe...ummm not in my experience. This food was inedible except for the wonderful fruit available at breakfast. We tried one specialty restaurant (Butcher’s Cut) as it was gratis having been granted a “Black Card” in MSC’s reciprocity offer as I am Elite Plus with Celebrity and Diamond Plus with RCI. (The other specialty restaurant was was Asian fusion that I could have enjoyed but definitely not mom’s thing). Mom’s veal chops were like hockey pucks and my salmon was again cold and over cooked. It would have been an incredibly expensive meal (+++€120) and I would have had a hard time not seriously challenging paying for a meal as it was THAT bad. One good caveat was that I lost weight...a fairly big feat on a cruise. CABIN: We were in our first accessible cabin. I am a firm believer that accessible cabins should be for wheelchair dependent people, not for someone like us that can manage, albeit sometimes challenging, to be able to fit a scooter inside a cabin. As we only booked two months before the cruise it was actually the only balcony available. I must admit the space was wonderful...the cabin steward...not so much. I actually wrote to no avail IN THE DUST on the table “please clean me.” Mom used the little milk cups for one cup of tea on the first day and despite daily requests, it was never restocked nor was the tissues or tea bags. One morning he told me that “he was too busy to clean our room.” I just chuckled to myself and took fresh towels off his cart. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: The shows were OK, some better than others. What I did find rather amusing was that two of the shows were VERY similar just different music and costumes. The cirque-like performer with a big ring did the same routine. The aerialist..same..different colour silk. Trio of acrobats...exactly the same tumbling etc. It was a really weird dejavu. There are multiple performers in the many bars around the ship that was wonderful. The multicultural influences were also fabulous. As for activities, the staff didn’t show up for one of the trivias...no response when I queried this with guest services. When they did show up it was OK though. The staff were very nice and personable. What was annoying was that as people can embark and disembark at all the ports, Hamburg was considered a big turnaround day and there were no activities at all until 3pm and that was “hair analysis” in the spa. No trivia/nothing. Furthermore, Hamburg was on a Sunday and there is notoriously nothing open except for the Zoo and a “Miniature” Park. PORTS: As my mom wasn’t feeling well at times, we only got off the ship in LeHavre. We used the ship’s shuttle into town for ~ €8 each. We walked around a bit and went to the Mall. I felt that Brugge would be too difficult for her in her scooter with all the cobblestones. It is one of my favourite ports though. BOTTOM LINE... would I go on MSC again? I highly doubt it though never say never. I now know what to expect from MSC which was one of the goals of this trip. Despite all the banter about how the service, activities and food on CELEBRITY and RCI have dropped a bit it’s still FAR superior than MSC...IN MY OPINION. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2019
We have been on over 60 cruises on at least 8 cruise lines. This is the first time when checking in, you do not produce a credit card for validation. When you get on board there is a machine to validate your Debit/Credit Card. You put ... Read More
We have been on over 60 cruises on at least 8 cruise lines. This is the first time when checking in, you do not produce a credit card for validation. When you get on board there is a machine to validate your Debit/Credit Card. You put in you ships card which was issued when you checked in. You then enter your card. Whichever one you use, they deduct 250Euros from this card. When the cruise ends, and you used a Credit card, They deduct your expenses, and then credit your Credit card. If you use a Debit card, they do not credit the card after expenses have been deducted. You have to go to reception and they give you Euros for your credit balance. Which means you either keep them for future trips to Europe, or cash them in at your bank at a very bad rate. I believe most of the Euroeans on the ship are deaf. Because they all try to outdo them selves to see how loud they can speak. Aside from you cabin there is no place that is quite. The Library is a waste of time of you are English. It had a total of 2 books in it. They never announced where the Gangway was located/ Late dinner was 20:30 to 22:00. The show started at 22:00. Most late shows s on other lines, started at 10:30 or 10:45. This allows you to finish your meal and get to the theatre., which is at the other end of the ship. The first 5/10 minutes of the show the MC's described what was in the show in five languages. The show started and people whee coming into the theatre 10 to 15 minutes after the show had started. The shuttle bus service was big rip off. On most cruises if you pay full fare for the cruise the shuttle was free. If you paid reduced fare, it may cost up to 5gbp per trip.. 4 ports cost 103Euro/93GBP. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, ... Read More
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, the maintenance of the rooms and, last but not least, the great choice of excellent food, cannot be toppled. The major experience, nevertheless, is the disponibility and the kindness of the crew, from 41 different nations! All men and women, from the Captain to the single sailor, are kind, very attentive, helpful and friendly. The standard of the rooms is superior and the available space generous. The crew shows and lives an "esprit de corps" and a "unité de service". One point has to be improved by the management: it is not acceptable, nowadays, that a couple can only dispose of one free WLAN account and has to pay (a lot of) money for further accounts. A couple, today, has two cell phones and to tablets/computers. At least three accounts have therefore to be included in the basic offer! Please adapt this NOW. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
We really enjoyed our 14 night cruise to the Baltic. We have cruised with Cunard, Celebrity and P&O in the past and Arcadia exceeded our expectations. Admittedly, the atrium doesn’t have the wow factor of other ships but it more than ... Read More
We really enjoyed our 14 night cruise to the Baltic. We have cruised with Cunard, Celebrity and P&O in the past and Arcadia exceeded our expectations. Admittedly, the atrium doesn’t have the wow factor of other ships but it more than compensated in terms of friendliness and entertainment. We found the food in the dining room consistently good both at lunch and dinner. The buffet could be very busy especially on sea days but we enjoyed the freshly cooked burgers at the grill near the pool. Afternoon tea in the dining room was a real treat and eating at the Sindhu (especially when there was an offer on) was a delight. There was plenty of choice of entertainment and everyone should find something to suit their taste. I really enjoyed the orchestra and the Headliners put on some excellent shows. The cinema ( free but you must book seats at the library desk) gave me an opportunity to catch up on some recent blockbusters. This was a good way to spend an afternoon either on sea days or if you had some spare time after a visit to a port. Generally the staff were very good - we came across a few morose waiters but a smile and thank-you from you, as the customer, goes a long way. Our cabin steward was very efficient. We were a little apprehensive before we joined the cruise with some very poor reviews and lots of talk about the ship being ‘tired’. Yes, some areas which saw heavy traffic were a little worn but generally we were happy with the look of the ship.Overall, we had a great cruise so if you’ve booked with Arcadia, please don’t be put off by the critics. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2019
Embarkation at Southampton was quick and easy - our cases were collected from our car and next reappeared in our stateroom. 15 minutes after getting out of the car we were on the ship. Silhouette is due a revamp early next year but don’t ... Read More
Embarkation at Southampton was quick and easy - our cases were collected from our car and next reappeared in our stateroom. 15 minutes after getting out of the car we were on the ship. Silhouette is due a revamp early next year but don’t this confuse you, she is very far from tired and tatty and still exceeds the standards of the best hotels. Our cabin was well equipped, large and spotlessly clean. Entertainment and activities are constant, varied, numerous and entirely optional - we tend to entertain ourselves. Similarly we don’t partake in shore excursions as we like to explore independently but tend to do whatever excursionists do for half the price or less. For us the ship is about eating and drinking. Not to excess, but simply indulging in the ridiculously high standards achieved whilst bobbing around in the sea. We travel Aqua Class just to have access to Blu and always will (turned down a suite upgrade this time as we would lose our Blu guarantee). The food is fresh, light, imaginative and cooked to perfection every time. We had a night in Murano which is simply the finest restaurant we have visited on land or sea, and we visit a LOT of restaurants. The service here is ramped up to levels only dimly remembered, and the flambeed lobster is to die for. Our favourite bar, the World Class Bar, staffed by the world class Daniel and Alexandra, serves only a small range of cocktails made with the finest ingredients. We were also pleasantly surprised on this cruise by the quality of the live music, which is constant in half a dozen different venues on board. From classical, through jazz and blues, to rock and pop, ever musician was insanely talented. What sets Celebrity aside, however, is the service. 1,500 staff work around the clock to make every cruise perfect and memorable. They will be respectful and attentive at all times, but are also willing to laugh and joke and have fun with those guests who want it. Never forced, never inappropriate, this is a very difficult line to tread. Celebrity achieves it with ease. The cruise itself covered the ports of Bergen, Alesund, Flam and Stavanger. Each provided and different but fantastic experience. Standing on the lawn by the sunset bar as we cruised down the magnificent is one of many memories which will stay with me for life. We pay a decent amount of money to Celebrity for our aqua class cruises, but the fact that we’re planning the next two gives the clearest indication that we don’t begrudge a penny. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
Pros = 1) Service at the dinner - Waiter always friendly 2) Service and cleanliness on our Room 3) Pre paid internet was 4gb for 4 devices and it was cheap comparing with other cruises that I´ve made 4) Pre paid digital ... Read More
Pros = 1) Service at the dinner - Waiter always friendly 2) Service and cleanliness on our Room 3) Pre paid internet was 4gb for 4 devices and it was cheap comparing with other cruises that I´ve made 4) Pre paid digital pictures was very cheap. I got in the end a pen drive with 120 pictures taken during the cruise and it costed 90 euros. During the cruise, they were charging 30 euros for EACH picture 5) Pizza was very good Cons = 1) Overall the bar staff was not trained at all. First night at the Cruise, I ordered a bottle of Champagne, the lady came after 10 minutes with the Bottle saying that it was the first time that she opened a Champagne bottle and tried to close it with the Cork again. 2) The food at the buffet was terrible and always crowded. It was always stressfull getting food, find a table 3) The cruise only offers free Water (when other lines offer Iced Tea, etc). The places to get drinks were dirty and some of them had only Coffe and not hot milk 4) The portion size of the dinner was terrible ... everyone at our table asked always 2-3 main courses because it was impossible to have food enough with only 1 main dish. 5) The shows during the evening at the theater were very poor. Comparing with other cruises that I´ve been, it was by far the worse. I even slept because if was boring. 6) The overall entertainment during the cruise was very bad... other cruises that I´ve been, have a Cruise Director that cheers up the entire ship with lot of enterntainment and parties. At the Preziosa, and I dont even know if we have similar role during the ship. 7) Basic stuff like NUTELLA... it was not offered during the breakfast for my Daugther, but it was available if asked.. so every time i needed to go to the bar and ask for Nutella and the waiter passed me a few nutella hidden like he was giving me drugs. 8) The overall service was so bad that I went to the guest services and asked to remove the service charge. I then paid good service at the dinner and room directly to the waiters. 9) I´ve been in many different Cruise companies before and this was the first that THEY DONT OFFER FREE ICE CREAM. All other have free 24h ice cream. They charge at Preziosa for everything. Worst cruise experience I ever had, and i will never get on a MSC ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
a one week Baltic cruise fit our schedule and we wanted to sail on a newer ship.They did an excellent job handling 4500 guests We are regular cruisers on several US lines. after reading reviews of this ship I was somewhat cautious. It ... Read More
a one week Baltic cruise fit our schedule and we wanted to sail on a newer ship.They did an excellent job handling 4500 guests We are regular cruisers on several US lines. after reading reviews of this ship I was somewhat cautious. It turns out that the experience was great. MSC is extremely organized, both getting on and off the ships as well as their excursions, theater reservations, and meal times. While not our favorite dining experience you can find plenty to satisfy. They have some excellant Gelato, chocolate, and British pub locations we tried, all good. The overall entertainment was the best we have encountered. The Cirque du soleil and theater presentaions were great. Also a very friendly crew. Beautiful newer ship. We met people from all over the world, but they did not overwelm you with foreign language announcements. Would not hesitate to sail with MSC again. This ship is heading to Miami. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2019
We have previously cruised before but wanted to try something a little more upmarket. We were very impressed by the standards of this cruise we cannot wait to go back. Everything was just right. We got on at Southampton having staying ... Read More
We have previously cruised before but wanted to try something a little more upmarket. We were very impressed by the standards of this cruise we cannot wait to go back. Everything was just right. We got on at Southampton having staying at the Chilworth Manor hotel on their park and cruise package (included is bed and breakfast, over night stay, 3 course meal in their restaurant, parking and taxis to/from the terminal). All was very efficient. When the taxi arrived at the terminal our bags were taken from us for safe passage onto the train. Getting onto the ship was no hassle. We got on around midday. Our rooms were not ready until around 1pm but they had the oceans café open for lunch. It was busy but the food was delightful. Getting to our cabin we were happy with our home for the week. A comfortable reasonable sized bed. Good quality toiletries. Great shower with closable door (I hate shower curtains so was pleased to see there was not one!). Towels could have been a bit bigger but did their job! We asked the cabin steward for larger robes as well which were delivered to us. Tea and coffee making facilities. Safe. Hairdryer (not the greatest). TV with various channels on including the traditional cruise channels like view from the bridge and the directors channel. We had a little seating area with a sofa and table and also a mirror with another chair. We were on deck 6 in room 6187 - this is the first level with the balcony rooms and where the life boats are. We did not have an obstructed view of the horizon - it meant that we could not look down to the sea due to the life boat being there. It wasn't really an issues at all although I did think it was going to be before we got on the ship. There is plenty storage - the cupboards above the bed are almost hidden and I wouldn't have known about them if someone had not said! This gives plenty of room and your suitcase should be able to fit under the bed out of sight and mind. Our cabin steward was great - the room was always spotless. Turn down every night and towels replaced in the morning and/or evening. Loved getting the cruise news letter in the evening for the next days activities. The food was amazing. We had evening meals in the Grand Cuvee every day, waiter served lunch when it was available and breakfast here every morning too. The menus were superb. We did not have a bad meal and I ate absolutely everything on my plate. We had select dining and we would usually be given a beeper around 8pm and sat 15-20mintes after and just got a drink in the mean time. The waiter staff were excellent. Alternatively the oceans café was open throughout the day. We went there for lunch and afternoon tea and a midnight snack on some of the days! It can be busy. The food is of a very good quality. There is also the master grill outside to get burgers/hotdogs/ice cream throughout the day. The food in all was an absolute highlight of the cruise. There were speciality restaurants but as we had to pay extra we did not think it was worth it given the high standard of the main restaurant. The drinks were very reasonable and the waiters were very generous. On the classic drinks package you could have most things but I guess it is your personal tastes that would dictate this. On the classic package we did have to pay more at the martini bar and for some cocktails but it was only the difference so it was not a lot. The wines for meals were great. There are various bars available. The passport bar in the grand foyer on level 3 had a lot of seats to lounge on and also served coffee. The grand foyer is where some events took place so this was a nice place to sit. The sky lounge on deck 14 was mainly where we went in the evening for live music but they also had quizzes on during the day. They served some nice cocktails. Martini bar had an actually iced bar which was fun. The cellar masters does good wines and also sherry and port which we couldn't get else where on the ship. They had various bars around the ship including in the casino, quaser and by the pool. We enjoyed the selection of drinks and the availability of the bars. The pools on deck 12 were great. They were heated so just about bearable to get in when we were in Norway! The jacazzis are amazing - our best experience with these was going in at 10pm at night! Exhilarating! Loads of towels and blankets available. They also have swimming pool and jacuzzi inside if sitting out in the cold isn't for you! The entertainment was to a very high standard. The shows in the evening with the performers were excellent. The acrobats were incredible. We did not really enjoy the comedian but this is personal taste. They had live bands and a great female singer too. The shows were at 7 and 9pm giving opportunity for dinner. We really enjoyed the silent discos. The late night quiz games were also hilarious. The cruise director was very entertaining. The casino was large. We do not usually frequent casinos but we won a free $20 bet on the slot machines and spent a rather amusing few hours spending our bet! There were talks during the day about the ports of call, the gulf stream and even the captain did one about navigation. 'Evening chic' is their formal night - we had two. It was nice to see most people making an effort. The ports were all very good. I liked that actually there was not too much to do at each port so that one could get off, go explore and get back on board feeling like you had seen enough of the city. We did not do any of the ships shore excursions as it was so much cheaper to do it ourselves. We really enjoyed getting back on the ship to nice hot chocolate! Overall this was the best cruise we have been on (so far). Everything seemed catered for. We enjoyed speaking to fellow cruisers and how diverse the passengers and staff were. We felt very well fed and watered and above all very relaxed thankful that we were able to go on such an immense cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2019
Service and amenities are very nice on this ship. I really loved our Royal Suite. Two comfy couches in the living area, a nice comfy bed in the bedroom, one full bath with a separate jacuzzi tub and shower, a jacuzzi on our veranda along ... Read More
Service and amenities are very nice on this ship. I really loved our Royal Suite. Two comfy couches in the living area, a nice comfy bed in the bedroom, one full bath with a separate jacuzzi tub and shower, a jacuzzi on our veranda along with plenty of room to spread out make us want to cruise with celebrity again. Our Butler and room attendant were outstanding! Thanks to Jacky and Francis! Just the best and always with a smile on their faces. They couldn’t do enough to make us comfortable and if it weren’t for them, we would probably not consider celebrity again. Yes, they were just that good! The food was mostly decent, and the best was La Petit Chef which I originally avoided because it sounded silly. We finally tired it and enjoyed it thoroughly. The food was better than Blu that’s for sure. That one was awful. They rushed everything, splashing wine, cold food, tasteless everything. Just yuck! Murano is good but there are too many dishes that have dairy. Creamy this and that....it’s too old style. They need to modern up that cuisine. I loved the sushi restaurant! Honestly I’m kind of a foodie so I’m trying not to be too critical because after all, it’s a ship. I don’t expect the food to be as good as dining out in the Bay Area where I live. Yes I’m spoiled with great food at home. Some tours were great and others were awful. Fortunately mostly we had good tours. I might consider making my own arrangements at the ports of call in the future, though. Entertainment was good although we didn’t do a lot of that. We loved Michaels! Thanks to Lara for being so helpful and so cheerful. Perfect person for this job! This was our first big cruise as we’ve always done small cruises before. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult to get the right level of entertainment for him on previous cruises as he’s not a baby but still too little to go into any clubs/groups. There was a fantastic aqua park for him with a baby area which was great. The water was heated too which was a brilliant idea. There wasn’t much else going on for him though, there were a few toys laid out in a nightclub area in the day but very limited. We could pay $6 an hour to put him in a under 3’s club which we didn’t do. The food was comparable to NCL, a good standard and plenty to chose from. However, there were strict times on when food was available. On previous ships there was always food available in the buffet but it closed in the day for 3 hours and at 9:00pm in the evening which seems a bit early considering there is nearly 5k guests on board and there was a wait for a table. The only other option if you missed the buffet or dining room was pizza which is very limited, especially if you have dietary requests. We ate in the main dining room every night which we do on every cruise, A manager came to the table every night to ask how our dinning experience was which was great. We love the formalities of cruising and were disappointed when the waiters started doing the Macarena in the middle of dinner service, it really wasn’t great. Also on formal night, a guy wearing jeans and muddy running trainers was sat next to us in the main dining room while we were wearing a tuxedo and a cocktail dress. It’s disappointing that people can’t make the effort but also respect that people don’t always want to however, I feel on formal nights especially, trousers and shoes should be worn as a minimum to get into the main dining room. We decided to have an inside cabin as we were only sailing for 3 days. When we got to the cabin I was so disappointed. It was very dated, even though the independence had apparently had a refurb recently, the carpet was grubby and the sofa had stains on it. The cabin wasn’t cleaned properly with stains on the mirrors and marks on the walls. The cabin was really knocked about, dents in the wood work, paint chipped and just really dated. We did feel the need to complain about the cleanliness and someone was sent to shampoo the carpet and sofa but I feel for the price of a RC cruise, this shouldn’t be happening and I expected a much better standard. The toilets in the public areas were not cleaned all the time like on other ships. Bins were over flowing in the toilets and no toilet paper. The main promenade was dated too, i don’t understand where on this ship there has been a refurb. There were plenty of lifts which meant the wait time for one wasn’t too long, this is a plus when you have a buggy. For a taster cruise, I thought all the stops would be pulled out to ensure further bookings on RC but I felt it wasn’t, I think it was a true representation of RC. Would I sail with them again? Yes but only on a new ship which I think would be completely out of my price bracket. For the price of RC I think the standard should be a lot higher and couldn’t help but think it was a bit ‘butlins at sea’. I would definitely pick other lines over RC especially for the price of them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My best friend booked us this cruise for a girls trip. We were excited to see different parts of Europe and the ship was gorgeous online. Even better, the price appeared to be really good for the length and destinations of the trip. ... Read More
My best friend booked us this cruise for a girls trip. We were excited to see different parts of Europe and the ship was gorgeous online. Even better, the price appeared to be really good for the length and destinations of the trip. Our first night here, a waiter in the buffet tried to sell us prostitutes and convince us to go into Rotterdam with him that night to go clubbing. We declined. As a matter of fact, the entire cruise experience was male staff making inappropriate comments and hitting on us as a means to what I can only assume were additional uses of our unlimited drink packages at their bars, which we now know cost us per drink. All this did was make us uncomfortable. The food at the buffet wasn’t great— hard to put together a proper meal, all the pasta was over cooked and the pizza was chewy. We figured it was just a buffet thing, and were excited for our unlimited drinks package and the different places on the boat you could get specialty beverages and food included with the cruise. What they DID NOT tell us was that every time we used the package we paid for, they automatically charged us tip for EACH DRINK. That ended up being hundreds of dollars in our final bill. Our cabin attendant was WONDERFUL! His name was Mike and he was incredibly helpful, kind, and polite. We were very grateful for his wonderful service. The amenities on the boat, though beautiful, were almost impossible to enjoy due to crowds and poorly behaved children. We would have loved to do more on the boat, but it was not happening with all the people shoving each other to do the same activities. Each night you have a choice to eat either at the buffet or in the “fancy restaurant,” either the Golden Lobster or the Arabesque. We had Golden Lobster assigned to us and were not allowed in Arabesque. Our waiter Luis and his supervisor, Valentin, were WONDERFUL! So kind and attentive. I just wish we had known that every time we ate at the Golden Lobster, which was included in our cruise, we would be charged $25 in gratuities. There is no internet included on the ship, so we ended up spending almost $300 for internet access on the ship. This cost we at least agreed to and knew would be in our final bill. When you get to your cabin, there are bottles of water and a coffee bar. DON’T use them! They count as part of the mini-bar and you will be charged! At the end of our “all-inclusive” cruise we received an additional bill of $850 for tips, internet, and various other fees that no one at reception could explain to us. This “affordable” cruise ended up costing as much as a much more luxurious voyage on a much nicer ship. We will never choose MSC again! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we were already vacationing in London prior. We really enjoyed the ice show “Strings.” The violinist was phenomenal and the choreography of the skaters was great. We ate in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and because we were already vacationing in London prior. We really enjoyed the ice show “Strings.” The violinist was phenomenal and the choreography of the skaters was great. We ate in the main dining room the first two nights. The food was good, portions could have been bigger but the service was very slow. Izumi was good but it was an hour until we ate. I understand there is a show involved with dining in a hibachi restaurant but it just took too long. The balcony room was in a great location mid ship on Deck 7. I liked the size of the ship. Not too big and not too small. The ship excursion to Brugge was very good. We did the half day guided tour with free time. Overall a very nice ship and we would travel on her again if the opportunity arose. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
MSc Preziosa Safety- Hygiene unfortunately lower than on NCL although there are hand wash machines available they are not always obvious on entrance to ship after excursions. No washy washy ladies at restaurants here! Lots of ... Read More
MSc Preziosa Safety- Hygiene unfortunately lower than on NCL although there are hand wash machines available they are not always obvious on entrance to ship after excursions. No washy washy ladies at restaurants here! Lots of passengers seemed to not wash their hands. Having said that we didn’t suffer with tummy problems. Safety Drill- very loud but people spoke over it. I guess that’s the issue with having so many languages onboard. We also found this an issue at the captains cocktail party where he was talking and people chatted to each other making it impossible to hear what he and the senior officers were saying. It seemed quite rude of passengers to do this. Southampton Face to Face Customs-We were all required to do this by UK government. We didn’t go at our ‘ever so early for us on a sea day’ time slot but wandered in when we chose to. After all it is meant to be a holiday not boot camp! Food-The food is generally warm or even cold at buffet breakfast- I didn’t have one hot fried egg while there. A shame they don’t have an egg station where you get it made while you wait. Restaurant/buffet- we were allocated second sitting and we prefer to eat early so only went once. Also, we are a bit picky with food as I don’t eat much meat and husband no fish. On the first night there were no options we would chose so we went to the buffet where we could pick what we liked in the quantity we liked at a time convenient with us. The pizza was delicious and I was particularly stuck with the fantastical crisp charcoal ‘black’ pizza. At lunch we went to the restaurant when we could and enjoyed the offerings especially the ‘made in front of you’ pasta served to your liking. Butchers Cut-Service was good to start with but we waited a long time for our ‘bill’ at the end and card back. Obviously, very meat orientated and a special menu to choose from if getting it as part of Black loyalty ‘free speciality restaurant’ perk. You get one started, a main with 1 side and a dessert. We weren’t hugely impressed with it as the three sides I ordered were not hot, just warm. I think we would have enjoyed it more if it had been an Italian restaurant, which apparently there was one before. In an Italian ship, it seems they are missing a trick here-one of the reasons we chose MSC is because we enjoy the authentic tasting Italian dishes. I wonder who will be the first ship to have a vegetarian restaurant onboard Entertainment- The UK guest comedian/impressionist Andrew Flemming was great fun. He happened to single me out and made quite a lot of jokes with my name in them throughout the gig! I loved it! It was anything but easy for him though as a lot of Italians there didn’t seem to show less engagement. He definitely appealed to the UK audience though and I don’t see why others wouldn’t enjoy his Frank Sinatra and Elvis impression. The second show when he did Impressions of Cliff Richard and David Bowie making up alternative words to their songs was just excellent and hilarious. I hope to see him on future cruises. Well done to MSC for thinking of the UK audience. I think they got the right kind of entertainment and a Dutch couple onboard told us they loved the British sense of humour and enjoyed the show. Other shows we saw was the Italian night which was not to be missed if you enjoy traditional Italian songs most people know. They were performed well and it was a good show. There is an issue with timings though as most people don’t get served in Ian restaurant in time to make it to shows. This means the late comers dwindle in throughout the show which rather upsets the flow of the evening. Maybe the timings need tweaking? The only way to ensure you get to a show is to dine in the buffet as you have control on how quickly you are served! There was a good piano concert in the afternoon on a sea day. Just half an hour but a relaxing one listening to a hugely talented maestro. Most evenings we went to see Roberto perform. he is a fantastic vocalist and guitarist with a repertoire from classical operatic numbers, to progressive rock to ballads. We loved it and he is staying on the ship an extra three months so if you are going before end Nov -you are in for a treat! 70s, 80s & 90s night was great fun and had many folk dancing in the reception area....surely there’s a better venue for this? Having said that, it was such fun to go up and down the glass elevators busting some moves! A lot of folk did this while people took pictures and videos to share back home! There is another couple who sing on the ship and we recognised them from MSC Magnifica. They used to do the fun bits during the show on Magnifica with a really fun Bongi, Bongi song. On this ship they do ABBA evening which again commanded crowds and people dancing in the aisles of a small venue. Yet another couple sing in the atrium reception area and possibly they have been told to ‘go gentle’ but some of the gutsy songs they sing are not don’t justice by these two as they are not giving them thrust. It appears they are young and nervous and could do with some coaching to get them singing more confidently and stronger. I liked their choice of songs though so we listened to them too. Spa- there are four comfy loungers and four heated ones and seven basic plastic upright chairs. The latter are handy for people to sit on and scowl at the others who are hogging the more comfortable loungers! There is a couple of saunas and steam rooms. We had a day’s free spa entry when we bought a massage and also a free hour for having Black status loyalty membership. We chose to use the first on a day when Ship was collecting new passengers from Hamburg and it was less busy, as we had hoped. We had a couples massage and it were excellent and booked a second when immediately prompted (actually while we were coming around from the first!) It was discounted the first time and further discounted for the second. These were worth it for us as we both needed them with our various aches and pains and felt hugely relaxed afterwards. One unfortunate issue is, there are a lot of spa workers outside the spa (trying to attract people in). On our arrival, although we politely said hello, a few laughed just after we walked past them. This isn’t the first time we experienced this on a MSC ship and it may just be an unfortunate coincidence but this really shouldn’t happen as we were left feeling we had been a butt of a joke shared in another language. I hope we were wrong but it may be a good idea to train staff to not do this whatever they were finding amusing. Fellow Passengers- We met some delightful guests onboard but there were also rude complaining ones. After complaining about the ‘useless staff’ a man turned to me and said he was never sailing with MSC again. I felt like answering, “that’s good- it makes me more likely to book again!” I was astounded by people’s urgent need for mid afternoon cakes. It seemed that unless they were served immediately, they went into ‘moaning mode’. People expected the staff to know what they wanted without telling them! It is as well to remember manners and the fact the staff work 12 hour days and do not have days off. I felt embarrassed and appalled by the behaviour of some passengers to staff. Conclusion-If you have a tendency to find fault and complain, perhaps it would be best for you to spend double on a more expensive cruise. If you want a budget cruise with opportunity to meet other nationalities then this could be the ship for you. I think on the whole the good outweighed the bad for us and we would return as we came home feeling relaxed and had some happy memories of our week onboard the Preziosa. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
After reading the dreadful reviews on here we were dreading this Cruise. Well we had a fantastic time. Food great and I'm a very fussy vegetarian. Ship is beautiful and the staff were fantastic. We didn't even see the whole of ... Read More
After reading the dreadful reviews on here we were dreading this Cruise. Well we had a fantastic time. Food great and I'm a very fussy vegetarian. Ship is beautiful and the staff were fantastic. We didn't even see the whole of the ship there's was so much to do. The ports of call were interesting but it's it's not a sunshine cruise. Easy to make your own way round or use the MSC bus shuttle. There trips were on the expensive side but this wasn't the sort of cruise you really wanted to do big days out. It was just a relaxing time. It was school holidays and the children didn't get on our nerves at all, most of the time the they were kept entertained by the wonderful crew. Yes the shows were a bit samey but still very good. We went for the basic drinks package, there might not be cocktails on it but there is mocktails and we just bought rum etc and poured it in and mixed. We never rushed to get off the ship, we took our time, we had no queuing at all and was very easy to get on and off the ship. We even bought our own booze on board, bags were never checked. It took half an hour at Southampton to check in and get on board and our 1st drink. Cabins were spotless and cleaners very polite and did a brilliant job. Go on this cruise with an open mind, we loved it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
1st time cruising was so looking forward to it, Ship itself is lovely Balcony cabin very nice Staff very nice goldern lobster restaurant very nice ( but small portions ) DOWNSIDE : No celebration party on leaving Southampton. ... Read More
1st time cruising was so looking forward to it, Ship itself is lovely Balcony cabin very nice Staff very nice goldern lobster restaurant very nice ( but small portions ) DOWNSIDE : No celebration party on leaving Southampton. as its just another pick up port for passengers, felt like we sneaked away from all ports. All Excursions are expensive & totally a waste of time. i.e.: stopping in Rotterdam instead of Amsterdam only gave us 3hrs to meet friends took to long on coach & hit traffic mostly on all the excursions. Entertainment was lousy & short, there is nothing to Do most times You have to go through the casino to get to the theatre which is fine But they allow smoking around the casino so you & the children will stink of smoke ( I'm a smoker & don't like this option. The Buffet is below par, we kept away. the juice machine is closed off morning service why give free when you can pay later & later. every shuttle bus you have to pay other cruise lines provide for free. SUM It Up Felt Like a Posh Ferry. will never ever use MSC For future cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Try a new cruise line and ship, ship was excellent our cabin very good especially the shower food ok ,we are not fussy eaters, now for the very bad , the life boat drill was simply not good enough there was no leadership at all ,a ... Read More
Try a new cruise line and ship, ship was excellent our cabin very good especially the shower food ok ,we are not fussy eaters, now for the very bad , the life boat drill was simply not good enough there was no leadership at all ,a table of four people and a table of three people never even put there life jackets on at all. people where making a mess of putting the life jackets on no one helped I don't think people listened because of all the different languages. Next noise our cabin was not far from a crew only door,when opened it was left to shut on its own results banging door at all hours only got better after two complaints but not stopped totally. Some staff are excellent others very very poor. Also prices a bit high. I recommend listening to the morning show hosted by UK cruise Director Darren and Activities Manager Candice very very good. If you get a chance to talk to them I would do so they are very helpful and great to just have a chat to ask Darren about his teddy bear. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
MSC Preziosa Northern European Cruise 28th August – 4th September 2019 Yacht Club Southampton – Zeebrugge – Rotterdam – Hamburg – Le Harve – Southampton We have previously cruised with Celebrity (Standard balcony, ... Read More
MSC Preziosa Northern European Cruise 28th August – 4th September 2019 Yacht Club Southampton – Zeebrugge – Rotterdam – Hamburg – Le Harve – Southampton We have previously cruised with Celebrity (Standard balcony, Concierge, Sky Suite) and with NCL (Standard balcony) – all out of Southampton. This was our first experience of MSC and, it has to be said after reading plenty of reviews, we were somewhat nervous. There seemed to be a lot of very negative reviews out there. It is therefore with great pleasure that we can report that we had a wonderful cruise! MSC is quite different to Celebrity and NCL. We stayed in a Deluxe Yacht Club suite, which as we expected, was about the same size as a standard balcony on Celebrity/NCL. It differed in that the bed was more comfortable (memory foam mattress), there was a spacious walk-in closet and the bathroom was in marble, with a bath. The minibar is also included, and is regularly restocked. As is standard for these staterooms we were greeted by a bowl of fresh fruit and a chilled bottle of sparkling wine on embarkation day. Embarkation in Southampton was a dream. We deposited our cases with the Yacht Club host, parked the car, and then a butler led us past the queues to security. Once through there, another butler led us to a dedicated Yacht Club area in the terminal where we were offered refreshments whilst they took our passports and tickets and came back with our cruise cards. A group of eight of us were taken on board together (we would become firm friends during the cruise) by the butler and taken to the Yacht Club. There we were given more refreshments and an introduction to the YC by the concierge. We were then shown to our stateroom, and the butler unpacked our suitcases for us. Although our tickets said board at 5.15pm, we pitched up at noon, and were settled on board in less than half an hour. The Yacht Club is delightful – the Top Sail Lounge has plenty of comfortable seating, live music, snacks available throughout the day and butlers on hand providing excellent bar service. On the One Pool Deck, there is again more than ample seating, a hot buffet and, again, attentive butlers. The drinks package included is generous and gave us more than enough choice. Before going we had been disconcerted to see that it doesn't include gelato and milkshakes. On board, we found some gelato available on the One Pool Deck and we didn’t want milkshakes (but we suspect they would make you one if you asked – they were happy to go “off menu”). All of the staff in the Yacht Club are SUPERB – we really could not thank them enough – they were always on hand when needed to help, with a smile. We had seen a lot of negative reviews about the food on board. With the exception of one visit to the Inca Buffet, we ate entirely in the Yacht Club. We are not fussy eaters but we are fussy about standards. The standard of the food was, generally, high. Hot food (including hot food at the buffet in the One Pool Deck) was hot and, in the restaurant, was served on hot plates. We always found at least one thing (usually at least two) for each course that we fancied. Portions are indeed a little small but that worked well for us, because rather than choose between two things that appealed to us we just ordered them both! Staff were happy to oblige. The risottos and the beef Rossini were particularly good. Only one dish wasn’t – the oxtail consommé was so devoid of flavour I wondered if it had been made with the water used to clean the ladles. We were not impressed by the food in the Inca buffet, but with the fare in the Yacht Club so good, we had no need to return to it. Room service is free 24 hours/day in Yacht club – my other half said that the pizzas were good! We intended to have a leisurely and relaxed cruise, so we spent all of our time on board and did not get off in ports. It was just so relaxing we didn’t want to move. We did explore the rest of the ship. Everywhere it was clean and well appointed – and the décor is plush and luxurious throughout. We even had a successful flutter in the casino. Some people fret about announcements in multiple languages. We enjoyed the diverse passenger mix and did not find such multilingual announcements intrusive. We had no problem meeting lots of English speakers, and (as with every cruise we have done) the people we met made our holiday. Yacht club grants access to the thermal area of the Aurea spa and my other half enjoyed that as well (I stayed up on deck with my book.) Shows are not our thing, so we didn’t go to them and cannot comment. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. Having been so nervous about this cruise because of the reviews we had seen, I hope it speaks volumes that we really did not want to leave. We had a wonderful cruise. We would certainly cruise with MSC in their Yacht Club again. Yacht Club is at least as good (and, I think in many ways it was better) than Concierge Class on Celebrity and we commend them to you. We thought it was fantastic value for money. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We loved the itinarary for this cruise and being able to have 2 days in St. Petersburg was a huge bonus. We were also able to get the deluxe owner's suite so that was the deciding factor. Being in the Haven has excellent ... Read More
We loved the itinarary for this cruise and being able to have 2 days in St. Petersburg was a huge bonus. We were also able to get the deluxe owner's suite so that was the deciding factor. Being in the Haven has excellent benefits, plus this ship has its own Haven restaurant which was really good. I don't think I had one bite of anything I did not like. We also had our own bar which we frequented every day and the staff there is excellent. There were plenty of entertainment choices but we ended up at Sid Norman's several nights because the band there was really good and played a great variety of music. Loved the Wine Lover's musical and also saw several other shows that were very entertaining. The only thing I do not like are the shore excursions with hoards of people. Their private tours (which we did in St. Petersburg) are very expensive, but it was worth it to be able to see what we wanted. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Loved the ship. The layout was not as open as some ships I have been on but there were tons of drinking and dining options to enjoy. The top deck and outside areas were not used much due to weather on this particular cruise. Having said ... Read More
Loved the ship. The layout was not as open as some ships I have been on but there were tons of drinking and dining options to enjoy. The top deck and outside areas were not used much due to weather on this particular cruise. Having said that a balcony room is a great plus on this cruise as the Baltic is small and you will get to see lots of things out your window on a daily basis especially getting in and out of the ports. I was amazed at the number of cruise ships in the Baltic (there were 8 other ships in port in St. Petersburg). The destinations were great with the exception of Germany. The Berlin for a day trip was very expensive and really not very enjoyable. 3 hours each way on an a non-air conditioned train with 6+ hours on a bus in between. We were very rushed. Little opportunity to get off and take pictures. It was also a brutal heat wave while we were there (close to 100 degrees F). The centerpiece destinations on this cruise are St. Petersburg and Stockholm as they are both incredibly beautiful sightseeing opportunities. You will not be able to take pictures fast enough in the palaces and churches in St. Petersburg. I would also recommend arriving into Copenhagen Denmark a few days early and explore that beautiful little country. Tivoli Gardens, all the castles and fortresses scattered in and around the city are very impressive. The dining in general was very good. We really enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the buffet was well appointed. What wasn't worth the cost, was the upgraded dining package. The Brazilian steakhouse was excellent and we enjoyed it the first night and the Cirque dinner show was excellent bu the food was a set menu from the main dining room. Ocean Blue and Cagney's were big disappointments. They ran out of lobster 2/3 way through the cruise so our "upgrade" meal at ocean blue was fish or shrimp similar to what was on offer at the main dining room. We dined at Cagney's our last night and the steaks were tough with very little flavor. Got better cuts of meat at the main dining room in the evening. My family that I was traveling with had gone Norwegian last year and raved about the upgraded food only to be let down this year. The on board entertainment was decent. This really isn't a big factor in cruising for me to begin with. We enjoyed the upgraded cirque show and a dance show called Burning the Floor. We enjoyed a night at the dueling piano bar and a night with an 80's cover band. To be honest many of the excursions were so long and required so much walking that we went to bed early many evenings as our departure times for excursions were also very early (between 7 and 8 am). Not complaining about this but we needed our rest. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our second cruise (our first was with Disney). I should preface my comments by acknowledging that, on the eve of our cruise start date, our "bid" to secure an upgrade to the Haven was accepted and so my comments are ... Read More
This was our second cruise (our first was with Disney). I should preface my comments by acknowledging that, on the eve of our cruise start date, our "bid" to secure an upgrade to the Haven was accepted and so my comments are necessarily impacted by that fact. That said, I had other family onboard who were not staying in the Haven and I think it is fair to say that they were equally impressed by the ship and its crew. Unlike our experience with Disney, the embarkation and disembarkation was seamless, quick, and well organized. Some of the differences were beyond Disney's power to control and were attributable to the "theatre" and "spectacle" of security that pervades North American travel (see sailed out of Vancouver on the Disney cruise and out of Copenhagen this time around) rather than differences in approach. Still, the Getaway was a larger ship and the team from NCL running embarkation seemed better organized and far more efficient. The lines moved quickly (for everyone in my family) and within minutes of arrival, we had our keys and were onboard. I was truly impressed. In terms of the layout, the ship was easy to navigate and logically organized. We had our 15 year old son with us and many of the features were clearly aimed at keeping him and his peers engaged -- including a rope course, water slides, a sports deck, and an arcade. With respect to our rooms, we (my family/party) had a room on Deck 12 and a room on Deck 16 (the Haven). While the features of each room were, obviously, markedly different -- rooms on Deck 12 are more modest -- for the price, I would say each was exceptional value for money we spent. Both were bright, spacious, clean, and well designed. The selling feature (for us at least) was the service provided by the crew. From the bartenders to cabin attendants, everyone was enthusiastic, energetic, polite, helpful, and seemed genuinely interested in ensuring we had a good time. There was great variety in the restaurants and service was certainly above average. That said, it was never really clear when reservations were required and when they weren't and so at times we were not able to "get in" to a restaurant for reasons that were never really made entirely clear. The shore excursions were, I believe, fairly comparable to other ships and companies. Some of the tours were "hosted" by subpar operators but more in the nature of "boring" or simply not that energetic rather than poor content. The places we wanted to see, we were able to see but, on occasion, the experience might have been made more interesting with a guide who was a bit more invigorated and knowledgable. Groupings/people on tours were reasonably well managed and transportation to and from various locales was efficient. Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending NCL and the Getaway to one and all. The ship was comfortable and fun, the crew was "service" oriented, and the itinerary/ports of call were exactly what my family expected. Anyone looking to go on a Baltic cruise will find that the Getaway (NCL) deliver great value for effort and money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I booked the Haven for our anniversary. This was my first cruise, though my wife has had many. We have both travelled extensively. The ship is large, well appointed, but easy to navigate. There are signs all over the ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Haven for our anniversary. This was my first cruise, though my wife has had many. We have both travelled extensively. The ship is large, well appointed, but easy to navigate. There are signs all over the ship that makes finding things easy. One quibble, is that posted services and shops are not always open at the appointed times meaning it would take several trips, for example, to get into the duty-free free shop. Services on the ship are generally both easy to locate and access. The exception to this was the spa. The actual services, massage, etc, were good, if pricey. However, the spa uses the pretense of assessment and consultation to provide a pseudo-scientific basis for what can only be described as, "You really should buy our most expensive products and services." My wife, for example, has a highly developed care routine. After receiving a facial, her 'consultation' wound up being a pitch for $1000 in product. This was made even worse when every visit to the spa resulted in a billing issue, as promotional discounts were either not applied or additional charges were added when polite but firm 'no' resulted in a charge anyway. By the end of the end of the cruise, it was pretty clear that passengers were studiously avoiding the spa and its high pressure tactics. There were, individually, many wonderful people inside the spa who appeared miserable under the pressure to sell. Our experience with the spa is the only thing that prevents us from giving the cruise 5-stars. The cabin was large, spacious, and relaxing. The balcony provided gorgeous views visited ports, and was a quiet, enjoyable space to spend time with one another. Having the cabin made up twice day was an unexpected, if not for my wife, treat that I greatly appreciated as throughout the cruise. Laundry service was easy to use, and made the sweaty hiking through the ports even more enjoyable as dirty garments could be quickly laundered rather than tossed in a suitcase for two weeks. Dining was another highlight, with running the entire spectrum of both quality and quantity. The buffet, as one might expect, was always hot and easy to access, if not always the highest quality. The free, 24-hour access to ice cream was a high point. The quality of food continued up the scale of restaurants. O-Sheehans offered tasty, but small bits for quick eating while the main dining rooms upped the quality to the high end. The speciality restaurants were generally on-par with the main dining rooms, with the exception of the Bistro. the Bistro's food is some of the best food I have ever had anywhere in the world, and my wife and I were happy to make multiple visits. By the end of the cruise, it was all but impossible to even make a reservation. My only quibble with the food is that some of the smaller restaurants take reservations ... even for very large parties. When a restaurant only has 30 or so seats and 25 have been reserved it was frustrating for both staff and customers. The Entertainment on the ship is quite good. Generally speaking, you cannot go wrong with any of the shows. The exception, again in a good way, was Burn the Floor. The dancers and routines are nothing short of exceptional. One of the final perks of the Haven is a dedicated staff for Haven guests. This made everything on and off the ship incredibly easy. All questions were handled quickly and easily by knowledge friendly staff. A dedicated restaurant for Haven guests was perfect for post excursion relaxation in a quiet, conversational atmosphere. The food was, also, generally, a cut above the rest with only Bistro having a chance to produce better food. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise when invited by friends of ours who sailed with NCL on many cruises. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise ship this large. I was wondering what it would be like to sail with 4000 other people but ... Read More
We chose this cruise when invited by friends of ours who sailed with NCL on many cruises. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise ship this large. I was wondering what it would be like to sail with 4000 other people but thankfully there wasn't too much traffic. Here's how our cruise went: Embarkation: Very smooth as we were told to check-in in Terminal 2, which was pretty much empty when we arrived. After getting our cards, we followed the other guests and got on the ship rather quickly. As our rooms were not ready, it allowed us to explore the many decks of the ship. Pool area (Deck 15): Yes, it can get crowded when we are 4000 people together so if you want some sun, be sure to go out early and grab your deck chairs. There is also a stage for music as well as wacky participation events such as Mr. Sexy Legs and Ms. Biceps The pool area also has a walled smoking room but anyone nearby can smell smoke so if you are sensitive, do not plan to lounge in that area. There are also ping pong tables around if you want to be a bit more active. Again, it can be a challenge to find a time when a table is free. Garden Cafe (Deck 15): Connected to the pool area is the Garden Cafe buffet. It served OK food and there are many choices at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner had a different theme night (e.g. Russian, Italian, Scandinavian) every night to have some variety. The Fitness Center & Spa (Deck 15): Connected to the other end of the pool area is the spa and fitness center. The spa offers a full range of services, including acupuncture. The fitness centre offers machines, weights, and classes. Physical Activity Choices: The ship is impressive that it offers mini-golf (nine hole), ropes course, trampoline, spider slide, rock climbing, a jogging track, and a basketball court. The Tropicana Room: This is the main dining room, with a dance floor in the middle for people to dance while dining with live music usually playing at dinner. The Tradewinds shops: For such a large ship, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of shopping choices. On a positive note, with so little to buy, I saved money in this aspect! The shops had special sales events and even a Russian Bazaar night as the days progressed. Photography: I appreciated the non-pushy attitude by the photographers as well as the sales staff for the printed photos. It was entirely up to you if you wanted to pose for photos and to buy the prints afterwards. A sample 8 X 10 print will cost you $24.95 USD. Casino: The casino has table games, slots, as well as blackjack tournaments, and slots tournaments. Betting is in US dollars and no gaming is permitted while at any port. O'Sheehan's Restaurant: This is a nice hidden restaurant that runs 24/7 and is rarely ever crowded during the whole cruise. If you are hungry and just want food, and don't really care what they serve, come here to beat the crowds elsewhere. The restaurant is like a pub so there are also games like pool, darts, and even bowling to pass the time. The Atrium (deck 6): This is the center of the ship. Here, you will find Guest Services, Starbucks, the Internet stations, games room, library, and meeting rooms, as well as the two-storey big screen, stage area and chairs. The cruise director's staff have all sort of games (e.g. trivia, deal or no deal, bingo) pretty much every hour for entertainment. It is rarely crowded during the day but a huge draw at night. Headliners: This is a room designed like a comedy club, with an intimate stage but any act can perform in here Syd Norman's Pour House: This is another small venue but does feature almost nightly karaoke (note that their song list is very limited) as well as regular performances by Switch (a tribute band of songs from the 1980s mostly) SugarCane Mojito Bar and Ice Bar: These are specialty bars located on deck 8, one floor above the casino. Sugarcane also features live music at night. Seating is limited so get there early. Getaway Theatre: This is the main theatre where performance of "Million Dollar Quartet" and "Burn the Floor" are performed. Deck 8 walkaround: Deck 8 allows people to walk outside pretty much around the whole length of the ship. There are plenty of chairs around to take in the scenery as the ship sails. Magaritaville This is a restaurant that will charge $15 USD per person for a limited Magaritaville-type menu (just best-selling items). The portions are large and well cooked so $15 was a steal compared to how much a visit to a traditional Magaritaville would cost. Cruise Director and his staff: For such a large ship, Francesco and his assistant Lester worked very hard to be visible here, there, and everywhere throughout the cruise. Special mention also to all his staff who had to be able to entertain people sitting in the atrium with the latest activity of the hour. The activities also come with a participation card, the more activities you participate in, the better NCL merchandise you can claim at the end of the cruise (such as T-shirt, key chain, koozie, etc.) Excursions: They were pricey but the tour operators used were well-organized, professional, and knowledgeable. Entertainment: a. Funky Duo: This is a husband-and-wife team from Romania. They can sing pretty much anything. Andreea's (yes, it is spelled this way) singing voice is something that you just need to hear. b. Karl Loxley: Karl was a finalist on the Voice UK. His performance was breathtaking at times. c. RAEGAR: Another husband-and-wife: he's from the UK while she's from Texas. They both have amazing voices. Disembarkation: It can be a long wait depending on where you are going after leaving the ship (e.g. on your own, to the airport, to the city, etc.). You do have the option of disembarking with your luggage if you want but be warned the wait for the elevators on disembarkation day can be long (some elevators are put out of service). Surprises: 1. There seems to be a service charge on almost everything. Purchase additional items/services carefully. 2. Even if you are a couple in your cabin, you each have your own account. I could not understand why we kept getting messages about a credit amount when the total of my wife's and my account did not show that. It turned out the accounts cannot be combined so I wound up owing them money while my wife got a refund for her credit amount. 3. The Do Not Disturb cabin light will mean just that. I had forgotten to turn it off before leaving for an excursion and we came back to a room that had not been cleaned and made-up. We had to ask after-hours service (as it was after 9 PM) to get the room made, which they did to our delight. 4. Ship internet is very expensive, such as $125 USD for 250 minutes. However, you can still connect to the wi-fi and use the NCL app free of charge to be able to have the day's schedule on your phone. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We loved our Baltic Cruise on the NCL Getaway. We had high expectations and were not disappointed. We booked this over a year ago and looked into many cruise lines and itineraries before choosing NCL (mostly for the itinerary). Ship: ... Read More
We loved our Baltic Cruise on the NCL Getaway. We had high expectations and were not disappointed. We booked this over a year ago and looked into many cruise lines and itineraries before choosing NCL (mostly for the itinerary). Ship: The ship was big. This was our first "big" ship cruise. It was always too crowded in the public areas and buffet. The number of passengers, as well as some very rude passengers (there are always some aren't there), was the only con. However, everything was accessible and very clean. Cabin: We had a mid-ship inside cabin (category IA). We prefer inside cabins so that we can use the money we save on other things. The cabin was normal size, the closet was a little small and there wasn't much shelf space (no drawers). The bathroom was a generous size for a cruise ship especially the surprisingly large shower (which had a door, not a curtain). Dining: We dined in all complimentary venues for dinner. We made reservations in advance and were always seated when we arrived - no waiting - and the food was excellent every time - lots of choices too. We never had an issue getting into a dining room for lunch either. We ate at Cagney's (great food) and LaCucina (not my favorite). We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at O'Sheehan's and every time it was excellent (service here for breakfast was the best we experienced). We could not, no matter how much we tried or how many times we stopped by, get into Shanghai Noodle House so we were very disappointed about that. Entertainment/Activities: No complaints about the entertainment, especially Syd Norman's Rock the House band. Matt, Roxey and Anna (and the band too) were beyond excellent and we found ourselves at this venue on multiple nights-great music and great voices too - especially Roxey. Activity staff were amazing and there was always something to do - at certain times there were so many things to do that they conflicted with each other. We were never bored. We participated in the ropes course (lots of fun), climbing wall, SpiceH2O (adults only section with hot tubs), many of the trivia games, mini golf, and so on. This was a port heavy cruise and you only had limited time on board. Service: No complaints about service at all. Our cabin steward was great, always leaving a clean wine glass in the room (without asking), bartenders, waitstaff, guest services, etc. were always on point. Ports: All of the ports were wonderful. We booked with SPB tours in Berlin and St. Petersburg and toured the other ports independently. We were disappointed that we weren't closer to city center in Helsinki but were able to get a shuttle bus ($10/per person). Tallin was an interesting city but the fact that there were many ships in port made it overcrowded. While we weren't in the city center in Stockholm, there's a train about 15-20 mins from the port and it was easy to locate and buy tickets at the port (much appreciated) which you could use for other modes of transport in the city (tram, ferry, bus - we used them all). Embarkation: Wow! After spending 2+ hours in line on a recent Cunard cruise just to get on the ship we couldn't believe how smoothly the Getaway embarkation process was, especially since the Getaway was twice the size. We were through the embarkation process within 10 minutes from the time we arrived at the terminal. Disembarkation: Since our flight was later in the day we chose the latest independent disembarkation time. We left the ship, our bags were waiting and we stood in a taxi line for about 10 mins. No issues at all. While the ship was big and there were A LOT of people, everything went as smoothly as possible. We were apprehensive about dining because of reviews that said if you had reservations you still had to wait but this was not our experience (maybe we didn't dine at popular times?). I highly suggest making dining reservations, even in the complimentary dining venues and especially at the specialty restaurants. Read your Freestyle Daily thoroughly. We didn't buy the beverage package because it's not worth it for us. In the end, we spent about $300 total on drinks which was definitely much less than the package. While we understand that everyone's experience is different, and everyone is looking for something different, we cannot understand the negative reviews for this ship or itinerary. It was fantastic, and getting off and on the ship at each port was a breeze. Everyone was friendly, accommodating and pleasant. The cruise staff were fun, exciting and made sure you had a great time. The CruiseCritic meet and greet (our first) was really nice. Many ship officers attended (even the captain) and that was very much appreciated. This is our 3rd NCL cruise and will not be our last. Read Less

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