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Sail Date: May 2019
Normally I don’t write reviews but I feel the need to write this one due to all the bad comments I have read about the MSC Sinfonia. We flew from London to Venice, the first tips is take a Taxi (Car) from the airport to the ship, it ... Read More
Normally I don’t write reviews but I feel the need to write this one due to all the bad comments I have read about the MSC Sinfonia. We flew from London to Venice, the first tips is take a Taxi (Car) from the airport to the ship, it will drop you in the door of the terminal, if you take a taxi-boat you will need to walk with your bags for a long time depending where your ship is. Embarking was fine different will say since you don’t not get your cruise card until 2pm went your room is ready, at the time of boarding normally you will go directly to eat but since you have no cruise card the waitress are kind of lost if you have a beverage package or not Tip: print all the documentation from your ship and have it on hand with that they will be allow you to serve alcohol and non alcoholic drinks. Cabin: We had room 7030 located in the front of the ship on the 7 floor, it was a in side room with no view to outside, I agree with some of the comments here that the layout of room 7 is odd since the medical centre is the in the center of the ship you can not cross the entire level, but you get use to it not a big deal. Coming back to room, it is actually bigger that what it looks in the pictures and with a lot of storage, a small tv, mini bar, safe etc, the bathroom is small but we had no issue with it. Our room attendant was a Brazilian lady Vanessa she has great very friendly and help us with information went needed. Dining: Normally we have dinner in the buffet restaurant in some opportunities we have dinner a la carta and we have to admit that both were very good (not a Michelin Star Restaurant, but if that is what you are looking this is not your ship) and we didn’t have any issues waiting or delay normally we had Italian food since he was well recommended at lunchtime they were some stations for pizza kebabs pasta al punto. Shows: We attended all the shows, all are really good we liked a lot the MSC Crew Got Talent specially the New Zealand Team. All the Shows are a mix of Dancing, acrobatics and singing. very good 100% recommended. Ports and Excursions: Split - Croacia We didn’t use a tour the city is lovely you can walk it completely and from the port to the city centre is 10 min walking, do a bid of research up front and go for it. Santorini - Greece Again we didn’t use a tour, there is no port in Santorini soo the you need to take a small boat from the ship to the land (this is organised by the ship) the day before wake up early 7:30am and go to collect your ticket we took the boat number 1 to the land and give us some time extra. Once in land take the cable car to go up is only 2 min and the cost is 6€ p/p once on the top take a taxi to Oía is the best of the best and you will have great views of the Caldero (there is nothing to do there except shop, drink something, take an ice cream, and PLAN your next holidays) leave time to go back since you can find long queues on the cable car to back. Taxi cost 50€ return for 2 peoples. Mykonos - Greece The Cruise organise a boat from the new port to the old port the cost is 6,99€ p/p return (Take it) it might sound that this is a stupid stop from 8pm to 3am but actually it is great normally in Mykonos city centre in the morning people is in the beach and the city centre is close or lonely, the shops close around 12 midnight and the party continues in different places recommend to get lost in the streets of the city and find your way to the Little Venice, super romantic place a bit expensive but your are on holiday so you deserve it. Dubrovnik - Croacia The ship offers you a bus for 14€ p/p return to city centre but recommend not to take it, we took a taxi in the port (Taxi Kamidi +38 91 523 4248) he is a local and speaks very good English, we pay 50€ for 1 hour tour to the best places he explain us all the history of the city an was with us all the time, on return I gave him a call back and he picked us at the 5:30 from the old town and give us 50% discount on the standard rate. In the old town you must walk the wall it is expensive 25€ p/p but it a must them get loss in the old town street until you want to go back. Entertaining and Services: The entertainment team was great (this is normally the spirit of the ship) always on top of the situation in some case some of the bar of the ship were lonely due to lack of music groups but that was something solved after Dubrovnik since a new band was brought on board. Price: We pay 840£ for 2 person for the Inside Room (Excluding Tips) + 314£ for 2 person for all drinks until 6€ + 10€ p/p day for tips. With what amount you will not cruise with any other company anywhere in the world. Overall: I have to admit that I was very scare about all the nasty comments I read about MSC Sinfónica before our cruise but now I’m very happy of my 6 days cruise and if this is one of the small and oldest ships of MSC I can’t imagine how it will be The Bellissima that is the biggest. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Although we'd been looking to sail on Holland America after a good experience with our last cruise, we chose this cruise with Royal Caribbean because the itinerary was exactly what we were looking for: ports in Italy and Greece. ... Read More
Although we'd been looking to sail on Holland America after a good experience with our last cruise, we chose this cruise with Royal Caribbean because the itinerary was exactly what we were looking for: ports in Italy and Greece. We bookended our trip with several nights in Rome, staying at an outstanding, hidden gem of a boutique hotel, The Inn at the Roman Forum. Our hotel secured transport for us from the hotel to the port in Civitavecchia. We booked a Grand Suite on the ship, so had priority boarding. Both embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, handled very efficiently, as was the security muster. There was a broader age range of passengers on this cruise than on our last cruise, which we enjoyed. Our suite, 1048, was very spacious and comfortable. The bed was comfortable, but the pillows weren't. They provided 6 (!) king size pillows, but they were all the same: too thick and firm. The food was acceptable, but nothing special. Most of it fell under my brother-in-law's description of cruise ship food: "abundantly adequate." Our steak at Chops Grill was quite good, though. Entertainment was uneven. They had one good headliner from the UK who put on a very good performance, singing Frank Sinatra songs and the like, and he actually got a standing ovation! (Think people were just grateful for a good quality entertainer!) The highlights of the cruise were the quality of the service and the shore excursions. All across the board, the crew was friendly, helpful, and eager to be of service. Rosen, our cabin steward, always greeted us cheerfully and was very efficient and helpful. Zo and Meng, our waiters in the Main Dining Room, were attentive, quick and efficient, and made sure we had whatever we needed. Aline, our concierge, answered our questions patiently, and was a great resource. We were impressed with all our shore excursions, which were very efficiently and effectively organized. One stood out: the Athens and Cape Sounion with Lunch tour. It was long but thorough, our guide was extremely knowledgeable and professional, we had ample free time, and saw the Parthenon before the crowds arrived. A nice surprise: the buffet lunch at the Intercontinental was exceptional! We would highly recommend this excursion. While we were disappointed at not getting to see Santorini due to weather issues, overall we were pleased with the cruise and would consider sailing with Royal Caribbean again in the future if there's an itinerary that looks appealing. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Chose the cruise as a late booking, to compare with our experiences with P&O so far, as well as choosing an interior cabin for the first time. We usually travel as a party of 4 adults, so this was our first cruise as a couple, on an ... Read More
Chose the cruise as a late booking, to compare with our experiences with P&O so far, as well as choosing an interior cabin for the first time. We usually travel as a party of 4 adults, so this was our first cruise as a couple, on an adults only ship. TUI had only just started using Naples as their home port, and our arrival and departure at the airport were poor, not down to TUI, but the local airport services, with delays to finding stairs and buses and luggage for virtually every flight we talked to. Our weather for the week was mixed, but it didn't hinder any of our plans, and in fact the lightening storm at Ancona was the highlight of the visit, as there just isn't much there, especially on a Sunday ! Overall I would say that whilst Marbella was smaller than any P&O ship we have been on, half of the things about it were better, and half were poorer, so we would definitely sail with them again. I would say that P&O ships are better appointed, it's public spaces more luxurious, and they offer a wider variety of food in the buffets and restaurants. However the all inclusive on Marella is much better, the rooms more spacious, and the standard of service and friendliness from the staff overall was better. The main difference to us was that the Explorer made no use of the atrium area on the ship, and unlike P&O it wasn't a focal point for seating or dancing, but it was a smaller ship to be fair. The age profile probably averaged 50 to 60, and the activities reflected this. We had intended to eat at larger tables to meet people, but to be honest the tables for 2 are so close together, you have no option but to interact with other dinners ! Our ports of call were as follows, and I hate paying the rip off prices for tours charged by all cruise lines, so a bit of research means you can do it all at half the price - Naples we only had a couple of hours to explorer before departure, and so no chance to visit Pompei. It was May Day, and there was a major rally in the city, so it was as busy as Oxford Street on a Saturday, so we didn't see it at its best, but I wouldn't rush back as it struck me as a working port and a bit grubby. Easy walk to the centre of the city from the port. Split in Croatia was really worthwhile. Again an easy 10 minute walk from the ship to the centre, and it's really interesting to walk around the market outside the city walls, and then the warren of streets in the centre. We went back to the ship for lunch and then back along the waterfront and past the city centre to the Marjan Peninsular for a walk with views back down onto the city. Venice we went on deck for the early morning sail in, but the poor weather meant it was like sailing up the Humber Estuary in the mist. The rain delayed our start but we took the people mover from just outside the port (1.5 euros) to Piazza Roma, and took the vaporetto route 1 water taxi down the Grand Canal (7.5 euros) to San Marco. We went in the Doges Palace (20 euros) with only a 15 minute queue, up the Campanile Tower (8 euros) with only a 20 minute queue, and into the Basilica (free) with only a 10 minute queue. All were well worthwhile, especially the Basilica as on the way out you have the option to pay 5 euros to go up onto the roof for some great views down onto the square below which I would recommend. Afterwards we wandered the streets up the Rialto Bridge and market, and walked back up the Grand Canal to the people mover at Piazza Roma. The city is easy to walk around and there is no need to travel on the canals if you don't wish to, and the gondolas are a published 80 euros for 40 minutes wherever you catch one from. Ancona was just a filler stop, as there just isn't much there. The weather was our worst of the trip, which in some ways worked out, as we had a tremendous lightening storm in the afternoon which was the highlight of the town ! Dubrovnik was our favourite stop along with Venice, with the buildings like Split but more structured streets unlike the warrens at Split. From the port exit turn left and catch the bus 1 or 8 into the old town (15 kune) as it's a bit too far to walk, and when you get there you will want to walk the walls (200 kune). The walls are intact and a full circuit takes around an hour and a half, but the views are spectacular, and includes the adjacent fort with views back onto the town. The cable car to the lookout above the city was not operating due to a tax dispute with the government. Messina town in Sicily doesn't have much, so we opted to turn left out of the port and a 10 minute walk takes you to the central train station where a train runs regularly to Traormina Giardini station (8 euros return), but you need a taxi up to the town (15 euros) or wait for the bus. We didn't have much time so we got a taxi and the town is very quaint. Turns out that we did the right thing as some of the ship tours went nowhere due to an accident on the main road. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Destinations and fitted in with work etc. Reason for choice of Cruise. From the time we checked in on board to the time we left all was perfect. Ship new, clean and great taste. Latitude restaurant was first class. We ate most meals ... Read More
Destinations and fitted in with work etc. Reason for choice of Cruise. From the time we checked in on board to the time we left all was perfect. Ship new, clean and great taste. Latitude restaurant was first class. We ate most meals here, a treat for Mum and easier with wheelchair. All staff superb, always ready to help with mum and happy in their work. Cabin we had two balcony cabins and were superb. Entertainment in main theatre was very good. We enjoyed all. Some better than others, but overall a great evening. Went to nightclub and also entertaining. We were asked by Steven if we would be models for the fashion show, which we agreed to and was an amazing evening. Such fun. Ports were good, disappointed with Messina, a shame we couldn’t dock in Taormina. But others good. Have recommended to friends for July. We thought the Director of entertainment, Matt was excellent, and always had time to speak to us when we bumped into him on board. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We were a large group on our golden jubilee reunion tour (all alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India - class of 1969) who after a 11 day tour of the Greek mainland decided to round it up with the 4 nights cruise of ... Read More
We were a large group on our golden jubilee reunion tour (all alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India - class of 1969) who after a 11 day tour of the Greek mainland decided to round it up with the 4 nights cruise of the Greek Islands and Ephesus. Knowing that the ship, although refurbished not too long ago, was old had made us a bit apprehensive. However, the moment we boarded, we found everything spick and span and "all ship shape". The cabins were pleasant and spotlessly clean. The entire guest contact staff was extremely pleasant, friendly and efficient. Food choice was generally good although some strict vegetarians did face a few problems but then the service staff solved this by serving us specially prepared Indian meals at the restaurant on Deck 4. We truly felt like royalty, getting to eat not only the general buffet (or a la carte) meal but the additional superbly prepared Indian cuisine as well. I must make special mention of Mr Roy, Head Waiter, Mr Fenimo, steward, who took all of us under his wing and really looked after and pampered us; and of course, young Mr Yohan, who was amazing - like a magician he would smilingly present some good Indian delicacy for us to savour and make us feel truly at home. While the ship has multiple restaurants, we chose, except on barbecue night, to always dine at the Deck 4 Aegean Restaurant and get pampered! The optional shore excursions were rather expensive but nevertheless enjoyable. The two included shore excursions were exceedingly enjoyable in every way. The disembarkation was a revelation - I was convinced there would be chaos and confusion, but things went so smoothly, it was totally amazing. Would I recommend Celestyal to my friends? - absolutely and without any hesitation! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are just back from our third Azamara voyage in about 18 months- this time on the Pursuit for an eight day Italy Intensive voyage from Rome to Venice. For background purposes, our earlier travels with Azamara did not give us a good ... Read More
We are just back from our third Azamara voyage in about 18 months- this time on the Pursuit for an eight day Italy Intensive voyage from Rome to Venice. For background purposes, our earlier travels with Azamara did not give us a good first impression of this line. On our first trip, we had repeatedly difficulties with the online booking engine and the price promotions would not carry over to the actual booking. As I always like to book our travels directly, this caused some frustration and the response that we "need to use a travel agent" was not going to happen. After several phone calls, we did get it straightened out so we decided to proceed with the trip. On our second voyage, the front office repeatedly gave out misinformation as to where the ship was docking for embarkation (in Sydney, Australia) despite the port authority saying otherwise. Even our final documents showed the wrong location. Again, I was ready to give up. This third journey, I have to say, not only went forward without a hitch, but also convinced us that those who always state "it's the Azamara onboard experience that counts" are right. We began our trip in Rome and used Rome Cabs for a same day transfer to our hotel in Civitavecchia, the Hotel San Giorgio. Our driver was prompt, polite, and provided a very safe ride directly to our lodging. Highly recommend Rome Cabs for transfers to/from FCO. The Hotel San Giorgio is in a beautiful location right on the water front and we were warmly greeted after a long day/night of travel. The room was comfortable and quiet and we had dinner at the very good onsite restaurant. The hotel also provided breakfast and a timely transfer to the ship the next day. Embarkation for the Pursuit took literally 5 minutes- absolutely no lines or queing up. I love being greeted by smiling crew members who hand you a glass of sparkling wine and take your carry on bags so you can begin enjoying the ship. The Pursuit immediately had a very positive vibe. As the newest member of the Azamara fleet, there was still that "new car" feel to her, and everything sparkled. We were anxious to check out the new "Den" which replaced the old casino and just loved it. We spent many hours there and it became our go-to place for cocktails and relaxing. We are thrilled that this change is being made on the Quest and Journey as well. Our Club Veranda stateroom on deck 7 was exactly as we expected- small but with loads of storage and a very comfortable bed. Yes, the bathrooms are small too, but they are functional and you work with it. After our last cruise on the Quest, I commented that Azamara had definitely improved significantly in terms of food and service. The Pursuit took this one step farther. In Windows Cafe, the Patio, and Discoveries Restaurant, we found the food and staff to be excellent. We always were able to get a lovely table for two, usually by the window. Just be patient, go a bit later to the dining room, and they will do their best for you. The master of the Pursuit, Captain Antonio Toledo, and his senior staff were highly visible as was our cruise director, Amanda Poulson. The Azamara perks- White Night, AzAmazing Evening, and the Officers' barbecue, all were fantastic- well organized and fun to attend. Italy itself was a spectacular destination. Several of our ports were repeats for us, but with every trip to this country we just grow fonder and fonder of the people, the scenery, and, of course, the food. We won't go into too many port specifics here, but will add that we fell in love with Sorrento, and discovered a new part of Venice on a rainy day (which just added to the atmosphere)! The demographic of our fellow guests was similar to our other Azamara cruises with a few more younger (30-something) couples. It is always interesting chatting with other well-traveled folks who appreciate the smaller ship and less visited ports. There are two areas of Azamara which continue to cause us some discourse- the first being the included beverages vs the upgraded packages. Many passengers (and bar personnel) were confused by what is and isn't included, and the mixers used continue to be awful. No sense drinking a high end gin (like Hendricks) and mixing it with Royal Club tonic. Secondly, and more importantly, is the huge amount of plastic water bottles used each cruise. Whilst it is nice to have unlimited drinking water, seeing the bins filled with disposable water bottles everywhere is heartbreaking. With 8 million metric tons of plastic being thrown into our oceans annually (source: earthday.org), it would be so easy for Azamara to simply stop using them. Install a few refillable water bottle fountains on the ships like those now becoming commonplace in cities around the world. I think guests would appreciate an inexpensive refillable water bottle more than another tote bag. All in all, we really loved our Italy Intensive voyage on the Pursuit and did visit the Cruise Again desk to book a trip in 2020. In a world where everything seems to be getting bigger and bigger with more people, Azamara fills a niche where less is more. We look forward to many more great experiences. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose Azamara because of the itinerary (Italy intensive) and the size of the ship. I had never been on a cruise before but after seeing some of the other huge ships in some of the ports, I was very glad we chose Azamara. The service ... Read More
We chose Azamara because of the itinerary (Italy intensive) and the size of the ship. I had never been on a cruise before but after seeing some of the other huge ships in some of the ports, I was very glad we chose Azamara. The service was first class, the food was very good with lots of variety. We only ate in the main dining room 3 times: once to try it, once because we couldn't find a table at the White Night party and again for the delicious brunch they had. We ate almost every meal in Windows because we could choose the table we wanted (we could sit at a table for four even though we were only two) which usually meant we could get a window seat when there was something to see. Waiters were the best I've ever had. Room service was extremely prompt if you scheduled your breakfast for the next day and really pretty quick if you ordered just coffee and orange juice which we did almost every morning. You won't go hungry on this ship. There is food available most of the time and then room service 24/7. The included spirits were fine with us. The wine was just fine too. The cabin was very clean with comfy beds and linens. Turn down service in the evening also. The only complaint we had was the laundry. Too many people on the ship for just one laundry room. It was pretty crowded and I think maybe Azamara should add one more laundry room for the size of ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Inside stateroom, 4038 - the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you ... Read More
Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Inside stateroom, 4038 - the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you get used to. The room is in the middle of deck 4 next to a service door for restricted access to somewhere. It's a lot in use but didn't disturbed us. We pointed a couple of technical issues with the stateroom to the stateroom attendant and to guest relations and it was fixed in a properly timeframe. Our stateroom attendant, Francisco and his assistant: Julius (or Julian) did a great job keeping our stateroom in order, they were very fast. DINING / drinks / Bars: This week we really enjoyed the food in the buffet with a smaller but better selection of dishes than on the bigger ships. Here you get quality over quantity, something I feel is much better and less food goes to waste ( I think ). Also to get almost 90% new dishes every night is so much better than having a big selection that never change. When it comes to serving wine in the Buffett there is still potential for improvements. This week we also bought the Ultimate Beverage package again and when we order wine by the glass from the wine list usually the problems start. This is based on some nights and some lunches this week and you feel that as soon as you like to order wine that is not the one of the day, you see they get a little “oh, now I have to go and get that bottle” attitude. Some of the times they do not have the wine you ask for and bring you another one that substitutes it and that is ok, but please let us know before you start serving it to us, so we might be able to see if you have another we might prefer. There should also be a system maybe when you have ordered a wine from the wine list they can serve it in another wine glass (they did once) so other waiters know that you are not drinking the wine of the day and can ask what are you having and do you like some more. A couple of nights another waiter pass by and see your half empty glass and starts to pour the wine of the day and then mix it with a different one. It is not so nice to drink your Merlot and then they fill it up with Cabernet Sauvignon so we have to sent it back. This always happens specially if you drink a rose wine or a sparkling wine or Champagne for lunch/dinner from the wine list. However we still have to give them credit for always looking after you and you do never sit long with an empty glass. Azamazing evening Buffett and White Night Outdoor dining were great again as expected ENTERTAINMENT / ENRICHMENT / ART PROGRAM After beeing on board for two weeks, we have seen the shows and you can find it in our other reviews, this cruise Azamara has brought on board “A night at the Opera”... Believe me, this was a hit, incredible Italian talent for just one show... this was like the Azamazing Evening elevated and on board. Talking with Sam, one of the Art experts on board, we learned about the Azamara Art program and to us it sounded great, the approach to work with some emerging artists and some well established names and bringing them onboard to work while traveling and being also available to talk with the guests is a great way to connect. No art auctions but a small Art gallery where they exhibit these pieces and change it during the voyages. The price range is accesible for what I could think is the Azamara client. We had the chance to meet and see Gary Smith during the first two weeks and his work is really great. We also learned about other artists that Azamara has had onboard and the Art channel on the TV is another great way to enrich your art knowledge / curiosity. They also offer some lectures (if times allows it) about different artists. We put our eyes on some pieces and The only reason we did not buy the ones we liked is that we are moving into our new home (apartment) and we still have to figure out the use of the space in the walls we have. The enrichment lectures: For us traveling is not just about monuments or famous places but about culture, people, history, food, Art, etc. Is about learning about the places we visit and understanding the people and it’s cultural expressions. We attended some of the enrichment lectures and we are very happy we did. There is an historian on board for the next voyages, sorry I don’t remember his name or how long will he on board. It’s not the typical lecture that will tell you what to go and see but that will teach you about the history of the places, and this will make you understand the place. I highly recommend you to attend the lectures. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is excellent. Kudos to all the senior officers specially, Hotel Director Ryszard; F&B manager Elizabeth for making us feel at home and they are always visible around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it would take us to interesting archeological sites. We landed in Tel Aviv where the company had a bus waiting to take us to Haifa. The ship was beautiful and to me the right size. The room was excellent. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it would take us to interesting archeological sites. We landed in Tel Aviv where the company had a bus waiting to take us to Haifa. The ship was beautiful and to me the right size. The room was excellent. We had one of the least expensive ones, but it still had a good sized balcony, really comfortable beds, a marble bathroom with separate shower and tub. plenty of space and anything we could want or need. We were met with champagne. In the room there was more champagne and fresh fruit that was replenished daily. I had asked if the ship would have cranberry juice and it was in the min bar when we arrived. We found that the food at every venue exceeded our expectations, including room service that we used for morning coffee and on early excursion days, for breakfast. The line has restaurants that most lines charge extra for, but are included so we were able to dine at the steak house and at the French restaurant without paying extra. We also liked the excursions that took us to Jerusalem, to Ephesus in Turkey, to Delos on Mykonos and other places. They were also included at no extra charge. It was a perfect eight days. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We have visited Malta previously and had the opportunity to spend some time in Valetta before the cruise.We found everything to be well organised with regards embarkation and disembarkation although Malta airport seems to struggle with the ... Read More
We have visited Malta previously and had the opportunity to spend some time in Valetta before the cruise.We found everything to be well organised with regards embarkation and disembarkation although Malta airport seems to struggle with the volume of passengers. We will be revisting Croatia in the future - enjoyed the shore trips and would like to see more. The ship itself was impressive and we had no complaints about the food and all of the staff were pleasant and helpful. Cabin was comfortable but a bit tight for space with suitcases etc. The rule about not reserving sunloungers could be more rigorously enforced as it took a few tours of the ship to find one that did not have a towel on it most of which remained unoccupied for hours or even for the full day. The entertainment provided by the Headliners cast was excellent - The London West End on the high seas. The cast speaking to members of the audience at the exits after each show was a nice touch - a very talented group! Read Less

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