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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate my partner's birthday with a transatlantic crossing that included many destinations on our bucket list. We have been on other cruises in the Mediterranean and also South America - they were fabulous ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my partner's birthday with a transatlantic crossing that included many destinations on our bucket list. We have been on other cruises in the Mediterranean and also South America - they were fabulous experiences that cemented our enjoyment of cruising. What we didn't know was that Cunard really only cater for people over 70. For people in this age category the cruise would have been a wonderful experience. All activities, meals, shows, events, excursions cater for this group. Even the entertainment coordinator was bland. The comedy shows were by people from the 60's and 70's where racist and sexist jokes were the norm. Sadly these acts hadn't changed their material. The only activities appeared to be quizzes or card games or ballroom dancing. There were no live bands playing popular music, sing alongs around the piano bar, live music and comedy shows around the pool. Frankly it was boring. The internet is also the slowest that we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. When on board we also found that for people who booked in Australia the cruise was for 15 days, whereas those from the UK had 18 days which included the Guernsey. Both were the same price! Not sure why Australians were given a different deal. Cunard also doesn't seem to care if people complain as they do not respond promptly if at all. Very disappointed. Perhaps when I am 80 I may consider another cruise with Cunard. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. ... Read More
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. Also had a person helicopter lifted off. All quite eventful! Boat was clean and tidy and staff very nice plus the food was great. The buffet was very good especially the sushi etc. Did get a bit of a dodgy stomach from the mussels which upset my stomach for 24 hours but it soon passed. The entertainment in the theatre was very poor however. Some of the acts were dreadful including the resident singers. A very good guest French pianist though. Overall worth the money but be prepared to occupy yourself as there is very little to do on those long sea days if you don't do ballroom dancing or enjoy bingo etc ! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So ... Read More
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So when I wanted to go back and do it again, I found that this cruise had become one of HAL's favorite and pricest itineraries, too rich for my travel budget. However, the Zuiderdam's 17 cruise from Rotterdam to Boston, which in fact was 1/2 half of the V of the V cruise, was a good deal. I booked an inside room, as most outside and better were sold out, and it got us there, thank you. With almost midnight sun part of the trip, the dark inside room wasn't so bad, but "it ain't no verandah" either. This review will be brief; This cruise was a dream. The Zuiderdam, at the ripe old age of 17, one year older than the Maasdam was at the time 10 years ago, is showing her age in places like the vista windows on the mid ship elevators, but was still very satisfying. Our room was fine. The MDR, we had assigned dining at 7:45 with a window side table, was excellent. Our waiter explained the offerings every night and his assistant remembered our preferences. Holland America has improved the food over the years and our seafood and beef selections were 5 stars. One complaint: the flowers have disappeared from the tables both in the MDR and the Lido. The enrichment lectures were excellent on the first half, not so good on the second. The officers greeted us at the gangway Portside on returning to the ship, unusual on a 1900 guest sized ship. They also were at every Gala night MDR entrance. We made every port this cruise and Captain Bart and Hotel Director Darren were visible and helpful as were many of the officers. We met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise, most of whom were well traveled and educated adventurers, some young, many older, from all over the world. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things ... Read More
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things on their own in each location. Rotterdam Pre -cruise/ Embarkation: We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Rotterdam. Sine there were four of us, I took advantage of the group discount tickets available online at the Dutch Railways website. This came out to 8 Euros per person instead of 13 euros per person if booked separately. The train station is inside the Amsterdam Airport and very easy to find. We stayed at the Hilton Rotterdam which is only a few blocks from the main Train station and centrally located for walking around Rotterdam. Rotterdam has a Saturday farmers market near the Markthal that if you are there on that day, is a worthwhile shopping event. The central shopping district and pedestrian streets were all close by. The RET Stadhuis metro station was right outside the back door of the Hilton. Only 4 euros one-way. There were escalators at both Stadhuis station and Wilhelminaplein station and the luggage was easy to roll-on roll-off the cars. It was three stops to Wilhelminaplein from Stadhuis and about 800 feet from the metro station to the Cruise Terminal. After dropping our bags, we went through security. I had a wine bottle in my bag for consumption in the room, and security never even checked it. My wife had a bottle of wine and a six pack of soda and security looked in her bag to ensure she didn't exceed the alcohol allowance. Note: In Reykjavik, my wife asked if she could take on a beer, and they said yes, as long as it was not more than six bottles. At other ports, I brought on beer and others were bringing on cans of soda with no problem. We arrived just after 1pm and received boarding group 9. Luckily Boarding group 8 was just finishing up so we were checked in within 5 minutes and walked aboard. Ship- overall very good- there were some spots in need of touch up/repair such as a broken bed lamp, a balconies badly in need of paint, and far too many cracked windows, but public areas were in good shape. I assume they are foregoing cosmetic maintenance items until dry dock. Even though we had some choppy seas for the first ten days the ship was very stable. Service was one of the best we have had on recent cruises. The HAL Navigator App (free WiFi on board for the App and HAL websites) had the daily menus in each dining area, including the Lido, posted. Also each day, an interactive activities list was available which duplicated the daily program so you could review and save your favorites. You can also book shore excursions on the App. No morning show. Never saw the Cruise Director until day 8. Jessica, our travel host was the face of HAL entertainment for the majority of the cruise. Most EXC lectures were scripted and did not provide a lot more detail than could be found online. Most of the port talks filled up the Main Stage at least 10 minutes prior with standing room only after that. Port Lectures lacked details regarding where we would be docked until the lecture was almost over so it was hard to reference the locations discussed during the lecture against the port area where you would be disembarked. The Orange party was at 10:30pm in BB King’s the day after the second gala night. Of course I fell asleep and missed it so can’t provide details. The Movie theater had comfortable lounge chairs but only played the same movies that were also on the In-room TV, so never saw the need to attend. The Gym was smaller than similar sized ships on other lines. There were plenty of treadmills, elliptical machines, and Dumbbells, but very little in the way of weight lifting equipment. One thing I really appreciated was Captain Bart Vaartjes announcing when Whales or Dolphins were spotted from the bridge. He also had a great sense of humor. About four hours out of Islafjordur on our way to Greenland I noticed in the room that it was suddenly very quiet. No engine noise and no air conditioner. Dead silent in fact.....30 seconds later the lights went out so we were now also in total darkness. The Capt. came on the speaker and said an engine had shut down and engineers were working on restoring power. After a few minutes power came back. For about 20 minutes we were drifting, but eventually the engine and air came back. We did not take a delay arriving in Greenland due to the outage. There was no real danger but it give us a little excitement as we drifted “powerless” for a short time. Upon leaving St. Pierre, the Captain announced that due to a Canadian law regarding the speed of ships in Canadian waters to protect the Right Whales that had changed June 24th (a month earlier) we would be arriving into Halifax two hours late. We were scheduled from 8am- 11pm so it did not infringe much on the time available in port, and we were not impacted since we didn’t have a shore excursion, but it was annoying that HAL didn’t mention this or adjust the itinerary when they knew about this over 30 days earlier. Food- Much better than my last HAL cruise. Lido Market (Cafeteria). The many individual food stations kept lines down. The only station that consistently had a line was the made-to-order pasta bar. Otherwise I never saw more then four people waiting in line at any food station. Most of the food items available each night in the MDR ( including Gala night) was also available in the Lido. There was hand dipped ice cream during lunch and dinner time. Typically there were three flavors available. Also soft serve was available on random days. Breakfast stations: The Bistro had made to order eggs, meat, and potatoes; Two Omelet stations, one with waffles and crepes, the other with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian Frittata each morning; Pastries; an Express Breakfast that was the same as the bistro but with no made-to-order eggs other than poached eggs and eggs Benedict, but also Fried Rice and occasionally Beans, Fried Bread and Tomatoes. Tip- any item can be put back on the griddle in the Bistro if you want it a little more done. This was especially popular in the morning for those that preferred crispy bacon. The Central Market in the morning had a selection of fruit, smoked salmon and cereals and Hors D'ouvres for lunch and dinner. Complimentary Drinks were ice tea, lemonade, coffee, hot tea, and water. The ice tea and lemonade were the typical flavored concentrates. However I thought the coffee was above average. Most days breakfast hours were 0700-1030 Lunch stations: Made to order pasta; The Bistro (one on each side) where you find the main courses, pre-made sandwiches plus a specialty sandwich each day, and two soups; Made to order Salads; Breads, Cheese, and the “Central Market” opposite the drink stations with small plates and hors d'ouvres. The Pasta and Salad stations stayed open until 5, although the Lido was only open for lunch from 11:30-2. MDR- Those with anytime dining were seated on deck 2. We never waited for more than a few minutes before being seated. I noticed that the 7:45 seating on deck 3 was consistently sparse with lots of open tables and many empty seats at tables with diners. Each meal was three courses. I am posting sample menus for MDR and Lido. In room dining was available from 1100-2300 with a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, sides and desserts. There was also a limited selection after hours. Breakfast room service was a choice of omelets, scrambled eggs and meat/bread, pastries or cereals, with salmon Benedict or steak and eggs at additional cost unless in a Suite. Burger Bar items were also available for a $4.95 delivery charge. We had breakfast one morning and it showed up exactly on time, although lukewarm, which honestly can be expected for a delivery up to deck 7.. Typical mix of liquor and wine on board. Beer on tap was Heineken and Tiger. Bottles were the standard Bud, Heineken, Corona, Miller, plus Sam Adams and Lagunitas. We never ate at Canneleto or Pinnacle grill. There were two specialty nights towards the end of the cruise: Surf and Turf on the last Gala night, with Lobster available in both MDR and Lido, and New England night in the Lido when we were in Halifax with Salmon cakes, Lobster Mac and Cheese, Lobster rolls, and Pork pies. Finally, there was a late night spread from 10:30-11:30 with pub-type food such as pot stickers, chicken wings, egg rolls, nachos, potato chips, desserts, and the remaining Hors D'oeuvres. 'Dive In” Burger Bar- Made to order burgers and hot dogs. Place your order at the window and receive a pager for when your order is complete. Both the Burgers and coated fries were hot, fresh, and very tasty. Next to it is a Taco Bar, with beef or chicken and all the fixin’s and occasionally including fresh made guacamole. The only downside was the limited opening hours for both: 11:30am-5pm. This meant neither was open after returning from most ports. Summary: In the past, I have chosen HAL due to the itinerary, since they tend to stop at ports not visited by other cruise lines, and I just assumed the food and service may not be as good, but just considered this a fair trade-off. However, this cruise was head and shoulders above my last two HAL cruises. Until now, I couldn't understand based on previous cruises how Holland America was ranked as high as it was in some polls. Perhaps it is the inconsistency in service mentioned in some other threads, or perhaps it is just the Vista class ships have higher service standards. Ports: Lerwick- Tender port. We had to show our passports to Scottish Customs as we disembarked. Tender arrived at Victoria pier which is downtown across from the Anderson Wool store and Captain Flints Pub. We were scheduled to be there from 8-4, but the last tender back to ship was at 3. However, six hours was enough time to explore the town independently.  Most of the shops in town are close to the tender port, and easily walk-able from Victoria Pier. There is a Tesco Supermarket a mile and a half away along the water side trail where you can stock up on snacks. The Broch of Clickimin is close to the Tesco. This same waterside trail in the opposite direction also runs out to “The Knab” which is a nice walk with some great views. Reykjavik- Docked at Skarfabakki port about 2.5 miles out of town. There is a oceanfront walk from the port to town. Both Enterprise and EuropCar are within walking distance of the dock. If you overnight and have a rental car, there is ample free parking in the dock area. There is a large Icewear souvenir store at the port with prices similar to what you will find in town. We checked prices here first before going downtown, then did some last minute purchases here before leaving port. We never needed Kroner. Credit cards were accepted everywhere, and there was no problem accepting most US credit cards. There was a Port-provided shuttle to/from town for $20 round trip. We opted to rent a car and drove the Golden Circle, plus we also did the town Vik and the black sand beaches there and also made it to the Bridge America-Europe on day one. On day two we drove into downtown Reykjavik for some shopping. There was no problem finding parking downtown. Parking meters took credit cards and were in English, as was the self serve gas stations. The cost of the car, fuel, added insurance (which seems to be a “thing” in Iceland), was about the same as the cost of a private tour plus the town shuttle. The difference was flexibility and the options for additional stops. Driving in Iceland was easy for those who normally drive on the right side of the road. Lots of traffic circles/ roundabouts for those who struggle with such things. Akeyuri- docked downtown about a five minute walk from the Visitors Center. Just like in Reykjavik, there was another Icewear gift shop at the dock. If not doing a tour, most tourist shops are close by and it took us about 3 hours to browse most of the stores. We opted not to do the tours here as we had done the Golden Circle and Vik two days prior. (and have been to Yellowstone and Rotorua so this wasn’t our first volcanic area ). We found lots of spare time after doing the main shopping street so just wandered around the rest of the city until time to return. It was rainy, windy, and cold until about 2pm, then cleared up and became sunny. Islafjordur- Tender port, Very small town with some shops in the downtown. Tendered in at Njardarsund st., which is one block from the local microbrewery, Dokkan Brugghus. Like Akeruyi, it was cold and windy in the morning then was sunny in the afternoon. The shops were small and only one of these had “Islafjordur”-branded items. The whale bone Arch on the hill above town made for a nice picture and also provided an opportunity for a photo of Islafjordur with the ship and mountains in the background. Nanatolik- Tender port. We were dropped off across the bay from the visitors center, at the Havnevej industrial port, not the cruise dock next to the visitors center, so there was a bit of a walk for those with limited mobility. Most of the souvenirs in town were at the same visitors center so the small room filled up almost immediately and stayed that way all day with lines forming outside. The visitors center also sold tickets for several presentations by local entertainers. The Brugseni supermarket across the street also had some limited souvenirs. The Ravnefjeldet mountain directly behind town can be hiked up to different levels depending on ability. To get to it, follow the Tunuliaritseq road which turns into Islafjordurip road past the picturesque cemetery. The road ends at the trail. Reserve about an hour for going up and back to get some good panoramic pictures. On the sailaway, several Humpback Whales were feeding just outside the port. St Johns- Docked at Pier 10. Most shops and pubs are within the first three blocks away from the ship. We walked to the Quidi Vidi Brewery. It was a long 45 minutes walk through the suburbs. Nice to have a beer made with water from an iceberg, but not sure it was worth the time to get there. Signal Hill was encased in low clouds all day so there was no point in climbing up for a view. One odd thing was pushing our clocks back 30 minutes to match the local time zone, instead of the usual hour. St Pierre- Tender port. Dropped off at Quay Eric Taberly. Nice visitors center tent upon arrival with a band, free WiFi, coffee, OJ, danishes, and croissants. Most small shops were within three blocks of where we arrived. Point aux cannons lighthouse, The Battery, and Place Du General De Gaulle are all within a few minutes walk. Note that many stores close between 12 and 2. Sydney- Docked at Cruise Pavilion which had souvenir shops and a craft market. Nice waterside walkway that starts from dock with some shops and food trucks. There are several blocks of early 19th century houses across the street from the Cruise Pavilion. There are some small museums in several of these houses for only a few dollars admission. On Saturday there is the Cape Breton farmers market/ craft fair at the intersection of Esplanade and Falmouth streets. Halifax- Docked at Pier 20. Lots of shops inside the Cruise Terminal, plus a Farmers Market at the end of the Terminal building. There is a booth inside the Cruise Terminal as you walk in that sells HoHo bus tickets and various tours. There is also a visitors center booth as you walk in that can provide maps and suggestions for the day. They provided a walking tour map that we used to go though the high points of areas close by such as the Citadel, Maritime Museum, landmarks, and shopping areas. The boardwalk along the water was lined with shops, bars, food trucks and restaurants. We were here until 11pm, so there was ample opportunity to check out the local nightlife, but the Captain announced all passengers were onboard early, so we departed early as well. Boston- Disembarkation Customs was set up onboard the ship on deck 3 so there no need to clear Customs after disembarking from the ship. Consequently, we stayed in our room until just after our 9am group color was called and we went down to deck 3, showed the Customs official our passports, had our room key punched by HAL, and walked off the boat. It was a total of five minutes from leaving our room to arriving in baggage claim. Once in the cruise terminal, we located our bags that had been grouped by tag color, picked them up, and exited the Terminal. For those without a post-cruise Hotel, there were bus stops on the other side of the BCD building, or at the end of the Cruise terminal. The taxi line was directly ahead as we exited the Cruise Terminal. The taxi line was very long so we used a ride share which arrived within a minute. Nine minutes later we were at the Boston Airport. This was one of the fastest, most painless, disembarkation's ever. We left our room at 9:05, and were checked in and through security at Boston Airport by 9:55. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We (2 couples) chose this cruise to return from a European vacation rather than fly back to the US. We knew the cruise would be very formal but as one English passenger said when I queried him about his experience on the 2nd day of the ... Read More
We (2 couples) chose this cruise to return from a European vacation rather than fly back to the US. We knew the cruise would be very formal but as one English passenger said when I queried him about his experience on the 2nd day of the cruise, "They are quite serious". LIkes: We booked the Brittania Club, therefore we had our own private dining table for four each night with the same servers. The food was truly excellent, on par with Oceania Cruise line, which is noted for it's food. (Kudos to our servers, Brendo and Orsulah). We ended up eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant. We only gained an average of 2 pounds per person for a 7 day cruise and we believe that is because we mostly avoided the Kings Grill, which is very chopped up, located in several separated rooms with a limited selection of food. We understand it had been upgraded in 2016 from the original design. I cant see how it could have been much worse then. Also, the brewed coffee in the restaurant is very good, unlike the machine coffee in the Kings Grill. We had dinner one night in the Verandah steakhouse restaurant for a small upcharge of $39 per person and it was the best steak we have ever had. 35 day aged beef. The Enrichment and Art seminars, Tea Time and Gala Evenings were spot on great! We didn't mind the tuxedo and formal dress evenings and enjoyed the Masquerade Ball. The planetarium and Queen's Theatre were great venues also. Dislikes: Probably because we have been spoiled by cruises on Oceania Marina, Rivera, & Insignia and Holland Statendam and Koningsdam, we didn't appreciate the QM2 as much as we should. Even with the retrofit in 2016, she looks a bit tired. Very chopped up, no flow to the design. What's with the Churchill and Chart room locations? You have to go through the Brittania Dining room to access the Queens Ball room or go through the Art Gallery up and down stairs to access. Also, the aforementioned non functional Queen's Grill area. The Library boasts 8 thousand books and a room the size of an average family dining room and each passenger is restricted to 2 books at a time with the shelves locked during night hours? That's when most insomniacs need to find a book. We found this very unusual as Oceania ships boast great libraries with a barrista next door. Their libraries are unlocked and open to all cruise passengers 24/7. Finally, what ever you do don't buy the liquor package!!! Very limited pours (50 ml) which makes no sense, as it requires the staff to service you more often. (However, once they see you have a drink sticker on your card, they avoid you like the plague, and you practically have to tackle them to get service). This occurred in every lounge but was particularly acute in the Golden Lion Pub! The wine steward in the Brittania Club restaurant also was put off by our asking for wine refills at dinner, until 3 days before the cruise ended, when he finally increased the pours, which saved him extra trips. (We were not heavy drinkers, drinking no more than 2-3 50 ml pours at dinner) or any other sitting. The package was very restrictive, nothing over $11. If you want to purchase a $20 cocktail, you have to pay $16 (purchase price less 20%), which begs the ? why purchase the liquor package? Also, our traveling companions, (one who drinks and one who cannot drink because of medical reasons), cleared with Cunard corporate that if she brought a Doctor's excuse that he could by the package but she wouldn't have to. We spent the better part of the first afternoon being shuffled between the Purser's office, the G. L Pub and were even sent to the spa, because no one could or would make a decision on allowing our friend to purchase the liquor package alone. Finally, a bartender in the G.L. Pub told us in great whisper (I am not exaggerating) that he would allow it if our non drinking friend would purchase the $30 per day beverage package (water, soft drinks and coffee). You could not purchase wine by the bottle at dinner like on Oceania or HAL only by the 50 ml glass because of the liquor package restriction. The ship was good in the water, you never really felt any motion. However, it felt as if It was designed more for sailors than passengers and the staff was not there to serve you as much as ensure that all rules and regulations would be followed and not be infringed on! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more ... Read More
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more families with "free range kids", noise, heavy patronage of the buffet, garbage on the floors, noise at night, kids running and knocking on doors, kids running free during the life safety segment, kids running down the promenade deck careening into guests and people sitting in chairs etc. Adults with loud voices and shouting in the public rooms. The Southampton to New York a quieter more refined experience with the amazing guest speakers and quiet conversations among guests. QM2 is an experience of a life time and each time we take a TA on the QM2 it is excellent, unique and designed to link the guest to the sea. The QM2 is the way a ship should be. QM2 did not disappoint - but we would say the food in the MDR and the Kings Court buffet was a significant step downwards from our last TA 2 years ago. Cunard, improve your general food offerings, make it the same as Celebrity. Your general food offerings should not be less than Carnival. Other than that, the QM2 was excellent. The positives: * QM2 is a ship, not a Vegas hotel. * There is no end of vistas so that a guest can feel and smell the ocean. The open wing deck under the bridge is simply amazing. Modern cruise ships are designed to keep guests looking inward so they can spend $. Well done Cunard. The step down stern open areas are spectacular and well patronized * A real promenade deck, enough said. It was heavily patronized. * Cunard expects guests to be able to entertain themselves during the day * This is a ship for intellectuals - meaning the amazing guest speakers and library enable guests to learn about the world. The guest speaks spoke on - being an envoy in Moscow in the cold war, a London theater actress speaking on the hidden gems of London, WW2 submarine technology and deployment in the war. What a joy versus the nonsense on modern cruise ships. * The historical boards towards the bow area recounting the glory days of the Queens and transatlantic travel * The service was excellent, excellent. The amount of staff, their training, their demeanor etc was top notch - a step well above our last QM2 TA. To be frank, the service in the common areas were as good as our trips on Crystal and Oceania. * The extra charge restaurants were - excellent. The Veranda was the equal of the steakhouse on Oceania. The most amazing food was at the Alternative restaurant located in a part of the Kings Court - Cunard, you have a winner here. There are themed nights - Coriandor, The Smokehouse, Azetec and Bamboo. The food was the very best I ever had on a ship period. Better than Crystal or Oceania. The tastes were sublime, the presentation, the quantity, the service by the hand picked staff was first class. There were Grill level guests there and many said they would abandon the Grills and book a non Grill and simply enjoy the extra charge Veranda and Alternative dining. * The officers - they were visible and pleasant and stopped to answer questions. * The Golden Lion fish and chips and the Indian food put most cruise ship venues to shame * The music on the pa was excellent - just loud enough, classic to modern. Excellent choice. Entertainment was good. * Well - the kennel. Being on the pool decks at the stern and hearing the dear dogs barking from time to time as they were out with their fur parents was to die for. It humanized the ship - it was a great hit with guests. * The sheltered balcony cabin was well maintained and very cozy. * The size of the public areas, the amount of space per passenger is amazing. * QM2 rides like a dream, never felt her move. * The side corridors on deck 3 which have tables for games and chairs for sitting. These areas are the closest to the ocean level and are amazing. * Smoothies and detox beverages in the Kings Court area - excellent * Room service was good. The chopped fruit salad was excellent, as good as the chopped fruit salad on Oceania. The pain au chocolate was not bad. Coffee was excellent overall with real cream Negatives: * Boarding in Hamburg - The Grills class passengers walked right in front of the non Grills class long line up to gain access to the check in staff. Disrespectful. Have a separate check in line for Grills guests. * Food in the Kings Court. Not good. Cheap looking, cheap taste. The hot dishes, breads, cold meats etc were set out - no garnishes around any of the food serving stations - just cold looking plates on a hard surface with no visual appeal. Simply the worst looking and worst tasting buffet I have seen. A steep decline from my last QM2 TA. The breads were the cheapest quality you could imagine. The cold meats were cheap. We had no interest in eating there. The realignment of this area was much better than before, the food was not. * The MDR. Fabulous room, the best on the seas. The staff were excellent. The food was not. The food size, garnishing, taste, quality was average to poor. The onion soup consisted of a dry powder soup base with a few onions. Served after was a small round bread piece with a few cheese shreds. Awful. It was returned. The protein portions were small and dry. Salads were small with minimum garnishes. The food did not live up to the amazing room. * The carpets since the refit are awful. The orange and yellow down the main corridor was glaring and cheap. It was the carpet in the cabin floors (all decks I think), beige on the right side trending towards a pattern and deep blue next the cabin doors. The carpet looked awful and cheap. Who needs beige carpet in a high traffic area? The carpet looked like you would have got it at the Dollar store. * Ah, the infamous post cruise mini bar in the room charge. Got dinged for $18.29 for a mystery charge. Will not be paying it. _______________________________________________________________ Having cruised since 1989, on the mass and luxury lines, we enjoy Cunard for the value it represents and the great itineraries and the real ships they provide guests. All cruise lines are cheapening their products. Cunard is as well. Cunard is best suited to guests who enjoy being on a ship, who wish to behave in a classy way and dress a bit better than the anything goes mass cruise lines. The Cunard guests are well travelled and well informed. If you want Vegas at sea, loud techno music, drunk guests due to the beverage packages etc do not choose Cunard. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise met my husband's desire for an eastbound trans-atlantic cruise and my desire to visit Iceland and Shetland. It was lovely! The seas were surprisingly (to me) calm. The Pacific Princess is a lovely "small" ... Read More
This cruise met my husband's desire for an eastbound trans-atlantic cruise and my desire to visit Iceland and Shetland. It was lovely! The seas were surprisingly (to me) calm. The Pacific Princess is a lovely "small" ship, very different from the bigger Princess ships like the Regal, but it was great. The ports were all interesting and could easily be explored on one's own if one chose not to take a tour. There was plenty of entertainment and often the entertainers visited the Casino (Crooners) bar for some impromptu singing---not something I've seen on the bigger ships where it's a lot more impersonal. We enjoyed the Pacific Lounge on the top deck for amazing views while sailing and while in port. The food and the service in the dining room and the bars was all quite fine. The Casino is small but seems to do the trick. I highly recommend this ship and this itinerary. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had always wanted to try a Trans-Atlantic. Even the 5 Sea Days in a row weren't bad, as there was a lot of choices to keep you busy. We loved the intimacy all-around on the Pacific Princess. The "Old World" theme of ... Read More
We had always wanted to try a Trans-Atlantic. Even the 5 Sea Days in a row weren't bad, as there was a lot of choices to keep you busy. We loved the intimacy all-around on the Pacific Princess. The "Old World" theme of decorating made the entire ship very elegant. Our cruise director Lynn, was the most personable and energetic we have ever been around! The captain came by dinner several times just to stop an visit. The excursions were all Princess - and they were just what they promised! We could not have asked for better food! I have special dietary restrictions and they took excellent care of me - in the dining room, up top on the grill, or in the buffet. All Ii had to do was mention my problems, and they catered to every need. The waiters were so friendly. One, Alfred, gave you a hug and smile - no matter where you ran into him - even on shore! We loved every minute of this cruise and the scenery was just breathtaking as well! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were so excited to be going on the QM2! The ship itself was magnificent. Our cabin was also very nice and we had a balcony. But what a waste of money the top drinks package was! It was almost impossible to get anyone to get you a ... Read More
We were so excited to be going on the QM2! The ship itself was magnificent. Our cabin was also very nice and we had a balcony. But what a waste of money the top drinks package was! It was almost impossible to get anyone to get you a drink in a lot of the bars! At lunchtime I was lucky if I managed to get one glass of wine from a barman! I also had to spend 2 days in our cabin as I picked up a bug on day 5 of our cruise. From the food, drink? Who knows but it ruined my cruise! My husband witnessed one maintenance worker who used the WC in the indoor pool area and walked out without washing his hands!! Really!! In this day and age!! Entertainment on board was okay, but the planetarium gave me a sore head. Best entertainment was the irish comedian Roy Walker. We were given the dining time of 8.30 p.m. and were unable to change it. So this was far too late for us and we had to dine in the buffet every evening. The person allocated to give you hand sanitiser when entering the buffet made no effort, unless you went straight up to them. This should be addressed as clean hands are essential for hygiene reasons. Also, very few staff made you feel really valued/ welcome! Best part of the cruise was sailing into New York! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is our 13 Cruise trip and the third with Cunard. We sailed before on QE and QV, but it was our first time on the mighty QM2. The ship was iconic and displayed luxury interior deco in all areas. However, it lacked some of Cunard ... Read More
This is our 13 Cruise trip and the third with Cunard. We sailed before on QE and QV, but it was our first time on the mighty QM2. The ship was iconic and displayed luxury interior deco in all areas. However, it lacked some of Cunard elements and plenty of cosmetic maintenance. We understand that it has been built as a translantic ocean liner, but the entertainment and the activities did not meet our expectations for 8 days full sea sailing. The food was great in term of quality, quantity and dining experience. We can't say exceptional or outstanding tho. Although, the customer service was pleasant by the staff in the public areas and the cabin alike, the senior management did not show positive courtesy or professional attitude. We had an incident on board for which the ship had to divert to Halifax and transfer an ill passenger, so we made it to New York with 5 hours delay. Unfortunately, at Brooklyn Red Hook embarkation on Friday, the customs and passport control process was utterly unorganised and disappointingly slow. It was a major complaint from most passengers and we heard a lot of unprofessional issues. The CPD officers lost a British passport while processing one passenger entry clearance between them, and they initially refused to admit liability, then they asked him to request an emergency travel document from the British consulate after four hours in order to catch up with his flight back to UK on Sunday. Cunard staff did not offer any help or assistance. We have decided to conclude our cruising experience with Cunard for the time being because the cruise line is not making any effort in diversifying their clientele, and providing extra excitements to middle aged passengers and young people. The planetarium, the Gym and the Swimming pools were extremely under used, and a lot of outdoor space was not utilised during this cruise. If you suffer from sea sickness, this is one of the most stable ships we have ever been as far you booked in the middle low floors. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Booked the Queens Grill = £9.000 so quite expensive. Was expecting a real quality experience but very quickly realised it was not all it was made up to be. So, arrived in Southampton and entered a chaotic cattle shed where I was shunted ... Read More
Booked the Queens Grill = £9.000 so quite expensive. Was expecting a real quality experience but very quickly realised it was not all it was made up to be. So, arrived in Southampton and entered a chaotic cattle shed where I was shunted to the priority line. Walked on the ship to be told “the lift is over their, like “get on with it”. Walked around aimlessly for a bit and really found my cabin (943) by chance. Cabin was clean, bathroom tiles were dirty. A welcome was conspicuous by its absence. Food in the Queens Grill was like clockwork .. boring and on numerous times Luke warm. I never got the Gala Nights. Put on a DJ to eat dinner, nothing else, I expected the captain to sit with us or a gala ball for the Queens Grill ... nothing. What was very surprising is that during the entire trip not once did any management come to us to say “welcome” or “how it the trip” .. there was no discerning quality, they just wanted your money. So where was “packing and unpacking, or a morning pot of tea” .. didn’t exist. The evening canapés delivered to the room were simply low grade pate or other stodge. Cut my leg badly on the edge of a chair on the deck and asked a crew member to get me a plaster, he just walked away. The whole experience felt like a Chanel Ferry crossing .. once you leave the ship in New York you are on your own. There is NO assistance to locate your baggage or assistance with carrying. We are elderly and really struggled through the immigration hall and border controls to the chaotic outside with NO assistance to find a taxi .. total chaos. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one ... Read More
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one of the very best! Personal service from the luggage delivery to the transfers to and from the airports were truely first class. The employees knew who we were by the second day and their courtesies were most appreciated! Food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Speciality dining was excellent and available most of the time! Lectures were outstanding, this trip highlighted “Hollywood” personalities and the history of musical and dramatic performances. Former astronaut, military general, nature photographer, song writers and well known performers! Ship is spotless and refreshed daily. Always a crew member around to answer question, give directions and offer a hand to complete any task! Ships excursions were excellent and timely! Cabins are nice, clean, comfortable and very quiet! Would suggest taking a small stool to help older or mobility challenged guests to get in and out of the tub-shower! Embarkation and Disembarkation were a snap, many crew members to help with baggage and porters were easily available! First cruise on Crystal and hopefully more in the future Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did ... Read More
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did take a Bonine tab myself and felt fine for the rest of the day. The service on the ship was great and the list of lecturers and performers was also first rate. The food fell back into the "almost as good as" category as it was very British, as to say drab. Even the steak at the Veranda was a notch below what I would expect from a steakhouse in a major city. But the sad part of the ship experience was the lack of technology. The WiFi was definitely in the last century as far as performance and the lack of any apps to keep track of the events onboard or to communicate with others in your party was amazing to me after recent cruises on Princess and Disney. I know this is not a cruise ship but that is no excuse for falling so far behind the curve in this area. Also, the ship design itself was a series of ups and downs to get anywhere. If you wanted to get to the ballroom in front on level 3 you had to go down to level 2. All around the ship there were small lifts for people in wheelchairs because of the poor layout. It may be too late to fix the layout problems without a major overhaul but the technology items need to be looked at now. Why do I still give it a Very Good rating? Because, though it is on the edge of being only good it was certainly not an average voyage. The room, entertainment and education features were excellent. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Pricing for this crossing was less than one way business class airfare, so we decided to come back to the USA in style after crusing over to Dublin on a Celebrity Cruise ship. What a GREAT choice! We will definitely choose this method ... Read More
Pricing for this crossing was less than one way business class airfare, so we decided to come back to the USA in style after crusing over to Dublin on a Celebrity Cruise ship. What a GREAT choice! We will definitely choose this method of travel again. Loved the food, the service and the ship. I tend to sea sickness and we were on deck 11, very high up. With 30 foot waves, this is the smoothest sailing ship I have been on. No rocking and rolling, just like a baby's cradle at night. You can do as much or as little as you want on this sailing. Entertainment is OK, but the lectures are very interesting. Warning, everyone likes them and afternoon tea, so get in line early, there is a lot of "waiting in line" for activities. But who cares, it is much better than a flight home from Europe and getting jet lag. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We brought this crossing, Southampton to New York, as an alternative to flights. Little did we know it would provide the tranquility we craved following two weeks of sightseeing. Cunard QM2 has the best entertainment ever experienced ... Read More
We brought this crossing, Southampton to New York, as an alternative to flights. Little did we know it would provide the tranquility we craved following two weeks of sightseeing. Cunard QM2 has the best entertainment ever experienced at sea. The service is impeccable. While we would rank the food at the Brittania restaurant as rather unremarkable, the Kings Court (buffet) was excellent! Their specialty salads were outstanding. One can also order pasta or pizza, prepared from menu choices (non-buffet), while at Kings Court. We did this, one evening craving pizza. It was fresh from the oven to our table, piping hot. The beds are so comfortable! The evening entertainment included a vocalist, a flautist, along with the ship’s Royal Court Dancers. Top notch. Don’t forget the band, also superior to other ships! Lounges provided a stringed-quartet, a harpist, and jazz band. The latter group did a Dixieland Jazz lunch which was just plain fun. Kudos to Cunard! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Previous Cunard experience on Queen Victoria and sailing back home instead of flying. The relaxation of being aboard for 7 days without having to get up and out for excursions. Looking for a truly relaxing vacation being treated ... Read More
Previous Cunard experience on Queen Victoria and sailing back home instead of flying. The relaxation of being aboard for 7 days without having to get up and out for excursions. Looking for a truly relaxing vacation being treated royally. These are the reasons we needed a Cunard vacation. We were not disappointed. Nothing, really nothing, went awry. The embarkation process was amazingly smooth. We boarded the ship and about a half hour later our luggage arrived. This proved to be just the preview of how things were to play out for the rest of the trip. The cabin, see the cabin review, was beautiful. The dining experiences again amazing. Yes the menu options were grand, but Osman the Matre' D would come to the table and ask and give recommendations for off menu options. Foie Gras, an iceberg salad made to order, the Grand Marnier souffle, ask and it was yours. The casino was small. Not very many options. Roulette, Black Jack, 3 Card Poker, Texas Hold'em type game (not against players but similar to 3 Card Poker) and a few slots. One woman hit the same machine for 4 jackpots in 2 days. The beauty of the ship, the cleanliness of the decks, I walked the decks about 3 in the morning and found more than a few people vacuuming and cleaning the common areas. Loved it so much we booked next year's trip onboard already. Wish we found this years ago. So very happy we found it at last. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Six months since our last holiday, by May 2019 it was time for a break. I am a firm believer in the HR notion that a break every six months is restorative (if not to ones bank account, at least for the soul). So I looked for a cruise that ... Read More
Six months since our last holiday, by May 2019 it was time for a break. I am a firm believer in the HR notion that a break every six months is restorative (if not to ones bank account, at least for the soul). So I looked for a cruise that would please me and my wife. A bit about us: we are late middle-aged (later 50's, early 60's), one of us still works, and we have done many cruises since 2001. Mostly on Holland America, yet more recently on Seabourn. We very much liked the almost all-inclusive nature of our Seabourn cruises, as well as the smaller ships. In May 2019 Seabourn had an interesting cruise option, yet on that ship the verandah cabin guarantee offered may well have come with the opaque (metal) balcony railings. That is a show-stopper for my wife, who wants to be able to see out her balcony while seated. Seabourn would put us in a balcony with the Plexiglas railing--yet only if we ponied up another $2 grand each. It looked like we would not be cruising after all in May. Happily, searching the usual websites, I found this interesting Regent cruise--a trans-Atlantic, which we like (the days at sea can be quite restful), some interesting ports, a departure from New York, which is only an hours flight from Toronto, and with the airfare and shore excursions included. We also would have a proper balcony in the verandah cabin, with no metal railing blocking the view. All this, including business class air for the transatlantic flight home, for about the same price as Seabourn wanted for the obstructed view balcony. Hmmm, it was time to give Regent a try. Cutting to the chase for any impatient readers, we quite enjoyed our Regent cruise and would return to them. This line is now on our list, along with Seabourn. We would also return to HAL, even though we do like not having to sign for most things, for the right itinerary and pricing. It is nice to have options and choices. We found Regent a well organized operator. Their shore staff met us at Newark airport, and we were escorted to the van (we were the only passengers) provided to take us to the port of Manhattan. Ironically, the drive from the airport took longer than our 1.3 hour flight. It was nice, accordingly, that I did not have to pay for a taxi or limo, and that such ground transportation was included. As we checked in around 2PM, we had missed the rush. On board quickly, we headed to the Verandah for a casual lunch. This was the first of many very good meals on board. Ultimately to our cabin--we had received and accepted an upsell offer for a penthouse. The basic amenity was that the cabin, same size as the verandah cabin but better located, came with a butler, who was excellent! Between the butler and our stewardess, and her assistant, we were very well looked after for the next 15 days. Having never had a butler before, and wondering what we would use him for, now I wonder how we could survive without one! The cabin was a little tight compared with what we are used to. On HAL we get a Neptune Suite, and on Seabourn a regular verandah. Yet the Seabourn ships are newer than this particular ship, Navigator, which is about 20 years old. We found that there was not quite as much drawer space or storage generally, as we have had on Seabourn in the regular verandah cabins--yet we managed to get everything put away. Still, I would not have wanted a room service dinner in the cabin. Again, other than having the daily snacks which the butler brought, it was a tad tight for dining. We were not impressed with the lifeboat drill. Held partly inside, and then being taken out to the boat deck was superfluous, as the boats you were shown at the drill may well not be the boat to which you would be assigned when you gather in the event of an emergency. In my view this is not well thought out. Either do the entire drill outside, or inside. I would also think specific lifeboats should be assigned per cabin, so everyone knows exactly where to go in case of an emergency. Other lines do this in a more organized fashion. We had a little difficulty in getting the cabin stocked with my wife's favourite Vodka, Chopin, a potato-based vodka. A substitute was provided, and Chopin was available in the bars. Ultimately, our butler scrounged us a bottle for the cabin. Unfortunately, we were told that Chopin was no longer to be provided on Regent once current inventory was finished. Too bad, as it is an excellent luxury brand. The included/available Scotches were also not quite top drawer. I mean, seriously, Johnny Walker Red? Yes, they had Black, Chivas Regal (my daily tipple), and some single malts. Yet for a luxury cruise line, at a minimum 12 year old single malts (not just one, but a choice of several) should be included, and frankly, they should provide 15 year old Scotch without a surcharge. In addition to most friendly, warm, welcoming, and personable cabin staff, the same could be said about all the bar staff. They were great. It was nice to be seated, and ones regular drink brought around without having to say a word. Kudos to them for fostering a welcoming and clubby atmosphere. The food quality was truly excellent--and we are foodies. It was the best we have experienced on any cruise. Being fair, HAL provides in our experience very good Banquet style meals. Seabourn provides very good meals as well, just not a lot of variety at times, and at times, overly salted. Regent's food was not overly salted, yet was well seasoned. There was also plenty of variety at lunch, and especially at dinner in the main restaurant. Some of the "always available" dinner items included genuine whole Dover Sole, which would be filleted table-side--a pleasure to watch. We found the food prepared "a la minute", and was an example of fine dining. Not every dish was a success, but the effort was clearly present. We were surprised that someone on the cruise after ours, a Veterans charter, did not enjoy the food. Yet that may have been because it was a charter. We enjoyed the dining room or the upstairs casual restaurant which becomes an Italian restaurant at night. Happily, it was not a buffet, unless one wanted to go up and select items. We much preferred the lovely Italian servers bringing us our meal. We also enjoyed two meals in the steakhouse. We found the personnel there most welcoming and accommodating, too. The beef was very good. Yet, as I have a great local butcher, and enjoy making a BBQ during decent weather, unlike some I do not get all excited about a steakhouse! Service in the dining room, however, was not quite as good as was the food. Some of the servers were great: warm, friendly, yet also competent. Over 15 days there can be one or two food items that are not to ones taste--the better wait staff knew to check and to quickly rectify the situation. Alas, not all of the servers fit into that category. We are used to on HAL our fixed table at 8PM, where we build a rapport with the same team of waiter, assistant waiter, and wine waiter over the cruise. While we do appreciate the flexibility of open seating available on smaller ships, one sacrifices, to some extent, that personal rapport which can, if one is lucky (and we have always had good luck on HAL in that regard), develop between server and customer. The challenge for Regent and Seabourn is to imbue their wait staff with the feeling that, even if for one night, each passenger is "their" passenger, and the goal should be to make the evening special, for each guest. Not easy to accomplish, but worth aiming for. In any case on this cruise we had a word with hotel management about some initial service issues, and happily, things improved. The ports included Bermuda, and the shore excursions, also included, were very good. Unfortunately, a couple of the afternoon tours were cancelled. As I get up early most weekday mornings, the last thing I want to do on any cruise is get up early to go on tour. I prefer a leisurely morning. In most European ports, Regent did offer afternoon tours, and again, we enjoyed them. We found the laundry to be expensive, albeit thankfully we were using "Monopoly money" (our ship-board credits) for that. Seabourn offers laundry at $50 for as much as one can stuff into a bag. Regent should follow that example. If I did not have sufficient credits, the cost of laundry would be a factor worth considering, along with the other factors such as included shore excursions, included air-fare, etc. There are, it seems, always trade-offs to be made. The lectures were in our view poorly timed. The fellow who spoke at 10 AM I would have preferred hearing in the afternoon, and I could have skipped the afternoon guy who talked about photography. The onboard shows were decent, although the layout of the theatre makes it hard to find an unobstructed view unless you arrive early. Some of the specialty performers were excellent! The piano bar was ok. While the piano player could play, he often mangled the lyrics. A little more practice to make perfect may help. Bar staff there, however, were great. The demographics of this cruise included, in our view, a somewhat older crowd. That made us feel comparatively younger (not a bad thing!). Still, we met a few folk to, on occasion, have a drink with. People were quite pleasant for the most part. We were surprised that the dress code on Regent was specified as "elegant-casual" each night. Apparently for cruises of 15 days or less, there are no formal-optional nights. I had brought a couple of ties, yet never wore one. In the main dining room, however, most men did wear a sports-jacket or the ubiquitous navy blazer. People were for the most part indeed elegantly casual. We flew home on May 30, and have to say that Amsterdam's airport is very disorganized. I would also warn folks not to connect through London-Heathrow, as the security and other line ups are horrendous. In hindsight, I would have tried for a non-stop flight which, as we all know, is the best bet. Generally, and if the price is right, we would definitely return to Regent. Yet right now they seem to be charging nearly $1,000.00 per person per day. That is far more than what we paid for this cruise. So, if one can afford it, go for it--yet it pays to shop around. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I came to enjoy the cruise with my wife. Upgraded to suite and met some lovely people while on board. We have had some weather challenges snd couldnt dock, but overall enjoyed the day by day experience. Met nice restaurant team, ... Read More
I came to enjoy the cruise with my wife. Upgraded to suite and met some lovely people while on board. We have had some weather challenges snd couldnt dock, but overall enjoyed the day by day experience. Met nice restaurant team, housekeeping guy, Captain and funny Hotel Manager. Great welcome speech by the way. When we spoke with him all the things got way better! Chef Gundi we loved and his food. When we received a sad info that cruise got cancelled due to technical issues we tried to save and solve this cruise, we encountered a terrible and unfriendly person on expedition desk, black hair expedition coordinator. She is the most unfriendly.snd unprofessional person we met in the past 20 year cruising. Very rude and she ignores our questions. I am not sure how can you hire this person. One man on reception bolded, he ignored our questions and directed wrong. Hire a person who is a guest oriented. All in all Reception and other team helped us out. Thank you so much, but coordinator and guest relation manager ruined our day and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our third crossing and thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Sea conveniences as well as the fantastic attitude of the ship's staff. We sailed form Tampa to Ireland and Belgium and ended in Amsterdam. We ... Read More
This was our third crossing and thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Sea conveniences as well as the fantastic attitude of the ship's staff. We sailed form Tampa to Ireland and Belgium and ended in Amsterdam. We stayed on the ship back to back on the Baltic cruise visiting Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Russia and Amsterdam. Total of 28 days. The Atlantic crossing was dampened by the overcast and cool weather however the Baltic region temperatures were comfortable for May. One of our daily favorite times is the My Time dining option sharing a table with others and having world topics as conversation. We bid on a Jr Suite for the second leg of the cruise which made that part very comfortable. Having a walk in closet and approx 300sf with chairs and a couch, the area was perfect for relaxing. We achieved our Dimond Plus status and are looking forward to our next cruise in March out of Dubai. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We love long cruises with lots of sea days and this cruise did not disappoint. We sailed from Tampa Bay to Amsterdam, seeing ports that we had yet to visit. The 8 sea days to begin the cruise were a wonderful way to really relax and kick ... Read More
We love long cruises with lots of sea days and this cruise did not disappoint. We sailed from Tampa Bay to Amsterdam, seeing ports that we had yet to visit. The 8 sea days to begin the cruise were a wonderful way to really relax and kick off our month long vacation. We have sailed a lot on RCI, have attained Diamond Plus status, and really do like the Radiance Class ships in Royal's fleet. There were LOTS of experienced cruises on this sailing as over 900 passengers of the 2000 on board were either Diamond or Diamond Plus level on RCI. Rather than wait until the cruise to deal with this large number of elite members, Royal communicated with us weeks before the cruise to let us know that they were going to use the Colony Club as their evening venue for the Diamond lounge event. Royal did a great job organizing and delivering the service that elite cruisers want. Cudos to RCI for making what could have been a difficult situation work smoothly. Our Balcony Cabin on Deck 9 was in great shape and our room steward was attentive, friendly and engaging in our many conversations with him. In fact, both my wife and I found the entire staff (our waiter Mary, our assistant waiter and most other staff we interacted with) went out of their way to be both friendly and accommodating to our needs. Service could not have been better throughout the 15 day cruise. The entertainment was also diverse and well presented. The RCI singers and dancers were as good as any group we have seen on our many cruises and the cruise director was engaged and seemed to really care about the quality of the performances. The food was varied, presented well and seemed a bit better than some of our other cruises. We went to Chops Grill twice on the cruise and it did not disappoint. RCI delivered a great experience over the two weeks of the cruise from embarkation to getting off the ship (It took us less than 1/2 hour to walk off, get our luggage and clear customs in Amsterdam!) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It was our 50th anniversary and we thought a repositioning cruise would be a great experience. On previous cruises we have always eaten in the dining room for all our meals. We found the food to be cold. My omelets were incomplete, only ... Read More
It was our 50th anniversary and we thought a repositioning cruise would be a great experience. On previous cruises we have always eaten in the dining room for all our meals. We found the food to be cold. My omelets were incomplete, only half of my omelette had filling in it. We tried it again when we gave our review on the ship and they asked us to try breakfast again. The food was still cold. The windjammers breakfast was much better. We only ate dinner in the evening. We had great table mates and enjoyed there company. The food was just adequate. Some nights I couldn't find something to eat. When my husband ordered beef bourquinion he had 3 small chunks of beef. In the Centrum the chairs were ripped. My husband ordered an anniversary surprise for me and only half of what was supposed to come was missing. They did not have it aboard the ship. Our daily compass had incorrect information On the front it said casual dining and in the center it stated formal attire. Half the guests showed up formal and half casual. The activities schedule was the same activities at the same time. The activities were very one note. If you had early dining you missed activities. They also had last minute changes in the shows. Our tour guide on one of the cruises left passengers behind and we missed more than half of our tour Thank goodness one of the onboard next cruise employee was with us. She was appalled that we were left behind with the employee. They only refunded half of our tour money because they said we saw half of tour. The eating outside the windjammer was stained and dirty. Alot of chipped paint was noticed. We have been on Royal Caribbean ships before and enjoyed them. We did not enjoy the Brilliance of the Sea and would not recommend this ship and this experience left a bad impression for us to cruise again with Royal Caribbean. In the past we always enjoyed our experience. This cruise was for a special occasion and it spoiled our experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It pains us to say that this was the worst cruise experience encountered and we have used 5 cruise lines and are Diamond Members with RCCL. Thr cruise was meant to be special for us but was simply a disappointment from day one which ... Read More
It pains us to say that this was the worst cruise experience encountered and we have used 5 cruise lines and are Diamond Members with RCCL. Thr cruise was meant to be special for us but was simply a disappointment from day one which then just got worse. The ship looks fine from outside and a joy to look at. Day one emabarkation was excellent, however and accident on day one due to the poor handling of equipment of staff on borad injured my wife and myself. The cruise after this then got worse. The room is dated and needs a make over, curtains do not cover length of balcony window and therefore light penetrates early waking you up. The curtaind are hanging on threads and the blackout broken in so many places that anyone else would have replaced. The cabin steward was not very friendly and had to be reminded to fill up on basics. Main dining room was quite good and the best service in years thatnks to Jean and Allan on floor 4. The food was hit and miss with some really good and others mediocre. That said this was big improvement on past cruises. The Windjammer is as normal busy at certain times, but if avoided then there is plenty of room. The food was better than on normal european cruises but often hot food was cold. We never went hungry and there was plenty of choice. Annoying issue is ice cream. A staff member rolls a cart along the whole area, with absolutely no chance of serving people at the right ime for them, not his fault but is RCCLs fault. The shows in the main theatre were excellent to very poor. We liked Once Upon A Time, though we had seen it before. We liked Invitation To Dance performed with the cast from Grease, though we had seen that before. We also loved Grease though we had seen that on Harmony, the show still retained the magic. The only Ice Show was Freeze Frame which although we had seen before, still enjoyed it. RCCL need to bring in new shows and have two ice shows on a two week cruise. The support guest stars were excellent (David Copperfield) but others we walked out on, one being a violinist and the other a magician. We never walk out on a show, so this says it all. Diamond Lounge was packed due to volume of Diamond members, however we did not really use in the night due to the noise. You could not hear a conversation. In the day it was also manic due to the poor arrangement. The filter coffee machine is place right by the door effectively causing rael conjestion wehen entering, leaving or waiting to get yoursef a coffee. It then broke down for a few days, very poor. Boleros bar on deck 4 was fine for most of the cruise except the noise when music started, which spoiled any conversation. Wilbert was a great bar tender and remembered us every time. Howvere Boleros turned into a very cold area in the latter days of the cruise due to doors being opened. We could not sit there and other guests wore coats. The SPA and Rides added were not used by us due to the accident already suffered so we cannot evaluate. the ship was clean and orderly but we did notice that staff members would push trolleys towards you instead of waiting for us to pass which is unusual on RCCL. The staff were also very flat compared to RCCL normal cruises. Two issues really irritated us, the noise in the bars was excessive with music blasting out stopping conversation and the excessive charges for drinks. Bacardi $9.99 Coke $3-4, Sevice Charge 18% on top of this. Te cruise across the Atlantic was boring except for making new fantastic friends, Iain, Margaret, Carol, Shelly, Stan and Elizabeth. The ship coud have docked at the Azores to break up 8 days at sea, Would we cross the Atlantic agan, Never. Would we use RCCL again, very much in doubt as other lines are now better. A very disapponting cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to get across the Atlantic without flying. This ship has exceeded our expectations. I love that even though they refurbished it, they have preserved the deck where you can walk around the whole ship outside and the stream/sauna ... Read More
We wanted to get across the Atlantic without flying. This ship has exceeded our expectations. I love that even though they refurbished it, they have preserved the deck where you can walk around the whole ship outside and the stream/sauna changing room in the fitness center is still open to everyone. It doesn’t feel like the money grab that some do. The food has been consistently excellent, better than we expected, and the crew is always friendly and helpful. From what I have read about the Edge, which I never intend to cruise on, on this ship if you’re not in a suite you are not made to feel like a second class citizen. You have access to the bow and the balconies are still wonderful to step out on when you want to. Good for RCCL for keeping the good stuff and for their generous package of perks for frequent cruisers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose because, although this would be my first cruise. the other three people had previous good experiences with Princess. However, all four of us will NEVER sail with Princess again. From booking on there were problems. We were ... Read More
We chose because, although this would be my first cruise. the other three people had previous good experiences with Princess. However, all four of us will NEVER sail with Princess again. From booking on there were problems. We were misled on the use of on board credits; our free premium drink package was not honored until we proved it was legit; food was lukewarm on the buffets while the plates were scalding hot. One real danger to passengers: Princess is very misinformed about passport use. They claimed passports did not need to be carried with you off the ship, and were totally ignorant of when a passport needs to be stamped at entry. Almost got us arrested following their advice. Luckily, quite by accident, we met a Spanish immigration official in Barcelona who gave us the real information. But the real problem was with shore excursions. Be forewarned, Princess will not come to your aid if something goes wrong. Our tour guide went rogue. During the "kidnapping", I tried to call Princess. No phone numbers worked. Their offices were not open. When I finally got someone and gave all the info, including the location,tour number, my name, and all contact info, they hung up and failed to call back. Then for the next five days, they attempted to bury the incident. They never investigated. I forced their hand, and had meetings with all levels of management, including the captain, who took no responsibility and claimed that Princess would never cover up any incident. BTW, after this horrendous experience, I could not leave the ship due to panic attacks until we got to the end of the cruise. I was a prisoner in a billion dollar jail. All Princess staff claimed that no cover up was going on. They never investigated, even 30+ days later and never tried ANYTHING to help. They endangered my life and the lives of 40 other passengers, and showed nothing but neglect and indifference. Keep in mind that Princess Cruises was just fined $20 million dollars for covering up dumping waste in the Caribbean over a five year probationary period by falsifying records and lying during inspections. So the bottom line is: Princess just wants to cash in, and anything else can be bought off, even the health and safety of its passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as it ended up in Barcelona, after visiting the Azores, Madeira, Morocco, Seville, and Malaga. We had cruised on the Emerald a year earlier and were happy to see improvements (it had recently come from drydock). ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it ended up in Barcelona, after visiting the Azores, Madeira, Morocco, Seville, and Malaga. We had cruised on the Emerald a year earlier and were happy to see improvements (it had recently come from drydock). The upgrades in carpet, wall, flat screen TVs, and the buffet and bars on top were good. We were disappointed they had not yet fully implemented the new internet or on-demand TV. The internet was still terrible. I understand they expect to have those upgrades done by August. We had a mini-suite, as we had before. It was the same as before except for the TV upgrade. It was fine. However, the sofa was old, worn, stained and uncomfortable. Time for a replacement! I have loved Princess beds but this one felt too soft. (and I like soft beds)--time for a mattress replacement, I think. We felt food was a bit better than a year earlier. The pizza, source of endless debate was quite a bit better than the year before. Husband's theory is new, hotter pizza oven. It's still not top gourmet quality but was much better than last voyage. We still love the International Cafe. As always, nice tasty snacks and treats. They were even keeping the almond croissants warm in the oven (so much better that way). There is still too much blatant up selling for my taste, although it is reduced from in the past. The cruise tours were excellent. We often stick with Princess because they seem to have great itineraries and this was no exception. I forget her name but there were excellent destination lectures from a British woman, which were broadcast on TV. They were very well-done. Our cabin steward was one of the best we have ever had and the dining room staff were great. Read Less

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