1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Transatlantic Cruises
  4. Transatlantic Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
2,364
1,424
990
489
263
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We boarded in Barcelona on a Transatlantic to Brazil. To start applying for the Brazilian Visa was a big hassle which took over 3 weeks to finalize. Boarding process was not too bad but there were a lot of confusion at the beginning. ... Read More
We boarded in Barcelona on a Transatlantic to Brazil. To start applying for the Brazilian Visa was a big hassle which took over 3 weeks to finalize. Boarding process was not too bad but there were a lot of confusion at the beginning. Once on-board, the ship is showing its age but appears clean and staff is friendly. Our Jr. Suite was quite spacious but the TV was very small and dated. Our room attendant was very good but he never smiles. Our room was kept clean and all request was met promptly. The Dinning room is not up to par with other cruises. On the first day we waited for 20 minutes after being seated before we were finally handed a menu. No one came to introduce themselves or take our order until we flagged someone down. The food was always only lukewarm and quite tasteless and on one occasion was cold in the center. When we requested to have hot food and not just warm, the next day our plates were hot to touch but the food was still lukewarm. There seems to be a language problem between our waiters and the kitchen staff. Apparently, there were many complaints that our Waiter and Assistant did not speak Brazilian or Portuguese. A couple of his tables seldom came to the dinning room. There were many inexperience staff who apparently just joined the cruise ship and was still being trained each day. Some of the dining room staff told us that this is the first time on the cruise ship but they were restaurant workers in Brazil. We were told that the Brazilian Government requires the cruise line to hired at least 80 % Brazilian workers but it feels like there were at least 85-90%. If you did not speak Portuguese, some of the Portuguese speaking passenger did not want to speak to you. At one time our friends requested to be seated with a Portuguese speaking table for lunch and when she sat down to say her greetings in English all 8 people just stopped talking and not a word was spoken or attempted to communicate with her and her husband during the whole meal. The smoking in the Casino was so intense that smoke rafted from the Casino to the Centrum and up to all floors around the open Centrum. They used the casino smoking area as the smoking room. Guest where they put the casino smoking area - right at the only entrance to casino just off of the Centrum on deck 5. My eyes and throat was irritated and there was nothing they could do as the venting system was not strong enough to get rid of the smoke. They tried added some extra fans but it was not enough to make a difference. Passenger Service is located on the 5th floor next to the Casino and lining up there was a big problem and on top of this, there was a lot confusion as no one seem to know what is going on so long lineups all the time. It was impossible to speak with anyone in charge as they were always UNAVAILABLE. We finally did manage to speak with the manager of passenger services who really was not that interested but at the end admitted that the smoke is a problem but there was nothing she could do. She offered us dinning at the Chef's Table but never send us the official invitation. After tracking down several departments we found out that we were to meet at the "R" bar in the Centrum. Not my favorite place. This Chef's Table took a painful 4hr and 25 minutes for a set 5 course dinner with wine paring. The Chef would come out and tell you how he prepared the dishes right down to how long it took him to do this. It was very difficult understanding him and he spoke in a mono tone which did not help. By the time he finished talking and when we got our food, over 30 minutes has lapsed and the food was all lukewarm. The little potatoes and carrots were cold. The 5 course meal are basically a tasting menu. All sample size dishes. The best was the cream of celery soup served in a small 2 oz cup and when I asked if I could have some more was told they only make enough for the 14 of us at the table. I have a nut allergy and the dessert contain nuts so I was not able to try it out. A couple did not eat Beef which they were made aware right at the start so they were served Raw Tuna coated in some black and White coating. They were never given any choices of an alternative main course. Finally after everyone was finished they were served the Salmon dish which they have had from the Main Dining room. The cost of the Chef's table is $70 per person. For the first time we found the Buffet very acceptable and we ate there more than we ever did on other cruises. We really wanted to learn some Portuguese phases but unfortunately this did not happen as the scheduled times were always in conflict with other activities. The Crew Staff really tried hard to include everyone but the ratio of English to Portuguese and Brazilian is so overbearing that this did not happen. The billing system had many many errors. The communication between departments does not exist. We are Diamond members and apparently, most of our benefits are embedded into our room card. It definitely is NOT. Every few days we had to go down and have our account adjusted. We had all the supplies in our mini bar removed the first day but every 3-4 days we would be charged for all the drinks they already removed and new ones put in. Each time we had to phone them to remove the drinks and call passenger service to remove the charges. The English Compass and the Portuguese Compass is totally different. There were many activities on the Portuguese Compass that are not in the English version. Even on a listed English speaking activity it would be spoken 50/50 between English and Portuguese/Brazilian. On one occasion the Top Tier Event was scheduled at the same time as the Special talk on Rio. They finally agreed to schedule a second talk on Rio for the next day. This took over an hour of trying to find someone and convince them that the English speaking passengers really would like to hear the Speaker and also be able to attend the Top Tier Event. Workers in the shops are mainly Brazilian who does not speak that much English. Sales etc listed in the English Version of the Compass was not passed on to the Staff. What entertainment we attended was really good but because we tried to stay away from the Theater due to all the smoke from the Casino we did not get to see as many of the shows as we would have like to see. The D'Grooveline Band was great and we enjoyed many hours of dancing to their music. They were the only band that played a wide variety of dance music and not just Salsa. All the other bands mostly plays Brazilian type music and sang mostly in Brazilian. We did enjoyed learning many Brazilian dances from the Crew Staff in the Centrum. They really worked hard trying to please all the passengers. They were fabulous. There were a lot of hustling constantly to sell Specialty Dinning. There was not a day without being approach by someone trying to convince you to go to one of them. The Ports in Brazil is really not ready to receive tourist. There are a lot of construction every where especially around Rio where we had to walk for blocks on uneven broken up grounds. There were no directions on where to go and even people on the tours from the cruise ships were wandering everywhere not knowing where to go.Thank goodness we had arranged a private tour and our tour guide found us at the pier and guided us through all the Chaos. We were told by our tour guides that it is unsafe to go shopping in the downtown area hence we were not allowed to stop in the Market Place in downtown Rio. A big disappointment! We bought our flights from RC when we booked our cruise and the itinerary which I printed one week prior to the cruise did not show we had a stop in New York. We found this out at the airport in Sao Paulos. We rechecked our 3 bags in New York for Toronto and two of our bags went missing and it took 4 days to get them back. In summary, we really did not enjoy this cruise and this is our 63rd cruise. I feel totally drained and it will be a while before I would consider any other RC cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was the 3rd RCI cruise of the year for my wife and I, the others were on the Allure and the Explorer. We were concerned that this Vision class ship might be too small in comparison to the others and we were a bit concerned as to how ... Read More
This was the 3rd RCI cruise of the year for my wife and I, the others were on the Allure and the Explorer. We were concerned that this Vision class ship might be too small in comparison to the others and we were a bit concerned as to how stable it would be crossing the Atlantic to Brazil as my wife suffers if the seas are rough. It was actually fine. The worst bit turned out to be between Barcelona and Madeira (we were due to land in Madeira by tender but the wind/seas were too strong) and then on to Gran Canaria. A little rocky for a day or two but no real problems. Once we sailed South from Gran Canaria the seas settled and as we crossed the Equator the seas were like glass! It took a while to grow into this ship, it does suffer from engine vibrations on the upper pool decks, but our inside cabin on deck 3 was fine and we slept well. Comparisons are inevitable and this ship does not compare with the might of the Allure and other more modern RCI ships, however, it does have a charm of its own. The Solarium is a great area on cloudy sea days as it is totally indoors and warm, and serves great salads and soups from its Park Cafe. The entertainment team worked their socks off to keep everyone entertained during the 16 day cruise, catering for the English speaking and Portuguese speaking 50/50 split. There was a great fiesta culture on board with lots of pool side dancing by the Brazilians and others on board and lots of quizzes, etc indoors, we enjoyed it thoroughly. The evening entertainment was overall the best we've seen on this our 6th RCI cruise. No, it doesn't have big production shows like the newer ships but we enjoyed what was on offer just as much. This is the first RCI ship we've sailed without a central Promenade and we wondered how this Centrum idea on the Vision class might compare. In the end we loved it as it was the hub of the ship and full of music most of the day and evening and the entertainment staff worked the area a treat with game shows and competitions. Overall a very enjoyable cruise and our two visits to Chops Grill were a delight as ever. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Four years ago my husband and I took a repositioning cruise on RCCL's Vision of the Seas, from Rio to Lisbon. We had such a relaxing, wonderful time that this year we decided to repeat the experience, and take the repositioning ... Read More
Four years ago my husband and I took a repositioning cruise on RCCL's Vision of the Seas, from Rio to Lisbon. We had such a relaxing, wonderful time that this year we decided to repeat the experience, and take the repositioning cruise from Barcelona to Rio on RCCL's Rhapsody of the Seas. Overall, we had a good time — we were lucky to have been assigned a cabin in a quiet part of the ship, and our cabin attendant (Marly) was wonderful. But we should have had a better time. Our biggest beef — forgive the pun — was with the Main Dining Room. We were quite taken aback at being made to feel like criminals every day because we requested a table for two. We were met with frowns, made to wait, told that the tables for two were "like gold," and asked if we wouldn't mind sharing a table for ten. Every day we had to go through this conversation, until finally we began eating in the Windjammer at night, just to get away from the uncomfortable way we were made to feel by the dining room's keeper of the gate. These repositioning cruises are bargains, and I've read many reviews from people complaining about being nickled-and-dimed once on board. But it's not the nickle-and-diming that rankled my husband and me, it was the aggressive hustling, either by representatives of the specialty restaurants who interrupted our meals in the main dining room to try and get us to reserve with them, or the guy who interrupted our lunch with a breezy, "I see you're drinking wine, we have a wine-tasting today, it's just a small fee . . ." It was hustle, hustle, hustle, everywhere we turned, and I don't remember that from Vision of the Seas. Since the Main Dining Room on Vision of the Seas was able to serve very high-caliber, flavorful food, we were disappointed at how bland the Rhapsody's MDR food was. When the menu says harissa, the result shouldn't taste like barbecue sauce. Too much sugar, too little spice. Our advice is to go up to the Windjammer where they were much less afraid of herbs and spices. My husband and I are Americans, but we live in Brazil. We speak both English and Portuguese, as did many of our fellow passengers, so we were surprised at the separation of Portuguese speakers from English speakers. For example, the English Cruise Compass never listed the activities that were to be held in Portuguese only, and visa versa. But there were activities in Portuguese that we would have enjoyed participating in, and didn't learn about until after the fact. Sorry we didn't catch on until very late in the cruise. Finally, I want to address some of the contradictions I read both in other reviews and on the RCC website as to what actually is the norm on board the Rhapsody: My Time Dining — our booking agent said the Rhapsody didn't have MTD, so we didn't sign up for it. But it turns out that they did offer it. There was no big problem signing up, but it would have been easier had we been signed up for MTD prior to embarkation. No reason this information should not have been known. Wine & Dine package — We read all over the Internet that the W&D package had been discontinued on all RCC ships, and this was confirmed by an RCC customer service person with whom we spoke by phone prior to embarkation. NOT TRUE. Rhapsody offered two wine packages: you can buy five bottles at $140 or seven bottles at $190. Why should this have been such a secret? In addition, you CAN bring two bottles of wine on board at embarkation only, they can be drunk anywhere on the ship, and there is NO corkage fee to open them. You can bring bottles of water on board at any time during the cruise. Why is this information not readily available? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 17th cruise - 4th on Oceania. The food was very good for the most part and in perfect portions for multiple-course meals (with the exception of perhaps one overzealous cook who seemed to greatly overcook the fish fillets ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise - 4th on Oceania. The food was very good for the most part and in perfect portions for multiple-course meals (with the exception of perhaps one overzealous cook who seemed to greatly overcook the fish fillets from time to time). As I heard one chef say a few years ago: "If I want overcooked fish, I'll open a can!" The ship is beautiful and sails like a dream. We were very fortunate to have great weather and mostly calm seas for the entire crossing/voyage. This was not, however, Oceania's finest moment. Many of the guests commented on experiencing inconsistent service which we noticed also. About 800 of the ~1100 guests on board were repeat cruisers and many had the same issues. And it was not confined to one area. It was in the all dining rooms, Guest Services, and even stateroom attention. Occasionally we experienced very long wait times between ordering, receiving courses, refilling water glasses, bringing dessert and usually coffee never made it to the table. We went to the Grand dining room on one occasion three days in a row and amazingly ended up with the same server. The first day he brought my husband the wrong entree, the second day the wrong soup, the third day the wrong dessert. How does this happen? And needless to say, coffee never arrived. We were very pleasant with him about it and we all laughed (including him) but really! At the start of the cruise, we noticed that attention to detail was missing in our stateroom. Initial welcome-aboard documents were incomplete, batteries for the remote control, in-room safe etc. needed replacement. The night light in the washroom didn't work, the carpet was dirty. I'm not fussy, but walking barefoot was uncomfortable. In fairness, after mentioning it they actually sent people in to shampoo the whole carpet. The atmosphere on board was mostly professional but not warm. Many staff seemed to be going through the motions of doing their jobs but not necessarily pleased about it. It crossed my mind that maybe they were having a labor slowdown. We met a multiple-repeat couple on board whom we knew from the prior cruise and they commented on this and noticed there was not the usual ambience. It was clearly not to our and many people's high expectations and prior experiences on Oceania. We had noticed at the beginning of the cruise that the staff were not diligent in encouraging hand sanitizing - as a result, many people just walked by the sanitizers which were hiding discreetly on the wall - and didn't sanitize. Needless to say, there was a Noro virus outbreak which quickly got out of control. Ultimately there were 74 guests and 12 staff who came down with it. Thankfully we escaped it. So, for much of the cruise, staff were then required, in addition to their normal duties, to sanitize walls, chair arms, handrails, doorknobs etc. Many times we'd go to our stateroom to use the toilet and the seat would be soaking wet with disinfectant. There was a continual unpleasant smell of disinfectant cleaners throughout the ship. We paid extra for our stateroom in order to avail ourselves of the Concierge Lounge. Since snacks and other usual food items were non-existent and we didn't use the concierge himself, this so called benefit was not worth the money. We were scheduled to dock in Bermuda for two days but due to the outbreak, Bermuda's Health Dept. denied the ship entry. So instead of five straight days at sea, we had seven (which became two too many). Then we docked in Nassau for two days instead. Needless to say, immigration in Miami took longer than usual to get the ship cleared. Again the Cruise Director thanked us endlessly for our patience which by this time was wearing quite thin for many people. While I recognize the extra work, stress and pressure this put on the staff, it changed the environment and many of the food services on the ship. Oceania was very apologetic to everyone as they indicated to us that this was not the cruise we had expected but that their staff was working very hard as a result. At the end of the cruise, the Cruise Director suggested that we should rate them on their effort (rather than the results, I guess.) They did not offer any type of goodwill compensation (some people thought a complimentary drink might be nice but was not to be until future cruises it seems). Some guests said that apologies only go so far. Expectations from repeat cruisers and first-timers alike is very high and some were not happy at all. It is not a cheap cruise line. I wouldn't doubt that they will receive many negative end-of-cruise surveys and Oceania may likely blame it all on the outbreak, but clearly there were more issues going on than just that. In that they haven't acknowledged the fact that they have so many disgruntled guests by contacting them and apologizing is inexcusable. It would make good business sense to offer those of us involved a token of compensation such as a $100 shipboard credit for the next cruise. This would appease a lot of people and perhaps they would retain valued repeat customers as well as first-timers who left likely never to return. As for me, it'll be awhile before I consider trying Oceania again. Thankfully there are other options. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We were aboard the Riviera for the Transatlantic crossing Barcelona to Miami. We have done 10 previous cruises but this was our first cruise with Oceania and we were expecting a special experience as we were celebrating my husbands ... Read More
We were aboard the Riviera for the Transatlantic crossing Barcelona to Miami. We have done 10 previous cruises but this was our first cruise with Oceania and we were expecting a special experience as we were celebrating my husbands 65th. We really enjoy the relaxing aspect of transatlantic trips. In April we took a Princess's transatlantic and despite not being able to dock in Bermuda due to bad weather it was a wonderful experience. Prior to departing we discovered that we had been upgraded from an inside cabin to a veranda. The room was ready shortly after we arrived and the cabin staff were wonderful through out the trip. Our booking came with ship credits as well as one from our travel agent which was missing from our room. When we inquired I was asked for proof and luckily I had all my emails with me. It still took several days for it to appear. The cruise had a number of features we appreciate. We enjoyed the fact that no photography staff were hounding us for photos that we seldom buy. The Library was well stocked and the specialty coffee bar was one of our favorite stops. Part of package was free internet. The connection was slow but Robert the computer room attendant was patient and helpful to everyone who asked for help. One of the first people we met was the cruise director Ray Michaels and despite other comments we found him to be friendly and helpful. The gym facilities were nice and the staff friendly but I found most of the quests had no idea how to use the facilities. Very few of my fellow guest bothered to wipe down equipment after using it. I was one of the guest who became ill during the crossing. At the beginning I thought it was something I ate and stayed in my cabin. On day 2 of the illness I went to the medical center and then realized we had a outbreak. The medical staff provided Imodium and asked me to stay in my cabin for 24 hours. The Doctor was not exactly warm or friendly. I was asked to list everything I had done for the previous 4 days along with where and what I ate. I was given a limited list of food I could eat from room service. Room service trays arrived at the room covered in plastic with a bio-hazard bag to place it in when finished. The first night I ordered grilled chicken and rice. After waiting 45 minutes the food arrived with the chicken not completely cooked and the raw juice running into the rice. After 24 hours I received 2 calls from staff and received very different information as to when I was cleared to leave the room. Turns out someone other than medical staff had made the first call and I was basically confined to my room for another day and the nurse had no idea who would have called. Definitely seemed to be a lack of coordination. During my confinement we had to cancel a dinner reservation for Red Ginger. We were given an alternate day. When no card arrived confirming our time, we went to the desk and were told we did not have a reservation. That was the one place we had looked forward eating at. After being released we stopped going to the buffet and used mainly the main dining room. Service for breakfast and lunch was hit or miss. Some were quick and attentive while others seemed lost and over whelmed. On disembarking I can say that those who were ill were not given any special treatment. We were in the same long, unorganized lines. No ofer of compensation were given to those who were ill during the trip. One of my other complaints was our airfare was included. We were forced to pay for our luggage despite the fact that we checked them in directly back to Canada. The flight they booked for us had a 4 hour stop in Philadelphia when others from our city were put on direct flights. Not sure that I would recommend Oceania to a friend. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Just returned from the 11/18 Transatlantic sailing onboard the Riviera. The ship is beautiful, the crew was attentive, and to food was good. Warning: If you are an O cheerleader and don’t want to read anything negative about O, don’t ... Read More
Just returned from the 11/18 Transatlantic sailing onboard the Riviera. The ship is beautiful, the crew was attentive, and to food was good. Warning: If you are an O cheerleader and don’t want to read anything negative about O, don’t read any further! This review is meant to share our experience from our perspective. By way of introduction, we are in our 60’s and have been on 70+ cruises. This was our 3rd cruise on an O ship (Regatta twice before). We have been fortunate to have been able to enjoy the PH suite and OS on Regatta, and the OC on this sailing. We have also been fortunate over the years to have sailed with Seabourn, Regent and Silversea, HAL, Celebrity, Princess, etc. I include this to give the reader perspective. Embarkation: Was extremely smooth in Barcelona, although there were those that “stormed” the check-in even though their group was not called. As OC guests, we were able to board at 11:00 and immediately occupy our suite. OC Suite: We were in 12017 next to the Artist’s Loft. The accommodations were amazing! The suite was spacious and beautifully appointed, even nicer than the photos. The beds and bedding were the nicest we have ever experienced on any ship or even 5 star hotel. The bathroom was huge and had giant bath sheets, plush robes, and every Bulgari amenity that you could imagine. While some don’t care for the media room, we enjoyed it and used it. The verandah was the entire length of the suite and had its own spa tub and outdoor TV. Everything worked perfectly. Butler service: Our butter, Xavier, was the best we have ever had on any ship. (I know, everyone thinks their butler is the best!) He called our suite shortly after embarking to insure that our luggage had been delivered as promised. He set up a time to come to our suite to introduce himself. When he arrived, he asked us to have a seat on our sofa and he went over everything in the suite and gave us an overview his duties, outlined his services, and differentiated which services he would perform as opposed to those of our stewardess. He took our order for our bar set-up and asked us where we were dining that evening. He observed that we had brought several bottle of Spanish wines and cava onboard and indicated that he would deliver the wines to our dining venue each evening. He also took our order for our daily newspapers, showed us where to find the menus for all the restaurants, and told us to call him if we needed anything at all or had any questions. On several occasions, he met us at our door and walked us to our dining venue! We were impressed. Stewardess: Our stewardess, Angelica and her team (she had 2 assistants), were amazing. She also came to our suite to introduce herself and to review her duties and services. She said she likes to see her guests every day and said she would be sure to stop by to check on us daily. She, too, asked us to be sure to call her if we needed anything. We were shocked when she told us that she changes the linens daily. We don’t remember that ever happening on any cruise, including O. The linens were so wonderful and crisp, we could hardly wait to go to bed or take a nap! Her team washed the verandah every day, including the glass doors. Just stellar. Ports: As this was a crossing, we only stopped in Cartagena, Malaga, Funchal, and Nassau (we were supposed to over night in Bermuda— more on that later). We had been to all of these ports on previous cruises, but enjoyed being able to leisurely walk around and just enjoy the vibe of the cities. They all have something very interesting to offer and there is a lot to do if you are so inclined. Food: Food is very subjective and everyone has different tastes. We had found the food to be excellent on the Regatta and expected the same on the Riviera. We would give the food a solid B. Certainly better than the “mainstream” lines, but not the quality of a premium line. The disappointment was in the inconsistencies. We were entitled to 2 reservations in each specialty restaurant. Each time was different in service and quality, except for Red Ginger which was always consistent (we dined there on 3 occasions). Waves: The best surf and turf sandwich on the ocean! Great burgers and fries, and of course the ice cream! On most visits, the service was good, at other times they couldn’t get their act together and everyone was frustrated. Terrace Cafe: The buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner were really nice with plenty of variety at each meal. We were especially surprised at how much we enjoyed our one dinner there. The service was consistently excellent. The only issue was those pushy guests who couldn’t wait their turn, were very demanding of the staff, or who grabbed the utensils and attempted to serve themselves. Grand Dining Room: Lunch was served every day which was really nice if you wanted to dine there. The lunch menus were standard cruise ship fare and the service was excellent. The dinner menus were ordinary with flowery descriptions of pretty ordinary dishes. Cafe Jacques: We were on an O Jacques Pepin cruise and I don't think he would be completely pleased with his namesake restaurant. The first time there, we were really disappointed On our second visit, we had a lovely dinner. Toscana: Again, one night it was good and the other night it was poor. The schtick in this venue is the bread selection and the olive oil and balsamic vinegar served by the oil and vinegar “sommelier.” We asked him what he thought was the best and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, I don’t know. (He is also the barista by day.) Our second night there, the waiter was not good and inattentive. Red Ginger: We thought this was the best dining venue. The service was excellent and consistent. Everyone talked about the Spicy Duck and Watermelon salad and the sea bass, so we had to try them. They were to die for! As we were able to dine there 3 times, we had a variety of dishes and enjoyed everything. The Red Ginger manager really runs a well oiled machine and it was up to the quality we experienced on our previous O cruises. Polo Grill: This is a typical steak house and the menu reflected that. The service was horrible, both times! This restaurant is poorly managed and the wait staff and assistants did not work as a team. Empty tables around us with dirty dishes sat uncleared throughout our entire meal. The appetizers were cold as well as the vegetable sides, — both times! We didn’t send them back because, again, we couldn’t get anyone’s attention and we weren’t in the mood to wait for new dishes. Privée: We were invited to a hosted dinner in this lovely room. The service is outstanding and the attention to detail is evident. Privée is located behind and between Toscana and Polo Grill, so guests are invited to order off either or both menus to mix and match. The food and quality were the same as the restaurants, but the service was impeccable. However, the huge chairs are so uncomfortable it is difficult to sit for very long much less be able to reach the table to eat comfortably. (This was a comment shared by all in attendance, but not shared with our host!) Personally, I don’t know why one would need to pay for a private dining room for the same food as the restaurants, but to each his own. La Reserve: We did not dine in this venue Room Service: We ordered breakfast in our suite almost every day. We were able to order off the dining room breakfast menu which our butler left on the dining table each evening. This is something we really enjoy on a cruise and our butler made it perfect. We wanted to take advantage of our beautiful suite and dining area, so we ate dinner in the suite one evening as well. Xavier served us course by course and it was one of the best meals we had on the cruise. We also ate lunch in our suite two times and both times it was better than in the dining room. Service was prompt and our orders were perfect. Wine Stewards/Sommeliers: We spent a week in Spain prior to the cruise and purchased wines to drink onboard. We were happy to pay the $25 corkage and all of the wine stewards were gracious about serving our wines (and enjoyed tasting them as well!). Our butler arranged to have the wines waiting in each dining venue, with the exception of one night when they couldn’t find our wine for almost 30 minutes (they read the suite number as a “1” and not a “7”). However, after profuse apologies from all the staff, the wine was found, served, and the corkage fee waived! One thing we really appreciated was that the bar staff never “pushed” drinks, but they were always available and ready to serve you when you wanted them. Executive Lounge: It was nice to grab a cappuccino every so often, but we didn't need it due to being in a suite. Nothing special and everything there was available elsewhere on the ship. Perhaps it would be nice if you needed the services of the Concierge. Cruise Director: We had prior experience with the cruise director on a Seabourn Cruise. He is really “blah.” Yes, he was out and about, but never seemed to be engaged with the passengers. His announcements were nothing but reading the daily Compass. He read the same announcements over and over. Entertainment: We enjoy dining late, so we only saw a couple of snippets of production shows. There seemed to be a lot of activities going on, but we did not participate, so I can’t comment. The enrichment lectures were boring and lecturers simply read their power point presentations. While we did not participate in the Culinary Classes, we met people who did. One couple thought it was an absolute waste of time and money and another couple had a great time. The Artist on board was very popular as were his classes. Being next door to the Artist’s Loft, we observed a great deal of activity with a lot of enthusiasm by the participants. Captain: To some passengers, a warm and friendly captain means a lot. The captain, who was leaving the Riviera after 4 years (he was the original Captain) barely spoke. His noon announcements from the bridge were nothing but reading the same information on the TV screen. He never said good afternoon, enjoy your day, have a nice trip, nothing. The only time he said anything was during the 4th day of the Noro outbreak. The Noro Outbreak: As most people know, Noro is not a shipboard disease, but a common virus that can be found in schools, hospitals, movie theaters, etc. It was certainly not O’s fault that there was an outbreak. What can be attributed to O was how they handled it. There was NO information for several days during the initial outbreak. Passengers knew something was going on because there cleaning brigades constantly all over the ship and in every venue. When the corridors and cabin doors were being sprayed with this sticky substance, you knew something was amiss. But still no word, just a reminder to use the hand sanitizers. Then there was an announcement by the Captain that there was, indeed, a Noro outbreak and that the numbers of cases required notification to the CDC as well as other international disease control authorities. Everyone was given a bottle of sanitizing spray to carry around, and salt & pepper shakes and creamers disappeared from the Terrace Cafe. However, we found it strange that everything remained the same at Waves and in the all the other dining venues. Even the plastic bottles of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise were left on the tables outside at Waves — and NOT cleaned after people left the tables. (I sprayed them with our handy bottle of sanitizer!) Passengers were encouraged to go to the medical center for a complimentary “evaluation” and then discovered that they were billed for tests and/or treatment. This could have been explained better. I could go on and on, but suffice to say it was not handled well. While some areas of the ship were being cleaned, other areas remained sadly lacking. The biggest issue was lack of communication. Nothing in writing either… only an occasional PA announcement to wash your hands and use the hand sanitizers. Late in the game, they posted waiters at the entrance to the Terrace Grill, and the Grand Dining Room to ensure that people were using the hand sanitizer….. but not in the specialty restaurants! On day 10 of the cruise at dinner time, the Captain made an announcement that due to the number of cases of Noro, the ship was denied landing in Bermuda and that we would sail for 2 more days to Nassau and over night there before sailing back to Miami. Nothing else; just sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment. By now, the natives were getting restless. This I attribute to the lack of information and poor communication. I think if people knew what was REALLY going on, instead of depending upon the rumor mill for information, a lot of anxiety could have been allayed. You can only imagine the stories that were circulating. We were on another cruise line where there was a Noro outbreak of which we were victims. It was handled very differently — and much better,as well as at no personal expense. Fortunately, we were able to stay healthy throughout this cruise. We avoided public areas as well as the buffet and Waves as much as possible. Needles to say, this put quite a damper on the cruise. And if you liked shell fish or your enjoyed your entrées cooked medium or rare— forget about it. Everything was only cooked well-done and there was no shell fish. Again, not O’s fault, just the way it was handled. THE END OF THE CRUISE: This is probably the most disappointing part of the entire trip. We loved the ship, thought our suite was spectacular, and the crew and service great. In spite of the Noro outbreak, we still had an enjoyable cruise…. until the last couple of days. There was a sense (and this was discussed among all the passengers) that O was DONE with US and it was time to prepare the ship for the inspections in Miami and get the ship ready for the next cruise. The hell with all of us. The service slowed down, as the crew were all busy prepping for the Miami arrival and the inspectors coming onboard. Even our butler and stewardess changed, and they looked embarrassed. On the last day, many things were removed from the cabins and suites. In our suite, they took away all the silver trays, replaced the plush towels with ONE bath and one hand towel each, and even took away our ice bucket! I was told that some passengers came back to their cabins and PH suites to find that even the extra roll of toilet paper was removed! Our butler took our personal items (some wine and water) out of the mini-fridge and cleaned it and stocked it for the next sailing. I promptly put our items back (I like cold water and there was no ice!) and I used some of the sparkling water that been stocked for the incoming guests. Holy Cow — we paid a lot of money for this suite — this was unacceptable for ANY accommodation. Disembarkation: This was a mess! We were advised by our butler that the entire crew was required to go personally to US Immigration, as this was the first US port. We know this drill from past TA’s. This takes time as EVERY crew member must appear in person. We were also told by our stewardess, that all of the “patients” who were either still ill, or previously ill with Noro, would be disembarked first before the rest of the passengers to minimize exposure to the virus in the terminal. We expected a very late disembarkation, but actually it started relatively soon after 8:00am. However, there was NO organization to the process. Once the first group was called, there was a mad dash to the gangway. People were shoving and fighting to get out. There was no line, there were no ropes to mark lanes, nothing. Just pushing and shoving. As US citizens, we were able to breeze through C&I. However, there were not enough agents for the non-US citizens and they were stuck in long lines. This is not O’s fault, but insensitive on the part of US Immigration. We were so happy to get off the ship, we could hardly wait to get to our hotel for the night. This is not the way to end a cruise. We should have been melancholy about disembarking with great anticipation for our next O cruise. Instead, when we got to our hotel, we called out TA and cancelled our May cruise on the Marina. We initially scoffed at the comments that people had made claiming that NCL would change O (Carnival did not change Seabourn, so we thought we were safe) and we thought that FDR would ensure that his “baby” would continue to provide an exceptional product; but the way the Noro outbreak was handled and the way we were treated at the end of the cruise left a bad taste in our mouths. I know the the O cheerleaders who decided to read this review in spite of the warning will disagree with everything I wrote, but this is our experience and our opinion. Fortunately there are plenty of cruise lines and lots of ships to choose from. PS- as I write this review I read that the virus is back on board the Riviera (maybe it never left) and that not only was embarkation delayed for the next sailing, but the ship is on what one person described as “lock down” for the foreseeable future. Bummer! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Having cruised on NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Disney and Holland America LIne (cruise line of choice of late), we were looking forward to our experience on Riviera and our "step up" from mass market lines to Premier cruising on O. ... Read More
Having cruised on NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Disney and Holland America LIne (cruise line of choice of late), we were looking forward to our experience on Riviera and our "step up" from mass market lines to Premier cruising on O. We researched so that we would be familiar with Oceania and planned what we thought would be nice change from what we were used to on other cruise lines. Our embarkation was very smooth and rooms were ready at 1:00 p.m. Our room was very, very nice (PH), well laid out, tons of outlets, beautiful bathroom, huge walk in closet, etc. Everything you could ask for. The ship is very pretty as well. What we were to discover is that although the cabins and ship are lovely, it was all looks and no substance. Service was very inconsistent on the ship. While there were some good waiters and crew, the poor, uncaring ones outnumbered them. It could be difficult to find a table in the Terrace Grill as tables were not cleared off and left with dirty dishes. Service in the specialty restaurants was the same. The only waiter who asked if we were enjoying our meal was in Jacques (along with one waiter in the GDR). In the rest of the restaurants, we were ignored, left to sit with dirty plates for over 45 minutes on several occasions. (This included Polo where one of our table mates could not eat any of his meal and it sat there on his plate staring at him). Speaking to the restaurant managers did little to improve the situation. While we did not enjoy our meal in Red Ginger, our friends who had a different waiter did. Our food had most likely sat under a heat lamp far too long and suffered accordingly. Their service was far better than ours. So, you could be in the same restaurant at the same time and have a totally different experience because of the inconsistency in the service. Jacques was fabulous as was the service there. Highly recommend. We also did La Reserve and Privee and these were very good. Fabulous service and food. Both of these come at a cost, but the service and experience were certainly worth it. Overall, the ship does not deliver the gastronomy experience and service that it promotes. Other than the few exceptions mentioned, we have had better service on mass market lines. Sadly, Noro raised it ugly head on this cruise. Now, we have been on Noro ships before and it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It can put a bit of a damper on things but normally these outbreaks are handled well. This was not the case on our cruise. Management was non - existent. No communication other than to say we were over 2%. While the ship closed the self serve laundries, other than applying goop on surfaces, little else was done. Pool, hot tub, casino, computer room, library all remained open for everyone to touch. Worse, the silverware, cutlery, glasses were all out in the open at both Waves and the Terrace Grill. Food was placed out prior to 5:00 a.m. (Pastries, fruits, etc.) in Waves and the Terrace Grill uncovered and unprotected. Salt and pepper remained on the tables along with the sugar cubes in the GDR, etc. Tea cups in Horizons are out long before tea time for anyone to touch or handle. No wonder the ship couldn't defeat Noro. Looking back, I am not surprised at the Noro outbreak since the Culinary Class chef was allowing people who were coughing to take the class despite the health stipulation you must sign to take the class. Service continued to deteriorate to the point that when we received our mid cruise survey, a letter requesting a meeting with the GM was sent to discuss issues. We received a form letter back and were unsuccessful at a meeting. O's management stuck their heads in the sand and left the passengers in the dark. Had they communicated it would have improved things somewhat. A lot of new crew boarded in Barcelona and while the tendency is to blame the new crew, the ones we met were the ones giving the good service. Many of us were disappointed with the last minute announcement (at dinner time the night before we were to dock) that Bermuda's Ministry of Health had refused the Riviera permission to dock. (We were supposed to have a two day stay here.) That was more revealing than any information the ship had provided to us. This added two sea days to our Transatlantic crossing so instead of 5 days at sea, we were 7 days. There were no special events or additional activities planned for these two days. Same old, same old. There was no token apology as you see on other cruise lines. No opening of bars, not even a cheap glass of sparkling wine. It just appeared that no one in management cared, so why should the rest of the staff? In fact, passengers nearly got treated as nuisances as our cruise was drawing to a close. Disembarkation was horrific. I have never seen such a bad one. People came from every crevice on the ship trying to get in the line. There was little staff there to keep things organized so it took far longer than it should have. Inconsistency is a huge issue on this ship. If you luck into the right waiters, you can have a great experience on this ship. If you don't......beware - like us, you may feel you didn't get what you paid for. Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
After you have cruised many times with different cruise lines, I think you start asking yourself why you choose a particular cruise line instead of the others. In our case a very important role is the itinerary and the price-value ... Read More
After you have cruised many times with different cruise lines, I think you start asking yourself why you choose a particular cruise line instead of the others. In our case a very important role is the itinerary and the price-value relationship. Nowadays many cruise lines travel the itinerary that we want to travel to very reasonable prices. We do choose however MSC cruises over other cruise lines for the transatlantic crossings because of some reasons: 1) we like those long journeys from Europe to South America and vice versa on well appointed and modern ships like the MSC Splendida, 2) we enjoy the Italian way of cruising with Italian music and Italian food, 3) we like very much the activities on board, specially Tai Chi with well qualified instructors, which makes a crossing very pleasant and contributes to our well being, 4) we enjoy the shows and the entertainment and 5) we look forward for the changing regional food offerings. Our crossing with the MSC Splendida from Genoa to Santos met those criteria. We have enjoyed the crossing. Our cabin 11132 was a good midship cabin. We have appreciated the effort of the cabin attendant, of the waiters, of the crew members and of the officers. We have not missed one Tai Chi lesson. We have enjoyed the Brazilian singers at the main lobby every evening and we have loved the elegance of the ship. We do find however, that there is room for improvement in some areas. For example the dancing music was according to our opinion, way to slow and repetitive. There was a duo in one small venue, which was also kind of a walking path, which alternated the music with a solo singer every evening. This place was actually the only place to dance before 22.00 pm and unfortunately, during the whole transatlantic, every evening the music was the same, slow and boring. What a pity... We felt like zombies moving at the rhythm of a music played without much enthusiasm as if the players would have been instructed to play music to listen but not to dance. Unfortunately in the after lounge the band there, according to our opinion, did not really manage to motivate public to dance. There were dance lessons at 20.30 pm more or less. What an odd time for dance lessons...at that time people should be able to dance, not to wait for some dance lessons to end. Once the dance lessons finished, and the band took over, again many people left, because the music was not very conducive. Now we are talking about a public in which the majority were Brazilians, who dance well and happily. Where were they? Listening to very good Brazilian music at the lobby. The two duos were excelent. Why were the two duos always in the lobby and did not change place to another venue, in which people could dance? I am sure the lovely bosa nova, which they were playing would have brought many people, including us, to the dance floor. Another thing that we have missed was the classic music at the lobby. This is also from our perspective another value added from MSC Cruises in their journeys (we consider Tai Chi another main value added). No one used that grand piano at the lobby, although there were a pianist and a violin player, which could have provided for good entertainment. Another area of improvement lies on the wines offered as part of the inclusive package. Without being exceptionally good, they are Ok for no more than one week, but if you are doing a crossing of at least 18 nights, it is extremely boring to always be offered the same wine. Is it really so difficult to offer other wines for a similar price as part of the inclusive package? Other cruise lines change the wines after a couple of days, so I guess it might be possible. Another small issue, is that in our previous cruises with the Splendida, we remember hearing the lovely Italian song "Com te partiro" when the ship was leaving a port. This was nice and became something to look forward to it. Other cruise lines, play other songs, for example Crystal Cruises always plays "What a wonderful world". Unfortunately on the crossing in November with the Splendida, there was no song played in every port. I think only once was played "Com te partiro" in Brazilian waters. It is a pity because hearing to a particular song, makes leaving the port so much nicer and every time that song plays outside a cruise ship, we evoke the sailings... Despite the points listed as having room for improvement, we have enjoyed our crossing. We wish to thank those hard working crew members, members of the entertainment team and officers, who always make a cruise, a special one for us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
First, we have been on ten O cruises (over 30 total) so there are grounds for a fair comparison and constructive criticism. The cruise as a whole was disappointing and in many respects discouraging. As long-time fans of Oceania, we ... Read More
First, we have been on ten O cruises (over 30 total) so there are grounds for a fair comparison and constructive criticism. The cruise as a whole was disappointing and in many respects discouraging. As long-time fans of Oceania, we have always been amazed at the high quality service and the never-failing cheerfulness of the staff. Both aspects were sadly missing on this cruise. In fact, the service we experienced was unexceptional. In a number of instances, service was clearly unacceptable. Wait staff in the Terrace Café was often unfriendly and sometimes downright surly. It was not unusual for us to sit for 10 minutes at a table without a staff member or floor manager coming by to ask if we wanted water, coffee or juice. We walked out of the Terrace several times at breakfast after we sat ignored while other tables with guests arriving after us received attentive service. It was not an uncommon sight in the Terrace to see dirty dishes and glasses sitting atop tables for an extended period. In the Grand Dining Room, lunch and breakfast service was disorganized and, once again, very slow. Our orders took a long time to be delivered. Several orders were missing items (such as French fries with a sandwich!) or it was difficult to get the attention of floor staff to refill our water glasses and coffee cups. Again, it was apparent to us and many others insufficient staff members were assigned to service guests and those who were assigned appeared poorly trained or newly arrived. Service did not reflect the standards we have come to expect from Oceania. We understand the Noro outbreak imposed additional demands on the crew. However, prior to the outbreak, we felt the ship was understaffed and service was, in many but not all instances, sullen and unresponsive. Management – from the GM down - were not evident supervising and remedying obvious service shortcomings. This was not what we have come to expect from Oceania. We would place an order or request a basic item (such as mustard or Tabasco) and it would take a long time or our request was ignored. Service in Martini’s Lounge was abysmal. Bar staff would stand around chatting with each other while many guests sat without being served during Happy Hour. For a transatlantic cruise with five consecutive sea days (which became seven when Bermuda refused the ship entry), activities on board were sparse or just inane. On previous crossings, onboard activities were far more plentiful and thoughtful. Perhaps the Cruise Director lacked creativity or failed to make a modicum of effort. Bean bag tossing, ping pong & needlepoint do not fill an empty schedule. We have never been bored on a cruise before – this was like watching paint dry. The “special” movies showings were dated films that were out of place on an upscale ship when presented in the Theater. Musicians – the String Quartet, lounge pianist, vocalist – were often out of tune and unlistenable. The band and jazz trio in Horizons were very good. We were surprised at the number of errors in the daily newspaper. The paper omitted certain scheduled items or the information printed was incorrect. How does that happen? We have never experienced that sort of sloppiness before. Our disappointment was not the widespread outbreak of Noro virus. That has happened on other cruises we have taken. Our disappointment was the way management communicated to guests – more precisely, failed to communicate - the situation and steps taken to curb the outbreak. The slapdash, amateurish approach ship management undertook was puzzling and inconsistent and soon became a widespread joke among passengers. For example, salt & pepper shakers remained openly available, there was no staff member at the various dining venues insisting guests use a hand sanitizer before being seating (except a crew member did stand and request guests sanitize their hands at the Terrace but this was not mandatory and many ignored the request.), the procedure to sanitize tables and chairs in the dining venues seemed to lack managerial oversight and was spotty. Guest laundry rooms were closed but no explanation was offered at any time as to why this was done. We voiced complaints with Reception about this and other issues. We were told the front desk would “report this to Miami.” We never heard another word from management – the GM and Concierge never responded. That was surprising as on past cruises, management was receptive and eager to respond to constructive suggestions and feedback. We had to request replenishment of soap, water and other items in our cabin. This was not the case on prior sailings. Our room was not made up on several occasions and we complained to Reception. No follow up or inquiry from the GM or Concierge. The cabin toilet did not flush on two days. It was fixed after multiple calls but no follow up or attempt to make sure the disgusting problem had been corrected. The food in the specialty restaurants, excluding Jacques, was either mediocre or (in the case of Polo) inedible. No questions were asked when we left Toscana and Polo with entrees half eaten on the plate and avoided desert. We did discover a terrific wait person in the Grand Dining Room for dinner. We left December 2nd from a ship that was understaffed compared to our prior Oceania cruises and the staff that we encountered on Riviera several weeks ago appeared less than enthusiastic about being onboard with us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Having cruised many lines previously but not Oceania, we eagerly looked forward to our first, which was the transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to Miami. While it was probably the worst cruise I've ever been on, I will endeavor to ... Read More
Having cruised many lines previously but not Oceania, we eagerly looked forward to our first, which was the transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to Miami. While it was probably the worst cruise I've ever been on, I will endeavor to state the facts fairly. Due to the outbreak of Norovirus and the dismal way it was handled by Oceania, I do have to admit writing a positive review has its challenges. Embarkation went smoothly with no glitches. We got on the ship quickly and waited in one of the bars. There was very little direction from the staff and no beverages but as experienced cruisers, we were fine with just chilling out with some other guests until getting to our room. Cabin: Found it to be nicely appointed with lovely furnishings and the most comfortable beds/bedding. The bathroom is spacious and of course, the bathtub was a big attraction for me. Dining Room: We mainly enjoy having our meals in the main dining room as opposed to the more laid back venues and only ate in the Terrace once....due to the Norovirus outbreak on the ship, I was very hesitant to do the buffet again. We found the breakfast service to be very very slow. Many days it took 15 to 20 minutes after being seated to get a cup of coffee. I solved that by ordering a pot of coffee in my cabin each morning. As for the evening meal, all in all, I would say the food was very good, perhaps a bit bland and most of the time lukewarm. I did find that whenever a deviation from the menu was requested, it seemed to be a huge event for our waiter. For instance, one evening, I asked for mashed potatoes rather than rice. Since mashed potatoes are always on the menu, didn't think that would be such a challenge. As far as the special restaurants, we just loved Red Ginger. A++++ with delicious food, presentation and excellent service. I did not enjoy Toscana's but think I neglected to order well. Activities: Due to the outbreak of Norovirus, we didn't do many of the activities. We had planned on Bridge but nixed the idea of handling playing cards. One day, I took the art class but since my fish painting was so dismal, I decided my artistic abilities left a lot to be desired. Most of the time, we were happy to just chill out by the pool and catch up on our books. Gym: Nicely furnished and never seemed crowded. It horrified me to see people coming and going with little attention to disinfecting. In particular, the lack of staff in the gym to enforce sanitation seemed ridiculous. There should have been someone assigned to the gym to maintain sanitary conditions. I went everday and was fastidious about wiping the equipment before and after use. Wish I could say the same for some of the other guests. Next to the gym is a separate room that is a pleasant place to practice yoga or pilates. Entertainment: We enjoyed some of the evening presentations but most of the time missed them because the service in the dining room was so slow. I'm not sure what goes on with Oceania as far as staffing but it sure didn't work well on this cruise. Perhaps they were also sick or derailed to other shipboard tasks. Did not seem like a well-oiled machine. Excursions: We generally don't do the cruise line excursions...prefer to book our own. Due to the fact that we were denied entry to Bermuda because of the Norovirus issue, the one excursion I had planned on was a moot point. Service: Dismal! I nearly always felt that the crew just wished they didn't have to deal with the guests. Perhaps they were exhausted. I did not see the cheerful happy attitude that I've seen on other ships except for a few people. Never once at the pool was I offered a drink. Disembarkation: Could you even call it that? There was no organization...lines and lines of people pushing and displaying poor etiquette. When we got off the elevator to disembark, there were people everywhere and one didn't know where to go. Added to that was no staff present for direction. Then the long long line to get through customs.....not fun. I'd have to say it was the most disorganized, hectic disembarkation. Of course, I've never seen anything like that previously, even on larger ships. Service: Ah, SERVICE! Shame on you Oceania. I purposely waited a week to write this review because I needed to cool down but I'm still shocked at the complete and utter arrogance of management. For instance, after enduring days and days of not having our room stocked/cared for, I finally went to the front desk with a list of 7 items that we needed assistance with. I discussed everything with the girl and she promised to get it resolved and also to bring it to the manager's attention so he could contact me. To this day I'm still waiting. There was no rhyme or reason to how our room was maintained. I consistently had to leave a written note for our room steward to leave the most basic supplies such as shampoo, water, ice, towels, robes. I might expect this on a no frills cut rate cruise but we all know Oceania is not cheap. Summary: Oceania had been highly recommended by our travel agent as well as our friends. What happened on this ship and how it was handled by management is inexcusable. I lay this issue squarely on management from the Ship Captain to Hotel Captain (neither of which did I ever see.) Plus, the cruise director wasn't much better. I do hope Oceania can learn some lessons about how to handle Norovirus because as of this writing, it is still present on the Riviera. If they had stepped up to the plate and been more active with addressing it from the beginning, perhaps this wouldn't have been the cruise from Hell for so many. The dripping gels got to be annoying. Fortunate for us, we did not catch the virus but still, the shortcomings of management really impacted enjoyment of the cruise. I feel like they buried their head in the sand and just marked the hours until the passengers got off the ship. We will NOT cruise Oceania again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I have sailed many times with Windstar, Seabourn, Azamara, Cunard, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was the worst cruise we have ever experienced. From the moment of embarkation, seemingly simple requests were met with ... Read More
My husband and I have sailed many times with Windstar, Seabourn, Azamara, Cunard, Celebrity, and Holland America. This was the worst cruise we have ever experienced. From the moment of embarkation, seemingly simple requests were met with indignation by the staff (a request for a map of the ship, the ship's itinerary, a printout of a boarding pass, etc.). This was a bad sign for us as we had paid extra to sail concierge class which was to place us in a higher category of service. Then, up in the buffet, by the numbers, there were supposed to be more service crew. No one was ever available to help take food to the table and there were no trays, find a table, help elderly passengers avoid falls, etc. The management seemed to take a hard line *against* the passengers and *prevent* the crew from fulfilling simple requests made by the passengers. Then, when norovirus broke out on the ship (it seems that it has been a problem on this ship for a long time), the crew were deployed to wipe down every surface of the ship at every moment. This meant that at mealtimes, the crew made the surfaces slippery where passengers needed to walk. More than one passenger was injured as a result of this. Because of the outbreak, we were prevented from docking in one of the ports. Fine. The laundry rooms were shut down and made unavailable for passenger use. Fine. The internet was not satisfactory. Fine. But then, after all of these things, the bursar would intervene to prevent a crew member from printing my boarding pass, I was astounded. Other things: the cabin was not clean. Dust was visable and had to be pointed out to steward. Even when dust was pointed out in one place, it did not cause the steward from looking elsewhere in the cabin for dust. Although we were concierge class, our minibar was never filled. Food was mediocre and unremarkable. Service was spotty. No trays at the buffet and no help either. All-in-all, this cruise was a HUGE disappointment. We will not sail again with Oceania again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Very disappointed in this cruise. The ship is wonderful, the crew was very effective - if not the best I have ever seen, but I was very disappointed in being turned away from Bemuda due to a "norovirus" outbreak. No ... Read More
Very disappointed in this cruise. The ship is wonderful, the crew was very effective - if not the best I have ever seen, but I was very disappointed in being turned away from Bemuda due to a "norovirus" outbreak. No compensation was ever offered for the extra time at sea, even upon request. It turns out that 70 passengers and 10 crew were sick....but does that mean they had norovirus, or were just seasick or had weak systems? (Age may be a factor here). At any rate, this issue caused us to negotiate the ship carefully due to the cleaning slime that was swabbed everywhere; tables, doorknobs, walls, rails, etc. The food, or course, had to be well cooked - which put a new twist on fine dining. Also disappointed in the array of clothing worn by gentlemen to the dining room - crocs, zip-off pants, shoddy shirts; I think the return to the "jacket required" rule would solve the issue. In spite of this preventable disaster, we enjoyed the entertainment, but will likely return to other cruise lines with a younger demographic in the future. In spite of the bad experiences as noted, the ship is very nice. There are some amenities missing, it seems to be built for a crowd that goes to bed a 10 pm. The Horizons lounge did have dancing every night, and was well attended - probably 50 people each night. The shows were excellent, and the "house" entertainers were very good. NCL trains them well at their boot camp for the whole NCL group, including Oceania. The fitness facility was the smallest I have seen on a cruise ship, and the most crowded. I think they need to re-think the use of the facility and make it bigger. Sometimes it seemed more like a physio clinic than a gym, but it was well used. Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient, which is probably typical for a small ship. To summarize, Beautiful ship, awesome crew, great entertainment, but a really bad experience with a very elderly crowd and a virus. This will likely be my first and last cruise on Oceania, so: My advice - save your money and go to an all-inclusive. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We had an amazing experience on Marina in 2013 when we went to Brazil. The ship was fantastic and the service was first rate. Our butler was exceptional and kept in touch with us on a daily basis. I still have a little wooden parrot at ... Read More
We had an amazing experience on Marina in 2013 when we went to Brazil. The ship was fantastic and the service was first rate. Our butler was exceptional and kept in touch with us on a daily basis. I still have a little wooden parrot at home named in his honour. We therefore booked with Oceania again for a trip to Miami. Once agin we booked an Oceania suite and for nearly two years looked forward to the trip. Our first impressions at Barcelona were extremely good. At just after 11am we boarded the ship. The whole process of boarding took about twenty minutes and was completely hassle free. As Riviera is a sister ship to Marina we immediately felt at home and once again had a wow moment as we entered our suite. For the first few days all seemed well and we enjoyed our time. The only thing we could find to criticze was the new thelassa pool on the spa deck. It had little seating and the controls were hard to access and in anything but dead calm sea you tended to be sloshed from one end to another. The food was exactly as we had expected. Toscana was enjoyable as was Polo grill and Red Ginger was brilliant. Jacques we didn't like but that was mainly because the food was not really to our taste. Service in Jacques made up for that though and service was generally good in Polo and Toscana. I have to say though that the service in Red Ginger eclipsed all others. We also used Waves and the food was as before and what you would expect from a grill on deck. We had a sneaking suspicion that food at The Terrace was not as good and despite the huge selection often struggled to choose anything. The quality of the hot items often left a lot to be desired. We attended the "Rock the wok" cookery course. This consisted of us brushing a marinade onto salmon, chopping a few vegetables and cooking them and then assembling a couple of bits of sushi. It was a pretty poor experience that taught us nothing new..... In those first few days we noticed that we had little contact with our butler and on the occasions that we did contact him it wasn't a great experience. For example we ordered an in suite breakfast so that we could get out early for a tour. the breakfast was nearly twenty minutes late and ( I know this might seem a little petty) but he didn't bother to set it out. On another occasion we rang at 3.45 and asked for tea but he snapped back that we would have to wait until after 4pm as the scones had not been cooked. On another occasion I was leaving the cabin when I met the butler returning some items from the laundry. I told him my partner was in the cabin and he could knock despite the privacy sign. When he did so he told my partner that "Your friend said it was ok to knock". if he found our sexuality awkward he could have referred to us by name. I would say our super stewardess knew our names within minutes of first meting us and never failed to greet us when she encountered us Just before we arrived at Medeira we began to hear rumours about the Norvo virus and upon leaving the crew began in earnest to start disinfecting everywhere. Certain services were curtailed (particularly the laundrette) and the crew worked tirelessly to bring things under control. I would certainly not blame Oceania for the outbreak of this bug but I think they share responsibility for the following reasons. Firstly, when we embarked at Barcelona there was absolutely no effort made to get passengers to concentrate on hygiene such as using the sanitizer gels around the ship. Had this been done at an early stage the extent of the outbreak would probably have been much reduced. As it was we had five days in which there was no effort made to take control. Secondly, when precautions were implemented they were not consistent. For example, salt and pepper pots were not removed from tables until quite late into the cruise in certain venues. I used the gym every day and saw the most awful examples of personal hygiene there - it was not until the last three or four days of the cruise that I saw staff there supervising the gym to get people to wipe down the equipment. Given that cleanliness was key to combatting the bug it also was crazy that the laundrettes were closed making it harder for passengers to have clean clothing. I am not sure compensation would have been appropriate for what happened but I think letting passengers have at least one complimentary set of clothing to the main laundry would have been reasonable. We received no updates from anyone about the illness on board and it was only the day before we were due to get to Bermuda that we heard that we were not going there. The tone from those in charge was a little arrogant. It was as if they could not utter the word "sorry" in case they made themselves liable in some way. The ship then noticeably slowed down as we were told that we would head towards Bahamas for a two day stay. The extra sea days were difficult for crew and passengers alike. One day in Nassau is a day too many and two was exceptionally tedious. It is hard to see its charms and the tour we had of the "highlights" felt a little desperate and made the loss of Bermuda more keenly felt. By his time too we had had to get used to all meat being incinerated in all of the restaurants for health reasons apparently. As we neared the end of our cruise our butler was supposed to return our passports. Other butlers had contacted guests in the morning and organised things. Ours did not and when we found him at 11.50 am he told us we would have to queue at reception to retrieve it. His attitude towards us had made us feel uncomfortable and we effectively stopped using his services as a result some time before . At the point of disembarkation we also discovered that we had not had a form to complete from him which would have detailed our preference for disembarkation. We therefore were amongst the last to be called to leave the ship. I cannot say for certain why we had this experience with the butler. In the UK equality has become so entrenched that we hardly ever consider that we are different from anyone else. Perhaps we should be more aware that this is not always the same elsewhere. We met some wonderful people on the cruise and they made up for the shortcomings of the cruise in no small part. It is also true that the crew (on the whole) worked their socks off and we're delighted to be able to recognise some of those in the end of cruise questionnaire. With a heavy heart I am really sorry to say that I am not going to return to Oceania. I know all cruise lines have diehard adherents including Oceania and they will howl with outrage at my comments and seek to point to my failings rather than those of Oceania but I can only relate experiences from our viewpoint. I fully accept that others will have had very different experiences....... Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I are avid cruisers, having cruised on NCL, Princess, Holland America, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity and even a Costa Caribbean cruise. We booked a back-to-back leaving Venice, going to Italy, Greece and Turkey and the 2nd leg ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers, having cruised on NCL, Princess, Holland America, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity and even a Costa Caribbean cruise. We booked a back-to-back leaving Venice, going to Italy, Greece and Turkey and the 2nd leg back to Florida (36 days total). The first problem was the itinerary change AFTER we paid our final deposit and had already booked our airfare. We really wanted to see Turkey (2 stops) but they changed the itinerary and substituted Croatia and Montenegro. So, this wasn't a deal-breaker but we were disappointed as there were other ships that were going to Turkey. Then, the 2nd problem - we were to embark in Venice but when we arrived at the port, the ship was not there due to weather. They ported the ship in Trieste and we had to be transported for a 2 hour coach ride to Trieste. The whole process was a nightmare (totally disorganized and a complete disregard for passenger comfort). We had to sit in the Venice terminal for 2 hours before our bus got there, with not even water being offered. Third problem, once we got on the ship in Trieste, they closed the buffet line 10 minutes after we got there so food was limited and we had not eaten since breakfast. There were hundreds of passengers still being transported so I'm sure they were not happy when they got there with no food until dinner at 7:30. Fourth problem, our cabin was fine for the first leg but we had to change for the transatlantic portion. This cabin (6234) was the cabin from hell...next to the steward station, crew stairway and below the room service prep area. Banging, clanging and slamming all day and all night. We complained and requested a cabin change but were told nothing was available. After 3 nights, we were so fed up we were ready to disembark the ship and fly home at the next port. I told the Cruise Director and, somehow, they miraculously found us another cabin (which actually was a good one). Fifth problem - my husband and I eat 2 meals a day (late breakfast and late lunch) at the buffet as eating late meals just do not work for us. This was not a problem on all the American-style ships we have cruised on. The Deliziosa meal schedule was quite different. Breakfast in the buffet was predominately pastries, breads, a few cold cereal choices, yogurt and fruit. There was no skim milk for our cereal so we basically diluted it with water. On the transatlantic portion of the cruise they did add eggs and bacon to the buffet. Hot drinks (coffee and tea) were only provided at breakfast and during "snack hour" which was 4:00 -5:00 p.m.- there were none at lunch or dinner. If you wanted them, they had to be ordered from the bar staff and charged to the cabin. The only cold drink you could get without being charged was water (no iced tea or flavored beverages at all). They actually turned off the water and ice machines after lunch. Snack time was a zoo - they only opened one station (food and beverage) so the lines were horrific to get finger sandwiches and hot coffee/tea. Pizza was available free for about 3 hours each day (plain - tomato sauce with cheese). If you wanted a different kind of pizza, you had to pay for it at night. There was a charge for room service (I think 5 euro per person) but we never used it. The buffet usually closed by 3:00 p.m. and did not re-open until 7. Even then, the choices were pretty limited. LOTS of pasta available, though, at lunch. We enjoy other ships because they provide popcorn, ice cream, etc. but Costa did not provide anything at all except what was available at meal time. We found the entertainment to be mediocre. I realize it's hard to schedule entertainment for people who speak so many languages so I hate to bash them for this. I was disappointed, however, at how obnoxious and rude many of the passengers were. During the shows, they would talk loudly and leave once the announcements had been made in their particular language. Meal time was especially exasperating as they would basically run you over, push you out of the way, talk and even SING loudly and generally make meal time an annoying affair. We enjoy using the dry sauna for relaxation but again found the people to be loud and annoying while we tried to relax...I realize the ship cannot do anything about this but it is something you may to consider when taking this ship or this cruise line. All the English-speaking people we talked to on the ship seemed to have the same opinion of this cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
VEGETARIANS BEWARE! We had heard and read so many rave reviews about the QM2 food, Basically if you are a Vegetarian forget it, it was as if we were from another planet, We were served bacon in an Omelette and one main meal comprised ... Read More
VEGETARIANS BEWARE! We had heard and read so many rave reviews about the QM2 food, Basically if you are a Vegetarian forget it, it was as if we were from another planet, We were served bacon in an Omelette and one main meal comprised Spinach leaves with Grapefruit segments. They were useless and after offering the aforementioned salad seemed totally unable to cope. carnivores have a huge choice, our choice was non existent. Even the famous afternoon tea where the cakes were all covered in gelatine, they don't have a clue!!! The staff are all very friendly and offered to help, however, they did manage a nut roast, just a nut roast, no vegetables, no gravy, we had to ask for vegetables which when you are obviously in the minority somehow makes the situation worse. Complete waste of my money we expected the ritz and got the local burger bar. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Previous reviewer of Horizon summed up the best description for this cruise line. If you dont go with your expectation too high, you will not only enjoy this old lady, but you will also enjoy her friendlyness and service. To summise: ... Read More
Previous reviewer of Horizon summed up the best description for this cruise line. If you dont go with your expectation too high, you will not only enjoy this old lady, but you will also enjoy her friendlyness and service. To summise: Food . Good in Resturant although can sometime be lukewarm, good in the buffet, always a good selection but again can be lukewarm. Seems a theme on this cruise line, maybe thats their way. My only reservation and its a very British reservation is that they are clueless on how to make tea. Ship. Old and Tired, in my opinion, not well maintained, carpets show signs of wear all over the ship and some are badly stained. Wood Decks on solerium by gym very rough, missing lots of corking and certainly not been polished and stained for a good few year, further up the ship wood deck has been replaced by astroturf like carpet. Entertainment: Having crossed the Atlantic on one of the big Royals a couple years ago and being extremely dissappointed with the entertainment, was surprised to find that the entertainment on Horizon was in fact quite good, the staff tried every night to put on a show that was different and entertaining and to which they mostly succeeded in doing. Overall a fine, entertaining cruise with good food and good entertainment and a freindly ship with some very good levels of service (and some poor) for a price that would put the bigger cruise line to shame. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was my first cruise on the Prinsendam. I have always wanted to sail on her, although I was a bit apprehensive of sailing on an older and smaller ship, especially after reading some of the reviews. Thankfully, there was no need for ... Read More
This was my first cruise on the Prinsendam. I have always wanted to sail on her, although I was a bit apprehensive of sailing on an older and smaller ship, especially after reading some of the reviews. Thankfully, there was no need for that apprehension as the Prinsendam was in excellent condition and the ship's size was perfect. Embarkation: We flew into Rome the day before the cruise set sail. Since we have been to Rome a couple of times, we decided to just spend the night in Civitavecchia to recover from the jet lag and to have an easy transfer to the ship the next morning. We stayed at the Hotel San Giorgio which was right on the sea. It was a very nice hotel and perfect for the overnight stay. It included a complementary breakfast which was the perfect way to start the day. We took the hotel shuttle to the Prinsendam and arrived at the port at approximately 11:30. We were checked in and onboard the ship within 20 minutes. It helped to have priority boarding as a suite guest. We were able to access our stateroom immediately. We were in SS 028 which is in the forward part of Deck 10. This proved to be an ideal location because we were one or two floors away from most everything on the ship and could therefore avoid the small elevators. The stateroom was lovely and had an extra wide balcony. The Ship: I had read numerous reviews on Cruise Critic which commented on the condition of the Prinsendam. I knew that I would be sailing on a 27 year old ship and braced myself for it being a bit rusted and run down. What a complete surprise I had when I boarded the ship! The public rooms were very clean, and showed no visible signs of wear. Throughout the cruise, you could always find crewmembers polishing and cleaning. The library, the Explorers Lounge, and the Explorations Café were great spaces (although smoke from the Casino sometimes was too much to handle). We really enjoyed spending time during sea days at the Lido and Sea View Pools. Although they weren't used very much on this cruise, it was nice to stake out a table and enjoy the sun. Dining: We had the late seating (8:00) in the La Fontaine Dining Room. We were travelling with two friends, and were paired with two other couples at an 8 seat table. We were really lucky as the 8 of us got along well, and enjoyed our evenings together. The food was consistently very good. There was always a nice selection of entrees, and you could always rely on the standards if none of the selections tempted you. Our Dining Room Steward and assistant Abdul and De De were outstanding. You could tell they were very busy, but managed to give us personalized attention. We also dined in the Pinnacle Restaurant and Canaletto. Both were excellent and well worth the upcharge. Additionally, we did the Le Cirque dinner in the Pinnacle, and the Chateaubriand was over the top! The Lido buffet was consistently very good, with interesting selections and a very fresh salad bar. It was a little difficult getting through the space as it is quite small and there were several places that were just log jams. Entertainment: The entertainment on this cruise was good, not great. Since this is a small ship, I wasn't expecting elaborate stage shows. The ship's singers and dancers did a good job, and Holland America lined up some other good entertainment for the long crossing. Notable were the singing magician, the juggler, and the runner up from The Voice UK. The best entertainment came from the Ravons, a Buddy Holly type group that performed two excellent shows! Ports of Call: This cruise stopped at Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz in Spain, and Funchal and Porto Santo in the Portuguese Madeiras. All were very interesting ports. We didn't do any ship shore excursions, preferring to explore each of these ports on our own. Most notable were Malaga and Funchal. Both ports we want to return to explore further. Porto Santo rarely has cruise ship visits, and it was to explore this small island that was an early home to Christopher Columbus. Disembarkation: Disembarkation was a breeze in Ft. Lauderdale, most probably due to the ship size, and the fact that we arrived on Tuesday and there was only one other small ship in port. We disembarked the ship at 9:15, and were through customs and at the airport by 10:00. Not bad... Overall Impressions: The Prinsendam is a lovely ship. The Captain told us she will be undergoing a multi-million drydock in May, so she should be in even better shape afterwards.... My hope is that they keep her in the fleet, because she is a gem. I would definitely cruise on her again! Read Less
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
For starters, my husband and I love 'Prinsendam'. This shapely vessel, launched in 1988 as ‘Royal Viking Sun’, is an anomaly within the 14-ship fleet of Holland America Line, carrying only 835 guests, whereas her 13 ... Read More
For starters, my husband and I love 'Prinsendam'. This shapely vessel, launched in 1988 as ‘Royal Viking Sun’, is an anomaly within the 14-ship fleet of Holland America Line, carrying only 835 guests, whereas her 13 fleet-mates each accommodate from 1,350 to 2,659 passengers. While the 28 year-old 'Prinsendam' does not offer many of the bells and whistles found on newer ships, that's precisely what her very loyal fans appreciate about her. Moderate in size, with sleekly nautical lines, her onboard spaciousness and easy-to-navigate layout set her apart in an industry that is increasingly dominated by boxy, cookie-cutter cruise ships. Though she's at an age when passenger liners traditionally have faced imminent retirement, Holland America is planning to spend millions of euros to preserve and improve ‘Prinsendam’ during a refit scheduled for May, 2016. Many cruisers will remember the prestigious Royal Viking Line, which operated from 1972 until 1998. San Francisco-based RVL was the Seabourn/Crystal/Silversea of its day, offering lengthy, luxurious cruises to all corners of the globe, for a discriminating clientele who returned year after year. 'Royal Viking Sun' was designed and built for passengers who expected the very best, and were willing to pay (a lot) for it. She was, when new - and remains today - the antithesis of mass-market cruise ships. As Holland America Line divests itself of mid-sized vessels (the 55,000 ton ‘Statendam’ and ‘Ryndam’ were recently transferred to P&O Australia) and replaces them with ever-larger vessels (the new 'Koningsdam' is 99,500 tons.), the 38,100 ton ‘Prinsendam’ exemplifies what cruising used to be; a past-time primarily for the well-traveled and well-heeled. There are no rock-climbing walls onboard, no neon-lit atrium, or fast food franchises. There’s no crowding and seldom any lines. Even when full, ‘Prinsendam’ feels spacious. Fellow-passengers are primarily in their 70’s (and 80’s, and even 90’s on our crossing) and are more likely to be found browsing in the extensive, well-stocked library, or strolling the broad, wrap-around promenade deck, than engaging in frenetic activities. In spite of her age, we found ‘Prinsendam’ to be extremely well maintained. Her proud crew work hard to keep her in tip-top condition, with deckhands constantly touching-up paint and re-applying varnish. Her soft furnishing and carpets are almost entirely soil and stain-free. Lush greenery and sprays of colorful orchids are in abundance. She’s a handsome ship, tastefully decorated and devoid of any flash. Our ocean-view stateroom on the Lower Promenade was of ample size, with a spacious walk-in closet complete with shelves and numerous drawers. The bathroom was equipped with a shower over a tub deep enough for soaking. Water pressure was excellent throughout the voyage and we never experienced a shortage of hot water. Conveniently, the bathroom door slides open and therefore never hinders movement within the stateroom. Our large window looked directly onto the wrap-around promenade and the sea beyond. Mirrored-glass insured privacy during daylight hours, but it was necessary to draw the draperies when the lights were turned-on in the evening. We especially liked our stateroom’s close proximity to the outdoors, as well as the fact it was on the same level as the popular Ocean Bar, the Pinnacle Grill and La Fontaine Dining Room. One of the pleasures of sailing on ‘Prinsendam’ is her terrific staff and crew. We’ve seldom been aboard a ship where the working men and women were so genuinely friendly and eager to please. Everyone in uniform always made a point of greeting us with a smiling “Good morning” or “Enjoy your day”. Even the coverall-clad technicians we occasionally passed in a corridor and the deck crew washing windows or painting a railing, never failed to meet our eyes, smile and say “Hello”. ‘Prinsendam’ gave every indication of being a happy ship; in keeping with Holland America Line’s historic advertising slogan,“It’s good to be on a well-run ship”. The only area where we wished for improvements was in the food and beverage departments. Our half-dozen meals in the extra-tariff Pinnacle Grill, and in Canaletto, were consistently superb. But in the main La Fontaine Dining Room it was hit-or-miss. One night our dinner would be excellent. (A cream-based French onion soup was the best I’ve ever tasted - and we live in France!) But the next night we’d leave the dining room disappointed; such as the evening my ricotta-stuffed pasta shells crunched when I bit into them, having been seriously under-cooked. At sea we usually take almost all of our meals in the dining room, preferring to order from a menu rather than line-up at a buffet. But within a few days on this crossing we began opting for the self-serve Lido, both in the morning and again in the afternoon. There were more choices and the food simply tasted better. Incidentally, the Dive-In, located next to the Lido Deck pool produces excellent customized hotdogs and hamburgers. On the two occasions in which we ordered room service, we were sorely let-down. Tuna melts arrived as chilled tuna salad and refrigerated cheese slices between cold slices of toast. No “melting” had ever taken place. Another day we ordered club sandwiches, which arrived topped with coleslaw. Liquid mayonnaise had seeped into the sandwiches and reduced the bread to a soggy mess. In both instances we were baffled, as a tuna melt and a club sandwich are no-brainers for any short-order cook! On reflection, it seems that when the food on board 'Prinsendam' was good, it was very good. But when it was poor it was startlingly poor. There's a growing trend aboard cruise ships to offer the very best cuisine and personalized service only in the extra-tariff venues. This is unfortunate, because one ends-up paying extra for the kind of food and service that used to be available to all passengers in the main dining rooms aboard any good passenger liner... While not big drinkers, we do enjoy a cocktail or two in the evening. Onboard ‘Prinsendam’ it quickly became apparent that mixed drinks were mostly mix. I think this had to do with the size of the glasses. The bartenders carefully measure-out the liquor, but then fill-up the large glasses with whatever mix has been requested. The result is a cocktail with virtually no alcohol taste. Within a few days we switched to ordering glasses of wine or Champagne, but continued to hear comments from fellow passengers about the weak mixed drinks throughout the voyage. La Fontaine Dining Room offers a fairly good choice of international wines, and they’re reasonably priced. But we were surprised at the limited selection of wines in the upscale, extra-tariff Pinnacle Grill. We discovered guests may request, and order from, the wine list from La Fontaine. One tip for those planning a cruise aboard ‘Prinsendam’ would be to request a table in the more forward, starboard-side section of La Fontaine Dining Room. While it may appear rather like an auxiliary corridor on the ship’s deck plan, it is actually a more exclusive-feeling room, with a quieter ambiance. This is due to the smaller number of waiter’s stations, with their incessant din of clinking glasses, jangling silverware and plates being scraped. (On ‘Royal Viking Sun’, the dining room extended forward into what is now the Ocean Bar and Pinnacle Grill, and the larger space allowed for tables to be positioned farther from the waiters’ stations.) If you’re interested in a table for two in this forward portion of La Fontaine, desirable deuces – situated next to large windows overlooking the Lower Promenade and the sea – were numbers 1, 7, 9, 11, 15 and 45 on our crossing. Admittedly jaded (we’ve made almost 100 cruises, crossings and voyages during the past four decades), we tend to avoid splashy shipboard entertainment, having suffered through too many over-miked, lip-synched, third-rate production numbers. So I can't say anything about the shows onboard 'Prinsendam' except that the Showroom at Sea appeared to be playing to full houses throughout our voyage, so the shows were obviously pleasing a lot of our fellow passengers. More to our taste was the young piano and violin duo, Adagio, who performed classical music during the evening in the Explorer’s Lounge. For movie buffs, the Wajang Theater screens films two, and sometimes three times a day; a much more enjoyable option than watching a movie on a cabin TV. (Sadly, that’s the only option on many new ships, as cruise line bean-counters consider a movie theater to be a waste of revenue-producing space, better replaced with cabins, a cocktail lounge, shops, or a casino.) For those of you who - like us – prefer not to be pestered with too many onboard announcements - particularly when they are made in a half-dozen languages - Prinsendam’ was a blessedly quiet ship. There was a daily joint announcement by the amusingly droll Captain Tim Roberts (who modestly referred to himself as simply “Tim”) and the low-key cruise director, Bruce Scudder. That was pretty much it, except for pertinent port arrival and departure announcements. Happily the open decks were free of any recorded music. At four of our five ports of calls; Cartagena, Malaga, Cadiz and Funchal, we docked within walking distance of downtown. At the tiny island of Porto Santos we anchored-out and passengers were tendered ashore using the ship’s launches. There were never any lines to speak of and each time we returned to the ship we simply walked onboard, as if we were the only guests. Disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was a breeze as well, with no “Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry?” announcements. Following a leisurely 9 a.m. breakfast in the Lido we just strolled off the ship. One of the many advantages of not traveling with one, two, or three thousand others! Weather-wise we absolutely lucked-out. During our 15-day crossing we enjoyed smooth seas, sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s for all but two days, when the ocean kicked-up a bit as we passed through a series of rain squalls. (Though even then it stayed warm) Many afternoons it was too warm to sit for long in the sun and we either pulled our teak deck chairs into the shade of a lifeboat, or relocated to the shady, north-facing side of the ship. The wool sweaters we brought for a typical Atlantic crossing in November went from our suitcases into the dresser drawers and right back into the suitcases without ever being worn! In closing, we so enjoyed our Atlantic crossing aboard ‘Prinsendam’ (our first time back onboard this ship in 28 years!) that we’re planning a repeat westbound voyage, in November, 2016. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We spent the evening before at the Hotel Miramare in Civitavecchia and it was very good indeed. Getting to the port required taking our bags to the train station and buying a shuttle bus ticket at the small store in the train station for ... Read More
We spent the evening before at the Hotel Miramare in Civitavecchia and it was very good indeed. Getting to the port required taking our bags to the train station and buying a shuttle bus ticket at the small store in the train station for 2 Euros each and boarding the bus for the port. We arrived early at the check-in terminal (11:15 AM), so we knew we had to wait a while. This cruise had a large number of 4 and 5 star Mariners so we had to wait for them and for the Suite people to board. The boarding process began at 11:30 and our number was called at 12 Noon. Very smooth process. Out bags were not yet in our room so we headed up to the Lido. Food in the Lido was very good the entire trip. All ships face a daunting task to provide food for so many tastes and I believe the Prinsendam crew did a very good to excellent job satisfying everyone. Lines were usually short and there was plenty of seating available on this ship every meal. Our cabin - Number 454 on the Dolphin Deck was excellent. We like the walk-in closet - lots of space for storing clothes. We also like the sliding-door bathroom as the door does not take up floor space. The bathroom is excellent and the position and shape of the bathtub allow one to sit on the edge and use the mirror on the wall above the sink. We also like the layout with the sofa near the oceanview window to allow easy viewing outside. The cabin was excellent. The ship is the star of the show on any cruise and this is why we chose the Prinsendam. We like smaller ships and this one is the best. The one-floor dining room and showroom add to the ambiance and friendly feeling of this wonderful ship. The Prinsendam always costs more to sail on and it delivers in the warm, friendly feelings it gives. We are not fans of HAL shore excursions. They tend to cost a lot of money and are just too slow. We come here to Cruise Critic and help arrange group tours and this works for us. The entertainment was very good. Again, HAL has to please a lot of people with a variety of entertainment and it appeared to have worked. Activities were very good, there was a beginning bridge class on this voyage. There were a lot of classes on Windows 10 in the computer room. There were a number of lectures in the Showroom. They were well received. This cruise was a 15 night Transatlantic that left from Rome in early November. There were no children on board and the average age was probably 75. Almost all cruisers were repeat HAL and the vast majority had sailed on the Prinsendam before. This was the most loyal group of cruisers we have ever seen. Some people we met sail ONLY on the Prinsendam. Disembarkation went smoothly, very slight delay. We were off early with no problems. They really did a good job. Service - the service was very good. This is one of the drawing points for HAL and is why we sail on them. The crew do a good job and they do it consistently. Having said that, we sailed on the Prinsendam in July 2012 and felt the service and experience level of the crew was better on that cruise than this one. In fact, the service on this cruise was perhaps a bit less than average for any HAL cruise. Cruises on the Prinsendam cost about twice what they are on other HAL cruises. For that reason we expected superior service, but that was not the case. They still do a good job though. In particular, the cabin stewards are stretched very thin nowadays but that has been happening for years. In summary, we had an excellent time on this superb ship and are very glad we went! We are booked on another HAL cruise already. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our first cruise with Cruise & Maritime and we were a little apprehensive given the low price we paid. The Magellan was lacking in the little niceties, e.g. quality toiletries, bath robes, nuts with drinks etc. however it had ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Cruise & Maritime and we were a little apprehensive given the low price we paid. The Magellan was lacking in the little niceties, e.g. quality toiletries, bath robes, nuts with drinks etc. however it had all the basics needed. Checking in was speedy and efficient, we were escorted to our cabin within 30 minutes of arrival and our luggage was waiting for us there. However, as we were escorted round the side of the hand luggage x-ray machine and didn't go through the body scanner at Tilbury we could have been taking anything on board. Despite having asked for a double bed the cabin was set up as a twin. However, this was quickly rectified. The cabin size was compatible to other cruises we have been on but lacked a fridge and a decent size and quality TV. Not that it mattered much as we could not get any TV channels at all once south of the Azores. The shower was larger than many cruise ships and had plenty of hot water at a good pressure. Room service, for a limited breakfast menu, was delivered on time and free. Evening entertainment was not the quality or variety you get on larger ships but then we were not expecting West End show standards. However, what the entertainers lacked in talent they made up for in their tremendous enthusiasm. However, when the premier entertainment for one evening was, what looked like a pirated DVD of a 30 year old rock concert, we were not impressed. The staff were all very friendly and helpful, customer service was first class and didn't deserve the rudeness they received from some of the passengers whose manners left a lot to be desired. The food is as good in terms of quality and variety as any cruise ship we have been on, with evening meals comprising two or three appetisers, two soups, three salads and four main courses to choose from, followed by a choice of three sweets, cheese and coffee or tea. Everything from Sushi, Curry, Pasta and Steaks were on the menu, and there was always a vegetarian alternative. Although the meals did get boring after the third week. The only disappointment was the lack of a speciality restaurant but l guess that's just down to the size of the ship. We also prefer open dining at a time that suits us rather than the fixed early or late sittings in the restaurants. However, there is always the self service restaurant as an alternative. One real concern was the lack of hygiene in some restaurant areas. There were no staff offering hand disinfectant at the poolside Grill where I saw one woman put her hands into the tray of chips and scoop up a handful of chips from the tray onto her plate potentially contaminating the whole tray of chips. Thankfully the staff promptly disposed of the rest of the tray of chips in the bin. That says more about the passenger than the staff, but should have been prevented. The staff worked extremely hard to put on a Beach Party on Mayreau Island taking all the food and equipment ashore from the ship. This was was a great success and fully appreciated. My wife and I suffered sore throats, coughs and cold symptoms during the voyage, as did many people we spoke to, which we put down to the air conditioning. Conclusion:- The Magellan is to cruising what Lidl is to supermarkets. Good value for a limited product. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and ... Read More
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and our luggage was placed inside shortly after. Cabin E710 is located at the back of the ship so it was quiet as there were not many passengers moving around in the corridors, but when the seas were rough there was a lot of movement and strong vibrations from both the propulsion and waves hitting the vessel. Room size was good, excellent balcony with an open view, very good storage and a small bathroom with a “very small shower” stall. The bathroom was the only drawback for this cabin, not at all suited for heavy set people; TV programming (movies, news, etc.) was first rate. We chose the “any time dining” option in the Bordeaux. To avoid delays or misunderstandings about table preferences we always reserved our table one day in advance but that didn’t always work out; so be prepared to assert yourself in order to sit where you want! The staff in general are super-duper; attentive, fast, cordial and very professional and there are so many that it is difficult to name one and not mention the others, so I will give the name of only one, that in a way, represents all of them. Gianni (Italy), the Food & Beverage Supervisor is a real professional, as well as being a very caring and honest person. But I can’t stop there without mentioning two fantastic Bordeaux waitresses; the first is Olena (Ukraine) she is one-of-a-kind, also the hostess at breakfast and lunch in the Provence; the second one is Lupita, a full-of-life Mexican who picks up the spirits of everyone. The food in the Bordeaux was excellent, with different offerings every night and many interesting choices. All dishes sampled were very tasteful - large portions, served good and hot. The specialty restaurant, Sabattini’s was also excellent, especially their steaks (!!!) as much as their pizza’s at lunch time when it becomes Alfredo’s pizza; as it’s complementary (don’t bother trying them at the Pool Pizza!) The other specialty restaurants (charges apply) are the Bayou and the Crab Shack; both menus are inclined towards the Cajun (New Orleans) food and were not of our liking. It seems that was the case for many others too, because we noted it was practically empty every night when we passed it on our way to dinner. The only time that we saw the place full was when they offered a complimentary ‘English Pub Menu’ lunch. It was really good, especially the fish and chips - so it’s not to be missed! However we were disappointed at not having other types of cuisine, such as a French Bistro or a Steakhouse. Another excellent place to have dinner is in the Horizon Buffet Restaurant (deck 14), the choices are tremendous, it’s up to you how much you eat (danger!) and the waiters are on the ready to serve you and bring you whatever you’d like to drink. Because many passengers are at the theater or in the other restaurants, the place is very tranquil at night, so you can sit where ever you wish. But another “danger” are all those pastries!!! Tremendous selection!! Lunch time there, could be easy, as long as you don’t go when tour buses are returning to the ship! Then it is, real chaos!! The other alternative for lunch is at the Provence (quite enjoyable) as much as their breakfast. Of course you have the Grill at the Pool (burgers, hotdogs. etc.), the Pizza counter, etc. Some of the conferences given such as, on WW2 naval battles were very interesting as were the three Culinary Classes given by Master Chef Alfredo Marzi!! The musical shows at the Theater were unimpressive; the bars we frequented were the Crooners (pianist/singer Oliver, great!) and the Wheelhouse were you were able to dance to live music, however many of the musicians were second rate with dubious vocal skills. The ship has a very good feature (as I believe all the Princess ships have), that is a pay Laundry room on each deck; the cost was $3 for washing and same for drying and if you didn’t need either you could use the steam iron for free. Sometimes boarding the tour busses was tranquil but more often than not it was quite upsetting and stressful. This happened mostly because many passengers were impolite and on many occasions quite rude, pushing their way to get first to the bus so they could get the seats they wanted (usually the front ones) and the same happened when leaving the bus. What was hard to believe was that most of these people were seniors who one would expect would be an example of civility and good manners; it is not the first time that happened to us and that’s why we have finally decided to do the tours on our own, to avoid extra stress. Unfortunately, what was, and will be, unavoidable are encounters with them at the Horizon Buffet. Hard to believe and harder to accept those daily occurrences at the Horizon Buffet! Fortunately, there are many other seniors that behave in a respectful, considerate, friendly and positive manner. It was quite shocking to see so many people in wheel chairs, walkers or canes! We’ve seen this on other cruises but never so many as on this one. And for that reason we got quite concerned when all of a sudden a larger and larger number of them were coughing and sneezing and looking under the weather; a few days later a Medical Alert was sent to each cabin advising on the steps to take to avoid its spread throughout the ship. They even offered Tamiflu injections! The Island Princess had been refurbished earlier in the year to mixed Cruise Critic reviews. But, from our point of view, the Exercise Room, though very well equipped is located inside without sea views, so it seems a crowded and unwelcoming place. The same goes for the Mini golf course, too enclosed and not designed for beginners. The library needs to be updated and is poorly located as many passengers walk through it as a link between forward and aft corridors. The other no-no was the $10 sale event! Wasn’t up to the standards that Princess wants to be or would like to be considered for. The overall experience with Island Princess was highly positive, thanks to the many excellent experiences we had that put aside the few negative ones. The restaurants are excellent, the food superb, very good maintenance of the ship, etc. and the BIG stars were their staff! We never ever, experienced so much attention and care, done always with an honest smile full of energy and good will. It is really a pity that it took us so long to discover Princess Cruise Lines!! But for certain, we will be back!! TOURS!!!! Here are the comments of the ones we’ve been on. 1st stop – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Tour taken: “Dubrovnik & Konavle Home Visit” Too long a ride (1+ Hr.) for a very unsavory tour with not much to see during the ride. Once there, we all got together on a big outdoor terrace where some grappa (hard stuff) was offered, some music played by a group of waiters and then off to a basement were long wooden tables were ready for us. In general the food was from good (prosciutto & cheeses) to very bad (pasta) and really bad (red wine); the same musicians were playing some music while eating. After that, back to the bus, another 1+ Hr ride and boarding the ship. Tour guide (a blond girl) was good but unapproachable. Wasn’t worth the price paid. 2nd stop – Salerno, Italy– Tour taken: “Sorrento on your own” 4Hrs 45’ Not having been there before, we chose Sorrento. Happy we did because it is a very enjoyable town with many outdoor cafes, restaurants, great shops, etc. It was a beautiful day so we had lunch on an outdoor patio facing the main Piazza (Square), food (pizza) was excellent and the wine divine!!! Restaurant’s name: Syrenuse Bar Ristorante in Via Sant’Antonino; food, wine, service and atmosphere were all excellent! Highly recommended! 3rd stop – Civitavecchia, Italy – No tours taken. This time we had the chance to know better the city that used to be a stopover before joining previous cruises, so we decided to go to shore on our own. Map in hand we started to walk around, discovering the place at our own pace. Surprisingly, we enjoyed it very much! 4th stop – Livorno, Italy – Tour taken: “Lucca” - 4 Hrs. We’ve never been into Lucca. Another great choice! Regardless there is no time for lunch at the end, being a sunny and warm day, we were able to sit in an outdoor café facing Saint Michele Square (bus drop-off/pick up point), where we enjoyed tremendously, a great Cappuccino and a fantastic ice cream cone. Needless to say, we are planning to go back and spend more relaxing time there. To make all this more perfect was the Tour guide, Isabella! Completely fluent in English, very knowledgeable who gave so many tips to all of us in case we would like to return! Isabella was the best Tour guide of all this cruise, no doubt about it. Do not miss Lucca!! And hope you meet her! 5th stop - Toulon, France – Tour taken: “Scenic drive to Bandol & Sanary-sur-mer 4.5 Hrs. After quite a very nice interior scenic drive we hit Bandol on the coast; sorry to say but it didn’t say much to us, so no comments. From there back along the coast, we reached Sanary-sur-mer around noon and are gladly able to tell you that it was a very nice town! Has all the attributes that so many of the Mediterranean fishing towns have. That is, all the flavours, sounds and smells of those places; we were lucky enough that we got there just when the fishing boats had arrived, so they were busy selling their catch of the day to the Sanary locals! We saw some people sitting around, eating freshly caught sea urchins the fishermen were selling – they eat them raw! There was an open market facing the esplanade selling a lot of food specialties, the harbor is beautiful with any type and size of boats; very nice restaurants and coffee shops with their patios open to the sea! Great town and great experience. Tour guide, double zero. 6th stop – Barcelona, Spain – No tour taken. Very well-known city for us, so we tried one thing that we hadn’t done before and that was the cable car (Telesferic) that goes from San Sebastian Tower (bus #64 in downtown takes you there- ticket $ 3 euros) all the way to Mount Montjuic; you will have the chance to take very good aerial pictures of Barcelona from up there. It is a bit pricy ($11 euros cash only, one way). Once on Mt. Montjuic, to get back to town you had to walk all the way down a very twisting and steep road till you reached a big avenue; doing this is not recommended, so we suggest the reverse trip, that is take a taxi from down town Barcelona, up to the entrance of the cable car at the top of Montjuic and once you arrive at the other end, you take bus #64 back to down town. Tired and hungry we got to the Ramblas, were we enjoyed a terrific, people-watching outdoor lunch!!! 7th stop – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal – Tour taken: “Crater lakes, Sete cidades & wine tasting” 3Hrs 45’ Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help at all!! Cold, very windy and foggy! So there wasn’t much that we were able to see of the lakes, (formerly craters). The island’s vegetation was outstanding and we were sure that with the right weather would’ve been superb, as much as would’ve been the green and blue lakes. Fortunately, the tour ended on a very high note which was a wine tasting event twined with locally produced young cheese varieties and crackers. Really fantastic! But, the weather spoiled it! Otherwise this tour would’ve gotten really high marks! The tour guide was inconsequential. From there, we started our very, too long, crossing of the Atlantic (a general consensus). Anyway, we docked at Fort Lauderdale, very happy that we took this beautiful voyage with the fantastic Princess Cruise Line!!! See you soon!!!! Thank you so much for your patience! Have a great and happy trip!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were ... Read More
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were given beepers to wait for an available table. Never had that happen before. Thought I was waiting at Rec Lobster! On formal night they ran out of beepers and we were told to come back in 45 mins. When we came back after 45 mins we were then handed a beeper to wait some more! One night ordered prime rib medium rare. When it came the meat was beige. When the waiter asked me how was my dinner I told him it was too done. He said "you ordered it medium rare and it looks medium rare to me". I then replied "I guess I'll have to order my meat rare from now on". No sommeliers so waiter was responsible with getting people's wine and drinks. I think this added to delays as it took 2 hours to complete our meal. Buffet area was so-so. Boring selection for lunch. Gym was in a small, windowless unappealing room. Casino was so tiny and unattractive. No shopping on board to speak of. Being the cruise was in November you would think that they would have trinkets and souvenirs to pick up. Very little to do on the ship during sea days. Hot tubs did not gave bubbles. Just sitting in a tub of hot water. We got the upper respiratory sickness that had spread throughout the ship. Did not see any aggressive cleaning to try and curtail the spread. Came into our cabin one day after an excursion in port to find our wastebasket sitting on our bed with a damp towel in it under where our sprinkler was. The comforter and mattress were all wet. They just left it like that! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I have more than 30 cruises under our belt, however, we usually do not use one cruise line. We select our cruises based on itineraries. The selection of this cruise was based on the ports and because my sister and her ... Read More
My husband and I have more than 30 cruises under our belt, however, we usually do not use one cruise line. We select our cruises based on itineraries. The selection of this cruise was based on the ports and because my sister and her husband were traveling with us and they wanted a long cruise. This was our third transatlantic, the first two on Celebrity Cruises, but this one on the Island Princess was the best. Looking at some of the other reviews people seemed to be preoccupied with the look of the ship but to us the most important concern is service and WOW!...they delivered. The service was phenomenal, from the cabin stewards, to the service staff, to the bar staff, excursion staff, sales personnel at the shops and best of all the waiters, asst. waiters and supervisors. If we were going to complain about anything, it might be that they catered somewhat to ballroom dancers and forgot that others like to dance at what we like to call "a la natural", which means, what ever floats your boat. They had very good movies on sea days which we enjoyed. We enjoyed the shows and the singers, nevertheless, we would of wanted some more comedians. In conclusion, based on what we experience on this ship we have booked two more cruises on Princess. Another transatlantic on April 2016 and a South American on January 2017. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We have been on 10 Cross Atlantic cruises. This is the worst of 5 on NCL. the Spirit is old and should be retired. Many things did not work. Entertainment was sub par. The staffing was too few to handle the population, but must say worked ... Read More
We have been on 10 Cross Atlantic cruises. This is the worst of 5 on NCL. the Spirit is old and should be retired. Many things did not work. Entertainment was sub par. The staffing was too few to handle the population, but must say worked very hard to keep up. Often ran out of various foods at breakfast and dinner ( no anchovies on Ceaser Salad )for the most part food was good. The gym was too small and workout area was restricted to paid classes. Sailing 16 days at sea and only got a chair by the pool ( seldom open ) one time.The only other time was after 3:30 pm. Rules never followed in any venue. Photo of saved chairs, brought to staff and service desk , nothing happened. Some people saved 2 sets of chairs at 6:30 am, 2 in sun 2 in shade, even had a foursome do 4 and 4. Our room steward had 14 to rooms to do on her own ( wonderful lady ) but also given projects to do at the same time. Our entire shower fixture needed to be replaced on 1st. day ( no hot water ) many others told me the same. Numerous deck chairs were broken and unavailable. All the multiple cruisers I have spoken to, all agree, “ They will never get on this ship again”. We are Latitudes Members, Sliver, now Gold, means nothing for price or service. Have never gotten an upgrade or any discounts. Bought this a year in advance. Everyone else got free stuff if they waited. I won't be doing that again. I Had planned to celebrate our 40th. anniversary  on the NCL Dawn to Bermuda, not happening. Oh, rules for dress in the dining room, don't bother. I may as well have been at the beach. Why have them, when no one ever enforces them? Plenty of other places to eat when dressed as one coming from the Gym. When any issues were addressed to appropriate staff, excuses always trumped results. Need I go on. STAY AWAY. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The Good. The crew from captain to cabin boy worked their socks off to make this an enjoyable experience. The show boys and girls deserve special mention displaying talents that must surely merit the attention of West End producers. ... Read More
The Good. The crew from captain to cabin boy worked their socks off to make this an enjoyable experience. The show boys and girls deserve special mention displaying talents that must surely merit the attention of West End producers. Others worked equally hard, albeit invisibly, to do the best they could with the policies Thomson enforce upon them. My two stars rating are entirely dedicated to the crew and I thank you all here for your ever smiling service. The Bad. Thomson the company. A gruesome mix of incompetence, greed, and political correctness. I could have paid a lot less for this holiday had I known Thomson operate like the Cairo Bazaar. Never pay the first asking price, its only for the foolish (I admit to putting my trust in a well known brand. Now I know better.) Their complaint rebuttal office is better staffed than their customer service desk. It has to be as it gets lots of practice. First example of incompetence was embarkation. A shambles if ever there was.Baggage was to be delivered direct to cabin from flight they said. Not so, we all had to turn around and go back into the airport to get it. Once at the port we were held on the coach before being allowed to join a queue outside the terminal in the hot sun before joining an endless queue inside. Unable to register a credit card because 'the system was down'. It took three attempts onboard at reception to get registered and avoid being struck off for purchases. The cabin had noise issues. Not only the rumble and vibration for which, apparently, the ship is legendary but an auxiliary machine close by operating on a thermostat or something that would cut in night and day with a blattering pneumatic drill sound. Customer service attended, agreed it was awful, wrung its hands, opined it may be better once the ship was at sea. It was'nt. A second attempt to get them to show any interest failed. They didn't want to know. Once aboard the fleecing began in earnest. Everything had a price e.g. use of safe in cabin £25. Even the menu in the main restaurant had a £10 supplement for certain dishes. The attempt to extract extra cash was relentless. Even the room stewards towel art was a target. All quite shameless. Remembrance day was pathetic. Thomsons apparently do not do God. So no service, just a grudging two minute silence which I think surprised them as just about everybody stood to attention and then applauded. By contrast our last remembrance at sea was on an American ship which had a very moving service with a padre and readings from veterans and all ships officers attending in full dress uniform. Thomson hang your head in shame. Needless to say our flight home began with chaotic scenes at airport and as for the Dreamliner the seats are set so close and are so uncomfortable you can forget about sleep. Final thought. Why do Thomsons operate other cruiselines cast offs? Stands to reason if Holland America want to sell (wasn't it their Noordam?) then it has some faults. No prize for guessing what. You may think from the above that we did not enjoy our cruise. On the contrary we did. Gib, Madeira at al were a joy and having determined not to let Thomsons corporate policies spoil it we rose above the dross and made a good time of it. Once again my criticisms are in no away directed at the crew. They performed their duties as well as Thomson policies would permit and in many cases exceeded expectation. So, as the Cruise Director would (and did) say ' put your hands together and lets hear it for the crew' Read Less

Find a Cruise

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