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Sail Date: August 2019
This is a 8th cruise with Princess and our second time on the Regal Princess. We fully enjoyed all the cities in the Baltic region we went to and concentrated mainly of the visiting and not time on the ship. The staff on the ship made ... Read More
This is a 8th cruise with Princess and our second time on the Regal Princess. We fully enjoyed all the cities in the Baltic region we went to and concentrated mainly of the visiting and not time on the ship. The staff on the ship made you feel comfortable and were always polite and made sure all your needs were met. We only went to a few shows on the ship and found them OK but not of high caliber. We found that the cities always had something for us to see and explore. We did not really use the cruise ship excursion as they were very expensive and using Rick Steves guide for the ports allowed us to go into town and see most of the sites as most ports were walkable, We did use the cruise excursion to get to town for Sweden as the ship docks about an hour away for Stockholm and the hop on/ hop off bus did not seem very convenient and we had on board credits to use. Princess also tries to scare you into using them for St. Petersburg as you need to be on an escorted excursion or you will need to have a visa for there. There are numerous other local companies that can arrange the same thing. After some research on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor we decided used TJ Travel for a 2 day excursion at half the price and I would rate them 10 our to 10. They also will give you a discount if you mention you are a Cruise Critic member ( which they honored no questions asked). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my fourth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2, but the first during the summer season. This was not the most memorable Overall: The weather was excellent for this transatlantic crossing, very sunny and minimal ... Read More
This was my fourth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2, but the first during the summer season. This was not the most memorable Overall: The weather was excellent for this transatlantic crossing, very sunny and minimal sea state. The ship was rather quiet during this crossing, during the day and during the evenings. The day time program wasn't particularly exciting or eventful and the passengers didn't seem to want to stay up too late in the evenings, even during formal nights. By midnight, the ship was very quiet and the bars even started to close. This was not a "party" sail like my usual pre-Christmas crossing. Cruise critic organized an informal meet and greet on the second day of the voyage. It was well attended and it let me meet the people in the forums. I enjoy transatlantic crossings a lot and despite some negative comments here, it is almost certain that there will be a fifth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2 in my future. Ship: The Queen Mary 2 is a special ship and I've always enjoyed her design and layout. While there are some quirks and oddities about her design (i.e. Decks 2/3 between A and B stairwells and getting the Queen's Room and G32), she is beautiful ship in the art deco style. One never feels crowded on board the ship. The Carinthia Lounge remains the area to avoid on the ship (it has a very retirement home feeling). The ship is showing some wear and age, but overall maintenance is still very good. Cabin: I had an obstructed view cabin, but it was a good cabin, possibly the best obstructed view cabin because it was behind a small boat rather than a full sized lifeboat. Dining: Britannia Restaurant. The food in the Britannia Restaurant for this crossing was average, not as great as it had been in the past. It was still very good but didn't feel as special as previous crossings. Presentation remains excellent, but the menu wasn't that exciting. The desserts were also rather plain this crossing. King's Court. Always busy, especially at lunch. Finding a table next to a window is nearly impossible and the food is average, but consistent. Golden Lion Pub. The pub lunch is always a good choice when the menu at the Britannia restaurant doesn't appeal to me. It serves traditional pub classic dishes such as fish and chips, or chicken tikka masala. Room Service. It was decent. I usually get room service breakfast. The food/coffee/tea is never piping hot, but that's expected given that its being delivered and the galley is rather far away. Entertainment: Evening shows: Cunard has never been known for their evening entertainment, so I wasn't expecting anything spectacular. The singing and dancing of the Royal Court Theatre Singers and Dancers was what I expected. Though other passenger's descriptions were harsher ("a high school production"). Lecturers: The selection of lecturers for this crossing was not the greatest. None of the lecturers really interested me and the comments from the other passengers were mostly negative as well. Planetarium: It's always nice to be able to attend the planetarium shows, but the show is always the same "stars above the north Atlantic." Service: The bartending staff remains excellent, my favourite bartender was on board and I have sailed with her for all of my voyages. My steward wasn't the greatest this year, but was still decent. The sommelier assigned to our table wasn't very good, rather than recommending me wines, he would just give me to the wine list and have me select the wine. I noticed there were a lot of trainees on board, so service was a bit slow. Shopping: Souvenirs remain a weakness of Cunard. The souvenirs are either overpriced and tacky or just overpriced. It would be nice if Cunard could get some decent and reasonably priced souvenirs. Their selection has improved over the years, but still has a lot of room for improvement. Embarkation: Very smooth this year, no queues, the fastest embarkation in Southampton I've ever had. But I found out that this was the case because there were a lot of people already on board who did not embark in Southampton. Disembarkation: Disembarking in Brooklyn is always frustrating. There was about an hour's delay from when I was scheduled to disembark to when I actually got off the ship. Then the queues to get through US Customs was a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. ... Read More
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. Signature suite 6055 was nice and roomy. Entertainment good, services great (go find David in the Oceans Bar for the 4-5pm happy hour, he has great personality). Cabin stewards & Dining stewards were all great. Ports - 3 ports in Ireland all great, 2 ports in Iceland (somewhat disappointed), 2 ports Greenland - Prince Christian Sund is amazing. 2 Ports in Newfoundland, and 1 port in Nova Scotia. Embarkation in Rotterdam was the easiest I have ever had, Disembarkation in Boston was somewhat confusing ((no clue where/who to ask about wheelchair assist, managed to get off on our own. Then had the bus driver who could not help with luggage & did NOT know route to airport? Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Would we go again on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth ? Absolutely. This was a late July east-bound transatlantic cruise with stops in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Dublin and finally Southampton. We were generally blessed ... Read More
Would we go again on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth ? Absolutely. This was a late July east-bound transatlantic cruise with stops in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Dublin and finally Southampton. We were generally blessed with fine weather and calm seas; there was some movement on the north Atlantic but not enough to bother most people. Try to get your stateroom as close to the middle of the ship and as low as possible; it will minimize the rock-and-roll if there is any. Embarkation from Manhattan Terminal was perfect. From street to stateroom in 30 minutes. The ship is very elegant as others have said. it is sparkling in its art-deco appearance and it is very well-maintained, inside and out. Painting and maintenance are ongoing when we were at port. It is the very model of an elegant luxury cruise ship. We had 4 formal nights on the 15 day cruise; men in dark suits or tuxedos; women in gowns or smart cocktail dresses. Casual during the day but formal at night; it was not mandatory but for those not dressed up they had special dining locations those evenings. After the 3rd night I could get into my tux in 10 minutes, much faster than the first night. It was a chore the first night but it was special to dress up on this elegant ship. It takes a day or two to discover all the places on the ship and I'm sure I missed some. There are many public spaces where you can relax and read; many bars and cafes throughout the ship. Overall you get both a big but also intimate feeling on this ship. The library was very impressive; two stories with dark wood furnishings. My wife and I reserved the Queen's Grill Suite (Q4) Room 7088. On the QE there are 3 passenger classes: Britannia, Princess Grill and Queen's Grill. If it were a plane, Britannia would be economy, PG would be business and QG would be first-class. There is also Britannia Club which is a step above Britannia. The PG and QG restaurants are two, separate but similar restaurants on Deck 11 with similar menus and service. It is hard to tell the difference. They share a common lounge between the restaurants for PG and QG passengers. Apart from that, the rest of the ship is available to everyone. The PG and QG meals are served in their respective restaurants, including afternoon tea. For Britannia class, there is a large impressive restaurant in the aft of the ship; afternoon tea is served in the Queen's Room which is also the dance floor. The staterooms are of course larger for the QG than for the PG than for Britannia. Overall I think the QG is not that much different than PG. Service and attentiveness was very good. The big difference for the Grills is that you can have dinner anytime after 6 pm. For Britannia there is an early and late seating. We found the flexibility of the QG/PG to be very convenient. There are a mix of 2-tables, 4-tables, and 8-table sizes. My wife and I enjoyed our dinner mates very much at the 8-table size and we became friends. Food was very good but not great. The Verandah ($39 supplement) had much better steaks than at the QG; our dinnermates and we decided to go down there one night just to get something different and we all agreed that V was much better. Of course not everyone wants to pay a supplement for dinner when they have already paid for the cruise which could explain why the Verandah was not very busy. But it was worth it for the food. Age group was mainly in the 65+ crowd although there were some people in their 30s and 40s with children (ages 6-10) but this younger group was less than 10% of the passengers. Most were from UK, US, Australia, New Zealand. With QG there is refreshed wine and liquors in your stateroom each night, as well as refilled min-fridge at no charge. An Illy coffeemaker with refreshed tea, creamer, and coffee is provided. As well as evening canapes. This is in QG. Certainly nice touches but I think you could scrape by on PG or Britannia depending on what you are looking for. Activities on the ship were fine with lectures and high production value shows every night at 8:30 and 10:30 each night. Lectures on Broadway, Weather Prediction, Space Exploration, the upcoming ports were very good. The port excursions were generally well-organized and interesting. They are not inexpensive! And you may be able to find better value with some planning. But be sure to return to the ship on time! There are a few washing machines and dryers on each deck but not anywhere enough, so there was jockeying and some harsh words in the competition for them. Better to do your own delicates and send out the rest to the ship laundry which has a charge. I agree with others about the atrocious internet. Slow to connect, slow to use, and slow to disconnect. At $45 for 2 hours, Cunard probably makes as much on the internet as the cruise! You can't just shut off the computer because your account is still open until you sign off which was so slow I didn't know if I signed of at all. I had to call the purser every time to make sure they signed me off. Fortunately the long-suffering IT guy gave me back 45 minutes which was spent trying to get on and off the service. Befoe leaving home,sign on with your local wireless provider to use the port-days with discounted International Roaming. It is much faster and less expensive. Disembarkation was also perfect.Remember to leave some day clothes out before you go to sleep on the last night. Your luggage will be off the ship overnight so make sure you have something to wear on the last morning! We had a great time and we would do it again although we might try PG or Britannia Club for comparable value since 90% of the rest of the ship and activities are open to everyone. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. ... Read More
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. Also had a person helicopter lifted off. All quite eventful! Boat was clean and tidy and staff very nice plus the food was great. The buffet was very good especially the sushi etc. Did get a bit of a dodgy stomach from the mussels which upset my stomach for 24 hours but it soon passed. The entertainment in the theatre was very poor however. Some of the acts were dreadful including the resident singers. A very good guest French pianist though. Overall worth the money but be prepared to occupy yourself as there is very little to do on those long sea days if you don't do ballroom dancing or enjoy bingo etc ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things ... Read More
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things on their own in each location. Rotterdam Pre -cruise/ Embarkation: We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Rotterdam. Sine there were four of us, I took advantage of the group discount tickets available online at the Dutch Railways website. This came out to 8 Euros per person instead of 13 euros per person if booked separately. The train station is inside the Amsterdam Airport and very easy to find. We stayed at the Hilton Rotterdam which is only a few blocks from the main Train station and centrally located for walking around Rotterdam. Rotterdam has a Saturday farmers market near the Markthal that if you are there on that day, is a worthwhile shopping event. The central shopping district and pedestrian streets were all close by. The RET Stadhuis metro station was right outside the back door of the Hilton. Only 4 euros one-way. There were escalators at both Stadhuis station and Wilhelminaplein station and the luggage was easy to roll-on roll-off the cars. It was three stops to Wilhelminaplein from Stadhuis and about 800 feet from the metro station to the Cruise Terminal. After dropping our bags, we went through security. I had a wine bottle in my bag for consumption in the room, and security never even checked it. My wife had a bottle of wine and a six pack of soda and security looked in her bag to ensure she didn't exceed the alcohol allowance. Note: In Reykjavik, my wife asked if she could take on a beer, and they said yes, as long as it was not more than six bottles. At other ports, I brought on beer and others were bringing on cans of soda with no problem. We arrived just after 1pm and received boarding group 9. Luckily Boarding group 8 was just finishing up so we were checked in within 5 minutes and walked aboard. Ship- overall very good- there were some spots in need of touch up/repair such as a broken bed lamp, a balconies badly in need of paint, and far too many cracked windows, but public areas were in good shape. I assume they are foregoing cosmetic maintenance items until dry dock. Even though we had some choppy seas for the first ten days the ship was very stable. Service was one of the best we have had on recent cruises. The HAL Navigator App (free WiFi on board for the App and HAL websites) had the daily menus in each dining area, including the Lido, posted. Also each day, an interactive activities list was available which duplicated the daily program so you could review and save your favorites. You can also book shore excursions on the App. No morning show. Never saw the Cruise Director until day 8. Jessica, our travel host was the face of HAL entertainment for the majority of the cruise. Most EXC lectures were scripted and did not provide a lot more detail than could be found online. Most of the port talks filled up the Main Stage at least 10 minutes prior with standing room only after that. Port Lectures lacked details regarding where we would be docked until the lecture was almost over so it was hard to reference the locations discussed during the lecture against the port area where you would be disembarked. The Orange party was at 10:30pm in BB King’s the day after the second gala night. Of course I fell asleep and missed it so can’t provide details. The Movie theater had comfortable lounge chairs but only played the same movies that were also on the In-room TV, so never saw the need to attend. The Gym was smaller than similar sized ships on other lines. There were plenty of treadmills, elliptical machines, and Dumbbells, but very little in the way of weight lifting equipment. One thing I really appreciated was Captain Bart Vaartjes announcing when Whales or Dolphins were spotted from the bridge. He also had a great sense of humor. About four hours out of Islafjordur on our way to Greenland I noticed in the room that it was suddenly very quiet. No engine noise and no air conditioner. Dead silent in fact.....30 seconds later the lights went out so we were now also in total darkness. The Capt. came on the speaker and said an engine had shut down and engineers were working on restoring power. After a few minutes power came back. For about 20 minutes we were drifting, but eventually the engine and air came back. We did not take a delay arriving in Greenland due to the outage. There was no real danger but it give us a little excitement as we drifted “powerless” for a short time. Upon leaving St. Pierre, the Captain announced that due to a Canadian law regarding the speed of ships in Canadian waters to protect the Right Whales that had changed June 24th (a month earlier) we would be arriving into Halifax two hours late. We were scheduled from 8am- 11pm so it did not infringe much on the time available in port, and we were not impacted since we didn’t have a shore excursion, but it was annoying that HAL didn’t mention this or adjust the itinerary when they knew about this over 30 days earlier. Food- Much better than my last HAL cruise. Lido Market (Cafeteria). The many individual food stations kept lines down. The only station that consistently had a line was the made-to-order pasta bar. Otherwise I never saw more then four people waiting in line at any food station. Most of the food items available each night in the MDR ( including Gala night) was also available in the Lido. There was hand dipped ice cream during lunch and dinner time. Typically there were three flavors available. Also soft serve was available on random days. Breakfast stations: The Bistro had made to order eggs, meat, and potatoes; Two Omelet stations, one with waffles and crepes, the other with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian Frittata each morning; Pastries; an Express Breakfast that was the same as the bistro but with no made-to-order eggs other than poached eggs and eggs Benedict, but also Fried Rice and occasionally Beans, Fried Bread and Tomatoes. Tip- any item can be put back on the griddle in the Bistro if you want it a little more done. This was especially popular in the morning for those that preferred crispy bacon. The Central Market in the morning had a selection of fruit, smoked salmon and cereals and Hors D'ouvres for lunch and dinner. Complimentary Drinks were ice tea, lemonade, coffee, hot tea, and water. The ice tea and lemonade were the typical flavored concentrates. However I thought the coffee was above average. Most days breakfast hours were 0700-1030 Lunch stations: Made to order pasta; The Bistro (one on each side) where you find the main courses, pre-made sandwiches plus a specialty sandwich each day, and two soups; Made to order Salads; Breads, Cheese, and the “Central Market” opposite the drink stations with small plates and hors d'ouvres. The Pasta and Salad stations stayed open until 5, although the Lido was only open for lunch from 11:30-2. MDR- Those with anytime dining were seated on deck 2. We never waited for more than a few minutes before being seated. I noticed that the 7:45 seating on deck 3 was consistently sparse with lots of open tables and many empty seats at tables with diners. Each meal was three courses. I am posting sample menus for MDR and Lido. In room dining was available from 1100-2300 with a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, sides and desserts. There was also a limited selection after hours. Breakfast room service was a choice of omelets, scrambled eggs and meat/bread, pastries or cereals, with salmon Benedict or steak and eggs at additional cost unless in a Suite. Burger Bar items were also available for a $4.95 delivery charge. We had breakfast one morning and it showed up exactly on time, although lukewarm, which honestly can be expected for a delivery up to deck 7.. Typical mix of liquor and wine on board. Beer on tap was Heineken and Tiger. Bottles were the standard Bud, Heineken, Corona, Miller, plus Sam Adams and Lagunitas. We never ate at Canneleto or Pinnacle grill. There were two specialty nights towards the end of the cruise: Surf and Turf on the last Gala night, with Lobster available in both MDR and Lido, and New England night in the Lido when we were in Halifax with Salmon cakes, Lobster Mac and Cheese, Lobster rolls, and Pork pies. Finally, there was a late night spread from 10:30-11:30 with pub-type food such as pot stickers, chicken wings, egg rolls, nachos, potato chips, desserts, and the remaining Hors D'oeuvres. 'Dive In” Burger Bar- Made to order burgers and hot dogs. Place your order at the window and receive a pager for when your order is complete. Both the Burgers and coated fries were hot, fresh, and very tasty. Next to it is a Taco Bar, with beef or chicken and all the fixin’s and occasionally including fresh made guacamole. The only downside was the limited opening hours for both: 11:30am-5pm. This meant neither was open after returning from most ports. Summary: In the past, I have chosen HAL due to the itinerary, since they tend to stop at ports not visited by other cruise lines, and I just assumed the food and service may not be as good, but just considered this a fair trade-off. However, this cruise was head and shoulders above my last two HAL cruises. Until now, I couldn't understand based on previous cruises how Holland America was ranked as high as it was in some polls. Perhaps it is the inconsistency in service mentioned in some other threads, or perhaps it is just the Vista class ships have higher service standards. Ports: Lerwick- Tender port. We had to show our passports to Scottish Customs as we disembarked. Tender arrived at Victoria pier which is downtown across from the Anderson Wool store and Captain Flints Pub. We were scheduled to be there from 8-4, but the last tender back to ship was at 3. However, six hours was enough time to explore the town independently.  Most of the shops in town are close to the tender port, and easily walk-able from Victoria Pier. There is a Tesco Supermarket a mile and a half away along the water side trail where you can stock up on snacks. The Broch of Clickimin is close to the Tesco. This same waterside trail in the opposite direction also runs out to “The Knab” which is a nice walk with some great views. Reykjavik- Docked at Skarfabakki port about 2.5 miles out of town. There is a oceanfront walk from the port to town. Both Enterprise and EuropCar are within walking distance of the dock. If you overnight and have a rental car, there is ample free parking in the dock area. There is a large Icewear souvenir store at the port with prices similar to what you will find in town. We checked prices here first before going downtown, then did some last minute purchases here before leaving port. We never needed Kroner. Credit cards were accepted everywhere, and there was no problem accepting most US credit cards. There was a Port-provided shuttle to/from town for $20 round trip. We opted to rent a car and drove the Golden Circle, plus we also did the town Vik and the black sand beaches there and also made it to the Bridge America-Europe on day one. On day two we drove into downtown Reykjavik for some shopping. There was no problem finding parking downtown. Parking meters took credit cards and were in English, as was the self serve gas stations. The cost of the car, fuel, added insurance (which seems to be a “thing” in Iceland), was about the same as the cost of a private tour plus the town shuttle. The difference was flexibility and the options for additional stops. Driving in Iceland was easy for those who normally drive on the right side of the road. Lots of traffic circles/ roundabouts for those who struggle with such things. Akeyuri- docked downtown about a five minute walk from the Visitors Center. Just like in Reykjavik, there was another Icewear gift shop at the dock. If not doing a tour, most tourist shops are close by and it took us about 3 hours to browse most of the stores. We opted not to do the tours here as we had done the Golden Circle and Vik two days prior. (and have been to Yellowstone and Rotorua so this wasn’t our first volcanic area ). We found lots of spare time after doing the main shopping street so just wandered around the rest of the city until time to return. It was rainy, windy, and cold until about 2pm, then cleared up and became sunny. Islafjordur- Tender port, Very small town with some shops in the downtown. Tendered in at Njardarsund st., which is one block from the local microbrewery, Dokkan Brugghus. Like Akeruyi, it was cold and windy in the morning then was sunny in the afternoon. The shops were small and only one of these had “Islafjordur”-branded items. The whale bone Arch on the hill above town made for a nice picture and also provided an opportunity for a photo of Islafjordur with the ship and mountains in the background. Nanatolik- Tender port. We were dropped off across the bay from the visitors center, at the Havnevej industrial port, not the cruise dock next to the visitors center, so there was a bit of a walk for those with limited mobility. Most of the souvenirs in town were at the same visitors center so the small room filled up almost immediately and stayed that way all day with lines forming outside. The visitors center also sold tickets for several presentations by local entertainers. The Brugseni supermarket across the street also had some limited souvenirs. The Ravnefjeldet mountain directly behind town can be hiked up to different levels depending on ability. To get to it, follow the Tunuliaritseq road which turns into Islafjordurip road past the picturesque cemetery. The road ends at the trail. Reserve about an hour for going up and back to get some good panoramic pictures. On the sailaway, several Humpback Whales were feeding just outside the port. St Johns- Docked at Pier 10. Most shops and pubs are within the first three blocks away from the ship. We walked to the Quidi Vidi Brewery. It was a long 45 minutes walk through the suburbs. Nice to have a beer made with water from an iceberg, but not sure it was worth the time to get there. Signal Hill was encased in low clouds all day so there was no point in climbing up for a view. One odd thing was pushing our clocks back 30 minutes to match the local time zone, instead of the usual hour. St Pierre- Tender port. Dropped off at Quay Eric Taberly. Nice visitors center tent upon arrival with a band, free WiFi, coffee, OJ, danishes, and croissants. Most small shops were within three blocks of where we arrived. Point aux cannons lighthouse, The Battery, and Place Du General De Gaulle are all within a few minutes walk. Note that many stores close between 12 and 2. Sydney- Docked at Cruise Pavilion which had souvenir shops and a craft market. Nice waterside walkway that starts from dock with some shops and food trucks. There are several blocks of early 19th century houses across the street from the Cruise Pavilion. There are some small museums in several of these houses for only a few dollars admission. On Saturday there is the Cape Breton farmers market/ craft fair at the intersection of Esplanade and Falmouth streets. Halifax- Docked at Pier 20. Lots of shops inside the Cruise Terminal, plus a Farmers Market at the end of the Terminal building. There is a booth inside the Cruise Terminal as you walk in that sells HoHo bus tickets and various tours. There is also a visitors center booth as you walk in that can provide maps and suggestions for the day. They provided a walking tour map that we used to go though the high points of areas close by such as the Citadel, Maritime Museum, landmarks, and shopping areas. The boardwalk along the water was lined with shops, bars, food trucks and restaurants. We were here until 11pm, so there was ample opportunity to check out the local nightlife, but the Captain announced all passengers were onboard early, so we departed early as well. Boston- Disembarkation Customs was set up onboard the ship on deck 3 so there no need to clear Customs after disembarking from the ship. Consequently, we stayed in our room until just after our 9am group color was called and we went down to deck 3, showed the Customs official our passports, had our room key punched by HAL, and walked off the boat. It was a total of five minutes from leaving our room to arriving in baggage claim. Once in the cruise terminal, we located our bags that had been grouped by tag color, picked them up, and exited the Terminal. For those without a post-cruise Hotel, there were bus stops on the other side of the BCD building, or at the end of the Cruise terminal. The taxi line was directly ahead as we exited the Cruise Terminal. The taxi line was very long so we used a ride share which arrived within a minute. Nine minutes later we were at the Boston Airport. This was one of the fastest, most painless, disembarkation's ever. We left our room at 9:05, and were checked in and through security at Boston Airport by 9:55. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more ... Read More
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more families with "free range kids", noise, heavy patronage of the buffet, garbage on the floors, noise at night, kids running and knocking on doors, kids running free during the life safety segment, kids running down the promenade deck careening into guests and people sitting in chairs etc. Adults with loud voices and shouting in the public rooms. The Southampton to New York a quieter more refined experience with the amazing guest speakers and quiet conversations among guests. QM2 is an experience of a life time and each time we take a TA on the QM2 it is excellent, unique and designed to link the guest to the sea. The QM2 is the way a ship should be. QM2 did not disappoint - but we would say the food in the MDR and the Kings Court buffet was a significant step downwards from our last TA 2 years ago. Cunard, improve your general food offerings, make it the same as Celebrity. Your general food offerings should not be less than Carnival. Other than that, the QM2 was excellent. The positives: * QM2 is a ship, not a Vegas hotel. * There is no end of vistas so that a guest can feel and smell the ocean. The open wing deck under the bridge is simply amazing. Modern cruise ships are designed to keep guests looking inward so they can spend $. Well done Cunard. The step down stern open areas are spectacular and well patronized * A real promenade deck, enough said. It was heavily patronized. * Cunard expects guests to be able to entertain themselves during the day * This is a ship for intellectuals - meaning the amazing guest speakers and library enable guests to learn about the world. The guest speaks spoke on - being an envoy in Moscow in the cold war, a London theater actress speaking on the hidden gems of London, WW2 submarine technology and deployment in the war. What a joy versus the nonsense on modern cruise ships. * The historical boards towards the bow area recounting the glory days of the Queens and transatlantic travel * The service was excellent, excellent. The amount of staff, their training, their demeanor etc was top notch - a step well above our last QM2 TA. To be frank, the service in the common areas were as good as our trips on Crystal and Oceania. * The extra charge restaurants were - excellent. The Veranda was the equal of the steakhouse on Oceania. The most amazing food was at the Alternative restaurant located in a part of the Kings Court - Cunard, you have a winner here. There are themed nights - Coriandor, The Smokehouse, Azetec and Bamboo. The food was the very best I ever had on a ship period. Better than Crystal or Oceania. The tastes were sublime, the presentation, the quantity, the service by the hand picked staff was first class. There were Grill level guests there and many said they would abandon the Grills and book a non Grill and simply enjoy the extra charge Veranda and Alternative dining. * The officers - they were visible and pleasant and stopped to answer questions. * The Golden Lion fish and chips and the Indian food put most cruise ship venues to shame * The music on the pa was excellent - just loud enough, classic to modern. Excellent choice. Entertainment was good. * Well - the kennel. Being on the pool decks at the stern and hearing the dear dogs barking from time to time as they were out with their fur parents was to die for. It humanized the ship - it was a great hit with guests. * The sheltered balcony cabin was well maintained and very cozy. * The size of the public areas, the amount of space per passenger is amazing. * QM2 rides like a dream, never felt her move. * The side corridors on deck 3 which have tables for games and chairs for sitting. These areas are the closest to the ocean level and are amazing. * Smoothies and detox beverages in the Kings Court area - excellent * Room service was good. The chopped fruit salad was excellent, as good as the chopped fruit salad on Oceania. The pain au chocolate was not bad. Coffee was excellent overall with real cream Negatives: * Boarding in Hamburg - The Grills class passengers walked right in front of the non Grills class long line up to gain access to the check in staff. Disrespectful. Have a separate check in line for Grills guests. * Food in the Kings Court. Not good. Cheap looking, cheap taste. The hot dishes, breads, cold meats etc were set out - no garnishes around any of the food serving stations - just cold looking plates on a hard surface with no visual appeal. Simply the worst looking and worst tasting buffet I have seen. A steep decline from my last QM2 TA. The breads were the cheapest quality you could imagine. The cold meats were cheap. We had no interest in eating there. The realignment of this area was much better than before, the food was not. * The MDR. Fabulous room, the best on the seas. The staff were excellent. The food was not. The food size, garnishing, taste, quality was average to poor. The onion soup consisted of a dry powder soup base with a few onions. Served after was a small round bread piece with a few cheese shreds. Awful. It was returned. The protein portions were small and dry. Salads were small with minimum garnishes. The food did not live up to the amazing room. * The carpets since the refit are awful. The orange and yellow down the main corridor was glaring and cheap. It was the carpet in the cabin floors (all decks I think), beige on the right side trending towards a pattern and deep blue next the cabin doors. The carpet looked awful and cheap. Who needs beige carpet in a high traffic area? The carpet looked like you would have got it at the Dollar store. * Ah, the infamous post cruise mini bar in the room charge. Got dinged for $18.29 for a mystery charge. Will not be paying it. _______________________________________________________________ Having cruised since 1989, on the mass and luxury lines, we enjoy Cunard for the value it represents and the great itineraries and the real ships they provide guests. All cruise lines are cheapening their products. Cunard is as well. Cunard is best suited to guests who enjoy being on a ship, who wish to behave in a classy way and dress a bit better than the anything goes mass cruise lines. The Cunard guests are well travelled and well informed. If you want Vegas at sea, loud techno music, drunk guests due to the beverage packages etc do not choose Cunard. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did ... Read More
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did take a Bonine tab myself and felt fine for the rest of the day. The service on the ship was great and the list of lecturers and performers was also first rate. The food fell back into the "almost as good as" category as it was very British, as to say drab. Even the steak at the Veranda was a notch below what I would expect from a steakhouse in a major city. But the sad part of the ship experience was the lack of technology. The WiFi was definitely in the last century as far as performance and the lack of any apps to keep track of the events onboard or to communicate with others in your party was amazing to me after recent cruises on Princess and Disney. I know this is not a cruise ship but that is no excuse for falling so far behind the curve in this area. Also, the ship design itself was a series of ups and downs to get anywhere. If you wanted to get to the ballroom in front on level 3 you had to go down to level 2. All around the ship there were small lifts for people in wheelchairs because of the poor layout. It may be too late to fix the layout problems without a major overhaul but the technology items need to be looked at now. Why do I still give it a Very Good rating? Because, though it is on the edge of being only good it was certainly not an average voyage. The room, entertainment and education features were excellent. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Six months since our last holiday, by May 2019 it was time for a break. I am a firm believer in the HR notion that a break every six months is restorative (if not to ones bank account, at least for the soul). So I looked for a cruise that ... Read More
Six months since our last holiday, by May 2019 it was time for a break. I am a firm believer in the HR notion that a break every six months is restorative (if not to ones bank account, at least for the soul). So I looked for a cruise that would please me and my wife. A bit about us: we are late middle-aged (later 50's, early 60's), one of us still works, and we have done many cruises since 2001. Mostly on Holland America, yet more recently on Seabourn. We very much liked the almost all-inclusive nature of our Seabourn cruises, as well as the smaller ships. In May 2019 Seabourn had an interesting cruise option, yet on that ship the verandah cabin guarantee offered may well have come with the opaque (metal) balcony railings. That is a show-stopper for my wife, who wants to be able to see out her balcony while seated. Seabourn would put us in a balcony with the Plexiglas railing--yet only if we ponied up another $2 grand each. It looked like we would not be cruising after all in May. Happily, searching the usual websites, I found this interesting Regent cruise--a trans-Atlantic, which we like (the days at sea can be quite restful), some interesting ports, a departure from New York, which is only an hours flight from Toronto, and with the airfare and shore excursions included. We also would have a proper balcony in the verandah cabin, with no metal railing blocking the view. All this, including business class air for the transatlantic flight home, for about the same price as Seabourn wanted for the obstructed view balcony. Hmmm, it was time to give Regent a try. Cutting to the chase for any impatient readers, we quite enjoyed our Regent cruise and would return to them. This line is now on our list, along with Seabourn. We would also return to HAL, even though we do like not having to sign for most things, for the right itinerary and pricing. It is nice to have options and choices. We found Regent a well organized operator. Their shore staff met us at Newark airport, and we were escorted to the van (we were the only passengers) provided to take us to the port of Manhattan. Ironically, the drive from the airport took longer than our 1.3 hour flight. It was nice, accordingly, that I did not have to pay for a taxi or limo, and that such ground transportation was included. As we checked in around 2PM, we had missed the rush. On board quickly, we headed to the Verandah for a casual lunch. This was the first of many very good meals on board. Ultimately to our cabin--we had received and accepted an upsell offer for a penthouse. The basic amenity was that the cabin, same size as the verandah cabin but better located, came with a butler, who was excellent! Between the butler and our stewardess, and her assistant, we were very well looked after for the next 15 days. Having never had a butler before, and wondering what we would use him for, now I wonder how we could survive without one! The cabin was a little tight compared with what we are used to. On HAL we get a Neptune Suite, and on Seabourn a regular verandah. Yet the Seabourn ships are newer than this particular ship, Navigator, which is about 20 years old. We found that there was not quite as much drawer space or storage generally, as we have had on Seabourn in the regular verandah cabins--yet we managed to get everything put away. Still, I would not have wanted a room service dinner in the cabin. Again, other than having the daily snacks which the butler brought, it was a tad tight for dining. We were not impressed with the lifeboat drill. Held partly inside, and then being taken out to the boat deck was superfluous, as the boats you were shown at the drill may well not be the boat to which you would be assigned when you gather in the event of an emergency. In my view this is not well thought out. Either do the entire drill outside, or inside. I would also think specific lifeboats should be assigned per cabin, so everyone knows exactly where to go in case of an emergency. Other lines do this in a more organized fashion. We had a little difficulty in getting the cabin stocked with my wife's favourite Vodka, Chopin, a potato-based vodka. A substitute was provided, and Chopin was available in the bars. Ultimately, our butler scrounged us a bottle for the cabin. Unfortunately, we were told that Chopin was no longer to be provided on Regent once current inventory was finished. Too bad, as it is an excellent luxury brand. The included/available Scotches were also not quite top drawer. I mean, seriously, Johnny Walker Red? Yes, they had Black, Chivas Regal (my daily tipple), and some single malts. Yet for a luxury cruise line, at a minimum 12 year old single malts (not just one, but a choice of several) should be included, and frankly, they should provide 15 year old Scotch without a surcharge. In addition to most friendly, warm, welcoming, and personable cabin staff, the same could be said about all the bar staff. They were great. It was nice to be seated, and ones regular drink brought around without having to say a word. Kudos to them for fostering a welcoming and clubby atmosphere. The food quality was truly excellent--and we are foodies. It was the best we have experienced on any cruise. Being fair, HAL provides in our experience very good Banquet style meals. Seabourn provides very good meals as well, just not a lot of variety at times, and at times, overly salted. Regent's food was not overly salted, yet was well seasoned. There was also plenty of variety at lunch, and especially at dinner in the main restaurant. Some of the "always available" dinner items included genuine whole Dover Sole, which would be filleted table-side--a pleasure to watch. We found the food prepared "a la minute", and was an example of fine dining. Not every dish was a success, but the effort was clearly present. We were surprised that someone on the cruise after ours, a Veterans charter, did not enjoy the food. Yet that may have been because it was a charter. We enjoyed the dining room or the upstairs casual restaurant which becomes an Italian restaurant at night. Happily, it was not a buffet, unless one wanted to go up and select items. We much preferred the lovely Italian servers bringing us our meal. We also enjoyed two meals in the steakhouse. We found the personnel there most welcoming and accommodating, too. The beef was very good. Yet, as I have a great local butcher, and enjoy making a BBQ during decent weather, unlike some I do not get all excited about a steakhouse! Service in the dining room, however, was not quite as good as was the food. Some of the servers were great: warm, friendly, yet also competent. Over 15 days there can be one or two food items that are not to ones taste--the better wait staff knew to check and to quickly rectify the situation. Alas, not all of the servers fit into that category. We are used to on HAL our fixed table at 8PM, where we build a rapport with the same team of waiter, assistant waiter, and wine waiter over the cruise. While we do appreciate the flexibility of open seating available on smaller ships, one sacrifices, to some extent, that personal rapport which can, if one is lucky (and we have always had good luck on HAL in that regard), develop between server and customer. The challenge for Regent and Seabourn is to imbue their wait staff with the feeling that, even if for one night, each passenger is "their" passenger, and the goal should be to make the evening special, for each guest. Not easy to accomplish, but worth aiming for. In any case on this cruise we had a word with hotel management about some initial service issues, and happily, things improved. The ports included Bermuda, and the shore excursions, also included, were very good. Unfortunately, a couple of the afternoon tours were cancelled. As I get up early most weekday mornings, the last thing I want to do on any cruise is get up early to go on tour. I prefer a leisurely morning. In most European ports, Regent did offer afternoon tours, and again, we enjoyed them. We found the laundry to be expensive, albeit thankfully we were using "Monopoly money" (our ship-board credits) for that. Seabourn offers laundry at $50 for as much as one can stuff into a bag. Regent should follow that example. If I did not have sufficient credits, the cost of laundry would be a factor worth considering, along with the other factors such as included shore excursions, included air-fare, etc. There are, it seems, always trade-offs to be made. The lectures were in our view poorly timed. The fellow who spoke at 10 AM I would have preferred hearing in the afternoon, and I could have skipped the afternoon guy who talked about photography. The onboard shows were decent, although the layout of the theatre makes it hard to find an unobstructed view unless you arrive early. Some of the specialty performers were excellent! The piano bar was ok. While the piano player could play, he often mangled the lyrics. A little more practice to make perfect may help. Bar staff there, however, were great. The demographics of this cruise included, in our view, a somewhat older crowd. That made us feel comparatively younger (not a bad thing!). Still, we met a few folk to, on occasion, have a drink with. People were quite pleasant for the most part. We were surprised that the dress code on Regent was specified as "elegant-casual" each night. Apparently for cruises of 15 days or less, there are no formal-optional nights. I had brought a couple of ties, yet never wore one. In the main dining room, however, most men did wear a sports-jacket or the ubiquitous navy blazer. People were for the most part indeed elegantly casual. We flew home on May 30, and have to say that Amsterdam's airport is very disorganized. I would also warn folks not to connect through London-Heathrow, as the security and other line ups are horrendous. In hindsight, I would have tried for a non-stop flight which, as we all know, is the best bet. Generally, and if the price is right, we would definitely return to Regent. Yet right now they seem to be charging nearly $1,000.00 per person per day. That is far more than what we paid for this cruise. So, if one can afford it, go for it--yet it pays to shop around. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as it ended up in Barcelona, after visiting the Azores, Madeira, Morocco, Seville, and Malaga. We had cruised on the Emerald a year earlier and were happy to see improvements (it had recently come from drydock). ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it ended up in Barcelona, after visiting the Azores, Madeira, Morocco, Seville, and Malaga. We had cruised on the Emerald a year earlier and were happy to see improvements (it had recently come from drydock). The upgrades in carpet, wall, flat screen TVs, and the buffet and bars on top were good. We were disappointed they had not yet fully implemented the new internet or on-demand TV. The internet was still terrible. I understand they expect to have those upgrades done by August. We had a mini-suite, as we had before. It was the same as before except for the TV upgrade. It was fine. However, the sofa was old, worn, stained and uncomfortable. Time for a replacement! I have loved Princess beds but this one felt too soft. (and I like soft beds)--time for a mattress replacement, I think. We felt food was a bit better than a year earlier. The pizza, source of endless debate was quite a bit better than the year before. Husband's theory is new, hotter pizza oven. It's still not top gourmet quality but was much better than last voyage. We still love the International Cafe. As always, nice tasty snacks and treats. They were even keeping the almond croissants warm in the oven (so much better that way). There is still too much blatant up selling for my taste, although it is reduced from in the past. The cruise tours were excellent. We often stick with Princess because they seem to have great itineraries and this was no exception. I forget her name but there were excellent destination lectures from a British woman, which were broadcast on TV. They were very well-done. Our cabin steward was one of the best we have ever had and the dining room staff were great. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Pre Cruise: Our vacation began in Ft. Lauderdale where we stayed in a small, newly-built, Quality Suites hotel near the airport. If you're staying overnight prior to the cruise, you won't need a rental car. The hotel will pick ... Read More
Pre Cruise: Our vacation began in Ft. Lauderdale where we stayed in a small, newly-built, Quality Suites hotel near the airport. If you're staying overnight prior to the cruise, you won't need a rental car. The hotel will pick you up at the airport and transport you to the cruise pier for free. You won't need a car rental, as you can walk to a few nearby restaurants. But if you plan to do shopping or site seeing, rent a car and enjoy everything that this city has to offer. Embarkation: We boarded the Emerald Princess on Saturday around Noon time and the call for general boarding had commenced. Although we have Elite status, we were ushered into a long line which took about an hour for us to get on board. So we missed having lunch in the MDR which closes at 1pm. We didn't mind this so much because we had five days at sea before reaching our first port. We were not in a hurry. We chose this voyage because we wanted to experience ports that we had not previously visited. In Barcelona, all passengers were required to exit the ship for customs clearance. No luggage checks, just passport clearance. Passengers on a tour/excursion were required to take their passports with them for re-entry at the terminal. Those individuals who remained on board took their passport to the control officer. Quick & easy. Of course, some passengers didn't understand that the term "all passengers" applied to them, so the crew had to locate those individuals and usher them off the ship before the rest of us could return. We waited about 2 hours in the terminal before we noticed that everyone was already returning to the ship. I recommend that you take a tour of the city to avoid the wait time and enjoy a walking tour of Barcelona. The bus & metro service are super easy, the taxi service is reasonable, and the city is very pedestrian friendly. Las Ramblas is an area that should not be missed. The Ship: The Emerald Princess emerged from dry dock just prior to our cruise. So much of the public areas were updated and polished. The most noticeable upgrade is the Market Fresh dining area. Other areas of the ship received fresh carpet and some areas were got a fresh coat of paint. We were pleased that the zumba classes were moved from the piazza area. Sports events, competitions, and musical celebrations can get pretty loud. We could clearly hear the dance music in the elevator on the Lido Deck (deck 15). We found several empty bar areas to use as a hideaway for reading, puzzles and light conversation. The destination lectures were fabulous. The expert advice offered during these sessions were invaluable. She had a wealth of knowledge, a great personality, and a direct focus on the important issues. Entertainment: I don't enjoy the musicals and stand up entertainment shows provided on cruise ships. I live in a city where entertainment is the main industry.So I don't attend these shows while cruising. Some people in the audience clearly love them. So I consider myself an anomoly. The ring toss, bag toss, and poolside events appear to be very popular with the majority of cruisers. Since I don't enjoy watching or participating in those activities, I don't criticize them. The ratings scale does not provide N/A options. Dining: The Horizon Court is now called World Market Fresh which features a clean and spacious design with new tables and chairs. The food is appealing, artfully displayed, and makes self service much easier. The section at the rear of the ship featured made-to-order omelets at breakfast and ramen noodle stir fry at noon. The serving lines could be long on those days. At dinner time, those areas at the rear were converted to casually elegant restaurants called Planks and Steamers Seafood which alternated from one night to the next. I don't know the schedule because we dined only once in each venue. They weren't busy so the hostess would seat you without reservations. There was a lot of food included for the $12 upcharge and the food was plentiful and flavorful. It was also nice and quiet. Other dining options that are free, besides World Market Fresh, include International Cafe, and the open deck spots featuring pizza and a hot dog/hamburger grill. The Crown Grill and Share are specialty restaurants, in elegant surroundings, which charge $39 and $29 respectively. There are three main dining rooms (MDR) on this ship. Two feature traditional dining and one features anytime dining. The Anytime Dining option has improved significantly. If you arrive anytime after 7:30pm, you'll be seated expeditiously. If you prefer to eat earlier, I recommend the traditional dining. It might have been a fluke, but it seemed to me that the MDR is as noisy as Market Fresh with clattering of dishes, loud conversations and very little sound absorption. Excursions: In Funchal, Portugal we thoroughly enjoyed the TukTuk Taxi tour. We made reservations prior to departure at http://www.tukxi.pt/, and the driver, Caroline, picked us up right outside the terminal at the pier, right on time. She took us on a 2.5 hour ride through the winding streets of the city where there were very few cars, lots of locals, and some terrific photo ops. We visited the major tourist attractions and she even stopped to pick some fruit and fragrant plants along the way. The cost for 2.5 hours was 52.00 USD (47.00 Euro) and we were extremely satisfied. In Morocco, we selected a Princess excursion that included a visit to the capital city of Rabat because our research indicated that there was not very much to see and do in Casablanca. In both cities, the traffic jams, road construction, and pedestrians made it extremely difficult to move around. Our guide had a very strong accent and the radio communicators were fuzzy and annoying. In Casablanca, we stopped at a mosque and a government building to view non-descript mosaic tiles. There was really nothing else to see. On our way to Rabat,the guide told us that we would enjoy a bathroom break "very soon" which turned out to be after noon. He told us that the acceptable bathrooms along the road were closed for construction. In Rabat, we visited a major mosque with acceptable toilets and we were able to see only the outside of the Royal Palace because, unfortunately, the royal family was in residence. We had lunch, with lots of food, in an upscale restaurant without air conditioning before returning to ship. The rush hour traffic of Casablanca was the most memorable portion of the tour. I don't mean to sound snobby in my assessment of Morocco and I hope to visit again in a couple of years as it will likely be more prepared for western tourism. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Had been on Royal Princess five years ago and it was wonderful. Also, Princess Cruises seems to be the only cruise line with self-service laundry on each deck. -Check-in at Port Everglades was chaotic. Different agents told us to go to ... Read More
Had been on Royal Princess five years ago and it was wonderful. Also, Princess Cruises seems to be the only cruise line with self-service laundry on each deck. -Check-in at Port Everglades was chaotic. Different agents told us to go to different places. -Luggage took almost 6 hours to come to our cabin. -Before we left home, Princess agent told us unlimited email was $139.99 and we had to buy this service on board. When on board, we were charged $169.99 - $30 extra. Ship’s internet manager “Dan” refunded this overcharge after we complained. -Took three visits to Customer Service desk to get our computers set up with ship's WiFi. Repeated efforts and no phone answer (on hold 10 minutes then gave up) at Customer Service desk. -Internet down all day (5 May). We requested and received one day refund. -Machine in laundry that sells tokens was broken—reported 5 and 6 May. Finally fixed 7 May. -One of the main reasons we chose Princess over other cruise lines was availability of self-service laundry. With thousands of passengers and only perhaps a dozen machines, demand was high and machines were often unavailable. To further complicate problem, management decided to open laundry only from 8 am-8 pm, with limited hours. Solution – keep laundry open 24 hours/day to meet high demand. -Shore excursions offered us a tour of the Royal Palace in Rabat during Casablanca port call but we left the ship so late (tardy) that the palace was closed by the time we reached it in Rabat. At my request, shore excursion director sent me a letter of apology and a 50 % refund. -Ship's entertainment was painfully loud, causing me and many others to walk out at what could have been enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise when it was first offered because I'd never been on Silver Seas, I liked the itinerary, and the single supplement was within reason. I was a little concerned given some of the negative reviews, but my on board ... Read More
I chose this cruise when it was first offered because I'd never been on Silver Seas, I liked the itinerary, and the single supplement was within reason. I was a little concerned given some of the negative reviews, but my on board experience bore no relation to what I'd read. It was wonderful in almost every respect. I loved it and will be back. I was in a veranda cabin and will say more about it below, but it was big enough for two people to be comfortable and lap of luxury for a single like me. The bed was wonderful. Dining was maybe a little disappointing as my expectations were pretty high, based on how the line is promoted. Over all, the food was good, occasionally outstanding, but now and then sub par. For example, I ordered venison on one occasion. The plate came with two generous pieces, one succulent and delicious, the other like shoe leather -- not supposed to happen. On another occasion, the wine steward told us the red was Carménère, which made me happy as I like that wine, but, in fact, he was pouring from a bottle of Cabernet. When I pointed this out, a bottle of the former quickly appeared, but it was surprising the steward didn't know what he was pouring. As to the wines, overall, I thought they were fine and, if neither of those offered appealed, a substitute was readily at hand. I ate lunch at the Terrazzo buffet several times and many items were dried out and tasteless, while others were perfect. So, food was a little uneven in quality. One thing I must note, though -- Silver Seas serves the best hot dog on the planet. I'm not kidding. It's big and comes with a slice of very crisp bacon, a house made cucumber based relish and is served on a bun that has just a hint of cinnamon flavor to it. The sides are a delicious slaw and a little pot of great fries and onion rings. Not to be missed. I must have had eight of them by the time I disembarked. I thought the entertainment was good over all, especially the three piece combo, but it was the speakers who were truly exceptional. I've done a number of expedition cruises where the speakers are tremendous and many normal type cruises where the speakers are often lamentable. The three on this cruise, though, were all interesting and well informed in their areas. I didn't miss one and was never disappointed. Service is absolutely first rate almost all the time on this ship. The butler and room attendant were terrific, bartenders friendly, skillful and responsive, wait staff very good over all. You definitely have the sense that the crew are happy to be where they are. Officers could have been a little more engaged with the passengers, but the Captain was a treat -- witty and forth coming with details. The ports were all interesting and the overnight in NYC a huge plus -- saw Hadestown and was walking distance from the ship to the theater. The sail up the Thames and under Tower Bridge to moor next the the HMS Belfast was jaw dropping. I won't ever forget it and were so lucky to have perfectly sunny skies. The overnight in London was a second big plus. I was able to host a friend for dinner on board and the food that night was superb. I did a few of the sponsored excursions and they were fine and the prices seemed reasonable enough to me. Would I sail on Silver Seas again, of course I would, if the single supplement is fair and the itinerary good. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Let me start by saying: If you are not willing to accept change - the Edge is not for you. Celebrity definitely threw away the cookie cutters when they designed the Edge. We absolutely loved it and would sail her again in a millisecond. ... Read More
Let me start by saying: If you are not willing to accept change - the Edge is not for you. Celebrity definitely threw away the cookie cutters when they designed the Edge. We absolutely loved it and would sail her again in a millisecond. My husband, son and DIL sailed on the Edge on her Transatlantic 28 April 2019. Embarkation was amazing - from dropping off luggage at 11:30 am with porter to opening our cabin door 15 minutes later. Best embarkation we have ever experienced. My husband and I have been on 57 cruises and my son over 30. We stayed in Aqua Class cabins and the experience was wonderful. Cabin was great, we really enjoyed the Infinite Balcony, Room Attendant amazing. Enjoyed the Thermal Suite and thoroughly enjoyed "Blu". Being a Transatlantic, on any other ship with a balcony, we would not have used it due to cooler weather. With the IB, we were able to adjust the window to correspond with the weather. We also enjoyed that it gave us more room in the cabin to get ready for dinner. The staff at "Blu" were amazing. After our first dinner, everyone knew our names, knew our wine preference and were most attentive. We also did 7 Specialty Dinners - 3 at Eden, 2 at the Steakhouse, 1 at Raw on 5, and 1 at Petite Chef. Eden dinners were wonderful, loved the Petite Chef and Raw on 5. However, our second visit to the Steakhouse was very disappointing. Steak was not good and service was spotty. We loved the entertainment at Eden. Felt that their were not enough entertainment options in the evening. We found that the Eden bar was our go to place before and after dinner. The bartenders were fantastic. Cons: As with every cruise, nothing is perfect. The same with the Edge. They need to have one more bar option. The champagne bar was always over crowded, the martini glasses were the smallest I have ever seen. People just didn't leave the bar area so seating was very hard to get. The Casino Bar was good, however, they offered no specialty drinks. The Sunset Bar was not used most days and nights due to the weather. Too many high end stores, almost no one in them during the whole cruise. The Magic Carpet was fun but again because of weather not used very much. Disembarkation at Southampton was great. We carried off and went from our cabin to the port in less than 20 minutes. All in all a most wonderful cruise vacation. Again, loved the Edge. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted to spend enough time on the ship to explore it fully. We did have concerns seeing some of the early re3views. We decided to stop reading them as some where so very negative! We were in a suite 7306 aft S1. At the outset ... Read More
We wanted to spend enough time on the ship to explore it fully. We did have concerns seeing some of the early re3views. We decided to stop reading them as some where so very negative! We were in a suite 7306 aft S1. At the outset let me give some background. We are seasoned Celebrity cruisers. We are Elite +. We have travelled in all levels of stateroom on all ships other than Flora and Reflection! We are from UK so flew out from UK to Fort Lauderdale. We went to the cruiseport early, around 10-30. After an extremely quick check-in on computer, we were shown to the lounge where drinks and snacks were served prior to embarkation. After a quick coffee we were on board, straight to our room where we found our room keys, dropped off our handheld and were ready to explore! We just love the overall design of the ship, the big open spaces, the artwork, wonderful inspired seating inside and out. The pool areas indoor and our are just beautifully designed areas. The retreat sundeck and lounge areas have interesting modern design, nice seating, lots of private space as well as social areas. Some areas took a bit of getting used to, the club and the martini bar. They have plusses and minuses compared with similar venues on other ships. We found the club to be a little dark for our personal taste, and the twin levels at the martini bar a little odd, although we loved the live music and dance floor now in this venue. Tiny martini glasses though kept the bar staff very busy with those of us with premium drinks packages lol! Some of the entertainment we felt was aimed at an older crowd for this sailing… we are in our 60s!. When they did get it right on the last formal night the ship was buzzing and the dance floor crowded. Celebrity don't assume older folks don't like to rip up the dancefloor!! We went to one show on the first night. Nice venue, comfortable seating, but shows aren't really our thing and we didn't go to another. A bit predictable for us. We did go to the Eden show. It was a little mysterious, challenging and puzzling. Overall we enjoyed the experience, we loved seeing the acrobats from very close quarters. Maybe a narrator is needed to help some like us understand the flow of the evening. We ate in Eden. We sat by the kitchen and watched the Chef and his staff preparing food with great precision. The food was excellent in a very modern style. Entertainment very enjoyable and service just perfect. Eden was a wonderful place in the day. We had lunch from the café We sat outside at one of the 2 external seating areas. We also sat in the floating chairs just looking at the ocean. A beautifully designed multi use venue. Celebrity also threw a party for those married over 30 years. The cheers to the years event was beautifully handled with the support of cruise critic members. The ship provided champagne and a wonderful cake. The art work on board is modern and we loved walking round the ship to see it. Like all art it isn't to everyone's taste but overall we liked the décor. It was fun to find the photographs in stateroom corridors was themed and we saw many areas of the world we had travelled to and it brought back many happy memories. Luminae was as always a wonderful experience and a cruise highlight. Loved the photos in there and the themed colours and lighting. It might have been nice to break up the larger area with some screening to make it a little more intimate. The staff did a great job, never had to wait for a table, food was great and waitstaff and sommelliers very accommodating. We had premium drinks and were served a wide variety of excellent wines. Retreat lounge was a beautiful area. Nice seating lovely outside terrace. Beautiful pool area, loved the hanging chairs, great bar service, nice selection of chairs and loungers in busy and quiet areas. I do have reservations about the food and drinks in the retreat pounge. I dont think it is modern luxury especially on chic night to have self service food and drinks. There is someone behing the food counter but hey dont serve onto the plate. There is a wash station but very very few used it. Some helped themselves with their hands. For wine self service some were filling wine glasses almost to the brim to take into Luminae for dinner. The concierge told me very nice glasses for the retreat were being found all over the ship! one night there weren't ANY glasses available! Cofee and tea were a problem also with the small machine unable to cope with the deamd and resulting in people standing in lines. I bypassed it by asking a server for what I wanted. They were very willing and I was well satisfied but puzzled by the self service elements which clearly weren't working in the evening and for afternoon tea. With some staff and good service the lounge would work wonderfully well. Le petit chef we had dined at previously on Sillhouette. This time it seemed a slow night and although we enjoyed the food we found by comparison the animation to be a little dull. The somellier told us we couldnt use our premium wine package for the wine pairing. We asked for the wine list and ordered full size glasses rather than the smaller taster sizes in the pairing. It seemed unnecessary nickel and diming on good spenders! magic carpet. It was a great experience and fantastic food. Shame it doesnt have a glass floor like some buildings have. If you get the chance do it! Also loved having a drink out on it in the day. The weather didnt allow us to do it every day but when we could we did Fine cut steakhouse was a great meal, wonderfully presented and served. Would do this one again. We wanted to try a sandwich and pastry at the bistro one day, but we were told it was only the set meal at lunchtime. Again we thought this very restrictive and a missed opportunity by Celebrity for a nice lighter lunchtime venue. The spa, I was dying to see. Celebrity give access to the thermal suite to aqua guests but not suites. I live in hope they will readdress this and give a even a limited number of days or hours to suite guests. We booked a day in the thermal suite. It is a beautiful area, well designed with a series of rooms and showers to try. A day was really too long especially as the guidelines indicate no more than 10 mins in many of the rooms. Little things that can be addressed let the area down. Robes provided had no pockets so no-where to put spectacles when in the rooms, No slippers provided, the showers in the changing rooms leaked all over the floor of the changing room and a cleaner was almost permanently stationed there to clean up. It was a nice experience spoiled by those little things that make a spa a luxury experience. As always, the captain, his officers and crew are the stars on Celebrity. We have nothing but praise for their excellent work. The ship is different, will appeal to a new audience and the old audience if we dont constantly make comparisons with older ships. It wont be for everyone, and some may want to move over to other more traditional ships. Fo us the Kelly Hoppen designs were refreshing light and classy. With a few tweaks this could be a modern luxury experience........ Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We sailed on the Celebrity Edge on the April 26th to May 13th, 2019 trans-Atlantic (TA), crossing. Check-in was fast and efficient. We downloaded and used the Celebrity app. That allowed us to scan in our passports and photos so upon ... Read More
We sailed on the Celebrity Edge on the April 26th to May 13th, 2019 trans-Atlantic (TA), crossing. Check-in was fast and efficient. We downloaded and used the Celebrity app. That allowed us to scan in our passports and photos so upon arrival we were able to quickly pass through check-in and make our way onto the ship. Bravo to Celebrity for updating the process and creating the app. Once onboard, we were able to access our rooms quickly and our baggage arrived shortly after we got into our cabin. Our sea pass was awaiting us at our cabin door. Our cabin was a sunset veranda, # 11274, and this sailing represented our 4th TA in a sunset veranda so for the purpose of full disclosure, we were predisposed to like the location and aft cabin experience. We were not disappointed. Our cabin was well laid out, had sufficient room and the location at the back of the ship was perfect for us. The bathroom was spacious, and the shower seemed larger than we have experienced on previous ships. The water pressure and temperature were excellent. The bathroom counter space was enough for our needs. The balcony was longer than normal sized balconies but to us, it seemed shorter than previous sunset cabin verandas and although the balcony could have accommodated two loungers, it only had two chairs and a very small table. We like to sit on the balcony and enjoy the sunrise or sunsets. Loungers would have been much better and added comfort. We ended up using the small table as a foot-rest which was not the best option. The cabin itself was well maintained and “Andi”, our cabin attendant was excellent. He did an outstanding job of keeping the cabin in perfect condition and always greeted us by name and with a smile on his face. The cabin was bright, well appointed and had a large mirror sporting “surround lighting” at the dressing table. The size and lighting was appreciated and useful. We found that the dresser/counter space was limited and made more so by the “Celebrity books” and paraphernalia already occupying the limited counter space. We ended up placing the books under the bed to give us more counter space. Overall we would give the room a 4.5 out of 5. Because we did not stay in an Infinite Veranda room, I will not rate those type of cabins but I will pass on some general comments. The rest of the people in our group (14), all had Infinite Verandas so we were able to see a number of them first hand and we heard the pros and cons. Most of our group were not fans of the cabins as they felt they never got the outside experience. One likened it to having an oversized window that you could “sometimes” open. Apparently the ship’s staff have the ability to lock the mechanism(s) so they could not open the “verandas” when the seas were deemed too rough. The people in our group were all on decks 8 or 9 so fairly high up. Consequently, some felt that there should not have been the need to block the ability to open the veranda. The verandas were also described as restrictive, noisy and limiting views. The ship itself has some positives and negatives. I would be remiss if I did not mention the art around the ship. I am not speaking of the usual art found on ships that is later placed for sale, but specifically the art used as part of the ship’s décor. Well done Celebrity! We loved the different pieces and the mixture of styles. The overall appearance of the ship is fabulous. Definitely a 5 out of 5. The buffet on deck 12 was very good and the selection for the most part was excellent. The morning staff were always in attendance to fill up the coffee and bring juice etc. At lunch time they were not as visible and at times it was difficult to find bar staff. However, we were generally there for the food and there was a wide selection and usually very good. 5 out of 5. The idea of four main dining rooms is in my opinion, an epic fail. We had made reservations in advance of our sailing for every night of our sailing and in the different dining rooms. We knew we might want to make changes to dine with friends but thought that paying the extra for Select dining would allow for ease in making changes. Quite the opposite, if we needed to change reservations, we ran into problems. Additionally, there were variations in the quality of food and service in different rooms and if you had a bottle of wine in one restaurant, and dined at another the next night, it took awhile to get your wine. We found that the Normandie was the poorest restaurant in terms of service and food quality. There were a few times when the meal that arrived was cold or there were delays in getting some dishes. The result was that a person might be still waiting for their meal when the others at the table were almost done their main course. Additionally, the first night we were dining with a number of friends and we were given a table with chairs on one side and padded bench style seating on the other. The seating was so low that the four people on that bench style seating were uncomfortably low and likened it to be a child at table that was too tall for them. By the end of the cruise we were avoiding the Normandie and focused on any of the other restaurants. Overall the food in all the restaurants was unremarkable, uninspired and average. The Cyprus and Tuscan came out on top for service and quality so we were trying to eat there and that meant navigating the restaurant change process and it was not a fun or easy process. 2 out of 5 for the four main dining rooms. We tried three specialty dining venues. The Eden experience lived up to the hype and was a delight. Entertaining, delicious and memorable, it was an excellent meal and overall super evening. The entertainers were enjoyable, the open meal preparation fun, and the service impeccable. The food was exceptional. We would definitely pay the extra money to enjoy that experience again. 5+ out of 5. The Fine Cut Steak House was so/so. It is positioned two decks above the martini bar and is open to the bar and common area below. That means all the noise that is occurring below, is heard in the restaurant. As a result, one’s conversation is in competition with shouts, music and other noise from the two open decks below. Consequently, the ambiance is somewhat lacking. The food was good but not exceptional. We all had the steak which was OK but two were overcooked. The décor was average and overall, the dining experience was average and not worth expending the extra money. 2 out of 5 Le Petite Chef was a fun experience. The animation was entertaining, and the serving staff were excellent. The food was very good and we would repeat the experience again, if only to get better video of the entire dinner preparation. We imagine that the animation would wear thin after awhile, but for now, we highly recommend people give it a try. 5 out of 5. The entertainment on average was good and although we did not attend a lot of shows, those that we did attend (4) were entertaining and enjoyable. The seating was comfortable and although we sat in different locations, we always enjoyed a clear field of vision. 5 out of 5 with the caveat that we took in a smaller number of shows and there are others who can provide a better review of the entertainment. The emergency drill was excellent with video screens employed so everyone had a good view. The staff were, for the most part excellent and friendly. There was a high degree of visibility for senior staff and the Captain was entertaining with his 10am morning updates. We would recommend the ship, the cruise line and in support of that statement, I can confirm that we booked two future cruises while onboard. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because it left from New York, a city I love & was going east, one of my firsts, having done 2 TAs from Europe. Another first was the roll call which was quite active but toxic sometimes. Never been on a roll ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it left from New York, a city I love & was going east, one of my firsts, having done 2 TAs from Europe. Another first was the roll call which was quite active but toxic sometimes. Never been on a roll call before where posts were removed!! I had hoped to finally visit the Guggenheim Museum while in NYC but that didn't happen, instead I lined up around the block to eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner, a place I had never gotten to before. I must say it was worth the wait, the food was good as was the entertainment. I really liked my room at the Pod Hotel on 42nd Street, it had quite the view, was close to the Port Authority Building where the Newark Express bus drops one off & also close to a Cake Boss bakery! I took a cab to the port asking the driver to let me off at the corner of 49th & 12th as recommended by my friend. He didn't & we sat in traffic 'til he could turn into the port which cost me about $20 quite a bit more than the $6.50 if he'd let me off where I requested. Met my friends inside then waited a little while, I think we were group 3 or 5 & both Platinum Plus. We headed straight away for lunch at O'Sheehan's where I had a Reuben sandwich with potato chips & a Coke that should have cost me $4+. SO the cruise begins with 6 sea days ahead, lots of meals, entertainment, lectures, gambling etc. The weather wasn't the best & there was one day where it was a little rocky. Unlike a lot of people onboard I had a great time which could have been because of the people I hung out with but also because I did not contract the noro virus or have any problems with guest services. Being on a ship with noro virus was a first I could have done without. I was amazed at the measures NCL took to avoid it spreading & the captain's tough position saying anybody who broke quarantine would be put off at the next port. I found the food to be to my liking wherever I ate & for the 1st time I had a 4 dinner package as well as my 2 Platinum specialty dinners. This cruise I had more perks than I'd ever had before thanks to a roll call member mentionning a new offer. I also had 200 minutes of phone calls which came in handy for calling my sister & good friend on their special birthdays, as well as hubby at home. The calls were really clear, just had a little delay. The entertainment was varied & mostly good. I really enjoyed the Legends in Concert: Michael Jackson, Tina Turner & Elvis. Deal or No Deal was fun to watch as were the Newlywed Game & the Dancing with the Stars type show. The lecture lady about all things Irish & the other one about having a better life were informative. The ports were the major attraction for me on this cruise as it would be my 1st visit to Ireland, country of my grandad's birth. I mostly booked private tours with other CC members & really had a good time. The ones I did through NCL from Zeebrugge (Flanders Fields) & Tilbury (Canterbury Cathedral) were fine too & the guides really good. I don't mind traveling on the big buses like some do. My cabin steward Emerson was good, friendly, brought me ice when it was allowed & made me many towel animals which I always look forward to He was quick to rearrange my beds when requested. I was surprised by the free movies on the tv, recent ones such a Green Book, A Star is Born, A Dog's Way Home & Instant Family. A guide to movies shown is available at guest services although it's a bit hard to read. I didn't interact with the CD Pedro or his staff as I didn't attend any trivia on this ship, also a first! I went to one Bingo & found the caller did it at a nice speed, sometimes it really drags on but he was quick. The photographic staff were really nice & took some good/fun pictures. The internet cafe manager was a gem, funny & patient even with the long line ups the 1st couple of days. I had 250 free minutes but upgraded to unlimited which was expensive IMO but worth it to me as I love my phone. Some things were different, maybe because of the noro virus or whatever it was like no farewell show. The solo meet up the 2nd night was overwhelming with over 30 people attending. I met a nice male friend there but didn't usually attend the gatherings or meals as I had new friends onboard to do things with. Solo travel is so much better on the bigger NCL ships with studio cabins. I did self disembarkation after one last breakfast at O'Sheehan's, a restaurant I really enjoyed throughout the cruise. That's all I can think of at the moment but will conclude by saying I really enjoyed the cruise & wasn't disappointed at all. I also had a great time with my Dutch friend I'd met on the Epic in 2011, who showed me around Amsterdam for 2 days. The Avenue Hotel where I stayed for 2 nights was great, lovely room, big breakfast & really close to a lot of places especially Centraal Station. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I recently sailed on Queen Mary 2 for a round-trip transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and return. This was my first experience of Cunard, having previously sailed once with Celebrity but mostly with Disney Cruise Line ... Read More
I recently sailed on Queen Mary 2 for a round-trip transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and return. This was my first experience of Cunard, having previously sailed once with Celebrity but mostly with Disney Cruise Line (with my late DH, as a couple who don’t particularly like children but enjoy the high Disney service standards whether on land or at sea). EMBARKATION I arrived at Ocean Terminal around 1215 and was in my cabin within the hour, which was a pleasant surprise. However, I believe some fellow passengers were not so fortunate due to computer issues later on, which resulted in our departure from Southampton being delayed. As I was on early sitting for dinner, I missed the departure from Southampton which was disappointing. I did think of skipping dinner but decided that would be rude to the wait staff and my tablemates, none of whom I had yet met. THE SHIP From everything I’d read (including the Haynes manual!) and watched, I expected to love this ship, and I wasn’t disappointed. She certainly has her quirks but they are all part of her charm and appeal. She pays homage to the original Queen Mary (which I’ve stayed on a few times in Long Beach) but has a character all her own. I enjoyed exploring the ship and simply being on board as she did what she does best, sail the Atlantic, most especially during the bad weather we encountered in both directions including a Force 10 storm. We had 2 helicopter medevacs within the first 18 hours. In the early hours of the first morning we diverted towards Falmouth for one, then later that morning we turned back towards the Isles of Scilly for the second. Obviously I didn’t see anything of the nighttime medevac but it was interesting to watch (from an inside public area) the multiple approaches of the HM Coastguard helicopter before eventually the winchman was deployed. CABIN I had a sheltered balcony cabin, far aft, Deck 4, which I chose in order to experience this almost unique accommodation. (Two of the Disney ships have ‘Navigator’s Verandah’ cabins which are very similar but the balconies are not as deep as on QM2.) The location had advantages and disadvantages. I liked being low down, close to the water, but occasionally did get engine noise/vibration, especially when the ship was sailing at higher speeds. Fairly regularly there was also noise which I believe was music from the Queen’s Room, but it didn’t translate as music, just a loud, thumping reverberation. It was a long way from anywhere but that provided good exercise. The cabin was comfortable and I did not find it dark, as I have read in some reviews. However, I did miss being able to see the sea whilst sitting down, whether inside the cabin or out on the balcony. It was handy during the storms though, being able to get outside onto the balcony when all other deck areas were closed off. I like the décor of the cabin, neutrals with blue and gold accents. The wardrobe storage is good except for the shortage of hangers. The double wardrobe had a few hangers but not enough, even though I was travelling alone – I asked for more and was given a few wire hangers. The single wardrobe had no hangers at all, and even if I had brought my own I don’t think they would have fit into the rail fixture. Fortunately I didn’t need to use it, but why provide a wardrobe and no hangers? The middle section of the wardrobe provides handy shelf and drawer storage, and contains the safe. The desk area is small and provides very little storage or counter space. There are 2 shallow drawers above the fridge but the larger one contains the hairdryer, which is fixed in so barely reaches the mirror and also requires the button to be kept pressed. (Another time I’ll take my own.) The fridge is a decent size but contains minibar items – I moved those around to make space for my own. The counter space above the fridge is taken up by the kettle and tea/coffee makings. As I wouldn’t be using those, I stored them in the wardrobe for the duration, freeing the space up for my own use. I had read about asking the cabin steward to remove them, and the minibar items, but couldn’t see the need to cause him any hassle when I could resolve the situation easily myself. The phone takes up a disproportionate (at least a quarter) part of the main desk area and seems unnecessarily large for the purpose, especially given the space is already small. The large TV is fixed to the wall opposite the bed. It doesn’t appear to be adjustable although I didn’t try too hard for fear of causing any damage. It would be handy if it could swivel slightly towards the sofa but I suppose there isn’t really the space to allow that between the foot of the bed and the wall. There was a reasonable selection of channels but no guide in the cabin until one appeared on day 3 and then it was as good as useless. It only covered a few of the channels available and didn’t always take into account the regular change in ship’s time. The French, German, Spanish and Japanese channels seemed to get much better movies than those in English. Mostly I listened to ‘Cunard Radio’ on the ‘Voyage Information’ channel. None of the ‘smart’ features were enabled on the TV, no ‘on demand’ anything or the ability to check your on board account. The bed was comfortable, with plenty of space underneath to stow cases, and the bedside tables provided handy extra storage. The bedside lights look good but, with the large bases being fixed right in the middle, take up most of the surface space of the bedside tables and are definitely a case of form over function. The sofa and coffee table serve their purpose, as do the chairs and table on the balcony. The bathroom was fine but the shower cubicle constantly looked grubby due to age and wear rather than a lack of cleanliness. The towels are good quality and the toiletries fine, although I only had soap, lotion, bath/shower gel and conditioner on arrival, no shampoo. I did eventually get shampoo but only after asking for it from the cabin steward. There is plenty of storage in the bathroom, on the counter top, shelves and cupboard. Both the sink and shower have mixer taps but the thermostatic controls weren’t very good and most of the time it was impossible to get cold water. Whoever chose to fit the square/rectangular knobs to all the fittings should be made to live with them permanently as they are annoyingly awkward to use. I did hear from a fellow passenger that they are in the process of being replaced so I hope the new ones are more user-friendly. The pages in the stateroom folder were scruffy, dog-eared and scribbled on in places. Some pages were duplicated, others possibly missing as ‘Cunard Radio’ regularly stated about a variety of things, “Further information can be found in your stateroom guide” but it wasn’t in mine. I’d read online that pens were no longer provided, that these had been swapped for pencils, but I didn’t even get a pencil. There were some envelopes and notepaper, although the notepaper was headed ‘2019 World Cruise’, obviously left over from earlier in the year. I think not providing anything to write with is extremely miserly of Cunard – in the scheme of things, what does it cost to provide a branded pen when buying in such quantity? Perhaps a few pence, a cost they can easily recoup from the fare, yet it gives a better impression and provides advertising when passengers use them elsewhere. It could be that there should have been a pencil in the cabin, perhaps the absence of one may have been another example of the overall lack of attention to detail. There was nothing major, only trivialities, but when added up it was noticeable and disappointing. As mentioned before, the lack of hangers, no shampoo, no pen or pencil, the initial lack of a TV guide and the scruffy stateroom folder. But also I didn’t have a ‘privacy please’ card (which I saw in the key slots of other cabins) or a laundry bag – I had the laundry order sheets but no bag, which would have made taking advantage of the laundry special (up to so many items in the bag for a set cost) somewhat difficult! The bed was made each morning and turned down each evening. Towels were sometimes tidied or replaced, sometimes not, and the bathroom was wiped down. The ice bucket was filled if I left it out, not if it was in the fridge. I don’t think the cabin was hoovered during the 2 weeks. There was only me in the cabin and I’m a tidy person so very low maintenance. The toiletries were never replenished except when I asked for shampoo because initially none had been provided. The cabin was never returned to ‘check in’ standard during the 2 weeks, not even on ‘changeover day’ in New York as I would have expected from experience on other cruise lines and in hotels. As I said before, only trivial things, but they all added up to give an overall impression of a lack of attention to detail, something which always niggles at me because it wasn’t acceptable in my working life. ENTERTAINMENT I very much liked Illuminations as a venue but not the Royal Court Theatre, where the view from many seats is blocked by pillars. I enjoyed some of the ‘Cunard Insight’ lectures, particularly those by Peter Dean, ‘the coroner’. He was a skilled speaker, both interesting and entertaining. Others, however, did make me wonder whether anyone actually ‘vets’ them before letting them loose on the paying public. I don’t want to be read to, I can read for myself. The best presentation by far was the one by Captain Hashmi, very informative and entertaining. ‘The 3 Tones’ group were very good, they deserved to be given more than only one full and one part show. I would have preferred to hear some of their more modern (70s-80s) offerings as mentioned in their write-up in the Daily Programme but appreciate they adapted their set to suit the audience demographic. Singing/dancing theatre shows aren’t a favourite of mine but I do appreciate good production values when I see them. Which I didn’t on this trip. I’ll give the orchestra the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps the acoustics in the theatre leave something to be desired. However, I felt performances by the ‘Royal Court Theatre Company’ were more akin to a high school production than the professional shows I’ve previously enjoyed on other ships. Also, although I’m sure the Entertainments Director is a perfectly pleasant young woman, she appears to lack the personality I’d expect of someone in her position. The young man who was ‘ring master’ for the evening trivia quiz in the Golden Lion was much more what I would expect, with a friendly, outgoing personality, able to talk to anyone and everyone, make them feel welcome and included, and deal with whatever situation might arise. FOOD I ate all dinners in the Britannia Restaurant main dining room, at a table for 6, early sitting. I’m far from being a foodie but I was not impressed with the food in the MDR, in 14 nights not a single dish – or even a dessert, which for me is unheard of – stands out as being memorable in a good way, although I remember a few as particularly mediocre. If it hadn’t been that I would have felt rude abandoning both my tablemates and wait staff, I would have given it up as a bad job and eaten in the buffet where the food appeared to be fresher and much tastier. The MDR waiters were professional, polite, fairly friendly and unfailingly patient with my somewhat tricky at times, elderly tablemates. However, they didn’t seem to have any knowledge of the menu other than what was printed on it. I’m used to being given details and recommendations each night, able to ask questions such as ‘is that sauce cream or wine based’ and getting an immediate, knowledgeable, answer. But any such questions this time were only answered by the waiter looking at the menu and reading out what I could read for myself. Service in the MDR was often slow, with long gaps between courses, especially between dessert and coffee. However this was obviously due to logistics rather than any fault on the part of our waiters (something my tablemates unfortunately didn’t appear to understand). From what was explained during the galley tour, I believe the orders are input into a computer system then the waiters are called forward when their orders are ready to collect. My table was on the upstairs level of the main MDR, on Deck 3. To access the galley, our waiters had to go up 2 sets of steps, to a door in the corner, then down an escalator to the galley on Deck 2. So even if the system allowed, which I don’t believe it does, it wouldn’t have been easy for them to simply ‘pop in’ to the galley to fetch something. Although out of sequence or off menu requests were never refused, they were clearly not easy to deal with and took a little time to facilitate. For breakfast I ate in the buffet except for one day when I tried the MDR thinking the waffles would be fresher but they weren’t, they were exactly the same except for breakfast taking much longer. The King’s Court buffet is huge, it has to be because it’s effectively the only option except for the MDR. There are some ‘small plate’ offerings available in the Carinthia Lounge at different times during the day but no ‘fast food’ options to cater for the masses. As far as I’m aware, the Boardwalk Café on Deck 12 didn’t open at all during the 2 weeks. King’s Court often got very busy around the food stations during core meal times but there always seemed to be plenty of seating available if you were prepared to move away from the central area. It has a somewhat strange layout but I soon got used to it and liked that I could find a quiet spot away from the food service stations, where it seemed a bit less like a works canteen. To my regret, I didn’t try dinner there but did occasionally pop in later in the evening to pick up a snack (they had an excellent cheese board) and it did seem that it was made to feel more like a restaurant for dinner, with place mats on the tables and possibly a change to the lighting. The selection of food at the buffet is very good for all meals and I found everything fresher and tastier than in the MDR. At breakfast they had English as well as American bacon, something I greatly appreciated, and they appear to cater for a wide variety of nationalities. Croissants and mini pain au chocolat are available from warming ovens, both far too delicious for my own good. Strangely, pancakes and waffles were only available in a completely separate area, near the ‘gluten free’ corner. I wasn’t impressed by them, not helped by there being no warm syrup available, the only options being either Golden Syrup or a carob/maple, both cold from the bottle. Also, if you want fresh cut fruit with your waffle or pancake, that’s only available back in the main buffet area. Lunch selections always included a roast meat and a variety of dishes again catering for different nationalities including British classics such as cottage pie and an absolutely delicious beef bourguignon (compared to the MDR version which was slices of beef with a tasteless gravy). There was always fresh seafood and sushi, cheeses and cold meats, baked potatoes and ‘fixings’ for them, and a good selection of fresh baked bread. Desserts were varied and very good, mostly cold but with one hot option each day, and far superior to the MDR. There are soft serve ice cream machines but I did miss not being able to get scooped ice cream, which I prefer. Part of the King’s Court becomes a specialty restaurant for dinner with a changing menu, variously American Steakhouse, Coriander, Aztec and Bamboo (as I recall), at an additional cost. There is another permanent speciality restaurant, The Verandah, which offers lunch and dinner, again at an extra cost. I did not try any of these specialty options. The Golden Lion ‘pub’ (lounge) offers a pub lunch each day with a limited menu of ‘pub grub’ main courses and one dessert. This is very popular and gets extremely busy. I did manage to try it one day and very much enjoyed the fish and chips. Traditional, waiter-served, afternoon tea is available each day in the Queen’s Room. I believe it is popular and gets very busy, with passengers often having to wait for a table. Not drinking tea or being bothered for the fussiness involved, I enjoyed afternoon tea in the buffet instead. All the same offerings are available to help yourself – finger sandwiches, cakes, cookies, and warm scones, with jam and clotted cream if you so desire. I enjoyed room service breakfast on a couple of occasions. Hot items are available but I didn’t try these, only the danish, croissants and juice. I didn’t try the daytime room service menu as it was so easy to pop up to the buffet and have more choice. Although the buffet supposedly has a 30 minute closure between meals, effectively it’s open all day from early morning to late night. The drinks machines in the buffet are available 24 hours a day. The orange juice from them was surprisingly good, better than I was expecting. There are also drinks machines on Deck 2, far forward, in the computer centre area, which is handy if you’re down that way for a talk in Illuminations (the theatre/planetarium). LOUNGES The Golden Lion is a pub-themed lounge which bears only a passing resemblance to a genuine British pub. I enjoyed attending some of the evening trivia quizzes there but mostly it was too busy and noisy for my liking. There never seemed to be a moment without a quiz or bingo or live music, which isn’t my kind of pub. The Commodore Club is well situated overlooking the front of the ship, a very pleasant place to while away some time watching the sea and enjoying a drink. The Chart Room is a large but pleasant lounge, somewhere else to watch the sea but with a view to the side and lower down than the Commodore Club. Next to the Chart Room is the champagne lounge which opens onto the Grand Lobby. Sir Samuel’s is the coffee/Godiva chocolate lounge which looks very nice but I didn’t experience it other than to buy a few chocolates to eat elsewhere. There are other bars/lounges around the ship including in the casino, by the Pavilion (undercover) pool and on the aft terrace but I didn’t visit any of these except in passing. LIBRARY/BOOK SHOP The library has an impressive selection of books and is an attractive area to spend some time in, although it can be difficult to find a seat as it is popular and seating is limited. The book shop has a good selection of books to buy, particularly those on Cunard and maritime history, along with some greetings cards, bookmarks and other such bookshop items. HYGIENE The public areas of the ship always appeared immaculately clean. However, there was very little encouragement for passengers to wash their hands or use the Purell gel before entering the MDR or buffet. The buffet is large and spread across several areas of Deck 7 with stairwells and elevators in between. There are some handwashing stations but I never saw these being used by anyone, and generally if there was a crew member present holding a bottle of Purell, they would be standing in front of the handwash station effectively blocking access to it. After the first day, the supposedly automatic Purell dispensers were usually empty or not working. Sometimes staff would be there holding bottles but not always, and they were never proactive in offering it, they stood to one side and waited to be approached. I am used to being handed an antibacterial wipe, really whether I want it or not, or being politely directed to a handwashing station, in a friendly manner but which encourages everyone to comply. The lack of this on QM2 concerned me, and made me become somewhat obsessed with thoroughly washing my hands at every available opportunity. PASSENGER DEMOGRAPHIC I have been teased by family and friends because later this year I’m going on a Saga cruise, tempted by the look of their new ship and the fact it has 100 solo cabins so I won’t be paying for my invisible companion. The teasing is due to the age restriction, with passengers having to be 50+. However, I really don’t see how Saga passengers can possibly be older and less active than the majority of those on the westbound leg of my QM2 crossing! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect lots of families and children. But neither did I expect to feel like I was on a floating nursing home – and that is how it felt at times. I’m not ageist, mostly I’m completely useless at guessing anyone’s age between 18 and 80, but what surprised me was the sheer number of inactive, elderly people slowly shuffling around, or sitting propped up with their walkers in the Grand Lobby apparently asleep. For that first week when I walked up or down the stairs, I rarely met anyone else using them, it seemed the majority of my fellow passengers were reliant on the elevators. One day I got chatting to a lady who said she and her husband had been dismayed to see the average age and lack of mobility on board, and it had made them regret their decision to sail on QM2 (they were only doing the westbound trip). She was in her mid-70s, some 20 years older than me, and it was a relief to know I wasn’t alone in my thoughts on the passenger demographic. When I arrived at dinner on the first night and met my tablemates, I couldn’t help but wonder if whoever allocated places had misread my date of birth. All 5 of them were at the very least 30 years older than me, one was 41 years older. Fortunately they were all (bar one) pleasant company but conversation obviously had some limitations, and at times it seemed as if we came from different planets rather than different generations. Most of us shared the fact that we are widowed, we are all from the UK, all doing the round-trip, so perhaps that’s why I was considered a suitable match for the table. However, I would have preferred a better mix of people, some nearer my age, some American rather than all British, and I had thought the second week would bring new people to meet. I know that I could have asked to be moved but that seemed rude, both to my tablemates and wait staff. I decided to stick with it for a couple of nights, see how it went, but of course once I’d started to get to know these people I felt it would be even ruder to move. Similarly when I discovered that we would be the same group on the same table for the second leg, by then it really would seem discourteous to request a move. Fortunately, although the second week didn’t bring different dinner companions, the demographic across the ship as a whole changed to more as I’d expected and it no longer had the overwhelming appearance of a nursing home. I met other people using the stairs, which initially came as a bit of a surprise, and saw a much wider mix of ages and more actively mobile passengers. I did meet some interesting and pleasant people during both weeks, mostly in passing, whilst waiting for a show to start or queuing for planetarium tickets, or those who struck up a conversation with me when they saw I was sitting alone in the buffet. I enjoyed all those interactions and appreciated the many small kindnesses. DRESS CODE The majority of people did seem to adhere to the dress code each evening. I was surprised how little red I saw worn on the ‘Royal Cunard’ night but the ‘20s’ night was popular with plenty of flapper dresses and feathers in evidence. One man turned up to dinner dressed as Oliver Hardy, complete with hat and moustache, which caused some bemusement. SHOPS The shops on board don’t hold much interest for me other than the occasional bit of window shopping. Mostly high-end jewellery, watches and handbags, and I’ve no idea how the prices compare to those ashore. I was a little disappointed in the Cunard merchandise, I expected more variety. I found it amusing that the first week they announced ‘the launch of our 2019 transatlantic merchandise’ when I knew it wasn’t the first transatlantic crossing of the season. Sure enough, the following week it was ‘launched’ again. What I found strange was the juxtaposition of such high end shops having trestle tables regularly placed outside bearing supposed sale items, which were clearly not genuine sale items from those shops but bought in specially. It was like a car boot sale and seemed very downmarket. TIME CHANGES Westbound, on 5 nights, the clocks are set back an hour overnight so that on arrival in New York the ship is already on local time. Eastbound the clocks are set forward an hour at noon on 5 days, so the Captain starts his broadcast at midday but as he finishes he says it’s now however many minutes past 1300. It makes the afternoons seem very short but I understand that it’s far better for the crew this way than to lose an hour overnight. RED HOOK Having visited New York city with my husband previously, it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to explore again alone. Instead I decided to have a walk around Red Hook, the local area by the Brooklyn cruise terminal. The weather wasn’t very favourable but I still enjoyed exploring and seeing the places I’d looked at online. Google Earth street view was particularly helpful as it meant I’d ‘walked around’ there before, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar. There are a couple of waterside parks with good views across to the Statue of Liberty, interesting even on a wet and foggy day. Having a keen interest in industrial archaeology, I especially enjoyed seeing the old warehouses, both outside and in – inside one being a supermarket and another an ice cream factory, what more could you want on a wet Sunday! I even came across a small urban garden centre which had such beautiful displays they would have been justified in charging an entrance fee. I thoroughly enjoyed my time ashore and would recommend it without hesitation. DISEMBARKATION I registered for self-disembarkation and was given a card but no instructions, and only late on the last night discovered I should have been told to report to the Queen’s Room at 0645. Having trekked there with my luggage in tow, we then had to trek back through the upper level of the MDR to the gangway to disembark which didn’t seem particularly logical or user-friendly. Anyway, other than some passengers apparently not quite having understood the instruction that you must be able to handle all your own luggage unaided in order to self-disembark, it went very smoothly. The taxi queue outside the terminal was well organised, although my taxi driver was clearly unhappy that I was only doing the short journey to the railway station. But I was in the station waiting room by 0730, having escaped the potential congestion of what I believe was 14K passengers disembarking from ships in Southampton that morning. OVERALL Queen Mary 2 lived up to all my expectations as a ship like no other currently at sea. The crossing experience was excellent, with the Atlantic providing a wide mix of weather conditions from fair to stormy. Cunard’s ‘White Star Service’ I found to be mostly hype, more so than expected, and rather disappointing across the board. I plan to sail on QM2 again for the ship and the crossing, now in the knowledge that those aspects make up for the service standards not being what they could or should be. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Transatlantic cruise was wonderful, so smooth. Dining, as always was very good. We went to several specialty restaurants, they were all great. Carney’s Steak house was fantastic. Entertainment was a little disappointing after seeing ... Read More
Transatlantic cruise was wonderful, so smooth. Dining, as always was very good. We went to several specialty restaurants, they were all great. Carney’s Steak house was fantastic. Entertainment was a little disappointing after seeing “Blue Man Group”, “The Legends”, and Electric guitar group on our last Transatlantic cruise. Need to ramp up the talent! Activities that I enjoyed were the MJ Thriller dance class and cupcake class as well. Service in O’Sheehans was horrible, staff was not well trained. Shore excursions were great, we did a few on our own as well. Excursion that we really enjoyed included a lunch in a Tuscany Winery, it was fabulous. Our last night on board after 25 days was wonderful as we enjoyed music in the Atrium. We returned to our room to put our suitcases out in hall for pickup. However after turning over our luggage the nite before debarkation-13 pieces of my clothing was stolen from 2 cases. The thieves had plenty of time to find what they liked-they actually paired items to create outfits! 13 pieces would require a couple shopping bags to cart off. I believe they were taken overnite in NCL storage, where was the security?? Plenty of time for these thieves to steal from me! Very angry, and getting thru to NCL Cust. Service has proved fruitless. I have always been very comfortable turning over our bags to NCL the nite before debarking, that feeling of security isn’t there anymore. I have to provide receipts and more paperwork. Not to mention shop for a swimsuit, favorite jeans and other missing items. Very disappointed!! Where was NCL security?. This is a huge inconvience and lots of time spent on this. It doesn’t help that Customer service doesn’t have your back - they never answered phone call about this. It has been 2 weeks now and we have not heard from NCL with an apology, a security report or any communication regarding our loses. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We took a repositioning transatlantic cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton on Celebrity’s Silhouette, then took Cunard’s QM II back to the States. Taking longer trips is one of the perks of being retired! Retired or not ... Read More
We took a repositioning transatlantic cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton on Celebrity’s Silhouette, then took Cunard’s QM II back to the States. Taking longer trips is one of the perks of being retired! Retired or not though, I don’t appreciate Cunard’s ineptitude at getting passengers on and off the ship; a basic and routine task. As Platinum members we had a special line for embarkation. We waited until noon to get on, but I could hear the same announcements that I’ve heard on each of the 6 times I’ve been on Cunard about how something "unexpectedly" went wrong which was causing the long delay. I had boarded, had lunch, came off again, walked to the Southampton shopping mall, came back at 4 pm for a 4:30 all aboard, and the area was still jam packed with passengers waiting to board. Cunard really needs to stop making excuses and get this simple job done right, every time. Of the 43 cruises we’ve been on with various cruise lines, I’ve never been on a cruise that I didn’t absolutely love. This cruise was no exception. We had a great time. My taste is contemporary, so QM2’s old ship décor charm was somewhat lost on me. We were in a “sheltered balcony cabin” # 5023. Sheltered means the outside of balcony wall is not glass, but metal (although oddly, I couldn’t get a magnet to stick to it). Often we take the extra savings provided with an inside cabin since we really only sleep and shower in the cabin. However, we “splurged” this time since I do like the ceiling-to-floor, wall-to-wall daylight. The cabin was inconveniently away at the front and normally we pick a more strategically located cabin when we pick inside. Turned out we spent more time in the cabin than planned as the ship was very cold and we often dashed back to the cabin where we had the heat cranked up. On Celebrity Silhouette the towels were old and thin, so we felt like royalty with Cunard’s plush soft thick towels. The food was good, but not as good as Celebrity’s. For instance, my husband is a meat-and-potato guy so he’s so easy to please. At lunch first day he looked for his usual ham and cheese sandwich only to be told it was way at the other end of the cafeteria. When he got there they directed him back to where he’d started. Now, uncharacteristically frustrated, he went back and demanded his simple request. They told him he couldn’t get it today, but each day he could order one for the following day! On ANY of the 43 cruises we’ve been on, there’s a deli-like sandwich bar where you can have any sandwich of your choice for lunch. From there, as far as food was concerned, it was just all downhill for him. As for me, I missed my daily salad for lunch. Sure, there were salad offerings, but just not as many items to include in it as I’m used to (never grape tomatoes) and certainly there were never fresh berries of any kind, at any time. I’m a chocaholic and on one formal night, the cafeteria had 1” chocolate Cunard-logo logs with flavors inside to die for. I’d go on the cruise again and again just for those little chocolates! Cruising transatlantic is different from Caribbean cruises in that Cunard emphasizes dressing up. On the 7-day Atlantic crossing there are three formal nights, but actually every night is pretty much a formal affair (although the food doesn’t always reflect it). There are more guest lectures and I enjoyed the short plays as slightly different entertainment. There are more guest “competitions” (golf, hoops etc.) than other ships; Zumba is free and there’s a variety of ballroom dance classes as well as line dancing. Cunard ships have a large ballroom which is unique, and even more unique is that it is actually used at night for ballroom dancing, complete with a half-dozen men who are paid to ask single women to dance. The ballroom of course has many other uses during in day time. Celebrity arrived in Southampton one day, and the next day we sailed back to the States. We've been to London several times and we'd both spent our first 20 years in Scotland so we weren't interested in visiting there. Celebrity arrived at 5:30 am and we took the 8 am ferry to the Isle of Wight where we visited Osborne House (Queen Victoria's vacation home and where she eventually died) and Carisbrooke Castle where Charles the first was imprisoned before being beheaded. Pretty island and worth the trip. Fish and chips on the ferry on the return journey just hit the spot. We spent the night at the Holiday Inn on Herbert walker Ave (highly recommend it) which is just outside the gate of the port where we docked so we walked straight there and next morning we walked to the nearby Titanic sites and around the Walls of old Southampton. We still had time to shop at the shopping mall right down town and Cunard's ship was also within walking distance. So we had two days and one night before sailing home. A trip I would have like to have taken would be to Highclere (Downtown Abbey) but they have limited opening days. With the ship arriving at 5:30 am you could take a train to London and enjoy the day there, but of course you would want to spend the night somewhere. With our Celebrity ship we could have taken a back-to-back to Norway (kicked myself when I realized this too late) and since Cunard's QM2 leaves Southampton (alternatively New York) every 2 weeks, we could have taken a later cruise back to the States. Oh well, maybe another time. Yes, I’d say when I take another transatlantic cruise from (or back to the States) in Europe I’d travel to Southampton to take this ship back to the States rather than fly. The 2 week cruise on Celebrity was great, changing the clock only every other day. On Cunard it was almost every day (shorter cruise) but far better than changing the clock 5 hours in one shot when flying. Flying is tough enough. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Celebrity Edge – Personal Review Stateroom – Sky Suite room 11202 (as compared to Sky Suite on Solctice Ships) Like – -Open balcony with rail; -Bathroom mirror opens to view the ocean (NOTE: This mirror slides open at ... Read More
Celebrity Edge – Personal Review Stateroom – Sky Suite room 11202 (as compared to Sky Suite on Solctice Ships) Like – -Open balcony with rail; -Bathroom mirror opens to view the ocean (NOTE: This mirror slides open at night in rough seas) Dislike – -couch very hard; -safe is 2/3 size of previous ship’s safes; -smaller refrigerator; -Balcony chairs comfortable but have short backs and no chase lounges making it impossible to put our head back and legs up for a snooze on the balcony (NOTE: we spoke to another couple who has a Sky Suite. They requested a lounge chair and the cabin attendant exchanged the chairs for lounges); -Bathroom has a tub and mostly senior passengers who have problems just sitting and standing up so why make them step over a tub to get in the shower; -No place to hang a towel near the shower – we had to put the towel on the floor outside the tub; -soap dish in shower is under the showerhead, immediately fills with water so no soap bar can be left in this dish; in any case they did not provide soap bars in the shower. -Didn’t like the Body Wash, Shampoo or Conditioner. They are now in 2 pint containers with a locked pump top – had to play with the pump ever day to get it to work – finally just unscrewed the pump top in order to use it – wasted a lot of shower water while we putzed around getting the pump to work – NOTE we liked the BVLGARI brand we had on previous cruises was a much better product. -garbage can in bathroom is under the sink/cabinet drawer – need to bend over nearly touching the floor to dispose of tissues (not good for seniors with a bad back); -We miss the daily hard copy newspaper; -No more flowers in the room (not sure how that helps the environment); Luminae Restaurant – attractive room. Comfortable and very nice when we have flat seas or resting in port. Similar menus to the other 4 restaurants and Blue. Fewer people on days of rough seas due to location on deck 12. Most meals Good to Very Good with the occasional Excellent Retreat Lounge – tucked away on 15 FWD comfortable but isolated. We needed to go to this lounge to get our free wine outside of 5-7pm. Between 5-7pm we could get wine at The Club on 4 AFT near most of the other restaurants. After 7PM it’s a long walk to the Retreat Lounge FWD to get another glass of wine. Good choice of wines on the bar and you help yourself. Mixed drinks need to be ordered from the wait staff. Constantly ran out of wine glasses and ditto with the wine. Only one bottle of wine left out at a time. Retreat Pool – 16 FWD on the bow. Very windy place while underway. Regular pool is more protected from the wind and more comfortable while underway. Lounge area very comfortable – never crowded. Lots of lounge chairs. 6 people fill the small pool. This is of little benefit in colder weather like this trans-Atlantic trip – We had about 3 warmer days where this pool area was a bit crowded but comfortable. Entire ship – -impressed with seating/lounge availability outside on decks around the ship – everywhere we went, there was plenty of seating available however there were fewer lounge chairs available at the main pool during the warmer days – people sill throwing a book and towel on the chair early and not showing up to use it until hours later. Staff were supposed to remove towels and books if chair not used for 30 min but this was never enforced. -Walking track – best I’ve seen on any ship – full 1 deck incline. 4.5 laps = 1 Mile. -Fitness Center – well equipped with loads of options however no empty machines late afternoons. -Tai Chi class every morning at 10:30 but weather prevented this class half the time. Class was excellent. Shops – Pricey stores – Celebrity must assume all passengers have an AMEX Platinum. All stores constantly empty when we passed by. I can’t imagine these will last long. Average age of ship’s passengers is north of 65, probably more like 70+ and most have already gotten all the jewelry and watches they want and are in the process of passing it down to their kids, not buying more. Magic Carpet – a marketing gimmick but nice addition to the ship. Its moved to deck 5 at night where more partygoers can have a drink. It’s still too cold for us at night but it should be a hit in warmer weather and calmer seas. Ship serves dinner only once per cruise + dinner is a$65 PP option + 18% tip + drinks = $150 night per couple. 2nd night optional on longer cruises. We had a reservation for the 2nd night in Lisbon but was cancelled due to rain and cooler temps. Lunches: Ocean View – breakfast and lunch – very good, plenty of seating. One concern – at lunch there were often no crew member offering the hand sanitizer, ditto some mornings - saw many people entering the restaurant without using the sanitizer dispensers. There was a large wash basin at the entrance to accommodate 10 people washing their hands. It was seldom used. Eden Café – A well kept secret on the ship. Great salads and paninis + best chocolate chip cookies on the ship. Dining: We liked the idea of 4 individual restaurants vs one large dining room; Better/more food selections; Free Dining Options: Cosmopolitan, Tuscan, Cyprus, Normandie and Blue. All good options but Normandie was our favorite. We like the four restaurant option vs the larger single dining room on their other ships. Although we usually had reservations, all restaurants seem to be able to handle all walk-ins every night. LeGrand Bistro (optional $55PP) Excellent - We enjoyed Le Petit Chef – a Must See for all passengers. The best $55 we’ve spent on a meal in years. Check it out on YouTube. Entertainment: -We’d rate most of the entertainment from 5-7 on a scale of 1-10. Mostly singers, celloists with the Celebrity singers and dancers doing some good shows. -They had an Excellent acrobatic show in The Club. This room is small, but the show ran many nights, so we finally got in with a good seat after a few visits. -Comedian Fred Klett and The Magician ZeeZeus – Bot excellent- Rated 10+ -Beyond the Podium speakers were at times scheduled too close together, not leaving a break for lunch; -Speakers appearing in The Club had not enough room – much too small for some of the audiences; -Movies were shown on the outside screen in the Garden area – most days it was too windy and much too cold to sit – even on days when we were in port and all theaters and clubs were empty, the movie was still outside – Very poor planning. Observations: Major issue: When we had rough seas our room had very loud creaking that sounded like whales crying. We reported this to Guest Relations who immediately sent up the Assistant Chief Housekeeper. By that time the seas settled down and the creaking has ceased. The Next night we again had some rough seas and I awoke at 5AM. I decided to get dressed and leave the room to see if the loud creaking was just our room. As I walked into the hall I could hear the creaking up and down the hall. I walked to the 12th deck and the creaking as 50% louder on that deck. The following night a senior officer was on deck 5 and, as I walked by, he asked how I was enjoying the cruise. I told him about the loud creaking, and he pondered his response for a moment. He then told me they are aware of the issue and a crew of engineers will be boarding the ship in Southampton to diagnose the problem. I appreciated his honesty. We’re booked on the Edge in 2020 from Barcelona to FL and ‘ll be checking to ensure this issue is resolved before finalizing that cruise. During the dinners, we spoke to passengers from all floors – they had the same experience. Although we’re booked on the APEX in Oct 2020, we need to watch this problem. It will be deal breaker if the problem is not resolved. Balcony rooms – Everywhere we go we meet people who have balcony rooms with the infinity window. Most people we spoke to dislike/hate them. Many said they will never sale on the Edge again with these windows. Others want a balcony room with the old style balcony rails. I suspect unless Celebrity changes this issue on future Edge type ships, they will be sailing with primarily suite passengers. Library – This is no more on the Edge. They now offer a single shelf with a dozen books and some magazines – many people complained about this. Rooms – For Edge type ships, we like the starboard side rooms. Reason is Celebrity always puts the Magic Carpet dockside to show off the ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because my husband had never been on a cruise before. That may sound crazy but I knew if I'd picked a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean he would have thought it far too hectic and would have said 'no more'; ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my husband had never been on a cruise before. That may sound crazy but I knew if I'd picked a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean he would have thought it far too hectic and would have said 'no more'; the six days at sea just relaxing was the perfect introduction to cruising. We are from Ontario but have a place in Florida on the Gulf coast. We decided to leave our car in Gulfport and do a one-way only rental to get to Miami port. It was very reasonable and easy to get to the ship since the car rental company had numerous shuttles to the port. Not having to leave our vehicle in long time parking was another plus. Embarkation was smooth and in no time we were sitting in O'Sheehan's having Shepherd's Pie and enjoying a glass of wine. After lunch we did a cursory exploration of the ship while waiting for our stateroom. I've never been on NCL before but even without experiencing the Star pre-refurbishment I have to say based on older images of the pool area, the removal of the slides has vastly improved the vibe. I liked the layout of the ship, its smaller size and the fact you can walk the perimeter on one deck. Our starboard balcony stateroom was near the aft on deck 9. The size was agreeable, the beds comfortable, and it had plenty of storage for our belonging in the closet, in the drawers and under the bed. The bathroom was laid out well. Everything was in perfect working order. We brought a universal plug to increase versatility for using our tablets and phones. We asked our room steward, who was low key and very efficient to remove the bar contents since we had brought our own wine. We don't care about towel animals and won't judge a person's ability to do their job based on the lack thereof. I think they are overworked enough without the added burden of providing towel animals for our entertainment. Being fairly small the only thing I was a little disappointed in was the haze on the glass balcony spoiling my view. But not to fear! A scrubbie and some cleaner got rid of it pretty quick! When we booked we got all the freebies: the specialty restaurants, the drinks package, the strawberries, wine, and internet. I figured because we were on a 15 day cruise I'd purchase an additional 4 specialty restaurant packages so we could alternate between the specialty restaurants and the regular dining venues but decided we wouldn't purchase anymore since it's really a lot of food. We were pleasantly surprised by the food in the regular dining venues. Everything we ate was very good and I loved having breakfast in Versailles and getting perfectly cooked poached eggs and properly brewed tea. With the exception of a tough as shoe leather steak which was traded in for a better entree and some mashed potatoes the consistency of glue we enjoyed the food. We didn't go to all the performances in the theatre but the ones we did go to we enjoyed, especially the Barricade Boys. There were quite a few bands playing around the ship and on the whole they were quite good but one band near the pool had a female singer who was always off-key. I found they were heavily geared to salsa or Spanish music which may have been due to the final destination. I would have liked to hear more jazz. The ports were wonderful. With the exception of the Hop On Hop On buses, we didn't do any excursions, just strolled around the ports, perusing the stores and enjoying the architecture, the gardens, and leisurely lunches. We stayed an extra three days in Barcelona and fell in love with the place. We are planning to do this cruise again next year so we can stay longer in Barcelona. I'd like to say the crowning moment was a smooth disembarkation but that would be a lie. It was smooth going until you got off the ship into a chaotic scene. Huge lineups for non-existent taxis. Lineups for pre-ordered private hire cars or mini buses that couldn't get into the port because of the buses NCL organized for a price. No one knew what the hell was going on. Every person you spoke to who seemed to be in charge gave you conflicting advice: you could walk out of the port, you couldn't walk out of the port, it was forbidden to walk out the port, it was Tarragona's fault, there weren't enough cabs, etc, etc. etc. One police officer I spoke to said the whole debacle was the fault of NCL because they had made no provisions for their passengers to leave the port. Eventually, after an ominous change from sheer frustration to outward anger to their predicaments, the police officer advised that Tarragona was going to provide buses, free of charge, to move out all these people who had been waiting for hours. People missed their train connections, their flights, endured uncomfortable conditions, and NCL staff who refused to get off the ship to talk to passengers. It was pretty shocking. And a quick review of the schedule for cruise ships to dock at Tarragona for 2019 and 2020 shows that they regularly host cruise ships, some much bigger than ours, and have been doing so for a while but in CONJUNCTION with cruise lines who obviously know what the limitations of the port are (industrial) and plan accordingly. I am very disappointed in this introduction to NCL. I am even more disappointed in their continued lack of acknowledgement for this egregious oversight, choosing to take the cowards way out and blame it solely on the port. Not cool, NCL. 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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, but turned out to be basically two cruises, back to back: A TransAtlantic out of Tampa, and then a week in the Mediterranean ending up in Venice. Another recent review called it "A Tale of Two Cruises" and I agree with that impression. We were interested to see that RCI treated it like two separate cruises although we've been on other b2b's before on other cruise lines that didn't do that. Anyway, I am aware that The Rhapsody is different from the mega ships in the RCI fleet, but it is similar in size to the other ships we've sailed with, and we basically liked the ship a lot. The public areas are beautiful, especially the "Centrum" and the theater. We really liked the layout of the Windjammer buffet (although it was often very crowded). But, O.K., here are my personal "complaints": Our ocean-view cabin was very small, with barely enough room to wedge our suitcases under the bed. We're used to small showers, having been on river cruises and traveling in an RV--but the shower is really, really small. And I missed having a nice place to relax and look out over the ocean. The best views are in the Windjammer at the front of the ship, but it isn't a place to "hang out". There are good views aft from the "Shall We Dance" lounge, but that space was underused except for the hundreds of "Diamond" level passengers who pretty much took it over. And I was really upset that the "Royal Crown Lounge" (a small but lovely venue overlooking the pool area) was pretty much off limits unless you were "Diamond Plus". In fact, the daily newsletter advertised a special price on Martinies in the Royal Crown Lounge, but we were informed that we were not allowed to sit down and enjoy our drinks there! Many activities were scheduled in the Schooner Bar which is a narrow, noisy hallway, basically. I just think there could be a better use of the various areas overall. We thought the food was very good, almost without exception. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants, but enjoyed the bounty of the Windjammer and the choices in the main dining room. My husband had a New York Strip Steak that was tough, one night. But everything I ordered was delicious. They did a good job of providing a lot of interesting things to do during the TransAtlantic sea days--almost to the point that we had to make some time for ourselves to just sit and read. My only complaint about the activities was that I would have enjoyed a lecture or two about the history of the areas we were going to visit. The "port talks" they did have were mostly about ship excursions and/or shopping. In fact, there was very little advice or help forthcoming for those who just wanted to get off at the ports and explore. We attended all the evening entertainment in the theater and thought it was all outstanding. Unfortunately many of the shows were repeated in the third week, but it was so port intensive that we didn't really care. Everyone comments about how friendly and accommodating the staff and crew are, and I agree. How all those hardworking people stay so cheerful and nice is amazing. And they are so good about getting to know you and making everyone feel special. But (I guess I always have a "but") we did have a little problem with someone's inefficiency. As I said, the two portions of the cruise were treated as two different cruises. And at the end of the TransAtlantic in Barcelona we were required to get off the ship and be issued new "Seapass" cards. When we booked the cruises we had to pre-register for each one separately and give all the usual info about passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Well, as we got ready to disembark in Venice we got a call in our room informing us that we needed to come to the desk to settle our account!?? I was politely but firmly informed that security would not allow us off the ship until we paid our bill in cash! What!? The bill for the first two weeks had been taken care of automatically--this was just for the third week. So, we had to stand in line with all the disgruntled passengers complaining about overcharges, etc., until our turn when the guy at customers service poked the computer for about 10 minutes and then remarked casually that this had happened to a couple of other people who did back to backs. Someone just forgot to re-register our credit card. While I'm talking about money, I do need to mention that RCI obviously tries valiantly to offset the original low cost of the cruise with "nickle and diming" everything else. The "specialty restaurants" charge outrageously high prices, I think. And wine, and cocktails--crazy prices! They did have that happy hour martini special ($9) in the Viking Crown Lounge (Where the only place you could drink it was at the bar) and a 2-fer price on Margaritas in the Schooner bar. We had most fantastic weather. It was balmy and smooth sailing all across the Atlantic. The only rough seas were one night in the Mediterranean and we slept right through it. We enjoyed all the ports. We booked ship tours in both Canary Island stops and the one in La Palma was especially good ("North Shore") with an overview of the island including a stop in a beautiful interior rain forest, and a visit to a rum distillery that included a tasting. One of the highlights of the trip was sailing through the Straits of Gilbralter at dawn. Several hundred passengers stood on the upper decks looking at the lights of Africa on one side and the famous Rock of Gilbralter on the other with the beautiful sunrise behind it. We did our own thing in Malaga.We made our way through the historic old town center past the cathedral to the Alcazaba. We purchased tickets and wandered through the gardens and and rooms of that ancient Moorish fortress. It reminded me a lot of a smaller Alhambra. Then we walked up (and up) the hill behind it to see the "castle" behind it. By then it was hot and sunny, and we wore ourselves out climbing that path. When we got to the top we discovered that there was a bus stop there, and the "Hop On Hop Off" could have taken us to the top! Oh well. Beautiful views! In Barcelona we got a taxi to Sagrada Familia where we had bought tour tickets on line to see the inside. Then we taxied back to Los Ramblas where we strolled down with all the crowds, and then detoured off into the Gothic quarter we had a light lunch at at sidewalk cafe. After Barcelona the whole ship had a different feel after the leisurely trip across the ocean. A lot of the "retirees" disembarked, and there were many more young people and family groups. And we had a different port every day. In Cannes we once again "did our own thing". We jumped on the little tourist train loading up right at the pier and got a good look at the seaside boulevard and all the beautiful yachts on the one side and fancy hotels on the other. We've been to Rome before, so we opted to take the only ship tour doing something different out of Civitavecchia: a visit to an olive farm in Tuscany. It was a pleasant bus ride through the countryside with a visit to the sleep mountaintop village of Tuscania before a light snack of bruschetta with various flavored olive oils as well as a glass of wine at the olive farm. Our last ship tour was to the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum which was buried in the same volcanic eruption as nearby Pompeii. Fascinating. In Catania, Sicily we looked out our cabin window to see Mt. Etna all covered with snow! We later learned how unusual it is to have snow on Mt. Etna in May. Gorgeous! Unfortunately we didn't get pictures because clouds rolled in and Mt. Etna disappeared. We took a smaller group tour arranged through our Cruise Critic roll call. It was a beautiful day making our way up to the little resort town of Taormina after a harrowing drive up switch-backs to the mountain medieval village of Castelmola. Amazing views! And we also did a Cruise Critic tour to Krka National Park in Croatia. On the way back to the ship our guide gave us a quick visit to Zadar and their "sea organ". This review is getting too long to gush on and on about the beauty of Krka--all the waterfalls and rivers and emerald pools. Truly a beautiful spot. And I also don't want to do a whole separate review of our time in Venice where we disembarked and spend two wonderful (although rainy) days. All in all it was another great cruise--small criticisms notwithstanding. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I sailed on NCL's April 27 repositioning cruise from Miami to Tarragona. Overall, I had a great time. The cabin, dining room, bar and entertainment staff were all great other than the customer service desk, internet desk and ... Read More
I sailed on NCL's April 27 repositioning cruise from Miami to Tarragona. Overall, I had a great time. The cabin, dining room, bar and entertainment staff were all great other than the customer service desk, internet desk and excursion staff. The latter three categories got the brunt of passenger problems and showed the strain. They were brusk and unhelpful. One more negative: Disembarkation was a nightmare. Originally the cruise was to end in Barcelona. A few months before departure NCL changed the end to Tarragona, 40 or so miles south on the Spanish coast (without notifying people, there were a number of unhappy passengers who had booked hotels in Barcelona). Tarragona is fairly small and didn't have near enough taxis to accommodate a couple of thousand people in the space of a couple of hours. NCL appeared to think its responsibility ended when you got to the bottom of the gangway. There you were in a line (more a scrum) of a few hundred people jostling for a ride into town. It took about an hour and a half to get a cab. NCL earned a lot of dissatisfaction that morning. On to the good. Staff: The cabin steward was pretty much perfect. Whatever you might want seemed to appear before you thought to ask. He went so far as to straighten a pair of shoes I'd thrown in a corner. The restaurants and bars had great service with a smile. The exception was O'Sheehan's, the restaurant, not the bar. The servers were slow and made a number of mistakes in orders. Food: The food was good not great for the most part with the exception, again, of O'Sheehan's which put out pretty bad food. The main dining rooms were on a par with most chain white table cloths restaurants. The buffet? Well it was a buffet, that about says it. Great omelets though. It could get a bit crowded during the mealtime rushes. I ate at the Sushi bar, great; Cagney's, very good; the Asian restaurant whose name escapes me, good and, Le Bistro, excellent. Reservation times were honored; but, the restaurants were never overcrowded, I never had to wait for a table. Internet: I know most people don't care about internet on a cruise. Unfortunately, I need internet to work, even on vacation. The internet was barely adequate and quit working on the last two sea days before getting to the Azores. No notice from NCL as to why it was out or when it would come back on. After twenty minutes standing in line I learned that someone in Miami forgot to "tune" a satellite. And the internet never worked in Spice H2O which is a shame as the area is a really nice place to relax and have a coffee or a glass of wine. Latitude check in: None that I could find. Activities: There were a bunch, none of which interested me. Ports/excursions: I booked one excursion through NCL in Cadiz to the "White Villages" which are about an hour away. The scenery was great, the guide, not so much. Her English was not very good and she spoke it very fast, although that really didn't matter as she set a pace that left most of the, let's call us no longer young, group twenty or so yards away from her so that we couldn't hear what she said anyway. I enjoyed wandering around all of the ports through great architectural neighborhoods, stopping for a cappuccino or glass of wine. Food and drink at the cafes and restaurants was dirt cheap by American standards. Drink packages: You'd have to drink from breakfast until going to bed to make the cost of a drink package pay off (well maybe not quite that much). But, if you get one of the higher priced packages and get it as a perk, the $20 a day mandatory tip is a pretty good deal if you look at it as the cost of the drinks and a tip. I'm mostly a wine drinker and while the offerings weren't great, they were quite drinkable. The backbars looked to have most of the "top shelf" liquors you would expect. Entertainment: The primetime acts/shows that I saw were all very good. The lounge and pool deck singers and musicians were okay. NCL app: It worked nicely, showing what you have spent, what the entertainment schedule for the day was and what reservations you had. iMessage, for those with an iPhone, worked well. A couple of other things: I was apprehensive about the ship being crowded as it was sold out, or close to it. Other than in the buffet, I never felt crowded. I'd say the median age of passengers was mid to late sixties. If you are young and looking for some nightlife, you might want to stay away from a transatlantic cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the ... Read More
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the cruise were never delivered. Did not prebook anything - was told to wait and let the Concierge do it. Finally met him on 2nd day and got 2nd choice on 3 of the 6 dining venues we wanted. Should have just done it myself prior to cruise. The food in Haven is quite excellent but on a 15 day cruise the Chef has got to change the menu up a bit!! It is an excellent menu but the same, day after day. There are two soup choices and three desserts for lunch and dinner. Can't the chef use some creativity and vary that up a bit. Ice cream - vanilla or chocolate -and we found out from a different waiter, also macadamia nut. Can also get lemon sorbet daily. We wandered thru the buffet one lunchtime and saw gelato and so many other flavors, that we can't get! A few more Butler issues- why did it take a guest on day 7 to tell us about the "express" elevators or day 10 when a guest explained to us about the special phone in our cabin? We only asked our butler for one thing. After a week of daily snacks - we asked for fruit and some chicken, egg or tuna sandwiches. We specifically said no chocolates, cakes,or ham or pork. Within the next week we got our request once and then back to the ham and chocolates again. Shore excursions were fine except for when our tour in Mallorca was cancelled. At Shore Excursions we picked out another tour and was put on the waiting list -#19. Settled for our third choice. Question - if NCL cancels a tour, shouldn't we be bumped to the top of the waiting list? We did make it down to #9 so there were some cancellations. Complained but told "Sorry, Corporate Policy"!!! There was one lecturer on board, a very dry British lady telling us about each port. After attending her first lecture, we had enough and waited until the Epic decided to show her lectures on the TV so we could watch from our bed. Would we go Haven again? If I'm on a 4100+ passenger ship, definitely yes! Would I ever go on the Epic again - never!!!! Read Less

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