A Zegrahm cruise on a vintage Quark ship, which they use routinely. We selected Zegrahm for the itinerary. Unfortunately we missed the entire west coast of Antarctica, barely made it to the Peninsula, because the ship wasn't in full ... Read More
A Zegrahm cruise on a vintage Quark ship, which they use routinely. We selected Zegrahm for the itinerary. Unfortunately we missed the entire west coast of Antarctica, barely made it to the Peninsula, because the ship wasn't in full working order. A propeller was seriously malfunctioning which Zegrahm knew before we departed. Hence we missed 4 days of the itinerary, arrived late at many landings so light was very poor for photography, landed on Deception Island in total darkness.
Because so9 many clients were unhappy with all the time at sea, Zegrahm finally offered a weak compensation package, which still required considerable haggling. Their offer was largely dependent on future bookings, in other words Zegrahm making more money. A good deal for Zegrahm, not for the clients. After considerable discussion, they finally offered 10% cash on a very expensive, once in a lifetime trip.
In addition, the ship is in dire need of interior renovation, grimy, seats falling out of the lounge banquette.
We recommend Natl. Geographic - new ships, faster, with more time on the ground. Read Less
General Overall Impression:
We were deeply disappointed in the expedition portion of the cruise. We missed 50% of the cruise due to excessive ice in Scoresbysund. Silversea’s answer was to do more in Iceland. We did not pay to ... Read More
General Overall Impression:
We were deeply disappointed in the expedition portion of the cruise. We missed 50% of the cruise due to excessive ice in Scoresbysund. Silversea’s answer was to do more in Iceland. We did not pay to visit Iceland – we paid to visit Greenland. For some unknown reason they did go to the southern part of Greenland and made this second half and Iceland tour. I blame the Captain here since he controls where we go. There was no reason we could not have gone south and done other expedition areas. The choice of going to Iceland and doing normal ports Husavik, Akureryi and western Fjords was not expedition sailing but sightseeing.
Pre-Cruise Hotel: Hotel was horrible the Radisson Blu Scandinavia. Internet did not work and construction noise throughout our three day stay. Breakfast was mediocre buffet. Some people paid nearly $300 per night, through Silversea, for the privilege of staying at this dive.
Transfer to airport. Paid $99 pp for this transfer. No better than taking the Flybussen for $19. We had to drag the luggage around the airport to find the check-in. Silversea’s contracted agents were pretty useless. Flight to Longyearbyen was good - on time and transfer to ship was quick.
Svalbard – 4 day cruise. Very interesting though many excursions required you to be in shape and physically fit. Some passenger requested some more less walking friendly tours (ie. Zodiac cruises) but these requests were ignored by the expedition leader.
Ship Impression. Having been on the Silver Explorer 18 months ago we knew what to expect. The ship’s decor is VERY tired looking. Rooms are almost all same size (except for the small number of expedition and owner suites). Lounge is very small and fills up for high tea and drinks.
Service was excellent. Only comment is that the butlers are glorified housekeepers. Our request for special gin (Henricks) was ignored.
Food. Much improved over past expedition cruise. Did not have a bad meal. Previously the buffet lunch was the highlight meal. This cruise the dinner portion is where the chef shined. Chef Pia did a great job.
Iceland – what a waste - we were not scheduled to do this we were to do Greenland.
• First port Grimsey Island was cancelled due to high waves.
• Second stop was a Siglufjord town – where the highlight was the Herring museum. Now come on this is an expedition cruise. Herring museum ..zzzzzz..
• Husavik the whaling capitol of the world. However no whaling but a bus tour to visit the falls and hot springs. Have done this twice before.
• Akureyri. Botanical garden tour. ..zzzzzz..
• On the last tour Grundefjord – 75% of the people requested that we return to the ship early – it was so bad as was the guide.
Disembarkation: Was quick and the hotel transfer was done effortlessly.
• Ships Staff – great service. Housekeeping and restaurant staff outstanding
• Food – chef Pia did a great job. Never had a bad meal.
• Ship is tired looking. Needs an interior makeover.
• TV never worked – there is no other entertainment.
• Internet exceeding slow when working. Some of it is the location but rest is a bandwidth issue.
• Wines - thought the red wines could have been of better quality. Mostly all blends (which I hate)
• It was not an expedition cruise. I blame the Captain. Read Less
We have just returned from Voyage 8440 and although the Expedition Staff on and off the Silver Galapagos were 10 out of 10, we amongst many of the guests were appalled with the quality of the food and service. The breakfast buffet was of a ... Read More
We have just returned from Voyage 8440 and although the Expedition Staff on and off the Silver Galapagos were 10 out of 10, we amongst many of the guests were appalled with the quality of the food and service. The breakfast buffet was of a very poor quality and variety. Twice I ordered eggs at breakfast and they simply were not delivered, every day the sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs on the buffet were cold, now I don't mean warm or tepid I mean stone cold. At dinner on 3 days running there was no sorbet and on two full days no vanilla ice cream. The head chef stopped by our table and I asked what the problem was with the sorbet and the ice cream and he told us that they had run out and did not have the machinery to produce them - this is frankly absurd, and pathetic for a 'head' chef. The food at dinner was most nights over cooked. On one night I order my steak rare, the first one was well done, so I asked for it as I ordered, so the waiter kindly replaced it with another one also well done, the third one was possibly medium and I frankly just accepted it and didn't bother eating it.
The waiters served the rather ordinary wine haphazardly, topping up a half glass of red wine with a totally different wine for example, regularly. The layout and decor of the restaurant is very dull, repressive and refectory like. The piano lounge is just a mess, the lighting is turgid and the furniture and decor smacks of the 1970's. This ambiance, service and food was not what we were expecting from our previous trips on the Silver Explorer. Great expedition, but 3* hotel service. All in all Silversea let is down. On the positive side we came home without putting any weight on. This was not a Silversea as we had come to know it. All the trips to the Galapagos follow the same itinerary, with the same qualified guides, so why we paid a significant premium for substandard service with Silversea is in hindsight extremely disappointing. Read Less
I booked a 14 day classical Greek tour with a 6 day cruise of the Greek Islands with Istanbul and Kusadasi. While the tour was excellant, the Louise Cruise line was horrible. I upgraded my cabin from a standard inside to a standard ... Read More
I booked a 14 day classical Greek tour with a 6 day cruise of the Greek Islands with Istanbul and Kusadasi. While the tour was excellant, the Louise Cruise line was horrible. I upgraded my cabin from a standard inside to a standard outside. I'm a Scuba Diver and slept on metal decks of boats on overnight trips so I figured I was battle hardy. Besides this was listed as a destination ship, but then so was the "African Queen" We were on deck 2 which we shared with the crew. As I was unpacking, I saw a old boat come so close I thought we were going to hit. Wish I could post pictures here because I got a shot of the tire bumpers against the port hole.
Then for breakfast the next morning I had cereal because I'm not big on slimy eggs and undercooked bacon. About half way through, I said to my sister, it looks like there are bugs in the cereal. My sister didn't believe me so grabbed the bowl and then said, "Yep, there are antenna." She called the waiter over and he innformed someone else and next we had the head of the kitchen making apologies and saying they would make it up to us. He drew my sister a picture so I guess that was it. Dinner wasn't much better with tough steak and soup that was just gross. The unlimited drink package consisted of watery cokes. I began asking for cans and was told they ran out of coke by the 3rd day. You have to go through a waiter who gives you a receipt and that takes forever. Try to bring your own bottles aboard and skip the package. Trouble is there is no ice.
By the second day, we had water coming out of the bathroom floor. Black, moldy, water. A report to the desk was met with, the ship is going into dry dock next month. Repeated complaints finally got us moved up a deck but the A/C wasn't working. Multiple reports to the desk were met with "the engineer is busy writing reports and can't help." I guess so. Judging by my experience and some other people we talked to on deck 2, the ship was leaking.
Thank God, we only had 6 days to get through. Read Less
* The Jewel: Not that old of a ship, but seems a bit old/dated. Caribbean colors & theme throughout (sails there in winter) which didn't quite get us in the mindset for Alaska. One thing I really missed was a quiet, ... Read More
* The Jewel: Not that old of a ship, but seems a bit old/dated. Caribbean colors & theme throughout (sails there in winter) which didn't quite get us in the mindset for Alaska. One thing I really missed was a quiet, 'common' inside area with comfortable seating to enjoy the views. Restaurants have peripheral windows if you are lucky to score one when dining, the buffet has a wall of windows, as does the Irish Pub. Magnum's has windows, but for some reason, the decorator decided to make high backs on the (very uncomfortable) benches so if you are sitting in one of the chairs opposite the bench, all you see is sky. One quiet place with a view is the library, but sssshhhh, must be quiet so this isn’t the place to gather for a nice, relaxing conversation with a fellow traveler. And it was always full...wonder why? Guess others wanted a quiet space apart from the bars! So, if you aren't eating in a restaurant/buffet, go outside, but the chairs aren’t too comfy. I think the ship could benefit by having groupings of comfortable seating with a view where one could read, enjoy a coffee or drink, without having to go to a bar or restaurant. RCL had this & it was really nice. The mustering exercise was useless. RCL’s was top-notch.
* Freestyle dining: NCL makes it sound so great, but everyone tends to want to eat at the same time so why not have assigned seating times to avoid rush times, relieve stress off the staff, etc.? Service staff friendly, but service is definitely slower during peak times. Plus, the atmosphere & ambience is so relaxed it seems to diminish the 'specialness' of cruising. Even though NCL pushes 'freestyle', & they have an 'optional' dress-up night, we saw a number of couples/families/individuals dressed up every evening. I think when people decide to go on a cruise, they want to dress up. We decided we weren't a fan of the freestyle dining.
* Restaurants w/surcharges: If you prefer dining in a more refined & quiet atmosphere, without a bunch of little ones running around, this may be a great option. These 'upscale' restaurants have a suggested dress code, but we never witnessed it being enforced so why have it? Baseball caps & flip-flops kind of ruin the ambience. In the end, it still rankles me that these options have a cover charge on top of the cost of the cruise itself. Perhaps all cruise lines do this these days??
* Food: HUGE disappointment. Average & sub-average are the best descriptors. Very institutional. I did expect (hope?) that on an Alaskan cruise, they would offer indigenous seafood ie. Salmon, halibut, king crab (the salmon offered was Atlantic salmon) but to no avail. Buffet is great if you want lots of options; wonderful for kids, teens & people who just have to have piles of food. We only did lunch here; the soups were consistently awful. Salad bar was passable. B-fast in Tsar's was consistently good. Tried the Irish pub for b-fast one day & lunch the day we boarded - ick. Avoid this place. And no Irish beer in an Irish pub?? Open dining rooms had a few items that changed daily, majority of the menu remained the same. Ho hum. Beware of the descriptions: Cherries Jubilee is nothing but vanilla ice cream with canned cherries (pie filling?) on top. Option: hit the paid dining restaurants for dinner. Quite a clever plan on NCL's part. Based on previous cruise experience, we opted not to purchase the paid restaurant dining package because cruise ships are known for their awesome food. Mistake. We ate at the French, Brazilian, and Japanese restaurants, with the best of those being the French Le Bistro. Food beautifully presented and prepared. Japanese (Benihana-style) was least favorite. Miso soup horrible, main meats overcooked, green tea dessert was yucky. Brazilian food decent, many options. None of the paid restaurants we went to rose to the standards of fine dining or what you think of when thinking of dining on a cruise ship. Good, certainly better than the buffet, but wonderful and delicious? Nope. If I went to them in my hometown, I wouldn't return. On RCL, I remember having wonderful midnight food buffets with beautiful fruit displays and carvings - nothing like that here. Also, restaurants have limited hours. Judging from other online reviews, it seems NCL is gaining a reputation for sub-par food.
* Staff & service: This is where the Jewel shines. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable. Waitress in Le Bistro said she had been w/NCL 13 years; that says a lot about the organization.
*Final thoughts: Alaska is beautiful, people we talked with in shops & tour guides/leaders were very friendly & welcoming. The Jewel was very disappointing, average. You can't put a price on memories, but our experience on board the Jewel did not provide a good return on investment. We will not sail NCL again. Read Less
We had looked forward to sailing on Norwegian's Breakaway since last year. New ship, new feature and it offered so much promise. Sadly, the hype doesn't live up to the reality. Food was mediocre at best. Never heard or ... Read More
We had looked forward to sailing on Norwegian's Breakaway since last year. New ship, new feature and it offered so much promise. Sadly, the hype doesn't live up to the reality. Food was mediocre at best. Never heard or experienced lobster night not being served in main dining but as part of the buffet. Saw our cabin steward when we first went in to cabin then not again for 3 days. No turn down service on first night, ice bucket never filled more than 1/4 way even after leaving a note asking. The only decent place to get a steak cooked medium was Le Bistro. Everywhere else, was browned or bloodied. room service menu very limited and you get charged for late night service. Your healthy options are non-existent. You will load up on carbs and sweets so you will easily put on the 8-10 lbs. they seem to take pride in. Burgers are good, yet sausage, bratwurst and links are under cooked. Don.t eat at La Cucina. You will get better Italian food anywhere else. Informed a day prior about a low sodium request. Their solution was to serve it dry, no sauce at all. Nothing Italian about it". In the 24 hours, prior, no attempt to make a Marsala sauce with a bit less salt?
Shows are limited. Theater is small so u need to book reservations. Same shows as well. Burn the floor well done...Rock of Ages...lacked energy and a plot. ..Comedian Michael Finney was very good. second City was fine. Captain was very impersonal. Posed for pics one day for a total of 15minutes...barely spoke at Latitudes gathering and lacked enthusiasm when he did. We are used to crews also initiating "hello", not the case here. When one did ask about things which were you experienced on past cruises and enjoyed, standard answer "This is the Breakaway"..... Which I determined, forget the niceties, we do things our own way, when we want to and forget the cruise experience you used to enjoy. Water slides are fun and obstacles course was a blast. Liked the adult only Spice H2O.
Next cruises...smaller ship with more better food and service ratings. Read the reviews and trust the poor to middle. They are more accurate. Read Less
We had heard very good things about Viking River Cruises and we anxious to give it a try. Our travel experience has been with luxury and premium cruise lines and we love to travel independently, making our own way via rental car, and ... Read More
We had heard very good things about Viking River Cruises and we anxious to give it a try. Our travel experience has been with luxury and premium cruise lines and we love to travel independently, making our own way via rental car, and private guides. We found the experience of Viking on their Bucharest to Budapest route to be closer aligned to a bus tour on a boat. The itinerary was less than wonderful - no way to get into a town in some places unless you took the long bus tours.
Everything is done as a group: Excursions that lasted many hours on packed buses. Dinner with everyone heading to the dining room at 7pm - and no ability to have a quiet table for 2. Very loud dining room because the ceilings are so low. Unlike larger ships with 300-700 people, there was no attempt on this ship to learn the names of passengers or learn their likes or interests. Everyone is treated as a member of "the group".
Corporate could initiate some low or no cost amenities that could make this a better experience for guests:
1. Encourage staff to learn some of the guests names. We were told by one officer who we had just handled our shore card with our names, on a day when we did not go on the tour, that "he couldn't be expected to know all 175 names of guests"
2. Encourage officers to mingle with guests when they have time. Especially if the ship is empty, when most are on a tour.
3. Provide a morning coffee or afternoon tea in the lounge for those staying on board and not going on the tours. Make it special - This would be a welcome activity for those guest who choose to stay onboard. Have officers who are not doing anything sit and talk with guests during this period. Simply bring the cookies near the coffee machine into the lounge and serve the coffee or tea.
We found no fault with our cabin, it was comfortable and well decorated. Food onboard was quite good, but the buffets at breakfast and lunch were so crowded with people moving constantly. And the buffet area is right in the middle of the dining room.
Overall it was a very disappointing experience for us. But then again, most people onboard enjoyed the trip and the Viking Experience. Just not a good fit for people who like independent travel
It was apparent from the start that Carnival is trying to enhance their bottom line, often at the expense of their "guests". The so-called "shows" were pathetic...almost all dancing, and even that not well done. The ... Read More
It was apparent from the start that Carnival is trying to enhance their bottom line, often at the expense of their "guests". The so-called "shows" were pathetic...almost all dancing, and even that not well done. The costumes were second rate as well.
Our room was a nice size (mini-suite), but the decor was in bad taste. It had a "glitzy" feeling....oranges, golds, pinks, etc. Around the fifth day, someone came in and installed some more granite in the bathtub area....but, they left the drain and four screws out....it was not not possisble to get the water to the shower position w/o getting soaked in the process. We did have a good cabin attendent, but we tipped him every night to encourage the service.
The martini's were good, and were filled to the brim by freindly bartenders (one of the better parts of the trip) Unfortunately, the food was pathetic. We ate in the dining room one night; that was enough to convince us not to come back. We ate one dinner in the Steak House (extra charge) that was very good. The rest of the time we ate at the buffet, which was fair to medium...not on par with buffet's on other ships we've been on.
I have sailed on Holland America, Princess and Celebrity in the past, and I can truthfuly say Carnival is nowhere near the caliber of service offered by these lines. Read Less
Land of the Northern Lights on the MV Discovery
Cabin number 5107
We booked this trip back in July 2012. At this time we chose a cabin with a double bed amidships. We were informed that the ship we were travelling on was being changed ... Read More
Land of the Northern Lights on the MV Discovery
Cabin number 5107
We booked this trip back in July 2012. At this time we chose a cabin with a double bed amidships. We were informed that the ship we were travelling on was being changed and we were to be given an upgrade. We ended up in a cabin with separate single beds in an L configuration in a cabin in the bows, (meaning a far less comfortable journey than amidships) that did not remotely resemble the picture in your brochure. How this can be classed an upgrade is beyond me.
Neither of us could watch the television as it is positioned corner ways to the bottom of each bed. After waiting to be processed for two hours in a freezing cold dockside warehouse with no amenities and being told never mind you will soon be in your nice warm luxury cabin, we were bitterly disappointed with our accommodation. We were told that the ship had been refitted top to bottom. Really? Our cabin had split ceiling boards, rubbish lighting, reading lights so low in the headboard that they were useless. The whole cabin was just old and worn out. The shower area had sealant gunged everywhere, it was just awful. To top it all there was no tea or coffee making facilities.
For some reason the ship had a permanent 10 degree list throughout the trip, rising to 15 to 20 degrees in bad weather. This made staying in the bed that lay lengthways impossible. With no lee sheet supplied we moved the bedding on to the floor.
After a week a bug was going around the ship giving everyone extreme flulike symptoms which made life on board even worse. A rasping cough was heard everywhere, constantly. A month has gone bye and we are still unwell.
It is fortunate for us that we have been on other cruises otherwise this would have put us off for life.
The staff, the food, the trips and the entertainment were all wonderful. How they battle on in such rubbish conditions is beyond me.
For what we paid I cannot express my disappointment at the cabin and indeed the ship strongly enough. I think we were moved into an alternative ship where the choice accommodation was already taken resulting in us being that was shoved into accommodation that no one else wanted.
Needless to say we shall not be travelling with this excuse for a cruise company again, I have seen cattle treated better. Read Less
The good part: The Galapagos expedition team was superb w excellent lectures and informative land tours. They were extremely solicitous of everyone and enthusiastic. Wildlife was amazing. There are multiple expeditions each day w varying ... Read More
The good part: The Galapagos expedition team was superb w excellent lectures and informative land tours. They were extremely solicitous of everyone and enthusiastic. Wildlife was amazing. There are multiple expeditions each day w varying levels of intensity. I learned to appreciate the very early start of the land tours given the heat of mid-day at the equator.
Also good: Silversea was amazing w the travel connections and transfers to various hotels, transportation modes, and airports. They saved us hours of time and never failed to show up as promised. We were truly impressed and pleased.
The not so good: I found the food bland and unappetizing after just three days. With only one port stop, there was no opportunity to escape the routine until the next to last day when we had a wonderful onshore meal.
The bad: There are only limited times for meals w the evening meal in both the main dining room and the grill not served until 7:30. That was really late for us, given that we were burning the calories w all the activities. Unfortunately, the grill dining is somewhat formal in that they do dish out bar food (burgers, taco, pizza) until 7:30. Can't understand why the grill can't open at 5:30.
The embarrassing: Silversea should be ashamed of putting to sea w a ship in this shape. While I found the decor okay (some have called it outdated), the air conditioning was universally bad in the cabins w everyone complaining. If you happened to be in a cabin turned toward the sun, there was no way to be comfortable. My wife thought to bring two small travel fans that lets us survive. I would never consider a Silversea cruise because of this experience.
My recommendation: Don't take this cruise. I heard that the ship is due to undergo drydock repairs soon and so you might consider it then. There are other cruise ships in the area and you might try them. But go to the Galapagos. By all means, take the Machu Picchu post-cruise package. Read Less
We sailed the Polar Circle itinerary Feb. 1 2013. The Antarctica scenery, wildlife, and landscape are spectacular and the itinerary met our every expectation and more. The ship public spaces are clean and in good repair with a very nice ... Read More
We sailed the Polar Circle itinerary Feb. 1 2013. The Antarctica scenery, wildlife, and landscape are spectacular and the itinerary met our every expectation and more. The ship public spaces are clean and in good repair with a very nice observation lounge/bar on Deck 5, good space around the lecture rooms and coffee bar on Deck 4, and good outside space for observation when weather permits. There are very nice saunas for men and women and two outdoor hottubs. There is a small but adequate fitness area with treadmills and and weight equipment. It is usually not crowded and easy to access but there is no drinking water and towels are on a different floor.
We purchased return air from Buenos Aries to Ushuaia embarkation point and airport transfers in Ushuaia. The flight down and embarkation was without incident but the dis-embarkation and return flight were poorly handled. We were told to board a bus at 7:45 am for a two hour city tour and transfer to the airport. We got on the bus, it drove to a parking lot at the end of the pier, parked, and we were told we had 2 hours free time for whatever we wanted to do. The ship told us nothing about walking around the town and few were prepared for a walking tour. We were fortunate that the weather turned out well or it would have been two hours sitting on the bus. The return flight was scheduled for 12:30 pm and was delayed an hour. It is 3 1/2 hours. Hurtigruten made no provision for lunch and told us nothing about the lack of lunch.
Communications from Hurtigruten before the cruise were limited and terse. Our final cruise documents had to be emailed because we still had not received them a week before our flight departed. We received a notice that a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was included in the package that we purchased, would no longer be included and we would have to pay an extra $105 pp to take it. We got this straightened out but the messages from Hurtigruten were flip to terse and showed little respect for us. This lack of communication continued throughout the trip. Ships officers dined in the dining room but seldom said hello or engaged with passengers. The expedition leader was not visible on the ship at all. Expedition team members seldom interacted with passengers on board outside of their lectures. Daily programs were fragmentary and not very descriptive of what shore excursions would be.
The shore excursions are included in the price and there were about a dozen in different places. Most were short walks, some difficult, with good views of penguin colonies and landscape. Safety during landings in the Polarcircle boats were a priority for the expedition team and were conducted safely under sometimes difficult conditions.
We had suite 638, one of the highest category suites on the ship. There was a spacious balcony. The suite itself was very spacious but not as conveniently appointed as we have seen on other lines. There was not much storage for this size cabin and the bathroom was very small and without the finishes and amenities that we have seen in suites on other lines. This is an expedition ship and you are constantly changing into and out of shore landing gear but there was no accommodation in the room for the gear or for drying wet landing apparel. Amenities were better than other cabins on board but much less than we have seen in lower category suites on other lines.
The restaurant and hotel staff were friendly and helpful but there did not seem to be enough staff to meet needs in a timely fashion. The waiters started clearing tables well before people were finished and once they started clearing it was difficult to get service. Eight of our 12 evening meals were buffet. The served dinners were fixed menu with one option for the entree. Lunch and dinner buffets were heavy on starches and pasta. Salads were available but vegetables were limited. We found the food quality to be mediocre and often less than well prepared. Wine and beer are available for meals but expensive. Our cabin rate included wine and beer with meals and the servers were trained to recognize this without issues about charges. There is coffee, tea, and some pastries available at no charge during the day but no other food available between meals.
The crew did two evening talent shows that were fun. Movies were available some nights but no other entertainment.
There are limited itineraries that sail below the Antarctic Circle and MV Fram will have to be considered if you want that itinerary but be aware of the shortcomings of this company and vessel. Read Less
Where do you begin exactly....check-in. Chaos, nightmare....and it all went downhill there after. It took around 2 hours to be herded through checkin, it felt more like passing through some boot camp rather than starting a relaxing ... Read More
Where do you begin exactly....check-in. Chaos, nightmare....and it all went downhill there after. It took around 2 hours to be herded through checkin, it felt more like passing through some boot camp rather than starting a relaxing upmarket vacation, it was hot, uncomfortable and totally lacked any form of organisation or privacy for the weary traveller. Having survived this ordeal it was time to set foot on ship....and oh what a warm welcome there was NOT to be had, not a single HAL representative to meet and greet, just the security team. Overall a very good first impression. A Travel Lodge would do better.
Food! Spectacular only by its awfulness, bland, always over cooked, meat without fail was tough. Plates were cold and food often little more than warm. HAL should feel thoroughly ashamed at what arrives on the plate and the fact that animals died in vain to produce it. A major part of our cruising enjoyment comes from the dining experience, however after several table changes and the fact that the food was so poor for the first time in 13 cruises we were prepared to opt out of evening dining, sadly the lido was on a par with a works canteen and there was no real alternative. Thankfully we were able to savour some exceptional local food during our shore excursions or we would have returned home having lost weight!
Another bone of contention was that of feeling constantly hounded to spend money...this started as we arrived in the stateroom to find a mountain of info re treatments, sales and special offers. It was hard to sit quietly in the public area without being repeatedly asked for a bar order...why is it not possible for staff to hover rather than hound.....after all any decent hotel manages to achieve this balance the world over. Another HAL initiative is charging for after dinner cappuccino this is apparently because they are now using a better quality coffee, not just adding frothy milk.... The latest HAL earner seems to be the charges for the shuttle buses.....come on now surely we have paid to travel to a destination so why is this cost not factored into the overall holiday price? And as for scrimping on the port fees and docking in Hong Kong's freight dock that surely will take some beating, the hours travel we were forced to endure to get us where we should have arrived in the first place was just the final nail in HALs coffin as far as we are concerned.
Oh and finally HAL staff were there to thank us for sailing with them etc etc...again NOT Read Less
We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin ... Read More
We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin was very little larger than we were accustomed to in a balcony room. We had a tub with shower and my husband found it difficult to turn around without hitting the curtain. There was no top sheet on our bed. Out cabin steward (who was excellent) immediately placed one on the bed but why did we have to ask for something that shoulw be standard. They gave a welcome aboard party for those who had not said with Princess before. They served "hot" tea and "hot" coffee and pastries. I filled my cup with tea and walked to the tray of pastries where a waiter stood with tongs to serve. As I approached he said: "They are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4; give me a number and do not touch!!" I shook my head, gave him a number and took my lukewarm tea and my numbered pastry to a seat beside another lady who was drinking her lukewarm coffee. Is this a way to encourage people to come back? Our dining waiter was rude; he would walk up between 2 people and in mid sentence stick the menu in their face and ask what they wanted. We were always late starting our dinner. The later hour did not bother us as we are used to late dining but it was irritating to stand in line for up to 20 minutes past time. The food was not up to the standard we are used to and when I ordered a steak medium rare and it came medium well and so tough I could not cut it I told the waiter and he just looked at me, looked at the steak and walked away. Tips are mandatory so why would any employee go the extra mile when they know the tips are coming anyway, On other lines we received envelopes with suggested amounts. Many times we gave more for excellent service and in rare instances gave less if we felt they were not doing their best.
We had an excellent cabin steward, some excellent waiters at buffet upstairs and the shopping helper (her name was Greenwood) was also very good. We missed seeing the captain around the ship (he came to one event and stayed about 5 minutes). We are used to being offered the opportunity to have a picture with the captain. There was a lack of entertainment at an hour compatible with our dining hour. Only 2 days did they have an early show and it was only 30 minutes long. We were just relaxing and enjoying it when it was over!!! All in all we did not feel we had our money's worth. We took this cruise because it went to the Panama Canal leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and returning there. It seems I am looking for something good to say and the visit to the canal was it. Embarkation was very slow. Read Less
My husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity and Royal and we just got back from a 7 night cruise on Allure of the Seas. I don't want to say anything negative about the ship but just ... Read More
My husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity and Royal and we just got back from a 7 night cruise on Allure of the Seas. I don't want to say anything negative about the ship but just provide an honest opinion. Based on the cost to cruise on this ship I found the service, food and entertainment very dissapointing. We read on cruise critic before we set sail there was a cafe in Central Park and the roast beef sandwiches were wonderful. I can tell you this was not the case. My roast beef was so tough I could not eat the sandwich. A few days later for lunch I decided to give the cafe in the Park another try and ordered a quesadilla, because I wanted something lite. The quesadilla was so bad I could not eat it. Basically had to throw two lunches away, roast beef sandwich and quesadilla.
Our cabin was on deck 11 with an extended balcony. For the amount of money we paid to take this cruise our cabin was very disappointing. Compared to other ships this room had very little storage and the drawers in the bedroom 'dresser' area fell out when we opened them. The in room safe seemed about half the size we normally get.
Food in the main dinning was good but not outstanding. Windjammer was crowded and the food just okay. The first night we paid to eat at the mexican restaurant on the 'Boardwalk' and it was very good. Since this was the only restaurant we ate at where we paid additional for our food I cannot speak for the other speciality restaurants on board. Given we paid about twice the amount for this cruise as compared to other cruises we've taken I expected the food in the 'complimentary' restaurants to be better. But sadly that was not the case. It seems you have to pay for your food if you want quality.
As for the entertainment, they advertise and promote Shrek, Po the panda, and more friends in the DreamWorks Experience. I felt like we were on a Disney cruise. If you have kids you might enjoy this cruise. We will not be cruising on this ship again. Too many people and you have to sign up for everything. If you want to relax you might find it hard to find somewhere peaceful. The activities are not coordinated well. Too much going on at the same time in the same place. Read Less
We were on the 28 day cruise - Singapore - Hong Kong via Cambodia,
Thailand, Vietnam, China and Korea. This cruise was advertised as a Collectors cruise. To our disappointment this was a back - back cruise. With that concept we were ... Read More
We were on the 28 day cruise - Singapore - Hong Kong via Cambodia,
Thailand, Vietnam, China and Korea. This cruise was advertised as a Collectors cruise. To our disappointment this was a back - back cruise. With that concept we were subjected to the same food selections in the dinning room, and repeat entertainment (the ships singers & dancers) on the second segment of the cruise. Having experienced this syndrome before we would not have picked this cruise. We were duped by the phrase "Collectors" a grand substitute for back to back.
Embarkation and immigration
Not good, in fact down right bad in Singapore. Total chaos, took us almost 2 hours to embark. China ( Beijing) was a disaster. Took us 3 hours to be cleared and a delay of 5 and a half hours to leave. No explanation was ever offered. Had us concerned. HAL appears to be
struggling to get ASIA right.
The ship and cabin
The ship and the cabin was extremely cold. We literally froze for the 3 days in Beijing, extra blankets, placing towels against the door, socks to bed etc, made little difference. The cabin was clean but dated. The fabrics faded and the toilet was smelling (In spite of the cabin steward's efforts). This ship is well past its prime according to other Holland America cruisers. The lighting was poor, a hardship as we were constantly filling immigration related forms.
Superb. Many staff we encountered only briefly, addressed us by name and were always ready to go the extra mile to help. In fact they made up for the many inconsistencies and irritants on this cruise. We must note HAL have cut back on numbers which means their willing staff have more to do with less, explains the delays in the dinning room and the room stewards, rushing like crazy.
Mediocre, sufficient maybe for this port intensive cruise. Some of the headliners were pathetic, basing their acts more on action and antics as opposed to content and quality. Annie Francis and
Vincenzo Gentiles were outstanding. The Adagio strings were exceptional, the piano bar entertainment was very good.
Our pet peeve and disappointment was the music in the Ocean Bar. This is the one place dedicated to and advertised as the place for 'Ballroom Dancing'. The floor was good, the music was beyond bad. It was a jazz club (not a good one either), with a rude and sometimes down right snaky leader ( Mark Dunn). He would not play music you could dance to. When requested he invited the requesting guests to take themselves to the rock band (was referring to the HAL cats in the Crows Nest?). We brought this music fiasco to the attention of management days into the cruise, no improvement. We stopped patronizing the Ocean bar.
The various workshops were well presented. The Digital Photography workshops very good. Kristen was remarkable in her knowledge and presentation skills. The Library dated. We missed the guest speakers to talk about the history of the places we visited. Travel Guide, Spencer Brown was excellent and unbiased and dealt mostly with what to see, do, avoid and how to get about.
Mariners recognition - a PR disaster. What was HAL thinking when they selected a few and ignored the rest to invite for the captain's reception, some were awarded medals for 100 days, others ignored, some had over 200 Days.
There are lots of things that must be improved if HAL expects to stay competitive and to keep its loyal customers. We were disappointed, tried hard not to let them spoil our trip to an unforgettable part of the world. Read Less
Food: no choice . Acceptable but not very inspiring. Very poor service from an argumentative waiter who told us we should eat what we were given. Couldn't cope with a request for "no fish" Wine at about Â£45 a bottle in ... Read More
Food: no choice . Acceptable but not very inspiring. Very poor service from an argumentative waiter who told us we should eat what we were given. Couldn't cope with a request for "no fish" Wine at about Â£45 a bottle in the "wine package" was rather pricey. The little cafe was lovely - but expensive.
Safety : On at least 12 occasions we had to walk on treacherous surfaces - often carrying and wheeling luggage. Walking up to the midnight concert at Tromso was on snow and ice up a steep path. Some of the party were on sticks.
Security: Very little - a suitcase was taken from a passemger and rifled. It would have been very easy to get on and off our ship.
Lifeboat drill :A good talk- how sensible to have lifejackets at muster stations rather than in cabins.
Radisson Blu Hotel Tromso : excellent - put the Midnatsol in the shade!
Flights: We spent an extra three and a half hours getting to Tromso because of snow on the runway....... On the return we waited for over an hour to start checking in due to malfunctioning computers and lack of staff - appalling.
Trips We got stuck in a coach behind one that had gone off the road and never made it to the North Cape. The cable car ride to the mountain restaurant for a meal cost Â£75 pp and didn't include a glass of wine with the uninspiring food and watery coffee. Read Less
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food.
I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on ... Read More
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food.
I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival before. Due to hurricane we were diverted to Catalina (Come on! Catalina? Seriously? Who pays for a 7 day cruise to stop in Catalina?!) The weather may not be the cruise line's fault - but for the "Holland America brand" you would think they could have picked something else - like say - stay in Cabo for 2 days? We stopped in La Paz on the other day. La Paz is the cleanest city in Mexico I have ever seen. I will probably go back there for a week on my own someday. Cabo is excellent as always! My biggest complaint about cruising to Cabo - why does it always have to be the shortest port stay???
There were 6 of us all together in our group - all age ranges. I was VERY disapointed in this cruise and Holland America. This brand isn't even remotely luxury as was expected. The food is horrible. I've sailed Carnival 3 times and their food was so much better in selections and options. And I believe people's first complaint about Carnival is the food - so that's how bad it is on this ship.
While we had a few bright spots (Maha in dining room was lovely, our room steward was excellent, and another waiter in the bar where we met every night made our nightly before dinner meet for drinks very nice) the rest of the service was lacking. Especially the lido deck. My first thought was no incentive for them to even clear plates and refill drinks. And how do you have a Taco special on the deck but out of tacos? Room service is very prompt and on top of it. But that's all I can say for that - zip selection - and zip taste.
My best friend (her first cruise) and I splurged and got a balcony on the Rotterdam deck. While the balcony was beautiful - you cannot help leaving with that bad taste in your mouth of such good money wasted for nothing. We could have just flown to Cabo for the week much cheaper and guaranteed good food.
On our way off we talked to two guys on our floor who we never met before who were complaining about what a waste of money this cruise is, now that makes us 6 plus two more. How many more? Oh and most of all - the shower is mostly warm, lukewarm and lots of intermitant cold water in between. Had to keep turning the shower off and let it run through the bath - I did not pay for 7 days of cold/lukewarm showers. Obviously the hot water doesn't reach that high up - or it's seriously out with everyone else showering for dinner.
This ship looks and acts old. It seems like a cookie cutter ship. Nothing special about it.
Important for non-smokers - not a lot of spots for smokers to go - and I certainly didn't appreciate having to have that smoke in my face all day long at the adult pool. No ventilation in the casino. You can't get away from it. On your balcony or on the deck. Sorry smokers - but all cruise ships need to adopt a smoke free environment. Clean air is first and foremost when sailing in the open waters! Read Less
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before ... Read More
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before we travelled we got the tickets and were informed that we were now flying from Heathrow into Milan Malpensa airport - 2.5 hours transfer time to the port. Need less to say we were not impressed! It is important to point out that we booked through Virgin Cruises, so it is not clear who was responsible for the fact that we only discovered the change 9 days before we sailed. However, the change was still unacceptable.
Anyway, when we arived at Milan airport we were met by the MSC rep (very friendly) who informaed us that we would have an hour wait before we left as we were waiting for another 2 people on a later flight.
Finally we arrived at the port and were directed to the boat in a rather haphazard manner. We received our room cards and were informed that we would be eating in the second sitting, even though we had requested 1st sitting. We were told to sort this out with reception, which we duly did. One of the receptionist was quite rude and was very quick to point out that 'requests cannot be guaranteed'. Luckily another receptionis (Lucia) was very polite and said we should go and see the restaurant manager who would probably be able to change it for us. This we did and we were indeed changed to 1st sitting with no problems. This bodes the question why were we not given the sitting we requested to start with??? What a pointless waste of time for everyone!
On the plus side, the food and service at dinner was excellent, with them very helpfully accomadating my gluten free requirements. Also the evening entertainment (although at times resembling a trip to Butlins), was very good, especially the shows in the Broadway Theatre. Also the room was much bigger and nicer than I expected, with a comfortable, large bed and lots of storage space (including a safe and lots of hanging space). There was also a hairdryer, which was v handy.
Unfortunately the staff at breakfast were not so friendly, in fact pretty indifferent I would say an the choice was a bit limited and got very boring by the end of the week.
The 2 excursions we did were pretty good, although v expensive, and even coach transfers out of the port were very pricey.
Just as we were beginning to think it wasn't too bad though, we got our instructions for leaving the boat on the last day. Essentially we were turfed off at 9:15am and transferred to the airport...even though our flight was not until 7pm. So, 7 hours in Milan Malpensa airport - what a marvellous end to the holiday!! Needless to say the good definitely did not out weight the bad on this trup so I would not travel with them again and I would discourage others from doing so either. Read Less
We took a cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Spirit ~ really disappointed in the level of service and on board entertainment. Maybe I am spoiled as I cruised on the Epic last year (as my first cruise)where the entertainment ... Read More
We took a cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Spirit ~ really disappointed in the level of service and on board entertainment. Maybe I am spoiled as I cruised on the Epic last year (as my first cruise)where the entertainment was TOP notch, the level of service was immediate with positive results. Not so with the Spirit. Where to start?
Specialty Restaurants: On the Spirit there is no quiet dining. All the Specialty Restaurants are open to passageways and a lot of noise.
Entertainment: Comedy Acts, Group singing ~ just not interesting. And beware, the Spirit provides "Adult" entertainment in the form of a male review and Burlesque (I think this is what they called it).
Service: The service people at the main desk and excursion desk were not helpful if you had a problem. Please remember that everyone pays, within a range, the same amount to be on the Spirit BUT Norwegian has this "Priority Tender Service" if you book your excursions through them (I didn't see anything in Norwegian's literature stating we would have to wait for the "Priority" passengers before being let off at a tender port). If you book a private excursion you need to make sure the start time is not before 10:30 am because that's the time you'll be able to get a tender ashore.
The port schedule was great and this is why we booked with Norwegian. The other issues made our time on the ship and getting on and off the ship a tedious pain with no resolution. Read Less
Waiting at Glasgow station for the bus to harwich should have been a warning, when a 12 seat-er local mini-bus arrived to take us the 300 miles to the Shearings bus depot.The seats were smaller than a Ryanair buget flight the journey for ... Read More
Waiting at Glasgow station for the bus to harwich should have been a warning, when a 12 seat-er local mini-bus arrived to take us the 300 miles to the Shearings bus depot.The seats were smaller than a Ryanair buget flight the journey for all of us there and back was a nightmare.The cabins were good and the service by the filipino crew was excellent both in the cabin and at the dinner tables. The general on-board facilities were poor, the cruise entertainment management a disgrace, being Scottish I was embarrassed by the complaints as most were Scottish
The main cause for complaint was the excursions at the Baltic Ports, simply a rip off.Many were simply Two and half hours round a city with two ten minute stops.A morning cruise to me is about a full morning.St Petersburgh had a riot by the bus load a lot of money for nothing was finally a rebellion at the Church of the Blood.
The food at dinner was ecellantly cooked, but the portions were minute and thank god for the midnight buffet. Generally cruise buffets, breakfast and mid day are predictable but the choice here was even poorer
A disaster by Shearings
Community Manager's Note: 'This review was written when the ship sailed for Voyages of Discovery. As of February 2013, it is now sailing under the Cruises & Maritime banner" Read Less
We spent 4 days in Dubai at the Traders Hotel before embarking on RCI Brilliance of the Seas. Hotel was OK for the airport and cruise port, but a bit too far away from the tourist attractions of Dubai. Embarkation was the easiest that I ... Read More
We spent 4 days in Dubai at the Traders Hotel before embarking on RCI Brilliance of the Seas. Hotel was OK for the airport and cruise port, but a bit too far away from the tourist attractions of Dubai. Embarkation was the easiest that I have experienced. No wait at all at the terminal and luggage delivered in about an hour.The ship was only half full, having had the itinerary much modified to account for problems in Egypt. From Oman to Rome was 9 days at sea. The longest stint at sea I and the crew had experienced. However, the first few days of the holiday on land and sea was hectic and the rest was welcome.My first experience of RCI and will probably be the last. Apart from some brilliant musicians on board who entertained several times a day, I am unable to give a 10 out of 10 for almost any other feature of the cruise.Most notable feature of on board life was the over the top cost of extras, particularly drinks. Even the discounted wine packages were over the top. $4.50 for a bottle of water was perhaps the biggest excess. I am not a heavy drinker, just one or two alcoholic drinks per day, but my bar bill ended in being twice what I have expected ti pay compared to recent cruises with other lines.Food in the buffet was better than the dining room. The dining room food did not have the good, strong taste that is the hallmark of American cuisine. Very bland. Entertainment was quite varied, but about as good as you will get in a local club or pub back home. Quite a few acts were cruise regulars, with acts that have hardly changed in two or three years.I wanted to see Dubai and the Middle East, and I have and have memories that will stay with me, especially the central mosque in Abu Dhabi, but the cruising part of the holiday did not inspire me much at all. Disappointing really, when conversations with other RCI regulars painted a much brighter picture.One other first too. We had the SAS on board for a few days whilst sailing the Gulf of Aden and into the Red Sea just in case Somalian pirates fancied their chances. Black clad individuals casually carrying heavy shoulder bags. They were taken off by tender whist still at sea. Ship sailed blacked out at night, and a 'safe haven' drill was carried out. Read Less
The Queen Victoria is far from being a Queen in my book. Starting with disorganized and delayed embarkation and again with disembarkation process that nearly caused us to miss our flt.
Very poor service in the dining room as many nights ... Read More
The Queen Victoria is far from being a Queen in my book. Starting with disorganized and delayed embarkation and again with disembarkation process that nearly caused us to miss our flt.
Very poor service in the dining room as many nights one (1) of our servers in our table area was apparently sent elsewhere for much of the dining time, leaving the area with only one person who could not keep up with any kind of reasonable time service.
A very rude server in the Golden Lion lounge/ restaurant on 2 separate occasions.
Last on the list was the stateroom having nearly no drawer storage space at all and using shelves in the closet was not very desirable.
After I wrote a letter of our dissatisfaction to Cunard Guest Relations, I received a phone call that the end result was their calling and general purpose was to simply call and get off the phone.
If you do not mind paying top dollar for this kind of service, then you should go on the Victoria but if not you may want to look at other quality cruise lines. Read Less
I was surprised to read the review by Tilly-Loves-Seabourn, because our experience was nearly identical on a 10-day cruise to Antarctica in December 2010. The saving grace was that our cruise was chartered by Abercrombie & Kent, who ... Read More
I was surprised to read the review by Tilly-Loves-Seabourn, because our experience was nearly identical on a 10-day cruise to Antarctica in December 2010. The saving grace was that our cruise was chartered by Abercrombie & Kent, who supplied all of the on-board lecturers and naturalists who worked hard as our zodiac guides.
This ship (and its new Ponant owners) may have five-star aspirations but they don't seem to have a clue as to the requisite service levels and cuisine. I am sad to report that both service and cuisine are below the standard of Royal Caribbean mega ships, far below Celebrity, and not even comparable to Seabourn and her real peers. We had bartenders so green that they could not identify brand-name bottles on their shelf or find/mix the drinks on their cocktail list. We had waiter-busboys so inept that they were scraping cleared plates tableside, oblivious to standard clues as to when diners where finished with a course, unable to take accurate non-standard meal requests (e.g., substitutions). And don't get me started about the unsanitary way that I saw cutlery, fruits and straws handled.
There were a few senior people in the dining room who seemed to understand our expectations but when privately pressed were frankly embarrassed that they lacked the new corporate head office support for adequate staffing or quality supplies. That may be true, but they were doing a poor job of training staff and working with what they had.
There also was a certain French indifference to service requests, even though I'm fluent in French. Room service breakfast after 10:00 a.m. (because the restaurant stops serving at 9:30, even on at-sea days) -- impossible (not even toast or a hard-boiled egg). Someone is sick in the cabin and we need sheets changed -- no message passed on to the cabin stewards who arrive 3.5 hours later on their regular rounds.
Except for the A&K Staff, there was virtually no entertainment or activity on board (not even a daily crossword puzzle).
This may be the best looking boat sailing in the Antarctic, but I'll bet that many others offer better service and far better food. Read Less
I was very spoiled after taking an April 2010 transatlantic Celebrity Equinox cruise then turning around less than 2 months later for this June 2010 Volendam trip. I really didn't pay that much more per day on Celebrity than I did on ... Read More
I was very spoiled after taking an April 2010 transatlantic Celebrity Equinox cruise then turning around less than 2 months later for this June 2010 Volendam trip. I really didn't pay that much more per day on Celebrity than I did on the Volendam. But what a difference! Celebrity is a floating W while the Volendam is closer to a Days Inn! And the sad fact is I was taking a first-time cruiser who clearly saw how sub-par the ship is in many respects. I continually apologized and ensured him that it wasn't like this on Celebrity. The scenery on the whole trip is unbelievable; it's difficult to pull yourself away especially when the sun didn't set til after 10pm! Now the bad: The ship though built in 1999 is a riot of tacky colors, sheens and patterns; it looks like the worst of 70's tacky disco decor. All this is weirdly juxtaposed by some pretty dark and gloomy original Dutch (I think) paintings from the 1800s or so. The main dining room's vaulted ceiling is BLACK with BLACK chandeliers; a very macabre place to have dinner indeed. Waiters lacked attention to detail (I always had to remind them I ordered iced tea) and the dining room food was pretty bad. Seating was also a nightmare ( I had such an easy time with Celebrity's no reservation dining, that I chose it for the Volendam--what a mistake!) We eventually gave up and found the food more pleasing in the general buffet area (where they served buffet breakfasts). Unlike Celebrity Equinox (though I did have 3 extra days on board that ship)I didn't get to know any of the staff (some of Celebrity's staffers are my Facebook. friends). Funny thing, I realized later that I had been on an Holland America Caribbean cruise 5 years prior. For some reason, I don't remember anything about it good or bad. But now that I've sailed Celebrity, the bar has been raised for the kind of quality I expect on a cruise. Port stops: Except for so-so Juneau (but see Mendenhall Glacier), the port stops were excellent with plenty of excursion options or just for walking around. In Ketchikan we did the more adult-oriented zipline excursion (there are two offerings) which was not for the faint of heart but fun. If you like the dares on The Amazing Race, this is the one to take!!!
TIPS: #1 Bring binoculars! As you cruise in and out of Glacier Bay National park (unworldly and beautiful), the ranger will point out wildlife on the shore which is pretty far away for the naked eye. #2 If your cruise is out of Vancouver and you are of average fitness, take the metro to/from the airport. It's only $3 each way and the metro stop is a few blocks from the ship terminal. Their metros are frightfully clean! #3 Vancouver is gorgeous (at least in June); spend time there. #4 If you are arriving by foot, go inside the terminal and ask for directions; the outdoor signs make you think you board somewhere outside (you don't). We wasted a half hour trying to find the boarding area. Read Less
The first time on the Ryndam was to cruise the Mexican Riviera and the Sea of Cortez. It was beautiful, the shows great, excursions wonderful (especially the Copper Canyon) and the dining was great. But this time on the Ryndam was a bit ... Read More
The first time on the Ryndam was to cruise the Mexican Riviera and the Sea of Cortez. It was beautiful, the shows great, excursions wonderful (especially the Copper Canyon) and the dining was great. But this time on the Ryndam was a bit of a disappointment. The openness of the ship has been an improvement in the shopping area and the library, and the bar areas, but the as for the selections in the Rotterdam dining room, they leave much to be desired. The wait staff were very friendly and helpful, but this only being their second cruise, were a bit on the shaky side. NOT UP TO CRUISE STANDARDS. The selection of food each night appeared to me to be the same thing from the last night with a different name. BEEF, BEEF, BEEF,or SCALLOPS, SCALLOPS, SCALLOPS. I also thought the Lido dining left much to be desired and the hours too short. If you took a shore excursion and came back, if you did not go directly to the Lido buffet bar, you were left with the choice of pizza or hamburgers or hot dogs and tacos. New Captain is Dutch and that was good. He was very cautious about Key West because the weather was bad, as we bypassed it and went to Cozumel instead. But with that change there were 4 days back-to back of non stop excursions. By the last day, you were too tired to do anything. It needed a break, i.e. a sea day after two days to give it a rest, but since we missed Key West , that couldn't happen. If you do this cruise, when you get to Roatan, instead of using one of the cruise ship excursions, go on the Internet and find "Victor Borda" Excursions and book your own tour guide for the day @ $25 per person for the entire day. Ask for "Ali" He is the best!!! You can snorkel, fish offshore (cost extra), tour the island, so what every you want. He will know where to take you and it is better than the price on the ship. There were six of us and we had a blast. He is the very best!!! I wouldn't rate this as the best cruise I have ever had and this was my 19th, but is was not the same Ryndam that I knew from before where the food was excellent both on the Lido and in the Rotterdam Dining Room. Read Less