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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
The boat is a bit older but had some really nice unique things,like in the blu dining room you could see out from every seat,the bar kept curtains open later and the ocean view cafe was spread out so flowed better. They also left salad bar ... Read More
The boat is a bit older but had some really nice unique things,like in the blu dining room you could see out from every seat,the bar kept curtains open later and the ocean view cafe was spread out so flowed better. They also left salad bar open longer which is great if you got back later in the day. The need to reconfigure the spa and Persian gardens.spa rooms were too bright the Persian garden too dark. Flip them!!I missed the fresh fruit that we got daily in aqua class. Also if you are cruising in europe pre book and pre pay for excursions to avoid added vat charge. Also Tuscan and qsine were not as good as on solstice. I loved that the pool areas were larger in both the solarium and the open one,but I hated that the canyon spa,breakfast,lunch area was dark,hidden and didn't have ice. We had an issue with a cancelled due to conditions excusion,we had to get the group together and argue to be reimbursed. Thanks to Norbert it was resolved but was alot of wasted time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Staff food cabins shows everything exceeded my expectations all the places we visited were amazing cudnt have asked for more will def do it again loved every minute the entertainment was fantastic the food was amazing the only negative ... Read More
Staff food cabins shows everything exceeded my expectations all the places we visited were amazing cudnt have asked for more will def do it again loved every minute the entertainment was fantastic the food was amazing the only negative thing I wud say is they need sort out sun lounge situation cud never get one near the pool as people filled them every morning and left the ship all day so that was a night mare ant the pool is small for size of ship the all inclusive was great no need to up grade to premium there was plenty to do on sea days like the spa was fantastic and mini golf and table tennis also great climbing wall the teenagers loved that and the escape room wat else can I say only had fantastic experience for my first ever cruise and really glad we choose tui they were great from start to finish we done 2 wks and never got dored Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We flew from Sydney, Australia, to visit the Baltic region for the first time. We have cruised once before on NCL (Rome to Spain round-trip). We choose NCL usually because it offers a variety of entertainment and similar standard of ... Read More
We flew from Sydney, Australia, to visit the Baltic region for the first time. We have cruised once before on NCL (Rome to Spain round-trip). We choose NCL usually because it offers a variety of entertainment and similar standard of service that we like. We would be happy to travel again on this ship. Here are some observations. DINING Good: Variety of dining options. O'sheehans is often a favourite. We had 4 additional choices as part of our package. Le Bistro, Cagneys and Moderno are always winners (usually an add on). Needs tweaking: The garden cafe is good for all but close table seating made it difficult to move around when necessary. This can be managed by choosing to dine in Savor or Taste restaurants. Sometimes in the garden cafe, there were dishes that were cold by the time you sat down to eat at the table. For example, scrambled eggs, meat dishes that are meant to be hot, and Indian dishes. I imagine that could cause food to be wasted. I prefer hot food to be eaten at that same temperature. Specialty restaurants did not have this problem. Service: All good during our stay and in all areas of the ship. Entertainment: We love listening to live music. The Syd Norman Pour House had a band with a variety of vocalists that really worked hard to sing and engage the crowd. Definitely a winner for me to sing along with 70,80,90's music. The venue was often crowded. Burn the floor was a good show too. Any longer would have been repetitive. Their energy is amazing. Ancora was an opera/classical group of 4 that were simply fantastic. The range and quality of their voices was breathtaking. I didn't go to see the Cirque show. The additional cost was not the issue. I'm just not into the circus theme. There were other entertainment options too. I liked the interactive games on level 6 that engaged the audience. Nothing complicated, but amusing Room: We had a mini suite on deck 9 forward. While close to level 8 entertainment venue, we slept soundly. Fixtures and fittings are beginning to show some signs of age but, this did not impact on our comfort. Recommendations: Based on personal preference. More ping pong tables so that adults can play, not just the kids. Maybe more area in the gym for stretching, cooling etc in peak time. Also, a big thank you to Mario who was helpful in meeting the needs of the Cruise critic team when docking in Russia. Thanks to Tammy and Patrick (friendly cruise critic cruisers) too. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two ... Read More
I had not been interested in seeing Alaska since I live in the Seattle area. I believed the climate and scenery would be similar, so I typically travel away from the rain and cold toward sunshine and warmth. However, our friends (two couples we had traveled with previously) invited us to join them on this cruise, and I am so happy we did. I would happily go on another Alaskan cruise, and I hope I get to one day. The scenery is so beautiful, and must be experienced in person. Words and pictures do not capture it. I have only been on one other cruise ship, RCI Symphony of the Seas, so in comparison the Solstice is much smaller. I definitely felt the ship movement more on this ship, but it did not affect me. I did, however, wear sea bands as a preventative measure. The ship is very clean and very pretty. We had an Aqua Class cabin on deck 11 and enjoyed the privileges of unlimited Persian Garden use in the Spa, and eating in the Blu restaurant. The captain was very engaged with the passengers, and his sense of humor was a delight. We were very lucky to have a gorgeous sunrise over Mendenhall Glacier, and the captain spun the ship 540 degrees so all could view the majestic glacier up close. The crew were all very friendly, work very hard, and are all eager to provide a great experience to every guest. We thoroughly enjoyed the educational talks offered on the ship about the wildlife, history of the port towns, and gold rush history. And the captain's powerpoint of the building of Solstice. If you can take time to hear these talks you won't be disappointed. We went to one show called Broken Strings. They did a great job dancing, but it was not easy to follow the story line through the songs. I could not hear the lyrics of the songs at all. I only knew what was going on by the dancing and acting (in love, cheating, breakup, make up). We saw both comedians, and they were just ok. I'd pass next time. My friends did the glass blowing, and enjoyed it. A bit pricey, but ended up with cool souvenirs. Canyon Ranch Spa: I had a deep tissue massage and also a paraffin wax treatment, and both were great. Beware of the emphasis by all the spa staff to upsell everything. They were very insistent that I buy a small tube of hand lotion for $33 (I declined). As aqua class, we were allowed to use the Persian Garden anytime. It has heated tile loungers with a floor to ceiling widow view of the ocean. I used this frequently, and it really warmed me up after the Juneau tour in the rain. DINING: We ate at Blu most of the time, which was the best option for Aqua Class. It is not crowded, you do not need reservations, they remember your name, and there is a great view from most tables. Blu is open for breakfast and dinner, which was fine since we were off the ship on port days. I ate at Grand Epernay (main dining room) three times. The dining room is very pretty, but the food was just ok. Nothing spectacular. The service was friendly and fast. The Oceanview Cafe is the buffet, and typically very crowded at meal times. Some dishes were very good, and others were very cafeteria bland. I did like that the cafe attendants were very attentive and offered to bring drinks from the bar to your table (if you could find a table!) Specialty Restaurants: We ate at Murano and at Silk Harvest. Murano was just ok. I had the lasagna that was oddly all meat and noodles, with very little cheese; not my favorite. Silk Harvest was the best experience. We had family style meal with all 3 couples and tried most of the menu items. I did not care for the shrimp pad tai but all the rest was really good. Drinks package: We had the premium package, and while it was nice to have the option to drink anything, we did not drink enough to make it worth the cost. It came with our package on this cruise, but I would not pay for it as an add on. Our friends had the classic package. Initially, it was not explained that there is a charge for drinks that cost over $9, and figuring out what drinks were part of their plan was confusing. I really liked getting specialty coffee or tea at Cafe al Bacio. It was comfortable seating with a view and treats. KETCHIKAN: We toured the town and Creek Street on our own, and went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was cheesy show - but was also entertaining and showed off the amazing skills of the lumberjacks. In town, my husband ate a reindeer chili dog. Not my thing, but he liked it. JUNEAU: Mt Roberts Tramway: We docked at 1:30 and went on the tram before our 3:00 pm excursion. There were many cruisers in line for the tram, with long lines both ways. Be sure to allow enough time to do this if you have an excursion. The view would have been amazing, but was obstructed by fog. I did not think it was worth the price of $29 each. We did not plan to do a hike at the top, the resident eagle was not there, and we only spent about 20 minutes at the top because we had to return to the dock for our excursion tour at 3:00. Photo Safari Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier: This is a misnomer. No one on the tour was interested in photography, and the focus of the tour guide's information was on glacier conservation efforts, not cameras or photo opportunities. The nature trail to the glacier was through a dense forest, and it rained the entire time. The guide stopped frequently to talk about plants and glaciers, and the scenery lacked any real photo ops and only one viewpoint. Just before we finally got to the glacier visitor center and view, he told us that he had run out of time and we had to run to the bus to make it to the whale watching part of the tour. We basically missed the main destination! We were not allowed to go into the glacier visitor center. I snapped two pictures and ran to the bus. The next part of the tour was on a small boat guaranteed to see whales or we get $100 back. We did see whales, and photo ops were in abundance on the boat, but we were so cold from walking in the rain for two hours, the wind chill on the boat ride added more discomfort to our cold and wet bodies. They really should do the tour in the opposite direction. Boat tour first, then glacier visitor center, and then nature walk for those interested while allowing others to roam free in the glacier area. SKAGWAY: White Pass Summit and Beyond: (booked off cruise - Frontier Excursions and Adventures). This was a bus tour to White Pass and the Yukon Suspension Bridge. The tour guide, Brooke, was very funny and knowledgeable, and she stopped the bus frequently for photo ops when wildlife was spotted. She even backed up the bus and did u turns to allow us to view the animals, which would not be possible if we had taken the more popular White Pass train ride. We stopped to observe three different bears, and a mama moose and her calf. This was the best tour of the trip, and I got some spectacular photos. The scenery of the tundra-like arctic landscape and majestic mountains and glacial lakes was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Going to the Yukon is a must do for sure! VICTORIA: Buchart Gardens tour. We docked at 5:30, and took a bus to Buchart Gardens. This was barely enough time to see the garden. It is an amazingly beautiful place, and to really enjoy it you need time to just sit and experience the beauty. This tour was expensive and way too fast. I am glad I live in Seattle and can go again at a more leisurely pace. The tour guide on the bus talked non-stop about uninteresting random things. I would have preferred a quiet ride to his personal jabber, "beyond those trees is a lake, and I have memories of taking the children there when they were small", which did not add to my experience. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Grandure is a bit dated but if you are looking for classic cruising this is a good ship to meet those types of expectations. Royal has not updated this ship to include water slides and a wave runner. Because of this, the ship draws an ... Read More
Grandure is a bit dated but if you are looking for classic cruising this is a good ship to meet those types of expectations. Royal has not updated this ship to include water slides and a wave runner. Because of this, the ship draws an older crowd and there are few children, teens and college aged folks. Since the ship is older and lacks these amenities the price point is lower and attracts cotton tops on a fixed income and people who are looking for a bargain. The crew was awesome. It is not unusual for crew to try and remember you and your tastes but it seems that this crew really has a talent to make to feel you are the only person they are taking care of. I could write a review on Dan Burgess, the piano player in the Schooner Bar, and his talent for making connections and bringing an entire room of people together and making them have a great time. The food is standard Royal Caribbean offerings. I don’t find any uniqueness or variation in menu, quality or presentation from one RC ship to another. I believe corporate does this to maintain a homogenous expectation much like a chain of restaurants. I think this is a mistake because passengers feel like they are eating at the same chain restaurant every night and every cruise. The food in the MDR and the buffet are the same. The premium restaurants do serve a notch higher quality and portion and variety of menu. I would like to see RC put an exec chef of every ship and give them autonomy to create dining venues and offering that make one RC ship unique from another. My only truly negative feelings are of RC and their incessant and relentless jamming of dining, drink, internet, next cruise, jewelry, shore excursions etc etc. They are there to sell these things and I am here to buy them. Their nonstop, high pressure tactics is a HUGE turn off for me. Immediately upon entering the door of their terminal we were ordered, in a not so nice way, to empty all of our outside drinks on the ground. After checking in and even before getting to the ship we were hit up for dining packages, drink packages and the usual obligatory photo. I have no issue with this. Once on the ship, we were approached NINE (yes nine) times in the first hour to purchase premium dining. I began for feel this was rude and I had no problem being rude to anyone who approached me with a smile and a brochure by telling them to go away. Hitting the Windjammer for lunch as soon as you board is a bad idea unless you want to start your vacation by becoming angry. The spa personnel set up a table and greeted guests as you approached them instead of circling an area like a street beggar who is desperately pan handling for drug money. I purchased over $500 in spa services for my family. This is proof that slamming your guests with an army of beggars is not effective and creates a paradigm of anger that lasts for the entire cruise. If you are not a stickler for details and can turn a blind eye to sloppy repairs in public areas, worn furniture and scratches; then this may be a good fit for you. I would sail on Grandure again as the value is fair. If those little things bother you and mildew totally turns you off then you may want to look at Oasis class ships. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely ... Read More
Booked this cruise as had a money off certificate from the last RCI cruise. Embarkation took 10 minutes, we must have lucked out and arrived at the perfect time (1pm) Overall really enjoyed the cruise. Ship was clean with lovely decor. Stateroom was a good size (Balcony room) and the attendant did his thing every day very well. Dining. Food in the MDR was OK but nothing special, buffet was good with loads of different options. Had a choppes grill which was superb, highly recommend. Also the pizza at Sorrentos was absolutely delicious! We saw several of the shows (theatre and Ice) and they were all amazing. All the staff were really nice and friendly, but the bar staff seemed very busy in the evenings and they could do with more bar staff IMO My 2 gripes were that the ship felt a bit too busy/crowded at times, and that in the casino they literally want to screw you out of every last penny. The blackjack has the worst rules of any casino in the world coupled with 6/5 payoffs for a blackjack, which is an insult basically. Anyway if you are not a casino lover you will have a great time on Indy, but as we are gamblers my next cruise will be with NCL. Im sure they will be just as stingy but I feel I need to vote with my feet, Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I are avid cruisers. We're usually among the younger couples on a cruise, but we've literally cruise around the world on many cruise lines and many many ships. But, I had never cruised on NCL. After hearing some good ... Read More
My wife and I are avid cruisers. We're usually among the younger couples on a cruise, but we've literally cruise around the world on many cruise lines and many many ships. But, I had never cruised on NCL. After hearing some good NCL reviews from my inlaws, we all planned a family trip together and off we went... Let me start by saying our first day started with car troubles. It happens. But on our ride down to Miami we read our cruise documents and were a bit concerned with the 2pm deadline to be on the ship. The ship wasn't scheduled to leave until 4:30pm and having been on many cruises, we know some people take their sweet time getting on last minute. Still, we called NCL to be cautious (car issues we had made it a tight window to get there by 2). The NCL rep on the phone said 2:30pm was the cut off. Our in laws, who had boarded, asked and were told 3:30pm. It would be nice for NCL just to be honest and clear with this information. Despite best efforts, emergencies do occur and people need to know the honest time. If they cant make it, let them know and they can turn around before driving all the way there just to be turned around. The embarkation process was smooth as people mentioned. But no, there's no excitement, dancing or extreme friendliness. In fact, the security at the metal detector consists mainly of a group of gril gossiping about their lives and not really caring about the guests. I actually tried to make friendly comments and was ignored because they were too busy with non work related drama talk. But got on board quickly and our room was ready. It's true there was no guidance or assistance, just hop on and go find your room. Room: The room was a balcony and nice size. Plenty of shelf space. My wife LOVED the dryer in the room next to the TV as it actually warmed up and worked. Many cruises we've been on, she's left with wet hair as you cant bring one on board and well...cruise ships are notorious for weak hairdryers in the bathroom. Bathroom was larger than we're used to with plenty of storage. Shower was larger than normal and I liked the glass enclosure so you dont have to worry about water getting outside of the shower curtain because all is enclosed. Balcony was nice sized although I did have to make 3 requests which took 4 or 5 days to have the balcony sliding glass door tracks greased (it made loud squealing noises while being opened/closed which would wake the dead). Steward: a bit weird that he never came and enthusiastically introduced himself. I actually never met him but went looking for him about day 4 about the balcony door and I spoke into an opened room and he was in there cleaning. My wife said he DID check that we got all of our luggage on the first day but I guess we're just used to a formal "Hi my name is ... I'll be taking care of your room." We never had a talk, etc. But our room care was fine. Food: I researched a lot and we chose this for food quality. We were not disappointed. I never ate at the buffet (I'm over cruise buffets). Each night we went to either Taste, Savor, or Manhattan. Food was good and servers were friendly, good, and generally fast. We LOVED Manhattan. All 3 are free but Manhattan clearly shines with decor and dance floor with live music. I had some memorable deserts there. But memories of dancing with my wife were best. Taste and Savor have the exact same menus as Manhattan. Savor and Taste are the same, but across from each other. But are good. O'Sheehans: food was good. SERVICE IS HORRIBLE. I'd try to each lunch here as the menu is tasty, it's not a buffet, and it's free. First day...fine. Second day: I waited an hour and a half and never got my food. People in all tables around me would get up and complain to matrade in white uniform about not getting food, no service, not getting meals although others at table were done already, etc. But there was no look of concern on the guy's face. I sat there and attempted to not add to the drama. He never checked on me once or asked how I was. Eventually I left hungry. I order a chicken sandwich which is all I ordered. Apparently an hour and a half for a chicken sandwich isnt long enough. I went to the hostess stand and asked to talk to him. She called him and asked me to wait. After waiting 30 minutes for a seat and an hour and a half for food that never came, I waited 5 minutes and he never showed. I asked that he called my room. I walked away and a server chased me and said my food was almost ready. I refused to return after 2 hours of being ignored. Btw: I'm 6'4"...I stand out. I didn't think I'd get a call so I called guests services. He returned my call and offered to treat my wife and I to dinner at La Cucina the following night, which sounded good. But the main thing is I wanted service at O'sheehans to improve and be acknowledged. I returned the next day and he was working hard to correct the issue. Seems it took this to get things turned around. Unfortunately, the service at La Cucina the following night was horrible. We never saw our server after our order. People around us left without ordering desert although they were still hungry. Our food was "ok" but not great. My wife thought the salmon was salty. My meal was cold. We weren't offered desert under the "apologized arrangement " so we left and went downstairs to another restaurant. While there we ran into the original matrade who was wondering why we had not had desert at La Cucina. We informed him that we weren't offered it. He insisted on bringing my wife tiramisu from the restaurant and she enjoyed it. Apparently there was another misunderstanding and we should have been offered desert. Anyways, his efforts were appreciated. But bare in mind that that meal would have costs us $120 had we paid (it's an ala carte restaurant) and all meals in free Taste, Savor and Manhattan were better. O'Sheehans is definitely a sore spot regarding service on this ship. Excursions: didn't do any. We've been to these ports many times and opted for walks or beach days. Pool area: full of all sorts of people who never get out of the pool yet drink all day. HMMM...pool was always packed never got near it. SHOWS: Saw Burn the Floor and Rock the Ages. Loved both. Also see Burn the Floor at Manhattan dinner one night. They're very talented. BANDS: Jamaican band in atrium and in Manhattan played hits from many groups like The Righteous Brothers and are great. Activities: didnt do many. The "escape room" isn't really an escape room. Its disorganized and doesn't make sense. We did mini gulf upstairs and it was fun. People did rope course and rock wall and seemed to enjoy. There's 4 water slides. Didn't do casino or bingo but theatre seemed full of bingo players. If you eat at the Noodle Restaurant prepare to SMELL LIKE SMOKE due to casino smokers sharing the space. DISEMBARKING: Great and quick. Inlaws got stuck for nearly 2 hours though. Guess its luck of the draw. Fitness Center: big for a cruise. Tons of cardio equipment. Dumbbells but no barbells. 2 Smith machines. A stretching room and a spin cycle room. I liked how they didnt try to jam spa packages down your throat like most cruises. Comedies: weren't very funny. Photographs: photographers seemed inexperienced and unsure of angles, people arrangement or what to do with rude guests who walk in front of their shots. But I do like how they don't annoy you with photo attempts the entire cruise. Also, the photo area is VERY organized with photos in individual cases, not laid out everywhere. Stores: same ole same ship stores with cheap invicta watches thatv you've seen on ALL CRUISES. Gave cruise 4 out of 5. Would have been 5 if not for O'Sheehans service and watching many people experience what I did many times and on many different days. It's an issue. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our second voyage on the seaside within the last year. MSC Cruise lines was kind enough to give us discount credits since we were on the divina during hurricane Irma. I didn't care where the ship was going, I live in South ... Read More
This was our second voyage on the seaside within the last year. MSC Cruise lines was kind enough to give us discount credits since we were on the divina during hurricane Irma. I didn't care where the ship was going, I live in South Florida and Hawaii so I get my full share of palm trees! The seaside is an absolutely beautiful ship and very very well kept. The staff has come to understanding how to work on that ship and things flow very nicely. The drink packages and Internet packages that are offered by the cruise line are hard to beat. Even the easy drink package which doesn't give you top shelf liquor will do the job and get you all the soda, quality coffees, and sparkling water that you want. The best part of the cruise for my wife and I were at the dance classes and activities. Every morning on sea days there was an aerobics class and several dance classes available all the way into the evening hours. Also a highlight are the production shows. They are not your typical production show song and dance popular songs. They are elaborately costumed events involving singing dancing music and circus. I would say it is similar to a Cirque du Soleil with a different theme every night. And there is the Opera, it is shown in the afternoon during a sea day so if you're one of those that wants to oil yourself up and be shoulder-to-shoulder with a thousand other people on the pool deck you are more than welcome. However if you want something totally different that is extremely emotional and beautiful, go to see the Opera. The only thing that was disappointing throughout the entire cruise was the dining experience. The marketplace buffet is absolutely boring. It reminded me of my days in the Navy seeing hamburgers hot dogs and Pizza with overcooked meats every day over and over. There was always a mystery white fish available and some sort of sauce but it was always hard as a rock and tasting just like one also. The experience in the restaurants was a bit better. The foods were served up timely and presentation was very nice, however there was nothing ever really exciting about it. There was never that food item that said "I want to try that"! All in all it was adequate and it was put together pretty well, but it was not really a memorable experience. Overall for the price point it is very difficult to beat the MSC experience. I would only hope that they would liven up the food venues a little bit more so that it isn't so boring. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package ... Read More
Firstly this was our first cruise so we have nothing to completely judge against, however the things I will talk about was our experience. On arrival onto the ship we we’re badgered by staff wanting us to sign up to a drinks package which we had already sorted pre arrival. This also didn’t stop for a couple of days. ( by all means assist customers but make staff be seen but have customers approach staff ) We also were constantly bugged by the staff photographers constantly asking if we wanted our picture taken and even after a polite no they then pleaded ‘it will only take a few minutes ‘ whilst following us. My polite no’s were beginning to wear very thin towards the end. To add insult to injury the one time we gave in, we were then automatically charged £34.99 to our card before even seeing them. From the reception they told me it was down to me to say I didn’t want them to have the charge removed. So I was glad to keep an eye on my account on my tv in my cabin. Otherwise it would have been a shock on leaving. ( may be better for customers to say yes before charging). Each place we docked at we were badgered if we wanted taxi or sight seeing bus. All were stupid prices and you can do so much better sourcing your own public transport at great prices.... it got tiresome as they wouldn’t take no as an answer. I feel msc security/ dock security should monitor this and actively reduce this annoyance. Now the ship is an absolute beautiful design. Really took our breath away. The mid ship sky screen shows and displays were very good. The shows onboard were very very good and thoughly entertaining. And at 30 mins I feel it was too short but understand with time restrictions for the program it has to be that way. I had no issues with my premium drinks package and recommend this is purchased. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and had no bad experiences in the dining room with food or waiting staff. The cabin ( we had a balcony) was a nice size and I would say it was a slightly smaller than the average Travelodge room but pretty much the same layout. Tv channels were slightly limited ( but who comes on holiday to watch tv ). The safe is quite tiny and we couldn’t put our iPads in it. But it was simple to use. The Bed was very comfortable with two pillows. Balcony size ok. Mini bar idea not so good. .... it is not covered on the drinks package. I think to enjoy the balcony it would be good to use from mini bar to save having to go to the bar for purchasing drinks to carry back. Most drinks in there can be from the bar anyway. ( just saves borrowing and restocking ourselves the next day early). The spa is amazing and well worth the visit. Spent most days in there for a couple of hours recovering from our days walking. However on the sea day it got very busy. Maybe it would be good if msc only allowed the package deal only people to access on sea days and offer no day pass. ( could earn more money for them and balance the numbers out for spa visitors). With the numerous relaxation areas jacuzzis and steam/ sauna rooms and ice room. Not forgetting the emotional showers there are plenty of places to relax and rest. Never gambled before and the casino was an awesome experience. Staff very friendly and when it was quiet we asked how to use tables and all was explained very well. There are serious gamblers there, and people like us who had fun with between 10-30 Euros per visit. We actually visited most nights and actually walked away with more Euro’s than we started with. The water slides were fun to use, and the pools were relaxing. And the external hot tubs on the deck were very nice also. Anyone in two minds about first time cruising, I think the ship will give you the experience that will help decide if it’s for you. And as for us......... we will stick with msc and look out for more locations this ship will visit and try out the other ships in the fleet. We have been converted to a life of cruising for sure. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Went to islands we had not been to before. The ship was clean and well managed. There is obviously a lot of Elite members now cruising. Laundry warning about extra time for turn around of returned clean clothes was the first clue. ... Read More
Went to islands we had not been to before. The ship was clean and well managed. There is obviously a lot of Elite members now cruising. Laundry warning about extra time for turn around of returned clean clothes was the first clue. Dining room food choices are getting smaller with lots of unknown dishes being presented. Sabatini's and Crown Grill were better food in general and service in both was very good. Kind of confused by them having different wine lists. The wine we chose in Sabitini's, and all enjoyed was not available in Crown Grill. Strange since both are on the same ship. Regular dining room food seemed lackluster. A sign of the times in almost all cruise lines. Bottom lines are taking effect. Princess still ranks high for me but declining. Cruise staff was excellent as always and the hosted cruise critic event visit by a staff member was a great positive. Biggest complaint is still seat savers and deck chair hogs. All cruise lines need to enforce some more stringent rules! Overall meeting fellow passengers were a positive experience. I will still look at Princess first but continue to cruse by destination and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore ... Read More
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore excursions were not impressive and they were always late. They would tell you to meet in the theater at 8:45 but you wouldn't get called for your excursion until 9:45. Felt like a lot of time was wasted waiting for the shore excursions. We tried to go to the beach in Ecuador but it took 1.5 hours to get there. We were supposed to have 3 hours at the beach but ended up only getting 1.5 hours. Enjoyed the activities that were provided daily. Went to 3 specialty restaurants. The food was overcooked in the Moderno which is not the usual case for that restaurant. We were a bit disappointed. Shows were pretty good. Loved the quietness in our cabin. It was nice not hearing your neighbor open and close their drawers and flush their toilet. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
NCL Dawn, March 3 to March 10. Mini-Suite Rm 11676 I’ll preface my critique noting that this was my first NCL cruise, but I’ll also add that I’ve cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. First, boarding (mainly cause our ... Read More
NCL Dawn, March 3 to March 10. Mini-Suite Rm 11676 I’ll preface my critique noting that this was my first NCL cruise, but I’ll also add that I’ve cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. First, boarding (mainly cause our departure was at 9:00pm) was very quick and easy - as I boarded at 1:00pm. Food in the Garden Cafe was available, and our room became available at approximately 3:00pm. We also booked three specialty dinning options, and our reservation times were all met. Teppanyaki: By far was my favorite. Great service, outstanding food from the edamame, fried rice and sea food selection was all worth it. Cagney’s: Was a close second on favorites. Great porterhouse steak. Le Bistro: Although the least favorite, it was worth the up charge. As for other food options, the Garden Cafe was OK - but not bad. The Venetian, Aqua and Bamboo were all good options if not at the specialty dinning location. Also, classy touch to provide appetizers at the casino later in the evening. We booked a few excursions, however the one that stood out was ANUD1011 Kayak & Snorkel Adventure on Antiqua. At $70.00 per person, we believe this excursion gave the most bang for the buck. Besides a ride thru the countryside, we kayaked thru the man grooves, hiked to a mountain top to view the Atlantic Ocean, then snorkeled. After our boat back to catch a bus back to the ship, water, rum punch and snacks we available. What really stood out was the professionalism and work ethic of the staff. Never a let down throughout the cruise - always courteous, and providing great service. The other thing that stood out was the ship never felt over crowded, and lines were minimal and always moved. If there was any negatives, general announcements were very hard to hear. The smoking room which was located on the sixth floor, sometimes leaked smoke into the bar area - and can be a bit overwhelming for non-smokers. Lastly, our Cabin Steward was very good, and besides the normal gratuities, I gave him an additional tip in person - but he didn’t seem happy. Not sure if I’m reading him wrong, or he was insulted. Overall, an oddly laid out ship really became its strength and appeal. And I took advantage of almost all of the ship, from sunning and swimming, sitting on my personal deck, multiple dinning locations, bars and gambling too - With my experience being excellent. I miss it, and would book another NCL cruise again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Disclosures: - Traveled with wife, both in our 30s; no kids or family on the trip - Both vegetarian, with extremely minimal alcohol intake Pros: - Excellent staff and service. As with our prior Norwegian experience, the staff ... Read More
Disclosures: - Traveled with wife, both in our 30s; no kids or family on the trip - Both vegetarian, with extremely minimal alcohol intake Pros: - Excellent staff and service. As with our prior Norwegian experience, the staff go out of their way whenever possible to accommodate your needs - Sports/water complex is an unexpected treat on the open ocean. Ropes course is death defying fun (I am intensely acrophobic). And water slide usage was limited only by my tolerance for climbing the tower over and over again. Water is gently warmed in all pools, making it very comfortable in 60-70 degree weather. - The gym is excellent, and an extremely small proportion of cruisers actually use it. Felt like an enormous private gym for the most part. - Oceanview balconies have beautiful views, and are built such that one can't accidentally peek into someone else's balcony space. Cons: - 1:4 staffing levels become noticeable during busiest dinner dining hours (6PM-8PM) - Due to the time of year, cold weather At Sea days made the ship feel quite crowded - Elevators are slow during the At Sea days and embarkation/disembarkation process. Not a problem for us, as the stairs were always accessible, but I could imagine issues Tips: - Pick a dining room/time (I would recommend the Manhattan Club for the rear views) early in the cruise and establish yourself with a server. The staff are extremely service oriented and can pamper you in unexpected ways if they know what you like. - Pick a port day and stay on the ship for at least some portion. Using the sports complex (minigolf, bocce, waterslides, and rope course) without a line is worth it if planned into your itinerary - Reserve all the shows you'd like on the first night. But just show up if you feel like going to any of the free shows. All of our shows had plenty of open seats for latecomers or standby's - Get a balcony room. On a trip with 3.5 at sea days in cold weather, you'll relish some quiet time with a beautiful view - For those same cold weather days, ensure you pack some additional warm clothes. Summary: - Good ship. Great service. Would book again, but only in warm weather. Norwegian again finds that amazing sweet spot on price and service. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We went on this cruise with some of my wife's cousins, and we had a great time. Our cabin was fine, and we had a balcony so it was great to be able to look out over the water. Our cabin attendant was very nice, very professional. ... Read More
We went on this cruise with some of my wife's cousins, and we had a great time. Our cabin was fine, and we had a balcony so it was great to be able to look out over the water. Our cabin attendant was very nice, very professional. The staff on the ship were very friendly. I like the free style dining - there are lots of choices, and the food was very good. The entertainment at night was excellent. One of the dancing shows was phenomenal, and Lord Nil, magician/illusionist, was outstanding. Understand, that when you get to Belize, you are not going to the mainland unless you signed up for an excursion - you are actually going to an island owned by the cruise line, but the island was a lot of fun. They had a nice pool, a beach, and for a price, you could go ziplining (and it's really long extending over the water), parasailing, or you could go on a ropes course. And, of course, they had shops so you can spend some more of your hard earned cash! The next stop, Costa Maya in Mexico, offered a number of excursions. We took a 4 hour tour of Mayan ruins. Our guide, Frederico, was probably the most knowledgeable tour guide I've ever had. He seemed to know everything there was to know about the Mayan civilization. The ship had a nice fitness center with lots of treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and other equipment. They also have a card room where you can go to play cards or other board games. The ship also provides some daily puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords, and trivia. The trip was definitely worth the experience. The cruise was a lot of fun, I just wish it had lasted longer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are fairly recent cruisers and wanted a winter sun break and booked this cruise in January on line. The weather was superb and we were told by the crew the best they have had for several years. We flew from East Midlands to Tenerife and ... Read More
We are fairly recent cruisers and wanted a winter sun break and booked this cruise in January on line. The weather was superb and we were told by the crew the best they have had for several years. We flew from East Midlands to Tenerife and arrangements at departure, on arrival, coaching to Santa Cruz and boarding Marella Dream went like clockwork. The ship is old but is modern in appearance with good quality furnishings and the staff very friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble from our room steward to the bar and restaurant staff. Corridors and lift space are a little narrow and not as spacious as more modern ships. The variety of lounges and drinking and dining options were first class as was the food and drinks. We like to be on our own for dinner and for six nights we were served by Jennifer and April who looked after us very well. The Marella Dream Show team and their shows in the Broadway Show Lounge were excellent. Some very good singers and dancers however the comedian Alan Wilkins material was older than us and we are in our 70's. The resident band were again very good with such a wide range of music on offer. Our only disappointment was the lack of space for sunbathing when we had such good weather. We were birthed in walking distance of six of the places we visited which is brilliant. There were lots of excursions and trips arranged which people we spoke to enjoyed. Leaving the cruise was also faultless, colour coded luggage and well organised. Our only disappointment was East Midlands Border Control on the return. It took about 30 minutes to process us which is not acceptable. A superb restful and enjoyable cruise. Thank you TUI. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed on MSC Divina because we got got a bargain and to entice us we were "matched" to the level on NCL/Carnival, we found the ship to be nicely designed, our cabin was comfortable and the amount of amenities and dinning was ... Read More
We sailed on MSC Divina because we got got a bargain and to entice us we were "matched" to the level on NCL/Carnival, we found the ship to be nicely designed, our cabin was comfortable and the amount of amenities and dinning was plentiful, we were hesitant because people's reviews had made it seem like there was too much pasta on the menus, we found the opposite, the food was very tasty and the selections was great, they still need to work out a few kinks, in the black crab restaurant ( where we were assigned ) we had to wait for our coffee to accompany our desserts, but it seems like every cruise line is cutting staff and you don't get quite the prompt service that we expect. The itinerary was wonderful too, going to shore and coming back into the ship was painless and we loved the fact that the ship stayed longer in ports than most cruises we have taken, that was nice surprised. Another pleasant surprise was the entertainment in the theater, we enjoyed all of the shows, they did an amazing job and would certainly would do another MSC Cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My first Marcella Cruise I found the ship and crew and staff very helpful it was also my 1st all inclusive and there was no shortage of drinks all over the ship you had just put your empty glass down and bar staff were rushing to give you ... Read More
My first Marcella Cruise I found the ship and crew and staff very helpful it was also my 1st all inclusive and there was no shortage of drinks all over the ship you had just put your empty glass down and bar staff were rushing to give you a refill cocktail of the day was always yummy the entertainment was first class and so professional that comment was heard all over the ship by passengers the only negative comment were the food though nice it was always very sameness in Buffet and Restaurants 47 also I fell I'll as I'm prone to Chest Inf with air-con I visited the Medical Center who issued me with just 3 antibiotics at £15 each 4 steroids at £1.50 each and a cough bottle £27 they were of course of no use really wasn't happy with treatment which totaled £127 but would I travel with Marcella again ? Yes but take your medication with you and stay healthy Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire ... Read More
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire range of drinks they had made were terrific. Get the drinking package, it is a great investment. Made every port on-time, except one slight delay. With cooperating weather, we were able to do all of our excursion pre-purchased on the NCL website. The excursion staff on shore were friendly, knowledgeable, entertaining, and accommodating. The food at Ocean Blue was amazing and still quite memorable. The Teppanyaki had us laughing the entire duration with good food to follow. "Burn the Floor," has some amazing dancers, period. After a great day on shore with an excursion, the adequate time alloted for shopping, and then a great dinner at the various restaurants on the Getaway, we were able to dance and drink the night away with themed music at "H2O" every night, followed by more clubbing at "Bliss." To us, that felt like such a great bonus, a gift from the ship we had not anticipated. Compared to the previous cruise we were just on a month prior with Holland America Line, it was night and day. Wish I had a chance to review the Veendam on here with you. Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line Getaway has a much happier staff. We had felt that ship vibe from the get-go. A happier staff equals a happier trip for all of the customers on board (and returning customers). It is also a great reflection of a successful business. In the end, we had met great people who are now friends. Great photos were taken. Great memories were created. I'll forever miss the "washi-washi" hand-sanitizing girls on deck. Thanks to them we didn't get sick this time. Thank you NCL! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Regardless of poor reviews that we read, we embarked on the Costa Deliziosa due to provided price discounts (~70%) for 2 x 10 consecutive days. And, the following is our personal opinion: 1. Food and its variety was very good in taste ... Read More
Regardless of poor reviews that we read, we embarked on the Costa Deliziosa due to provided price discounts (~70%) for 2 x 10 consecutive days. And, the following is our personal opinion: 1. Food and its variety was very good in taste and the quality terms. Except: a) there was very poor choice of tropical & exotic fruits like Papaya (popular in Central America), Dragon, Pepino,.....etc. Kiwi were to hard and not well matured. b) often we encountered a shortage of water melons. c) often there was an annoying line-up for the food at pick hours d) service over the supper lasted too long (~ 2 hrs). e) free coffee was of poor quality 2.There was too many outdoor cigarette smoking places. The smoke from outside was entering main corridors through the door openings into the Buffet area making difficult to find a smoke-free place. Smoke was even evaporating on walking / jogging path on the top deck. Also, the walking path was blocked by people laying on chairs. Cigarette's smoke from the balcony was penetrating over the day and some night hrs inside of our balcony, hence we were very limited to have the benefits of balcony. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to ... Read More
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to be one of the best aspects. We saw the elusive northern lights twice, pretty but not spectacular, and the trip would have been almost as good without them. London in January isn’t for tourists seeking green lawns, sunny skies and shirtsleeve temperatures, but it wasn’t awful; mostly 40s F, rain off and on, and the most pleasant aspect was lack of summer vacation hordes. The hotel, Royal Horse Guards is perfectly fine, and in a superb Central London location. The guide, Don Brown, was with us the entire time, and of many fine Viking guides over several years and 5 cruises, he was absolutely the best! The tour sites; Churchill War Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Blenheim Palace, and Bletchley Park, could not have been more fascinating. Transfer to Tilbury to begin the cruise was effortless. The first couple of days in the North Sea were quite expectedly adventurous, and not for faint hearted or weak mid-sectioned amateur sailors. Lots of Vikings stayed in staterooms, and many who appeared were quite pale and subdued. Luckily, we haven’t ever become seasick. Between Stavanger and Bodo we entered the Norwegian Inside Passage and the rest of the cruise was like a quiet lake. The onboard experience was mostly up to Viking’s very high standard. Food was superb. Entertainment was better than average, particularly guest pianist/singer Tom Seals. Staff built snowmen on the rear deck; a fun photo-op! Some shore tours could have been better planned on this inaugural cruise. There was quite a lot of uncomfortable bus riding in the dark. Luckily we brought clothing suitable to the Arctic; had we not, some tours would have been miserable. Our best shore tours were a family visit near Tromsø although the tour description did not mention outdoor fun and thus we were notprepared clothing-wise. Sami reindeer camp near Alta -22F, the Ice Hotel near Alta, cathedral concerts in Bodo and Tromsø, and husky dogsled riding were also great. A 19th Century Island village near Bodo was also interesting and fun. The Alta museum offered spectacular views and interesting displays. We did get the feeling that with Viking’s recent rapid expansion, possibly some shortcuts are being taken, and that attention to service and plannning detail might have slipped a bit. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen ... Read More
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen years old now, it has been well maintained. Our Caribe deck balcony cabin was excellent and even a bit larger than we expected. Our needs were met perfectly by our steward. Island Princess does not have an International Cafe, Wines & Vines and the rear quarter of the Promenade deck has been closed off to make an additional twenty balcony cabins. So, when one walks the deck, one must cut through the ship to complete each lap. A little irritation not found on some ships. We were moved from anytime dining to a traditional table by the Matre'D the fourth night of the cruise (since some tables were open there) and that became a great experience. Jaco and Akshay proved to be fabulous waiters and made each meal fun and flavorful. The food was well prepared and presented and on a par with the other three Princess cruises we have taken. Some items were outstanding and Jaco's knowledge of the food and desert items was quite helpful. The show "The Secret Silk" was well performed and magician Gary Carson was very entertaining. Allan at the piano off the atrium and Danny the guitarist provided great listening. The vocalist in the Wheelhouse Bar, the violin & guitar classical duo and the group playing dance & pop tunes were all excellent and enthusiastic performers. The Cartagena Old City tour was fun and informative but a bit too short. The snorkel tour on Grand Cayman was not great due to choppy, windy conditions that day. Meeting the Sloths in Limon, Costa Rica, was an educational experience but a poor photographic one due to the sloths being in cages. Ocho Rios is a pretty little port. We took a walk downtown and purchased some handmade items from the makers at the craft market. It's safe to do this during the day with good police presence. It's only a 10 - 15 minute walk one way. Our time in the Panama Canal was interesting and very informative. The canal expert on board was excellent and had great knowledge of the canal from personal experience. He delivered a wonderful pre-transit presentation and a great running narration over the ship's speaker system during the transit. Service on the ship was good and we have learned the times to avoid the buffet to minimize waiting in lines. Food in the Horizon Court was good with lots of choices. Salad greens were very fresh and tasty. Sushi was put out one day only and the pieces of tuna were very small without a lot of taste. The hand-rolls were good though. Embarcation in Fort Lauderdale was a breeze since we arrived two hours after it had started so all lines were gone. Debarcation was slower but not excessive. Being Global Entry participants allowed us to use the short line through customs and we were whisked through quickly. I try not to look too gleeful every time this happens but it's impossible not to smile. I feel for the hundreds of people we bypass but they need to get with the program too if they want the benefits it offers. Getting onto the transfer bus took longer than it should and Princess could use more employees to properly direct guests to the buses and to keep the lines more orderly. FLL is an outdated airport and shows it. Princess EZ Air saved us lots of money on our flights and has been super to use for several cruises now. We always check to see what they can do for us when booking with Princess. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise with very calm seas the entire ten days. Now I'm looking out my window at a snow-covered landscape with 8 degree temps. We have another cruise booked next month and it can't come too soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
One of our friends mother works for Expedia and she set up the cruise for fourteen of us. It was decided on New Years Eve 2017 as we had done a similar thing with 10 people in 2016. The cruise was non stop fun. The entertainment was ... Read More
One of our friends mother works for Expedia and she set up the cruise for fourteen of us. It was decided on New Years Eve 2017 as we had done a similar thing with 10 people in 2016. The cruise was non stop fun. The entertainment was first class and the cruise director, “Roberto”, was very good. The food was OK, but should have been better. Other cruises I have taken not with NCL we’re far superior. Some of the stuff serve I would never given to guest in my house. Our stateroom was well maintained by housekeeping but our toilet never worked the entire vacation. We had the plumber come 5 different times to fix it but was unable to actually fix in permanently. It would stop working within a day. This forced us to use the public washrooms. This was very poor in retrospect. The bars spread around the boat were very good as well as the programs both on and off the boat. The exercise room was good, but still below expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Embarkation It was smooth and we got on the ship quickly. Ship This is second time we have been on the Epic. It is a poorly designed ship with weird bathroom set up and no middle elevators but the price was right. The Disney ... Read More
Embarkation It was smooth and we got on the ship quickly. Ship This is second time we have been on the Epic. It is a poorly designed ship with weird bathroom set up and no middle elevators but the price was right. The Disney Fantasy follow us through out the cruise and it was 3-4 k more expensive. We enjoyed Deal or No Deal and Bingo. We also enjoyed Burn the Floor. We would have like to seen Priscilla but was not suitable for our 10 year old, it would have been helpful to this information on the NCL website. We would have liked to seen more children friendly entertainment especially over the Christmas/ New Years break when there are lots of children. We ate at the Garden Cafe, I would have liked to see sushi, better tasting Chinese and Indian food but it general most of the food was very good. I would have like to seen better labeling of the food. We ate at Taste and Manhattan both were good. Manhattan was slow on New Years Eve. The cabin was fine and Francis our cabin steward was great. We had a hard time finding lounge chair. One guy was very rude and would not let me sit on a lounge chair. Andre the cruise director was good we saw he around and he said hello to the kids at the kids club. At Garden Cafe Pushcard (sp) was very nice. Information session with Jake. My daughter and I went to the information session with Jake. We were promised a free set of earring afterward. We only got a coupon to pick up at Diamonds International. The DI at BVI did not have them. The DI at St. Thomas did not have them. We had to go to downtown St. Thomas to get them. It was very misleading advertising and shame on NCL. Splash Academy My daughter was happy with all kids of the ship and she met a lot of kids. The activities were ok, she enjoyed going to the teen club. In general the staff were lacking and made some strange comments and did babyish games. The kids club was better of RCCL and Celebrity. Ports We enjoyed all the Ports. We went to Cane Garden Bay beach which was great. If you want to take a shower afterwards bring a quarter. At GSC, bring your own water shoes the beach is rocky and snorkeling equipment. The snorkeling was good and food at the buffet on the beach was good also. Disembarkation Was a little slow, it took about 45 minutes. Using a porter, we cleared customs faster. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a ... Read More
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a maximum of 930 passengers. Check in was a breeze with 6 or 7 receptionists waiting for us instead of long lines. It is considered a luxury cruise ship and as such commands a very high initial cost for the cruise which must be paid in full much before the cruise embarks. However, this is partially compensated for with many inclusions not permitted on other cruise lines. We were permitted to bring alcohol aboard the ship. They also included wine and beer with all meals and excursions at each port of call. While onboard my wife and her our friend Ann went to a cooking class with the executive Chef of the ship and he liked them. There were two special dining venues THE CHEF'S TABLE and another upscale Italian restaurant. We were supposed to go only once during the cruise but because of the connection my wife, Nela and Ann made with the Chef were permitted to go 4 times, where he prepared his specialties and served them. They were absolutely amazing and I've never had better food on any ship. For an additional charge you could choose other excursions customized to your interests. I chose one on Cozumel said to be the 2d largest barrier reef for snorkeling, 185 miles long which was disappointing as I had expected a wall but found only scattered limestone reefs with only smaller colorful tropical fish. I saw no predators like sharks, barracudas or even sting rays, that I had seen snorkeling and Scuba diving. Though the personnel were very friendly it was not well organized. In the middle of the sea they required half our passengers to climb onto a boat that pulled alongside. I'd not recommend that excursion. However one excursion we went on was exceptional and I'd highly recommend that in Mexico called SALSA AND SALSA in which my wife I and two friends, first time cruisers were taken on a couple buses to a 2d floor high ceiling open air room in a hotel and sat at tables for 10 with many vegetables and a musher, which is a small dish with a rough bottom and a pestle for crushing and mushing the vegetables with various recipes into different Salsas. We were provided aprons, Chef's hats and unlimited. Margaritas and ingredients to make more. Our hostesses were two young Mexican girls in their 20's full of enthusiasm that kept things going. After eating varied Doritos and Salsa and too many home made Margaritas where we lost count the tables were removed and the floor cleared for dancing the SALSA. I would never call myself a dancer but after 6 or 7 Margaritas figured nobody cared and did my best. We all left totally sated, happy and ready to recover. The entertainment onboard the ship was very limited in variety and elaborate productions but made up for it with extremely talented musicians and singers. There was one quartet of 4 British singers that performed on 3 different nights once emulating ABBA, then BEATLES and finally 60's music. I talked to a few of the performers afterward and found they were not a professional group but were hired individually and the group would disintegrate after the cruise ended. It made me tear up thinking so beautiful would end. Even our Cruise director was a former professional Opera Singer with a voice so perfect I asked my friend if she wasn't lipsyncing and he assured me she was not. She was amazing at the New Year's celebration party. On board I enjoyed their lectures particularly one on Catapults showing how very ineffective walls are, no matter how strong or well guarded. The gym was small and basic but had all the essentials for a good workout. I liked the Steam, Sauna and Ice room. The ice room was a real treat. Short periods of stress are good for your health and excessive amount can kill you. In summing up overall I'd say this cruise was exceptional and one of the best I've been on, though expensive. I've been on more moderately priced ships that were very good and can honestly say I've never been on any vacation I did not enjoy though some more than others, so in the end you'll have to decide what you want for yourself. I always consider price an important factor when deciding on a service or product. I was an accountant by profession. I like quality at a reduced price. That what makes a good value. If you want everything to be nearly perfect and are willing to pay top price VIKING is a choice, you won't be wrong with, but if you'd want to go on two or more cruises on a less expensive ship for the same price, then Princess or Celebrity are excellent ships. I wrote this review for Cruise Critic not Viking Ocean cruise line because I read Viking's terms and conditions in which they stated they can edit comments possibly making my review Fake News instead of the honest one I wrote by editing out anything negative. I said, but believe cruise critic will condense it with my concerns to its essence. I hope this has been helpful. Paul, an experienced cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
A good break to destress and relax at sea. The on board entertainment was excellent and our assigned waiter for the El Poque restaurant second seating for dinner provided exceptional service - Hadi from Indonesia. The food however was ... Read More
A good break to destress and relax at sea. The on board entertainment was excellent and our assigned waiter for the El Poque restaurant second seating for dinner provided exceptional service - Hadi from Indonesia. The food however was average on occasion, especially the Indian cuisine - was not well prepared. Also, my other family members who traveled, had issues with their Balcony suites not being ready on time when we embarked. The waiting for embarkation was also long with MSC systems being down. There should also be more activities provided to keep all guests entertained especially for the longer cruises. Some of the service staff were very rude and disrespectful during our stay. This matter needs to be addressed by Management, as is a very poor reflection of MSC service standards. Being my first cruise, this was shocking with the bad service we received, and hope MSC will address this. Read Less

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