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Sail Date: June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports, thinking it would be great way to travel to these destinations without having pack and unpack. Our first impression of the ship was good, considering the negative reviews of the ship. All areas ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports, thinking it would be great way to travel to these destinations without having pack and unpack. Our first impression of the ship was good, considering the negative reviews of the ship. All areas of the ship were kept clean and in good condition. Our cabin (9126) was on level 9, a good level to access the pool area and Buffet, but a bad area as it’s directly below this high traffic area. At all hours of the morning, day and nights, there is continual noise of trolley’s being rolled around above, and items being dropped on the floor. A few days into the cruise they had to perform maintenance on our bathroom (hot water issues with neighbouring rooms) which extended into the early evening. This was a bit of an inconvenience as we weren’t able to easily get ready for the evening with our friends, however guest services tried their best to make this as little a hassle for us as possible. The cabin problems persisted for a few days afterwards, and the staff did well to minimise the impact on us. However, considering this is Sold as a 5 star cruise, it really cheapened the overall experience for us, which is disappointing considering this was our second cruise with this company. As with any cruise, there was plenty of food. The selection was great and the service in the main dining areas was to the normal celebrity standard. The entertainment on the ship was great. They had a couple of guest acts that were exceptional. Although we chose this cruise for its ports, it turned out to be a negative as there were so many of them. With some of them (Toulon) a long way from anything of interest. Tip, research and book tours well in advance so that you are not left in a port with nothing to do. In Toulon in particular it was near impossible to get a cab to the main town centre, which wasn’t much to look at anyway. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We went with 3 dear close friends on a 5 day from New Orleans. We had an excellent time. Tony our Steward was excellent and took great care of us !! Food outlets and restaurants as well steak house were great, We loved Café Denis ... Read More
We went with 3 dear close friends on a 5 day from New Orleans. We had an excellent time. Tony our Steward was excellent and took great care of us !! Food outlets and restaurants as well steak house were great, We loved Café Denis in Cozumel but stayed on ship in Progresso as its too far to go anywhere in our opinion. The folks at The Alchemy Bar especially EDUARDO were fabulous !! Great service and great fun !! Didn't care for the comedian but that's a personal taste. Many enjoyed the show. We would sail it again. The Love and Marriage show was fun but not LGBTQ friendly in terms of having a same sex couple up there. There were numerous gay couples on board, and a diverse crowd. Everyone got along and there were no issues on board except a late fire alarm that I didn't hear about thanks to a few too many XO Martinis. I love the glory and would sail it again. Its an easy ship to navigate and not too large. Its starting to show its age a touch but Im sure Carnival will refurbish it within a few years. We loved it and I recommend it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
First, the date I chose was purposeful and intentional! It rains 98% of the time. May is the least rainy time if the whole year. It did not rain a single time, at any of our stops and the sun came out! I figured, if I'm going to ... Read More
First, the date I chose was purposeful and intentional! It rains 98% of the time. May is the least rainy time if the whole year. It did not rain a single time, at any of our stops and the sun came out! I figured, if I'm going to Alaska; I want to see snow and it all melts in the summer months... So May it was! We experienced sun, snow, green spring/ early summer colors and seriously, it was AMAZING!!!!! At every single stop the locals kept saying "You picked a good day. No rain today, and it rains every day here". The ship itself is well maintained. I only encountered ONE rude crew member and it was an American crew member in the gift shop. Everyone else was superb and helpful and kind. Our first stop was Juneau. We went whale watching. The crew on the boat were knowledgeable and friendly and very helpful! We saw humpback whales (a mom and baby) that breeched several times. We also saw eagles and and see lions and seals! Our second stop was Skagway. We booked 2 excursions because it was a long day in port. First we did a zodiac rafting adventure which I highly recommend! We were outfitted in all weather, WARM, sub Arctic deck suits with goggles, gloves, and face masks. Captain Jen was incredible as was her crew. She made the ride FUN by doing donuts in the middle of the water multiple times. We saw waterfalls that blew our actual minds and eagles and sea lions of all different varieties and otters playing in the water. We stopped for several photo ops. We were brought back to the staging area by the ship where the next excursion started. We did the 3 hour White Pass Railway Adventure. I don't even have words to do that trip up the mountain justice. It's not an exaggeration when I say the views were spectacular and impossible to really process at first. We saw lush green mountains and snow covered mountains side by side. We learned a lot about the gold Rush and how the railway was made, etc. Going through the mountain tunnels was exhilarating. You can't go to Skagway and not do the White pass Railway. We cruised Glacier Bay next. Please do yourself a favor and book a balcony (try to get an Aft Balcony. They go FAST and there are only 20 on the ship) and bring binoculars. I was brought to tears by the stunning beauty!!! You don't understand how INCREDIBLE it was. We watched the Margorie Glacier calve. First you hear rolling thunder then you see part of the glacier crash into the water making huge splashing waves. Some of the glaciers are ice blue and others not so much. When you cruise Glacier Bay, Carnival gives you warm blankets to cuddle up with so you don't freeze to death. All along the way we saw whales breeching and see otters floating lazily on their backs with their cute paws and heads just above the water. This was one of my favorite days!!! I was pretty much euphoric all day. Our next stop was Icy Straight Point. I didn't book an excursion here but my friend in the cabin next to me did. She went whale watching and saw multiple whales breech very close up. She also went on a bear excursion and saw brown bears. I was a little jealous if the pictures she got. We rode into town and saw how the natives live. Then we went to The Crab Shack. GO TO THE CRAB SHACK!!!! There we got Alaskan King Crab legs that were HUGEEEEE and Bloody Mary's full of crab meat, shrimp, and a crab claw!! The crab the best we've ever had and we were unexpectedly so full it wasn't even funny. Finally we went to Ketchikan. Here is my ONLY complaint. We were only there for 4 hours which is ludicrous because Ketchican is huge and we didn't get to experience even a quarter of Ketchikan. We did a Go Kart Adventure thru the rainforest. It was a gorgeous, sunny, dry, day so we didn't need the rain gear offered. The ride was kick ass and although I've seen some people complain that it wasn't long enough; we found it to be the perfect length. We stopped for a few beautiful photo ops and a quick snack and water. Our guide was Rhianna Marie! We wanted to put her in our suitcase and bring her home. She was GREAT. Our next stop was Victoria BC. from 7pm - 11 pm. Honestly, that's a huge waste of a stop. I would much rather have had more time in Ketchikan. I got the feeling they stopped in Canada just so Canada could try to make a few bucks off of the tourists. Not this girl! Let me just close by saying I will be booking another Alaskan cruise!!! You couldn't pay me to go in the heat of summer and get rain EVERY DAY and miss all the snow and be hot. Who wants to be hot in Alaska!? Not me.... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the price and cabin. Having sailed with Princess before and in a rear-facing cabin which we loved. The only thing that was not as expected was the restaurant. We normally opt for Any Time dining and usually eat late 8.30pm and have not had much trouble getting a table for two, but on this cruise, everybody seemed to want to eat at that time and tables for two. The system when this happens is that you are given a pager and they call you when a table becomes available. This worked very well as the bar is adjacent to the restaurant and was handy for pre-dinner drinks. I think the longest we had to wait was 15 minutes, no time at all. The shows were a bit low on the quality side and having cruised with Princess many times we have noticed that the resident dancers seem to be doing less and less. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Inside stateroom, 4038 - the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you ... Read More
Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Inside stateroom, 4038 - the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you get used to. The room is in the middle of deck 4 next to a service door for restricted access to somewhere. It's a lot in use but didn't disturbed us. We pointed a couple of technical issues with the stateroom to the stateroom attendant and to guest relations and it was fixed in a properly timeframe. Our stateroom attendant, Francisco and his assistant: Julius (or Julian) did a great job keeping our stateroom in order, they were very fast. DINING / drinks / Bars: This week we really enjoyed the food in the buffet with a smaller but better selection of dishes than on the bigger ships. Here you get quality over quantity, something I feel is much better and less food goes to waste ( I think ). Also to get almost 90% new dishes every night is so much better than having a big selection that never change. When it comes to serving wine in the Buffett there is still potential for improvements. This week we also bought the Ultimate Beverage package again and when we order wine by the glass from the wine list usually the problems start. This is based on some nights and some lunches this week and you feel that as soon as you like to order wine that is not the one of the day, you see they get a little “oh, now I have to go and get that bottle” attitude. Some of the times they do not have the wine you ask for and bring you another one that substitutes it and that is ok, but please let us know before you start serving it to us, so we might be able to see if you have another we might prefer. There should also be a system maybe when you have ordered a wine from the wine list they can serve it in another wine glass (they did once) so other waiters know that you are not drinking the wine of the day and can ask what are you having and do you like some more. A couple of nights another waiter pass by and see your half empty glass and starts to pour the wine of the day and then mix it with a different one. It is not so nice to drink your Merlot and then they fill it up with Cabernet Sauvignon so we have to sent it back. This always happens specially if you drink a rose wine or a sparkling wine or Champagne for lunch/dinner from the wine list. However we still have to give them credit for always looking after you and you do never sit long with an empty glass. Azamazing evening Buffett and White Night Outdoor dining were great again as expected ENTERTAINMENT / ENRICHMENT / ART PROGRAM After beeing on board for two weeks, we have seen the shows and you can find it in our other reviews, this cruise Azamara has brought on board “A night at the Opera”... Believe me, this was a hit, incredible Italian talent for just one show... this was like the Azamazing Evening elevated and on board. Talking with Sam, one of the Art experts on board, we learned about the Azamara Art program and to us it sounded great, the approach to work with some emerging artists and some well established names and bringing them onboard to work while traveling and being also available to talk with the guests is a great way to connect. No art auctions but a small Art gallery where they exhibit these pieces and change it during the voyages. The price range is accesible for what I could think is the Azamara client. We had the chance to meet and see Gary Smith during the first two weeks and his work is really great. We also learned about other artists that Azamara has had onboard and the Art channel on the TV is another great way to enrich your art knowledge / curiosity. They also offer some lectures (if times allows it) about different artists. We put our eyes on some pieces and The only reason we did not buy the ones we liked is that we are moving into our new home (apartment) and we still have to figure out the use of the space in the walls we have. The enrichment lectures: For us traveling is not just about monuments or famous places but about culture, people, history, food, Art, etc. Is about learning about the places we visit and understanding the people and it’s cultural expressions. We attended some of the enrichment lectures and we are very happy we did. There is an historian on board for the next voyages, sorry I don’t remember his name or how long will he on board. It’s not the typical lecture that will tell you what to go and see but that will teach you about the history of the places, and this will make you understand the place. I highly recommend you to attend the lectures. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is excellent. Kudos to all the senior officers specially, Hotel Director Ryszard; F&B manager Elizabeth for making us feel at home and they are always visible around the ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I just went on a Celebrity Summit cruise and the bathroom had a really smelly sewage smell. We were shown several rooms that also had that same smell. The room attendant said that the pipes needed to be fixed. I also experienced the same ... Read More
I just went on a Celebrity Summit cruise and the bathroom had a really smelly sewage smell. We were shown several rooms that also had that same smell. The room attendant said that the pipes needed to be fixed. I also experienced the same smell in one of the whirlpools. The food in the buffet made me really sick, maybe that’s because the chefs do not wear any gloves when they prepare the food. I watched a chef make a pizza without using gloves. I had to run to the bathroom every half hour everyday until I stopped eating from the buffet. The only other food selection that I was given without a cost was the Cosmopolitan restaurant which offered different food than what I was used to because I like eating more vegetables. The basketball court needs to be updated because the rim is leaning. The only things I liked was the massage, the Solarium and the comfortable bed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First, the thermostat in our room never worked and was “repaired” 3 times. But food was the real problem. The cafeteria food was universally greasy, except personal omelets by Don Hyndryx. The restaurant was unable to serve the ... Read More
First, the thermostat in our room never worked and was “repaired” 3 times. But food was the real problem. The cafeteria food was universally greasy, except personal omelets by Don Hyndryx. The restaurant was unable to serve the meager choices on its own menu. I ordered roasted pork loin and was served ham, and salad Nicoise with “French onion Dijon” dressing was served with the usual choices of ranch, Italian and thousand island. Neither the chef nor customer service was responsive to dissatisfaction. Also whenever I asked about fat free dressings in restaurant or dining room someone would point to one of the regular dressings and proclaim it fat free. I did get excellent service from Somalier Josip, though. They redecorated the ship recently and stateroom was adequate if the thermostat had worked. The new sinks and showers don’t drain well, but room staff Kate was attentive and very friendly. Pools were too small to swim and had unbelievably loud drains that chased me right out. I was on an Olivia Cruise, so all the entertainment was great. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We usually venture farther afield, but chose this cruise for several reasons - a very high percentage of adults, recently upgraded ship, good friends were going, and we had never done a Celebrity cruise and wanted to find out if it's ... Read More
We usually venture farther afield, but chose this cruise for several reasons - a very high percentage of adults, recently upgraded ship, good friends were going, and we had never done a Celebrity cruise and wanted to find out if it's a cruise line we would use again This Caribbean cruise won't be our last. We surprised ourselves by loving the whole experience, especially the beautiful waters and charming ports. The Summit docked for a crazy amount of time at St. John’s, Antigua - an appealing port with way too many people trying to sell stuff. Next time we won't even bother going ashore there. We loved all the other stops. MUST DO: Cuban cigar shopping at La Casa Del Habano in Basseterre, St. Kitts. Sit on their balcony, enjoy a balmy breeze, and watch the world go by as you drink FABULOUS coconut mojitos while the other half roams the humidor. What could be bad? My partner snorkled in Bermuda - went on a high priced inflatable boat escapade to a reef. The currents were strong, there were no fish, and a woman got swept out and almost drowned. Our friends went on the shipwreck snorkeling trip and had a fantastic experience. CABIN: we were forward on deck 7 just off the elevators in 7072. Never heard annoying noise and the convenience was great. The recent refurbishment meant our cabin felt up-to-date and clean. The showers were always hot, The bathroom was immaculately cleaned twice daily and virtually every time we returned from whatever we were doing, our room had been made up. The housekeeping was flawless. The same could not be said for dining, which was a mixed experience. At Oceanview Cafe - the casual buffet - we spent a couple of days exploring and found a few favorites, which we ate whenever we went there - the eggs benedict station, the salad bars, and the surprisingly good pizza. With a few exceptions, the food had a sameness about it that was disappointing - flavorless, factory farmed eggs didn't help. There was no reference to the flavors of the Caribbean. The desserts were flat-out horrible, mostly fake tasting sheet cakes - like something at a bad Chinese buffet in a strip mall. The breakfast pastries were poor - heavy and stodgy. Sometimes a chocolate croissant was worth having, but the danish was awful. By contrast, afternoon tea at the Oceanview was worth having, with fluffy scones, jam and cream and delicious petit-fours, buns etc. Food hygiene at many Oceanview buffet stations was poor - too many cooks handled food without gloves. Some staff appeared to have no professional skills at all. What well-trained chef would present so-called "coddled eggs" which were in fact raw - the whites only half cooked and the yolks not to safe temperature! We dined often at Sushi-on-5 in groups of 6 or more friends- reasonable prices, great noodle bowls and well-made sushi. Other than one evening of inept service, the staff were attentive and friendly and we just kept going back. We were pleased with more formal dining at the Cosmopolitan, for breakfast (much better than the Oceanview buffet), lunch and dinner. Overall the food was good and the service was excellent. We hit Qsine on lobster day- definitely not worth the extra charge. The food was dry and reheated - ugh. The restaurant was poorly ventilated, gaudy, overly warm and just plain second-rate. Maybe we hit it on a bad day. The Martini bar was a highlight - great mixology and a lot of fun! The "service" desk staff on level 3 were slow and unfriendly both times we had the misfortune to seek assistance. Example: our disembarkation day-tour of NYC was cancelled, and no one told us till the day before. So we went down to book a transfer to JFK to void being stuck with all our luggage in the city all day. We were told we could not arrange a transfer as bookings were now closed. In the end, after we persisted, she caved and booked our transfer. We then asked for change of a $100 so we could tip housekeeping and the same unhelpful woman made some excuse and said she could not do that. Incredible. On balance, we would return to Celebrity Summit without hesitation for another cruise, but would book Aqua or Concierge, at least, next time. We book suites on our favorite cruise lines but won't spend the extra $$$ without trying out the ship or cruise line at a lower cost first - as we did with this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Hello. I was looking for a cruise to wind down and relax. However the cruise was a tornado of dysfunctional proportions by the cruise line. I get to the window and give them my passports. They ask for my room number. I offer it. The lady ... Read More
Hello. I was looking for a cruise to wind down and relax. However the cruise was a tornado of dysfunctional proportions by the cruise line. I get to the window and give them my passports. They ask for my room number. I offer it. The lady says, no the room number on the website is not your room. The supervisor female comes over and says they double booked us. Here is our number to our room. They gave us 2 sets of keys Incase (liability) all day long. We tried our room number from the website a gentleman and his female were in the room. He got angry with me from entering. Clearly NCL screwed up. Days 1,2,5 we had a toilet not working. I called days 1 & 2 to fix it. On day 2 the toilet comes out of the wall. I called guest services no answer, I tried again, finally someone answered. I said “didn’t you guys put the toilet back on after fixing it” I had charges from this other couple on my bill. I had photos on my card of this same other couple. On the day we were supposed to leave, I never got a letter that affords my group to be taken to Miami airport. Went down to the desk asked for the letter. The room number on the letter was different.... again. Plus all the charges on my bill were someone else. By fighting when them days 1,2,5 I was mentally exhausted by 8 pm. I had anxiety from the stress and my grandmother so angry. My grandmother has been on lots of cruises but this one was beyond her comprehension. I asked for a full refund. I didn’t enjoy at all. It didn’t live up to the amount I paid. The food was OK like a upscale Disney Park. The people working on the boat always smiling and exceptional. But no one has authority. Even when this guy hit me. No one took a interest in my concerns or safety despite writing in the comment box. And NCL never responded to my email. So. I would not recommend NCL Dawn. In good faith I was looking for a apologize. Don’t know if I will ever get it. The toilet came out of the wall bruised my leg. Just a really bad time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Joining my niece and her two girls for Spring break motivated us to book this cruise along with its convenience as we live in Manhattan. Overall I'd rate this experience under the "meh" category. I'm not a fan ... Read More
Joining my niece and her two girls for Spring break motivated us to book this cruise along with its convenience as we live in Manhattan. Overall I'd rate this experience under the "meh" category. I'm not a fan of these megaships and this confirmed my feeling. Way too many people, service not at Celebrity or Cunard standard for suite guests and, in some food venues, literally ineatable food. Haven concierges are helpful and it's good for embarkation and disembarkation. When I say ineatable I mean ineatable. Steak in Manhattan Room tasted like detergent. The Haven menu sounded good and rarely delivered in quality. Food all felt overly processed and not at what you pay for at Haven rates. Service in the Haven restaurant, though a pleasant room inside and outside dining, didn't live up to what it should be. (Eg waiting 10 minutes in the morning for coffee and coffee cups, I'm not kidding) Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We traveled with a group from RFamily vacations. We chose this trip because of our great experience on Celebrity Solstice to Alaska, and wanted to see the newest design in ships. We really enjoyed the ship. The veranda idea worked great ... Read More
We traveled with a group from RFamily vacations. We chose this trip because of our great experience on Celebrity Solstice to Alaska, and wanted to see the newest design in ships. We really enjoyed the ship. The veranda idea worked great for us. We enjoy A/C, so I think we opened the window 3 times the whole week. WIthout the shear and blackout curtains, it felt open, airy and big. The pleated shade was perfect for privacy and blocking light, and the power controls on the thermostat and balcony were convenient. Yes, the martini bar isn't what it is on the Solstice class, but we found Eden a great replacement. We give Celebrity credit for doing something new with the ship instead of just serving up the same. We ate at all the specialty restaurants and enjoyed them all, even the Rooftop Grill. Yes, it's a bit expensive, but we had a great meal and the outdoor dining room worked well for us (weather was great and wind speed under sail wasn't bad at all). Two things I'd express to Celebrity: I would make the Martini bar more oval in shape to serve more people surrounding it....and make the seating all one height, instead of the multilevel that's on the Edge. Second: The Cabana's.....we had a half cabana on a sea day. I tried, but the whole cabana's were all booked before the ship sailed. WARNING: the half cabana isn't worth it. We were a party of TWO and felt very confined....there isn't enough room for two adults to lounge. Then, the party on the other half of the cabana arrived....oh, boy. What I wouldn't have paid to get the whole cabana. Our neighbors were a mom and dad, young daughter and an INFANT in a stroller....ugh. Nothing like listening to parents and TWO sets of grandparents crammed into a small space, correcting and comforting children. Hey, I get it, people have children, and yes, it was Easter week, but If I was Celebrity, I'd put an age and party size limit on the half cabana's. We did have a great view of the young daughter practicing here dance class stretches on the ships wood balcony railing......and we did get a front row seat for the grandparents performance.....ugh. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Azamara Pursuit - Italy Intensive, second leg of a Back to back to back. Hi there, we are Jorge & Stian (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 21st cruise; third with Azamara. This is the second leg of a B2B2B. ... Read More
Azamara Pursuit - Italy Intensive, second leg of a Back to back to back. Hi there, we are Jorge & Stian (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 21st cruise; third with Azamara. This is the second leg of a B2B2B. This second week we had an Ocean View stateroom in deck 4, cabin 4000 Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Ocean View stateroom, 4000. Coming from the Continent Suite you feel the space is much less, specially in the bathroom... the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you get used to. The room is totally at the front of deck 4 so noise and vibration could be an issue for some people. We are early morning and early sleepers so it doesn’t bother us that much...  Our stateroom attendant, Paulo did a good job keeping our stateroom in order but we noticed this time that it could take longer time for them to make up the stateroom, again for us this was not an issue but understand that for some this could be a “thing”... this time due to space constraints we never ordered breakfast or room service DINING: This week we just have dined in Discoveries and the buffett aka Windows Cafe, quality of food and service has been again really on point, good variation of the menus. Azamazing evening Buffett and White Night Outdoor dining were great again as expected BARS: For this week we decided to just go with the complimentary drinks and wines and it worked well for us this week during the experiment, The included red and white wines change daily (2 whites, 2 reds) but the rose and the sparkling ones do not. Quality of the wines was good but if you have special preferences for the kind of wine you like it may be not in the daily rotation Regarding the drinks and cocktails you can easily go through the week with the complimentary drinks and cocktails but again if you like certain liqueurs, cognacs, whiskeys and/or bourbons and high end brands for vodka and Gin; these are not included in the complimentary menu. After our experiment we can see that for cruises of seven to 10 days the price/ value of the ultimate package is well worthy if you like to have the option to choose the wines you like or to have a couple of cocktails or drinks at night with high end brands, cognacs, etc. ENTERTAINMENT: We still love the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows and the signature singers are so good... the guest entertainers: White Sand Trio and the pianist are really great for evenings of music in the Den or in the Living room. This week we attended the Amanda’s Show: Epics... I just loved her more. Not just she is an amazing cruise director but an incredible singer; it is just lovely and you get to know about her career but also about her as an artist and a person... with beautiful songs I am not going to spoil but make yourself a favor and go and see this show... Super Amanda. Azamazing Evening in Livorno... just an incredible concert in a beautiful Opera Theater. Standing ovation to the performers White Evening party: This time we stayed longer and enjoyed the Party and the music...All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is excellent. We had a little issue during this cruise that we complained about and it got quickly addressed by Senior Management (Thanks to the Marketing manager) and this shows that Azamara takes us as guests very seriously and go out of their way to make us feel at home. Kudos to all the senior officers specially, Hotel Director Ryszard; F&B manager Elizabeth for making us feel at home and they are always visible around the ship. More detailed information in the semi live review on the CC boards: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2656591-azamara-pursuit-semi-live-review-b2b2b-france-and-italy-intensive/ Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I boarded Britannia for its France, Spain and Guernsey highlights. Embarkation was smooth for all guests, luggage attendants extremely helpful. And check in staff to security personal where to the highest standards. On boarding ... Read More
I boarded Britannia for its France, Spain and Guernsey highlights. Embarkation was smooth for all guests, luggage attendants extremely helpful. And check in staff to security personal where to the highest standards. On boarding Britannia I was greeted by friendly onboard social hostesses, who dealt with enquires in a very pleasant manner. The overall appearance is a finely and articulate ship with the grandiose it expels. The room steward kiran was trained to be more of a butler than a steward, one in which I would of expected to see on a Cunard liner. Absolutely excellent service from this young man. However it was not long Until you could hear the grumbles of passengers. From freezer packs not being delivered at appropriate times for medicine to be administered for a guest who had informed p and o re medical conditions. I can confirm the ship dealt with this on day of departure. Hopefully to the guest satisfaction. Then there was an issue with the drinks package!! 96 year old female told to pay the fee even though didn’t drink so her son could get his drinks package. I can confirm this was dealt with and he did receive his drinks package and the elderly lady was not charged and training was given. There was another incident on board on the first formal night when the photographer asked two gentleman, as they set to pose for photographs if they were father and son. One of the gentleman replied “no he is my partner” the photographer then replied who is the man and who is the woman” to many passengers in the queues horror and well as the two upset gentlemen. I can confirm there complaint was dealt with. The received compensation of 100 pounds on board credit alongside a meal in one of the fine dining rooms and the photographer was moved to a different area of the ship. However, they are still seeking more than this as they feel money or restaurants don’t compensate it is more to the fact of training and his attitude towards their sexuality. Now to bilboa this was pretty horrific as to disembarkation and boarding for disabled passengers coming off deck 6 rather than deck 5. It was far to long for passengers to try and walk and if a dla assessment officer was watching he/she would have been shocked as people who struggle to walk was actually beyond any Disablement entitlement. If a photographer took a photo. However because of this many were left physically exhausted and one passenger falling, injuring her ankle. Other passengers complained regarding the heating in rooms either being to cold then to hot in the evening. Then came the niggles and the freedom dining. Personally was pretty horrified at the times you had to wait your buzzer not going off, which I did complain about. Then the finest champagne not being open correctly and spilling out over the table. Which was reported. Now to your personal order of drinks bill being given and asked to sign before you had your dessert. I can confirm that this was reported and everything was taken extremely serious and action was taken.many passengers were disappointed not docking in Guernsey. This was down to storm Hannah and I back the decision as passengers and staff safety should always come first and the captain did although to the frustration of some. Disembarkation was delayed due to highs winds in the morning again adding to further frustration. This was out of both P and o Cruises control and ground staff. Unfortunately an act of god is beyond anyone’s control. Safety always has to be paramount. I understand people’s views and expectations are all different whether dining, dressing to entertainment. So yes this cruise didn’t meet a lot of expectations however, look carefully at itinerary of your cruise, and dress codes etc , every ship is different but at the same time it’s like a box of chocolates full of different varieties with a glossy coating. One thing I will say I think I am Amongst the majority that found the captains announcements came across a little condescending “ladies and gentleman boys and girls “ and tatty bye. Not how I expect a captain to address his public. I can confirm that every complaint is taking extremely seriously, and that Britannia staff will do their upmost to sort the situation out. Don’t wait to get home and complain it’s important to address it whilst on board. I would like like to add the bar team in the live lounge were of the highest standard and worked together extremely well. They served immaculately and presented themselves well a proud team supporting Avalon and his Assistant manager, and P and O Cruises. So yes the company needs to keep on top of training to impress the quality of service and fix things as soon as they arise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Short jaunt around the Bay of Biscay. Bipolar weather and last stop aborted so no guernsey sadly. I love Britannia. She’s a big ship and handles the rough and tumble of the Bay no problem. I met some lovely people on board who made ... Read More
Short jaunt around the Bay of Biscay. Bipolar weather and last stop aborted so no guernsey sadly. I love Britannia. She’s a big ship and handles the rough and tumble of the Bay no problem. I met some lovely people on board who made my holiday very special indeed. Grateful to Pete and Clarke for this. I also met some horrors too. If people can be nasty bigots in a public venue, I’m the antidote. These creatures were summarily dealt with and I moved on. P&O should DNA check some of its passengers. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Very efficient and the staff were amazing. I simply couldn’t fault them. I love P&O for this. The ship is due for a refit this year and, although she’s a lovely vessel, she needs a bit of a makeover as my cabin bathroom stunk of urine! Not good when I’ve complained about the very same thing on Ventura before. I get that a few thousand people all using the bathroom is a monumental thing on a ship, but P&O must sort this out. Soon. In summary, I enjoyed my journey and Britannia is lovely, apart from her toilet habits!! Safe journeys y’all Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still ... Read More
I was on a private charter of the Jewel from Hong Kong to Tokyo for a 10 night adventure. I had a balcony room to myself for the holiday. Boarding went smoothly but when it was announced that all the staterooms were ready, mine was still not. Even after I was allowed in, I had to call back the room attendant there was still dirt on the glass shelves in the bathroom. Not having a clean bathroom from the start was only the begining of a poorly run ship. I gave 3 stars because my state room was great and the entertainment was very good. One of our biggest complaints was the overt and racist "Washy, washy, happy, happy" in a mocking Asian accent, that were were greeted with when entering the cafeteria at every meal. How insensitive! Our Asian friends, and this cruise originated in Hong Kong so many were on board. Were horrified as we were to find out that this is a NCL saying and the crew are required to say it. I reached out to NCL on Facebook messenger and I could see they read my concerns but never responded! After a 12 million dollar restoration you expect things to work. There were so many things broken and not fixed it became was a joke. We asked every day for the lockers in the spa to work. Were told that no one had complained and they all worked, but the attendant who came to help us could not use them either because they were broken. We were told every day that no one had complained even though they took my room number every day when I said something. In the cafeteria the coffee and expresso machines were out of order most every day and when we said something were were told to go to the end of the ship for the one working machine(it did not work either). Mexican food day, there was no tortillas and asking for guacamole was like pulling teeth.. Seriously, Mexican group was very angry.. as were we..They were so stingy with tortillas we were only allowed 2 each and one teaspoon of guacamole. I made the girl angry by demanding more.. I wanted some for my tortilla chips and salsa.. which had no spice or heat. We tried the main dining rooms, but the service was so bad and the food either over cooked or just cold(cold french fries with a cold not edible steak) That was after the fish I ordered was so dry it was not edible. We had a table of 8 one night and the food came out so slow for some of us that many of our friends had finished dinner and desert by the time we were getting our main meal. It was inexcusable. We finally had a good meal at Le Bistro after the Restaurant's manager personally took us there and paid for our meal and wine as he was so embarrassed! The Brazilian restaurant was also very good, But you had to pay for that. We ate at Tapanyaki the first night and it was a joke! The "chef" did a song and dance and tapped spatulas, many of which he dropped! The rice was not edible as it was so salty and the meat was tasteless. We had to ask for salt for that! We were rushed through the meal that should have been a show. I wasn't even able to finish my food as they wanted to move on.. The entertainment was good but the drinks were a joke. They upcharged and seemed to forget what the price was inconsistent from each server and each bar. They poured premium even if you asked not and still charged your room. You asked for well drinks and they poured premium! The shore excursions were poorly run and often the guides level of English was not understandable. Mostly a waste. My bed was comfortable and the water pressure in my shower was impressive, but you could not pay me to get on another NCL ship. My whole group lost weight as often the food was terrible. We would head to get chocolate ice cream soft serve 4 times a day to keep the weight on. But even those machines didn't always work and it was not easy getting anyone to pay attention to take care of simple things. We thought the ship was a floating Denny's. Even that food would have been preferable. I paid over $5000 for my own balcony on a 10 night cruise. That works out to $500 a day, for that money we should have had good food! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
After looking into many questions before I leave for the cruise, I feel compelled to share my first cruise with our friends. After much deliberation we decided that some of the 50th birthday celebrations would be Cruise (for the first ... Read More
After looking into many questions before I leave for the cruise, I feel compelled to share my first cruise with our friends. After much deliberation we decided that some of the 50th birthday celebrations would be Cruise (for the first time). The date of the cruise was determined following family constraints for the Passover holiday of 2019 in April. Since this is the first time we make a cruise and after a thorough examination it was decided to go on one of the best - a large ship of Royal Caribbean. As stated, there were time constraints and therefore the cruise was chosen with the Allure Of The Seas, https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-sh…/allure-of-the-seas, Western Caribbean track, 7 nights with 4 anchors in NASSAU- BAHAMAS, COZUMEL-MEXICO, ROATAN-HONDURAS, PUERTO COSTA MAYA-MEXICO and 2 DAYS ONLY, Departure from Miami. Now it was left to choose which agency would invite the cruise. There are many opinions whether to order through an Israeli agency or through a foreign agency. After a thorough and thorough examination, I found out that the company Crozit, https://www.cruiseit.co.il/, with the agent Orit Cohen Rochov gave the best offer. As I mentioned, it was decided to order with a minimum risk and therefore the room with balcony to the ocean, on the 11th floor in the center of the ship (room number 11590 D2). The room is spacious enough, a double bed and a sofa bed, a shower with excellent water flow and a balcony facing the sea, television, storage closet, 110 and 220 volts power sockets. It is difficult to describe in words the experience of sitting on the balcony while sailing and sleeping with an open window and hearing the waves coming back - an experience! The ship is huge, really a floating hotel. Many different types of rooms, countless dining rooms, restaurants, cafes, 2 promenades with vegetation, casino, swimming pools, Jacuzzi, climbing wall, Omega, surfing and more. 2 notable restaurants for light meals: 1. Park Caffe - Salads, sandwiches, cakes and flag sandwich with roast beef 2. The pizza restaurant The ship has a wide range of performances, including Mamma Mia, acrobatic show with oceanAria, Ice Ice show, Blue Planet, Headliner Showtime and more. About 60-90 days before the cruise, the possibility of planning the cruise is open on the Royal Caribbean site, ordering an hour for dinner (17.30, 20.00 or "on my own time"), ordering the various shows on the ship and booking excursions at the ports. For convenience and schedule of performances we chose the time 20.00, we got a regular table in the dining room on the 5th floor and regular waiters. In accordance with our needs, we purchased in advance and at a discounted price Classic Soda Package, which includes soft drinks and cola and an internet package VOOM Surf + STREAM Voyage Package - 1 Device Additional alcoholic beverages, coffee, shakes and more can be purchased. It is also possible to purchase a 10-cup card or a 10-alcoholic card. Each room has the option of bringing 12 bottles of 17 oz and 2 bottles of wine to the ship. In the boat, at various meals, you will be served free glasses of water and juices. The ship anchored at the port of Miami in Terminal 1 of Royal Caribbean, we reached the port of the car rental agency in the city and left the port to the airport on a trip with uber. The check-in and check-out of the ship is carried out with remarkable efficiency with no queue and speed. The attractions we did at our ports were: NASSAU-BAHAMAS - taxi ride ($ 10 toward) Cabbage Beach on the island island Paradise Island, a beach with soft white sand and good water for bathing. You can rent 2 sunbeds + umbrella for $ 20, and there are street vendors selling drinks. You can walk to the beach of the luxurious Atlantis Bahamas and even enter the hotel grounds and be impressed by it. COZUMEL-MEXICO - A fun day of sailing to spectacular blue lagoons and dive snorkeling, booked through http://cozumelcruiseexcursions.net/cozumel-snorkel-tour-res…, at a cost of $ 50 per participant. ROATAN-HONDURAS - We booked a day trip to the island with a local operator named Francklin Gálvez, francklinalexisgalvezbonilla1@gmail.com, a nice guy who tries very hard to please the guests he accompanies. Franklin charges $ 20 per participant for a full day of pick-up and return from / to port and travel according to an agreed plan. ($ 10) Visit the Chocolate and Fun Factory at the stunning beach of West Bay Beach (one of the resorts, plus sun beds + umbrella $ 15) PUERTO COSTA MAYA-MEXICO - We ordered a $ 50 golf car from MAYAHUAL Local Golf Car, https://costa-maya-golf-cars.negocio.site/, marvin1907@yahoo.com.mx and drove to the beaches of the nearby village of MAYAHUAL Docking Port . In retrospect it is unnecessary and you can reach this coastal strip with a local taxi. The coast of the Costa Maya disappointed. Hope this summary will help others. I'll be happy to answer any question. Yaari Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of ... Read More
Princess Cruises have always done exceptionally well! Delicious food, clean and modern furnishings, state of the art technology most especially with the Medallion, expert and friendly staff, relaxing environment and a full range of entertainment. The company prioritizes safety from the minute you board all the way to the end. The process of embarkation and disembarkation were easy. We always look forward to waking up in the morning because of the activities they offer daily. Food is excellent with so much variety to choose from. The cabin is kept clean with respect to privacy upon request. The technology is above and beyond with the Medallion. The staff are respectful, accommodating and have shown professionalism. Every minute is priceless while on board. Whether you seek to relax, pampered or be entertained. Princess Cruises deliver the best vacation ever! My family and I are looking forward to our next cruise with this company. We highly recommend Princess to people of all ages. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked ... Read More
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked these cruises to celebrate our 10th years marriage anniversary and because after meny RCCL and Celebrity we wanted to experience Azamara again and the ports of call in the meditterannean where the big Ships cannot go PRE-CRUISE: Barcelona... One night stay in the Eurostar’s Grand Marina, next to the port where Azamara starts... so the check out, walk to the ship was a decisive factor... we have been several times in Barcelona and sightseeing was not something we needed this time around. The Hotel is OK, nice but dated rooms, a reception staff that smiles but doesn’t do their job, the best of the stay is the small restaurant offering a Gourmet dinner experience and this was a highlight of the trip... the food and the wine pairings were PERFECT... do we recommend this hotel... yes for a stay next to the port. EMBARKATION: very easy... just five minutes and then we were on board. SHIP: Pursuit is a beautiful ship. The newest of their kind... elegant, sophisticated and the color palette makes you feel happy. CABIN: for this first leg of the back to back we upgraded (at last minute) to a Club continental suite, we got 8039, perfect location and the only suite I have ever said OMG WAO when opening the door... the colours, the decoration, the style and the light. No noise problems, at least for us. SUITE CLASS PERKS: Internett: 235 minutes per guest, which is OK but slowly but after all you´re on holiday and IT works for reading emails if you ned it. Butler service: our butler Roy has been outstanding, amazing level of service when we have requested our breakfast in the suite, our tea service in the afternoon. I will post a picture of the letter in the stateroom with all of the suite perks you can get DINING: This week we just have ate dinner in Aqualina or Prime C, given that is included in the suite perks. Once we had dinner in the buffet (before the Azamazing evening) and once with the White party buffet that was AMAZING. Aqualina and Prime C quality of food and service has been really on point. Room service: we had breakfast in the rom almost everyday and it was very very very nice to have the extra space the suite provides and the balcony breakfast when it was not so cold in the early hours. BARS: For this first week we decided to buy the ultimate drinking package and it worked well for us this week. We got to try most of the included wines when having dinner, and some of the premium drinks we enjoy when on a cruise. For the second week, we decided not to buy it so we can compare the experience.... Our favorite place for drinks so far is The Den... it is just a very nice place, with some piano music on the evenings and the best bartenders and waiters. ENTERTAINMENT: This week we attended all the Signature Singers shows (3 shows) and they were good. These guys can sing and dance and keep you entertained for the 45 minutes signing along. We loved the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows, if you´re expecting but productions shows, this is not the case and it works for Azamara. Azamazing Evening in Marseilles, Palais du Pharo. Was very entertaining, a kind of cabaret show with very french music, dancers and two great vocalists. White Evening party: we are not party people so we didn´t stay long after the White Evening Buffett ended but the party looked nice and people was enjoying themselves. All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is very good. Of course there are some that are just good and there are some people that just go above and beyond. SHORE EXCURSIONS & Ports of call: * Port Vendres: small, charming village, we just walked around and then found a hiking path that takes you to the other small town Collioure (or something like it). The Wall in the green areas around the Coast line is just very very very nice and easy with some amazing views. Breathtaking * Sanary Sur Mer: Beautiful town, the marina, the restaurants and cafes, it was very beautiful. We just walked around and enjoyed perplekse watching here and there. * Marseille: a vibrant city, we walked around, did some shopping and visited the Cathedral. It was great to be docked just in the center of town (or very very close) * St. Tropez: we took and organized excursion from Azamara and loved every minute; we visited Gassin and Ramatuelle and the Bertaud Bellieu wineyard for wine tasting. The guide we had has to be the most amazing guy we ever had AS a guide. We actually think we got a lecture on wine making, all about the process and the technology and traditional methods. The wine was so good we bought three bottles to take with us to the ship and enjoy in the stateroom. Also the small towns Gassins and Ramatuelle were beautiful and we got to learn about the history of the places. In Ramatuelle we enjoyed some free time that we used eating cheese and hams with a cold bottle of Rose wine from a local wine yard. It was an amazing day. The port of St. Tropez by itself, was not as expected, it was crowded and just a marina with amazing yachts, the best was the local artists selling their paintings around the marina. Beautiful paints and interesting people. * Cannes: we have been in Cannes several times so we decided to go for the Excursion of the ship to Grasse with a perfume factory visit and to St. Paul de Vence. And again we got a great guide, the visit to the perfume factory: Fragonard; this was very enriching and we could resist and bought two new Eau de Colognes with shower gels... Then we visited St. Paul de Vence and OMG this small hilltop village is just amazing, it breathes art from everywhere. The local artist and small galleries in the very narrow streets, the views from the wall of the town, the small restaurants... once again we learned about the local history with our guide and in the free time we just walked around and decided to have a very French lunch, we found a little place where they make sandwiches, so we bought a baguette with local produced cheese and ham, and sat on the wall and had our small French sandwich picnic there... just beautiful. * Monaco: Last minute changes out of Azamara control, The port authorities closed the port in Monaco so we got diverted to Nice... for the last night and day of this first cruise. We will explore a little bit of Nice today. NEXT CRUISE OFFICE: So far they have made a good job and we booked a cruise for 2021, Western Africa sailing from Cape Town to Lisboa. The benefits of booking on board make sense for us coming from the Nordic market. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of ... Read More
We have sailed previously with Marella and overall been very happy with the product. Note... this is not a new ship. She is 25 years old and while she has been refurbished (some public areas are beautiful) there are some expected signs of the ships genuine age. Marella and TUI have been very upfront about the ships age, however some travel agents will say what they need to say to get the booking on! We stayed in the Royal Suite, which on first glance was amazing. After the first day we spotted some snagging that we attempted to get resolved with reception and our cabin staff but things didn’t get resolved. We escalated this to the guest relations manager who resolved it quickly and efficiently and showed a great deal of empthathy. Thank you Sam Hale, you’re a credit to Marella. The specialty dining was brilliant. Main dining was ok. I’d recommend the trio dining package for specialty resturants as it saves some money and brings the cost in at a quite reasonable price. We also paid extra for the premium drinks package. Being a wine drinker it was worth every penny, however many beer and spirits drinkers would be happy with the standard package. Overall it would have scored a 5 but the initial issues brought it down to a 4. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & ... Read More
Just got back from a Holland America Cruise on the Rotterdam. One of the last from the Port of Tampa. Not sure if the staff onboard is starting to get tired or what but some of the services were less than favorable. Embarkation & Disembarkation Very easy. They have this process down very well . Rotterdam ship: Very nice ship, Teak wood upkept very nice. You see the improvements they have done over the years and it looks very nice and clean. Cabin: We had an outside Cabin which seemed very roomie for what it was. Very supprised with all the closet space. nice Touch with the free safe in the room. Bed was very comfortable and the Stewards always kept the room clean and always supplying us with clean towels Dinning: Lido Deck food was very good. Nice that the HAL buffet is served by staff and not a bunch of people reaching in and grabbing food. Food was always fresh and hot. Never needed to add salt to anything we got from the line. Burgers & Hot dogs were good from the Dive Inn grill as long as you didn't get the burger well done.. There Pizza grill did a great job with the NY style pizza. They did keep strange hours on the burger and Pizza service, as neither was 24 hours. Pinnacle Grill- In my opinion, the Main dining room food was better than here. We spent over 2.5 Hours in the Grill. Appetizers were good and hot. Main course I got the Porterhouse and Wife got the Strip Steak. We both asked for Medium Rare and both came back very Rare. I ate mine, but we sent hers back. We cut a piece off right away to check the temp. They took her's back for about 15-20 minutes and brought back the same piece of meat still under cooked (but hot this time) All of the sides came out at room temp initially. When they brought back her steak, they never refreshed the sides for her. For Desert we decide to bring back to the room as we were already there for over 2.25 hours. so she got the lollipop desert cakes along with the chocolates from the table. The waiter put them in aluminum foil and twisted the top.. It looked like one of those weights used to hold down balloons. So when we got back to the cabin it was just a big ball of chocolate. We had a 4 top table come in when She got her second try and they were getting dessert at the same time we did.. Ship services did eventually refund us the up charge and the Pinnacle manager called us to apologize and offered another try on the last night, but we already planned the evening. Entertainment and Activities: Comedians were very good. My wife Participated in the Americas test Kitchen and had a blast!! She said she would do that over and over again... Also, did the bar hop with Jeremy and that was an awesome time. There was never a shortage of things to do. Services: Room Stewards - These guys are great, never needed anything... Spa Services: Very Disappointed with spa services. First, My wife got a manicure. Her nails were chipping after 1 day.. Spa did redo the color, but talked my wife out of the color she wanted and the top of her nails by the cuticle look as if they were 1 week growth and her skin was peeling. The Facial she received left her with bruising and a sore/scar on her nose. She received the facial on the 1st sea day, so had the embarrassment the rest of the cruise. When addressed with spa manager she gave her a discount on the facial. She then gave a third chance for a massage and the tech kept going to deep after she said something several times. This left bruises on her back. Then the spa manager accosted her after her massage, because I had brought these issues up with the Ship services counter. They eventually took off the price of the facial. But during dining one evening another guest complained about being under the kitchen and got a 150 on board credit, so needless to say that was more upsetting to me. Ports and Excursions: Guatemala - We only went thru the bazaar. Prepare your self as they do not take no easily. You must walk away and not feel you are hurting feelings. Honduras: We went with Victor Bordon's Sloth and Monkey Tour - This was a lot of fun getting to touch the animals and see all the birds.. Relaxing at the resort was a really nice addition. Costa Maya, very nice and very clean port.. We didn't do much here as it was really windy ( 7-10 foot waves) made getting back on the boat a real challenge. Summary: Loved the ship and would probably give them another try. Hopefully the managers get a little training so that they stop trying to explain why there staff was making their errors and just fix things.. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was my first Royal Caribbean cruise with Carnival being the regular cruise line I go on every year. When I first got on the ship, they had a huge welcome cake in the Windjammer with two guys who were playing different songs getting ... Read More
This was my first Royal Caribbean cruise with Carnival being the regular cruise line I go on every year. When I first got on the ship, they had a huge welcome cake in the Windjammer with two guys who were playing different songs getting you to wash your hands (really catchy and they could sing really well)! I was impressed by the amount of food they had although some of it was bland wish it had more flavor or was more sweeter ( red velvet cake). The activities they had on board were amazing and really fun to participate in. I went to the Living Room which is a teen club for teens ages 12-17 and it was way better than the Carnival teen club Club 02, with more people in it and a lot of activities. Although they didn't let you in if you were wet and you couldn't eat in there. The woman who cleaned my room always put my pajamas on my bed folded and was really nice when talking to her although I wasn't in the room often, I do wish I had a TV guide for when I was up late night and nothing was open. The ports we went to ( Labadee, Haiti & Falmouth, Jamaica) were beautiful and nice with music playing in Haiti and a shopping center in Jamaica. The excursion I did in Haiti was the Dragon roller coaster was very fun but scary at times going down fast on the turns. This is a very great family cruise for all ages including babies (my one year old went with my family and I). This is also great if you are wanting to do so much and learn so much from the activities. I definitely want to go on another Royal Caribbean cruise soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We travelled as a couple on an 11 night transatlantic from Salvador to Barcelona. We primarily travel on Royal Caribbean and this was our first time on MSC. As such this review will be comparing the two. Good Points - Great Cabin ... Read More
We travelled as a couple on an 11 night transatlantic from Salvador to Barcelona. We primarily travel on Royal Caribbean and this was our first time on MSC. As such this review will be comparing the two. Good Points - Great Cabin Explained in the cabin review - Almost Great Designed Ships The ship was designed beautiful and designed exceptionally with every detail almost thought out. The ship was kept meticulously clean - Great In-house Entertainment The in-house shows were very good although were 35 mins each. Costumes, make up, lighting were superior to RC. - Slightly Cheaper Drinks We don’t drink much so don’t purchase packages. Drinks were about 20% cheaper than RC and tended to be a similar size. Nice touches in the Sports Bar was providing nachos and dips with drinks. The drink alcohol measures also tended to be large. - Always Available Sun Loungers There was sun loungers always available even when very busy - An Affordable Ship Tour At $45 for a three hour tour of behind the scenes of the ship this felt like good value compared to RC price which on Oasis was around $80-90 (which we didn’t take up). Now to the negatives - there is a few: - Some Design Flaws Whilst the ship is beautiful they made some mistakes; The theatre has 934 seats - on a ship with a capacity of 5300. This means that the performers are forced to do 3 x 35 minute performances a night. Whilst these didn’t always sell out (as booking is required) I feel the theatre should have had more capacity to reduce this to two maybe slightly longer performances. The seating is also very tight on leg room. The pools are all 6ft deep with no shallow sections (with the exception of the kids play park) The dinning rooms are too small. This cruise wasn’t full but heard previously of issues with not having enough tables in the restaurant. This results in some very closely configured tables which almost resemble banqueting halls where your almost sharing tables with your neighbour. This didn’t happen to us but it could be pot luck whether you land one of these tables. I’m also not sure if this is down to the table situation but they tend to run 4 dinner sessions 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm - there is also a my choice dining option. If you aren’t in within 15 minutes of that time then the restaurant closes. This policy leads to everyone arriving in a 15 minute window. Servers maybe with 6 tables or more each then need to take orders, serve drinks, bread and food. Not staggering tables affects quality of service and also I’m sure has an effect on the kitchen staff as well. Very open venues. Many of the entertainment areas aren’t intimate or open and have limited seating - so often what happens is a performer is playing to people who are not there to see the act but people who are just there taking a seat. Often the venues are also corridors to other places which then has the effect of major background noise. - The food was very hit or miss The food in the buffet and main dining at breakfast was to a similar standard to RC although with possibly slightly less choice Lunch in the buffet offered less variety than RC and the one time we had lunch in main dining it was ok. Again they seemed to seat people in one waiters section meaning they had immediately 8 tables to serve in quick time. We had dinner in the main dining each night and it was very hit or miss. Some dishes were surprisingly good others were just ok. Portions tended to be smaller than RC - which I think is a good thing - as often RC portions can vary and tend to be large. We developed a system to ensure we got alright food on MSC - we found they tended to be better at seafood and fish dishes than other meat types. For desserts their ice cream and ice cream sundaes were actually very good. They were also very good at pizza and (crisp) fries at the buffet. - Water At dinner service we were entitled to complimentary bottled water - which seemed to be rationed with one bottle coming out at a time. I’m not sure why they don’t just serve water - I actually would prefer a big jug of iced water from the tap than create more plastic to be recycled. - Sanitisation Whilst cleanliness was very good on board hygenie such as hand sanitisation was more an optional occurrence. There was hand sanitiser stations and even hand washing stations in the buffet but many just didn’t bother. By the end of the cruise a large number of people seemed to have a cough. - Disembarkation at some ports was a nightmare We stopped at Tenerife and Malaga on this trip. Tenerife was actually very smooth. However Malaga was slightly dangerous. Due to three medical evacuations by air and bad weather the disembarkation time was understandably changed to 2:30pm. People queued from 2pm with no staff to manage queues these quickly got out of hand with no real queuing system, people joining the lines as they come down the stairs or out of lifts. Some of the queue were then sent to the crew exit to alleviate this. But that was somewhat a bottleneck > with again people coming down stairs and lifts and joining in a mass. - Lack of Activities On board there was somewhat limited daytime activities. On RC we enjoy attending the trivia which is up to seven times a day. It is a great way to meet people as well as break up sea days. On MSC it tended to be dance classes with only three trivia sessions across 12 days. On one day they had 3 activities scheduled at one time and none for three hours. They also had a guest lecturer on board who we attended several talks and was quite interesting. On speaking to her she stated that she only does the transatlantic cruises - what would they have had if she wasn’t on board. There was a lot of entertainment staff even more than on other lines so felt they weren’t utilised as well as they could be. - Languages It became quite monotonous to hear every thing repeated in 6 languages. MSC is European, and I was shocked how seemingly few US customers were on board which make up a large proportion of RC guests regardless where they sail from. Unsurprisingly the majority were Brazilians meaning Portuguese was the main language. Being from the UK and having a little grasp of a few languages I would have struggled without English which was certainly a minority language on board. I’m not sure there is a solution to this problem. Although perhaps they could announce in one language and display subtitles in other languages on screens in places like the theatre. - Not the best imported shows The shows which are imported tend to be languageless or language light. These were a mime act (x2), singing act (x2) and a Ventriloquist using somewhat common words from multiple languages. In fact the best part of these shows was often the audience participation bits which were only a small part. Overall these certainly were not as good as guests performers on RC. - Service was not as friendly as RC I felt the staff were not as friendly as RC. They all did a good job but didn’t really talk. On RC servers of food and drink tend to be really bubbly, restaurant managers visit our table each night and most other staff great you in the corridors of all ranks. I felt this was in a minority on MSC. The staff were still good at their job and some were really friendly. For example a waitress at the chocolate shop remembered us for the rest of the cruise and greeted us each time we walked by, the maitre’d at main dining was very chatty and always acknowledged guests, deck staff cleaning the deck at 5am even gave out a strong good morning in Portuguese. Some other points; We had 3 air medical evacuations during this cruise and these were handled really professionally - it was good to see that if you need specialist medical help even 500km off the coast that attempts will will be made to get you that help. The Spanish Search & Rescue Service Salvamento Maritimo sent a Puma helicopter and an AirbusHeli plane to evacuate a staff member who was in labour with the baby in the breech position. An unusual announcement came over the tannoy in another language first and I picked up the words gynaecologist or obstetrician as they are very similar. The next day whilst at the buffet they made an announcement of “Mike Echo” over the tannoy and the evacuation was in full progress. MSC was the first cruise line to search my bags getting off at a port. As we were on holiday for 17 days we really needed to wash some clothes. I hadn’t preordered a washing package which were reasonable in advance. But per piece priced onboard. As we had washed clothes before off ship on our last transatlantic we thought we would do the same again. Last year on RC we carried off two rather large stuffed full weekender bags no questions asked. Even Spanish police and didn’t even look as we walked through with them. However MSC security were puzzled why I might be taking a weekender bag off the ship and wanted to know what was in it, scanned it and then did a quick visual search. This vigilance I believe is a good thing although what bag size is too big - I was shocked to have not been at least stopped last year with RC. On MSC others got off with backpacks no questions asked. Beware of the shuttle sale at Malaga. This has been mentioned by others before but MSC somewhat tried to sell a $10 shuttle to the city centre from Malaga cruise terminal stating it’s a 20-25 min bus ride away. In reality it’s about 25 minutes leisurely walk by the marina. A taxi would be about €6 each way, and if you wanted to do specific things may just save you a few minutes. Overall we left feeling we enjoyed a relaxing 11 nights on board. We would sail again with MSC possibly on their smaller ships (which we tend prefer) on itinerary rich sailings negating some of the activity issues although we have another two transatlantic sailings booked with RC for early next year so possibly not anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I will start out with the positive... getting onto the ship was a breeze. The last time we sailed from NY it was a complete disaster so I was super pleased with the level of professionalism and efficiency from all involved. Walking into ... Read More
I will start out with the positive... getting onto the ship was a breeze. The last time we sailed from NY it was a complete disaster so I was super pleased with the level of professionalism and efficiency from all involved. Walking into the ship it was clean, inviting and exciting. As always we made a quick dash to get band for the “vibe” or on this ship “posh” Our very first cruise was I. This ship so I was excited to sail on it again. We were able to get to our stateroom very quickly and bags arrived in a fairly timely manner. Upon meeting our cabin steward he was one of the best we have ever had. Not the least bit overbearing and always did a phenomenal job. We had booked 2 special days for our parents for their anniversary and my mother’s birthday. He excited both with precision and detail which we so greatly appreciated. When we were settled my family and I all decided to check out the posh as we like to spend a good chunk of our time there. From the get go there was not a good vibe up there, pun intended. Normally the staff is always happy smiling and knew our names by the second day. This was not the case with posh. We get this “upgrade” so we always have a place to go for some quiet and that extra special service. The space was loud because of its close proximity to the main pool deck. We were brought water only once and never offered a cocktail or fruit plate. Each time We wanted a refill on water or a cocktail we would have to get up and go to the bar and order and retrieve it ourselves. While not the end of the world I found myself questioning why we paid extra for essentially nothing. On top of that the staff was not friendly there. I was highly disappointed and decided to spend my time elsewhere. Waiting at all bars was almost unbearable but I do understand that there are only so many bartenders and many guests in the ship. When checking into Le Bistro we were again met with an unfriendly face. The hostess did not seem accommodating or kind at all. When dining we decided to indulge in a bottle of wine not included in our package. The sommelier was one the most knowledgeable and kind we have ever met. He absolutely made our experience at Le Bistro much better. Without him the meal would have been sub par. The dealers in the casino were great fun. I found myself looking for the same ones day and night as they made the experience of losing money a little but better with their humor and small talk. I decided one night to use the salon for a blowout. I scheduled the appointment for 730 so I would have enough time to get ready before dinner. After waiting 20 minutes after checking in I approached the front desk to see what the deal was. I was met with “oh no one came for you yet?” After attempting to reschedule for the next day, the stylist irina appeared. From my understanding of my talk with both the front desk and Irina, I was double booked with another haircut she was performing before me. I once again did not feel like I was a priority in the least bit. She styled my hair and I was able to make dinner by the skin of my teeth. I must say that experience was extremely disappointing to me. Bar service in the casino was also extremely lack luster, however the male and female bartenders at the casino bar were beyond kind and committed my name and drink order to memory. Priscilla queen of the desert was a highlight of the cruise. The cast was PHENOMENAL. We were lucky enough to meet some of the cast and they were so kind. As regular cruiser we look forward to meeting other LGBT friends at the Friends Of Dorothy gathering. The name change of the meeting is not my favorite. The location for the meeting this cruise was not the most desired spot, we much preferred it when it was held at shakers. One of the most disappointing things to happen was at great stirrup cay. One of the main reasons I went on this cruise was to swim with the pigs. I understand that the tide is beyond NCLs control but a warning of such might have been nice before we went to check In. The Epics layout overall is not my favorite and I’m happy to see that other ships have not been modeled after it. Overall the cruise was ok, nothing to write home about. As loyal NCL cruisers we will return as guests but I think we may explore other lines after the lack of customer service. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and ... Read More
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and more. NCL corporate on the other hand were HORRIBLE and need additional training and a means to correct actions, which are truly of their making, which affect their employees. I planned for close to a year to ensure my near 80 year old father’s bucket-list cruise through the Panama Canal was everything and more he could have imagined- and it was. I watched countless hours of YT videos on what to pack, what to expect and any precautions which would help us avoid any hiccups during our trip. I called and emailed our personal cruise consultant and Concierge MANY times before our cruise to ask questions and request any items due to my father’s health and to confirm all was done and nothing would missed off or forgotten to avoid any troubles later. I even went to far as to create a daily guide to help us remember what day it was and what the daily activities were to help us commeroate our time together and scoured over our paperwork before and to comply with all NCL required per our cruise documents to ensure our check-in process and our cruise went as smoothly as possible. My parents even paid for the extra travel insurance just to make sure if anything happened prior to or during our trip medically, we would have some peace of mind knowing we had options available to us for added peace of mind. For our cruise we opted for the prepaid gratuities so we made certain EVERYONE who was due money was paid their dues as they are the hardest working people on the seas. You see them in the sunrise breakfasts and the midnight buffets- they must be vampires cause they never seem to sleep from the baggage handlers and dishwashers to the Captain. Lol. My husband and I traveled with my soon to be 80 year old parents to help with baggage and flew literally across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angels in one day. Every step along with way we were there to help with bags from the vehicle to the airport, gate to gate, airport to hotel and hotel to ship. If we were not there this trip of a lifetime would not have been possible. Everyone we met along the way was awesome- a little hectic but what vacations don’t have great stories to tell from memories made after right?? We purchased a two bedroom- two bath suite for our extended cruise and truly had a great vacation. Everyone from the wait staff who waited on us daily, Susi our Concierge and JonJon our butler were exemplary in helping make sure this was the time of our lives and we cannot say enough great things about them- KUDOS to them all. Our issue arose when representatives from each suite were called together to discuss how disembarkation would go and where to meet. It was at this meeting- during the last two sea days of our trip north of Cuba- that Susi let us know our butler was not covered under the gratuities paid which got an audible gasp in the room. Mind you, HOURS of research, emails & phone calls to NCL were made and videos were watched to avoid circumstances such as this from happening. During my research and even during their Shore Excurision presentation they mention at certain ports, “do NOT display obvious signs of wealth.” Which, to be honest, can apply to any street in any town in the US as well so no shade. Our issue is knowing we were told ALL our gratuities were prepaid under our cruise fare by NCL beforehand we all carried cash to tip our baggage handlers, tour guides, bus drivers and a little more if anyone went over and above and deserved a little more appreication than the standard allowed- not extra money which is truly rightly due those who were not covered as we were told by NCL ALL gratuities were already paid. We were absolutely aghast. We went to our room and quickly pooled all our remaining money we had left to give to him. We purposefully didn’t travel with a lot of extra cash as, who carries cash anymore let alone buckets full when everyone cautions you against doing so and being told they were already paid? When we got into the port of Miami, (Saturday) I emailed our personal cruise consultant immediately about what had happened. I was able to speak with her on Monday as she was out of the country as well and she assured me that as we elected to prepay our gratuities our butler, along with everyone else, was covered but to contact Guest Services and let her know of what they said. I just got off the phone with GS, Anthony (i), I believe was his name and he said Butlers were NOT covered by the gratuities we paid and there was nothing that could be done to rectify the matter and it stated in the seven pages of cruise documents he wasn’t covered. I didn’t have the cruise documents in front of me at the time but when I got home later that evening i went straight to them and in fact the butler was NOT mentioned in my cruise documents as I was told it was. This completely taints our entire wonderful vacation because we actually stiffed someone who absolutely positively deserved it the most and earned every last penny of the money during our cruise as we couldn’t be happier. We’re so upset and disappointed with NCL over this, we cannot even begin to properly express them. SHAME ON YOU NCL for doing this to us and well as to your employees. Shame. On. You. You have absolutely taken a wonderful trip of a lifetime and tainted it with a policy that even your own employees do not fully grasp and in turn cheating hard working employees out of hard their earned money without a means to rectify it?? SHAME ON YOU!! We have been looking for our butler on social media to figure out a means to wire them money via PayPal, Venmo etc they are truly due without success. We are just sick over this whole debacle and pray a solution can be found as this has caused us all unnecessary stress as a result. WONDERFUL cruise and staff - - HORRIBLE Corporate office policy!!! Read Less

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