We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge ... Read More
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge becomes bigger it is a definite improvement. However The Journey is a lovely ship, we did not notice any shabby areas, she gleamed!
Add to the experience the wonderful crew, a Captain who was so personable and who made in scheduled ‘stops’ so the chef could source local Norwegian berries and cheese and you have a recipe for a fun time. We even did an oil rig safari! Not many can say that! The food, service and overall holiday was first class. We are already booking two back to back cruises with Journey in November, can’t wait. Caribbean here we come!
Thank you Azamara for Azamazing holidays Read Less
My wife and I are in our late 60's and still quite active and like to travel with friends. This will be our second Ocean cruise and we have done two other Viking River Cruises. I like the cruise idea since you pack and unpack only ... Read More
My wife and I are in our late 60's and still quite active and like to travel with friends. This will be our second Ocean cruise and we have done two other Viking River Cruises. I like the cruise idea since you pack and unpack only once and you travel at night to a new port. On this cruise we were able to see the diversity in the different countries in the British Isles and go to many places where we would probably not go to, all of which were interesting to us. Usually I would have extended the trip on the front end in London, because it is such an amazing city, but we had been there for a week at Christmas with our daughter and had seen a lot of the sights. We did fly in early Sunday and had a full day, although a bit tired to explore the city. We are pretty good getting around ourselves and booked the inside Buckingham Palace and garden tour at 12:15. We LOVED getting to see inside the Palace and the grounds. Definitely try to do that if you go.
I will now try to summarize the different parts of the cruise.
The Jupiter was stunning. It was just like our first boat with probably very minor tweeks for improvement that we would not even notice. There was a great diversity of places to be on the boat and be a quiet or active as you want. The boat was big, but not too big. It never seemed crowded to me. The Spa area was very well done with a nice changing areaa and indoor pool with a very cool Nordic experience cold room onboard. Their was also a pool in a large atrium area that have plenty of seats near the windows on the outside. Finally there was a great small infinity pool and hot tub on the aft on level 7.
Our room was a deluxe veranda which was fine for us. The bed was very comfortable and a king size bed. I am 6'4" and slept well. The bathroom was a good size but crowded for 2 people. We loved our veranda but honestly did not use it much.
The Crew----We found the crew on the Jupiter excellent and very hardworking. From the General Manager to all areas of operation- we thought the crew was outstanding. We were able to interact with many crew members and the one theme that came out was that they loved Viking better than others they had been on. The crew was very happy. We have been to nice resorts like Sea Island and found the level of service on par with that experience.
Food-We found the food very good to excellent . I thought the best food was at Manfredis (the Italian option) but that is also my favorite food. When you get your first opportunity go ahead and book reservations at either this restaurant or the Chef's Table, both of which was good. The Dining Room option was great also and usually had a wide variety of meal options. Since we ate at different areas in the dining room, we did not have the same server every night. We usually ate at the buffet for breakfast which had GREAT fresh fruit, about any breakfast option you could imagine, and omelet stations. Bottom line-The food ranges from good to excellent. You will not go hungry. Oh, I almost forgot, Mamsen's was a grill option on level 7 toward the pool area. They have great grill options and salads which were delicious.
Entertainment-We found this area to be good to excellent. The four young singers were quite good and gave a variety of performances whcih we loved. There were also several times when local talent was brought in which was fun. The band on the ship was EXCELLENT and were the male and female vocalists. They performed both in the theater as back up to the singers and by themselves in Torshavn, a small lounge . We found the music excellent, but do not expect a carnival type atmosphere on this boat.
Speakers- The speakers were good not great, but still very imformative. We have had better speakers on other boats, but thought they were good and discussed some tough topics like BREXIT and the Ireland-Northern Island issue.
Cruise Director-Heather. I saved the best for last. WE have been on 5 other cruises and Heather was the best BY FAR cruise director we have ever experienced. She was a great speaker, funny, on topic and talented. In a previous life she was an opera singer and had to put together a show at the last minute (5 PM for a 9:00 pm show) due to a sore throat of one of the singers. Her performance was outstanding!!! But, I loved just her daily talks and her general interaction. She had the ability to make mundane things interesting.
Excursions--We found the excursions to be good and gave a lot of options. Since we booked this trip very late-in June, we could not sign early, but found that most of tours opened uo that we wanted. The only negative is getting on and off buses and is a process which they handled quite well. I would give the tour leaders high marks in each area!! We usually did the included tour and then did things on our own at the other parts of the day. I did talk to other that did some of the options and they all seemed to like them.
One tip is when you are in Invergorton and you play golf, there is a Top Ten golf course in the WORLD about 30 minutes away called Royal Dornoch. You can book you own times and but you will need a morning time, as you must be back on the boat by 4:30. I did this on my own and rented a car from Ken's for the day. Amazing course -it is my favorite course ever and I have played all the Open courses. Finally, on the Bergen stop I booked the Norway in a Nutshell trip. It is a series of trains, buses and ships which shows you fiords and beautiful country. It is about 10 hours but well worth it. There is no hand holding or person, just tickets but it works quite well if you can get around and feel comfortable travelling on your own.
We loved the trip and I guess the only negative was trying to book a future trip. We met with the future trip person and just did not enjoy the experience. I liked the option, just not the experience and we chose not to book.
In summary, Viking ships, crew and experiences are great!!! we plan to come back in the future. One final note- if both you and your wife drink, the drink option is a good deal for part of your trip. We did not do it, but some of our friends did and loved it. Also, since we were travelling just with us, it allowed us to meet some amazing new friends we hope to see in the future! Read Less
This was a fantastic vacation. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. We visited all of the countries in the United Kingdom and finished in Bergen, Norway. We always felt so comfortable on board and welcomed by the Viking ... Read More
This was a fantastic vacation. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary. We visited all of the countries in the United Kingdom and finished in Bergen, Norway. We always felt so comfortable on board and welcomed by the Viking Staff. This was the longest cruise we have ever undertaken and we were more than pleased.
Heather Clancy, the Cruise Director, and her crew were fantastic. They entertained us with at different show every night. Elvis even made an appearance on board. The Viking Band was great. Dancing under the stars provided a great memory.
The Restaurants provide excellent food and service. The specialty restaurants are not to be missed. Wine and Beer were provided at all lunch and dinners at no charge. I would highly recommend the purchase of Silver Drink package (Upgrade). The Buffet is one the best I have experienced.
Viking provided excellent exclusions at every port, at no charge. Shuttles were also provided at most ports, free of charge. At Edinburgh, because of windy weather conditions, the ship could not tender the passengers to Edinburgh. The Captain and crew decided to dock further upstream. The crew jumped through hoops to provide transportation (free) into the heart of the city. Other cruise lines, in port, just anchored and the passengers lost the opportunity to visit Edinburgh.
All in all we had a great time and thank the Viking Crew and staff for a great vacation. Read Less
We chose Princess because we had friends who suggested them. Princess exceeded our expectations. No problems with embarkation or disembarkation. The cabin, a deluxe balcony room, had all the space and amenities we needed, it was easy to ... Read More
We chose Princess because we had friends who suggested them. Princess exceeded our expectations. No problems with embarkation or disembarkation. The cabin, a deluxe balcony room, had all the space and amenities we needed, it was easy to manage getting around the ship and the entertainment was very good with a very good house band, Evolution, playing different music styles. Danced many nights and especially enjoyed Rock Night-great! Food was good to excellent in open seating dinning room where we ate every night. Never had a bad meal. The buffet, which we only used for breakfast and lunch when on ship, was huge and good. Really like eggs/omelets made to order every morning on buffet. The shows were great with a huge theatre so never a problem getting a seat. Booked all shore excursions with Princess. Just wanted to keep it easy and price was reasonable to third parties. Booked the small group tours in Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Oslo. Just went on our own in Tallinn and Warnemunde. All equal or better guides then we have had with European tours in the past. Really pleased we did it this way and the groups were always less number of people than allowed. Service on the ship was excellent!! Room always very clean and Princess people just very hard working and nice. My wife and I have been to Europe 8 times in the last 13 years and recently retired. We use the internet very little and no cell phone when we travel but internet and TV sometimes do not work well in the Baltic Sea or places like Russia. I always felt it was foolish to work on European vacations anyway so never did in any of my previous trips. We will cruise again and Princess will be the company we will use. It was a great experience and look forward to more. Read Less
We Carefully Choose viking Orion for our Alaska cruise when first available in 2016 because of ships open vista views and as a small ship also very importantly the itinerary and full package details . As our first Viking voyage we have ... Read More
We Carefully Choose viking Orion for our Alaska cruise when first available in 2016 because of ships open vista views and as a small ship also very importantly the itinerary and full package details . As our first Viking voyage we have been very satisfied and loved the ship it’s ambience decor space and lovely staff. With the amazing Alaskan scenery and fantastic wildlife and wilderness al around us we had one of our best ever holidays thank you viking,
We started with a pre cruise in Vancouver lovely city, wonderful hotel by the bay , the pre cruise tour and lunch alfresco after boarding and sail out was lovely with seaplanes landing and taking off around us , and boats of all descriptions paddle steamers , sailing and small pleasure cruising craft to other ships then the cruise up the inside passage humpbacks sighting wonderful scenery sunsets and all enhanced by the ship! Really very good food right through the voyage onboard Orion majority of our meals we ate seafood,. Enjoyed all of the restaurants onboard, open seating only waited the once for a table but seated in restaurant reception with offers of drinks! There’s also a bar in the restaurant where you can have a pre dinner drinks . We enjoyed all our ports of calls and trips with only one complaint about the lunch on our Haines bear search and wildlife tour which was dealt with with a small refund to compensate however no bears seen but then that’s wildlife although we were probably not going to see any as Haines had hosted the state fair a few days earlier, trip highlights amazing Juneau glacier helicopter and dogsledding and glacier and whales trips , Valdez sail out amazing beautiful weather swimming in the infinity pool and hot tub and escorted out by high speed coast guard rigid inflatable with machine gun mounted and manned past all the Valdez salmon fishing fleets which were laying nets ! A James Bond moment! Dinner that evening a favourite with to start soft shell crab , lobster Thermidor and desert a lovely soufflé , with lovely wines and all made exceptional by Alaska delivering with beautiful scenery and Orca’s seen alongside during dinner !!! A Most memorable evening I must also thank the staff on Orion Nearly all were fantastic except for the future cruise lady? The shows on board such a small ship were all delivered by the Orion team and were excellent thank you to Jade And Karine and speedy and the viking band also bar waiters stewards Ivan and Corrinia ? Overall a fantastic holiday experience one of our very best highly recommend this voyage and ship if viking can keep price correct Read Less
We chose Scenic in part due to the all inclusive price, no tipping, no added fees. We also received a recommendation from our travel agent. We arrived in Amsterdam 1 day early, primarily to help with jet lag. In hind site it would have ... Read More
We chose Scenic in part due to the all inclusive price, no tipping, no added fees. We also received a recommendation from our travel agent. We arrived in Amsterdam 1 day early, primarily to help with jet lag. In hind site it would have been better to have come 2 days early to enjoy Amsterdam more before the cruise started.
Embarkation was much easier than initially described. We were told that we would be boarding at 15:00, however we were able to board the ship at 12:30 and enjoy the lounge while rooms were readied and to start to get a feel for the ship. Disembarkation in Budapest was equally smooth and relaxed. From the very first interaction the care and training of the staff was obvious, everyone was friendly and helpful.
The ship (Jade) appeared to be recently refurbished and everything was in top condition. The cabin was well laid out and easy to use. The dining experience was excellent, breakfast and lunch were primarily buffet, however a menu was available if a passenger wanted a meal with more than buffet preparation. The dinners were we very delicious and well presented.
The entertainment (a quartet, a zither musician, a waltz couple and lessons and Hungarian dancing) were timed with the ports and shore excursions and provided a inspiration during time in the lounge.
The service on the ship, at all levels was top flight and everyone was both friendly and helpful.
The shorE excursions were also first class with lots of information and pace geared to various levels of needs. In addition the medieval dinner, sound of music show and the concert left us with very happy memories.
We did face a ship shift, that is we started on the Jade but at Nuremberg we had a bus ride to change to the Jewel. We had been cautioned that this happens. On the positive side it went like clockwork. We were told what we needed when we needed it. For example we were 1.5 days ahead that this was coming, then the next evening we needed to pack then on the day of the shift, we did our normal shore tours and then after lunch boarded the buses and were in our new cabin in time for supper. For the most part the ships were identical. The jewel had not been updated and the lounge furniture was older and the shower faucet was older but worked well.
The only problem was with the WIFI. On the Jade we had great service in our cabin, however on the Jewel we had no service in our cabin. Passengers on one side of us had service while the passengers on the other side of us did not have service. Despite asking reception for help (and they in turn asking engineering to look into the matter), there appeared to be nothing to be done about this,
We did not have any children on the trip with us and we are both quite mobile.
Would we go again, definitely. In fact we are already dreaming of future trips with Scenic. Read Less
Extremely high level of food, wine and service capped off this excellent cruise through such a pretty area of France. Really enjoyed excursions to Vaux Le Vicomte Palace, Chantilly Castle, Giverny and Monet's garden, Fecamp with the ... Read More
Extremely high level of food, wine and service capped off this excellent cruise through such a pretty area of France. Really enjoyed excursions to Vaux Le Vicomte Palace, Chantilly Castle, Giverny and Monet's garden, Fecamp with the Palais Benedictine visit, the beautiful coast and cliffs of Etretat, Rouen and the Fine Arts Museum and Deauville.
We are experienced travellers who have travelled with Scenic Tours before. This cruise did not disappoint. The crew were so happy even though they worked extremely hard. A really good team. The ship is spotless, well maintained. The cabins are comfortable and spacious
With lots of storage space, Windows, balconies etc. The beds are very comfortable and there is a pillow menu for added comfort. Each cabin has Internet, TVs, radio, music and movies. The bathroom is not squeezy with a good size shower 2 can fit in and lovely toiletries. Rooms are serviced twice a day Read Less
This was our second Windstar cruise following last summer’s Norway/Iceland voyage which was marvelous. Sufficiently marvelous that we invited three friends from NYC to join us this time. We previously sailed once on Regent which was but ... Read More
This was our second Windstar cruise following last summer’s Norway/Iceland voyage which was marvelous. Sufficiently marvelous that we invited three friends from NYC to join us this time. We previously sailed once on Regent which was but decent and once on Silversea which was slightly better than decent. Windstar ran rings around them on both our sailings aboard Legend and Pride.
See our cabin review below, it was very good and comfortable but also most expensive suite available. You get what you pay for. My friends had regular cabins (following luxury marketing rules, these are referred to as suites, haha) which they thought sumptuous, comfortable and well designed.
This cruise had half-a-dozen naturalists on board, fully credentialed for all things Alaska including flora, fauna — birds, orcas, whales, otters, seals, sea lions, glaciers, earthquakes, volcanos, weather, cultures, and more. Plus, they led many of the zodiac and other excursions so could narrate in real time.
This was a case where having an onboard marina on deck 3 made a qualitative difference and enhanced the cruise for many.
Because this ship carries only 212 passengers max, we were small potatoes when it comes to the gargantuan vessels you may be imagining. And that’s exactly how we like it! When it comes to Alaska, we were able to cruise where larger vessels (Regent, Crystal, Disney, Princess, etc.) cannot go — right up lengthy fjords to glacier front (Tracy Arms Fjord and Kenai Fjord). Not to mention some of the sweet smaller villages.
On a twelve-day voyage we had only two sea days.
Food was very good and better than that. Room service meals very good. Coffee uniformly very good. Cappuccino in the Yacht Club was marvelous. Our “crew” of five were mostly delighted and sometimes wowed. Wines — we eschewed drink package and opted for two bottles of wine at dinner every night: the Sokol pinot noir and a sancerre or pouilly fume.
The lectures were relevant, excellent, informative and fun. Great delivery with enthusiasm. As for entertainment, we did not go there, we are classical music sorts.
Staff was amazingly kind, efficient and on top of their game. Not a snooty nose to be seen. An occasional incompetent in the dining room but that happens. The Captain stood at top of gangway to greet and farewell passengers when boarding and disembarking. He is quite the gentleman with a lovely British accent.
Ship environs are comfortably chic, no godawful “art.” Plenty spacious. Yacht club crowded only on the two glacier days and then, only in the mornings. Furniture very comfortable with nary a bulky vulgar barrel chair to be seen.
Fellow passengers trended to the fit middle aged, less-fit middle aged and older, some younger folk, and a few in recovery including me (broken leg/ankle four months gone). Plus my beloved Jim the Demented.
Meanwhile Alaska is drop-dead gorgeous and fascinating; just exactly the sort of place that lends itself to cruising. We now are motivated to look into a train tour and a Denali expedition. Can’t say how wonderful was Alaska, disvover it for yourself. No, I do not (yet) work for the Alaska Tourist Board.
It was a grand voyage, and lovely to travel with our own comfy crowd who like to scrabble and puzzle.
For us, Windstar is perfect, the motor “yachts” that is. Read Less
My wife and I had never taken a river cruise before and were somewhat apprehensive. We need not have been. From start to finish our Rhine Highlights cruise on the Scenic Opal from Amsterdam to Basel was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. ... Read More
My wife and I had never taken a river cruise before and were somewhat apprehensive. We need not have been. From start to finish our Rhine Highlights cruise on the Scenic Opal from Amsterdam to Basel was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Our cabin was spacious and very comfortable. The shore excursions were well planned generally taking up the morning while in the afternoons we cruised the Rhine. The shore excursion options catered to a range of interests and capabilities and we were disappointed only once. On board, the meals were excellent (and especially the two special invite dinners). I ate fish most nights for dinner and the fish was delicious and invariably cooked perfectly. One of the reasons we chose Scenic over Viking were recommendations based on the quality of the food and wine and the all-inclusive nature of the fare. On all counts, Scenic would be difficult to beat. The wine and liquor choices were varied and of high quality. Our butler, Sirjan was exemplary and we were very pleased with the attention that we received form Robert at the bar and Milan in the dining room. As for Andreea the Tour manager, Liz and I cannot say enough; she was superb. We are already looking at another Scenic cruise for next year, 2020. Read Less
Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship offering excellent entertainment options and an amazing dining experience. It does have some problems, as does every ship I've sailed on, but overall I think you'll enjoy your experience.
... Read More
Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship offering excellent entertainment options and an amazing dining experience. It does have some problems, as does every ship I've sailed on, but overall I think you'll enjoy your experience.
First of all, it is not a young person's cruise. The average passenger on my cruise was 70+ years old. If you have trouble with elderly people walking very slowly in front of you and stopping suddenly for no apparent reason, you may be frustrated at times. At the height of the summer cruise season for families, there were hardly any children on board.
Secondly, It is largely a British clientele, which I found charming. The average cruiser was well educated and well mannered. No line jumpers of chair hogs, which was refreshing. I could strike up a conversation with almost anyone I met and found most of them interesting. However, if you want to shoot the breeze about NASCAR, baseball and the NFL, you may be disappointed.
Check-in was smooth on the dock, but scattered and unprofessional on board. No one met us in the lobby. There was no sign telling us where to go. We were boarded on the open deck three and had to find our own way inside. Even inside, no one greeted us or offered to help us find our cabin, lunch, etc.. We had to ask! Talk about a bad first impression.
It got better after that. We had a suite and were dining in the Queens Grill. Our butler met us at the door (Suite 7050), took our alcohol orders for the in-room bar, showed us how to work everything in the room and walked us to the elevators to show us how to access the private Queen's Grill dining room. She was amazing throughout the cruise. She set up a cocktail reception in our room for a half dozen guests (the complimentary appetizer platter was huge and delicious). Lourdes took care of last minute laundry requests and kept our suite spotless. She also restocked the bar any time we were running low.
The suite has a boxy crowded configuration which made the room seem much smaller than it was. There were plenty of electrical outlets with both American and British sockets. We had no problem keeping two cell phones, two tablets and two fitbits charged.
The love seat is fine. There is adequate storage space and the butler stowed our empty luggage so we wouldn't have to worry about it. TIP: Don't remove your stateroom luggage tags. You'll need them to find your luggage at disembarkation!
The balcony was large enough for a table and three chairs plus two loungers.
The bed was very comfortable, however they do not use typical American sheets, on board, but rather European duvets. Very comfortable, but not what I'm used to. The bathroom was functional, with a private toilet room and a private room for showering and bathing, The tub was jetted and offered a very relaxing bath with bubbles.
The towels were not soft at all, The teri cloth material made for the worst towels I've experienced in 25 cruises.
The suite's bar was stocked with loads of teas, coffee and cookies. My wife and I each chose a brand of alcohol. I requested Crown Royal, even though it was not on the list offered by Cunard. The butler made it happen! The fridge was stocked with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, 7-Up, tonic nd soda water, Carlsberg Beer and plenty of water, Again, our butler replenished our bar twice a day!
We dined in the Queen's Grill, which is the best dining experience on the seas, in my opinion. The menus are very similar to those in the Princess Grill and Britania Dining Room. The difference is we were invited to order off the menu at every meal, and the dining staff did their best to accommodate us. Among the items I ordered off the menu were: Caviar, shrimp cocktail, Dover sole, chateaubriand, lobster, veal parmasean, fettuccine Alfredo, pistaccio ice cream, french onion soup and several different salads. Basically, the sky's the limit, if they have the ingredients on board,
The tables are close together. My wife and I were seated at a table for two, but conversed easily and often with diners at nearby tables. When we wanted privcy, we were left alone. However, we all became instant friends. Here's a tip: Be the first to say hello to someone and do it early in the cruise! Coincidentally, one gentleman, at a six-top next to us, turned out to be a Cruise Critic member I had conversed with on line! He and his wife were positively charming!
I found the entertainment on board to be excellent. The big production shows were good, but not amazing, Headliners like the magician and acrobatic dance team were marvelous. And it seemed on any given night there were six or more venues offering music and fun. I've never experienced such a wide variey of musical enterrtainment on any ship I've sailed. It truly was a highlight of th cruise.And it meant fewer crowds. We never had a problem finding a table or a seat in the showroom for the late shows. The only bummer was the Grills Lounge never had live entertainment.
The enrichment activities were a disappointment. Cunard offers wine tasting seminars on its web site. High end wine seminars. However, after pre-booking a very expensive tasting, we got on board to learn the wine seminars were canceled. In fact our sommelier told us they han't done the high end wine tastings in six months. Cunard refused to credit the money from my canceled wine tasting to my shipboard account and told me I'd have to try to get refunded when I returned home. VERY POOR CUSTOMER SEVICE on that! Tip: Do NOT PRE-ORDER WINE TASTINGS!
There were 3 speakers on board. One was a retired fighter pilot, who offered some fun anecdotes about his flying career. The other two sounded so boring, I cannot even remember them. I believe one woman was discussing the film career of an actor I've never heard of.
We did not use Cunard for shore excursions. We booked everything independently. I suggest you consider private independent shore excursions as well. Remember, every group tour moves as fast as its slowest member. Everyone else has to wait on the slow poke. You may only have one shot to visit some of these ports. Do you relly want to wait on that last person? Additionally, Cunard builds profit into its excursions. The independent tours are almost always cheaper. Cruise Critic has an excellent section devoted to independent tours.
Disembarkation for this cruise was difficult, because we got off in Kiel. It is an hour+ drive to Hamburg from there. It's pricey and difficult to reach the airport in time to make flights to the USA. Many people opted to spend an extra day in Hamburg.
Don't take the negative aspects of my review as an indication I was disappointed. I was not. I will definitely cruise Cunard again if I can find the right itinerary. And I will definitely book Queens Grille for the dining experience. These reviews are supposed to help future cruisers prepare, I hope I have! Read Less
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children.
We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got ... Read More
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children.
We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got home from an 8 night Mediterranean cruise onboard the Le Lyrial. We LOVED this ship. The staff were amazing, there was a kids club that I couldn't pull my kids from (more on that), and we were very pleased with the food.
Cabins are adequate in size. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney boats and the Deluxe Balcony stateroom was just as big, with a decent sized balcony. We had cabins 323 and 325, both rooms were perfect for 2 ppl per cabin with plenty of storage. They took out the balcony divider between out staterooms so we could come and go between the cabins. These staterooms do not connect from the inside.
There was a kids club on this cruise, which I don't think is offered on all the itineraries. If there's a kids club, it will be listed. My kids loved kids club. The activities they provided for the children were entertaining. No there is not a basketball court, or all the other kids stuff you find on the Disney and RC boats, but my kids never complained about not having that. In fact, they told us this was the best kids club they've been too.
Because this is a smaller boat, you port in smaller ports and getting off the boat is so much less stressful. Ponant organizes everything to a "T" and we were very impressed with the tours they provided. We generally do not book cruise ship tours, but these tours never had any more than 20 ppl in a group, again a BONUS being on a smaller boat.
Food and Dining:
Food was great! There are 2 restaurants and we never had a problem getting seating at either of them. I do wish they had a couple more options for the included house wines. With this being a french boat, I was looking forward to tasting some good french wines. They do have them, but they come at a cost.
Never crowed. On a Mediterranean cruise one would have thought you would have problems finding a chair. We never did. Also, ppl do not reserve chairs with towels, which was nice!
There were 122 people onboard our ship. Amazing! I can't imagine we will ever be able to go back to a bigger boat after being on the Le Lyrial. I would also like to add that our tour manager, Nina was phenomenal. She organized all our excursions, and they went above and beyond to make sure we had the best experience possible. For example, we booked an excursion that was not offered as an inclusion to the US passengers, and was given only in French. My husband and I knew this going into it. We fully expected that we were going on a French speaking excursion and were OK with that. To our surprise, Nina had organized an English speaking guide to accommodate us that day. It was like we had our on personal guide. We did not expect this at all! But again, this is Ponant, and Nina was just exceptional.
All in all we will book again with Ponant. Not having to deal with the crowds on embarking and disembarking is so worth the extra cost! Plus the attention you get on the cruise is priceless.
Sail Date: July 2019 Read Less
We had done a river cruise 2 years ago with another company. We were completely disappointed in everything about the cruise, except for the ports of call. The tour director was detached, never around, they said all inclusive, that was ... Read More
We had done a river cruise 2 years ago with another company. We were completely disappointed in everything about the cruise, except for the ports of call. The tour director was detached, never around, they said all inclusive, that was the biggest lie ever. After that experience we were very reluctant to do another river cruise again. I had voiced my concerns with friends in Perth Australia, they said try Scenic, they had tried it and loved it.
So here we were ready to get on board, nervous, a little weary and very anxious Getting picked up at the airport in a private transfer was excellent. No waiting, no fuss. The driver was friendly and helpful. Arriving at the ship, well, let;s just say we gave a sigh of relief. They actually had security, the other ship did not. We were greeted at the desk like we were old friends. The desk staff, kind courteous and efficient.. The tour director, Darinka, she is awesome, I would cruise with scenic just to have her on board again! We were told go have a snack and a drink and they will collect us and bring us to our cabin shortly. Indeed shortly was correct! Our cabin #316, was excellent, loads of storage space, huge adjustable bed, sofa, chairs, a full bathroom with a bathtub and a balcony. A chilled bottle of Champagne awaiting our arrival, fresh fruit and a wonderful butler. Our butler gave us a run down of everything in the room, how to lower the window... The cabin,clean, a mini bar well stocked and we could order room service anytime. Every day there was a daily briefing on the next port of call, dinner, drinks and any info you needed. The dining was excellent, as professionals that we are we always like to dine alone since we see so many people in everyday , here we could. It was so nice to be able to do that. The food was excellent, great choices for vegetarians, great quality, great wine choices. Every evening there was some entertainment, we danced the night away a few evenings. The excursions well planned and executed, the welcome back home with a cool towel is always welcoming. Overall, we were very happy with Scenic, we will book another cruise for 2021 with them without hesitation. Read Less
We chose this cruise because of our previous experience with the luxury of Scenic cruises and because it fit very well the busy schedules of six adults. We could not have been more pleased with our cruise. The ship and the cruise exceeded ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of our previous experience with the luxury of Scenic cruises and because it fit very well the busy schedules of six adults. We could not have been more pleased with our cruise. The ship and the cruise exceeded our expectations in every respect from the quality of the ship to the service, dining, and activities. The service could not have been better, as good as our last cruise with Scenic two years ago, and better than any other we have experienced on 6 cruises to date. Our adult children (51 and 49) and their spouses experienced their first cruise and were completely in awe of the experience. There was a wide variety of activities and entertainment. The availability of the e-bikes was a special treat of which we all took advantage. The ports along the Saone and Rhone Rivers offer much to see and experience. We felt that we got the luxury promised and outstanding value for the money expended. Read Less
The Sojourn is an excellent ship. Almost everything is inclusive. Thomas Keller aka “The French Laundry and Per Se Signature restaurant “. You can only reserve it once on the cruise. Do not fret over it. The main dining room and ... Read More
The Sojourn is an excellent ship. Almost everything is inclusive. Thomas Keller aka “The French Laundry and Per Se Signature restaurant “. You can only reserve it once on the cruise. Do not fret over it. The main dining room and the second restaurant have daily menus on Thomas Keller inspired cuisine. I will post copies of it later.
Service on the ship was impeccable. One morning the executive was and the Food and Beverage manager was making eggs Benedict for guest directly in the open dining room. Very rarely see this type of service in other high end ships.
The free flowing wine, champagne and spirits was great and top shelf items. Imagine having Nicholas Ferrilaut champagnes constantly being poured for guests. Now I know the taste of great caviar.
On the first full day I told the wait staff at the restaurant that I prefer a low sodium diet due to hypertension That was noted and in all my meals.
Seabourn is quite a bit more than most of the others but it is well worth the price. In other cruises they push for the wine package , other paid extra restaurants but on Seabourn there is no premium $$$ restaurant. Every meal is like you are going to a specialty restaurant. There is no extra cost unless you want the super rare wine.
Seabourn has their own expedition crew on board. This is a major difference than others. On most excursions these crew are experts and knowledge of the event. They are naturalist and have done these expeditions themselves The Seabourn Venture group on board is great.
Overall I give the Seabourn Sojourn crew ten plus stars. Extra kudos to the Food and Beverage manager and his excellent team. Read Less
Two thumbs up. Five stars. Off-the-chart in customer service from the time we landed in Ho Chin Min City to the time we were dropped off at the Seam Reap Airport by the Scenic staff. This was my first time in Asia so I was in culture ... Read More
Two thumbs up. Five stars. Off-the-chart in customer service from the time we landed in Ho Chin Min City to the time we were dropped off at the Seam Reap Airport by the Scenic staff. This was my first time in Asia so I was in culture shock. The Mekong River cruise was a combination of cultural immersion during excursions to being treated like royalty aboard the five star vessel. The staff could not be any more accommodating. I was a single traveler in room 208. I was upgraded to this level because the ship was not completely full. The rooms are huge compared to other ocean and river cruise lines. There is a walk-in closet with drawers, a shoe storage area, a safe, ample space for your hanging clothes, and a minibar that is restocked daily with whatever you want. That's right. Drinks are all inclusive and my drink of choice is Pinot Grigio. There was never a time after my person found that out that my mini bar was without a bottle. There is a sitting area with a sofa, chair, and small round table. There is a balcony that only becomes your balcony when you open the electric balcony window. On the balcony breakfast type table was a live iris that was so beautiful it didn't appear to be real. Next to the bedroom area. There is plenty of space to walk around each side of the king-sized bed. There is a built-in night stand on each side also. The bed can be adjusted to your needs. I could raise the head or elevate my feet as needed. The bed was amazing! Usually, nothing feels as nice as your own bed but this was not the case on the Scenic Spirit. To the right of the bed was the bathroom. It was perfectly laid out. There was a make-up light mounted near the main mirror. The water was always hot with good water pressure. The glass shower had plenty of room. Each room comes with what is referred to as your butler. Honestly, they anticipate your needs and fall over themselves to accommodate you. I have never been treated like such queen in all my life.
One of the greatest things about Scenic Spirit is that there are 24 hour washing machines and dryers available, WITH DETERGENT! I only washed three small loads throughout the cruise but how nice not to have to drag dirty laundry home. There is a spa with very reasonably priced services. I had a deep tissue massage on board and it costs about half of what I would pay at home. There is a daily early-morning (light) exercise class that was held in the top deck. They provide fruit infused water after each session.
The excursions are so culturally immersive. The excursions were moving, humbling, and educational. Scenic does an awesome job with five star transfer service to and from the airport. Also, the hotels before and after the cruise are high end. Scenic Spirit, with Toby's supervision, ran like a well-oiled machine! Our guides, Duc and Dara, were class acts. Scenic is very blessed to have them. I will forever cherish the memories of my Mekong River Cruise with Scenic. I will never forget Duc or Dara. I will never forget Seyla. I will never forget the children in the villages and so much more. Thank you, Scenic for showing me the Mekong Delta in such a way that had me in tears as I boarded the bus for Seap Reap.
The only negative I can offer was with the Scenic USA booking process, namely the flights. There was only one person in this office dealing with flights and she did not respond to emails well, or at all. She also booked an impossible schedule for our return flight which made us miss one of our flights (of 3) on the way home. Just make sure you review your flight situation well before accepting the itinerary. The cruise experience was so great that I won't hold a grudge against Scenic for the flights being poorly planned but the customer service from that area is something they could work on. Read Less
We celebrated my moms 80th bday on the break away. We took this cruise because of the offers. I never sailed the western carribean before . The unlimited drinks, great entertainement . Speciality dining was awesome. The variety of food ... Read More
We celebrated my moms 80th bday on the break away. We took this cruise because of the offers. I never sailed the western carribean before . The unlimited drinks, great entertainement . Speciality dining was awesome. The variety of food choices superb. Catered to all ages and the staff at the customer service desk was amazing. Some more than others especially since i was going there all the time to correct an issue. Special kudos to Pamela , at the desk. Strong who cleaned my moms rm. The restaurant manager at Savor Alan. Overall all the staff qas above and beyond. The ship was clean and the staff was working akways. I was dissapointed that i did not get a rm i requested for my mlom a special disabilty rm. Eventually they moved her to accomodate her by moving her to another rm. It still was not what we requested. . Read Less
I am so happy that my Travel Agent selected the Avalon Waterways. This was my first trip to Europe and I can honestly say I was treated like Royalty. Not only were the accommodations excellent, also were the staff. Never have I seen staff ... Read More
I am so happy that my Travel Agent selected the Avalon Waterways. This was my first trip to Europe and I can honestly say I was treated like Royalty. Not only were the accommodations excellent, also were the staff. Never have I seen staff so committed to their job. The atmosphere was like family and we had so much fun with everyone from the Captain Ronald to Director Tony. There was never a dull moment with so many options for excursions offered. The best part is that many of the excursions offered were included with additional excursions offered at a very reasonable price. Let me also mention the food...delicious! All meals offered fresh food options as well as many non-meat options for those vegetarians. Included was a lounge that offered non-alcohol drinks, cookies and pastries at all times! The rooms were always attended to and the finishes were lovely. I can't wait to return!! Read Less
We chose this cruise, first, for the destination. We have always wanted to visit the British Isles. This cruise allowed us to get a taste of several countries, and multiple cities all in one vacation. We chose Viking because they offered ... Read More
We chose this cruise, first, for the destination. We have always wanted to visit the British Isles. This cruise allowed us to get a taste of several countries, and multiple cities all in one vacation. We chose Viking because they offered this trip, it also because the value of the cruise was well worth it. It is not the least expensive one out there, but we agree that it is of the best value. Some of the reasons to travel Viking are: no kids under 18, no casinos, no umbrella drinks, no upselling of products in the spa, no additional charges for excursions, no additional charges for specialty restaurants, no nickel and diming with pictures of you with the captain etc. This is an ADULT cruise for those who want to LEARN. Of course we also had a ton of fun, but this is not a party cruise.
The ship itself was a floating palace. Beautiful, clean, simple Scandinavian decor, lovely colors mixed with creams, and the lighting was spectacular. Destination artwork and pictures decked the walls and seating areas. Food was amazing. Cleanest public restrooms I’ve ever seen! The entire ship was immaculate. They worked so hard at keeping things clean!
Daily tea was served in the Wintergarden complete with loose leaf tea in pots, delicious scones and finger sandwiches. We took advantage of that as much as we could.
Service was outstanding. We simply could not have asked for better. Anything we needed or wanted was ours.
The destinations were incredible. Excursions were good. Most tour guides were very knowledgeable and helpful, with a few exceptions, but those guides didn’t work directly for Viking, and the ones we were disappointed in, we let Viking know. In addition, there were port talks given in advance to inform you about the port, and any last minute changes that were taking place. And the lectures by the resident historians were not only informative, but entertaining as well!
Embarkation and Disembarkation went very smoothly. No troubles at all.
I just can’t recommend Viking enough. You will NOT be disappointed! Read Less
After 26 cruises this was our first on Viking; surely, not our last. I'll get over our one gripe first and move on to the positives. On the evening sail from Bergen, we visited the ship's apparel shop in search Viking's red ... Read More
After 26 cruises this was our first on Viking; surely, not our last. I'll get over our one gripe first and move on to the positives. On the evening sail from Bergen, we visited the ship's apparel shop in search Viking's red and white signature Dale of Norway sweater. My wife resisted buying other attractive sweaters in Bergen's shops with Viking's signature sweater in mind. The shop had no stock of size medium. The excuse was that they sold out on the last voyage. That is lame excuse since we just sailed from the cruise line's home port and the Dale of Norway production center. The salesman offered no recourse, eg. a special order that could be shipped home, and assumed a rather indignant, huffy attitude. The message. "Clients from the Bergen cruise origin aren't as worthy as those from the Greenwich start of the same cruise itinerary."
That said, now to to the cruise. Despite scheduling 13 excursions in 11 ports over 13 days, we felt that this was one of our more relaxing cruises. The casual, unbustled on-board environment undoubtedly contributed to that feeling. We used Viking Air for flight arragements and arrived in Bergen around noon after a short connecting flight from Oslo. There were at least half a dozen Viking representatives at the airport to assist passengers and get us on the way to the ship. This exemplifies a typical pattern that we experienced on the whole cruise. Ample Viking staff are readily available where needed to assist customers. A seamless check-in at the port had us in our stateroom before the scheduled time. Our luggage had already been delivered, a first time experience on any cruise.
The Atrium serves as the core public area from deck 1 to 3. Above The Viking Living Room on deck 1 with its nooks of lounge furniture, book collections and artwork, deck 2 has a perimeter balcony with lounge and table game areas and deck 3 features sitting areas along with exhibits of Norwegan traditional ceremonial dress; deck 2 has a nook with Viking cultural artifacts. My wife, a serious fiber spinner, delighted in the spinning artifacts. Stateroom corridors and public areas abound with artwork. Explanatory narratives are available through an on-board dedicated phone app. At the head of the grand staircase in The Atrium is a 2-deck electronic panel with changing images of Norwegan and Viking culture and the voyage's port areas. Beneath the staircase is a garden of multi-colored visual delights. At the deck 1 staricase base performance space features daily soothing classical performances on the Steinway by Olga, resident pianist, and the Viking classsical duo on violin and cello. Other performances included well chosen port-based ensembles providing local cultural programs and the ship's staff who shared diverse talents.
Deck 7 offers other retreats at Mamsen's, where light fare is available, and in the Explorer's Lounge with its bow views and bar. A mezanine extension of the Explorer's Lounge on Deck 8 privised additional views and seating nooks. Midship on Deck 7 is The Wintergarden, a quiet retreat where most afternoons feature Afternoon Tea at 4:00 with the accompaniement of the ships classical artists. The pool area expands lounging and eating space, all or part of which can be covered by the retractable roof. Special buffets and entertainment are features. And for the always exposed to the elements, there is the infinity pool on the stern outside The World Cafe. And, back to deck 1 for Torshaven, a cozy club like venue for seminars and evening dancing from 9:00 to Midnight.
The Star Theater's informal lounge atmosphere is a relaxing place for tour meet-up and for guest lecturer presentations. Sofa pillows with images of Norwegan performance and artistic celebraties on one side and the autograph on the other typify the Viking touch.
Four lecturers on our voyage informed and entertained us. To celebrate the July 20, 1969, moon landing, retired USAF pilot and astronaut Karol Bobko shared experiences and related the technoogy of space exploration. He also gave presentations in the shipboard planetariumn on deck 8. Ship passengers celebrated the moon landing at 8:17pm on July 20th with pastries in the Atrium that included a chocolate replica of Apollo 11.
William Thayer's lectures offered insight into the energy production technologies that are active in he North Sea. Other topics included the British pursuit and sinking of the Bismarck in WWII and the "Breaking if the Enigma Machine," a step in the development of today's digital computers.
Dr.Michael Fuller combined archaeological artifacts with historical evidence in lectures about Viking and Northern European history. (Without historical documentation, archaelogy is speculation.) Particularly interesting was his presentation on the Hanseatic League. He met with passengers in nooks around the ship to pursue a variety of individual interests.
Notable is Russell Lee, who synthasized complex topics from history and current events into connections that are often missed among the detail of events. He was literally up-to-date, including his visuals, with his Brexit presentation on the day that Boris Johnson became the UK's PM. Outstanding was Lee's presentation "Baa, Baa Black Sheep - How Wool Transformed Medieval Europe." He included his wife demonstating a centuries old spindle technique that persists today in spinning yarn. The only tidbit he omitted, according to my wife, was how the word "sabotage" became part of our vocabulary because of the industrialization of weaving.
If you miss the lecture theater presentation, it's available 3 hours later on the ship's TV, not just an fuzzy video of the stage presentation, but with the presenter in a quarter panel and sharp graphics taking up the rest of the screen. Great Viking Jupiter production team!
While on technology, kudos to the full-time internet service included in the cruise fare. Wi-fi access is throughout the ship, and there are desk top PCs located in a "nook" of The Living Room. Most passengers used their own devices. An on-board "trechie" can assist. Viking Jupiter's internet service is the fastest, most reliable that we have experienced on a cruise ship. Also, amenities include wine (red and white) and beer (light and dark). Menu beverages have a modest charge, eg., $7.50 (including gratuity) for a Manhattan. No charge for all the bottled water you want. And, no charge for the daily refrigerator set up of soft drings, snacks, and Toblerone chocolates. Spa facilities have no surcharge.. Unwind in a sauna, a cold tub, the Snow Room, a hot whirlpool or churning pool. An ample variety of standard fitness equipment is also available.Spa treatments are available at fees comparable to other cruise lines. While I was pleased with a massage, my wife was less so with her facial. She noted a harsh abrasive material used on the skin that she hasn't experienced before. And, after leaving the spa, she discovered unpleasant blotches of a greasy cream on her skin. And, let me not forget the included excellent self-serve laundry facilities on 4 of the 6 cabin decks (soap is included). So nice not to be nickeled and dimed. One can opt for individual paid launtry at reasonable rates. Repeat: So nice not to be nickeled and dimed.
For us a genuine surprise was a bottle of sparkling wine and cake delivered to our stateroom. Viking graciously added to celebrating our 50 years of marriage.
And, the on-board dining; overall - excellent. Several individual dishes were too salty (some chefs know only that "spice"). We didn't eat at Mamsens, noted for light fare, but enjoyed the no-surcharge specialty venues. First night out was The Chef's table featuring regional Nordic cuisine. International cuisines rotate avery few days. We chose the Nordic which was excellently prepared and plated for full enjoyment. We also enjoyed an evening in Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, where portions easily contribute to expected weight gain on a cruise. One can book as many meals in these restaurants as there is availability. The Restaurant is the main dinner venue with multiple sections that avoid the "heard feeling" on other cruise lines; one can actually enjoy conversation without straining. Overall excellent well plated dishes with reasonable portions served by attentive staff who remember us when we repeat at their tables. Thank you, Henry for your songs and attentive service. For a snack, on the pool deck, light fare is available, including what may be the best hamburger at sea. Vegans can also indulge. And, The World Cafe serves for a breakfast buffet as well as lunch and dinner. Customized omlets are worth the few minutes' wait. Sometimes staff were overwhelmed by passenger needs, but they were attentive and (with few exceptions) handle the demands well. Buffet food is among the best we have had. Do no pass on the ice cream and pastry selections. Seek out the daily pizza options that go well with a Viking beer at lunch.
As related above, Viking clientele are learners. Each port includes one tour. Additional, paid tours are available. Most included tours are city drive throughs with a couple of stops. Our Dublin 3 hour city tour had an excellent guide. He related neighborhood histories along with those of major monuments. He summarized economic conditions in the city and country as well as the possible Brexit impacts. Included was a 45 minute stop at Jubilee Gardens. We were able to hop off the bus to explore Temple Bar on our own. On the Orkney Islands the included tour got out of the port of Kirkwall into the countryside, and included a too brief stop in the seaside village of Stromners. My bride found a shop with her favorite roving from the native North Ronaldsay sheep - a breed that cannot be exported elsewhere in the world because of its particular seaweed diet. Plenty of time was allowed for a stop at the neolithic Ring of Brodgar, a predecessor of Britian's more famous henge. Port Ulapool's included walking tour was perfect for getting a sense of a western Highlands Scottish seaside community, and included a pub stop with adult and bakery refreshments along with lively local music. We felt that the guide gave a reasonable overview of life in the community. Comments do not include all of out complimentary tours.
Among the paid tours we enjoyed The Beatles Experience tour in Liverpool, except for the hot, stuffy museum at the end. Otherwise the ecellent guide and typically cramped bus seating are worth the effort for "Fab Four" fans. In Edinburgh the Rosslyn Chapel and Glenkinche Distillery tour were well done. One has to suffer an excessive crowd at the chapel. So, it takes effort to appreciate the complexity of the architectural gem. Do leave a few coins to support the chapel cat. The distillery tour with guide Willie was excellent; that's from a Kentucky resident bourbon enthusiast. Very disappointing for a train enthusiast was the Ffestiniog Railway and Lunch tour at the Holyhead port. We arrived at the train depot with barely enough time to board - no time for photos. Photo opps were "promised" at the terminus. By the time most of the photogs in our group got to the head of the train the engine was decoupled and on its way through the rail yard. Then, we had to rush to a bus to get to the next stop, lunch in a hotel in Betws-y-Coed with provided meal and time to wander the community that reminded me of Aspen, CO, without the opulence.We traveled through the Sodonia highlands, Wales slate producing region, distinct part of the UK. A positive with the Viking tours is that the limit seems to be around 25. So, one doesn't feel like part of ther herd. We took 7 included and 6 paid tours over the two weeks. So these comments offer only highlights.
Preparing us for each port was a presentation by the cruise director and the shore excursion manager. Special kudos to Vicki, the cruise director. She was genuinely engaging and totally professional; and very unlike cruise directors on most prior non-Viking cruises, did not act like a clownish buffoon. I do fault the tour director, however, Javier, for a demonstrably lack of personal knowledge about some port tours.
Debarkation, not a welcome 5:00am rise to be ready for our 6:15 group to end this Viking experience. In The Living Room we had fruit, breakfast pastry, and beverage options as we awaited our group call for airport transport. Friendly Viking staff were at every turn, literally as we left the ship. On the 90 minute bus ride to London-Heathrow Airport, a Viking representive gave us a guided narration through the London neighborhoods and assisted at our airport arrival.
As my wife said, "This is one cruise that we return from without needing a vacation." Thanks Viking staff and Viking Jupiter crew. We'll be back! Lecturer quality is one reason for booking an Inside Passage Alaska cruise for 2020. It will be our fifth in the region. We look forward to the Viking difference. Finally, I have kept a spreadsheet for costs on prior 26 cruises and on this Viking cruise. For comparable 2 week cruises our Viking costs were only $300.00 more. I attribute this to the longer air distance to Norway. By comparison to US carriers, SAS to Norway and BA from London to the US provided FAR SUPERIOR comfort, food, service, and amenities in the same passenger class, Economy Comfort/Economy Plus or equivalent level. Read Less
We had never cruised previously because we did not like the idea of a floating city, so the smaller tall ship made sense, especially when it had a cruise that included our bucket list of places to see in Greece.
We did our research and ... Read More
We had never cruised previously because we did not like the idea of a floating city, so the smaller tall ship made sense, especially when it had a cruise that included our bucket list of places to see in Greece.
We did our research and knew what to expect, and the Star Flyer exceeded in most regards, especially the food!
If tons of activity and entertainment is your goal, this isn't your best bet. If peaceful evenings on deck with no sounds but the wind thru the sales, and an intimate, yet casual setting for meals is what you like, this is for you.
The group on board is small enough that mutual respect wins out over fighting for the best deck chairs or tables at dinner. The majority seemed to be seasoned travelers that know how to act in this setting and very friendly when sharing a table or space at the bar.
So nice when the cruise director can address EVERYONE at the same time regarding excursions and ship-board fun.
I don't think we'll ever take a trip on a large mega-ship! This setting was too perfect for us Read Less
Did this cruise two years ago on L'Austral. It was so good we re-booked and took our adult children on with us this time on Le Laperouse. This trip was even better! The new ship is beautiful. Love the cabins and public areas. The new ... Read More
Did this cruise two years ago on L'Austral. It was so good we re-booked and took our adult children on with us this time on Le Laperouse. This trip was even better! The new ship is beautiful. Love the cabins and public areas. The new Zodiac landing arm is amazing. When not in use for this purpose we had a champagne cocktail party on it as well as a concert by an opera singer as the sun was setting over the Indian Ocean. Magical. The expedition team were fantastic. Very knowledgeable and likable. Wonderful Captain and crew on board and sensational food. An incredible itinerary in such a beautiful remote area. We felt very privileged to be able to hike to some of the Aboriginal rock art sites. We are quite well traveled and cruise a lot and hands down this was the best trip we have ever done. Could not fault a thing. If you haven't been to the Kimberley be sea, I would highly recommend it with Ponant. Read Less
From start to finish our cruise was amazing. From the food to the tours to the cabins and staff, we had no complaints on our trip from Budapest to Vilshofen. Even when Mother Nature decided to change our plans (we were supposed to sail to ... Read More
From start to finish our cruise was amazing. From the food to the tours to the cabins and staff, we had no complaints on our trip from Budapest to Vilshofen. Even when Mother Nature decided to change our plans (we were supposed to sail to Nuremberg but the river was too low) they made sure that not only could we go on our previously chosen off ship tours, they made sure we had the option to tour a more local spot for those who didn’t want a long bus ride to their original tour choices.
Speaking of which, the tours were interesting, educational, varied and nearly every single port had something for everyone. And when it didn’t. Stay on the ship and watch the beautiful scenery pass you by! Not to mention the amazing food and lovely lounge pianist. There’s even a pool you can relax and enjoy, plus a fitness room and on board massage therapist as well as a hairstylist if you want to pamper yourself.
We highly recommend this tour to anyone considering it! Read Less
A few weeks ago, we cruised aboard MS Insignia. It has been several years since we have been on Oceania (due to retirement plans). We were looking forward to two things: The voyage to Cuba and how the line has fared in the years since ... Read More
A few weeks ago, we cruised aboard MS Insignia. It has been several years since we have been on Oceania (due to retirement plans). We were looking forward to two things: The voyage to Cuba and how the line has fared in the years since we last travelled with them.
First things first, the trip to Cuba was cancelled. Not Oceania’s fault, as it hit all the cruise lines hard. We had originally booked a low deck porthole cabin for this trip. Once the Cuba trip was cancelled, Oceania came back to us with a very nice package of monies returned AND possible upgrades. We chose an upgrade (which we paid for), to Concierge level.
We spent a few days in South Beach, pre cruise, and then boarded Insignia. We were very pleased with the refurb that the ship had just finished. Beautiful and elegant in all aspects of this small ship. This was our 65th cruise and have been on many lines, but must say that the small ship feel was really nice.
Our cabin was a nice size with lots of storage space, very nice balcony and great amenities. We spent more time on this balcony than many other ships from our past. The bathrooms are very small; particularly the shower, but we are not large people, so it did not affect us. Our cabin stewards were excellent, exceeding our expectations. Bottled water was placed in our cabin each day and always kept full. Bottled water is filtered aboard ship and replaced each day in your cabin (included).
You can walk the entire length of this ship within two-three minutes. We were on Deck seven, so we were always two decks up to the Terrace Café and Pool, or two decks down to the Main Dining Room. There are two shops, a very tiny lobby and several areas to enjoy drinks or relaxation. The library on Deck 10 was a beautiful place to relax and read. The days of libraries like this on most ships are gone.
The Show room area was very spacious and was used for several different events during the voyage. This ship has very limited entertainment. A pianist in the evening, along with a quintet of strings. The main show was always at 9:45 p.m., when most of the ship had gone to bed. The entertainment was okay, but we did not go to more than one show. There is also a stunning view lounge on the upper decks with wonderful views of the ocean. The times we went there to enjoy an after dinner drink, it was usually empty!
The FOOD is what we were most anxious to try as we had remembered it being outstanding from a previous cruise. We were not disappointed in any of the venues on board. The two specialty restaurants are included in the price, but you only get one shot at each of them (unless you are a Suite guest). Both Toscana and the Polo Grill were outstanding, each in their own way. The quality of the food, presentation and service were all excellent.
The Main Dining Room was excellent too, with a wonderfully diverse menu each evening and great service. Very nice wine lists in all outlets also helped. We enjoyed breakfast in the MDR several times, and again, was top notch.
The Terrace Café is the buffet. It is not very big, nor is there a large selection. We did feel, however, that the food offered was very nice quality and we enjoyed it. We especially enjoyed the great cheeses each day (which were not the processed goo that you get on most ships). Sitting outside on the ship’s fantail, was really nice, especially in the Caribbean setting.
The pool restaurant served very nice sandwiches and grilled items cooked to order. Also, it had a daily fruit and salad bar, along with some of the best ice cream and shakes at sea.
Our ports of call were not the reason we stayed with this cruise after Cuba was cancelled. Key West, Roatan, Belize and Costa Maya (which had to be skipped due to high winds) were all okay. We had been to most of them, so we didn’t do any excursions.
I could write many pages about this ship, but need to conclude by saying we look forward to travelling with Oceania again in our cruising future. IF you like the small ship experience, you will love this ship!!
Thanks again to all members of the crew that made our week go by way too fast! Read Less
One of my bucket list items and this trip did not disappoint. Even though we had to make 2 different ship changes due to the damaged lock, the crews were all amazing and handled the transitions flawlessly. We didn't lose a single ... Read More
One of my bucket list items and this trip did not disappoint. Even though we had to make 2 different ship changes due to the damaged lock, the crews were all amazing and handled the transitions flawlessly. We didn't lose a single excursion. Ships were immaculately maintained and all crew from the cabin stewards to the captains were top notch. The ships extra amenities at a small fee were exceptional offering everything from hair dressing to workout rooms to massages to laundry. Our cruise director Silvia ensured that everyone was well informed and looked after. This company provides a full service with all meals, drinks, excursions, air fare, transfers and tipping were included in our package price so we never had to spend a cent on board and oh yeah did I mention we had use of a personal butler as well - it just doesn't get any better than this. The food preparation, quality, quantity and presentation were all superb. Both my wife and myself have food allergies and the Maitre D' stopped by our table at almost every meal to ensure we were properly taken care of. A printed copy of every day's menu was delivered to our room with food items redacted on the menu that we were not supposed to eat leaving nothing to chance. Wait staff was amazing offering top rate service with a smile and good humor. Th selection of excursions ensured all people regardless of desires or abilities could be accommodated and they were fabulous with stops from small old towns to large cities (Vienna, Budapest). E-bikes available to anyone who wished to use them - free of course. Everything on board was ultra modern. Th dining room, lounge and even the cabins were well appointed and spacious. We had a balcony suite which I would highly recommend. These trips are not cheap but do not use a budget carrier go with the best use Scenic. Read Less
Scenic were recommended to us by friends that had previously done the Jewels of Europe Cruise. It truly meets their promise of all inclusive cruising. We have hardly put our hand in our wallet for the past two weeks. The onboard dining ... Read More
Scenic were recommended to us by friends that had previously done the Jewels of Europe Cruise. It truly meets their promise of all inclusive cruising. We have hardly put our hand in our wallet for the past two weeks. The onboard dining and bar service was fabulous along with all the entertainment provided. Huge range of foods available for different tastes and dietary requirements.
Scenic spare no expense when organising the land tours providing several choices at each port. We had private bus transfer and usually had priority netrance to most attractions, saving the frustration of queuing. Even provide water bottles for us to take on excursions.
Our cruise director, Patrik, was very knowledgeable and was always available if you required extra information or assistance.
We Will definitely choose Scenic again in the future when planning our next holiday.
The 'all inclusive' nature of the Scenic Cruise makes it good value as we haven't had to purchase any drinks or extra land tours. Read Less