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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We had cruised December last year on Viking Sea to Cuba. Our friends from cold northern US wanted to go to the Caribbean and this cruise had a different island per day with no sea days. We got cabins on 5th floor near the free ... Read More
We had cruised December last year on Viking Sea to Cuba. Our friends from cold northern US wanted to go to the Caribbean and this cruise had a different island per day with no sea days. We got cabins on 5th floor near the free laundry (including soap) as no noise and convenient to wash clothes . I think a laundry room on all cabin floors. Needed as Hot and at itmes muggy and hit the beach several times. Cabins seem like they have little storage but ask for more hangers and you will have plenty of storage. Bathroom floor is heated so if bathroom too hot ask your steward to turn the heat off. We asked for 4 towels a day as needed to wash off after beach and in AM. AC works beautifully. Verandas big enough and if want to lounge in sun, lots of lounge chairs and towels near the aft infinity pool and central pool. Infinity pool bromine I think and the central pool a salt water pool (notice how much more boyant you are.)One end of the pool is shallower than the other so you can stand up (if not too short). Both nicely warm. No fighting over lounge chairs so no need to come early and “stake your property” Neither pool ever have many people in it and usually then only to get wet and back to their lounge chair. We only took the included tours or got a private taxi-van. Most taxis are vans. On some included tours transport was packed tight and others lots of room to spread out. Usually morning tours more packed than afternoon. AC on all except Tortola with was an open tram (nice breeze and cool enough). San Juan: nice walking tour and covers all but the Morro fortress. We were there during the San Sebastian festival so the free tram from fort to fort not running. Tortola: incl tour: open air tram with spacious seating and great views. Pro and Con: 1.5 hr at Cane Beach and no way to bail and go back. Lovely white sugar white sand beach with tourqoiuse gentle water. There are umbrellas and lounge chairs you can rent or sit on some picnic tables in the shade or up in the shaded open deck restaurant for the cost of a drink. Tour gives a free rum punch or punch drink near the picnic tables. Nice restrooms, showers and changing rooms free there. Basseterre: We walked ato the end of the pier and got a $100USD total for van private tour of the island. (Lasted 4 hrs but no time limit) .Just keep walking off pier and prices get cheaper. Romney manor and batik making, black rocks, fort and many scenic view points. Castries: awesome long beach nearby. We took tranport offered by pier. They load you up tight in vans (the drivers get one load a day and 300 vans waiting to take people). About a 5min drive (or 2-3 mi walk) to the beaches- really only one beach with mulitple names. Set fee all transport for $5USD/pp. Again sugar white beach. Multiple establishments with drinks, umbrellas etc. Umbrella and 2-3 chair rental $20. Water gentle, turquoise. Beach fills up so come early. Some of us snorkeled- some fish seen. Shipwreck put for snorkeling you can swim to but many tour boats and many many snorkelers there with glass bottom boat meandering among the snorklers. Showers, restrooms and changing room free. Get back by telling your driver when you want ot come back or just walk out and someones van will be waiting . Bridgetown: inc tour: packed tight van/bus. Views of island Roseau: got a private tour for 4 $45/pp Went to other side of island and saw multiple falls St Johns: had a reservation to go out in a boat to a reef and get into the water and feed and stingrays for 9AM.Make reservation online-no money down and pay when you show up. Need to take a taxi out there. BUT was squalling and raining so cancelled the reservation. Took the incl tour to Shirely point old fort and magnificant views and then to the Nelso shipyards- 1700’s georgian working shipywards- neat old buildings,nice quick museum and awesome awesome yahts moored there. Free rum punch or punch drink. Spit rain on us once in a while but still a great day. Nice bus where we could spread out a bit Philipsburg: I wanted to go out to Cul de Sac bay and kayak and snorkel or take a water taxi out to an island there but I got overruled by my “crew” We instead went on the included tour. Bus big enough we all could spread out. A couple got on our bus instead of an optional tour at the same time- so check carefully what you are getting on. Drove around island and stopped at some scenic sites, stopped a working carosel (adults can ride too- can buy icecream) then on to a bay and craft market. Free rum punch or punch. Charlotte Amalie: My crew off to Coki beach to snorkel then maybe the included tour. I stayed and enjoyed hte salt water pool,only a few couples spread out on the lounge chairs. Pros and cons of boat Pros: -you see lots and lots of differnet islands- some rainforest and some very dry desert like, come with mangoose so no snakes or birds, some still exporting agriculture goods and some just tourist based. -no children -wonderful friendly crew -great food. I was not impressed iwth Mandifredi’s on both of my cruises but the men love it for the rib eye steak. Chef’s reataurant-wanderful if you like the menu. We did not drink either included or optional wine pairing. World buffet great as food same as Restaurant (check the menu to see if any differences ) and usually has the same food. Hamburger I got at the pool once was just so so. -drinks- only had water, hot and cold tea. My husband says the coke is the good real sugar type not the corn syrup variety. -secret- success cake in Mamsons is our favorite -Room and veranda pleasant. -in public areas or tovrasons- Guitarist was great. - Easy on and off boat even when tendering- well organized so no pushy people. -Pools- wonderful. Loved especially the central saltwater pool -record and play on entertainment system all shore talks and enrichment talks done on board -Wifi good for email. I didn’t try streaming Cons: -saltwater pool out of commission while painting for multiple days -entertainment system pauses( I timed at every 3 min), loose audio when restarts. So unpleasant to watch the shows which were actually probably very good. BBC, Ted Talks, Movie selection good but hard to watch. -entertainment limited. Music in public areas; Pianist (good), strings dueo-selections good but one of violinist strings seemed to need tuning, and acoustic guitarist- very good. Live shows in theater were only a few and even though the entertainers were cute my neices’s Boise ID high school productions had better singers. Suggestion: Seems rain is in AM and gone by 11AM. Plan accordingly. But if going to the beaches go early if not raining. Lots of lovely beaches on most islands. Do some internet searching and plan an early attack with a taxi. Feeding the sting rays (www.stingraycity.com) not on tour options and sorry we couldn’t go because of rain. You can reserve on your own but reveiws say after 10AM full from cruise ships. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
BACKGROUND INFO: We have done many cruises on many different lines, Silversea, Seabourn, Azamara, Celebrity, RCCL, Holland America, Paul Gauguin. We have done majority of our cruises on Silversea and wanted to see what Regent was all ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFO: We have done many cruises on many different lines, Silversea, Seabourn, Azamara, Celebrity, RCCL, Holland America, Paul Gauguin. We have done majority of our cruises on Silversea and wanted to see what Regent was all about since fellow Silversea cruisers spoke highly of Regent. You never know if a cruise line is for you unless you try it for yourself. We live in Florida so we didnt need a hotel or airfare for this cruise, we just drove to the port of Miami and parked across the street from the ship which was very convenient. EMBARKATION: It was a bit slower than usual for a smaller ship but I think that was because we arrived right when 2 buses pulled up filled with passengers from the local hotel. But considering the number of people arriving at the same time, we were process fairly quickly and easily. We stepped on the ship and were immediately greeted with a glass of champagne and were informed that our suites were already available so we made our way to our suite to drop off our hand luggage. CABIN: We had a deluxe veranda, suite 816, slightly forward of mid ship. Room is good size..comparable to the type of room we get on Silversea and Seabourn. This ship was refurbished a couple years ago we were told but there were elements in the room that didnt seem to have been changed. The cabinetry in the bathroom looked kinda old. The room was decorated nicely, but didn’t have a luxurious wow factor. Just nice. The room did lack in storage. There is a nice walk in closet typical of most luxury ships but it lacked storage in the room. Normally in the living area, there are drawers or some type of wall storage , but there was none. No shelving on either side of tv. And below tv, was just a desk, with a fridge on one side and a big cabinet full of glasses which is wasted space. Only 2 tiny drawers in bedside tables. We did like the high and large coffee table in front of sofa as it was perfect both in size and height for room service. Bed was very comfortable, one of the most comfortable on a luxury ship. Water pressure was great and we had fantastic suite attendants who maintained the room. Everything was always perfect. We could hear our neighbors a bit through the walls, which was a first for us. Usually we hear nothing. SHIP: . After unpacking we explored the ship. Its a nice ship and we could notice many of the public areas that had received refurbishment. But there seemed to be a disconnect in terms of style. In some places, it seemed kinda modern luxury, other places sort of French in style...didnt seem to flow well, but was still pretty and ship appeared to be in good condition. We loved the huge pool deck area with lots of chairs. Larger than what we expected but during the cruise we did find it difficult to find a couple chairs together. Pool was always packed and forget about trying to get a lounger in the shade along the sides....folks must get out there early to lay their claim. We also enjoyed that large walking track above the pool and the putting green, shuffleboard , croquet at front of ship. DINING: Food is very subjective but we found the buffets at breakfast and lunch to be lacking in variety compared to Silversea and Seabourn’s buffets. After a couple days we avoided the buffet. Normally for breakfast we ate at Compass Rose which is the main dining room and for lunch we always ate at the pool grill, both were pretty good. Nothing to write home about, but good. They seemed to shine when it came to dinner. Everything we had was very good. I thought the variety on the main dining room menu was better than Silversea and SEabourn. They have one side of the menu of items always available (same every night) and the other side is chefs specials. Food was excellent. It did seem that perhaps they are short handed in the dining room. Service was good, but waiters always seemed worn out and rushed due to the number of tables they were responsible for. The specialty restaurants were Sette Mari, (Italian), Chartreuse ( French)and Prime 7 (steakhouse). We ate all of them and found them all to be excellent! Service was probably the best at Sette Mari. My only complaint is their reservation system for reserving specialty restaurants. You have 2 mos before cruise to reserve a table at Prime 7 and Chartreuse. Once on board the first day, I tried to get a 2nd res at Prime 7 but was told no , that I had to wait until day 3 to ask for a second one. They want to give everyone a chance to eat there at least once. But in my opinion,everyone has had 2 mos to reserve a table, if you fail to plan your cruise, res should open to anyone first come first served once on board. They also are lacking table for 2... mostly big tables and we dont like to share tables. I dont want to meet strangers at dinner. So this was a big negative for us. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVIITIES: Typical of most luxury cruises, its a mix of the ship’s singer/dancers/performers and then random one man shows. We did all the ship’s performers nights but skipped all the other evenings. Their performers are good, but the productions are obviously not of the quality and wow factor of a bigger ship...so it was par for the course for a luxury cruise...entertaining but again nothing to write home about. The only show we skipped was one that was music from before our time. Same with the one man shows ...the content didnt sound interesting to us (46 and 51). The shows appeal to an older crowd, which is the majority of their clientele ...at least on our cruise, the average age was much older. We were definitely one of the youngest on board. We didnt participate in other activities such as trivia, bridge etc...all the usual ones... SERVICE: Regent truly excels here. Service was excellent across the board. We met a lot of wonderful crew members who treated us like gold....felt like we were good friends right from the beginning ! We had dinner one night with one of the ship’s officers and he couldn’t have been nicer. Sometimes, those dinners can be awkward and tedious trying to find common ground to discuss, but it was super easy and fun with him. EXCURSIONS: Excursions are included in price of cruise. We did excursions at every stop except for Grand Cayman and Key West. Excursions were fine, some better than others. OUr favorite was ATVs in both Cozumel and Costa Maya. Our least favorite was Mayan ruins in Belize...that was mainly because of the terrible old school buses they use ...extremely bumpy ride and it was a lot of driving. Couldn’t wait to be done with it. Harvest Caye Belize’s is a private island owned by Norwegian and its fantastic!!! we would love to go back. This place is beautiful with lots to do fo everyone . There’s a huge beach with hundreds of chairs, restaurants, bars, shopping, zip line, water sports....aviary...its awesome!!!! A must do!!!!! Wish we had skipped our excursion here and spent more time on the private island. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to give Regent a try. We do about 4-6 cruises a year on premium and luxury lines (Seabourn, SilverSea, Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, etc.). We have been watching for a Regent cruise to depart from our local ports ... Read More
We chose this cruise to give Regent a try. We do about 4-6 cruises a year on premium and luxury lines (Seabourn, SilverSea, Celebrity, Azamara, Paul Gauguin, etc.). We have been watching for a Regent cruise to depart from our local ports in FL and this one popped in and worked with our schedule. Boarding the ship at Terminal J in Miami was easy as usual. Boarding the ship was like the rest, champagne and a warm welcome. Suites were ready right away. The public areas on the ship are nicely appointed with a modern update on the aging ship (completed 2003). You can clearly see where the original features exist and where it has been updated in 2016 in its last refurbishment. For example, old marble, brass railings, heavy hard to open sliding veranda doors, plywood painted cabinets in the bathrooms compared to the modern furniture, carpets, linens and serving items. Soft renovation versus a hard one. Walking through the main areas upon entering the ship gave me hope that the ship had a nice modern style throughout, but entering the corridors and staterooms quickly changed that vision. The staterooms felt like stepping back in time to an old French hotel. The carpet we peeling away from the walls, separating at seams and sofa had stains. The bathroom had the original fixtures which were clean, but the cabinets were simply painted plywood, would close and looked very cheap. The wood in the stateroom was high gloss look and has permanent fingerprints all over. I tried to wipe them off. The size and layout is common and decent for a long cruise. The only frustration with layout was the lack of storage in the room. Aside from the walk-in closet with about 6 drawers there is no other usable storage in the stateroom. Under the sink was filled with extra supplies. The desk area is a fridge on one side and glasses and various other items on the other. You have two small tables on either bedside, but the drawers are too small to be practically used. Restaurants were all decent food wise, but not as good as SilverSea or Seabourn. Steaks are all pre-cooked and just re-fired for warmth and sometimes barely warm. Sides and desserts were better than the main courses I tried. Wine and other beverage selections were quite good. The buffet areas at La Veranda and the Pool Grill are very narrow and get quite crowded. The salad area and cold fixings area food were warm, never kept cold and crisp. Other food in both areas were great. Bars were a lot of fun and most times get good crowds for socializing. Music options are all venues were quite good. Entertainment casts were good, but not like you'd find on a big ship. To me that isn't a bad thing per se. Large ships have bigger budgets and venues were smaller ships often have good talent who work within the smaller venues and theaters. No complaints on entertainment, just observational comparison. At the end of the day it was the amazing crew and passengers that made the cruise for us. Crew was very friendly, service attentive and professional. Passengers were a good mix of ages from 40's on up to still living and most were quite social. Ports of call and excursions were good for the places we visited and no complaints there. I would do Regent again, but I would prefer not to go back to Voyager unless the itinerary is unique and bucket list worthy. We did hear multiple staff say that since NCL bought Regent the focus has been primarily on money and not passenger experience. Miami based cruises get a lot of corporate guests from NCL and crew feel the pressure. Some worry that the few years under NCL has made a dent in Regent's luxury offerings and worry it won't make them better in the long run. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The reason Sojourn gets even 4 stars from me is the staff - 5 stars, for sure. Outstanding service everywhere, consistently. The only exceptions were Head Sommelier and Somm in The Grill. Neither one were knowledgeable about available ... Read More
The reason Sojourn gets even 4 stars from me is the staff - 5 stars, for sure. Outstanding service everywhere, consistently. The only exceptions were Head Sommelier and Somm in The Grill. Neither one were knowledgeable about available premium wines. When asked about a premium listing on the MDR wine list, Head somm replied, "I don't know. I've only been on board 2 weeks." Wrong answer....And The Grill somm couldn't manage to pour a wine without spilling on the tablecloth or give any other description than "it's oaky". Overall, though, it appears the staff has adjusted to being both wine server and food server. They presented their two bottles for the night (which according to those servers I asked, 80% of passengers accepted) and if we wanted something else (I managed to get a complimentary wine list after 1 week of asking), it was cheerfully found and presented. Although halfway through the voyage, they ran out of most of my favs. However, what was more disappointing for me was the food quality and the overall tired appearance of the ship. She is really showing her age. It's not a lack of cleanliness, it's a lack of freshness, of an updated look. The MDR looks like a canteen. Yikes. Everywhere you see signs of lack of maintenance, in carpeting, in furniture, on the balconies, the bathrooms. The food was pretty much a bummer. I've always loved SB (we're Platinum) but this first cruise after 2 years was an eye-opener and not in a good way. The food has slipped to just average, not suitable to a luxury line. In the MDR, where we ate about 80% of our evening meals, the descriptions sounded good but execution was lacking. Often, on busy nights when the kitchen was slammed, there was an hour or more wait before main course arrived. Then, the sauce was often coagulated, as though it was sitting under a warming light, waiting for the protein to be plated. The Colonnade dinners, with exception of Thomas Keller nights, were generally really bad. We had a Japanese theme one night. The Miso soup was NOT miso soup - no miso in it, a brown murky mystery broth with green vermicelli noodles and carrot pieces. When I asked our waiter about it, he said, "The chefs must follow the recipes from corporate. You should write corporate a letter." That same night, my tuna (med rare as requested) was so tough I couldn't cut it and my husband's teriyaki beef was so salty, he couldn't eat it - and he is very salt tolerant. To make matters worse, they ran out of a lot of stuff halfway through, because we didn't land in Mombasa (due to worries about political unrest and violence) and therefore were missing the container we were supposed to load there. Then they couldn't get the container across the border to any of our next stops. ???? That's their story and they're sticking to it. They did not choose to buy any of the gorgeous fruit available in all our ports; instead of nice ripe mangos, papayas, bananas, etc, we had oranges and grapefruit and grapes. People took to asking buffet staff to hide papaya and berries for them under the counter, until that supply also ran out. Same with greek yogurt - they began doling it out on an 'as requested' basis and finally ran out. Also ran out of romaine lettuce and many other items. The scrambled eggs kept getting whiter and whiter as the days went on (powdered egg added?) since they were saving 'real' eggs for poached and fried. The food simultaneously took a turn for the worse. Since they had the identical menus in MDR the second half of the trip(Seychelles to Capetown) as first half, Singapore to Capetown, it was easy to compare the differences. Maybe chef also changed? I don't know, but for example, we started getting fish raw and beef over done, and the sides were also not good. The Galley lunch first half of cruise was excellent, the second half almost everything was inedible, especially the sushi and sashimi. I must admit we did not resort to special orders. Some of our new friends were special ordering 3-4 course menus every night in MDR when they didn't eat in Keller. That seemed to work out well for them. Shore excursions: We booked all independently, as always. Prices are very high and people who took ship excursions were mostly disappointed. For example, we did a private tour to Addo Elephant Park for less than what the ship charged. We got a private vehicle for just us two, with game viewing AM and PM, lunch in between. Ship passengers got an AM tour with a big coach, lunch and then almost no time in PM for any more game viewing. Our cabin (730) was adequate, just very tired and worn looking. Our suite attendant was excellent and kept everything clean and our mini bar filled with our requests (lots of San Pellegrino and fresh limes). Storage space seemed tight, after other luxury ships we've been on in the meantime, but we made do, and found room for everything. So despite all of this, would we consider SB again? Maybe not on this ship, but yes, I think we would, because we met so many great people and the amazing service made up for a lot. Maybe that's how SB gets away with the slippage in food and not updating the older ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to ... Read More
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to be one of the best aspects. We saw the elusive northern lights twice, pretty but not spectacular, and the trip would have been almost as good without them. London in January isn’t for tourists seeking green lawns, sunny skies and shirtsleeve temperatures, but it wasn’t awful; mostly 40s F, rain off and on, and the most pleasant aspect was lack of summer vacation hordes. The hotel, Royal Horse Guards is perfectly fine, and in a superb Central London location. The guide, Don Brown, was with us the entire time, and of many fine Viking guides over several years and 5 cruises, he was absolutely the best! The tour sites; Churchill War Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Blenheim Palace, and Bletchley Park, could not have been more fascinating. Transfer to Tilbury to begin the cruise was effortless. The first couple of days in the North Sea were quite expectedly adventurous, and not for faint hearted or weak mid-sectioned amateur sailors. Lots of Vikings stayed in staterooms, and many who appeared were quite pale and subdued. Luckily, we haven’t ever become seasick. Between Stavanger and Bodo we entered the Norwegian Inside Passage and the rest of the cruise was like a quiet lake. The onboard experience was mostly up to Viking’s very high standard. Food was superb. Entertainment was better than average, particularly guest pianist/singer Tom Seals. Staff built snowmen on the rear deck; a fun photo-op! Some shore tours could have been better planned on this inaugural cruise. There was quite a lot of uncomfortable bus riding in the dark. Luckily we brought clothing suitable to the Arctic; had we not, some tours would have been miserable. Our best shore tours were a family visit near Tromsø although the tour description did not mention outdoor fun and thus we were notprepared clothing-wise. Sami reindeer camp near Alta -22F, the Ice Hotel near Alta, cathedral concerts in Bodo and Tromsø, and husky dogsled riding were also great. A 19th Century Island village near Bodo was also interesting and fun. The Alta museum offered spectacular views and interesting displays. We did get the feeling that with Viking’s recent rapid expansion, possibly some shortcuts are being taken, and that attention to service and plannning detail might have slipped a bit. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, ... Read More
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, which includes a visit to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, and which also has extensive educational opportunities and onboard lectures given by knowledgeable Cuba experts was deeply important in our choice. The Viking Star is considered a small ship at a maximum 900 passenger capacity. This was immediately appreciated upon embarkation, which went flawlessly and we were processed and onboard ship within 15 minutes. We took the Viking two-day extension in Miami, which included a five hour panoramic drive through the city, including a stop at Calle Ocho and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on the day of embarkation. Arriving onboard ship, we were delighted to find our cabin ready and our steward available to deliver our luggage and address any of our concerns. The in-cabin experience was enhanced by our Steward, "K," and he went the extra mile to ensure our comfort. Unfortunately, the ship's digital system, including interactive in-cabin monitor, live TV, movies and recorded lectures and entertainment given in the theater crashed during the last three days of the cruise, which we found regrettable, since we couldn't catch up with any of the events we missed during the cruise. We found the dining aboard the Star to be excellent, with an ample variety of dishes and wines that changed daily, both in the Restaurant and up in the World Cafe, the casual buffet venue. We also had dinner in Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, which is included in the cruise. The food at Manfredi's is fresh and abundant, and we ended up ordering half portions because the regular size is astronomical. The complementary wine or beer at lunch and dinner is a fantastic feature, as the house wines change each day, giving us a wonderful tasting experience. The servers at all the dining venues were eager to please, and took time to get to know our preferences. Not having children onboard Viking cruises also makes the voyage more enjoyable. On land in both Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, we took the complementary city tours, which we found to be average and not really worth the three hours. Sitting in a bus, that travels at high speed through the city, doesn't really give one the smells, taste and feel for the people of Cuba. The mandatory stops at cigar and rum shops ate up whatever free time we had. In Cienfuegos, my wife and I went off the grid and hired a private pedicab with driver to give us a personal tour of the city. This three hour tour included many places not covered by the complementary tour, and we stopped numerous times to meet and greet the REAL people of the city. My fluency in the Spanish language helped us to take full advantage of the driver's personal knowledge of his hometown, and we were able to meet many of his associates at local haunts. This direct contact with the Cuban people was what we were after when we chose the cruise. My only advice is to settle on a price BEFORE hiring a private tour guide. This is hard to do, as many of the private tours don't have posted prices or tour descriptions. However, Jordan, our pedicab driver gave us a private tour of a lifetime, and we gladly paid him $60 for the personal service he provided. In Santiago de Cuba, we only had a few hours, but the tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, was truly amazing.and well worth the time spent there. The educational lectures and round tables are exceptional. The topics covered were truly current and topical on Cuban history, culture and arts. This is a hallmark of Viking Cruises, and a good reason why Viking remains as one of the best ways to the immersion into the local ports visited. Being on a small ship makes the voyage comfortable and uncrowded all onboard venues. Even though we didn't dock at the two ports, the four tenders got us off the ship and back on very efficiently. The digital glitches were unfortunate, but, in contrast to other cruise lines, Viking delivers a good cruise value. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Ship. Words that come to mind about the ship: refined, tasteful, understated, quiet, slow-paced. This description could also be about fellow passengers, with the addition of "very friendly" and "good company." At age ... Read More
Ship. Words that come to mind about the ship: refined, tasteful, understated, quiet, slow-paced. This description could also be about fellow passengers, with the addition of "very friendly" and "good company." At age 77 I'd guess (and it's only that) that I was younger than the median age of fellow cruisers. This is definitely not a cruise for the middle-aged or younger. By way of contrast, the Viking Sea itself is only a couple of years old, and in almost-like-new condition. Our cabin (see separate section) was excellent and Wi-Fi worked fine, as did the TV (though no CNN). One nice touch the ship has is original art hanging throughout. We used a book in our room to go around an look at all or most of it. (Unfortunately this is not a book you can buy or take with you, we were told.) A lot of the artists are Scandinavians, but not all. There's also an app you can use for your art tour, but I could not get it to work satisfactorily. Only negative was one picture in the back of The Restaurant that was hung upside down, and which I suggested they correct. For me the dining experience was top drawer. I had only one entree that was just average, though my wife had a couple in that category. We ate in the main dining room, called "The Restaurant," except for one night at the Chef's Table and two nights at Manfredi's Italian restaurant. We also ate some lunches at the Pool Grill, very good, and twice, once for lunch and once for breakfast, at Mamsen's, which I'd say was the weakest dining venue. The World Cafe was great for lunch and breakfast, and offered some theme buffets in the evening (e.g., Caribbean, Indian) that we did not visit. Overall, excellent dining -- the best cruise ship food we've ever had. The service was adequate, though sometimes harried in The Restaurant. I should add that we used room service for breakfast five or six days. The deliveries were on time, and the hot food arrived hot. Excellent service. Beverages. House wines are included at lunch and dinner. We tried them a time or two and they were fine for us. However, we'd ordered the "Silver Spirits" beverage package for about $20 per day per person. This gives you access to a greater variety of wines, and also all the spirits and wine you want to drink at other times (except for higher priced wines and spirits). If between the two of you (assuming a couple travelling together), you are going to drink more than six drinks a day, outside of lunch and dinner, or just want more choices at lunch and dinner, I think the package would be a good deal. It definitely was for us. Enrichment. A "historian" made some presentations, and the ones we attended I give a grade C. We went to the first "port talk," but didn't think it was worth it so never went to another. They also had a "former ambassador" as a lecturer, but we did not attend any of his talks. They also had a number of "educational seminars," which were obviously designed to sell you stuff, like jewelry, facial treatments, etc. We skipped those "opportunities." (Thankfully, there were no art auctions, no photos, and no gambling casino.) Entertainment. Weak. They had a small house band and four house singers, along with some musicians who played classical (or like) in the lounges in 45 minute sets from time to time. The performers were all very good, but variety was definitely lacking. Don't take this cruise for entertainment. However, I want to add that Cruise Director Jenna was outstanding, with a beautiful singing voice, the life of the party (so to speak), and very friendly all the time. Pool areas were fine. We did not visit the Spa. Guest Services Desk. Unhelpful and not particularly friendly. Questions normally answered "yes" or "no", with no attempt get into any details for you or go out of the way to help out. Shore Excursions. This cruise was in the Caribbean, which limits what you can do. Water activities, such as sailing and snorkeling are probably the best bet, but we did only land tours. Our expectations were low (we've spent a lot of time in the Virgin Islands), so we were not particularly disappointed. However, we did have a couple of bad experiences, once being abandoned by our bus driver (Toppers Rum and Beach Getaway excursion, which included a mediocre "lunch" at the Blue Bitch Bar) and another that ran way over time that my wife was on by herself and caused me some worry when no one could tell me why she was not back on the ship when she should have been. (Viking did give us a 50 percent refund for the former tour, but we had politely complained and I am not sure if others on the tour received the same refund.) In both cases good communications between the ships excursion desk and the tours would have made a huge difference. We did both "included" and pay-extra tours. If you take the included three hour "Tortola Scenic Tour & Beach" excursion, be prepared for an hour's rough ride in the back of a large pick-up truck on bench seats, an hour at a mediocre beach, and an hours ride back, with a brief stop at an old rum distillery. The most interesting experience we had was the "Dominican Herb & Vegetable Garden" excursion on Dominica. It was not exactly as described in the brochure, but did get us to boyhood home of the tour guide, whose mother fixed us a variety of food from their garden, and who (the tour guide) gave us a good feel for local life. Cruise Summary. This is not a cruise for those who like lots going on. On the other hand, if quiet, good food, an excellent ship, and a very laid back atmosphere are for you, I can recommend. Unlikely we'd take Viking again any time soon, but you never want to say "never". Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
New Zealand and Australia have been on my wife and my bucket list for a while and we did it on this cruise. It was as beautiful as we hoped. As was our cruise ship the Silver Muse. It is a new ship and very well done. Our cabin was ... Read More
New Zealand and Australia have been on my wife and my bucket list for a while and we did it on this cruise. It was as beautiful as we hoped. As was our cruise ship the Silver Muse. It is a new ship and very well done. Our cabin was exceptionally well laid out and the crew was very very friendly. It was obvious that Silver Seas has put their best onboard. For example, I normally have a night cap of Baileys Irish Cream and coffee in our cabin every night but the coffee maker was for espresso and not American coffee. But I found a bartender just down the hall that listened to me and prepared my night cap exactly the way I like it every night. Each crew member we passed smiled and said hello. Embarkation was somewhat disorganized. Check in on the dock was quick but we did arrive at a time where there were not very many people. But it was not complete. We had to do some further check in on the ship and this was a bottleneck. There were only four lines to service guests and they were backed up. Disembarkation was very easy. But again we were staying at a hotel in Auckland and did not have to leave with a lot of people. We tend to eat in our cabin but there are lots of dining venues. I was able to get sushi for lunch one day by just walking in and sitting down. Unfortunately the sushi rice was like the kind you get in a supermarket, not very good. We did not do any of the speciality dining but the main dining room was beautiful and all the food on board was very good. Except maybe for the hamburgers, in this day of gourmet burgers these were pretty bland. But then there were the pizzas, best we have had. Also, the lobster was just OK. Kind of hard to describe but while not badly prepared it was a little tough. One big problem for me. I have a gluten allergy that causes me to break out if it eat it. I spent most of the cruise broken out, meaning I was getting gluten, so if you are celiac i would not cruise on this ship. We did not do any of the silver Seas tours but heard complaints from other passengers. We also heard from one couple in a Silver Suite like us but on deck 9 that were kept up till midnight because they were under the kitchen for the Grill. They could not get another Silver Suite but had to sleep in a smaller cabin and spend the day in their suite. I would not stay on deck 9 under the area around the pool and kitchen because of all the activity. The biggest negative on the ship was the entertainment system. Watching involved a lot of buffering. In other words having what you are watching pause while the system caught up. I mean a lot, at times every few minutes. This happened for onboard movies, “live” feeds, and even the bridge camera. We even had the system get in a mode where it took over a minute to respond to a click on the remote. A reset took care of that but no amount of resets took care of the buffering problem. In addition, the system was hard to use. There was no easy way to navigate a movie and the home button on the remote did not take you home on the system. Overall we enjoyed our cruise. Having such a nice cabin and crew more than made up for the other issues we ran into. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed ... Read More
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed twice before (as the Royal Princess!) and had loved! The ship is a perfect size for those of us who like a smaller number of passengers. I thought the redo of the interior was fine. The "living room" is a very popular spot to hang out during the sea days with the loungers always in demand. Passengers "save" seats so I was not able to try them. The following are my impressions of the cruise: .Cabin 7100---awkward furniture, was always moving the coffee table to get to veranda or loveseat, plastic shower curtain made shower dark and liked to wrap around the body.. Ship shore excursions---too expensive. arranged tours online with private vendors for all ports. .Service--room steward great, staff friendly, buffet staff attentive, Discoveries staff needs more training (multiple use of seating charts, we were "forgotten" about during our meal several times and sat for 20+ minutes waiting to be checked on .Dinning/food---BUFFET food greatly improved, theme of buffet advertised daily in program, DISCOVERIES menu posted outside restaurant only so had to make trip to check its menu before deciding where to eat daily, menu lacking in variety and food was not outstanding, no soufflé/bananas foster/prime cuts of meat/lobster. Main dinning room has suffered from having specialty restaurants as only place to enjoy those foods. AQUALINA specialty (ate X2) no change in menu from one week to the next, soufflé outstanding but majority of food did not stand out. Two brunch meals in Discoveries were outstanding events! Chocolate buffet was crowded due to small venue area. .Activities--daily activities have not changed in 15 years. I spoke to Tony the cruise director two times about this and he was very receptive to my criticism. Enjoyed: ABBA dance night, photo contest/lectures from professional staff photographer, enrichment lectures (including NASA lecturer who hosted eclipse viewing) , movie nights, Polar club. HIGHLIGHTS Azamazing event & White night party! All in all this was an exciting itinerary! Was happy with the change of dress to "country club casual". The ship captain was very interactive with guests and went out of his way to maneuver ship for exceptional scenery viewing. Would recommend this itinerary/ship with the knowledge that dinning in Discoveries is not a highlight. I hope this review helps other cruise lovers pick their next adventure! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We liked this cruise because we don’t typically want days at sea. This was a St. Maartin to Barbados. Cruise was 7 nights which is short but perfect for us, especially on a ship with few entertainment options. The food was outstanding ... Read More
We liked this cruise because we don’t typically want days at sea. This was a St. Maartin to Barbados. Cruise was 7 nights which is short but perfect for us, especially on a ship with few entertainment options. The food was outstanding but selection was pretty much exactly the same each day. Occasionally an extra different main dish was offered in most restaurants. We would have liked to have some local food recipes offered but this was not the case. We could have been sailing anywhere in the world and have the same menus. For example, none of the restaurants offered any spicy food , jerk recipes, etc, EACH OF THE Caribbean ports had beaches. Seabourn did not offer excursions on many of the ports. We did book a third party 7 hour snorkel, hike, swim option with Adventure Antigua which was terrific and less expensive than what was offered by the ship. We were in a V4 room near the bow of the ship. Rm 702. It was a lock off from a large suite at the bow, but we never heard any noise from them. The only noise issue we had was a couple of nights/early morning from raising or lowering the anchor. Obviously that didn’t last long. Even though the ship was fully booked we never felt crowded. There were lots of nooks and places to hang out where we were virtually alone. The only issue around this is that there’s is only one small pool and most of the time it was full of people standing in it with cocktails. Impossible for a swim. One thing that we liked was several hot tubs on different decks. We didn’t see any children on the ship except babes in arms and that would make sense as there was little for young children to do. Entertainment was adequate. The singer and dancers were surprisngly talented but the shows weren’t very well staged and didn’t take advantage of it. Ship staff and management were always available and frequently took the time to stop and chat. The first night we had issues wth getting waited on in a timely manner but on the second day when we were asked for our feedback, mentioned that, and never had a problem again. WiFi was quite good every day. We were offered free WiFi with our cruise price and we were happy to have it. There were also several computers on board in the library/ coffee shop area which were rarely in use but a great option. My husband was always able to get live football games that he didn’t want to miss. We would choose deck 7 again as it was convenient to everything. We would probably choose mid ship or the aft, given a choice again ,as it is closer to access to coffee bar, elevators to other restaurants, library and guest services.. but the ship is so small that the bow of the boat was fine. Room service is available all day and always arrived promptly and the food was hot. On our final day we were planning to stay at the last port. Since we had to,leave the ship early and couldn’t check in until late, we took a Seabourn excursión that ended at the airport that day because they carried our luggage. At the end of the excursion, we simply collected our luggage and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. This worked really well as we were able to see the island that we were disembarking on during the gap and could just enjoy the beach on our last couple of days of vacation. We felt that there was good value for the money, especially after staying before and after in hotels in the Caribbean. We would take Seaborn again, but would probably stick to their shortest trips due to lack of variety in food and entertainment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Three ports in Cuba, three days in Havana. . .all were enticing! Our first cruise on Azamara, a little pricey, but we were determined to make the trip. As others have said, we, too, were led to believe that you needed to participate in the ... Read More
Three ports in Cuba, three days in Havana. . .all were enticing! Our first cruise on Azamara, a little pricey, but we were determined to make the trip. As others have said, we, too, were led to believe that you needed to participate in the high-priced Azamara excursions every day in order to comply with both U.S. and Cuban rules for U.S. visitors. Not true. Although we did three tours because we wanted to, on other days we sought to comply with the people-to-people commitment on our own. Basically, the Cubans care about what you bring into Cuba, but generally not what you do while there. U.S. government cares what you are doing while in Cuba, but were really lax when we returned with no one even asking what we had to declare. Go figure. A couple of months before the trip, the number of days in Havana was reduced to 2 days--disappointing--but apparently beyond control of Azamara. Same for need to be tendered, not docked, into Santiago de Cuba. Tendering took 20 minutes from ship to dock, and was well handled by the crew. For us, Labadee, Haiti--the private resort owned by Azamara's owner, Royal Caribbean--was wasted on us. Azamara passengers appear to average age 72, and I cannot imagine they took advantage of all the outdoor activities offered--again at high prices--or even just lie on the beach for a full day. There was even a charge for a nature walk around the resort. Really?! Lunch BBQ was great--avoid the food set out in the sun--but saddened by watching the under-nourished and water-denied dogs wandering about. Come on, Royal Caribbean. . .even if these animals are owned by locals, put out food & water, and perhaps have them spayed. Since this ship is the original, but refurbished, R6 (now-defunct Renaissance Cruises), we felt very comfortable having traveled on the R1. The Club Veranda Stateroom was very nice. A few minor negatives: smallish bathroom, poor quality of TV set image, magnifying bathroom mirror was fine if passenger is over 5'7". Large comfortable bed, ample storage space, a zillion hangers in a lighted closet, incredible steward service, free self-service laundry (on level 7). Public areas were comfortable and always clean. Discoveries dining room (main) is large and can be noisy--come early or late to avoid this. Service is wonderful, and the food is good quality. Because of size, however, the occasional buffet there can get a little chaotic. The more casual dining option, Windows Cafe, is always buffet, but better passenger flow. Food is tasty but some items can be more cafeteria-like. Once we saw the additional cost for the two specialty restaurants, we decided to stick with the dining that was included in fare. We're used to not being charged extra on Oceania and Celebrity. Oh, Internet was also extra--not so on Celebrity, Viking, or Oceania. Having been on small cruise ships, we do not expect Broadway shows or big entertainment events. The few singers were very good, although music selections were a little dated. The Azamara Orchestra is really a 4-man band. . .and they were excellent. The 24-year old leader plays piano and delivers witty repartee. The White Nights was much more to our liking with music and dancing from the 70s. Think most of the 600+ passengers turned out for this on-deck activity. There was one enrichment speaker for the whole trip: four presentations in ten days. He knew the material, but his delivery was deadly. I was not the only one who nodded off to sleep while the professor droned on. We will price Azamara voyages in future, but we might find better value for the same trip on Azamara's sister Celebrity ships. Yes, they are larger, but not one of the "Leviathan of the Seas" class ships! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Do not choose cabin 422. This backs onto where the crew work very noisy night and day, at night you get woken at 3am and it continues all day and night. This was our third Silversea's cruise and we enjoy their interesting ... Read More
Do not choose cabin 422. This backs onto where the crew work very noisy night and day, at night you get woken at 3am and it continues all day and night. This was our third Silversea's cruise and we enjoy their interesting itineraries, small ship size and all inclusive policy. They make it clear that even tipping is added to the cruise price so that you don't have to deal with that once on board. Almost all of the staff on board are very pleasant and well trained especially the service people to take care of the cabins. Also factored into the price was a ship board credit we received. We all know that these 'gifts' are not free and are instead factored into the price that we all pay, a way for the cruise line to support some of their on board amenities. Embarkation and disembarkation went smooth and easy. The included wines were good. The extra cost restaurant was excellent even though the menu did not vary, there were enough listings under the 6 courses that I ate 3 times and never exhausted the menu. Good ports of call Trip to Mustique could have done without the climb from the great Basil's bar to a small building where we were offered a make piece lunch and a drink, that most people declined, focusing on getting down again! Good food and drink Hot Rocks Le Dame La Terrazza Good entertainment The rest of the cruise was great, just that we were very tired. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the ... Read More
My husband & I chose this trip so he could take some CE and do a safari!. We booked the pre-cruise safari at Lion Sands River Lodge. While Oceania did not really do a good job with communicating our hotel info or flight info to the bush, it all worked out & the Lodge was amazing! We had 4 game drives and 1 bush walk. Pre-Safari, we booked a night at the Residence Boutique Hotel. The Residence is a beautiful, intimate hotel that used to be the Chinese Embassy. It is in a gated compound, very safe. They arranged for their driver to pick us us from the airport, gave us a driving tour of Johannesburg the next day, and delivered us safely to 54th of Bath Hotel booked by Oceania. 54th on Bath is a very nice hotel basic. I think it is part of the Omni Group. Breakfast was included and we all had omelettes. There were 8 from the Nautica going on Safari. Flight was quick and soon we were on our way to Lion Sands. Our time there was the highlight of our trip! We wished it was longer. Soon we were on a flight to Cape Town. we did not have time to see any of CapeTown precruise. We sailed roughly 1 hour after boarding. We were tired! We were in a "penthouse" cabin 8065. It was of course very small compared to the Marina penthouse cabins. I wanted to upgrade all along but the reasonable price upgrade was not offered until we were on safari & my travel agent said it was gone within minutes. Our butler, Vinod was a Gem! He helped with some dining problems and was just overall the best we have ever had. The food was very good in the main dining. My favorite thing was in Toscana, the Carbonara, but you have to eat it quickly because it seems to harden up. We had to request escargot in the MD. It was perfect. The escargot in Polo is soupy and neither of us cared for it. I not sure when it asks about excursions, aside from the Pre-Cruise safari, we booked everything privately because I do not like tour buses or large groups. If you do this cruise and you feel the same consider booking something through the ship while in East London (a place I will be blocking from my memory soon). We booked through Kevin Agram. We did not have him as our driver. Our driver knew nothing and insisted on taking us to the "townships" for 2 hours and then segregated beaches! It was the lowlight of our trip, having already seen them in every town we visited in South Africa. We did do great excursion through Red Dunes safari in Namibia, but if you want to see seals, book a catamaran tour. I heard they jump right on the boat! Richard's Bay & Durban we used Trinity Tours, Brian High. We went to several game reserves and same things as the ship but cheaper and we had a lovely dinner at the Oyster Box Hotel in Durban - don't miss the curry bar. Also do not eat Curry unless you at the Pot & Kettle in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Very good wine at Durbanville Sauvignon Blanc. $7 per bottle! In Mossel Bay, we used Tours for South Africa and went to Botlierskop Game Reserve (same as the ship) but much cheaper and included lunch. In Port Elizabeth, we used Afroventures Tours and had a wonderful day safari where we actually saw 3 lions!! When we came back to Cape Town we had a day tour to Stellenbosch to taste wines. It was late get started because of immigration problems or something. So we only got to see 1winery (Waterford - Excellent) and then we had dinner at the Wijnhose. I kept saying the winehouse & no one understood me! Excellent food and flights of wine. I would definitely go back to Stellenbosch. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and small ship size and we were not disappointed! We were aboard for 3 segments: Comprehensive Indonesia, Borneo and Philippines and Icons of S.E. Asia (Vietnam), all of which gave us an insight into ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and small ship size and we were not disappointed! We were aboard for 3 segments: Comprehensive Indonesia, Borneo and Philippines and Icons of S.E. Asia (Vietnam), all of which gave us an insight into the culture and beauty of the various ports and countries. We were fortunate to be in Vietnam during Tet (Chinese New Year) so we got to partake in many festivities, including the most amazing fireworks display in Saigon, where Star Legend was docked in the perfect location. We enjoyed all of our 37 nights, with the exception of crossing the South China Sea from Philippines to Hong Kong, which was very bumpy, but other than that we hardly felt any motion. We did a mixture of shore excursions, some with Windstar, but most booked independently after making connections through Cruise Critic, which significantly less costly. Our cabin 124 was perfect, low deck and mid ship and very comfortable. The housekeeping staff took care of us very well and the service from the wait staff and bar staff was great. Kudos to all the crew. Food was excellent in Amphora Reataurant and Candles as well as the deck BBQ, and room service was quick and hot when it arrived. The evenings were sometimes quiet as a lot of the guests retired early, but we enjoyed dancing on the Star Deck and trivia at Compass Rose most nights. The ship is in great shape for its age, well maintained and soft furnishings are very nice. We definitely recommend Windstar and plan to sail on Star Legend again after it had been refurbished and stretched to accommodate 300 guests. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate my 70th birthday. We had taken 4 Viking River Cruises previously and enjoyed them all and thought that the Ocean Cruise would also be enjoyable. We did an extension in Rome before the cruise and an ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my 70th birthday. We had taken 4 Viking River Cruises previously and enjoyed them all and thought that the Ocean Cruise would also be enjoyable. We did an extension in Rome before the cruise and an extension in Barcelona after the cruise. We were disappointed in the quality of the hotels in both cities. We had done extensions before and found the quality of the hotels much better than those in Rome and Barcelona. The Rome hotel location was fine but the hotel in Barcelona was far from a good location to explore the city. We had to take a taxi to see anything. We did a shore excursion to the Vatican in Rome. We had to wait 1 hour in the cold to get into the Vatican. Then another one half hour to get into the Vatican Museum. Once in the Museum we could only shuffle along pushed by the wall to wall crowd unable to stop to see anything. Viking should have warned us about the conditions. Except for the extension hotels and the Vatican, the experience on the cruise was great. The ship was beautiful; the food in the specialty and general restaurants were very good; our cabin was exceptional (and we paid dearly for it); the entertainment was fine for a cruise and the service was exceptional. Shore excursions were fine except for the Vatican. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose Silversea due to their reputation for service and chose Silver Wind in particular due to its small size and itinerary. We had a wonderful time and overall were very pleased with our cruise. Embarkation was AMAZING. We showed ... Read More
We chose Silversea due to their reputation for service and chose Silver Wind in particular due to its small size and itinerary. We had a wonderful time and overall were very pleased with our cruise. Embarkation was AMAZING. We showed up 45 minutes prior to the published embarkation beginning time and within 25 minutes were in La Terazza eating lunch! We kept staring at each other wondering how that happened...but we were so very grateful it did! We were fortunate that two weeks prior the Wind had undergone renovations to their rooms, which we found to be wonderfully appointed. The bed was dreamy and our refrigerator never ran out of champagne...how could anything NOT be good? Onboard entertainment was spotty, but we didn't choose the Wind for that...if that's your thing, choose another ship! Our only disappointment was New Year's Eve; we expected an evening of dancing and instead had a DJ playing kiddie-bop music in the theater...it was a real letdown. Dining was good. Clearly, not great, but good. We ate at La Dame twice and it was...good. Hot Rocks/The Grill gets really old really fast, but the first time was interesting and the food was...good. La Terazza was...good. I was personally disappointed by two things that would have meant so much more if they were done right: 1) We never were contacted about our preferences for what would be in our minibar. My wife had specific interests in if they stocked things, but we never were contacted and instead had to learn about it on the ship. And the answer was no...they didn't stock what she hoped to have. 2) It was my wife's birthday during the cruise and I filled out the necessary form identifying such. Her birthday came and went without any acknowledgement. It certainly didn't ruin our cruise, but it was a disappointment. Excursions were...good. Not much creativity in what they were and only one was excellent (the hiking in Bequia...it was awesome!). We chalked it up to a learning experience and will be more discretionary and inquisitive on our next cruise with SS. Our butler was very good. Sometimes not available, but overall he was available and very good. When my wife and I filled out the on-board survey for Silversea, we summarized it by saying "the service is excellent and the product is slightly above average". One final note: A BIG Thank You to my cruise critic friends for educating me about what to wear on NYE...I clearly felt more comfortable in my tuxedo! Thank you, everyone! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a ... Read More
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a maximum of 930 passengers. Check in was a breeze with 6 or 7 receptionists waiting for us instead of long lines. It is considered a luxury cruise ship and as such commands a very high initial cost for the cruise which must be paid in full much before the cruise embarks. However, this is partially compensated for with many inclusions not permitted on other cruise lines. We were permitted to bring alcohol aboard the ship. They also included wine and beer with all meals and excursions at each port of call. While onboard my wife and her our friend Ann went to a cooking class with the executive Chef of the ship and he liked them. There were two special dining venues THE CHEF'S TABLE and another upscale Italian restaurant. We were supposed to go only once during the cruise but because of the connection my wife, Nela and Ann made with the Chef were permitted to go 4 times, where he prepared his specialties and served them. They were absolutely amazing and I've never had better food on any ship. For an additional charge you could choose other excursions customized to your interests. I chose one on Cozumel said to be the 2d largest barrier reef for snorkeling, 185 miles long which was disappointing as I had expected a wall but found only scattered limestone reefs with only smaller colorful tropical fish. I saw no predators like sharks, barracudas or even sting rays, that I had seen snorkeling and Scuba diving. Though the personnel were very friendly it was not well organized. In the middle of the sea they required half our passengers to climb onto a boat that pulled alongside. I'd not recommend that excursion. However one excursion we went on was exceptional and I'd highly recommend that in Mexico called SALSA AND SALSA in which my wife I and two friends, first time cruisers were taken on a couple buses to a 2d floor high ceiling open air room in a hotel and sat at tables for 10 with many vegetables and a musher, which is a small dish with a rough bottom and a pestle for crushing and mushing the vegetables with various recipes into different Salsas. We were provided aprons, Chef's hats and unlimited. Margaritas and ingredients to make more. Our hostesses were two young Mexican girls in their 20's full of enthusiasm that kept things going. After eating varied Doritos and Salsa and too many home made Margaritas where we lost count the tables were removed and the floor cleared for dancing the SALSA. I would never call myself a dancer but after 6 or 7 Margaritas figured nobody cared and did my best. We all left totally sated, happy and ready to recover. The entertainment onboard the ship was very limited in variety and elaborate productions but made up for it with extremely talented musicians and singers. There was one quartet of 4 British singers that performed on 3 different nights once emulating ABBA, then BEATLES and finally 60's music. I talked to a few of the performers afterward and found they were not a professional group but were hired individually and the group would disintegrate after the cruise ended. It made me tear up thinking so beautiful would end. Even our Cruise director was a former professional Opera Singer with a voice so perfect I asked my friend if she wasn't lipsyncing and he assured me she was not. She was amazing at the New Year's celebration party. On board I enjoyed their lectures particularly one on Catapults showing how very ineffective walls are, no matter how strong or well guarded. The gym was small and basic but had all the essentials for a good workout. I liked the Steam, Sauna and Ice room. The ice room was a real treat. Short periods of stress are good for your health and excessive amount can kill you. In summing up overall I'd say this cruise was exceptional and one of the best I've been on, though expensive. I've been on more moderately priced ships that were very good and can honestly say I've never been on any vacation I did not enjoy though some more than others, so in the end you'll have to decide what you want for yourself. I always consider price an important factor when deciding on a service or product. I was an accountant by profession. I like quality at a reduced price. That what makes a good value. If you want everything to be nearly perfect and are willing to pay top price VIKING is a choice, you won't be wrong with, but if you'd want to go on two or more cruises on a less expensive ship for the same price, then Princess or Celebrity are excellent ships. I wrote this review for Cruise Critic not Viking Ocean cruise line because I read Viking's terms and conditions in which they stated they can edit comments possibly making my review Fake News instead of the honest one I wrote by editing out anything negative. I said, but believe cruise critic will condense it with my concerns to its essence. I hope this has been helpful. Paul, an experienced cruiser. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I choose this ship for its 6 stars, and the itinerary. Our reservations included the airfare. Sivlersea had us booked on a overnight United flight. Arrived in Ft. Lauderdale right after 6 AM. We were picked up at the airport and taken ... Read More
I choose this ship for its 6 stars, and the itinerary. Our reservations included the airfare. Sivlersea had us booked on a overnight United flight. Arrived in Ft. Lauderdale right after 6 AM. We were picked up at the airport and taken to a hotel for breakfast. The check in table at the hotel did not have our information. They were eventually able to provide us with a $20/ person coupon for breakfast. Restaurant was mediocre. We had to wait at the hotel until 12:15 to be taken to the ship. The bus ride was not well planned, lots of confusion. The check in at the ship went smoothly. Waited about 30 minutes for our room and another 2 hours for our luggage. The suite was very nice. Divided into a bedroom and sitting area. Nice size balcony. Walk in closet, with a dresser. Bed was very comfortable. The bathroom had a soaking tub and a shower. The service in the room was excellent by both the butler and the cleaning staff. I ordered breakfast most morings, which was delivered in 5 minutes. The quality of the food and wine ran from average to very good. They did have great icecream. We have traveled often on Crystal and found their food to be much better. Silversea have two specialty restaurants which charge an additional fee. We found the food to be of less quality then the regular restaurants. There were two specialty acts which we thought were very good, but the regular entertainers and shows were of poor quality. Two guest speakers were good. We choose to make our own tour reservations, which were excellent. Did go on one of Silversea's tour. Too many people, too much shopping, and too slow. The embarkation was slow and confusing. Should I cruise on Silversea in the future I would make my own arrangements. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We choose this cruise line and ship because friends raved about it and we enjoy luxury cruising. Sadly, we did not think it lived up to the standard we are used to on Crystal. 1. There were things not working on the ship. The forward ... Read More
We choose this cruise line and ship because friends raved about it and we enjoy luxury cruising. Sadly, we did not think it lived up to the standard we are used to on Crystal. 1. There were things not working on the ship. The forward elevator was out the entire trip and it was out the cruise before ours. Our room was freezing for 2 days before my husband found the head of Hotel and she got engineering/maintenance to get it working after an assistant tried to fix it and said it was working, but still was not. 2. Many people got sick while aboard 3. Menus were never changed in the different restaurants with the exception being on Christmas and New Years. Only the La Dame ($60 per person charge) was cozy with an outstanding menu. We went twice. 4. We enjoyed the different all day snacks at The Arts Cafe in the back of the ship with lounge seating outside as well. At 3:00 five different cakes were served and different ones each day. Different salads in a small glass container, great coffees, cookies, sandwiches, etc. 5. We also enjoyed the Panorama Lounge before dinner with live music, dancing and cocktails. 6. We liked the ambiance in The Silver Note restaurant and the lovely live dinner music during dinner. The menu was not very much to our liking very though. We liked the menu at Indochine restaurant, but not the decor as it was very contemporary, open and not cozy. The outside restaurant at night was by the pool and called "Hot Rocks" where you cook your own steaks or fish or whatever on a very hot plate. I had the best filet mignon I've ever had there. 7. Most of the shows were so-so with the exception of two, which were excellent. The Silver Note Singers did their best. 8. No one remembered our name except our butler and his assistant. 9. Most all of the staff was very friendly, although a couple of the men in charge in the restaurants had “attitude”. Most everyone tries, but do not quite make the cut. 10. Not very many activities but they had bridge play and lessons, black jack and poker tournaments, occasional dance lesson, trivia, occasional bingo. Most of the activities were held at the same time or would overlap so we had to choose one. 11. We went on two excursions and one was barely acceptable. There were two enrichment speakers and one was quite interesting about Radio City Music Hall, Bob Fosse, etc. 12. This was a Holiday cruise, so there were a few families on board. Sometimes the kids got rambunctious, but generally it was a quiet seniors cruise, which we liked! We thought the cruise did not accept anyone under 18 years, but we were wrong! 13. Embarkation was a breeze and debarkation took forever. 14. We feel we got our money's worth, but we are not sure we would go again--would have to be the right destination for the right price! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We are a British couple in our sixties. This was our second Azamara cruise. Embarkation at Miami took the best part of an hour, complicated by queuing to get and complete the Guest Travel Certification form for Cuba before proceeding to ... Read More
We are a British couple in our sixties. This was our second Azamara cruise. Embarkation at Miami took the best part of an hour, complicated by queuing to get and complete the Guest Travel Certification form for Cuba before proceeding to another queue for check-in. It would have been nice if those of us who had downloaded and completed the form prior to arrival could have been fast-tracked. Journey was being given a thorough clean because of some guests suffering gastro-intestinal illness on the previous cruise. As a result no cabins or suites were available until mid to late afternoon. This also meant no self-service at buffets for the first couple of days. The same thing happened near the end of the cruise, after a handful of guests reported gastro-intestinal illness. I guess this happened pretty regularly. It was a minor inconvenience and a very understandable precaution. The ship was nicely decorated with Christmas trees, poinsettias and lots of other seasonal decorations. On boarding we purchased three meals in the specialty restaurants. We had to decide there and then which three dates we wanted. We particularly enjoyed our two meals in Prime C. In Aqualina the food was fine, but it was almost empty with no atmosphere and each new course arrived immediately after our plates were cleared from the previous course. They said they had had lots of late cancellations. The food in the main dining room was reasonable. We like to share a table for six or eight to meet new people. This didn’t seem as well organised as on our previous Azamara cruise. A few times our table was only partially filled. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve they insisted on timed reservations because of expected high demand, but in the event there were lots of empty tables. A couple of evenings when nothing on the main dining room menu tempted us we ate at The Patio. We enjoyed the food there, but the service was patchy. We had no problem finding included wines that we liked. We were a bit disappointed with the lack of variety of activities and entertainment. There were no comedians, magicians or acrobats; only singers and dancers. The Azamazing evening in Cartagena was rubbish. A lengthy coach trip to a lovely theatre for a terrible performance by a very pretentious pianist. Most of the music was pre-recorded. As with our previous Azamara cruise, the friendliness of the staff was a big positive. The sole exception was one of the shore excursions staff who my wife and I on separate occasions found to be rude. Our overall experience of the Azamara shore excursions was not good. A couple of snorkelling trips I wanted to take were cancelled. Two other excursions were just about OK but not as advertised. In Cuba we had arranged independent tours and they were great. Getting on and off the ship in Cuban ports was as quick and easy as everywhere else. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We had picked it because of the itinerary and because we liked the idea of going somewhere warm for Christmas or New Year. In both respects it was a success. We loved Cuba and enjoyed being on a cruise in a warm climate over Christmas so much we have booked another for next year (Pursuit – New Year in Rio). Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. ... Read More
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. The Expedition Team were a group of incredibly experienced and qualified professionals who were so efficient and pleasant whilst looking after the guests and keeping us all safe in extreme conditions. Only criticism of any staff would be that the Cruise Director could mature a little and cease finishing every announcement with 'yaay' as it really grinds after a few days! The room was exceptional for a cruise ship with a walk in closet, twin basins in the bathroom and a full size separate bath. The Thomas Keller Restaurant which is promoted as 3 Michelin star rated was average and we much preferred the normal restaurant - great food without the pretence. In fact, pretence was our major stumbling block during the trip. It took us a while to find 'like minded' folk who were travelling on this particular trip to get to a special and unique place on our earth. There were a lot of ostentatious guests more interested in the shallowness of conspicuous wealth which to me clashed with the vibe of the destination. It was embarrassing to hear how some of these people spoke to staff and partners of the Expedition Team. Saying that, nothing could overshadow the awesome destination. We were so privileged to be able to visit Antarctica and South Georgia and to be on a ship like this made it a very pleasurable experience, although if I had my time again I'd choose a different more earthy cruise line with a younger demographic. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We have sailed on 100+ cruises with 4 other cruises on Costa. We sailed on Costa Deliziosa on 12/19/18. This was a 7 nt cruise to Nassau, Gtand Turk, Amber Cove & Key West. Deliziosa is a beautiful ship, extremely clean and well ... Read More
We have sailed on 100+ cruises with 4 other cruises on Costa. We sailed on Costa Deliziosa on 12/19/18. This was a 7 nt cruise to Nassau, Gtand Turk, Amber Cove & Key West. Deliziosa is a beautiful ship, extremely clean and well organized. The staff provided excellent service. The food was generally very good. As on any ship, some nights were better than others. Very good pasta and pizza. Christmas Eve special dinner served in Albatross was excellent. Staff seemed happy to be of service. I had some special requests which were always accommodated. Music in most bars nightly. The Animation Team provided fun games, competitions and lots of laughs. They kept the cruise interesting for all ages. What impressed me most was the staff’s willingness to help and to go the extra step to make everyone happy. Something lacking in lots of other ships. I would recommend Deliziosa as a great cruise with an Italian flair. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I were underwhelmed the first few days,,,inconsistent service ,food and entertainment.not much effort into celebrating xmas,,,but much improvement in the second week,,,New Years eve celebrations were great,,entertainment went ... Read More
My wife and I were underwhelmed the first few days,,,inconsistent service ,food and entertainment.not much effort into celebrating xmas,,,but much improvement in the second week,,,New Years eve celebrations were great,,entertainment went to the next level,,,food improved,,except for the tough meat in Polo restaurant,,strange mix of very old and infirm passengers ,Europeans,wealthy Americans,Brits and Australians,,,generally an interesting and fun crowd .we intend to give Oceania another chance to impress,but not over Xmas and new year.We found the staff to be gracious,well mannered,well dressed and happy to assist in any way,,,sometimes in the face of some very rude passengers (unfortunately).Disembakation was a mess,because the ship was two hours late on arrival,not the ship’s fault .Reservation system for the specialty restaurants seem to work fine,,so long as you got the the reservation desk early on any particular day.we both thought Toscanna was far and away the best restaurant,,the lobster pasta was to die for! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
From the first of our 6 cruises with Cunard we have respected the dress,hand gel,guest conduct expected by Cunard that results in many guests returning,however!!! We wish to offer the following observations whilst on board for 26 nights ... Read More
From the first of our 6 cruises with Cunard we have respected the dress,hand gel,guest conduct expected by Cunard that results in many guests returning,however!!! We wish to offer the following observations whilst on board for 26 nights recently over Christmas and new year. 1. Some Guests refusing to use the hand gel on entrances to food areas giving the following excuses. I washed my hands earlier in the cabin I take vit C tablets each day It makes my hands sticky It has an affect on my skin I washed my hands earlier in the toilet All these excuses even though they all used hand rails,buttons in lifts and handles on doors on the route to the food halls and restaurants. When the staff are asked why they did not insist the guests to use the gel,the staff said they were accused of harassment and did not get backing from their supervisors. 2. Guests using the beautiful coffee tables in lounges as foot rests with and without shoes. Again when staff asked guests not to do this they refused,claiming they paid the bill not the staff. 3.Guest wearing baseball caps,sporty tee shirts,torn jeans some looking like they have just come off a building site,around the ship and in the restaurants on formal nights sitting amongst smartly dress guests who had followed the issued instruction on dress code. Again when staff tried to insist on the code they were accused of harassment not getting support from their supervisors. 4. A guest walking around the ship and through the kings hall carrying a dog. Nobody stopped and challenge this action 5. Male and female guests in the kings hall wearing only swim wear and bath robes Again when staff tried to challenged this they were accused of harassment. No support given by supervisors. 6. Guests laying full length along the beautiful settles in the lounges with and with shoes on. Again when challenged by the staff the offenders claimed harassment ,without support from supervisors. 7. More and more guests failing to attend the compulsory safety drill claiming they did not care and having to do it the next day in the lounge disturbing other guests comfort. When questioned about the guests conduct,the officer just shrugged his shoulders. All in all this made the cruise quite disappointing and we will question wether we would want to go on Cunard in the future. What was great was the captain and staff,so friendly and polite,the serving waiters,excellent as always. Cunard please take note!! Many of these offending guests were not British, give it some thought. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This is my third transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2. I've gotten to know the ship very well and the quirks of the ship. I enjoyed the cruise a lot, but perhaps not my favourite transatlantic crossing. Ship: She is a ... Read More
This is my third transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2. I've gotten to know the ship very well and the quirks of the ship. I enjoyed the cruise a lot, but perhaps not my favourite transatlantic crossing. Ship: She is a beautiful ship, her public spaces are spacious and the art deco decor is nostalgic and hearkens back to the golden age of ocean liners. You never feel that there are too many people on board Fellow passengers: sociable and friendly, no major issues Cabin: The cabins show a bit of wear, especially in the bathroom Dining: I felt there was a lot of pork this year, I felt in past years there were more beef options. Activities: Afternoon tea: always a classic event on board QM2. It happens daily and great afternoon activity Fitness opportunities: The gym isn't particularly big but if you enjoy running, running on the promenade deck is always enjoyable. Entertainment: Cunard Insights (Lectures): very good, a lot of interesting lecturers and topics, always something I look forward to attending while on board / Evening Entertainment: like always, nothing spectacular, but Cunard is not known for their singing/dancing shows. Service: Service on board was good. I've gotten to know a few of the crew, and have my "favourite" bartender that has served me on all my QM2 voyages. Port/Shore Excursions: N/A since this was a transatlantic crossing. Value: As a luxury cruise, it is not the cheapest cruise but I enjoyed my time on board and I didn't splurge this year or try to hold back either. Would I go again: At the end of the voyage, I didn't think I wanted to do another transatlantic crossing in QM2 again since I felt I had done all that I could on board, however, given that I'm booked to do another QM2 transatlantic crossing in August 2019, I guess I really enjoy my time on board. Read Less

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