3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It was to be a luxury cruise with family members. Despite completing all pre boarding requirements it took over an hour. We were asked to show our passports four times. Poor organization! Food choices an d preparation outstanding. ... Read More
It was to be a luxury cruise with family members. Despite completing all pre boarding requirements it took over an hour. We were asked to show our passports four times. Poor organization! Food choices an d preparation outstanding. service tried hard but often inexperienced. Excursions few and poor. Nightly entertainment the worse I’ve seen. Disliked open seating. Never the same waiter or preferred table. best night was white night. if you don’t exercise,suntan, read,swim or drink on board nothing to do. Basic drink package with only three lousy beer choices and no liquor. Essentially second package should have been the first. Ports of call boring other than Marseille and Corsica.The ship is old and has many noises. We were moved to a balcony from an inside window due to banging noise of metal against metal. The stops at the ports were lengthy which gave more time to visit shop or eat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
the sliver sea company did a great job for our cruise. the suite on deck 9 was very roomy.linens and towels were terrific. our butler could not have been nicer. whenever we asked for something the answer was always- no problem . we liked ... Read More
the sliver sea company did a great job for our cruise. the suite on deck 9 was very roomy.linens and towels were terrific. our butler could not have been nicer. whenever we asked for something the answer was always- no problem . we liked the food best in the main dining room. we didnt like la terraza-. the grill had a clever concept where you cook your meal on a sizzling platter- i was fun. la dam was definitely worth the extra expense. it is very small and the food was outstanding. we went on two excursions with the cruise- one to gasson -in st trpez and then one excursion in alghero. both were good and reasonably priced. we did other excursions by doing my own research. we brought our luggage to the pier at 12:30 and were actually able to get our id . we then went on our tour and by the time we returned to the ship at 6:30 w were able to get into our room. being able to at least drop the luggage off was great. we were pleasantly surprised at how easy the embarkation and disembarkation were compared to a bigger ship. after this cruise we could never go back to a large ship. if you are gluten free be aware that the servers can help with the menu. there were a lot of options. if you like gf bakery items at breakfast the only have bead which was usually stale and also decent mini muffings. we did order gf french toast and pancakes which were almost inedible- the ship should carry gf pancake mix- we also tried the pizza- the kitchen did a decent job but i dont think they are skilled at cooking that even though the crust comes pre made- over all i think they tried to accommodate us but they could carry some packaged schar items. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
I Originally looked at the destination, followed by the ships proposed luxury level followed by the amenities primarily the possibilities for the restaurants. it was my wifes 55th birthday during the cruise and was planning to have ... Read More
I Originally looked at the destination, followed by the ships proposed luxury level followed by the amenities primarily the possibilities for the restaurants. it was my wifes 55th birthday during the cruise and was planning to have somthing special with a special dinner among other things. WRT to the destination and ports my evaluation is 8.5/10 WRT to the luxury level ins suite my evaluation is a 9/10 WRT to overall luxury level of the ship 8/10 WRT to the entertainement, an specially the evening show at the auditorium my evaluation is 10/10 WRT to access to the restaurants my evaluation is a 5/10 as I had been trying to make a reservation ( including a special note to my profile) since the day I confirmed my reseravtion ( clos to 2.5 months before the cruise date) I was not able to do so ( La dame restaurant). other nights I was on a wait list and this is only when I was on the ship. so generally for that portion I would not recommend Silverseas for other amenities 50/50 Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
SHORT VERSION: I greatly enjoyed the outstanding food, service, and classical music on this luxury small ship cruise and plan to return soon. Details: I am an American who did this two-week luxury small ship cruise solo from Nice ... Read More
SHORT VERSION: I greatly enjoyed the outstanding food, service, and classical music on this luxury small ship cruise and plan to return soon. Details: I am an American who did this two-week luxury small ship cruise solo from Nice to Bilbao. I chose it primarily for the intimate classical music experience it offered with its Ocean Sun Festival. To compare, I have done various other mostly small ship luxury cruises with cruise lines solo, with my husband, and with a friend. The cruise was outstanding, the best luxury ship experience overall, by far, despite the oddity of being an American woman traveling solo (probably the only one) on a ship where the official on board language is German. EMBARKATION in NICE : There was no actual embarkation terminal in Nice at the Quay de Commerce, so waiting to board was slightly uncomfortable, no fault of HL. The port authority did not allow HL to serve any beverages in the warm outdoor waiting area before 4PM, when crew started serving Duval-Leroy champagne. Embarkation commenced precisely on time at 16:00, as all HL cruises do, and between starting boarding and getting to my suite only 15 minutes passed. Unlike on my three prior HL cruises, I did not see any hors d’oeuvres offered in the atrium reception area, though the next evening canapés were offered at a captain’s gala. I was still full from my decadent truffle pasta lunch in Nice so it did not matter. After a very short check-in period during which my picture was taken and passport confiscated (room keys were distributed before the cruise) a crew member escorted me to my suite, where a half bottle of champagne and 4 chocolate-covered large strawberries waited for me. My cases appeared 1-2 hours later (2 cases, separately). MUSTER: orientation was on the pool deck at my actual muster station, with pax required to wear their new-fangled style life jackets. Then pax moved on to more safety lecturing in the Europa Lounge. A separate English muster was available. Muster took longer than expected, about 40 minutes, with a lot of time spent on exactly what to do when someone goes overboard (bottomline: yell, throw things, and point). ATMOSPHERE: This is a contemporary-styled ship with cool, calm colors. It is fresh, well-maintained, uncrowded and comfortable, with an atmosphere of quiet luxury and elegance in the decor and amongst most crew and pax. There are plenty of deck chairs in various locations so there is no need for pushiness or lines. It is a very German-oriented ship, with almost all pax affluent, very affluent, or relatively affluent seniors and their family and friends from German speaking countries. There were only a few, mostly invisible, children. The only official on-board language was German, though frontline crew spoke basic English with the few people on board who do not speak much, or any, German (e.g., primarily some entertainers) . If there were any other Americans or Brits on board, I never heard them. Many of the Filipino crew spoke better English than German. However, this ship did offer many luxury international menu options daily, (definitely not just wienerschnitzel and sausages, though they had those available too). There was also quite a bit of English language popular music in venues as an alternative to the festival classical music presentations. The MS Europa is more formal than its sister ship Europa 2, which caters to a somewhat younger and more casual crowd and which is officially German and English, and markets to international audiences (though very few non-German speakers travel on her) and has both German and English are on-board languages. Here on the MS Europa, HL has made a deliberate choice to only have German as the language on board (which should satisfy the few older Germans who, per comments overheard and read on the internet, previously resented having what rare announcements there were translated into English, and also saves the line translator money). HL can fill the ship just with German speakers well in advance. Getting a booking on any desirable itinerary HL cruise is a competitive process requiring advance planning if you are not retired and very flexible, so they do not really need to market to English speakers to fill their ships. Announcements (other than safety-related), menus, and daily printed guides and tours were only in German, as warned, but announcements were very rare (twice a day a brief captain report about speed, latitude and longitude and perhaps a highlight of a key performance). Even the couple excursions I went on that were billed to be conducted in English by local guides landed up being given in German, e.g., with a museum guide or accompanying crew member talking in the local language to our German-speaking guide instead of English who then translated into German because half the people on the excursions could not understand English. I received essential pre-cruise vital information and a ship guide through my travel agent printed in English, and then while on board used the opportunity to refresh my German by looking up a few menu items and other things I did not know on my iPhone translation app or on the internnet. Average age was around 70, with quite a few pax over 80. Pax were mostly quite mobile. There were a few other solo pax on board (mostly elderly German women) and I heard from the ship’s doctor, and nephrologist brought on, that there were two dialysis patients. We had 344 total pax on board plus a few dozen entertainers and speakers came and went, to fill the ship’s cabins to 400 or so. As is the older German style, whether solo or not, German or not, pax and on board entertainers mostly stuck to themselves and their known groups and made few attempts to socialize with strangers other than about very simple things, or (usually after alcohol) to talk about their local and international politics, e.g., rants about a well-known American political figure. There was also an (expected) style of lack of curiosity about strangers with most pax, and, unlike most luxury world cruising Americans, pax appeared to be of the attitude that other people’s lives and histories are mostly none of their business and asking personal details without special permission is considered prying. Gratuitous smiling (except by crew) is frowned upon by pax, as is too much jewelry. Mostly I was just ignored by other pax, as if I was not there at all (other than getting a few obviously disapproving and a couple envious glances relating to a little personal fan I carried), and was left alone, neither socially engaged nor negatively bothered. There were, however, a couple solo travelers' get-togethers announced that were not convenient for me to go to this trip (on my prior trip when I went 2 years ago, even there people were still very closed and stiff), and I also had an invitation to go join the cruise director and other "women only" for a Lido dinner which I also skipped as I had a small dining venue reservation the same day. I was fine with this “leave you alone” attitude of German pax, and expected it, (I cruised this ship before and know Germans from before, and have German friends, so I understand the roots of the reservedness. I was here primarily for the classical music festival, and secondarily for the pampered dining and peace and quiet rather than to acquire new BFF (if interested, see my previous MS Europe review from 2016 where I comment on older German personality styles). Many would not be, or would feel lonely without others to talk to in their home language for two weeks, (crew are not supposed to waste too much time chit-chatting long periods with pax, German or English, though a little is ok, as that distracts them from their jobs to serve everyone), but I did not. Much as I love traveling with my DH and would enjoy sharing experiences with him, I often enjoy the enhanced powers of observation and concentration solo traveling offers. Just in case, I had an iPad and iPhone (on mute) and ear buds with me for reading books or listening to music if there were longer periods of waiting involved anywhere, e.g., on bus excursions when guides were not talking. The DRESS CODE for days and evenings was casual elegant, and people really complied with it. Many people wore understated designer clothing, and what jewelry they wore was not garish. After 6 PM, the code was for men to wear jackets in all dining venues other than the indoor/outdoor buffet Lido. Ties were not required at dinner, but many men wore them anyway. There were also two formal nights (ballgown optional but not required or common, tux or dark suit and tie required for men, and something a little dressy or shiny for women seemed adequate, as on other luxury lines on formal night. As has been popular a couple years in Europe now, several men wore crisp brightly colored expensive trousers, e.g., red, bright green, or blue, both during the day (without a jacket) or in the evening (with a jacket), which is considered casual elegant. White trousers in the evening were also popular on men and women with varying tops (jackets on men in most venues) and these came in handy on the pool party night, when the suggestion was made for people to dress in white out on deck. No one I saw challenged the dress code by showing up with hoodies or untucked T shirts with logos, and I saw no blue jeans (not even the stylish pre-torn ones) at night on the MDR and entertainment deck 4. I did see an elderly balding gent with a red-orange blazer with black suede elbow patches, black capris, and no sox, with his bared feet slipped into very expensive black suede loafers, and similar other displays of Euro-chic that were great fun to see. As on my 2016 trip, one thing I did not like is that most of the venues ran ambient temperatures that were subjectively too warm for me (though most of the pax liked it that way, as Germans generally greatly fear cold air and drafts and often say “es zieht"). I had my suite temperature on maximum cooling most of this Mediterranean trip and would have liked it to be even cooler during the day (temp was not indicated but it felt like around 73 in the suite on hot days with AC on max and at least 75 in the restaurants, so I was glad I had brought loose and linen clothing). However, I am very sensitive to heat due to some of my medication and anticipated this, so came equipped with assorted unobtrusive cooling tools that worked well for me. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: This cruise I had an assigned dinner table to myself in the MDR (per my advance request) as opposed to an assignment with others like I had last time (though I had requested a solo table then, my prior assigned dining companions had worked out ok for me ). I could have requested to be seated at a communal table assignment for dinner in MDR but did not want to risk getting stuck with a couple old and cranky married German couples who might have felt uncomfortable with me as a fifth and foreign wheel (there are some people like that). Dinner starts at your table anytime you like between 7 and 9:30, it is yours the whole evening. Breakfast and lunch are open seating everywhere (breakfast 7-9 in the MDR, 7-10:30 in the Lido indoor/outdoor venue, and there is also a 9-12 option for late risers in Dieter Mueller, plus there is 12:30-2 for lunch in MDR, Lido, and Venezia). Poolside waffles are 3-5. An elegant afternoon tea with cakes etc. (real whipped cream, “Sahne”, optional) was served 4-5PM, accompanied by soothing piano music, with pax who were thankfully respectful and not rowdy. Restaurants were uncrowded, and as I had a guaranteed table in the MDR at dinner, there was no need to line up anywhere for food except for the day of the popular Lido Bavarian lunch, “Bayrischer Fruehschoppen”, which offered traditional rich German food, spirits and beer, and a whole roasted suckling pig. Some regular MDR menu items appeared daily as “classics", and then there were daily specials which did not repeat for the whole 2-week cruise. There were four different “international” vegetarian main courses each day, changed weekly (a green bean dish was particular tasty). The buffet had both daily specials and grill options for steak, fish, and sausages, and pasta. Lobster and shellfish were abundant in various presentations, and I had caviar and steak tatar in different forms 4 times each. Reservations were only needed for dinner for the small venue gourmet Dieter Mueller dining experience and Venezia, the small Italian venue, (no extra charges) and for the Lido in the evening, though there is usually room in the latter even without reservation. There is 24-hour room service of certain items (including steak tatar) which I only used for a few breakfasts. Reservations should be made right on boarding to secure your choice, as should spa reservations ( no option for advance booking). 90% of my lunch and dinner dishes were outstanding, 10% were ok but I would not order again (e.g., a cauliflower soup that fell flat, as did the snails, there was a so-so fish course in Dieter Mueller and the “Boston clam chowder” was an odd greenish substance) . Breads were crisp and fresh (there were no rubbery rolls so many cruise ships, even luxury ones, seem to be specializing in lately), with rye and pumpernickel bread options. Fresh fruits and veggies were plentiful. I did not see a single brown lettuce leaf. My wine pourer at dinner knew wines well enough to make intelligent suggestions (several hundred different wines are on board to choose from, many in 0.1 liter or 0.250 liter portions, with only a handful from U.S.). I enjoyed trying different kinds I do not get at home near wine country in California. Unlike on other luxury lines, my morning room service tray, when I got it, always had what I had ordered, not once did they forget any item, and they customized as I requested. After the first day or two, staff addressed me by my name almost everywhere on board. The colorful Swiss bartender in the Gatsby’s lounge (who also spoke English) already knew who I was and what I would likely want to drink without my saying anything after the first night. The food was so good and comfort level so high that I preferred dining on board to dining in port (which I cannot say for other luxury cruise lines including my favorite SB). Minor negatives were that morning room service coffee was not strong enough for me, but still always arrived hot and at the requested time (espresso and cappuccino were available in the dining rooms). . Unlike on the sister ship Europa 2, there was no in-room coffee in the base suite. Note that beverages in dining rooms other than coffees, milk, teas and juices are subject to fees unless at special events (which are frequent) around the pool, or on return to the ship, including bottled water (other than that distributed on excursions), so technically the ship is not “all inclusive”. But the plus is you can pick exactly the wine you want, and what size, with a very fair mark-up, and there is no fussing about getting stuck with bad “included” wines. I never had to produce my room card, and only signed for beverages in the two smaller venues at the end of the meal, no service charge, though I added paper tips there anyway. I just verbally gave my suite #, on an honor system (they know who you are). SERVICE: in short, outstanding. If anyone was in training, with one exception, I could not tell (compared and contrasted with my cruise on Seabourn in spring 2017). The Do Not Disturb sign was thankfully very strictly respected, always. Laundry fees were cheap (e.g., 1 Euro for underwear) and results terrific, usually same-day even without extra charge. All service is officially included in the cruise fare, but unlike on English language luxury lines, the tipping policy is that none are required or expected, but are welcomed so a few pax quietly gave envelopes with tips to certain crew at the end of the cruise, in addition to contributing to the crew auction and end of cruise tip pot. No hands were ever extended expecting tips. Crew did not appear exhausted or overworked, (only one appeared cynical and resentful of his job), and at least conveyed a pleasant and relaxed unstressed manner. There were no service comedies and no activities I dreaded due to anticipation of service problems, as it seems is increasingly the case even on luxury cruises. I did not have to be an important person, be pushy, or have an “in” to get luxury service, as is often the case on other luxury ships. With very rare exceptions, the crew were smart, polite, helpful, attentive, bilingual, and eager to help, and ran a finely tuned service machine. In the MDR they worked in efficient coordinated teams, with one key person assigned to beverages, another assigned to food, and a couple lower level staff hovered to offer more bread and whisk away dirty plates and be alert if you were waving for any need. Service personnel at my table were always the same and anticipated my needs. My wine glass was readily refilled without having to fight for it like I did on SB last year, and oddly also on the Europa 2 last fall (not sure why there is such a difference for the same cruise line now). Dining room staff were there when you needed them without being intrusive and there was no premature snatching of plates. Waiters checked to make sure your meals were satisfactory shortly after you started eating. There were no awkward delays or irritating mess-ups that can sour a luxury experience. There were only a couple minor service glitches (e.g., once the waiter did not send the rest of my wine to my suite as I had requested but instead saved it for the next day; once a waitress got confused on my wine order, e.g., thought I had drunk a whole Karaffe where I had only had a glass, yet charged me for the whole; once crew showed up with the wrong appetizer, promptly rectified, and a pair of sox was lost after sending to the laundry, but then was found; and on the final gala night I waited all of ten minutes for a wine refill -- once, usually I never waited). The only minor service disappointment I had was that the crew member in charge of individual itineraries was not proactive in following up on my request to secure ship to airport transportation for my flight to Munich, and seemed a bit cavalier about its importance to me ( I had the last connection to the U.S. that day booked and missing my first flight was to be avoided at all costs), so I had to keep reminding him every day for almost a week to keep me posted, until resolution. But it all worked out fine anyway just as he said it would so I was needlessly anxious. PORTS NICE — anyone reading this review has probably already been to sunny and luxurious Nice. It was Formula One weekend in nearby Monaco, so the place was hopping, and even more expensive than usual. I sought dining refuge in a little side street restaurant near the opera, Le Frog, and at a pleasant drink, snack and people-watching place called Balthazar on the main drag, which had surprisingly good service and comfortable chairs despite catering to tourists. I also ate at truffle specialty restaurant. As noted above, it did not have a cruise terminal building where we embarked. BASTIA (northeast Corsica). This was a pleasant walkable little old town, easy to do on your own. BONAFACIO (southern Corsica), tender. Tender crew were mostly skilled and experienced Filipinos. I did an excursion involving a combination of a boat ride to a grotto and a town walkabout, though it could easily be done individually. ALGHERO (Sardinia), tender. A typical, walkable seaside town in the Med. Shoreside, MS Europa had a station set up with cold drinks and shade to wait for tenders, or just to rehydrate while touring the town independently on foot. MAHAN (Minorca) — formerly under British influence, a gin haven, and home of Cardinal Richelieu’s original “mayonnaise" discovery! A side trip to Ciutadella, a cute seaside market town 30 miles away by road, with a sheep mascot, was worthwhile. BARCELONA, overnight — the Catalonian center many cruises start and end at; this was my fourth time to this wonderful city, where many banners favoring independence were still visible. There are many well-known things to see and do here centered around Gaudi, see other abundant CC reviews for that. I did something more unusual this time, i.e., journied to the beautiful Palau de la Musica with its fantastic organ, and former Hospital de la Santa Pau (now a museum), with absolutely stunning architecture (not Gaudi, but Lluis Domenech i Montaner). The ship also organized a brilliant, private classical Spanish music land concert for us with the Cadaques Orchestra and assorted classical soloists, and I had an awesome front row seat, was immersed in the orchestra. VALENCIA I went on an interesting walking tour of the opera house and the very expensive (and over budget crazy modern architecture in the city. This is worth doing at least once, tours are available in English. MALAGA I did not spend time in town, but went on a trip to the old, walkable town of Mijas about 40 minutes away, with a wine and tapas tasting excursion. The captain’s pleasant wife (a former East German of a privileged class) co-hosted. This could realistically be done with a private tour. CADIZ (substituted for Portimaio, due to an anticipated port strike). Cadiz is a couple hours from Seville, but is a nice port for tourists in its own right. I did a city walking tour in the rain, and hiked up 156 steps on a tower with a Camera Obscura. LISBON, overnight, something for everyone here, a wonderful tourist city, there are many reviews. I did a spontaneous private tour with a colorful old native who showed me nooks and alleyways and told interesting stories, and one to the Gulbenkian museum, which has some fantastic collections from antiquity to 20th century, and some gardens. There was a sea day half way through the cruise, and just before the end, with music and talks and of course more eating and exercise options to keep you busy. No trivia in any language. ENTERTAINMENT As noted above, the main reason for my doing this cruise was the classical music Ocean Sun Festival, which I had been very impressed with in 2017, and it was equally exquisite this year. World-class artists were brought on board, and/or we were brought to them in Barcelona for a private evening concert. We had harpist soloist Xavier de Maistre and the Cadaques Orchestra; soprano Sara Blanch; tenor Marc Sala; senior lady castagnettist Lucero Tena (a crowd favorite, as she was in top form despite her age, thus giving us all hope); the Munich Philharmonic String Quartet which did a stirring rendition of the Felix Mendelssohn string quartet in F minor; brilliant young Australian violinist Ray Chen; pianist Ohad Ben-Ari; clarinetist David Orlowsky; a string quartet from Vienna; and pianist brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen. Additional performers included the Spanish tango and flamenco dancers group Ispacion (this was my third time seeing them, their beauty and drama never gets old, plus they are also easy on the eyes in between performances); vintage English/German descent pop singer Ireen Sheer (not my style but some liked her); an electrical engineer turned magician Dr. Alexander Mabros (a bit long-winded, German only), a cabaret comedian (in German only) Robert Griess, ocean lounge pianist Wolfgang Kick, and a very talented on-board 9 man Austrian band called “Impulse" that played oldies, jazz and dance music in English and German. It was also great fun watching German grey-haired grandmas well into their 70’s doing the twist, a couple wearing their orthopedic shoes, along with the few usual regular pax dancers in elegant clothing going through taught ballroom dancing moves with few smiles. An enrichment speaker (about architecture and art) named Stephan Boerries was also on board (he was knowledgable but a bit arrogant, e.g., constantly corrected the Valencia opera guide’s German grammar, and he made a few elitist politically snide remarks). Last but not least, a clergyman was on board to take care of any souls that might be feeling lost at sea, and was available for regular sessions at tea time and as needed. There was a bilingual personal trainer on board, there were various exercise classes offered I did not attend, there was a good-sized uncrowded pool heated to 28 degrees C for laps, one jacuzzi near the pool that was unfortunately only warm but not hot, and there was a pool party with a dance floor and international pop thumping music, (where I spent most of my time watching the off-duty colorful Ispacion dancers improvise to the music — a free unofficial performance!). I did not ask for it, but the NYT international version appeared in my cabin each day, (it got tossed) as did a bowl of fresh fruit (mostly eaten). There was a fun parade of chefs (a surprising number of Filipinos were in charge of various food creations, under the direction of young main gourmet chef Tillman Fischer) farewell performance followed by distribution of little marzipan men. On the last gala night, crew sang sea classics, including the captain, Olaf Hartmann, who has an excellent voice. INTERNET One free hour per day was included and you could buy more data at reasonable prices. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, i.e., a typical cruise experience. I thus maximized use of my cellular service and hot-spots. SMOKING Most of the indoor areas on the ship were non-smoking and there was a designated smoking area indoors, Havana Club. Smoking is allowed on balconies and in outdoor areas in most places (only designated areas in the Lido). However, even though few pax smoked, as it was allowed at the indoor piano bar near the atrium, even a couple smoking Spanish dancers could fill that room with whiffs of smoke. Asthmatics or militant smokophobics would be unhappy there. On the gala evening when sailors’ songs were sung in the atrium by a few dozen pax, the smoke from a few lit cigarettes accumulating was too much even for me so I retreated after 15 minutes, and usually I do not care. DISEMBARKATION: no problems, no lines, you could stay in cabin until 9, had to be off ship by 10, luggage retrieval in Bilbao was easy, and the concierge had indeed arranged a taxi for me as requested. Suggestions for improvement (minor): 1. Earlier boarding would be a nice, the way other luxury lines allow boarding around noon with pax then eating lunch in the Lido type area while waiting for suites to be readied. Then one could come straight from hotel checkout with luggage to the ship. 2. It would be good to either have the Touristik/excursion office open in the afternoon, when many pax have down time, or have reception take messages to pass on to them, rather than just the limited morning and evening hours they currently have (which are often unclear or not posted). A Seabourn Square type arrangement would improve ease of communication. 3. Walking excursion tours had too many people to be ideal for me (typically mid 20’s) but were cheap and an easy lazy way to be safely and reliably taken to the sites. 4. Raise the jacuzzi temperature to above body temperature, so it would be a true "hot tub" 5. The atrium should be a no smoking zone. OVERALL, this was an outstanding ship, crew, and cruise. It provided the best overall food, service, and comfort I have had on well over a dozen luxury cruises, and the close-up music and dance were fantastic. However, you would have to be a bit adventuresome to travel on this ship if you are not from a German-speaking country or with someone who can read and understand at least basic German. I am not German, (parents were born in Eastern Europe), but for various reasons I can speak quite a bit and understand even more if people speak high German instead of dialects, so that was helpful for eavesdropping in conversations or hearing off the cuff jokes crew and pax told and for listening to enrichment speakers and comedians. But I do not think it would be essential to speak any German at all to enjoy the food and service and music on this ship (see my previous MS Europa review from September 2016, wherein I commented about some British pax who spoke no German at all but who preferred cruising here for many years). Just a little planning and accommodation and perhaps an iPhone app and polite requests would do the trick (e.g., pre-reviewing MDR menus and port info on TV or with English-speaking crew when they have time). But if you are someone who feels uncomfortable having crew translate daily menus for you even if the menus are short and it only takes a few minutes, (the “classics" on the menu can be pre-translated after boarding) this is not for you. Also, if you need to have large varying English-speaking social circles on board, old or new, and thus must have open seating in the MDR at dinner, the Europa is also not for you. If you crave attention from other pax, you would be unhappy here, as you will likely just be ignored and treated as an invisible foreigner, though politely, by fellow pax, some of whom will tolerate you but frankly would prefer you not be there as they are old enough to have memories of growing up after World War 2, when Germany was in rubbles from allied bombing. You would still be given full and friendly luxury attention by mostly young and professional crew. There were also occasional whiffs of smoke here and there could also make a few people very unhappy if they are sensitive. An English-only couple who is neutral or favorable to smoking whiffs and that puts a priority on excellent food and seamless service, usually dines alone anyway, does not need to socialize with other pax to have a good time, and organizes its own tours, would do fine, especially if the pax work with their TA to secure an advance "table for two" assignment in the MDR. Also, note all of this wonderful high end music, food and service comes at a higher per diem cost, all in, than other luxury lines, but despite the cost, bookings are hard to get. I hope to post pictures soon after I have sorted them, either here or on the CC subforum of "special interest travel", "luxury cruising", as HL does not have its own subforum. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
My husband had been researching France for the past couple of years when we saw the Scenic information seminar. It took us going twice to make the decision to book - definitely one of the best decisions we have made! The Sapphire is a ... Read More
My husband had been researching France for the past couple of years when we saw the Scenic information seminar. It took us going twice to make the decision to book - definitely one of the best decisions we have made! The Sapphire is a beautiful ship. The rooms are well appointed- over the top clean, the food is outstanding- the chefs are very accommodating and the staff - I can’t say enough about these amazing people! They made our trip! Our travel agent - whom we met at the seminar - was great! She was totally informed about every aspect of Scenic - what we should expect, all the ports we will be stopping at. The boat is the perfect size - small enough that you can socialize with almost everyone Would I recommend Scenic - with absolutely no hesitation! Only complaint I have - should have booked a two week cruise. THANK YOU SCENIC Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We have sailed on a number luxury ocean cruises (Seabourn and Silversea) and decided to try a river cruise, at the suggestion of our travel agent, we chose Scenic Sapphire. We were quite disappointed by what was labeled as a luxury ... Read More
We have sailed on a number luxury ocean cruises (Seabourn and Silversea) and decided to try a river cruise, at the suggestion of our travel agent, we chose Scenic Sapphire. We were quite disappointed by what was labeled as a luxury cruise. Embarkation in Nice was a mini disaster as the ground agent had no idea what was happening, the buses were late and the driver was tired so we had to make an unscheduled stop. In addition, two passengers missed the bus so we had to go back and fetch them. The cabins are ok, but the food needs major overhaul. Breakfast and lunch are primarily buffet style while dinner is served from a menu. The selections for breakfast were limited - only a few fruits (no berries), low end hard cheeses (no white cheese) and poorly made baguettes.For lunch we were given a limited choice of fresh fruit a d vegetables along with some hot entrees that were tasteless, and on occasion, even recycled. Dinner was served from a limited menu but the food tasted like cafeteria offerings. The wines were mainly low end table wines. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We have traveled with Avalon before. We thought this would be a nice trip. It was! Our travel guide was excellent. The pamphlets we were given ahead were informative, clear, and concise. We had a guide every step of the way, including the ... Read More
We have traveled with Avalon before. We thought this would be a nice trip. It was! Our travel guide was excellent. The pamphlets we were given ahead were informative, clear, and concise. We had a guide every step of the way, including the trips on the train. I had an injury in Monoco. Our guide was able to direct me to a local hospital. I received very good care. I could have used less walking and less free time. I would prefer the option of free time or returning to the ship. I would have liked to have known how much time was allotted to the major sites: Louve, Buckingham Palace, and Windsor Castle. The cruise was for our 50th Anniversary. Food, wine, food tastings were excellent. We did not go to the late night entertainment. We were too tired. We got plenty of exercise with the walking. I would like some transportation like a mini van or a golf cart to take us all the way to the next attraction. Even though a coach took us to the general area, there was still too much walking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
A wonderful experience in every aspect. Le Ponant is a beautiful yacht with thirty-two cabins and ideal for the itinerary with so much stunning scenery. Comfortable cabins, with good bathroom and shower, hairdryer. Friendly ... Read More
A wonderful experience in every aspect. Le Ponant is a beautiful yacht with thirty-two cabins and ideal for the itinerary with so much stunning scenery. Comfortable cabins, with good bathroom and shower, hairdryer. Friendly Captain and Crew readily available to interact with passengers. Excellent food and waiters, with formal dining and dining on deck being our preferred option. Ports of call beautiful and unique with zodiacs at our disposal. Opportunities to swim off the back of the yacht as well as opportunities at most ports of call with sections of beach set aside with Ponant beach umbrellas set up by the wonderful crew. At Calvi, we were served champagne and oysters on the beach. Excursions optional but so interesting. Embarkation and disembarkation was effortless. We have traveled quite extensively and this experience is the most memorable and fun we have undertaken and we would do it all again in a heartbeat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I went on this cruise with my parents, and we really loved it. Embarkation was a breeze, we took a taxi from the airport to the port in Nice, France, and about ten minutes after getting out of the taxi we were on the ship. MUCH better than ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my parents, and we really loved it. Embarkation was a breeze, we took a taxi from the airport to the port in Nice, France, and about ten minutes after getting out of the taxi we were on the ship. MUCH better than the bigger cruise lines where you have to wait for hours in line to board and there are hundreds of people everywhere. Disembarkation was similarly extremely quick and painless. One thing we did not like, however, was that we left Nice at 8am the following day. We had two long connecting flight to get to Nice and were not really up for exploring that evening, and had expected to have some time in the morning to do so. Unfortunately this was not the case (we explored on disembarkation, however, and Nice was wonderful). The Ship: We loved the ship. The inside was beautiful, clean, and we loved all the public room and dining room decor. The ship itself is small by modern standards, especially compared with the huge new ships Royal Caribbean and Princess are coming out with. As a loyal Princess customer I was at first hesitant to go on a small ship, however I grew to love the size of the Quest; when you're inside it does not feel too small and everything is very accessible and easy to get to. The small number of guests on the ship means you see familiar faces around often, which made us feel more comfortable and helped to form nice friendships. Dining: As we were in a suite, we got complimentary specialty dining, which was wonderful. I am not going to do a detailed review about menus and such, but I'll give an opinion about the restaurants/food options. Prime C: None of us enjoyed Prime C, though the meat was wonderful in all restaurants, the sides here were just not very good, and we did not return. Aqualina: Our favorite dining venue. We had Javier as our waiter each night we went, and he was absolutely amazing. The food was delicious, and we are still talking about wanting to go back. Discoveries (Main Dining Room): We enjoyed discoveries when we went. It was definitely more crowded than the specialty restaurants (obviously), which we did not like as much, but the food was good. I got the NY strip each time we went to discoveries it was delicious. Windows (Buffet): We loved the buffet, especially for breakfast it was really delicious. For lunch/dinner options it was hit or miss, but there were some really great hits. For example, one day they had a stir fry station which was SO good, and another day they had an endless supply of fresh mussels which my parents thoroughly enjoyed. Mosaic Cafe: The drinks at Mosaic were nice, the pastries/food were not very good, however the staff that worked there were wonderful, especially the woman who did the afternoon/evening shift. My dad and I enjoyed chatting with her late in the evenings as I sipped my tea and he drank a macchiato. A failing for me with the dining, that many others probably wouldn't care about, was that there was no afternoon tea service that is done so well on ships like Princess. I would've enjoyed some scones in the buffet at least more than on the one sea day. Entertainment and Activities: Entertainment was fine, we enjoyed the shows put on by the Quest cast but not the special performances as much. I thought the magician Mandy Mudden was hilarious, but not for everyone as my parents couldn't stand her, haha. Activities were seriously lacking. There were often scheduling problems where an activity would be scheduled somewhere and no one would show up from the crew because it was printed wrong in all the guest daily schedules, or for some other reason. This happened on multiple occasions, and was disappointing. We attended many trivias. They were fun when Jordyn (who also did extremely well in all the Quest cast performances) was running them, and the guy from Ukraine was nice. However Meg and Marcio both seemed like they did not want to be there (especially Meg, as she always looked bored and like she would rather be anywhere but there). Service: Service was good in general. In Windows the first few days it was really attentive, but as the days passed it got to the point where we would be sitting eating at a table for half an hour and no crew member would come by. Service in Discoveries and the specialty restaurants was excellent. Like I said, our waiter Javier in Aqualina truly stood out. Housekeeping in general was wonderful. We did not, however, really think our butler did a great job as we never really saw him except when he brought afternoon nibbles. Ports and shore excursions: Nice: was wonderful, we walked around disembarkation day and really enjoyed it. Monte Carlo: we could have done without. Kind of boring and nothing to do there. Livorno: We did not really like Livorno itself, but we went on a wonderful shore excursion called Lucca and Family Villa where we toured around Lucca (we would have liked a little more time there, though) and then toured a Tuscan family villa and had lunch there. Civitavecchia (Rome): My dad and I went to Rome on the Glories of the Gladiators tour, which was a wonderful taste of the Eternal City. We did not like the guide, however, as she was not very excited about Rome and in fact started talking at the end of the tour about how she prefers Barcelona so much more to Rome which was strange. We also were supposed to enter the Coloseum through the door the gladiators used so we could see the special elevator, ramp, etc. at the bottom of the colosseum but instead we waited outside for over half an hour while she yelled at someone in Italian and eventually we all went through the main gate. For this port, if you do not want to go to Rome, there are no other shore excursion options. My mom went on her own to Tarquinia (as she has previously spent two weeks in Rome), and would have liked at least one other option besides Rome. Sorrento: We loved Sorrento, it was probably our favorite port not only because sorrento was amazing but because we also went to Pompei and the Amalfi Coast with a private driver (which saved us over 1200 dollars by not doing the cruise shore excursion). Naxos, Sicily, Italy: We went up the mountain to Taormina, which was very crowded but the old greek theater was great. Don't bother paying for the shore excursion to go to Taormina, just take a taxi it is regulated, and we paid 25 euros for the three of us for the trip up and another 25 euros down back to port. Palma de Mallorca: We just walked around, which was enjoyable. We had the Azamazing evening here, which was really wonderful. We attended an evening concert in the famous cathedral there. I wish the concert itself had been a little longer; in comparison with the time it took to get there and the dancing, etc. beforehand, it was too short. Barcelona: The first day, we took a shore excursion that was a city tour, which was a good way to get a feel for the city as we had never been there before. At night, around 10pm, we went out again and walked around which was fun. The next day we walked around again, and enjoyed ourselves. Port Vendres: We took the little train for 8 euros a person up to get to Collioure, which was stunning and we loved walking around there. Take the little train, it is absolutely worth the 8 euros (if not more) as on the way back you get a panoramic view that includes tours of the vineyards and also a stop at an old fort to take pictures both of the fort and of the amazing view. We did not travel with young children, though there was a baby on the ship and maybe 5 total under 21 on the ship including myself. Just a few shootouts to crew members (as my dad stole my Azamara link to do the after cruise comment card): Dimple (security officer) was always cheerful and great to see each day when we left or returned to the ship. Jasmine the concierge was wonderful, very thoughtful, kind, and helpful. Veronika at the shore excursions was also very nice, and sent us a bottle of champagne to apologize for the bad experience we had with Dennis, one of the shore excursions crew members. Our housekeeping crew members were outstanding, Vitaly and Rinto. We will definitely be cruising with Azamara again, are already looking at itineraries for 2018. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise because because with live in Antibes and it departed and returned to Nice (no flights). This was our second Azamara Quest cruise so we either like being abused or it was pretty good (the latter) All ... Read More
We chose this cruise because because with live in Antibes and it departed and returned to Nice (no flights). This was our second Azamara Quest cruise so we either like being abused or it was pretty good (the latter) All 'inclusive' which means you get standard wine and some cocktails "free" (without extra charge) No sparkling wine unless you pay extra. Not bad but not the best (Seabourn Sojourn is a step up). The food is generally good with buffet style for lunch and breakfast although you can have breakfast in the main dining room. Waiters are mainly male and Asian and are generally efficient and friendly. Some suffer from "goldfish syndrome". They take your order... go away... come back and ask you again. The two speciality restaurants Aqualina and Prime C are excellent. Actually better than those offered by Seabourn or Silversea. Both restaurants need to be booked and cost $25 per person. (club suites "free"). Prime C mainly steaks and beef. Aqualina mainly Italian (Dover sole is excellent). Service impeccable. Balcony cabins are small but adequate. The bed is comfortable. The shower room seems have been designed by a cheap caravan designer. Tiny shower with a plastic curtain. I should imagine larger passengers are continually getting stuck in the shower and ringing for help. The proverbial "no room to swing a cat" comes to mind (we actually like cats). Wardrobes are adequate for a 11 day cruise. (just) Club suites (deck 8) are larger but can suffer from noise from the pool deck above when they bring out the equipment for the poolside events. Worse when they take it down late at night. One of the reasons we booked an ordinary balcony suite on deck 7 after suffering a Club suite on deck 8. We of course had "Mr. Jolly Japes" entertainments director (or whatever you call him). doing the Hi de Hi! holiday camp routine which could be aggravating. \Ne never took any of the tours as they are too expensive and not good value (goes for all cruise lines). We always take the "Little Train" at each destination or do our own thing. Deck 5 cafe rather reminded us of an old persons home with a row of high backed chairs filled with the "walking wounded". Quite a number of our fellow passengers were over weight and/or physically handicapped. We are not show goers so really cannot comment on this aspect. As far as the onboard other entertainment goes there were two musicians and a disco. The Spirits Bar piano player was good but the Living Room artist Papa T was excruciating (some liked him though). Every time he started we had to leave LOL. The disco guy seemed to be in a world of his own and never seemed to take notice of who or how many people were dancing. In fact the cruise line could save money here and just have the disco music on a digital recording. Overall the Azamara experience is not bad for an "all inclusive" cruise and we would go again (if the price was right). One strange thing is their internet policy. In a balcony suite you have to pay BUT you either pay for the complete cruise (expensive) or you can buy a 24 hour period. How stupid is that? You would have thought you could buy 24 hours to be used over the 11 day cruise but you can't. You only have that one 24 hour period for just that one day. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Silver Muse Silversea Luxury Cruise - May 2017 Launched in April 2017 the newly built  Silver Muse Silversea Luxury Cruise ship. Silver Muse Silversea Luxury Cruise. Accommodating up to 596 passengers and 411 crew in the cruising ... Read More
Silver Muse Silversea Luxury Cruise - May 2017 Launched in April 2017 the newly built  Silver Muse Silversea Luxury Cruise ship. Silver Muse Silversea Luxury Cruise. Accommodating up to 596 passengers and 411 crew in the cruising world this is definitely classed as a small ship. The Silver Muse exterior design is in line with the rest of the Silversea fleet with its gleaming white structure and distinctive logo on the funnel. We cruised on its Inaugural Venetian Sailing from Villefrance to Athens in May 2017. Embarkation as always with Silversea was smooth and once at reception there are butlers and other staff to escort you to the suite. Veranda Suites  They have three types of Veranda Suite the only difference is the location on the ship. If you’re a good sailor & don't mind walking the the entry level suites (Classic) are good & better value for an identical product. If you want to be near the elevator, mid-ship or higher up then this will make the suite cost slight higher. Large, bright with a modern fresh design and colour scheme throughout. Rooms have several areas with entrance corridor leading immediately to a good sized bathroom. With toilet, bath and separate walk-in shower and one large sink. Lots of storage space is available below the sink unit and in the shelving units to the upper left and right side above the sink. (The only thing I cannot understand, they had plenty of room to install two sinks which, when traveling as a couple makes a huge difference). Towels are replaced twice daily and you have the choice of Bulgari and Ferragamo products. After the bathroom is a walk-in wardrobe, not large enough to call a dressing room but provides plenty of hanging, draw and shoe space. The safe is also in this area which is an excellent size, easy to operate and the little light inside is very handy. The bedroom area is next which was set up as a large king size, lovely soft white cotton sheets and plenty of pillows make for a very comfortable nights sleep. Bedside tables with lamp, telephone and clock/alarm, the bedroom TV is set in to the mirror. Next, the lounge area with large sofa and chair together with a good size table. A long fitted unit with a further chair and plenty of surface space plus a selection of large draws for storage. They have not fitted upper cupboards which I think has made the room feel larger. The TV is fitted in the mirror. The main issue here is that on a sunny day/evening you cannot see the picture also, the noise of next doors TV can be heard so if there was someone hard of hearing next door it may be a problem. The balcony is very spacious with two chairs with a foot stool each, very comfortable. Butler service is standard on Silversea, they provide your in-room drinks, water and other products. Also, making sure you have restaurant reservation,  basically anything else you may need during the voyage. Silver Suites  The Silver Suites located on the upper decks 9/10/11 and offer the space equivalent to two Veranda Suites and feel very roomy. Large, bright and with a modern fresh design and colour scheme through. The rooms have several areas with an entrance hallway which leads to the dining area and lounge. Lounge & dining area has a sofa with two chairs and a good size coffee table. Between the two patio doors is another unit holding a Nespresso machine, water and glasses and underneath a fridge. Opposite this is a chair & desk holding a Bose sound system, alarm clock and telephone. Finally, there is a dining table & chairs which accommodate four people. This area is large and airy with two patio doors leading on to the balcony. The bedroom area is reach through sliding doors offering a large king size bed. Soft white cotton sheets and plenty of pillows make for a very comfortable nights sleep. Bedside tables with lamp, telephone and clock/alarm, a large bedroom TV is set on the wall. One problem was the sliding doors, we had to borrow rubber door stoppers for the evening as when the ship was moving they vibrated, some attention here would be worthwhile. Moving into the next space leads to the bathroom and wardrobe/dressing room. Wardrobe/Dressing room is an excellent size but poorly designed and does not have any draws for storage. This is a complete design failure which we believe they are working on. If they do a complete redesign of this space it could be excellent. The safe is also in this area and is much smaller than the safe in the veranda suite and not really fit for purpose. As part of the redesign they should tackle this issue as well. An very spacious bathroom with superb large spa bath, large separate walk in shower and two sinks. Lots of storage space is available below the sink unit and in the shelving units to the upper left and right side above the sink. Towels are replaced twice daily and you have the usual choice of Bulgari and Ferragamo products. The toilet is in a separate adjoining room also housing a sink. The balcony is very large with two sun beds, very comfortable. They could add a small table and two chairs for outdoor sitting/dining/drinks which would enhance the experience. Butler service is standard on Silversea, they provide you in-room drinks, water and other products. Also, making sure you have restaurant reservations or basically anything else you may need during the voyage. The Silver Suite offers an enhanced range if in-room dining options and includes unlimited WiFi, laundry and dry cleaning. Eating & Drinking The choice of dining and drinking venues on the Muse are extensive and cater for most tastes. It was nice not to see the usual cruise ship main dining room but more intimate, themed venues offering a diverse range of food. Some have stated that they didn’t like the requirement to book for each evening as it loses the spontaneity of meeting people and dining with them. I would recommend making your bookings in advance on MySilversea.com (or get your agent to do it), for your desired restaurant. If your sociable and generally meet people then make your reservation for 4 people and you can change it when onboard. We found booking ahead avoided the time required to do this when you should be enjoying the ship and the Maitre’D were very flexible once on board. Atlantide (Formal) This restaurant has a really warm and elegant feel with comfortable chairs. Due to the design of the room it never felt busy or overcrowded. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here with different menus for lunch and evening. The menu had a excellent choice with a range of starters, six fish and six meat options for mains, a range of desserts and a cheese menu. If you are cruising for 7-14 days then this menu would be perfect. However, the menu does not change and cruises over 14 days Silversea should consider a special of the day to avoid repetition. The food quality was superb, beautifully presented and delicious in flavour, we did not have any complaints. Service was attentive but not overbearing and on the majority of evenings well paced. The sommelier was on hand and wine glasses were rarely left empty. We felt this could be considered the “main dining room” due to the more traditional nature of the menu. On future cruises we would dine here most evenings adding the other restaurant in occasionally for a little variety. Prior to dinner the Atlantide Bar was a nice intimate space to enjoy a drink. Cushions on the sofas would help with comfort but otherwise a very pleasant area. IndoChine (Informal) The dining room has a more modern feel with clean lines and surfaces, cool colours and intimate lighting. There is a small bar and seating area where you can have a drink prior to dinner, they also offer a quirky cocktail choice which are fun to try. This restaurant is only open in the evenings only. A mixture of Indian, Thai and Far Eastern dishes. We found the food delicious, well flavoured, watch out for the chillies as they do make some dishes hot. The portions are very generous and the presentation superb, a treat for the senses. One issue was the menu remains the same, after 2-3 visits we were repeating what we had on previous visits. It would be excellent if they had maybe two menus which they rotate each week just to allow for variety. Service from waiters and sommeliers was up to the usual high standard. La Terrazza (Informal) Bright and vibrant having large windows surrounding the sides & rear of the dining room. The superb Italian restaurant by Silversea offers buffet breakfast and lunch, in the evening an a la carte menu. It is well known for freshly made pasta and other great Italian classic dishes. The food is robust in flavour and uses really tasty Italian produce. Some of my favourite dishes were the risotto, pasta with veal ragu and osso bucco, always delicious. At peak times it was a little noisy and the tables are quite close together which some people may find troublesome. If however, you like that busy restaurant vibe then this will work for you. It has a large outside dining area which is superb for those warmer destinations. Service from the waiters and sommeliers was up to the usual high standard. La Dame (Formal) - $60 per person cover charge. The Relais and Chateau accredited restaurant, beautifully designed with tables set around a large glassed wine cellar. Dark woods and plush seating and superb lighting add to the rich warm atmosphere. With just a small number of tables this is a really intimate dining room. The menu is rich in content and calories with foils gras and lovely rich causes. It has a good choice of dishes and these are beautifully presented in a grand style. Service was impeccable, formal and yet a friendly relaxed atmosphere. The food in Atlantide was so good that we did not feel the $60 per head supplement represented good value. However, for intimate special celebration or event it is worth it just for the experience. Kaiseki (Informal) - $60 per person cover charge (evening only). Japanese restaurant, quite a small venue but nicely laid out. It offers both regular seating and stools where you can watch the chefs working. It is quite a unique experience and well worth a try for either lunch or dinner. Lunch offers a selection of sushi and sashimi freshly prepared by the chefs in the central work station. The food is extremely delicious and no limit to the number of pieces you want to order. Its an excellent option for the fish lover and with no cover charge at lunch time is a great option. Dinner carries a cover charge of $60 per person. In the evening the menu focuses on teppanyaki again cooked by the chefs in front of you. It is a real event and for something a little different so worth a try. It is well worth a try and makes for a very entertaining and delicious evening. Silver Note (Informal) The theme of this restaurant hints back to the days when dinner dances were poplar and it really was a pleasure to dine and enjoy superb music. The service was as always very friendly and efficient and the menu showcases some uniquely presented food (you’ll have to try to know what I mean). Superb restaurant, small and intimate with an extremely creative menu offering some delicious dishes. Added to this the nightly singer and pianist who start to perform at 9pm makes this a unique and special venue. The live music continues until midnight so this is a place to sit, eat and relax for the whole evening and highly recommended. There is a bar with stools and quite often people would wander in to sit, have a drink and listen to the music. Overall this is a little jewel of a place on the Silver Muse. The Grill (Casual) This is the pool side dining area which offers lunch and dinner menus, they also service drinks throughout the day from the bar. Lunch menu was varied and offered a superb range of hot and cold options. The salads and burgers were delicious. It is also possible to order a freshly baked pizza from the pizzeria on the above outside deck (best ever I would say). Dinner, The Grill converts to a casual outdoor dining venue with the Silversea favourite of lava stone cooking. The 400 degree stone is brought to your place setting and you cook your own choice of meat or fish. It is a unique experience and on a warm evening a great way to dine casually. Spaccanapoli (Casual) Located on the outside deck above The Grill. It is a traditional pizzeria offering casual dining, the pizzas are absolutely delicious. Freshly cooked to order, piping hot and ouzing with Italian flavour. Its a real winner and a must to visit whilst on board. Dolce Vita - Bar & Lounge, a very large area at one end is the reception and shore excursion desk. It has the feel of a large airline lounge and although very smart and stylish lacks any warmth or atmosphere. We thought Silversea would have learned from the issues with the bar on Silver Spirit which is also a little soulless. It is a shame they did not consider the merits of the bar layout on the Whisper and Shadow which have fabulous grand bar with seating in a smaller separate bar lounge. We understand after talking to Silversea staff that they plan to separate half the area and create an intimate bar space. I think this is essential to avoid Dolce Vita spending most of its time pretty empty and lacking atmosphere - watch this space. Panorama Lounge A good size lounge with plenty of seating, dance floor and bar and a large outdoor area. The dance floor is strangely located in front of the bar and away from the band/DJ. The seating could do with being a little more comfortable, I think the designers went for look rather than customer comfort. Apart from those two issues it was a nice room and the ships entertainment staff created some great events. It is popular for pre-post dinner drinks with love entertainment. Through the day time you can have a hot or cold drink in the indoor or outside areas. Arts Cafe We rather liked it in here, it was a casual lounge offer a range of hot and cold drinks throughout the day. It also has an ever changing choice of food throughout the day with some superb cakes in afternoon tea. It really is a great spot to stop and have a chat, read or just relax inside or outside. Tors Observation Lounge Another beautiful lounge for a peaceful and relaxing read or jus enjoy the view. The lounge has a bar and lots of comfortable seating, I loved this area. Venetian Lounge Where the shows are presented and is visually a very attractive look and feel. It does however have an issue, the rise from front to back is so shallow that if you are further back than row one your view is obstructed by the person in front of you. I do not know whether this is on purpose or an error but it is frustrating when you cannot see the performers. Otherwise, the sound system is superb with excellent clarity and volume. The shows we saw were excellent and the six performers were very talented. Offering group shows but also their own individual shows which added variety. Gym A large gym located near the spa with a wide range of exercise equipment. I found it a really nice space to work out. It also has a separate room for the special classes which take place. If they just get the TV and radio working on all the machines it would be perfect. The Spa by Silversea Silversea work with Elemis and offer a wide range of treatments. Alongside the regular treatments they also have a medical cosmetic treatment specialist on board for this who may wish to leave looking younger. It is a well laid out spa clean, fresh and warm decor and certainly a lovely place to enjoy and pamper yourself. It also has a relaxation room and an outdoor spa pool with views to the rear of the ship. Connoisseur’s Corner Located next to Arts Cafe, this is the cigar room, I did not use as I do not smoke but it looks very grand and comfortable. Casino - It is of a good size with the usual array of slot machines and tables for those who like to have a quick flutter (or more). Pool Deck & Jacuzzi Area Silver Muse has a wonderfully large pool desk with sun beds available on two levels. Even on a busy voyage we did not find it difficult to locate beds also they are no to close together. The swimming pool is excellent and allows for proper lengths. The pool deck also have comfortable chairs and sofas at one end where you can relax. At the other end is located The Grill and Bar with its table extending down the covered sides of the deck. It is a wonderful outdoor space, comfortable and expansive and very well designed and laid out. INFORMATION: DRESS CODE - Some confusion surrounds this subject as the arrangements on Silver Muse differ from other Silversea ships. It is actually pretty straightforward. Dress based on the restaurant you have booked which each have there own dress code. It does seem rather strange if you are in Dolce Vita lounge in a dark suit and tie and someone else is dressed in chinos and a shirt. We soon got use to just accepting that those dressed casualty were dining a The Grill. What you lose is the formal night, everyone dressed up together atmosphere which we do like. However, to be honest we soon got use to this system and it worked very well for us. GETTING AROUND THE SHIP - Although larger than other Silversea ships the Muse is still in todays cruise market small. There are plenty of deck plans in key areas and after a couple of days it was easy to find you way around. RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS - A move away from the traditional model of a main dining room where no booking is needed. I would always suggest you book your dining venues on mysilversea.com as soon as the bookings open 90 days prior. If you are a couple who like to meet people and invite for dinner then book a table for 4, you can change around when on board. We booked each restaurant on a rotation basis before we boarded and changed them around when we were on board quite easily. We now know the ship so will book accordingly. TENDERS/PORTS - We had no issues with embarkation or disembarkation, the tender services were excellent and the new tenders are very nice indeed. Those less able bodied may find the steps to reach the tender challenging but crew are available to help. CONCLUSION The Silver Muse is a superb addition to the Silversea fleet. It is well laid out and offers spacious accommodation in large, well designed suites. The choice of dining venues really enhances a voyage as each one offers a different experience in food, decor and ambiance. The range of bars also allows for more choice and variety of experiences. The outdoor areas for sitting, sunbathing or dining a numerous and beautifully laid out. Silver Muse is a must do ship to try offering truly Five Star Luxury all inclusive cruising experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We found the Trip a great experience, the crew friendly professional and helpful at any time .The food and beverages of high quality and selection. The selection of stops for swimming excellent. The stop for Sardinia,-Porto Cervo a waste ... Read More
We found the Trip a great experience, the crew friendly professional and helpful at any time .The food and beverages of high quality and selection. The selection of stops for swimming excellent. The stop for Sardinia,-Porto Cervo a waste of time. Bonifacio a great location. Also we enjoyed the mix of people on the boat and the occasion of meeting Mr. Stephen Winter who gave us an insight on the cruise business in general and the Le Potent concept in particular. All in All nothing to complain about except two small issues: - The introduction after coming on board held in english was very poor and the information given was only a fraction of the same in French. This needs to be improved. - The beds are simply too small and this could eb improved by having them facing the wall on side as it would be perfectly OK just to enter from one side or the foot end. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The ship is in a very poor condition and needs to be repaired very soon. Rusty everywhere, ceiling falling down. Not sure why they call their staterooms suites. Is it for the "butler" service that they offer? I would ... Read More
The ship is in a very poor condition and needs to be repaired very soon. Rusty everywhere, ceiling falling down. Not sure why they call their staterooms suites. Is it for the "butler" service that they offer? I would have called them cabins because they are very small and with a very poor decoration. You cannot call them suites. I have been to many other cruises paying less money and felt much better. Cunard's Grill or Aqua Class on Celebrity ships are way better than this fake ultra-luxury cruise line. The food is very average for a 6 stars cruise line. Very average. Main restaurant is just ok, La Champagne should be free of charge and surprisingly the best option is the Italian option, La Terrazza. The only good thing is the service offered by its crew members, specially at the pool deck. In general, the cruise was bellow my expectations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
Arranged our own flights to Nice. Spent a night in Nice before joining the tour. Lovely city worth the visit. The Bordeaux cruises were booked for that time of year so chose the Rhone as the option. The cruise was great staff ... Read More
Arranged our own flights to Nice. Spent a night in Nice before joining the tour. Lovely city worth the visit. The Bordeaux cruises were booked for that time of year so chose the Rhone as the option. The cruise was great staff excellent, ship good, food great, wine & bar excellent. But no gym and no pool as advertised? The bus rides from Nice and to Paris were a negative. Standing in a line to get a stale sandwich at a road stop is not my idea of what Scenic are advertising on television. Marriott Opera Paris Hotel is not equipped for group bookings. Up to hours wait to check in then 2 hours for luggage (I retrieved my own luggage from the porters room) some Scenic people were still waiting for luggage 3-4 hours after check in. Next time I will book my own hotel in Paris as Scenic must be delusional if they think this Marriott meets any standards. So all in all Scenic does the cruise so well the rest do it yourself. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Our "Enchanting Rhône" cruise had many 5 star features. The service and food were terrific! In fact, the food was the best we've ever experienced on a cruise of any kind. The lunch and breakfast buffets had many ... Read More
Our "Enchanting Rhône" cruise had many 5 star features. The service and food were terrific! In fact, the food was the best we've ever experienced on a cruise of any kind. The lunch and breakfast buffets had many delicious choices. The sit-down dinners were gourmet quality. Our Captain, Franck, was friendly, welcoming and very visible. The shore excursions were very good. Yvonne, the Cruise Director was very hard working, available, and helpful, as was the rest of the staff. On-board customer service was top-notch. Everything really was included in the price of our cabin, even two wonderful specialty dinners. The itinerary was great fun. Our Junior Suite was roomy enough, with a nice balcony and very large bathroom. Butler service was part of our package, but it really didn't add much value. However, I will NEVER again travel on Scenic as we were cheated with false advertising. Specifically, Scenic LIED ABOUT HAVING A SMALL POOL & FITNESS ROOM. There is none. (We spoke with a number of other passengers that were under this same mistaken impression.) When our Cruise Director, Yvonne, mentioned there was no fitness center during our orientation briefing on the first night, I told her that this was NOT what we were told and what's SPECIFICALLY DESCRIBED & LISTED ON THE COMPANY WEBSITE. The Deck Plan depicted on the company website lists both a "Vitality Pool" and a fitness center. Yvonne said something like she would have to look into that and that she would be able to find me a fitness facility to use in Avignon and Lyon. If we had known there was no fitness center, we would NOT have booked this ship! Also, the airport transfer from Nice was awful -- disorganized, chaotic, poor communication with passengers spread out in a fairly wide area of the terminal. The bus ride was more than 3 1/2 hours from Nice to Tarascon, with no beverages, even water, provided by the bus company. When you pay more than $10,000 for a cruise, you expect a more reputable company than this. I believe Scenic should reimburse us about 50% of what we paid for enticing us on this cruise with false advertising. I sent a letter to Scenic's CEO, Glenn Mulroney, but haven't heard back from him in over a month. No one responded to our post-cruise questionnaire. Our dealings with the corporate office prior to the cruise were also marked by unresponsiveness and haphazard service. Our cruise travel agent was similarly frustrated in dealing with the company. On board = 5 stars The Scenic Corporation = 1 star Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Great ports of call and a refurbished ship attracted us to Azamara Journey. Embarkation in Nice was a breeze. The Journey looked great. We had a balcony stateroom, 6082. The room was quite comfortable and the new furnishings gave it a ... Read More
Great ports of call and a refurbished ship attracted us to Azamara Journey. Embarkation in Nice was a breeze. The Journey looked great. We had a balcony stateroom, 6082. The room was quite comfortable and the new furnishings gave it a touch of elegance. The only noticeable shortcoming is the tiny bathroom and unusually tight shower. At least RCCL gives you expanding doors for the shower. This one still has the old shower curtain motif that is claustrophobic if not impractical. Dining was fine in the main dining room. Service was impeccable. Both specialist restaurants were nicely upscale. I preferred Prime over the Italian restaurant; the Italian one was fine except that it had no traditional Italian offerings that one would expect in the US. Service throughout the ship in the bars, main dining room and up top buffet was extraordinary. They truly make you feel a member of a club. The entertainment offerings were varied and top notch. The ports other than Barcelona were new to us. Seville, Gibraltar, Honfleur, Lisbon and Guernsey were all very interesting and we had tours in each. Our enrichment lecturer added all the historical significance that each of these ports merited. His lectures made the visits more meaningful. Additionally, we had a retired British Air pilot give a series of lectures on the Concord which were very informative and professionally prepared and presented. All in all this was a great cruise in all aspects. Azamara is to be commended! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
From the moment we embark, it's like we 're home. The staff recognize us and it's like reuniting with family after having been away for awhile. Everything luxury is included. There's no out our pocket expenses ... Read More
From the moment we embark, it's like we 're home. The staff recognize us and it's like reuniting with family after having been away for awhile. Everything luxury is included. There's no out our pocket expenses except for shore excurisons or the gift shop.. My husband has a military handcap of being 100% hearing loss, and the shore excurision staff take special care of him. The staff knows us by name and I'd love to have their memory ability. The dining room staff from the casual dining areas to the spediality restaurants watch over us and make sure everything is as we wish. The room stewards are highly trained and again do everything possible to make our voyage memorable. It's great knowing beverages are included as well coffee delights. We love the variety of foods served. As past passengers, we're treated to wonderful special events. We love the captains who mingle among us and share their love of Azamara with us. We look forward to the awesome Azamara special evening gala on each voyage. Truly awesome! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was the Monaco Grand Prix cruise. We were planning to take SilverSea but their cruise was too long. The Quest was billed as a 5 star ship, so we had high, unfulfilled expectations. Not withstanding an alleged recent rehab, the ... Read More
This was the Monaco Grand Prix cruise. We were planning to take SilverSea but their cruise was too long. The Quest was billed as a 5 star ship, so we had high, unfulfilled expectations. Not withstanding an alleged recent rehab, the ship looked old and run down. Our displeasure began with boarding when we were moved from pilar to post around the ship in Nice for health forms at one station, passports at another, and finance and keycard at yet a third. The cabin, a balcony suite, was small with the "flatscreen" tv on the wall opposite the bed making the ability for two people to pass impossible, but the kicker was the phone booth sized bathroom, with the door that did not open fully, the shower so small that you bash elbows when hair washing, and the distance between the toilet and the door that men have to approach it from the side to urinate. Food was good, cabin service was also fine, but the real disappointment was the Shore excursion to the Grand Prix. We were given 1 program per room, despite the $1,200 per person fee, cheap caps commemorating Azamara, not the event, a thin cheap plastic poncho, a nylon string backpack, and a pair of okay binoculars. The "escort" to the venue was at 8:30 only although the Grand Prix began at 2:00, with not consideration that it was pouring. The only "escort" back was immediately after the race, notwithstanding a midnight sailing. No box lunch or any other comfort consideration was provided. We found our way to and from the venue on our own. Other cruise lines and tour companies had reps at all major intersections throughout Monte Carlo, Azamara did not. This was a total failure and disappointment. Similarly, at Livorno, we were told by Azamara staff that the railroad station was a 20 minute walk, it turned out to be nearly 3 kilometers from the dock. Where other cruise lines provided a shuttle to the City and the Station, Azamara did not. Bottom line, they cheaped out. Never Again! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our travel agent recommended this GrandPrix Cruise as we then stayed on board for another 12 nights to Southampton Oh what a BIG mistake.Captain Carl made is first onboard talk,WE have sailed with him before very nice person.But what he ... Read More
Our travel agent recommended this GrandPrix Cruise as we then stayed on board for another 12 nights to Southampton Oh what a BIG mistake.Captain Carl made is first onboard talk,WE have sailed with him before very nice person.But what he said was alarming making it perfectly clear what to expect.It was more of a beer cruise than an 6 star Azamara luxury cruise Hardly anyone turned up for the cabaret shows The food was never hot.Then we after the GRANPRIX cruise we sailed to Southampton where the Highlight was too Sail into Seville....................................Not to happen the ruddy Rudder was not working???????Then it was said an electrical fault who knows the truth but the highlight of this Expensive cruise was not be.To say the food got better is An understatement i ate breakfast in the discovery restaurant waiter service I asked for soft scrambled eggs on toast I got over cooked eggs on bread.My wife & I sailed the Panama Canal & Dubai to Istanbul they were both FANTASTIC these 2 sailings where a DISASTER I hope this was just a BLIP by Azamara,because the staff really are amazing but this cruise was certainly not Raymond Abrahams Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I were part of a private event that took over the whole ship for 5 days/4 nights. We have experienced great service before, but this was our first cruise. Though we live in a cruise-port, big ships turn us off big time. This ... Read More
My wife and I were part of a private event that took over the whole ship for 5 days/4 nights. We have experienced great service before, but this was our first cruise. Though we live in a cruise-port, big ships turn us off big time. This cruise, from embarkation in Nice until the final port of Monaco, was stunning on many levels: My wife and I loved the yacht-like experience from the first moment on board (around 15:00), which began with a poolside buffet to tie us over until dinner. Any crew member we had contact with demonstrated an outstanding service mentality; not demure or fake-friendly but truly engaging and baffling in their capability to anticipate passenger's wishes. Both F&B service and -quality was excellent, and staying with the standard level of wines (included in fare) proved to be completely sufficient, thanks to a great sommelier (Ferenç) who enjoyed wine-talk. However I can imagine that passengers in need of constant entertainment and stimulation will be much happier on a large ship, surrounded by 4,500 of their best new friends. We on the other hand are already plotting when and where we will able to catch a ride on this ship or its sister. Highly recommended! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Silversea apparently had difficulties selling this cruise - the boat wasn't full. With our various discounts it came out at $ 400 total per night for my wife and I. But it wasn't worth even the discounted price. The ship is ... Read More
Silversea apparently had difficulties selling this cruise - the boat wasn't full. With our various discounts it came out at $ 400 total per night for my wife and I. But it wasn't worth even the discounted price. The ship is from 1995 so of course it is worn and dated and the decor very old fashioned. That is to be expected. But what the cruise line puts into the "hardware" - service, cuisine, entertainment etc. could and should be in line with what they advertise in their brochures. It's not. The service is inconsistent and uneven. It tends to be better at the buffet place (for breakfast and lunch) than at dinner at the restaurant where the rythm of the meal depends very much on which station is serving your table. The cuisine is sub par especially at the restaurant where - unfortunately - we dined most nights. All told we had to send out ten dishes - eight that weren't prepared right or where the meat was unchewable and two that simply weren't fit for human consumption: Two cold salads of foul tasting, decomposed Maine Lobster that probably had reached that sad state by too many trips in and out of the freezer. (Ironically that dish was advertised with great pride as a signature dish of their new ship the Silver Muse.) We asked for the Maitre d' to point out the health hazard that the foul shellfish presented but he didn't have the time nor the inclination to face the music until two days later where he and the Executive Chef summoned me to tell me there was absolutely nothing wrong with the dish. Had the Chef tasted it? No. Why? Because he doesn't like lobster...... The Maitre d' was there to explain why he had not come to our table as we had requested: His long and hard earned experience told him that his presence would only have made matters worse.....Well, anyway you very rarely see Senior Officers, the Hotel Director or the Maitre d' on the decks at risk of encountering the guests. PS: The live music played by "The Quartet" mainly consists of Polka and Cha-Cha-Cha so the evenings end early when cruising with Silversea. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I was nervous boarding as I had read a recent review that stated the ship was tired and in need of a overhaul. I disagree. The ship is an older one but had charm. Our cabin was well appointed and clean and there was nothing to want for. ... Read More
I was nervous boarding as I had read a recent review that stated the ship was tired and in need of a overhaul. I disagree. The ship is an older one but had charm. Our cabin was well appointed and clean and there was nothing to want for. Our butler was amaizing and always available to assit and deliver. The crew went out of their way for us on our special anniversay day which was totally unexpected. We have been on 2 larger cruise lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. The boarding for a smaller ship is like nothing you will experience. In under 10 mins our bags were scanned we were checked in and given our cards and escorted onboard to be greated with a glass of bubbly. Once the financial formalities were taken care of we were taken to our cabin and met our butler. Our luggage was already there and he enquired if we required him to unpact for us. He went through some other points of interest and then organized a bottle of proseco for us in the cabin. That is how the whole cruise was. Total spoilation, easy no fuss no lines. The only reason I did not give the cruise the full 5 stars was in the food area. It was good but we were expecting better. Being foodies we felt that apart from the specialty dinning room the other resturants lacked that little something extra to make it pop. One of the features we liked of dinning on Silversea is that you can opt to dine with others or by yourselves. We took the option to dine with others a couple times and had a great time meeting new intersting people. For single people I think this would be great. All of the inclusive wines and spirits were excellent. Couldn't complain in that area at all. There is also premium wines and cognacs, single malts and brandy that are extra if you wish. The service was fabulous from our butler to the many wait staff in the assorted lounges and outdoor seating areas, which we found quite charming We did 2 excursions from the ship. One we thought we would have the opportunity to cook a meal and drink the wine from the region, but it turned out to be just a wine tasting. Not sure where I got my wires crossed, but we enjoyed it all the same. Night time entertainment is sorley lacking. The nightly shows are geared towards the 70-80 age group with average talent and there isn't much else offered apart from the casino. For us it was not a problem as we were happy to sit and chat by ourselves or another couple if we met them in one of the bars. I would definitely do another cruise with Silversea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We're not particularly regular cruisers, however we have sailed with Cunard in the Grills in the past. This cruise came up and seemed like good value for money so we thought we'd give Azamara a spin. Check - in and ... Read More
We're not particularly regular cruisers, however we have sailed with Cunard in the Grills in the past. This cruise came up and seemed like good value for money so we thought we'd give Azamara a spin. Check - in and embarkation was speedy - very little waiting around; tea, coffee and pastries available in the terminal. All staff were friendly and helpful. We arrived around 1pm, were on board by 1.30 and our cabin available by 2.30pm. The ship is a great size and well laid out. All public rooms are well decorated and spotless. The décor is, in places slightly dated, however the ship has a warm, homely feel. Service at the bars is courteous and the staff all make you feel really welcome. Complimentary alcohol is included and there is a respectable range to choose from. Our balcony cabin was good - my only complaint would be the small shower room, however, lets face it, this really is a minor grumble given the amount of time we spent in there!. Food was great. Discoveries restaurant is respectable; staff are courteous and the food great. Complimentary wines are good too. Our only observation was that a times service was a little slow, but this is no big issue. Prime C was OK, but I would say a little over-rated. I would not pay to eat here again. Entertainment was good too - we did not see a show, however live music and DJ in the Looking Glass were good and White Night was fun. Fellow passengers - great mix of ages and nationalities made for a fun cruise. Experienced cruisers who seem to return to Azamara time and time again - this must say something about the line and the loyalty of it's passengers. Would we come back - yes, without a doubt. We enjoyed the small ship experience and found everything to be of a great quality. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We took the cruise from Arles to Chalon Sur Saone on the Scenery after having been met at the Nice Airport by an Avalon-contracted shuttle service, as Avalon also booked our flights and arranged all airport transfers. Basically the land ... Read More
We took the cruise from Arles to Chalon Sur Saone on the Scenery after having been met at the Nice Airport by an Avalon-contracted shuttle service, as Avalon also booked our flights and arranged all airport transfers. Basically the land transfer services were spot-on. Our driver from Nice to Monaco (where we stayed the first night) was originally from Brazil and he was great. Knew a great deal about the locale and people. Very enjoyable. I am not a big fan of Monaco, as it is ridiculously expensive, without great attractions. In fact Avalon had a tour the next AM from Monaco to Nice. Ironically Nice is about 45 minutes closer to the Arles embarkation point than Nice. So, Avalon why not make your first night stay in Nice instead of Monaco ? Our bag transfers went very smoothly the whole trip. On arriving at the ship, our bags were waiting for us in our assigned cabins. They were also delivered to our assigned rooms in Paris and when we changed rooms, they sent the remaining bag to the new room promptly. They also picked up bags at the Paris hotel rooms for our airport transfers. The cruise director, Danielle, was fantastic. She attended to everything, had a great sense of humor, and helped make the cruise very enjoyable. The rest of the staff was equally terrific, including the waiters, housekeeping, crew and the piano player who entertained every night after dinner. Can't say enough about them. Hard working, very friendly and really attentive. Offshore excursions were very good for the most part. Avalon has selected some very good local guides who were entertaining and informative. They usually also allotted enough time for free roaming at most stops. My only disappointment was the excursion to Tournus which was all free time. Three hours in that small town with no local guide to explain things was a waste of time. It was accentuated by the fact that it was raining, the shops were closed on a Monday and the local restaurants were rather sparse. Wouldn't recommend that particular excursion. Paris excursions were good for the most part. On the optional tour of the Louvre, we had an exceptional guide, Samantha. She also was the guide for the walking tour in the AM. Don't know about Versailles or Moulin Rouge tours as we didn't take them. I thought the cabins were well appointed, of adequate size and they were promptly cleaned up every AM. Can't ask for anything more. The lounge was adequate. Maybe a bit outdated, but it had comfortable seating. Food and beverage was just OK. I thought the chef, while a very personable guy, was average at best in terms of his quality. Presentation of all dishes was great, but nearly all the fish selections were poor - either the fish wasn't fresh or it was overcooked and fishy tasting. There was one veal dish that was excellent but that was at lunch. Beef and lamb dishes were generally well prepared as were dinner soups and salads. Breakfasts and lunches were pretty much the same fare every day. Would have liked more variety and in particular more local type dishes prepared. Wasn't overly impressed with the wine selection either. They did have a nice French Chablis and the Bordeaux was decent. But there was little variety. They did not have a Burgundy red which was disappointing. It was also disappointing that the bar did not stock a greater variety and higher quality of wines. Sure, the happy hour prices for a glass of wine were great - 3 Euros. But I gladly would have paid 6-7 Euros for a better quality of wine with more to choose from. Finally the "fitness center" was pathetic. It was so small as to be unusable with a treadmill, bicycle and two small free weights. Maybe the newer ships will have a bigger area that have several weight machines along with more free weights. My summary though was that this cruise was very good, well done and the many hits drowned out the few misses. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Boat and crew were fabulous but the river was not. We were not allowed to go on top of the boat during cruising due to low bridges. We have been on three other river cruises and that is one of our favorite parts. I would recommend Viking ... Read More
Boat and crew were fabulous but the river was not. We were not allowed to go on top of the boat during cruising due to low bridges. We have been on three other river cruises and that is one of our favorite parts. I would recommend Viking but I would not recommend the Rhone River. Shore excursions were crowded and not real interesting most of the time. Exploring on our own where possible was much more enjoyable. Read Less

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