Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because of an itinerary that included southern Italy, Greek Islands (including Santorini and Mykonos) and Venice. After we booked, the Santorini port was changed to Gythion. This was very disappointing since we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of an itinerary that included southern Italy, Greek Islands (including Santorini and Mykonos) and Venice. After we booked, the Santorini port was changed to Gythion. This was very disappointing since we considered Santorini an iconic Greek island that we did not want to miss. As it turned out, weather prohibited us from tendering into Mykonos, so we missed both of the islands we had been excited to see. The embarkation for the Sirena was very smooth and quick, with our luggage being delivered to the room very promptly. All of the crew and port staff were friendly and made us feel quite welcome. Our stateroom was an inside stateroom. The room was about the size you would expect, and had lots of storage. One drawback is that my husband's suitcase did not fit under the bed so he eventually shoved it under the desk area to get it out of the way. Although the room size was not bad, the bathroom size was very bad. My husband and I are both on the normal to slim side, and we could barely move around in the bathroom and the shower. We had to shut off the water in the shower in order to soap up and then turn it back on to rinse off. I hit my head on the cabinet above the sink when trying to brush my teeth. While it was less than comfortable for us, I cannot imagine how it would feel for those who are not normal to slim body types. The cabin steward did an okay job, although one evening he forgot to service our room at all. That meant we did not get an itinerary for the next day. It just so happens that there was a time change that evening. Even though he put the itinerary on the door the next morning along with a reminder for a spa appointment, we did not get them until later in the morning after we returned to our room. I ended up being an hour late for the spa because we had forgotten the time change. Room service was prompt and the food was good. We ate at the Terrace Café almost every morning and most days for lunch if we were onboard. The food was good and had good variety. We ate in the Main Dining room at night or at Red Ginger or Tuscan Steak. The recommendations of the staff turned out to be very good in most cases. All of the food was delicious. The entertainment...ugh! And the reason for the title of this review. The entertainment aboard the ship is very much geared to an older clientele. My husband and I are in our mid-fifties but found the entertainment to be way beyond our years. I am not talking about current pop or rock hits necessarily, but at least something that appeals to people below the age of 70! While we appreciate a string quartet every now and then, it would also be nice to have an area that offers more contemporary music in a more robust environment. Maybe a piano player that plays some more current music, please???There was a night of rock music, so we got our hopes up a bit, but the rock was played by the string quartet. Really?!?!? We had an unscheduled day at sea (when we missed Mykonos) and the first thing that the cruise director scheduled was a meeting of the needlepoint club. The cruise director was not the high-energy type of person you normally see on other cruise ships but the older clientele seemed to appreciate that and love it. We did enjoy a nice wine tasting, although the price was a bit steep ($75pp). We booked with the OLife Choice, and chose the free shore excursions. All of the ship excursions were run well and the guides were very knowledgeable. The excursions did seem to be priced quite high, and other than the free excursions, we only booked one other ship excursion and did the rest with outside companies. Overall, the experience was quite nice, with a high level of service and good food. Oceania's clientele seems to be an older (70+), affluent crowd and they do a good job catering to that crowd. So while we ate well and were treated very well, we found the boat to be a bit staid and too geriatric for us at this point in our lives. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Chose Viking for a sophisticated luxurious experience- NOT. CONSTRUCTION (!) POWERWASHING(!) Misleading ports of call- “ Tuscany Florence” “Provence” - Yeah sure as long as you’re paying to get yourself there! When I ... Read More
Chose Viking for a sophisticated luxurious experience- NOT. CONSTRUCTION (!) POWERWASHING(!) Misleading ports of call- “ Tuscany Florence” “Provence” - Yeah sure as long as you’re paying to get yourself there! When I originally booked St. Tropez was one of the ports which was abruptly switched to Sete, France. Not an exciting destination to say the least. Entertainment- AMATUER hour. They’ll tell you there’s a jazz club but no jazz to be played. Food- average at best. I lobster tail on lobster night was over cooked mush. Dont fall for the “elegant” sounding videos- check photos I included- there’s part of what you’ll get. (Photo n video could not be posted in this site w phone) After I posted a review on ConsumerAffairs.com I was contacted by Viking’s customer relations department. All they gave me was attitude, and “I’m sorry you feel that way” like I was the one with the problem. Horrendous. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This cruise was to celebrate a special anniversary, our 50th and we wanted a very special cruise to a place we had never been. The 7 Night Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise did not disappoint. We felt pampered in every way. The ship is ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate a special anniversary, our 50th and we wanted a very special cruise to a place we had never been. The 7 Night Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise did not disappoint. We felt pampered in every way. The ship is beautiful. The food was delicious and all of the Star's employees were always eager to please the passengers in every way. The entertainment on board was wonderful. The bathroom in the stateroom exceeded my expectation. It put a smile on my face every time I want in it and the heated floor was such a treat. All of the toiletries were high quality. I didn't have to use any that I brought, which I always do just to make sure. An especially nice perk is that every deck has three washer and dryers for guests to use free of charge, including detergent and an iron and ironing board. I was able to come on board with clean cloths and leave with clean cloths. I would highly recommend a Viking cruise. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. The ship was nice, the staff was very pleasant and professional, and the ports that we got to visit were lovely. This wasn’t our first cruise, but it was our first cruise on a smaller ship (382 ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. The ship was nice, the staff was very pleasant and professional, and the ports that we got to visit were lovely. This wasn’t our first cruise, but it was our first cruise on a smaller ship (382 passengers) and I’m hoping it won’t be our last. There was no queuing for anything and everything ran smoothly. I’m hoping to stay away from the bigger ships (we have previously been on ships that range from around around 2500 to about 6000 passengers) now that we understand the small-ship difference. OK enough with the background…. The Ship: I thought that the ship was well put together. Some commenters have said that it’s “showing its age”, but I didn’t notice anything serious and felt that, cosmetically, it has been kept in good shape. I imagine that the upcoming refurbishment will add the shine that people may be expecting. The Problem: In summary: shortly before setting sail from Civitavecchia, there was a serious problem with an engine which caused a shutdown in some of the key electrical systems. As a result, power was lost to parts of the ship, including the galley and, for a while, the air conditioning. Long story short, we understandably could not depart port on schedule, and dinner options were reduced to a bland sandwich or (I’m guessing) the salad/vegetarian options available from the sandwiches fixings. Based on the price of the cruise, we have started calling these the “$1,000” sandwiches. We were stuck in port until 6:00pm the following day, which resulted in a modified schedule to the overall cruise (no overnight in Sorrento and no stop in Amalfi). They did hastily organize some bus tours of Rome for the day that we were stuck in port, but having just come from Rome (where we had done a bus tour) this was not an attractive option. During the port day, we did try to see it as a “sea day” and just hung around the ship (although some of the passengers were decidedly annoyed with this). Our main problem was with the Silversea response, or lack thereof. The Captain gave the mandatory “no option but to fix the problem” announcements (which we agree with), but the Silversea corporate reaction was non-existent until we reached out to them. We have had 4 hour flight delays that have resulted in communications from the airline, but a 24-hour delay in a “luxury” cruise was met with radio silence from management. When we did reach out to them, they gave a lukewarm apology and a rebate on a future cruise, which may or may not be used. The bigger issue is a complete breakdown in customer service. There should have been proactive outreach from the corporate office. I understand that the Captain had to keep the ship in port until he was certain that it could sail, but it was not an “act-of-God”, it was an equipment failure, which resulted in them not being able to deliver the product that they sold to the travelers. This lack of communication left a bad taste in our mouths. Silver Suite: I thought that the suite was great. We have been in larger suites on other ships, but in reality this suite had all the space you need. Lots of closet space, a nice bathroom, and a very nice separate bedroom. The only notes would be that the balcony was a bit small, which would have been okay, but the furniture on the balcony wasn’t great, so it felt more humdrum than it should have. The second note would be that the sofa was on the small side, and at 6’1” it was a bit tight for my afternoon nap (granted, this is definitely a “first world problem”). The TVs in the suite also need updating - they were often a pain to turn on and off. Other than that it had a nice bar that the butler kept stocked and added treats like M&Ms to the room on a daily basis. On that note, I can’t say enough about the butler service, which was truly wonderful. The butlers are both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Always there when you want them, but remarkably unobtrusive. The same can be said about the steward, who kept the room immaculate. This suite also came with laundry service, which was great because we were able to have our clothes washed for the second part of our trip before we left the ship. Our suite was next to the service stairs, and while I could hear people going up and down the stairs, it didn’t bother me at all. Meals & Drinks: I thought the meals were fine. For a luxury cruise, the food wasn’t demonstrably better than we have had on other ships. I should note that we never did get around to dining in the upscale “La Dame” restaurant, but we ate at “The Grill” one evening, which was pleasant (but a little hot...no pun intended), and at “La Terrazza” on another night. We had breakfast in-suite most mornings, but when we did have it in the restaurant, it was (again) fine. All of that being said, the service made the difference for every single meal. The wait staff, like the suite staff, was exceptional. I should mention that the ship does have a strict dress code after 6pm, and I saw a few men who didn’t have jackets be provided with jackets for dinner. I wasn’t really happy with the choice of alcohol on board, as they seem to carry mid-shelf options. While I don’t expect them to carry top shelf as stock, I did expect they would make some effort to cater to their price-point. As a rum drinker, maybe a Europe voyage is not the place to get better quality rum, but if you are expecting top-shelf options, be aware that you may have to compromise or pay extra. That being said, It was fine and there’s no lack of drinks on board. Ports: We were scheduled to have stops in Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi, Trapani (Sicily), Cagliari (Sardinia), Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, and Barcelona. Rome: Rome is lovely. It is very easy to get lost in the tiny streets and discover beautiful buildings and great places to eat, which is pretty much what you want. While it was peak season and there were clearly a lot of people around, it never felt truly crowded. Note that if it is your first time in Rome and you are going on a cruise, the city is over an hour from the port, so plan accordingly. We stayed in Rome for 24 hours before the cruise but could have easily enjoyed a few more days there, just strolling around. Our favorite restaurant “Vini & Cucina” was a great little find close to the Pantheon. Sorrento: Sorrento is a lovely little town, we did a day trip to Pompeii, which was stellar. Had some great gnocchi at Il Pozzo, and wish we would have been able to spend more time, but this stop was cut short due to the issues with the ship. AmalfI: We were looking forward to just chilling in Amalfi, but we had to skip it completely due to the ship issues. Sicily: We did a day trip to Erice, which was the “unexpected gem” of the cruise. A definite must. Lots of walking, but just a lovely little town. It’s sort of like Pompeii, except instead of being a town that was frozen in time by a volcano, it is a town that is timeless. Sardinia: We did a boating trip here as we both love swimming and snorkeling. One issue with this excursion was that we thought that it was billed as a trip where you could swim and snorkel, but there was no snorkel gear provided, and the area where they anchored really had nothing to see. That being said, it was a lovely sailing trip that we would not have traded for another excursion. The captain pretty much knew only four words of English “Jump” (for jump off the boat), “Swim”, “Drink” and “Eat”, so he knew the basics for the trip. HIs wife was better at English, but not fluent, but that’s part of the fun. Malllorca: We did a bike trip with Palma Bicycle Tours around the Old Town and loved it. Great place and great guides; we had all levels of cyclists with us, from great cyclists to people who hadn’t ridden in 20 years. Valencia: Loved it, even though we only went to the Cuidad de las Artes y Las Ciencias. As a side note, for both Valencia and Barcelona, Catalan is the local language. Between my wife and I, we speak five languages reasonably fluently and learned some Italian for this trip - but Catalan is a language unto itself, which we both really enjoyed - even though we could barely understand it. Barcelona: I’ve always wanted to see the Sagrada Famila and it’s an incredibly amazing cathedral. Overall it’s a lovely city, but it’s overrun with tourists and the locals are starting to speak out about it. I counted anywhere from 4-5 very large cruise ships coming in each day, and many of these have Barcelona as their start or end point. My rough guess is that this puts 10-15k new people in Barcelona every day during the high season, then you add all of the other tourists that all want to see the same things, and I think Barcelona is close to a breaking point. Hopefully they manage this before things start breaking down. We did have a lovely meal of beer and tapas at an "off the beaten path” restaurant that was great and mind-blowingly cheap. We also had one of our favorite meals of our trip there, overlooking the city, at Restaurant Martinez. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having sailed three times previously with Seabourn,we are used to being wowed by their fabulous standards. However this time we noticed straight away that things were different. The cabin balcony had a dirty towel on the balcony, and ... Read More
Having sailed three times previously with Seabourn,we are used to being wowed by their fabulous standards. However this time we noticed straight away that things were different. The cabin balcony had a dirty towel on the balcony, and when I leaned over the handrail my arms were the covered in wet varnish.. The vase had no flower in and the fridge did not have our requested drinks, it was empty .The water bottle was half full and looked cloudy as if it had not been clean and refreshed. I went to Seabourn Square to speak to the someone about my problem, and was given an apology. On returning back to my cabin, I was informed by my husband that there was hair in the bath and the top of a razor on the shelf!! I went back to Seabourn Square and spoke to the head of housek,who apologised and said they would ensure that from now on she would ensure the rest of our cruise would be stress free. Restaurant Day one had to seek out a waiter and ask for a drink at lunch. Dinner asked if they had Pinot Noir and received a blank look? When my husband said he did not like the red, the waiter proceeded to put new wine in the same glass despite a small amount of the old wine still being in the glass. We had to ask for re fills. My lobster Thermidor was full of a brown mushroom sauce, with only a tiny bit of lobster Having made this dish numerous times I have never used mushrooms! We found the menu slightly repetitive and not their usual standard Extra Mile No Seabourn experience All in all very disappointed therefore I will be trying a new luxury cruise line Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
As a first-time cruiser I had little expectation of a cruise on the Seabourn Encore. Firstly the embarkation was extremely efficient and we were quickly ushered to our lovely cabin complete with a welcoming bottle of French champagne ... Read More
As a first-time cruiser I had little expectation of a cruise on the Seabourn Encore. Firstly the embarkation was extremely efficient and we were quickly ushered to our lovely cabin complete with a welcoming bottle of French champagne and a warm welcome from all crew members encountered along the way. The cabin was beautiful with a large walk-in wardrobe and double sinks in the marble bathroom. Every aspect of this ship was stunning from the restaurants to the Club Lounge with its excellent Club Quartet to the pool and outside restaurants and bars. Food in all of the restaurants was outstanding - we particularly enjoyed the Japanese Restaurant where the service and food were exceptional. The best entertainment was the comedienne Jo Little who, along with being very funny, had a magnificent singing voice. Enjoyed a shore excursion to Canne and it was excellent and well-organised. Service in every area of the ship was magnificent on every occasion and crew members clearly worked hard to ensure the guest experience was above expectation. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this ship mostly due to the itinery. Having sailed numerous times with Celebrity, Holland America, RC and carnival I decided to upgrade to a luxury cruise. I brought along my husband who isn't crazy about cruising but, but ... Read More
I chose this ship mostly due to the itinery. Having sailed numerous times with Celebrity, Holland America, RC and carnival I decided to upgrade to a luxury cruise. I brought along my husband who isn't crazy about cruising but, but since it was close to our 30th anniversary he did it for me. I also brought along a couple who have never cruised before. So Ill start with the good....Staff was wonderful!! Food was very good (with the exception of my husbands New York Strip in Prime C that wasnt good at all...everyone else loved theirs) Other than that food was good. Buffett could stand to be hotter. Now comes the bad...and there was plenty of it. Starting with the toilets not working on and off ALL WEEK. Its pretty bad when you use the toilet to not be able to flush it and the fan doesn't work work so our cabin smelled bad a lot. Day two they told us they were sorry, but no other cabins available. Day three they told us and our guests to pack our bags, come after our 9pm dinner and they will move us. They move our friends first while we wait patiently...around 12:30 am they tell us they have no other rooms...!?!? Finally one magically appears and we get into our room about 1:30am. Around 3am after listening to a jet engine noise coming out of the ac unit (which did I mention wasn't working anyway and the room was unbearably hot?) we could not sleep..called and they told us to go back to original room... basically we did not sleep that nite which totally ruined our day since we were exhausted. Now we tried to make the best of a bad situation, but the ac never really got cold in our room, in fact the whole ship wasn't very comfortable. BUT there was one day getting ready for a private tour in Italy..my husband had excited the shower I was going to brush my teeth and shower when …..I HAD NO WATER!!! They had decided that 8am was a good time to address a plumbing issue (their words not mine...) on would have thought that maybe noon after everyone left for the day? My friends toilet didn't work more than it did despite changing rooms. I was beyond embarrassed since I talked up Azamara, being the one who arranged all this and this is what I bring them on for a luxury cruise that we spent ALOT on? So I have been told by my husband and my friends husband THEY WILL NEVER CRUISE AGAIN....and I blame that on Azamara. This was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and it was anything but. And the insult was after telling management the men would never cruise again ...they offered us a $400 future cruse credit!!!! I will leave my reviews all over so all will know to beware the pursuit. We wanted to love it.....wanted to but they made it impossible. Please remember the beginning of my review the staff were awesome and itinery phenomenal BUT it was the problems with the ship. It has plumbing and ac issues and cannot imagine it will resolved between the time I left the ship and the new passengers come onto it hours later. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got ... Read More
This might be a lengthy review, but I feel it needs to be because when booking with Ponant, I found little to no reviews on this company, especially for people who were bringing children. We traveled with our kids 8 and 10 and just got home from an 8 night Mediterranean cruise onboard the Le Lyrial. We LOVED this ship. The staff were amazing, there was a kids club that I couldn't pull my kids from (more on that), and we were very pleased with the food. Cabins: Cabins are adequate in size. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Disney boats and the Deluxe Balcony stateroom was just as big, with a decent sized balcony. We had cabins 323 and 325, both rooms were perfect for 2 ppl per cabin with plenty of storage. They took out the balcony divider between out staterooms so we could come and go between the cabins. These staterooms do not connect from the inside. Kids Club: There was a kids club on this cruise, which I don't think is offered on all the itineraries. If there's a kids club, it will be listed. My kids loved kids club. The activities they provided for the children were entertaining. No there is not a basketball court, or all the other kids stuff you find on the Disney and RC boats, but my kids never complained about not having that. In fact, they told us this was the best kids club they've been too. Port stops: Because this is a smaller boat, you port in smaller ports and getting off the boat is so much less stressful. Ponant organizes everything to a "T" and we were very impressed with the tours they provided. We generally do not book cruise ship tours, but these tours never had any more than 20 ppl in a group, again a BONUS being on a smaller boat. Food and Dining: Food was great! There are 2 restaurants and we never had a problem getting seating at either of them. I do wish they had a couple more options for the included house wines. With this being a french boat, I was looking forward to tasting some good french wines. They do have them, but they come at a cost. Pool Deck: Never crowed. On a Mediterranean cruise one would have thought you would have problems finding a chair. We never did. Also, ppl do not reserve chairs with towels, which was nice! There were 122 people onboard our ship. Amazing! I can't imagine we will ever be able to go back to a bigger boat after being on the Le Lyrial. I would also like to add that our tour manager, Nina was phenomenal. She organized all our excursions, and they went above and beyond to make sure we had the best experience possible. For example, we booked an excursion that was not offered as an inclusion to the US passengers, and was given only in French. My husband and I knew this going into it. We fully expected that we were going on a French speaking excursion and were OK with that. To our surprise, Nina had organized an English speaking guide to accommodate us that day. It was like we had our on personal guide. We did not expect this at all! But again, this is Ponant, and Nina was just exceptional. All in all we will book again with Ponant. Not having to deal with the crowds on embarking and disembarking is so worth the extra cost! Plus the attention you get on the cruise is priceless. Sail Date: July 2019 Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a 25th wedding anniversary cruise. The boat was amazing. Room was a wonderful size. We had a deluxe veranda. The food was 5 star quality and was absolutely delicious. No need to eat off the boat. The meals served were from ... Read More
This was a 25th wedding anniversary cruise. The boat was amazing. Room was a wonderful size. We had a deluxe veranda. The food was 5 star quality and was absolutely delicious. No need to eat off the boat. The meals served were from the region we were visiting - and did I mention they were outstanding! The excursions were good. I would choose differently on some of them now that I have been the the Iconic Mediterranean cruise. We added a pre-excursion in Rome and so glad we did. The concierge at our beautiful hotel arranged a night bus tour and fabulous meal at a restaurant in Rome. One of our highlights. The staff on the boat were extremely kind and funny. Always smiling and willing to help in any way. The only port we stayed on the boat was Montpelier. I wish we could have skipped that stop and had two days in Barcelona. Our flight on the way home was the only bad experience but not the fault of Viking. Took us 28 hours to get from Barcelona to Pittsburgh. Hope we can travel with Viking again. Loved every minute. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I took this cruise as our delayed honeymoon trip. I had never cruised before but my wife had been on a few with Royal Caribbean. Azamara was recommended to us by our travel agent as we wanted to see multiple cities in Italy ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise as our delayed honeymoon trip. I had never cruised before but my wife had been on a few with Royal Caribbean. Azamara was recommended to us by our travel agent as we wanted to see multiple cities in Italy without having to constantly carry around our luggage but were wary of the bigger ships. The best thing about Azamara is that they stay in ports late, in multiple ports we saw other ships docked/tendered leave hours before we did. To me, this was the best benefit as our goal for the trip was to experience the culture and cities we were visiting rather than just sit on a cruise ship for 11 days. My review may be a little naive since I do not cruise often but I felt the trip deserved some feedback. We stayed in Rome a few days before the ship took off and it was well worth it to see the eternal city. Once we got to the port for embarkation we were immediately pointed in the right direction and the staff took away our bags and led us onto the ship - no delays at all. We were greeted with a drink and told that our room was ready and lunch was being served in the Windows Cafe. We opted for the Club Continent Suite as it was not much more than a regular veranda and the added benefits (butler, included specialty dining, etc.) seemed worth it. The room was fantastic and was actually larger than our hotel room we had in Rome. The bed was comfortable with a nice size veranda and bathroom. The only knock on the room is I am rather tall (over 6 feet) and the shower was too short for me to fit in comfortably, I also felt the TV did not have many choices and the wifi was extremely slow. The food was good to very good and we never went hungry. We went to Aqualina twice and found that to be the best dining experience from the food to the service. The food & beverage manager, Mustafa, was very friendly and actually helped us get our second booking in Aqualina because the night we wanted to go was full. We mostly ate breakfast in the room or in the Windows Cafe where the buffet was great for breakfast. At times I felt the options and quality was lacking in the Windows Cafe for dinner but it is a buffet and the casual dining space for the ship so no real complaints there. The timing that the restaurants are open can be annoying as in the middle of the day you may have limited options. We typically only ate breakfast and sometimes dinner on the ship as we tried to eat in the ports we were in. We are not big drinkers so we did not upgrade the drinking package and felt the complimentary drinks were adequate but not great. The complimentary wines were actually very good. My wife is vegetarian and while they have a separate menu you need to order the meals in advance which wasn't a huge deal but can be annoying when you don't want to plan that far ahead. There was not much entertainment on the ship but that didn't bother us as we are on the younger side for the cruise and tended to explore around the ports or keep to ourselves. We did find ourselves playing darts/ping pong almost every night on deck 10! The service on the ship was fantastic, the staff was all friendly and helpful and our butler was great. The only real negative I have is the excursions. We booked five through the ship and felt only two of them were worth it. Maybe it was the ones that we booked but they were typically walking tours that were rushed and not that interesting and the ship charged us over $100 for each person. We found most the time we dreading the tours and couldn't wait for them to finish so we could explore on our own. I plan on booking another cruise on Azamara as I felt the service and value was great and the late port stays were a huge bonus. The ship feels more like a boutique hotel that travels which is great for what we wanted. The only thing I would do differently is avoid the ships excursions and book tours on my own or just explore. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because of the intimacy of the ship. We might have sacrificed all of the bells and whistle of a larger ship, but being on a smaller ship was well worth it. Embarkation was done in a very smooth and orderly fashion ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the intimacy of the ship. We might have sacrificed all of the bells and whistle of a larger ship, but being on a smaller ship was well worth it. Embarkation was done in a very smooth and orderly fashion and we were in our cabin within 15 minutes of boarding the ship. After ready some of the previous reviews, I was nervous about the age of the ship and it's condition, but our balcony cabin was clean and extremely spacious Yes, the cabins do need some updating, which they are planning a full refurbishment in the next year or so, but we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as bad as I had read. One of the things that makes this cruise line special are it's crew. They are so welcoming and friendly. They know your name with in the first day or so. The service level is amazing. Before you even take your last sip, they are right there asking if you would like another. Never a dirty glass or plate is sitting in front of you. And the FOOD!! Every night they offered their James Beard Foundation specialties along with other gourmet dishes and for those who are picky, they offer steak and chicken every night. Everything was done to perfection. The Executive Chef went over and above when we asked for a special dessert that was not being offered that night. The breakfasts were very good also. You can have made to order omelets along with a buffet. Or you can order something off the menu like waffles or pancakes or Egg Benedict. Same goes for the lunches where you can order a hamburger or chicken sandwich along with the buffet selections. Also the deck BBQ that they offered the evening we were in Cannes was spectacular! They bought fresh Sea bass that day and cooked it right there on the spot. Also, they had lobster and roasted pig, shrimp, carved beef, BBQ chicken and so much more. Then afterwards, they had line dancing that was so much fun! The crew really makes it a special night. The entertainment was what you might expect from a smaller ship. They had a duo singing every night up on the pool deck. And usually a special event in the Compass Lounge with fun things like a "Name that Tune" trivia game or the "Liars Club" where you had to guess which of the crew was telling the truth, and the crew talent show, which was very entertaining. But if you are expecting a big production show like what is on a large cruise ship, you will not see that here. We arrived in Rome a few days before the cruise and explored the city. We had Rome Cabs pick us up at the airport and give us a mini 1 hour tour of the city where we go out and visited the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. We had never been to Italy and we went to the usual touristy spots. The next day we went to The Colluseum where an archaeologist gave us a tour of the underground parts of the Colluseum then we had our regular tour guide take us round the rest of the Colluseum and the Forum. Very informative tour of these spectacular historical wonders. And on our last day in Rome, we went to the first entry to the Vatican, then it was off to our ship. The ports of call were very good. We did take a shore excursion through Windstar in Portofierro, Elba. It was well organized, even though it was supposed to be a morning departure and they had to change it to afternoon due to work being done on Napoleon's summer house. But our guide was very knowledgeable and got us back to our ship in time. We especially loved Portofino and Sanary Sur Mer probably because we like how small and quaint these ports were and their beauty! In Portofino, we walked to the top of Castle Brown, were the views were spectacular. Then we just walked around the beautiful little village. And Sanary Sur Mer was the prettiest little fishing village. There was a farmers market at the time where they had the fisherman, who just came in from the sea, put their fish on display along with fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of other items. Cannes and Monte Carlo, we just did our own thing, but the they are beautiful cities. The Grand Prix was just the week before, and they had an exotic car show going on the day we were in port. We saw many high end luxury sports cars being displayed and driven around the streets. Fun to see! We stopped in the small fishing village of Palermo, Spain where we did a lot of shopping. The prices were much more reasonable there and enjoyed our stay there. Our last stop was Barcelona where we disembarked. Again, this went very smoothly. We had a driver and guide waiting to pick us up for a private tour of Barcelona. Barcelona is a beautiful city with amazing architecture. We enjoyed our tour very much. I enjoyed our trip so much and was so sad to see it end. This is an older ship, but Windstar has kept it looking nice and clean. The service, food and overall experience was top notch! I would not hesitate to return to Windstar and am looking forward to our next cruise with them! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise due to ports we were visiting for the first time. It was our first Azamara cruise on a smaller ship. We have cruised with Princess and royal Caribbean on our previous 9 cruises without too many complaints. We Just ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to ports we were visiting for the first time. It was our first Azamara cruise on a smaller ship. We have cruised with Princess and royal Caribbean on our previous 9 cruises without too many complaints. We Just loved the ship size, we agreed that it was such a relaxed feeling for both passengers and crew. The service was great, a big thanks to all the crew for enhancing our vacation experience... thanks to Pitoon in the casino bar for your professional service, cheers mate! As has been described many times the azamazing evening and white night were fantastic events. We will definitely cruise Azamara again in the future thanks to all crew from chefs to cleaners for service with a smile. Surprisingly we found the food to be an equivalent quality to previous cruises, but not as many choices. All in all really good food. We really enjoy eating in the dining room, but was disappointed when themed buffet style food was offered in both the dining room and the buffet at the same time. Why remove the dining room choice? If I wanted buffet food I would go to the buffet? Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We’ve sailed with Seabourn and Hapag Lloyd before and were interested to try Crystal for a short six day cruise to see how life would be on a bigger ship. In some respects Serenity was excellent. The food in the MDR, Waterside, ... Read More
We’ve sailed with Seabourn and Hapag Lloyd before and were interested to try Crystal for a short six day cruise to see how life would be on a bigger ship. In some respects Serenity was excellent. The food in the MDR, Waterside, was varied and to a very high standard. Service was quicker than Seabourn and Barbara was a wonderful waitress. Service and dining in the speciality restaurants, Prego and Umi Uma, was absolutely first class. The decor is very old fashioned though. In the Italian Prego, that is almost forgivable as there is at least some soul to it. In Umi Uma the decor is dark, soulless and like a department store restaurant in the 1980s...it really could have done with something in the recent refit. Absolutely no problems with the wonderful cuisine and good quality included wines and spirits. We had a Penthouse Suite which, although only lightly refreshed on the recent refit, was very well appointed, with lots of space and well thought out. Our butler Richard was an absolute marvel...he deserves six stars for his positive can-do attitude and for serving meals in the cabin so well. Our stewardesses were completely wonderful and the cabin was kept pristine all through. The bathroom is good but old fashioned and the Etro toiletries are poor. Topped-up chocolates were unbelievably good. Enrichment was good. Entertainment was superb...better than Seabourn, with higher production values and a great theatre. The things that were missing were hard to put a finger on. Overall it was probably the ‘holiday’ feeling and warmth that you instantly get on Seabourn and Hapag Lloyd, the overall ship design and the ability to settle into that ship easily. Many of the staff and crew were excellent on Serenity, but many were also less than engaged and tired. The crew was invisible...however the entertainment director was fantastic. The ship doesn’t flow. It’s hard to find your way around. It feels old fashioned and it shows that the recent dry dock only refreshed certain areas. The fountain in the main atrium is a tacky shopping centre disgrace. The outside areas are poorly used: the back of the buffet area is too small and unshaded; there is no pool bar and no outside evening parties. Maybe it was just the time of year? Passengers from all over the world. Mainly US, China and Japan and many in groups. Ports were good, tendering OK but not as good as on Seabourn or Hapag Lloyd. Overall, maybe we are just used to a smaller ship? We’d still come back at the right price and itinerary though! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose Regent based on prior experience. This was our 4th cruise, and on this beautiful new ship Explorer everything was even better than we remembered. Crew, amenities, excursions, food -- all just absolutely top notch! We embarked ... Read More
We chose Regent based on prior experience. This was our 4th cruise, and on this beautiful new ship Explorer everything was even better than we remembered. Crew, amenities, excursions, food -- all just absolutely top notch! We embarked in Rome, and stopped at multiple locations in Italy, France and Spain. Valencia as a real highlight for us, as was Florence. But every port was great. The onboard entertainment was really top flight as well. Often on cruise ships you get a bit of the 'amateur hour' feel. But this troupe was really exceptional. And the assistant cruise director David Nevin was also one of the featured performers, and he was perhaps the best of all. There are always a wealth of organized activities available on board, in case you don't want to depart for a shore excursion. Other ships we have been on simply do not have that same level of customer focus. All in all, if you want a truly first class experience, book a cruise with Regent! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I will start my review by saying my wife and I are 60, a little plus and minus. We have been on about 30 cruises with most of our time spent on Celebrity ships. Except for the Paul Gauguin, this was our first entry in what I expected to ... Read More
I will start my review by saying my wife and I are 60, a little plus and minus. We have been on about 30 cruises with most of our time spent on Celebrity ships. Except for the Paul Gauguin, this was our first entry in what I expected to be the high-end cruise market. I have to start by giving the crew of this ship the highest possible praise. Not sure how Regent makes it happen, but I believe that every crew member we ran in to actually loved their job and wanted you to feel 100% pampered. The service was absolutely fantastic in every way and everyone was so nice. The other thing that made the cruise nice was the all inclusive nature of the cruise. If you stay out of the spa and shops there is really no reason to spend one dime on the cruise. They even have a tremendous selection of movies on demand in the room for those times you just want to kick back. I will say that although there is no tipping required, with the level of service you get, you will want to tip and we gave money to numerous people around the ship in addition to our normal room stewards and bartenders. In general the ship is old, but it does have a level of elegance that we enjoyed. It was like going back in time a bit when we first started cruising. I will say that the vibration that everyone talks about was worse than expected. Read my comment under room for that piece, but I would never take this ship across the big oceans again. I did like the layout of the ship and it was unusual with the main dining room in the middle of the ship and everything else at the back of the ship to include the show lounge. It had some nice touches like a putting green on the front of the ship and ping pong table on one floor. The pool is a salt water pool and since the ocean was cold, no one used the pool. My wife and I and maybe one other couple used the hot tub which are fresh water and were nice. My wife enjoyed two massages in the spa and liked those. They are a little pricey so watch for the specials. Internet was OK for email and messaging, but not for streaming or sending pictures. Entertainment was good, but just let me say that with the average age of passengers at or above 70, most of the entertainment was like being stuck in an elevator for 16 days. Need I say more so practice up on your ball room dancing. Ports were great and the shore excursions were on par with what you would normally pay for except these were free. The groups seemed smaller as well which was nice. This may be a result of the mobility of many of the passengers. Embarkation was easy, but debarkation was supposed to start at 7:00 AM, but did not start until around 8:15 AM. So what are my complaints? First, except for the service I mentioned, everything was average to poor. This would be fine except when you put it in the value for your money category the price is way too high for what you get. Even in the Prime 7, reservations required restaurant the food was average at best and the lobster and crab tasted old and watered down from being frozen for so long. They missed the mark on many normal recipes. My wife planned to send them in a couple because we were not sure what they were making in some cases. My advice is to try things you have never had so you have no preconceived expectation. Finally I am going to end with my pet peeve, “Water Quality”. Every ship I have been on has said that the water out of the tap is better then water out of the bottle. After the brown and yellow water that came out of our taps we were told to not drink it. How can you pay this kind of money pour a bath that looks like diarrhea water? They did make it better by replacing filters twice outside our room, but really? They go through so much bottled water that they literally have pallets of water stored on the back decks where passengers should be able to go, but I assume for safety they are limited to crew only. So in the end, if you want a cruise to snooze, read a book or two and eat average food, this is the one for you. For me and the money spent, I think I will try something else because I do not see Regent as an upscale cruise line, just an all-inclusive one. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We are just back from our third Azamara voyage in about 18 months- this time on the Pursuit for an eight day Italy Intensive voyage from Rome to Venice. For background purposes, our earlier travels with Azamara did not give us a good ... Read More
We are just back from our third Azamara voyage in about 18 months- this time on the Pursuit for an eight day Italy Intensive voyage from Rome to Venice. For background purposes, our earlier travels with Azamara did not give us a good first impression of this line. On our first trip, we had repeatedly difficulties with the online booking engine and the price promotions would not carry over to the actual booking. As I always like to book our travels directly, this caused some frustration and the response that we "need to use a travel agent" was not going to happen. After several phone calls, we did get it straightened out so we decided to proceed with the trip. On our second voyage, the front office repeatedly gave out misinformation as to where the ship was docking for embarkation (in Sydney, Australia) despite the port authority saying otherwise. Even our final documents showed the wrong location. Again, I was ready to give up. This third journey, I have to say, not only went forward without a hitch, but also convinced us that those who always state "it's the Azamara onboard experience that counts" are right. We began our trip in Rome and used Rome Cabs for a same day transfer to our hotel in Civitavecchia, the Hotel San Giorgio. Our driver was prompt, polite, and provided a very safe ride directly to our lodging. Highly recommend Rome Cabs for transfers to/from FCO. The Hotel San Giorgio is in a beautiful location right on the water front and we were warmly greeted after a long day/night of travel. The room was comfortable and quiet and we had dinner at the very good onsite restaurant. The hotel also provided breakfast and a timely transfer to the ship the next day. Embarkation for the Pursuit took literally 5 minutes- absolutely no lines or queing up. I love being greeted by smiling crew members who hand you a glass of sparkling wine and take your carry on bags so you can begin enjoying the ship. The Pursuit immediately had a very positive vibe. As the newest member of the Azamara fleet, there was still that "new car" feel to her, and everything sparkled. We were anxious to check out the new "Den" which replaced the old casino and just loved it. We spent many hours there and it became our go-to place for cocktails and relaxing. We are thrilled that this change is being made on the Quest and Journey as well. Our Club Veranda stateroom on deck 7 was exactly as we expected- small but with loads of storage and a very comfortable bed. Yes, the bathrooms are small too, but they are functional and you work with it. After our last cruise on the Quest, I commented that Azamara had definitely improved significantly in terms of food and service. The Pursuit took this one step farther. In Windows Cafe, the Patio, and Discoveries Restaurant, we found the food and staff to be excellent. We always were able to get a lovely table for two, usually by the window. Just be patient, go a bit later to the dining room, and they will do their best for you. The master of the Pursuit, Captain Antonio Toledo, and his senior staff were highly visible as was our cruise director, Amanda Poulson. The Azamara perks- White Night, AzAmazing Evening, and the Officers' barbecue, all were fantastic- well organized and fun to attend. Italy itself was a spectacular destination. Several of our ports were repeats for us, but with every trip to this country we just grow fonder and fonder of the people, the scenery, and, of course, the food. We won't go into too many port specifics here, but will add that we fell in love with Sorrento, and discovered a new part of Venice on a rainy day (which just added to the atmosphere)! The demographic of our fellow guests was similar to our other Azamara cruises with a few more younger (30-something) couples. It is always interesting chatting with other well-traveled folks who appreciate the smaller ship and less visited ports. There are two areas of Azamara which continue to cause us some discourse- the first being the included beverages vs the upgraded packages. Many passengers (and bar personnel) were confused by what is and isn't included, and the mixers used continue to be awful. No sense drinking a high end gin (like Hendricks) and mixing it with Royal Club tonic. Secondly, and more importantly, is the huge amount of plastic water bottles used each cruise. Whilst it is nice to have unlimited drinking water, seeing the bins filled with disposable water bottles everywhere is heartbreaking. With 8 million metric tons of plastic being thrown into our oceans annually (source: earthday.org), it would be so easy for Azamara to simply stop using them. Install a few refillable water bottle fountains on the ships like those now becoming commonplace in cities around the world. I think guests would appreciate an inexpensive refillable water bottle more than another tote bag. All in all, we really loved our Italy Intensive voyage on the Pursuit and did visit the Cruise Again desk to book a trip in 2020. In a world where everything seems to be getting bigger and bigger with more people, Azamara fills a niche where less is more. We look forward to many more great experiences. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
After 2 amazing days in Rome, my wife and I set out on the NCL Spirit for an 11 day adventure to Greece, Malta and more of Italy. We booked an aft facing penthouse suite with large balcony not only for the space, but the service that was ... Read More
After 2 amazing days in Rome, my wife and I set out on the NCL Spirit for an 11 day adventure to Greece, Malta and more of Italy. We booked an aft facing penthouse suite with large balcony not only for the space, but the service that was promised. This ship does not offer a "Haven" experience, but suite guests get some similar perks. We have sailed in a Haven room before, so we can give an honest comparison. Without the Haven amenities on this ship there is not a dedicated dining room and lounge area to enjoy besides the steak house for breakfast and lunch. For dinner you are on your own unless you buy extra meals in the specialty dining rooms. This cruise came with 4 nights of specialty restaurants and we purchased 5 more. Before we sailed this seemed like a good idea but the only 2 good restaurants to eat in that could be reserved early was the French Bistro and Cagney's Steakhouse. The food and service was very good but grew tiresome by the end of 11 days. Other areas on the ship served decent food and didn't cost any more money. Suite guests also have the services of a concierge and a butler. This was the same service Haven guests have on other ships but there is no one specific place to go see either person. Instead you can call. Every time we called either person, they immediately answered and took care of us. In particular, our concierge Monica was simply outstanding! We had a problem with all of the amenities we had received with our cabin purchase and she took care of the issue within an hour of my call to her. We changed reservation times on more than 4 occasions and she always got us a table when we wanted it. She was the best part of our suite perks for sure. In short, we feel you cannot compare the Suite experience with the Haven experience. The exclusivity of the Haven is far above and the cost is definitely higher as well. Here are a few examples... At embarkation, we were given a #7 boarding card and had to ask if suite guests get priority. Of course our documents were checked properly and we received a #1 boarding pass. We then had to ask if there was a section in the waiting area for suite guests as well after we were told to sit anywhere and wait for # 1 to be called. This was all wrong because there is an area for Owners suite and Penthouse suite guests to check in. Unfortunately some of the staff were not aware and it did not make us feel like we were getting the exclusive treatment that was sold to us. The issues mentioned above that were fixed should never have been issues in the first place. When you book a cruise and get a price that includes all of the extras you check off, like Ultimate beverage package, Shore excursion credits, WiFi and Specialty restaurants, you should not have to go to anyone and wonder why you are being charged at the bar, dinner and WiFi. Seems like something got missed and if we didn't have a concierge to help, we would have spent a lot of time in line trying to fix it ourselves. The priority you get in each port of call is a nice perk for suite guests. If you have a booked excursion, you meet in Cagney's instead of the theater. You get off first and then wait for everyone else on your tour on the bus. Haven guests have it a little nicer in that they are escorted in a private elevator on and off the ship avoiding crowds of people. On this ship, the room we had was very nice. Some of the furniture is getting a bit dated but there was plenty of space and the bed was very comfortable. We were in cabin 9210 and a few evenings when the ship is at full throttle, the vibration and noise could be bothersome to some people. My wife and I did not mind too much. At normal cruising speed, it was fine. Current photos of this cabin are attached. We could not find any current information leading up to our cruise so we hope this helps. As far as the ports are concerned, this cruise was fantastic! Even though we did not call Santorini due to the lift not working on the island, we were able to visit some amazing places in just 11 days. Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Chania, Valleta, Messina, Naples and Livorno round trip from Rome. Simply amazing!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our 4th cruise on Viking and each cruise gets better and better. Service, food, friendly atmosphere, tours, the ship and rooms are all top notch. We decided to stay in a PV3 cabin and really enjoyed the extra space usually we ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Viking and each cruise gets better and better. Service, food, friendly atmosphere, tours, the ship and rooms are all top notch. We decided to stay in a PV3 cabin and really enjoyed the extra space usually we stay in a DV cabin. We decided to mainly take this cruise for the 3 days in Israel and we were not disappointed. We decided to do a private tour in Israel as there were 10 of us and we booked through Guided Tours of Israel who did an excellent job. We could not ask for a better tour guide and driver. My least favorite port was Naples - quite dirty. The lectures on board were very interesting - especially the ones about Israel. The lectures were well attended, the lecture ended at 6:30 pm and everyone headed for the dinning room we did not have a long wait but Viking served champagne to all waiting in line and they did this several times - this is just an example of their service. They had several lunch specials around the pool , such as grilled salmon, mussels, and a fantastic brunch on one of our sea days served from 10 am to 1 pm. Excellent food stations and they served Bloody Mary's, champagne and Mimosas! Viking is a excellent cruise line, they care about the passengers and again you can not beat the service - we have booked 2 additional cruises with Viking. Entertainment is good, we always enjoyed going to the Living Room around 6 pm for a cocktail and the music. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The ship was new and very well decorated. 930 guests on board and no area was crowded. The crew was most gracious and Ships Captain to me a retired US Navy Captain invited me for a tour of the bridge. The ships hosted Stacy was beyond ... Read More
The ship was new and very well decorated. 930 guests on board and no area was crowded. The crew was most gracious and Ships Captain to me a retired US Navy Captain invited me for a tour of the bridge. The ships hosted Stacy was beyond fantastic, extremely helpful and extremely gracious!!! Our stateroom was well decorated, airy, well maintained and very comfortable. Plenty of room for our clothing, suitcases and "stuff". We absolutely enjoyed the balcony. Dining was rather disappointing. While the food was well prepared and tasted good each day was the same. Both the buffet as well as the dinner menu. It became rather boring on our 15 day cruise. We did not attend most of the entertainment (no not stick in the mud's, just enjoyed the "ship" itself more. What we did see was most enjoyable. Service was excellent by our house keeping staff, food service staff and especially by Stacy our ships service staff. There wasn't a situation she she did not easily solve. I turned 77 the night in Athens and she even came to my dinner party to wish me a happy birthday. We think she is AWESOME!!!!! The ports were excellent. Unfortunately, when we became eligible to call and select the shore excursions, ALL the good excursions had already been sold out. We were on deck 5 and guess even though we were paying a lot of money for the cruise our deck was not important enough to allow for the "good" tours. We had to select private tour companies to explore the "high demand" tours. I would especially recommend our tour in Israel. We never had children so if we had some with us, I thing my wife would shoot me ha ha ha, Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my very first cruise and one I will never forget! Everything about it was breathtaking and Viking did everything from the ship, food, entertainment, excursions, staff with such class! We felt like royalty♥️ all the ports ... Read More
This was my very first cruise and one I will never forget! Everything about it was breathtaking and Viking did everything from the ship, food, entertainment, excursions, staff with such class! We felt like royalty♥️ all the ports we stopped at were amazing (especially Tuscany and Rome) it was chilly in March so next time we would go a month or two later. The staff on the ship were amazing and were from all over the world. We celebrated our anniversary on the ship and they even made us our own personalized cake!! We relaxed in the spa, jacuzzi, sauna, etc in the evening after a full day of sightseeing. Then had a sumptuous dinner with wine and great shows and professional singers. There was plenty to do on the ship without casinos and other things that much larger ships provide. We were very satisfied. Viking will be my first choice in the future. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because we considered it would be a step up from the typical large ship pandemonium. We wanted adults, few pool games, less hysteria at food buffets and just an overall cleaner, calmer experience. We were not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we considered it would be a step up from the typical large ship pandemonium. We wanted adults, few pool games, less hysteria at food buffets and just an overall cleaner, calmer experience. We were not disappointed. Since we wanted to spend a few days getting used to the time change in advance, we selected the pre-cruise extension - Ultimate Italy. This was three days in the Tuscan hillside with two full days of escorted tours in Florence, Sienna, and San Gimignano. It was worth every penny. It also allowed us to plan for a more relaxed visit when arriving in the Livorno port upon the ship. We would not have to repeat these cities. There were 30 of us on the pre-cruise extension. We came to know one another and were able to continue those connections on the cruise. Saturday morning we took a coach bus from our villa to the port in Civitavecchia. Arriving at the port there was a bit of a delay. The computers connecting the ship to the desks at the port were not communicating. Viking did their best processing all of us through, admitting about 20 at a time and sending us to the ship to check in at the guest services desk. It ended up working out just fine. We were very pleased with our room - a penthouse veranda category. Plenty of space for everything we needed and by far the nicest bathrooms of any cruise ship. Everything was very clean and crisp. The mini bar was stocked and remained stocked throughout the cruise. We loved all the food on the ship. Our favorite entree was the Bistecca Fiorentina (rib eye) served in Manfredi's. However, our second favorite experience was the king crab legs served every single evening in the World Buffet. We went to The Restaurant our first evening. It was great. However, we found that all the food on the menu there was also served in the World Buffet and you could be on your own schedule. They also always had two items that they made to order. For us it was frequently the New York strips. Mamsen's offers some unusual treats for breakfast and snacks. My husband fell in love with the pickled herring at breakfast there. We did not choose the Silver Spirits beverage package and found we certainly didn't need it. Beer and wine flow freely at lunch and dinner in any location where food is served. This includes the buffet and Mamsen's. And you can take what you haven't finished with you when you leave. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship, though we are definitely not needy in this regard. The Viking band and singers performed a Beatles show and an Abba show that were fantastic. Seating in the auditorium is plentiful. And not a bad seat in the room. You don't have to dodge pillars and obstructions to your view. There is also usually light entertainment in the atrium area on the first floor. We found that a great place to hang out and watch the ocean or port activities. We enjoyed hanging out in the evenings in the Explorer's Lounge. When we were lucky enough to get seats in front of the water vapor fireplace we were delighted! The service on the ship is exceptional. These folks are definitely hard workers and eager to make your cruise enjoyable. Ports and Shore Excursions: Livorno/Florence - as mentioned, we had been to Florence on our pre-cruise extension. We took the optional excursion to the Leonardo da Vinci museum and to Lucca. This was the only disappointing experience of the cruise. The first stop in Vinci was at the childhood home of Leonardo and is nothing exceptional. The museum portion of that is just a holographic video. The second museum experience is a few miles away and is a museum of Leonardo's mechanical inventions. It is interesting, but rushed. Unfortunately, it was raining in Lucca so it put a damper on the enjoyment. That was not the tour guide's fault. Our second day in Livorno we took the included tour to Pisa. It was fantastic. The Monaco day was great. We took the included tour in the morning and Nice on your Own in the afternoon. The included tour covered a walk up the seaside with highlights of the history of the royal family and the city. It does not go to the casino Monte Carlo, but they do allow you to break off from the tour and head there on your own. We were in a bit of a hurry because we needed to get to our second tour. The trip to Nice was worth every penny. On the Marseilles day we took the included tour and then spent time on the ship. It was a great time to take advantage of the spa/steam room/snow room. Very exhilarating. Our only hiccup to the cruise itinerary came on the Sete port day. The winds prevented us from safely making port. Our captain made it a very comfortable day by taking us out to less choppy waters and giving us an unplanned day at sea. The staff got creative with a few impromptu talks and lessons. We also found an unexpected treat in the Explorer's Dome (above the Explorer's bar.) If you enjoy planetarium experiences, look for the three different shows they present in the dome. They require reservations but are easy to get on your viking app. Barcelona is a beautiful city/port. We were lucky to port at the World Trade Center so our ship was easy to walk off/on and right into the city. On this day we took our favorite excursion - the Gaudi Architecture tour. If you want to see the INSIDE of the La Sagrada Familia, this is the tour to take. Of the 800 photos we took during our vacation, 200 of them were inside this cathedral. We then continued the tour at Park Guell, another fantastic Gaudi creation. Because of the timing of this tour, we couldn't take advantage of the included tour but feel our decision was absolutely the best. After our first night on the Jupiter, we knew that Viking was to be our future. We met with the onboard cruise consultant who was very knowledgable about all the options for future tours. The discounts and access to popular cruises early make it worth considering booking your next cruise onboard. We ended up selecting the Grand European tour for next May, 2020 to see how Viking River compares with Viking Ocean. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this trip because of past experience with Viking River Cruises, the Itinerary and the duration. We had never been on an ocean voyage and thought this would be a good way to take a step in that direction. We opted for an Explorer ... Read More
We chose this trip because of past experience with Viking River Cruises, the Itinerary and the duration. We had never been on an ocean voyage and thought this would be a good way to take a step in that direction. We opted for an Explorer Suite (ES1) are were thoroughly pleased. The room was over the top. Very spacious, excellent amenities, views were fantastic and room service for breakfast every day was timely, hot and tasty. With the ES1 class suite, we had 3 nights in each of the specialty restaurants and early selection to shore excursions. Menus were sufficiently different each night so that dinners were all unique. We were traveling with a group of 8 but the others only had 1 night in each specialty restaurant. For each of the combined groups' night in a restaurant, they placed us in the private dining rooms which was a very nice touch. Onboard activities were fun as we mainly took advantage of the night life. Basically three groups of musicians, a solo artist, a string group and a rock band (from Ukraine). All were fun the listen to and watch. The fitness facility has all enough cardio equipment to get in a workout, stretch and/or lift prior to the activities of the day. As this was our first ocean voyage, we did not do a good job selecting shore excursions but that was on us and not Viking. Already looking and planning shore excursions on next Viking Ocean cruise. Overall, very pleased with trip. It is expensive staying in an ES1 suite but highly recommend spending the extra money especially when the cruise is 10 days or longer. The extra space was appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
chose this because of itinerary and length. we had done a river cruise and were not happy with the small size of the ship and the limited food choices. jupiter was the perfect size with more dining venues and wonderful selections. the ... Read More
chose this because of itinerary and length. we had done a river cruise and were not happy with the small size of the ship and the limited food choices. jupiter was the perfect size with more dining venues and wonderful selections. the buffet was great for breakfast, lunch and the occasional dinner. one of the ports was poor (sete) but others were new for us and we enjoyed the included excursions. service was great, air worked out well, food was wonderful, low key dress was certainly a plus. love having a self serve laundry on board! and love having "free" internet. overall, great time. we are booked on another viking ocean next april. wish it was not as expensive as it is, but what the heck....no kids, small ship....can't ask for more. viking does a very nice job with shuttling to and from airports and making quick changes to port excursions. Marseille was "on strike" and we could not dock for a few hours...no problem. excursions were adjusted...seamlessly. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate my 70th birthday. We had taken 4 Viking River Cruises previously and enjoyed them all and thought that the Ocean Cruise would also be enjoyable. We did an extension in Rome before the cruise and an ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my 70th birthday. We had taken 4 Viking River Cruises previously and enjoyed them all and thought that the Ocean Cruise would also be enjoyable. We did an extension in Rome before the cruise and an extension in Barcelona after the cruise. We were disappointed in the quality of the hotels in both cities. We had done extensions before and found the quality of the hotels much better than those in Rome and Barcelona. The Rome hotel location was fine but the hotel in Barcelona was far from a good location to explore the city. We had to take a taxi to see anything. We did a shore excursion to the Vatican in Rome. We had to wait 1 hour in the cold to get into the Vatican. Then another one half hour to get into the Vatican Museum. Once in the Museum we could only shuffle along pushed by the wall to wall crowd unable to stop to see anything. Viking should have warned us about the conditions. Except for the extension hotels and the Vatican, the experience on the cruise was great. The ship was beautiful; the food in the specialty and general restaurants were very good; our cabin was exceptional (and we paid dearly for it); the entertainment was fine for a cruise and the service was exceptional. Shore excursions were fine except for the Vatican. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The Viking Sky was impeccably clean and was kept that way throughout the cruise. The arrival process at the Rome airport was efficient and fairly rapid. We did not stay at the airport more than about 30 minutes before we were on our way ... Read More
The Viking Sky was impeccably clean and was kept that way throughout the cruise. The arrival process at the Rome airport was efficient and fairly rapid. We did not stay at the airport more than about 30 minutes before we were on our way to the ship. At the ship the embarkation process was quick. The agents greeting were friendly and focused on getting us on board as quickly as possible. Once on board, we were greeted and told that lunch would be served beginning in about one-half hour. Until that time we were directed to the pool bar where drinks were available. This first lunch was served in the World Cafe, the ship's buffet or at a buffet pool-side; two different menus. All the food was consistently good. While we were getting to know our fellow passengers an announcement was made that all staterooms were ready for occupancy. We gladly proceeded to our stateroom for a rest after the long trans-Atlantic flight. We found our bags on the bed in our stateroom ready to be unpacked. Our stateroom was somewhat larger than the staterooms of most ships with a sitting area adjacent to the balcony. A large digital TV was on the wall at the foot of the bed which positioned it well to be seen in bed or in the sitting area. The one deficit to the room was space for storing clothes. There was a huge closet, but most of our clothes were not for hanging, and even if they were there were not enough hangers. The drawers were not in a convenient place and two of the four drawers were filled with amenities for the cabin. Most our our clothes stayed in our suitcases during the cruise under the bed. Necessitating dragging them out every time you wanted to change. There was a nice drawer refrigerator that the steward kept stocked with soft drinks and sweets. To get what you wanted all you had to do was ask. The room also had a keurig type coffee machine with various k-cups for personal use. I found his a waste of space. Coffee was always available aboard ship or through room service. The bathroom had an ample shower and was well stocked with the branded supplies for Viking, same as on the river cruises. The towels were thick and enjoyable to use. There are several complimentary laundrettes aboard which make cruising easier. Our cabin steward was efficient and eager to please. He was always available and ready to serve. There are several restaurants aboard the ship, including two specialty restaurants, Manfredi's an Itallian restaurant and the Chef's Table a restaurant with a chef determined menu and wine pairings, if you choose. The food and service is immpecable, but the availablilty is determined by class of cabin. So don't expect to get reservations more than once or twice. The other, open, restaurants are just as good and much more accessible. The "Restaurant" is the sit down restaurant with a menu that includes standards each day and a special menu from the locatiion visited and daily specials. The service is routinely attentive focused on an enjoyable meal experience. The World Cafe is the buffet. Most times the offerings mirror the menu in the Restaurant. with additional offerings from local supply. The World Cafe also has daily standards, including sushi and a rotating gelato bar. The service here can be somewhat spotty. Frequently is was difficult to find someone to stop and take drink orders. There was also a daily buffet pool side. This buffet was generally focused on seafood or smaller hand items like wraps or burritos. The drink service here is a little better, but still spotty. Drink service throughout the ship started out very efficient, but by about the third day it was difficult to find a server without waiting too long. The cruise itinerary was the big disappointment of this cruise. I booked the cruise primarily because it was published a stop in Tunis, Tunisia. I have always wanted to see Carthage. Shortlly after booking Viking announed that because of political issues Tunis would be replaced with Naples, Italy. This was not exactly what I consider a one to one exchange, but because the cruise company has a stranglehold on the carriage contract the paying customer has no recourse. I tried to get them to cancel my booking (this was about 10 months before sailing), but they would not do so. Not the best customer service. But that was not the end of the itinerary chaos. In the midst of the cruise, our less than brave captain, decided he did not want to sail into Trapani Sicily with a forecast of high winds. So we sat in Naples for an extra half day. In place of a several hour tour of Trapani we got a two hour unaccompanied visit to the National Archeological Museum in Naples. Not a real one to one exchange either, but did Viking care? No. In thirty years of cruising it is the first time I have had a cruise stop cancelled mid-cruise. Again, the carriage contract was totally in favor of the cruise line with no recourse for the paying passenger. Viking is an expensive cruise, they should find ways to accomodate the paying customer. The included excursions on this cruise had llittle depth or substance. Most of them were based in bus travel and little time on foot. This was completely different than my experience on the viking river cruises where most of the time was taken up on foot visiting local sights. They were a complete disappointment. The paid excursions were expensive and most of the time scheduled at the same time as the included excursions. The only excursion that had much foot time was in Valencia and it was really enjoyable. I don't know why they had the QuietVox listening system. They only used it twice during the week.To show how cheap the entertainment was, the cruise director, who wasn't seen directing much, had to do a show himself. The enhancement lecturers were inconsistent and less than adequate. Disembarkation in Barcelona was a breeze. While it was early in the morning for us because of a plane schedule, it was done well. the ship was elegant and well maintained. The staff was pleasant and friendly, never failing to greet when you passed them on the ship, including officers. The food was quality and enjoyable. The downside was the considerable lack of understanding that the customer should be considered first in all decisions, not the bottom line. These cruises are moderately expensive so expectations should be higher. Those expectations were not met. Read Less

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