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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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were booked for a cruise on this ship later and were fascinated by the idea of sailing on it the first time. After spending a week with family in Pennsylvania, we flew from Philadelphia to Rome and explored the city for about a week. ... Read More
We were booked for a cruise on this ship later and were fascinated by the idea of sailing on it the first time. After spending a week with family in Pennsylvania, we flew from Philadelphia to Rome and explored the city for about a week. Even that was not quite enough - so much to see! We stayed in the Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere, which was lovely, and really well located. Embarkation in Civitivecchia was well organized. We took Bob's Limos, which dropped us off right at the entrance to the embarkation hall. There was no significant wait anywhere until we'd checked in and gotten our group assigniment. We simply sat and waited for our group to be called, and we were on our way. Once on the ship, though, getting to our stateroom was a bit of a challenge, since most of the elevators had been appropriated by the staff for bringing luggage to rooms. We had a bit of a wait for an elevator. Had we not had carry-on bags, we would have taken the stairway. The ship itself is beautiful. It is large, but not so large that you can't get around, and while I think it was pretty fully booked, never seemed crowdedl We never got to any of the specialty dining restaurants other than the Grand Dutch Cafe because, quite frankly, the meals and options in the Main Dining Room were wonderful. Our favorite spot from a previous cruise on the Eurodam was the Tamarind, but on the Nieuw Statendam, they'd elminated the Tamarind Bar, which we loved, and made the restaurant larger and much less initimate. They also did not offer a rijsstaafel, which was disappointing. As a native Netherlander, I couldn't get enough of the Grand Dutch Cafe. Between the bags of Dutch licorice and the Kroket lunches, I was in heaven. My only complaint is that one of my favorite Dutch treats is Bitterballen, which were only available between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m., which was right before and after dinner, when we weren't hungry. I went in a couple of times and got some to take back to my room for breakfast the next day. The cabiin itself is pretty typical of HAL ships. The bathroom has a shower (no tub), which was fine for us. The tubs on the Eurodam were pretty small, and by eliminating them, they made the shower a nice size and easy to get in and out of. We're not rock fans, so we didn't check out the Rolling Stones Rock venue, but did enjoy the other three. We really enjoyed both the Lincoln Center Stage musicians and the BB King Blues group. It seemed, though, like the sound in BB King kept getting louder and louder every night, to the point where we couldn't stand it. Next time, I'll bring ear plugs so we can enjoy the music and dance. The real disappointment was the gentleman who talked about history. He seemed to be reading Powerpoint presentations he'd written years ago, and displayed some real ignorance of his subject several times. His pronunciation of the names of people and places was atrocious. We went once, which was enough. Another painful disappointment was the "opera singer" in the Main Stage, who had some real pitch problems. Ouch! Since I am a singer and my husband a retired music professor with perfect pitch, this was particularly noticeable for us. Unfortunately, we were sitting right up front and couldn't really leave without being rude. One thing definitely not to be missed is the artwork. I was worried after seeing the promotions about it before the trip that it might be really modern, but it was actually really whimsical and interesting. We spent a couple of evenings walking around the ship checking out and photographing the artwork. Some of it you have to get up close and then stand back to really appreciate. We did not take advantage of excursions, since all of the ports were pretty walkable. We took advantage of the ship's shuttle in Funchal, but it really wasn't necessary. We could have walked downtown easily. The street art in both Cartagena and Funchal was really fascinating. A highlight of the trip was the stiching group we were able to organize though the Cruise Critic rollcall. We had as many as 30 people every sea day morning gathered in the Billboard Onboard area to knit, crochet, and stitch. After a couple of days, the staff got there ahead of us and arranged the chairs for us. Holland America itself has stopped supporting these sorts of groups, which is too bad. We were still picking up people around the ship who didn't know that we were meeting right up to the end of the trip. All in all, we had a wonderful trip and really look forward to our next voyage on the Nieuw Statendam. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my 12th cruise on HAL. I've been on every size ship in their fleet. While I still prefer smaller ships (RIP soon Prinsendam), I have made my peace with behemoths and really like HAL's newest iterations. Having been on ... Read More
This was my 12th cruise on HAL. I've been on every size ship in their fleet. While I still prefer smaller ships (RIP soon Prinsendam), I have made my peace with behemoths and really like HAL's newest iterations. Having been on the Koningsdam twice, there was no learning curve on the Nieuw Statendam. For a "premier" voyage (maiden is no longer used - wink wink), things went surprisingly well. Let's get the glitches out of the way first: - The computer system was loathe to recognize the Mariner discount when applicable - Service in Canaletto and Tamarind was very slow - One of the stationary bikes in the gym was out of order from the get go - Use of the World Stage for solo performers is not optimal Not bad for the first time out! Now for the really good: - Food was uniformly excellent. Our group of nine had the same table at 8PM every evening in the Dining Room, and service was stellar and convivial. BRAVO to Dede. He is wonderful. We ate in all four specialty restaurants as well. (I miss the Culinary Arts Center: Club Orange was always nearly empty when one passed by.) - The Pinnacle was exemplary and well worth the extra cost. Yum. - Shipwide, the staff were great. - HAL's emphasis on music continues to enhance the experience. Lincoln Center Stage now shares the Queen's Lounge with BB King's, and they often performed two or three times a day. The new venue is perfect for their wonderful concerts; I attended 17 times. (The piano quintet currently includes the stellar string quartet ATLYS.) Punctuating a 14 day crossing with these concerts: thank you. - Cabins and storage are just fine. Our port side balcony cabin had direct sun most of the crossing: I actually used it often (a balcony has never been a priority for me). Of course the weather cooperated fully: temperatures were 60-75F for the entire trip - in December! In summation: as wonderful as it is to be on a cruise where you have no extras on your account at the end (Azamara, Regent, Seabourn etc.), HAL still delivers. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We had taken 4 cruises together as a couple, 3 of them on HAL. We were excited to book our first transatlantic and maiden voyage on the Nieuw Statendam. My parents were avid cruisers and their first was on the Statendam in 1972. Also, my ... Read More
We had taken 4 cruises together as a couple, 3 of them on HAL. We were excited to book our first transatlantic and maiden voyage on the Nieuw Statendam. My parents were avid cruisers and their first was on the Statendam in 1972. Also, my oldest brother and sister-in-law did the maiden voyage on the Koningsdam and raved about the experience. We didn't have many expectations as we like being open-minded travelers who are ready for just about anything! The ship, the crew and luckily, the weather did not disappoint in fact were impressive in every way. From embarkation at the lovely new terminal in Civitavecchia to disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale, we had no major issues, concerns or gripes. We really enjoyed the dining experiences on board. The only eatery we did not try was the sushi bar. Next time! Our favourite specialty resto was Sel De Mer. The seafood, service, plating and presentation were all amazing. The restaurant decor was also enchanting. The Tamarind was our next favourite. Beautiful setting and the menu was varied enough to earn repeat visits. The lack of a formal library was noticeable but not an issue. I was prepared and brought some books with me. The other issue is the wine package ordering process. It was not handled all that well at the onset of the cruise. We did get it sorted but took some doing. The crew was always smiling and always employing the right amount of attention whether it was toward the upkeep of our cabin or whilst at dinner. And very observant as well. The officers mingled nightly with passengers with the Captain was often spotted doing walkabouts in the public areas. The CD and ACD, Ross and Grant were also very involved with us passengers and Grant especially, supplied us with many laughs during Trivia and Bingo games. We really were impressed with the original stage production of Humanity. A show developed for the stage on the NS by a group from NYC called One Step. It used the hi-tech screens and lighting to great effect. The other groups, solos and entertainers were all appreciated. A bit of seasonal cheer came in the form of a twinkly Gingerbread House display outside of the Dutch Cafe. Complete with working model trains! Our cabin was quiet and relaxing with plenty of storage. And a roomy verandah. Deck 7 midships is the place to be! All the ports of call were interesting and enjoyed great weather at all 3. We especially enjoyed Funchal, Madeira. We hired a private taxi to take us on a 3 hour tour for 100 euros. Fantastic time! The 8 days at sea were wonderful. Great weather, endless ocean and sky vistas to enjoy and lots of comfy chairs to enjoy it from. We cannot wait until our next HAL getaway. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We, recently, got home from the Dec 5th Transatlantic on the Pacific Princess. This itinerary started, for us, in Civitavecchia (Rome) and included the ports of Naples, Palermo, Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Santa Cruz De Tenerife before the ... Read More
We, recently, got home from the Dec 5th Transatlantic on the Pacific Princess. This itinerary started, for us, in Civitavecchia (Rome) and included the ports of Naples, Palermo, Gibraltar, Cadiz, and Santa Cruz De Tenerife before the crossing to Fort Lauderdale. We arrived in Rome the morning of Dec 2nd and had a wonderful three day stay at the Palazzo Naiadi near the Roma Termini. The complete staff at this hotel was very courteous and helpful during our stay. While in Rome we saw the Colosseum and the Vatican on Monday and Tuesday with a considerable amount of walking the entire time. We booked our transfers from the airport to Rome (VIP transfer) and Rome to port (Countryside Tour) with Rome Cabs. I would recommend them as your first choice as they were very, very, easy to work with. Our Driver, Rosselina, was our driver for both transfers. She was on time, very knowledgeable and was a great companion as well as driver. She showed us many sites on the way into Rome. On the way to the port the tour was to Lake Bracciano and the Bracciano Castle where we toured the castle and spent some time in the small town enjoying an espresso and had time to purchase some cheese, meats, and bread for the ship. After this stop we went to the small town of Ceri for a nice lunch in a local cafe. While eating, Rosselina arranged for us to purchase a bottle of local olive oil before the store closed and we were able to pay for it with our meal. During the rest of the drive, Rosselina shared much information on the area and the port. We arrived at the port in the early afternoon and were the only passengers boarding so the process was as easy as any we had experienced. We were on the ship and in our cabin within 15 minutes. Our luggage arrived soon after. We were in cabin 8069, an aft cabin just below the Panorama Buffet. We, rarely, had any excessive noise from the deck above. For the most part, we had a quiet cabin. The cabin was suitable in size and the bed was very comfortable. The bed was lower than we’re used to, and we could not fit our large hard side luggage under the bed as with previous cruises. Although we had issues with where to put our luggage, we had plenty of space to place our clothes and other items. For your reference, my suitcase is 12” thick. Our cabin steward, Ronaldo, was very busy with many cabins, at least 12, and he did his very best to take care of all the cabins. He was, also, very good at keeping our bucket filled with ice and the cabin in good order despite his hectic schedule. We did grow very fond of him during the cruise. Our experience in the dining room was very good. Our Maître d was Luigi Pascale who was very entertaining and managed the dining room with precision. Our head waiters were Vincenzo Del Santo and Joao Serra Da Costa Santos who took very good care of us. One of our table mates needed a special menu and Vincenzo was there every night to provide him with his special menu for the next evening meal. The menu was more than sufficient, and we had many choices every evening, although there was some repetition of menu items. Overall, the food was very good with only a couple things I would not have ordered again. The Panorama Buffet had good variety of choices for breakfast and lunch. The food was always fresh and there were ample places to sit. A few times we would be joined by random diners who were, for the most, very engaging and enjoyable. We very much appreciated eating in the outside deck area. The only downside is that when we brought our fresh coffee the service staff would tend to assume we didn’t need other things like juice and water. We, frequently, had to get those ourselves. We ate in the Sterling Steakhouse once and found the steaks were only average. This is subjective though as we can get excellent cuts of steak where we live, and our expectations are high when it comes to steak. That said, the services were fine in the restaurant. After a premium wine tasting I was offered attendance at a special “Super Tuscan” wine and food tasting lunch in Sabatini’s. This was put on by the chef Alessandro Carrer and presented by the maître d and head waiters. This was a 5-course tasting menu with wine pairing and was excellent. For me, this was one of the highlights of my cruise. The entertainment, especially the ship’s production staff, was outstanding. The band was very good and played a variety of music genres. The singers were very entertaining and, again, very diverse in what they presented. The six dancers were all top notch and talented. I would have to say they were the best of any ship we have sailed. In addition to their amazing performances, the dancers also worked at the deck activities and other venues such as dance instruction and trivia, to name a few. The other entertainers who were booked during the cruise were good as well. The bars on the ship were good but our favorite was the Casino Bar. This is where we, and some of our new friends, would meet for drinks before and after dinner and after some of the evening shows. The two main people here were David and Mickey, who took excellent care of us during the entire cruise and were always there for us. Their service was probably the best during the cruise. We looked forward to seeing them daily. Naples - We took a ship excursion NAP-310, Pompeii, Sorrento, and Cheese Tasting. The tour was 9 hours and well worth the time. The first stop was to a place that produces Limoncello where we were able to taste and/or purchase the product. After, we stopped at a farm that produces handmade cheeses and we were shown how different cheeses were made. We were then treated to the cheese and wine tasting room where we tasted their fresh cheese and local wine. We, also, spent a couple hours in Sorrento, where many people wandered and shopped. After, we drove to Pompeii for the remaining time and explored the ruins. This was the highlight as Pompeii was number one on my bucket list. Palermo - We took another ship excursion PMO-210, Capuchin Catacombs and Mysteries. This was wonderfully enlightening tour that gave some insight to modern mummification was administered. After we toured the catacombs, we were taken to the historically private Oratories of Santa Cita and San Domenico where we learned of those practices and saw the magnificent artworks in each oratory. Gibraltar - We left the ship and walked to the cable car which took us to the top. Our tickets allowed access to many attractions on the walk back down such as St Michael's Cave, the Siege Tunnels, and Moorish Castle to name a few. After our walk down we stopped at Grand Casemates Square for a late lunch at the Lord Nelson Pub where we enjoyed a couple Guinness beers and a lunch we could not finish. All very reasonably priced. Cadiz - We went on a private tour with fellow roll call members to Seville that was organized by a roll call member through Spain Day Tours. The main attraction was Alcazar of Seville which was, in my opinion, more enlightening than a previous tour to Alhambra in Granada a few years ago. Alcazar was also a setting for some of the filming of Game of Thrones. Fun to see that if you're a Game of Thrones fan. Santa Cruz de Tenerife - We walked to the main downtown area, shopped and returned to the ship. The Ship - The ship is well maintained although she is still showing her age to some degree. Captain Spinardi, and his crew were remarkable and the service was very top notch, for the most part. Many thanks to the crew, in particular our waiters, bartenders/bar servers for their most attentive service. That made the cruise very enjoyable. The entertainment staff was, also, second to none. The six main dancers were exceptional in their talent and visibility during the crossing. Our, primary, reason for this cruise was to test the ship to determine how we wanted to accomplish sailing around the world. The fastest would be on the Pacific Princess but there are other options within the Princess fleet but on different ships. What I found was that, while I loved the ship and crew, it may not be of sufficient size to keep us occupied and physically active enough for a 111 day world cruise. That said, we will probably circumnavigate in segments sailing on bigger Princess ships. It's nice to have those options with Princess because we, very much, love this brand. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We did the 14 day Premier sailing of the Nieuw Statendam, from Rome to Fort Lauderdale. We spent 6 days prior to the cruise in Rome, and on December 5th headed to Civitavecchia to board the Nieuw Statendam. The ship was at the ... Read More
We did the 14 day Premier sailing of the Nieuw Statendam, from Rome to Fort Lauderdale. We spent 6 days prior to the cruise in Rome, and on December 5th headed to Civitavecchia to board the Nieuw Statendam. The ship was at the beautiful new terminal, and embarkation was wonderful. Very organized, not crowded. This was our first cruise as 4 star Mariners and we enjoyed the priority boarding. Our cabin was ready when we boarded. We had a regular balcony cabin on deck 7 aft. It looked identical to balcony cabins on the Koningsdam. The only difference we could see is that the toilet placement in the bathroom gives better legroom than on the Koningsdam. A definite improvement. We headed to the Lido for lunch, and again it is almost identical to the Koningsdam's Lido. There are so many options to choose from. We like the fact that the food is served by the crew as this lessens the chance of contamination. We thought the food in the Lido throughout the cruise was good to excellent. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Lido, and a couple of dinners. MDR - again, identical to the Koningsdam. On the nights we dined in the MDR we made reservations for a table for 2. Often it was only late times available, 8:00 pm or 8:15, as we didn't remember to call early for the reservation. The menu always had lots of choices, the service was very good and the food was quite good. Tamarind - this is our favourite place to dine. We ate there 4 times and loved it. The atmosphere is quiet and serene, the service is excellent and the food delicious. The maitre d' told us that when the ship is in the Caribbean, they will offer outdoor dining for the Tamarind (weather permitting). We also ate once at "Nami", the sushi bar attached to the Tamarind. It was quite good but we preferred the Tamarind. Pinnacle Grill - We dined here once and enjoyed it. Service and food were very good and the setting is nice. Canaletto - We dined here once and enjoyed it. Service and food was quite good. Other food options- Dive in, New York Deli, Grand Dutch Cafe - we tried them and liked them all. We did not go to the Sel de Mer so I can't comment on it, other than to say it seemed busy most nights. Club Orange - we didn't opt for it, but we did notice that it seemed mostly empty every time we walked by it. We missed how it was on the Koningsdam last December, when they had happy hour and great snack food in there with nice music playing. It will be interesting to see if this Club Orange thing is a success. The new Rock Room was a big hit. It was always full and lots of people were up dancing. They are in the space that used to be Lincoln Center Stage on the K'Dam. Their sets are opposite to the sets at the Billboard Onboard, which was always well attended. Lincoln Centre stage now shares the Queens Lounge with BB Kings. There is also a pianist in another lounge who plays for a few hours each night, Overall the music offered is great, with something for everyone. The World Stage has 2 brand new shows that are in partnership with One-Step dance studio. The shows are wonderful and use the LED screens in the theatre to their full potential. There was also a comedian/magician who was very good and very funny - he performed twice. A jazz pianist, Judy Carmichael performed twice and was very good. There was also a singing trio the Knights who were very good. There were a few other options that we didn't attend. Overall, we thought the entertainment in the World Stage was very good. We were a little disappointed in the guest lecturers on this cruise, and judging by the attendance, we weren't the only ones. In contrast, on our previous two transatlantic cruises on the Koningsdam, the lecturers were excellent and every session was standing room only. Speaking of standing room only - The 2 talks given by Captain Albert Schoonderbeek were fabulous. He is such a great speaker and so full of information and he has a good sense of humour. I love reading his blog and it was so nice to get the chance to see and hear him in person. We also attended a talk by Orlando Ashford that was well attended. He is also a good speaker. On one of our sea days we had an Orange Party. We were all asked to bring something orange to wear. HAL also handed out orange hats, wigs, beads, sunglasses etc. Most people had orange clothes of sort sort. It was fun and a sea of orange. As always, the HAL crew was wonderful. Always friendly, smiling, eager to please. They are what makes your vacation so enjoyable. Our three ports, Cartagena, Malaga, and Funchal were all enjoyable and our weather was good. In Cartagena we just walked off the ship as it docks very close to the city center. We did a HAL excursion in Malaga - a drive to the picturesque village of Mijas. We really enjoyed it. In Funchal we did a HAL excursion, "The Best of the West" that took us to different areas of the island. We saw a lot of the island and quite enjoyed it. Both of our HAL excursions were very good, on nice buses with guides that spoke very good English. Disembarkation was organized and easy. Over all, we had a great cruise and loved the new ship. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Food was great in the Dining Room, Lido Marketplace, Afternoon Tea, Canaletto, NY Deli, Grand Dutch Cafe, Gellato shop. Very few hiccups in the food areas. We mainly ate dinner in the Dining Room. We mainly ate breakfast and lunch at the ... Read More
Food was great in the Dining Room, Lido Marketplace, Afternoon Tea, Canaletto, NY Deli, Grand Dutch Cafe, Gellato shop. Very few hiccups in the food areas. We mainly ate dinner in the Dining Room. We mainly ate breakfast and lunch at the Lido Marketplace. The food at these venues was really excellent! Can't beat the variety at the Lido Marketplace from crepes, bagels, omelets, etc. at breakfast to salads, pasta bars, carving stations, oriental stirfry, at lunch. We had room service several mornings (skip the scrambled egg option). There are many bars, our favorite was the Ocean Bar mid ships on Deck 2 where Roldan, Fern (Fatima), and Patrick were our servers for the whole cruise! They took excellent care of us! We had an inside stateroom on the Deck 6. Great size for 2 people We had storage space to spare. HAL was still working out some kinks with the TV information system. TV system included many movies; very few TV "shows"; limited news. But the Navigator available on your mobile device on their local intranet worked very well. You could set up the people you were traveling with and message them throughout the cruise (important on 9 continuous sea days). We did NOT get the internet package as we wanted to be relatively device-free. But many others around us still got decent internet service. Service was fantastic in all areas! Entertainment: four different music genres (Rock 'n Roll, Pop, Chambermusic (violins & pianos), and Jazz). Excellent! Especially loved Atlys (string quartet) with piano accompaniment. Good lectures. Trivia contests! We had a daily sea-day meet-up with craft ladies via a forum under Cruise Critic. We stopped at Cartagena, Malaga, and Madeira. No excursions, just walked off the ship. We took a taxi at Cartagena, but walked back with no difficulty. . We used the HAL provided bus (extra cost) at Malaga and Madeira--well worth it; too far for us to walk. Malaga just shopped and had lunch. Madeira--after the bus dropped us off, we walked to the cable car ride. Purchased roundtrip cable car ride and yellow-bus-island tour for about $56 Euros for 2 adults. DO THE CABLE CAR in the morning! The clouds started descending from the mountain tops around 1pm and the cable car stops running! Loads of shopping and cheap sandwiches (E2.5 for a Iberian ham hero) at the shops along the streets. If you want one of the wonderful Portuguese cork handbags (any shape or size), the best prices were actually in the Malaga port building--you could get off the ship and just shop right there within steps o the ship! I should have gotten my bag there, but waited for Madeira and paid more for one. We had BEAUTIFUL weather for the crossing! Stops went well. On the whole, truly a fantastic voyage. I would definitely go again and my husband is sold on HAL! I saw only a few children on board. They do have HAL CLUB, but I couldn't see what was in it. It's a controlled area, as it should be. Of course the spa was excellent and there were several "free" mini facials that were held during the cruise. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My (German Jewish) family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, thanks to Holland America's ss Statendam, so we HAD to be on the maiden voyage of the Nieuw Statendam, both to "close the circle" on our family history but also to ... Read More
My (German Jewish) family escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, thanks to Holland America's ss Statendam, so we HAD to be on the maiden voyage of the Nieuw Statendam, both to "close the circle" on our family history but also to personally express our gratitude to this next generation of Holland America. That said, by any metric, the maiden voyage was an overwhelming success and we feel sure that this great new ship - with its great new crew - will provide enormous joy and enrichment for all who sail with her. If you know/like the Koningsdam, the Nieuw Statendam is its (almost) identical twin, but with some revisions: the Crow's Nest/Explorations Central (deck 12) has been re-imagined into a giant, gorgeous, and inviting "living room" offering an intimate environment, to chat, watch the ocean, check the stats of the engine, ship location, etc., and engage in puzzles, cards, and much more. Moving Lincoln Center Stage to the Queen's Lounge put these great classical musicians in an environment fitting to their artistry and charisma, and the new Rolling Stone Rock Room (with its great band) is a HIT! Holland America crew's legendary warmth and dedication to excellence are evident in this hand-selected crew of 1,000 - for us, cruise veterans yet making our first ocean crossing - we couldn't have asked for anything more. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We had previously cruised with Viking in 2017 on a river cruise from Paris to Normandy. The service, excursions, food, camaraderie, and outdoor dining was very relaxing for us, and educational. We still talk about what we saw and ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Viking in 2017 on a river cruise from Paris to Normandy. The service, excursions, food, camaraderie, and outdoor dining was very relaxing for us, and educational. We still talk about what we saw and learned. A Viking flyer sent to us detailed their new ocean cruises and brand-new ships. Their ratings were right at the top of the chart. We signed up and were truly happy with the congeniality, sincere friendliness (to include the usually behind-the-scenes crew) and stress free sailing. Many of their crew would remember our names to boot. All areas of the Sun were never crowded during both day and night activities. Alcoves to sit and talk without the din of crowds of other passengers was very welcome. No one pushing drinks constantly around the pool areas. What will keep us coming back is the absence of any photographers, no casino, and, sorry grandpa-ma, NO KIDS. The ship is QUIET. We are seniors, and the mega-ships being launched lately hold no appeal for us. Food is plentiful and healthful, but we avoid packing on the pounds by not ever taking the ship's elevators and walking extensively each day. Not many others did, as we usually had the walking deck to ourselves! Viking is the best value out there, bar none. Sorry again, no water slides! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoy cruising with Viking. They are first class and do not “nickel and dime” you. The service is excellent and the crew is very good. Everyone working on the ship is friendly and says hello with a smile. The food is outstanding ... Read More
We enjoy cruising with Viking. They are first class and do not “nickel and dime” you. The service is excellent and the crew is very good. Everyone working on the ship is friendly and says hello with a smile. The food is outstanding and the two specialty restaurants serve unique food . It is nice traveling with only adult passengers and also not getting harassed by photographers. The entertainment is average. We usually enjoy the lectures and classes , however, we did not enjoy them on this cruise. The topics were not interesting or relevant for us. I don’t care about somebody rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. The cruise port talks were not well done and the moderator seemed to be just reading his presentation. The two cruise directors were very friendly and personable- Mark and Heather. The two musical shows that Heather and her assistant, Brian Rodriguez, put on were very good. They both have beautiful voices . The glitches on our cruise were associated with the transition from one cruise to the other. It seemed that they forgot we were doing a B2B and we got no communication about the second half. There was a considerable change in the service for the second cruise and service wasn’t as good as the first part. There were long waits in the dining room for just service and food . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The Viking Sun is an absolutely gorgeous ship, furnished with Norwegian taste which is sleek and elegant in nautical blue and silver-beige. The public spaces are large and comfortable and beautiful, and don't seem crowded because ... Read More
The Viking Sun is an absolutely gorgeous ship, furnished with Norwegian taste which is sleek and elegant in nautical blue and silver-beige. The public spaces are large and comfortable and beautiful, and don't seem crowded because there are so many of them. Free access to high-end spa featuring Nordic options like a heated mineral water spa, sauna, steam room, cold plunge and snow room. The crew knows how to show you a good time and make it seem effortless. Food was extraordinary, with several restaurants to choose from, and menus that varied every day featuring local items like tapas while in Spain. Room service is also available 24 hours. And the excursions were managed efficiently and hosted by the best local tour guides. There is an included excursion in every port, plus many optional ones to choose from. Being in the Mediterranean in the off season was delightful. My friends commented that our photos showed well because they sights weren't overcrowded like they are in the summer months. The cruise was exquisite in every way. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The cruise is advertised as off season which is great. The weather is still good and the crowds are significantly smaller. Only disadvantage is shorter daylight hours. It is a very busy cruise with no sea days and lots to see and enjoy. ... Read More
The cruise is advertised as off season which is great. The weather is still good and the crowds are significantly smaller. Only disadvantage is shorter daylight hours. It is a very busy cruise with no sea days and lots to see and enjoy. The service on Viking is always excellent. We enjoyed four dinners in the included alternate dining. The Chef's table is definitely a great experience with very tasty menus. They always have a wide variety of shore experiences which are also very informative and of good value. My only complaint is you are supposed to get an included tour , yet they do fill up and sometimes are not available which I feel is false advertising. The other suggestion I would have is schedule the tours so you could do both an included tour and an option tour if desired. The resident historian was great. If I had only had him in high school , I would have learned and retained a lot more about history. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
PROS: We picked this cruise for the length and itinerary--Rome to Miami 24 days. Iincluded tours in most locations were very good. The sea days were much appreciated after spending 14 days on a port a day. Getting on the ship was ... Read More
PROS: We picked this cruise for the length and itinerary--Rome to Miami 24 days. Iincluded tours in most locations were very good. The sea days were much appreciated after spending 14 days on a port a day. Getting on the ship was a breeze. The Sun is mostly identical to the Sky which we had been on in June, just newer. Very clean and well appointed. The Chef's Table had the best food. CONS: The included tours in Barcelona and Lisbon were a waste of time. Having been to both locations previously, we skipped out on both tours midway through and did our own thing. These could have been much better The exercise classes were very disappointing in selection and length. And the evening entertainment was hit and miss. Enrichment talks were often scheduled at the start of dinner. If you went to that, you would eat late and miss the entertainment. Getting off the ship in Miami was a nightmare--very disorganized and lack of communication. They kept reminding people to vacate their rooms but we couldn't leave the ship. And the people who were on their own (no flights, etc) were grouped to leave the ship first--just a bad end. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my first venture across the Atlantic. My husband was in service and had visited some of the countries 50 years ago. When I suggested this cruise, he was interested to see what, if anything, had changed. We chose a pre cruise ... Read More
This was my first venture across the Atlantic. My husband was in service and had visited some of the countries 50 years ago. When I suggested this cruise, he was interested to see what, if anything, had changed. We chose a pre cruise extension in Rome which was amazing. We spent two days exploring with visits to the Colosseum and Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, shopping and restaurants. Our hotel was convenient to everything. The major positive of this experience was the fact that Viking was so organized, their employees very gracious, and the follow-up phone call from Vic was unexpected. We did not have one complaint about anything. We truly enjoyed our stewards - Viveck and Rinaldi (I hope I spelled their names correctly). We got to meet and enjoy the company of the entertainers: Tina, Shaun, Josh and Amelia. Truly exceptional voices and so friendly. Overall the entertainment was unbelievable including Minky G and her guitar. Enjoyed talking with Alex in Torshavn, and Suzannah in the SPA. The dining experience was beyond expectation. The tour guides on the shore excursions were so informative which enhanced the shore excursions' experiences. The people we met during our free time in the different countries were so nice to us. And of course, our ship, The Viking Sun, was fabulous. We did a one day post extension in Paris which was so memorable. While we got to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, we were disappointed that we didn't have time to experience the Louvre except by night by taking photographs. I wish we could have done two days in Paris. My husband's sister and her husband have traveled several times with Viking River Cruises. They praised Viking for their attentiveness and graciousness. We would like to also "pay it forward" with our compliments to Viking, the crew, and the whole fabulous experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were on the ship for 14 days. It was very comfortable and we enjoyed the cruise very much. We never felt like we were crowded. The public spaces were lovely and our cabin was a nice size with an amazing amount of storage. We were given ... Read More
We were on the ship for 14 days. It was very comfortable and we enjoyed the cruise very much. We never felt like we were crowded. The public spaces were lovely and our cabin was a nice size with an amazing amount of storage. We were given an upgrade to the Penthouse Veranda suite which was a wonderful surprise. The mini bar was generously refreshed daily and the linens were always crisp. We wanted to see Lisbon, Valencia and Lucca so chose this trip. It was very easy getting on and off the ship, there were no tenders which was fantastic. You could walk into most towns or Viking would provide a shuttle. Viking also provides included tours in all ports. Many ships do not. We did pay for a few extra tours. There were many to choose from. Unfortunately because of the protests in France we couldn't drive into Aix-in-Provence but we understand that those things happen when traveling. The Chef's Table is high end food cooked perfectly and presented beautifully with wine pairings. There is no cost for the special dining rooms which is unlike many other ships. We found that if we didn't have a reservation, if there was room you could be seated. The World Cafe buffet had many fresh and good tasting offerings for breakfast lunch and dinner. The Pool Grill had a surf and turf night that was delicious and the chocolate buffet in the beautiful Wintergarten was stunning. Although we did not try the free sauna and snow room other guests raved about it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have been Viking fans for many years but this was our first sailing on the Sun. Our biggest issue was intermittent sewer odors coming through the ventilation system (not from the bathroom area). Although maintenance and Engineering ... Read More
We have been Viking fans for many years but this was our first sailing on the Sun. Our biggest issue was intermittent sewer odors coming through the ventilation system (not from the bathroom area). Although maintenance and Engineering attempted to resolve, they did not resolve, possibly because this is a design issue or requires a bigger fix than they could do at sea. Either way, Guest Services management was totally unsympathetic and offered no apologies, etc. One really nagging concern is that we were upgraded from a Penthouse Veranda on deck 4 to a Penthouse Veranda Junior Suite on deck 8. I can't help but wonder if they had previous sewer odor issues with this room and this was their attempt to get by until they could get a permanent fix? Noise level in this room was unusually loud and apparently came from doors slamming immediately below the room in crew access corridors or ? Food service often was very lacking in the World Cafe (sometimes nearly had to tackle waiters for beverages) even though they appeared to be adequately staffed. Perhaps this was a training issue related to the rapid growth. The quality of entertainment from the on board musicians poor. Again, this was very different from all our previous Viking experiences. Optional excursions ranged from poor to good (but none "great") and most of our's were expensive (more than $200 pp). With tipping and other costs included, the Viking price point and value is not what it used to be. Although I left similar comments with Guest Services and on my end of cruise survey, I have yet to hear any response from Viking Management. We will likely stick to Viking river cruises going forward and look to other small ship cruise lines for ocean cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Poor food in garden buffet lukecold & over salted told chef he did not care.Booked ocean view port hole covered NO ocean view do not pay for ocean view in the bow on deck 4.Shore excursions staff not very good.Toid staff captain all he ... Read More
Poor food in garden buffet lukecold & over salted told chef he did not care.Booked ocean view port hole covered NO ocean view do not pay for ocean view in the bow on deck 4.Shore excursions staff not very good.Toid staff captain all he keep saying do not tell head office.Entertainment excellent all the performers very good. Good shows & lounge entertainment all so very good. Guest serve staff all very good & out to help the guest.Staff in O'Sheehan's are the best the food was hot perhaps the cooks in the garden buffet can learn how to look after guests.Disembarkation was very disorderly only just got to the airport in time .Summary have sailed with NCL on a few of there ships all have been very good but the Norwegian Star is not one I will sail on.I will be on a cruise in the new year but after the Star I do not think it will be with NCL.Overall ship was tide. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to travel with friends, and specifically for the Funchal port which we ended up missing. This was probably not the cruise lines fault, but we could have made better use of our Barcelona time if we had known in advance ... Read More
We chose this cruise to travel with friends, and specifically for the Funchal port which we ended up missing. This was probably not the cruise lines fault, but we could have made better use of our Barcelona time if we had known in advance about the repairs that they were doing. Overall the biggest disappointment on this ship was the food, followed by the service level, and finally the overall appearance of the ship. The food was barely above all inclusive resort standard....usually lukewarm, often over salted to an amazing degree, and variable. Sometimes overdone, sometimes underdone. We had a package with the paid restaurants, in which the food was very good. The service level in the restaurants, with one or two notable exceptions, was horrendous. We avoided Versailles after about day 3, after we waited 45 minutes between ordering dessert and receiving it. Cagneys steak was excellent, but there were mixups on orders, entrees arriving at different times for the table....I expected way better. On board service was also variable. The staff just seemed more interested in talking to each other than to serving guests. Our steward very grudgingly brought us requested bathrobes after about 2 days, which ended up having no tie belts. Service in any restaurant was exceedingly slow, unless you were lucky enough to get a really great server. It was hard to believe this ship just came out of refurbishment. Our cabin had cracks in the plastic on the floor edging in the bathroom, and overall the ship is run down looking. We received towels and facecloths with holes in them. Cleaning buckets were always left in the hallways; a major tripping hazard and just not a professional look. Public washrooms were hard to locate, and often non functional. This ship just feels tired, and so do the staff. There is just no positive energy. No activities planned for the transatlantic days - I've been on other transatlantics such as Carnival, which planned a shipboard "Olympics" which was really fun. There is almost nothing for added activities on this ship, and curiously, only 4 round deck relaxing "pods" for the whole ship, which must have been staked out for the day by about 5 am. After 6 sea days in a row, they chose to do the famous "White Night Party" the night before our first shore day, which is just remarkably poor planning. The library is not overly well stocked, and I never saw anyone there to check out books, even during the posted hours. Sadly, this trip is almost enough to make me reconsider Norwegian. I can live with the nickel and diming, I know they have a rep for that, but I think all cruise lines do it. I'd rather not be telephoned in my cabin to be sold things though, that is over the top, and it did happen on this trip. We have been on the Jewel and the Epic, and I think the Jewel was really well managed and fun. On the Jewel, we purchased a next trip coupon. We chose not to this time, as we are no longer certain we will travel with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Always wanted to do a transatlantic and sure glad I choice NCL Star - although we got off to a rocky start and missed the port of Madiera (weather related - I understand that other ships missed it also) NCL compensated by giving us extra ... Read More
Always wanted to do a transatlantic and sure glad I choice NCL Star - although we got off to a rocky start and missed the port of Madiera (weather related - I understand that other ships missed it also) NCL compensated by giving us extra time in Barcelona. Our room steward was fabulous (Muhammand) - our cabin was great (I picked it out) the location was also perfect - right near the elevator and close to the pool. We had six dinners at the specialty restaurants - We did Italian restaurant once - didn't care for the menu so we didn't go back - we did LaBistro - always good - Teppanaki with great both times we went and finally Cagneys has the best steaks and prime ribs- great food. We also did O'Sheehan's a few times which didn't disappoint us at all. The embarkation was the easiest embarkation I have ever seen. We were on the ship in less than five minutes. We attended most of the games - love the trivia games, especially the progressive (maybe because I was on the winning team) Other activities were great to participate or watch. Then entertainment was first class. The only thing miss was the dueling pianos - loved them on the Jade - the bars and lounges had some good entertainment. Fitness was good - went to the daily workouts (Zumba Like) until it got too hot to do. Casino got smokie sometime so when it did I just left, otherwise it was okay. Public rooms were clean, but in some cases some of the bathrooms were out of order. Shore Excursions- the one we took was very disappointing - it was on St. Maartin and since the island had been devastated by a hurricane last year, I am not really sure what I expected. But I am sure, that some of the beaches were not ready for the public. We had great service most of the time. We did notice that the wait staff was overworked. It looked like they have the same person run for the wine bottles as wait on you and since the vine was in a different location, this took away time to serve. Suggested they have a wine runner for peak hours. Also in some cases (in the main restaurants) they was only one person handing the meals, while it the past there was always two. Disembarking was delayed by customs, so everyone got backed up. I wouldn't way it was NCL's fault but there should be a contingency plan for this. It gets a little crazy when everyone tries to exit at the same time. All in all we had a great cruise and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Instead of flying from Rome to Canada, chose to do a TA with some interesting places and some heat, we then switched to the Celebrity Summit to do a one week southern Caribbean. Despite disappointment with the Jewel itinerary changes,we ... Read More
Instead of flying from Rome to Canada, chose to do a TA with some interesting places and some heat, we then switched to the Celebrity Summit to do a one week southern Caribbean. Despite disappointment with the Jewel itinerary changes,we had a great time. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy. Ship was old, mid-size, but had more offerings and character than some larger ships. Inside cabin was spacious enough. Dining options in the main dining room and buffet were better than Celebrity, especially the lunches! Entertainment and activities were standard for this class. The live entertainment was very good with lots of dance music available. Some of the games were fun too, even if we'd seen them before. Service was excellent throughout. Dining room staff including head waiter and maitre'd were exceptional. We never felt harassed to buy drink or dinner packages. This was a major annoyance on Celebrity. Diamond benefits are excellent. Would definitely do another Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was 20th cruise, only 3rd with NCL. We booked this particular cruise as we wanted a relaxing getaway, and this cruise was a great deal, with an itinerary we wanted. ( transatlantic). This is the first cruise review I’ve wrote, I ... Read More
This was 20th cruise, only 3rd with NCL. We booked this particular cruise as we wanted a relaxing getaway, and this cruise was a great deal, with an itinerary we wanted. ( transatlantic). This is the first cruise review I’ve wrote, I wanted to write a review as I just read a Very negative review of this same cruise stating it was disgusting etc. My spouse and I had no complaints about this cruise whatsoever, it was a good cruise. The star had been recently remodeled, and it looked great! Every thing was clean, and new. Food was great, we enjoyed the majority of everything we tried. We only ate at free options, and we’re very happy. Embarkation was nice and smooth, disembarkation was wrough due to customs holding the ship up. However this is very common in Miami and to be expected. Not once did I think it was the ships fault, but I know many passengers were upset. Service was good as expected, never incountered a non friendly staff member. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
No information provided by NCL on where to find the shuttle bus in Civitavecchia from the train. Aft facing Penthouse suite had serious mold issue at our arrival that was never resolved. We chose this room and cruise specifically to relax. ... Read More
No information provided by NCL on where to find the shuttle bus in Civitavecchia from the train. Aft facing Penthouse suite had serious mold issue at our arrival that was never resolved. We chose this room and cruise specifically to relax. We couldn’t even sleep well with the horrible air quality let alone relax in the suite. We both ended up sick by the end of the cruise. Room did not look refreshed (2014) Furniture and bath sink were beat up. Concierge was invisible during the cruise. We ate at all but one of the specialty dining options and ate at the main dining room and buffet. Food was mediocre quality and almost always cold. At the Specialty restaurants and dining rooms, service was slow and food was barely warm. The two shore excursions we did through NCL were not great. The St. Martin excursion was basically a bus ride to the French side where we were dropped off at tourist tents for an hour. Bus driver/ tour guide did nothing more than repeating the same three things he had memorized and the bus smelled of burnt rubber. The Barcelona tour was better, both the bus and actually had a tour guide, but the description did not explain we would be dropped at Mt Montserrat for two hours. Barcelona port had shuttle buses from the port to downtown that were inexpensive (make sure you have a few euros). We do not recommend this ship and are very disappointed in the NCL experience compared to our previous NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my 9th NCL cruise, 3rd not he Star, and the best yet. The staff, esp in Aqua, made me feel like a VIP every single visit. The cabin steward was the best I’ve ever had. 14 days’ cruise with a slightly extended stop in ... Read More
This was my 9th NCL cruise, 3rd not he Star, and the best yet. The staff, esp in Aqua, made me feel like a VIP every single visit. The cabin steward was the best I’ve ever had. 14 days’ cruise with a slightly extended stop in Barcelona. The upgrades to the ship are noticeable, both in the cabins and in the public areas. Nice touches. But, to repeat, it was the staff in the Aqua that made it so memorable. They would recognize me by name, whether I was in the queue waiting to check in or if I ran across them somewhere else on the cruise. And they were wholly engaging and fun. Customer service was friendly on the few occasions I needed to stop by. The CruiseNext staff was very friendly and efficient. And the Shore Excursions staff were just pain fun. I want to get right back on a cruise with he same crew. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Due to weather we missed one port which could not be avoided I guess. Disappointed with entertainment. Production company and Russian arial act only decent evening entertainment. Lady violinist should have had prime time and put juggler, ... Read More
Due to weather we missed one port which could not be avoided I guess. Disappointed with entertainment. Production company and Russian arial act only decent evening entertainment. Lady violinist should have had prime time and put juggler, hypnotist, magic act and others during afternoon. Producers need to watch America’s Got Talent and recruit entertainers as what we saw was amateurish. Miss crew talent night. Passenger talent night was a joke and waste of time. Food has gone way downhill in dining room. Crew on NCL continues to be outstanding. Not a prob there. Really enjoyed having lectures. Would recommend having lecturers with a little more depth and not so much fluff. Transit to Miami was a little hairy trying to find. Disembarkation in Miami was a nightmare and we almost missed our flight after allowing four hours to get off and to airport. The problem was blamed on Miami customs. We thought ship was totally refurbished but evidently not. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we had a fantastic time. We had a 2 week trip to Italy planned and decided it would be fun to sail home instead of fly. There were a lot of positives but there were some things that we ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we had a fantastic time. We had a 2 week trip to Italy planned and decided it would be fun to sail home instead of fly. There were a lot of positives but there were some things that we didn't like about this ship. Embarkation in Rome was very quick and easy. Disembarkation in Miami was an absolute disaster. The problems could have been avoided if the ship improved their process. Times were assigned but they had no way of tracking which times people had. So at least half of the people got in line with the first group departing causing a huge jam in the terminal. We got in line at 8:45 and finally got to the luggage area at 10:00. Immigration took another 45 minutes which was the cruise lines fault but may have been better with a more controlled process. Our cabin was fantastic. Plenty of room for all of our belongings. Cleaning services was fantastic. Bathroom layout and space was great. Shower had really nice pressure and a lot of space. One negative is the mini fridge. It's a waste of valuable space and who would use it especially with the Ultimate Beverage Package. Room maintenance problems: When we tried to flush our toilet for the first time it clogged. This was 15 minutes after we got to our room (and was not our fault if you know what I mean). I told the cabin steward about it and had to complain again when it wasn't fixed 3 hours later. Took 5 hours to finally be corrected. A couple of days into the cruise it clogged again but was fixed much quicker this time and we didn't have a problem again. Our AC worked great for the first 9 days of the cruise but then didn't cool as well for the last 5. I asked Guest Services to look at it but never heard back if they actually did and it never improved. Cabin location was not ideal. You were not close to O'Sheehan's and had to go down a very winding hall to get there. Pool and buffet areas were 4 floors up and buffet was on the other end of the ship. Main restaurants were on the other side of the ship. If I took this ship again I would do so with a rear cabin. Dining on the ship was good. We had 4 nights of specially dining. Cagney's Steakhouse gets 5 stars and we ate there twice. The Brazilian Steakhouse and the Teppanyaki gets 4 stars. The free Asian restaurant also gets 4 stars and we ate there several times. The Buffet gets 3.5 stars. Most of the food was very good but the layout was horrible. There are a lot of narrow areas that were constantly log jammed. Food was different at different areas and confusing. Ice and water machines were terrible and often had out of order signs. Entertainment was mediocre. We went to several shows and most would receive 3 stars. The bar entertainment was better however the sound setup in most of the bars distorted the music and singing which made it bad. Bars: Best bar on the ship is the mojito bar inside the Brazilian Steakhouse. It's very small and most people don't even know about it so it was private. Bar staff was fantastic. A general issue on this ship is the staffing levels in the bars. There are some really good bartenders but they need help. If you ordered a drink from your seat you were going to wait for a long time. Best thing to do is to go the bar as most of the bartenders wait on people first and then work on the orders from the wait staff when then have free time. Casino: Nice selection of games. I only play poker and I was pleasantly surprised to find a real poker table on board (instead of the machines that most cruise ships have). The negative was the rake. 10% with a max of $25 is ridiculous. Having said that I did play on about 9 days and left the cruise up a couple of hundred because there are some really bad players which overcomes the horrible rake. Other negative about the casino is that they allow smoking. There is no ventilation and there were days when I wanted in and immediately left because you couldn't breathe. The Gatsby bar is down the hall and you could often smell smoke there when you were having a cocktail. Ultimate Beverage Package: It was really good with most drinks included. Also plenty of wine options. Negatives: bottled water and specially coffee is not included (both are included on other cruise lines that I've used). Read Less

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