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Sail Date: October 2017
Convenient travelling back home to South Africa from Europe. We have cruised with MSC on a few occasions and have always had first class service. The Service and quality of food on this particular Cruise was dumbed down for some ... Read More
Convenient travelling back home to South Africa from Europe. We have cruised with MSC on a few occasions and have always had first class service. The Service and quality of food on this particular Cruise was dumbed down for some reason. We want to Cruise with MSC again and will do so if MSC can ensure that this will be the last time they dumb down the Service and Quality of food and all other Cruises will be at the Standard we have come to expect. Please find here a list of comments – there are a few more but these did concern us more than others and probably contributed to some of the sickness on Board. Buffet Bar: The Restaurants didn’t appear to be bacteria-free and sadly this didn’t seem to concern MSC Personnel. Hygiene: MSC staff continually handling food with bare hands. MSC Staff using only one glove and handling food with bare hand – fingers sticking into food etc. MSC Staff dropping cutlery on the floor and replacing it in the serving trays and tables etc. without cleaning the cutlery or having it washed MSC Staff picking their noses while serving food. Carvery, Ill Galleon: Pork underdone – blood oozing out when MSC personnel attempted to carve the joint on Hot Plate. Pork was sent back to be cooked correctly – hot plate was turned off and Gravy was left at side of Hot Plate. Blood and congealed fat and pork debris was left to go cold on Hot Plate. After one hour Pork was returned to contaminated Hot Plate which was switched on when Pork arrived. Just prior to Pork being returned to be carved, MSC personnel scooped up blood and congealed fat and debris with hands and dumped it in a container at the side of the Hot Plate. Pork was ordered to be carved and served by slicing along the sides as it still wasn’t cooked properly. Gravy was cold and brought to the attention of the Ship’s Doctor who was in the queue – she informed MSC personnel that the Gravy was stone cold; - MSC Personnel placed it on the Hot Plate – the Ships Doctor said, "it was a disgrace" and she was "fortunate that she ate most of her meals in the Crews quarters". Passengers handling food with bare hands and returning uneaten food to be served again – MSC personnel did take away the complete tray of food on a few occasions but the practice of handling food by the Passengers was never addressed. Passengers refusing to disinfect hands prior to entering Restaurants. Service in ILL Galleon Restaurants at Breakfast and Lunch was poor: Had to take cutlery, cups and saucers etc. from other tables to prepare the table we were sitting on. Unnecessary Queuing up was a problem caused entirely by MSC personnel resulting in Passengers getting frustrated. MSC Personnel can tell us how warm the Sea Temperature and Ambient Temperature was, they could tell us the Sea Depth, Wind Speed and the Precise position of Ship in four or five different languages etc. etc. but NOT one of them could tell us why the food was continually served cold and what the temperature of the Soup and Gravy was. According to research carried out by other Shipping lines; 90% of all food poisonings happen when correct temperatures are not kept. There was NO food thermometer visible in ANY of the eating places - In 24 days at Sea I never once saw a food thermometer - all other Passengers I spoke to also commented on this. Maybe contributing and instigating the poor hygiene on Board was a money making scheme by MSC - MSC will be able to give us the precise reason of the poor hygiene. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise was the culmination of our 40th wedding anniversary celebrations, and was particularly appropriate as apart from the start in Venice, and end in Durban, we had not been to any other destination on the cruise. However, whilst ... Read More
The cruise was the culmination of our 40th wedding anniversary celebrations, and was particularly appropriate as apart from the start in Venice, and end in Durban, we had not been to any other destination on the cruise. However, whilst in general it was most enjoyable, it was let down by some lack of attention to detail, and admin problems, especially at embarkation, where there was some sort of problem which took a couple of hours to resolve, but we were not INFORMED as to what was happening. Drinks packages seemed to be a particular problem. There is no excuse for the pathetic salt and pepper pots on the table, which were generally blocked, and you had to screw the top off to get salt out. Certainly below standard. The ship generally is looking a bit "tired" now, stained carpets, fittings loose, rattan furniture fraying. Excursions seemed expensive - I booked a private excursion to Petra at a much more competitive rate. The best thing was the almost total lack of children on board!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
My husband and I were on the MSC Sinfonia in October 2013 from Genoa to Cape Town (West Coast of Africa) and decided it would be fun to go from Venice to Durban through the Suez Canal (East Coast of Africa) in October 2017. We booked ... Read More
My husband and I were on the MSC Sinfonia in October 2013 from Genoa to Cape Town (West Coast of Africa) and decided it would be fun to go from Venice to Durban through the Suez Canal (East Coast of Africa) in October 2017. We booked through the Johannesburg MSC office in July 2016 for October 2017 and got an excellent price. We loved our previous cruise. We have only ever cruised with MSC and being South African with our weaker currency, we don't have the luxury of doing regular cruises through the Mediterranean or Caribbean. As a result we can't compare ships. Our only comparison would be between the Sinfonia Oct 2013 and this one. Due to some of the less favourable reviews, we went arrived in Venice with low expectations. Boarding was a bit of a fiasco, but not due to the fault of MSC. The Italian port authority's system went down and there was a lengthy delay. That over, we got on board and quickly found our spotless, spacious cabin on 10th deck. We were very happy with it and quickly settled in. Knowing the ship, we were easily able to find all our old favourite haunts. From then on, our cruise was absolutely stunning. The weather was great. Of the 23 nights, one was rough. The entertainment was much better than 2103. The service at dinner was so much slicker and quicker than 2013. It was pleasure to have Umah and Matthew as our waiters. Our cabin steward Iriki was perfect - unobtrusive, polite and always there. Every single day of our 23 nights on board, Iriki sorted our cabin twice a day. MSC, he's a keeper. The food was fantastic. Some of the highlights included the Hungarian Goulash which was delicious; the pasta cooked by the Italian chef was really good. The lamb stew, curries, roast pork and beef were all good. The variety of vegetables, vegetarian options, loads of fruit, bread and desserts all added to the 2-3kg weight gain I came home with. One of my absolute favourites were the muffins at breakfast. They tasted exactly as my late Mom-in-law used to make. I had one almost every morning for the entire cruise! The activities were varied and fun. You could get involved or not - it was your choice. We went to one of the dancing lessons (the jive) and still try and do it from time to time, laughing our heads off as we go! We went to most of the evening performances and some of the day lectures. We went on three excursions which were busy but served their purpose. If you don't like crowds, then it may be better to arrange your own excursion, but we pretty much knew what we were in for, so were ready for the whole experience. The route through the Suez Canal was fascinating. It was such a look into a different world. Coming down through the tropics and over the equator was such a treat. The days at sea were restful and invigorating. We slept, we read, we just relaxed and because we ate more than usual, we went to the gym for an hour every day. The gym is fantastic. I loved it. After gym we would swim and then shower and relax. After a hectic year of work, this holiday ensured we were completely rested. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The middle eastern ports of call appealed to us and the fact that the cruise went along the East coast of Africa. We have already done the voyage along the west coast of Africa. We also looked forward to going through the Suez Canal as ... Read More
The middle eastern ports of call appealed to us and the fact that the cruise went along the East coast of Africa. We have already done the voyage along the west coast of Africa. We also looked forward to going through the Suez Canal as that was a first time experience. WE were disappointed in the excursion to King Solomons mines as we were given the impression we would visit a kibbutz but instead were just driven around one. WE have been on several MSC cruises in the past and were disappointed in the quality of the food on this cruise. We used the main restaurants whenever possible, only using the buffet on the pool deck when returning from an excursion too late to use the formal diningrooms. Fresh fruit became less and less and near the end of the cruise we were told that the kitchen had run out of biscuits to have with the cheese. The meat from the carver was hacked rather than sliced. Service at open seating times was frustratingly slow and one was shunted from one member of staff to another, It was almost impossible to find someone to order something from the bar like a cappuccino at breakfast. The waiters at the evening meals were top class and did their best to accommodate our needs. The seating in the theatre is absolutely terrible now that there is the row of loose chairs in front of fixed bench seats. Embarkation was a nightmare and we were never told what caused the delay. Other than that the running of the ship was excellent. Pronunciaion of staff doing multi language quizzes was so bad that one didn't understand the questions. The bridge classes were great and the presenters very helpful. Documentaries were very interesting. we requested a small table at first sitting for dinner and it took 3 moves before we were finally allocated a nice table. the room we were offered at the hotel in Venice was below par in the annex but the breakfast was good. we weren't offered to start the trip from Cape Town and had to find our one way to get to Johannesburg for the flight to Dubai. this obviously made the journey much longer and baggage could. not be booked straight through. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I am a travel agent and frequent traveler. We have cruised Oceana many times but now it appears the ”bean-counters” are in control. There were noticeable differences in overall food and services from previous cruises. This was a ... Read More
I am a travel agent and frequent traveler. We have cruised Oceana many times but now it appears the ”bean-counters” are in control. There were noticeable differences in overall food and services from previous cruises. This was a 27 day cruise and offered $1600 in shipboard credit for our basic balcony cabin. It’s easy to offer lots of OBC when everything is already overpriced to start with. (Nickels and Dimes) For the food service, there was little change in selections, but the food quality was noticeably reduced, especially in the Specialty Restaurants where the service was still great, but the food was not nearly as good. On arrival home, we had a steak that was far superior in taste and tenderness than any we had in 4 visits to the Tuscan Grill. Oceana is no longer the leader in shipboard Cuisine. Meals are now average at best. The cost of the land tours is outrageous. In Corfu we docked next to a Holland America Ship, and much to my surprise I was logged on to their shipboard WIFI. I found the Holland America tours almost identical to Oceana in description, hours, and group size, except every Oceana tour was a minimum of 45% and up to 55% (actually $55 to $180) more expensive per person. That’s about $225 more per port for a couple. (Nickels and Dimes). Martini's Bar had excellent service, but drinks were short, and expensive. Standard pre-dinner drinks for two were about $25, not appropriate for captive customers on a ship. (Nickels and Dimes) I’ll probably start suggesting Azamara or Viking Sea to my customers. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Just off the Costa Deliziosa 24 day transatlantic from Venice (Trieste) to Port Everglades. Problems with embarkation: Arrived at the port from our Venice hotel via private water taxi. Ship was nowhere in sight! Was greeted by port ... Read More
Just off the Costa Deliziosa 24 day transatlantic from Venice (Trieste) to Port Everglades. Problems with embarkation: Arrived at the port from our Venice hotel via private water taxi. Ship was nowhere in sight! Was greeted by port personnel and told that due to heavy fog, we would need to be bussed to Trieste to begin our cruise. Was told that passengers were emailed/texted by Costa advising of this change. From what we could surmise, some Europeans were notified, but not all passengers. (Un)Fair enough-but where are the porters to assist with luggage? Was advised by the port staff there were none, (also told all the staff at the port were port employees and not Costa employees). So we had to carry/drag all our luggage about 1/3 mile through gravel, mud and broken concrete parking lots to another port building where Costa had quickly set up and were loading people on buses for the trip to Trieste. Not a good start to this cruise, and unfortunately a harbinger of things to come. Arrived at the Trieste ship port about 2 hours later. Went through the check in process. Advised that we needed to complete a separate, compulsory health questionnaire even though the Costa boarding pass had health questions included. Fine, we’ll need 2 in English. They didn’t have any in English. Was told we needed to complete them nonetheless to board ship. Fine, asked if there was someone who could translate a non-English form for us to complete and sign. Staff was finally found to do this and we proceeded to board the ship. Didn’t feel very welcoming. Frankly, we thought that many parts of the ship were very attractive. Overdone in some parts, but on the whole very attractive public areas. Proceeded to our Panorama Suite on the 7th floor. Nice, but certainly not extravagantly decorated like the rest of the ship. Actually kind of drab, as were the hallways leading up to it. The wrap-around deck was great, although the patio furniture had seen better days. Bathroom included little bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but no lotion. Really Costa, not even for suites? Costa room cards and other materials on the bed waiting for our arrival. One problem: On the backside of card was “Water Plan USA” and no mention of the Intenditore Drink Package which is now included with all suites. No problem, or so I thought, as I had read on Cruise Critic that Customer/Hospitality Service Desk would issue new cards with the correct information on them. Luggage arrived and we were unpacked before the Muster drill. Attended Muster drill. During the drill, a couple of rows away an elderly gentleman collapsed, and was helped to stand again by guests around him. Staff was numb to requests for assistance and required many repeated requests to assist this poor fellow. After Muster drill, went to Customer/Hospitality desk to straighten out drink package issue. This is where Costa really showed their true incompetence. We were told by the Guest Services Manager that they would need to get approval from Costa head office to approve our drink packages and reissue our cards. (Now this has been a perk of suites on this very ship since June 4, 2016). We were told that if we had booked this cruise too early that the drink package may not be included since the cruise prices had increased as a result of the new perk. We asked to see where this was in writing, and no one could show us. We had booked and paid for a PS, and this was definitely a perk for this suite. (The only exception was it was not included on World Cruises, which this was not). We immediately went and emailed our travel agent, who could not believe that Costa would try and do something like this. He contacted his Costa rep, who agreed it was indeed a benefit of our suite. The rep emailed Costa headquarters, who in turn emailed the ship. 3 days into the cruise, we were finally issued new cards with the drink package included. There was absolutely no reason for this, and not in line with Costa’s own description of treating suite guests as “most valued” passengers. Now on to meals: As PS suite guests, we were to be able to have all three meals a day in the Club Deliziosa. After speaking to the Food and Beverage Director, we were advised that on this crossing, there were close to 400 guests assigned to this restaurant since along with suite guests, Diamond Pearl passengers were also extended this benefit. This perk was so overwhelmed with passengers, that it was a horrible and stressful experience. Since tables were not assigned, guests would line up an hour or more prior to seating times to ensure a spot in the restaurant. The Maître d’ Rudy had absolutely no control over the situation, and in fact held tables for certain guests, (including having drinks sent to tables before anyone was even sitting at them), all the while telling guests that all tables were first-come first-serve. Again, another fail by Costa-certainly does not make suite guests feel special having to line up for an hour to get a table at a supposedly “special” restaurant. On the first morning of the cruise, upon awaking we found the room extremely chilly. Checked the heat setting which was set all the way to warm. Simultaneously discovered the bathroom had no hot water. Tried to call the butler, but, after waiting on hold for several minutes were told she would have to call us back. We explained the situation to the receptionist on the phone, then decided to leave the room to get coffee and warm up. Encountered the butler in the hallway, who was carrying a tray with hot water for us for our room. This was the first of many miscommunications between us, receptionist staff and Hospitality desk. Very, very frustrating when someone nods in agreement only to discover later they had no idea what you were saying. The saga of the room temperature would arise again mid-cruise. We complained for 3 days and had repeated visits from the ship’s engineering staff to correct our ineffective air conditioning issues. The final solution: Our room was either hot or cold from this point onward. We needed to keep all the heavy curtains closed until at least 12:30 or 1:00 PM daily or the HVAC could not keep the room cool. Not the reason we booked a PS, to be kept in the dark for half a day for the entire cruise. Back to the Butler as a perk for Suites: Ours advised us that she had 19 suites to look after! How can one person do quality service for that many rooms? Answer is they cannot! Sounds good on brochures, but in reality it’s all lip service with no substance. Once again Costa failed to deliver as promised. Room attendants have 23-25 rooms to service twice daily. We’ve never been on a cruise where you see them working all day long, and then into the evening. Overworked is an understatement. It is actually very depressing to see them working so hard for so long day in and day out. Not an uplifting, holiday environment. Another fail for Costa. The waiters in the Albatross restaurant have 35 passengers to serve, with no assistants like many other cruise lines have. This means overworked and exhausted wait staff. This is one of the reasons that only beer and wine are served with meals-staff have no time to get drinks. Lack of individual service, Costa once again fails to deliver. Food was anywhere from average to poor. Many, many items sounded good on the menu but the execution failed miserably more times than not. Have never seen such an obscure list of ingredients on any menu. Pastas generally good, but after 24 days….. Costa fails again. Daily service charge/tipping: Inquired at the Guest Services/Hospitality desk about the breakdown of our 10,00 Euros/day/per passenger hotel charge. (All cruise lines list this, X amount to room attendants, X amount to waiters, etc.). Surprisingly, was advised that this was a service charge and not a tip by the Costa staff. Really? If so, big, big fail for Costa. Last, but certainly not least was debarkation. Began inquiring about this a week before we were to leave the ship. We had an early flight and wanted to know how the Priority debarking was to happen for the suite guests when we were told the meeting point was usually the Club Deliziosa. Alarm: approximately 400 guests (Suite and Diamond Pearl) are not going to fit into a 150 seat Club restaurant. What amazed us is that they weren’t sure how they would do this and would know only the day before. When reminded that this was not the first transatlantic cruise to the US after a European run with that many “Priority” guests, we were met with blank stares and assurances that they would know the day before debarkation. It was as if they had to approach each problem as if it were new and weren’t able to build on past experiences. Sadly, the last day was a fiasco, as expected. We had to carry off our own suitcases without staff assistance contrary to what was promised by the Senior Cruise Specialist, and the Guest Relations Manager in the days prior. Again, big fail for Costa. This cruise was a big eye-opened for us! Costa has changed dramatically since the Carnival Corp takeover, and not for the better! This is not an Italian Cruise Line experience vs. an American Cruise Line experience difference that everyone warns about. Their cost-cutting measures have reduced this cruise line to the equivalent of Ryanair of the Seas! Customer service is non-existent. There is no access to any supervisory personnel. No one is willing or truly able to correct any real customer issues. There is no follow through by ship personnel to solve any passenger complaints. No direct phone numbers to any Specialty Restaurants or Spa. Butlers are unreachable, and when available-useless, (at least ours was). Overworked waiters and room attendants. Food beyond horrible. Pasta dishes were good, but after 24 days more than boring. Suite accommodations mediocre to say the least. Sad, since we had cruised with Costa several years ago, and enjoyed that cruise immensely. Quite different now with Carnival at the helm. Big changes and not for the better. The lack of pride and effort to provide a quality customer experience should relegate Costa below the radar of any serious cruiser. It certainly has for us. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
Pacific Princess is a great little ship and we have travelled on her before. Great crew but I have to say the worst Cruise Director that we have come across on any of the Princess ships. Also the entertainment on the leg from Venice to ... Read More
Pacific Princess is a great little ship and we have travelled on her before. Great crew but I have to say the worst Cruise Director that we have come across on any of the Princess ships. Also the entertainment on the leg from Venice to Rome was way below Princess normal standard, although has picked up on this leg. Captain has done a great job and has at all times kept everybody informed as to what is going on. Dining has been great as has the general service throughout the ship. Yes we had a bit of rough weather and missed a couple o ports as a result but the replacement ports were good especially Funchal. Shore excursion have been good in the main with a couple of "duds" only. Still think it is a great ship and Princess a great line so we will be back although maybe find a different Cruise Director. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This was actually a Mediterranean and a Trans Atlantic. We spent a month on the Pacific Princess, a TA---started in Venice, did the Balkans, Greece, Italy, Spain Gibraltar, Madeira, Bermuda and then Florida. For us we passed the 600 total ... Read More
This was actually a Mediterranean and a Trans Atlantic. We spent a month on the Pacific Princess, a TA---started in Venice, did the Balkans, Greece, Italy, Spain Gibraltar, Madeira, Bermuda and then Florida. For us we passed the 600 total days of sailing landmark on this cruise. Excellent ship, confirms my preference for the smaller vessels. We both agree we like ships this size best, doubtful if we do much cruising in the future if all we have are the gigantic's to choose from. Princess may sell this one as it is much smaller than anything else in their fleet. They are really keeping it up nicely though, don't know if that is because they want to sell or what, they are still booking it through 2018 however. A most enjoyable cruise over all. Good going Princess. Although this cruise occurred very late in the season, basically a repositioning 29 day cruise from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, it was jazzed up with extra ports and a romantic name attached "Mediterranean Grand Adventure". Some though, booked it as two "Back to Backs" or only took one segment. EXCELLENT-- ---The ship--The smallest in the Princess fleet, a little over 30,000 gross tons with approximately 650 guests. In my opinion, more staff per guest, more space per guest and much less pushing and shoving than we have seen in quite some time on the high seas, plus much more quality and personal service. The ship is well taken care of, in fact I thought our cabin, 8000, must have recently been refurbished as it was in perfect condition and the heating-A/C system worked like it should. Crew members are constantly chipping away old paint and renewing woodwork everywhere. I saw no patches of rust anywhere. This "Pacific Princess" was one of the three, out of eight, relatively new "R" ships Princess acquired after the Renaissance Line went under around 2000 (R-3). These vessels are still all in service but Princess has only this one left now. It is too bad that Renaissance didn't have stern thrusters installed when these were manufactured as those would eliminate a few difficulties and need for tugs, even though they do have "Becker Rudders", when getting into tight ports under severe wind conditions. ---Our stateroom was a mini-suite and one of the finest if not the finest we have had. A five by fifteen foot balcony with drapes that, when pulled back, presented the spacious living area with a huge picture window. Very quiet location forward on Deck 8. The bathroom was not large but average by today's standard dimensions, the shower was in the tub, however, the vanity cabinets were more than ample and each had cupboard doors with mirrors on them which we haven't seen for a while, so all one's cosmetics, etc. aren't sitting out in the open ready to fall off the trays. The closets, at first, appeared to be a little short on space, however that wasn't the case, true, they aren't walk in, but they handled all our stuff easily and I had two tuxes and wife had the equivalent fine dress for our five formal nights. Nice refrigerator and an excellent room steward who had the fridge constantly full of fresh ice, perhaps one of the best if not the best room Stewart (Ginno) we have had in over 600 days of sailing. Balcony---In addition to being quite large the balcony has a teak top rail and three bars below it instead of plexiglas or some other barrier. Plexiglas often is clouded due to scratching, UVs, or covered with salt crust and or water spray, so you actually have to stand at the railing in order to get a decent, not distorted, view of the ocean below. Not with these railings though, as you can sit in your deck chair or your cabin and enjoy a clear view, this is the same type of railings the ships of yore had. ---The library on this vessel is outstanding. The largest and quietest we have ever seen on any ship. Truly a library for a vessel engaging in lengthy exploratory voyages. ---Thank you Princess for the free laundry and free dry cleaning. We used it all the time, very good, prompt and no rationing. First time I have ever had creases in my cargo pocket Wranglers. VERY GOOD--- ---The main dining room "Club Restaurant" was very good, the first time I've been able to give a MDR an "A" rating in a long time. Didn't start out that way though. When we first booked we were # 24 on the wait list for a table for two at 6:00 PM. About 4.5 months before sailing we reached "confirmed" status in that category, however, there was caveat small print language that indicated the table for two wasn't a certainty. When we boarded we discovered instead, our seating was at 5:30 PM and we were at a table for eight. This ship only offers traditional dinner seating, we always use anytime dining as traditional times are way too late or too early, but anytime dining on other ships is usually a mess as well, since the waiter and kitchen staffs aren't adequate and the lines for anytime dining are usually over 30 minutes long as everybody wants to eat around 6:00 PM, it seems, and guests in those lines are usually not of good temperament. On recent cruises we have began taking dinner in the extra charge Specialties or other venues rather than the MDR. If we go early we miss one of the best aspects of cruising, the "Sail Away" times. It also pinches us time wise on long shore excursion days and also limits our time to enjoy our Elite lounge special price cocktail and free Ore' hors d'oeuvres time, beginning at 5:00 PM. So this time, at the start, we made due without going to the MDR the first 13 days of the voyage. Dinner during that period was at--Ultimate balcony dining (1), (Thanksgiving), Sabatini's, extra charge (1), Sterling Steakhouse, extra charge (1), Buffet-(Panorama Buffet) (10). Hey, we were still happy, sort of, as the buffet on the Pacific Princess is much better than that on the larger ships and not near as crowded. Plus, we weren't rushed and were enjoying the rest of the voyage. But after our visit to Rome and thanks to Maitre d', Oscar Perego he got us set up at a table for two in the MDR, with seating anytime between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM. From that point on eating in the MDR was like the days of yore. Good wine service, good meals, great waiters and atmosphere in a not over crowded dining room. We then ate dinner in the MDR most of the rest of the cruise (15), Sabatini's, extra charge (1). ---The Internet worked pretty good everywhere we voyaged. It slowed a bit in the afternoons sometimes as more logged on, but I had no trouble loading and sending 7 or 8 Face Book pictures with each of my posts outlining our journey for family and friends back home. Fortunately, due Elite status, we received 1000 free Internet minutes (between the two of us) and 800 more at a very low rate, for the entire cruise. The internet cafe is quite large for the size of this vessel and the manager is congenial, knowledgeable and usually available. Right next door is the card room with 4 large tables, (The card room is right above our cabin, how's that for quiet?) where one with a laptop can get better and faster signals than in many cabins. ---Captain Domenico Lubrano was a real great and safe seafarer. In addition, he has excellent demeanor and went out of his way to keep us informed as to what was going on. He even speculated far in advance as to changes that might have to take place due weather, etc. We had a few pretty rough days, one day and two nights in the eastern Mediterranean and at least two real choppy days in the Atlantic. Some long time cruising guests were displeased, even got sea sick, but we've seen worse seas, after all, a TA on winter solistice? ---Princess still has formal nights, we had five this cruise, we love them. I understand a lot of the other lines are doing away with formal to satisfy the preference of the average cruiser today, consequently confusion and anarchy in dress practices is causing degradation in the quality of the cruise experience for many. ---Ample deck chairs available all the time. No battles over "chair hoggers" on this ship. ---Two of my best liked experiences on board are watching the "Sail Away's" and the Enrichment lectures. Both have been good this voyage. Of course, during the first two week segment it was almost impossible to have viable enrichment lectures since we were ashore about every day. There was some decent destination lectures squeezed in though. It is well worth one's while to take in a destination lecture before arriving at the port. However, during the second segment the enrichment lectures were excellent and on point with respect to our sailing across the Atlantic. Provided by an historian, David Sisler, who got into the theme of the voyage with lectures dealing with the spice trade, world navigators, points of ocean geography and pirates. I understand some of the majors are doing away with enrichment lectures. That would be terrible, when we sail to the remote areas of the globe there is nothing like having somebody knowledgeable about history, geography, naturalism, provide a series of lectures pertinent to the part of the world in which the voyage takes place. GOOD--- ---I like the theatre on this vessel (Cabaret Lounge). We had previously quit attending showband dance productions and other individual entertainment shows, since the theatres in the newer vessels are a nightmare due the long rows located too close to each other where early arrivals take the closest seats to the too few isles, leaving other guests to try and squeeze by as many as a dozen who fail to stand up and let you by. So, this was the first cruise out of the past five cruises where we attended such events and really liked it. On the first segment a singer named Philip Brown from Britain had a three octave voice and could really sing, he did a stint one time there with the theatre in the "Lion King". I watched both his performances and loved them. The Pacific Princess Dancers deserve extra credit. I have heard some of the mega-ships on other lines even give tickets out for extra charge productions, ugh, I don't know if they assign seats or not. ---There are three hot tubs on this ship. Two of normal size and design on the pool deck on each side of the main swimming pool. One very large excellent one just below the bridge and available for extra charge. To gain access to the big tub one must go through the "Lotus Spa" area. Along side this hot tub are Lotus Spa provided extra comfort reclining deck chairs and lemon water refreshments. My wife negotiated some sort of deal for a 29 day Lotus Spa package wherein we got access to this hot tub and the two steam rooms in the men's and women's dressing areas. When the large tub was down for maintenance I used the smaller public ones which were never over crowded and most of the time I was by myself in them. My wife used the steam room all the time and I love the hot tub. Plenty of towels available at every location. ---The television was adequate but it sure would be nice to have a larger one like the new ships have with a large selection of on demand movies to chose from. Comprehensive TV news programing was very good, especially MSNBC and BBC---reception was available for each channel 99% of the time near the Continent but sporadic at best in mid-Atlantic and even non-existent for more than three days there. ---Buffet-(Panorama Buffet) was a lot more enjoyable on this ship than on the larger ones. Not near as crowded, hardly ever had a difficult time finding a table at lunch and at dinner there was always many empty tables. On warmer days there was a lot of outdoor seating, particularly on the fantail immediately aft of the buffet. In addition, the food and service was a lot better, there were more staff per guest and the quality of meals superior. Fresh squeezed orange juice every morning, all you want. ---In general, the average passenger on this vessel was much more congenial than those we run into on larger vessels, in particular those involving short cruise segments. Courteous conversations all the time, no arrogant political mouthing off anywhere that I witnessed. During meals when sitting with others we always found good and interesting companions to talk with. However, we still had our share of the pushing and shoving type that gives cruising a bad name. For instance, those with no mobility issues who sneak ahead before excursions are called in order to get on the coaches first and gobble up the front row seats. If and when we somehow end up in a front row seat I can't live with myself as I watch others with canes and crutches limp their way to the far back seats. ---First time in quite a few cruises there was plenty of staircases and the elevators not jammed packed all the time ---Shore excursions. We took only ship sponsored shore excursions. We purchased 18 of them this voyage, but one port was canceled, so 17. The shore excursion office did an excellent job of keeping track of individual excursions, for instance, in addition to the one canceled there was a substitution for it which also had to be canceled due wind, there was also another port substituted for another which did take place, so, changes had to be made which must have been difficult and confusing for the staff to do. All of our knowledgeable guides spoke English well, I could understand everyone of them. Some excursions were better than others and some were somewhat repetitive for us as we had taken similar excursions years ago when on other cruises, but all in all they were very good, not one bad in the lot. Buses were well maintained and modern, some were even brand new. Since we had never been in the Balkan states before excursions there probably stood out more than others. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the Balkans and the quality of excursions. They have a lot to offer and I expect that the cruise industry well take advantage of this in the future. One very good one was where the Postojna Caves were included in Slovenia (Koper). Even though we had taken gondola rides before in Venice, this time we took a night ride and it was memorable. ---For the first time in many cruises the Captain and staff kept us well apprised of what the ship was doing, where we were and what was ahead. They did this by having a marine navigation chart (This is the first marine navigation chart we have seen posted in our last 6 cruises) posted on the pool deck along with weather forecasts, etc. Also the ships TV had three channels devoted to weather, sea conditions, current location of the vessel, speed and heading. All this in addition to the Captain's frequent announcements and updates. ---We booked our Venice hotel with Princess, for two nights before getting on board our ship, once on board we had a third night in Venice before sailing late the next afternoon. We also booked transfers from the airport to the hotel and hotel to ship (Sure is nice to have a Princess representative waiting for you with a sign when you get off the aircraft, additionally, on our recent Princess cruises we have immediately been provided transport to our hotel, sometimes by limo, no more waiting in a bus with a crowd of others for a few stragglers on late arriving flights). On disembarkation day we also had ship to airport via a Princess shore excursion. The Cron Plaza Quarto D'altino hotel has to be about the cleanest if not the cleanest hotel we have ever stayed in. Our room was fairly large and immaculate, we liked it a lot. It is on the outskirts of Venice on the mainland, about 7 miles from the cruise ship pier. I'm not certain how much we paid but it was a lot, since our transfers to and from the ship are cranked into that charge. We had to be wait listed by Princess before they could get the hotel to guarantee our second night. This was off season too, and it certainly did not appear to be near full during our stay. One guy told me he made reservations directly with the hotel for $126.00 per night which is probably half what we paid per night. If one is planning to go into Venice during the day this hotel location is ideal since it is a 3 minute walk to the train pickup. The hotel is located in a residential area so the only places to eat are at the hotel. The dining room is good, the cuisine mediocre. The bar is pretty reasonable and offers a variety of dining choices. The bar will also sell you canned sodas you can take to your room. There is one ice machine on the 3rd floor just down the hall from our room (the hotel has only three floors). The liquor in the hotel refrigerator set up is very limited so bring your own liquor and mix. We ate dinner at both. Part of the Princess hotel package included two full buffet style breakfasts at the hotel in the dining room, which were pretty good. The hotel doesn't exchange currencies and tell you that you have to go into downtown Venice to do that. So, my two mistakes were not bringing some Euros and not bringing an adopter for our US 120 volt AC laptop battery charger from European 220 volt. Wi-fi in the room is free and very good. The TV is also excellent with hundreds of different channels, but we could find only two in English, CNN International and CNBC International. In summary, we would book the hotel again but would prefer a better rate. The hotel did serve our purpose in that we were relaxed and anxious to board our ship beginning a month long cruise. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT--- ---Specialty Restaurants.---Actually, good in most respects, however, definite slippage in meal quality there over the last couple of years or so, on the larger vessels they do a better job. Plenty of good waiter staff as service is very prompt and kitchen staff not understaffed either, so that isn't the problem. However, overall quality not up to what it has been. Not really worth the $29.00 per person extra charge anymore. MDR has the Specialties beat on this ship, that is if you can get into the MDR at a decent time. There are two main Specialties, "Sabatini's" and the "Sterling Steakhouse". The kitchen and wait staff for both are the same but the dining areas are in different locations, albeit close together. Both have excellent ocean views from most tables. Don't be misled though, they are never both open at the same time. The Steakhouse is apparently more popular than Sabatini's so they open the Steakhouse for three consecutive days then two days for Sabatini's. We like Sabatini's best. ---Fitness Center---Excellent location for workouts, Deck 9, with wonderful vistas. Downer is that it is in need of more equipment. In particular, at least two more elliptical's and one or more treadmills. Treadmills and elliptical's have notices on them requesting guests to limit their workouts on each to 20 minutes during busy periods. Doesn't work, many guests are not disciplined enough to honor this requirement. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
This is definitely our favorite Princess Ship because of it's size and the small number of passengers. Embarkation in Venice was extremely quick and easy. We were staying at a small hotel for a couple days before the cruise ... Read More
This is definitely our favorite Princess Ship because of it's size and the small number of passengers. Embarkation in Venice was extremely quick and easy. We were staying at a small hotel for a couple days before the cruise began. We took the Valporetta to Santa Lucia station, walked over the bridge, took the people mover to the port and basically walked right on the ship about noon. Originally the itinerary had an overnight in Istanbul. However due to all the recent issues, Montenegro and Rhodes were substituted. We could not have been happier with the new ports as we had not been to either. I was a little concerned traveling this late in the season, but we generally had beautiful weather. We did encounter some rough weather and had 1 port first rerouted and then cancelled. We took a few shore excursions and especially enjoyed a day tours of Corfu and Taormina in Sicily. The food and entertainment were very good and consistent with all the Princess Cruises we have taken. We had a fantastic time and look forward to our next Princess Cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We really enjoyed the itinerary; especially with the overnight in Venice to start the trip. We really enjoyed our ports of call: Koper, Slovenia, Kotor, Montenegro, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Corfu and Rhodes, Greece, Naples and Sicily, Italy. A ... Read More
We really enjoyed the itinerary; especially with the overnight in Venice to start the trip. We really enjoyed our ports of call: Koper, Slovenia, Kotor, Montenegro, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Corfu and Rhodes, Greece, Naples and Sicily, Italy. A highlight of our trip was the Corfu walking food tour (3+ hours, 64 euro each...https://corfuwalkingtours.com/product/corfu-walking-food-tours/) as our guide provided a historical narrative to the highlights of town and the best of the island's Greek food. We were a group of 7 and it ended up being more cost effective for us to go through Princess for a private van and driver for the Naples port. We were happy with our decision as we were able to dictate our day as we chose instead of being on a coach with 40 other people. Embarkation and disembarkation were really smooth processes. With the Pacific being Princess's smallest ship, we expected there to be fewer things to do which ended up being the case but we did not care as we had so many port days on this trip. The staff were spot on, like always, and out of the other Princess ships I'd been on (Coral and Emerald), the Pacific had the best food quality and variety. Entertainment exceeded our expectations. The dance/production team were pretty spot on and we really enjoyed a guest musician, Phillip Browne, from the UK. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We took (and reviewed) a similar repositioning cruise from Genoa to Brazil aboard the MSC Orchestra 2 years ago. At a cost of just £50 per person per day we think MSC offer exceptional value for money. The balcony cabin was just great. ... Read More
We took (and reviewed) a similar repositioning cruise from Genoa to Brazil aboard the MSC Orchestra 2 years ago. At a cost of just £50 per person per day we think MSC offer exceptional value for money. The balcony cabin was just great. We provided our own kettle to brew a cuppa whenever we felt like one. The €287.50 that we paid to access the spa was money well spent. The saunas were even better than in 2014, heated to 80°C rather than just 70°C, and the steam rooms were also hotter and not draughty. The payment also included access to 3 indoor Jacuzzis that were rarely crowded. We thoroughly enjoyed the 5 classical concerts by the 6 talented members of Musica in Maschera in the ship’s main theatre. The in-house entertainment team were good too, although their talents were repackaged again and again, as the same jugglers, acrobats, dancers and strongmen performed in Batman outfits for Gothem, in Asterix & Cleopatra outfits and finally for one last ‘Best Of’ show. High-margin items like perfumes, beauty products and handbags were always for sale from stalls set up in public areas around meal times. I was concerned by the very high suggested manufacturer’s retail prices quoted for a brand of watches, Invicta that are sold exclusively on TV shopping channels, cruise ships and over the internet. They claimed a €1499 price tag for the Invictca 2928B, and left leaflets in our cabin announcing discounts of up to 75%. MSC’s selling price of this watch is €549. I bought one over the internet after the cruise for £70. Beware of inflated sea prices as you have limited consumer protection! MSC Shore excursions were popular but we plumed for our own independent activities except in Rio. We paid $70 for a full day tour in a minivan, for a similar tour priced €140 on board (which included a light lunch delivered to your cabin beforehand). It’s worth noting that MSC provide no maps or practical information about shore stop destinations so do your homework beforehand. (Exceptionally, at Mindelo the local Cape Verde authorities had no information booth nor were there exchange facilities. Banks need to see your passport or a copy of it, but you can pay in most places using euros (preferred) or US dollars). We ate mostly at the buffet, enjoying real mozzarella cheese, fresh fruits & salads penne with tomato sauce, baked whole fish with tomato sauce and jellies amongst the culinary highlights. Dining in the restaurants is the only area I would rate as fair to poor. Breakfast and lunch are now both semi-self-service/semi-served, which is awkward if you have circular bench seats on a table for 8. Dinner is fully waiter served by friendly Indonesians, but the food was served lukewarm rather than piping hot, and most main course choices were either over- or undercooked. Soups were poor, desserts including a sugar-free version, quite good. Overall I stress that MSC offer tremendous value for money. The main reasons we go are to relax, read, sunbathe, enjoy undemanding entertainment. We ate perfectly adequately in the buffet and even managed not to gain weight. However I think next time we shall try another (more expensive!) repositioning cruise… Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We did back to back cruises and did Greece and Montenegro the week before on the same ship. Awesome itineraries, we were scheduled to stop at Malta but due to rough seas detoured to Majorca which was amazing beautiful place to visit, no ... Read More
We did back to back cruises and did Greece and Montenegro the week before on the same ship. Awesome itineraries, we were scheduled to stop at Malta but due to rough seas detoured to Majorca which was amazing beautiful place to visit, no biggy cause I already been to Malta before, some passengers were upset about not getting to Malta, but good that we had another port to visit as plan B as I believe some cruise lines don't always do this if a port is cancelled. The ship was nice cabins big enough and very quiet. We requested and paid for and upgrade from inside to balcony, but they refunded the money and said it was a free upgrade, WOW!!!... Food was OK in buffet, they do delicious curries and pizzas but don't serve enough curries in the buffet or restaurants. An indian couple on the table behind us asked if they would prepare their table a special Indian meal, request granted, not many aussies on ship (about 40) and we asked if they could organise a quiz for us,,, request granted, also excellent service with captain and ambassador frequently walking round ship asking if everyone happy and anything extra they could do, we asked for a table change and well no request seemed to be to difficult. Probs nearly 3000 passengers on this ship but staff so nice and professional they make you feel your the only one... Didn't like disembarking at Buenos Aries, small terminal busy and hot, took 2 hours to get out, but I think that's the ports problem, not MSC. Most ports easy to get on/off ship. The tours were reasonably priced, same price as private tours. I booked and paid for the thermal spa but didn't use it, only went to gym to weigh myself but then they said scales broke (I'm not that big) so upset that all I wanted to use in the thermal spa area were scales and same not available. I have booked again to go on another cruise with MSC next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Sailed with MSC...gold card holders...so very disappointed. Venice embarkation shambles to say the least. After flight from Dublin and long track across Venice airport coach park with luggage in the rain we had to stand 2+ hrs to ... Read More
Sailed with MSC...gold card holders...so very disappointed. Venice embarkation shambles to say the least. After flight from Dublin and long track across Venice airport coach park with luggage in the rain we had to stand 2+ hrs to hand over luggage in PRIORITY BOARDING lane at cruise terminal. Fellow passengers the noisiest, hardly any English announcements/entertainment etc clear enough to hear. We so fed up with tango demos, entertainment after THREE WEEKS we cancelled show here in Buenos Aires. LITINERARY was awful.......half days in Recefi, Sansalvedor and Rio (tour guide there useless and slept or smoked so v disappointing) destinations we went for. No TV available... almost all of cruise....all retuned after Med. They kept promising us "after Sansalvedor" or "after Rio" so unprofessional when they knew it wasn't going on again. Disembark in Buenos Aires another nightmare in tropical temps. It was not the Bucket List cruise I had envisioned or hoped for yet I love usually love and recommend MSC? If you not Spanish or Italian speaker would suggest give Grand Voyages with MSC a wide berth. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We had booked a classic without view and were amazed when 3 weeks before sailing we got our cabin assignment - upgrade to a mini suite. The cabin was comfortable and clean and was our oasis of calm helped by a very efficient stewardess. ... Read More
We had booked a classic without view and were amazed when 3 weeks before sailing we got our cabin assignment - upgrade to a mini suite. The cabin was comfortable and clean and was our oasis of calm helped by a very efficient stewardess. This was the best thing about the entire cruise. I have had 11 cruises on Costa over the years but this cruise will be the last. In Europe the ship turned into a ferry with passengers who appeared to be starving pushing and shoving and trying to knock you out of the way at the buffet. After Savona it settled down but it was not helped by the number of beverage stations being out of order in the buffet. So we ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room which was acceptable. Dinners soon went downhill with what appeared to be a menu of leftovers. Halfway through the voyage they opened the buffet in the evening for 1 1/2 hours and remarkably it was quiet so at least you could get a salad/veggies etc instead of sitting for 2+ hours in dining room for a 2" piece of salt cod and cabbage! Entertainment was geared towards Italians/Germans/French and I have never felt on a cruise before that Brits/US were not invited or not expected to participate. Shouting/screaming through the night was the norm in europe. There was really no activites - even the ping pong balls were for 2 for a euro and it was a hassle to get paddles from a bartender in exchange for your sea pass. TV was replays of pavarotti - when the ship neared the caribbean we looked forward to seeing the news - nothing in english - only european channels! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Wow fantastic, Fabulous food, brilliant entertainment, stunning dancers, well looked after ship and great service who could ask for more! We embarked from Venice, all the staff were friendly and efficient. When we entered, wow it ... Read More
Wow fantastic, Fabulous food, brilliant entertainment, stunning dancers, well looked after ship and great service who could ask for more! We embarked from Venice, all the staff were friendly and efficient. When we entered, wow it looked amazing and it was, the decor is very Italian and very flamboient but stunning. There was entertainment all day from the animation staff and the dancers but also quiet parts if you want to relax, the animation staff are crazy and lots of fun to watch or if you want join it they make all nationalities welcome and speak all languages. The evening entrainment was first class, professional and left us wanting more. I do not speak Italian but everything was in English, even the announcements for guests were in English, Italian and German plus a couple more languages but the were not many announcements. The only all Italian announcements were for staff only. All the staff speak English, menus are in English, entertainment is in English. The food was beautiful, lots of choice and variety, cooked perfectly every time, being a fussy eater I even got to try some food I would not try at home and I'm glad I did it was amazing. The desserts would melt in your mouth all cooked fresh on board daily with fresh bread, doughnuts, pastrys, cakes and lots more. If you want full English they have it all the and will cook your eggs in front of you exactly how you want them. Every country we visited we would have food from that area as well as all the other choices We enjoyed our time on Costa so much we will book again and again. After our cruise on Costa we went on a second cruise with another cruise line which was more expensive but what a difference like night and day. Costa being luxury and the other company being budget at designer prices. Would recommend to anyone. We are 40/50's English Wonderful first time cruise for myself and a one of many for my partner. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff, entertainers and for the whole experience it was true perfection from start to finish. THANK YOU COSTA Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I are avid cruisers, having cruised on NCL, Princess, Holland America, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity and even a Costa Caribbean cruise. We booked a back-to-back leaving Venice, going to Italy, Greece and Turkey and the 2nd leg ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers, having cruised on NCL, Princess, Holland America, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity and even a Costa Caribbean cruise. We booked a back-to-back leaving Venice, going to Italy, Greece and Turkey and the 2nd leg back to Florida (36 days total). The first problem was the itinerary change AFTER we paid our final deposit and had already booked our airfare. We really wanted to see Turkey (2 stops) but they changed the itinerary and substituted Croatia and Montenegro. So, this wasn't a deal-breaker but we were disappointed as there were other ships that were going to Turkey. Then, the 2nd problem - we were to embark in Venice but when we arrived at the port, the ship was not there due to weather. They ported the ship in Trieste and we had to be transported for a 2 hour coach ride to Trieste. The whole process was a nightmare (totally disorganized and a complete disregard for passenger comfort). We had to sit in the Venice terminal for 2 hours before our bus got there, with not even water being offered. Third problem, once we got on the ship in Trieste, they closed the buffet line 10 minutes after we got there so food was limited and we had not eaten since breakfast. There were hundreds of passengers still being transported so I'm sure they were not happy when they got there with no food until dinner at 7:30. Fourth problem, our cabin was fine for the first leg but we had to change for the transatlantic portion. This cabin (6234) was the cabin from hell...next to the steward station, crew stairway and below the room service prep area. Banging, clanging and slamming all day and all night. We complained and requested a cabin change but were told nothing was available. After 3 nights, we were so fed up we were ready to disembark the ship and fly home at the next port. I told the Cruise Director and, somehow, they miraculously found us another cabin (which actually was a good one). Fifth problem - my husband and I eat 2 meals a day (late breakfast and late lunch) at the buffet as eating late meals just do not work for us. This was not a problem on all the American-style ships we have cruised on. The Deliziosa meal schedule was quite different. Breakfast in the buffet was predominately pastries, breads, a few cold cereal choices, yogurt and fruit. There was no skim milk for our cereal so we basically diluted it with water. On the transatlantic portion of the cruise they did add eggs and bacon to the buffet. Hot drinks (coffee and tea) were only provided at breakfast and during "snack hour" which was 4:00 -5:00 p.m.- there were none at lunch or dinner. If you wanted them, they had to be ordered from the bar staff and charged to the cabin. The only cold drink you could get without being charged was water (no iced tea or flavored beverages at all). They actually turned off the water and ice machines after lunch. Snack time was a zoo - they only opened one station (food and beverage) so the lines were horrific to get finger sandwiches and hot coffee/tea. Pizza was available free for about 3 hours each day (plain - tomato sauce with cheese). If you wanted a different kind of pizza, you had to pay for it at night. There was a charge for room service (I think 5 euro per person) but we never used it. The buffet usually closed by 3:00 p.m. and did not re-open until 7. Even then, the choices were pretty limited. LOTS of pasta available, though, at lunch. We enjoy other ships because they provide popcorn, ice cream, etc. but Costa did not provide anything at all except what was available at meal time. We found the entertainment to be mediocre. I realize it's hard to schedule entertainment for people who speak so many languages so I hate to bash them for this. I was disappointed, however, at how obnoxious and rude many of the passengers were. During the shows, they would talk loudly and leave once the announcements had been made in their particular language. Meal time was especially exasperating as they would basically run you over, push you out of the way, talk and even SING loudly and generally make meal time an annoying affair. We enjoy using the dry sauna for relaxation but again found the people to be loud and annoying while we tried to relax...I realize the ship cannot do anything about this but it is something you may to consider when taking this ship or this cruise line. All the English-speaking people we talked to on the ship seemed to have the same opinion of this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and ... Read More
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and our luggage was placed inside shortly after. Cabin E710 is located at the back of the ship so it was quiet as there were not many passengers moving around in the corridors, but when the seas were rough there was a lot of movement and strong vibrations from both the propulsion and waves hitting the vessel. Room size was good, excellent balcony with an open view, very good storage and a small bathroom with a “very small shower” stall. The bathroom was the only drawback for this cabin, not at all suited for heavy set people; TV programming (movies, news, etc.) was first rate. We chose the “any time dining” option in the Bordeaux. To avoid delays or misunderstandings about table preferences we always reserved our table one day in advance but that didn’t always work out; so be prepared to assert yourself in order to sit where you want! The staff in general are super-duper; attentive, fast, cordial and very professional and there are so many that it is difficult to name one and not mention the others, so I will give the name of only one, that in a way, represents all of them. Gianni (Italy), the Food & Beverage Supervisor is a real professional, as well as being a very caring and honest person. But I can’t stop there without mentioning two fantastic Bordeaux waitresses; the first is Olena (Ukraine) she is one-of-a-kind, also the hostess at breakfast and lunch in the Provence; the second one is Lupita, a full-of-life Mexican who picks up the spirits of everyone. The food in the Bordeaux was excellent, with different offerings every night and many interesting choices. All dishes sampled were very tasteful - large portions, served good and hot. The specialty restaurant, Sabattini’s was also excellent, especially their steaks (!!!) as much as their pizza’s at lunch time when it becomes Alfredo’s pizza; as it’s complementary (don’t bother trying them at the Pool Pizza!) The other specialty restaurants (charges apply) are the Bayou and the Crab Shack; both menus are inclined towards the Cajun (New Orleans) food and were not of our liking. It seems that was the case for many others too, because we noted it was practically empty every night when we passed it on our way to dinner. The only time that we saw the place full was when they offered a complimentary ‘English Pub Menu’ lunch. It was really good, especially the fish and chips - so it’s not to be missed! However we were disappointed at not having other types of cuisine, such as a French Bistro or a Steakhouse. Another excellent place to have dinner is in the Horizon Buffet Restaurant (deck 14), the choices are tremendous, it’s up to you how much you eat (danger!) and the waiters are on the ready to serve you and bring you whatever you’d like to drink. Because many passengers are at the theater or in the other restaurants, the place is very tranquil at night, so you can sit where ever you wish. But another “danger” are all those pastries!!! Tremendous selection!! Lunch time there, could be easy, as long as you don’t go when tour buses are returning to the ship! Then it is, real chaos!! The other alternative for lunch is at the Provence (quite enjoyable) as much as their breakfast. Of course you have the Grill at the Pool (burgers, hotdogs. etc.), the Pizza counter, etc. Some of the conferences given such as, on WW2 naval battles were very interesting as were the three Culinary Classes given by Master Chef Alfredo Marzi!! The musical shows at the Theater were unimpressive; the bars we frequented were the Crooners (pianist/singer Oliver, great!) and the Wheelhouse were you were able to dance to live music, however many of the musicians were second rate with dubious vocal skills. The ship has a very good feature (as I believe all the Princess ships have), that is a pay Laundry room on each deck; the cost was $3 for washing and same for drying and if you didn’t need either you could use the steam iron for free. Sometimes boarding the tour busses was tranquil but more often than not it was quite upsetting and stressful. This happened mostly because many passengers were impolite and on many occasions quite rude, pushing their way to get first to the bus so they could get the seats they wanted (usually the front ones) and the same happened when leaving the bus. What was hard to believe was that most of these people were seniors who one would expect would be an example of civility and good manners; it is not the first time that happened to us and that’s why we have finally decided to do the tours on our own, to avoid extra stress. Unfortunately, what was, and will be, unavoidable are encounters with them at the Horizon Buffet. Hard to believe and harder to accept those daily occurrences at the Horizon Buffet! Fortunately, there are many other seniors that behave in a respectful, considerate, friendly and positive manner. It was quite shocking to see so many people in wheel chairs, walkers or canes! We’ve seen this on other cruises but never so many as on this one. And for that reason we got quite concerned when all of a sudden a larger and larger number of them were coughing and sneezing and looking under the weather; a few days later a Medical Alert was sent to each cabin advising on the steps to take to avoid its spread throughout the ship. They even offered Tamiflu injections! The Island Princess had been refurbished earlier in the year to mixed Cruise Critic reviews. But, from our point of view, the Exercise Room, though very well equipped is located inside without sea views, so it seems a crowded and unwelcoming place. The same goes for the Mini golf course, too enclosed and not designed for beginners. The library needs to be updated and is poorly located as many passengers walk through it as a link between forward and aft corridors. The other no-no was the $10 sale event! Wasn’t up to the standards that Princess wants to be or would like to be considered for. The overall experience with Island Princess was highly positive, thanks to the many excellent experiences we had that put aside the few negative ones. The restaurants are excellent, the food superb, very good maintenance of the ship, etc. and the BIG stars were their staff! We never ever, experienced so much attention and care, done always with an honest smile full of energy and good will. It is really a pity that it took us so long to discover Princess Cruise Lines!! But for certain, we will be back!! TOURS!!!! Here are the comments of the ones we’ve been on. 1st stop – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Tour taken: “Dubrovnik & Konavle Home Visit” Too long a ride (1+ Hr.) for a very unsavory tour with not much to see during the ride. Once there, we all got together on a big outdoor terrace where some grappa (hard stuff) was offered, some music played by a group of waiters and then off to a basement were long wooden tables were ready for us. In general the food was from good (prosciutto & cheeses) to very bad (pasta) and really bad (red wine); the same musicians were playing some music while eating. After that, back to the bus, another 1+ Hr ride and boarding the ship. Tour guide (a blond girl) was good but unapproachable. Wasn’t worth the price paid. 2nd stop – Salerno, Italy– Tour taken: “Sorrento on your own” 4Hrs 45’ Not having been there before, we chose Sorrento. Happy we did because it is a very enjoyable town with many outdoor cafes, restaurants, great shops, etc. It was a beautiful day so we had lunch on an outdoor patio facing the main Piazza (Square), food (pizza) was excellent and the wine divine!!! Restaurant’s name: Syrenuse Bar Ristorante in Via Sant’Antonino; food, wine, service and atmosphere were all excellent! Highly recommended! 3rd stop – Civitavecchia, Italy – No tours taken. This time we had the chance to know better the city that used to be a stopover before joining previous cruises, so we decided to go to shore on our own. Map in hand we started to walk around, discovering the place at our own pace. Surprisingly, we enjoyed it very much! 4th stop – Livorno, Italy – Tour taken: “Lucca” - 4 Hrs. We’ve never been into Lucca. Another great choice! Regardless there is no time for lunch at the end, being a sunny and warm day, we were able to sit in an outdoor café facing Saint Michele Square (bus drop-off/pick up point), where we enjoyed tremendously, a great Cappuccino and a fantastic ice cream cone. Needless to say, we are planning to go back and spend more relaxing time there. To make all this more perfect was the Tour guide, Isabella! Completely fluent in English, very knowledgeable who gave so many tips to all of us in case we would like to return! Isabella was the best Tour guide of all this cruise, no doubt about it. Do not miss Lucca!! And hope you meet her! 5th stop - Toulon, France – Tour taken: “Scenic drive to Bandol & Sanary-sur-mer 4.5 Hrs. After quite a very nice interior scenic drive we hit Bandol on the coast; sorry to say but it didn’t say much to us, so no comments. From there back along the coast, we reached Sanary-sur-mer around noon and are gladly able to tell you that it was a very nice town! Has all the attributes that so many of the Mediterranean fishing towns have. That is, all the flavours, sounds and smells of those places; we were lucky enough that we got there just when the fishing boats had arrived, so they were busy selling their catch of the day to the Sanary locals! We saw some people sitting around, eating freshly caught sea urchins the fishermen were selling – they eat them raw! There was an open market facing the esplanade selling a lot of food specialties, the harbor is beautiful with any type and size of boats; very nice restaurants and coffee shops with their patios open to the sea! Great town and great experience. Tour guide, double zero. 6th stop – Barcelona, Spain – No tour taken. Very well-known city for us, so we tried one thing that we hadn’t done before and that was the cable car (Telesferic) that goes from San Sebastian Tower (bus #64 in downtown takes you there- ticket $ 3 euros) all the way to Mount Montjuic; you will have the chance to take very good aerial pictures of Barcelona from up there. It is a bit pricy ($11 euros cash only, one way). Once on Mt. Montjuic, to get back to town you had to walk all the way down a very twisting and steep road till you reached a big avenue; doing this is not recommended, so we suggest the reverse trip, that is take a taxi from down town Barcelona, up to the entrance of the cable car at the top of Montjuic and once you arrive at the other end, you take bus #64 back to down town. Tired and hungry we got to the Ramblas, were we enjoyed a terrific, people-watching outdoor lunch!!! 7th stop – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal – Tour taken: “Crater lakes, Sete cidades & wine tasting” 3Hrs 45’ Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help at all!! Cold, very windy and foggy! So there wasn’t much that we were able to see of the lakes, (formerly craters). The island’s vegetation was outstanding and we were sure that with the right weather would’ve been superb, as much as would’ve been the green and blue lakes. Fortunately, the tour ended on a very high note which was a wine tasting event twined with locally produced young cheese varieties and crackers. Really fantastic! But, the weather spoiled it! Otherwise this tour would’ve gotten really high marks! The tour guide was inconsequential. From there, we started our very, too long, crossing of the Atlantic (a general consensus). Anyway, we docked at Fort Lauderdale, very happy that we took this beautiful voyage with the fantastic Princess Cruise Line!!! See you soon!!!! Thank you so much for your patience! Have a great and happy trip!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were ... Read More
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were given beepers to wait for an available table. Never had that happen before. Thought I was waiting at Rec Lobster! On formal night they ran out of beepers and we were told to come back in 45 mins. When we came back after 45 mins we were then handed a beeper to wait some more! One night ordered prime rib medium rare. When it came the meat was beige. When the waiter asked me how was my dinner I told him it was too done. He said "you ordered it medium rare and it looks medium rare to me". I then replied "I guess I'll have to order my meat rare from now on". No sommeliers so waiter was responsible with getting people's wine and drinks. I think this added to delays as it took 2 hours to complete our meal. Buffet area was so-so. Boring selection for lunch. Gym was in a small, windowless unappealing room. Casino was so tiny and unattractive. No shopping on board to speak of. Being the cruise was in November you would think that they would have trinkets and souvenirs to pick up. Very little to do on the ship during sea days. Hot tubs did not gave bubbles. Just sitting in a tub of hot water. We got the upper respiratory sickness that had spread throughout the ship. Did not see any aggressive cleaning to try and curtail the spread. Came into our cabin one day after an excursion in port to find our wastebasket sitting on our bed with a damp towel in it under where our sprinkler was. The comforter and mattress were all wet. They just left it like that! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I have more than 30 cruises under our belt, however, we usually do not use one cruise line. We select our cruises based on itineraries. The selection of this cruise was based on the ports and because my sister and her ... Read More
My husband and I have more than 30 cruises under our belt, however, we usually do not use one cruise line. We select our cruises based on itineraries. The selection of this cruise was based on the ports and because my sister and her husband were traveling with us and they wanted a long cruise. This was our third transatlantic, the first two on Celebrity Cruises, but this one on the Island Princess was the best. Looking at some of the other reviews people seemed to be preoccupied with the look of the ship but to us the most important concern is service and WOW!...they delivered. The service was phenomenal, from the cabin stewards, to the service staff, to the bar staff, excursion staff, sales personnel at the shops and best of all the waiters, asst. waiters and supervisors. If we were going to complain about anything, it might be that they catered somewhat to ballroom dancers and forgot that others like to dance at what we like to call "a la natural", which means, what ever floats your boat. They had very good movies on sea days which we enjoyed. We enjoyed the shows and the singers, nevertheless, we would of wanted some more comedians. In conclusion, based on what we experience on this ship we have booked two more cruises on Princess. Another transatlantic on April 2016 and a South American on January 2017. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We relied on the very good reviews of this ship when we booked our cruise late in 2014, and the resulting high rating of the ship , but unfortunately most of the reviews and the resulting rating predates renovations that were recently ... Read More
We relied on the very good reviews of this ship when we booked our cruise late in 2014, and the resulting high rating of the ship , but unfortunately most of the reviews and the resulting rating predates renovations that were recently completed in March 2015 after we booked. So be forewarned look at the recent reviews only and ignore the ship rating or you will be misled by them like we were. The renovations among other things added cabins and passengers, blocked off the back of the no promenade deck, eliminated lounges and common area seating, reduced the size of the fitness center, and eliminated any dining options in the piazza like on most Princess ships. As a result there is overcrowding everywhere on the ship. Almost everyone on our crossing got sick with a respiratory illness and while this happens on any ship from time to time the overcrowding makes maintaing good hygiene to prevent the spread of illness more difficult. Forget about anytime dining on this ship...the wait for a table is so long you will be much better off getting a seat in tradional dining. Even in traditional dining many of the meals arrived cool like they were prepared hours before. Even the fries in the grill were not fres or hot. . And if you like buffets while the buffet food was hot and generally good, getting a seat in the Horizon Court was always a challenge. And the buffet line was way too crowded with people running into you and coughing over your food except at dinner. We have cruised on Royal Carribean, Cunard, Holland America, Seven Seas, and this was without a do to the worst ship we ever experienced. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We did the 17 days transatlantic tour on the Regal Princess leaving Venice on October 17, 2014. We had a mini suite on the Riviera Deck. After the huge advertisement made by Prin-cess for the apparently most beautiful ship, we were very ... Read More
We did the 17 days transatlantic tour on the Regal Princess leaving Venice on October 17, 2014. We had a mini suite on the Riviera Deck. After the huge advertisement made by Prin-cess for the apparently most beautiful ship, we were very interested to build our own opinion. Here is our report: When you judge a new ship which according to the advertisement is the best ship which Prin-cess has ever built, you compare it automatically with the older ships, the Ruby class of ships and the Coral/Island class of ships. Generally it can be said that the Regal Princess is a big step back in comparison to those older ships. In detail: Cabins (Mini Suites) The new mini suites have a much smaller – about 50 %! - balcony than the minisuites of the older ships. The distance between the wall which separates the bed from the wardrobe is also much smaller. You have to pay attention when you get up in the night in particular older peo-ple. The bathrobes are no more of “Terrycloth” but of a much worse quality. It positively must be noticed that Princess offers now a wide variety of new movie films without any costs in all staterooms. A plus is the bigger water basin. We would assess the minisuites of the Regal Princess with three stars versus four stars of the Ruby Class ships. Public Rooms Generally it can be said that the ratio of the size of the public rooms to the quantity of the passengers is considerably smaller than of the old ships. About the staircase in the middle of the ship much has already been written. It is true the lack of stairs in the upper part is a catastrophe and you ask yourself how apparently experienced ship planners can make such a great mistake. It does not throw a competent light on the man-agement of Princess Lines. As we could not take the steps from the Riviera Deck to the Hori-zon Court, we always had to use the lift. First thing when you arrive at the lifts in the middle of the ship is running around – when no other waiting passengers have already done so - and to push four times the buttons because the lifts run independently. On average we had to wait during the normal business hours 90 seconds for a ride. One lift out of six was often out of service or reserved. If you have to use the lift 12 times per day which is quite normal, you have to wait 18 minutes per day in front of the lifts. In 17 days that adds up to 306 minutes which is more than 5 hours waiting time. Then you have to add the lift travel time because the lifts stop on nearly all floors due to the fact that the stop order only expires for the lift you have pushed. The other stop orders remain. If in an office building employees would have to wait such a long time during normal labor hours, the employer would be in great trouble. The next problem is that the lifts in the middle are very often overcrowded. This is a wonderful environment for passengers who have a cold to pass their symptoms to other fellow passen-gers. A gold mine for the doctors on board! The Wheelhouse Bar has shrunk to about one fourth of the size of the older ships. It is not a separate room any more. Room for a band or dancing does not exist anymore. The library does not disserve its name; it has shrunk to the size of a lavatory. The Explorer Lounge has been rationalized away in favor of a TV Studio. The Atrium of the ship is really beautiful and a plus. The Elite and Platinum lounge is now in the Vista Lounge. It is a big room at the end of the ship which is used as a second theatre; it has nearly no windows and is extremely inpersonal. It is not comparable with the beautiful lounge on the 19th floor of the Ruby class ships. The Princess Theatre in the front of the ship is too small for the number of passengers. For the great shows (two per evening) not all the passengers found seats which means that they missed the shows. At the end of the cruise they performed three shows per evening to elimi-nate this problem. The Atrium is quite large and beautiful. There are enough lounges for sunbathing. However, the cabanas in the adult part of the sun deck were never used. Nobody was prepared to pay the $ 40.00 pro cabana per day. One of the new gadgets is the fountain on deck 16 midship which can be operated in many colors and designs in combination with music. The only problem is that this fountain can be hardly oper-ated on sea due to the wind. So at the end it is a waste of space, space which could be used for other purposes. Most passengers would be happy if Princess would built in an indoor pool like on the Coral/Island ships. Restaurants The three main restaurants are nicer equipped than the older ships. We ate in the Allegro Res-taurant which is reserved for fixed dinners. It is on deck 6 at the end of the ship. Here you feel and hear the engines of the ship quite well and sometimes we had the feeling that the drive shafts which connect the engines with the ship’s propellers are running untrue. We also ate twice in the Crown Grill. We liked the design of the Crown Grill resp. of the Bayou Cafés in the older ships better than on the Regal. If you have a table near the kitchen and the piano player any decent discussions among the guests are impossible. One of the benches of the ta-ble next to the hostess desk was defective. Nevertheless it was offered to guests but not to the officers of the ship which also eat in the Crown Grill. The quality of the food in the Crown Grill is not better than the dinners in the main restaurant. The portions, however, are bigger. If you want to eat in the Crown Grill insist to be seated next to the windows where the noise is much lower. A definite advantage in comparison to the older ships is the newly laid out Hori-zon Court and Bistro on the 16th deck. However, if you order a freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast it takes the waiter at least ten minutes because the Horizon court has not the ap-propriate machine to squeeze oranges (or other fruits). Jogging around the complete ship like you can do on the Promenade Deck of the Ruby Class ships is no longer possible. There is a much smaller jogging track on deck 18. A negative point is also that the passengers have no possibility to see the front of the ship when in sea. On the Ruby class of ships you could see the front from the fitness center resp. from front verandas on the Coral/Island ships. In spite of the beautiful atrium and remodeled Horizon Court we would assess the public rooms with three stars versus four stars of the Ruby Class ships. Quality of food Food was good like on the Ruby Class ships. The variety of pastry was greater, which is really a positive point. We would assess the quality of the food with four stars. Entertainment The big shows were really fantastic also the bands and singers. Some of the comedians were under average. However, Mark Preston from the former Lettermen and Linda Gentille were absolutely great. We would assess the entertainment with four and a half stars versus four stars of the Ruby Class ships. Service The service and the quality of Princess Staff was always excellent. Here no difference can be found between the Regal Princess and the older ships. What we also found is that Princess is now starting to charge money for any perks for example all transfers from the landing position to the center of the city. Before passengers returned to the ship they received cold fruit punch. This has been deleted. If you bought previously a cof-fee card on the first day of the cruise you received a second coffee card without extra charge. The live musician at the English afternoon tea has been taken away. We like the older Princess ships and we think that Princess is a fine cruise line which we rec-ommended until now to our friends. But we will never book again the Regal Princess class of ships because they are a big step back. If the management of Princess continues this way, the Company will lose its good reputation and the passengers will change to other cruise lines. The small gap between Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises has with the appearance of the new ships been widened in favor for Celebrity Cruises. Overall we would assess the complete rating of the Regal Princess with only 3.5 stars in par-ticular due to the very small balconies, the missing staircase in the upper middle of the ship and the smaller resp. missing public rooms. You get the feeling that the Princess management tried to squeeze in this ship the most possible cabins. Our opinion that the new ship is a great step back was shared by many fellow passengers. This ship and the Royal Princess may be a financial success but only with the “older” ships you have still the “old” Princess feeling. But CEO Jan Swartz, you know that the competitors do not sleep and passengers must be newly conquered in every sailing. We will not sail again with this class of ships.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Just sailed on the Regal Princess for our transatlantic cruise... Let me tell you about the positives.... The ship was gorgeous. The food in the buffet was adequate.... The bad news.... The elevators were not running properly.... You had ... Read More
Just sailed on the Regal Princess for our transatlantic cruise... Let me tell you about the positives.... The ship was gorgeous. The food in the buffet was adequate.... The bad news.... The elevators were not running properly.... You had to wait sometimes 1/2hour to 45min to get into an elevator..... This was not a 17 day cruise.... This was a 30 dy cruise, were it picked up addt'l passengers in Barcelona Spain. If your looking for an older crowd 75 and older, this is the cruise for you. Me and my husband took this cruise to celebrate our 20 wedding anniversary. We were the youngest ones on the ship. The entertainment was mediocre to say the least. The ship cuts outs on level 5 and ends. So you have to go to level 7 and cuts across to get to one end or another. There were no activities at all. There was one ping pong table where was never readily available. They had a game room which you could not use, only for children. Really? There was one child on board who was maybe 4- 5 yrs old? The excursions wer very well planned out,but that's about it. Our room R304 was small and the balcony was tiny. No room to put your clothes in a drawer.A ship of this size should have had more activities and things to do doing the day and they missed their mark. The Ocean Grill was fabulous, Sabatini's was fabulous, but that's it. Spent a lot of money thinking the entertainment and onboard activities would be plentiful but was disappointed. Will not cruise again...... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We booked the Regal Princess Transatlantic cruise over a year ago. We love sailing from Venice and could not wait to see the new ship. We arrived in Venice two days before the cruise and met the four other people who would be sailing with ... Read More
We booked the Regal Princess Transatlantic cruise over a year ago. We love sailing from Venice and could not wait to see the new ship. We arrived in Venice two days before the cruise and met the four other people who would be sailing with us. I would strongly suggest arriving at least a day early for any cruise from Venice. It is such a magical place that you be missing so much to just fly in and get on the ship. We stayed at the Hotel Paganelli. It is right on the Grand Canal and you can't get lost finding it. The rates are reasonable for Venice, but be advised that the rooms are really small. Clean and modern, but small. Embarkation: This was the fourth time we have sailed from Venice. Princess is to be given major kudoos for having people at the water taxi stop to load your baggage and take it to the ship. In the past we had to drag our luggage a great distance to the loading point. This time we just got out of the water taxi and our luggage was taken only to appear later in our room. Very nice. The embarkation went very smoothly for us, since we arrived about 3:00 pm. I understand it was crowded and slow at 1:00pm. Since we did not sail until 10 pm we saw no reason to rush over to the ship and it seems that was the right thing to do. Ship: It is big and beautiful. The piazza is truly a wonder. Three stories high and ringed by shops, bars, and restaurants. Plenty of room for sitting and dancing and eating. It was very popular all during the cruise. The major complaint I heard about the ship was the lack of center stairs, but I am not sure how many of the people complaining would have used the stairs if they were there. If you think you might be bothered by the lack of stairs, I would suggest you book your room toward the front or rear of the ship. Our rooms was E 604 and we used the rear elevators and stairs almost all of the time. Had short wait time for the elevators and often walked down to the dining room. One of the best things about the ship is that there are lots of nooks all over the ship for sitting and reading or people watching. Unlike some of the big ships we have sailed on, the ship never felt crowded and you could always get a deck chair. There are also lots of nice places to sit along the Promenade Deck. It does allow you to walk around the ship so it is really a nice place to sit and watch the ocean go by. The show rooms are well designed as are the dining rooms. But special mention has to be made of the fantastic way Princess redid the Horizon Cafe. It has exceptional flow and the lines were never very long. It also helps that there are so many places to eat on this ship. I counted at least 7 places you could have lunch at no extra fee. Our room was an obstructed view balcony and it was very nice. The obstruction was the top of a life boat and did not totally block the view of the water. The balcony was not large, but had to chairs and a small table. It was fine for having coffee and reading. Food: Lots of places to eat. The dining room food was very good and lots of variety. The food in the Horizon Court was always hot and there was a great variety. Some was on the bland side, but always something good to eat. The Pizza is still the best at sea, though we thought the pizza on deck was better that at Alfredos. The Crown Grill is the best for fee restaurant I have eaten experienced. Well worth the $25.00. Entertainment: Princess has upped its game. The shows were fresh and the singers and dancers could do both very well. The specialty acts were all very good. Music in all venues was really good. Very enjoyable. Special mention should be made of the CD, Ron Goodman. The best I have had the pleasure of sailing with. On a long cruise, a CD can make or beak it. I have had one who was pitiful and now had one hat was really good. Always out and about and listening to the passengers. Great job. Service: was competent. Our room steward was fine. Dining room very good. Front desk needs work. Princess needs to realize that this ship has 3500 people. You can not staff it the same as a ship with 2500 people. This was especially true at the Future Cruise Desk and Captain's Circle desk. One person with short hours can not serve the passengers. Long lines and angry passengers is not what you want. Internet was the worst I have seen. Just upset lots of people. Either do it right or don't do it. Ports: Were fine. I will let others comment. I had been to them all before. The only new one for me was going to be Toulan and we could not get into port. Winds just too high. The ship rides very smoothly and even with 10 foot seas the motion was not too bad. The nailed it design wise. Disembarkation: The worst job of getting people off the ship I have ever seen. I do not know if the fault was with Princess of Customs, but we were two hours late getting off, only to face long lines to get bags and get through customs. Hopefully, it was because it was the first time Regal Princess was in port in the US, but it was a disgrace. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We have been traveling since 2000 when we visited Australia and the South Pacific. We have been on over ten cruises from many cruise lines since then, but this is the first time we have felt the strong desire to post a comment on the web. ... Read More
We have been traveling since 2000 when we visited Australia and the South Pacific. We have been on over ten cruises from many cruise lines since then, but this is the first time we have felt the strong desire to post a comment on the web. Our cruise this year was the HAL 25 Day Mediterranean Passage to America – 2014 from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. We like transatlantic cruises because my wife has mobility issues and prolonged air travel in a cramped airline seat is very difficult for her. I think our expectations were set by our recent similar cruise, the Norwegian Cruise Line Transfer to Copenhagen followed by a tour of the Baltic Capitols. It was a beautiful and enjoyable trip in all respects. Before I get to my main comment, I will give you my first I impression of our ship, the ms Nieuw Amsterdam. It carries more passengers than the ms Noordam and the ms Maasdam which we have enjoyed on previous cruises. I will get to this later, but the sheer number of passengers was a negative. As soon we as boarded in Venice and got settled in our cabin, I did my quick survey, which for me, includes going to the highest point on the ship. I was a bit frustrated this time because the space on the forward top deck had been sold off for cabanas and access to the area was roped off. To me this smacks of the class system on the Cunard Line – without the additional amenities. Except for the full size basketball court (and the roped off cabanas) there was no useful top deck space. Now to the main reason for this comment: The day we arrived we started hearing the noise. On day 1, it was the loud banging on our pipes. We called the desk, but they could not explain the origin of the noise which continued intermittently all night. The next day was quieter until about 4:00 PM. We were trying to rest when the noise started again in full volume. It sounded like we were living over an auto body shop. A mixture of mechanical sounds: Sharp banging on pipes, grinding sounds, hammering and more banging. Of course I immediately went to the desk to report the problem, but had to wait in line for 15 minutes while the staff dealt with fallout from an Internet outage. Meantime my tired wife could not rest. Finally, a staff member agreed to send someone to investigate the problem. While we were waiting for help, I recorded the sounds on my cell phone, made a second trip to the desk, and demonstrated it to the same staff member. She came with me to our cabin to hear for herself. This pretty much ended the investigation, but we did receive an apology and an invitation to a dinner at the Tamarind restaurant. The sad ending of the story is that the noisy activity must have served some vital role in the operation of the ship because it never totally stopped. It is interesting that no one followed up to see if the issue was resolved. I believe they already knew the answer. We like cruising because your ship is your mobile luxury hotel. I have stayed in some pretty cheap hotels and motels in my lifetime, but I have never stayed in one that sounded like there was a machine shop next door. Any fine hotel would have dealt with our noise problem immediately and effectively. Unfortunately this never happened on the Nieuw Amsterdam. Now we get to lessons learned. We chose not to get a veranda cabin on this trip because we very seldom use the veranda and on a transatlantic crossing the view is not that spectacular. For this trip we just wanted a nice clean, comfortable, quiet cabin. If that is your requirement, location is important. At least it is on the Niew Amsterdam. Our cabin was 1092 on aft port side of the Main Deck. You might be lucky, but I would never accept any cabin on the Main Deck. The decks above and below are used for ship’s operations and could be noisy as we found out. Another thing I would do in the future is insist on getting an early cabin assignment. Even though we booked way in advance, our cabin assignment was kept open until the last minute. Our travel agent tried to get a fixed cabin assignment, but we should have tried harder. I need to mention some very positive experiences. My wife has mobility issues and needs a wheelchair. Before the trip, we worked very well with HAL excursion specialists to locate and evaluate accessible tours. On board, the Excursion Team gave us wonderful personal support. We did not have to worry about the wheelchair or not having a seat near the front of the bus and we were sure that the excursions were suitable for us. They all deserve six stars out of five. Also, the entire crew was willing to stop what they were doing to help us get around the ship. If you have mobility issues, don’t let that stop you. Go! The Indonesian cabin and table stewards are treasures. They maintain a tradition of great service which we remember from previous cruises. We have always enjoyed the crew show. We wonder why it scheduled late at night (11:00 PM) this time. Also, what happened to the Baked Alaska parade? These are little things that added to our enjoyment of past cruises. While I am at it, here are a few comments about entertainment. The content was good, but a bit skimpy. One night was it was a movie on the big screen. The productions were well done and the players all very talented. A problem was that the smaller entertainment venues such as Adagio (classical piano and violin) were overcrowded. All the extra passengers on this ship need to go somewhere and the entertainment space was not increased accordingly. On sea days, it t was difficult to get a table for lunch, particularly near the pool. The available poolside space was squeezed by the increased number of passengers and the fact that a quarter of the pool deck space had been sold off for more cabanas. We have reserved a HAL cruise for next year, but see increasing reasons for not going. We can make smarter choices in cabin assignment and have no concerns about accessible excursions, but we see a trend of increasing number of passengers without a corresponding increase in services and amenities. At what point will it be better to make other choices? That remains a question. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
If you are considering a cruise please please do not choose Costa ,I have just returned from the worst cruise ever on the Fascinosa...English speaking nations are just ignored...Its a waste of time complaining ,it goes in one ear and out ... Read More
If you are considering a cruise please please do not choose Costa ,I have just returned from the worst cruise ever on the Fascinosa...English speaking nations are just ignored...Its a waste of time complaining ,it goes in one ear and out of the other...The food was fine ,so was the cabin staff and the waiters in the dining room but that was it ..The Shop staff were rude and did not want to know,two TV channels both News Channels for the English speaking yet the Italians had 29 channels...We complained 4 times but nothing was done about it..The entertain was naff very amateurish,most night it was the cruise staff that had'nt got a clue.We took the drinks package which was well worth it,3 drinks and you had you money back.The Service charge of 11 dollars per day which is compulsory is a joke...We spoke to a number of staff and asked if they got any of this money and everyone of them said ,NO they never see a penny...Does Costa cream this off!!!!I received my final bill ,was disgusted to find I had been charged 1.50 dollars service charged when I purchased 2 packets of cigarettes from the bar .I had already paid the 11 dollars per day service charge..My final bill came to 269.50 Dollars but they rounded it up to 270 dollars,whilst it may only be 50cent ,if only half of the cruises on board had their bill rounded,what a nice little earner for Costa [3,800 on board]70 dollars not bad for nothing..Never would i recommend Costa to anybody ,and reading the reviews so many people feel the same .STEER CLEAR OF THIS COMPANY Read Less

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