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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We wished to do a Transatlantic with interesting stops rather than an A . B We were happy to go on the Deliziosa as we were satisfied with our 2 previous cruises After reading the Carnival annual report for 2016 some of the sub ... Read More
We wished to do a Transatlantic with interesting stops rather than an A . B We were happy to go on the Deliziosa as we were satisfied with our 2 previous cruises After reading the Carnival annual report for 2016 some of the sub standard services on this cruise were inevitable The company is cutting costs to maintain profitability. The embarkation in Venice was the usual Costa shambles that took forever - this time worse than usual, as it rained in Venice so no.one visited the port and everyone wanted to board at once. You would think it was the first time Costa was loading passengers Once on board we had lunch in the Buffet The ship looked fine and the cabin was ready early with the luggage inside. The only issue was a badly stained toilet seat and cabin steward Carlos sorted out a replacement immediately. He always went the extra mile and is a star Most nights the dining room was never open on time and the service was always hectic The dining room is short staffed due to cutbacks and upsets the ambience. Yes Carnival you are saving on costs, irritating your client base, image and damaging the business - an area of gross mismanagement No esteemed Italian themed line would charge for Pizzas or Ice Cream and never serve Ice Cream as a Desert on a 26 day cruise. These cuts you will ultimately cost the line market share The food quality in the Buffet and Main Dining Room was in keeping with the expectations of a middle class ship The standard of entertainment was high and there was always something on the go . The theatre shows were sometimes a bit repetitive ,but it was a relocation cruise. Max the Cruise/Entertainment Director really had the ship buzzing fantasti job and did a Table clearing in the Buffet and on the outside decks was very slack management The selection of ports and the variety of port excursions were more than adequate although some excursions, perhaps, were a little pricey We noticed that the few young children on the ship seemed to have lots of fun We chose to do the Port visits alone as most of the times were fairly short Disembarkation in Miami unfortunately also had some hiccups We requested and had an early departure agreed, then we were given 2 different sets of labels for times much later and needed to go to reception to fix the error, to be told our name should be on the early list, when the list was checked our name was there, not good.- some passengers missed their transport as they did not change their labels and left the ship late We probably would cruise with Costa again but with all the Nickel and Diming one needs to be sure of what to expect.Beware the cruiseline varies the facilities included in the price, from cruise to cruise A guy I met in the sauna summed it up, a Volkswagen will not give you the trimmings that a Mercedes will! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose the cruise because it traveled to places we had never been. Bad time of year so storms changed travel destinations often. It was a rerouting cruise so prices were pretty good. Food was average but service was good. Even though ... Read More
We chose the cruise because it traveled to places we had never been. Bad time of year so storms changed travel destinations often. It was a rerouting cruise so prices were pretty good. Food was average but service was good. Even though Princess had arranged our airfare, they forgot about us so we were stuck at 1:30AM on a dock in Venice with no one to meet us. Police had to alert the ship. So tired we missed our day in Venice. Entertainment shows were OK. Some of the lectures were great but one had uninteresting subjects. Of course, that is very personal - others might disagree. Shore excursions were generally overpriced. One included a boat sightseeing ride. Boat was secretly canceled - ship knew about it - but did not alert us - so pretty much wasted an entire day with only an overpriced bus ride on Corfu. Princess did refund 25% of the fee but no apology. Rhodes, Sicily, Gibraltar, Madeira and Bermuda were well worth the money. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We did the 22 day cruise from Venice to Buenos Aires and loved the ship and all the lovely spaces with tons of lounges and chairs to sit and enjoy a drink. We found the staff to be very nice and helpful and friendly. We had read ... Read More
We did the 22 day cruise from Venice to Buenos Aires and loved the ship and all the lovely spaces with tons of lounges and chairs to sit and enjoy a drink. We found the staff to be very nice and helpful and friendly. We had read reviews that Guest Services were not helpful but we found them to be extremely helpful when we had questions or requests. Our one major complaint was the food - both in the dining rooms and the buffet area. The beef was usually tough and overcooked. Steak was a joke - it was very thin and tasteless as was most of the food. It was not tasty at all. We had read the pizza was very good but we found it tasteless and poor. No flavor at all as well as most of the pasta dishes. Everyone we spoke to felt the food was poor in the dining room and the buffet. We would not cruise that ship again because of the poor food. When we ordered eggs "over easy" they were practically raw and inedible. The toast was hard as a brick and cold. The bacon was very tasty. The portions in the dining room were not large but you could order as many items as you wanted and we thought that was good. A lot less waste. The veggies were always overcooked and the taste was totally lacking. The bread and rolls were very good and were offered from a large basket with a good selection and a good way to serve to cut back on waste. I did enjoy the gelato that was served at one of the outside bars near the pool. Service was hit and miss in the dining room for the open seating for breakfast and lunch. Our cabin attendant was the best we have ever had ('Rosita). We don't usually tip extra on top of the daily service charge (10 euro per day per person) but we did give Rosita extra and also our 2 servers in the dining room that we had every night for dinner. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Main reason for taking this cruise was to visit Indian Ocean Islands Due to engine trouble after seven days at sea we had two hours of daylight on shore in Seychelles two sea days later we had four hours of daylight onshore in Mauritius. ... Read More
Main reason for taking this cruise was to visit Indian Ocean Islands Due to engine trouble after seven days at sea we had two hours of daylight on shore in Seychelles two sea days later we had four hours of daylight onshore in Mauritius. Complaints to customer service desk fell on deaf ears. Food in main dining room was good but not consistent, service was good but erratic at times with all guests not receiving correct course at same time Wine & drinks packages very complicated and geared towards the company choosing drinks of their choice ( usually cheap Italian wine and poor quality spirits ) Cabin service was good and kept clean with fresh towels every day, shower was very small with plastic curtain Evening entertainment was average, there was plenty of deck games to join in or watch. Sun loungers were easily come by embarkation and disembarking at ports was a shambles, loudspeaker communication was chaotic and often unclear. M.S.C would not be our choice of cruiselines 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
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
This was our first cruise with MSC and after praise from a TV show about the ship we had high expectations. Once on board initial impressions were good. We had an inside cabin on deck 5 which was one deck below the casino and on the same ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC and after praise from a TV show about the ship we had high expectations. Once on board initial impressions were good. We had an inside cabin on deck 5 which was one deck below the casino and on the same deck as the main lobby for enquiries and help desk. The lobby/atrium was quite impressive spread over three decks with the famous swarowski crystal stair cases and several bars. Bar staff, waiters and servers were all excellent with a good mix of nationalities and most with very good English. The coffee bars and ice cream parlors were very good. Ice cream cup $2.10 12 + flavours, double cappuccino $4.10. There is a good choice of bars with most cocktails costing around $7.25 e.g. Manhattan, Pina Colada etc. Wines by the glass from$5.50 to $8.50 and bottles from around $24 upwards. Beer $5 or $6. We had pre purchased the Alligrissimo Drinks for £20 per person which was also on sale at embarkation but for the price of $44 per person in a cabin, considerably more. It is quite difficult to drink $44 of alcohol and ice cream each day for 18 days especially with days ashore. We did have problems with ordering wine as some of the more popular wines such as the Shiraz and Californian Cabernet Sauvignon ran out early in the cruise. My recommendation is to drink when you feel like a cocktail or a glass of wine and the occasional ice cream or coffee and save your money. The design of the ship is somewhat different from standard cruise ships. There is no full walk around promenade deck. You can walk outside along the port and starboard sides of the ship on deck 7 but to go from one side to the other you have to go inside past the lifts for and aft. You cannot access the front of the ship on the top deck unless you are a Yacht Club member, i.e. effectively a first class passenger. We have cruised on nine other cruise ships from five cruise lines and never have we not had access to the front of the ship on one of the top decks. You can look out of the front of the ship on deck 10 from inside the Gym through two sets of glass windows and shields. Although you could theoretically walk around the top deck 15, but without access to the front of the ship, this was made difficult by the many many sun loungers always filled with sun bathers during the day.The weather was very good fortunately for them. If you wanted to walk or risk jogging around deck 15 this could only be done early in the day or after dusk when the sun worshippers had retired to the bars or restaurants. Walking around the deck also involved negotiating the top deck Bar at the rear on the port side, which was also a popular spot for the smokers who also inhabited a long section on deck 14 port side where they had ash trays. There was no where to sit on the outside top deck 15 accept on a sun loungers apart from in the port side rear bar where you have to share with the smokers. There was plenty of room in areas on deck fifteen where chairs and tables could have been placed. We found food in the main dining room very disappointing with limited choice. Meat tended to be over cooked and portions very small with very few vegetables. Food in the Buffet on deck 14 was good for breakfast if you could find a seat to eat it at. Lunch had a reasonable choice of dishes but again was very busy. If you decided to eat later when the buffet was quieter, you risked the choice being reduced as food ran out. The evening buffet was always very disappointing with only one side of the restaurant being open and a very poor selection on offer. There was always pizza and burgers, pasta and grilled chicken again usually over cooked, but that was pretty much all. Lunch time specials like sweet and sour pork or curry and a meat joint were never offered in the evening We saw two shows both good. The story of Ben Bones and very good, the Michael Jackson tribute. Getting off the ship on port days varied from reasonably successful to totally shambolic. If you had chosen to go on a ships trip you were escorted off from decks 4 or 5 usually. Every one else who was on an independent excursion, or who just wanted to go ashore, had to leave from deck 7 mid ships through the atrium which meant everyone converging either from deck 6 coming up the swarowski staircase or from one of four corridors on deck 7 into one large scrum trying to file through one exit with two scanners for cruise cards all at the same time. Given the tendency for Europeans not to understand the concept of an orderly queue, this inevitably lead to chaos. Having said all of this, the ports of call were outstanding. Valletta in Malta, an amazing sail in through a spectacular harbour, albeit watched from the side of the ship, the front not being available as mentioned above. Malaga in Spain, Funchal in Madeira, Philipsburg in St. Maarten, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and San Juan in Puerto Rico before arriving in Miami for an overnight stay before disembarkation, another shambles. As mentioned by other critics you have to leave you cabin by 7 in the morning only to sit around on the ship. In our case we sat in the theatre and waited for our assigned colour and number to be called. However nothing was happening. We were supposed to get off the ship as 9 a.m. our allotted time, but nothing was happening and no numbers were being called. One guest complained at the front desk and a member of the entertainment department to come to the front and explain what was happening. Apparently a problem with immigration authorities or customs, even though every one had cleared Homeland Security in St Thomas and many had also been off the ship the previous day happily wondering around Miami. So what was going on? To summarise: A large ship with some strange design features, large state rooms, excellent staff, but poor organisation, disappointing food, great coffee and tasty ice cream. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The cruise was fine, so I'll limit my comments specifically to the ship and thoughts that i came away with. I have always thought that a lot of weight is given to feedback from cruisers, particularly in the responses to the surveys ... Read More
The cruise was fine, so I'll limit my comments specifically to the ship and thoughts that i came away with. I have always thought that a lot of weight is given to feedback from cruisers, particularly in the responses to the surveys and that a lot of the features on new ships would result from what people like or ask for. Therefore, I am a bit mystified by several things I encountered on Royal that I find hard to believe were incorporated due to customer input. I doubt people asked for more difficult access to seats in the Princess Theatre or Vista Lounge. I doubt survey comments suggested Princess should remove the foldup trays in the Princess Theatre seats. Did people ask for less pool area in favor of a baby Bellagio fountain? How many requests were there for a skywalk? A Promenade Deck I could stroll, walk, or run on is gone in favor of limited deck areas with a few loungers for the chair hogs. How could a walking/jogging track up high in the sun and wind be a replacement? I doubt people trying to maintain a level of fitness asked for a gym with the latest equipment, but with a lack of adequate ventilation and AC. Every morning I would come back to my cabin totally drenched in sweat. At least, it made my wife think i had really been working out. What led to the decisions that brought about a minuscule library, an equally small internet cafe with bigger monitors, a Club Six that served as a passageway for people avoiding the casino, and a Princess Live that is being used for things it is not designed for? As I said, I had a nice cruise. I just wonder about the thinking behind so many things that I don't think anyone wanted or asked for. The Royal is a beautiful five star floating hotel, but in my opinion lacks the functionality I am looking for in a Princess cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We boarded the Ruby on Oct.09/12 in anticipation of an extra ordinary experience and were rewarded with ''just ordinary.'' Our cabin was not as big as a lot older Celebrity ship we had sailed on a few years earlier. ... Read More
We boarded the Ruby on Oct.09/12 in anticipation of an extra ordinary experience and were rewarded with ''just ordinary.'' Our cabin was not as big as a lot older Celebrity ship we had sailed on a few years earlier. Our Celebrity cabin had a sofa and a chair as well as a decent sized balcony. The Celebrity bathroom also had a bigger shower and glass doors. This ''newest Princess'' cabin had two small chairs and a bit larger balcony, but had curtains in what I believe was a smaller shower in a smaller bathroom. After eyeballing our not so luxurious Princess cabin we proceeded up to the Horizon buffet for lunch. The buffet had less choices than other cruise lines we had been on and after eating we decided to get acquainted with the Ruby while we waited for our luggage to arrive in our Cabin. As we left the Horizon buffet we were approached by a crew member trying to convince us to pay extra for an adults only area known as the ''Sanctuary.'' He told us that for a mere 10 dollars we could spend 4 hours in the Sanctuary, or we could spend 20 dollars for a whole day. I told him that the Sanctuary sounded a lot like an adults only area that all Celebrity ships have that is called the ''Solarium'' that is free of charge to adults. It seemed like every time we turned around a crew member was trying to sell us on ''Coffee cards, booze cards or Soda cards. You could have gelato, but you had to pay extra for it also. If you are a nostalgia buff, the Ruby has an ultra large screen adjacent to a pool that reminds one of going to a ''drive in theater'' in days of old. That was probably the only oddity that may differentiate it from other ships, but it wasn't enough to make the Ruby stand out in crowd. I don't think I can recall of another cruise where we were as inundated with as much of a sell, sell hype atmosphere that continued throughout the cruise, whether it was around the ship or in your cabin. The in cabin television channels were also a maze of Princess self promotion that continuously prompted the watcher to buy this, or buy that. I felt sorry for anyone that was in quarantine as a result of a an outbreak of ''Noro-Virus'' that left very little choice of entertainment on the Princess's telly. The ''Botticelli'' dining room on the first formal night featured ''Chili'' as one of the entrees which prompted one of the cruiser's at our table to comment: ''we spend thousands of dollars and travel half way around the world for Chili? I could have stayed home and had Chili for a lot less than we've spent to come here!'' Another dinner menu evening featured ''Mac and Cheese'' which also was greeted with some derisive comments. Having said all the previous; we did enjoy all the stops we made and the crew were pleasant enough, but for the dollars spent we expected to be dazzled by the ''Ruby'' and were instead left wanting a lot more for what we had spent... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
My wife and I joined the Nieuw Amsterdam in Venice for a Collectors Cruise, 11 days cruising the Eastern Mediterranean followed by a 17 day cruise that started in Venice and terminated in Fort Lauderdale. We had a Balcony Stateroom on the ... Read More
My wife and I joined the Nieuw Amsterdam in Venice for a Collectors Cruise, 11 days cruising the Eastern Mediterranean followed by a 17 day cruise that started in Venice and terminated in Fort Lauderdale. We had a Balcony Stateroom on the 8th level which was small but comfortable and were looked after by very friendly cabin stewards. The first thing that struck us when we boarded was the average age of the passengers, with more over 70 than under 60. At 55 I felt like one of the kids but this didn't bother us as we like things pretty quiet. The first 11 days went very smoothly with calm seas, light winds and warm days. The ports of call were of great interest to my wife and I as we don't get to see any old ruins in Australia and the excavated sites at Ephesus, Delos and Olympia were simply amazing. On the day that the first cruise ended we spent the day in Venice. The city is very interesting but spoiled by the attitude of the locals who on the most part were rude and very anti tourist, a bit strange when almost the entire city survives on tourism. When we boarded the ship for the second half of our cruise we were in for quite a shock. We went straight to the Lido Deck to have a coffee and were confronted by what looked like a school canteen after a food fight. The staff were doing their best to straighten the place up but were fighting a losing battle. While the passengers on the first half of the cruise were mostly well spoken and polite the passengers that boarded for the second half of our cruise and the Atlantic crossing seemed very different. For a start the average weight of the passengers went up by at least 50lb with many unable to fit into the very generous dining chairs. One lady came on board with her pet dog which she allowed to eat from the dining table. One "lady" stood behind me while I was eating and broke wind driving my wife and I out of the Lido, very classy. The attitude of some of the passengers to the staff was disgusting yet the staff took it in their stride. We did strike a hurricane in the Atlantic but compared to the conduct of some of the passengers it was easy to handle. Unfortunately for the second half of the cruise, 17 days, we were unable to use our balcony due to having a chain smoking cigar smoker in the cabin next to ours. We did complain to the front office but they said he was allowed to puff on his cigars for 24 hours a day and they would move us to another cabin if one became available. At least 2 cabins did become available when 2 gentlemen were sent ashore for medical reasons but we were not offered their cabins. The Captain also stated the ship was at 100 passengers below capacity so it would appear the offer to move us was not genuine. Overall we did enjoy the cruise but we will not be cruising with Holland America again until they change their smoking policy and we would never consider another relocation cruise no matter how cheap it is. From Fort Lauderdale we drove to Orlando for 4 days at Disney World where our faith in the American people was restored. In 4 days we never struck one obnoxious person, most being more polite than the average Australian. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Our October-November 2011 cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam was our second transatlantic crossing and probably our last. The reality of a major storm on top of day after day of rough seas is sufficient to convince us that there's a good ... Read More
Our October-November 2011 cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam was our second transatlantic crossing and probably our last. The reality of a major storm on top of day after day of rough seas is sufficient to convince us that there's a good reason for the discounted pricing on these repositioning cruises. We left Venice on a beautiful, sunny day and had great weather in Dubrovnik, Corfu, Sicily, and Rome. We hired our own guides in these ports and had very good tours with plenty of time to shop and dine. I am always amazed at people who pay hugely inflated prices to go on cruise line excursions on big buses with no say in your itinerary when it is so easy to book a private tour before you leave home via the Internet or simply hire a driver at the port. We were 7 adults traveling together and were therefore able to secure a very good tour for about 25% of the HAL tour fares. Embarkation in Venice was very slow. It took 2.5 hours to get from the water taxi to our cabin. I heard that the ship had arrived late because of fog so that would explain the delays in boarding. Our aft-facing cabin was clean, spacious and tended by a wonderful steward with 14 years experience. No lunch in the main dining room was available so we ate with the mob in the Lido. Our first dinner was lovely and we secured a fine table for 7 at 8 pm every night in the anytime dining area. This arrangement worked out well as we knew our waiters and wine steward well before the 17-day cruise ended. Food was sometimes good, often only average with very good salads. Most dishes were overly salty and otherwise unremarkable. Wine was of the grocery store variety priced at roughly 4 times above what you would pay at home. We brought 6 bottles of very good wine we had purchased in Umbria and simply paid the corkage fee of $18 to drink it with dinner. Dinner was slow and leisurely; we finished by 10 pm in time for the late show. The entertainment was uneven in quality; the string quartet was the best. The big show performers were about what you would expect on a cruise line. The piano bar man was simply awful. That said, he was a good conversationalist and really schmoozed it up with the people sitting on bar stools around the piano. These folks seemed to love him. His playing was adequate; his singing was not. As he said himself the first night, "I know I suck!" The piano trio in the main lounge was hardly any better. The pianist was an older gentleman who looked like he felt awful every night. He never smiled, never made eye contact with the audience or the other musicians. They were a young drummer and a young bass player. None of these folks showed any enjoyment at all for their jobs. In 17 days I never saw them speak to each other or do anything more than phone it in. The cruise director was the youngest I have ever sailed with. He was just okay with little personality. Trivia games were bland with very little banter or laughter. Interviews with the captain and crew members in the mornings were well done and very interesting. Two lecturers gave talks each day that were so-so. Boy I wish HAL had given these guys a PowerPoint 101 class before they signed them on. The speciality restaurants were good, especially the Pinnacle Grill. The Tamarind was interesting but almost empty each time we dined there. The Silk Den across from the Tamarind was the best spot on the boat and never crowded. Service there was fine with complimentary sushi accompanying cocktails. It was a lovely place to watch the few sunsets we experienced. On the first Sunday of the cruise we attended a large Meet and Greet of CC posters. It was nice with tea and cookies and held in the Crow's Nest. But that was also the location where the travel guide on board was giving commentary on the Stromboli volcano as we sailed past. The meet and greet guests, about 250 people, of course made noise visiting and the folks there to hear about the volcano could not hear a word. Many complaints and justified ones. Why hold the two activities in the same place on such a big ship? Now to the storm. The captain warned us on Wednesday night, Nov. 2, that we were going to sail into a major storm in 24 hours. The system was so large we could not avoid it. On Thursday we stopped at Cadiz, Spain. We left early and headed into the Atlantic. We went south toward Africa to avoid the biggest waves due west, but we still sailed into a massive storm on Thursday night. As the captain explained, winds were just below hurricane level. Wow, it was something with flying objects, banging doors, rolling waves. The next morning the captain addresses the passengers in the Crow's Nest and said it was the worst storm he had experienced in his entire, long career. While he spoke, a rouge wave hit the Lido deck, toppling the entire food line on port side into the tables, breaking hundreds of dishes and the lamps across the room. Below on 2, the kitchen suffered a fallen wall cabinet, also breaking massive amounts of glassware and dishes. Cabinet doors in the bars flew open and more glasses and broken bottles across the halls. All bars, the spa, and the lido deck were closed for the day. I do think the Lido reopened for dinner. Our waiter told us at dinner that hundreds of crew members were very seasick as many had never done a transatlantic crossing or experienced that sort of storm. We missed our last stop at Madeira although we anchored offshore there to remove injured folks to a hospital. This was a small number including a passenger who had a heart attack. The storm was over by Sunday but the skies were cloudy and rainy, although warm, and the seas rough for the next 6 days. On day 7 of the after-storm trip, the sun shined, much to the joy of a thousand bored, seasick passengers. (The ship holds just over 2,000 passengers but was not full.) After disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, we evaluated the crossing and decided our captain and crew were heroic and brave and got us through a very bad situation with few serious injuries. One passenger succumbed to a stroke, but who can say if it was storm related? But we also cancelled a crossing on another line next fall from Rome to Rio. My husband is 76 years old and decided he could not do another trip of so many sea days with the possibility of storms and the reality of not enough to keep us occupied all those days. We did walk 2 miles a day and read some great new novels on our kindles, but we do not gamble and thought the spa treatments were overpriced and full of hokum. Electric shock for cellulite removal? Oh please. The funniest cruise moment was riding the elevator with an employee of the photo shop. "I am so bored I could scream," she told me. "What is there to do on my day off on this big, boring ship?" Ditto. We will cruise again, but perhaps the South Pacific islands with no crossing next time. It was indeed the weather that spoiled this cruise. But a higher level of entertainment and better activities with more talented crew in the entertainment department would have made the experience less tedious by the last, long week. Still, huge kudos to Captain John Mercer and his crew who suffered seasickness, damage to a beautiful new ship and other unpleasantness to keep the passengers safe. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
My husband and I cruise frequently and are the highest tier on Celebrity and Princess. We had a great experience on the Zuiderdam a few years ago; we thought a new Holland America ship would be fun. We were wrong. I believe Holland America ... Read More
My husband and I cruise frequently and are the highest tier on Celebrity and Princess. We had a great experience on the Zuiderdam a few years ago; we thought a new Holland America ship would be fun. We were wrong. I believe Holland America has cut every corner imaginable in building there new ships. Everything has a glossy appearance (the ship is new) but the years will not treat her well. My husband, who is in a wheelchair, and I booked a 13-Day Celebrity cruise and followed it with a 30-day Transatlantic cruise on the brand new Nieuw Amsterdam. We assumed (our fault) that a new ship would not have so many issues with handicapped passengers. His electric wheelchair had broken in the airport in Rome, but we were told that would not be an issue in Venice. It was. The shore person at the hotel assured us that someone would meet us at the pier for embarkation and help with the wheelchair. When we arrived by water taxi (which works fine for mobility impaired people) we waited for over 45 minutes for assistance - this is in the hot sun with no cover. The ship's representative was also frustrated and told us she'd been calling the ship all morning and was getting no help. I walked to the embarkation area and was told they simply had no staff to help. Embarkation went well - I think they realized I was more than a little irritated. We went to the Guest Relations, staffed by people whose primary job is to say, "no, can't be done, absolutely not." We rented a manual wheelchair for $425 for the 30 days and were told there was no way to get an electric scooter. Of course, that was inaccurate. After several emails to our travel agent in the States (when the internet worked), we were finally able to pick one up in Barcelona. When we then asked for a refund on the manual chair, they said it would still cost $320 because the rental is for 1-10 days and 11 - 30 days. Of course, the first leg of the cruise was 12 days. We then went to our stateroom. Do not book 4051 if you are in a wheelchair. In fact, guest relations is well acquainted with that room and ensured us the ADA attorney had measured the room. That should tell you something. Using a manual wheelchair, you cannot move the chair between the bed and the wall because there is not room for your hands to manipulate the chair. There is nowhere to sit but in your chair. When I was drying my hair, my husband had to sit on the other side of the bed and watch TV in the mirror - the TV is wall mounted and doesn't move. I've never seen such a cheap remote. If I then wanted to use the bathroom, he had to move the scooter for me to get into the bathroom. The entrance to the veranda is uphill - a steep incline and it's impossible for someone in a wheelchair to roll up the incline and then open the door. No sliding glass doors here; they open like a regular door going outwards to the veranda. There was a small table and two chairs in the room but because of the incline, the chair teetered. I had them remove the table and chairs to provide space for the wheelchair to turn around. Then there was the closet, Apparently handicapped people don't wear long clothes. The rod on the left side was not high enough for golf shirts to hand without crumpling on the floor. The right side had the same issue because clothes fell on top of the safe. I solved that by having them bring me a rolling clothes rack which then sat on either side of the hump by the veranda. On our first roll about of the ship, we encountered three randomly placed thresholds that you cannot roll over in a wheelchair. There is no reason for that but shoddy engineering. Beware - if you don't know they're there, the wheelchair passenger is nearly jolted out of the chair. You have to stop, turn around and back over them. There are a number of wheelchair accessible restrooms about the ship. Unfortunately, the automatic doors close so slowly that it was not uncommon to see men relieving themselves before the door would close. Eating at the Lido Restaurant is an exercise in patience. The food on either side of the serving area is not always the same. Lines form everywhere and navigating in a wheelchair is hazardous. So is trying to find a table as the walkways are narrow because they've placed tables-for-two along what should have been a walkway. Passengers who rave about the food haven't been on many other cruise lines. Ah yes. Then there's the issue with the pools. They are totally non-accessible. In fact, they had to go out of their way to design a more unfriendly pool. This is unfortunate because that's my husband's primary means of exercise. The Celebrity Solstice class ships have lifts and easy entry pools. To their credit, one of the front desk managers (when we got past the nay-sayers) then gave us a pass to the hydrotherapy pool, which worked until they drained it because of the GI problems running rampant around the ship - 12 days of Code Red. When there are so many ships that accommodate wheelchair passengers, don't spend your money on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We're staying with Celebrity and Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Our ship left from Venice, Italy for a 14-day cruise to New York,with several stops before the ocean. We had no problems at the various ports along the way. In fact, we absolutely loved Porto Degado in the Azores. Our problem was ... Read More
Our ship left from Venice, Italy for a 14-day cruise to New York,with several stops before the ocean. We had no problems at the various ports along the way. In fact, we absolutely loved Porto Degado in the Azores. Our problem was not with the stops or the excursions. Our problem was with Norwegian trying to extract money from us all he time. We were "expected" to buy drinks or play bingo. It was as if whatever we spet was not enough. On top of that, we had miserable weather, at the tail of a very hard storm. A rogue wave hi the ship one day, causing damage to the gift shops and injuries to the travellers. Movies? They were not on the cabin television but we could ent them for just $6.00 per day! Current news? None, unless you were hooked on Sky News, a very sorry substitute for decent news coverage. We have sailed several times with Norwegian. We have one more booked, because we purchased the discount before we found out how greedy the line was. It will likely be our last Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Flew from the States to Venice on 10/4. Booked our hotel, which was recommended by a Cruise Critic member, in Mestre. We were advised to take the bus from the airport to the hotel. It was a smooth operation. The Starter greeted us as we ... Read More
Flew from the States to Venice on 10/4. Booked our hotel, which was recommended by a Cruise Critic member, in Mestre. We were advised to take the bus from the airport to the hotel. It was a smooth operation. The Starter greeted us as we came out of the terminal, he directed us to the bus we needed after showing him the name of our hotel. When the bus pulled up the Starter talked to the bus driver and advised him to let us know when to get off the bus. We were very grateful to him. Arrived at Al Vivit, a lovely little converted mansion on the Piazza in Mestre. We asked a woman when we got off the bus for directions, she could not understand us and we could not understand her but she pointed the way to walk and off we went. We came to a fork in the road and asked another couple who very kindly beckoned us to follow them until we could see the name of the hotel in the Piazza. It was about a 5 minute walk from the bus stop. The hotel staff were so kind and helpful. We neglected to ask if there was a lift and found ourselves starting for the second floor with 4 bags. The woman at the desk was quite adamant about us not carrying the bags. She carried all the bags up 3 flights of steps. The day we were checking out, there were 38 of us going the ship. We opened our bedroom doors and found the hotel had brought in extra help to carry all our bags down to the lobby. The breakfast staff were very friendly and we were also able to buy bus and vapparetto tickets at the front desk. There were cafes in the Piazza for drinks and coffee and watching the locals push their bambinos in their carriages with their dogs. It was lovely. Our embarkation was very smooth thanks to Annette and Lou who booked the bus from the hotel to the port. Can't say the same for disembarkation. Sharon, Future Cruise Director barked at us all morning without a mike. When my husband asked her to use a microphone she yelled "who said that, stand up so I can see you". My husband walked up to her and asked her to use the mike as we could not hear her instructions. She stated she was talking to the wheel chair people on the other side of the lounge and we did not need to hear what she was saying. We left our cabin at 8:00AM after the room steward banged on the door. We sat in the lounge from 8:00AM until 11:00AM before disembarking. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Our HAL Nieuw Amsterdam trip was a huge disappointment. The food was excellent. Our dining room and cabin stewards were both excellent. Having said that, the dining room was so noisy one couldn't hear ones tablemates. The cabin's ... Read More
Our HAL Nieuw Amsterdam trip was a huge disappointment. The food was excellent. Our dining room and cabin stewards were both excellent. Having said that, the dining room was so noisy one couldn't hear ones tablemates. The cabin's air conditioner blew cold all day whether one had it set higher or not but, at night, it turned off and one would be wake up perspiring. The TV did not have a connection for ear phones which was surprising. The Lido restaurant was so disorganized that we gave up on it. For example, we were seated on the Port side of the ship for breakfast. I ordered a poached egg and was told I had to go to the starboard side as they didn't serve poached eggs on the port side where my husband ordered his breakfast. I couldn't believe it!! This is just one example of many that we encountered. The entertainment variety left a lot to be desired. There was no excitement on the ship and being on the ship for two legs, we expected the cruise director to have a larger repertoire of stories (jokes) instead of the same ones. There were no pool activities. Port info was lacking unless scheduled on a ship tour. In Venice, there were no shuttles, water or otherwise, into the city nor was there any info as to how to make our way there. The kiosk on the dock that sells tickets for tours and water taxis was closed but all of the other ships in dock had made arrangements for their guests. As a result, we had to return to the ship without making it into Venice. Not acceptable. The internet cafe was noisy and annoying due to the proximity of the coffee shop. People tended to meet and chat there for extended periods of time. The crow's nest was noisy with quiz shows taking place while one was trying to read. The ship was well appointed but didn't flow well. One had to "enter" areas rather than having the feeling of openness and inclusion. To sum up, it will be a long time before I can get my husband back on a cruise. We were looking forward to time in VENICE but, unfortunately, didn't get to see it this time. DUBROVNIK - we enjoyed our time here. Spent some time in the old city and then took an open bus tour of the area. Got some lovely pictures CORFU - rented a car and toured the island. Delightful. SANTORINI - Loved the cable car to the top. Rented a car and toured the island -Made it to Kamira Beach (black sand)- looked lovely but a little too cool for a dip. Returned to look through the shops. I rode back down but my husband walked down!! with the donkeys!! ARGOSTOLI - Not very exciting. Took the little tram around town 3.50 Euros ea. - nothing much to see. CATANIA - very old city and busy. Took the little tram through city. 5Euros ea. NAPLES - Had a 9 hour private tour of the Amalfi coast. It was an amazing day! ROME - There is a shuttle from the ship to the town. Took the train into Rome from Citatevecchia, 9E pp return - purchased the tickets at the train station which is about a 15 minute walk from where the shuttle drops everyone off. We found an internet cafe (there are lots of them) and phoned home as it cost only .6E per min. (Yes, that's right) to phone Ontario, Canada. VALENCIA Took a cab into the city center - it wasn't necessary as we found out later (information that we should have had from the ship). The Hop On Hop Off bus has two lines, a red and a blue. The blue line stops within walking distance of the ship. We highly recommend the HOHO to see this beautiful city. CARTAGENA - This is one of the nicest piers that we saw on the trip. Great for strolling. We took the tourist bus (5E ea). It was less than hour and not worth it. Walked up the lovely pedestrian only street. Has refreshment at an outdoor cafe. ALMERIA - Not much to do here CADIZ - Nice old town to stroll in. Remember, that stores close at 2pm-6pm for siesta. PORTIMAO - Beautiful beach but too cool to take a dip. Thought we would have been better to spend an extra day in Lisbon and skip this destination at this time of year. LISBON - The highlight of our trip. Eight of us had a van and driver from I HATE TOURISM TOURS.COM to take us up the coast as we had all been to Lisbon before. Had lunch on the sea wall up on the cliff at the westernmost point in Europe. Visited castles, the Tower of Belem and had custard tarts at the famous Patisserie du Belem. Our driver gave us a hair-raising but exciting ride through the streets of Lisbon and to top off the day, we looked over the city of Lisbon from the highest point in the city. We highly recommend this tour company who went out of their way to make our day one to remember! BARCELONA - Lots to see and do here. The HOHO bus is a must. With limited time, it's the best way to see the city. Then, take a leisurely stroll up Las Rambla, visit the wonderful market before returning to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
This was a 21 day cruise consisting of 2 cruises back to back: a 7 day cruise departing and returning to Venice visiting Croatia and the Greek Isles and then a 14 day transatlantic cruise from Venice to New York City visiting several ports ... Read More
This was a 21 day cruise consisting of 2 cruises back to back: a 7 day cruise departing and returning to Venice visiting Croatia and the Greek Isles and then a 14 day transatlantic cruise from Venice to New York City visiting several ports in Spain and Portugal. This was our 4th cruise on NCL and our 2nd Transatlantic cruise on NCL. We have been on 20+ cruises. Before anyone starts to ready this—I want to apologize for all the complaining. I'm sure that there were many folks on board who loved the cruise—unfortunately I'm finding after cruise # 4 on NCL that I'm just not a fan of Freestyle cruising because the service just isn't the same with Freestyle as it is on a traditional cruise ship. I want to have the same waiter every day who knows what I prefer even before I sit down. Some people could care less about the service—I have friends who are just as happy going to the buffet every day and hate sitting down for meals. Luckily, we have the freedom to choose what we prefer. Overall I was disappointed in this cruise. The itinerary and ports visited were fantastic—but the food, service, and activities on the ship were average to subpar. NCL's cost cutting was evident at all times and trying to avoid hidden costs was a major activity and frankly—exhausting. Food—compared to Holland America, Royal Caribbean, NCL 2 years ago and even Carnival—the food in the buffets and main dining rooms was generally boring and not always well prepared. The breakfast buffet (and yes it is a buffet except for the made to order Omelets) featured the exact same food for 21 days. The only thing that ever changed was the type of fruit in the Danish. Lunch and dinner buffets also featured the exact same food every day except for a different meat and fish entrEe and the desserts varied. (The fish was cooked "to order" and the Ceasar salad was also made freshly as you approached the salad station, so that's why NCL doesn't call it a buffet anymore.) In the main dining rooms, I was surprised to see the same menu on the 21 day cruise 3 different times—most ships feature at least 14 days worth of different menus. It used to be that the menus used to feature: appetizer, soup, salad, main course and dessert. NCL's menu has the main course and then a list of several things to choose from before the main course. The waiters seemed pained when a soup, salad and appetizer was chosen from the before dinner list instead of just choosing one item. Dessert of course follows. We frequently felt rushed thru dinner in the main dining rooms—on more than one occasion—the appetizer, soup, and salad was delivered so closely to the main course that all four plates were on the table at one time. With Freestyle cruising there was ALWAYS a wait to get into the main dining rooms when we decided we wanted to eat. (Generally 15 - 30 minutes). We considered this a positive and not a negative issue, because if you got handed a beeper, it meant that you could order 2 for 1 drinks at the bar while waiting for your table. (Only certain cheaper drinks were eligible, of course). The specialty restaurants were better, but not great. (Holland America's steak restaurant served the best steak I have ever had.) We resorted (because of boring menus and poor service) to mainly eating in the specialty restaurants or in the buffet for dinner. (Have never in over 20 cruises eaten at the buffet for dinner before.) The specialty Italian restaurant that is an extra charge was especially disappointing since we had fallen in love with the food prepared at the free Italian restaurant on our NCL cruise 2 years earlier. The steak restaurant was OK—but our table partners ordered steaks medium well and had to be returned because they were well done. (2 days earlier our steaks that were ordered medium were practically uneatable because they were so raw). One nice feature was that the specialty restaurants were 2 to 1 for Latitudes members on the 14 day transatlantic cruise portion of the trip only from 6:30 to 7:30PM. I was surprised by the lack of outdoor barbeques for lunch or dinner. They had paella outside on the Lido deck for lunch once or twice for about an hour, but by the time we decided to get some—the service had already shut down. Also I know that the day of the midnight buffet is gone—but what happened to NCL's famous chocolate buffet? They featured this for the 7 night Greek Isles cruise, but it never happened during the 14 day Transatlantic cruise. Room service food choices were extremely limited--I don't ever remember seeing such a limited menu on a cruise ship before. And I suppose this also fits into the food category: —what happened to the nightly chocolate mints? They completely disappeared. I guess that's due to more cost cutting. And beware of the freshly squeezed orange juice in the garden buffet—that's an extra charge. (Free on Holland America). Drinks—prices were posted for drinks, but when the drink came with that special plastic glass that everyone throws away—the drink was twice as much—I made them bring me back the drink without the glass at the posted price. Service was fair. I don't think that this was due to the crew not caring—there just wasn't enough of them to accomplish things like: trying to get water refilled during dinner—impossible. (Same for the iced tea.) My husband finally devised a game to see how long it would take him to get hot tea with dinner. Every time we sat down for lunch or dinner he calmly explained that he wanted hot tea with dinner, not after dinner. The fastest time to get his hot tea was 30 minutes from when he asked for it. Forgetting it altogether was not unusual. The only exception to the lack of service with meals was in the buffet Garden Cafe. There were an incredible number of crew standing around ready to swoop up one's dish and silverware as soon as it looked like one was done eating. This resulted in numerous instances of plates disappearing when one was still planning on continuing to eat what was on the plate. One's food was sure to disappear if there was a pause in your eating to look out the window. We got a chuckle out of watching fellow passengers protecting their plates by hunching over them and shouting "No" when a waiter would appear before they wanted to give up the plate. Our cabin—Service was good. The room was kept clean, we had ice regularly. I do long for the old days when the room steward would introduce himself within the first 15 minutes after arrival at our room. We didn't meet our room steward until several days into the cruise. The room steward looked like she had twice as many rooms to clean as what they used to have to take care of. Only time for a few towel animals—but of course we received numerous offers to buy the towel animal folding DVD. And we never did figure out how to find the room steward when we were unable to get into our room. (Not our fault—the electronic key mechanism's battery was low). In the old days—the room stewards generally hung out at all hours in their crew areas near our room and were easy to find. The room itself was smallish compared to the same category room that we had stayed in 2 years earlier, but there was lots of storage space. Activities: Shows: As is usual—some good and some bad. The Russian acrobats were the best we have seen on a cruise ship. The poor hypnotist was the worst show we have ever seen—his show was moved up a day unexpectedly because of a singer's illness. Activites: this ship was big on trivia—every day once or twice a day. Lots of time set aside for getting together to play bridge and cards also. There was the usual Bingo. We were disappointed in the lack of dance lessons—they were sparse and taught by the dancers in the show. Our previous NCL transatlantic had featured a competitive ballroom dance couple whose love for dance inspired us to learn complicated dance moves -the previous ship had dance lessons once or twice a day and the couple also were available during ballroom dance sets in the evenings. Generally the activities really gear up during the transatlantic portion of the trip—nothing extra was added activity wise that I could see. The murder mystery dinner that we paid for was disappointing—especially when we remembered that it was free 2 years ago and at dinner found out that it was the exact same script from 2 years ago. Note to anybody from NCL who is reading this—I have friends who will write you a new murder mystery script for $200.00. Buy a new script every year! Overall , I thought that the activities were not as plentiful as what I expected. On the subject of cost cutting -on 4 separate occasions—I walked into a bathroom during the early evening or afternoon hours and found no toilet paper in my stall. Not good on a cruise ship -first time I encountered that phenomenon ever on a cruise ship. On the positive side—the itinerary was incredible. I loved most of the shore excursions I took (and we did a lot), couldn't have asked for better ports to see either. Also—loved the dinner with the officers (yes it cost extra)—was a very relaxing evening and felt like we got to know the officers on a personal basis. Also—wanted to specially mention our captain. His seamanship was excellent. We rode thru a storm with 30 foot waves fairly smoothly. He kept us informed regularly about the weather and calmly explained his strategy . He also strongly encouraged folks with difficulty ambulating to stick to areas with hand rails during the storm. Of course not everyone listened and they finally had to close the lido deck and the Garden Cafe Buffet because of the number of injuries from passengers falling in those areas. Another area of the ship that deserves positive recognition is the casino—no I didn't win, but the crew there was particularly pleasant. Also—NCL still has Pai Gow Poker in their casino—the table was generally full when they opened it during the evening. Guess that it's not a big money maker for them, but it was definitely entertaining for those of us who love the game. Frankly—if I ever go on an NCL cruise again—it will be because they have Pai Gow Poker in the casino. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary. Having done the Med a few times before, we were very interested in the transatlantic portion, and being able to relax after our hectic pace in Europe. As we love Rome, we chose to fly in a few ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary. Having done the Med a few times before, we were very interested in the transatlantic portion, and being able to relax after our hectic pace in Europe. As we love Rome, we chose to fly in a few days early and spend 3 nights there. Stayed at the Artemide which was local walking distance to everything and was fantastic. We then took the train to Venice, to spend one night there prior to boarding the Ruby. Unfotunately our train ride was more eventful than we liked. We traveled with another couple, and sometime during the 4 1/2 hr ride from Rome to Venice, our friends camera bag disappeared right from under his seat! The camera wasn't the big worry, he had three weeks worth of medication in that bag!! To make a long story short, a very wonderful pharmacist in Venice was able to replace the meds in 24hrs. Whew! After staying at the Locanda Vivaldi one night prior (fab hotel) , we boarded the lovely RubyPrincess late afternoon on the Wednesday. At that point, we stayed on board to wander and explore. We used the Princess Water Shuttle tickets provided to go back into Venice the next morning. We had a minisuite on Dolphin deck. Enjoyed having the extra room but can't seem to get used to the totally exposed balconys on this class of ship. Common/Public Rooms Lots of places to meet and mingle, nowhere seemed crowded except the ever popular International Cafe. Adiagos, Crooners, Wheelhouse, all great spots to linger with a drink. We enjoyed the outside area of Adiagos where you could sit and stare out to sea. Beautiful. The Princess Theater is a little small, and I guess that's why they repeat the Production Shows over 2 nights. The casino was nice, we didn't spend alot of time there. Dining We had second seating and had fabulous staff. Meals in the dining room were usually good to sometimes great. Unfortunately it was the only time we could say that. The Horizon Court was a huge disappointment. Very little selection in my opinion for lunch. Soggy sandwiches wrapped in saran wrap (I've never seen this before!)At least you could get a decent salad. We tried the dining room for lunch one day and again experienced the soggy wet bread. Specialty Dining Had a nice meal in the Crown Grill. And the Ultimate Balcony Dining was the best experience, would recommend to anyone. Sabatinis was a disappointment though. Entertainment Production shows were well done. I thought for 18 nights they could have squeezed an extra show in there - we had three. There was a pretty good comedian. MUTS had lots of good movies to choose from, but we only went once. They had the White Hot Deck party and Ruby Ball also. Ports The magic of Italy, what can I say. We loved Venice, and having spent time in Rome prior, we chose to go to Tivoli the day we docked in Civitavecchia. We enjoyed Tivoli very much. In Naples, we did a private tour to the Amalfi Coast and it was outstanding. Certainly a highlight of the trip. In Florence we walked around on our own in the pouring rain, the only bad weather day in the trip. We missed Marseilles due to high seas and winds, so had an extra sea day. Barcelona is beautiful and we enjoyed Gaudi's as well as strolling Las Ramblas. Lisbon - oh how disappointing to be there only a few hours, how I wished we had more time there. And Azores was a quaint beautiful stop before we headed out to sea. The transatlantic portion was 6 days, and that meant about 2 too many for us. We got a little restless by day 4. There were activities on board during the sea days and venues seemed to be busy most of the time. As the weather was beautiful for the crossing, with calm seas and sunny warm days, we were able to enjoy the outdoor areas, by the pool, mini golf, etc. We overall enjoyed out trip, but I don't think another transatlantic crossing is in our future!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Personal Background We are a couple in our sixties, who have cruised 13 times, using Celebrity, Costa, Festival, Royal Caribbean, Airtours, NCL and MSC covering The Med, Caribbean, canaries and the Baltic. After a great Caribbean cruise ... Read More
Personal Background We are a couple in our sixties, who have cruised 13 times, using Celebrity, Costa, Festival, Royal Caribbean, Airtours, NCL and MSC covering The Med, Caribbean, canaries and the Baltic. After a great Caribbean cruise on MSC Lirica, we were really looking forward to our first transatlantic crossing, and first visit to South America. Travel to Port Flew to Venice, Marco Polo with BA. Good flight. Embarkation Embarkation was an absolute nightmare. Not all passengers from the flight to Marco Polo airport at Venice were able to get onto the first coach. We were successful, leaving the airport at around 11.30am, reaching the port terminal some 30 minutes later, we joined hundreds of passengers waiting to hand over their luggage to porters. This took around another 30 minutes. This was the easy part, as when we reached the main terminal building to check onto the ship, there were even more people! No organized form of queuing, just every man for himself. We eventually got onto the ship at around 2.30 pm. Stateroom As we got onto the ship we were escorted to our cabin. The cabin was fantastic in every respect. Bright, well lit, comfortable, very clean and with a nice balcony. Our cabin steward introduced himself and I raised a couple of issues, regarding no facecloths and frayed handtowels. (NB Bath sheets were first class). Flatscreen TV, but only 4 channels, although you could pay for English language films. NB During the transatlantic crossing there was no reception of any TV broadcasts.! Ship Info The ship was beautiful in all respects, lounges, theatre and pool decks. Modern, colorful and spotlessly clean. Dining We used the cafeteria Gli Archi for a late lunch and were surprised to find the only drink available was iced water. Coffees or tea had to be purchased from the bars.NB There were drinks machines, but they had been covered up and taken out of use! Modern colorful and spotlessly clean! Lifeboat drill was carried out on the second day of the cruise in Bari at 6.00pm, although we were not due to sail until 7.00pm and passengers could still have been ashore. We were happy that we had been allocated to main seating for dinner in the L'Oleandro restaurant. Main seating was 6.30 pm, with second seating at 9.00pm which was too late for most of the passengers that we spoke to, as the show in the main theatre was always after dinner, at around 11.30 pm. The food was generally pretty average, and main courses generally disappointing! The menus read well but often the food fell short. We like hot dishes to be served hot, and our regular dinner waiter and assistant always obliged, but during open sitting in the restaurant for breakfast and lunch we had to demand that our food be hot! On the Lirica, we took advantage of the wine package, which was any 10 bottles from a list of 14 different wines. On Musica you could buy a package of 7 wines, one each of the 7 listed, so we went for the wine list. There seemed to be a high percentage of new Brazilian staff on the ship, who appeared to be still under training, this meant standards at breakfast and lunch were very variable. For example, when offered fruit juice at breakfast I asked for tomato juice, only to be met with blank stare. I was eventually brought two glasses of passata (Tomato cooking sauce). The assistant maitre D' remedied the situation. At dinner on the first evening we asked for a jug of iced water. This was duly supplied and we served ourselves. On the second night we requested the same and were told by our waiter that he was not allowed to bring us iced water. I asked for the asst maitre D' and he told me that he was following the instructions of the new Maitre D', that there should be no "jugs" in the dining room. I requested a meeting with the Maitre D' at the reception desk. I was told that he would contact me. Failing to be contacted by him, I approached him in the dining room, and asked whether, "no iced water" was his policy, or the policy of MSC. He told me that it was MSC policy. I also asked the policy on tea and coffee after lunch/dinner, as we had been requesting and receiving tea or coffee after meals but many fellow passengers were being refused. He said that tea and coffee should be available. (NB espresso and cappuccino had to be paid for) Several days into the cruise the issue of iced water, and some passengers not being offered or in fact refused coffee and tea after meals was still a major bone of contention amongst the English speaking passengers, so I asked if reception could email these issues to MSC head office in Naples. The receptionist was concerned by my request and suggested a meeting with Giuseppe Pane the Hotel Manager. I met signore Pane on the 7th day of the cruise, along with his assistant and the Maitre D'. He confirmed that it was MSC policy that no jugs of iced water were to be served on Musica and that no tea or coffee should be served after meals. The MD' confirmed that in fact tea and coffee were being served, and they continued to be served throughout the cruise. S Pane also confirmed that the MSC Lirica was in the Caribbean, and would be offering jugs of water, and free iced tea, fruit juice, tea and coffee. So the MSC offer appears to be inconsistent! Many English speaking passengers said that they would never cruise MSC again, and daily visited the accounts desk to cancel their tips. They were eventually able to do this when the ship reached Brazil. The only alternative dining venues in the evening were Il Giardino and the Sushi restaurant and they were invariably empty. Our table companions booked Il Giardino for 7.00pm. When they got there the restaurant was locked and a team meeting was taking place. They got in, and were the only couple dining that night. They enjoyed their meal, but at a supplement of $30.00 each, and with the same wines as the main dining room, but at a higher price. Entertainment The La Scala theatre was beautiful, we enjoyed 3 classical concerts, 3 bigger shows, and an illusionist. There were many lounges with live music. The Delicia Quartet were excellent. The entertainment team were busy during the day with simple deck games and quizzes, and at night with fairly juvenile competitions in one of the main lounges. There were four formal nights, with two of them preceded with a captain's cocktail party. Crossing the Line Ceremony was carried out the morning after the actual crossing. And involved around 100 passengers being christened with Champagne, tomato juice, milk, cream, flours and raw eggs. So be warned! Shore excursions We generally did our own thing, and enjoyed visiting, Bari, Malta, Malaga, Madeira and Tenerife. We were only in Recife for a morning, and that was long enough! The old town was very very poor, ruined buildings and people living on the streets. Salvador was smarter, the old town was quite attractive, but a couple of people had chains and watches snatched. We took a ship organized tour of Rio as we were disembarking that day, visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer and the beaches. Unfortunately the weather was very wet. Disembarkation We took the tour of Rio in the morning, as we had to transfer to Rio International Airport in the afternoon. We were told that our luggage would be kept separate and secure in the Port Terminal building, but that we could check our luggage before joining the tour bus. In fact we were taken directly from the ship to the tour bus. Fortunately when the tour was finished, we found our cases safely in the terminal building. We then had to carry our luggage a couple of hundred yards to the transfer coach through a wet and puddled car park. A couple of ships porters with trolleys would have been appreciated. Summary Would I cruise with MSC again? I doubt it! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
this was our first trip with MSC and sadly it will be our last one. We have cruised before half a dozen times, with royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Princess. and have really enjoyed these and have spent more than one holiday on each. we ... Read More
this was our first trip with MSC and sadly it will be our last one. We have cruised before half a dozen times, with royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Princess. and have really enjoyed these and have spent more than one holiday on each. we thought that we would give MSC a try. The itinerary was great and the time at sea and of course the crossing to brazil. to start with before we had left home, no tickets had arrived, or baggage tags for embarkation. the night before we left home, i had to get my agent to email to me the tags, and i printed them off , and we took tape with us to stick them on when we arrived in Venice. Embarkation was a nightmare. i had book in on line, and had a boarding pass for my husband and i. This was a complete waste of time. We stood in line for hours, without drink or food, there just was no organization at all. before that we arrived at the port and had to get our luggage from the coach, and move our suitcases to the warehouse to be put onto the ship, no one helped and there were no trolleys. Onboard the ship, our cabin was good, and spotless, the service in the cabin was great. although there are no provisions for 24 hour nourishment. the ship is beautiful, the pools spotless, and plenty of deck loungers. but not well organized. on the upper deck it is difficult to walk round the deck as it is too narrow. There is smoking all over the place, one side of the deck and one of the bars and wherever you walked you smell cigarettes. There was buffet breakfast, which was not bad, and also restaurant breakfast as well. Lunch was very good, but no juice, or coffee, only water. the waiters had very little English, but tried. dinner was not good, we had great table companions,which made the trip, bearable. There were no jugs of water at table, after the first night we were told that the captain had said that only bottled water which had to be paid for was to be served. this was also the case with coffee, no after dinner coffee. The menu looked ok but the food was cold, and often not very good. There is no buffet alternative on this ship for evening meals. they do have a place where you have to pay $30 each cover. There are no drink stations onboard, only at breakfast and for one hour at tea. There is no free ice cream, on an italian ship, we thought we would be on pizzas and ice cream both of which had to be bought, one scoop for $2.50 we did not find out where the pizza place was. entertainment was good the team really worked hard, and it showed. the shows were probably the best we have seen. The excursions had to be booked onboard, and they were all good, with the exception of the last day when the coach went without us. disembarkation was a nightmare. even worse than embarkation. we had to be out of the cabins for 7 am even the ship did not dock until 9am as planned. because we were going on an excursion we were to be off the ship early. however it was after ten thirty, before we could start coming off and then everyone was off the ship in one go. it was bedlam. We lost a case which had been put in the wrong color section, so spent an hour looking for it. all in all it was not an expensive cruise, but they need to have trained staff, and for english people the language is a major problem, as they announce each language and it takes forever. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
We were a party of 6, 3 experienced cruisers and 3 first timers. This posting is from an experienced cruiser's viewpoint. We sailed on the MSC Musica's repositioning voyage from Venice to Santos on 2-20 November 2008. I did want ... Read More
We were a party of 6, 3 experienced cruisers and 3 first timers. This posting is from an experienced cruiser's viewpoint. We sailed on the MSC Musica's repositioning voyage from Venice to Santos on 2-20 November 2008. I did want to write a positive report - and we did enjoy our 19 day transatlantic cruise to Brazil, especially the ports of call - BUT although the ship's decor and the cabins were very good, the service, food and organization onboard badly let it down. Embarkation: We were lucky inasmuch as we arrived at the port of Venice late (4pm) on our MSC transfer from Verona airport and could check in straight away and walk straight on board. We sailed at 5.30pm, unfortunately, in heavy mist. Fellow passengers who arrived at check-in at midday had a totally different experience and had to wait nearly 3 hours before boarding commenced! Service: On embarkation we soon discovered that most of the staff onboard were untrained, this being their first cruise. Our first evening meal was chaotic with limited cutlery, cold food and difficulty ordering drinks -no one seemed to know what they were doing in the dining room. Our first impression of disorganization was confirmed in the bars with very slow bar service. There was no sign of our cabin steward on embarkation and everything had to be sorted out via reception. In fact our cabin steward never once introduced himself! We had to phone for toilet rolls on one occasion and requested an extra blanket 3 times and still didn't get it!! I should point out, though, that other passengers were very happy with their cabin steward. As the cruise progressed, service did improve. We were lucky with our dining room waiter, Florian, who was very good and got our orders correct, both food and drink. Again, a different story from fellow passengers whose chaotic first evening meal continued throughout the cruise. Food/Drink: We were on the early evening meal sitting at 6.30pm. What can I say about the food ... unimaginative, cold ... hit and miss. Although, having said that, some days the soup was hot! Some of the pasta dishes were very good. You were not limited as to how many courses you could order, therefore, we generally found something palatable. There was no evening buffet available as an alternative to the dining room - only the midnight buffet. There was also the pizzeria or sushi restaurants for which you had to pay. The issue of no water or tea and coffee with meals unless you paid for it caused a lot of disconcertion amongst the experienced cruise passengers. The self-service buffet at lunchtime was adequate. The breakfast buffet in Gli Archi Cafeteria was good - the only time you could get a cup of tea or coffee free of charge (apart from afternoon tea). There was also water available free of charge in machines in the self-service restaurant. The opening times of the restaurants at lunchtime tended to change so you had to consult your daily programme. Continental breakfast room service was available free of charge from 7.30-10am and was very good. I found the voucher system a good way of ordering drinks. You could buy a book of 12 cocktail vouchers for $69 which worked out to 2 free drinks, a book of 12 large beers for $62 (again 2 free drinks), water package (14 vouchers I think) for $22.50 and an ice cream package (12 vouchers I think) for £22.50. All you had to do then was order a drink/ice cream and hand over the voucher. Entertainment: Poor. Repetitive. Very little organized during the day. The 5 days at sea crossing the Atlantic were spent sunbathing and reading (thankfully, we had lovely weather) and learning Portuguese. (Portuguese lessons organized by the English speaking rep onboard). We did join in the Crossing the Equator party when we donned grass skirts and were "christened" by Neptune! We made a quick exit when the entertainment team started throwing buckets of tomato sauce etc over the participants!! The Shows: Very nice theatre. There was a troupe of dancers onboard who only performed 3 times to my knowledge! We had 3 classical concerts and 3 opera singer performances plus several circus acts - all lasting no more than 40 minutes. The most professional show was the illusionist. Ports of Call: Bari Full day. Free shuttle bus to port gates. We organized our own tour with minibus but driver only spoke Italian (luckily, so did one of our party). Enjoyable half day visit with enough to see but everything was closed until 4pm (including the churches). Malta Half day. Walk off ship. Bus 198 at harbor to bus terminal at city gate Valletta (EUR1 return). Walked around Valletta and shopped (including M&S). Enjoyable but needed more time there. Malaga Full day. Long walk to port gates or a taxi costs EUR10. We did the horse drawn carriage around lovely old town (40 mins EUR30 up to 4 people). Shopping very good. Enjoyed good tapas lunch and traditional wine bars (bodegas). Madeira Full day. Walked out of port. Post Office at port. Bought ticket for hop on/hop off bus tour (EUR18) and took it to cable car. Took cable car to Moderna (EUR10) and then took Madeira's famous toboggan ride down (EUR25 for 2 people in wicker basket). Enjoyable BUT toboggan only takes you half way down to town centre. Taxis waiting to rip you off by charging EUR20-25. We walked, but it is a very steep, arduous, hot walk with only one refreshment stop on way down - it took us over an hour (not to be recommended for people with knee problems!). Walked around town centre and then finished our hop on/hop off bus tour. Enjoyable day in Madeira. Santa Cruz de Tenerife Full day. Walked out of port. Tram ride to Trinidad (La Laguna) EUR2.45 return (old capital) to be recommended. Good shopping in Santa Cruz. Walked around (walking routes mapped out) and had good set lunch of typical Canarian food in very friendly restaurant. Recife Full day. Shuttle bus with charge out of port to town organized by MSC. We discovered H. Stern Company as we disembarked. They organize a free shuttle minibus to their jewelry store in the Recife Palace Hotel on the beachfront in the Boa Viagem area. There was no pressure to buy. They were very friendly and helpful. H. Stern's driver then took us to a taxi rank and organized 2 taxis ($50 per taxi for 2 hours) to take us around the lovely old town of Olinda and then back to the port. We felt safe and well looked after. A really nice introduction to Brazil (and our Portuguese lessons came in handy!). Salvador Bahia Full day. Walked out of port. Post Office at port. Again, met our H. Stern man, Pierre, and took the free shuttle minibus to their shop up in the old town (had quick look at jewelry and then went sightseeing). Salvador split into old town and new town connected by art deco lift or a funicular train. Very nice feel to place. Spent day going between old town and new town shopping using the lift and furnicular. Walked back to ship. Rio de Janeiro Full day. Walked out of port. Met again by Pierre of H. Stern. We wanted an organized tour to take in Sugar Loaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana and Ipernima beaches ($50 each at the port). Pierre introduced us to Tami who would be our English speaking guide for the day and we could have a minibus to ourselves for the day with the proviso that we visited H. Stern's workshop in Rio. Tami took us wherever we wanted to go. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't on our side that day with low cloud and rain. We bought our tickets for the train up to Christ the Redeemer and had to cash then back in again because of the rain. We then took the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain but it was a white-out with low cloud! We sat in a restaurant looking out at Copacabana beach in the pouring rain (just like being at the seaside in England!). We did the tour of H. Stern's workshop which was quite interesting (learnt a lot about the precious stones that Brazil is famous for) and - you guessed it - I did buy a piece of jewelry! Our tour of Rio only cost the 6 of us the price of a meal and drink for Tami and the driver (plus a tip of course). I now have a good excuse to return to Rio to "see" it again!! Disembarkation: Arrival in Santos 9am. We were the last to be called off the ship (ca. 12.30) as our flight out of Sao Paola wasn't until that evening. We considered ourselves fortunate as it was chaos awaiting us portside. MSC's usual organization skills were to blame because they had forgotten to order the transfer buses! We waited nearly 2 hours until we could board a bus to the airport. I don't know how many people missed their flights in that confusion! In summary, it was an enjoyable cruise and the itinerary was very good. We paid a reasonable price and some might say you get what you pay for. Disembarkation/embarkation at most of the ports of call went smoothly. From talking to other passengers who have cruised with MSC before, I believe this voyage was one of the worst MSC cruises in terms of organization, service and food. I will always have a lasting good impression of sailing into a port early in the morning whilst sitting on my balcony enjoying fresh rolls and coffee for breakfast. Would I cruise with MSC again? The answer to that remains to be seen - if the itinerary was right and the price, of course, I might take a chance. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
The Emerald Princess was definitely designed for the needs and wants of Americans.  It also had what I would call an age itinerary for this length of cruise 18 days.If you were under the age of 50 this cruise would definitely not be your ... Read More
The Emerald Princess was definitely designed for the needs and wants of Americans.  It also had what I would call an age itinerary for this length of cruise 18 days.If you were under the age of 50 this cruise would definitely not be your cup of tea.In fact I would not recommend the Trans Atlantic trip for those under 50 as you would have little to do other then play bridge,bingo,cards etc.I attended one Scholarship at Sea class about photography and learnt absolutely nothing and walked out after 20 minutes of rubbish and refused to pay for what was a waste of time.It was more like a discussion group of first graders rather than cruisers who truly wanted to learn something about their cameras and simple ideas about using the basics of their camera.I was very disappointed,and what was charged as an hour lecture, tended to be more like 25 minutes. It was a waste of time and the lecturer (the ship's photographer was not sure of all his info so would refer to the other photographer sitting on the side). This in no way lessens the total experience of cruising but does change your cruising day when little else is offered. I found the Emerald Princess to be far too big for the service given.I did not enjoy all the shows but the performers were all world class and the comedian who was an American favorite created a lot of laughs and I enjoyed that night. It is a lovely ship and some tender loving care has been put into the decorating,design of cabins whether inside or out, both were lovely and large in comparison to many ships, and very soundproof as there was no outside noise noticed throughout the entire cruise.The colors and little artistic add ons made for wonderful photos. But it completely lost itself when designing the kitchens though.The vicinity of where they were in relation to the dining rooms,in particular.We dined in the early seating of the Botticelli dining room, and I noticed there were many empty tables at the early seating,which meant that there were waiters who literally had nothing to do, if only one table had patrons at it and the other tables had none. Then there were some who had to work very hard because there tables were full.The kitchen seemed miles away,and the assistant waiters,had to walk miles to get special items from the bar,as an example, to get my nightly cocktail that I ordered.How ridiculous is the design of a ship when one cocktail takes an assistant waiter away from the dining room for 5 minutes,and how inefficient.The meals also seemed to take such a long time to arrive from the kitchen, Princess seemed to have wanted the noise of the kitchen away from the dining room, but in doing this has allowed the dishes that would have been perfect straight from the kitchen to have lost some if it's flavour.A waiter stacking plates on trays and then having to walk with them stacked on a tray to the dining room, made me feel as if l were eating from a cafeteria. The buffet room was wonderful most of the time but I found many sections of food choices to be luke warm rather than hot, which made me uneasy when thinking of rules of preventing food poisoning to the passengers.I also noticed at times many kitchen hands, not necessarily handle the food hygienically and this also made me feel uneasy about the preparation of the food itself. Other than those issues the time at sea was restful and calm, and the smile of many of the staff, as you met by them was appreciated.I would not cruise again on a big ship and with so many different dining areas, as the ship just becomes a mass of people that you might see at the beginning of a cruise and never see again. My last issue was with the need of money. The old phrase of when you cruise everything is taken care of, was not present on this ship.Everything seemed to cost extra.Even the tenders(cost!!!!) to get you too the town you were visiting, was ridiculous considering how many elderly people were on board.What was really silly was one town we visited, where we were supplied with transport to the end of the wharf and then left a good mile from the town and for many that mile was a long way,when they might not have got off the ship if they had known the distance to the town.So it is a personal choice and hopefully others will add to these reviews, as cruising is a very personal thing and each to his own. Read Less

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