Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member rubysue’s recent cruise to Canada and New England aboard Oceania’s Regatta.
Overall Impression: Experienced cruisers rubysue and her husband were drawn to Oceania’s "Radiant Retreats" cruise for the chance to visit new ports. From Montreal to Miami, the couple sailed through the seasons exploring unfamiliar cities like Boston and Quebec. The ship was more familiar — it was rubysue’s second time onboard but first since Regatta’s recent refurbishment, which welcomed new carpet and furnishings, an expanded Terrace and new Barista’s coffee bar. Read on to see how their cruise unfolded.
Onboard Highlight: All of the dining impressed, especially dinner at the specialty steakhouse Polo Grill and lunch at Waves.
Port Highlight: A stroll through Old Quebec, lunch in Ile d’Orleans overlooking the city and visits to Montmorency Falls and St. Anne du Beaupre Basilica made Quebec City a favorite.
Don’t Miss: Tom Drake, the comedian onboard.
Watch Out For: Steep drink prices, especially for wines by the glass.
More: Read rubysue’s full review for more details about the ship and each port of call.
Read more reviews or write your own cruise review
Admit it: you love a bargain — and you love telling people you’ve got a good deal.
We admit we’re guilty of it, too, but it’s high on the list of Most Annoying Conversation Topics Onboard.
On a thread on the P&O Cruises forum bemoaning moaners, a sub-thread was started by Tayscot about those people who go on about "how much they and others have paid for their cruise."
He writes: "I have no interest in finding out that others have obtained a much better deal than me or broadcasting to others if I have managed to secure a really good deal. When asked outright how much I have paid I have taken to replying that we have been given a free cruise because we are such good customers (not true of course) but it has elicited some really quizzical looks and bewilderment in the posers of the question.”
Other members also share some great ideas for stopping price comparison cruisers in their tracks.
We like Corfe Mixture‘s tactic: "I intensely dislike those people who get their pleasure out of proving to others that they got a better deal than the person they are talking to. As a result, I always reply to anyone who brags about their good deal with the words ‘really, you paid that much?’ When they then ask how much I paid, I always decline to say on the basis that I don’t want them to feel that they did not get a good deal."
But mds143‘s is definitely the best: "I hate it when people go on about how much or little they payed. If asked directly I think I’d say that my holiday was paid for by the social security people to help me fight depression, which was caused by me being out of work and on benefits for the last 15 years. I could add to that, that they needed me out of the house for a couple of weeks anyway so that they could put in a new kitchen and redecorate. What do you think, would I get away with it?"
What do you think? Would he get away with it?
Let us know below.
Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
(Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
Where: Sydney, cruise to nowhere
Who: Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor
Why There? Because summer is here! The biggest ship based Down Under, Voyager is returning to Australia this weekend with lots of new-to-Australia onboard features, such as the FlowRider surf machine, 3D cinema, virtual balconies on inside cabins and panoramic staterooms with wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows. We’ll be dining at Giovanni’s Table, one of the three new restaurants, and checking out Royal Caribbean’s first gastropub, The Tavern.
We Can’t Wait: In addition to all the usual shenanigans of a one-night cruise, we’re excited for the first Facebook Party At Sea, with 100 lucky passengers who chose the best Aussie sailaway songs in a nationwide competition. Local singer Nathaniel Willemse will perform in La Scala Theatre, followed by a celebration on (and fireworks above) the helipad.
Ship: Costa neoRiviera
Where: Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah
Who: Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor
Why There? We’ll be experiencing Costa’s "neo" class of ships, which promote slower travel through overnight port stops and more casual onboard ambiance. We’ll also be taking a look at how Dubai — the Las Vegas of the Middle East — has been expanding its water sports and shore excursions for cruise passengers, many who fly to the port several days before embarkation.
We Can’t Wait: Razzle me, dazzle me: I’m looking forward to seeing as much of the high-end silliness as I can. Visits to Ski Dubai (a ski slope within a mall), the towering Burj Khalifa and tea at Burj Al Arab are on tap. I’m also looking forward to seeing Dubia’s more authentic side, with a Middle Eastern food tour and a visit to the Sheik Monahmmed bid Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding.
We admit it. The editors at Cruise Critic are personality quiz junkies. Whether we’re determining which Harry Potter character we are, what country we should be living in or what color best describes our auras, personality quizzes sweep through our department like forest fires. So when Carnival Corp. Released its Cruise-A-Nality quiz a few weeks ago, we were all over it, sharing and dissecting our results.
It was no big surprise that we fell into a number of different categories; most cruisers enjoy different experiences, after all, and want different things out of their cruises.
Some, like three of the Cruise Critic editors, are adventurous and, in the words of Carnival Corp., "enjoy venturing off, off, off the beaten path, whether it’s a brisk ATV ride through the jungle, discovering a secluded beach or canoeing down an isolated river… Sailing away is just the beginning of the thrill ride."
Others are more free spirited, up for just about anything and willing to give it all a try. And then there are the cosmopolitan cruisers for who all forms of travel are meant to be a meaningful experience, and the planners — or cruise directors — who want everyone to have a good time and create an agenda accordingly.
Here are the Cruise-A-Nalities of our editors. Be sure to take the quiz and let us know what kind of cruiser you are!
Click on the Cruise Critic message boards and you’ll be transported to a fascinating place. No question is too large, too small, too obscure or too wacky. Sometimes a subject really grabs members’ attention, provoking wit, humour and – in this case – some brain-teasing, philosophy, everything you always wanted to know about chickens (and eggs) and puns aplenty.
We love a good joke, or should that be yolk, and the thread started by miched is a cracking one that’s already running to six pages and needs to be shared.
Making promises over dinner and a few wines is OK but when it comes to agreeing to go naked in a Japanese bathhouse, it’s perhaps best to decide when totally sober.
A couple of us thought we’d go au naturel to sample the brand-new bathhouse onboard Diamond Princess. After all, most onsens (baths) in Japan require visitors to go without bathing suits for hygiene reasons; the pools are sex segregated for privacy.
We made our vow late at night, however. The next day, in the cold hard glare of the mid-afternoon, we reconsidered. Luckily, the ship has clothed and clothing-optional bathing time when it sails in Australia. So it was on with the bathing suit and into the hot tub.
It takes time to perfect the art of towel animals – and not all cabin stewards are up to the task. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, Cruise Critic readers have encountered more than their share of towel animal fails, finding creations in their cabin that range from goofy to terrifying to downright unrecognizable.
We asked our Facebook fans to send us photographic evidence of their oddest animals – and they responded with some doozies. Below are some of our favorites (check out the Facebook post for some photos that were downright NSFW):« go back — keep looking »