Louis Cruises, Orient Queen, July-August 2013: Louis Aura Cruise Review by nana_agent_36
Overall Member Rating
Louis Cruises, Orient Queen, July-August 2013
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
The shows were very entertaining, especially the Broadway musical show.
The food and service at the restaurant was excellent. There was a breakfast buffet and then a lunch buffet, and a la carte at the restaurant every night (all included in the price.) There was lots to choose from and I really enjoyed both the quality of the food and the friendly service provided by the staff.
You had to pay for your drinks and bottled water, but tap water was free. The prices for the drinks were reasonable, but you could also get bottled water from kiosks/supermarkets in all the ports as it's much cheaper.
My room was a single inside cabin on the upper deck, and although there was no window it was not claustrophobic. It was clean and comfortable, and I didn't mind spending time in my cabin watching tv and reading a book. More Thank god I had my earplugs, because you could hear the bouzoukia music from upstairs until around 01:30 in the morning. My steward was really friendly and helpful. Ask him/her to show you how to switch off the a/c in your cabin, because it can get quite freezing. Bring socks and warm sleepwear to sleep in! Having said that, it was a bit chilly in all areas of the ship, so bring a blazer or cardigan, long trousers and shoes that can be worn with socks. Also bring an adaptor or two for your chargers. It was a bit tricky to keep the adaptor on the plug as it kept falling off. I had to use the leg of the sidetable to keep it in place. There are bath towels, swimming pool towels, soap and shampoo in the bathroom, and you can get a hairdryer from the reception for free. The ship's hairdressing services were very expensive. If you absolutely HAVE to have your hair done, do it in one of the ports.
The cabins on the lower decks were not as nice as the ones upstairs. They were small and I wouldn't want to spend any time in my cabin if I was staying there.
As for the excursions, you had to book them at least 24 hours in advance. The excursion desk was operating in strange hours, and the girls there were not very helpful. Don't forget to bring your sunglasses, sunscreen and hat for your daytime trips. Also, check the weather report before leaving- it was raining cats and dogs in Istanbul. The ship excursions on the Greek ports were mostly OK, but skip the one in Istanbul. Get a cab to the Hagia Sophia area instead and from there do the sightseeing with friends/family, it's really easy and you'll spare yourself all the delays, inconvenience and frustration of travelling in large groups.
You will be asked to leave all your bags outside your cabin on the last night, so bring a small handbag to carry your sleepwear and toiletries with you until you leave the ship.
Overall, a very nice cruise, excellent service and food, lovely destinations (especially Istanbul and Mykonos.) The only minus were the passengers. Most of them were Cypriot middle-aged couples and pensioners travelling with their grandchildren. Not a very pleasant bunch. I saw some of them abusing the foreign staff with racist comments. Less