2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Dining service has slipped, evening entertainment in lounge is not very entertaining for a late night crowd. Butler service, Rommel and his assistant Vipen, were exceptional. No binoculars in room and no lectures on board ship prior to ... Read More
Dining service has slipped, evening entertainment in lounge is not very entertaining for a late night crowd. Butler service, Rommel and his assistant Vipen, were exceptional. No binoculars in room and no lectures on board ship prior to ports. Also not much communication regarding visa help for next cruise to Oman. I personally asked the chief accountant to keep me updated with what became a difficult process. He NEVER communicated until the visa was completed. The ship IT guy tried to help me switch the online application but he could not figure out how to shrink my passport photo tonfit the application. They got it done but it was very stressful and it took four working days after they told me it was usually done in one to three. Would not have been an issue if the. Communication would have been there. Great restaurants to select from and food was very good. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free ... Read More
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free tours and no tipping quickly made this my top favorite cruise of all time. The guests themselves were 40-75 age group comprised mostly of Canadians and Europeans. No language barrier at all as the staff for the most part are fluent in 5 languages. Very few children which does not exclude families but there is not a huge children's program and the sheer amount of walking and exploring would be difficult for kids or seniors with mobilty issues. Having said that the ship herself does accommodate physically challenged passengers. The food was superb with a la carte and buffet style options. We had a pre reserved table every night and we loved getting to know the staff. The food was international style with a North American flair and every meal was different and presented in the most elegant way. They do offer upgraded menu items like Lobster and select wines but we didn't feel the need to upgrade. I can not say enough about the hard working and friendly staff. By day 2 they knew us by name and we were always greeted in a friendly way. The cabins were spotlessly cleaned and had all the special touches you would find on any other larger cruise ship. Towel service, turn down service, cute towel animals and chocolate on the pillows. Our cabin was a large picture window which was lovely arriving in each port. I would have upgraded to balcony except there were none to book last minute. The best thing about this cruise is that it actually overnights in many of the Greek ports which give guests a chance to experience day and nightlife without having to rush to get back on ship. It was great to be able to explore these destinations on our own. The tours were amazing and very informative, especially Turkey which was a wonderful surprise as we were slightly nervous about going there. At no time did we ever feel any port or locals were dangerous. Of course there were lots of vendors selling their wares and for the most part they were ready to bargain and the clothing, jewelry and trinkets were truly authentic. I would not travel in August again just due to the thousands and thousands of tourists in each port every day plus the heat which was in excess of 38C every day. I would highly recommend this cruise to any of our valued customers and do recommend a few pre/post nights to unwind before the cruise. I will be telling anyone who is willing to listen how fantastic this experience was. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have ... Read More
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have found my new home on the seas. embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly, a benefit of sailing with only 900 other passengers. This was not only the first and last day of the cruise but also for every port we visited. We were in Suite 4000, a ES1 category. Before sailing, I looked at the diagram for the owner’s suite on deck 7. I wondered if I would have wanted or needed everything provided in that cabin. Once we boarded and were settled in our suite, I was perfectly happy and would not have wanted to move upstairs. Heck, even the lowest standard cabins on Vining Ocean are better than many higher-level cabins on other cruise lines. I have often been a Grills passenger on Cunard. The Queen’s Grill on QM2 is considered by some to be the best restaurant at sea. Although Wiking does not offer dishes prepared table side, the quality and presentation and variety is equal to the food on other ships. Open dining was a delight and we never had a wait, It was nice to have the alternative dining restaurants and not have to pay extra. The rotating menu at the Chef’s Table was a deal. We ate there five nights during the month we were on board. Wine (which was not bad) and beer (which I don’t drink) were free during meals and I never paid for non-alcoholic beverages and coffee away from the restaurants. I consider it a benefit not to have a casino on the ships, photographers always wanting to take your picture, and on the shops on board lining the hallways as they apply their wares. I loved not having announcements every hour. The lecturers were very good and well-versed to discuss their topics, especially the port talks. Evening stage shows were above-average and well attended, but not the glitzy performances produced on larger ships. At least one excursion is free in every port. I participated in some of those and they were fine. The optional, paid excursions were well run and educational. Good variety of options. The gym is good, plenty of machines. Never crowded. A great spa and - since the line is Norwegian - great sauna, jacuzzi, ice water buckets AND a snow grotto. Imagine a snowball fight in the Suez Canal, I can’t say enough to complement the Viking professionals who made this such an enjoyable adventure. I liked it so much that I already have booked a one month journey next summer. I am sold on Viking! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We travelled with Road Scholar, about 20 of us. We had our own guides separate from the what was provided to the other passengers on the ship. Pros - Nice size ship, under 300. Easy on/off. Restaurants not modded. - Very nice ... Read More
We travelled with Road Scholar, about 20 of us. We had our own guides separate from the what was provided to the other passengers on the ship. Pros - Nice size ship, under 300. Easy on/off. Restaurants not modded. - Very nice crew - Lovely outside deck for meals (there was also a restaurant inside, see below) - Food quality good - Good value - Spa services good Cons - Ship needs renovation. Rooms looks like my dorm room from the 1970s -- without the posters. Desperate need of soundproofing: sitting in bed at night each night, I could hear two people in the next room recounting their day like they were in my room. Spa facilities a bit low end for the prices, though the practitioners were good - At least on my level, there was frequently a septic smell in the hallways - The staff is very friendly, but any special request is met with a blank face and sometimes panic. I don't know what the training is that they get, but it must be about discouraging special requests. There was also the battle to get a refill on a cup of coffee each morning. - The shore excursions were rushed. For Road Scholar shore excursions, we went on our own, but we pretty much tracked with the ship. I don't know if this was required. We moved so quickly through sites that there was no time to sit and appreciate what we were seeing -- or to stop by the museum shop to pick up a book. It's not because we were sailing. We'd often sit in port for hours after, meaning endless rows of souvenirs shops. - The food was dull and repetitive. You would never know we were in the Mediterranean. For some reason, there was an "Asian Buffet Night". I assume most clients of this line want familiar food and that's fine, but I wanted an English type menu, I'd have gone to England. - We went along with the ship on two of their excursions that were really disappointing. First, Murano Island, which was solely a buying trip. We were discouraged from exploring the island outside the factory that we were brought to. The guide said "there's nothing see" which I knew wasn't true because I'd been before on my own. The guide also discouraged us from checking other shops/studios on the island. When I exited the shop to just look at the scenery, I was encouraged by the guide to go back in and do more shopping. What a scam! Second, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. We went at night. The site takes about 15 minutes to go through. The paintings are all copies. There was a reception for us, consisting of sparkling wine and little quiche cups things (we were ready for dinner by then). It took up the whole evening. Total waste of time given all the pleasures Venice has to offer. Groups of passengers started going back to the ship earlier than planned because there was so little to see at the site -- and the ship, which was going to have dinner for us, said we had to wait until 10p. This is when the mask of geniality dropped and instead out came hostility. There's no flexibility or improvisation, which is what really makes good service. In summary: Road Scholar elevated my experience on the tour, but the ship is run-down and I wouldn't take a trip with them again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because we were faithful customers of the (much missed) Swan Hellenic ship Minerva...this seemed like the best match. In many ways it was just what we were looking for... - right size of ship- easy to get around and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were faithful customers of the (much missed) Swan Hellenic ship Minerva...this seemed like the best match. In many ways it was just what we were looking for... - right size of ship- easy to get around and didn’t feel too busy or crowded - everything very clean and tidy - comfy bed - some interesting fellow passengers - efficiently run excursions - pleasant pool area - no dining restrictions -choose your time, place and dining companions - friendly waiting staff and charming room steward - really good on board lecturers- this was a highlight - all knowledgeable and entertaining However... - lacking the special touches which made Minerva great...no invitation to visit the bridge, no live music with afternoon tea, no opera ensemble, no special dinners at the start and end, no invitation to dine with the captain (who was virtually invisible), no towel sculptures by the pool(!), no crew demonstration (cooking/wine/flowers etc)m no on deck barbecues - overpriced spa - pointless ‘shopping’ trip to Murano - lectures out of synch with port visits..some took place after the trip! On one occasion, a scheduled lecture disappeared and then reappeared (after the visit) but wasn’t advertised so most of us missed it...given the very high quality of the lectures, this was disappointing - very limited library space and book stock - inadequate for the number of passengers - there were a number of ‘groups’ on board for whom activities were arranged - bridge players, single travellers, Australians/New Zealanders, Road Scholars, choir members...if, like us, you weren’t part of any of these groups, you could feel excluded - we did...and it made meeting people more difficult as these groups tended to stick together - the biggest negative was the evening entertainment which was hugely disappointing...we initially thought the quality of the musicians was not very good until we heard a jazz session by two of the musicians...the classical double bass player and the pop pianist -brilliant -so maybe they were all otherwise playing music they didn’t like! Unfortunately the majority of the entertainment (6 nights out of 10) was provided by the cruise director...he was a charming and helpful presence around the ship -always cheerful no matter what but...we went to his first performance (ABBA I think) and realised it wasn’t for us which meant lots of dull evenings. I can’t comment on his talent or otherwise as we didn’t return but, however good he might have been, this type of entertainment seems a strange fit on a cruise focusing on Greek and Roman sites with accompanying erudite lectures...opera, classical, more lectures would be good...I guess this may be a minority opinion but it’s strongly felt We’ll consider another Aegean Odyssey again next year (if the itineraries are right) but will also look around for other options - mainly because of the entertainment issues Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our second Viking Star cruise, first the Inagural year Venice to Istanbul. We arrived in Athens three days early an toured on our own. Once we boarded the Star, we felt we had arrived home. The most welcoming part was several of ... Read More
This was our second Viking Star cruise, first the Inagural year Venice to Istanbul. We arrived in Athens three days early an toured on our own. Once we boarded the Star, we felt we had arrived home. The most welcoming part was several of the bartenders remembered us from two years prior. When you are addressed as Mr. Lang and welcome back, that was it, this was going to be a great trip. Tours— Highly recommend Mykonos by 4X4 vechicle trip, Nazareth & Sea of Galilee Shore Excursion, and last and most memorable From Naples The Vistas & Villages of the Amalfi Coast Shore Excursion. The last one stops in Sorento shipping and Delightful 3 Star restaurant lunch. The road trip along the coast were as advertised most scenic, I finally got the Amalfi Coast off my bucket list after 3 prior visits. Food— My favorite Restaurant is Manfredi’s, memorable fine dining, Chef’s Table was disappointing both trips, the Restaurant is better. My breakfast and late night treat was Mamsen’s in the Explorer Lounge on Deck 7. Interesting note the Executive Chef David McDonald is the only cruise chef I have ever seen throughout the ship we’re food is served- “inspecting the troops”, so to speak, everyday. He has the time to talk to guests- a mark of a true professional. Future bookings and discounts were not available on this cruise because of the official reservations agents departure, a letter was given to some Explorer Members to use this code. I missed the window due to health issues, but will try now on an Amazon Cruise in December 2019. The staff in all corners of the ship were very professional, I believe this is due in part to the original crew who set and maintain a high standard for all new members. All in all Viking out got it right, I hope this experience is transferred the new Ocean ships coming on line. Last — This is not a family cruise for younger folks, I believe as it was modeled this way. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first cruise and a retirement dream trip. We chose Viking because of their high ratings and the fact that most everything was included. About 5 days into a 14 day cruise my husband became very ill along with several others. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and a retirement dream trip. We chose Viking because of their high ratings and the fact that most everything was included. About 5 days into a 14 day cruise my husband became very ill along with several others. At least 2 ( that we know of) were taken off the ship,and hospitalized in the closest locations. My husband was cleared to travel home but it took about a week for him to fully recover. Two days after we got home, we got an email that went to all passengers that Legionnaires Disease was identified on this ship. No one personally called us after we made 5 visits to the ship doctor. We still never heard anything more from Viking. Be aware of this situation. My thought would be that we would have at least been given some credit toward another cruise and that a representative would have followed up on my husband's condition. I understand that they could face legal issues but, because of our situation, I would not recommend Viking to anyone. If you go, be aware of all medical situations and have a plan with your family if Viking leaves you in a foreign hospital. I have kept all medical papers and am in the process of,dealing with insurance companies. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We participated on a tour with Gate 1 Travel embarking on a 4 nights cruise in the Aegean Sea leaving from Athens Our ship was the Celestyal Olympia we had an unlimited drink package , you cannot order 2 drinks unless you have 2 ... Read More
We participated on a tour with Gate 1 Travel embarking on a 4 nights cruise in the Aegean Sea leaving from Athens Our ship was the Celestyal Olympia we had an unlimited drink package , you cannot order 2 drinks unless you have 2 cards. this includes water and sodas The do not spray your hands with sanitizer before meals or when you re-enter the ships like most. To disembark, the process is fairly fast , but you better have your card out to keep up the pace as there is only 1 line on and off ship. Excursions were good, but they could have picked up the pace a bit. lots of walking, too slow for some. We were at Mykonos and Santorini both at sunset, definitely wish we had more time on Santorini. Overall , I enjoyed the cruise, and the islands visited. I would just want a larger cabin. Married couple or 2 single women Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
3 couples travelling together, Friends who have never cruised before chose this cruise, asked us to join them. They were not impressed. Very disappointing. Embarking/Disembarking was a smooth efficient process, Everything else was a ... Read More
3 couples travelling together, Friends who have never cruised before chose this cruise, asked us to join them. They were not impressed. Very disappointing. Embarking/Disembarking was a smooth efficient process, Everything else was a struggle. - We purchased a Gold refreshment package because we like our Wines. It turned out that all wines served were Greek wines, of very low quality ) and we only found 1 available that was a premium wine that the 6 of us enjoyed. This premium wine was on the menu at ever bar on board, but it was only available at one bar. So we spent our entire cruise arguing with servers telling them there was stock at the one bar and the servers need to go get it. -When you buy the all inclusive drink package, Greek Draft Beer is offered, all others are additional cost. All the servers wander around the ship picking up empty glasses, no one during the entire cruise asked us if we would like a drink, when we stopped a server and asked her for drinks, she told us to go to the bar. So we spent the entire cruise fetching our own drinks, waiting in line at the bars that were usually under staffed. One morning we asked the bartender for a Mimosa, he tried to give us Low quality sparkling wine, We had to insist on a premium quality sparkling wine with orange juice. She wanted to argue with us that it was an additional cost, We stated we had the gold package and the other bartender argues with her in front of us that she is to go get the premium wine. The final result was that they gave us the premium sparkling wine with cheap orange drink out of a Tetra package, not orange juice. Because we did not have formal wear on captains night they would not allow us into the only dining area serving dinner until after the Captains dinner party, We ate at 9:30 p.m. If you sleep in , you do not get breakfast. Breakfast in the Dining Room ends at 9:00 a.m. There is breakfast at the aft dining area but the food was cold ,stale and no longer looked appetizing and it closed at 9:30 a.m. We went on a shore excursion in Santorini, It took an hour to get to our destination, 40 minutes back to the ship , 1 hour in town. ( Imagine 40 buses trying to get into a small tourist area that only had one lane in most of the town). There is a card on every dining room table offering premium Steak or Seafood for an additional fee, Don't fall for it. not worth the additional cost. Poor communication between the ships staff and the passengers. Everyone we talked to agreed with us that if you have ever done an American Cruise ship, you will be disappointed with Celestyal. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We booked this cruise as we wanted to see as much of the islands as possible in just a few days. This is exactly that happened and rather successfully, as now we wish, we had stayed longer. I' ll state first the negatives: long queues ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we wanted to see as much of the islands as possible in just a few days. This is exactly that happened and rather successfully, as now we wish, we had stayed longer. I' ll state first the negatives: long queues on first embarkation and on each disembarkation, which means much wasted time. The ship offer in the price just one excursion on Ephesus (but the guide was not very fluent on the language). The ship management does not explain what is included in the price as far as drinks is concerned and they don't give directions about shore activities. They could have more activities for children and teens. The positives: when asked the crew give useful information and are very helpful and gentle. Their proportion to the clients is amazing, they are everywhere, eager to serve. The buffet food is average, but in the dining room on deck four it is excellent, especially when served a la carte. Prepare to gain some weight. The best of all is Mohamed from Alexandria, the head – waiter, who helped us with gluten allergies and to whom we are grateful and hope to meet again in another cruise. All in all, in this cruise, you see a lot in just 4 days. Read Less

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