10 Athens (Piraeus) Spring Break Cruise Reviews

It should be the first cruise and should be a great experience. On closer inspection, the ship was outmoded, worn and not up to date. Data transfer to iphone or laptop a sheer catastrophe. The bed width (we had twinbeds) only 80 cm - with ... Read More
It should be the first cruise and should be a great experience. On closer inspection, the ship was outmoded, worn and not up to date. Data transfer to iphone or laptop a sheer catastrophe. The bed width (we had twinbeds) only 80 cm - with a little swell you threatened to fall out. There should be a butler individually available to each cruise guest (which was mathematically completely impossible) - but that per Butler 15 guests were to look after, shows how rarely one had "his" butler actually available. The entertainment events were rather of moderate quality. Good were the mostly Filipino staff in the cabin cleaning and in the service of the three restaurants. In this overall form you can not advise a trip on the SilverShadow.A clear difference was also noticeable when offered dinner in the inclusive restaurant "the restaurant". We ate there twice and in both cases the food was extremely salted and we let things go back. Good were only the food in the two restaurants, where the drinks were charged separately. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The saying is: never go back! In 2012 we had an unforgettable cruise on Aegean Odyssey and we have always wanted to return. So on 26 April 2019 we flew to Athens to join her for a Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean cruise. All ... Read More
The saying is: never go back! In 2012 we had an unforgettable cruise on Aegean Odyssey and we have always wanted to return. So on 26 April 2019 we flew to Athens to join her for a Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean cruise. All went well, transfer to the port of Piraeus was swift and we were quickly into our comfortable outside cabin. Later we attended an Excursion Briefing for the following day and noticed that though we were now leaving the first port five hours earlier than published in the Excursion Booklet, no explantion was forthcoming. Those guests who were staying on for the Black Sea cruise the following week were asked to stay behind. The next day we learned from those passengers that the subsequent cruise had been cancelled as one engine had broken down. So the pattern for the next seven days emerged. Each day the ship left port hours early so that it could proceed at half speed in order to reach the next port in time for the morning excursion the following day. At no time did Captain Pallas (soon named Captain Invisible), Cruise Director Alison Lewin or Tours Manager Chantelle offer any explanation and of course rumours soon materialised. Reference to the Cruise Industry News website revealed that Voyages to Antiquity had issued a press release announcing that ten cruises through the Summer had been cancelled and that the ship would enter dry dock for a replacement engine. However for us unfortunate passengers there was no such information. Further it emerged that the ship is to be reconfigured and leased to the Road Scholars group for three years. So it was then clear that we were on Aegean Odyssey’s Farewell Cruise and that Voyage to Antiquity is no more. This was born out by free drinks being available to all on the last day (though once again nobody knew). The cruise would have been good, but excursions were inevitably rushed, and little time was left after to explore interesting tiny towns in which the ship docked. The Greek Easter Sunday lunch excursion was outstanding in Heraklion, Crete as was the visit to the Stephanos Crater on Nisyros. All the included excursions were well guided by knowledgeable local folks. The food was was mostly good and the included wines plentiful in the Marco Polo MDR though service could be very slow particularly if on a large table. There was a relevant lecture program which my wife enjoyed but there is no evening entertainment of note. So farewell Aegean Odyssey, great little ship with lovely public rooms and staff, let down by management in the face of a crisis which can happen on any ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We choose this cruise because it was the only cruise that took place on Easter,and moove to Aegean sea. This was out 3rd cruise so we knew what to expect. The ship is old but only on papers,and i mean that it looks so fresh and well ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was the only cruise that took place on Easter,and moove to Aegean sea. This was out 3rd cruise so we knew what to expect. The ship is old but only on papers,and i mean that it looks so fresh and well maintained that is was a big posotove surprise for us. The previous 2 cruises were on Costa cruise ships that they are very new.The main difference (and the disavandase of this ship) is the number of elevators.The public areas are in good contition,and the staff is kind.Our room was super clean and very relaxig. The coctails that we drink at the sundecks were medium to low quality. We try different coctails and always was the same feeling of poor quality. In order to be sure that the guy at one of the bars have no idea about making coctails ,i do this: i check the drinks menu and looking for any coctail that is not on the catalog. I notice that there is not Miami Vice. So i order a Miami Vice and the barman prepare for me a coctail that is not on the catalog,it was red colored instead of white,and of course it was ipmossible to pay for it because it was not a price for this drink!!! But anyway.....we hope that we could do a cruise with ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
The cruise itself was great but our cabin was not! See below. Besides the cabin, while we were getting ready to take our shore excursion early in the morning, one of the workers were on our balcony. There was no notice made, our ... Read More
The cruise itself was great but our cabin was not! See below. Besides the cabin, while we were getting ready to take our shore excursion early in the morning, one of the workers were on our balcony. There was no notice made, our curtains were wide open and I was so surprised to see him there. I quickly put on my shirt and pants. This was very inconsiderate of them. Another concern was when I asked for crème brulee when we were dining at World Café. I had them at World Cafe (I had to request for it) when we took a cruise last year and during lunch that day. The waiter said he would ask his supervisor. He came to our table and said that crème brulee was only available at the restaurant. I expressed my dissatisfaction and asked him if I had to go to the restaurant to get it. I also mentioned I had it during lunch and in my previous cruise without going to the restaurant (I had reservations at the restaurant but decided to dine at World Café). He then said he would get it for me. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We choose this cruise as I had done the same cruise on the Crystal eight years ago and wanted to share the experience again with my partner as it was the most amazing experience. We have both cruised many time with other companies in the ... Read More
We choose this cruise as I had done the same cruise on the Crystal eight years ago and wanted to share the experience again with my partner as it was the most amazing experience. We have both cruised many time with other companies in the last eight years. We were very disappointed!!! The ship is quite shabby now, the entertainment in the evenings is very poor and never starts on time.there is no place for non smokers to relax without getting poisoned by the smoke, it is every where. No problem at all with the Itinerary as all the ports are really worth visiting. The cabin staff and the waiters at dinner could not be faulted! Perfect manners and decorum with friendly engaging personalities. Dinner in the evenings was an absolute high light for us. Our initial allocated cabin was definitely not for us. The reception did help us to upgrade though at a cost of another 500 euro (possibly our travel agents fault rather than Celestyal) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose the Costa neoRiviera purely because of the itinerary - we wanted to start in Istanbul. The departure was changed to Athens but we had been there before so it was a disappointment, although understandable in the circumstances. What ... Read More
We chose the Costa neoRiviera purely because of the itinerary - we wanted to start in Istanbul. The departure was changed to Athens but we had been there before so it was a disappointment, although understandable in the circumstances. What wasn't so understandable was why we were still flown to Istanbul for a 4 hour wait for transfer to Athens, leaving us arriving at the ship at 12.30 on 26th unable to eat or drink because all facilities were closed for the night. Customer service staff weren't all that helpful and to be fair a cold snack was later sent to our rooms. Despite having been to Athens already, we really enjoyed seeing it again. Exiting the port we were offered a 15 euro transfer for 3 to the Acropolis which on discussion with the driver became a 50 euro day tour of Athens with return direct to the ship which we found to be great value. The weather certainly plays its part in influencing your memories of the Greek islands and we were not disappointed. Mykonos was our next stop, really no need for any excursions, the town is lovely in itself, and a water bus takes you there for 2 euro, no need to buy expensive transfers. We headed for Delos on a guided tour and it was better than we expected, a mini Pompei. Santorini was reached by tender, but our Costa excursion was really a glorified bus trip to two villages, which, while worth visiting, were swamped by the occupants of two cruise liners, and the guide on our bus added little value to the day. However the island is beautiful and if you can force yourself to put the crowds to one side it was a great day out. We are, after all, part of the crowds ourselves! Our bus trip did include the cost of returning to the tender boats by cable car. Argostoli on Keffalonia was less impressive, nice to see but not worth going out of your way to do so. We had a private excursion, not a Costa one, and it was just ok. Quick tour of the area and a wine tasting, but nothing exciting. Anyone visiting this island could have as good a time just walking into the town which looked nice. Other guests were not impressed with the Costa tours they went on. Dubrovnik was spectacular. Heading to the cable car we again hit on a taxi driver who took 4 of us up to the cable car viewpoint but stopped on the way at a few other vantage points to allow photos. it was cheaper than 4 cable car tickets and we had better views. We then walked the walls, as everyone does, and it was impressive. Again, the weather did us many favours and on a wet day I'm not sure the same impression would have been made. Rain did greet our arrival in Venice for the end of the trip but it dried up as we docked and we walked from Piazzale Roma to San Marco and enjoyed it immensely despite it being our 4th visit. Venice always pleases. So all in all it was a great experience. However Costa could do some little things to enhance the experience. The buffet breakfast was a chaotic free for all. Staff and tour guides put this down to the arrival of the first 600 Spanish guests for the season, who really don't know the meaning of manners. However from earlier reviews of this ship we had been pre warned, and really on any ship when all occupants need to exit the ship at the same time its going to be hectic no matter how you organise it. But if Costa had opened at say 7.00am instead of 7.30, and had provided more than 4 coffee machines for 1600 guests it might have been better. After half an hour two machines usually packed in so it was a road rage type atmosphere around the 2 remaining coffee machines. Otherwise the food was fine, nothing spectacular, and the restaurant evening experience was good. We were not offered our choice of sitting but were told by a tour guide that the Spanish and Italians got the 10 pm sitting and us northern europeans got the 7.30 sitting. Lucky for us as I'm not sure I'd have lasted till 10.00. Staff and stateroom were fine and the ship itself was in good nick for an old ship. It clearly caters for Italians and knowing this in advance you just get on with it. Lots of shore excursions were cancelled because of low numbers but only after we had sailed, leaving short notice to re-arrange. Obviously you couldn't go to outside companies at this point! We had one cancelled on Santorini and as outlined above I'm not sure the alternative was value for money. Excursion staff weren't exactly sympathetic, using the shoulder shrug as the international language of communication. The fellow guests were the rudest I have come across, but on the other hand we did also meet some lovely people every evening. All in all it will be a great memory for us due to the ports of call and the lovely May weather. One person travelling with us was on her first ever cruise and far from being put off, is now seeking out a second cruise for later in the year. To sum up, you probably get what you pay for, and if the itinerary is what you want this compensates for other shortfalls. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife, 16 year old daughter and I returned yesterday from a 7-night cruise onboard Crystal Symphony from Athens to Athens. This was our first Crystal cruise which we chose due to itinerary, date and curiosity as we have always wanted to ... Read More
My wife, 16 year old daughter and I returned yesterday from a 7-night cruise onboard Crystal Symphony from Athens to Athens. This was our first Crystal cruise which we chose due to itinerary, date and curiosity as we have always wanted to try Crystal. My wife and I are in our mid forties and are addicted to cruising. I've completed over 70 cruises on all lines ranging from budget to very luxurious. I started cruising at age 13. With age, as our taste and budge changed we have particularly found Oceania and Regent cruises to best suit us. This review is by no means a comparison of lines. The reason we have found Oceania and Regent to be so desirable is their commitment to quality ships, service, food and entertainment. Most importantly, when we sail on these lines we always feel special. We have for the most part abandoned mass market cruising unless if for a group or special event. I did have some trepidation about trying Crystal as I had heard it is "old school", "formal" and "stuffy". Although old school might have been appealing we certainly don't care for venues which are formal, stuffy or even pretentious. Additionally, my family always dresses well, but the idea of having to put on a tuxedo on a vacation seems ridiculous to me. Unless I'm going to a black tie wedding or the Academy Awards I don't see the purpose of a tuxedo on vacation. Well - Crystal debunked any myths of ill fated pre-conceived notions and grossly exceeded our expectations in every area. We found Crystal to be perhaps our favorite cruise line and cannot imaging how our experience could have been better - unless I really wanted to nitpick which would be ridiculous, but I will do it anyway because otherwise this review will seem too perfect. The ship is certainly older and as such the staterooms and suites are smaller than the competition's new builds and a bit aged, but extremely well done. The only other little detail I would suggest is one which would improve the lunch experience at the Trident Grill. The Trident Grill can get backed up during peak hours with lines and wait times. A solution would be to take passengers orders and have tables labeled with numbers which would go on the order and then the food could be delivered when ready allowing passengers to sit comfortably instead of stand waiting for their food. This would prevent the bottleneck that happens during peak hours and works well on lines such as Oceania and Regent. The fact that I have no other critical comments or suggestions is remarkable and kudos to Crystal! FELLOW PASSENGERS: Fellow passengers hailed from all over the world and many age ranges and situations were represented from solo travelers to couples, families, and friends traveling together. The age range of passengers was all over the map. One thing was apparent - Crystal seems to appeal to and attract fun loving people who are young at heart. Passengers were well traveled and seemed to all have a strong preference for uber luxury in a comfortable atmosphere. Many passengers are repeat Crystal loyalists who expressed they would never dream of trying a different line. As mentioned we traveled with my 16 year old daughter who was the only teenager on board. We traveled with her so we could all spend time together and she did not miss having other teens on board. There were a few very well behaved toddlers on board. STAFF: One significant area where Crystal stands out is with it's staff. A happy ship equals a happy trip. In all of my travels I have never experienced a more warm, passionate, friendly and genuinely sincere crew eager to please the passengers. From the time of embarkation we immediately felt welcomed on board as if we were visiting family. Remarkably - and almost immediately - the staff addresses passengers by their names and remembers even their little desires. I cannot reduce to words how incredible the crew of the Crystal Symphony are. AMBIANCE: From the moment you embark on Crystal Symphony you sense something special. An ambience which is very classy, upscale, yet comfortable like your local country club. The fellow passengers and crew interact like old friends - and in fact many passengers and crew have become old friends over the years and passenger loyalty is apparent as is that of the crew. Many crew members have been with Crystal since the beginning. My family found there was nothing stuffy or pretentious about Crystal. In fact, just the opposite. I think being a luxury line and attracting passengers who appreciate such an experience breeds a natural comfort level which creates an environment of warmth and community which feels familiar to that which the guests are accustomed. The ambiance reminds me a lot of a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons, but the overall experience Trumps both chains many times over. I've never experienced service at any luxury hotel that exceeds that received on Crystal. DINING: Dining for us on board Crystal Symphony was old school. We had a 830pm dining time. It's been years since we've had fixed dining and we LOVED IT! We truly enjoyed getting to know our waiter, busboy, head waiter and maître d'. Every dinner was excellent with service to match. Preferences were quickly learned on the first evening and remembered. Our waiter asked us on the first night how we liked our dining experience to be paced and kept it constant throughout. He wanted to know if we wanted to enjoy slow two hour dinners with time between courses or whether he should move things along. Our preference was to move things along - as we like to make it to the shows - he did a perfect job. Quality and presentation of the food was on par even with Michelin 1 and 2 star restaurants in my opinion. We enjoyed Silk Road and Prego as well. Silk Road was excellent, but being frequent patrons of Nobu in Los Angeles found the atmosphere not to be typical of a Nobu and although the sushi was fresh it did not seem quite on par with the land based experience. Nonetheless, I would still rate Silk Road as excellent. ENTERTAINMENT: I could go on for pages about the entertainment. My entertainment expectations were no expectations. After all how could a small line with only 2 cruise ships provide any type of jaw dropping entertainment. Wow! Was I wrong. I'm quite critical when it comes to entertainment and have been fortunate to experience the best entertainment Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Broadway has to offer. Every show we saw on board was outstanding! The singers and dancers were extremely talented and major production shows being very well produced and captivating. The production shows were complimented by the Crystal orchestra. Guest entertainers and ballroom dancers were amazing. One of the most pleasant surprises was Mark Farris who lit up the piano bar every evening with his brilliant talent, wit and ability to engage the audience. Lastly, but certainly not our cruise director Paul McFarland is the best we have ever experienced. He truly set the tone for the whole cruise experience. CABINS & SHIP IN GENERAL: Despite the age of the ship and not having some of the glitz and glamour of newer vessels - Crystal Symphony is perfect! She is a comfortable and contemporary ship that that has been updated for the times with a timeless elegance. Her size and passenger capacity is just perfect. We never felt like the ship was crowded. No significant wear and tear in any area was recognized. Our accommodations were in a Penthouse Suite which was very comfortable and of adequate size with excellent design and décor. However, don't expect to compare the staterooms on board Crystal Symphony with new builds like the Regent Seven Seas Explorer where the entry level suites (the ship is all suites) are larger than the Crystal Penthouse Suites. I saw cabins in other categories and despite being small are very well appointed. The cabin sizes would not impact my decision to consider another Crystal cruise. Public rooms are comfortable and flow between areas is excellent. Of note, upon arrival in our cabin and unpacking my daughter's feet became soaked when entering the walk in closet. Apparently, a clean water pipe from the level above had leaked. Within minutes the Chief Housekeeper arrived on scene and workers were ripping up the ceiling to repair the leak and drying up and shampooing the affected carpeting. Several other repairs were required during the cruise on this pipe and were done when we were not in our stateroom. The day of embarkation we were offered to immediately have our stateroom moved and to have the staff pack up all of our things. We declined as the problem was a fixable one. Later in the cruise we received a bouquet of flowers with a note thanking us for our cooperation and apologizing for any inconvenience. Class act Crystal! PORTS: This was a fabulous week of Greek island ports with embarkation and disembarkation being the port of Athens. Originally, the cruise was supposed to conclude in Istanbul, Turkey, but the itinerary was changed due to safety concerns. The itinerary was port intensive, but fabulous nonetheless. Some ports were repeats for us and some were new. What a pleasant surprise Naphlion and Hydra were. CONCLUSION: Crystal has earned our loyalty and business perhaps as our new favorite cruise line and we look forward to continuing cruising on Crystal for years to come. Apparently, Crystal is arranging for 3 new build cruise ships. I imagine Crystal's ambitious and innovative CEO Edie Rodriguez will continue to have her finger on the pulse and incorporate more relevant and modern features on the new ships that were not typically the standard of luxury cruising when Crystal Symphony was launched in 1995. The bottom line is that Crystal Symphony is a 21 year old ship that has wowed us like no other! I can only imagine combining the food, service and Crystal standards applied to new build cruise ships. I'm certain that when the new ships launch any question of competition will be drowned. There will be no competition. Even now, despite a number of cruise lines being marketed in the luxury catergory - Crystal is in a class of its own. Thank you Crystal! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We had sailed on her sister ship several years ago, loving every moment, so decided that a short cruise on this lovely, yacht size vessel would be just perfect in a Mediterranean spring. Embarkation was over before we knew it, with the ... Read More
We had sailed on her sister ship several years ago, loving every moment, so decided that a short cruise on this lovely, yacht size vessel would be just perfect in a Mediterranean spring. Embarkation was over before we knew it, with the smiling captain waiting at the top of the gangplank to welcome guests, and a trio of waiters proffering glasses of champagne. Our charming Deck 2 cabin was ready, with a chilled bottle nestling in an ice bucket and a huge basket of fruit temptingly beside it. The cabin had two delightfully retro portholes, lovely wooden trims round the separate bed and sitting area and a huge cabinet housing tv, DVD player and cocktail cabinets, complete with beautiful crystal glasses. The wardrobe had adequate storage, plus two robes, and there were ample drawers for more storage. The tiny bathroom had a marble shower unit with multi jet taps , Bulgari toiletries in generous sizes and ample fluffy towels. The friendly cabin stewardess checked to see that everything was to our liking, and brought the down pillows we prefer. We strolled to the top deck for a tempting buffet lunch, accompanied by wines or champagnes... All a fantastic beginning to a delightful cruise. Dinner, the highlight of the day on many a cruise, was truly a Gastronomic experience, with every dish cooked to order, from a very varied menu, beautifully prepared and presented, especially with the great touch of the main course being cloche covered , and served with ceremony and style. Well chosen wines were served to accompany dinner each evening, but it was a little disappointing to find that no port was available, apart from an ultra sweet ruby. It was a delight on two cruise nights to have dinner served on the open decks of the ship, with dishes chosen to reflect the Mediterranean Sea surrounding us. Always on offer was an alternative more traditional fare emu, and an innovative vegan and raw menu. As this tiny vessel has no showroom or entertainment venues, evenings are low key, centred round the charming Piano bar or the Top of the Yacht bar, with skilled cocktail serving barmen. The ports visited ranged from tiny, idyllic Patmos, busy Mykonos and Kusadasi, where most guests whisked off to visit the glorious ancient city of Ephesus. The evocative port of Kepez was the starting point for those who wished to visit the sad site of Galipolli, or alternately see the vast site of ancient Troy. On return from port visits, we were able to enjoy the range of water sports offered from the lowered back deck, shepherded by a crew member in and inflatable. Other guests enjoyed the comfortable sun beds round the tiny pool, with waiters offering cooling drinks and deck food service. On the last night of the cruise, we had chosen to enjoy a night under the stars, sleeping on top deck on a huge curved Balinese bed, with half canopy, and chilled champagne ready on the cocktail table at the foot of the bed. This special bed was roped off for privacy, and all lights dimmed, on request at midnight. Unlike many guests, we stayed the entire night, going off to sleep under the velvet, star studded sky and woken by the sun rising. A cruise on such a charming vessel was like a tiny taste of being on a grand liner of yesteryear with impeccable service, no glitz, just old fashioned luxury discretely delivered. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were really looking forward to our cruise on this sailing motor cruiser. However, the sails and hull shape limited the weather we could sail in, which prevented us sailing right around the Peloppanese and the sails seemed to be really ... Read More
We were really looking forward to our cruise on this sailing motor cruiser. However, the sails and hull shape limited the weather we could sail in, which prevented us sailing right around the Peloppanese and the sails seemed to be really just for token aesthetic purposes, as one sail was only used once for a short time on one occasion. The double bedrooms were disappointing as the bed, in reality was only what I would describe as a three-quarters bed with the feet end quite narrow. Fortunately, the ship had only 14 passengers and we were readily moved to a twin cabin. The beds in the twin cabin ranged from extremely hard to very hard, but I solved this problem by getting extra pillows and lying on these! Our itinerary was very good, but due to poor weather forecasts, we were unable to sail right around the Peloppanese, but the planned shore excursions to Delphi and ancient Olympia were brilliant. The buses and mini buses used were of excellent quality. As our planned route was changed it meant that we sailed through the Corinth Canal again during daylight which all the passengers enjoyed. Two other unplanned excursions were made which were very good and the ships director made the most of the change of route. Unfortunately the food did not live up to expectations. In brief, there were large quantities, of mainly cool, poor quality food. In view of the large amount of food wasted, surely it would have been better to serve smaller quantities of better quality food! The plus side was that I did not put on weight during this holiday! The waiters were very attentive, but I felt it unnecessary and slightly irritating for them to fill up the water glasses every few minutes, perhaps this was because the ship was not full. The wine waiter was very good and found us an excellent choice of wine. Another thing I found disappointing was that 2 people were left to dine alone during the Captains dinner and the Captain sat at the staff table during the cruise. One suggestion I would make is that another handrail on the stairs would make it easier for older or infirm passengers to move up and done the stairs. All in all, we are disappointed that Variety cruises did not fully live up to our expectations as we would have loved to have sampled some of their other cruises further afield, but based mainly on the poor quality food, we would not book another Variety cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first time on a middle size ship, but we have previously cruised very happily on Celebrity Summit and Millennium, and expected, and got, the same quality of cruise. The Holy Land seemed to provide port visits which were a ... Read More
This was our first time on a middle size ship, but we have previously cruised very happily on Celebrity Summit and Millennium, and expected, and got, the same quality of cruise. The Holy Land seemed to provide port visits which were a little different from those we had always experienced in the Med, and, despite some apprehension as an attack on the Gaza strip had occurred only a couple of weeks before our cruise, and we felt there might be too obvious a police presence in some areas, we need not have been concerned as ashore throughout Israel and Palestine we felt quite safe. Azamara Quest was excellent in every respect. We believe that the total experience was in no small part due to the excellent sociability and attitude to his staff of the Swedish Captain, whose name I have now forgotten regrettably. The crew were not only courteous and affable towards the guests but towards each other. There seemed to be a family-like atmosphere amongst them. Because of some little difficulty in getting a Dollar card to work in the ATM, essential for payment of our account onboard, I did make a bit of a nuisance of myself with over-frequent visits to the Customer Services desk, but they all treated me with politeness and patience. The accommodation was very good, and the stateroom a little larger than we had felt it would be. As we had a veranda we were initially surprised to see that it had a sturdy wooden eating-height table and two wooden dining chairs, rather than the loungers we had expected; in the event we had several meals in-room and this configuration was of course much more sensible for that purpose. Certainly it would not have been in any way possible to eat a full meal on the very very small occasional table provided in the stateroom itself, and the seating there would have made balancing plates rather a problem! As we enjoyed excellent weather for the whole of the cruise we had no problem, but if the weather had been unpleasant it would have been a different story, as whenever there is a very early start for a shore excursion we order in breakfast and would not have had space even for that in the cabin. The cleanliness and quality of the whole ship was outstanding, and, in particular, the public restrooms, this being only 2 weeks past the start of the Swine flu outbreak so all due care was being taken. The dining room service and choices were first class, but not quite up to Millennium standard perhaps; however that is a personal observation, and depended on one's menu choice to some extent. The speciality restaurants were on a par with the dining room, but not really particularly outstanding, although the service and location made the venue very worthwhile. One of the most noteworthy culinary events was the remarkable breakfast in the Windows Cafe; excellent combinations, very fresh soft fruits and the service impeccable. A big plus was the lack of pushy bar waiters around the decks - something to be deplored on the larger ships. As this was a port-intensive cruise the lack of entertainment onboard was not as noticeable as that we experienced in September on Journey. We would like to have had more boutiques to pass the time after dinner perhaps, or indeed some lectures as well as the really good enrichment lectures on the next day's location. The ethnic belly dancer and Turkish musicians were brilliant and a couple of the other shows were all right, but unfortunately the pianist in the Cova Lounge was offering music well beyond his somewhat limited range, and this made one less place to while away the between-times for us. One further thing which should be mentioned is the brilliant disembarkation and shore excursion filtering. We never had to wait. Everything was clearly indicated and the wait for taxis controlled with precision, not what we had experienced with another cruise line at the same port only last year, where utter chaos reigned! OK it was a much larger ship, but the control was just not evident then. The shore excursions: Loads of choices. We had an excellent time in Israel with Patra Travel, whose Jewish guide was so knowledgeable, not only on Judaism but in-depth information on Christian and Moslem sites. We visited the day before the Pope was to visit all the same sites, and although the Holy places were absolutely packed with tourists he and his Palestinian guide (they had to change at the Wall) never hassled or harried us and answered all questions fully. However sadly the same could not be said for our foray into Egypt, where we were to take a 10 hour tour to the Pyramids, Sphinx, Cairo market, and so on. We did all this at great speed (and the road from Alexandria is dreadfully bumpy and potholed), and although the young guide was very knowledgeable we were after all there to see the sights, as well as have the history lesson, and we arrived after 2 1/2 hours driving to be allowed only 10 minutes at the Pyramids, and this to include a rest stop! We had presumed that seeing the Pyramids would include at least a short look inside, but that wasn't possible in the time allowed. We then had to rejoin the coach whilst it stopped in a line of moving traffic! Onward to the market at Cairo (not the tour's fault it was a Friday and therefore many places were closed for religious reasons), but here again we were required to jump out of the coach and given 15 minutes to find our way through the little winding alleys and back, and certainly no real time to actually buy anything. Lunch on a Felucca on the Nile was included. Stupidly we had assumed that this would be moving a little way down the Nile, but it appeared to be moored on a long line and whilst the boat moved it didn't go anywhere. Still it was an experience and we got some good photos from it. On to a quite interesting Mosque and adjacent Museum, and the traditional visit to a Celebrity "safe shopping experience" where we saw Papyrus made - very very briefly - and were of course then exposed to the other items that outlet offered. All good quality probably, but we always feel a little trapped by these specially chosen outlets. (Incidentally felt the same way for the 2nd time in the same carpet manufactory in Istanbul we visited with Celebrity last year where the door was locked when we were inside!!). Back to Alexandria at breakneck speed (we touched 90km in the rush hour dash) and arrived 2 1/2 hrs early. Complained to Shore Excursions but of course heard nothing yet. If asked immediately following our return from Quest if we would go on that ship again, the answer would have been a resounding yes, but unfortunately we followed this up with a September cruise on Journey, which was a considerable disappointment. I shall bore everyone with that review shortly. Cheating here actually, as there isn't a slot for Paphos which is what we mainly went to see. Were sent on the wrong tour to Paphos and spent too long in a coach going around scrubland, with distant views of Paphosa. Did however visit a splendid small cathedral and the tombs of the Kings. Unfortunately the visit which we had expected to Paphos town never materialised, being given 30 minutes nearby at the harbour (too far to walk into the town and back in that time) whilst many of the rest of the coachload viewed the mosiacs. We regret not going to the mosiacs now having seen them on t.v. but had wrongly assumed we would have been able to go to the town when the choice had to be made. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009

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