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25 Athens (Piraeus) to Trans-Ocean Cruise Reviews

The cruise was generally excellent mainly because of the the variety of food, the service, the gym and running track, and the itinerary. I will not go into detail on those factors because you can read about them in numerous other reviews. ... Read More
The cruise was generally excellent mainly because of the the variety of food, the service, the gym and running track, and the itinerary. I will not go into detail on those factors because you can read about them in numerous other reviews. Instead, I will discuss a few deficiencies aboard Nautica and suggest some ways to overcome them so that they will not interfere with your enjoyment of the cruise. The final week After seeing Petra, there are 4 days a sea, then a ½ day stop in Salalah, Oman, and then another day at sea before stopping for a day in Muscat, Oman. Salalah is a dead-zone as far as tourism is concerned. There is nothing to see in the industrial area that surrounds the gigantic port. Moreover, the taxi drivers’ union does not allow the ship to offer its usual free shuttle into the town. We heard numerous complaints from other passengers about the boring tours of Salalah offered by Nautica (at outrageous prices). On that day, we stayed onboard the ship even though it meant we went 6 full days without going ashore. My advice: Take some good books and projects to help fill the hours in that final week. Shore excursions Because we paid O-Life fares, we received 4 excursions each, which we used for tours that were only accessible by the ship's buses. We found the main problem on these excursions with 30+ people was that it was difficult to hear the guide unless you were standing right beside him or her. Oceania needs to take a lesson from Viking and provide Vox machines for all passengers on all tours. We found that for half the price of Nautica's shore excursions we could easily book better, small group tours using top-rated companies that we found on Tripadvisor. Then everybody could hear the guide and ask lots of questions. We used Love Egypt Tours in Luxor and Jordan Horizons for Petra. Specialty restaurants reservations Oceania does not reward loyalty; instead they give perks to passengers based on how much they pay for their staterooms. For example, someone who is a first time Oceania guest who buys a stateroom for $25000 gets to reserve specialty restaurants at least a month before someone who has been on several Oceania cruises and has spent over $50000 in total, but always on porthole staterooms on level 3. That's not fair. I booked the minute I was allowed to reserve specialty restaurants and did not get a single one of my choices because people in more expensive staterooms had taken all the available tables. However, when I embarked, I went immediately to the dining room and they exchanged all my (bad) specialty restaurant reservations for the times I wanted. Lesson learned: Oceania holds back a lot of times to satisfy unhappy customers like me who request changes when they are onboard. It's also worth noting that we received better meals and equal service in the Grand Dining Room. We will likely not bother reserving in the specialty restaurants on our next cruise. WiFi and Nautica’s computer lab With the O-Life fare, you get free WiFi. However, it’s not their premium WiFi and it’s slow. I can't understand why Oceania offers a service such as WiFi when it is clearly substandard. The two hours before dinner seem to be the worst. Moreover, if you go to the computer lab you may find that some external drives cannot be read by the ship’s computers. I suspect it’s because those computers are PCs and don’t read files that are made on Apple machines. Before you leave home, if you’re a Mac user, test your external drives to make sure they can be read by a PC (eg. at your local library). Also make sure all your files are saved in PDF or .doc format. Food Although the meals are generally excellent, we experienced 2 problems. First, chicken breasts or thighs were raw inside on 2 occasions. We sent them back and got well-cooked replacements. Make sure if you order chicken that you specify you want it well done. Undercooked chicken can be dangerous! A second problem is that the Terrace Grill (the buffet restaurant that you will probably use for most breakfasts and lunches) has the worst design of any cruise ship we have been on. Why? -- 90% of the food is crammed onto counter-tops on both sides of a very narrow aisle, about 50 feet long. You’re continually banging into other guests who are shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get food. The solution: Go very early or very late. Canyon Spa I listened to one of the hour-long health seminars given by the fitness trainer. It was about all the “terrible” health problems caused by the accumulation of toxins in the body. Since I have a biology degree, it soon became obvious that although there was some accurate anatomical and physiological information given out, the majority of the “facts” simply involved vague, misleading half-truths. The objective was to sell several months’ supply of Canyon Spa teas and a seaweed bath product that would supposedly rid the body of toxins. (The cost: over $1000 for a six month supply delivered to your home) It was the worst example of quackery and “snake oil” sales I have ever seen, with not a shred of valid medical research to support the use of those products. Oceania should be ashamed of allowing that kind of misinformation to be foisted on passengers, most of whom have low scientific literacy. My advice: Use the spa for massages if you want to pay their ridiculous prices, -- but skip the seminars. In summary, none of these problems affected our enjoyment of the cruise. I simply offer them as a warning to future passengers on Nautica or her sister ships. No cruise ship is perfect. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. We made all our own tour arrangements at each port so I can not comment on the ships tours. Our room was fantastic and the service bar none. We found all ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because of the itinerary and it did not disappoint. We made all our own tour arrangements at each port so I can not comment on the ships tours. Our room was fantastic and the service bar none. We found all the amenities great. We especially liked the Terrace Cafe just because of its variety of selection and casual atmosphere. We did enjoy Toscanas food as well, but did find the Polo fell short of our expectations. The entertainment in the evening was energetic and we were so impressed with the takent of the young enetertainers on the ship. The enrichment lectures were really informative and we tried not to miss any of them. We enjoyed the small ship atmosphere and the friendly staff. Our housekeeping staff went above and beyond any requests we had. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and we were quick to get off and on the boat to meet up with our tour groups. We will definitely use Oceania again. Thanks for a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Have enjoyed some great cruises with Celebrity many times, including one to the Galapagos, and one not so good with Oceania, but happily discovered Azamara a couple of years ago and this was our third sailing with them. Pleased to say the ... Read More
Have enjoyed some great cruises with Celebrity many times, including one to the Galapagos, and one not so good with Oceania, but happily discovered Azamara a couple of years ago and this was our third sailing with them. Pleased to say the cruise did not disappoint in any way. Azamara Officers and Staff are very personable and welcoming, the Master of the Vessel (Jose) is a real star/treasure and we enjoyed his input tremendously. The itinerary was great and, by utilising the ship’s own tours, we’ve now put more pins on our world map having been able to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Petra, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, plus two ports in the country of Oman. The cruise ended in Dubai and we flew home the following day, and delighted to report that Dubai had the cleanest airport we’d ever seen. Well done, Dubai! Suffice to say Egypt itself was none too clean and, one tip, you need to pack some hand sanitising wipes should you decide to do a tour. After what we saw floating in a tributary, we’ll never book a river cruise on the Nile - Ever! Azamara’s AzAmazing evening was held in Israel (Ashdod) and was well worth going to despite having been on the very tiring trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem that same day. Also had a great time at the White Night Party, which displayed a wonderful variety of food, with excellent entertainment provided by the ship’s band,’Smooth Sensations’. The secret is to get seated in advance of the start time, oh heck, have I now given it away??? And, as for the Chocolate Buffet? So very gorgeous- and artistic! What’s not to like? Message to the Quest: See you again next Feb! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We were interested in visiting the ancient ruins in Athens, Petra, and Luxor. The Silversea pre and post cruise Hotels were were excellent. We enjoyed the Muse. There were things we really liked and a couple of things that need ... Read More
We were interested in visiting the ancient ruins in Athens, Petra, and Luxor. The Silversea pre and post cruise Hotels were were excellent. We enjoyed the Muse. There were things we really liked and a couple of things that need attention.We liked the room design. We did not like the black oily soot that came out of the smokestacks and covered the deck and furniture on the back outdoor seating. Soiled lots of cloths before we discovered it. I thought it strange that when my wife and I arrived to eat at the Indochine restaurant I was asked to go get a jacket before I could enter, I went back to room and returned to enter when I noticed eight men in the restaurant who hung their jackets on the chair and were wearing bluejeans and sneakers. Jason told me I only need the jacket to enter but then I could remove it. Quite a poor policy and not consistently applied. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My husband loves Hawaii, however the hotel where we always stay was being renovated in 2018 so i took the opportunity to find a suitable cruise - the requirements were : warm weather, ocean (naturally - no river cruise), interesting ... Read More
My husband loves Hawaii, however the hotel where we always stay was being renovated in 2018 so i took the opportunity to find a suitable cruise - the requirements were : warm weather, ocean (naturally - no river cruise), interesting area(s) and a "nice" ship (with a king-size bed - very important). We have done a few cruises and so far liked the QM2-Grill best (we enjoy ballroom dancing). This was a long introduction ... The SilverSea / SIlver Muse had a very good itinerary - from Athens through the Suez Canal to Oman, via stops in Cyprus and multiple stops in Egypt, particularly Luxor. This schedule was well suited for finishing our trip - on our own - in Dubai. As soon as SilverSea / SIlver Muse (or similar, i.e Spirit) has an itinerary we like we'll book again. We loved the experience. The ship is just lovely - the perfect size in our opinion - big enough to have nice facilities yet small enough to provide an intimate and cozy feeling. No photographer to bug you all the time. We did have a "suite" which was very comfortable (and had the required king-size bed). It also had a Bose sound system but the guest(s) have to provide the music which we could not since we don't have "smart phones" (this was really a shame because we are used to excellent sound; there was music available via the TV but very poor sound quality even though they did have some classical music. On that subject - sound quality - the theatre has a terrbile sound system, we were not the only ones complaining. Also - why does everything have to be so loud ?!? It's ok to amplify a Trio or individual Guitar player on the deck around the pool but in a small and cozy room this simply becomes deafening noise !! The food was excellent and the service superb - there are basically 2 dining venues, the relatively formal Atlantide and the more relaxed Italian La Terrazza - there are several more smaller places (Chinese, Japanese and totally informal pool-side restaurants as well as one super-fancy venue where you have to pay a cover charge - we tried it but were not impressed). One real complaint is that the last breakfast seating is at 9:30 and closes at 10 ! We are on holiday - vacation ! So we had breakfast in our room and our butler tried to bring it as late as possible, typically 9:50 and then 10 min later the eggs and bacon so they don't get cold while we have fruit/juice/cereal - this was acceptable since we could sit in our house coats. (We prefer to have a very late breakfast, typically 11:30 and no lunch - don't know why this seems to be such a problem except on the QM2). Regardless of dress codes, most people were very well dressed - a pleasant surprise, we like it. I can't say much about excursions since we made mostly our own arrangements but one "Beach break" which we had booked was cancelled, not enough interest, but then the office agreed to organize it privately for us and this worked out well. All in all a most wonderful experience - we are looking forward to cruise with SilverSea again. Read Less
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
Sail Date October 2018
This was our fifth Silversea cruise, our second on the Muse but our first repositioning voyage. As always, we flew to our embarkation city the day beforehand and had a fun 24 hours in Athens. We didn’t feel it necessary to book our ... Read More
This was our fifth Silversea cruise, our second on the Muse but our first repositioning voyage. As always, we flew to our embarkation city the day beforehand and had a fun 24 hours in Athens. We didn’t feel it necessary to book our accommodation through Silversea as it’s a major European city with good transport links. When you just need a relatively central location, a comfortable bed and a good shower, why pay over the odds? Silversea waived the “deviation fee” on this occasion so we booked a simple hotel 10 minutes on the metro from the Acropolis. We enjoyed exploring the city on the Sunday and spent Monday morning in the magnificent Acropolis Museum before taking an inexpensive taxi to Piraeus and boarding the ship with minimum fuss. We were sat outside La Terrazza having lunch within 15 minutes. We previously sailed on the Muse on her inaugural voyage in April 2017 and had a great time, despite the dining chaos complained of by some. It definitely felt like a home-coming, with some familiar faces amongst the crew and we easily slipped into the warm embrace of luxury provided onboard. The ship looked good and well-kept. For us, the public spaces achieve the balance between muted luxury and comfort - we are not interested in being surrounded by “bling”. Our suite, although on a lower deck than we have previously sailed on, was in all other respects exactly the same and very convenient for the “big beige lounge” (the Dolce Vita) and Team Trivia every afternoon. Over the course of the cruise, we ate in all the restaurants with the exception of La Dame. This was a conscious choice on our part as on our previous voyage we didn’t feel La Dame merited the extra charge when the food in Atlantide is particularly good. We dined in Kaiseki to celebrate a birthday and the chefs and staff gave us a memorable evening. We also enjoyed the sushi and sashimi for lunch at Kaiseki, which sometimes provided a quieter alternative to the buffet or the pool deck. The food at all restaurants ranged from very good to excellent. It was pleasing to see that the menu at Silver Note (previously our lest favourite option) had improved. The flavours at Indochine were spot-on and the bar there was one of the nicest on the ship. Not all guests appreciate Asian fusion, but it was heartening to see the Indochine dining room busier than previously. Where we had previously sailed on port-intensive itineraries with relatively few sea days, we had to make an adjustment on this cruise where it was roughly half port and half sea days. This was made easier with plenty to keep us busy. There were three guest lecturers on board, two of whom - Mark Elowitz and Tom Jones - were particularly popular. Team Trivia became increasingly popular as the cruise progressed. Cruise Director Vikki conducted matters with elan and confidence. We used the gym regularly and my husband attended a number of classes with the fitness instructor, who he rated highly. The jogging track was busy with walkers and runners first thing in the morning. We had a bridge tour, various cooking demonstrations in different parts of the snip, a galley tour and many other diversions. The Voices of Silversea did a really good job on this voyage and all the various musicians worked hard to support each other and devise new combinations of musical entertainment to offer guests. Charlie the guitarist was a particular star. In addition, there were two other artists brought in for different parts of the cruise - a singer/pianist and a flamenco guitarist. Both were very skilled. We took a number of excursions in the ports we visited. The desert jeep safari in Sharm El Sheikh was more fun and interesting than we had originally expected. The landscapes through which we drove were remarkable and the visit to the Bedouin camp was enlivened by both a whirling dervish and a belly dancer. The full day excursion to Petra was tiring but very well worth it. Again, the desert landscape we passed through to get there was quite spectacular. Everybody will say that there isn’t enough time to do more than skim the surface in Petra and I think that is true. Once we had passed through the Siq, we left the tour group behind and wandered on our own. There was enough flexibility in the lunch arrangements for us to maximise the time in the old city and just grab something quick back at the Movenpick Hotel. After all, there didn’t see a lot of point in going all that way to spend half of it sitting in the dining room of a hotel, however nice. In Safaga, we took the overnight excursion to Luxor. This gave us the best chance to see as much as we could in the time available. For us, the Valley of the Kings was the highlight and more time there rather than at a couple of the photo stops on the way back to Luxor would have been welcome. The evening buffet dinner at the Sonesta Hotel on the banks of the Nile was very relaxed and enjoyable. Having sailed through Pirate Alley and reached Salalah, we cancelled the excursion we had booked and took a taxi with another couple. This gave us the chance to see what the city had to offer at our own pace. It’s not a big place but there are still points of interest - the vegetable and fish markets were amazing. It always surprises us when we hear and read complaints of poor service on Silversea. We have never experienced anything less than exemplary service and this cruise was no different. Our butler and room attendant were efficient and friendly and did a beautiful job of decorating the suite for my husband’s birthday. The staff definitely deserved the applause at the crew parade on our penultimate evening on board. Disembarkation at Muscat was a little slower than on previous occasions, but that was more to do with the local immigration officials than with Silversea staff. All the arrangements for our transfers within Muscat went smoothly. We are looking forward to our next Silversea cruise - we have an open booking and are still pondering which itinerary to try next. Based on our previous experience, we are confident that Silversea will deliver the cruise we want. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I chose this cruise because I liked the itinerary and had not been to this part of the world. The Passage to India exceeded all of my expectations. The Viking Orion is a beautiful ship! The cabins are spacious, well laid out and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I liked the itinerary and had not been to this part of the world. The Passage to India exceeded all of my expectations. The Viking Orion is a beautiful ship! The cabins are spacious, well laid out and comfortable. The common guest areas are decorated with comfortable furniture, unique accessories and art work. Dining areas provide lovely views and welcoming atmospheres. The food and drink are wonderful—fresh, delicious, tasty and plentiful! The shops provide a wide variety of merchandise with a range of prices. The merchandise is high quality, unusual, and hard to resist. What you purchase on the Orion you will not find any where else. The shops’ personnel are friendly, professional, knowledgeable and customer focused. The entertainment was outstanding and top notch. I loved the on board lectures and the chance to hear experts in person as well as watch their presentations in my cabin. The officers and crew are true professionals who care about you and want to ensure everyone has an outstanding experience on the Viking Orion! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Background information This is our seventh cruise, and the first with Viking Ocean Cruises (VOC). We selected the voyage based on the itinerary, final destination, and time of year. This voyage allowed us to compare VOC with similar ... Read More
Background information This is our seventh cruise, and the first with Viking Ocean Cruises (VOC). We selected the voyage based on the itinerary, final destination, and time of year. This voyage allowed us to compare VOC with similar Azamara (AZ) and Oceania (OC), which we used previously. I retired a year ago and my wife wanted to visit Hong Kong again. Ship information Orion was put into service earlier in the summer, so anything is new. We liked that VOC includes everything except tips, drink package (we don’t), optional excursions, Kitchen Table, and spa service (no need). The VOC provides minimal computer support because most people are computer literate by now. The VOC WiFi (which is free) security meets the security requirements of financial institutions. Streaming movies from the internet most of the time was not a problem in our cabin possibly because we were close to a router, though we heard other people were having problems. The Library shows up on Deck 1, but is spread out over Deck 7 (swimming pool area, the Lanai, Explorers Lounge) and Deck 8 (upper Explorers Lounge). The spa has numerous restrictions on use with anyone with medical conditions, so its use was lost on us. Activities We used the gym almost every day except on the days with all day excursions. The gym was equipment was excellent. The aerobic machines were crowded from 0600 to 0700, especially on sea days. The rest of the day, the equipment is open. The other parts of the gym were not busy during the day. During the sea days, we used the enrichment program after the gym and stream movies using the VOC WiFi (most of the time very good), or just lie around the Explorers Lounge with a an ebook. Service In general, the service throughout the ship was mostly excellent. For Housekeeping, the cabins were available earlier than the VOC stated times. Our cabin attendant did not just stop by to say hi, but went through the entire cabin to explain everything. More closet hangers, bath towels, and bottled water were provided without question. The cabin was well attended throughout the cruise. Well done. For dining, service was generally good everywhere with a few lapses due to staff inexperience and language problems. The World Cafe could use more servers at lunch and dinner. We had only one service breakdown in The Restaurant that required speaking to a manager. What we really liked about the World Cafe was the ability to talk directly to the line cooks to prepare foods to our liking, especially vegetables. They all were very eager to please. We can not say enough about the VOC port agents. I had an old medical condition that flared up in Ho Chi Minh City. The port agent: got me and my wife to hospital, found a reasonably priced nearby hotel for my wife, on short notice got us airline tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Haiphong, and took us from the Haiphong airport to Orion. Extremely pleased. Excursions Port and shore excursions used a mix of Included and Optional excursions. The excursions were in Athens (GRE); Haifa, Acre, and Caesarea (ISR); Cairo, Luxor, and Sharm El Sheik (EGP); Aqaba (JRD); Salalah and Muscat (OMN); Mumbai and Goa (IND), Colombo (SRL), Georgetown and Kuala Lumpur (MAL), Singapore, Koh Samoi and Bangkok (THD), Sihanoukville (CAM), Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Long Bay (VTM), and Haikou and Hong Kong (PRC). Only two problems with booking: we were warned at the time of booking to get on the My Viking Journey web page at 0000 PST at 67 days prior to departure to ensure we would get the excursions we wanted. I logged on at about 0400 PST and found some excursions were already sold out. In addition, the multi-day overnight excursion to Angkor Wat site via Vietnam was not available. We were satisfied with the excursions we took. While most of the Included excursions were satisfactory, one needs to check the Optional excursions because they had the more interesting and/or more significant locations/programs. One of the problems was the distance from port to destination (Cairo, Luxor, Bangkok, Phnom Penh; sometimes 3+ hours on a bus each way, which left relatively little time for the the destination after accounting for bathroom breaks and lunch). One of the problems with the demographics of the guests was that people are not really aware of their physical condition when signing up for even moderately exerting excursions in hot humid weather from India to Hong Kong. From a VOC port agent, for example, we learned that six guests were removed from the ship to hospital in Sri Lanka. Travel to Embarkation Port We used Viking Air (via Air Canada) without upgrades. We were satisfied with the connections from Dulles (IAD) through Toronto (YYZ) which put us in Athens (ATH) at 0920, and return from Hong Kong (HKG) through YYZ to IAD (2200). We found the local VOC representative easily and were loaded into a bus the ship. Not as nice as the personal van on VRC. Only a passport is necessary for ID so we were on Orion quickly. VOC eliminated the paper tickets for transfers and embarkation. Next time, I will look into Business or Premium Economy. Air Canada is not too comfortable. Cabin We were in Deluxe Veranda 3 (DV3) #4083. The cabin was mostly quiet. The only noise was from the lifeboats/tenders during crew training or tendering on the decks below. We still could feel the diesels. Anyone for gas turbines? We thought that the cabin was much better than the AZ and OC small ships reflecting a newer design. The bathroom was far better the any AZ or OC. Not cramped at all. We had no difficulty with the amount of drawers even with clothes for a 50 day cruise. If we had known how good the laundry was, we could have brought less clothes. The ability of storing even the large luggage under the bed (unlike AZ or OC) provided more room. The space between the bed and closet was tight, but not a problem given the great design of the rest of the cabin. We did not understand the logic behind two chairs instead of one sofa in DV cabins. The E-safe is also much bigger than AZ or OC. A minor annoyance was VOC canceling our E-safe PIN in Mumbai and Bangkok embarkation ports that required ship security to reset. Dining For breakfast and lunch, we exclusively used the World Cafe on Deck 7. It is open longer, self-serve, and more choice of food. Because the choice of food in the World Cafe is more than The Restaurant on Deck 2, the was no point going to The Restaurant for these meals. We liked the layout of World Cafe with the spread out food service stations and seating areas to eliminate crowding. Not as cramped as AZ or OC. We liked the food in the World Cafe except for a little to much salt used especially in the soups (the same for dinner). The outside kitchen on the Aquavit Terrace for regional foods was good. We tried the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s, which we thought were great, especially Mamsen’s with the waffles. We attended the Afternoon Tea for about two weeks but stopped in the interest of decreasing our food consumption. On Orion, you needed to get there about 15-30 minutes before 1600 or there were no more seats. To get around this, we would go later, ~1630. There would always be a place by then due to people leaving. We especially liked the live music provided. For dinner, we used The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, The Chef’s Table, and World Cafe. Dinner was not as pleasant an overall experience as we would have liked. We found ourselves eating at the World Cafe more than the other venues. If there were many dishes on a given night in The Restaurant that we really wanted to try, we would go to the World Cafe where we could get a smaller portion of each dish. You can also see the line cooks make final food preparations, make requested modifications, and present the food so you knew exactly what you were getting. No surprises to be sent back and another dishes ordered (AZ). The other food in The Restaurant was very good. Now for the really subjective opinions. We were not particularly impressed with The Chef’s Table; only five cuisines with the chefs interpretation. The food was not bad, but limited with a little too much salt. Manfredi’s was a big disappointment. Our first meal main dishes were somewhat dry with a little too much salt. The best part was the excellent custom chocolate cake prepared for my birthday. The second meal was awful. My pork dish was very salty and loaded with fat rending half inedible. My wife’s main dish was worse. Even though we were entitled to one more meal there, we would not go into Manfredi’s again without significant changes in cooking style. All the table breads, muffin, and bread sticks has a very cheesy flavor that was annoying; not the Italian bread that I remember from the Italian bakeries at home. We would not eat the bread again. In the end, we informed a manager of our problems. If you don’t tell them, they will not know. The OC Toscana and AZ Aqualina are far better restaurants. The OC was far more generous with some foods such as lobster. We had lobster for either lunch or dinner every day on OC Marina. Orion had boiled lobster in the The Restaurant only twice in 50 days and Lobster Thermidor once (not very good with too much filler sauce). The VOC fruits were great especially after Mumbai where the more unusual fruits to the USA [dragon fruit (white and red), star fruit, for example, and others we have never seen before but tasted great] from southeast Asia countries were available. The VOC should be commended for portion control for desserts in the World Cafe seeing that passengers are mostly 60+ and some not in the best of shape. Desserts were in small size pieces with many choices. When a cake or pie was provided, it was smaller in diameter and thickness than AZ or OC. This did not deter an obese couple from consuming half a chocolate cake. Odd crowd behavior: the port side World Cafe was more crowded than starboard side, so the the greeters at the entrances several times requested that we use the starboard side. The food is the same on both sides except for ice cream and gelato, and stir fry (port), and pizza and doughnuts (starboard). The VOC has aerosol hand sanitizers throughout Decks 1, 2, 7, and 8 that are built into the bulkheads. The entrances to the World Cafe also have sinks with liquid soap and hand towels. Unfortunately, there was an outbreak of GI problems on the way to Mumbai, which necessitated eliminating self service at the World Cafe and implementing other protective measures for a few days (not the majority of the cruise as claimed elsewhere). In summary, we think the food was better on OC, especially the Marina size with more diverse restaurants. However, itinerary, destination, and timing are more important, so we would not hesitate to use VOC. And the destination oriented foods was also a plus. Entertainment We did not attend much evening entertainment in the Theater due to a lack of interest in the programs offered. What we did see was very good. The VOC did not appear as big on entertainment as OC based on the programs offered. Enrichment We attended the astronomy movie series in the Explorers Lounge theater exclusively on the Orion Deck 8 (which does not show up on the generic deck layouts and virtual tour on the VOC web site). Be advised that the theater is very small (26 people) and very cold as is the entire Explorers Lounge on Decks 7 and 8. Be sure to book the theater ASAP at the start of a cruise to get a seat for the three separate movies, and ensure that you a blanket because the theater is so cold. I don’t know why the Explorers Lounge is also cold all the time. (It was nice of VOC to put thick furry animal skins and blankets on the sofas.) The astronomy was enhanced by a resident astronomer who lectured several times and also lead open ended discussions on astronomy in general, space exploration, black holes, etc, during each cruise segment. Very well done. There was star gazing lead by the astronomer on Deck 9 weather conditions permitting, In general, from Athens to Oman had good conditions. Mumbai to Hong Kong had more haze so it was limited. If you are on Orion and are interested in astronomy, be sure to download to your smart phone a star map app with GPS capabilities to find stars, planets, satellites, ISS more quickly. BTW, the darkest part of the ship at night outside for stargazing is the outside platform at the starboard exit from the Explorers Lounge Deck 8. The VOC also has a resident historian (or diplomat) to cover the diplomacy, history, economics, warfare, etc., of the regions visited in formal lectures that we attended and roundtable discussions on the same or different subjects later. Very well done. Disembarkation Disembarkation was very easy. We stayed over in Hong Kong (HK) handling our own arrangements. The benefit of this is we were the last group required to leave the ship at 0845 so you can have a more leisurely breakfast. Luggage was easy to find in the dock terminal being clearly marked in groups. In HK, the disembarkations started as early as 0400 to catch flights. Check your airline arrangements from VOC Air and revise if necessary. The HK airport is very efficient in moving people through security to catch flights. The VOC cruise and air fare includes the HK airport departure and expansion construction fees. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
After 20 plus cruises on several cruise lines, we wanted to go to new places and to try Viking Ocean. We weren't disappointed ! The itinerary covered ten countries and a trip thru the Suez Canal. The ports/cities were often not ... Read More
After 20 plus cruises on several cruise lines, we wanted to go to new places and to try Viking Ocean. We weren't disappointed ! The itinerary covered ten countries and a trip thru the Suez Canal. The ports/cities were often not upscale and the weather was consistently in the 90's and very humid. Despite that, the experience was excellent. We will likely never get back to countries like Oman, India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia again. After some long, tiring, and very hot excursions, we always came back to the welcoming comfort of the Viking Orion. The Orion was only two months old when we embarked and it is a spectacular ship. The Scandinavian clean, uncluttered design is very appealing. The ship appears to be almost perfect size - big enough for some good entertainment at night and some choices of restaurants; and small enough to be personal and never crowded feeling. My wife's parents were born in Sweden - she loved the Scandinavian touches , particularly the design themes and the food at Mamsens. Embarkation in Athens and disembarkation in Bangkok were a breeze. We were in a basic veranda cabin and found it roomy enough. The bathrooms are much better than other cruise ships. The communication/information system on the cabin TV's is great and easy to navigate. The elevators are well located and you almost never wait for one ! Where is everyone ? We tried all of the dining venues but ate more meals in the Restaurant than in the others. Food and service was very good in the Restaurant. It is not as grand a venue as on larger ships, but it is comfortable. We never waited for a table and the host knew our names and preferences by the third day. The Italian restaurant, Manfredi's, has excellent food , but the venue is a little loud. It was sometimes difficult to book a reservation at a reasonable time for Manfredi's. When we showed up ahead of time, they normally accomodated us. We tried the Chef's Table three times and were reasonably happy. You had to check the menu ahead of time or you could be disappointed. It was easy to get into. Viking can probably do something better with this space. The buffet venue is overwhelmingly better than any that we have experienced. It is relatively uncrowded and the food is very fresh and tasty. Many travelers ate there for almost every meal. You had the option of eating outsides, although the hot weather on our cruise limited that. The small, production crew was quite good, but didn't do enough shows. The theater is a wonderful venue and was heavily used for enrichment lectures and port talks. These presentations were really well done and surprisingly well attended. Often more crowded than the production shows or the evening specialty entertainer. There are much fewer scheduled activities than a larger ship, but we certainly didn't miss having a casino. The exercise room was more than adequate and the free spa is outstanding. Service was uniformly great, the best we have ever experienced. Very good service in all restaurants and bars, but particularly noticeable in the buffet. Unlike most cruise lines, they do a great job of servicing the tables there. We were pleasantly surprised with the included excursions. I had read many critical reviews, but we did not feel let down. Many of our included excursions were ten hours long and would cost $150 to $200 on other cruise lines. We liked all the optional excursions we bought. We booked our next Viking Ocean cruise before we left the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was a “bucket list” cruise for our 25th anniversary. We are so happy that we went! The tours we took were wonderful, informative, and frequently breathtaking. (The one exception was Jerusalem, where the guide was terrible, but ... Read More
This was a “bucket list” cruise for our 25th anniversary. We are so happy that we went! The tours we took were wonderful, informative, and frequently breathtaking. (The one exception was Jerusalem, where the guide was terrible, but still, Old Town Jerusalem was amazing). The lectures on the boat were more than we could have hoped for. In particular, the comparative religion guy was great—even-handed and informative. He especially good about how the religions interrelated historically and what they had in common or differed. It was so important to have that through the Middle East through Southeast Asia. By the time he finished his lecture series, it was standing room only. The dining was very good, particularly the special restaurants, which were great. The only two changes about the main restaurants that I’d make: 1) the “local” ethnic specialties (e.g., Indian curry while we were in India, etc.) were a little watered down, I guess so as not to scare us. This was not true of the extensions, where the food was truly authentic and amazing. 2) while the deserts were truly beautiful-looking and well-prepared, the flavor was a little bland. Overall though, the ingredients were top-notch, perfectly prepared. The rest of the food was terrific, and such a wide variety. Even with the two caveats, the food was better than other cruise lines. The entertainment was fun, particularly the trivia contests. The two cruise directors were very funny. The onboard entertainers were young and enthusiastic, with good singing voices. Homusianswever, their selection was a little dinner-theater-y. The cellists and pianist were really good musicians. The amenities couldn’t be better, and there were so many places to go on the ship, we never felt closed in. Finally, the massage therapist I had on the ship, Priscillia, was the best one I’ve ever had. I had had hip problems since I was a teenager, but she adjusted one hip, and now the whole thing is about 90% fixed! I guess she was so great because she was a licensed physical therapist. Who would have thought, on a cruise ship? Anyway, what a great cruise! We were happy the whole time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
When I was in high school, I read a lot geography around the suez canal, red sea, and indian ocean. It is very interesting and I am glad I get this one in my bucket list. The excursions is actually more than I expect traveling Egypt, ... Read More
When I was in high school, I read a lot geography around the suez canal, red sea, and indian ocean. It is very interesting and I am glad I get this one in my bucket list. The excursions is actually more than I expect traveling Egypt, Israel, Jorden, and Mumbai in one trip. Of course, the ship is the top of the class in service. This is better than other ships which I had travelled before. The quality of food is also above other ships except the Chef Table. I went three night in this dinner and I just like the french food only. The equipment in the exercise room are in good condition and also because it is max. 930 persons in the ship, therefore, it is not crowded in the exercise room and spa area. I used the spa every day at sea. the Scandinavian Bathing is highly recommended to utilize in the trip. I also love so many sea food in the menu in this ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our 3rd Viking Ocean cruise. Nothing beats Viking.kin we have sailed on Seabourn, Oceania, Azamara and Crystal Nothing compares to Viking. Included shore excursions are great. guides are super. Variety of food onboard ... Read More
This was our 3rd Viking Ocean cruise. Nothing beats Viking.kin we have sailed on Seabourn, Oceania, Azamara and Crystal Nothing compares to Viking. Included shore excursions are great. guides are super. Variety of food onboard is great. Public areas are comfortable. Staff is professional. Cabin service excellent. For our anniversary we received champagne and a cake in our cabin. While on a post-excursion for 5 days in India, we received celebratory gifts in each hotel. Magnificent treatment everywhere. Guides in all countries spoke excellent English. Main dining room lighting was too bright. Food great though. Marvelous cruises--- classy ship. Entertainment is not up to par. Repetitive entertainers, amateur stuff. Classical music venues are excellent. Cruise director Mark Bregnone is a pro. Terrific singer, entertainer, with a great personality and organizational skills. We feel at home on Viking. So many places to go.... such a great way to travel. Can't be beat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We sailed from Athens to Bangkok on a 36 day cruise called the Voyage of Marco Polo. Certainly a grand name, and the voyage lived up to it. I captured my full journey on Instagram on my billwscott account. Embarkation After ... Read More
We sailed from Athens to Bangkok on a 36 day cruise called the Voyage of Marco Polo. Certainly a grand name, and the voyage lived up to it. I captured my full journey on Instagram on my billwscott account. Embarkation After arriving in Athens we were picked up by staff from the Viking team, quickly guided to our bus and before we knew it were in our stateroom with Malaya & Teresa explaining all the features of the Penthouse Veranda. The first evening we had a wonderful outing to get a quick panoramic look at Athens and then a delicious dinner in a quaint restaurant in the heart of Athens. The next night the Captain's welcome was warm and funny. Ship The Viking Orion is just an absolutely stunning ship. Forward on the 7th floor is the Explorer Bar next to Mamsen's. In addition to having a full sweeping view, the delicious desserts at Mamsen's had us coming back again and again. We spent many afternoons and evenings there reading and relaxing or listening to entertainment. The Atrium is a 3 story open air area that was also a favorite of ours. My wife was constantly at the jigsaw puzzle table on the second floor of the Atrium. The ship size is perfect. About 900 guests and 450 crew. Never, ever felt over crowded. Most of time it felt expansive and roomy. Stateroom The Penthouse Veranda was exactly the size room we needed. It had a full sofa, table, desk area, king size bed, nice size bathroom with large shower. While there are larger rooms, I never ever felt cramped. It felt just right. We had 4 very large suitcases and they fit under the bed easily. Out of site and out of mind. Malaya & Teresa kept our room new each day and turn down service every evening refreshed our room as well as receiving the Viking Daily. Dining Everything is made from scratch and fresh. The breads, desserts and ice cream (made fresh on board) was off the chart. The World Cafe provided a really deep assortment of food that was varied enough to never feel like you were getting the same food. The food there was A+. Every night there was sushi and many nights crab legs. The Chef's Table is the gourmet restaurant and the food was pre-selected by the Chef and each time we dined there was a real treat. Manfredi's is another reservation only restaurant (World Cafe and The Restaurant are walk-in) that specializes in Italian fare. With a portion of the menu fixed and another portion changing with the cruise, we always felt it was a cut above. The Pool Grill made amazing burgers, hot dogs and ahi ahi and always had an amazing assortment of salads. Beer & Wine is free during any meal time hours whether in the restaurants or in the bar. Entertainment & Activities We didn't spend a lot of time with entertainment though the special talks and the magic shows were top notch. What we did spend a lot of time with was the Spa. LivNordic runs the spas for Viking Ocean Cruises and it is definitely my favorite spa concept. Following Nordic Bathing Rituals, the spa has: dry saunas, steam sauna, snow grotto, hot tub, cold plunge pool and swimming pool. The service is free. I became massively addicted to the dry sauna and cold plunge. In addition, I had some great Yoga & Pilates/balance classes with Anna & Pricillia. Speaking of Pricillia, she is the best massage/physical therapist I have ever worked with. Trained in Nordic, Swedish, Thai (she spent several months training in a Thai temple) and Busquet (a french whole body method). The latter really transformed my body. Charlotte & Sophie are gems in the salon. They provide great haircuts and styling, manicures, pedicures, facials, etc. The gym is definitely fully equipped and I enjoyed a session with Dejan (trainer) for a small charge. Service WOW. Just WOW. While other cruises seem to want to nickel and dime you, there is very little that you have to pay for as it is really all inclusive. All the coffee, sodas, tea, water you want. Beer & wine are free during meal time throughout the ship. Other drinks come at a reasonable charge. What this means is the staff is focused on serving and not upselling. You won't find art auctions, casinos, photographs to buy, water to pay for, etc. The staff is just so helpful and friendly. About a dozen we got to know pretty well. Ports of Call/Excursions Many wonderful ports: Athens, Haifa, El Said, Aquaba, Goa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand made for a widely varying cultural exploration. A few suffered a little from being a bit far from the attractions. Recommended Yes, yes, yes. I have booked a Viking River cruise in 2020 because I feel so strongly about Viking. BTW, there are no kids under 18 on the ship. I like kids, but I loved being on a ship without them ;-) Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Hadn't been to four of the countries and looked forward to seeing them. Have always enjoyed the Viking river cruises so wanted to try an ocean cruise. Some of the tours were a bit disappointing-a three hour plus ride and then spending ... Read More
Hadn't been to four of the countries and looked forward to seeing them. Have always enjoyed the Viking river cruises so wanted to try an ocean cruise. Some of the tours were a bit disappointing-a three hour plus ride and then spending 30 to 45 minutes to see the area and another 3 to 3 and a half hour bus ride to return to the ship. Petra was amazing as were the pyramids and Luxor too. The living room areas were very nice - there were so many areas to have quiet time. Enjoyed the high tea at 4pm each day. The pools were never crowded. Loved Mamsen's for the Norwegian foods. The Spa was great and interesting to have a snow room. Enjoyed the guests-found many interesting people with whom to chat. The Captain was the best! He was very friendly and approachable. The rest of the crew was very pleasant and helpful as well. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, ... Read More
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, say "hello" to you even you walk by them. We love the World Cafe, their food and services are better than the other dinning rooms.you can find king crab legs every night there. The order to cook oriental dishes there are great. The only thing is the storeroom services can be a little more efficient. They don't clean our room until after 10 a.m in the morning or prepare our beds after 9 p.m. I wish they can do it earlier. Maybe too many rooms to clean by 1 storeroom stewardess. Overall it was a great trip with some minor excursions mix up. Too many days in Mumbai especially for those with the 35days segment. They should have an overland excursion to the Tah Mahjai. Also, 1 day in Sri Lanka is enough. Overnight should be added to Penang and Singapore so passengers can enjoy the night food market and night life in both places. Too little time in these beautiful places. Also, entertainment can be brush a little bit. Aiden Soon 's performance is incredible, one of the best we saw in our cruises experience. Need more entertainers like him. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first cruise with Viking but I am sure it won't be our last. Previous cruises have been on much larger ships so were looking forward to discovering the difference. From day one we were blown away by the spaciousness of ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Viking but I am sure it won't be our last. Previous cruises have been on much larger ships so were looking forward to discovering the difference. From day one we were blown away by the spaciousness of the ship.The decor is wonderful and restful. No where was crowded and you could relax anywhere. The cabin was of a good size with plenty of storage space. Bathroom was great with seperate shower and heated floor, not that we need that as everyday was hot. Our cabin stewards were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. Free laundry was a real bonus. Just had to make sure got back in time to remove from machines as they were in high demand. Having said that, I never has to wait to use one. The restaurants were of a high standard but we chose to eat mostly on the Aquavit Terrace as was so pleasant in the morning and evening. It also meant that our friends could always find us!!! The pools were never crowded and the water was usually warm but sometimes a little too warm due to the very high temperatures we were travelling in. Unlike other ships there was never a problem finding a sun lounge. Spa was fabulous and a lot of fun. We tried the golf putting greens which were a real challenge. Entertainment was of a fairly high standard but didn't perhaps have the variety of larger ships.We enjoyed every performance we went to.The enrichment talks were extremely good and we learnt so much from the varied subjects presented. Trivia was always fun even though no prizes but that didnt stop the competitive nature of the players. I think Viking will have learnt a lot from this cruise about the shore excursions. We found the included tours to be very hit annd miss and unfortunately mostly a miss.This was the first time the ship had been to many of these ports. The tour guides were sometimes very hard to understand and the itineraries lacking in substance. A lot of the ports on this cruise were a long way from the city which we were visiting which meant a lot of travelling time in very hot weather. We organised a lot of private tours which worked very well and were more cost effective. In summary Brilliant ship. Excellent staff everywhere on the ship. Fabulous itinerary. Met wonderful people who hopefully we will be able to catch up with again in the future as we had so much fun. Missing it all already Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were looking for a cruise to the Middle East and had traveled with Viking on a river cruise. Their itinerary most closely matched our plans. The ship, its amenities, the crew were all outstanding. The excursions had a few bumps — ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise to the Middle East and had traveled with Viking on a river cruise. Their itinerary most closely matched our plans. The ship, its amenities, the crew were all outstanding. The excursions had a few bumps — it’s a difficult region for problem free visits, and the August weather temperatures were very challenging. The guides were well prepared and knowledgeable; there was a good selection of both included and optional tours, but logistics were complicated. I would have enjoyed more evening entertainment on the ship. The food and restaurants on board were great. Our cabin was spacious and comfortable. The common areas were beautiful and luxurious. I have traveled with other cruise lines and I think Viking is absolutely the best in customer service; every member of the staff was friendly, competent, helpful, and cheerful — all of which contributed to a most memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We had done 4 River Cruises with Viking and enjoyed them very much. The staff was friendly and had great Stewarts. We enjoyed most of the tours, except the Saint Catherine Monastery, which we felt it was not worth the time on the ... Read More
We had done 4 River Cruises with Viking and enjoyed them very much. The staff was friendly and had great Stewarts. We enjoyed most of the tours, except the Saint Catherine Monastery, which we felt it was not worth the time on the bus (7 hours) for a 30 minutes tours of the monastery. Waste of time and money. Enjoyed the tours in Greece and Jerusalem. Petra was wonderful, the pyramids was fabulous, Luxor was great and had a wonderful time the days at sea. The food was excellent through out the restaurant with a varaity of choices. we also enjoyed the scandinecvian restaurant, Mamsens, and trying those Norwegian delights made my wife very happy. She is Norwegian descendant. We also enjoyed the high tea, the spa and the specialty restaurants. Overall we were very impress with Viking Ocean cruises and have already reserve two additional trip for 2019 and 2020. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My friends were going on this trip and I was sure it was a lifetime opportunity to see countries I would never see on my own Every detail of the ship was first class and beautifully designed. My cabin spacious and with view over bow of ... Read More
My friends were going on this trip and I was sure it was a lifetime opportunity to see countries I would never see on my own Every detail of the ship was first class and beautifully designed. My cabin spacious and with view over bow of ship from bedroom window. Additionally I had a deck to the side and got up to watch sunrise and entry into each port. I liked not feeling claustrophobic. The service was immediate and continuous for any personal need. Staff friendly. Room service free at any time. The food was varied in choices and artfully prepared and delicious. There was always varied entertainment, or spa available as well as lectures on subjects related to the tours. There was a great choice in tours and I was able to snorkel in two ports. I viewed the Pyramids, Sphinx, Taj Mahal, WadiRum, and a lot of famous old forts. I always felt safe on tours and sailing around the horn (Somalia) as additional measures were taken. I would have preferred more shopping experiences in port, frequently taken to state run shops that were terribly expensive and limited, and we were given maybe 15 minutes to hurry and choose with staff breathing down our necks "to help". We all preferred to shop in regular venues on the streets. I did love the factories in India for rugs and clothe, to see demonstrations handmade goods. Although I am not a fan of busses but they were ok. Sometimes I felt crowded for leg room as mine are long. A few of the tour guides were not great and disappointing, but on the whole they, the guides were good. For the amount of people onboard there were no long lines and the ship was extraordinarily clean!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I had an enjoyable Cruise from Athens to Sydney. Personnel outstanding, Food of a higher Level than thought. Wines of very good quality, but offered at higher temperatures than would be appropriate, a pity. This new ship has somme ... Read More
I had an enjoyable Cruise from Athens to Sydney. Personnel outstanding, Food of a higher Level than thought. Wines of very good quality, but offered at higher temperatures than would be appropriate, a pity. This new ship has somme deficiencies: No teak decks on Verandas, in tropic climate with sun, it is impossible to stand barefoot on your terrace, too hot! Plastic! Also on Deck 7 forward area no teak at all, same problems in sunny weather. In a ship of this renommé, teak is mandatory! Veranda suites (more cabins than suites..) are too small and give a cramped feeling. The serving person has problems to get into the cabin with a tray. The walk in wardrobe is not worth its name, to small and hangers must be positioned diagonally to get arranged... Ceilings are very low, in cabin and elsewhere. There is a Grillroom under the name of Thomas Keller, completely useless. A Grill is the simplest cuisine possible, also under a famous name. All is Show there, the food not outstanding, and for Europeans just not adequate. Better is The Restaurant which is nicely decorated and for once no disturbing sound/noise because of the layout of this room. The Internet on board is still a mess, no capacity, too expensive for speed, and position of the ship is not adjusted automatically by the server. So at the end of your cruise, you have to adjust the position of all Fotos taken with iPad/iPhone. Thanks for work at home... One thing is great in this ship, the public space. You never feel crowded. But you miss that space in your room! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I have been on many cruises (over 85) and this is the most BORING cruise that I have ever taken. I am VERY disappointed with Celebrity and do not plan to sail them again. Our cruise from Athens to Abu Dhabi had many sea days. I love ... Read More
I have been on many cruises (over 85) and this is the most BORING cruise that I have ever taken. I am VERY disappointed with Celebrity and do not plan to sail them again. Our cruise from Athens to Abu Dhabi had many sea days. I love sea days because there are generally many daytime activities to keep me busy. I am not talking about the junk "seminars" which are actually infomercials to sell you something, I am talking about indoor games and activities such as trivia, tribond, bingo, battle of the sexes, scavenger hunts, name that tune, etc etc. During the sea days there were generally 2 daytime trivias and a name that tune. That's it. NOTHING ELSE. We had hours of down time which I don't like. I like being busy and going from game to game like most cruise lines and most other Celebrity ships offer. Bingo was canceled 3 out of 5 times due to lack of interest. I complained about the lack of game-type activities to Rich, the useless Cruise Director, as well as to Jess, the woman who did most of the trivias. My suggestions and complaints fell on deaf ears. There was really nothing to watch on TV (unless you paid for a movie) or wanted to watch the news (such as CNN or BBC) or Celebrity commercials which took up most of the channels.. They only showed a movie in the lounge once during our 8 sea days. There were some lectures on various topics during the cruise and they were taped and played ad naseum on the cabin TV. I have not been on Celebrity in 5 years and was SHOCKED at how this cruise line has fallen in quality. it is no better than Carnival or Royal Caribbean now. You are always hounded to buy something, the quality of food and service has gone WAY down and you are nickel and dimed at every opportunity. Staff cutbacks show at every turn - there is no longer a cruise staff to organize activities, there is ONE person! There is nobody in the library to organize and shelve books. Cabins used to have 2 people to clean them. Now's there one. Many of the crew speak English poorly and/or they are hard to understand. I also think that a lot of them don't understand English very well. My cabin steward and waiter and busboy are perfect examples of this as well as many crew in the Lido buffet restaurant. A few good things - the hollandaise sauce for the eggs benedict in the lido buffet restaurant for breakfast was awesome. So were the eggs benedict themselves. The Maitre'd and Headwaiters were very helpful. The price of the cruise was very good. They took our safety very seriously and I think that they even had armed guards on the ship when we were sailing in the Gulf of Aden. The WIFI was a bit expensive but worked very well and fast most of the time. I really appreciated having the speedy WIFI. I am sure that there are many people who took this cruise who enjoyed it but my mother & I certainly did not. Oh well. I did enjoy getting to Petra, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Also, Crete has great shopping! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise particularly for two reasons: 1 Transit id the Suez Canal 2. Embarkation from Istanbul (and so we could stay there 3 days prior to the cruise to soak up some of the sights of this great city) Our group was ... Read More
We chose this cruise particularly for two reasons: 1 Transit id the Suez Canal 2. Embarkation from Istanbul (and so we could stay there 3 days prior to the cruise to soak up some of the sights of this great city) Our group was three adults - one, my mother had some mobility issues. Unfortunately with the civil unrest in Turkey and the increased risk to tourists the cruise embarked from Athens so we altered our plans and stayed in Doha for two nights and Athens for one prior to the cruise. Our cabin was no different in size than the balcony cabin we have had previously. The differences we noted were: a. Higher cabin location b. No cover over the balcony c. Extremely good service from the Concierge Class room attendant d. Dining for breakfast and dinner in BLU e. Free access to the Persian Garden steam/sauna facility Dining for breakfast and the evening meal in BLU was a pleasure. All the team members in BLU were extremely courteous and just so helpful and of course every meal was a joy to eat. I have one major criticism of this cruise and the previous Celebrity cruise I have recently taken. The extraordinary price charged for a real cup of coffee made by an espresso machine on board. I Australia an espresso is a normal coffee and it tastes like coffee, the dirty water served as coffee is an insult to ones taste buds and stomach. We took shore excursions in Jordan, Oman and Abu Dhabi All were extremely good and worth the expenditure. We did book, on board, a transfer from the port to the airport, at booking we were not given any direction as to the nature of the transfer and where to go to join the transfer. Passing through the port terminal we asked people with CELEBRITY name badges where we how we would board the transfer and were told that our name would be held up by someone outside the terminal. This information was totally incorrect and we discovered that our transfer was via a bus which had already departed. This was the only poor service we experienced with this cruise, but it left a poor taste in our mouths non the less. We ultimately secured a cab to the airport - I think this may have been the best option anyway. We are still waiting upon a communication from Celebrity about this botched transfer and a refund for this cost! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I wanted to see the final race of the f1 season in Abu Dhabi via the Suez canal.Just a couple of things off my bucket list. First night was at a hotel in Athens,because of the bombs in Turkey,so far so good,it seems like I am being ... Read More
I wanted to see the final race of the f1 season in Abu Dhabi via the Suez canal.Just a couple of things off my bucket list. First night was at a hotel in Athens,because of the bombs in Turkey,so far so good,it seems like I am being looked after.taxi outside with my name being held up,I felt a tad important,taxi driver was very polite spoke good English and dropped me at the hotel front door,very impressed and well pleased. After traveling all day a bit of food was called for,now it started to go wrong,1 waiter/barman, tables not cleared and ! choice of food ( cold ) 79 euros for a couple of cold salads. room good, but breakfast not very inspiring,hot food ,but it was cold,never mind soon be on the boat. Taxi on time,( the taxis were provided by my booking co,not Celebrity ) got to port,embarkation was a bit of a queue,but got through eventually. And I am on board,looks good,glass of champers as I board.had to wait to see the cabin (understandable) Had a cup of tea and waited to get called to cabin. Nice cabin,clean if a bit tired,but it is a bit old now, bottles of water and minibar filled. No kettle but it only became a problem when I realised I had to walk the length of the boat for a cup of tea,not good if you like a hot drink to retire with. So I thought I would get a bite to eat,not having much breakfast,so off I go to find the buffet,then the first big problem appeared and continued through the voyage,the food was all lukewarm,now I like for that if it is supposed to be hot is hot not cool,and i had to queue as well. Ok so off we go,boat quiet,stable,loads of information of things to do,it looks good.Evening meal in the restaurant was excellent,once you got used to celebrity trying to sell you posh dinners at silly money,at specialist restaurants on the way into the dining room. Good nights sleep,bed was very comfy and off to breakfast,queue queue and queue again,lukewarm food,no English bacon most of the time,On the two weeks,I had nowhere to sit a couple of times.Don't be late for meals,they shut on time and choices dwindle towards the cut off time. The entertainment consisted mainly of selling things,clothes/perfumes/watches,you name it,they made a venue for it.There was a couple of good shows in the two weeks but if you want to be entertained it's a bit weak.Mr and Mrs and the passengers singing,nice if you are in it or know someone in it,but if not it's poor.The captain gave a couple of good daytime talks as did a racing driver whose name I forget.( sorry ) But this were 1 hour talks in the morning. Watch out for the prices,at 1 of the watch sales,the prices were the same as my local high st ( in England ) so things are not the bargain they seem. Quizes in the rendezvous bar good but again no waiters I barman in a room full of people ?? really not good,and it was the same all through the trip. Suez good, one of the bucket list done then we cleared the canal,into open waters,and the announcement came all outside lights off all curtains closed in case of PIRATES,now I would not have got on the boat after reading about pirates in the press,so for 5 days,not a happy bunny,yes they put guards on,but even though,it was a downer on the trip. Cleared the waters,all good,and landed at Muscat,on a friday which is a holy day it was closed,a waste of a day. Got to Abu Dhabi got my 2 day tickets,at 4pm we landed now that is not a lot of good if you want to watch the f1 that you have bought tickets for,then you have to clear customs,now the practice has bin and gone,too late for that,but the qualifying starts at 5.Celebrity decided at the last minute to put a shuttle bus on,at the last minute only $30 .00 a head. The people in the posh cabins get to get through customs first,and first call on the shuttle bus,made me feel poor that did. But still decided to go for it,cleared passport control,ran ( as best I can at my age ) grabbed another couple going to the race ,and dived in a cab( there were dozens )The cab dropped us at the gate we needed,and charged us $21.00 for the four of us .Celibrity rip off again. Got there to see end of p3 but I still got to see p2 and qualifying. To sum up,it is just not as good as it could be,I was on a Thomson cruise earlier in the year and it was miles better,for food and entertainment.More drink stations,and kettles in the cabins. You get charged a flat rat per day for the tips at the end of the trip,it's supposed to go to the staff,but it is all or nothing you can't pay a percentage of it,if you get bad service from one member of staff.The staff were all good,especially the dining room,but in the buffet they only spoke and got helpful on the last 2 days ( prob for the tips ) Would I go on a cruise again,definitely,would I go Celebrity never again !! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary, but also because we had heard good things about the Oceania line. Let me preface this review by saying it was the most expensive cruise we had ever booked! We looked forward to this ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary, but also because we had heard good things about the Oceania line. Let me preface this review by saying it was the most expensive cruise we had ever booked! We looked forward to this cruise for months. But sadly we have felt entirely screwed from the moment we arrived on board. The ship is quite small compared to others we have been on. The interior is stuffy old world style (think smaller Titanic) elegance. We are used to dining later in the evening but had to learn to adjust our eating schedule to accommodate the closing of the restaurants at 9:00-9:30pm. We were specifically looking forward to the good food we heard so much about. What a HUGE disappointment! The food has been mediocre at best. Even the specialty restaurants have left us scratching our heads. My Partner celebrated his 50th Birthday in the Tuscan steak house, where they presented him a cake with somebody else's name on it! There is no ship board activities other than bridge or shuffleboard. We have been to funerals that are more livelier than the Sirena. The entertainment is like watching bad karaoke. There is no broadway type shows. It's mainly either medicare singers or an orchestra. What really did it for me however was the itineraries. We chose this particular cruise because of the ports of calls on the second half of the cruise, mainly Cairo and Alexandria Egypt. For days we had asked the destinations desk for the shore excursion list for Egypt,which we were told was being downloaded. Until the last night of the first half of the cruise when we received the updated itinerary, which showed a totally different itinerary leaving off Egypt all together and adding more ports in Greece which I had had enough of at this point. We were told we were welcome to disembark in Athens but would not be given a refund on the second half of the cruise because Oceania reserves the right to cancel or change ports at their whim. This is TOTALLY unnacceotabe to us. It's like a bait and switch. They claim it's because of unrest in Alexandria, which there is no mention ANYWHERE of being any unrest in the area. They knew for weeks they were never going there. They just suckered people in on the premise of going there and then changing it at the last minute! This was our first and our last cruise on Oceania! Save your money, Celebrity is a much better line and a better value for your money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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