11 Auckland Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was a special trip celebrating a milestone 50th birthday. We are well seasoned cruisers and have been on most of the lines except Silversea and Crystal with 60+ cruises under our belt. SUITE: We booked the lowest level suite with ... Read More
This was a special trip celebrating a milestone 50th birthday. We are well seasoned cruisers and have been on most of the lines except Silversea and Crystal with 60+ cruises under our belt. SUITE: We booked the lowest level suite with a guarantee to upgrade to a min cat 3, and received a cat 6 up on deck 11. The room was perfect and spacious. Tons of room, excellent layout, with perfect service from our room stewardess. We had everything we needed in this room and loved the ability to split the room with blackout curtains in half so the early riser didn't disturb the other pax. Bedding quality very high. FINAL SCORE: A+ FOOD; DEFINITELY not 6 star. BIGGEST disappointment of the cruise! The menu in the main dining room was repetitive. Colonnade food comparable to HAL/Princess/Celebrity buffets. Nothing special, too many carbs/starches not enough high quality proteins or veggies. Sliced meats and cheeses were what you would find on other CCL ships. BALONEY served as a tapas? Yup. They also put it out on the buffet and the "Epicurean extravaganza". SERIOUSLY. We paid $450/pp/day to be served baloney? We did enjoy Earth and Ocean several times especially the smoked chicken starter. Fun place to dine weather permitting. TK grill was very good, but doesn't measure up to land based TK restaurants. This was still the best dining spot on the ship. Sushi was nice, pretty typical of what you find on land serving average sushi. But at lunch, due to penny pinching, they didn't serve raw fish. Our best meals were the TK special nights in the colonnade. They felt the most authentic and had cheeses you wouldn't find anywhere else on the ship. Main dining room has some outstanding nights, others it was OK. Just not consistent especially with beef dishes. Our last surprise when it came to food was the ship running out of standard menu items...60+ cruises never had a ship tell me they didn't have the item on the menu we ordered. IF you're a foodie, skip Seabourn and go with another cruiseline (Oceania, Regent). FINAL SCORE: C SHIP: was a perfect size, and never felt crowded. No lines for anything and the layout had great flow. The colonnade could get crowded in the AM requiring you to sit outside during peak hours. This tended to be the only time noticing how many were onboard. Lots of places to hang out and relax. High quality furnishing and art work. FINAL SCORE: A DRINKS: Bars had just about any type of premium liquor you could want. Beer selections were more limited. Want an IPA beer? Nope. How about a wheat beer? Nope. Craft beer? Nope.. You could find a nice selection of complimentary wines some better than others, the staff were more than willing to change out the wine if you were unhappy. Bar service overall was great. Servers couldn't remember what you ordered (they weren't allowed to write it down) and made multiple return visits either to ask again or brought your the wrong drink. This happened in the Observation lounge only. No problems in other venues. Coffee in Seabourn square is excellent. FINAL SCORE: B ENTERTAINMENT: Best was duet in observation lounge, Rachael and Vladi. The lounge band was also fun and played popular music from the 60-80's. They did seem to get a little repetitive in their playlists. CD Chris was prior west end actor/singer and had the best voice on the ship. Wish he would have sang more than twice during 15 days. The main shows were OK and geared towards the 70's crowd. We felt it lacked the energy and excitement of Oceania's ships. Very little stage magic, just singing with no sets or costumes. FINAL SCORE: C ACTIVITIES: Sorry this was sorely lacking. Sea days had very few options. One cooking demonstration in 15 days? Trivia, casino (which opened at 3pm on sea days), lectures or sitting by the pool were about all you had for options. A few games of corn hole (baggo). They did offer nice prizes of high quality. We were so looking forward to the brochure selling us on the "Marina" on the back of the ship. We had several protected bays during the cruise they could have deployed it in, but that never happened. How about the famous and well marketed "Caviar on the surf"? Yeah, never happened. We heard this sometimes turns into "Caviar in the pool"? Nope, Band played ONCE the entire 2 weeks on a sea day by the pool for 1 hour. Maybe a dance party under the stars? Nope, didn't have any. FINAL SCORE: D PORTS: The highlight of the NZ/Australia trip was seeing the Penguins march from the beach in Phillip Island...or that was the plan. Instead the captain decided 14 hours before arrival we would be leaving at 2pm vs 11pm. WHAT? "due to high winds" we needed to leave 9 HOURS earlier than planned! The seas were dead calm when we left the protective bay we tendered at... Like 1-2 ft seas. Barely a ripple in the water. I checked my phone, and the winds were going to pickup slightly in the afternoon (below 20mph). The REAL reason we were leaving early? Terrible seas the next day (sea day) w/25ft+ waves and big winds over 40MPH. We were putting along the entire time at about 12 knots riding the waves like a giant surfboard. Actually most of the time the ship moved it was slowly at 12 knots. We could have cut the crossing from NZ to Australia down to 2 days from 3. We could have skipped Eden vs leaving Philip Island early. Eden had very little to offer. FINAL SCORE: B SERVICE: Employees are the strong suit of Seabourn. Most knew our names after a few days. We were very surprised they could do this with 600 pax on board! They tried to bend over backwards and help with any request. They learned your drink or food preferences. It was the saving grace of our cruise. The people are what makes this ship stay afloat. We felt like we knew crew members on a more personal level too. I will say the officers were invisible most of the time. The crew were always present; ready, willing, and able to serve with a smile! FINAL SCORE A+ IF Seabourn improved the food quality/variety and entertainment/activities, we would consider returning and they could refer to this as a 6 star cruiseline. Until then, we have booked a Silversea cruise leaving in 60 days and will return to Oceania in the future. Food is subjective to a degree, but we have a good idea of what other lines offer and how it compares to Seabourn. I hope someone is listing at corporate office. FINAL SCORE B-. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Could not get the flight I wanted, even though I took Air Plus. Flight home was delayed 2 hours, so United dumped all luggage at LAX stopover and cancelled all connecting flights. We had a scheduled 3 hour layover, so there was plenty of ... Read More
Could not get the flight I wanted, even though I took Air Plus. Flight home was delayed 2 hours, so United dumped all luggage at LAX stopover and cancelled all connecting flights. We had a scheduled 3 hour layover, so there was plenty of time to catch our original flight. But, instead we had to rebook and ended up with crummy seats in the back of the plane. Many excursions were filled up before I was allowed to sign up. Much waiting in line for everything; this ship could not accommodate this many people! Had to go to everything a half hour early to get a decent seat. Restaurant service was very slow - waited in hall half an hour to be seated - by ourselves (we wanted to meet other travelers and the best time to do this is at dinner), then another half hour to order, then another half hour for food to arrive, for a total of 2 hours to eat - ridiculous! On previous river cruises, we had open seating (seated ourselves) and had food in 10 minutes, except France (took about a half hour). Why do you wait until 7:00 p.m. to open the restaurant? If you opened earlier (5:00), people could be served more efficiently. Food was not all that good either. We were so frustrated with all the waiting, we resorted to the World Cafe to eat the remainder of our meals, where the food was even less tasty - resembled cafeteria food, and there wasn't much variation in the menu. When I go on a cruise, I want to be pampered and waited on; not serving myself - I can do that at home.The only thing I had that was good was the stir-fry (offered only once). Breakfast was always the same. The apple pie in the explorer lounge was very good, as were the burgers at the pool grill. I liked the room arrangement - plenty of storage space. Entertainment - not much variety. I'd prefer something different each night. Bring in more local talent. Not much to do on sea days. Lectures were boring; Aida movie put me to sleep. Slow computers; difficult to use - took me 2 hours to print air check-in for return flight so I missed sailing into Sydney Harbor - something I really wanted to see. More help needed in the future cruise area - could not get an appointment until the second last day - best rooms were already gone. Also more help needed at help desks for booking excursions - another line to wait in. Very pricey for what we got; I could have gone on this same cruise with another cruise line for half the cost. I did book another cruise on this ship, so I hope you'll forgive my negative comments; I offer them as areas that could use improvement. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My travel partner and I had New Zealand and Australia on our must-do list. Previous Viking experiences in China and Germany led us to choose this cruise when it first became available. The food was extremely disappointing and NOT up to ... Read More
My travel partner and I had New Zealand and Australia on our must-do list. Previous Viking experiences in China and Germany led us to choose this cruise when it first became available. The food was extremely disappointing and NOT up to Viking standards. The breakfast buffet was the exact same many every day and lacked creative specialty dishes. Same for lunch. There were many days when we opted for pizza and ice cream because of the heaviness of the lunch choices. Restaurants were OK but often not prepared well and there seemed to be a serious shortage of waiting staff as there were long waits between courses, making us miss out on evening entertainment. The public areas were fabulous. There was so much available space that we felt we could have a private area of the ship to lounge. This was especially nice during the 4 days at sea. This itinerary had too many days at sea for my liking. One or two is OK, but we ran out of things to do after that. Booking the shore excursions was based on priority of how much you paid for your cabin. Sadly that left all the interesting excursions completely unavailable to us and there was no attempt to book additional groups for sold-out excursions. That was the most frustrating, since we came all the way to New Zealand and could not get to the things we really wanted to see and do. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It appeared we would see all coasts and important ports of New Zealand - that was not the case. We missed 2 ports due to high seas. One was major. We did not see any of the western coast. We discovered later that the ship frequently ... Read More
It appeared we would see all coasts and important ports of New Zealand - that was not the case. We missed 2 ports due to high seas. One was major. We did not see any of the western coast. We discovered later that the ship frequently cannot go to the west coast. See we spent 4 days in a row at sea. We also went to two small dingy towns instead of staying longer in two quaint towns. We never stayed over night in any town so we’re unable to book nocturnal tours to see penguins or kiwis. Luggage handlers were painfully slow. Food was adequate, nothing special. There were only 4 restaurants. One required reservations to be made before the cruise. It was nothing special. One was poolside but closed for 3 nights. So it was sushi or cafeteria food. On arrival our room had a bowl of over ripe fruit. We had brown lettuce in our salad twice. Room service food was cold so we reverted to only ordering coffee in the morning. They could handle that. The bathroom outlets will not support any hair appliances. You must do hair drying and curling in a dim hallway outside the bathroom. Showers are very small. Entertainment offered was for for the over 70 crowd or lounge lizards. We contacted customer service day 1 of our cruise and have not heard from them yet even though we called our travel agent to nudge them. We were approached by some managers in the restaurant who apologized and asked how they could help. However it was in front of groups of people, so we were uncomfortable with trying to resolve issues in that venue. However the maids and waitstaff were wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Without a doubt, we had a great cruise on Sojourn Oct-Dec 2018, pretty much flawless, so we booked a 94 day cruise( Auckland to Cape Town). Total disappointment, the entire cruise was fraught with inconsistency in service and chaos in ... Read More
Without a doubt, we had a great cruise on Sojourn Oct-Dec 2018, pretty much flawless, so we booked a 94 day cruise( Auckland to Cape Town). Total disappointment, the entire cruise was fraught with inconsistency in service and chaos in dining rooms and bars. To say the least, we were disappointed in Seabourn Service standard not even 1 star. These are the highlights (tongue in cheek): Bar staff totally disorganized and inexperienced ( served gin/tonic with stick of olives) Terrace outside dining chaotic and inefficient, sometimes service other times not Main dining room food bland, monotonous,poorly prepared, service inexperienced Sometimes staff indifferent and other times friendly were not knowledgeable What was good: The itinerary and ports of call fabulous The ship itself and captain great The Ventures tours interesting with competent staff The emphasis on safety in tendering excellent The cabin a haven of refuge Summary Clearly, the cruise industry is struggling with high fuel-costs,labor costs and commissions to travel agencies. So revenues from passenger bookings are off set with cost cutting in services areas such as labor and food etc. to achieve operating margin and profitability curves, a sad commentary and unhappy experience for passengers. Seabourn did not meet. mission or vision for this cruise: What's so special about poor service and poor food?, Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My husband and I decided to join a friend on a five-week cruise on Crystal's Symphony. She gave it glowing reviews and we were excited about the trip from Auckland across the Pacific to Valparaiso. That dream soon turned to a ... Read More
My husband and I decided to join a friend on a five-week cruise on Crystal's Symphony. She gave it glowing reviews and we were excited about the trip from Auckland across the Pacific to Valparaiso. That dream soon turned to a nightmare, as explained toward the end of this review. Let me start with the really great part: Crystal employees are devoted and loyal and give first-class service. This part of the trip did meet expectations. It could not exceed them, because they were so high I would have felt harassed if they had tried to do more. Also, we met lots of great people, though that's generally the case however and wherever we travel. And, having wifi available most of the time at no extra charge was great. However, once aboard we discovered not all was as described. Contrary to Crystal's hype, the ship has not been entirely refurbished. The public areas of the ship have been refurbished and reconfigured. Suites may have been upgraded and electronics redone in all staterooms. But aside from electronics and a spotlessly clean bathroom, the condition of our small stateroom was less than we'd expect on an aging, economy-priced ship. The sheer curtains were filthy and so creased they did not meet in the middle and our window overlooked the Promenade deck. Wallpaper was peeling from the walls. Decorative tile in the shower has been scrubbed for so many years half the design has worn off. The carpet was beginning to show ground in grime and wear. That was just the beginning. Three different times we were freezing to death with the thermostat set on high and had to call to have the ventilation adjusted. At least one day the entire ship was uncomfortably cold due to HVAC problems. The plumber was in the room at least once a week. The first time a clogged pipe soaked the carpet, requiring two days of heat and fans to dry out. What a nuisance! A faucet leaked from the top, causing water to puddle on the counter and later the floor. White bubbly slime oozed from the floor drain a few times, and once water emerged, soaking the bathmat. The bathroom smelled like sewer gas half the time. I will give them credit. The plumber always arrived promptly, and when I mentioned the state of the room to the hotel manager, we immediately received new sheers. They would have replaced the wallpaper, but we didn't want the disruption, and we already knew the room was a mess. We just expect better than this from a cruise line that doesn't discount cabins even when the ship is half full because, according to one travel agent I met aboard, "They don't want just anyone on this ship!" Food was a disappointment. Many did rave about it, but I'm not one of them. If only for this reason, I would not sail on Crystal again. Waterside, the main dining room, had a monotonous dinner menu in that it always featured French-inspired or other innovative cuisine and each dish seemed an effort to out-sauce and out-do the others. Veggies were generally used as garnish for modest portions of meat, not nutritional elements. Room service dinners I ordered while ill were awful. A steak I'd ordered medium rare was huge, totally gray, cold, and tough. A pasta dish the next next night was as salty as sea water. Specialty restaurant alternatives to the Waterside were a disappointment. Two of the three main dishes I ordered in Prego, the Italian one, were tasteless and not well prepared. They should have been sent back, but I didn't want to hold up my fellow diners. The third was edible but not memorable. My previous experience with Tuscan food has been great. This was not what I think of as Tuscan. We are not fans of Asian food and the other two specialty restaurants were Chinese and Japanese, so that didn't leave us many options. The buffet varied a few items each day within each category (breads, pastries, soups, casseroles, meats, etc.), but within that variation everything remained the same. One sandwich may have been offered each day, but constructing one to our own taste involved running up and down the line a few times and was not easy to do. I missed the panini station I enjoy on Celebrity ships. I also missed PIZZA. The Trident grill offered something called pizza ─ a wafer thin crust with a smear of sauce and hint of cheese. The one day I ordered it, it was charred on the bottom. The buffet morphed into Churrascaria in the evening. This semi-buffet venue offers a variety of side dishes and Brazilian barbecue. Like the French food in Waterside, ostensibly is a key concept. French and Brazilian cuisine offer inspiration as a starting point for innovation, some more successful than others. Desserts were, I'm told, awesome. I'm not a dessert eater myself, but they did look delicious. Appetizers offered in cocktail venues at Happy Hour were tedious and generally tasteless. Each evening two would be offered from a lineup of prosciutto-wrapped melon balls, cream cheese stuffed green olives, some green paste they called guacamole, and small burger sliders or tiny pigs-in-blankets. Once or twice they had tiny quiches. These were passed by circulating waiters and after the first week they were boring. Which brings us to beverages. The list of included alcoholic beverages was extensive, and servings liberal. While it's a kick to order a drink, and then another and perhaps yet a third, without signing a thing or reaching for a tip, this temptation may not be in everyone's best interests. Coffee was first rate. Some of the shows, like the ventriloquist and similar acts, were great. Music performances were always way too loud for me and I generally skipped them, as I do on other cruise lines. Small venue performers were good, especially the violinist and Crystal Cove pianist, but these people come and go. Also, on the second leg, at least two evening performances were repeated. What's with that?! Visiting speakers were generally first rate. We enjoyed most. Presumably we could watch lectures later on screen in our stateroom if we missed one, but I never figured out how. Now for the nightmare that occurred early on. I became ill a couple of days after we left Auckland and was ultimately ordered off the ship to be hospitalized in Fiji. Thank God, unlike the ship's doctor, the hospital doctor is not obliged to practice defensive medicine on behalf of the cruise line, and I was not admitted to the hospital in this third world country. My husband left the ship with me, and we were able to catch up with the ship in Tonga a couple of days later. To our horror, the ship decreed that since we'd both left the ship ALL OUR BELONGINGS had to be packed for shipping home. Our cabin had to be emptied. The cabin we'd paid to use. That meant when I got back on, instead of falling into bed to relax, I had to spend several hours sorting things in the suitcases left on the bed and figuring out once again where to put things, and arranging to have the rumpled clothes packed by strangers pressed. To their credit, after two long, tense meetings, Crystal did a lot to calm us down. I do understand and respect why the doctor made the decision she did, though perhaps my options could have been made more clear. This part may have been the same on any cruise line. I have no idea whether other cruise lines require belongings to be packed if all occupants of a stateroom leave. Be aware this could happen and don't hesitate to push back should the occasion arise. Finally, shore excursions. We generally make our own arrangements for these and our limited experience with official Crystal excursions validates the wisdom of this. Neither of the two we took lived up to expectations. The second, on Easter Island, was unacceptable. A large group was divided onto two small busses with a single guide. We had no narrative as we drove through the countryside and had to spend valuable minutes during short stops at each site listening to cursory explanations. We all felt rushed. Furthermore, the windows on the busses were smeared with a muddy film, so no pictures from most seats on the bus were possible and the general view was obscured. This excursion cost more than twice what others paid for a private tour the same length of the same sites, and they were in small groups in vans with constant narrative from their guides. When they left the vans, they were ready to start walking and clicking shutters. We had similar experiences with pick-up tours at other ports. Something is VERY wrong with this picture! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
The ship is a significant upgrade over the Odyssey class ships, with the addition of The Grill by Thomas Keller, the Sushi restaurant, an enhancec Seabourn Square, among other things. Although there are a few more guests, it never felt ... Read More
The ship is a significant upgrade over the Odyssey class ships, with the addition of The Grill by Thomas Keller, the Sushi restaurant, an enhancec Seabourn Square, among other things. Although there are a few more guests, it never felt crowded. The food in The Grill and Sushi was great, as were the 3 Thomas Keller family dinners in the Collonade. Otherwise, thevfood was just OK. Our weather was not very good, but overall we still had a nice experience. Our main issues were: 1. Lack of excursions and excursion availability. On the first day after sailing,mwe discovered that almost all of the popular excursions had been pre-sold out, and the customer relations staff were unwilling to add additional excursions despite waiting lstsvof 25-30 passengers, or to help passengers make their own arrangements. We were left to book excursions usingbthe very same onshore operators that thevship used. Most disappointing, we learned that the overland excursion to Queenstown (which was to be the highlght of the cruise) had been cancelled and were given no real explanation as to why. 2. Seabourn has a internet policy that is decidedly not “all inclusive”. Plus, the internet quality is extremely poor. 3. We had a large number of onboard credits, half of which were non-refundable, with half characterized as “redeemable” (i.e. to be credited against our credit card) if not used. When bad weather prevented a stop in the port where we had been able to book the only ship sponsered excurion of our cruise, on the last day before the cruise ended, we were left with no ability to use these credits. In addition, to our surprise, Seabourn continues to refuse to give us back even the full amount of our redeemable credits. So, seabourn has taken for itself $300 or credit that was a gift to us by our travel agent. This was my fifth cruise on Seabourn. I,m not sure if or when I’ll take another of their cruises. Looking forward to a 16-day cruise to South America on Regent Explorer early next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We were on two legs of the cruise that started at the date listed in Auckland and completed in Singapore on 01/21/2018. We wanted to see part of Australia. It's so large you have to go at least two to three times. We added New ... Read More
We were on two legs of the cruise that started at the date listed in Auckland and completed in Singapore on 01/21/2018. We wanted to see part of Australia. It's so large you have to go at least two to three times. We added New Zealand to the itinerary because of travel costs, flights in business class are so high at that duration and distance. We're glad we added New Zealand. The shore excursions ( we planned ourselves ) were so much more enjoyable than Australia's few ports that weren't large beautiful cities. The Silver Shadow is old and needs refurbishment. The food was excellent one day and poor the next, very in consistent. The service was excellent from most individuals and poor from a few. The passengers skew old to very old "cruisee's" if I can make up a work. Too many infirm people and too many sick people coughing with colds. Some times in ports were way too inadequate, most excursions run by the cruise line were simply put, bad. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We sailed on Seabourn a couple of years ago and enjoyed the ship, service and food. This experience was totally different. We booked 32 nights from Auckland to Bali. The ship is beautiful. The Owners Suite, deck nine was large and ... Read More
We sailed on Seabourn a couple of years ago and enjoyed the ship, service and food. This experience was totally different. We booked 32 nights from Auckland to Bali. The ship is beautiful. The Owners Suite, deck nine was large and comfortable. Plenty of closet space. Average sized bath room. The service was sterile. No personal feelings at all from the staff. All but a couple of the wait staff in Colonnade simply walked around in a haze trying to look busy. Only a handful of the staff seemed to recognize us after a month of being with them. Only one waiter ever remembered what we drink in the morning. The majority of them seemed bored. It almost seemed that they hired a group of people off the street and gave them a one week training session. The food was average for any cruise line and much less than satisfactory for a luxury cruise line. The coffee bar on deck seven aft was a nice addition. The Entertainment was not impressive, but at least they tried. All of the shore excursions were over-priced. The one day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef was a miserable experience. They chartered one boat which held about seventy people and filled it to capacity. We arrived at a floating dock and had to change into body suits to protect the skin from jelly fish. It was almost standing room only. Can you picture fifty people all packed into a small enclosed area with swim fins kicking behind, and in a few cases, in front of them. Not pretty. There were many unhappy people on this cruise and most of them were repeat Seabourn cruisers. The only people to receive proper attention were those who have accumulated lots of nights on Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We sailed on the January-February 2017 cruise from Aukland to Singapore. The trip was a very mixed experience, with some parts very enjoyable and others quite disappointing. On the positive side, the cabin stewards did a great job, and ... Read More
We sailed on the January-February 2017 cruise from Aukland to Singapore. The trip was a very mixed experience, with some parts very enjoyable and others quite disappointing. On the positive side, the cabin stewards did a great job, and our stateroom was always neat and orderly. We enjoyed the new menu in the Compass Rose dining room, with a wide variety of items always available and daily specials. The evening variety shows were much improved over those on our previous cruises on Regent. The enrichment lectures given by Terry Bishop were outstanding, and we would certainly look for cruises where he was featured. On the negative side, there were several problems. Regent had clearly not planned an adequate number of shore excursions, and in many ports there were just no free excursions available. Every day seemed to have long lines at the Destination Services desk of people trying to book tours, often with no success. they offered the excuse that the ports we visited did not have an adequate infrastructure to accommodate a ship our size but, in talking with local guides, it seems that they had no problem with much larger ships. Many of us felt that Regent management was just cutting their excursion budget and not booking enough tours. After all, the ports we visited in New Zealand and Australia are major cruise ship ports, and infrastructure should not be a problem. In some ports Regent tried to upsell us to paid tours, but we found better and less expensive tours on our own over the internet. The excursions we were able to get were often disappointing, often with a lot of wasted time when we were dropped off in uninteresting towns with little to do for several hours. Our stateroom was also a disappointment. The Voyager was just recently remodeled, but the work appears to have been of less than top quality. The walls in our room creaked loudly whenever the ship moved. We have been on a fair number of cruises, some on rough seas, and while some movement noise is inevitable on ships this was well beyond the ordinary or acceptable. The ship's maintenance staff was able to mitigate the noise to some extent by putting wooden shims between the walls and the ceiling, but surely better ship construction should have made these types of fixes unnecessary. Also, the ship seemed to have a large number of maintenance problems with the plumbing, with several leaks. Some days we had no water for a while and, when it came on , it was black. The Voyager lounge was closed for a while because of water leaks. Due to the leaks on our deck (7), the carpet outside our room had a mildew odor that penetrated our cabin. We were also disappointed in the specialty restaurants, both with regard to food quality and service. The meat in the steak restaurant was not of the quality we have had on previous Regent cruises and, as the trip was in major beef producing countries, this should have not been the situation. In Chartreuse, the newly named French restaurant, the main dishes were disappointing. And service was so slow, beyond leisurely, that even starting the meal at 6:30 or 7:00 we were not finished in time to get to the 9:30 entertainment on time. As this was a longer cruise we had multiple opportunities in each restaurant, and were consistently disappointed and eventually cancelled reservations as we preferred the main dining room. Finally, when we wrote to Norwegian Cruise Lines management expressing our disappointment and our inability to get the promised shore excursions, it took over a month to get a reply from them. This suggests that customer service is not high on their priority list. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This will be as hard for me to write as it will for Silversea fans to read and I will try to be as objective and fair as possible in my comments. But when you've had an unhappy experience the devil is in the detail so while some of ... Read More
This will be as hard for me to write as it will for Silversea fans to read and I will try to be as objective and fair as possible in my comments. But when you've had an unhappy experience the devil is in the detail so while some of you may think I'm being too harsh or unreasonable and many more will disagree with me I'm going to give my honest opinion from the perspective of a Silversea first timer writing as an experienced cruiser with Crystal, Regent and Seabourn. Our first criteria when choosing a cruise is the itinerary so when I saw this Silversea Auckland-Melbourne trip it seemed ideal and the perfect opportunity to sample Silversea for the first time. These "top four" companies all aim to provide more or less the same product so while they offer a similar overall experience, their differences can make or break our enjoyment. I'm afraid ours was broken. Put simply, this was not a happy ship. That elusive atmosphere of people relaxing, socialising, making new friends and generally having a great time was missing and, apart from a few notable exceptions, too many were aloof, unfriendly, unapproachable and sometimes downright rude. There were impenetrable "cliques" who clearly regarded even a friendly "good morning" as intrusive. The uneasy mood applied to some of the staff and crew too and service seemed slow and disorganised, even chaotic at times. One got the sense they sometimes lacked proper training or supervision so that cheerful "spark" was missing and morale seemed low. The Ship : Clean and well maintained but the drab brown/maroon Art Deco theme makes the interior spaces and public rooms seem dark and enclosed. Any natural light is absorbed by the decor which doesn't help the overall ambiance. This is a matter of personal taste of course but we didn't like it. None of the public rooms were especially appealing or welcoming and there is a marked lack of natural light everywhere. The small, cramped theatre in particular is very gloomy. The artwork, some for sale at ridiculous prices, was uninspiring. Overall 7/10 The suite : Spacious with plenty of storage but again it was rather dark and dreary. Comfortable bed but no clock near it. The flat screen TVs recessed behind the mirrors are a big Minus. Poor visibility and watching yourself watching TV (especially in bed) is extremely distracting. Eeeeek! The remote control was very temperamental and you had to be at exactly the right angle for it to work. Good movie selection but the other news-only channels were limited and boring. Bathroom has a welcome full size tub and roomy separate shower stall with a great overhead cascade shower head and good water pressure. The sink design is impractical and the fiddly tap very annoying. Generous verandah. Overall 7/10 The Staff : Superficially smiling and friendly but they just didn't seem happy and on a couple of occasions were downright surly. Service was woefully slow and/or disorganised sometimes for no apparent reason. One just got the impression there was chaos behind the scenes and they were not pulling together as a "team". We still don't see the point of Butlers and on the rare occasions we needed to call ours it was hit and miss whether he responded. The cruise director, Don Fluke, was practically invisible and we never saw him around and about except during super competitive (as usual!) trivia and MCing the evening show. A good CD should be aware of the general "vibe" among his pax and be proactive in ensuring any problems addressed quickly. He should at least get out there and engage with people. I'm afraid this one wasn't doing that - he just wasn't around, only the occasional voice over the tannoy. Other senior staff and officers were equally elusive compared to others we've known. Overall 7/10 The Passengers : We met some delightful people we now consider friends, but the overall demographic was most definitely Grumpy Senior and trying to even make polite eye contact with many of them was impossible, let alone strike up a conversation. They just didn't want to know. Maybe the rotten weather and rough seas affected their ability to relax and enjoy themselves or maybe they were just snobs but it certainly put a real damper on the whole trip for us. Even when the weather improved, the sour attitude of many pax didn't. Get over yourselves and lighten up people! Overall 5/10 Dining. : the main Restaurant is pretty much what you'd find on any ship like this. Service was efficient enough but slow and it was sometimes difficult to explain special requests, eg, sauce on the side. La Terrazza, complete with traditional intimidating maître d' is the busy but dark and gloomy breakfast buffet and lunch venue and then becomes a booking only Italian restaurant for dinner, very much like the Regent Sette Mari concept. The Pool Grill serves the usual burger-type fare through the day (but no salad buffet) and then offers a Hot Rocks "cook your own" system for dinner, again you have to pre-book. There is no light supper or snack facility in the evening apart from Room Service. I suspect this move away from buffet dining generally is more about strict portion control and cost cutting than what the customers want. We didn't try the specialist restaurant Seishin so can't comment but we were given a surprise booking we hadn't asked for at Le Champagne. We were also given different bookings to those we'd asked for or at different venues to those we thought we'd booked. The whole booking system was a shambles. In any event I was told by a Silversea regular that people book everything they can on day one and then don't bother to turn up or cancel so there seem to be empty tables in "fully booked" venues. The Food. : Very average, and some very obvious cost cutting in evidence everywhere. It just lacked the Wow factor. I don't consider a dollop of tomato ketchup on three semi frozen prawns and watery lettuce a "luxury prawn cocktail", or a few lumps of rubbery Edam a "cheese selection". As for the cold, soggy "classic Silversea burger", I've had better McDonalds. Having said that we aren't foodies and and eating isn't the purpose of cruising for us so while the uninspiring, bland, over-sweet repetitive menus with few choices and meagre portions were disappointing, it wasn't a disaster. We didn't risk the lunchtime sushi which had obviously been prepared well in advance and didn't look especially fresh or appetising (or safe). And a quick question: why do we have to place a special order for simple breakfast toast? Were Noro precautions in place? If so, nobody told us. Wines were limited and average at best and it was very hard to get a straight answer from the sommeliers exactly what choices were available, let alone a real wine list. Overall 6/10 The Entertainment : Competent but predictable and boring. A 10pm start for the production shows is way too late after a long day of busy excursions so we missed most of them. Or maybe we just aren't the party animals we used to be! However, the entertainers in the bars and other more intimate venues were very talented and enjoyable. The enrichment lectures were OK. Overall 7/10 Excursions : We only did a couple but they were well organised and interesting. There seems to be enough flexibility in the system to change/cancel bookings at short notice which is a Plus. Overall 8/10 Casino : We aren't gamblers, didn't use it and so can't comment but it appeared to be closed or practically deserted most of the time. Shops : Large space dedicated to jewellery/watches and a shop selling high end cosmetics, perfumes, handbags and limited clothing. Useful things like basic toiletries, toothpaste, deodorant etc were kept hidden away in a cupboard so you had to ask for assistance. No Silversea merchandise (pens, hats, etc) available as far as I could see. Clothing prices were outrageous, $200+ for a cotton teeshirt anyone? Overall 5/10 And speaking of outrageous, let's talk about the Internet : Various packages available, all expensive. The basic Pay As You Go charge is 50c per minute. This is pure extortion, there's no other word for it in this day and age. The actual system was very unreliable anyway which makes the price even more outrageous. There was no IT assistance available except for 1 hour per day from a bored and distracted crew member who obviously thought he had better things to do. Overall 3/10 Embarkation was a breeze and took 10 mins max. Disembarkation was a 2 hour ordeal caused by bad organisation. Overall 5/10 So, did we have a good trip? Any time spent on a ship is good so in that sense we enjoyed it. The Silver Spirit handles rough seas very comfortably which was just as well because we did have some lumpy weather, although the 2-day crossing of the notorious Tasman Sea was unusually calm. But I'm afraid we were left feeling very disappointed, and yes, ripped off, as were quite a few other pax we managed to strike up a conversation and compare notes with. One couple on the whole LA-LA 64 day round trip were already wondering if they had made a huge and expensive mistake, and another was ready to jump ship well before their final destination. I don't believe we have unrealistic expectations, nor are we picky, high maintenance complainers but if something just isn't right we will say so, especially when we know other cruise lines can do it so much better. Every cruise line has its loyal followers so I'm sure my comments won't be well received by some but after this experience we won't be cruising with Silversea again, no matter how tempting the itinerary. It's back to Seabourn or Regent for us.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015

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