50 Auckland Romantic Cruise Reviews

Choose 4 day New Year’s Eve cruise for something different having previously cruised with Golden on South Pacific holiday. Embarkation at Auckland was messy and uncoordinated. Ships Interior condition seems to have lost it’s ... Read More
Choose 4 day New Year’s Eve cruise for something different having previously cruised with Golden on South Pacific holiday. Embarkation at Auckland was messy and uncoordinated. Ships Interior condition seems to have lost it’s “shine” for more of a better word with worn carpet in areas and faded chairs and lounges. Notice confetti in atrium centre light that was there 3 years ago. Biggest disappointment was wifi access. Payed $99 for 220mins and within the second day was used up. No way had we used almost 4 hours in that time and the speed of internet is 3rd world. Most hotels offer complimentary wifi and it feels like the ship is holding you hostage from the outside world. Good points about the cruise, food was plentiful and delicious and our cabin housekeeper (Allan Signey) was superb. Overall my wife and I were very much looking forward to this cruise, but were left very underwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have never been on a cruise before and, I have to admit that I will never forget this experience. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our mini-suite room was great: comfortable bed, air-conditioned, safe box, ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise before and, I have to admit that I will never forget this experience. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our mini-suite room was great: comfortable bed, air-conditioned, safe box, minibar, movies on demand and the ensuite bathroom that was small but pleasant. Anytime dining was just amazing. Lots of quality food options were available - Mexican, Italian, French, vegetarian. My favorite place was BAKERY :) The room service is so quick and there were no separate charges. It was a 12-nights on the cruise and has no boring moments because the cruise has a wide range of entertainment programmes throughout the day. Also, it was so big that you will find a new place every day when you explore it. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The events organized by cruise were fabulous :) Fully recommended this ship to all age group of people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have done over 30 cruises, with over 20 on Princess. This is our second cruise on the Royal Class ships. We do not like the new layout. Too big with over 4000 passengers. All our old favourite dance venues have disappeared including ... Read More
We have done over 30 cruises, with over 20 on Princess. This is our second cruise on the Royal Class ships. We do not like the new layout. Too big with over 4000 passengers. All our old favourite dance venues have disappeared including Explorers Lounge, Wheelhouse bar, Club Fusion and the Sky lounge. It seems these have been replaced by more cabins and restaurants. All the dancing on the Royal class ships is in the atrium/piazza. Unfortunately the dance floor gets quite chaotic with toddlers, young kids, teenagers, line dancers all trying to use at the one time. We reported the presence of young unassisted kids on the dance floor to the staff as this was a real safety issue. No action was taken. On News Year eve, people were dancing on the floor with beer bottles and wine glasses - another safety issue. Many of the people who were dancing were wearing shorts and thongs even at 10pm. No dress standards are enforced. The food in the Marketplace buffet was sub standard compared with other ships. The head chef is non-European. The four aisles in the Marketplace could not cope when 4000 passengers decide to have breakfast at the same time. Utter confusion. The central bench layout on other ships is a much better format. Also two small wash bowls at the entrance to the Marketplace was totally inadequate. The ship especially caters for the Chinese market with lots of Chinese families on board. The two bands on the ship Evolution and Silver Lining were excellent. We definitely prefer Princess's smaller ships such as Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, Crown etc. In conclusion, in our opinion bigger isn't always better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the last Solstice trip (to Sth Pacific) the average age was around 60, still way older than us but ok. This time is very around mid 80s and most people were not mobile. Getting around the ship was very frustrating and the music on board was obviously to cater for them - 30s and 40's (which my husband and I can't stand). We don't have children (by choice, they annoy me); so it was good that there weren't too many to be seen or heard. The ports were mostly good but I would get rid of Lautoka and Suva and try and use a beautiful outer Fijian island. I've been to Fiji a few times and the ports are not a true reflection of the beauty of the Fiji. We both really enjoyed Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga - we did shore trips in each location but not through the ship. We did the Oolala trip, with the ship, in Lautoka and it was terrible - I went two years ago and everything has changed for the worse. It was overcrowded, mean and the food was inedible. The entertainment was generally ok, if geared towards very old people. The dining was good but portion sizes are very small. I'm a size 8 and I had to eat 2nd dinner in the buffet some night as I was still starving. One of the guys (a professor) giving talks was so boring and his material very old. Surely they can find people who are actually interested in their material and pass that on to the cruises. Cost for gym classes is a bit expensive at $17US Why is the spa so expensive? I would love to have treatments but not at twice the price of Australia. The shops are ridiculous - LV and Tiffany - seriously???? why not have nice brands that your target market can afford. Get rid of the stupid art show - just have nice stuff around the ship to admire (not to purchase) Based on this cruise, we have decided to cruise again in about 20 years time - unless Celebrity really do something to encourage a younger (but Childfree) market. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
MAJESTIC PRINCESS We did this trip for our 25th anniversary. Thanks to the Princess staff for the lovely banner and balloons. EMBARKATION was poor due to us receiving the wrong wharf information. We had Prince’s wharf in our ... Read More
MAJESTIC PRINCESS We did this trip for our 25th anniversary. Thanks to the Princess staff for the lovely banner and balloons. EMBARKATION was poor due to us receiving the wrong wharf information. We had Prince’s wharf in our itinerary but the day before we received an email telling us it was now Queen’s wharf. After being dropped at Queens Wharf, we had to trawl our suitcases through the busy ferry terminal to get to where the ship actually was on Prince’s wharf. Not sure what that was all about. Once at the right place everything went very smoothly. DISEMBARKATION was good. We booked the Princess airport transfer as it was only a few dollars more than public transport would have cost us and meant we were basically ship to airport (without getting too wet). Cabin L228 Cabin was comfortable and our steward Gomez was excellent. Bed was comfortable to sleep in but pillows were poor. One feather, one foam. I dislike feather but foam was not firm enough for me. Bathroom was extremely tight and neither of us are large people. Plenty of hanging space but not many drawers. Small fridge in cabin. Two USB ports but neither worked. Windows in need dire of cleaning, very annoying when going through the fiordlands. Also deck balcony glass impossible to see through and as you sit at a low level very annoying. The buffet marketplace is well set out so people have areas to go for what they want. Food choices ever changing and difficult to get to try everything or you would explode. Food is enjoyable, plenty of choices for all tastes. Just lacking seasoning but that is understandable due to the numbers aboard. Dining rooms are well decorated and spacious. Found food to be bland and either under cooked or over cooked. I have dietary requirements and tried to speak to the maître de as requested on the first and second nights in dining room. This did not happen and I was given food I am allergic too. After this everything was sorted out for me in the dining room. Harmony restaurant was enjoyable and worth the money. People we met liked the Le Mer food. Lots of small food places to get burgers, hotdogs, ice cream, noodles. Bakery cakes looked superb but were sometimes not quite as tasty as they looked. Loved Alfredo’s on deck 6. Great pizza and veal tortellini. Drinks packages are available but you need to work out for yourself if they are worth it. We didn’t buy one. Plenty of places to sit and read, have a drink, or play games. Laundry facilities on are all decks 7-15 at rear of boat. Some are larger than others. Very easy to use as you swipe your ships card to buy tokens for washers and dryers and powder, bleach and dryer sheets. Could do with more dryers though as wash takes 30-35mins and dryers 40-45mins. Causing a backlog waiting for dryers. The ship itself is clean and quite pretty. Crooners lounge was always good for a quiet pre dinner drink. Crown Grill was more pub like and livelier. Did an English pub lunch on two occasions which we never tried. Hollywood adults area on deck 17 at front was relaxing. The pool and hot tubs were lovely. Lounge area lacking enough of the comfortable loungers. Smoking area is outside on 17 starboard and if you forgot and went out the wrong doors you got a face full of smoke. Main pool area is spacious but busy on a sunny day. Liked the skywalk. Overall the ship was well appointed and enjoyable and we would sail on her again. Crew were overall polite but not overly friendly like other cruises we have been on. Downside. Usual problems with finding a seat at certain entertainments. Atrium activities and Princess Theatre shows especially. Something needs to be done as some people were saying they had seen the early show and went again for the later show. This left people standing in the aisles which blocked those sitting at the back. Surely a ticketing system using your cruise card could be designed so you could only get in once unless there was space. Spoke to a staff member but felt I was being humoured. Another staff member did come and move those standing in our view. Would travel on this ship again. TAURANGA Ship actually docks at Mt Manganui so you need to get shuttle or taxi into Tauranga itself. Just walked off ship. Nice seaside area with good coffee shops. We walked to the top of Moturiki Island then had a coffee. This is main port for Hobbiton which we had done prior to cruise. WELLINGTON Went on free shuttle into town. Rode cable car to top of hill then walked down through Botanical gardens. Stopped for a cup of tea in the rose garden then had a stroll to Old St Pauls church then we caught shuttle bus back to ship after a short ride around Wellington. AKAROA You tender in at this port so allow time if you book a private tour. We had organised to ride a V8Trike with Marty. We did the 1hr ride which was great. We then had lunch in town, lovely fish and chips and green lip mussels. Very easy to walk around this small quaint town. DUNEDIN Unfortunately we did not make this port due to a fog bank which caused us to miss the tide to get into dock. FIORDLANDS Cruising through the three sounds on a beautiful sunny day was wonderful. The ship cruises one way through DUSKY and DOUBTFUL sounds then has to turn around in MILFORD sound. Meaning you see everything twice or everything from your balcony. HOBART We booked a ship shore excursion to Mt Wellington and the Botanic gardens. We had to clear customs here which held the tours up by a small amount of time. Whilst enjoyable and I thought good value for money, I felt hurried in the gardens and we lacked time on Mt Wellington. The tour was booked as Mt Wellington then Botanic Gardens and we planned to spend extra time at the gardens then make our own way back to the ship. This obviously didn’t happen as we did the gardens first. DAYS AT SEA are relaxing days or there was plenty going on if that is your choice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia. Tasmania was a terrific surprise. We selected a mid-size cabin due to the length of the trip and that there would be days at sea. Everything was exceptionally well done from the housekeeping ... Read More
We wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia. Tasmania was a terrific surprise. We selected a mid-size cabin due to the length of the trip and that there would be days at sea. Everything was exceptionally well done from the housekeeping staff to the entertainment staff. The food was amazing and the surprise birthday cake was a special treat. We would go on this trip again if we didn't have such a long air flight at each end-we are traveling with the same company to a different location(Baltic) A special treat for us was the educational courses and being able to interact with the educators for further information. We were given information about the area, history, & astronomy so we understand what we would see and be part of the for the next day. The food was terrific in all locations and had no problems with reservations for the smaller restaurants. Often we ate in the main "cafeteria" location and were able to make many new friends at nearby tables. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From ... Read More
This was our first time on Celebrity, we are RCCL people, which own celebrity. Embarkation was OK no issue at all, the ship looked good but you can see some areas are tired and in need of some work but that is not a big issue. From the minute we got on board we were endlessly pounded with first, drinks packages, then were ever we went it was specialty restaurants. I felt they were hiding at every corner, breakfast , lunch before entering dining room and leaving dining room , it just never stopped. Then when going to the gym you had to run the gauntlet of massages etc etc. I want to pass on a tip, you can offer specialty restaurants but when you ask around $40-$50 US, then the food needs to be rather special and sorry, it was not. Drinks on all cruise lines are out of control and crazy expensive, $6US for a ordinary coffee UP to $15 US for a cocktail and $11-15 US for wine really is too much. which includes an 18% gratuity .For us poor Aussies add at least 25%+ to get Aussie pricing We booked a concierge cabin and we thought it was good value with the extras you got. Our cabin was a bit smaller than we were used to, with not as much storage space but a slightly larger bathroom I thought the service on the ship was great however for some reason, the staff do not appear happy. The food in the dining room was mostly good although became repetitive. I thought the Buffet selection was ordinary and not a great variety. Entertainment was generally Ok, I have a thought, do not expect good entertainment and if you get it then it is a great bonus. I was happy with most of the entertainment I did notice there were a lot of bars on board but not much to do like, mini golf etc. If you did not follow the daily activities then there was not much else. The top deck was covered in lawn which was different but frankly, useless and the glass blowing for me was a little boring. The adds say Premium cruising and I did expect to get the wow factor but generally speaking it was very little difference to any other of the 300 nights I have been on ships Cruising has become like " lamb to the slaughter", they just try and extract every dollar possible. I would not personally, go on Celebrity again and I hope other cruise lines are not pounding you with upselling otherwise I will stop going. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary. All ports were fantastic. Ship is okay. Needs some updating. I will say it has great stabilizers though because we hit rough seas crossing from New Zealand to Australia and it was not bad. Holland food and service (except for breakfast and lunch in the dining room, even after complaining because they didn’t seem to care) was excellent. Shore excursions were all good but very expensive. Embarkation took too long (over an hour) but debarkation was a breeze - best ever. There wasn’t much to do onboard, especially on sea days. Mainly test kitchen offerings, if you like that. A couple of the entertainers were poor (ventriloquist and singer) but others were good (singers and dancers) or great (comedian, pianist). They offered a Lincoln Center Stage venue and the musicians were outstanding - that was an unexpected surprise we enjoyed. The other negative was they closed the ship stores during the last week to get it ready for a new opening (not sure why) so almost no merchandise even before closing - not good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We enjoyed New Zealand as well as Australia. It was a lovely time to travel and the scenery was fantastic! I was worried that the Ocean cruise would seem so large and unfriendly but the restaurants and the location of them made it seem ... Read More
We enjoyed New Zealand as well as Australia. It was a lovely time to travel and the scenery was fantastic! I was worried that the Ocean cruise would seem so large and unfriendly but the restaurants and the location of them made it seem like a very small and intimate ship in the end. The food was excellent with so many items being made right on the ship. The specialty restaurants especially the Italian restaurant was a favorite of ours. We also enjoyed going to the small Norwegian breakfast restaurant on the top deck. We actually felt like we were in an intimate dining room for breakfast. Like Grandma's house. The only difficult part was embarking and disembarking could take a little time and I feel they may be about to do that in a better manner in the future. The entertainment was professional and very enjoyable. We would recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My wife and I go on a cruise almost every year. We have cruised with Crystal, Regent, Ocena, Princess, Cunard, Holland America over the years. Crystal has always been our preferred cruise line. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: ... Read More
My wife and I go on a cruise almost every year. We have cruised with Crystal, Regent, Ocena, Princess, Cunard, Holland America over the years. Crystal has always been our preferred cruise line. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: (1) I badly wanted to visit my mother's grave in Hobart (Tasmania) and this cruise included Hobart in its itinerary; (2) we wanted to go to Australian Open tennis tournament after the cruise; and (3) we wanted to see the main cities of New Zealand and Australia. Additional considerations for us included the newness of Viking Orion, good reviews of Viking ocean cruises, being only for adults and no requirement for formal attire. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The ship was beautiful; eveything on the ship had been tastefully designed. Our cabin was on deck 6 and classified as deluxe veranda; its size was perfectly satisfactory, the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was fine. There was an excellent fridge in the room and the WiFi signal was acceptable. In commen areas WiFi worked very well about 80% of the time (10-15 Mbps), which is excellent considering the remote areas we were sailing at. Dining: There were two specialty dining venues in addition to the main dining room and the "world cafe" where food was served buffet style. There were also three other locations where one can have open sandwiches, hamburgers etc. Entertainment: Compared to other cruises there was minimal entertainment of relatively low quality. Since we didn't much care about the generally low quality stage performances on cruise ships this was not an issue for us. The lectures were fine. Now, why do I give this cruise only 2 stars: The captain decided not to go to Christchurch and more importantly Hobart for weather related reasons. In his announcements he repeated that "our safety was his main priority" and provided only scant reasons for his decisions, which didn't satify anybody because weather, as far as we could determine, was not particularly bad at either port. That is two ports of call out of seven. I was very disappointed and angry as I wondered when will I ever have another chance to go to Hobart. So we ended up spending two extra days at sea and one extra day in Melbourne, which meant nothing to us because we were going to be in Melbourne for Australian Open anyway. The food was prepared by non-specialist cooks and the quality was in general quite poor. Our first dinner on board was just awful and I knew right at the outset we were going to have problems with food quality. Dinner on December 31st, New Year's Eve, was nothing special. They made no effort whatsoever to celebrate the arrival of the new year in the dining room. The variety of the food items included in the menus of the main dining room and the World Cafe became absolutely monotonous and boring. Fruit selection consisted of melon, watermelon, pineapple, apples, and strawberries all of which were tasteless. There was plently of meat but very little edible seafood. They even managed to cook salmon welldone! Shellfish was also plenty but tasteless. Imagine, you are travelling in the middle of summer in places that are well known for their vegetables and fruits (e.g. kiwi fruit, mangos, peaches, grapes) and none of them made an appearance at our dinner table. Same for seafood. The fish served were all of European origin and frozen - that's probably why they always cooked the fish until it was compeletly dry. Barista coffee was bad - we were told by one of the coffee baristas that the machines, not the coffee beans, were to blame. The staff clearly needed more training and better language skills. Often they did not understand what we asked for. Poorly selected music (rock, country etc.) played loudly on deck 7 where everyone congregated most of the time. The cover over Deck 7 would often be closed when the weather was hot with no wind making the place like a sauna and open when it was windy and cool. I mentioned this to staff and got no response. The included shore excursions were good. We received an email from Viking offering us $250 credit towards a future Viking cruise for missing out on two ports of call. I also received a phone call from a Viking representative after we returned home who tried to sell me another Viking cruise by offering "additional (to $250) cruise credit as further compensation". That is not an acceptable service recovery in my book. I will not go on another Viking Cruise and my wife feels the same. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose the cruise for the destination as we wanted to be in Sydney for the New Year Celebration and the cruise ended on December 30th. I was very disappointed in the Lotus Spa on this ship. I booked a 90 minute massage and upon my ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destination as we wanted to be in Sydney for the New Year Celebration and the cruise ended on December 30th. I was very disappointed in the Lotus Spa on this ship. I booked a 90 minute massage and upon my arrival was shown to the co-ed “relaxing” area. This was not a spa atmosphere - more like a doctor’s office waiting room. No nice bathrooms to relax in, not even in the treatment room. Totally co-ed. No free use of whirl pool, sauna or steam room, but you could buy a week pass for $199 to use them (The Enclave”). Was told by spa personnel that this ship wasn’t like the other Princess ship spas and they needed to control the amount of people using the spa whirlpool, etc and that is why they charged for them. However, the message was wonderful! Just wish I could have relaxed before my message. Felt very disappointed about that. Hollywood Pool Club was Adult only, no charge and it was lovely. Very relaxing and serene and no charge. I just chose to lounge and read a book. We did pay extra for Club Class but did enjoy not having to wait at all for a table for anytime dining. It was really nice to have a special section reserved for Club Class. The waiters were phenomenal! We sailed over Christmas and felt that they did a wonderful job with Christmas decorations and celebrating Christmas. Christmas Carols were sung and everyone joined in. On Christmas morning Santa appeared in the atrium and had a gift for every child under 12 yrs. Every child got to take pictures with Santa and his helpers. It’s a beautiful ship but felt crowded in the corridor the public areas. Personally, too big of a ship for me. Will definitely use Princess again but will sail on the smaller ships. Our ages are 59-65. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We left Sydney in glorious sunshine at an early 3.30pm. Boarding was easy and efficient. The overall condition of the ship was good, older but perfectly acceptable and no way near the condition some reviews indicated. We stopped at 6 ports ... Read More
We left Sydney in glorious sunshine at an early 3.30pm. Boarding was easy and efficient. The overall condition of the ship was good, older but perfectly acceptable and no way near the condition some reviews indicated. We stopped at 6 ports and cruised around Fiordland for a day which was brilliant. It rained at all ports except 2 and rained pretty much the rest of the time- no fault of the ship/cruiseline. This did not really affect our enjoyment of the cruise. We have tried 3 other cruise lines and this unfortunately was the worst for food we have tried so far. The choice of food in the Horizon buffet was very limited and the lunch and breakfast options changed little each day - this became monotonous very quickly. There was a buffet line each side of the ship but they served the same food. The main dining room was better, but personally I found the dish selection again uninspiring with a lot of seafood dishes and not many meat options on the menu. I like seafood but my wife does not and I could see her point of view. Ships aircon seemed to make the ship warm then cool then warm again all the time. The shows were of a good standard, with a variety of acts. Entertainment during the day was good but not as good a Royal Caribbean. I thought the drinks prices for cocktails was high and the amount of alcohol in each drink was not generous- I tried a few. The staff were great and hard working. All the passengers we met had a great time and we arrived back in Sydney to glorious sunshine. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
just wanted to provide some feed back from my perspective. The first cruise we did was on P&O and we were thrilled to be going on our first ever totally child free holiday. After having 7 children now all grown up it was so nice ... Read More
just wanted to provide some feed back from my perspective. The first cruise we did was on P&O and we were thrilled to be going on our first ever totally child free holiday. After having 7 children now all grown up it was so nice to be away just the two of us. The ship was ok but the air con in the room did not work and was not fixed. It was so bad the pillow chocolates melted. It was only a 4 night cruise and we were never moved. (I felt sorry for the honeymoon couple next door who also had no air con) We were also in a cabin with no balcony. The entertainment was a bit thin and the food was ok, the ship seemed to feel every wave though and even though I was not sick I was looking for a sun lounge at the back of the ship to combat the feeling. The staff were really nice. Next cruise was so different, We went on Royal's Ovation of the seas . It was a four night cruise to Hobart and back. We had a balcony. a beautiful room, we loved exploring the ship. The shows were great , food amazing, always something to do and not over crowded at all. It was so big and clean and and friendly. Smooth sailing just a few bumps on the bass but did not affect us at all. Staff were so helpful and so nice, I dont know how they remember you no matter where on that huge whip you are. Everything is charged in US dollars on the ship and that was probs the only thing that was a bit of a pain but you get use to it. We bought the drinks package so there were no surprises and it all went smoothly. Honestly had no complaints at all. Next cruise and everyone since has been on celebrity solstice , Why we keep going back (though we are itching to try Edge:)) Still all in USD The ship is big but not too big, It has plenty of places to drink. to chill, to listen to music, to take part in Trivia and other activities, The shows are really good and the food is amazing even in the grand dining room. The demographics are a bit different too certainly not a BOOZE cruise. You have a real good mix of ages and there is a really nice team there to look after the Camp at Sea kids (the kids club is never overcrowded and they really look after them) I do prefer the solarium on Ovation but the solarium on Solstice is still really nice and has the pool and whirl pools and lots of lounges. It also has an amazing Aqua Cafe there for a healthy snack. I love catching a movie on the real grass be it day or under the stars of a night. Mast Grill is a must for burgers and hotdogs. The tenders works well and the destinations are fab We have stayed in Suite at the Aft and enjoyed that so much, Butler, dedicated Suite only lounge where all the drinks are free, dedicated suite only dining where the food and staff are amazing. Reserved seating for the shows, no tender queues . We have stayed on concierge at the Aft again brilliant and the Aft for me is the best place to be. We have stayed in a royal suite AMAZING no extras at all fully stocked fridge with what ever you want in it. Free internet washing drinks, everything. Even a bath on the balcony not to mention the two bathrooms and walk in wardrobe and afternoon tea severed for you and any guests by your butler. We have stayed in a balcony and done the main hall dining and again amazing. A really good vibe in there and staff will do everything they can to help. People complain about staff trying to up sell the other dining (in Royal suite its all included BTW) .. I dont have an issue with that I just say no thank you . The buffet is great and you can go grab something from there and enjoy the food out on the deck if you want. The ship tour is also amazing. The guests are friendly and like I said mixed age. You can dance with the younger ones or sit by the pool taking to the older ones. The lifts even become a social trip where you can say hi to new people. If you smoke there are areas dedicated for that an people meet up there for a drink and a chat. The full moon party is always great and the silent disco is something you have to try even just watching that is fun. They gym on board is good (not that we did anything other than walk through it) and the pamper spa is great. We could always find an area to just chill where sometime there would be no one else around. There is a games area/lounge where you can play cards or board games and a lounge with a library feel where you can just sit and relax or read. There is always trivia going on but we get so busy we miss it most the time :) But its fun to do and again you meet other people. There are ship activities to join in. There is always something to do or you can do nothing . thing is on Celebrity your on a beautiful ship that caters for everyone. Your holiday is what you want it to be ...relaxing..or full on it's up to you. The destinations are great and the tours offered are varied. If you have never been on a cruise and are looking to do one. I would say go with Celebrity it's our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My husband and I picked this cruise for our honeymoon. We booked through vacation club Mariott as we are owners. This was our first cruise. The booking process went smoothly, however the online process was extremely confusing, even though ... Read More
My husband and I picked this cruise for our honeymoon. We booked through vacation club Mariott as we are owners. This was our first cruise. The booking process went smoothly, however the online process was extremely confusing, even though we are both tech savvy. The was much confusion on the passport situation as well. My husband’s passport met the criteria all the way up until the week before we were to leave. We were unable to complete anything online because it stated that his passport is expired, even though it didn’t expire until 5 months and 20 days after our return. Princess stated we needed passports good for 6 months after return. However when initially put through, this was fine. After hours of phone calls, we were finally given the ok, however when checking in, we had to got though the whole process all over again. In the mean time, they lost our room keys. After finally boarded, we were not told where to go. We were given a map and they sent us on our way. Mind you, this was our first cruise. We had no idea what to do or where to go. When we finally found our room, we were told we needed our safety talk in the casino area. Again, we had to wander around to find it. Here I thought we would be introduced to the boat, told how everything works, etc, but this was not the case. They showed us how to put a life jacket on and sent us away. We were so extremely disappointed with the start. Then we noticed our floor was leaking and required maintenance nearly everyday. Our bedroom was dingy, with dirty cloth headboards and a smell of mold. There was a glass left in the closet when we arrived in our room. There was also mold all along the tile in the bathroom. Next, the hot tubs NEVER worked. The saunas only worked if you requested the spa to turn it on. The food was good but only in the dining room. The food in the buffet was clearly cafeteria food, except cold. The best part of our cruise was sitting at the table with fellow cruisers. If it wasn’t for them, we would not know the ins and outs of cruising. Such as the coffee is free in the Buffett and dining room, but expect to pay over a dollar for a regular coffee anywhere else. It was absolutely ridiculous. The shows repeated every 3rd day and they were not entertaining at all. Lastly, we were told there would be two formal days. We had one; plus the dress code policy was not adhered to at all. Our stateroom steward, Emile was phenomenal however. He always came in and tidied up the room; he also always brought us ice which we requested on the first day. We did not book any excursions through princess and I am so glad we didn’t. They were way overpriced and extremely full. One last plus, was our captain. He was extremely entertaining with his talks and nautical trivia. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We did this cruise to escape the winter in New Zealand. We are a middle aged couple. We have no children. This was our second cruise. The first was last year on Queen Victoria and going along the adriatic coast. This one was cruising ... Read More
We did this cruise to escape the winter in New Zealand. We are a middle aged couple. We have no children. This was our second cruise. The first was last year on Queen Victoria and going along the adriatic coast. This one was cruising around Fiji and Tonga. We enjoyed the ship itself. We ate more often in the Waterfront restaurant as we preferred being waited on. The service was good and so were the meals. The shows were fantastic. The seven sins was memorable. I bought the $199 entertainment package. Which included salt and grill meal. a bottle of champagne. Photo, Canapes every night. This deal was worth it. Salt and grill is fantastic. We couldn't eat it all. I had bought the wine and cheese package and the wine and fruit package. The shock was in finding that they were delivered all at once. Not spaced out over 10 days. I had bought water bottles to 6 for $20 and water is important. We didn't book any excursions. My experience last year in Europe was that they are expensive and not always what you want to do in an area. Our call at Suva..was entertaining to get on the bus there when you did not have too. You could walk off there and be in a shopping district. I got bored as although the market was interesting you can't take food on board. So I was about to go back to the ship when a taxi driver approached and offered to take me around the island for 2 hours for $40 NZ. Deal done. It was a good trip too. We did a similar thing in capital of Tonga. There the taxi drivers expect to be paid $200 US dollars so we bypassed them. We found to our couples and shared the expense of a taxi around Tonga and that was worth it. We saw all the sights. Captain Cook landing and Abel Tasman and more. My husband got sick on the way back from Tonga. He started having breathing problems. He was in the hospital on the ship. They gave him the best of care there. He had water of the lungs and heart failure. Now recovering back in NZ. It was $12,000 for 36 hours care. It has to be paid before you leave the ship. Waiting to hear from insurance. This was caused by a couple of infections. Still my experience is still positive with the ship. I will be back on this ship for the food and wine and the comedy one coming up. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Just to preface this review, we had previously cruised on the P & O Pacific Dawn 8 months ago out of Brisbane (Balcony room) on the 7 night Island Hopper and could not fault anything. It was brilliant. This time we chose to splash ... Read More
Just to preface this review, we had previously cruised on the P & O Pacific Dawn 8 months ago out of Brisbane (Balcony room) on the 7 night Island Hopper and could not fault anything. It was brilliant. This time we chose to splash out on a Mini Suite and convinced our parents to try a cruise for the first time. So they booked a Suite too. We sailed on an 8 nighter to Fiji. From day 1 we couldn't sleep. We had the pleasure of having bins and loungers and various other items stored directly above our room on 12. It was SO noisy. You could hear constant thumping, people running, chairs scraping. Sometimes late at night and every single morning like clockwork just before 6am. During the day it was too noisy to take a nap. Our Room Stewards were nice but a little inefficient. We had to repeatedly ask for beach towels as after shore days we would leave them in the beach towel bins when coming back to the ship. We'd get back to our room to freshen up and then go up to 12 to swim or lounge around and we'd have to wait for 2 more towels. They should have just done them when they serviced our room each day. Also our room was only serviced in the afternoon so often there were plates outside our door for hours at a time. Despite us getting up and out at 6am lol. Bed was comfy though! Food was atrocious. Pantry had cockroaches running around where you get the sauces etc. Same food day in and day out. I don't think we ever had a warm meal either in the Pantry or Waterfront. It was constantly served cold or lukewarm. Even eggs being carried in from the kitchen and put directly on my plate were cold! And if you ordered any meat it was cooked so much that if you dropped it, it would have bounced from being over cooked! Waterfront was awful. However service there was fab. My parents are not fussy people and were seriously disappointed in the food, as were we. Their room on the other side of the ship than us, was under where chairs were moved every morning at 3am for over an hour so they didn't sleep well either. Oh and their A/C was faulty, then freezing, then didn't work at all, despite having someone come and look at it. The cocktails were so hit and miss it was not even worth having a drinks package, some were so gross and varied tremendously depending on who made them. One day I drank 5 Toblerone Cocktails in a short period of time and didn't even feel tiddly. It was like I had just drunk 5 chocolate shakes from McDonalds. The attitude of some of the staff members was quite indifferent. You'd be standing waiting for service at the bar and they'd take their time to even acknowledge you. Also the wait staff couldn't be found half the time to take your drink order so we gave up and just went to the bar ourselves. There were hardly any activities either. We resorted to trying to borrow a book from the library. But unlike the Dawn where it was an unlocked cupboard, the Jewel had a locked cupboard. So we'd go to this cupboard at the time advised but there would be no staff member in sight. This happened many many times. We left the book we actually managed to get at reception before disembarking because the person at the library was so unreliable. The music that they played repeatedly in the public areas (Pantry etc) drove us mad. The same few songs played over and over. As in like 5 songs. If I hear Katy Perry's 'Roar' again I will scream. Bad remakes of top 10 hits. Every day and night. We think they did it so people had their food and got out immediately. The music selection they had on the big screen on 12 was rubbish and inappropriate and SO loud we had to yell to each other so we could have a conversation. Kids were swimming in the Adults pool and nobody told them to get out. We retreated to the Oasis bar quite a bit but it stunk like an unwashed floor in the corner of a dodgy old Dim Sum restaurant and we got sick of having to get up off a lounger to get a drink as the waiter was more fond of chatting to passengers for long periods of time than taking drink orders. I could go on and on. It was SO blah. I just feel so gutted after our previous cruise being so great! What is P & O doing? My parents are never doing another cruise with P & O and we will not cruise on the Jewel again UNLESS it was free. lol. I contacted P & O with my feedback but haven't heard a word. Didn't expect to really. Go on this ship if you got your cruise at a bargain basement price, if your room is not on level 11, if you are with a bunch of people and you are going to be drinking and partying with so it doesn't matter if you sleep or not. If you want a relaxing time with great food, some tasty cocktails, excellent service and some quality sleep - give it a miss on the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did 9 nights on the Pacific jewel to the south pacific. We had a great time! It was a great affordable holiday! The service was fantastic, the ship was very nice and well looked after. The live entertainment every night was excellent. ... Read More
We did 9 nights on the Pacific jewel to the south pacific. We had a great time! It was a great affordable holiday! The service was fantastic, the ship was very nice and well looked after. The live entertainment every night was excellent. The included in fare food was a bit hit and miss but good the majority of the time. The onboard restaurants we paid extra for were delicious! Well worth the money. We also got the premium drinks package and I think that is definitely a must do! As you don't have to worry about paying for drinks, you just swipe your cruise card. I think the experience you have on board is alot to do with your attitude, we went on with a positive attitude, not really knowing what to expect from our first cruise and we were pleasantly surprised with our trip. We will definitely be sailing with P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
South Pacific Cruise on the Crystal Symphony March 3-April 6, 2018 This is a review of two segments of the Crystal Symphony World Cruise, from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and Papeete to Valparaiso, Chile. Ports of call ... Read More
South Pacific Cruise on the Crystal Symphony March 3-April 6, 2018 This is a review of two segments of the Crystal Symphony World Cruise, from Auckland, New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti and Papeete to Valparaiso, Chile. Ports of call included two stops in Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Easter Island and Robinson Crusoe Island. Overall Crystal lived up to its reputation among the best of the upper tier of cruise lines. It is essentially all inclusive other than shore excursions, and naturally the price reflects that. Other than some minor areas for improvement, I have little reason not to rate the experience highly. As with any cruise the experience starts long before boarding as you register online and if so desired, reserve excursions and make speciality dining reservations. Unfortunately Crystal was in the middle of transitioning from their legacy web site to a new site and they made the classic rookie mistake of going live with the new site before it was fully checked out and functional. This certainly detracted from the initial impression of Crystal as this was our first cruise with them. Through several attempts over a period of weeks and exchanges of phone calls and emails with Crystal eventually everything was set. Interestingly, Crystal is one of the remaining lines that still sends paper brochures and boarding documents. For a line that prides itself on being “Green” sending duplicates of everything to a couple sharing a cabin is quite wasteful. My one other minor complaint is that none of the theme nights were mentioned in the advance information and thus we had not packed for these. These minor annoyances were all forgotten once embarkation began. Crystal has a unique process where the health forms, clearing security, registering your card and getting your cabin key are split between the terminal and onboard in stages. This spreads out the activity and minimizes congestion. It proved to be efficient and fast (helped by a passenger load less than 700) and we were quickly in our cabin, which was ready as soon as we boarded. Our luggage also arrived promptly. We had a verandah cabin on deck 9. We found it roomy enough and were impressed with the closet space, more hangars than we have seen on almost any of our previous cruises and ample drawer and shelf space so that our clothes and accessories for 35 days onboard could all be stored with room to spare. The refrigerator was larger than the standard minibar size one usually found on ships and the safe was large enough to fit two iPads and the rest of our valuables. The Symphony had only recently emerged from drydock and the cabins now feature large flat screen TVs. Regrettably our cabin still had only one 110v and one 220v outlet, a serious shortcoming in today’s wired world. The bathroom was adequate and the only minor issue was that the lighting could have been a bit better. As always my pet peeve is the light switch is on the outside, making for the usual acrobatics at night to try and turn on the light and quickly close the door without waking your partner. The balcony was large enough for the two of us to enjoy it comfortably with a nice table in between. With so many sea days on this cruise we took full advantage of the balcony. Returning to the TV, the interactive system was superb for accessing information on entertainment, dining, etc. I particularly loved the fact that any enrichment lectures you miss are available on demand or can be viewed live in your stateroom if you don’t make it to the venue. The number of TV stations is dependent on satellite coverage and so varied greatly during our voyage. Internet access is totally free and for most of the trip was surprisingly fast. Once we got into the more remote parts of the South Pacific it did slow down considerably as satellite coverage there is spotty. The pool on the Symphony is large enough to swim short laps. Obviously not Olympic size, but reasonable for a ship of this size. The one downside is that it apparently uses ocean water because it was very salty to the point that I stopped using it as my eyes were getting irritated. There is an oversized hot tub that was very relaxing after a long day of touring and I frequently had it to myself. There are three main shops onboard. All were focused on higher end merchandise (clothing, jewelry, watches) with only a token amount of souvenir cruise wear like polo shirts and tees. There was a small section of sundries. Dining is probably the most subjective and personal topic to comment on. The Symphony has switched to an all open dining format for the main dining room, called Waterside. We never had to wait for a table whether we wanted to dine alone or with a group. We found the food quite good and there were always at least 6 choices of entrees, often more. There are also several speciality restaurants including Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian steakhouse. Passengers get at least two complimentary meals in the Italian and Japanese restaurants per segment and unlimited dining in the others by reservation. In addition up until 6 pm the Trident grill serves sandwiches and other light food and the Bistro has some snacks and deserts throughout the day and evening. One nice feature is you can order off the Waterside menu for room service during their regular dining hours, plus a more limited room service 24/7. With all these options you should never go without! Our one “complaint” is that we are used to having access at night to a buffet for casual dinner if we did not feel like a sit down meal and this option is no longer available on Symphony. Without question Symphony’s entertainment offerings are world class. The resident singers and dancers are multi talented and professional and their production shows were as good as any we have experienced. The guest performers included opera singers, a famous pianist, an array of well known vocalists and more. There was no decrease in quality in the lounges either, with a magnificent violinist, pianist, a Quartet in one lounge and a dance duo in another. If none of these were to your liking, the ship also has a dedicated movie theater showing first run films. During our cruise we could see the Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, Three Billboards and many more feature films. The enrichment lectures were generally first rate. The mix included marine biologists, military generals, a CNN reporter, a cultural anthropologist, and a Hollywood talent agent/former performer. If you wanted to skip all that and curl up with a good book, the Library had an extensive and varied collection. We generally opt for doing independent shore excursions wherever possible in lieu of the ship’s offering. Due to the extremely limited infrastructure on many of the islands we visited this was not always possible, so we ended up with a mix of independent and ship’s tours. For the most part the ship’s tours did the islands justice with a good mix of culture, nature and history. One tour was a bit subpar but I feel it was more due to the limitations of what the island had to offer than the tour operator. In Tahiti we took a ship’s tour one day and a private tour the second day and I can honestly say the ship’s tour was better than the private one we arranged. As far as our port stops the one area for improvement is the research done by the shore excursion staff. For the main islands the information was adequate and with the Internet there was lots we could study on our own ahead of time. However for some of the smaller islands, particularly two atolls, there were no excursions available either through the ship or privately due to their small population and size. The information on what to do in port from the shore excursion desk was meager to nonexistent. Thankfully the local population had set up information tables at the tender pier to provide the information on nearby beaches and points of interest. It would seem that the shore excursion folks could have contacted the island tourist information center or local government for advanced information. The island of Rangiroa stands out as an opportunity missed. The beach on the Pacific side was quite rocky and had a notable undertow so it was not suitable for anything but wading. The lagoon side had clear waters and looked inviting but the only beach within walking distance was at the island’s one resort. Crystal could have explored making arrangements for day use of their beach for a fee, as many other cruise lines do. Beyond the all inclusive nature of the cruise, the real standout was service. Even if the ship was full the passenger to crew ratio is less than 2:1. On the second leg of our cruise because of the lower passenger count there were actually more crew than passengers! Every single crew member we encountered from the Captain to dining service to housekeeping was happy to go out of their way to help and provide an above and beyond experience. Disembarkation in Chile was quick and as easy as possible given the logistics of the port. The cruise terminal is away from the place where the ship docks so one has to board a shuttle to get to the terminal where one clears customs and security and retrieves one’s luggage. This went smoothly with one glitch. When the people from Pitcairn Island came onboard one of their sales items was pure honey. Because of the island’s remote locations the honey is certified as disease free and we were assured by both the folks from Pitcairn Island and the Symphony folks who oversaw the operation that we would have no trouble getting the honey home if we showed the certificate of purity. Not so. The Chilean Customs folks amassed a large collection of jars of honey. All in all it was a cruise to remember and I would not hesitate to recommend Crystal to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
To begin let me say we are primarily loyal to Celebrity. Have been on a few others but keep returning to Celenrity and our 4th time on our favorite class of ships all 4 Solstice class. We booked this cruise almost 2 years in advance ... Read More
To begin let me say we are primarily loyal to Celebrity. Have been on a few others but keep returning to Celenrity and our 4th time on our favorite class of ships all 4 Solstice class. We booked this cruise almost 2 years in advance because we knew it was a very popular cruise. The worst part was the 15 hour flight from L.A. to Sydney. If you go amd you are tall like I am pay the little extra for an extra leg room seat and get support socks. We stayed several days In Sydney and loved exploring Sydney harbor and all it has to offer. Boarding was a breeze and before we knew it we were sitting near the pool with drink in hand. The ship was spotless throughout and we were surprised to be able to enter our room around 1PM. We prefer Aqua class balcony rooms primarily because of BLU restaurant and the availability of their Persian Gardens rooms included. We were very fortunate to be able to visit all destinations and the various Sounds, unlike the previous cruise that experienced very rough weather. Our entire time the weather was near perfect as was the Tasmanian Sea that can be quite choppy. Clearly our favorite was New Zealand and biggest surprise Hobart Tasmania. Both just fabulous and so were the people living there. So very gracious and friendly. I thought the menu and food in BLU had gone down a notch. Example we had pheasant offered once a week amd some more common ones like pork chops were never offered. The waiters however were superb Shore excursions - we had more fun traveling on our own and the ship’s were expensive. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This cruise was a good way to see New Zealand and Australia and Indonesia in a short time. We visited interesting places and particularly enjoyed the Ventures excursions in zodiacs and kayaks and hiking. The ship is spectacular with ... Read More
This cruise was a good way to see New Zealand and Australia and Indonesia in a short time. We visited interesting places and particularly enjoyed the Ventures excursions in zodiacs and kayaks and hiking. The ship is spectacular with excellent speakers and restaurants.The food is varied and really good although it tended to be very salty and more information about fat content and better descriptions on the menu would have been appreciated. Some favourites were the soufflés and the Japanese restaurant. The Thomas Keller was rather disappointing as there was the same menu every time and the portions were enormous.Much too big. The entertainment was superb and all the singers and dancers excellent. Very enjoyable. The only one we were not enthusiastic about was the Piano player at the Thomas Keller. The new Seabourn ship is about to launch and consequently many staff have left for it so there were a lot of staff who did not know what they were doing. The beverage service was really slow and we had often finished breakfast and lunch at the patio before getting a drink.the staff were super friendly but rather disorganized. The cabin attendant was not as efficient as she could have been too and the carpet had stains on it when we boarded. Surely it could have been cleaned? The enrichment lectures we’re mostly interesting and sometimes excellent and it was great to be able to treat children them on the cabin TV. Some of the shore excursions were not very well described and not worth the money but others were really worthwhile.We loved the ventures trips. It was disappointing that we did not have a marina day as we had enjoyed those before but swimming in the ocean was limited due to jellyfish stingers and the weather. Altogether the fitness facilities were severely lacking. A huge amount of space had been devoted to a retreat to bring in more money. This could have been used for yoga or Pilates or running track. We definitely will sail again with Seabourn . Best cruise line we’ve been on. Complaints are just nit picking really. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (to see as much of NZ and Oz) the ship, and Seabourn service and it definitely exceeded our expectations. The itinerary was great although it was disappointing that we had two changes due to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (to see as much of NZ and Oz) the ship, and Seabourn service and it definitely exceeded our expectations. The itinerary was great although it was disappointing that we had two changes due to the weather. Indonesia was a very pleasant surprise. We loved our stops there although again there was a couple of itinerary changes that were not great. It was our first time on a long cruise but we didn’t want to leave... The staff were wonderful although there was a high turnover as many were leaving to join the new Seabourn ship and there was a distinct lack of training and competence after a change. Entertainment fantastic and varied. Very high quality The ship was beautiful and well designed. The food variety was tremendous although very salty and lacking in nutritional information which was important to me. One feature we loved was the Ventures program and would highly recommend and the lectures were superb especially in Indonesia. The housekeeping was not as good as anticipated and I was surprised to see stains on the cabin carpet when we embarked and during our stay were not treated. The cabin itself was lovely.very spacious for a long stay. The Thomas Keller restaurant was rather disappointing too. The food was not as good as the main restaurant and unimaginative. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We picked the Celebrity Solstice sailing from Auckland to Sydney so that we could visit my husband's family in New Zealand. We were pleasantly surprised, having done multiple sailings around the world with Princess, this was our first ... Read More
We picked the Celebrity Solstice sailing from Auckland to Sydney so that we could visit my husband's family in New Zealand. We were pleasantly surprised, having done multiple sailings around the world with Princess, this was our first with the Celebrity line - we were not disappointed. I will try & summarize as best as I can. Embarkation/Disembarkation/Tenders Etc. I had read mixed reviews about how there were far too many passengers which made for extremely long wait times. There was 2871 passengers onboard our cruise. We never waited more than 15 minutes. We were on the ship on day 1 within minutes of receiving our room keys and even on tender days things went very smoothly. Coming back the longest wait we had was 10 minutes and that's because all of the shore excursions were returning at the same time. Cabin We had cabin 8253 which was a midship, deck 8, category A1 cabin. We could not have been more pleased. We were located in a fantastic position close enough to the lifts, but not close enough for any noise. Our cabin was fantastically appointed with all the modern amenities and we found everything we needed. At one stage, we noticed some small holes in the curtains, but as soon as we bought it to our room attendants attention they were replaced within 2 hours. Our shower was great (sometimes water pressure can be a bit basic on cruise ships - but we weren't disappointed). The one weird find I thought, was a mini bar that had 2 cans of coke & 2 cans of diet coke in it. We were told that the mini bar was not free, however we had the premium beverage package as part of our promotion & we could get cans of coke anywhere on the ship. The room attendant said if we wanted to drink them we would need to replace them - I found that odd, but it didn't affect my journey. Food This was probably the only let down of the cruise. We were spoilt on night 1 dining at Tuscan Grille, it was so delicious that we walked away in a food coma. That night we visited the Grand Epernay to advise of my husbands allergies, where we got told a few lies about how the chef hadn't yet prepared the next nights menu. After taking a stand they finally bought us the menu and we pre-ordered. However the food was terrible the next night and we left after the starter. The Maitre'd tracked us down in the buffet and we told him of our experience. That night waiting in our room was the entire dining menu for the remainder of the cruise for my husband to pre-order. We went back multiple times after that and it was ok, never great, just ok. The food was always just warm. On lobster night, the butter was warmer than the lobster leaving for a cold clarified solution which was a let down. In the buffet, the pizza was soggy through, the ice cream, no matter which flavor you had tasted bland. On some of the desserts the icing wasn't dissolved. But, you could have your own stir-fry's made from scratch and they were fantastic. We also ate in Silk Harvest. The starters were exciting but when the main dishes came out we found them very underwhelming and not very asian. All in all though, we were always able to find something to eat that suited us, even if it was luke warm. My husband was particular fond of the burgers & hot dogs in the Mast Grill they were definitely yummo. With all that being said, we aren't the kind of people who come of cruise ships as cargo rather than passengers so we weren't too affected. Bars & Public Areas We spent alot of time in the main areas. Our favourite bar was the World Class Bar, however we found the staff weren't always happy to be there. In particular one gentlemen who we talked to every day, seemed very depressed about being onboard & particularly home sick. It made us feel incredibly sad for him, but he still made great cocktails so we kept returning. More so than Princess, sometimes the staff struggled to understand our orders - ie we would have to repeat a drinks order 4 to 5 times. But again, it's a nitpick not a major issue. Cafe El Bacio did a wonderful hot chocolate and fresh cinammon donuts each morning were a treat. Also, when we travelled with Princess, once we became a regular they would always remember our drinks order but this didn't really happen on Celebrity - nobody ever remembered our orders. We spent a lot of time in the Solarium which was lovely and relaxing. If I was being really picky I would say that it would have been nice if they had staff wandering to take drink orders, but that didn't happen at all and they are missing an opportunity there. We also loved the shopping areas which are vast and beautiful, the main atrium which was decorated for Christmas & all of the different public areas including the library and most of all the way the lifts face inwards towards that magical tree (which happened to reach it's peak on Deck 8 so we spent a lot of time loving it from our cabin's deck). Crew & Captain Captain Tasos. Wow! That man is absolute comedy gold & perfectly suited to be on cruise ships. His demeanor, sense of humor, ability to calm the masses - it was a masterpiece and I will follow him and sail with him wherever possible. His crew were always warm & welcoming everyone was polite and friendly. Yes, sometimes there were language barriers but in the grand scheme of things we were swept up in the beauty of this wonderful cruise line and it's amazing experiences. As a final note, I would rate Princess 7/10 and Celebrity 8/10. They are almost on par, and where one lacks the other picks up. But when we got off in Sydney we really felt like we were leaving home as opposed to returning to it. If you are thinking about doing a cruise, Celebrity Solstice will not disappoint. It's too beautiful to do anything other than amaze you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My wife and I loved the November 11th sailing on the Celebrity Solstice. There was a norovirus out break on the prior sailing and the crew handled is exceptionally well in our opinion. The ports were all unique and amazing. I have ... Read More
My wife and I loved the November 11th sailing on the Celebrity Solstice. There was a norovirus out break on the prior sailing and the crew handled is exceptionally well in our opinion. The ports were all unique and amazing. I have linked a video that capture our highlights. Video summary: https://youtu.be/N-S8Nl6BbjI High points: - Rotorua Rafting!!!! Unforgettable time - Akora Black Cat Cruise - swim with dolphins - Eating calamari everywhere - Aqua class/Blu/Banana Pancake room service - Milford sound....charge your camera batteries! Low Points: - Melbourne pier - just take an uber (walk off the pier and call for a car!) - On board entertainment - just wasn't for us. Too much of the same thing (singers three night in a row) - Wine selection - with most having a drink package, the service (especially people with wine knowledge) seemed to be lacking - we somehow survived :) Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Having sailed on the Paciifc Dawn out of Brisbane last year, we wanted to save travel costs and sail from our home port in NZ. Cruise departed from Akl and have to say embarkation was much simplier and efficient in Auckland. Disembarkation ... Read More
Having sailed on the Paciifc Dawn out of Brisbane last year, we wanted to save travel costs and sail from our home port in NZ. Cruise departed from Akl and have to say embarkation was much simplier and efficient in Auckland. Disembarkation was just as painless. We had a balcony suite 10176 and was in a great spot on the ship never had any trouble with noise. Was very happy with the dining, while we spent most of our dining time in the waterfront, on the occasione we used the pantry we were very happy with the food selection. Also dined at Salt Grill on night of Gatsby party, food was fantastic and thouroughly enjoyed the very professional service from the staff who were also very accomodating when one of our party fell ill ( sea sickness). Gatsby night was a winner yet again. My only critique would be of the entertainment staff, didnt feel the same vibe and happy involvement from the crew as we did on the Dawn. Also felt the quality of bands and singers not quite at the level of those on th Dawn, with the exception of Lisa Crouch who was phenonmenal. We we all very pleased that they gave her a second show which was packed out. Service staff are the best and go out of their way to be of great service to all. As stated by others the Jewel is in need of an update as she is looking a bit tired, look forward to sailing on her again when she has a refit. Loved every port we went to, did not do any ship tours but arranged our privately. Off to cruise expo this weeknd to book the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017

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