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114 Baltic Sea Senior Cruise Reviews

I prefer traveling alone and I sail Norwegian because of the studio cabins. I also have rewards with Norwegian because I have sailed them so many times. I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad since the 1960's and I wanted ... Read More
I prefer traveling alone and I sail Norwegian because of the studio cabins. I also have rewards with Norwegian because I have sailed them so many times. I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad since the 1960's and I wanted to be more adventurous so I chose this Northern Europe cruise, I was interested in the ports, the culture, the people, the history, the beauty, etc. If I were to do it over again, I would have done so much differently. I stayed in Copenhagen for four days pre-cruise. I bought the Copenhagen Card but lost money because I did not use it enough. I wish that I had bought the HOHO bus in Copenhagen. I stayed at First Hotel 27 and can recommend. Breakfast was excellent and so was wi fi. Staff was great and I loved the personal care items. Location was very good. Copenhagen is great. Beautiful City with lots to do but as you have heard, it is also expensive. For Germany, I did not want to deal with the trek to Berlin and went to Schwerin and Schwerin Castle. I was not disappointed. I was surprised at how beautiful Tallinn was. I took The Palace and Old City tour. I learned a lot but HOHO bus might be a good option depending. St. Petersburg was still very crowded with tourists. The Hermitage was still overcrowded and frantic. I wish that I had chosen the evening visit. Try to avoid using the cloakroom if possible because it is so hard to get your things when leaving. Things were so chaotic in the Hermitage that I took a fall. Peterhof was beautiful. Recommended. Another very pleasant surprise as I was not expecting it to be so beautiful. Helsinki was a peaceful and relaxed respite after St. Petersburg. While I took an excursion, this would be a good port for doing the HOHO bus or just walking. In Sweden, I took the Stockholm by Sea and Land excursion. Stockholm is beautiful and so interesting but then so were all the ports. Another port where the HOHO might be a good choice. I believe that it picks up and returns to the port. I ate at the Garden Cafe and 24/7 restaurant only. The food was just so so. It was a hit or a miss. However, if you had a miss, you could always go back trying to find a hit. Desserts were always delicious and coffee is always terrible. The Atrium was always too loud and noisy. NCL needs to move some of the entertainment to The Theater or somewhere else on the ship. I did enjoy the Abba Tribute. I also sent to the Farewell Show and Million Dollar Quartet. Both very good. I was upgraded to a large size Oceanview which had a bathtub but no coffee machine. While I liked the window, I often could not see out because of water and fog. Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly for me. Some staff was friendly and helpful while others were not. That has been the situation on all my cruises and I have learned to go with the flow. Weather was good to us. It was always in the 50's and overcast but only a few sprinkles now and then. Very comfortable with the right clothing. it was a wonderful learning experience but it was a very demanding and exhausting and intense voyage. Also, a very expensive cruise. I went way over budget and I still was frugal and cautious with my spending. If possible, try to avoid having to change planes at Heathrow which is a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We cruise at least once a year and had been with NCL before, albeit a smaller ship last time. Embarking was fine, although we had to wait at the airport for sometime before the transport arrived. Having been with NCL and having bronze ... Read More
We cruise at least once a year and had been with NCL before, albeit a smaller ship last time. Embarking was fine, although we had to wait at the airport for sometime before the transport arrived. Having been with NCL and having bronze rewards we were supposed to have priority boarding, this didn't happen, not that we were that bothered about that. Our stateroom was lovely and kept very clean by our steward. We had a balcony and I would do that again. We opted for the all inclusive drinks package and gratuities were included so this was a fairly expensive cruise. Unfortunately there appears to be a hard sell all the time with NCL, which can be annoying. The included restaurants were good but the food in the buffet restaurant was always tepid, probably because of the number of people. There was always something going on quizzes etc, so plenty to do but it was disappointing that the casino area stank of smoke and you very often had to walk through that area. The excursions were fine but quite expensive, especially in St Petersburg. We were not able to get into Gothenburg because of the weather and I fully support that decision as safety comes first. However, the captain managed to get clearance for the ship to go to Copenhagen earlier so that guests could visit the city if they wished to. Fantastic we thought. Unfortunately when we got there it was utter chaos, no shuttles people wandering around phoning for taxis and not knowing quite what to do. There was a local bus stop and ticket machine which we managed to figure out how to use and then we all queued for the bus. We did manage to eventually get into the city and walk to the little mermaid. We then went to get the bus back only to find the last bus finished at 7pm. This wasn't NCLs fault but I was very disappointed that there was a total lack of information for people and we were left to figure it out for ourselves. I would have thought when they knew we were going to go to the port early then a few phone calls could have been made to organise shuttles. We wouldn't have minded paying for this. Having been with another cruise line (Viking) and a similar thing happened where we were not able to get to the place we were supposed to, they organised coaches to take us there and compensated us with credit towards another cruise with them, which we didn't expect as we still got to do the excursion and our lunch was provided in a hotel as we were away from the boat all day. NCL did refund our excursions cost but this was paid in dollars not back on the credit card, which means you lose some of it when getting it changed to your currency. NCL offered nothing in the way of compensation for missing one of the ports, which as there wasn't many made a big impact on the cruise. If we had been offered something towards another cruise we probably would go with them again, but it seems they are not interested in doing that unlike Viking, despite the latitudes reward scheme. Summing up, I think I wouldn't go for such a large ship as there were no quiet areas, unlike their other ship the Jewel that we went on before, also the hard sell was more evident this time. The floor on which the casino was situated smelt of smoke all the time. The positives were that there was always good entertainment and the staff were lovely. The stateroom was really good and spacious. There were lots of restaurants to choose from but I was surprised how many were dedicated to the 'additional cost' category. I would chose another cruise line over NCL just because of their lack of after sales customer relationship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and feel I have a critical but fair eye. I had high expectations of this line and particular ship from word of mouth recommendations and other favorable reviews. I was quite disappointed and will list out all of my reasons while still making sure to give credit where credit is due. I will start with the positives first. My overall summary of the below is at the bottom of this review. Cabin: Our cabin was very nice and spacious. Bed and pillows are comfortable, ample room with a nice walk in closet and separate seating area. Bathroom has a double sink which is very nice, shower is marble and still small but pressure very good. Bathtub a waste of space in my opinion. Balcony nice size and overall room very spacious. We were in cabin 651 on the 6th floor located toward the center of the ship which was great. Molton Brown products in the bathroom and a selection of body soap offered on the first day. Room stewardess was attentive and did a very good job. Only complaint on the first day is that the room wasn’t cleaned well. The soap in our bathroom which was a body wash had been used and there was a lot of dust and finger prints on the table in the room. Otherwise, cabin was excellent and gets high marks from me. I believe we were in category V5. Ship: the ship is beautiful. Modern, clean, more yacht-like than cruise ship. A lot of wood paneling. 600 people but still felt very quiet even on sea days. Our favorite place to relax was the cappuccino lounge on floor 7 where they had tons of seating and recliners. Decor of the ship was very simple yet elegant. WIFI: very good! Much better WIFI than any other ship I’ve been on - in room technology good. Service: this is where our experience goes down the tubes. The service on this ship was HORRIBLE!! The staff do you a major favor and if asked for something that requires them to go out at all of their way, they are rude. We had some staff that were nice (mainly in cappuccino lounge and main dining room - except for maitre de) but all and all, the service sucked. Management lacks tremendously, customer service is non existent and the staff seem poorly trained, disingenuous and disinterested. I’ve really never experienced anything like this before - had we not met several other couples who also shared the same sentiment, I would have thought I was going crazy!! A few examples - almost every meal without fail we waited 10 minutes before getting anything to drink. If we needed a sauce to accompany a meal, we waited 10 minutes. In fact, we stopped ordering sauces because it was such a lost cause & by the time it arrived our meal was over. I asked for cream with my coffee - by the time the cream came, my coffee was cold. We were almost always at a meal with an empty drink that needed refilling. No accommodating what so ever. My husband likes the salmon in the colonnade - we asked if it could be served on the patio 20 feet away and they said no, they prefer not to. At dinner in the main, I asked if i could have a croquette that came with a different entree than what I ordered and was told no, they only had a certain amount and could not accommodate me. I mean, come on! I tried to move my Thomas Keller reservation because my husband wasn’t feeling well and was told with 11 days left on the trip that they couldn’t accommodate us. Finally, after getting the guest services manager involved, we got one at an undesirable time on a different day but at this point, we took what we could get. These may seem Iike minor gripes but we encountered them several times per day and was a major turnoff and took a lot away from the experience. The overall staff attitude was rude and requests of them felt like inconveniences. This in itself was bad enough to never return to this ship. As I said previously, several other couples experienced the same rude service. My husbands Camera was lost day 1 and finally arrived at our cabin with a cracked and dented lens. We requested compensation for the lens. Seabourn asked us to provide the link to the lens - which we did directly from the website - to prove it was $500. They tried to tell us it was a $200 lens (they had the wrong lens) and refused to refund us. We have yet to resolve this issue with them. Food - We are major foodies and we’re quite disappointed in the food on this ship. I will say that the quality is there in a lot of areas (not all) but the execution is not. Breakfast was good but the same every day. Not a bad thing, but boring after a while. A decent selection and probably the best meal. Lunch was a mixed bag. Salad bar always had nice items and the grill items - fish, burgers, hot dog, etc always very tasty and fresh. Meat quality good, fish quality good. My only complaint on the fish was it never had any seasoning or flavor - this was a major theme for most items on board - but I would still prefer to add salt vs. having the sodium and preservative packed food a lot of ships have, so this wasn’t a major complaint. All lunch hot food served in the chaffing dishes were slop and never hot. We almost never ate any of the prepared food served at lunch because it was room temperature and unappealing. Dinner : main dining room was respectable but not great. We didn’t have one meal there that was really delicious. Temperature was an issue and seasoning was non existent. I’ve never put so much salt on my food in my life. Service mixed. Our first night there we waited about 15 minutes before anyone came to our table. Finally the waitress comes over with an iPad looking down and says “what can i get you” - no greeting, no introduction. Very impersonal feeling. Sushi was nothing to write home about. A lot of rice and uninspired. I actually overheard someone say “it’s not as bad as gas station sushi” - I’ll leave it at that. The colonnade was OK - probably our least favorite. They do special nights like rib night or clam bake night and they look beautiful but just don’t quite execute it well. For example : rib night - the ribs came out in a beautiful Staub cast iron pan presented family style and looked delicious. Unfortunately, the ribs were dry, cold and had clearly been sitting on a heat lamp for an hour +. We sent it back and got a new rack that was the same dry and Luke warm ribs this time with some bbq sauce slathered on top. To put the icing on the cake, the assistant maitre de came over and instead of apologizing that the food came out lacking temperature and dry, explained that the ribs weren’t Texas style but st.louis style and weren’t supposed to fall off the bone..I mean ..really ? I’m not expecting anything more than a simple apology or some sort of follow up to see if the second round was better. Instead, I was blamed for expecting them to fall off the bone and they didn’t. I didn’t need ribs that fell off the bone, just didn’t want to eat something as dry as wood. The Patio by the pool in our opinion offered the best most innovative meals but even those fell short on flavor and execution. We also had a Northern Europe itinerary with a lot of rain and cool weather and found ourselves eating outside in the windy cold weather because the patio was the best choice. Thomas Keller which is the specialty restaurant was very good for a steakhouse on a cruise ship. I would say this is likely the best option on board. Food delicious but once again, service lacking. Not attentive and seemed to do you a big favor. We found in all restaurants that the deserts were mediocre and most didn’t taste cooked on board. I don’t think I had one desert I loved. I also found the breads were uninspired. In summary : good quality ingredients (for the most part ) that aren’t executed well. Oceania food trumps Seabourn by a landslide. A few other items to note: Older crowd, no children. Except for us (in our early 30s), most people were 65+. Not good or bad, just our cruise demographic. Free laundry was a nice feature with Miele commercial washers and dryers and complimentary detergent. Gym was small but clean, coffee on board was very good. Entertainment was respectable. Nice job at including different daily activities. Excursions - expensive but well organized. I read the ship docs at ports further away from the destinations to save on docking fees. Not sure if this is true. We did a few excursions - food provided on them was mediocre and limited and tours very pricey. Spa - didn’t use but quite expensive. Very few discounts offered throughout cruise. They had a “promotion” that if you do 3 treatments from a select number of services you get 10% off first, 20% off second and 30% off third. Note this is per cabin and not per stateroom. I know all cruise spas are expensive but this was more than canyon ranch on Oceania. I may have left stuff out but to summarize my overall impressions: cabin and ship top notch and classy, food better than the celebrity level lines but nothing special. Service was so bad it border-lined on offensive and as a result, I will likely not return to Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My first impressions began with late lunch on embarkation day in Kings Court. Dodging employees with food carts, they didn’t give way for guests - to the point of being dangerous. Good food selections available, although meat over cooked ... Read More
My first impressions began with late lunch on embarkation day in Kings Court. Dodging employees with food carts, they didn’t give way for guests - to the point of being dangerous. Good food selections available, although meat over cooked to toughness. First day party impressive poolside and music was excellent as we watched NYC fade away. Our eight-person seating companions at dinner each evening were excellent and we promised to stay in touch. Disappointed in repeated shows in planetarium. Was hoping for something other than dark matter and meteorites. Arson lecture was really good. As was lecture on British history. Live shows excellent in theater but very short. My very favorite restaurant was the Golden Lion. Trivia contests and space sharing brought us in contact with so many fine people for the fun competitions. My biggest concern was uneven flooring that felt like rotting wood under carpets, especially in the casino. With all the alleged grandeur, this seemed dodgy. Would not opt for balcony cabin again. North Atlantic, even in dead summer, is not conducive to enjoying outdoors. We didn’t use it. Food good in Britannia but as I don’t drink much alcohol, waiter acted as if I was less than when I ordered a soft drink with my dinner. Public spaces are beautiful. I might do it again, but looking at nothing but water for seven straight days was trying. I was excited on day six when I saw actually spied a bird as we approached land. All in all, I wasn’t all that impressed after reading all the glorious reviews about this glamorous ocean liner. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The ship and the holiday The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available. Good places of call and all excursions were ... Read More
The ship and the holiday The ship has limitations compared to others in the fleet or on other lines. We missed a promenade deck and also found limitation in the number of seats available. Good places of call and all excursions were well organised despite tender trouble in Stornaway. Excellent Captain who kept us well informed throughout – often very humerous The embarkation procedure needs attention. We had to queue for luggage labels despite our disability and that we had booked our cabin. Need more than 3 checking in We have some limitations on mobility and asked for help with our luggage when we arrived by taxi. None given - just a shrug. I am unable to lift luggage but able to walk with a stick. We are not wheelchair bound both but have difficulty walking. It appears that we are unable to get assistance unless we take to a wheelchair. Other cruise lines offer very much better assistance Staff worked very hard and were always pleasant with a smile. However, we learnt from one of the very good cabin staff that when he started 10 years ago he had 12 staterooms to oversee. Each now have 28. No wonder they were tired and used periods off to catch up with sleep Newcastle a good port for cruises for almost everyone we spoke to. However Marella need to sort the embarkation procedure out better as well as disembarkation Dining Dining was very slow initially in Latitude 53 but TUI did respond to complaints and service much improved after 3 nights Menu in Latitudes not as wide as in earlier years and sad to say the quality of the food was poorer which is different to my views on earlier cruises- More cost cutting? Had foul smell in shower room when we returned from a function - attended to 3 times but reappeared - was told that it was due to the ship being on rocky seas and the foul water was swishing into shower water - surely not on level 9 - as this means that both foul water and washing water are the same - this would be a very dangerous health hazard Entertainment We had a very good speaker and very well attended Broadway theatre full for 4 of the 5 talks (well done!) despite some issues not of his making. Entertainment apart from the talks was very poor - not aimed for all the generations on board. The shows were given by a well-trained and enthusiastic group of singer dancers. Mostly it was pop. However as someone commented, if we were watching on TV at home, we would switch off. Just one comedian in 14 nights – no other speciality acts. No classical music at all. The scheduled deck games were not hosted or hosts did not appear at all. Note to Marella - The limitation of some of these games issues could be overcome by utilising the space adjacent to the putting area as well as enforcing what we were promised. Also unhosted Bridge etc was scheduled at breakfast time. Tis did nt take place. The library (the Attic) was much better than on Explorer 2 although 3 of the 5 bookcases were emptied within 24 hours. Many more games provided compared Explorer 2 but no playing cards (unless they were taken by guests) The games were needed in view of the poor entertainment available. A request failed to see them arrive. However the Attic was a lovely quiet spot Scheduling was erratic – we did not see or meet the captain until the last night as it clashed Overall We felt that everything that could be cut financially, had been with the result that the cruise will appeal to a limited market covered by other cruise lines. We have cruised with Tomson/TUI/ Marella about 10 times but probably not again despite the convenience of the port Suggestions for Marella 1. Use the sheltered deck area adjacent to part of the putting/golf area. No doubt used for ship storage etc But consider adapting for eg quoits when not in use (it was not used throughout the cruise) 2. Can we have cards provided 3. Can you afford hosted bridge and whist etc as on other cruise ships 4. Can you afford hosted arts and crafts as many would follow this- On P & O, the number on the watercolour class filled the lounge Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Choose this cruise as it was leaving on date that afforded some of best opportunity for good weather and ability to see marine wildlife and glacier activity. I am more of a casual traveler, not swimsuits but not formal. This was geared ... Read More
Choose this cruise as it was leaving on date that afforded some of best opportunity for good weather and ability to see marine wildlife and glacier activity. I am more of a casual traveler, not swimsuits but not formal. This was geared to the formal experience of dress and meals, relegated to the Buffett most nights. The entertainment at night was less than average when compared to other cruises. Not the large productions that I was used to. The hot tubs and pools were overrun by children who stayed in all day. They now try to hard sell items at dining and other venues which I had not encountered before. It was like a telemarketer. I am sensitive to smoking products so the smile from the open casino often made that part of the ship off limits. The outside smoking was on the back in a prime location which is an area I usually go to. Ironically it was located outside the workout room. The downside of traveling at this time was the 4-5 other cruise ships in the same ports. Completely overwhelms the services in small towns. It was like grand central station at rush hour. There medallion system did not work well and the apps that we attempted to download were problematic or did not work. Those that purchased the WiFi were very disappointed in its performance. I could not believe in this day and age they made u pay for it, and after hearing others, am glad we did not. Days at sea the on board food service is simply not equipped to handle the almost 4000 guests. Personally, we would skip the inside passage cruise and just fly to Alaska next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My cousin's wife picked the tour because of the itinerary. We have traveled Norwegian many, many times and always had a good experience. We are senior citizens and felt that due to the size of the ship we missed a lot of things. VERY ... Read More
My cousin's wife picked the tour because of the itinerary. We have traveled Norwegian many, many times and always had a good experience. We are senior citizens and felt that due to the size of the ship we missed a lot of things. VERY long lines, reservations for entertainment venues, LONG tracks up and down the docks to load. These were things we should have expected due to the huge size of this boat. Dining with all of the choices was very, very nice and we enjoyed all of the food that we were served. Our excursions were booked with Cruise Critic folks and we REALLY did like meeting the folks on these trips. The entertainment that we were able to see was generally good. We felt much lack of dancing venues and any subdued piano, etc. was very, very hard to find. The lines at customer service, excursions and anything else you really needed tended to run into half hour/hour waits and that was just not good. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I choose MSC without going through the reviews and that was a big mistake. The only high standard other than the ship is the amazing staff which I believe that they are the most valuable asset. And if they they don’t take care of ... Read More
I choose MSC without going through the reviews and that was a big mistake. The only high standard other than the ship is the amazing staff which I believe that they are the most valuable asset. And if they they don’t take care of them they will loose them all. The food is not to the standard as in other cruises I’ve been to. The same food offered in the buffet as for n the dinner seating dining. Other cruises offer water, lemonade or ice tea without any charge during the dining seating. All other drinks are charged. But with MSC you have to buy your drinks. The food in general is not very tasty. From the 11 nights. Only few nights the dinner was tasty. The pasta and risotto was under cooked. The seafood, scallops risotto with one small piece which might be a starter but not main dish. They offered butter chicken which was tasty also. The ice cream and desserts was tasty. Which you can only get for free in the dining seating. In other places you should buy them. No soft ice cream machine. One small snack bar which offers complementary cakes and sandwiches. The buffet area is the only place you can get snacks from till 2am. In the buffet during lunch and dinner only water, tea and coffee is available without charge. The pizza is very nice. All the food offered is labelled. They offered roast turkey which was tasty. But most of the food offered needs to be improved in standard and quality. Salads and dressing was nice too. The daily show was boring. One or two nights were ok. The last show was a disaster and it was what was best as they say from what was presented during the previous nights. The animation team were very good and exciting. Again all the staff were so good. They worked so hard. Some did look tired but didn’t stop smiling to the guests. The excursion were over priced. I’d like to thank all the staff if it wasn’t for them it would have been a hell of a long journey. Definitely won’t cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I saved up to take my retired parents on their first cruise. The itinerary was good, the stateroom was beautiful and spacious but the dining was slow, on average it took 2 1/2 hours to serve a soup or salad, salmon or meat and veg ... Read More
I saved up to take my retired parents on their first cruise. The itinerary was good, the stateroom was beautiful and spacious but the dining was slow, on average it took 2 1/2 hours to serve a soup or salad, salmon or meat and veg and a cold pudding. We chose anytime dining which seemed to make the service slower. We tried going early /half time /later and always had to wait a long time for a table so we missed a lot of the entertainment too. The food was edible, like a bar meal or canteen catering but it wasn't delicious. However, the food on the last night was delicious and much different to the other nights which saddened me. The service overall was hit and miss. I would say that the staff were all overstretched. The guy cleaning the cabins had 19 to take care of and easily worked a 12 hour shift, there were hardly any waiters in the dining room which contributed to slow service - about 8 waiters per restaurant, the entertainment who were excellent, also had a triple shift - singing for over 3 hours throughout the night, which is a lot for a band. The ports and shore excursions were enjoyable. We visited Bruge, Copenhagen and Oslo. We couldn't dock at Skagen due to high winds. We had a lovely holiday but it certainly didn't have the cruise wow factor we expected for that price point. I feel quite cheated and I don't feel my parents got the real cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I choose this ship because the itinerary that was excellent, specially for the 3 day stop at St. Petersburg (Russia). The embarkation process was very smooth and quick, no more than 5 minutes to complete all process. The ship is ... Read More
I choose this ship because the itinerary that was excellent, specially for the 3 day stop at St. Petersburg (Russia). The embarkation process was very smooth and quick, no more than 5 minutes to complete all process. The ship is small and quite old but it doesn't seem old just not modern. The Ship has all what you need to expect from a RCI cruise, big atrium, pools, kids zone etc... In this trip I had 2 staterooms, one oceanview (7008) and one Balcony (8056). The cabins were normal, not big but also not very small, good for 2 or even 3 people. The bedding was nice and also the storage spaces. What I really dislike was that the only amenity Royal gives to customers in Oceanview and Balcony was a 1 in 3 Shampoo-Conditioner-Shower gel....even MSC or Celebrity gives 3 different bottles for different products! The food was ok, not specially good. The Windjammer Buffet Is ok but always the same food for a 10 day cruise is absurd. The main dinning room was also ok, the service was good and food also good. I purchase the unlimited specialty restaurants and was good because the food at Izumi, Giovannis and Chops is excellent but the ship is so small that paying the unlimited specialty restaurants is not worth it (just for Serenade), in other Royal ships you have more choices and it make sense. If you like Coffee...its horrible, even the speciality coffee. The worst thing about the entire cruise was the entertainment, the night shows were horrible, definitely Royal needs to upgrade the shows at smaller ships, the company concentrates a lot in larger ships but not in smaller. Overall, the service was good, the cabins are spacious but they have a lack on amenities. the ports of call were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We booked a Haven room on the Norwegian Getaway for our Baltic Sea trip. The Haven is the luxury level on some Norwegian ships. Our room was a Family Villa - two bedrooms, which was perfect for my wife and I and our adult daughter. ... Read More
We booked a Haven room on the Norwegian Getaway for our Baltic Sea trip. The Haven is the luxury level on some Norwegian ships. Our room was a Family Villa - two bedrooms, which was perfect for my wife and I and our adult daughter. First the good: beautiful room, lots of storage, very attractive. The Haven has a restricted access pool and sun area, as well as its own dining room and concierge services. The servers and bartenders are very good in the Haven. I think the best get promoted here. The ship made all stops on time and the entertainment on board was decent, though always extremely crowded. If you are in to casino play, there is a huge casino on board, well-used. The bad: We should have figured out that family villas would mean lots of kids. We thought that sailing during the school year and the extra cost of the Haven would restrict the number of young kids. We were wrong! Crying children, tantrums, running around the dining room spoiled pretty well every meal in the Haven dining room. This dining room is undersized for the 320 people in the Haven area, and the dining room is consequently crowded. You can almost always count on waiting for a table, and the noise level was always so high that meals there were uncomfortable. We compensated by eating elsewhere most of the time. The concierge staff in the Haven were generally unhelpful unless the service you were requested brought in more money to the company. Probably the worst concierge staff we have experienced in our dozen or so cruises. They were very good at saying no. The ship itself has about 4000 cruisers and a lack of facilities for this many. All entertainment venues were overcrowded and we had to always arrive 20 minutes of so early to get a seat, except in the large theatre, which has sufficient seating, but is quite unattractive. The venue we missed most on this boat is a nice, quiet piano bar where we could dance to pleasant piano songs. In summary: The Haven rooms and facilities are quite outstanding, except for the dining room. The servers, bar staff and room stewards are outstanding, though we were disappointed with the concierge staff and the butler was OK, but not great. The specialty restaurants are decent but not great. The ship's venues are crowded and loud. We will probably not return to the Haven on Norwegian. We were the wrong people for this ship. We'll return to the luxury lines we have enjoyed in the past. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
First, sorry for such a long review.... This was our first NCL cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We have sailed quite a bit previously on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess. The ports we visited were excellent. ... Read More
First, sorry for such a long review.... This was our first NCL cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We have sailed quite a bit previously on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess. The ports we visited were excellent. Warnemünde/Rostock, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. As with most cruises, there were good, bad, average, exceptional throughout the 9 days. The ship sailed near or at capacity, 4000+, and for the most part it always felt crowded and lines everywhere, with the exception of a few times at dinner around 7-7:30pm in Savor, Taste and Tropicana. We were new to making reservations for nearly everything in advance but were tipped off and did so several weeks prior to departing. Unfortunately twice we arrived at specialty dinners only to be told we had no reservations and they were completely sold out nothing could be done about it. Following a rather brief and somewhat rude conversation the first time, I returned minutes later with confirmation of our reservation on my iPad. Miraculously a table appeared and all was suddenly good and we’re sorry for the computer error. The first was at Teppanyaki (very rude), the second was at Cirque Dreams where they were very accommodating and apologetic. The final bad experience was at our excursion. Our tickets said to meet at 7:15pm for an evening show in St Petersburg. We exited the ship and arrived at the busses. No signs or direction for which bus and the only workers were sitting and chatting with each other. We finally found our bus after getting help from a security guard. We started to check in and a woman from either NCL or the bus company not sure which began to berate us and threatened the bus was just about to depart without us. I checked my watch and we were right on time, but decided not to engage her and just get on the bus, which by the way did not depart for another 10 min or so. We try not to let a couple of bad individuals be the face of an entire company. So much for the bad. We did enjoy the anytime very casual dining format. The many dining choices, and most of the time the food was very good. We loved Moderno and Cirque Dreams and Steam was not to be missed. Be sure to book floor seats and sit close to the stage. Burn the floor was a mixed review, my wife loved it, I thought it was just ok. Nearly every worker who came into contact with us were excellent and friendly. We had a balcony room on deck 11. It was rather small compared to other cruise lines but otherwise sufficient. We met our cabin steward the first day and only saw him once or twice more passing in the hallway. He did a good job with our cabin each day. We did have a coffee maker in the cabin with a selection of coffees and tea’s. We didn’t like having to make so many reservations in advance to be sure we didn’t miss out on things or dining times. Be sure to keep your confirmations in case there are any problems. Their internet plans are pretty expensive and only work for one device at a time. Meaning two people cannot be online at the same time. Reaching a live person at customer service prior to the cruise at times was frustrating with waits up to 30 min at times. At the end of the day, none of the bad things were enough to ruin our cruise only minor nuisances. The ship was clean, and modern. Embarkation was pretty easy and not too long, maybe 30 min. Disembarkation was pretty orderly and went as they stated. Port embark and disembark was good except for day one in St Petersburg which had some long lines. Day two was very quick since they had all of your info already. In trying to be fair, we are going to give NCL’s shortcomings a pass try them again in the future. Not judging an entire fleet and company based on one ship and one experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam ... Read More
I joined this HAL-branded cruise for 2 reasons. Firstly, to sightsee and enjoy the Norwegian Fjords and its culture. I am happy to achieve what I wish for and rated it a 9 out of 10. Secondly, the HAL experience onboard Nieuw Statendam (prior, I cruised with Zuiderdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Koningsdam). This is the worst programming/events I encountered. The quality of the World Stage performance was below par (apart from renowned pianist Zhang and One-Step light & dance performance). There were 2 nights without performance. I was disappointed that the ship didn't engaged any local Nowergian performer throughout the 14 nights. t) Sea day has 1 track event rather than 2, on most ship. As such, sea-day was boring and subdued. I would like more enrichment programs on sea day. Like painting appreciation, pottery making, knitting, play a simple norwegian musical instrument Lido Market food quality and quantity were excellent BUT lack variety. Serving the same food 14 days in a row. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We recently returned from a cruise on Norwegian Pearl, May 11 - 25, 2019 from Amsterdam to Scotland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Le Havre France, Tilbury England and Zeebrugge and returning to Amsterdam.This was our 7th cruise on NCL. We ... Read More
We recently returned from a cruise on Norwegian Pearl, May 11 - 25, 2019 from Amsterdam to Scotland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Le Havre France, Tilbury England and Zeebrugge and returning to Amsterdam.This was our 7th cruise on NCL. We choose it for the itinerary. I had been wondering why Norwegian has been slipping so much in cruise line reviews and was curious to see if there have been changes. The two I found were in the food quality, particularly meat, poor entertainment and price gouging. The cruise started with us being held back in the port and again onboard from our cabins while our ship underwent deep cleaning due to an outbreak of norovirus on the previous cruise and a decontamination being required. The library and games room were closed for much of the cruise. We were not aware on any illness while on our cruise, so the efforts seem to have paid off. Service in the main dining room, the Summer Palace, was spotty. Sometimes good, other times poor. However the major change I detected was in the quality of the meat. We went to the La Cucina one night and were advised that the steak was the special. It was not good, rather mushy and tasteless. Another evening we went to Cagneys. Even though the dining room was empty they tried to seat us at the worst table in the place. My husbands Porterhouse was good, mine was grissoly and fatty. I did not enjoy it and was most disappointed. Prime rib in the dining room was tough.Other meats and fish were o.k. Entertainment: There were a couple of great performers, but generally not up to the usual standards of previous cruises: Two separate couples performed on two nights and they were outstanding. The dancers did a great show but the rest of the entertainers were lack luster.One magician was so bad that I actually left, something I have never done before. Our hour of free internet service required a $4 US hook up free. Not free NCL! Doing your homework before the cruise can cut your excursion costs in half. Generally the cruise line uses a local provider and at least doubles the cost. You can find everything on the internet and by reading Cruise Critic reviews. Edinburgh. The cruise line was offering return bus fares to town for $21 US, but we were happy to take a locally offered bus fares for only 4 pounds directly from the pier. So basically NCL charge 5 times the local fare. We were able to tour Edinburgh on our own, going to Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House on foot, but we are fairly mobile seniors. Invergordon. We rented a car from Ken's Garage: morag.bremner@peugeotmail.co. a local provider. They delivered an almost brand new car to a location near the port. The cost for a standard shift car was $123 CAD. We toured the countryside including charming Dornoch and amazing Dunrobin castle on our own. Flam: we prebooked the Flam Railway trip which does sell out. Two minutes walk from the pier. There's not much else to do there, so best to prebook the rail trip rather than NCL prices. Bergen: easily toured on our own, can walk to the funicular for the trip up the mountain to enjoy the view. Several museums were closed because it was Wednesday Geiranger: walk off the ship onto a bus for a tour of the local scenery. No need to book with the cruise line, you can prebook with Panorama Bus: https://www.geirangerfjord.no/panoramic-bus-geiranger-2 Belfast: we took a very quick bus tour through town and down to the Giants Causeway. We had ample time to see the causeway, however the back of a bus is not the best way to enjoy the scenic coastal drive back to Belfast. Next time I would rent a car or go with a group in a van. https://irishtourtickets.com/ Dublin: We took a taxi from the ship to Dublin Castle and Trinity College. Lots of taxis at the dock. Though it was advertised as an overnight in Dublin, the cruise actually left at 2 am, so we did not get the expected two days in Dublin. Bait and switch. Le Havre: Cruise line tour to Rouen was a disappointment. We ran through the cathedral and town. A five hour tour included 3 hours travelling on the bus and two quick hours in town. We needed more time in the city, but they rushed back. Tilbury: we spent the day with friends, but I could see it was a very long walk to the train station to go to London. I did not see any buses going to the train. Zeebrugge: Bruges is amazing and you can do a self guided tour. Best to have a plan ahead of time so you know where to go once in town. The Church of the Holy Blood was closed at lunch time for an hour and a half. There are buses just outside the port that make runs into Bruges and back during the day. You can prebook on Viatour else buy your ticket there. Using the tram to get to the rail station did not seem like a good option, there were lines for the tram but they did not seem to run often. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose MSC because it looks luxurious inside and we wanted to try something different. We've been on 10+ cruises from one week to 5 weeks each. Unfortunately, this cruise is geared for the German and European markets Staff at ... Read More
We chose MSC because it looks luxurious inside and we wanted to try something different. We've been on 10+ cruises from one week to 5 weeks each. Unfortunately, this cruise is geared for the German and European markets Staff at customer services weren't up to date with what was going on on the ship. I find there are certain nationalities who are excellent at customer services. It comes to them naturally and other nationalities need more training. They feel they are above the customer because they are wearing a uniform and whatever they say is final. Went to book an excursion for 6 of us and was told it had been fully booked since before we sailed! So why not take names and add on another coach? Those staff members need more training. They simply shrug their shoulders when they don't know something. There's machines on that floor to register your card to pay for expenses incurred for your cabin. Credit cards are not a problem as all charges automatically go on your card when you leave. Debit cards and cash however they charge an amount immediately and if there's money to be refunded you have to go to customer services and you're refunded in the ship's currency which is euros so beware if you put down cash in sterling. Tours were very expensive compared to other cruiseliners. In the ports shuttle buses were provided but you had to pay! From€6.90 to€15.60 return per person! So if you can't walk a mile you're stuck onboard in some ports. We got the hop on hop off in several cities to get our bearings and then got off and mooched. The drinks packages are good. 3 tiers and they include the bottled water. Cocktails were good as was the prosecco so the family were happy. Dining was fixed seating only at either 6:30 or 8:30 pm. It does give you the chance to get to know your waiters who are exceptional in their attention to detail. Nothing is ever too much trouble. Food was good. Portions smaller than average but you could order two entrees, mains or desserts. Unnecessary as there's always food everywhere. The buffet upstairs was hit and miss because it's divided into sections, the quietest being right at the back but the selection of food is not the same on both sides so you have to go right round 3 sections on both sides to suss out what's there before making your choice. Prime time is hell as usual trying to find a seat and at breakfast you have to ask for a banana at the fruit counter because they hide them behind? Pizza is being made all the time and was fresh and tasty if that's what you like. Lattes and cappuccino were included in the package which was a plus so you can get them in any coffee shop or bar onboard. Extra special Coffee with whipped cream or special syrups are separate. The ice-cream (yummy) was also included in the package and served in several bars. Maintenance on the ship is good. Crew are onto it all the time. You can see them everyday doing something on the lifeboats, painting the whirlpools and everything looks pristine. One main gripe would be the announcements over the tannoy. Five languages for every announcement. I know 3 and by the time they got to the Spanish they were rattling it off so fast you could barely understand it. How do other cruiseliners cope with only English?? Films: there aren't any. Big screen on deck is used for advertising. No deck chairs lined up for films, no popcorn! What a waste! Daily events: dance lessons in a venue that accommodates maybe 15 people and a quiz in five languages and MasterChef at Sea: they ask you 10 questions in 5 languages and then give you the answer in 5 languages. By the time you've reached the 10 the answer you've slid off your seat in exhaustion! Then on the next sea day they get the 6 finalists and ask them to arrange some salad leaves on a plate to be judged by the ship's chefs. This show's format doesn't really adapt itself to at sea since you're on a stage and you can't cook on it (health and safety). Beautiful theatre, the best I've seen. You can see the stage from wherever you are. Productions were average. Swiss magician very good. Talks were only about ports selling you the excursions. They could have used that theatre for films in all languages. Not one. Library non existent. It's part of a seating area with one small shelf for English with a handful of books and a few magazines previous customers have obviously left. So, download books onto your Kindle or stream your films before going. This cruise was Mediterranean and Europe so G4 was available except when out at sea where the ship's mast took over and you went onto maritime satellite network which can crucify you so put your phone on airplane mode when you leave port. We had a good time because we were a family of grownups and played cards and games for entertainment. Drinks and food were good and we did our own thing on a beautiful ship. Make of this what you will Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife and I have cruised with several lines but it has been Royal Caribbean for the last few years. However, we had a number of issues on our last trip with them so we decided it was time for a change. We were attracted to this cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised with several lines but it has been Royal Caribbean for the last few years. However, we had a number of issues on our last trip with them so we decided it was time for a change. We were attracted to this cruise with MSC (who we hadn't used before) because of the interesting itinerary and they were offering a good deal on a Fantastica balcony. Also, MSC matched our RCL Diamond Plus status which meant that we had a Black Card which gives their highest level of loyalty benefits. First impressions were very good indeed. Embarkation at Southampton was quick and easy and the ship was, in our view, the most attractive that we'd been on. It is both elegant and glitzy and the Swarovski staircase in the central atrium is stunning although I daresay some will find it OTT. Throughout the cruise the ship was kept spotlessly clean, both externally and internally. In fact, on numerous occasions when sitting in a bar we had to move out of the way of the guy vacuuming the carpet. My wife is disabled and uses a mobility scooter so we were lucky enough to get a disabled access cabin on deck 10 (10145). It was very nicely decorated and furnished and was more spacious than the Junior Suites we normally have with RCL. The only slight drawback was that drawer and hanging space for clothes was rather limited. We managed but four people in the cabin (it has a sofa bed) would struggle. With the possible exception of Guest Relations and Excursion Desk staff, who were rather supercilious at times, the crew, bar staff, waiters etc were friendly and helpful. My wife spends a lot of time in the cabin because of her lack of mobility and our cabin attendant, Jovi, went out of his way to look after her. This all round helpfulness is perhaps surprising in view of what we learned from other passengers and crew members about the crew's pay and working conditions. My wife and I are smokers and one reason for moving away from RCL is that the latter are constantly making their smoking policy more and more restrictive and on most of their ships there is now nowhere indoors where smoking is permitted. This is just about acceptable when it's warm and sunny but cruises from Southampton often involve chilly, wet and windy weather for the first and last two or three days. On Preziosa there are several outside smoking areas and smoking is also allowed in the Casino and in a very pleasant little smoking room attached to it. We found this a big plus point but I do realise that others will regard it as a negative! Unfortunately, however, there were numerous drawbacks which detracted from our overall enjoyment. There is no facility for registering a credit or debit card for your on board account during the online checkin process as there is with RCL. When you board the ship you have to find a card terminal and laboriously enter the requested details. If, as my wife does, you use a debit card they immediately take a minimum of 250 Euro from it and if, like my wife, you don't spend that much during the cruise you have to queue at Guest Services on the last evening for a refund which they give you in cash (Euros). MSC have a 'hop on, hop off' policy so there were many passengers embarking or disembarking at every port of call as well as those just getting on and off for excursions etc. At several ports this contraflow of passengers resulted in congestion and queues because the gangways were only wide enough for people to go in one direction. It took me an hour to get back on the ship in Hamburg, for example. This cruise originated in Hamburg and we were told that there were 3000 Germans on board as against 800 from the UK. Germans do have an unfortunate reputation for rudeness and arrogance and I'm afraid that on this cruise many of them lived up to it. Queuing politely seems an alien concept and some would almost climb over my wife on her scooter to get into a lift first. There appears to be a rising tendency for cruise ships to dock in the outer reaches of ports and this happened in Brest, Malaga, Hamburg and Le Havre. In addition, Guernsey involved tendering whilst the itinerary included Amsterdam but it was changed to Rotterdam. As we booked before the change was announced we were given a free coach transfer to Amsterdam but because the ship was late in arriving in Rotterdam and it took an age to board the coach there were only two and a half hours' free time in Amsterdam instead of the four originally scheduled. Yet the ship didn't leave Rotterdam until the following morning so why the rush to get everyone back? Shuttle buses were provided in some ports but were charged for - up to 15 Euro pp which we and many others thought was unreasonable, not so much the level of the charge but the fact that they charged at all. Moreover, the buses provided were usually normal type coaches which meant my wife couldn't use them (hence she was unable to do the Amsterdam transfer) because she is unable to climb up the steps. Full disabled access buses were to be found in some ports but information on the ship regarding their availability ranged from sketchy to non-existent. Consequently, my wife was only able to leave the ship with her scooter in Lisbon, Cadiz and Vigo (the latter was, in fact, another change in the itinerary because we should have gone to La Coruna). Even then there was a problem because in Cadiz the steep angle of the gangway meant that she had great difficulty in manoeuvring her scooter on it. In fact, we heard that two passengers in wheelchairs had actually fallen out of them at the end of the gangway. We did mention these problems and were told that the steepness of the gangway was due to the state of the tide but we have been to Cadiz many times with RCL and had no trouble at all. Still on the subject of embarkation and disembarkation, when we arrived back at Southampton we found ourselves at a different terminal (Mayflower) from the one we had left from (City). We weren't told about this beforehand and most people didn't realise it until they came out of the Mayflower terminal building. This caused a problem for those who had arranged to be met by relatives or friends, had booked taxis or left their cars at the City terminal car parks, in other words the vast majority. Shuttle buses (free!) were provided back to City terminal and its car parks but the process, including loading luggage on to the shuttles, was time consuming and frustrating. In our case, because my wife couldn't get on the bus, I left her and our luggage at Mayflower, took the shuttle to City, picked up the car and drove back to Mayflower. In view of the above comments we think that MSC need to have a good look at their general organisation, particularly their procedures for embarkation/disembarkation at all ports and also for giving out information. We were aware that announcements over the PA system would be in 6 languages but English was always first so we could ignore the rest. Eventually, however, the constant babble really irritated us, particularly when it meant that you couldn't have a conversation because of it. The positive side was that there were less exhortations to buy or do something than on RCL ships and, thankfully, there was no dreaded Art Auction! We're not ones for shows so we didn't go to the theatre but others we spoke to that did said they were a mixed bag. There wasn't an awful lot in the daily programme and RCL are much better in that respect but we do appreciate the difficulties in catering for a multi-national complement of passengers. Live music in the bars and lounges was pleasant but not memorable. No British TV channels in the cabin except BBC World News. Dining. The Inca buffet is similar in layout and operation to the Windjammer on RCL ships but we felt that the Windjammer offers a bigger choice and better quality. Breakfast was fine (except for a perennial shortage of mushrooms and bananas) but the choice at lunch and dinner was such that there wasn't much we fancied. Having said that, the burgers and pizza were excellent. However, my wife finds it difficult to use the buffet when she's on her scooter because the dishes are too high for her to reach. In addition, the cards on the counter describing the dishes were too high and in print too small for her to read. Because of this she had breakfast in the cabin every day and we had most of our lunches and dinners in the MDR (Golden Lobster). We always have MyTime dining with RCL but that wasn't available to us on Preziosa so we had to choose between 6.00 pm and 8.30 pm sittings, neither of which really suited us because the first (which we chose) was too early and the second too late. And in the second week the early sitting was brought forward to 5.45 pm. The service was excellent but the food was essentially the same as in Inca and generally ranged from poor to mediocre with a quite good dish occasionally, but not often enough, making an appearance. It was frequently not hot enough, portions were small, meat was generally tough, there were hardly any vegetables and, despite the fancy Michelin type descriptions, it wasn't aimed at British tastes (yet MSC made a big thing about providing kettles and Yorkshire Tea in cabins for the benefit of the British). There was a choice of six main courses but the first two were always some sort of pasta and risotto, the third was fish and the last was a vegetarian option so really there wasn't a lot of choice or variety. And some of the combinations were strange. Leek and potato soup frequently appeared which should have been fine but they'd added shrimps to it which put many people off. And how about asparagus soup with tapioca pearls or steamed cod with raisins and onions? My wife got so fed up with it all that one evening we ordered a T-bone steak to share (24 Euro supplement) but it was so tough as to be inedible. In the past we have complained about the food on RCL ships but it's streets ahead of MSC. There should have been three speciality restaurants we could have gone to but Eataly wasn't open, we didn't fancy the one serving Japanese sushi and Butcher's Cut was closed for refurbishment. However, the latter did re-open on our last night so we went there. It was a complete contrast to the Golden Lobster and we had the best steak dinner we've had in a long time so they can do it if they try (and you're prepared to pay). However, even better was that one of the Black Card benefits is a meal in a speciality restaurant so it didn't cost us anything extra. So, to summarise the major pros and cons: Good: Beautiful, elegant and well appointed ship. Spotlessly clean. Lovely cabin. Good service from friendly staff. Nice little perks with the Black Card. Excellent dining in Butcher's Cut. Reasonable provision for smokers. Not so good: Unsatisfactory arrangements for getting off and on the ship during and at the end of the cruise, particularly for anyone disabled. General organisation, communication and dissemination of information poor. Annoying multi-lingual PA announcements. Indifferent shows, entertainment and activities. Mediocre food (except in Butcher's Cut). As for a comparison between MSC and RCL, we think that the Preziosa was nicer and better maintained than the RCL ships we've been on and it almost made them look rather shabby. MSC prices are cheaper, too. Food and on board activities are better on RCL and the way they run the cruise operation is very slick which makes MSC look amateurish. Would we go with MSC again? Probably not but I see that Indy's cruises out of Southampton next year have been cancelled so you never know........ Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this Cruise for the Itinerary and because we had previously had 3 Good Cruises with MSC. We took a North Europe cruise on the MSC PREZIOSA from Souhampton. The following review is, I feel, very fair with the Pros AND Cons. ... Read More
We chose this Cruise for the Itinerary and because we had previously had 3 Good Cruises with MSC. We took a North Europe cruise on the MSC PREZIOSA from Souhampton. The following review is, I feel, very fair with the Pros AND Cons. We arrived at the Terminal to face a queue of “well-over” an hour – there was one security entrance – BUT people returning from a trip ashore were “filtered” into our queue – limiting us to 6 or so people every 5 minutes – WHAT A WELCOME ! CABIN – Our Inside cabin was adequate and the attendant was very diligent with the cleanliness and linen changes. DINING – We were VERY LUCKY – our 1st sitting was at a table for 6 – with 2 great couples – with whom we had “a lorra laughs” ! The food was good but not great. There are now less courses that on our previous 3 MSC cruises - 3 effectiive courses – and our waiters were good. Not as friendly as on many other cruises and at times there were apologies because “this galley was having problems” !! The buffet restaurant was huge with a good selection – BUT again the staff were very “clinical” – OK but distant – not-too-friendly – and there were often more staff selling “drinks packages” than clearing off – with head waiters “mucking in”. ENTERTAINMENT – the absolute “pits” – many, many people complained about the “very inferior” shows. Rubbish ventriloquist, lady climbing the curtain, Paul McCartney impressionist on 3 consecutive nights, etc. etc. – Come back TUI and P & O with your much better quality shows !! TOPSIDE – The pools were very clean and there were lots of sun-loungers. ACCESSIBILITY – The lifts at many times were GREATLY INDEQUATE for the 4000 or so passengers – especially for the unfortunate ones with wheelchairs or walkers – sometimes “almost killed” in the rush to get in. THERE WAS SCOPE TO HAVE A SPECIFIC LIFT DEDICATED TO THEM ???? DRINKS PRICES – The “packages” seemed to be a bit of a con - 29 Eurosper person per night – 870 Euros for 2. The 6 Euro LIMIT per drink is very low ($15 0n NCL). AND IF YOU SPENT MORE – IT WAS THE WHOLE PRICE !!! We went “pay-as-you-go” and still managed sufficient drinks. GOING ASHORE – In WW2 the German navy had “Q” ships – I think MSC were taking on the challenge with “QUEUE SHIPS” !! There were massive queues at several ports for disembarkation AND embarkation – TOTALLY DISORGANISED – with dozens queue-jumping at every opportunity – A VERY ANNOYING EXPERIENCE !!!! When the ship is so huge – WHY NOT CREATE A COUPLE MORE GANGWAYS AND SECURITY SCANNERS TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD ??? Having sailed on over 20 ships with 9 different lines – THIS WAS FAR AND AWAY OUR WORST EXPERIENCE !!!!!!!!! MSC seemed to rank EUROS, EUROS, EUROS’s over customer satisfaction. Charges for “shuttles to town” were excessive – when the distances were walkable (even to 70+ year olds). A constant sell for “drinks packages”, spa treatments, fine-dining, etc. The size of around 4000 passengers does not help – we have been on ships from 650 passengers to 3000+ - BUT HAVE ALWAYS HAD A REALLY ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE. Overall - for what we paid - it was “good value for money” !! BUT I SUPPOSE YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR !!!!!! COME ON MSC – GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER !!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First time cruisers and we waited 73 years to do it. The Baltic states were on the bucket list of my wife and I. Six countries on a beautiful cruise ship. Wow ! Unfortunately that's not what transpired. The weather and resulting ... Read More
First time cruisers and we waited 73 years to do it. The Baltic states were on the bucket list of my wife and I. Six countries on a beautiful cruise ship. Wow ! Unfortunately that's not what transpired. The weather and resulting high seas put a major damper on our long awaited cruise. Totally missed ports and land tours of : Germany,Finland and Sweden. Spent extra days in port in the cities of Copenhagen and St. Petersburg. We had already spent three days in Denmark before the cruise. One full day or day and a half in St. Petersburg would have been enough. Finland or Sweden would have been special. Again the weather was a big factor. The 12 ft plus seas over a period of several days kept my wife in wrist bands and bed. The ship and its offerings tired after five days or so and the missed ports of call rang loud. Spent much more time on the ship than expected. Bright side was we got to meet many of the crew in numerous capacities. They were very accommodating. Wouldn't recommend a cruise that time of year to the Baltic. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This is a second hand ship so we had lowish expectations but it turned out to look quite good. We had an unassigned balcony cabin and it was midship on deck 6; could not have been better. Shortage of draws but adequate wardrobe space. The ... Read More
This is a second hand ship so we had lowish expectations but it turned out to look quite good. We had an unassigned balcony cabin and it was midship on deck 6; could not have been better. Shortage of draws but adequate wardrobe space. The cabin safe was difficult to use with a 10 inch tablet. Bed was comfortable and the room warm. The weather on the cruise was not brilliant so did not use the balcony much for sitting out but it was worth the extra money for the great views. All the staff we met were very friendly and professional. The theatre looked great and produced excellent shows every evening; can not praise the Broadway troupe highly enough. The cruise is all inclusive which we liked. The drinks package included was comprehensive (choice of Gins, numerous cocktails, soft drinks etc.) so there really is no need to buy in the expensive Premium drinks package. Our first disappointment came within minutes of boarding and was a persistent problem. There are simply not enough seats in the Island buffet room, every meal was a fight to secure a seat before attempting to find any food. Finish eating and go to one of the bars for a drink and you have the same problem, so the great atrium which looked so good was difficult to find seating in, this was no more apparent than when the captain gave us a welcome speech when the majority of people were left standing. The balconies overlooking the atrium were devoted to selling photos or bike rides rather than providing more seats which just shows the priorities of Tui. Mass catering is never going to be great so no surprises that the food was average, but not always as hot as it should be. Our first meal in restaurant 47 was a disaster and when we tried to give it a second try we were told there was a waiting time of one hour. We did get into 47 Gallery and the meal here was quite good. Snack Shack provided a quick bite especially coming back onto the boat after a shore trip. The Island buffet, the main eatery on board, was a perfect disaster of planning; having found a seat and leaving your partner to guard it you then went to a series of islands to prise out a plate from the heated servery and then had to visit three different islands to get a main meal! The islands had an eclectic mix of fruit, chips and beans (green beans were available for every lunch or dinner we had !), move to another island to find salads and hot vegetables, curry and mashed potatoes; bizarre. Another thing we could not understand was having roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pigs in blankets and then having chips or mash as the potatoes served with it; next morning roast potatoes were served with the eggs!! . . this happened on more than one occasion. Want a croissant? you will not find them on the 'Bakers Dozen' island. The fruit juice, available only at breakfast time, turned out to be far too sweet for most peoples taste. We were encouraged to sanitise our hands on the way into the restaurants but the tables were rarely wiped and we never saw disinfectant used on the tables at all. On a sea day the heating in the Glass House/ indoor pool failed so people either wrapped up in towels or tried to find seating elsewhere, there was also an issue with lifts not working. The joining instructions from Tui were clearly written some time ago and have been added to over the years so that they no longer make sense, they tell you the ship sails at 15.00 and also at 16.00, they also say you can board from 13.30 until 14.00 or maybe 15.00; quite confusing. A very friendly ship that with a bit of reorganisation could be good. We would have to think carefully before booking with Tui again, but would not rule it out. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose because buy1 get 1 free. Ship was comfortable with nice lounges excellent crew, waiters lovely, housemaid lovely, captain joined in with everyone. But boy oh boy do not stay on deck 7. We were in cabin 7138 inside. Cruise was ... Read More
Chose because buy1 get 1 free. Ship was comfortable with nice lounges excellent crew, waiters lovely, housemaid lovely, captain joined in with everyone. But boy oh boy do not stay on deck 7. We were in cabin 7138 inside. Cruise was 16 nights and we never slept once in that time. Noise was horrendous from restaurant deck 8 above us, they worked all night dragging furniture, trolleys and Lord nos what else, complained to reception and was offered ear plugs. Ha Ha. In bad seas the ship sounded like she was going to crack up, cables inside the walls were crashing around all night, further down the deck people said it sounded like nails being hammered into the walls. We will never ever travel with this company or on this ship again. Have done many cruises and have never experienced this before. To be positive about something, shore excursions were fantastic, we saw some truly beautiful places. Dining was lovely, entertainment was good, lecturers we're informative Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
September itinerary was desirable for us. First time cruising with Norwegian. The balcony room on the 14th deck was spacious and clean. Service by room staff was excellent. Food in the "free"" restaurants was only average. ... Read More
September itinerary was desirable for us. First time cruising with Norwegian. The balcony room on the 14th deck was spacious and clean. Service by room staff was excellent. Food in the "free"" restaurants was only average. Not very tasty and somewhat limited menu. My wife is a vegetarian and she did not find too many items to her liking. The Supervisor in the restaurant did try to arrange for Indian vegetarian food for her but the quality was not great.The food stations on the 15th deck (Garden Cafe) were a bit chaotically arranged. Soup station next to Ice Cream station! Food items on port side were sometimes different from those on the starboard side. We, however liked the "dine any time" option. On board "free" entertainment and shows were not up to standards on other cruise lines we have been on. Library had very limited selection of books and restricted hours. We found the service staff generally respectful and helpful. Our cruise had to skip Stockholm because of bad weather which was disappointing. However we realize this is a normal hazard of cruising (it has happened to us before). We will consider Norwegian again for future cruises depending upon timing, cost and available itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I chose this trip for where it was going which was to Arkangel and Murmansk which was where the Russian convoys of the 2nd world war went to. Then it was back to Tilbury via Norway a 17 night trip in total. I was on deck 9 and for the ... Read More
I chose this trip for where it was going which was to Arkangel and Murmansk which was where the Russian convoys of the 2nd world war went to. Then it was back to Tilbury via Norway a 17 night trip in total. I was on deck 9 and for the first few days my cabin and corridors were getting fumes from the engines. The staff were very good, food was ok. entertainment not for me. My Cabin had twin beds but cabin hardly big enough for one. The ship needs a bit of repairing on the decking but crew kept paintwork up to scratch. I had VIP drinks package but I was still charged for a glass of Pinot Grigio .But be aware, even though onboard spending is in sterling, because they process their clients accounts abroad you could still incur charges even though you pay by Debit card. I have been on cruises before but I have never come across this charge before. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We have cruised on Celebrity for more than 10 years. The crew is second to none. This time it seemed way more crowded, with a rushed itinerary, and the cruise director was to over the top. His daily announcements were almost 15 minutes ... Read More
We have cruised on Celebrity for more than 10 years. The crew is second to none. This time it seemed way more crowded, with a rushed itinerary, and the cruise director was to over the top. His daily announcements were almost 15 minutes long, the on board entertainment was OK most nights, the best was the live music in the smaller lounges. The main dinning room is FANTASTIC. The cabins and verandas are very nice. Celebrity does have the embarkation and disembarkation down to a science, works very well. While Celebrity’s cruise prices seem to continue to increase, in addition to these increases, In my opinion Celebrity is trying to identify ways to add fees and charges of all types. In port shuttle buses, that used to be included, now there is a charge. Up-charges on drink packages like at the martini bar, 3 bucks more for a larger martini, really why not just get two smaller ones. And everyone of these up-charge slips provide a line for an additional tip. And specialty restaurant are only a fare deal on the first day of the cruise when they are discounted by 30%. In port excursions, in the daily flyer, Celebrity creates the impression the only Hop on Hop off bus is available only at guest relations, all one need do is get off the ship and you can find the same hop on hop off bus at a lower price than Celebrity. So after 10 years of loyalty, i think for our next cruise vacation, we may need to shop around. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a ... Read More
We chose this Baltic cruise because we liked the 10 day itinerary, with only 2 sea days and starting and ending in Copenhagen. We thought our balcony room was in excellent condition, with fresh paint, nice bedding and carpeting and a sofa bed in good condition. In the public areas everything had been redone with blue and teal furnishings, and it all looked nice. The ship is older with not a lot of razzmatazz but we knew this ahead of time. The entertainment was mediocre at best-we liked the Billboard piano hits the best, the BBKing music was always too loud to enjoy, and the main stage events were mostly acceptable if unexciting. We enjoyed an American Test Kitchen event and went to a wine tasting. Other than that we did not pursue any onboard activities. We like the open promenade on deck 3 for walking around the outside of the ship. The food in the main dining room was just average, with a couple of good meals mixed with some rather poor options. We had two meals in the Pinnalce Grill with one halibut dinner and one steak dinner that were good but nothing especially memorable. The Cannaletto was the highlight-both our dinners there were delicious and the service was excellent. The lido breakfast and lunch were both nice. Overall I think the food is cruise ship average. Given the reputation for service on HAL we were disappointed. Our room steward twice left dirty dishes/bottles in the room. The wait staff often rushed us, hurrying us to take our orders. The wine steward was slow, and complained about having to check for our open bottle in the dining room At the Pinnacle Grill they twice sat us at terrible tables (which we requested to be changed) even though good tables were very much available. We reserved 6 pm dining over a year earlier but they gave us 8pm dining. We asked to be switched to open dining on the first night in the dining room and they said they would do that. Each time we went to the main dining room they said we had an 8 pm reservation and we had to explain the situation again. Overall, I recommend this cruise for the itinerary, and for those who are not concerned about having a new ship with lots of entertainment options, but will be content with pleasant cabins and a low key atmoshphere. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We boarded Columbus which looked okay in comparison to other cruises which we have been on. Fred Olsen being far superior and modern. All went well until day 4 when we were awoken by the sound of rushing water which unfortunately for us ... Read More
We boarded Columbus which looked okay in comparison to other cruises which we have been on. Fred Olsen being far superior and modern. All went well until day 4 when we were awoken by the sound of rushing water which unfortunately for us caused ourselves and 80+ other passengers to be offloaded in Bergen as our rooms were out of action. We are now back in the UK after being flown home. To CMV credit the customer service was excellent and we have been given a full refund and a discount for use in the future. Columbus is to be repaired at the end of August after her last sailings and I look forward to sailing her next year when she has been upgraded. Also the food was good and variety should suit all tastes. Bars well stocked. Cabins however haven't been updated since CMV took ownership of Columbus from P&O. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018

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