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50 Barcelona to Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

Just returned from an absolutely wonderful 11 night cruise on the Spirit. We had not sailed Siversea in 10 years and will definitely be returning. Our past experience with this line had not been very positive and we switched to Seabourn ... Read More
Just returned from an absolutely wonderful 11 night cruise on the Spirit. We had not sailed Siversea in 10 years and will definitely be returning. Our past experience with this line had not been very positive and we switched to Seabourn but decided to try again based on the itinerary and timing near our anniversary. We embarked in Barcelona, it was qiuick and efficient but not as wrm as Seabourn. Our first impression of the ship was “dated”- perhaps it was the color scheme but the furniture style reminded me of an assisted living facility. We then reviewed the buffet in La Terrazza but opted to have lunch in the Atlantide restaurant where we enjoyed a tasty Mahi and drank a french chardonnay. The room was less frenetic than La Terrazza and the service excellent.We finished lunch and went to our Deluxe veranda suite on the 8th floor and found our luggage had been delivered-always good to get the unpacking squared away. Once again we had the impression that the suite had a bit of a dated feel to it but the space was similar to the Seabourn line and felt familiar. The shower was larger and the tub deeper but there was only a single sink.the ame/nities were very similar and we were very happy to have a jewelry box in the safe for our items. Our butler showed up shortly after and took care of several requests including a mattress topper for the bed which was on the firm side. After unpacking and attending the muster drill we showered, dressed for dinner and went to the Panorama lounge for a predinner cocktail. The ambience is different than the Observation bar on Seabourn and both have positives. We always enjoyed a seat at the beautiful bar on Seabourn where we could enjoy the bartender’s company as well as conversation with other passengers. The bar area on Silversea is small and not a focal point of the room so we chose to sit in the comfy chairs.The Silversea lounge was just that- very comfortable chairs and a very nice dance floor. I loved having a cocktail list on the Spirit and the drinks were well crafted and presented. Our reservation the first evening was in La Dame because we could only waitlist this venue for the rest of the cruise when we tried to book our reservations back in Feb. The dinner was just perfect- excellent food with delicious options and very attentive service - the only negative was that many of the tables were set so closely together that we felt as if we were joining others rather than dining as a twosome. The other restaurants on the ship were similar with many of the tables for two placed very closely together which could be positive or negative depending upon one’s table-mates. A couple next to us was forced to engage in political banter with two people on their other side told us after the other couple departed that they did not enjoy the discussion. All of the dining rooms seem to fill up each evening and everyone seemed to make an effort to dress nicely which added a touch of elegance. On Seabourn there were fewer jackets and almost no ties. We dined in La Terrazza most mornings and the selections for breakfast were quite varied and the food delivered hot and very quickly which we appreciated when we had an early excursion. We also enjoyed room service a few mornings and one evening when we were too tired too move! and our butler brought the tray-the presentation was lovely, the orders correct, and the food hot. The food in Seishin and Indoshine were nice options and we enjoyed the ambience of each restaurant. The only dinner we did not enjoy was in La Terrazza- service was on point but the food just wasn’t appealing- we only tried it once. The Arts cafe was another plus-it offered all day snacking items and we loved the option of bringing some things to the room-particularly as it was right down the hall. Our suite was very accessible to the elevators, the lauderette (which I used once,) the Arts Cafe and the pool. The only negative was the sound of furniture scraping across the deck above us- not a gigantic nuisance but I would probably go for deck 7 instead of 8. The ship’s excursions were very interesting and not overly crowded- there was always space on the bus to move around. Overall I would say that Silversea had better food and service and we really enjoyed having the services of a butler. Seabourn has prettier and more up to date venues and better entertainment. We liked the glamour of dressing for dinner on Silversea but did not like the surcharges for some of the restaurants. The welcome on Seabourn is more vibrant while Silversea is more subdued. Many of the guests on Silversea have sailed numerous times with the line and we are pleased to say that we shall be repeatIng with another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
While not experienced cruisers, we have been on five previous cruises over the past 25 - 30 years with Carnival, Norwegian, and Holland America. We chose this cruise due to an invitation from my sister to join her and her husband on what ... Read More
While not experienced cruisers, we have been on five previous cruises over the past 25 - 30 years with Carnival, Norwegian, and Holland America. We chose this cruise due to an invitation from my sister to join her and her husband on what would be their sixth Regent cruise (they booked their seventh while onboard). We found the itinerary interesting which included Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British ports and loved the departure port (Barcelona) having spent a week there last year. Our journey began with a flawless and on-time flight on Delta through Atlanta to Barcelona. Delta One (their version of business class) was comfortable, the food was delicious, and I was able to sleep a few hours during the flight. We arrived in Barcelona Sunday morning before a Monday cruise departure day to an expectedly chaotic airport where we discovered Barcelona is second to Miami as the busiest cruise port in the world. Our bags were retrieved and turned over to representatives available at the airport and we were on a bus headed for the Fairmont hotel an hour after landing. Our hotel, the included pre-cruise selection by Regent, was very nice and located within a large garden-like area with beautiful grounds. Very quiet and relaxing. Regent representatives were onsite to assist with tours or cruise inquiries although we didn't require their assistance. The provided breakfast Monday morning, the day of the cruise, was high quality with plenty of choices to satisfy everyone. We had a couple of hours to relax prior to boarding our assigned bus to the pier. Bags were retrieved from our room the morning of departure. After a relatively short (45 minute) bus ride to the pier, we were ready to board. The embarkation process was efficient, easy, and relaxed. We experienced our first memorable interaction with a Regent employee during this process. A gentleman from the entertainment team greeted us with a smile, checked us in, invited us to the show that night, and sent us on our way. A great first impression even before we boarded the ship. Once onboard, we immediately noticed the quality, beauty, opulence, and luxury of the décor, design, furnishings, and atmosphere on the ship. Also, a wide variety of artwork could be found throughout the ship, some of which matched my taste, while some did not. We were aware of the hype surrounding this ship and reality matched the hype. Undeniably, the ship itself is beautiful in every imaginable way. Our cabin, a Concierge D on deck 10, was located steps away from the elevators and stairs and beneath the library above. The efficiency of the cabin design was impressive by being able to face the very comfortable king size bed toward to balcony so that from the bed we could see the sea or port. An abundance of drawer space (we didn't use half of them) could be found throughout the cabin. The closet was very large in relation to the cabin size and fully accommodated what ended up being our exaggerated over packing. The bathroom was impressive as well with two sinks, a separate tub and shower, and beautiful marble finishing throughout. Pre-cruise, we were attracted to a separate tub and shower, however; after a 12 night cruise, we never used the tub. Similarly, pre-cruise we appreciated that an illy coffeemaker would be located in our cabin yet we never used it. Our balcony was large, approximately 115 sq. ft., and had high quality furnishings including two large wicker reclining chairs, full size chaise lounge, and a table large enough for two people to enjoy a meal. The balcony angled toward the front of the ship which provided an unobstructed view forward without the need to lean over the railing. Furnishings, fixtures, and finishes inside the cabin were consistent with what would be found in four or five star hotel junior suite. Contrary to certain reviews, we found the dining onboard to be excellent without exception. Every meal was high quality, well presented, without lengthy wait times, and flavored deliciously. We dined at each specialty restaurant twice, ordered room service breakfast six times, and tried all other dining venues except the pool grill multiple times. I had seafood, veal, beef, and pasta main course dishes and all were great. Service was outstanding. Wines offered were very good and our glasses were never empty. Desserts were, unfortunately, too tempting to avoid. Frankly, absolutely no complaints related to food whatsoever. We experienced none of the issues to be found in reviews critical of dining venues located on the ship. We were left assuming we were either very fortunate or simply easy to please. Notably, the design, décor and atmosphere in the three specialty dining venues is truly unique and beautiful. The entertainment we found enjoyable and, well..............entertaining. Other reviews indicate entertainment leaves something to be desired yet we attended three stage productions, the cruise director John Barron's show, his assistant's show, and every performance by the two guest performers with Will Martin's shows being the best. The shows were an hour in length which we found to be perfect. We didn't expect Lady GaGa, Adelle, Elton John, or a Broadway theater production of Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables to be performing on the cruise and therefore we appreciated the quality of the entertainment available. Additionally, we were always able to find comfortable seats available in the theater without obstructed sightlines. We also scheduled two cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen and thoroughly enjoyed both. The instructing chef made it fun with her energy and enthusiasm and by playing music and serving wine while teaching. Both classes were full (I believe 18 is capacity) which further added to the fun atmosphere. The facility itself is state of the art. Finally, we scheduled five appointments in the Canyon Ranch spa and were pleased with their services and facility. I had a massage that I would rank as good as any I have ever received. Service on the cruise is where the separation occurred between great and extraordinary. The meaningful difference maker for us. Nice ship, itinerary, tours, food, and entertainment - otherworldly service. One example: 6:30 am I go to the coffee shop to get a latte for my wife which Andre gladly prepares and a green tea for me. I then head to the pool deck where the fresh juice bar is located and pick up a celery and orange juice for my wife and head back to the cabin with my hands full. As I walk through the pool area the attendants who are changing the terry cloth covers on all the pool loungers smile and wish me a good morning. As I approach the door, one stops what he is doing and runs to open the door for me and asks if I need further assistance. As I near the door to our cabin, from behind me appears one of the captain's staff members from the bridge and he asks me if he can open my cabin door for me with his master key. This is only one example of many other incredibly positive interactions with Regent staff members on the ship. The training program must be world class because we never encountered anyone who wasn't pleasant, wasn't eager to serve, and who wasn't genuinely kind. The crew seemed happy. At dinner in Prime 7, our excellent server Ruth's assistant, who I would guess to be 21 or 22 years old, engaged in conversation with us and twice said how much she loved her job. How many 21 or 22 year olds in the U.S. would say how much they love their jobs? From beginning to end, we had no complaints whatsoever regarding the service we received and we compliment Regent for their very effective hiring and training practices. We experienced eleven ports while on our cruise and found many points of interest, cultural experiences, historical significance, and beauty at every one. All tours with the exception of Lisbon met or exceeded our expectations. Most notable tours included a D Day Landing Beach tour in Normandy and a wonderful dinner at Chateau Du Tertre in Bordeaux. We had high quality guides who were knowledgeable and understandable. Each bus would depart about half full. Very efficient system for organizing tour departures on the ship. We never waited more than ten minutes before being directed to our bus. The one complaint I have from the entire cruise experience is related to the tours and, unfortunately, I believe the issue is beyond Regent's control: passengers go on tours they should not take due to physical limitations. We were provided tour descriptions online before the cruise, after we boarded, and each day with the newsletter; all of which made abundantly clear the physical requirements of each tour and the physical limitations that should prevent someone from taking certain tours. On every tour, in my opinion, people were present who should not have been. Certain participants placed unreasonable expectations on the guides due to their limitations. A man fell down stepping off the curb in Lisbon and somehow the guide was implicated? Another guide was rudely told to slow down because a couple couldn't keep up. One guide was told to slow down by a woman who said her back hurts when she climbs stairs. And lastly, a guide was asked to be available at the port to help a couple back to the ship. Very frustrating and my heart goes out to the guides and what they must endure. Regent can't be placed into a position of evaluating each passenger's physical ability before every tour. Passengers need to read the information, readily available via multiple sources, regarding the tours, and be honest about their ability to take the, clearly stated, more physically demanding tours. Again, my only complaint during the entire cruise. Disembarkation was difficult only because we didn't want to leave. The process itself was easy as long as your luggage was outside your door on time and you were listening for your number to be called indicating it was time to disembark. In summary, we had a wonderful and memorable trip and thanks to Regent for performing so incredibly well every step of the way. To perform so well requires outstanding organization, training, quality control, accountability, and teamwork. It was fascinating to watch the team work so well together and deliver so well time and time again. Partly attributable to my sister telling me to prepare to be spoiled and partly because of the price, our expectations were very high yet Regent consistently met or exceeded our expectations. Consequently, we are now hooked and booked an Alaska cruise in 2020 while onboard. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We took the ship and we enjoyed it. Staff was helpful, tons of activities on board and great variety of entertaiment. The main restaurant was great, not "awesome", but the buffet was extraordinary. We didn't bother ... Read More
We took the ship and we enjoyed it. Staff was helpful, tons of activities on board and great variety of entertaiment. The main restaurant was great, not "awesome", but the buffet was extraordinary. We didn't bother buying the beverages package, we just paid for our beverages at the end, buying the beverages pack would have costed us more and we had a lot of shots, haha. I think the cruise beverages pack includes only alcohol, so if you want for example a capucchino, you will see it in your receipt at the end. One thing we were very pleased was with the guy who attended us, he learnt our names from the very beginning and he kept our room clean, his name was Zack if I remember correctly, most of the staff was really nice. :) We enjoyed looking at the promenade, any noise didn't bother use since we just enjoyed the view. On thing about the cabin, tho, we had a big window, it made the cabin look bigger and we used it as a shelf for some of our stuff. We had a really fun, and exciting experience. We would take this ship again with no hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary - ports in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Denmark. Before booking and paying for your cruise, Viking does not identify ports where you will have only a partial day to explore. A full ... Read More
We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary - ports in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Denmark. Before booking and paying for your cruise, Viking does not identify ports where you will have only a partial day to explore. A full day in Barcelona after embarkation was cancelled and we spent a day at Tarragona, a beautiful stop but not Barcelona. We only had partial days (6 hours) in Cartagena, Porto, Bruges and Copenhagen. All of these ports deserve more time. Viking provided shuttle buses in most ports but did not advise of this service before sailing. This complicated our independent preplanned tours of cities. Viking maps of ports were inadequate and we always needed to get maps supplied by local tourism kiosks. The food generally met our expectations but was very uneven ranging from excellent to meals that were not as ordered and one that was inedible and sent back. Wine choices were extremely limited. We were offered the same Chilean white wine for at least 4 days in a row. The wine was never related to ports of call despite visiting major wine producing countries. Viking creates high expectations for food, wine and local experiences through their advertising which leads to disappointment. The ship is beautiful - minimalist decor, spacious lounges and dining areas and quality art make for a comfortable relaxed ambiance. The small number of passengers made embarkation and disembarkation and dining a pleasant experience. Included and and optional shore excursions barely met expectations. Included excursions were bus tours and very slow, very limited walking tours. Optional shore excursions were neither as interesting nor as active as those advertised as "example" excursions before we booked the cruise. Each day in port as we disembarked, there was a cooler with hundreds of plastic water bottles for passengers. Given that Viking cruises on the ocean, you would think they would be more ecologically responsible. Give passengers a reusable water bottle when they board. Entertainment was limited in variety and quality. Very glad we arranged our own flights after hearing of other passengers' experience with flights arranged by Viking. The small ship experience was so good that we would travel with Viking again. We would just check all the details of the itinerary before paying and we would lower our expectations on food and drink and compare prices accordingly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We heard others talk of the exceptional service on Viking cruises and we had sailed on Norwegian and Princess in the past. Viking is definitely at the top of our list. There was no waiting to embark. We were given a timeframe for our ... Read More
We heard others talk of the exceptional service on Viking cruises and we had sailed on Norwegian and Princess in the past. Viking is definitely at the top of our list. There was no waiting to embark. We were given a timeframe for our cabin type and went right onto the ship after checking in. Though we couldn't access the cabin immediately, we were offerred a glass of champagne and invited to dine in one of the many restaurants.Our bags were delivered within hours and our cabin attendants introduced themselves and asked if there was anything we needed. The employees were the friendliest we had encountered on any of our cruises. We enjoyed the lectures on various topics as well as the beautiful common spaces where one could sit and read or visit with others. We especially liked the included tours in every port though we did pay extra to visit Monet's Giverney and it was magical. It was such a wonderful experience that we've decided to book another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Absolutely brilliant time had by all. Cabin great, a lot bigger than I was expecting and we were well looked after by our room attendant, sometimes to the point where it became a little bit irritating as he was ALWAYS there, nonetheless ... Read More
Absolutely brilliant time had by all. Cabin great, a lot bigger than I was expecting and we were well looked after by our room attendant, sometimes to the point where it became a little bit irritating as he was ALWAYS there, nonetheless cannot fault his work and cabin was always clean and tidy each day. Food was amazing, lots of choice and catered to all tastes. If you couldn’t find something you liked then you have a problem - and this is coming from a very fussy eater myself!! Loved the outside areas and abundance of sun loungers available. The only thing that really let this cruise down was the entertainment which was shockingly BAD. The AzAmazing night was a complete waste of an evening, performances were very mediocre at best and did not seem as though the dancers had rehearsed at all. We spent more time getting on and off ship / coaches than anything else so really not worth the hassle. Spoke with several people after thus event and all were of the same opinion!! Other entertainment shows were awful - I have heard better kareoke singers in my local town than anyone actually employed on Pursuit. And as for the so called DJ - an absolutely awful human being, very rude and not at all friendly towards our party on the nights that we did venture into his domain. Said NO to every song request we asked for and was very abrupt- he actually ruined our night!!! The entertainment aspect definitely needs to be looked into and said DJ to be replaced by someone who actually knows how to do a disco and accommodate all people present and be able to converse in a friendly manner with all guests. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have done a number of river and ocean cruises with Viking and know we can expect a great itinerary, wonderful food, excellent service and if anything isn’t quite right, they make it right. The cruise departed from Barcelona and ... Read More
We have done a number of river and ocean cruises with Viking and know we can expect a great itinerary, wonderful food, excellent service and if anything isn’t quite right, they make it right. The cruise departed from Barcelona and ended in Bergen, Norway. We chose this cruise because it included some ports we hadn’t visited and some we had, with the biggest draw being the Normandy beaches. We also looked forward to Falmouth and Portsmouth, England. We went to Barcelona a few days early to visit a number of sites we had seen on earlier trips. Our favorite site is Sagrada Familia which is such an incredible cathedral. We also rode the hop on/hop off bus and saw many areas we hadn’t seen before. Our embarkation went smoothly and our cabin was ready before the promised time. We book a Penthouse Veranda cabin for the extra space, drawers, and location ( we were in 4016). The cabin amenities are great- balcony, coffee maker, refrigerator filled with snacks, alcohol and soft drinks, and room to add more things we’ve brought along. This is included in the cruise fare and the refrigerator is restocked every day and you can request to have more or less of anything in the fridge. Dining on Viking is a wonderful experience- all restaurants are available to everyone at no additional charge and the food is excellent in each venue. Wine and beer are served at lunch and dinner (again no additional charge) or you can order off the menu or bring your own bottle (no charge). Dietary restrictions are accommodated with ease. Seating is not assigned. In addition to the restaurants there are a couple other areas that provide food: the lobby bar and the Explorer’s Lounge. The spa area is spacious with a thermal pool, jacuzzi, sauna, ice room (with snow), and very comfortable lounge chairs. The locker rooms are spacious and the lockers have flip flops and robes inside. The theater is the place for port talks, entertainment by the onboard singers and performers, and lectures by the onboard historian. It’s also the location for services on Christmas and Easter. There is a grand piano in the atrium and someone is usually playing in the evening. There has also been a violinist, a singer/s, and other musical performances in the evening. Viking usually gets a very good docking location in the ports and provides a shuttle service into the town if it’s a little ways from the dock. There is one included excursion in every port and 8 or so additional for a price. The guides tend to be locals and we’ve been generally very pleased with the guides. There are frequently some “special access” tours to sites that might be restricted. When a scheduled port has to be missed due to weather or other conditions, Viking will attempt to identify a “substitute “ port and quickly arrange excursions and guides. One river cruise we were on included a dinner in a beautiful chateau in France. The servers, chefs, entertainment were all brought to the chateau and it was a stunning evening- all included! Viking has an age restriction for children- the entertainment, excursions, and activities would be very boring for many children. Since the passengers tend to be an older demographic, other cruise lines might be more appropriate for the teens and even early 20-year olds. Our 27 year old daughter went on a river cruise with us and had a great time with the crew when they finished their shifts! We are booked for 4 more cruises in the next couple of years- an indication of our Viking obsession. We have relatives and friends who e joined us on the cruises and are now bringing their friends along, too. The picture is of a “happy hour” spread the chef put together for our group on a recent cruise (no charge). We brought some things we had purchased in port and the chef brought out so much more. That’s the Viking touch! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise had great ports and two nicely scheduled sea days. It was a great trip! The ship is in beautiful shape. We had wonderful food, terrific service and enjoyed our excursions. The shows on the ship were great though they are ... Read More
This cruise had great ports and two nicely scheduled sea days. It was a great trip! The ship is in beautiful shape. We had wonderful food, terrific service and enjoyed our excursions. The shows on the ship were great though they are repeating them on cruises which is not my preference. We had sailed with DCL several times but had not sailed in Europe until this trip. We did a couple of days pre-cruise in Barcelona and stayed at a DCL recommended hotel (Barcelona Renaissance). It's location and travel to the port were both great. Our DCL excursions in Lisbon (Lisbon Highlights) was a nice overview of a beautiful city. Sailing into and out of this port was breathtaking. We also enjoyed our excursion in Vigo, Spain which took us to a nearby town of Bionia where we toured a fortress and a replica of a sailing vessel like the one Columbus used. We had a stateroom with a balcony and enjoyed a little time out there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
After having a wonderful experience on Mediterranean Odyssey in March, 2017, we wanted to take another Viking ocean cruise. On that cruise, we had perfect weather, excellent service and food, were upgraded from a DV6 guarantee to a PV1, ... Read More
After having a wonderful experience on Mediterranean Odyssey in March, 2017, we wanted to take another Viking ocean cruise. On that cruise, we had perfect weather, excellent service and food, were upgraded from a DV6 guarantee to a PV1, and had excellent tours with the exception of Toulon (which has since been replaced by Marseilles). A big benefit of a Viking ocean cruise is that everything is included with no surprises, except tips and optional tours. Internet, water, minbar, and wine/beer with lunch and dinner are all included. Adults only is fantastic! They also give a lot of info ahead of time on each port. It is truly educational. We were very interested in the ports on Trade Routes, so we took the chance again to pay for a DV6 cabin and were upgraded to a PV2. Our flight on Air Canada Rouge had awful service and amenities compared to Luftansia the year before. (Iceland Air - on the way home - was better, but meals were terrible after waiting at the airport in Norway for 5 hours.) We were met at the airport, did have to wait for other flights to land, but it was very organized. We were whisked up to lunch; once we finished,it was time to go to our cabin. Our ship was right downtown this time, as opposed to the previous docking in a Barcelona which was a 20 minute drive. The ship did not disappoint with excellent food and service. Entertainment was similar and in some cases a repeat of the previous cruise. The fitness center was nice, but we only had the time and energy to use it on sea days. It would be nice if they had some classes. We did not use the spa. We were disappointed in the disorganization of the local tours and tour guides.We were shocked by the lack of knowledge of the Viking staff who booked and helped organize the tours; they knew nothing about the ports, how to best get around the cities,and what would actually take place on the tours. They even gave misinformation and made no effort to help us. In Amsterdam, they told us there was no public transportation, when in fact, they had a wonderful tram system! They did not offer a tour of Anne Frank’s House which is difficult to get tickets, and in spite of it being spring, we never saw a tulip or a windmill. We found out a few days before the cruise that the optional tour to London - one reason we opted for this cruise - was canceled due to an annual marathon. They added unappealing substitutions. The tour guide in Portsmouth dropped us off at the dockyard and could not tell us where to get the public bus back to the ship, which we needed because they were only giving us a short time to explore the dockyard and museums. They handed us tickets to the dockyard and left - no tour. In Falmouth we took a boring 3.5 hour bus ride along the coast with one stop to take pictures - A Scenic Cornish Drive. There was nothing of significance or historical interest. In Barcelona, there were political demonstrations so they could not do Panoramic Barcelona, and it was Sunday, so we could not enter the Barcelona Cathedral. Luckily, we planned to go to La Sabrado Familia Cathedral on our own which was easy to get to on the subway. We did have a great tour guide in Porto, Cartagena, Malaga, and Bruge (wonderful optional tour of Bruge and Canal Tour). There was not much of a tour in Bergen, but we stayed downtown and shopped meeting the wonderful shopkeepers. We made an appointment with the General Manager on board who listened and took notes on all our concerns about the tours, etc. He told us that this was a “repositioning cruise,” was not done regularly, so the staff was not familiar with the ports, tours, and tour agencies. I have seen that some changes have been made in Portsmouth tours and tours have been added in Amsterdam, although not Anne Frank’s Home. The staff, aside from those organizing tours, were amazing! Manfredi’s was fantastic! Book as early as you can; we set the alarm to get up and book as soon as they opened - same with shore excursions! Reservations once on board for Manfredi’s are impossible to get. Food at all restaurants is excellent though. We are booked on another cruise this spring, Cities of Antiquity and the Holy Land. We could not get a guarantee room, so we booked a PV room, as there is a big difference in the space and storage for clothes in a DV room. We found we spent more time in the room each cruise than one would think and wanted comfort. We are also doing the add on 4 nights in Athens, as it was very reasonable (staying at Athens Hilton) with breakfast, some lunches and 2 days of tours included. We can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We, french guys, choosed a Cunard cruise because an english ship is something special: you have 2000 passengers with you and you don't notice them. No noise at all, no kids running, No shouts in corridors We choosed a ... Read More
We, french guys, choosed a Cunard cruise because an english ship is something special: you have 2000 passengers with you and you don't notice them. No noise at all, no kids running, No shouts in corridors We choosed a mediterranean route crossing 5 countries: Spain, Corsica (insular France), Continental France, Italy, Montenegro and Croatia We had a Princess grill cabin (4093), large, with much storage for clothing, a bathroom with a tub and a little siiting room. a brand new espresso machine Little minus: the princess grill balconies on 4th deck are much deeper than other decks (the ship wider) and many times we got water coming down on our heads from balconies above ours Dinins was very very pleasant at Princess grill: you have dinner at the time you choose The staff is extremly helpful and kind . The Maître D deserves a Grand restaurant. BIG MINUS: the entertainment; if you are not british the shows are not for you. By the way the scottish accent is very interesting.During 12 days we had only 3 very pleasant evenings The service was OK everywhere on the ship All the ports were worth a Detour. We organised ourselves our excursions, , non wanting to be with a crowd Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Never made Barcelona or our hotel due to BA cancelling our flight ,flight was re-booked for the following morning (BA putting us up in a nearby hotel ) and we made the ship . After this initial hiccup we had a great cruise with a great ... Read More
Never made Barcelona or our hotel due to BA cancelling our flight ,flight was re-booked for the following morning (BA putting us up in a nearby hotel ) and we made the ship . After this initial hiccup we had a great cruise with a great crew and enjoyed the company of some lovely folk. Cabin was nice clean , small as others have stated but fine . Food was good with good choice . Service from the crew was exceptional including the captain and entertainment staff . We had a great time and would travel again . But will never book the transfers or hotels through Azamara as they don't provide any back up at all for this eventuality which I am sure is not unusual . On the day of our flight out I tried 4 numbers to contact Azamara to explain our predicament only to be given another number to try before being transfered / cut off, eventually getting through to inform them to cancel our transfers and hotel in Barcelona. On my return home I contacted Azamara to claim back the parts of my holiday I had paid for but not received and after 4 weeks to be told I am not entitled to a refund not even for the telephone calls which cost about £30 . Poor customer service which I feel lets down not only the customer but the crew of Azamara Journey who work so hard to make our cruise special . Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our second cruise on this ship. As with their River Cruises, Viking excels in attentive service on board and they did not disappoint. The staff, from the cabin attendants to the servers and entertainers make every passenger feel ... Read More
This was our second cruise on this ship. As with their River Cruises, Viking excels in attentive service on board and they did not disappoint. The staff, from the cabin attendants to the servers and entertainers make every passenger feel as though they are the only ones who matter to them. As expected, it was an older crowd - generally with an average age of 55-60ish. We did have a few younger couples, in their early 30s and they seemed to really enjoy themselves even without a casino and late night party atmosphere. One grandparent had their young granddaughters in their 20s, and they also seemed to have a good time, but I bet they would have preferred the more festive atmosphere of Princess or even Carnival. No children under 16 are allowed, nor would they enjoy themselves I suspect. It is an "upscale ship" aimed at the more sedate. (Particularly like the heated bathroom floors in the cabin). However, the days are active with included excursions in each Port. The ports were, Barcelona, Malaga, Lisbon, Porto (cancelled because of weather), A Coruna, Cherbourg, Le Harve, Southampton, and Haugesund, Norway. Bergen was simply the port used to disembark and get to the airport. Could have done without Haugesund - not much to see, and would have loved a day to explor Bergen. The weather was generally good. We did have a few rough sea days in the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea. The Captain did determine to not to try to dock in Porto Portugal as the winds were too strong and he did not think it was safe. An extra sea day at not charge! The included excursions in each port were generally very well done. The highlight of the trip for me was the "D Day" tour at the beaches in Normandy and the American cemetery overlooking the beaches with 9700+ American bodies lost during WWII in interred. Very moving. My wife thought the visit to Monet's gardens and the area surrounding Giverny France was worth the entire trip. If we did it again, I think I would spend some extra days in Barcelona prior to boarding. Not enough time there. 3 days would be the minimum, IMO. My wife forgot a prescription medication, and the ship's medical unit had no problem replacing it while at port in Spain. They were very accommodating and the medication cost 1/5th of what it is here - even without insurance. The on board "enrichment lectures" most every afternoon were by a former NASA Chief Engineer who talked about the Space Shuttle and the Space station and various space exploration issues and discoveries, a British military historian speaking about D Day and other WWII incidents, an art historian who spoke on Picasso and impressionist art and artists, and an historian steeped in Viking and European history. The live presentations are taped if you want to watch them later in your cabin during sea days. For entertainment, there is a cabaret which has a great band with singers and dancing at night, music at various times in the atrium and around the pool and various stage musicals and stage entertainers who perform one show most every night. The music is geared toward the clientele - either classical strings and piano or Motown, Beatles, Beach Boys and music from the 60s-80s. The flight arrangements from LAX to Barcelona through Viking for us were good. But in speaking to others many feel that this is the area where Viking falls on the job. Many had difficult connections and were routed way out of their way (from Miami to Chicago or Atlanta and then to England and Spain). On the return flights back from Bergen, Norway, many did not have enough time to make their connecting flights at Heathrow and missed them. Our previous cruise on Viking in the Caribbean had the same complaints about too short connection times and unresponsiveness from the Viking flight people. Again, I emphasis we had no problem, but only picked up on the grumblings of others. All in all, I highly recommend Viking Ocean Cruises for our age group - over 50. The ship is top notch and beautifully and tastefully appointed. The staff is the best I have ever experienced on a cruise line Only 900 passengers and the included items (excursions in every port, wine and beer at meals, free juice and soft drinks and candy in the mini-fridge in the cabin, free self-serve laundry as well as a reasonable fee for dry cleaning and pressing, etc.) far exceed any other cruise line we have taken. The two specialty restaurants are at no extra charge - and the cuisine wonderful. All restaurants are open seating and most tables accommodate couples and foursomes easily. And no dress up night ("resort casual" is the evening wear - no jeans allowed and collared shits but no coat or tie required for men, although some liked to dress up for dinner), There is no photographer chasing you around, no art auction or jewelry "sales" and no casino, but instead a nice string quartet or pianist in the afternoon while you have coffee, tea or wine and snacks, decent entertainment and quiet spots to read, visit, play cards or watch the stars and scenery. Not for everyone, but just right for us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have used Silversea in the past but were not happy with them on our last Cruise so we decided to try something different. We did a lot of research and the reviews for Viking were very good so we decided to give it a try. We were not ... Read More
We have used Silversea in the past but were not happy with them on our last Cruise so we decided to try something different. We did a lot of research and the reviews for Viking were very good so we decided to give it a try. We were not disappointed - in fact we think it was excellent. We had excellent flights - mostly night flights and no issues at all. We were met at the Barcelona Airport when we arrived at the baggage claim area and were escorted from there to our Barcelona Hotel. We did the pre cruise and post cruise and we thought they were both very good. The ship is beautiful - the Scandinavian design is very stylish and the look is understated. There were many beautiful things about this ship. We loved the Wintergarden where you could go and read a book or just relax. We also loved the pool area and early in the cruise we had some time to enjoy that with the roof open sometimes and closed at others - it was a lovely area. The Explorers Lounge was a favourite as was the Al Fresco dining outside at World Café. We thought the food was very good - we were a bit disappointed in the long lines to get an omelette or special eggs done in the mornings - we gave up on this in the end but we were able to get specialty foods like prawns done on the hot plate for lunch and this seemed easier. Overall the food in World Café was pretty good. We thought The Restaurant food was very good with lots of variety. We had some lovely meals there and one breakfast which was excellent. We enjoyed a waffle at the Explorers lounge which was done in the Scandinavian manner and it was very good. We thought Mamsens was great for Italian and we could have had many nights there and not eaten the same food as the variety was excellent. THE most beautiful food was at The Kitchen Table. This was a set menu changing every three days - we went there twice and we were super impressed both times. All in all food choice was excellent. The staff on the ship were amazing! So friendly and helpful - they couldn't do enough for us. After a very short time they knew our names and what we liked to drink. I think everyone on board thought the staff were excellent. We liked the fact that the Owners of the ship were so inclusive of the staff and by treating them so well the staff signed many contracts with them. We did not go to many of the shows but the ones we did go to were very good. The enrichment lectures were very good as well. We have learnt some lessons about Shore Excursions and I note others have mentioned these in their reviews. There does need to be better organization of the Shore Excursions - the day we went in to London there was a mix up with Customs and passengers not standing in the correct line and as a result our bus left for London 45 minutes late which was unfortunate as it cut our time down in London. We agree with others that the three long days were Normandy - D Day Landings in very cold conditions but an excellent tour, Paris which was 2 and a half hours each way and a very good tour but long, and then London which was cut short because of passengers arriving late and in the end we only had about 45 minutes in London to do our own thing. The tours of Paris and London were very good though but we were pretty tired after those and would probably not do the long days again. We paid extra for a tour to Seville and we enjoyed that day and found plenty to do in the free time there on a beautiful day. We agree with others that there is no time to shop if you do tours and that was a bit disappointing. The included tours were OK - not very impressed with the Lisbon one - due to traffic and to some extent we wished we had just caught the shuttle bus and done our own thing there. we loved both the pre cruise days in Barcelona and the post cruise time in Bergen, then on the train to Oslo which was a spectacular journey. The tour of Oslo was an included tour and was excellent. All in all our experience with Viking was excellent and we would certainly do another journey with them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this as a family getaway where we could join my sister and brother-in-law from Australia for a great time. The pre-trip in Barcelona was great. In spite of being Easter weekend, the staff at the hotel was able to arrange all the ... Read More
We chose this as a family getaway where we could join my sister and brother-in-law from Australia for a great time. The pre-trip in Barcelona was great. In spite of being Easter weekend, the staff at the hotel was able to arrange all the locations we wanted to see. The weather in Spain and Portugal was wonderful. The bulk excursions we selected were very quite good. The only major disappointment was Seville. Generally the guides were knowledgeable and took the time to make us feel special. As a photographer, I'm always looking for great scenes to capture. May of the locations were just that. Wonderful. Generally the bus rides were comfortable, although sometimes crowded. The cabin was nice will a balcony we could actually use. The food was very good to exquisite. If we needed anything special, the food staff was always able to accommodate our needs. The staff thruout the entire cruise was very helpful and friendly. I've booked another cruise and a river cruise for next year!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was my fourth Seabourn (SB) cruise, and DH’s second, with one prior on the Quest summer 2016 we both shared. We have done a dozen cruises on luxury lines, so the review below compares this cruise with prior experiences, and provides ... Read More
This was my fourth Seabourn (SB) cruise, and DH’s second, with one prior on the Quest summer 2016 we both shared. We have done a dozen cruises on luxury lines, so the review below compares this cruise with prior experiences, and provides some guidance for newbies contemplating taking a SB cruise for the first time. We also did a detailed semi-live blog during the cruise, with photos, on the Cruise Critic SB subforum, so if you wish to see more details about the ship and the ports than are provided below, copy and paste this link (or if it does not work, then just search the forum for my entry entitled “Not-quite-live from the Seabourn Quest, Barcelona to Dover, 4/15/17-5/1/17). Photos start at post 9. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2488142 OVERALL: Overall we were both pleased with our experiences on the Quest on this 16-night “epicurean” itinerary cruise from Barcelona to Dover, 4/15/17-5/1/17 to the interesting ports of Gibraltar, Portimao, Lisbon, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Bordeaux (overnight), Portland UK, Rouen (overnight), Cherbourg (from which we went to DDAY's Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and Arramanches) and Brugge. However, there remains room for improvement in some of the food, and on some services. We rate it a 4.3 overall on a scale of 1 to 5, (and thus round down to 4 on the overall CC scale). It is still the best overall inclusive, primary English language luxury line we have sailed on so far (comparisons: Silver Sea, Regent, Crystal). We did not think the food and service were quite as good as on Hapag-Lloyd’s (HL) luxury ships Europa 2 and MS Europa last year, however, HL is a line where wine and spirits are not included, where the primary language is German, and which is on average more expensive, so it is not directly comparable. EMBARKATION: very smooth and easy, almost no waiting, friendly welcoming personnel in Barcelona, large bags were immediately taken. We arrived shortly after 12 PM (though the official embarkation time is 2PM we could get on earlier even though our room was not ready), and then went to a buffet at the Colonnade indoor/outdoor casual dining venue (personnel can hold your hand luggage there for you while you take lunch, or you can keep them at your side). The buffet and service were both basic and adequate, nothing special, but we were happy to have lunch on board before official embarkation time. We found all our luggage already in the suite after we were allowed access around 2:30 PM. We had pre-ordered a foam topper for what we knew would be a relatively hard mattress, and it was put on later that evening after we reminded the stewardess. Muster followed shortly thereafter and took less than a half hour. It simply involved going to the MDR according to our stations where we listened to the safety instructions without wearing the life preservers,and where personnel took roll call. GENERAL ATMOSPHERE : Relaxing and uncrowded overall, though sometimes cleaning staff yelled personal conversations and joked loudly in hallways. The ship was well-maintained and clean. Smoking was no longer allowed on suite balconies or in the Observation Lounge, just in a couple small designated outdoor areas. Unfortunately a lot of the furniture, although stylish, is uncomfortable for me, but I am very sensitive due to musculoskeletal problems, so I found the stiff main entertainment lounge/Grand Salon chairs, the mostly stiff Observation Lounge chairs, MDR chairs, and especially the in-suite hard couch, unpleasant. To help get comfortable, I would often carry a small cushion with me. Overall, with some exceptions, there was a calm atmosphere and long lines for anything were not common (the long line waiting in the sun for a special cheese tasting notwithstanding). However, sometimes the Colonnade and MDR had slower than ideal table service at peak hours due to apparent staffing shortages, slower than I have come to expect from luxury cruise lines. All staff I saw, many of whom are of Eastern European origins (and some of whom looked like they belonged on fashion runways rather than carrying vacuum cleaners or drink trays around), seemed to work very hard to keep up, but some lacked adequate training for some tasks, and English skills were variable. There just were not enough staff for peak times (especially in the Colonnade, e.g., once we had a waiting time of over 20 minutes to get sparkling water). Table availability at prime hours was also routinely scarce in the Colonnade and at the Patio Grill, so when combined with the matching service problems, we preferred taking both lunch and dinner in the calmer, quieter, guaranteed-seating MDR if at all possible, which also played calmer music at lunch, and where pax were also more sedate. Passengers we met at optional communal or hosted tables, on excursions and cocktail get-togethers, or in the hot tub (perhaps a biased sample, e.g., with the hot tubbers) were generally pleasant, well-off, well-traveled, and well-mannered, with a few odd and loud or boorish exceptions. DEMOGRAPHICS.: The ship was full, with the vast majority of pax English speakers from the U.S., (252) followed by Australia (56) and the UK (30), Canada (16), Germany (12), and remaining pax in single digits. Average age seemed to be in the mid to late 60’s, give or take a few years depending on genetics and sun block usage, and I only saw one child pax. Pax were mostly do-everything-together couples, but there were also some couples traveling with other couples or extended family. LGBT pax are welcomed on SB, confirmed to DH after a long discussion with a hot-tubber who has done dozens of cruises with SB and absolutely loves it. Most pax were reasonably mobile, though there were some with wheelchairs and walkers, and appeared to be well-cared for. Some of those pax unfortunately also repeatedly opted to go on group excursions that were clearly marked as not designed for those with significant mobility impairments, and SB did not enforce mobility requirements for excursions. It was hard to spot a solo traveler (which is not surprising, as SB pricing is not solo-friendly), but there appeared to be a few, and they often opted to dine at hosted tables. DRESS CODE: Pax usually followed the designated evening dress codes, which were most often the very general “elegant casual”, e.g., for men long trousers and a nice collared shirt or a sweater, though many chose to wear jackets without ties to dinner. There were a couple “formal” nights with jacket required in the MDR on which most male pax wore jackets with ties, rather than tuxedos. Blue jeans are officially not allowed at dinner in the MDR. There were a few pax who occasionally showed up for dinner in overly casual clothing which was definitely not “elegant casual”, and they were not turned away, but no one looked like a slob. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: Food opinions are subjective, but overall we found the food on this cruise very good to excellent in the MDR, good in the Thomas Keller Grill, good at the Patio, mostly just ok at the Colonnade buffets (some exceptions that were very good), ok at breakfast room service, and definitely good enough to do a SB cruise again on the right itinerary. A highlight of our experience was interaction with the wine steward in the MDR, Antoni Pradeep, whose pairing suggestions were excellent, and who also provided us with a list of included wines on my request to help guide our choices. I would not sail again on this ship just for the food experience, even though this was billed as an “epicurean” cruise, but combined with the excellent itinerary and other benefits of SB, it was still a good overall choice for cruising this itinerary. The food quality and variety were not at the level of the food on HL’s Europa 2 and MS Europa on our cruises in 2016. SB had a decently priced but limited special order wine list, though we only resorted to ordering off of it twice as we could typically find an included wine that worked for us with our meals (even though we are from northern California wine areas and can be picky), and ordering off that list was not aggressively advocated either. Included champagne was Nicholas Feuillatte brut reserve, available at will. Wait staff typically came around at dinner and initially tried to push an inexpensive included sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (we sampled all that were offered and only liked one, from NZ) before we had even had a chance to look at the menu, but we simply chose what to order first and then either looked at the lists of included wines to find an appropriate pairing, or talked to the wine steward. We ate at The Grill restaurant only once, the first night, where they served the new highly touted TK grill menu, included in the fare. It was fine, solid quality upscale American style food, steak, lamb, fish, but nothing spectacularly unique. First came celery sticks with radishes and cucumber pieces and green goddess dressing, all fresh but not unique, as we can get these at home. DH’s steak and my Dover Sole Meuniere were fine. We did not go back, primarily due to the acoustical assaults in that venue, e.g., loud and annoying music pulsated overhead, just as it did last year, apparently to create a 50’s and 60’s cool diner vibe and atmosphere, plus pax and staff conversations tended to be loud and the room has poor sound muffling, so the noise enhanced a sense of stress. I regret that the delightful and unique old R2 small-plates-with-pairings restaurant concept has been discontinued. The food in the MDR both at lunch and dinner was usually prettily plated, very good and usually interesting, (though basics such as simple steak and Caesar salad were also available nightly), and I found the TK offerings there better than last year. There were only a couple entrees that tasted boring. I enjoyed most of the vegetarian dishes which I tried when I wasn’t very hungry (a state easy to get into on SB due to constant food ingestion), even though I am not a vegetarian. Portions sizes were reasonably small, which suited us perpetual weight watchers fine. The only time I asked for a double portion was when I ordered a steak tartare appetizer and was skipping the entree, but large, young and very active men (on this cruise that would be only crew members and perhaps one other pax DH met who was a mountain climber) might want to ask for double portions right from the start to secure adequate calories. There were also TK offerings on a few nights in the Colonnade, by reservation only, with only one entree offering per night, e.g., fried chicken, ribs or clam bake, but we did not go this year because last year we had been underwhelmed with the odd ribs-related experience. A few people we met during the cruise who had done the “family style” TK ribs in the Colonnade this cruise, however, greatly enjoyed the experience. We like trying a little bit of many foods when we travel, so our favorite kind of venue is usually an upscale buffet, but this year due to more limited selections of buffet food, Colonnade crowding and inside noise, plus odds of more significant service problems there which could create annoyance, we preferred the MDR for both lunch and dinner. There was a different official food theme in the Colonnade each day, e.g., French, German, Japanese, Tuscan Market, Baltic night (this was much better than last year), pasta, etc., though not uncommonly the same thing was served at the salad bar and dessert bar day after day, just with a different name. Breakfast buffet was ok for usual English-speaker tastes, but the bread, cold meat and cheese choices put out were more limited compared with on HL, where the buffet is more European style. We used room service for breakfast when we had early morning excursions, and also a couple other times (e.g., usually between 9:30 and 12:30, when typically no dining venue is open other than room service or SB Square simple little pastry snacks). A room service hamburger was very good, compared with a Patio Grill burger on the patio, excellent last year, this year mediocre. I am not sure what caused the discrepancy. Room service breakfast offerings were basic, from a list of fixed choices you check outside your door on paper before going to bed, (if you deviate you may receive some comical deliveries), and usually though definitely not always arrived on time. Breakfast pastries and breads in general on board were improved compared with last year, e.g., on a few days French baguettes were baked, and the rolls trended towards appropriately crispy rather than rubbery like they were last year when we cruised. Snacks and specialty coffees at Seabourn Square varied in quality, although the offerings did not vary from day to day and were not particularly enticing, but I definitely appreciated having these between-meal options available ( closed 6-9 PM). The calm Observation Bar also offered self-serve coffee (variable quality), tea bags, OJ and little pre-made breakfast pastries at 6:15, for those of us who do not wish to communicate with humans until we have caffeinated. Observation bar and Club snacks we tried before dinner were tasty. SERVICE The best way to describe SB service this cruise is that it was generally good, though I did find myself getting a bit annoyed with occasional service deficiencies by lower level crew who need more training and understanding of what a luxury cruise is supposed to be. The exceptions often involved violations of the Do Not Disturb sign, the most egregious of which was a woman from laundry services busting into our suite to discuss a minor, non-urgent issue relating to trousers when I was in the bathtub and had a privacy sign up, and then not immediately leaving, but also involved poor communication between staff. Many staff seemed fixated on just doing their specific narrow job and showed a disinclination to get involved with resolving a problem in a way that would best accommodate guest's comfort. I spoke with the empathetic customer care coordinator Melissa Selling about these issues but it is unclear if anything was done by her other than to fill out a paperwork report, as a couple of the issues of concern (some of them comical) continued the next day . Some of the room stewardesses and eating venues personnel were not entirely well-trained or well-organized, and some appeared exhausted, especially at peak hours when they struggled to keep up, so SB would do well to improve training and staffing back to the level they had previously (though this might involve raising prices). Laundry and dry cleaning services are available on board ($50 per laundry bag stuffed so solidly it could serve as a cosh, 2 day service, 50% upcharge for same-day service on items), nothing was permanently lost or transformed into a child’s size though I did have to pursue a disappeared bag. There is also a launderette for self-serve we did not use, and a clothes-line is available over the tub for drying your own items. You can also get as many towels and pillows as you want for your suite, which this pillow princess definitely took advantage of. SB Square personnel were friendly, and there were either no or short lines to talk to them. The phone was not always answered immediately, but I only fell asleep once while on hold. When we got home we found a large charge to our on-board credit card to an airline for a person we have never heard of, which was processed immediately after the charge that closed out our bill on disembarkation day, and which we think was likely made in error by SB ( we are pursuing details on this through our credit card fraud protection and with emails to SB customer relations). SPA, EXERCISE AREA, AND POOLS: loud music played not just in the exercise area , where I would expect pep, but also in the communal manicure/pedicure/hair care area, which was not very relaxing as the customers’ conversations and blow dryers there were also competing for attention, and stressed front desk personnel could be snippy. So I only used the area once (I prefer quiet, solo chambers, with calming music, for manicure service, rather than forced listening to stories about other pax problems, e.g., their split ends or toenail problems. DH frequently enjoyed the relatively private hot tub in the bow on deck 6, which is also a good place to meet people. There were also four other hot tubs (two in the very public area near the main pool, often closed off, and two closer to the smaller pool on Deck 5 aft outside the Club lounge). The pool was nicely heated but not used much. DH also used the fitness center, it was fine, usually uncrowded except at peak time on a sea day, with an ocean view, where nothing was broken and there was a trainer there ready to help who may not have been named Hans or Franz, but should have been. ENTERTAINMENT was overall pretty good, better than last year, especially for such a small ship, e.g., it featured both popular and classical music by Australian pianist Gary Walz, and also a female former West End singer with a terrific voice. We went to most of the shows. Brit Davey Howe performed innovative and comedic musical works with trumpet, piano, shower hose, and walker leg and was my favorite. There was a funny British comedian, a not so funny or magical female comedian magician, and a singer who had starred in The Lion King who did an assortment of cool-sexy-guy type covers who was very popular with the crowd. The base SB band itself was very good, and the singers could sing, though sometimes sung boring old songs like The Girl From Ipanema at the Patio. The Trio with sultry singer Emma in the Club should not be missed, if she is there. The entertainment this year was much better than last year on the Quest, which was a positive development. INTERNET was bad. Ship wifi was usually very slow, and in our suite typically non-existent, a constant struggle, as it often is on ships, even luxury ships. We had opted for the unlimited plan for $399 for the 16 days of the cruise to avoid the stress of sensing the clock ticking and price rising while on-line with a slow connection. Only one person per suite could be on at a time which required some coordination (on HL two could be on, but for comparison there was no unlimited plan, there it was 0.19 Euro/minute). It worked best in the Square and in a fellow pax room directly below a router, which ours was not. We thus relied heavily on our cellular service and created hot spots, to get any major work done ensuite. DH, who is technically inclined, communicated with SB Square three times about the issues, and the personnel there smiled and noted the concerns, but not once was he contacted directly by anyone from IT, (we just got promises there would be contact), only some indirect information was communicated by a non-technical lady SB crew member, and the issues (beyond the issue of speed, e.g., cloud services blocking) were not resolved. Ship wifi was one of the weakest aspects of this ship, and it thus rules out future trips where there would be no escape option to use local cellular, e.g., transatlantic or remote area trips, for people who must have reliable internet access when they travel. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS There were no complimentary excursions offered by SB, all were for an extra charge. Most were reasonably priced and ok, some were excellent, a few were poor values. Buses were uncrowded and typically had a max of 26 people on an excursion ( a couple exceptions), and had reclining seats and at least passable AC. Sometimes there was a functional WC on the bus, you never knew in advance when there would or would not be one. BARCELONA — our embarkation port, where we spent 3 days pre-cruise on our own (we had previously been here for several days before). This popular and excellent bustling port city has a lot to see pre-cruise, or post-cruise if you end here. I would recommend at least four days, and preferably take a private tour of La Sagrada and other Gaudi masterpieces in the area, plus a trip outside to Montserrat, and spend a few hours in the Picasso Museum (go early and buy tickets online if you are not part of a tour, as it gets very crowded). The more off the beaten path Catalonia Museum on a hill has excellent modern and Romanesque art collections, as well as city views and adjacent is a massively sized organ. I could easily spend a full two weeks in Barcelona -- every year! GIBRALTAR — a very interesting small territory town with a lot of history, owned by Britain. We did the excellent though strenuous (marked level 2 out of 3 by SB but it should have been a 3/3 in difficulty) uphill “City under Siege” excursion, where we toured the military siege tunnels, and also the museum in town where there are restored Neanderthal woman and child skeltons. We also saw the interesting indigenous monkeys of the island roaming about who have a history of their own (e.g., during siege, they were food for troops). Beware of the risk of extra high cellular charges by your cell phone company for this separate “country”. PORTIMAO — the port itself, which tends to be very warm, was out of town, so other than seeing a closed down sardine factory museum within walking distance nearby (worth a look — the video story in Portuguese with English subtitles is both interesting and humorous), there was not much to do directly near the ship. We were bussed on the “A Taste of Algave” excursion to the seaside town of Alvo (old and new features), which has restaurants and shops both near the water and up an old-town hill, and could be more fun to tour without the time pressures of an excursion, followed by a trip to an unremarkable local winery for a tasting with fish dip and chips. This was not the greatest excursion, but ok for an overview. LISBON — we were only docked here one day, but this hilly and scenic city deserves at least four days if not more (which I had spent last year prior to another cruise), depending on how many museums you want to see and how much Fado you want to hear, even more if you want to do day trips. We did a non-SB group excursion to the medieval walled town of Obidos, about an hour away, which was fantastic, very scenic, with restaurants and shops, it would make a good full-day trip. We also visited the beautiful Santa Quintana winery for tasting and an upscale lunch, which was fantastic. It would be a good idea for SB to do an overnight in Lisbon. BILBAO — we toured the modern art Guggenheim Museum on a SB excursion, which everyone should do at least once to appreciate the craziness of four-story flower dogs and a giant metallic arachnoid, which have revived this previously dying town. We preferred spending our elective, non-group time on the higher levels where the art, to us anyway, was more interesting (Kandinsky and Picasso rather than Koons). Next time, we’d also like to send more time walking the city streets of this old Basque town, people-watching, and dining locally. LA ROCHELLE — we did an excellent full-day 5/5 SB excursion to the little market town of Saintes, (you could spend a day there just shopping and eating and visiting the churches), where I loaded up on the best ham I’ve ever eaten, and after a terrific excursion French lunch at a nearby Michelin-rated restaurant Le Relais du Bois Saint-Georges, toured the Chateau de La Roche Courbon castle, which has beautiful grounds. BOURDEAUX — here we docked for an overnight right in town, right next to a colorful Sunday food market selling all kinds of delicacies (you may want to skip breakfast on the ship if the market is running), and an easy walk to many interesting sights, several fantastic churches, fountains, and saw the new Wine Museum modern structure which we did not have time to go into. There are many reputedly excellent restaurants and museums in town, and we unfortunately did not have enough time to fully take in and appreciate this city. We did a forgettable (and overpriced at $275/person) SB-sponsored “exclusive” excursion to a winery that was anything but exclusive (70 people were bussed there and played follow-the-leader on the winery tour), with (by French standards) mostly mediocre food, served with some good red wine, on beautiful grounds. It would clearly have been better and much cheaper to book a private winery tour and exquisite French dinner, next time we will know better, or at least ask how many people will be on the “exclusive” tour before booking. We also did an excursion to the very cute town of St. Emilion, where there is a fascinating underground ancient church, and where you could also easily spend a day winding through the little streets, eating, and window shopping. PORTLAND, UK — the locals here are happy to see cruisers, serenaded us with a uniformed band and fired cannons at sail-away. We did a very nice excursion to the beautiful Minternes estate and gardens, where the 93-yr-old Lord of the house hosted us with interesting stories of the past, and we were then served scones. The gardens are exhiliarting and worth a trip, you could spend the whole day there (I recommend skipping the scones and just head straight for the garden to maximize your time wandering around there, then go down a series of long, gentle paths lined with rest benches, and loop back, a mile or so). We drove past the “Rude Man” Cerne Abbas Giant chalk figure on the way back to the ship, but he was off in the distance and his most famous body parts were barely visible. ROUEN — (overnight). We cruised down the scenic Seine to this out-of-town industrial port, which itself is unremarkable though there is a church and there are some shops, but it served as a base for excursions. We did a late afternoon/early evening excursion to the picturesque seaside town of HONFLEUR (don’t come after 6 or all the museums are closed, or between 4 and 7 as we did, when the major restaurants are closed, if you want dinner, as dinner does not start until 7). Next time we will visit Honfleur without a SB excursion and allow time for a leisurely French meal. We also did a SB excursion to Monet's GIVERNY Gardens, where much was in bloom. The flowers were exquisitely beautiful, but the place was oppressively crowded, as the venue does not limit ticket sales. It was hard to pass with so many international tourists (including us), many with selfie-sticks keen on getting themselves into staged pictures (absolutely not us), and with super-long waits for the women’s WC, as there were simply not enough toilets for the female components of the crowds. If you have a weak bladder, I recommend going easy on pre-excursion coffee and keep yourself on the thirsty side. CHERBOURG -- we went on an all-day excursion (1.5 hour + bus trip each way) to DDAY's Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and Arromanches-les-Bain, where the “Mulberry” artificial harbor and docks were set up to allow many ships and supplies to dock in Normandy during WW2, and which has an interesting museum with exhibits, multi-lingual tours, and an informative movie. There were also excursions available to other battle sites through SB, e.g., Utah Beach, and Sainte-Mere-Eglise, offered by SB, but we only had enough time for one. The American Cemetery is beautifully laid out, very peaceful, and well-maintained, over 172 acres, with tasteful memorials and graves of 9387 American military dead from the Normandy invasion campaign. It has thousands of crosses and over a hundred Stars of David, all that remains of known and unknown young American soldiers who died in that campaign to liberate Europeans from unspeakable tyranny, including my immediate family. We did not see nearly as much as we would have liked in this historic place, for that we will need to come back for a full week in Normandy. Our guide was also less than ideal, as he seemed to just go through the motions in his descriptions of the important historical events rather than showing any enthusiasm or true interest in them (I felt like grabbing his microphone on the bus and taking over the narrative), perhaps due to his own background which was almost certainly not on the side of the Allies. Unfortunately on the bus the guide also seemed equally interested in proudly telling us about France’s mandatory 35-hour work week limitations, wonderful social welfare benefits, and humorous driving habits, with perhaps greater fervor than he talked about the events of 1944, and although these were interesting facts, they seemed inappropriate to discuss on this kind of sobering tour. Halfway, the tour stopped for an included group lunch at a nicely located restaurant with a water view where we were served local pate, chicken, and creamy dessert, with plenty of $5.17/bottle Bourdeaux table wine included in the excursion fee. This was overall an ok introduction to this area, considering we were only there for a day, but when we come back (and we must come back) we will almost certainly get a private guide with greater interest in WW2 history. I highly recommend reading Steven E. Ambrose’s book “DDAY”, or similar, to prepare. BRUGGE. This is a a beautiful city with a lot to see, including canals and chocolate shops, museums and churches, and we booked an excursion to it which SB called “Romantic Brugge” , which was anything but romantic. Unfortunately it was a 3-day weekend and the city was a solid mass of tourists, and it was very hard for us to keep up with our oblivious, insensitive guide who seem to stride briskly to Chopin's Marche Militaire through the city, with senior citizen pax in her group mostly fending for themselves. The excursion was rated 2/3 but should have been 3/3 difficulty given the strain of walking several miles at a brisk pace, with little time, while dodging horses, scooters, carts, baby carriages, Segways, and other fall hazards. The 30-minute canal ride, however, was lovely. I do not recommend this tour in high season or on weekends if you are in any way mobility, cardiac, balance, or pulmonary impaired. If we return, it will be without a group guide, and not on a busy weekend, and on our own (SB offered a busride to and from Brugge without a group tour, which would have been better, but the huge crowds would still have been there in the key areas). I rate this as the worst excursion of the cruise, 2/5, but sadly in one of the most beautiful cities. IN SUMMARY, we enjoyed the cruise, the itinerary, and generally good SB service, exceptions noted both above and in more detail in my referenced blog. I was a bit disappointed in the decline in quality food offerings and variety in the Colonnade, and in some service deficiences apparent now that I had not seen in 2015 when I did my first two SB cruises on the Odyssey, but was pleased with the improvements in the MDR foods since we were on the Quest summer 2016 and in the TK offerings, breads and included wines. We realize no cruise is perfect, and SB must be compared with other English language luxury lines. We have put down a deposit for a potential future cruise that would give us a 5% discount, but have made no irreversible commitments. We have a few more cruises booked with HL instead of SB on similar itineraries, which we are not canceling, as that is where I thought the overall food and service were 5/5 instead of 4.3/5 like on SB, (and where Do Not Disturb signs were always strictly respected), but as noted, has other disadvantages. We have posted some pictures of the cruise and the ports in this beautiful, fascinating, and history-rich area, to which we plan to return. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have just returned from. 13 night Spain and Portugal cruise on Celebrity Equinox. Embarkation was quick and very efficient. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was spacious and had plenty of storage. The bathroom was large enough ... Read More
We have just returned from. 13 night Spain and Portugal cruise on Celebrity Equinox. Embarkation was quick and very efficient. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was spacious and had plenty of storage. The bathroom was large enough with an enclosed shower which was excellent. We ate in Oceanview at breakfast and either lunch or afternoon tea. Our evening meal was taken in the Silhouette Restaurant. The food in both restaurants was first class, well presented and ample portions. Our waiter Baron and his assistant Dan were excellent and could not do enough for us. Our wine waiter offered excellent advise when required. The entertainment was first class, both the guest artists and the ships entertainers. Service everywhere on the ship was first class. We didn't do any of the shore excursions as all ports were within walking distance of the towns. This was our first cruise with Celebrity and have already booked another one with them for next year based on the success of this one. Our one negative comment would be the price of the drinks packages. You would have to drink a lot to get value for money. Water was very expensive also, a one litre bottle 7.5 dollars. We bought a pack of six 1.5 litres bottles at the cruise terminal for 8 euros. A fantastic holiday, meeting really friendly people, both passengers and cres Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
If you love the Nautica, Insignia or Regatta you will love the Sirena - it is the same ship (almost). I have done over 35 cruises and 10 on Oceania. I sailed on the Sirena when it was the R4 and when it was the Pacific Princess. I love ... Read More
If you love the Nautica, Insignia or Regatta you will love the Sirena - it is the same ship (almost). I have done over 35 cruises and 10 on Oceania. I sailed on the Sirena when it was the R4 and when it was the Pacific Princess. I love Oceania and loved our most recent cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon. Some observations - Oceania billed this as a "renovated" ship" - I was not able to see much "renovation". New bed and new carpet - but that was about it. The food in the Grand Dinning room was even better than before and we chose it over the specialty restaurants on occasion. The loss of the Polo Grill is no big deal and the addition of Red Ginger is great. But Tuscan does not compare to Toscana - Tuscan was actually quite disappointing. Saw too many kids on the cruise - never saw that before on Oceania - not well received by the typical Oceania passenger. Oceania entertainment has always been third rate - they added a small production group to our cruise and it improved to 2nd rate. I had hoped with the presence of NCL that the entertainment would improve. The rooms are comfortable and the room attendants are terrific. As usual, Oceania's tours are grossly over priced and we continue to book our own when possible - did twice as much in Casablanca for 1/3 of the cost by booking our own tour. I see that a number of reviewers complained about how hard it is to get additional reservations at the specialty restaurants. You should know that the higher priced cabins can make reservations on line early - before the cruise and also get more guaranteed reservations. You need to go to the Terrace Cafe during the day and ask to put on wait list for the specialty restaurants. All in all - it was Oceania - we just booked two more cruises on them! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've ... Read More
It's hard to say enough great things about this cruise! What a fantastic experience and what an amazing boat! I've read the negative reviews about this boat, but I invite you to picture the person who wrote it. I've seen them on cruises and there is no pleasing them. My wife and I and another couple, all in our early 50's, recently completed the cruise from Barcelona to Lisbon. It was superb! We had a basic cabin on a lower level and it was very spacious, clean and well appointed. Our cabin steward was great and friendly. The air conditioning was cold and easy to control. The bed/mattress was very comfortable. Pillows were soft foam and perfect! I heard someone on our cruise literally complain that they had to pick up their own glass of champaign upon boarding the boat, that it wasn't "handed" to them. If that's your biggest issue, you have a great life! We were extremely pleased to find out that the main dinner restaurant was a la carte, and wow, was it ever awesome! The chef visited every table, every day to discuss how their meal was (awesome!). The food progressively got better and better! The oso bucco was stellar as was the prime rib! Each day their were new special salads and soups to start the meal, as well as different entrees and deserts. Was it perfect? No. One day I ordered medium rare beef Wellington and it came out medium well. When the waitress noticed she asked if I'd like something different and I said yes. She brought me another meal within three minutes. Seriously, it was AMAZING service! I don't know what the other people were complaining about regarding excessive vibration and the smell of oil, there was absolutely none of that. It was clean, fancy and delicious. We did dinner one night at the reservations required steak place, Candles. Filet minion, New York strip, Mahi Mahi, all amazing! But I have to say, the main dining room was equally good, but it just didn't serve the same amount of steak. Dinner was from 7-9. With only 200 passengers, and a la carte serving (vs a crappy carnival cruise line buffet) it made complete sense. We never had to wait to get our drinks refilled (with lots of ice) or wine poured for us. The service was truly exceptional, and we found the serving staff really tried to get to know us by name and remember our drink preferences. My wife would go to the Yacht Club in the late afternoon to read and the waitress would bring her a red wine and club soda without her having to ask. Needless to say, she got a great tip! The night of the BBQ was spectacular! The lobster, flank steak, suckling pig, fish, paella and all the amazing accompaniments were outstanding! The biggest issue was finding a shady place to sit. When a server saw us sitting in the sun, she offered us an alternative in the shade just around the corner that we hadn't seen. Breakfast was great too! They had a buffet set up if you wanted to grab something quickly and get on your way, as well as an omelet bar and a la carte menu. It was a great assortment of always great food. We only ate lunch on the boat twice, once on sea day and once when we stopped in Gibraltar for the morning. It was awesome both times as well. You're not going to go hungry on this boat. If you wanted a meal outside of the normal seating times, the boat has 24 hour room service (which includes popcorn if you want to stay in your room one evening and watch a movie) as well as light meals in the Yacht Club until 5:00pm. At 6:00pm they started serving awesome appetizers in the Star Bar. Speaking of the Star Bar, it became our favourite evening hangout. Jesus and Haleigh played great music that was a combo of easy listening during the early hours, to dance music later on in the evening. We closed it down a few time! That's not to take away from the Compass Rose bar. The band there was great as well, but it's inside and we only went there on one particularly cool breezy evening. My wife and I are retired and consider ourselves rather adventurous. Our friends who were with us were equally adventurous. We saw many many couples who were much older than us on the cruise having a great time! It's clearly that this is the cruise line for cool adventurous people! We want to be like them when we get older. We also saw some people who my wife described as "cranky pants". People who needed to be treated like kings and queens or their noses would get out of joint. Fortunately these people were few and far between and we did a good job of avoiding them. I suspect the writers of the negative reviews fell into the category. I'm not going to comment in detail about each port that we stopped at. They were all awesome and unique and we had a great time at each one. If you're interested in reviews on the ports, go to tripadvisor. I will say that we did two tours arranged by Windstar, one that we organized on our own, and the rest we just walked and wondered around (which was awesome). All of them were great, but the nice thing about doing you own thing is that there are fewer people and you get a more personal experience. We will definitely be back on a Windstar boat, and hopefully on Star Breeze! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our fifth cruise with Viking and the first Ocean Cruise. We selected the Passage Through Western Europe because it highlighted Spain and Portugal which we had not yet visited as well as Norway and an extension to Iceland. ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Viking and the first Ocean Cruise. We selected the Passage Through Western Europe because it highlighted Spain and Portugal which we had not yet visited as well as Norway and an extension to Iceland. However, probably the most amazing part was the last minute inclusion of a trip up the Thames to dock at Greenwich for the christening of Viking Sea!! It was like Fourth of July and Christmas all rolled into one. There was a huge fireworks show, special gifts to mark the occasion and champagne galore! Every shore excursion was excellent and the food and drink was over the top as we have come to expect from Viking. The choice of three premiere restaurants and 4-5 more casual venues gave us every option imaginable for all of our meals. We were so pleased with everything about our first Viking Ocean Cruise that, while aboard, we booked our next Ocean Cruise on Viking Star to the West Indies for this February. After four River Cruises with Viking we became so fond of the intimacy and excellent service on the smaller ships that we were somewhat skeptical about how Viking could extend their award winning cruises to the larger ships. That skepticism was gone within an hour after boarding!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Beautiful new ship, with relaxed surroundings. Very comfortable cabin with balcony. The best bathroom you could ask for, especially the heated floor Barcelona was a great city to explore for one week before departure. The day of ... Read More
Beautiful new ship, with relaxed surroundings. Very comfortable cabin with balcony. The best bathroom you could ask for, especially the heated floor Barcelona was a great city to explore for one week before departure. The day of departure we could of easily walked to the port from our accommodation. Once we arrived at the ship we we knew we were in great hands with the attentive viking staff, taking care of our baggage immediately, with champagne on arrival we were able to wander around our ship at our leisure to enjoy the vista back to Barcelona, whilst we waited for our first lunch! Aboard our ship, life was very relaxed, from the moment we stepped aboard, to the day we departed, nothing was too much trouble for anything we required, from that extra shore excursion to that extra special table at a restaurant that took our fancy! Even that extra snack or soft drink in our cabin fridge Entertainment was light, lively and also informative. Relaxed music playing in the atrium at appropriate times was a great touch Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise because there were stops in Spain and Portugal, but two of these stops were cancelled and we did not know that until it was too late to get a full refund. We enjoyed the ship, but there were too many days at sea with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because there were stops in Spain and Portugal, but two of these stops were cancelled and we did not know that until it was too late to get a full refund. We enjoyed the ship, but there were too many days at sea with nothing to do on board. Then we got stuck in Bordeaux due to shipboard illness, so we missed the shore excursions which we planned for London. Also, the spa and fitness rooms were closed so the available activities were even less.We booked our air reservations through Viking and they were completely messed up on our return home causing us to stand in lines for eight hours in London trying to rebook air and eventually had to spend the night there. It was a nightmare. Viking provided no assistance for their errors. Viking did compensate us with $500 toward another cruise, but that was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the inconveniences we encountered. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We went on the Viking Grand European River Cruise in June, 2014, and were very pleased. We raved to all our friends about the high level of service provided by Viking. Due to serious health issues, we could not book a trip far in ... Read More
We went on the Viking Grand European River Cruise in June, 2014, and were very pleased. We raved to all our friends about the high level of service provided by Viking. Due to serious health issues, we could not book a trip far in advance. We jumped on the chance to take an ocean cruise with Viking in April, upon receiving an offer in an e-mail in January, 2016. We booked our tour through a travel agent after receiving a copy of the itinerary showing 10 port stops and only two full days at sea. We found out about the drastic change in itinerary 67 days before departure, when we were given the opportunity to sign up for excursions. It was quite a shock to see that there would only be 7 port calls and four full days at sea. We called Viking to inquire about the change in itinerary, and were told that there had been no changes, and the fault lied with travel agency for giving us the wrong itinerary. During our cruise we spoke with many people, every one of whom told us that they had been given the wrong itinerary, even those who had booked directly through Viking. Upon arrival in Barcelona, we were met by Viking representatives. Transportation to the ship and embarkation went very smoothly. All of the staff aboard the ship from Reynolds, who cleaned our cabin, to Martha, the head of customer service, were very helpful and attentive to our needs. Food was excellent and the service was very gracious. We ate most of our meals in the World Café, because of its casual nature. We did eat several times in the more formal "Restaurant" and twice at Manfredi's. The entertainment was better than we expected. We especially enjoyed the Rumba group in Barcelona, the Fado singer in Lisbon, and Michael Sterling, who performed twice between Bordeaux and Bergen. The pianist and the classical trio who performed nightly in the atrium were outstanding. It was too bad that very few people stopped to listen. We very much appreciated the Passover Seder , which was led by a Rabbi from Israel. Prior to the cruise we were told by Viking reps in L.A. that there would be no special ceremony for Passover. The customer service aboard ship was much better than what we received by phone from Viking. The excursions ranged from excellent to very poor. The included bus and walking tour of Barcelona was very good. The optional all day tour of Lisbon was excellent, despite the free time being eliminated due to our late arrival in Lisbon. Our walking tour of Bordeaux was very good, despite the fact that it was Sunday, and most of the shops were closed. Bordeaux is a beautiful city and we really enjoyed being docked along a pedestrian walkway/park. Due to a virus outbreak, our departure from Bordeaux was delayed. Viking staff came to the rescue the next day with a complementary tour of the vineyard town of St. Emilion. The staff worked very hard to control the outbreak, and we were allowed to depart 24 hours late for Le Havre. There were an number of restrictions which remained until the day we arrived in Bergen. The pools and hot tub were drained, and board games were taken away. The optional excursion of lunch in the Eifel tower and a visit to the Louvre in Paris was a disaster. We got a 15 minute photo stop and the Eifel tower, lunch in the basement of a crowded mediocre restaurant, and a bus ride around Paris. The time at the Louvre was one of mass confusion. Our guide did not have an operating quiet box. We got to see a few highlights and then back to our bus for the three and a half hour ride back to our ship in Le Havre. Upon our return to the ship, there was a note of apology on our bed and a statement that they were refunding the entire cost of the excursion. This was a very nice gesture, but could not return to us the lost day in Paris. Because of the extra day in Bordeaux, our time in London was cut short. Nevertheless, our optional 7 hour tour was excellent, especially our tour of the tower of London. Our walking tour of Bergen was ok, but not noteworthy. Disembarkation, and our transportation to the Bergen airport went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our last great cruise to Europe. The cruise was everything we could have hopped for.From the time we arrived @ the airport in Barceloa until we boarded the plane in Bergen the crew were there for us. Our first dinner was lobster ... Read More
This was our last great cruise to Europe. The cruise was everything we could have hopped for.From the time we arrived @ the airport in Barceloa until we boarded the plane in Bergen the crew were there for us. Our first dinner was lobster which some of our cruises did not serve at anytime. And the food just got better as the days went by. There was some kind of illness on board causing 35 to be hospitalized. But the captain and crew just continued on and we even got an extra excursion. All of the excursions were tops on our option. That one exception may have been London but that was a problem of the city itself not that of Viking. Perhaps I was most impressed in Bergen when the staff of Viking stayed with and helped us from us from the gangland to the ticket counter. They got the boarding passes and helped us with our baggage. That is the service we like. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We were travelling in a party or 4, myself and my fiance along with his sister and best friend. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 nights, then joined this cruise for 6 mights returning to Southampton. We have previously cruised with P&O, ... Read More
We were travelling in a party or 4, myself and my fiance along with his sister and best friend. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 nights, then joined this cruise for 6 mights returning to Southampton. We have previously cruised with P&O, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and once on NCL Jade. This was our 10th cruise and I have to say the last with NCL! The more positive bits first.... The balcony cabin was comfortable and clean and our room steward Curt was extremely good. The general condition of the ship was good. The speciality restaurant Cagneys was especially good. Unfortunately that is where the positives end.... A long list of Cons...too many to list all in detail... Staff were unfriendly, unhelpful and sometimes downright rude! Communication to passengers was virtually non-existant. Long wait times to be served for food and drinks. Overpriced shore excursions. Cancelled major show (Legends) with no explanation. Limited TV channels in cabin - no radio. We had 2 days at sea travelling back to Southampton. We were required to provide our passports to immigration officials (as we have done so on previous cruises - an exercise that usually takes 30 minutes of your valuble holiday time). No, not on NCL. This took a 2 hour queuing time. No ship staff to advise what queue passengers should be in, no tannoy announcements and after queuing for hours we found there was only 1 immigration official for the whole of the ship! Disembarkation Our car was parked at Southampton docks so we were advised that we could walk of the ship with our luggage at 8am. Once we got to deck 5 for disembarkation we were advised to join a small queue until the gangways were opened. We did this and waited patiently for one hour until it became apparent that passengers were coming down into the main deck from all lifts and stairways and joining one huge pile of confusion and disorganisation. Passengers were carrying large suitcases, children, buggies etc. down the stairs until the stairwells became jammed up. Dangerous and failing health and safety procedures I would imagine. There were 2 members of staff trying to control the whole thing. I spoke to a manager to advise him that things were getting very out of hand and shouldn't there be more members of staff to control this. He smiled, apologised and then did nothing. Passengers were getting quite rightly angry and stressed out as they were missing coach and flight connections. We eventually crammed through one exit onto the dock - shameful! Just to mention that we also removed our gratuities of $27.00 per day per cabin as the service we received was appalling. We always see to tip well when the service provided is worth it. We had requested from the first night if a cabin change could be made (not any upgrade, just a straight change) as we were a couple on a romantic break and had a screaming child in the cabin next to us. We were advised that the ship was at full capacity and a change was not possible and that we should ring reception throughout the night if the constant noise continued!? We found out from other passengers 2 days later that they had charged other people for cabin upgrades. Lastly, it is a great shame that some lovely people we spoke to were on there 'first time cruise' experience and only had NCL Epic to go on. Please be aware that this was quite the worst cruise experience we have ever had and needless to say will not be using NCL again. The Epic management team need to take the many many complaints that they received seriously, as seen on the other reviews and on board the ship itself, as it has quite evidently made some customers very very unhappy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
To say that the recent cruise of the Norwegian Epic from Barcelona to Southhampton was anything other than an unmitigated failure on the part of the ship's leadership and crew would require a complete denial of reality. The total ... Read More
To say that the recent cruise of the Norwegian Epic from Barcelona to Southhampton was anything other than an unmitigated failure on the part of the ship's leadership and crew would require a complete denial of reality. The total lack of organization during the cruise has been well documented by several other reviewers in this forum. From the hordes surging toward the exits at ports of call to the seemingly interminable wait in line for the immigration checks simply because no one on the ship's staff had thought or implemented a simple set of signs and established a path toward the exit. All have been addressed by others so I'll jsut say that everything you may have read is trus if understated. What I must add is the lack of communication from anyone in command during the disembarkation. All we kept hearing was not to come to the gangway and wait for further instructions which never came. Both the immigration mess and the disembarkation mess were further aggravated by the officious actions of a single ship's officer and the assignment of very junior crew to the task. When another ship's officer was approached by several guests during the disembarkation, he acknowledged that the person was a known issue but there was nothing he could do. This indifferent attitude and downright rudeness was exhibited in most other ship's personnel during the voyage. Bottom line first and last time on a NCL ship, I oddo Read Less
Sail Date September 2015

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